Tuesday, March 29, 2016

35 weeks!

Today marks 35 weeks!  That means only about 2 week until baby girl makes her debut.  My ultrasounds have been going well for and her heart beat today was 136 bpm.  The biophysical profiles (BPPs) are pretty quick, but we will have one more growth scan next week.  The growth scans were pretty off for Parker, so I am not going to put too much faith in it.  I am feeling pretty good overall, but I have been a bit more tired.  This is probably because I haven't been sleeping as well the last few weeks.  The last couple nights have been better, but I keep waking up with leg cramps.
 I mentioned getting in to #fullonbabymode after my brief hospital visit and that has continued.  The car seat base is installed, we have our new double stroller, and we have mostly completed the set-up in our room.  I wanted to make sure baby girl had her own little space since she doesn't get a whole room.  I made a little name plaque for her and also moved the monkey art in from Parker's room.
 I even added a bow to the smaller monkey peeking over the bigger one.  We have been slowly transitioning Parker away from the monkeys, so now I have space to put up a new shelf in his room.
 Parker thinks that all the new stuff we are bringing out and bringing home is for him.  We have a music box/mobile that was/is in Parker's room.  We don't have a way to install it on the pack n' play, so I wanted to get a small thing to play music for baby girl.  I found this cute giraffe at Target and Parker has been playing with it non-stop.  It is the first thing he will grab in the morning or when we come.  We keep telling him that it is for the baby, but I am not sure how that will go once she is actually here.
It is pretty adorable how attached he is to it.  That being said, he doesn't complain when we ask him to put it back in the baby's bed.  He just turns it off and gently sets it in there.
Parker still doesn't really understand what is going on, but I was able to get a cute picture of him hugging me today.  This is closest we will get to one of those sibling maternity pictures, but I love it!
On a side note, yesterday Jimmy and I celebrated 7 years of marriage!  We kept our celebration pretty minimal with burger night at Applebee's.
 The all-day brunch burger was so delicious and really hit the spot!
Have a great week everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

Easter was a pretty busy day for us this year.  Parker got to check out his Easter basket after waking up.  We have gotten him a couple games in the last couple weeks that he has been "playing" with at school and church.  I knew he would go right for Connect 4 and he did!
He also got some iced animal crackers, a bunny PEZ, cookies, and a new slinky (our Easter tradition.)
 We headed to church, then basically straight to Jimmy's parents' apartment for lunch.  It is so exciting to say "Jimmy's parents'" since they are both home again!  Jimmy's dad came home from the hospital on Thursday, just in time for the holiday.  We had a mimosa toast to celebrate the occasion.  He still has a lot of recovering to do, but this is a huge step, especially after living 4 1/2 year plugged in and 6 months in the hospital.
 There was a delicious spread as always, turkey, ham, wild rice stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, asparagus, and corn.
 We drove out to my parents house later in the afternoon.  We dyed a whole bunch of eggs and made sure everyone had their own!
 We made one for baby girl too!  We have chosen a name, but aren't putting it officially on the web, so her egg got cropped from the photo!
 Jimmy even got to test out his shooting skills some more by shooting BB Guns with our nephews!
 I didn't get a picture of our second meal, but it was great!  Grilled chicken, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, mac and cheese and other stuff that I can't remember without a photo!  The boys ended the night with a dip in the hot tub!
We are so grateful for all the family time we had this year.  They are so supportive of us and we can't wait to introduce them to our newest addition in a few weeks.  We are also grateful for our faith in a Savior that laid down his life so we we could live.  He is Risen!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Egg Hunt

We went to a local Easter egg hunt this morning!  It was raining last year, so we skipped it, but here is the fun we had two years ago.  I made sure to remember his boots, but it was mostly damp and not muddy.  You can't see any other kids in the first picture, but they were stacked up just behind me.
Parker was able to participate a bit more this year than two years ago.  We still had to encourage him to pick stuff up, but he was great at putting it in the basket.
Grandpa Buxton made sure to point out the Sixlets since he loves those!
We also met up with Parker's friend Simon!  He got a great haul too!
Lots of Parker's favorites and some candy for mom and dad too!  I love that they have regular snacks as well as candy.
We haven't had a sunny day for this hunt yet, but maybe it will be nicer next year when we have two little ones to bring!  Easter is later next year, so baby girl may already have turned ONE by then, so crazy to think about.  We can't wait to celebrate Easter with family tomorrow.  He is Almost Risen!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

33 Weeks - Surprising Developements

Everything had been going great this pregnancy, even with all my extenuating circumstances.  I had an ultrasound and appointment yesterday and my blood pressure was elevated.  I was so bummed...  They decided to take some blood and double check urine to rule out pre-eclampsia.  It is much more common with first pregnancies, so both the doctor and I were surprised when my tests came back questionable.  I got the call just before noon and knew it wouldn't be good since the doctor herself was calling.  She said I needed to head to labor and delivery to repeat the tests and be monitored.  I was trying not to have a complete break down since I needed to finish up some work before driving to the hospital.
I got there about 12:30 and was checked in pretty quickly.  They hooked me up to heart rate and fetal monitors to make sure baby girl was doing well and started checking my blood pressure every 10 minutes.  Jimmy and Parker arrived shortly after and it made me feel a lot better not being alone.  Good news is that my blood pressure was great!  The doctor has increased my dose the day before, but I had only taken that twice and it usually takes longer to take effect.  They redid all of the labs and the results pretty much came back the same.  Protein in my urine, but just one of my liver tests was abnormal.  This was a bit perplexing since it's unusual for just one test to come back that way.  This means is may not even be pregnancy related, but they just don't know.

These results have a few implications for the remainder of my pregnancy.  First, I will have to have appointments twice weekly to monitor blood pressure and other labs to make sure I don't take a bad turn.  They will also not be letting me go beyond 37 weeks.  This is 2 weeks earlier than we had hoped, so we have entered #fullonbabymode (as Jimmy dubbed it!)  I got a betamethasone shot to help mature babies lungs and will get another one tomorrow.  We are now just focusing on staying put for the next 4 weeks and lot having to go any earlier.

The car seat base got installed tonight and I have pulled out our swing, bouncer, infant tub, changing pad, bottles, and breast pump.  Just the pack and play to put up and one more load of laundry and we should be mostly ready!

It was great to have the boys there and Parker was so well behaved.  He was really intrigued by all the machines hooked up to me and played really nicely.
We are hoping not to be back for 4 more weeks, but are excited to meet baby girl.  She just needs to cook a little longer and be as healthy as possible!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Parker Progress Update

We had a conference with Parker's teacher and school speech pathologist today, so I thought it would be a great time to update you on his progress.  Our meeting tonight was a regular conference along with an IEP review.  He currently has 10 objectives within four specific goals.  There is a lot of content below, but I really wanted to have it documented somewhere in my own words and I know some of you are excited to read about it.

Play skills: Increase play skills from independent, close-ended to open-ended functional play along side a peer 80% of the time.  He needs to imitate functional play schemes (with cars, animals, etc), play along side a peer with the same base but independent pieces, holding a writing utensil independently and imitating horizontal, vertical, and circular strokes.  He has met all of his objectives in this category except circular strokes.  Art is not a preferred activity, but he has made huge gains this year with it so we are very proud.

Routines: Increase independence in following classroom routines from needing verbal, gestural and physical prompts to just verbal and one gestural prompt.  He needs to be completing arrival and departure routines 2 out of 3 times and be able to independently check his schedule and go to correlating play space 80% of the time.  A sample of his picture schedule is below.  There are several pictures that indicate the order in which he visits stations throughout the day.  He has already met this goal for the year!  With verbal prompting he will go to his schedule and find the next play space on his own almost 100% of the time when Ms. Becky is asking.  He can also complete all arrival and departure routines 75% of the time.  This includes removing backpack, coat, and boots and putting in his locker and taking them back out at the end of the day.  He still needs a little help getting his coat on and getting his backpack on over his coat.  They are also working on generalizing skills.  He cooperates much better for Ms. Becky than any of the aides, so they are working on getting him to listen to adults in general.  This has been a common theme for him in school and private therapy, so it doesn't surprise us.
Communication, Receptive Language: Increase understanding of age appropriate vocabulary to 20 familiar objects/pictures 80% of the time.  He needs to identify 5 action verbs in pictures and identify 15 different objects/pictures when named.  He has consistent understanding of many words in the categories of animals, school words, food, and body parts.  He had not been able to identify any action verbs yet.

Communication, Expressive language: Increase expressive language from not using words to using words, approximations or gestures to meet five language functions: greet, request, label, protest, and answer 80% of the time.  With no more than one verbal prompt he needs to say "hi" and "bye" to at least two familiar adults when arriving to and departing from school, label 10 objects/activities 10 times during the day, and use "I want" in the context of three different activities.  He is very close to meeting this goal.  He will use "hi" and "bye" when given sufficient time, but is much more successful with "bye."  I am currently the only person he consistently greets with "hi."  I am secretly really happy about this.  There are so many things that he does for teachers and therapists that he doesn't do at home, so I am loving this!  He has met the other two objectives, but is more successful with nouns than verbs.  He is also able to use "I want" and answer other questions when prompted with a visual strip, but does not yet do it independently.

On the topic of expressive communication, I made the brief video below last week.  It was a bit of the cuff, so I was trying to think of things to ask him to say.  Keep in mind a lot of these are his approximations of the words.  I really should write down a list to try with him.  He will attempt to imitate most words these days, but these are the ones he uses regularly.
We also got a really long chart of specific objectives showing where he was at the beginning of the year, where he is now, and where we want him to be by June.  He is still behind in a lot of categories, but it is so encouraging to have a visual representation of the progress he has made.  We are so proud of all the things he has learned this year and can't wait to see how he finishes.  We so so much potential in him, as do his teachers.  We know there are so many gears turning in his little head and we just need to find the right way to get him to express all that stuff.  

We also had a brief discussion about Kindergarten and what that may look like for him.  It is still a ways off, but now is the time to be asking questions as we contemplate moving before then for more space and possibly to be in a different district.  I have been very impressed with all the staff we have encountered so far, but need to make sure this is the best system for him if we choose to stay.  It's a lot to think about, especially with another one on the way, but we are excited!

We celebrated his great report with his favorite Perkins pancakes and free pie for Pi Day!  Happy Monday!  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Family Babymoon Weekend in Owatonna

Prior to becoming pregnant we had planned to take a family vacation right about this time, probably a Caribbean cruise.  Once we found out I would be due early May we knew a big vacation wasn't going to happen.  A couple months ago Jimmy suggested we do a weekend stay at a waterpark hotel.  Instead of just choosing one in the cities we went about an hour south to Owatonna.  It was close enough that weather would be a minimal factor, but far enough to feel like a getaway.  Plus it was about $100 cheaper!  We drove down Friday night and arrived in time for a late dinner at the hotel restaurant, 43rd St. Pub & Grill.  The food was pretty good and they had pizza for Parker!  We even had enough leftovers for the lunch the next day!
 We decided to check out the water park after dinner too!  We knew it was a pretty small one, but it was perfect for Parker.
 They had a zero entry pool with a slide and fountains.  It got to the perfect depth for Parker, right up to his neck.
He even learned a new word, which is probably is very favorite now!  When we told him it was time to go swimming he had all his clothes off in about 30 seconds!
Parker got his own special pull-out bed in the hotel, which he thought was pretty cool! 
 We were all up pretty early on Saturday, so we were eating breakfast before 8!
 Kernel Restaurant was a great hometown diner.  They have breakfast all day, great lunch and dinner options and over 20 types of pie!  Jimmy's banana pecan pancakes were incredible, I wish I could have had more than one bite!  Parker even got some fun bear/mouse shaped ones.
 I had originally planned to take a walking tour of downtown, but the Chamber of Commerce was closed so we couldn't get a map.  We decided to hit up a local park, then just wander around a bit.
 Every great small town needs a bakery and we found it!  The Perfect Day Cakes had lots of cupcakes, donuts, and pastries.  It was time for a morning snack, so we got a regular cake donut and an old fashioned, both frosted!
 We headed to the Medford outlet mall for some more walking and shopping.  We didn't get a ton, but I was pretty excited about the pink hat and mittens I got for .47 at Old Navy.  Parker was gracious enough to try them on!
 We ate lunch, went swimming again and just relaxed the rest of the afternoon.  Parker didn't take a nap, so he was pretty exhausted by dinner time.  This face was a combination of that exhaustion and disappointment with leaving the hotel (that's where the pool is!)
We just relaxed for the evening, watch some hockey and went to bed.
 Parker was snoozing about 3 minutes after bedtime prayers.
 After a quick breakfast in the morning we headed down for one final swim.  Our only complaint about the water park was the temperature.  Most hotel pools/water parks feel pretty humid when you walk in.  This makes it much more comfortable to come out of the water.  It wasn't cold, but definitely not as warm as we would have liked.  Parker seemed to stay warm while in the water until the last day, so we cut our swim short.  It was such a fun last getaway for our family of three.
We were on the road before 11 and even stopped to visit Jimmy's dad in the hospital before going home.  He is doing really great.  He no longer has an IV of any kind, is off of oxygen, and will hopefully be getting the chest tubes out soon!  We can't wait for him to go home (neither can he!)  

Have a great week!