Thursday, April 30, 2009

Round and Round and Round We Go

I've been asking different therapists and searching on the internet for things that would be helpful in keeping Emma's head upright while we are in the car. It looks painful the way her head drops to one side or the other. This morning I met with a carseat specialist from Texas Children's Hospital, and she informed me Emma could be rear-facing up until she is 30 lbs. in her current carseat. We were able to turn it around and tilt it back quite a bit more than we could when she was forward facing, so now her head stays back better. She seemed to be more comfortable after the switcharoo. Her feet are now up too, which is good, because she has poor circulation, and her little toes seem to turn blue if they are down and unsupported for very long.

Just FYI, the new suggested time frame for rear-facing kiddos is 2 years old. The old standard was 20 pounds and one year, but carseat specialists are now saying it's better to keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Yes, the kiddos' legs may be scrunched up, and if you're in a wreck a leg might get broken, but it's better than their head or neck getting broken or worse.

I'll also be chatting with a physical therapist to get her suggestions on keeping Em comfy and head upright in the carseat.

A blast from the past...










Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SLEEP 4 SALE

High folks, Kelvin here...
I was reminded this morning that humans need four things for survival: shelter, water, food and sleep. The first one that will kill you if you go without it is sleep. I think it is something like food- 21 days, water- 11 days, sleep- 9 days and shelter can vary. Emma continues to have better things to do at night than sleep (mainly cry), but we have found the silver lining!
Being the entrepreneur's we are, I have come to realize we are sitting on a gold mine in un-used sleep. Hey, I'm talking "NIB", "Still in the plastic", "Like new, never used" stuff here. Between the two of us I bet we can sell at least 80 hours a week in un-used sleep! This is going to be awesome!
Can you say C-H-A C-H-I-N-G?!?!
So, what do you think? E-Bay? Craigslist? How about pricing? I'm thinking naps go for $10/hour and regular night time sleep brings $15/hour. We can do a promotional ad for REM sleep at $50 per 4-hour package. That is a bargain. How about gift baskets around the holidays? We may do an infommercial.

Now, on to our weekly funny story about Luke...WARNING...this is gross, butt funny. So, yesterday Luke is in the bathroom doing...uh...#2. I go in there and realize he has again overachieved in the area of personal hygiene and has a...um..."souvenir" on his hand. Yes, it was gross. So, I tell him very clearly and quite loudly DON'T MOVE, KEEP THAT HAND IN FRONT OF YOU. I run to get some wipes and when I come back 15 seconds later...the souvenir is gone! That is worse than losing your pet rattlesnake.

Kelvin: Luke, where did that stuff go??? (with bulging eyes and a look of terror)
Luke: Uh, my head itched. (with no expression or any sense of worry)
Kelvin: $%&^@# x a gazillion.

I can hardly wait until he brings his first girlfriend to the house...see ya...kd

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy one month birthday to you, Cora

Today is Cora's one month birthday! How in the world did that happen!?! It seems like only yesterday I came home with her. Here she is in an over-the-top big bow! And I caught her smiling today! She's sporting a milk tongue in one of the pictures.




Here's another one of her napping on the couch...



I'll get some pictures of her in her pretty clothes made soon. She's looking more and more like her siblings. It's like deja vu!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers

If the old addage about April showers and May flowers is true, then y'all, we are gonna have some big 'o flowers around these parts in a week or so. It rained like cats and dogs last weekend, and last night the bottom dropped out again!! It will be nice to see the sunshine again.

So, how's your weekend going? Any big plans? Kelvin did a lot of work around the deer lease today to make it a little more family friendly. We're looking forward to going in a few weeks as a family. He said we were going to take stuff for a fish fry because he plans on taking the kids fishing while we're there! YUM-O! I can't wait.

It's been laundry day around here. I had totally forgotten how many times a newborn poops in a day and how many clothes they can go through too. It's fun to put on all the cute little clothes though. How cute its this little outfit...



Some friends of mine were over today and heard Emma grinding her teeth. I haven't thought much about it before, but my friends suggested maybe the constant grinding was causing a headache. That makes sense and may be the reason for her constant state of fussiness too. So, I'll try Tylenol more often to see if that helps her. If any one has a suggestion for how we can curb the constant grinding, I'm all ears! It's time to feed the new little one. Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Homework Blues

Carleigh is in the first grade. Although the plan was to homeschool, we had to change plans after Emma was diagnosed. I didn't think I would have the energy or the time to dedicate to teaching her, as well as deal with everything involved in caring for Emma. So, we decided to send her to the elementary school down the road. It's really nice that the bus picks her up and drops her off right in front of my house. I will say I am worn completely out doing the homework fight with her almost every day. Yesterday she was telling me how unfair it is that Luke never has homework. He's in the 4 year old pre-K class for goodness sake! It doesn't make any sense in her mind that he doesn't have homework, and she doesn't remember or care that she didn't have homework in preschool! And, in case you were wondering just how much homework she had yesterday, all we had to do was study her spelling words!

Emma has the homework blues too. She's not all too thrilled about working with her therapists when they come. I think she feels better though after they have stretched her, massaged her, stood her, etc.

To be quite honest, this whole homework thing is kind of wearing me out too. :) I'm tired. All the feeding, burping, diaper changing, picking up, bathing, washing, and all the other homework I do is taking it's toll. I need a nap. Maybe the babies will both lie down for a nap at the same time this morning. Oh well, homework is better than the alternative...away-from-home work! Thank the Lord I get to stay home. Just thinking about working away from home makes me exhausted. Kuddos to those of you who are making that work for you.

I think I better get to work...it's breakfast time. One baby down, one to go!

Happy Friday
!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"The length of a life does not reflect the depth of the love shared between a parent and a child. From day one children give and receive love with grace. Their hearts are open to the possibilities and free of doubt and fear."--Houston Hospice


I found these beautiful words on a website today as I was doing some research for our family. Oh the change in my daily routine! Who would've ever thought a couple of years ago when we were doing this...



and this...



and this...



and this...



and this...



that today I would find myself on the Houston Hospice website reading about their Butterfly program and all the services they have for children and families dealing with the life of a child with a terminal illness and the care they provide during for the child and family as well as afterward? Is life not the craziest thing?

When I didn't want to read about finished reading about the Butterfly program, I thought I would do some blogging...check out ours and my favorites for a little while. One of the families I've met in the blogging world also deals with the ugliness of Batten Disease with their little girl. Her daddy's entry today was lovely.

One of the gifts we received recently came in this gift bag.


It reminds me of Emma. One day she'll be free from all the pain, frustration and confusion of Batten Disease. Until then, I'm so glad we have family and friends who are loving us through each step of the way...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a new day

It's a new day...I can hear the birds chirping, the dogs barking, Carleigh coloring some homework, little baby sounds, the monitor's hum, children's voices. I can see the sun peeking through the clouds and my blinds, the beautiful green of the new grass, and my little man cub's curly head poking around the corner.

Last night I could hear a big girl cry, a newborn baby cry, the frantic breathing and searching as the babe found her food supply, the relief of the big girl when her bottom was clean, the hum of the ceiling fan, the growl of the dehumidifier, the tick of the clock, the consoling voice of my soul mate.

Later this morning I'm hoping to hear the breath of two little ones and myself as we nap.

I pray, even in the midst of my sometimes hectic and sometimes sad daily routine I continue to see, hear, smell, taste and feel the wonderful things in life...the small and free, yet priceless things. There are so many who are hurting today, and I pray they can find comfort in those priceless things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Astros game and more! (picture updates)

Kelvin and the big kids had a great time at the game last night! Our good friends Kevin and Denise shared some awesome clubhouse seats. Kelvin said they saw President George and Barbara Bush too! Seems our crew brought our 'Stros some luck too! They won 7-0!! Way to go Astros.



The baby girls and I stayed home. Emma's dress reminded me of an Easter egg, so I thought it would be fun to put the bunny ears on her.


This is how all of my little "Ds" have been carried. This very sling is the one in which I began my mommy days with Carleigh. Cora was snug as a bug while I did Em's photo op with the bunny ears! After the pics I ran down the street to my precious friend, Melissa's house for a quick look at Uppercase Living stuff. Really cool! My cutie patootie friend Asha is the consultant...love her! There are some adorable ideas for decorating and adding a little spark to your house! I started out with one for my bedroom and Carleigh's closet. I'll let you know how they turn out!

We're crashing out around the house today getting ready for our small group meeting tonight. We haven't seen our group in a few weeks now since Cora's grand entry into the world, so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.



Nothing better than naptime on a Sunday in the recliner with Daddy...




Yesterday was tsunami weather around our parts! Kelvin said at one point there was about 8 inches of water in the backyard...Lake Dunnam! Our street looked like a river. Unfortunately some very good friends of ours got water in their house, and Kelvin read a very sad story about a family whose car crashed in a bayou with a terrible outcome. I'm glad to see the sun peeking through the clouds today.

The moment we've all waited for...Cora's Easter dress...




I don't think it's her favorite. I almost didn't get it buttoned, so I think I'll be exchanging it for the next bigger size. The little bonnet was just the slightest bit too snug on her sweet little head! She's still adorable in it though.

Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Celtic Woman

Kelvin took Emma on a date last night! They went to the Celtic Woman concert.


He said she loved it. They looked so nice. She was all dolled up in her Easter outfit, and he wore pants and a jacket. I could kick myself for not taking pictures! Thankfully, Kelvin got one...



I'm glad she got to go to the concert and enjoy the music. I hope we can figure out some other activities soon that she will enjoy.

Kelvin and the big kids get to go to the Astros baseball game tomorrow night. I hope they win! Some friends of ours invited us to go and share some club house seats with them! What a treat. I'll make sure they take pictures! :)

Carleigh informed me yesterday they only have 7 weeks of school left! YIKES! What in the world happened to the school year? I'm not looking forward to knowing that I'll have a second grader. This time thing is going by way too quickly! Cora is already 3 weeks old, for Heavensakes. Yes, I know I said I would post a picture of her in her Easter dress and haven't. I'll work on it.

I think I've finally gotten my chocolate fix! A big, huge "Thank you" to my sweet friend Patsy for the super duper YUMMY chocolate cake. It was still warm when she brought it over yesterday. OOOOH! My mouth is watering again just thinking about it.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 13, 2009

80 degree April Day...I survived

Today Kelvin went back to work for the first time since Cora made her debut. All the kids were out of school for Easter break, and I SURVIVED! Yippee! It was a good morning. Emma was in a realitively good mood, and Cora wasn't too impatient. I remembered to make a couple of phone calls I needed to make, started filling out some paperwork, and did some web design research. I also fed everyone breakfast, except Luke who couldn't wait for me and helped himself, as well as lunch, and put a load of laundry on to wash. I'm feeling pretty good about the day. I just hope things stay calm around here tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that...

Stay tuned for pictures of Cora in her Easter dress. I didn't get her dressed in it yesterday, so I thought I would do it today. It'll be fun to play dolls. ;) Carleigh has baby dolls bigger than Cora. She is so tiny! I can't believe I forgot how small they are! Precious!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter and other things

He is risen! Aren't you glad? I am. That means there is hope. There is peace. There is comfort. There is joy in the midst of sorrow. Thank you Jesus!

The kids got an egg hunt in this morning before the bottom dropped out. Thank you Easter Bunny! Grandma and Aunt Terry are great egg helpers! The big kids had fun finding the eggs and gifts in the flower beds. They looked so cute in their Easter clothes this morning.



I have discovered that holidays don't have the same spark as they once did since Emma has been sick. Now that we have Cora, there is even more bittersweetness...I'm watching one baby girl grow and thrive while the other one is being consumed with a disease that has taken everything precious from her. I don't understand. But, I do have the love of Jesus to pull me from the depths of my grief and get me through another minute...hour...day. I am scared too, though. As I read about this ugly disease called Batten, I wonder how much more she will lose? How much worse will things get for her? How much more pain and discomfort, frustration and irritation will she have to endure? I'm sure my wonderings are selfish too. This is not what I signed up for as a parent. I want to see all of our children thrive and grow into adults with dreams and apsirations. I realize our children are really not ours at all. They are on loan to us. God has entrusted them to our care, and we are to raise them to the best of our human ability. But, I would have really liked to have had more of a chance with Emma. For now, all I can do is accept what's been given to us, and love her through each step. I hope she feels our love. I'm glad we have her to teach us how to love differently than we've ever had to before.

Happy Easter from the Dunnams...all whopping 6 of us!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Goin' Fishin'

Kelvin took the big kids to the sporting goods store the other day to get some fishing poles. They were so excited and came in to show off their new goods! A little while later Kelvin came in to tell me he had attached some little weights to their lines and they were practicing casting. After a few minutes he was checking on them to see how they were doing with the casting, and they had both thrown their lines out and were just sitting there looking at them. When he asked what they were doing, they told him they were practicing patience. They said they knew it took a lot of patience to fish, so they were practicing. How sweet is that?! Love those kids of mine! They had a good time fishing this afternoon. No big fish fries today, but I'm sure we'll have one some day.

Cora had her two week check up today! Can you believe it? She is doing fine. She has gained one ounce shy of one pound! Little piggy is doing very well with the nursing, thank you very much!



Emma is doing OK. She continues to fuss a lot without us knowing what to do to comfort her. We've increased one of her medications again, per the doc. I hope it starts helping ease her soon. Her sweet Miss Myrtle brought her a darling Easter bunny today. She liked snuggling with it.






Kelvin wins the best daddy in the world award. Emma woke up at 2 a.m. the day before yesterday and never went back to sleep. I was in our room with Cora, and Kelvin stayed up with Emma all night long. What a guy! I love that man!

Tomorrow Kelvin and I are heading down to the beach house slab to check out the progress of the clean up in the area. One of our friends who had a house there too said we would be amazed at the difference. I'll take pictures.

We have so many friends bringing us yummy food lately! I'm really enjoying the fare. Tonight one of our sweet friends brought homemade lasagna, and another friend brought the cutest dessert! It's a catepillar cake, complete with coconut for the fuzz! The picture doesn't do it justice, but you'll get the idea.



Looking forward to Easter weekend. I've gotten a couple of good recipes for our Easter dinner. I'm still open for suggestions if you have any though. Hope you have a great Easter, even if the weather doesn't cooperate. I think we're looking forward to thunderstorms. Oh well, hunts in the house are fun too! Have you heard about Resurrection Eggs? Our kids love them. Each egg has a symbol which tells the story of the death, burial and ressurrection of Jesus. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Filling the Landfill

I had forgotten how many diapers a newborn baby goes through in a day. The other night I changed 5 diapers. Sometimes I forget who I've changed last. It's a diaper fest around these parts, people! I feel bad that I'm contributing so much to the landfill, so I'm trying my darndest to recycle everything else I can. We even have a compost bin working!

Kelvin has been working like a dog getting our yard looking pretty. The flowers are blooming now and look beautiful. I hope they stay pretty and it doesn't rain on Easter Sunday so the kids can enjoy hiding eggs for each other all day long in the backyard.

We're having brisket for Easter dinner. Yummy! I just need to come up with some good sides to go along with it. I'm wanting something besides bbq sides...any suggestions?

We had a fun night last night roasting marshmallows and wishing on stars. We cut down a couple of trees in the backyard, so we can see the stars now. Of course, they're not quite as bright here in the big city, but we can still see some, nonetheless. All of the kids' Easter parties are today. I hope either Kelvin or I get to make it to at least a few minutes of each one.

Don't you just love spring? I especially love Easter. Thank you Jesus for your promise of new life for everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Getting in the groove


Cora's a week old now. YIKES! I know the time will fly by all too quickly. I hope I can savor the moments while she is so little and sweet. I've thought about how neat it is that God provides such a wide variety of life for us to enjoy. I don't know how to answer the question, "what is your favorite season," because I like them all. I enjoy the unique aspects each one brings. I love summer...hot days, swimming, playing at the beach, finding a cool creek or spring, and all the things summer brings. Fall is great...crisp nights, changing colors, roasting marshmallows, sweaters. Winter is always welcomed around here with the cooler weather, occasional coats, fires in the fireplace, Christmas, soup. I love spring too...beautiful flowers, a newness of life, Easter, clean feel, resurrection! So, I think God knew we would need the different seasons of change to keep our lives from the mundane. So it is with these precious babies. I love each season...the helpless, tiny newborn with all the feedings and funny expressions, the smiles and coos from a several month old baby, the cuteness of their crawls and toddles, their first words and experiences. I love the next stages of toddlerhood and preschool. Now that Carleigh is in school, I love her new personality (most of the time) and how sweet and sensitive she is becoming. I hope I will not get so wrapped up in the hurriedness of life that I miss something. I hope I will soak it all in...every smile, every coo, every hug, every cry.

Guess who likes watermelon?





Kelvin and Luke went grocery shopping the other day and came home with a watermelon. It may be a little early for those, but it was a fun treat anyway. Emma and Kelvin really enjoyed theirs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Better

Emma had a much better night last night. She slept straight through the night until about 6 this morning. No complaining here! Cora still thinks it's a great idea to nurse every hour or less. The little piggy ate so much last night she was starting to spit it up since her tummy was so full. She's gonna be a chunky monkey like her big sister, Carleigh. When we went in for my six week check up after Carleigh was born, my midwife said, "What are you feeding that child? Straight cream!?!" Kelvin used to say she didn't have ankles, she had cankles. The tops of her feet were so chunky I couldn't get shoes on her. She weighed the same at two years old that she weighed at one. Oh well, it's all good. Now I have to buy Carleigh's pants in a slim so they will stay on her little bubble boody! ;) Little bit will get adjusted soon, I'm sure.

Emma's home bound PT from school brought a neat tumble form chair. She likes it sometimes. We found out last night she really liked sitting in it and listening to the Celtic Women dvd. Her little arms and legs are going ninety to nothing while she's listening.

video

I'm looking forward to an evaluation Friday with a new PT. She will come once or twice a week and work with Emma. I think it makes such a difference. Emma doesn't necessarily like to work with the therapists and tends to fuss at them a lot, but I think it makes her muscles feel better. I'm on the search for a new OT as well. Slowly but surely we'll get the folks here to work with her that she needs. My advice for graduates these days is to major in the field of physical, occupational or speech therapy. There is a huge demand, you will never want for work, and I think the pay is pretty darn good too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Questions...beware of a little complaining

What does a parent do when his/her three year old daughter, who has a rare disease effecting her in ways unknown, cries uncontrollably and inconsolably for several hours straight during the night? What does he/she do when he/she has a newborn who has her days and nights confused and wants to wake every hour to eat at the same time her three year old sister is crying uncontrollably and inconsolably? What does that same parent do when her husband has to go back to work and has to get sleep during the night so he can function at work?

I'm feeling a little bit anxious right now. The previous questions sum up our night last night. My head hurts from lack of sleep, and I am hoping and praying we can figure our something so that Emma will be more comfortable or whatever it is she needs so she'll sleep through the night. I'm also hoping and praying Cora begins to get her days and nights turned around so she doesn't have the need to nurse hourly at night. A little more like every two or three hours would be great! Thank goodness Kelvin is off for a while longer.

It's just so frustrating not knowing what Emma needs to comfort her. I don't know why she is crying. I don't know how to make it stop, and very little seems to make her happy anymore. I wish there was a parent handbook with the ins and outs of dealing with a child with Batten Disease. My friend Jenni and I are just wishing most of all we could take our girls shopping for the enzyme they so desperately need. Wouldn't that be nice?

Something neat...the night before last Emma was laughing in her sleep. I miss hearing that.
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