Feb 5, 2013

6 Months - The Start of a Lifetime

Six months has come and gone and the most amazing transformation in our lives is still this tiny tot who is ingrained in every fiber of our family.

February 24th = Late - But who's counting? This post is a week late due to unforeseen circumstances, which is explained by the hospital pictures.

Our home has been invaded by germs, the nasty viral and bacterial type. The past few weeks have felt like a battleground and we are barely scratching through to stay healthy. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone is being hit also, they've called the flu virus a pandemic already. The worse part, is that being sick is one thing, being sick with a compromised immune system is another. One we are just learning about and learning to treat in times of ill health. A runny nose and sneezes can lead to an ER visit within 2 days with an asthma attack and full-blown illness, such as he had Influenza B, Strep Throat and breathing difficulty where they couldn't get his oxygen stats up past 87! We are hoping for a much healthier month of March as we learn how to care for our little boy and his uniqueness.

One thing I know for certain, he is one tough little cookie. He went through so many different pokes, prods, examinations and vitals in just 3 days in the hospital that it whirred my mind. If someone would come in his isolated room, he'd greet them with a happy "hi", "hi" then win them over with his dimpled smile. Of course everyone who came in (about every 30 minutes it seemed), had to listen to his heart, breathing, pulse, etc. He finally got tired of it and has learned a VERY demanding "NO" when he doesn't want you to do anything now.

Spending all that one-on-one time with him was amazing, exhausting, and bonding. We spent a lot of times in books, sorting shapes, playing cars, and cuddling. He still doesn't watch tv, which is a good thing most the time except in hospital isolation. Elmo has even fizzled and holds no appeal for him to watch. He got to take a bath in the triangle-shaped tub and had a blast, he spent at least 1 1/2 hours altogether pushing his iv cart and learning how far his iv could stretch.

He was not crazy about having to sleep in the metal crib, but there was no way we could share a bed. We were very blessed to be the only occupants of our room. One unfortunate thing was he'd get angry and throw his pacifiers at me because he didn't want in his crib. He spent at least 4 hours on my chest at one time. The only time I left was for 10 minutes, an aide came in a played while I was gone, but you'd have thought I'd gone for good the way he carried on! I could here him while IN the elevator!

One thing I just adore is feeling like I'm on Little House On The Prairie. He calls me "Ma", not mama, not mommy, just "Ma".
Earlier in February:

As I start this post, it's not at the six month mark, but it's just as important. We celebrated Zander's 2nd birthday this weekend. His birthday was on Saturday, the 2nd, but we actually celebrated on the 3rd when others could come. We had a really fun day and evening on the 2nd preparing for his party though. Waking up, I sang him "Happy Birthday" several times while I kept asking him, "How old are you?" He would answer with all fingers held high and say "do".  We spent the day in our jammies playing games, reading books and just having fun. Toward the evening it was time to make our cake icing. To my knowledge, Zander had never had the opportunity to lick the beaters of homemade icing. He was in for a treat. Tim and Richie were gone for the evening. They were at the annual "Monster Jam" in St. Louis, sitting up high, earplugs in, smelling exhaust! Boy do I envy them NOT!

Zander's cake was Elmo, of course. As he stood on a chair next to me, he watched me measure, cream, and beat all the ingredients to make the icing. He was fascinated by the hand-held mixer (I had to purchase a new one, that's how long it's been since I had made any). Next came the piste resistance, the handing over of the beater. Zander just kind of gave me a looks saying, "okay, now what do I do with it?" Good thing Carmen was there because she took the other and started devouring hers. Zander took a tentative bite, went mmmmmm, then started devouring his. Watching the look in his eyes, the smiles, the clinking of Carmen and his beaters, was priceless. Carmen had finished hers and was going to put it in the sink, but he wanted hers also so he double ate beaters for a while. He carried the beaters around the house for an hour (even though they were licked clean).

When Zander came home I took him to Chuck E. Cheese's, thinking he might enjoy the playing, I was completely wrong. Well, I believed that maybe he was ready to try it again for his birthday since he had been home several months and gotten quite acclimated to America. Well, I was 100% wrong, or maybe just hoping he'd enjoy it, or maybe he's just too little right now. Whatever the reason, he was not impressed and spent 3/4 of the time in daddy's arms or eating. Oh well, CEC has never been a love of mine and I can thank God that it doesn't seem to be his either.

We also got to spend the afternoon with our 2 youngest grandbabies, Kalya & Sophia. January 29th was also Kalya's 2nd birthday. It must be the age, because she wasn't crazy about playing either, she spent ALL her time wanting to be chased. At one point she ran into the kitchen and a worker brought her back to me. Poor Tim had Kalya & Zander at once and said the were both climbing up the  skee ball game!

My great nephew, Julian we there also, he turned 2 in October, he wasn't crazy about the place either. It seemed the only ones who truly enjoyed themselves were Richie & Brianna, who spent the time gathering tickets for the prizes.

Oh well, next year it won't be CEC! Enjoy the pictures!

Zander stacked the gel colors for the icing while I made it.

There is a mirror on the other side of the wall and he had fun sticking his tongue out at himself.

One way to kill time is playing on the harmonica.

Ahhhh! My first taste of beater icing.

Getting every last bit, as sissy Carmen showed him how.

Finger & thumb licking good!

Even sissy Carmen's fingers taste good, it helps that Carmen has her mouth open also.

Two is always better than one.

Never knew water tasted so good.

Sharing the water it more fun with two.

Carmen gave icing the cake a try, but gave up later stating it was "too hard".

Zander snuck a fingerful of icing while Carmen wasn't looking.

Zander's not too sure about cousin Trish.

Brianna holding bitty Sophia.

Zander and cousin Trish.

Little Kalya Sue scarfing down her pizza.

Big brother Seth Richie with bitty Sophia.

Zander's Elmo cake.

Cousin Julian enjoying an orange slice.

Zander blowing out the candle.

We're trying to talk Kalya into blowing out her candle, she wasn't having it.

She's just a little giggle box.

Zander and everyone are trying to coax her into blowing out her candle.

Ring around the papa while he's got his hands full.

That's one way to chase a Kalya Sue.

Aunt Evelyn and Cousin Julian.

Zander didn't want to ride the horse so Seth Richie took over.

Daddy has his hands full with 2 yr. olds.

Aunt Tina feeding Sophia while Zander wonders why he's still in the highchair.

Pretty baby Sophia.

Brianna helping Zander open one of his gifts.

Zander actually wanted Brianna to stop opening and read his card.

Elmo bath mat!

Brianna holding Zander while they dance with Chuck E.

The bottom tier of the climber is just Zander's speed.

It ended up the bottom tier were both their speed.

This game was fine until we put a coin in.

As long as it's stationary, they played.

Tuesday, February 5th....

Well today Zander had his 2 yr. check up. He has grown by leaps and bounds and the staff at his pediatrician's office knows him quite well. His doctor's office is quite large with a staff of 4 pediatricians, nurse practitioners, etc. But since Zander has been home he has had quite a few visits there and has charmed the staff and the doctor. Today's visit was a huge hour of fun. Zander knows how to press all the handicapped buttons to access the 2 walkways, he knows which door to go to for sick or well, today was thankfully well! He walks in waving both hands to the 2 receptionists saying Hi Hi! He then proceeds to the bookshelf to pick out his favorite book. When called he goes to the door waving to the new nurses, walks into the room and starts his stripping, hands me shoes, pants and then asks me for help of his shirt. He stands very proud in his diaper, patting his chest and laughing (he learned this from Richie). He swaggers, not walks, out to the scale, hops on and is a whopping 29 lbs! No wonder my arms ache as they do lately. Two weeks ago he was 27 lbs. That's about the time his daddy introduced chocolate milk, we know where that's going!

He goes through all the motions of weight, height, temperature, head measuring, say this, do that and then Dr. Rezabek comes in. He is such an amazing doctor. All the kids just love him. He picks Zander up and right away starts singing to him. Zander is mesmerized and just lays there and watches and listens the entire examination. He came out with flying colors in the 75% for height & 63% for weight, he is doing wonderful. We could've told you that though : )

Jan 21, 2013

5 Months Home - New Year - New Family - New Life

I'm a couple days late on this post, with good reason. Zander's been sick a lot the last few days with sinus, allergy, chest cold and a severe reaction to an antibiotic that includes hives and breathing treatments. He's had the full gamut of illnesses this past couple weeks and is hopefully on the road to recovery.

It's so hard to believe we have been home with our little boy for 6 months. Although it seems like he's been with us forever. I really have to stop and think some days that he hasn't always been with our family. He continues to weave himself deeper and deeper into our hearts and lives. He's adorable, affectionate, funny, independent, smart, and just the greatest. We couldn't imagine our lives without him.

Zander's Daddy Moments: As soon as Tim arrives home from work Zander greets him with jumping, clapping and then ordering him: "off, off, off", meaning Zander wants Tim to take off his jacket, his overalls, then his boots. Zander then proceeds to take Tim by the hand into the living room, where he sits down, pats the floor and tells his daddy, "down, down". It's time to play.

Zander's Mommy Moments: Starts in the morning when Zander awakens, claps his hands and says, "up momma, up", then hugs and cuddles for the next 30 minutes. After a diaper change he throws it away and I tell him thank you, he then says, "thank you mama", when I ask him for something he says, "here go mama". Although I've only heard it a couple of times, he says, "love you mama". The sweetest words a mama can here. He will come up whenever I'm sitting on the floor and purposefully place his neck by my mouth wanting me to snuggle his neck while he giggles. He STILL teases me if I ask him, I will ask him, "say _______", and he'll say, "baba". He started this while we were in China and now it's a teasing mechanism he still uses with me.

Zander's Carmen Moments: Zander gives Carmen a ton of grief and she gives it back. He knows Carmen doesn't like anyone in her room, but he will sneak in there every moment he can and when she asks him to get out he'll tease her and step further in until she has to chase him and he giggles the whole way out of her room. They are getting closer and closer by the week. She can't help but love his laughter and infectious teasing. He will also climb onto her lap wanting her to snuggle his neck too.

Zander's Richie Moments: Richie and Zander are a wonder to behold. Richie is the best "big brother" Zander could ask for. They play with one another, Richie is the first wanting to carry him into the store or do whatever for him. He plays until Zander's in giggles. They only time they do not get along is when Zander believes that anybody's food is also his food. Richie LOVES his food so it is a battle whenever dinner time comes around and Zander wants Richie's food.

Zander's Alex Moments: With Alex moving out, Zander doesn't see her much anymore. When she came home for Christmas he was immediately back in love with her, wanting her to hold him, etc. She stayed the night and he went back to his old ways waking her up with his kisses and pats.

Zander's Brandy Moments: Zander is just getting to know Brandy. He was extremely cautious of her at first, not knowing what to think. The same went for Brandy, she wasn't quite sure what to think about having a foreign little brother 27 years her junior. As they are around one another more and more, they are developing a way about them, a teasing, bonding sister/brother affection.

Zander's 1st Experience w/snow: As he watched the white flakes coming down while standing on his little perch by the window, he would knock on the window while trying to say "snow, snow". I was so excited to take him outside in his new little boots, bundled up and waiting for his expression. It seems all mothers, not just myself, have an idealistic view of how things are going to be, have you ever saw those reality pictures where one would show a sleeping child laying on her mother's shoulder while the mother looks longingly into at her little one as if saying "where has all the time gone", then the reality photo is the child sleeping yes, while there are stains of spit up on the mom's shirt, mom's hair is ratted out from not being able to comb it and instead of the longing look, the mom has a look of, "wake her and your dead". Well, that's how my reality is a lot of the time, wanting the ideal experience, while in reality we went outside, I set him down on the sidewalk and backed away with my camera and was trying to get him to pick up snow. He trudged right through the snow to me, stopping short once he realized the white stuff was cold, then reaching out to me saying, "mama mama". When I tried to get him to try picking up the white stuff he was stiff as a board. When he finally picked it up he scrunched up his nose, through it down and he was done. Oh well, maybe next snow.

Well, today was another snow day and it was snowing hard outside by the time we arrived home from swim practice so I thought I'd give it another try. As I took Zander out of his car seat I tried to act VERY excited about the large white flakes coming down. He felt the flakes while in the car, then looked in the car, not understanding why it wasn't snowing inside. As I placed him on the sidewalk it was like he was hypnotized, he just watched the snow coming down and finally lifted his face up and started giggling as it fell and melted on his face. He tried again to pick it up, but wasn't crazy about that. Oh well, baby steps.

Zander's First New Year's Eve in USA: Tonight is New Year's Eve and it's approximately 8:30 pm. Where is Tim & Zander....BED.... It's been a very long day for the little guy, he didn't have a nap (neither did daddy). He spent 3+ hours playing at swim practice, went visiting, and then home where he played hard for several hours. Tim had to work most the day so they are night night buddies. I have had a sinus infection/flu for 10 days and finally feeling partially human. We were supposed to have kids over here tonight for New Years, but with me being sick didn't want to get others sick so all kids are with other families this evening celebrating. Happy New Year!

Other New Year Homefront News. Tim's been working really hard with a lot of overtime, but when he walks through that door in the evening, he has an almost 3 foot special greeting awaiting him. Ready to tell him to take off his overalls, coat and boots and pop a squat down next to his little boy saying "down".  He's the best daddy/Papa there could be.

Brandy is now working retail and really liking it, her new job offers so many opportunities after her 90 day orientation. She's been working really hard toward many goals and overcoming obstacles that have been holding her back for years. We're so proud of her accomplishments, she's doing such a great job.

Alex is now in her own apartment in downtown and keeping occupied with her new baby, a 2 lb. baby bunny she has named Edgar. He's adorable, soft and cuddly. He really only wishes to snuggle after he's worn out, but we were told this is the "teenage years" of the bunny. She's been working a lot, but enjoying her new life outside of our house.

Carmen's been keeping busy with youth at church, school, friends and swim. She's developing new friendships at school and is looking forward to high school She's already started picking out her graduation dress. The big decision will be which high school she will go to right now.

Richie (aka Seth) has been playing Nerf wars every waking moment that he doesn't has school or homework. He and friends scout the block looking for enemy invaders. When he's not doing that, he's building with his legos, reading the Hunger Games series and playing Minecraft. Then when he has a free moment he states, "I'm bored" oh the typical busy 10 yr. old.

Savannah is here for the evening. She just had her big 7th birthday. She is a true gem, beautiful big blue eyes and a saucy little way about her. She's such a great little girl. She has a personality all her own and she WILL rule one day in whatever she does.

Kalya is our little redheaded firecracker. Sassy and sweet she's adorable. She loves Elmo and her talking is coming by leaps and bounds, we're not sure if this is a good thing or not, understanding what she's saying.

Sophia is just the sweetest little thing, especially when she growls! She has started pulling up on things and maneuvering furniture, watch out world, here she comes!

Me, I've been keeping busy with all the little  ones, going out with friends once a month (for my sanity and the families). Trying to keep well and working with the kids. My next post will have Zander's 2nd birthday party! Now to try and load videos!