Wednesday, December 7, 2011

February 16, 2012

In case you haven't heard, that's the date for Clayton's Fontan at Stanford.  We're on the schedule.  We'll get planning on all the logistics after Christmas.  For now, we're just going to focus on the holidays.

A Few Steps

It's time to confess it.  Aaron's still not walking.  Yes, he's 16 months old.  Clayton walked at 17 months.  They told me he was late because he'd had two open heart surgeries.  Then Eli didn't walk until about 16 months.  Now Aaron's 16 months and not really getting the whole thing yet.  I'm beginning to think the open heart surgeries had nothing to do with Clayton's delays.  My kids are just not early walkers. 

Aaron cruises the furniture like a pro.  He can stand independently for a couple minutes.  He will take a step or two toward me if I'm cheering him on, but he's really just not quite walking yet.

I was able to get this picture a couple weeks ago though.  It's one of the rare moments he's taking a couple steps towards me.  You can see the thrill on his face.  He's always so proud.

So for now it's just a step or two here and there.  I'm sure he'll be walking by kindergarten.

Aaron's First Haircut

Just before our Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas I decided the time had come.  Aaron officially had a mullet, and something had to be done.  I'm no barber and have always taken the boys to get their hair cut, but because we were really looking at about ten hairs on the back of his head, I decided to trim it myself.  It really was an improvement.  He still looks pretty bald, but at least his hair isn't growing down his neck anymore. 

The few long mullet hairs

So excited

It was a family affair.

There were a few long hairs up the back too.

The big boys were so interested.

The final product.  His stork bite shows a lot more now.  All my boys had that on the back of their necks.

After Aaron was done, I realized the big boys really needed trims as well, so I took them over to Great Clips the next day before we left town.  Now everyone looks neat and tidy.

Happy Birthday Eli!

On Monday we celebrated Eli's third birthday!  I can't believe this boy is three.  In some ways it seems like he was born yesterday, and in some ways I can't believe he's only three.  I think having Aaron so close to Eli has skewed my perception of time. 

There's so much to say about Eli.  Eli is definitely the child requiring the most "parenting" these days.  We're either laughing at him hysterically or wanting to pull our hair out in frustration.  Sometimes we're feeling both ways at the same time.  Eli is passionate about everything.  He plays passionately, he loves passionately, and he loses control passionately.  He's never dull, that's for sure. 

Eli's greatest love in life is... still... trash and everything that has to do with trash, trashcans, dumpsters, and garbage trucks.  It's really completely out of control.  The first thing he wants to do at anyone's house is see their outside trash cans.  Really?  He wants to know what day is trash day for every place we go.  He recently saw a garbage truck empty a dumpster at Clayton's school.  Now we have to talk about it nonstop everytime we take Clayton to school or pick him up.  That's twice a day, five days a week.  It's painful for me. 

In honor of Eli's great love, I decided to have a garbage truck birthday celebration.  It will probably just encourage the infatuation, but I couldn't resist.  One day I'm sure we will get a big laugh over all this. 

 The traditional birthday donut selected by the birthday boy

Blowing out the first "fire" of the day.  Leading up to the big day, Eli was constantly reminding me that there would be fire on his birthday.

My attempt at a trash truck cake

He loves being the center of attention.

Blowing out the candles

Happy Birthday Eli Jacob!

Friday, November 18, 2011

That's Gonna Leave a Mark!

Yes, if you haven't heard, there's been an incident.  Just before we were to leave for school on Wednesday, Eli and Clayton got into a scuffle, and Clayton ended up with a nastly little cut on his forehead.  Apparently he was pushed into the toy chest in their room.  I was pretty angry with all the arguing that had been going on all morning, so I marched in there, ready to give them a piece of my mind.  Clayton was in the fetal position, and I ordered him to stand up.  When he sat up, his whole face was covered in blood (and, as a side note, there was a little blood on my new carpet, YIKES, but it all came up later).  I took him into the bathroom, made one pass over the wound with a handful of tissue, and I knew we had to go to the ER. 

Dragging three small children to the ER by myself first thing in the morning is not really my idea of fun, but the boys did pretty well.  It took almost three hours to get three tiny stitches, and then we were off.  Clayton was so brave, so we stopped in at Wal-Mart to pick up a new little car for a reward.  When Ryan got home later that night, Clayton had no interest in showing Ryan the stitches.  He only wanted Ryan to see his new car.

I'm sure with three boys this will not be our last stitches incident.  I actually can't believe this was our first.

One day last week was "P" day at school, and Clayton's teacher sent home a pickle bandaid for each kid for the next time they were "in a pickle."  Clayton was beyond excited to wear his pickle bandaid to school the next day.

Today we're letting them breathe a little, which reminds me I need to call and get an appointment to get them taken out soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

About a month ago I started to think about what the boys could be for Halloween.  I love a theme, and I started trying to think of one.  It just happened around that time that the boys were watching The Chipmunk Adventure (remember the one where the boys race the girls around the world in hot air balloons; I loved that movie), and then I knew, they had to be the Chipmunks.

Their costumes were so easy.  I ordered men's turtlenecks and rolled up the sleeves.  I fused yellow A on Alvin's shirt, and I didn't bother with Alvin's red baseball cap because I knew Eli wouldn't wear it.  I hemmed Eli's shirt because it was just slightly too long, and I didn't want him to trip on it.  Then I found a pair of Harry Potter glasses for Simon, and that was it.

We took the boys to our high school's trick-or-treat night a couple nights before Halloween, and they got a warm up on all the "trick-or-treat" and "thank you" stuff.  I was really impressed with the high schoolers.  They were so sweet to the boys and so enthusiastic with all their booths and games.  So many kids had put in a lot of hard work to pull off an event like that.  Now every time we drive by the high school Eli says, "That's where we have fun!"

After that, they were ready for the big night.  Ryan and I took turns handing out candy and taking the boys around our neighborhood.  Clayton and Aaron rode in the wagon, and Eli walked.  At each house, Eli was the first to the door and the loudest with his "trick-or-treat."  I think he could have walked all night, but the other two were ready to come home after a while.

These are our pumpkins that almost didn't happen.  I really procrastinated purchasing carving pumpkins this year.  On Halloween morning I took Clayton to school, and the little boys and I set out on a quest that led us to three grocery stores before we finally find pumpkins at a fourth store.  We were lucky to find these.  I didn't get carving on them until about 3:30pm, and it takes a long time to scoop out all the insides, not to mention, I needed to cook dinner and oh, keep a vigilant eye on my three "helpers" who were intent on attempting to get their hands on knives.  I finished them up just in time though, and I liked the way they turned out.  Maybe next year I'll plan ahead a little better and try something a little more intricate.  Probably not, but maybe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Storybook Forest

On Saturday night we took the kids to Arcadia Lake for their annual Storybook Forest.  It opens around sunset.  You walk along a trail in the woods in the dark, and there are scenes from many fairy tales and nursery rhymes.  The kids get candy along the way.  At the end of the trail, there are games and a hayride.  Then there are campfires set up along the lake, and you can purchase hotdogs and s'mores supplies and sit around the fires.

The whole thing was pretty much my cup of tea.  I love being outside, slightly chilly, and sitting around a campfire.  The storybook stuff and hayride were really fun too.  We all had a blast. 

The boys getting ready to hit the trail.

Humpty Dumpty (kind of creepy, I know)

The big boys trying to pull the sword out of the stone.

Waiting in line for the hayride, showing a scary face.

Keeping warm.

Eli's first s'more

Clayton's first s'more (he really loved it, I just couldn't get him to open his eyes while taking a bite)

Aaron's first s'more (he demanded at least half of Clayton's)

I think they liked them.

The event was advertised as a "non-scary" event for children under 10.  However, there were a series of scenes from Hansel and Gretel that ended with an oven that had a witch's legs hanging out.  Eli recently burned his finger on our stove (I know, I felt terrible), so he's obsessed with not being near hot things lately.  He was a little freaked out by the witch in the oven.  It was at the very beginning of the trail, and he talked about it the rest of the night and half the way home until he fell asleep.  "Why was that witch in the oven?  Is that witch still in the oven?"  I was afraid he was traumatized, but he didn't mention it today, so maybe we're in the clear.

Otherwise, it was a great evening, and I'm sure it will turn into an annual event for our family.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Sneak Peak

Alvin and the Chipmunks

I can't believe how my children's personalities line up with those of their respective chipmunk!  Clayton (Simon) loves to read and learn new things, and he's a pretty cautious kid.  Eli (Alvin) is impulsive, always in trouble, yet everyone loves him anyway.  He wants to be in the spotlight.  Aaron (Theodore) wants to stick close to home and always have a snack on hand.  It's true... especially for Eli and Alvin.  I've got my hands full with that one!

Aaron at 15 Months

This boy is such an important part of our family.  I know I always say this, but it's true.  I can't imagine our family without Aaron.  I love his little budding personality.  He knows he's one of the brothers, and whatever they're doing, he needs to be a part of it.  Whatever they're eating, he needs it.  He takes so much abuse from his older brothers, but he always comes back for more.  Aaron loves toys, toys, toys.  Tonight after his bath he had a little matchbox car that he was driving back and forth across the carpet.  When did he start that? 

At two days shy of 15 months, Aaron's not walking yet, but don't worry.  I think Eli was very near 16 months, and Clayton was almost 18 months before he started walking.  My boys take their time, and I'm definitely okay with that.  The crawling is hard enough for me to keep up with.  Aaron is an eater, but lately he's become a much pickier eater than I appreciate.  We are pretty strict about serving one family dinner, so if Aaron chooses to throw it all on the floor, he's done.  Lately he'll do just that.  Then a little later, I'll catch him pulled up in front of his high chair fishing for some leftover crumbs in his seat.  Gross.  I guess you change your mind when you really get hungry. Hopefully it's just a phase.  I think the other boys go through phases like that every now then, then all of a sudden they'll request a second helping of broccoli.

Otherwise, everything is well with Aaron.  He brings so much laughter and love into our house, and we're so blessed to have this healthy baby boy.

Post bath curls.  Love, love, love that fine baby hair.  It will be hard to say goodbye to these curls one day.

Love my little man!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Tooth Saga

Two weeks ago, on Saturday night, I brushed Eli's teeth before bed.  I'm a pretty detailed brusher, and I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.  On Sunday morning we were rushed, as usual, and I put toothpaste on the toothbrush and let Eli do his own thing.  Eli went to the nursery at church.  Picking him up was uneventful.  We got home, ate lunch, and then the protesting of the afternoon nap began.  In mid-whine I happened to look in his mouth, and I was shocked to see a broken tooth, and I was even more shocked when I could see blood in it.

This looks like one of many terrible stock photos I looked at on all kinds of dental websites trying to figure out what to do for Eli.

I have no idea how or when this happened.  Of course it was the weekend, and he didn't seem to be in pain, so I waited until Monday to start making calls.  Unfortunately, Monday was Columbus Day, and apparently many dentists, or at least the ones that will accept our cheap-o military insurance, were closed.  So Tuesday rolled around, and I got Eli into a pediatric dentist near our house.

It's a really long story, but the only option this dentist wanted was basically a root canal and crown placement under general anesthesia with a breathing tube all placed by a nurse anesthestist in his office.  Then there would be clear liquid diet for 24 hours, and then soft foods for two days, and all kinds of pain killers.  Oh, and I was going to have to go back to work in order to finance the whole deal.  Not really, but almost.

I ended up getting a second opinion with another dentist who said she would also do general anesthesia for the procedure, but she would only do it in a hospital with an anesthesiologist.  Then she talked about extraction.  She said in the long term, it will make very little difference whether or not Eli keeps this tooth.  Extraction is traumatic, but she said she could probably make him loopy and the whole thing would take ten minutes.  He should be back to himself by lunch time.

After a lot of back and forth, we've decided to have it pulled.  As much as I would love for him to have all his teeth, I have had to put my children under general anesthesia waaaaay more than I ever wanted, and it's not something I take lightly.  Not to mention, there's the whole almost needing a second income to finance the whole thing and all the recovery drama.  I'm hoping to get it taken care of this week, so wish us luck.  It will not be fun, but hopefully it will be quick, and then we can just forget the whole thing ever happened.

Once I put my two year old through a tooth extraction I think it's going to be time to face the music and finally get the old wisdom teeth removed.  Then again, maybe I can put it off a little while longer.

My Firefighters

Alternately titled: Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

These boys are into firefighting lately.  They can often be found running around with the attachment hoses to my vacuum cleaner putting out fires all around the house.  I love all their games, and I especially love that every now and then they can play nicely together.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Catching Up!

It's been a while, again, but we're still here.  We're in the groove of school and t-ball these days, and those things keep us pretty busy.

The last time I updated, we were waiting to hear a date for Clayton's surgery.  And now, we're still waiting.  Last week I started to feel a little impatient and made some calls.  Apparently Clayton's cath results were never mailed to Stanford, and that's why we haven't heard from them.  Honestly, it just wasn't that surprising.  Infuriating, yes.  Surprising, no.  Over the years I've learned that when you have a child with issues, everything is pretty much all your responsibility.  If you don't double and triple check everything, nothing gets done or done correctly.  EVER.  So that's that.  And you can bet Stanford's phone will be ringing this Friday to confirm that OU actually mailed the package this time.  So that's that.

Eli is growing, growing.  At Clayton's doctor's appointment, Eli was two pounds heavier than Clayton.  He's still about two inches shorter, but that gap is narrowing quickly.  The kids all seem to go through phases where one requires more attention that the others, and we've definitely got our hands full with Eli these days.  He's everything you've ever heard about two year olds.  We're working on it.

Aaron is also growing, growing.  At 14 months he's wearing mostly 18 month shirts and 12 month pants.  He is really turning into quite the butterball.  He's my heaviest, chunkiest little guy, and I love it.  He's so squishy.  He's a pretty happy kid, but has lately become a little bit of a picky eater.  I'm trying to hold my ground on that.  We'll see.  The past week or two we've seen Aaron stand alone for a few seconds, but I don't think we'll see walking anytime soon.

Also, have you met the newest member of our family?

This is James.  Clayton named him.  James has been living on our patio all summer, and he's still there.  He was hanging out under the grill as I was cooking tonight. 

I think he was smiling at me.  It's sad that I have more recent pictures of a toad than I do of my children.  I think I need to work on that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of Pre-K

I hadn't gotten around to posting this until today.  Pre-K is going so well for Clayton.  He goes half day, everyday to our public school, and is really loving it.  Clayton especially loves Wednesdays which are library days.  He gets to check out a book there.  On Fridays they get to spend their pre-k coins that they've earned at the treasure store, which is also very exciting.  Each week they have to memorize a nursery rhyme.  If they can recite it on Friday, they get a rhyme club card, and this too has been fun.  We work, work, work on those nursery rhymes each week.  I've been so surprised how much Eli has picked up as well.

I think this is going to be a really great year.  Clayton's teacher has tons of experience in early childhood education, and I'm thinking they will be a great match.


Just add it to the long list of specialists we visit regularly with Clayton.  Thank goodness for good insurance (when they actually pay, but that's a whole other can of worms).  Anyway, did you know that when you have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, you're at a high risk for developing inflamation of the optic nerve?  Well neither did I, until recently.  So off to the ophthalmologist we went today.  Clayton's eyes got a clean bill of health, but he will have to come back every six months until he's an adult or forever if his arthritis continues.  Fun, fun. 

In other health news, we still haven't heard anything from Stanford on Clayton's Fontan.  I'm hoping they forgot about us, so we can just ignore the situation.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heart Cath

It's been a couple weeks since I've update on Clayton.  The cath lab called and got us in a lot earlier than I was expecting.  It was probably better that way because I didn't have weeks to agonize over Clayton's heart cath.  So anyway, Clayton had his heart cath last Thursday, August 18th, which was also the first day of school.  Oh well.  Everything went really well.  We checked in at 6am.  They started around 8am, and he was out around 10:30, much sooner than I expected.  He was intubated for the procedure.  Although we haven't heard anything official, the cath lab doctor said the pressures in the lungs were fine, which is one of the main measurements they look for before a Fontan.  They were also looking for collateral veins that often develop in his situation, and they only found one worth coiling off, which is probably why they were done so quickly. 

Clayton was pretty cranky coming out of anesthesia and had a little nausea, but once we moved out of the initial recovery room and into a little more private quarters, he did much better.  A huge thank you to the inventor of the portable DVD player.  Clayton had to lay flat for three hours.  Try telling that to any 5 year old boy in a hospital.  The DVD player was a trememdous help with that.  Clayton was discharged at 1:30pm, and we rested most of the rest of the day.  They entered through veins in his neck and groin.  The neck entry went well, but wow, there was (and still is) some severe bruising at the groin site.  I'm thinking this was partially due to him having to be held down by two nurses and a doctor before I could get back to the recovery unit after the procedure.  It will still be weeks before that goes away.

The next morning Clayton felt up for school, so we let him go.  We live about two minutes from the school, and the teacher said she'd call me if she had any concerns.  Everything went great with that, and he even went to his first t-ball practice that night.

The information collected in the cath has been sent to Stanford, and they will get back to us with their recommendations for Clayton's surgery.  I have no idea when it will be, but we're hoping to put it off at least a couple months, as Ryan is in a really busy season with work.  We'll see.

Thank goodness that step is over.  Seeing Clayton thrashing around after the cath and begging for something to drink after being intubated sure does make me dread surgery.  I know it will not be fun. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cardiology Clinic

Clayton had his cardiology check up on Wednesday.  Weight gain since January... wait for it... none.  Yep.  I promise I feed him (see attached picture).  So I had to ask the question, "Is it even possible for Clayton to achieve 15kg?"  And the answer I got was, "Maybe not."  That said, after some discussion between OU and Stanford, Clayton will have a heart cath this fall here at OU Children's (I'm trying to be okay with that).  Those numbers will be sent to Stanford, and they'll decide if they want to go ahead and proceed with Clayton's Fontan.  Clayton is going to pre-k this year, and it would be nice to have this done before kindergarten, so we'll see what they say.  The whole thing makes my heart pound a little too much.  I'm in no rush to do this surgery, but I do really want it behind us.  I can't believe it's been almost five years since we've been to Stanford.  I can still hear the beeping (and smell the parent lounge... gag).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

One year ago today I woke up really early in the morning and thought, "Oh no.  This better not be what I think it might be."  And it was.  I was in labor, and my husband was out of town.  Oh well.  This baby couldn't wait. 

Aaron Wesley Zeitler
8lbs, 3oz
19 inches

Happy First Birthday to my sweet son, Aaron Wesley Zeitler.  I can't imagine life without this guy.  In the last month or so, his little personality has really been shining through.  He loves to watch his brothers play and is becoming more and more interactive with them.  It's no secret that Aaron's a mama's boy, but he's also really been warming up to his daddy lately.  He loves to eat, eat, eat.  Anything he doesn't like, he just drops over the side of his highchair.  Mommy loves that.

Aaron is over 20 pounds now, probably about 20.5lbs.  He has the eight teeth he had at six months, but just yesterday, one of his 12 month molars poked through.  The other three are swollen, and I can feel one really close to the surface, but we'll call it 9 teeth on his first birthday. 

We were lucky to have Ryan's sister and kids here last week, so we had Aaron's birthday party while they were here.  It was so much fun to share Aaron's birthday with his cousins.  They were so sweet to him, and all the kids were so excited to have a party.  Eli questioned me several times throughout the day, making sure we would be having cake after dinner.

We had walking tacos for dinner, a fun little treat I learned from my VBS ladies at St. Andrew's.  Then we had a little cake.  Aaron dug in like he was an old pro, and he ate every bite of his slice.  He also ate a bit of ice cream, something the other two wouldn't eat until they were older.

This morning I made blueberry muffins, and the boys and I serenaded Aaron with his birthday muffin.  We went to Chick-fil-A for lunch and then went to the library.  Aaron opened a couple presents from family tonight after dinner, and that was that. 

I can't believe my baby is one year old today.  The big boys are growing so quickly, and I was hoping Aaron would stay my baby forever.  I don't think it's going to happen.

 Birthday muffin

 Deer in the headlights

 Lunch at Chick-fil-A

 Silly brothers

Gifts from Papa and Gigi

Birthday Party Pictures:

Party prep

 Table set and ready for the cousins

 Eli put on his hat and couldn't understand why we all thought he looked so funny.

 Yummy cake and Bluebell, of course

Bring on the cake

 The birthday boy

Singing Happy Birthday

 My niece and nephew

 Trying it out

 It'll do.

 Getting going

Finishing it up and obviously loving being one year old

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag sweet Aaron!  You are loved!