Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas. Here is Miles on Christmas Eve with his note to Santa (to go with the milk, cookies, and carrot). It says, "DEAR SANTA, THE REINDEER GET CARROTS. YOU GET COOPIES (SIC). LOVE, MILES." Jack left more of an abstract drawing, rather than a note. I hear Santa and the reindeer loved their treats.

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The boys got to open one gift on Christmas Eve. Miles chose the box from Aunt Janice and Uncle Andy, which was a remote control car that tumbles and rolls. It's still one of the big hits of Christmas. Here they are with the remote enjoying it to the max.

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A Christmas tradition in Julie's house growing up was taking a picture on the stairs just after waking up. We're continuing the tradition. They boys were so zonked on Christmas morning, we had to wake them up. We have to do that with Miles sometimes, but NEVER with Jack.

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Opening presents:

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Another big hit: Jack's foam car track. You can see a little hint of the Christmas chaos that was our living room.

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Why would you play with the Lincoln Logs, when you can play with the container them came in?

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Their new table and chairs for snack time, tea parties, and playdoh:

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Merry Christmas to all! Special prayers to our family that are ill or have lost a loved one.

Love,
Brian, Julie, Miles, and Jack

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sledding, sad tree and lessons learned

We took the boys sledding at the park. The hill was not very steep so it was very slow going. Thanks to our neighbor Lynn for lending us a sled. Here we are after sledding, getting some hot chocolate.
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Here is a picture of our VERY sad Christmas tree. Yes, I cut off about an inch from the bottom before we put it up. Yes, I have kept it watered. It's hanging down to the floor now. There are decorations on the tree that are touching the floor.
Lesson learned: never buy a Christmas tree from a grocery store.
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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Miles, Miles, Miles

Miles picked out a nice baseball lunch box at the beginning of school. He still loves it. Jennifer is his teacher and Morrison is a schoolmate. That said, a few days ago Miles told me, "If I was the teacher with my big baseball lunch box and Jennifer was blowing on Morrison's hair, I would have to tell her to stop. Morrison is my friend at school. She's not too rough, she's just a little rough."
And here is the outfit Miles came downstairs with today...
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Yup, that's a nice green and blue polo with his little brother's Christmassy sweater vest, gray sweats and Spiderman socks. Come on ladies, you know you want to be seen with this snappy dresser!

For Emily

I lived in Toledo for 32 years and I remember one blizzard, '76 I think. We have lived in Colorado for seven years and we've already had two blizzards, '03 and '06. I LOVE Colorado.
Here are the boys in the snow.
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Here we are with the mountain of snow I had to shovel off the driveway. And I only did half of the driveway.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blizzard 2006

I think we will have snow for Christmas. It's supposed to snow a little more between now and then. Here is Olive looking over the snow to see what I'm doing.
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Path to the street.
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Our beautiful backyard view.
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Dog Run.
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Haircut #3

Jack had his third haircut today. Here is a picture of Mom reading to the boys with their new haircuts.
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In the car, Miles today told us about the green Santa that brings toys to boys and girls who are good AND bad. I don't know any green Santa. I guess he's trying to cover all his bases?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours

A few pictures to make the season bright:

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"Wait, Santa! I forgot something!"

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Decorating the tree:

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Playing with decorations:

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Watching a particularly intense holiday tv show:

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A whacky snow contraption:

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Holiday crafts at the Christmas party:

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Knees!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Comcast

Today Miles saw the Comcast commercial and ran around the house saying, "It's $33! That's cheap!"

The last several school days, Miles has told me that he had a super duper day or super duper, super duper, super duper day because he did so many new works. Thursday he told me he did 9000 new works and everyday it goes up a thousand. Today, Tuesday, for example, he did 12000 new works. Man is he busy.

Our Spelling Champion

Yesterday Miles spelled "jet" and "cat" unaided with the frig magnets. That's my boy!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday quotes of the evening from Miles & Jack

From Miles: "Bread is made from bread...Cows pee milk."

Jack led our dinner with this beautiful prayer... "Ummm fooooood, ummm muffin, ummm peas, AMEN!"

Tuesday quote of the morning from Miles

"It is not respectful to come in and tell me not to play with the toilet."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now that we've gained the requisite 5 pounds, I'll update you on our recent activities. We've eaten a LOT. We had 2 Thanksgivings, and I must say that I'm actually really tired of turkey.

Last week, Grandpa Jack and Grandma Sharon came to visit and a good time was had by all. We didn't do a whole lot: went to parks, relaxed, played. Saturday we had an early Thanksgiving dinner and that evening had the rest of the Colorado family over for a party.

Here's Jack hanging out with Grandpa:

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Miles playing baseball with Grandma:

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At the park:

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Standing in front of Vito Acconci's "Dirt Wall:"

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Played too hard:

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For Thanksgiving we went to Brian's aunt's house and ate another yummy, big meal. The rest of this weekend we have 2 projects: set up a playroom for the boys (we moved them into the same bedroom and will now use Jack's oldroom as a playroom/guest room), and start putting up Christmas decorations. Yay, the holidays are here!

Here are some recent pics that I just like and want to share:

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Our little goofballs:

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And you gotta love snack time in Colorado:

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So general updates on the boys: Miles is THIS close to reading. It's so cool to watch the process evolve. Jack is getting so big and has become quite the mommy's boy, which I admit makes me very happy. I used to be a little jealous of our daddy's boy, and I haven't gotten tired of the clinginess yet. Just before I started writing this, I heard him whining and looked over and found this. No idea why he was whining:

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They still fight like crazy, but also play together very nicely at times. Right now, they're playing "Doggie, doggie, where's your bone?" The stuff Miles picks up at school is so cute. And he's becoming quite the artist too. Here's a picture he drew of him and Jack trick or treating:

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Hope your Thanksgivings were as good as ours!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Before the Blog

People on the microtia board have been sharing their stories and I finally got around to posting ours. Thought I would also add it here for posterity's sake.

I had a perfect early pregnancy (when the ear is formed). I did everything I was supposed to and there were no complications. I had pregnancy induced hypertension and was on bedrest for the last month, but that obviously did not cause the microtia. Ultrasounds were good. I had the same technician for my second son, and she seemed embarassed that she hadn't noticed the ear, but also noted that they don't usually look at ears, unless asked to.

The doctor decided to induce me at 38 weeks, since my bp was so elevated. They started the induction late at night and I slept some and woke up at about 4:30 am with contractions. Unfortunately, I also woke up with one of the worst colds of my life and had a 102 degree fever the entire time I was in labor.

Much later in the day, I pushed for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, when the doctor decided that he just wasn't going to come out and we needed to do a c-section. I had to wait an hour for the operating room--not fun when you're in full labor--even with an epidural! When they took Miles out, they cleaned him up quickly and then a nurse sort of thrust him in my face and said, "It's a boy. There's something wrong with his ear." It was so amazingly insensitive and I wish I had later written to the hospital to let them know how they could handle such situations in a more compassionate way. They whisked him away and I didn't see him again for several hours, when they let me in to touch his foot. They had him under an oxygen tank. I didn't hold him until 4 or 5 hours after he was born.

The really frustrating thing is that when I had my second son, the OB's nurse said, "Oh, I see your first son had a perfect Apgar score." Now why would he need oxygen for 4-5 hours if his apgar was perfect? I think they just freaked out over his ear and didn't know what to do. I'm still angry about it.

The next day, our pediatrician told us that Miles had microtia, which I, of course, had never heard of. He also told us that he thought the ear could be "fixed" with one surgery in about a year. I am also angry that he "guessed" and gave us this kind of misinformation. I was very upset when we eventually visited an ENT and she told us that if we chose to do something, it would have to wait until he was 5 or 6 and it would take 3-4 surgeries (she never mentioned medpor).

The hospital did a newborn hearing test and of course he failed it for his microtic ear. The hospital audiologist seemed schocked that we weren't surprised, LOL. I will say that our state has a great follow up program for newborns that fail their hearing test. They directed us to resources and checked in with us to make sure we weren't ignoring it.

I had very bad post partum depression and I think some of it was due to lack of sleep, recovery from illness and a c-section, lots of problems with breastfeeding, and concern over his microtia.

I pretty much put the microtia out of my conscious mind until we saw an ENT when Miles was about 6-8 weeks. There we received more information and I remember breaking down and crying when we left, because I finally needed to mentally deal with it. I then did tons of internet research, reading everything I could find, including every message on this board, which was the absolute best resource out there. When we did a follow up with the ENT, I had many questions for her. She then proceeded to write a letter to my pediatrician, implying that I was a hysterical mother due to doing research. Argh... She did order cervical spine xrays to check for Goldenhar and an ultrasound of his kidneys.

We really didn't know where to go from there, but I later met a woman at work whose son had Goldenhar, but not microtia. She recommended a local plastic surgeon, who we met with and referred us to a "craniofacial clinic," where we met with many doctors and specialists. It was a complete waste of time and a big disappointment. We were given information we knew was incorrect, like canalplasty should be done before rib graft. The aforementioned plastic surgeon who had previously told us Miles would not need jaw surgery, told us, when he was with his group of plastic surgeons, that he would definitely need it. We then went to a room of orthodontists who told us he would not need it. They really didn't seem like they had a clue what they were doing.

Meanwhile, we started Early Intervention when Miles was about a year old. He automatically qualified due to his hearing los. Our county's services were wonderful. They provided weekly speech therapy (which we eventually reduced to biweekly and then monthly) and paid for Gymboree classes. We loved our speech therapist and got so much from it. EI ended when Miles turned 3 and by that time, he was actually quite advanced for his age verbally. I think some was due to him and the fact that he's so dang smart, but I also have to give credit to EI.

We contacted a number of doctors who were recommended by people on the microtia board for reconstruction and had pretty much decided we would go the rib graft route with Dr. Brent. I then met Cathy, who was also on that group and is from our area. At the initial meeting, she was also planning on going with Dr. Brent. A few months later she informed me that they had changed plans and were going with Dr. Reinisch. I didn't know much about medpor, so she met me for lunch and told me about her conversations with him and shared a powerpoint presentation CD that he had sent her.

I was very intrigued by the pictures I saw and contacted Dr. R., who immediately set up a time to talk by phone. We weren't sure we would go with him, until we saw Cathy's son's ear after the first surgery. We were very impressed with it and our conversations with Dr. R. and made our final decision when we found out (via a CT scan) that he was not a candidate for atresia repair.

I still really wasn't sure and questioned our decision right up until the day before surgery, when we finally met Dr. R. in person. I always had it in my head that we could pull out at any time and I was this close. I remember calling Cathy in a panic a week before the surgery, really doubting myself, and she assured me it was normal, LOL. While we waited for our surgery appointment date, we did tons more research on the other options: rib graft, prosthetics, and just waiting to leave the decision up to him.

When we met Dr. R. I felt so reassured. The surgeries were very stressful, but we are very happy with the results. The rest of the story is here on our blog.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Arizona Vacation

Last week we went to Phoenix to see Grandma Kay and Grandpa Chuck. It was a nice, relaxing vacation; only slightly marred by colds. Here are some pics.

Carving a pumpkin:

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At the train park:

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Before trick or treating:

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Hiking at the arboretum:

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Enjoying home made caramel apples:

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Brian and I visited Taliesin West for his birthday (sans kiddos):

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We talked Brian into letting my mom have at him with the clippers:

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Our "Seasoned Traveler" on the airport train on the way home:

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