Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another week or so in review...

It's been another busy few days in the Chapman household.

We returned from Duke and enjoyed our last few days of summer vacation. We had a few family movie nights. Grayson, Jackson, Addison and I had a play date at one of Grayson's classmates house.

We got Grayson registered for swim team. He had his meet the teacher night and Adam kept Addison and Jackson so I could take him.

The first day of third grade was upon us before we knew it, officially bringing an end to a very eventful and memorable summer. I, for one, was excited for a new beginning, a fresh start, a routine!

From the looks of it, Grayson was a little bit excited, too. Though he would probably deny that. He was laughing at me in this picture, saying I was Sarah, his step-mom, because I was taking so many pictures!

Adam arranged to go into work late that day so I could walk Grayson in to his classroom, without having to take Jack and Addie with me. Trying to keep Addie out of huge public places as often as possible, especially where there's a lot of kids.

Grayson, so far *knock on wood* is loving third grade. He loves his teacher and I love her level of communication and organization. Praying that it continues!

Jackson had his speech eval and starts speech again next week. They were very pleased with his increase in utterances (i.e. he talks all the time now and never hushes) but he still has several areas of articulation to work on. He's excited to go back to school like bubba.

Jack went with me to pick up Grayson in parent loop on the first day of school. He was in the backseat with Addie and she got fussy. I asked him if he would help feed her a bottle, since I couldn't get out from behind the wheel while we were in parent loop. Jackson informed me that Addie didn't want a bottle, but she wanted a boob. *sigh* Anything to get out of having to hold a bottle for his sister. After I explained that I couldn't get out of the car, he tried again to get out of it by saying...but Mom we don't have a microwave. *sigh again* I explained it was hot enough outside we didn't need to warm the bottle! That little stinker.

I was trying to capture a picture of her lifting her head up
and this is the expression I caught! Love it!
It's like she's saying "Do we really have
to do this again?!"

Addison has had several therapy sessions and we're working on head control as much as we can. She's getting better and better every day. Her smiles are unpredictable but a beautiful sight to behold when she decides to flash those toothless gums.

Adam and I started Weight Watchers again this week. First goal - 30 lbs gone!! I'm excited. Hoping the motivation stays around. Lord knows I need all the energy I can get keeping up with this crew.

Next week is going to be yet another jam packed week. She has therapy and her 2 mth well baby (that we had to re-schedule because of her shunt revision surgery). Jackson starts speech on Tuesday. Grayson will have homework this week... so the bubble may pop.

Thankfully, Adam has off tomorrow and Monday. Our fantasy football draft is tomorrow. I'm so excited for the start of football season and for fall. My favorite time of year, and I always look forward to it. But this year is especially exciting. I can't wait for it to cool off! We've had 70 days 0f 100+ temperatures. And no RAIN. I miss the rain.

As I'm writing this, I'm watching news coverage on Hurricane Irene. I don't miss that kind of rain. But a few inches would be nice.

So excited for what the next few months have to bring. Learning to live one day at a time and be thankful for each day that Addison's shunt is working. Each day that Grayson has a good day at school. Each day that we get to spend time as a family. Each day that we have air conditioning. :) It's the little things, along with the big things, that make me so very thankful. So blessed.

Stem Cell Trip

Adam, Addie and I traveled to Raleigh Durham on August 13th. We were originally supposed to go in July but because of Addie's shunt revision surgery it got postponed. Thankfully, because it got pushed to August, Adam was able to take a weeks vacation instead of us trying to fit it all in 3 days. This turned out to be a very, very good thing. We were able to take it slow and enjoy our mini vakay instead of stressing out and rushing.

I'm happy to report that Addie is a fantastic flier.

Some kiddos with hydro I've read have issues with the changes in cabin pressure. Addison seemed to be unaffected. She does, however, have butt bomb radar when it comes to getting on an airplane. BOTH times before we boarded the plane she had a blow out. On the way to Raleigh, I noticed it like 5 minutes before we boarded and had to take her and RUN to the bathroom, change her and her outfit and run back. We flew Southwest and had to get three seats together, so boarding on time was crucial. I made it back, barely.

We had a layover in Nashville both there and back and we enjoyed the break in time on the flights. The flights are pretty easy though. An hour and half and then less than an hour. So a nice way to break it up. When we fly back for her next infusion, I'm going to do my best to have our layovers in Nashville again for that reason. One of the connection options is Phoenix. Um Hello???

We stayed at a hotel near the airport and really enjoyed our time in Raleigh. The temperature was 20 degrees cooler than in Texas and everything was so green and lush. Trees everywhere. We took advantage of our extra time and explored the area. Ate at a Longhorn Steakhouse for lunch, somewhere we frequented often when Adam lived in Jacksonville and we were dating long distance.

Monday we ate at a local seafood restaurant Adam had found on Yelp! and then walked around the farmer's market. I bought some green peanuts and Adam got some apple butter to take back home. We decided to head on to Duke University to explore the campus, knowing we'd be too tired after our hospital visit Tuesday to truly enjoy it. The chapel on campus is stunning. I took a million pictures, both inside and out, but they do not do it justice.

Bored already.

We were there right at 5:00pm when the bell tower went off. It played for 15 minute and was a very cool experience. Addie, however, seemed to not like the noise at all.

We went back to the hotel, ordered some delivery and gave Addie a bath. She loves the water!

We were at Duke Children's Health Center all day Tuesday.

Walking into the McGovern-Davis Children's Health Center at Duke

Addie's favorite toy, Minnie!

Addie had to be quarantined because of her TB exposure in the NICU, but other than that everything went smoothly. They only had to stick her twice to get her IV started. Her stem cells went in around 1pm. She loved Trey, the music therapist who came to play guitar and sing to her while they were getting the IV started. Course as soon as they poked her, the music held no appeal.
Transfixed by Trey!

Thankfully, that was the worst part - the needle poke. She fell asleep shortly after the infusion began, exhausted from all the crying.

Stem cells are going in!!! Dr. Kurtzberg, Addie and I

Good to the last drop!

We were released around 5pm. On a funny side note, Jeff Foxworthy was outside of our hospital room doing interviews for a Children's Miracle Network commercial.

Jeff Foxworthy in the green shirt.

We left Duke, went by the gift shop to pick up some t-shirts for the kids, and then went back to our hotel to pack up and get ready to go home.

We had a safe flight home. Addie smiled several times for me on the way home. Praying those stem cells do their job and fix any areas that are damaged in her little brain.

Addie slept the whole way home.

She's supposed to have another infusion when she's six months old. We are waiting to see if insurance covers the infusion or not. If it does, we'll go back right at her six month birthday to get another infusion in this calendar year, when she's already met her deductible and max out of pocket. We're looking forward to seeing Raleigh Durham in the Fall. We'll probably take four days again and take it leisurely, though we are talking about taking Jack with us this time and leaving Grayson in school, with his Dad. We can fly Jack and lap baby Addie for the same number of ticket purchases. Excited to see where Addie will be developmentally in three more months!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy 1/4 Birthday Miss Addison Lea!!!!

Look who's three months already!! Time flies when you're blessed beyond measure!

Not very happy with the idea at first....

Much happier after a little lunch.

Mmmmm...good fist.

Looooong baby.

My favorite pose, sucking on her bottom lip! Love you, baby girl!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


For anyone that wants to meet Liza, here's her picture:

Here's the link to the manufacturer's website: Liza

A week in review...

These past 10 days or so have been very busy in the Chapman household. But that good kinda busy, thankfully.

After Addison was released from the hospital on July 22nd, we had a pretty sleepy baby on our hands. I took advantage of that fact, plus having my mom here for a few extra days and cleaned out closets and dresser drawers! The fun and exciting times of a stay at home mom! But man, does my closet look better!

Grayson and Jackson both had swim lessons last week. They both are fish! We are looking at getting Grayson into swim team in the Fall.  Jack was very pleased with himself for flipping over in the water.

Speaking of fish, Addie in a cute onesie that she's quickly outgrowing.

Two of my nephews, Dalton and Chase, came in to town for a few days, splitting their time between our house and Melissa's. Grayson and Jackson both love having Dalton & Chase here... especially the video game playing that often comes with them. My middle sister came in on Wednesday and stayed long enough to get Addie to fall asleep in her arms before she had to leave to do some school shopping. She swapped her youngest son Jared, who is Grayson's age, for D&C. Grayson and Jared had a fun overnight visit at his aunt's house.

Friday, one week out of hospital, we took an impromptu trip to my parent's house for the evening. Rumor had it my mother was frying chicken and that's a hard thing to resist. Adam was working late that night and then opening the next morning so us not being home was an ok thing. We *TRY* our best to be home whenever Adam is home, since he's home so little.

We drove back in Saturday, dropping Grayson off at the movies with his Dad, step mom and sister. He had an overnight playdate with them and returned on Sunday, in time to have some time with Adam on his one day off in 9 days!

Monday morning, my neice, Raychel, arrived (via Melissa) in time to accompany Addison and I to her MRI appointment. The fast acquistion MRI is such an awesome thing. No sedation, just swaddling and a paci and Addie was in and out in 5 minutes. I took advantage of being at a radiology center and got my chest x-ray done... that I had not been able to do while pregnant. Thankfully it was clear. My cough, that I started in January, is slowly getting better. Mainly because of a new medicine that I wasn't able to take while pregnant.

Tuesday, we hung out at home with my neice. Thank goodness for Netflix! Raychel and I took Addie to Target for the first time!

Raych and Addie in front of Target.

Wednesday, we had the follow up with Addie's neurosurgeon and got fabulous news. That morning as I was getting ready, my glasses snapped in two. I drove to the neurosurgeon's office with duct tape holding them together and left them in the car. I am thankfully not that blind but it was still disconcerting being without them. I kept joking with the nurse about not being able to hear. She pretty much thought I was crazy but it's true! Apparently I read lips more than I realized.

My neice informed Addie's neurosurgeon that we had named Addie's shunt. He asked what? And I informed him Liza. After his puzzled look, I started singing "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza!" He was amused. Guess you have to be part of our family to think it's really funny.

After her appointment, we headed home, picked up my sister and the boys and headed to lunch. Addie's first restaurant adventure. She was really good, all things considered. Took a bottle and I held her most of the time. Thankfully I had inadvertently ordered finger food and was able to eat while holding her. Most people don't notice her hydro, or else people are much better at hiding their reactions than I expected them to be. I'm guessing part of it is that she's just a big baby. She weighed nearly 15 lbs at the doctor's yesterday. That's 3 lbs gained since her pre-op assessment on July 19th!! I'm assuming part of her weight gain is fluid built back up in her head.

I got my new glasses, one month before our vision plan kicks in... That's life. And Addie had her first visit to Victoria's Secret. A quick stop at the shoe store for Grayson and Jackson new shoes for school and we were done. Thankfully. It was only 105 degrees outside. I'm very thankful that we don't have to have days like that often. While it was fun, I worried about having Addie out in public so much and in and out of the heat. She handled it like a trooper though!

Raychel providing visual clues to our activity of shopping.
Today we had ECI come and  after some discussion, I ordered some light toys for Addie off Amazon to help motivate her during tummy time. Operation: Head Control is commencing! She was doing great with her head control before her surgery and has regressed some with the increase in head size. But we can work on neck muscle strength. Can't work on damaged brain tissue as easily.

Before ECI arrived, Addie gave my neice the BIGGEST grin I've seen out of her yet. It was awesome. I'm gonna catch one on camera someday!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fabulous news!

We had Addie's follow up MRI on Monday and then saw her neurosurgeon today. He is very pleased with how her head looks and said the scans look good. He pointed out her soft spot and told me that the way she looked today was a great baseline to use for future comparison of under or over drainage. We're released to go to Duke for her stem cell infusion. We discussed taking her on vacation in February or March and her doctor is fine with it, as long as we get a referral from him for a neurosurgeon in the area we are vacationing in, to have in case of emergency.

The best news .... we don't have to go back for THREE months!!! And we don't have to have another MRI done before her next appointment. Three months is as long as any hydro baby under one year old can go between appointments so this is as normal as we can get! So very thankful!