Friday, January 7, 2011

Baby Genius - Carson at 28 months

It's been a while since I have written a progress report about Carson, so I thought I would give you guys an update:
- He can count to 50. Yes, 5-0. Not too shabby for two years old.
- He can count BACKWARDS from 20 to zero unassisted. We think he may be a numeric savant ;)
- He knows all of his letter and shapes (even the "gons" - pentagon, hexagon, decagon).
- He knows every single musical instrument and can identify which family they are in(i.e. timpani is in the percussion section). I am not making this up. I didn't know what a timpani was. Thank you, Baby Einstein! He knows tuba, flute, cello, xylophone, harp, viola, bass, bassoon, etc. It blows us away!
- He finally started pointing two months ago. I know this may seem strange - but the mind of a child with autism is complicated. He can count backwards but isn't pointing at 24 months?! Interesting! But now he is pointing and can recognize each family member by name.
- He knows all of his colors.
- He has all of his teeth including all of his molars (yippee!).
- He is still on a crazy limited diet - no progress on the GI front at all :(
- He knows most of his body parts (his favorites are his "bee-butt" aka belly button and his beloved "tee-tee").
- He loves to point to each food on his tray and "teach us" what he is eating.
- He knows all of the upper case alphabet and quite a few lower case letters too.
- He remembers EVERYTHING you tell him. You show him something once, and he knows it for life. This makes teaching him so fun and it is incredibly rewarding.
- He loves to dance and bounces up and down and grins for your acceptance when he jams.
- He is ALL boy! His favorite activities are throwing iPhones in the toilet, dumping bags of chips everywhere and pouring entire boxes of cereal in our clean sheets. Super fun.

Most importantly he is stealing our hearts more and more everyday. We may have intense struggles in the medical department, but I wouldn't want any other kiddo on the planet. He rocks my world and he is worth the fight. Carson, you make my life better!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Priceless Treasure

My mother-in-law has many creative talents. There isn't anything she CAN'T do - she can make, paint, sew or bling pretty much anything. She knitted blankets for both of my children (and both sleep with them every night still).
Deb, aka "DeDe" made quilts for all of Andrea's boys, so I've been hounding her to make one for Alex. She has always promised to do it and I knew she would, but understandably, I've been anxious to see the finished product.
The day finally arrived and she exceeded all expectations. The quilt is perfection. There is so much love, color and girl exploding from this quilt. You can look at it and tell that it was made with TLC for the one and only girl in this family. I love it soooo much there aren't words!
Thank you so much for taking the time, making the incredible effort, and the huge financial investment to create a treasure our family will always cherish. It looks absolutely perfect in her room! I've been dreaming of this quilt for years, and man was it worth the wait! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know Alex will love it and treasure it as much as I do.
Sooo...are you ready for quilt #5?
Love you,

Before I show the photos, I'd like to explain a few of the special qualities about it:
1. She used a diamond pattern throughout the quilt. This is very special to our family of four because: my wedding ring and necklace Nathan gave me during Alex's birth are both "diamond" shaped stones. The diamond has 4 points - each point represents one of our four family members.
2. She used black in the trim and in the stitching. I love this! Alex's bedroom furniture is black and using black in the quilt gives it a more mature look. It is still all girl but I love that it has the black - it's one of my favorite things about it.
3. She used butterflies. Butterflies have been Alex's theme even while in the womb. Her nursery had a butterfly theme - and she still has butterflies floating above her bed. To me, butterflies signify beauty, grace, growth and change. I know that my little girl isn't always going to be at home in "my nest" but I know while she is with us, we will do everything we can to give her the wings to fly on her own. I know - sooo cheesy, but that is what it means to me. I am the mother of a daughter, so I reserve the right to be cheesy on occasion...and this occasion is worthy of a little cheese. She is our beautiful butterfly.
4. The use of color - I love bright color! The colors tie in beautifully with the table and chairs and trunk that DeDe already painted for Alex.
Everyone needs a DeDe that is this incredible, but I thank God everyday she is ours!

Drumroll, it is!

The entire quilt on Alex's bed

A close up of the diamonds and butterflies

The corners are adorable - hot pink, polka dotted flowers

The final result = a happy princess!

Awesome pattern on the back of the quilt

And finally, a signature - "With love from DeDe" 2010

Monday, January 3, 2011


This isn't real. This isn't happening. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! We hadn't even been home from the hospital for 24 hours and Carson busted his chin open in the bath tub!!!!

I felt so bad for our precious babysitter, Gabby. I left for literally an hour to get groceries. Of course we were out of everything after being gone for a week, then going straight to the hospital. I had our sitter come over to watch the kids so I could get food and while I was out I got a phone call saying, "Mel, it's Carson. He busted his chin open in the tub. I mean, it's really bad. You need to get home now." NOOO :( I can tell you that at this point, I just started bawling. I knew in my heart I was coming home to a child that needed stitches. NOOO! No!

Sure enough, I came in and saw this:

It was a very bad gash. I ached in a way I can't describe for my son. He had been to the ER twice and stayed in the hospital just in the past week...and now THIS?! You have got to be kidding me. I was beyond a mess.

Fortunately, God is good and gave me the clarity to remember that there was a pediatric ER in Flower Mound. It was at night and after office hours, so I was calling urgent care facilities. After I heard from Care Now, "We have a 2 hour wait and we will have to hold him down to give him stitches," I was begging for a miracle. When I called Acute Care for Kids, I was trying to keep it together on the phone and the sweet nurse was so wonderful. She told me they could take care of him immediately and if we came now, we wouldn't have to wait. SOLD!

Acute Care for Kids was a gift! The doctors and nurses were incredible! They gave me a huge hug when I arrived (of course they knew we were coming off of a hospital stay as well) and instead of stitches they were able to administer Derma-Bond. WOW! There was never a thought of anything in my mind other than stitches and misery. Although it was still awful and he was a total wreck, the Derma-Bond took 2 minutes and that was that! I still can't believe he was able to walk away without stitches. Whew.

A big shout out to Kristi DeWall for meeting us at the clinic and taking Alex while we were there. We clearly need a village. Lord help us!
If you do the math that is one ER stop in Arkansas, one ER in Plano - then admitted for 38 hours in the hospital, home for 24 hours, and back to the pediatric ER...all in one week. Too much for any family, I think! They say things happen in groups of three. If that's the case, we should be done with medical facilities for the year. Good grief!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rough Start to A New Year

I proclaimed 2011 is going to be a great year, and I still believe it will be, but man are we off to a rough start.
As soon as we got back from the cabin, I knew we needed to get Carson to the pediatrician ASAP. He had been vomiting for 5 days, had absolutely no appetite and was sleeping for hours on end. None of us have ever seen Carson act so lethargic and I have to admit, we were all very concerned for our little guy.
I got up and took Carson to the doc the very next morning. Our doc agreed that he was incredibly weak and get this....he lost 5 pounds?! Wow! Considering he's only 27lbs, that is way too much weight to lose and given the limited diet, we have a difficult time as is keeping his weight up. We felt okay because he ate a huge breakfast and seemed to perk up a bit, but the doc said if he made any digression at all, to take him to ER immediately. I remember this kept echoing in my head, "Carson is tougher than the average child. He doesn't tell us when he is in pain. To see him this lethargic makes me believe he is much sicker than we may even realize." And I am sad to report, this was absolutely correct.

I took him home from the doc and he started to tank again. He was refusing all food and kept throwing himself down on the ground and was just laying there. It was so pitiful. I went to the restroom and when I came back and found him like this, I knew it was time to go to the ER:

How sad and scary is that? He is wide awake just laying there staring at the ground. He didn't even have his paci. Umm, it was a no-brainer at this point that he needed help and quickly!

Once we arrived at the Emergency Room and met with the doctors, I assumed we would get Carson an IV, hydrate him and head out. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They did give Carson an IV to help rehydrate him but his electrolyte levels came back very abnormal. They said he was experiencing hyponatremia and hyperkalemia. He had a very high level of potassium in the body and a very low level of sodium in the body. They admitted him to the hospital for the night so they could evaluate and test his levels to make sure he was starting to regain balance. They were concerned with his heart rate, liver function and wanted to keep an eye on breathing. Lovely. Scared mommy, scared daddy, sacred every body. We were a bit surprised he was so sick - but again, the pediatrician nailed it - he doesn't indicate when he is distressed.

Here is a pic of Daddy and Carson in the ER before he was admitted:
When we arrived to our room, I immediately realized we were in the exact same room during Alex's tonsillectomy nightmare. You can imagine the deja-vu. Crazy! As usual, Carson was a trooper, but of course he was scared and disoriented. He hated the IV and wanted to walk and move around and he was unable to do anything. Mommy and Carson had a very rough night - nurses and doctors came in every five minutes (it felt like it anyways) to check vitals, turn off the machines, etc. Here is what I saw that night:

There was my precious baby - in a hospital crib. There isn't anything more heartbreaking as a parent to see your baby connected to all kinds of tubes and stuck in a metal crib. Boo! Mommy was a little fragile. Daddy was amazing and tried to keep us together and strong. He is always our rock. The next morning was Mommy's (me) personal low. I was still sick and trying to recover and was alone and exhausted from a terrible night. The doc came in at 6:45 and told me his levels were still pretty bad and until his tests looked good AND he was eating, we weren't going anywhere.

Daddy showed up as soon as he dropped Alex off at school, and that was heaven for me. I needed a breather. I actually slept for an hour with doctors coming in and out. Nathan said it didn't seem to phase me. HA!

We started to see some progress -he started drinking on his own around noon. Thank goodness! How sweet is this little man?

Finally around 7:00pm, his levels bounced back to almost normal and he was drinking and eating a little bit. The doctors felt ready to release him. Praise the Lord! Here is a picture of us soooo happy to finally get to go home:

Thank you to our village for your thoughts and prayers during a very scary time. A special thank you to Monica for coming to pray with me at the hospital and a big thank you to my mom, YaYa for helping so much with keeping Alex calm and okay during the entire experience. I know she was a worried big sister. more drama, please! Oh and when we walked into the house, Carson said, "We home!" Melted our hearts.