Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wow, it's been 8 months!!!!!

I can't believe it has been 8 months since my last blog entry.  Sorry to everyone who has been following on our journey for my neglect.  Let's do a month by month run down to catch everyone up.

October 2013--Curtis Apple Orchard in Champaign was a huge hit with Konnor.  Let's not even talk about how many fresh apple donuts I may or may not have eaten.  They had miniature  horses, wagon rides, play areas, goat feeding and most importantly they had a ginormous pumpkin patch that Konnor LOVED!
Konnor also went to his first ever Illini Football game!  Yay!! As big football lovers this was really a pretty big deal for us!
We also got to go Trick or Treating for the first time ever (if you remember last year Konnor had his lip repair on Halloween) and you will never guess what our little man decided to dress as for this fun day...............a Train Conductor!!!  I know you are in complete shock : ) We only went to about 8 houses, because he caught on real quick to the big cheesy smile that got him 8 bags of mini M&M's at the first house.  That one stop was more candy than this little guy has had in his whole life so we kept trick or treating to a minimum.

November -  We had a nice Thanksgiving out with Grandma, Grandpa and Nana.  We had another follow up with our cleft team and the surgeon said his repair looks amazing!  We also had a repeat hearing test and it was confirmed that yes it is in fact selective hearing, b/c he can hear my words just fine : )
Konnor also saw his first ever movie in a movie theatre.  Any guesses as to which movie it was????  Frozen!  And yes, even little boys love this movie (although more for the funny reindeer and snowman than the princesses : )
The end of November brought about what was probably Konnor's favorite thing all year.  He and his best buddy William took a Polar Express Train ride based on the movie.  For these two little train lovers this was amazing!!

December is always fun for Mama!  Konnor wanted no part of helping Mom put the ornaments on the tree.  He did great with the tree though and never really messed with the ornaments or lights.  We got to see Santa at the Air Guards Christmas party.  Konnor didn't hate Santa, but he certainly didn't think he was all that either.

January 2014 brought Konnor's first real snow.  He LOVES snow.  We have a toddler sled that he loves and he would pretty much spend all day rolling around in it if he could get Mama to agree.

February brought...........MORE SNOW!!!  Although at this point it was entirely to cold to play outside so we would bring in buckets of snow and play at the table or in the bathtub.

March- We had Konnor screened for our local school districts early childhood program.  It took 2 months, but he was accepted in the program.  He is soooo excited to go to Big Boy School in the Fall and wants a "race car backpack : )"  Konnor also started taking a weekly gymnastics class in March and he absolutely loves it!  He asks to go "hang bar" every day.

April oh April you were so crazy busy!!!!  Beginning of April we had a small family Birthday party in Champaign for Konnor, April 12 was his actual birthday party at the place where he does gymnastics, April 18 my baby boy turned 3 (and yes I might have cried just a little : )  AND also on April 18 we went before the Judge to finalize Konnor's readoption in the State.  Readoption is not mandatory in our state, but we wanted him to have easy access to his birth certificate after all the stress we went through with Mark's birth certificate during Konnor's adoption.  There was also a small part of me that wanted a birth certificate that showed our names listed as his parents.  After court we drove to St. Louis and spent the day at the zoo.  Konnor got to pet a stingray for the first time and ride a train so he was in Heaven.
Easter was so much fun (although I had to promise him the Easter Bunny would not come in our house, but would leave things for him that Mama and Papa would hide--let's just say he is not a fan of the Easter Bunny.
Konnor also had a HUGE speech explosion in April.  He went from just saying a few syllables to just outright talking in 3-4 word sentences.  He also learned how to suck from a straw (it seems like a small thing but for cleft affected kiddos sucking from a straw is a big deal!).

-As of Konnor's 3 year physical he has gained 15 lbs and 7.5 inches in the last 2 years (although I suspicion we have a growth spurt headed our way soon based on him eating us out of house and home, suddenly chunky cheeks and thighs and lots of sleep).

May brought Konnor's 2 year Forever Family Day on May 14.  We also received his new birth certificate in the mail that day which I thought was pretty cool : )  We have been so blessed these last 2 years to get to know this little boy.  The fact that we have the privilege of calling him Son is something that amazes me on a daily basis.  He has brought such joy to our lives and I truly can't imagine our lives without him.

This will be the last post for this blog before I close it and turn it into a book for Konnor.  I will eventually start a family blog and put up a link here for anyone who would like to continue to follow our family's journey.  For now you can follow our journey to our second child here  Thank you for joining us on this crazy ride, and thank you for all the thoughts and prayers throughout the last 3 years.

Mark, Ashley and Konnor


He really LOVES gymnastics!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Post-op update (FINALLY!)

Yes, yes, yes I know it has only been like 2 months since surgery and I am just now getting around to doing a post-op update.  Sorry!

So Konnor had his palatal fistula repair on August 21.  Once they got him back to surgery they found that on top of the big fistula that was right in the center of his palate he also had a smaller fistula behind his front teeth.  Well no wonder the poor kiddo couldn't make certain sounds and still had food coming out of his nose.  Anywho, due to the 2 seperate fistulas and their locations the Dr. felt that in order to get the best repair he had to actually take the entire palate apart again and reconstruct the whole thing.  BOOOO!!!!  He said that Konnor's was the most extensive palate repair he had ever worked on.  The good news was that he thought this second repair went VERY well and had every confidence that it would heal beautifully.

I have said a hundred times, I LOVE our surgeon and I LOVE our hospital.  I have never had a bad experience there until this visit and it was just 2 specific nurses who still thinking about them makes me go grrrrrrrr!  The first thing we have done with every surgery is tell every person who walks in the room from the Dr.'s, Nurses, Anesthesia, etc...., we talk to everyone about the fact that Konnor does not like strangers and he most especially does not like it when strangers try to pick him up.  Besides the whole not liking strangers thing, we also practically beg to be in recovery immediately b/c we have worked so hard to establish our trust level with him.  Don't get me wrong Konnor is securely attached to us and we have no concerns in that area, however, waking up in pain without us present has the real possibility of triggering some unpleasant memories for him.  In the past this has not been an issue, but on this particular day we got a recovery room nurse who apparently thought she knew better.  Just typing this makes me want to say GRRRRR again.  They have always called us into recovery either when the Dr. was talking to us or within a couple minutes of him leaving.  This day it took them 30 minutes after he left before they called us back and when we got back there this nurse was holding him and he was hiccuping b/c he had been sobbing so hard.  Seriously the flames had to have been 10 feet high coming out of my head.  I know my son and I KNOW he does not do that hiccup/sob scenario unless he is in real distress.  He lunged for me immediately and grabbed me in a death grip that didn't let up for 4 days.  I asked the nurse "did he come out swinging?" and she said with a smirk "yes, but we were fine." Seriously I am grinding my teeth right now I am still so mad about this incident.  I didn't address this with her at the time, b/c my priority was Konnor and getting him settled, but I assure you that this has been addressed with the hospital.  We also kind of butted heads with our night nurse, but I think that was just a normal nurse thinking that we are overreacting parents and not realizing that A) Mama is a nurse and B) this was not our first rodeo, I can name half the staff on the 10th floor so cut the crap and understand that if I am telling you there is a problem then there is a problem.  Once she and I established a routine for pain meds/vitals and nausea medicine we all got along just fine.   I have been a nurse for 10 years and am in no way saying your nurses are being malicious or that you should argue with them at every turn.  What I am saying as both a nurse and Mama is that if your gut says something is not right then listen to it and push the issue.  End of rant.

Needless to say I have a thing or two I would like to discuss with our recovery room nurse if I should ever run into her on the street.  She just does not understand the trauma that she inflicted.  I am not exaggerating when I say this, it was at least 4-5 days before I could be more than a foot away from Konnor.  At least another week after that before I could get out of line of sight.  I will honestly say that this was by leaps and bounds our hardest surgery yet.  We really struggled the first few days home with getting food in him.  The day after coming home he started running a low grade fever, had ice cream leaking out of his nose (yes total freak out occurred b/c we thought this meant he had a new fistula already) and he was vomiting.  We finally figured out that Codeine is not his friend and once we stopped it he started eating a little better and stopped vomiting.  All of these things were manageable.  What we were really completely and totally unprepared for was his anger.  It started in the hospital and he literally would not let me put him down.  If Mark tried to even touch him kicking, scratching, hitting and pinching was the result.  It took 3 of us to hold him down each time he needed vitals or meds and the nurse took a foot to the jaw at least once. Thankfully Konnor has a Papa who loves him unconditionally and understood that he just needed an outlet for his anger and confusion.  Once we got home he warmed back up to Papa, but the generalized anger lasted for 2 very, very long weeks.  I don't blame him for his anger.  We have spent over a year telling him he would never be hungry again and here we are trying to fill up his little belly on liquids and soft foods.  NOT happening.  He was eating every hour trying to get full.  He was mad! and he made sure we knew it by scratching/throwing/hitting everything in sight.  We went for a 2 week follow up and got AWESOME news!  Dr. said the repair looks perfect!!  He also advanced him to a "anything that is not crispy or crunchy diet."  As soon as we started getting his little belly full our tantrums significantly decreased.  Dr. thinks that the occasional food coming out of his nose is from the alveolar clefts.  Basically there is still 1-2 little holes where they reattached his gum line and until he has his bone graft he may occasionally have food leak.  We see Dr. again 11/5 and he said that as long as everything still looks good we shouldn't need anymore surgery until between ages 8-11 when he would get his bone graft.  YAY, YIPPPEEE, HOORAY!!!!!

That brings us to 6 weeks post-op.  I had noticed he had a suture that hadn't dissolved so when we were in for a followup with the ENT I asked them to peek at it b/c I thought it was getting red.  Long, long story short......not only did he have a suture that didn't dissolve, but he had developed an abscess where the suture was located.  Thankfully our surgeon decided to try treating him with outpatient antibiotics first.  The antibiotics worked and once the swelling went down the suture fell out.  At this point all looks beautiful inside his perfect little mouth.  I know your eyes are probably starting to cross right about now so I will update you on what else has been happening the last few months in a later post.  Thank you to everyone who has continued to pray for our little man.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Where did the summer go???

Phew!  This summer has absolutely flown.  I thought it was time for a few more random updates.  In June Mark and I had our first ever trip away from Konnor.  We went to Jamaica with a bunch of friends  for 5 days.  Konnor did fine staying with his Nana at our house.  Mama was a wreck the first and last day, but did pretty good the rest of the time (Thank Goodness for Skype!!!).

Over the 4th of July weekend we took an impromptu trip to Chicago.  It was so much fun.  We went to a carnival, took Konnor's first train ride from Shaumburg into downtown and back (I will tell you why this is such a huge thing in a minute : ).  Konnor had his first ever IKEA experience.  In general, we swam, we played and just relaxed and spent some quality family time together.  It was a great weekend to recharge.

Thanks to Konnor's friend William he is officially a TRAINAHOLIC!!  Oh my goodness it is all trains all the time in our house.  I am glad he finally has something specific that he likes to play b/c for the longest time he would just flit from toy to toy without really caring about any of them for more than a minute.  Now he can play trains and cars (but mostly trains) for hours if we let him.  We have to take periodic "train breaks" and do puzzles, coloring, painting, etc.... or he would never leave his train table.

Mid July marked an important transition for Konnor.  Many of you know that we had a very bad experience with the standardized daycare he was attending.  Since Konnor does not do well with big changes we didn't want to move him until we were sure we had found just the right place for him.  Truthfully we were not having a whole lot of luck finding a place until one of Mark's coworkers mentioned a friend of theirs that was starting a new home daycare.  Long story short Konnor now attends a small home daycare with only 1-2 other children.  He LOVES Miss Karen's house.  They swim, swing, paint, play in the sandbox, do scavenger hunts, play on the IPAD, practice their colors and shapes and just in general have a fantastic time.   He has adapted beautifully.  We are just so blessed to have found someone who cares about him and encourages him in such positive ways.

Speaking of----here is my brag moment.  He is just so stinkin smart!  I know I am biased, but really he is a smart cookie if you can get him to stop moving long enough to show you.  He can now identify: stars, squares, triangles, circles, blue, red, orange, yellow (identify and do matching!)  I know there are a few more, but my brain is starting to getting muddy since it is seriously past my bedtime.

We have half-heartedly started potty training.  He is definitely ready but Mama was waiting until she really had time to devote to this particular thing.  Tonight we stopped at the store and bought his first ever big boy undies (I know that he is going to read this one day and roll his eyes while saying "AH MOM did you have to talk about my underwear on the internet!" but I am going to anyway : )  I will admit that this Mama got a little teary when she opened the package at home.  I just can't believe he is getting so big!  Anywhoo...we will officially be starting our potty training sometime next week so wish us luck.

Speech has been going really well.  We have phased out some of his signs and he is being much more vocal.  Unfortunately our speech therapist thinks that we are about as far as we are going to get without having his fistula repaired b/c the airflow thru his nose is preventing him from being able to make certain sounds.  That brings me to our next point.  Konnor is having his palate/fistula repair on Wed. I soooo hate the idea of our little man going thru yet another surgery, but we know that it is necessary so we are getting ready to buckle in for a rough couple weeks.  Any prayers would be greatly appreciated.  I will update after his surgery.  Thanks for stopping by!



Rollercoasters in August

Late July yard fun

Fun at the Peoria Zoo early June

Monday, June 10, 2013

50/50 and beyond

Yesterday was a big deal in Konnor's life.  No we did not go or do anything out of the ordinary, but yesterday was a huge milestone just the same.  You see, yesterday was 50/50 day.  Yesterday was the day that marked Konnor having spent half his life in an orphanage and half his life with his Forever Family.  What's an even bigger deal though is that we are past 50/50 day.  As of today Konnor will have known the love of a family longer than he ever knew the life of an orphan.  That my friends is priceless beyond words.

There are an estimated 163 million orphans in the world.  Will you take the leap to make it one less by having room for one more?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Random updates.........

I just thought it was time to do some random updates going into summer:

-Konnor has gotten 2 canines in and is workong on a 3rd one, with only one more to go....Yay......Unfortunately this means that pretty soon we will be working on 2 yr molars : (

-In the last week he has started taking not only his little yellow stuffed ducky to bed, but now he is taking a blanket to bed with him also!!!!!!  This is HUGE people!!!!  He doesn't necessarily always want it on him, but sometimes he does and considering that a year ago he wouldn't have anything to do with anything soft this is a huge step.

-Our regular speech therapist Brittany is back from maternity leave, YIIIPPPEEE!!!  Konnor loves Miss Brittany and when he saw her he got all excited, took my hand and reach over to take her hand and then headed back to his speech room.  It was soooo sweet!  He did very well with his first session back with her.  He is in a phase where we can understand a few words he is trying to say, but most other people cannot.  Right now I can tell when he says the following: milk, mine (gotta love daycare), Yes, Nei Nei (this means "go Night Night") occasionally he will say Bax (his version of Baxter), he does a very good "H" sound for Help, Mama, I swear I heard a version of train the other day, he is starting to get an "N" and "P" sound but no real words with them yet.

-We have unofficially started potty training.  When he moved up to the 2yr old room at daycare I started offering the potty b/c he would be seeing other children at school using it.  He would go occasionally, but not with any real consistency, and let's be truthful here....Mama just wasn't ready to start potty training yet.  In the last 2 weeks though he will consistently go potty pretty much every time you ask and just in the last few days he has started going into the bathroom and putting his potty seat on the toilet then asking for help.  We went to the store yesterday and got some pullups and we are going to try to set aside a whole weekend here soon that we are staying home and really focusing on potty training.  : ( He is just growing up sooooo fast!

-Konnor's new favorite things are cars/trucks and trains.  Loves them and we have to read about them and play with them allllllll day.

Thanks for stopping by!!  Hope everyone is having a fantabulous summer!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1 Year Forever Family Day!!!!

One year ago today Mark and I spent the morning organizing our hotel room in preparation for the little boy that would soon be coming back to the hotel with us.  You can read about Gotcha Days, bonding, grieving, orphanage behaviors and sleep issues until you are blue in the face, but nothing really prepares you for the jumble of nerves that sit in your stomach while you wait.  Truthfully the "Gotcha" part of the day went so quickly that it seems like a blur now, but I can clearly remember the rest of the day.  The snuggles, the first bath, the laughter and the joy of realizing that our dreams of parenthood had finally come true.  We have our good days and our hard days just like any family, but the good days definitely win out by a long shot.  Here are a few random updates for our 1 year Forever Family Day:

-Konnor has gained 9 lbs and 4 inches this year

-He is completely caught up developmentally with the exception of speech which is to be expected

-In the last few weeks he has started sleeping with a small yellow ducky and is actually playing with his other stuffed animals now.  This is huge for a little boy that just a year ago would not even touch a stuffed animal and hated blankets.

-In the last few weeks he has started doing alot of imaginative play.  He will make his animal crackers walk on the table (I was so excited I had to change the rule of "don't play with your food" to "you can only play with your food if it actually looks like the animal."  He will take his stuffed animals and make them "pretend" eat from his play dishes and he will make Mark and I a meal to pretend eat.

-The last 3 weeks he has been sleeping better (although we still have a ways to go), but I refuse to call it a good sleep pattern until we have been sleeping well for at least 6 weeks.  Sleep has been a big struggle for us the last year so I don't want to lull myself into a false sense of restfulness : )

Overall we are happier than we have ever been and so very grateful to have this special little boy in our lives.

1 year ago today

Fun at the park on Forever Family Day!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Konnor!!!!!

We now officially have a 2 year old in the house!!!!  It just doesn't seem possible that he is already 2 years old!  Unfortunately, Konnor has been battling Bronchitis all week so we were not able to do our planned birthday celebrations, but I think we still managed to make it a fun day.  Thankfully he seems to be on an upswing and has been pretty active today.  His appetite also seems to be returning which is a good sign as well.  So we played and snuggled and played some more.   Then we had dinner here at the house with Grandma and Nana (Papa is out of town for training and Grandpa had to work).

Here are some of Konnor's favorites as a new 2 yr old:
Foods:  pizza, sausage, cheese, oranges, carrots, vanilla yogurt, applesauce, cheese crackers, oatmeal

Activities: climbing, dancing, any water play, climbing, playing chase around the house, anything outside, did I mention climbing?, Mr. Potato Head, his Little People Safari Animal Zoo, reading and doing stickers

Music:  He loves pretty much any music

TV (although unless he is sick he doesn't get much TV) --He likes Bubble Guppies, LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and just in the last week or so has become interested in Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Our Big 2 year old!!!