Wednesday, June 12, 2013

May-June Update

Eating pickles at Grandma's house.....I love this picture because it reminds me of my childhood. No matter what the occasion at my Grandma's house, there was always mini dill pickles to snack on and I loved them!

Avery with Ms. Rosie and Mrs. Blessing- her teachers at Hope Preschool
In May, Avery graduated from preschool.  We were so happy with the past 2 years of preschool at Hope Community Church.  So happy, that we plan on sending Nolan there next year as well.

They had a year end graduation program filled with songs, music, and dancing.  It was fantastic.  As Avery walked across the stage for her graduation they had asked her a few questions:

Favorite food:  "My mom's spaghetti and meatballs"
Favorite Color: "Pink"
What do you want to be when you grow up: "A fashion designer in Paris, France

Avery and her friend Sophie
So what will be doing to occupy our time this summer......

- Hang out at the library.....

Nolan and Silas in capes at the Hudson Library 
- Road trips....

Silas Jon
Sometimes when life gets so crazy, the best thing to do is to still pack the kids up in the car and just go for a drive..the kids might fall asleep or just enjoy the video in the van, but either way, it helps make life a little easier.

- Go up to the cottage in MarbleHead with the cousins......
The cousins hanging out at the cottage
- Safety Town in Streetsboro.....
Avery at Safety town graduation

Nolan with a police man at safety town

Avery and Brynn
- Lots of swimming.....
Nolan swimming at the cottage
Nolan has absolutely no fear of anything!  At 3 years old, with his life jacket on, he can jump off the side of the pool and swim back to the side to get himself out and jump back again!

- Play baseball...

Nolan's first night of baseball
We signed Nolan up for Kick Start Baseball through the city.  It is a great program for 3 year olds where they teach the kids the basics of baseball while their parent is by their side to help them out. 
(Steve and Nolan are doing this together and it is such a great bonding experience for them both!!)

- Swim Lessons....

Kiley and Avery
So the goal for the summer of 2013 is for Avery to learn how to swim....independently and safely!  She has gotten really good at floating on her back, doggie paddling, and maneuvering around a pool with her life vest.  But my goal for her safety, is for her to learn how to confidently be able to swim and thrive in a pool! So once again, we've signed her up for swim lessons.

 But this time, she is taking lessons at Kent Roosevelt H.S. with her friend Kiley.  The cool thing about this is that this is where I actually learned how to swim, and the only people that registered for this particular class is Avery and Kiley.  So we are basically getting private lessons for the price of group lessons!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Little Red Update

Life with 3 young kids does not leave me a ton of time to blog anymore.  And earlier today I was talking with Silas, and realized just how fast he is growing up and how adorable he is right now at this age and I just wanted to document it.  

Silas is the baby of our family, and even at two, he still is our "baby".  He actually likes being the baby.  He still sleeps in his crib and has no desire to leave it.  He has a toddler bed in his room, but refuses to sleep in it.  He is happiest in his crib and when he wakes up in his crib, he just calls for us.  He has never once tried to get out of his crib on his own which both Avery and Nolan did (Nolan actually did well before he was one). He loves to be held and carried around, and loves to snuggle up on the couch with us.

He spends most of his day trying to keep up with his older brother and sister.  He has a little fire in him which I attribute to his beautiful red hair- and also why I call him my little red bull.  He loves to laugh and make others laugh, and is just one happy fun loving little two year old.  We love this little guy so much!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Jan-March Update

The last few months have been a whirlwind.  We have been busy......busy being sick.  We somehow stumbled upon a virus(s) that basically put us at a stand still for over a month.  We spent a lot of time just being home with one, two, and sometimes all 3 kids on the couch.  And just when it seemed like one of them got past it, another one picked up something else and then all 3 were sick again.  Avery missed almost 2 weeks of preschool and our fridge was constantly stocked with Gatorade, ginger ale and saltines in our pantry.  Our pediatrician said she thinks that it was definitely more than just one virus, otherwise it would not make sense for how long this sickness lasted in our house.  But everyone seems to be on the mend now, so we are hoping for some healthy spring days to come.  

Silas at the doctor's office in his pjs

On another medical note, Nolan's Chiari symptoms had came back, and we found ourselves back to watching him suffer through daily headaches and back on the ibuprofen regimen.  We talked to his neurosurgeon and she decided that we should probably go ahead and have another MRI done in February rather than wait the 6 months.  We were a little worried about this as every time he has an MRI he is put under sedation and it's actually a scary thing for us and traumatizing really for him.  So we prayed.  We prayed and prayed and the day before we were to take him in, he developed a pretty bad cough and cold.  Since anesthesia typically does not want to sedate someone who could be sick with a virus or something, we took this as a sign to hold off and cancelled it.  And wouldn't you know it, the following two weeks he went with maybe only one occurrence of his head hurting.  Since then he's been doing pretty good.  He is definitely nowhere near the daily occurrences.  

My beautiful boys

My big sister Kim and me
On another big note, I turned the big 3-5 on March 1st.  Holy smokes 35!!  35 is definitely not old, however I remember being a kid and thinking my parents were super OLD at 35! For my birthday I got to spend the day with my sister doing a little shopping and going to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch and martinis.  Then over the weekend, Steve and me got to go out to a small dinner with a few friends too.  At 35 I am so blessed with the family God has given me.  My family is my greatest joy.

Silas and me

Nolan's First swim lesson
Nolan has always been pretty good in the water and doesn't seem to fear it much at all.  And since we tend to spend a lot of time around water in the summer, it is really important to us for him to learn how to swim.  So Nolan recently started swim lessons at our gym.  He is currently doing one on one with a teacher just to get him ready for group lessons.  He has a young male instructor who has been really patient and makes the lessons fun for him.  Nolan is doing awesome!  He works on floating on his back, blowing bubbles under water, and kicking.  He really seems to enjoy it so we are signing him up for a group class in a few weeks in which Steve and him will get to do a Daddy and Me swim class.  We're also excited to see if swimming could possibly be a sport that Nolan will eventually want to participate in as it is definitely not an "impact sport". 

After all 3 kids had a check up and cleaning at the dentist last month, Avery was found to have 2 cavities.  I wasn't sure who was more nervous and upset about it, her or me.  As a child I literally was banished from our family's dentist due to biting his hand while getting one of my many cavities filled.  Luckily she was scheduled to come back a few weeks later and forgot about it until the big day arrived.    Avery got to bring her own movie (her choice- Wreck it Ralph) with her to watch on a tv that hung upside down from the ceiling.  She also got to wear this cool mask pictured below which supplied her with nitrous oxide.  Needless to say, the whole thing went better than both of us could have ever expected.  In fact, when leaving the office that day she actually said she had "fun".  Thank you laughing gas!!

And a quick update on our newest family member, Pork Chop, our Bichon Frise puppy.  Porky as we like to call him is doing well.  We are still working on house breaking him which has been rough, but he is really great with the kids and such a playful little guy.  He's already up to 8.7 lbs. and he is happiest when he is by our side.  He likes to go everywhere with us.  

Pork Chop -5 Months old

P.S. I had to throw this last picture in here of Nolan.  Every time I look at it it makes me smile and laugh.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nolan's Post-Surgery MRI

I always like this view from the elevators at the main parking garage because you can get the cleveland clinic sign in the background
So Nolan was originally scheduled for his 6 month post-op MRI in November.  We had his physical already completed when we were called and informed that they had to push it back to December due to an emergency in his neurosurgeon's schedule.  So we got another physical completed closer to the actual MRI date and then when it came to the new date, Steve was working CAT (catastrophe duty due to hurricane Sandy) so my dad, Grandpa Lemmon offered to go with us as it was going to be a long day at the Clinic and I could use the extra help.  

Nolan hanging out watching tv waiting....
First off, Nolan got flex-extension xrays.  He had also got these prior to his surgery and his doctor wanted the same xrays after surgery to compare his flexibility and stability in his neck post surgery.  

Then, radiology was backed up a bit, so we had to wait a while for his MRI.  Nolan was a great sport about the whole thing, especially since he had not been allowed to eat or drink anything since the night before.  I however, made a big mistake not thinking and stuck a piece of gum in my mouth in front of him which lead to him begging for just one piece of gum.

Finally it was time for his MRI.  I had been told that they use "flavored" gas at the Cleveland Clinic to knock the child out as opposed to inserting an IV first, so I thought this would be less traumatic for him.  Unfortunately it was not because the room that I walked him into was just like the OR I walked him into before his surgery- same set up, everything sterile followed by a group of nurses who all started singing Christmas carols this time to him and that's when he lost it.  So in the end it was probably more dramatic this time since we had to hold him down while the mask was forced over him.  
His MRI took a full hour and when he was done he was wheeled back to his same waiting room.  They informed me that they do not like to wake the kids up after anesthesia, they rather let them wake up on their own.  So it was another full 45 minutes of my Dad and me just waiting and watching him sleep.  I was so relieved and happy once he woke up.  

Waiting for Nolan to wake up
We only ended up having a little over a half an hour once we left radiology before our appointment to meet with his neurosurgeon, so we grabbed some lunch for Nolan, and wheeled him across the clinic to his neurosurgeon's building.

So when we met with Dr. Recinos, there was a little confusion, because somehow the hospital had lost his original MRI scans from prior to his surgery.  She apologized for this and advised that she would need to get the originals from Children's in order to due a proper comparison.  (This was a little frustrating because if I had known this prior to this appointment, I would have brought our own originals.)  Nonetheless, she reviewed this current scan with us and advised that his results were not what had been expected and hoped for.  Most likely due to the fact that Nolan is so young and healed so good, due to possible scar tissue, his brain is still crowded.  His CSF flow which was severely blocked prior to surgery was still showing some blockage, however not as bad as prior to surgery.

MRI Pre-Surgery

MRI Post-Surgery
She actually called us on Christmas Eve at home and reviewed everything again with Steve and I over the phone, this time being able to compare his pre and post surgery MRI's.  Again, despite his surgery he is still herniated and crowded.  That being said, he is still better now than he was prior to surgery.  Nolan's symptoms have returned, however nowhere near what they were prior to surgery. He does however suffer with head/neck pain about 1 episode per day.  She advised that at this time she does not feel worried nor should we be, however she does feel it necessary to restrict his activity.  She advised once again, with the way things are currently, he would be at a greater risk to an impact.  Therefore, at this time he is restricted from playing any contact sports, riding any roller coasters, bounce houses, or anything that could make him vulnerable to a heavy hit.  Which, if you know Nolan, you know this part will be hard as he is the most physical and active kid, I have ever met.  He is the first person to run and jump over the couch or try to jump down the stairs.  He is all boy and he likes to play rough.  He is wild and energetic and fierce. 

 He will also need to go back between 6-12 months for another MRI of his brain and spine, sooner if symptoms increase.  She is hopeful that as he grows his skull will grow and help alleviate this crowding on its own- so at this point she feels it best to sit and wait and monitor him.  Definitely not the news we had hoped for, however, things could always be worse.  

Chiari is something that is not only frustrating but like any other illness or disease that might effect your child, it leaves you feeling very powerless.  It breaks my heart to think that Nolan could possibly suffer the rest of his life with pain and other symptoms from this malformation.  At the same time, I am very aware that we are blessed that it is not life-threatening, just life-changing.  

Here is a great link from the Conquer Chiari website that explains in more detail the effects of Chiari :  Conquer Chiari  The book Conquer Chiari was the first book I read after Nolan was diagnosed and it offers a lot of information, for something that still has not been completely figured out.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Nolan James Hunt - 3 Years Old

3 Years Old
Big Beautiful Boy 

On December 18th, our Christmas baby, Nolan turned 3 years old.  I call him my Christmas baby, since his actual "due date" was December 25th- but I got induced a week early, which was a good thing since even at 39 weeks he weighed a whopping 9 lbs 5oz.  

We had decided earlier this year that we really wanted this to be an extra special birthday for Nolan for 2 main reasons: 
1.  Last year we actually had to cancel his birthday due to him having the stomach flu and
2.  He had quite the rough year and totally deserved an extra special birthday

So this year we had a few surprises for him.  First we took him on the Polar Express.  We didn't tell any of the kids where we were going or why they were allowed to wear their pajamas outside of the house.  So they were all surprised when we pulled into the train station that morning.  The train ride left from Akron and went through the valley and metroparks.  It was 2 hours filled with cookies, hot chocolate, Christmas caroling, and even a visit from Santa Claus.  
Silas, Nolan, and Avery with their Golden Tickets
And then after our visit to the "North Pole", we headed home for a birthday party at the house with our family.  This year Nolan picked out a power rangers cake and for his big surprise, we got him his own riding John Deere Gator.  We all had so much fun celebrating Nolan's birthday.

Nolan and Santa

At 3, Nolan is still our wild child.  He has more energy than anyone I've ever known.  He has one speed and that is fast.  He is always on the go.  He is also extremely bright.  I know every parent thinks that of their own children, but Nolan really is.  I've thought back to these past few years, and literally think that Nolan pretty much self taught himself a lot (colors, numbers, how to get dressed, put on his own shoes, etc.).  He's also a genius on the computer and ipad.  He loves to play games on them and can navigate the web.  He also has a tough side to him.  When it's time for a shot, Nolan sticks his arm out and doesn't cry.  He's brave and strong.  But he also has a soft spot and still loves to cuddle with Steve and I and always wants to say prayers at bedtime.  He is always one to offer part of his snack or drink to someone else or run and find his brother's bear or sister's blanket for them.  He is kind.  He is loving.  He is our Nolan James Hunt and we are so proud of him and how he has handled this past year.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meet Pork Chop

Our New Puppy!!!

After a rather rough year, we decided to add a little joy and chaos to our home.  So we decided to expand the family a little bit, and adopted a new puppy.  It's a boy, Bichon Frise who was born on September 25th.  We brought him home on December 2.  After taking a family vote, we decided to name him Pork Chop.  The kids love him and we do too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silas Jon Hunt - 2 Years Old

Silas Jon Hunt - 2 Years Old

Silas- 3 Months Old

On 11/11/12, the baby of our family, Silas, turned 2 years old.  I know I've said this before, but I truly think that every year on his birthday I will always think about how grateful I am for him, and how grateful I am that God's plan was and is always greater than our own.  
Jeremiah 29:11"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I will never forget the day that we found out we were pregnant with Silas.  Steve was at work and I was home with a 2 year old (Avery) and a newborn baby (Nolan) who was less than 3 months old.  I had not been feeling all that well so I decided to take a pregnancy test.  When the positive sign showed up, I started crying out of being overwhelmed, and immediately called Steve on the phone who immediately started laughing (I think out of being overwhelmed as well).  But I still remember him saying that everything would be ok, and boy was he right.  I can not even begin to imagine our family without Silas.  

I will never lie and say that it has not been hard having 3 children within three years- however, being a mother has blessed my life far beyond what I could have ever imagined.  The amount of love that I have for them and that they fill me with can not be explained with words.  

And when God knew our family was not complete without our 3rd, he blessed us with one amazing little boy.  Silas has always been a content little guy.  He sleeps well, eats well, and is super cuddly.  At two, he is saying a ton of words and putting small sentences together.  He loves books, and would like nothing more than to be cozied up in some one's lap while they read him one book after the other.  He is small but tough.  He loves to wrestle with his big brother, and play pretend dogs with his sister.  He has kept his beautiful red hair and at times shows off the "spit-fire" that comes with it.  Overall, Silas is just such a happy and loving little toddler who brings us so much joy!
We love you our little Red Bull