Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fresh and Fruity

Thanks everyone for all the sweet messages I got after that last blog post. I heard from so many people that said Avery's story really touched them, and it makes me even more glad I shared. Now I keep hearing demands for more posts, ack! I'm trying! How about a fun, quick one....lil'bub and I remembered another thing we love about spring-- fresh fruit!!

Espeeecially strawberriessss.

so pretty and sweet, just like Avery

they taste so yummy

yep, she agrees

Nope. I did NOT stuff TWO
in my mouth, not me!

Lil'bub likes to chase her strawberries
down with a little apple juice
from her bear cup.

How 'bout you?


Thursday, March 25, 2010

I think it's time

I had planned in this post to share the recent baby shower I threw last weekend for my dear friend, and I still plan to do that, but something else came up today that really got me thinking.

I know many of the people that read this blog know that lil'bub had a very hard start to this life. And I have shared here before the variety of challenges we face from her multiple brain surgeries.

Some of you know the details, but most of you do not. That's because it's still hard for me today to say (or write) certain things out loud. But I think it's time. Right now. So here goes. My daughter had a hemispherectomy

Long, strange word huh? If you google it, most likely you will come across a definition like this: a surgical procedure where one cerebral hemisphere (half of the brain) is removed or disabled.

Some of you probably just gasped, or maybe your mouth is hanging in shock. At least, that's what I did when the doctor explained that this procedure was exactly what my one week old daughter needed in order to survive.

How is this possible, right? How exactly does one survive this surgery with any quality of life? All excellent questions that Avery's brain surgeon tried to explain to me in the simplest way possible: a genetic condition has caused massive abnormalities to the left side of her brain; everything is so mixed up over there that signals are crossed and she is having continual, uncontrollable seizures; however, the right side of her brain is normal, and the brains of children have optimal neuroplasticity, which means that neurons from the remaining hemisphere have the ability to take over tasks from the lost hemisphere.

Her surgeon also liked to remind us that "bad brain" is worse than "no brain." Shocking, I know. But strangely true if this "bad brain" is encroaching and/or causing problems to the good side. While still trying to process this information, we were told (as I have mentioned before) that this surgery had never been performed on a baby so little. The surgeon had consulted his colleagues from all around the country, and some abroad, and Avery was the youngest. This fact made him a little nervous, but he then explained (rather casually) that this was her only chance to survive. He said that if we waited any longer,  the overwhelming seizures would cause more damage to the good side, and there would be no hope of rehabilitation.

SO, when I talk about being given this choice of surgery, but not really having a choice, maybe it makes more sense now. We were told that it was life or death, so we jumped on the only option that gave us hope, and hung on for dear life.

This morning, I watched a story about a little girl that had the same surgery as Avery. This in itself was amazing, since it happens so rarely. The circumstances were a bit different--her uncontrollable seizures were caused by a different condition...she was MUCH older, around 6...and it was the opposite side of the brain that had abnormalities. But her outcome is exceptional. It's what we fight for, and what Avery fights for every single day.

Maybe you can watch this video and understand a little more about my sweet lil'bub. She still has miles to go, and continues to be the hardest working bub you will ever know, but this story gave me some inspiration, and maybe it will give you a little too.

Meet the girl with half a brain

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Week

My week of pure, crazy Avery time is offically coming to a close. It's flown by with mucho excitement. Let me review. On Monday, we made a trip to the Children's Museum with our good friends Laurie & Leila.

we made them keep the pacys in,
so they wouldn't put everything in their mouth!

On Tuesday, we had lunch with Bub the hub/daddy, which was the first enjoyable taking-Avery-to-a-restaurant experience we've had in a long time. Probably because she knew it's one of my fav restaurants here in H-town.

anybody else love Hungry's as much as I do? I LOVE their jalepeno hummis. I LOVE LOVE their lite, heart healthy chicken salad. And I especially love how their food is always fresh and good for you, and they have a ton of stuff to choose from. No, they are not paying me. But I'm certainly open to it!

Then on Wednesday we went with Aunt Ali and baby Leah to the Houston Rodeo.

As you can see, this was Leah's very first rodeo. However, it was not Avery's first rodeo. haha. She already knows that mommy and Allison make a beeline for the food, and everything else is just extra fun.

first stop: corndog, not as great as the State Fair,
but still yummy

it was a windy day! lots to see!
of course we headed over to the pigs...

boy, were they stinky, but lil'bub still loved them!
she was holding onto the bars,
hoping to climb in perhaps?

Our favorite pig is the one below. Look closely, because he is SMILING. Which is interesting, since he was trying to sleep and some-baby kept screaming and squealing at him!!

We always round out our visit with an extremely delicious cinnamon roll. And once again, they did not disappoint!

she practically bit through the spoon
cuz she liked it so much :)

we try really hard every year to finish--
this was a valient effort

Thursday and Friday were a treat because Bub the hub took some time off work to spend time with us and watch the beginning of March Madness. As always, his bracket is surviving just fine, while mine continues its path off a cliff.

No need to squint, all that red does in fact indicate my terrible picks. But I would like to give a special shout-out to Kansas for losing in the SECOND ROUND?!!?!! and therefore making my seemingly improbable national champion (Duke) waaaaaay more plausible! Thank you Kansas!

On Saturday, I threw a FAAA-boo-lous baby shower for Aunt Ali and Leah. But that post is for another day my friends, I'm exhausted.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Breakin'

Yep, that's right. We are spring breakers this week! Although lil'bub officially kicked off the vacation with an ear infection, she has recovered nicely and we have been very busy bubs. In fact, today we went to the rodeo and had some good, yummy fun. Those photos are coming soon, I promise, but I have a lot on my plate right now. First I have to go fill out my fantasy basketball bracket at the very last minute like I do every year, even though Bub the hub reminds me every. single. day. Then I have to finish up preparing for the baby shower I am throwing on Saturday for my very dear friend Allison and sweet baby Leah.

Spring is definitely baby time! I have no less than FIVE friends having babies soon. I thought I might post some parenting cartoons I came across recently, since all of my friends are gonna be first time parents. And I think illustrations are so much more helpful than reading about it. You all can thank me later.

don't even think about it

definitely stick with peek-a-boo
over board games

baby needs oxygen!

don't even let him attempt it-
no matter how many times he asks

I think this is a man thing

baby is definitely not like a hamster!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I think one of the very first lessons you learn as a parent (other than how ridiculously complicated car seats and swaddling can be) is that your best laid plans will almost never work out when there is a munchkin in the mix. Take yesterday, which was lil'bub's very last day before spring break, and my last chance to get the blog done, and run a few errands before nine days of pure, crazy Avery time. But none of this was meant to be.

Instead, lil'bub sprouted the highest teperature we have on record, and we discovered she had her very first ear infection. Super bummer. Luckily, we got some medicine fast and she did perk up within a day. However, there was no school-going, no errand-running, and definitely not any to-do list-checking. Such is life.

I do feel bad to have teased you all and left ya hanging on her recent accomplishents though! So here we go! LIL'BUB HAS BECOME AN INDEPENDENT EATER!! No, she's not cooking any meals :) but she is feeding herself drinks and using forks and spoons!!!! This is a HUGE step for her. In fact, it's difficult for me to accurately convey exactly how amazing this is. If you are a mom to a typical child, I know this milestone was passed a whole lot earlier, with a lot less fanfare. But my lil'bub has many more challenges, including one less operating hand, and we could not be more proud of her. Which you might be able to tell from the abundance of photos, enjoy!

big girl!

our new routine in the morning:
feeding HERSELF, holding Minnie,
& watching Mickey cartoons

she thinks the fork is pretty fun.
it's a special, bent lefty fork!

there she goes!

trying to get the angle right

so pleased with herself :)

going for a doubler!

almost made it

trying again



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Under Construction

Still working on the finishing touches of my springy blog! Hope y'all like the new header. It was so hard to decide what photo to use. I've actually been staying up way too late trying to figure it out and putting everything together, so I really need to get some sleep and save all my photos for tomorrow. But suffice to say, lil'bub has made some HUGE developmental leaps in the last week and we can not be any more proud or excited to share :) Sorry to leave you hangin, but I promise it will be worth the wait!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Someone was listening...

Imagine my surprise when after blogging a most magnificent whine about the incessant cold weather, someone {or being} was listening and ushered in Spring just on my behalf!! SO sweet. In celebration, I have revamped the blog for springtime! You will want to check back later this week too because I will continue my re-design...I just can't get enough of all this digital design stuff, and I'm getting better at it :)

But back to SPRING, lil'bub and I also celebrated the change in weather by putting on our new springy dresses and going outside with big smiles.

we laughed

we (I) blew tummy raspberries!

we watered our flowers

and someone attempted to wrestle
the watering can away
(but I won)

we practiced our dribbling with daddy

we made silly faces


we hugged

we kissed

and generally looked cute!

you know, just good times...we don't even mind there is rain in the forecast next week! Just keep it in the seventies and we'll stay happy :)

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