Coming Up in 2009

Everyone knows how much The Skees Family went through in 2008. It was a LONG year filled with much heartache, worry and stress, but also much joy and many blessings. Rather than reflect on the past, I've decided to focus on the year ahead. We've got no less going on in the coming year, however by keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to the good things, I feel much better about being able to overcome the struggles we have ahead as well.

Here are some of the "bigger" things on the calendar in 2009:

  • Aiden and Ethan both have an appointment with the eye doctor - Aiden's is his recurring 3 month checkup (helps see if there is any pressure building up in his brain) and Ethan because he complains daily that his "eye hurts". Probably nothing, but it's always the same eye so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and bring him along as well.
  • My neice Avery turns 1! I remember fondly making the up-and-back trip to NKY to visit my sister and brother-in-law at the hospital after Avery was born. She was this little (er, well, actually big) baby with a head full of dark hair. Little did I know that just 4 weeks later, her cousin Aiden would make his very dramatic debut.
  • Aiden's first birthday! It's hard to believe it's already been a year since Aiden came into the world 5 1/2 weeks early. With everything we've gone through, and all Aiden has endured, we're so happy to celebrate this milestone. We're planning on having a party for him early in the month so that he can dig into cake before his little hands will once again be in casts.
  • Aiden's 2nd surgery on his hands and feet. We will once again make the trip to Dallas, TX for surgery with Dr. Fearon, the trusted surgeon with extensive experience operating on kids with Apert Syndrome. Following this surgery, Aiden will have 10 fingers and 10 toes! It truly is amazing!
  • Ethan turns 2! My sister pointed out to me that for a few short weeks, I will be able to say that I have 2 ONE YEAR OLDS! Wow! It's been a wonderful year for Ethan. He's growing by leaps and bounds and is super smart (have you seen the post with him reading his book? I mean come on...!)
  • Aiden has his head surgery. This surgery entails opening Aiden's forehead and making additional space for his brain to grow. They will also push the brow bone forward to better protect his eyes. The midface of kids with Apert Syndrome is typically recessed from just above the eyes to the upper portion of the mouth. Because of this, the orbits or sockets that the eyes sit in are usually more shallow. It sounds pretty scary, but we've been assured by Dr. Fearon that as far as recovery goes, this is easier than the hand/feet surgeries.
  • My cousin Joy is getting married! We're super excited for her and Chris. They make such a wonderful couple and we look forward to celebrating this special day with them.
  • Ricky and I celebrate our 4 year anniversary. We've accomplished quite a lot in the past four years, don't ya think?
  • My best friend Audrey's little boy Ty turns 1! Ever since the day I walked down the aisle as matron-of-honor in her and Todd's wedding I was asking her when they were going to have kids. I couldn't wait until my friends started having babies - I mean my kids needed playmates for gosh sakes! And even though I wasn't able to be there with her when Ty was born (they live in Owensboro), we try to get together as often as possible. They just grow up too fast!
  • My cousin Angie (Joy's sister) is getting married! We can't wait for this event - it's going to be one of a kind! Angie and Tim are a match made in heaven and we look forward to being a part of their day.
  • Yet another cousin, Nick, is getting married. He and Kate make a perfect couple! Can't wait!
  • My Godson, Jakob, will turn 1!
  • It must be the year for weddings! Jen, my friend and roommate from college will be marrying her high-school boyfriend Chris. I'm honored to be a part of it!
Then the holidays begin all over again! One thing we do know for sure - there will be no pregnant Taryn in all of 2009! Stay tuned to 2010...

I'm just sayin'...

So I've always heard that when kids show an early interest in books, it is a sign they may be a genius...


...I'm just sayin'.

As promised...

Click below for Christmas pics (keeping in mind that I'm NOT a photographer by any means...)!

> Christmas Eve at Grandma and PawPaw Skees'
> Christmas Morning at home

More to come from Christmas Day at Nana and Grandpa Pikes'!

A Very Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas on South Skyline Drive,
two boys went night-night in hopes Santa would arrive.

The stockings were rigged up on the mantle with care
as the cheap stocking holders held barely a hair.

As soon as the children were snug in their beds,
we each took a shot (our stay-awake Christmas meds).

With me in my pjs, and Ricky in his too,
there were presents to place...there was so much to do!

When all of the gifts were put under the tree
We both went to bed, at a quarter to three!

Bright and early in the morning (no sleeping in here)
we awoke to the sounds of "MOMMY, DADDY, COME HERE!"

We sprang from our bed to see what was the matter,
Was he hurt? or excited? It was luckily the latter.

As we pulled little Ethan right out of his bed
He clearly had visions of Santa in his head.

Away to the hallway he flew like a flash;
tore open Aiden's door in one hurrried dash.

The moon was still shining when he woke up his brother.
"Morning Aiden - wake up" he said. We smiled at eachother.

When what to his wondering eyes did appear?
"Pwesents! Santa!" He had in fact made it here.

With little restraint, he made his way to the tree.
Followed shortly by Aiden, daddy and me.

More rapid than eagles, the paper it flew.
He'd stare at one gift, then move on to a new.

And Aiden, a bit overwhelmed by it all,
warmed up to the chaos and was having a ball.

Our Christmas was special - the boys were so cute.
But for Ricky and I it was more than the loot.

It was having our family and everyone's health
that mattered much more than the measure of wealth.

We've got tons of pictures - and boy they're a sight!
But for now, I'm too tired to load them...GOODNIGHT!


(Be sure to check the photo link tomorrow - I promise I'll add them soon!)

Ricky is an AWESOME dad!

It is an awesome thing to watch your children light up when they see their dad get home from work. He pops his head into the room and it doesn't matter if the Wiggles are on (I mean, come on, they usually are - sorry - I'm not one of those "TV off" kind of moms) or if Ethan has a bowl full of fruit snacks (oh yeah, not one of those "no sugar" kind of moms either), but when daddy gets home, their heads spin around and Ethan jumps up and down. Aiden giggles and laughs like crazy.

He immediately gets down on all fours to give Ethan a horsie ride or throws him high up into the air (WAY too high in my opinion).

They sure do love their daddy!

Some people might complain that their husbands don't do enough. I am one of those people that just can't do that. He cooks (way more than I do in fact), he does an occasional load of laundry, and every now and then he'll wipe the toothpaste from his sink. He makes fires when it's cold outside. He changes diapers. He fixes things. He empties the litter box. He really is sensational.

No - this is not a ploy to get a good Christmas gift. I post so much about the kids that I wanted to say something about the guy that makes all of this staying at home stuff possible. Although it is definitely difficult to go from having a full-time job and actually interacting with other adults to having tough to understand conversations with a not-quite two year old, I really am thankful that we've been able to make this work.

So thanks Ricky! I love you! And the boys love you so very much!

I do still have a social life...somewhat...

Now that I have children, my family is my focus. Although after being pregnant for nearly two years straight, then adjusting to life with two kids just under 11 months apart and all the medical issues with Aiden, sometimes a girl just has to get out and have some fun. And a few weekends ago I did just that!

First, I got together on a Friday evening with some of the gals that I used to work with at Service Net. After leaving my job when Aiden was born, I kept in touch with a few people, but hadn't seen some of them since I was in the office. It was a blast! We met up at a friend's house in Louisville for cocktails and appetizers (thanks Jennifer and all who contributed to the spread - it was wonderful). It's always fun to hang out with friends and watch the atmosphere change from standing around daintily sipping drinks to breaking it down in the living-room-turned- dance-floor.

That's when we hit the bars. I felt like I was back in college as we crammed into the backseat of one of the night's designated drivers' cars. Destination = Flannigans. Now, I'm well past the legal bar-hopping age, but I guess because it has been so long, I felt my palms get a little sweaty as we approached the door with a sign that clearly stated "Two Forms of ID Required for Entry". What? I had a Driver's License and a Sam's card - I hoped that would work.

It did. Phew. And in no time we were ready to throw back some Purple Hooters, Lemon Drops and the drink of the night, a concoction they called The Grinch.

I could go into detail about continuing our dance party (the fact that we were now in public didn't seem to matter to me!) and hitting up the bar one too many times, but instead, I'll just say I enjoyed myself.

When I arrived home a little before 4am, my husband knew he had his work cut out for him the next day. Luckily, by some miracle, my hangover wasn't too bad - although when Ethan insisted on watching the Wiggles bright and early, I will say that hearing "Toot toot chugga chugga, big red car..." was slightly more irritating than usual.

After popping a few Advil, I headed up to NKY to visit with my family and go out to dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday.

On Sunday I attended a cookie exchange party hosted by college friends Anna and Becky. I'm no Betty Crocker - that's a well-known fact, so even though they were going to be "judging" the cookies, I opted to make the super-easy Peanut Butter Blossoms (you know, the ones with the Hershey Kiss on of my all-time favorite holiday treats). Needless to say, I didn't win but I thoroughly enjoyed tasting everyone's fabulous and a bit more complicated creations and sipping on some martinis and mulled wine. Yes, I know, more drinking - but hey I don't do it very often...well not with these friends anyway! Besides, my mom was watching Aiden and Ethan stayed behind at home with dad. This night was a little more sophisticated (no dancing ensued), but I had a GREAT time. A big thank-you to the hostesses with the mostesses (you know what I mean...) for throwing a great get-together. I can't wait until January when I get to see my old college pals once again at our house for our annual holiday dinner party.

So as you can see, a weekend out on the town may be a rare thing for a mom of two young kids, but knowing that, I just make up for it by having enough fun to last until next time!

Aiden's next surgery has been scheduled!

It will be Thursday, February 19. We'll be heading back to Dallas on Tuesday the 17th and if all goes well, should be returning home the day after his surgery, Friday the 20th!

As for his recovery from the first round, he's doing GREAT! His hands have healed very well and we've even gotten to the point where we no longer need to do his wrappings. He loves to use his new little fingers and can do so many new things with them. He's even taken a liking to tummy time! We're working with him to try to get him crawling, he's not quite there yet. But with all things considered, I'm amazed he's doing as well as he is!

Updated pictures!

I've FINALLY gotten around to making the move from Shutterfly to Picasa Web Albums. can click HERE to view all the latest photos from the past couple of months, as well as the best ones from months past.

I went back through and looked at them from when Ethan was first born until now and same for Aiden and I can't quite believe how much they've both grown and changed in such a short period of time. It really is true, time flies!

Some of my friends are amazed at how organized my photos are. I must say it has taken a lot of time to get them this way - but what a gift to my boys when they are older to have them all in order like this. Gone are the days of thumbing through hard copies and wondering when a particular photo was taken. Isn't technology wonderful???

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Having children has totally brought back the excitement of Christmas and the holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved it, even pre-kids, but here are some of the reasons it's going to be SO much fun this year:

1. Ethan LOVES Christmas lights!

I mean really, what kid doesn't. But when Ricky and I put up lights and garland and decorations all throughout the house last year when Ethan was still a baby, we half expected him to start talking when he saw them just so he could tell us how beautiful they were. Needless to say, that didn't happen. He barely paid any notice. We were kinda bummed, but held on to hope that his reaction to presents under the tree Christmas morning would make up for it. That was another flop. We were definitely more excited than he was - we actually woke a sleeping baby because we couldn't wait any longer. We plopped him in front of the tree and videotaped his (barely there) reaction. And when he wasn't quite getting how to open his gifts, we impatiently ripped them open for him (yes, I know, we sound like the kids in this scenario!) Much to our dismay, he fussed and cried the whole time. We just didn't get it - why wasn't he excited? Then we remembered. We were so wrapped up in having our first Christmas as a family that we neglected to feed the poor child all morning!

This year, however, Ethan's little eyes sparkle the second we flip on the switch with the Christmas tree lights. "Christmas!" he shouts, pointing with excitement. He loves it all. The tree, the lights, the ornaments, the stockings. All things Christmas. Hooray!

2. Seeing Santa Claus.

Aiden is a month older than Ethan was last year (I know...11 months apart...terrifying!) so he is smack dab in the middle of his separation anxiety phase. I don't think he was scared of Santa, per say, but I think it was more the experience of his mommy and daddy throwing him in some strangers lap and running off to try to get a picture. He cried the whole time - but we expected it. We just wanted a picture. Now Ethan was only mildly afraid of Santa this year. He cried at first, but then he just stared at him intently. It looked as if he was scheming to pull his fuzzy white beard.

With a little distraction, and what could be called a small miracle, we got a great photo in which both boys are at least looking in the direction of the camera. Neither one smiled (but if you just glance at Aiden wailing, it kinda looks like he's smiling really big...) Despite the workout we got (we were actually sweating!) and the looks from others waiting in line - we were quite pleased with the way it turned out and look forward to many more visits with Santa in the future!

3. Teaching my children about the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

We've been attempting the whole going to church as a family thing for a while now, but have decided to split the responsibility as it's almost impossible to get two kids under 2 to behave and sit quietly for a full hour (okay, 45 minutes if you leave after communion, but still). So Ricky takes Ethan (and still spends most of the time in the crying room - remember the library post? We're still working on the whispering thing) and I stay home with Aiden. I think God understands.

But Ethan knows that we go to church to see Jesus, to read and to sing. He will point out churches and crosses that we see when we're driving. And when Nana sent the Fisher Price Nativity set in the mail the other day, I took the opportunity to teach him a little more. We set it up and put baby Jesus in the manger with Mary and Joseph on either side. I told him the story of when Jesus was born and about the three wisemen. He loves to play with it and I hear him saying their names under his breath.

Okay, so he may not fully "get it" yet, but if he's old enough to start understanding that "Santa Claus comes down the chimney to bring presents and toys" (yes, he will say full sentences like that...and he's not even two yet!), then I figure it's also time to help him understand why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.


This year will be an extra special Christmas for us. Not only is it more fun now that Ethan is old enough to enjoy it so much more, but we have wonderful families with whom we will share the holidays as well. They keep growing and growing! The adults have decided to forego exchanging gifts between ourselves so that we can focus on the kids - there will be 6 kids at my in-laws on Christmas Eve this year ranging from just over two months old to 6. And the same goes for my parents on Christmas Day - 6 kids from ten months to 6 years old. How much fun will this be?!?!

But more than anything, it reminds Ricky and I of where we were a year ago and how far we've come. Last year a nine month old Ethan sat in my lap with my pregnant belly not giving him much room. We talked about how neat it was going to be to have two children, two boys, to celebrate this holiday next go round. We couldn't have been happier.

Then Aiden was born and our world was turned upside down. It certainly wasn't what we expected, and it took us some time to adjust, but here it is Christmas time once again. Our boys are both healthy and we're so thankful Aiden's surgeries went well. Despite it all, we've been able to turn our world right-side up again. And we couldn't be happier.

I'm addicted to Facebook

That's right. I'm officially an addict. I started out with MySpace - it was a great way to get back in touch with old friends or just be nosy about acquaintences. My mom said I was setting myself up to be stalked by sex predators. My sister told me I was so stupid for having a MySpace account (she was way too sophisticated for that).

Then I heard about Facebook and decided to check it out. I didn't like it - it was so different from MySpace and the layout was difficult to get used to. Besides, I felt like once I had an established MySpace page, it would be too hard to switch over to Facebook (kind of like getting a new email address - you're afraid people won't get the memo). I cancelled my Facebook account and decided to stick with MySpace.

I'm not sure when it happened or why - but I suddenly felt the urge to check out Facebook again. I started to feel like MySpace was so, like, ya know, juvenile. Yes, Facebook was definitely the way to go. I posted the best possible picture of myself (nevermind that it's from 3 years and 2 kids ago) and was on my way, slowly adding friends and updating my "Taryn is" status a couple times a week.

Out of the blue, my sister sends me a friend request. Yes, the same sister who gave me crap about MySpace. I laughed out loud as I confirmed her as my friend. I was her first. A few days later I checked her page again. She had 35 friends! Wait a minute, I only had 27. My too-sophisticated-for-MySpace sister had more friends than me. It was on. I began to message people from high school, grade school, college, my old job, and on and on. My sister was not going to out-friend me! What's become of me?

I now check my Facebook page religiously. I get excited when I open my email to find that so-and-so who knows me from such-and-such wants to be friends. Again. I used to laugh at the frequency with which people changed their status. I mean is it really necessary for people to know that you just changed a poopy diaper and now you are trying to get through last nights episode of Grey's Anatomy on DVR before your kid wakes up? Well, not really, but I find myself typing things as trivial as that on a daily basis. No, make that several times a day. UGH.

Let's face it (no pun intended), Facebook is pretty much the new high school reunion. The only reason anybody ever really wants to go to those things anyway is for one of two reasons: to show off how good you look, how much money you make, or how beautiful your children are OR to find out how good others look, how much money they make or how beautiful their children are. With Facebook, you eliminate the stressing about what you'll wear to the reunion. Instead, you can post pictures that show off only your best side. And if you really want to, you can photoshop the picture to make yourself look 10 pounds lighter (I've never done that by the way ;)

So, yes, if you ask, I'll be your friend. I sincerely love seeing how and what everyone is doing. And if I ask you to be my friend, I promise it isn't just to one-up my sister :)

PS - does anyone know if Dixie's class of 99 is going to have a reunion?

Casts away!

Today Aiden got his remaining three casts off. He was once again such a trooper - only crying a little when they took off the dressing that was closest to his hands/feet. I felt like I needed to reward him by taking him out for ice-cream or something. Still a little too young. Darn.

I'm glad that he had to get the one cast off early because it allowed me to prepare myself for the job of cleaning his hands and feet and applying the dressings. I had all the supplies I needed and had the system down pat. It definitely helped to have two weeks of doing just the one before having to organize myself to do both hands and both feet 3 times daily.

Here are some of the pictures from the doctors office today. Let me remind you all that they are a little graphic - but I guess I'm used to looking at them enough now that I'm not as hesitant to post them as I was the first time around. Please remember that they don't look "normal". And they probably never will. He will have all 10 fingers and 10 toes once all is said and done, but this was just the first stage surgery.

So right now, his left hand has the pinky free; the ring finger and middle finger are still together, the index finger and thumb are still together. The right hand has the thumb free; the index finger is still together with the middle finger and the ring and pinky fingers are still together. Those will all be separated in the second surgery in Dallas in February.

Regardless of how they look, let me just tell you how amazing it is to see your child wiggle his new fingers for the first time. He is already using them to feel all the different textures that he wasn't able to feel when they were all fused and had no finger tips. He loves to put them in his mouth. He plays with his toys. He holds his paci. I would have given a million dollars to get into his head and know what he was thinking the moment the casts came off. I guess the look on his face will have to do.