On the move

As of Monday, we will have officially listed our house for sale. We've been casually looking at houses around Louisville and more recently in Southern Indiana (where we currently live) and found a house that we really like. More importantly, it is in a neighborhood that we REALLY love.

When we started telling people, most were like "What?!? Didn't you all just move to your house 2.5 years ago?" And yes, we did. It was a whirlwind move then and has kind of been the same situation now. We're a bit nuts for doing this with all that we have going on - but we've learned that life is always busy, so we'd be waiting a long time if we waited for the "right time".

What do we have going on you ask? Well, we hosted a surprise party for my father-in-law on Friday evening, looked at the house we want to buy for a second time first thing Saturday morning, had a birthday dinner at my in-laws Saturday afternoon, wrote the offer and listed our house Saturday evening, and Ricky leaves for a business trip Monday. He'll be gone a couple of days, then I leave for a week for a girls trip to Florida. Finally, April is filled with doctor visits prior to Aiden's next surgery which is scheduled for May 6th in Dallas.

So yes, we are busy.

But if this all works out, it will be soooo worth it! The biggest difference is the fact that we are currently nestled on 2.5 acres, and the new house is in a subdivision with a much smaller lot. My husband grew up on a large lot so he was partial to having the land, whereas I grew up in a subdivision where we rode bikes in the cul-de-sac, ran from house to house, and had tons of kids nearby to play ghost in the graveyard at night until our mom's yelled from the front porch to come inside. I knew that is what I wanted for my kids. And we both agreed that our current house wasn't where we wanted to stay for the rest of our lives. We just didn't know that we'd have the itch to move already.

Please keep your fingers crossed that we can sell our house quickly and that the sellers of the other house accept our offer. The new neighborhood has a clubhouse and pool and as the spring/summer approaches, I'm really looking forward to spending time there and to meeting new families with kids. I think this will be a great move for us!

Fingers are for stealing pacis...

We've had a big week here - Aiden got his arm casts removed on Thursday and we can now see, touch, and feel the 10 beautiful fingers that we've waited over a year to see. And hopelessly doubted possible when Aiden was just a few months old as we heard from various doctors that it would be unlikely to get all 10 digits.

Lucky for us, we chose the right team. When Dr. Fearon in Dallas said without a doubt that he could give Aiden all ten fingers and all ten toes - from the tightly fused little rosebud hands and webbed feet he was born with - in our hearts we knew he was right, even if we were a little hesitant to believe. We charged ahead with the surgeries with a positive outlook, although deep in the back of our minds, we both feared that Dr. Fearon may regret his promise. In an effort to not get my hopes up, I may have subconsciously thought "I'll believe it when I see it".

Well folks, just a day after Aiden's 13th month in this world, I was able to see. And believe.

The pictures I shared with you a couple weeks ago don't do them justice. Despite still looking quite a mess from scabbing and sutures running up the sides, these new little fingers are quite an amazing sight. They wiggle. They move. They pick up toys. They hold sippy cups. At only 3 weeks of "age", these fingers do just about everything they should do.

In fact, one of the things they do quite well is retrieve fallen pacifiers from an oblivious big brother's mouth. Normally I don't condone sharing pacis (or stealing them) (or pacifiers outside of naptime or car rides, but that's a different story). But this video captures a special moment only brothers age 2 and age 1 can share. Not to mention that it shows just how amazingly well Aiden is doing with his new hands only 4 days after being introduced to them.

I haven't yet posted up close pics of his hands or his feet. I am going to wait until they are all good and healed. They've waited a long time for their debut. They deserve to look their best. :)

PS - I am a big fan of the web service Stumble Upon - it allows you to discover websites that match any one of the many interests that you designate when you sign up. As I was waiting for the below video to load, I decided to pass the time by hitting the little Stumble button on my toolbar. The first site it brought up was: http://www.empoweredquotes.com/. The topic on the page shown was "Clarity" and the first quote was the following: Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~ Lao Tzu

It seemed a bit ironic and quite fitting to include this quote here. I only hope that Aiden can hold those words close to his heart as he begins to understand the special hands, feet, and life that God gave him. Anything is possible little guy...anything.

**Before playing this or any video you may want to scroll down and find the playlist of music I have included on this site. Click on the pause button to silence the music so that you can then hear the audio portion of the video clips you play.

Meeting Josie

Our family met the Dowd family for dinner last night. The Dowd's are from Detroit, MI and travel to Louisville for their daughter Josie's hand surgeries. Like Aiden, Josie, 3, was also born with Apert Syndrome. We "met" the Dowd's through participating in an online listserv.

This particular listserv is set up for families and individuals who are affected by craniofacial disorders and has been an invaluable resource for my family. I have been able to submit questions about doctors, surgeries, developmental issues, etc. related to Aperts - and receive honest feedback and positive support. Not to mention meet so many nice families and kiddos!

It was great to finally meet Josie and her parents in person. Josie was shy at first, but soon came around and even smiled and posed for some pictures with us! She loved Aiden, and rocked him in his seat or showed him toys to play with. He thoroughly enjoyed it!

We hope that Josie's surgery went well today and that she has a speedy recovery - please keep the Dowd family in your thoughts.

Ethan's 2nd Birthday Party

This past Saturday we headed to Puzzle's Fun Dome to celebrate Ethan's 2nd birthday (which was on March 3rd). Ethan has been looking forward to this for quite some time. Ever since we took him there for a fun day out a couple months ago, he has wanted to go back.

For the week prior to the party, he would wake up each morning and proclaim "Ethan's birthday party today!", but I would have to say, "No, a couple more days...". And finally the day came.
The kids had a blast and honestly, so did the adults! Puzzles has 5 or 6 huge inflatable jumping houses, slides, and obstacle courses, along with a movie room, art room, toddler play area and cosmic basketball court. Even my dad and my father-in-law got in on the fun, scaling a 25ft. ladder to bounce their way down a slide!

Ethan loved his Elmo cake that nana got for him made of individual cupcakes. Although it was immediately clear that red icing perhaps wasn't the best idea for a two year old...

He got some of the cutest gifts from everyone - to name a few, a Step 2 motorcycle, a Kawasaki ride-on 4x4, clothes, Little People magnetic art board, a Sit-N-Spin, and a Melissa & Doug mailbox - which went perfectly with the gift I handmade for him, a felt mail set.

Ethan loves to play with the envelopes I open and discard from bills, cards, etc. He puts them inside the seat of his little ride-on firetruck and pretends to drive around delivering mail. So when I came across this idea on one of my favorite craft blogs, UCreate, I was bound and determined to find the time to make it for his birthday. I think it turned out pretty cute! Click here to see more pictures of the one I made.

All in all, he had so much fun with all of his cousins at his birthday party, and was completely worn out by the end of the day. We all got to come home and take an afternoon nap! Happy Birthday Ethan! I can't believe you are 2! We love you!

McDazzle 2009

Ricky and I were very lucky to be able to attend this year's McDazzle Benefit for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana. Aiden's developmental therapist (and also our friend and neighbor), Jennifer McGeorge, found out about the event last week, made a few phone calls with us in mind, and when inquiring about how to get last minute tickets she happened to be put in touch with a couple that had 2 extra seats at one of the two tables they had purchased!

Jennifer was so excited for us to be able to experience this event as she knows that the RMH is a cause that is close to our hearts. We scrambled to arrange a last-minute babysitter and were so happy when my sister agreed to drive down from Northern Kentucky to stay with our boys for the evening. My mom and my niece ended up coming down as well - as we had rescheduled Ethan's 2nd Birthday Party for the next afternoon and would be coming down anyway.

We were the guests of Seth and Sarah Stewart, although we had never met them before. Seth is on the RMH board, and spoke during the event, talking a little about how his family became involved, why it is such an important resource for families, and then introducing the Snyder family who brought their little boy on stage as they talked about his fight with cancer and the many ways they benefited from the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

There was a silent auction, cocktails, music, dinner and a live auction as well. It was quite an honor to be a part of this special evening, and we want to thank Jennifer for thinking of us and making it happen. We also want to thank the Stewart's for offering us the extra seats and making us feel like welcome guests. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and look forward to the next McDazzle event!

Scrawny little legs and a strong heart

We got Aiden's leg casts removed on Thursday. Once again, it was an amazing experience (I realize I use that word quite liberally, but seriously, Aiden is amazing...). And once again, Aiden was such a trooper. He laid there calm as could be as we unraveled his smurf-blue casts to reveal his made-over feet. Ricky and I were there together as we shared that moment for the first time - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. All ten. Beautiful. Little Toes.

Even Aiden was quite taken aback by his new tootsies. When the final shreds of cast came off, he threw his legs up into the air, pulled his legs in side by side and stared at them, silent, for nearly 30 seconds, followed by a cute little grunt.

With the bulk of his casts removed, I realized that I had forgotten just how scrawny his little legs are. I couldn't wait to tickle his thighs and feel his baby-soft skin. It was...amazing...

To top it off, he got his one-year old shots before we left the pediatrician's office, and was content enough afterwards to accompany me on a few errands before Ethan's party tomorrow. Did I say that he is one AMAZING kiddo? Oh, I did? I'm sorry. I'm just one proud parent.

Then, on to today where we got even more good news. We had a follow-up appointment with Aiden's pediatric cardiologist this morning - and an ultrasound showed absolutely nothing to be worried about. This is excellent (or should I say amazing), for many reasons. For one, a lot of kids with Apert Syndrome also have congenital heart defects that range from life-threatening to just annoying enough to cause an additional worry for the moms and dads. Aiden's heart escaped that fate at all measures. And two, this is now one less doctor that we will need to see on a regular basis.

Aiden continues to defy the odds. Amazing.

PS - I will upload pictures of his feet in a few days - we've got a lot going on this weekend (Ethan's birthday party, attending the "McDazzle" gala benefiting the Ronald McDonald House, etc.) So check back Monday!

Breathing Easy

Aiden had a follow-up appointment with his pulmonologist and it was relief to get some more good news. His lungs sound great and even though he's currently got a case of the sniffles, it proved to be all upper respiratory and nothing that needs to be medicated beyond the occasional Albuterol breathing treatment we've been doing. Dr. Morton even said we can stop giving Aiden the Pulmicort, which was the second of the two meds we administered via a nebulizer on a daily basis. Yippee! The kicker is that he doesn't see a need to have recurring follow-up appointments. We can cross this doctor off our long list - we now only need to see him if and when he has any issues compromising his breathing, which so far, we've been very lucky (knock on wood) to avoid for the most part.

We have also scheduled his next surgery for May 6th. This will be the third and hopefully final surgery Aiden will undergo until he is at least 5 or 6 years old. For the upcoming surgery, we will again be traveling to Dallas and my mom and Ethan will be coming along. We hope to spend a day out and about in Dallas, enjoying our time around the city rather than just seeing the inside of the hospital. Also, We're really looking forward to getting together for our rain-check with the Gorman's and for Ethan to meet their little boy John who is his age.

I will give more details about what this upcoming surgery entails at a later time.

Ethan turns TWO!

It's official - I can no longer say I have two kids under two! Today was Ethan's 2nd birthday. Two years ago today I had my very first baby boy. He was 7 lbs. 4 oz. of pure joy...and now he is 29 lbs. of pure energy (still pure joy too by the way).

He went to his grandma and paw-paw's house for the day so that I could take Aiden to a doctor's appointment (that'll be my next post!) He had lots of fun playing with his cousins while I baked him a yellow cake with chocolate confetti frosting. Then paw-paw brought him home while daddy picked up a happy meal for him on his way home from work.

After dinner we sang "Happy Birthday" and let him blow out his #2 candle. He did it all by himself (a common demand around here nowadays). In true Ethan style, he then devoured his cake as if it were going to get up and walk away if he didn't eat it first.

Finally, to round out his big day, we gave him one of his birthday presents (saving the rest for his party at Puzzles Fun Dome on Saturday). As we brought the Big Wheel into the room - sans wrapping paper - he lit up and yelled "Bike!" jumping around the room. He could hardly contain his excitement as daddy put it together. Unfortun-ately his little legs are still a bit short to actually pedal, but it didn't stop him from pushing himself around the room. He then said, "It's a scooter!" Man that kid is smart :)

Some big "firsts" for Aiden

1. He's getting teeth! Two days before we left for Dallas, Aiden was chewing on my hand as usual and I thought I felt a little bump. I had jumped to that conclusion many times before ("I think I feel a bump - I'm sure we'll see a tooth any day now"...two weeks later, still nothing) so I was hesitant to say anything. Sure enough, the day we were leaving, I could definitely tell it was a tooth about to break through his gums. He's getting the two bottom ones, slowly but surely. I can't quite get a picture that shows 'em yet, but I'll keep trying!

2. He got his first real haircut. And boy did he need it! Aiden has some crazy hair - it's thin, fine, and won't lay flat for anything. We finally decided (just short of plastering it down with some hair gel every morning), that a haircut might help. I honestly don't know why we didn't do it sooner. I think I was reluctant because I was afraid to cut any of what little hair he had (I'm not kidding when I say it's thin!) But I hope you'll agree that it looks super cute... :)