Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eli's First Birthday Party

Well, we survived it.  Eli's birthday party is over and we all had a wonderful time.  Luckily Eli took a nap about noon and woke up twenty minutes before the party started (yeah, that was our plan, we're that good! haha).  A lot of our family came over to celebrate this milestone and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  Both boys were tired last night but they still didn't want to go to sleep.  Still hoping for more fun I guess!  Zachary loves playing with Eli's new toys as much as Eli does.  I love that about kids, they can make themselves happy with anything.  He got some new outfits (all of which he will be able to use!), a handful of toys and the rest was money for his savings.  He got some new things to play with but it wasn't an overwhelming amount, it seemed just right.  Thank you to everyone who came and/or sent gifts for him.  We've been blessed with so much this year that it's amazing to see it continue. 

Over the past several months we've noticed Eli really seems to like Mickey Mouse so we incorporated that theme with his 1st birthday decorations.  Mamaw Linda (Bryan's mom) made two Mickey cakes, one white and one chocolate.  We put most of his decorations up Friday night after he'd gone to bed so when he got up Saturday morning he was surprised by what he saw in the living room.  It was really cute to watch him check it all out.  His favorite was the balloons.

Here's a few pictures from the party.  I'll apologize now for the few that are sideways.  I changed them on our computer but they still loaded sideways & I can't figure out how to fix them on here.

Eli's "dig into" cake.

My Aunt Patty came from Evansville for the celebration. 

 A look at some of the decorations and gift table.  Our whole living room was
covered in "1" "Birthday Boy" and balloons.  It was fun :)

Bryan's Great-Aunt Donna holding Eli.  He was very good and enjoyed all the visitors. 

The cakes made by Bryan's mom.  She's pretty handy to have around!!!! ;) 

That hat stayed on for about 12 seconds.  We chose an appropriate pacifier
for the day, it said "It's All About ME!"

He LOVED the musical Mickey cards he got.  He rocked back & forth and
bounced up & down with the music.  He also opened the cards over & over and
looked to make sure everyone was dancing.  You can see that his left foot is
moving in this picture. 

I don't know what this face was about but it's pretty cute.  Maybe "I hope
 no one's going to take this from me!" 

Holding his balloon and getting ready to check out his cake
while we sang Happy Birthday to him. 

He poked at it a lot and acted like he was going to lean in & take a bite
out of the cake but always stopped himself.  You can see Bryan off to the
side acting like he'll take a bite. 

 Still working on it.

He got a lot more confidence after we gave him a spoon.  I don't know if he
ate much more but it definitely increased the mess! 

The finished mess. 

After opening & playing with gifts, having his cake, and getting a bath
this was one tired baby!  We have almost the same picture of Bryan holding
Zachary after his first birthday party.   

It's hard to see but his hair is standing on end because he'd played so long with
his balloons.  The woman using the balloons to hide from the camera is Bryan's
grandma Joyce, better known as Granny.  Her hair was standing up a little too :) 

Both boys playing with the balloons.  (and Granny!)

~~ What sweeties!~~

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WC Preschool Halloween Party & Eli's Birthday

Here are a few pictures that I promised:

Cowgirl Momma & her Cat in the Hat

We took the three preschool classes to the high school for Trick-or-Treating.  The little kids did some cute Halloween songs and the middle & high school teachers & kids had candy for them.  It was fun walking through my old stomping grounds!  A lot has changed since I was a student there.

Zachary's definitely one of the taller kids but it was even easier to spot him in a crowd with his red & white striped hat!

A look at the whole outfit.  You can't see the tail in this photo, I'll have to get a picture of that!

There were lots of really neat costumes at school today.  Several princesses, a bunny, a monkey, a lion, a witch, Thomas the Train, a dinosaur, Super Mario, a policeman, a UPS driver, a couple fireman and even an Elvis!  I had a good time with the kids today.  Now I am done for a while!  Today definitely helped remind me that I am not cut out to be a full-time daycare provider, thanks to those of you who can do it :)

When we got home we got to sing Happy Birthday to Eli!  Here's the birthday boy

Reading his card from Mamaw Betty.  The boy has a serious Mickey Mouse addiction.

"Yep, it's my birthday."

A different view of the cheeks.

"Hey, Momma!  Show those people my teeth.  I've worked hard for these things."  He now has four bottom teeth through and his top ridge looks like 5 or 6 could come through at any time.  Poor kid, but he isn't fussy with it! 

We're not doing much today for his birthday.  Bryan will probably have to work late and then he has two softball games tonight.  Saturday is our party day! 

One Year

Wow.  I sat beside Eli's crib while he was sleeping and watched my baby turn one year old.  Isn't it amazing that at 11:59pm he's still 11 months old but one short minute later he's a one year old?  Sometimes that's how I feel this year has been, one short minute.  I'm happy/sad/excited that his birthday is here.  It's incredibly hard to believe it's already been a year, and what a year it's been!  Personally, I think January is going to be a tough month for me because that's when he was diagnosed, had his first surgery and spent most of that month in the hospital.  Right now when we think back one year we remember "It's a boy!" and "Look at those cheeks!"  We remember going to my grandmother's 95th birthday celebration and showing him off.  We had ballgames, a circus, lots of snuggly nights and hugs & kisses.  Our struggles didn't start until Christmas/New Year's, and that timeframe is only in hindsight. 

Eli is very close to crawling.  We had to lower his crib mattress the other night because he's starting to pull himself to his knees in the crib.  Yesterday with his therapist he was pulling himself up using the couch and a little leg support from us.  Over the past week he's fallen to his face & belly several times as he rocks forward and pulls his pelvis off the floor, then he's mad because he's "stuck" on his belly & we have to help remind him that he can roll to his back from his belly.  Despite not crawling yet he's very mobile with his scooting.  He's also got the longest reach I've ever seen on a little guy.  Seriously, his physical therapist talks about his Gadget arms and how far away we have to put things to entice him to crawl, otherwise he'll just reach out and grab it.

Today is Zachary's Halloween party at school.  For a kid who said "we don't need Halloween this year" he is very excited about it!  I volunteered to help and can't wait to see all the cute little ones in their costumes.  I'm going to be wearing one of my Dad's old western shirts and handkerchiefs with cowboy boots & a hat.  Zachary will be very stylish in a Cat in the Hat bowtie, hat, gloves & tail.  We'll get pics on here after we all go Trick-or-Treating this weekend.  Halloween was never something I looked forward to until having kids, now even this Halloween-Grinch has had a change of heart (for the cute stuff anyway!)

Monday night we had a photo session with Mindy Graber, owner of Reflections by Mindy.  She did a great job as always and now we're back to our usual complaint with her work....narrowing down our choices!  If you'd like to see go to and type mgraber in the search box at the top.  When you open her gallery you can find the session labeled Veale and click on that to see the pictures.  We had a blast doing them.  In the past Zachary's not been the easiest to work with when it came to pictures but they were both so good and had a lot of fun. 

Eli's birthday party is on Saturday at two.  Anyone who wants to come wish him a "Happy Birthday" is welcome to come by our messy house & do so!  It's not anything fancy & please don't bring anything, we're just having cake & ice cream & a good time!  Thanks for all the support this past year.  We appreciate all of it and you've all been so good at it that we'll just keep asking for more! ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's His Rhythm?

Eli had a check up today with his cardiologist in Evansville.  This was Dr. Kumbar's first time to see him since surgery.  His oxygen saturation ranged from 87-90% which is probably the highest he's ever been.  A normal person should be over 90% (closer to 100%), but Eli's numbers are very good for his condition.  An EKG showed that his heart is still in the junctional rhythm.  That wasn't what we were hoping to find out but it is what we expected.  For now we won't do anything about it unless he has problems.  Our plan is to follow up with Dr. Kumbar in two months.  The day we see her, one of the cardiologists from our group in Indy will be at her office and we will see both of them.  It works out well that Dr. Steinberg will be there because he's the one who would actually place Eli's pacemaker if/when he gets one.

We've been told by a couple of the cardiologists now that there's not really a reason Eli's heart changed rhythm with this surgery.  The surgery wasn't in the area of the heart that is causing this rhythm so it's kind of a mystery why it has happened.  Because they don't know why it changed, they're not convinced it won't convert (change back) on its own, but as more time passes the chances are decreasing.  If it doesn't convert then our only option is to get a pacemaker.  I don't know anyone who wants their baby to have a pacemaker but we're not too upset about it.  Our view is that with Eli's condition we're going to encounter a lot of problems; we'll save the real worries for the problems that don't have any options.  And of course we'll pray that he converts on his own and that this will never be an issue again.

Good news from the appointment is that we can stop using his Lasix.  So now his medicines are Prilosec (acid inhibitor for the stomach), Aspirin (blood thinner), daily vitamin and antibiotic ointment for the skin around his feeding tube.  He will probably have to go back on Captopril (helps increase his heart function) but for now is staying off of it because his heartrate is low due to the junctional rhythm and Captopril would only decrease it further.

Eli has at least one, maybe two bottom teeth that broke through this week.  None of his top teeth are in yet, but the whole gum line is red and hard so I wouldn't be surprised if his top teeth all come in at once!  He's been sleeping much better lately too (other than a few whiny teething nights).  When we first got home from the hospital he had a lot of trouble going to sleep.  I would have to sit by his bed for a long time (sometimes several hours) until he was in a deep sleep because if he woke up and was alone he would scream terribly.  He didn't want to be held or rocked but we just had to rub his head & back and talk softly to him & he would settle down.  At times it was like he was having nightmares.  I really think babies can suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder.  All that has been better for a couple of weeks.

Thanks again for all the prayers.  If I could be so bold as to be specific in our prayer requests -- for Eli's heart to convert on its own, for continued strength for all four of us, for my brother-in-law's mother who is in the hospital in serious but stable condition, and for Bryan to have a GREAT birthday (10/22)!!!!  Thanks again for all the love & support!