Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Muy Late Halloween Post

I was going to simply forgo yet another catch-up splurge, but after some encouragement and down right rib nudging from our wonderful family I'll take the plunge.

The Halloween season kicked off with some pumpkin carving with our favorite missionaries.  I seriously love these girls to pieces.  We love the elders too, but they weren't in to posing for pictures.

 Eli was most decidedly NOT a fan of his costume.  But he did look adorable (thanks Tawny!).  Out of a couple dozen pictures and a lot of arm-waving and funny faces we managed to get one smiling face picture.  Unfortunately, it was too late for Zach.

 The only real smiles came out at the ward Trunk-or-Treat.  Eli caught on pretty quick that if he flashed his pearly hippo whites and said "Treat!" people would give him suckers.  He could have walked around that parking lot all night.

 Halloween night itself was very traumatic for Eli.  Every time the doorbell rang Mom would give a piece of HIS PERSONAL SUPPLY OF CHOCOLATE to strange children (and occasionally their parents... really?).  He was soon conditioned every time he heard the ding dong to panic and scream. The only way to pacify him was with a sucker and Curious George Boo Fest.

Altogether, I'd say Halloween was a reluctant success.  Less successful is my rationing of leftover candy.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spica Cast Removal Extravaganza

The day Eli got his cast removed was the happiest day of his parents lives.

But no, seriously.  We were beyond excited to have this torture contraption removed.  However, we couldn't get Eli to grasp the concept and he was NOT excited.  Any trip to that doctor's office is BAD NEWS for him.  He started whimpering before we even went into the door.  The only way to soothe him was to watch Curious George in the waiting room.
Most admittedly, the removal process was very scary.  It started with an x-ray (bad memories from his diagnosis), seeing the terrifying doctor again, and then some stranger came into the room wheeling creepy looking machinery.  She made him wear enormous sound canceling headphones and then brandished what looked like a vibrating pizza cutter at him.   To top it all off, the pizza cutter made the same noise as his nemesis, the vacuum cleaner.

Eli endured pure torture as his parents (the betrayers) held him down and the stranger made his whole shell vibrate.  But three minutes later, it was all off.

We realize this picture is gross.  And trust me, it smelled worse than it looks.  But we look at that cast as a fallen foe and we are proud to memorialize the defeat here.

Eli wasn't happy about anything until we got him out of that evil office, but once we got outside he became euphoric and insisted on walking (with help) down the long hall.

As for me, I was surprised that there didn't seem to be any deformity in his broken leg.  Both legs weren't as chubby as they used to be, but I was gearing up for something disturbing looking.  The only gross thing was the all the dead, not-so-clean skin that started just falling off, but one glorious bath later and that was all taken care of.

We had a wonderful weekend after the removal.  We were finally able to take Eli to the pool again, finally bathe him, finally have him sit upright by himself and play with his toys, and finally get back to walking.

Two weeks later, Eli is pretty much back to normal.  He's running, "jumping", and learning to go up and down the stairs like a grown-up.  Our home life has improved so much.  I feel, for this brief time, that mothering this kid is a breeze and I love it.

Thank you to all the friends and family that loved our stinky-casted son and supported us all through this.  We could not have done it without you.

While we were visiting the Judkins we had Zach's professional picture taken by the talented Randy for Kmart's wall.  While he had the camera set up we snapped some shots of Eli too.  Feel free to feast your eyes on the cuteness below.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Survive a Spica Cast Apocalypse

I must admit, when they first let us see Eli in the spica cast, it felt like the end of the world.  Six weeks seemed to stretch out like eternity in front of us and I knew we were in for some tough times.  But lo and behold, we have survived and taken away these nuggets of knowledge:

Make Stations- and get your hands on a bean bag
I really did not want to have to carry my heavy and rigid child around all day.  To avoid this we made little stations around the house that we could transfer him to as needed.  There was a pillow nest on our bed, a bouncer in the kitchen, a bean bag in the family room, and as he got better, a blanket on the floor in the living room.  With two weeks to go we figured out that if we removed the center leg divider from his high chair tray we could squeeze him in there.  Being vertical and strapped in made life easier for everybody. 

Pray for a deadened sense of smell
On our first checkup a week after the incident the doctor told us that the smell should plateau after a week or two.  Sadly, this was not the case.  When it spikes up to the unbearable level, we found changing out the mole skin really helps.  We also tried lavender oil and (out of desperation) Febreeze, but those only last for a few hours.  This is great if you need to go somewhere, but soon it just smells like old urine mixed with lavendar which is somehow worse than the original stench.

Accept your DIY Disaster
All the duct tape on the cast made it look like a Pinterest Fail, but it was the only thing that kept the mole skin from peeling up.  In my experience, Gorilla Tape worked best and looked cleaner.
Feminine napkins are the way to go
It took us a few weeks to figure it out, but a pad on each end of the diaper with one along the top ridge of the cast really helped with the pee-outs at night.  And bonus, they smell good.

Be prepared to look pregnant again
Unless you have some serious core muscles, in order to compensate for the bulky heavy weight that is now your child, you're forced to thrust your hips out forward and lean your shoulders way back, creating a funky S shape.  Avoid wearing baggy shirts or maxi dresses that hang straight down in the back, or you too may be on the receiving end of one of those awkward "Oh, I didn't know you were expecting" comments at church.  From recent experience, there is no graceful way to make that right.

Ex-nay on the grocery cart
It just doesn't work.  However, if you're lucky you might be able to prop them up in the cart with the little car attached.  Otherwise its back to the college days of shopping in the darkened grocery store at 11 at night. 

Just try it
I wasn't sure if Eli would fit in the stroller, but with some judicious stretching of the harness we got him in and it made a big difference to be able to get him (and me) outside and out of the house.  He also managed to sit on a bike (with help) and a few swings at the park.  Any change from the norm is awesome.

Find distractions
Because we live in the Middle of Nowhere, NV we had to make three trips to Salt Lake for Eli's treatments. However we decided to still go ahead with the planned Cabinoference trip we had set up before the apocalypse.  The trips made time go faster and it helped to have family and friends share some of the load.  You guys rock.
Bean Museum
Fourwheeling was barely tolerated

Drawing with Jax and Rod
Duck Duck Goose with his trusty steed, Dad
Sand box with the Rogers- approach with caution. 
River trail swing- probably his favorite thing ever.

Don't give up on tummy time
There were toys that I thought Eli wouldn't be able to use until he got his cast off, but by the end he could really scoot around on the floor and was much easier to entertain.  It gave him a little more freedom to adjust his own positioning as needed and play with his beloved cars and trains again.

Don't flip out when they pull themselves up
It's the weirdest little stance you've ever seen, but its a good thing.  Eli was walking along the couch by the last week and I think it helped the transition a lot when the cast was removed.

Don't make a paper chain
At least not at first.  I made that mistake and was terribly disheartened to see it trailing down on the floor.  It was a great source of excitement when it got shorter though, and Eli absolutely loved pulling off the links at night.

 This too shall pass
 Not since my wedding have I anticipated a date so much, and the last week before the cast removal felt like the longest of my life.  But the time passed, the day came, and now its all behind us.  Forever with any luck.

Eli at the doctor's office before cast removal.  Clearly stoked.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Wrong Trousers: Spica Cast Week 1

 These are the last pictures of Eli B.C. (before cast).  Take a good look at how adorable he is in 
those overalls because it's unlikely he'll ever fit into them again.

 It started out such a charmed Sunday morning.  Eli let us sleep until 8.  We made pumpkin french toast.  Zach watched Eli while I took a shower and I even had time to blow dry my hair.  While Zach took his shower I thought, "it's such a beautiful day.  I'll take Eli outside to try and get some energy out before church."

Such good intentions, right?

Now, between the fence of our backyard and the soccer field behind us there is a small, steep hill with prickly weeds hidden in the grass.  Freshly sprinklered grass. And there I was, trying so hard to step carefully that I inevitably tripped and fell on my bum.  Just a bump.  But when I fell I heard a crack, and then Eli started sobbing uncontrollably.  Not just the "That was scary!" cry, or "Hey!  You bruised my ankle!" cry, but the "Something is wrong and even though you're holding me it's not getting better" cry.

After a few minutes of trying to calm him down and inspect his body (and not seeing anything) he  was still sobbing so we went inside and interrupted Zach's shower.  It took a while to convince him that we actually needed to take him somewhere, but  ten minutes later we were in the car with a still sobbing baby.

Now Elko is not that big, but there is an urgent care near our home.  We walked in, told them we thought he had broken his leg, and because they didn't have the equipment they sent us to the hospital ER.  So we drove there (Eli still sobbing), waited and waited, and then had some x-rays done.  The doctor came and told us that he had indeed broken his leg.


His left femur, in fact.

Double Dang.

And the orthopedic surgeon at the hospital didn't feel comfortable putting on the cast so they were sending us to Primary Childrens in Salt Lake.

Never have I been so tempted to swear.

Luckily we avoided the $20,000 helicopter ride (did I mention that Eli wasn't insured?) and they allowed us to drive him ourselves.  They splinted him up, loaded him up with Lortab and sent us on our way.

 Eli with his other drug of choice: Yo Gabba Gabba. 
 I don't know how we would have gotten through this 
whole experience without it.

We arrived at Primary Childrens 9 hours post-break, at 8 p.m.  By 1 a.m. he had  been inspected, given an IV, cleaned, drugged, and casted.  Because the cast requires you to be absolutely still while they put it on, Eli was put under.  My favorite drug by far came when the nurse came to take him away from me and into the OR.  The anesthetist gave him some Versed to make him forget the separation and calm him down.  It was hilarious.  It stung a bit going in, so he screamed for about two seconds, but then he started stroking his hand with an awed expression on his face and then looked up and Zach and laughed.  And then laughed at me.  And when the nurse held out his arms he went happily to her with his eyes rolling and still smiling.

Post casting, waiting for him to wake up

The car ride home.  He was so high he didn't even mind it.
 This spica cast is a serious piece of equipment.  Below are the front and back shots:

As my dad so astutely noticed, if we put some 
buttons on the front we'd have "The Wrong Trousers".  
Ah, that would be nice.

 After, "What happened?"  The next question out of peoples mouths is "How does the whole diaper thing work?"

Let's just say, it's not pretty my friends.  He already reeks.

We tuck a size 2 diaper up into the hole (accompanied by a maxi pad at night) and then a size 5 goes around the whole thing in an attempt to keep it all in place and catch any leaks.  We try to change him often to avoid soaking into the cast, but really, he's just going to smell bad for 4-6 weeks.  I'm just praying we don't have a blow out.

 The only bright side to this whole experience is that we got to make a trip to Utah a little earlier than expected and meet our cute new nephew!

Welcome to the family Calvin Henry!
 It was hard to come home after having family to help out and distract us, but we're getting it.  It's like having a really big, heavy, bulky, five month-old baby around who is keenly aware of what he's missing out on, and very demanding.  But there is hope.  Just last night he started scooting backwards around the living room floor and managed to roll over once or twice.  There was great rejoicing in all the land.

After this first week I cannot bear to watch another episode of "Dinosaur Train" or even "Yo Gabba Gabba".  I think by the grace of Sesame Street alone we will survive.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cute Baby Blog War

[NOTE: This post was started the morning that Eli broke his femur and I hate to waste it.  We'll catch you up on his recovery in the next post]

Last week my brother and I had a cute baby picture war.  For the record, I won (on a technicality).  I feel like this post is much along the same lines.  For those mothers out there who think their kid is the cutest, that's wonderful.  But to me, MY child is and always will be the cutest thing that ever lived.  I mean, just look at this photogenic pose:
Just ignore that piece of cottage cheese
This move has been a major adjustment for both me and Eli.  The transition to a full-time SAHM is challenging, but I've grown to love it more with every passing week. We are constantly TOGETHER, and most of the time it's just him and me.  As a result, we are tight, like unto a dish.  Sure, there are occasionally days when I'm sure I'm going stir crazy, but most of the time I feel like I just get to hang out with my little man.

I must admit I panicked when we first moved into the house.  Suddenly our days were empty of all structure and our friends and neighbors were no longer a thin ceiling away.  To give us some more constructive activities, I loaded up on crafty supplies and toys thinking that Eli could be entertained for hours with them.

Wrong.  While the markers and paint are a huge hit, they take up a max of 9.5 minutes before they are used for coloring the artist/furniture/floor.  This is usually the point that we go 'side (outside).

It took awhile, but Eli is no longer afraid of water.  Now it's the bomb diggety.

"Sides" (slides- not to be confused with 'sides (outside)) are the highlight of any day.

When we can't go outside I love that Eli is finally getting to an interactive stage with his toys and playing pretend.   Here he is as King of the World (his reality), Clark Kent (also reality), Lord of the "Fiseezch", and a dinosaur in the zoo (roar).

I know that if we can make it to dinner time we are home free.  Evenings are my favorite time with Eli.  I love to eat, and he loves to eat.  I love to give him baths, and he loves to take baths.  I love to hold him and rock him to sleep, and he loves to be rocked.  It's a win-win.

 I love this little goofball. Which is good, 'cause this next month is going to be a looonng one.  Wish us luck!