December 27, 2008

ALABAMA!

We usually have Christmas in town and spend some time with my family and Adam's. Well this year we were invited to Alabama with the rest of Adam's family spanning from Virginia all the way down to Florida. They get together every 5 or 6 years and we were on the 6th year so our time had come!!

We had a massive decision to make that wouldn't involve what food to bring, what jackets to wear, or even what presents to buy. We had to decide HOW WERE WE GOING TO GET THERE!! Drive or Fly? Anyone with a toddler knows that a car ride can go from great to torture within minutes. We would be in the car a minimum of 10 hours both ways!!!! The thought of it made me want to cry. I was in complete fly mode, but as we kept checking prices it became clear that the only pilot we would have was Adam. So now do we go during the day or at night? (Should a trip really be this difficult? :))
Day time = many stops and a very awake baby that wants to get up and play
Night time = a very sleepy baby and a small overdose of caffeine for mommy and daddy.

NIGHT TIME! NIGHT TIME! NIGHT TIME!!

Praise the Lord Almighty!! Bauer slept 8 of the 10 hours we were on the road. And when he was awake it was almost like he sat there in shock thinking, "Why am I in the truck this early in the morning? .....Surely this is a dream." And then he fell back asleep.

The entire week was great! There was tons of family, food, and fun!!! The weather was wonderful minus the first day being 18 degrees!!! It warmed up pretty good after that.
The homes were gorgeous. We couldn't help but take a photo shoot with one of them that had a lake at the bottom of their property.
Big thanks to Mitch and Mika for letting 6 family members stay with you!! We had a great time and are so glad we decided to go. It's the first time in a long time that we were ALL able to get together. What a blessing. We love you guys!!

December 6, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Finally Christmas time has come and one of our favorite things to do is watch the parades. Avon Park's was first on the list and it was up in the air as to how the babies would do. We prepared as any toddler mom would with snacks that would last an entire day and sippy's full to the brim. I had recently found a wagon a a garage sale and the kids loved it. So we brought it with us to the parade. For emergency purposes we brought one stroller in case someone tried to escape. I can't even put into words how well they did.
They were in a trance the entire wagon ride (which was about 4 miles - that's another story) and throughout most of the parade. We were a little late in arriving so we had to sprint along side the parade for a while until we met up with Laura. So many people thought the babies were actually in the parade!!! They kept waving to them and, of course, the babies waved right back. Maybe we should have made a sign for the side fo the wagon. We would have fit in a little better. Anyways, it was a great time.
The Sebring parade wasn't quite as crazy. Daddy got to come to this one and we sat with Bauer's friend Hunter. We parked and walked across the street to our spot. Ahh, so much easier. We also got to sit with my grandma and aunt for a little while too.
Much much fun the whole week!!!

November 28, 2008

Gettin' Out Of Town

We loaded up today and headed towards the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. It's free admission for teachers and children under 2. So we paid $0.00!!!! Definitley the best deal I've ever made!!
Bauer loved it. He has taken a liking to animals so it was cool for him to actually see some in real life. His favorite is the alligator. Every time he sees the Florida Gator emblem he says, "Alli". Pretty cute!
The aquarium is more suited for ages 5 and up, but it was still worth going especially since it was FREE!!

November 24, 2008

Farmer Brown

We decided to take advantage of a perfect picture opportunity today. A friend of ours decorates his yard every year for the fall season. We couldn't resist pulling out the overalls and checkered shirts!! I was very worried that Bauer's wouldn't fit. They were size 18 months and he is in nothing but 24 months and above. I'm pretty sure the Lord did some serious adjusting to the seams because normally we would have had to grease him up just to get him in them. Who knows how we would have gotten him out.........scissors??? Thank goodness they fit and worked perfectly.

I have a million pictures, but I'll just share a few.



























Me and my pal Hunter


Ellie and Hunter talkin' some apple business.



Farmer Brown and family!!

November 22, 2008

Cuddling by the fire....

Okay, so there wasn't much cuddling going on, but there were plenty of laughs.

We had a mini-Thanksgiving meal with some great friends this week. The kids chased each other and fought over toys all night. It was great.
After we were finished eating we decided it was a perfect night to take everyone outside and get a little bon-fire action going. Unfortunately, toddlers don't come programmed with a mindset of "fire----hot". Instead, it's "ooooh, sparkly lights-----gimme, gimme, gimme!!"
Nonetheless, we had a good time. Once Uncle Mike got the jungle gym out for the kids they were happy as could be.


November 10, 2008

Just growin' and growin'

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a while and then vanishes." James 4:14

It is amazing how quickly time has gone by. Just a year ago we were introducing foods, starting to roll, and perfecting the language of babble. Now we're climbing into cabinets, running away from mommy, hiding toys in small crevices, eating more than daddy, perfecting the word "no", and playing as hard as possible.
I can't imagine the changes in the next year or so. (I know some of you are laughing right now saying, "oh, she has no idea." :)) I just hope we can make the most of every opportunity and cherish every moment. Even when we feel like we're hanging from a thread. :)

Here are just some cute pics of our little man growin' and movin'.


November 1, 2008

Yabba Dabba Doo!!

Halloween was awesome this year. We decided to have Bauer go as Bam Bam and his friend, Ellie, as Pebbles. OH MY GOSH!! They were adorable. Ellie was struttin' her stuff with her little Pebbles bag and Bauer was giving everyone a little smack with his caveman club. Thank God that thing was filled with cotton!!!

We went to a fall festival with the kids and picked up a few pieces of candy for mom and dad in a neighborhood nearby. :) They had a blast!!
Jen's mom made these costumes!! Thanks so much!

October 19, 2008

Headed Home

Saturday morning we were at the airport by 7:30 a.m. Flight leaves in 2 HOURS!!! Once again, it was time for baby track-and-field through the airport. Praise the Lord we got home safe with excellent news from the docs. Couldn't ask for better! :)
Here are some pics.




This is what we did for about an hour!!





October 17, 2008

Little bit of fun.

Our appt. was only about 45 minutes long (expected to be 2 1/2 hours) but it was going to cost $1000 for us get an early flight out. We can usually get ahold of someone that will make us an awesome deal to switch tickets, but not today. So we decided to take a tour of Fenway Park.

I'm so glad God didn't let us find a way home that night because we would have missed some much needed down-time and a really cool ballpark! :) It was nice to not have to rush rush rush!
That day I feel like God kept saying, "would you guys quit trying to go a million miles an hour and SLOW DOWN!" Oh how much of God's plan and creation we probably miss by trying to keep up with OUR schedule.

We had a blast at the park. We did get a few looks from people like, "who would bring a baby, a stroller, a backpack, etc. on a tour of a park?" We were the oddballs, but Bauer did great. And we got to give a little shout-out for the Devil Rays!! Of course, we were booed shortly after. But we got a little laugh out of it anyway!!

Check-up

We made it to Boston, found our luggage and headed to the doctor's office. I was really excited because we were going to meet a few of the amazing moms that have been such a huge help in our journey with Bauer. Their kids were having their check-ups the same day. We met with the dental team, speech, and Dr. Mulliken, Bauer's surgeon. All had good things say and shared suggestions to help with Bauer's progression.

The dental team said his top 2 teeth are slanted back a little bit, which we knew, and that some of the other teeth will need to be watched. They said the tooth alignment isn't great so there is a little abrasion between the top and bottom. But it didn't seem to be a massive issue at this time.
All the other teeth are coming in at a good rate too. Wonderful news.

Speech team decided since we were in a speech program down here there wasn't any need for services there. Great!

Finally we met with Dr. Mulliken. It is a pure joy to see him and his nurse Dotty. They are just wonderful people and God has gifted them so mightily. It's amazing to think that he had helped every child in that office that day with some of the most intense, complex surgeries. What a blessing to all of us.

He said Bauer's lip and palate looked great. No fistulas!! (holes in the palate) He said the palate looked long too. That's a good thing.
He did ask us to keep using the sunscreen and mederma on the scar as it was still a little red. He wants us to keep massaging as well. What a great report. You just hope and pray that whole first year that you are doing everything right and that you won't hear at his first big check-up, "Oh gosh, what have you been doing????"
So praise God we got really great news. Such a smooth and quick appt. And the best part is we don't have to go back for an entire YEAR!!!! Music to my ears.

In between doctors we were able to visit with the other moms. These ladies have been an unbelievable encouragement and help for us. It was such a treat to finally get to chat a little face to face. Jen and Josh Ford were with their little girl Sydney and Terri Cote had her little boy Jaron with her. Here are some pics.




What a great day!!
"'Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 118:29

Boston Boy

This past weekend we had a check-up appt. in Boston. This one would be a little different than the others for a few reasons. Bauer wasn't having any surgeries. Praise the Lord. We were coming back the next day. And there wouldn't be a million bottles, jars of food, etc. in every possible crevice of every bag we had. Every mom would give a shout of "Amen" to that!!

But the new adventures would include a very mobile child on a plane. There was no second guessing bringing the carseat aboard. I think if we had to hold him through the whole flight the only option for a successful trip would have been duct tape or a retractable harness.
Also, Bauer does well going to sleep in the hotel, but now that he can move and roll all over the place we would have to figure out how to keep him IN the bed. For a trip there and back it wasn't worth dragging a pack and play around.

All this in mind we knew it would be a crazy, fun, interesting trip. We just prayed the Lord would let all go well and get us back safely. Needless to say, God is good!!

We finally arrive at the Orlando Airport around 8:00 a.m. Whew, we made it!!! .............wait a minute. What are we gonna do for an HOUR AND A HALF!!! No worries. Bauer had his own schedule including the following.
1. Climb all chairs and charm the ladies
2. Run from mom and dad because I know they want to chase me.
3. Ask for my sippy and a snack
4. Run some more.
5. Scream a little bit.
6. Climbing
7. Dad catches me........Scream.
8. More sippy please..........Sling sippy on the floor.
9. Running again.
10. Repeat previous list until about 9:20.

As crazy as it was we were happy to let him run because it meant that he would pass out on the plane. He did awesome during the flight. We are so thankful for how well he does.
Here are some pics:

October 5, 2008

Basket Head

I can't wait until Bauer is 18 and his girlfriend wants to see some pictures or video of Bauer. We are so pulling this one out. Usually he hates stuff on his head, but I guess this one fit his big ol' noggin' better than most hats!! :)What a funny boy.

Basket Head

September 20, 2008

Fun in the sun

This morning we had a yummy yummy breakfast with Jen, Tim, and Ellie Bell and afterwards headed to a nearby playground. The playground lasted an embarassingly 15 minutes due to the heat and the fact that our 13 month old children aren't exactly ready to go down the 8 ft. tall slides just yet. The swings were fun, but they only do that for so long. We actually started laughing after a few minutes b/c everyone with children knows that for the amount of time it takes to pack the kids up wherever we're going better be worth it!! Well, when we all started pouring sweat 10 minutes into our adventure we all gave up! "That's it! Pack 'em up! We're out of here!"
So when we got home we had a better idea to let them play in the pools. Praise Jesus for water!! :) I think we'll wait until around December to try the playground again. ;)


September 16, 2008

My Cutie Pies



Adam was tickling Bauer today and he was laughing so hard. It was hilarious.




September 14, 2008

We're still here!!

Some of you may have been thinking, "Stacy must be waiting until Bauer's in kindergarten to post any new pictures." Ha!
I'm really sorry I've been a blog slacker. I shall be updating as quickly as I can!:)

September 12, 2008

Coffee House!

Usually on Fridays we load up the babies and go to Starbucks for some much needed caffeine and down time. This has to be done very carefully. Now that the kids are no longer ground dwellers and walking has become the transportation of choice we can't just sit and watch anymore. We use to able to get away with putting them down and having at least 3-5 minutes before we had to go catch them. Now we have to barricade the entire area. 20 seconds of not watching and someone is getting ready to throw a $15 cup on the floor, putting someone's 3-day-old cookie in their mouth, or just running off into the next store. They try desperately to escape, but to no avail. We had a great time today!


August 30, 2008

Mini Vacation!

Thanks to wonderful friends and family Adam and I were able to get out for an entire day and go to the Gators vs. Hawaii game on Adam's Birthday!!. We were on the 50 yard line!! So much fun!!!

It's always weird not having a baby to change, feed, or comfort for more than and hour. Being the longest and furthest away we had ever been from him I was definitley getting Bauer-sick by the end. All day I just kept thinking about how awesome it would be if he played football and what a complete, ridiculous mess I would be in the stands.
Our wonderful family watched Bauer for us. For the most part he was very good, but by the end of the day I think he was giving them a run for their money!!! We owe them one!! Thanks bunches!!!


August 23, 2008

We've created a monster!!

Bauer's Aunt Jojo and Uncle Mike bought him a Little Tykes playyard. He is an animal on this thing!! He will go up and down the slide 4,000 times before he even thinks about tiring out! The only bad thing is that there isn't a back to it so one of us has to be in front of it and one behind. We have to stick it in the garage when not playing on it. It's either that or put in an electric fence. :)

He's so stinkin' cute!!!







August 20, 2008

Ellie is 1!

Bauer's best friend Ellie had her first birthday part this weekend. It was adorable. I don't think the boys quite new what to do with flowers and pink everywhere, but you better believe they had a great time. Between the pool and taking all of the pink flowers out of the ground they were lovin' it. Now they are officially all TODDLERS!!!

August 1, 2008

It is amazing how quickly Bauer has grown. We were looking at old pictures of him at about 2 months of age and it almost brought tears to our eyes. Everyone kept warning us that time flies faster and faster as they get older. That first month when we were delirious with lack of sleep we couldn't imagine why it would be bad for the time to "fly". But now it's crazy with him going to "big boy" school and watching him change every day. He's is talking constantly, running all over the place, and usually eating more than Adam and I.

It's amazing. We're so blessed to have such a handsome, wonderful little boy.

July 30, 2008

Busy Boy!

Well, Adam and I are back at work now so Bauer is experiencing his first run of daycare. He loves it. By the time I pick him up he is usually the sweatiest one of the bunch. He has a blast. I can't say that he's crazy about me leaving him in the morning, but after about 2 minutes he's fine. I almost peed in my pants when he brought home his first coloring project. I think I counted 5 crayon marks. I guess those were the only ones lucky enough to actually hit the paper!! It was hilarious. I plan on framing it!!










July 29, 2008

Mr. Gardner

Bauer discovered the waterhose the other day. Day kind of went like this.......... Pick up hose, hold it in air, water runs into his face, he cries, realizes he not drowning, and then do it all again. I couldn't help but laugh. :)

July 28, 2008

Pow! Kerplam!! Splat! Bam!!

I hope all true original Batman fans recognize the reference being made in the title of this post!
I know lots of you are going to see the new Batman movie, but you haven't seen anything until you've seen this...........................................................................................



Birthday Bash!!

What a great day!! We decided to throw Bauer a monkey-themed birthday party. For some reason when he was about 6 months old he fell in love with monkeys. We're just hoping he isn't pleading for a real live chimp by the time he's 5!!
All of the kids had a blast. We couldn't believe how well everyone did. Usually with 8-9 babies all under the age of 18 months there tends to be that inevitable "melt down" period. Not today. They were awesome. I think they were so busy with the pools, toys, and food that they forgot nap time was way overdue.


After an hour or so of playing outside the moment of truth had come. It was now time for .....................THE CAKE!! Up until now Bauer really hadn't had a large portion of pure sugar in any of his food. Well, that was all about to change. Adam spent the morning before preparing Bauer's first cake. I must say I was very very very impressed.


When we set it in front of Bauer he just kind of stared at it like, "hmmm, I wonder if I'm going to get in trouble if I touch this thing?" But once I took some and put it in his mouth, it was ALL OVER!! The monkey had met it's match! Soon he was just as happy with feeding it to everyone else too!


We are so thankful for everyone who came out today. We had a fantastic time and we hope you did too. Thanks for everything! We are incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.

July 17, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Wow! An entire year has already gone by!! Crazy crazy crazy!! It's amazing to think what God has brought us all through in just this first year. We were flipping through pictures the other day and the change that's taken place as Bauer has grown is incredible. He was such a skinny little squirrel for the first month and then it looks like we started giving him creatine with every meal. :) ha! We are so thankful for how well he has grown and how easily he's adapted to all his different feeding methods. A lot of cleft babies don't transition so smoothly. He's always been in the 90th percentile or higher in every measurement which, again, isn't typical of cleft kids.


Just in the last month his personality is starting to shine brighter than ever! He has the gentle sweet side with hugs and kisses and then his 110% boy side comes out and the next thing you know you're being smacked in the head with a book or bottle. If we have another boy it's gonna be a constant battle of "Rock'em Sock'em Robots".

We've learned a lot about him this past year, but probably more about ourselves and who God is helping us become. We've learned to lean on God in so many different areas. When we thought we were patient enough, strong enough, or even smart enough on our own we quickly realized that leaning on Him was the only way we were going to make it. I'm a "fixer" by nature and sometimes I remember getting so frustrated because I couldn't fix the problem at the time. And God started heavily laying on my heart that I can't always fix it on my own, sometimes nothing is even broken-it's just inconvenient, and I'm not a failure for being unable to fix it - that's what He's there for. We realized after a while that babies are babies and they do what they do without a clear explanation on how to make things better. It's pretty much a combination of patience and trial by error.

Here's a picture of him the day he was born and exactly 1 year later. Doesn't even look like the same baby!!



Do you see what I see?

We've had a lot happenin' over here at the Smehyl house. Talking, Eating, Sucking, and now...........................................WALKING!! Oh yeah, that's right....watch out world .......... Here he comes!! It took a while but he finally has figured out that he doesn't need to cling to the couch, walls, mommy, daddy, or anything to keep himself standing. He's also noticed how much more convenient this whole walking thing is. He escapes faster, can run away within seconds, and we especially love him getting into the bathroom and eating toilet paper.

All cabinets are bolted shut, hallway doors are closed, and we are on constant watch for anything laying around that he can put into his mouth. Yesterday, that something was a crayon which was nearly followed by a recipe he tore from a book. Today it was a new mustard bottle and relish I bought at Publix!!

He definitely loves his new set of wheels and is making us so proud every day. It's really cute watching him waddle from room to room like a little penguin. I just praise the Lord we don't have to keep lifting 26 lbs too much longer!! :)

Do You Hear What I Hear???

Oh I never thought we would be so excited about saying this, but Bauer can finally suck!!! It's by far one of the sweetest sounds he's made since birth. :) We've been slowly backing off on how much we cut his sippy cup nipples. One day he finally made some suction sound and has made improvement with every meal, but about a week ago we gave him a completely normal sippy with a brand new nipple and he totally figured it out!!! God is so good. His palate is not only repaired, but it's finally functioning properly too. Music to our ears!!! To think that he was born with a massive whole in the top of his mouth and within a year he is totally sucking from a regular nipple. So awesome. It's funny how the little things in life get you the most excited!! Praise the Lord!

July 14, 2008

Aaahhhh! A week away from home!

Oh my goodness it was so nice to get away for a few days. Adam had a conference down in Marco Island and family members were able to come too. So you better believe we packed up everything and headed down for a nice little vacation. Of course, anyone would have thought we were going to Europe for 6 weeks with what we packed, but that just goes with the territory of traveling with a baby.
We had a great time. Sleeping is comical on these trips. Once the baby is asleep everyone in the room is on stealth mode. Everybody knows if the baby wakes up someone is going to get hurt. :) So we all just lay quietly in the dark like prisoners hoping to fall asleep at a decent hour. So funny. Bauer slept good most nights, but a couple times the rooster crowed WAY too soon. He would wake up and you just see this little head pop up out of the crib and then he spots us. At that point it's over!! There is no hiding. HE KNOWS WE'RE THERE!! It was cute. Much cuter around noon the next day than at 2 a.m., but nonetheless it made us laugh.
Sunsets were great, water was perfect, and the pool was huge. Bauer had a blast. He is now obsessed with pointing to every bird that flies by. He points and says "bi bi".
We were also able to go the Naples Zoo. It rained shortly after we arrived, but Bauer got to see some actual live monkeys!!! His favorite animal.

Ellie's Big Day!

Adam and I were blessed to be a part of Miss Ellie's Christening on June 22nd. As you can see she was so sweet in her little white dress. Just think mom and dad, in just a few years that will be a wedding dress!! ha! By the way, I think I caught Bauer winkin' a few times. Little flirt!

June 19, 2008

WATER DAY!!

The babies had a blast today playing in the water. Of course, Ellie crawled all over the place and Bauer stayed in no more than 2 spots the entire time. It's almost like watching a grizzly bear and a butterfly play together. Hilarious. I expect at any moment we'll look over and Bauer will be bench pressing Ellie.
By the way, I bet you can't guess who owns all the fun toys today? Here's a hint.......IT'S ALL PINK! :)

Smehyls = 4

Bauer wanted to announce he will be a big proud brother very soon!!! Yep, THERE'S A BUN IN THE OVEN!! We found out about a week ago that the Lord has blessed us with another little life. We're both very excited and anxious. The doc says we're about 5 weeks along so it's still really early. Just praying the Lord will keep the baby healthy and that everything over the next 8 weeks fuses together perfectly. The lip and palate finish fusing around 12 weeks. We know the Lord will provide for whatever happens, but still praying for wholeness.

Is there something on my face?

Bauer is trying all kinds of new foods. He will pretty much eat anything you put in front of him. Actually, he'll put anything he can pick up in his mouth -- grass, dog hair, sticks, mulch, carpet fluffs, newspaper, receipts, magazines, etc. etc. We constantly have to keep an eye on what he has in his hands. Usually, if it's something he knows he shouldn't have he'll try and turn his back to us as to hide the evidence!! It's pretty funny!
Today he was eating some blueberries and we couldn't resist snappin' this shot!!

June 16, 2008

A new playpen!

Well, we thought about buying Bauer a playpen soon, but it seems he found something he likes better!! I wanted to toss him into a bowl of sanitizer when I saw this, but it was too funny not to take a quick pic!!

Clean Ears!!

We took Bauer to his Ear, Nose, Throat specialist, Dr. Cotter, last week in Orlando to check on a recent infection and to have his hearing checked. There was concern that his ears were still red after a week on antibiotics. After examining they also noticed his eardrums had perforated on both sides which explained the load of drainage over the last 3 days They decided Bauer needed tubes put in ......................................THE NEXT MORNING!!

The day before the doctor had an emergency surgery twenty minutes before we arrived so we didn't get to have Bauer examined. One drive to Orlando. They felt bad for making us drive so far and cancelling so the next day they were able to get us in. Now 2 trips to Orlando. So when she said "he needs to go ahead and have tubes put in TOMORROW" I've never wished so badly that I had my pilot's license!! ;) She said the palate probably isn't functioning 100% yet so that's probably added to the build-up and infection. It needed to be removed quickly.

We're just so thankful that we found a great doctor who's worked with cleft children. It's what was best for Bauer. We would have driven to Miami if needed, but 3 trips back and forth to Orlando in 3 days was a little crazy. Praise the Lord Adam and I were both able to make it and Bauer got the help he needed.

The surgery lasted about 20 minutes. Bauer came around the corner on his bed drinking a sippy cup. He was good to go! We couldn't believe how fast it was. The doctor said there was a massive amount of stuff in his ears. The best news of the whole day was that the perforations had already healed over. Praise praise praise. We're so cautious with Bauer's hearing. We don't want to do anything to cause any permanent damage.
I wondered a few times over those 3 days if we did the right thing in March by not putting the tubes in, but we both felt at peace with the decision and we can't change it now. The Lord knew what was coming and he allowed us to get the help we needed when we needed it.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27




Hide n' Seek!

One of Bauer's favorite toys is now my cell phone. He was playing with it the other day and I couldn't find it anywhere. One second he's got it in his hands the next I'm looking everywhere but in the toilet. I used Adam's phone to call it and we were looking under, around, and in everything. We finally spotted it and busted out laughing.
See if you can find it.

Daddy's little football man!

Bauer was so stinkin' cute in this jersey. We are NOT Dallas fans, but I couldn't resist putting it on him. Such a handsome little man.


My buddy's birthday!

Saturday, June 7 was Hunter's birthday party. Bauer had a rough start and needed a nap, but he came back towards the end and had a great time. Uncle Mic and Aunt La threw a great party and we loved the western theme!! It's so crazy to think our "babies" are already a year old.


June 4, 2008

My Bestest Pink Friend

Bauer's friend Ellie came over and played today. It's so funny watching them. Ellie is as fast as lightening when she crawls and Bauer just waits until she gets close enough and snatches her in. Since Bauer is more like a cement block Ellie likes to use him to crawl up on. When Bauer tries doing that it's like a bear climbing a flower.
Bauer loves playing with Ellie Bell! He also refers to her as the pink friend. She is always dressed in something sweet and pink!! So cute.


May 21, 2008

Blue Man Group

For Mother's Day Bauer bought Adam and I tickets to Blue Man Group in Orlando. Such a sweet boy!! ha! :) It was awesome. If you haven't been you need to make time and go. We ate at Margaritaville beforehand and we both gave it a 10!!! Halfway through the night we realized that it was the furthest away and the longest time spent away from Bauer. We pretty much talked about him the whole time, but really enjoyed getting a night away. It was fun going on a REAL date again!!

CHOKOLOSKEE BOUND!!

Adam and I have been dying to get back down to Chokoloskee and go fishing. We finally decided to go ahead and go with Bauer and just see what happens!! It's not exactly a beach resort and there isn't much for little people like Bauer to do. But my grandma said she would watch Bauer and we could go fishing with our friend, Redmond, for the day. Oh man, are we glad we went. It was so nice to get away from the house and get out of town for a while. Very refreshing!! Plus , we caught a good amount of fish and saw tons of wildlife, porpoise, sea turtle, shark, & stingray. We had a great time.

May 20, 2008

Praise the Lord Our Shepherd, Provider, and Healer!!

We have finally reached the long awaited day!! On
May 7th we were exactly 6 weeks post-op. YEAH!
YEAH!! YEAH!! Now Bauer is officially recovered! It's estimated that after surgery each week that passes allows for 15%-20% further healing.

It's neat to think that Bauer's palate is pretty much like ours now. He went from a gaping whole in his mouth to a completely closed off palate like anyone else's. It won't function fully for another couple months, but everything is in tact as if it were never cleft. There is a tiny pin-sized whole on his uvula, but they pretty sure it will close on its own.
He will have to go through some muscle/speech therapy to really get everything moving properly, but he's doing great even now.

We're going to start working more on his ability to suck from the sippy cups too. Right now he's still munching on the cut nipple with the Nuby Sippy. He bites down and liquid comes out much faster. Every now and then you'll hear a little suck, but it's not consistent simply because he's never been able to do it. Hopefully, he catches on quickly and we can be on a regular sippy cup by mid-summer.

All in all the 6 weeks post-op with the palate wasn't too bad. We were on constant eggshells with any objects put in his mouth and staying away from certain foods, but it definitley wasn't as strenuous when dealing with the cleaning aspect like with the lip.
It's been incredible how God has guided us through every step, provided all we needed through family, friends, finances, and more, and definitley brought a healing to our son through the miracle of medicine. We still don't know why all of this happened. We may never know, but we have had to trust Him in a way we never have before. I pray when dealing with future surgeries and times of need with Bauer we will remember how powerful God worked and is working in our lives and that He will continue to do so day by day.

May 16, 2008

AQUA BAUER!!!

Bauer has enjoyed his bath since day 1 so we were so excited at the chance to get him into a full-size pool. This past weekend my uncle came in from Oregon and my family all stayed at Longboat Key for the weekend. It really is hilarious the amount of stuff we pack for just a day at the beach!! Here's a brief list:
* stroller/backpack carrier
* exersaucer - just in case he hates the pool
* fun floating boat
* random amount of toys
* sunscreen (50+ - Ultra-block-out-everything-but-the-bacon baby sunblock) - If he has my skin he could come back looking like a little tomato!!
* Sand toys - just in case he has a sudden urge to build a sandcastle !?!
* Enough clothes to last 3 days
* Little Swimmer diapers - no surprises in the pool please!!
* Baby Food, Baby snacks, Bibs, Formula, Juice, Sippy Cups
* BABY



Anyone with a baby knows any car ride past an hour can be really smooth or really loud. But Bauer did great and didn't start getting fidgety until we were about 10 minutes from the hotel.


He had an absolute blast in the pool and loved watching the ocean waves. It was too cold to get in and play. He and daddy are quite the water acrobatics team!!

May 12, 2008

SEE YA LATER BRACES AND HELLO NEW FOOD!!

We're getting closer and closer to that magic "6 weeks" window. I called Bauer's nurse today and she said he could start munching on pieces of toast this week. We have to wet it a little bit with water and smash it down so it's not so coarse. Bauer loved it!! Even though we have the "okay" to do it we still find ourselves being extremely cautious. I just have this fear of his palate being ripped open even though I know deep down that it would take more than a piece of wet toast to do so.

We we're also given permission to take his arm braces OFF FOR GOOD!!! Praise Jesus!! Here lately Bauer had figured out how to dismantle the braces on his own. I would always laugh when we would be in the car and all of a sudden I hear the ripping crunch of velcro straps. A couple seconds later I would see an arm brace being swung around in the air in the rear view mirror. I couldn't exactly put the car on auto-pilot and fix them so I just prayed he didn't find anything other than his fingers to chew on.

The only way we could get them to stay on overnight was putting them under his long-sleeved pajamas. You've got to look for a certain sleeve too. Some sleeves are almost too tight for their arms much less any type of brace. Sometimes it's sad watching him have to sleep with those things, but it has to be done and he really doesn't seem to mind it. It's amazing how the babies adapt so quickly.

May 9, 2008

Jail Time!

Today I looked over while Bauer was playing with his toys and saw this:

I think he was slightly irritated that instead of helping him bust out I took time to find the camera!!







Takin' his motorcycle and cell phone out for a drive!!

Actually, he looks like he's saying, "What, what.....I didn't do it!!"







WE JUST LOVE THIS BOY!!!

Those two bottom teeth will make anyone fall in love!!:)

May 5, 2008

Piggy! Piggy!

We are so excited that Bauer can start eating new things. Today we gave him a little bit of banana in one of those mesh baby feeders . You stick any type of soft food inside and the baby just bites and sucks on it. We started with a little bit of banana and by the looks of his shirt you can tell "a little bit" turned into the ENTIRE BANANA!! He loves that thing. Anytime I would take it away to refill it he would just start screaming and shaking like he was going into withdrawals. I kind of do the same thing with Krispy Kreme donuts so I can't blame him. :)



The feeder also allows mom and dad to have 10 minutes or so to eat dinner. Gosh, who ever thought I would be happy with 10 minutes to eat? Actually, I don't know that it would qualify as eating. It's more like shoving as much food in your mouth as fast as possible with hopes that it will last until the next meal! You gotta laugh!



Little Hams at the Hammock!!

Today Bauer went to the Hammock with his buddy Hunter. I have a feeling Adam and I have a little daredevil on our hands. He loves being outside. I'm thinking about just creating a permanent rock wall in the living room. With all the other random baby stuff in there it's not like you would notice it!! :) It's turned into a huge toy box!!


The boys had a blast. They make us laugh so much every time we do something. Though we came close to death climbing up the slide holding babies Aunt La and I had fun too!!



May 2, 2008

NEW SOUNDS!!

You will be amazed at the new sounds your little one will start making within no time. Consonants and vowels come to life and even the pitch and timbre of their voice changes. As the days passed we could tell Bauer was realizing he could manipulate his mouth more and more. He is constantly playing with his tongue against the roof of his mouth. His laugh and scream have always been loud, but now it's getting louder and higher!!!
We are excited to get started with the speech therapy. I can't imagine how much more he'll be able to do after that. The surgeon has told us several times that if the babies are in a speech environment early on that their abilities should be close to 99% normal by school time. We may try and look for a therapist that specializes in cleft children, but for now we are going to use our local resource, EARLY STEPS. Check your area for early intervention teams. It makes a huge difference for your child. I've been around kids who didn't get the therapy they needed and even at 5 years old you could barely understand what they were saying.

Today he was watching me chase Gator and for some reason thought it was hilarious!!

Mmmmm! Good!!

Now that Bauer can eat solids without shooting them through his nose :) we're trying all kinds of new stuff. I think I've mentioned before that there is an eating schedule the hospital will give you before checking out. It shows what and when your child can eat. Anything thin and pourable is allowed within the first 10 days. We didn't really try much other than milk, pedialyte, and apple juice the first week or so . Didn't want to chance any food getting clogged on sutures and stuff. But at this point we were about 3 weeks post-op so he was eating and loving most things..............................................MOST THINGS!! HA! :) :)

May 1, 2008

IN THE SUN HAVIN' SOME FUN!!

We've spent the last couple of days on outside adventures!! Highlands Hammock State Park is near our house and we decided to make a day of it. I found this bike attachment at a garage sale before Bauer was born. He really liked it until about half-way through the ride. The peaceful, calming ride outdoors turned into a screaming baby and mommy peddling like Lance Armstrong trying to get back to the truck. I'm just glad his cry for help didn't attract any momma bears!! :)



I don't think the seat is made for little ones under a year. I think he was just getting super uncomfortable.
After we finished our record-setting speed ride we had some rest time on the benches. It was such a beautiful day!!




Boys Boys Boys

Bauer was so glad his friend, Hunter, stopped by to say hi today. He is one of Bauer's best buds. They just start laughing when they see each other. It's like they're thinking, "Oh man, I don't know what your name is, but I know I've seen you before!"

Hunter is much more mobile than the Bauer man. He will bounce and crawl all over the place. Bauer just sits and waits like a venus fly trap until Hunter gets close enough to grab and he pulls him in. People always say, "work smarter, not harder!" ha! ha! That's what I like to think he's doing anyway. HA!!

Beware the Power of Bauer!!

We call Bauer's arm restraints his POWER BRACES. When you purchase these go ahead and get at least 2 pair. Now that he is eating solids they get dirty a lot faster. After the first surgery he wasn't eating all the fun colorful, stinky stuff so we didnt' need to worry to much about it.

But now he ends up smashing all kinds of yummy fruits and veggies into the cloth.

Also, some babies may be moving and crawling by now. It's amazing what these things pick up off the floor.


1ST HAIRCUT

Bauer's lovely locks are starting to not look so lovely. Adam has trimmed it a few times, but it's always a jack-in-the-box surprise as to what it will look like the next day. Could be spiky. Could look like he was electrocuted. Who knows. So we decided to let the professionals do their job.

We took Bauer to Adam's barber. And though he does a great job, it's a little different when a squirming 8 month old is in your chair. I think the man was just praying, "God, please, don't let me send this kid home with one eye!!" I was praying, "God, please don't let Bauer look like a blind man cut his hair."
Thank goodness both our prayers were answered :). Well, for the most part. The front of Bauer's hair was cut at about a 30 degree angle. But you can't really blame the barber. Bauer wouldn't hold still long enough to let him even it out. Oh well. It's still pretty cute.

April 22, 2008

So Proud!!

On the way home from the airport Adam and I just took a huge sigh of relief. We almost couldn't believe it was finally done. I remember in August crying and thinking how far away surgery was and feeling like it was never going to be over. The last 8 months of our lives have definitely been incredibly crazy, but we've finally arrived at the "end of the tunnel". At least for a good while. We look back and can't believe how the Lord abundantly provided with finances, relationships, doctors, hospitals, transportation, hotels, support from family and friends, and such a beautiful, strong little boy.

We are so proud of Bauer. He has taken everything that has been thrown at him and done so well. I've said many times how amazing it is the strength the Lord gives little ones. I know he will never remember everything that has gone on, but we will. We'll never forget how humbled we've been by his courage and determination and the flood of grace and comfort God has placed over our family.



The Lord has blessed our lives so much in one of the most difficult times we'll ever go through. I remember when Bauer was born feeling like all the joy had been sucked out of us. "How were we going to get through it? What was God doing? Why?

Amazingly, we've grown closer as a family and have come to see Christ and His promises take hold of our hearts and lives. If I've taken anything from this time it's learning to honestly and completely trust what God says. He DOES have a plan for our lives. He IS in control. He ISN'T going to leave us. If He can guide us step by step through this, He can handle my day to day stuff just as well.
He doesn't only want to be there for me in times of need, but with every breath I take. He created us and will always take care of us. He calls us his children for a reason. As a FATHER and SAVIOR He's there in the good, the bad, the ugly, the fun, the miserable, and any other day and night that comes 'round. The Lord said, "I'm the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8

We are no more special than anyone else. Our situation isn't any more important than what you may be going through. We just want you to be encouraged and know that whatever the Lord allows in your life He will also supply all you need to get through it. It's not always the smoothest or easiest road. Definitley not one I would choose or even agree with sometimes, but know that He will walk beside you the whole way even when you feel alone.
Praise the Lord for His perfect unconditional love. We wouldn't have gotten through this without Him.

So Proud!

We had our post-op appt. today. Dr. Mulliken said everything look good. He saw a small amount of food that was stuck to the palate and reminded us to flush the mouth with water after every meal for the first 4 weeks. Sounds easy, but Bauer hates it!! We'll do the best we can.

We were so excited to find out we won't have to come back until NOVEMBER!!! YEAH!!

I asked about the other possible surgeries and orthodontics procedures. Dr. Mulliken kind of smiled and said, "You don't need to worry about any of that right now. That's years down the road." Part of me was comforted by that. The other part was stunned that I wouldn't have to plan plan plan for a while. We've just been in such issue-fix-recovery mode that it's hard to relax for too long. But we really are excited to know that we don't have to plan for anything big for at least 3 or 4 years. BIG RELEIF!!

These are some pics of our last night, post-op check-up, and GOING HOME!!


BEFORE AND AFTER

Bauer was having a small scream fest today so we decided to make the most of it and get a good picture of his palate. It is amazing the difference. I still can't understand how in the world this is done. This surgeon (Dr. Mulliken) has been given a miraculous gift from God. It's neat the individual gifts and abilities the Lord gives us.

April 17, 2008

Trying to get home early!

Okay so we found out our post-op check up appt. was moved up a day and we didn't want to stay in the hotel any more nights than necessary. So I called the airlines and some woman said it would be about $400 for all of us to get an earlier flight. Well that made our decision real easy. Another night it would be.... Then my grandma suggested to call again and see if someone else will give us any other options. I called back and told this girl Linda about our situation and that we would love to try and get Bauer home sooner than later. With really no questions she said, we'll let me see if I can work some magic. Next thing I know she says, "Okay, flights are changed for all 4 and I hope your son does well. Have a wonderful day." I couldn't believe it. NO COST FOR ANYTHING!!!! God just continues to supply all we need and more. Awesome!

Out on the Town!!

We had a good time today. The weather was great and we found a huge mall to stroll around for a couple of hours. They have a massive Children's Museum up here in Boston too, but I think we'll take Bauer when he's a little older during an annual visit or something.
He did so good. Took the sippy all day long, napped in the stroller, and had a great time people-watching. We're very excited we get to go home soon.

Will they ever eat?

After last night Bauer is now eating on a more regular schedule. Don't be discouraged if your child is reluctant to take in their normal about of food. It would probably amaze us to know how tender their little mouths are. I remember with the lip surgery it took about the same amount of time for him to start eating. Like I said before, you don't want them to dehydrate, but they will eat when they can. YOU WILL FIND A WAY TO FEED THEM!! Some babies only want the spoon. Some the spoon and sippy. Some the syringe and spoon. Who knows. I even had a friend of mine say they used a paper cup pinched together pouring it into his mouth. Some parents like the Ross Nipple too.

I will say that we were very glad we had Bauer completely on the sippy cup before going into surgery. So he was familiar with it and that was his new official way of eating. If you have time I would highly recommend getting them off the bottle before going. It will be one of the most frustrating things you ever do. I lost count on how many times a day I had to pray for patience, but it's totally worth it.

Some families don't have time between the lip surgery and palate. Another friend of mine had her daughter's lip done in late January and the palate in March. So she only had about 2 weeks to work with after the lip healed. That's just not possible. But I think she finally took to the Ross Nipple and did pretty good. Bauer was never crazy about the Ross. It lets liquid out way too fast for him. But some babies love it.



We had to remember advice some people gave us: JUST TAKE IT DAY BY DAY.

April 16, 2008

Sweet Lord Help!!!

Last night was one of the worst nights Bauer has had in a long while. He decided to get up at 11:00, and stay up crying until about 2:00 a.m.!!!! It turns out his appetite had kicked in and ate at 11:00, 12:00 and 2:00. I'm shocked his stomach didn't explode, but by 2:00 a.m. I would have given him a Twinkie if it meant he would sleep. I'm sure you've all been there too. After that he slept until about 6:30 and then was up for the morning time.


He slept on the floor by our bed so we were always careful to not make ANY noise. When we would finally get him settled down for 5 minutes I didn't breathe enough to make the sheets move. And every time he would start to make a little noise I would freeze and slam my hand down on Adam so he wouldn't move either. My poor husband. He really must love me. :) But I had to. Once Bauer saw the we were in the room he wouldn't give up until we picked him up and cuddled. At one point I thought, "That's it! I'm sleeping in the blow-up bed with him." So I laid there with my legs hanging off and my arms all crushed up underneath me. Someone would definitely be getting me up with a crow bar the next day.
But I ended up having to get back in bed because Bauer thought it was play time!!!
He was having a blast. Smiling, laughing, rolling all over the place, grabbing my eyes, lips, hair, blankets, etc. He clearly had forgotten that complete darkness meant "time to sleep"!!!! Thank God that the Lord never sleeps! Because neither were we and He would hear our prayers. :)


Sometimes I would get him to sleep and as soon as I put him down he would wake up crying. I decided I would just hold him all night if I had to. If only I were an elephant and could just sleep standing up while holding him!! :) He was still kind of frazzeled from the surgery and probably in a little bit of pain even with the medication and just wanted Adam or I to be there.

So we switched spots with my grandma in the living room and she took the bed. I slept in the chair as long as I could with him on my chest. As uncomfortable as it was I loved every minute of him wanting to lay there. He's never been a big cuddle bug so it was a really sweet time in some insane way. But after I lost feeling in my legs from having them propped up so long I slowly put him down on the fold-out and tried to get a little shut-eye. I think I was able to at least shut one eye and then everybody was up again! The Bible says "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." 2 Peter 3:8. I was definitely feeling the "day is like a thousand years" part. Ha! Ha!
Once Bauer was up for the day my grandma watched him for a few hours so Adam and I could go back to bed. Wow. I'm exhausted just recapping the whole ordeal. But again. When looking back. You have to laugh.

VERSE FOR THE DAY:

"He gives strength to the weary." Isaiah 40:29

SLOBBER!

BUY PLENTY OF BIBS AND
BURB CLOTHS!!!!

After the surgery the babies have lots and lots of drainage. At times it would almost be easier to just have a bucket hung around his neck! :)

Nope, that's not a string hanging out of his mouth!!!

Even with slobber he's soooooo handsome!!!

Sleepy Sleepy!

We bought Bauer a little blow-up bed for this trip. It's made to where the baby can't roll out. We tried it out once at home and Bauer was not impressed. But unless we wanted Adam rolling over him at night and nobody getting any sleep this was our only option. We put him down about 9:30 p.m. and , praise the Lord, he didn't wake up until 6:00 a.m. !!!! It may not be sealy posturpedic, but it will work!! I'm sure the codeine had a little something to do with that too. :) Whatever the reason........................WE GOT SOME SLEEP!! Here is the website for the bed: OneStepAhead.


The home-care sheet we received at the hospital said we could let him have stage 1 foods by today. So we pulled out some bananas and added some formula to make it really thin. He ate the entire box!!! YEAH!!! I think the 'ol appetite is slowly kicking back into gear. We have to be really careful putting the spoon into his mouth especially since we don't have a high-chair. I can just see Bauer moving his body real fast and me sticking the spoon right up into his palate. If that happened I'd just go ahead and check us both back into the hospital. :) One bed for Bauer, one bed for mommy.


Make sure you rinse out the mouth after eating. You are suppose to squirt water into the baby's mouth with a special curved syringe after every meal for the first 4 weeks. It keeps the food from getting stuck together on his stitches or any holes that might be there. Last thing you want is infection. I've almost decided to put that word on the same level as curse words. ha!

The syringe is kind of tricky. It's very pointy so we cut off a little bit of the end. He absolutely hates it when we do this, but it has to be done. Just be SUPER CAREFUL!!! In fact, if he's real squirmy we will just give him some water from his sippy or a spoon.



He's also playing on the floor more and more, but we've noticed he still gets tired pretty easy. I have to keep reminding myself that his little body is still in the early stages of recovery. Even as great as he is doing he still needs time to work up to his normal energy level.


April 9, 2008

We've Busted Out!!

The hotel room felt like a Sandals Resort and Spa compared to the hospital. Adam and I could finally lay down and not be in the fetal womb position!!
My grandma got up here today so between both grandmas being here Adam and I got a little bit of shut-eye this afternoon. So nice. We're so thankful they are both here. It's been a huge help.

He's still not feeding quite as much as we would like. It seems like he just wants to sleep all day. I would too if I just went through what he did. We do have to keep an eye on him getting enough fluids throughout the day because the babies can easily dehydrate after surgery. We're doing what we can.
Tonight he had some daddy cuddle time and got his first bath in 3 days. You can tell it kind of revived him. Nothing like a fresh bath!!

Packing out.

YEAH!! Today is a big day. We get to have the packing taken out and soon after we will be discharged. It seems a little early for that, but he's really doing well and we're ready to get out of here. This morning the nurses came in around 7:30 a.m. It took about 20 seconds. Bauer voiced his opinion about the whole thing very quick, but we rocked him back to sleep within about 10 minutes. He did great and was looking even better by the time we left.
We're hoping now the feeding will start going a little smoother.

From last night until about 5:00 a.m. he hadn't taken a lot of fluids, but between 7:30 and 9:30 he took in about 7 oz. He would only take the spoon, but I'm sure by tomorrow we'll be on the sippy a little more. Just know that when you get to this point you WILL be able to get them to eat somehow. Cup, syringe, Ross Nipple, Sippy Cup, and I've even had a friend tell me she used a folded paper cup. You just use whatever works!! And worst-case scenario they have to hook them back up to give fluid through an IV. But they will get the calories they need.

He's breathing better out of his nose now too.

And we finally got a roommate late last night. But they left by about 7:00 a.m. We were so happy to have the single room as long as we did.

Got Some Strollin' to Do!

Bauer started getting cabin fever after a few days. IT WAS TIME TO ROLL!!
We loaded him up in the stroller and took a million laps around the hospital. Adam walked the halls so many times at about 2:00 a.m. that he had figured out about how many feet there were per lap and then calculated the total amount of miles he had traveled. When he told me that I wasn't sure if I should be impressed or worried. :) We were both sleep deprived, but goodness gracious. This might be getting a little out of control! :)
All I know is he got super huge brownie points because he let me sleep for about an hour while he walked Bauer. Such a sweetie.



I have to take a minute and really brag on Adam. Hopefully, he won't read this anytime soon because he'll make me erase it! :) He is the best hubby I could ever imagine having. He has been such a huge support and strength through everything. I've never ever had to wonder if he was going to be there to help no matter what the reason. From changing diapers and feeding to giving up sleep so I could have a little shut-eye. He always tries to put his family before himself. God has truly given me an amazing man and I am so so thankful.

Now that Bauer wasn't connected to every wire on the 8th floor we were able to get him out and play with toys in the game room too. We set him in the bouncer thinking that he could just sit and relax a little bit. But as the bouncer came about 3 inches from the ground I figured it might be a hazard!! What a chunky monkey. They really should put a warning on those things. "LEAD BABIES BEWARE".

March 31, 2008

Starting to play a little bit.


Now that Bauer is starting to get a little more energy he's wanting to play and move a little bit. It's actually surprising this early after surgery, but he's just doing really well.

It's amazing how quickly these little guys start bouncing back. Sometimes we look at him and are so proud. He doesn't even realize all he's been through.

So to pass the time there is a whole room full of toys for the kids. Even with all the toys though I think Bauer preferred to play with the fun orange light taped to his toe and the wires hanging from random parts of his body. The light supposedly kept record of his oxygen levels, but as many times as he pulled it off I'm surprised they ever got a solid reading.

The rest of the day we spent time letting Bauer play and taking strolls down the hallway.
We were all really tired, but excited to know that we were going home soon.
By the end of the day Bauer wasn't eating too much. We figured it was just part of the normal process so we waited it out. And any eating he was doing was now by syringe. He didn't want to touch the sippy cup for now.



NOTICE!

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