February 26, 2010

Signing Day Friday....a little late


Just put your right hand over your chest. Move it in a clockwise motion (from the observer's point of view) using a circular motion a few times.

Forgive me for being late in my post today.  I really am "Sorry"

The same as Please, only with a closed fist.

Thank You.

Take your dominant hand and touch your fingers near your lips with a flat hand.  Move you hand down and in the direction of the person you're apologizing to.

February 24, 2010

The Update On Carter

He has been one busy guy...that's for sure!  This could be a long post.

Where to begin... Where to begin.

Well, first of all, he has been working really hard on his sitting skills.  He can do it on his own if you sit him on your lap just right. Of course I always keep my hands close to him just in case.  I think that he's still a long ways away from being able to sit on the floor without help, but we're definitely on our way there.  I've been having him sit in his Bumbo chair to watch me cook.  It's good practice for him, and until recently he wasn't able to do it without getting really winded.

Overall, he just feels a lot more solid.  He is still working on the tummy time.  Carter has also found that he LOVES the game where you make him jump, or bounce on your lap.  It's sure to bring a grin and even a laugh at times.

He had an appointment with Dysphagia a couple of weeks ago.  For those who don't know, Dysphagia is a feeding clinic.  I was really excited for this one because I had a very positive experience at it last time.  This time around was completely different.  They weren't too happy with his weight gain, and with the things they were saying I felt as though they were blaming me.  I won't go into any more details, but I'll just say that Carter proved them wrong by gaining a pound during the next two weeks and that was without me changing his diet at all.  He's now up to almost 15 lbs which his pediatrician is thrilled with.  If you look at his growth curve, it is obvious that he's starting to catch up. Keep on keepin' on little buddy!

We had an appointment with the plastic surgeon yesterday.  It was supposed to be an appointment where we were going to schedule his next surgery, but it turned into something scary.  This doctor is typically very mellow and doesn't rush into anything.  Michael and I could tell that something was off when the doctor came in to talk to us, and didn't take his eyes off of Carter even while he was talking to us.  He then walked over and started feeling Carter's skull.  The doc wanted to know if he had ever had a head CT done...which he had in the NICU.  The doc recommended that we get one done immediately since he suspected that Carter might have Craniostenosis . This is when the sutures in an infant's skull fuse too early causing pressure on the brain.  It can lead to severe brain injuries.  Needless to say, that was one LONG hour while we waited for the results. It reminded me of the days of the NICU.   Thankfully we ended up with good news.  The sutures in his forehead have fused early, but the doc said he wouldn't do anything to fix it and he wouldn't even recommend a helmet.  Thank you Jesus.  That could have set Carter back unbelievably far.  We still don't have the date set for his surgery since they had to coordinate with different doctors, but should find out soon.  All that we do know is that it will be in May, and probably on a Monday.

We have a lot of appointments coming up. On Tuesday we are getting another ultrasound on his kidney and the Adrenal Hemorrhage, then Urology, then ENT.  On Wednesday we see Opthalmology.  The following week we are seeing an Endocrinologist to get all of Carter's hormones and glands checked.  Our pediatrician recommended that we get an overall checkup on this since he is having problems with his Adrenal gland.  The next day we have an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon.  Carter has a part of his spine that bows out.  It's most likely either C-shaped Scoliosis, or Kyphosis.  I'm guessing that he'll proably need some bracing, and I'm praying no surgery is needed, but if it is...bring it on!

The little guy was very popular lately/  He got one package in the mail last week,  and got TWO packages today.  Nobody else got mail today, it was all about Carter. 

Last week he got a special needs nipple like I showed you here: Special Needs Feeder.
Carter's little friend, Carter (how ironic!) has had his soft palate repaired, and didn't need it anymore.  Thank you Carter!!

The next thing he got was from my good friend April . 
Woo Hoo! (Michael was thrilled!)  Thank you April!

Then he got a package from his good friend, Jaxson.

It is a blanket made special for Carter by Jaxson's Blankies For Babes

Jaxson's Blankies for Babes

Isn't it just precious?!  I couldn't get him to throw out any smiles, but I assure you that he LOVES it. Thank you so much Jaxson.  We're always praying for you little buddy!!

February 23, 2010

Jovie's Birthday

Here is my long overdue blog post.

Jovie had an excellent birthday!  We made cupcakes and had Happy Meals for dinner.  She insisted on wearing her crown that was given to her by her preschool teacher.  What a cutie pie!

A couple of days later we had her birthday party.  Most of our family came and we had a fun night of Olympics and pizza.  The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins.  It's been a long time.  There were times when Carter got a little overwhelmed with all of the noise even with his hearing aid off, but with a little love from his Aunt Stacy, he warmed up by the end of the night.

February 19, 2010

Signing Day Friday

Let's start off with the most important sign of all.


You make the "A" sign with both hands and put them against your chest like this.

Now, who does Carter love?

That's right! Mommy. You're supposed to tap that thumb to your chin, but some people do a double tap.

He also loves
It's the same sign only on the forehead.  I remember the difference by thinking that Daddy uses his brain while Mommy just talks a lot. Some people think of it as men are taller than women.  Whatever works for you.

Have a truly excellent weekend!  I hope to post some pics of Jovie's birthday tomorrow!

February 18, 2010


To my baby girl....

Happy Birthday to you!

We are now very proud parents of a four year old girl. 

What can I say about Jovie.

Well, this little darling came to us with an extremely easy labor.  I remember that she cried for the first hour until I nursed her.  Then she settled right down, and was a very easy baby from that point on.  It's a good thing that she was so easy, or else we probably wouldn't have tried for a third baby.  I know, I know...she's going to be a TERRIBLE teenager, but we've got awhile to worry about that.

From day one she adored her big brother.  They are still the best friends. She and Mikey are always finding new games to play like Transformers takes over My Little Ponyville, or Disney Cars vs. Super Pony. I hope that they can stay this close for their whole lives.

She has had a very big year.  Since her birthday last year, she has become an amazing big sister, has started dance class, AND preschool.  She's even learned to write everybody's name in our house (even if her e's are backwards).  She's still into Disney Princesses, but has added Dora to the mix as well. Jovie knows at least 20 signs, and uses them daily for me.

She still has the middle two fingers as her security.  Maybe we can break her of that before her next birthday.

Yep, there she is with Rude Off.  Actually, Rude Off has a little buddy that I hadn't mentioned yet.  Her tag reads Thunderbolt, but her name is pronounced "Horsie Funderbolt".  Wherever you find Rude Off, Funderbolt isn't too far behind.

We love you so much Jovie Jo.  Thank you for bringing sunshine into our lives each and every day.

February 17, 2010

Shedding Some Light On Our Future

Sometimes I wonder how having a sibling like Carter will affect Mikey and Jovie.  I think that it's a worry that most special needs parents have.

At first, I was very concerned about how much they would miss out on with having a brother with limitations.  In the VERY beginning, I started thinking that there would be no way that we could go on a family vacation, or that we would miss out on fun things because of Carter. I know that these things are unrealistic, but I have to admit that it was something I would think about. How would Carter affect them?

I sat down with a friend who assured me that those things would still happen, and that my kids were definitely going to be better people for it (thank you Gretchen for that conversation). She even told me that she was thankful that her kids would be able to grow up knowing Carter.

It's true that we haven't done too many things this Winter while we're trying to keep Carter healthy, but we've still had a lot of family fun. I now know that having a child with disablities is a new kind of normal and we're still going to be able to do all of those things that a "normal" family does. I honestly don't worry about it any more, although there may come a time when I do again.

These thoughts came into my mind again this week while we were watching the Olympics. Of course, I'm talking about Alex Bilodeau.  Who is Alex Bilodeau?  If you don't know, I'll happily fill you in.

Alex Bilodeau is a men's Moguls skier who recently won the first gold medal for Canada on home soil.  The reason why I'm drawn to his story is that he has an older brother who has Cerebral Palsy.  There are so many interviews, and so many quotes about how having an older brother with a disability affected his life so it was hard to choose just one:

"I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the same perseverance if I didn't grow up with him," said the 22-year-old from Montreal. "I'm someone who never quits, even in training. I'm going to fight until the last moment, until I crash really bad."

"In training, it's just like competition and I'm fighting until I can't go any more and until I'm on one ski or something. Even then, I try to pull it back. I grew up with the mentality, `If my brother would have that chance, would he take it? Would he try more?' I always – I always – come to that same answer and it's, `Yes, he would try more.' That's why I can do it."

"He wakes up in the morning and he's got that big smile; he goes to bed and he's got that big smile," Alex said. "And you look at him, and he's got all the right to complain. How many times do we complain in a day? I don't even think I can count mine. That's when you put everything in perspective and you say I should just shut up and swallow and go train."

"My brother is my inspiration," Alex said that night on TV, tears welling. "He taught me so many things in my life."


I can only hope that Carter can give the same inspiration to Mikey and Jovie.

But you know what?

I don't need to hope, because I know that it's already there.  I can see it when they look at him.  I can see their compassion growing. All I can do is thank God for giving us this wonderful gift.

February 14, 2010

Love Is In The Air

I hope everyone has a great day! Here are a couple of my new favorite pics.

February 11, 2010

Signing Day Friday

So do you want
MORE Signing Day Friday?  That is the sign for More.  You kind of tap those fingers together in front of you.  Jovie will ask me for more treats, I'll tell her no, so she'll sign more.  Gets me every time lol!  See, it's only our second week and you can already ask for "more milk", or in my case "more sleep"!

How about the next letter of the alphabet.  The letter "B"

And finally, we're
All Done!

Who's Excited For The Olympics?!

I know that I am!

It's a little nostalgic for me because we live so close to Salt Lake City where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held.  We attended a couple of torch bearer runs, a hockey game and a medals ceremony when they were here, and I definitely regret not doing more.  Since the Olympics are kicking off tomorrow, I thought that I'd show a few pictures.

This first one is of me holding one of the torches.  It was one of those times when I was in the right place at the right time.  I was working at a Junior High, and one of the torch bearers came to give a speech in front of the students.  She wanted somebody to hold the torch while spoke, and I was the only one around.  This woman wasn't the nicest person around, and actually has a very bad reputation around here, so I was really nervous that I would drop it or something. If you know me, it would be just my luck to break the thing. I made it through though!

My Mom, Michael, and I. Yes, the coat that I'm wearing is huge.

Michael and my mom cheering on Team China at the women's hockey game against Team Russia.  These women were sitting behind us and were so enthusiastic about the game.  Of course we had to cheer along with them.

I can't wait for the Opening Ceremony.  There's just something that's so exciting and special about the Olympics.

A little update on the little guy.  He's still just keepin' on.  We had an appointment with the Dysphagia clinic yesterday, and it went OK.  They weren't exactly thrilled with his weight gain, so I'm supposed to increase his feeds through the tube at night. I don't think that Carter liked that plan too much though, because he's been chowing down on his bottles all day today.  Hopefully we'll be on the right track now.  He hadn't been eating too well because he's got a tooth coming in and it's right in his cleft.  I think that it might be hitting some nerves since his mouth is built a little differently. Either way, he's doing a little better now.

I'm absolutely shocked at the response that we got about the fun run. It's amazing to me how many people really love our little guy.  I knew that he would change the world, but I guess I didn't realize that he'd do it so soon. I'm going to give more details on the run as they become available.  Thank you for all of your support!

February 8, 2010

The Fun Run

We have an exciting announcement to make...
Team Carter is participating in our city's Fun Run/Walk this year (and probably a few other cities as well). Our family has been talking about doing this for awhile now, and I even had an order in for some Team Carter T-Shirts, but the company ended up having an issue with our order, so we canceled.  After talking with a friend, I learned that there are many of our friends who want in on this too....


If you would like to participate in the Fun Run/Walk for Carter and want a Team Carter T-Shirt, please email me with the sizes that you need.  The more we order, the lower the price will be.  With just the ones that we were ordering for our family, we were at about $8 a shirt to give you an idea of where we're starting.  I will probably place the order in the middle of April.

I'm not absolutely sure on the details of the Fun Run/Walk yet, but it was at the end of July last year.  It was $10 if you preregistered without a city T-Shirt, and $15 to preregister if you want a city T-Shirt. Those prices get bumped up by $5 if you wait to pay on the morning of the run.

If you want to Run/Walk, but don't want a Team Carter T-Shirt, that's awesome too! We appeciate the support!

If you just want a Team Carter T-Shirt because they're awesome... we completely understand. Who wouldn't?!

Email me at teamcarterjay@gmail.com , or you can just leave a comment on Team Carter's fan page.

February 5, 2010

Signing Day Friday

Welcome to the first edition of Signing Day Friday.  It's probably a really cheesy title, but that's all I could come up with today.  I'm not feeling overly creative.  If you have a better idea, please let me know ;)

Anyway, I've been discussing Sign Language with a lot of our family and friends lately.  After talking to his therapists, we have decided that since Carter has a lot of different factors against him in the area of speech (cleft, hearing loss), we are going to be teaching him to sign.  We've actually started this process the week he came home.  We've been using some basic signs for things that he does every day such as milk and sleep.  My very kind cousins sent us the Signing Time Baby DVDs and the kids (and I) have been watching those a lot.  They are EXCELLENT!  I thought they would be kind of low-budget, but they are really well made. If you want to check them out, here they are on Amazon:

I decided to help everyone learn the signs that Carter will be hopefully using, I'll start posting some every Friday.  I think it will be a lot of fun!

So, here we go.  The first one that we use daily is Milk.  This one is really easy.  Just open and close your hand to pretend like you're squeezing an utter of a cow.
The other one we use daily is Sleep.  This one is pretty easy too.  I think of it as pulling Carter's eyes closed.  We actually do this on his face by recommendation of his therapist.
Finally, let's start on the alphabet too.  Here's the letter "A".  Sometimes names and things are spelled out in sign language, so it's good to learn the alphabet.

February 4, 2010

Just What I Needed

A glimmer in his eyes.

A smile.

A giggle.

When we play our new game Peek A Boo.

He's so sweet. Seriously.

February 3, 2010

The Story Of Rude Off and Head Lifting

Meet Rude Off

He was purchased two years ago at a thrift store.  His nose would light up and he would sing his theme song when you pushed his belly.  Rude Off has been attached to this little girl since the day that he came home with us.

She grabs on to both sets of legs and makes him fly through the air just like the movie.  He sleeps next to her all night long.  He gets stuffed into her purse. Poor Rude Off.  He's been through the washer so many times and gets thrown around all day long.  His nose no longer lights up, but his song still plays.

Rude Off has been making trips to see little Carter.  Little Carter doesn't understand what's so special about Rude Off, but maybe he will one day. For right now, all that Carter can concentrate on is lifting his head while he's on his tummy, and guess what....he's finally starting to do it!!  You have to lay him on his elbows, because he doesn't know how to move those into position yet, but he can lift his head for at 30 second intervals while he's propped on his elbows now.  Go little C!

February 1, 2010

I'm Addicted

I'm addicted.

I can't help myself.

There must be a program for this sort of thing.

Hi, my name is Heather, and I'm addicted to BABY LEGS!

Oh my, aren't they the CUTEST things you've ever seen?!

Thanks to my friend Tara for hooking us up with these awesome pirate ones. I wanted to get some for Carter's next surgery, but now I think that he needs to wear them more often.  Michael doesn't get it at all, and wants to know what the difference is between these and pants.  I tried to explain that they are about a bazillion times cuter, but he still didn't get it. 

 They're easier to change his diaper? Nope, that excuse didn't fly either. 
OK, I just like seeing his little legs like that, and he's not going to be a baby forever, AND he's probably my last baby so if I want him to wear Baby Legs, he's going to wear Baby Legs.  'Nuff Said.

I'm pretty sure he just rolled his eyes at me for that one.