Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Photos!! Summer 2012!!

In case you're wondering where the spiffy new photo came from...we had family photos taken about 2 weeks ago now. It went as well as it could with so many very very young kiddos - and one husband who would be more than fine never ever ever taking a picture. Ever.

It was late afternoon / early evening when the photographer came. Not our best time of day but it was the time the photographer had available so I grabbed it. Mary Louise and David took long naps with Mommom that day before she left so I really was hoping for the best during the photo session.

David pitched 2 fits and pooped within the first 20 minutes. Impressive right? That is why we have LOTS of super happy Mary Louise pictures (she was WILD) and almost no pics of David at all. But there are 1 or 2 really nice ones of him so I'm happy...

A really beautiful moment between Brent and Everett was captured:

And a number of great shots of the kids were taken:

Everett was less than thrilled about this one -but it does look sweet anyhow:

Our sweet Suga Bean:

"2 little monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Love this:

and this:

Everett was a good sport through it all...until David accidentally elbowed him in the nose when trying to sit down for family photos...which produced this recorded moment:

But he rebounded pretty well...and apparently so did Mary Louise:

Photo Bomber:

David made all BFF with a stick:

and Mary Louise started to tucker out:

So we packed it up and went home- hoping we got a few good shots but knowing we had, at a minimum, a few funny stories with illustrations.

Sometimes we adore each other:

But we always ALWAYS love one another.

I am very thankful to my little family for (sort of) holding it together to do this. I expect less hemming and hawing next time. Oh yes. There will be a next time...


And I think that brings me up to snuff on blogging - except for a small update on David's is scheduled for the first week of August and, considering David's history and our home location (over 3 hours from the hospital where he will have surgery), the surgeon has officially requested and cleared with our insurance company for David to spend 1 night in the hospital to ensure stability and pain management. We (I) am very very nervous about all of this and am quite pre occupied with it all. I know it's necessary, but it the very thought of David being wheeled off again and having to wait in mental agony to hear that he's ok is just enough to give me panic attacks. I know we'll get through this but any thoughts or prayers for strength, safety and happy healing you can send our way would once again be more than appreciated.

And he eats and he grows...

Oh Everett. It's almost painful for me to see how quickly you're growing...

Everett was 11 weeks old on Tuesday. He is now in 3 to 6 month clothing, size 2 diapers (if we find an occasion to use a disposable), grins AND giggles, tracks silent objects and follows sound perfectly. He loves to "jump", kick and bounce in laps. He loves mirrors and light reflecting off of them. He lives for his bath time - and almost always doses off during a good wash...and he eats. Boy does he eat.

He has developed preferences for sleeping positions, grumpy times (really it's only one time - between 5 and 8pm - the later it gets, the more inconsolable he is- otherwise he fusses when hungry or dirty and occasionally when he just wants his Momma).

The Doodle Bug in the hospital (about a week old):

On May 6th:

June 2nd:

June 12th with Daddy:

June 19th:


First time swimming last weekend - he even put his face in a few times!

This week June 25th:

 So sweet. So precious. So loving. Growing SO fast!!


24 / 7 Playdate

Ever since we brought Mary Louise and David home, we've heard comments from the passer by: "you've got your hands full!!" "Better you than me!" and the ever popular: "Twins?! TWINS!!!!?" Bringing Everett home only exasperated the random comment situation to the point that it's simply the background noise of public outings for us. Then, every so often, someone really stops and thinks: "you know, it might be nice to have 2 the same age - they always have a playmate!"

This is true to a certain extent. I've said many times that this is just my normal - I wouldn't know any different and I love that fact. They do play together. Entertainment? Sometimes. Right now, they are in a great phase of inventing games and cooperating in imaginary play situations.

2 nights ago, I was folding diapers and watching my 2 "big littles" play in the bath. They took turns pretending to be babies - but narrated what they were doing the entire time:
ML: Da-bid - you be da baby! You have to crwy Da-bid! Crwy!
D: Ok Meese! Wah-ha-ha-ha. Wah-ha-ha-ha.
ML: Dis ok baby. Now you have to hug me Da-bid. Big lovies! Tisses!

D would oblige, Mary Louise would pat him on the back for a few seconds. They would giggle. Then David would point his finger in her direction: "Now you cwry Meese! Now you crwy!" They had a 45 minute bath that night. Mary Louise was really concerned that her "pruny" feet would never be the same though I assured her she would be just fine. She insisted that she most definitely needed a Band Aid. (sigh)

After many many months of consistent encouragement (**nagging**), Mary Louise and David are starting to make a conscious effort to pick up after playing. I've heard on more than one occasion, "we need to pick up now!" and witnessed a double effort at cleaning up toys and putting things where they belong before going on to the next area of play or project. I. love. this.

We have had 2 play dates with some new friends. I met a friend of a friend a while back. She encouraged me to attend La Leche League meetings with the kids (something I'd always wanted to do but just couldn't risk after ML and D came home...not to mention dealing with my heart braking short comings in breast feeding them ending with me exclusively pumping - nothing to sneeze at - but I had to make peace with my body a little first). Anyhow, she had a nutritional class at her house (I talked about it before) and we went to 2 meetings. Our kids LOVED each other and her sweet son (just slightly older than ML and D) is so much like a boy version of ML it's almost silly (they are Disney World in child form - whimsy, happy, boisterous babies, uhem, big kids).

Laura is a very VERY good sport about getting messy with kid projects and our overall controlled chaotic atmosphere here. Last time they came, we painted on the patio:

ML and Dominic - is he not one of the most gorgeous children you've ever seen??

David and Dom - super serious:

June- sweet cherub- standing back to admire her handy work:

The foursome:

The aftermath was a brick patio in desperate need of a hosing after tiny painted footprints covered the area (it still makes me smile everytime I see a rogue spot of paint out there). It was wonderful - I got some Mommy chat time, the kids played very well and had a ball doing just as they pleased and playing in the sun shine.

Dom and June are wonderful. They are respectful, honest, and unafraid to ask for what they need / want. Most importantly, each time they leave, Mary Louise and David ask for at least a day or 2, "when my fwends Dom and Dune are coming to my house a-din?"

David finished with his private speech therapy last Friday. He did very well on his testing and I am waiting for the official write up and hard copies of the results to be sent to me. His therapists left his chart open ended and offered for me to come in an have David re-evaluated in a few more months if I am concerned with his progress or lack there of. David scored within the average range for his actual age (3 years and about 3 months). He had further language skills emerging in all areas and his therapist felt that "on a good day" he would have done even better as the second day of testing, she found him to be "a little off". 85 to 110 or 115 was the average range. David scored 90 to 95 in the 3 areas of language. The only real disturbing part is what a stark contrast there is between the private standardized testing and the state standardized testing- especially when they are giving similar tests. Time will tell. Brent and I have talked quite a bit about declining services with the state come fall. But I am waiting to see what the next couple of months show as far as David's language progress to make any final decisions. Right now, I really don't have any more concerns about David's language (or Mary Louise's for that matter). They are doing well in my (novice) opinion and gaining a deeper understanding and more complicated thought processes constantly.

So, when they come up with words like the following, I giggle and try to write them down asap to remember just how far they've come:

LeBlanc kid - isms as of late:
"Big Pooer" - I kid you not, this is David's interpretation of the word "computer". If you preface his "word" with "I want to play on Momma's Big Pooer" which he often does as there are some games on the public broadcasting site, it sounds down right awful.

Mary Louise calls a computer "Peter".

"Dam Quackers" - therapists have asked before if my kids know curse words...this really highlights their reasons for the line of questioning - Mary Louise's words for Graham Crackers.

"Bustelle" - Nutella; "Gigah Boon Bars" - Tiger Milk Bars: 2 of David's favorite snacks.

"Bat-nanas" - Bananas

Can't wait to hear what they come up with next!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting along swimmingly!

Mary Louise and David have had a couple of weeks of swimming lessons now. I am so amazed with their progress. We all live to see our guys' progress a little more with each session. Mary Louise is absolutely fearless and actually makes her instructors a bit nervous. They've even brought in a third girl...though I'm not positive that the addition is a reflection of our super excited kiddos...

I take pictures almost every time we go so the ones included here are from a number of sessions:

Mary Louise grins like this the ENTIRE time and has been known to swallow more than her share of water because of it!

Don't think David is too far behind her on the water drinking secondary to giant grins either!

David's FAVORITE instructor!


They have "free time" and get to choose a toy at the end of each session. Mary Louise consistently chooses the single Barbie / non-pool toy in the She's a girly girl from birth.

They are doing so well with it all! They absolutely LOVE their lessons and get wildly excited when I tell them "it's swimming lesson day!" They can now get out of the pool by themselves, are learning to float, can hold their breaths for around 5 seconds and can kick kick kick!

David has worked so hard to be able to get himself out of the pool. Today was the first day he did all. by. himself!! His little upper body might be slight right now, but with time and such intense effort, I know it will serve him well.

A few videos taken over the past 4 sessions - oldest to newest. It's neat to see the progression.

Mary Louise and her first real swimming attempt! - excuse the quality...we are indoors and I use my phone while holding Everett and trying not to distract the littles...

David swimming!

So proud!!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Medical Train Wreck

Oh good golly. We are a hot mess these days. I have a few great things to post - an amazing and impromptu play date from last week, the first swimming lesson, and Everett meeting his great grand mother for the first time just to name a few...but since I'm in the thick of sick and injured, I'll get that post out of the way first...

We made the pilgrimage to Mere and Pops' house on Monday as David had his urology visit in New Orleans on Tuesday. On a normal, pleasant, well planned day, such a trip is no small task...but this day, thsi trip...was. ridiculous.

David needs another surgery
All of the kids are sick with varying degrees of walking pneumonia
Brent is in a walking boot
I am so close to over dosing with copious amounts of cake that I am getting sugar high just thinking about it (because lets be honest here, cake totally fixes everything)

Back to the story:
It all began with a very sorry case of the Mondays:

Thankfully, Brent was able to bring the pets to board on his way to work and I did get most of the packing done Sunday night.

David woke with a runny nose and slight cough. I started him on Mucinex, but as the discharge was clear and watery, I assumed it was a viral issue and opted to get to the appointment anyhow. The urology clinic is the only pediatric one in the state and they are backed up for months apparently. Not making this appointment would mean loads of waiting and if there was an issue needing attention, I thought it'd be best to know asap. That, and David wasn't running fever...yet.

We left around 10am. I thought I was really doing well. I stopped twice to feed Everett and offer snacks around. Then we hit Baton Rouge... or rather Baton Rouge hit us...over and over. We were stuck in traffic for 3 hours. There were 2 wrecks (thanks cell phone guy who inadvertently turned your Civic into a convertible by driving under an 18 wheeler. Also, big shout out to the schmuck truck driver to somehow lost his filled to the brim commercial size dumpster spilling its contents all over the Dalrymple exit.) as well as construction (really?! striping the roads mid afternoon on a week day is priority?). It took us 7.5 hours to get to our destination.

Once there, I checked the aftermath in the back seat...David had a fever - 101.9. Motrin was dosed. Mary Louise had started with the same runny nose. Great. But we had arrived. Our beds were waiting (thanks Mere and Pops!).

Tuesday seemed a little better. I got everyone dressed. David's temp had come down to normal with the Motrin dose and no more were needed. His nose was still a little runny - but still clear and nothing like the day before. Mary Louise looked a little more run down, but was technically a day behind David. I took "the boys" to New Orleans for the appointment and Mary Louise happily stayed behind "to pay wit Mere" for the day.

The appointment went well - very little waiting - very personable doctor and residents. Bad news: David needs surgery. The doctor was pretty concerned about scar tissue causing David's testicular retention on his left side. The right side is a bit more mobile but is not "in line" to drop appropriately. It would be watched if the left side weren't so concerning though. Apparently this issue of scar tissue is quite common post hernia repair (especially a repair as involved as David's was). We are to schedule the outpatient operation before the end of the summer (in about a month). If left, David is at increased risk for sterility, and testicular cancer (in his 20's) among other things. The surgery is considered very low risk compared to the consequences of not having the recommended repair. However, the exact extent of the scar tissue involved will not be known until the operation is actually done.

Of course I'm very upset about it all. I was just desperate to hear that we'd made the trip for nothing and that David was just fine. Not happening this time...I sat last time (during his hernia repair) with tears welling as they took my baby away for surgery. I begged for the procedure to be safe, for guidance for the hands of the surgeon and anesthesia team, and for that to be the last time, please the last time I would have to feel that agonizing lump in my throat, the nausea, the last time I'd have to fight back the blinding urge to grab my boy from the bed and run. Despite best efforts, here we are again.

David was such a super sport through it all - he talked non-stop, played with his toy car, and introduced everyone to his "foggie". While the surgeon was doing his exam and explaining things to his 2 observing residents and to us, David suddenly sat half way up and announced, "I would like to see." No tears, only grins and giggles. No complaining at all. They gave him 6 HUGE stickers as we were leaving. Friends for life.

We went to Mimi's house after the appointment as David was doing so well and seemed to feel just fine. Everett got to meet his great grandmother for the first time. He LOVED her. Mimi sat and rocked Everett who just grinned and cooed like I've honestly never seen before. He just relaxed in her arms. It was beautiful. David had a grand time as usual systematically dismantling poor Mimi's house. Mimi (ever the good sport) let David do just as he pleased and laughed when he tried on her reading glasses and stuffed who knows what into her decorative hand made bird houses she has on her end tables.

After a really wonderful visit, we made the hour trip back to Mere and Pops' house. That night, the coughing started...

Wednesday was our day "in". Boy, did we need the down time. David and Mary Louise coughed much of Tuesday night and didn't eat all that much during the day on Wednesday. Still, no more fever, but their mucous started to change to a thicker yellow eww gross yuck...

We started breathing treatments that night. We left Thursday morning. I phoned the pediatrician on our way and got the kids seen as soon as we were back in town: David was the worst with heavy sinus congestion and a number of areas in his upper chest sounded slightly congested. Mary Louise had less chest congestion and heavy sinus congestion. Everett had heavy sinus congestion. Diagnosis: walking pneumonia. In case you're unfamiliar (I was), it's a (particular) bacterial infection that presents similar to a virus. The bacteria enters and is engulfed by the cell in the same way a virus would (be). The patient usually continues to feel "ok" - obviously not great - but typically not hospital awful (as compared to a strep type of bacterial pneumonia which is the wonderful gift that keeps on giving and lands most victims smack in the hospital or at least in bed for quite sometime or a viral pneumonia which is what Mary Louise had last fall). If one must have pneumonia, apparently, this is the one to get and, I was informed, walking pneumonia is making its ugly rounds in our area...

The doctor gave scripts for oral steroids (to reduce lung inflammation) and antibiotics (to ward off the beginning chest congestion) for Mary Louise and David. IgA is provided in huge amounts via breast milk. IgA is what helps the body fight off walking pneumonia bacteria. So, I was told to continue breastfeeding for Everett - no meds. So far, so good.

The "big kids" have been over the moon roid happy since we started dosing last night. They literally climbed the walls all day today. We are on day 2 of 3 of the antibiotics and Mary Louise and David are still super snotty but certainly not worse. The breathing treatments are working well. Everett is hanging in there - sleeping a bit more but eating really well too.

Here's hoping I can get my sweet babies healthy again very very soon - and congratulations to me as I am now recognized by face at the pharmacy - no information needed - they just go an pick up the "LeBlanc family" prescriptions.

Brent went to the ortho clinic today for an ankle injury he accomplished in March. Yes March. He doesn't make much time for himself. His ligament is apparently over stretched (possibly torn). The doctor wanted him to wear a walking boot for 3 weeks to see if it would help healing. If healing does not occur at all or enough, surgery will be recommended to repair the ligament. He also has a bone spur forming.

I feel like I should hide under a rock for a bit for my own safety...but Everett needs to eat again...Mommy duty calls!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

3 year / 8 week check ups

I still can't believe we have 2 - 3 year olds in this house! Mary Louise and David are growing by leaps and bounds.

David is finishing up his private speech therapy - but I requested some formal evaluations in writing so that I could keep them on file...and I have to be honest and say that I retain information a little better when I can read it myself. I just want to know where we are now, in case there are any more potential issues in the future. He went to his session yesterday and did very well. They completed one test - he was average or above in all areas (but I don't know what the test was called).

They began the PLS (preschool language scale) and completed the sections up to expressive speech. His therapist needed to score it and then complete the rest next time so we will go once more to tie things up. He has to miss 5 questions in a row for sections to stop - she was asking things appropriate for age 4.5 years and he had yet to miss 5 questions in a row. So, we know he is doing really wonderfully (in that area- but I'm not sure what the title of the section was...) but the test needs to be completed and scored to find out exactly where David is overall.

I am so SO proud of my little guy. He has really worked very hard - never ever complained, and made the best of all of his sessions. His therapists have been really amazing and up beat - and keeping it all interesting with the projects they do with their clients.

I brought David and Mary Louise in for their "official" 3 year check up with the nurse practitioner at the pedi office. They went through state mandated standardized testing and did well for their age. It did, however, highlight some of my issues with standardized testing - especially at their age:

Question: "David, what do you do with a cup?"
David: "hold it"
***wrong - correct answer was "drink"

Question: "David, what do you do with a chair?"
David: "move it"
****wrong - correct answer was "sit"

Now, if you knew David, you would know that that child never EVER sits still. He does, in fact, push the toddler chairs we have (as well as the dining chairs if left to his own devices) all over the house. If we go anywhere with chairs, he pushes them. View it as a discipline problem if you must, but his thought process is just fine.

But again, they both did well on the testing (verbal and mechanical) and had great blood work - but for Mary Louise being borderline dehydrated- she was told to drink more that day because her hematocrit was in the high normal range.

David has been referred to a pediatric urologist to check the scar tissue surrounding his inguinal hernia surgical sites. It may be nothing, but the appearance was enough to concern both the NP and pedi enough for the referral. I won't go into great detail until we know more...but am very much hoping that the specialists tell us it's just nothing and will resolve with time or that it's something that can be fixed sans surgery...

David is 23 pounds 15 ounces and Mary Louise is 25 pounds 15 ounces. David is 35 inches tall and Mary Louise is 34 inches tall.

Everett saw the pediatrician for his 8 week check up yesterday. Oh. my. goodness. My little sweet potato has grown: 10 pounds 15 ounces and 23 inches long!! (no wonder he's eating all the time with growth like that!)

The pedi's words were: "He's just perfect."

I can't tell you how that makes my heart smile.

He's strong, a little ahead for his muscle and motor development and right on target for his expressive milestones (smiling - he was a ham for the doctor! and cooing).

He has been sleeping well as long as he's right next to me (which I definitely don't mind - especially now that he's out of the "spaghetti baby" stage with a bit more muscle tone - we use a co-sleeper mixed with actual co-sleeping - it's what works for us). The other night, he nursed twice through the night and slept for 4  to 5 hours stretches!! (yes please!) Mary Louise and David STILL don't sleep that well some nights!

He holds his head up **pretty well** (just be ready to catch!) if he's sitting up and can pick it up to about 45 degrees while on his tummy. He LOVES to "dance" on our laps - pushing up with his legs and sort of jumping.

Last night, he and Brent were having great "agoo" conversations - Everett was so so interested and just staring away at Brent's face. Brent would coo, and Everett would return with a sound and so on. It was amazing, and just one of those moments that I wanted to absolutely freeze in my heart and mind for all time.

Oh - and yes, our Suga chunk has kept his auburn hair and well as his baby blues which have gone from the "newborn navy" to a slightly lighter deep blue color much like David's. We'll see if it all stays that way over many changes! I don't want to blink!

Everett's shots went well. No fever, mild fussiness (but really - I don't know that it was more than usual) last night. I only allowed half of them though as the Dtap has a tendency for side effects and they didn't have the "combo" injection in stock which meant 5 sticks?! no thank you. I made sure all respiratory prevention was given and we waited on the next Hep B and one other - we'll return in 2 weeks. I'm not starting a big vaccine debate here. But, to answer the question on "do we or don't we". We do - but on a somewhat delayed schedule. I nursed Everett all afternoon and most of the night yesterday and he rested peacefully, fed as he wanted and needed, and didn't complain at all when I removed his band-aids last night... no Tylenol needed.

There is some question about his dairy tolerance (or lack there of). Now, I am not a big dairy eater...but I like a spot of milk in my coffee, cheese on my salad (a sprinkle of parm just makes my world happy) and goodness knows I have a thing for ice cream - but not daily. I am a fan of yogurt though...maybe I'm bigger on dairy than I thought.

So, I am thinking of cutting my little indulgences to help his tummy (and in hopes that it will help me drop these last 7 pounds from his pregnancy so that I can finally drop the 10 I carried after Mary Louise, David and Kuylen). He doesn't seem overly bothered - but has frequent gas and his stools do not look like that "seedy" breast milk poop that I'm used to - more like a gel. (too much info? yeah - welcome to parenting)

I showed the doctor a dirty diaper (he produced 3 while waiting - we were there at his normal poop time) but unfortunately, the "dirt" had soaked in and she couldn't quite tell if it was an issue or not. Dairy intolerance has about 1001 possible symptoms and can be out grown as early as 3 months or so. So, I might just try cutting it out to see if it makes a difference. If it does, I can stay off of it for a bit and add it back over time...or not - I'm pretty sure I'd be better off without it anyway.

And finally, I was able to proudly donate just under 6 GALLONS of breast milk to a very worthy cause. I was just ecstatic to be on the giving end after receiving (countless prayers and support) for so very long. To give is such a beautiful certainly does take a village to raise our little ones - and the village can work in ways some have never dreamed.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Giggles and Grins

***don't worry, we're ok. I had a full relapse of our nasty respiratory bug over the weekend and Everett has had yet another growth spurt which kept me on the couch -hand occupied - for much of the past few days. I have lots of updates to offer - but with limited time at the moment, will put up a quick teaser:

Everett is officially smiling AND giggling in response to us!!! My big boy has us absolutely wrapped around his little fingers and is just doing amazingly well!

More to come as Mary Louise and David started swimming lessons this week!!! I had a follow up appointment with my OB...


David is going to be discharged from private speech therapy this Friday!!!!! (Umm - can I get a serious happy dance for that please?!) His therapists' words were, "Well Heather, I can't really justify keeping a child that routinely says 7 word sentences in therapy." They consider him appropriately articulate for his age (marked by understanding about 75% of what he says with more words emerging each week) and they feel his vocabulary is actually very advanced for his age. His thought process and problem solving abilities are also considered appropriate or advanced (depending on area discussed).

We are so very proud of his hard work and incredibly thankful for his therapists' efforts.

As for the school system sessions, we didn't have a very good experience with the assigned speech therapist. She was great...when she would show up - which was twice in 5 weeks. We will make a decision to continue (or not) with those services once we see who is assigned to David next year. I'm just not sure he needs it - and goodness knows one of my serious pet peeves is people wasting my time. No call / no show is not only unprofessional, but downright unacceptable to me. I phoned our ST's supervisor and have followed appropriate chain of command to file a complaint, but have not received any response at all.

Again, David is really doing so very well and I'm just thrilled with his ever growing love of reading, describing his environment, and friendliness toward total strangers (he marched right into his first swim class and not only listened beautifully to the teachers, but also really interacted with the 3 "new" children there.)

It brings tears to my eyes to think about how far we've come. For months, we discussed whether our precious babies would breathe independently, walk, talk, function. Now we are excited about swimming classes, "graduating" from therapies, 7 word sentences?!

Our goal has always remained the same: to offer our children the resources they need to grow into the very best individuals they can be - to utilize their great potential, and to know that no matter what, we are here to support and love them to pieces.

Happy happy 8 weeks Everett!! (and thank you for making the past 2 months a little less exciting than your grand entrance!)