Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 The Challenges and Blessings and Pictures!

I honestly cannot believe that this year is gone.  So much has happened that makes it feel like it went by twice as fast as usual (and somehow also twice as long!).  Our little family has experienced...so much...(enter big sigh here) and it has been the most challenging, yet most blessed year that both Paul and I have ever had.  We have learned that life certainly has it's surprises, but somehow everything has a purpose, and we absolutely believe that Heavenly Father is all-knowing, and is keeping us under his loving wing.


To recap Conner in 2010:

-Before Conner was born, we did NOT know of his congenital heart defect (CHD), Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF)
-Conner was born 3 weeks early and was admitted to the NICU for having a difficult time breathing
-At some point in the next 36 hours (it's all a jumbled blur to us) we are notified that they believe Conner has a CHD and is taken to Primary Childrens Medical Center by Life Flight ground (driven), where his CHD is confirmed
-Conner spends the next 2 1/2 months in the NICU at PCMC
-We are finally able to bring Conner home on an NJ feeding tube (feeding tube in his nose, which feeds his intestines, not his tummy) at the end of April.  A very joyful (and nerve wracking, overwhelming, and stressful) time
-Conner throws up anywhere from 5-25 times a day due to his severe acid reflux
-Conner's open heart surgery is scheduled and then rescheduled 3 times
-Conner gets his baby blessing by Paul and close family members at our home May 30th
-Conner undergoes open heart surgery to repair his ToF on June 22nd. The surgery lasts about 7 hours and is very successful.  Conner stays in the hospital recovering for 2 weeks, and then is able to come home
-Conner finally passes is swallow study in July and they move his NJ feeding tube to an NG feeding tube, his tummy finally being able to get fed
-Conner has occupational therapy and feeding therapy each twice a month
-Conner undergoes surgery October 8th to have his g-tube placed (and also finally his circumcision).  He is only in the hospital for 3 days this time before we are able to go home
-Conner has a cardiology check up in November which shows his pulmonary valve is leaking, which is fairly normal, but it's leaking more than they would like.  The cardiologist says that Conner will need (most likely) to have his entire valve replaced, via another open heart sugery, in a few years.  This means Conner will have some type of surgery or procedures done the rest of his life to replace/fix/upkeep his valve
-Conner is making significant progress in the eating department.  We practice feeding him baby food twice a day, work on drinking with a special cup twice a day, and get him involved in food play as much as possible.  Conner got his two little teeth on the bottom, and will munch on graham crackers and bread! This is a big deal! The feeding therapist thinks it will still be about a year before he is eating everything on his own, and we are able to remove his gtube.
-I am still pumping breast milk for Conner and also using frozen breast milk as well.  We mix the bm with a special allergy-free formula to feed Conner
-Conner is 10 1/2 months old and is doing fantastic.  Considering he has spent 3 months (collectively) in the hospital (nearly 1/4 of his life!) and has been through open heart surgery, he has overcome his development delays and is now exactly where he should be! He rolls over, crawls, pulls to stand, walks on furniture, jabbers constantly, and is    one incredible little boy!!


To recap Annie and Paul in 2010:

-Paul started a new exciting job in Internet Marketing in July.  He loves his new job and is amazing at it!
-Paul's company, Computer Fix, has been doing really well, and is ever-growing.  He has big plans for the company for 2011, and is excited to see where it will take it!
-I gave birth in February to Conner.  He is the 12th grandchild on both sides of the family
-I was blessed with an over-abundance of producing breast milk, which resulted in me being able to share my milk with 3 other babies.  I had the huge blessing of being able to provide breast milk to a baby who was born addicted to meth (and was adopted by an amazing woman) for about 6 months.  I sincerely believe this resulted in blessings for Conner, Paul and I that were much needed during our most challenging times.
-We both enjoy being a part of an amazing dinner group who meets once a month and does fun, unique, exciting, relaxing, and wonderful dinners/activities.
-We got to go to Sun Valley for the first time with our wonderful friends at their cabin.  First family vaca!
-Paul is still the Ward Clerk in our ward and I am still the 1st counselor in young womens, and I love it!
-I started reading the Book of Mormon in August as part of the new Bishopbric challenge for the youth in our ward
-We sadly sold our wave runners to help pay for medical bills (with Paul switching jobs, we had to meet/max a new insurance plan)
-We both learned more about patience, love and sacrifice in the first few months after Conner was born, than we have our whole lives.  We learned of the deep love of others, selflessness, and experienced prayers and fasting on behalf of our family.  When I think about those first few months of Conner's life in the hospital, and the first months of him being home and his heart surgery, I feel overwhelmed with the memories and it always brings tears to my eyes.
-We continue to love our home and our neighborhood.  We have an incredible ward, and wonderful friends

Here are pictures to also recap this year.  I am sorry...I don't know how to use photoshop to make collages or anything like that...yet. I'm hoping to learn soon! So instead for now, you get a million pictures! Lucky you!  I have tried to include pictures that I haven't ever included on my blog, or FB.  There are a couple that show Conner the day of his heart surgery, and are sacred to us.  I included them because I think they can portray a powerful message about what Conner has been through, and his strength.

8 months pregnant, almost there!
Day after Conner was born (not yet at PCMC)

Skin-to-skin time with momma
First full bath


Snuggle time with dad



Our sweet, wonderful nurse

Last day in the hospital
Our overnight in the hospital to 'practice' with Conner
Going home!



Blessing outfit

My friend made this awesome cake for his blessing day
Hanging out with Aunt Sheryl and cousin Jaden!
Getting out and about
                                              
Daddy taking care of Conner with the moby and multi-tasking
Conner's chest pre-surgery

Getting prepped for open heart surgery
Hours after open heart surgery
 
Resting


An angel our friends gave us whose baby also had the same CHD repair.  We passed it onto this beautiful, precious baby girl, who also had ToF and other heart problems.  
Leaving the hospital after 2 weeks recovery
Nap time with Grandpa
Conner giving a thumbs up, all is well!
The heart walk in September for Intermountain Healing Hearts group we are a part of
First family vacation in Sun Valley
Getting ready for gtube surgery
Recovering from gtube surgery with a big sock on his hand so Conner wouldn't pull out his i.v. out

"Rock Band" family for Halloween

Meeting Santa for the first time
At Temple Square to see the lights
Conner's first Christmas
Family's first Christmas together
Happy, loving, adventurous Conner!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Computer blog!

My amazing and talented husband created "Computer Fix SLC" several years ago, and just started a blog for the company! They will post about computer tips and other really helpful things for all of us who may not be computer genius's! So follow them and become more computer-wise!

Computer Fix is an amazing company, with honest, hard working, super friendly employees, with unbeatable prices on repairs, removing virus's, building custom computers, and whatever else you need!

Seriously guys, this is where I would take my computer in a heart beat if something were ever wrong with my computer! So, pass along the word, and write down this number if you ever have any kind of computer questions or problems!
Their number is 801-415-9595 and they are located at  2875 South Main St (SLC UT)


p.s.  My husband didn't ask me to write this! In fact, he has no idea, and will have no idea until he logs on to our blog! :) I just REALLY truly believe he has created an amazing company, and deserves some recognition! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Star-Struck


While shopping at Costco today (well I was actually done with my shopping and searching for my lost car key!), I walked past one of my favorite fashion bloggers! She passed, and I was pretty sure I recognized her, so I followed her a couple of steps, tapped her shoulder, and with a cheesy smile, told her that I was one of her stalkerish blog followers!  I have to admit, I kind of felt a little star-struck and could totally feel myself blushing.  I just think she is so amazing, and has such a fantastic sense of fashion.  Her name is Sarah, and you can see your wonderful blog here.  And she was so sweet!! And of course she was dressed so amazingly, and I, sadly, not so amazingly.  I wished so dearly in that moment that I had been wearing something totally awesome to impress her, and that my hair had not looked so nasty and that I had put on some more makeup.  Oh well.  That's what I get for thinking I was just making a quick trip to the store, and that I looked fine enough.  At least I had on my cute bright blue scarf that I got while I was in Paris, right? :)

Lately I have really been trying to discover what my fashion sense is, and what it says about me.  I really, REALLY love the fashion blogs that I follow (see list of blogs on right side of screen), and they inspire me so much.  I just think that fashion is such a great way to express who you are through clothes and accessories and I really enjoy it! One thing that I really admire about Sarah, is that she doesn't spend tons and tons of money on her clothes.  In fact, the majority of her clothes, shoes and accessories come from thrifting, consignment stores, are vintage, or are from local auctioneers. How awesome is she?! And she looks incredible all of the time! I have always been really good with purchasing clothes that are on sale/clearance, but now I really want to start thrift shopping!

I have been having Paul taking outfits pictures for the last few months that I have though have been fairly fashion worthy.  A few problems though.  They are taken with an ok, but no where near great camera like most of the fashion bloggers that I follow have, my house only has only a few walls to take pictures against and are boring white, and my dear sweet husband, love him, but he just holds up the camera and snaps the pictures while I feel like a huge cheeseball trying to pose, but coming up flat every time.  No beautiful outdoor pictures with perfect lighting for me.  But I will continue to have him take my pics, and one day when I am feeling courageous, I may post them, and share my journey in fashion-self-discovery.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Extra Energy!

This is one of the many things Conner is now happily doing with all his new found energy and zest for life without the feeding tube in his nose! :)


video

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Picture overload! or maybe just 10 of them...

Conner enjoying his time in his walker. He can walk backwards in it. Smarty pants.


On Halloween day we dressed Conner up in this cute lion costume so he would be warm outside while we trick-or-treated the entire neighborhood 2 houses.


We are working with Conner on sitting. He is kind of getting the idea...kind of... (this is one of those pics where they stay that way for 2 seconds and then do a face plant...into the pillow that is!)


We were a Rock Band family for Halloween. Conner looked so stinkin cute in his little bandanna, I loved it!


Conner in his new favorite place...the bouncer! He loves to jump in this thing, especially when the music is going!


Momma and Conner's "Fall" outfits


Don't quite know how the arm-out-of-the-sleeve thing happened, but he sure has a cute smile for me waking up the first morning home from the hospital!


While in the hospital, we had to cover his hand that had an i.v. on it with a sock so that he wouldn't pull out the i.v. like he did last time after his heart surgery! He didn't mind it at all, in fact, is was a really convenient 'toy' to chew on! (as you can see from the wet spot on it!)


Look at that sweet 80's top! Just had to share a pic of it! This was his pre-surgery attire that they gave us to put him in. Seriously, that thing has got to be from forever ago!


Double chin? Yes please! Love me some double chinners!