Saturday, February 27, 2010

The pictures are in

What a day it has been.  And it has all been “mostly” good.

As a matter of fact, the only thing that wasn’t good today was the weather!  Another cold day.  We even had snow flurries again.  They say that spring is right around the corner, but the majority of days next week they are forecasting highs in the 30’s.  If we could just get up to our average (55 for this time of year)…

But enough about that!  This was a good day!  The day started out with a trip to buy our “outlive” shirts and pick up our pictures!  First, here’s the scoop on the outlive shirts…

A couple of years ago, the University of Tennessee had a basketball player named Chris Lofton (the UT and SEC all time 3-point scorer).  He failed a random drug test after the 2007 NCAA tournament.  But it wasn’t drugs, the failed test turned out to be the result of a tumor marker.  And not wanting any additional attention, he decided to undergo the cancer treatments in “secret” all while playing through his senior season.  None of his team mates knew.  None of the fans knew.  Only his parents, the head coach, and a few university officials knew.  He battled – both on and off the court, beat cancer, and graduated on time.  Then, last year, he teamed up with coach Bruce Pearl and UT Hospital Cancer Institute to start the “oUTlive” program to raise money for cancer research and screenings.  This year (so far), the program has raised more than $130,000 and almost $250,000 since the program started.  All we can say is “Thank You Chris!”.  We enjoyed watching you play, and we are touched by your continued support in this community.  Congratulations on being diagnosed “cancer free” – and we look forward to supporting this program for many more years.

So – we have our orange outlive t-shirts in hand.  Where should we wear them?  Why to the basketball game against Kentucky!  We were there with 22,000 of our friends – all doning our outlive shirts as we welcomed the number 2 team in the country to our town.  Kentucky took the early lead (4 to 0) – but that was the last lead they would have.  And it wasn’t close for almost the entire game.  They did tie it up 65 – 65, but in they end, we pulled away – scoring the last 9 points of the game and winning 74 to 65.  And since we won - beating a college basketball dynasty – I’ll gloat just a little.  Kentucky is arguably one of the best college basketball programs ever.  But which team has handed Kentucky more losses than any other?  Tennessee…  And this year, today (after Oklahoma State beat Kansas), the number 1 and number 2 teams in the country have combined for 4 losses – 2 of them came from Tennessee.

Now – on to the pictures!  Remember that last Sunday, we all loaded up and went to have our pictures taken.  We had decided on Megan Parker Photography ( and we absolutely LOVED IT!  For those of you in Knoxville – her studio is right off of Calahan Road – about 1/4 mile from the “Bounce House” (for those of you with kids) and about 1/2 mile from UPS.  If you are thinking about having pictures made – you should certainly give her a call.  And if you would like to check out some of her work – it just so happens that we picked up our pictures today!  47 pictures in all.  Which is WAY too many to put here in the blog!  But here’s one for you..



What?  One picture isn’t enough?  Never fear!  We uploaded all of them to the Kodak Gallery.  You can click here and see them all!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A poop of epic proportions!

Most “pee” stories are gender specific.  Mike has many “pee” stories that we love sharing with other parents (like laying on the changing table at daycare and shooting the fountain of youth straight into the sink!  Ol’ faithful is like a firearm – always considered it loaded and ready to shoot!).  And parents of little girls have “pee” stories too – just as fun to tell, but slightly different than the boy “pee” stories.

But all parents can relate to “poo” stories!  And everyone has a story like the one that happened to us tonight…

Mike was sitting on mom’s lap when he starting getting a little fussy.  All the signs were there, waving his arms, pulling his knees to his chest – we knew that the gas pressure was building.  Then all of a sudden, the small cries suddenly stopped.  Mike froze, holding his breath, arms in mid flail, not moving a muscle.  Then mom exclaims, “Oh my gosh”!  Then dad asks the usual follow-up question “gas or poo?”

“Poo”, replies mom.  At this point, we would simply change the diaper and one would ask the other “was it a small, medium, or large”.  But not this time. 

Instead – mom says, “Wow – it’s still coming out”!  Slight pause.  “Oh my gosh!  It’s still coming!”  Slight pause – Mike still frozen in place.  “He’s still going!”  Slight pause.  “Holy cow!  Is he going to stop?”  Another pause – Mike’s face is really turning red now.  “Uh oh – we may have a blow out.”  Slight pause.  “Yep – definitely a blow out”.  Pause.  “I hope he stops soon!” 

After what seemed like 20 minutes, Mike finally started moving again.  Sure enough, the diaper had leaked.  And it was in no way the diaper’s fault!  Take a look at how small a “size 1” diaper is.  Even with the modern advancements in absorbency technology – it’s not going to hold five gallons of anything.

So there it goes.  Out the legs.  Out over the waistband.  Through the white onesie.  Through the shirt.  Through the overalls.  Yep, that’s three layers of clothing!  And the bottom layer (that poor onesie) had more “dirty” area than “clean” area!  This will give all new meaning to “spot remover”.

Then it was time to bring out the wipes.  Starting with the little baby butt (of course you need to clean there!).  Then move on down the legs.  The backs of the knees.  All up the back.  Is that poo on your shoulder?  Are you kidding?  How did it get on your stomach?  In your bellybutton?  Really?

If you have kids, you know EXACTLY what we are talking about.  And right now you are saying, “I remember that day when…”

If you don’t have kids then you are wondering how anybody in their right mind could write so much about “poo”.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pictures of us!

We’ve taken a LOT of pictures in the three months since Mike’s birth.  And I really mean A LOT!  Hundreds and hundreds.  And some of them have even turned out pretty good!

But today we collected on our Christmas present to each other.  For Christmas this year, with our limited shopping availability, we decided to go get some pictures of the the three of us as a new family!  We did some research and settled on Megan Parker Photography.  She specializes in photographs of little babies and families – and when we took a look at some of her work, we were sold.  We called her right away, and made an appointment.

We walked in to her studio this afternoon and were amazed at how good she was with Mike.  It really does take a special talent to pose a 3 month old and be able to grab the camera in time and snap off some pictures before the baby decides to do something else!  But Megan did it time and time again with Mike – and he even seemed to enjoy it!  I should have known that he would be a little flirt.

So Megan is working on the pictures now and hopefully we will be picking some out later this week.  What?  You don’t want to wait until later this week to see some of the photos?  Well guess what – you are in luck!  Just click here to see 6 of Mike’s proofs.  And yes – those are REAL bunnies! 

Thank you Megan!  We really did have a fantastic time today – and the pictures are GREAT!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The first cold…

How ironic.  I can’t say that we are having “record cold” in Knoxville.  But I can say that our high today (33 degrees) was almost 20 degrees below our average temperature for this time of year (52 degrees).  And it’s true that most of the people we know live at a more northern latitude and they might even be envious of the temperature.  But we moved further south for a reason – and 20 degrees below normal during the winter was NOT it!  And this isn’t some “one time deal” either – it’s been this way for a couple of weeks now.

So it’s only fitting that Mike gets his first cold during this “cold streak”!  Poor little thing – he’s got it all.  Runny nose, cough, sneezing – even watery eyes.  He’s been unusually fussy and didn’t sleep well last night.  All of this AND he got a round of shots two days ago.  The shots didn’t cause the problems, they just came at a bad time.

But like most things – there is a silver lining in this cloud.  He visited his doctor today (and he really likes to visit her!).  They did an RSV test (currently making it’s rounds in Knoxville) and it came back negative.  So, al we’ve go is a little cold (both Mike AND the weather!)

And we even had a “first” with the brace tonight.  It was one of those “Oh my gosh – can you believe this?” moments.  We took the brace off to give Mike a bath.  Mike and mommy played a little while daddy ran the bath water.  Then it was a few minutes at the baby spa followed by a quick bath.  We dried him off, put on his diaper, put on his socks and prepared to put on the brace.

So let’s pause the story for a minute.  Remember that Mike is sick.  He’s been cranky.  He’s had shots, we’ve been squirting saline up his nose (he REALY doesn’t like that!).  Not to mention that we still hold our breaths, cross our fingers, and say a little prayer every time we start putting on the brace – even though he hasn’t had ANY trouble since his surgery.

Now back to the story.  We prepared to put on the brace (breath held?  check.  fingers crossed?  check.  prayer prayed?  check.) and while we were putting on the first shoe, Mike actually fell asleep!  Somewhere between tightening the strap and tying the laces – he actually fell asleep.  We looked at each other – then looked back at Mike – then looked back at each other and both said “I don’t believe it”.  And he continued to sleep while we put on the second shoe.  And continued to sleep while we fastened them to the brace (which is the biggest surprise of all).

So today marks the end of the first week of the brace.  And I think we are getting less and less afraid of it every day!


DSC_0038 Mike smiles and says “Hi everybody!” while his mom steals some kisses before bath time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

First days with the brace…

Last Thursday morning, Mike had his casts removed.  A few short minutes later, we were strapping the brace back on.  Worried?  Yep.  Nervous?  Yep.  Anxious?  Yep.  Optimistic?  Yep – that too!

It only took a few minutes to cut the casts off (he still LOVES the sound of the saw!).  And a few short seconds after that, he quickly discovered that he could bend his legs and kick his feet.  The doctor came in to the room and took a look at his feet – and they earned a glowing report!  “Wow – those feet look great!  The are beautiful!  We couldn’t ask for better results!” 

Obviously, that made us feel better.  We spent another few minutes chatting with the doctor, shook hands, and he left us in the room.  Just the three of us.  Mom.  Dad.  Mike.  And the brace (which has been called many other name – none of them are nice…)

So we hunkered down.  Unlaced the shoes, and began our task of putting Mike in the brace.  He laid patiently on the table, looking up at us with a “what are you guys worried about” look on his face.  We slipped his foot into the first shoe, buckled and tied it.  All without a peep from Mike!  Then we slipped his other foot into the second shoe, buckled and tied it.  Again – not a peep!  Then we attached them to the bar.  His feet were SO much easier to get into position!  There was absolutely no problems at all – and Mike took it all in stride.

But we were still apprehensive.   After all, this was still just the first time putting the brace back on.  And it had only been a few minutes.  Not wanting to count our chickens before they hatch, we decided to reserved our judgment until we had a few more opportunities with the brace.

The first came Thursday night.  Remember that Mike had the same cast on for the past three weeks.  For those of you who have never had an infant in casts (especially a boy!) – you can’t imagine how many times he peed down the inside of the cast.  And don’t forget the poop!  So his little legs were certainly ready for a bath.  Off with the brace – and the feet still looking good!  A few minutes at the baby spa and he came out smelling like a rose!  Put on some pajamas – and then back to the brace.  First one foot – then the other foot – then the bar – and Mike didn’t care one single bit!  Maybe things were looking up – but after our last experience, we were still hesitant…

Friday night was much of the same routine – ending with getting Mike in his pajamas and then on with the brace.  Again – no problems!  Saturday night – same routine – same outcome!  Maybe we could begin to relax.  Or maybe we should wait one more day…

Sunday – Valentines day.  This could be the day.  A bath, dress in pajamas, and no problems with the brace!  And now we are starting to breath a little easier…

Not only that – but Mike’s personality has continued to be nearly angelic.  Those bright blue eyes and smiling face are such a contrast to the red-faced screaming that accompanied “round one” with the brace. 

We can still see a little “dimple” in his heel from the pressure point he had before the surgery – and we are keeping a VERY close eye on it to make sure it continues to heal and not get worse.  But so far, so good!  And as of right now, we have no causes for concern!

And in celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day – we’ll leave you with a picture!  The bag is from Mike’s pre-school where he collected Valentines from all of his classmates.  And his shirt does indeed say “my 1st valentine”!


Happy Valentine's Day Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The last night with the casts!

This is it!  Less than 12 hours from now – the next chapter in the club foot saga begins.

Tomorrow morning, Mike goes back to the orthopedic surgeon to have his casts removed.  It’s almost sad when you get to see how much fun he has with them.  I know how that sounds – like we are some sort of demented parents.  But it really is true!  We’ve mentioned several times about how Mike has enjoyed “clacking” his casts together and how we were using that as a measure of how his heel no longer hurt.  But little did we know how much he enjoyed it, or how often he really did it, or how hard he really did it, or how little his heel must bother him.  Tonight, while we were having a little party to celebrate the last night with the casts, we noticed that while his left heel was making the familiar “clack”, the right heel was making a dull “thud”.  This was a new development – and as it turns out, Mike has pulverized the plaster in the heel of his right cast!  Now when he tries to “clack” it, all he gets is the “thud” of the cotton padding underneath.  I guess it’s a good thing that they are coming off tomorrow!

So, how do you celebrate with an 11 week old on the eve of getting his casts removed?  I don’t think there is anything in our “new baby instruction manual” about it, so here’s what we did…

We started the evening with a feeding.  And, of course, we put Mike’s favorite “I’m the boss” bib on…


Yo - I'm the boss!

That’s right – read it and weep!

Then, after a little supper, we enjoyed some time on the mat…


Enjoying a little mat time...

My mat is SO cool!

Clackin' my casts!

Watch me “clack” my casts together!

Then we spent a little time in the “Bumbo” seat…


Weeee - look at me!

I love this seat!  And check out my cool rattle!




And after all of that playing – it was time for Mike to pay a little visit to the sandman…


Gonk zoom!

All of this playing sure is hard work…

And now Mike is in his bed, sound asleep.  Tomorrow is going to be a big day.  Not because of the cast removal.  We’ve been through that enough to know that it’s a piece of cake.  But after the casts come off, the Dennis Brown Brace goes back on.  And that makes us a little apprehensive (considering how it went the last time…).  But everyone (both doctors and folks that have been through this very thing) has told us that the DBB won’t be any problem at all after the tenotomy.  But we are apprehensive nonetheless.  So be keeping us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow!  And we will let you know how Mike reacts to his first day back in the brace…





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where have we been?

We’ve had several inquiries over the last day or two about the reason for our lack of posts!  Unfortunately, we have been much busier than normal at work.  And since Mike hasn’t learned to type yet, the posts have fallen behind.

And we thought that tonight would pass by without another post.  Tennessee is playing Vanderbilt tonight (at Vandy) and we had thought that we would be glued to the screen, cheering on the Vols.  But alas.  The score became so painful that we couldn’t watch any more.  Better to just see the score in the paper tomorrow…

So the Vols loss is your gain!  A post!!!

As I remember, we left you all hanging on the last post.  Something about a “big transition” that Mike had made?  And it’s true – he did make a big transition!  It happened on Friday, January 30th.  Mr. Mike (who is currently asleep in my arms while I type this) officially made the move out of his bassinet in Mom and Dad’s room all the way upstairs in to his very own bed in his very own room!  We carried him up the steps, wrapped him in his blanket, and kissed him good night.  He looked so precious laying in the great big baby bed!  We were certainly nervous about how well he would do – but Mike fell asleep right away and enjoyed one of he best nights of sleep that he’s ever had!  He slept all the way through the night!  And we all woke up Saturday morning feeling like a million bucks!  He’s been sleeping in his own bed ever since…


  Gonk Zoom 

Look how cute I am snuggled up in my big bed!



And yesterday we decided to pull his “bumbo” seat out.  If you don’t know what it is – it’s a little seat made out of foam for infants to sit in.  Mike, who has excelled at holding his head up, decided that he wanted to give it a whirl.  At first, he wasn’t too sure what to think about it.  After all, when you are used to looking at the world while laying on your back, it all has a much different perspective when you are sitting up!  But after a minute, he had the hang of it and decided that it was pretty cool to sit in his seat and play on his mat.


DSC_0140 Whoa!  What the heck?


Foxy is just as curious about this contraption as Mike is!

Hey - not too bad!

Hey – this thing may not be so bad…

This is COOL!

…and it’s really cool on my mat!

And Mike is still enjoying his “pre-school”.  His teachers think his casts are adorable and are almost sad that he will be losing them soon!  Apparently, his favorite thing to do has nothing at all to do with the multitude of activities that are in his room.  Nope.  No Sir.  No Indeed.  His favorite thing to do is to get his diaper changed!  While laying on the changing table (which is a Formica counter top at the pre-school), he loves to bang his casts on the table top!  According to his teachers, he will bring them crashing down and then look up at them and just laugh and laugh!  So obviously his heels aren’t bothering him any…

And speaking of his heel – here is the official “club feet” update.  Mike will be getting his casts take off Thursday morning.  Which means that he will be going back to the brace Thursday morning.  The brace was such a problem before that we can’t help but to be nervous.  But the casts have been holding his feet in the same position that the brace will be.  And he has been nothing but happy with them.  And everything we have heard (from the doctors and from people who have had the same problems we’ve had) is that the brace becomes a “non-issue” after then tenotomy.  So we are cautiously optimistic that he will have no more problems with the brace.  We will be sure to let you know!

In the meantime, we are going to bundle up and stay warm.  And while we are about 15 degrees below normal (brrrrrrrrr!) – at least we are not getting the snow that many of our friends and family are getting!  Maybe when Mike is a little older and we can get out and play in it…


Stay warm!