Historical Site!

Friends - I've moved to teamwhitaker.org. This site is still here—for now—but won't be forever and won't be updated. Visit me today at teamwhitaker.org!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Site! New Site!

The beautiful new site is online and ready for you! Visit me at my new Internet home at: teamwhitaker.org

For our RSS subscribers: we'll set it to auto-forward to the new feed for the time being, but please update your feed readers to our new feed address of http://www.teamwhitaker.org/feed

Friday, September 16, 2011

QOTW: September 16, 2011

Me:  Do you like watching flag football?
JP:  No.  I like playing it.

"I don't want a boy." {insert tears here}
Clare, when she found out Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Cory had a boy.

"We don't need to care what it is Clare, it's just a baby."
Anna-Laura, trying her hand at empathy?

"I knew it!"
Will, when he heard Uncle Cory say it was a boy.

"Is his last name Whitaker?"
John Paul asks.

What a fabulous way to end the week.  Sweet baby Hudson was born yesterday and the kids are clearly over the moon - we think Clare will warm up to him soon :)  We have lots of sports games this weekend and a BIG birthday celebration for Master Luke on Sunday.  Could it get any better?  Make it a great weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm an Aunt!! I'm an Aunt!! Aunt Jennifer had her baby!!

Oh, welcome to the world Hudson Klein Whitaker, born this morning, bright and early!


We got a text from Uncle Cory at 5am that they were at the hospital.  At 7:20 our phone rang with the good news.  Can I just say that Aunt Jennifer is my new hero?  She gave birth with no drugs and her labor was just a few hours.  We are so happy and thrilled the delivery went safely and sweet Hudson is healthy.  A family of three just become FOUR.  Oh, happy day!!

We love you Cory, Jennifer, Alex and Baby Hudson!

NICU Nurses are Amazing

Today is National Neonatal Nurses Day.  Can I get a holla?

Luke was blessed with so many amazing medical professionals during his NICU stay.  It was the nurses, though, that trudged with us through most of the stay.  Yes, our doctors were amazing, without a doubt. But...

It was Beth who held my hand when we found out about yet another horrible diagonsis.

It was Nicole who stood at the door at Dell and greeted us with a "We'll take great care of you and Luke" and meant every word.

It was Lisa who had OCD like me and loved on Luke during the night shift.

It was Leah who walked behind Luke as he was wheeled into emergency surgery - at my urgent plea - and gave me peace of mind I may never have had otherwise.

It was Janet who kept me supplied with Dr Pepper and pacifiers.

It was Dillon who cried big, fat, happy tears when I told her Luke was going home.

It was Bob and Gunther who first recognized Luke's onset of NEC.  They likely saved his life.

And the list just keeps going.  These nurses were our taste of heaven in the middle of hell.  Thank you will never, ever be enough.  We love them, to the moon and back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top Ten: The "News"

Luke has had a busy few weeks, I think at last count we've seen 7 or 8 specialists.  I feel like I can give his history and the latest update in my sleep.  To be honest, it was an avalanche of information.  And to be even more honest, it was mostly good news.  It was just SO much information and SO many emotions.  I'm not trying to be all dramatic, I'm just telling you how I feel.

That's what happens when you go see all those doctors so close to a birthday.  Lots of things are starting to bubble over.  I kinda feel like the pot has been on a low simmer for the past few months, and it just got turned to high.  September is turning into a tough month for me, emotionally.  A friend blogged recently about the birthday of her son (he was a preemie, too) and how the day itself felt a little - well - not so huggy, happy, skippy.  She may not have used those exact words, but work with me.  It just dredges up so many things - the anticipation of his birth, the unknowns, the scary days, the kick you in your gut days, the happy stuff, the awesome people...you see where I'm going with all that?  I suppose those that have walked in our shoes understand and many more can empathize.  I'm sure I'll be blogging about it all next week...said BIG boy is turning two on Sunday.  Not. Possible.

That turned into a way long intro about all the news.  Sorry.  Here goes:

TOP TEN:  THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT LUKE

1.  He has even more rockstar specialists.  Below is his developmental pediatrician, Dr. Fasci, his geneticist, Dr. Immken and his cardiologist, Dr. Johnson.  You will get the skinny on all three later this week and how much I heart them all, cross my heart.




2.  Luke does NOT have to have heart surgery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, at least in the near future.  He still has the two holes in his heart (VSD and PDA), but they are not causing secondary problems, a super enlarged heart or weight gain issues.  So, we're just watchin' 'em.  I like it.

3.  Luke is delayed about a year in speech.  Yeah, that one really hurt to hear.  We are working hard to get him evaluated for therapy and hope to start that twice weekly gig soon...in addition to his once weekly occupational/eating therapy.  Can I just move in up there??  Good thing I love those therapists.

4.  Luke social skills are "above average" - he's testing at 26 months.  I mean, he can give fist bumps, high fives and fall like a tree.  Those are skillz.

5.  Luke is still delayed in gross motor and fine motor skills, but only by three and one month, respectively.  That's a FAR cry from where we were six months ago.  He was delayed almost 9 months back then.

6.  Luke's eating stinks.  Yeah, thanks for the newsflash.  At least he's not throwing up 4x a day anymore.

7.  Luke's genetic diagnosis is....CL.  As in, CRAPPY LUCK.  There is no syndrome for all his quirks and anomolies.  He's an original, that's for sure.

8.  While we didn't get to fire any specialists (I know, so sad about that), we are starting to move to the annual visits, versus the every 3, 6 or 9 months.  That makes me, and my bank account, very happy.

9.  The pediatric orthopedist is being a real horse's behind.  {content edited for the PG version}

10.  Luke is a miracle.  Through and through.  Again his doctors all said how much they loved seeing his progress and how amazed they were at his tenacity.  I guess when you see him every six months you really see the changes.  It was a reminder to me to look backward instead of forward.  Where were we six months ago?  A year?  Two years?  Oh, sweet Luke the lessons you have taught me have brought me to my knees in prayer and to my feet in thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First day of PK!

Oh sweet Clare Bear - last Tuesday was just awesome.  She started her first day of PK and practically left Scott, Luke and I at the curb.  I had to beg to get some photos, but in true form, she showed off for the camera.  Yep, definitely a Whitaker.

I only picked out her clothes, she selected the bow and matching bracelet.  And she was VERY adamant about the bracelet.  "It's so pretty, momma.  I have to wear it."  Might I add that it is awesome that I finally have a girl who wants to wear dresses everyday?  It's very "Clare."

She barely gave us a second glance as we walked out the door.  She did stop, however, to give her brother a kiss and hug.  Clare, I pray it is an awesome year of learning, growing and creating.  As much as I don't want you to leave the house, I am loving the person you're becoming.  Thanks for letting me be your momma.





Monday, September 12, 2011

HDYDI: School Papers

If I hadn't implemented something, then I surely would have been buried alive by the mountain of school paperwork.  It just keeps coming, and coming, and coming...

I did have a loose filing system and it was working pretty decent, but then I stumbled onto the bestest blog evah.  Iheartorganizing.  Go ahead, click that link.  Your cluttered life may never be the same.  She had a brilliant suggestion for managing the paperwork, showing off the school photo and writing down the important things - all in ONE place.  I die.

I spent the better part of a week sorting through 17 years (all the kids' school years, plus three years of PK) to get the system up and running.  Yes, I realize like that sounds slightly off kilter, but it was so worth the 20 or so hours I put into it.  I'm saving so much time now it's not even funny.  In addition to saving and filing the paperwork, we also have some suggestions for managing it as it comes in the door.  Here's how we do it :)

HDYDI:  SCHOOL PAPERWORK

1.  When my kids walk in the door from school, there is a system.  Backpack: hung up on the pegs just inside the house.  Lunchsacks: cleaned out and put on the counter for refilling (we recently got rid of all plastic sacks and are using reusable BPA free plastic inserts from PK Kids).  Water bottles:  refilled and put in the fridge for the next day.  Uniforms:  thrown in the laundry basket or hung up to wear again (no, I am not above my kids rewearing perfectly {almost} clean clothes!!).  Folders:  put on the kitchen island where I review the contents.  Which brings us to #2.


2.  Keep it, trash it, recycle it.  I decide in THAT moment to do one of the three.  It it's kept, I put it in a pile and on the weekend I file all those papers in their boxes (I'll get to that in a minute).  If it's something that can't be recycled, then I trash it.  You can't keep it all folks.  The "keep" stuff is usually a special art project, a first spelling or math test, a book report or something that I know will really speak to what they've learned that year.

3.  At the end of the school year, I go through the "keep" file one more time and recycle some more.  Purging more than once is totally necessary...at least in our house.

4.  Employ the "touch it once" philosophy.  If there is a paper to be signed or returned to school, I do it right then and either put it in the respective child's backpack or in the front seat of my van for further action by me.  That has saved many a "ARG" moments when we can't find something.

5.  It really depends on the day and the after school sports/academic activity, but we typically change clothes, eat a snack then dive into homework.  I've tried not changing and eating and doing homework first.  Fail.  Do not attempt.  Will is usually okay to do his homework by himself with just review by me.  The other two need a bit more direction and help.  Everyday is a new experiment in temperment control - by all of us :)  As soon as they're done, the homework goes back in the folder and into the backpack.

6.  Sometimes the kids need a paper, but don't need to keep it in the backpack, but filing it away is just a hassle.  So, we employed the homework desk folder which allows for quick access to something.  It's great.  Each kiddo has their own file and keeps things like quarterly sight word lists, information for PSIA (private school academic competition) or football plays :)



7.  The individualized file boxes I bought were money well spent.  Yes, I went to my happy place to find these.  Thank you Container Store.  They are roomy, see-through, organized and airtight.  I actually modified these a bit from the samples on the iheartorganizing blog (hey, it's what graphic designers do) by adding a "PK2 and PK3" folder and I made my own labels to put in the front.  It took some time to set it all up, but now I'm done 'til college.





I think the biggest lesson I've learned with multiple kids in multiple activities and grades is this:  deal with it the moment you get it.  Sometimes you can't, but if you make that your MO, you will live a much less stressed after school hour.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Blogging!

Hey all, my post did go up today over at CMO.  Sheez, this is the first time I've sat down to the computer without doing work today.  Hi crazy.

Enjoy the post!  Whoa to the comments - CMO has a page on facebook.  It was quite an entertaining way to start my day :)
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