Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sleeping on the stairs

As you can see, Beff can fall asleep anywhere. You can't always get her to sleep at night, but you can't keep her awake if she wants to sleep!

James "Dancing With the Girls"

Well what do you expect with four older sisters. I came home from a quick errand, having left James sleeping upstairs, to find Lauren and Sarah dancing, Hannah jumping around, James enjoying the show and kicking along, and Beff fast asleep in the middle of it. I had to hold back the "NOOOOOO! Beff does not take a nap in the afternoon!" (It's been long enough that I don't remember if it was a late night for us or not.) It was so cute seeing James "dance" along and as Lauren said, "It kept him happy". Keeping him happy also included taking off his shoes for his one hour a day of freedom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

James' fans

You can see how big James is getting when compared to Hannah and Beff. They really want to hold him, but they can barely lift him.

Sarah my "picture helper". I couldn't get a smile out of James.
He loves to smile for people not for cameras.

Do you like the hair? He had a bath last night and got an Elvis style. The kids still want the faux hawk, but his hair is getting too long.

James has new shoes

Well they technically aren't shoes. They are orthotics called Mitchell shoes with the Ponseti bar. You have to have a prescription to get them. After many trips to Children's hospital trying to get the other shoes to fit we were finally given the Mitchell shoes. I am told that they are very expensive. They are worth it!

It has been night and day. James has had very little trouble with these shoes. They are soft leather with a foam insole. They are much more comfortable for James and as a bonus they are lighter weight. (I can use all the help that I can get in the weight department with James.) I'm not sure how much he weighs now, and I'm not even sure that I want to know.

James has been picking up his feet and will sometimes fall to the side. I'm sure that he will be rolling over soon.

Here is a better picture. He has become fascinated with his hands and has them in his mouth all the time. This was one of the few pictures without his fingers in his mouth. Is he going to be another Beff, I don't know.
Here is a close-up of the shoes. They go a little higher. With only three buckles they are much easier to get on. They even have a little peep hole to see if his heal is in the right place. (You can see the hole on his inner left foot heal.)
Here are his feet without the shoes. I couldn't get a good one showing the feet side by side. (My helper was doing her best.) You can see the extra skin around his ankle.
Can you tell the difference?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

James is 3 months old today

First off I have to say that I am caught up with this blog!!!! My mom will be so proud.

James is three months old today. Where has the time gone. The first two pictures were taken today and the others were taken yesterday, so they are all current. He loves to smile, until he sees the camera and then he just looks into the lens very seriously. He must be trying to figure it out. If I take the camera away he starts to smile again. I can't even trick him by not looking through the viewfinder and just keeping the camera to the side. He sees it and looks deeply into it. I was able to capture a few smiles, but they don't do him justice.

I haven't had a baby get so big so quickly. Jake was a big baby and Sarah was good sized too, but Lauren, Hannah and Elizabeth were all tiny little things. I can't believe how fast he has grown out of all his clothes. He is wearing 9 month sizes in these pictures. I thought that they might be a little too big when I bought them... last week! They seem to fit just perfect. I have discovered that snap down from the neck to the feet, footless, one piece outfits are the easiest to wear. He sometimes wears other outfits, but I have to know that he is going to be "seen" to put in the effort that other outfits take.

Only two and a half months and he will be able to wear all the fashionable styles without his brace. I have no idea what size he will be wearing by then. I also don't want to wish for him to grow up any faster than he already is.

Blessing Day

Isn't he a cutie! He is such a big boy that he barely fit into his blessing outfit. He actually leaked out at Church, that is why he is wearing another outfit in the pictures in front of the church. It was so nice having Grandma and Grandpa Bill there. It was so nice having Grandpa in the blessing circle.

I should have taken off the brace before the blessing. I didn't want to have to put it back on and James was happy. He couldn't go the whole sacrament meeting without it on so I kept it on him. It was hard for the men to hold James and he started to cry. It was awkward and he is heavy. Bishop Petersen was quick acting and got his pacifier into his mouth and James settled down. Jon gave a beautiful blessing and we even had a few friends try and write down what was said. We have never done that before and it will be nice to have that in the future.

Beff's B-day

All grins on her actual birthday, well the day after anyway.
We celebrated Beff's birthday four days early with Grandma and Grandpa Bill. They took her shopping for her birthday gifts. She had a great time going alone with her grandparents. She picked out a barbie that changes color with water and a fancy journal. She has had a great time writing and drawing in her journal. She also got a scooter from us. That has been a big hit too.


Grandma got a good picture of James.

The Tulip Fields

We took Grandma and Grandpa Bill to the Tulip fields while they were here. We had gone a few years ago and had enjoyed seeing all the beautiful flowers. Grandma and Grandpa have been here in the spring the last 4 years. This is the first time that they have been here when the tulips were in bloom. It was nice for them to finally see the tulips in bloom. They even missed the tulips when they went to the Netherlands so it was a long time coming!
It was a sunny day, but you always need to be prepared for foul weather and muddy fields when you are in Washington.

The FAB (Foot Abduction brace

After 11 weeks of treatment the time finally came for "the brace" This is the part of the treatment that I have been dreading. And after 13 days of use, (I'm a little slow at posting) I can honestly say that it is as bad as I had imagined. The day we got the brace the doctor had said that it would be a horrible week. I wish that he had warned us at the previous visit. I wouldn't have planned his blessing to be three days later and I would have had my parents come and visit after we had adjusted.

James screamed almost the entire first night. I could tell that he was in pain. (I can see why some parents suggest that treatment not start for a week or two after the baby is born. It gives parents a chance to get breastfeeding off to a good start and get to know the temperment of their baby.) I knew that James was a happy baby, not prone to crying for long periods. I knew that he was not only mad about his lack of movement, but also upset about his painful foot. The first time that we took off the boots we could see the red marks on his heal. It is only the club foot. The normal foot is doing fine. I'm not sure if that means that his foot is not entirely corrected. The doctors seemed to think that his foot had done great. We will have to see if I can wait the 4 1/2 more weeks until we go back to Children's.

It has gotten better the last 13 days. Mostly because James has a happy nature and really wants to be happy and not screaming. That doesn't mean that screaming isn't happening. It is just not as often. We can usually tell when he is in pain or just upset. If we take off the boot and give him a little break and make sure to get the boots on correctly it helps a lot. He hasn't cried about his foot all day so that is a good sign.

He has to wear the boots almost all day. He is supposed to wear them 23 hours a day, we don't make that goal. Some days we are close, other days it is more like 22 hours. It takes time to get the boots off, clean his feet, give him a chance to dry and stretch, and then put the boots back on. We have been taking them off a few times a day or when we can tell that they aren't on right. The number of times has been decreasing so the amount of time that he is in them is increasing. He still has a big open blister on the back of his foot. We are trying all kinds of tricks to help it heal: changing socks, mole skin, mole foam, band-aids, corn bandages etc. I'm sure that we will find a solution soon. (I'm hoping)

Another concern that I had about the brace was holding James. It is not as easy to hold him, partly because of his size. (He is a big boy!) The brace also makes it awkward to carry him. Jon likes to carry him facing out with his arms around James' body. I carry him more and try and change up the positions. My wrists are getting very sore though.

I did find a baby carrier that will work. I love baby wearing and was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it. My LLL co-leader has a carrier called the Pikilo. It is very similar to the Ergo, that I own, only you can cinch in the crotch area, so the legs are close together, and the baby can be facing out, so the legs don't get squished. I have been borrowing hers, but I ordered my own yesterday! It's a little tricky to get on since his legs are stuck together, but I am able to do it on my own. I don't use it much at home. I think that James is more comfortable laying on the ground or in a baby chair sometimes. At least he has lots of siblings to keep him company.
The width of the bar corresponds to the width of his shoulders.
The boots are attached to the bar with screws on the soles of the shoes. There are some models that just snap on. I'm going to need to beg for that! His right foot is set at 45 degrees and his left foot is set at 70 degrees. He looks like a snow boarder. He will be a natural.
This picture was taken after James had been in the brace for over a week. As you can see he is not upset at all. By the way, that is a 6 month size outfit, worn for the first time, that barely fits!
(Sorry about Jacob's voice in the background. He didn't realize that I was recording and not taking a picture.)

Movies of new babies aren't always very exciting. James had just started to try and "get" his toys. It's fun to see how much work it takes to make the arms, hands and fingers do what he wants them to do. James is just over two months old. (I'm a little late getting it posted.)

The other kids think that he is just amazing. Even Jacob thinks that James is a genius! I should record James saying "mama" or at least that is what Jacob says he is saying.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Before and After

It is amazing what can be accomplished in 11 weeks!
This is James' foot at birth and then 11 weeks later, after the weekly casts and the tenatomy. I was a little worried about what it would look like. His foot was still "short" when he had the tenatomy (cutting of the achilles tendon) and I didn't know how much better it would look after the three weeks in the last cast. When I took off the cast I was pleasantly surprised.

It looks really good. You can still see a difference, but it is not nearly so great. The feet are almost the same length. His club foot is fatter and the arch is flatter. I'm told that they try and get the arch like that. Now it is on to the Foot Abduction Brace (FAB).

Roller Skating

The kids have taken to roller skating. It started in january with a birthday party that Hannah was invited to. I asked Jake to come along and help. I was 9 months pregnant and knew that I wouldn't be skating. Jake brought a friend and the kids had lots of fun. We loved that skating rink because they would let parents walk along with the little ones. I must have walked miles that day! Since then we have been skating 5 times. James has even been twice!
Grandma and Grandpa Bill came to visit and the kids wanted to show how great they were at
skating. what we weren't expecting was that Grandma would be skating too! We didn't get a picture (she is probably happy about that), but we will always have the memory. It took a lap or two, but she remembered how to do it. She was surprised that she had forgotten how to skate, it had only been 30 years.

Two brothers

Jacob loves having a little brother. I had asked Jake to watch James. I came into the family room to find Jake playing the guitar for James. James was trying his hardest to touch the guitar. I guess that you can never start learning to play too early.

Jake doesn't even try to deny how much he likes James. If asked about his brother he will go on and on about how great he is.

Sarah's 10th birthday

Sarah celebrated her 10th birthday a month late. It's hard to have a birthday just a few weeks after a new baby comes. She wanted a big slumber party. She settled on three friends who get along well. They had a great time.