Thursday, July 29, 2010

how to....

Is your husband about to have his 32nd birthday? And you don't know how to celebrate it? Well, good thing we've been through that exact same situation.

Here are 13 steps telling you How to celebrate your Husband's 32nd birthday:

1) Find a crazy recipe to try out on the husband for his birthday cake.

2) Enlist the help of your favorite 3 year-old to cook this awesome cake. Also...since the cake has SIX layers, you may also have to beg and plead w/ your neighbors to obtain more cake pans. Then, once you got their cake pans, you'll probably need to be envious of how cool those pans are compared to yours. Man, why or why did we register for the cheap ones 7 years ago????

3) Make the cake.  While making the cake totally impress the three year old with your ability to make white cake suddenly appear different colors!!

4) Bake the said cakes.  Remembering that since you are putting less cake mix in each pan, that your must be extra careful not to burn the cakes.

5) Start decorating and icing the cake.  While ripping the foil of the icing container, be sure to spill half of the container of the ground--right in proximity of your 1 year old, that away it won't be too easy for your to clean up when you are competing against the never-satisfied-hunger of a 1 year old.  Then just about die of laughter when the three-year-old comments on its poop-like appearance! :O)

6)  Finish decorating the cake. But first, be sure to ask the 3 year old what her Daddy needs on top of his cake and try your darnedest to fulfill those wishes...then step back and be disappointed in admire your work.

7) Make the husband pose with the cake. Then put up with it when he says that it seems like a silly tradition. But make him pose with the cake anyway because that what you are supposed to do on your birthday dab-nab-it.

8) Attempted a three-quarters family photo...but fail because you can wheel the high chair close enough...but they are still pretty cute anyway.

9) Put all the candles on the cake you can find. Of course, you don't have 32 candles. That's a lot. No one has 32 candles at their house. But put on the 10 magic-reigniting candles that you can find.

Then watch as the husband and three-year-old attempt to blow them out over and over and over again. 

 10) Slice up the cake and hear the husband's surprise when it is rainbow. Then...make him pose with the cake a second time (hehehe)!

11) Feed the Bitty Baby Boy a slice of cake.  Then as you admire his smile think, "forget the cake...I could just gobble him up and all his glorious cuteness!"

12) Continue to watch the 1 year old as he finishes eating the cake and proceeds to rearrange the remnants from his plate to the tray and vice versa.  He is just too funny.

13) Finally, give the husband his birthday present that you weren't supposed to give him b/c you spent a lot of money on his Father's Day present. But you know...what's a birthday without a present.

So there you have it.  That is best way I can think of to celebrate the 32-year-old husband's birthday. Hope you find this helpful!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2 Weeks later...

It has been 2 weeks today since Owen's head surgery.  His incision is looking great.  There are many parts where the stitches have dissolved and the skin has crossed over the incision and looks healed.  His hair is growing back quite nicely.

Owen is doing great. It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago he was sitting in the ICU moaning for more morphine. I praise God that he is well and active as ever.

This past week, Owen is an emerging walker. He is walking about 95% of the time.  He can even multitask; walking while talking on the phone.

He has been so proud of himself for getting up and walking all over the place.  It is just too cute.

Another difference in Owen since his surgery is how affectionate he has been. I tell you what, Owen has been extremely lovey dovey this past two weeks. He'll come over and plant a nice, wet, teethy kiss on us constantly.  He has also been giving Bethany a run for her money in demanding my attention.  She has always been my little side-kick.  But now, I fear we will have a full-pledge momma's boy on my hands soon.  He used to gravitate toward it is "maMA, maMa, maMA." Not like I mind though. I will just suck this all in. I know it won't be long before it will take more than quick cuddle with me to make their troubles go away.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All about the Bee!

So I have posted a bunch about the Lil' Man lately...for obvious reasons.  I am feeling guilty for leaving this one out.  In order to rectify that situation, this post is all about our the Resident Princess, Bethany.

Lil' Bethany is doing great this summer. She has completely mastered the art of going potty. Yes, both #1 and #2, thank you very much!  Doing #2 did take about a month and a half to figure out.  I, for sure, saw a side of my lil' girl that I didn't realize existed when we were in the midst of a battle of the doo-doo. If this is any indication of what she is going to be like as a teenager, I am going to start looking for some great boarding schools now.  But back to the toilet training...she is so set that now she wants to be alone when doing the deed.  Seriously...this is the girl that 3 weeks ago wouldn't use any other potty other than her own.  Now is 100% completely independent.  And as for my worries about me being gone during Owen's surgery...yeah...she progressed leaps and bounds that week. Crazy Girl!

Other than learning to use the john, this summer Bethany has done plenty of arts-n-crafts, played out side and gotten in touch with her imagination.  Even to the point of whipping out her Halloween costume again.

She loves to play with her little people toys with her princess castle and the little people house.  The voices she uses are pretty funny. Plus, the things her little people say just crack me up.  And, of course, if one of them says something inappropriate (i.e. shut up), Bethany immediately provides the disclaimer that it was her toy that said it, not her.

She has been great (for the most part) with Owen since he has gotten back from the hospital.  She is very protective of him if other people are around. She even scolded me the first time I washed his hair. " bucket on Owen's head. He has an owie."  But as often as she protects the little man...she also loves to pester him.  If pestering your brother becomes an Olympic sport, I think she'll have a fair shot at the gold.

She starts preschool in three or so weeks.  She is super excited. She is talking about it daily and will draw pictures for school.  She has even started using preschool to con us into buying things for her.   "Oh, I need this for my school. I am a big girl." as she points to a totally useless toy.  Crazy kid.

Her personality is totally a bloom.  She talks like crazy and has an amazing memory.  Things we've done a year ago she'll remember. Seriously...1 year ago...we didn't remind her...we don't have pictures...she'll just tell a story about whatever it was.   Sometimes (actually a lot of times), she'll remember things that I've totally forgotten about. 

Overall, she is an amazing toddler. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. Between her snuggling and her "I Love You, Mom"s...there is nothing better than having a Little Bethany in our lives.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Many...

So I've been wondering these past couple of days---exactly how many times can my heart stop beating before it neglects to resume its life sustaining pace?

Seriously, this guys scares me to death. 

Of course, his appearances aren't hard on the eyes.  On the contrary, he is rather delicious looking. But what scares me is all of Owen's Toddlerness. Could the Boy NOT learn to walk before his surgery?  This sudden desire to walk now is enough to cause my heart to stop ten times a day. With over a hundred stitches in his head sealing his incision that goes from eat to ear...this is the best time he could think of to learn to walk? What is up with him?

Yesterday, he insisted on walking up the drive to the back of the garage...without holding hands...on concrete...without a protective bubble surrounding every square inch of him. What is he thinking?

Then, this kid has the audacity to walk beneath the kitchen table. Seriously!  Does he not realize that he could bump his head? Does he realize that every time he goes there,  I am pretty sure I am losing a year off my life. Goodness. He. Scares. Me. To. Death!

After a nice stroll under the kitchen table, the kid will go to the toy box.  He'll open it...but, oh no, he won't open it all the way. He prefers to have the lid be resting precariously between the closed position and the completely open position; that-a-way it looks like he is going to hit his head on it once he is done reaching down to retrieve his coveted toy.  Of course while he is doing so, all I can see is him hitting his head & every last stitch popping and blood gushing everywhere!

After play time, it is bath time.  Oh...don't get me started on all the dangers of the bath tub. Man. You have the faucet, the bending-over-and-not-watching-the-side-of-the-tub-as-he-gets-back-up factor. And then...then you have the slippiness of bathtub...don't you see the 10 million possible ways his head could be damaged in the bathroom!?!?  It is enough to raise my blood pressure just thinking about baths!

I am just certain that one of these times I am going to see Owen do something that seems a bit precocious and my heart will stop and fail to resume.

After all, how many more times can I put my heart through this stress?

Sunday, July 18, 2010


So, can you notice the changes in our Little Man's face? To me, they are pretty slight.  The doctors said they widened his skull 1 full inch.  I can only notice some slight difference to the face itself.  He is pretty handsome anyway you look at him--there is no denying that!

Owen's personality is just about 99% back to normal.  He gets a little tired easily and a little whiny.  But he is very playful and very much addicted to his sister.  They were very lovey dovey today.  It was pretty cute.  He has learned to be way more cooperative while taking his meds and while we apply the ointment on his freakishly long scar.  Owen even does a pretty good job not touching it...which is always helpful.

Another major change that has happened at the Milles house is indirect side effect from Owen's surgery.  While Owen was in the hospital, I delegated the responsibility of water my flowers to the Husband and a trusty neighbor. They did a really good job. The new tree is looking great. The mailbox flowers really have flourished.  All are looking wonderful, all except my petunias. Those petunias were tucked away in a hanging basket.  Easy to miss, I imagine.

While I was a little bummed my patriotic petunias died, I noticed that twice a bird has flown out of the hanging basket.  This evening, I pulled it down to throw them out.  This is what I see...


Is that pretty amazing or what?!?   A lot of changes, for sure.  While at first the changes don't look so pretty such as in Owen's case the first day after his surgery. Or while I look up at the disappointing underside of my basket of pathetically dried putunias.  People or things have to go through some ugly situations in order to have a surprisingly beautiful outcome.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back Home!

We are finally back home.  Man, how glad am I to see this silly face again!
She is, for sure, glad to see us.  She was a little clingy today. As well as, testing her boundaries again or maybe she was seeking extra attention. But, whatever, I was glad to be able to give it to her again.

 Mr. Cool here also loved seeing his big sister again.  The last night in the hospital, I showed him some videos on the computer of him and his sister. Immediately, he began whimpering and stroking the computer. He missed her so much. I was hoping the videos would make him happy...but it, for sure, had the opposite effect.

They, really, couldn't get enough of each other.  They even had a sweet lil' kiss. I will have to show them this picture in 10 years when they can't stand each other. I will make sure to remind them of how much they missed each other when separated these past 4 days.

Today we basically stuck around the house. Owen and Bethany played with the balloons and toys his aunt and uncle and cousins got him.  These balloons for a great hit!

They went from toy to toy playing, spending quite a bit of time in their sunglasses.

The amazing neighbors on our street has organized a meal-drop.  I totally don't feel worthy of such of an expression of compassion and charity.  They are totally amazing and thoughtful people. Their charity is just overwhelming. I am so glad we moved here four years ago!

Tonight's dinner was awesome.  Owen loved the taters and corn the best! He was even spoon feeding himself.  Plus the fried chicken was amazing. Seriously, who knows how to fry their own chicken breasts these days.  I am thinking that Miss Becky might be able to put KFC out of business.

Overall, the four of us are doing pretty good. I will have to tell you, that this has been the longest week of my life. I still can't believe all that Owen has been through. I've asked a lot of questions at the hospital about exactly how some aspects of the surgery went down and when I heard what this boy has been through. With what those doctors did to his head...I am amazed. I am simply amazed that Owen has recovered so fast.

This week has housed the both the absolute worst day of my life and one of the best moments of my life. It was a complete whirl wind of emotions that are still trying at times. 

Seeing Owen in the ICU, moaning and moaning. Calling out my name. That was the lowest. The lowest I have ever been. It was hard to see him suffer so much. To see him uncertain, afraid and in pain. That was just the worst thing I've ever had to deal with. I don't know how people deal with that on a daily basis with their children's health failing.  That was miserable. I don't know how God deals with that on a daily basis. We are all his children...and millions of people are suffering everyday.  I just know that with prayer...we made it through that day.

Owen recovered pretty fast and his need for the morphine was over before we knew it.  I just hope we don't ever have to see our kids suffer as much as Owen did while he was recovering.  Once he continued to do better with his pain, we had to combat his swelling. The swelling brought me to another low. It wasn't as difficult to see that as it was to see his pain.  But it was difficult to see him so scared and so angry.  He was just plain mad when he couldn't see.  But the horrible swelling that was supposed to leave him without his vision for at least a full day went away within hours. That is one thing that I can only attribute to the hundreds of prayers being said for our family.  God was certainly listening to all of the out pours of prayers. How amazing!

Once Owen's vision came back, he started to be less frustrated and more complacent. This leads to one of the best moments of my life.  The Mommy/Son picnic we had on the Day 3 of the hospital was amazing. Owen sat on the floor of his hospital room.  He played with the toys that were delivered to him earlier in the day.  Then his food arrived. He devoured those pancakes as if he were preparing for the next All-You-Can-Eat-Pancake-Contest.  He even tried to pull up on my shoulder.  That was the first time he stood in three days.

At that time, it became clear that he was better. He wasn't suffering nearly as much physically. It was clear that even emotionally he was better. He allowed himself to get down and start acting like a normal kid.  When we played and he ate, I sat in awe. I soaked in every moment of that significant turn around.  I felt blessed that God was feeling our son.  There are hundreds of children in that hospital and our son was being healed.  While I don't feel worthy of that, I can and do fully appreciate God's hand in Owen's recovery.

So we are now home. We are working on getting thing back to normal. While I feel like I have always been grateful for my children. I know many people that have struggled to have children or people who have lost children.  I never tried to take either one for granted. But after our stint in the hospital...I am just so grateful that that these two have been placed in our lives.   I don't ever want to take one day, one hour or one second of them for granted.  They are just too precious....And I thank God for placing them in our lives.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Food, Glorious Food! It makes a world of a difference.

Cory was the first to get him to drink. Of course it makes sense to offer him HIS sippy from home. But little did I know to think of it.

Once he got started, nothing was going to come between him and his precious yummies.
(you must pardon my appearance this was after a few hours of sleep and w/out make-up)

After Daddy left we had a Mommy and Son Picnic. On the menu  last night was pancakes, applesauce and brownies.  He had a great time actually being out of the bed.

Yummy Pancakes!

Gotta eat! :O)

Another update for today's events will come later this evening.  Owen's calling!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The "eyes" have it.

As you can see from the first post of the day, Owen woke up this morning with his left eye completely swollen shut. Then he barely had control over his right eye lid.  He was pretty mad this morning. He didn't want anything to do with anybody.  All he wanted was to be held, in a certain position.  While being held, he didn't want you to bother him any further.

The craniofacial plastic surgeon came in and took off Owen's bandage.  Man, his incision is creepy.   It goes straight from one side of his head to the other side.  Wanna know what else is creepy?  Well, he is going home...bandage-less.  Seriously! Is that not the craziest thing you ever heard. But what do I know. I just have a measily Masters in education.  The big wigs w/ their MD's and years of experience says it is best to have it uncovered, so I will take their word for it.


After being awake for a four or so hours, he took his morning nap.  By the time he woke up and Cory arrived, Owen was able to open both eyes a little bit. When they said that his swelling should be the worst on Thursday, I expected to see the swelling all day long. After all the resident neurosurgeon indicated that he won't be getting better until tomorrow.  But by the grace of God, it is already getting better.

As soon as Cory arrived, Owen exclaims, "Dada" in his drowsy, cranky, lil' voice.  Owen has been demanding his dad's attention the whole visit. He only wants Cory to hold him, carry him and comfort him.  Maybe he will even allow Cory to administer the Tylenol at 2 w/out a big fit.

Owen even cracked a little funky smile when Cory handed him his favorite Elmo book.  The book kept his attention for about a minute, then he went back to being cuddly.

All we are doing now is waiting for two things: Owen to eat/drink & for his lovely drain to come out.


Pretty weird to see this coming out of his head, huh?  Well, if he drains less than 30 mL (that is 1 oz for you metric system haters), the drain will be yanked out of the ole noggin.  Owen has been trying to save the nurses any trouble of removing the drain by tugging at it, but I've reassured him that the nurses don't mind doing the honors. 

Owen continues to push away the sippy as it is offered.  He has that stinkin' IV in his foot still and really doesn't want anything to do with a sippy cup.  Perhaps, I should offer him a McDonald's Frappe. He is totally obsessed with those (hey..don't yell at me, all I give him is the cool whip topping...not the coffee part).

So, we are grateful for the outpouring of support we've received.  Our family and friends are amazingly supportive.  Our God is an awesome God who has been answering our prayers left and right.  Owen seems to be either in no pain or tolerating his pain really well.  He hasn't needed morphine in over 26 hours.  The swelling shut of Owen's eyes was relatively short lived.  Praise the Lord! We are now praying that Owen will accept the sippy cup and try to drink and eat soon.  But as I write that I feel very humbled that God is allowing our prayers for Owen to be fulfilled while this hospital sits with hundreds of sick kids fighting various levels of pain, discomfort and diseases.  Why our prayers are being answered and Owen is clearly getting better is beyond me.  But it is enough for me to continue to sing God's praises and say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Shaven, scarred, swollen

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good:

  • Owen is out of the ICU

  • He still can see out of one eye.

  • I got to hold him, a lot.

  • He is down to three tubes: the IV, the skull drain, &\; the thingy in case he needs a 3rd blood transfusion.
  • He lost his glowy ET-phones-home light and now can suck his thumb.
  • He got to see both sets of grandparents, his sister and his dada.

  • He was able to drink apple juice
  • Dr. S the neurosurgeon says Owen is "over the hump".
  • He gets to sleep on his belly...his favorite position.
  • He got two gigantic helium balloons to stare at.
  • Blues Clues and Backyardagins did a great job of keeping our Bitty Babies attention off the issues in his life and on some happier, more colorful times.
  • We have amazingly supportive family and friends. Friends who pressure me to take care of myself and friends who don't mind my wishy-washiness w/ what to do with Bethany.
  • God is Good and is already delivering answers to prayers. 
The Bad:
  • Tuesday night was a rough night. That rough night rolled right into a rough Wednesday morning. He was in a lot of pain and cried A LOT.  There were a couple of times he was inconsolable.
  • His left eye is officially swollen shut & it ticked him off.
  • His blood cell count was low Wednesday morning, so he had his 2nd blood transfusion at 5:30 Wednesday.
  • The bit of apple juice he did drink, he throw up an hour later--all over me. 
  • He refused to drink anything else the rest of the day.
  • I was able to get about 1 or 2 hours of sleep last night. So that is why this post may not be the most eloquent or intelligent sounding.
The Ugly:
  • The black eye of our baby boy frustrated him quite a bit this morning, when he first realized he had it. It has also since gotten worse.
  • His pretty face will continue to swell through the night and be worse tomorrow. I pray that his right eye remains fine and he will have the ability to open it. How frustrating would it be not to open your eyes. No Fun.

10 Thoughts of a ICU Mama

1.  It is Freezing and I am Exhausted.

2.  I hate thinking about the coldness and my tiredness when my baby is moaning next to me.  How selfish could I be.  My son is in pain.

3.  Some kiddos in the ICU have their names on the windows to their room with cute little dragons, flowers, and stars.  I am immensely grateful that Owen is a "fast track" ICU baby and doesn't have his name on his window. I pray that neither of my kids' names make it up on an ICU window.

4.  I then feel guilty for my gratefulness. Those poor kids and their families, I have for sure said a prayer for them.

5.  I love morphine.  My once moaning boy becomes a happy camper.
As I see it: Morphine=No Moans=No Pain

6. I miss my baby girl.  She made a point to wake up early to see us off this morning. She had a busy day with her Grandma & and then with her Cousins.  Our family is doing all they can to help us. Thank the Lord for our supporting family.  But I can't wait to get my hands on my cuddlebug. I love her.

7.  Furthermore I am thankful for one more answered prayer:  Bethany is getting the hang of going #2 on the potty.  She has made great progress the last couple of days *including today w/ Grandma*. With Owen's surgery occurring right when pooping is finally clicking.  This has been a work in progress since the beginning of June. Makes me want to shout WooHoo!; but I won't. Maybe when Owen is not so much enjoying a nice morphine-assisted slumber.

8.  For the first time since lunch, my nervous are under control and I am finally feeling hungry. But at this point do I:  (A) go down and get some food,  (B) try to sleep, (C) continue to watch Hell's Kitchen.  Too bad I can't do all three at once. If only we could bring food into this room. 

9.  Hell's Kitchen is beginning to really irritate me. You are cooking dinner for patrons at your restaurant.  It is not at the end of the world if things are not perfect. There are things in this world that are far worse off than underseasoned parsnips.  Plus, Gordan is completely rude.  His language is horrendous.

10.  I am thankful.  THANKFUL for all the prayers, supports, offer for help w/ Bethany, chats on Facebook.  The support from our family and friends is overwhelming and totally appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surgery Day: Part 2 of ???

Once Owen got carried away by the friendly anesthesiologist, we went back to our waiting room to do just as its name states.  Wait.  After we felt we got our fill of waiting for the day; we, you know, waited some more.

Around 9 they started the procedure itself, after an hour or so. Around 10:30 the Nuerosurgeon came out and said that his part of the procedure was finished.  He does the actual incision and cuts the skull. He examined the brain and duramatter. He says all looked perfectly normal and there was no damage--praise God!  As to be expected, Owen's brain sort-of relaxed and expanded a little bit after they opened the skull.  So Owen can say au voir to his squished brain and embrace the room he has to grow a nice round head!

After waiting some more for the Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon to do his part, we see someone we know at the reception desk.   Surprisingly some of my family from New Madrid came up to visit. I saw my Granny, my Aunt Janice and Uncle Dempsey.  They were in town for another appointment & decided to stop over--that is after they mistakenly looked for us at Barnes-Jewish.  But eventually they made their way over to the Same Day Surgery Waiting Room.

It was nice to have them come and take our minds off the procedure and the fact that we are just waiting, waiting and waiting.

After a long while the plastic surgeon came out and said he was done reconstructing the skull and they are stitching Owen up.   Silly us thought we would be able to see Owen soon after that. After, all the plastic surgeon said in about an hour to an hour and a half. Silly doctor must of used "hospital time". Little did we know...that really that translates into 3 hours & 15 minutes in normal people time.  So around 3:15 we were in Owen's PICU room.

I was totally prepared for seeing Owen lethargic, swollen, oozy. But the moaning. Oh, the moaning got to me.   Why didn't I think of preparing for that heartbreaking sound?  Of course I cry.  Those moans say everything that he isn't able to articulate.

Thankfully God has blessed us with great staff at Children's.  Our Bitty Baby is on morphine and that seems to help.    I could tell, though, that he was needing another dose right before the nurse came in. Man, what would I do to be in his place.

Owen has things in just about every limb.  His left arm, otherwise known as the home-to-his-favorite-thumb, has a few thing-a-ma-jigs; he has a iv in his right foot; blood pressure cuff on his left foot, a catheter in, well, where they put catheters, sticky heart rate monitors on his chest, and to top off, he has a drain coming out of his skull.

Overall, they said the surgery went well.  Being at the ripe ole' age of 14 months, Owen's skull was a little more difficult to maneuver.  Dr. W didn't get the back of his head the exact way that he would've wanted. It is a little bit more round that they prefer, but Owen's bones are just too thick to work with.   The bump in Owen's forehead also couldn't be worked with at this time.  Dr. W said that as Owen grows, it will smooth out.  However, Owen's head is officially one inch wider. Pretty amazing, huh? The way they did it kinda reminds me of the crazy Chinese procedures to lengthened their legs....but way less involved. Those crazy, short Chinese have to be in the doctor's care for about a year to get their legs lengthed a few inches. Give the American doctors 5 hours, and you get an extra inch added to the width of you head! See American made products aren't all bad.

Owen's little brain did drain more fluids than is typical (which is really one of the reasons it took so long for us to see him).  The staff is monitoring him and made us well-aware of the possibility of a second transfusion.  


As of now, Owen is doing fair. He is a little moany.  He will open his eyes for a few seconds.  He has even muttered a few words. "Mama" "Dada".  They aren't the happy mama and dada's that I am used to unfortunately.  These are the "Mama, help me...please let's go home" kind of Mamas.  Yeah.  Heartbreaking.

So, just as he continues to call out for us, we continue to call out to God.  God, please comfort our son.  We know you feel pain when he does. We know you don't want him any discomfort & that the pain I am feeling you are feeling ten-fold. So please, Lord, watch after our Bitty Baby.  He needs you. But then again, who doesn't.