Thursday, September 26, 2013

Papa Murphy's Preschool Tour {Brycen's First Field Trip}

This morning was Brycen's first field trip. He and his preschool class (as well as the afternoon class) went to Papa Murphy's to take a tour and make their own pizzas. It was so much fun and the kids loved it! Carter was such a good boy, too. I held him during the tour and took pictures. He seemed to enjoy the different surroundings.

A little pre-tour huddle

Learning about making the dough

Running the dough through the machine to flatten it

Washing hands so they can make their pizzas

Brycen thought it was pretty cool to wear gloves and a chef's hat!

Each child was given a pizza dough with sauce and cheese. Then they put pepperoni on them.

Somebody looks guilty! I caught him tasting the cheese off his pizza.

Putting on the pepperoni

Trying the cheese again. He also tried the pepperoni but spit it out in the garbage. Classy!

Wrapping up his pizza to take home

Miss Krystal putting Brycen's name on his pizza

Taking a picture with the owner and tour guide

He sure was proud of his pizza! He can't wait to eat it for dinner.

Thanks for the fun field trip, Miss Krystal!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts About the Kids

I thought of a few things about the kids that I want to make sure I write down somewhere. Hopefully one of these days I'll get my life a little more organized and do a real blog post about these things!

  • Says funny words like "telespoke" and "ice cream spook". 
  • Potty trained and doing great! Woooo hoooo!
  • Loves to tell "secrets". (He whispers jibberish in your ear. It's pretty funny.)
  • In heaven now that Disney Junior on Disney Channel has "Henry Hugglemonster". 
  • LOVES preschool! (More about that later!)
  • Loves to drink strawberry milk
  • Still loves his blanket and reminds me regularly that Great Gram made it and that it's his.
  • He "takes pictures" of me with anything that could be used as a camera. Ice cream scoop, play golf club (that is also spy goggles)...

  • Wearing 24-month and some 2T clothes. I still squeeze him into 18-month shirts sometimes, just to see those fabulous arms and belly come squishing out.
  • His hair is looking really blonde lately.
  • Such a sweet baby. So happy all the time and gives really good hugs.
  • We've put him on straight almond milk. It's been a little over a week and we're hoping to see some changes to his system soon.
  • He loves the stairs and we're always having to keep him off of them. We have a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs that's sitting the step and in between two rails, but sometimes he just slides it over and crawls up. We really have to watch him with those stairs. 
  • He loves to sit on the bottom step of the stairs.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Remember When I Used to Blog?

Ok, I guess I still do blog, but I'm terribly behind on this one and it makes me want to cry a little. We're all still doing well and enjoying our busy lives! Brycen starts preschool on Tuesday and it's totally crazy. He had orientation this past week and he was a little overwhelmed. I think it was all the people in one tiny room. I think he'll do much better when he gets to go to school. He's so excited to wear his Curious George "pack pack" and meet the kids in his class

Carter started walking on August 23rd and is now all over the place. We can't help but laugh as he takes those wobbly steps as he gets used to using those pudgy feet. (He's in for a real eye-opener when he has to actually start wearing shoes!) He has five teeth now and they're big like mine. We just love that toothy grin! He loves getting them brushed. The scar on his head from his cyst is hardly visible now and it looks so good. You can't even tell he had a cyst removed! I'm so glad we decided to go through with that procedure. He's wearing 24 month clothes and has passed Brycen in growth, as far as where Brycen was at when he was Carter's age. Because of that we're off on the seasons in clothes so Carter doesn't have much to wear in this 90-degree weather. I bought him a couple of outfits and t-shirts at City Creek today and I'm excited for him to wear something that doesn't look like a muscle tee for babies or like his thighs are trying to eat his shorts.

Tyson is as busy as ever with his job. He goes in early so he can come home at a decent time in the evenings. We're so glad that he's able to work those kinds of hours so we can see him at such an ideal time. We're pretty lucky! His kids sure love him. As soon as Tyson walks through the door the kids go nuts and go right to him. Carter crawls at an impressive speed and tries to climb up his dad's legs. Tyson is pretty much the greatest guy ever and I don't know what I'd do without him.

I'm staying as busy as ever with mommyhood, Cupcake Diaries, photography school, church, and all the other fun that's been going on. Blogging has been super busy, crazy, hectic, wonderful, frustrating, and so much fun!! I'll be making my TV debut on Studio 5 next week and I'm so excited. I'll be making a yummy fall recipe and praying I don't screw it up! I'm also participating in a live cooking demo for the Utah Parade of Homes in October. My blog has been an amazing experience and I'm learning so much from it. I love staying home with the kids and being able to play with them. They're so funny and they play really well together (most of the time). I have four callings at church and, even though I get pretty crazy and sweaty on Sundays, I enjoy them.

Now that you've just viewed what looks like a Miller family Christmas letter, thanks for taking the time to do so! We're all doing well and I'm looking forward to September and having a little time to breathe and get caught up on some things. And not to mention preparation for the holidays coming up! WOooo hooo!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

One Year

Our sweet little Carter is one year old today. I can't believe it's already been a year since our precious little boy came dramatically into the world. As I continue to read Carter's Story I feel a lot of emotions: disbelief, overwhelming joy, overwhelming frustration, sadness, happiness, anger, love...But the biggest thing I'm feeling these days is gratitude. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that our sweet little Carter was sent to our family and that we were able to experience a miracle when he survived his birth. I'm so grateful that even though the traumatic experience of getting Carter here changed me emotionally, I have a healthy baby boy to love and snuggle. And I'm grateful they have pills for said emotional changes!

It's been a weird week. I found myself looking at the calendar and then the clock everyday, thinking about what was happening at that time a year ago.

"At this time one year ago we were at the zoo," 
"At this time one year ago I was getting turned away from labor and delivery the first time." 

It wasn't good for me to think that way! A flood of emotions would immediately come back and I would either start crying or get ticked off all over again. Then I'd see that plump little baby of mine sitting on the floor and smiling up at me, and immediately the anger would go away. 

This is one of the very few pictures we have of Carter the day he was born. Most of the others are from Tyson's phone and were taken in the operating room right as Carter was being born. We weren't able to see Carter hardly at all that day, and I wasn't able to see him till the next day. This was one of the pictures I stared at during that first 24 hours, hoping it would fill that void I was already starting to feel and knowing that the void was only about to get worse.

This first year with Carter has been full of ups and downs. For the first nine months of his life we were being referred to a specialist of some kind every time we went to the pediatrician. Plastic surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy...We knew Carter would have delays and struggles, but we never imagined that he wouldn't have any serious issues. We thought for sure having a 32 weeker would put him at the front of the line for health issues. We were so wrong! It's been amazing. We're so grateful that he is so healthy and happy. (And talk about a chunk! Did I mention he weighs 26lb?? That's my boy!)

I'm grateful for my baby. I'm grateful for the miracle that he is and how he and I defeated the odds together on that crazy day. I'm grateful for Brycen and his unconditional love for me, even though I've been through such a rough patch this last year and probably haven't been the best mom. I'm grateful for an incredibly patient and loving husband who helped me realize that I am a strong person and that it's ok to get help when I'm struggling.

I'm so grateful for all the support I've received from family members and friends over the last year. I didn't realize that Carter's birth would take as big a toll on me as it did. But I appreciate the patience and the love from family and friends and the endless amounts of support. I'm so blessed!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Brycen's 3-Year Check Up

Brycen and Carter see their pediatrician inside the hospital where Carter was born. The pediatrics office is just down the long hall from the NICU where Carter spent the first six weeks of his life. I thought that after Carter's NICU stay and bringing him home I'd want to cry just looking at the hospital, dreading ever having to step foot in that building again.

But instead, it's the opposite for me. I get a peaceful feeling every time I drive by, with an odd longing to walk inside again. I don't know if it's because I spent so much time there and got to know so many people, not to mention my baby living there for the first six weeks of his life, but I love it there.

I entered the building from the north today and took the elevator with Brycen and Carter up to the fourth floor.  It's the slowest elevator in the building, but today it seemed to open pretty quickly. We got on and every person who got on and off that elevator said hi to Brycen and/or complimented him on his smile or cuteness. They always do.

When the elevator opened on the fourth floor and we left the elevator, we took turned the corner to walk down the hall that I walked so many times last summer. In the distance I could see the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit sign and parents walking in and out. I feel right at home walking this hallway, only this time we stopped a lot sooner at the pediatric office. It's always strange not going any further now.

Today's visit brought us in for Brycen's 3-year check up. He always loves seeing the fish in the lobby and finding "Dory" and "Nemo" in the tank. The nurse called us back and brought us into the room. She had me take off Brycen's shoes and asked me some routine questions. Then we headed out into the hallway to get Brycen's blood pressure checked.

If you're guessing that he most likely freaked out at this point, you're exactly right. He ran back into the room and hid behind the table, curling up in the fetal position and crying. The nurse watched as I struggled to get Brycen to cooperate while at the same time holding 22lb Carter. After a minute or so of pure meltdown, Brycen decided that he would do it if I did it first. He also wanted me to carry him back out.

I looked around and realized I was alone. I couldn't seem to find anybody to help me carry Carter while I carried Brycen so, like any good parent would do, I sat wobbly and top heavy Carter on the high and narrow table so I could pick up Brycen. Once I got him situated on my left hip I picked Carter up and sat him on my right. Then out we went from the exam room.

Brycen was in a much better mood at this point and completely forgot that I had said I'd go first. He got his blood pressure checked, he stood on the Nemo stickers on the scale, he got measured for his height, and he even got tested on colors and shapes. He aced both tests, surprising me completely by knowing circle and square.

After the shapes test the nurse had him stand way down the hall to check his vision. He was told to stand by the seahorse sticker and say the shapes he just said before. I knew right away this wasn't going to work. Not only was there a big seahorse sticker on the wall, there were also green streamers everywhere and other "Finding Nemo" characters all over the wall. Way too many distractions! He didn't answer any of her questions about the shapes.

We went back to the exam room for a visit with Brycen's pediatrician, Dr. Rafferty. She asked Brycen a few questions about the color of clothes we were all wearing, his favorite foods, etc. He was nervous about her listening to his heart so Carter was the example. Brycen decided it wasn't so bad and let her continue with the exam. Everything checked out normal. She looked at the red mark on his arm that we've been concerned about and recommended we set up an appointment with dermatology. I figured that would be the case.

By the end of the appointment we learned that Brycen weighs 34lb (78%) and he's 3 ft 1 inch tall (43%). His BMI shows him at 89%, which is considered overweight. Doctors like kids to be no higher than 85%. However, she said it's pretty common for kids his age to be over that 85% because they still have their toddler bellies and have more baby weight on them still. By next year he should be in the average BMI range.

This pediatrics office focuses on the importance of kids and books, so each well visit the children have they receive a book. Carter has gotten a little baby board book every time and Brycen has gotten bigger kid books. It is so wonderful getting a new book per kid every well-child visit! 

I've really liked our pediatrician, even though it was crazy hard leaving ours in Idaho Falls. Dr. Smith was seriously the absolute best. But we've had a really good experience with Dr. Rafferty and have appreciated the many referrals and advice she's given. I think she gives us a new referral every time we've been in there since Carter was born. 

My little boy is growing so fast! He's a kid now and it kind of makes me sad. I'm just glad I have a baby in my home and that I'm not finished having kids because I still need babies around. He's still my baby, just a bigger version. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Counting to Ten

I love how Brycen counts to ten.
It's super cute. I'm a proud mama listening to him and the things he's learning!

one, two, free, foy, five, wick, sezzen, eat, nine, ten

And anything after that is "eatteen, eatteen, eatteen," etc.

He's also starting to learn his alphabet. 
He'll jump in on letters he knows like G, P, S, V, X (which he says S again), Y, and Z.  He's been learning from us singing the ABC song with him, as well as the letter learning toy on our fridge.

I'm so excited for him to start preschool in the fall!! 
He's going to love it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy and Had

Brycen does this thing where he says, "A happy!" while making a happy face, then "A had" while making a sad face. (He says "had" instead of sad.) He also doesn't like it when I take pictures of Carter. A few weeks ago these two little Brycen quirks came into play while I was trying to take Carter's 8-month pictures. First, he got in front of Carter and said, "Brycen picture!" Then he did the happy and had thing.

"A happy!"

"A had."

Eventually Brycen wanted to sit next to Carter. Carter loves his big brother!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The One with Carter's Helmet

Ugh! I had been dreading Carter getting his helmet since the day we went to the plastic surgeon and got the crappy news. However, I was happy to know that he wouldn't need surgery on his little head like some babies do. The plastic surgeon told me that it's common for babies who had a long NICU stay to need a helmet because they aren't able to be held as much. It helps to know that we probably couldn't have prevented this from happening. It's also nice to know how common it is for babies to need helmets! That Thursday in January we saw the plastic surgeon there had already been 20 babies in that week for their helmet consultations. Wow!

The next day, Carter had his head measured for his helmet. He had 12 different measurements done, then the next week he went in to get the plaster molding done. Poor Carter was miserable! The process started with him getting a tight ski mask looking thing put over his head, with a large hole cut out for his little face to come through. Those cheeks of his never looked so squishy and chubby. That was probably the only fun thing about this visit! The rest of the time was spent putting plaster strips over his entire head to form the shape of the helmet. After the strips came on, it was only supposed to take about 2 minutes for it to set up. After more than 5 minutes later when the top wasn't setting, the orthotic fitter, Sean, decided we needed to do it again. Carter got to sit through two plaster strip settings. It was horrible listening to him cry and watch him go through that. I felt so bad. Finally the plaster set and we were able to take the molding off his head.

 This is a before shot of Carter's head. It's pretty flat on this back side, as well as a little misshapen through the back. He liked to sleep on that side of his head, causing extra flatness as well as that side of his head pretty much being pushed farther forward. If you look closely at Carter's head, you can see that his right ear is further forward than his left ear. This also makes the right side of his forehead a little farther out than his left side. (My apologies for the lovely pink hue through this picture!)

 On Friday, February 1st, I took Brycen to my friend Erin's house then took Carter to get his helmet. We chose a light blue strap for him and got all the instructions on how to care for the helmet and what to watch for over the next week. When the helmet was first placed on Carter's head, he started to cry. I think he was more afraid of what was going on than bugged by the helmet. Sean had to keep taking the helmet back to make adjustments and cuts so it fit Carter's head just right. Carter screamed and cried the entire visit. This cry was definitely a scared cry, which I had never heard till his appointment. Poor thing. He fell asleep as soon as we got in the car and took a little nap. He was pretty chipper when he woke up!

The helmet sits flat against his head on the front right side and the back left side. There is space between his head and the helmet on the back right side and the front left side so his head can round out nicely. Where his head is touching the helmet on those first two parts, as it grows it will be forced to grow into the places where there is space. We'll come in every three weeks to get the helmet adjusted as his little head grows.

Later on in the day he was completely exhausted. I went to put him down for a nap and he really struggled. He looked SO tired though and started crying harder than I'd ever heard him cry. Sean told me to take the helmet off for his nap on the first day if he cries and won't go to sleep. I was relieved that was an option! Off the helmet went and he took a nice long nap.

I wish I could say he's done well with the helmet! He slept pretty well on Friday night, only waking up twice. The next day was his first full day with the helmet and kind of a disaster. He cried a lot, struggled taking naps, and just looked miserable. We kept up with keeping the hat on though and eventually he settled down. That night Carter was really struggling to sleep. He cried and cried. Tyson and I both tried to soothe him but nothing was working. We decided that Carter needed a father's blessing. After the blessing, I put him back in his crib and he went right to sleep. Just another amazing experience that shows us the reality of the power of the priesthood. Carter woke up multiple times that night, but we expected it after such a crazy day.

He was so tired the next morning! Poor kid. I decided to put him on our bed for a nap, so he slept there while I got ready for church. 

We noticed on Saturday that the part of the helmet in front of his left ear tends to rub against it. I put a cotton round between his ear and the helmet so it at least wouldn't rub him during his nap. We'll be going in next week to get that part adjusted. Until then, we have to watch him so the helmet doesn't hurt his little ear.

Today has been a much better day!

He took a two-hour morning nap and he's currently on his third nap of the day. He's sleeping so much better with it and doesn't seem to mind it as much. He gets an hour break from the helmet every day, where we wash it and his head.

We're excited to be getting his cute little misshapen head fixed! I'm so grateful that he seems to be doing better with his helmet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Growing Boys

My boys are changing all the time! Brycen is especially catching me off guard these days with how much he's learning and growing.

  • can count to 10. I was so surprised one day when he was up to the counter top counting his goldfish crackers. I watched in amazement as he got to 10, then the rest of the numbers were just jibberish. But he got to ten! Smart boy.
  • loves to play hide and seek. He almost completely understands the concept, so it makes for a funny game. He loves to be the one to count and look. He counts to two, then he's on his way to find you! You pretty much get to take two long leaps to find a spot, then hide there as quickly as possible. It's such a thrill for him to find you. If you tell him to hide, he'll still come find you. He especially loves playing hide and seek with my mom. 
  • says "please" and "thank you" without being told. Well, most of the time. For example, he'll ask me to help him up onto the couch if his hands are full and says "mank you" afterward. The other day he was outside in his snow clothes while I was shoveling the driveway. He fell down at least 10 times, and each time I helped him up he said "mank you". He says it after some of the simplest things and it's just the sweetest. I'm glad that he's learned to do that and does it regularly. When he asks for something we have to remind him to say "please" sometimes, but most of the time he does pretty well on his own.
  • still loves Mickey. Whenever he wants to watch a show he says "Mickey! Mickey!" It's always Mickey. Every now and then it's "Jo Jo" (Oso), but Mickey is the favorite.
  • loves to sing "Twinkle Twinkle". We can only understand so many of the words, but we can tell what he's saying and that he knows what he's saying! It's exciting to hear him sing his very first song.

  • is a very happy baby and smiles all the time. We've been very blessed to have such happy kids. He's happy when you have to wake him up, he's happy at 3am when he wants a bottle, he'll even smile at someone when he's sad. 
  • is a much better eater than Brycen was as a baby. He'll eat anything I give him, even if he hates it. I gave him peas one day and he made the saddest face. He hated the peas, but he kept opening his mouth to eat like a good boy. I felt bad and tossed them and gave him something he does like. Besides peas, he's liked every other vegetable I've given him. Brycen was not that way at all. We had to mix a little bit of pear or apple with his veggies to get him to eat them. Carter also eats straight oatmeal. Brycen wouldn't eat rice cereal straight so we put some in his bottles. We decided to skip rice cereal completely and just do oatmeal with Carter. He's done really well and likes it.
  • is still not sitting up on his own yet, but he's getting there! We were told by his pediatrician and the NICU staff before we left the hospital that he would be behind in some areas, and sitting and rolling over are two of them. He's rolled over from back to tummy maybe twice and tummy to back once.