Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Blood Brothers

We prefer to use "directed donations" of blood whenever possible so before Noah's surgery J and my brother, Andy, donated a unit of blood in case Noah needed it during his surgery and recovery. He did end up needing both units. My brother now says that he and Noah are "blood brothers" and has mentioned numerous times how great Noah is now that he has his blood running through his veins. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Heart Faces: Pets

The theme for this week's I Heart Faces photo challenge is pets. Of course I had to use a photo of my girl Paisley. I have lots of photos of Paisley and even thought of taking a special one of her in her "Miss America dress." But ultimately I decided to use this one of Paisley and my Mom's cat, Katie. Paisley is outside staring at Katie inside and Katie is inside staring at Paisley. 

Go check out I Heart Faces for more pet photos. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quote of the Week: Life is Like a Camera

"Life is like a camera so face it with a smile."~ Unknown

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sitting with Her Boy

Ever since Noah's surgery, he hasn't wanted too much to do with his puppy Paisley. Before surgery, Noah and Paisley were best buds. I know he just hasn't had the energy to deal with a little puppy with boundless energy yet. Last weekend, Paisley jumped up in the chair while I was holding Noah. He didn't immediately push her away as he has been doing and my brother snapped this picture. 

She was so happy to be sitting with her boy - even if it was for only a few minutes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sittin' Up

Earlier today J and I were going to change the sheets on the bed and needed somewhere to put Noah. I suggested putting him in a chair that was in the room so we gave it a try to see how he'd do. He has been sitting in his wheelchair in an upright position a few minutes each day but this was a regular chair. He sat there for about 5 minutes and then was tired and need to lie down and rest but he did it! He tolerated it, didn't fuss at all, and he looked so good.

See for yourself.............

 Look his feet touch the floor! 

It was AWESOME to see him sitting so straight even if it was only for 5 minutes. It's a great start! 

Friday, June 25, 2010


"Laughter is an instant vacation." ~ Milton Berle

"Laughter is a smile that bursts."
~ Mary H. Waldrip

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." 
~ Yiddish Proverb

"Carry laughter with you where ever you go."
~ Hugh Sidey

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hospital Photo Walk

I meant to post these photos earlier and just got busy with Noah and forgot. But one day while my BFF was here for Noah's surgery, we took a break from sitting in the hospital room, grabbed our cameras, Sonia and Katie (yes, we named our cameras) and took a walk through the main floor of the hospital and took pictures of interesting things.

I've been to this hospital many, many times before. It's where I sat in the high risk unit for 4 weeks waiting for Noah to be born. It's where Noah was born and where he was in the NICU for 4 weeks. There are some newer parts to the hospital, like the Children's floors and the lobby has been re-done but it all just looks different and more exciting when you are seeing it through the lens of your camera. 

 View as you are walking in the main doors

 Beautiful fountain in the hotel lobby with the gift shop in the background
 A fish in the huge fish tank
 The hallways had different names......
This isn't the best photo but the background that the words are on is made up of little thumbnail size pictures of people who work at the hospital.
Love the colorful ceiling - leads to the children's floor

Statue in front of the elevators to the children's floors

Last but not least, my BFF. Check out the awesome floor behind her.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Music Man

Ever since Noah's surgery he hasn't wanted to play with toys or read books. We've offered him some of his favorite books and toys but he would just push them away.
Until today.....

Today he asked for his huge keyboard and laid on the bed and played with it for awhile. It plays different songs and he would lay there and listen to them and occasionally run his fingers over the keys.  He only played with it for a little bit and then was tired and needed a nap but it was so good to see him want something to play with again even if he only had the endurance to do it for a short time.

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for MomsSpecial Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs, and Wordless Wednesday Headquarters.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Candlelight Run

Saturday evening I went and watched my Dad participate in a local candlelight run. My Dad has participated in a couple of other runs but this was the first one I went to. I was proud of my Daddy.

Of course, I took a lot of pictures. Below is a collage I made from some of the photos. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

For Darcy

Five years ago today she became an angel......


Author Unknown

If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
and bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken
no time to say goodbye
you were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.
My heart still aches in sadness
and secret tears still flow,
what it meant to lose you,
no one will ever know.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the 2 most important Dad's in my life - my own and Noah's! 
(Sadly, I don't have a recent pic of me and my Dad. Guess that's what happens when you are the one always taking the photos. But I do have plenty of Noah with my Dad.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baby Steps

Well the past few days have continued to be a mix of ups and downs. On Wednesday, Noah had a really bad day with lots of meltdowns and fussing all day long. It was rough. Thursday was a smidge better but he still had meltdowns and lots of fussing just not as much as Wednesday. Yesterday (Friday) was a bit better than Thursday with only one meltdown. He seemed pretty tired yesterday and spent a lot of time in bed just watching his favorite Sesame Street videos.

Noah will sit in the (reclining) wheelchair for a bit and then get tired and have to switch to the bed for awhile. Then I'll get him back out of bed to sit in the wheelchair for a bit more and it goes like that throughout the day. 

As the doctor ordered at the follow up on Monday, we have been getting Noah to sit in the wheelchair in a more upright position a little bit each day. We started off with just a minute and are slowly increasing it each day. Yesterday he managed to sit in the wheelchair in an upright position for about 2 - 3 minutes with no fussing! He did fuss a second when I went to put the wheelchair upright but once there he sat and listened to my Mom sing to him. He was actually in a really good mood and gave us lots of smiles and giggles just like the old Noah. It's a baby step but definitely one in the right direction.

Creativity Boot Camp Collage

I put together a little collage of some of the photos I took during the 13 days of Creativity Boot Camp. I think I discovered that I enjoy photographing food. Don't get me wrong, people will always be my first choice but food is fun too. You can make it look pretty and take a zillion photos of it without listening to it complain. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Day 13: Smile

Sadly, today is the last day of Creativity Boot Camp. I have really enjoyed the random word prompts, the challenges in getting creative, the journaling assignments, and reading Meagan's daily thoughts has been inspiring. The journaling prompts have gotten me writing more again and reminded me that I'm a pretty darn good writer when I sit down and do it. I've also realized that while I may not always feel like an "artist" my photographs are a form of art and self expression. I'm hoping that the feelings of confidence I've obtained from CBC regarding my writing and my photography will spill over into the weeks and months that lie ahead.  

And while at first accomplishing the assignments felt a bit crazy because Noah was still in the hospital, it actually couldn't have come at a better time. Noah's recovery is tiring and hard on all of us and taking the photos and editing them each day allowed me to use my brain for something other than caring for Noah, gave me a small amount of "me" time, and something to look forward to each day.

I've also really enjoyed getting to know a few of the other participants via their blogs and photos. Seeing everyone's different takes on the random word prompts has been fun. 

Anyways, enough rambling. Onto today's random word prompt which was SMILE.....

Noah woke up in a rare (since the surgery) good mood and was full of smiles while his Nana was singing rapping the Itsy Bitsy Spider so I was able to capture one of his gorgeous smiles.

His smiles make my heart soar! And HE is the reason I developed an interest in photography. 

And I put together a little collage of some of the photos I took during the 13 days of Creativity Boot Camp.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Day 11: Hush

Today's Creativity Boot Camp random word prompt was hush.

Hush Little Baby

Wordless Wednesday: The 5th Beatle

Noah loves The Beatles. They calm him down and he'll listen to them over and over and over again. I'm really not sure how we discovered that he loved the Beatles other than he got excited when we randomly played a Beatles song on the Ipod. And now they are his favorite.

He got many cards and references to the Beatles from the card drive but our favorite was one awesome custom made card that was sent by the friend of a good friend. This is the photo that was on the card.....

Do you see the 5th Beatle? The cutest one with the sunglasses. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Day 10: Full Bodied

Today's Creativity Boot Camp random word prompt was full bodied.

Full Bodied Flowers

Card Drive Map - Updated

When I posted the collage of cards containing the map that we have been marking for each state a card is received from I got several questions from people wondering if we had gotten their card because they didn't see their state marked. I got behind in marking the states because I've had other things Noah to take care of and that takes up a lot of time.

I had a few minutes to update the map this morning so here it is:
(Click on it to see a larger view.) 

And yes, we are still accepting cards so keep 'em coming. Noah is really enjoying them. The address is:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp: Day 9 Drizzle

Today's random word prompt for Creativity Boot Camp is drizzle.
Who doesn't 
chocolate drizzled on strawberries? 

(Thanks Mom for helping me build the strawberry tower!) 

Post Op Follow Up

Noah's Post Op Follow up was this morning and the Doctor said that he looked good and he was pleased with Noah's progress so far. He said that Noah would probably have a lot of pain for 6-8 weeks following the surgery and then it would get better. He said that the incision looked great and for us to slowly start letting Noah sit up for a minute or so a day and build up from there. He also said Noah would need to build his balance back up. I specifically asked about that because when we have Noah in the shower chair I've noticed his balance is very off. He advised us to continue taking things  slowly as sitting up will tire him out quickly at first. All in all, Noah's very slowly moving forward and we'll take very slowly moving forward versus moving backwards any day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Days 7 & 8

Maegan (the leader of Creativity Boot Camp) lumped our assignments and random word prompts for days 7 and 8 together since it is the weekend.

The random word prompt for day 7 was fly.

The random word prompt for day 8 was ornament and this is my favorite "hair ornie."

I've been having a blast with this and will be sad when Creativity Boot Camp ends on Friday. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Very, Very Slow

Today was a little bit better than yesterday. It's still exhausting and overwhelming at times of course and I'm sure it will be for awhile.

Noah and I both slept late (although he was up from midnight to 2 AMish) but I think the extra sleep helped my mood immensely. I just needed some extra sleep to make up for all that I lost when Noah was in the hospital and when I was sick. Noah's little body needs the extra sleep as well. Even after he woke up he stayed in the bed with J and watched videos. He got used to J being around a lot when he was off during Noah's surgery and hospitalization and he's missing him again now that he's back working so he wanted to just be near him and luckily J can sleep through just about everything. 

My Mom was telling me how long it took her to recover from her knee replacement surgery and how weird it felt to have something foreign and not her own in her knee. I don't know how much Noah can comprehend about their being something foreign in his body - if he realizes that there is actually a rod and screws in there - but I'm sure it feels different and weird to him. And all of that just reaffirmed that this will be a very, very, very slow recovery. I gotta pull my patience out of my pocket but I know we will get there eventually.

Creativity Boot Camp Day 6: Fluid

Today's Creativity Boot Camp random word prompt is fluid. 

One of the definitions of fluid is "subject to change" so I chose this shot because not only is the water fluid but I think I personally feel fluid when I take a nice hot bubble bath after a long stressful day and I go from being stressed to relaxed in a matter of minutes. 

Also, one of our challenges for today was to get out of our comfort zone so I shot in RAW. I actually liked editing in RAW and think I'll probably do it more often.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Couple of Days Home

Well it's been 13 days after surgery and we have been home 2 full days now. You are probably wondering how it is going.....

It's going OK. It's overwhelming and exhausting for me; really for everyone involved I think including Noah. I was not under the belief that we would come home and everything would magically be better because Noah was in a home environment versus the hospital environment and I'm very glad that I wasn't under that impression because that would make all of this even harder to deal with. 

Noah is sleeping better but he is still in pain, hard to comfort, frustrated, etc. He can't be alone for even a minute because he tries to do things that he shouldn't be doing yet like get off the bed on his own, crawl around, get out of the wheelchair, etc so someone has to be with him at all times. He gets frustrated because he can't do all those things.

He is having a lot of flutters which are seizure like activity. He hasn't had seizures in a long time but I guess sometimes surgery can stir all of that up and hopefully it will get better though. I have put a call into his neuro though so we can have his levels checked.

It's all going to get better. I know it will; it's just slow going. 

Creativity Boot Camp Day 5: Grow

Today's random word prompt for Creativity Boot Camp was grow......

 A little too much water but I was trying to shoot and hold the hose myself - not easy. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Day 4: Heavy Metal

It's Day 4 of Creativity Boot Camp and today's random word prompt is heavy metal. Had Noah just not had surgery I might have tried to do something involving him, a boom box, and one of his cool guitar t-shirts but he just had surgery - can't torture the poor kid with photos too. (Besides the random photos I take of him through out the day.) 

So, I wasn't  really sure what I was going to photograph but I knew it would come to me eventually. While driving past a church I haven't been by in a very long time, I noticed a metal sculpture that contain a black metal cross and red metal flames. We stopped and I photographed the sculpture. It's definitely heavy......

Wordless Wednesday: Collage of Cards

A collage of just some of the cards Noah has received.... 
Thank you to all of you who have sent cards! 
And a lot of people have been asking if we are still accepting cards and the answer is yes. Noah has a long recovery at home ahead of him and the cards will help during this time. He LOVES them.
(You can find the address for the card drive here if you need it.)

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for MomsSpecial Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs, and Wordless Wednesday Headquarters.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp Day 3: Multilayered

Today's Creativity Boot Camp random word prompt is multilayered. Not only is the subject of my photo multilayered but the photograph itself is multilayered. I pushed myself creatively and used a texture with words. First time I have ever done that one. I'm pleased with how the photographs turned out and the parfait itself was yum-o!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Noah's Recovery - Update # 10 - We are Home!

Well after 10 days, 8 IV's, a couple of complications and set backs, and 1 major surgery, we are home! Well, actually at our second home, my Mom's house. We had planned to stay here for a few weeks so we'd have help and no stairs to contend with.

Last night giving the blood transfusions was problematic. All of the sudden there was blood everywhere. Apparently Noah's vein collapsed and now he has a huge and I mean huge bruise on half of his lower leg. He was able to get about 1 1/2 units of blood which apparently did what the doctors hoped it would and "perked" up his body. His hemoglobin was much closer to normal.

After some debate between two doctors after they had already told Noah he could go home, they decided to finally let us leave around 4:00 PM this afternoon. He came home on antibiotics for the pneumonia and pain meds for the surgery. He still has a long way to recover from the surgery and is still in a lot of pain but at least he is home. 

The ride home was a little painful for him. After he got home and rested a bit he was asking for his Granddad so we put him in the rental, reclining wheelchair and I pushed him to the door so he could look out and wait for his Granddad which is something he usually does when he is at my parents except he usually does it from the floor on his knees. He is getting a little frustrated that his body doesn't work the way it did before the surgery. He doesn't understand that it is going to take a little time. It's gonna be rough for awhile but at least he's out of the hospital. 

Creativity Boot Camp Day 2: Picnic

It's Day 2 of Creativity Boot Camp. I really enjoyed today's journaling prompt which was about whether or not you view yourself as an artist. I may post it or share bits of it with you when I'm completely done with it.

Today's random word prompt (which is what we have to use as the subject or theme of our work for that day) was HARD for me. It is picnic. My first thought was how the heck am I gonna do "picnic" in a hospital setting? I started thinking outside the box and staring out the hospital window when it came to me.

I don't think it's quite as beautiful as some of the other ones I've seem from other participants but I'm actually pleased with it for what I had to work with. The security guard at the hospital was looking at me like I belonged in the psych word while I was taking the photos. 

I want to stretch myself creatively during CBC so I'm trying different editing techniques. I used my first ever texture!

So with out further adieu, here's my take on "picnic." I titled it "A Working Lunch." 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Noah's Recovery - Update # 9 on day 9

Noah was less fussy today. His temperature is still up and down, up and down but not quite as high as yesterday. The highest it reached thus far today was 101.5. They repeated the chest x-rays and they show that the pneumonia is getting better.

Noah's hemoglobin was low and his white blood count is elevated so the doctors have decided to give him two units of blood. It's taking awhile for them to find blood that matches Noah's so now they are having to send outside the hospital for it so it may be sometime tonight before he gets the transfusions.

He took another shower today - it exhausts him to do that though but I know things like that and moving will get easier as time goes on and he moves around more, gets less sore, and feels better. It's just hard for him to feel better with this fever and pneumonia. He also ate about 7 bites of a cheeseburger.

And my funny thought for the day: (I'm trying to keep my humor and still find the blessings on this rollercoaster ride.) I got emotional seeing Noah in the shower and his back straighter for the first time. J got emotional seeing Noah's personalized autographed CJ Spiller poster for the first time. (J says he is the greatest Clemson football player ever and he's in the NFL now for those of you who don't know who CJ Spiller is.) That's the difference between men and women folks! ha!

Creativity Boot Camp Day 1: Ivory

Before Noah's surgery I signed up for Creativity Boot Camp. I view myself as a creative person but thought it would be cool to challenge myself creatively. When I realized the dates with Noah's surgery and hospital stay would overlap Creativity Boot Camp I considered dropping out but then realized that I could always just do the assignments later if I needed to. For now, I am going to attempt to stay on track but if things become more hectic with Noah I'll go on my own pace.

Each day we are given thoughts for the day, a journaling prompt, and then an assignment that is a word. We are to portray that word in our medium. My medium will be photography so I can do it easily from the hospital. As long as I'm keeping up on time, I'll post my assignment photos here.

Today's word was ivory. The first thing that popped to my head when I read the word ivory was piano keys. The second thing that popped into my head was the beautiful "magic" piano in the hospital lobby. (We call it a "magic" piano because it is one of those pianos that can play on it's own and Noah thinks it is magic.) Later I trekked down to the lobby and took some photos of the piano. People at the hospital looked at me like I was NUTS when I was taking the photos but oh well, I was pleased with the results. 

Below is my interpretation of  ivory. (Click pics if you want to see bigger.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Noah's Recovery - Update # 8

Well, we are on day 8 and IV number 7....

He went one whole day without being stuck but it decided to stop working at about 6 AM this morning as the nurse was trying to give him a dose of antibiotics through the IV. It took three tries to find a vein that would take the IV. His poor veins are shot.

This morning when Noah's surgeon came by to check on him I told him about giving Noah a shower yesterday and how straight he looked and how it brought tears to my eyes. He thought this was wonderful and then shared with me that he saw Dr. P yesterday. (Dr P is the original doctor from Shriner's that we saw in January but suggested we see other doctors since he could not do the surgery until December.) He showed Dr. P the before and after x-rays of Noah's surgery and Dr. P was amazed at how straight he was. Apparently Noah's surgeon is using a method that Dr. P has not tried yet and he was even going to sit in on Noah's surgery last Friday to watch this new method in action but got called away. This was reassurance to me that we made the right decision. I had some qualms initially about not having the surgery done at Shriner's because they specialize in these types of surgeries and working with children like Noah but that was God letting me know that we made the best decision for Noah by choosing to use the surgeon we did. 

The fever is still up/down and up/down. It's so frustrating. We still don't know what is causing it. All the tests for infection and what not are coming back normal according to his surgeon so he ask the pediatrician to come back in. He did and still thinks it is because of the pneumonia yet his lungs sound clear and his oxygen levels are pretty normal without receiving additional oxygen. So, if the fever continues to spike up and down we may repeat the chest x-rays tomorrow. 

My niece has been busy with work the past few days and hasn't been able to bring cards down here but she was off today and made her way here with A LOT of cards and some packages, Apparently Noah was receiving SO many cards that the post office gave him a free upgrade from a small box to a big locker for all those cards and packages.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who have sent cards. No, it's not too late to send cards - Noah will spend most of the summer at home recovering so keep them coming. You can find the address and more information here. I have been so touched at how many of the cards are so personal including orange and purple colors in the cards, tigers, Clemson, dogs, the Beatles, baseball, etc... I will try and share some photos and details of some of the stand out cards in an upcoming post. We currently have cards from 26 states - we have a map and are putting a smiley face sticker in each state he receives a card from; fun and educational for Noah all at the same time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Noah's Recovery - Update # 7 - The Temperature Tornado Continues

I was running a low grade fever this morning so I stayed at my parents to rest and left Mom and J at the hospital to tend to Noah. I came to the hospital around lunch time. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was how good Noah looked. He seemed to have gotten a lot of his color back overnight and looked much more like the "old" Noah than he has in days. 

Noah's fever has fluctuated a lot again today. I've taken to calling it the Temperature Tornado since it is so up and down, up and down all day long. It doesn't do the normal thing where it will be low in the day and then high it night. It goes up and down all day long. It's frustrating to me.

The blood cultures I mentioned yesterday, the first 24 hour results came back showing nothing. The second blood test they did yesterday, testing for inflammation came back slightly elevated but that is probably just from the surgery.

He got out of the bed again today for two wheelchair rides. Well actually the nurse called it a reclining wagon. He really enjoyed them both I think. He giggled a few times during the rides. 

Noah took his first shower today. That was big I think. It wore him out but he did good. He sat on a little shower chair - I cried tears of joy at seeing how straight he was. He wasn't totally straight yet, needed to still lean some but gosh he is so much straighter than he was before. It was really a beautiful moment for me.