Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Activities

This is Halloween Week, so Halloween festivities are in full swing. On Tuesday night, I took the boys trick-or-treating at North Grove Medical Park (also known as "Mommy's surgeon"). Today, we went to Katelin's house for a Halloween party. Festivities continue tomorrow with more activities. I am looking forward to the big culmination of this year's Halloween season: Kevin and Auntie's visit!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Laura and I took the boys trunk-or-treating tonight at Uncle Allen and Aunt Kim's church in Boiling Springs. The boys had a blast, and they gobbled up their spoils on the way home.

As you can see from the picture we took before we left, Caleb is wearing the same Spider-man outfit he wore to trunk-or-treating last year. Now to me, this is a Halloween faux pas. Laura wasn't going to let him mess up his new Wolverine costume before Halloween though. Graysen really was cute in his hand-me-down scarecrow costume, but he was misidentified as girl at least once. He was too busy collecting candy to take offense.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Activities

After a slow start to the Halloween season this year due to rainy weather, the boys and I are starting to get back into the swing of things. We started out the week by going to "Boo in the Zoo" on Sunday. Caleb was thrilled to be allowed to put on his Halloween costume and ran around the house in circles.

Lee is out of town early this week, but the boys and I are making the most of it. We spent today playing outside and going to a pumpkin decorating event at the library. Both boys were angels at the event and really enjoyed the story, decorating the pumpkin, and snack. Caleb was the only child to put the mouth on the pumpkin upside down, so we have a very sad pumpkin. Graysen's job was to put the purple polka dots on the pumpkin. Caleb was very proud of his pumpkin and brought it to the librarian for her to display on the big screen in front of the room. (I was surprised that he did this. My plan was to skip this step!)

We are looking forward to lots of Halloween activities in the next two weeks, with the culmination of the season being a visit from Kevin and Erica on Halloween weekend!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall for Greenville

On Sunday, the boys and I went to "Fall for Greenville." It is one of my favorite festivals of the year. It is a food tasting festival, where you buy tickets to trade for little tastes of food from all kinds of restuarants. (Yummy!)

Caleb really enjoyed the festival. He kept looking at everything and taking it all in. He is such a little buddy and a joy to take to events.

Graysen on the other hand, tried to help himself to an "all you can carry" load of puppy stuffed animals. Lee had to intervene and tell him that he could only take one.

Mema and Aunt Josie's Visit

Mema and Aunt Josie came for a visit to South Carolina. We had them and the Taylors over for dinner Saturday evening. It was a fun evening of good food and Cranium.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Complex Transposition Superstar!

Graysen had the best cardiologist visit to date! His heart looks really good and there is no need for any procedures in the near future. We only received good news and Graysen has been cleared for six months!!!

His pulmonary branch pressures are still high, but they have not gotten any worse since his last visit. This was great news and a surprise to the PC (pediatric cardiologist). He stared at Graysen and said, "He just looks so ... healthy!" He said that Graysen's health is very rare for a complex transposition baby. He also said that there is a chance that Graysen may outgrow the need for a heart cath before his next surgery around 5 years old.

The restriction is at the point where the bovine conduit meets the two pulmonary branches. Two out of the three are living tissue, so if the branches grow and the scar tissue does not get worse, there is a chance that he will be fine until he outgrows his bovine conduit. Right now, the estimate is that he will outgrow his bovine conduit around five years old. Then, he will need another open-heart surgery to replace the conduit, valve, and do work on the pulmonary branches. However, that has always been expected and unavoidable.

It is getting more and more difficult to get Graysen to stay still for his echocardiograms. He had to be bribed with two lollipops, one for each hand, and the technician was only able to look at the pulmonary branches which is the main concern for Graysen. I do not know what we are going to bribe him with next time!!! I will not be happy if he earns himself a sedated echo. Those are a much bigger deal and way more expensive due to the anesthesia issues. It is the same procedure, but it has to be done in a hospital under anesthesia and takes all day due to anesthesia protocals with heart babies. The pictures are the same, it is just a way of getting the baby to stay still. The PC threatened it this time because Graysen did not seem like he was going to cooperate. However, I recommended giving him lollipops. The PC said, "We are all about lollipops," and it worked! (Although marginally...)

We are thrilled that Graysen is doing amazing! This was the best news that we have received his entire life and the doctor cleared him for six months, which is awesome!!! We went out to Cici's Pizza this evening to celebrate and then stopped into Party City which is nearby. The boys each ended up getting cool baseball hats. Daddy is a sucker for Transformers (Caleb's favorite) and Star Wars. (We have noticed that Graysen is obsessed with light sabers. He goes around the house pretending most objects are light sabers, makes the sounds, and imitates the light saber fights that he has seen on TV. It is hilarious. Lee has started calling him Lord Vader.)

Overall it was a great day!

Flu Shots

On Tuesday, the boys and I got our flu shots. I was really proud of both boys. Caleb sat on the chair and rolled up both sleeves, ready for the shot. He didn't shed a tear. He just kept talking about his sticker (#147) and getting a Halloween doughnut. Graysen did well too!

The boys and I have a tradition of going to Krispy Kreme after the flu shot each year. It helps make it more bearable for all three of us!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fun with the Taylors

The boys spent 10 days with the Taylors while Lee and I were on the cruise. They love spending time at "Aunt Kim's" and had a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures from the week.

The boys got to play with playdough!!! Mommy has never let them do this, so this was a special treat for them.
Caleb really enjoyed playing with playdough.
Caleb loves to play outside.
Of course, Graysen loves to eat!
Graysen found a new best friend, Devon (Amber's boyfriend).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Caribbean Cruise

Lee and I had a wonderful vacation last week. We took a cruise to The Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Marteen/St. Martin. It was a very relaxing trip and we enjoyed the sights. We are very grateful to the Taylors for watching our boys while we were gone.
St. Thomas
Some of our favorite towel animals.
My favorite lunch: Fries and cheese, Chips and cheese
St. Marteen
Lee and I really enjoyed having a balcony stateroom. The views were beautiful and peaceful.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I-guana Bite of Laura's Pizza

Here's a story for those of you who have been entertained in the past by Laura's encounters with wildlife:

During our cruise last week, Laura and I decided to go to Coral World, a park/aquarium on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. When we arrived at the park, the first order of business was to get some lunch, so we bought our tickets and immediately went to the small food stand located on a deck at the front of the park.

Laura stood in front of the stand and began studying the posted menu. I began studying the seven or so iguanas that were lying around the deck. At first, I wondered if they were statues because they were being so still, but one eventually turned his head and looked at me.  I thought, "Uh oh."

Laura was studying the menu. Because she wasn't screaming, I could tell that she hadn't spotted the iguanas yet and I still had time to avoid an embarrassing scene. I walked over to her, put my arm around her shoulder, and very calmly and carefully said, "Laura, there's something you need to know: We are surrounded by iguanas."

She thought about it, then scanned the deck slowly, her eyes getting bigger by the second. I have to say, I'm proud of her; she didn't scream. There were only a few panicked oh-my-god's. I tried to calm her down by telling her that the iguanas wouldn't hurt her. (To be honest, at the time, I really wasn't sure that was true. I'd never encountered a "wild" iguana.) The woman operating the food stand tried to help out by telling us that they wouldn't bite, but  "just don't feed them."  She gave us our food and didn't explain why we shouldn't feed them, so it didn't really help the situation.

Laura calmed down enough to order some pizza, though I don't think she ever took her eyes off of the iguanas. We took our food and sat down at a table that was a comfortable distance from them. I started eating; Laura started deducting the cost of the pizza from the budget. Deducting is a long process for Laura, and as a result, I was nearly done with my pizza before Laura got started with hers. She had quite a bit of pizza left when the iguanas began closing in our table, hungry for peperoni.

I stomped my feet to try to scare the iguanas away, but it didn't do much good. It wasn't long before they were under the table, and Laura threw her pizza down on her plate and ran away. One iguana tried to climb onto the table to claim the food, but I shooed him away. A guy from a neighboring table told us that you could just kick the iguanas, and he kindly demonstrated the technique. Once I was satisfied that a person could kick an iguana without any unfortunate side-effects, I thanked the man and started kicking the iguanas away from the table. (For the record, these were gentle kicks. No iguanas were seriously harmed.)

After a few kicks, the iguanas finally started showing me some respect. I gave Laura her pizza back, and she stood away from the table eating it nervously. The iguanas kept their eye on the pizza, but they mostly behaved as long as I was around. I took a few pictures (see below) and cleaned up the table.

At one point, I took the trash from the table to the waste bin. The iguanas realized their prey (Laura) was unprotected and all started to move in. Laura said later that it reminded her of the Velociraptors hunting in Jurassic Park. I got back before they overtook her, and they backed off. Laura finally finished her pizza, reclaimed her purse, and we were able to move on.

As a park or aquarium, Coral World was kind of disappointing. I guess we've been spoiled by Sea World and the Atlanta Aquarium. I have to say though, I don't have any recollection of my lunches at Sea World or the Atlanta Aquarium, whereas I doubt I'll ever forget the "iguana lunch" at Coral World.

Here are some pictures:

The snack bar

The abandoned table

The iguanas

Laura eating her pizza

Laura's impression of the situation