Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Years

     I love my boys so much! I look into our baby's face and I think "what was life like before you"; I don't even remember. Life would be so empty and boring without Kevin and James. They are what makes my world go round!

     And after three years of marriage Jim and I are going strong. *knock on wood* I love him and feel so grateful to be married to my best friend. I look at other couples who argue about alcohol, staying out all night with friends, or going to places without their spouse and I feel so fortunate that Jim and I don't have those arguments. Now we are by no means perfect, but our "problems" seem so little compared to others.

     I pray that Jim and I will have many years together and much to celebrate. I love him so much. I would be lost without him! Never pictured myself as someone who would say these things that seem to come from a sappy chick flick, but honestly that's how I feel. I love my husband. 2013 was definitely challenging but I hope 2014 will hold better surprises.

     Kevin will be 9 this year, James will be 1, and I will be the big 3-0... Ugh. I pray that this year will be better for Emma. I just want her to be happy. She's always been the twin I never had and she has a horrible past as well... She should have nothing but happiness in her future and deserves to be treated like a queen because she's the greatest person in the world! My future tattoo will be a ladybug (because Emma is the Ladybug Queen) behind my ear because she is my conscience.

     I love my family and friends! You are all so great and I appreciate your support! You'll never know how much your friendship means to me! I hope that 2014 is better for all of us. May we all find what we are in search of/need in 2014!

My handsome guys <3

Love this pic of Emma and James

My handsome baby

My Kevo

And my hubby

Glance back at 2012
Kev and I at Disney
(He's 7 and I'm 5 months pregnant)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013... Expect the Unexpected

So here's a recap on 2013; in one phrase: Expect the unexpected... In June Kevin was diagnosed with Aspergers, my cousin, Emilene, moved in with us, and in July I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.  Definitely not an easy year and things didn't go the way we thought or had planned.

I always knew Kevin was special and sensitive. For instance, loud noises were always a huge deal and I dreaded fireworks and theme parks as they were too noisy for Kevin's ears. Also, when Nate and I would argue around Kevin he would plead for us to lower our voices.  Kevin's anxiety has always made me curious too and worry about him. He has had many counselors because of his high anxiety and only the last one suggested that Kevin could have Aspergers.

Jim and I have always been supportive of my family. Emma was having problems with her husband, Shawn, so we offered her a place to live. My family all offered her gas money so that she could move down. She's on prescriptions for depression, allergies, and her vasculitis. Her husband has no work ethic and Emma was working full-time while on steroids and chemo. I know Emma still loves him but in my opinion, he'll never be good enough for her.

While adjusting to a new baby, a new roommate, and Kevin's therapist appointments every week I had to speak to my doctor as I felt like I was living in a daydream. I had many days and nights where I felt overwhelmed and would cry for what seemed like hours. After talking to my husband, my tween, and mother inlaw we decided it was postpartum depression. I talked to my doctor and was prescribed paxil once a day. After five months I'm finally beginning to feel like myself.

Emma's marriage is no better but no worse. Her husband is taking no responsibility and continues drinking excessivly. Emma is moving up in the Spring to be with her sister and go to college. We will miss her but we want her to be happy.

James is still growing like a weed! He's 29 and a half inches long and 22 pounds! He's taller than Kevin was at this age but the same weight. James has his first tooth coming in. It started coming in on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Kevin's first tooth came in in November, when he was 7 months old. It's funny how siblings can be so similar and yet so different too! I love my little guys more than anything else in the world!

This year was definitely difficult but it also gave me strength and changed my perspective. Like maybe going to school right now isn't the right thing to do. Right now helping Kevin through his diagnosis is more important. He now goes to therapy twice a week. But his Occupational Therapist always raves about what a genius Kevo is :) We couldn't agree more, of course.

Also this year helped me see that I need to make more time for myself. As a surprise Jim got me a deep tissue massage for St. John's Spa. It was really nice! I was nervous at first but I'm so thankful that Jim made me the appointment. I could feel her finding all my knots and stripping them away. So relaxing! :)

Jim and I are enjoying our baby. Even Kevin loves being a big brother. Kalib is jealous, of course, and wants to exchange his sister for him. Lol Jim and I both told him that that's not happening. All I'm saying is that yes, 2013 was a stressful year but we were also blessed with a new life; and my family and friends are a huge help to me. For the first month of my depression I would remind myself "I am married to my best friend and we have two adorable, smart sons; I live in a house with them, my tween, and our two cats. I am so blessed!" In short, I love my life. Even when times are tough. There's nowhere else I'd rather be then with my family. <3

I hope all my family and friends are doing well and have an amazing support system when things get rough, like I have. And as a reminder you'll always have me. So happy holidays to all and a happy new year! May all our wishes and dreams come true in 2014 and in the years to come!

The Fish grandkids

Emma's new haircut

James on Christmas morning

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Beautiful Family

     I know it's been a while since I posted anything but we've been incredibly busy. So here's what's new: Kevin has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, Kevin is going to start flag football next moth, James has learned to roll over, and his next hurdle is crawling; Right now he does the army crawl. Jim still works crazy hours at his job and I stay home cooking, cleaning, taking Kevin to and from school; and his doctor appointments, as well as to games and practices.  Of course, I also take care of our baby James who is now six months old.

     Kevin was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in June 2013.  I was taking him to a therapist to be treated for anxiety when after the first appointment Dr. Pittington took me aside and said Kevin may have Asperger's.  It was a hard thing to hear at first because we all want to think of our children as being perfect, but I decided to have him evaluated because if he did have it I wanted him to have the help that he needed. The evaluation process took seven appointments between two therapists who evaluated his speech, his gait, his assments, and reading skills. They also tested his IQ which is between 134 and 143; genius level.

     His strengths are memorization and concrete subjects; such as: Science and math.  His weaknesses are social skills with his peers, nonverbal communication, and tactile functions.  That's why Kevin is very touchy with some people and very standoffish toward others.  His senses are also very heightened, which makes him afraid of heights, hates loud noises and crowds, prefers loose clothing, and has a hard time adjusting to changes in his routine.  To help him understand his diagnosis we bought the book "All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome" by Kathy Hoopmann.  We also had our loved ones read it as well so they would understand it too.  It is a great read and only takes 10-15 minutes to read.

     It was hard to hear that my son is autistic but his case of Asperger's is very mild and it doesn't change the fact that he's my son. I would do anything for my boy and he knows it too.  He will forever be special to me and I have no doubt that he's going to grow to be a successful man :)

     James may be 6 months old but he's still not sleeping through the night.  As we introduced baby cereal into his diet recently he started sleeping more through the night! Yay! We all love him and his happy demeanor.  He is a very calm, quiet, content baby.  He only cries when he's hungry and fighting sleep.  He loves being around his family, watching TV or his dad or Kevin playing video games.  He loves toys that light up and make noises.  He likes to mimic sounds and noises as well and is very animated as he does it!  However, to catch up to Kevin's height, baby James is already wearing 12 month clothing!  It won't be long before he too is taller than his mommy and eats us out of food at home :p

     So I've been taking a day at a time. Taking a break from school to be with James and catch up on sleep when I can. Jim still works for the same company. He is one of the favorites and his job also offers many great benefits.  I love being married to my best friend, having two adorable, smart boys, and a big house to come home to. So thankful for the blessings in my life.  I know that there will always be good days and bad days ahead but with what I've been blessed with I will always be grateful and mindful for my miracles.  As well as being married to my soulmate.

     Now we recently had our family portraits taken and I thought I'd share them with you.  So here's my beautiful family:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy 30th Birthday, Hubby :)

So this blog is dedicated to my hard working, intelligent, self-sacrificing hubby <3 He has done so much for us and continues to do so on a daily basis that I feel like I don't tell him enough just how much I appreciate him and love him. He is without a doubt my best friend!

But who is James Adam Panko? First of all, he is the oldest of 3 children, born on June 25, 1983 in Fayetteville, NC. He moved to Florida with his parents when he was 3 months old and has lived here ever since. We met when he was 15 years old at a drill meet for ROTC in Daytona Beach. I'm usually very shy but we talked all night. When it was time to leave I was hesitant because I had such a great time talking to Jim. From then on he was my best friend. My buddy. The one guy I was too afraid to date because "what if it didn't work out and I lost my best friend?"

After high school we tried dating but neither of us was mature enough to make it work. I never blamed him though. But he became 'the one that got away'. I thought of him often and hoped he had found happiness.

When we met up again some years later we were both going through a divorce and seeking friendship. As fate would have it we found much more in each other.

So if I were to sum Jim up I would tell you that he's the kind of guy who puts his family and friends' needs above his own. He's also Mr. Fixit. There's not a project out there that he hasn't done or at least attempted. He can't sit still! If he won the lottery tomorrow he'd still be working at his job or one like it just because he feels he has to be doing something and would go out of his mind sitting at home doing nothing. He can play video games for a couple hours but then he gets bored and works on Star Trek models, his work van, or works around the house. He's very artistic. He's a trekkie, loves Dr. Who, and Halo. His best friends are me and my cousin, Julius. He just celebrated his first Father's Day with our newest member: baby James. He is an amazing step-dad to my son, Kevin. He has such great patience and understanding with him. He recently completed classes and got certificates so that he could be in scouts with Kevin as well; and not too long ago he helped Kevin achieve his first badge, the bobcat. My hubby loves to help when and where he can. He fixed my mom's flat tire in her driveway shortly after noticing it and is often called upon by my family members, as well as his own family, concerning their vehicles. He is without a doubt the sweetest man I know, besides my dad. He has always been there for me... Through the divorce, concerning Kevin, when I was pregnant, when I flipped the SUV on I-4, offered friendship in the hospital after having my first seizure when I was 15, and supports my decision to go back to college... He's amazing. I am very lucky and blessed to have him in my life. He may not be perfect but he is perfect for me :)

I apologized to Kevin not too long ago about his dad and I getting divorced and Kevin's reply brought tears to my eyes. He said "It's ok, mom. I'm glad things worked out this way because now we have Jimbob in our lives".  I feel the same way, of course. I love you, Jim. I can't imagine my life without you. You have filled the void in my heart and I will forever be grateful. I just wanted you to know.

Happy Birthday, old man ;) Welcome to the big 3-0!!!! I know I'm not too far behind you but I hope we'll see many birthdays together and many anniversaries:) When we look back 30 will just be a number, a stepping stone. And I want you to know that I love you and the boys love you:) You are a great inspiration to the both of them and me :)

Ich liebe dich!  I hope you enjoy your day, hubby <3

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

In this blog I am going to talk about my two favorite dad's, my dad and my hubby.  Last year I posted this for my dad on Facebook "Things I have learned about dads from my number one dad: all their children are their favorite, a dads love is unconditional whether he agrees with his child's choices or not, a dad will spend numerous hours away from home working so that he can provide a better life for his family, a dad will take time from his day to spend it with his family, whether it be fishing, camping, or an ice cream run, ...dads have a keen sense and pick up when a child is hurt and somehow knows the right thing to say to help lessen the burden, a dads prayer is always effective in making a child's worries go away, dads will watch their children make a mistake because he knows how important it is that the child learn how to get back up but a dad is also ready to help pick up the pieces, lastly I have learned that a dad stands by his wife and supports her decisions. A dad doesn't leave his wife and children when things get chaotic or when a younger hotter model tries to step in. A dad knows that his wife is the genuine article, the one and only and no one can replace the mother of his children. They/we are all special to him. I love you dad. I may not say it enough or show it enough, especially when I was younger, but I love you Daddo. You have taught me a great many things. Thank you. I am so blessed and privileged to be your daughter. Happy Father's Day!"

As you can see I love my dad immensely and have learned a great deal about dad's through him.  My mom asked me before what my ideal husband would be and I told her "a mix of Jim Carrey and my dad".  That's exactly what I have found in my hubby.  He respects me, he loves my son, he works hard for my son and I, he loves us unconditionally, he's there for us, and as God would have it, this year we welcomed our own little Panko into the world.  There's not enough words or time in the day to say just how much I love my hubby.  He is without a doubt my best friend.  I am so glad I have him in my life and so glad that we are sharing our lives together.  He supports me, our children, and our dreams.  He tells me I'm beautiful and he still kisses me goodnight and wakes me up with a kiss good morning.  We still slow dance in the kitchen, read each other's thoughts, and can finish each other's sentences. Before him I thought soul mates were fiction and were just kitchen utensils...  Now I know they're real for I have found mine in him.  Each day that passes I only love him more. Seriously, who would have thought that possible?

I remember being a little girl who wanted to marry her daddy because he was handsome, strong, brave, he loved his family,  took care of his family, spent time with his family, and was always there for me.  Now that I'm older I realize that I married someone like my daddy.  He's patient, kind, honest, and faithful, Daddo.  Just like you.  And who would've thought a good work ethic would be important? ;)  lol  I love you, dad.  Thank you, for being you and for being a great example to your children; and a great man of God.

Jim, again I'm so grateful to have you in my life.  I appreciate your kindness, your understanding, your unconditional love, and your unique sense of humor that makes you Jim.  I love you for your quirkiness, uniqueness, geekiness, nerdiness, but most of all for being my sanity and loving my son as your own.  Not many men would be willing to do that or handle "my baggage" but when I start being pessimistic that's when you say "We'll get through it" and I always believe you...  And we always do get through it.  You are an amazing example to our boys!  I couldn't have found a better husband than you to spend the rest of my life with!  I love you for now, for always, forever!  Thanks for being you.  I pray that we have many years, anniversaries, and holidays in our future together!  I love you!  Thanks for being my best friend, the father of our children, and future children.  Most of all thanks for being you!  I love you! Kevin loves you! and James loves you!

I love you both very much!  Happy Father's Day!

My parents going on a jerky ride with their grandkids;
(if that doesn't say love I don't know what does)

My dad blessed Baby James
Jim helps take care of our baby...
Spends time with Kevo...
(and volunteered to be the Scout Master)
Takes naps with our baby...
And when I'm too tired he finds a way to include me
The men in my life are truly amazing!

Friday, June 7, 2013

My C-Section Experience

First of all let me tell you in my opinion natural is the way to go.  Baby James was a scheduled cesarean. My high risk doctor measured baby James at 38 weeks to see if having him naturally was an option. The ultrasound tech guessed baby James' weight to be 10 pounds and 4 ounces.  We were all very concerned as Kevin had shoulder dystocia at 38 weeks and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces... My doctor said I was lucky but I may not be so lucky this time. Especially since Kevin's brother was even bigger! My hubby and I listened to the doctor and took his advice. We didn't want to chance something going wrong with a natural delivery so we opted for a scheduled cesarean.

I was very nervous, of course, as this was my first surgery EVER. I refused to read about it as I was afraid to read the horror stories of C-sections gone wrong. Instead I turned to my father: a member of the Priesthood in the LDS church, and had him give me a Father's Blessing. I have strong faith in the power of prayer so after I heard the words I was calm and had faith that my baby and I would be okay.

We let Kevin stay home from school so he could see his baby brother after he was born. Then Jim and I went home. I had to shower with antibacterial soap the night before and the day of. My c-section was scheduled for 7:30am but we had to arrive an hour early. Neither Jim nor I slept well in anticipation of meeting Little James.

When we got to the hospital I was prepped with an IV, a gown, a hairnet, some antibiotic via the IV, and I asked for some anti nausea medication as I was feeling nauseous. My doctor was running late so Kevin and my dad arrived in time to see me off to the O.R. Kevin was nervous for me but I reassured him it would be okay.

In the O.R. I sat on the operating table and an Anesthesiologist inserted in a needle in my back while I hugged a pillow. I was given a spinal block. I then preceded to lie down with my arms open, palm side up. I felt helpless and felt hot and cold flashes. The doctors put up a blue sheet barrier so I couldn't see the incision. The Anesthesiologist poked me with a pin several times to see if I had feeling in my side and my chest. When I told him no they got Jim (who was patiently waiting in the hallway) and then the surgery began. I could feel pressure but no pain as they took baby James out. He began crying immediately and the staff all couldn't believe how big he was. Jim immediately began crying as he was a proud daddy, which made me cry as well. The doctor cut the umbilical chord and cleaned baby James before handing him to Jim. I was only allowed to see my beautiful boy briefly before he was taken to the nursery while the doctors put me back together. They closed me up with derma-bond, surgery glue, and tape. No stitches. No staples.

Everything went well, however. I was informed that I was to lie down for 6 hours to prevent a spinal headache, a common side effect of having a spinal block. As you might have read I didn't get to see nor hold my baby due to his unusually high respiration. So much of the time I was lying in bed crying wanting to see, hold, touch, kiss my newly born child. Jim was awesome and downloaded a video chat application so he could show me baby James in the nursery. He even preceded to record some videos of baby James lying in his bassinet.  My dad was amazing as well.  The nurses let my dad into the nursery to give baby James a blessing. I was able to hear it through the video chat application my dear hubby had downloaded on my phone. When the nurses finally brought baby James to me it had been 12 hours since he was born. Kevin recorded it on my phone and commented how cute his little brother was and how he loved his new baby brother and I.

The reunion was short lived as the doctors took baby James back to the nursery to be monitored. Mine and Jim's family went home shortly after and we fell asleep. During the night nurses came to check my blood pressure, which was unusually high, my pain level, and to check my bleeding. (Yes, you still bleed just like you would if you had a baby naturally). I bled the same amount as I did when I had had Kevin. And thank goodness for good pain meds because when the nurses pushed on my stomach to contract my uterus I did not feel a thing. In the morning the nurse removed the catheter and I was allowed to get up and use the bathroom... I nearly passed out from the pain... She gave me a percocet and a half hour later I was feeling a lot better. 

Once I felt ok and after having a little chocolate pudding for breakfast Jim and I walked to the nursery to see Baby James. I was able to change his dirty diaper and witness his tube feedings. They wouldn't feed him much because they were unsure of how much his tummy could tolerate. It broke my heart to see him on so many machines, with an IV hooked up to him, and a tube in his nose that went to his stomach... It's really hard to see your newborn like that and know that there is nothing you can do for him. But we were thankful that he was still alive and prayed for him to make a quick recovery.

When it became clear that baby James was going to be transferred to another hospital I told the nursing staff that I wanted to be discharged as well.  I wanted to be with my newborn son.  My nurse then preceded to call my OB so I could be discharged.  She checked my incision and told me how to take care of it before I left. It was an hour after baby James was transferred that I was finally released from the Sanford hospital. 

Once my mom and I got to Orlando South it was really hard because I had to do a lot of walking! My mom teased me for I walked as fast as my Granny who walks with a walker. The C-section incision is at your bikini line so every step you take is agonizing. When we came across a wheelchair I soon discovered that sitting was painful as well, and so was any bump you hit along the way.  Getting up out of the wheelchair to sit in a chair or stand was worse... And if you had to cough... That was the absolute worst! I tried not to complain because I wanted to be with my baby as much as possible! My hubby did his best to remind me to take my medicine because if I forgot... Oh it was a pain I wouldn't wish on anybody!

Once we got home my hubby helped out when and where he could. We registered on a site called mealtrain.com which is a free website in which family and friends sign up to bring you meals. You can list your favorite meal, any allergies, and foods you dislike and your family and friends can see it, see what other people are bringing, see what days are available, and what times work for you. I highly recommend this site. Our family had delivered meals for a week and a half via our friends/family using this website. We didn't have any duplicate meals and didn't have to worry about cooking or wonder who was bringing us food for that day. (Thank you to our friends and family who participated).

So what no one tells you about c-sections: your extremities swell, your back swells, sitting up hurts like heck! And take the meds exactly when it's time for the next dose! Don't wait to see if you have pain or to see if you can be a super woman! I hate depending on medicines but I had a nurse tell me, "It's ridiculous to stay in pain when you don't have to". She encouraged me to take the meds the doctor prescribed me and I encourage you to do the same. Take the meds.  There's no shame because a C-section IS surgery.  Also, have stool softeners, bring comfortable pants to wear.  Preferably something like what you'd wear to bed. Least of all you can't drive for at least 2 weeks. My hubby was with me for the first week then my mom took time off the second week. Of course, other people came when they could to help with chores and the baby.  Let people help.  Your family and friends will want to do as much as they can so you can rest and believe me you'll want to rest!

If I had to do it all over again, of course I would. The point of this is don't think this surgery is a walk in the park because it's not! The pain was horrible, the swelling was annoying, and the pain meds knocked me out. Thank goodness my hubby and Kevin love me unconditionally. :) how I got so blessed I will never know but I will forever be thankful for my boys... All 3 of them :)

Kevin seeing me off to the O.R.
My three Loves

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Baby James Has Arrived!

So our miracle is finally here!  He's one month old and beautiful!  Of course, I am talking about baby James. He was born April 22 at 08:31 in the Sanford Hospital.  He weighed 9 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 21 inches long! He was delivered by c-section and it was an emotional roller coaster after that!

I didn't get to see or hold my baby for 12 hours after he was born!  Since he was delivered via c-section he did not get pushed out of the birth canal which helps the baby get rid of the fluid in is lungs.  Baby James had a hard time breathing because of this and the pediatrician and nursing staff wanted to keep a close eye on him.  When his condition didn't improve 12 hours later they brought him to me for Kangaroo Care, which is my bare chest against his.  His condition didn't improve over night or the next day so they transferred our baby to Orlando South.  Of course, Jim and I were very emotional.  Jim went with them in the ambulance while I tried to get a hold of my OB doctor so I could be discharged.  It was an hour later when I got to leave the hospital.

My mom drove me to Orlando South and we followed the signs that lead us to the NICU.  Jim told us that Orlando South was going to rerun all the tests that they did at Sanford, which included a chest x-ray and an ultrasound of his heart.  Baby James was in a NICU nursery with other ill babies.  He was on a lot of monitors and had his own bassinet.  The doctors and nursing staff did rounds at 10pm and 10am so we waited around to hear the severity of our baby's condition.  While this was going on Jim was trying to get a hold of the Ronald McDonald House that was less than a block away.  He had 30 minutes to get a hold of them before they quit taking calls so he finally gave up calling and drove over there while I waited with our baby and our parents.

Jim came back a while later saying that it was $10 per night to stay there and he had us reserved until Friday, baby James was born on Monday and transferred to the NICU on Tuesday.  So depending on how things went we had the option of being there for four nights and Jim would pay extra if we needed to.  Jim used his vacation time so he would not lose pay or get in trouble with his work, but everyone understood our predicament and were all understanding.  A few even called or would text Jim about our baby James.

At the 10pm rounds we learned that his respiration was unbelievably high but they were getting better!  At the Sanford hospital his breathing was so rapid that they were feeding him through a tube because they were afraid he'd suck the formula into his lungs.  At the NICU they decided he was doing well enough that he could be given a bottle but since he was a new patient the nurse who was to take care of him wanted to give him the bottle herself to see how he did.  So on Tuesday evening Jim and I got to witness baby James eating from a bottle for the first time.  We stayed afterward and held him one last time before retiring to the Ronald McDonald House, which my mom drove us to.  Because Jim rode with the ambulance and I with my mom our car was still in the Sanford hospital parking lot.

So the next day Jim and I got up early went to the front of the Ronald McDonald House and Jim called the shuttle to take us to the hospital.  Once there I would have to walk until we came upon a wheel chair and then Jim would push me around and we'd see our son.  The NICU allowed us to change his clothes into something we brought from home so of course we took advantage of it and dressed him in a duck outfit that big brother Kevin picked out.  I was now allowed to hold him and feed him.  His respiration was continuing to go down.  At the 10am rounds we learned that he was doing much better.  There was talk about baby James being transferred into a different room.  It would still be a NICU nursery but it was a level 2.  It was for babies who still had a severe condition but not as severe as the level 1 NICU.  Also babies in a level 2 NICU were closer to going home.  Jim and I were very happy to hear this.  They also informed us that he had not had his ultrasound yet.  The doctors thought they heard a heart murmur when they examined him so they had to do an ultrasound to confirm it.  Also they were keeping track of his jaundice.

The doctors performed his ultrasound around noon so Jim and I left to go to the hospital's cafeteria.  At this time we would text or call our families to let them know how our baby was doing.  My mom wanted me to go back to the Ronald McDonald House and stay in bed as I had just had a c-section but I wasn't going to leave my baby until I had to.  Jim's mom and brother came to visit and drop off our vehicle and at dinner time, not too long after baby James was transferred into the level 2 nursery, my parents came with a surprise: big brother Kevin!

Kevin was staying with my sister but he was having a hard time being separated from me so my parents surprised him by picking him up after school.  We were surprised as well. The NICU staff refused to let Kevin see his baby brother, however, because we did not have his shot record on us.  My parents visited with their new grandchild until the nursing staff was changed then we left to eat dinner at the hospital cafeteria.  Afterward we called the shuttle and we showed everyone our room at the Ronald McDonald House.  Kevin loved it because the theme for our room was race cars.

After we said goodbye to everyone at the hospital Jim and I went back to see baby James. His respiration was much better as the numbers were in the normal range.  Every morning they pricked his heel to test his sugar levels since he was a big baby but they were always normal.  The doctor then told us that baby James does indeed have a heart murmur but all newborns have it and it will eventually correct itself as he gets older.

Jim and I were very hopeful that we'd get to leave Thursday and so we got up early, went to rounds, they introduced baby Panko as a healthy baby and was now ready to be released.  Jim and I were ecstatic!  I started texting everyone the good news and Jim went to clean out our room.  Before we left we were told to pick out a pediatrician and make an appointment for his jaundice, have his heart checked again when he's 6 months old, and then the NICU nurse gave our baby his first shot: hepatitis B vaccine.  Around 2pm baby James and I were wheeled out of the hospital and Jim helped us into our car.  Then it was off to Kevin's school to pick him up.  He was happy to see us, of course.

Baby James gave us a bit of a scare but now he is home with his loving family.  He is happy and healthy and we couldn't ask for more.  He is a very content, happy, laid back baby.  He is also very vocal. He likes to make cooing noises as you feed him, hold him, and talk to him. He is my second miracle and is absolutely perfect!  We love you, baby James!

Shortly after baby James was born

Being transferred to Orlando South

In his bassinet at the NICU

Going home!!!!

Baby James with his big brother

He's one month old!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

8 Years!!!

     So it's finally happened.... I am a mother of an eight year old boy =P  I don't know why, maybe it's the hormones, but this birthday really hit me.  I really tried to be strong and not bawl, but secretly that's what I wanted to do.  I can remember my baby boy waking me up every two hours to be fed, rocking him back to sleep, and I remember all the sweet moments that have brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.  Every day is an adventure with him and I am so grateful to be a mother!  Never in my youth did I think that I would want this, kids and a family, but God knew what He was doing when He blessed me with my first miracle: Kevin <3

     So to those who don't know 8 years old is an important age for LDS children.  It is this year that a child may be baptized and be accepted into the church.  Kevin, of course, wants this very much and I always knew that this day was coming...  Now that it's here I just want Kevin to have the most amazing experience that a young boy could ask for.  I was baptized by my father in Okinawa, Japan.  I didn't have a testimony at the time but I knew that my parents did and I wanted them to be proud of me.  That's why I got baptized... However, I remember it being so cold in the church but shortly after my father and other priest hold members put their hands on my head I remember feeling very warm and a feeling that my Heavenly Father was proud of me too.  That's when my testimony started to grow.

     Kevin is very special to me as he is a part of me.  I want these experiences for him and it's heart warming when he wants them for himself, not just for me or his dad.  I can't wait to see him baptized and the choices that he will make as he continues on his own path of life.  Every day that passes I continue to love him more and more.  I know that my love for him will never cease nor the pride that I have in my heart for him.  He is everything that I have ever wanted in a son.  I know James is too.  He's not born yet and I love him and I want what's best for him as well!

     So back to Kevin.  Jim and I went all out for Kevin's 8th Birthday.  We went with a Pokemon theme, if you knew Kevin you'd understand.  We invited family and friends to be there and we had a great turnout!  Some people who couldn't be there even sent cards and/or presents to Kevin for his special day.  I know Kevin was very touched by all of it as he felt the love for him by his friends.  The gifts were just a bonus to Kevin.  What he loved the most was having his family and friends there to celebrate him.

     Little Kevin, I love you!  I am so grateful to have you as my son!  I love the moments when I get to witness your smarts, your growth, your humor, and your love for everyone around you!  You have such a kind heart and I pray that you will always be my kind little guy.  I know right now that you don't like school very much but I hope that next year will be more challenging and give you back your eagerness to learn.  I hope that you know that you can always talk to me about anything and that you are always welcome to sleep on our bedroom floor.  Having a new baby does not mean that we are subtracting you in our life in anyway!  What it means is that our family is getting bigger and more people to love!  I have no doubt that James will love, respect, and honor his big brother!  He's going to be following you around so much because he's going to want to be just like you!  We love you, Kevin!  Happy Birthday! ~ Mommy, Jim, and Baby James

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Final Stretch aka Third Trimester!!

So to all those who are concerned, Baby James is happy and healthy :)  He is now 3.2 pounds and over 14 inches long.  We are growing even more excited to see our little bundle of joy.  His room is setup and awaiting for Baby James to fill it.

However, we're anticipating what kind of delivery he will be.  James' big brother Kevin was born with shoulder dystocia so the doctors have warned us that a cesarean may be in our future.  Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that Baby James will be a much easier delivery.  The doctors are different, of course, but I will still be delivering in Sanford, where Kevin and his cousins, all but Kalib, were born.  Jim and I went to tour the labor and delivery floor and it is awesome!  It pretty much looks the same, but it has been remodeled and refurnished, plus all the nurses are now required to wear pink scrubs with a white top underneath.  This is so that they can be easily identified as baby nurses.  My ever caring and concerned hubby just worries about the drive because we live 45 minutes away.  I try telling him that there's more to labor and a lot of waiting but as this is his first time going through this process it goes in one ear and out the other.

So why the name James and what will he be called?  James is named after his dad, obviously, but it is also a family name.  Jim's grandpa is James Robert, his father is Robert James, and Jim is James Adam.  So it's 3, or 4, generations in one, however, you want to look at it.  James' middle name is Odin after the Norse god.  Jim and I both have a passion for mythology (me more so the Greek, Jim the Norse gods) and why you ask?  Odin is the chief god of Norse mythology and the father of Thor.  Could be worse.  Jim could have named him after Star Trek or Doctor Who.  LOL  I plan on calling him Baby James or just James, Grandma Anna wants to call him JJ, Jim wants to call him Odin, and big brother Kevin wants to call him JJ.  So he will have a lot of nicknames just like Jim.

Everything is going well.  No seizures.  Baby James practices gymnastics in the morning, in the car, in the afternoon, and when my head hits the pillow.  This week I have started being monitored to make sure that Baby James will continue to grow healthy and big.  I have also taken my second glucose test as I have failed my first, ICK!  Hoping that I hear good news Monday but if not then I'll speak with the doctor and have a more strict diet.

But nothing can keep this family of three down!  We are happily/anxiously waiting for our newest member!  I think this baby is going to look more like his daddy :)  When we went to have the ultrasound done she was taken aback by his cute features.  He has a tiny nose like his daddy Jim and big cheeks like his momma.  We love you, little man!  Can't wait to hear your cries, your coos, and of course, we can't wait to hold you in our arms and watch you sleep!  And we have less than 79 days to go!  Woohoo!  We're in for the final stretch now!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Anxiously Awaiting Baby James' Debut

Yesterday Jim, Kevin, and I got our portraits done as a family.  It's something that I've always wanted us to do and since we had a coupon and baby James on the way we thought we'd take a before baby picture and then we'll add him to our next one.  With every passing day we grow more anxious to see, hold, kiss, and cuddle our little baby:)  It's a lot to take in sometimes.  Jim was my best friend in high school and now we're married and in a few more months we'll have our own baby Panko.  I couldn't ask for two better guys :)  Jim is always there for me.  Whether I'm emotional, having a craving, or in pain (growing pains and/or aches).  He's been wonderful through it all!  He's so patient and understanding, I feel so incredibly blessed!  Kevin is patient and understanding as well.  He helps out when and where he can.  He likes to read to his baby brother and pick out gifts for him as well.  Of course, they all have duckies or penguins on them as these are Kevin's favorite animals.  I just pray that baby James will be patient, kind, and smart like his older brother and his daddy:)

We are anxiously awaiting your arrival, baby James.  Although you are not born yet we all love you immensely!  We can't wait to hold you in our arms, can't wait to have long nights, and short days with you <3  We love you!  Mommy, Daddy, and your older brother, Kevin.

My 7 year old miracle

Mommy and sons

I love these boys and this pic! It's like it's from a magazine!
Both of my handsome guys looking at the camera