Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Ella Adrianna

Precious Child
by Karen Taylor-Good
In my dreams, you are alive and well
Precious child, precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, precious child
In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
'Cause you are with me still

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone

Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

In my plans, I was the first to leave
Precious child, precious child

But in this world, I was left here to grieve
Precious child, my precious child
In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart there is hope
And you are with me still

In my heart you live on
Always there, never gone

Precious child, you left too soon, 
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
See you, touch you

And maybe there's a heaven
And someday I will again
Please know you are not forgotten until then

In my heart you live on
Always there never gone

Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

Sweet Ella Adrianna,

How true it is that you my sweet girl will live forever in my heart. Its hard to believe that its already been two years since I last laid eyes on your beautiful little face.When I lost you there were days I truly thought I would never recover. Thankfully time does heal. But it never lets you forget. I was listening to a song the other day that I listened to numerous times after you (and Layna) were no longer here with mommy and daddy. And some of the words really hit me again...

We won't always know
Why seasons of life are so hard
But you are still God

Help me have faith in the knowledge
That your greater than what we go through
And when I reside in the valleys
Help me keep trusting in You

The how and when You are moving
Were not meant for me to decide
Again and again You are proving
You're there at just the right time

Ella I will never understand why we had to struggle so hard to have you only to lose you way too soon. But I know that as long as I keep trusting in God that He will never fail me. So thats what I do sweet girl...I keep trusting in THE ONE who is keeping you safe until mommy (and daddy) can join you up in Heaven. Oh sweet girl I can only imagine what it will feel like to wrap you up in my arms and be with you forever. I cannot wait for that day because oh what a glorious day that will be. But until then my sweet girl...Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

Love you with ALL of my (our) heart(s),
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Six Months

Mason Dale,

Today you are half a year old!!! Wow the saying "time sure flies by when you're having fun" is most definitely true. You have brought more joy into our lives this past 6 months than mommy and daddy ever knew was possible. We absolutely cannot wait to see what the next 6 months bring. Love you with all our hearts "little" man!!!

Mommy and Daddy

Happy 6 Months Sweet Boy!!!

Stats: We don't visit Dr. M for Mason's official 6 month check-up until July 10 but as of last week at the doctor's office (remember I went in because of his skin issues) Mason weighed 19lb 14oz (with his helmet on).

Sizes: Mason is currently wearing 6-12 month (Gap, Old Navy, etc), 9-12 month (Children's Place), or 9 month (Carter, Jumping Beans) clothes (obviously just depends on the name brand). He (just in the last few days) started wearing some 12 month P.J's. And I do put him in a few 12 month things from my sister (like muscles shirts, comfy shorts, and a bathing suit). Oh and one of the bathing suits I bought for him this year was 12 months as well. Mason is still in size 3 (Kirkland brand) diapers.

Wearing his BIG boy pajama's!!!

Food:  My breast feeding (Mason) days are almost over for a couple of reasons. First Mason would sometimes get so mad because he couldn't get enough to fill his tummy. (I believe this was just due to the fact that he needed more than I could supply). And second with his helmet plus the heat of summer when Mason was all nuzzled in he would sweat bullets. So he now breast feeds once in the morning and once in the afternoon (and sometimes he gets a little snack in the evening). But these feedings do NOT last him 3 hours. All other feedings are (obviously) bottle fed. He still gets 6.5 ounces of breastmilk because I have a decent supply (of breast milk) in our deep freezer downstairs. When I'm at work I try to pump once a shift and I pump still in the morning before heading into work.

AND when Mason hit 5 and a half months we (finally) decided to try some rice cereal. He wasn't a big fan at first. (He just kept spitting it out with his a typical baby I'm sure). But he's now slowly warming up to it. He certainly does enjoy playing with the spoon. Oh silly boy!!! After a week of plain rice cereal we started mixing it with some baby food. I know its said to start with vegetables first but I only had peaches in the house so thats what we started with. Again wasn't (still isn't) a big fan of peaches...but I'm thinking its because of the tartness. After peaches we tried sweet potatoes (which he doesn't mind so much) and thats as far as we've gotten thus far.

Routine: Mason still has no set routine. But he's a HAPPY baby so it works for us!!! He gets the bottle/boob every 3-4ish hours. And in addition gets some rice cereal/baby food once or twice a day. (Always in the evening and sometimes in the morning). He naps once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and takes a really short nap in the evening. As always length and time vary. To be honest he naps better for people other than me. Has anyone else experienced this??? My go to trick is going for a car ride...this is a sure bet to knock him out!!!

Bedtime is still around 8:30-9:00. So around 8 or so he gets a bath. He also gets his hour off (out of his helmet that is) from anywhere between 7:30-9pm...just depends on if I work that day or not. As for sleeping through the night...about a week and a half ago Mason started being consistent with sleeping a good solid 8-9 hours at a time. YEA!!! He typically wakes up between 5 and 6...I give him a 4 oz bottle...and he'll go back to sleep until 8am or so. This momma is loving this new schedule!!! Although I'm sure its too good to last for long!

You're fave part of the day...BATH TIME!!!

Developmental Milestones: On June 2 Mason (finally) learned to roll over from belly to back. So now he's a rolling machine. He started clucking/smacking his lips right after he hit 5 months and he started screaming/grunting oh so very loudly a week or so later. He started sitting around 5 and a half months...although he does still tip over every once in awhile. And last but not least once he got his helmet on he started scooting like mad. (That smooth surface I tell ya)!!! We've even contemplated putting up the stair protector because he CANNOT be left alone in the family room anymore. And I thought he was getting around before...

Loves: I've said it before and I'll say it again Mason is a very happy baby (YES even when he doesn't nap). He's a baby that just loves life!!! He loves standing on his legs!!! He loves sucking on/playing with his toes (yes he can reach them now) and he loves sucking on his mommy's toes too which daddy finds utterly disgusting!!! He (still) loves sucking/pulling on mommy's hair!!! Basically he loves sucking on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. If he can get his hands on WILL be in his mouth!!! He loves whipping things back and forth...back and forth...back and forth... He loves watching his cousins play. He thinks they are so entertaining!!! And if one of them starts crying...sometimes he thinks he needs to too! And last but not least he loves jumping in his jumperoo and swinging in his new swing!!!

Dislikes: Napping (sometimes) and going to bed (some nights). But once in awhile he just can't help it...

Other Things I Don't Want To Forget:
  • You have crazy skin issues. Sensitive skin. Dry skin. Eczema-filled skin. And by nature (and rolls) you are a sweaty baby. Mommy (and daddy) have spent so much moolah trying to find the right combination of lotions and creams for you. And I think (with Dr. B's help) we finally figured it out!!! Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Wash and Lotion are working wonders on your cute little bod. As is the hydrocortisone (2.5%) cream =) And the really good news is you don't swat at your ears and scratch your head as much as you use to since we started using these products.
  • The nasty bright red eczema looking spot on your neck is finally GONE!!! You have had it for about 2 and a half months. Final diagnosis = yeast. Ewww gross. Glad we finally figured that one out. Mommy can tell that you are so much happier (since we started putting the prescription Nystatin on it) because you don't bat at your neck a thousand times a day anymore!!! And just for the record it was NEVER white hence why we thought it was just a really bad eczema spot.
  • You fake cough all the time!!! 
  • You helped Daddy celebrate his first (Earthly) Father's Day.
  • You got your plagiocephaly helmet on June 7.  And never once (thus far anyways) has it bothered you. Although it makes you sweat twice as much as you use to. We "weaned it" on to you meaning...on the first day you wore it (that being June 8) you had it on for one for one hour. On day 2 you wore it for two for one. On day 3 you wore it for 4 for one but you also had to wear it for all naps and to bed. On day 4 you wore it for 8 for one and again you had to wear it for all naps and to bed. And finally on day 5 you were in it for 23 hours a day...and off for just one mere little hour. At your one week (post helmet) appointment your therapist said that you were accumulating too much sweat in your helmet that if left unattended could grow into some nasty bacteria. So now every 3-4 hours we need to take your helmet off to wipe your head and helmet out with a cold rag. But your helmet cannot be off for more than 5 minutes for these wipe downs. The wipe downs have definitely made a huge difference in the sweat department (thank goodness).
  • You think you're big stuff when taking a bath. No laying back for you. No sir-ree you need to sit up like a BIG boy!!!
  • We're just waiting for that first four teeth to pop in. Dr. B said that all 4 are making their way in. Oh boy this should be interesting!!! 
  • You helped Mommy and Daddy celebrate Alayna and Ella's 2nd birthday.
  • Loud voices scare you. Your lip starts quivering and its like your contemplating whether you should cry or not. Sometimes you decide a cry is warranted and other times you just start laughing. Crazy boy!!!
  • You took your first vacation (to the Wisconsin Dells). Which meant you traveled outside of Michigan for the first time. You can now say you've been to the great states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Celebrating Our Lil Loves

This afternoon we celebrated Alayna AND Ella's 2nd birthday. We kept it really simple this year by just including the grandparents. We started off at the cemetery before making our way over to Hager Park for some dessert. At the cemetery we "tried" releasing two lanterns into the sky but the wind and dryness were NOT in our favor and we didn't need to be "THE people" who started a fire at a after a meager attempt at lighting one of the lanterns we decided to bag the idea. We did end up (although accidentally) releasing a balloon into the sky anyways so it was all good!!! (We had bought a balloon for each of our lil ladies that said "Happy Birthday Princess" but right when we got there one of the balloon decided to take off. (It somehow got off its string). And we almost lost the second balloon when Mason gave the that balloon a good swat. But momma's cat-like reflexes saved the day balloon)!!!

Our lil family!!!

Papa and Grandma Vugteveen

Papa and Grandma Helmholdt

H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y to 2 of the most precious lil gals in Heaven!!!

Happy 2nd Birthday Alayna Joy

Little did we know that morning,
God was going to call your name,
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we do the same,
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home,
You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our side,
Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.
(Author Unknown)

Sweet Alayna Joy,

Sometimes it seems like just yesterday when I last held you in my arms. Yet other times it seems like a lifetime ago. However, a mommy never forgets what it feels like to hold her firstborn child in her arms for the very first time. But for this mommy that moment was not filled with joy and bliss as it should have been. Instead it was filled with heartache and sadness. For I knew I would never see your pretty eyes. I would never hear your sweet cry. I would never rock you to sleep. I would never see you take your first step. I would never hear you say "mama." I would never kiss a boo boo all better. I KNEW I was going to miss a lifetime of memories.

The month of June is hard for mommy. The tears seem to fall a bit easier. And my heart feels a bit heavier. I often wonder what life would be like if it had just turned out differently. Life would certainly be full of sugar and spice and all things nice (because thats what little girls are made of)!!! Life would certainly be very busy chasing two toddlers all over the place. And maybe just maybe we would be thinking about adding another addition to our family of four. So many what ifs and could have beens. But I understand (now) why life turned out the way it did. Because mommy and daddy were meant to have your baby brother Mason. And he may have never been if you and Ella were alive and well. So I have found peace with the fact that you are not here in my arms. But it still doesn't stop the tears from falling every now and then. Its at these moments that I hug Mason even tighter. Its at these moments that I am thankful that joy does come in the morning. And bottom line...I am eternally grateful to God for giving me YOU even if for such a short amount of time. Someday our family chain will no longer be broken and what a special day that will be.

Until then sweet girl...HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY!!!

Love you Alayna girl with all my (our) heart(s),
Mommy (and Daddy) 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pictures Galore

In early May I won a free sitting session from KIS Photography. I decided use the free sitting for Mason's 6 month pictures. We ended up taking them yesterday (a week before he actually turns 6 month) but since he's already sitting like a big boy it worked out just fine doing them a touch early!!! Here's a few of my faves...

At this point Mason was getting a little fussy so mommy was trying to get him happy again...guess it worked!!!

And tonight we got in another photo session!!! But this time with Mason's Papa and Grandma and all his cousins. I cannot wait to see how they turn out!!! The session was a gift to my parents from me and my siblings (and all the spouses) in honor of my parent's 40th anniversary. I will be sure to share some of them when I get my hands on them. 

But this picture is too cute not to share. My niece Brinley is in the process of getting weaned off the bottle. Well she must not be too happy with the idea because she got a hold of Mason's and went to town. Good thing it was a formula bottle!!! And good thing it wasn't full.

Isn't she just the cutest!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doctor Appointment

Mason has skin issues UP THE WAZOO. He has dry skin. He has sensitive skin. He sweats like crazy. And he has eczema like you wouldn't believe. He is constantly swatting at his ears and scratching at his head. I have called my pediatrician's office a couple of times and we have tried numerous different lotions, creams, etc but last night Brian and I had had enough. So I called the office today and said that I wanted Mason to be seen for a couple of reasons. Those reasons being...his ears (constant swatting...possible ear infection) and his numerous skin issues. Of course his primary doc was on vacation but the receptionist got us in to see the other doctor in the office this afternoon and she was just as fabulous as Dr. M. And hallelujah we got everything (hopefully) squared away!!!

She agreed that he definitely has some skin issues but that the helmet is not helping the problem whatsoever. So she told me to buy the Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturizer and Body Wash. Of course at home I had Cetaphil bar soap and Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. Go figure. She then prescribed me a 2.5% hydrocortisone cream for all his eczema spots (and there are LOTS of them) and nystatin for his neck. (We have been fighting an eczema-like spot for over 2.5 months). Dr. B said even though we can't see any whiteness in the area that its definitely yeasty. She was surprised that the Lamisol AT (that Dr. M) had told us to use didn't help more. 

Then I had her look at his ears. I wanted her to check for an ear infection but I also wanted her to look at a really red spot on one of his ears. It looked like a pimple with a small amount of pus in it. Thankfully it was only a bug bite. She told me to put some Benadryl cream on it. So yes I went to Target and bought both the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion and Body well as some Benadryl cream, 2 bottles of Motrin (yea for being almost 6 months), and 2 bottles of rubbing alcohol (for Mase's stinky helmet). Yikes...he was one expensive boy to get AND one expensive boy to keep. But he is worth EVERY penny spent!!! And lots of pennies have been spent trying to figure out all of his skin issues. Oh and this was all in addition to the two prescriptions we had to pick up. At least my boy is going to be in tip top shape soon. One can hope anyways.  

Lastly, I had her check out his teeth because I was curious if any teeth were coming in yet. He's been sucking on his thumb and anything else he can get in his mouth like crazy lately. She took a look and said watch out...he has four making there way and it won't be much longer til they all pop. Lovely...four at once...should be fun!!! And this is mainly why I bought the Motrin.

Oh and just one more thing. They weighed Mason today and he was a whopping 19lbs 14oz WITH his helmet on. He's my little tank!!!

So yes bath time was fun tonight. I slathered on the (Cetaphil) Body Wash then dried him off and applied the hydrocortisone cream followed by the (Cetaphil) Restoraderm Lotion. Then I also applied the nystatin to his neck and the benadryl to his ear. So many little tubes of fun!!! Here's to Mase feeling better and swatting and scratching less.

Too Funny

So I was getting my hair done today and my hair-cutter's daughter asked me how Mason broke his head. Oh did that ever get me laughing....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy 1st (Earthly) Father's Day to my wonderful hubby!!! Hard to believe that 2 years ago (on Father's Day) we were fighting to keep our baby girls in my belly. I was home on bedrest and we were praying with every single minute that God would keep our baby girls safe. And He did. Just not in the way we meant. Then last year I announced here that we were once again expecting!!! And finally THIS YEAR Brian gets to really celebrate the joy of fatherhood. Brian you are an amazing hands on daddy and your little man loves you so MUCH (as does his mommy)!!!

Today was also special because we got to witness the baptism of my sweet little nephew Austin Ross Vugteveen. So a very special Happy 1st Father's Day to my big brother Brandon too!!!

My boys

Mason with Papa Vugteveen

Papa with ALL of his favorite little people.

Happy Father's Day to some of the BESTEST daddies around!!!
Front: Cole, Kylynn, Papa with Cambrey and Brinley, and Addisyn
Back: My bro-in-law Jason, Brian with Mason, my bro Jason with Easton, and my bro Brandon with Austin, 

We spent the afternoon relaxing inside until Mason woke up from his nap. Then it was off to visit Alayna and Ella before heading over to Grandpa and Grandma H's house to enjoy some late afternoon sun.

Daddy with 3 of his precious children

Papa fed you a bottle for the very first time and afterwards you cashed right out!!!

Mason and Papa Helmholdt

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meeting Gigi

Brian's mom grew up in a small Wisconsin town called Randolph. Her 91 year old mother (aka Brian's grandma) still lives there. Since we were heading to Wisconsin anyways we decided to head out a day early so that Mason could finally meet his Gigi (as in great grandma). It ended up working out great because not only did we get to visit with his grandma but we also got to visit later that evening with a few of his uncles, aunts, and cousins. And his cousin Jim and his wife Amy (and their son Sy who happens to have been born the EXACT SAME day as Alayna) were gracious enough to host us for the night.

Gigi with her grandson and great grandson

Jim and Sy AND Brian and Mason

Wisconsin Dells

Ahhhh we just got back (well this past Tuesday) from a wonderful family trip to the Wisconsin Dells for my parent's 40th anniversary!!! We stayed at the Wilderness Resort (all 16 of us in ONE condo) and to say we had a BLAST is putting it mildly!!! The weather was perfect...(90's and sunny)...which meant we basically spent all day every day in the many different parks playing in the many different pools and hitting up the many different water slides. But we also found some time to celebrate my nephew Cole's 3rd birthday (which happened to be WHEN we were in the Dells). And all he wanted was to ride the you better believe we did just that!!! (Sorry no pics of the go-carts included. My sis-in-law took many but I don't have my hands on them just yet).

Here's a few pics from our get-a-way...

The whole family
Enjoying the lazy river
My "lil" man
Same story just different days...what sleeping stud muffins!!!
Mason and his big cousin Addi 
Some of the gang...
Daddy and Mason
Grandma and Mason
Mommy and her boys
All the cousins...
Aunt Linney with 2 of her favorite lil girls
Brinley and Mason...Mase just loves her!!!
Part of the crew on the duck boat tour

And to the ones that made it parents

Hard to imagine that we started talking about a family trip for my parent's 40th anniversary over two years ago and here it already came and went. Back when we first started talking about where to go I was pregnant with the girls. When we were in the Dells I couldn't help but think about what it would have been like to have TWO 20 month olds running around. But as always if they were here...
...this lil hunk wouldn't be and I cannot even begin to imagine what life would be like without him. He does my heart good.

Oh and as you can tell Mason has his helmet on in some pics and not in others...this is because we had to slowly ramp up the amount of time Mason spent in his helmet but thats for another post (if I ever get around to it)!