Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in a Nutshell...

So, I'm going to start by saying that I don't typically do these things, but I saw it on Laura's blog and it seemed like a pretty good procrastination tool mindless blog entry. So here we go....2011 in a nutshell:

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

This is the first year I blogged, tweeted, or pinned anything. Oh, and I also had a baby! :)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I've never been a huge fan of new year's resolutions -- it's always the same -- eat better and exercise more. Last year, I opted for something more realistic -- improve myself! That being said, my focus was to be a better person all around - healthier, happier, less stressed, more organized, and more positive - I wanted to be someone that I would want to be around. I'd say I did a pretty decent job of this considering I was pregnant, living with my parents and building a house turned sleep deprived working mom trying to keep my head above water. My goal for 2012 is to be more financially savvy, manage time better and be the best wife and mom possible, all while improving myself!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Besides myself?  My sister, my cousin, a best friend, tons of facebook friends and lots of ladies in the blogging world.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Bryan's cousin's husband died of cancer in March and a college friend died in July

5. What countries did you visit?

None. Nada. Zip. Zero.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A vacation.....and more sleep!

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 6, and November 22&23 -- they were both life changing for me; Easton's birth and Easton's cancer diagnosis/surgery to remove a Wilm's Tumor

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My biggest achievement was becoming a mother. I have surprised myself in so many ways and it is the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

9. What was your biggest failure?

No matter how many to do lists I make or stuff I get done around the house, I still manage to feel disorganized and have piles of stuff I don't know what to do with.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, no. Just the typical headaches, body aches, sore throat, stuffy nose stuff....

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My iphone. I don't know how I survived so long without one.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Hubs, for sure. Even though he is not a fan of the newborn stage (to put it lightly), he has been SO GOOD with Easton and has really made an effort to help more around the house.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Hmmm..nobody really comes to find. At least nobody I can talk about on here. ;)

14. Where did most of your money go?

Where DIDN’T most of my money go? (Wait – I know that one – my savings account!) We had so many new expenses this year -- new (more expensive) house and bills, daycare, diapers, formula, baby food, baby clothes, baby toys, second car payment....and the list goes on.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving into our new house, starting our family, meeting Easton :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I hate questions like this...

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder?
– thinner or fatter? I weigh less, yet I’m somehow fatter
– richer or poorer? Poorer, for sure - but richer with love :)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Cleaning, exercising, sleeping, pedicures. The usual.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Cleaning, working, on the computer, stressing, yelling at Bryan haha

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Easton's First Christmas post is coming soon, but in a nutshell, we spent Chrsitmas Eve with Bryan's family, Chrismtas morning opening gifts at our house, then went to my parents for more gifts, annual Christmas Breakfast with the Koesters and relaxed the rest of the day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Yes, with my new baby boy.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

New to me this year was Big Brother, and other favs are Modern Family, Suburgatory, The Bachelor/ette, Grey's, and Desperate.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

 Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

The only books I've read this year are "What to Expect when You're Expecting", "What to Expect the First Year" and "A Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding". I did however, read lots of great blogs. :)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Nikki Minaj, Adele and Mumford & Sons...

26. What did you want and get?

Easton, a new house, a new car, new dslr camera, iphone

27. What did you want and not get?

To win the lotto.....

28. What was your favorite film this year?

Haven't watched many but from what I can remember I'd have to say Bridesmaids and Friends with Benefits.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 29 and I spent it at a work dinner. At least it was free and yummy!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

No cancer....

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

My personal fashion concept = my sisters personal fashion concept :)

32. What kept you sane?

Easton, my mom, blogging, pinterest and Bryan. In that order (haha).

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Bradley Cooper, Matthew McConuaghey

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Casey Anthony -- makes me sick that she got off!

35. Who did you miss?

Good friends that live out of state -- if you are reading this, you know who you are.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Easton, duh! Oh, and LoVal - she's new this year and she's a keeper. ;)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

PICK YOUR BATTLES! I learned that it’s WAY BETTER and EASIER to not nag Bryan and to just do whatever I want done myself. Nagging only makes me feel crappy about my marriage, and the longer it doesn’t get done, the crappier I feel. If I just do whatever I want done, when I want it done, the way I want it done, I am way happier, and I can focus on the tons of good things Bryan DOES do for our family instead of the few things he doesn't.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Where you invest your love, you invest your life" -Mumford and Sons, Awake My Soul

Cheers to an even more fabulous, happy and healthy 2012!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Taking a break to celebrate the season ~ Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
I'll be back next week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crazy Eight!

18lbs, 27.25 inches long

This month has been both the worst and the most eventful of them all!

We started the month by welcoming 2 teeth, within 2 days of each other. That explains the late night wake ups, fussiness, diaper rash and puddles of drool. I'm glad for both of us that that is over with -- for now!

Next up, sitting like a big boy in the shopping cart! Not only did you like this, but mommy did too! I have a feeling we'll be doing this a lot more often.

You have mastered the 'scoot' and are working on perfecting the crawl. You put yourself on all fours from the sitting position and love rocking back and forth. You are so close to grasping the concept of crawling. It's just a matter of time!

We have a talker! You love your 'dada' and you aren't afraid to say it! Now, let's work on 'mama'.

You continue to be a great eater. You have mastered finger foods. Raviolis, chicken terrazini and ham and pineapple are new on the menu this month. You also got table food for the first time this month -- Saturday morning pancakes and you loved them! Nursing came to an end this month during your hospital stay (more on this below). We were down to 2 nursing sessions a day (morning and night), and it was just too much for mommy to worry about pumping, etc. while in the hospital and taking care of you. This was bittersweet for mommy - while she was sad that bonding time had come to an end, she was happy to have been able to do it for 7.5 months, and was glad it wasn't a decision she had to make on her own. She is also excited to be able to have some drinks and not have to 'pump n' dump'! :)

This past month has been life changing for us. On 11/22, our worst nightmare came true - you were diagnosed with a cancerous Wilm's Tumor on your right kidney that mommy found. On 11/23, you had major surgery to remove the kidney and a 2/3 lb. tumor. Doctors were very pleased with the outcome of surgery and were fairly confident that the tumor was completely encapsulated and that chemotherapy would not be needed. We spent 4 days in the hospital recovering and went home on 11/27. Two days later, pathology reports confirmed Stage I Wilm's Tumor, in which doctors felt chemotherapy was not needed, and close observation would be the best course of treatment. We have never felt so relieved and thankful! You will be monitored by University of Michigan's Department of Pediatric Oncology and Children's Oncology Group every 3 months for the next several years. This is a huge relief to mommy and daddy (and everyone else for that matter) and will help minimize our worry with recurrence or relapse knowing that you are being closely monitored.

The doctors and medical professionals at U-M were outstanding and were everything we could have hoped for during your care. And the support team we had behind us pulling for you -- WOW!!! There sure are a lot of people out there that love us. And while the onset of this tumor was nothin' but bad luck, we sure got lucky with the best possible outcome!! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you for being such a strong, brave little boy!
1st day home, happy as can be!

Nine days post surgery, you had your first vomiting episode. This scared mommy. Since this was new to us, mommy called the pediatrician who suggested we call the pediatric surgeon at U-M who performed the surgery to let them in on our status. Little did we know they'd tell us to come in, but they did, so to Ann Arbor we went. An x-ray showed constipation, blood work showed risk of infection and urinalysis showed dehydration. Thankfully the CT scan crossed out possible infections, but being that you are a renal patient who just underwent major surgery, they wanted to monitor you. 2 days later we were sent home.

So here we are, 2 weeks post surgery and one would never know what you've been through. They say babies are so resilient and you proved them right. We have our happy, playful, smiley baby back!

And we're ready for the holidays! We have so much to celebrate this year. :)

yogurt melts
reading books
taking your socks off

blood pressure cuff
being tired
sippy cup

8 month photos - despite everything you've been through, you're nothin' but smiles!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Easton's 1st Christmas is just around the corner and we are super excited to create new memories and traditions with him! Bring in: Christmas Tree (room lights on)
(room lights off)
One would think the tree would be an instant attraction for a baby -- the sparkling lights and ornaments dangling in his reach, but Easton is hardly phased by it -- for the better. Our main concern is Cooper's whip of a tail.
The Mantle (my favorite)
just waiting on our stockings which should be here anyday

The Foyer kept simple

And the kitchen with my pinterest crafts (& beautiful Gardinia plant from my cousin Ellen)

This picture humors me. Hubby hanging Christmas lights from the roof - oh, the things he does for me. :)

Testing out the Santa hat for our Christmas Card photo shoot. Thankfully he tolerated it fairly well. :)

More to come as we dive into the holiday festivities. First up, Young Family Christmas this weekend! Easton is so excited. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Saga continues....

Well, our weekend didn't exactly go as planned. Up until Friday, Easton was doing great and was right back to his old self. Friday morning started out normal until Easton was refusing to nap. Well I had things I needed to get done, so mom and I decided to load Easton into the car and run some errands in hopes that he'd fall asleep in the carseat. That didn't go as planned. After just a 20 minute catnap, Easton woke and was not his normal self. We were in Costco and I knew my time was limited so I made it a quick trip, but it wasn't quick enough. We get back in the car and Easton is hysterical, so we head home. I am sitting in the backseat with Easton trying to feed him and he's refusing to eat anything. He's screaming, then falling asleep, waking and screaming, then falling asleep. The next thing I know, Easton starts throwing up - this was a first for him, and me for that matter, and it totally freaked me out! My mom pulled over and we took the puke-covered baby out of the car. As a new mom, and since this was new to us, I called Easton's pediatrician who suggested I contact the pediatic surgeon who did his surgery to let them know of his status. Little did I know they would tell us to come down...but they did, so we headed to Ann Arbor.
Four hours, an x-ray, ultrasound, and labwork later, they decided to admit him to monitor him since he is a renal patient and just had major surgery. The x-ray showed that he was very backed up, and labs showed signs of dehydration and infection. Thankfully the ultrasound and no fever crossed out infection but doctors were concerned about constipation and dehydration. So back up to 7 Mott we went. Poor Easton was so uncomfortable and you could tell he didn't feel good. Suppositories helped, but we weren't going home until everything was functioning on it's own. It was a long 2 days with an uncomfortable baby to say the least.  Doctors are certain it was a case of gastroenteritis and sent us on our way first thing Sunday morning.
So we're back home now and Easton is doing much better. I think he agrees with the motto "There's no place like home"!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gettin' Back in the Groove!

I'm in a blog funk. It's been a long week and I have so much on my mind that I don't even know where to start. I still can't believe everything that has happened. But given everything that we've been through, we got the best possible outcome.We returned home on Sunday after 5 days in the hospital with a cancer diagnosis and surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and Easton is recovering great. He is just as happy, playful and giggly as ever and a 6 inch incision on his belly doesn't even phase him! Pathology reports from the Wilms Tumor came back, and as doctors expected, the tumor was completely encased, did not spread and Easton will not need chemo. We are so incredibly relieved!! This past week has been quite a rollercoaster ride but the biggest ride is over and the lines should be much shorter from here on out. We have decided to enroll Easton in a clinical trial in which he'll be monitored closely for the next 3-5 years by oncologists at UofM. We are scheduled to meet with the oncologists next Tuesday to discuss details of the trail and get a better understanding of it.
Easton post-surgery

In the meantime, I took this week off work to focus on Easton, compose myself and get my life back in order. And while I'm sad that my time off is coming to an end, I'm relieved that it's because Easton is doing well and we are able to return to life as we once knew it - although I'm sure I'll be the most paranoid mother ever from here on out.

This incident has changed our lives in so many ways, it has strengthened so many relationships and opened our eyes to a whole new world of friendships. Every facebook and blog post resulted in comments and I am still shocked by the 152 facebook 'likes'  on my most recent status update that Easton will not need chemo. 152!!! I am BLOWN AWAY! Not to mention the cards, visits, meals and care packages from friends, family and neighbors. We are seriously surroundedby  an army of supporters and feel so fortunate to know we touch the lives of some many! So thank you to everyone who has reached out to us - one way or another! The power of prayer is amazing!
Who would ever think this little boy just had major surgery? 4 days post-op and he's back!

And check it out -- our friend Sophie joined us at the hospital and got us featured over at Hello Jack blog!