Saturday, October 3, 2015

Go Greased Lightning

I get whims.  Lots of them.  I'd say about 80% of said whims go in the brain on one side and then make their exits at super speeds out the other side.  Just so that I don't actually act on any of them.  Which is probably a good thing.  If I acted on all of them all the time I'd most likely bankrupt my family.  I might be locked up in a looney bin.  Who knows.  So it's a definitely a good thing I forget them.  A few do just happen to stick with me though.

Last year, and I really have no idea why, I had this thought to dress my kids up in Grease attire.  I wanted my boys to wear T-Birds jackets and for my daughter to be a Pink Lady.  I just thought it would be cute.  And fun.  And totally friggin' awesome!  For me of course, not for them.  They'll resent me.. or loathe me forever.  Care, I do not however, because I've always loved the movie and I just wanted to do it!

So I Googled something along the lines of "grease costumes for kids".  Up popped a shop that happened to make some things for kids and everything was so cute!  I was so on board with this idea that my brain was moving a million miles a minute trying to figure out how I wanted to do it.  Visions of Sandy, Danny, Kenickie, Sonny and Doody dancing at a carnival singing "We Go Together" danced through my head.  Hand jiving was haunting my dreams.  Okay, so that's totally not true, but you get the point.  Unfortunately, some things came up and we weren't able to make the purchases necessary.  I'm not gonna lie... I was pretty sad.  After some serious therapy (totally kidding... well maybe partially kidding... is ice cream and beer therapy??)... I was finally able to move on.  The idea lived on in my head though.

Fast forward to this year, September.  We had gotten a magazine in the mail loaded with Halloween costumes.  I decided to page through it to get ideas for the kids.  At a turn of the page, I saw it.  In all it's Summer Nightin' & Greased Lightning glory.  The costumes.  There were T-Birds and Pink Ladies a plenty.  I couldn't just let it go this time!  It was fate!  Those costumes were going to be mine.. oh yes.. they were.  My brain had been doing a happy dance every day in anticipation of the arrival of these costumes.  They finally got here on Thursday.  It took a lot to wait until today... a Saturday... to bust them open and get them on the kids.

I'll tell you.  IT WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT!  I love these photos.  I will cherish them forever and ever and ever.  I will make the boys' girlfriends use these photos at their weddings.  There is a canvas in my future.. I'm sure of it!

So, with out further ado...

I'm Hopelessly Devoted to these pictures!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Fight

I took my daughter to Children's Hospital today for a follow up appointment with GI.  She hasn't been to a GI clinic since October of last year, but we had gotten the great news that if her weight gain was good and she wasn't using her g-tube that at her next appointment we'd be able to take it out.  Something we were really hoping for.

I got Mallory all ready to go.  I packed her go bag a little lighter.  I scooped her up and put her in the car and we made our hour long trip up to Milwaukee.  When we got there, I decided I wasn't going to use the stroller.  I took her out of her car seat, grabbed the back pack I've substituted for her regular go bag and my purse and we headed inside to the clinics building.

We arrived on time, but GI must have been the place to be today because it was packed.  Every seat was taken.  While we waited, Mallory scooted around the waiting room and looked at the fish in the fish tank.  About twenty minutes later we were called back.

We met with a nurse who got Mallory's weight and height (which she stood for this time!) and blood pressure.  Then we were escorted to a room and met with the dietician who asked about her daily food intake.  I felt so proud to talk about how Mallory doesn't use her g-tube anymore.  That she drinks out of sippy cup.  That she can eat with a fork and spoon.  That she loves to eat.  Her weight gain has been excellent.  She weighed in at 28 lbs today.

When her GI doctor came in, it was exactly how I pictured it.  She was so happy to see Mallory.  She put her hand to her mouth and said "Oh my gosh! You look exactly the same but she looks so grown up!"  She couldn't believe how big she had gotten and how different she looked.  She was taken in by her personality.  She complimented Mal's beautiful, long hair.  She was so excited to see how great she is doing.

That's the thing with this journey.  Even though you don't see these people often, they become family to you.  They remember you.  They remember your child.  They are happy with their successes and sad for their set backs.  It always fills my heart up to see how much my little girl draws people in.

We discussed her eating habits a little more and went over all of the normals.  Does she choke or gag when she eats?  How often does she do the #2?  The fun stuff.  At the end of it though, it was decided the g-tube would come out.  I was so excited.  One more apparatus on my baby girl could finally go the way of the dinosaurs.  I know Mallory doesn't know or understand, but this was such a milestone day.

After the doctor took the g-tube out and gave me care instructions we discussed how well Mallory was doing again.  She told me that she remembered me from back in the ICU.  She remembered me arguing with her because I knew what I wanted for Mallory.  I didn't want her on a continuous overnight pump feed.  I wanted to push her to eat on her own.  I knew that she could and would do it. The doctor told me that Mallory was doing so well because we know her and we expect things from her.  We don't let her get away with taking the easy way out of things.  I've always wanted to push her just a little bit, with in reasonable means, to fight.  I want her to fight to be healthy.  I want her to fight to eat on her own.  I want her to fight to breath with out that trach.

But I expect this of all of my children.  I want them all to be fighters.  I want them all to push themselves and in times that they can't, I will give them that push they need.  That's my job.  To not let them just rest on what's easy.  To be the influence that directs them to be fighters and always do the very best for themselves.

I felt so good when the doctor told me this today.  I often think back at that time in the ICU and just how many other doctor's I may have pissed off.  I think back at the time I lost complete control, when we though Mallory was supposed to come home to us and she started having episodes again, and was trying to talk to a resident.  I had all of this stuff stirring inside.  I was mad and upset at the same time.  And I kind of shouted at her, "Oh my God, I can't do this".  It was probably the dumbest I've ever felt.  I felt half crazy and half like I sounded like some kind of idiot.  But when Mallory's GI doctor told me today that she remembered me as being the person that was fighting for my baby girl, I actually felt this weight lift off.  No matter how dumb I thought I may have sounded, no matter how stubborn I was being, or how defiant I may have been... it wasn't taken in that way.  I was that mom who was fighting for her baby.  I was that mom that wanted her baby to fight.  I was that mom that even though my baby was so different than her big brothers still had expectations of greatness from her.

I am proud of myself for this.  I am proud that I've been able to help Mallory be the fighter she is.  I hope anyone out there that has gone through the same things or is going through it now will not be scared to speak up.  To fight.  The nurses say it all the time but you do know your baby best and if you don't say it, no one will.

To date, Mallory has been through six surgeries, numerous procedures and countless doctor's appointments.  We were told a few months ago that she shouldn't need another cranial surgery for a year or two.  Her g-tube is now officially out.  She is now tolerating her passy muir valve so we are inching closer to getting that trach out.  It's because we've always given her that little push.  We've always trusted her with her own instincts too.  She knows she can be successful.  We let her weed things out for a bit and we show her around but then she pushes herself through.

Today was a proud Mommy moment for me.  And I will go to sleep tonight with a smile on my face.  Before parting today, her GI doctor told me to send her a picture when Mallory gets decannulated.  Of course I will do that.  The day Mallory gets decannulated.... I don't think there will be  soul that knows me that won't see a picture.  She is one amazing little girl and we as a family are so proud of the fighter she is and to share her with the world.

Monday, May 4, 2015

It Does Matter

I think at one time or another all parents think about how their kids will be when they start going to school.  How they will be treated by other kids and how they will treat other kids.  I know that I work very hard to help my children understand that all people are different.  They come in different colors, sizes, shapes, ethnicities, abilities and so on.  I try to tell them that they need to let everyone in their hearts.  Even those that aren't kind to others because you never know what that child might be dealing with at home.

The truth is though, not every parent spends as much time having open dialogue with their kids about these things.  Maybe it's not intentional or in some cases maybe it just doesn't matter enough but either way, this needs to change.  We need to create a world in which every single human can travel their lives not worried about what someone might say about what they are wearing, how they styled their hair, how their face looks, what they weigh, whether they're social or not, athletic or not, or a college graduate or not.  Most definitely, no one should worry about being bullied over those things.  These things simply just don't matter when it comes to how we treat others.

We all come from different walks of life.  Our children need to understand that.  Our children need to spend time sharing the message of kindness with others.  No more bullying, no more singling people out, no more sitting behind a computer and saying mean things to others.  It's a breath of fresh air to just let kindness inside of you.  It makes you feel free.  It makes you feel like you are making a difference.  Teaching our kids this does make a difference... it does matter.

Why am I writing this?  On top of worrying about my older children and teaching them about kindness and love of others, I have two special needs children.  Two children that may potentially face bullying in a way my other kids most likely won't.  On Saturday evening, I shared a photo of my daughter, Mallory, on her Facebook page (Mallory's Way).  For those that don't know, Mallory was born with a rare disorder called Pfeiffer Syndrome.  This cases the premature fusion of the skull as well as the fingers and toes.  It also causes the mid face to be sunken in leading to potential breathing struggles, which is why she has a tracheostomy.  This was the photo:

This photo was taken at an event hosted by Peach's Neet Feet.  Peach's Neet Feet is an organization, headed up by Madison "Peach" Steiner-Akins, that strives to spread the message of kindness through it's hand painted shoes for children with special needs and life threatening illnesses.  As you can see from the photo, Mallory was in the photo on the banner she's sitting in front of.

Typically I get very kind and sweet comments on Mallory's photos.  On Sunday morning, I saw a notification on her page and clicked to go look at it.  It was a comment.  It said, "she is ugly".  Nothing more, no punctuation.  Nothing.  How could someone say such a thing?  I mean, even if someone thought it, why take the time to write it?  Hide it from your newsfeed and move on if my daughter is really that offensive to you.  I deleted the comment and banned the user.  I didn't want anyone to see it and I didn't want there to be drama on Mallory's page towards that user.

I later found out that this comment was posted by a 13 year old girl.  Wow.  I tell you, if I found out that one of my kids posted a comment like that on anyone's page... I don't care if they have a disability or not, they would no longer have a computer.  Instead, they'd be writing about why they felt the need to act in such an ignorant and disrespectful way.  Then, they'd be apologizing.  They'd not have use of a computer or electronic device again until they proved they were mature enough to treat people with respect.  But I know I'd never have to worry about my kids doing something like this... because they know.  They get it.  I've been teaching it to them since they were young.  Kindness has always been an important message to me, not just since Mallory came along.

So, I'm asking... please... parents... teach your kids about kindness?  Sit down and talk about what it means to them.  Talk about what they do when they come across a child with special needs and explain that they should treat these children just like any other child... because that's what they want, to be treated like the other kids.  I want my daughter to be treated like the other kids.  They don't deserve to be singled out, bullied or teased because of something they cannot control.  God put them here the same as you and me and we are all special.  We all have something to offer the world.  Teach your kids that.  It matters.  It matters to other children.  It matters to parents like me that want to cry and protect my baby when someone acts so terribly.  Mostly, it makes me sad for kids like that 13 year old, who apparently haven't been taught better or have so much hardship in their lives that they have to take it out on a photo of a beautiful little baby.  Give your kids the tools to handle the difficulties they face so that they can take part in spreading kindness.

Let's join forces, folks.  Let's spread kindness wherever we go.  There cannot be room for fear or hatred.  Every beautiful child, like Mallory, deserves to live a full and happy life... filled with nothing but kindness and love!

P.S.  I don't know who could call that beautiful little face ugly!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Q-Raptor is Four!

'Q-Raptor' is what his brothers call Quentin.  He's a loud, rambunctious, charismatic force to be reckoned with.  All in the most positive ways possible, of course!

A little over a year ago he was barely talking.  He couldn't control or understand much of his emotions.  He was easily frustrated.  I was frustrated and wanted to fight putting him in school so soon after getting his hearing aids.  I thought he just needed more time at home with his family... learning and experiencing.  What I've learned is that it takes a village sometimes and between home and school, Quentin is a completely different kid than he was on his third birthday.

He is communicating so well now.  It's not all easily understood but he tries very hard and he is far less frustrated about how to tell us things.  He can tell me he's ready for his Cheerios in the morning.  He can tell me that he wants to watch Paw Patrol on TV.  He yells at his brothers to get off of his bed.  He can walk up to me, arms crossed and ask, "what do you think you are doing?".  He even tells me when his hearing aid batteries have died.  That's really just the very tip of the iceberg.  His speech progress makes me so proud!  On top of it, he's learning many signs to go along with it all.  It always amazes me when he shows me a new sign.  He's teaching me new things all of the time!

Today is his fourth birthday.  Four years we've been blessed to have this little man in our lives.  Four years he's kept us on our toes.  Four years he's shared that infectious laugh and smile with us.  I can't even imagine what he's going to be like another year from now on his fifth birthday!  I know he'll continue to amaze and shock me all the same!  Just as long as he does it with that smile!

It was a pretty busy day today.  I did an early grocery run to make sure I had the ingredients to make Quentin's birthday cookies.  I also wanted to get some Easter egg dyes.  (Of course I decided to just get all of my grocery shopping done for the next week too since I don't really want to be caught dead near a Walmart for the rest of the weekend!)  Once I got back I started baking.  Quentin came to check in on me a lot.  He told me the cookie dough batter was gross, but then I showed him the cookies baking in the oven and he got more excited.  I even put his M's in there for him!

After that, we colored Easter eggs.  Quentin had fun picking all of his colors and painting on all of his eggs.  We did have an egg mishap... he dropped one on the floor. That's the beauty of hard boiled eggs though, I just picked it up, peeled it and ate it!  I gave him a stand by egg to replace it.  Of course, then he wanted to eat one too!

I think we got a beautiful array of colorful eggs!  The boys did awesome!

Next up was dinner.  Quentin doesn't quite understand the "pick your birthday meal" thing we do for all of the kids, so Frank and I had to make the decision ourselves.  It really wasn't that hard though.  Quentin will eat macaroni and cheese until the cows come home.  And apple sauce.  And then more macaroni and cheese... and more apple sauce.  You get the idea.  So that's what we prepared him this evening.  Macaroni & Cheese by the wonderful Kraft and some apple sauce.  I was surprised that he also chose to have some salad with ranch dressing too.  He isn't usually a big lettuce kid.  I guess he gained some wisdom with this birthday... he's going to eat those greens!

We took a short break after dinner to set up Quentin's present treasure hunt.  I swear, this has made birthdays so fun!  We get to hide their presents and they go on the mad search to find each one!  We didn't make Quentin's too hard but his excitement for this was off the charts.  Every time he found one he'd shout out, "I found it!!".  He got some really cool stuff too!  During Christmas he received some Paw Patrol figures with their cars (Chase, Rubble, Marshall & Ryder).  Today he got Skye, Zuma and Rocky as well as the Lookout Tower!  He also got a REALLY awesome Lego Pirate Ship, his first Bionicle and two books, "This is Not My Hat" and "I Want My Hat Back".

He had some time to play and my Lord, he wouldn't let anyone touch any of his new toys! The Lookout Tower was OFF LIMITS!!  Who can blame him though?  That's some cool stuff!

It took a lot of convincing, but we were finally able to tear him away long enough to do his birthday dessert.  The chocolate chip M&M cookies I made him and vanilla ice cream were on the menu.

Frank lit the candle and we all started to sing.  Quentin sang too.  For himself.  When Frank put the bowl in front of him, he blew the candle out before we were even done singing!  Then he clapped for himself!  I just love his joy and spirit.  He gets so excited and so into everything he does!  I'm just glad I was able to snap a photo fast enough! It's the only one I got!

Quentin ate all of his ice cream but decided he didn't want his cookie.  Insert sad Mommy moment here... haha.  It's okay!  I'm just glad he enjoyed his day!  He topped it off with Lego building with Daddy.  He was so excited and every time I walked into the room to check their progress, Quentin was hugging Daddy or patting his head.

Once the pirate ship was finished I asked Quentin to smile for a photo.  Instead, he gave me his best pirate face!

Happy, happy, happy fourth birthday to my Quentin!  My handsome, funny, sweet, cuddly, creative and excited little man!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Admitting Defeat

You know, I try really hard to do as many right things on the Mom checklist as I can.  I'm trying to raise independent kids, kids who know that things won't get handed to them and that they have to work a little for the positive results.  I try to stomp that sense of entitlement as quickly as I see it rearing it's ugly little punch it in the face head.

However, I know I have high expectations.  I don't really think this is a problem on most days.  I mean, I'd love a crew of straight A students.  I'd love the most compassionate and understanding kids around.  I'd love for my kids to always make the best decisions possible in every situation.  I do think it potentially becomes a problem when I expect my kids to be me.

That's just setting them up for failure.  I should just stamp them with the "F" stamp the second they come in the door for as good as it all does.  My kids are definitely not failures.  Not by a really, really, really long shot.  Like so long that it's crossed a few galaxies and landed on another planet.

So what's my problem?  The dish job.  I have four children out of six that participate in this venture.  My oldest son is about to be seventeen.  He's probably been doing dishes for the better part of maybe eight years now. My next older is eleven.  He's been on K.P. (Kitchen Patrol) for maybe two or so... I guess we were more lenient with these ones.  My ten year old has been active on K.P. for about a year.  Then, my nine year old empties the dishwasher every morning (sometimes).

It's no easy task.  There are eight people in my house.  That equates to a friggin' lot of dishes.  No joke.  We have a pretty good weekly to nightly routine for the dishes.  My oldest does the dishes three times a week and the other two get two nights each.  We alternate the clearing of the table with the kids that don't have to do the dishes minus the kid that has his shower night that night.  Normally that leaves two table clearers.

The dish job in itself involves loading the dishwasher.  I very heavily EMPHASIZE the wiping of all the dishes before they go in... after all... a dishwasher is no magician. Contrary to my childrens' belief systems, the dishwasher does not cook, create and distribute food onto all of the dishes once it goes in.  They do try really hard to convince me though.

They also need to wipe down the kitchen counters, the sink and the stove, wash the table, chairs and bench, clean Mallory's high chair, sweep the floors and take out the garbage.  It's an involved process.

Despite my wonderful weekly routine and system for getting this job done nightly, I find myself frustrated over it every morning.  The counters aren't clean.  The sink stinks because there's still food in it.  Dirty dishes came out of the dishwasher.  I stepped in something sticky on the floor.  It really is never quite right.  Then I spend half my morning re-cleaning all of it.

The annoyance builds and builds and builds until I tell the boys, "I'm just going to do it myself!".  They don't like that.  They then try to make up for it.  After I've made them their home cooked lovely meal, they ALL clear the table and tell me how much they're going to help me anyway.  I just want to shout at them, "If you want to help, just do the job the way I want it done!!".

Here's the dilemma I'm in now though.  I did the dish job last night.  All of it.  It was fantastic waking up to a nice, clean kitchen this morning.  When dinner time rolled around tonight, I was not on board with doing the dishes.  Not one bit.  I'm exhausted.  If my husband hadn't been traveling for work I know he would have done the loading of the dishwasher but he's not here.  I'm sure he would have been too exhausted to though.  So, it's just me.  To do the whole thing. Alone.  Again.

I feel like a three year old.  "I DON'T WANNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I do so much during the day already.  I don't want to end my night with more cleaning.  WTF is wrong with me?  I'd surely rather them do a crappy dish job than for me to do the whole thing.  I'd rather clean up the next morning after their crappy dish job than for me to get stuck with the whole thing tonight.  What have I done?  Am I completely stupid?

No.  No.  This is over.  Tomorrow.  Over.

They go back to the routine.  They are not me.  They can do them when they do the dishes at night and I'll do me when I fix it all in the morning.  I got this.

But tonight... this is what faces me...............

I think I'll drink tonight and clean tomorrow.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A New Milestone : The Big 1-0!!

My third born son turned ten years old almost two weeks ago.  Seriously.. I can't even....

This kid is so many things.  He's funny.  He's sarcastic.  He's musical.  He's emotional.  He's kind.  He's smart.  It's a really long list.  He's a special kid.

It's been ten years since his awesome arrival into the world at 2:21am on February 21st.  He's going to have a hell of a golden birthday.  I don't even want to know about it.  He loves his birthday though.  He loves the story and he loves that the time and date are the same.  Although he doesn't much like being the center of attention, he really enjoys that little detail about himself.

This year I made a last minute decision to surprise him on his birthday.  I actually did a couple of things.  The first thing I did was I made a giant sign for him to see when he woke up in the morning.

The other thing was something more fun and unexpected.  When he got up I told him we were going rollerskating and that Jeremiah and Nicholas were going to come too.  He was really excited!

There's a skating rink pretty close by that was having an open skate.  They opened at 11am.  My husband was going to stay behind with the two younger kids and I took Andrew, Jeremiah and Nicholas to go skating.  It was seriously an awesome time.  (I had intended on bringing my photography camera with me to take some nice photos... I even packed the bag... but then I forgot it on the kitchen table.  So I have iPhone photos.  Boo.)  We shook it off with Taylor... hung tough with the New Kids and acted like animals with Maroon 5.

I don't think I've been rollerskating since I was maybe in grade school.  It was amazing and a little intimidating to see some pint sized kids on rollerskates literally skating circles around me.  Like they've been doing it since birth.  Even Andrew and Jeremiah were pretty good on skates!

Nicholas needed a little help.  This was his first time skating.  Apparently they make these walkers for young skaters... which I'm not sure help all that much... but I got one for Nick to feel more comfortable.  He spent a lot of time tripping over the thing but it seemed to help give him confidence and by the time we left, he was all excited and amped to go again soon!

Andrew had a good time though.  Skating with his brothers, eating cotton candy and we even got the DJ to announce his birthday and play one of his favorite songs!

It was secretly a good time for me too.  I really enjoy when I get to go back in time a little and do something I haven't done in forever!  Well, because according to my kids, I used to ride around on dinosaurs.  But Momma can do some skating! :)

For his birthday dinner, Andrew requested some barbecue ribs, cinnamon applesauce and macaroni & cheese.

After dinner, he got to do his present treasure hunt.  He asked for some Megabloks Halo toys and a Terminator Action Figure.  I love my nerdy kids!  ;)

For his dessert, he requested Nerds Blizzards.  YUM!!  These kids definitely have some of their momma in them!

It was a really fun day.  He kept talking about the rollerskating and was just so happy about everything!  This kid... he's growing into such a cool little man.  He's handsome and so so funny.  It's scary to think that in ten more years he'll be out of high school and embarking on the world!  It goes too dang fast!!!

My Letter to Kraft

Dear Kraft,

Hi there.  My name is Cathy and I feed my children your Macaroni & Cheese.  Not all the time but every so often.  Like when I forget to defrost chicken to cook them a real meal.  Not that I don't think Macaroni & Cheese is delicious, it is, but let's face it... it's nutritional value is quite lacking.  It's drunken snack value is high up there... but that doesn't... help my children... never mind.  Anyway, I feel like I'm failing them when I have to change the dinner plan, but they think I'm a Goddess because they are getting this special treat.  I suppose that helps make the failure all worth it.

That said, I was wondering... can you please stop putting that little perforated thumb tab on the sides of the boxes?  Pretty please?  You know... that thing I think we (the consumer) are supposed to use to open up the box in one swift motion?  I  mean, I get why it's there.  Someone, somewhere... some super human being must have been able to accomplish opening it in the way in which it was designed... and I'd love to meet this super human... but I just can't do it.  I end up mangling the whole box and breaking finger nails.  I accomplish all of that with out ever even denting the little thumb tab.  Amazing isn't it?

I believe that it's truly unfair that I should feel like such a moron because of that little thumb tab.  I guess the fact that it has been on your boxes for so long must mean that I really am the only idiot who can't do it.  It taunts me, like "use me, use me" and then I try... and become a failure in the process.  Since I have already failed to supply my little hungry monsters with a properly cooked meal and am resorting to Macaroni & Cheese, I really don't care to feel like any bigger of a failure because of a box.  After all, motherhood is hard enough.

So, now that you've heard my concerns, my recommendation is a box redesign.  Something more simple for moms like me that need a quick dinner fix when they screw up.  (Or that late night drunken snack after the kids go to bed... either one.)  Suggestions?  Maybe a zipper?  A combination lock?  A touchscreen with a password?  Anything but that friggin' useless perforated thumb tab.

Thank you so much, Kraft, for hearing my concerns.

Have a lovely day,

Miss Tired of Opening Your Damn Box

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One Year Later

A year ago today we took our daughter to Children's Hospital and handed her over to a surgeon.  A surgeon who would cut her open and make it possible for her brain to have more room to grow.  It was probably one of the most stressful days I've ever been through, but I'm also so very grateful.  If not for this surgery and for the operations on her hands, she would not be where she is today.  It's so amazingly incredible and she is so amazingly incredible.

I remember how I felt that day.  (I blogged about that day on the post 'Mallory's Surgery' if anyone is interested in going back in time!)  I remember how scared I felt.  You do everything you can to distract yourself from thinking about your child laying on an operating table, cut open, but there is no distraction large enough.

Seeing her afterwards gave me a sense of relief but also came with some fear of the unknown.  Would the distractors be successful?  Would she really be able to grow new bone?  Would she make it through this whole process mostly unscathed?  But she did.  She grew new bone.  She kept smiling and just rocked the whole distractor thing like it was nothing.  That's my Mallory.

A year ago feels so far away.  Mallory has done so much and experienced so much since that day.  She's been on her first swing.  She's seen her first Renaissance Faire.  She's experienced the fun of the zoo with her big brothers.  She's battled some illness and hospital stays due to fun little things like RSV and hMPV, but made it through like the rock star she is.  She celebrated her first birthday, sat on her first beach and visited the Minocqua cabin.  She has had the opportunity to become acquainted with her new hands.  It took three surgeries but she's got ten fingers and they are all amazing!  She's butt scooting around the house and wearing her hair in little pony tails. She's eating sandwiches and drinking out of sippy cups.  She's curious and funny.  She's happy and demanding.  She's the best snuggler around!  This is a day our community likes to call a 'Cranioversary'.  It really is a fitting title.  This one big event has laid the path for everything up to today and for her future.

I'm so proud of her and grateful to everyone who follows her story.  I truly hope she can show people that we are all different and real beauty shines from the insides to the outsides of people.  Beauty is strength.  Beauty is determination.  Beauty is kindness.  Mallory is beautiful, she is strong, she is determined and she is kind.

So, although that day was so so hard, it is a wonderful memory of a day that has allowed her to blossom into the beautiful little girl that she is becoming.  And man oh man is she beautiful!!!