Into the New Year

The miracle of Christmas may just be that we made it through December.  Between our big cardiology visit, Lily’s birthday, a giant ice storm that made our power go away, Christmas and New Years, I’m honestly just a little happy that we are into January and a fresh start at a fresh year.

Rocking her Stephanie Tanner style pigtails

Rocking her Stephanie Tanner style pigtails

Don’t take that last paragraph as complaining, because the truth is, I love December.  Everything about December and Christmas just make me happy and light hearted.  Each night, as I walked the dog around our neighbourhood, with more lights going up every single night and The Nutcracker Suite playing in my ear, I ended up coming home feeling happier and more joyous then when I had left.  I know that, “Christmas spirit”, sounds incredibly cliche, but I really do believe that it’s cliche for a reason – because you feel it, it’s true and all of the movies and television specials and commercials are trying to package it when you really can’t, it really does just dig a little hole inside of you.  At least it does for me.

Lily’s birthday was a great success.  As I had mentioned in a previous post, we are always overwhelmed with how generous our people are to Lily on her birthday and while we love all of the gifts she normally gets, we asked people this year to consider bringing a toy to donate instead.  In the end, I think we ended up with more gifts than if people had just been bringing something for Lily, and that’s why we are just so lucky with the people we know – they just go above and beyond every single time.   Sadly, Lily’s party this year seemed to coincide with the arrival of the great sickness of 2013 and our party numbers dwindled down to just a small handful by the day of.  And, as it always goes, this was the year that we had planned something thinking that the kids we know would all be old enough to really enjoy it.  We hired a company, Pawsitively Pets, to come in and run an animal birthday party show and with them they brought a small zoo’s worth of creatures to play with: we had a bunny, a ferret, a hedgehog, a corn snake, a tortoise, and Jess’s favourite – a sugar glider.  They actually bring about 10 animals and while you can request which ones you would like, what actually shows up that day is a surprise, which was nice.  It actually worked out very well in the end, as the circle slowly got bigger as the adults traded places with the kids and we all got to enjoy some hands-on play time.

IMG_0336

Getting some face time with a frilled dragon

IMG_0334

Lily is very into animals right now

sugarglider

We may have had to physically remove the sugar glider from Jess’s arm – they had a bond

crystalsnake

I’m holding a snake. I’ll never do this again, but I faced my fear and am super proud of this moment (less proud of the uncaptured moment when it moved and I screamed)

Lily's 3 birthday meant a 3rd amazing cake our friend Theresa - my personal favourite birthday tradition

Lily’s 3 birthday meant a 3rd amazing cake our friend Theresa – my personal favourite birthday tradition

It turns out that neither Jess or myself are great at being prepared for a natural disaster.  The night before the ice storm, we took a couple of small precautions: we plugged Lily’s pump in early in case the power went out, we made sure our phones were charged, I found the flashlight (not the batteries – just the flashlight!), but we didn’t look at how much food we had in the house that didn’t require an oven or microwave, if we had any cash on us incase we couldn’t use an ATM, if the flashlight had batteries.  So, when we woke up the next morning and realized that we may be in for more than just a few hours, we started to get a little worried.  Luckily, our lovely friends, the Randall’s, took pity on us and opened their doors, for the second year in a row (last year our furnace died on boxing day!), and welcomed us into their home! We had a great night with them, watching movies and just relaxing, before decided to start our Christmas holiday’s a couple of days early.  Jess’ dad lives outside of Toronto and still had power.  Since we had planning on going there anyways on Christmas eve, I called my boss and moved some vacation days around and we just made our way there instead.  It meant a little more running around, getting our last minute shopping done somewhere else, but it also meant having a baby-sitter for Lily while we did that running around so it worked out wonderfully.  It was also just nice to spend a couple of extra days up there, enjoying the quiet and getting spoiled by Jess’ dad who took extra good care of us.  I was more than a little sad to pack up on Boxing Day to head for home – even if we did have power to greet us!

IMG_0596

Hanging out with Hef. I’m so glad we caught this moment, because this ended up being Hef’s last Christmas with us.

And now we’re here, into the 2014, a year that will hopefully bring some changes to our family….at the very least, a finished basement to be ready for any family additions that would like to come our way.  While both Jess and I are ready to give ourselves over to Children’s Aid and ask them to build our family, this time of just the 3 of us is also incredibly wonderful and we try not to loose sight of that.  Lily has truly blossomed in the last few months – she’s interacting with us, and with her toys, in ways that we haven’t seen before and her baby noises are quickly becoming a thing of the past as she sits and has very in-depth conversations with her new Hug Me Elmo (thanks Grandpa!).  For the first time, when you put her next to her cousins, she looks like a little girl and not the youngest baby of the bunch.  We can only hope that 2014 just keeps rocking out the milestones the way that 2013 did!

So much beauty that caused so much devestation

So much beauty that caused so much devestation

Happy Heart, Happy Birthday

Cardiology came and went.  They sedated, they scanned, they saw, they pronounced her heart strong and her lung pressures stable.  They said to come back in a year.  It was music to our ears.

IMG_0198

There was a moment, one breath-holding, heart stopping moment.  While Lily was conked out from the sedation (which was rare in itself, normally she does not sedate well and wakes up part way through) and the ECHO was happening, the technician stopped and walked away to make a phone call.  The last, and only, time that`s happened, was the day they found the blood clot on her triscuspid valve and everyone went into panic mode.  Shortly after, the nurse came over and retook Lily`s blood pressure.   Suddenly it was as though everything was swirling in front of my eyes, but no one was saying anything.  The nurse was speaking to me no differently than she had been 10 minutes before when we were laughing at Lily`s snores.  The technician didn`t come back, but they did her EEG and then sent us on our merry way.  But that whole time, I was  on guard: what had they seen, what was Dr. Dipchand going to tell us when we finally made it into her office.

IMG_0193

And it turns out that she didn`t tell us anything, because there was nothing to tell.  My own PTSD-inflicted panic was exactly that – just my own brain playing tricks on me.  In fact, Dr. Dipchand started the appointment with, “So, I hear she`s fabulous.` Let me tell you, those are GREAT words to hear at the beginning of the scariest appointment of the year.  But she`s fabulous – the heart repair still looks amazing, and her lung pressures, which are our biggest concern, are wonderfully low.  Dr. Dipchand banished us from her office for a year, unless we start seeing symptoms that give us a reason to be concerned.

IMG_7486

And so now, we party! The nice thing about cardiology is that her December appointment always lines up nicely with Lily`s birthday party and gives us an extra reason to celebrate: not only is she 3 but she`s a healthy 3 year old!  That is certainly a cause for celebration in our eyes.  This year, we`ve been feeling especially thankful about Lily`s development in general: she`s eatting more, she`s finally starting to babble and talk, she`s actually finding things funny and laughing at them, and she`s stronger and making huge physical strides – 2013 was just a year of leaps and bounds for her and we`re so grateful for that gift.  So, to pay back some of the karmic goodness that has come our way, we thought we would use Lily`s birthday party to give back to Sick Kids.  We`ve asked each of her guests to bring an unwrapped toy for the Sick Kids toy drive.  It`s just a little gesture, but the memory of living at Sick Kids, of being isolated from your family and friends and living in your own little hospital room bubble will always feel fresh in our minds and the thought of any family having to do that over Christmas is hard to think about.  Somedays it`s hard enough to get downstairs to get something to eat, let alone getting enough time to go shopping for gifts.  And for families with more than one child – to have to balance it all….it`s overwhelming to even consider.  So, hopefully the toys that we`ll collect and drop off will make someone`s life just a little bit easier, so that they can actually focus on enjoying the time they have.  Because sadly, as we`ve seen this week with the passing of Little Joe Sargeant, sometimes you don`t get a lot of time and all of it needs to be in that room.

If you had followed Joe`s story at all, then this plea will be familiar, but if not, then please take a minute….

Joe was born with a heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which is essentially half a heart.  For months he fought while waiting on the transplant list, hoping that a new heart would come in for him.  Sadly, at 6 months old, he decided that it was time to rest and he passed away early yesterday morning.  Throughout his fight, his family have been pushing the awareness for organ donation, in hopes that, even if a heart couldn`t be found for Joe, that other families would see thier loved ones saved.

Obviously, this story hit us very close to home, as there may come a time in Lily`s life where she will be the person on that list, so we`re asking you to take a little time and consider registering to become an organ donor.  Becoming a donor is so easy – all you need is your health card and 5 minutes.  This one decision, could help to save the lives of up to 8 people.  I think that`s a much better way to spend 5 minutes then, I don`t know…reading a blog entry 🙂  Think of it as a birthday gift to Lily!  And you can do it right now (seriously, right now) by just clicking on this link…..

Be A Donor – Do it for Lily!

IMG_7635

A Great December

Guys, it’s a good thing that it’s almost the new year, because I totally need to make a resolution that I’m going to update you all a lot more often.  Lately I’ve just been so busy that by the time I can sit down and write a post so many things have happened and I’m scared I’m going to forget something.

jessandlily

First – it was my birthday and now I’m 2! That meant it was totally time to party.  The mom’s planned a fun afternoon for me and my friends – there was a slide and a ball pit, cars to drive, lots of food and then cake! Can I tell you that I’m seriously digging cake.  My Theresa made the most delicious cake ever (because that’s what she does) and it was so good that I actually tried to eat the plate!

lilycake

I got to see so many cool people – my birthday twin and my BFF (Daniele & Shanelle) came, even though they’re so much older and they brought their friends Sarah and Cameron, who were so much fun, and they even let Rachel and Tammy come along too.  I got to spend a lot of time with my friend Caleigh too, who is the same age as me but knows how to run and walk.  Even still, she slows down so that we can play together – she’s awesome! Mostly, it was just the best birthday ever! I can’t wait until next year.

caleighandlily

It was more than just my birthday party that was super cool, it was also my birthday present from the mom’s…they bought me a puppy! It’s a boy puppy and he’s black and fluffy and the mom’s say he’s going to be really big (which is better for me because then he’s kind of like a pony!).  There was some debate about his name because Mama C was telling Mommy not to be ridiculous, but I think that in the end Mommy won because we’re all calling him Sprinkles now.  Mama C looks a little embarrassed when she has to call him when we’re out for walks but Mommy just laughs and laughs so I think it’s okay.  Sprinkles and I haven’t spent too much time together yet, because he’s a little bouncy and bite-y still (the mom’s say that’s because he’s teething like I am), but sometimes he just sits nicely and lets me pet him (and by pet him I actually mean pull on his fur or try and stick my fingers up his nose).  The cat doesn’t really like him, but she’s outnumbered so too bad for her!

sprinkles

I had my latest check-up with my cardiologist at Sick Kids last week.  I had to be sedated so that they could do an ECHO and look and see how my heart is doing.  The mom’s were super happy because even while I was on the medication that makes me sleepy, my oxygen sats stayed as high as 96%, which is pretty incredible.  And it turns out that it’s because I am incredible! Dr. Dipchand says that my hearts looks amazing! She confirmed that there is no blood flow at all coming from my left lung, but I’m handling it really well and there are no signs that my pulmonary pressures are high.  All of this means that I don’t have to go back and see Dr. Dipchand for ONE WHOLE YEAR! She and the mom’s talked some more about some down the road, long term stuff, but for now, unless I start showing signs that something is going funny, then she said there is no point in coming in to take another picture to show us the same thing.   It may have been the best birthday/christmas gift ever!!

crystalandlily

Speaking of Christmas – I just wanted to tell you all that I hope you have a very very very merry time with all of your family or friends or friends who are family.  I know that I’m very very lucky to have incredible people in my life who make the holiday’s so happy and amazing and I just hope that you do too! Plus, I met this Santa guy and he seems to know what’s going on….so maybe talk to him too and he’ll sort you out…

lilyandsanta

Come closer, I have a secret….

I wasn’t always this big you know? I started out pretty tiny – 1.78kg to be exact (that’s 3.9 pounds).  But over the last year, I have grown bigger and stronger with every day and every week and every month.  And now, today is my first birthday and even though there were some sad times and scary times, I think that my life is pretty amazing and I’m happy to be sharing my first birthday with all of you.

 

Kind of a Big Deal

For the last few days there has been a flurry of excitement going on at our house.  I didn’t quite understand what was going on: we were shopping a lot, the mom’s were cleaning a lot, and then yesterday Mommy was going to town making all of these donuts.  Then today, I had to get up a little early, have a bath and put on a (really pretty) new dress.  Mama C took extra time to do my pigtails just right and even though I wasn’t feeling great, I let her do it.  Mommy was no where to be seen but then Grandpa appeared and we got to go for a drive in his car (not the lexus though, so I’m still a little disapointed!).  We got to this little community centre and Mama C and I found Mommy, with Grandma and Telly and Theresa all working hard in the kitchen.  Then I turned around and saw Gramma and my great Aunts Martina and Bev and my cousin’s Connie and Alex! I really didn’t understand what was going on.

Before I knew it, the whole room was filled with all of the people that I love the most! Auntie CC, Thor & Uncle Rico, Uncle Jeff and Auntie Marina, Natalie, Joey and Jason, Jacquie (who I hadn’t seen in so long and missed!).  It was just crazy! Everywhere I looked there was someone that I really wanted to go and see and get caught up with.  But the problem was, I was also feeling a little bit sick (my nose has been a bit stuffy and today I started coughing and I think I had a bit of a fever). And when I get sick I do get a little bit cranky, so even though I really wanted to make my way around the room and say hello to everyone, I was also very happy when just one person would hold me and I got to fall asleep.

But after I woke up (and had a bit of a bottle), the mom’s stood with me beside this beautiful blue and white cake and everyone gathered around, camera’s in hand, and started to sing.  For a minute I really didn’t get it (even though I liked the singing very much) but then I realized that they were singing Happy Birthday….to me!!! This was my birthday party! I was so sick and unhappy that I didn’t even notice, until everyone sang and then I got to eat a cupcake! Well, I got to eat the icing off of the cupcake, but everyone knows that’s the best part anyway.

I just couldn’t stop myself from going back for more and more icing.  Apparently it was okay though, because everyone laughed and thought I was pretty cute (they’re learning these people!).   And I really was happy because everyone seemed to have a good time and once I was able to take it all in, I realized just how lucky of a girl I am that all of these people love me so much that they wanted to come and be a part of my very first birthday!  And don’t even get me started on all of the wonderful, kind and thoughtful gifts that people brought.  I might just be the luckiest girl in the world!