Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Comments at Costco

Lately I have been taking Christina out of her car seat when we go out and about on errands and appointments. She has started to get annoyed about being in her car seat but when we take her out she doesn't really sit-up well and she loathes the light. But she seems to prefer dealing with the light over being in her car seat, so I've been letting her out more and more. She has been doing surprisingly well! We tried for the first time at Costco the other day and she did wonderfully! No crying, just hanging out and cuddling up to Claire.

But while we were at Costco, I realized why else I like her covered up in her car seat---people talk to you less! Even when she was in her car seat in the stroller or shopping cart and Claire up front, people still ask questions and wonder if they are twins, etc. But I don't always have to go into detail about little Christina and her entire health history. I can usually skirt by with quick responses. But on this occasion both girls were clearly visible and we were visible targets! I was barely through the door when a woman left her cart in the middle of the aisle to come talk to me about my girls. “Oh no!” was my immediate thought. And this was the conversation:

Nosy Lady:
Are they twins?!

No they aren't; they are a year apart.

Are you sure? They look the same age.

I'm quite sure they are not twins.

I mean, really?! I birthed them! So we continued shopping and we had many sweet and far more normal comments and questions. I mean they are so cute! But as we left we had another comment that had my head reeling. When we reached the checkout line (with wayyyy more things in my cart than I had come in for! I only needed diapers and milk, but I spent over $150… Costco is way worse than Target! I never leave Costco without spending at least a hundred bucks!). 

So in the check lane, the woman packing my cart says:
What a sweet doll your daughter has!

That's my other daughter. I have two girls.

Check Out Lady:

But to the check out lady's credit, Christina is very still and little and doesn't sit-up normally. (But she is breathing!) She then asked if she was okay with a very concerned face. And then I had to go into how Christina was fine and actually quite happy! That she isn't a doll but a little handicapped girl with health problems and so on. I was in a pleasant and happy mood, so I was fine to chit-chat with random people about my little girls. 

But what about the days when you are in a grumpy mood but you still have to get milk and diapers? What do you do then!? Do you react snippy and short or do you go into lots of detail about their life and medical history and even include your own provocative history. (Because people shockingly ask!) Do you fake a smile and give a simple response? I try really hard to pleasant and upbeat, but sometimes you just want to be snarky to people! But I would prefer people ask questions rather than just stare or misunderstand the situation.

Isn't it so great when kids will watch television when you need them to! This was Claire in the zone at the doctors. I know TV isn't developmentally the best, but it can be such a help at times!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Christina's Heart & Ears

Recently Christina has developed a couple new problems. One of her issues is potentially serious and the other is a quality of life concern. The serious concern is that she has developed atrial fibrillation and tachycardia. Basically this is a rapid and irregular heart beat. She was born with heart defects (several holes), but she was asymptomatic until recently. The atrial fibrillation comes and goes. At times she will go days and weeks without an issue. And then like last week, for instance, she was going in and out of fibrillation for a couple days. When it happens she is completely miserable and even holding her doesn't seem to comfort her. Our concern is that this puts her at higher risk for heart attack or stroke. We are obviously concerned about this but only to an extent. It's just one of many issues she has.

Her other new problem is that she is developing hearing loss. Her hearing was tested at birth and it was fine. She now has high frequency hearing loss, which is speech and hearing consonant sounds. She will most likely be non-verbal due to her low IQ and now not being able to hear speech. She can still hear things, and luckily she was born to a very loud mother so she can hear me, her favorite person! She can also hear music and she seems to really respond to and delight in music. In church I am the pianist for the children's primary. And many Sundays I will take Christina with me and she will sit right up to the piano and just be in heaven! It makes me grateful my parents made me learn to play the piano!

And here are other just cute recent pictures of Miss Chris. She is so hard to photograph since she hides her cute face most of the time. So on the rare occasion she lets us see her face I try to snap a few!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Renovations to New Home - Lighting

We have finally figured out most of our lighting in the new house. It only took five months. At this rate James will have moved out and had a few kids by the time we've finished renovating!

We finally agreed on simple, modern pendant lights. Each of us liked more unique and more interesting pendant lights, but we didn't agree on any of them. But we both were okay with this option.

Brian let me choose the dining room chandeliers and please ignore the table, it is NOT staying. It is a spot filler. We had Brian's Christmas party at our house and we just needed a table for the occasion, so we turned to Craigslist. But it is far too traditional for our tastes. Decor posts will be after our renovations, so in like a decade or two!

In all the bedrooms and the office there were no lights in the ceiling, only a hot switch for a lamp. That's weird, right? So we had pocket lights installed and Brian installed fans in all the bedrooms.(Except the baby girls' room which has a pretty chandelier.) The girls' room is my favorite, sweet and girly!

All this lighting we had done seems a little ironic since we keep all our blinds shut and the lights are almost always off to keep the house dark for little Christina. But it stilled seemed normal to put lights in!

We did agree that we will agree and decide on floors this year. So I hope my next post will be on flooring. But I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christina Update: Bladder Stones

Our sweet little Christina had a bit of a medical whirlwind this summer and fall. Amid our moving, selling and remodeling, Christina had some excitement of her own! Back in August I posted about her being in the hospital with a kidney infection and a series of UTIs that we could not get rid of. She would get sick and then she would go on antibiotics and feel better and once the course had finished, the infection would be right back but worse. This went on for several months. And she was seemingly miserable, as you could imagine the poor little girl! So to further investigate the cause we tested her kidneys and had x-rays done. It turned out that one of her kidneys had reflux which often can cause infection. This is what her doctors suspected they would find. What they did not expect was what was in her bladder!

This x-ray was what they took when they were looking at her kidneys. On the very bottom is a rounded out triangle which is he bladder. The bladder is supposed to be empty most of the time unless you have to pee. But Christina's was FULL of stones. From what the doctors have told me, this is very uncommon in someone that doesn't eat anything orally and especially since her diet is only baby formula in a g-tube. Just a few days after discovering the stones, Christina had surgery to have them removed and she did wonderfully and was home within 24 hours!

For those that like medical stuff, these are the stones. All 27 of them! They were the size of corn kernels up to the size of marbles!

These stones likely carried lots of bacteria and we do not know what the stones are made of yet. They must be made of a mineral (or something) from her formula that her body does not metabolize. We knew her metabolic rate and functions had issues, since she isn't really growing (She's still under 20 pounds. Well, she's probably even lighter now that those stones are out!) The next goal is to figure out what the stones are and if we can prevent them from developing again. 

Since the stones have been removed she has been so much happier and seems to play and sit up more. We imagine she was in quite a bit of discomfort and pain from them. But she is a happy girl again! (She still hates the light, so she's happy if she's in the dark!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Renovations to New Home - Kitchen

Over the summer we bought a new house to better accommodate our family. We were sad to sell our first home, but we are happy to be in this next chapter. We love the bones of this house and the layout. But nearly every surface in the house we have already changed or plan to change in the near future. Much of the remodeling from the previous owners is frightening and must be fixed or taken out. Additionally the house was filthy from the previous owners and their pets. Before we even moved into the house the first things we did were to majorly clean the house, then we replaced the carpeting in all the bedrooms and then we gutted the kitchen to the drywall. After gutting and redoing the kitchen we moved in. But we still have lots of projects!

This was the kitchen when we bought the house. Though the kitchen appears to not be that bad in the photos, in person it was a very sketchy DIY project with very cheap materials.
Where possible we have tried to save money by doing what projects we can on our own. So Brian and my dad took on gutting the kitchen! It only took them a few hours!

I consider myself to be a very decisive person. I picked out my wedding dress after trying on two dresses and I decided I wanted to marry Brian after two weeks of dating him. (But I waited to propose until four weeks!) But I'll tell you, picking out kitchen features is way harder than picking a forever husband! We decided early on that we both liked a white cabinet kitchen so we went off of that. But there are so many choices to consider when doing a kitchen (materials, layout, style, size of island, type of appliances, flooring, lighting, hardware, water filtration system, pot filler or not (this was our biggest debate!), and on and on). And after agreeing on the white cabinets we didn't agree on anything else! We would "argue" looking over Pinterest boards and we went to the stone yard at least 10 times! These photos are mid-project (we hired this part out!)

And here is the almost done kitchen and the state it is in now. We still need to decide on pendant lights, flooring, paint and install (or rather have installed) the 200 pound hood vent. If you are curious about what we finally did decided on: white shaker cabinets, black granite on the outer counters and carrara marble on the island, marble back splash in herringbone pattern, and stainless steel pulls and appliances. 

Our next major project is the flooring throughout the house. All the bedrooms have carpet and the bathrooms have tile. We plan on doing some type of wood through the main floor of the house. It will happen as soon as we can decide! The picture shows the horrific floors as they are now. More to come on this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sweet "Baby" Christina

You know when you have those moments that just melt your heart? I am a person who never really had those moments until I had baby Christina. My friends and family "joke" that I am unemotional and that I need to try harder to muster some tears at certain occasions or at least pretend to! But I can say that sweet baby Christina has brought out a softer side of me that gets me embarrassingly emotional at times. What pulls at my heartstrings the most is when Christina and her daddy just cuddle and laugh and have an all out ball of a time!

These two pictures of her with Brian capture this perfectly. She just adores him and he adores her! And when I hear them just belly laughing together it makes me so happy. Not knowing what the future holds for my little Christina makes me worried at times but when I see moments like this, I know everything will be okay. And not in the sense that difficult things won't happen. Life is supposed to be difficult, but it is also supposed to be so happy and joyful. And Christina has shown me a large part of that spectrum from deep sadness to abundant joy. And just try to not smile when you see her sweet little face!

Lately, all we have been doing is gutting the new house that we bought and getting it ready for renovations. In the middle of this Christina ended up in the hospital with a kidney infection. I snapped this picture of her as she had finally turned the corner and was responding to antibiotics. She was a happy girl again! I emailed the photo to Brian as an update since he was at home with the other kids. His response surprised me because he said it was his all time favorite picture of her. I thought, "Really? She is covered in spittle and surrounded by a hospital crib!" He said it was his favorite because in this photo she reminded him of me. Specifically in that there is a twinkle in her eye and a smirk on her face as though she knows something really funny and is about to say something really sassy, just like her mother! 

I feel like if we could wipe away all of her physical challenges these three photos would still represent Christina. In this life she might be our forever sweet baby Christina, even at 30! But even with her baby demeanor and broken little body, her sweet spirit and fun personality shine through. I love that we can still see and get to know her.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Month of June in a Nutshell!

I've been the lamest at blogging, I know! I miss a few weeks and so much happens and then I don't know where to start. But that's how life goes sometimes. So this is what the Nelsons have been up to in a nutshell (And some pictures too, some even have Claire in them!):

We bought a new house and it's a bit of a fixer upper. (More to come on this!)

We have been getting our current house ready to sell.

James turned 5.

Brian turned 29.

Claire quit breastfeeding. (I forced her to nurse all of May and most of June but she finally got mean and impatient. And then I got mean and impatient and now she's on formula and bottles and everyone is happy again!)

Christina started to eat real food after being off food orally for well over a year. (This sudden change came from her watching Claire eat real food. I think she figured she could try that too! And she even eats like green beans and peas!)

And since starting to lose weight from back in March, I have lost a total of 8 pounds. The pounds have been slow going, but I'm still happy to have lost this much and I'm still pushing forward.)