Tag Archives: Tyler

The Difference a Year Makes

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It’s a hot, miserable day to kick off the Illini football season here today, and I can’t be happier.  That’s because it’s the complete opposite of last year when Hurricane Isaac came through and busted our drought.  More importantly it’s a very different weekend in our lives.  It was possibly the worst in either Eric’s and my lives.  Tyler had intussusception and subsequent surgery to fix it.

It all started the Friday before Labor Day.  Tyler was very sick with what we thought was a nasty cold.  He was sleeping constantly and very miserable.  Sometime that evening we decided it was time to take him to the doctor.  He was lethargic, listless and not like himself at all.  When we got to convenient care, he threw up in the lobby.  If you want to get in quickly to see a doctor, that’s the way to do it.  We didn’t even have time to fill out the forms.  The doctor told us it was a virus and an ear infection and sent us home.  We thought that didn’t sound too bad, until we got him home and one of us was up with him all night.  He just kept throwing up.  It was a long exhausting night and the poor guy just kept getting worse and worse.

Once the morning came, we were back in contact with the hospital. This time talking to a nurse on the patient advisory line.  Even though he’d been throwing up all night they told us that we couldn’t bring him in until it had been 6 hours with nothing going in him.  So we sat around the house all day on Saturday watching the Ilini game as everything we put in him came immediately back out.  It was awful.  He wanted to be held constantly.  If he wasn’t throwing up, he was crying.  My poor baby was miserable.  As soon as the Illini game was over, I’d had enough.  It hadn’t been 6 hours yet but we were going to the ER.

Once there, it only got worse.  He had become pretty unresponsive.  Once we finally saw a doctor, they berated us for waiting so long to come in because he was so dehydrated (I’d like to give the nurse who told us to wait 6 hours a piece of my mind). They started an IV in him which as a parent was quite possibly the worst thing ever.  They couldn’t get the IV into his tiny little 6 month old baby veins.  They poked and prodded.  There were 3 of us holding him down.  To this day, I want to break down and cry thinking of it (in fact I’m tearing up right now).  He needed it though. He was so dehydrated and still couldn’t keep anything down.  After a good 30-40 minutes of them attempting they finally got it in, he started getting fluids, and he started getting better.  He actually ate without it coming back up and we thought we’d get to go home and enjoy the rest of our long weekend.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  They got a room ready for him because they wanted to make sure he continued getting the fluids he needed and that he stayed ok through the night.  In retrospect I’m very thankful they did this even though at the time I just wanted to go home and take care of my son.

Finally around 8pm that night we made it to Tyler’s room.  I came home to get some clothes and food and to let Guster out, so that I could spend that night.  Eric came home shortly after I got back.  If I thought the previous night was bad, this one was a lot worse.  About an hour after Eric left, Tyler started crying and getting sick again.  The nurses came in to check on him, but it was pretty much just me and him trying to make it through the night.  Neither of us slept much.  I spent a lot of the night standing and rocking and shushing him.  The nurses eventually had me marking on the board how much he was eating and what time it came back up.  It ended up that nothing was staying in at all.  It continued into the next day, but luckily Eric came so I could at least take a little cat nap.  It felt like it took forever for the on call doctor to come in.  I would have said it was at least noon, but it was probably more like 10am.

The on call weekend doctor thought it was probably just that he was extremely constipated, and his stomach was upset.  They gave him a laxative and took some x-rays just in case.  The x-rays didn’t show anything, but since it was a Sunday, the doctor wanted to be on the safe side. He ordered a CAT scan.  He told us he really didn’t think it would find anything though. The CAT scan like the IV was another horrible experience of Eric and I holding him still to try to get a good image.  It took a lot of tries and a lot of screaming and crying.  Shortly after we got back to our room, the doctor came in looking very grim and told us it was intussusception, and that it required surgery.  (TMI warning here) An intussusception is basically when the bowel goes in on itself basically.  It telescopes.  Usually, there is bloody stool (sorry to gross everyone out!), which Tyler didn’t have.  His body just wouldn’t let anything go through.  There are no pediatric surgeons at our hospital or in Champaign at all, so Tyler would have to go to Peoria to the OSF Children’s Hospital.  They wanted to take him by helicopter, but since Hurricane Isaac was visiting that weekend, it was too bad to fly.  We were going by ambulance.  This was actually better because one of us could go with him this way.

It seemed to take FOREVER for the ambulance to come.  From what the doctor told us, it seemed like it was an emergency situation, and that it needed to come quickly.  As we sat there, Eric and I just got more and more anxious and Tyler got more and more listless. Finally, they got there and tied Tyler’s car seat onto the board.  The ambulance seemed a little on the incompetent as well.  If we hadn’t had the car seat, we have no idea how they would have transported him. Eric rode with Tyler to Peoria while I came home to get clothes and things Tyler might need while we were there and to get Guster’s stuff ready for my parents coming to pick him up.  I don’t remember the drive at all except crying a lot and trying to stay awake.  It’s a bit of a miracle in itself that I got there unscathed.

Tyler and Eric were already in a room when I got there.  Then there was more waiting.  At some point, they finally came to get him to take him to have an ultrasound to determine how bad the telescoping was.  They had one procedure to try before going to surgery, a “nonoperative reduction”.  Basically they gave him an air enema to try to cause the part of the intestine that is inside the other portion to stretch back out.  The nurses and ultrasounds techs told us it would be very hard to watch, and he’d be very uncomfortable.  After watching the IV and the CAT scan, I couldn’t bare to stay and watch the air enema.  Eric stayed with him though, and was the support I couldn’t give at that point.  It took a lot longer than I was expecting which I had a feeling would mean bad news.  It was.  He supposedly did  not respond to it, so it was time for surgery.  We met Tyler’s surgeon.  He wasn’t a very friendly sort, but he was very competent and seemed like this was no big deal.  That reduced our nerves tremendously, but with a 6 month old who knows what could go wrong.  Worrying about his reaction to the anesthesia was my biggest concern. It was a laproscopic surgery and Tyler would have 3 small incisions where they would straighten his intestines back out.  Easy Peasy.

Finally at 11pm Sunday night, they started the surgery.  Eric and I were curled up in the waiting room praying, hoping and worrying pretty much all by ourselves that night.  I think both of us were just hoping beyond hope that everything would be alright.  Finally around 11:45pm the doctor came in and told us the best news ever.  The air enema had evidently just taken awhile to take effect and his bowels had straightened out. Everything was fine.  Tyler did have a hydrocele probably from all the throwing up that they would go ahead and take care of since he was already under.  Then the waiting began for him to wake up.  He came out perfectly.  I wouldn’t expect any less from my brave little boy.  I let Eric go in first because he was way more shaken from all of this than I was at least visibly.  I think somewhere around 2am we finally got back to Tyler’s room for a little sleep

The only picture of Tyler during this time.  This was on Labor Day after everything was ok.

The only picture of Tyler during this time. This was on Labor Day after everything had happened an he was ok.

The next day, Monday (Labor Day), they said Tyler was doing fine, but they wanted to watch him for awhile longer to make sure his bowels weren’t affected by any gangrene and were working fine.  So we began a day of trying to convince Tyler he wasn’t hungry after not keeping any food down since basically Friday morning.  It was difficult, but it didn’t matter because he was going to be ok.  We had an absolutely wonderful nurse that day.  I can’t remember her name now but she went out of her way to find toys for Tyler to play with and tried to put off medicine if we were all napping. She was amazing.

After all of that, finally on Tuesday morning they gave us the ok to feed Tyler.  Eric’s mom showed up that day.  She’d been on vacation that weekend, and my parents couldn’t come up because they had Guster and the farm animals, not to mention the 5 hour drive , so it had just been the 3 of us doing all of this together, our little family.  Finally around 2pm they said we were free to go home.  It was one of the best days ever.  Tyler was happy and doing well.  Eric and I were exhausted but so incredibly happy.

Tuesday night after we got home.  He's so happy that no one could tell he'd just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

Tuesday night after we got home. He’s so happy that no one could tell he’d just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

So this story had a very happy ending, but there is one part that hangs over us everyday with every virus or cold Tyler gets.  There is a very real chance that this could occur again especially since he’s had it once already.  The intussusception was caused by the virus that had enlarged a gland which caused the bowel to rub against itself and telescope.  There is about a 10% chance of it happening again.  Luckily the bigger he gets the less likely it’ll happen, and it’s very rare for it to happen after the age of 2.  Since we’re nearing Tyler being 18 months in the next week or two, it’s become a much more distant memory and less of a worry.  On days like today when we’re having fun with our sweet boy and he’s laughing and playing it’s hard to remember that he was ever that sick.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.

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Old Toys New Again

Tyler got some new toys a few weeks ago, but they weren’t new toys.  They were my old toys!  I didn’t remember that my mom kept any of these things.  To be honest I don’t even remember the puzzles from my childhood.  There were a bunch of books that I’m keeping away from Tyler for awhile until he can read them without tearing pages, and there were also 3 really nice puzzles that Tyler has been playing with quite a bit.  There was an animal, a nursery rhyme, and a three little pigs puzzle.

Books and puzzles from my childhood

Books and puzzles from my childhood

The books are my pride and joy (besides Tyler of course!).  Being the daughter of a librarian, I had lots of books and enjoyed lots of books while I was growing up.  The top right picture has 3 of my all time favorites, and it contains one that I spent months looking for online.  I don’t remember the original Poky Little Puppy Golden book from my childhood, but the Poky Little Puppy and the Patchwork Blanket I remembered very clearly.  Every time I tried to find this book online I could only find it for hundreds of dollars, which I wasn’t willing to pay even for my favorite children’s book.  The reason that it was so expensive was because it hadn’t been reprinted since 1983.  Since I’ve had my copy back, I have found it for $20 though.  Timing is everything!  Even though I could buy it much more cheaply now, I was still beyond happy when I laid eyes on my copy again.  When I looked in the cover, it had an inscription that it was from my Grandma and Grandpa for Valentine’s Day.  It was fantastic!

Tyler playing with my old puzzles.

Tyler playing with my old puzzles.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make us happy, and this past Easter weekend added a little bit of joy to my life.  Also just to throw this out there and get a few brownie points, my mom is pretty awesome for saving these for me!

Birthday Fun!

Time for the birthday post!  It was a good party.  After all the cleaning and cooking, it was all worth it even when it did result in a few arguments the night before!  We gave Tyler his presents from us before the party started to help keep him awake so that he’d take a nap right before the noon party.  We got him some Mega Blocks, big Crayons (to work on those drawing skills!), and a Radio Flyer wagon with seat backs and cup holders (which if it ever warms up we might get to use)!

Tyler opening presents

Tyler playing with his new crayons

Tyler playing with his new birthday presents

Tyler ready to go for a ride in the wagon

He was in his brand new 1 shirt for the morning “partying”, but during his 2 hour nap before the real party, he got it a little damp, so we had to change him.  This had to be my most disappointing part of the whole thing because I LOVED this shirt.  I got it on Etsy from the PatchesandPuppies store.

Once the party got started, it was a lot of fun.  We started with lunch, which I forgot to have Eric get a picture of, but I went pretty simple with just sandwiches, chips, veggie pizza, fruit and a salad that my mom made.  This made it possible for me to focus on making Tyler’s smash cake and putting those decorating skills I learned 4(wow it doesn’t seem that long!) years ago to good use.  I made funfetti cupcakes for everyone else and a 6″ funfetti smash cake for Tyler with a puppy on top and his name on the side.  I think it turned out pretty well.  Definitely not professional looking but good enough for our little party.  I got cute puppy cupcake toppers on Etsy as well from the iheartcupcakestoo store.  Honestly, while I try to be crafty myself, I love Etsy and what I can find there.

The cupcakes for all the big kids at the party

The cupcakes for all the big kids at the party

What the cake looked like before Tyler got to it.

What the cake looked like before Tyler got to it.

I was really hoping for a good old cake smashing with icing everywhere from Tyler.  Evidently he doesn’t like to get messy though.  He touched a little and then started crying and wanted out of his high chair.  Eric held him and gave him some cake though and for some reason that was ok!  Hopefully he doesn’t become addicted to sugar like his momma!

Tyler barely touched the cake, but at least got a little bit of icing on himself.

Tyler barely touched the cake, but at least got a little bit of icing on himself.

Eric giving Tyler his first real taste of cake

Eric giving Tyler his first real taste of cake

In the end, Tyler had a great day surrounded by his family.  He got A LOT of presents (so expect a how to organize a lot of toys post at some point!).  Eric and I couldn’t be happier how his big day turned out, and it will stay with us for a long time.  Now on to Tyler and Eric’s joint party this weekend!

Relaxing and playing with new toys at the end of the day

Relaxing and playing with new toys at the end of the day

Walking around

This weekend was the big birthday bash (1 of 2).  It was also his actual birthday.  I would love to post about that, but alas I took no pictures.  Sooooo I’m waiting until Eric has time to get the pictures off his camera.  It was a very nice party though, and Tyler had a good time, as far as I could tell, surrounded by a lot of family.  He was certainly very tired after it was all over.

Beyond the actual milestone of turning 1, he’s been showing us all kinds of new skills.  In the last 2 weeks, Tyler has really started walking a lot.  Even his teachers at school couldn’t believe how much he’s started doing in a very short amount of time.  I got a video of it on Friday the 1st.  He’s doing way better at this point though (although I think the video is adorable!), and walking has become his primary mode of transportation.

He’s also starting to make a little more sense when he talks to us now too.  He definitely can say ball (ba), mama, and dada.  He’s finally started waving too.  I was sitting across the room from him today, and he was looking at me.  I said “Hi, Tyler” and waved at him, and he waved right back.  Now if we could just figure out bye bye the same way!

Just today he’s started doing 2 new skills.  He started standing up in the middle of the floor without having to pull himself up.  I think this is what made him really start walking everywhere today.  The other is he’ll actually leave a room on his own.  I’m not sure this one is a great skill, but Tyler is certainly starting to show some independence.  I’m hoping this means he will not cling to me as much when I drop him off at daycare each morning.  It just breaks my heart when he cries when I leave.  Not that it lasts more than 30 seconds, but it’s still sad.

So now we’re quickly leaving babyhood behind and entering toddler-dom.  I can’t wait to see what it brings.  We got a taste of a tantrum today, so maybe I shouldn’t be looking forward to it!  It still means that my little guy is growing up way too quickly!

Weekend Away and a Birthday Pennant

It’s getting harder and harder to keep writing 2 posts a week!  Hopefully, by the end of this week things will calm down a little bit.  Although then we start gearing up for March, otherwise known as birthday month in this house!

Well my week away from Tyler has ended.  After my work trip to Ann Arbor , Eric and I left for a weekend in Galena with friends that Friday afternoon.  Eric’s mom came to stay with him.  We’re pretty lucky that both grandmas are so willing to come and watch him when we have something we really want to go do.  (My mom is coming up this Friday to watch Tyler while we go see Miranda and Dierks!  Can’t wait!)  Plus it’s good bonding time since Tyler doesn’t get to see his grandparents too much due to the distance.  It was the first time Eric’s been away from Tyler for more than 24 hours while obviously I’ve been away a bit more (Does that make me a bad mother?).  I was definitely looking forward to some time to sleep in and not take care of the baby for awhile.  It turned out pretty nice, and I think Eric enjoyed it more than he’s willing to admit even though we both did miss Tyler quite a bit.  When we got home Sunday afternoon, he was certainly happy to see us too, which is always nice too!  At least it helps us feel like we’re succeeding in this parenting thing currently.

This is another busy week although at least I’m home for this one though.  Besides the concert on Friday, there’s cake to make for work, plenty of household chores to catch up on from being gone so much, not to mention Tyler and Guster time.  I’m definitely ready for another weekend, and it’s only Tuesday!

After this week, we’ll be in full birthday planning mode I think.  We have made quite a bit of progress in this area though.  We ordered (or I should say Eric ordered while I was exercising) Tyler’s birthday presents last night, and on our drive home on Sunday, we figured out the menu for the family party on the 9th.   What I finished quite awhile ago is Tyler’s pennant for his party and his room.

Tyler's birthday puppy pennant

Tyler’s birthday puppy pennant

I used this tutorial to create the pennant.  I have to say my favorite part was sewing the triangles to the bias tape.  I found it much harder to keep a straight line when I was sewing the pieces of fabric together to make the triangles.  For my first sewing project, I think it turned out pretty well.  It was really simple.  I think a few good first sewing project definitely.  Hopefully Tyler will enjoy it as he gets older, and I think it’ll add some nice color to his room once his birthday is over.  I do wish I’d picked a little bit more colorful fabric, but since this was my first time actually choosing coordinating fabrics the blues work just fine.  Also, the puppies and bones on the fabric are just so cute too!

Detailed shot of the fabric used

Detailed shot of the fabric used

Well that’s where we stand with the birthday preparations at this point.  I think by the next time, I do a birthday post we’ll hopefully have had at least one party!

Birthday Preparations

Well another week is in the books.  We’re finally healthy after our last bout of stomach bugs.  It took long enough with even an unnecessary trip to the ER for Tyler.  This week I learned not to listen to the patient advisory line because they have to advise you to go to the ER if there is even the slimmest chance that there is something “major” wrong.  I’m trusting my instinct from now on.

Now for something more fun.  I’m right in the midst of planning Tyler’s birthday party.  It’s only 29 days until I have a 1 year old!  Seriously where did the last year go??  The plan at this point is to have a regular birthday party on Tyler’s actual birthday (March 9) for our families and then do separate get togethers for our friends later in the month.  We decided to go this route so that we wouldn’t have to find somewhere outside our house to host the party since there was no way we could fit all our friends and family into our house at one time.  Also, it means that Eric and Tyler’s (and some other friends’) birthdays can be combined and we don’t have to make Tyler’s day such a big deal for everyone else.  Eric is a big fan of not making our family and friends mix! (It’s amazing we didn’t have 3 or 4 separate weddings.)  If he had his way we’d divide up our families for parties too.  Needless to say he’s not actually planning any of these parties.

So the family party is the one that I’ve really been working on so far. About 3 weeks ago at this point, I ordered the invitations.  I got them late last week around the same time the stomach flu hit, and I just got them sent out this week. The theme for the family party is puppy dogs.  Tyler adores dogs, mostly Guster, but other dogs at doggie daycare when we go to pick up Guster too.  Guster is not exactly the biggest fan of Tyler though.  I’m hoping someday that will change when Tyler is older and doesn’t hit Guster with blocks or pull his ears and fur.  Back to the invitations, I combed Vistaprint for something cute and appropriate for the party and came up with these, which I think are perfect for the party.

Invitation for Tyler's first birthday party

Invitation for Tyler’s first birthday party

The invitations went out this week, so far I know that my parents are coming…provided no one is sick, and it doesn’t snow.  I’m still in the middle of deciding what the heck we’re having for lunch that day and how to make it fit the theme.  at least, I know exactly what we’re having for dessert though!  I can’t wait to make the desserts.    There will be lots of night baking the week I’m sure!  The decor I’ve pretty well got figured out (the fabric that I’ve been sewing for the party).

I can’t wait for this all to come together, and to see Tyler turn 1!  Although I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done in 29 days either, I’m sure it’ll be great (for Eric and me at least) either way!

A Reverse Family Tree

This little craft project one isn’t mine, and two is kinda old even though it was just mostly finished on January 1.  When we were getting Tyler’s nursery ready early last year, we knew we wanted to put a lot of ourselves in it.  I made two little framed elephants out of cardstock and a framed T made from buttons.  Eric wanted a handmade project as well but wanted to add our families and our history into the mix.  He decided to make a rather large reverse family tree (Tyler being the trunk of the tree) to hang in Tyler’s room.  Honestly at first I was a little put off by his idea (judgmental even…go figure!) .  I thought it was a little creepy to hang pictures of dead people in our baby’s room.  I did manage to talk him out to going back past our great-grandparents though.  In all honesty though, it turned out really well and looks great!

The full picture of Tyler's family tree with the gap where my family is missing a few pictures

The full picture of Tyler’s family tree with the gap where my family is missing a few pictures

Eric first collected pictures of all our families.  There were easy ones like those of Tyler, Eric and I, and our parents.  Then it started getting a little tougher.  Collecting pictures of our grandparents (mostly my grandparents) with no one else in them became a bit of a challenge.  We had to turn to our parents.  Eric’s family has done a lot of family history “stuff”, and he had photos of all of the Stoecker side of his family.  His Grandma Faris was a great source for photos for mom’s side of the family.  So all his photos came together pretty easily.    Mine on the other hand didn’t.  My parents did a great job of collecting photos for us, but there just wasn’t the single go to person like there was for his sides.  Because of this Eric was able to complete his side during the 2 weeks he took off after Tyler was born.  It’s been hanging in Tyler’s room like that since then.  We’d had my families’ photos for quite awhile now, and I was finally able to convince Eric that he needed to get back to it.  The tree was looking a little lopsided, and I didn’t want my parents to feel like they’d collected all those photos for nothing.

The trunk with Tyler and our wedding photo

The trunk with Tyler and our wedding photo

The supplies were fairly minimal.  We bought a poster frame and some large drawing paper.  That was it.  We also needed the photos (which Eric sized and printed out on our printer), brown paint, green paint, paint brushes, a photo glue stick and some coffee all of which we already owned. Since this mostly all took place the first few weeks of Tyler’s life, I don’t have any step by step photos but here’s a run down of the process.

  1. Cut your drawing paper to size to fit in your frame.
  2. To make the paper look older, Eric used watered down coffee to stain the paper.  It looks great and it hasn’t molded or smelled yet!
  3. Once the paper was dried, Eric traced out tree branches that would work with the pictures we had, so there is only one branch if the couple had a picture together or multiple if we couldn’t find a picture of them together.
  4. Once those were drawn in to his satisfaction with pencil he painted in the brown for the limbs.
  5. Eric made a template for the leaves at the top and drew those in and painted them green.
  6. When all the paint was dried, Eric glued on the pictures and put it into the frame.
Eric gluing on a picture.

Eric gluing on a picture.

That was it.  A fairly simple project but pretty time consuming…for Eric anyway!  It’s actually not completely done.  We’re missing photos of my Grandpa Ensor’s parents.  We’re not sure if we can find any of those so it may be done but there is room to add them if the photos ever turn up.

It’s a really nice addition to the nursery and hopefully something Tyler will enjoy a lot as he gets older (I’m guessing he’ll have to be at least 20 to really appreciate it!)