Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday!

We were so excited when Auntie Frances called to see if we wanted to meet up with her on Wednesday morning. The boys decided that the Cerritos Library was where they wanted to meet. We couldn't have been happier when we saw that Uncle Michael had decided to join her.

Now for some water and outdoor fun!!

The end of a really great morning and afternoon!
(no children were hurt while taking this picture)

It was great having my own personal "paparazzi' there to capture my morning with the kids. I felt just like the Octomom but with WAY less kids (ha ha)!
Thanks Michael and Frances for helping to make our morning so great!

Friday, August 28, 2009

In the middle

of these two beautiful babes is where I slept today.

After I got the boys down for their naps I went in to nurse Annabelle and realized that I was EXHAUSTED! I tried to keep my eyes open but wasn't doing a very good job. I had luck in the past nursing the boys lying down, however, that was when they were much bigger than Annabelle is now. I thought I'd give it a try since I was literally falling over with tiredness.

So, we gave it a try and it worked! My little miss was a pro., okay not exactly a pro. but it worked and we both ultimately fell asleep. I'm not sure how much later, but Jack wandered in still sleepy eyed and he got in bed with us. I had my little girl on one side and my big boy on the other. We all slept so well!

Of course when I woke at 4 pm (oops!) I was a huge sweaty mess. I sat up and then saw my sweet little ones still snoozing away. I only had my camera phone handy, but it captured the moment. I enjoyed looking at their sweet little faces for a bit longer than figured I better wake them and Benjamin up who was snoozing away the afternoon in his room.

Branden was slightly confused when he got home from work and Jack said "Daddy we just woke up"! It was a nice and cozy afternoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lost in a book

Benjamin really enjoys looking for Waldo

and he's really good at finding him

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Annabelle's 1st Dr.'s Appointmnet

Today was Belle's first "out of the hospital" doctor's appointment. She met with Dr. McCormick, her pediatrician. It was really nice to just go to a typical check up and hear positive information. She thought that Belle looked really good and was pleased at how her back wound was healing. She was also SUPER pleased that Belle gained 1 pound and grew 2 inches!!

Annabelle - 3 weeks, 1 day old
5 lbs 9 oz
18 inches long

After Belle's doctor appointment we met with the lactation consultant at LBMMC to get a bit more help with breast feeding. It was a productive meeting and she was pleased with how well Belle appeared to be nursing - yeah!

Growing up is hard to do!

Benjamin started preschool this week.

Jack and Benjamin are both now attending preschool on Tuesday's and Thursday's. We had all felt really good about this decision until Tuesday (8/18) came and the morning didn't go as expected. It was a very emotional day for all of us. The teachers (Mrs. Watts and Ms. Clay) were both super great about keeping us informed throughout the day on his progress. He did settle down, although it took longer than I was personally comfortable with. I was very close to just bringing him right home with us and waiting another six months or so. Our original plan was to start him in January (when he turns 3) like we did with Jack. However, we opted not to because he wouldn't be guaranteed a spot if I didn't start him now (he is 2 years 7 mos.)

When we returned to pick him up he seemed fine, not his typical smiley self but he was okay. I felt happier than when I left but still super sad and confused if this is the right decision.

The major saving grace of the day was Jack. Jack REALLY stepped up as the comforting and protective big brother. He went over to Ben's classroom several times throughout the day to check on him and to play with him. Jack even drew his brother a picture, wrote him a letter and picked him a flower (nice, but against the school rules - oops!)

Our boys sure do love each other (most of the time!)

Clowning around before heading into school

It's a beautiful, spacious campus with lots for the boys to do.


As I write this entry it is Thursday morning and I am eagerly waiting to get reports back from Branden on how drop off is going. We decided it would be best that I don't go this time as it may have been harder for Ben having me there. He is still my baby - I am very lucky to have 3 babies now and it's VERY hard for me to see them cry!

Branden just sent me a text saying that Ben was fine until he had to leave - well that's typical and to be expected. Then Jack wandered over to see Ben and I guess that helped a lot. Benjamin's class was making pancakes and Branden sent me a short video of the boys at the griddle. The video was taken with Branden's camera off of the computer screen where parents can observe their children. Ben isn't crying in the video and they look happy together. I am so glad my boys have each other. I hope they will always value each other, develop a true friendship and learn to lean on each other in times of need as siblings should. Jack just went back to his own classroom and now Ben is crying again. This is very hard for me! Yeah, a new video text just came through and it's Benjamin flipping pancakes all by himself. He seems super happy - thank goodness!

When we picked the boys up and it appeared that Benjamin had a GREAT day! His teachers said he had 2 short sad moments but they were super brief and that was it. They said he participated, ate his lunch well, didn't have a potty accident and he took his nap. That is all really wonderful stuff. We feel so much better. This was a very hard decision for us to put Ben in preschool right now. We know there are many great benefits and with Annabelle having SO many doctors appointments we really felt it was the right decision, but there was no way I was going to do it with him so terribly upset. We have been warned that he might be sad again at drop off for a few more times but they are confident it will get better each week. We are super hopeful!

The picture Jack drew for Benjamin

The note Jack "wrote" to Benjamin

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bigger Family means...


Since we couldn't fit three car seats in either my CRV or Branden's truck and driving two cars everywhere was out of the question it was time to get a new car.

So in all of our spare time (ha ha) we went out and bought ourselves a new car. Well actually it's a "pre-owned" certified 2006 Honda Pilot.

The folks down at Long Beach Honda made it a super easy transaction. We highly recommend them!

The kids absolutely LOVE the car!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moses Bed

This bed was a gift for Jack when he was born 4 1/2 years ago. Benjamin slept in it when he was born 2 years later and now little Annabelle is enjoying some snooze time in it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summers Sunshine

Earlier this evening I was standing by the window letting Annabelle get a bit of sunshine and Branden snapped these photographs. She is so precious and we know she will be our little sunshine.


For those that are interested, here is a little background on the type of Spina Bifida that Annabelle has.

is the most severe form of spina bifida. It occurs when the meninges push through the hole in the back, and the spinal cord also pushes though. Most babies who are born with this type of spina bifida also have hydrocephalus, an accumulation of fluid in and around the brain.

Because of the abnormal development of and damage to the spinal cord, a child with myelomeningocele typically has some paralysis. The degree of paralysis largely depends on where the opening occurs in the spine. The higher the opening is on the back, the more severe the paralysis tends to be.

Below are some pictures of Annabelle's back pre and post surgery. I apologize if this is hard for some to see. Our reason for posting them are two fold:

1. When we got the Spina Bifida diagnosis while pregnant we found it very helpful to seek out pictures, stories, etc. about SB. Seeing actual pictures (not drawings) helped us to understand a bit better what we were in for. It helped to take the shock away a bit when she was born because we had seen other children's lesions (both big and small). We hope these pictures as well as our blog documentation of her progress will be able to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation. It's not pretty to look at, but it is a part of Annabelle and us.

2. To provide friends and family with a better understanding of what her back looks like. We unfortunately will not be allowing people to hold her until her back is healed as it is very delicate. We hope that the pictures will be able to express that better than we could verbally.

This is how Belle (as I call her) or Gracie (as Branden calls her) or Flower (as the boys call her) back looked on the day she was born.

Day # 2 (1 day after her surgery)

Day # 9

Day # 14 (Discharge day)

The middle triangular area is the area that is still open and needs to heal / close. Because her lesion was more than 50% of her back it was difficult for the neurosurgeon to find enough skin to actually close the back. He is very hopeful that with good wound care, minimal disruption to the area and no infection the back will eventually close. If he doesn't see significant progress he will eventually call in a wound care team and possibly a plastic surgeon.

Please feel free to ask us any questions about what you have read or saw in these pictures. We want Annabelle to be proud of who she is and we plan to never be shy or secretive about her condition. It is our goal to embrace the path that God has chosen for her and our family.

Quick note to friends and family

Thank you for all of the calls, texts and e-mails - they have been so encouraging and full of love. We appreciate each and every one of them.

We are sorry that we haven't been answering any of them since we got home on Wednesday night. We hope too (at some point) but are trying to adjust to life at home right now. Life with three little ones with extremely different personalities and needs is very new to us. This is going to be a time of learning and adjusting for the entire Summers Family. As you all know that on top of taking care of the kids we are trying to get our house back in shape - moping, dusting and laundry (it's never ending!) and being away from the house for 2 full weeks certainly can create a back log of mail and bills to sort through. It's all good though - truly!! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL AND HAPPY TO BE HOME!!

So please know that we are getting your messages and are not ignoring you on purpose :-) We love them and each of you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stuck on you!

The boys thought their sister's outfit was a bit boring so they decided to spice it up with a few of their favorite stickers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Settling in at home

Annabelle took no time settling into her new bed here at the house.
She's a good little sleeper. Eat, sleep, eat, sleep - she's living the good life!