Life is busy. No, that's an understatement. Life is a crazy, nonstop, fun-filled, adventurous rollercoaster ride, and I absolutely love it!! Taylor is now 14, Erin and Jade are 12, and Peyton is 4. I can't believe it either! My three oldest are all in middle school (but Taylor will be in high school next year... gasp!). Peyton attends morning preschool and thinks it's the best thing ever. Taylor is still playing the saxophone, Erin plays the violin, and Jade plays the viola. Erin plays wheelchair basketball, and her team made it to the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row. She also has done a few 5k's with me in her basketball chair, but she'd really like a racing chair to get into some serious racing as well as join her middle school track team next year. Jade is taking tap and hip hop classes this year, and she was invited to become part of tap company at her dance studio. What a tremendous honor!! She's a fantastic dancer, and she has some big competitions coming up. She's also running on her school's track team. Exciting stuff!! Peyton keeps me on my toes with everything she does, and she also keeps us laughing. Oh, the things that come out of her mouth!
We hope you're all doing really well!! I'm not sure how often I'll remember to post here, but hopefully it will be more often.
It's actually unbelievable how long it has been since I've posted anything here. In my defense, my girls keep me extremely busy all the time, and they have taken over my computer! Lol! I may not have any readers left, but if anyone is seeing this, thank you for stopping by!
We're all doing well! Taylor is now 12 and in middle school, Erin and Jade will be 10 next month and are in 4th grade, and Peyton just turned 2! I still can't believe it! I love them all more than I ever thought possible, and I'm so very thankful to be their mom.
For myself, I've finally gotten back into fitness and I'm feeling great! I'm in the best shape I've been in since high school, and I'm eating much better than I ever have. I've decided to help other people achieve their health and fitness goals as well.
I have been running health and fitness challenge groups on
Facebook for people who would like to start eating better and improve their
fitness level and overall health. I have people who want to lose weight as well as those who would just like to increase their muscle mass.
Peyton is officially 10 months old. Saturday was the big day, and we all can't believe just how much she has learned in one short month! On her 9 month birthday, Peyton could get up on her hands and knees, but she was not crawling yet. She would just scoot herself along the floor on her belly if she wanted to get somewhere, and she was never very happy about it. She could stand up with a lot of help getting there, and she definitely required someone next to her at all times. She refused to pick up anything with her fingers to eat it (unless it wasn't edible), and she was only saying "dada" and "mama". At 10 months old, Peyton is crawling all over the place (I should have tried to postpone that one for a bit longer! Ha!), and she can pull herself up to standing on anything and everything. She cruises around whatever object she is holding onto and sometimes tries to push it in front of her so she can walk. She loves to walk around holding someone's fingers, but I try not to do that for too long as my back screams at me the entire time (Jade complains her back hurts as well when she does it. She has no idea). Peyton LOVES her walker and takes full advantage of her freedom. She loves it when I tell her I'm going to get her. She gives a little scream and a giggle, and then she is off and running. Every few feet I will catch her and make her laugh, and then she is off again. Solomon always gets overly excited about this game; I think he expects to be included in the chase, but he would take it about 5 steps further than we want. She thinks it's hilarious to steal my dish towels off of the oven door. She will look at me to make sure I see her, and then she waits for my reaction. I always say, "uh oh, you stole my towel! You better run!" Peyton always gives a little squeal, and she takes off running with her arms up in the air holding the towel. She also follows her sisters around as they play, and they have created a little game where they all chase each other around, because they love to see Peyton get so excited and they adore her laugh. They are the best big sisters EVER! Peyton now loves to eat Cheerios and tiny pieces of string cheese, and I'm working on other new foods slowly. She can drink out of a straw and enjoys having her own cup with water. She says "done" when she is finished with something, she can clap her hands, wave, and give hi-fives (when she wants to). When she does something wrong, I will say, "Uh Oh", and Peyton repeats, "Uh Uh." She understands so much of what I say, and she reacts appropriately to things I tell her or ask her. She amazes us everyday with her sweet little attitude and intelligence. She is not walking on her own yet, which is something that Taylor did at about 9 1/2 months, but I definitely learned my lesson after my first. You can't unring that bell! Once they are walking, life becomes just a little more crazy (or a lot, depending on the child). Peyton is by far my most daring and most wiggly child. I think she will be running before she even walks! We are all just head over heels in love with her, more and more each day! The girls tell me daily just how happy they are that we have Peyton. She truly does complete us!
I know many of you understand that life sometimes just gets away from you. My life, with my four beautiful little girls, keeps me extremely busy, happy, fulfilled, and... BUSY! We had a wonderful summer filled with swimming, visits with family, physical therapy, our beloved Beach Week with my sister (who came from Iraq to be with us), and the start of a new school year. I have at least a million photos to share, but I will start with pics of my sweet Peyton Grace to show you how she has grown, month by month. I will start with her 1 month pose.
And now, making her debut, is the beautiful and perfect Peyton Grace. She was born on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 8:37 a.m. She weighed 6 lbs 8 oz, and she was 19 in. long. She did struggle with her breathing a little, so she spent her first 24 hours in the nursery, which was a bit hard on this mommy, but I knew she was where she needed to be. Once I was able to get up and walk (in the middle of the night), I went down to visit her every 2 hours. The girls and I are completely head over heels in love with her, and we couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift! I can't believe she's almost 2 weeks old and I haven't posted pictures yet, but in my defense, I HAVE been a little busy! :0)
If you read our other blog, you may already know about our day on Monday. Other than being long and hectic, it was quite disappointing for Taylor. She went to Children's with the belief that she would be getting her cast off. Well, she did get her cast off, but she also got a new one put on. She will not be able to get out of the new cast until a special brace is made for her foot. Her transferred tendon needs to be protected for at least three months, but thankfully the doctor knows what torture it is for a kid to be in a cast for that long. However, if her brace doesn't get done quickly, she could be in the cast for the entire time anyway. We'll see. I've been on the phone every day this week trying to convince everyone to hurry, but so far I haven't gotten very far. Anyway, I promised to post photos of Taylor's foot, with and without the button. If you're not a big fan of surgical sights, you may not want to look. Also, I apologize for the pics. They were taken on my phone, as I forgot my camera. And, my phone was literally about to die.
Here is the last photo with her red cast. You can see the lines where they already cut it.
Here is the button that was sewn to the bottom of her foot. It was attached to the tendon that was transferred, holding it in place. The other white stuff is just the padding from the cast.
One view of the incisions. You can see how atrophied her leg is. I should have put her left leg next to it so you could see the difference.
The bottom of her foot without the button. You can see the indent, but you can't see how deep it was. The bump on the outside of her foot is actually smaller than it was before. We're hoping the surgery will help to correct that eventually.
The new pink cast. She really didn't want to smile, but I somehow made her laugh. She's such a trooper!
Born as a conjoined twin and separated on June 19, 2004. Erin suffered spinal cord ischemia (stroke to her cord) sometime during the surgery, leaving her paralyzed from mid-chest down. It is a blessing that she survived the surgery and the stroke, and she is truly a gift from God.
Jade is Erin's identical twin sister. While she outwardly seemed to have the most complications during the separation surgery, she deals with very few long term affects of being conjoined. You will likely find Jade running to get somewhere, and she keeps us laughing with the things she says. Jade is another gift from God!
Taylor is our sweet girl who truly is a Joy. When she was 3 years old, we found out that she had a tumor at the base of her spinal cord. It was exactly one year after her sisters' separation surgery. This spinal cord lipoma, while benign, was wrapped around her spinal cord, completely enmeshed with her nerve roots. The tumor was tethering her spinal cord, and Taylor was losing function in her bladder, bowel and right leg. During the first surgery, they were able to remove approximately 60% of the tumor. Her cord became retethered almost immediately because of scar tissue, and Taylor had her second surgery in September of 2007. We are fairly certain her cord is retethered again, but because the risk with each surgery on her spinal cord increases exponentially, Taylor's neurosurgeon wants to postpone another one as long as possible. We now weigh the risk of losing more function from her tethered cord with the risk of losing function from the surgery. There is a fine line. Despite all of this, Taylor maintains her positive attitude and has a very sunny disposition. We could not be more blessed!
Jade Hope and Erin Faith Buckles were born on Thursday, February 26, 2004. They are true miracles who have beaten the odds. Conjoined from mid-chest to naval, the girls shared a pericardium (sac around the heart), diaphragm and liver. Their hearts shared a small electrical connection and beat in synch. Erin's heart was 60% in Jade's chest. These beautiful babies were born to Marine Gunnery Sergeant (now Master Sergeant) Kevin Buckles and his wife Melissa. They were also welcomed into this world by their brother, Kevin Jr., and sister, Taylor Joy.
Erin and Jade were successfully separated on Saturday, June 19, 2004. They returned home on Friday, July 2, 2004, just 13 days after surgery. We later learned that Erin suffered a stroke to her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from mid-chest down. The damage occurred at the T3-T7 levels of her spinal cord. The injury is considered incomplete, so we have great hope for at least some recovery.
Taylor Joy was diagnosed with a tumor on her spinal cord in June of 2005, and she has undergone 2 surgeries since then to try to preserve her ability to walk.