Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stansel's after Hurricane Harvey

I had a reader email me asking how we are doing after Hurricane Harvey.  So here is our blog post about how the hurricane affected us.  Luckily we are good!!  Safe and dry!  We didn't get any flooding in our neighborhood or our home.  We also didn't lose any power.  We are so blessed and grateful for the location we live in (Humble - Northeast of Houston).  We were scared and nervous through out the storm.  It was nerve wracking not knowing if our area/neighborhood was going to flood or not.  We survived and the girls did well through the storm.  We are so heartbroken for all the devastation throughout Houston and other areas outside of Houston.  It is estimated we got 30+ inches of rain in our area.  Some parts of Houston got 50+ inches of rain.  We ventured out yesterday and took a couple of pictures.  Just north of us in Kingwood, people were flooded due to the rising water from the San Jacinto river.  Lots of people were flooded and had to evacuate. There is just so much destruction.  Thank goodness, today the sun is poking its head through the clouds a little and we are so glad to see it.  Thanks for the concern.  Much appreciated!  We are well!

Our house after the hurricane. Thankful no damage

This flooded creek is about a mile from our house
US 59 North.  Flooded.  
 Lots of utility trucks ready to fix electrical lines as needed

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kayla's 5 year old pictures

I am struggling these days to keep up with a lot that's on my plate but I did get Kayla's five year old pictures taken back in March and got them finally edited.  This post is so late but I wanted to go ahead and post these pictures because I want to remember her at this age.  She is just growing up too fast.

Back when I took these pictures she was in a silly mood.  So these pictures are full of sass, silliness and spunk.  Love this girl!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rachel and Haley turned 8 years old!!!

On August 4th Rachel and Haley had a birthday and they turned 8 years old!!!  Really time has flown by and they are growing up so fast.  On their birthday we took them to a jumpy place called Jumpalooza and we had some cupcakes for them.  Not really sure, but I don't think Rachel or Haley understood it was their birthday.  None the less we celebrated them and remembered their siblings - Ashlyn, Dallin, Braden and Kaitlyn.  We love and miss our precious angels.  Happy Birthday to our miracle sextuplets!

Rachel and Haley had their 8 year old well child check so here are their stats:

38 pounds
42 inches (3.5 feet)
BMI: 45%ile

54 pounds
51 inches (4.25 feet)
BMI: 38%ile

Rachel and Haley are healthy but of course have their disabilities that require on going therapy, special education and lots of watchful eyes and attention.

For this birthday post I'm going to write about what they CAN do and the things they like.

- Haley can talk (as well as do some sign language).  She is saying some words and is increasing the words she can say.  She loves popcorn and has started saying it.
- Haley can understand what we tell her and she will follow what we tell her to do such as throw her trash away, go to the sink to get her hands washed, etc...
- Haley can get around fairly well in our house despite her very low vision.  She does need assistance in unfamiliar places.
- Haley can hear well enough with her hearing aids and she loves music.  She enjoys playing with her keyboard and any toy that plays music.
- Haley likes dogs and always enjoys going to her cousins house to see the dog.  She can even say the dog's name.
- Haley loves to eat and loves junk food!
- Haley is very friendly and loves to be around people.
- Haley loves to make noise.  We can always hear where Haley is at any given moment.
- Haley loves to tease and play.  She gets herself into trouble at times as well.
- Haley is a very sweet loving little girl!

- Rachel can work the ipad better than me.  She likes to take pictures with the ipad and watch kid youtube.
- Rachel likes to help do things/chores (with assistance) like wipe the table, hang wet clothes on hangers to dry, vacuum, wash dishes, etc.
- Rachel can do some sign language.
- Rachel loves to taste foods such as popcorn, pickles, cheetos.  Just wish she would swallow food.
- Rachel can get her self dressed (with a little bit of assistance).  She definitely knows how to get undressed.
- Rachel loves to cuddle in bed with daddy.
- Rachel can do hair.  She is good at putting ponytails in her or her sisters hair.
- Rachel is very good at getting herself into trouble and typically breaks things easily (had to add as this is Rachel and a part of our daily lives).
- Rachel is a sweet girl and gives the best smiles.

 We love our girls and just can't believe they are 8 years old already!  I still remember the day the sextuplets were born and all the fear, anxiety and excitement.  Looking back on that day I really didn't think we would end up with only 2 out of 6.  I really thought that all 6 would live and grow up together, but that was not the plan.  We are grateful to have Rachel and Haley and we will see our 4 angels again.  I do look forward to that glorious day!

Here are pictures of Rachel and Haley on their birthday and their 8 year old pictures.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Brandon is 19 months old

Brandon turned 19 months on July 14th (he is acutally 20 months so I am late with this post as usual).  He weighed 22 lbs, 6oz.  This is a slight decrease from his weight at 18 months old so I will have to keep a watch on that.  Brandon is a petite little boy though.  He is currently wearing size 12-18 month clothing and still in a size 3 diaper.  He has been in that size for a long time.  Brandon had a urologist appointment on July 7th where he had a renal ultrasound and a bladder test (VCUG).  The ultrasound showed no kidney damage and a normal bladder.  Also the bladder test showed no urine reflux into the kidneys as well as good bladder emptying.  He did have some overactive bladder episodes during the test but the doctor was not concerned.  The doctor actually talked to us about potty training!  I didn't think that was possible with kids with spina bifida, but according to his doctor there are kids with spina bifida who are able to be potty trained.  So it is a possibility that Brandon can be potty trained but we will have to wait till he matures more to know for sure.  We are so blessed and so very thankful that he doesn't need to be cathed.

On July 18th, he had his tonsils and adenoids removed as well as ear tubes put in.  He also had his tongue clipped for a possible very mild tongue tie. He had to stay overnight for one night at Texas Children's Hospital.  Poor guy had a tough time with it and it took about 10 days for him to get back to his normal self.   Removing those tonsils and adenoids have helped him tremendously!  He doesn't snore while he sleeps and he doesn't sound like Darth Vader when he breaths.  We are so glad that is done and over with!

Right before surgery

After surgery

Brandon is doing better at crawling.  He is getting up on his hands and knees more often when he crawls.  He is also getting better with sitting up.  He can sit up because we have seen him do it, but he is always on the move and therefore he won't stay sitting.  He's a busy boy!  He has been "W" sitting and his PT is working on reducing that.  We know its not the correct way for him to sit.  Brandon prefers it because it gives him a wider base for support.  As I always say with time he will get it and do it correctly with time.

He is getting PT, OT and speech therapy.  He is taking his time with talking.  He is now saying mamma, daddy (da-dee), bye, baby and ball.  He is also still on the bottle, but I think I have found a good cup (take & toss sippy cup) that he will drink from and will try another cup to help the transition off that bottle.  

He loves to look at pictures of babies and gets excited when he sees a baby.  Brandon also loves to look at pictures of mommy and daddy.  He just has to look at the pictures of Thomas and I that are hanging on our walls.

Brandon also loves to be read to.  I read to him every night before he goes to bed.  He is my sweet little boy and I love him so very much.  He definitely completes our family.

His 19 month pictures:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Brandon is 18 months old

Brandon turned 18 months on June 14th (so long ago!!!).  He had a well child check on that day with his pediatrician Dr. Edralin.

18 month stats:

Wt: 22 lbs, 10 oz  (25-50%ile)
Length: 30.5 inches (2-5%ile)
Wt/Lt: 50%ile
Head circumference: 48 cm (50-75%ile)

So the stats above show that Brandon is short and average weight.  He is proportional for his length and weight.  He's going to be short like his sisters Haley and Kayla.  I have heard that kids with spina bifida tend to be shorter than average, but I'm not 100% sure about that.  I do know that my husband's genetics tend to run on the shorter side so I think Brandon is on the shorter side due to his genetics.

All looked good when his pediatrician saw him at his 18 month appointment.  Brandon was also seen by Dr. Fletcher (his neurosurgeon) on June 14th and he was pleased with Brandon's progress and abilities.  Brandon's shunt has had NO problems since it was put in on December 21, 2015.  We are so happy, thankful and blessed!

At 18 months Brandon started getting speech therapy twice a week to help with his speech.  Brandon is still not talking a lot.  He says mama, dada, baby and bye.  Also speech therapy is going to help address getting him off the bottle and onto some kind of age appropriate cup.  He has slightly weak lip muscle tone and just needs some help to get those lips strengthened.   Brandon also started getting occupational therapy to help him get up to par for his age.  Brandon is behind developmentally.  He is approximately 12-14 months developmentally.

Brandon loves to eat!  He is eating all kinds of regular table foods.  He loves (his favorites) applesauce, yogurt and cheese.  He is pretty willing to try new foods, but will let us know that he doesn't like something.  He will just spit it out and not reach for it on his tray.

Brandon is still army crawling.  He will get up on his hands to crawl but briefly and he doesn't do it often.  He is still working on sitting up independently.  At 15 months, I thought he had mastered it but he has not.  He still sits using his hands to prop himself up.  He is getting physical therapy 2 times per week.

Brandon sleeps well at night and always has since 7 weeks old.  So grateful!!

Brandon has such a great little personality.  He is a little flirt!  He loves to interact with others by way of smiles and cute looks he gives.  Brandon is such a sweet boy, but of course he can be a little stinker.  He loves to get into stuff and gets so upset if I take away something that he's not suppose to have.

Brandon also loves babies!  I read books to him before bed and he particularly likes the ones with pictures of babies.  He will say baby when he sees a baby.  Brandon loves his books as well.  He really enjoys when I read to him.

Brandon's 18 month photo shoot didn't go so well.  I had plans to take pictures of him in a little red wagon, but he didn't like it and cried.  So I went with plan B and he still wouldn't cooperate much.  These are the only five pictures I got out of the many I took.  The little stinker!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rachel and Haley's last day of 2nd grade!!!

Rachel and Haley's last day of second grade was on June 2nd.  They both had a good school year in their 2nd grade life skills class.

Here is a little update on both Haley & Rachel:

Haley - Haley is now talking!!!  She is saying dog, outside, eat, more, ball and NO.  I know she is saying a couple of other words, but I can't remember which ones as I am typing this.  We are so proud of her.  Haley gets speech therapy 2 times a week as well as occupational therapy.  Haley is still working on potty training, which will continue to be a long road but I have faith that she will learn/understand how to use the potty correctly.  It just takes a lot of time for my girls.  Haley loves her hearing aids and wears them well.  Haley loves dogs, but we don't plan to get one anytime soon.  Haley has been recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.  She get anxious if her schedule gets changed or we go somewhere she is not familiar.  Also noises (vacuum, mower, etc) make her anxious.  She is blind and hard of hearing so that makes things worse for her.  She is typically a happy loving sweet girl.  She loves to be held, give hugs and gets concerned when her baby brother cries.  She is almost 8 years old and still wears 5T clothing. She is our petite sweetie. 

Haley 1st day and last day of school comparison

Rachel - Rachel continues to be our challenging girl!!!  She is a sweet girl, but oh so stubborn and persistent.  Rachel is still not talking despite having the cochlear implant.  We think that Rachel does in fact have autism.  Though she loves to be around people and loves to get into peoples stuff.  Rachel doesn't have any boundaries which is a challenge when we are around others.  Rachel is working on potty training as well, but she is fighting against it.  So not sure when she will get it, but we continue to work on it with her.  Rachel gets occupational therapy and physical therapy 2 times a week.  Rachel wears AFO braces to help her walk better.  She can walk without them, but she does tend to fall easily.  She has right sided weakness.  Rachel still relies on her g-tube for all her nutrition as she still won't swallow food.  She loves to taste and chew food, but she continues to spit it out.  I have NOT been able to find a therapist to help her learn to swallow food.  I am loosing hope that she will ever eat normally.  The therapist we have had just have not been able to help her.  She has had the g-tube for so long now.  Rachel has a hard time sleeping.  She gets up at least once in the night.  We have to give her medicine to help her sleep.  Rachel is also on a behavior medicine to help control her behaviors.  She tends to have outbursts and fits easily.  Rachel is very challenging but she can be sweet and loving.  She likes to play with her baby doll.  She likes to play with my hair and put it into ponytails.  She is a daddy's girl and she loves to snuggle with him.  Rachel is an average sized almost 8 year old.  She is skinny though.

Rachel 1st and last day of school comparison
Both Rachel and Haley are going to summer school this summer.  They love school and the routine of school helps them in so many ways.  The first day of 3rd grade will be on August 28th!

Rachel and Haley will turn 8 years old on August 4th!!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Kayla's last day of preschool!!!

Kayla's last day of preschool was on May 25th.  I can't believe my little girl is growing up and moving up to Kindergarten in August.  She really enjoyed her 3 years of preschool at SPARK (free preschool program in our school district - Humble ISD).  Kayla also had the opportunity to go to a private preschool the last 5 months of preschool.  She loved it and was sad it was over.  I have a preschool graduate!!!

***Rachel and Haley's update coming up in the next post***

Her first day and last day picture

SPARK teachers.  Love them!!
Private preschool class graduation
Kayla with her preschool teacher Brittany

Below are some graduation pictures I took: