Friday, December 18, 2009

The X-Ray Queens

With Bridgette's motor skills delays, we requested that her pediatrician order x-rays of her lower extremities, so we could check for hip dysplasia, knee problems, and extra bones in her feet (which runs in Jeff's family). We've had the order for about a month but never took her to get them.

Then Wednesday baby flipped off her changing table and landed face-down on the floor with one leg pinned under her. She seemed ok, but woke up inconsolable in the middle of the night. Thursday morning, we opted to cash in on her x-ray order and add broken femur to the list of potential maladies.

We headed back down to the hospital in Provo, this time to radiology. Bridgette did ok until I laid her on the table. Then my mostly easy-going child (though increasingly whiny as she gets older) began to scream. And thrash. And thrash. And scream.

I don't know whether or not she was remembering past trips to the hospital, but she definitely does not like to be messed with. We weren't hurting her (no UVs, IVs, IJs, or PICCs; no incisions, stitches, tubes, or cuffs), but she required definite manhandling.

I'm sure my fingers were in all of the x-rays because I had to lay my body over hers and then use my hands (and all the strength in my arms) to pin her leg/foot in whatever position the tech required.

Although mere hours before I had had visions of a fractured bones dancing in my head, by the end of the (long) session, I was fairly certain that wasn't the case. If my tibia was broken, there is no way I could wrench it around under the weight of my own mother.

Bridgette is no stranger to x-rays. She had her first at two-days-old and has had a whole slew since then. It got me to thinking about my first x-ray foray at 4-months-old and how I've continued to require them almost annually for one reason or another for close to 30 years. Thus the title of this post.

I'm sure we could do worse. I'm grateful x-rays exist. But for now, just call us the X-Ray Queens! Perhaps one day this radioactive legacy will halt.

For your information: Bridgette's x-rays all came back normal. Huzzah!

Umm... I haven't taken any pictures lately, so here are the Thanksgiving photos that got skipped in the midst of The Great Calendar Coup (in which the entire Johnson household was violently overthrown by a piece of paper containing too many events).

Thanksgiving Morning - Turkey Day 5k
Joy, Jennifer, Kelly, Lisa

Dearest Grandma Johnson with
Unhappy Baby Bridgette

Bridgette's first Thanksgiving feast!
Strawberries, plain potatoes, and plain sweet potatoes.
She really just wanted to be held* all day.


Now, that's a cute little profile.

Bridgette's new bestest friend**,
who's name I do not know how to spell.
But it sounds like Meehei. (Sorry Meehei! sp?)

She can't walk, folks, but she does have talents.


*Held only by me.
**Until Meehei came along!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meet the Hoose's!

(Front row)
Grandma Marian's & Grandpa Kenny's three kids, left to right:
Dale, Lynn, Gary

(Back row)
Marian's & Kenny's grandkids, great-grands, kids-in-law, etc.:
Gavin, Sarah, Ken, Linda, William, Kathryn, Jon, Kelly, Scott, Lauryl
(We were missing spouses and great-grands from the Gary-line.)

And here's a little shout-out to my new friend from London, Ontario:
Yoo-halloo, Jackie! (sp?) And quite pleased to meet you.

Me & My Mom

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The "Experience" of Trees - Video

Jeff and Bridgette at Festival of Trees, 2009.
(And perhaps my favorite photo of all time.)
Look at my skinny husband. He's lost 50 lbs this year.

The Beautiful Blue Baby Blanket made by Julianne for The "B" Tree.

We were thrilled to find out that our tree sold at auction.
We are hopeful the funds will help a family in need at Primary Children's next year. I don't know the total amount raised in 2009, but I'll add it (here) when the number is released.

If you watch the video, you'll get an inkling of the experience we had Saturday. This Blogger version is quite small, so we suggest you watch the larger download by CLICKING HERE, so you can see details and more vibrant colors.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spending Time With Baby Bridgette

Kelly is out of town for Grandma Hoose's funeral, so I have had the chance to spend a lot of time with our special girl Bridgette. Mark and Kelly were nice to babysit yesterday, but other then that it's just been me and her (and the dogs) for the past three days. I have enjoyed helping her scoot on her bum and pop bubbles on the iPhone. Bridgette is a very determined little girl and very smart. She has already figured out how to play "Hang Deer", one of the games from our newest iPhone release "Reindeer Fun & Games". Poor baby does have a runny nose, but this is only the second cold she has had since birth 17 months ago, so we are thankful.

Bridgette has been working on pulling herself up to boxes and couches to get things (mostly technology). She is making good progress, and with some gentle coaxing and nudging, she can kneel and sometimes even stand up!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Gratitude & Trees

Grandma Marian passed away yesterday at 3:50 a.m. A few hours later we were simultaneously working out flights to Ohio for her funeral and packing up our "B" Tree paraphernalia.

As we stood on our feet over 8 hours setting up our entry at Festival of Trees, I felt a lot of emotions, but mostly, I was grateful. Really, really grateful. By the end of the evening I was tearing up pretty easily but mostly because I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

As the song says, count your blessings:

1) Bridgette survived.

2) My Grandma had a good life.

3) I can't believe the outpouring of donations to The "B" Tree - money, time, toys, handmade items, babysitting Bridgette, helping with transportation... you people are amazing. We even had a friend leave us a surprise sack of snacks at our booth.

4) The overwhelming sense of Christmas Spirit at Festival of Trees; SO many people putting in so much time to make it a success.

5) Listening to the stories of other families around us as they set up their trees. Life is so precious. And death, being part of life's experience, is precious too.

Having never done this before, I wasn't sure how coordinated our tree would look, but after several iterations on the tree-topper, I think The "B" Tree turned out lovely.

The gorgeous tree skirt, matching blanket, and walnut bench were so filled up with toys you could barely see them, but I know whoever wins the auction will enjoy them immensely. My biggest fear now is that it won't sell... but I hope it does!!!

I can't take Bridgette to see "her" tree until Saturday, December 5th. So, if anyone wants to join us, please let us know! I'd love to go with friends.

However, don't feel compelled to wait. The public viewing of the trees, gingerbread houses, small trees, wreaths, quilts, etc., is from Wednesday to Saturday.

You have to buy a ticket to get in (it's WORTH IT), but keep in mind, all proceeds go to Primary Children's Medical Center.

Festival of Trees is at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy. Our tree is on the south side of aisle "H" (as in "H" for "Hoose.")

For those who can't make it this year (but if you can ever, ever go, you should,) here are some photos.

Caption: A 9' x 7' space, Heidi, brother Jon, an empty tree, and a whole lot of boxes and bags.

Highly unposed.

Slightly more posed, but she really is working on the lovely tree-topper.

Thank you so much for coming to help, Heidi and Jon!!!
(And Heidi's unborn child who had no choice.)

The "B" Tree and The "B" Toys

At the end of the day, most people wandering down the aisles stopped to look at our tree.

One kind couple was privately chatting about how beautiful it was when I came up behind them and said, "That's my baby." The woman smiled and said it was so well-coordinated and laid out. I looked a little confused which made her look a little confused, and then she exclaimed, "Oh! That's your baby!"

Already getting lots of attention from the kids...

...because kids really like toys.

There are an equal number of trees when you pivot 180 degrees and look behind me in this shot. (Actually, at aisle "H" there are probably tons more behind me.) And the gingerbread houses! One was a stunning castle as tall as I am.

You can see a smidgen of the tree skirt here (thanks, Jennie!), & the paintings of bugs made by my young friend, Brandon.

By far the most time-consuming job for me was making these sparkly words. It all started with a significant CriCut effort (thanks, Shanna!) and ended with layer on layer of glue, spray paint, paper, fiberglass and glitter.

Look. It sparkles.

Another angle.

Yet another angle.

When I came up with the "B" words for the tree, like "Breathtaking," all I had to do was think of Bridgette. My favorite one (unpictured) is "Brave." If Bridgette's name hadn't been Bridgette, I think it would have been Brave.

You can see part of the matching blanket (thanks, Lisa & co.!) and the bench here.

Also pictured, literally, are baby Bridgette and her surgeon, Dr. Richard Black.

Ha! I write poetry. (Dr. Seuss... Dr. Hoose... same thing?)

Child's-eye view.

My sister-in-law, Julianne, down in Texas made a beautiful blue baby blanket that, sadly, didn't arrive in time for set-up day. Rest assured, the bidder will receive it, and it will be featured in a future post.

Thank you to EVERYONE who contributed in any way, large or small. It's all large to me. You've helped infuse Christmas love and joy in a way the Scrooge inside me doesn't usually experience.

At a time of sensitive feelings for my wonderful Grandma and memories of miracles surrounding my darling daughter, I couldn't have spent yesterday doing anything better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For Bridgette's Special Great-Grandma

These are for you, Gram. We love you very, very much.

Bridgette Resting

Bridgette in the Autumn

Family Portraits

Bridgette Learning about Tree Bark

Uncle Jon

Bridgette Picks Out Her Own Outfit

Bridgette Talking on the Guitar

Bridgette Playing in the Leaves

Uncle Jon Pulling Bridgette in the Leaves

Bridgette Playing with a Warm Blanket

Bridgette Playing with the Camera :)

Bridgette "Taking a Nap"

Bridgette "Still Taking a Nap"

Bridgette is Not Really Napping

Dear Gram,

I have so many wonderful memories of you.

Here are some of the things I loved to do with you:

drop toys down the laundry chutes (especially darts),
eat pizza and Hough Bakery treats with the whole family,
drink out of your yellow & blue plastic cups with the animals on them (preferably milk or root beer),
hike through the woods behind your house,
play ping-pong in the basement,
play with the toys in the closet and all your stuff downstairs,
watch Peter Pan,
go to Whips Ledges and hike and have a picnic,
smell your house,
attend Ridgewood Methodist Church,
chase each other down the halls,
go to see fireworks,
take very funny pictures (you were always a good sport),
ride with you in the car,
and sit and talk,
and laugh... a whole lot.

Thanks for being a wonderful grandmother.
Thanks for always loving us.
And thanks for teaching me the difference between "b" and "d."
It's come in really handy.

Kelly & Bridgette

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poop Stories: you know you love 'em.

If you're a parent, I know you have poop stories of your own. But let's face it, parent or not, we all deal with poop, and we all have stories. We just keep them to ourselves.

Ah. But today is your lucky day.

Due to Bridgette's Hirschsprung Disease, we deal with a lot of poop. Without a colon or a full-length ileum, foods pass through our baby at rapid pace.

Rapids. That's good imagery. Just think of rapids.

We change diapers all day long like most parents, with one difference being that every single diaper is poopy, some massively so and some passively so.

We have to change her outfit an average of four times a day due to blow-outs.

Often we have to clean the furniture, carpet, and ourselves due to blow-outs. It's just part of daily life. It's what we do.

Mid-last-week, Bri had a whopper of a bloody bum rash, and I knew she needed air time. Following her bath, I left her to dry on a towel in the living room.

The next part is not hard to imagine and certainly you're expecting it. In my graduate cohort, it is what we came to call "explosive diarrhea." (Listen to Diarrhea Radio Spot)

Bridgette evacuated, rapidly. The first poop shot across the room, hit the fireplace and splattered across her toys. I was able to pull her towel up like a wall before the second (and more voluminous) evacuation.

Oddly enough, that is not why I'm writing this story. I don't consider that too gross.

On the contrary, reflecting this season of gratitude, I thought it was kind of cool.

What amazing bodies we have! How beautiful to eat, have nutrition removed from our foodstuffs and transported to our hungry cells, then expel the unnecessary matter preventing toxic build-up! Wow. Better out than in, I always say.

So what could possibly be more gross, you ask?

When the episode was over, I was left with a poopy baby, a poopy house, and a very poopy towel. Since I have two dogs quite interested in poop, I needed to take care of all three in nimble time.

Enter my fabulous brain, "The tub is still full! I'll throw the towel in there to soak while I change Bridgette then clean the house."

If we had been using cloth diapers this whole time, I'm sure I'd have known better. Alas, as soon as the towel soaked up the bathwater and sunk to the bottom of the tub, poop floated off the towel and dissipated into what was fast becoming murky brownish water.

So here's what I consider gross: reaching into that tub to retrieve the towel. The fact that I waited until the next morning to do it, really didn't improve matters.

By the time I got around to cleaning out the tub (placing the towel in a plastic bag to prevent poopy drippage), the whole tub and all of Bridgette's thirty bath toys were covered in a truly slimy layer of...

... well, you're getting the idea.

After a treatment of scalding hot water, too much bleach, and lots of scrubbing, I felt safe putting Bri back in the bathtub. (Though my hands haven't been the same since.)

And wouldn't you know it? The first thing she does is take a drink of bathwater out of her previously slimy toy fish. The cycle is complete.


Bridgette sat up by herself twice this week! She was on her tummy, and she pushed herself backwards, then sideways, then up onto her bum! Such a small move, but I can't tell you how excited I was to witness it. These little advances mean so much to me.

And speaking of advances, our girl has joined us at the table. No more highchair at home, just a booster seat!

Of course, she doesn't always eat at the table. Sometimes she puts Cheerios into my boots and then eats out of my shoes. Mmm...

Fun with Kleenex boxes...

Talking to Gram on the phone.

Lots of car seat time, so we can't leave this out. Here, she is pointing and happy to see Daddy. (It's getting dark very early 'round these parts. And still a month to go before the shortest day of the year.)

Our first snow of the season that really stuck. I took this photo of "Bridgette looking at the snow" which, when examined, was really of "Bridgette watching a monster fly."

Dress made my Gramma Hoose. Very cute. It matches the safari blanket in her room and is large enough for her to grow into a bit.

On Friday, we went to the Nickelcade for the first time since Jeff and I were dating. Bridgette got to ride the merry-go-round and the boat. Mostly we played skeeball, basketball, football, shooter and driving games until somebody swiped my nickels. Here we are showing off our prizes. 166 tickets "bought" us a tiny stuffed turtle and some vampire teeth.

And here is Daddy - because he's so cute.

And Piper - because she's so cute.

And Chewy - because he's so cute.