Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Eye Surgeries (and more) Updates


It just occured to me that it has been six months since Landon had the surgery to remove the cataract in his right eye and have the implant put in. I don't think I'm ever going to get over how fast time passes by.

We had a follow-up appointment last week. All of the follow-ups have been going well. His eye healed just fine; at each appointment the amount of time to patch his left eye was decreased; and so far, the cataract in the left eye continues to remain unobtrusive.

This appointment was no different. The opthamologist was VERY impressed with how his vision has recovered. If you remember, the cataract completely obstructed his vision. I think light was getting in, but that was about all. And I know for sure that he had the cataract from about July 2008 (I was able to confidently identify it in pictures back that far), until his surgery on January 28, 2009.

Because his vision has recovered so well, the doc believes that he wasn't born with the cataract, or, at least that it wasn't completely obstructing his vision from birth. When his left eye is patched, he does the same things as when it isn't (at least until he figures out how to pull the patch off!). The doc estimates that he has good vision in both eyes and doesn't need glasses for the time being. Initially, we thought he would be in glasses shortly after the surgery, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I am glad for that.

It was tough when McKayla got her first pair of glasses at 10 months of age. Landon will fling anything off his head that you put on it...hats, I can only imagine what would happen with the glasses.

And little Landon wasn't the only one who had eye surgery in January. The week prior to his, McKayla had surgery to correct the strabismus (aka eye alignment).

She recovered very quickly, with little, if no, discomfort. She still requires glasses as she is still farsighted, plus, the glasses still help correct the eye alignment. I do notice that her eyes aren't pointing in the same direction without her glasses, but the doc isn't concerned as long as it is corrected with glasses. I'm not sure if more surgeries are in her future or not. I do know that she is one clumsy little girl without her glasses.

I think it has only been a few months since we got her new glasses, but I'm ready to chuck these and get a new pair. The frames are much thinner than the ones she had previously so they bend much easier. Once bent, the lenses pop out. It is pretty much a daily aggravation.

Still, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that time of our lives is behind us now.

From November when we first found out about the cataract; to Landon getting RSV which turned into and spending two weeks in the hospital only to come home on oxygen in order to keep his O2 saturation at an acceptible level; to keeping him healthy enough to have the surgery, to now - vision restored, lungs fully recovered no longer require oxygen. Phew.

And, I'm tremendously grateful that was the worst we had to contend with.

Overall, I believe that we have been very lucky health-wise considering the havoc an extra chromosome can wreak on a body. Landon only had three small holes in his heart when he was born, and at last check, two had closed. I think his breathing problems and low O2 sats were contributed to the smaller airways common to little ones with Down syndrome, as well as atelecstasis caused by the ravaging RSV.

Now that Landon has one-on-one attention during the day, his development has really taken off, both physically and cognitively. He is learning signs so quickly and amazes us each day with something new he has picked up or figured out for himself.

I just about explode with excitement and pride. Have I said lately how much I love this little guy?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, I'm jumping on the Wordless Wednesday bandwagon. Enjoy!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Big sister, big helper

Here's the big sister, helping Landon walk. This was not long after he bit her really hard on her arm. She is quite forgiving, but definitely not forgetful. No matter how many times he has bit her (as much as we try to prevent it, too!) she still loves to do things for him and spend time with her. I just love these two. More than words could ever express.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 4th of July and sibling love

Okay, it's a little beyond the 4th of July, but hey, better late than never. Right? Besides, these pictures were too cute not to post. 4th of July we were invited by friends to Dogwood Dell to play and watch fireworks. Usually, a band plays, there are food vendors galore and a great display of fireworks accompanied by the loud bangs of a canon. This year was no different.

Here are the kids donning their festive attire:

McKayla is wearing Mommy's sunglasses and Grandpa Bob's hat, that actually matches her dress almost perfectly.

Here they sit ready to go, in their new ride. This has been one of the best toys we could have ever bought for the kids. The seat backs fold down in case we need to lay one of the two down, there is a little extra storage compartment on the back for bags, toys, etc, there are cup holders for the kids' drinks and the canopy is removable. They both love going for rides. McKayla likes to pull Landon, and Elmo, and her babies.

Here, McKayla is hugging my friends' daughter. This picture was just too cute.
McKayla LOVES babies and younger children. She is drawn to them like a magnet. I think it is because she enjoys being the big sister. She loves to look after Landon, she is so very nurturing and sweet to him. She asks every day to hold him, though he doesn't always sit still, or he'll reach up and grab a chunk of her hair. She gets just as excited about his acheivements as we do. She'll say, "look Mommy! He has teeth!" or "Mommy, he's standing up!" She also watches out for him and lets us know when he is doing something he shouldn't be. She likes to feed him bottles and wants him to lay with her at night for story time. When he lays with her, she wants him to lay on her arm, so she can hold on to him. Sometimes it is so amazing to me to see the love that she, one so young, has for her brother. I was an only child, so this is all foreign to me. I hope the bond between them will forever remain this strong.

Some cute sister-brother moments:

Playing piano together

Hmmm...he looks like he is up to something...


Swinging on the hammock together this morning.

Landon, too, is very interested in his big sister and what she is doing. If she is within reach, he will move to be near her. He watches her intently, and I believe, she is the major motivating factor in how quickly Landon is progressing from learning to stand, learning to cruise and taking his first steps. He wants to run after her. He wants to go where she goes. And he is quickly learning how to do it.

Landon started standing himself up while we were on vacation, the first week of June. (That's part of the vacation I haven't gotten to yet.) After we got back from vacation, he was pulling up on things that were easy to reach, such as the sides of the crib or your hands. Here we are at the end of July and Landon has already taken a couple of steps, unassisted. Last week, he was fitted for shoe inserts to help with slight pronation. They are little more supportive than the Dr. Scholls you would buy at the drug store. We bought his first pair of walking shoes, and boy, did they seem HUGE on him. I was a little worried that the size and weight would slow him down a bit, but he seems even more daring in his attempts to push away from whatever he is holding on to, to balance before he plops down on his bottom. And he can balance for quite a bit of time.

Here is Landon right after putting on his new "kicks". He happened to be wearing his USA shirt that day.

McKayla, too, likes to help with this milestone for Landon. She likes to help him stand up and walk, though she's not quite as supportive as she thinks she is. Still, we never discourage her. Landon enjoys her attempts to help every bit as much as she does. And so, I'll leave you with some more cute pics from this morning's playtime outside:

McKayla, holding "brudder". This was one of those moments that he didn't want to be held.

Enjoying the pine needles. It is never the shiniest, most expensive toy that holds his interest.

My beautiful girl.

Playing in the house.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Look At Landon Go!

I'm going to interupt the posting of vacation pictures to bring you a video of Landon's most recent accomplishment. My heart is just swelling with pride. Land began crawling, and I did promise a video, only I could never get the video to load. I may need to go through youtube or another site. In this video, Landon is showing two of his newest methods of transportation, the butt scoot and cruising along the couch. Landon is pulling up on anything he can and trying to walk along. He can push walking toys and loves nothing more than for you to hold his hands and help him walk. He still has to work on balance before he can't let go and walk completely unassisted, but he is well on his way!

Vacation - Part 2

The next day we started out not knowing what we were going to do. But that is the great thing about vacation. It doesn't have to be planned out, you can do what you want, when you want and change your mind as often as you want. Oh, I wish everyday were vacation!

So as we drove down the main highway in Pigeon Forge, we saw something that just looked so cool. Elevated go cart tracks. Never seen anything like it before in my life, but I had to ride. And I knew McKayla would love it too!

Here are Dustin and McKayla getting ready to take off.
This is the big hill you come down, oh my, it was so much fun!
This is them cresting the top of the hill, McKayla smiled the entire way, for each ride. Dustin took her for a ride around the tracks and so did I. (You don't think I'd sit this out, do you?)
Here is an overall shot of the track. The track spirals upward to come down a big hill with a hump in the middle. We learned that this was not the only elevated go cart track in Pigeon Forge, so we gave all of them a test run. Everytime, too, that we would drive past one, McKayla would beg to go.

Next, after a couple of go cart rides, McKayla wanted to ride the train. She has been fascinated with them for a while and this was her first ride ever.

As you can see, she wasn't disappointed.

Landon seemed to enjoy himself, too, safely tucked in Dustin's arms.

Next, she wanted to fly the planes. I'm not sure she knew what to think, especially when it got off the ground. She mostly leaned over, watching the center of the ride and the other planes.

McKayla spotted the carousel and wanted a ride. You may recall from the previous post that she had her first ever carousel ride at the restaurant the previous night. Landon again, didn't care too much to ride on the horse by himself.

Next, McKayla rode a swinging boat...

And Landon passed out...

We went back to the hotel for the kids to take a nap. Since the kids were going to be down for a couple of hours, Dustin took off to one of the local golf courses. I think his golf clubs were the first thing he packed. When he got back, we went riding around and went to dinner at a buffet. That turned out to be a very big mistake. I'll explain in the next post...