Fab time | End of summer vacation



We just got back from a 10 day vacation to Disneyworld followed by a Carnival cruise out of Charleston!  I took a conservative 1300 images…  lol  Wonder when I’ll get to looking at them all?  There was a ton of great food on the cruise.  I tried several different things that were fantastic.

My 40th birthday also just passed.  It was great and without much fanfare which is totally my preference.  However, I’m hoping to have a big party bash for my birthday, house warming and new studio space once we get settled into our new house.  Guy just looks and me with amusement every time I mention it.  :-)

Here’s a cute image of Landon just after my birthday dinner!

My kids and camera fun



My kids love to take pictures.  Love it.  Not be in front of the camera necessarily but behind it pushing the buttons.  They use their point and shoot camera {about an $80 camera), the iPad cameras, our phone cameras and very very occasionally my cameras.  The last few weeks they have been all about taking pictures, doing setups and having a great time with it all.


Do I feel comfortable handing over my $2300 camera to five year olds?  Not exactly.  I’m a bit of a nervous nelly.    

This image makes me laugh.  The kids also Adore playing family!  Just today I peeked into the playroom to see how they were.  Madison announced they were playing barbies and then pointed to a random assortment of small animals and people figures saying they were the kids.  Blake piped in saying all of their parents were dead.  Maddie says the barbies are their new parents.  My kids like to be adoptive parents to a motley crew.  :-) But I digress.  In the image below we had just all gotten up from the ‘bed’ on the floor behind me {notice the messy hair}.



It all started that day with them asking me to take some pictures of them playing family which turned into a giggle and face making fest!


Landon joined in for a minute, but decided he was in NEEED of some milk stat.  Boy was he not thrilled when it was not time for him to have some.  Thankfully, we got this one cute one of the three of them before…



This face came to stay for a while!



Mad and Blake asked me to join then so we got this.


Maddie took a turn with the camera {check out Landon Dying in the background}


Then it was Blake’s turn.  

Maybe they are ready for me to begin actually teaching them to use my cameras.  Maybe.  Ughhh.  Maybe. 

Random bits



Quotes are amazing!  Sometimes they make us think or laugh or cry or roll our eyes or have a major epiphany.



My favorite quote to live by is:


If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.



A quote I grew up reading on our wall and wish it was more ingrained in me:


Be careful of the words you say

From day to day

Keep them soft and sweet

You never know which ones

You’ll have to eat



Today I saw a quote on Pinterest {follow me HERE} that really moved me:


I value my work,

but it doesn’t define me.

When I work, I do excellent work,

but when I am home,

I’m immersed there.

  – by Rebecca Diaz-Bonilla


Wow, that is my deepest desire to accomplish in life right now.  I’m trying to do my best with scheduling as people call me to book their family, maternity, newborn, senior & wedding sessions.  If I book at a certain pace, I can manage my work and be an integral part of my family really living!  If I book with a certain pace and additional weeks of overload, my life doesn’t settle for months.  As of now the next 4 months is booked at the perfect pace, I think.  So excited to see how this all goes!!!!



Also today, I put a status update on Facebook that quite a few people hit the Like button on and some commented.  Well, here is the comment again along with an image….  lol

One of these days my cooked veggie dishes will be tasty to my kids. Todays very yummy zucchini cakes with a cool dill yogurt sauce was gagged and dry heaved back onto the plate! People pay good money for this stuff in restaurants!!! Seriously kids, you WILL love this stuff someday.  Until then I will keep plugging away as the ONLY person in my family who will eat cooked veggies {the ones that need to be cooked} and make them try everything every time it is in front of them.

Syndactyly



By now most people know Landon was born with his ring and middle fingers together to the tip and had surgery just before his 2nd birthday to have them separated.  

Warning!!   Some of these images can be graphic for people.  They aren’t bloody or anything just raw looking skin and stitches.


You can check out a bunch of pictures of Landon before the surgery Here on Facebook.

And Here is where I blogged about Landon’s actual surgery.

So what is this post about?  


Healing and recovery.



Just after surgery my little chicken looked like this:



For the first week we had this massive dressing.  As you can see, Landon was out being a kid within a day of his surgery.  Kids are awesome!  This isn’t to say he wasn’t in pain and he definitely wanted a lot more cuddles then normal.



But he adjusted to his new normal quite well. 



When we needed to do our own daily dressing changes it included aprox 10 minutes of soaking daily.  In comes the iPad to the rescue!!    The soak was two parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide.



His fingers were very swollen and pretty red along the zig zag incision line and skin graft area.  This one is a bit hard to see with all the water drips.  We would just shake his hand a little to get all the water off.



The most raw part was right down in the web where his skin graft was used {taken from the front inner hip}. He also had this bulb area around one knuckle and by his cuticles.  Landon is very pain tolerant so the dressing change did not bother him after the first two times when he didn’t like to look at it.  



The back view of his newly separated fingers.  His was called a complete simple syndactyly meaning his fingers were completely together to the tip and only affected his skin with no other soft tissue, nerve, cuticle, nails or bone involved.  It is a good kind of sydactyly to have if you have to have one.  :-)



We went to a whole hand covering for the 2nd week.   {No, he doesn’t always have an iPad.  I was taking pictures at the kids school and needed to keep him occupied.}



Do you ever reach that age where you think you don’t need extra clothes?  Yep, peed out so just wore a diaper.  Back to the hand..  He adjusted to his new dressing pretty well only pulling it off occasionally. 


We tried to go to an only finger dressing, but that came off super quickly every time.  After this we wrapped the fingers the most with a few wraps coming down over the palm and wrist to keep it all on.  Throughout this process we used a yellow gauze that was presoaked/covered in a petroleum jelly placed along the incision line then used white gauze to wrap the area and hand.  Over the gauze we either used tape or the stretchy stuff like they use when you give blood.  This was our favorite as it stayed well and went on easy.  It was pricier though.   The yellow guase kept his incision areas very moist for optimal healing.






We did get a bit of a scolding from the doc at our final appointment that we needed be putting lotion on his fingers each day to prevent the scars from getting to stiff and limiting his movement.   We have been doing this some.  Not as well as we should be.

Also, the doctor was in love with the good job he did and rightly so.  What a great doctor.  If you need any pediatric plastic surgery in the Raleigh Durham area definitely choose Doctor Jeffery Marcus.  He is wonderful.   As a word of warning, the first office visit will suck and be really late.  Just plan on it and you won’t be frustrated by a 2.5 hour wait and visit.



Saved by a friend while throwing feed to the ducks!  This kid used his hand with the bandages on and without as if his fingers were fine.



From the top it is already looking fab even back in late May just over a month post op.  The fingers are still pretty swollen here.



Then we also did a boo boo and didn’t put sunscreen on his hand when we went to Disney in May.  His fingers got a little sunburned.  Luckily it was minor and we learned our lesson.



Hi used his fingers independently as soon as those bandages came off.  He actually likes to stretch them apart quite often which is great for the healing process.  This means we don’t have to make him do it!!!



By the first of June the swelling is already down a lot.



This shot on the 4th of July shows how the scars are looking.  I’m very impressed.  As the overall redness went away we could clearly see the zig zag cut.  Each month the redness on the cut lines is getting less red.



Just a couple weeks after the top image his redness along the zig zag lines is even less.  The skin graft area in the web doesn’t show at all other then where the stitches were.



His fingers are also back to a normal size now at the 3 month post surgery mark.  YAY!



So from fingers that look like this just prior to surgery….  To 



Fingers that look like this in three months.   The road was not to bad even with a very active barely 2 year old who is definitely trying to exert his will whenever possible.   He is much more stubborn, opinionated and strong willed then the twins were combined!   This one and I will definitely have our battles as he grows and develops.  Yep Yep!!  But dang he is soooooo adorable and lovable.  It will all be worth it.   Wonder what he was thinking here?

Maddie & the cuddle bug




My sweet and funny five year old has been all about wanting to cuddle with me each day in the last month or so.  We got off on a bit of a rocky start to this, because she would Say she wanted to cuddle.  Then through the course of the day she would sleep past when I get out of bed, happily play elsewhere when my bum was occasionally parked on the couch, ignore my invites to cuddle and cried as if her heart was personally ripped out by me when it was past time for her to be in bed with no cuddles for the day.  I made it a point to remind her to she wanted to cuddle with me and needed to make time to cuddle with me.  



For the last 5 days she has realized that she has the power when it comes to getting in those cuddles each day.  She has taken her opportunities and carved out time to spend with her mama for one on one cuddles.


You know what?

Her attitude has improved.  Her willingness to help has grown.  She is happier.  She whines less.



Mama cuddles are good for her.


This little development makes me really really really happy.  I love that my love and affection can make such a noticeable difference in her life.  It is amazing to watch her work through what is temporary and what is permanent as she gains maturity.  She is really starting to understand the power of choice.


Choose to be happy.  Choose cuddles.