Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Christmas BuzzKill

We've known about our new little one's heart condition since September 20. I find it hard to talk about the weight of it all, but since our time is getting closer (and people need to know what to expect) you're all getting it at once. We had another pediatric cardiologist appointment this morning, and nothing much has changed. The diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is complicated in and of itself...but the good thing is that with all things considered, it's as straightforward as it could possibly be. What I mean by that is, well, most babies with HLHS have other major problems in addition. We are still anxiously awaiting a referral to an Obstetrician that will actually deliver the baby. Also, we are 99% sure now that the baby will be delivered at Washington Hospital Center. This is not my favorite option, but it's right next door to Children's National Medical Center...and so it's my best option. She will need medicine immediately after birth, so we will be separated until I am well enough to go next door. You can probably figure out why this isn't my favorite option. She will be considered stable and in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Children's for approximately 3 days before the surgery. The rarity of this specific heart defect prevents the doctors from telling me exactly what to expect, but we're looking at around 3 weeks in the hospital for recovery. The scary thing is that after all the surgery, wires, tubes and medicine she'll endure, the most common problem keeping HLHS babies in the hospital is their failure to eat. I consider myself fairly educated, since I have attended 2 La Leche League conferences and harassed numerous breast feeding consultants since we got the diagnosis. This being said, I feel sorry for the hospital staff in advance for my nosiness and general untrustworthiness. I believe that she is my responsibility and since she will be too small to ask why and what, an advocate is completely necessary at all times. I wouldn't leave a well child at home alone to go out and have lunch or run errands.

It's hard to complain about being pregnant now...with my back hurting and legs starting to swell when I'm on my feet too long. Because I know that she's safe and happy and warm. When it's time for her to come, she'll be on her own. There won't be a single thing I can do for her anymore...and as a parent, that's scary as hell. Most of you reading this will eventually be taking a shift or two helping with Parker. I'm grateful in advance. Parker worries me because he's very smart. He'll have everyone trained to feed him candy beans and french fries on command. He will be staying up until 2am watching Family Guy drinking Mountain Dew with a smile on his face.

All of this being said, I just needed everyone to understand what's going on and how we're adapting and how (I'm speaking for myself now) I expect things to go down. I'm sure I won't be the only one spending nights in the hospital, but when Matthew goes back to work... we have to be realistic about the commute and having at least one parent at home for Parker's stability.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's That Time...

It's that time of year again... the Holidays. They mean something different to everyone it seems, but to my little munster...it means trains. And lots of them. Everywhere we look, there are model trains. Union Station had a display this year, and so did the National Botanical Gardens. The "theme" this year at the Botanical Gardens was Thomas and Friends...so you can see where I'm going with this. Heavy bribery was needed to get him out of the place and he would probably enjoy another trip if I could stomach the crowd.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trains, Trains and More Trains

We recently found this really neat park that has a small train that runs through the property. There are other things that make this place really cool (like the carousel, the lake and the playground) but as soon as he heard the whistle...Parker went crazy.

We also took Parker to Lancaster, PA to see the object of his dreams...Thomas the Train. We even took a ride on Annie and Clarabelle (his coaches).

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Hottest Day at the Pumpkin Patch

We took advantage of a Federal Holiday and went on another one of our Duncan Family Adventures...to Pumpkinville. Parker has very memorably been afraid of petting zoo animals as far back as I can remember. For no reason at all really. He's never been nipped or licked otherwise traumatised...I think he just takes after his Daddy. Anyway, we get to this place and Parker is a petting zoo wonder. We didn't even bother getting any food because we figured it would be a waste. These pictures don't really do justice to how funny he was running around touching EVERYTHING! If there was a critter in the cage, he was going to chase it down and give it a rub...even the pig. And if you notice by our clothes, it's unseasonably hot outside for late October, making it a little more challenging to keep a terrible two happy. We had a good time though, we even let Parker pick out our mini pumpkins.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fire Station Open House

Our local fire station had an open house for the kids (and quite frankly, I saw a lot of grown men with a twinkle in their eye). Since Parker LOVES fire trucks and anything that makes as much noise, we figured he would love being at the fire house to see all the cool stuff. We were so wrong. It was a pretty intimidating environment, with all the trucks in the bay and the firemen walking around answering questions. He wouldn't leave our side, didn't want to sit in the truck, or talk to any of the firemen. Since then, he's become a lot more brave with new things. It's just strange that when we expect him to love something he ends up a crying mess.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Parker's First Baseball Game

Matthew and I were not so sure about taking Parker to a baseball game. We were surprised to have him sit and watch the game for about an hour before we had to get up and let him run around. We were lucky it was a good game, so there weren't very many people up and moving around at the same time. We got his picture taken with the Nationals"mascots", let him eat his fill of pizza and popcorn, and he got to sport his hat that Uncle Mark bought him.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Parker's Birthday/National Zoo

Since the Hamel's moved and we have no friends...Parker had to spend his 2nd birthday with his boring parents and his Nana. We tried to plan something fun with some other kids, but apparently August is pretty popular with Birthday's and traveling. We ended up at the National Zoo, which turned out to be pretty fun for us all.

Parker's new toy fixture is Thomas the train... Elmo still gets thrown into the mix, but when hardcore bribing is called for, Thomas is my ace.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wyoming Trip

I've been such a slacker lately. We've been home and settled for 2 whole weeks, considering after our Wyoming trip we drove to Indiana...and after that we played host/tour guide for 6 days. We all really enjoyed the trip and Parker still says "Wyoming" on a regular basis. His birthday is quickly approaching and I really can't believe he'll be 2 in three weeks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brian's Wedding/Indiana

After our trip to Wyoming, we spent a lifetime in the car driving to Indiana for our friend's wedding. These pictures were taken 26 June 2010.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reston Zoo and Uncle Mark

We've been prepping Parker to see Uncle Mark all week. We picked up "The Godfather" from the airport on Thursday and took a family trip to Reston Zoo on Friday morning. Parker got to ride a pony, a tractor, and got to feed all different kinds of animals...including a Watusi. Uncle Mark is expanding Parker's vocabulary and we keep hearing how much he looks like Uncle Kyle.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Day at the Farm

We are lucky enough to have a National Park close by in Maryland that doubles as a working farm. Parker enjoyed this so much that I'm sure we'll become regulars. They had cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, horses and a lot of grass to run around and enjoy being out of the city. I think his favorite thing by far was the abundance of farm equipment, including a big John Deere they used to give us all a tractor ride.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 years...already?

April 25th was our anniversary, and we celebrated by having a much needed dinner without little Parker in tow. There shouldn't be any breath holding for pictures, because I'm pretty sure none were even taken. We did, however, take pictures after dinner of the bravest squirrel I've encountered. Two, actually...right outside the FBI building, downtown DC.

Navy Memorial and Supply Corps Exhibit

We were fortunate to visit the Navy Memorial when their main exhibit was detailing the Supply Corps. Parker had fun running around looking at pictures and enjoying the open space.

He almost had as much fun as his Daddy...

New Kids...

We're so behind the times! Be patient as I figure out how everything works. Parker is getting so big, and doing new things every day. We stay as busy as possible, spending every available moment outside enjoying this beautiful spring weather. Matthew and I have recently knocked off some of our "Places to See" from our list thanks to Gma and Gpa Duncan. Gettysburg was amazing and it made me realize how much I really didn't know about the Civil War. We're looking forward to seeing Aunt Wynn in a few days!