Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our Crazy Summer (so far)

We blew right through June, and now here we are, smack dab in the middle of Summer (mid-July). June was chock full of Felt "events"....Father's Day, Brad's birthday (a week later), and Serenity's birthday (the week after that), and then July 4th weekend (the following week). I was in full planning mode, hence the neglected blog. LOL.

Father's Day was low-key (just the way Brad likes it), and we just basically let him sleep, went mini golfing as a family (the kids' 1st time), and had a nice dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. I wish I could tell you that everything went smooth, but we mini golfed on a hot, sunny, busy afternoon in the middle of tourist season in Virginia Beach. Serenity caught on to the game, and actually did fairly well, but Strider's idea of mini golf was to chuck the ball multiple times until it got in the hole. LOL. You can't teach a 2 1/2-year-old to precisely and patiently hit the ball with a funny-looking stick (**It's a ball! Why can't I throw it?!**). LOL. Well, he ended up chucking it into the bushes, after we told him multiple times not to throw it, and that was that. If we didn't feel so rushed to play through, due to the players before and after us, and it wasn't in the blazing hot sun, I think we would have had more success, but all in all, I think the kids still enjoyed themselves. Brad might have been a little frazzled, but hey(!), isn't that what Father's Day is all about, to remind you of ALL the "joys" of fatherhood, including uncooperative children? (**smile**)
Homemade Father's Day gift

Strider: I chucked the ball, now I go get it!


Cheesy grins

Brad's birthday was another low-key event. He and I had lunch and a matinee movie, and then we celebrated at home with a candle in a cheesecake (his favorite), and the kids, my mom, and I singing "Happy Birthday".

Serenity's birthday was more of a bigger endeavor. A Frozen-theme party for my munchkin turning "4"! We were blessed with local friends coming to our house to help us celebrate. I had to walk a fine line between trying to make it special for her, without really stressing myself out. I think I actually succeeded, for once! Of course, it was only done with the much-needed help of Daddy and Grandma (my mom), and an assist from our friends, Brooke and Jorgen. Serenity declared it the "best birthday ever!", so I call it mission accomplished.

 
party favors

Serenity and Strider with their buddies, Erin and Carter


I made Olaf out of fondant

birthday girl


Grandma made her an Elsa cape
Mommy and Daddy got me a ridiculously large dollhouse!

Strider had fun too!
We had a lovely 3-day July 4th weekend in NC to visit Brad's grandmother and great-aunt. The neighbors spent a fortune on their own fireworks, so we could watch them shoot off right in the backyard. Poor Strider thought it was too loud, and spent the time covering his ears, but he was very interested in the flashing lights. The best view would have been floating on the lake (no blocking trees), so perhaps we'll get to do that someday. (note to self: make friends with a local boat owner! LOL. I jest.) Actually, the lake was so busy all weekend, I'm sure the boat patrol was out in full force.


Serenity's birthday cake in NC

Gram, Aunt Nita & the Felts

Grandma & the munchkins
Cooling off in the shade

Storytime
Having fun with the hose

Serenity took this great picture of the ladies

While we were in NC, we ended up buying an RV. Say what?? More on that, in a later post (it ain't for vacation! Yikes!!). Stick with the Felts', folks. It's an adventure! (**smile**)
2006 Heartland Bighorn

In addition to all the festivities, and crazy RV buying, Brad officially transitioned out of the Navy, after 10 years of service. It was a rough transition, at first, for all of us (emotionally, mentally, physically), for him especially, but I think we're finally in a normal groove. We still working on getting new (non-military) doctors for Brad and the kids, and adjusting to the new (and now paying) health insurance. Brad grew a goatee (which I think suits him), and now he's not required anymore to get a haircut every two weeks. I was expecting him to fully "rebel" and turn into Grizzly Adams, but thankfully that didn't happen. LOL. He's been busy with fixing things up at home, looking for jobs, and prepping for an eventual move to NC.

The kids are doing great. Serenity is smart, funny, sensitive, and compassionate, but it's tough being 4. Processing the whole "growing up" and being more aware of handling the thoughts, and emotions, and well, let's just say that not more than 2 days go by without tears of some sort. It's an exhausting, frustrating phase at times, but it's a good opportunity for us grown ups to practice patience and understanding. Her latest thing has been about not wanting to go to school. I'm not sure how it started, but apparently, she wants to leave daycare and go to "big kid school". I think she sees it in the tv shows she watches? I really think a preschool, with other kids her age, would be awesome for her, but I am hesitant to break her and Strider up, and of course having her leave the safe, awesome confines of Miss Tina's place. I was going to wait until the NC move (whenever that is), but sometimes kids have other ideas. Best laid plans, right? So, I think a little preschool "shopping" in the local area may be in order very soon. Ugh. I hate changing something that works fine (if ain't broke...). It makes me want to poke my eye out with a dull spoon.

Lately, my favorite, loving saying for Strider is "you are such a boy!". My mom chalks it up to different kids, and different personalities, but I really think some of it is a little genetic predisposition. It is "cars and trucks" all day, every day. If you put a NASCAR race on, he is good to go for at least a half hour before he starts getting antsy. He requests to watch a car race on tv everyday. Did I mention that none of us in the house is into racing at all? LOL. He likes to "wrassle" (wrestle), shove, push, and climb all over you. He's much rougher and rambunctious than his big sister. Most of the time, we're telling him to settle down, or "go easy". I admit that we're more lax, with him being the second child. LOL. But he's such a happy, cheerful, fun-loving boy with an infectious giggle. He is "Joy" with a capital "J", and doesn't always understand when he's in trouble. We're working on it though. As always, parenthood is a work in progress. His vocabulary is now expanding by leaps and bounds, and he's incredibly proud of the fact that he can now jump with both feet off the ground. (**smile**)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Serenity had 6 weeks of her first swimming lessons at the local Y (it went well), and Strider is now in the beginning stages of potty training (he's excited). Strider also had his crib converted to a toddler bed. Anything else I want to cram in my life for a 6-week period?!? No, I think that is quite enough. (**whew**) Well, this got long (again). I'm doing my best to keep up with everything.... to plan what I can, to organize where I can, and at times, to throw my hands up in the air, and hope to heck that everything works out well. It usually does. Gotta keep the faith, right?       
Strider excited about his big boy bed!

Look, Mom! I can float!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Busy May

Well, here we are, 7 weeks post-op from Strider's last surgery. Although he had some physical restrictions for 6 weeks, we didn't let that stop us from having a busy month! We started out the month of May with a fun trip to the Children's Festival in Newport News....

 

Strider and a police car!

Serenity's first pony ride
The Children's Fest was held in a park, so Strider's highlight was the swings at the playground. Serenity got to do and see all the things....children's theater, pony ride, barn animals, fun bus, etc... It was all free, which was amazing.

For Mother's Day weekend, we visited Brad's grandmother and great aunt in NC. We had not seen them, since well before the surgery, so it was an overdue visit. I got to sleep in, shop by myself, take a nap, and enjoy a family meal at the local steakhouse....all in the same day! It was definitely a nice Mother's Day gift for me. The kids enjoyed having the full run of the porches and yard, and communing with nature outside.

Selfie of me and the kiddies!

My mum on Mother's Day
 Serenity also discovered the joys of using Mommy's phone to take 9,000 pictures of anything you could possibly think of. Surpringly, there were some "gems" in there, and it was interesting to see things from her perspective.
Aunt Nita

Me

Strider

Yes, Serenity did take this!

Mr. Cow and Boots say "hi"
Right now, we're still enjoying Memorial weekend, and that has been pretty active, too. Yesterday, we went to my friend, Brooke's son, Carter's 2nd birthday party...nice weather, nice location, good food, lots of fresh air, and lots of kiddies running around. Serenity and Strider wore themselves out! Well, correction, I wore myself out, because I'm the one that actually napped that afternoon. LOL.

Today, we went to the Pungo Strawberry Festival (http://www.pungostrawberryfestival.info/), which I've been to about 3 other times, in the past. This year, the kids got to enjoy it. It was very sunny and warm, so we prepped with hats, sunscreen, drinks, etc... Serenity has extremely fair skin, and Strider is sun sensitive (due to his hearts meds) and temperature sensitive. We got there in the late morning, and stayed about 3 hours. I love this festival, because it has a small town feel, it's family-friendly, and it's got something for everyone....shopping, carnival rides/food, 4-H, and military/rescue demonstrations. And let's not forget the star of the show....strawberries! Serenity loved the carnival rides, and would have rode every one, if given the chance. Strider got to go on a kiddie car ride, and the giant slide. The kids got their strawberry smoothie, and I was very happy with my strawberry shortcake. We got through everything with no health issues, and no meltdowns, so that's a success story in my book!
 
giant slide

A very happy and excited Serenity (on a big girl ride!)
 
vroom!

 



strawberry shortcake (from the Lion's Club booth)
Serenity is going to be 4 next month, and she's growing like a weed. She is equally sensitive and shy, and sassy and daring. LOL. Strider is doing incredibly well, and shows no signs of slowing down. He is his active, usual self, like he didn't just have major surgery a month and a half ago. I actually have to tell him to slow down, and take it easy, on a regular basis. Ah, a preschooler and a toddler.....their energy....I've got my hands full with these two!
  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Post-Fontan

Well, we safely made it home from Philly. Serenity made a beeline for her stuffed animals, and Strider made a beeline for the train table. Nothing says "home", like old, familiar toys.

Unfortunately, Strider spent another night tossing and turning, and whining, so Brad was up with him several times, and neither of us got much  sleep. Certainly can't blame the little guy, but hopefully, Strider will get past his rough nights soon. We do give him Tylenol before bed, since we know he's feeling it at the end of the day. I gave it to him again this morning, once he got up, because he had that rough night. I think at one point, he pulled himself up, to stand up in the pack & play and hurt himself. Once the pain med kicked in, he was feeling fine, and wolfed down a mini belgian waffle in the hotel dining room for breakfast. He even fed himself, which he hadn't done in two weeks since the surgery.

We got a later start on the road than expected, and we had some long pit stops, which made for an  7-hour trip home. Strider did okay with the trip, but towards the last 2 hours, he was getting antsy (and probably sore), and so was looking quite pitiful at times. Thankfully, Grandma was on hand to keep him entertained.

We have a chest xray and cardiologist appointment tomorrow afternoon, so it will be good to check on his status. After that, hopefully we can relax and have a nice quiet weekend. The focus now will be to make sure my normally-active little man doesn't hurt himself, or overdo it, as times goes on and he starts to feel better. So far, he's been taking it very slow.

Thank you to everyone for all of the love and unwavering support to our family. It is truly amazing how many people kept tabs on us, and sent prayers and good thoughts our way. We are truly blessed in so many ways. We've still got a lot of work to do, but it's good to be home.

Here are some pictures from our discharge yesterday....

like Daddy, like Son

Leaving CHoP!

Dinner (Strider glued to me)

Enjoying his long-lost toys back at the hotel