10 Months of Forever

So, I was a bum and didn’t write a 9 month update …. things get a little hectic sometimes! 🙂 IMG_2877.jpg

Since Christmas, Ari has become more vocal about his opinions of what he likes, wants and how he wants things done. He gets frustrated when I won’d do things for him that I know he is capable of doing. There have been more struggles with things that weren’t a problem before – like feeding himself. IMG_3073.png

Medically, Ari is doing well. He has had a round of ear infections, but recovered well. Knock on wood, so far we have avoided the flu – hopefully this continues to be the case.

He continues to struggle with sleeping … but no worries, we have a sleep disorder clinic appointment scheduled … for October. No, I didn’t not type that incorrectly, October was the the earliest available time they had …. fantastic.

We are also waiting on a referral to neurology. I fear that sweet boy is having short seizures and I want to make sure to address it if that is the case, or be relieved if he has a normal EEG. So, we are waiting on that.

We will be going back to Dallas for follow ups from his last surgery in April. He will have a MRI and an EEG if we haven’t gotten one here already. That will help us determine if his ETV is working for his hydrocephalus and if future surgery on his skull will be needed.

He has been doing amazingly well in the last 1-2 months with keeping his head up without support – it really is awesome to see. I really need to try to get a picture or some video, especially when he is in therapy and swinging on the swing with holding onto the ropes and keeping his head up … he has come so far!

It is so crazy to look at photos when he first came to me and photos now. He has changed so much!!

IMG_7575.jpgThis was the day he was placed in my arms

IMG_3093.jpgBeing silly yesterday!

I can’t believe that in 2 months he will have been with me for an entire year!! I have been having meetings for transitioning to kindergarten – they seem surreal! I can’t believe he will be in big kid school in August – time goes by way too quickly when a kiddo is added!!!

In with 2018, out with 2017

This year has been nothing short of life-changing!

January – March was full of paperwork and finishing prep – all I could do to get Ari home.
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April – this sweet and handsome little boy was placed in my life and threw everything for a loop!!

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May –  he had his first brain surgery in the US – and I am so thankful to say that he is continuing to do well!

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June/July – full of getting into our new norm and preparing for the next surgery.

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IMG_9629.jpgAugust –  his big skull surgery – SO thankful to be on the other side of that one!!

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September – Ari started going to school .. he loves it and gets upset on weekdays that they don’t have school!

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October – December – everything going well, got some glasses and experienced so many new holidays and traditions.

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2017 has truly been amazing … here’s to hoping that 2018 can top it!

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8 Months

This month has been full of new experiences.

We traveled to St Louis for the first time, spent time with family and had Yummy food and slept in an extra big hotel bed!

He got to see his first Christmas tree and is still enjoying the lights!

He got a new seat for the house and seems to be pretty comfy in it!

We then went to Memphis for his first Thanksgiving. He wasn’t too keen on the turkey or the green beans, but he really liked the cranberry sauce and corn casserole.

While in Memphis, he got to take pictures with the entire family dressed up as elves … it was quite the experience!

The week after going to Memphis, we headed up to Kansas City for Ari’s first round of Botox injections. He did great during the process and it seems to be working well for him!

He was able to finally break out the Santa hat that Mommy bought him last year

We went to the Christmas extravaganza that his school hosted! Ari was able to meet Santa for the first time and eat yummy snacks while Mommy did his arts and crafts.

Then, this past week, Ari got his new glasses! He looks so much older and is doing fairly well at leaving them on!!

Just yesterday we were able to go to his first Parade. It was freezing (and he slept through the first 15 mins), but he thought it was interesting and there were all kinds of people walking by!

Christmas is right around the corner and it will be so great for Ari!! I know there are already stacks of presents waiting for him … we’ll see how eager he is to rip the paper!!

It is crazy to think it has been 8 months since he was officially mine!! I am so blessed that he is here!!

7 months of Forever

As each month passes, it is such an odd combination of feelings. I feel like he has been with me always, but at the same time cannot believe that we have already been together for 7 months!


This last month contained several “firsts” and well as the daily “grind”. 

Ari went to his first wedding, where he dressed up all snazzy like! He had a fun time and was so well behaved!! 

He then got to experience his first Halloween in the US. It was filled with several days at various trunk-or-treats and he got lots of candy and “ooh and ahhs” over his costume. 

He also got to experience ToyLand during the November First Friday in Bentonville. He had fun, but we learned we need to go earlier in the day next time to try to avoid some of the crowds. 

This past month he has consistently been drinking out of a cup with a straw, a HUGE leap forward when it comes to self-feeding!! 

He had a really good month!! 

Unfortunately, he is getting ready to experience something else New tomorrow, his first funeral and loss of a family member.   My dear, sweet grandmother passed away last Friday and the entire family is here in St Louis in preparation for her funeral tomorrow.  While I am so heart broken that she won’t be able to be here for Ari’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am thankful that she got to meet him. She loved him so very much and always wanted to know how he was doing. She couldn’t wait for us to come home for Thanksgiving…

Gramme, thank-you for always loving us and being a guidance to us with your wisdom and experience. We love you so much and miss you terribly. Your stories and memories will forever be in our hearts!

First Halloween

From Friday 10/27 until 10/31, we have been almost non-stop Halloween fun! 

On Friday, he had a costume parade at school – the teachers all said how his costume was definitely a good one – and he had a great time! 


That evening we went to the Trunk or Treat at Arvest Ballpark. It was freezing, but he was dressed in 3 layers, gloves, and a hat – which he seemed to be happy with! 


Saturday morning we went Trick or Treating on the Bentonville Square during the farmer’s market . It was pretty slow when we got there, but that meant no crowds to battle! That evening we went to the Trunk or Treat held by the Centerton Fraternal Order of Police. We had free hotdogs and ice cream and got lots of candy. 
Sunday we took the day off from Halloween activities, resting up for Monday and Tuesday. 

On Monday we went to Trick or Suites at the Embassy Suites. This is held for all special needs kids and their families in the area. We had a great time and got lots of candy and fun things! 


Tuesday we went to the fall carnival at our church. Lots of games and people. We had hotdogs and nachos while spending time with friends. It was the first time for Ari to have his face painted (supposed to be a puppy dog) and had a ton of fun playing with an unwrapped balloon animal. 

All in all, Ari had a great first Halloween!! I’m so thankful I was able to spend it with him at home! 

First Meetings and Surgical Updates

So I realized this morning that around this time last year, I was just meeting Ari for the first time! I had gone to China on an advocacy trip and stayed extra time to help with some training at Ari’s foster home and to meet him …

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In all honesty, I was overwhelmed at first by just how much support he needed – by how large his head was.

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It was at this point that doubts began creeping in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was smitten with him and loved him no doubt. But, as a single woman, could I REALLY do this?!IMG_5574.jpg

But, there was that little smile …. the one that I cannot say no to.IMG_5352.jpg

IMG_5401.jpgIt’s hard to believe that it has been a year since these pictures were taken …. but I am SO grateful that he is home.

He has already been through so much, but he is happy and thriving.

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Yesterday we had follow-up appointments in Dallas. He did so well with the drive, waiting for the doctors, etc. It never fails, though, he ALWAYS is asleep when we see the craniofacial surgeon!!

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I think the only time that Dr. Fearon has seen him awake was when he was unhappy in the hospital post surgery!! Oh well … we tried! He did stay awake for the ENT and Neurosurgery … so there is that!

Right now, everything looks good. We will go back in 6 months (right around our celebration of Ari being with me for 1 year!! ). The craniofacial surgeon wants to wait at least a year post-op before determining if another procedure is needed. He said he would be able to remodel the back of his head and that would allow neuro to remove more fluid (making his head less heavy) – but we’re going to wait and see. As he grows, his neck muscles should get bigger and stronger, hopefully leading to better head control. The downfall to all of this, is that EVERYTHING relies on head control. He won’t be able to learn how to independently sit without head control first … crawling, walking, etc … all depend on head control. Now, will we EVER get to that point, who really knows. BUT, without head control, it is a complete no go. So, we play the wait-and-see game. I was really hopeful that he would have greatly improved head control by now after the last surgery … but it just isn’t so.

Anywho, we headed home after our LONG day of 5 appointments – we stopped for dinner at a McDonalds (that was packed with high schoolers headed to a football game … I forgot it was Friday). Ari got yogurt with his Happy Meal and LOVED it … lol IMG_1605.jpg

I am so thankful that he is such a good traveler … it really is a HUGE blessing! Here’s to not having to go back to Dallas for 6 more months (knock on wood)!!

 

6 Months

6 Months, 183 Days, 22 Days of school, 2 surgeries, 2,250+Miles driven to medical appointments and an infinite amount of smiles and giggles!

It has been 6 Months since I went to China and had Ari placed in my arms.


6 Months …an eye blink compared to a lifetime.

He has been doing so well.


He is liking school and, according to his teacher, has a little girlfriend. She stays by his side all day (often times even when on the playground), picks up toys he drops and he will reach out to hold her hand. He is a heartbreaker for sure!

We are heading back to Dallas at the end of the week for our follow up. I expect “he looks good” from all surgeons .. so we’ll see. 🙂


He continues to improve with his head control, self-feeding and playing with toys. He seems to like almost every food placed in front of him and is doing so well.

We went to our first “First Friday” on the square. He had his first ever ice cream cone and loved it!! 


I am so blessed by these past 6 months and I look forward to a lifetime more! I can’t wait to see how much Ari gains!  I love this sweet little boy, he sure has stolen my heart!!