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!!

First Week of School

Well, Ari had a great first week of  preschool! 

The first 2 nights he decided that he didn’t really need to sleep the night before school – but he eventually started sleeping better as the week progressed.

He has gotten some different seats and equipment at school that was needed. 


They are still figuring out his therapy schedule – but they’re getting there. The kids in his class seem to really love him. The second day I dropped him off a little boy came running up to him saying, “Ari, I missed you all night!!” … super adorable!! 

We started working on a communication app last night .. he rocked it!! We will be hitting this hard so he can start telling us what he wants. ​

The next big thing I have to figure out is how to start picking him up from school (currently I have been working and my sister has been getting him). Auntie Meg goes home at the end of the month and they don’t have a bus for him to ride .. no spots :(. If anyone local knows a reliable college age(ish) kiddo who would want to earn a little money by picking him up from school, just let me know!! 

I’m glad to have him home this weekend! He is happy and playing and I’m sure he will be excited to go to school on Monday! 

5 Months

5 months … that is just crazy talk!!

This past month has been a big one!

We had pictures done before surgery to capture his sweet and adorable face!

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We survived a weekend without A/C. IMG_0885.jpgIMG_0870.jpg

Then, he had surgery.

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And tomorrow, this sweet little boy starts preschool!!

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Don’t ask me where the time has gone, because I have NO idea!! Before I know it this year will be over and he will be going to Kindergarten!!

I’m excited for him to start school. It will be a new adventure!!

Recovery 

Ari has done so well with recovery from this surgery!! I shouldn’t be surprised, but yet he never ceases to amaze me!! 
He has only needed Tylenol once in the last 2 days and the swelling is continuing to decrease. The top of his head continues to display significant swelling (if you touch the top, you cannot feel bone).  He is starting to move his head more and is able to hold it up almost as long as he could prior to surgery – and I expect this time to increase as he regains his strength. The hope is that he will gain head control and then, hopefully, sitting balance! 

A huge shout out to my Mom (Bubbles) … she went to Dallas with us for surgery and then came back home with us for the past week … it was so great to have her here. It really makes me miss being so close so they can see him more!! (Picture from his birthday party)

Post-Op Day 2

Well, the original plan was for discharge today, but Ari doesn’t like to play by the rules! 

Last night he woke up several times, but was content and even spent some time “talking” around 1:00am. I was happy to hear this because I hadn’t heard a peep out of him (other than crying) since before the surgery.  I was really hoping that his overnight awesomeness would spread into today, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

We woke up around 7:30 and I ordered his breakfast (it has been taking ~ a hour for food to come) and I made some instant oatmeal My mom had brought to hold him over. The sweet little boy was starving!! He ate the entire bowl of oatmeal and fell asleep. From a deep sleep he began retching- but nothing came out. It was just downhill from there. 

He refused to eat anything from the breakfast tray I had ordered and refused to drink anything from his cup. We skipped lunch because he was so agitated even with IV Tylenol on board, he was given some Ativan to take the edge off until he could have his Toradol (which was the first time he needed that). He was very restless all day, struggling with gas pain. He was able to eat a little vanilla pudding and a few bites of banana.


For dinner I got him some chicken noodle soup but he ate very little. He ate a few bites of his leftover tuna fish, but he was just not in the mood for food. 

He was able to sit in my lap for a few hours today – but I feel bad moving him because he is in such pain. He did fall asleep in my arms and it was good for him to have a position change, but it is hard to handle him and his head when it is just so swollen all over. 


The swelling today has been rough. His right eye has swollen shut and the left eye is just a little sliver. I really hope we have hit the peak of the swelling … even his ears are swollen and it has to just be so uncomfortable!! 


We are staying the night tonight, not too sure what the plan is for the rest of the weekend. His craniofacial surgeon wants to take it day by day to see how he does. I’m so happy that they are so open to how the family feels and want us to be comfortable going home. 

Praying that tomorrow is easier, both pain and swelling wise!