An Update on Marshall’s Vision

Our little one is 6 1/2 months old and it makes me sad. I look at him and wonder where has the time gone? I know that when I first blogged about his vision problems we were at a wait and see on what exactly our little can see and do. This is what I can officially say…he loves life! Our little man is in to everything. He rolls, talks all of the time, eats continuously, would rather stand than sit, and it pretty much sitting up on his own when  he so chooses to do so. He has even begun tracking various objects which is a big improvement. Needless to say, our kid is doing great. Are all of my fears gone? haha..no. But I have accepted they never will be. He still has vision problems but the greatest feeling is knowing that he can see and he is improving. We go to the Ophthalmologist in one month to see how he is doing. Of course I’m nervous but I also know that Marshall is improving everyday and whatever we find out we will deal with.

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Marshall at 5 months during his first pool experience
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His 5 month birthday was celebrated in Nemacolin Resort in PA.
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Parenthood….It Can Suck the Life Out of You

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My happy, handsome, and perfect little boy 🙂 He makes my heart so very happy!

I love my son dearly but I am discovering that certain things I saw myself accomplishing after having him…well…they are just going to have to wait. After finding out about Marshall’s vision problems I fear I have become that Mom that worries about everything when it comes to his health and overall well being. If he sneezes I simply stop dead in my tracks with thoughts of terrible things happening to him because he sneezed. Yes, I am now that mother. I am that parent that other parents sit, point at, and judge. But that’s okay. I am what I am.

Having a baby is an eyeopening experience. This is obvious. Not so much is the experience it creates for oneself about what type of individual they themselves are. I led a sheltered life. My Mom and Dad babied me without question and I grew up thinking this is how all children live. Reality check…I was the weird one. The reality is that many children growing up in this country struggle with finding a safe place to call home and having a loving family around them to nurture and help them grow. So when I start fretting about every little thing about my son I need to first learn how to breathe and take notice that I’m not a bad mother. I may be clueless but at least I want to learn. I may be paranoid, but at least I care, and I may be crazy but that’s what will keep everyone else on their toes 🙂

I know this is a random blog post but my life has been random recently. I set all of these goals to blog every day on something new I have tried. Guess what? That fell through. However, I can’t say that I’m not trying new things. We are traveling nonstop this summer including a family vacation to Jamaica. I am continuing to crochet and would love to learn how to finally operate my sewing machine. I begin student teaching in the fall which means in the next couple of months I will prepare myself to leave the place I called work and at times home for the last 8 years of my life. I will leave those coworkers who I call friends and even family. They have been with me through the good times and the bad and have never wavered on being my support system when I needed them most.

Life changes…it must because that’s the world in which we live. I am making strides in ensuring that everyday is special. I watch Marshall getting older and realize that these are moments I will not get back with him. When I get frustrated that he sleeps better in bed with us than in his crib I have to stop and tell myself it won’t always be like this. So, to those numerous posts that say you shouldn’t share your bed with your infant….oops. My line of thinking is if he can sleep better in our bed and his mommy and daddy sleep better…then we are going to do it!

Woes of Motherhood

As I started this blog there was this grand plan of accomplishing various projects and goals for the new year after the horrific 2014 I experienced. However, as some may notice that has not been the case. I have fallen in the pit of doom known as “life.” I do not say this to say that this year sucks already. On the contrary…this year has been amazing for the simple fact that my little boy, Marshall, has filled my heart after the void left by the passing of my mother last year. I can’t explain it. He gives me peace like no other. This little boy is why I delayed blogging further. Aside from him needing me constantly, my husband and I have been dealing with our little one’s current problems…his vision.

In early February I took Marshall to the pediatrician for fear that he had caught a cold that was going around. What happened next has been life altering. While Marshall did not have a cold, the pediatrician, who is wonderful, grew concerned about Marshall’s vision. This caught me off guard. My little boy was only 2 months old. How could anything be wrong with him? We were sent to the only pediatric ophthalmologist around us for further consultation on the same day. So here I am. A bundle of nerves. Worried sick about my little one. When we get to the ophthalmologist’s office we were greeted with a lack of kindness and understanding with a side diagnosis of Marshall having cataracts and other possible vision problems including something known as Persisten Hyperplastic Primary Vitreious (PHPV). Instead of informing us further about the vision concerns the ophthalmologist simply handed me a tissue, since I was crying my eyes out, and told us we could go now. Aside from the day my mother died this was by far the worst day I had ever had. My perfect little boy could possibly be blind is what we were told.

One thing the ophthalmologist did right was to refer us to the WVU Eye Institute in Morgantown, WV for further tests including an ultrasound on Marshall’s eyes to test for the PHPV diagnosis. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to go which was great news because my husband and I made ourselves sick by looking up the outlook for this disease. When we arrived I was terrified of what we would find out. I was quickly reassured as Marshall was seen and we were told immediately he did NOT have PHPV. Never have I felt a weight lift off of my chest like I did in that moment…however…we were not out of the woods. Marshall’s new ophthalmologist diagnosed Marshall with Microphthalmia, or Small Eye Syndrome. This diagnosis was made because Marshall’s corneas measure at 7mm when they should be 9 or 10. Approximately 2mm stood in between Marshall and this diagnosis. The next questions that arose were what does this mean for Marshall developmentally and the honest answer we were given was…”I don’t know.” Typically this disorder is simply a symptom of another underlying cause which is why the next step of Marshall’s treatment was an MRI to see the brain development and how well the optic nerve has matured behind the eye. So here we were again with wonders of what could be wrong with our little one. All we could do was sit back and wait for an MRI to be scheduled and then come and see the ophthalmologist for further evaluation.

If anyone has experienced an MRI it is safe to say they can be a traumatic experience. With Marshall’s age the decision was made to put him under which terrified me. It was also heartbreaking not being able to feed my little one until the procedure was over. It was simply exhausting. In the end, Marshall did remarkably well and the next day the ophthalmologist called us with the results…Marshall’s MRI came back clean. Our little boy was perfect…except for his vision. So what we were left with was a diagnosis of a mild form of Microphthalmia with the monkey wrench in the condition being the presence of partial cataracts in both eyes. The important thing we could do was to make sure that Marshall stayed engaged and learned to interact and grow. Only time would tell how his vision was.

This leads me to today as we went back to the ophthalmologist for further evaluation. Marshall’s lenses “appeared” to be more cloudy which baffled him because he could tell that Marshall has become more attentive in focusing and looking around. So, I come writing this with mixed emotions. I would love to say that Marshall has perfect vision but I would be lying. The truth is I don’t know what he sees and how well. What I do know is that he CAN see and coming from the beginning that he would be blind I will take this news. The plan is to come back in three months to see him again and make a decision on whether cataract removal is necessary at this time. I love the fact that Marshall’s new ophthalmologist is not jumping the gun on surgery. Research states that babies with full cataract have surgery immediately. In Marshall’s case with partial cataracts it is a wait and see in order to reduce his chances of having other eye problems as a result of the surgery like glaucoma.

I wanted to share Marshall’s story here for all of the parents out there who are going through something similar with their little ones. There is no worse feeling than to think that our children will not be “normal” as they grow older. What I have learned is that technology is a wonderful thing. I know that if Marshall’s vision is not the best there are so many avenues that will help him lead as normal of a life as he should have. Besides, who wants normalcy anyway? Going to the Eye Institute I have witnessed some resilient and spunky kids with their exhausted parents right there supporting them.

We learn to take it one day at a time. Life is far too short to live in fear. From all of this I have discovered so much about not only how strong and intelligent Marshall already is but also how strong my husband and I are, both as individuals and also as a couple. This experience has strengthened our marriage and has helped us become even better parents…at least I think so. I see the importance of keeping a child engaged no matter what age they are. I see the importance of talking nonstop to Marshall. I see the importance of holding and cuddling him as much as possible and as a result I get to experience him looking directly at me and putting his hands on my face. To truly experience that in fact my little one sees me is simply amazing.

We go back in July but until then we just keep doing what we’re doing. It works. Parents, it’s tough but our little ones are resilient and I believe stronger than we are. They are smart so let’s have them experience the world around them. Let’s not live in fear. Let’s embrace the unknown and place our faith in who we must.

Hobbies

Everyone has, or has had, a hobby at some point in their life. I have had many it seems but none have really stuck like my love of crochet.
It’s strange to me that I like to crochet; something that I thought only old women did and items created were those that eventually found themselves donated to the local Goodwill. This was my take until a friend of mine helped to awaken my love and appreciation for the craft. I tackle crocheting as a puzzle because I love to attempt complex and unique patterns…the downside is I haven’t mastered my own design patterns because I don’t know how to do it…I digress.
For me, crocheting helps me escape the day to day things that trouble or stress me and in the end I have created something (hopefully) beautiful m
This week I started working on smaller projects in order to deplete my extensive yarn collection.

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I have created a number of little hats in the last couple of days using this soft Bernat yarn. They go from preemie to 6 months.

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Here are some of my creations. My favorite is the one below.

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I love the button detail on it. I had bought these buttons months ago and forgot about them. I think I paid $4 for 100 buttons and am in love! I used another one as a finishing touch on a mug cozy shown below.

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So here is my next thought…what do I do with my creations? Should I sell them? I have always had an issue taking people’s money for things I have made. I do think that once I have built up my collection of items I will bite the bullet and open my own Etsy shop. A friend has already commissioned me to make the amazing cat butt coasters I had discussed in a previous post.
To anyone who has used Etsy or has advice on this please share. I  so new to this.
Until next time…Now it’s time to enjoy some wine and troll Pinterest for some more crochet ideas.

Better Late Than Never

Okay so I have already dropped the ball on blogging everyday. Resolution broken…but I’m not stopping. Random thought…I believe the problem with New Year resolutions is that when they are broken we don’t look at the possibility of restarting them. We wait until next year. If last year taught me anything it is the fact that we are not guaranteed next year or even tomorrow for that matter. So I won’t remember to post every day but guess what? I am still going to stick to this blog and all I can accomplish.
So yesterday I started crocheting a child’s hat and realized it barely fit my 7 week old. Usually that means I drop the project and start something new but not this time. I started from scratch. I would post a pic but it still isn’t finished. The end result however will be worth
the wait…maybe.
That’s all for now…just remember kept on keeping on. You will be better off for doing it.

Day 2…

So I didn’t get to complete a Pin today. Motherhood beckoned me as did a husband, house and pets.
Seriously, maternity leave has given me perspective on the 24/7 life of the stay-at-home Mom and Wife. Notice I capitalize both because they are job titles in themselves. If I wasn’t sterilizing bottles and pumping (breastfeeding is a chore especially the pumping) I was feeding or changing the baby. When he napped it gave me a chance to pick up my messy house and take care of the pets while also fixing lunch for the husband. This last chore may offend some and let me clarify something. I do not believe in waiting on my husband left and right. Instead, fixing him lunch let’s me know that he has in fact eaten for the day. Seriously, how does someone forget to eat?! Said husband does this when I am not around. Anyway, I digress.
I did get out of the house to get my hair cut and to pick up some things to help my sister with my niece’s birthday party tomorrow. The time away was nice but I must admit I missed my baby, the pets, and the husband…in that order. I did start a crochet project of baby booties and have to complete a cat butt coaster for a co-worker. Shew…I am exhausted but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Until tomorrow…

And So It Begins

Technically I should have attempted a Pin yesterday but I figured setting my mind to actually following through with something would count instead. So I am going to say this is the first official day of my Pinning adventure and what better way to begin than with a crochet project!

I attempted this pattern months ago and made one successfully with plans to revisit the pattern again and guess what? I never did. So here it is; the pattern I have absolutely fallen in love with. Yes, it is a cat butt and I deem this pin a success! If there are any crocheters out there who want to try this I highly recommend following the pattern found here at http://myyarnspot.blogspot.com/2014/10/free-dogcat-butt-coaster-pattern.html.

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On another note, I must add that yesterday I chose to rejoin Weight Watchers. Early last year I joined for the first time and in two months I had lost about 15 lbs. It was a great weight loss program for me and I was still capable of eating what I wanted…just in moderation. I quit simply because it was difficult to follow while pregnant. Now I have rejoined the program with hopes of losing the rest of my baby weight. At my last dr. visit, I have lost 28 of the 48 lbs. I gained while pregnant. I feel that Weight Watchers will help me achieve my first goal of returning to my pre-pregnancy weight with an ultimate goal of losing another 20 lbs. after that to be the ideal size for my height. It will be a long and difficult journey but I look forward to adding it to my list of things to accomplish in 2015. In future posts I hope to include my progress, recipes and workouts that I have tried in order to possibly encourage others who are going through the same thing.

Until tomorrow, goodnight…

Hello 2015

As is common practice for most individuals I have decided to make some rather hefty goals for 2015 because let’s face it I reveled in things I couldn’t change and let the days go by with making no effort to better my life or the life of others. I am ashamed because my Mother taught me better than that. She also taught me to not wish my life away because our days are not guaranteed. That became ever so true when she passed away July 8, 2014…a day that will forever impact my life. While it is a day that I lost my Mom I also found out how strong of a person I am and that she taught me well.

It is my goal for myself this year to make a difference in my life and for those around me beginning with my son who was born on November 17. How am I going to do this? I’m not quite sure. I have ideas in mind but I am a dreamer and not a planner which means if anyone who is reading this were the betting type don’t bet on me completing ALL of my goals. Instead, I want to look back on 2015 and say “I lived this year to the fullest!” I feel that even though my Mom isn’t here physically she is here in spirit. As crazy as it sounds when the ball dropped last night I felt a sense of peace and acceptance of not having Mom here. Instead, I realize she is in everything I do. I still find myself thinking what would Mom do or say in certain situations. So 2015, I’m not going to wish you to bring me a better year because that is something that is entirely up to me. I want to look back next New Year’s and say “2015, you were awesome and let me show you why!”

I have a plan in mind as to what I want to accomplish this year. This is not a how-to blog but simply a live and learn blog instead. If anyone reads this and draws inspiration that’s awesome! I am the person who loves reading other individuals’ experiences and gaining some new insight. I want to try new things and share on here because quite frankly my memory is short-term and this will give me an outlet to remember all the things I hope to accomplish. So how am I going to choose the things I want to try? The answer lies in the awesome world of (drum roll please…) Pinterest.

I am a Pinner but not a doer. I like to pin but never act on what I pin. Maybe it’s a fear of things not turning out like the pins or maybe it is simply because I forgot about what I pinned. The latter in most cases is for my low percentage of Pinterest completion. So this year my goal is to only Pin things I will attempt and try. This will include DIY projects, recipes, workouts, etc. I will also include quotes as a daily try because words of wisdom are just as important in times of heartache…or laziness. I need those days of laziness. Pinterest is an amazing invention but I, like many others out there, have not followed through on what I pin. Maybe I am drawing inspiration from the movie “Julia and Julia” but I want to blog each day on something I have Pinned.

So here it goes…let the Pinning and doing commence. If I fail and miss a day or two…or week…I will not abandon the Pinning experiment. It will be challenging and difficult seeing as I am now a Mom and will soon be returning to my full-time day job next month but I feel these projects will do me good.

To all of my Pinterest comrades, let’s start attempting what we Pin…it’s no telling the things we can learn and do from them…or fail miserably at attempting them. The important thing will be we tried.

Finally, Happy New Year to anyone who reads this. May 2015 be a healthy and happy one! I leave you with an image of my pride and joy who happened to make the cutest New Years baby!newyearsbabyMarshall Thomas