Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Oh that's right, Thanksgiving is past. I'm behind, but had to post pics from our Thanksgiving fun.

Pre-Thanksgiving dinner with Meg and Dev. (Meg had to fly home to work the entire holiday weekend.)

Followed by a visit back to the good old stomping grounds to see 'Cinderella' at Hillcrest High School. Roger decided he didn't want to see a bunch of singing, so he watched the munchkin and Callie brought AJ instead!

Came home to have some camera fun with Brooklyn. Love her.

And finally, our actual Thanksgiving at the Gardners. So much fun. Liz and Adam announced that Gardner grandbaby #20 will be arriving next year!! Congrats guys!

This is one of two tables of people. We're a huge family and still growing!

And of course, the day after Thanksgiving shopping...the babies joined us! What a stud this guy is. This would be Kaden Cole. I could eat him up.

Can't believe Christmas is next week!!!!!!!!!!!!

A House Divided

Who to cheer for?


Who was there??
The Gardner family. Notice I am the ONLY one cheering on our Utes.
(Brooklyn is neutral at this point)

Did NOT have a happy husband at the end of the game. And Brooklyn was done with all of the insane noise - some of that noise was not 'happy' noise during that last play.

Brooklyn consoling Grandpa Gary

Yes, we are a house divided. So with as much tact and grace as I can muster, I say.....
GO UTES!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tis the Season

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!
(Doesn't she remind you of the movie "Christmas Story"?)

I love love love this time of the year! So many fun things to do!
  • Time to put the coats back on, light the candles (cinnamon, from Taipan to be exact), buy egg nog, and eat cookies
  • First snowfall!! Can I say how fun it is to celebrate the season as a larger family this year!

  • Do some Christmas shopping (okay, okay...I started mine in September. Pathetic I know. Can't help myself.), gear up for the holidays, spend time with family....and the list goes on!
  • Did I already say eat cookies? And buy egg nog?
Roger and I are in trouble. We have a bad habit of buying frozen cookie dough and baking "a few" on the nights we're both home. Store bought cookie dough is gross, but not straight out of the oven! How about we get an extra present under the tree for every pound we gain? That way I won't feel so guilty. Bring on the holidays!!

Meg and Dev are in town. This was Brooklyn's reaction. Also the picture I sent both of them as they landed at the airport. Don't ya just love this girl?

She has also taken on a new habit. We call this the 'monkey' face. No idea what she's chewing on when she does this, but it sure makes us laugh. She has found her voice and 'talks' to us all the time. Maybe this face is her version of having a conversation with us? :)

And finally, tucking in for her "long winter nap". If you call one hour naps long.

Happy Holidays to all! I've wrapped all of Roger's gifts... who wants help wrapping theirs? I'll make you a cookie if you come over! Two or three if you ask nicely. :)
Yes I'm lame. What can I say...repeat title!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I had surgery yesterday. Ouch. And I threw up afterwards. A lot.

Why you ask?? From this pretty baby right here.

I've had a cyst on my left wrist for a couple months. The doctor says its from post pregnancy hormones and the way I would hold Brooklyn when I was burping her. Oops. Come talk to me and I'll show you how NOT to burp a baby.

Two steroid injections and lots of doctor visits wouldn't get rid of the pain. And it hurt lots. So surgery was scheduled. It was great. In and out. But I told the docs that I struggle with post-op nausea. I actually struggle with nausea with narcotics as well. I'll never be an addict cause I HATE to throw up! Yuck.

Despite some lovely nausea meds, I still had to have Roger pull over on the side of the road after leaving the surgery clinic so I could dry heave. I dry heaved all day at my mom's while she watched the baby. And took good care of a sickly daughter (thanks mom, I owe you!). I might have thrown up into a grocery bag all the way home as well.

Like I said, never gonna be an addict.

Roger should be a nurse. And a maid. He took awesome care of me last night. He cleaned, he bathed the baby, he yelled and screamed when our Utah Jazz won in overtime, he helped me into bed at 9:00 at night cause I'd been passed out on the couch for who knows how long. I love him. Thanks Rog for taking care of me. And thanks mom for cooking us dinner.

Today I'm a new woman. No more throwing up - in fact I'm enjoying a nice cold Diet Pepsi as we speak. Love that. And my wrist hardly hurts today, just some soreness that comes and goes.

But I still hate surgery. I've only had surgery for bad reasons (guess there's never a good reason), but I still don't like the memories those awful OR lights bring back. Hopefully the Gardner household is done with doctors for a long time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Diet Pepsi and a Cupcake

This time I'm celebrating, so I had to switch up the dunford donut for a cupcake. The Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes to be exact. They're heavenly. Danget.

Brooklyn had her first neonatal followup visit today. This is a pretty intense visit, it took us over three hours! We see them about four times over a five year timespan. They evaluate everything from weight and height, to her sleeping and eating habits...all of her milestones.

We learned a few things:

  • She's a very "social" baby. This caught me funny, I had to giggle as we got in the car. Of course she's social people, she a girl! And is the granddaughter of two very social grandmas! It might have helped that she gave smiles out like they were candy. Yes, her docs may have been men - way to flirt it up Brooklyn!
  • She's chubby for a preemie. She is in the 75% for weight had she been born on time. Guess she's eating just fine.
  • All major body systems are funcioning properly (with the exception of the kidney reflux - but we're crossing our fingers she'll outgrow it by age 5).
  • She's a great sleeper...I guess sleeping for 12 hours at night (at this point for a preemie) is not the norm. But we've never been the norm, right?
  • Developmentally, both physically and cognitively, she's right on track. Should be caught up to her real age vs adjusted age by age 2.
  • She is a very lucky little girl. Very lucky indeed.

I do have 'sting nose' a bit as I write this. Today I was surrounded by children and families in our exact situation. We chatted and compared stories as we waited out turns to see the various doctors. So many of the babies we met weren't as lucky as we were. I saw all too familiar oxygen tanks, feeding tubes, monitors just like ours (and beeping like crazy), and worn out parents. But grateful parents...for the miracles we were all bouncing and pacing the halls with.

I was nervous for this appointment. I had a knot in my stomach as I went to bed last night. Maybe from some real nervousness, maybe just a residual effect of the stress of the NICU. But I left there today so grateful for our baby and how well she sailed through her journey.

She has only two scars to prove she was so early....one on her nose from the Cpap causing breakdown, and a purple mark on her right knee. This may be a birthmark, or it may be an extremely deep bruise from birth. Her admission note to the NICU stated she was "a severely bruised infant, covering her torso, shoulders, legs and face". I'm sure the fact that she was a footling breech and face down contributed to all of the bad bruising.

This visit reminded me of the "waiting" we did for 13 weeks. It was awful. I don't think I will ever adequately be able to describe what it feels like to just simply "wait". For weight gain, for getting off the ventilator, for time to pass, for test results that never end. I think this is what gave me the "I can't breath very well" feeling 24/7. The waiting and wondering never went away. 13 weeks of that kind of stress, the kind that makes you feel like you have a piano on your chest, will do permanent damage to a person. I don't think I will ever be a patient person, as ashamed as I am to admit it. I do NOT do well with the kind of thing. In hindsight, I've never seen myself so broken, so zombielike (though I did my best to hide it). And I've never felt closer to my husband than during those months. We had no one to cry to everyday but each other. He saved me, literally, everyday from succumbing to a complete and total breakdown from the worry for our daughter's life and future.

I hope and pray we will not have to do this again. Yes, we want more children. Yes, I would take on a preemie again if I had to. Of course I would. But for now, I'm going to go hug the baby that is sleeping in her crib in the next room that now lets me smile proudly (as every parent does) that she belongs to us!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween

We're a few days late - better late than never!

Happy Halloween from the Gardner house!


On one of my night shifts, Roger sent me this picture in the middle of the night...

Brooklyn had been awake for a couple of hours. Not needing anything, just awake.

The picture below was taken the morning after she came home. We were loopy from lack of sleep (monitors beeping, middle of the night bottles, stress, having a newborn home for the first time, etc.)

Well last night she fell asleep at 6:00pm (in her clothes, no diaper change).........and slept until 8:00 this morning!! Total 180 from those first few weeks.

I'm sure she was wiped out from our day yesterday. I had a few doctor appts for myself (more to come on that another day), which resulted in little to no naps. The timing just didn't work out for her to sleep well. My fault. Mother of the Year award coming right up.

It still catches me off guard just how much sleep babies need to be happy and functional. Lucky little things. Aren't we all jealous?

Other fun stuff going on in our lives - Brooklyn and I left Rog home this last week and tagged along for a trip to Vegas with the parentals and Meg. (Yes I do that a lot. No eye rolling please. I know I should just stay home, but we can't pass up an opportunity for fun!)

Figured out Brooklyn really doesn't like loud noises. The water show didn't go so well for us. But sun hats look cute on her, even if we spent the entire time in the shade. Call me paranoid. Also not helping my pasty white skin to tan at all.

Lunch with Debbie, my next door neighbor growing up! Her and Jerry are mission presidents in Las Vegas. Thanks for chatting Debbie, we'll come visit again!!

We also gave the baby rice cereal for the first time. So darn funny. We're not sure she liked it. But it sure gave us good entertainment!

And finally, all dressed up for church! Have I mentioned how fun it is to play dress up with babies? So fun.

Excuse the lack of quality in some of the pictures we post. A lot are taken with my crappy cell phone because the moment will be lost if I take the time to grab my camera.