Tuesday, December 18, 2012


We have a six year old in our house.  Yep.  He's six.

He had a pretty good birthday.  We didn't have a party this year, opting instead to put that money towards something BIG that we are doing in March... we went out to dinner (sushi - his choice, of course), but by the time we got home, he barely had energy for cake, so we opened presents on Saturday.  So in honor of being six, Stephen came down with a cold.  

Stephen is recovering beautifully from his surgery a few weeks ago.  He is sleeping pretty well, although I think we'll see even more improvement in a couple more weeks.  Even better, he is much more aware, and engaged, and more interested in playing, instead of just being a couch potato, and he is attempting much more speech.  

He is also more interested in all of our Christmas preparations this year.  Stephen has especially enjoyed his advent calendar - he pulls the little ornament out each day, and picks where it should go on the tree, which explains the cluster of little ornaments at the bottom.  And then we count down each day until December 25th, giggling away!

We are SO PROUD of all of the progress that Stephen has made this year.  He's just come so far, and we are so happy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Picture post

I decided to post a few surgery pictures, and some others that are pretty fun.  Stephen no longer has any restrictions with regards to food textures, and he was VERY happy to use his "talker" to ask for graham crackers.  :-)

This first one was before surgery.  Stephen was very anxious about surgery, but enjoyed the free wi-fi!  Those socks didn't stay on for long at all, though...
This was a few hours after surgery.  The DVD player in our room wasn't connected to the TV (THAT was an interesting discovery!) so Stephen was watching Elmo's Christmas Countdown on my laptop.  I think we watched that 3 times while we were in the hospital.  He had his two favorite buddies there keeping him company, and his Granddaddy to later help him with some pudding.
This is our annual family portrait.  It seems to represent us pretty well - Erik and I look exhausted while Stephen laughs hysterically at something.
And the obligatory Birthday picture.  Our photographer got some REALLY great shots out of him this year - and he didn't even cry!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeling better!

I'm going to spare you all of the sad pictures of Stephen while he was in the hospital.... he's feeling MUCH better now, but isn't still 100%.  The scope found that not only had the adenoids grown back, but they were ENORMOUS!  The surgeon also found that the lingual tonsils were enlarged, and he cut those down too.  Stephen's oxygen saturation levels were between 95 and 100% while we were at the hospital, even while he was sleeping, which means that surgery was a success!  

Stephen went to school for a few hours today, because he was bored being at home, but I'll pick him up before lunch, since he's still not eating a normal, solid diet yet, and I didn't want to send him to school with a lunch he probably wouldn't eat.  As for his sleeping... it's better, but not yet great.  I think he's just used to getting up during the night, so that is continuing, but now we know it's behavioral, so we'll work past it.  

I have to give a BIG THANK YOU to my Dad who came out for the week to help while Stephen was recovering.  I was able to keep going to school, which was important, while Stephen needed to stay home still, and it allowed me to be able to maintain what little bit of sanity I still have, and allowed Erik to work as well.  THANKS, DAD!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beautiful weather

It was so nice here on Sunday that we decided to load up and go to the zoo.  The animals were enjoying the weather too, and the giraffes were hanging out right at the fence, like THEY were watching US!  Stephen loved it!

His favorite, though, was the swimming Grizzly Bear.  He just wanted to sit and watch him swimming and playing in the water.

This happy boy will not be very happy with us for the next couple of days... tomorrow (Thursday), Stephen will be checking in to the Children's Hospital for an airway scope, and then potentially (likely) cut out the enlarged tissue that is causing his sleep apnea.  So that means an over-nighter for Mommy and Stephen at the hospital tomorrow night, and probably several days of recovery for our little guy.  But hopefully, in the end, this will result in better sleep for all of us, and a happier family.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Busy times!

We've been keeping ourselves pretty busy here in the Heine house!  But we still managed to find time to visit our local fire station last weekend.  When Stephen was in pre-k last year, they'd had a field trip scheduled to visit one, but Stephen was sick and couldn't attend.  After a neighborhood kitchen fire 2 weeks ago, we decided it was time to go!  Stephen loved looking around the truck, of course, and the fire fighters were super nice to let us come look around - THANK YOU to Station 17!!

We also had a bit of a scare last week as well.  As if Stephen's sleep apnea issues weren't enough to put us all on edge, I noticed on Saturday that Stephen had developed a twitch that affected his left arm and hip/leg. It got worse as the weekend went on, and on Monday, after letting his teacher know about it, she contacted me to tell met that it was almost non-stop during recess.  I got Stephen in to see his pediatrician early Monday afternoon (how's THAT for service?!?!  I love them.), who confirmed our suspicions that it was a TIC.  She referred us to a neurologist, with instructions to video tape Stephen's tic, in case it took a few weeks to get in.  Luckily for our anxiety levels, we were able to get in the NEXT DAY, thanks to a cancellation.  She also agreed that it was a tic, and said that it would start to subside, and that Monday would probably be the worst day.  She was right, of course, and we have only really seen it pop back up when Stephen is really tired.  Yes, being tired can exacerbate the tic, as can stress.  This may be a one-time occurrence, or it may come back, but even if it does come back, he will most likely outgrow this in a few years.  There's very little that can be done; it can't be prevented, but if it interferes with his life too much (if it comes back), we will look into medications.

So that's what all we've been up to.  Pa and Kim are coming for a visit this week, which should be fun, and then the next week is the visit to the ENT, and Thanksgiving!  We are also planning on taking Stephen to see his first movie in the theater - Wreck It Ralph!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sleep Study Results and Halloween

So.... Stephen had his sleep study, as I posted before, and here are some pictures.  This one below was taken before he was hooked up to anything, perfectly happy to be goofing around WELL past his normal bedtime.

 And then we have this.  You can kind of see that Stephen has his lower lip out here - he wasn't sad, though. He was trying to use his lips to push the sensor off before resorting to ripping it off with his hands.  Stephen HATES to have stuff on his face.  :-(

He managed to tear all of the face stuff off, and ended up in the splints, which didn't really affect the results at all.  We all headed to visit with a sleep psychologist on Tuesday, who revealed that he really couldn't do much for us, as the preliminary sleep study results said that we are looking at sleep apnea again.  Stephen was averaging 11.6 apnea episodes an hour during REM sleep, which is what causes him to wake up so early.  And whatever sleep he gets isn't very restful at all.  As soon as we got home from this appointment, and got Stephen off to school, I got on the phone with our pediatrician's nurse, who put me in touch with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor that took out Stephen's tonsils and adenoids 3+ years ago, and I managed to get an appointment for mid November.  Hopefully we can get this figured out soon so our little boy can get back to the business of being a little boy, instead of a sad sack of exhaustion.

In the meantime, we enjoyed a great evening of trick or treating!  Stephen dressed as Pablo from The Backyardigans (of course!), and this is the ONLY picture of him wearing the head piece.  This was also our first attempt at taking the "talker" out into the neighborhood.

 Stephen used his talker tremendously well, and we are so proud of him for that!  We didn't have an opportunity to practice beforehand, but I did show him the buttons he would need so that he could do it easily.  We marched up to the first house, and I reminded Stephen what he needed to do.  He said, "Trick or Treat!" "Thank you," "Happy Halloween," and then because no one knew what he was dressed as, "I'm Pablo!"  He repeated this at every house with almost no prompting, and our neighbors were just thrilled to hear his "voice."  This even gave us some new ideas for encouraging him to use it at school as well, which the Speech Therapist is excited to implement this coming week.

Stephen also got a new swing this week - it is an early Christmas present from his grandparents who wanted him to be able to enjoy it while the weather is still nice.  He really likes the back support, but it's certainly more independent than his previous swing, which he is now too heavy to use.  Hopefully he will continue to remember to hang on!

Friday, October 26, 2012


We've had a pretty busy month here.  Stephen's grandparents were here visiting, helping out while I was very busy with school stuff, and occasionally leaving to do a little traveling on their own.  While they were here, Stephen's school had a day to kick of their "Read At Home" campaign, and the kids were supposed to dress as their favorite book character.  I don't know if any other kids in Stephen's class dressed up, but Stephen made an appearance as Captain Underpants!

We also had our annual class trip to the pumpkin patch/farm.  I love this picture because Stephen is just so short compared to his classmates.  They were looking at some pigs and piglets here...

We also spent some quality time at the amusement park, especially on the teacup ride, which is still Stephen's favorite.

This past Monday, we took Stephen in for another sleep study to see if we can get to the bottom of his early waking issues.  He managed pretty well until they had to put splints on his arms to keep him from taking off his breathing monitor - Stephen continues to hate having stuff on his face, so this was really hard on him.  It took him about 2 hours of crying "Bi-eeee" to fall asleep after that.  He wanted to be able to put "bitey" in his mouth to calm down, but he couldn't bend his elbows.  Apparently Mommy wasn't doing this well enough for him, bu I tried.  We did get enough information from the times that he was asleep, and should know in another 10 days or so what the results are.  In the meantime, we are going to visit with a sleep psychologist to see if he has any suggestions.

Friday, October 5, 2012

More stuff

We had Stephen's first Parent-Teacher conference 2 weeks ago, and he is doing really well - better than we were anticipating, actually!  As expected, it is hard to determine what Stephen is actually retaining due to his expressive language delays, but he has made a ton of progress already, especially in areas that we know he is struggling with.  His coloring and drawing are really coming along, and we brainstormed some ideas to make holding the writing utensils a little easier for him, as well as how to get him to work on tracing his letters (which he will do at home, but not at school).  His social skills have progressed the most (more on that in a minute), but the biggest surprise for us has to do with math.  Stephen has been working on drawing shapes (a math skill), and can correctly identify numbers 1-100 (!!!!) with about 45% accuracy.  Stephen is one of 3 kids (out of 8) in his class that are working on 1-100 vs. 1-20.  We are EXTREMELY proud, especially considering that Stephen has previously shown very little interest in his numbers.

Now, about those social skills.  We have always worried about how Stephen is going to develop and maintain good friendships without the ability to really speak to other children.  He is learning to use the iPad program more and more at school, but we still have a long way to go with it.  Well, it appears that we don't have to worry about it.  Stephen frequently seeks out 2 specific boys and one little girl to play with at recess. He LOVES to play chase, and is very good at taking turns being the chaser and the chasee.  His teacher was surprised that Stephen doesn't play with these children outside of school since he seeks them out to play with them so frequently.  We are very excited to watch out little guy grow.

Swimming continues to go well, as you can see.  Sorry about the blur!  He was using the noodle to give him a little extra support as he came up for breaths, since that's still an occasional struggle for him, particularly when he's tired.

Friday, September 21, 2012


It occurs to me that I forgot to blog about Stephen's first day of school! Sorry - this picture was taken before I took him to school. Normally, he rides the bus in the morning, but my mommy heart just couldn't take NOT walking him to his classroom on his first day of Kindergarten. And I totally didn't cry!

It has been a month since Stephen started school, and as expected he loves it! He is playing with the other children, and enjoys the addition of P.E., art class, and music class. This is not to say, however, that this has been a smooth transition. For the past 6 months or so, Stephen has been waking up early with increasing frequency. And by early, I mean 5am, and sometimes earlier. For the record, a 5-6 year old should be getting 10-11 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Stephen is sitting on 9 most days. This started to become a daily issue over the summer, but we were hopeful that all-day kindergarten would wear him out enough to sleep longer, as he is really suffering from being so tired all day. We finally had enough, and took him to the pediatrician about this, and she suggested that we give him melatonin, and try to keep him up later. This is easier said than done - Stephen is ready to go to sleep usually between 7 and 7:30, instead of the 8pm that the doctor suggested, but we are keeping him up as best as we can. Sadly, this has affected his behavior at home and school, as well as his school performance, but we are all working proactively to help him as much as we can.  We now have an appointment for a sleep study in October, which will hopefully reveal the underlying cause for the sleep issues.  In the meantime, we're all just plugging along as best as we can!

Despite the sleep issues, Stephen's teacher reports that he is really a wonderful boy, and a joy to have around. That's what we love to hear!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One last hurrah!

We had one last Family Fun Friday at Frontier City before our big boy heads off to Kindergarten tomorrow.  We had a really good time, and the temperatures were pretty mild!

We've been kind of taking it easy this week, enjoying our last few lazy summer vacation days.  Stephen and Erik enjoyed playing in his tent, pretending to camp.  After this photo was taken, the tent was attacked by a ferocious dragon, only to be fought off by the brave Sir Stephen and his trusty Bitey.  It was hysterical!
Tomorrow morning, I'll drop Stephen off at his new classroom for all-day kindergarten.  I think we're ready, and more importantly, HE is ready.  Stephen was so excited at his Meet the Teacher night tonight that he practically dragged Erik to his classroom.  Unfortunately, Stephen went to his OLD classroom, but luckily, his new one is next door.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


We went up to Michigan to cool off for a week.  We had a lovely visit with Grandpa Rick and Kim, and got to see Aunt Erin, Uncle Adam, and cousins Zachary and Caleb too!  Stephen got to enjoy his favorite activities - swimming and a boat ride!  On our way up there, we spent a day in St. Louis with some family friends, and spent a few hours at the Magic House childrens' museum.  So, here are some photos from our super fun trip!  (P.S.  Yes, Erik and I DID try some tubing at the lake - it was FUN!)