Tuesday, December 29, 2009

XMAS with Mimi and Grandaddy

We had a great time with Mimi and Grandaddy last week for Christmas.  They drove down from Arkansas to spend a few days with us, we (me and my big belly especially) were thankful they were willing to come and give up Christmas with the rest of the family this year.  Carsten had his first Santa surprise waiting for him Christmas morning and was highly entertained the rest of the day with his new toys, his face was priceless when he walked out and saw the toys waiting for him that morning.  We also had a trip to the Atlanta Aquarium and got to go to the Christmas eve church service.  It was a great week but we definitely missed everyone else and will be making the trek back to Arkansas next year for sure.  We're looking forward to Chad's family coming in this week for Carsten's second Christmas so I'll post pics from that next week.  (33 weeks now, have an OB appt tomorrow so only 6 or 7 weeks to go until Baby Bridges #2 arrives!!  Please keep the prayers coming our way!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

A soldiers Christmas poem


This poem was written by a Marine.
The following is his request. I think it is reasonable.....
PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending
this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming
soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men,
women, and Canadian Forces for our being able to celebrate these festivities.
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we
owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and
dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your
small part to plant this small seed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So proud of my little man!

I'm so proud of our C-man and amazed daily at the new things he is doing I had to blog about it.  I can remember just before we moved to Atlanta I thought sadly, he's never going to communicate with me.  Well fast forward just a few months and he is finally taking off!  I just know someday the signs will turn into words but for now I'm so thankful for what he is doing.  Just this morning he's already signed eat, car, play, all done, dog, cat, bird, hat, (he loves hat or maybe he just likes hitting me on the head:) shoes, water, fish.  The most recent one we've learned is "car".  I say Carsten, do you want to go in the car and he signs "car"!  I am noticing how he'll initiate the sign when I say the word, I no longer have to sign it for him for some of them.  Just before his nap we read a few books and I can say Carsten where is the "dog" and he'll point to the dog and so on and so on!  I think our next sign is going to be "potty"!!!!  I guess I'll get the potty out for him to get used to and we'll learn the sign and so forth.  I've been teaching him diaper in the last couple of days and I think he'll get that pretty soon then maybe move to potty:)

Oh and the other sign we've been doing lately is "baby".  I'm going to teach him the sign and then go out here in a couple of weeks and buy "Carsten's baby" so he can get used to being gentle with it and the goal is hopefully that will transfer over to the real baby:)  (thanks Emily for the suggestion!)  But I'm actually running out of signs that I know so I need to get out the printouts I have of my sign language and start studying them I guess, I think he's going to continue to use sign for a few years at least before the words come.  Hopefully one day I can use the sign that I've learned as an OT.

Carsten is now going to a mother's day out at this place called The Kids Spot.  It's a little gym with lots of equipment and fun stuff for him to climb on and develop his gross motor while being around other kids.  He LOVES it!  Right now it's just Thursday from 9-12 but I'm thinking about adding Tuesday.  The owners are Christian and they play christian music and always do a craft and he gets two gymnastics classes while he's there.  I dropped him off this morning and he just ran in and jumped into the ball pit, turned around and waved bye bye, I went to the car to get my kleenex!  He's growing up TOO fast!!!

He loves to pull up my shirt and feel on my big belly too, so cute, if he only knew what was really coming:) 

Well that's about all the news I have.  His eating and drinking is steady, I will be so glad the day he can eat independently but I think that is still a ways off though he did drink 4 ounces of water today from a straw!!  Baby steps, baby steps is what I was thinking this morning, the hard work will pay off and one day I believe I will send him off to school with a lunchbox, God is faithful and He will do it (1 Thes 5:24)

As for me, I'm feeling like this seriously can't go on for another 10 weeks!  I've already moved over to Chad's side of the closet for most of my clothes:(  I've gained too much this time I'm afraid (hence why you never see ANY pictures of me on the blog or facebook:) but at least I didn't drink caffeine right, I just chose to reach for the big glass of whole milk instead, yikes!  The sleeping is getting pretty miserable as well and if you know me you know that's not good.  I woke up this morning feeling like I had run a marathon overnight I was so sore everywhere, mainly my hips (thank the good Lord I'm not still on that chair at KKI).  I welcome February 14th for two reasons, finding out the sex and Grande white chocolate mochas from Starbucks! (I'll be needing that when I've been up all night long then have a toddler to take care of during the day)  God definitely has a sense of humor though because I've had two dreams now where once it was a girl and the other a boy, guess He wants to keep me hanging right until the end.

Oh and I did finish Palin's book Going Rouge!  Anyone else out there read it?  I really enjoyed it, especially her testimony and the part about findout out about Trig and everything.  Politics aside, I believe she is a woman after God's heart and He will still use her in the future.  And I just know we're going to have a playdate someday with the two kiddos, maybe when we move to DC next year:) 







Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving pics

Carsten's Nana and Aunt Nae came for Thanksgiving this year. It was the first time we had a holiday at OUR house! I think everything went pretty well considering. I made my first dressing (southern cornbread of course) and we had Ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean bundles, rolls, cranberry dressing, deviled eggs, and my homemade apple pie! I'm starting to really love cooking and at least they "say" I'm good at it:)

Carsten also had his second trip to Chucky Cheese which he LOVED this time, last time he was still a little young and was scared of everything. This time he had a blast, well except for Chucky the mouse, he was still a little scared of him:)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Home sweet home!!!!!

We are on day 3 of being home and thought I would get in a quick update in case anyone was wondering how things were going. So I would say the first amazing thing with Carsten's eating that we noticed on the way home was that he ate in the car WITH NO TV!!!!!! Chad couldn't believe I just sat in the back and did the protocol and he ate 7 ounces of food with no crying, fussing, turning head, nothing! We had to stop and do drinks because it's pretty complicated and still messy but there we sat in a Wendy's and gave him 4 ounces of milk, not really caring that other people could hear me say "Carsten take a drink, good job taking that drink!" 20 times in a row:)

Once I got over the shock of coming home to a bachelor's house for the past 8 weeks, (catch my drift ladies?:) got a little cleaning and organization going, and a BIG trip to the grocery store, Carsten has been doing all his meals beautifully! We haven't had to tube any formula since before our last week in the hospital! I've been feeding him his three meals a day plus a snack at night. The hardest part has been figuring out the art of pureeing food but I think I'm getting a little better at it. For example, today for breakfast he had pureed oatmeal, fruit, and toaster streudels, mmmm:) Lunch was lasagna, peas, and fruit. They gave me a recipe book before I left that I'm sure I'll be dependent on for a while till I'm ready to branch out on my own but his diet is definitely way more varied than it used to be. He is still learning to tolerate the volume in his stomach and has thrown up once Friday morning for breakfast but other than that he's done pretty good so far, I know it will come though so I have to mentally prepare myself for those days and try try try not to show my emotion when it happens (meaning not kick, scream, cry, get upset with Carsten, and throw a pity party like I'm so prone to doing).

The drinking is slowly coming along and I think in a few months he will be able to take sips from the cup till he drinks it all. Right now we are doing 1/4 of an ounce a drink so it takes about 20 drinks to get 4 ounces in, it really goes pretty fast though and takes about 10 minutes to finish. Yes, it is tedious, yes it is hard work, yes it's like feeding a 7 month old, and yes it's going to be hard getting out for more than 2 hours at a time but I believe it will be worth it in the end and he will continue to progress with textures, efficiency, and independence in eating with this as a foundation. All I can say is that Mimi, Nana, and Daddy better learn this protocol quick because when this baby comes I'm going to need some HELP!!!

As far as a baby update, I have another ultrasound on Wednesday and I'm excited to tell him/her hi again. I think I better be extra careful not to look at certain "places" during the ultrasound not to ruin the surprise:) Chad is currently in the Middle East for the week with his boss, I'm excited he got to go on this trip but ready for him to get back so we can be a real family again. It's beautiful here in Georgia, I LOVE the weather and all the gorgeous trees, makes me really appreciate the south even more.

That's about it for now, sorry it was so long I'm not sure if anyone cares but I thought I'd give a fun feeding update. More pics from the hospital to follow. Again, we are so thankful and overjoyed with Carsten's progress and know it will only get better and better. We miss the schedule and the playrooms, but I hope I can find a good mom's day out program to take him to until we move again next June, after that he will defininitely start some kind of school. Well it's 10:05, 5 minutes past this exhausted preggie momma's bedtime so more updates later and pics to come!

Momma Bridges

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Free and almost there!

We now have three days and a pick up left!!  I really can't believe it is coming to an end.  In some ways it seemed very fast and in others it seemed like a very slow 8 weeks.  We recieved the good news yesterday that our flu cultures were negative and Carsten was allowed out of his room.  Let me tell you it was like a cannon ball flying out of a cannon I've never seen so much energy come out of a little kid before he was practically bouncing off the celings he was so happy. 

We had a rough week this week with eating because he was sick and congested.  I also started feeding him last Monday so it was hard for me to start out like that, he was vomiting just about every meal.  But today he is finally doing better and he hasn't thrown up once today, he still has a snack to go tonight though so we'll see.  But we are OFF the TUBE except for water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I really am excited about this I'm just so exhausted I don't think it has really sunk in yet.  So basically this is his meals, breakfast 7 ounces of food, 2 ounces of milk; lunch 7 ounces of food, 4 ounces of milk; dinner 7 ounces of food 4 ounces of milk; and a "snack" (which I call a fourth meal) 4 ounces of food, 4 ounces of milk.

Yeah praise God for such great progress here I'm so thankful we were able to come and go through this program.  It is still going to be a lot of work for me at home I think that's why my excitement is still a little reserved.  I will be pureeing all his foods to a junior texture and doing his drinks which take about 15 minutes to get 4 ounces in him right now.  I think it will get faster as his skills progress but it is definitely going to be a task at home and I know I have my work cut out for me, especially with baby on the way. 

I'm 25 weeks now, getting excited to find out the sex, we've made it this far though and really 3 more months seems like a short wait to find out.  Either way, it's going to be a fun surprise and Carsten is going to be such a great brother. 

Please pray for my endurance and strength to get us through the last three days, I can't wait for Chad to get here.  I've never been so excited to sleep in my own bed in my life! 

That's it for now, gotta go do our evening "snack":)  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, it got us through. 

More later....


Monday, October 26, 2009

Day four of quarantine

So we're going on day 4 now of being quarantined here in our room and I just found out this morning it could be many more days:( People always say that the last part of the marathon is the hardest part, well I can completely relate to that now. These last two weeks are proving to be the ultimate test to our experience here at KKI. The deal is that Carsten tested positive for regular influenza A. The H1N1 I guess is still pending. So, they started him on Tamiflu last night (after having symptoms since Friday!) and told me this morning that he has to complete his round of tamiflu which will be five days and then get another culture which takes another 3-5 days to come back before we can leave our room! Which means that we could potentially be in here until we leave next Wednesday. Seriously we're starting to feel a little like Tom Hanks and Wilson and we're not even half way done.

So here we sit. Since I'm sick too they informed me this morning (after probably being contagious since last Friday) that I'm really not supposed to be out and around the other patients, well what's a mom to do. They called Ronald McDonald house and they won't take me sick either even if my mom came out. I guess just ship me off to Mars or something, they are acting like we have the stinking plague talking at least 5 feet away, masks, etc etc.. and we don't even know if it's H1N1 like it would really make a difference.

Anyway, please pray for our sanity. Despite the setbacks, Carsten is eating like a champ and his drinking is really coming along too. He's drinking two ounces a meal before his food which equals 6 ounces a day. His weight was even up today which is amazing so we still have the potential to be off the tube except for water by next week, another reason to endure this horrible situation and not go AMA running the car and driving back to Atlanta tonight (which I'm really tempted to do).

So the worst is it could be up to 8 more days in this room with a 2 year old that knows how to open door handles, hates being cooped up, is opening all my drawers and throwing clothes out every chance he gets, and going in the bathroom and pulling the emergency light on every 5 seconds, really, how bad can it be? Oh and did I mention I'm 24 weeks pregnant:)

I fed him for the first time at lunch, looks like I'll take it from here out except the drinks, I haven't done those yet. I should also get a lesson on how to puree everything in the kitchen too. You should be hearing a lot from me in the next 8 days, what else do I have to do but blog to you my wonderful blogger friends:)

Congested and claustrophobic,
Kari, Carsten, and baby bridges

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Well we've had a few setbacks in the last week.  This won't be long because I'm completely exhausted long story short Carsten decided to pull his tube out of his stomach last week so he had to go in for a procedure to put it back in which required anesthesia.  That went fine then later that night he developed a high fever around 2 and that's when everything went awry.  We're both sick now and his regular flu culture came back positive we're still waiting on his swine flu culture.We have been quarantined pretty much in our room, Carsten can't leave only me which I rarely do in fear of transmitting to someone else.  We won't be able to be off of isolation until he gets another culture that comes back positive which could take many more days.  We are tired, fussy, and discouraged to say the least.  His meals have actually been going pretty decent though and he's been taking all of his drinks.  They have to come up to our room to do everything.  Chad was here this weekend so I was able to go pass out at the McDonald house for literally about 14 hours.  I'm just back from the ER and we're both on Tamiflu finally so we'll see how we feel in the next day or so.  Please pray for our endurance, patience, and health.  We are very ready to be home now but also want to try and stick it out to see how far he goes.  Thank you for your prayers, going to pass out now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update - yes we're still here!

We're still here in lovely Baltimore (lovely minus the third world country road conditions) and we're approaching the middle of our 6th week. Things are going well. We said goodbye yesterday to our good friends and roomies (I'm not supposed to mention names because of privacy but I'm sure they wouldn't mind) Megan and Mason. Carsten was sad to see his buddy go. He did everything Mason did, if Mason jumped, Carsten jumped, if Mason wanted to play with the trucks, Carsten played with the trucks. It was so cute to watch him mimic and learn from Mason, I even started thinking a brother for Carsten wouldn't be so bad afterall:)

Carsten's eating is steady and they are still progressing with the drinks. He is starting to accept liquids from an open cup more than before and they have switched from apple juice to milk with carnation instant breakfast to boost the calories some more. He's at about 600 calories a day by mouth so he has about 400 to go which could be made up with liquids and/or an evening snack which I think they might introduce once I get trained this week or next. The feeding therapist seems to think he still has potential to be off the tube except for water so I'm going to go with that but still guard my heart to see where we actually end up. Either way he still won't be getting any formula through the tube during the day and just a little at night so I'm still happy but of course I would love to see him go all the way.

Two sweet little girls just checked in today with sweet moms I'm looking forward to getting to know a little. Carsten has already squished his way in between the two to make sure they are BOTH his girlfriends:) His favorite sign right now is "my turn" in which he politely uses when he wants a toy another child is playing with:) They think he will do great in preschool and has developed some really good play skills.

Chad will be here Friday and Saturday so that will be a nice little break before we enter our last two week lap. The only thing that's hard for me right now is seeing all the cute little Pumpkin Patch pics of my friends and their kids:( I want a pic of Carsten and a pumpkin too! Maybe when we get back we can find one still open somewhere, if not I'll just buy a pumpkin and snap a shot:) That's about it for now, pumpkin-less but still cute pics to come I promise!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Funny story

So Saturday morning Chad and I got up and started to head on over to the hospital like we had the day before to meet my mom and Carsten.  Lo and behold after we ran into two blocked off streets we realized, uh oh, the Baltimore Marathon!!!  To make a long story quick, we literally drove around for two hours trying to find an open path to the hospital.  After getting on every highway in Baltimore and trying to inch our way into the city we finally got about a half a mile away from KKI.  So we parked and started walking only to find ourselves at the cross point of the runners.  We literally had to make a mad dash between thousands of runners turning a corner with our suitcases and Chad in his workout clothes and nice shoes!  Just to report we made at through and neither of us were trampled:)  Let me tell you it was not a fun morning but I know we'll look back on it and laugh maybe in about ten years from now!   

Other than that, we all had a great weekend, got some amazing seafood and enjoyed some time outside of the hospital.  Chad got to see all of Carsten's therapies and his meals and the look on his face when he saw his daddy was priceless!!  I'll give a feeding update a little later and pics from the weekend but just thought I'd share our horror/comedy story of the weekend!  Gotta go grab him from speech. 


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Approaching the halfway mark

The end of this week will be the halfway mark for us here at KKI. It is actually going pretty fast and this weekend will be a much needed break with Chad and my mom. Carsten is going to be sooo excited to see his daddy I can't wait to see it. Well today is going so so. He threw up at breakfast during his drinking trials after he had eaten the 7 ounces, not fun to watch. Then lunch was better, kept it down but fought like a boxer to keep the drinks away from his mouth! I'm starting to come to the realization that we will still be working on drinking once we get home, I'm still optimistic however and know that anything can happen before we leave, but he just needs time to develop the skills to drink and eat texture. They are making another tube cut tonight so whoo hoo! That's great. So basically he's eating 21 ounces of pureed food a day and then he gets 14 ounces milk overnight. Really that's better than he's ever done so Chad and I are happy. They added some texture to his lunch, 4 bites of junior consistency, we'll see how far he goes with that, I'm sure the more they add I expect to see an increase in vomiting.

On a lighter side, the privacy thing here is really a bummer, I mean I think I have had about 5 people walk in on me peeing so far in the bathroom. Good thing I'm not very modest anyway but seriously. I have learned to change clothes in like lighting speed time or else someone is going to walk in on me and see the pretty pregnant birthday suit:) I guess that's what they get if they don't want to knock:) But the last five nights here have been a Godsend, no roomate, the nurse has got to the bag and refilled it before it goes off and Carsten and I have been able to sleep straight through the night for the first time.

Is it Thursday yet?:) Hurry up Chad!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Well today is going a little better so far. Carsten threw up at breakfast which was expected, then he was able to keep 7 ounces down at lunch. Now we'll see how dinner goes. I'm trying not to get so caught up in every individual session and see the bigger picture and where he'll be in 5 more weeks. They're giving him drinks from a bigger spoon now to try and get more liquid in and still alternating with the cup. It was so cute today at lunch when he was done she said and signed "all done". Oh boy his face lit up so fast and he was signing "all done" like a professional signer:) I think his favorite so far is pureed pizza, yuck! Poor kid. At least he doesn't know what the real thing tastes like.

My roomate just left to go back home to San Diego:( Yep they come from all over here. I'm pretty sad actually, feels like I just lost a college roomate or something. She was happy with her sweet girl's progress. She was almost exactly the same size as Carsten so they had fun together. Maybe someday we'll meet again ordering happy meals together for our kids:)

That only leaves 2 other people here and us in the feeding program. Our discharge date is still set for Nov 9th so that leaves 5 weeks to go after this week. Chad's coming up to visit next weekend right at our halfway mark, yippee! We went on an outing last night to a park, a cupcake shop, and stopped and got takeout from this amazing Mediterranean restaurant. We were all laughing, the feeding kids going to a cupcake shop (it was really for the pregnant ladies in the group)! Carsten did eat a little of the hummus I got and I think he liked it okay. Hoping to take a TLOA this weekend and get out again with Carsten.

That's it for now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here we go roller coaster again

Well I'm trying hard not to get on the usual roller coaster ride of having a child with a disability.  These days will come.  Today is just a dip in the ride.  He threw up his breakfast and lunch.  They are trying to give him 7 ounces a meal and he just doesn't seem to be able to tolerate it yet.  I'm sure they'll keep trying until he just throws up every session and we know he's hit his cap.  He did it last night so I know he can do it again.  Mornings are just altogether bad for him and lunch was a fluke gag when he got a bite with his head tilted backwards.  He's like the most sensitive time bomb you've ever seen, one little touch gone awry and up it comes!  Oh the day when I can look back and laugh, for now I'll try to laugh at the days to come. (proverbs 31:25)

The Lord reminded me of a verse he promised long ago Proverbs 37:5 "Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this, he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday.  Be still and wait patiently for the Lord."

Giving up my own strength and trading it in today for His.  Please continue to pray for our little man. 



Monday, September 28, 2009

Here we go week #3!

Time is flying by here at KKI. The weekends seem to drag on a little but once Monday hits we're off and running. Carsten's already eaten twice today and gotten speech therapy. They've increased his volume to 6 ounces now, whoa! So at lunch he ate 6 ounces of pureed food, had his first taste of cheeseburger with ketchup!!!! I think he liked it:) They've switched to liquid from a spoon now just during the 1 feeding session a day when they do drinks. He took every bite of liquid from the spoon which was great. It was probably around an ounce of liquid but they'll tell me this afternoon after they weigh it. The goal is to eventually transfer from the spoon to the cup. For some reason he's just afraid of the cup, frustrated, unsure, we're not sure? So exciting updates for sure. I'm very encouraged and I'm trying not to let myself on the usual roller coaster emotional ride but it's nice to see he can handle 6 ounces without puking. I'm so proud of my little c-man, he's such a trooper. That's it for now. I'll post some more cute pics later from the playroom. Oh, I made a list of all his signs he's starting to use and he's now doing "more" "all done" "eat" "brush teeth" "milk" "fish" "ball" and "shoes"! Yea, go Carsten, I'm such a proud momma!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My new haircut!

"I don't know about mom but I'm keeping a positive attitude with this whole KKI thing!"

KKI update

Today is the last day of our second week here at KKI.  They have increased his oral feeds to 5 1/2 ounces of pureed food a meal.  We are starting to notice an increase in vomiting since yesterday, he threw up at lunch and just now this morning.  It is very upsetting for me to watch and I feel so helpless to do anything.  There are so many variables and factors as to why he could be voming which is frustrating.  Please pray for the little guy that he would continue to tolerate volume increases and they could figure out why he's vomiting.  They made his first tube cut (giving him less formula through the tube) two days ago (which I was very excited about) but I know when he vomits he's got to be hungry during the day with no formula in his stomach so it's hard as a mommy to watch.  I'm trying to stay as positive as a can and I knew that when we came here we would have days like this but I'm a little down today, trying to stay hopeful, we still have 6 weeks to go so a lot of time for improvement and progress. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update on team meeting

We had the team meeting this morning with Chad on conference call.  Overall, positive, the main concern is Carsten's poor oral motor skills with drinking and textures.  They are going to push pureed volume as far as possible and make tube cuts as appropriate but the bottom line is he HAS to learn to DRINK to get as far as we'd like.  So, this will be the priority in OT and speech while the psychologist feeding him his meals will continue to push volume.  They just can't predict what his percentage of independence from the tube will be once we leave.  They mentioned 50-75% this morning but it's really up to Carsten.  We will be here the full 8 weeks and projected D/C date is Nov 14th?, somewhere around there.  I'm slowly becoming hospital delirious and forgetting days and times as usual.  I did get to go to Wal-Mart last night for a parent outing, let me tell you it was maybe the most exciting trip to Wal-Mart I've ever had:) 

Carsten is making lots of friends and really starting to pick up on some sign language.  He is signing "more" "all done" "brush teeth" very consistently now, for some reason "brush teeth" is his favorite thing to do, GO FIGURE!!

He's a trooper and we're proud of him and the sky is the limits for this little boy.  Please continue to pray for textures, drinking, tolerance of pureed volume, remaining well, my relationship with the women here.  Thanks!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week #2 - Riding the buggy to lunch!!

We're on week two now, I thought this program was going to seem like ages but I'm already feeling the time crunch as I know that time here is so precious, and EXPENSIVE!! Thank the Lord for Tricare!! I had a good conversation with the nurse practitioner this morning. She does rounds every morning and sees all the feeding kids. She said that their goal this week is to continue to increase volume with purees. Once Carsten gets to his max volume on purees and tolerates it okay they will add texture and liquid. Speech and OT are still working on the drinking and textures. Carsten took one good drink this morning from the open cup during his breakfast! Poor thing, he's just frustrated and doesn't know how to do it. But last night we worked on it and I think he has good potential, just needs repitition, repitition, repitition. But the nurse practitioner reassured me that they ARE working towards textures and that Carsten WILL have tube cuts by the time we leave, we just don't know the percentage or how much will be by texture or liquid. They have lots of neat little tricks to add calories like carnation instant breakfast in milk and adding lots of good fatty stuff like butter, whipping cream, whoa, wish I could be on that diet:) Then of course adding water to keep them hydrated. I'm just glad Carsten is eating more meats in his diet even if it's pureed such as chicken nuggets and pasta. But I'm trying not to be anxious and wait on their timing and expertise to bump him up to the next level. God is in control for sure.

I'm getting to know the moms better and I've really enjoyed just spending time with them. It's just kind of this ahhhhhhh you understand feeling. I wish I could take them home with me:)

I'm sure we'll get emails and stuff. So that's about it for now. The big team meeting is Thursday at 9:30 which I'm anxiously awaiting to see what they say as far as prognosis. Thank you for your continued prayers, they are invaluable!!

Toodles for now,


Saturday, September 19, 2009


We've approached our first weekend here at KKI. The weekends are going to be considerably slower here, yet he still gets his three meals a day with the feeding therapist. I got a pass and was able to go across the street to their workout facilities and get a good workout in and I feel so much better. It was so beautiful outside today, perfect fall weather, actually makes me miss the north quite a bit. I'm really hoping we end up in DC next year. I got some pictures of the front of Johns Hopkins Hospital, it is pretty neat to be at the same place where the movie Something the Lord Made was filmed. (If you haven't seen it it's such a good movie about the two men who pioneered the first cardiac surgeries here)

I've gotten to know a couple of the moms in the program better in the last week. The Lord is really opening my eyes and showing me that I'm not just here for Carsten but to support and love on them too. It's so nice to be around moms who just "understand" what it's like to have a kid with feeding problems and just be able to spend time with them. There is only 4 other kids in the inpatient feeding program and my roomate is scheduled to leave in the next two weeks so I'm sure someone else will be coming in. Carsten's meals are going well. He's up to 30 bites a meal with pureed food and they're working on open cup drinking once a day then separately with the therapist till he can learn the skills better. She said by Monday Carsten should be cleared to eat anything pureed, so far it's been chocolate pudding, applesauce, yogurt, and carrots. I'm anxious for them to move on to textures but I know I have to be patient and wait on the protocol but maybe by the end of next week he can move to a more junior consistency.

Please pray for the three other moms here and their situations, one has three other kids at home and a husband deploying in October, I can't even imagine! I hope I can be an encouragement to them and they would see God's joy in me. I will try to post some pictures later but gotta get ready for the Razorback game, GO HOGS!!!!!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally rested and rearing to go

Well we finally got our first GOOD night of sleep last night.  Got all the kinks worked out with the nurses coming in and so forth and Carsten slept like a charm and I did too.  So here we go on day #4, only 52 to go!  Carsten's feeding therapist is AMAZING, I really really like her and can't say enough good stuff about her.  She's actually a behavioral psychologist.  Believe it or not, all kids are fed by behavioral psychologists here.  Then they get OT, PT outside of feeding sessions.  Basically they all work together in the most harmonious way I've ever seen and are all constantly communicating with each other. The OT and speech therapists let the psychologists know when they're ready for more texture, etc.. based on assessing and working on their oral motor skills.  Carsten gets speech and OT three times a week plus his three meals a day with the behavioral psych and they are also putting in a PT referral for him. But the program is VERY psychologically based, it's so interesting, reminds me of my psychology classes in school.   Then between sessions we go to the awesome playrooms which are supervised, ahhh, supervised, which means momma gets a break every once in a while.  But by the end of the day we are EXHAUSTED! 

So, today they are making some big changes with his eating schedule.  He's not going to be fed any formula through his tube AT ALL during the day .  Then tonight we will start running his pump into his intestines all night long so he still gets his formula at night.  The goal is to increase hunger during the day but maintain nutrition.  It's going to be hard for me just getting through today knowing I can't feed him but he will still get his three meals then start the pump tonight.  When they start pushing volume during the day they will SLOWLY decrease the pump feeds at night, and voila, that's how they wean them from the tubes. 

Our BIG problem is drinking.  They want him to learn to drink from a cup and he's been drinking from a straw for almost a year now.  The problem is it's hard to get the volume and measure with a straw so we're going to an open cup.  He has a lot of trouble with figuring out what to do with his mouth and and his tongue gets all in the way.  So, the OT and speech will be working on that and letting the feeding therapists know when he's ready to do open cup drinking. 

That's about it for now.  Breakfast went great, just trouble with the open cup, but he's taking all his bites.  They have all these terms I've never heard of before but apparently we're still at baseline treatment where they're taking data and determining how compliant he will be with his bites.  There are two people in the treatment room when he's eating, one feeds and the other has a computer and takes data.  I will try to take some pictures if I can.  Got to go grab him and take him to OT and speech.  Will update again later.

Carsten's feeding coach:)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quick KKI update

Well we're on our second day going into the third.  The team is amazing, really amazing.  I am blown away by how systematic, detailed, meticulous they are about everything that goes in/out of the kids.  I have been feeding Carsten at all his sessions so far in the treatment room while being recorded with the therapist watching from the dark room.  He's had two really nasty throw ups so far with texture, but starting tomorrow, his feeding therapist will take over.  So far, he's eaten mainly pureed foods but today he had a pureed hot dog, Carsten's first meat he's ever had!!  It's really amazing how they can puree anything down so smoothe, I hope they teach me.  His feeding therapist is amazing, awesome, so positive and encouraging.  She and the OT who watched him today are very excited and think he's going to make some great progress and that he has a really good foundation of eating the pureed food.  I think they're already going to begin on textures which apparently is way ahead  of most the kids.  It's a VERY stringent protocol on how they do everything.  The sleep situation is not great so please pray that we get rest.  I think I have maybe a 5X5 space including his crib but thankfully Carsten's crib is nice and he's been sleeping okay.  The verse that came to me all day yesterday was "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."  So, I'm not going to complain about the little "bothersomes" of being in a hospital and just be thankful we're here.  I was thinking about the story of Corrie Ten Boom and the flies in the Hiding Place.  Great book if you have never read it.  Anyway, I'm blown away by everything so far and so thankful we're here and can't wait to give more positive exciting updates!!  It looks like it will be the full 8 weeks.  I have a meeting with the whole team next Thursday and they will give me goals/expectations/plan so we'll see how that goes.  By the way Baby Bridges is kicking away pretty much all the time I can feel him/her, this week is 18!  Thanks for your all your prayers and encouragement.  Oh, most of the kids in the program all get sick from each other at some point or another, apparently a stomach bug went around a few weeks ago so we missed that, whew!  Please pray for divine protection for Carsten that he would not catch any "bugs" or community viruses while here, I'm believing in faith that he will stay well.  Will update again soon.   


Friday, September 11, 2009

Baby Bridges update

Well we had our first ultrasound this morning! The whole Bridges Bunch was there so that was fun. Carsten was looking at that big screen I'm sure thinking, "I'll show YOU pretty soon!" Ha.
We even got a shot of Baby Bridges waving at us! The Lord has been good to us and we're so thankful he's brought us this far and given us faith to trust Him for his wonderful gifts.
I'll post a pic of the ultrasound one of these days when I'm not trying to pack for an 8 week trip:) The baby looks healthy thus far and the main thing we wanted to see, the heart, had four chambers and everything you would expect to see this far along. We didn't even venture down south so sorry but no sex report yet:) Chad is ALL about surprises and I too admit it would be pretty special to find out the sex the old fashioned way so we're shooting for that if we can make it:) Oh some other fun information was that I am actually 10 days further along than we thought, 17 weeks, so now our projected due date is Feburary 14th, Valentine's Day!!! How great is that, our little Valentine baby, God is so good. Happy Friday everybody!

Trusting Him,
The Bridges

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So I've decided this morning I'm going to write a book, it will be called "Christian parenting and children with disabilities, how to be a grace-filled advocate."  That is how I felt this morning after I chewed out a therapy supervisor on a voicemail anyway.  The verse that came to my head later was when Paul was talking about "doing what he DIDN'T want to do."  Yep, that's me pretty much all of the time.  Well I'll let you guys know when I figure out WHAT EXACTLY to put in the book, I think I'm about 20 years (or never) to figuring it out.  I have so much to learn about being Carsten's advocate yet so much more to learn about being grace-filled.  That's all I will say about that, I'm definitely a work in progress.

We leave Saturday for Baltimore!!  I got my hospital packet in the mail, I read every word of it and let me tell you I'm going to bring the exact amount of underwear they tell me, no chances of getting kicked out:)
I'm looking forward to the drive with Chad and the weekend, hopefully some good family time before we say our goodbyes.  I'm thinking the hardest part is going to be that I can't eat seafood and we'll be right on the east coast!!  I'm sure Chad will get a lobster or something Sunday night to rub it in:)  I don't see the hospital offering lobster anyway so I shouldn't be too tempted otherwise.

Chad always talks about the one positive reason you go to the hospital is for having a baby.  Well, I have to respectfully disagree with him now.  This is a pretty positive reason and I just know the fold out couch, roomie with screaming child, cafeteria food, boredness, trying to contain a two year old, tiny room with one phone, constant vitals, (ugh) no privacy, separation from my spouse will all be worth it in the end!!!  I'm think this time will be much different than the NICU stay and open heart surgery.

I heard baby Bridges #2 heartbeat this morning!  This was the second time I've heard it.  Waited for 2 hours to pee in a cup, get my blood pressure, then listen to the heartbeat; definitely worth it though and Carsten was a trooper as always.  I'm 16 weeks this week, unbelievable.  I need to post some belly shots soon!  Someone told me yesterday for the first time she noticed a "bump":)  Now if I could only count my love handles in the back as part of that "bump"!        

Soon to be blogging from Baltimore!
Momma Bridges  


Monday, September 7, 2009

Atlanta NASCAR race

Okay Ladies, take a nice close look at the hot guy in the middle of the picture. Look closer, yep, believe it or not it's Tom Cruise!! My darling husband was inches away from the heartthrob of the century last night at the Atlanta Motor Speedway while I was home eating takeout pizza and changing poop diapers!!! Now if that is not WRONG, I don't know what is!!

I wasn't really jealous about Dale Earnheart, Jeff Gordon, or any of those other people he got to see while he was watching the race from the PIT! But this just draws the line!!! Bitterness aside, Tom is pretty hot in person don't you think? Chad is calling him by a first name basis now, I guess he feels that being a foot away from him for 5 seconds qualifies:)! I would post more pics from last night but seriously what else do you need to see:)

Now take a look, this is the real hottie right here. I think he beats Tom Cruise anyday:) I'm so glad you had fun last night babe!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

KKI here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It's for real this time!)

Just got a call from the KKI girl this morning, the finances have been negotiated and she asked if we could be there by late next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been crying all morning I'm so excited!! I found out at the gym, the people probably thought I was crazy when I started raising my hands, crying, laughing, and screaming. But I don't care, we're going to Baltimore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We want to stop and give GOD the GLORY first!!! This is all him and we would be stupid not to thank Him for making this happen. He is so good to us and his plan and timing is perfect. We are trying not to put all our hope in KKI but continue to put our hope in God. We know it might not be a miracle fix to Carsten's eating but we do know it's another step in the right direction. Just thinking about him possibly being able to eat a cracker brings tears to my eyes. Okay, no more crying because I already got ready and have eyeliner and mascara on:)

So here are some prayer requests if you think of Carsten and our upcoming adventure. Please pray that Carsten, Chad, and I arrive safe home on Saturday (I've been in NWA visiting family for the past week and a half and Chad flies into Little Rock tomorrow to ride back with me). Pray that I remain calm and get everything done that needs to be done before we leave next week. Pray for safe travels to Baltimore (we don't know if we're flying or driving yet) and that Carsten would NOT get sick before we go or during our stay which could really prevent him from making good eating progress there. Pray for Chad and I, this will be the longest we've been away from each other (the program is 6-8 weeks). It's nothing compared to a deployment which I'm sure we'll face one day so we're looking at this as practice:) And please just pray for wonderful, amazing, progress and a child that eats primarily by mouth when we leave.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!! That's it for now. We might look into a small laptop for me to take to Baltimore so I'll definitely be blogging through the program to give ya'll updates:) Thanks for your prayers, love, and support.

The Bridges

Friday, August 28, 2009

KKI - feeding clinic

We just got word from our case manager that the inpatient feeding clinic in Baltimore has been APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you can imagine me with the biggest happy face and many happy tears that is how I look right now!  We had almost given up but we decided to try once again here in the Tricare south region and it looks like it might work out.  Waiting on a call from the KKI people for a date and they still have to negotiate prices but it is looking VERY positive!  Please continue to PRAY for this, it has been a long road and much battling and the relief Chad and I feel is indescribable.  I just pray that so many others will be able to go with Tricare insurance as well.  I will post more details as they come but we're hoping to be there this fall! 

A VERY HAPPY Momma Bridges

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Panama City Beach!!

We took a little trip down to PCB a couple of weeks ago. We're so close this year we couldn't pass up the opportunity. Nana came with us and we all four had a great time!! Carsten loved the sand this year and he might as well be a fish he likes the water so much! We were blessed to have our AC breakdown the first night and got upgrated to a beach front condo, ha!!
Nana even watched Carsten one night so Chad and I could go out on a much needed date. It was a great trip! Enjoy the pics.

More PCB pics

Panama City Beach!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bridges Update

So I've been slacking on my blogs lately. I kind of wanted to just let that last one sink in a little before I posted another one:) I can't believe this is week 12 of pregnancy for me:) I have an appointment tomorrow and I'm anxious to hear the heartbeat. Our due date is February 24th. Carsten is very excited to be a big brother let me tell you. We got to babysit a sweet little 6 week old boy last week and it was fun to watch how Carsten responded. He was just STARING that baby down in my arms let me tell you and he was NOT happy about it! He would look at Chad, then look at me and try to climb up and sit right next to me, hmmmm, I think someone was JEALOUS!:)

We had a fun week last week with Carsten, Chad, Nana, and I. We went to Panama City Beach for a few days and it was a blast. The weather was perfect and it couldn't have been a nicer break. I will post some pics from that a little later.

Other than that, I'm still struggling to get Carsten started with all his therapies, this has been a very hard move for us in that respect. The services are slim in the area and the therapists are not recommending a frequency I'm happy with. Our case manager is still working on a feeding clinics other than KKI. There is one here in Atlanta and one in Florida that she's looking into so we'll see how that goes. I'm praying/thinking about putting Carsten in a two day Mother's Day out program at a local church here in Stockbridge. He's been doing really good at the church nursery on Sundays, loves it actually, (I cried when I saw his first little craft that he made in there, what a great feeling as a mother:) and I think he would really enjoy being around some other kids for a little more during the week. So the program is Tuesday and Wed from 9-12, nothing huge but gives me a chance to do some errands and him have some fun. I've got to call today to see if they'll take him (the last church said they weren't "equipped") so I'm praying that works out.

That's about it for us. I'm feeling really good so far. Had a little morning sickness at first and my main symptom was EXHAUSTION. I literally couldn't stay awake during the day. But I'm past that now and feeling great. We don't know if we'll find out the sex yet. We didn't want to know with Carsten but ended up finding out so we might wait this time:) However, I am craving the traditional pickles and ice cream, hmmmm:) Anyway, so fun I get to blog through this pregnancy, we didn't have the blog before Carsten. We would REALLY appreciate any prayers offered up for Baby Bridges B and for Momma and Daddy Bridges to have calm hearts trusting and thanking the Lord for His GOOD gifts:) Toodles for now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Unexpected Birthday Present

Last month, Tuesday, 23 June, was my second day of work in my new job at First Army in Atlanta, GA. It also happened to be my birthday. Consequently, Kari told me to give her one hour's notice before coming home. I did. On the way home I knew there was going to be something special waiting for me at home. At least I hoped there would be. And I thought I had a good idea of what it was.

Upon turning on to our street, I saw birthday balloons on the mailbox. Very sweet. I walked into the front door, and Kari greeted me while wearing a long black dress. Not what I was expecting. I then saw more balloons on the kitchen table and saw Carsten in the kitchen. He was wearing a baby blue shirt that said "Big Brother" in black letters; Kari then immediately told me, "Happy Birthday!"

Continuing to acutely assess the situation, I did not know why she was smiling so big...huge smile in fact. I could not figure it out; she then slowly said, "Carsten is wearing a B-I-G B-R-O-T-H-E-R t-shirt!."

"OH MY! You're pregnant!" I said. What a birthday present?! Carsten even kept it a secret until my birthday. Additionally, Kari prepared some "baby" back ribs along with some homemade barbecue sauce for dinner.

Definitely, one of the top birthday's I have ever had; I cannot remember a better one. Although, I remember getting the Pac-Man game for my Atari or getting the new (back then) Joan Jett, "I Love Rock n' Roll" 45 for previous birthdays but those cannot top this one.

We are elated that Carsten is going to be a big brother and that our family is going to be bigger....Lord willing. Much more to tell about this.


Monday, July 20, 2009

More birthday pics

The last one is actually from the ER after he got his new tube, I just thought it was too cute not to post:)

Birthday Boy!!!

Well I'm a little late but here are some pics from Carsten's 2nd birthday last Friday. We went to the Atlanta Aquarium. It was our second time, we went in April when we were here house hunting. This time was much better and Carsten was able to walk around everywhere and he LOVED pointing at all the fish! It is a pretty neat place if you can stand the mob of people (old people were actually shoving their way in front of little kids to see the fish:) After we let Carsten play around on some playgrounds in downtown Atlanta, it was a ton of fun and I think he had a great birthday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tube troubles

Carsten and I have an exciting day ahead of us. We get to go to the ER today to get his GJ tube replaced, whoo hoo!!!! I knew it was coming, the other day he pulled on it and I knew it was lose but it didn't come out at all. He's had this thing in since last October so really he's done pretty good with it. You're probably thinking, ummm, so you're going to the ER but you have time to write a blog, huh? Yeah, I keep a spare at all times. It's a pretty funny story. The alarm went off last night and I stumbled in to turn it off (interupting my crazy dream about Carsten picking up a fork and eating a salad like it's going out of style:) and find the "kink" in it as usual. I did a little tug on it and figured that should be good now and turned it back on. Back to bed, 2 minutes later, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP, yeah this thing gives me nightly heart attacks, so nice to wake up to a loud beeping sound at 3 in the morning. So I drag myself back in there and this time check around the stomach, yup, sure enough, the whole stinkin' tube was completely out of his stomach. Poor guy, it had been "feeding" him for the last 30 minutes or an hour and he was soaked. So I call to Chad, uh Chad, you better come in here, I'm going to need some help. "Did the tube come out?" Yep. I wait a few minutes getting everything ready and I go to check on where he is. He's standing in the bathroom fully clothed ready to go to the ER. How cute is that:) What a good husband. So funny because he didn't realize I had a temporary spare to get us till the morning. So we get the bed changed, Carsten changed, the new tube placed in his stomach and back to bed for all of us. Not a great night but definitely not one of the worst. So I'm putting off our ER trip by writing this blog, at least I can take a shower before this one and pack a little bag, kind of like a picnic right:) HA!

And the worst part is tomorrow is Carsten's birthday:( I'm just glad it didn't happen ON his birthday, poor kid. We're going to have to do something extra special tomorrow to make up for last night and today. Maybe the aquarium or the zoo, Chad's taking off work so we'll see.

Toodles for now,
Momma Bridges

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"I count myselt in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends."
- William Shakespeare

I have been thinking a lot about my good friends lately. Good friendships seem to come in seasons, sometimes you're blessed with a close friend(s) and sometimes you go for what seems like long periods without good friends, especially as an army wife. I'm realizing that every time we move is an opportunity to make new friends as well as think about old ones, some far away, that I miss so dearly. I'm just so blessed to have the friends that I do and I want more and more to nurture those relationships as I realize how special they are. I've made many mistakes with my frienships in the past, but by God's grace he will continue to teach me how to be a better friend in the future. I love my friends and I miss you all dearly, you know who you are:)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Splashin' in my new pool!!

Thank you Nana for my new pool!

Carsten spent about 2 hours out there yesterday just splashing away. I think it will be a good way to pass the time while Chad is away on Army travels:( Unfortunately this job, while it is a great job, will have lots of travel and I'm getting my first taste of that this week. Chad will be gone today through Thursday. Anyway, we will be busy this week working on switching over insurance and getting referrals for therapy, and if nothing else, we've always got the new pool to play in.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All I want is for my child to eat!

Well, it is official, Tricare has denied authorization to KKI under a "medical admission" They will authorize it under a "behavioral admission" but not "medical." It is ridiculous, stupid, petty, and just a battle of words while here I sit with a child that cannot eat and has to get his nutrition through a tube! I plan on appealing this if just for the sake of other parent's down the road. Call it rooted in what you may, medical or behavioral, a feeding disorder is a feeding disorder, who cares how they got that way!

So, I am appealing the denial, going to switch over to Trisouth on Monday and begin to pursue therapies here in Atlanta as well as investigate other feeding programs that have a "behavioral" model as that seems to be the only kind Tricare will pay for. Mainly I am so disappointed because I have spent the last year and a half working on making this happen, we flew out to Baltimore for an evaluation, and I have spent countless hours on the phone with these people and it has now come down to a matter of words, speechless!

Carsten's eating has been pretty steady. He is still eating gerber cheese puffs and his purees. He drinks maybe 4-8 ounces of water a day now which is GREAT but he doesn't seem to want to drink milk or juice and that's the only way he's going to get off the tube. I tried to feed him peas yesterday that weren't completely pureed, kind of chunky, and it was a disaster. So, hopefully we can find a good feeding therapist here and get started even if it's only once or twice a week. He did make a lot of progress last year from his feeding therapy. I belive he will get off this tube, I just need to continue to be patient and put my "hope" in the Lord and not doctors or feeding programs or even in Carsten's eating itself.

So that's the conclusion of my week, I really hope the weekend starts getting better. Maybe we'll go to the pool when he wakes up just to do something fun and get our minds off of it:) Carsten is really starting to point at things!! Today at the grocery store he was pointing at something in the check out line to tell me he wanted it, this is HUGE!!!! I've been waiting SOOOO long for him just to tell me he wants, likes, dislikes ANYTHING and he's starting to do it! He's such a sweet little boy I love him so much.

Have a great weekend,
Momma Bridges

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I got some bad news two days ago. We found out that Tricare has denied authorization to the KKI feeding program in Baltimore. I'm pretty bummed about it. They were supposed to have a director to director talk today to try and work things out so I'm waiting on a call but I have a feeling it's not going to happen. Part of me wants to fight it, but the other part of me feels like maybe we aren't supposed to go there during this season for some reason or there is a different program for him. So I'm going to pray and just give the outcome to God. I know Carsten doesn't have to go to a feeding program to eat but it sure would be nice to have some help. Monday I will sign us up for Tricare here so we can get started with therapies and doctors and all that so maybe we can get some feeding therapy here again even if it's just once a week. So I'm sad, but I'm looking forward to us being here this summer with Chad and enjoying Atlanta.

We might go to our first Braves game this weekend so I'll be sure to take some pictures. I think Chad had a memorable 35th birthday on Tuesday (Happy Birthday my old man:), I made him a surprise dinner and we celebrated family style, just the three of us since we really don't have any friends here yet:) I can't wait to find a church and get plugged in somewhere.

That's about it in the Bridges household. We miss everyone in Leavenworth, there sure is nothing like living on a military post and having all your friends right there. Maybe we can do it again someday.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Going from house to home

We just about have our house turned into a home. We had our first trip to the neighborhood pool this morning, I'm afraid Carsten will now "expect" a daily trip to the pool:) He did get a little boo boo though in the kiddie pool, yep, mom let him fall forward and hit the side so unfortunately he'll be a little scratched up for his first day at church. Aunt Nae left us yesterday and is safely back in NWA. Thank you Aunt Nae for all your help!!! We couldn't have done it without you! And especially thank you for that early morning diaper change:) Here is Aunt Nae and Carsten in his new sofa Cars chair, before and after picture, do you think he likes it?!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to our roots

The Bridges Bunch has arrived in Atlanta. I've already had a trip to Chick-fil-A, some sweet tea, and met some great southern people at Wal-mart, ahhhh, it's great to be back to our roots!:) Other than that, we are settling in, had all of our household goods delivered yesterday, now just unpacking and trying to figure out what's wrong with our AC, yes, I said AC problems in Hotlanta!!! Please keep Carsten in your prayers that a spot will open up at KKI in Baltimore in the next couple of weeks (they said late June or early July). We are going to try and hang onto our insurance from Kansas which means we won't have access to any healthcare here until we go. It's a risk we want to take, we can still go to the ER if need be. Please pray that he stays well and we get to go soon!! I will post some pics of our house when it doesn't look so much like a jungle. Carsten has been a major trooper the whole trip, hasn't cried once except yesterday when it was 89 degrees in our house!

I should be back to my normal blogging in a few days. We miss everyone from Leavenworth but are so excited about what God has for us here. We already met our neighbors yesterday who happen to be military as well.

Back to work,
Momma Bridges

Monday, June 8, 2009

Packing Day!

The packers are here and packing away! Our case manager just called and said the authorization for KKI is coming through probably today or tomorrow. This is going to be tight but she said if we don't get him into the program by the end of this week we probably won't get to go. Once we get to Atlanta our insurance changes and we start ALL over. Please pray for Carsten this week that miraculously a bed opens up and everything falls into place. I'm praying we're on a plane by Friday. If not, it will be okay, just a little disappointing. I am excited about moving to Atlanta and I've got my bags packed either way so it will definitely be an adventure.

Resting in Him,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time to get movin'

Here I sit in my dining room drinking coffee and yes, PROCRASTINATING!!! I know there is stuff to be done before we move, but I think part of me is in denial and the other part just doesn't know where to start. So what did I do yesterday, went to the pool of course! I wanted to spend some time with my good friend Amy who has been such a blessing this year and a friend that was an answer to prayer. Now we have to part but I think we'll see each other again, hopefully in DC one day. She has a little girl Brooke who has been Carsten's "girlfriend" this year, except when Carsten would pull on her or swat at her, she didn't like that part of the relationship much:)

However, I'm ready to say my goodbyes and get this over with. I get so attached to people, I don't know how I'm going to do this every three years. I guess it's like the end of a quote I remember my grandmother gave me, you keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness you blow the rest away. Amy is a friend definitely worth keeping:) And with that quote, I think I've decided to introduce the Quote of the Week! Most quotes will be related to children with Special Needs of course. I think the following quote is appropriate for today since I'm struggling with deciding if and where to take Carsten to daycare. I found it this morning quoted by a mother, no name mentioned...

"There should have never been integration, because no kids should have ever been excluded."

I like this one:) Today we're off to our last OT feeding session in Kansas City, the first of goodbyes and many more to come. I guess each goodbye means there's a hello just around the corner. I made that one up:)

Please continue to pray for Carsten and KKI in Baltimore. We are waiting for the surgeon general to approve the authorization to go and then we need a bed to open up fast. I still believe the Lord can do this before we move. Once we get to Atlanta, it's looking less and less likely we will still be able to go to Baltimore because of insurance. We will start all over with the Marcus Institute in Atlanta if we have too. It's all in His hands.

Have a great Tuesday!

Momma Bridges

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stressin' out!

Okay I need prayer. I'm really stressing out about EVERYTHING!!! This anticipation of the Baltimore program is really getting to me and not knowing whether or not we're going to Atlanta or Baltimore in like 15 days!! Help!! I know God is in control but I would really LOVE it if He didn't keep the suspense going until right at the last, unfortunately, that's what He usually does. I guess it's to build trust in us but right now all I feel building is anxiety! Please pray that we get into the doctor tomorrow and get our referral and authorization for Baltimore and then a bed opens up in the next 10-14 days. Plane tickets are SUPER cheap right now like 60 bucks!

On top of that, I'm trying to get pediatricians, therapy, respite, all the details of moving setup for Atlanta and I'm having a hard time finding places, especially therapy. The early intervention program apparently is not very good and it only provides one provider every other week. That is NOT going to be enough for me, sometimes I wish I wasn't an OT and could have lower expectations. So, I'm working on finding an outpatient clinic or something in the area that can provide more therapy for Carsten. I know a lot of it will fall into place when we get there and the Lord keeps reminding me don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself! So that's where we're at, we would truly appreciate your prayers that this transition goes smoothly and KKI works out, even if it's the last minute.

Oh, we heard Kris Allen's music being played in a Kansas City restaurant this weekend which was pretty cool! I'm hoping we can see the Idol tour in Atlanta this summer, hopefully as a celebration from KKI graduation!! Off to Kansas City for feeding OT.

Momma Bridges

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Arkansas Idol!!!!

YEAH KRIS ALLEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whoooooooooooo Hooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aunt Nae's House

We had a blast last weekend at Chad's aunt's house, or should I say Carsten had a blast and we had a blast watching him:) He was CRAZY hyper Saturday and was really showing out for all of us. I'm pretty sure he's going to be a little Ham the older he gets, I think he already is, he figured out really quickly that he liked being the center of attention this weekend. Here are a couple of pics his Nana took. Thanks Aunt Nae and Uncle Boo, we had a GREAT time!

Monday, May 18, 2009

One step forward

The EGD results came back showing gastritis. It just means an inflammation around the stomach lining. Not very surprising considering he throws up 4 or 5 times a week at least still! Anybody could have told them that, but hopefully now KKI will be satisfied and we can move on with our insurance approval! We've basically got 20 days to get the deal sealed. If not, I can say bye bye to Baltimore and hello to Atlanta. I just have a feeling it's going to workout though and we'll be going to Baltimore in the next couple of weeks. I just saw plane tickets for 65 dollars! All I could keep repeating this morning was The Lord works EVERYTHING together for the GOOD of those who love him as I was trying not to get anxious over it all.

I'm a little sad to give up our summer in Atlanta and playing outside, but it will be so worth it to be able to give him a popsicle next summer while he's playing:) Yesterday on the way back from Bentonville Chad got a blizzard reese's pieces, I thought I would give it a try. The first bite, he made the most sour face probably because it was so cold, the next bite let me tell you he was ready for it:) I'm so proud of him and how good he's doing eating. He's got some back teeth now on all sides so I think that will really help him out with solids at the clinic as well. So now I sit and wait for KKI to call me back and let me know they got the results and hopefully (crossing my fingers and praying) give me a projected date. I'm trying REALLY hard not to bug the KKI girl to death and call every hour of everyday. This girl has the hardest position in the world, just think about having anxious/angry moms calling you all day long, all of them waiting for their children to get into the clinic to learn how to eat.

So I'll post another blog as soon as we hear something, hopefully this week.

Waiting patiently,
Momma Bridges

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'll be back later mom, going to the playground!

Sliding with Dad!

Playin' outside

Finally here are some pics of him outside. This one was from this morning, we went across the street to a big grassy area and he was walking around everywhere. He even tried to walk up a hill that I even have a hard time going up! He would walk then fall, get up, walk then fall. He's a very determined little boy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Idol and Cheese Puffs!!

Who hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Kris our Arkansas American Idol!!!! We've really gotten into the show this year, mainly because of Chad's family, thanks guys! They got us addicted to it about half way through the show, now we can't wait each week to see Kris!! I wish we still lived in Little Rock and could have gone to the parade last week. We really hope he wins next week.

So I called today to find out about a certain school (daycare) that I want to enroll Carsten in for 1 or 2 days a week next year. It's a private Christian school that's attached to the church we will most likely go too. I was was a little sad to hear that they aren't "equipped" for children like Carsten. Hmmmm. What equipment do they need to watch him for a few hours a couple times a week? I can understand that it is scary for teachers to take on a "special needs" child. And I guess since it's a private school they can turn children like Carsten down. A little disappointed though that they are unable or unwilling to take on children "like" Carsten. How do they know what he is capable of until they meet him? I guess I'm going to wait and see what happens with Baltimore then if he is eating better by the fall, I will call back and see if they will give it a try for a couple of days and see how he does in the class. I feel very strongly about integrating Carsten in every way possible with "typical" children.

On a more happy note, Carsten is eating cheeto cheese puffs!!! He ate a total of 4 today! He will pick it up and take bites himself! He's also eating mashed baked beans and his drinking is coming along with the straw. I'm super excited, can't even describe how it feels to see your child pick something up and eat it after 2 years of tube feeding. Yes, he's still mainly on the tube as far as liquid but we are seeing leaps and bounds progress! I can't wait for Baltimore, I think he's at a perfect place where they can really help him along. Okay, that's it for me, way past my bedtime:)

Momma Bridges

Monday, May 11, 2009


We are now within countdown range of moving. 32 days and counting. I'm learning very quickly how other military moms do it. It all starts about the day they move to one place, they are already planning to move to the next. It really amazes me how organized some of these moms are. They have had schools picked out for their kids for the next place even before they moved here! Me on the otherhand, well let's just say I'm a little slower than they are. I can't ever seem to get it together, plan, or organize the way I'd like. I'm trying and learning though and I think I'm getting a little better thanks to all the great moms I've met here. So this morning was dedicated to "browsing" online different possible schools, (daycare) therapies, and OT positions. Just looking, no decisions made yet on that. Lately, Carsten has just been really clingy, like all day long clingy, and I'm starting to think a little socialization and structure might be good for him. Nothing big, maybe one or two days a week. So we'll see how the Lord leads once we get to Atlanta. The church we are looking at has a Christian school attached and they have nursery programs for toddlers. It's also right down the road from our house and I think they might even have OT's there. Again, taking this all VERY slowly, we'll see what God has for us there.

We are mailing our housing contract back today and are very excited about our rental house. I can't wait to get there and get it all setup. It's perfect for us and such a cute little neighborhood. They have a 4th of July parade, Santa Claus, and lots of neighborhood activities throughout the year.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day I'll never forget! We went to a marriage retreat this weekend with date night on Saturday and Sunday morning a big brunch, all courtesy of the army. Then when we got home Chad had my mother's day gifts hidden throughout the kitchen and I found them throughout the day. I got a Coffee bean grinder, storage container, and French Press. It's what I asked for and I love it! I've already made coffee twice since yesterday and it's sooo good. Thanks Chad and Carsten, I love you both very much!

I'm determined to take more pics of Carsten outside today. Yesterday he was walking all around the yard and playing catch with Chad. He is even learning to play basketball, the goal is still too high so he will lift his arms up and dunk it in when you hold him up, it's so cute. We also have a climber in the house now. Yup, couch, furniture, you name it, he is trying to climb on it. He's also climbing into small spaces and getting stuck, then screaming his lungs out, that's been fun:) So I think I can say I officially have a toddler on my hands. Well, he's waking up which means my break is officially over. I'll try to post more pics later.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Already home

We're already back from our procedure this morning. Everything went great, the doc said it all looked good down his throat. Now we just wait for the biopsy to come back, I think that will be fine too. Carsten's already walking around the house pushing his walker so I guess you could say the "recovery" was fast:) I'm trying to figure out if his anesthetic time counts as a nap or will he still need one today:) I hope so cause I sure need a nap. Thanks for your prayers. Will update on Baltimore and when we get to go. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Surgery tomorrow

Carsten's EGD is now at 8:00 tomorrow morning at Children's Mercy. I said I was getting used to this in my last blog, well, I don't know why I said that because how could you EVER get used to your child going under. So, please say a prayer for our sweet angel tonight that everything goes smoothly tomorrow. It's just a minor procedure compared to everything we've been through but I'm still nervous and would appreciate prayer.

Thanks everyone.

The Bridges

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EGD scheduled, KKI here we come!

Everything is set for Carsten's EGD (scope) on Friday. We had all our pre-op appointments yesterday and we're good to go. Now, Carsten, please please please don't get sick! That's the one thing that could postpone this procedure and ultimately getting into KKI. I guess I'll just have to quarantine him like all the swine flu patients from now until Friday:)

I hate that he has to go under again, it's pretty sad though I'm somewhat getting used to it. This will be the 4th time he's been under since he was born, 4 times and the poor kid is only 21 months old!! I've never been under! I'm just glad he won't remember any of this and hopefully by the time he's 4 or 5 his health will be pretty stabilized. I always heard that the first 3 years with a child with Down Syndrome is the hardest, boy they weren't kidding. I'm ready for Carsten to be 15 if it's going to be like this! So, EGD, yes, we're ready. KKI, yes, we're ready. I can't believe we move on June 13th, that's like a month away, and we STILL don't know when we'll go to Baltimore. Seriously, I'm really having to hand this over to the Lord. I have a feeling they will call on June 13th and say, you're in, come on. Chaos is my friend, chaos is my friend. No really, I'm just a domestic engineer learning how to work under pressure, this is good for me. In preparation of our impending trip to Baltimore/Atlanta, whichever it might be, I took the liberty of cleaning out all of our closets, drawers, pantry, etc. I even took a trip to goodwill. I'm pretty proud of myself for being that organized. For all of you who know me (Chad), you're impressed aren't you? Now, all I need to do is keep it organized before the packers come and set aside everything we don't want packed. We've got a lot scheduled this month, marriage retreat this weekend, (hopefully we can go if Carsten is feeling okay Friday after his procedure) Bentonville with Chad's family the next, parents come here the next, cousin graduates the next in OK, then packers come! Wow. Before I know it we'll be in the Peachtree state sitting at the pool, I can't wait! For now, I'm going to enjoy the last month here in Leavenworth and all the neat people we've met. It's been a great year here and I know we'll never forget it. Better go check on C-man and get back to my domestic engineer duties:)