Monday, December 8, 2014

November Newsletter & Slideshow

FAMILY:  The 1st of November found our family in St. George to support Daken on his baptism day! We are very proud of him & enjoyed our time with them & family – as always! Congrats Daken! On the 7th, we celebrated Link’s birthday – he would have been two. We are thankful for all the support we received that day. See his section for more details. The 8th was the Storybook Parade! We have lived in Cedar for three and a half years and this was our first time going – it was awesome! Storybook and Disney themed floats mesmerized the girls and some of the characters even came up to say hi! We had a great time at the parade – and eating ice cream afterwards J We did our annual Gerald the Grateful Turkey FHE on the 12th & it was fun & turned out great. On the 14th, we had fun welcoming Sister Crandall back from her mission at the airport (she was Kezia’s Sunbeam teacher) and then having a late-over with Olivia and Adelaide Price and Emmy Schoppman. They had earned their late-over by staying in their beds each night J They had fun painting nails, eating popcorn & watching movies. That next night, Heidi & Jason got a sitter & we had a date night with the Bealers at his parent’s home – we played Celestial Companions and Rummicube. It was fun! We headed to Salt Lake on the 19th, so we could go to Kalli’s high school play on the 20th. She was the lead (Julia) in The Wedding Singer & it was so much fun to see her! She did a wonderful job as did her entire cast. We decided to stay in SLC till Thanksgiving, so Jason worked at the Uinta-W-C FS building while Heidi & the girls did some fun things, including going to the Pioneer Museum in S. Jordan with the Simons and going to a bounce house in N. Salt Lake. As a family, we went to Joshua’s soccer game and Tiarra’s dress rehearsal. Jason & Heidi also spent a few hours at IKEA, went to a SIDS parents dinner at Cheesecake Factory, which was really neat, and we went on a date eating dinner @ Trisha’s and then to see the newest Hunger Games movies with the other adults in the family – fun! – but hard part was Jason had to take Noelle home because she was too fussy in the movie L Jason watched the girls, too, while the sisters (and mom) had a fun time shopping, eating at the Olive Garden, and watching movies at Trisha’s. It was a wonderful night! Thanksgiving started with Heidi & her dad doing their traditional turkey run. Then we all got ready & were to the Tew’s at noon for a yummy Thanksgiving meal. After helping with clean-up, we headed back to the Potts’ to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 – really cute movie! Then we played charades and went for a walk. We have many things to be thankful for and It was a fabulous Thanksgiving. Friday morning was even more wonderful as Heidi, Jason, Grandma & Grandpa Potts, Aunt Cindy, GG Tew, Kalli & Tiarra spent the morning at the Jordan River Temple doing family names. Afterwards we went to Kneaders for some yummy food & goodies. Afterwards, we packed up & headed back home, spending Saturday spreading rock for our side yard, putting together the girls’ new bed, going to Home Depot, putting in a new kitchen sink, putting up a couple Christmas trees,  and putting together a new crib for Noelle. It was a busy, but good day J The next day, Sunday, we spent at church and decorating our trees. We are excited for the Christmas season!

JASON: Jason continues to be very busy at work. He had a meeting in Richfield this month, and was able to work from the Uninta/W-C National Forest Office while we were in Salt Lake, which was very convenient.  He & Joseph spent a lot of time hanging out & playing video games J Jason is enjoying getting to know the young men in his new calling with the teachers & getting to plan fun activities. Jason participated in no-shave November with a goatie – getting pretty long now! Jason has worked hard getting the side yard done – and it shows!! We now have rock in our side yard – in the RV pad, down the pathway & into the garden. It looks awesome!!

HEIDI: Although she still had some bad days, Link’s birthday was definitely softened this year for Heidi & it was healing to have a baby to hold as we remembered & celebrated our baby boy. Heidi’s friend, Krista Corry, was so sweet – she brought over a beautiful “Link” bracelet & Heidi wore it the whole day of his birthday. Heidi enjoyed her time in Salt Lake, with her sisters, her friends, and the outings with her sweetheart. She continues to listen to Eragon with Cindy as they each exercise in their own towns J Heidi has been quite the taxi now that the Vogts are gone – driving to both North Elementary for Ireland & McKinley & South Elementary preschool for Kezia. Heidi did well on the healthy eating challenge & lost 10 pounds! J It was hard, but very good. Heidi asked on Facebook if anyone had recommendations for books that dealt with living people on the earth who had interactions with loved ones on the other side & she was surprised by how many people shared their beautiful stories with her! In fact, Jason & Heidi are reading an account of one of Heidi’s HS friends & his story with his brother who passed away. It’s been neat! Heidi is also staying busy buying & ordering things for updating their home. Their living room & family room especially look completely different & it’s fun & exciting to see all the changes. Heidi got a yucky cold sore at the end of the month L

-McKinley hasn’t gone to 4H as much this past month – we’ve been gone & busy. She says she wants to do volleyball now, like her cousin Sedona. She’s also wants to take ice skating lessons.
-McKinley was sick & had to miss a couple days of school this month.
-McKinley really wanted to do reflections, so she used mom’s camera to take some pictures and made a poster with them all. She had taken a picture of her tablet & did a cross through it and took pictures of all the other things we should be doing instead. The theme was “the world would be a better place if…”
-She really had fun playing with her cousins in Salt Lake this past month.
-We got a book from a lady who wanted to use a picture of Link’s bench in the book she was making for her grandkids, called Sammy the Sad Sunflower. It is a great book about learning who we really are & knowing that we are each of great worth. McKinley read the book for FHE in Salt Lake City & everyone seemed to enjoy it!

-At Daken’s baptism, mom overheard this conversation… Sloan (her 2nd cousin): I’m related to Joseph Smith! Ireland: Well… I’m related to my grandma!
-On the way to school, Ireland said “Mom – I know why they call it this month – Novemberrrrrrrr- cuz it’s cold!!”
-Mom asked Ireland a question one day and Ireland said “I don’t know.  You can check it out for yourself at www.idon’” (and if you’re wondering, no – it’s not a real website. Just a smart-alec daughter ;))
-Ireland is feeling a bit lonely lately. Her best friend at school, Drew, moved and her other friend Mahina is in Idaho for another couple months. She is having a hard time making new friends at school L
-One day when we were doing a family clean, Ireland was just the best helper!! She didn’t complain one bit and ran around taking care of everything. She definitely earned a date point!
-Ireland had fun on her lateover with Emi Schoppman J

-One evening for her prayer, Kezia said “And please bless that Noelle will survive the whole time she is here.”
-For Kezia’s birthday, she got a dress-up kit and one night she decided to put on a “show” – complete with tickets and theater candy! It was awesome! J
-Kezi had a fun time with her lateover friend, Adelaide. They don’t get to see each other as much lately with Addi being in Kindergarten.
-Kezia gave a primary talk this month. Mom had printed out the talk and was practicing with her. She was doing really great! She just messed up a little bit when she said “thou shalt love the lord thy god with all thy heart, with all your SOUP, and with all your mind” J
-Kezi says she wants to be a doctor AND a princess when she grows up.
-Kezia went birthday shopping with Grandma & Grandpa Potts when she was in SLC. For some reason, she chose ANOTHER dress up kit and ANOTHER Anna doll. Mom convinced her to order the Elsa & Anna dolls online instead J
-While we were watching Tiarra’s dress rehearsal, the song they singing kept repeating “Welcome to Toyland!” Kezia whispered “it sounds like they are saying toilet?”
-Mom was talking to Kezia and Kezia was staring at mom’s lip (where her cold sore is) She pointed at it and said “those look like beard seeds.”
-Mom was fixing Kezi’s hair one day & Kezi was telling mom “I KNOW that Satan is on the naughty list, mom. He’s caused nothing but trouble!!”
-Kezia continues to be  stellar reader & is getting really good at math, too! Mom loves having her home in the mornings & having “mommy & Kezi time” J

Happy 2nd birthday our duder-dude. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 whole years since you came into our lives and blessed us so very much with your presence.  We donated 30 bags to the Jubilee House, we donated to the Ronald McDonald House both in SLC and in Philadelphia. We released balloons at your bench. We hope they made their way all the way to heaven & you enjoyed their bright colors and your new Lightening McQueen car. We went to McDonald’s on your birthday and we ate cake. Our friend, Diane Bealer, had a new nephew born on your birthday! They named him Linkon, and we felt it was a tender mercy.  We continue to try and serve in your name. We felt your joy as 7 of us did temple work for family names. Grandma was working in the temple one night and she said you were in the elevator with her! She said that you were very joyful and were basically letting her know that being busy in the temple is what it’s all about. That touched our hearts!!! We love & miss you each and every day!

-At 7 months old, Noelle is growing up fast! We can’t seem to get enough of her cuteness!
-Noelle got her first cold this month and had a runny nose, fever, and croupy cough for a few days. Mom took her into the doctor just to make sure it wasn’t RSV. She also seemed to be in teething pain. It was a difficult combination for everyone! Thankfully she is feeling much better!
-We finally decided it was time for Noelle to move out into Link’s room. It took a lot of courage – and a donated crib – to accomplish it, but we are so thankful. She was not sleeping well & neither were mom & dad. It’s taken some adjustment, but she’s done really well with the change & it’s SO nice to not have to tiptoe and whisper all the time in our room! She is still in the Sleep Guardian and has the Snuza on.
-One of the cute things Noelle has been doing is to give kisses! She’s not always in the mood, but when she is and you say “kisses!” and pucker up, she’ll give you a nice open-mouth, slobbery wet one! It’s so cute!
-Another cute thing she’s doing is making clicking noises. She just thinks she is so grown up when she can sit and click, click, click!
-No crawling yet, but she is getting closer every day! She will sit and then put her hands way out in front of her. She just hasn’t figured out how to get up on all fours yet.
-Noelle is such a strong stander! If we place her next to the couch, she will stand there for a long time – and has even started to cruise!
-Noelle loves music! She pays attention when people sing at church. She  LOVES to bang on our real piano – and the toy one.
-She gets into such a giggly mood right before she’s tired. She just laughs at just about everything – and her sisters love to sit and say funny words and noises to get her into a giggling fit.
-We are trying the sippy cup with Noelle this month – she still hasn’t quite figured out how to tip it up, but she is getting closer all the time!
-She’s a flapper!! When she’s excited – watch out, she flaps those arms like crazy! J
-She loves to hold Link’s picture at night while mom gets her jammies on.
-For some reason, she HATES being put into her high chair at first. She screams & cries, but once the food comes, she usually calms right down – especially at night when we have the candles at dinner. She loves to stare.
-She has really started making messes! Anything that is within reach – a bag of elastics, a cup of juice, etc – is fair game! She has a strong grab and a quick swiping action!
-She doesn’t seem to be into Signing Time or Baby Einstein yet. She gets fussy after a few minutes.
-In the morning, Kezia & Mommy like to sing songs and read books to Noelle. It’s so fun & sweet J

-She has DEFINITELY turned into a mommy’s girl. Especially when someone else watches her, but even with her daddy, she cries & reaches for “MAMAMAMA!”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October Newsletter & Slideshow - with 2014 Family Pictures

Hamilton Newsletter
October 2014
FAMILY:  We enjoyed a wonderful October this year. It was amazing how good the weather was! The first weekend in October Uncle Burton came to buy our trailer. It was great to see him, meet his fiancé Natalie, and see Stellar, Camilla, & Love. We are so sad to see our beloved trailer go, but hoping to get a new, smaller one that will still be fun J We also enjoyed listening to conference that weekend and driving down to St. George to see the finish of the St. George marathon. Heidi got to cheer an old college roommate from Alaska (who she hadn’t seen for over 10 years) & see her daughter. We also cheered on a few ladies from our ward who finished the marathon. We watched the 2nd session of conference at the Hamiltons and went to the park afterwards. It was a nice weekend! J The 2nd weekend in October, we had a yard sale! It’s the first yard sale we’ve ever done & we think it was a success! The weather was great and we made a couple hundred dollars. The Price family joined in and it was fun to hang out with them for the morning.  The 15th was the annual Wave of Light in honor of pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. The weather was a lot better this year and there was a beautiful song sung. Heidi shared Link’s story and we had hot chocolate & cookies & then let go of balloons. The next day – the 16th – we headed to Capitola, California!!! (we surprised the girls – they didn’t know till that morning) Heidi’s good friend & fellow SIDS mom, Anna Packard, told Heidi about her in-laws beach house there & they generously let us stay free of charge!! And it worked out well, because the girls ended up having a full week off from school for fall break. The drive there was long – 15 hours including driving up to Los Altos to get the key – but the girls were really good. McKinley helped out a lot with Noelle & we bought a new DVD player for the van (the old one was broken) and mom bought some new DVDs so they stayed pretty entertained. The Packards were wonderful to meet – so very sweet & generous (and fun to see watching the Giants game). We got to the beach house about 11pm on the 16th and had a good nights’ sleep & were ready for the beach the next day! Some fun memories from this amazing trip: Getting to hold a starfish that a woman found on the beach & let the girls handle before putting it back in the ocean, seeing sea otters, tiny crabs, and lots of birds, flying kites, playing in the waves for hours, building sand castles, making Ireland into a sand mermaid, picking up hundreds of seashells, seeing Noelle eat sand J, meeting other children there – including twin girls, staying up late to put together a 500 piece puzzle of cupcakes, watching a movie about a princess who helps endangered mythical creatures, playing with dominos, breakfast in bed, Jason & Heidi playing an 80’s quiz game, attending the Santa Cruz ward and enjoying meeting people and feeling the spirit, going on a walk out on the Capitola Wharf and then along a trail – enjoying and photographing flowers, spiders, birds, and beautiful homes and yards, going to Monterrey and playing at the Dennis the Menace Park and stopping by a fruit stand on the way back, going to Gayle’s bakery – way crowded but way yummy, watching all the surfers,  having root beer floats, more beach fun, eating ice cream cones from the shop on the corner (mom dropping hers in the sand), taking silhouette pictures by the waves as the sun went down on our last evening in Capitola. It was a wonderful vacation and one we think we’ll remember for a lifetime!! We can’t say thank you enough to the Packards for letting us stay. The drive back home was another long one, but we got home at 11 and were able to get up and ready for school the next day.  That weekend we worked in the side yard – cleaning out our garden and moving rocks. We had about 6 huge bowls FULL of tomatoes – mostly pear and cherry tomatoes, and about 10 watermelon and 10 pumpkins and a bunch of onions. We had to freeze a bunch of it and give lots away! Very yummy, though! And it was so neat to carve our very own pumpkins! That evening, the 25th, we headed to the Aquatic Center for their Spooktacular Event. The girls got to wear their costumes, play games & get lots of candy! The 26th was Kezia’s 5th birthday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEZIA! See her section for details. That next Monday, the girls’ school had a Starry Starry Night event where they made siluette puppets, Moon Dough, and rockets – and they got to look at the moon through expensive telescopes!  At the end of the month we got to have some visitors passing through! Grandma Devenish, Aunt Deb & Aunt Lurae stopped by on their way to & from St. George for lunch and a visit and Grandma Potts & GG Tew also stopped by on the way to & from St. George! It was wonderful to see them! Halloween night was perfect for trick-or-treating! Daddy took the girls for 3 and a half hours! They had a great time and got LOTS of candy!

JASON:  Jason worked hard the time before our vacation to get everything done and enjoyed his time off in California with his family.  He is settling in more to the fleet position job and doing well. Jason had Columbus Day off work & spent time working in the yard & also enjoyed a lunch date with his bride at the Main Street Grill. He caught a cold at the end of the month & stayed home a day to recover & is feeling a bit better. Jason still likes to stay up & watch information on earthquakes, solar flares, etc J

HEIDI: With October being Pregnancy & Infant loss awareness month as well as SIDS awareness, Heidi felt strongly that she needed to write specifically about her experience with Link and the things she is changing for Noelle. She got a lot of positive feedback and over 16,000 views on her post. She really is thankful that her message is getting out. She enjoyed visiting with her old roommate after the St. George marathon – it was great to see her. Heidi started a new health “challenge” at the end of the month – called the Diet Game. Cindy decided to join in, too. It’s a lot more detailed than the 8-week challenge, and it’s based on teams, but so far Heidi is feeling pretty good about it, even though it’s hard. She has been running with Diane a couple times a week  in the mornings as well and has enjoyed that time. The beach vacation was exactly what Heidi needed at the time. It was relaxing and wonderful to make memories! Heidi was released from Primary this month. She misses Ireland & her class, but is also enjoying her time with Noelle & Jason in Sunday School. She is still in charge of publicity for Relief Society and enjoys putting together the posters and flyers. This month was a “make & take” night & she made a felt flower pillow and started some holiday blocks. 

-Some fun 4H activities McKinley did in October were a field trip to go bowling, glow in the dark games, and lego building. She really likes going!
-McKinley is still doing well in school & enjoying 3rd grade. She spends a lot of time at school with 4H as well!
-On the 15th, McKinley went to Aiden Anderson’s birthday party. It was Harry Potter themed and she came home with a cape, a wand, a book of spells, and treats.
-McKinley enjoyed the beach house and the beach. She loved to walk up and down the shore and find seashells. She also would bring her notebook so she could draw the things she saw – flowers, birds, etc. She was excited about the 500 piece cupcake puzzle at first, but then wanted to give up. It was hard! But after a break, she worked hard with her dad & mom & finished the whole thing!
-We took McKinley to the doctor’s this month for her allergies. She has also been saying she hasn’t been breathing well. Dr. Polson said they can be related & prescribed some medicine for her to take.
-It was red ribbon week at the end of the month and McKinley had fun wearing a mustache, getting to wear her pjs and making her hair crazy!
-McKinley was so sweet for Kezia’s birthday. She was up till 11pm – wrapping presents & making her a cute card. She gave her her Amercian Girl Doll & wanted to giver her her scooter. She also made scarf for her. So thoughtful!
-For Halloween, McKinley wore the costume that Tiarra gave us – she was a greek fairy. Lots of people thought she was an angel or a princess, but no matter what she was beautiful!
-One day mom was fixing her hair & she said it looked kind of “Kidly” – as in, not cool.

-In the car on the way somewhere, Noelle was crying. Ireland said “MOM- Noelle is crying!” (she likes to inform her of this frequently). Mom said “yes, I know.” Ireland said “Well, fix it!!”
-One night the girls were not going to bed & there was fighting & Ireland came out crying. Mom asked what was wrong & Ireland said “I just know that Heavenly Father is so mad at me!” Mom talked to her & apparently, she had drawn poo.
-On the last Sunday that mom taught Ireland’s primary class, Ireland turned to mom & said “I will miss your lessons…” That made mom feel good & she was about to comfort her when Ireland continued “… you know, because you give out skittles.”
-One day “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga came on the radio. Ireland said “she has a language of her own.”
-Ireland LOVED the beach. She was really in her element. She would run and skip on the beach. She would dance in the waves. She would skip everywhere. She would yell at the ocean. She would dance and dance. We loved watching her. Unfortunately, we tried to be diligent about sunscreen, but she had a spot on her back that got pretty sunburned L
-For crazy hair day on red ribbon week, mom made Ireland’s hair into a Potato Head. Unfortunately, she was complaining about it hurting her head so we had to take it off right before she went to school.
-For Kezia’s birthday, Ireland gave her a random marker that didn’t have a lid.
-For Halloween, Ireland was a beautiful bride. But she wasn’t that happy about it. She said “This is gross. That means you have to kiss someone.” Mom told her she could be a dead bride & she replied “that’s even grosser!”

-One day Noelle was playing with Kezia’s book order from preschool. Kezi said “You can’t let Noelle play with that!” Mom said “Never?” And Kezia said “not until Jesus comes again.”
-Another day one of her projects got ripped & she was really upset. Mom tried to comfort her & she said “Only money will make me feel better.” MmmmmHmmmm…
-Kezia was telling daddy that she kept finding pennies on our floor. Daddy said “really?” She said “Yeah!! Our house is like a wishing well!”
-Kezia bought something with her penny points and afterwards threw a HUGE fit because they didn’t give her a receipt! (she has some concept about receipts being worth something)
-We were taking Kezia’s friend, Adelaide, home and she sat on Kezia’s carseat. Kezia was NOT happy about that & started crying. Adelaide moved to Ireland’s car seat & Kezia looked at her & said “Now isn’t that refreshing to sit there?”
-When we made it to California & were at the beach, we warned the girls about the dangers of the ocean. Kezia does not like things that scare her, so for most of the first day, she just stayed way on the beach and gathered sea shells. Mom asked her why she wouldn’t even put her feet in the water & she said “it’s gonna wash me away!” But after that first day & she “got her feet wet,” she had lots of fun in the waves. And when mom said to come in, she said “But I don’t want to miss any of the waves!” J
-It was Kezia’s month for a lunch date & she chose Denny’s. Mom was talking with her about things & asked her what made her happy. She replied “My Birthday!.... (pause)… I mean, that God is all around us.”
-One day Kezi had a “store” for mom. She made lots of drawings &  put each one in an envelope & let mommy “buy them for free!”
-For the Aquatic Center Halloween party, Kezia wore the Queen dress that Ireland wore last year. We were running out the door & mom told Kezi to put shoes on. Well, when we got there, mom found out that Kezi had chose cowgirl boots to wear with her pretty queen outfit J
-HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY KEZIA!! Kezia’s birthday was on a Sunday this year, so it was pretty mellow, but she still had a wonderful time. For her meals, she wanted Krave cereal for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch, and homemade corn dogs for dinner. She got lots of Frozen gifts – nail polish, an activity book, a hat & gloves & her big gift – Elsa & Anna dresses! She was so excited. Mom even made her a Frozen cake & cupcakes with the rings she wanted. She got lots of Happy Birthday songs and she even wore a “birthday girl” ribbon to church J She also got a bike-riding Barbie from Grandma Devenish and a Hello Kitty bowling set from Aunt Keeley! In the evening, dad spent quite a lot of time making the Olaf Piniata that she wanted. It was fun to smash & eat candy!
-For Halloween, Kezia decided to wear her Elsa dress that she got for her birthday. She felt bad that she couldn’t wear it to preschool that day, but she did get to wear it to Walmart & people pointed & smiled & one girl said “Hi Elsa! I love your hair!” Kezia was a trooper & went the whole 3 and a half hours of trick-or-treating without complaining!

It was neat to get the CD of pictures from our photoshoot last month & post them & tell people about the miracle of the rainbow. We can’t wait to print the pictures. We thought about you a lot on Halloween, wondering what we would have dressed you up as & how much you would have loved to go trick or treating & get candy. We love you & miss you forever.

-This girl is half a year already! She is truly SO much fun! She is so interactive and loves to GRAB GRAB GRAB!
-She is getting to be such a strong sitter – she hardly ever topples over. She has just started to reach forward while she’s sitting. We think she’ll get into crawling position soon!
-Noelle has started doing the cough-cry thing.
-She clearly will say dadadada or mmmmmmaaa when she’s tired or upset.
-One day mommy was making French toast & had Noelle in the Bumbo. Mom thought she was far enough away but suddenly Noelle cried out and mom realized she had burned the bottom of her little foot L We no longer are using the bumbo.
-We got the mirror/band/lights toy from the basement & Noelle has really taken to it. She hits the drums, piano and makes the guitar go, too. It’s so fun to watch her.
-Noelle continues to do very well with solids! She will usually eat an entire package during our meals!
-Noelle had her 6 –month wellness visit this month. She went from the 12th percentile to the 36th! (yup – she’s lovin’ those solids!) Her height is the 12th percentile & head is 100%. She had to get 3 shots L but did pretty good.
-Still no teeth, but she definitely acts in pain sometimes. We hope one pops through next month!
-Noelle still sleeps right next to us in the crib – strapped into the Guardian Sleeper and with the Snuza on. She is usually up at about 10pm for a feed & then at 3am.
-She still rolls over from her tummy to her back & from her back to her side, but not all the way from her back to her tummy yet. She is enjoying tummy time a LITTLE more & has started trying to get her bum up in the air.

-Noelle has really started to take notice of Sydney & other dogs. She gets excited when they come near & she likes to pet her fur :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What you didn't know about SIDS

Before I begin this post, I feel I need to give you a warning & a disclaimer.

 WARNING: This post contains details about my son's death that I haven't previously disclosed on this blog. 

DISCLAIMER: What I am about to tell you is knowledge and suggestions based on my experience. Not every SIDS mom has had my same experience & their opinions may certainly differ. Also - I hope they will not feel judgement from me or anyone else as they read this. In addition- obviously you will make your own choices about your child's sleeping environment - however because of my experience, I will strongly suggest you change it if it's unsafe. 

This post has been swirling in my mind & heart for some time. I finally have had the courage to write it down and share it. 

The official cause of death on Link's death certificate says:

Manner of death: Could not be determined.
Immediate cause of death: Sudden unexplained infant death. (SUID)

The CDC website says "Sudden unexpected infant deaths are defined as deaths in infants less than 1 year of age that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose cause of death are not immediately obvious prior to investigation. Each year in the United States, about 4,000 infants die suddenly of no immediately, obvious cause. About half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months."

So - I thought I was knowledgeable enough about SIDS. I read What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year. I got the Baby Center e-mails. I had three healthy, living daughters. But I had NO IDEA. No idea. 

The thing about SIDS is that there IS no way to prevent it. True SIDS, where the infant is face-up, with no obstructions anywhere and they just "forget to breathe"... how can you prevent a death like that? I do not believe that was Link's situation, however. Not all, but most of the moms in my SIDS group found their children face down - or next to something so that they were "re-breathing" air & had a carbon monoxide-type effect on them. 

Now - I have to say here that in my heart, I know that Link's mission here on earth was finished & he had greater plans on the other side. I know that in my heart. I know that if he didn't die in his sleep, he would have left the earth a different way. Even with that said, you'd better believe I am making changes with Noelle. Changes that I hope will keep her alive. I wanted to share them with you, hoping it will help someone & possibly save someone the heart-shattering loss we've experienced.  I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME THESE THINGS

First, yes, you should do everything the CDC says to do to "reduce the risk of SIDS." You can find that list HERE. My experience, however, was that the factors in Link's death didn't have to do with most of those things. He was always put on his back. He was on a firm sleep mattress with a fitted sheet. He wasn't dressed too warmly. No one smoked around him. He did not sleep in our bed. He used a binki. He was breastfed. He was immunized. However, with all the things I did right,  there were some things I was not even aware of that I did wrong. 

*DO NOT PUT THE MATTRESS AT AN ANGLE! I think with most of my other babies, at one time or another, I put some large blankets under the head of the mattress. This helped with drainage when they had colds and I've seen it recommended for acid reflux and colic. Link's crib mattress was always at an angle in the hospital, so I figured it was safe. But, here's the thing. When I found my baby boy, his head was at the bottom of the crib. I had placed him on his back at the top of the mattress - head at the top of the mattress. I believe he started rolling and the angle of the mattress facilitated the roll and that's how he got to the bottom of the crib. Also... with his head at the bottom of crib & the mattress at an angle, it was that much harder for him to lift his head. I just don't think he had the neck strength. IF you REALLY need to have the mattress at an angle, I would recommend The Guardian Sleeper. You can actually strap them into the crib with no way of rolling. Noelle has been using it for a couple of months. It takes some time to get used to, but gives me so much piece of mind! 

*STOP SWADDLING ARMS WHEN THEY SHOW SIGNS OF ROLLING! After watching The Happiest Baby on the Block before having my first baby, I decided my babies were all going to be swaddled - and they loved it!! They always calmed right down and felt so secure. Link wasn't swaddled when he was in the hospital the first 2 months of his life, but after he got home, I found that he really loved it. At one point, I thought maybe he was getting too big to fully swaddle, so I tried to just swaddle his lower half. He really hated it. He didn't sleep as long or as soundly so I went back to fully swaddling him. Biggest mistake I've ever made in my life. He was fully swaddled when I found him and I cannot help but believe that if his arms were not swaddled, he would have been able to push up and gain the neck strength to get out of the situation. Nowhere does it say this on the CDC website. In fact, many sites recommend swaddling to REDUCE the risk of SIDS. I think you are safe to swaddle until they start rolling - no more than 2 months. Noelle fought me on this, too, & wouldn't sleep as good without being fully swaddled, but you know what? Sorry to be abrupt, but I'll take a fussy baby over a dead one any day!!

*BE VIGILANT AT NAP TIME! I know most people believe that babies usually die in their sleep at night, but many babies in our SIDS group, including Link, died during the day. So - while the CDC says to share a room with your baby until they outgrow the risk (which we do with Noelle), many times it happens during nap time when neither parent is in the room anyway! Right now, I always have a video monitor on her when she takes her naps & I carry that video monitor with me. 

*NO BLANKETS OR BEDDING IN CRIB AT ALL & NO BUMPERS! This is one that is on the list for the CDC. Seriously, though. How many of us just plop our baby in an empty crib? It seems so cruel. Ireland LOVED having things near her face - her hands, her blanket... anything within reach. I bought this whole new crib set for Link - including a $60 bumper set. He was nowhere near the bumper when I found him. HOWEVER, there were blankets at the bottom of the crib. I put them there, thinking they were nowhere near his face - and he couldn't roll from his back to his tummy yet - so it shouldn't be a problem, right? WRONG. Many of us found our babies dead on their tummies and it was only the first or second time they had known of them rolling over. The blankets were not covering Link when I found him, but they were around him and, again, it leads me to believe the re-breathing theory. Just GET RID of the blankets and the bumpers. Trust me. It's not worth it.  (For comfort purposes, again  - the Guardian Sleeper would be safe, or get a sleep sack)

Another thing you didn't know (you might assume, but don't really understand the magnitude of)  is the devastation that SUID or re-breathing or asphyxiation or whatever you want to call it, leaves behind. There is no way to fully describe it. And I will do everything in my power to stop it from happening again. I am not asking you to go buy a bunch of monitoring devices like many of us post-SIDS moms do, but hopefully these suggestions are straight-forward enough that you can follow through with them - even when it's hard. 
Because let me tell you something...
 it was never going to happen to me. 
To us.
To him. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September Newsletter & Slideshow

Hamilton Newsletter
September 2014

FAMILY:  September was great – getting back into routines and – toward the end – the weather finally cooling down. The first weekend in September, we headed up to SLC for Caden’s blessing. We got there early enough on Friday to relax, which was good, because Saturday was busy! Grandpa Potts & Heidi went for a run (& saw a beautiful rainbow!!) then we went to the NAMI walk at Liberty Park in honor of Aunt Al Thea (we had pictures of her pinned to our backs). After that, Jason took the girls to the Comic Con to see all the neat things there and to visit Joseph at his booth, selling fake guns. They were there for most of the day, but had a great time! Sunday was Caden’s blessing and it was wonderful to see family & friends & celebrate our cute nephew/cousin! We also had a little celebration for the September birthdays at Trisha’s. On the 4th, Jason took the girls to Watchdog Night – they had fun playing and eating pizza! The 9th was McKinley’s Magical Birthday – she turned 9 on 9-9! See her section for details J On the 13th, Heidi & Grandpa Potts ran the Cedar City ½ marathon! Also, Heidi’s friend, Robyn, stayed with us overnight & ran too! Unfortunately, Grandma Potts was sick & couldn’t come. Grandpa was so nice to watch the older girls for a bit so Jason & Heidi could go on a little lunch date to the French Bakery. Thanks Grandpa!! The 14th was the Primary Program & Grandpa stayed to watch – our family sang Families Can Be Together Forever at the beginning of the program. Each girl had a speaking part and Ireland got to sing Baptism with the other kids in her class. They all did great & It turned out really neat.  On the 22nd, we headed up the canyon for FHE to see the fall leaves. It was just beautiful up there & the girls had a wonderful time gathering leaves & then playing at the playground at Woods Ranch. On the 23rd, we went to the library as a family & enjoyed choosing books, then listening to storytime. It was all about Pirates & Ireland & Kezia made hats and eye patches & went on a treasure hunt! On the 26th, we headed to St. George & Keeley was so sweet to watch the girls while Jason & Heidi went to the temple for the first time since Noelle was born. It was wonderful & much-needed! Afterwards, we celebrated Piper Ballou’s 4th birthday with cake & ice cream. On the 27th, we headed over to the pumpkin festival. There had been a lot of rain, so they moved it to the rodeo grounds. We got there late, so we didn’t get to see or do much, but the girls still had fun taking pictures, making foam Halloween decorations, going “fishing” for prizes, and picking up a home depot kit that they each worked on the next day & finished – 2 birdhouses and a bug house J That night, mom & McKinley went to the women’s conference. It was wonderful!  Our garden has been producing like crazy this month & we are enjoying LOTS of large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, red & yellow bell peppers, onions,  & peas. Our watermelon & pumpkins are also taking over our side yard & should be ready soon! It has been fun to get a “harvest” this year. We had a dentist appointment at the end of the month – the good news is that McKinley is cavity-free (great job McKinley!) while the rest of us need to go back L  

JASON:  Jason enjoyed going to Comic Con & seeing all the costumes and characters. He especially enjoyed going to a seminar about the creation of Lord of the Rings. Jason enjoyed the Watchdog night at North Elementary & signed up for 2 days of being a watchdog (going to the girls’ school and helping out) On the 13th, After the half marathon, Grandpa Potts took Jason to the SUU homecoming game. Unfortunately, SUU lost, but Jason had a great time & really enjoyed the game. Thanks Grandpa! Jason started his new fleet job at the end of the month. He changed locations – he’s now over by the airport – but so far he is enjoying the work environment, getting to know the people he’s working with, and understanding the systems and programs they work with. He has been working long hours as he tries to tie up things at his budget job and transition to the fleet job. There has also been some rearranging in the Young Mens program & Jason is now going to work with the Varsity group.

HEIDI: Heidi finished the 8 week challenge the beginning of September with a total weight loss of about 20 pounds. Yay! She took 4th place, so no prize money, but she was just glad to lose weight & be healthier! The half marathon was a great race. Unfortunately, Heidi lost her dad before the race started & didn’t catch up to him till mile 8! By that time, dad was losing steam. They ran together for about 4 miles & then dad told Heidi to finish it off. In the end, Heidi finished at 1:44, 13th in her age group. Dad was only a couple minutes behind & got 2nd place in his age division. Great job Dad! Heidi also enjoyed a nice hike with Noelle & Kezia one beautiful morning – she hiked the upper Alpine Pond trail & had a wonderful, soul-filling morning J Heidi has been working hard getting read for winter. She did a freezer meal swap with some friends at the beginning of the month & filled her freezer with 24 meals! Yay! And then the next week, she canned & froze a whole lot of pears and peaches with her amazing friend Diane. She also hit the caselot sale & got some great deals. It feels great to have a full freezer & pantry! 

 -HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY McKINLEY!! She was excited for her magical birthday this year – but had a hard time deciding what she wanted. In the end, she got a HUGE marble maze construction thing from Grandma & Grandpa Potts, some magnetic earrings & nail polish from Aunt Trisha, some foam stickers, a Simon Swipe game, and a huge art set from mom & dad. Grandma Devenish got her some clothes & she also got some money from Aunt Kim! Aunt Keeley got her a treasure box with a notebook & a multicolored pen. For breakfast, McKinley wanted cocoa pebbles, for lunch she wanted a grilled cheese/ham sandwich, and for dinner we went to KFC! Afterwards we had cake & ice cream J She got to wear her crown to school & got a nice card from her class. SO fun to have a 9-year-old!  About 2 days before her birthday, she started making each member of our family a beautiful drawing of a different animal & she gave it to us on HER birthday. SO SWEET! Thank you McKinley!
-McKinley is enjoying third grade so far – she really likes her teacher Mrs. Heap. However, she gets frustrated that her class seems very loud and rowdy. At recess, she likes to play with Jaycee, Lindsay, Kalyn & sometimes Ireland J She is in the highest spelling group & they are pretty challenging words! She’s also in the highest math group!
-For Activity Days this month, McKinley helped at the Care & Share to sort food & take a tour.
-Apparently, McKinley has inherited her dad’s greasy hair & skin. She’s started to take showers every other day & mom bought her some face wash.
-Mom went to McKinley’s SEPs at the very end of the month. Mrs. Heap was so praiseworthy of McKinley! She talked about not only what a great student she is, but what a great leader. She said one day she will be an old woman & see McKinley’s face in the newspaper J
-Unfortunately, a couple boys said some very inappropriate things to McKinley at recess. One called her fat & the other said very inappropriate things to her. Mom talked to Mrs. Heap about it & they are working with those boys.
-McKinley was the only one that had NO CAVITIES at the dentist this month! Great job McKinley!
-McKinley used almost all her birthday money (almost $40!) at the book fair. She bought a book about dogs, a book for her cousin, books for her sisters, & some erasers.
-McKinley started 4H this month. It’s an after-school program where they get to do lots of fun things. This month, they played legos and did tag games & cops & robbers. She likes to play with Dannan during 4H.

-Ireland still is enjoying 2nd grade – she loves playing with Drew and Mahina at recess!
-One morning while mom was fixing Ireland’s hair, she asked if there were any cute boys in Ireland’s class. Ireland said “Are you kiddin’ me?” Ummm… apparently there aren’t.
-One day, Ireland said “I’m never gonna be sexy when I grow up! Never!” Not sure where she got that from, but it was actually good to hear because she seems to be the one that likes to push the limits with wearing sleevless shirts and high heels.
-Ireland has struggled lately (again) with using her hands instead of her words with her sisters. Sometimes she sure seems like a bully to them. We are working with her on it and trying to role play and try again.
-When we were at the temple, Ireland was jumping on the tramp doing flips. Apparently, she landed on her neck. She was in a lot of pain for a few days afterwards, but is back to her rambunctious self. We are thankful she is okay.
-We are really proud of Ireland’s SEPs! She is the TOP READER in her class – scoring at a 4th grade level! GREAT JOB Ireland! She struggles a little bit with Math but is doing well there, too.
-Ireland had 4 cavities at the dentist this month L We bought some brand new brushes & floss to help her get motivated about brushing.

-Apparently, Kezia was a little disappointed with the Watchdog Night at North Elementary. She thought there was going to be a party with a pizza piñata (as in, pizzas coming out of the piñata). Looks like we have an idea for next year ;)
-Kezia is very tuned in to the times when mom is having a hard time concentrating. She will pipe up and say “mom – you need a rest! Can I have screen time now?”
-Mom came in one day when the girls were taking a bath to find that Kezia had brought a life jacket into the tub. Safety first! ;)
-We have loved all of Kezia’s amazing artwork. She is constantly drawing pictures and writing notes. One of our favorites was a drawing of a car, which Kezia informed mom “it will take you to what you dream about.”
-Kezia informed mom one day that she was changing her name when she grew up. Mom asked her what she was changing it to & she replied “Rosetta.” Kezia also informed her that she was going to make the house next door into a castle and live there.
-One day, Kezia was making a card & asked how to spell Happy Birthday. Mom asked who the card was for & she said “Myself!” Someone is a LITTLE excited about their birthday next month. She also has made multiple lists of what she wants – a piniata, balloons, cookies, cake & ice cream, presents, etc.
-Kezia is still loving preschool. We now carpool with Paige and a boy from Paige’s class, Spencer. She’s had fun making new friends & even got Hadley’s phone number.
 -Kezia continues to amaze us with the words she can read. She is definitely at a Kindergarten+ level! She also will do addition out of the blue! Mom was baking & had 6 eggs & asked Kezia to get 2 more. Kezia came back in and said “So – you need 8 eggs all together for that recipe?”
-Mom has loved having more mommy & Kezia time. We have played puzzles, made her name by gluing cereal & pasta, colored & Painted this month!
-Kezia had to turn in a paper all about her favorite things. She said her favorite food was macaroni & cheese, her favorite book was Can’t Sleep without Sleep, her favorite movie was The Lego Movie, and her favorite color was pink & purple.

Link’s brick was finally placed at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. We are so thankful for all who contributed to it & hope to visit it one day. Mom has really paid attention lately & noticed that truly there is not a day that goes by that your name isn’t mentioned, our baby boy. We talk about what you would like, what you would not like. How you would get along with your baby sister. We saw quite a few rainbows this month & thought about you in every one!! You are so precious to us – we miss you SO much! Especially as we get to see your sister accomplish the milestones that you never did. It is so bittersweet. We love you our duder-dude!!

-Noelle turned 5 months on the 8th!! The days leading up to that day were particularly stressful, but we are SO thankful she has reached this milestone & look forward to many, many more!!
-Noelle FINALLY seems like her tummy issues have lessened – she is definitely spitting up less. Although… at the beginning of the month, mommy went to give her a kiss & she spit up right into her mouth! Yuck!!
-Noelle has really been working on her thumb. She is really good at getting it in her mouth & sometimes she’ll suck on it, but she hasn’t really figured out how to use it as a comforting measure yet. She still mostly wants to binki to be soothed. She also has really started chewing on her thumb.
-Noelle is pretty fond of paper as of late. As in, crumpling it all up and trying to eat it.
-She is getting pretty great at sitting up all by herself. We usually need something soft like the boppy around her just in case she falls over, but she’s really getting the hang of it!
-Noelle is pretty much in the “oh, that’s cool. But how can I get it into my mouth?” phase
-She is also starting to get into the arching-the-back-when-I-don’t-want-to-be-here phase. Especially in the Bumbo. She is quickly outgrowing it.
-Noelle is pretty much like clockwork when it comes to sleep. Not every night, but most nights, she has a dream feed at 10-10:30, then is up at 3 to eat & then up at 6am. It seems to be more because of habit not hunger, so we will work on getting rid of that 3am feeding soon.  She still sleeps in the Sleep Guardian at night.
-Noelle started solids at the end of the month & is really loving them!! Her favorites so far are orange/banana and sweet potatoes J
-Her naps are usually at 9am, 12ish, and around 4. She was starting to take longer naps in the afternoon, but lately hasn’t been.
-She is quite the talker – and it doesn’t sound like just random babbles either. She is really starting to use lots of vowel combinations!
-She still doesn’t love tummy time. She has definitely mastered rolling over from her tummy to her back & she is rolling to her side all the time, too, but doesn’t really roll from her back to her tummy yet.
-We all love our Noelle! She is just getting to be such a fun age ;)
-We finally sent the Snuza in to the company to get fixed because it was draining batteries every 2 weeks & sometimes dying in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the company was not very good to work with (at all), but eventually we did get a replacement & are so thankful to have a working Snuza!
-She really loves her sisters & smiles and laughs at them all the time. Constantly, we talk about what Noelle will be like when she grows up – the clothes she will fit into, the colors she will like, etc.
-We usually call her Noelle-my-bell J
-Noelle loves her jumper & exersaucer!