Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Boy!

I am a few days late in posting, but Treyson had a birthday last Saturday. He turned five years old!!! I know everyone says this, but I can't believe he is that old. He has always been a sensitive little thing and I love that about him. I love the endless amount of flowers he has brought to me and how sweet of a brother he is, especially to Traxton. He was the best early Christmas present I have ever gotten. Happy Birthday Treyson!Treyson's first Christmas at seven days old.

Treyson has always had an eye for the prettiest flowers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beautiful Ears!

November brought three different trips for us to Salt Lake for doctor appointments. After Traxton's initial activation of his cochlear implants, we had to keep going back for them to be "turned up" and adjusted. It felt like we were constantly driving and staying in hotel rooms, but after our appointment last week, everything has been worth it.

We took Traxton into the sound booth for testing with his implants on to see what he is hearing. Poor Traxton has spent so many hours in sound booths over his 2 1/2 years trying to determine his current level of hearing. It is very safe to say that he has been less than cooperative in the past. This visit was different. He sat on my lap and turned to almost every sound that was made over the speaker as soon as even I heard it. It was such a neat experience to see his progress in only one month since he was activated. His hearing on the right side was pretty much at a normal level.

We took him back into the sound booth the next day to test his left ear and the results were not quite as good. We are not sure if he just didn't want to respond or if he really couldn't hear the sounds. (That's the worst part of the sound booth. We are always trying to analyze whether he really couldn't hear the sounds or if he could hear them and didn't want to turn his head.) So next time we will start with his left ear to see if the results are different. In the meantime, we are going to do some therapy with only his left aid on to help his brain rely on that side. We are thinking that the right ear may be the dominant side and his brain hasn't taken the time to learn to hear as well from the left side.

He is more vocal than ever and we love hearing his little voice. He definitely knows what he is saying and I look forward to the time when I will know what he is saying without relying on signs. Although, he is pretty good with his signing and he's making multiple word sentences. We are so excited for his progress and are so thankful for technology that makes his hearing possible.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I love holidays, any holidays, with the excitement and festivities. I love getting excited and feeling like something big and special is coming. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it always reminds me of everything I have to be thankful for and it also puts me in the mood for Christmas. I was a little worried about how today was going to be when our morning was full of multiple breakdowns from our super dramatic little girl; and I'm sad to say, her mom too. Thankfully, we both got things under control and headed over to the Taylor's for an awesome feast. After our fun day with cousins, I decided to ask everyone what they were thankful for. I love how some of their answers are so innocent and simple.

Treyson: Family
Heidi (our dog)
Ice Cream

Ashten: Family
Grandmas and Grandpas

Mandy: Beautiful, healthy kids
Amazing husband
Living so close to family
Jesus Christ
Traxton's new "ears" so he can hear me say "I love you"

Jared: Family and Friends
Free Country

We have so many things things to be thankful for!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010


A couple of months ago Jared signed Treyson up for little league wrestling. He loved it right away, but I was a little nervous for his first match. I felt like it could be pretty dramatic if he lost, since it is such an individual sport. At least with soccer and t-ball when you lose it was a team effort.

Watching him at his first match, I was amazed with how natural wrestling came to him. (I guess I should have known since I am constantly telling him to quit wrestling with his brother and sister.) He was surprisingly really good, especially considering he only went to one practice before the first match.

The wrestling tournament lasted for five weeks and he was never beat. 15-0. It was so fun for our family to go watch him and to practice with moves at home. Thank goodness Jared wrestled in high school so he could teach him some cool moves. Last week both sets of grandparents were able to watch his last match. It was really neat for them to all be there supporting him and to see him pin all three of his matches.

Since Ashten was his practice partner at home, she has gotten pretty good too. She was such a good sport to let him learn on her. So far she is the only person who has been able to pin him. :)
Treyson's trophy for winning the tournament.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


We took Traxton back up to Salt Lake this week to have his post-op appointment with the surgeon. He said everything looked great and cleared us to have the implants activated. Once we met with the audiologist, she gave us the outer devices and programed them for the lowest level needed to initiate a response. Because the implant creates such a different sound than he had before, it takes time for the brain to learn what it is and how to interpret it as a language. We were told that some kids start to cry when they are activated because it is loud and scary. We really wanted to see a big exciting response from him, but it never happened. Jared and I felt like it was a little bit of a let-down. At one point he turned his head to a sound, but that was it. He was so good and patient while everything was set up, even though it was a little scary. The sound is quite minimal right now because his brain needs to adapt to the change. During the next week we will continue to turn his mapping up so that hopefully with each increase we will see progress.
Now that we are home, I feel like we have a huge amount of work ahead of us. We have to teach him that the new sound has meaning and how to interpret it. I am struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed because I feel like his success depends on me. We have such a long way to go and right now it feels like there is no light coming through at the end of the tunnel. I know I need to keep my expectations reasonable and take every day at a time.

He is such an amazing little boy. He is so strong and resilient with everything that he has been through. Even though we have dealt with some challenges in his little life, I am so glad I'm his mom and I wouldn't change anything about him.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

Cutest Cleopatra, King Tut and Mummy ever!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Promise It's Not Bambi!!!

This sweet thing may be small, but shooting him got me out of hunting for another four days
Thanks babe for being my guide. I had an awesome day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dance Festival

A few weeks ago Ashten's school had their annual dance festival. The theme of the festival was Western so they all dressed up in their cowboy and cowgirl attire. I tried to get Ashten to wear a hat, but she refused. "It felt weird". She did agree to the little bandanna on her head. At one point I thought she looked more like a gangster than a cowgirl. Either way she looked pretty cute.

We had a really fun time eating pizza and watching all the kids do their fun dances. Ashten is such a good girl and even though she creates a lot of drama with her need to have everything perfect, we would be lost without her. She is always so much help to me with her brothers, especially Traxton. I know if I put her in charge of something, it will get done. We love her so much!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


What a crazy few weeks we have had! After posting last we have made considerable progress with Traxton's coordination and balance. It didn't come as quickly as I would have liked, but he is walking again. It seemed like every few days he would get a little more balance and be able to get around more easily. It was a little odd seeing him crawl around everywhere like he was a baby, but I was so grateful when it happened. We didn't have to keep a constant watch on him once he was comfortable with crawling around. He is still a little wobbly and he struggles on uneven ground, but he is walking. More than anything is that this experience has taught me patience. We had to carry him everywhere and give him 100% of our attention or he would try to get up and fall back down. It was such an exhausting time. I even had moments of weakness where I would break down and wonder if he was ever going to get his balance back. I questioned and feared that it would be permanent. Our family prayed constantly for him to get better. This has also been a teaching experience for me to be reminded that our prayers are always heard. Our answers might take longer than we would like, but they are always heard. Obviously, Heavenly Father thought that I needed some more practice with patience.

Traxton's incisions look really good. They are almost completely healed and his hematoma has gone away. His crazy personality is back and he doesn't seem to be bothered too much by his lack of sound. He is doing really well with his signing and most of the time I know what he wants. He also is able to understand when I sign to him. Ironically, we were so worried about him being frustrated with communication, and that hasn't been a problem at all.

We have been so grateful for all of our friends and family who have been here to support and offer help to us. The daily visits and phone calls to check on his progress provided such a strength to me. We are surrounded by so many amazing people.

Now we only have two more weeks until his implant is activated and he can start hearing again. I can't wait to get things started!!!

Traxton playing outside with the hose in his underwear.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Last Friday Traxton had his cochlear implant surgery. Even though I had been planning for this and preparing myself for the last few months for what was going to happen, I was nowhere near emotionally ready for what actually took place. What mother can really be ready to have their child undergo major surgery?

Thursday afternoon we met with his surgeon to go over all of the pre-op instructions and find out what time his surgery was scheduled for. The appointment was quick and easy and we left with instructions for the next day and prescriptions that needed to be filled before surgery. We were able to swim and play with the kids at our hotel Thursday night with Jared's sister and her kids. Everyone had a really fun time together. Having the surgery so close made me really emotional. I couldn't help but worry about everything that may possibly go wrong. I spent a lot of time crying.

We were told that Traxton would need to be fasting after 7:00 am, so Jared took him down for breakfast at 6:00 (yes he was already awake), then we just hung out for a few hours before we headed for PCMC. Jared's sister had agreed to watch Ashten and Treyson for the day while we would be at the hospital. Originally we were under the assumption that we would have the surgery in the morning and be discharged the same day. Since he wasn't scheduled until 3:00 pm, we were told that we would be staying the night for observation. Thankfully, Jared's sister was more than happy to keep the older kids over night as well.

Once we got to the hospital they told us that the doctor was an hour behind schedule, so instead of us waiting two hours for the surgery we had to wait three. Traxton did so good considering the fact that he hadn't eaten all day. He played in the little toy area with another little boy who was scheduled for a surgery as well.

They finally came and took him from us at 4:30. He didn't even cry as he was taken down the hall in the opposite direction from Jared and me. I was crying enough for all of us. We were directed to a waiting room full of parents experiencing the same thing as we were. The OR nurse called around 6:30 to say that they had just finished the first ear and were starting the second side. She said he was doing great and everything was going well. I felt like that phone call was a lifeline to my baby and I didn't want to end the conversation. An hour later the surgeon came out to tell us that everything went well and he was all done.

Seeing Traxton in the recovery room was one of the hardest things I have had to do. He didn't even look like my baby. He had his head wrapped up like a little helmet and he looked so pale. It was heart breaking to see him like that.

Our night in the hospital was awful. Traxton woke up every hour and become combative. When he did this Jared would have to take him from me to settle him down. I couldn't control him when he was kicking and hitting. He also kept getting bloody noses. They said the oxygen he had during surgery probably just dried out his nose and was making it bleed. In addition to his nose bleeding, one side of his head kept bleeding through his bandages. We had to add more bandages to his head throughout the night. As if all this wasn't fun enough; Traxton threw up multiple times in the night. I'm pretty sure none of us got very much sleep.

Saturday morning Traxton started to do a little better. He was given some anti nausea medicine and that helped a lot. He was able to start drinking some juice and eating crackers. After a few hours the resident came in and removed his bandages and said everything looked good and we were free to leave whenever we felt ready. Normally, I am very anxious to leave the hospital and go home but I didn't want to leave until we were sure Traxton felt well enough to make the drive home.

We loaded up our stuff and headed to pick up Ashten and Treyson around noon. Traxton seemed to be feeling better, however, he was really wobbly. He actually couldn't even hold his head up without it bobbing all over. We were a little worried about the drive home, but he did really well. He slept most of the way and didn't seem bothered by things when he was awake.

Now that we are home, we are dealing with things that we weren't prepared to deal with. Traxton completely lost his balance. The first few days we have felt like we had a newborn again. We literally had to hold his head when we held him, otherwise it would flop around. He has slowly regained some of his balance. He can now sit up unassisted and crawl around, but he is nowhere near walking yet. I feel like we hit the rewind button and am back to being excited and anticipating the milestones of a baby. I think I am more excited for him to start walking now compared to how I was when he started the first time. The hardest part about his loss of balance is that he thinks he should be fine. He remembers that he could walk and climb so he tries to do it now, only to fall on his face. I can't just leave him on the floor like I did when he was a newborn because he will try to stand up and walk around. Someone has to constantly be right next to him making sure he doesn't hit his head.

Besides his lack of balance, I have been a little concerned with one of his incision sites. It has been pretty swollen, so I called the surgeon and he suggested we take him in to be seen by someone. I took him in to our ENT yesterday and we were told that he has a hematoma, which is a collection of blood under the surface. It's not very big so they want to just keep an eye on it, but if it continues to get bigger we will have to have it drained. I feel like my anxiety level is constantly through the roof. The older kids make me nervous when they are around him, because I'm afraid they might bump into him and hurt his head. I'm hoping once the swelling goes away and the incisions heal up a little bit I'll relax. I think everyone is hoping the same thing.

Overall, I think Traxton is doing pretty good considering everything that he has gone through. Hopefully in the next few days he will continue to make progress with the healing and his balance. I am very anxious to get my crazy, fun loving, little terror back.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It's Official.
Traxton's implants have been approved by our insurance and his surgery is a go for next Friday.

We are so EXCITED!!!
(I will admit I'm still feeling a little anxious, but I am working on that.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Eliminating Fear!

A couple of weeks ago we took Traxton back up to our audiologist at PCMC. After more testing, his hearing was declared severe enough for him to be considered a candidate for cochlear implant surgery. Even with his hearing aides he can't hear well enough for speech articulation. This information makes him qualify as a candidate. So all of his records were compiled and sent on to our insurance to see if they will cover the implant surgery. I think it is a little ridiculous that it comes down to an insurance company getting to decide ultimately if a surgery, that is medically necessary, will take place or not. They hold the power: not the doctors who have the expertise and skills to perform the surgery. Since the surgery is $80,000 per side, the insurance company holds all the power.

Now we are in limbo. His surgery date has been set for October 1st if it is approved. I am struggling with the uncertainty of it. Should I just plan on it happening and make arrangements for our family? But then if it doesn't happen I'm afraid I will be super disappointed. I'm not really doing anything at this time and that freaks me out too. I am such a planner!!!

Not only does the idea of my baby undergoing surgery stress me out, but the month after will be such a struggle. After they place the implant his hearing aides will no longer work. The implant, however, won't be activated until a month after. This means we will have four weeks of no sound for him. We have been really working on our signing, but we are nowhere near proficient enough to rely completely on it. I am really afraid of the frustrations he will experience and how it will make him feel to be completely without any sound. I think it would be lonely.

Before we made the decision to do the surgery, we talked a lot about this transition period and how much of a struggle it would be, and we decided that the positive points outweigh the negative and to just go for it. Making this decision was really hard and I have doubted myself a lot. I have wondered if it is the right thing and even if it is the right time to do it. Since making this decision, I have had so many little thoughts and impressions that have reaffirmed my decision and I know that this is best. In church the other day someone reminded me of the fact that fear is the opposite of faith. I really needed to hear that and to be reminded that I have to have more faith. Yes it will be a trial, and yes we all will get frustrated at times, but I can't be afraid. I need to have faith that this is the right thing and everything will work out for the better for Traxton. I know that it really is the right thing to do! We love this little guy so much and we love everything that he has brought to our family. I couldn't imagine things being any different. I am excited for the future and all of the possibilities and new sound that will come with Traxton's new ears.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taylor Tentout

For the last few years Jared's family has been having a mini-reunion during the Wayne County Fair. This year we decided to not just sit by and gather candy at the parade, we wanted to be in the parade. The train Jared made to be pulled behind the 4-wheeler last fall was modified a little bit to go with our theme. I'm sure to no ones surprise we had a beekeeper theme for our float. All of Jared's sisters helped out in putting the float together and we were so excited to find out that we won first place.
All of the little honeybees after riding in the parade.

A four generation picture with Jared's grandma and grandpa, parents and our little crew.

Last week we bought a little 4-wheeler for our kids so they got to spend the weekend riding it around. One of the many perks of being in a tiny town is that you can drive an ATV down the middle of the road and no one cares.We went for a ride up to the mountains and the little 4-wheeler did so good. At one point it needed some help to get up a big hill, but totally worth the work to see the amazing view from the top.

Jared's grandma is in her eighties and she spends a lot of her time crocheting. She has made a blanket for all twelve of the great-grandkids over the last few months. They are so lucky to have a blanket made just for them by her.
We had a really fun weekend hanging out with all the family and escaping the heat for a few days.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer in Review

Like I said in my last post, I have been horrible at blogging this summer. We really did do a lot of fun things even though I never posted anything about them. I thought I would do a "brief" overview of our summer.

*Traxton turned two. He is our little wild child. I struggle to keep up with him everyday. He loves his brother and sister and will do anything to mimic them. He also loves to be a lion and crawl around growling at everyone. We had a family party for him and he loved being the center of attention, just like always.

*We went camping at our annual Bundy Reunion in July. It is always a lot of work to pack for the long weekend of camping, but I absolutely love going. Its so fun to be around so many loved ones and there is nothing more relaxing than sitting around camp and not having to worry about getting to appointments or running errands all over town. All the grandkids in their Bundy Reunion shirts. Even the moms got matching shirts this year.
This rock pile is always amazing to keep the kids entertained for hours at a time. It also always attracts quite a few stray kids.

*We took multiple trips to Salt Lake for doctor appointments this summer. Traxton had a MRI of his temporal bone to make sure all of the anatomy in his inner ear was intact and compatible for an implant. So relieved to know everything looks good there. The fun thing about these trips is that it gives us some one-on-one time with Traxton. We learned that he is quite the little jabber box when he doesn't have to compete with his two older siblings. I don't know what we would do without family to help us out with the older kids while we travel back and forth. Thanks so much. Waking up from being sedated for the MRI. We are so thankful that he comes out of sedation so well. It's like he has just woken up from a good long nap. The only problem he had was when he found the IV still in his little arm. I had to hide it under his blanket.

*We are so lucky to have all the cousins live so close together. It makes it easy to get together and let the kids play. We took all of them to the splash pad for a few hours and they had a blast. They are all close together in ages and have also started to play together really well. Instead of fighting with each other, they protect one another and fight with other kids. All seven of them were ready to take on an older kid who wouldn't stop spraying them in the face with a squirt bottle.

*Lastly, Ashten turned six. I love having her birthday in the summer. It is fun to end off the summer by having a party before heading back to school. It's also really nice to combine her school clothes with birthday presents. She had a swimming party with some of her friends and we had a family party. I can't believe she is six! She is such a big helper and we love her so much.

It's been a pretty busy summer and now that school has started up again, we are getting back into the groove of having a schedule. I love having a schedule!!! As excited as we always are for summer to get here, it's even more exciting for it to end and for fall to arrive.

Back to School

I can't believe how bad I have been at blogging this summer. Now before I even realize it the summer is over and another year of school has started. I have so many mixed emotions about sending Ashten off to 1st grade to be apart from us all day. I feel guilty for wishing this day to come for the last two and a half months. I pretty much started counting down the days for school to get back in session since the doors opened for summer break. I longed to have the luxury of grocery shopping again without all three "helpers".

I now feel like I didn't enjoy the summer break and time with my kids like I could have. We did a lot of fun things throughout the summer, but I didn't really enjoy them like I should have. Many of my days were spent looking forward to nap time and then bed time. Some days it felt like all I could do was count the hours until I could have a break. Recently, I have been struggling a lot with feelings of inadequacy. I was feeling like I just couldn't keep up with all of the demands placed on me by others, and even myself. A lot of my feelings were stemmed from all of the responsibilities of keeping up with all of Traxton's therapy sessions and doctor appointments. We have multiple therapist come to our house throughout the week and I take him to an additional speech therapist. I just have felt like even though we are working so hard with him, I'm still not doing enough. Like I am failing him as his mother. I am his number one advocate, but I am also mainly responsible for whether or not he has success. His progress with speech and language relies on whether or not I take the time, and have the patience, to work with him. Some days we do really well, but others are rough. He gets frustrated really easy when I don't know what he wants and he can't construct a word or phrase to tell me. I admittedly, get frustrated a lot and don't take the time to figure out what he is telling me so he gets upset. Having all this responsibility has been weighing heavily on my shoulders. I have known where these feelings are coming from all along; the only person who wants me to feel like a failure. But even though I have known that, I still have had a hard time getting rid of them. My poor husband who would call to see how our day was going, would end up listening to me break down and cry. Thank you babe for being so loving and understanding. At stake conference on Sunday our stake president spoke, and although I really didn't get a lot out of the meeting thanks to my kids who seemed to have a hard time remembering that we are suppose to whisper in church, I heard one thing that I felt was directed entirely to me. He said that if we look at ourselves the way the Lord does, we will be able to love ourselves more fully and then see the potential in ourselves that the Lord sees. I really needed to hear this to put things in perspective and get out of my depressive state.

So now as I sit here after dropping Ashten off at school to be gone all day, I am seriously missing her and how much help she is to me around the house. Maybe it's because she's the oldest or maybe because she is the only girl, but I get a lot of strength from having her around. I am sad to have that stage of our life over. Ashten will always be a full-time school girl and for now I get to be outnumbered by the boys at home.
Traditional 1st day of school photo.