Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life is “HAPPY”

It has been awhile since I wrote just about Dakota man…it is definitely overdue. The best words to describe Dakota and our little life right now is “happy!”
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This new pillow I got for his new big boy room says it perfectly! ;)

I always have the hardest time describing how Dakota is progressing to people because it is tiny and subtle. Probably those who only see him every once in awhile would never even notice any difference at all but for us in our home…we are seeing progress…and that makes us ALL happy!!!

The biggest change is still just subtle progress in his responsiveness, reactions, and communication. He is SO alert and expressive to EVERYTHING around him. He lets you know very easily and quickly these days if he his liking what is going on or not. He whines and cries when he is not liking something or wanting you to do something for him. You can ask him a question while he is whining and most of the time he will stop and look at you or smile if that is what he wants or he will keep whining until you get it right…sometimes you never get it! ;)

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For example…the other night he started crying in bed. I went in and tried to roll him back to the side he had been on (since he had rolled onto his back and it is hard for him to roll in his bed since it is tilted). As soon as I did he started whining so I said “oh you don’t want to lay on that side?” He stopped whining. I rolled him onto the other side and he just gave me the hugest smile ever, like saying, “YES!! Thank you mom!!” This is just one example of the many that are happening more and more often which makes life so much more easier for him and us!!

But honestly his mood is just SO happy and full of life lately and that has made the BIGGEST difference in our little home. I remember after his accident just praying that we would see some of his personality come back in him since there was really nothing there as far as personality for a long time. My prayers have sure been answered! This kid has personality…it is not maybe the exact same personality he had before his accident although I still see some of that same little boy inside…but it is personality and it is there and it is fun!!! He is really just so fun again in a new and different way but we sure love it!!

Even a year after his accident he would smile but not at anything we did. We could be funnier then funny and try and get him to smile and laugh at us but we got nothing. The only thing that could get him to smile was watching Toy Story. This was how we had to take our family pictures to get any smiles.

The whole photo shoot my friend Chelsea was holding this DVD player and the camera to catch him at the parts he would smile.

These days we don't need Toy Story to get a smile out of him. They come so easily and naturally now and that has been one of the hugest blessings to our family!!

Here is a short little video of him just having fun with his cousin Houston.

His sweet spirit and smiles fills our home with complete happiness. It is a happiness that is not just superficial…it is pure joy!! When he is in a happy and playful mood, Zach and I always just stop what we are doing and enjoy it together. I'm sure that if someone was constantly watching us they would think we are a little overly obsessive about our child...but that's ok with me! ;) I guess we are! I love that the trials we have been through have created within us a deeper appreciation for these simple things in life like a smile, that we once took for granted.

With Zach’s new job he doesn't leave so early in the morning, so many mornings Dakota is awake before he leaves and we have time to talk, smile, and pray together before he leaves and it is so simple but yet so wonderful.

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Zach sharing some pears with Dakota before work!!

The other morning Zach said to me, “I am just so happy! Even though life and work are still stressful and we don’t know what the heck we are doing (and Zach is a really stressful person that has a hard time not focusing on problems) just spending these morning together with you and Dakota just makes me so happy!” This made my heart just skip a beat because that is what it is all about!! In the scriptures in 2 Nephi 2:25 it says, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” For a long time we were missing out on that joy as we grieved and mourned the loss of the Dakota man we once had and struggled with this new change.

I remember as clear as day one night, sitting  in bed one night crying (one of many nights) and struggling after Dakota’s accident after months and months of REALLY hard days and nights. I remember wishing SO badly that I could just fast forward life like 10 years! I wanted to feel happiness again and I had a hope that I would…I just couldn’t see how or when that would be. I didn’t get to fast forward life…I had to struggle, learn, and grow every day since but that happiness is back and it is even more “happy” then I have ever felt before!! So to sit here at this computer today and speak of our home being being filled with SO much HAPPINESS, it is truly AMAZING to me!! I honestly thank my Heavenly Father EVERY day for it!!!

Along with all of these most important changes and progress we are seeing, Dakota is getting stronger too! He holds his head and body a lot stronger. He is still progressing at his crawling in therapy although he can’t do it on his own. He LOVES getting the chance to army crawl on his slide to his favorite Lemon Italian Ice. When he gets to the end he just smiles so big and is so proud of himself! I love it! He still stiffens up his entire body a lot…probably more then before. This makes it super hard to hold him because he is so strong and big that it takes all you got to keep him from falling out of your arms. He does it a lot when he is excited or mad. The therapists say that he has learned that that movement has helped him in his rolling and other things so that is why he does it more often. This is also what makes crawling on his own hard for him because he is really good and pushing but getting his leg back up in position is another story.

He is moving his arms a little more coordinated. He will bring his arms and hands up to his toothbrush as you brush his teeth and things like that. I would LOVE to see him be able to use his hands to grab things. I think that would make life a lot more enjoyable for him and he would be more capable of doing so much more.

As far as his trach goes, he is still needing suctioning at least 3-4 times a day so we aren't really making much progress towards getting that out. He coughs really strong and good but still doesn’t seem to clear our his airway all the way. He has actually started to really enjoy getting suctioned and will smile many times when you ask him if he wants one and when you are doing it because I’m sure it makes him feel so much better to breathe better. Not sure if that is a good thing though since we want him to not need suctioning. But we are okay with the trach. When he first got it is was such a new and weird thing for us. It was a foreign object coming out of our little boys neck. It looked weird, sounded weird, and was scary! Now that we are used to it, it has become a part of him and we no longer feel this sense of urgency to get it out. Of course if he does get it out one day we would be so happy, more for the fact that it means he has progressed but if he never does it will be ok too!! It is his cute little “necklace” as some people call it! ;)

About a month or so ago he got his first loose tooth!! It was kinda my fault though so not sure if that really counts as a first! I was flossing his little teeth with one of those floss picks and he all the sudden bit down on it and it cut his gum right next to he bottom middle tooth pretty bad. I felt SOOOOO bad as he cried and blood was pouring out! I was just trying to be a good mom and get his teeth cleaned!!!
After that his tooth was super sensitive and he didn’t want anything to do with tastes. The times we could get him to try some baby food he would bite down on the spoon and it would make his gum bleed and he would cry. One day at church he bit on a succor and his tooth just got really loose. From there on out it was getting looser and looser. When we took him to the dentist for his cleaning the bottom middle two were both loose so the dentist decided to pull them.
I was so scared and sad for him but he didn’t even make a peep!! He was MUCH braver then me!!!
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Getting ready!!

When the dentist got done he said, “well I got 3.” I was a little confused on why the 3rd had to come but well it was already gone so what the heck! Dakota just has a huge gap now in the bottom which you don’t see unless you pull his lip down. It sure makes him seem like such a big boy though!!
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All gone!!

He got his first visit from the tooth fairy and got 3 whole dollars!!!
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Holding his treasure box with his teeth in it, getting ready to take it to his bed! ;)

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Morning time! Looks super excited! ;) Not sure that he really cared about the money but I think he was glad to have that sensitive tooth out of his mouth!

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Hooray they are gone!!!

He is still LOVING school and all of his cute friends!
I mean seriously who wouldn’t love school when you get to swing in a hammock swing and ride scooters down the hallway! Sign me up! ;)

He loves the bus rides and can be crying all the way to the bus and as soon as he gets on he is just fine. He loves to look out the window. He seriously has the cutest bus drivers in the whole world. I love them to pieces!! I will be so sad when this school year ends and he moves to a new school and maybe with new bus drivers! :(

I think that about sums Dakota man up for awhile. If I ever leave anything out that you would like to know please leave me a question in the comments and I will be happy to answer!


  1. I'm glad things are progressing for you! I pray for your family every day.

    1. Thank you SO SO much Pogue!! That means so much to me that you would still pray for us every day!! I don't think those prayers have gone unheard or thank you SO SO much! We need every prayer we can get!!

  2. Dakota is seriously so adorable with those beautiful eyes and long lashes!

    1. Thank you!!! We sure are in love with those eyes that speak to us!!