Saturday, February 27, 2010

A look at the past

A year ago I wrote this letter to Gillian. I still can’t believe how fast the time is going…

Friday, February 26, 2010

Past and Present

I have decided after the look down memory lane with the photo albums that I really should tell the story from the beginning. So I am going to start blogging in the past and the present. From the beginning, the night I found out I was pregnant so that if someone stops by my blog they know how the story begins. I figure this could be really fun to look back at the significant things that have gone on in the Miner family life in the past 4 and a half years. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let it snow

We knew a storm was coming but we under estimated what was on the way. We have gotten at least 2 feet and it keeps coming down. Craig and I were excited for some snow because Gillian hasn't want to make a snowman. She even asked if we could borrow snow from my parents yard because they had snow and we didn't. I took tons of pictures while we were outside playing.

Pooh enjoyed the snow just like the rest of us.

Gillian had a blast helping make the snowman.

At this point, Gillian was still making her own baby snowman.

It was more just playing in the snow.

The pool is covered in snow just like everything else.

We had no snow prior to today.

Trees in our front yard.

Playing in the snow.

Pooh is a shepard/lab mix and weighs 90 lbs, the snow is as deep as the length of her legs.

Pooh standing guard behind the snowman.

I put food coloring in a spray bottle because I thought Gillian would enjoy playing with it. This was her garden.

Only my daughter would place the spray bottle on a spot in the snow that looked like a table:)

Craig was clearing the driveway while Gillian played. Gillian was watching him and she said,"Daddy is making a huge (pause) mess!" She did think it was neat that it looked like a waterfall.

Gillian caught a snow flake on her eye lash.

The lighting wasn't very good but the snowman is actually green, he is an alien snowman.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Craig's sense of humor

Gillian has Craig's sense of humor. She is always coming out with stuff that makes people laugh. Whether it's her parents, grandparents or woman at daycare - she can brighten all of our days with her sense of humor.
Yesterday Craig was picking up Gillian from daycare and she had made a clock. It is quite neat, it is a a paper plate with constuction paper hands. So Craig wondering what Gillian knew asked her what time is it. Without a second guess response,"Time to go home." Craig and the woman at daycare got a kick out of this. That is totally Craig's girl.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I went and saw my "friend" today. I brought Gillian's first baby album (yes, first because there are many and I know I have an issue but that is for another blog on another day). I looked through it the night before and so much came back. We went through a lot and there are so many memories. I had decided that I would bring the album to show her what I have been talking about. She was amazed by all the pictures I had and the fact that I could tell her something regarding each picture. I didn't keep a journal when I was pregnant or when Gillian was born (this is a huge regret but we move on). I feel like the pictures I took are my journal. Craig was gone for many days in a row so I always wanted him to see how she was changing and I just have an obsession with taking pictures of her. I love to look at pictures, it's capturing a moment that we can never get back.

My friend says I'm blessed in more ways than one:) Lucky me! The fact that I am healthy after what I went through and Gillian is 100% healthy is truly a miracle. She said the fact that for the first two years of Gillian's life, Craig, his parents, my parents and I took care of Gillian to avoid daycare is a blessing. That most people don't have the family relationships that we are lucky to have that got us through an extremely difficult time in all of our lives. That fact that instead of Craig and I letting the pregnancy gone bad and the prematurity divide us we came together as a team shows our commitment to each other. We are truly blessed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ice Castle - Sleigh Ride

Saturday Gillian didn't have dance class because of the school schedule. It was a nice break and we decided to take advantage of it. The morning Gillian and I spent shopping. We are in search of St. Patrick's Day decorations. I can find paper plates and stuff to wear but I can't find decorations for the house. I wouldn't even bother with decorations if it wasn't for Gillian. She really enjoys holidays and decorating for them so I try to make if possible for her to do for every occasion. That morning we didn't have any luck.
That afternoon, Craig, Gillian and I traveled up to Saranac Lake in hopes of seeing the ice castle from the winter festival which was the prior weekend. It was a nice drive up, Craig and I talked and Gillian slept. We were outside at the castle for probably about 45 minutes. It was very cold. Craig and I definitely should have dressed warmer. Gillian was dressed perfectly for the weather and she even struggled with the cold. We got tons of great pictures which most can be seen on my facebook page. It would take too long to upload them here. Enjoy the pics.
Ice Castle

Gillian and Craig (this pic makes me laugh).

I had a very hard time picking a pic of Craig and Gillian to share.

Love this pic.

Gillian finally got me to crawl through the wall (seriously how safe is this?).

Craig decided on the way home we would go through Lake Placid so we weren't going back the same way we had gone up. We saw there was public skating on the Olympic Speed Skating rink which if there had been any parking we would have stopped and tried. We made a note so we can go back. On just the edge of town, I saw a horse sleigh ride so we turned around and went back. Although we were all still freezing from the castle visit, we decided to seize the opportunity. And we had a blast. It was a nice change and something that we don't have an opportunity to do often. Of course I got pics of this too.

Meet Bob and Nelly

Us prior to our ride.

Craig and Gillian on the sleigh.

Sunday morning Gillian and I went shopping again. I very much enjoy that I can bring her along with me. She behaved very well and only asked for a few things. I made sure to bring her to a store I knew she would enjoy so it wasn't all about adult stores. Still no luck with decorations. Found tons for Easter though. The search is going to continue....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Craig and I started discussing Gillian’s birthday early (her birthday is in March). By the beginning of February we started pricing swing sets for Gillian’s birthday. We started off with a realistic stand point on what we were willing to spend. Then we asked others if they would like to pitch in and now Gillian is getting quite the swing set. Please click here to see what Gillian will be getting for her birthday.

Gillian actually helped pick out her swing set but she doesn’t realize it - the joys of having a 3 year old. While Craig, Gillian and I were in Burlington for her heart doctor appointment we looked at Toys R Us since we don't have one at home. We found one on sale that we decided to purchase so Gillian and I wandered around the store while Craig paid and figured out what needed to be done.

It was very cute that while Craig was getting everything taken care of, Gillian and I looked at toys. She asked for a few items and I told her we weren't purchasing anything today but I could let people know what she would like for her birthday. Her response,"I don't want that for my birthday, I want a swing set." The girl knows what she wants.

It will be a nightmare to put together…I already know this. But we are hoping it will bring many years of happiness.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Heart Doctor - Part 2

Craig and I took Gillian to the heart doctor yesterday to check on her ventricular septal defect. We can proudly say the hole has closed. It was the last part of her prematurity that had still been plaguing us. We have gone back periodically to have it checked and this time the doctor had told us they would be able to run the tests and she would be at the age to really know if it definitely closed. When the doctor came in and told us that we were all set and had nothing to worry about, I breathed. I'm impressed that I didn't cry and I wanted to hug the doctor but I didn't. We said our thank yous and our good byes and we walked out of the hospital. I feel so relieved. Now I feel the victory. Now I feel like everything is going to be okay.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heart Doctor - Part 1

Gillian was born with a ventricular septal defect which means she has a hole in her heart the size of the end of a needle. It is barely there but enough for doctors to know it's there. We have gone to follow ups in the past and always come out with flying colors. Today Gillian goes for what will hopefully be her last follow up. I want to be confident that it will be the last but I have learned in the past that things don't always turn out the way I expect or hope. Keep us in your thoughts today, fingers crossed that it will be our last visit to the Children's Hospital Specialty Clinic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Only Children

I grew up with 2 siblings. I loved having them and I can't imagine my life without them. I'm a middle child and the only perks there. That is what I know and how I was raised.

My husband grew up with 1 sibling. He was the only boy and the perks there too.

We have chosen to have an only perks there. At first I didn't see the perks. I looked at the situation from my perspective, not as an only child. That is what I thought was right. That is how I grew up and I turned out fine. My husband grew up with a sibling and he turned out fine. How does one go through life without a sibling? It seemed very foreign and I had a lot of fears that my child would miss out on so much by not having a sibling.

Then I started to take steps look at what I wanted for my family. I talked with Craig about what we wanted for our family. We want to take Gillian on vacations, help pay for her 1st car, help pay for college, we want to retire young (like 52), we want to be able to take adult vacations, we do not want to feel we have to hold back all the time because of money (take note of the word all - we are not loaded). I don't want her to miss out on an opportunity because we didn't have time or money. I don't want Craig or I to miss out on an opportunity because we didn't have time or money.

I have high hopes for Gillian. Not that she will be perfect. I want her to have opportunities that not all children may get offered and be able to accept them. I want her to dream as big as she wants to and aim for that dream.

Do I think she won't be able to accomplish her dreams with or without a sibling? Nope. Do I feel that our family is lacking because we are a family of 3 and a Pooh Bear? Nope.

Gillian is a unique individual. A sibling would not change that. I am now thankful everyday that we chose to have an only child.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This past weekend...

Saturday, Craig took Gillian to dance class which went the best it has gone so far. I was sleeping, my mouth had been pretty sore Friday night and I didn't sleep too good. Craig has poked a little fun at me but I'm just happy it went well. That afternoon, Gillian and I went and visited my parents and siblings to deliver some Valentine's that Gillian had done for them. We got to see Baby Zandra, who is growing so fast. I can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months already. Just look how big she is getting.....

Saturday night, Craig had a meeting so Gillian and I had a girls night. I have a foot care kit to pamper feet so Gillian and I spent an hour in my bathroom pampering our feet and I painted her finger nails and toe nails which she always enjoys. She is definitely going to be expensive when she gets older.....she loved the pampering.

Sunday was Valentine's Day which sometimes Craig and I celebrate and sometimes we don't. This year was a celebrating year. Gillian and Craig got me diamond ear rings which I love! Craig is getting an ipod and Gillian got Craig a box of chocolates and on each chocolate there is something that Gillian loves about Craig. It was very fun to do with Gillian, to hear her responses when I asked her what she loved about her Dad. It is definitely something that Craig and I will cherish and I look forward to sharing with Gillian in the future.

We went to a mid afternoon meal with Craig's parents which was nice. It was the first time I have really had food in a week...just have to cut everything in really small pieces. Then we came home and I gave Gillian a bath in my bath tub. It was like she had never noticed it until our pampering session. She was super excited to take a bath in a tub she could "swim" in. I took the below picture while she was in the tub. She is so beautiful! (I know, I'm biased)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here is a flash back picture not from Gillian's 1st Valentines Day but close to it...

Things have definitely changed in the past 3 years......

Friday, February 12, 2010

Finally Friday

So I have survived the week with a mouth full of stitches. I have managed to eat mainly soft foods and although they said pasta and a sandwich without crusts were considered soft mouth has not agreed. Here are some recent pics of the Gilly beaner.
I took this pic after Gillian had her hair done, that is the reason for the lack of curls. And her winter hat pretty much flattened it.

Gillian goofing around with Daddy's helmet.

A couple of funny things Gillian has said lately:

I was pouring Gillian and drink and she asked what it was. I told her Grammie water a.k.a. Propel and her response, "Love It!"

I put some grapes in a tuberware dish to bring in the car for a snack and I offered Gillian some, her response, "Alrighty!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Battle is Over

I thought there would be mixed emotion over getting a tubal. I had expected it to be an emotional time. Turns out, it has become a relief that wasn't expected.

The night before, Craig and I spent in a hotel because although bad weather hadn't been predicted, I wanted to make sure I made it to the hospital by 7am. We went out to dinner and enjoyed each other's company. We didn't really talk about what was going to happen just enjoyed having some time with just the two of us.

The next morning we rose (not happily as neither of us are morning people) and went to the hospital. I can't recall a single thing we discussed but I know again, we weren't discussing what really was happening.

We got to the hospital and all checked in. Craig was allowed to sit with me until they took me to surgery. We still made small talk but avoided what was really going on. We said our good byes and love yous and he went to wait and I headed for the OR.

I came out of that room feeling pretty much the same. A little sore but nothing a few days of rest wouldn't help.

It is now 5 days later that I realize I am different. Things did change in that OR that day. An emotional weight has been lifted. The battle that has plagued me for the past 4 years on whether to pursue another child is over and there is no turning back. Normally I would think about it at least once a day and go back and forth over pros and cons but that hasn't been the case recently. Today was the first day that I even thought I will never have another child. And instead of being upset or overwhelmed by that idea....I realized that it is okay. Gillian is the only child I need, she couldn't be more perfect. For the first time, I feel the battle is over and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lobster in the bed

Last night I was woken up at 1:52am by an awful scream coming from Gillian. Craig got to her room 1st (this is no surprise, he is an extremely light sleeper since we had Gillian) and I went in to check to see what was going on. She insisted there was a lobster in her bed. Seriously, lobster? So Craig climbed in bed with her and laid with her and I went back to bed. Again, I hear the I get up. It dawns on me, she is in her footed pajamas which are fleece, and she is sleeping with 2 fleece blankets and a down comforter. She is a victim of static electricity and she thinks a lobster is biting her. So I change her out of the fleece pajamas, I go get another blanket and we show her that there is no lobster in her bed. She still doesn't believe us so Craig has to get her bed and she lays down with him. After about 20 minutes of her expressing her fear of laying in her bed and the fact that she thinks there are lobsters in there, Craig brings her to our bed. It has been a long time since Gillian has slept with us, I actually can't remember the last time but we all managed to get a bit of sleep the rest of the night.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


So the best way to describe the past 5 days is recovery.

My surgery Friday went as expected. I was a bit more sore than I had anticipated. And I would have never guessed the pain in my right shoulder would have been so much more painful than any other part of my body. Something about the gas they use causes the shoulder pain. I'm glad they warned me about the shoulder pain because I would have panicked if I didn't know it was a possibility. Craig has been so sweet. Making sure I relax and rubbing my shoulder. Encouraging me to take it easy which is not easy for me to do. Gillian was very cute, laying with me and inspecting my boo boos. I totally can see her being a doctor. By Monday I was starting to feel better. Which was just in time for surgery #2.

Yesterday I had a gum graft done. I had done research so I knew what to expect. It was worse than I had prepared myself to expect. Being awake and knowing what they are doing in your mouth even though I couldn't feel it was like torture. I tried to pretend I was on vacation with the bright light shining on me, eyes closed like it was the sun and MP3 player going with all my favorite songs. The 8 shots of Novocaine were painful which the Dr told me was the worse part. I have to argue that holding my mouth open while they took the skin from the roof of my mouth was equally as painful. I won't gross you out with the details because I find them extremely gross to even share. I am on tons of pain meds to make me comfortable and I'm catching up on sleep. Gillian and Craig are taking very good care of me. Letting me sleep and checking in on me. I'm very lucky to have them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Surgery #2

Today is the big day, that I have been dreading for about 3 weeks now. Three weeks ago, I met with the periodontist.

Back in December I went for my normal 6 month check up at the dentist and was informed that I need to go for gum grafts on two of my teeth because the gums were receding so much that it is needed to reduce the pain I feel from sensitivity and to help make sure I keep all my teeth.

I knew this day was eventually coming, they have been watching these teeth for years. It just stinks that it is finally here. My hygienist who has been my hygienist for an extremely long time informed me that although she isn't suppose to tell me, it is apparently extremely painful.

I hadn't gone online to read about the surgery because I thought that it would just stress me out but when I started having nightmares when my imagination was getting the best of me I decided to seek out information on the internet. Needless to say, this just scared me more.

So, I still have not totally recovered from surgery #1 which makes me feel crazy that I have another surgery so close but doctors schedules were not working in my favor at the point that all these surgeries were scheduled. So I'm hoping that today isn't as bad as I imagine.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Surgery #1

Today I am having surgery. This surgery is considered somewhat elective. It wasn't an easy decision to make...Craig and I have discussed it for about 4 years now. So it isn't something we rushed into and we explored numerous options. We have done our research and gathered facts. Today I'm having a tubal ligation.

When I first became pregnant it wasn't obvious how sick I was or how sick I would become. Actually by the end of my first trimester, everyone thought the doctor was crazy and didn't know what he was talking about. Craig and I joked about the "next" pregnancy. I think it was our way of not discussing what was going on with the pregnancy that we were in. I think that I knew something was terribly wrong from the beginning and although I thought I felt fine, I really didn't. I wanted to believe that everything was fine, that my body wasn't failing when I needed it most.

We all know how the story ended and in fact my body did eventually fail. Craig and I are beyond lucky to have a little girl that is healthy and strong. We will never be millionaires and our lives will never be "easy" but we witnessed a miracle and that makes life "easy" and is worth more than millions of dolloars. Gillian is our true pride and joy.

So after years of visiting specialists and numerous different OBs, the decision came down to what we were willing to risk. Risk the life of a baby, risk my life or call it quits while we are a head. We are choosing what is best for us as a family.

I have read amazing stories about families that have had preemies and go on to have normal healthy pregnancies and birthes after that preemie. I have also read the stories that don't have the happy endings. The ones where the mother dies, the mother has a stroke or heart attack, where the baby dies or the baby has a life long battle with a challenge. Those risks were too much for us to bear on ourselves and on each other.

Like I said earlier it wasn't easy to get to this decision, there have been many talks and at some points I have probably pushed Craig to the brinks of insanity but it all came down to what we want for our future. We want health and happiness and the 3 of us to be around to see it. So rather than enlarging our family we are choosing to focus on it. Appreciate everyday and be thankful for what we have.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Anyone reading my blog saw last month that I had the lucky lotto number listed each day. That was for a fundraiser for the March for Babies that Team Gillian was doing for the upcoming walk in April. The team was able to sell 314 tickets which was good (had me a little nervous because 320 broke even) but the chances of a winner everyday weren't that great so my fingers were crossed that this worked in Team Gillian's favor. It did and we were able to raise $1,170 for the walk. Woohoo! This is the first year that it is February and I'm calm. Normally right up until all the money is handed in I'm stressing about how much we have raised. I never think enough is enough but this year my views are different.

I was recently told that by taking my daughters birth that had horrible circumstances around it and although she ended up okay by forming Team Gillian and giving back to the organization that helped us is taking a bad thing and making it good. I see that now. I felt that I owed the the March of Dimes for all their research that saved my daughters life. When you owe someone something, you put an extremely high expectation on paying them back. If you don't then you should. I don't owe them but I do realize they need my help. By spreading Gillian's story, I help them. I bring awareness to the research they have done and a complete success story that I'm lucky to witness everyday. I wish that all preemie parents had a story similar to ours and hopefully one day because of the March of Dimes that will be the case. But it will take Gillian's story and all the other stories out there to get there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Average Day

Craig is back on the awful shift so his schedule is opposite Gillian and I Monday through Friday. None of the three of us are fans of this shift. Craig keeps Gillian home for a couple hours in the morning and Gillian and I are home together in the evenings. It just doesn't feel like a family having the time split up but we make it work. It is nice to have one on one time with Gillian. I enjoy hearing about her day and listening to her stories. Gillian loves to stay busy, she has two rooms of toys but she pretty much sticks to the same things (kind of like the rest of us). She loves play-doh, water paints and balloons. Gillian loves when I make snowman out of the play-doh and she dresses them with hair or crowns or ear rings.

She painted a couple pictures recently that I love. I love the colors, I love the rainbow and one spot looks like a lizzard. I'm actually thinking about framing them.

Something about them....makes me smile.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ms. Independent

It is no doubt that my daughter is independent. As long as I can remember she has wanted to conquer anything she sees others doing. First it was holding her own bottle, then moving on her own then talking. Most recently it has been using the potty and dressing and undressing herself. She has been able to dress herself and for the most part undress herself. She was stuck on getting her shirt off. She mastered it last night and you would have thought she won a gold medal. I love how big her smile gets and the sparkle in her eye when she accomplishes something she has worked at....the look is truly amazing. Tonight I brought down her jammies so she could change and immediately reminded me that she could do it all herself and proceeded to show me that she could in fact undress and dress herself. She even gave me commentary while she was doing it on what exactly she was doing. You know, in case I forget what I'm doing. She is just so cute:)

Monday, February 1, 2010


Congratulations to Niki and J! I follow Niki’s blog and they welcomed twins on Saturday January 30th.