Tuesday, April 28, 2009


When Mike moved to New Jersey 15 years ago our landlords planted a dogwood tree outside our front window. Year after year Mike was so upset that in the spring time it would grow back its leaves but never flower. Last year we got a few buds which was nice to see when we got home from Cincinnati after our month long stay there offering a sign of happier days ahead. Well this year the tree is completely in bloom with flowers everywhere - a sure sign that even happier days are ahead of us with Daniel.

It is actually pretty ironic that the tree is in such full bloom today since this time last year the Drs. in Cincinnati removed Daniel's breathing tube making him completely trach-free. What a difference a year makes!!!

On a funnier note - given the price of veggies this year we decided to try our hand at gardening a bit more than last year. (One must think I have time on my hands but I don't. Just being economically.) Anyway, Mike purchased a ton of seeds, which I planted in our greenhouse. So far we got corn (yes, corn) herbs, and sunflowers. The grand plan is to plant tomatoes, peppers, green beans and pumpkins. I draw the line at eggplant. Here our seedlings.... Watch out Martha and Judy, here I come.......

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good News and So-So News

Yesterday's visit at Ciny for Daniel went fairly well. He actually was a rockstar and did fabulously well. We only had a few moments of crying when we first got into the room but other than that he was his charming self and won everyone over with this smile.

So what did we find out? Well, the good news is that Daniel's airway is doing extremely well. It is growing with him and is now at a 5, which is an improvement from the 4.5 six months ago. The Doctors and the nurses were extremely happy for this and said everything looks really good. His graphs have completely healed over and they don't want to see us for a year! So that is the good news.

The so-so news is that Daniel's GI scope went ok but they did have to dilate him in two sections again. This has been pretty typical but this time the top section needed to be dilated a bit more then before and was a little concerning for his Dr. The reason for the concern is that the top area that is narrow is at the opening of the esophagus making the ability to eat a bit more challenging for Daniel. The Dr.'s concern is that since we are working so hard at getting Daniel to be an orally eater that the narrow opening would limit our success. The good news was that the narrowing was very easy to dilate and open and now we must hope and pray that it stays open and does not narrow back down too much. For this reason he wants to see us back sooner than a year. He first said six months than he said at the end of the summer so I am not sure what the exact time frame is - three months or six months. We were sooooo hoping that we would get a year time frame from Daniel's GI Dr. too but it did not happen. So that is the So-So news.

Oh Well!! All and all the news was overall positive or at least predictable - just like Daniel!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Voice Day!!!

Happy Voice Day to Daniel - or so we call it here in the Duker household. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Daniel being trach-free and we are SO excited for him. It is amazing to realize that this time last year Daniel looked like this....

And now he looks like this.....

Just a couple of things to note. As usual on our trips to Cincinnati Daniel has learned new things. This trip he has learned:

1) How to flush to the toilet
2) How to open the door to the hotel room and leave on his own. (He is now just tall enough to reach the handle).
3) How to do "Fins" during Jimmy Buffett's "Fins" song.

What more can one ask for.... CRAZY!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crazy To Think....

It is crazy to think that this time last year we had our car packed to the max and we were saying "goodbye" to our home in Mahwah and venturing out to Cincinnati for a month to open a new chapter of our lives with a trach-free Daniel. It is crazy to sit here and realize that we made more than ten trips (1,300 miles round trip each time) to a hospital ten hours away to give a little one a voice. (And boy does he have one now. ) It is crazy to sit here this morning and try to remember how much hope and uncertainty we had back then and not to tear up remembering how many prayers and how much support we had behind us as we "hit the road." Though we probably will never be able to completely comprehend or truly understand why our journey with Daniel has been so crazy, it is really nice to sit here now and deal with normal kid crazy issues while creating memories that will last a lifetime with him.

As a parent we all have our regrets or built in guilt (or so we are learning) but it is crazy to feel so much at peace with the decision we made last January to go to Cincinnati for an evaluation. And it is crazy to know that tomorrow we will make the trip again for his six month follow-up visit (April 22) right on the heals of his one-year trach-free anniversary on April 21. Simply crazy!!!

Once again, thank you all for all your support (financially, physically and mentally), well-wishes, and prayers for our family. It has been a crazy ride, which we sometimes would like to get off of (don't we all), but it has all been worth it in the long run. Don't you agree??

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!
(And yes these are the best pictures I could get!)

And they are damn cute too!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chicks and Ducks

This morning we went to our local nursery for some Easter flowers and to our surprise they had a bunch of baby chicks and baby ducks. Happy Easter!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To Peep Or Not To Peep...

Isn't that always the question this time of year???

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Yesterday afternoon we "hosted" an Easter Egg hunt for a few of our friends and their little ones. The day featured egg dyeing and an egg hunt. Everything went extremely well with the exception of the egg dyeing since the eggs were not completely hard boiled. Luckily nobody cracked any.

The fabulous photos below are courtesy of Jeff and Vicky since I couldn't get my act together enough to take photos. As you can see they totally captured the day and are fabulous. Thanks guys!! Enjoy!

The Little Artists At Work...

The Half-Cooked Colored Eggs
They Look Good Enough to Eat....

"The Hunt is On..."

"I Found One....."

"Look What I Found In My Egg...A Jelly Bean!!"

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Dance Time!!!

Happy Dance Time in the Duker household as Daniel finally ate a whole can of yogurt. I could not be happier for this little man and yes, a happy dance was done in the kitchen in honor of this HUGE accomplishment. He has been eating yogurt at the feeding sessions via the therapist we have been going to but this was the first time he ate the whole thing just for me. YEAHHHH!!!!

What was left....

Bubble Thought - "Yes, I am Proud of Myself, Too!"