Dear Caleb

Dear Caleb,

I don’t know if you’ll ever remember this time in your life. We’ve been talking to you about what’s going to happen when we travel to St. Louis for your Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. We’ve glossed over a lot of what is going to happen (you’re only 3, afterall) but you know that we’re going to St. Louis so Dr. Park can fix your legs and help you learn to walk without your walker. When we prompt you, you let us know that sure,  you’re excited to learn to walk, but most of all, you’re excited about staying in the hotel and wondering whether the TV remote will work or not (during our last trip, the remote didn’t work in our room).

It feels surreal to know that we are hours away from a procedure that will totally change the course of your life. I can’t wait for you to have an improved quality of life and to free your legs from the tightness they feel day in and day out. I wonder if there will come a time that you don’t remember what it felt like to have these tight legs? I can’t wait to see you sit comfortably with your legs straight in front of you. I can’t wait for you to be able to take control of your body and wiggle your toes if you want. And yes, those first independent steps are what all parents dream of, except the anticipation has been building for years in my case. Most of all, I’m anxious for you to not have to work so damn hard at what comes so easily to most of us. There isn’t a worse feeling than when I watch you collapse to your knees after an extended period in your walker. It’s like your legs physically can’t move another inch and it can be so heartbreaking. I’ve been wanting to take this hardship from you since the moment you were diagnosed and now, I feel like we have a shot at making your life a heck of a lot better. You deserve it, kiddo.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I can’t think of a better kid for the task. You are hardworking and attentive but also silly and very affectionate. Barely a day goes by when you aren’t complimented on that huge smile of yours and as cliché as it might sound…. you really do light up a room with that face.  You are so much more than your cerebral palsy and I hope this procedure allows you to be your very best self at  age3 and 93 and all the years in between. We love you so much Caleb and we’ll be by your side every step of the way.

Love you forever,

Mommy, Daddy, Wyatt and Baby Parker




Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, SDR

Parker at One Month!

Our little guy turned one month old last Friday. The weeks are flying by and we’re loving getting to know him and watching the dynamic between all our boys. Parker is only the “little” brother because he’s the youngest… there’s not much else that’s very “little” about him! He’s such a tall baby and it shocks me how fast he’s growing out of clothes!  We’ve long outgrown newborn and size 0-3months, so now, at five weeks old, he’s wearing size 3 month clothing and even those are getting difficult to snap! My favorite time of the day is when I get to rock Parker and count the rolls on his legs, arms and neck and marvel at the adorableness of his knuckle dimples! Fat babies are awesome! (Little peanut babies are pretty cute too, I’ve had a couple of those).

On a very much related note… Parker eats… a lot. He’s a milkaholic and I’m his open bar so it’s not uncommon for me to be feeding him every 2.5 hours during the day. Luckily for us, he’ll stretch it a bit more at night… between 3-4 hours. Shane handles one of the feedings in the middle of the night so I get a long stretch of sleep and have woken up relatively well rested lately! I struggled in my attempts to nurse the twins when they were newborns, which led me to exclusively pump milk for months until they sort of got the hang of it. By the time they were six months old, however, they were getting formula only because I couldn’t keep up. Feeding Parker has been much easier and I’m enjoying the experience so much more because I’m not constantly stressing about his weight gain. If he’s sleepy during a feeding, I just let him go back to bed, rather than try to keep him awake like I had to do with Caleb & Wyatt. My goal is to nurse Parker for as long as I can.

Parker has just begun giving us some big gummy smiles and somewhere buried in those chipmunk cheeks are possibly two little dimples. It’s a little too early to tell for sure though. He’s also started making sweet cooing noises, as if he’s trying to tell us lots of stories. He’s starting to spend more of the day awake, which is a lot of fun, except he’d prefer to be held rather than in a seat, swing or carrier. Carrying Parker around totally tanks my productivity, but my primary responsibility during maternity leave is to bond with him, so I’m ok with the fact that I won’t be winning any awards for my cooking (or lack of) and cleaning (or lack of).

Current nicknames: Parkey, Park, Park-ma-nark, Master P and P.D.  Oh, and Caleb randomly called him Bon-Bon the other day. Huh?!?

Parker, we love you! Happy one month birthday, baby!




Posted in Parker

Baby Parker is Here!

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write this post for three weeks now but it’s been difficult to find the time to sit and write! Anyways, I have a few minutes now so here it goes…

Baby Parker is here! Caleb and Wyatt’s birthday was on a Monday and I went to work that evening. I noticed I was having some contractions, but they weren’t getting closer together, so I finished my shift and was home by about 11:30pm. At 2:00am, my water broke! It wasn’t as dramatic an experience as when I went into labor with the boys, so I wasn’t totally sure that my water had broken at all! Needless to say, when I called the doctor, he wanted me to go to Labor & Delivery to get checked out. We had some friends on standby to take care of Caleb & Wyatt, but didn’t want to wake them up until I knew I was going to be admitted. My suspicions were confirmed in triage and I was admitted. I wasn’t having too many contractions, so I was able to walk around as much as possible to try and get labor started. Our friends came to pick up the boys and entertain them for the day, while Shane’s parents were on a flight from Colorado to come help us out!

The day passed by slowly, I was too excited to sleep and wasn’t supposed to eat anything, so I was getting a little cranky. At some point in the afternoon (Shane meticulously kept the times of all the major events of the day) I was given pitocin to start to speed things up. I also got an epidural when things started to get uncomfortable. I had a scary (to me, anyway) low blood pressure incident where I was sure I was going to faint, but luckily didn’t and once I was given more fluids and my meds were adjusted I felt fine. Well, as fine as someone who is in labor could feel I guess. Some unknown amount of time passed and it was finally time to push. In my previous pregnancy I only pushed for like 30 minutes total, so I was naive in thinking I was almost done. An hour and forty-five minutes of the most difficult pushing ever, Parker was finally born! Our little chunker weighed 8lb9oz and was 22 inches long! His weight was only 1lb1oz less than the combined weight of his brothers when they were born! At the very end of my labor I spiked a fever and because it had been a long time since my water broke, precautions were taken and Parker received antibiotics in the NICU in case of an infection. Everything worked out fine and we were both discharged when Parker was almost 48 hours old!

Since being home, we’ve enjoyed the help of Shane’s parents, as well as my parents and an adjustment for our new family of five. Caleb and Wyatt have been really sweet with their baby brother. They are gentle and love to help with diapers and bath time. They have also been enjoying the extra attention from their grandparents! We are so in love with our new addition! Parker is a sweet boy, who (knock on wood) is such an easy baby. He’s on a great schedule and sleeps the entire time between feedings at night, so we don’t feel like zombies this time around! I’ve had very few instances where I was responsible for all three kids for an extended period of time, but that changes tomorrow. Our visitors are gone and Shane will be back at work. The older boys will be going to daycare part time and they’re excited to see their friends again. I’m looking forward to spending some quality one-on-one time with Little P! The next month will be spend “relaxing” and gearing up for our big trip to St. Louis for Caleb’s surgery! Exciting times ahead!

Here’s some pictures from the past few weeks!





First family (of five) picture!


Meeting their “baby brudder”





Parker’s first outing – Fourth of July Parade!


First visit to the Pediatrician!


Danielson Men


Demonstrating “tummy time” for Parker



Caleb showing off his incredible upper body strength








Parker’s first trip to outer space – 2.5 weeks old




First bath!




Posted in Caleb, Family, Parker, Wyatt

3rd Birthday!

I realize that it’s so cliche, but really… where does the time go? Three years ago we met our baby boys for the first time and while they most certainly are little kids now, I still see those hints of baby every now and again. Our boys turned 3 today and this was the first year that they really understood it was their special day. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that Shane and I both have birthdays a few weeks before theirs, so there was lots of anticipation of their birthday. We had a small party at our house yesterday with some friends and their playmates from daycare and it was a picture perfect day. I kept it as easy as I possibly could (purchased platters from Costco, ordered pizzas and had the grocery store take care of the cake) because at 39 weeks pregnant, anything can happen! We let the kids loose in the backyard and the adults got to sit and relax (at least I did!) in the sunshine. I asked Wyatt if he would mind if his little brother came today, on his birthday and he said that “Yes, I would mind.” So I only have a few hours left, but it’s looking like this will officially be the only Danielson with a July birthday! Did I just jinx myself?

This years theme (aside from low-maintenance) was Yo Gabba Gabba, since it’s their favorite TV show and pretty much the only thing they watch.








The boys are certainly going to miss their friend Lily and her family when they move away.


The big presents from us to the boys this year are their very first bikes! They were very excited to take a ride down to the stop sign at the end of our street. I especially like the parent handle since both boys are still learning how to pedal. The boys can still cover great distances and we don’t break our backs pushing the back of their seats. Shane also swapped out the swings on our swing set for the big kid ones today and the boys did great! Now if only they can learn to pump their legs!


photo 2

photo 3


In addition to trying out their new bikes and swings, today marked the first day where we completed a “birthday questionnaire.” Every year we’ll ask the boys the same set of questions and when they turn 16 or 18, we’ll gift them with the binder full of their answers over the years. Or maybe, I’ll just keep the binder for posterity! Some of our favorite responses:

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wyatt: Alien

Q: Where do you wish you could go on vacation?

Wyatt: To the library

Q: What would you buy if you had $1000?

Wyatt: Toys. Like every toy I saw in the whole wide world.


Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Caleb: Six

Q: What are you really good at?

Caleb: Spitting in the sink in my bathroom (Note: he doesn’t yet know how to do this regularly)

Q: Where do you wish you could go on vacation?

Caleb: To the library

Q: What would you buy if you had $1000?

Caleb: Bananas

Q: Which vegetable do you hate the most?

Caleb: The orange vegetables


Happy 3rd birthday Caleb & Wyatt! We’re so lucky to have you in our lives and look forward to another exciting and laughter-filled year! We love you!

photo 1

Posted in Caleb, Wyatt

Camping at Little Bennett!

Our first foray into camping was a total success! It actually went far better than either Shane or I could have anticipated. It’s like all the stars aligned and we had this perfect weekend with our boys. I think a weekend “away” (about 15 minutes from our house) was just what we all needed. The camping trip was actually my idea as a way to celebrate Shane’s birthday and Father’s Day. I didn’t know how I would be feeling at this point in my pregnancy so I booked it for the earliest weekend we had totally free. We arrived on Friday night and Shane pretty much set up the entire site by himself while I entertained the boys. We made a fire, cooked steaks (for us) and macaroni ‘n cheese for the boys and sat down to a late dinner. After dinner, we introduced the boys to roasting marshmallows and making s’mores for the first time. They weren’t obsessed with them like their mom and preferred to just eat the graham crackers… their loss, more for me! They did pretty well in their sleeping bags, but there were a couple middle of the night wake ups. The pressure is definitely on when the entire campground is dead silent and the wailing sounds of a toddler seem to travel for miles in the middle of the night.

The next day we had pancakes and made our way to a very short little trail hike to point out cool stuff to the boys. They loved it and Wyatt actually was our trail guide. I see a lot more hiking in our future (you know, when I can walk for more than 20 minutes at a time) since the whole family loved it. The campground also has a large playground with swings so we were entertained there for another hour or so before returning to our site for lunch and naps. We basically hung out at our campsite the rest of the day; playing with dirt (Caleb), gathering sticks for the fire (Shane), collecting rocks (C&W), avoiding bugs (Mommy&Wyatt), mastering peeing outside (Wyatt) and trying to avoid swollen ankles (me).  Our boys were superstars all weekend and I’m so grateful they were open to this new experience that was very different than their normal routine. They went to bed between 9:30-10 both nights which is probably the latest they’ve ever stayed up in their whole lives. Neither were cranky but rather went to bed willingly when it was time. On top of everything, we had picture perfect weather and no issues with equipment, food or supplies. My heart is just so full after having this fantastic weekend with my family. I’m not sure if the boys will remember their first camping trip, but I always will and after our first experience, I know this certainly won’t be our last! Now, all that’s left is to wait for Baby D to make his arrival in less than a month!





Collecting rocks!

Collecting rocks!










Posted in Family, Weekend

Family of Four – Expiring Soon




We pulled out the boys’ water table that they got last summer and let them enjoy splashing in the backyard on the afternoon of Memorial Day. The weekend had been pretty busy and productive so an afternoon at home in the yard sounded heavenly. The boys loved their water table when they got it for their birthday last year and seem to love it even more now that they’re older. Caleb can stand and play for a much longer period of time before getting tired and Wyatt loved splashing without anyone telling him to knock it off. Shane and I pulled up camping chairs, a beverage of choice and just watched our boys play. These moments as a family of four are numbered and pretty soon there will be a whole new person to get to know. After the boys were born, I remember it seemed difficult to imagine what life was like before, when it was just Shane and I, and I’m guessing that will happen again once baby bro arrives. It’s bittersweet, to be looking forward to bringing a new little boy into the family but sad that the current family dynamic that we’ve come to love will be changing soon.




While I don’t feel as prepared as I did with the twins, I know this time around that everything will fall into place and there isn’t much worth stressing about. My husband might disagree, but I’m definitely more laid back this time around. I’ve realized that if I’ve forgotten how to do something, like get that perfect burrito swaddle, I know that within 5 minutes it’ll all come back to me. And god forbid if we run out of something the baby needs, well there’s Target down the street or Amazon at my fingertips. It won’t be the end of the world if the nursery isn’t done when he’s born because he won’t sleep in there for a couple months anyways. At this point, I’m enjoying spending these last few weeks with our little family of four and giving the boys all my attention before it has to be split even more. We’re off on another adventure this weekend… our first foray into CAMPING! That’s right! My husband has been wanting to go camping for a while now, so in celebration of his birthday and Fathers Day, we’ve rented a local campsite for a couple nights. The boys couldn’t be more excited to “play with sticks” and “find bugs” at their first camping experience. Surprisingly, I’m actually pretty excited too! Well maybe not that excited about being 36 weeks pregnant and sleeping in a tent, but I was promised a lot of s’mores and I’m definitely looking forward to that! Wish me luck!



Posted in Family, Uncategorized, Weekend

Quick Trip to STL

The main focus of our trip to St. Louis was obviously to meet with Dr. Park to discuss Caleb and the SDR surgery, but we also managed to see some of the city and have a little fun.

If I hadn’t been 34 weeks pregnant, the flight to and from St. Louis would’ve been downright heavenly! There were three of us (Wyatt stayed home with friends) but the plane only had two seats on each side of the aisle so I was odd man out. Caleb is a seasoned flier at this point in his young life, so he had absolutely no problems during the 2 hour flight. As a matter of fact, he slept a majority of the time. Ironically, the airplane magazine had an article about medical tourism and how people will travel all over to see a particular doctor or get a specific procedure done that they can’t get done in their hometown. What a coincidence!




Once we landed and got all our gear, we took public transportation from the airport to our hotel. Everything went smoothly and we checked into the Parkway Hotel, which is actually attached to several hospitals via a skybridge. Access to the hospital couldn’t have been easier and we will most likely be staying there again when we return in August. We dropped off our bags, had a quick lunch at a nearby mexican restaurant and then took the hotel’s shuttlebus to the St. Louis Zoo! I must say, we were very impressed with this zoo. Admission is free, but some of the exhibits are a small fee, as is a train ride around the zoo. Because of my lack of mobility, we opted to take the train to different parts of the zoo in order to minimize walking. We saw lions, tigers, zebras, flamingoes, a giraffe and so much more! Between my limited walking and our being there near closing time, we definitely missed lots of other exhibits but I’m not worried because we’ll be back in a couple months!


Having spent the day flying to St. Louis and walking around a zoo all afternoon, we were really tired and had dinner in our hotel lobby in order to get to bed nice and early for our big appointment on Monday. One thing I forgot to mention in my last post was that Caleb became fast friends with a little boy in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. His name is Aiden and he is about 2 years post-op if I remember correctly. Shane and I spent the better part of 30 minutes asking them a zillion questions about their experience with the surgery, the hospital, the recovery, the post-op therapy regimen and other logistics. They, along with everyone other family we’ve spoken with, have said that they have absolutely zero regrets and this surgery has helped their child in numerous ways. To see Aiden and Caleb together was so heartwarming, they were instant best friends. They sat next to each other and were hugging and laughing until it was our turn to go.

Amused by the fish tank at the doctor's office.

Amused by the fish tank at the doctor’s office.

New friend, Aiden

New friend, Aiden

After the long and emotional doctor’s appointment we made our way to the other side of the city to check out the Gateway Arch and take a riverboat tour on the Mississippi River. You can’t really go to St. Louis without checking out the Arch and we were definitely impressed by its stature and commanding presence in the St. Louis skyline. I spent the cruise with a napping Caleb in my lap while Shane snapped pics took in the sights.

Feet in the Mississippi River!

Feet in the Mississippi River!



View of the arch from the river

After the cruise, we walked around a little and made our way to the 26th floor of a downtown hotel to have a drink and check out the view of the city. Our little tourist family stuck out like a sore thumb in this swanky, rooftop lounge, but we didn’t care.

Numerous sit down breaks for me!


View from rooftop bar

Our final stop of the day was an Italian restaurant on the hill, which is like the Little Italy of St. Louis. Our food was delicious, Caleb was well-behaved and we got to daydream about the next time we’ll be in St. Louis and how Caleb’s life will never be the same afterward!


Oh, I forgot to mention. Caleb’s absolute most favorite part of the entire trip?? The cabinet in the hotel room of course. He would kneel there all day if we let him, opening and closing this cabinet. He just loved it… so we had to get a pic of course.


Until next time, St. Louis…

Posted in Caleb, SDR, St. Louis

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