Category Archives: Music

Music Monday: Road Trip

I got to ride up to the women’s retreat with a car filled with some incredibly lovely ladies, in prep for the trip I made us a road trip CD – because making mixed CDs is just what I do (anyone surprised?).

The perfect road trip mix should have some good sing-along songs, some current faves and some pertaining to the weekend at hand (in our case, religious and inspirational; in other cases they have been all fun and empowering, i.e, a girl’s weekend trips to Chicago).

The playlist – starts peppy and poppy, mellows out and brings in the inspirational and finishes out with some good sing-alongs:

I’ll give a big high five to the person who guess what song #19 is (Track 14 by Tom Petty)…

Guesses?

If you went with Free Fallin’ then you are 100 percent right (and you’ve probably watched Jerry Maguire).

Here are some YouTube videos in case you want to listen.

Home | Phillip Phillips


10,000 Reasons | Matt Redman


Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) | Kelly Clarkson


You’ve Got the Love | Florence + The Machine


Free Fallin’ | Tom Petty

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Music Monday (On Wednesday)

Here’s a random collection of songs I’ve been loving lately. They make no sense together but there you have it.

Gonna Get Along Without You Now | She & Him – I’m sorry, but how cute is Zooey Deschanel – love that she’s in a “band” (performing duo?) with her husband.


Little Talks | Of Monsters and Men – Bring on the pep. They are from Iceland. Now you know.


Sooner or Later | Gavin Creel – So mellow, so good. Love the lyrics of the chorus.


Give Your Heart a Break | Demi Lovato – One thing I’ve learned, never say never when it comes to music. I have a music collection full of songs I would have said I never would have liked, purchased or downloaded (I’m looking at you country music genre, boy bands and Taylor Swift). I heard this song, liked it (mostly because of the chorus – her voice is a bit much otherwise) and then realized it was Demi Lovato and I still purchased it, I’m not too proud to admit it.


One More Night | Maroon 5 – Oh Adam Levine, so glad The Voice is just about back!


Stay Awhile | Ryan Star – Something about this song just keeps me coming back and listening to it over and over again.

Graduation Day!

I completely forgot to add this to my weekend list of randoms, but it is so much more worthy of its own post. We had a post-op visit with our orthopedic surgeon last week and were thrilled to find out that Jack never has to go back and see him again, his first graduation of sorts! Since Jack’s surgery in November of 2010, we’ve gone back to our doctor for regular checkups (a doctor I was amused to learn, is very interested in hand injuries from the Civil and World Wars and has written books and articles on the subject), not knowing if this would be our last or not. Each time we’ve gone, we did x-rays and the doctor checked out his hand and said everything looked great, no surprises. This time was no different and we were pleased to learn it would be our last and unless Jack ever needed a special orthotic for his hand (say if he were interested in playing baseball or golf on a very competitive level) or injured his hand in some way and needed it checked out by a specialist.

I briefly mentioned Jack’s surgery in my post about Liam’s belly button surgery, but I thought it might be helpful to someone else if I recounted in more detail the operation we opted to have for Jack because of his symbrachydachtyly on his left hand.

Shortly after Jack was born, we were referred to a hand specialist for a consultation to learn more about Jack’s hand and what options we might have in the future. Prior to this meeting we’d already figured out that it was called symbrachydachtyly and that it is found in 1 in 30,000 births and starts around 5-6 weeks gestation, for an unknown reason – it is inexplicable and there was nothing we did to cause it and nothing we could have done to prevent it.

Our doctor was impressed that we knew what it was called (we are Google professionals) and we were impressed that he said all the right things regarding it not being the fault of anything we (I, as his mom) did and that we would find there was truly nothing he wouldn’t be able to do. We quickly determined that we weren’t there for consolation but rather to learn what we could do to improve things with his hand since growing a complete one wasn’t an option.

Jack’s thumb had the end bone (at the tip, under his nail) but no middle bone to attach it to his hand. He also has the first bone in his pinky, but no actual finger around it. Having these two things gives him an opposable grip. His other fingers were actually what the doctor referred to as nubbins, little “bubbles” of skin without bone that were attached to the end of his hand without much base (like a skin tag), though they did have tiny little finger nails on them.

There were a couple options, one of which was a complete toe-to-hand transplant, which is better-suited for people who didn’t have any digits on their hand and another which was called deepening where they cut into the bone on his hand and create a deeper “v” between the thumb and pinky to give him better grip. They could also lengthen one or two of the bones in his hand using a long process and contraption that would slowly stretch/grow the bones out – very painful and again, more beneficial for someone without an existing grip or digits. The final option he described appealed to us most and was the one I think we knew we would go with from the beginning, included a less invasive bone transplant (not a whole digit transplant). Because of the missing bone in his thumb, Jack’s thumb did not have stability to give him a tight grip. He could pick things up with his hand, but if you applied any pressure, he would drop whatever he was holding. Our doctor explained that we could take a bone from one of his toes and insert it into the place of he missing bone and stabilize his thumb, this would give him the best chance at having a tighter grip – bingo! He did note that it would not increase mobility, in other words, it wouldn’t bend like a regular finger at the upper knuckle. Once we decided on the surgical route, we just had to wait until Jack was at the right age to do the surgery (post-crawling and frequent falling down) but prior to school when the surgery would be more disruptive.

At 21 months old, he was ready for surgery. During the surgery we also opted to have his nubbins removed as they were (for lack of a better word) useless. They did get in the way of his grip (since they scrunched up between his thumb and his pinky when he closed his hand) and to be very honest, the doctor said that aesthetically, people noticed the nubbins more than the smaller hand and were often more accepting of a scar with no fingers than a hand with nubbins. Take away from that what you will, we don’t regret having them removed because ultimately, they could have caused more problems by leaving them (ingrown finger nails, getting snagged on things, etc…)

The day of surgery came and we got checked into the hospital with a slightly cranky nearly-two-year-old who hadn’t been able to eat that morning (this was in the days where he at all of the things, prior to his current picky food eating ways). He really had no idea what was in store for him and you can’t explain something like that to someone his age so we just prayed that all went smoothly and that he would not be scared at any point.

We went to pediatric pre-op where my friend Stef’s husband (an orthopedic surgical resident at the hospital) found us and said hi – we had hoped he could sit in on the surgery, but it didn’t work out. They gave us some sleepy meds for Jack to take – not surprisingly he did not fall asleep (unlike the other child who was also there waiting) so the anesthesiologist came and got him and ended up carrying him back to surgery while he waved groggily at us, leaving us there in the waiting room (I will tell you that was almost the hardest moment in this whole process, but God did protect our hearts and give us peace that we were doing the right thing).

Once the surgery was done, we got to go to recovery and see Jack, who had woken up and was very out of sorts but he calmed right down in my arms and cuddled for the longest he has ever cuddled in his life (apparently he just needs pain meds and surgery to want to be held for more than 10 minutes; also, a tooth being knocked out does the trick as well – I will happily avoid both as long as I can, despite my love of cuddles).

After a couple hours of recovery, we were sent home and Jack was eating and back to his normal, happy self that afternoon. Albeit, his self with a large, tube cast from mid-upper arm, past his finger tips (hand casts usually wrap around a thumb to stay in place so Jack’s had to go a ways past his elbow to ensure that it would stay on). He also got a handy “sock” to cover the end of his cast so he didn’t pull out the stuffing around his hand.

We “enjoyed” the cast for six weeks, letting Jack live in the two borrowed-from-his-brother sweatshirts that would fit over his cast and didn’t look huge on his little body. A plastic cast cover and packing tape were enlisted for his very infrequent baths (I laugh when I think of how we must have looked during that time frame, one particular Meijer trip he looked quite fetching with his cast, dirty shirt that he’d spilled orange pop on just before we left, a face smeared with chocolate from the free cookie from the bakery and some serious bed head from a lack of baths. Alas, this is why I don’t judge people at the store.) But otherwise, it was business as usual, not at all bothered by the large plastic mass on his left arm. His toe, where they harvested the bone, was a little more bothersome but only until the stitches dissolved (I will spare you a picture of that because it wasn’t too pretty as you’d imagine when they remove a bone from the middle of a toe).

After six weeks, Jack got upgraded to a custom, velcro-on brace which was much smaller and stream-lined. I should note, the cast removal was by far my least favorite part of this whole thing, followed closely by getting the brace itself made. This was mostly because Jack was terrified of the saw used to remove the cast, his thumb hurt (as could be expected) and by the time the therapist had to look at his hand for the brace (and then have me immobilize his arm while they got it fitted) he was done with it ALL. It was the most fun. Or not.

Since his 3-month post-op check we have returned to the doctor every six months just to make sure everything was moving along as planned. The growth plate from the bone that was moved to his thumb remains open which means it will continue to grow at the same rate as his hand and be proportionate with the rest of his body. His toe has a tendency to bruise when he runs around with bare feet, but this is normal as there is not a bone to stabilize the end of his toe to his foot. And that toe will always be shorter than the rest, but will grow with his feet (meaning it won’t stay two-year-old sized forever). At our final visit, our doctor had Jack squeeze his finger with his little hand and was very impressed with the strength of his grip, saying it was better than he would have hoped going into surgery as you just don’t know the final outcome when you are doing that type of surgery. I felt a whole lot of mama pride at that moment, so proud of my kid for having that surprisingly strong grip, but also knowing God gets all the glory for how things turn out.

Other than a faint scar on the top of his thumb, you’d never know Jack has had surgery on his hand. And really, you’d almost never notice his little hand. As if I needed more proof of this, the night before his doctor’s visit, Jack used BOTH hands to do a full pull up on one of the arms of our elliptical – I see some monkey bars in his future. Do you have any doubt? Because I absolutely do not.

The doctor mentioned that the only hardships we could expect to face with this would [likely] come as he starts school and kids are aware of his hand and ask questions and then in his teen years when all teens are struggling to just fit in and not be different or really stand out. I think that Jack’s perfectly suited to handle both this situations with a personality that you can’t help but love and a confidence you can’t help but admire.

That’s our story, or at least one chapter, because I have a feeling the story is going to get better and better. Just you wait.

Music Monday: Random Play on iTunes

I have 5,485 songs loaded in iTunes, a handful are repeats but the bulk are unique. This means I could listen for 15.2 days (according to iTunes) and not repeat a song (you know, other than the repeats). That’s a bit of music. I decided to hit random play and see what the first ten songs were that iTunes picked for me to listen to (ironically, two of them were from David Gray which makes me think that iTunes isn’t so random with its music selection, or perhaps I have too many David Gray songs).

Day Tripper – The Beatles


The Look of Love – Diana Krall | I didn’t even remember that I had this album


The Promise – Tracy Chapman | Most everyone knows Fast Car (which is a great song) but this is my most favorite of her songs – so sweet and simple. Also, I’m pretty sure I heard this on an episode of Dawson’s Creek.


Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys | Another album I didn’t know I had.


Cover Me – Bebo Norman | The Christian artist who I totally dreamed of marrying until I met him and discovered that he had acrylic nails on his guitar-strumming hand (rather than using a pick) and was kind of squigged out by that. So I decided to let that dream go, which is completely why we aren’t married as I type this… uh huh.


Shine – David Gray | Though not this version, but an iTunes original version because I am the music lover who downloads special albums when they are from her favorite artist even though they are songs I already have from past albums. Must have all of the David Gray songs out there.


Starstruck – Lady Gaga | Whatever you think about her overall weirdness, her songs are great for working out (and I supposed dancing in clubs, but I don’t ever do that sort of thing).


The Nearness of You – Norah Jones | Here’s a little factoid for you: Norah Jones’ dad is Ravi Shankar, an Indian sitar player who befriended and influenced George Harrison from The Beatles because it is a very small world, after all.


Wurlitzer – David Gray | no comment


The Prowl – Dan Auerbach | I think this was one of the 1000 songs my nephew shared with me the last time we were in Texas – seems fitting that at least one of the ten came from him. 🙂


Music Monday… on Tuesday

Continuing my day late theme of the week… how about a little Music Monday post on a Tuesday morning? Rather than be an over-achiever and post twice in one day, I’m just going to back it up a day. 🙂

We had such a great weekend – lots of stuff to keep us busy. Friday night we had a playdate and dinner with some sweet friends with hours spent in the backyard running around. Saturday we headed out to a dairy farm to do their Dairy Discovery tour (post on that coming soon at grkids.com) and then ice cream for lunch at a train caboose. Then we decided to have an impromptu bbq and kiddie pool fun with our friends, the Thompsons (did you know Costco has DELICIOUS sirloin steaks – marinade with soy sauce and Worcestershire, pair with some grilled potatoes and you are good to go). Sunday we had church, a park play date with friends we haven’t seen for AGES, an open house (with a s’mores bar – fabulous, and delicious) and small group (so much laughter – what a great group of truly authentic people). It was a good weekend, my favorite of the summer thus far (yes – I totally used the word “thus” and meant it, take that autocorrect). But all that fun means a lot of time in the car and lots of song requests from the boys.

Here are their most-requested songs, along with Tongue Tied (Grouplove) and Feel So Close (Calvin Harris) which I already blogged about here:

What Makes You Beautiful | One Direction

And here’s cover of the same song by Boyce Avenue, I couldn’t figure out why I recognized the One Direction song when I hadn’t heard it before but I finally realized I downloaded the Boyce Avenue version last fall (sometimes my brain doesn’t connect the dots but that also means this version is that much different):


Sweeter | Gavin DeGraw [Jack can actually sing the lyrics to this if I start him off on each line – kind of makes me overly proud]


Be Still | The Fray [this is kind of a play on the hymn/Bible passage that includes “Be still and know that I am God” and Liam caught onto this and said that he sings it in Sunday school, proud, yet again]

They were also overjoyed to watch a mash-up episode of both The Fresh Beat Band and Yo Gabba Gabba – they love both shows and having them together about blew their minds. So fun. I wish Nick Jr. would get on the YouTube video sharing bandwagon so I could share clips with you. Hilariously they did a cover of Madonna’s “Holiday” at the end which would have been a gem to share with you.