Baby Is Here


Christmas 2008

I would like to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We have had another amazing year with lots of blessings and of course a few challenges. I am able to type this today because I am home with McKenna because she got sick yesterday while we were Christmas shopping. It kind of worked out in my favor because I was able to come home with her and get out of shopping. Other than a few little illnesses, she has been very healthy. We had her 3 yr check up a couple days ago. She is still hovering around the 30 lb mark but is 37 inches tall. Just since her birthday she has grown about an inch. We realized it when she didn't need our help to turn off light switches anymore. It's great & sad all at the same time when I see how grown up she is. We still really need to work on important things like "please" & "thank you" but otherwise she does pretty well with her manners. Dr. Nau reminded us again that we are so lucky to have such a normal little girl. There are a bunch of little ones out there that will never get the chance to be as fortunate as she is.

As we prepare McKenna for Christmas this year, we try to teach her that just because there are wrapped presents in our house that she can't open them and that all the stuff we bought can't be played with because it's for someone else, there is still a large part of our family missing. This morning as I was making McKenna breakfast I read this poem that we put on our fridge each year...

**Christmas With Jesus**
I see countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular; please wipe away the tear,
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, but
the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
for it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me; I see the pain inside your heart,
but I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.
So be happy for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear,
and be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year.
I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
Remember love's a special gift, more precious than pure gold,
it was always more important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my father said to do,
for I can't count the blessing or the love he has for you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,
remember I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year.
Ian, we love you dearly and miss you. The words above help though when I think about you spending Christmas with Jesus and all of those we have lost. Please guide us and protect us in 2009.
All our love,
The Feltons


To sum it all up...

Someone (who's name shall remain anonymous) told me that tomorrow will be 1 full year since I've typed anything on this blog. So, as the title says, I will sum up the last year in the Felton house...

When I last left off, we had some hearing tests, eye exams, & the March of Dimes RIDE. Hopefully not to sound like a broken record, but the only thing I will leave out is the hearing test since there hasn't been a repeat performance of that. We have had another eye exam since then and we were told that McKenna has astigmatism. What that could mean is that she will probably wear glasses at an early age.

If February, we moved to a different house. We couldn't have been more fortunate by selling our old house 'For Sale By Owner' which saved us a lot of money. We moved to the Southwest side of Cedar Rapids to a beautiful newer home in a much more quiet neighborhood. Since the move we have been busy with getting settled, figuring out a routine, meeting neighbors (who don't like listening to music at 1:30am when some rowdy college friends come to visit), and putting in some landscaping. I have a much smaller yard now which takes 45 minutes to mow instead of the 2 1/2 hours it used to take me.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably all know about the severe weather that has slammed Iowa this year. Cedar Rapids was flooded beyond anyone's belief. On Wednesday, June 11th, I walked downtown for a bit of "gawking". Where I was standing that afternoon, if I would've been there 24 hrs later, the water would've been over my head. All of downtown Cedar Rapids was flooded and shut down. My office was closed and we were to work from home until further notice. That turned out to be 5 full weeks. There was 1 way to get from the West side of CR to the East side and that was I-380. Normally 3 lanes wide, 1 lane was shut down for emergency crews to get through, and the other 2 were backed up for miles and miles. Some of you in the "big city" are used to this, but in Iowa we still measure distance between A & B by miles, not by traffic jams, toll booths, etc. Suzanne had to leave work extremely early in the morning and it would take her just as long if not longer to get home at night after working her butt off. Oh yeah, Mercy hospital was also flooded and ordered to shutdown once the water reached their property 10 blocks from the river. This of course filled up St. Lukes hospital which is on a lot higher ground. Not only were they doing 1,000 more tests in the lab daily, but also had to make up for the staff who could not be there because their house was flooded as well. I thank God each day that I drive through the massive devastation that our house was not affected by this monumental flood. There are 4 water treatment plants in Cedar Rapids, 3 of which were flooded. Cedar Rapids as a whole was put on severe water conservation mode. We were not supposed to shower, flush toilets, use water to cook, etc. Only for necessity. By about day 4, showering with a baby wipe looses it's lustor. We had planned to go to a friends parents house in a different town to shower when they got hit with another storm causing power outages. As we got that call, it started to pour rain outside. On our deck, there is a 'L' shaped privacy fence and so we showered out in the rain with a little help from sump pump water. To all of you that are a bit squeemish, I smelled a whole lot better after that shower than I did before.

During this time, there was also a change in our family dynamic. Most of you know that we've had a dog since before we got married (6 yrs). Sierra for the most part was a really good dog and very loyal. It didn't matter the time, day, what happened the last time I saw her, she was always glad to see me/us. When we brought McKenna home from the hospital, she would usually be inbetween McKenna and the door in case anyone tried to come in. Sierra was a pretty scary dog sometimes. If she didn't think you were welcome in our house, she would back you out with some raised lips, growls, and some pretty mean sounding barks. I usually didn't worry about leaving on a business trip because I knew that she would protect Suzanne and McKenna until she couldn't fight anymore. On June 19th, a week after the flood, we were cutting her nails. Suzanne always did the cutting and I petted her and fed her treats so she would lay still. Suzanne was on the 2nd to last nail and all of a sudden Sierra jumped up barking and charging after Suzanne. She at one point had her entire hand in her mouth biting it until she could finally be distracted and Suzanne could get away. Sierra weighed 75 lbs and at last check McKenna weighs roughly 30 lbs. We just couldn't take the chance of anything like this happening to McKenna. I personally would NEVER forgive myself if it did so we had no choice but to humanely euthanize her. That day, I was playing frisbee with her at about 11:30am and by 2:00pm, she was no longer with us. It was a very fast decision, but we had to do it then or we probably would have talked ourselves out of it. For the most part she was a very good dog and we loved her dearly. We hope to get another dog some time down the road when McKenna can help take care of it. But Sierra was our first dog and will remain in our hearts forever.

Since it may very well be another year until I update again, here are some things that will happen in the near future...

This coming weekend, August 16th, we will again be the ambassador family for the March of Dimes RIDE. If anyone would like details to join us, the more the merrier. Otherwise, you can click HERE to sponsor us.

In October, one of my very best friends "Sleepy" will get married in Kansas City, MO. I am so excited for him and his absolutely wonderful fiance. The wedding and party afterwards will be a blast.

In November, Suzanne's college roommate is getting married in Cancun, Mexico. Jess is basically the reason that Suzanne and I are together. Long story short, I roomed with Jess' sister Rachel and we went to Ames for Veisha. Low and behold I met a beutiful blond that weekend who later became my wife. Pure coincedence but I thank God each day for allowing me to meet her.

Our love to each of you.


Random Thoughts

There are lots of things going on right now in the Felton family. 1st and foremost is that a couple weeks ago, McKenna had an eye appointment and a couple days later she had her ABR hearing test. To our delight, both turned out to be good news. She no longer has Retinopathy of Prematurity which is what she has been tested for numerous times even before she left the hospital. The Dr. said that she might be a little near sided, but just as we thought, she sees very well. The ABR test was quite a circus. Since McKenna doesn't know how to hold still and be quiet for more than 1 second, they had to put her under General Anaesthetic so that she could be quiet and still for as long as they needed her to be. So we were at the OR at 7am so they could get her prepped for a 9am appointment. Just like any other time you have surgery or Anaesthetic, you can't eat or drink anything for 8 hours or so. By 8am when she got used to being in the hospital, she was very ready for something to eat or drink. It was not fun trying to explain to her that she just couldn't eat right then, but when she saw us next, we would have something for her. An hour and a half later, she was out and we met with the Dr. who was very surprised to tell us that her hearing is just fine. In the world of micro-premies, kids who breath, eat, see, and hear well are too few and far between. McKenna has come a great distance from that 1 lb. 12 oz. little girl she used to be. This weekend she'll be a local celebrity for the day on Saturday for the March of Dimes Ride. We are all really looking forward to the ride and I'll again tie my blue handkerchief on the back of my bike. The 1st year I rode in this ride was shortly after we lost Ian and I tied it there. Suzanne had to work and it just seemed right in my mind that some how, my son be able to ride with me. I had a warming feeling all day on the bike that he was with me every mile of the trip. I hope that someone I know (including me) wins that bike. I've sold a lot of tickets so we'll see. So, for any of you in the Cedar Rapids area, if you don't have a motorcycle, but want to come down to find out who wins the bike, come to the Chrome Horse on 8/18 from 3pm - 4:30pm.

On a different note, Suzanne and I have been keeping up on a little boy's "Carepage". His mother is a classmate of Suzanne's sister. Her little boy Grant has AT/RT which is a form of cancer. Thankfully, right now Grant's cancer is in remission. Since Grant's diagnosis, his mom has put us in touch with many other innocent children who for whatever the reason may be, have developed AT/RT. A lot of these kids are very young and it scares me to no end. I have asked a bunch of other times on here, but please say a prayer for all of these kids that are suffering from this. It is not fair in any way shape or form and it rips my heart out to read about these kids. The rambling I did above about our tests and time in the hospital is a drop in the hat to these families. If any of you would like to be put in touch with these Carepages, please click the email link to the right and send us a note.


New Pictures

Can you believe it, 2 posts in a month? I am trying to go back to my old ways and update as often as possible. I wanted to let everyone know that there are new pictures in 2 different albums Summer 07 and Flying Baby. Please don't report us to DHS because McKenna really does like her "throw the baby" sessions. All I have to do is ask her, "throw the baby" and she says, "Yeah, yeah". So we go upstairs put down a landing pillow and toss her onto the bed. As soon as she hits the pillow, all you hear is, "again, again". As you can see by the smiles on her face, she really does love it.

I would like to send out a special congratulations to Tina & Randy who got married this last weekend, and to Josh & Abigail who will be married this weekend in DeKalb, IL. Take care and love to all.


Harley Giveaway

Hello to All,

I know it's been a long time since you've heard from me but in our defense, we have been very busy and spending lots of quality time as a family. A month from today, Suzanne and I were on our way to Cancun, Mexico for a week long getaway. We had a very good time and I miss it every single day. If any of you are thinking about doing something like this, I know 2 (very nice) people that would love to do it all again. McKenna is walking like a champ and mostly running. She has quite a few words that she says. Shoes & please are her favorite, but she also says dog, socks, thank you. We have to take McKenna in on July 24th for an ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) to make sure she doesn't have any hearing loss and if she does, just how much. She never passed a hearing test when she left the hospital originally and now moves around too much and makes too much noise to get a valid result, so they will be putting her under for a short period of time to check this. It is my non-medical opinion that her hearing is fine or very close to it since she is talking and actually talks pretty well. As far as corrected age, she should only be 16 months. In the mean time, we've been to the Lost Island waterpark up in Waterloo and we all had a blast especially the biggest kid in our house (me). This past weekend we took her to the pool and she is quite a little swimmer. She had no problem going under, getting splashed, and we had a good time playing catch with her in the water and listening to her giggle. That is about all we have for now on her, but please keep reading.

This year there was a major change of plans with the March of Dimes and they will no longer be able to sponsor a motorcycle poker run but instead are partnering with Metro Harley Davidson and are giving away a 2007 Harley 883 Sportster. August 18th from 8:30am - 3:00pm, Metro will be hosting a hog roast, music, and an observation poker run. Then we’ll head down to the Chrome Horse and will give the bike away at 4:30pm. Tickets are available at Metro Harley Davidson and at Chrome Horse. You can win free entries from Bike Nights at Chrome Horse on July 12th, 19th, 26th, and Aug. 2nd, 9th, and 16th from 7pm - 9pm. We have also been trusted with a book of 25 tickets and I hope to sell way more than that. Ticket prices are $5 each or 3 for $10. Even if you're not biker, you don't care to own a Harley, or you don't like this particular motorcycle, it can be traded for another model or the winner can receive a cash payout. So, if you want to buy tickets please send me an email and I'll know how many more to get. We have set a pretty high bar for ourselves the last 2 years by being the biggest fundraisers and with your help we would like to be able to say we've sold the most tickets. All of you already know what the March of Dimes is about and without their help, McKenna wouldn't be getting into everything and running around our house. We would love nothing more than to know that other parents out there would not have to go through what we did when we lost Ian. Below is a picture of the bike they are giving away.

Also, for all of you in a giving mood, please check out my cousin Amber Carroll's blog and donate to her walk for the American Cancer Society. We all know far too many people that have been affected by cancer and it keeps getting worse instead of better. So with that being said, lets try and do something to help out.


Evan Joseph Felton

Evan joined the ever growing Felton family Sunday night (5/6/07) at 7:15pm. He weighed 8 lb. 3 oz. and is 20 inches long. He was delivered via C-section and it turns out that may have saved little Evan's life. The cord was wrapped around his neck 4 times. He struggled to breath right out of the gate but they didn't waste any time getting him going. He was under an Oxygen hood up until last night when Dan and Amanda were finally able to hold their beautiful little boy. Amanda is quite a trooper. She has barely complained of any pain even though this baby has been kicking her butt that last couple of weeks. If all continues to go well, they all should be heading home tomorrow some time. Dan, as your "little" brother, I've been waiting patiently for a long time to see you as a Daddy. "Squiggs" couldn't be any luckier than to have you as his Dad. Take care of that little fella! I'll be posting pictures of Evan as soon as possible. Love to all.


Long Time No See

Yes I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site, but thankfully there hasn’t been much to update on. There have been a couple ear infections but that has become the ‘norm’ with her. Nothing that antibiotics can’t handle. She is eating all table food now so no more baby food. She drinks milk like she’ll never see it again. “Hello, my name is McKenna and I’m a milk-a-holic” “Hi McKenna” After our first battle with juice, we’re just going to steer clear of that stuff for awhile, and if she likes milk and water like she does then I see no reason to give her juice. She is so close to walking but isn’t mostly because she’s a chicken and too afraid to fall (on her padded butt). She walks well when holding on to our hands or on anything else, but just to scared to do it on her own. I know what most of you with kids are thinking…enjoy it while she’s not walking because she’ll get into everything. My defense to that is…she already does. This kid can climb like nobody’s business. If she can’t get something, she’ll move something she can climb on over to where she needs it and climb up to get whatever she’s after. She knows 5 or 6 words in sign language. More, dog, light, milk, duck and I might be forgetting some, but more and milk are her favorites by far.

We also just returned from Kansas City. We went to see some of my college friends and their girlfriends/wives and a very cute baby girl. McKenna did pretty well playing with Rylee except when it came to being gentle. She thought Rylee wanted to rock really fast in her chair or swing as fast as possible or wrestle when she was lying on the floor. The wiener dog Brandi was the only one who didn’t care much for McKenna while we were there. She did well while riding in our new mini-van. Yes that’s right folks, Suzanne and I are the owners a Kia Sedona that we bought in January. So, anyway, she slept a little over 2 hours on the way down and around 3 hours on the way back. It made having the van 100% worth it this weekend with the extra room to bring half the house with us for the weekend. Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I can update more than once every 2 or 3 months but we’ll see. Also, in case any of you are interested, new pictures are posted in the Spring 07 album which also includes some from Christmas. Take care and love to all.

P.S. - Happy Birthday to my cousin Amber Carroll


Goodbye 2006, hello 2007

What a year we’ve had both good and bad. Needless to say, I am quite alright with putting 2006 behind us and starting the New Year. We had a wonderful Christmas with all of our family. Suzanne, McKenna, Sierra (the dog), and I headed up to the Ohrt household on the 23rd, stayed until Christmas morning and then we were off to “Granny’s” house for the Ries Christmas. It was very nice and all, but we sure did miss Papa Herb. We stayed Monday night at my parent’s house and then Tuesday we went out for a tour of my sister’s beautiful new home. Everything was moved in this past weekend and they were finally able to spend the night. Then on Tuesday we headed back to Cedar Rapids to complete our Christmas tour and somewhere around 300 miles, we were home and able to sleep in our own bed and get our little girl back on schedule.

Even though we are only 3 days into the year, a major event has occurred in my family. Yesterday my Dad went under the knife to remove his prostate after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to the Doctor, the surgery went very well and when we went to see him yesterday he was in very good spirits and again this morning when I talked to him on the phone. I am very happy that the surgery is behind him and now on the road to recovery. The healing process will take some time but I am very confident that he’ll get through this with flying colors. Also, Suzanne’s Dad Randy goes back up to Mayo at the end of this month for scans. So please keep our Dad’s in your thoughts and prayers.

We have taken numerous pictures of McKenna over the holidays and I will post them just as soon as I’m good and ready ;). She is turning into such a big girl. She really likes to feed herself even if not much of it makes it into her mouth, and she is still having a hard time learning to use the sippy cup. I think that she is very close to walking but is very scared of falling so she doesn’t like to let go of things. Well, we hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season as well. Have a better 2007.


Fall Pictures

I realized when I downloaded pictures that I have not done so since before McKenna had her tubes put in. That has been quite awhile ago so I guess I am slacking just a little bit. So on the right side of this web page, I have added a link to 'Fall Pictures' in which you can see McKenna in her Halloween costume(s), the pumpkin her mommy carved for her, her birthday party, and our newest family pictures. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I know I ate too much, but then again, what's new?


1 Year Old

So maybe I’m a couple days late but in my defense, I’ve been checking all sorts of things off of my “honey do” list.

I honestly cannot believe our little girl is 1 year old already. As many said at her birthday party on Sunday, “what a difference a year makes!” It’s hard to believe that she’s the same girl that lay helplessly in her Giraffe bed as her doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and her Mommy and Daddy took care of her. She is now crawling all over the place getting into stuff faster than you can even imagine. She is also pulling herself up onto whatever she can get her hands on. Now she just needs to learn how to fall gracefully and learn that she doesn’t need to scream bloody murder every time her toosh hits the floor. She is nearly 20 pounds and nearly ready for her forward facing car seat. We’ve been putting her in her walker lately and she pretty quick on that thing. Chasing the dog, running over your toes, crashing into things I’d rather she wouldn’t, but what do you do?

A year ago we weren’t sure just how happy to be since we didn’t know what McKenna’s future held for her. We were very scared and now we are still very thankful for everyone’s thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement. I promise I will post some pictures soon. We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Love to all.


Prematurity Awareness Month

We were sent this email today about Prematurity Awareness Month. Quite fitting since both of our babies were born in November and both very premature. Along with the email was a video that someone has put together to add awareness for the March of Dimes and what they are trying to help prevent or stop all together and that is premature birth. Click the link on the right side called 'Prematurity Awareness Month Video' and it should start loading. The video may take a little while to load, but for any of you that have been following our story, it is definitely worth the wait. As I watched this, I couldn't help but to cry. Maybe some day McKenna can be on a video like this and unfortunately there are way to many babies like Ian. The March of Dimes is doing a wonderful thing. If you come across any of their activities please participate. I am certain that we will be participating in the RIDE again next year. Take care and we send our love to all.


2 Years Ago Today

2 years ago today an angel was born. His name was Ian Joseph Felton. We only got to know this angel for a very short time before he was taken to a better place. 2 years ago today I received a call very early in the morning that my wonderful wife had gone into labor and I was going to have to endure the longest flight of my life back home. 2 years ago today, Ian’s doctor was telling us it was going to be a long road ahead and to expect some set backs of course not knowing the set backs that he encountered. Last year this time, he was watching over his mommy and new sister to be. I truly believe that Ian helped McKenna get to where she is today. That being just 1 of many things this little boy has done since we met him 2 years ago today. Happy Birthday buddy!! Mommy, Daddy, and McKenna love you very much and miss you every day.


11 Months Old

Hello, Suzanne here. We decided it was my turn to give everyone an update on McKenna.

It is hard to believe McKenna is almost a year old. She has come a long way. She is weighing in around 18 pounds. She is scooting around, but not crawling quite yet. She is starting to get the hang of waving bye-bye, and she loves to babble. She had tubes put in her ears recently. That went very well and we hope that keeps all the ear infections away. One change we have already noticed with the tubes is she sleeping through the night for us.

I think back to a year ago when we had our first 3D ultrasound. I was 21 weeks and had just started having weekly ultrasounds. We didn’t know it then that we had a little girl who would arrive only a month later. What a fighter she is.

Recently we got to see all the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, developmental specialists and lactation consultant that all had a hand in helping our little girl at the NICU family reunion. We got to see a wide range of ages of NICU graduates, from 7-year-olds to recent patients. We know we are so blessed with McKenna’s health.

We are still not sure what McKenna is going to be for her first Halloween. We have some options so look for some pictures posted soon. Plus, we have a birthday party to plan so stay tuned!


“Papa Herb” Ries

I regret to inform any of you reading this that my Grandfather, Herbert Ries, passed away yesterday afternoon 9/25/2006. I was blessed to be able to spend quite a bit of time with him this week. Out of all of the people in this world, this man was probably my favorite person to make laugh or smile. When ever I saw him that was my number 1 goal was to find him and give him my best ‘1 liner’ and see if I could get him to laugh or smile and usually it worked. I have so many fond memories of Papa like when mom and I drove him to Kentucky. We left before 5am and before we even got out of the driveway he told me to put my bright lights on and watch for deer. So I did, and after that, he and I enjoyed a 13 hr. drive to eastern Kentucky smoking like they were going out of style. He even said that I was a good driver and that isn’t a compliment that he just throws around. There was also the time that I was on his team playing Canasta and I started a 2nd ‘wild one’ and I thought he was going through the roof. We ended off pulling it out and all was well, but if it hadn’t I would’ve never heard the end of it. Papa always enjoyed talking about farming, crops, and the good-old days. He could and would talk for hours about things like that and I enjoyed every second of those talks. Papa always loved babies and when we were there Sunday night to see him in the hospital, he held McKenna even though he was in a terrible amount of pain. I don’t know what came over her, but she was fine just laying there and kindly touched his face like she knew what was going on. That is a picture I will never forget. When we were leaving the hospital and saying our good-byes, he said “you’re a good man and take care of your family.” Those were the last words that he spoke to me and even though I will never be able to make him smile or giggle again, those words were better. Papa, you will be missed by so many!! May you finally rest in peace. We love you!


September Pictures

I have added a new link to the side under McKenna Photo Links called September Pictures. We had these taken Friday night and I think she did a great job. It is not hard to get her to smile which makes getting her pictures taken a pretty fun experience for all involved.

We had a great long weekend. Mom and Dad came down Saturday morning and put up all new screen doors on our house. Again, thanks to their help we were able to check off another project on the never ending list of things to do, so thanks again Mom and Dad we really appreciate all of your help.


At this point, we have raised $1,520 for the March of Dimes RIDE. Thank you to all of those who have donated and for those who have not yet done so, you can donate up to September 23rd.

We hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

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