Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Kind of Math Equation





One happy Mama!

I turned my computer on bright and early this morning, just in case Ryan might have contacted us during the night (his day). Sure enough, there was a post on his facebook page! And then...he sent me an instant message via Skype. Skype is my friend. Woooo!

I was able to chat with him for about half an hour. It was wonderful! He loves Korea so far. It makes it easier to have him over there if he likes it.

So life is good...he is okay.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jordan's Fabulous News

Our little Jordan has microtia, a condition where a child is born missing the outer portion of the ear. It can affect one ear or both. Jordan has one ear affected.

He will eventually get a prosthetic, but our ENT in Michigan told us that it would not happen until age 7. This is due to wanting to wait until the child is old enough to only have to do one prosthetic.
He is five now and has been asking quite often when he will get his 'new ear.' Bless his heart. I decided to start the process and see if the answer would be the same at Boston Children's.

I took him today for the first stage...a hearing test. We had been told in Michigan that it was very unlikely that Jordan could hear out of his affected ear.

But today...drum roll...he CAN hear out of that ear!! His cochlea is working PERFECTLY! He still does not hear out of that ear, though, because there is not an open ear canal.

His next step is probably a cat scan to see if he has an ear canal. The doctor he needs to see has a waiting list until Sept. We are on a cancellation list, though, so maybe we will get in sooner.

We are so excited for him!! He was grinning from ear to ear when I told him. I don't think he fully understood, but he new it was good news.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

God is Good

Ryan depl*yed to K*rea today and had a lay-over in a city near my sister. She and her daughter, Britt, really wanted to see Ryan before he left. After fruitless attempts to get permission over the phone, they decided to make the 2 hour drive to the airport to see if they could see him.

We were all praying and hoping and this afternoon I started getting texts from my sister:

*Keep Praying, it's showing his flight arriving early.

*They let us thru!!

*Can't find him!

*Going to his departure gate. Britt running

I couldn't figure out why his cell phone wasn't working. Still not sure why...unless his battery went dead without him realizing it. Whatever happened...none of us could reach him. There was a long silence from my sister, which I hoped meant that she had found him. And then...another text:

*Caught him just as he was boarding. Got a hug and then he left. Britt was bawling.

*Just hugged him over the barrier and he had to board. Got about 90 seconds with him. Still worth it.

For some reason, when I got the text that the airport was letting them through to see Ryan, I just completely lost it. I think it was just relief and happiness. I was driving and had to keep pulling over to read her texts. ha. I got a few dirty looks which I ignored.

You know...all week I knew that my sister and niece were going to try to see him. I knew the odds were stacked against them. Delta said no. But God.... I love how He cares about such things. He cared that some hearts needed to see His boy. I believe He removed objections and paved the way for my sister and niece to see Ryan. They almost missed him. But God...

Later, my sister sent a longer, more detailed text. Maybe it's overkill to post it but since this is my journal, I'm posting it anyway. hee!

*We went to the arrival gate but he was gone. searched the restaurants and stores and then looked up his departure info. Ran across to the other side of the airport... Ran. Britts hair flying, pushing people out of her way, tears falling, to his gate. Afraid we would miss him cuz it was so far. Got there as he was entering the tunnel. I saw the back of his head and yelled his name. He turned and saw me and I ran to him and tackle hugged him, looking for Britt also. She had run ahead and was searching the crowd for him. She saw me and shoved her way to us. Hugged him across the entrance thing. He told her not to cry...that he'd be ok. I gave him a card, hugged him again and the ticket guy told him he had to board the plane. He talked to Britt again for a min. and then he was gone.

I am still marveling that it worked out for them to see him. It's just like a big hug from God. I know that Ryan needs to go. I would never hold him back. But I didn't know it would be so hard. I truly cannot imagine how other military families see their loved ones off to Ir*q or Afgh*nistan. I am so thankful that Ryan is going to K*rea. I'm not sharing these emotional blogs for pity. I want to share what military families experience. All of my life, I have had a soft spot for those who serve, but I never had a clue what it was all about, or the sacrifices that were made. Now I am learning...and I am sharing it because I am guessing there are a lot of people just like me who want to know...who want to care...who want to thank a service person but don't have access or information. So whatever I learn, I will share.

One thing I have learned is that there is no advance planning for military families. Ryan didn't know his exact leave dates until two days before he came home. He bought a ticket the day before. ugh. And although we would love to try to make plans to have him home around Christmas, the reality is that we probably won't know until a few days before he arrives.

Annoying...but a fact of military life. I was sitting next to a Marine mom at the hair salon today and she said the same thing happens to them. You just can't make advance plans.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good-bye Again...

Warning....raw emotion ahead...

Ryan is gone. We took him back to the airport today to fly back to SC. He will be flying to Korea tomorrow.

My heart hurts.

We are hoping to see him in 6 months. He is supposed to get a leave about then--which would put it around Christmas.

We were allowed to accompany him to the gate today with special passes. They are given to families who have a service person deploying. So unexpected...and so deeply appreciated. It was wonderful to have that extra hour with him. He was almost the last one to board the plane as we tried to tear ourselves away from each other. He was not wearing his uniform today--wanting to be in 'civies' (civilian clothes) as long as possible.

It was such an odd feeling to retrace the steps we had taken just one week ago with such excitement. Those feelings were replaced today with sadness and loss. But not forever...he will be home again. I keep telling myself that.

Jeff has had an even more emotional day. Ryan's truck completely died yesterday. We had to have it towed and junked for parts. Jeff had to take care of that and had such a hard time watching it being towed away on the same day that Ryan was leaving. It's like an end of an era.

Ryan's birthday is coming up on the 4th of July. For the first time in 20 years, we won't be celebrating with him. (Well, the first 4th of July, we weren't with him--but pacing the floors while his sweet birth mom was in labor.) We wanted to celebrate his birthday with him before he left but he really didn't want to. He didn't want us making a fuss. So...we went along with what he wanted. Since we live far away from family this year, it's also the first time in 20 years that we won't have family with us on the 4th. Jeff's parents came and watched us pace the floors that day in 1990 when Ryan was on his way into the world. I'm just not sure what to do with myself on the 4th this year. I don't even want to think about it. It just won't be the same. I walked into Target tonight and saw the 4th of July decorations and it just kind of felt like I got punched in the stomach. Ugh.
These boots were by the door this morning

This coat was on the chair

But before long, everything was in these duffel bags and we were off to the airport

We love you, Ryan

"No. You can't go."

Let's make a Ryan sandwich!

Family photo--but Jake and Katie were behind the big girls--oops.

Tearful good-byes

This is blurry but I still like it.

Brothers trying to hug without looking like they actually like each other

More emotion--this picture makes me cry

Determined not to cry, the girls keep the smiles going

At the gate...one more hug from Dad

One more picture of the best buddies
(We pause this emotional saga by making mention of the shirt I bought Ryan for his birthday. Yes, it IS a Beavis and B*tthead, with 'pull my finger.' I'm sorry, but the whole Uncle Sam reference and Ryan being military was just funny.)

Good-bye, sweet boy. We love you so.

We went directly to Jake ultrasound from the airport and happily, everything looked fine with Jake's kidney's. Thank you for all your sweet comments and encouraging words.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little Man Jake

Jake had a yearly physical yesterday.


Or not.

The doctor checked his eyes and then turned to me and said, "You've been told about the iris in his eye?"


All those trips to the pediatrician in Michigan and it was never mentioned.
It turns out that Jake has 'iris coloboma.' One eye is fine. The other has an iris that is oval and goes all the way down to the outer edge of the brown part of his eye. His eyes are so dark brown that I never noticed.

Sometimes the condition affects vision, sometimes not, so he needs to go see an eye doctor. Sometimes iris coloboma is associated with a syndrome that affects the kidneys, so Jake is going to have an ultrasound on Friday. In my over-zealous research on the Internet, I learned that sometimes it can mean a missing kidney.

Since Jake was born with six fingers on each hand, it could be part of a syndrome.

We will find out in a week or so when the results are given to us. In the meantime, I will not give in to the icy fingers of fear that are trying to grip my heart for my little Jakie. I am just very thankful for a thorough doctor who noticed his Jake's eye and wants to check everything out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun with Ryan

We have been greatly enjoying Ryan's visit. He has been catching up with friends and snapping his brothers with towels (making them wonder why they missed him?).

We cajoled him into joining us at the beach on Saturday--not Ryan's favorite activity, but a good way for him to hang out with the kids. The water was FREEZING. I mean, ICE cold. I couldn't stand to have my feet in it for more than 2 seconds. Needless to say, we stayed on the sand.

Katie gets her swim suit on to go to the beach. Um...Kate...did Jake help you put that on?

Little boys, sand, and buckets...

Kate worked very hard carrying buckets of water to the sand castle

The teenager braved the frigid waters out of sheer bordom

When did he get so grown up?

Deciding to be those annoying people who feed seagulls

Ryan finds a volunteer who is willing to get buried in the sand

"Oh Ryan...I miss you when you're gone!"

Little mermaid, with a towel on her head to keep the sun out of her eyes

"I can get out of dis...no pwoblem!'

All washed off and wrapped up in a towel

Our Father's Day was pretty low-key. Molly had a soccer game and she was so excited that Ryan was going to get to see her play. Sadly, it was very hot and humid and the players were dragging. So he didn't get to see Molly at her best--but he did get to see her play.

Gathered around big brother before the game started. Everything he does is so fascinating.

Going to lunch after the game. The little girls all want to hold hands 'wif Wyan.'

He's not too fond of my camera, so I haven't taken any more photos since Sunday. The days are going by too quickly and soon we will be heading back to the airport. Trying not to think about that yet, though.

Friday, June 18, 2010

All The Chicks are in the Nest

In just a little while, our Ryan will be here (but the little kids didn't know. We kept it a surprise for them.)

How much longer until the big surprise?

"Why are we here? I have no clue but I'm having fun!"

Obviously, the little kids can't read our signs


The doors just opened again...does anyone see him?

I love my Daddy

Waiting for her Ryan


Still waiting...

Wishing the doors would open again

Bedlam ensues after Jeff receives a text that Ryan's plane is on the ground

Our first glimpse

Bending down to hug Katie-bug

Group photo with lots of happy faces

Special buddies

Not sure who is happiest...parents or son

Heading home...

Holding hands with her hero

These boots were waiting by the door when I came downstairs this morning

And this coat was draped over the chair.

Sorry for the blurry photos. There wasn't a lot of light in the airport and I thought I had the settings correct, because the photos looked fine in the camera. Urgh....

Although it is hard to have Ryan in the Army and away from home, the bear hug he gave me at the airport is something I will not ever forget. He held me tight and didn't let go for a long time. Ahhhhh....it was the best!

The first thing he wanted to do was DRIVE. During basic tr*ining, he wasn't allowed to drive, so it's been six months since he was behind the wheel.

Yesterday was Molly's birthday and she has told me more than once that it was 'the best birthday ever!" Ryan took her to Bu*ld-A-Bear today to pick out a birthday present. She had so much fun spending the afternoon with him.