Thursday, April 28, 2011

Little "Helpers"

I looked up today to see that the little kids had taken it upon themselves to unload the dishwasher as a kindness to Mommy.

Zoey had a fistful of silverware and was touching each. fork. prong. I asked the kids if any of them had washed their hands.

{Insert low 'dun, dun, dun' music... }

Jeff cannot stand it when I let the kids help with any clean dishes that he will have to use. I normally make them wash their hands first, but I think Jeff is of the opinion that no amount of hand washing could make their hands clean enough to handle his silverware.

Who could blame him?

In order to diffuse the situation with humor, I went to get my camera.
Jake had pushed a stool up to the counter so that he could put dishes away.

Should I have been taking pictures or ordering him to get down?

OK--this is making me nervous.

Done! "We did dat for you, Mama."

I love them. They are so sweet. Most of the time.
Tonight before bed, Jake came to show me his latest trick.

No one shot these at him. He just decided to suction them to his face.

"Its my new twick. Don't be jealous."

Side shot for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photos from our Egg Hunt

As I already posted, Easter was very special yesterday because of Chloe's baptism. But I don't want to leave the other kids out, so here are some photos of the egg hunt. Thankfully, the weather was very warm and the rain held off until evening.

Obligatory group shot

And then a few pre-hunt shots for Mom

Could these two be any more precious?

Posing for you, Mom, but you might notice that my basket is empty.

Practicing for the big race...

OK, Everyone! Line up! Ready....Set...

{Oh...wait! Don't forget that everyone gets 18 eggs.
Big kids, leave some eggs for the little kids!}

OK. Ready....Set....


And they're off!

Counting the loot...

Make sure everyone has 18 eggs!

Love the wrinkled tights...

Brother/sister love.

Mom won't let us gorge ourselves on our candy. She's afraid we'll barf. So we decided to play with it.

Don't judge her.

She's had some bad experiences in the past with kids barfing after eating too much chocolate!

They grouped all of their candy by color and then made designs with it.

Jake was a bit clueless about making designs. Notice him checking out his sisters' creation for ideas. He did manage to group his candy by color, though.

After watching them handle it for an hour, I realized that there would be little need to warn them not to 'steal' candy from anyone else.

Um....sweaty little hands. Candy coating wearing thin, losing it's gloss and getting dull...


You get the picture.

Rather unappetizing to say the least.

But very pretty creations!

I heart them! God is good.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Life

Today is Easter. What a special day! Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done for us!

Today was my Grandma's birthday. She would have been 94. She has been with Jesus for 10 years.

Today our sweet Chloe, was baptized.

So precious.

I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Stepping into the water

"I want everyone to know that I love Jesus."

"but I don't like getting water up my nose."

Down into the water

because of Jesus

Up out of the water

into New Life...

...abundant and freely received

But paid with great price by Jesus

"Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming me!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just when we thought...

....we wouldn't be seeing Boston again for awhile...

The neurologist that SaraGrace needed to see had an opening today. I found out about it yesterday, a few hours after we got home with Katie. I asked how long we would have to wait to see the doctor if we turned down today's appointment.


Alrighty then.

We went.

Thankfully, a good night's sleep had improved my fogged out brain and the trip was uneventful. SaraGrace has developed some tics that are bugging her enough that she asked me to make them go away. Poor kid. Our family doctor always makes us see a specialist for



Poor little Katie is still a bit peaked today. She is running a fever from the surgery and just isn't feeling herself. Her leg is hurting quite a bit and she is needing t*lenol for that. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for her.

I didn't take my camera so I used my phone for a couple pics.
Top floor of the parking garage had a panda mural that SaraGrace swooned over. The girls made me walk up 6 flights of stairs on the way back because they wanted the exercise. {huff...puff...}

Pretty azaleas in front of the hospital and even prettier little girls

Cool looking sky on the way home

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Bug is Home!

Home Sweet Home!

Sorry to go silent yesterday. I was called back to see Kate around 3PM and went into the 'cone of silence' otherwise known as the cardiac unit where no cell phones and computers are allowed. We were actually in the area where they do the day-surgeries so we didn't have a regular room. The nice thing is that we didn't have to share the room. The not-so-nice thing is that we didn't have a bathroom. Sharing a bathroom with the unit was not so bad at night when most patients had gone home, but this morning, it was rather comical trying to get in there once patients started to arrive for their out-patient services. There was no shower. Let's just say, I look like crap.
{Am I allowed to say 'crap?'}

Enough about the bathroom facilities.

Kate came through everything well but the poor little tyke was very sick from the anesthesia, despite the anti-nausea meds. She had to lie flat for 6 hours and it's a bit difficult to throw up when you can't sit up. Poor baby... I held her head to the side and stuck the barf thingy under her and she did the best she could. They tried giving her IV fluids but that didn't stop the nausea, so after an hour or so, they tried a steroid. Thankfully, it worked after another 30 minutes of heaving. She perked up once the meds worked and then started to eat.
And eat.
And eat.
I have never seen her eat so much. The poor kid was starving!
We had an uneventful night with not enough sleep on our rubber pillows and mattresses, and now we are home.
Our room and beds. Don't be jealous.

The doctor came and talked to me after the cath and said that her fontan is working perfectly--which was good news. He has no recommendations about a full repair surgery yet. He will have to confer with the surgeon and do a lot of measurements and calculations to decide if Kate will be a candidate. If not, we will get a phone call. If so, they will call us in for a consultation. We won't hear anything from them for a few weeks.
{Oh...and I woke up in the middle of the night realizing I gave the incorrect time regarding her recovery. It's not 3-5 months, it's 2-3 months in hospital.}

I always come away from these cardiac tests and surgeries with such profound gratefulness for the staff. They are so kind to so hard...and I am so thankful that God makes surgeon's and doctors with such brilliant minds. I was telling Jeff on the way home that it cracks me up how fast Zoey and Kate become little diva's at the hospital. They kind of like going--except for the needles. Hmmm...they get to lie in bed and watch tv all day, eat in bed, eat whatever/whenver they want, have people telling them 4000 times a day that they are soooo cute, etc. What's not to love about that?!

Despite getting all that special treatment, Kate was happy to get home. The kids were waiting at the back door, jumping and waving. When Kate saw them she said, "I missed everybody." Later she went up to Zoey and said, 'I missed you, Zoey," and gave her a hug. Zoey said she missed Kate, too. So precious.

Thank you for praying! I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Birthday Girl

I'm sitting in the waiting room while Kate has her MRI and then later she will go to the Cath lab for her heart cath. It was Zoey's birthday yesterday, so I wanted to post the photos from her celebration.

She was so matter-of-fact about it all. She has been asking daily for weeks when it would be her birthday, but when the big day came, she seemed very non-plussed by it. Whenever one of the kids would say, "It's your birthday today, Zoey!" she would get annoyed and say, "I know." I guess she just doesn't like people stating the obvious.

She chose spaghetti and meatballs for her birthday dinner, which was met with groans by several of the other kids who were hoping for a different choice.

{I think I've somewhat burned them out on spaghetti with my stellar cooking skills.}

Cooking is not my thing. I don't like it...never will...and it's God sense of humor for giving a cooking-hater a huge family to cook for. I get the job done but lets just say, I won't be winning any awards.
"Oh yeah....that's what I'm talkin' about. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate."

She blew the candles out so fast I missed it.

Very proud of getting them out all in one pouf.

The coveted Zou Zou pet.
I so don't get the appeal of these {dumb} toys.

That's right.

Zoey has been wanting to wear flip flops forever. Last year, she tried to make them work but it's pretty hard to walk in them when your foot is totally sideways. She got these flip flops for her birthday and quickly put them on. I wasn't sure they would stay on since she can't curl her toes. But of course, Zoey being Zoey, she kept them on and was soon running around the house in them.

Speaking of shoes, now that the weather is nicer, we need to get her some shoes that go with dresses. She did try to wear a dress a few weeks ago, but her prosthesis shredded her tights within hours. ugh.

Anyhoo...the three youngest girls decided to wear their Chinese silk dresses to church last Sunday. We had no fancy shoes for Zoey but she REALLY wanted to wear that dress. I couldn't deny her just because she had no dress shoes.

{Clothing police please hide your eyes. It's really that bad.}

I'm pretty sure that no one in China would wear a silk dress with sneakers but oh well... That's the fun of being a kid, right?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Katie-bug's Heart

This post is a request for prayer. Two years ago this week, our little Katie-bug had just endured open-heart surgery. The surgeon had hoped to do a full repair of her very defective heart. It is on the wrong side of her body, turned around backwards, has a huge hole in one ventricle, and some other defects that I can't even remember.

When she went into surgery, the surgeon wasn't sure if he could do a full repair or a 'fontan.' The fontan is a procedure that leaves the heart with only one working ventricle. The heart is no longer a pump for the body. The blood actually flows through it by reaction to the squeezing muscle. So it is actually pulled through the heart rather than pumped through the heart.

Crazy, huh?

Well...after we came to Boston, the cardiologist here has been looking over her records. When SaraGrace was there in Feb. for her appendicitis, the cardiologist came to talk to me about Kate. He said that he and one of the surgeons had been going over her test results and felt that they would have made a different decision about repairing her heart. The surgeon is pioneering a surgery to fix hearts like Kate's. He wants to explore the possibility of doing a full repair of her heart.

This is good news but also very scary news.

Good because, of course, a full repair is AMAZING news for Katie! Scary for several reasons... One, any open heart surgery is risky and this surgery would be even more so. Our memories of Kate looking like this, are still fresh.
{Kate on April 15, 2009}

Two, because the recovery is very, very long. As in 3-5 months IN the hospital. Yes, months.

I have no idea how we would manage that, nor do I have any idea how it would get paid for.

On the other hand, how could we not allow Kate to have the surgery if she is a candidate? A patient with a fontan is quite likely to need a heart transplant by age 20-30, or, best case, be on a host of medications to keep the heart functioning.

It is not a surgery that can be put off. If she is a candidate, it would have to be done this year. The older she gets, the less likely she would be a candidate.


Tuesday morning, Kate is going to have a heart catheterization and some other tests. Our prayer request is that God would show the doctors clearly what recommendation they should make to us. We are sooo hoping that we will not have to make a difficult decision about whether or not to try the surgery. We know that no doctor can give us any guarantees on outcome, but we are hoping that the direction will be obvious.

She will be in the hospital overnight. Fun spring break for her. Not.
{Although spending the time alone with Mommy IS a treat for her.}

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Spunky Little Girls

Oh my was so fun meeting Sophie today! We spotted her leg before we spotted her. I guess because it was like looking in a mirror.

The girls were a bit shy with each other at first but after a quick lunch we headed out to the playground (at Shriners). From then on, you would have thought they were best friends!

They had a blast! Unfortunately, we only had about 20 minutes to play before their appointment but we had time to make some happy memories.

Earlier, we were told it was "Clinic" day--meaning that families who were considering an amputation for their child had arrived to see and talk to families who had already been through it. We attended one last fall to help us prepare for Zoey's surgery. It was a privilege to be there to encourage and help other families who were just starting the journey. Zoey happily took her leg off, sock off, show how her leg looks now. Then she showed the doctor her new favorite trick--putting her leg on backwards. He asked her if she could walk like that and she grinned and walked across the room. Haha He told us a story about a boy who had two prosthetic legs and he had asked if the boy had ever put both legs on backwards and walked into school that way. Well...the boy tried it and his teacher freaked out and sent him to the principal's office. The doctor got a call to verify if he had actually suggested it because the principal wanted to give the boy a detention. {Insert me rolling my eyes and saying, "Oh for Pete's Sake people...lighten up!}

The doctor thought Zoey was going to need another leg already but the prosthetist thought she could wait a few more months if she wears two socks. As her leg muscles atrophy, they get thinner and eventually her prosthetic leg will start falling off. She needed a length adjustment because she had already grown enough to be limping a bit. Probably sometime this summer we will start working on the new leg.

OK--I know you really only want to see the pictures, so here you go. :)
A little shy at first. Aren't they just the cutest?!

Heading down the slide {with Jake lurking in the background}

Are you ready? Get set...


Whee! That was fun, let's go again!

What a blessing it is to see these two girls running!

Another photo that speaks for itself. {Sniff, sniff}

Nothing is going to hold these girls back!

Then they found a ball to play with.

Then back to the slide because that seemed to be the most favorite activity.

One last photo before they had to say goodbye.

I tried to get some shots of them running back inside holding hands. It was so amazingly cute but they were gone in a flash and I missed it.

Thank you, God, for sweet moments like this.