Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: {My Little Cowboy}

Jordan asked me the other day if we could do a photo shoot.  Of course I said, "Nah."

Yeah, right.
I practically sprinted for my camera.

He wanted to be a cowboy so we found some cowboy clothes and headed out to the backyard.

This was our favorite from the whole shoot.  I love that we both liked this one best.  :)

Maybe I should sign him up for some lessons.

This was SaraGrace's favorite because she liked the way the boots and grass were reflected in the guitar.

My friend, Stefani, over at Ni Hao Y'all hosts Sunday Snapshot for aspiring photographers to post their favorites from the week.  I thought it would be fun to enter these.

For camera geeks:  I shoot with a Canon 50D, used a Tamron 28-75 lens at f 2.8, ISO 100, 1/125 for the majority (if not all) of these images.

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting older is bothersome...

Getting older.

I've been noticing some things lately.

Gravity seems to have been working overtime on me.

I came to a startling realization the other day. It came on an unseasonably warm day when I donned a sleeveless shirt.

And then I saw them.
My arms.

There was a time when my arms were so skinny and scrawny that I was embarrassed to wear anything sleeveless.

So I didn't.
For many, many years.

It would seem that instead of that perfect moment when my arms would be just right, I have completely missed the window and gone straight to flabby arm dangle. When in the world did THAT happen?

Another thing about growing older... exercising is harder. That may seem like I'm stating the obvious but here is the thing.

I can still walk fast on the track. Just as fast as I used to. However, afterwards......

I hurt.

Not in a oh-good-my-muscles-ache-because-I-used-them-kind-of-hurt, but just an OW-my knees hurt--OW--my hip joints hurt--OW--I-can't-get-up-out-of-this-chair-without-saying-OW-hurt.

It's bothersome.

And another I know why people start to snore as they age. Not only is gravity pulling your facial skin to your toes, it's also pulling the inside of you down...down...down. snore.
Did you think the inside of your throat could sag? Well, it does.
Not that I would know about snoring....bwahahahahaha.

Don't even get me started about how you can eat half of what you used to, but weigh lots more than you ever have.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kate And SaraGrace Annual Cardiology Visit

Katie-bug and SaraGrace had their annual heart checks in Boston on Monday.  Thankfully, all is well with their hearts.  They both need monitoring to be sure that the surgical corrections are still functioning.  SaraGrace is probably next on the docket for something to be done surgically (like a new valve) but so far, the valve they gave her at 18 months of age is holding its own.  That could be in part due to her size.

However, her size is an issue.  She hasn't grown for about a year.  Or if she has grown, it has been less than half an inch.  Hard to say with wiggly kids.  So we are being sent to an endocrinologist to see what is up with her lack of growth.  She eats fine but is so thin and small.  Katie has almost caught up to her and is two years younger.  They did a thyroid test and said it was normal.  SaraGrace also still has night terrors pretty much every night and is often afraid to go to bed because she knows she will have a bad dream.  We have an appointment at the sleep clinic next week to see if they can help her.  She has had night terrors since we brought her home from China but we had hoped she would outgrow them.

So SaraGrace gets to have lots more Mommy time as we make those trips to Boston to see if they can help get her on the right track.  Her cardiologist said, "I guess you didn't sign up for all this," and I thought to myself, "No, but I would walk on hot coals for this child so it's all good."  And truly...all it takes to get some perspective is to walk the halls at Boston Children's and see parents with dying children.  I am so grateful for the doctors we have.  Our family doctor called me Sunday afternoon to make sure SaraGrace was okay--they had discovered she had strep after a test was done.  Then last evening, Jordan's doctor called because he had just returned from vacation and wanted to make sure Jordan's skin had cleared up.  Our kids' doctors are so's such a blessing!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Miss Zoey

Zoey had a birthday this week. She was so excited about it but couldn't decide what she wanted for a gift. So funny.

We finally decided to get her a bike since she loved riding one last summer and had outgrown it.
First she had to don the happy birthday hat

Chloe wanted to bake the cake and she did a great job. Jillian decorated it.

I'm 6!

We decided to let her have her bike before dinner while it was still light. She got to lead the parade out the front door and over to the driveway where it was hiding.

First look!

"She's a beaut, Clark!"
(if you aren't a fan of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation then just ignore that comment)

Trying it out

She chose spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then it was time for C.A.K.E.

"Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you....

"Happy birthday, dear Zoey....."

Make a wish!

Opening cards her brothers and sisters made for her

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mid-week catch up post

Once again, the week has slipped by without me firing off a single post.

I ended up staying an extra day in Colorado because my flight got so delayed that I would have ended up getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning. Thankfully, the airline switched me to a flight the next day. So I called Ryan to come back to the airport and get me--and was able to have another evening with him. Su-weet!

When I got home on Monday night, I noticed that Jordan had a bunch of goop oozing out of his incision area, along with a red line from the top of his cheek to his chin. I tried calling the surgeon but their phone system was down. Our pediatrician wouldn't touch him and said no one in the E.R. would touch him either. So Tuesday morning, I called again and the surgeon wanted us to come to Boston immediately.

No time to even start post-trip laundry. Or breathe. Once in Boston, it was determined that Jordan did not have an infection as we had feared but instead was having a reaction of some type. After getting the dried goop off his face and removing his stitches, the surgeon sent us to a dermatologist. Of course, the dermatologist is only at Children's three days a week and Tuesday was not one of them. So off we went to the town where she was practicing...20 miles away.

{Insert heavy sigh...}

She agreed with the surgeon--that it was a skin reaction and gave him some steriod cream. Apparently, the same thing happened a few weeks ago with another Asian patient who had ear reconstruction and now the surgeon is thinking of writing a paper on it. He and the dermatologist are now on a mission to figure out what caused the reaction to prevent any future problems with other children.

That means extra trips to Boston for skin testing. Oh the joy.

The following pic is a bit gross so if stuff like that bothers you, avert your eyes and skip over it.

At the doctor's office. Took some of the gang for moral support but in retrospect should have left them at home.
{insert another sigh...}
Let's just say, there was a very annoyed Mama and some extra assigned chores involved...

We made it home in time to do Kate's INR blood test and then off to the dentist with four of the kids. Whee!

I have been making twice a week trips to Boston and Springfield for Jordan, Zoey, and SaraGrace for numerous doctor appointments. Zoey is done going to Springfield for awhile, but now SaraGrace is going to be needing to go to Boston weekly for the next few weeks. Sadly, so does Jordan but his doctors aren't available the same days as SaraGrace's.

It's been a bit crazy around here for the last two months. We don't normally have this many doctor visits for weeks on end.

Although I would prefer not to drive to Boston twice a week, I am SO grateful that we have access to such awesome doctors only 90 min. away. And although we did not want to move here and be so far from family, we can see that God had a purpose in putting us here. Our kids needed these doctors.

I know you are probably wondering about Ryan. I won't go into details but sadly, Ryan and Dani's marriage is ending. It's a very sad, painful situation. It was so good to see him and love on him a bit.

His surgery has not been rescheduled yet. He is having testing to see what is going on with his heart--if anything.

Pike's Peak

Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jordan's Good Friday

We went to Jordan's third post-op appointment expecting one more week of helmet head. However, I am going to be out of town this Friday when he would have been getting his next bandage change. The doctor decided to let him get it off early if he promised to be ultra careful.

Waiting for the removal...

Kind of looks like a flower unfolding

Since it was Good Friday and the kids had the day off, I took some of them with me. They were excited about seeing Jordan's ear for the first time.

Lookin' good!!

He was given this cup to wear at night to prevent him from accidentally lying on his ear. Well...the thing slides all over the place and is completely useless. Thankfully, Jordan has gotten so used to sleeping on his other ear because of the helmet, he is still able to sleep that way. His ear is still in the process of attaching and he is not allowed to run, jump, etc. No recess, no gym, no bike, no playing outside (because he forgets and starts running). He went out and rode his bike a week ago and the doctor was NOT happy about that. Any kind of bonk on the head could undo the entire process.

On our way home from the hospital, I texted our awesome hair stylist and asked if she could do something about Jordan's hair. It was shaved all around the new ear and down into the back of his head. I didn't want to attempt a fix. She was able to get him in on Saturday and he was looking handsome in no time.
First professional haircut :)

All done! Thank you, Emily. You're the best!
Emily is expecting a little girl in a few months and we are all very excited about that. :)
I am leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to go see Ryan for a few days. He was supposed to be having surgery but right after my plane ticket was purchased, he called to say his surgery was cancelled. Jeff and I decided I should go anyway, so I'm off at 5:30AM. Ack!

His surgery is on his hip--the one that has been bothering him for the past two years. Although it's not great that he has to have surgery, it kept him from leaving for Afghanistan with his unit in February. This mama will take surgery any day!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Baptism and Egg Hunt

Jeff and some of the kids have been sick this week with fevers and sore throats, one had pink eye and one had the stomach flu. I wasn't sure if we would all make it to church for Easter, but thankfully, everyone woke up relatively healthy.

A bona fide Easter miracle!

Alrighty then...

SaraGrace had asked to be baptized and we were holding our breath because she had come down with the fever/sore throat plague on Friday night. Thankfully, she was feeling better after the doctor advised me to let her share antibiotics with her sister until Monday morning.

She was so nervous and excited. She was worried about going under water...about the pastor not being able to get her up again, etc... So cute! (She weighs about 40 pounds dripping wet!) He assured her he would not drop her. haha

The testimonies are video taped ahead of time to help alleviate some of the fear of getting up in front of a crowd. Here, SaraGrace expresses why she wants to be baptized. She "wants everyone to know that she loves Jesus."

This is when he told the congregation that SaraGrace had faith in God but she was afraid that Pastor Dan was going to drop her. They laughed and so did she. :)

"Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? That he was buried and rose again? Do know him as your Personal Savior?"

"Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

New Life!

Afterwards, she said, "Is that it? I'm baptized? That wasn't so bad!"

Yes, sweet girl...all that worrying for nothing!

She was so happy! It is sweet to see her innocent expression of love for her Savior.
After church we came home to do our egg hunt. It was cold and windy and since some of the kids were still a bit under the weather, they all voted for an indoor egg hunt.

But first....the Easter baskets!

How many pieces of candy can we eat, Mom?

Checking out the loot.

The teenager even got dressed up...note the tuxedo shirt. I didn't even have to ask him. The girls thought it would be funny to give him a pink Easter basket. Alas... it didn't seem to bother him.

Now for the hunt....

Bedlam ensued...

"I've got two eggs!"
Jake had quickly donned his new Batman shirt without bothering to take off the tag.

"Where are the rest of them?!"

It pays to be tall.

Jake was not happy to be forced back into his Easter duds for the obligatory holiday photo.
There was also a murmur of discontent from Jillian about why the teenager didn't have to be in the picture.

The little kids will still pose for an extra piece of candy.
Yes, I bribe them.
I'm not proud of it.
We hope you and your family had a wonderful day!