Friday, May 30, 2008

Spread your wings and prepare to fly....

My little butterfly is about to be in her fourth dance recital. Fourth. She began when she was only 2 1/2 years old (cutest little snow bunny you ever saw). This year's production is Tarzan...Ashtyn is a butterfly. It is a really beautiful number. The actual recital is on Sunday; tonight was dress rehearsal (I enjoyed 2 hours of free time with no kiddos- what a luxury! I got my eyebrows done, I had Starbucks...). Here are a few shots of her in her full ballet glory. I just know I am gonna cry-especially with that song! Here she is practicing at home. She is practicing to the video I took in class a lot. She claims to be nervous this year- I think it's a bit of an act...she has never had stage fright before.
A couple more years, and Kenzie will be up there, too. I am loving having sisters in the house. I am so glad Kenzie has such an adoring big sister to look out for her...I hope they will always be close.

I will let you know how it goes on Sunday!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Doing better

Thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes. Little Man is doing a lot better now. He even went for his first swim since the incident, and it went really well. Daddy gave him the option of a life jacket or water wings and the ring, and he opted for the latter. He went right in with no reservations....paddled around, laughed....he did show hesitation when it came to going under water- him or any of us. So we reassured him that as long as we know what we need to do to keep each other safe, that going under and "diving" can be a lot of fun to. Then he got into cheering on Daddy and Ashtyn as they dove under and popped up in front of him. He wouldn't go so far as to go under himself, but he wasn't a big fan of that even before, so that is OK for the first trip back in.

We had yet another doctor's trip this week- it is becoming quite the weekly ritual for us. This time it was for a well baby visit- that kind I can handle! Kenzie is now caught up on her shots, and her lab work came back great. No thyroid issue, no other diseases, not even an iron issue. She's great! Doc is pleased with her verbal and fine motor skills, we are working with her at home on her oral motor (specifically feeding) and gross motor skills. Even that she says is a slight delay, but she is still within the window, so I am finally relaxing a bit. And, she is finally sleeping in her own room. We put it off and put it off b/c we didn't want her waking Ashtyn. Finally we got so tired or her every little whimper waking us (which made for really great nighttime service in our house and the establishment of not so great sleeping habits in Kenzie), that we said enough- she is out! So Ashtyn is bunking in Masons room for right now, which he loves, and Kenzie is learning to soothe herself back to sleep. She doesn't love this arrangement, but I really think she sleeps better in there, and she is definitely learning to settle herself. So everything is going better here- looking forward to an uneventful couple of weeks as school comes to a close...and a summer full of lazy, relaxing days (do I even know what to do with a lazy, relaxing day?)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gratitude

This Mother's Day was one that I will never forget. It taught me so much about gratitude.

Ashtyn was absolutely bursting to show me all the things she had created for me at school and church. She really wanted to make the day special for me, and she really did. I adored her treasures...from the handprints with the poem, to the construction paper flowerpot, to the adorable paper teapot card with a tea bag gift inside. I was so grateful for all of the things that she lovingly created for me.

Then, we had a baby dedication service at church. We stood before the church and committed to raising Mackenzie in a Christian home...to raise her on biblical principles, and do our best to prepare her heart to hopefully one day accept Jesus as her Savior and Lord. As we were standing there, I remember thinking "Thank you Father, for giving us this opportunity with her. Thank you for trusting us with this child...for bringing her here into our family...from a country where she likely would have never have heard of Jesus, to a place where we can raise her in the loving arms of a church family who will help her to understand more about your love." I was so grateful.

After the service, our family joined us at our house for lunch. Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Papa, Tia and Tio, my nephews...we all gathered around the table for a delicious meal. Kenzie slept through most of the party...taking a 2.5 hr nap after church, and allowing me to eat all my food while it was still hot! Again, I was grateful.

After lunch was over, I began cleaning the kitchen and the kids went into the pool with family members supervising. Mackenzie woke up, so I sat down to feed her her lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon, we were all enjoying it.

Then we got a reminder of just how fragile our lives are. Suddenly there was a commotion outside...I heard them calling for Shaun. I jumped up to follow, and saw them carrying Mason out of the pool..unconscious...not breathing. I cannot describe the feeling of watching them try to revive him, praying God would see him through this. Time seemed to stand still...it seemed like forever that he was lying there lifeless, lips getting bluer and bluer. Then, after Shaun rolled him on his side and gave him a few good back blows, he began to come around. Relief doesn't even describe it. Then he was in my arms...I was thrilled when he threw up water all over me...absolutely thrilled. I guess he had slipped through his swim ring so silently that although there were 3 other kids and 3 adults right there with him, no one heard a thing. As soon as they realized, they acted very quickly...it made us all realize it really does only take a moment. The paramedics took a few minutes to arrive...Mason asked for his favorite footie jammies. The looked him over, said he was doing pretty well considering...but that they wanted to get him to the hospital just to be sure. Since the nearest children's hospital is pretty far from us by car, they called in an airlift. So Mason and I both had our first helicopter ride under less than pleasant circumstances. The Lord was with us, and he received the best possible care at the hospital...there was an entire team waiting for us when we arrived. Chest x-rays revealed some water in his lungs, so they kept us there for 5 hours to be sure it would reabsorb. He was breathing on his own the entire time, he didnt even have to be put on oxygen. It was a terrible situation, but I could still see so many reasons for gratitude in it. He was doing fantastic..the doctor said she had never seen a case where the response was so quick. I am grateful to my brother and sister in law for seeing him and getting him out....I am grateful to my husband for never flinching for a moment, just doing everything in his power to bring him around. My parents, his parents...that made it so easy to be able to see to Mason and not have to think twice about if Ashtyn and Mackenzie were taken care of. They even thought to pack a bag for Mason and I in case he was admitted. All of the medical professionals who gave him such personal care and kept me completely apprised of the situation...the child life specialist, Chaplin, and social worker who made sure all of our needs, concerns and worries were addressed. So...it was a mother's day I will NEVER forget...one I never want to experience again, yet still, one that made me so grateful. Most of all for the precious gift that my children are...their precious little lives, and they way they have changed mine. I cannot imagine my world without them in it...I am so grateful we were given another chance. Praise God!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Medical update

So Mackenzie had a big day yesterday. We finally got in for her OT evaluation. The official diagnosis was nasopharyngeal reflux. She also has a weak swallow and poor tongue movement. Sounds serious, right? Let me alleviate your worry...she is up to 22 1/2 lbs now! Thriving. Yes, she sounds like a piggy when she eats (very wet breathing, result of liquid in her nasal cavity), but she isn't letting it slow her down. The OT gave us some good tips on helping her...slow her down with a stage one nipple, stop and give her a pacifier in the middle of a feeding, feed her while upright...she also gave us tips on exercising her little tongue. She is doing fine with Stage 2 baby foods....the OT is slightly concerned that it will be a problem later. She is feeding herself those little puffs and baby cookies now, though...she really really loves them, and she does pretty well. So, we don't really have to go back unless we don't see an improvement in the next few months. We also have to watch her gross motor skills...specifically crawling. Kenzie is 9 months now, and not crawling yet. I wasn't overly concerned about that...she sits well, she pushes up on her hands and knees and rocks, she surprises herself by scooting backwards...all pretty good. Then I had one of those moments where you think "Hello! I should have seen that myself!" The OT was concerned about how wide her stance is. When sitting and when in a crawling position, her hips are open pretty wide. I have thought "Wow, she is flexible", but I never thought "That might make it tough for her to crawl." But really, try crawling without your legs right under you...open them wider, more like a frog. Not so easy. So, we are to encourage a more normal position, and hope her muscles strengthen. If not, it's off to PT in a couple months. But I have faith in Mac...she wants to get moving...she will work on it. She has come a long way already.

Our next stop was the lab for blood work. This is standard stuff, just because we know so little about her medical history...we have been trying to do it since she got home. But after 3 unsuccessful trips to the lab my insurance likes, I begged the doc for another option. So we went to the lab a the local children's hospital. What a difference! They admitted she was a challenge, they had to search forever for a vein. But they finally located one in her foot, and got it in one easy stick, and were able to get all the blood they needed. Thank goodness- the next person that stuck a needle in my baby's arm and fished around hoping to hit a vein was going to meet a very angry Momma Bear! I am curious about those results...I want to see what they say about her thyroid. Her soft spot is huge still...doc said the thyroid test would tell us if it is something to worry about. I think she is referring to congenital hypothyroidism, but I already looked it up online, and I dont think we have anything to worry about.

So basically, she is really healthy, but we are super paranoid!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reunited!

Yesterday we had a pretty exciting playdate...with our friends Rachel, Alex, and Scarlett from Bringing Home Baby Girl. Kenzie and Scarlett both spent the first few months of their lives being cared for at the Tokmok baby house, so it was a reunion of sorts for them. Pictures are so much more fun than words to document their reaction to seeing each other again:
"Hey, that's pretty neat...whatcha got there?"


Yes, they have a strange way of showing their affection for each other.


"Hey, I like that bow...gimme that!"

Holding hands...awww....


The whole crew...Alex, Kenzie, Scarlett, and Mason..not an easy picture to try and get!

It was a beautiful day to be at the park, and always fun to spend some time with our friends. We really hope to make it a fairly regular thing. Maybe this summer, Ashtyn will be able to come, too!