Mia was born October 12th, 2007. Lisa's water broke early at 34 weeks and she was in the hospital for 2 weeks because she didn't go into labor. During that time, they noticed a blocked intestine in Mia and determined that she should be delivered down at UCLA. So, at 36 weeks, Mia was delivered via C-section (because she was breech). We know that was a God thing because after she was born we found out her heart had not completed closing off the four chambers (an AV Canal) and a stressful delivery might not have been best for her. We also found out she didn't have an anal opening and her right nostril was blocked. Months later we would find out her skull had fused early. All of these things required surgeries. On May 1st, 2008, Mia had surgery on her skull and suffered a stroke during it. The doctors told us she would only "eat, breath, smile and laugh". People from all over had already been praying for Mia, but so many more joined in and she is truly a miracle because she continues to progress far beyond what anyone would have imagined. This is our blog to document that journey of our little girl, thank you for praying and we hope it will encourage you as much as it encourages us. God is good, all the time!
Calvin had a fun birthday party. He had a few friends over for his Octonaut themed party. The invitations said to come help rescue the giant squid. Calvin can change his mind frequently for what he wants for a cake, but when he settled on a squid a few weeks out from the birthday party, I told him there was no changing it. He was super happy with his cake and party.
Creature Report - Learning about giant squids
Bday boy and daddy.
Rescuing creatures from a bucket of sensory beads...fun!
Has it been five years already?! It seems like just yesterday you were putting everything in your mouth and crawling around on the floor. Now you only put things that "taste" good in your mouth. One of these days you will figure out that green veggies do "taste" good. Ha!
You've sprouted up this year and have gained 3 inches in height! Still not quite 40 pounds, you are a thriving, healthy 5 year old! You've started kindergarten and love doing school at home with mom. You can read and do math already, but do not like to write properly. :) We've got all year to work on it.
You are passionate about so many things, but your favorites are dinosaurs, rocks, sea life and octonauts. You especially love whales and sharks, octopuses and squids. In fact, you know quite a bit more about these things than I do! That's how much of a learner you are.
You are a loving, kind brother most of the time. And you love God so much that it makes our hearts burst with joy. We love your inquisitive spirit and hope that you will always be this passionate about life.
Five is going to be a great year! We love you with our whole heart pumpkin!!
We got to spend a little bit of time with family this past weekend as Aunt Goose came to visit. Goose, aka Laura, is Brad's sister and she came down to celebrate her birthday with her mom. They had some girl time earlier in the week and over the weekend we got to have some treasured family time. The kids love spending time with their aunts and uncles and especially when they dress up and play fun games with them! Costume hide and seek was a favorite this weekend. Everyone was super sad to see her go, but so thankful for the time we got together!
The kids' Great Grandpa Bob visited us last week from Florida. He spent part of the time in LA with family down there and then part of the time up here with us. All the family on this end got together each Saturday to do some fun things together. This past Saturday we ended up down in Ventura, near the harbor. We had a picnic lunch and then spent time at a small visitor's center near the harbor. The kids enjoyed running around in the sun and as always, time went way too quickly.
Yesterday we drove up to Tehachapi for the day. We were meeting Brad's Grandpa, Uncle and cousins from LA. We had lunch up there at a fun German bakery and then headed to their small train museum. Brad's Grandpa worked with trains all his life and they are one of his loves, so this was a fun time for him. The kids love the trains too, so it was a fun time for them...win win! What's not to love about trains?
After checking out the trains we headed to an ostrich farm. We had a little tour and learned more about ostriches than we ever thought we could know. We met a very famous ostrich, but his name is escaping me now...so maybe he's not that famous? He's been in a few videos because he is so tame and doesn't bite at people...he also loves to get his picture taken, so he will stand very still when someone is doing that. A perfect fit for a famous ostrich...if only I could remember his name.
Afterward we drove home, but took a brief stop at the Tehachapi loop...the only place in the United States where you can see a train on top of itself when it is on the tracks. There was just a tiny stretch that was too steep to go directly up, so they tunneled and wrapped around the mountain. We only wish we had actually seen a train on the loop that day. Next time.
Today is Asher's 1/2 birthday! We are going to celebrate a little bit tonight and hopefully in the next few days I can get some more pictures up on the blog.
We finished our last swim lesson for the summer today. The kids have done so well. Calvin is so close to swimming, another month of daily swim time and he would be there. At the start of the water, none of the kids really wanted to get their faces wet...by today, they were jumping in alone and going all the way underwater to pick up toys off the ground. Calvin can float on his back for 4 seconds and now needs to master floating on his tummy. Asher didn't want anything to do with their swim instructor and by the end, his favorite thing is swimming lessons. He will be a little fish pretty soon too because he is just trying to keep up with big brother and big sister. The only thing Asher doesn't like is floating on his back, but by today, he was super close to floating on his own. Mia has no fear, which is a little bit scary...at one point she jumped off the seat when her swim instructor was busy with Calvin...thankfully, I was in the water too and I pulled her out before she sunk to the bottom. Since we are doing lessons at this gal's house, she lets me get in the water too and Grandma Cheri has been coming along also and getting in the water also! So, there are 3 of us in there with the kids and today the instructor told me how it has been so nice to have us all in there helping with the kids. I think most often parents just sit on the edge, but we knew that with Mia and Asher, we would need more bodies in the pool then just the swim instructor. Plus, we've been working with the other kids when she has been busy with a particular kid so they all have been getting a bit more practice, which is nice! I'm sad it's over...but I'm excited to get back into a normal routine and really start with more school stuff. We've been doing bits and pieces of school since July, but now I'm ready to get into it full swing. And the kids are excited for school too.
We had our first OT visit since the beginning of the summer today. Between swim lessons, vacations, VBS, and unexpected accidents (falling on our face a few weeks ago), we have not been to our regular weekly OT visits. So, it was disheartening and her therapist came out and told me that we have lost progress in a multitude of areas. Some of it is with her gross muscle skills and some of it is basic living skills. It just made me teary and discouraged. We can't take a break. It doesn't work with her, unless she is constantly working on the skills she needs, she easily forgets and loses progress.
It has happened in her schooling too. We took a month off during June and when I picked things back up in July, she had forgotten a significant amount of what we had learned.
I have no clue if the daily seizures are contributing to this or if this is just the reality of life for her. And as Asher would say, "this makes me really, really sad." And as I sit here and think about it, I just get more and more overwhelmed. I have a problem of taking on a lot of mommy guilt and this makes me put a lot of pressure on myself and blame on myself. If only's start to surface and I feel guilty for taking time for myself, thinking that if I had done more with her instead, it would be different.
Thankfully, I don't stew in that for too long. Just writing about it makes me realize how unreasonable I am being with myself. I just want the best for her. I want the seizures to stop. I want her to excel in whatever she desires...most importantly, I want her to know Jesus and live her life for Him. I don't want anything to hinder her from doing that.
She is a vibrant kid with a vibrant life. She will have hurdles to overcome, but by the grace of God, we trust that she will overcome those. I continually need to be reminded of truths, especially when I have a day like this. She's a miracle already in where she's at and how far she's come. I just have to trust God to continue to grow her and mature her as He sees fit.
Thank you for always praying. I'm so grateful that God has given her prayer warriors who pray for her continually.
We went to LA on Tuesday for Calvin. It's slightly strange taking a different child to see the doctor in LA, but he's been once before. Calvin has a herniated belly button...we took him to see Mia's pediatric surgeon a few years ago and he said that they wouldn't correct it until about age 5. Since that age was approaching, we decided to take him back to get that fixed. Calvin wanted to know what stuffed animal he would get for doing this because he knows that Mia has gotten quite a few animals for being in the hospital. We explained that this was just a visit to have the doctor check him out, we would have to schedule the correction for later.
Well, great news. He said the hole that needs correcting is half the size it used to be, so just barely open and that he thinks we should wait a few more years and see if it corrects itself, since it already has done some self correcting over the past few years! Yippee! We like not having to do things and having things fix themselves. Thank you Lord! And of course, Calvin was super happy too.
After we got back, the kids were playing and Mia ran through the kitchen and slipped and landed flat on the floor. Thankfully it wasn't seizure related and as a result, she was able to put her hands out and catch herself. But, she hit her glasses just right and they broke and a tiny metal part punctured her forehead a bit and separated the skin. Not a very large wound, but deep enough and separated enough that I wanted to take her in and make sure she didn't need some steri strips to keep it closed. After our visit to urgent care, she's fine. The wound was already looking much better by the time we were there and it is in a spot on your forehead that really doesn't get agitated much, so it should heal well on its own. We are just so grateful that she caught herself and it wasn't any worse! But, because it was deep enough, the doctor said no swimming for her until it heals. So, she missed out on swim lessons yesterday and today...but hopefully by next week she can be back in the water.
Calvin and Asher have been progressing at swim lessons. This time around we also included Asher and he's come along quite a bit. He doesn't mind getting his head wet and he pretty much does everything their teacher asks. Calvin has improved so much this summer...I can see how daily time in the water pays off. As of today he can push off in the water towards his teacher and kick a few feet to get to her...while starting to sink at the same time...but he gets there. He tells me it is like he is scuba diving. Ha! So, next week will be there last week of lessons for the summer. I can't believe our summer is coming to a close!
Mia continues to have seizures and I'm in dialogue with her doctor and hopefully we can get that figured out soon. Thanks for praying!
We went on vacation last week with the kids and had a great time. We left sunny, hot Bakersfield for sunny, hot Las Vegas. We weren't super sure that taking a vacation to Las Vegas was going to be good with kids, but it ended up being really nice. There are a lot of things to do in Vegas with kids. And we pretty much did all of the younger kid activities. We stayed at a hotel south of the strip, so we were off from the hustle and bustle. Our hotel had several different pools and one of them was a waterpark pool for kids. Calvin and Mia especially enjoyed that. It was at the most 3 feet deep and had several different water spray areas and lots of mosaic animals throughout the pool. Unfortunately, for Asher, the mosaic tile animals were scary and so every 4 feet or so, he would let out another yelp when he saw a new one. And even though we tried our best to show him and explain that they were not real, he was still very anxious of them.
So, Sat and Sun we settled in and then on Monday, we went to Shark Reef, a neat mini aquarium/atrium with a variety of animals. The kids saw a kimodo dragon, lots of sharks, an octopus and a huge sea turtle. It was a lot of fun.
Later that day we went out to an outdoor kid park complete with water jets, lots of play houses to be in...Calvin and Asher especially loved the water jets.
The next day we ventured out to the strip even further. We had heard that the fountains at Bellagio were neat and that there was also a Botanical garden in the hotel. We also heard about this neat ice cream shop next to the Bellagio that we wanted to try. Well, we got everything packed up to go and the fountain at Bellagio did not disappoint, it was so neat. But when we sat down at the ice cream restaurant, I went to get Mia's medicine out of the bag and realized that I had forgotten it at the hotel. It was time to give her her medicine and there was no way we would be able to wait, so we felt bad having to leave, but we didn't really have a choice. And so we missed the fun ice cream, but made it back to the hotel and got Mia her medicine!
Another night we got to see the volcano at the Mirage explode, Calvin especially loved that, but Asher was extremely scared...until after, then he raved about how great it was. We also visited a chocolate factory and the kids got to see them making chocolate...that was fun! And next to it was a botanical cactus garden. The kids liked the pumpkin looking cactus and "Larry" looking ones the best.
Grandma Cheri and Uncle Paul arrived on Wed and spent the rest of our vacation with us. We got to go back to the Bellagio and see the missed botanical gardens and also another round of the water show! And then we went to the Flamingo where they have a garden with flamingos (go figure) and turtles, ducks, and fish. To get to all of these places that evening, we took two free trams (above ground) which the kids called trains. The whole experience was a huge hit with everyone...and we must have walked 5 miles...at least it felt like that...maybe only 4...but when you end up carrying a kid almost the whole way, well, we got our workout in that night!
The next day we spent the morning at the children's museum. Which, of course, was a huge hit with the kids because they were missing their toys from home and it was nice just to let them play. And play they did. I know Bakersfield isn't big enough for a children's museum, but I wish they had one...it is just so much fun for them and interactive.
Vegas is known for their buffets, so that night we met my cousin and had dinner at a really nice buffet. The choices were amazing. Everything was delicious. Thankfully, Calvin and Asher got in free because the two of them ate enough to amount to a pile of beans. The desserts were phenomenal. It was just too much food! It was really nice to catch up with my cousin and spend some time with her.
Our last day, we spent the morning at the pool and that evening had dinner at a restaurant in a casino close by. The casino has a huge fish tank (over 100,000 gallons) and on the weekends, they have mermaids swimming in the tank. These mermaids are certified in scuba and swim around interacting mostly with the kids at the tank. They blow kisses and do fun things under the water. Asher loved the mermaids.
Then we had to pack up and leave. We were missing our home and our beds, so we were ready to get back. But, we had a fun time on vacation!
Mia is still having seizures and we are still working on her meds, but please continue to pray for her that we would be seizure free soon!