Saturday, December 29, 2012

Almost 2013

We had a great Christmas this year.  We spent most of it with Brad's parents since my mom and brother flew to North Carolina to be with my other brother and his family.  And my other brother (yes, I have 3 of them) was off to Oregon for a fun vacation.  It's probably better this way since I came down with a nasty cold and have been trying to mend myself since.  It makes it especially hard because I refuse to take any meds that aren't absolutely necessary when pregnant, so it was me and some orange juice for awhile.  I still have a lingering cough, but I'm starting to see improvement there also.  Maybe by 2013...

The kids really enjoyed decorating the tree with ornaments.  At first they covered the entire tree, but by mid-December they had all been moved to the top of the tree because Calvin just couldn't help himself.  He ended up getting a bus ornament in his stocking and has since attached himself to it.  In fact, the other day we started putting things away and after I took down the ornaments and the stockings, Calvin said, "Oh no!  The ornaments and stockings are gone!"  Of course he still has his bus ornament, he refused to let me pack it up. 

Mia's favorite part of Christmas was opening her stocking at Nana and Grampapa's house.  In fact, she kept restuffing it with things to reopen because it had been so much fun.  She talks about it still.  Calvin liked that also because they sprinkled some M&M's in the stocking...so he kept looking for those so he could eat them. 

Their favorite gift so far has been Calvin's train set.  Nana and Grampapa got him a wooden train set, like the Thomas the Train ones, just not that brand.  They both love building tracks and making their trains go.  I love that it's creative and makes them think and doesn't require any batteries.  Mia also really liked a doctor kit that she got.  She asks if she can check everybody out and sometimes even makes sure that her animals are ok...of course I feel bad for her animals when they get four shots in a row!  Maybe she'll be a vet. 

And now we are busy trying to get the baby's room finished so I can rearrange everything, sort through the clothes and be ready for the new baby in late January, early February.  Really there is only 5 weeks left, that still seems like we have a little bit of time, but those 5 weeks will go quick.  A name, a name...if only we could settle on a name...hey Cousin Bob, you suggested Calvin's name...you got any other good ones for us to think about????

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas and Cookies

Yesterday we went over to Nana and Grampapa's house and decorated some cut out cookies.  Mia was really into decorating this year and wanted all of them to be pink.  So we have pink trees, snowmen, stars, santas...we did get her to throw in some other more Christmassy colors also.  Calvin just wanted to eat the cookies.  As soon as he decorated one, he thought that meant he got to eat it also, so we cut him off fairly quickly from the decorating process.  But he's quick and he would sneak a cookie before we could stop him...the sweet tooth, he gets that from his Mama. 




All was CALM, all was bright...

After decorating Christmas cookies we bundled up and went out to CALM, a local zoo, to see their Christmas lights.  Both kids had a blast, Mia's favorite was an alligator holding an umbrella, she kept asking for an umbrella on the way home.  Calvin's favorite were the dinosaurs and Santa in a car and fire engine.  Calvin also braved sitting on Santa's lap...Santa asked him what he wanted from Christmas, but he doesn't get it yet, so he just shared which lights he liked.  Mia was not brave enough to sit on Santa's lap, she just admired him from a distance.  Calvin also wanted to ride the carousel and had such a fun time doing it, Mia again wasn't so sure about it, so we just watched from the side. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Time Flies

We've been enjoying the holiday season.  This is our final week of therapy and then we get a couple of weeks off, I'm really looking forward to that...not having to rush out of the house to make sure we are getting somewhere on time.  This is the first year that all of Mia's therapies are breaking for the Christmas break.  :)

On Wednesday we celebrated my birthday, Mia said that I was 19 because my birthday's on the 19th.  Ha!  They enjoyed helping me open all my gifts and deciding which ones should belong to them...the peppermint marshmallows were a huge hit with Calvin.

This weekend we plan on going to CALM (a local zoo, if you want to call it that), that has a Christmas display of lights each year, along with a train and carousel.  I'm sure the kids will enjoy it, they had a great time last year.  We'll just have to bundle up because it's a bit colder these days. 

Hoping you all are able to put aside the stresses of the holiday season and just enjoy the moment.  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Great News So Far

Today Mia and I ventured to LA for an appointment with a urologist.  I was slightly fearful of getting over the Grapevine, a mountain pass between Bakersfield and LA that sometimes closes with snow, but thankfully it was smooth driving both ways. 

He looked at Mia's medical history and feels like the best plan of action for her is nothing right now, which is really good news.  Her kidneys are fine and so he'd like to monitor them every 6 months to make sure they remain that way.  She has a small amount of reflux, but not enough that warrants doing anything about because her kidneys are fine and she doesn't have any urinary tract infections.  If that were to change, then he would propose a surgery to stop the reflux and there are two different options for that, but he doesn't feel like that is necessary at this point.  Just watch and see.

As for bladder control, in his experience kids who are born with an imperforate anus, have a tethered cord and in Mia's case, had a stroke, tend to potty train and gain bladder control later in life.  So, he stressed just being patient and giving her time to sort it out and get to that point. 

We have another appointment in January with a urologist from CHLA, so we'll see what his opinion is then and make a decision based on those two opinions.  It would be really nice if they both lined up, but we'll just wait and see.  As for now, we are totally happy and relieved, thanking God for wisdom and hopefully a good direction for Mia.  Thank you for praying for us!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

December?!?!?!

I can't believe it is December.  I thought for sure I'd blogged just recently, but nope, it's been more than a week!  Yikes.  We've been having lots of fun though.

Last Saturday we went to our neighbor's house and decorated a gingerbread house.  Calvin has learned how to push the stool around to where he wants to go on the counter and then climb up and "look" at things.  He's having such a hard time with the gingerbread house, I told him it was just for looking at, not eating and the next morning he woke up and the first thing out of his mouth was, "we don't eat M&M's..."  I told him we don't eat the ones on the house, but we do eat M&M's.  So, later that day I got him some M&M's he could eat and that has sort of kept him at bay from the gingerbread house.  Today he came over and told me, "Mama, I touched the house."  Oh I love this kid, too sweet.

We also have slowly started putting up decorations, but I've had to downsize this year because I'm not ready for all my favorite pieces to be broken and there just aren't enough high spaces to keep them out of reach, so I will do without, which is ok...sometimes less is better.

Grandma Cheri brought back an Advent Calendar from her trip to Germany and the kids have been enjoying opening one new window each day.  It's been great because we talk about how Christmas is Jesus' birthday and that is on the 25th of December, each day we are getting closer to celebrating his birthday.  Then we get to talk about who Jesus is and it's just a really neat time. 

A few houses down the neighbor's have an inflated helicopter on their roof with a snowman and Santa in it.  And the propeller turns, Calvin is in love.  Every day he runs outside and if it's inflated and on he is so excited, if it's deflated he talks about how "the helicopter is not blown up."  It will be a sad day when the helicopter comes down after Christmas and is put away until next year.  In fact, I may have mentioned that and Calvin got the saddest look on his face.  :/

We are still sorting through Mia's bowel management.  It was working for awhile and is now not working again, praying for wisdom and answers for her because we are so close to it being a real positive.  Next week we see a Urologist to determine our next step with Mia's bladder.  Just pray for us, pray for positive answers or peace regarding what we learn.  We trust God and we trust whatever the outcome will be. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LA

Mia and I made the trip to LA today to have a final check up with the neurosurgeon that did her tethered cord surgery back in October.  He was pleased with how she's healing, her scar looks great.  We have an appointment in December to see a Urologist to follow up with her bladder and bowel control.  We continue to pray that there would be improvement, but trust God for whatever His plan is. 

Both Mia and Calvin got weighed today and they are a little bit heavier.  Mia has finally reached 30 pounds, Praise God!  This is huge because well, because we are such a slow weight gainer.  Calvin is close behind at almost 27 pounds.  We've had some struggles with our bowel management over the past month since we've been back from Cincinnati and when Mia got sick we took her off all dairy and noticed that bowel management got better.  Well, since then we've kept her off of milk, but have allowed other dairy products and things seem to be a little better, but still not quite right.  She's also been eating so much better.  We have no clue if there is a connection, if she really does have an intolerance to milk/dairy, but we are super pleased to see the scale moving in the right direction finally.  Praying for wisdom on getting her bowel management perfected to keep her clean for a 24 hour period. 

Calvin got his hair cut today for the first time in months, since the beginning of the summer, I think.  For some reason he has a fear of getting his hair cut, but the gal who cuts Brad's hair came over and cut Calvin's at our house.  He cried the whole time, you'd think it was the worst experience in the world.  He looks like such a cute little man now, I will have to take a picture and post it.  :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


So we got home from vacation on Saturday night and decided it was time to start making the house seem a little bit more like Christmas.  Uncle Paul and Grandma Cheri came over and helped Brad move furniture so that we could set up the tree.  Mia immediately wanted to decorate it, but we will take a few days to work on that, I was just more set on getting the tree up.  Calvin loved the lights, this should be a fun Christmas for him. 

Where have we been?

Some of you who check our blog frequently are probably wondering why there haven't been any posts for almost two weeks.  It wasn't really my plan, but I decided to take a vacation from the blog while we went on vacation as a family.  We went up to Vancouver, Washington to visit Brad's sister Laura (aka Aunt Goose) and brother-in-law Jared for Thanksgiving.  We ended up driving, Nana and Papa came with, so that made driving up there a bit more enjoyable for the kids.  We had a blast, it was so different than Bako-land.  It probably rained almost the entire time we were there, not atypical for that area, but they did try to convince us it was a storm front of rain and not the usual typical drizzle.  Calvin loved the rain, he would giggle when the drops came down on him.  The simple things in life, right?!  We ended up staying with Jared's parents and that was so much fun for the kids because they have doves that they release at different events and the kids got to pet them and feed them while we were there.  They also have a tractor that they got to ride, and their house had an upstairs and a basement, which was just so much fun for them.  Each morning Calvin would wake up and say, "let's go to the basement."  They loved the stairs. 

Aunt Goose and Uncle Jared love animals, so they have a few different pets, one being a bunny named Bunnita...I have no clue if I'm spelling that right.  The kids got to pet the bunny and play with their cat Pickle also.  Mia likes to pretend that she's other animals/characters and since we've got home she's been Bunnita and Pickle many times.  Our trip was so quick, it seemed like, but really nice and relaxing...what a vacation should be.  The drive home seemed long, we were thankful when we arrived back. 

Here are a few pics from our trip.






Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick

We seem to have been hit hard by the stomach flu this year.  Calvin and I got it in Montana this summer, Brad and Mia escaped.  Calvin, Brad and I got it around Mia's surgery, again she escaped.  And now Calvin and Mia are battling it again.  Aye, that's a lot of stomach flu.  Calvin is much better, and Mia is slowly on the mend, we are hoping that we are done with this for awhile...a long while.

Gummy Bear, aka, Brother #2 was showered upon (well, I guess it was really me) this past Saturday.  That was fun, celebrating him and being with some friends and family.  It was an owl theme and he got some Owl toys, of which Calvin quickly tried to acquire when I got home.  Thankfully they have been saved for Brother #2 and will resurface after his arrival next year sometime.

I find myself slowing down a bit.  Today I went and tried on shoes and realized it isn't fun putting on shoes during your third trimester.  I'm reaching the stage where it's uncomfortable, but I know it will be all worth it in the end.  I'm just trying to get as much uninterrupted sleep at night as possible, thankfully Mia and Calvin are cooperating in that area, I wish my body were too.  :)

Brother #2 is a kicker, he wants me to know he is there all the time.  Brad got to feel the baby kick a few nights ago and that was a sweet moment for him.  Yup, there really is a baby in there, sometimes I can't wrap my head around the whole process, truly a miracle.

That's what is happening on our side of the pond these days.  :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Happenings

Calvin got sick this weekend, we are pretty sure it was the stomach flu.  :(  He's doing much better now, although not completely back to normal yet.  Praying that the rest of us stay healthy, stomach flu is no fun for anyone.

Mia's been doing great, working hard in her therapies and continuing to make progress.  Praise God!  I see some small improvements in her speech, which is great...slow and steady.  She's made progress in undressing herself, we keep working on those self-help skills.

She and Calvin are getting along so much better these days.  He will happily do whatever she asks...for the most part...peer pressure at its best.  He also has some deep sympathy for things that Mia does not like.  There is a certain song on one of our Veggie Tale CD's in the car that we listen to that Mia does not like, and she will tell me, "I do not want that song..." and now Calvin has also started saying that also.  I think it's rather endearing.

Grandma Cheri brought Mia this cute little German dress from her most recent vacation.  When she puts in on she asks me, "what am I?", thinking it's a costume.  I tell her that she's the cutest little barmaid ever.  :)



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Argh, say the pirates on Halloween.  Mia really wanted to be a pirate this year and Calvin followed in suit.  They sure are cute pirates though.  This past weekend we carved our pumpkin, Mia and Calvin had a blast.  I love fall, I love pumpkins, I love Halloween...I hate carving pumpkins, they are messy and yicky.  So I was happy that the kids and Daddy took over and I could just sit back and watch the process.  Best Halloween ever.  The kids told Daddy what to carve their pumpkin like, so that's why we got triangle eyes, a square nose and a circle mouth...and you can't see them, but moon ears.  Calvin thought that we should sing Happy Birthday to the pumpkin because I put a candle in it...too cute. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch this year and as always, the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Mia liked looking at all the different types of pumpkins and settled on a bumpy one for herself.  Calvin just wanted to pick up every single pumpkin he saw, even if the pumpkin was twice his size.  He ultimately settled on a little one that he could carry himself.  We got a big one to carve here one of these days, this will be a first for the kids because we haven't actually carved one with them yet.  I think they will both really enjoy it.

Mia continues to recover really well.  She was back to her regular therapy routine this week, which has been nice for us.  Thank you for all the prayers, we won't be able to evaluate her bladder for awhile, so we will continue to pray and trust God for his will regarding this. 

Here are some pictures from the pumpkin patch.






Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Moo...

We finally were well enough to celebrate Mia's birthday!  So I baked Mia the cake she'd been asking for...a cow cake.  I think Calvin was more excited than Mia for the cake, he kept running around so excited proclaiming "a cow cake".  Nana and Papa came over and we had a small party and opened a few more gifts that she had received.  The big hit...a dollhouse the size of a little girl...although I was kind of eyeing it for myself...hmm...thank goodness she's great at sharing and will let me play too!



Friday, October 12, 2012

A Whole Hand!

Happy Birthday SweatPea!

It's your whole hand birthday!  5 years have flown by and we are so blessed to have you in our family. 

It's been quite a year for you.  You are so close to being 30 pounds, we will just round up and say you made it!  That's a 2 pound gain from last year, it's a slow gain, but we'll take it...slow and steady.  You are now 40 1/2 inches, which is 3 more than last year, good job growing! 

This year your creative and imaginative side have overflowed.  Each day you tell me who you are and who everyone else is also.  You prefer to be called by your imaginative name rather than your real name and often times you respond better to it, so Mama obliges.  Some of your favorite characters are Professor Quigley, Ming-Ming and a Kangaroo. 

Your speech has continued to make great gains and it's getting easier and easier to understand you!  Praise God for this! 

One of our prayers last year was for you to learn to control your bowels.  We are learning patience in this area, but we've made great progress and you now sit on the potty once a day and are clean from bowel movements for 24 hours.  That's been a huge step forward.  We are realizing that it might take you more time to get to where you can do it on your own, we continue to trust God and His plan for your life regarding this. 

This year you had one major surgery to fix your tethered spinal cord, by the grace of God you are healing well.  We pray that it will help improve your bladder function. 

This year we are taking a break from school and your are home with Mama and Calvin.  That has been fun and challenging all at the same time.  Sometimes you and Calvin get along really well, it is so nice, but quite often there are tears and sadness.  We hope that you both can learn to play together and get along, but recognize that this is normal sibling behavior.  Let's just pray for Mama and Daddy about this one.

We love you SweatPea!  We are so thankful for another year with you!

Love,
Mama, Daddy, Calvin & Brother #2 on the way...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Recovery

Mia is doing really well.  She is definitely stiff and sore, but I see visible progress each day with her recovery.  Today we took of the bandage (not a happy moment) and her incision looks good, hopefully being exposed to air it will heal quicker.  We will just keep watching it for any signs of infection. 

I decided to hold off on therapy this week, specifically vision and speech (she wasn't approved for any of the others), just because I didn't want her riding in the car as I imagine that would be rather uncomfortable.  So, we are housebound for the week, but that's ok...it's been giving me some fall cleaning/organizing time. 

For the most part Mia doesn't need any pain medicine, which is great.  So thankful that everything is going so well.  Thank you Lord!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

On Our Way Home

Mia got discharged about an hour ago and we are going home.  They had her sitting up around noon and then she tried walking around 3 and has been doing great, so they said we could go home.  Praise God.

She will have to take it easy for a few weeks, but her recovery is going really well.  Thanks for praying!  In a few months we will consult with Urology to see if this has improved her bladder function at all.  And then we will go from there.  Now it's just giving her body time to heal.

We said, say goodbye to your room, of which she then replied, "goodbye scary room".  :(. She's glad we are going home too!

Again we have seen God carry our daughter through another surgery, we are grateful that everything went so well.  Thank you Lord!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Recovery

So last night was hard for Mia because she kept getting woken up by doctors and nurses who wanted to look at her and assess her. I had forgotten how hospitals are not conducive to sleep. It was a multitude of different things and hopefully tonight will be much better because we've adjusted beeping alarm sounds and figured out medicine at this point. I ended up sleeping in bed with her because she just wanted her mama...thankfully she is tiny because there was barely enough room for this pregnant mama. Tylenol seems to be managing her pain at the moment. They don't want to give her anything stronger because it was a neurological surgery and they keep asking her to move her legs and feet. They want to make sure everything is still working properly. Which is so far, we were happy to see the leg movements also. She started eating this morning and has a great appetite, she is still on IV fluids until they are happy with how much she is drinking. As for lying flat, she is doing a great job, as long as there is someone to entertain her. Along with Curious George DVD's we brought and our iPhone kid apps, the hospital has an interactive tv/movie/Internet screen that is touch friendly and can get maneuvered right up to her face, we've found some kid things to keep her occupied on there. The plan is to try getting her up at some point tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well. Thank you for continuing to pray!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Surgery Finished...Onto Recovery

Today was a long day, but Praise God that everything went really well.  We were scheduled to start surgery at noon, but the case before us took quite a few more hours, so Mia didn't get to the OR until 2:30.  We found out she was finished at 5 and got to see her by 6.

The surgeon said that everything went really well, no surprises.  We like that.  He said she will need to lie flat for a couple of days to give her spine time to heal so she doesn't lose fluid when up and about.  That will be our next big challenge, please pray for recovery to go well.

I will try to update more later, thank you for praying!!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Surgery

So we are getting ready to go down to LA tomorrow. Mia has a doctor appointment and then her surgery is scheduled for Friday. We'll just spend the night there so we don't have to drive back and forth. We know that her surgery will start around 11am and should last several hours. Please be praying for everyone involved. We know how far God has taken her already and we continue to trust that He will take her through this surgery also. Pray that there are no complications and that her bladder/bowel function improves because of this. My biggest fear is that something will go wrong and she will be worse off then when she started, I know that comes from Satan and I continue to push those thoughts away and trust in what we've seen God already do in her life. We commit this surgery to Him and trust in His outcome. We've done surgeries so many times and it still doesn't get any easier. No matter how big or how small it is really hard to entrust someone else with your child. So, please be praying for us that we would turn to God and trust Him completely for this. As always, we are so grateful for those of you who continue to pray for our little girl.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gummy Bear

We had our ultrasound on Wednesday for Gummy Bear and everything looks great. My doctor wants me to come back next Tuesday and get another ultrasound with the specialist just because of all my complications with Mia. So we'll get another sneak peak next week of our little Gummy Bear...and speaking of which...Gummy Bear is a Brother! We are excited. Now the challenge to find a name... :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surgery

We finally got the results back from the urodynamics test in Cincinnati. It showed that there is a suspicion of neurogenic involvement in her bladder. Lots of big words, but what it means is that her bladder isn't functioning normally and her tethered cord could be contributing to that. So we met with a neurosurgeon at CHLA yesterday and he agreed that we should do surgery to release her tethered cord in order to prevent any further damage to her bladder. There is a minimal chance that function could be restored, he said he would not promise to restore any function, but it would prevent further disfunction. We know, however, that if God is willing and so desires that He can restore function to Mia's bladder and we are praying so. He's taken her so far and we've seen so many miracles that we know if it happens it is totally from Him. So, we scheduled her surgery for next week Friday (10/5). Please be praying for everything to go smoothly, there are risks of damage associated with doing any surgery on your spinal cord, pray that there would be no complications. That she would heal well, apparently she'll be on her tummy for the first day and then possibly her back the second, but it will require her to be flat for an extended period of time...pray that goes smoothly. We will keep you updated as we get closer. I had kind of a rough day yesterday trying to process everything, thinking to myself, what more Lord? How will we work through this? But then the people around me reminded me that God is in control and He will help us to work through all of this in whatever manner He chooses...healing her and restoring function or not and that's ok. We hope and pray that it is the act of restoring function, but we trust God for his plan for Mia's life. Thank you for praying for her!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Going Home!

We have reached the end of our time in Cincinnati and are ready to come home. Its been a long week and a half, but life changing is a great word to describe it. Before we came here Mia would have multiple bowel movements a day, very frequent...for the first time in her life she has 1 bowel movement each day. Do you know how freeing that is? I'm still slightly in awe that we are here. We can now move on to potty training for urine. This is a big step for us. Praise God for this! We learned quite a bit from Urology, however we still haven't got the results from a urodynamics study that was done on Monday. Hopefully they will be able to inform us on Monday. This is a critical piece of information because it is one of the possible reasons to correct her tethered cord. So we met with the neurosurgeon yesterday and depending on that test determines whether or not he thinks she needs to have her tethered cord fixed now or if it can wait. If it comes back normal, then he would recommend not fixing her cord immediately, just watching and waiting for an indicator that it needs to be done. However if it come back showing neurologically it should be repaired, then he would say to absolutely do it now. Really important information that we don't have. We leave tomorrow and are excited to come home. Pray for a smooth trip, catching our connection and overall good experience with the kids. Thank you for all your prayers! We are so blessed that you all continue to pray for our little girl! Thank you Lord for a great week!

Friday, September 14, 2012

So Glad We Came

We arrived in Cincinatti on Wednesday. Everything went smoothly with our flight and we arrived safely to our hotel. We ended up getting to bed rather late and then had to be up early for testing for Mia the next day. We managed to survive, though. And she did really well with her first big day. Thank you for praying! Today we met with the different doctors about her testing and we are feeling full of knowledge, some good and some bad, but everything was good to find out. The GI specialist we saw, who has been doing this for year and is really the best of the best gave us a hopeful prognosis for Mia. He thinks that she has the potential to potty train and we are going to follow his process to get us there. We also met with Urology and we found out that Mia has some mild reflux which means she is at a higher risk for a kidney infection. It could either be related to her stroke or to her tethered cord...so they are running another test on her on Monday to determine more of that info. We also found out we have an appointment with Neurosurgery on Thursday about her tethered cord which is a huge praise because I was told it was impossible to get in, thank you for praying! We know the praise and glory belong to God for this. A busy day, but lots of valuable information. Now we are going to try and do something fun this weekend and relax. :)

Friday, September 07, 2012

1 down 1 to go

So CHLA finally called me back and we have an appointment scheduled the end of Sept for Mia.  It actually works out perfectly because we will be in Ohio for a week and a half and when we get back, a few days later we have our appointment.

I ended up having to overnight Mia's MRI to Cincinnati Children's and they told me that it would be 5 days before they got back to me after they received it.  That means I should hear by next week Friday, when we will already be there, and hopefully they can work us in the following week when we are there.  Praying praying praying that it works out.  Would love to hear what they have to say since they see so many kids with her issues as it is.  We'll just trust God's plan for this one.

Thank you for all of those praying, we know that we can't do this without God and we know that through Him all things are possible!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

More Medical Stuff

So today we went to LA to for an echo and an appointment with Mia's cardiologist.  Everything looked great, her heart has been stable since surgery and so at this point they've recommended we stretch our visit to every 15 months instead of every year.  Sounds good to me!  Praise God for a great report. 

Trying to get Mia into seeing a neurosurgeon is like a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle...at least that's what it feels like at this point.  I constantly am reminding myself that I am my child's advocate and nobody else cares as much for my child (besides God) as I do and this is important and I have to fight for it.  At least that's what it feels like these days.  So, we'll start with California and move on to Ohio...

Last week Thursday Mia's pediatric surgeon's office faxed a referral for her to see a neurosurgeon at CHLA.  I was hoping to get this scheduled before we leave for Cincinnati, which is next week Wednesday.  Well, I've been following up with them every day and they keep telling me they've been short staffed and haven't been able to get through all their faxes yet.  Well, finally today someone looked through the pile and said they hadn't received the fax yet....ahhh!  So, I call UCLA, have them re-fax it and yes, it finally arrived, they hope to have an answer for me tomorrow. 

Now Ohio...I called our nurse from the Bowel Management program we are attending and asked her if they could get us an appointment with neurosurgery and she said it was out of the question because they need a referral and testing from urology before they will take a tethered cord consult.  We will be seeing urology and doing the testing but apparently the answers won't come back soon enough for them to refer us.  Well, I decided to take matters into my own hands because I am my child's advocate (again I remind myself this daily...) and I called neurosurgery today, explained the situation, how we are from out of state and there is a tiny window of opportunity for us to see them is at all possible????  Sure, if we have a referral from some doctor...any doctor?  Yes, any doctor.  Great, so I had Mia's pediatric surgeon fax them the info as a referral and I will be calling them tomorrow morning to see about getting an appointment.  I asked the guy on the phone if it was even remotely possible to get in so soon because we will only be there a limited time and he told me "anything is possible."  So pray please.  Pray that we would miraculously get an appointment to have a consult with them while we are there. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Stuff for Mia

So, yesterday Mia's pediatric surgeon called me and wanted to talk to me about her MRI from last year.  I had requested she get an MRI done on her lower back to see if she had a tethered spinal cord because I had been hearing so much how it goes hand in hand with an imperforate anus.  I didn't remember her being checked at birth and I had read that it can cause bowel control issues because of potential nerve damage.  Well, after her scan last year he had told me that everything looked great, but in reality it wasn't.  He looked at her scan again after seeing us on Tuesday and it ends up that she does have a tethered spinal cord.  So now we are in the process of scheduling appointments with neurosurgeons to get their opinion on what should be done next and how soon it needs to be done.  It's been a tough couple of days for us, so just be praying for her and a resolution.  We continue to trust God and are grateful that we have Him to lean on during this time. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LA

It's been awhile since I've had to make the drive to LA for a doctor appointment...I wasn't missing it.  We went yesterday to see Mia's pediatric surgeon.  Calvin also had an appointment with him because he has a herniated bellybutton.  He said that he wouldn't address Calvin's bellybutton until he was 4 or 5 unless it was giving him problems earlier, it's a minor herniated bellybutton.  So that was great news and who knows, maybe it will correct itself by that time, although it hasn't changed in over a year so I'm highly skeptical of that happening, but you never know!  Mia's appointment was fairly quick also since we now only routinely see him once a year.  He's very supportive of us going to Cincinatti for the Bowel Management Program (we leave in September).  He thinks that since Mia is still developmentally delayed in different areas that we should be patient and give her more time to figure out the Potty Training thing.  Otherwise everything looked great and we were off to go home.

I remember when I used to do that drive once a week, sometimes even more...I'm so glad it's down to once a month or less.  Praise God for progress!

Monday, August 27, 2012

2 year check up

Calvin had his 2 year check up today.  He's doing great.  He's really tall and skinny, but they said since he's following his growth curve there is no need to be worried about his weight.  Great!  He also had his iron checked and is slightly low, so we will be starting him on a multi-vitamin with iron.  I wasn't surprised since he doesn't like to eat any type of meat these days, hardly eats any green veggies and doesn't really like beans.  He's very particular about his food.  In another month we'll take him in to get checked again and then we'll go from there.  He did cry over his one shot :(, but was much happier when he got a lollipop at the end.  Praise God for a great check up!

Mia had her first day of speech therapy with the school district and it went really well.  Her speech therapist is very new, this is her first year, but she's young and enthusiastic and I think that she and Mia will work really well together.  It was nice to be at her old school again and to see some faces from last year, that was fun.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birthday Cakes Oh My!

Today we are celebrating Calvin's 2nd birthday.  We are just having family over, so very low key.  He's been requesting a frog cake for sometime now.  About a month.  I found this adorable cake on Pinterest that looked doable and I thought I would give it a try.  This was my first time working with fondant, I just didn't want to dye frosting green because I knew it would be a chore to get a nice froggy color.  I found this fondant on Amazon, where it's pre-made and pre-colored...perfect.  It took a little bit of rolling to figure it out, but after I got the hang of it, it was fairly easy to use.  The eyes are cupcakes with oreos, the feet are peanut M&M's...super easy.  Here's the cake and here's the kids waiting for the party to start. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Schedule

I've been rearranging Mia's therapies this past week for the new school year.  It brings me back to my college days when you would register for classes and hope you got the ones that worked best for you.  You'd try to minimize time between classes while starting late enough that you didn't have to rush in the morning and if you were really lucky you'd get a free day.  Well, I feel like we hit the jackpot this year with our schedule.  There are no huge breaks between therapies where I won't know what to do with us for a short period of time and we get Fridays off!  So on Mondays she will have Speech therapy, Occupational therapy and Physical Therapy.  That will be our heaviest day with 3 therapies, but 2 are back to back at the same location, so that is really nice.  On Tuesdays we will do Vision therapy and MARE.  Wednesdays will be Speech therapy followed by another Speech therapy (She will be getting 2 sessions through our private insurance and 2 sessions at the school she was at last year paid for by the district.)  And then Thursdays we will only have Speech therapy.  Aye...it's still a lot, but it's all in the morning and it's all at reasonable times, I'm grateful.  Praise God for such a great schedule!  At the moment we are holding off on private preschool, which is ok because we'll be gone for a great part of September and we've got a full load on our schedule.  I'm hoping that on some of our free Fridays (maybe that's what I should start calling them...) we will be able to have some play dates with other kids.  Mia seems to do better in a smaller setting anyway and so I'm hoping that will work out.  Now if this weather would just cool down...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Calvin!




Dearest Sonshine,

Mommy and Daddy can hardly believe you are two already!  Where did this year go?  You've grown quite a bit this year, especially upward!  You are now almost 36 inches tall, which puts you over 5 inches taller than last year.  Your weight hasn't changed much, so you are a long string bean.

This has been the year where you learned to run, jump and climb on everything you can.  You are fearless, if it is climbable, well, you will try.  And oh my, the bumps and falls, but they haven't slowed you down one bit.  You are a very active little boy.

This year you learned your ABC's (you had no choice with a sister that loves them so...), to count to 12 (because of your fascination with clocks), all your animals and their adorable sounds, and finally your colors.  For awhile Mommy was worried that you wouldn't learn your colors because everything was yellow.  You did eventually figure it out.

You were an early speaker, which was great for us because you could communicate pretty well.  It seems these days your favorite phrase is "I don't."  Do you want some carrots?  I don't.  Do you want some oatmeal?  I don't.  Do you want some chicken?  I don't.  Do you want to help me clean up?  I don't.  Sometimes I just ask you if you want cookies to hear you say...I do.  :)

It seems like your favorite activities are building legos, puzzles, play doh or playing outside.  If I had to pick your favorite, it would probably be playing outside.  You especially love Nana and Papa's yard because there is so much space (and grass) to run and play.  One day we'll get grass too...

You are a very compassionate child, if sissy gets upset with something, you immediately are upset too.  Since sissy doesn't like loud noises, you now do not like loud noises either.  It is rather endearing to watch.

We love you Calvin!  We love watching you learn and grow, we are so blessed that you are our son.  We can't wait to see what God has in store for you this coming year.  We praise God for you!!!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy, Sissy too

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bye Bye Summer

I think summer is officially over.  I wish that the temperature would realize that.  I'm ready for fall coolness and hot cocoa, the simple things in life.  This past weekend we went to Palmdale to visit my brother and his family.  The fair has just started in Palmdale and their daughter Samantha is part of 4H.  She's been raising a sheep and a pig for the fair, so we went up to visit for that and also because their son Seth's birthday was this weekend.  It's almost becoming a tradition for us to visit on this weekend and participate in the festivities. 

The kids really enjoyed the animals at the fair, especially Mia.  Dorothy (my brother's wife) noticed how much more readily Mia was wanting to interact with the animals.  Calvin on the other hand was rather intimidated by many of them, so he kept further away.  It was lots of fun, although it was so hot!  I think this year we planned it best because we waited until Sunday morning to go to the fair and we went before the public showed up because Samantha was showing her pig that morning.  So, we got awesome parking and we got to see the animals in the morning before it was sweltering hot and without all the crowds of the people.  It was a win win! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Fun

We've been keeping busy since we came back from vacation.  Mostly trying to keep cool, it's been hot here!  We've also been trying to sort through therapy schedules and get everything lined up for the fall.  The kids have been enjoying playing in the backyard with sidewalk chalk and bubbles. 

Today the kids went to the dentist.  I don't know why there is a fear of the dentist, maybe it's strange people putting their fingers in your mouth.  There were lots of tears, but everyone was ok afterwards.  Thankfully Mia and Calvin had great check ups and we don't need to do any follow-up work. 

Saturday the kids went to a birthday party for a neighborhood friend.  That was lots of fun.  The kids really enjoyed being in the pool. 

It's finally happened...Mia is ready to drop her last nap.  :(  I'm super thankful that she's been a great napper and that it's lasted this long.  She's almost five and she was having a hard time falling asleep at night, so this past weekend we gave it a go at trying without naps and she's done great.  Her nap was usually only an hour or so, but I guess she doesn't need it anymore.  And now she falls asleep at night in 5 minutes, which is great.  So, we've been trying a quiet time in her room, reading books or playing games and there is a learning curve to this, apparently.  I think if we are consistent with working on this, then it should eventually work well, she just has a hard time playing by herself....however, a great skill to have. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Here and there and everywhere...

It feels like we haven't been home in ages and that's probably because we haven't.  After our trip to Montana and North Dakota we had a week to recover before we left for Florida.  We were there for a week with Brad's side of the family at the biannual Sturm family reunion.  It was lots of fun, we spent as much time in the pool as possible.  Mia loved it.  She was doing pretty well swimming with floaters in her suit by the end of the week.  Calvin preferred just to sit on the steps.  The kids got to play with cousins and we got to spend time with family for a week, which was really nice. 

After we got back from Florida, we headed up to Sacramento for the weekend to see my brother and his family before they move to North Carolina.  He just got a new job there and they are quickly trying to transplant before school starts so the kids will be able to start fresh in their new schools.  Mia and Calvin love playing with their four cousins who are full of energy and even though our trip was short, it was really nice to see them before they leave. 

As for other news, we just found out that Mia was accepted into the Bowel Management Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  It's a week long intensive program for kids who can't control their bowels, they work specifically with many kids who were born with an imperforate anus.  Their goal is to help a child be clean (without a bowel movement) for a 24 hour period through diet, laxatives, enemas and other various methods tailored specifically to each child's needs.  Every parent that I talk to who's taken their kid to this program has told me it is life-changing, so we are hopeful that with their guidance Mia will soon be able to potty train.  You can be praying for that and for us, we trust God's ultimate plan, but are encouraged to visit these doctors.  So, we will be going in September, it will be myself, Mia (of course), Calvin and Nana...we are so grateful Nana is going to come along and help!!!  Anyone know anyone in Cincinnati?  We are going to be there for awhile...10 or 11 days total. 

As for these next few weeks, we are going to try to settle into a routine here and figure out what things will look like not being in school.  One day at a time. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gummy Bear

That's what we like to call baby #3 at the moment, Gummy Bear.  We had an ultrasound with the specialist today since we are doing all the early testing, like we did with Calvin.  Gummy Bear is doing great, praise the Lord!  He or she was doing a bit of kicking and so it was neat to see that.  Gummy Bear measured at a little over 2 inches long and it just amazes me that so much intricate detail has already developed and we are only 12 weeks along.  I still am really tired and get nauseous quite a bit, but nothing really different than the other two pregnancies, so I kind of already expect it.  :)

Calvin has become quite the climber these days.  If I leave things too close to the counter's edge it has a way of disappearing.  The other morning I had made their breakfast and we went to wash hands, he got his washed first and when Mia and I were coming out to the kitchen, he was walking with his breakfast plate in hand to the table.  I'm really surprised he hadn't spilled it. 

Mia on the other hand has become quite the whiner these days and I'm hoping it's just a stage that every 4 year old goes through, but I'm ready for it to be done.  The joys of parenting, right.  :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blast From The Past



I've been waiting quite awhile to do this...at my baby shower for Mia, Nana (Brad's mom) gave me some clothes that Brad wore when he was 4 years old.  We decided to put them on today for fun and take some pictures.  They actually fit Mia really well, just a tad bit long.  :)  Maybe Nana can find a picture of Brad in these clothes and we'll have to put that up also, to compare. 

It's not a box...


Daddy brought the kids home a big box (the benefits of being an IT guy)...it's now a wonderful playhouse, complete with door and windows.  Fun!  I love that it says Invent on the box...if HP only knew...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vacation

We got back this afternoon from vacation.  It was so nice to be home...you don't realize how much you miss your own bed until you've been gone awhile, and well, two weeks was awhile for the kids and I.  Brad joined us on the first part of our vacation in Montana.  We spent the week in a house with my Mom and this side of the family.  There were 14 of us, so between cousins and Aunts and Uncles there wasn't a dull moment.

We ended up renting a minivan and driving with Grandma Cheri and Uncle Paul.  I wasn't sure how the kids would do on such a long road trip, it was over 1,000 miles in 2 days, but they did great.  I think what made it such a good trip for them was that there was one car seat in the back and one in the middle, so an adult was seated beside a kid the entire trip...someone to entertain them.  Mia of course wanted Grandma Cheri beside her the entire time...Grandma Cheri should get a spiritual reward for her patience with Mia the entire trip.  Mia is not very self-entertaining, she needed a constant companion almost the whole time.  :)  Her favorite activity was making sticker books and spelling words from ABC stickers we had brought along.  We spelled a lot of words.

Before the trip, Calvin would get his binky just at naps and at nighttime...we plan on soon losing the binkys, but I didn't want to do this to him before the trip.  He soon figured out that his binkys were in the backpack and he would scream as loud as he could in the car, "I want a binky!"  At first I wouldn't give in to him, but the last two days of driving, I just let him have his binky the entire time...it was the only way to keep him happy in the car.

When we were in Montana, the kids spent time fishing, hiking, throwing rocks in a lake...lots of fun kid activities.  We also took a trip to Yellowstone for the day and saw Buffalo up close, some waterfalls, and Old Faithful.  Calvin and I ended up getting the stomach flu for a day at the end of the vacation...no fun, but we recovered and are much better.

After Montana, we dropped Brad off at the airport and we then continued on to North Dakota to see my Grandma and Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  We were there for 5 days before we headed home.  The kids had a lot of fun out on the farm, my Uncle's farm.  There was plenty of wide open spaces to run freely.  It was just such a sweet time with my Grandma and family, they really enjoyed the little ones.

 Of course the drive home was long, it seemed much longer, and it probably was, but we made it!  And we are glad to be home.  Glad for the memories, but really glad to be home. 






Thursday, June 28, 2012

VBS

Mia and Calvin have been having so much fun at VBS this week.  Every day we talk about going to VBS and she gets so excited.  Her teacher is so much fun and he just has such a heart for kids, it's a great fit for her.  They've been learning a new Bible verse each day, there's fun songs and crafts...yummy snacks, what's not to like!

Calvin has also been having fun.  I've been in the nursery with him and there are 3 other kids his age that he gets to interact and play with.  That's been really neat for him.  And of course having his Mama in there makes it so much easier.  It gives me some flexibility to go change Mia's diaper when necessary and it gives Calvin a good experience with other kids his age.

Saturday we leave on vacation...we are going to Montana and North Dakota for a couple weeks.  I will try to post if I can, but we'll see how that goes. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Week

We've had a really busy week. This past Tuesday was Mia's last day at MARE until the fall. We take a break in the summer when it is really hot. She didn't really understand it was her last day, so maybe that's even better.

Mia got weighed this week and she is almost 30 pounds! Praise God, that is so huge for us. Our gain is slow, but it keeps going up in the right direction, so we are thankful. Calvin also weighed in at almost 25 pounds...he's catching up to his sister, but his weight gain has slowed dramatically, so I imagine it might take him a good year to catch up to her.

On Tuesday I got to see our baby's heartbeat. Because we are doing some early prenatal testing since Mia was born with so many complications, they needed to be accurate about the baby's age, so I got a tiny ultrasound done. The baby is measuring exactly where the baby should be, 7 weeks and a few days...but it was just so amazing to see the heart beating and to realize that there really is a life inside of you. The tech called it a gummy bear, so we might adopt that name for awhile.

We covet your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Overall I'm feeling fine, just a bit nauseous and extremely tired, but to be expected in the first trimester. We trust that God is knitting this baby together exactly as He pleases and we are so grateful for this little baby.

This coming week we have VBS at church. This will be Mia's first time at VBS. I'm super excited for her and hope that she has a great time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gardening

This past weekend the kids and Brad planted a little garden. We know it's kind of late in the game, but we are excited to see if anything will grow. This is our first official garden. The kids enjoyed digging and planting seeds, although I'm not sure how much help they really were. :) I found Mia reading to Calvin the other day. It was very sweet, he was listening so intently as she read the Mittens story to him. She is a really good reader, so this was fun to watch.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Birthday Fun

This weekend we celebrated Mia's cousin Joy's 4th birthday.  It was a fun Curious George party and even the Man with the Yellow Hat showed up.  There was much fun by all, water play, searching for monkeys, and great food.  Here are a few photos from the day.



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