Friday, October 23, 2009

Cardiac Exam

Yesterday Steven was seen by a Dr. Womack--I believe from Boise--who came down to our neck of the woods for a couple days. During Steven's initial physical exam his primary doc had heard a murmur and suggested further examination by a specialist. Apparently about 50% of children with DS have some kind of heart condition from very mild to quite extensive.

So yesterday was the appointed time. This doctor was very nice, very 'kid-friendly', if you know what I mean. He looked at Steven's overall condition (warm and pink and growing and healthy), asked about his energy level (just fine, I assure you), listened to his heart, felt his pulses and then led us clear across the hospital to the heart lab. For those of you who are heart experts due to experience with your children, please forgive me that I don't know the actual name of the procedure done. Steven just had to take off his shirt and lay on a warm blanket on the stretcher. Then "Gordon" (the lab guy) let Steven hold the transducer (I assume that's what it is because the machine was quite similar to what it used for a fetal sonogram) and put it on his own chest with that lovely cold gooey gel. Of course, Gordon took over the controls from there. I was so fascinated with the moving 3-D images on the screen and Gordon was great to point out the atria, ventricles, various valves, aorta, cardiac arteries, hepatic arteries, aorta, descending aorta. He could also change the settings so colors would show on the screen--I believe the red was blood flow toward the transducer and blue was blood flow away from the transducer? (I could have that backwards) With that setting he could tell whether any blood was leaking back through a valve or coming through the walls in the heart. You could also hear and see the heart rhythm as he examined various views of the heart. He did see a TINY bit of leakage at a couple valves but the end result was that Steven's heart is structurally and functionally normal and he will not need to see a cardiac specialist again. Cool!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Actual current post with current pictures

10/14 Steven and Caleb awaiting the school bus. They get soooooo excited when they see that big yellow box coming toward them down the street. Caleb always sits by the window and waves til he can't see me anymore. The weather has definitely warmed up again after an unseasonable snow in September which looked so weird when the leaves were still attached AND green. Some of my kids have even worn shorts and T-shirts outside but not me--I'm too cold-blooded for that.

Sunday, Oct 18 What a day! As in many areas, we have been having a lot of sickness at church and school. This morning Pastor called Kevin to ask if he could please lead the worship service and sing a special number since our pastor's wife who usually leads worship, plays the piano and sings beautifully is very ill with the flu. I really had to laugh because Kevin and I were already scheduled to teach our regular Sunday School classes, Kevin was to play his guitar for worship, plus it was our turn to do Children's Church. (Our lesson was on the fruit of the Spirit called Self-control and the main idea was "My tongue belongs to Jesus.") Then this evening we were also scheduled to begin our Kids Clubs for the school year. [Kevin teaches the middle school boys in a group called Adventure Rangers and I'm teaching the Rainbow preschoolers this time after several years leading the PRIMS (1st,2nd grade girls)] Not too long later I got a phone call from 'J' apologizing that she is quite sick and would be unable to fill in tonight for the regular STARS leader "C" as planned. (C. had let me know well in advance of a schedule conflict for this week.) Oh my! So Scheri and Teresa bravely agreed to lead the STARS (3rd-5th grade girls) and Scheri spent quite a bit of time this afternoon putting together a meeting plan with some input from me. Then later during the afternoon there was a call from the new PRIMS leader saying she was sick with the flu and would be unable to come. So Teresa and Scheri had the PRIMS AND the STARS at a table right outside the door where I was doing Rainbows--so I could supervise as necessary. I really must say my daughters did very well for their age and the little girls seemed to be having fun. Caleb, Steven and I did OK but I can see I am going to need a lot more activities planned for next week because their attention span is so short. Our club shirts are green with big rainbows, our motto is 'We are helpers' and we have a Noah's Ark theme. We are working on our Dog badge-learning that Jesus is our best friend. I was so exhausted when we left the church tonight that I just wanted to fall in a hole and/or drink about a gallon of Diet Pepsi (And we didn't even try to make it to the 1st practice of the Community Christmas choir at the Nazarene church! Thankfully only the last 2 or 3 rehearsals are mandatory--most you learn on your own listening to the CD over and over )
Thanks to the Lord for helping us with all of our commitments

Mom and Dad joined us for lunch. Mom brought her yummy vegetable beef stew and Kevin had cut up a bunch of fresh fruit and made sandwiches on this 9-grain bread that we (even the kids) really like. I joked that this makes up for the days when french fries are our only vegetable.

Here are Steven and Caleb in their Rainbow shirts.

The Last of the Catch-up Pictures

All these pictures are from August 26. As you noted the pictures in these 3 catch-up posts are in reverse order. This made complete sense when I thought I could put all of them in one post. Oh well.

Here are Teresa, Scheri and James ready to head off for their first day of school: Teresa, 7th grade; Scheri, 8th grade and James, 6th grade.
Billy was a little later getting out of the house. He is a freshman this year. Oh my!
After the big kids got out of the house, Caleb and Steven and I headed for town. Caleb had a well-child check and had to get some annual blood work. He was shown to be low on iron so we have been giving him vitamins with iron per the Dr's recommendation; otherwise his tests were normal.

Catch-Up Pictures

8/28--We finally got to go on the Thousands Springs river cruise/dinner that had originally been scheduled for June 26. This was a present from my parents in celebration of 3 anniversaries: their 50th, my brother's 25th and our 15th. We weren't sure until almost the last minute that Kevin was going to get off early enough from work to go with us. We remarked that you can be late to a dinner and still be OK but when that dinner is on a boat--you're either ready or you're not

8/30 "Graduation" Sunday for the Mission Possible VBS kids

9/1 A sad morning at our house--the kids saying good-bye to Lily--our faithful, overprotective doggie whom Kevin rescued from the poo-poo pond over in Murtaugh. Lilly bit the hand of the elderly gentleman who was delivering Meals on Wheels to Kevin's father who lives next door. There is just no reasonable way to completely fence our yard and we can't stand the thought of Lily living on a chain so Kevin had to take her to the pound.

9/1 Celebrating my Dad's birthday at our house. Here's Daddy with James, Billy, Scheri and Teresa
9/2--These are pictures of our family at our annual trip to the Filer Fair. Our school actually lets out on this Wednesday which is the first day of the fair and McDonald's Day on which the price of the all-day rides pass is significantly reduced. I love this day of the fair because the lines are exceedingly short.

9/4 Steven had bilateral ear tubes placed. He was the 7:30 am case and we were HOME by 9:00 am. He sailed through without a hitch--drank his juice, walked to the bathroom and was able to pee without any difficulty. He had no problems with nausea and no ear drainage. Praise God. The first picture shows me holding him in the last moments before laying him on the stretcher and walking away with a smile on my face and a tear in my heart. The second picture shows him drinking juice back in his little 'room' in Same Day surgery.
09/09/09 (never noticed this before) First day of school for Caleb and Steven. Here's a picture of their school supplies
And here are our two littlest cuties with backpacks ready to hop in the suburban with mom and head to preschool. They will go every day from noon to 3:15. They are to travel by bus on M-W-F and by mom-bus on T-Th
9/19--Putting up our new volleyball net. We had a lot of fun playing out in the back yard

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random thoughts--pictures of kiddos

I'm sorry to be so behind. I'm having a hard time feeling like I'm doing anything interesting enough to blog about. I am so, so, so passionate about adoption and orphans and very 'into' the workshop I'm getting the opportunity to facilitate to help commemorate Orphan Sunday. I've been working very earnestly on this labor of love but it doesn't seem that exciting to blog about how many letters and posters and photocopies and folders and fliers I've written or hung up or racked up or stuffed or collected. Besides practically everyone that subscribes to this blog is already 'into' adoption so it's like preaching to the choir. (Here I want to get up on the rooftops and motivate everyone on the planet--Christians in particular--to get involved in orphan care!! but both(!) of you readers have either already adopted or are adopting now.)

On a related note, I'm really considering re-opening this blog for public view. The only reason I've kept it private is that I've started discussing our older kids by name and have even mentioned our home town. I really am not a paranoid person but 3 of our children were adopted from local foster care and born about 15-20 minutes from here. I respect our kids' birth families but I''m not keen on having them know all about our personal lives. I know probably most of them know exactly where we live anyway and have not used that knowledge to cause any problems but still . . . I want to be smart. Any words of wisdom? And no, I really cannot imagine trying two blogs.

Some of you know we had submitted Steven's passport to the Ukrainian consulate in San Francisco about 2 weeks after we got home (this registration is required within 30 days of return to the US). I was getting pretty nervous because said document had not yet been returned (and ya'll well know just how much trouble we had GETTING that lovely blue thing in the first place.) Thankfully someone on Reece's Rainbow 'happened' to make a passing remark about a self-addressed stamped envelope. Uh oh!! Guess what I'd forgotten to enclose with the registration? YIPES! So I sent a SASE along with detailed note about Steven's birth name, birth birth date, new name, new birth date, place of birth, date of adoption decree, etc etc. and so help me, got the passport no more than 5 days later, maybe 4. Just Tuesday I took my place as #66 in the busy Social Security office (day after Columbus Day) and was promised a social security number within about 10 days.

9/20--My son Billy very happily playing the drums at church singspiration to accompany the beautiful song Kevin wrote.

9/23--Steven getting his hair cut at Great Clips

9/23-- Grandma and hairdresser were both trying to get Caleb to hold still--quite a job. He absolutely cannot stand the little hairs falling on his face and just squirms and fusses while constantly trying to brush them off.

9/25-- Two of our kids had overnight guests and we all went bowling at Cedar Lanes--the first time I ever remember actually bowling as a family. It was a lot of fun.

Caleb covering his ears at the bowling alley--I can't remember what noise he was trying to avoid.

Steven watching what was going on

10/2-- Scheri got to hold B's wedding bouquet while B and her sweetie cut the cake at their reception

Our babysitter and her new husband, October 2

October 6-- Scheri and Teresa all dressed up for Hawaii Day during Homecoming Week. I had just bought these shirts for something like $1.49 at KMart a couple days earlier

October 7-- Caleb and Steven looked so cute in their striped button-up collar shirts as they were eating before heading to school. I tried and tried to get a good picture. I basically just have to snap and hope because they hold still for the tiniest speck of time (and I think the shutter on my cell phone is very slow anyway)
The view I think I'm getting is NOT the one I end up with.

10/10--Caleb with Poppi and Grandma ('Amma') at cousing Elizabeth's wedding
10/13--Steven and Caleb helping Mommy clean up Scheri and Teresa's old sink/dishwasher that has been living out in the yard for months and maybe years