Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Spooktacular Bust

I shouldn't say that really.  Chopper took the girls out for an hour and they had a great time and are enjoying the fruits of their labor.  But I'm able to blog about it right now because we've had maybe 6 doorbell rings and half of those have been annoying teenagers.  I don't mind the teenagers -- if they make an effort -- which these did not.

Chopper cancelled scouts last night because they went to the Church broadcast for 100 years in scouting on Tuesday we did our pumpkin carving, seed roasting, and I made a pie from pie pumpkins!!

William was completely fascinated by this whole process and tickled pink that he got to sit in the big chair.  It seems to me that he's growing up fast and wanting to do everything the girls do.  Makes sense as the 3rd child of course but kind've makes me sad.  And happy at the same time. Weird I know.

After a while they get bored and drift away but really were excited and had a good time in the beginning at least! 

Chopper going for the guts.

 Both girls drew pumpkin faces and then Chopper carved parts of each one.  So I think these are Megan's eyes and Abby's mouth.

Apparently there's a rule that you have to wear a different costume for each Halloween event.  Since we've done 3 events this year we've dug into dress ups.  So trunk or treat was the witch and dragon (which I spent time on!!!), we did a small afternoon trick or treat as a neighborhood event and Megan was TinkerBell (who lost her wings) and Abby was Rapunzel (who lost her hair) and tonight we have a kitty cat and cheetah.

Poor William was happy playing with glow sticks and bringing us candy until the first doorbell rang.  Then he screamed bloody murder when he didn't get to go out the door and spent the rest of the night in bed while I watched movies and answered the door approximately 6 times.  Kind've a nice relaxing evening for me!! 

Chopper said that not too many houses on our street were lit up so they did two other streets as well and still came home with only half full buckets.  I don't mind the lack of candy (we have plenty left over and I need to remember not to buy so much next year -- I think I said that last year . . . ) but I remember such awesome Halloweens in neighborhoods crawling with kids.  Kind've sad that we're losing that and yet at the same time, I completely understand.  There's a lot to worry about going door to door.

Oh well.  We've had plenty of festivities for the month and tomorrow we need to start our thankful tree which means I need to find some leaves  . . . Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Every Day

I think I have nothing to blog and then I decide that sometimes the everyday things need to be preserved.  So this is a random grouping of stuff from this week:

Because Abby wanted to be a witch for Halloween, we taught her how to cackle.  Then Chopper taught her how to be a pirate.  It's pretty cute.  Oh, and the pirate has to close one eye.  She told me after that I couldn't be a pirate because I can't close one eye and was very surprised when I showed her that I could.

My mom is a fantastic gardener and I have friends who do well at it here in Texas and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  Every year I get ambitious, a little bit, and decide to try something and then realize that there's a reason that I will move into a condo with no land with my dad when I'm old and gray.  This is the reason.

How hard is it to water a few pots?  Apparently my skills are death-inducing.

And I can't even blame the weather.  It's been pretty cold in the mornings -- 40s mostly -- but the kids still want to walk to school every morning.  But the afternoons are glorious so we've been spending lots of time out playing, eating popsicles, lounging. 

This adorable boy is walking everywhere and it's still that shaky, falls down a lot, early toddler walk that I love.  I could not resist posting ALL of these pictures of him playing peek-a-boo with me! 

 Yeah his nose is scraped up.  He falls on his face quite a bit.

They had a 9-weeks awards assembly at Megan's school.  Part of me thinks it's ridiculous and part of me is proud of the fact that she got an award for most improved in class participation.  I know that she has done well in kindergarten but that she's also had her challenges.  The awards assembly was actually one of her challenges.

This is the vice principal trying to get Megan to go up front when her name is called 

And then just taking her by the hand and making her do it 

And then leading her back to her seat. 
Then she was upset (Megan, not the vice principal) that she only got one award.  So we had to talk about why that was and how it was a great thing that she got any award!!  School is stretching this little girl AND this mommy in so many ways . . . 

William, not thrilled to be confined.   

 He wants to go everywhere, do exactly what he wants, and screams in frustration when it doesn't work out.  Lately it's taking the lids out of that cupboard and putting them in that drawer.  Yeah, it never works out. 
And yes, he's carrying around a Matchbox car.  He's taken to this one pretty well.  Chopper says we need to get the poor kids more boy toys but Christmas will be here before we know it and then I'm sure he'll be inundated.  He's not suffering now -- balls and cars and phones and puzzles and legos all keep him pretty entertained.  Boy does he love legos.  He's getting really good at putting them together and at 15 months old has probably played with them more than both the girls combined!  It's a lot of fun to watch and play with him.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Picture Drought

This will help a little bit.  Our ward Halloween party was last night so I got a few horrible pictures of the kids dressed up.  If you're on Instagram, I have one of Abby's nails on there.  I told the girls we would paint our nails green and she decided to take matters into her own hands!!  Her FINGERS were green but surprisingly there was only one small mark of nail polish on the table where she did it.  I couldn't believe it.
Abby has been the cutest witch.  I'll try to get video of her doing her cackling.  She has a tiny broom that she insists on riding and that is obviously not made for that purpose.

This dress.  I got this black mesh with the silver stars and moons at a yard sale -- a ton of it and it's super cute and was dirt cheap.  Come to find out, when it's crinkled and sat on and worn on other fabric covered surfaces (like the couch), those cute moons and stars dissolve into massive amounts of silver glitter.  I don't think I'll be saving this dress for future children!! 

Megan was set on being a cat until Chopper showed her dragon costumes (gee thanks sweetheart!) and I was DREADING trying to figure that one out.  A friend of mine came to the rescue and gave me some dragon wings from her boys.  We added spikes down the middle and onto her hoodie (per Megan's request -- she was very specific about the look and color of this dragon) and voila!  It turned out pretty cute I think.

William.  I had NO good ideas for him this year and wasn't incredibly motivated to dress him up I'm sorry to say.  I borrowed a Yoda costume which he allowed me to take 2 pictures on and then threw a fit and wanted it off.  He spent the evening at the party in regular clothes, unless you count Abby's red jackets with hearts as slightly irregular for a boy! 
Our ward Halloween party is pretty low-key.  Food (chili and hotdogs, chips, dessert) and a trunk or treat.  Abby was so excited for trunk or treat that she was bouncing literally.  She approached every car and eagerly and loudly asked "trick or treat" while Megan held her bucket close to her chest and had to be prodded to approach anyone.  William enjoyed passing out candy with daddy and watching the fun and walking everywhere he could.  It was also a little chilly -- jacket weather at least -- and that was kind've nice.  Seems like it's been hot for soooo long!  Fall is finally here but the days have been beautiful.  I do love October in Texas!

Friday, October 18, 2013

2nd Opinion

Today Chopper and I went to see a 2nd cardiologist for another opinion on the baby and I'm pleased with the results.  This doctor was almost completely in line with what our primary cardiologist has said and so I'm confident that staying with our primary cardiologist for the duration of the pregnancy and on will be the right decision.  Neither Chopper or I feel that we need to go anywhere else for diagnoses (although we were looking forward to REAL Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches!!!).  

The bad news -- which isn't really really bad though -- is that one of the coronary sinusoids has developed further into an actual large fistula -- a way for blood to get from the damaged side of the heart to, in this case, the aorta.  The doctor we saw today has only seen this one other time and it was several years ago.  But the one that she saw before shrunk over time and became a non-issue.  It's not guaranteed to do that -- it could be a major problem -- but at this point we just don't know.

So in the roughly 17-18 weeks of pregnancy I have left (they'll induce me early for sure) we continue to monitor the growth of the baby and the growth of the heart on a regular basis.  I'll be seeing a high risk doctor of course and about 30 weeks in we'll start putting together our team -- maternal fetal medicine doctor + fetal cardiologist + cardiac surgeon + doctor who does catheterization (what do they call that?) and who knows what I'm missing.  Do you think if I had team t-shirts made they would all wear them????

At birth, Aaron will be catheterized to accurately get a picture of blood flow through all areas of the heart and to really get a good look at how the damaged right side has affected the so far healthy left side.  And then the team makes the decision: can we do surgery or do we wait for a transplant.  Today's Dr. did suggest starting transplant paperwork as soon as he is born because there is a high probability that he will either need a transplant outright or that they'll get in to do the surgery and find it's not possible after all.  We're anticipating an initial hospital stay of at least a month or 6 weeks but going up to 2-3 months.  It all depends.  Everything is kind've up in the air.

Dear dad, might as well sell the house and move here because I'm taking my mother back!!!

I'm really grateful that this is all happening here with nationally ranked doctors, surgeons, and hospitals.  I'm really grateful that my parents are able to help support us of course emotionally but that my mom especially is in a position where she can come for at least a little while.  That's a huge blessing.  But I'm also thankful for being in this area and ward long enough now that we're comfortable with asking our amazing friends (ok let's face it, mostly my amazing friends -- all those other women!) to help with things as they occur.  Just today my dear friend Jenn kept my kids for 4 hours and dealt with an Abby potty accident because our appointment was all the way downtown (as so many of them will be!).  We've had several sisters bring us meals these past few weeks as Chopper has been furloughed (and yes, he is officially back -- hooray!).  And my counselors and other sisters I work with in the Relief Society are such a tremendous help and support.  I'm grateful for my family who even though they're far away are praying and going to the temple on our behalf and sending us packages (that's kind've the fun part) and just letting us know that we're loved.

I'm grateful for fall and winter and the holiday season  that brings so much joy to myself and my kids -- my kids.  I have been really appreciating my kids more or trying to at least.  Just enjoying the things that they say and do in case I don't get that with this one.  In many ways that makes me more upset than the thought of seeing my baby in surgery and NICU -- I hate the idea of not having him right off the bat.  Every other baby has been mine as soon as they have been born -- they've stayed with me in the hospital and I've nursed them all for a year and never had anything remotely like this happen.  It's upsetting to me to think how much holding and snuggling I'm going to miss out on.  But we'll see.  Maybe it'll be better than I think it will.  I hope so.  But in the meantime, I'm enjoying his kicking and his movement now and the mandatory attachment!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Breaking News

Will Chopper go to work tomorrow?  Everyone says the Republicans are caving and a deal will be struck by midnight.  Who knows?  I think they all need to be replaced . . . 

Also, William has a hernia.  I'd say what type except I'm guaranteed to get it wrong -- linguinal, bilingual, subliminal?  Something like that.  Anyway, 2 visits with the radiologist today and looks like I'm on the hunt for a pediatric urologist so he can have surgery.  My oh my the family is falling apart!!

Not What I Wanted, What I Needed

The past 3 weekends have been spiritual weekends.  Uplifting yes, but not quite in the way that I anticipated.  That probably merits a little explaining.

Every year our stake Relief Society presidency holds a dinner prior to the General RS broadcast.  I love the RS broadcast because there are no children and I can focus.  So that night I had a great dinner with sisters from my ward and then stuffed my purse full of tissues.  I was positive that the messages at the broadcast would leave me a weeping mess because it would be about enduring to the end, etc. etc.  Not so.

Background -- one of the things I've been struggling with the past few weeks since we've discovered all of this info. about Aaron is my calling.  I actually love my calling -- or I should say aspects of it.  But being the Relief Society President for my ward is a big job and I feel a lot of guilt (A LOT OF GUILT) when I don't do what I feel like I should be doing for that calling.  It has been a trial of faith I think to not ask for a release and I've struggled with it already.  So I'm sitting there in the broadcast and the intermediate hymn is "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be".  And I lost it because I knew that I shouldn't ask for a release.  I should prepare my counselors to do as much as they can without me.  It's not what I want honestly.  I'm still really worried about doing it all -- being there for Aaron every second in case we lose him, not neglecting my other 3 children who need me because I'm their mom, maintaining my sanity, and then thinking about the 180 sisters in our ward?  But perhaps it's what I need.  I don't actually really know that, but I guess the Lord does!!

General Conference the next weekend was very good although keeping the kids going through 8 hours of "church" presents it's own challenges.  But I did manage to actually hear some things that were strengthening.  I particularly enjoyed the talks about the importance of women and morality and Elder Bednar's talk about tithing.  These last few weeks as Chopper has been furloughed it's been stressful to know what to do -- even though our families will help us financially if we need it -- I have been struck very hard by the things that we need to be doing in order to be more secure than we are.  But we have been blessed.  We haven't won the lottery magically or come into money but we've had several people bring us meals and what we have is enough to make ends meet.  That is a miracle in and of itself and I think it's come because of paying our tithing.  I don't want Chopper to be out of work but perhaps we needed a strong wake up call about organizing our household better than we ever have before.

Finally, last weekend I was able to attend a Time Out For Women conference.  Friday was the best because John Bytheway and Sherri Dew were speakers and Jenny Oaks Baker was the musical artist -- she is amazing on her violin!!  I took lots of notes!  Saturday was a little harder because I was so tired from being up late, missing naps (I swear I've regressed to toddler-hood) and the speakers in the morning (Chris Williams and Sandra Turley) were both wonderful but emotional.  I had to hold back because you still are in public and I hate crying in public.  When I got home that night I had to release all of that excess emotion.  Chopper was pretty worried, said I hadn't cried like that in a long time.  But I woke up Sunday morning feeling actually refreshed and ready to face things again.  Of course, you know me, that doesn't mean I've stopped leaking!  

None of the worry and stress have been erased of course.  In fact, it seems that we continue to be heaped upon.  I suppose there's something we still need that we haven't yet gotten or learned.  And in the meantime, we go day by day looking for the miracles that are out there and doing what we can to gain blessings to help us through.  I'm glad our children are little through all of this though honestly.  They are a blessing to be worry free and their happy, goofy, frustrating little selves.  We told the girls that Aaron's heart is broken and he'll be sick for a while -- I'm pretty sure it went over their heads.  And that's probably a good thing for now.  

Oh this is COMPLETELY off subject.  William had his 15 month well-child visit yesterday.  22 lbs (16%), 30 inches long (30%).  Cute factor 95%.  Ok that was really cheesy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fun Stuff

Last post was not my best so this one is all fun stuff:

William is now 15 months old as of yesterday and I think we can officially call him a walker!!  It's become pretty much his primary motivation unless he needs to get somewhere really fast -- like following Chopper out the door.  He LOVES to be outside and his reaction looks like this:
when he doesn't get to go.  So hearing a door open means he puts on the turbo speed!!

I am halfway done -- 20 weeks wahoo!
Still so so tired though.  This weekend I went to Time Out For Women.  It was fantastic -- absolutely fantastic and I probably should do a post just about that!  But after being up until 11, awake again at 6, and missing an afternoon nap I was really out of it for the Saturday afternoon speakers.

So I've decided that my girls could not get more different than if they actually tried to be different.  Several fun examples from the past little while that illustrate this:

We went to the high school homecoming parade last Monday night for Family Home Evening.  I'm not kidding when I say that we came home with our Halloween bucket FULL of candy.  They throw so much and the girls love it!  I think partly we get a lot because they're little and cute but at one point a pair of teenage boys walked over with handfuls of candy for the girls rather than throwing it.  Abby eagerly went to them to get it in her bag.  Megan ran away and hid behind Chopper.

Both girls have a unique sense of style and a very strong sense of personal style.  Megan chooses her own clothes every morning before school but does it quickly.  They both love poofy and twirly Sunday dresses.  Abby lately has taken to putting on William's sleepers (size 18 months and they fit tightly but they fit) so I had to dig one out for her so she'd stop wearing his. 
What is very interesting about them though is that even though kindergarten has started, Megan has not requested certain clothing, made comments on other kids clothes, etc.  I really think she just doesn't care.  It may be too young to really know but I think she has a strong personality and sense of what she likes and I'm hoping that it means she won't be too submissive to peer pressure.

Abby on the other hand . . . on Wednesday as we got ready for gymnastics we had our first run in over clothes.  She wears a dance leotard and a pair of biker type shorts in rainbow cheetah print.  Very Abby.  Partly for modesty and partly because I've noticed that when she wears just the leotard (and this happens with swimming suits too), she has one butt cheek that likes to hang out all the time.
Anyway, when I told her to get ready Wednesday she said to me, "mommy I don't wear to wear my shorts today.  The other girls in my class don't wear shorts".  Which I happen to know is true.  It ended up being a moot point because I discovered a short time later that she had a fever and we didn't go but I think I fear for her teenage years!

In the meantime, she creates trails of cheerios for herself and then eats them off the floor with her mouth. 

Megan informed me today she wants to be a cat for the Halloween party on Saturday but a dragon for actual Halloween.  And she'll stick to that.  Oh and cats don't smile.

Practicing gymnastics.

Last funny funny story.  William has been pretty sick with croup.  It's actually kind've nice because his high pitched screaming has gone silent and his yelling is raspy instead of loud but he's also miserable.  Friday night while I was gone he threw up 3 times in a row sitting in his high chair at the table.  Chopper said he was a slimy, pathetic mess covered in grossness, crying, and saying "mama, mama".  But he laughed really hard (and I did too when I heard) because across from William, Megan has her eyes shut and is saying "I can't look at it!  I can't see it!" and Abby is next to William making barfing noises and funny faces -- mimicking apparently.  It makes me laugh just thinking about it.  

I love my girls!  I love that they have different personalities because it makes life so much fun!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Never Give Up

I've been a little afraid to write lately, not because I don't want to (this blog has become more of a journal for me than I think I've realized) but because our lives are beginning to sound like a real tragedy.

So be aware that I'm putting it all out there and that some day I will read this post and laugh and laugh and then go shopping afterwards and buys something totally unnecessary and expensive for my grown son with the fixed heart because that's really how things will turn out right?

We have to be like William and NEVER GIVE UP!!!
And just so you know, I would not classify William as an actual walker yet.  He's doing more and more but crawling is still very much his preferred means of transportation.

So we're into the 2nd week of government furlough.  What this means is that Chopper stays home and drives me crazy (ok really it's mostly been very nice to have him around) and we don't get paid until all of the drama in Washington D.C. resolves itself.  Which right now looks like never.

I'm pretty positive that they have AT LEAST voted to give the government workers back pay but that doesn't happen until they go back to work in the first place.  And I'm kind've sick of all the talk out there about how the government workers need to stop complaining about it.  None of this is their fault!  I want him to go back to work and NO this is NOT a paid vacation.  Can you honestly think that we're enjoying ourselves?  We're staying home, eating our pantry dry to conserve as much money as possible, not buying ANYTHING, and Chopper is stressing about not providing for the family and feeling like a lazy bum.  Not a vacation people!

Sorry, rant over.

In other news, I've switched doctors to one who is high risk and who can deliver me at St. Paul's hospital downtown -- a hospital with a level 3 NICU and an incredible heart center.  I haven't met her yet but I'm sad about not having my regular OB because I love her.  And it scares me.  Medical jargon is scary enough but when the doctors start making decisions for you based on the rarity and severity of the problem involved then it's really hard to focus on the positive.  At least for me.

So what do I do?  Naps, sugar, those are very good starts.  Try to quilt and work on costumes although I'm not very motivated.  Pray, cry, find things to laugh about and hope that by the time we're writing our Christmas letter that it doesn't sound like this post!!!