September 29, 2009

Sometimes, I just don't know what to think


*sigh*... "Mom, I wish I were like you."

Glancing over at my 5-year old daughter I asked, "You wish were you like me? Why?"

*sigh*......................... "Are we taking the bus or we driving to the school party?"

At first I thought I would never know but I decided to press the matter.

"Why do you wish you were like me?" I asked again.

*sigh*... "Because sometimes I'm mean."

Ummm... oh. Considering how she tells me I'm mean when she doesn't get her way I'm not quite sure how to take that.

~~~~~

Okay, so I almost didn't blog this one, but its a true story and in honor of knowing that they won't be kids forever, I decided to record it. So, here it goes.

I was trying to put Jacob down for a nap. I was in his bedroom calling for him to come to his bed. Jacob comes running over to me with a big smile on his face and says, "I can't mommy! I go poopy! See?"

He reaches me, turns around and sticks his bum out. As is my duty as a mother, I faithfully pull back his diaper to check. Not seeing anything right away a lean in for closer inspection. Without any warning he toots right in my face, starts laughing hysterically and scampers off.

Should I be concerned that he's only two years old?

September 28, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Last night when I stuck my feet into the covers, my toes met with something rather hard.

After pulling the kids bed sheets out of the washer, I found some clean, yet sticky gummy bear vitamins. (Should I have re-washed the load? Hmm....)

I finally discovered Jacob's secret hiding place for heir toothbrushes. In the pocket of the glider (rocking chair).

While dusting my bookshelves, I found Savannah's buried treasure.

And while going through my big stack of papers and bills, I found a monster.


These are a few of my favorite things.

September 24, 2009

Cleaning Incentives

I suppose its possible that I might be the only person who doesn't particularly care to spend my entire day cleaning. But just in case you are a bit like me in this matter, I have a special treat for you today.

When the cleaning gets old, and the house is in need of a makeover, sometimes we need... a push, or an incentive to get things done. My children have joined me today to share a few of their special tips on how to get things done. Take it away kiddos!


Okay! First, send your husband out of town for a few days. It helps us work better if we don't have that extra set of eyes or hands around to help out.

Now, for the hard places you know need to be cleaned but don't get cleaned often enough... like the stairs, we recommend the Joseph Special.

Go and do some laundry... or whatever it is you mommas do all day, and leave us to play in the kitchen. After a few moments, we will send someone to go and find you in a very frantic manner. Once you arrive, we will have already spilled an entire container of peanuts down the stairs.

Once we have weathered the mommy storm and start picking them all up we will be just about done when we go ahead and spill them again, just for good measure. This way, it forces you to vacuum them... really, really good.

For your typical, everyday spots that just might need some extra special cleaning, we recommend the Jacob Special.

Leave us to play quite happily by ourselves outside while you tend to the baby... or if you don't have a baby, go pay some bills or whatever. In a not very long amount of time, we will again send one of us in a frantic state to come and find you.

You will then be able to follow the muddy shoe prints from the door, across the kitchen floor, through the living room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. Chances are the kid (willing to risk their mortal existence for this noble endeavor... mom, no interruptions!), will be standing, still with the muddy shoes, on top of the toilet so they can wash their hands... because they want to be clean.

Be sure to toss the child into the bathtub... still with everything on of course, while you race to clean the floor before the baby starts exploring the tracks.

Now come back and run some water in the tub. Don't worry, we'll have some extra mud on hand, just in case it was too easy for you.

And for the places that almost never get cleaned, like the walls, simply turn your back on us for a minute to get the baby some food or to run to the bathroom, or something, and by the time its too late, we will be involved in a food fight! Or at the very least play with our food then touch the walls. This will guarantee you a clean wall in no time.

If you have any questions or would like to acquire our special services, simply contact our mom. I'm sure she wouldn't mind renting us out for a day or 40.

Thanks!


And I would just like to add that my kids are very good at what they do... very, very good.


September 23, 2009

Keeping it Real.

If I admitted to you that I caught Jacob (my two-year old) scrubbing his teeth with my toothbrush, and that I just took it from him, washed it off good, and brushed my own teeth with it, would we still be friends?

Because if I got a new toothbrush every time I caught my kids chewing on it, I think I would single-handedly support the toothbrush industry.

And what daddy doesn't know about his own toothbrush, won't hurt him.

September 22, 2009

I knew it!


I think I'm going to get it framed, the picture. Maybe keep it under my pillow or put it in my will to be passed down to my children.

Or... maybe I'll just hang it in the kitchen so that every time Luke makes a comment on how messy the kitchen is, I can point to the picture and say, "Well look how good you do working here in the kitchen. I have full confidence that you can rectify the situation!"

Saturday we went to my in-laws to bottle peaches, something I have never ever done before. But truth be told, Luke and his mom did all the work while I handled the kids.

I know, so not fair.

But there he stood, side by side with his mom for hours peeling and cutting peaches. So now I know the truth, he CAN work in the kitchen. His secret is out, now he can never go back. I just knew eventually he'd slip up!

Okay, so I'm exaggerating, of course he helps out... his life depends on it.

Jacob, however, found it all just too exhausting.



Now, as for Alayna, despite the fact that my brother lovingly calls her "Frankenbaby", she is doing great. Sometimes she has a rough night but she is slowly getting back into her old routine; although, she prefers to be held a lot more now than she did before.

She is starting to try and pull herself up onto things... which unfortunately often ends with her slipping and banging her head on something, which she obviously does not like one bit.

Her hair is growing back! But I'm still not quite use to seeing her without it.



Well, speaking of working in the kitchen and taking care of children, I guess I better go make dinner. (sigh) Where's a peach peeling man who works in the kitchen when you need him?

September 21, 2009

A compliment? Or, not so much?

Dear strangely faithful blog reader,

I need your advise.

"Serene, you look like you've lost 20 pounds! You look like a stick!"

How should such a serious exclamation be taken? Actually, that's the second time someone has said that to me within the last two weeks.

Truth be told, I've only lost two. And not because I've been trying or anything. Working out is something that I only manage to think about and for the last couple of days I've eaten cupcakes for breakfast.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly wouldn't like someone to exclaim, "Serene, you look like you've gained 20 pounds! You look like a blob!"

But still, is that what you call a loaded compliment? No, surly not as she seemed rather concerned for me. She attributed it to the stress of Alayna's recent surgery. Does that mean if she hadn't had the surgery I would NOT look like a stick?

I can't seem to decide if I should be miffed or not. Although I'm not sure how two pounds could make such a huge difference. Do you think it could be the dark circles under my eyes from being up all night with little kids? Or does that just mean I need to restock my chocolate stash?

In any case, I need wisdom and guidance in this matter.

To be miffed or not to be miffed, that is the question.

Yours ever,
The (apparently) walking stick

P.S. This was written in a light-hearted manner and is in no way to be taken too seriously.

Right now...

...Savannah is having four babies.

At least, that's what she told Doctor Jacob.



I do recall this feeling. Oh yes, its rather hard to forget.





I'm glad they still think babies come out through mommy's tummy. I'm not looking forward to explaining that that's not how it really happens. It might be a bit awkward for the boys.
And for me. They might start looking at me a little strange.

September 18, 2009

The sound of silence.

I certainly wouldn't say its music to my ears. The bedtime chorus of tired children and all the lovely screaming and crying that it entails is doubtful to ever become a hit musical. Although, I'm sure the sounds my screaming children could be quite comparable to some singers out there.

Sometimes the evening goes smoothly and the kids go right down, no problems. Other times, it is a battlefield of sorts. Some nights its a battle of wits. Other nights its a battle of bronze. But once the dust settles, and all have signed the peace treaty which includes the traditional exchange of hugs and kisses... and gummy bear vitamins, the sounds of peace are so great, I just have to go and check on my conquerors. I just have to make sure they are all tucked in and cozy warm.

But I have to admit, even I can be surprised at what I might find. There is such a thing as too cozy warm you know.


September 15, 2009

How the other kids reacted to Alayna

SAVANNAH

Savannah was the first to see Alayna. We got her back Sunday night not long after we got back from the hospital.

She came running into the house and over to Alayna who was sitting in her chair up on the counter.

Savannah stopped short, looked at Alayna and instantly teared up.

"Oh Alayna!" She exclaimed very sadly, "All your dark hair is gone. Now you look like a boy! You are not cute anymore!" She actually started crying.

She obviously likes the story about Repunzel a little too much. Needless to say, both Daddy and I had to have a long talk with her about saying such things and that it doesn't matter if she has hair or not, she is still beautiful.

Since then, they have made up.



JOSEPH

We got the boys back last night. Joseph ran into the house and after giving me a quick hug, ran straight back to Alayna's bed where she had been sleeping only moments before. Luke walked in after him.

Joseph then turned to Luke and pointing to Alyana said, "Daddy look! I found that!"

Luke then asked him who that was. Joseph replied, "I don't know."

After informing him that that was indeed Alayna his relpy was profound. "Oh."

JACOB

Luke was holding Alyana on his lap. Jacob hadn't even noticed daddy was holding anyone so I stopped him and said, " Look! There's Layna!"

Without missing a beat, Jacobn ran over to her and gave her lots of hugs and tickles while exclaiming, "Hi Layna, Layna!"

He didn't notice there was anything different.



Well, Alayna is still doing well, although she has come to detest taking her medicines. Its a fight to get her to take anything. I've tried putting it in a bottle with a little water and juice but she knows that trick now. I think I might have to start slipping it into her food or milk bottles because I am at a loss as to how to get her to take them. She sure can fight back!

I also have a hard time getting her to take naps or go to sleep at night. Its like she's afraid of missing anything. I use to be able to put her in the living room with some toys and she would play just fine. Now she crys everytime she is left alone. She needs to be able to see the kids or me.

I also use to be able to lay her in her bed for a nap and she would go right to sleep. Not anymore. I finally had to remove the bassinet part from her pack-n-play as she kept rolling over onto her stomach then pulling herself upon the sides in an attempt to get out of a nap. No matter how tired she is, she fights going to bed.

She tends to favor sleeping on her right side so her face and eye on the right tends to be a bit more swollen and puffy when she wakes up. I think I explained before about the loose fluid following the pull of gravity.

Otherwise, she continues to do very well!


September 14, 2009

Her smile is back!

I am writing this post from home. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Saturday started out pretty well. Alayna was alert and happy! I tried to catch as many of her smiles as I could.

She even realized that her hair was missing.

One of the doctors on the plastics team (plastic surgery) came by and said she was doing so well and that he could take out her drainage tube. So he, quite literally put one hand on her head to keep her from falling backwards and with the other, just pulled and pulled until the tube came out. It ran just above her eyebrows from ear to ear. She didn't seem to appreciate the gesture very much. This is the tube he pulled out.


See? No more tubes!! Yea!

Later she got a bath and we took off any remaining stickers from her face.

Kira, Alayna LOVED her puppy!


As the day progressed Alayna wasn't keeping any of her food down. She would throw up anything we gave her. After a while, she started to refuse to eat. We were told that if she didn't start keeping food down she would have to stay another day.

Luckily, during the night Saturday night Alayna started keeping her formula down and was soon drinking more. So by Sunday morning, we were told that we would probably be discharged that day.

At noon yesterday, we were checking out of the hospital. We feel so blessed. All of the doctors and nurses were amazed at how good she was doing and how little swelling she had in her face. I believe it was very much a result of all the prayers and fasting in her behalf.


Its so nice to be home and to finally be able to sleep in a bed. Although, its kind of like having a newborn again. I get up around the clock to give her her pain meds and antibiotics. Every little cough or whimper has me jumping out of bed to check on her. But she is doing so well. Even back to crawling around on the floor.

I can't begin to express my thanks for the prayers and fasting on her behalf. She is doing so wonderful. Thank you.

September 11, 2009

The Third Night Begins

Last night was a little rough. There is only one chair that folds out into a bed so I slept in that while Luke tried to sleep in the rocking chair. About 4am we switched so Luke could get a few hours of better sleep. Alayna had a few rough spots too. But for most of the night she slept pretty good.

A little before 9am, Dr. Siddiqi came to check on Alayna and was surprised to see that her eyes weren't more swollen. He then took off her head bandages.

I wasn't quite prepared to see the size of her head from the swelling or that her whole head was shaved. (sniff) I miss her long, wispy dark hair.



You can see her right eye was a bit more swollen but thankfully it never swelled shut. The doctor told us to hold her upright and it would encourage the swelling to go down. It was a bit hard on her at first but through out the day it got better and she liked sitting up.
When Luke first picked her up her head was this really funny shape.

The doctor said it was just loose fluid and since she had been laying on her back for so long the fluid just went with the pull of gravity, to the back of her head. After she sat up for a while, much of the swelling went down. That tube behind her ear is the drainage tube that helps drain the fluid from her head. It will probably come out tomorrow which will probably make her swell up a bit more.


She only had morphine twice today. Her biggest problem was that she kept throwing up everything we gave her. Poor girl, it hurt to throw up and cough. It put a lot of pressure on her head. But about the middle of the day they gave her something to help her poop and also gave her some medication for acid reflex which seemed to settle her stomach really well. So her afternoon went pretty smooth. She even tried out the Bumbo chair... isn't that what's its called?



By the end of the day the swelling had gone down from her eyes and a little from her head. We are so proud of her. She has been a tough little girl and we are so proud of how she has been doing. And we feel very blessed that things have gone so well for her.


Even though right now she doesn't look anything like the little girl from before the surgery, there is no mistaking those beautiful dark brown eyes.

September 10, 2009

The Second Night Begins

At 5am this morning, we rolled out of bed and, thankfully not scaring too many people with our appearance, we went to the PICU to see how Alayna was doing.

She was sound asleep. They had just given her some morphine but she looked pretty good! Some of her swelling had gone down but we were told it would most likely come back and look much worse. But at the moment, we were thrilled that she looked so good. Even the surgeon was surprised she wasn't more swollen.
They wanted to get her extibated (I have no idea how to spell that but they wanted to remove her breathing tube) so they had given her some steroids to help with the swelling in her throat.

A bit later we showered and made ourselves look decent, grabbed a bite and went back. It was about 8:30am. When we saw her we were surprised to see that they had just taken out her breathing tube and she was awake and sucking on a binky. We talked to her and sang to her. I think taking out the tube helped her a lot.
Now that the tube was gone they said we could try giving her something to drink so we gave her a little watered down apple juice.

It was probably an hour or so later they decided to take some of her lines out. They took the IV out of her hand. That made her so sad. But it was so much worse when they took the central line out of her neck. Poor thing was crying a hoarse little cry. Once they removed a couple other things they said I could hold her and try to calm her down. You could tell it hurt her a lot of be moved cause she was just screaming. Once I got her settled and calmed her down a bit we gave her a little more juice... which she threw up all over me not too long after.

But it felt good to hold her.
After a couple hours the PICU provided lunch for the parents. So we put her back in her bed, which of course hurt and made her sad again but daddy soothed her and she calmed down and went back to sleep.
But I just have say, wow. As we sat in the room listening to the stories of other parents, as hard as this surgery has been on us and Alayna, we have it so easy in comparison to so many other people. We are very, very lucky. And I am so thankful for that.
At one point, Alayna decided to let us all know that she was done with the tubes and the wires.

video

Throughout the afternoon we gave her some more juice and tried a little formula on her at 3pm. She threw up not too long after. Poor little girl's tummy is still trying to adjust.
About 4pm the told us she was set and ready to be moved out of the PICU and into her own room on the floor.
The nurse here on the floor thought that with the bandage on her head and the blue pajamas everything felt too boyish. So she embellished Alayna's turban to ensure that everyone would know she was a girl.

Not long after moving to the floor and out of the PICU, we could see that she was swelling up a little again. We'll see what she looks like tomorrow. But even though her head is a lot more swollen now than when I took the above picture, I am very hopeful that her eyes won't get too bad and won't swell shut.

We keep a close eye on her heart rate since that is the first sign of when she is in pain. Its hard when she cries. But daddy has been great. He has been strong for both of us girls even though I know it hurts daddy to see his little girl in so much pain. He has been awesome.

Thanks daddy.

Right now she is asleep after getting a dose of morphine and a couple ounces of formula. I hope she rests well tonight.

Thank you again to everyone for offering prayers in her behalf. Truly, thank you. It has been a great comfort to us.

Sagittal Craniosynostosis-Uapdate on Alayna

I didn't get much sleep Tuesday night. I woke up about every hour wondering what time it was and if it was time to get ready to go. Then, little Alayna, while she was rolling around in the bed between Luke and myself, found my hair and decided that from about 3am till 5am she was going to make her goal in life to play with it.

Our check in time was 6:45am. Alayna hadn't eaten anything since 4:30am but she was being so good, especially for being such a tired, hungry little thing. She was playing and talking, then got tired and a little grouchy but she was still snugly.

She looked so cute in those funny little hospital pajamas with socks that wouldn't stay on her feet. I was doing okay... until I had to hand her over to the anesthesiologist. That was SO hard, so very hard.

We checked into the waiting room about 8:45am.

At 10:30am we got our first update. It had taken a while to get all the I.V.'s and the breathing tube that when in through her nose all put in. She had two IVs, one in her hand, and one in her foot. And a central line that went into her jugular in her neck, So at 10:30am they were just making the first incision.

At Noon we got a call from the Neuro surgeon. Everything was going fine. He had finished his part of removing the plates from her head without a problem. I asked him later if her head was fused clear from front to back. He said it was. One solid bone. I then asked him how early the bones can fuse. He said that he has seen them fused together in the womb in an ultrasound. Crazy.

Anyway, at 2:30pm, Dr. Saddiqi came out and found us. Everything had gone just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. She did have to have a blood transfusion but she neither did she loose an extreme amount either.
At 3:30pm we finally got to see her.


She looked so sad. So swollen. She was pretty doped up on morphine. She was getting some about every hour there at the beginning.

When she did wake up enough to peek out of her swollen little eyelids it was usually because her breathing tube was clogged or because she was in so much pain.

I have never experienced ANYTHING as heartbreaking as watching her try to cough or cry without the slightest little sound coming out because of the tube down her throat. I think the tube really scared her. Made me cry every time.

They usually try to take the tube out right after surgery but because she still had remnants of a cold leftover she had some buildup and since her throat was swollen they were worried about her being able to breath on her own so they decided they would leave the tube in overnight.

We stayed with her the next several hours in the PICU. Thankfully they weren't too terribly busy and we were able to get a "sleep room". A room with a bed just off of the parents waiting room were we spent the night.

I was so tired the nurses told us to get some sleep since she would be on morphine and will sleep most of the time. They said she would be more awake the next day so we would want to be there for her then.

Finally at 10:30pm we crashed. But I kept having weird dreams so at 4:30 this morning, I woke up and decided to go check on her.

September 8, 2009

I think I just made Heaven's MOST WANTED list.

And not the good kind of most wanted either.

I wanted to punch her, yell at her, shove her away... maybe even pull out her little nose ring.

Does that make me a bad person?

It was suppose to be just a little blood draw from the vein in Alayna's arm. Like when we give blood. No biggie right?

Wrong.

That girl probed Alayna's arm for what seemed like eternity then finally declared she found the vein. She inserted the needle... and missed. Then without ever pulling the needle out all the way she kept pushing and poking back and forth for seriously three or four minutes which is a heck of a long time when your little tiny baby in your arms is screaming so hard she can't even breath.

If she had waited any longer to call for help from another nurse, I think I would have done something bad.

The other nurse walks in and in less than a minute, got the blood from the other arm.

It took every ounce of self mastery I could muster not to glare or be rude to the nurse with the nose ring. I kept wanting to cry I felt so bad for my baby.

If today was bad, I can only imagine what tomorrow will be like.

Still, I must repent or I might have nightmares about evil nurses with nose rings.

We're on our way!

We are headed down to Salt Lake now to get some blood work done for Alyana. Tomorrow is the surgery. I will do my best to keep you all updated.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

September 6, 2009

So...

...did you manage to get any of that in your mouth?


Just asking... for no particular reason.

Well goodness sakes!

Last night while I was whipping up an incredibly healthy dinner of frozen pizza, my kids were moaning and groaning around the kitchen, obviously not happy that the pizza had to cook.

So, I brought out the leftover pasta and said they could have some while the pizza was cooking.

It become apparent that I wasn't moving quickly enough when, after putting the leftovers on a plate and had turned away to get something for one of the boys, Savannah with hands on hips very sternly says to me,

"And if I don't see it in the microwave, I am simply going to starve to death!!"

Well heaven forbid. =)

September 4, 2009

The date is set.

Well, we just heard yesterday.

Alayna's surgery is scheduled for next week. Wednesday September 9th. We'll be fasting for her on Sunday.

Luke had to cancel a business trip but I'm glad he'll be able to take work off the whole time we'll be down at the hospital.

Well, in happier news, Alyana started crawling last Saturday! I took these video clips a couple days ago. Since then she has become a bit more efficient. She made it from the living room, down the hall to the bathroom.

The era of keeping doors closed has begun again.

Oh and uh, forgive the high pitched barking dog in the background. I can only hope Joseph's voice will... deepen with puberty. =)


video



video

September 2, 2009

Alayna's Surgery

Okay.

I have my box of tissues.

I have my notes.

I have a few minutes of peace.

Here we go.

The surgery Alayna will have to go through will be a lot more... involved than we originally anticipated.

Yes, she will have to have the bigger surgery as the smaller one I had mentioned before is only done on babies younger than 4 months.

So, this is more or less how it will go.

It will require two surgeons. The pediatric plastic surgeon will do about 90% of it and a neuro surgeon will do about 10%.

The plastic surgeon will cut open her scalp, ear to ear in a zig zag pattern. This is done so that when her hair grows in it will cover the scars otherwise her hair would part right where the scars would be. I think there was something mentioned about it also helping the skin not to open up to much... or something. I kind of missed that part.

Then the neuro surgeon will step in and actually cut out and remove the head plates from off her head and hand them in four pieces to the plastic surgeon. He will then take them over to a table and reconstruct them, allow room for growth and what not, put it all back together with plates and screws that will dissolve in about a year. He will then finish out the surgery by putting her head back together and sewing her up.

The surgery takes about 4-5 hours. And since Alyana is so small and will loose so much blood she will most likely have to have a blood transfusion as well.

She will spend a night in the ICU and will be on narcotics for a couple of days. Even so she will be quite sore, groggy and uncomfortable. By the second or third day she will be quite swollen. I was told her eyes will be swollen shut.

There will be a drainage tube that will run under her forehead which will be pulled out by the fourth day. By the fifth day the swelling will be going down and she should be able to start opening her eyes again.

So, one night in the ICU and four nights in the hospital, then we bring her home.

It will take a good three weeks for the visible swelling to go away and another 6 months before the deeper, non visible swelling goes away.

The whole surgery is done outside of the protective lining (like a thin leather) that covers the brain so the chances that anything will happen to her brain is very slim. They said the biggest risk will be blood loss.

While we where there they took x-rays of her neck since the surgery is preformed with her laying on her stomach with her chin propped up on something so they needed to make sure her neck was alright.

I'm doing okay. As long as I don't think about it too much or conjure up any images. The surgeon, after telling us everything kind of gave us an odd look and said, "You guys don't seem surprised." I told him we had a bit of a heads up that surgery would be needed but the details were still sinking in.

Anyway, they had to coordinate the two surgeon's schedules so I'm suppose to hear back sometime today as to the date of the surgery but they were thinking it will be sometime within the next month. I'll let you know when I find out.

The only bits of GOOD news are that the surgeons said they preform this particular surgery a couple times a month so they have lots of experience. And she will NOT have to wear a helmet when this is all over.

Well, that's about it for now.

Anyway, the house is WAY too quiet. I better go find the boys and make sure they aren't getting into anything.

September 1, 2009

Salt Lake, we're headed your way.

Well, we are off to Salt Lake to talk to the surgeon about Alayna. I'll let you all know what we find out!

Thanks again everyone!

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