Saturday, June 30, 2012

Miss Em

Emily has had quite the year. I think that each member of our family has learned a few lessons about how to handle life, when one is handed lemons twice in one year. This brave young lady has been through a lot, and she has done it with grace.

 It all started about three years ago when the school nurse sent home a form saying that Emily possibly had Scoliosis. At that time it was determined that her curve was at 7 degrees by her pediatrician. Every six months we went to the doctor to have the condition monitored. After her curve changed to 13 degrees, we were sent to see an orthopedic surgeon to monitor her curve. In January of 2011, we were told that we would never have to worry about bracing because she didn't have enough growth left for her curve to change very much. We were quite surprised, as was the doctor, when last summer her curve had changed to 26 degrees. 

 (8 Plate Knee Surgery 6-27-2012)

With a curve above 25 degrees, kids with scoliosis are placed in a brace. Emily wears a TLSO brace, 23 hours a day. In August, she will have been in it for a year. The brace was pretty hard at first for her to get used to and it's really, really hot to wear. She's been really good about wearing it and her attitude about the brace has come a long way. At first she didn't want any one to know about it, and now she doesn't care at all. Her curve has progressed from 26 - 30 degrees, but it's considered stable. We're hoping in six more months for her to go to only wearing it at night. She does live in chronic back pain from this, so she has started seeing a chiropractor, which seems to be diminishing her pain. There is no guarantee that she will not need surgery on her back in the future. Sometimes after discontinuing the use of the brace, the curve just finishes curving to where ever it was headed to in the first place. We just don't know what her curve is going to do.

 (Example of the plates and screws placed in Emily's knees - this is not her. Before x-ray on the left, and one year after surgery on the right.)

A few weeks ago I noticed that it looked like the shape of Emily's legs were taking on a bowed look. (She has grown a lot in the last year.) I worried about it for a week before looking up what bowed legs looked like on the internet. After doing some searching, I was almost certain we had a problem. Thankfully, her orthopedic doctor was able to get us in, in less than a week. She took one look and said there was for sure something going on. After a quick x-ray, my fears were confirmed. Her legs were bowing from her hips to her ankles. She needed surgery, and she needed it soon. There are two surgeries to fix this, one less invasive, and one very invasive. The doctor explained that we had a small window of time left to do the less invasive surgery since she still had a small opening in her growth plates. 

We checked in on Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. to have the surgery. She was so brave though the whole thing. The surgery went smoothly and the only concern at the moment, is if we were able to do the "fix" in time. There is a possibility that she doesn't have enough growth left to straighten her legs out all the way. You need at least 6 months of growth to make the correction. This was not done for cosmetic reasons. If we didn't correct this, she would develop arthritis in her knees by age thirty. (I have early on set arthritis in my right hand, with little movement left in my thumb and I can't imagine living with that kind of pain in my knees.) 

(Example of a similar TLSO brace. Emily's is longer and solid plastic from top to bottom.)

Emily is on day three of her recovery and is doing decent. She was able to come home the afternoon of surgery and is taking up residence in the recliner. She walks with crutches to the bathroom, but it's quite painful for her. As long as she's on her pain medication she's pretty comfortable, unless she has to stand for some reason or another. Tonight was the first night we had her put on her TLSO brace. I hated to make her put it back on, but we felt like she should. So at the moment, she can only move her arms and her neck. (She's braced from her thighs to her ankles and her hips to her arm pits.) Talk about tugging at a mama's heart strings.

Emily has had the BEST attitude about this and I can't express how proud I am of her. I just love this young lady. She's taught me a few lessons. I probably spend too much time reading and following blogs, but I will say there are so many that you can come across with kids that have cancer and other horrible things, that it really makes you be able to keep things in perspective.

 I just hope and pray that after this, my sweet girl gets a little break...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jacob's 5th Grade Promotion to Middle School

 Heading off to middle school...

 Where has time gone?
Jacob and his teacher Mrs. Ortiz. 
(I'm not sure why this picture turned this way.)

A funny story about Jacob...

Last week I sent a big box of chocolate chip cookies with Jacob to share with his class. That afternoon he brought what was left home and placed the box on the counter. Mike, Kendall and I each had a few of them. The next afternoon after lunch, I offered the last two cookies to Jacob and his friend Mason. Jacob tells me "No, those cookies all fell on the ground at school and I just picked them up and put them back in the box." When asked about why he bothered to bring them home and then did not tell anyone not to eat them, he just laughed and said he didn't know.

Oh well, we all survived...

Kendall At 18 Months

 Well, I almost missed posting for an 18 month update, considering Kendall is only 18 months for another four days.
 At Kendall's check-up she weighed exactly the same as at her 15 month appointment, 28.8 pounds. She's finally back on the weight charts and is 33 inches tall, placing her in the 79% for height. She wears a size 6 in both shoes and diapers. She really could fit into a smaller diaper, she has really sensitive skin, so we have to keep the diapers a little on the loose side.
 She says more words than I could even think to write down. Any time we put her in a dress she dances all around.
 She loves going for walks and is always on the look out for the wild bunnies that come out in the neighborhood in the evening.
 Kendall is having her first sleep over tonight with her Nana. She still nurses once in the morning and once before bed at night. She's doesn't seem to have a big appetite, but will always eat a lot of rice or pizza if we happen to be having either with dinner.
 She loves gathering little rocks and flowers anytime she's outside. We turned her car seat around this month and she seems much happier in the car.
 Kendall loves to look at books and also loves being read to. She loves the cartoon Little Bear, actually I might say she's obsessed with Little Bear.
 When Kendall runs she likes to put both arms out behind her, almost like she thinks it makes her go faster. She always seems to have a skinned left knee lately and as soon as it heals, she falls and scratches it again.

Kendall is full of kisses, they might be on the cheek, lips or blown to you. She is just a little sweet heart.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Emily's Talent Show Performance - singing "Fix You"

Emily performed in the middle schools talent show on Friday night. This is one brave girl, I would have never been able to do this in 8th grade. She has been singing solos for the last six years. I'm not sure I'm ready to send my second baby off to high school next fall. Looking at these pictures though, shows me just how much she's grown up. I love this young lady...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

15 Months

Kendall is growing so fast. She is so much fun and we all love the fun little personality that seems to emerge more each day.

Everyone one in our family is just in love with this sweet girl!

At 15 months Kendall can:

- Walks well and
runs really cute.

- Says more words than we can

- Makes a lot of
animal sounds.

- Her favorite
activity is to go
to the duck pond.

- Blows everyone
a lot of kisses.

- Loves to look at

- Loves her Uncle

- Drinks from a cup,
but still nurses in
the morning and
at night before

- Thinks playing with "Jake" is a lot of fun.

- Takes a 1 hour nap each afternoon and sleeps about 11+
hours at night.

- Loves giving her little baby dolls kisses, hugs and pats
their backs.

- Weighs around 28 pounds. Although that is a lot, her
weight gain has slowed down considerably, since she
weighed 23 pounds at 6 months old! I'm sure in time she
will be a skinny little lady just like her siblings.

- Has six teeth. Four on the top, and two on the bottom.

I thought from here on out I would do 18, 21 and 24 month posts for Kendall.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweet cousins and life

For three weeks in January our cute little niece Gianna and her mom Jenny (Mike's sister) came to stay with us. These two girls got a lot of bonding time and were so much fun to watch interact together.

Life has been hard the last month and a half. I wish that their trip up to visit had been for fun reasons, but sadly it was to help out with Mike's mom who's suffering from dementia. This has been such a sad, overwhelming situation to see unfold.

I'm so thankful for our children. They are the one part of our lives that we can always see hope in, when dealing with the circle of life can feel like too much at times.

Belated 14th Birthday Post

I know, this post is really, really late. Emily turned 14 on December 4th and has reminded me a number of times that I had never done her birthday post.

It was a clear day here in Washington so we decided to go as a family to see Zoo Lights in Tacoma.

I can't believe that Emily is getting so grown up. She still is an excellent student and is going on her third year in a row of a 4.0. She has her life pretty planned out already and hopes to go to UW medical school to become an OBGYN. She is also hoping to marry an Eric Dane look alike. Should be fun to see where life takes this sweet girl.
Emily is an excellent helper with Kendall and we appreciate all of her help. Along with being a sweet girl most of the time, Emily can sometimes have a little bit of a teenage attitude. I hope that doesn't stick around long because it can drive this mom a little bonkers. I guess no one can be perfect, right?!? Over all, she's just a wonderful girl who has a heart of gold and is a good friend. We love you Emily! Happy 14th birthday!

Christmas Card 2011

The real picture of what was going on in our house....

Looks like fun doesn't it?

Kendall's Birthday Day

Kendall took her first little visit to the zoo on her first birthday, she barked at every animal she saw.