Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall - A Love/Hate Relationship

So, fall is my favorite season of the year for many reasons, and my least favorite all at the same time. I love the cooler weather, crunchy leaves, and crisp, clear skies at night, not to mention the upcoming holidays. I can't stand the sinus pressure from the Santa Ana winds and the wardrobe confusion. You wake up in the morning and it is cold enough for long sleeves and jeans, but by the time I pick Alexis up from preschool at 10:30 it is warm enough for shorts and a tank top. The sinus pressure is enough to make me want to scream, though that would hurt it even worse so I refrain. The Santa Ana winds clear the smog out, which I love, but wow, they create chaos on my head. This too shall pass, so in the mean time I will just continue to focus on stomping leaves on the way to school each day. Oh, and let's pray that the fence doesn't get blown away this year!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reactive vs. Proactive Medicine

Pictures first and then if you want to read about how his appointment went and my little rant on the standard care of medicine you can continue. If not, then enjoy the pics. :)

Close-up 4 weeks post op. Gotta love the drool. Like a 24/7 faucet that we can't turn off.

Notice the different sizes in his nostril. Is that normal? Who knows. The scar looks great but is starting to get more pink and noticable to me.
Non cleft note - Aiden is enjoying his first big boy bath. Up until now we had been bathing him in the sink still. He LOVES the bath and all the room he has to splash around. He even attempted to crawl around in the water and wanted to float on his tummy. Alexis helped me wash his hair. She is such a little mommy at times and can be very helpful.
*Warning here starts the update from his appointment and my rant*

Ok, so I am slowly learning that Aiden's PS is a reactive kind of doctor, whereas his peditrician is proactive. At his post op appointment yesterday we talked about his adversion (by adversion I mean that he NEVER lets me put it in there and when I try to he throws himself backwards, arches his back and screams) to having the nipple put in his mouth. I told him that we had talked to Aiden's peditrician and that she has arranged for an OT consultation so we don't have any long term feeding/speech issues. He said he didn't feel that was neccessary and that if it were up to him he would just wait longer until it became an issue. Then when asked about the scar and how we should take care of it he said that he would just leave it alone and only if the scar starts 'roping' or pulling then he would recommend massage. Some PS have their patients start massaging once it is healed to prevent roping and pulling instead of waiting for the problem to start and then having to work harder to fix it. I think it would be easier to deal with it all before it is a real problem (proactive) then to wait and then have to work harder to undo what has already happened (reactive). Sometimes I wonder if he doesn't want to do anything because that then means another surgery for him to 'fix' it cosmetically. (sorry for being pessimistic, just frustrated).

As far as the stitches that are still hanging in his palate - he isn't going to do anything about them (shocker - NOT). The stitches that are hanging from his nose, making him look like he has black/purple nose hairs - he will clip them at his next appointment in two weeks if they are still there.

I love his pediatrician for lots of reasons, but her proactive medicine is one of the things that draws me to her. She has been on the ball with getting him the care he needs and making sure he doesn't fall behind. She is the one that saved Andrew's life when he was little, litterally. Andrew's previous pediatrician kept treating Andrew for a cold and told us to not worry about it, even though this type of practicing medicine ended us up in the ER multiple times for breathing treatments and even a hosptial stay for RSV. She never wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing his breathing issues and just blamed it on a cold. One constant cold that lasted 2 1/2 years!! Mailander (the current pediatrician) recommended allergy testing on our first visit and life as we knew it changed from that moment on. We eliminated the things he is allergic to, wheat, soy, cats, and other environment things and started him on maintenance medicine. We have been able to control his asthma issues and have not ended up back in the hospital. Why not take care of business before it becomes an emergency?

Can proactive medicine go overboard? YES! Don't even get me started on the whole unnecessary c-section rate in our country and the way the OB world treats pregnancy as if it is an illness and something they need to cure us of. But, at times it is necessary to treat first and then ask questions second instead of waiting around for there to be further complications.

So, that is the low down on his appointment yesterday, plus a little rant from me about the practice of medicine as we know it. He did very well and even smiled for some post op pictures that Dr. Martin took. And, we didn't have to wait the usual hour wait. They got us in within 10 mins and we were out of there by 3:00 when we had a 2:30 appointment!!! Trust me, THAT is amazing!
Question of the day: (got this idea from Heather and love it!)
Do you prefer proactive or reactive medicine? Have you ever had a negative experience with one or the other? And, for my cleft mommies: How do you feel about lip massage to prevent tugging/pulling up of the lip and roping of the scar?? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wedding in AZ

**Click on any picture to make them larger for viewing.

I am super tired tonight so I am going to try and be shortwinded (is that possible?)

The entire family. Love the sunset in the background. We all had a wonderful time at the wedding and getting to spend some quality time with each other. Just wish they didn't live so far away. We also really missed our sister Faith and brother David and their families, who live in N.C.

Bunch of cousins. From left to right - Desiree, Caleb, Alexis, George, Tatiana, Andrew, Aiden, Jacob and Clint
We had such a wonderful time. Just wish that Dale would have been able to join us for the wedding, instead he had to work.
Andrew and Aiden. Such a great big brother.
Alexis is all dressed and ready for the wedding. She made for a beautiful miniature bride.
Desiree and Alexis.
Andrew and Alexis, what handsome and beautiful children.Nana and Aiden in his "Chicks Dig Me" bib. Taking every opportunity to find a girlfriend.

TAG! Your It.

Ok, so Heather got me and now it is my turn to pass it on. Here is a link to her post:
adventures of aidanpod...: Tag before bed...


#1 I don't really want to copy Heather's, but I am also afraid of the dark. It mainly started when I was pregnant with Alexis (now 4 yrs old). I had to sleep with a night light on in the room and in the hallway. I would start to panic if our bedroom door was closed too far that I couldn't see the light in the hallway. At first Dale would laugh and make fun of me till he realized it was a pure panic moment for me. Now he just tolerates the light in the hallway and room and knows to keep his opinion to himself. I don't even like driving at night anymore.

#2 I have an obsession with numbers. For example, Aiden was born on 3/3/2008 - 3+3+2=8; and Andrew was born on 5/27: 5+2=7; and Dale was born on 5/16 - 5+1=6..... you get the point. My favorite time of the day is 12:34 and 56 seconds or 11:11. When ever one of my sister's were pregnant they would call me with their due dates and ask me which day they should have the baby so the numbers would work out. They just want to see if I can get it to mathmatically work some how. At times they are pretty crazy equations, but I can get it usually.

#3 I can't stand feet. Little baby feet are adorable, but once they get to like 3 yrs old or more- YUCK!! My husband and kiddos of course have no mercy and LOVE to stick their feet in my face or rub their feet on me. The worst is socked feet directly out of shoes. Alexis has the sweatiest feet of anyone I know. If they are dirty at all she can make mud. YUCK YUCK!! Now, popping toes, that is another thing. I love to pop the kids toes and try to pop Dale's toes but he gets away from me faster. But, don't even think about popping my toes!

#4 I spent 2 months in Alaska for summer missions. During my second and third year of college I went to Alaska for 2 months to teach kiddos about God. I was able to hike a glacier, go to a logging show, lots of fishing both fresh and salt water, saw more hours of daylight then I thought was imaginable, had only 7 days of no rain the whole time I was there, and injured my back which has never been the same. Lots of wonderful memories and wish I could go back, all though this time I would be on a cruise ship.

#5 Quirk for names starting with the same letter. A team: Andrew, Alexis, and Aiden. Dogs: Sally and Suzy. When I was growing up we had all M named animals: Mocha, Max, Molly, Mitzi, Midnight, Marky, and many more.

#6 Aiden has EIGHT names. Of course there is a story for that but here they are: Aiden Bennett-Charles Dale Eugene Fredrick Glen Howse. We knew we wanted an A first name (see weird fact #5) but couldn't come up with a middle name. So, Dale and I sat down and wrote out all the grandpa's, great grandpa's and even great great grandpa's first and middle names. Then being the weirdo that I am, I alphabetized the names and realized that we could name him with the initials of ABCDEFGH, my alphabet guy. So, Aiden is his unique name. Bennett - Dale's middle name which comes from his Grandpa Howse; Charles - My dad's middle name and Dale's dad's middle name, and my great grandpa Chilcoat (dad's mom's dad); Dale - husband's first name which comes from his Grandpa Campbell; Eugene - My Grandpa Leader's name (my mom's dad); Fredrick - my great grandpa Wendeln's name (my dad's side); Glen - grandpa Campbell's first name; and then Howse - last name. If you arent completely confused then I am impressed. His birth certificate is two pages long and Social Security wouldn't let us put all of them on there so he is just listed as Aiden Bennett-Charles Howse on the card. We didnt' know if he was going to be a boy or girl till he was born so Dale and I shook hands while we were pregnant that if he was a boy that would be his name. I was 95% sure I was having a girl and never imagined we would end up with a child with 8 names. But, a deal is a deal and I love his unique name. He is a strong boy with a strong name.

#7 Born in Rochester, NY. Not really a weird fact but something that not everyone knows. Everyone always tells me I talk so fast and my mom has always said that is because I was born in NY. My grandpa used to tell me when I was a kid to stop talking because he could never understand me since I talked so fast. I would tell him that I didn't talk fast, he just listened slow. Andrew has inherited this trait and I am constantly telling him to slow down so people can understand him.

#8 I know it said seven but I just thought of another one and I didn't want to delete one I had already written. So #8 is: Dale and I met online. We chatted for a while online, then exchanged phone numbers, and then a while later met in real life at Olive Garden in SB where our waitress' name was Joy and she almost spilt the entire tray of food on our heads. We had a great time chatting for hours and then maintained friendship for a long time afterwards. We were friends for 3 years before we started dating in June of '02 and then married in July of '03.

Now to tag seven more people. This is hard since most of the people that read my blog don't have a blog of their own and those that do have a blog have already been tag by someone else. But here goes:

Now you all think I am crazy and should be committed to a looney bin. Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Magical Car

Ok, so it isn't really magical but according to Desiree it is, so that is how it got it's name. The last time I mentioned the magical car it had been taken to the shop because the service engine soon light had come on. Of all times to have the car in the shop, this week was not the week to have that happened since I had 6 kids at home. We had no choice because I desperately need the car for this weekend's roadtrip to AZ for my sister's wedding. So, Dale drove it to the shop yesterday afternoon and then hitched a ride home with a Greg (thanx Greg!!). I was expecting to be carless all day long, and with Dale at work till 7:00 tonight, I didn't expect to have a car tomorrow either.

I was so terrified to get the call today because I just knew it was going to cost an arm and a leg, and well honestly I don't have any spare arms and legs laying around the house anymore. Much to my surprise the magical car cost only $10.76 to fix!!!! All it needed was a new gas cap. Because the seal wasn't tight enough it was sending a message to the computer that it needed to be fixed. THANK YOU GOD!!!

Now the only issue was getting it picked up. Thankfully Dale works late today so he was still home. He hurried up and got ready and ran down to the shop, picked up the car, left his there, hurried home, picked up the kiddos and me, ran him back down to the shop, and dropped him off at his car so he could get on the road to work. Then, I ran to the auto part store to get a new gas cap. After dragging the four kiddos out of the car and saying repeatedly, "grab your buddies hand and don't touch anything," we made it in the store only to find out they didn't have any in stock. My face must have said a thousand words because the lady behind the counter immediately asked me if I would like her to call the competitor store down the street to see if they had one before I had to drag my kids all over God's good green earth. Thankfully they did have one in stock so the lady told them to hold it and that "a lady with LOTS and LOTS and mucho LOTS of kids" would be right over to pick it up. If only she knew I had two others in school. The cashier at the competitor store saw me coming with "lots and lots of kids" and held it up for me to come straight to him. He was already in the process of ringing it up. Now, was he being nice to the lady with her hands full or just trying to avoid having to deal with kiddos in the store by getting us out of there as fast as possible? We will never know. It took twice as long to get them unbuckled, taken in and out of the store and buckled back up then it did for them to ring it up (though it did take a few extra seconds because Caleb desperately wanted some M&Ms, to which Desiree said, "My mommy ALWAYS buys me these when she sees them.") :)

So, we are back home with the magical car and my bank account is not depleted down to zero. Now if only I had the energy to get ready for my road trip tomorrow. I have the list made so that is a start.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Funny Desiree Sayings

I wish I would have been writing down from day one. She says some funny things. Here goes.

**"Auntie Joy, you have a magical car." Said in reference to the doors opening automatically with the push of a button and the cool rear windows. That magical car..... in the shop since the check engine light came on today. UGH!!!

**"Mommy always says 'Hurry up!' to the drivers." Said in reference to my comment of slow down to the crazy driver through our neighborhood.

**"My car can't go in the garage because my daddy has too much stuff." Well, truth be told this is only the fifth night my car has slept in the garage thanks to all of Dale's hard work organizing it on Sat. afternoon.

**"Aiden's Dr. gave me a sticker that doesn't stick." This was said after she had peeled and stuck it to her shirt at least a dozen times.

**When I asked her if she knew my name because she kept tapping me she said, "Duh, Auntie Grace!" (my sister).

**"The cheese at my Olive Garden is much bigger then the cheese at yours." Made after watching a commercial on t.v.

**"Your big dog is big and your little dog is little."

**"Why does Aiden cry like a baby?" Because he is a baby. :)

I am sure there were many more and like I said, I wish I had been writing them down from the beginning. Wonder what funny sayings we will hear tomorrow. :)

Second Half of the Game

Ok, I promised my sister the pictures from the rest of the day and then ran out of time and energy. Here they are.

Tatiana and Alexis are doing a little catalog shopping.
CRAZY hair!! When I went to fix it he said he like it big.
Walking to the school to pick up Andrew after band practice.
Running off all their energy.

Waiting patiently.

Kick back and relax some why dont ya.
Pretty Girl.
Bus is finally here, YEAH!

There they are. The kiddos are really having a good time and so far I have not turned bald or grey. Glad you are feeling some better. Keep resting and taking care of yourself. We all love you very much.

6 Month Physical, 6 Weeks Late

Well, it isn't really late, just postponed because of his surgery. We got him in early for all of his shots so he would have immunity before being exposed to hospital germs, so the physical part of it was put on hold. So, today I braved the Dr's office with 4 kiddos (could have been worse with 6 kiddos if my older two weren't in school.) This was the first time since Aiden's surgery that all the nurses and doctors could get a look at him. I had barely walked in the door when I was attacked by two of the staff members. Their comotion over Aiden caused others to come out of the woodwork. They could not get over how wonderful his repair looked and how unnoticable the scar was at only 3 weeks out from surgery. Of course Aiden LOVED the attention since he is such a little flirt. By the time they called us into our room the entire waiting room had come over to see him and ask their various questions.

Dr. Mailander's nurses argued over who would get him as their patient. Rock, paper, scissors answered that question. He is now 16 lbs 11 ozs. and 27 in. long (he lost a little weight from the surgery). At birth he was 9 lbs 7 ozs and 21 inches long. That's a gain of 7 lbs 4 ozs and 6 inches. He is meeting all of his milestones, including crawling, sitting up unassisted, eating baby food, and recognizing Mommy and Daddy.

Once his initial evaluation was done his doctor came in. She immediately scooped him up and could not stop gushing over his repair. In all her years with multiple cleft babies she said she had never seen such a great repair and attributes it to not only a great surgeon but also the NAM and God's handy work. She had to call in the other doctors to check out the awesome repair. So here I am with the four kiddos in the room and in come 3 more doctors, followed by not only one nurse, but EIGHT nurses who all wanted to check out his repair. He ate up all the attention of course. Once the show and tell time was over it was back to business. She did her check and has recommended Aiden for an occupational therapist review. She wants him to see OT because even after three weeks post-op he still does not want to put the bottle nipple in his mouth, and moves his tongue kinda weird when he swallows. She is worried that could cause long term oral problems. This will be done STAT so we should be getting a call in the next day or so to get that scheduled. She also gave me the number for the speech evaluation because the cleft team said they wouldn't refer him till he was a year old. She would rather get him evaluated the earlier the better. I love how proactive she is instead of waiting till there is a major problem.

Aiden was Mr. Smiley, that was until Julie, the nurse, came in to give him his flu shot. He wasn't too happy about that but cheered up pretty quickly after the initial shock. We are praying for no side effects from the shot since we are planning on going to AZ this Fri, Sat, and Sun. for my sister's wedding.

That pretty much sums up the appointment. Desiree, Caleb, and Tatiana (my sister's kiddos) got the best end of the deal. Aiden got all the poking and proding and they got the lollipops and stickers. Doesn't seem fair but such is life when you are 7 1/2 months old.

*Sorry I don't have a pic (usually I do), but the room was a little crazy with the revolving door that it totally slipped my mind till I sat down to write this and realized I had forgotten.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Half Time Report

Here are the pictures that have been taken so far today. I know that Charity misses her kiddos very much and we just wanted to show her that we are having a great time and missing her too, all at the same time.

Crazy morning hair, gotta love it.
Tatiana is all kicked back and enjoying the ride.
Crazy kids along for the ride.
The driver of the crazy bus. :)
First time sitting up in a cart. Such a big boy.
We decided to pick out some pumpkins.
So hard to choose which one is the best.
Shy smile for the camera.
Are we there yet?
Pumpkins and kiddos are safely back in the car and on their way home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Fun Filled Day

Ok, get ready for a bunch of photos. I promised my sister I would send pictures daily so she could see what her kiddos are doing while they have fun at Auntie Joy's house. We did not lack for things to do today.

Learning our ABCs
Instead of "Where's Waldo?" Can you find the kids in this mess?
New toy from Saturday's yard sale. He LOVES it but rarely gets to play with it because everyone else won't leave it alone.
Caleb wasn't so sure about trumpet practice time.
The little ones feeding the baby. Too cute.
Caleb is Christmas shopping from the Fisher Price catalog.
Playing ABC Go Fish
Can't keep her out of the exersaucer.

Having fun hanging out with the kiddos.
Someone's tired
Back to sucking his thumb on his first arm restraint free day.
Tatiana having fun on the princess scooter.
Does this child belong to Charity or what? Super cleaning girl.

Caleb had so much fun pushing the bike in circles.
As you can see we had lots of fun today. Hope you are feeling much better Charity. Make sure you are resting as much as you can and taking care of yourself. We love you very much!!

Do You Hear What I Hear?

That is the sound of silence..... I have successfully gotten a 7 month old, almost 17 month old, almost 3 yr old, and two 4 year olds to sleep all at the same time!!! Pretty impressed with myself if I might say so. Not so sure how long this silence will last but I am going to enjoy every second of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aiden's First Word

When we all sit down to dinner, Aiden sits in his highchair to be a part of the family dinner. He usually ends up staring out the window at the dogs. Tonight we were working on him saying "dog dog" and then we all heard it for the first time. Ignore the scary mommy voice on the video and use your imagination but he does say it a few times. More like 'og og' but he was saying it in reference to the dogs.

First Baby Cereal

Today was a big day for Aiden. We started him on rice cereal mixed with formula and apple juice. He really is growing up. Here is the adventure documented in pictures.

All clean and ready to go.
First bite. Not so sure what this new stuff is. Am I suppose to play with it or eat it?
Food starts coming out his nose. Other mommies of cleft affected kiddos: Is this normal after palate repair??
This is hard work, can't I just have a bottle.
It really starts draining out his nose. Cereal mixed with boogers - YUMMY!
Maybe it is easier to just lick it off the burpie.

Starting to really get the hang of it. This stuff is messy but pretty good after all.

All done? Just when it was getting good.

I really want more, please!!!! If I do a trick with my legs will you give me more?

I'll settle for a bottle to wash it all down.