Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prescription: Surgery/x2

December has been a busy month, as is typical.  However, this year seemed to contain a rather sane amount of busy-ness to it rather than the craziness of it all found in most years past.  So to kick the adrenaline up a notch, we decided to schedule two kids for the same surgeries (adenoidectomy/tonsillectomy with ear tubes as well) back to back just two days after Christmas.  After all, we wouldn't want us getting all comfortable with our relative lack of stress and all, you know?
      So, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, we plucked Thomas and Melissa out of bed at 6am, and drove them to probably their least favorite Christmas present of all time....the surgical ward at Children's Hospital.
      The kids were great.  Dressed in their favorite warm jammies, and holding their new cuddly friends close, they were in good spirits under all circumstances considered, and were actually telling jokes for nearly the entire 45 minute drive.  Thomas could not get over being confused that it was really "morning" when it was still pitch black as night.

 The hospital has been remodeled since we had been there 2 years ago with Laura, and it was even more kid and family friendly than before.  The new set up allowed the patient to get ready in the same room that they would also be recovering in.  While this did not allow Thomas and Melissa to be together, we were located across the hallway from each other and able to cruise back and forth between the two rooms, having all the privacy we needed for both while still maintaining our sense of family.
     After changing into their hospital awarded pajamas, we all hung out in Thomas' room talking to various doctors and nurses as they readied the kids for their early morning experiences.  Both kids seemed ready, perhaps a bit nervous, but brave and deliberate in understanding.  The entire team was fabulous at putting our kids (and us!) at ease.  Their new pets, Sonic, and Snowball--better known as Ice Ice Kitty, even got special bracelets to wear so that they could accompany the kids all the while.  As scheduled, Thomas won the lucky place of going first.  The child life specialist was not available before Thomas was called to the OR, so he was a little taken aback by the scene as we walked hand in hand into his sterile environment.  With eyes wide, he clutched my hand tighter as we walked to the table, but kept that sweet little grin on his face.  He was shown the face mask for the first time, and picked a sweet strawberry scent to put him to sleep.  After a few giggles about something I'm not sure was even funny, my sweet little dude was out.  And somehow I managed my way back to Melissa's room without melting into a puddle of tears, thanks to being escorted by a male nurse looking exactly like the crazy drummer from the Newsboys.

We had about an hour with Melissa before her turn was called.  She and Bob went back and forth with silly jokes and ways they would "zing" each other as he accompanied her to the OR.  Before she left, the surgeon popped his head in letting us know that Thomas was done and that things had gone well.  Melissa then felt free to relax more and said, "Now I don't feel as scared because Thomas is ok, and I know I will be ok too."  She confided that she had been afraid something was going to go very wrong while she was in the OR all the while, making her frequent statements over the past weeks of "Why are you ruining Christmas for us?" take on much heavier meaning in hindsight. Poor girl.   Bob said she had her brave face on while riding her bed into the OR, and continued brave while falling asleep.  It was then, with both kids gone, that I could finally melt into my little Mommy puddle.  Bob remained the strong rock and found us some good coffee and cute balloons. 

The rest of that day was a flurry of activity as Thomas came back shortly after Melissa left, and he was not a happy camper.  He whimpered continuously for two straight hours and had so much nausea, it was impossible for him to get comfortable or rest.  I'll tell ya', that was one of the hardest times ever, not being able to make my sweet little Tubman feel even the slightest bit better.  We snuggled in bed for several hours, and just when it seemed he would be admitted for an overnight stay, he turned a corner, and began looking like the Thomas we were used to...albeit a bit more pale and lethargic than usual.

Melissa returned from her surgery like the SuperStar that she is: awake, smiling, and in good spirits.  She had been well prepared for the pain and the experience (from us answering her questions over the past several weeks and child life had visited her while Thomas was in the OR).  She took her fluids in, ate her popsicles, rested on cue, and worked through her pain.  She was ready to go home by noon, but patiently watched the SpongeBob marathon for hours until we were finally awarded pass to leave at 4:30.

The last few days have been extremely busy putting rather old nursing skills to work, giving many many meds, at many many times, and trying to keep up on fluids with ice water, popsicles, popsicles, and more popsicles, and encouraging rest for my two sweet kiddos.  They both have been so brave and wonderful, and are cooperating in every way possible to recover.  Melissa continues to recover on schedule, Thomas seems to be having a harder time with fever and nausea.  But we are on a better path here on day three, to be sure, and I am certain the worst is behind us.  I am so proud of these two, and have hopes that once recovered completely, both of them will experience the benefits of their surgeries by hearing better, sleeping better, and no more nose bleeds:)
For now, we will keep snuggling in my big comfy bed with their big cuddly warm pets (they are heavy, cozy animals filled with special gel paks sewn right into the animal's body which heat in the microwave and stay warm for at least 6 hours!  Google Hotpak Huggies---these are so much better than the much smaller commercial made animals found in stores or on Amazon), having safe cuddly dreams.  Things are looking up.  Well, and a wonderful visit from Grandma and Grandpa C yesterday kind of helped, too!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas is Here

Ok.....slowly but surely getting the hang (at least a little bit) of some technology here. I have decided I NEED an iMac for Christmas though (hi, Mom and Dad!). I have tried using regular PC's since being with my husband. And after twenty years, I STILL JUST DON'T GET IT.

Here is the link to another of our songs, "Christmas is Here" by TobyMac. Again, only taken with my iphone. We are working on getting video plus music set together in a better format eventually!

P.S. I just added a video link where all three songs can be viewed under the "Favorite Links" on the right sidebar. Please let me know if it works for you....I can't tell because it auto logs me in anyhow from my home computer! :0)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let There Be Light!

As of Saturday, the 2011 Christmas show has been up and running. Some kinks have been worked out, but for the most part, it has been a success from "go". A nice change from most years, to be sure!

Click here to view "Let There Be Light" by Point of Grace:

As each year, it was a family in which Bob does most of the work. Alex was once again instrumental in testing the lights, building a few mega trees, and organizing cords and inputs. Jonny really stepped it up this year and became Bob's protege. He is gathering ideas about the lighting concept and figuring out how it all works. He even made some independent decisions in his work which greatly helped in lighting organization. He is becoming more and more the clone of his father each day!

Bethany eagerly helped where she could, and was able to follow directions enough to be of great assistance in the area of stretching out light strings. With all the unbridled enthusiasm a two year old has to offer, her help was much appreciated at times (and at other times, not quite so much!). She loves to be a useful part of the family, being in the middle of all the action, and spending lots of time outside, even when it's freezing. And boy, is that girl smart....she'll probably be helping with programming in the next few years.

Crispy teamed up with Jonny on many projects, and helped do some cord work with Tubby. Those boys are so sweet and just so ready to do whatever is asked of them. Whenever asked. Wherever asked. No complaints. They just go and do. Amazing little (and not so little) helpers.

The girls? I'm not really sure....I believe they were helpful in the beginning of the process when things were easy and the weather was warm. Once the directions became two-step and the temps dropped below 50 degrees, they were nowhere to be found.
I didn't really do anything this year (how's that for honesty???). There is just so much to do inside with home schooling them all this year, trying to maintain at least a small semblance of order, and trucking kids around to various activities, lessons, and therapies. Oh...and feeding them. I feel like I am always feeding people. All day long. They never stop eating. And we are always out of clean dishes. *sigh* But I digress...
I am pleased that Bob is using the wreathes I made last year, as well as some lights. My main role comes in the spring during take down and organization. That is a project lasting several weeks and is crucial for things running smoothly during set-up. I must say, I think I did a smashing job this past spring, which allowed set-up to go more quickly this year. Oh! I am also musical consult at times, photographer, and videographer. OK, I feel better now....I DO matter to the show!

Bob has done another amazing job. People are always astounded when they learn that he does this all (ideas, hanging the lights, programming) himself. I really don't know how he does it....the creativity for this work is incredible to me! This year, he took two weeks off before Halloween to set up the majority of lights and to develop a quick Halloween show(I'll have to try to post something of that). He then took the week before Thanksgiving off to get the rest of the lights up, and to program the songs. Not only our songs, but tweaking three songs for his Glencoe Hospital display as well. Each song takes an entire day to program beat by beat for 200,000 lights. He plans on at least 9 hours of programming per song. We are only doing three songs this year, equalling about 12 minutes, to help improve traffic congestion in our cul-de-sac. Our neighbors have been so graciously patient and wonderful. Wonder when they are going to get sick of it and kick us out?

For more info about the show, click on the link in the right sidebar. Bob is going to try to update that more often, and we are going to work on getting a pictures and video tab up. Don't get too excited yet....that's going to take some time for him to squeeze in between his MBA homework!

For now, Let There Be Light!! May all who come to view the lights be reminded of Jesus, the true reason for this season, and may they leave with their hearts opened to that love, hope, and peace. And to God be given the glory during this beautiful Christmas season!

This is Christmas

Video Link!! My first attempt at You Tube! Click link below to see our house perform "This is Christmas" by Kutless.

This was taken with my iphone when we all watched the show for the first time. Not the best, as Bethany is climbing all over me and pulling my hair, but you get the idea! :o)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our Sweet Life

Well, well, has been a full year since my last blog post. As much as I enjoy posting an ongoing virtual scrapbook of our lives, it was time for a little break. This past year has been full of many changes, big and small, as each year tends to be. At times, it felt as though we were hurtling through life at a million miles an hour, barely holding onto each other's grasp, in fear of losing someone or something to the strength of the world's centrifugal force. Nothing horrible happening, nothing super-amazing either; just the craziness of life in this busy world of ours. It was overwhelming at times. Many times. It was necessary for something to change. Just to make life a little sweeter. To get our focus rightly affixed. To establish clear goals. To extinguish circumstances which zapped our energies. To live life on purpose.

It was time to push the family reset button.

Let me be clear here: the family reset button is not quite as quick to reset as those tiny little dots found on many electronic gadgets these days. First off, believe it or not, it is even harder to find than those sunken little black holes. Many things "look" like the reset button, but they end up only being hooked up to part of the family system. Then one must look for the disconnect to find the next circuit seemingly connected to the whole. Which, as you may have guessed, ends up only being partially connected as well.

So one by one, little changes here and there were made, as well as little and bigger changes occurring naturally at the same time in the family flux system. To say "we have arrived" would be a show of great over confidence. We have learned many things over the past year. To have become more comfortable in our evolving as individuals and a family is exhilarating yet scary at the same time. What does it mean for the future? We will never know. Not today for tomorrow, as we have learned to plan on nothing, for committing our lives into God's hand means following His will for us one day at a time, under His plan, not ours. While hard to give up that control, it is amazing freedom as well. And yes, it is true. As we have seen time and time again over our last 19 years of being a family, God's plan is always best. ALWAYS.

So that's where we are today. Trying our best to live life on purpose each and every day. We started with our family. Focusing on God's truth and promises, learning the things He wants us to know through His word. We are learning how to live that out in the world we find ourselves living in. How to "live in this world but not be of it" is a very very tricky thing. We are working on it. And each improvement has been a good move. And we continue with our learning. And making changes. Moving closer and closer to the family God has planned us to be from the beginning of time. It's challenging. It takes effort and work. But it is lovely. And it is sweet.