Saturday, November 23, 2013

Change of Plans

What a week!  I took Isabel to her pre-op appointment at Children's Hospital on Tuesday.  Not an easy trip for us.  While there, admitting said they may need her to see the cardiologist again with an updated letter.  Izzy has a very minor heart issue.  It's so minor that no doctor knew about it until we had to take her to a cardiologist before her last surgery and he did an ultrasound of her heart.  The tests he did prior to the ultrasound didn't show any problems either.  Anyway, I had taken her to the cardiologist prior to her last surgery in April.  He cleared her for surgery and said he would just like a follow up in 6 months.  That would have been September/October. That's when we were dealing with my pregnancy nausea and exhaustion, illness after illness with our kids, Jim going to Africa and breaking his arm and Izzy's rod poking out of her elbow!!  Yeah, a no-biggie, follow-up appt with the cardiologist just wasn't happening! The hospital never told me that they needed her to see the cardiologist again. Grrrr!

Well, I made a stink and the hospital said they would accept an updated letter from the cardiologist without her seeing him first and the cardiologist was ok with that too.  However, her surgery was supposed to take place on Thursday and we settled on the letter Wednesday morning.  Cutting it close, but thought it would work.  By 2pm on Wednesday, the hospital still didn't have the letter.  The hospital wanted the letter written and formatted a certain way.  The cardiologist tried 3 times.  Not acceptable.  I left messages for one person at the hospital, spoke with another person and waited, but they were leaving at 4pm. Grrr, again! During the wait, Jim shared with me (again) that he felt there was a greater purpose in this delay.  He tried to tell me before but I was just so set on the surgery happening on Thursday.  We had arranged friends and a babysitter to help watch the kids and I was just mentally prepared for it. 

However, after Jim and spoke, I relinquished.  If for some strange reason her heart had gotten worse and we didn't take her to the cardiologist first to find that out, we would have felt awful.  It could have had terrible results for Isabel.  So, I called the hospital back to reschedule her surgery and called the cardiologist to make an appt.  She'll see the cardiologist in December and have her surgery in February.  That was the soonest I could get a surgery date.

I would have liked to have had this last surgery behind her, but I guess delaying is best for the family too.  Jim is still in terrible pain from his broken arm and can't do much.  Isabel would have come out of surgery with double casts from fingertips to armpits for 4 - 6 weeks.  We have the typical busy schedule in December with the holidays.  And on Friday, she came down with a terrible cold that must have been brewing.

So, this sweet girl didn't have the hard week we were prepared for. : )

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One Year Ago

November 19 and 20 are now very special dates in our family.  November 19 is when I first got to hold my girl!  There are no words to express that feeling.  For me it was like holding my newborn baby after months of dreaming and loving him/her.

She was rightfully scared and unsure, but she adjusted so amazingly well.  She honestly never looked back.

First night with us!
The next day, the adoption was finalized and she was officially ours!

This is the first picture I saw of Isabel back in May 2012.  I dreamt about that picture. 

I fell in love with the picture and then fell in love with the girl!

We all love you Isabel!  You add so much to our family.  I've never been the same since I held you in my arms!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christmas Pajamas

I bought Christmas pajamas for the youngest 5 children and tried to get a quick picture of them with my phone.  Easier said then done...

Not quite


Definitely not!

I think it's best to leave the uncooperative 2-year-old out of the photo!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Well, mostly tending to sick kiddos.  Since early September, we have had a string of illnesses from croup and strep throat to stomach flu (twice) and the good ol' regular flu.  It's been a hard season for this family that never gets sick.  It was directly linked to the little boys starting preschool.  Nate got the worst of it, though.  He would go for one week (only twice/wk), get sick, be out for a week, get better and go to school for a week, get sick and the cycle would start over.  He also started crying when I would pull into the parking lot.  After a few weeks, Jim and I realized that this was not working out for our family and Nate was definitely not enjoying it.  We only sent him because he seemed ready and has no problem being left at the nursery at church and with a babysitter.  However, he was definitely not ready for preschool.

Dan, on the other hand, LOVES it.  He goes 3 times per week now and would got 5 days if I let him.
First Day of School for Nate (happier days!)
Then, my dear husband went to Sierra Leone for 9 days with our friend and pediatrician, Dr.  Kevin White through the medical missions organization he started.  After a few days, I received a phone call and it was him!  I was so surprised, but not as surprised as when I found out he broke his arm!  He fell into a concrete culvert in the pitch dark in front of his hotel and broke the bone right below the ball and socket.  No slings at the Sierra Leone hospital, so one of the Canadian doctors had this scarf he bought in Afghanistan years back and loaned it to my husband to use as a sling. Thank God that he was with a team of excellent doctors from the US, Canada and Albania.  His roommate was an ER doctor. They took very good care of him while he was there, but I was sure happy to have him home.  There is nothing that can be done for the break except keep it immobilized in a sling (a proper one) for a few weeks.  He's still in a lot of pain, but managing.  I'm so proud of him!

Working the medical clinic in Sierra Leone.
Let's see, what else...

The girls and I were able to go to The Huntington Library and Gardens for a free day last month.  I used to go frequently as a young girl with my Great Aunt Sunny.  It was a sweet time to take my girls and share it with them.  It has changed a lot, though.  They have built and are building so many new exhibits.  We couldn't see it all!

At the Japanese Garden.

The new Chinese Garden.  Still under construction.

Visited some of my favorite paintings.
We decided to homeschool Will again.  He started at a wonderful private, Christian school shortly after we brought Isabel home last December.  Will is a very good student who works best in a structured, quiet environment.  Well, that was just not our home a year ago (and really isn't now, but it's better).  Since this school goes through 8th grade, we really thought we'd keep him there until then, but the Lord really impressed upon our hearts that he should be back home with the rest of the children.  So as of last Monday, he is my student again!  He's happy about it and I enjoy having all my dear ones together again.  He's got a pretty rigorous schedule, but I know he's up for the challenge and thrives better that way.

Just after Jim came back from Africa, we jumped into Halloween.  Pumpkin patch, carving and decorating pumpkins, choosing costumes and CANDY.  This was Isabel's first Halloween.  She picked it up quickly, just like as all little kids do.  Halloween is definitely my least favorite holiday, but I put a smile on my face for the kids.  Trying to get a picture of all the kids in their costume was comical.  Nate just wouldn't cooperate.  This is my favorite picture!

This just sums it up!
Sweet girls!

The morning of Halloween, Isabel had to have a minor procedure on her left arm.  The rod in her left arm started shifting and ended up poking out of her elbow and bleeding.  It was out far enough that the doctor couldn't just pull it out in the office, so she had to go to our local surgery center so she could be under general anesthesia.  The doctor made a small incision and pulled out the rod.  It only took 15 minutes and after about an hour of crying and general unhappiness, she was back to her happy, sweet self.

Waiting for surgery.
Finally, I went through a pretty hard season of change going on in my life earlier this year.  Personal changes; changes that a woman in her 40's start to notice about herself... physically and emotionally.  I thought I was too young, but I also couldn't ignore the night sweats, irritability, weight gain, lack of energy and other symptoms I was feeling.  Realizing that my body was changing and I possibly could no longer have any children was very hard on me.  I love all my children so much, no matter how they come to our family.  However, there was a deep sorrow for me to know that my time to carry a child and bring life to this world was ending.  So, we left it in God's hand.  Month after month... nothing.  By  the end of summer, I figured that it really was final.  Then, early September I received a glorious surprise!  A true gift!  I am now 14 weeks pregnant and feeling so much better.  In the midst of all the sickness in our home in September and October, I also was extremely ill with nausea and exhaustion.

Our newest little treasure!
So, here we are having passed through some trying times ready for the holidays.  We do have Isabel's second major surgery next week, but that's for another post.  I'm just enjoying this calm before the next storm. : )

I hope to blog again soon.  I do miss it!