Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 31st

Outside my window... sun is rising on a warm, sticky day. The grass is freshly cut from this weekend, and all the rain we had makes it the greenest green imaginable!

I am thinking... that I can't believe how quickly this school year flew by! (I think I say that every year.) I have really enjoyed having all four kiddos in the same school - that will change in the fall when Hannah heads for the middle school.

I am thankful for... the crazy, hectic, but very fun long weekend we had.

I am wearing... denim capris, my Ben & Jerry's tee shirt, flip flops.

I am going... to Target and Aldi this morning while David is in school. Starting next week, I'm either going to have to bring kids with me, or do my shopping in the evenings.

I am creating... a new Mommy Notebook. The old one was in a 1" binder and I had to upgrade to a 1 1/2" one!

I am currently reading...
Surprised By Joy by C. S. Lewis.

I am hoping... I can be on time for everything I need to do today!

I am hearing... early-morning silence.

In the kitchen... Amish Friendship Bread in the works, to be baked tomorrow. My friend Carrie gave me the starter.

Around the house... stacks of coupons and grocery store ads. I'm trying to tackle this couponing game - it's time consuming, but I think it will be worth it! Also, new butterflies that have emerged from their chrysalides in our little butterfly tent on the kitchen table!

One of my favorite things... those first, long, relaxing days of summer vacation.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Rachel's presentation on the government of Sugar Grove this afternoon, David's last-day-of-school Zoo Party on Thursday, IKEA with my friend Jackie on Friday, Mother/Daughter play with the girls' school on Saturday. Hoping to make it to an open house at Shriners Hospital on Sunday.
Here is a picture I'd like to share with you...
(Village Bible Church's Memorial Day picnic)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Girl Scout Night

Last night, our family attended the year-end awards banquet for Hannah's Junior Girl Scout troop. We had a great time seeing all the families and just sitting back and watching Hannah relate with her girlfriends!

The evening started with an exhibit of "Trashy Art" projects. The girls were to create works using only household trash. Hannah came up with the idea of a toilet paper/paper towel tube log cabin. We ran with that idea and included grocery sack trees, napkin curtains, and tissue smoke coming out of the chimney! I am rather fond of the little red door made out of an animal cracker box...
Many of the girls in the troop (including Hannah) were recipients of the Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. It required many hours of helping younger Daisy and Brownie troops as well as community service. Hannah also received the badges she earned this year.
The moms were invited to pin the girls' Leadership Pins on their vests. A proud, sweet moment for this Mama... The girls recited the Girl Scout Law and the Girl Scout Promise...

...and shared one final Circle of Friendship.

Junior Girl Scout Troop 537!
Hannah's Scout Leader, Mrs. Goodacre.
With two of her "Besties" - Savanna and Caitlyn.Our sweet Scout!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 23rd

Outside my window... Warm, sunny day after a stormy night last night. One of our plastic lawn chairs was blown out of our yard and into the farm across the street.

I am thinking... how ridiculously fast this school year has flown by! The kids only have two weeks left! But we've got some great stuff planned for the summer!

I am thankful for... all the fresh produce we can get this time of year.

I am wearing... denim capris, my Kaneland Fine Arts Festival tee shirt, Lands' End flip flops, sporting bright pink toenail polish ("Berry Boucle").

I am going... to learn how to make more foods from scratch. The kids really seem to enjoy and appreciate my efforts. This week: peanut butter!

I am creating... a knitted Swiffer mop cover!

I am currently reading... (finishing up) Romans, then on to Mark.

I am hoping... to find a kids' computer class for Hannah. It seems to be the one thing she wants to do this summer.

I am hearing... PBS Kids in the background, David talking to himself as he plays.

In the kitchen... baking Magic Cookie Bars for the Girl Scout banquet tonight. Cupboards and fridge are looking rather bare as the children have been eating me out of house and home - grocery shopping first thing tomorrow morning!

Around the house... collecting items for Village Bible Church's rummage sale.

One of my favorite things... making plans for the long, wonderful summer ahead!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Girl Scout banquet tonight, work with Rachel on her project about Sugar Grove government, Abbie's first grade fairy tale plays on Thursday, church rummage sale, Family Fun Night on Friday (swimming, dinner out), clothes shopping with Hannah, planting flowers outside my front door, Mom's Night with Hannah's group, Memorial Day picnic.

Here is a picture I'd like to share with you...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Did You Know...

...you can make oatmeal very quickly and easily in your rice cooker?
Mary Ostyn of Owlhaven (one of my all-time favorite blogs) has written a wonderful book called "Family Feasts for $75 a Week". I borrowed it from the library several times and finally purchased my own copy from Amazon last week (it's on sale right now for limited time for $7.18!). The very first tip I took away from it was that you can cook oatmeal in your rice cooker! Use quick oats, adding two parts water for every one part oatmeal. She jazzes hers up with sugar and vanilla and other stuff, but I just make mine plain and add the tasties after it's cooked. We have always added brown sugar and some milk, but over Thanksgiving, while in Vermont, we tried it with real maple syrup added, and now that's an absolute requirement!

Much cheaper than those little packets, and healthier without all the additives and preservatives. I just put it on when I get up in the morning and it's ready by the time everyone comes downstairs for breakfast.

Oh, yeah - totally Aldi friendly (unless you want real maple syrup)!

David's on his third bowl this morning...

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. (Hosted by Soulemama.)

(See the "Before" picture

Monday, May 16, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 16th

Outside my window... The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the air is clear... but it's still COLD (34 degrees at 7:00 a.m.)!!!

I am thinking... it's time to make our summer plans (vacation dates, kids' activities, day trip ideas). Contrary to what the weather says, summer's coming!

I am thankful for... the fact that school's almost out and we'll have more time together as a family.

I am wearing... jeans, long sleeve tee, and a sweater!

I am going... to Joann Fabric today - hope I don't spend too much on all that temptation!

I am creating... a plan to re-do the girls' room this summer (it's still in its "Baby" stage, and my big girls want some changes!).

I am currently reading... Romans.

I am hoping... to start the Navigator Scripture memory program in the next week.

I am hearing... silence. The calm before the Monday morning storm...

In the kitchen... zucchini in the fridge to make bread this week. Love to keep it in the freezer! Also, lots of strawberry freezer jam is made!

Around the house... hauling more stuff out to give to friends and donate to a church rummage sale. Creating more room to move and breathe around here!

One of my favorite things... the kids being able to go outside and play after dinner.

A few plans for the rest of the week... knit night with friends tonight, 5th grade choral presentation this week, middle school open house, Hannah's having a couple of girlfriends over on Friday night for junk food and Wii.

Here is a picture I'd like to share with you...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Daddy Daughter Dance 2011

The annual Daddy Daughter Dance was held at our elementary school a couple of weekends ago. This is Al's last year with three dates - next year, Hannah will be at the middle school... (sniff!)

Dad, with each of his lovely girls... David wanted in on the picture fun, too...While Dad and the girls enjoyed their evening out, David and I had a double date night with another mom and son who had their Dad and girls at the dance! Mindy and I took our boys to Noodles & Co. - the little guys slurped up spaghetti and meatballs while Mindy and I chatted away!

A bit of silliness (they get tired of posing for all of Mom's pictures!)...

Friday, May 13, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Hosted by Soulemama.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Before, After, and In Between

The night before David's surgery, I gave him a nice long bath and took a lot of pictures of him. I don't ever want to forget him this way...

One last picture while he is sleeping...

First post-op picture - still pretty groggy.

Cuddling with his Project Linus blanket while watching a little TV. (I love it when his big toe sticks up like that...) Note the soft arm restraints to keep his arms from bending at the elbows.

These photos were taken less than two weeks after surgery...

Such a beautiful little mouth!
Look at that sweet smile for his Mama!

I'd like to share the story of David's surgery for anyone who might be interested in some of the details, particularly families who may be considering the adoption of a child with a cleft lip or who are preaparing for their child's surgery. I also want to be able to remember some of the smaller details someday...

David and I arrived at Shriners in Chicago bright and early on Thursday morning. When it was time for him to be prepped for surgery, he put on his hospital gown, and was wheeled into the pre-op room where he was given some "sleepy juice". The nurse told me it would work in about 5 minutes and he'd get really groggy or loopy. Instead, he got agitated, stood up in the bed, ripped off his hospital gown and started demanding books to read! After about 30 minutes he began to settle down, but he was still alert as they wheeled him into the OR - the scared look on his face as he rolled away launched me into an embarrassing "ugly cry". Fortunately, Nurse Ruby was a sweetie and just handed me tissues and gave me a hug...

My sweet friend Dina came and sat with me during the surgery itself. Dina is one of those friends you can just talk and talk with for hours and it feels like just a few minutes. We ate lunch and caught up on each other's lives, and instead of obsessing about where in the procedure David was, I was able to just think about him briefly from time to time. The surgery took about 3 1/2 hours. I was finally brought into the recovery room to see him as he was waking up. Poor little guy was groggy and disoriented - and thirsty! The nurse showed me how to give him little sips of juice with a syringe. I was so proud of myself - this incredibly squeamish mom didn't even flinch when I looked at his lip. It really wasn't too awful looking, and we were able to keep the pain at bay with just Motrin.

Once he was awake, he was going to stay awake, and he didn't go back to sleep until well after 8:00 that evening. He wouldn't let me out of his sight, so I missed dinner and had to settle for a bowl of Cheerios, some peanut butter crackers and a Coke that they had in the kitchen on the floor. My little guy was ravenous, and he downed three tubes of GoGurt, a cup of apple juice, and a can and a half of Ensure. His arms were in soft restraints that kept them from bending at the elbow so he couldn't touch his incision, so I had to feed him everything from a syringe. That night, I had an arm chair to sleep in in his room, but chose, instead, to lie on the bed with him. As with any hospital, his temperature and blood pressure were taken every. two. hours. throughout the night. He woke up every time. So did I.

The next morning, he was tired, cranky, and hungry. He was fully alert and wanted to run around. At one point that morning, he wanted to run outside his room in the hall, and when I blocked the door, he had a complete tantrum. Later, we went to the play area, but I was scared to death that he'd trip and land on his face. Lunch wasn't much fun. He was tired of yogurt and juice and soup and wanted some food he could sink his teeth into. We were given the OK to go home that afternoon, but when Al and the girls showed up to help me get him home, he completely fell apart and had another tantrum. I was really starting to worry that I would have a hard time taking care of him once we got home and was afraid to leave the security of the hospital environment with so many people helping me out. Our departure was stressful and hurried instead of being an opportunity to say goodbye and thank everyone for their care.

As an aside, let me just say that the staff at Shriners were just wonderful. Everyone was so attentive and made sure that not only David was taken care of, but that I was, too. Volunteers had left a gift of little toys and candy for him, and he received a cuddly blanket from Project Linus.

Once home, the next week was devoted to trying to keep David fed and relatively quiet. We were told that he would have to be on a full liquid diet fed by syringe to avoid the risk of injuring the incision with either food, utensils or fingers. Needless to say, by day two, David was demanding a ham and cheese sandwich. Or at least some strawberries NOT blended into a smoothie. By the end of the first week, the only thing I could get him to eat was thick chocolate milk shakes. I continued to cook meals for the rest of the family, but chose to eat soups and smoothies with him - I lost a few pounds that week! We were also instructed to keep the arm restraints on for two weeks. He did very well until the end of the first week when he started to pull them off himself. Underneath, his skin had gotten very dry and scaly, even with a long-sleeve tee shirt between his skin and the restraint. And his arms were very itchy. He was on antibiotic for a week to avoid infection, and he took Motrin for the pain, though he never actually complained that his lip hurt (for which I am grateful).

The surgeon wouldn't know until the operation was actually underway whether he would be able to do any work on David's nose at that time, or wait until a future surgery a couple of years from now. As it turns out, he was able to do some work on the nose, and it looks beautiful. Silicone nose tubes were sutured into David's nose for the first week to help the nostrils keep their shape during healing - they were removed at his post-op visit a week after surgery.

The surgeon was very pleased with David's healing one week after the surgery, and in addition to removing the nose tubes, announced that David could eat anything but very sharp foods (think chips or pretzel sticks), and he could stop wearing the arm restraints. Also, instead of having to stay home from school for two weeks, he was able to return after only one week. He has been excused from Phys Ed for two weeks after his return to school as a precaution.

David's sleep was most definitely messed up that first week home. He would wake up every night screaming for me, but then when I came into his room, he screamed for me to get out. He threw things and would try to hit me. I knew to expect "sleep disturbances", but those long days at home all day with him were especially tough to get through after such difficult nights. After a week, he really seemed to do much better - I think it could have been a combination of the effects of anesthesia, discomfort from surgery and not being able to suck his thumb, not to mention any feelings of fear he may have had.

And so here we are, three weeks post-op. David is back to school, totally back to his old self. He is so proud of the way he can make the "B" sound now! And I think that because he is even easier to understand, he is gaining all kinds of confidence in his speech and is talking up a storm! He can really pucker up and give huge smooches now. And I notice that people don't stare at him any more. It's funny - I still find myself preparing for a stare or comment as I see a stranger approaching us, especially young children, and yet, it doesn't happen any more! I think that's especially good for David.

Our next step is a checkup with the cleft team in the fall, and then he will probably have some sort of revision surgery when he's school-age (around 7 or so) to improve the "look" of his lip and nose as he grows. That's about it. Our "Special Needs" child no longer has his special need. He will continue receiving speech services through the next school year, but at the rate he's progressing, I doubt he'll need much more after that. And that's it. For all intents and purposes he's just a typical three-year-old boy. And now, on with the business of life...