Sunday, March 24, 2013

More of the Same

I am ready to be done with school. It has been a tough year. I feel badly for my older four kids. Every morning they are on their own. It works for us now but it took a long time to get into the groove. As you can imagine, my older kids had quite the adjustment to make with our addition. They were so good about everything. I have to tell you, it wasn't easy but they are troopers.

Kyle is in eighth grade and his studies have become more involved. I ended up taking a bit of time the past few weeks and had to clear the cobwebs in my brain in an attempt to remember my college algebra. UGH!!! Thank goodness for an uncle who is passionate (yes, I said PASSIONATE) about math. He is an actuary with Nationwide and was thrilled when I asked for some help a few weeks ago. Even though I did fine in math, I did not love it. He has been solving simultaneous equations and graphing lines after finding the slope-intercept formula. Doesn't that sound like fun? 

I am amazed with his ability to write. Some day I will share some of what he pens. It makes this Momma proud!

Micah and Rebecca have been going steady. Micah continues to amaze me with his studies. He is in sixth grade and has proven me absolutely wrong on so many things. That makes me happy! Rebecca has really been doing well this year too. Fifth grade is usually a tough year but she is doing nicely. I am teaching her that it is okay to miss a few points on a math test. She really gets upset if she misses anything. Her writing also is quite impressive. I guess you can tell where my passion lies!

Benjamin is in third grade. This typically is a difficult year according to school teachers. He has maintained a really great year. His reading is far improved and that was my goal. When his pulmonologist  asked him what he was learning in school, Ben proceeded to tell him all about Venus and the sulfuric acid clouds that cover the planet and as a result it they act like a lid on a pot of boiling water. That is why Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. I'm sure if it was this past week's lesson, the doctor would have heard how Mount Olympus Mons is the highest mountain peak in the Milky Way and it is a volcano on the planet Mars.

I learn about as much as the kids do every day. We work really hard on school. I can honestly tell you that our kids are learning in a very different way as we home school. It is hard for all of us but we do enjoy it. I feel behind since we missed some time for Mariah's surgery. In actuality, we have completed 29 weeks of school. I have taken one snow day. I need to lighten up. 

Our school day begins around 9am. My kids sleep in until about 8:30am. They are at their desks by 9:15. They complete their independent studies in the morning. Usually, Ben needs a little help with Math or some reading. But on Monday mornings Mariah has speech therapy in our house. Our terrific speech therapist, Andrea, comes every Monday at 10am. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings Ben, Mariah, and me drive to Mineral Wells for Ben's physical therapy. We are gone from 9:10 until 11:00am. 
Then we have lunch/break and by 1:30pm Mariah is in bed for nap and the older kids and I start our history, science, Bible, and spelling. We are done with school around 4:30 or 5pm. Then the dinner rush, bath time, then bedtime!

During a regular visit to the pediatrician in December, Mariah did not pass a hearing screening. We were all a little shocked as we have not noticed anything suspicious with her hearing. Other than the typical toddler behavior or ignoring requests, she was hearing fine. We finally got an appointment with an audiologist and we took her there on Friday. As we suspected her hearing is absolutely fine.

We also had company visit with us two weeks ago. Jeremy's cousin and his wife came to visit with their two little ones! Seven kids and four adults in our house. It was a fun time. Here are all seven!
Rebecca and her little cousin, Shayleigh.
Craziness! I think they were racing.
Mariah and Colvin sharing a pink car.
Another week is wrapped up and another week of pretty much the same lies ahead! Have I mentioned how much I love being a momma? It suits me well. I know as crazy as it is right now there will be a day when our house is silent of the giggles. I try to remember that during our crazy days. It is the hardest job I have ever held. For us, we would not choose anything different!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Isn't this picture just full of sweetness? I absolutely love my girls!!! Becca is such a wonderful big sister. She loves to take care of Mariah. This picture was taken at my sister's house in Columbus. 

I packed up all five kids and headed out to my sister's house in Columbus on Tuesday afternoon. Ben had an appointment to see his pulmonologist and I needed to get out of here and arrive at my sister's before the big storm made it's debut. 
As Uncle Don sat down to work on his grading, Mariah also got a laptop and was doing some work! On a side note, as soon as Don got up to get something, she stole his chair.

The snow started around 10pm......and continued all night. We woke up to about 6 inches of snow. By 7am the roads seemed mostly clear. Don and all the boys cleared the driveway and Ben and I left the house by 8:30am. Intersections were slick but we made it to downtown Columbus well before his  9:45 appointment. They were shocked to see us! 

We came home and Ben rushed outside to play in the melting snow. Here are a few pictures from that day! It was fun for them and my kids adore spending time with all of their cousins. Even though these were only three of their cousins, they had a blast! Below is Mariah and the boys....minus Ben.
Then Tammy took pictures of the girls' fort. Pretty impressive!
Here is Abbie and Rebecca. Proud of their accomplishment. I think it was most impressive that they were able to keep the boys from destroying it.!
Here is sweet Sarah and Mariah.
Inside at Uncle Don and Aunt Tammy's is pretty neat. Check out the awesome wooden rocking horse. Mariah found it and loved it! 
Before we ventured back home for the 2 1/2 hours, Mariah found her way to the media room and plopped down beside Abbie on the Zorbie. 
We made it home around 7:30 Wednesday night. Mariah cried a good bit of the way home. One day that will get easier......right?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mariah's Second Surgery

Mariah had yet another surgery this past week at Riley. It was an out-patient surgery and we once again are thrilled with Mariah's urologist,  Dr. Rink. 

The past few weeks here at our house have been a little crazy. Please understand that we are fully aware that we "asked" for this. But it doesn't make it any easier. I had two kids to the doctor on Monday for coughing and wheezing. Kyle had trumpet lessons, then Ben has physical therapy twice.  

I struggled to get my normal daily things completed. Along with all of these appointments I had to home school my older four kids. Then at some point laundry, grocery shopping, three meals a day for seven people, ironing, taxes, bills, housework, then finally pack for our trip. 

My parents came down to watch the other four kids on Wednesday. My mom came to the rescue! She helped with supper clean-up and folding countless loads of laundry that evening. Jeremy took the older three kids to church and Ben and Mariah stayed home with me. They have both been sick.

I got us packed and resolved the scheduling issue with Riley. They originally told us we had to be there for 9am! Well, that meant Jeremy getting home from church at 9pm then leaving by 2am. The scheduling department at Riley did not realize she had surgery and a procedure. That finally got resolved and we needed to be at the hospital by 11:30. We got a couple of hours of sleep and were up at 4am and left by 5am.

Mariah immediately knew where we were when we got her out of the van in the parking garage. She began to cry. It really broke my heart. This place was not a happy place for her the last time. Obviously, she remembered. Excuse her hair, we just rode for six hours in the car.
Here she is waiting to go back for her pre-op work-up. 
We knew she was upset. If you remember my previous posts about her hospital stay you'll remember the trouble I had mentioned about her blood pressure. Well, that was just the beginning. Here we are trying to get a decent blood pressure reading.
We really tried. We encouraged her that it was fine. She was not fooled.
Then the Child Life Specialist came in to try to help. Here she was helping Mariah decorate her gas mask with stickers.
It was enjoyable but Mariah still knew something was wrong.
Our nurse mentioned Mariah's blood pressure being high. We have heard that many times. Next thing we knew, the anesthesiologist was there speaking to us about Mariah's blood pressure. Then a nurse practitioner came. Then Dr. Rink came. We looked up and there were three doctors, a nurse practitioner, and our RN standing in a very small room with very concerned looks on their faces.

Mariah's blood pressure kept creeping up. Dr. Rink and the anesthesiologist decided it was not safe to operate with her blood pressure that high. He got on the phone and consulted with the endocrinologist dealing with Mariah and then called a nephrologist. Her highest reading was 177/102. 

After much concern and time passed, Jeremy and I were able to play with her and they got an acceptable blood pressure. However, we were told that it was never at the suggested reading for a two year old. They allowed one of us to take her to the operating room. I begged Jeremy to go. I just couldn't do it. I have been strong for so much of this. I didn't want to see her put to sleep again. We already watched that twice before. She wasn't exactly sure what was happening here. But she didn't cry and that was the goal. I did though.
She was only  in the operating room for about an hour and a half. The doctors were kind enough to allow us to the recovery room before she woke. We requested that but didn't expect them to allow. She looked so much better than after her previous surgery.
We were not allowed to touch her. So we stood by her bed and waited for her to wake.
Then she woke up and was a little upset.
I tried to calm her down with a few princess stickers.
We took her from recovery to day surgery again. Not really sure why but we did what they said. After there for a little while we took her down to nuclear studies where they were able to complete the test. Everyone thinks she is so adorable. Of course, we do too. She left with her arms full of goodies. She had a pillow, a blanket, two rubber ducks, tons of stickers, a small toy, and a nice new sippy cup full of juice. They just kept bringing her things.
The test was over and we could leave that area but had to go to the doctor's office in the connecting building to speak with Dr. Rink.

We were the only ones in the waiting room. This waiting area served four practices. We were the only ones.
While waiting, we saw another little girl come out from the exam area. I glanced at her and she was about 6 or 7 years old and was Chinese. She looked at Mariah and gasped. I heard her say this to her mom, "Mommy, look! She could be my sister!" I just smiled. I believe she was also an adoptee.

We saw the doctor and he made it abundantly clear to us that we have to pursue this hypertension with Mariah. He told us that she was one blood pressure away from being admitted without surgery just to manage her blood pressure. Because Mariah's disease is with her adrenal glands, it is not unheard of for these kiddos to have hypertension. Your adrenals and kidneys help regulate blood pressure. 

It was a scary experience. I am glad we were in very good hands. I love the concern and degree of caring that they show towards Mariah. The good news is we do not have to go back to see them for a few more years. The surgery was mostly successful. 

She was happy to leave! And yes, there is a sticker on my coat. Whatever made her happy!
It took her all of about 7 minutes to fall asleep in the car.
We came home to a delicious ham dinner, my ironing completely done and some sewing completed. Have I mentioned how awesome my mom is? My dad and Jeremy also replaced our garbage disposal! Yeah, my dad is pretty awesome too!

As I think of all we have going on, my adoption friend, Brooke, recently wrote about an expression that we often hear. People often say that "God will not give you more than you can handle." To be honest, actually He does. God gives us stress in our lives to see how we will handle it. He wants us to fully rely on Him, not ourselves. If we could go through life handling everything on our own then we would never truly need Him. Thank you Brooke for writing about this and being an encouragement to me. Your friendship is precious to me.

This week will be super busy as well. Ben has physical therapy twice. I will take all five kids (by myself) to Columbus since Ben has an appointment with his pulmonologist. Mariah has speech therapy and three of us have dentist appointments on Friday. I'm sure we have to take Mariah to the pediatrician to look into this blood pressure issue. And I have to teach four grades of school. 

I love my kids and would do anything for them. I am thankful for a husband that does everything he can to help with some of the doctor appointments. This is just a season in our lives. I realize it will pass. For that I am grateful. However, I do covet your prayers as it is difficult to make this all happen without any family close by to help. I am tired and worn.

Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary;  and they shall walk, and not faint.