Zac’s Theatrical Debut

Last week Zac performed in his middle school musical, “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”

This was a new experience for all of us. As a parent, I think there are very few things that touch your heart the way that seeing your child do something totally new, especially something that requires a lot of hard work, not to mention a bit of bravery.

My heart was certainly bursting as I watched Zac perform as the Mad Hatter. It was so much fun. I hope that this will be the first of many theatrical performances for this guy!

He had quite the cheering section! We love you, Zac. Thanks for giving us such a fun weekend!

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2017 Kai Update

2017-02-23_00072017 has been pretty full for Kai so far. We started the year off by traveling again to Ohio for another surgery for this sweet guy.

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This surgery related to his bladder, as well as a correction that needed to be done after his previous colorectal surgery.

We were all happy to be back at the Ronald McDonald House, but not at all happy to be back in the now familiar surgery routine.

2017-02-23_0012Doctors, doctors, and more doctors. This guy had enough poking, proding, and testing!

2017-02-23_0013 The colorectal clinic at the hospital gifted Kai with this “poop pillow”. They sure know how to bring out some needed belly laughs!2017-02-23_0011

2017-02-23_0014 2017-02-23_0015This surgery made me more nervous than some of his previous ones. Although it was a pretty straightforward surgery, this one was a bit of a test to see if his bladder could “wake up” and resume normal function. We knew that it was a gamble, but this was the only way that we could find out.

2017-02-23_0018Initially the surgery appeared successful, and after only a few days he was discharged from the hospital.

2017-02-23_0020We had to stay in town for a couple of days, so we took advantage of fun activities at the Ronald McDonald house, and fed our sweet boy anything that would make him smile.2017-02-23_0019Love this picture, taken moments before I carried him out of the ice cream store, fell down the stairs, and badly sprained my ankle (I will spare you the pictures).

Only a couple of days after we got home, Kai spiked a fever. I took him quickly to the pediatrician, who diagnosed him with a kidney infection. We were still hopeful that this was a fluke and that after his body had a chance to heal a bit that he would be okay.

On Valentine’s Day, Kai turned five!

This is the very happy boy that we were celebrating at breakfast.2017-02-23_0021 2017-02-23_0009

And this is the boy that I saw only 2 hours later after his school called me to say that he was running a fever.

2017-02-23_0008It was the most pitiful birthday boy I have ever seen. Just heartbreaking.

After going back to the pediatrician we found out that it was yet another kidney infection.

At this point, it appears that his body is not responding well to the surgery, and that his bladder is not able to work to the extent that it needs to to prevent urine from backing up to his kidney. Because Kai only has one kidney, this situation could become dangerous for him.

Tomorrow we go to our local hospital for a battery of tests. Next week we will meet with the urologist to figure out our next steps. I feel heartbroken for him.

2017-02-23_0022A week after his birthday we were finally able to celebrate him in style with family. Despite what he has to go through on a daily basis, this child could not have a sweeter, purer heart. He is love and happiness personified, and I am forever thankful that I get to be the one to walk this road with him. I get to be the one to hold his hand as he falls asleep with anethesia, and I get to be the one to hold his hand as he wakes up. I get to be the one to wake him up singing “Happy Birthday”, and snuggle him at night.

He is a joy and a blessing, and he is dearly loved. I continue to pray for easier days ahead for him.

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Happy Year of the Rooster

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This post is long overdue, but we did take some time to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It was a bit delayed due to sick kiddos, but we fit it in as close as possible to the day.

For the first time I attempted to make our entire Chinese meal, and we all loved it! We then read some books about the Year of the Rooster and the Chinese zodiac, made marshmallow roosters, played some games, and talked about China.

It was the most low key Chinese New Year celebration we have had in recent years, but I think it was my very favorite.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Christmas 2016- Part 2 (Picture Overload Edition)

2017-01-03_0022Christmas was all things wonderful.2017-01-03_0020Visits with Santa2017-01-03_0019Shopping for Christmas trees (don’t you shop in formal wear??)2017-01-03_0017School programs with serious kids2017-01-03_0015 2017-01-03_0018Lots of fun with grandparents!2017-01-03_0005Some first Christmases2017-01-03_0003Matching PJs, matching dolls…2017-01-03_0004And my favorite Christmas pageant. Moment to remember: sweet little angel eagerly waving to her cousin the sheep!2017-01-03_0014 2017-01-03_0008 2017-01-03_0006 Oh, and “Once in Royal David’s City”. That is one brave kid!2017-01-03_0007Cookies and letters to Santa.2017-01-03_0012 2017-01-03_0010

Oh, did you know that Santa RECYCLES?? He does! That is why we left him a big bag of toys to pass on to other kids who could use them!! 🙂2017-01-03_0011And we had some very happy kids!

2017-01-03_00212017-01-03_0013Many Christmases we have one thing that stands out. Like the year that Drew stated in awe, “I was good?!”, or the year that Kaitlyn walked across the room for the first time. These are the things that live on in family lore.

This year for me it will be Hannah asking Santa for a wishing well. I honestly think this was the smartest thing that any of my kids have ever asked Santa for. I mean, come on, the gift that keeps on giving. And she was so earnestly sweet about it. She already had some of her wishes planned out as things to help me, or things to bring joy to her siblings. Her frequent discourse on the great things she would do with her wishing well brought tears to my eyes several times.

Santa left her a note in this little wishing well telling her that she has been so good, but that he is not allowed to give away magic. I was so worried that she would be crestfallen, but she was THRILLED to get a letter from Santa!! Sweet, sweet girl.

It was truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy New Year!!

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Christmas 2016- Part 1

Kids went back to school today. Sign. I know, I know, “cue the violins”.

We had such a fantastic December, and found some new traditions that are definitely “keepers”!

First of all, in addition to our regular advent calendar, and our homemade Jesse tree, we counted down the days using Random Acts of Kindness. This is the one that we used this year:

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This is now a definite family tradition in December. We weren’t able to achieve every single one of them, but we did do most of them, and they encouraged thoughtful conversation throughout the month and provided lots of fun to us all.

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One of the best parts that came of our acts of kindness was befriending Dorothy. Dorothy worked ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in front of our local Walgreens. Dorothy rang that bell 9 hours a day, 6 days a week in the weeks before Christmas. I’m guessing she wasn’t doing it for fun.

Anyway, we decided to make frequent visits to Dorothy. We brought her dinner, water, and gave her a needed break for her aching hands. And we had a lot of fun.

This felt like Christmas.

To be continued…

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