Thursday, January 16, 2014

Car Talk!

I love that I started this blog for the support but also so that I have something to look back on years later.  I have read past post and am so glad that I have them and will have them for the kids to read when they are older.  This is my virtual journal except it just not private!  I used to journal as a child and still have a few of the things that I wrote.  I think it is really important to do and in today's electronic age, something that we do not do enough.  I am going to make an effort to encourage my kids to journal, they will love to read them when they are older.

Because we are such a busy family, many of my "deep" conversations with my kids are while driving to or from a sports practice, school event, doctors appointment, etc.  Today, I had both Trevor and Ella with me while driving to swim team practice. The topic- "When I get a phone....and by the way, how old do I have to be before I can have a phone?" My reply, "mom and dad will decide when you NEED a phone, why do you feel you NEED a phone?" Trevor response was to call his friend.  I reminded him that we have a home phone that he is more than welcome to use to call his friends.  I remember calling friends and talking on the phone and making plans with my friends, I get it!  He is getting to the age when these are important things for kids to do.  I reminded him that when I was a kid, we didn't have cell phones, or texting or the internet, and I survived.  His response, "but how will I know what my friends number is?"  We are so dependent on technology that my children do not know that you can use a pen and paper to write your friends number down!!! An electronic address book is their norm!  Okay, so that still is not a reason for me buy into getting my 9 year old a phone, I just need to go back to basics and teach him these skills!  Our conversation then continued to the costs of things.  Phones are expensive.  If I get you a phone and your older sister a phone that adds up!  I like our summer vacations and eating dinner out once in a while, if we had to pay the bill for at least 2 more cellphones, then we wouldnt have the money to do the "fun" things.  For some reason this led Trevor to ask if his dad and I are saving money for his college.... I was a bit shocked and wasn't wanting to discuss our financial plan with our 9 year old.  He insisted on knowing whether his we are planning for his future.  For the sake of argument I told him "No, we are not saving for your college.  Who do you think paid for mommy to go to school?"  They said, "your parents?" I told them, "no, I paid for my own school." This was shocking to him! He started to cry.  He said, "Mom, I only have $300, I only have 8 years left to save for college. How am I going to be able to go to college?" At which time Ella chimes in, "I am 7 and I don't have any savings!" Trevor says, "that's because you always spend your money!" Ella replies, "no!  I just never find any!" ****
So back to my conversation with Trevor. I explained to Trevor that when I went to college I paid for school by getting scholarships and grants. (And student loans) and this is what he will do too!  He said, "well I get all A's and B's now so I guess I will keep getting them so that I can go to college. And I am really good at football, I guess I will play football in high school so that I can go to college." (Playing football will never happen, I won't let it but I can let him dream). 

In the end, I was really glad that I gave him the response that I did.  I feel like I encouraged him to work hard at school and to think about how his commitment to his education will impact his future.  I have always told my kids that not going to college is not an option. I am glad that they have heard that message! We will continue our discussions about saving for the future and maybe we can develop a financial incentive plan for good grades and good behavior.

*** On a side note, this week $66 went missing from our kitchen counter.  I thought I was losing my mind and actually misplaced it.  We asked the kids and no one knew where the money went.  We searched and searched and couldn't find it!  I was certain that one of the girls had it in a play purse or with their toys.  Aliza is known for taking other peoples money and we searched her "private drawer" and her piggy bank.  We found $6 in her piggy bank.  She never has money because as soon as she does she spends it, so we knew that this was likely a portion of my money.  At bed time, after searching all weekend, Tom decided to look in her piggy bank himself.  Low and behold, there was $60 in there!  It felt so good to know that I hadn't misplaced it, but I was really disappointed that Aliza took it and wouldn't fess up! 

Here are some recent photos from our snow day adventures!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Since the weekend Aliza has not been feeling well and has been in a lot of pain  We went for a cardiac checkup today and found out that the wires that are holding her sternum together are fractured.   There is a chance that scar tissue and bone will form over them and nothing will need to be done... (You can see the protruding wire in the middle of her sternum, basically it is poking her from the inside out) We are going to give her lots of pain medicine over the next few days and hope this heals. Over the next few days will know if we are headed back into surgery on Monday or Tuesday to remove the wire. On the upside, her heart is perfect!!!  She is still going to school and is really excited about her Choral Concert this evening.  Nothing,  not even a fractured wire poking through her chest is going to hold her back!  Gotta love her persistence! Here are a few pictures from the past week, getting ready for Christmas and our big unexpected snow storm. Aliza watched from inside with the dog, while the other kids enjoyed our sledding hill in our backyard.

Monday, December 2, 2013


As I stepped into the shower yesterday I was blindsided by so many thoughts from a few weeks ago.

The night before the surgery I had spent the entire night awake, lying in bed with the same thoughts going through my head, over and over and over again.  I had cried silently most of the night, afraid to wake anyone up.  I knew that Tom was awake next to me, but it was understood between us that nothing more could be said to make either of us feel better.  Talking about our fears for the upcoming surgery was too hard and we didn't want to speak the unthinkable.  During this entire week and a half leading up to the surgery, at no time did we ever talk about the risks of the surgery and the possibility that Aliza might not make it through the surgery.

On this day I was taking a shower in the children's bathroom, unlike most days when I shower in our bathroom.  The last time I was in the children's shower was the morning of Alizas second open heart surgery.  As I stood there yesterday, the memories of my feelings the morning of Aliza's surgery came flooding back. Its funny how a small thing can bring back so many feelings and memories.

I remembered standing in the shower, at 5:30 in the morning, numb.  I remember time felt like it was standing still.  I was shivering and cold.  The water was cold, but it was as if I couldn't feel it.  I knew that eventually the water would warm up and I just stood there waiting.  I waited and waited, thoughts running through my head.  Thoughts of what the day ahead held for me and my family.  Our precious little girl was going to have surgery and handing her over to the surgeons could possibly be the last time I would see her.   This shower was the first step that I needed to take to get Aliza to her surgery but for some reason, the water was not warming up and I was still standing in the cold but yet couldn't do anything to make it better.  Finally, after about 10 minutes of standing in the cold shower I realized that the reason it wasn't warming was because I hadn't turned on the hot water.  I was so consumed with the  "what ifs" running through my head that I could not function.  It was almost as though the numbing cold was easier.

Eventually, I was able to get myself together and motivated to start this day.   I knew that without this surgery, Aliza's body would begin failing.  It could be a few weeks or a few months, but one thing was for sure, not having the surgery was not an option.  We had asked all the questions, done all the research and felt very confident in the skills of the surgeon and the cardiologists who would be caring for her post-surgery.  However all the preparation in the world can not prepare you for the moment you walk away from your child and leave them in the operating room.  We strengthen each other and I felt myself lean into Tom to hold me up.  Two weeks later, my emotions about this moment are still so raw.  Looking back, I had so much fear that I would not see Aliza again, or that she would be forever changed.  I know that my fears are all very normal, but in our life we have been challenged so many times.  It seems as though we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I suppose this is reason I could not get beyond the fears of the complications and "what ifs."  I feel like there is always a complication or challenge that we have had to get past.  On the positive, we have always overcome these challenges.  Maybe I am just a pessimistic person, but I had thought about every possible scenario at some point leading up to the surgery.   Never did I believe that just one week after surgery Aliza would be home and two weeks after surgery, she would be back to school.

Aliza's strength is amazing.  Her recovery has been incredible and I am astonished by how well she has taken this challenge.  Her heart is functioning so much better than it ever has in her entire life.  She is still taking a medication to assist her heart, but hopefully in the next few months she will be off that medicine.  She has taken daily heart medicine for the last 6 years, it will be so nice to have her body medication free.  Today Aliza woke up and asked if it was Monday.  I told her it was Monday.  And she then said, "since today is Monday, then I am going to school, right?"  I told her that if she felt well enough to go to school, then I would let her.  Within minutes she was out of bed and dressed for her day, excited to get back to her normal routine and to see her friends.  I walked her into school because she can't carry her backpack yet, and I was overwhelmed with the true joy and excitement of the other students to have her back in school.  What a great feeling for both of us!

Our community of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, swim team members, classmates and so many others, have all been so supportive.  These last two weeks have been so much less stressful because of the kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone around us.  I am so thankful to live in a community where

we have so much support.  It sure makes raising a child with special needs a lot easier.