Saturday, January 8, 2011

Brady's Big Day

The big day arrived and despite our early morning and running a few minutes late, we made it up to the children's hospital shortly after 7am.

Bradyn had been up since 5am lying nervously in bed I guess, which makes me sadder now knowing just how scared he really was.

You wouldn't know it looking at him here. He seemed pretty quiet, non-chalant. But then again, he's one of our quieter children and processes thingsdifferently than our talkers. Other than a few ?'s and admitting he was nervous, we had no idea just how worried he was about this whole process.

First things first!! We got our room for the day, and boy did it turn out to be a long day!

All his nurses were really kind and sensitive explaining everything they were doing as they were doing it. I think he got quite the educational field trip that day if you ask me!

Pastor Tim has a soft heart and it made Brady feel pretty special to have a visitor before the day got started. He even beat Daddy up there! HA!
He read some Scripture to Brady and explained the verses about trusting in God and what that means. Brady and I later got to pray about those same verses when he was so upset.
Thanks for coming up so early Pastor Tim. It's those kind of things that make lasting impressions on our hearts!

Brady had to wear an adult gown instead of the cute kid's gowns cause' he's allergic to polyester and starts turning beat red with wild itchy patches within seconds.

The anestes, Dr. Daniels, was super energetic and fun and explained everything he was going to do to Bradyn. He even had a son Brady's age too! This also happened to be the same one Jared had years ago when he had his appendix out, so it put Dad and Mom at ease right away. The older, the better in our book. HA!

This gal was Brady's child life specialist. I know, he had an army of peopleat his beck and call. It seeemedreally organized and well thought out to prepare the older children for what was about to happen. Brady has had surgery, but only as an infant so it truly felt new for him this time around. He paid close attention and just seemed quiet the whole time.

Brady noticed this big guy last week in the store with me, but I went on and on about how he really did not need another stuffed animal and how many other ways he could spend his money.
Ya, guess who broke down and bought him the huge stuffed animal when she found out he was going to have to have surgery this week?

Brady's surgeon, Dr. Monson, was so good with kids, and really spoke to Brady like he was the only one in the room. My kind of doc... You can see here Brady really liked him with his big grin from ear to ear!
I was pleased and kinda excited to know I could go in with Brady to the operating room. New thing here at our children's hosptital... I wish I had a picture of me in my "space gear" looking all professional. I really wasn't worried about the room at all or the environment as they have you sign a consent and want to make sure you're not going to faint dead away once you walk in. I figured I've seen my babies including this one hooked up to more than his fair share in his lifetime, so I was pretty sure I would be just fine.
Daddy gave him a hug before we walked through the big operating room doors and we headed down the long hallway of doors that led into different operating rooms. It was full of surgeons who waved and smiled and commented on his big Penguin. He was not making eye contact at this point or acknowledging any comments so I knew the nervousness was growing. Offers of different kinds of stickers and cool treats were completely and totally ignored and I began to wonder what what my poor little man was thinking. I didn't want to say anything though, because sometimes that only makes things worse you know?
The time came as we waited for a minute ot two outside the doors to his operating room but the doors finally swung open to a sea full of new faces and smiles as they asked him to hop up on the narrow table in the center of the room. From his vantage point, everything looked white or shiny, and his doctors that he had met were not present. ( maybe scrubbing up?)
I could totally see the fear now as his eyes began to bulge and well up with tears as he tried to hold them back while he lay there looking up at that big circular silver light that looked more like it belonged in outer space than in an operating room.
He couldn't hold the tears back any longer as they placed the chest probes on and began taking his blood pressure. I of course, at this point, was holding back my tears as I realized just how terrified he truly was. I think every real emotion and fear all came tumbling out as they placed the "magic air" mask over his face and I will have a hard time erasing what came next. My baby's eyes bulged even further and for the first time in his life, I saw terror and he began to hold his breath through his tears and tried for the next several seconds to not breathe any of it in knowing it would put him to sleep. I leaned down stroking his sweaty hair and leaned against his tear-stained cheek praying and reminding him of the verses Pastor Tim had shared with him that morning. I told him the Lord would never leave him or forsake him. He was his rock and Redeemer. He needn't fear. But at that point even his mama couldn't hold back any longer, and my tears began to fall onto him and about the same time, Brady couldn't hold his breath any longer and had to breathe in that "magic air." Then, after two or three breaths and a few sobs... Poof. He. Was. Out. Just like that. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't relaxing to watch. I can't say this soon if I'd even reccomend this option to others as I wonder now if Imade it worse for him by beingthere with him in the last few minutes.
The child life specialist had taken us down and asked me gentlywhen we exited the room if there was anything they could have done to makeit any better. I told her I didn't know if I made the right choice by going in with him and she said that in her experiencemost children cry aroundthe ones they love becausetheyfeel more freedom to do so, and even though it seems to make matters worse, at least they are getting theirfeelingsout in the open and not keeping them bottled up.
MMmmm. Food for thought I guess. But thejury is still out on this one. I can't go back and change it I guess, and I'm really not sure I would, but I just wish it wouldn't have been so scary for him.
We started a bit late, but by 11 am, thesurgeon came into the waiting room and let us know it went routinely and he was already in recovery.
About an hour later, we met our lil'man who was very out of it, and still very much drugged in the hallway. It took me a minute to realize I should just shut up and let him process instead of talking expecting him to respond becausefor the next few hours this guy hardly said a word. And I do mean a word. I think our quieter child got 100 times more quiet and it was a strange thing to see him have this reaction to the anestesia.
His penguin, whom we named "Monson" (HA!) came out of the operating roomdecked out in his operating room attire and we all had a chuckle over the array of stickers covering his body. Thesurgical team obviously felt bad for him and tried to make his exit happier, but he didn't even seem to care for several hours.

Here he is in the elevator on the way up to his room.

He asked me to lay with him for a bit until he realized the bed was adjusting more becauseof myweight. And then he politely asked me to get off. HA!

Grandpa Doug and Nena had a ballon and turkey webkin brought to him in the afternoon and we got a littlereaction from him. He's more excited about them today for sure as yesterday he was simply a different child!
The child life specialist let him pick out a new Wii game and we think he made out pretty good considering. Ha!
He also made it out of thehospital with mascot, Alfunz, whom Brady decided to giveto Sullivan as I guess he seemed toobabyish. I can't say that I blame him.
The other kids are going to want to have surgery at this point!
We thought he would eat up the attention and all the choices he had for the day from room service and food, but he had a pretty hard day and was moaning off and on due to his pain from his incision and would hardly move.
He also had a bad reaction to the anestesia and got pretty sick throughout the day. Our first clue should have been that our animal eater hadn't eaten in over 16 hours and didn't seem hungry in the least. The nurse made him a slushy which he promptly threw up along with tons of clear liquid which I guess were the meds getting out of his system. And he didn't stop there. It was pretty continual throughout the day and got worse if he sat up or tried to walk which of course, were all things he had to do before he could leave.
By 5pm, it wasn't looking good, and the rounding doc mentioned an overnighter to which did not excite anyone in the least.
We explained to Brady,who by this point was so exhaustedand just wanted to go home that he did need to eat without throwing up and that he would have to walk around the loop at least once before we could go home.
On the 2nd try after that, he managed to give us one whirl around the children's loop where we showed him where both Harrison and Sullivan had stayed as babies for different things.
What is it with my boys??
They better be getting it all out now and then be done with it!
We finally got yet another dose of anti-nausea meds. (They had tried a few already.) Zofran did the trick and he ate of peice of toast and a whole glass of apple juice. Praise the Lord, and thanks for all the prayers! We could go home now!

He mustered up one of his few smiles of the day for this last picture with just Dad.

Monson has been the subject of his art now today at home and we've all stayed in benefitting from our neighbor's kindnesses with meals and ice cream for the patient.
Thank-you very much to our friends who kept our other children in pairs or more throughout the day yesterday. It was a huge help and relief to be able to focus on Brady especiallysince he ended up being so sick. They all had a great time and Jared and I felt very blessed to be so loved on coming home to a delicious meal made by my Bible study buddy, Trish. Thank-you!

The patient today hasperked up considerably and has watched a new movie and played the wii some. He's colored and read and listened to some stories on CD and even got to play with a neighbor friend for awhile this afternoon.
His incision already looks way better than it did yesterday and he finally ate a bowl of cereal late this morning. I wonder if he was so worried about throwing up again that he was just too nervous to eat. He's eaten a bit more today and I'm sure it'll get back to his normal gargantuous amounts before we know it!
I know this was a super long post, but wanted to remember it in detail for myself asmy memory fades by the day it seems these days.
I'm sorry about all the typos as my computer seems to be acting up and won't allow me to fix any errors without retyping the entire thing, and I refuse. Plain and simple. :)

Our Fairy Princess

just loves to dress up in puffy pinks and high heels.

She got a trim last week and since I deleted those lovely photos.... (Auugh!!) here's a good one of her with our first set of bangs around here in a long time. I think they're adorable, but the only reason we did bangs this time is that her baby hairs were super long and falling in her face whenever I pulled them back anyway. I'm not sure how long they'll last cause' I do not do trimming, and would go broke trying let me tell you. Not. A. Talent. I. Possess. So here's to our princess with bangs however short lived!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bradyn Dean

You turned 8 years old this year and every day with you has been a joy.

OR at least mostly joy... HA!

You make us smile and laugh, although sometimes quietly to ourselves.

You say the most random things sometimes.

Take yesterday for instance.


"Yes, Brady?"

"Did you know that if you're starving you can eat your scabs and that will allow you to live longer?"

Gulp. Because that was such a nice mental picture...

"Why, no Brady, I did not know that, but I will be sure to file that away for personal use one day. I hope I will never have to do that."

It dawned on me a moment later that I'd better clarify, that he too, should save that information for emergency purposes only.

One never knows.
And if you have boys, you too, realize this.
But back to birthday boy.
I digress quickly.
As a part of the Rivers Birthday Tradition goes, we allow the birthday child to pick out all their meals for the family to enjoy.
Brady was easy on me this year.
Breakfast: Donuts (which we shopped for before 6:30am that day together.)
Lunch: Lasagna with garlic bread
Supper: Spaghetti, salad, and more garlic bread
I know, but birthday rules are rules!
He picks!
I was just glad it was all super easy as I was so sick with a sinus infection and Brady was pretty sick too.
Wicked cold.
Well, everyone was pretty pleased with his donut choices and the morning was spent opening gifts, building legos, reading books, (about scabs apparently...) and trying out his new snowboard in the backyard.

Don't mess with Sophie or her donut!

Dogpile on the couch for presents!

You gotta love that bedhead!

Daddy picked this one out! He's stepping up in the age bracket with legos. It's amazing how this child puts these things together with little effort. I'm tired just looking at the directions!

Thanks Nanny! We love our WV wear!

This man has wanted one of these for a long time. It's kinda hard having Christmas and your birthday all in one week.
First, no one remembers.
Second, if they do, they don't seem to care much.
Thirdly, you have to wait an entire year to see a return on that wish list!
But Jared and I just try to make it just as special as the rest of the birthdays even when we're tired, exhausted, sick of sugar, and shopping, and pretty much broke.
A friend gave me a good tip last year that I try and stick to now.
No Christmas wrapping, decorations, or Christmas goodies.
Stick to a birthday theme - because it's a birthday!!
I thought this was good advice when I imagined everything about my birthday being centered around Christmas especially POST CHRISTMAS.
The Lord always seems to work it out to be great day, and it is nice to have him home with us the whole day since it's always on Christmas break.
Nice perk if you ask me. :)

Look at those dimples holding back that smile when he saw his cake!
Glad he let me talk him out of the football stadium. I simply wasn't up for the challenge. He recanted and settled for a football field and since I wasn't sure what to do after goal lines, we bought a birthday bag at the grocery store full of football decor.
His dad felt the need to inform me that yard lines weren't diaganol.
Do I appear that dumb?
Don't answer that outloud.
I pay attention - sometimes when watching football.
If truth be told, I'm just there for the appetizers.
I know, but at least I'm honest.

Trick candles again!

My nephew, Noah, joined us for the afternoon and hammed it up with all the kids scarfing down cake and ice cream and generally being wild and silly.

He was a nice addition to the day's festivities.
Thanks for coming Noah!

I couldn't resist this last one. We took her day old piggies out and her hair looked like this. I thought it was purty cute - even uncombed!
We love you so much Brady and can't imagine a day without you and your dimples. Your sweet spirit, sensitive soul, and happy go lucky ways make our lives fuller and richer. Your engineer like brain in tune to facts and building almost anything are intriguing and we can't wait to see what the Lord does in your future. You have so much potential and if we can pull your head out of the clouds long enough, or if you'll ever sleep in to allow us to see the break of dawn on our own, we might just have time to revel in the gift of your life long enough to stop yawning.
We pray you'll grow to be the a godly leader which is the meaning of your name. We also hope you develop into a man of character and stand for truth like your late Great Grandpa Dean whom you are named after. He loved you and prayed for you every day of his life till he died. I can't say that about even myself Brady...
I pray this is a year of much growth for you and you gain a deeper understanding of your faith in Christ.
We love you Brady Bunchy.
Forever and Ever.

Storing Up

I thought maybe he had died.
I knew he was sick, but this??
It's not unusual for him to be up by 5am, but after 7am, we start wondering if he's ok.
So, I got that strange mother twinge where you wonder if your baby is ok.
It's kinda unsettling.
It was 8:30 after all.
He was alive and apparently storing up energy for later!

Bucket List

This is where I found Sophie the other day.
She climbed in the mop bucket all by herself and got real cozy with her bunny.
Ummm.... The mop bucket is in the hall closet - which is dark...
Maybe I should try it sometime.
She looks relaxed. Don't you think?
And happy. Very happy.
I just might have to find myself a big bucket.

Blizzard 2010

We've had a few "storms" this year or so they say.

We do live in Minnesota after all, so you have to expect snow in large amounts, but we finally got our wind this last week to qualify for a good old fashioned blizzard.

We only ended up with 12 inches to make our grand total already this season a whopping 45 inches or so. Look out Fargo Moorhead! We may see another flood this spring!

The kids really enjoyed getting out and playing in all the new fluff of course, and here's just a few shots of their frozen glee.

The last few pictures are some fun views of the drifts around our house and our neighbor's house.

Whoot Whoot for sledding!

The view out of Keilah Grace's window at our neighbor's home. They really get dumped on in the front!

The view out our back window at our neighbor's deck. Next year, we'll be shoveling off our deck Lord-willing!

Do these snow fences really help? I'm not sure...

The front door impressions in the snow

Our basement family room window has just a smidge of light coming though now.

How much did you get dumped on over Christmas or do you not have snow at all? I'm curious; tell me where you're from!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter Break

We've thoroughly enjoyed our winter break and having Daddy home this last week to boot!

We've been busy being sickies and staying in our jammies and sweats most days with our hair, including mine, looking alot like Sophie's here...

The children have all been busy with their new Christmas treasures playing and imagining, and yes, even squabbling.

This guy loves him some TV. His TV that is. I had one of these when I was little and so this ended up being Sully's big present for Christmas.

We've been playing lots of games, but I think Bananagrams takes the prize for most popular. We're all hooked including Jared and I! We love this Jerry and Mary! Thank-you!

I've also been doing lots of this this week. This is what happens when one leaves and does no laundry for a few days. You have huge mounds to come home to. And no, this was not even one full weeks worth. I'm a few loads short here.
But it's all put away for now, and everyone has clean undies in their drawers for school tomorrow!
I think I'm ready for routine again, and yes, maybe even a bit of solitude...
Can you blame me? HA!