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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Orange Rush 2013

     I can't believe we are in the final week of summer break and looking to start a new school year next Monday. To get ready for the school year the school holds a registration night, called Orange Rush, where parents get to fill out forms, pay school fees, ID photos are taken, lockers assigned, and the most exciting part- schedules are handed out. 

Our 2 High School girls!

Some of the paperwork that I got to fill out.

Courtney at her locker.

Lindsay at her locker and also flashing a "Jeez Mom, must you take a photo like this right now?" expression.

Back in the safety of home and away from their peers, I took a photo of the girls with all of their important papers.

We have block scheduling at Beech HS, so each semester each student has 4 classes. Each class is about 90 minutes long each day. This is Courtney's schedule for first semester. All academic classes for her STEM program- really excited to see what this first year program holds. She will finish her day in the gym doing strength conditioning and practice with her volleyball team. 

A look at Lindsay's schedule. Besides her computer class, this girl is going to be busy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


     This summer, we have discovered that JT is apparently quite delicious tasting. Whenever we play outside, he gets mosquito bites within the first few minutes. While I haven't remembered every time, we mosquito repellent has become his saving grace. 

     Though this time, the repellent wouldn't have helped much- JT's ear was the source of the latest meal. As you will see here, he tends to react pretty strongly, like his Mommy, to bites.

When I first noticed his ear, I couldn't believe what I was seeing!

Might not look too bad in this photo.

Here is the winning shot, poor little guy. He was quite itchy so we applied some cortisone cream and after a little while, he was feeling much better. It took about a day for his ear to return to normal.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Modern Day Knight in training

     This past weekend our church held an event for the older preschooler boys and their parents. A few months earlier, there was a similar event for the girls, so I had been anticipating this for a while. We were told it was going to be a knight themed event and to come dressed up if you would like. JT was very excited and we headed to Long Hollow for some fun!

When we first arrived, we headed to the craft area to create some accessories and get dressed for our little knights.

JT glued his coat of arms on his shield, made a tunic and name tag.

We added some of his own gear and before our eyes, we had a mini knight!

JT really enjoyed walking around with his face guard down, but would lift it up for photo opportunities.

Then the little knights had a breakfast feast- Yum!

Then it was time for some royal games!

This one was called Defend the Castle- the boys were split into 2 teams and they each had a castle to defend. Their was a net beteween the castles and the goal was to shoot "bombs" into the  opposing teams "moat"(orange bucket).

JT loved this activity and it was probably my favorite of the day. Several knights were bonked on the head by incoming fire, but no tears were shed.

This activity was a spear throw. The knights had to throw their spears through the target.

Ready- aim-fire!

JT in action for the spear throw.

Not sure of the royal name of this activity but it was a bean bag toss.

The knights attacked it from various distances and angles. JT would often inch closer to the target if his first few bags missed.

Bag toss in action!

This is how JT's team moved from one activity to the next. It was so adorable!!!

The last activity was a treasure hunt. First a story was told explaining what happened to the jewels..

Then a puzzle was put together to reveal what to hunt for. My child was the only one sprawled out while working- ha ha!

After all the treasures were found, the knights were able to try on the crown.

JT received a special scroll that held some scripture and instructions on how to be a Godly knight. 

Here is what the scroll contained. John also received a copy of the book Raising a Modern Day Knight.

All of the knights posed for a photo.

Then their Dad's (and a few Mom's) joined them for a photo.

The church took a few photos of the boys sitting on a throne.

This one perfectly captured my little knight who is always ready for action.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chanting to Fireflies

     One of my favorite things about summer in the south is the nightly fireflies. They emerge at a perfect time for outdoor play after dinner. The sun is setting and the heat of the day is slowly fading. This summer, JT has discovered his love of fireflies. It started out with him chasing them, to pointing out which bugs for his family members to capture, and now he can gently grab the fireflies all by himself!

     During this nightly play, JT started singing a popular song by Fall Out Boy in effort to get the fireflies to light up. I cracked up the first time I heard him start his chanting of the chorus over and over. Enjoy our firefly whisperer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pirate Lingo

     JT loves playing dress up and bringing out his inner superhero, knight, or firefighter to name a few. One day when he was dressed up like a pirate, he busted out this little gem. Not sure exactly where he learned the phrase, but my best guess is the occasional Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I love my Pirate Boy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The first two weeks post-op

     Sarah's recovery from her MPFL surgery has been thankfully uneventful. I wanted to give a little overview of how the first two weeks went.

Before Sarah's injury was diagnosed, I had never heard of MPFL. I'm sure like most, I knew of the "big" guys- ACL. MCL, LCL meniscus. So what and where exactly is the MPFL? I used a google search to find a good visual. The ligament attaches on the patella(knee cap) and the femur (thigh bone). It's main job is to keep the patella stable and in line.

All of this was corrected with the surgeons skills and the generosity of someone donating their body after they died so others could benefit. Sarah's MPFL was actually replaced with a tibia tendon. Pretty amazing and we all have such gratitude for this donation.

Sarah's knee a few days after surgery. The 2 lower incisions were for tools and the scope, so they are quite small. The larger incisions on the inside of the knee and the top of the patella are where the actual reconstruction took place. There was quite a bit of swelling  and she was very tender for the first 2 weeks.

Side view of her knee.

It took almost 5-7 days before bruising showed up. Her knee looked jaundiced.

The bruising was mainly in the work areas near the larger incisions.

Just when I thought it wouldn't get any worse, it did! Thankfully this was as bad as it got and it slowly faded over the next 7-10 days after they first appeared.

Besides the 2-3 times Sarah goes to Physical Therapy each week, she has this machine at home. CPM- Continuous Passive Movement. It's used to help gain mobility in the joint to prevent scar tissue from forming and locking up. It can be programmed for just about everything- how fast to move, highest degree, if you want to pause at the highest/lowest point. 

Sarah has to use the CPM machine for 2 hours every day. Right now her limit is no greater than 70 degrees, but I believe that range will soon be increasing.

Besides the Physical Therapy, CPM, and showering, Sarah is in her full leg brace 24/7. It is in a full lock meaning she is not allowed to bend her knee while wearing it. Her pace is a bit slower these days, but she has managed to get stronger and start building her muscles to gain greater mobility.

Sarah went for her first post-op visit at one week. It seemed like this was one of her milestone dates during her recovery. That is when she started to slowly wean off her pain meds and started to gain more strength to start the rehab on life back to normal. 

I also wanted to mention that cool blue contraption on her knee. I talked about it briefly in her surgery post. It's called the cryo cuff. It's basically an air cast that she could wear as much or little as she wanted. Instead of air being filled, it's filled with ice water! More effective than a simple ice pack and the relief that it gave Sarah was immense.  We could switch out the water as often as she requested using the water cooler than came with it. A simple siphon with an detachable hose from the cooler to the cuff made it a breeze! I loved seeing the visible joy on Sarah's face every time I gave her fresh ice water. I'd say it was her BFF for the first two weeks.

Back in the exam room, I helped pass time by taking photos of Sarah with a model knee. It was very easy to see the MPFL on the hands on model. I should have thought to take a pic of that!

While Sarah laid pretty low the first several days, we did manage to get her out and about. We took her to the movies and then grocery shopping afterward for her first outing. The benefit of her surgery- using one of the killer shopping carts typically reserved for an older generation. I will say that JT loves this perk and will do his best to ride side saddle when Sarah shops with us.

  • Sarah upright and moving! She has crutches to use for stability. She basically "walks", as per her therapists, but the crutches take some of the load off her leg as she rebuilds strength and balance one again.

    While the crutches are still here (behind the happy couple), Sarah has gained enough in her stability to stand and walk for short distances.

    Sarah goes back to Dr Carbon for her next follow up in a few days. We are hopeful that she will be cleared to drive and perhaps have some motion released on her brace. I'll be sure to post an update next week with her progress.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Getting over fears

        About a month ago, JT had his first big accident on his bike. If you remember, he had a large gash under his chin that required a trip to the ER. In the few weeks after his accident, JT was avoiding going on any bike rides like he does on a nearly nightly basis.

         After about 2 weeks, I started asking if he wanted to go on a bike ride and he would say he would like to go on a Big Wheel or ATV ride. Basically anything but the balance bike.  I would ask if we could go on a balance bike ride and he would get pretty timid and say No, he didn't want to crash down any more big hills. Understandable, but it made me feel pretty sad for how fearful he was of something that has brought him so much enjoyment over the past year.

         Last week, I decided to push JT out of his comfort box and require a small bike ride to help him realize that while accidents will happen from time to time, that doesn't need to allow us to be filled with fear. We talked about not going down the big hill that the accident happened and ways to move to either slow down. After lots of reassurance, JT was ready!

    Helmet strapped on and ready to start his ride.

    He went on a short ride through the neighborhood and visited the lion statues that are by a neighbors garage door.

    Towards the end of the walk, JT was feeling like a strong, big boy.

    When he realized he could ride his bike and glide down some small hills, he declared a big "YES! I did it Mommy!"

    To update on how his chin is healing- After the glue and steri-strips came off the cut formed a scab and healed a bit further.

    He is now the proud owner of his first scar. It reminds me of those generic birds that kids often decorate their drawings with when they are young(flip this image to see the "bird") I've been applying scar ointment to it in effort to help it fade a bit. Thankfully it is under the chin and not very noticeable.

         While the first ride post accident was a success, we still have a way to go. The bike isn't JT's go to for after dinner walks/rides and he still talks about not wanting to crash. With his family of cheerleaders, I'm sure it will continue to get better.