NEW BLOG: http://hatchlinghomemaker.blogspot.com/
Dear family and friends, I have some good and bad news. The bad isn't that bad so I'll just tell you; the weebly site this blog is on has now started to ration my picture quality of the pictures I put on. Since I live for pictures and sharing them, this was a killer, so I looked around more. I found that my first blog site that I ever used, BlogSpot, is actually perfect. It lacks some cool site features for setup and design of ones website, but makes everything easier for me. There, I will be able to upload pictures easier with a connection to my google drive right on the same page, so I'll be able to pack in more pictures. It also backs everything up on my google drive (which we pay for and have plenty of space), so I won't be running out! Also, you'll be able to subscribe via email so you won't have to keep checking back. I'm keeping this site up but I don't plan on posting anything else more here.
NEW BLOG: http://hatchlinghomemaker.blogspot.com/
Today we beat the rain going down the hill and were able to see daddy. He was super excited to see all his favorite people after nine days of waiting in the hospital for results of various biopsy procedures. Yesterday was the third biopsy and the earliest results will be within 1-3 days. He's a little sore from the biopsy but is doing very well! He's also very happy on his 2,000 calorie diet they've given him now, compared to the 1,500 calorie they had him on. They always seem to treat and feed him better after making him fast for so long before a biopsy. Emilie is still very hesitant of Scott's IV, which she calls "Pokey," and with the new one they've put in his left hand she feels no different! Emilie will not permit that hand to touch her!
Scott was super happy to see his parents and be able to be with them in person, especially during this crazy time. We thought the room wouldn't be big enough to hold us all, but we were happy that proved not to be the case! Scott's parents, my mom, the kids and I all fit just fine! I did have to sit on hubby's bed, but I wont complain, it's cozy.
We took several walks down the hall, and I was reminded several times how blessed we were. Scott wasn't tied to an IV, blood line and walking down the hall hooked up to an oxygen tank like a fellow patient. Nor is he at fall risk like most people on the same PCU (Progressive Floor Unit, one step up from ICU) floor. He's breathing, walking and able to make all the nurses and doctors smile as he cracks out jokes and makes everyone else's day a better one. He really is the most desired patient to be had! <3
Well friends and family, it looks like Scott will be in the hospital a little longer. The second biopsy results came back early yesterday, but unfortunately are non-diagnostic... meaning they learned jack squat from them. Take a deep breath, because it's all going to be okay and we've got fantastic doctors working with us. Today they are squeezing in a third biopsy and getting even bigger chunks this time. Sadly, I've lost all my hopes of these biopsy's, but the third times a charm right? They're going to go through his pectoral and lung to get to the icky lymph node area and, lets hope, they get a really, really bad piece of it this time that will let on what's going on. Scott being a brave fearless knight and will endure all fire breathing dragons coming at him. He's doing okay.
For us up here, we're really sad we haven't been able to go down the hill to see him with this weather we've been having. It's been Winter Weather Advisory, gusting winds, snow and rain with low viability. The list visit I had to Scott the wind almost blew my off the freeway and I lost control of the car with the anti-skid breaks. Guess driving at 70 mph isn't so wise, even if everyone else is doing it. I popped on those hazard lights I drove like I was an old, old granny. I was like, "Hah, I don't care how pathetic you think I am! As far as you know, I'm just a crazy Californian who never sees any rain!". Well, I admit my experience is minimal. Scott told me not to break any speed records, so I didn't, but he really should have told me to break my slow record and make it good! Where I skid was the same place my friend flipped her truck too. Highways are a little more dangerous with gusting winds...
Well, tomorrow we'll be seeing Scott. It should be hard rain, but we'll take it slow. Scott is getting ready for his 3rd biopsy and will be underway at any moment. This time the results really should be next week, but who knows, maybe they just won't be able to help themselves and just have to study it out of curiosity!!! The doctors have been really pushing sped up reading results and have done a really good job at it!
George and Emilie are still under the weather and really quite miserable with coughs! It's been way easier that they've been sick the whole time Scott's been admitted. The fierce storm has given me much needed rest, though I long to see my hubby and give him some comfort. We have called in the Reserve and grandma and grandpa are on the way and will be in town tonight! We'll see how the Biopsy goes with Results in the beginning of the work week.
Many things that have been explained to me have honestly have gone over my head, I just choose to be positive and look forward optimistically. Scott has done really well at the hospital, though it's disappointing there are no results yet. The results from the first biopsy came back negative, which they were expecting they would (after they had taken it). Today they finally got his second biopsy done. It was a bit more complicated this time, so they put him under. They went through his esophagus and took six samples of an affected lymph node. I'm really hopeful they will get some answers this time. Results will be in 3-5 days, excluding weekend. Scott has many doctors and specialists working on his case so he's in very good hands. It's been six days since he was first admitted.
The kids have loved visiting daddy whenever I have taken them (at least three times), however they don't really know what's going on. George had a really good theory though. George saw both cars in the garage when we got home and said, "Mommy, why doesn't daddy have a car? Daddy's stuck at the hospital because he doesn't have a car!". I have explained to him that daddy's sick and the doctors are helping him to be better, but the amazing imagination just cannot be hindered! It's also helped the kids that Scott was on a business trip just before he was admitted, and only home one day before. Also, him having work days down the hill normally also means they're use to him being gone for a few days at a time without seeing him. Both of these things have helped them a lot. Basically, the stress is pretty well controlled and we're trying to keep things as much as in routine as possible. I'm really worried it will be hard to keep it that way, but that's my goal! This whole thing really is a journey!
The view and atmosphere of the hospital is super nice. He's able to walk freely around, and we can visit at any hour without being turned away. There is also a view of Mary Birch, where I gave birth to Emilie so we're pretty familiar with the surrounding layout. The nurses have been so kind to Scott and we're super thankful for/to them! There's been a lot of tests, diet restrictions, some fasting, and biopsies, so hopefully the doctors will be able to make an accurate diagnosis, cure and have him on his way home within a week. Realistically, I don't know if that's going to happen, but this I do know... He's going to get better, and he'll come home when it's time. I have no idea of the road ahead, but I know it's going to be okay. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers for Scott, we feel them and are so thankful for them. We've felt peace, and we're keeping our chins up.
Saturday morning, January 14th, we decided to take Scott to the ER. For months we knew something was wrong, his quality of life was miserable, and we were really struggling to be cheerful and to readjust our lives to ease the stress. Our doctor said weight loss was the number one goal for him and to get exercise in. On his work trip, he decided to get some exercise in and it tipped him over the edge and gave him a new symptom of not being able to breathe. For several days it felt like Darth Vader was choking him, and on Saturday his breathing got even worse. All night he could hardly get any rest with all the panic, and the slightest lean backwards closed his air ways. The ER was the right choice. The doctor read his chart history, saw he was overweight, and broke the news to us in a reluctant smile that it was sleep apnea and it finally caught up with him. We listened for awhile nodding, and then I asked "so you really think it's sleep apnea? Is there anything else it could possibly be?". She shrugged and asked, "well, are you having trouble swallowing?". After talking to us a bit more, her eyes widened, "Oh, you're feeling this right now? So not just at night?". It was a bit of a horror to realize she was misunderstanding us the entire time, but she had him have a neck cat scan. Three hours later (and three hours after her shift, she stayed!) she returned saying there was something, and that she wanted to be there to the end for us. She couldn't tell us what it was, but only that there was something, and that was what was causing all the symptoms. She had Scott submitted to the hospital immediately.
What's happening to Scott? Basically, an Superior Vena Cava vein (which is the big, one-inch vein that drains all the blood back from his head and upper body back down to the heart), has been squished closed by an enlarged and hardened lymph node... and that's not good, just so you know. He seems to be getting worse, and I'm so happy we brought him in. Even at the hospital, his arms are now noticeably swollen. He can walk, but that's about it and has to take it easy (not work out). Today they did a biopsy of the fluid in his neck, which has been choking him, and we will hopefully know a bit more in 2-3 days of why the lymph nodes are swelling. A doctor told us the results might not tell us anything... but we can go the optimistic route and say it has to say SOMETHING. It looks like Scott is going to have to have his portion controlled, delicious hospital food for awhile longer. The bottom line is though, they need to figure out what is making his lymph nodes swell and possibly, continue to grow.
George and Emilie had a hard time staying in the room to visit, but they had a wonderful time yesterday with daddy. George especially loved playing his math game, and Emilie loved wrecking havoc. They both were sweet little monsters, pressing alarm buttons and running away from me down the hall... we did eventually get in a nice movie though, and they stayed put for the most part for that!
Today it was just me down the hill and my mom babysat my poor now-sick babies. Yes, dropping toys on the hospital floor and then sucking on them apparently will make you sick. George now has a high fever (can't tell how high, all our thermometers seem to be broken, but around 102F), and Emilie might be catching it too. The positive side, them being sick today, made them more manageable for my mom who isn't use to baby sitting them. George basically watched TV all day and is really in the dumps. Thankfully TV is really distracting! Tomorrow we hope to see Scott again, but I'll have to see how the kids are doing. Since they got sick from the hospital, I don't feel guilty taking them back as long as I keep them close and in our room (which they probably got sick from anyway), but I'll have to see how they're feeling. Going down the hill is a big production, takes an hour drive each way, and is pretty hard on them. We had a video chat with Scott this evening, and just might have to have another with him and the kids tomorrow.
With potty training complete with only follow through, it'll be only dresses for Emilie (with 3 day method, it's nothing on underneath for at least 6 months of the follow through to prevent diaper relapse). She's the sweetest little dynamite ("sugar and spice and everything nice" truly defines her) and dresses really seem to suit her... Emilie has grown 3 inches since her last appointment and is at the 25th percentile for both weight and height. They said she's growing perfectly.
Our nurse, Ingrid I believe her name was, was the sweetest nurse ever, and Emilie and her quickly became friends! Ingrid had to give her a shot at the end, but quickly made recompense by returning with a popsicle! Emilie was excited to see the doctor until she saw and recognised her, then burst out crying. There are only two consistents with appointments (we get a new nurse every time, they rotate)... the doctor… and the shots… Last time was pretty traumatic. Ingrid did awesome though. She took things in a non-rushed manner (let George do everything first, like measurements and weight and temperature), and went quickly in a calmly manner when it mattered too. The shot experience was much better this time. I’m thankful it was just one she had to take!
Emilie has really blossomed and she’s loving Nana being here and hanging for a little bit. I’m thankful mom could be here a little too. Mom really helped out by being there for the shot appointment too (who wants to do that alone?). Now that it’s all over, Emilie is having a nice long nap after the trauma and I believe she just woke up! Until next time!
Our homeschooling journey is just beginning, and why not? I don’t have to stick to anyone else’s schedule! We were thinking of enrolling George in a Charter School this year, but I’m starting to heavily debate it and thinking we should just do our own thing without the bureaucracy (though I do believe that certain Charter schools are way better, the government is a mess on steroids, from foreign domestic defense down to the school's. Seriously, politics, I hate it.)
Whether we’re going to enroll George in a Charter School home study program or go full-on homeschooling, we would need this little nook in our house anyway, so yesterday we took it on! Scott helped me clear away the breakfast tables, chairs and boxes, I did some sweeping, mopping and then all that was left was to design it with what we had around the house! Thank you Montessori (teaching style/method), I had small chairs, table and shelves thanks to you! The breakfast area was the brightest and warmest area of our home, so I thought it would be a good pick.
The whole reason we got into this great frenzie and cleaning/organizing craze is #1… Scott and I made a New Year’s resolution together to clean and organize the house (eh-hem, still a mess, but we’re working on it!), and #2, I found my dream curriculum called My Father’s World!!! It’s a combination of Charlotte Mason, Classical Education and Unit Studies. These terms will probably mean nothing to most people, but they’re teaching styles, and these 3 are incredible and my three favorite combined into one! Not only that, it’s heavily Christian based, which means George will learn good morals and get a solid foundation of the Bible. I don’t care for their Bible translation choice, but we will just use NKJ version anyway. George is also advancing in math so I thought we’d better get our jig going on math as well. He burst out at the dinner table the other night that 10 +10 = 20, and can count to 20, and he has been doing basic math addition and subtraction with real world math as well. A real example of real world math that happened the other day was Emilie bringing an extra plate to the table, telling George the matter and asking what 5 - 1 equals. He answered it quickly with a grin that it was four. Todo math app was an awesome tool to get him this far and has made math really fun and easy for him. Todo math will grow with him through 2nd grade too.
We’ll be starting My Father’s World program called Voyage of Discovery, and starting Singapore Math ahead of time and see how George does with it (it generally starts at second grade with My Father’s World) My Father’s World uses real world math for preschool through 1st grade, but George really has a basic understanding of math, so I’m pioneering on and making a jump. If George isn’t ready, we’ll just save it for later.
With reading, I’ve been holding back on George since learning to read requires writing with the phonogram program we have, and he’s just starting to get his pen/pencil finger. We’ve been working on our phonograms though, and he knows all the basic 32 sounds of letters A-Z.
For socializing, I’ve been very worried. We’re sort of secluded up here socially with weak play groups and not very many kids in our neighborhood. Sort of the same situation I was faced with as a kid growing up on a boat. The biggest and only socialization it seems is school. So it’s either 8 straight hours of socialization at school… or none? I’m not in favor of either extreme. Many homeschoolers in the city are not faced with such extremes, and get very diversified socialization with homeschooling, but I have to be a little more thoughtful about it up here since there don’t seem to be any groups close by. It’s a hard task, but I’m working on a way figuring out how we can get him some good friends. I can’t believe how hard it is! You set up a playgroup, and you’d think all the mom’s would flock where we live, but no, they fall out of the playgroup like water in a colander! Even the preschool up here closed down! Well, never fear, we’ll think of a solution. Because socialization has to be apart of our homeschooling too.
The biggest thing about homeschooling though for me, is to have it be stress-free and to adapt a no-rush lifestyle. I never learned math when someone was trying to hurry me along, have you? I seriously think one reason Americans die so young (besides gang gun shootings in Obama’s home town.) is that we’re so freaking stressed and rush to get everything finished! I think learning and life must to be enjoyable and at non-rushed pace for both the child and the parent. As I’ve I slowed down, taken time and realized the dishes can wait a little bit longer and things don’t have get done right away as “fast as I think they do,” I’ve been able to be here in the moment more for my kids and have started to feel peace in my life. In fact, the curriculum My Father’s World helped me to discover this. They’re manual said a school week for kindergarten was 6 days, and no, you weren’t expected to work over the weekend. It was so you wouldn’t have to be tied to a strict work/school week. They said to be flexible is important! Start on Tuesday, end on Tuesday. Next week you start a new unit on Wednesday and you end on Wednesday. If you missed a day, you just take off where you left off and don’t freak that you’re behind! You wouldn’t believe how much stress that took off me! Just the other day, my hubby told me he honestly didn’t think I would stick with homeschooling, and I honestly got worried! I started thinking, how can I make this as easy as possible for myself. Well, My Father’s World curriculum! Thank you very much! I’ve been such a rigid person my whole life, having to cover from A-Z, no tailoring, no “exceptions” and it’s been really stressful on myself! Starting to teach nursery at church and also Young Women’s and other classes have gradually led me to this realization that I’m having right now... it’s the ability and need to let go. It’s good to plan, but it’s so important to be flexible! “Make plans, but be flexible!” a father once said. Life changes so much, so we must be able to adapt. Just as a plane’s wings are able to bend in the air and sudden wind changes, so must we be flexible and adaptable too, or else we might break!
I’m so thankful for all the life lessons I am learning, and thankful for the growing within myself that is happening before my eyes. God doesn’t want us to be stagnant, but to grow and learn and thrive! We were never made to stay the same and stay in the same situation forever, but to learn how to grow and adapt to the changes of life. Isn’t life and learning exciting?
Emilie has had tremendous success on her second day today with an incredible leap. Waking up, I put her on the potty, and ever since then Emilie has done gone all by herself without any alarms or prompts! I’ve asked her if she’s needed to go of course, completely shocked, but she’s said no most times (of course) and just goes when she’s ready. We had to do a Walmart trip today and get Scott’s blood drawn for testing, and she had no accidents on the hour drive down, even with a nap! We made sure she had no liquid starting an hour before going, and left with a pee break before we went! We only had to pull over twice on the when she needed to pee (but not really it turned out!). I’m really shocked with after how much work I did yesterday with three minute timers, and now with today, without really having to do anything! It’s safe to say Emilie is potty trained, and now it’s just for the follow through and the rest is on me! No accidents, two poops in the potty... Girls really are easier to train! I’m sure it has to do with the child too, but goodness gracious! Here’s for Emilie, our 25 month old girl trained! Great job Emilie!
Last Post, Emilie's 1st day of training: Here
It’s potty training time! George had three rounds of tries before we really got there, and Emilie had a really short try long ago when I found out I really wasn’t ready. Well, we’re ready this time, and so is Emilie it appears. Emilie seems adamant on keeping her diapers off, despite relentless tries on our part of putting her pants back on with a clean diaper! I would have liked to have waited more, but with her determination to be butt-naked and diaper-less (which resulted with pee on the floor anyway) it seemed the only choices left, was to either potty train or put on a metal chastity belt over the diaper (like Maid Marian had in Robin Hood, the spoof ;))! Emilie's done pretty well today, and I’m very impressed on her accomplishments with being so young! Yes, there has been poop and pee on the floor everywhere, but the successes outnumber and outweigh the accidents.
Emilie has never been a drinker, but I’ve been able to entice her with orange juice and diluted diet Root Beer, and have gotten her and George to snack on salty popcorn (which they absolutely love). Peeing a lot is pretty necessary for the three day method to work, so that's what I've been really working at, getting her to drink! I’ve set the phone timer for 3 minutes when she’s actively drinking (any longer she’ll have an accident... you set the timer as short as you need to), and she’s been going like a charm (as she sees if she waits she’ll pee all over the floor). When she had her poop accident, I just scooped up the poop, put in in her toddler potty, then set her on it. Accidents are fine and will happen, but it’s just important to cheerfully emphasize the pee/poop goes in the potty (anger and resentment will cause a a diaper relapse, and really not necessary or helpful!). For nap time and bedtime, we’ll just put diapers on. George still occasionally has accidents even though he's trained, and kids won’t relapse in traning if they’re wearing a diaper while asleep (for car rides they will though... I learned.). For trips down the hill, we're going to have her wear a dress without anything underneath, and for her car seat, put a towel layered with plastic underneath.
The first 3 days are always the most intense, so I'm looking forward for the first 3 to be over... in just two more days! I’m also happy we’ll have a full week at home (Scott’s working from home all week), because that’s how much time you need to get a solid start. So, it’s basically 3 days of craziness, a week of concentration/dedication, and then 3-6 months of persistent follow through! If the first three days go well, we’ll continue, if not, she simply isn't ready, and we'll just have to figure out a way to get her to keep her diaper on! We'll try again if it isn't the time for her. With all the craziness in the change of schedule and attention so focused on her going potty, it’s pretty stressful for both the kids, and even now Emilie is having a second nap! There’s payoff though for participating in potty training though, and George and Emilie are appreciating the diet soda, juice and popcorn!
This year has been fabulous and it has been an amazing and relaxing Christmas (even with our energetic kids)! We were even able to get our family picture taken by my mom instead of going to JCPenny's (see her in the photo above?). Scott was much more supportive of my cause after I told him we wouldn't have to go to JCPenny's!... that just saved us $100+ CD of photos (I've never been able to pick just a few photos before... until that one time we took pictures of all the neices and nephues... that was a mistake! Four children, three under the age of three was not the easiest).
On Christmas Eve, we had an amazing dinner of mashed potatoes and gravey, ham and green bean cassarole with Sparkling Cider on the side! It was followed with the singing of hymns and a teaching from Scott on the meaning of Christmas and the greatest gift of all, the Savior, Jesus Christ and how because of him we can all be saved (We had a big golden wrapped present, the biggest of all, to represent that gift and reuse it every year). We also read the nativity from the Bible.
Aftarward, we each opened a present (that was set out before-hand on our big teddy bear. All other presents hidden in our room!!!) and then set out our shoes, pointing them to a picture of Christ and said that by following him comes wonderful blessings and how the treats in the morning represent them (we put little games and toys in the shoes, with some candy each). We closed the evening with a family movie upstairs with the big projector. Once the kids were out and put to bed, all three of us (mom, hubby and I) filled the shoes pointed to Christ with toys and treats, and set out all the presents under the empty tree! It was pretty fun and exciting doing all this, especially me setting up Emilie's little tent and Scott setting up the race track!
Christmas morning, George and Emilie were so excited to see the little presents, toys and games in their shoes, and gifts from the Wisemen / Mommy and Daddy set all out. Instead of the shoes pointed to a picture of Christ though, I put out my computer in front of them with a picture of the nativity and with Christmas music playing. We let them play with the toys/games in their shoes, had breakfast, and then had present opening. Reading the Berenstain Bears book about Christmas and present giving really helped George with focusing some of the time present time with giving and getting joy from it. It was really heartwarming to see how sweet he was to Emilie, and also how he helped her during present opening. At first, present opening was pretty relaxing. The kids would open one and play with it and ignore the rest, then gradually move on to another one handed to them, or hand one to someone else at request. Eventually it did get crazy once Emilie learned about how cool present opening was, but the whole present opening experience was still awesome and we all had a lot of fun!
Scott's in the process of having family calls and videos now so we can connect with his side around the country (video calls are awesome!), and then we'll eventually have our second Christmas dinner (amazing leftovers) and probably one more family movie this evening (we've figured out classic and other Disney movies are our pick for movies on Christmas). Anyway, I'm more writing all this for posterity and to remember all what we did for next Christmas! We've had such a fun time all together with lighting the tree (aka, the tree of life), singing and playing together. Scott and I had an awesome time playing the Oregan trail card game too while George was playing with his new Tinker Toys and Emilie napping. It's been so nice and happy and pretty relaxing this Sunday (yesterday was the stressful day with trying to get the house decently clean and cooking). We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope it's been a peaceful and happy time! Love, Mary and Family
Just one of those average amazing moms... Cause you know, mommy = amazing.