Tuesday, September 30, 2014

56 girls and 1 boy

The first time Emma and I ever had a conversation about her being a mom someday I asked her how many kids she wanted to have.  She thought for a second and then said, "56 girls and 1 boy."  She has stuck to that number.  Now any time she talks about being a mom, when she plays house with Ave or a friend, she wants to be the mom and have "56 girls and 1 boy."  Regardless of me telling her that it isn't possible to have that many children she still insists and tells me that's how many babies she wants to have.  Lots and lots of girl babies.  Everything about her little personality does make me think that Em will one day have a house full of little girls.  She has a million stuffed animals and dolls and every night she spends a least ten minutes getting them all organized on the bed next to her in a giant pile.  They get at least half of her bed and then she gets the other half and still has Ariel and Elsa tucked in under her arm.  Some nights I go in and she is sweating with them piled all around her.  I will take them off and set them on the ground and in the morning she will have picked them up and put them in bed again sometime during the night.  Every night she arranges them different and has different "babies" take a turn getting to sleep closer to her.  Ariel being the only exception.  Ariel has always and I think will always be her special doll.  Oh Miss Em you are a good momma and love all those babies.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 100 day cough

The first couple days of Sept. Emma had gotten a little cough.  She wasn't running a fever with it but I decided to take her to the pediatrician, they told me it was croup.  The doctor said it was viral, that it would just run its course and there wasn't anything to give her just more rest, put a humidifier in her bedroom. So we did everything to help her feel better and over the next week the cough only got worse, quite a bit worse.  Deke was putting in a million hours at work including night shifts due to a remodel in the department.  I was up and down every night with Emma and then trying to peel my eyes open to work and care for her during the day.  Not to mention trying to keep up with Hudson which is a full time job in itself these days.  I was so exhausted.  So back in to the pediatrician's office we went, this time we saw a different doctor.  I explained that it was getting worse and she was starting to have really bad coughing spells and that she was getting really lethargic.  The doctor looked in her ears, nose, throat, said everything looked beautiful, that she had no fever and that it was just croup.  Again I was advised to keep her rested and that it would run its course.  I was frustrated, I felt like they weren't listening to what I was telling them about how bad the cough was getting.  I felt like they just brushed me off.  Two nights later we had just put the kids down and Deke and I were sitting watching tv when we heard a gasping sound, we went running in to Emma's room and she was completely purple.  Deke started pounding on her back and finally we could hear her labored breathing.  It was such a frightening moment for Deke and I.  After having already suffered great loss  there is no way to explain the awareness we have of the fragility of life.  We rushed her in to the urgent care around the corner and she was examined again.  Her esophagus was so swollen her airway was less than half the size it should be.  They quickly gave her a stereoid to take down the swelling.  "Well she has a really bad case of croup here" the doctor concluded as Deke and I just sat and stared at him.  I was so frustrated that I toned him out as he gave me the same speech about letting it run its course and blah blah blah.  I insisted to Deke that this wasn't croup, it was something else.  Yet I kept telling myself that she had seen three separate doctors that all confirmed the same diagnosis.  So I ignored my gut and waited for her to start "turning the corner."  We took her home, gave her some cough medicine and I don't think Deke or I slept more than thirty minutes at a time continuing to check on her throughout the night.  I was so scared she would stop breathing.  We would prop her up practically sitting to help her breathe better and give her water to loosen the phlegm.  She would start a coughing spell and then just sit and cry because her body could not get rest because of the cough.  Now Hudson had developed a cough and Hunter had a pretty progressed cough as well.   I felt like a zombie.  I worked, then cared for sick kids all day and night and did the same routine over and over.  I didn't go out anywhere other than to get groceries.  I sat in the house feeling like I was climbing the walls.  During the day Emma was getting completely sedentary.  Over the next four days it got really scary.  Emma was having coughing fits that would last for a couple of minutes straight and she would turn purple from coughing so hard.  She would cough so hard she would throw up or choke on the phlegm.  The fourth day the cough started sounding really weird.  It was almost like a giant gasp of inhaled air over and over. That night she didn't rest at all.  She coughed the entire night for hours on end.  At one point I went in and she had coughed so hard she had lost bladder and bowel control.  Something was very wrong, I didn't care what the doctors were saying my baby was really sick and this was NOT croup.  The next morning I pretty much marched into the pediatrician and let them know that this was not croup, that my daughter was very ill and that they would be testing her for everything they could because I was not leaving there until someone figured out what was actually going on with her.  As the doctor examined her she started to comment how her "ears and throat looked fine, she has no fever" and I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks.  Then Emma went into a coughing fit and the doctors eyes got wide with shock.  "That's whooping cough.  We'll have to swab her to make sure but I am 99% positive by the sound of it that she has whooping cough."  She swabbed Emma and Hudson and prescribed antibiotics for them to start on right away.  I was at work that Mon when the office called and she told me the swabs came back positive, both Emma and Hudson had whooping cough.  I sat there right in the middle of my work place tears streaming down my face.  I couldn't even talk I was crying so hard.  There really is no other way to put it, I was pissed.  I was so angry that she had gone misdiagnosed.  Deke and I had watched her suffer through it with only cough syrup and cough drops to ease her discomfort.  I was frustrated with myself for having gut instincts and not fighting against the doctors sooner.  I should have trusted myself, I'm so sorry baby girl.  It was the 22nd of Sept. and Emma had been sick for seventeen days before she finally got an antibiotic.  The doctor then continued to tell me that the whole family needed to be swabbed, we would need to enter the office through the back door in the alley behind the office.  So that afternoon we stood outside the door and knocked, a nurse opened the door gowned as if sharing the same air as us would cause her skin to melt and handed us all masks.  As she went to get the tests I looked over at the kids and couldn't help but smile and shake my head.  
Everyone was swabbed and we were all started on antibiotics, all six of us.  Sure enough Hunter and Ave's swabs came back positive as well.  All four of the kids had whooping cough.  The pediatricians had to report it to the state health department who called us to take a report and then notified our places of work and the kids school.  We were told to quarantine the kids to the house for five days, Deke and I for the first 24 hours.  When we got the swab results on Em and Hudson Deke actually had to leave work and couldn't return until he had been past 24 hrs on the antibiotic.  About day four on the antibiotic I started to see some relief for Em.  The thing about whooping cough is that it is nicknamed the 100 day cough.  Even after the antibiotic the cough will continue anywhere from 30-90 days as her lungs heal.  I have never had any of my kids be as sick as Emma was.  She was sick the entire month of September.  I am so grateful that we were able to get her properly diagnosed as well as the other kids and get everyone the medicine they needed.  Grateful that everyone is okay.  That day in the doctors office I sat looking at the kids all in their masks and I couldn't help but get out my camera to capture the moment.  It sounds silly but I guess in this life of mine I want to remember ALL the moments, even the crazy ones.    

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lego Robotics League

Hunter has been wanting to learn more about LEGO robotics and programming so we got him on a team through the FLL (First LEGO League).  It started up the first week of Sept. and goes through Dec.  Every Friday night they meet as a team for two hours.  The first couple of weeks they were learning about the competition, the theme for the year, the tasks that the robot must try to complete and getting their practice field all set up.  There are ****** tasks on the field and the robot must try to complete as many as they can in ****** minutes.  Each team receives points based on how many tasks were done, and also by the time in which they were accomplished.  This the field and some of the tasks....
It is hard to tell from the picture but the robot has to do some pretty cool things including needing to be able to differentiate between colors, be able to turn, pull, grasp, lift, push different components.  Most of the tasks require the robot to do more than just one step to retrieve the key.  Then it must take every key it gets over and put it on a lever in order for it to be counted.  The past few weeks the boys each got a kit and Mr. C told them to create their own robot that they thought would be best suited to perform all tasks.  They would design it, program it and then each robot would take a turn on the field.
It was so neat to watch the teacher sit back and really let the boys go to town on their own.  A couple of the boys started out with some really cool looking robots but they weren't stable enough or wouldn't move.  I sat and watched as Hunter made his first attempt at a design.
He got about halfway through and then decided he didn't think that it was going to be effective for a couple of the tasks, so he took it all apart and decided to go with a more simple design.  By this point the class was almost over but had made a new version of a robot and was working on arms and different motorized attachments that he could add on or take off.    This one was definitely stable, size wise and was able to maneuver around the board easier.
They will each get two more weeks to finish building and have it programmed.  Then the team will watch each boy's robot try out the course.  They will then vote on a component of each boy's individual robot to bring together to create the team robot.  Then as a team they will build their robot, start programming and fine tuning it to compete against the other teams and robots at the end of November.  Hunter is having so much fun and learning a ton.  All of this is just right up his alley.  Can't wait to watch their team compete soon and see all of the robots that the different teams create.

Sleeping pics

 I love watching my babies sleep.  I love a Sunday afternoon nap with Hudson, waking up next to him and just watching him sleeping, listening to his breathing and watching him hold his blanket between his fingers. He is so amazing.
 I love it when the kids play so hard that they fall asleep at the kitchen table.  Sometimes right in the middle of eating or in Em's case on this particular day I don't think she even got past the first bite.
 I love it when they fall asleep all over the living room floor watching a movie, or pile on a bed to take an afternoon snooze.  When I watch them sleep I can always envision them being little again and remember watching them sleep in my arms for hours as babies.  Sweet memories.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Book wars

64 books, battling each other all summer long.  Every time we would tell the kids to come in for book wars they would drop everything and run to their rooms to grab pillows and blankets and pile all over the living room floor.  Then we would read two books and everyone would cast their vote as to which book should move on to the next bracket.
 Sometimes it was unanimous, other times there were debates over why one book should win over the other and people occasionally tried to sway others to change their votes.  A couple of books were easy to pass by, others made it really difficult to choose.  We read some really funny stories, some with beautiful illustrations and others with unforgettable characters.  Our family has always been huge readers, Deke and I read constantly to the kids but it was so neat to read every single book as a family.  We read every single book all together.  It was neat to watch how much the kids were involved with all the stories.  They all had their favorite books and characters that they were cheering on the entire time.  Towards the end about the last ten books we all were having a hard time letting books get eliminated.  Here were some of our favorites...                                                                        
                                                             Hudson- (Mustache Baby)
                                                                 Hunter- (Fiona's Luck)
                                                              Emma- (Creepy Carrots)
                                                     Other favorites were: Journey, Spoon, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,  Exclamation Mark, Imagine a Night, Dragons Love Tacos etc. etc. etc.  When it came down to the final battle I never would've guessed that the winning book would be completely wordless.  The first time we ever read Journey, all six of us were squished together on the couch one night.  We explained to the kids that since there were no words that everyone needed to be very quiet, look at the pictures, and create the story in their minds.  It may sound cheesy but as we slowly flipped through the book it was sort of magical.  It was completely silent and the kids wide eyes poured over every page, you could see their wheels turning.  As we sat there together taking it all in it was a very warm, special moment and when the book had ended the kids were saying "Whoa that book was awesome!" "The pictures were so cool."  Honestly neither Deke or I thought it was the "best book of the summer" but it was the neatest experience we had reading a book together.  I think the memory of that moment stuck with all of us and the kids in the end all three of them voted this book the winner.  Whenever I read it now it will remind me of that night.
We were all bummed when it was over.  We decided to buy Journey and let each family member buy their own personal favorite book of the summer.  Everyone agreed that this has started a new summer tradition for our family.  One that I only imagine we will continue to love.

Let it rain

We have had some really rainy days this monsoon season.  Days where it actually poured rain all day or night long.  We even had some crazy flooding one weekend in Mesa.  Parts of the freeway were closed down and a usual twenty minute drive to work for Deke took three hours!  Hudson has loved it since then it means he can use the "brelladah" as he calls it.  Loving the rain and the cooler weather it is starting to bring.  Ready for fall!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Afternoon at the museum

Enjoying a day with the kids at the Mesa Natural History museum to enjoy the dinosaurs, pan for gold and see the exhibits...