Monday, October 27, 2014


Abby had lots of appointments today (more than we originally thought, it turns out!)  We were up at 5:30, got Caleb to my parents' house at 6:30, and were at JHH by 8:30.  Early morning!

First we saw the anesthesia pre-op center to get her approved for anesthesia.  Sometimes we can go to our pediatrician for pre-op, but JHH wanted to see her because this is a big one that could impact the airway.  It went fine...another opportunity for us to educate people about Abby's interesting anatomy!

The nurse practitioner sent us to get blood drawn, which is always fun.  Thankfully, the phlebotomist listened to me when I said that her hands might look great, but they never actually get blood from them!  She also got heat packs when I requested, which really helps to draw out the vein.  This is the first time ever that blood was drawn on the first try.  Yippee!!

Our next appointment was for Abby to get a CT scan.  The tech grabbed the board they use to keep kids still, saying there's no way she will be still for this.  I asked if we could try it without the board (she absolutely HATES being strapped down!) and he glared at me.  I let him know that this wasn't her first CT scan and that I know she can be still because she's done it before.  He reluctantly agreed (preparing his I told ya so speech, I'm sure) and we started the scan process.  I know my girl.  She was totally fine, earning herself a lollipop and some cookies!

After going to the cafeteria for lunch, we headed back to the Facial Surgery department for an appointment with her surgeon.  Turns out, we were actually meeting with the entire Jaw Clinic, which meant we saw a speech therapist, geneticist, dentist, orthodontist, and our surgeon...who is really the one person we needed or wanted to see in the first place!

We did get some great information from our surgeon.  Here's a diagram of what the metal bars inside her jaw will look like.

  fingers holding ear tube

Abby will have external screws coming out toward her ears for several weeks.  We will turn them twice a day to extend her jaw.  The goal is to extend between 10-15 mm.  When the extension is done, Dr. K will cut the screws off at the skin and the internal bars will stay in until late February.

The plan is for Abby to be in the hospital for 10-14 days, depending on how well she does. She will be intubated and sedated for at least 6 days before they attempt to take the tube out in the OR.  If she doesn't tolerate that well, the tube will be put back in and we will try again a few days later.  The concern is that the swelling will cause her airway to be even tinier than it already is.  We plan to play it safe and make sure that everything is very structured!  I love that our doctors here feel the same way and have everything so carefully orchestrated.  Our wonderful ENT will be in attendance at both the surgery and the extubation attempt in case Abby gets into any trouble.  (He will also be working on her ears during surgery, to hopefully correct all of the hearing issues we have had in the last few months!!)

So...we're all set for surgery next Wednesday.  It's another big one with its own set of risks and concerns, so we certainly appreciate your prayers.  I'm starting to pack now! :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

We carved pumpkins with Emily and the kids!  We had a good system going:  Matt dug out the pumpkins while we sifted through to pull out the seeds.  Later, I washed and roasted them...yum!

Then we started in on the actual carving and decorating.  Emily was a big help with this!  She is so good with the kids.

Caleb drew his and carved some of it.  Matt helped too.  Pretty fun!

Abby wanted Elsa.  (shocker!)  I printed off a template and did my looked better the further away you were.  Close up, the general consensus was that she looked more like Ursula from The Little Mermaid.  :o/

Emily's mom sent some very cute decorations, so we used them for our third pumpkin.  The kids had a lot of fun decorating this one!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Farm Fun With Emily!

Emily just fits right in with our family.  She jumps right in and helps with the kids, chats easily, and just seems to be one of us!  I am so thankful that God sent her to us.  We ALL love her!

After church on Sunday, we visited a local farm.  Our family tends to make the farm circuit around this time of year because we really enjoy the fall festivals.

The first places we hit were the moon bounce and slide.  Abby was really excited...until we got over there and she saw all the rowdy kids!  She knows her limits, so she waited a while until it was a little calmer.

We have no idea who this little girl is on the right.  She grabbed Abby's hand and went on down with them...

We visited the animals, which is another favorite of my kids.  They love petting the animals and getting them to eat out of their hands!!

After waiting in line for the hayride, we rode it down the country rode until we had a view of some beautiful farmland!  The hayride took us to the pumpkin patch.  

After we paid for our pumpkins and put them in the car, we went through the corn maze.  This one was quite a bit bigger than the one we went to a few weeks ago, and I think Abby was getting tired toward the end!  Caleb liked leading the way though.  

Of course, I had to subject them to a few photo boards...

The kids enjoyed playing in the corn pit!  (Of course, what fun would it be without a few kids with absent parents who throw corn at the other kids?!)

We topped the day off with some delicious apple cider slushies.  Yum!

Seriously, doesn't she just look like one of our family?!  LOVE that girl!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

My Sweet Abby Joy,

FOUR years old!  Wow!!  Where has the time gone?!  I still remember the day we brought you home from the hospital like it was yesterday.  We were so very thankful...and scared to death!!

You have changed from that tiny, frail little baby to a vivacious, energetic preschooler!  A lover of Frozen, princesses, Chloe, and your family (especially your momma!), your zest for life is so evident.

  Your laugh is contagious--your big belly laugh is my favorite!  I can usually get you to break out with it when I tickle your trach hole!

I love watching you when you are playing with Caleb.  Your love for each other is so pure and beautiful.  Your face lights up when you see him.

Abs, you're facing a lot right now.  You'll be having surgery #8 in two weeks, and then at least 2 more by the end of the summer.  I know these are hard on you, but through it all you stay so positive and upbeat.  You are such an inspiration, Ladybug.

As you grow, I truly hope that you recognize the importance of your scars and aren't ashamed of them.  You see, every scar tells a story--a story of God's faithfulness.  He has been with us every step of the way:  through every surgery, through every appointment, through every hard day, through every celebration.  Your scars will allow you to tell others about everything God has done in your life.  Make the most of those opportunities!

I love you, Abby. You are one incredible little girl and I am proud to be your Momma.

Mommy-o :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Name That Fungus!

Update!!  Thanks to Linda, I now not only know that this fungus is called Corn Smut, but it is also considered a delicacy in Mexico!  Very interesting, but I don't think I'll be adding any to my quesadilla.
We found this in the corn maze.

While I do kinda like this picture, I'm a little weirded out by it.  See the corn cob popping out at the top?!  Weird.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My New Favorite Appliance

This pretty lady is all mine now, thanks to a great find on the online yard sale!  I have been wanting one for a while, but wasn't willing to shell out the money.  This is in perfect condition and was less than half price!  Yippy!!

Friday, October 17, 2014