Monday, September 28, 2009

Trying to remember

As I go to write this every week I try to remember all that has happened or gone on over the last several days. So I will do my best to recap the last week.

We have had some hard times this past week. Bella's strong will has sure been shining through this week. She knows what she wants and she wants it NOW! It is hard because her main way of communicating right now is grunting and pointing. And that wears on a mommy. Don't get me wrong, we have had a lot of great improvements, but there are times of the day that are struggles for us right now.

She has eaten great for us ever since we have been home, but this week she has been extremely picky and holding food in her mouth for a long time. I go back and forth wondering if she isn't feeling well. We have several doctor appointments this week, so we will see if there is anything going on. This also just may be her time where she is going to test her boundaries a little more.

She had an audiology appointment this past week and her hearing is normal. This is a relief because with cleft palate kids they normally have a lot of fluid in their ears which can lead to hearing loss. She does, but it does not seem to have affected her hearing so far.

She also had her cardiologist appointment today. The doctor says everything sounds great and the murmur they heard before is normal for a child post-open heart surgery. He does want to do an echocardiogram during one of her upcoming sugeries just to make sure everything is ok.

I went with some friends to the flea market on Wednesday. They have everything there ... fresh fruit and vegetables, clothes, baked goods, flowers, junk, and animals. Keenan and Bella enjoyed seeing the animals and Keenan held a baby Chihuahua. The funny thing is that he can't say Chihuahua. Instead he says Chickawalla (chick-a-wall-a). So cute. I ask him to say it over and over again because he just sounds so cute when saying it.

We had a lot of rain this week, so we were stuck inside more than I like. Already felt a little like cabin fever for me. We were able to still have the boy's soccer games on Saturday though.

We decided to have a family day on Sunday and took a beautiful drive to Bloomington to see my youngest sister at IU. It was such a pretty day and all 3 kids had a great time! It was nice visiting with Janel. We were disappointed though because we had told Janel of a couple of great places to eat and go to and we were all psyched to take her there, but they were gone! We were so bummed. So instead of us showing her some great places to go, she showed us! Here are some pics from our day ...

Bella's cranio-facial appointment is Friday. Please pray for her and please pray we can get her surgery scheduled sooner than later. She has lived without a palate for long enough. She is trying to say more words all of the time, but they come out sounding the same way as everything else she says.

A couple of other tidbits ... Everytime we drive into our neighborhood, Bella sqeals with joy. She loves going places, but she also loves coming home.
We also try to take a walk everyday and she loves holding Nala's (our golden retriever) leash while sitting in the stroller.
Our boys are goofy all of the time. Here is a picture of them being nerdy with their pants. I just couldn't stop laughing at them!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Swimming with clothes, hypnotized, potty training and rock band

The days seem to be flying by lately. I can't believe another week has already passed. Something I did not write about last time is that we started potty training Isabella a little over a week ago and you know what?! She is already wearing big girl panties! The girl is doing amazing and is even dry after she wakes up at night most nights. We taught her the sign for potty and she runs up to us and tells us when she needs to go. Don't get me wrong, this week has been LONG trying to get her there, but we focused primarily on that and she has gotten it!! She is smart and knows when she needs to go, so I think that is how and why she has done so well learning. Potty training is just one of those things that every parent dreads. Michael also taught her the sign for "all done". She is sooo cute when she does it.

We went to her speech evaluation at Children's Hospital and they were very encouraged by the sounds that she can say without her palate. They have high hopes for her and she is currently on the waiting list to get therapy. We will try to do speech therapy through Children's and also through the state program. They would like for her to get started even before her palate is repaired and we are all for that.

I took Keenan and Bella outside to play on Monday because it was a beautiful day. Once we were done playing on the swingset, I walked over to the pool to clean some leaves out of it. Bella wanted in but it is way too cold to swim. I told her she could sit on the edge and put her feet in. Well, I turned around to grab the net and when I looked back, this is how I found her ...

She did not think the water was cold at all I guess. Well because I made such a big deal about it, Keenan felt as if he needed to get in with his clothes as well. He didn't stay in as long as she did though because the water is just frigid.

Another funny story. The other night Aidan walked into the kitchen while I was making dinner and he said, "Mommy, my foot is asleep. I think it is hypnotized." I just couldn't help myself. I just busted out laughing because he was so serious about it.

The boys love playing rock band. Well, Bella got her first exposure to rock band and I think she is another Garland family rocker. Oh yeah, baby! She was playing with the little toy drumset alongside Michael on the drums, Aidan on the mic and Keenan with the guitar. She is a natural!

Some more good news that we received this week is that Michael is getting his contract!!!! Michael started his State Farm agency about a year ago. They gave him a one year contract at that point. If he proves himself, they then give him the permanent contract. He was told on Monday that he is being offered the contract. WooHoo! He has worked so hard and has done so well, that I didn't really think they could say no, but the uncertainty of it all has been rough. So we are thankful and blessed to finally know. God has always provided and I know Michael has been able to witness to clients and those that he works with. He leads a faithful business and I know that he feels that he has more opportunity to talk to people about his faith in this position than in any other that he has had. Please pray for his continued growth as both a business and a Christian.

This is Bella before church this morning. This little dress reminds me of my Great Aunt Evelyn. She used to wear dresses like this and like Bella, she was a little lady.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week in review

I can't believe another week has gone by. Bella started the week by visiting with a general surgeon who will operate on hernias that she has. We thought the operation would happen at the same time as when her palate is repaired, but the surgeon did not want to wait that long. So as long as her heart checks out ok with the cardiologist later this month, she will have her hernia surgery on October 20th.

We also had our first post-placement visit with our social worker this week. I can't believe we have had her for a month already. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and other days it feels as if she has always been with us.

Keenan and Bella have had some power struggles and jealousy issues this week. I know it is natural, but that doesn't make it easy on mommy.

Here is a picture of when Keenan was trying to be loving.

The boy's first soccer games were yesterday. I love watching them play. It is Keenan's first year and he is just so cute out there running around. His socks, shorts and shirt are so big on him that you can't even see any part of his legs because they are all completely covered. They play Upward soccer which is a faith-based program. Michael is one of the directors for the league for our church, so he is very involved in everything that goes on. He coaches Keenan's team, assist coaches Aidan's team, and refs 2 other hours of the day.

Keenan's team praying before their game.

Aidan's team praying ... melt's a mommy's heart.

Bella - their number 1 fan!

Funny story .... Keenan's favorite person right now is Tony Hawk, the skate-boarding legend. I have no idea if Tony Hawk plays soccer, but Keenan doesn't know that. I told Keenan that Tony Hawk runs super fast when he plays soccer. So Keenan ran circles back and forth down the field the entire game. I think he attempted or actually kicked the ball twice. After the game I told Keenan he did awesome. He looked at me and said, "I ran really fast, just like Tony Hawk!" I said, "You know what else Tony Hawk can do? He kicks the ball!!"

Keenan reaching for the sky.
Aidan after having a little too much sugar.

We also went to a birthday party yesterday. (Happy Birthday Kennedy!) All 3 kids enjoyed themselves and got lots of goodies.

We had a picnic with everyone that Michael works with last night. The kids had a great time playing at the park and climbing trees. Everyone at Michael's work gave Bella a beautiful jewelry box with her name painted on top. It is so special.

Here are some more pictures of our week ...

Keenan "working" on his computer just like daddy.

Bella sitting on her stool in her room. She has finally figured out how to get out of her bed. Not sure if that is a good thing or not - ha ha.

Bella cheesing it up in her pretty dress.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Great Weekend = Great Pictures

I just had to post because we have so many great photos from this long holiday weekend.

Aidan had 5 of his friends come and spend the night Friday night. This was a first for us and wow what energy did they all have! Wish I had just a fraction of it! They swam, played on the swingset, made smores around the fire pit, played wii and watched a movie. Michael set up a tent downstairs made out of blankets. The boys all thought that was awesome and they all (including Keenan) slept under the tent.
Aidan and all of his friends in front of the tent
We made it through the night! The boys eating breakfast.
About the time that all the boys left on Saturday, family started to arrive for the boys family birthday party. Aidan and Keenan once again were very spoiled!
Keenan got his remote controlled 4-wheeler he has been wanting.
Aidan added to his Lego collection and his goal to owning every Lego in the world.
The boys also got these awesome pirate boats for the pool. Even the adults liked playing with these.
You would think the boys would have been too worn out to do anything else after all that, but no ... they went camping Saturday night at our neighbor's that live 2 houses down. Several of our neighbors got together and camped. Our neighbor Janis fried up doughnuts. There was a fire pit and the kids ran through the woods with flashlights and had a great time. Bella and I joined everyone for a short time until we realized her toddling around a fire pit may not be the best idea. Plus she was one tired girl after partying all day with her brothers and cousins. We had to pull her out of the pool after she was in there for a few hours. This girl LOVES the water!
I took this picture of the campsite from our deck the morning after.

We went to church, but relaxed on Sunday afternoon. It was much needed.

Monday morning we took off and went on a bike ride along the Ohio River. There is a very nice bike and walking trail. Keenan and Aidan rode their own bikes. I could not believe Keenan rode his the whole way! His little legs have never worked so hard. Bella rode in the bike trailer and took it all in. We took breaks along the way and got these great pics.
Here are some other random photos from the weekend ...
The last Colts preseason game. Since it was not on TV, we watched it online. Bella getting her first dose of being a Colts fan! (She will have a jersey next time!)

Bella loving her chocolate pudding.

Keenan rockin' out. (Bella in awe of her crazy brother.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The parade of medical professionals

Isabella had her first appoinment yesterday with Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The appointment lasted a little over 5 hours. We met with a social worker, several nurses, a nurse practitioner, Dr. Staat and an occupational therapist. Everyone was so helpful and gave us so much information. Her development was evaluated and they gauge her to be right around 2 years of age developmentally. This is exactly where we thought she was AND this is almost exactly how long she has been in a loving environment (with her foster family and now with us).
The social worker gave us a lot of information and helped make us aware of many government funded programs that Bella should be eligible for just because of her speech delays.
The doctor was excited to meet Bella and called her "our little mystery." Dr. Staat reviewed her medical records when we received her referral and the records were all over the place. Dr. Staat and the others are very encouraged by how far she has come and the advances she has made since she has been home.

The dr did hear a heart murmur and thinks it may be normal for after having open heart surgery a couple of years ago. The dr is also concerned about a bulge in a vein in her neck. She called the ENT and they said they would look at her when we brought her in for the cranio facial team appointment, so there does not seem to be any urgency there.

Bella also had to have another TB test and have several vials of blood drawn. She screamed her head off! Whew. Poor girl hated that. But as soon as they were done, she fell asleep on me and slept all way home. The appointment was exhausting for all of us and we know we have many many more to go through. I spent part of today scheduling appointments with radiology, surgery, cardiology, speech, hearing and for an eye check. Please keep her and us in your prayers. We also pray that we don't find out of anything else going on. This little girl has already been through so much!
On a different note, thought I would share some more pictures with you ...
All 3 playing in the sandbox.

Aidan helping Isabella ride on the bike.

I think the boys had every pillow in the house in the living room jumping on them.

Keenan (with Aidan somewhere in there!)

Bella sitting on the step and then showing off her cute outfit.

Showing off her sassy side.