Sunday, June 30, 2013

We Interrupt Unpacking...

It's been busy and the girls have done a pretty tremendous job of entertaining themselves.
(Truth be told, Stranger and Hiccup have earned their keep a thousand times over.)
So we broke things up yesterday morning and while Court went to work, I took the girls to the Cherry Festival at Bill's Berry Farm to blow off some steam...and get some donuts! It almost didn't happen because a huge thunderstorm rolled through that morning, but the sun broke through and thus we were on our way!

First stop, donuts!
Homemade cherry donuts hot off the press. 

Grace loves theses suckers and had the skies opened up and she missed out on all the other fun activities, she wouldn't have minded as long as she left with a tummy full of these!

Mission accomplished. 

Next stop? 
The train!

The girls displayed obvious signs of cabin fever. They were go, go, go!!

Off to the tree fort...stopping only for a quick drink and another donut! 

I was a bit worried about Grace out on the farm in her casts. It just had rained really hard and I feared mud and dirt. She still has 3.5 weeks to go and that is a long time when you are itchy and uncomfortable. So I concocted a little foot protection with our grocery bags. It did the trick!

In the middle of picking cherries, Court called and our Uhaul truck that we had rented for the afternoon hadn't been returned and thus, we were out a truck. They did have a truck NOW but it was available only for three hours!
So I hightailed it out of Bill's farm and back to the old house to meet Court. 
We moved and hauled all the remaining 'big stuff' and got it on the truck. We ran back to the new house for an unload and at that point the girls just lost it. It was HOT!! And they were worn out. 
Court - the amazing trooper that he is - returned to the old house for one more run before we ran out of time with the truck. While he was able to pack and clear out a lot, he wasn't able to get it all!
Yes, we'll be going back. In fact, this week is going to be all about making little trips back and forth.
It feels like it will never be over!

But when I stop to take a breath, and I look around - I really look around all the world is right. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

We Made It

The calm before the storm...
strike that...
the eye of the storm.

Our last Saturday at Home Place. 

We decided to sleep in and have a bit of a lazy morning.
Family breakfast followed by a walk outside before Court headed off to work and I took the girls to a My Little Pony movie (Charlotte's first show at a theater!).

As we headed out for our jaunt in the backyard, we ran into trouble.
BIG trouble. 
The kind of trouble that breaks your heart.

The kind of trouble that makes you do crazy things... feed two stray dogs that randomly show up at your house two days before you move.

What other option did we have? 
So we fed them and gave them some water and vowed to find them a home after the move.

The girls were {not} helpful in the packing process.
They were good at entertaining themselves a bit - although that involved getting a lot of stuff out that I was trying to stash away in a moving box. 

My sister was a total rock star and came over to entertain the girls for me on the day of the move.
She took them to a movie and to lunch and kept them busy while I ran around with my head cut off.
(Huge thank you to Molly. Couldn't have done it without her!)
Move day was not fun.
The movers were late and because of a torrential down pour that morning, they were unable to park their truck in the driveway. Instead, they had to park down the street and shuttle 
every. single. item
down the steps of our porch, 
down the driveway,
through the gate,
out onto the street (where they blocked an entire lane of traffic)
and then up the ramp into the truck.
When I say it took forever, I mean it took forever.
It didn't help that two little puppies were running around under foot. I had boarded Lindey and Lucky.
I locked the puppies in the girls' playhouse but they escaped. All the doors to the house were open for obvious reasons and I knew they would claw and scratch any room they were locked in...
so I did what any person with a heart would do.
I piled them in the car and took them to the new house.
Luckily, the new house came with a dog run.

It didn't take long for the girls to fall in love.

At six that night, the movers were still loading the truck at the old house and because I was worried about where we eat and sleep that night and when!!!, we told them to leave everything else!
{Guess who gets to rent a UHaul tomorrow and finish our move?!!?}

The movers finally finished at 11:30 that night. The last items off their truck were our beds - of course.
It was a long night.

The next morning we woke up and our new baby chicks were delivered! yay!!

They are so small and so cute and the girls love them!!
Unfortunately, two of our eight didn't make it but the rest seem to be thriving!
It's amazing how quickly they've grown in just a few days.

I'll share more pictures soon but my goodness things have been busy and I'm tired.

The good news is we are moved.
Still living in boxes but each day things get a little bit better and little more organized.

And the puppies you ask?
We kept them, of course.

Meet Stranger and Hiccup (formerly known as Danger)...Charlotte was wishy washy on her dog's  name (yes her dog) when we went to the vet yesterday for their first round of shots, but as of today, she is firm. The name is Hiccup.
Welcome to the family...and your our new home!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Recovery for Grace AND Charlotte

After Grace's surgery, we were visited by Court's brother's family.
Balloons (and chocolate) make everything better!

We have been amazed at how well Grace has done with her recovery. She has been so bubbly and happy. You know, preparing for surgery - especially surgery on your child - really weighs heavy on your heart. You worry. You hear horrible stories. You think about the what-ifs. And then you kiss them goodbye and they are wheeled into the operating room...everything in motion...but you. You are helpless. Dependent on whatever is to come. Dependent on the unknown.

You rarely think about the benefits of surgery. The reasons you are making this leap of faith and surrendering all control. Most likely because you don't want to jinx yourself. You don't want to assume an outcome and like my dad always says, "Hope for the best; prepare for the worst."

We were so worried about how she would feel waking up with casts. How she'd feel different from others. Her pain. Her immobility for six weeks. And while we are not out of the woods yet....we still have five and half weeks to go - Grace's overall happiness leads us to believe that this surgery has been a relief! A relief from being "different." A relief from being constantly challenged by gravity. A relief from "keeping up." It may have even relieved pain or exhaustion that would likely go hand-in-hand with walking on your toes - all day, everyday, for years, that we didn't know about or understand because how can a four year old explain pain when it is her "normal." Think about it! Try walking on your toes for five minutes and you'll know what I am talking about.

 "Like a rainbow after the rainthere's always a good thing after the pain." 

Regardless, we are beyond grateful that this experience has gone as well as it has and thankful that we took a leap of faith.

Changing the subject...Grace was given a chance to take some pictures with my phone...

I don't think Charlotte wears her emotions on her sleeve at all! hahah

Grace's recovery has been the hardest for Charlotte. Attention and gifts being showered on Grace. Her playmate unable to play. Getting in trouble anytime she gets too rough or gets too close to Grace's legs and big girl cups of liquid (around Grace) are out of the question.
In spite of all that, she has done a fantastic job of helping.
She jumps out of bed (about 30 times a night) to fetch whatever Grace needs to fall asleep. 
Charlotte, will you get me a new book? 
Charlotte, will you bring me that doll?
Charlotte, I dropped my blankie on the floor, will you get it for me?
Charlotte, without grimace or gripe, dutifully jumps at Grace's call. 

Two nights ago, I was listening to them in their room as Grace asked Charlotte to do a favor for the  umpteenth time.
Finally, Charlotte had had it and in a tone similar to one I use a lot and mimicking words I use a lot, Charlotte said, "Grace, this is the last time I am doing this for you. I'm tired and want to go to sleep!"

Made me laugh.
So glad they have each other. 

Last night, Charlotte dodged the bullet of being Grace's servant by falling asleep at six! She even skipped dinner in order to get some uninterrupted shut eye.

Like I said, I think that all this has been hardest on Charlotte!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

Father's Day was pretty simple this year.
Simple in a good way. Simple in appreciating the little things like... this girl, up and walking.
It's like riding a bike, right?
I remember when she she used that grocery cart to walk when she wasn't even a year old. 
Looks like it will come in handy again! simple acts - full of love. blurry iphone pics
-like spending time - doing nothing, yet doing everything, all at once. a simple sunset on a simply amazing day!

Happy Father's Day Court, Dad and Dave!
We are so lucky to have you in our lives and appreciate all that you have done 
and all that you continue to do!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Grace's Surgery

Tuesday - late afternoon - we made the drive to Seattle. Charlotte fell asleep within seconds of hitting the freeway and Grace silently watched her movie. I fell asleep too - luckily I wasn't driving! We rolled into the big city just in time to meet Molly for some dinner - at Ruth's Chris, of course! We had a great meal and if you haven't had Seven Falls wines yet I suggest giving them a try! (Your tastebuds and pocketbook will thank me!)

The next day was Grace's pre-op appointment! So after grabbing a quick bite to eat, we treated the girls to cupcakes and a spin on the playground at the University Village.

Hard to believe this will be Grace's last romp for a while. 

Regardless, the appointment time drew near so it was time to drop off Charlotte with Ellen - cousin June's nanny! June was asleep when we arrived and I could tell Charlotte was a bit a nervous but just a while later we got a picture from Ellen! These girls were having nothing but fun!!

Love that these girls love each other. 
So nice of her parents to let us borrow their nanny for a few hours!

Aside from a long, unexpected wait, the pre-op appointment went well. The doctors re-examined Grace. Talked to us about their plan. We met the resident and got our orders relating to food, clear liquids and check-in. Hard to believe that this was all in motion and really happening. 

For her big meal, Grace wanted pasta. So off to a big pasta dinner we went - after another visit to a playground. If cupcakes weren't enough, there was red velvet cake and ice cream for dessert! 
She went to bed with a very full tummy - hopefully full enough to get through a long morning. 

Grace was to check-in at 10 am. Solid food was cut off at 3 am - which sounds great - but in reality means no eating after dinner because a four year old doesn't stay up much past 8 or 9 pm. Clear liquids were cut off at 7am - which was good because she likes to sleep with water at her side. At 6 am, I woke up and started making her take a few more sips every 15 minutes or so. I also worked in a box of apple juice in that hour as well. I figured the water would help her stay hydrated and the apple juice might give her a little sugar to get through a meal-less morning. She complained about being hungry a few times, but when we reminded her that these were the doctors orders, she quieted without protest. 

Check-in went quickly and smoothly. The patient scheduled for surgery prior to Grace cancelled at the last minute which meant that the OR was prepped and ready to go! 

Bun-Bun got a bracelet too at check-in!

We met with several nurses who checked her vitals. She got another "bath" with some medicated wipes and changed into her hospital gown. The staff, doctors and nurses all loved Bun-Bun and I think that helped Grace breathe a little easier. Grace was cooperative at every step of the way but quiet. I will be forever grateful when the anesthesiologists asked if I would like to escort her back to the operating room. 

(This was actually the time I had been dreading the most. The surgery? Yes. The recovery? Yes. But the moment they wheeled her away weighed the heaviest. I knew it was the moment where she would crack...and in turn, I would crack. The moment when all the machines, masked faces and strangers would be too much for even our stoic Grace...and then she would be transferred to the operating room in tears...where nothing or no one could put her at ease. Of course, this would all make me... well you know.) 

So again, you can imagine my relief (and Grace's) when they offered to let me adorn a beautiful hat, booties, mask and one-piece scrub suit and walk with Grace to the OR. We were able to chat the whole way even though she was pretty quiet. Perhaps, seeing me in my get-up wasn't as comforting as it was for me being in the OR, holding her hands as she quietly drifted off to sleep. It helped. SO. MUCH.

She was scheduled to begin surgery at 11:15 and she was already well 'under'-way (pun intended) at 10:45. As I returned to Court in the prep room, a fire alarm went off and we nearly jumped out of our skin. Luckily, it was just a drill. 

 The next hour and half we wandered around the hospital campus. We stepped outside to get some fresh air. Visited THE BEST Starbucks ever! It  is located within the hospital but this is how EVERY Starbucks should be. Clean. Friendly. Quiet. And the food? Beyond fresh!! The salads and sandwiches looked amazing. Seriously! Each and every pastry was warmed up and they weren't the typical pastries you find at a Starbucks. They were from some mystery bakery but that mystery bakery, if they played their cards right, could take over the world Starbucks. It was that good!

We hadn't eaten anything all morning either so we were pretty grateful when we finally peered into the bag of goodies Molly had sent with us to the hospital. She had offered to watch Charlotte for us on surgery day and that was a gift in itself. Then she sent us off with a care package of food, drinks and magazines. She even got Court a New York Times! So thoughtful. So good. So devoured!

 After our lunch, we had about another half hour or so to wait. We went down to the waiting room. Of course, the second Court disappeared, our beeper went off and we were summoned back to meet with the doctor. He was very happy with how everything went and he expected no problems. Great news! We waited for another hour in the waiting room before they finally allowed us back to see Grace. She had just woken up and had been given a purple popsicle. She was super groggy and didn't want the popsicle at all. She doesn't like popsicles even on a good day so I wasn't surprised she didn't want anything to do with them. 

So we just waited...for her to wake up; for her to try to drink something. 

She drank a little water.  

She was quiet. Coughed a lot - probably because of the intubation tube.

Eventually she went back to sleep.

Love the purple casts she chose!

 Even Bun-Bun got some casts.

 Meanwhile, this munchkin was livin' it up!
Donuts! Ice cream! Monorail! Pacific Science Center! Dinosaurs! Butterflies!
All thanks to Auntie Molly!

After getting Grace home and getting a little food in her, she perked right up!
That was nice to see. It was also nice to see Charlotte at her side. Helping. Laughing. Doing a great job of keeping Grace's mind occupied - even if it meant Grace was worried that Charlotte was taking her toys. {I didn't say Charlotte was sharing! hahah}

We weren't expecting such big smiles so soon after surgery. And we certainly weren't expecting this!

While Court was out picking up take-out for dinner (got to love the big city!) and I was assisting Charlotte in the bathroom, I came out to find Grace...playing!
She had scooted herself and was upright - kind of!

She tried taking a few steps but it hurt. 

She tried taking some assisted steps this morning - I was baring most of her weight - and that quickly ended. Then she has taken two accidental steps - long story - and that sent her into tears, tears, tears!
So it is definitely tender. They say she'll be up and walking in her casts just a couple of days after surgery - if not sooner - so I am a little worried that it appears that baring weight isn't getting any easier. But after a quick look at the clock, it has only been 24 hours since she was wheeled out of the OR and into the recovery room. So I am probably jumping the gun here on the worry. 

Luckily, we had views and movies - lots of movies - to keep us entertained!

Grateful, that we are on the other side of all this now. 
Thank you for all the texts, notes, emails and support from friends and family everywhere. 
So far, so good but we'll keep you posted!