Friday, January 6, 2017

Surgery Update

Noah's surgery went great!  

His hearing won't be retested until February, but our own observation is that there's definitely been an improvement.  He isn't asking for the t.v. volume to be turned up, we are purposely talking more quietly and he still hears us, and our smoke alarm went off the other day and he freaked out.  There were tears and some screaming involved.  The poor kid has never heard how loud the smoke alarm really is!

I can't say enough that I am thankful for skilled doctors nurses who love kids and know exactly how to make them feel comfortable in a rather uncomfortable, unfamiliar situation.  We felt completely at ease as Noah was wheeled off to the operating room and we were guided to the waiting area.  The hardest part was seeing him in recovery after the surgery and just waiting for him to wake up.  But once he started to stir, he was immediately wide awake.

After a little observation and a popsicle we were discharged.  Noah was given the option of a wheelchair or race car to be taken to the car.  He was thrilled with this choice.
It's been smooth sailing so far since the surgery.  Hopefully this is exactly what those little ears needed to hear and take in the sounds of the world.  I'm anxious for February to find out more!

Monday, January 2, 2017

By Small and Simple Things

According to Noah, "Today I get my ears fixed!"  It's been a longer road than I would have liked to get us to this point, but today Noah is having tubes put in.

Last winter his ability to hear seemed to decrease: when watching t.v., when we were trying to get his attention, just about any time really.  A visit to his doctor confirmed that he had some decreased hearing, but, according to a simple test, nothing significant.  It was recommend that we return in six weeks to retest.  Another test, and another six weeks after that one showed the same thing.  But I trusted (too much, I realize looking back on it) his pediatrician that the hearing issue was minor and would probably resolve once the cold season was over.

Fast forward to October when Noah got his first cold and once again couldn't hear well at all.  His pediatrician put me off again, but after a second visit we finally got a referral to audiology and ENT.

Just a few weeks ago we visited the Audiology department at UC Davis for a hearing screening.  They were so great.  Noah was totally comfortable, and did a great job as the assessment took place.
When the audiologist came out of the room she said, "Well, this is surprising."  In that moment I interpreted her comment as, "Awesome! It's not bad at all.  Just a little extra ear wax maybe?"

But she quickly followed up with, "How's he doing in school?"  I responded with, "Great.  At the top of his class."

She continued, "Wow, because it is extremely rare that we see a kid with this level of hearing loss who isn't speech or learning delayed.  He has developed some really impressive compensation skills."

She proceeded to go through all of the results, and it sure was surprising.  Summarized, his right ear is a little worse than the left, but they are both not hearing well at all, even in the 'normal' range.  A test given indicated that it's all related to fluid (his diagnosis is conductive hearing loss) and not something that would require a hearing aid.  So there's good news!

The next week we met with Dr. Funamura at ENT.  She reiterated and agreed with everything the audiologist had said and also remarked how uncommon it is for a kid Noah's age to have made it this far, doing so well, without hearing much.  This boy is remarkable for so many reasons. 

Nate and I had already decided before the appointment that tubes were the way to go, so the doctor got a quick yes when she recommended the procedure.  Noah and I went through the pre-op paperwork, met with the surgery scheduler, and headed back home.

This two week wait for surgery has seemed to take forever.  Once I knew how horrible Noah's hearing is I wanted it resolved immediately.  He's missing out on so many beautiful, amazing sounds in the world around him!

I've had a mixed bag of feelings: as a mom advocating for my kids is paramount, especially at this stage while they're so young.  I should have relied less on the pediatrician's judgement last winter and pushed him harder for a referral than I did. I wish I wouldn't have trusted a doctor's opinion and recommendation quite so much.

But mostly I'm immensely grateful that this small, simple procedure should significantly improve Noah's hearing.  In fact, both the audiologist and ENT said it's likely that Noah will be hypersensitive to sound for a while, until he adjusts to really hearing all of the sounds, loud or soft, around him.

And my mind can't help but think about a little boy somewhere in Zambia, or anywhere else in the world, who has fluid behind his ear drum too and has gotten used to hearing everything at a very low volume just like Noah.  And that little boy, wherever he is, will never have a hearing test, never meet with an ENT doctor, and never have access to surgery that will change the way he takes in the sounds of the world around him.

We are so blessed.  And that's what I'm trying to stay focused on when those feelings of frustration and nervousness for our kid's first surgery creep in.  Noah is brave, we've prayed and know it's the right thing, and now we just wait and have hope for the best results possible!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

'Tis the Season

Oh, this was a jolly December!  It felt a little extra magical and special this year, and I kept thinking, "I love this month!!!"  I'm not sure why, but I just soaked in every day of holiday fun and celebration that we enjoyed together.

We started with letters to Santa.  Noah asked for a General Grievous Lego set and Luke requested a remote control airplane.  Luke was especially proud of himself that he wrote Santa's name all by himself.

Then we jumped into the car and delivered those thought-filled letters to the North Pole mailbox (thank you Chick-fil-a) that the boys had seen a few days earlier.
 Grandma Shauna had the boys over for their tradition of decorating gingerbread houses. 
 Both Noah and Luke were asking about this before Thanksgiving even rolled around and were so happy to be immersing themselves in frosting, candy and decorating once again.
One afternoon I took the boys to an awesome nativity exhibit put on by the Granite Bay Stake.  They had over 500 nativities, including a room with dress ups for the kids.  My favorite was hearing Luke say, "Mom! It's like baby Jesus is everywhere!"
 Once I got through all of the birthdays immense amounts of Christmas treat making ensued, which also meant Christmas treat delivering.  Both boys fully embraced being my delivery elves this year, and it saved so much time!
 
This little rascal loved having a Christmas tree around.  The first few weeks she was cautious and only pulled at the same few ornaments.  That was fine with me.  Curiousity is a good thing, right?  
But right before Christmas she got more brave and started grabbing and pulling at everything within reach.  And this girl is tall!  I was so happy the day after Christmas to take the whole thing down and be done with the Christmas tree struggle.

Luke and his Joy School friends performed the Christmas story.  He was the cutest proud shepherd
and later sang Jingle Bells as loud as his four year old voice would let him.
 
 The boys were anxiously awaiting a visit with Santa at the ward party.
Leave it to Leah to be our first and only child who freaked out at Santa.  I'm sure she thought we were the meanest family ever as we all laughed at her terror-filled screaming.

Our kids have the best Primary teachers.  The Sunday before Christmas Noah's teachers recreated the nativity with the cutest bunch of six year olds.

This year we tried out the 'Wild Nights and Holiday Lights' at the Folsom Zoo.  It was a fun change from what we've done before.  The boys were really excited to see their favorite zoo animal, the  "Stinky Pete," a skunk was actually awake since we were visiting at night.
 
  We ALL loved Winter Break! I let the boys stay in their pajamas for as long as possible, which meant sugar cookie baking right before lunch...in jammies.
For the first time we were the recipients of the twelve days of Christmas.  The ancipation of something arriving every nights was high for all of us.  There were so many thoughtful, cute things; many that involved activities for the boys.  

I loved seeing my pantry door fill up with the cutest Christmas decor!
 This one was my favorite. I just LOVE little kid art, especially when it's from MY little kids.

 We got a new cousin!  A week before Christmas baby Bridgette joined Tyler and Brittany's family. 
 She is such a doll and my baby lover Luke couldn't get enough of her.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Day

Every year I write about what a terrible job I did documenting Christmas.  Well, this year is no different!  Just a few snaps from a wonderful, memorable day. 

This was the first year I did matching Christmas jammies, but it won't be the last!

Christmas Eve we gathered at Nana's house.  The boys were completely immersed in the DK Lego books Nana picked out.  And, they still are. 

After all of the kids were in bed Nate and I settled in too so that Santa could make his delivery to our good little boys and girl.
 Christmas morning was just fun.  I loved hearing "He came!  Look Luke Santa came!" and "This is exactly what I wanted!"  These little boys were all smiles and overflowed with excitement.


The boys were equally excited to give Nate a picture book he's really wanted, RETURN. 

It's the third in a series of wordless books by Aaron Becker that we all love.


These wallets WITH money to spend inside were a huge hit.
 
 From the time she became mobile Leah has gone after Noah's bear.  So Santa brought her one that is awfully close in appearance to her big brothers.  She pulled it out of the bag, showed it to me, and then proceeded to tackle that bear with a big hug.  Santa knew exactly what this girl would like!
With Christmas on Sunday we headed off to 11:00 church.  It was perfect.  I wish we could do that every year.  After church we walked over to the temple, and with my friend Ali's help, snapped this picture.  It's pretty perfect too.  :-)
The rest of the day was spent with family at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  The boys were thrilled with their Kylo Ren light sabers and voice changing helmets from Grandma and Grandpa, and Leah loved that her new baby doll's eyes could open and close.  Nate and I were spoiled as well, but my favorite part was just being together with the people I love most.  It was a perfect, wonderful Christmas day!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Party with My Partner

Last year I missed the BFBA Christmas party because Leah wasn't even two weeks old.  Nate came home from it and said, "I'm really hate to say this, but I think it was the most fun one yet."  Great.  While snuggling my new baby was definitely something special, I couldn't help but look ahead to 365ish days down the road then I'd be partying too. 

I sure love that at least once a year I get to dress a little fancy.  I rented my first Rent the Runway dress and just felt pretty.  Mostly though, I loved standing by my handsome husband for the night. 
This year was extra special because it was announced that Nate has been promoted to partner at the firm.  It's a huge blessing for our family and accomplishment for Nate. I'm so proud of how hard we've both worked to make it happen.  Years ago we started having conversations about what it would take from both of us to get to this place.  It's meant years of long, exhausting hours for both of us.  There's been so much alone time: me at home with the kids and Nate in his office or on the road traveling. 

Nate is steady and hard working, and I love him immensely for both of those things.  He does his job and works his heart out, so I can do mine.  And I work incredibly hard to keep his load as light as possible so that he can, in turn, work and provide.  It's not a perfect cycle, but we sure work hard for each other and our family.

There's lots to learn and lots more 'alone' time ahead, but it sure is an exciting time for our family!  Well done Nate!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Noah Sings!

 On the last day of school before winter break all of the kindergartners put on a little performance.  It was just full of festive cute kids singing their hearts out. 

Noah was beaming and all smiles that he had family there to see the show. 
 Nate and I joked that from the picture it looks like Noah goes to an international school.  Nope, just our awesome neighborhood public school, and I love how diverse it is.

After the show Noah said, "Mom, were your eyes teary because you loved my singing so much?"  He was right on.  I love that boy fiercely, and watching him thrive and love school and love to do well is just about the best thing ever.
Another one of the best things every is having both of your grandmas there to watch you perform.  How lucky is this boy? 
We also caught a quick picture with Everett.  I sure am glad these two handsome boys are friends. 

Then it was back to the kindergarten for cookies and hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy.  So we snapped a couple of pictures with Noah's other buddies. 
Peyton and Noah.  She is the sweetest!
Noah with Kaamil.  He is something sweet too, and I especially love that he teaches Noah all kinds of things about India.  The other day Noah came home and said, "Dad! Did you know there are no rules for driving in India?!" :-)
Talk about a fun morning.  I love any chance I get to be at Noah's school, and being there to watch him perform was just extra special!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Noah's Birthday

We've got a six year old!  
Celebrating Noah was two days of fun and happiness.  He has made it clear a number of times that it just doesn't make sense that he's the oldest, but his birthday comes 'last.'  So when December 8th FINALLY came around, he was all smiles all day. 

We started with birthday pancakes.  See what I mean?  ALL smiles.


And then I sent the birthday boy off to school with his requested birthday treat to share: snickerdoodle cookies.  12:06 pick up couldn't come soon enough for me, and when it finally did Noah bounced out of room 4 with his birthday crown.

After his requested homemade lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches he had a visitor.  Sister Millett, one of his primary teachers, stopped by with a birthday balloon and present.  Talk about making a little boy feel special.


Just a little while later we picked up a handful of friends and spent the afternoon running wild at Wacky Tacky.  Noah is one lucky boy to have such sweet, fun, awesome buddies.
Noah chose Firehouse Subs for dinner, and loved flashing his "I am six" fingers.
Our final stop was at Sister Fisher's house.  She's Noah's other primary teacher and had been trying to catch up with us all day.  She too had a thoughtful bag of birthday treasures for Noah.  How lucky is this kid?

The next evening we gathered the family together for cake and presents.  We laughed that those two brothers on the ends were in plaid, all the little boys were in stripes and the girls were wearing polka dots.  So well coordinated!
 

Noah LOVED this cake.  
 
 It turned out larger (and heavier!) than I planned, but was fun to make, especially for this sweet boy.
 
 


After cake came presents, and the big smile just continued.
Legos, Lego books, a bow and arrow, night vision goggles...the list goes on.  Noah was one happy boy to receive so many gifts that were just perfect for him.

I also made a few batches of sugar cookies for our guests to frost and decorate.  I love sugar cookies for any holiday, but especially Christmas. 
 And it was really fun to have so many cute decorators in our house this time around.
 
After all of the partying was done, and most of the sprinkles were swept up, I took a deep breath and smiled, thankful I had just survived my first round of three birthdays in thirteen days.  Whew!  It's going to be like this for, well, forever, so I've just decided to embrace it. But it sure is a bit of a whirlwind at times.  But who doesn't love a birthday whirlwind?  So much celebrating and so much fun!