Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hearing Test Success!

Noah and I had a little date down to the audiology department at UC Davis.  We noticed an improvement in his hearing almost immediately after the surgery last month, but I've been antsy for some documented proof that things really are better. 
 And, good news!  Noah's hearing has improved so much.  Just for comparison, this is the audiogram from December.  Everything below that yellow line is considered hearing loss.  The x's are Noah's left year, the triangles are the right.  It kind of explains why the audiologist and ENT used words like significant, surprising and impressive to describe Noah's hearing loss.
What you see below is Noah's post surgery audiogram.  All of those symbols moved up so much.  While his hearing at the 250Hz is right on the line, the audiologist explained that is completed normal and exactly what they would expect to see from a kid with ear tubes.
Surgery success! Now I've just got my fingers crossed that those tubes stay put for as long as they're needed so we're not back repeating the whole process a second time.  But even if we are, we know the road to take and know what a difference it will make.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine's Day

 I snapped this picture the Sunday before Valentine's Day after church.  Look at my little loves!

I loved teaching Joy School on Valentine's Day.  Yes, it made the day a little crazier and busy, but frosting cookies with Luke and his buddies was a really fun way to spend the morning.

Noah was too cute when he walked out of class.  He was really proud of the Valentine bag that he'd created.
 The boys loved going through their Valentine's and comparing what kinds they had received.  As a teacher I loved this holiday.  The kids were always to excited to give and receive these little pieces of paper from each other.  Oh, to be a kid again!
 My favorite was when Noah said, "Mom? What's that word, the one that means everybody likes you? Oh, I know! Popular. Mom, I must be super popular. Look at all of the Valentines I got!"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Overnight in San Jose

Andy and Marissa blessed their sweet baby Jack last weekend.  It's been too long since we've seen them, and it actually worked out in this busy season time of year (miracle!) for us to go.  So Saturday we drove to San Jose, ate lunch and dinner with the Armstrongs and just enjoyed being together. Leah is not a road tripper, although she's improving.  It took a LOT of peek-a-boo, snacks and a little screaming (from her, not me) to get through the drive.

 I REALLY enjoyed getting to snuggle Jack for two hours while Leah and Lucy slept and Nate and Andy took  the bigger kids out for a while.  How did I not even get a picture of that sweet baby?!  It was heaven snuggling a little one again!

This was our first hotel stay as a family of five and it was great.
 Between unlimited waffles and the t.v. on above them there was no way these boys were going to focus on taking a picture.
The blessing Andy gave little Jack was precious, just like that sweet baby.
These two are like brothers.  I'm grateful that their friendship has also made a friendship for Marissa and me.
And our kids love each other too!  Marissa told me the other day that Lucy was trying to name people to invite to her two year old birthday party and Adalyn suggested inviting their 'cousins' Noah and Luke.
 We detoured on the way home and stopped at the Oakland Temple.

After thinking about it we realized that it has been ten years since we've visited.  That's when the Sacramento Temple opened, and we just haven't made the trip since.  The visitor's center there had lots of interactive activities that we all enjoyed.  Noah was impressed by this giant Book of Mormon.
It was a quick trip, but a fun one, especially at this time of year where we don't get much time all together as a family.  Thanks Armstrongs for a fantastic time.  We can't wait to do it again!

Friday, February 3, 2017

January's Bits

Noah went to his first 'friend from school' birthday party.  He and Peyton are good buddies, and she really won him over with an awesome face painter at her party. 

 There's Noah and Peyton.  

 The 100th day of school was filled with celebration and activities.  I was super busy running the centers, but quickly snapped a picture of Noah with Bentley and Everett.

We celebrated Nana's birthday at our house and, of course, she was in heaven being surrounded by her favorite little people.

Dad's at church meetings, Leah wakes up earlier than expected, and Mom still has to finish getting ready for church.  On this Sunday morning it meant Cheerios to snack on in our closet until I was done.  Leah loved the idea!
Noah wanted to send another 'wish you were here' text to Nate.  The boys always feel like they've hit the jackpot when we eat AT Costco.

When the sun actually shined for a few days this month we were outside on bikes, at the park, or just exploring. 

This darling pink marshmallow girl just wants to get out and explore too so she was all smiles when the rain finally stopped.

Oh, and she's WALKING!  It's mostly just a few steps that turn into a crawl, but it's happening! 

I always know when Luke is going through a growth spurt because he's extra hungry and every afternoon I find him napping somewhere.
Cafe Rio opened in December and thanks to all of their promotional nights we've scored twelve free meals!  Thanks Cafe Rio for feeding my littles AND cleaning up after us.

Leah loves sitting on the mantle.  Like, she screams to get up there and screams when we take her down.  Silly girl.
This year of being six is so far filled with too many doctor's appointments.  This one was for the pediatric plastic surgeon.  Nothing big, but this brave boy probably has a little procedure in the future.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saturday Fun

Oh January, we are thankful for the immense amount of rain you brought, but, wow, we have been waiting (and waiting!) for some sunshine.  Yesterday the clouds finally cleared and the sky was filled with blue.  Nate was working, but it was clear that we all were anxious to take advantage of a dry day.  So the kids and I headed down to the farmer's market on Sutter Street to explore and just get OUT. 

We've been sending Nate way too many "wish you were here" texts lately, including this one. 
We sure miss him at this time of year especially but are so thankful for his dedication to his career and our family.

After ice cream at Snook's we explored Sutter Street and walked across the old bridge.  The boys climbed rocks, big dirt hills and threw rocks into the water.  Just completely ordinary stuff, but oh my, all of us were happy to be outside and together.

A week ago our family reached another 100 days of reading the Book of Mormon.  After a short family council to discuss how to celebrate we settled on a trip to the arcade.

 This was a first for both Luke and Noah.  While they didn't entirely know what to expect, their excitement was immense.  
I think both Noah and Luke were most excited about an arcade version of Mario Kart.  They love playing it when K.C. comes to town, but to have their own steering wheel, brake and gas control was, as Noah put it, 'epic.'  

 Most of the games that we chose didn't give tickets, so at the end of our time we only had 50.  But just minutes apart three different people approached us and offered up their tickets that they didn't need.  Suddenly we went from 50 to 2500 tickets.  It was amazing.  Noah and Luke just kept picking out more items to take home. 

We are so thankful for those 'arcade angels' for further impressing upon our kids that good choices bring rewards, even unexpected ones.  Right now we've got some very motivated scripture readers who can't wait to get to another 100 days.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

There is Joy in Everything!

"Enjoy the moments, large and small.  There is joy in everything."

That note from a dear, inspired friend, BJ Warnick, arrived in my mailbox about a year ago with the most darling blanket for our new baby girl.  If ever there was an inspired message for a specific time it was this one.

I first met BJ in 2005.  She was traveling to Zambia as a volunteer for the first time, and I was her team leader.  BJ is many things: insightful and intuitive, smart, generous, and a whole lot of fun.  All of those traits and so many more are perfectly surrounded with immense love.  I felt it in Africa, and oh my, did those kids in Zambia know it.

It's been a long time, too long, since I've seen BJ.  But something inspired her last January to fill my mailbox with exactly what I needed.  Nate's busiest busy season was in full swing, and he was in the middle of being out of town for five weeks.  I was a mix (or mess maybe) of emotions.  My five and three year old wanted more time with their mom than they were getting.  I wanted that too, and I really wanted more quality time with them.  Our sweet new baby wanted to eat all day and all night long, and it seemed like I was wading through crumbs and dust as the house just continually didn't get clean.  Oh, and I was exhausted.  Fractured, insufficient sleep is a beast of its own, and I was losing that battle.

I haven't been shy about saying 2016 was rough, quite possibly the most challenging year I've had, and definitely the most exhausting.  But let it be said that challenging and miserable are not synonymous!  It was a wonderful, fun year!  I love looking back at the blog entries from 2016 and really remembering how magical it was. 

So back to that note.  It was the most perfect message at the perfect time for this mama:
"Enjoy the moments large and small.  There is joy in everything."

I determined before Leah was even born that I'd appreciate and hold on to the many sweet, but fleeting moments with her.  It was my last go at a newborn.  This precious time needed to be cherished and remembered.  BJ's note was the constant reminder I needed to keep perspective, stay positive, and just carry on in joy.

I can't begin to count how many times I recited those words.  In the middle of the night there most definitely was joy rocking and snuggling my otherwise perfect screaming baby.  As the boys argued about a toy they both had to have at the exact same time, there was joy in teaching them to solve problems with words and love, and joy that we actually have fun toys to play with.  And there was most definitely joy in Nate being gone so much (well, maybe).  He was working to provide, so that I could live this life and dream of being a mom to Noah, Luke and Leah.  And, he wasn't around to see the crazy newborn life that was sometimes swallowing me up!

So much joy.

A year later that note is still on my fridge, and I have no plans to take it down.  So thanks BJ.  Thanks for giving me a theme for 2016: there is joy in everything.  It helped carry me through my first year as a mom of three, and it's still giving me great perspective as a new version of crazy unfolds each day.

Life is so good.  Our blessings overfloweth.  And joy is everywhere.

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!