Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Are The Odds?

Have you ever heard that it comes in 3's? Well, I hope that is true.

You all know about Ethan and his congenital heart problems and all the challenges that come with that. Also, I wrote a post a few months ago about my my sister Karalee's son Austin (who is 7) who was just diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He actually got to make a wish last Saturday through the Make a Wish Foundation to go to Disney World. It was a very special and emotional afternoon. It was also a little bitter-sweet knowing that Ethan will be granted a wish one day when he is older. Although the Make a Wish Foundation is truly an amazing organization, you never want to be in a position to use their services.

Anyway, those were numbers 1 & 2. My brother Darren and his wife Jenn just gave birth to a sweet little girl on Monday night. I was in shock to hear on Tuesday morning that she was being transferred to the local children's hospital for surgery. It turns out that she has Downs syndrome, an imperforate anus, and an AV canal heart defect. She had surgery to create an ostomy on Tuesday and now she just needs to grow for a few months until she will need open heart surgery to correct her heart defect. I was able to go up and see her last night and she is just beautiful. She is also doing amazingly well.

Darren and Jenn have been such an example of strength and are handling it all much better than I would have. They have both said that the Downs syndrome is not a big deal but were both pretty upset when they found out about her heart defect. Of course they are feeling the array of crazy emotions that come with ALL of this but they really appear to be keeping it together. I just know what a mess I was with Ethan and they have shown much more strength than myself.

So, honestly, what are the odds that 3 completely different medical conditions happen in the same family when there is absolutely NO family history of ANY of this on either sides of our families? I am not sure what the odds are, but I do feel that it is no accident. Looking back at my experience with Ethan, there were countless things that were prepared for us before he was even born. I feel that these children have chosen us and trust us to love and care for them in our homes.

Now, this is not to imply that all the other children aren't special as well. I just know that these children are here for a reason and that our family is better because of them. I also know that it is a privilege to have them in our family and we have had and will continue to have many blessings because of them.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A New Addition?

Again, I am not pregnant. We did in fact get a dog. We had a family dog about 2 1/2 years ago who we all loved but she broke her chain and got hit by a car. Ever since then the kids have been BEGGING us to get another family pet. We've been putting off getting one until our yard was in and had a fully fenced yard so that we wouldn't risk this happening again. The problem is, we've been telling our kids that this would be done for about 2 years now. (When Ethan was born, it threw off all of our timing to get any major projects done.)

The topic has seemed to die down at times, but it has recently come up in full force. Several factors had played into our decision to finally get one. The first being that I really do feel that the kids have been patient with us putting it off for so long. The second being that Gavin has a tendency to want to leave our house (despite the extra locks we've put on the doors). We felt that if he had a playmate at home, that he might not feel the need to find a friend so intently. And thirdly, Ethan is in LOVE with dogs. Anytime the neighbor's dogs bark, Ethan barks and wants us to hold him at the window while he watches them. It seemed pretty pathetic that his only interaction was through a window, looking over a fence into 2 caged dogs next door. So, needless to say, Tim and I decided that we would take the plunge.

We started with a dog named Rex that we got from an adoption agency, but after only a couple of hours at our home, we realized that it wouldn't work out. He played very aggressively and didn't know his limits when it came to biting. He bit hard enough to give Tim bruises and scratched up all of our arms. He was a year old and didn't like having limits placed on him. The first time he bit me was when he was chewing on my throw pillows on the couch and just blankly stared at me when I told him to get off the couch. When I tried to guide him off by his collar he bit me several times. We had hoped that after getting used to us, this would stop. Although it did slow down after a couple of days, as soon as you played with him he would start biting again. It was very disappointing that it didn't work out and the kids were devastated when we had to take him back.

The good news is that this isn't the end of the story. On Tuesday, we picked up a sweet little beagle named "Annie". We bought her from a guy in Park City whose landlord wouldn't let him keep her anymore. She is about 9 months old and is super cute and friendly. She loves to play (and she doesn't bite). Her biggest problem is that she knocks Ethan over to lick his face. So, we have been working with her not to do this and just in this short time, she is doing much better. She has also had a few accidents in the house, but we were told she was housebroken, so I hope this will resolve in a few days as she gets used to her new surroundings. I was meaning to get my carpets cleaned anyway, I guess I will just have to wait a few weeks.

Anyway, the kids absolutely ADORE her and I feel she will be a very spoiled and loved dog.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A year ago today...

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. I love the crisp air and the changing leaves. I love the fall holidays and starting of school. There is just something about fall that brings a calm feeling over me.

The other day as I found some quiet time and was reflecting on my life, I realized that exactly one year ago today, Ethan went in for his 2nd surgery. It brings back so many memories when I think back to all that has happened during this time. The majority of these memories are happy ones and continually remind me how very blessed we have been as a family.

As well as looking back over this last year, my mind wanders and I can't help but think forward to the events destined to take place next autumn. We are currently in a "quite period" when it comes to Ethan's health. True, he's had some small issues, but its been manageable and I guess that is expected when you only have half of a heart. And although (so far) it has been a quiet year, as this next year progresses, Ethan's health is expected to decline as he grows which will indicate when his 3rd surgery will be needed. We've been told by our cardiologist that even if he doesn't grow out of his current "plumbing" by then, we should expect to have his Fontan surgery next fall.

Typically, Spring is associated with new beginnings. However, as much as I dread his next surgery, I am grateful that it will be the Fall which will bring Ethan another chance to live a more "normal" life.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Check it Out!

So it is still under construction but we now have the basics of our Aid in Africa blog up and running. After creating this new blog with my friend, Carie, it makes me that much more excited for this amazing opportunity. I hope you find it interesting and will follow along with our journey.