Friday, December 17, 2010

"Gotcha" Day #2

December 16th was Nick's 2nd "gotcha" day. We didn't get to do too much to celebrate because Chris was out-of-town and I was taking kids in many different directions that night. I did get him a little snowman cake and a Spiderman balloon. That's all it took to make him happy!
The baseball hat Nick is wearing is a favorite accessory of his. He wears the hat daily and if he can't find it there is a problem!

We are immensely grateful to have this little boy in our lives!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catch up post...

Nick and his best friend, Dane. Dane is only 9 months older than Nick. Look at the size differences. I think they are on opposite ends of the growth chart!

Pumpkin carving

Trick-or-treating with friends on the golf cart.

Halloween costumes...Alex didn't dress up this evening.

A close up of Nick so you can see he is finally growing hair!

Nick climbing but Alex could still out climb him any day of the week when she was young. She was put in gymnastics because she always had to be climbing so she could be on top of things. Nick attempts to climb. He scares me because he isn't as coordinated as Alex was as a little girl.

The old man had a b-day. We celebrated at a friend's house!

Friday, October 8, 2010


One of the biggest challenges of adoption of an "older" child is attachment. We have worked very hard at getting Nick to solidly attach to us as his parents the last (almost) 2 years. But, I always worry is it enough. I think he is attached to us but is he really? I mean really attached...I received my answer a couple of weeks ago when we had a BBQ at our house with friends. I decided to invite Nick's babysitter and her family to attend this gathering. This lady is becoming a great friend of mine and I wanted to see how our 2 families would blend together. Prior to her coming over I started thinking about who would Nick go to if he needed something at the BBQ. Would he go ask Ms. Amy or would he ask his mom or dad? I was sooo hoping he would ask me or Chris if he needed something but since he spends a lot of time with Ms. Amy I really wasn't so sure. I was almost dreading to see what he would do at this dinner.

Well.....he asked me and Chris for things he needed!!!! Talk about relief! I think it would have broke my heart if hadn't! Oh how we love this little boy!

Update on Nick's health....his heart looks "fantastic" says Mr. Cardiologist. Nick doesn't have to go for another echocardiogram for 6 months!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The end of summer...

When the older girls stopped gymnastics recently they decided to get more involved in tennis. Alex played in 2 tournaments this summer and didn't do well at all. Chris was very frustrated so he decided to dust his tennis racket off and help the girls with their tennis. Chris played some college tennis but he hasn't played in 25 years. He has had a great time playing again.

Last Saturday both Chris and Alex competed in a tennis tournament. (Taylor isn't quite ready to compete yet.) Alex has tremendously improved in the last month. She actually looked like she was playing tennis! She even won her first match which advanced her into the winner's bracket. She then lost her 2nd match. But, both tournaments she played in this summer she had lost her first match which then had her advance to the consolation bracket. So, there has been a definite improvement.

If you ever have wondered where our girls get their athletic abilities from it is from Chris. (I wish I could claim that talent but I can't.)After not playing tennis in 25 years Chris goes to a tennis tournament and takes 2nd place. How disgusting is that? He was shooting for 1st place but had to forfeit the finals since it was on Sunday and he had church meetings to attend. We were all proud of him and his accomplishment. What a stud. It was fun to watch him play too. He was playing guys literally 1/2 his age.

Chris with his 2nd place trophy

The first day of school 2010. Alex-8th grade, Taylor-6th grade and Lauren-3rd
Alex and Taylor both had a good first day of school. Lauren griped for 20 solid minutes about school and everything about it when I picked her up that day. I finally had to tell her that if she couldn't say anything positive I just didn't want to hear it. She was making me crazy. She is sooooooooo dramatic about everything.

Nick loves to wrestle. He was trying to take Lauren down before we left for school.

Nick wanting a "first day of school" picture.
We are off to camp this Labor Day weekend. Nick is so excited I think he might bust. He normally is very cranky in the morning (not a morning person at all!) but not today! This morning he talked non-stop about camping and what he needed to pack up to go.

In terms of Nick's health the cardiologist told us a week ago that he typically doesn't see such a favorable recovery after an infection like Nick had. He also told me that when a child with a VSD gets endocarditis that once the infection is resolved they usually have to have surgery to fix the VSD. The cardiologist is so pleased with Nick's recovery that he still wants to just "watch" Nick. surgery....for now at least. We are going to keep praying that he continues to have a great recovery. He is our miracle boy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Nick's PICC line came out Friday!!! He is finished with his 6 weeks of IV antibiotics! Woohoo! He was so excited to get all those tubes out of his arm. Fortunately it wasn't a painful experience. Now he just has to do aspirin therapy for 4 months to prevent platelets from accumulating on the scarring he has on his tricuspid valve. But, overall Nick is doing well and the cardiologist is very optimistic that he won't have any long-term problems from this infection. We are so grateful.

Lauren has decided that she enjoys washing dishes by hand. It sure would be nice if this would last. I feel confident it won't though.We have come to the end of an era. Gymnastics is over :( I am sad, Alex is very sad but due to the limited resources where we live Alex can no longer progress in this sport. Since moving isn't an option for our family the decision was made to quit the sport. It is a very expensive sport and takes an enormous amount of time to just be stagnant in it. She also had some knee problems that has contributed to this decision as well. It breaks my heart that Alex cannot fulfill her dream of being a college gymnast because of where we live. Fortunately, she developed a lot of skills besides gymnastics from her time competing in the sport. We will all miss it.
Taylor is also finished with gymnastics. She just lost interest in the sport. Lauren is finished with artistic gymnastics but is going to continue on with trampoline and tumbling for awhile.

School starts tomorrow!!! WoooHooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"I do it"

As I mentioned in previous posts Nick likes to take charge of his medical care. As much of his IV antibiotic administration that I will let him do the happier he is. So, I let him flush his lines with saline before and after his antibiotics. When he is finished I hook up his medicine and I do the heparin flush at the very end but Nick does the rest. He is quite good at it too. He even reminds me when it is time to get hooked up to his medicine and when his "ball" (antibiotic) is empty.

Flushing PICC line

Unscrewing syringe

I can tell Nick is feeling better because he is having a lot of temper tantrums lately! You got to love the 2 & 3 year old years.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


We are soooooo glad to be home. The infection in Nick's heart started shrinking and there didn't seem to be any problem with his heart conduction system so he was released to go home. It was a very long 12 days! He is home on IV antibiotics because he still has the infection and will for awhile. He will still have a lot of visits to the pediatrician and the cardiologist in the next while. But, he is on the mend.

The girls did not like Nick in the hospital at all. They were so worried about him. After Nick had been in the hospital 5 days we sent them to stay with Chris's parents. I am so grateful they were willing to keep them. Their Aunt drove out here to our house and picked them up and took them there. She does a camp for them every summer and it was the same weekend. The girls had a blast and it took their minds off of Nick so they didn't worry so much.
As you may remember, Nick has a congenital heart defect which did make him more susceptible to this type of infection. However, the cardiologist told us that only 1 in 20,000 kids with a VSD will get this type of infection. I don't know if this will mean that he will have to get the VSD repaired now or not.

One of our friends brought this head lamp to Nick as a gift. Nick absolutely loved it. It provided many hours of entertainment. I would never have thought to buy one of these but it was a fantastic gift. Now he can be like Daddy since Chris has one too.

Nick had all the nurses wrapped around his little finger. They all thought he was just precious. Of course he is!!! He was a good patient too and didn't complain a lot. He only threw 3 temper tantrums in the 12 days he was couped up in the hospital. That was very impressive to me.

By the end of Nick's hospital stay he was very proficient at taking his own temperature, putting the blood pressure cuff on and hooking up the cord that connected it to the machine. Once it was hooked up he would push the button to start the machine. He put the pulse oximeter on his finger, he could place every heart lead in the correct connection and finally....he loves to flush his own PICC line with a syringe. (I need to take a picture of that. It is very amusing.) Most of the nurses were very patient with him and let him do all this.

A big thank you to everyone who prayed for Nick. You cannot imagine how much we appreciate all of your prayers. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010 9

Hi is Nick's 9th day in the hospital. He is responding to the antibiotics so we are hopeful that sometime this week he will get to go home. Last Tuesday they put a PICC line in his arm so that he could continue to receive IV antibiotics through his arm for the 4-6 weeks after he goes home from the hospital. He was a bit cranky the day they put this in but other than that Nick has really been the ideal hospital patient. He has thrown a few temper tantrums but not as many as I would have expected from a sick child confined to a hospital room.

This coming Tuesday they are doing more blood work and another echocardiogram. What they find from these tests will determine when they will release him from the hospital. The cardiologist wants to see that the "vegetation" (his infection) on his heart valve is shrinking before they release him.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The final verdict on Nick's illness is bacterial endocarditis. He is in the hospital probably for the next week and then home for 4-6 weeks on iv antibiotics. More later..

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Some news with pictures later...

Alex and Taylor competed in a national gymnastics competition this past week. Alex took a 3rd and 4rth place. Taylor placed 6th in one event that she says is her "worst". Not sure how placing that high in the nation could be called a "bad" event.

Nick has been running around the clock fevers for 3 weeks. I took Nick to the Dr. after 5 consecutive days of fever since I knew I would be gone on our trip to nationals. (Chris and Nick stayed home.) Our regular pediatrician was out-of-town but the guy we saw just thought he must have caught a virus and sent us home. So, off I went on my trip with the girls. We had a great time but Nick continued to have fevers the whole time I was gone. Poor little guy was miserable with fevers running 102-104 degrees. Anytime the motrin wore off he would run high temperatures.

When I got home from our trip I immediately took Nick back to the doctor (our regular one). Three weeks of fever called for extensive testing. Nick has had so many tests run on him this week to find the origin of his fevers. We don't have all the results in but at this point he has been diagnosed with pneumonia, mono, anemia and bacteremia. He is one sick little boy. I hope we don't add any additional diagnoses when we go back to the doctor tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two tired boys

The other day I came home from work and running the girls around and this is what I found.
How sweet is that?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer fun!

We just got back from taking the family on a cruise. We had so much fun and we made lots of great memories. We took so many pictures it was hard to know which ones to post. Here are a few of the pictures taken on the trip.

Nick learned that when we went back to our room at night there were always chocolates left by the cabin stewards. He always ran for them and ate them all. He was very possessive of "his" chocolates. Lauren frequently fell asleep at dinner.
Nick always had to sleep with his rockets.
Taylor had a tough time deciding which shell to buy.
The girls had a ball snorkeling at Magen's Bay on St. Thomas.
Nick ate his weight in ice cream on this cruise. We are starting to wonder if he is truly lactose intolerant because he never had bowel problems even while eating cheese pizza and ice cream all during the trip.

We were at a beach one day and Nick really wanted an ice cream cone. Chris took him to the local McDonald's and bought him one. Neither one of them minded that it was melting all over them.
My toes with sand on them looked so much like summer I had to take a picture.Lauren and Nick playing Nintendo while waiting for our plane home.
Prior to our cruise we had gone camping. We had a very special treat on this camping trip and a family that we had met in Samara, Russia met up with us. We wanted our boys to meet. We are forever grateful for this family because they helped us through a very tough trip where we lost our first referral, "konstantin". I don't know what we would have done without their friendship during that catastrophic trip. Our trip to Samara didn't end well but theirs did! They named their little boy Mick.

Nick and Mick

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pictures of the girls...




Friday, May 7, 2010

I love my cowboys!

Pictures of the girls and family to come later!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taylor's birthday, Easter and more...

The birthday girl!!!

Nick helping Taylor open her birthday presents.

We are crazy about cookie cakes so I bought a VERY large one in hopes there would be some leftovers. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left after the party
Alex was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society this past week. What a lucky girl to be both intelligent and athletically gifted.

Two State Champions!

Nick on Easter morning

Nick enjoying the Easter festivities