The blog has been quiet lately, August has been too busy to post much. School starts back in two days, here is a recap of our August.
Evie is 18 months old and the joy of the entire neighborhood. She honestly prefers the neighbors as much as she enjoys her own family. No joke! Allison and Jeff (whom she calls Aloe and Bob) are like surrogate providers for her.
She has a large vocabulary and is very strong willed and independent.
Everyone adores this precious baby.
Has there ever been a cuter or smarter six year old? I doubt it. Malcolm is always ready with a story to tell, a game to play, or a philosophy to examine. He is about to start the first grade and he has been working hard on reading all summer. Watch out grade 1! Here comes Malcolm!!!
Look who's ready for grade 4 with her new glasses! She is rocking that glasses look! This sweetheart is the best big sister and loves to create cards and stories for others. She is always willing to help when needed and loves to read Harry Potter! I'm embarrassed that I don't have a more recent photo of her on my phone... note to self: take weekly photos of each of the kids.
Henry is the family funny guy with all his antics and funny sayings. And the hats he loves to wear! This kid seriously can not find anything you ask him to. Not one thing! But his sense of humor gets him through it as he laughs at himself because he knows it's true. He starts sixth grade on Monday. Let that one sink in a minute. SIXTH GRADE. Crazy.
Henry's mullet had to be trimmed for school, but he still plans to continue to grow it. Rocking a mullet!
Poor James. The only photos I have on my phone of him are a month old! I have to start taking photos of more than just the baby!
James had his first job this summer. He worked five mornings a week in a sheet metal factory. He enjoyed the work and responsibility of getting himself there and home each day by bicycle. It was an awesome experience for him. James continues to excel at the piano and will start classes at Saint Vincent College on August 29. Wow. He is taking math and music there. He has a SVC ID card and everything. I might have cried a little when I saw it. How did this darling babe get so big?!?
Isaac. Many of you know that Isaac had open heart surgery on August 11 to fix his tricuspid valve, a defect he has had since birth. This surgery cast a shadow over the summer for Michael and I, as well as for basically everyone who knows and loves Isaac. It was always in the back of our mind, looming over us with it's dark unknown.
A final photo before we went back to pre-op.
Like Isaac, the experience of the surgery and stay in the hospital is already fading in my mind. I remember before he went back, that we were laughing together in pre-op, in between the dozen people that came in to check in with us and the countless forms to sign. They gave Isaac some meds and we walked together down a penguin hallway to the "kissing spot," the place where we went our separate ways. I remember watching them wheel his bed down the hall, and the side angle of his head as they pushed him into the surgery unit. I remember the fear that I felt. Would I see that gorgeous smile again? Would he be safe throughout? Would this be the moment that our lives would change forever? There, in the back of all that was also a silent confidence that everything was going to be fine. We went with our awkward clear plastic bag filled with Isaac's belongings to the room with the other parents waiting during surgery of their most precious kids. The room was somber and busy in a still way with no one wanting to make eye contact with anyone else. No one wants to be in the surgical waiting room with a big bag of their kid's clothes. But there we were.
The surgery seemed long, but was really only about four hours, and the longest part was knowing he was out of surgery and waiting until we could see him. Nothing prepares you for the machines and tubes and reality of the fact that your child just had open heart surgery. That his heart was stopped for an hour. That he now has brackets and artificial pieces in his chest that will stay there forever. But none of that matters because he is fine. Well, as fine as one can be in the intensive care.
The recovery is long, but Isaac is fine. We are on the other side of it. I knew he was fine almost immediately when his nurse Hannah (1:1 ratio in the CICU at Children's~ WOW!) asked Isaac if we were his mom and dad. Isaac, still with nose tube and oxygen mask at this point, made an attempt at a sarcastic joke that he brought random people with him to the surgery. I knew right there that he was fine and we were on the other side of it.
Isaac recovered amazingly fast. In 24 hours we were out of the CICU and into the regular cardiology unit. Isaac took a stroll down the hospital hallway approximately 28 hours after surgery.
By 48 hours Isaac was playing music on the baby grand piano in the common area, had ditched the hospital clothes, and was feeling well enough for Indian food take out. His chest tubes were out and he was down to only one IV in his arm and some stick-on heart monitors that could be used with a portable monitor that he could keep in his pocket.
Approximately 72 hours after his surgery ended, we were on our way home!
The recovery is a long one with many restrictions on activity levels. The first eight weeks are the hardest. We have great days and tired days, but he is getting back to a lot of his usual activities, and looking forward to when he can swing a tennis racket and hold his trombone, as well as pick up his baby sister, who misses him holding her tremendously!
Chocolates from Grammy and Grandpa Bob. He has hidden them in the house!
Out to dinner a week after surgery!
Yum! Brownie sundae with homemade caramel sauce.
The outpouring of thoughts and prayers and support from those that know and love Isaac is amazing! Balloons, and cards, and over 20 meals to help during this busy time. Not to mention the close to 100 people who let us know they were praying for us on August 11. And the many masses that were said for him that day as well. I definitely felt a calmness and peace throughout due to all the prayers and thoughts being sent our way. Thank you to all that loved us with thoughts and prayers and blessings during this August ordeal.