Wednesday, March 31, 2010

funny boy

Yesterday Ryan lost his first tooth. It was very loose, and he told me it was hurting. When I looked in his mouth, I was fairly certain it was ready to come out...and it was. He never even knew I had pulled it! I took him into the bathroom, put him on the counter, and told him to open his mouth. The resulting look was priceless!

Excited beyond belief, he went to bed last night eagerly awaiting the tooth fairy. This morning he awoke and said, "MOMMA! The tooth fairy left me a coin!" True. It was a quarter. :) Then, with a little disappointment in his voice, he said, "Next time Mommy, do you think we could ask for a toothbrush instead? I'd rather have a new toothbrush!"

Never before have any of my children asked for toothbrushes from the tooth fairy! Some of the big guys think Ryan's lost his mind...

But he's still cute. The toothless one:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

great news and good (?) news

Sometimes Logan blows me away. Really. Today was one of those days. How many 5 year olds do you know who can sit through 4 hours of doctor appointments without grumbling, complaining, whining, crying, or even getting slightly bent out of shape?? Me either. Until now. Apparently they DO exist--one lives at my house!

We arrived just before 10AM this morning, got our 'clinic visit' badge (they actually gave me a long term badge good until the end of April since we'll be there so often the next 4 weeks), then got checked in. After a 5 minute wait we were called back and given lovely seats overlooking the courtyard. Logan and I played games for a few minutes, then the first Dr. came out to see us and take us back to the exam room. It was a computer lover's dream room--all sorts of computers and monitors and printers everywhere. In this room the Dr. did eye movement testing and the rotary chair test. We started off with some real simple things. Logan followed the directions very well but didn't do well during this part of the exam. From there, we went to watch a 'movie.' Logan was seated in a chair and had some goggles placed on him. The goggles are wired to a computer and with mirrors and special lenses, they track his eye movements as he watched some very specific movies. To me, it was like watching test patterns on the TV. Only these were black and grey! Then came the moving smiley face with the big red nose. After probably 30 minutes of watching movies, Logan was strapped in to the rotary chair and tested again. This time his goggles looked like something Batman would wear. Once he was buckled in and wired up, they started the chair. This chair spins! His job was to keep his head still and his eyes open and watch the inside of the Batman goggles (in the dark--they were totally black!) while he went in circles at a variety of speeds. The results from all these tests would be shared with the ophthalmologist.

Then we went to a regular exam room. After having his eyes checked by the nurse, the other Dr. came in and gave him a quick once-over. Once those things were done, it was time for the dilating drops. Because Logan has very dark brown eyes, he got 2 drops in each eye to begin with. Fifteen minutes later, his eyes still weren't dilated, so he received another set of drops. UGH! Once they finally got fully dilated, we saw the Dr. again. When he was done examining Logan he let us know that Logan has great vision--no need for glasses! That was excellent news! He IS a bit nearsighted and his vision is still at the low end of normal but simply monitoring it every two years is sufficient at this point. YAY!!

Dr. Weiss then shared with me the findings from the morning's eye movement testing. Not surprisingly, Logan has visual/vestibular balance issues. For whatever reason, it's fairly common in children who are hard of hearing. We know he has inner ear issues. We know he has balance issues. It's nice to know that the two are in fact related. Once the full report is ready, I'll get a copy. Hopefully it will have suggestions to help him deal with the trouble. It's NOT fun to fall out of chairs at the dinner table. But it happens to Logan. Fairly regularly, in fact. Dr. Weiss says it's normal for kids with his degree of difficulty. For now, we're in a wait and see mode, but relieved to know that his problems are not because we're missing something, they're because his wiring is faulty! It's nice to have a clearer picture of what the appropriate level of expectation is for Logan. And when I said a long time ago that perhaps "professional athlete" wasn't a likely career for him? Well, it looks like I was right on target.

So, the great news is that Logan doesn't need glasses. The good news is that he DOES, in fact, have a visual/vestibular dysfunction. Now that the balance problem has a diagnosis, we can move forward with a treatment! God ALWAYS provides what we need--even if it's not exactly what we want.

Monday, March 29, 2010

big day tomorrow

Tomorrow morning Logan has an appointment at Children's. This time, it's an ophthalmology exam. A 5 hour ophthalmology exam, to be exact. He will have his eyes dilated and checked, then they will do some rotary chair testing, which can help doctors find out how his visual and inner ear (vestibular) systems are working together. We already know that there are some things not working well in Logan's inner ear, and he has ongoing balance problems. Plus, at his last eye exam, his vision was only just barely in the range of normal for his age. Sooooo...we check things out, especially since he is going to start kindergarten in the fall. Never a dull moment!

Just in case we need extra stuff on the calendar to keep us busy, we'll be back at Children's in 2 weeks for a visit with the audiologist to review the program in his hearing aids. Then, the following week, Logan will be fitted for a 3 month trial of an FM system. Hopefully this will provide us with some answers for his ongoing speech questions. After that, on April 27, he's going to have a tonsillectomy/partial adnoidectomy/ear tube replacement surgery. Guess it's a good thing the hospital isn't too far away. And that Hailey lives close by to have Ryan over for play dates! Gotta love big sisters. :)

I'm ready for another trip to sunny Southern California! Especially after today's weather: 1" of rain, some snow, about 1/4 " of hail, thunder and lightening...I think that covers most of the day. Makes those days a few weeks ago in the sunshine at Brent's graduation all the more precious! Oh well. I can look at the bright side: the parking at Seattle Children's is covered....

Monday, March 22, 2010

oh. my. goodness.

See that handsome Marine in the middle? The one with the pretty girl on his right? Well, he proposed on Saturday night and that pretty girl has agreed to be his wife! My baby is definitely growing up. No date set yet (he has to report back to Medical tomorrow and can't continue training until his broken wrist is healed. Once he finishes training and has orders for a permanent duty station there will be a date.) but that's okay. First things first.

More important than a date is the fact that she loves him and he loves her. And the rest of us adore her too--she's a perfect addition to the family! It will be hard to have him leave tomorrow and have her head back to Boise, but this time he can have his cell phone with him so at least we can text. And talk occasionally on the weekends. Life is good.

And as a bonus, maybe I have my Christmas picture for my 2010 cards. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

amazed...and grateful

Once in a while you hear stories about people doing things to thank members of the armed forces for their service. This came in my email not too long ago and made me cry, but I didn't know how much to believe--does it REALLY happen? I've never seen it. Until now...

Brent flew home last week in his uniform. I was totally blown away by the responses he got in the airport and on the plane. Nearly everywhere we walked, someone stopped him to say "Thank you." That was amazing. And on the plane! We had decent seats but the flight was PACKED. Because it was a continuation, there were people on board when we got on, and we'd been in the airport for a bit so lots of people had seen him. When the flight attendant came through offering beverages, she handed Brent a 'drink coupon' from a gentleman seated in the front of the plane. He wanted to thank Brent for his service. He used it on our second leg...and was given another drink coupon by a different passenger! Waiting for his luggage, surrounded by parents and siblings and his girlfriend, I heard another passenger or two tell him thank you. To see the gratitude firsthand was overwhelming. Even now, the kindness of strangers makes my eyes well up with tears. And I know that no matter where he goes, he will be taken care of. Right now, that's a good thing!

Oh! One more thing. I broke down and did it. I put a sticker on my Suburban. It says:

parent of a US Marine

I'm not usually one for stickers on my car, but for a while this one will be there. Because it's true.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

jumbled thoughts, mixed emotions, and graduation pictures

So many things swirling in my head the last few days.... Graduation was amazing! It was fun to see Brent in his dress uniform. Jim's brother was out from North Dakota; it's been a couple of years since we've seen Jay. He has been in the Air Force since 1987 and I think this is the first time I've ever seen him in his uniform! We had SUCH a great time having him with us--he stayed with us in billeting and joined us for both Family Day and graduation. What a treat! We also got to have Jim's aunt and uncle join us for the graduation ceremony. They live in San Diego so we don't see them very often either. And as a bonus, we were with them at lunch when they received an eagerly anticipated phone call: their first grandbaby had safely arrived! Eric was 8-12, 21" long and healthy. SO cool to share the special day with them. Congrats Uncle Arthur and Aunt Verdery!!

We arrived home safely Friday night. The girls and the little guys all came to the airport to pick us up. When we came down the escalator to baggage claim, I could see them coming across the room. We stopped and waited--I wanted to see how long it would take Brent to realize that Kayla was here in town and with them all. He watched for a while, then all of a sudden the light went on! I wish I could have had my camera, but taking it out would have made him suspicious. Kayla flew into town to be here when we got home so that she could see him too since she wasn't able to join us for graduation. It was a very happy reunion all around: Brent and Kayla; Brent and his little brothers; and Brent and his sisters. Makes a momma's heart rejoice. :)

All of us had looked forward to Brent's 10 days of leave. The plan was that he would be here until Tuesday then head to Boise, coming back here Friday night with Kayla so that they could attend the wedding of one of his childhood friends. Then it changed, and he was going to be here most/all of the time, with Kayla here the first weekend and the last. Then...there was the last change. He came home to find Kayla here and decided that he was going to spend most of his leave in Boise with her. I'm embarrassed to say that I handled the news VERY poorly. Even though I know they have to grow up and I have to let go, it hurt. It's HARD to make changes like that at the last minute. I had some plans, the little boys had things they wanted to do with Brent, and there's quite a list of people who'd like to see him. All of it...undone, most of it unlikely to be accomplished. Every morning the boys get up and ask how many more sleeps until Brent comes home. That question in invariably followed with this one: "This time, Mommy, will he stay home and be with us until he has to leave?" I don't know how to answer it. It has been very hard, excrutiatingly painful, and emotionally draining. I told someone I felt like an emotional train wreck. I know Tom Petty sings that "The waiting is the hardest part" but I'm here to tell you that it's not. It's the letting go! I just came off of 15 weeks of waiting followed by an abrupt letting go, and trust me on this: it was easier to wait!!

I guess this means we've forever entered a new chapter in our lives. I wish the transition had been simpler and less painful. I've learned some things and won't make the same mistakes with the next ones to leave. (But I'm sure I'll make other mistakes!) Many things have changed, and yet one thing will always stay the same. I love this child more than life itself and am so incredibly proud of him. He's a delightful young man! And the best part of this new chapter? It involves a wonderful, very special young lady who I hope is here to stay. She's a great complement to him and I love seeing them together.

We've settled into a routine again, one that includes knowing that Brent is more available by phone or by text. I will always wish he could stay my little boy, but I know he can't. And someday my head will convince my heart of that reality! In the meantime, I think I've come to terms with it enough to finish posting pics of our trip. (Maybe. The tears are falling afresh right now. sigh) These pics pretty much summarize our day though. It's hard to explain the emotions that run through you as you watch 362 new Marines march on that Parade Deck with the American flag flying in the background........

Mike Company. Brent's in this pic--can you find him? :)

Platoon 3261--Brent is in the back row, 2nd from the left

Proud dad!

Brent and Uncle Jay

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Final score: Shoes 9, Jim 1

Before we left, I told my husband that I was going to borrow these shoes from one of my girls for this trip. He asked me to please leave them at home, that they were "too juvenile" for me to be wearing. I gave it some thought, talked to my girls about it, and let him know he'd been out-voted 4-1. The shoes were going! And so when we dropped the little guys off at church Tuesday morning, I had them on. Jim was with me and heard not one but TWO people compliment me on my "awesome shoes!" One gal wanted to know where I got them. I heard another compliment in the TSA line at the airport. Then today when we were hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve I overheard two gals talking about the great tie-dyed Chuck Taylors over there. I was the only other person around. Guess it was a good choice. :)

San Diego...

Some pictures from our day. We had SO MUCH fun today!

Our room on base. It's very basic but clean and serviceable. And for the price, there are NO complaints! We're loving being here on base...caught a glimpse of recruits learning the basics of drill today. Fun to watch. Can't wait to see Brent tomorrow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

are we done yet??

Sunrise out the back door. Such a glorious way to start a day!!
Snow falling on my in-bloom peach tree. I thought winter was over?!?
Working hard...
...and playing hard!
Sweet boy!

The state tournament is over. The girls team took 5th place this year, a bit of a disappointing finish for the returning state champs. Now we look toward next year!

It was a whirlwind week last week and this week won't be different. Last week we spent 4 days in Yakima watching basketball. Got home late Saturday, hosted a going away party for a dear friend on Sunday, tried to catch up today, and leave tomorrow for San Diego for Brent's graduation!! I cannot WAIT to see him! Thursday can't come fast enough... Graduation is Friday, then our Marine will come home with us for a few days. I don't know how much time I'll have to post while we're gone but I promise pics when I get back.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

breathing a sigh of relief

As far as I know, I am now the VERY proud mom of a US MARINE!!

And I am enjoying the 1A basketball tournament in Yakima too. Busy couple of days. I will be glad to have a day off sometime soon...