Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What A Day!

What a great day we had today. To start with the end of our day, here are a couple pictures from Maria's Christmas Concert tonight. The kids in the choir all had to wear black pants or skirts, black shoes, and white shirts. This sent all the moms, me included, scrambling to borrow the appropriate attire for the evening. So, first I sent Maria over to Regina's to borrow some clothes from her girls. Then I was able to borrow shoes from a friend's daughter. In the end, she looked quite nice and I didn't have to spend any money on dressy clothes that she'll never wear again, except maybe for the next concert. Not only did the kids look nice, but they sang well too.

Earlier today I took Jon Felipe to Sioux Falls for a doctor appointment. At our last appointment at Sanford Children's, I expressed some concern that JF's gait wasn't as "smooth" as it used to be, so Dr. B referred us to Dr. Johnson, a physiatrist (also called a rehabilitation physician). I am still amazed at how this visit went. Dr. Johnson had read all the notes from Dr. B ahead of time and had assembled a team of specialists based on the concern areas. These people had also all read the notes ahead of time. Then they all worked together to develop the best plan for Jon Felipe. When I told the team that JF was a little overwhelmed at having so many people in the room at the same time, some stepped out for awhile until he felt more comfortable.

So the final determination was that Jon Felipe is in a growth spurt (we already knew that) and that the good leg is growing faster than the bad leg. Hopefully this will all work itself out eventually, but in the mean time we need to deal with the difference in leg length. He needs a new brace, and was casted for that right there during our appointment. He also was fitted with special shoes, which immediately improved his walking, even with his old brace. He was able to wear those home. A small lift will be added to the brace, although if that doesn't work well for him then it can be added to the shoe instead. I was also taught how to do some stretches with him which should help with some of the spasticity in his muscles.

I loved listening to the interactions between the specialists as they each approached the problem from a different angle and worked together to develop the best plan. Jon Felipe's favorite part was when one of the doctors told him (Jon Felipe) that he is going to be tall. JF's goal is to be taller than all his brothers and he checks daily to see if he has grown any taller, so this was good news to him. Can you believe how well orchestrated this all was? As a veteran of many many doctor visits, this was just amazing to me.

Then to cap it off, I came back to Sioux Center and met my dear husband for our Tuesday coffee date. When I got there, he was outside helping someone with car trouble. (It is bitter cold here!) When we got in, we found that our coffee drinks were "on the house" and even included a piece of dessert! That was so nice. It may be bitter cold here, but there are good things happening out here in northwest Iowa. How was your day? I hope it was as good as mine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

We are enjoying our break. Yesterday we took all the kids to the community pool for the afternoon. Dwight kept teasing Jon Felipe that he wanted to swim in the outdoor pools and Jon kept replying in all seriousness, "It will be cold." Jacob spent a lot of time giving Maria some swimming tips and helping her with her flip turns. I loved watching them work together at something they both really enjoy. This afternoon we are going to the movies. The merchants in Sioux Center make free movie tickets available for the matinee showings at the theater on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Should be another fun afternoon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

We have so very much to be thankful for! It is good to take some time to reflect on that and to gather with family and friends to give thanks to God for our many blessings.

We did not try to travel back to Chicago or Michigan to be with our families there for Thanksgiving this year. Instead we gathered with family here, George and Regina and their girls, as well as some other friends. We had a great evening full of fun and yummy food.

Here are several photos from our evening. I know some of the relatives back in Chicago wanted to see George's family, I think I managed to get each of them in at least one picture.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Move On

Jon Felipe has been having some trouble with a couple boys at Kid Zone. Today when I picked him up, he was happily playing with a new friend. In his cute way, he said to me, "Mom, I move on. I make otro friend." (otro = other in Spanish.) He was quite pleased with himself that he was able to solve the problem on his own, plus he has a new friend to play with. Sounds like a great solution to me!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Maria still enjoys swimming with the Seahawks. She continues to improve and got another personal best time on Saturday. She wasn't disappointed at all when school ended up canceled today due to an ice storm, but she was sad that swim practice also got canceled.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Back

Sorry I haven't written much lately. I've had a bad toothache. I went in this summer for a check-up. I didn't have any cavities, but I did need some repair work done on a tooth to try to prevent a future need for a root canal. It wasn't bothering me, so I didn't have the work done right away, plus I needed to save up the money for it since we don't have dental insurance.

I finally had that work done a couple weeks ago. Teeth are miserable things! My tooth didn't bother me before, but I sure was in a lot of pain after. Several days later, I returned to the dentist and he decided that the procedure had actually made things worse and I likely needed a root canal now. I wanted to go with the "wait and see" approach since I didn't have money for a root canal anyway, but he hated to see me in so much pain and said his partner would do the procedure for me and I could pay it off in installments.

Our check-ups this summer were the first visits we had made to a dentist here and when we went, half of us saw one partner and half saw the other. The other dentist is from Colombia, so we had Jon Felipe see him. He was so pleased that we had adopted JF and emphasized that a person with JF's physical struggles would have no future in Colombia. It was so amazing to us to find someone who grew up in Colombia working as a dentist here in northwest Iowa. How cool is that!

Anyway, this other dentist has only done a few root canals, although not on molars, which is what I needed done, but he was willing to do it for me. Amazingly he was even willing to do the procedure for free! So, I went to see him last week. The ache is getting better so we explored whether I really need a root canal or not. The decision: likely not. Yeah!

Apparently that particular tooth is hard to numb and so when they try to inject the Novocaine, they have to slide the needle between the muscle and the bone in the hinge of the jaw. Sometimes they pierce the muscle and, because the muscle is so thin in that spot, it causes a great deal of pain. Sometimes they also end up piercing the nerve. It appears that both occurred, which would explain why my jaw ached, why it was painful to try to open my mouth, and why it felt like my jaw had been paralyzed on that side. He also told me that it usually takes at least 6 weeks to repair itself.

So, I'm cancelling my root canal appointment and enjoying the fact that the pain is definitely receding. It is amazing to me how much being in pain like that can affect your ability to function. I felt like it was hard to even focus on a simple task. For my friends who deal with chronic pain, you are amazing! I am so grateful not to be facing that kind of pain any longer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Views From The Porch

As it appears that our lovely fall weather is coming to an end, I thought I'd share some of the views from our front porch. I love seeing all the bales in the fields. These are the ones in the field across the street from our place.

Jon Felipe is very into trucks and plans to be a trucker when he grows up. Our neighbor "drives truck" as they say around here and this is his truck. The other day, he let JF ride along when he drove the truck across town to park it. He even let him honk the horn. Jon Felipe is still talking about the experience.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Colin's Birthday

We had a lovely weekend celebrating Colin's 22nd birthday. Dwight and I took him out for lunch yesterday. Today (his actual birthday) we made pizza for dinner and watched a family movie. He chose apple cobbler with real whipped cream rather than a cake and it was very yummy. We enjoyed getting to spend so much time with our first-born this weekend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birthday Pictures

Wow. Jon Felipe is now 10! He had completely planned out months ago what he wanted to do to celebrate his birthday. This included having George and Regina and their family over, having a Sponge Bob cake, and having Sponge Bob plates and noise makers. His birthday was on Friday, but there was so much going on this past weekend that we decided to get together on Sunday after church instead. We all had a good time and Jon Felipe totally enjoyed his party.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

We had fun carving our pumpkins Saturday afternoon.

Jon Felipe got a remote control car for his birthday and he was having entirely too much fun playing with it to stop and carve pumpkins.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

A couple weeks ago, Dwight took Luke and Jon Felipe out to the pumpkin patch on Dordt's farm to pick out some pumpkins. It was one of many, many beautiful fall days we have had this year. The guys came home with eight pumpkins, six of which we carved this past Saturday.