Monday, July 29, 2013

Bye, bye tonsils!

The week after Kennedy was done with preschool, we had scheduled surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids.  It is something that we thought about, prayed about and investigated multiple options throughout the past year.  We saw two different surgeons, filled out countless questionnaires and finally decided that her quality of sleep would greatly improve with the procedure.  It was amazing how loudly she snored ~ with the door shut and a fan in her room turned on, you could still stand down the hall and hear her at times.  Not only did she snore loudly but there were times when we'd hear her stop breathing during sleep.  Not often, but enough to make us concerned.  She was also a super loud breather on a day to day basis, I often wondered if she was getting enough air at all.  We were able to meet with the Dean of Surgery up at Dorenbechers and I really liked him...he recommended having the procedure done, giving us hope that her sleeping would improve greatly.

As surgery day approached, I was getting more and more nervous.  I knew in my head that it was a simple, routine procedure but my heart was terrified of my baby being wheeled off to surgery and it was all so out of my control.  It certainly didn't help that Kyle was travelling for work and I was going through the whole process alone.  That was really hard.  Thankfully Kennedy was pretty excited to eat ice cream and would only get a little scared here and there. 

It was a very different story once we checked in and got settled...She just curled up into herself, wouldn't really communicate with the doctors or nurses and told me more than once that she was scared and just wanted to go home.  It about broke my heart.  I did my very best to be strong for her.  I can't say enough wonderful things about the staff up at Dorenbechers ~ everyone was so friendly and helpful and so great with Kennedy.  The first person that we saw after our initial nurse got us settled was a nurse whose job it was to explain everything to Kennedy.  They had a kids book that explained what would happen before and after her surgery, they gave her a stuffed animal and then gave her bear, Rainbow, her own hospital gown and blood pressure cuff.  Oh, and they had Disney Junior playing too, which was a great distraction.
She looked so small and fragile lying in the hospital bed...
And she was all done with pictures, thank you very much!
Once Rainbow got all suited up, Kennedy was in slightly better spirits.
Taking her blood pressure...
Rainbow getting sleepy medicine...
Kennedy was getting pretty anxious as her surgery time approached, so they offered to give her a mild relaxant.  It made the transition so much easier (at least for Kennedy)...once she got her dose, she was calm and smiley.  As we walked down the hall, wheeling her in the hospital bed, I tried so very hard to keep it together.  I kissed her, prayed with her and then they took her into the operating room.  And I lost it.  It was a very, very long hour.

They came and got me once she was done with surgery and I sat with her in recovery.  Unfortunately, this is when things didn't go quite as smoothly as we would have hoped.  She woke, crying loudly, kind of thrashing around and in obvious discomfort.  Again, I lost it.  I must admit, it was just so hard to be by myself watching Kennedy suffer.  The nurse who was attending to her was very sweet and tried to calm her down but then decided she'd need morphine.  After two doses, Kennedy was zonked out again.  And then her blood pressure (or oxygen levels?) began to drop, so she was given oxygen and allowed to slowly wake up again.  Second time around was much better...she was sore and scared but she was doing much better!

Back in our little area, she fell asleep again and I just loved on her - in no rush to leave the safety of the hospital.

After a couple of hours Kennedy perked up and we were ready to head home

She even got a fun ride in a wheel chair!
She slept a lot on our car ride home, but then asked for ice cream.  I stopped and got her a shake, but she really had no interest in food.

Asleep again...more than anything she was tired.
The first night was a bit rough, she woke around midnight in obvious pain and it was difficult to comfort her.  She needed pain medicine but wasn't very willing to take it.  
Thankfully after the first night, things got a little better. 
The recovery took a full week, getting a little better before getting worse again.  I was most worried about her lack of wanting to eat and it was visible that she had lost quite a few pounds.  
she definitely looked more frail than normal for several days after surgery

After a week, she was on the mend and back to eating more like normal.  It didn't take long for her to be back to her normal self.
And I'm super thrilled to report that the surgery was successful in helping her sleep better.  She is getting more continuous and longer periods of sleep at night and her behavior has really improved, as well.  I am so thankful that we decided to have this procedure and that it's now behind us!
Praising God for our healthy girl!!!
On a side note, spending the day at the children's hospital and seeing so many sick children and tiny preemies made me stop and appreciate the health of both of my kids.  It's so easy to take that for granted but being in the hospital proved a good reminder of how very lucky we are.

ballet pictures

A few days after Kennedy's surgery, she had ballet pictures at her dance studio.
I was worried that she wouldn't be up for it, but figured a quick 30 minutes would probably be doable.
She loved getting fancied up, putting on a little make-up and her recital costume.
I couldn't resist taking a few pictures...

My beautiful girl!

I forgot my camera as we rushed out the door (I had about a dozen things in my hand and was trying desperately not to loose anything, so it's probably a good thing I had one less item to manage!) but took a few iphone pictures of the girls in the dressing room.
Lyla and Kennedy

little ballerinas

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Last Day of School ~ 2013

I must admit, I was really looking forward to school coming to an end this year.  It seemed like a year that was busier than others and I was eager to slow down and enjoy the fun of summer. 
Kennedy ended preschool the week after Memorial Day, so she has enjoyed more of an extended summer.
She really had a wonderful year ~ we adored her teacher, Miss Tricia.  She could not have been any more loving and wonderful to her little students.  She was a gift to our family and was one of the main reasons that Kennedy enjoyed going to school each day.

a few pictures with our girl before rushing out the door

Kennedy has grown so much this year and it's hard to believe that she is almost five and will be starting kindergarten next year.  It seems like mere weeks ago that we were celebrating her first day of preschool!


Last day as a PRESCHOOLER!
                                                                                                  And here she was on her first day of school
                                                                                                      September 2012

She was sporting a bit of shiner due to a little running accident with the dog, but I still think she's the cutest thing around!

Kennedy's friend Lyla is one of the sweetest children I have ever met.  She really loves Kennedy and they play so well together.  We wish so much the boundaries had us going to the same school.

Our dear Miss Tricia

I have so loved our time at Circle of Friends and it will be so difficult not to return there in the fall.  The surroundings are familiar, the staff is loving and so dear to our hearts and everything about it is sweet
Kennedy did very well in preschool this year.  On her end of the year assessment, Miss Tricia had lots of positive things to say and was encouraging about her skill development.  Some of my favorites were "she warms my heart with her smile" and "she is a good helper to me and her peers."  Miss Tricia also included that they "sometimes had to work on waiting our turn to talk and to listen to others."    This year she mastered her numbers and letters and got much better at writing her name.   She isn't a reader yet, but has developed great pre-reading skills.  Kennedy's favorite activities at school were coloring and crafting. She enjoyed playing with Lyla and Delaynee but was friendly with all of her classmates.  
As we drove away from school, after her spring program, she was holding her memory book (a treasure given to us each year and made by their teachers) and (trying to) crying, saying she was so sad to be leaving Miss Tricia and her friends.  It was all very dramatic but so very sweet.  I am so thankful that our preschool has been a safe and loving environment in which our children have flourished!

Carter finished up the 1st grade towards the end of June.
He had a very successful year academically and he really enjoyed his teacher, Mrs. Lange.  He had a student teacher, Ms. Thomas,  during the first half of the year and we liked her a lot too.
Carter made several new friends and generally enjoyed going to school each day.  Each day we'd get a report on his kick ball game or wall ball score.  Play. By. Play.  It was much harder to get information regarding what he actually did in the classroom, but I do understand that recess was a special time in his day.

Carter's last day as a FIRST GRADER!!!                 And here he is on the first day of 1st grade!

Carter's report card was mailed home a week or so after school was out and we were very proud of his achievements.  He's a smart little boy and has done well in school so far.  His reading skills really exploded towards the end of the year and we were thrilled to see how he measured.  He also did great in math.  Unfortunately, he has struggled a bit with his behavior and it got progressively worse as the year went on.  His teacher was wonderful and was willing to work with us, sending home a daily behavior report.   Another positive note about his teacher was her comments to me regarding Carter...she was always positive and I truly believe that she chose to focus on his strengths and love him despite of his weaknesses.  I was very thankful for her and her loving nature towards my boy. Carter tried really hard to improve, which made Kyle and I very proud.  His main areas of struggle are arguing, talking out in class and being respectful.  He actually got a few '2's on his report card in these areas.  Definitely something we'll continue to work on.
Carter said that math was his favorite activity to do at school and has been teaching himself multiplication and division.  He loves recess and PE, too!  Overall, I think it was a really successful year for Carter and we're anxious to see where he'll go in 2nd grade.  I am hopeful that he'll be able to be challenged a bit more next year and that his classroom behaviors will improve!

On the last day of school, we were able to join the first graders in a fun celebration ~ chalk, bubbles and Popsicles! 
I had Kaitlin with me for the morning, so she joined us at Grass Valley.  I was amazed at home the girls fit right in with the big kids!
bubble fun

Carter and Ryan
Sadly, Ryan's family moved back to California at the beginning of the summer.  We will really miss them!  He is such a sweet boy and a good friend to Carter.

I love this picture...
that smile makes me so happy and his face is radiating joy!

ha ha ha!  There's a story here...these two girls in front of Carter, Annie and Ashlin, are so sweet.  I think there was some reciprocal crushes going on this year.  Lots of playground chasing, etc.  Carter wanted to take a picture with them but was too shy to ask.  I suggested he go run by them and I would simply take a picture.  Great idea, Mom!

Enjoying some Popsicles!
Good bye 1st grade, hello 2nd!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Circle of Friends Spring Concert

This blog is beginning to look a bit like Ground Hog Day...I have fallen woefully behind in posting and am now committed to doing 20+ posts to catch up before another 20 need to be done.  It doesn't help that our computer is as old as dirt and about as slow, too!  I've found a nice little work around and am using Kyle's computer to get all of my pictures uploaded and can then actually narrate the posts as time allows.  And who am I kidding, time never allows!

So, way back in the end of May, Kennedy had her (last) spring performance at Circle of Friends Preschool.  She was very excited to sing her songs and informed us that she had been practicing very hard and would sing loudly to make Miss Tricia happy.
I love these little traditions that we've enjoyed for the past four years and had a heavy heart sitting in the sanctuary knowing that this phase of our family's life was coming to an end.
It was a special night, to be sure!

Kennedy outside the Gumball room, the green classroom, which was her class with other "young" 4's

Kennedy got to lead all the Gumballs and hold Miss Tricia's hand as they made their way into the church.

As they made their way up on stage, you could tell that Kennedy was nervous and a little overwhelmed by the full sanctuary.  While she loves to perform, it is something that she does well outside of her comfort zone.  She is much more reserved and quite serious when up on stage.
Singing with all her heart!
These two boys (from the PM class) who were in front of Kennedy, kept looking back at her throughout the entire performance.  I'm not sure if they were impressed that she knew all of the words or if she was simply singing so loudly that it was a bit distracting.

At the spring show, the children get to say their name into a microphone as they make their way back to their seats.
Kennedy Marie Phelan did a great job!

Grandma was able to come for the show and really enjoyed watching Kennedy.  And Kennedy loved having her there, too!

Things were more hectic than usual, due to the renovation that was started at church, so we weren't able to go downstairs like normal.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get many pictures as it was late and we ate our cookies and made our way home.
Circle of Friends will always hold such a very special place in my heart...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

a GREAT season ~ Baseball

Carter wrapped up his third season of baseball earlier this month (since I am finally getting to posting, it's now been more like 2 months!) summer.  He really loved it...he was able to be on a team with several of his friends and he worked very hard and improved a lot over the four months.  Carter is a lot of fun to watch, because he takes the game so seriously.  He's (almost) always paying attention and is on the look out for the next play.  I was really proud of him. 
Kyle was the assistant coach again this year, so it was a fun activity for them to do together.
A few pictures before our first game of the season
I remember this day so clearly...he was so excited for his game!  I hope he always loves his activities as much as he does now.  Playing sports is such a source of joy for him ~ and whether he is good at them in the future or not, I pray that he'll continue to love them.

It's funny to look back and see how his smile has changed in just a few months

I always get a bit nervous when he's up to bat, but I don't think he does!  He's all business.  He had some really great hits this year.  Kyle said that his hitting was the one skill that had really improved from last year - whenever Kyle had a free moment, Carter was asking to go outside and practice.

The kids are rotated through all of the positions, so Carter played catcher a few times - definitely not his favorite!

During the second half of the season they let the kids try their hand at pitching.  I think Carter pitched three times and did quite well.  He has an arm on him and can throw the ball fairly hard.  He just needs to work on his accuracy, since I'm pretty sure he hit two batters :)  He really enjoyed pitching, though, and didn't seem rattled by the pressure.  Again, it was so fun to watch him up on the pitching mound clearly loving every minute of it!

I have to make sure to include the highlight of the season, at least for Carter.  It was about midway through the year and Carter was playing second base (I think, maybe it was short stop, I get confused easily :)  A fly ball was hit towards him and he was able to make the catch...things started to get a little crazy at this point.  Both coaches (and assistant coaches) were yelling at their respective players, parents were shouting directions from the stands and the players were all pretty confused.  The boy on first base didn't tag up, so Carter ran to first and forced the out.  Then, again amid a lot of yelling, the boy that had been on second base was trying to figure out what to do, so Carter ran as fast as he could and tagged him out at second.  A triple play!  Unassisted!  It was more hilarious than impressive but if you know Carter at all, he about floated off the field he was so very excited.  He had to call grandparents and aunts and uncles to share the news ~ he was pumped!!!

He had a couple of really great hits this year.  He also worked hard to improve his base running.  All in all, it was a great few months of growth that he really enjoyed.

After the last game, we had a little celebration for the boys.
Pizza, cupcakes and trophies ~ all you need to make little boys very happy!

Carter with Coach Nick getting his trophy

Kathy made delicious (and darling) Oreo cupcakes for the celebration

Andrew, Carter and Andrew
There is a lot of energy in those three little bodies!

Carter, Asher and Austin
It certainly made the season more fun to have a lot of friends on Carter's team.  It was fun for him and it was fun for me to have my friends to chat with during can feel really long at times so it's always more fun to have friends to pass the time with.  

Our team ~ really a great group of boys!

Carter ~ 2013