Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merriest of Christmas

Don't you love Christmas morning?
Joe came up to me this morning and softly said, "Merry Christmas mama, it's Christmas today".
He's always sweet that way, never forgets and always the first one to greet me.

The kids all got a wee bit extra hug and love today, especially that Nonno and Nonna are around. Guess who's the superstar?



Of course, Rick wouldn't be left out too. Do you agree that they both have 'lazy eyes'?




Joe was so nice and agreed to be Santa for his little cousins and maybe his big brother too.
Josh trying to tell Santa his Christmas wish :)


I think Santa can handle only certain 'weight'. 

From our family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmas!



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Much Fun

Between lunch, stretching, bathroom breaks, nursing and diaper change, 10 hours later, we arrived at my in laws last night. It felt like the longest road trip ever. But don't get me wrong, my kids are so great with long distance driving and I'm so thankful for that. I'm thankful for the gadgets too that keeps the boys pre-occupied. Thankful for the naps, for my husband taking the toll of doing all the driving himself and thankful for a reliable vehicle. Most especially, I am thankful to God for the safe travels. 

One of the perks being in British Columbia is they have a milder winter than ours in Alberta. It was on the minus 20's when we left home and it was 0 degrees when we came here. Although the boys were not completely 100% on the mend, who can refuse to have 'snow much fun' in the snow at 3c weather? So out they go. 







I hope you're having 'snow much fun' too at the end of your world. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Can You Hear Me?

Off today we go to get Isabella's hearing test at the Alberta Children's Hospital.
I always feel nervous and anxious. Why wouldn't I? My world has been rocked before and I'm always afraid that it will be rocked again.

Isabella had electrodes on her head to record electrical activity from the auditory nerve. She also had an earphone on her ear. This test is called ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response). It is non invasive and she had to be asleep in order to have this as the response is very sensitive.

The audiologist was really nice and gentle with her. I love gentle medical professionals! I believe that these medical professionals who works helping kids get better really chose to be in this field because they want to do this and they love kids. But once in a while you find some that  forget how it is to be on the receiving end so I always appreciate when someone is gentle with my child.


We weren't able to finish testing the other side of the ear because it took a while for her to sleep and with her movements, we had to pause several times. Not to mention, I was running late to pick up the boys from school.

The good news is, her permanent hearing is good. Yay!
The bad news is, there's a fluid build up in her ear that has been there for a while  so the sounds that she hear are muffled. We will be back next month to test the other ear and to see if she was able to eliminate the fluid in her ears on her own. We can do this by yawning or swallowing but it's a bit harder for babies. If she can't do this, we will be referred to the EENT and she may need to have another "surgery" to put tubes into her ear to drain those fluids.

Surgery..... Did she just say "surgery"?  The word I fear & dreaded the most just came out of her mouth. "Oh no, not again" I thought. I know it's not on purpose but my world just got rocked again.

There's nothing I can really do for now except to wait for the next test. I hope and pray (please pray with me!) that the next one would be good news and wouldn't require a surgery.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Is Upon Us

Christmas is upon us.
I'm sure there are lots of shiny things and gadgets under most tree this year. Sometimes, it's hard to imagine how far our technology has come. What are you hoping to receive and what are you giving?

I asked "Santa" for this. And I'm a lucky girl because I got it. Yes, my darling husband didn't wrap it and we're all receiving our presents early this year.  


But the best Christmas gift I could ever ask for is this, and it's something I can enjoy all year long! I love how this photo shows different personalities of the kids. Lemme tell you a little secret, they are all mischievous, ha! 


Earlier this week, while Josh has been sick at home, his teacher phoned me and asked me to keep this secret  until today. Do you know how hard was that for me?! :) Josh made me one proud mama. He was student of the month for December. It was their pj day as well so as much as he enjoyed not having to wear his uniform, he was a wee bit shy having to accept this award in front of the whole school in his pj's. Haha.

Add caption


Josh accepting his certificate from their principal.

The other student of the month from other grades and classes. 
As harsh as it sound to others, we always teach our boys that even though family, true friends and love are priceless, many things in this world are not free. I think it's important that they learn it from a young age. If you want a vacation, you need to save for it. If you want to be promoted or get an award, you have to work for it. If you want friends, you have to be a friend. If you want to be able to play video game, you have to act responsibly at home. Although Josh has been quite a book smart, we were worried that he may not reach the standards of this traditional school he was transferred to this school year. But he worked hard, and he achieved it. 

I'm confident that we are all capable of working towards achieving what we want. We may not always get 100% result but to achieve something is so worth the work. 




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is It Christmas Already?

No, not yet but we're spoiling it!

Since we'll be on the road in a few days, we decided to let the kids open their presents and have a chance to play with them a couple days before we leave.

Lego has always been a favourite in this household. 


 Yes, Josh got a Lego too! Lord of the Rings is his new favourite!


Joe's been asking for a Darth Vader Lego watch for over a year now. So he's really happy to finally get one.


I know Josh doesn't look impressed on this photo but he loved it. He finished a different version of the Hobbit book from school but this one comes with the Lord of the Rings too.




I think my kids are so lucky. I wish we did more this year to help other kids feel lucky too.
Tomorrow, I may need some luck as Isabella goes for her hearing test.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Thankful

Last Friday morning, the school called to let me know that Josh is sick. I don't think I've ever been this worried when the boys get sick prior to having Isabella. So I went and picked up both of them (just in case Joe has something too & so they wouldn't spread it). I admit, I was more scared of Josh passing it on to Isabella.


I thought I was having a bad day. But as soon as I got home, I saw the news about shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I was reminded that someone else is having a worse day than me. What happened there was every parents' nightmare. My heart goes out to all the babies that didn't get a chance to see their moms again, to the moms - although I would probably never understand what you are all going through, my heart aches for you and to all the brave teachers, to the grieving families and friends, I am so sorry for all your loss. I pray that you will all be comforted during this very difficult time.

Let's not wait for another terrifying thing to happen before we appreciate our children and friends and classmates or teachers. Let's give them a tighter hug everyday, not just today.











Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Thoughts


It's always amazing how a child sees no difference, he sees everyone as equal. I wish all of us can have this instilled in our hearts. 

I created this short 50 sec video clip using Magisto of Joe and Isabella. This is the second clip I created because the first  was taken at night and it was too dark. I hope you’ll like it. On the last few seconds of the video, Joe was actually singing to Bella the song "I'm Glad You Came". Found it so cute. 



Last Monday, I volunteered at the boys’ school. I met one of the supervisors and she mentioned that she has a sibling who has Down syndrome. I got pretty excited! But that excitement turned into worry when she mentioned that her sibling is losing vision at age 30. Although she told me not to worry because there are a lot of specialists where we live.

It was something I may not want to hear or not ready to think about but it could happen. I told our homecare nurse about it the following day when she came to visit.  She told me to think about how advanced medicine will be in 30 years - how very true. Medicine has come a long way. There will be a lot of intervention too and it’s something she may not have to go through.  

Suddenly, I see the future bright ahead – and I'm excited once again.
I decided I’m going to hold on to that hopeful thought.

I snapped a couple photos of me and the little princess.




Last week, it snowed here pretty good and it was beautiful so I took a few photos too. Bring it on winter!

Taken from 3rd floor of Children's Hospital overlooking Canada Olympic Park


Here's to beautiful winter, happy thoughts and having a best friend!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sleep study update & someone turned 6 months!


What can I say? We were in the hospital 5x the whole week for tests and check up so it did get busy. 

It was probably the feeling of having to stay overnight at the hospital again last Sunday that made me feel very nervous. It felt like a re-run of the times when Isabella was in the hospital & it just brings back a lot of horrible and sad moments.  

I guess another thing was, I was worried about Rick may forget something or may have a hard time preparing the kids for school the next day. He's always handled the kids by himself well and although I hate to admit it, there were many occasions that he did a better job than me. :) I have to learn to trust him more. :)

Anyways, we had to do the sleep study to see if she is blocking her airway when she sleeps. Children with Down Syndrome tend to have a longer tongue so when they sleep and the tongue relaxes, it tends to fall backwards which leads to blocking the air passage that causes sleep apnea. It could cause irregular heartbeat and heart failure (which she already have) and eventually, it is no good for her.

If she does block her airway, she would have to be on a CPAP daily at night (something I was hoping she wouldn't have to go through). 

She was hooked up immediately the moment we got there & had to turn off the lights (no TV, no phone) so I wasn't able to take a clear photo. 

This photo below was taken in the morning when she was being unhooked. If you look closely on the right side, you'd see how many cords were connected to her head, there were a total of 32! The tech also had to put some paste on her head/hair so the cable would stick to her head. It was removable by water but it took a while. 


Isabella on CPAP. The CPAP and cords connected to her head does not hurt her. 

This was the only photo I was able to take with my camera (also taken in the morning). This was a close up of her in a CPAP.


We were done by 6:30am and had to leave the sleep study area. However, she was scheduled for a 10:30am RSV shot and since Rick had the car, we had to wait in the hospital. Fortunately, I told them we were there since night before so they accommodated us an hour earlier than her appointment.

So what is RSV?

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is the most common germ that is highly contagious and can be spread through droplets containing the virus and causes lung and airway infections in infants and young children and the infection begins in the fall and run into the spring.

How can RSV spread?

It is airborne. Being near by someone who sneezes, coughs or blows their nose, kissing, shaking hands;
Touching nose, eyes, mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus such as toy, doorknob etc.

Do you know that RSV Virus can live up to 30 mins to 1 hour or more on hands and up to 5 hours on counter tops and several hours on used tissues? 

To many healthy person or adults, symptoms can be like a normal cold/flu and it goes away. but if it gets to Isabella, it is very serious. We have been warned by doctors and nurses that we can't take it lightly and make sure that she is not around people who are showing signs of cold symptoms, sick and even getting over a cold. I was also told recently that there are already 4 severe cases here in Calgary and those children are at the ICU at Children's Hospital (oh, my heart goes out to them).

Isabella will need 5 shots per season and so far, she's only had 1 so we are scheduled for many more shots. What she is getting is not a vaccination. It is a prescription medication (only offered by the government to children who are premature, with heart disease and babies who have poor immune system because it is a very expensive prescription - although  personally, I think it should be offered to all babies who are 2 and under, regardless).

The stress comes in with the boys - nagging them from the moment they get in the house to wash their hands,  change their clothes and so on and so forth. I have to admit, home schooling up to 2 years came to mind (although I know it's quite extreme decision to do).  It ain't easy but we have to do whatever precautions we can to avoid Isabella getting sick. I may have to be a bit stricter with play dates, even car rides and we are already avoiding crowded places such as the mall. We can't just take the risk.

We may have been gone overnight but Rick did miss his little girl! I took a few photos of them when we got home. You may still see some of the white paste/glue on her head here.



Yes, she loves sucking on those little fingers!

Yesterday, this little one turned 6 months! As if I'm not busy enough, I made her a tutu skirt! I also ordered the monthly sticker on Etsy.


Looking forward to a great week for us and for you!




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy December!

Oh, it's finally December! I can't believe we're getting to an end of this year. It seemed like 2012 went by really quickly for me.

We put this up yesterday morning.


With my little elves.



This is one of my favorite ornaments. Bought them from Michael's couple years ago.  


Speaking of ornaments, Joe loves his teacher so dearly. So he colored some wooden ornaments for her. 


We had a visitor too, Rose. During and after Isabella's hospital stay, her & husband Gideon would cook for us sometimes and bring it to our house. What kind hearted couple! We are indeed blessed to have them as friends. 


Joe had to go to a birthday party so Josh and I were left at home with the baby. After playing a few games on the computer, while I tackle laundry, he decided to brush up on his drawing skills. :)


Took a photo of this little princess. She camouflaged right in with the tree skirt! Hahaha.


And a snapshot courtesy of Josh, of me and Isabella. Sometimes, the only way to get some housework done is by using this Snugli carrier. I've used it with Josh & Joe too (wow, that was 8 years ago!),


Finally, wrapping up my Saturday night. A tired teething baby that actually, been snoozing on and off and didn't fall asleep until 1 in the morning.


We are off to stay overnight at the Children's Hospital for Isabella's sleep study tonight. I'll keep you posted.
Hope your weekend is filled with content and happiness. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Patience

We are always reminded by people who works with Isabella that because of her disability, she will be delayed in a lot of things, mostly mentally, mobility and functionality.

Patience, has always been my enemy. Amazingly, God has given me this beautiful child, to teach me what patience is all about -not only to learn it, but live and accept it.

Due to Isabella's cardiac surgery, she was on sternal precautions for 6-8 weeks. Because they had to cut open her sternum (yes, that bone in the chest), we could only scoop her and could not carry or lift her in the arms and she was not allowed to have tummy time. This caused additional delays on a lot of things. 

Every morning for the past month, I would lay Bella on the mat on her tummy with a rolled towel or blanket on her chest. Starting from a minute to 2 to 3. I try and increase it each time without pushing her too far and making her feel uncomfortable. She is starting to go roll on her side. 

It's going good so far, one small step at a time. 


I am looking forward to putting up the tree this weekend with the kids. 
It's going to be Bella's first Christmas. 
And it's going to be a wonderful one. 





Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reflection

Isabella's hearing test was cancelled today. She usually responds to sounds but there are times when I think she doesn't so part of me feels disappointed that she couldn't go because I would want to know what the results would be.

We were supposed to pick up her brothers from school today after the appointment (instead of them riding the school bus). But we thought it'd be fun to still pick them up regardless.

On the way out, I took few shots of us from my phone. I always bring her close to the mirror to see her reflection everyday. And every single day, what I see is this beautiful girl with brown eye and long eyelashes,  soft curly/wavy hair, a cute nose and  an adorable smile that comes with 2 cute dimples. A little girl full of courage and strength. Someone who can warm someone's heart in an instant. I hope someday, she would love her reflection too and see herself as how her mother sees her.

Can you tell, I love her to bits? :)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sniff, sniff


Does your baby have the sniffles?

If you have a small child, I would highly recommend this product. Having a daughter with CHD (Congenital Heart Defect), we are cautious that she won't get lower chest congestion (even after having her heart fixed). When Isabella has the sniffles, I put some saline drops on her nose, wait for about a minute and use this nasal aspirator. I have to make sure that she is mucus free (or at least most of it).

My only recommendation would be is to not suck air too hard once the aspirator is in their nose. If you do, you are sucking the air that they're breathing too and it makes them very uncomfortable.

NoseFrida the snot sucker product photograph

It is affordable too. We purchased ours HERE.
Hope this information helps.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Parenthood


A friend came over today with her kids. We talked about so many things. I love mom talk!
It always interests me to hear how other moms deal with parenthood. Not that I enjoy hearing part of their struggles but it but somehow, makes me feel relieved that I'm not alone on this path of parenthood & its struggles. Like what my mom always says, "we all have different cross to carry, so be nice because you'll never know how heavy the cross they're carrying". How very true.

Just the other morning, my husband and I were going out so I needed to boil some water for Isabella. I put the pot on the stove and saw a letter from Canadian Immigration about fingerprint request so I thought I'd call them (since I already submitted fingerprints with my citizenship application). But I remembered that they may ask me which agency I had it done so I went upstairs to grab that sheet of paper. I saw some invoice from the car dealership so I started creating a file folder for it. I also saw that there was something that wasn't filed properly so I filed it. On the way down, I remembered that I needed to wake Isabella up. So I did, changed her diaper, her clothes & by the time I went down, my husband said that I left the stove on, which I admitted & said, "I was boiling water". The thing is, there was no water in the pot. Ha!

What do you struggle most about being a parent? Organization, discipline, attitude, budget? I guess they all contribute to our issues of having that balance in our lives, which I always struggle with. A lot of us don't take time to just sit down and relax. And sadly, even if we do, we're thinking of what to cook for supper, or what chore to do next.

I guess, at the end of the day, our children won't remember how clean our house was or how their meals were nutritiously made, or how their clothes are freshly washed and nicely folded. They will remember more of how we played with them, or who won in scrabble, or how good that mac n cheese from the box was.

Here's to a day in a week of not cleaning up and a night of take out!


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