Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life as we know it...

Having fun together!

We have had so many great friends help us with Kate since I went back to work three weeks ago.  Thank you to everyone!!!  Kate has had so much fun, and it's been nice to know she is in such caring and kind hands each and every day! 

I was hoping to get her in the More at Four Program (a Wake County pre-K program)... and found out she's eligible, however she is on the waiting list along with about 400 other children.  Budget cuts have made it difficult to find every child a spot.  With that said, I know she'd do great there, but I also know that other kids could probably use the services a little more.  Kate is going to get what she needs as far as education, but some of the other kids are probably not as lucky.  I know God has a plan and I trust him completely!  I pray that he puts the kids that need it most in the class.  I'll jump at a spot though if we're offered it!  Financially it would help us sooooo much!

We are going to go look at an in home daycare tomorrow that sounds wonderful!  I've e-mailed back and forth for about a week and everything looks perfect on paper.  I really hope I'm just as impressed in person!  Kate would be with three other four year olds and a two year old each day.  They do preschool lessons in the morning and spend time on field trips and playing.  They also have a nap time each afternoon- which Kate really needs!  She is so tired every afternoon but doesn't want to take the time to sleep in case she misses anything.  The routine of her daycare would do wonders for her!  I really hope that this is the place for our wonderful four year old that desparately wants to go to school!  The other day I was going to introduce her to her Sunday School teachers and then take her home with me.  She begged me to stay, "Kate go to school?!!!"  She stayed and did great! 

Her speech is coming along so fast  We are amazed at what she can say and understand!  Some of her comments make us smile too!  The other day at church I had my eyes closed while I was praying and Kate said (as she rubbed my cheek), "Poor mommy, so tired!"   We also love how she is getting better at expressing her feelings with a few favorite comments being "No" and "Kate is so mad!" or "Kate is so sad!" 

There have also been moments where I have been so frustrated only to realize later what Kate had meant by her actions.  The other night Brennan was with Dave and it was about 7:30 PM.  I had been gone the last two nights attending Brennan's parent orientation and then having my own second grade parent orientation.  Kate was crying because I didn't want to put my pajamas on.  I couldn't figure out why in the world she cared what I was wearing!!!  I was frustrated because she was so mad and she was so frustrated too.  Later it hit me... she wanted me to put my pajamas on so she knew I wasn't going anywhere.  After two nights being gone, she wanted to KNOW that I was staying at the house with her.  Talk about feeling guilty afterwards!!!  Another moment happened this morning before church.  I was packing her bag with books and other items to keep her entertained at church.  She was dressed and all was good... until I started packing her bag.  She completely lost it and started whining and crying- and I didn't help matters with my own whining.  Then it hit me again... everyday I've been packing her bag only to hand her off to yet another person to watch her for the day.  As much fun as she has with everyone, she really wanted to be with her family.  Once I realized why she was so upset, I explained that we would stay together at church and she was happy again!  It is confusing for all of us!

Everyday I pray for patience in order to handle her confusing times with as much clarity as possible... but boy does her whining raise my blood pressure in record speed!  We have our tough moments but the sweet moments are so sweet!  We'll definitely not earn any parenting awards this year- but I sure hope we'll earn "the most improved" in the future.  :-) 

Brennan has started fourth grade and so far enjoys it a lot!  He made me smile the other day when I went to check on him before bed and he said, "Mommy, how do you know if you need your lungs removed?"  Hmmm... that one had me stumped.  I did figure out he was talking about his tonsils and not actually his lungs.  LOL.  His tonsils were fine (and so were his lungs) but it made me grin.  Even my almost nine year old who grew up with English since he was four months old, gets his words confused. 
Brennan has some very cute words he uses too.  My sweet boy loves the survivor types of shows and will often play games that involve surviving the elements.  The other day at the pool he commented, "Mom if you're ever in a water situation like this the best way to get out is to go to a corner and..."  Or one of his favorite topics of conversation is,  "If you had to eat something to survive would you eat a hissing cockroach or a worm?" etc.  He makes me smile so many times!  We both agreed that we'd never eat Zamboni though no matter how hungry we were!  Zamboni can rest easy.  :-) 

Life with a sister is not always easy for him but as I am writing this, the two of them are playing together and being so sweet.  It makes my heart smile when they have these moments!  I truly pray that there will be more and more moments like this though!  The last week has been a little tough for all of us.  Being on vacation is always so much easier!  They both have a hard time with a working mom that has other things to do other than play with them.  It's always a balancing act!  I do have to say I have the cutest class this year though, and I love my job!  Everybody will get used to our new routine... it just takes a little time.  We hope Kate will start her new routine too so her life won't be quite as confusing.

So the Ranheims are doing okay.  We all need to be a little more patient with each other, but deep down we know that we love and care for each other.  Brennan gave the best advice to Kate today, "Kate don't worry, we can all be grumpy but that doesn't mean we don't love each other. Families will always love each other no matter what!"  I pray that Kate learns to trust this advice and believe it's true.  She does worry that we won't like her, so we have to be careful with our words.... "We love you Kate and will always love you.  We don't like screaming though." 

Kate was so funny the other day.  Zamboni had "stolen" her food and she yelled "I no like dogs- I like cats!!!  No -boni".  Then she proceeded to ask if we could get a cat instead.  Today she commented, "Today I like dogs- I no want cats anymore."  Zamboni just looks at her wondering when she'll drop some food again.   He's so happy that he now has two kids to feed him!   Life is good and so simple through his eyes! 

Life is good through mine too-  my dream of two children has finally come true!  And boy are they cute!!!!

Kate's first balloon!  She was so excited!
Kate had her nails painted when Brittany
was watching her for us!  So cute!

They even painted flowers on a few nails!


Brennan acting like a survivor guy!

Kate is so happy when Brennan
plays with her!

Kate was building Barney's house.
She loves Barney the purple dinosaur!
When asked who she likes the best though-
her answer is Hello Kitty!

Brennan playing with fish at his desk.

One of the last pool get togethers for
the summer.  We love our friends!

Brennan is such a great artist!

My sweet co-worker Sue is so patient
and kind with my kids around.  She's

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Medical Updates on Kate

Our beauriful princess!
 Poor Kate has been to so many doctors in her short time in America!  She is always happy and goes with the flow though!  We've met with two doctors that didn't impress us much, but I'm happy to say that we now have the BEST team of doctors to help her!  We've always loved her pediatrician, Dr. Fennell.  He is also Brennan's pediatrician and so we've known him for eight years.  After going to a specialist that didn't impress us, I asked him for his recommendation and he set us up with Dr. Wooten who is a neurologist in the same building as his practice. 

So we think she has mild cerebral palsy rather than clubfeet, which we originally thought.  All I can say is I am so thankful that China didn't actually list that as her special need because that would have scared us off and we probably wouldn't have ended up with our sweet Kate!  God knew what he was doing and she is perfect for our family! 

Dr. Wooten was amazing and she never even realized she was in a doctor's office!  He thinks her CP affects her legs and possibly her wrists a little.  The only way to truly diagnose CP is to have an MRI done though, which can be tricky with a four year old.  Usually he recommends that you put the child to sleep in order to do it, but he was impressed with Kate and thought we could try it first. Then if it didn't work we could go the more complicated route of putting her to sleep.  We set up our appointment and went to the office to see the mock machine.  The office was in the same building, and so will the physical and occupational therapy sessions too! The office is two blocks from my school and is so convenient!

She wasn't impressed with the mock MRI machine but she was hungry. and so we just looked at it and talked about it.  Two days later we arrived for our appointment and she was AMAZING!  I wished I would have taken a picture of her- she was so cute with her goggles on that she could watch a movie through (she picked out Sponge Bob) and her big ear phones on.  Then there was a Darth Vader looking mask over her head.  She took her Llama and her Hello Kitty and hugged them and I was allowed to stay with her too.  I held her foot and one hand and she was perfectly still the entire 45 minutes.  All she said afterwards was that it was loud and scary. I agreed that it was very loud!   I was so relieved and excited that she did it! 

We have a copy of her brain scan but I have no idea what to look for, so I'll just wait until I meet with the Dr. Wooten again in a few weeks.  In my mind, it doesn't really matter what it reveals.  She's absolutely perfect and her obstacles will just make her a stronger and more amazing person!  On the other hand, I am very thankful that her condition will not get worse... she can walk and run and get around just fine, which I know many kids will never get to do. 

I look forward to setting up her physical therapy sessions though and know that they will be just as amazing as the doctors that work in their building.  I have seen so much improvement in her balance and gait in just the short time we've had her, and so I know that she'll improve even more with guided help.  I just hope that she will always know how perfect she is- the therapies will just help make her stronger.

We have two more appointments to go to though- the eye doctor and the dentist.  We have a great pediatric optometrist that we will see in two weeks.  Dr. Wooten was worried about her wandering eye and wanted us to get in as soon as possible so she won't lose any sight in that eye.  When I told him I had made the appointment he asked who it was with... when I said Dr. Board he said that's who he was going to recommend.  Brennan has been to Dr. Board and so we already know we love him too.  Now I'm just looking for a dentist.  The one that Brennan has seen, isn't in our network, which hasn't been a problem with Brennan because his teeth are pretty good.  Poor Kate though isn't quite as lucky.  I think I probably should find someone in our network.  Any recommendations?  We have United Healthcare as our insurance.

Now that she probably has CP I have started doing my research.  I am an expert on clubfeet and put in many hours researching it... oh well.  There are a ton or resources and now I have a new project.  We're just so happy with our healthy, spunky, and determined little girl!  She truly is a gift from God!

Summer Days in Raleigh

Coloring by flashlight
After unpacking, setting up the room, and catching up on bills... we had time to play!  We joined Jennifer and her adorable girls for a few days of fun.  We enjoyed painting pottery, swimming, and playing at their house.  One of the highlights was at their house during a storm and the electricity went out.  The kids had so much fun coloring in the dark and then decided to play a game of hide and go seek.  Laurel and Kate were a team and Brennan and Megan were a team.  They screamed and squealed and had so much fun for over an hour.  Jennifer and I sat on the couch and just laughed!  We both wished we would have thought to videotape the fun times- it truly was delightful to watch and be a part of!

Megan, Laurel, Brennan, and Kate

Kate loves music and often sings and hums her way through the day.  The Barney song is one of her favorites and she performed it many times for me to videotape.  She is so cute! 
With the end of summer approaching I had to spend some time in my room getting it ready for the beginning of the year.  Brennan has always enjoyed hanging out in my room, and I was excited that Kate thought it was a fun place to be too!  Of course everything is fun when Laurel and Megan join us too!
  Brennan was very excited to meet up with his fishing buddy again.  Mr. Thanos is a good friend that enjoys fishing as much as Brennan does.  He'll often take Brennan on the weekends to fish and the two of them will go rain or shine and as many hours as possible- I think their record is nine hours!  They were very successful last weekend when they caught this large mouthed bass!  They released it and hope to catch it again someday! 

August 4th, 5th, and 6th I headed up to the lake with my friends.  This is an annual trip that happens the first weekend in August and this was my fifth year joining the group.  People come and go throughout the weekend and this year there were ten of us.  Each person is responsible for one meal and the food is always delicious.  We eat way too much, relax, watch movies, have fun on the jet ski, and tube behind the boat.  It is always a weekend filled with laughter and great memories.  It's only for the women though- kids and husbands stay home! 
I was sad to say goodbye to my kids but so excited to have some time with my gal pals!  I also needed a break... sweet Kate is so adorable but she is truly my shadow.  I can't turn around without tripping on her or do any chores without her wonderful (but time consuming) "help".  It was a great break for me and a super weekend for Dave and the kids.  Unfortunately Brennan was a little under the weather so they stayed home, but they enjoyed the lazy time and Dave did a great job taking care of both of them!  It was also great to come home and be greeted with such enthusiasm!  It is always nice to get away but even nicer to come home to my sweet family!  I also celebrated my birthday at the lake and was very spoiled! 

August 9th was my official first day back to work...  we have five teacher workdays, which makes the return a little easier.  Brennan enjoyed my work week by attending a fishing camp with NC Fishing Adventures.  We'd drop him off at Wake Forest Road where a van would take the kids the 30 minutes to the camp.  We'd drop him off at 8:00 AM and pick him up at 2:00 PM.  He had such a GREAT week!

While he was at camp, Kate and I were at school.  One of the days she enjoyed with Laurel and Megan and had so much fun while I spent the day in meetings.  The other days she played in my room.  There were two great kids that came to play with her though and help me out-  Thanks Chris and Karin!  We have one more work day on Monday and then the kids begin on Tuesday, August 16th.  I have wonderful friends that will watch Kate until her school begins on August 25th.  We are still waiting to hear from the More at Four program that we really hope Kate gets into... we'll hear on Monday.  If she doesn't get in then we'll be looking for another option- fingers crossed though!

It's hard to believe our magical summer is almost over!  It has been amazing and although I am sad, I do enjoy my job and look forward to getting into a routine again.  I will miss my lazy mornings the most though!  Too bad school couldn't start at 10:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM!