Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cardiologist didn't get the memo

Cadence had her 2 year check-up a couple of weeks ago and her pediatrician mentioned that he heard a murmur.  Particularly since she already has a "midline defect" (her cleft) he wanted to follow up with a specialist.  Now, she's had 2 hospitalizations for surgeries and seen multiple doctors, but no one had heard it before.  I knew it was a soft murmur, so I didn't think too much about it.  I didn't even mention it to my husband until the next day!  I pulled some strings to see one of my favorite cardiologist (hey, there's gotta be some perks to working in the Peds ICU!) and he managed to get her in yesterday.  So, off to the cardiologist we go.  Let's get our EKG and cardiac ECHO done, take a quick listen, confirm she has a murmur, tell us it's benign, and send us on our way! 

Um, apparently Dr. Hoyer didn't get that memo!  It turns out that she has an ASD (atrial septal defect, or "hole in her heart").  That was not what I wanted to hear.  Now, I work in the PICU.  I am fully aware of the fact that in the grand scheme of heart defects, an ASD is not a big deal.  Most of them can even be repaired in the cath lab and don't need open heart surgery.  On the other hand, I work in the PICU!  I know not only the good, but also the bad and ugly of  "simple procedures" and "simple defects".  I know that in the rare case... well, rare things happen.  So, while 95% of me knows that if she would need treatment, it would not be a huge deal, there is that other 5% that is nagging in the back of my mind.

That being said, she eats great, doesn't turn blue when she cries, and her energy level NEVER decreases, so for now we are going to re-evaluate in a year.  It doesn't seem to be affecting her so we can wait and see if the hole will close on it's own.  Of course, all fingers and toes will all be crossed next year that it has fixed itself!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ups and downs of this farming business...

We are on a roll.  Not the yummy, yeasty kind with butter or a good one of any sort.  We are now down 2 chickens.  The girls LOVE the chickens.  They constantly ask if they can play with them, enjoy collecting their eggs, and just have fun watching them.  I don't really know how one "plays" with chickens, but regardless, they are attached (see details of last chicken funeral).  Personally, I'm not up for cuddling with the feathered friends, but I love the clucking sounds they make when we come to see them and having fresh eggs all of the time is pretty darn cool!

It was much to my dismay to come home from work yesterday morning, after being awake for 24 hours no less, to find another fatality.  This one was no accident or chicken suicide.  Despite being in TWO enclosures, it was predator driven.  I'll spare you the details, but... yuck.  I'm just thankful that I am the one that made the grisly discovery and not one of the kids.  I'm fully aware that they will one day happen upon something like this, but I'd like to protect them from it as long as I can.  As far as they know, Midnight ran away from home!  We are continuing to reinforce the enclosures, but such is life when your animals live outdoors, I guess.

Now for the upside... see below!  I have been dreaming of green and blue eggs since we moved so Brad surprised me with four Easter Egger chickens.  They are two weeks old and adorable!  These, I may cuddle with!  We don't know yet if they are male or female.  Something new that I learned - basically one waits to see if they crow to figure that one out.  Who knew!  Keeping fingers crossed for no crowing, green eggs, and tight fencing.

Really?!  Does it get much cuter?!

Oh wait, yes it does!  Look at that pose!

While Brad wasn't looking we HAD to take a picture of a "biker chick"!  Happily it didn't poop on his cherished Triumph.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And then there were 10...

...Chickens that is.  We have had our first farm fatality.  I knew with more animals in our midst we will have more of this,  I just wasn't expecting it to happen so soon.  Poor thing didn't even have a name yet.

Here's how it went down.  We are now building an enclosed free range area for them but until it's done this weekend they are stuck in the coop, and not too happy about it.  Turns out that neighbors and their dogs don't appreciate roaming chickens.  So, the girls and I headed out to feed and water them and two birds flew the coop. At the same time our dog, Shiloh, happened to escape our house and saw 2 chickens running free.  This must have been the moment that her 11 year old mixed lab self must have been waiting for... she was off on a chase for them.  The girls were screaming at Shiloh to stop, I'm screaming at the girls to stop Shiloh, I'm yelling at the chickens to quit flying the coop and hastily put the lid down on the coop.  Shiloh managed to get a few feathers but thank goodness we caught her before she caught a chicken.  Now that sight REALLY might have scarred my children!  Then I heard a loud thump on the coop lid and it actually "bumped" up. 

So, Shiloh's safely back in the house, the girls managed to catch both chickens, we open the coop lid to put them in... we find one deceased chicken.  Was it suicide, a weak heart, or did it get in the way?  Either which way, it was a Bummer.  Immediate sobbing and tears from Laurel, Sierra's asking me where it's heart is and do I really know it's dead, me trying to appear brave enough to pull a dead chicken from the coop.  Ugh... it sucked! 

Today we had our first chicken funeral.  We buried it, Laurel put rocks in the shape of a heart on top of the dirt, we named it as we each said a prayer.  "I hope she enjoyed her life and had good friends."  "Thanks for providing us eggs."  "I hope she has lots of cracked corn in chicken heaven."  You know, the usual things you say at a chicken's funeral!

Hopefully this will be the last for a while.  This one felt particularly traumatic, but hopefully we won't be having a full on funeral for every farm member!

Monday, June 13, 2011

More than a google...

This little girl loves me.  She used to love me more than a hundred.  Then a more than thousand.  Now... she loves me more than a google.  A google!  Actually, she loves me more than a googol (that's a 1 followed by 100 zeros for those who missed that day in school!) but I always see it in my head as the former.  Lately she's taken to counting out 20, 30, even 60 googol's with her goodnight "love you".  I try to trump her and say "I love you a googol plus one" but then she ups it.  Simply "I love you more".  Does she have any idea that there is no limit to the love that I have in my heart for her?!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some days...

Some days, ok, lately, most days... they seem hard.  I have perspective.  I see it everyday at work and read it everyday on my friend's Caring Bridge page for her daughter.  I have a beautiful new home, 3 healthy children, and a husband who works tirelessly for our family.  I have no right to complain.  But I've been feeling whipped.  Whipped by the continuous laundry and animal hair on my floor, the endless boxes that need unpacked, an adorable but demanding 2 year old.  Whipped by the hobbies I want to indulge in, the healthy meals I should be making for my family, the memories that I should be building for my kids.  Whipped by all that I want my life to be even as I know that I have a great life and this is what I should truly be focusing on and not complaining. 

Sometimes perspective comes in hearing the words that I know are true, but yet they sound so much clearer coming from another source.  They are the things I would say to a friend if she wrote that first paragraph.  So even though they are coming from a complete stranger, I'm just going to believe that she's saying it just for me.  Like she did!

Friday, June 10, 2011

You're in the right place still!

Times are a changin' here!  We started this blog back in April 2010 to document our journey to bring Cadence home from China.  She's been home now for 9 months (!) and if feels like she's always been a part of our family.  Yes, it's challenging at times (those closest to me know just how challenging!) but I look at her everyday and wonder how we got so lucky to have this amazing little girl join our family.   She has truly completed it!  I figured that I would stop blogging after she was home, but I have found that I really enjoy it.  I like to look back and relive some of the highlights of my life.  Maybe someone out there in the blogging community gets something out of it too. 

So, I've decided to keep up with it, but we are shifting gears a bit.  If you've been reading (or know me!) you know that we have recently built a new home and moved to 24 acres.  Brad is constructing a barn (or doing something with all of the wood sitting in pile out there) and we recently acquired 11 chickens.  We hope to get a goat or two once the barn is up and then we'll be on our way to being a real farm!  Right?!  We have a lot to learn so just as I stalked read lots of adoption blogs way back when,  I'll now be stalking learning from your farming blog if you have one! 
Sierra getting one into the coop

Laurel seeming a bit more adept at it!

Cadence kept her distance to check them out

Chickens checking it out

These are the two things we found in the box when we took the chickens out.  We are assuming they are only responsible for the egg!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I have needed a break... for a LONG time (what mom hasn't!).  Honestly, though, I've survived three years of Brad's grad school (playing single mom for most of it).  In the 9 months since he's finished we have traveled to China, adopted Cadence, endured 2 surgeries with her, bought new land, sold our home, built a home, moved into a rental, moved into our new home, all while working full-time - whew!  If that doesn't deserve a vacation, I don't know what does.

Two of my favorite girls and I headed to New York City!  I've never really spent any time there and we definitely made the best of it.  We stayed in Midtown, just blocks away from Time Square and Rockefeller Center.  We woke up leisurely each morning and approached each day with things we'd like to do, but no strict timeline or pressure to get them done - so unlike my day to day life!  We stayed out til 2am and were serenaded by some Irish boys.  We shared lots of laughs, a few tears, many cocktails, and an epiphany or two (yes, probably cocktail induced)!  Not only was the break away from home and all of my responsibilities what I needed, but also time with my girlfriends.  These fabulous women care not only for me but also for my kids and my family.  I know that I can count on them for anything and that can be hard to come by nowadays.  The whole extended weekend was so wonderful that it's hard to pick out my favorite thing, but I'll say my favorite epiphany was "We MUST do this more often!".

It's this way... or that way...

Loved the mariachi band that hoped on the subway... they were worth the $1 donation!

'Nuff said!

Lit a candle for a very special little girl in St.Patrick's Cathedral (I think God will forgive me that I'm not Catholic - right?!)


Went to see "Chicago" with Christie Brinkley

Yummy, yummy bite sized cupcakes!

Kelli claimed they had a foreign accent, I thought they were just inebriated.  Regardless, these Irish boys ended up serenading us (if you can call it that!)

Best buds at Time Square

Until they couldn't agree about taking the subway at night!  Kelli won!

Episode of "Sandblast" being filmed

We rode the ferris wheel at Toys-R-Us... at 10:30pm.  Shouldn't these kids all be in bed!

I've always wanted a random "free hug"!  Maybe you'll see it on Youtube!

Central Park

Central Park cocktails at The Boathouse

Cocktails on top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Candy Shop!

Last cocktails in NYC... do you see a trend?!

I love New York!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mother's day - belated 5/22/2011

Yes, Brad, that's exactly what you do to get a smile out of a 2 year old for a picture... wave something around that they desperately want to play with!

On the weekend of Mother's Day we had just moved.  Brad didn't even know where the griddle was for the kids to make me breakfast.  Chaos was surrounding us and he begged me to let him make up Mother's Day on another day.  Of course, I said yes!  Why take a half a$$'d hearted Mother's Day when I could get a "real" one in a couple of weeks?!  We are both nurses so delaying the celebration of a special day on a particular date isn't new to us.

That's more like it!

Score 1 for Mother's Day gift!  Love my "mother's necklace" from Bel Kai designs.

Mother's Day hike to the back of our property to look at the Mountain Laurel bush.

Yes, I realize that Sierra is almost as tall as me... it's painful!

So, two weeks later I woke up to wonderful french toast and mimosas.  We then headed down to our local (now local!) Scottsville farmer's market and purused the fresh greens and baked goods.  After a few purchases the kids played in the park and then off to a kite festival we went.  No much wind, but plenty of sunshine and friends... and the four wonderful people in my life who make me a mom!
Too cute to not picture!