Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to My First Princess

What a perfect baby girl!
Four generations!
Look at those chubby cheeks!
Wow! It's really been 9 years, but it hardly feels like it. My first baby girl was born November 29, 2002 at 11:31pm. She was rather impatient to get here and barely waited until we got to the hospital and into the room before making her debut. In fact, the Dr didn't even catch her, although she was in the room getting gowned up. At almost 2 weeks early she has done almost everything early ever since. She is such a bright and talented child and was even as a toddler. Learning to write, do simple math and draw pictures when barely 3 years old. She has always grasped new things quickly and thrilled at the challenge of learning something new, even if she had to teach herself (can we say multiplication and division?) She excels in anything she tries, whether art, music, sports, math, reading....anything. But she is so patient when teaching her younger brothers and sister, something that Mommy often lacks. She is my little teacher. :-) She is also my little mommy. Emmy loves to help with the younger kiddos, especially her baby sister, Kailyn. It just amazes me how patient she is with Kailyn at night. See, Kai and Emmy share a room and although there are two beds, Kailyn, demands, that Emmy sleep with her in whichever bed she wants to be in. Emmy obliges. She also makes sure Kailyn has her favorite babies, books, pacifier (yes, Kai still has one ::sigh::) or whatever else suits her fancy at that moment. And then, to top it all off, she'll read to Kailyn whatever she wants to have read to her. She is a truly amazing big sissy. I have even heard her find Kailyn's pacifier in the middle of the night when Kailyn wakes up and can't find it. I am constantly amazed at her intuitiveness, her sensitivity, kindness and patience. We have truly been blessed to have this beautiful, talented and special spirit born into our family. I just adore my little princess and wish she'd slow down in gorwing up into such a beautiful young woman.
We call this the thumb thing.
She's been doing this as long as we can remember.

Sleeping with her baby and Care Bear

Such cute pig tails!

Mommy and her Princess

Ready for preschool

What a beautiful young lady!

What an amazing big sissy!

Sharing her bed with the "baby" princess

 Happy Birthday Princess Emmy! We love you!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't Step On A Crack...

We all have heard that silly rhyme, right? "Don't step on a crack or you'll fall and break your back" Well, apparently, Sterling's been stepping on FAR too many cracks 'cause he has, quite literally, a broken back. A vertebrae actually; L5 to be specific. We've known about this little back issue for a couple years, but I didn't realize the full extent of it until about a month ago.

The story begins in December 2009 when Sterling started to complain of his back hurting. I thought he was just being dramatic and trying to get out of doing work. Well, he continued to complain so I finally agreed to call Dr. C. After having him do some bending and balance exercises he said he thought Sterling had spodylolysis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis).  Which, in simple terms, is a stresse fracture in a vertebrae. He referred us to an orthopedist in town and we had x-rays, MRI and a bone scan done. Sure enough, his L5 vertebrae had a fracture, which showed up as a "bright" spot on the MRI. The orthopedist had us get Sterling a custom back brace. He had to wear it everyday for 6 weeks. After that he did better for a couple months, but the back pain started again. Another 6 weeks in the brace and the same result. At that point the Orhtopedist said that we could try one more session in the brace, but if that didn't work there was really nothing else that we could do apart from spinal fusion. He didn't recommend doing that since Sterling was still young and growing and it could also limit his flexibility. So one more session and...still the same. I didn't even bother taking him back since we weren't going to consider spinal fusion.

Fast forward to October when Eddie had his appointment with an orthopedist at CMH. I mentioned Sterling and his back problems and she asked me if he'd ever been seen at CMH for it. I told her we'd only seen the orthopedist in town. She told me that Dr. P with CMH had done a lot with kids with spondylolysis and to get Sterling in to see him. So we set up an appointment.

At his appointment with Dr. P he started off by telling us that there were other options for treating spondylolysis other than spinal fusion. (Yipeee!!) He talked about bracing again for longer period with electric stimulation to encourage bone growth. If that wasn't feasible, which he didn't think it would be given the amount of time Sterling has had this, the next option would be to do a bone graft to reattach the broken part. He said that they have the most success with this when it's the L3 or L4 vertebrae, but it's still possible with the L5 vertebrae. Finally, if that wasn't possible we could do a spinal fusion but only if Sterling was in so much pain that he'd be better off with less flexibility. He sent us to have a CT done to see how the fracture looked. Now, in my mind, I'd been thinking it was just a stress fracture, or small crack in the vertebrae. I was SHOCKED by what I saw in his CT!

We came back to the room and Dr. P came in and showed me CT results. There was a complete break of the back part of the vertebrae with a large gap.

Side View

Top down view
This was not good news. There was no way that bracing would help and the gap was just too large to even attempt a bone graft. So we were back to spinal fusion as the only permanent fix for it. On top of that, Sterling is also at a greater risk of developing spondylolithesis. That is where one vertebrae slips forward over another causing displacement of the spine and nerve damage...which, apparently, is a bad thing. Go figure. At this point he hasn't developed that and as he only has occaisional back pain, we are just monitoring his condition. Every 6 months or so he will have to go back to check his back and make sure it hasn't slipped. If he makes it to 15-16 years old without any problems then chances are he will be fine and won't have to worry about spondylolithesis until he's in his 70's. If it does slip, then we won't have a choice but to have his vertebrae fused to prevent further, more serious complications.

So, how did this happen, you ask? We have no idea. This type of injury is usually seen in people who participate in highly repetitive sports like gymnastics or football. And Sterling hasn't had any serious back trauma that we can think of. Chances are it's just a developemental abnormality or perhaps a genetic predisposition to it. We really have no way of knowing for sure.

Well, there goes the illustrious football career we had planned for Sterling. ::sigh:: Now how will he make millions so that he can support Rob and I in the lap of luxury in our old age?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time Travel

Parent Teacher conferences have come and gone quite awhile ago, but I have been super lazy about posting on here. So we will travel back in time to October and review the kiddos progress.

As usual, the kids are all doing great in school. I was surprised to find out that Joe loves math and does VERY well in it. I also discovered that Cori is in the highest reading group in kindergarten. Sterling does really well in everything but loves science and math. And Emmy...well, she loves everything and excels in everything. We have some very bright kiddos and I'm so proud of each of them for doing their best!

 Halloween was also awhile ago, but we'll just continue on our little time travel adventure and post about it now. It was fun dressing up all 6 kiddos this year. We had a monster- biker- type person, a Gothic vampire, Bakugan, a construction worker, Minnie Mouse and...a cheeseburger (what can I say, the kids picked out Eddie's costume). We did go to our Ward's Trunk or Treat and Kailyn and Eddie thought it was so cool that people were just GIVING them candy for NO reason!

 The Saturday before Halloween Clara put together a little Halloween party for us all. The giant spiders and web all over her dinning room made it feel really creepy!

The dinner was called "Dinner in a Pumpkin" and was a rice and meat mixture baked in a pumpkin. Yummy! There was also skull cornbread, brains in a cup  and witches brew to go with it. 

 Then for dessert there was graveyard cake and eyeballs! The kids thought it was spectacular!

On Halloween Clara and I took my four older kids and her 3 oldest kids out trick or treating in the neighborhood by our church. We were out for a couple of hours and the kids were so done by the time we finished! We heard quite a bit of "My legs hurt!" but they got a lot of candy. Enough that I was able to take 6lbs of it to the dentist, where they do a candy buy back for $1 per lb, and still have 3 HUGE bowls left!
Halloween was so much fun and we're so thankful to have John and Clara nearby so that the kids can do fun things like this with their cousins and make incredible memories!

Thanks for going on a little Time Travel expedition with me. Someday I might learn to keep my blog updated...but I highly doubt it while I have 6 kiddos! And after that, I won't have anything to write about. :-)

Robert Allen