Our only previous road trip lasting more than five hours was three years ago to see DB's brother graduate from high school with George and Olivia when they were babies. Of course we had our concerns, but they were babies, what could go wrong?! Ha! It was actually a great trip! Plus, we were so happy to have that time with family.
Which, is why I think we braved another one... this time, with three 3-year olds. Well, that and we certainly wanted to be there to see DB's brother now graduate from college! Yes, in only three years!! And once again, it was another great trip :) Of course, this time the kids didn't sleep the entire ride, and we found ourselves listening to children's song's that are incredibly hard to get out of your head... but this time they were also old enough to enjoy their family. I love that!!!
Friday we left right after school and drove until dinner time, then found a hotel and crashed. The kids were thrilled to be on a road trip and loved staying at a hotel! Luckily we arrived in time to get them settled down and get some sleep. Overall a great first day! Well, too much fast food for my liking, but I suppose it's a small price to pay :) Plus, the kids meal boxes provided lots of entertainment in the car - hooray!
Day two we continued on to Virginia and saw some family friends - three sisters and their parents that DB grew up with who just happened to be in town from all over the country. It was so much fun to catch up but also to introduce them to our kids. While we've see Dear Ann and Bob a few times since the kids were born, the sisters were so excited to see DB as a dad!
It was too short of a visit and we were back on the road to celebrate Cousin Kelley's graduation from college! Seriously I have no idea where the time has gone. Three years ago, Kelley spent three weeks of her summer helping us care for G and O while S was going through the dark days. I can't believe she graduated! It was so much fun to be able to hug her verses telling her congrats over the phone!
Photo actually from the next day - I was so busy talking I didn't take many pictures, oops :)
Plus, the kids got to spend time with their cousins :) Well, DB's cousin's kids... so, 2nd cousins?
Whatever, they loved it! And I loved it! It took some time, but George was first to join in, then Olivia, and of course Samuel was constantly trying to sneak by me and back into the house to explore. Ha!
That night we continued on and arrived in C-ville late that night. While DB has been able to catch a few moments with Tish and Jeb, I haven't seen them since we moved into our new house, so it was great to be there. Got the kids settled in for the night and started catching up right away :)
The next morning was full of exploration! Really Samuel...
... Webster's Dictionary?! Ha ha!
Since the kids didn't think to sleep in, we had plenty of time to enjoy a gorgeous morning! Hmmm... they actually knew what they were thinking when they woke up early!
This neighborhood is absolutely the best for walks, so off we went...
There were a bunch of events planned for Jeb's graduation, but we decided the kids should probably just attend the last one... the after-party! Not sure our crew would have been welcome at the ceremonies by anyone but our family, but DB did get a chance to go see the actual diploma handed over.
At the after-party, every time we let go of Samuel's hand, he made a bee-line for Jeb. It made me smile every time! In fact, I found myself smiling a lot the entire weekend. Hard to explain, but seeing the kids with family and friends that have been hard to get to, just made us so happy. The way our kids felt at home fairly quickly, and the warm smiles and hugs from everyone for them, was just perfect.
I couldn't choose... above is definitely better of Samuel...
... but this one is the best for George and Olivia :)
Of course, Tish and Jeb were good in both... when will all three kiddos look at the same time?! Ha!
The afternoon was great. We loved celebrating with everyone!
We also got to spend some fun time with Uncle Jay and Linda... it was really sweet, G and O were so excited to see them. Even though they loved all the "new" family, I think it was also nice to see someone they already knew :)
The next morning we had breakfast and headed for home... geared up for a long day in the car, woo hoo!
Oh wait, back to that comment in the last post about our month full of sickness... I forgot to mention that Olivia woke up that last morning about 3am and started throwing up... and was a complete rock star riding all the way home (9+ hours) throwing up in a plastic cup in the back seat. Ew. Poor kid. George was also great, and let Olivia sit in front all day :) The good news, she waited until the party was over to get sick - that's my girl!
I was very excited about May. April was filled with doctors appointments for Samuel, all of which brought new information and ideas... but I was kind of looking forward to May, with only one scheduled appointment and a fun family trip! We're headed to see DB's cousin and brother graduate from college, yea!
While the trip is still planned, the one appointment for the month had to be cancelled... for illness. Ugh. May has NOT started off with flowers! I will say, so far there has been no illness requiring extra oxygen - hooray!! (We had to cancel the appointment because it was some testing that would have required Samuel to be sedated... which is a no-go when the boy is any kind of sick.)
As an inserted comment from early June, May did not get any better in the illness category. Oh. My. Gosh.
So back to the appointments in April, they were really good. Olivia and George had their 3-year check up, and they look great! For Samuel, we saw pulmonary, ENT, and audiology one week, ophthalmology the next week, a behavioral ocular motor specialist the next week, a developmental pediatrics team the next week, and of course were discharged from another 'ologist as I mentioned in a previous post. Whew.
The most noticeable excellent thing about these appointments is that they were all "typical kid" stuff! No, I realize most kids don't see all these docs... but the reasons we were seeing them is SO different than what we got used to for a while. Instead of talking about things like breathing, we have moved on almost completely to quality of life and talking about developmental milestones! This is HUGE! Of course we've been concerned about that all along, but as our pulmonologist says (I've quoted it before), "if you can't breathe, nothing else matters." This month was an incredible confirmation that Samuel really is moving past the critical days! I'm completely aware that the wrong cold could land him back in a bad place, as we've recently seen, but our day-to-day is a 180 of where it was a year ago and especially two years ago.
There was much to report from each of these appointments, but I'll try to keep it to the basics...
Samuel has some range of normal hearing! Where that is specifically, we're unsure because it's so difficult to test. So we have a sedated test coming up to get more accurate information. We'll also do some other things during this, like check out his airway and replace an ear tube.
Samuel's eye surgery was officially a success! Nine months later, and his eyes are not only still straight, but are equally strong. YEA! No second surgery were welcome words to my ears!
While Samuel can see (quote, "his picture-takers work"), there may be problems with his visual processing. This is hard to keep brief, but I'll try... we were so lucky to see this specialist, who was in town for one day only, that it could be a story in itself. The 90 minutes she saw him were so neat. Bottom line, Samuel now wears a hat to help him focus for longer periods of time... who knew that would help?! He also now wears magnifying bifocals :) It's fascinating. He can see, so his glasses aren't the same as mine, but they are similar to reading glasses but a lot stronger. In short, just like reading glasses magnify the words and make them easier for your brain to process, Samuel's glasses magnify everything and make it easier for his brain to process what his eyes are taking in. Cool huh?! The other neat part is that while my glasses won't eventually heal my eyes (they'll always be bad and probably get worse), the hope is that Samuel's glasses will at first make it easier for him to process, in turn helping his brain learn to process better, and eventually heal some if not all of his visual processing issues. See what I mean, tough to summarize!
We got a referral to see another doctor, just to rule things out... hoping this will be a one or two visit deal.
I might delete this later... but at one of the appointments I, for the first time ever, decided against a recommendation. No way to really go into detail at this point, but I'm so thankful to so many doctors for helping me to be informed. Don't get me wrong, there's SO much I don't know... but what they've taught me, including how to speak up as a mother which can be incredibly intimidating, is helping me to be active in making some tough decisions. I'm not completely against the recommendation they made, but am against moving forward now. Sorry to be cryptic. Hoping that one day when I re-read this it will remind me to speak my mind :)
First pic of the new glasses :)
A few photos from a few months ago that I just couldn't resist posting...
A weekend with "aunt" Brooke is never dull :) Not only did I get some fun girl time, but the kids got her endless smile and energy! We also got some great pictures... but now that I look over them, we were both taking all our picture of the kids! Not a single one of the two of us. Sad. And, there are hardly any of anybody with the kids... just them! Watch out Brooke, I'm going to keep this in mind for next time :)
The Farmers Market was having an Earth Day celebration, with lots of animals and other fun things... and with George and Olivia's school doing so many projects with estuaries, they were completely intrigued with the turtles, snakes, etc.. Side note, the first time I heard my then-2-year old say estuary, I realized I needed to read up a bit to be prepared for questions... ha!
There was also live music, of course lots of veggies to pick out, the incredible bread that George requests every time we suggest the Farmers Market, the boiled peanuts which the kids love sucking the salty water from, and lots of space to run.
This photo is so telling... George is right in there, checking it out... while Olivia is a bit more hesitant and prides herself on simply touching things that might be gross with the tip of her finger :)
Brooke brought a few belated birthday presents... a new friend for Samuel, and a new box of dress up clothes!! Best ideas... of course Samuel loved his new buddy, and Olivia and George were thrilled! Above, George attempted to try on everything at once :)
Once she was able to pry a few pieces from George, Olivia put together a few of her own ensembles. My fashion girl!
Going for walks is always a favorite :)
As is the post-walk bike ride!
I had to include this close up... while Olivia picked up peddling her own bike a bit quicker, George continues to get better and better, and this day was one of his best yet. When his told us his "magic boots" were helping him, we couldn't help but smile right along with him. (Huge kudos to Olivia for sharing!)
Olivia, on the other hand, was so pleased to be learning a new trick... no hands!
No reason to explain the physics of three wheels vs two yet, ha ha!
No weekend visit is complete without the beach!
Samuel couldn't stop running :)
George and Olivia collected shells and wanted to show off each one, and talk about what they looked like :)