Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tonsillectomies and Adenoidectomies!!

Since Keenan had Strep Throat FIVE times in three and a half months, and Caleb (who also had abnormally large tonsils) snored loudly and had sleep apnea, we decided that they would both have theirs taken out on December 11th.

That morning we left the house at 5 am (Moriah had slept over at Pennys) in order to check in at 5:30.   Everything went super smoothly.   The staff were incredibly friendly and really put the boys at ease.

First, they got bracelets and got suited up!

Caleb even got a coloring book and crayons (and a surgical cap for his bunny!)

Keenan did a great job having his IV put in (they put Caleb's in after he was asleep from the breathing mask)

It was hard watching them be rolled away through the doors, but neither of them cried..and so I didn't either =)

It went fairly quickly and within half an hour we got to go back and see them in recovery:

Caleb went first so he was awake when we got there, but was very serious and didn't talk for a while ;)

Keenan was a Lot more groggy and was Very funny!

They had asked the surgeon if they could see their tonsils after he took them out, so he put them in little jars for each of them.   To my surprise, they both were pretty grossed out and didn't want to look at them much. ;)  Keenan's were HUGE.   The doctor also pulled one of Keenan's teeth while he was in there.  It was a little looser than he was comfortable with, since the breathing tube had to go in and out past it.

After having popsicles and getting dressed, they were ready to go by 8:30!

Since coming home, they have consumed a LOT of ice cream and popsicles, but surprised me by wanting other foods as well - scrambled eggs, macaroni and apple sauce.   They say that the younger you are, the faster you recover, and that seems to be true, even with their age difference.  Caleb has done more normal things (playing, drawing, etc) while Keenan has spent most of his time on the couch.   Caleb definitely seems a little "blue" though and is very snuggly.   The mornings are the hardest, as they wake up in a lot of pain and have trouble talking and swallowing before their first dose of meds.   Keenan has also had some pretty bad ear pain (which is normal) and they both have breath that smells like death (also normal) =)   We woke them up at midnight last night to give them medicine, but in hindsight, probably should have done 4 am as well, since they both still woke up in a lot of pain today.

Hopefully they'll look back at this as a brotherly bonding experience

On Tuesday night, I invited Keenan's friend, Cash over to play some Yahtzee and he brought sundaes from DQ!

Please keep them in your prayers as they have a ways to go still and we leave for Canada one week from tomorrow!!

Visit with the Bolerjacks

We made a quick weekend trip to Oklahoma City to see the Bolerjacks. We'd never seen Blake and Jenna perform before and Barb had told us about a concert close to their house, and offered for us to stay the night before!

We drove to Barb and Buddy's on Saturday afternoon and had a delicious dinner and visited with Blake and Jenna.   We then played Phase 10 for several hours.   I had forgotten how long one game of that takes!!!  Barb and I actually stopped at the 7th phase because it was getting so long and Moriah and Caleb needed to go to bed.

Sunday morning, Barb and Buddy made us a delicious breakfast and we made the 30 minute drive to the church.   There were tons of big, beautiful houses to see along the way.  Barb said we drove through part of "Canadian County" too! =)

This wasn't a typical concert for Blake and Jenna.  The church's choir was doing a musical, written by Michael W. Smith and Blake and Jenna did all the solo parts.  They were having their own concert at the same church that evening, but we couldn't stay.

I snapped this sweet shot of Moriah holding Barb's hand before it got started

Doing their thing!

They both did an amazing job and it was so fun to see them "in their element!"

A quick photo before heading back to Barb and Buddy's

Brent and Lori and their sweet kids, Millie, Gretta and George joined us for some Mexican Train and a delicious roast beef lunch!   It was super fun to see our kids pick right up where they'd left off, even though it had been three years since they'd seen Brent and Lori's kids!  =)

Group photo

We hit the road around 2:00 so we could be back in time for house church that evening, and get to bed in good time for the boy's surgeries the next morning.

Thank you Barb and Buddy for once again hosting us - we love your new house!   We look forward to a summer visit next when we can stay longer than five minutes and swim in your neighborhood pool! =)

First Annual Neighborhood "Christmas Party in the Driveway" (and Windy Pennys)

This year, instead of taking gifts (we've done cookies, or cookie mixes, or fleece throws in the past) to our neighbors, we decided to deliver invitations to a "Hot cocoa, cider, cookies and s'mores" event in our driveway on December 8th.   Only a couple people on our street RSVP'd and I was pretty sure that no one else was going to come.  It was also forecasted to be COLD!!!

The day before, the kids went around to most of the houses we had invited and reminded them about it and a bunch of people said they were coming!  Yay!

When we were setting up, it was cold, but not frigid, and there was (miracle of miracles in Kansas) NO. WIND!  Thank you, God!

Trying to make things cheery in the dark

Philip was a champ and got roaring fires going in our fire pit and chimenea so there were a couple spots to gather around.

Our kids waiting for people to arrive

The hot chocolate was the most popular thing - I feel like I spent the entire evening making cups of it and topping them with whipped cream and marshmallows. =)

Some of our very first guests
(Jonathan, Kelly and Kathy)

Not a great shot of the food table
(One neighbor brought over a huge platter of cookies and my Tanzanian friend, Jackie made some delicious samosas!)

More kids
(Jonathan, Tino, Anne, Kelly, Kathy and Allison)

..and more =)
(Alexis, Aiden, Cash and Joel in the background)

Jackie and I

Riah getting the s'mores started

Love this girl!

Marshmallow toasters

I got to introduce my friends Sara and Jackie for the first time ever!  (They each live two houses over from us on either side)

Sara's sweet new puppy, Ruby =)

We ended up having sixteen people in all.  Most of them were kids, but I did meet the mom of some of the kids for the first time, and several neighbors sent gifts.   All in all we thought it was a great success and plan to do it every year!   (The driveway was a sticky mess of hot chocolate and marshmallows the next day, but oh well...)  :)

In other random news, I did family photos for the Pennys last week. We had been trying for Months to nail down a time and life kept getting in the way.  Then it was too cold or too windy... or both.  Well, they finally just decided to go for it on the 4th, despite there being 22 mph winds and me saying it was a TERRIBLE idea!!

To give you an idea of the wind... this was taken right after we all got out of the van... and oh, did I mention they wanted the photos done in a field??

That's WINDY!!!!

However, we soon discovered that a hay bale makes quite a good wind block and were able to get some great shots anyway... it was literally a miracle.  Despite it being freezing cold, everyone (even the babies) did an Amazing job!!

Grace and Justice

With Jade, Treyson and Eden

..and finally Devin and Melissa 
(I LOVE this one!)

Melissa did a great job with their outfits =)

Haha!   Super impressed with this one!

We adore this family and I love that they were gutsy enough to pull this off, because I certainly wasn't...and it worked beautifully!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Full House, Full Hearts

After an unfortunate miscommunication at Thanksgiving, we decided to have Jane and Amos and their family over for lunch and a little Christmas celebration today.   Their whole family had never been here before - two sets of kids, but neither Jane or Amos (or little Bahati), so it was a big (exciting) deal to finally have all Nine of them here at once! =)

We met them after church with both our vehicles and they all piled in.   Jane (unbeknownst to me) had made a TON of food (even though I had Four batches of chili waiting at home!)    She made amazing African rice, chicken, beef and fish...soo good! 

All ten kids at the table

After lunch it was time for presents
(Jane said they didn't need anything but that they would like some Christmas shirts)


The first family picture I've ever got of them
(Back: Amos, Jane, John, Roger, Patricia
Front: Justus, Bahati, Michael, Gabriel)

This picture makes me so happy =)

Amos took this picture of Jane and I

After gifts, the kids all headed outside and Philip and I sat and talked to Jane and Amos.  It was the best talk we've ever had with them!   Most of what Amos said had to be translated by Jane, but we got to know him a lot better and he is a very like-able guy with an incredible story of survival when he fled the Congo as a young man.   (Since my mom was also born in Congo, he feels that I am his "African sister").

* Update:   Amos is doing much better physically, has regained most if not all his memory and is hoping to go back to work part time in the next couple of weeks.  Jane has a cleaning job that she enjoys at the Kansas Spine and Specialty Hospital and they have moved to a newer, bigger house with five bedrooms and two bathrooms.  God is so good!

I texted my Tanzanian neighbors down the street and mentioned that we had some Ugandan friends over if they wanted to stop by and say hi.   The wife, Jackie, did come by and within seconds of her walking in the door, they were all animatedly speaking Swahili, and did so for the next 40 minutes or so!   Wow.   That made my heart so happy.    Jackie actually had tears running down her face several times as she listened to them talk.

Here is a very special picture of me with some of my "African family" in Wichita <3 p="">

After Jackie left, Jane and Amos made a point of having Philip and I sit down so Amos could thank us for helping take care of his family and visiting him while he was in the hospital.   (He has only recently started to remember what happened during that time).   It was very humbling and we feel honored to be part of their lives and count them as family.

There was so much food left that we were able to feed 15 people at our house church gathering tonight with it and still had left overs.   How wonderful it was to share food from Jane with some of the people who have prayed so much for their precious family!

I got a text tonight from Michael saying that his dad wanted me to know it was exactly a year ago today that he had his accident... Wow!   I love how God works details out.   How blessed we are to have this family in our lives.

It's Beginning to Look/Taste/Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

The day after Thanksgiving, the kids and I decorated for Christmas!

The "Before" picture

Cooper was still here (how cute is he??)

 After (don't mind the wonky star on top)

 Tree, fireplace and mantel

These fun photography themed pieces on the mantel were a gift from Wendy

 Over the couch
(I love this quote from "Elf" and Moriah made the cute little mitten canvas!)

Some fun decorations on the photo shelf

The weather was GORGEOUS so Philip and the kids got the lights up later that day!

The kids spent a baking day with Wendy last week:
(All of these photos are from her)




...and then it started to get crazy..

Caleb's finished masterpieces

Goofy pants


I guess he wasn't done...

...then they started decorating themselves!

Wendy must have more patience than I (she also ended up doing laundry as a result)


Belly art!

Hulk frosting

While Philip and I were at a Christmas party last night, their babysitter, Leigh Ann agreed to do this with them!

Each kid decorated a side and Leigh Ann did one side

Love this tradition

We had a great time at the residency party...

 Selfie by the tree

 I got to chill with Joia (and then she took a nap in my arms) <3 p="">

 So glad Devin and Melissa are back on the Via Christi team, it's great to have them at parties!

Love this one outside the restaurant