Saturday, October 18, 2014


I generally don't care for Fall because it just means that Winter is close and if you know me at all you know I despise Winter.  I am cold in the summer, can you even imagine how I feel in the Winter.  Then there is the fact that it is so dirty.....snow, snow melts, mud, mud comes in my house!  Really the only thing that is good about Winter is Christmas is in there.  Anyway, back to Fall, it has been beautiful and what is even better is that the amount of fun we having.  Living in Eastern Kansas over the past couple weeks has been awesome.  We have a new Football Coach (Interim) who we love and are so excited for!  The Royals are kicking butt and that is super fun to watch!  Then on top of all of that, basketball will be starting soon.  I didn't think it could get much better and then last Friday we went to our first Sporting KC game!  Tom gave me 4 tickets to the the Sporting KC game and we were super excited because Coop LOVE soccer and we had never been.  Raelynn wasn't quite as excited as the rest of us because her BFF had told her how boring it was.  Regardless we went and I told her she would have a good time or I would make the rest of her weekend miserable!  (I know, not one of my best parenting moments but I was frustrated with her attitude).  Turns out, I should have never wasted the threat.  I think Raelynn may just have had more fun than any of us and let me just say we all had a blast!  I couldn't believe how awesome it was.  We had great seats and both kids were so into it.  It was a really fun night.

Today was a 4H, soccer kind of day :)  We spent the morning at a 4H pancake feed where Raelynn had the opportunity to show her Bunny to others so she was in heaven.  I also got the information Raelynn had been begging for about Archery.  It appears we will be starting that in May.  Raelynn was so excited that I was actually going to let her do it that I didn't know if I would ever get her to stop talking.  Our wonderful 4H leader got a hold of Coop and showed him the booth about rocket building and explained how if he joined 4H he could build rockets and do archery and shooting and well, guess what, before we left Coop wanted to join 4H.  He said he doesn't want to do anything with the animals or any of that other stuff Sissy does but he would like to build rockets!  I couldn't help but laugh.  So I guess I now have 2 kids in 4H. 

After out 4H fun we headed to soccer.  Soccer is almost over for the season.  Coop has a double header next week and then is done and on to basketball.  He has played so well this year after not playing for a couple years.  He plays with an awesome group of boys and wonderful families.  I truly LOVE our community and group of friends and LOVE watching him play even more regardless of the sport.  Today was no exception.  Coop seemed a little less aggressive the first half and I am not sure why but second half he was back at it.  He is so aggressive and seems to understand what's important and what's not way beyond his years.

So I have mentioned a time or two that Raelynn is growing up and sometimes she is so great I cannot imagine how I am ever going to let her go when she is ready to leave for college and sometimes she is so moody and snappy I don't even know how to react.  Well I did some reading and thinking and come to find out that at 9 girls can start having hormone changes and this is all normal.  Really?!  At 9 it starts!  Who knew?  Anyway, once this all came to light I did some changing too.  I asked around and come to find out several of her friends Mom's had their daughters reading a book about how their bodies were changing.  Thank goodness for one of my best friends filling me in on this book.  I don't know where I had been but the day she told me I downloaded it from Amazon and introduced it to Raelynn that night.  Come to find out it was just what Raelynn and I needed.  I think as a parent it is sometimes hard to adjust your parenting to the kids as they grow up, but I am so glad I did.  I realized that my explanations for my decisions needed to get more detailed and my discipline needed to get more firm.  I also realized it's ok to let her know when she hurts my feelings or makes me feel angry and maybe then she can let me know when I hurt hers.  Anyway, although I know Raelynn is going to challenge me, we again are adjusting the sails a little bit and sailing nicely again.  Again, I love the challenges of parenting and the amazing rewards as well.

Another great couple of weeks behind us and looking forward to a couple more head!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Generally I would say how wonderful my Mom is to do all she does for us.  She drops everything, puts her life on hold and rushes down every time Coop has surgery and it is so helpful and I appreciate it so much.  However, if she ever comes down again and makes 2 Meringue Pies (one being my favorite, Coconut Cream), fills our candy basket full (and it's a big basket) and runs me out of baggies from dividing up Rice Krispie Treats, I think I will have to rethink my appreciation!  I am pretty sure I have gained a good 5 lbs since she was here!!!  Seriously, it was the best Coconut Cream Pie I have ever had, notice I say "it was".

Things are going well.  Coop has been taking it easy, the best he knows how anyway, and tonight his incision looked great.  It has sealed on one end but the other is still bleeding slightly.  He asked if he could go to soccer practice tomorrow and I told him he would have to protect the incision area and not get kicked or let a ball hit it.  Remember his incision is in his groin area and his reply to me, "I always protect my penis and it's right beside it so I think we are good."  I guess I should take comfort in that but it still made me chuckle.  His next question was if he could play soccer at recess.  I asked him if recess soccer was any rougher than real soccer.  He said if they played teams it was the same but if they didn't play teams it was rougher.  I told him then if they play teams he can play but if they don't he can't play.  He said, "I think they'll play teams.  I'll tell Ben to tell them to play teams.  He hasn't played soccer since my surgery either so he'll help me."  After further questioning I found out that his buddy, Ben, has been playing other things at recess with Coop since Coop wasn't allowed to play soccer.  This is a pretty big deal because these boys ALWAYS play soccer.  It was so sweet. I told Coop how nice I thought that was and he simply said, "Yep, Ben's super nice." I love that he is surrounding himself with such great kids!!!

Tonight after Coop and I read a story and we snuggled we said his prayers like we always do.  Every since the kids were itsy bitsy I had made up a prayer that we always said so that they could learn to pray.  It is a well rounded prayer and is easy for them to understand but it is a little long.  When we were finished Coop said, "I'm trying to learn all the words exactly like you say them so I can say it with my kids. I wonder if I will have 2 boys or 2 girls or a girl and a boy."  I said,  "Maybe you'll have 4 kids."  Coop looked so confused and said "Well I guess I don't know but that'll be awhile so I will decide about it then."  He is going to be such a wonderful husband and father one day but I don't think he could ever be better than he is right now as our son.  I so love that boy!

After I left Coop and went in for my goodnight with Raelynn, she was informing me that the Farmers Almanac was predicting a cold long winter and we should consider Florida for the winter.  Yep, there is not doubt she is my mini me!  And although tonight was wonderful, she is going to give me a run for my money.  The past week she has been exhausted which leads to unfavorable behavior.  I constantly try to figure out the best way to address her when she seems unreasonable and sometimes I know that our conflicts are because we both want things done our way and there is no doubt I am hard on Raelynn.  I always have been but I am also fair.  In the long run everything has always worked out just as it should but as she gets older it gets a little harder to be one step ahead of her.  It gets harder for me to always remain calm and give her logical and honest reasons for the decisions I make for her.  Sometimes it would be so much easier to say "because I said so" but that is something I refuse to say.  I always feel like if I can't give her a reason, then I must not have one and I need to look closer at why I am making the decision or asking her to do what I am.  I have been known to tell her " I really don't know why but it is what I feel is right and unless you can make me feel different I am going with it."  But as she gets older the decision get bigger, the discussions get longer and reasons get harder.  Regardless, I find the daily challenges make me a better parent one by one but every day I just hope I doing it right.  I told Raelynn tonight that in most jobs employers give their employees annual evaluations but since being a parent is the most important job I have ever had, I think we should implement bi-annual evaluations.  This would be a time that she and Cooper could tell me how they think I am doing.  They could express what they like and what they don't like about my parenting.  They could make reasonable recommendations to me and it would just give me an idea of how they look at our family.  Raelynn thought this was a good idea so I guess my evaluations will be in October and April each year.....wish me luck!

Tonight we had one of our favorite visitors, Mary Beth!  We all miss her so much and she truly is one of the nicest and most loving people I have ever met.  I love all the Karlin's and Grandma Karen.  I owe them so much for taking such wonderful care of the kids for so many years.  They are honestly one of the brightest and most wonderful parts of the kids early years.  When it was time for Mary Beth to go, my kids weren't quite ready to let her go.....

I hope everyday she knows how much love we all have for her!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014


So we may have overdone it just a little bit.  Coop went in to take his shower tonight and says, "Um Mom, come here I think you better see this."  I went back and his insertion hole in his leg was oozing blood through the gauze.  I guess the 4 mile bike ride we took may have been a little much.  Coop and I talked and decided that maybe he should take it a little easier for the next couple days and give his leg a chance to heal.  I just hope he sticks with the plan!

Yesterday Terry, Cooper, my Mom and I went to the KU Football game.  It was a great time.  Mom loves football so she had fun too.  Coop and I hung out at the tailgating for the second half and he had a blast.  It was a great way to spend the afternoon.  Coop played catch and didn't act like anything at all had happened.  It was wonderful.

Today was our day to gather ourselves and get ready for the upcoming week.  I sat Coop down to finish his homework and write thank you's for the many wonderful things he had received.  Not one time did he complain or even wish he was done.  He sat at the table and worked away writing.  He is such a sweet boy with more patience than most kids his age.  Raelynn had a sleep over and was exhausted so she spent most of her day relaxing other than our bike ride.

We are ready for next week and I am so excited to not worry about Coop any more than any parent worries about their child.  I hope this surgery did everything they hope it did.  Everything I have seen in the past 2 days, I would say it has.

Friday, September 26, 2014

WE ARE HOME........

I cannot tell you how amazing this is!

We got home yesterday.  Coop was very tired and did very little yesterday.  Late in the day I asked him if he felt any different and he replied, "Yea, it doesn't hurt anymore."  I was so happy to hear that and also so sad to know how much he hurt before.  I put him to bed early and he slept peacefully all night.  I was absolutely exhausted as well.  I went to bed early as well and slept through all 4 of my alarms!!!  I guess I needed a little sleep.

This morning he woke up pretty well but within an hour or so was expressing that he had to go poop but couldn't.  His stomach hurt so bad.  He would cry at times and was miserable.  I felt so bad for him.  About 1pm he finally went and now has not slowed down.  We changed the dressing on his incision and he said it felt a lot better to.  He has played and played and is even speed walking now :) I cannot tell you how crazy I find all of this.  I know this will sound crazy but when you put your hand on Coop's chest you could feel the back flow of blood in his chest.  It felt so weird.  Now, you can't feel it!!!  When I listen to his heart beat now it is not near as pronounced.  It is truly crazy how once little thing can make such a difference.

Coop and Granny are now playing cards.  He is giggling and being his same old competitive self.  I love this boy!  I love his doctors!  I love all the amazing support we have received!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Wow!  What a wonderfully amazingly successful day.  The surgery went well and they were able to insert the Melody Valve.  Coop did fantastic!  While Coop was in recovery we reviewed the films with the doctors.  It is always amazing to see the films and the more we look at them the better we understand.  Prior to today there was substantial blood flow back into the Ventricle, so much in fact it nearly filled the ventricle entirely.  After surgery there was very minimal back flow at all.  In fact, what we were seeing was probably due to the cath tube.  It was amazing to see the difference.  So things went very, very well.  It is almost funny how giddy his doctor was after his procedure.  They were laughing and chuckling and just visually excited.

Coop had to remain lying flat on his back with no movement of his legs for 6 hours.  The holes where they inserted the cath tube are large and they had to make sure they did not start bleeding.  This was what came to annoy Coop more than anything.  Initially he slept a lot and then when he did wake he had little to nothing to say.  However, around 8:30pm tonight he started asking if he could sit up.  Finally about 9pm they said by 9:30pm he could sit up.  So right at 9:30 Coop says, "The big hand is on the 6!"  We couldn't help but laugh.  He was so excited to sit up, it's always the small things.

Although everything has been pretty smooth, he did have to give us one scare.  He had been awake for a bit and had drank apple juice.  He seemed to be doing well when he told me his chest hurt.  He has complained of his chest hurting for so long I asked a few questions and then told him I would let them know when the nurses came in but basically I disregarded it.  Well now, the nurse was in the room and Coop started saying his chest was hurting and it was no joke.  He was wining and wincing and then became super flush and started to shake.  This place filled with the medical team and they started running tests.  After a short time the pain subsided and everything went back to normal.  The doctors consulted and ruled out a heart attack or stroke or anything like that and decided just to monitor him.  Luckily it hasn't happened since.  He is very flush at times but we figure it is just due to the anesthetics.

The first words Coop said after surgery was, "I'm real hungry!"  I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear that!  Coop will have to take it easy through the weekend but should be good to go by Monday!  He will now be on a 1/2 aspirin and be required to take antibiotics any time he visits the dentist but that's it.  Nothing more.  We do not know how long this valve will last him but figure the conduit will wear out before the valve.  The conduit that had been placed in his heart at the last open heart surgery was 16mm.  The y placed the Melody Valve inside the conduit and the Melody Valve is 18mm.  So as you can see there is already some restriction on the Melody Valve but it should still last for some time.

Tonight we had special visitors!  Aunt Steph and Uncle Cody!  We all were happy to see them!

We are so thankful for all of this good news and cannot wait to get home!