Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Showers(?)

I know that our official frost-free date isn't until Mother's Day... so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised to wake up to a chilly morning at the end of April... but I have to admit that I wasn't expecting this!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spiderpig Sasha

I think this is the perfect picture to accompany a Friday afternoon...

In case you're wondering, this is Sasha - or, rather, Sash as her superhero alter-ego Spiderpig - at her friend Rowan's birthday party. Steve reports that she was legendary in both appearance and superhero performance.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

WanYing's 100 Good Wishes Quilt - Almost Done!

Look! Look! Look! WanYing's 100 Good Wishes Quilt is almost done! Check out the supercool pic my mom just sent:
Isn't that amazing?!?  Thanks to everybody who contributed fabric and especially to our moms who are assembling and quilting it all - I can't wait to see our baby girl surrounded by all of that love!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Festivities

We had a wonderful Easter day, a fantastic celebration complete with the requisite chocolate, egg hunt, and way more delicious food than anybody should eat at one sitting.

In our house, we take Easter gifts seriously.  After all, if Jesus' birth is worth celebrating, how much more so his resurrection!?!

Admittedly, there's not spiritual significance to chocolate bunnies...

...even bunnies consumed while wearing bunny ears... which is kind of a conflict of interests

Sigh.  They look so dang cute!  Even when they're all hopped up on sugar at 7 am

WanYing's first Easter was a total success

Fast-forward to the afternoon.  The kids "patiently" await the all-clear for the egg hung.

And they're off!

He sure doesn't look (or run) like he has a Lego in his lung!

Confetti eggs!  Definitely Mommy's favorite part of the afternoon

Sam graciously poses for an egg-hunt-cheesy-grin photo

Sash was a formidable egg hunt competitor this year

And WanYing takes the prize for Morningstar kid who caught on fastest to the idea.  All of our other kids were happy with a single egg or two for their first few egg hunts.  Not this gal - she was all about mass collection.

One happy mouth full of chocolate.  Oh, and doesn't this dress look fantastic on the third Morningstar/Reinhart gal to wear it?  Sash wore it for her first Easter at home, and the dress was originally mine when I was a little girl!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Legos are for Building, not Breathing

Our Monday was filled with so many firsts... first trip to the ER, Ben's first operation, and our family's first and (please, God!) last foreign object from the lung extraction surgery.

Sure, this may look like a healthy almost-eight-year-old lung... and it is, except for the teeny Lego that is lodged in the right bronchial.

I can hear you thinking right now, "Hmm... Jamie, I'm not a trained medical professional, but I don't think that Legos are supposed to be in lungs."  Right you are, astute reader, Legos don't belong in lungs!

Since it's impossible to see the Lego in the xray, here's my recreation of actual events.  This isn't the right Lego, the actual inhaled Lego was a one-stud triangle, but you get the idea.

You're probably wondering, "How does one get a Lego into one's lung?  And, more importantly, how does one get it out?"

This particular adventure began on Saturday when Ben rode his bike to Smith's (the grocery store up the street) to use his allowance money to purchase two extra chocolate Easter bunnies, because you never know when you'll experience an unacceptable chocolate shortage. The twist here is that he rode his bike to Smith's with a little Lego in his mouth (this is not the time to ask why) and on the way home managed to inhale it.

When Ben got home with his chocolate bunnies he was visibly shaken and after a little coaxing told us that he breathed in a Lego. Good parents that we are, we determined that he wasn't blue, so it probably wasn't super urgent, and Steve called our pediatrician for advice. The pediatrician said that if his airway wasn't obstructed, which it wasn't, that Ben probably just swallowed the Lego, since that's what the human body is designed to do with foreign objects. The doc advised us that if Ben started wheezing or coughing (harder than you might think since most of our family has chest colds right now), then maybe he really did swallow it.

So, we put Ben under observation (read: enjoyed the remainder of our Saturday, Sunday service, an Easter egg hunt, copious candy, and Easter dinner) and assumed that his body did its job and that the Lego was working its way through his digestive tract. But by Sunday night it became obvious to even non-medical professionals like ourselves that Ben's chest was kinda whistly when he breathed and the cough was getting worse.

So Monday morning Steve took Ben into the pediatrician's office where they immediately confirmed the whistly breathing and sent him downstairs to the adjoining hospital for an xray. The tech and doctor agreed that Ben probably had a "foreign body in bronchial" and advised us to head up to the ER at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake.

At this point Steve and I swapped duties and he took the girls home for much-needed naps while Ben and I headed up to Primary Children's. We are so blessed to have a wonderful children's hospital just an hour away.

Over the next three hours, Ben was seen by 3 nurses, a respiratory therapist, 2 doctors, and 2 surgeons and at the end of it all they decided that the odds were pretty good that he had, in fact, inhaled the Lego and that surgery was the best option.

In between recounting the Lego-in-the-mouth episode to each new medical professional and having them listen to his lungs over and over again (he didn't particularly enjoy either, but was a brave little toaster), Ben busied himself by messing with the oxygen sensor on his toe and trying to get the numbers to change by holding his breath and squeezing his toe. Fortunately, it didn't work, his oxygen levels stayed frustratingly healthy.

By the time he changed into a gown, we had been in the hospital for several hours and we discovered that the room had a TV. That was a welcome distraction because by this point Ben was starting to get pretty nervous about the whole surgery thing.

The surgeon explained that they knock him out (ok, the surgeon said he's "go to sleep") and the stick a camera scope down his throat and look for the Lego and, if they found it, they'd pull it out. I asked how they removed it and he told me that they can use either suction or a grabber thingie (I'm sure he called it something different, but that's the name I remember). I asked if it was like a garbage picker-upper claw and he, bemused, confirmed my suspicions.

Ben went into surgery at 3:45 and by 4:15 the fabulous Dr. Rollins found me and shared the good news that they found the Lego exactly as Ben had described it (down to the color!) and successfully extracted the pesky foreign body. They used the grabber (I know you were curious).

It was lodged in the first division of the bronchial on his right-hand side, which is apparently the most common place for foreign bodies to hang out because the right side is more of a straight drop down from the throat than the left side. He said that there was a lot of irritation and he'd probably cough a little for a few days, but other than that he should be right as rain as soon as he recovered from the anesthesia.

I got to go see Ben in recovery about a half hour later and, although he was way less upset than Sasha was coming out of anesthesia (I still have horrid flashbacks of that surgery), Ben is a grouchy drunk. He was mad about the IV, shivering, and pretty miserable. But by the end of his Popsicle and second slushie his spirits were improving, the coughing was lessening, and the medicine was wearing off (those are all related, I'm sure) and he was moved into a regular room.

By 6:30, he was feeling good enough to eat and another slushie, a milkshake, a bowl of mac and cheese, and a bowl of ramen noodles later, Ben was starting to feel like himself again. We watched another movie and by 8 he was ready for discharge! It's pretty amazing that we went from first consultation with our pediatrician, through surgery, and all the way back home again with a Lego in a specimen cup (not a lung!) in the span of 12 hours. It sure makes a mommy grateful for great doctors, awesome technology, and a God who makes such astounding and resilient bodies.

And a big shout out to Primary Children's Medical Center who, in Ben's words, "really know how to take care of a kid." The sad face in this picture is because Ben was mourning leaving the treats. I think he enjoyed the all-the-slushies-you-can-suck-down diet. Well, he enjoyed it at the end... the middle part not so much.

Here's hoping the rest of our week is boring in comparison to our Monday!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven — and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole.

Happy Easter from a family who is so very excited that our future - our healed and whole future with everything to live for - starts now!

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  (or as the boys now say, He is risen - woohoo!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Hard-Hitting Interview with a Soccer Star

Mom:  What's the best thing about soccer?
Ben:  Definitiely the after-game treats

Mom:  What's the hardest thing about soccer?
Ben:  Well, the hardest thing about soccer is in the middle when I'm running and running and I get really tired.

Mom:  What's it like having your dad as a coach?
Ben:  Um.  Well.  My dad isn't very good at coaching, really. He is all, "ok, here's where the ball goes.  Ok, kick it in." And then sometimes when we accidentally get hit in the arms - not like with our arms way out but with our arms in being protected - he keeps the game going.

Mom:  Which do you like better, soccer or skiing?
Ben:  Skiing!  Well, soccer.  Because I don't get frozen.

Mom:  Are you going to be a soccer superstar some day?
Ben:  Um.  Well.  That is a definite nnnnnoooo.

Ben's most pigtail-iest fan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tea for Two

[Contented sigh] I admit it, these were the scenes in my head when I dreamed of having two girls.

Sash pours out (she still has some control issues, but WanYing is patient with her)

Sasha still toasts, "To China!" every time we clink glasses

Delish!  Sasha makes a mean cupa

Wawa was really hungry and needed lots of Goldfish refills (Wawa is  "doll" in Mandarin - WanYing refers to every doll, Elmo, teddy bear, and stuffed animal in our house as Wawa)

Beautiful girls enjoying beautiful sisterhood on a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photos of Baby WanYing!

Oh the cuteness! Oh the glorious and marvelous blessing of it all! Today we received photos of our baby girl as a baby - she's just under 2 months old in these shots!

And how did this wonder transpire? There are a few charitable organizations that work in WanYing's old SWI and, slightly psycho mommy that I am, I contacted all of them in the off chance that they might have even more baby photos of our girl than we've already been blessed with.

It turns out that one of the organizations I contacted, Love without Boundaries, did a nutrition study at Shangrao SWI in April 2009 and they had photos of the little gals in the study. Today they sent us precious photos of our princess at two months.

What an amazing gift for us and for WanYing. And wasn't she just the cutest! Some things don't change :) I am, however, glad that we shed those crazy mittens and grew a little hair.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Egg Dying

Saturday was Easter-prep day which, of course, meant that we filled multiple containers with permanent dye and vinegar and allowed the children to chuck eggs therein with only newspaper separating our carpet and floors from a rainbow of un-removable rainbow colors. It seems like a bad concept. A fabulously fun, terrible idea.

But, against all odds, my carpets gained no new stains, no clothing was ruined, and a good time was had by all. Sasha did note her disapproval of the vinegar smell several times, however.

We started with a dozen eggs. Ben did a smashing (I mean, "really good" - I guess I should avoid the adjective smashing when talking about eggs) job hard-boiling the eggs, which I believe to be an essential life skill, while Sam measured out the vinegar and prepped the supplies. The boys really enjoyed writing on the eggs with white crayons, but Sash never totally grasped the concept and just complained that the crayon "wasn't working," which is a reasonable assumption when writing on a white egg with a white crayon.

WanYing was the most sensible of any of us and busied herself eating as many eggs as possible as quickly as possible. She also had a lot of fun decorating her face with stickers. It was hard to argue, since putting stickers on her forehead made about as much sense as putting them on colored eggs.

We unanimously agreed that a dozen eggs wasn't nearly enough, so after soccer Ben biked over to the grocery store, picked up two more dozen, and boiled 'em up.  This time, we moved outside for the dying because I wasn't going to tempt fate (or the carpet stain gods) with two episodes of egg dying in one day.  Plus, it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and we couldn't resist the sunshine.

Again, WanYing displayed remarkable good sense and busied herself with egg consumption.

And after the egg dying came the egg wars!  For the uninitiated, egg wars are where the opponents smack their eggs together to see whose cracks first.  It's fabulous fun, even though Daddy is kind of a poor winner.

Egg wars are so popular that we had to add a rule that you don't get to initiate an egg war unless you're going to eat the loser (losing egg, that is).  Everybody except Sam (who survives solely on peanut butter and chicken nuggets) has decided that smacking the eggs together is worth the punishment of having to eat them, although Ben and Sasha refuse to eat the yolk, which they alternately call the "core" and the "cheese."  They also won't eat the egg unless they get to slice it with the wire egg slicer.  I can't blame them there, I find using the egg slicer oddly satisfying myself.


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