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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Face Painting

So, we really haven't been up to much lately -- getting school supplies, backpacks, and school books and doing a little shopping before we start school. I'm not really ready for school to start but most of the kids are. I'm trying to get everything organized and ready for the first day. I only have Bethany left to get books for and I am considering using Calvert for her as it provides everything we will need for the whole year in a box -- even down to the pencils and glue. I think she would love getting the big box in the mail with so much stuff in it. We have used Calvert before and the kids seem to enjoy it. 

Sarah has been restricted in her activities since her surgery. She is not suppose to climb trees, ride her bike or play on the rope swing. Of course, these are the things she likes best. I don't think the restriction is related much to the existing blood clot but more due to her blood thinner medication. So, I have been trying to think of projects and activities for her and the other kids to do so she won't be so bored. She just wants to go out and climb a tree but I just can't let her. So, we have made the fairy jars, then we painted plates and mugs  -- actually drew on them with Sharpie pens then baked them, and today Zola painted some of the kids' faces. They actually looked kind of cute and Zola enjoyed painting and the others enjoyed being painted. 

I have no idea what to do next -- I am not really into crafts but I am trying to learn to enjoy them a little more since Sarah spends so much time inside now  -- we do take her for walks and she plays a little but so misses the tree climbing and her rope swing. 














Saturday, August 25, 2012

Article 5 Letter and Fairy Jars

Good news on Friday  -- we got our Article 5 letter. Now we just have to wait for a signature from the MOJ and then wait for a court date. It finally feels like it is really going to happen. I am so excited! It would be so wonderful if the girls were here before Thanksgiving but I really have no idea how long it will take to get a court date. 

The other night we decided to make "fairy jars". My daughter, Emily, found this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun project for the kids. So we got the jars, glow sticks, and glitter and made them right before dark on Monday evening. It was actually a lot of fun and they turned out pretty nice. I had read some articles on different sites that said it would not work and that it was really just altered images in Photoshop. Ours worked quite well. They were not magical or anything like that, but cute and they did glow for quite awhile. The yellow one was still glowing a little the next morning. They definitely need to be made in the evening to get the full effect  -- a bright glow. The darker it got the better they looked. The kids really enjoyed holding their jars in a dark room. I think we are going to make them again soon since this was a hit. 

The glowing in these pictures is exactly what they looked like -- no Photoshop done. 






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Stressful Week With A DVT And A Venous Embolism

On Saturday the 11th, Sarah came to me complaining of her leg hurting very badly. She actually said it was killing her. I looked at it and realized it was rather swollen and very discolored. I took her shorts off and compared her two legs and her left leg was extremely swollen and purple. I told my husband that we were going to the emergency room immediately. By the time we got to the emergency room she was having trouble walking on it and it had become even more painful. We were taken in immediately and an ultrasound was done. It revealed a blood clot in her leg. We were admitted and transferred to the pediatric floor. She was given a shot of blood thinner and pain medication and hooked up to an IV. She was still in a lot of pain and by this time was vomiting over and over and the swelling was going up into her abdomen. The hospital staff had actually never seen this in a child and was having trouble deciding what to do. They ended up calling another hospital and was told she needed to be transferred to the local medical college (Medical College of VA or VCU Health System). 

She was transferred by ambulance to MCV to the PICU. They immediately started assessments and she was reviewed by hematology, surgery, and interventional radiology and the PICU doctor. They did a CT scan and determined that Sarah had two blood clots  -- one in her calf that was about 5 inches long and another one that ran from just above her knee into her abdomen -- it was over 12 inches long. This was a very serious situation and we were astonished that a child so young would have this issue. 

Early Monday morning she was taken into surgery. They tried to do TPA to the smaller clot but it was unsuccessful. They went in and actually removed the larger clot above her knee and going into her abdomen. They placed a filter in her vena cava first to trap any pieces of the clot that might escape and go to her lungs. They also placed two stents in to keep her vein open and the blood flowing properly. 

After a few days Sarah was feeling much better and her leg looked almost normal. We had to stay in the hospital long enough to make sure she was stabilized and to get the dosage of her blood thinner correct. She is home now with the 5 inch clot still in her lower leg and on an injection of blood thinner in her abdomen every 12 hours. This will probably continue for at least 4 months  -- maybe longer. She is scheduled for another ultrasound of her leg in about two weeks and will also have her blood checked then and also see interventional radiology. We will continue these follow ups until the clot has dissolved. I am so hoping that this clot will dissolve quickly and not cause her anymore problems. It is a little scary to me to think of her walking around with this clot in her leg -- actually it is very scary to me. When the doctors came around on the morning after her surgery, one of them told us Sarah was a "Miracle Child". 

This is one time I did NOT have my camera with me for obvious reasons, but several of my daughters took pictures of Sarah with their phones. Here are a few pictures of Sarah after her surgery and feeling a little better. 





This was taken the day before we went home and Sarah was feeling much, much better. 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

USCIS Approval

Well, I can't believe it but on Thursday I got notification that we have USCIS approval. I knew it was going to be another week or two but somehow it happened in a matter of days. Maybe now things will start moving and we will get a court date soon and travel this fall. I am so excited  -- it is finally getting close. 

Claire got her contacts this week and hopefully they will help her eyes hold straight after her botox. It took over an hour to get them in on our first visit, but once I got home and tried it on my own I got them in pretty quickly  -- in probably 3 or 4 minutes. The problem is that they are fairly large and her eyes are so small that I have to slide them up under her upper eyelid and that can be hard as she doesn't really enjoy the process. If this ends up being too much trouble we were told we could have some made special order that are smaller but obviously much more expensive. We are going to give these a try and if it is too difficult to get them in and out we will go with the special order contacts. 

Here are a few photos from our trip to Carytown Optical to get Claire's contacts. She was pretty excited to go but lost her enthusiasm very quickly. 























































This is a neat little shop next to the optician's office.
I didn't go in so I really don't know what they sell, but it did look interesting.
























Claire and Bethany playing on our front steps.





Monday, August 6, 2012

Still Waiting

Still no I800 approval. I have talked to our officer and it seems that it is going to be another 2 or 3 weeks. That just seems so long. I see that many people have gotten approval much quicker so I guess our little addendum really slowed us down. Everyday I hope to hear something but I don't. I just keep thinking how this is going to slow us down getting a court date. I try to just not think about it, but that seems to be hard for me. I keep looking at my calendar and thinking that if we get I800 approval on "This Day" -- maybe we could get our Article 5 letter by "That Day"  and then maybe a court date by "That Day". I need to stop doing this. 

We had a nice weekend and some of the kids went with friends and I took the others to get ice cream. It was a pleasant Sunday evening sitting outside while the kids ate their ice cream and then ran around and played a little. 
























Most of the kids take a long time choosing their flavor, but not Sarah -- It is ALWAYS chocolate!





Caroline decided on the flavor Strawberry Cake. 





Bethany decided on Peach





Zola Thinks she got Oreo Cheesecake - - She can't seem to remember and neither can I












After a while, their older brother came up to meet us with his dog. Everyone went outside so his dog "Rocky" wouldn't be lonely.









After they finished their ice cream, Bethany and Sarah decided to climb trees.