Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mike's here!

Mike made it here around 10:30 last night. We were all so excited to see him. As soon as he hugged me I felt the weight of the world disappear. I felt exhaustion that I hadn't felt lately. Just knowing that now I could rest. Mary Elizabeth & Michala were so excited they didn't sleep.

Not long after he got here he sent me to the ER to get checked out. Thankfully the ER was empty and I got seen right away. I have severe hives and excema. Never had either before. The doctor said there is no way to tell what could have caused it without sending me to an allergist. He said welcome to Iowa. He said there is so much blooming right now it could be anything. They ran IV benadryl and gave me meds and cream. I went and got those filled and still made it back to the house in an hour and a half.

Abe's appt this morning went well. When Maria took his cast off I couldn't believe his feet. Dr. Ponseti came in and said oh. I asked what he thought and he said his feet look normal. He asked what I thought. I said they looked beautiful. They are really red and swollen from all the stretching and casting. He first said this cast and then do the tenotomy on Monday. My first thought was we would be coming home Tuesday on Marlee Anne's birthday. We have dealt with doctors and hospitals long enough to know not to get too excited about good news. Dr. Ponseti started stretching his foot and said oh no his foot is very stiff. So at least two more cast. Then tonight we got a phone call telling us that Dr. Ponseti wants to recast on Friday to see if he can get a better stretch. They got molds of his feet today for his shoes to be made so we can get those before we leave. Today there was a doctor from Sweden learning from Dr. Ponseti.

After getting back from casting we decided to go out. Iowa has changed. Every thing is turning green and looks so much brighter. Maybe that's cause Mike is here now. We road up to Coralville Lake and dam. It was a beautiful drive. Some of the old homes are really nice. It was amazing to see the power of that water at the dam. Mike and Marlee Anne went and explored the fossils. As we were riding along Marlee Anne hollered that there was a racoon. Sure enough off in the woods on the walking path was a racoon. She has her daddy's eyes for spotting animals.

We had planned to meet Marlee Anne's friend Rylan and her mom at Iowa City Power Restaurant. When we got there they weren't there. Once we got back to the house we found out they weren't able to get a ride from volunteer. We had a nice dinner there. Mike thought the restaurant was really neat.

Mike and Marlee Anne walked across the street to the ballfield once we got back to the house. I don't even think they made it through an inning before Marlee Anne was ready to walk back. When they got back she gave Gesseppe (not Joseph) an Atlanta Braves shirt that Mike picked up in Georgia for him. Gesseppe was more interested in playing. His mom was very excited about it though. She had told me before that they love the USA and love shirts from different states. We thought that would be a great thing for him to have to remember us by.

Marlee Anne, Abe & I walked down to the library while dad, Michala & Mary Elizabeth chilled out for a little bit. Rylan, & Noah were down there with their moms. Soon Gesseppe came in with his mom. His mom was very upset because Gesseppe's sister Georgia had started throwing up. She had gotten hit in the head Monday. They have gone now to the ER to have her checked out. Please pray for Georgia and her family. They were supposed to fly home to Italy tomorrow and have had to postpone the flight until at least Friday.

We got a phone call at 9:00 tonight telling us there was a package downstairs for us. Marlee Anne & I went down to get it. It was a HUGE box on a pull cart. He said we couldn't lift it and her would take it up on the elevator. I could not imagine what was in the box. It was from Stewart Baptist Church Women's Ministry. When we opened the box we all said WOW! It was packed. Craft stuff, art stuff, scrapbook stuff, wonderful towels, Blue Plate mayo, yoohoos, snacks, toys and some money marked fun money. We have been so blessed by these ladies already and now here they are again. God really is using these ladies.

Well it's time to turn in for the night. Thank you so much for your prayers for Mike to arrive safely here. I will check in tomorrow. Everyone have a great day!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Please pray!

Ya'll please pray that Mike gets on the plane that is suppose to leave Atlanta at 9:00. Something was wrong with the plane that was suppose to leave at 7:40. I can't tell the girls or myself that he might not make it tonight.

This morning I woke up and waited and waited and the coffee never started. The week Brooke was here when I was up the coffee just started on it's on. LOL!!! It hasn't been doing that this week. I have had to make it myself.

We had a fun time this morning taking pictures with 4 other club foot babies. I will post those on the blog if I can't find a way to reduce them to email them.

Got every body bathed, washed clothes, took out the trash and tried to get ready for daddy to arrive. Other than that it was a very quite day.

When I was talking to my brother I told him I couldn't wait to go out to get something good to eat when Mike gets here. I told him we would probably take him to Iowa River Power Restaurant. He said well that will be better than Texas Roadhouse. It hit me that I hadn't told ya'll another reason we like that place so much. Iowa is not smoke free like Georgia. So we can't go in just any restaurant with the girls. I had taken that for granted at home. Texas Roadhouse is one of the few restaurants that's smoke free.

When ya'll are saying your prayers would you please lift Abe's little buddy Sam up in your prayers. Tomorrow at 1:30 he will be having a G-tube put in, banding for his reflux and his hernia repaired. We are praying that this will help his little body get stronger. We want him to come home soon. Our goal now is to both be home around mid May.

I am still learning so much about club foot, casting and all this stuff. Especially from the other mom's that have been through this before. It is called a tenotomy and not a tendonotomy. This whole time I have been calling it a tendonotomy. We still do not know when Abe's will be done. Also we don't know if they will do a local or sedate him.

Tomorrow Abe goes for his 6th casting. Please pray that it goes well and that he is not in too much pain. I hope that he is able to tolerate this set better than the last. We have been told that it gets harder on them towards the end. I just keep telling myself how much better it will be once it's done.

Thanks so much for keeping us in your prayers!

Monday, April 28, 2008

People in my life!

OK this email was originally started earlier in the night but I am just now getting back to it. So now less than 24 hours from now my sweetheart will be here. Yes I am excited! My brother called tonight and said I guess you are excited about Mike coming. Well you know there are just no words besides yes I am. I can't wait!!! I am not only excited to get a wonderful hug, but I am so very excited to see the girls' faces light up when they see him. So he is one person in my life.

I hope that this email makes sense. I was just trying to share how much the people in my life mean to me. I have an old dear friend that never fails to email a reply to whatever I have sent. It's a special kind of connection we have had for so many years. Others are there to email when time allows and again it always comes at the perfect time. Another friend is always there to call and check in with us. Even if I can't get the call the voice mails are nice to hear friendly, comforting voices. A dear friend that always sends a card or a note. Some that send encouraging words and prayers. So you see it takes them all, each and everyone of you to carry us through this journey.

My laugh for the night - lately Marlee Anne has really been wanting to see pictures of her as a baby. I have lots of pictures uploaded to different developing websites but I just cannot seem to find pictures of her as a little baby. Tonight she said mommie just type in baby pictures and see if they come up. She is so used to typing whatever she needs to find in google and it just comes up. She is too funny!

Speaking of my brother - ya'll don't have to send my emails to him. He is getting them first hand. Sometimes before ya'll, like tonight I have already shared most of the info with him before I send the email. Thanks for trying to keep him updated though.

Last night I had the opportunity to share with a couple from New York whose daughter is being treated by Dr. Ponseti. We have met before then, past in the hall, and spoken with each other but not had time to really talk. Last night dad had walked out of the room with little Josephine. She is such a beautiful baby BUT she has colic. Mom and dad are first time parents. Boy do I wish they had Aunt Debbie with them. Dad had her strapped on and he was trying to walk and bounce at the same time. Any one with a baby knows it takes a little while to get that down pat. I encouraged him and told him to keep practicing. It wouldn't take long to get the hang of it. I gave him my tips for helping with the colic. NOTHING works! Little help I was. They had every tip from everyone. So on my way back to the room dad was walking into the room and told mom I had some tips. She walked to the door an d he and I both started laughing. That's right no tips here. Well at least not anything different from what they have tried, which is everything under the sun. Dad started asking about the girls and how we do it. Well that just opened that door and ya'll know how I can share. It was nice to have that opportunity to share and also learn more about their family. We started discussing the insurance situation and mom said oh please do not get him started. He was very upset about insurance telling them it wasn't medically necessary.

One of the cutest things was Marlee Anne telling Abe about Disney. We were watching a show about Disney and she had to tell him about every character. All the rides that came on she had to explain how old he has to be to ride them. Rockin' Rollercoaster she said he could never ride. It's my favorite and I can't wait for him to get big enough to ride that. It's just that she doesn't want to ride it. Tower of Terror she said he probably wouldn't like it. Only because she didn't like it. It was really sweet watching her excitement as she shared all that with her. With each character and ride she had a memory of her Disney trips to share with him. I don't know who is more excited about his first trip to Disney, her, me or Abe's Disney family down at Disney. Maybe for his first birthday. Maybe he will take his first steps there like Lucas did.

We got to go down to the library yesterday to watch Water Horse. I can't tell you if it's a good movie or not because there we constantly people coming in to visit. I know that's why we got out yesterday. What a blessing to share with the other families. I have some pictures I will post on the blog. We got done with Water Horse and put in Lilo & Stitch 2 so the kids could enjoy it. At one time there were 4 of us mom's in there all with our little club foot kids. Rylan is Marlee Anne's little buddy. She is 7 months old. They are from Alabama. Rylan really took a liking to Mary Elizabeth and of course Mary Elizabeth loved the attention. She just laughed and laughed. Noah is 4 months old. He is from California. He is such a big boy. Makes me realize how small Abe is. Julian is from South America and is about 14 months old. All these precious children were treated at home and received bad treatment that has damaged their feet. Dr. Ponseti is trying to reverse the damage. One more reason to be thankful we found Dr. Ponseti before doing something else.

As we were talking I think we counted 8 children that are staying here that are club foot patients. Also some club foot info some of you may find interesting, most girls only have one club foot and it's usually their left. Most boys have both with their left being worse than the right. That's the case here at the house except that Abe's right foot seems to be worse.

Being able to spend time with the other families helped to make the day go by faster. Today Marlee Anne said is it 5 o'clock. I said no it's 2. She said oh man. It's even a long day for her. It's dark, cloudy and very windy today. We needed diapers. It was the one thing I forgot to put on the list to get before Brooke left. I also needed some medicine. I have a rash or something. I have broken out all over. Called the dermatologist and they said to go to Urgent Care. That will have to wait until Mike gets here. So if ya'll could add that to ya'll's long list of prayers for us. It's really starting to bother me bad! I have been battling it for a couple of weeks and it's getting a lot worse, so now it's time I ask for prayer please. A very wonderful volunteer went and got the diapers and medicine for me.

This morning we had a package and when Jill brought it to our room she said some very nice people called and paid towards part of your rent. Amazing! I continue to be amazed by people's kindness and support. The package was from one of Michala's Aicardi sisters. Lots of thought went into that package. Marlee Anne got a tin with her name on it filled with cookies and a doodle pro. They is a toy too that is perfect for Mary Elizabeth, Michala and Abe. They have all been enjoying the lights and music today. Craft kits for us to spend lots of time on. Two perfect picture frames. Wonderful outfits for Abe that will be perfect with his braces. There was also a beautiful BELIEVE windchime. Marlee Anne's favorite were the handmade bracelets made especially for her, her sisters and Abe.

After breakfast Jill called and they had found another package for us. It was a fun package filled with cowboy stuff from Carter's birthday party that we had to miss. Abe got the cutest cowboy toy and Mary Elizabeth got the cowgirl to match. However just like we figured Michala has tried to take them both away from them. The girls all got cowboy hats, sheriffs badges and bandanas. I got some wonderful pjs.

I am overwhelmed with the love and support people have shown us. One thing that I have been reminded of during this is that whenever God is guiding you to contact someone whether it's a phone call, letter, email, gift, do it! Ya'll do not know how much all that has meant to us. It's all perfect timing too. Whenever we need it it comes our way. Today I was catching up on email and read so many emails that I needed today. It's so nice to hear from ya'll and know what's going on with ya'll, keeping us connected. One email included an Aicardi mom telling me she had called and added to our rent here. WOW! We are so very blessed! I am reminded that even though God didn't promise us this would be easy he promised he would never leave us. I am reminded that He is still right here with us when I see Him through each of you. Thank you!!!

Dr. Ponseti is supposedly featured in this week's Time magazine- about the 100 most influential people. It's the May 5th issue. If anyone receives that would you please save it for me. I would love to have it. It's not on newstands yet.

Today while I was feeding Abe, Marlee Anne told him only one more day and daddy would be here. I know ya'll must be getting tired of hearing my longing for Mike to be here. Next week ya'll will have to listen to me saying someone PLEASE take him back home. LOL!!! I am so blessed to have a husband whose children love him. They miss him as much as I do and that's so wonderful to know. I hate that they have to miss him but I love the fact that they love him that much.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day and has a peaceful night. Tonight it is supposed to be 25 degrees here. We are bundled up well. Thank you so much for your continued love, support and especially your prayers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Longest Day!

Yesterday had to be the longest day ever. I hate to say that because we still have a couple more days before Mike gets here. I typed a really long, random thoughts email yesterday and lost it. Maybe I shared some things I shouldn't have or things ya'll wouldn't have wanted to read. So here goes again. Hopefully I will forget what should not have been added. This is not going to flow because these thoughts are just kinda all over the place.

Usually I don't see the girls disabilities. I go through the day celebrating their abilities. Yesterday though several times their disabilities overwhelmed me. I don't know if it's because of the increase in strength of Michala's seizures, that I am just worn out or allowing my focus to stray. Whatever they reason I knew it meant I had to pray harder and remember my purpose. That's one of the reasons I miss Mike so much. It's not so much the physical help that he is, even though he is. It's more emotional. He is the one that reminds me that God brought us all together as a family because it works. It's perfect. Some times different and a little off but always perfect. I told someone recently that we are like a puzzle, a piece is missing right now and without him we are not complete.

I wish I had taken a picture of what we saw out our window the first day we got here. This morning when I looked out the window I saw signs of spring. The trees are blooming. There is beautiful color showing up. It's neat to have sat here and watched God paint them. So many times I rush through the days at home and miss the colors as they come.

Victoria explained the Relay awards so I am copying what she sent me so I can share it with ya'll. Congratulations to your team and team members who did wonderfully with Relay. I am so proud of your entire group because you show the true spirit of giving. When your family and friends could just say " not this year" because of you and Michala not being there, they didn't - they came and gave from the heart. Your sister is a wonderful lady who worked to take your place because she knows how much this event means to you and how much it means to your entire team - that love of Relay we see every year during Relay season - so with all that said - the Spirit of Relay had to be Miles for Michala - the spirit of hope and heart is with you and your entire team. Keith won Heart and Soul of Relay because he works so hard every year helping not just your team but others around him - a nd that is what the Heart of Relay is all about. so Thank you again for inspiring others to continue with your team - We missed you and the family- but Mike was there to carry on your light of Hope!!
Once again I am so proud of everyone. I cannot thank ya'll enough for making it happen! The committee is like family to me and I have missed them so much this year. The other teams are amazing with their dedication and love for Relay. To see our family and friends pitch in and get it done this year meant so much. Thank you!!! One of the sweetest things I heard recently was from my sister. Debbie said she was sorry she had never helped me with this. That meant the world to me to hear. Not because she realized how much work it was but she realized why it was so special to me.

Yesterday ended up being a full day so I am not sure why it seemed so long. We worked on Marlee Anne's birthday invitations (everyone is invited to Iowa). I did some scrapbooking. I fed everyone at least 4 times, some more than that. LOL!!! Changed at least 15 diapers. That left not quite enough time for all the hugs, kisses and laughs that we needed to get through the day.

A good bit of our day was spent opening the most amazing package from one of Michala's Aicardi sisters. It was packed! The box was decorated wonderfully. It even had a sticker on it that said I can do anything, I am a mom. Too perfect for yesterday. Just what I needed to be reminded of. There was candy, sea shells from Florida, books, books and more books. They were wonderful ones that the girls loved. We all really are enjoying those. A coloring book and crayons. Wipes for Abe and socks for everyone. Marlee Anne got a laptop desk and a magic towel. Oh and I got some wonderful bath stuff. We also got some beautiful pictures drawn by a special needs class. I am sure I am leaving something out cause that box was really pack. It came at just the right time.

Speaking of Marlee Anne's birthday, she did ask what we would do here for her birthday. I told her we would call her friend at Texas Roadhouse and meet her there to eat. We could go to the Children's Museum or whatever she wanted to do. She said wow this is going to be the best birthday ever. To be such a diva and drama queen she can really be a sweet, thankful and caring little girl. I am thankful that she is good to go with the flow.

She comes up with anything anytime. Sometimes I forget that she is only 5 years old. Out of the blue she said mommie you know we are the specialist family. I hesitated and say oh really, why is that. She said because we are all famous. Once again I hesitated but did ask why. She said well Abe was in the Iowa City paper. She said she was in the Acorn Park (she has not adjusted to the name change yet, she is trying to get used to Chimney Park) video. Mary Elizabeth because she is the best singer in the world. Michala because she can eat paper (I will explain that one later on for those that don't know). Mike because he works for Newton County Water and MAKES (her word) water for everybody. Me because I thought up the park (she thinks I am so smart, may she never find out the truth!). I am still not sure why she says that. So there you have it why we are the specialist family. LOL!!!

OK Michala and her paper eating. We really do feed her real food. You know I told ya'll she loves magazines. She loves flipping through them, tearing the pages, hearing it rip and yes eating the paper. She would just chew on it forever until we caught her. We are constantly taking paper out of her mouth. Marlee Anne asked if she could have some chewing gum cause she chews the paper so good.

I forgot to explain more about Abe's feet and the change with the treatment. When Dr. Ponseti looked at his feet and saw that the crease was all the way across his foot now he said he would have to do something different. Mainly with the direction he was stretching it. He said that this was rare to happen, like 1 in 1,000. Imagine that! Something rare in our family. LOL!!! So instead of continuing to stretch it sideways he has started to stretch it upwards. That's the reason for the painful treatment now.
Abe seems more uncomfortable than usual from his cast. We have been trying to find different ways for him to sit up or lay.

Well our plans today include lots of the same from yesterday. We are going down the hall to the library to watch a movie later today. We will pop some popcorn too. It will help to get out of the room for a little while.

I think I have rambled enough for now. If you are still with me through this thanks for hanging in there. Hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend so far. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Relay pictures

Ronald McDonald House run/walk

Abe's nurse Maria was just talking to me about the Ronald McDonald House run/walk yesterday. It will be next weekend. We are excited to have the chance to participate in it. It's so funny because Marlee Anne was just talking last night about whether Ronald McDonald ever comes to the house. She said maybe just for birthdays. Her birthday is May 6th so it will be a good start to her birthday celebration. We are fundraising for the house and would love to share this opportunity for any of you that would like to help out also. Here is our website in case you are interested in helping . Thanks so much!


I am sitting up waiting on the official announcement about Relay. I hate so very bad that we missed it. We had fun calling and talking to everyone. I do know that John won Miss Relay. I have heard some wonderful stories about him too. Can't wait to talk to Greg Jackson about his run in with Shetarius in the parking lot. While I am waiting I thought I would send an update about yesterday.

When Maria took off Abe's cast his feet looked really good to me. When Dr. Ponseti saw them he saw a crease on the outside. This meant that he could not continue in the direction he was going. He would have to start pulling Abe's foot up. This was really hard because it caused Abe a good amount of pain. He said that he was hurting him but had to do that. It hurt my heart even though I know it has to be done and it's for his good. His knees had to be bent a lot this time to keep his cast from slipping.

We weighed him in between the cast and he had lost like a tenth of an oz. Still eating well, pooping and wetting his diapers. Happy and content. He is such a good baby so when he cried so much while they were casting I knew he was in pain.

I tell you one thing specific prayers really help. I sent that last email out later than I should have cause we really needed specific prayers and more of them. Each time before an appt I have prayed through each step of it including the perfect parking place. Well I rushed through the morning and my prayers. No perfect parking place. Actually rushed too. Then we had to wait longer than usual. Then he had such a hard time during casting. On a positive note we met two new families. They are local though. Well one from Iowa City and one from Chicago (kinda local) LOL!!! I know not really but what I mean is they were just there for the day not staying at RMH.

Well Brooke headed home this morning at 4. I am not looking forward to today when everyone finds out she is gone. We don't do change well. It has been such a blessing to have her here with us. It's going to be hard to adjust. Thankfully only 4 more days until daddy is here. Please pray for a safe flight home for Brooke.

Well I hope that everyone that got to go to Relay had a wonderful time. I hear that it was great fun. Thanks to everyone that worked so hard to make Relay happen. Victoria and the committee worked really hard. Thanks bunches!!! I missed ya'll! I know all the teams worked hard too. I am so very proud of Miles for Michala for caring it out and making it work so great while we were gone. Mike walked the survivor walk carrying a picture of Michala. He got to walk with Kylie like Michala does each year. Kylie thanks for walking with Mike! I love and miss you!!! I am so very proud of you!!!

As Relay was beginning we were down in the basement because of a tornado warning. Marlee Anne and Brooke were about to go to the store to pick up some things to get us through until Mike got here. I turned it on the weather just to check. Every time I turn the weather channel on Marlee Anne ask if there is a tornado. I told her no. As soon as I got the word out the siren went off. If you have never heard that before it's an experience. Nothing I have ever experienced at home. It's so very loud. Then you hear them telling you what's going on over the loud speaker. Not in the house or over the tv but just out of the sky. Really different. Well we get Mary Elizabeth & Michala in the wheelchairs and head down to the basement. I look at Marlee Anne and she has these big crocodile tears in her eyes. She is fighting so hard to keep from crying. She wanted to call her daddy. We didn't have to stay too long and we were back up in the room. It took her hours to get over it though. She continued to ask what if one comes when we are sleeping. Thankfully one didn't.

OK well Mike just called me. Our county raised about $288,000. I don't have the exact total. Miles for Michala won top Family & Friends team raising about $13,867. We also won Spirit of Relay award because Michala is in Iowa and our team still did Relay. I think that's why. I wasn't there and am just trying to understand it all. Uncle Papa won hardest worker or heart and soul. I am not sure which cause I keep getting different answers and I can't get anyone to call me back to confirm. Whichever it is he deserves it. I am really proud of everyone! Thanks to everyone that participated in Relay this year.

I do have a praise that I would like to share. One thing I have really prayed hard about and tried not to worry about was how God was going to provide for this part of our journey. Our insurance has still not approved Abe's treatment even though we have appealed it. We also found out that insurance does not consider club foot treatment medically necessary so they will not cover his bar, braces and shoes. Along with that we have to pay the RMH for our stay. Well last night Brooke came in and handed me a receipt. Mimi had given Brooke money to pay for a weeks stay for us here. That was a huge blessing for us. I know that every thing is going to work out. It's such a blessing to see God working. Thanks Mimi!

The sun is out here and looks really beautiful. However the winds are 30 miles an hour so I think we may have to skip River Fest today. We will have fun in the house though.

Thanks for continuing to lift us up in your prayers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quick update

I have no excuse for not keeping ya'll up to date for the past two days. We have been having some lazy days. Wednesday Brooke, Michala and Marlee Anne went to Walmart to pick up some groceries that we needed. That went to McDonald's and had a nice day out. Mary Elizabeth, Abe and I got baths and washed Mary Elizabeth bedding and stuff.

Wednesday night we had a nice meal provided by some older couples from a church. They fixed chicken and rice which was really good. They also fixed cubed jello kinda like jigglers. Marlee Anne really enjoyed that and that pleased the ladies. They were all very nice. It was nice for Marlee Anne to see the people that fixed supper for us. She liked thanking them in person. They got tickled over her accent.

Yesterday it rained and rained and then rained some more. We had a really lazy day not doing much of anything. Marlee Anne & Brooke gave me a manicure which was nice.

For supper some nursing students fixed hamburgers and bratwurst. We all enjoyed supper.

For two days now I have been fighting a headache which now is turning into a migraine. Another reason I haven't sat here to type. I am getting ready to take Abe to the hospital for his 5th set of cast. Please pray that he does well and progress is made. Also please pray that he has gained weight.

Everyone has been enjoying two wonderful packages we received yesterday. My Disney friend sent the girls beautiful princess shirts, Abe the cutest Mickey outfit, a doctors kit (with instructions to leave it here for others to enjoy), a puzzle and some cars. The other package was from friends from home. I got some wonderful lotion that Brooke used for my shoulder to help my migraine. She and Marlee Anne worked on the fun foam Dora kit, which we thought was too cool. Mary Elizabeth, Michala & Abe all got the neatest book just perfect for them. Thanks so much ya'll!!!

Well I am off for now and will post later tonight. Everyone have fun at Relay. We will miss ya'll!!! Thanks to everyone especially my wonderful sister Debbie for making it happen this year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Beautiful day in Iowa

Yesterday we woke up to stormy weather but soon the sunshine broke through and it was a beautiful day. We all get ready to get out for a little while. A mom from Canada had told me about some outfits at the Carters outlet that work great with the shoes and braces. The drive to the outlets was really nice. The last time we went there is was still brown every where. This time it was so green and really beautiful!

On the way there we stopped by Culvers to get some lunch. I really liked it. They are known for there butter burgers and custard. I got neither one of those. I had a philly steak that was very good along with wonderful onion rings. They didn't have sweet tea. Watch when I get home I won't even want sweet tea anymore. Brooke had a butter burger and Marlee Anne had some fries. We will have to go back and have custard some time.

It was very windy so we kept Mary Elizabeth, Michala & Abe in the van as much as possible. I went in Carters and was so glad to be able to find the outfits for Abe. On sale for 70% off so ya'll know that made me even happier. I love a deal. Brooke went in Nike and found some new tennis shoes. I think she will need them after we get done running her around this week. LOL!!!

We went back into downtown Williamsburg to the park. While I fed Abe, Marlee Anne & Brooke enjoyed the playground. Brooke was amazed at Marlee Anne. She made a friend right away. She and Aden had lots of fun playing together. There was a group of school children and the teacher told them to come get their puppets. Marlee Anne asked what they were doing and Brooke said I don't know. Marlee Anne asked could she ask them. She went right up to the teacher and asked her. She got her outgoing personality from her daddy. NOT!!! She asked Brooke what time it was in Georgia and she was so upset that it was 5:30. If she got back to the house before 6:30 she could play on Webkinz with Meagan. She knew we wouldn't make it back before Meagan left her house.

We stopped by Hobby Lobby to see if they had the University of Iowa scrapbook for Abe's club foot journey. They didn't so we went to the local scrapbook store. I knew they had it there but I was hoping to get a better deal at Hobby Lobby. I hate to do that because I love to see local stores stay in business and not be closed by the big changes. A dear family friend, my sister, and my cousin sent us fun money so I didn't feel guilty about buying something like that. I had planned to wait until the end of our trip but decided I would go ahead and splurge. Thanks ya'll for the fun shopping day!

We found the Iowa City Power Restaurant so we stopped to eat before heading back to the house. The day before Mimi treated for Brooke's birthday and it was our plan for us to treat the next meal. WELL we changed that around a little bit. Thanks Mimi for our delicious dinner at the Power Plant. It was so very good! I am even saving some fun money to treat Mike to dinner there when he gets here. It's really a beautiful place to. It's the old power plant set right on the river. We were seated right by the window and really enjoyed the view. The service was wonderful. I enjoyed the prime rib I had but the best was the creme brulee.

Back at the house it was time to get everyone for bed and ready for a new day. We had a wonderful day in Iowa.

This morning we got an amazing package from Camp Sunshine. OK WHO packed the bag? Where is my green t-shirt? No I am only joking but I do LOVE those!!! Ya'll did that on purpose so I would have to buy one at the next event. LOL!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my red t-shirt. The girls do love their t-shirts too. Wonderful blanket, hooded towel and I LOVE Abe's bib!!! The toy set has already been a huge hit this morning. We will get the tote bag packed and ready for a beautiful day out in Iowa. Ya'll are the best and we can't thank you enough for once again sharing a journey with us. Thanks for the card with all your words of encouragement and the great pictures from Big Apple Circus. We miss ya'll and hope to see ya'll soon! Ann, I could use Spa Sydell night right now.
Thanks to everyone for all your prayers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Abe's 4th casting

Yesterday we got Abe's cast soaked and wrapped. Brooke stayed with the girls while Abe and I went to the hospital. Once we got to the hospital we got to meet two other families being treated there. It's so nice to meet others going through the same thing. Maria cut his cast off carefully to save them for Mike. She is just so very sweet. In between casting we weighed Abe and he had lost 1 oz. We are thinking he is burning calories lifting those cast. We will weigh him again on Friday. I talked to the peditrician's office and they said do not supplement right now. So we will wait and see what happens on Friday. Waiting to see what Abe's Aunt Dr. Helen thinks too.

Once she got the cast off I was amazed at his feet. They are so very sweet. They were sweet before but every time I see them now I just keep picturing him running around on them. When the cast are taken off they go right back to the way they were but when you touch them they are easy to move where as before they were very stiff. There were a few doctors with Dr. Ponseti. He was trying to stretch Abe's feet but Abe was crying and very uncomfortable. He doesn't believe in hurting them so he asked me to put him in my lap. That helped a lot. One of the doctor's was stretching his feet wrong and as Dr. Ponseti corrected him he said you have to be very gentle because babies are like glass and they will break. He is just such a sweet and caring man. He said that he will have about 4 more cast.

It was Brooke's birthday and Mimi was treating us. Thanks Mimi! The Dr. told me of a couple of places to go but they were closed on Monday. We decided we would try the power company but I couldn't find it. I just do not know what happened to me. When Mike called last night he told me where it was. We may try that later in the week. We ended up back at our old faithful Texas Roadhouse. Once again it was great. Our waiter was Timmy and Michala fell in love. He was so very sweet and she kept flirting with him. I had to get a picture of them together so daddy could see. I will post the pictures on our blog. Marlee Anne also got pictures of Brooke on the saddle. Marlee Anne got a big kick out of that one.

I LOVE Dancing with the Stars and we watched it last night. We were watching it and talking to Mike at the same time. He wasn't watching it though. I thought it was neat when they showed Kristi's cast when she was little. Whatever Abe decides to do when he grows up I will never forget to be thankful for Dr. Ponseti for "fixin" his feet. Cindi reminded me this morning that once again we are making a memory.

One more week!!! WOOHOO!!! We can't wait for dad to come back. I knew it would be hard being away from him but this is making me sick. My heart hurts.

While Shirley was here she painted Michala's toes. Well she is so proud of that and keeps showing them off. Michala and Marlee Anne loved that extra attention they got while she and Ashlen was here. Mary Elizabeth, Abe & I are fine in the room but those two girls have to get out and roam the halls. They were so excited once Brooke got here too.

My sister sent me a package by Brooke with a beautiful key chain. It was made to auction off for Relay and my sister got it. It's a angel wing and has Michala's birthstone on it. It's so beautiful!

I got a beautiful cross in my pocket from a long time family friend along with a card of wonderful encouragement. I also received a beautiful handmade card from my friend in Canada. It's such a blessing to know that so many people are thinking of us and remembering us in their prayers.

Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers. It's has been storming this morning but it looks like the sun is trying to shine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Our day today

Well today was a day filled with crying once Shirley and Ashlen left to drive back to Wisconsin. We had a wonderful time with them and it was hard to see them go. My back appreciated the much needed break from lifting the girls. Just to have the emotional support and friendship here meant so very much.

Last night when Marlee Anne went to the mall she got Joseph a Webkinz puppy. Not exactly like hers but he was really excited to get it. I am attaching a picture of them together.

Today a group brought sloppy joes, taco salad (reminded me of Tamela's and was such a nice touch of home), congealed salads, potato salad (not Staci's or Aunt Gwen's, but Michala enjoyed it), and lots of cookies and cookie bars. I am missing food from home. It is so nice to have such kind people doing this though. I looked out the window these morning and saw about 10 cars drive up. Everyone that got out had some sort of dish to bring in. For drinks they place a cup of quarters out for everyone to go downstairs and get a soft drink. They have two drink machines and the drinks are only a quarter.

The temp did drop last night in the room to about 63 but everyone seems to be doing ok from it. We bundled up really good. Today the sun is shining and the room has warmed up so hopefully it will not get as cold.

Shirley brought Michala a bag full of magazines so now it really looks like home. Michala loves to flip through and tear up magazine. I can't believe I forgot to bring some from home. That has made a huge difference with Michala's attitude too. She was missing her magazines.

Tonight one of my "little sisters" Brooke is flying in to spend the week with us. All of us are excited about her coming. Hopefully the weather will be nice so we can get out and do some fun stuff while she is here. If not we will get some much needed rest I guess. Please pray she has a safe flight.

Tomorrow Abe has his 4th casting. Please pray that he will do good during the casting and it will be very successful. I can't wait to see his feet when they take the cast off. Also please pray that he has gained weight. I will check in some time tomorrow evening to let ya'll know how it goes. Thanks so much for your continued prayers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What a peace!

Well since last night we have not had internet service. Just got it back and I am so glad. Yesterday our friends arrived around 1:30. Just to see them and have them here is such a peace.

Michala loves Shirley. She has been beating her up since she got here. Michala needs that one on one attention so much and has been getting it. Shirley said Mike paid Michala $5 to beat her like she is. She is just giving her lots of love pats.

Shirley's daughter, Ashlen came along with her. She has been such a huge help too. Marlee Anne loves playing with her. Ashlen loves babies so she has been great with Abe.

Yesterday it stopped raining so we decided to go to Texas Roadhouse. I have been wanting to go back there since we went there with Mike. We got there and there was a 2 hour wait. We went to the mall instead. That way everybody got to choose what they wanted to eat at the food court. We walked around for a little while and it was really nice to get out. I didn't even push one of the girls or carry Abe. I actually walked alone and drank my coffee. I am telling ya'll it's the little things that are really so very huge to me. I hate last night without feeding someone at the same time. The only time that happens is when we are at the Lighthouse.

It was 1:00 AM before we got in bed. Mary Elizabeth was up until 3:00, then Michala woke up at 4:00 having a seizure. Not an unusual night for us but it made that nap I got to take today that much more important to me.

We all got up and got ready for an early lunch. You guessed it the Texas Roadhouse. It was so very good! Once again I got to eat without feeding someone else. By the time we got finished the temperature had dropped considerably. We headed back to the house.

Shirley, Ashlen & Marlee Anne made suckers which were just delicious and beautiful! Marlee Anne was very proud. Then they got Abe and Michala and they all went down to the library to watch a movie. They popped some popcorn to enjoy with their movie. I think Mary Elizabeth and I were asleep before they left. Mike called and woke me up which was absolutely fine because I was waiting for him to call. It was nice to have time to talk to him without Marlee Anne and Michala wanting to talk to him too. I miss him so much and I am marking the days until he is back.

The four of them went down to eat tacos that the girl scouts brought. They brought me something up and dropped Michala off. Then they headed out for the mall. It will be a couple of days before we get to get out again so they were going to get Marlee Anne out on more time before they leave tomorrow.

Last night it started getting really cold in our room and we couldn't figure out why. Shirley asked and we are connected to the University heating system. They cut it off yesterday so we have no heat. Please pray that Mary Elizabeth & Abe don't get too cold without the hit. It's supposed to get down to 47 tonight.

We got two wonderful packages yesterday. Blue Plate mayo and YooHoos along with a much needed journal from some really special friends of mine. Also we got Focus t-shirts, bracelets and note holders. I don't think I have told ya'll about Marlee Anne's best friend sending her something all the time. She colored a picture and cut it into puzzle pieces. In the first envelope she sent one puzzle piece, a baggie and a note telling her that she would be sending her a puzzle piece and for her to keep the pieces in the bag until she could put the puzzle together. It was such a great idea. Marlee Anne can't wait to get the mail and see if she has gotten more mail from Mackenzie.

Today we got a CD with 6 sermons from our church along with the outlines. That was such a blessing to receive. I am anxious to get to listen to those. Mary Elizabeth got a birthday card and gift from her cousins too. She was excited for some mail with her name on it. We got a card from a dear couple we used to go to church with. Even though we know so many people are praying for us it's night to get the confirmation.

Last night they had their Relay for Life. We didn't find out about it in time to go. Today there was an Iowa football game so there was traffic every where around the house.

Thanks so much to everyone for supporting us on this journey. Thank you for your continued prayers!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Abe made the Iowa newspaper

Although there are countless people across the world who could tell the stories of how Dr. Ignacio Ponseti changed their lives with his revolutionary clubfoot procedure, few people could tell his story better than his wife.
Helena Percas-Ponseti, wife of the world-renowned doctor, briefly discussed and signed copies of her book, "Homage to Iowa: The Inside Story of Ignacio V. Ponseti," Thursday night at Barnes and Noble. Her husband and inspiration for the book sat with her during the signing.
Although Ignacio Ponseti's reputation is known throughout the world for his development of a pioneering non-surgical treatment for clubfoot, Helena Percas-Ponseti said she didn't know how knowledgeable her husband was about other subjects until she traveled with him.
"I discovered as I was traveling with him that I married someone who knew a lot," she said.
Whenever they traveled, no matter where they went, Helena said her husband knew just where to go and just what to do. That insightfulness inspired her to tell his story, she told a crowd of about 75 people.
"As I traveled the world with my husband, I then realized I had to write his biography," Helena said.
The biography traces Ignacio Ponseti's life from his upbringing in Spain to serving in the Spanish Civil War before ultimately making his way to Iowa where he made a name for himself across the globe.
Ignacio Ponseti's influence was evident Thursday night, even in the Coralville bookstore, as people whose lives he had touched came to see him again and buy a copy of his wife's book.
Kelli Hopkins said she came from Georgia to have Ponseti treat her 2-month-old's clubfoot. As her son, Abraham, slept in a baby carrier, Hopkins got teary-eyed as she described watching Ponseti work on her son.
"It's like a master's hands," Hopkins said. "He knew exactly what he was doing."
Ignacio Ponseti also is scheduled be recognized for his lifetime of work at the Fifth Annual Hoover-Wallace Dinner on Saturday night at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Ponseti, former Sen. John Culver and former Rep. Jim Leach will be honored at the dinner for their years of public service.
Ignacio Ponseti himself had little to say before meeting with many of the people gathered at the bookstore, leaving the spotlight and praise for his wife.
"If I knew how to write as well as she does, I would write her biography," Ponseti said.
I couldn't get the picture posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Let it rain!

Sometimes I really dread the rain. Today I prayed that the rain would hold off until late tonight so that we could get to the book signing. The day was a quiet and relaxing day. Which was welcomed after the night. Abe was uncomfortable with his cast but today has been much better.

Marlee Anne taught Abe some new things today. He was awake and very happy for quite a while and she took advantage of it. She told him to stretch and raise his arms to make them strong. She told him he needed strong arms to open doors for people, pull chairs out for ladies and blow kisses to his mommie. You never know what she is going to come up with.

We all got ready and decided we would go to the book signing. It was at Barnes & Noble at the mall. We parked at B&N and walked through to the inside of the mall. We decided to eat at Chick-fil-a. I told Marlee Anne we needed to find a map so that we could find the food court. She said mom I know where it is. OK I am the one that has my name on my tag so that I can find my van. If I go in a store in the mall I do not remember which direction I was going when I come out. No joke! Here is my 5 year old showing me where to go in a mall she has only been in twice. Thankfully she has her daddy's sense of direction.

In just a few minutes we were at Chick-fil-a. The first thing Marlee Anne notice was the cow there. She immediately started talking about Mackenzie loving the cow. After getting our food a man in a tux offered to carry our food to the table. I looked at him and said WOW they don't do that in Georgia. He laughed and said well it's our 1 year anniversary. I said WHEW ok ya'll don't always do that. He said no. As soon as we were seated an employee came up and asked what she could get for us. She went and got us straws, napkins, ketchup, mayo & of course polynesian sauce. While we were eating the cow came to our table and Marlee Anne wanted to get her picture with him. Then of course Mary Elizabeth & Michala. Abe was sleeping so I talked her out of that picture. That was tough because she said but mom it's his first time ever seeing the Chick-fil-a cow and he may never get to see him again. LOL!!! When we finished eating the same employee from earlier came up and took our trash. Everyone got a free dessert so she went and got ours. I was VERY impressed with this Chick-fil-a.

We headed back to Barnes & Noble. The manager showed us where to go so we could get a spot to see. Marlee Anne was excited that Dr. Ponseti was there with his wife. As we were waiting for it to start, Maria, Dr. Ponseti's nurse came in and came over to sit with us. Michala really loves her. Michala always seems to find that special one to connect with no matter where we go. Maria is certainly very special. Dr. Ponseti's wife said that she would be brief as she spoke. She said that they had always traveled separately. One time he had a trip planned to Europe and she decided she would go with him. She said on that trip she realized she had a very smart husband that knew a lot about a lot of things. They continued to travel together. She said that she didn't want any - she paused here searching for the right word. Someone near her said royalties. She said yes royalties. All the proceeds of the book will go to find someone that will have the knowledge her husband has and his desire to find out more about club feet. I just continued to cry. They are an amazing couple. Dr. Ponseti spoke and said that he is probably the only mad whose wife had to write his biography. He said if he had the gift of writing like she does he would write hers. I hope her book tells how long they have been married. If not I will have to remember to ask at the next appt.

The room was packed and it was wonderful to see how he has touched so many lives. A very nice lady asked us if Mary Elizabeth was one of his precious patients. I told her no just the baby. She said he is a special man and we are proud to have him. People in Iowa City are all touched by him. Marlee Anne was anxious to have her picture made with him. The other day when we went to the hospital I wouldn't let her wear her Kansas City hat but tonight I forgot about it. So here he is in a suit and here is my beautiful daughter in her KC hat. I asked Dr. Ponseti's wife if she would hold Abe for a picture. She said I don't know how. I said have you forgotten. She said no I have never held a baby. It was such a precious and memorable experience. As I was taking pictures the photographers from the local newspaper was also taking pictures. Afterwards they asked questions and took down all the info. I guess we will see tomorrow if they made the paper.

As we got ready to leave Barnes & Noble I noticed the rain. Not a sprinkle but a down pour. On the way out a very nice couple held the doors open for us. She stopped us to ask how we were doing it and why. I explained to her what was going on. Several people tonight at the book signing asked why we were there and why we came out in that weather. I was so thrilled to meet more people from Iowa. I was very touched by there kindness. It's definitely a more laid back and slower pace than in Georgia I think. Very peaceful. Back to us leaving. We got out to the van and all loaded up without getting too terribly soaked.

We decided we needed a treat on the way back to the house. I stopped at Starbucks and Marlee Anne chose an ice cream. Dairy Queen it was. She ended up getting a Mister Misty, excuse me I mean an Artic Blast. She LOVED it!!! Michala had her ice cream at Chick-fil-a. Mary Elizabeth was just ready for her oatmeal and ready to stretch out.

Back at the house I pulled under the awning to get them out. A volunteer asked Marlee Anne if she wanted to walk in with her. As I was pushing Michala in they began talking. I was thinking oh my no telling what Marlee Anne is going to tell them. When I pushed Mary Elizabeth in she was sitting at the desk with two volunteers. She was of course doing all the talking. After getting Abe out of the van and getting back in she wanted to know if Mary Elizabeth & Michala were twins. I told her no 15 & 10. She asked something about a link between the girls diagnosis. I told her no and was about to begin to tell her more about it and Marlee Anne said mom I told them already. I looked at the volunteer and she told me some of what Marlee Anne told them. I was amazed that Marlee Anne knew as many medical terms as she does. I was thinking I might should apologize for anything she said that she shouldn't have but I think she stuck with the medical stuff. LOL!!!

Mail today included beautiful handmade cards and a birthday card for Mary Elizabeth.

Our day ended in a wonderful way. Oh yes the title of the post. Let it rain! A couple of ways you can look at the rain. My first thought when I saw the down pour was how am I going to get the girls out there and out of their wheelchairs without getting them and their wheelchairs soaked. That thought went away very quickly. Walking in the rain was actually very refreshing tonight. Even driving in it. It felt like it was a cleansing of my soul. I prayed that as the rain flowed it would take away my fears, my worries and all thoughts of things I have no control over. I only wanted peace left. I wanted to be left with this feeling of contentment that I have right now. It's my prayer that each one of you have a night/day filled with peace. Whatever your worry, whatever your fear, whatever your heartache, may the rains come, may you be left with God's peace. May you be filled with contentment.

Thank you to each one of you that said a prayer for us today. The prayers were felt. The rains have come and the peace is here. I have to head to bed now. Mike's friend is driving down from Wisconsin tomorrow. She is going to spend the weekend with us.