Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Surgery Day

It's incredible how many emotions the human heart can simultaneously experience. Following Ivan's surgery, we felt grateful, concerned, exhausted, and relieved. 
Ivan on the other hand just felt pretty miserable. 

Monday late afternoon we headed down to St. Louis.  We enjoyed a delicious meal at Dewey's Pizza, which we highly recommend!  Ivan was a big fan of the chef who kept throwing pizza rings at the window!

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We arrived at the hospital early on Tuesday and had an incredibly smooth surgery prep. Ivan was a pro and seemed fairly relaxed given the surroundings, lack of food, and new experiences. We were so grateful that Ryan was able to take Ivan back to the OR. Ivan gave Mommy hugs and a kiss and went back to the OR with Daddy and Lambie.  


 
Ivan was in surgery for approximately an hour and a half, then was in recovery for about half an hour before we were able to see him. 

Ivan was pretty upset when we arrived in his recovery room. It was pretty clear he didn't feel well. It became apparent moments later that he did not like his cast...not one bit.  He kept asking for it to come off. When we told him that it had to stay on for a while, he just dissolved into more tears.  While it was of little consolation to Ivan at the time, Lambie came out of surgery with a matching red cast. Due to the anesthetic and pain medications, Ivan kept drifting in and out of sleep. He was able to drink a juice box and a couple crackers...however, they later came up all over Mommy. More tears. The surgeon reported that the surgery was very successful and we have every reason to believe that Ivan's wrist will experience greater function in the coming months and years. 

 
When Ivan had calmed down, we were released and headed home with a popcorn bowl for possible future vomiting. Ivan slept most of the trip home. We encouraged him to eat a little ice cream (hospital's suggestion to relieve the throat irritation he experienced due to being intubated) and macaroni and cheese (his fave). He did eat a bit of both...but alas, both made a reappearance as we were driving...unfortunately the popcorn bowl was a bit late in making it to the scene, so Ivan's carseat caught the brunt. 

We eventually made it home, much to everyone's relief. Ivan was quite subdued, but enjoyed his cars and track. Ivan did eat some dinner. But I'm sure you can guess what happened next...Yep, it came back up. 

Ivan seemed to be about 90% of his usual joyful self today. We've had some precious moments with him, and he continues to astound us with his grit and adaptability.  Ivan jumped on his sit-and-spin this morning and twirled with one hand.  He also prayed before breakfast with his usual fervor. 

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We would appreciate continued prayers for Ivan's recovery, healing of his arm, and greater motion and function. We are appreciative of the thoughtful calls, messages, and cards from family and friends. 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

6 months and counting!!!

As with so many things these days, finding time to complete a blog update has been challenging. Both Ryan and I have been working on this particular update for over two weeks. We meant to share the update on August 20, marking exactly six months home. But as they say, better late than never...
So where to begin? It's certainly hard to believe Ivan has been home for 6 months now.  Let's see who can decipher some things Ivan says?  
High bibe
Bay
homem
good dob
hoomm
boomba (this has a double meaning.)  


I'll translate in a bit...

Since our last update, we've had some highlights (in no particular order):

CHRISTMAS
If Ivan allowed it, Christmas would be a multi-day event, just to unwrap his presents. When he would unwrap a present, he would be enthralled with it for an extended period of time. You'd think we were twisting his arm to open another gift. :) He was also able to meet all of his cousins and aunts and uncles.      This was truly a joy to see. "Jingle Bells" became a seasonal favorite. When he's in a good mood, we still hear a little jingle...especially if he picks up the tambourine or maracas.


 Picking out our Christmas tree...this one was a three-fer...two larger main branches and one baby branch all coming from one stump...it seemed perfect for our family this year!






DROVE A TRACTOR BY HIMSELF
Some people would be horrified that a parent would allow their 2 year old child to drive a massive, high horsepower, dust making machine.  He has mastered it though.  Full of confidence and able to overcome any obstacle in his path.


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 He loves to pick up sticks! And pose for pictures! :)

TRIP TO FLORIDA
Back in December, Lindsey and I decided we'd try to take a trip to celebrate our 5 year anniversary.  We wound up in Florida last month!  After our last flying experience with Ivan, we were understandably uneasy about revisiting that, but, once again, our boy was the star of the day!  He charmed our fellow flyers around us, we should of known.  FYI to any parents of toddlers out there, you can check a stroller or carseat for free on any domestic airline!

Once at our rental house, we took Ivan to the beach before sunset.  It was pretty breezy and a little cool, so first impressions were undetermined.

 

The following days consisted of scooping sand into a bucket, pouring it out, scooping more sand into the same bucket, pouring it out, more scooping, more dumping, repeat.........







  
He was one happy beach boy

POTTY TRAINING
We are slowly making progress toward potty training. Ivan does an excellent job sitting on the potty, wiping, and pretending to flush. He pretty much has the process down except actually going potty...in the potty. :) 
Looks like he's got it down, eh?!

ANOTHER FIRST
Ivan experienced another first...his first trip to the hospital ER. In the early morning hours one Sunday, Ivan experienced a febrile seizure.  It was very frightening for all of us, but thankfully we were both in his room when it occurred. It was discovered he had bronciolitis and an ear infection. After leaving the hospital, we stopped at McDonalds and Ivan ate hotcakes with the best of 'em. He rebounded from the entire ordeal very well and you wouldn't have even known he was under the weather. 

OTHER DAY-TO-DAY JOYS
   We can't get enough of watching our precious boy pray with such fervor and earnestness.  We pray he may always have a closeness with and readiness to talk to Jesus. 
   Enjoying Ivan's affection! Ivan is a hugger, kisser, and high-fiver. He is quick to give a kiss to Mommy and loves wrestling with Daddy.  He continues his friendship with Lambie, BearBear, and Moose.
   Watching Ivan's love for tractors and all-things with wheels. He is instinctively drawn to anything he can drive, and loves to ride along with Daddy on the farm. 


UPCOMING
Ivan will be having surgery on Tuesday on his left arm. He will be in a cast for six weeks, followed by a removable brace for a number of months. We would appreciate prayers for a safe and successful surgery, quick recovery, and great outcome. 

LAST THING...
You've waited for interpretation of our Ivan-isms...
High vibe - HIGH FIVE
Bay - LAMBIE
homem - HOME
good dob - GOOD JOB!
hoomm - PLEASE!
boomba (this has a double meaning.)  - BE BACK! or DIAPER




Thursday, October 20, 2016

Two months home

Two months seems like a flash, but China seems like an eternity ago.  I don't know if it would be possible for Ivan to be doing any better....as I type this he's crying...so there's room for improvement at this moment...

As I'd mentioned in a previous blog, Ivan has been favoring Lindsey, which is a good thing.  He is saying some words like Dada and Mama, Thank you, and more.  He sings songs to us like Jesus loves you, We will rock you, and the ABCs.  Though you have to pick up the tune, because the words aren't discernible.  He can also count to 10, but it's the same word for 1-6, then 7 is a two syllable mumble, 8 & 9 are the same word as 1-6, but 10 is an excited squeal!

He loves having visitors and being around other people.  Lindsey and Ivan have gotten out and about more in the last month.  We've been to church as a family 3 times now and he's done awesome every time.  We do need to work on being quiet though...2 out of 3 services were good.

An update from previous blogs on Ivan's car sickness.  After the second car seat cleanup session, we decided to place his seat in the middle of the back seat and we also tried little wristbands (called Seabands) which have a hard dot in one spot which is supposed to push a pressure point in the wrist to ease nausea.  One or both of them was successful.  Ivan hasn't vomited in the car since and he wants to put the wristbands on whenever he gets in his seat now.  He's likes routines.

Last weekend Lindsey had her 10 year college reunion in Indiana, which many of her close friends would be attending.  We struggled with the decision of whether or not Ivan was ready for a road trip and sleeping in a different crib/home.  He wasn't phased one bit.  Played with his cousins and slept nearly as good as he did at home.  Whenever we have fear of exposing Ivan to something new, we try it and he does exceptionally well.  He's amazing!

Since harvest has been in full swing for the last month, I haven't been able to see Ivan as much as I'd like.  Maybe a couple hours a day at the most, unless Lin and Ivan come by for a farm visit, which they've been doing.  There have been a few times where Lin has left Ivan with me on the farm for a few hours if she has some errands or an appointment she needs to go to.  It leaves Ivan in tears every time, which I struggle to understand why.  We're always happy at home together, but anytime Lindsey leaves, the world is ending.  Mentally, I know he is heavily attached to Lindsey, she has been meeting nearly all of his needs since we arrived home, but he sees me at home, I prepare some of his meals and bath him, change clothes, diapers, play, etc.  Emotionally though it can be hurtful at times.  I realize he is doing nothing intentional and we do have a lot of fun together most of the time.  As I was sitting in church a few weeks ago, my mind drifted slightly away from the sermon...true confessions...I was thinking about how I wanted Ivan to desire to be with me and not be afraid of me or at least minimize the fear of being without Lindsey every moment.  Time is what we need together, I realize this, it's just a bad time of the year for that to happen consistently.  My mind then began to parallel those thoughts with God.  He is a good Father.  He loves his sons and daughters.  But so many of us don't seek Him or want to be with Him.  I actually think I've caught a glimpse of some of the sadness God might feel because we, as His children, don't seek Him or acknowledge Him as we should.  Me included.  He desires to be in our lives, just as I desire to be in Ivan's, but neither He nor I can force our children to desire our presence or involvement in their lives.  Thankfully in my case, this is just a season, but in God's case, it can be eternity.

Some highlights from the past two months:
Helping on the Farm
Testing moisture of the corn

 Unloading the semi

Dinner in the field

First solo semi ride with Daddy

Visits with grandparents, cousins, and family



Family weiner roast

Celebrating Daddy's birthday

Ivan's first haircut

A customer-in-training at HyVee

Time at Taylor with friends

 Ivan and Mommy being showered by some of Mommy's nearest and dearest from college

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The slow rise

Week 2 is in the bag.  Ivan continues to dazzle us with his sweet smile and giggle.  Tough days are even fewer this week than last, and I think his sleep is about where it should be.  One noticeable change has been Ivan's deepening connection with Lindsey.  Which means daddy, who once was preferred, now gets the cold shoulder.  This is how it's supposed to be though, right?  Lindsey has been with him daily for a couple weeks now as I've returned to the farm.  I've noticed, this week especially, that if Daddy leaves the room, or goes outside, or drives away...no big.  Ivan just waves...and says, don't let the door hit you on the way out... j/k.  But when Mommy walks into the next room, still within eyesight, you'd think the boys beloved toy or pet was just destroyed right in front of him.  That may have been stretched, but not much.  This is actually a very good sign.  It shows that our little guy's attachment is growing and his connection with us is deepening.  For this we are very happy.  Something we've prayed for for months.

Some sweet moments from this week included a gift of a teddy bear from Lindsey's friend Kristie.  Ivan saw the bear and instantly wanted to hold him.  Shortly after was naptime and Ivan wanted to take Bear to bed with him.  As Lindsey laid Ivan down, Ivan laid Bear down next to him and pulled the sheet up that would typically cover Ivan, onto Bear.  Then as Lindsey rubbed Ivan's back, Ivan rubbed Bear's back to help Bear fall asleep.  Too stinkin sweet!

Some highlights from the week also included visits from the grandparents.  Ivan has been doing pretty well adjusting to our home and the routine we've put in place for him, but we've intentionally not had many visitors yet, to help facilitate Ivan's adjustment to us and home.  We would like to thank everyone for being so patient and respecting our wishes in this, but we thought Ivan has been doing so well, it's time for Grandma and Grandpa and Nana and Papa to make visit!  In doing so we've decided Ivan may have a pretty social side also.  He beamed when they came over and he had a great time!  He was loving the attention and new faces, though he'd seen them before, he was thrilled to have new company.

Ivan also took his first tractor ride this week...figured why wait?  I'd say there were mixed reviews.  Mainly because Mommy was not a co-pilot on this ride.  We worked through the tears and decided in the end that maybe it wasn't so bad.  Daddy will be persistent.

One undelightful event was Ivan's second car ride, while awake.  Lindsey was taking me to pick up a piece of machinery about 30 minutes from home.  I was playing with Ivan and he was giggling and laughing.  Seemingly having a ball, just before he unloaded lunch all down his front.  So two car rides this week and two removals of the carseat to clean the vomit probably means this little guy gets carsick. Not the best news when you live 15 minutes from the nearest town.  We're going to try a few things to see if we can improve his endurance, but truthfully, he's probably not ridden in cars more than 2-3 times in his life before meeting us, so it could just take some time.











Monday, August 29, 2016

Week One in Review

Our first week at home has been all about one thing - adjustment.  Adjusting our sleep cycles, adjusting our lifestyles, helping Ivan adjust to his new home, and working to develop a strong attachment and connection with Ivan (the latter three are still very much ongoing).  When I think about the week in its entirety, overall the week went better than I probably expected.  Of course our first few days home started with the misery of overcoming jet lag. At one point Ivan had been up from 12:30AM to 12:30PM without any sleep, just in an effort to get his sleep on track. However, with keeping to a schedule and the help of a little Benadryl (We were desperate!!), Ivan's sleep has pretty much come onto US Central Time. 

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were awesome days. At one point I was feeling pretty excited about how fast Ivan seemed to be adjusting emotionally. I should have known better! Friday and Saturday reassured us that he is still very much in the midst of emotionally processing and adjusting.  Plus he's two. And life is tough when you're two. Ryan and I must also remember that our own processing of this change is definitely affecting him as well. Staying at home during the day with Ivan has raised various feelings for me - gratitude, joy, frustration, fear, to name a few.  Thankfully, the joy and gratitude outweigh my moments of frustration. 

Here are some glimpses into our past week:

Ivan enjoying a ride in the bike cart

Ivan mowing with Daddy

Ivan playing at a nearby secluded church playground



Ivan's first pancake breakfast

Ivan getting ready for a walk with Mommy

We have learned...You can take the boy out of the noodle-loving country, but you can't take the noodle-love out of the boy!
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And yet another...
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And then there are the chickens.  He loves them. They are his first feathered friends
Sadly, his affection is not reciprocated. I'm sure with time they'll come around, Ivan.

Come back, Guys!!
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On Sunday, Ryan and I decided we needed some spiritual and social input. We took turns going to different services while Ivan made the car-trip to Quincy and back, but didn't leave the car. Unfortunately, this may have contributed to the following events:
As Ivan and I arrived at church, he was starting to fuss a little and spit up just a bit. We cleaned it right up and Ryan and I switched places. However, Ivan became quite fussy as they were en route. Not once, not twice, but THREE times he threw up. Ryan pulled over and did a preliminary job of cleaning Ivan. They proceeded home, striped down, and left the carseat in the car for Mommy! ;) The least I could do. Poor Ryan can only take so much vomit. Here's what Ivan thought of the whole deal. 

Thankfully things turned up and he was squeaky clean by today.


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We are knee-deep into week two at home, and we would appreciate continued prayers for Ivan's emotional adjustment, our emotional adjustment, security in attachment, and God's presence in the midst.  We love you! Soli Deo Gloria!