So Many Favorite Things

The last week and this weekend were FULL of SO many of my favorite things!

Such simple, normal things – but you must know by now these are the things I love the most.

Being home.

Schooling the kiddos!

Babysitting the grand babies!

(I know it’s blurry, but I LOVE this photo SO much!)

Sunrises and sunsets!

Spending time with our favorite people.

Cooking, baking, and filling tummies with yummy healthy food!

Cleaning and grocery Fridays!

And my AMAZING crew!!

Date night with the most handsome guy.

And working on making this house our home!

We also have had a few local (and quick!) appointments.

We made a trip to the orthodontist to fix a broken wire.

And this brave and strong girl had three cavities filled – ALL in the same appointment – without even blinking an eye!

The dentist was SO amazed with how Eliza sat with her mouth open for 45 minutes, endured multiple numbing injections, noisy tools, and yucky tasting things – that Eliza brought prizes home for everybody!

AHHHH – its all been SO GOOD!

Nothing like a whirlwind of BIG life things to make all of the simple things be ALL the sweeter.

I am hanging on SUPER tight!!

Shriners Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis

Before daylight on Wednesday morning of last week (October 4th), Blake, Eliza and I were heading out again for another long medical day.

This appointment was scheduled way back in July when I called Shriners Children’s Hospital after Eliza’s local orthopedic surgeon let us know it was time to surgically intervene and repair Eliza’s right hip.

Not only did this appointment give us a second opinion about this surgery, but it also will allow the blessing of financial help with the cost of this surgery and the cost of the long hospital stay.

It took us almost four hours to get to the hospital in Minneapolis, but the drive wasn’t too bad.

The facility and the grounds are so beautiful, and tucked back in their own park like setting!

There is just something to be said for facilities that are for children only.

They are SO focused on THE CHILD – not just all of the medical stuff.

We walked into the waiting room, and Eliza got to make crafts while we waited for her name to be called!

Eliza has things like getting measured, weighed, and her blood pressure taken down pat.

Our appointments started at 10:00 a.m. and we saw a nurse, a physician’s assistant, a resident, the surgeon, a lab technician, another nurse, a care coordinator, and a social worker at a steady pace with no waiting in between each one.

We were finally ALL done at 1:30 p.m.

Eliza was AMAZING.

Really, really AMAZING.

They even drew five tubes of blood out of her arm and she didn’t even flinch!

She sang her ABC’s the whole time, because the lab tech asked her to.

I think she earned her new stuffed toy!

Eliza fell asleep for about the last hour of her appointments, but thankfully they did not need to wake her for anything.

After we were finished I told Eliza we would stop and buy her something because she was SO amazing!

She told us that she wanted a new shirt.


A new shirt it is!

And she also found another stuffed animal too.

We ate some lunch out of our cooler in the Target parking lot, changed Eliza into her new shirt, and started the long drive home.

I got out the tablet for Eliza, and had brought lots of reading options for me!

And I wouldn’t want to forget this treat on the way home!

I will admit, I ordered a half-caf, but I normally don’t drink caffeine.

Just trust me when I say it was that kind of day.

Eliza will be having her surgery at Shriners Children’s Hospital.

We are waiting to hear when, but believe it will be the first Tuesday of November, the first Tuesday of December, or the first Tuesday of January.

The first Tuesday of each month is when the surgeon travels from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to Shriners in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to do surgeries.

We will have a four night stay at Shriners for this surgery – one night before surgery for pre-op stuff, and a three night stay in the hospital for Eliza after surgery.

Eliza will be in her body cast for a minimum of four weeks, but a maximum of eight weeks.

We learned lots and lots of other details about the ins and outs of this surgery too.

It’s going to be a challenging time, but I am just anxious to get it done and behind us!

Have I ever mentioned how thankful we are for the team of great people we have to care for Tate and Eliza?

It should be mentioned again anyway!


We feel SO loved at these appointments and with all that our precious cherubs endure!

I know we will be able to look back at Eliza’s upcoming surgery and say the same thing again.

Another Medical Day In The Books

After being in Madison all day Friday, September 29th, we had a full medical day scheduled at our local hospital for that next Monday, October 2nd.

I would like to know who is in charge of our calendar!

Honestly, all of these routine check-ups fall in the same month whether we like it or not!

First up was Tate for his routine eye exam.

He sees the eye doctor yearly because of his VP shunt.

We have to wait about 30 minutes after they put the drops in Tate’s eyes until his eyes are dilated enough for the doctor to exam them.

Tate and Eliza both are used to waiting rooms, and I usually read to them to pass the time.

Tate’s eye exam went well, and we will go back in one year.

After the eye doctor we headed over to imaging to get those x-rays that the neurosurgeon in Madison wanted.

I bet you think it is that simple, right?

Of course they did not have the orders, and so I spent the next 30 minutes on the phone trying to get the orders faxed to the imaging department so we could get them done.

We waited another 30 or so minutes for that fax to show up, and when it didn’t, we headed out to pick up Eliza.

Addie Mae was meeting me half way between Twin Oaks and the hospital so that Eliza did not have to sit through the whole morning of Tate’s appointments.

We headed back to imaging for Tate and Eliza both to have a renal ultrasound, which they have every six months.

This ultrasound is to check on the health of their bladder and kidneys – because spina bifida can do some not so good things to the bladder and kidneys.

They both have their favorite waiting rooms, and this is one of them!

After the ultrasounds were finished, we sat in the waiting room again, holding the pager to our ears like a phone as we pretended to talk to people and order hamburgers, fries and milkshakes from who knows where!

Long medical days may get to you this way, you know.

There was a sweet lady sitting across the room from us who got up and approached our giggling selves.

And she said, “You have such beautiful children! Are they ‘real’ brother and sister?”

I have to admit, I never have a plan for questions like these – and I should.

I knew what she meant, and I knew she did not mean to cause any problems.

I smiled and simply said “Well, they are now!”


It took about one half of a second for the questions to start flying from Tate and Eliza.

“Why did she ask if we were real?”

“Aren’t we brother and sister?”

“What did you mean when you answered her, Mommy?”

Made the time in the waiting room seem to stand still.

Finally, Tate’s name was called to get those x-rays.

And there was another medical day in the books!

Spending a day like this with two brave and strong heroes of mine is inspirational, really!

I had never made a picture in my mind what doctor appointments would be like once Eliza and then Tate were home from China.

We just kind of learn as we go, and roll with everything that is asked of them.

We have such an amazing team of doctors, nurses, and medical professionals that help our two precious cherubs and we are just SO thankful for their care.

The lady in charge of our calendar scheduled another HUGE medical day just two days after this one, since we were on a roll and all!

It will be the next post, and it is a story just FULL of gratitude.

The Madison Zoo

Nothing better than a 65 degree sunny day when all other children are in school to go and to visit the zoo!

Since we were already in Madison for Tate and Eliza’s medical appointments, we made a day of it and visited the zoo too.

Madison has a zoo that is free too!

Win, win!

It was super fun to watch the kiddos run from exhibit to exhibit and take everything in.

For such a small zoo, there was quite a bit to see!

I thought these guys here were super cute!

Especially the one with its head on the ground.

The littles LOVED the zoo, and Tate reminded us over and over that he had not been to one since he was in China!

I think I really like this new spin on medical days!

Make the day include a fun outing too!

It sure takes your mind off of all the unknowns.

Thanks, Madison Zoo, for the great afternoon!