Sunday, September 30, 2007

Clara Luce Clarior

"Clare is the brightest light."

Clara Luce Clarior is a Latin phrase that is etched on a stained glass window in the Franciscan chapel of the residence of a dear family friend (who is a Franciscan priest). Before Clare has a procedure, we often get a phone message from this friend reminding us that "Clara luce clarior." Clare is the brightest light. And she is indeed in our lives.

(We also have two other equally bright lights in our life who give us so much joy!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dare to Hope

(Sorry for taking so long to post, but here it is!)

We had some good news today at the cardiologist as well as conflicting stories. When Clare's doctor told me that the Boston doctor did not expect to see Clare back in the cath lab for 2-3 years, I was floored. Utterly speechless. I stammered, "Are you sure?" She smiled at my disbelief and read me his letter. Clare's other Boston doctor, however, feels it is more accurate that Clare will be back in 6-12 months. I am guarded in my optimism of Clare's actual timetable, but I am daring to hope that it is the longer stretch.

After another exhausting cath procedure and two long post-cath weeks, I was prepared to hear that Clare was going back in December. After enduring four caths in her first 11 months of life, she had a 15-month reprieve. After her cath in June, though, when we heard they wanted Clare back in three months, I feared we were back on the road of caths every three months. That there is the very real possibility that Clare is good to go until at least 2008 fills me with hope again. Shawn and I have been very worried over the state of Clare's heart lately. I have no false view of reality that Clare is better. I know her heart is not "fixed." I know that by the doctor saying 2-3 years, he is saying that he has done all he can for now and he expects his "repairs" to hold for that long. But I also know that every time Clare goes under anesthesia and the doctors run their catheters through her heart, her risk of "problems" increase dramatically. Anesthesia is so risky for Clare, that her doctors would not even put her under unless the risk of NOT doing something to relieve the build-up of pressure in her heart is much greater.

So my glimmer of hope is there. Clare does not return to the cardiologist for another echo for three months. In six months, she will have a lung scan performed to check how her output looks. Clare's cardiologist does not want Clare to have the renal MRI right now because she would have to be under anesthesia. We are going to continue to monitor her blood pressure at home to be sure it continues to stay steady. At least then we know that, even if her renal arteries are narrowed, they are not getting worse.

A Block for Clare

I received an e-mail today that Clare's block for the Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Quilt Project was created.

I had submitted an application for the block months ago, but had forgotten about it. After a long day at the cardiologist's today (more on that later when I am not so brain dead), it was a pleasant reminder to receive the e-mail with a photo of the finished block. Once Clare's block is put into a quilt, they are going to send me a photo of the quilt as well.

The CHD Quilt Project is a very special project to bring awareness to the world about congenital heart defects. Each quilt is specially made of 42 different blocks. Each block is personally made for an individual born with a congenital heart defect. The application asks to tell something about the child the block is for. I wrote that Clare's nickname was "Clare Bear," she loved ducks and her cats, plus looked adorable in the colors yellow and blue. Thus her block was created! Included is her birth date and diagnoses as well.

Thanks to Noel who passed along the link on her blog many months ago! If you are interested in learning more about the quilts, go to CHD Quilt Project.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Perfect Man

You awaken me at 5 am simply because you cannot stand another moment without me.

You smile and laugh at everything I say to you, no matter how dumb or silly it is.

When I leave the room, you cry and cry until I come back to you.

You think every meal I make you is the most delicious you have ever had.

I am your favorite person in the world.

You are content to sit with me no matter what we do - read books, fold laundry, watch "Survivor."

You are my grocery store companion late at night.

You love me just the way I am. And I love you, my perfect little man!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Finally - Some Good News

Clare's cardiologist thought the site looked better. There is still a pool of blood under the wound, but the doctor listened to it (which I thought was interesting!), checked Clare out, and pronounced that Clare was now really on the mend. The only two things that were slightly concerning were that Clare's feet were blue when we went in (which hopefully was just due to the cold air this morning - it was an early morning appointment) and her blood pressure was very low (about 30 points below Clare's normal). We don't have to go back to the doctor until next week. (A week between appointments - WOW!)

The cardiologist also finally determined that we are officially taking Clare off the Plavix, her blood thinner. We have been waiting for almost two years to hear this news. As long as her cath site looks good next week, we will start her on aspirin therapy. Hopefully our "battered" child will stop looking like that soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not Quite There

Clare's spirits are much better the last two days, but she is not healed yet. One of her cath sites is pooling blood under the incision, so her cardiologist is monitoring her closely. We were there yesterday afternoon so the doctor could have a peek and will be going back in tomorrow morning because the lump has grown slightly larger. I am praying that we are not sent back to Boston to address this problem. I know the cardiologist is worried that the wound is not healing properly and infection might be setting in.

We still have not heard when Clare's next cath is expected to be. Clare has her full battery of post-cath tests (EKG, chest x-ray, echocardiogram) next week, so the cardiologist should have the recommendation by then. We did talk about the fact that Clare's renal arteries were not looked at during this past cath. The cardiologist was not happy to hear this. I got the feeling she does not want to wait until Clare's next cath to have this done. So Clare may undergo a sedated MRI in the near future to look at those arteries. Unfortunately, this would mean another trip down to Children's Hospital because her cardiologist does not feel comfortable having Clare do it locally without the proper back-up, "just in case."

Here's to better news tomorrow!

Monday, September 17, 2007

On the Mend

No more fevers, no more vomiting, no more funny heart rhythms - Clare is on the mend! The pediatrician yesterday said she was not dehydrated and ran a couple EKGs which were faxed down to Boston. The docs there said the EKGs were at baseline for Clare, so all was good.

Today, Clare is ten times more improved than yesterday, but she is still very tired. She ate some dinner last night and started walking again this morning , so we know she is feeling better. Her cath site in her groin is still bleeding, though, so we want her to take it easy for the next few days, so that clots properly. We're getting back to normal.

Photos: 1-Morning of her cath, Clare is fascinated by the big fish tank in the lobby of Children's Hospital.
2-After swallowing her "happy drink," Clare chills out in her cool get-up.
3-Post-cath, Clare snuggled with Elmo until she fell asleep.
4-Wearing more cool shades from the hospital, Clare is waiting to be discharged.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Full Dish

We came home yesterday. Here's the scoop from our hospital stay. After hours of waiting, the cardiologist who assisted in Clare's cath finally made it to our room. (Clare's primary interventional cardiologist NEVER updates us - brilliant man, poor people skills?) And, of course, it was during the ten minutes that Shawn was eight floors below grabbing dinner. The cardiologist apologized that no one spoke with us sooner, but she was scrubbed in on another case and thought that one of the other doctors would have talked to us. Unfortunately not.

There is good news and "not so good news." The good news is that four of Clare's proximal left pulmonary vessels were successfully dilated. Three of Clare's proximal right pulmonary vessels were successfully dilated. Clare's echo four weeks ago measured right-sided pressures that were 200% those of her left side (a normal heart should only be 25%). The cath showed that the right pressures were actually only 100% of the left pressures. Not stellar news, but pressures that are equal is MUCH better than pressures that are double. Post-cath, the pressures measured 70%. It's a lot of numbers and very technical heart lingo to explain it all, but that's basically the gist of it. Clare's entire aorta looked fabulous.

The "not so good news" is that the right pulmonary side (which was what they worked on in the June cath) was much more narrowed than expected, given that her cath was only 3 1/2 months ago. Therefore, the doctors had to spend time re-dilating those vessels and did not have time to work on any of Clare's distal pulmonary vessels on either side. Also, they were unable to have a look at Clare's renal arteries since she was already maxed out on the amount of dye her body can tolerate once they were done with the dilations. So Clare is returning to the cath lab in the near future. We do not know exactly when (we will find out when we see her NH cardiologist in a couple weeks), but the Boston cardiologist predicted 3-9 months from now.

Clare went into the cath with low blood pressure and dehydration, so she did have some "blips" in there. (Such a nice, innocuous term for something that, in reality, is more serious.) I kind of feel responsible for the dehydration bit, given that we were instructed to have Clare drink 2-4 ounces of water two hours prior to her cath to prevent that very thing. So I diligently woke Clare up at 4:45am and had her snuggle in bed with me to drink some water. However, Clare was very sleepy, did not want to drink water, and was more interested in falling back asleep on me. I was able to get her to take a couple sips, but once 5:00am hit, I had to cut her off from any more water, as that is when her NPO started (no more food or drink). I do understand (as does any parent) that I cannot force Clare to drink. I just wish I had been more successful in doing so. Regardless, this dehydration and low blood pressure resulted in Clare receiving dopamine and a blood transfusion. She did have some funny rhythms in the cath (again, I love the word "funny" that the doctors use at the hospital to describe something much more serious), most likely due to the fact that they are snaking all sorts of tiny objects through her blood vessels!

All this added up to a somewhat successful cath. Clare's fever finally broke around 2am the night after her cath. Shawn said it was a miserable night for everyone. Clare had some funny rhythms again overnight. This time, most likely due to the high fever. She did have some vomiting post-cath as well, but seemed a little more like herself on Saturday with her heart doing what it is supposed to be doing, so she was discharged.

Shawn and Clare are at the pediatrician's right now because Clare is still vomiting, not eating, and barely drinking. There is worry of dehydration, especially because Clare needs to stay hydrated so her body can filter out the dye (or it can harm her kidneys). After more throwing up this morning and no eating or drinking, we called the hospital. Rather than driving down to Boston to wait in their emergency room, we chose to see the pediatrician here. If Clare is dehydrated, they can send her over to the local ER for IV fluids. Children's Hospital also wants the pediatrician to run a couple EKG's to make sure Clare's heart is not acting up again. So I am waiting to hear back from Shawn (or see them walk in the door) on what's going on.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Brief Update

Just a quick update since I know people are anxious to hear how Clare's cath went, but we are exhausted. I promise to write more once we are settled again.

The doctors did a lot of work in her pulmonary arteries, but thankfully no stents were placed. So Clare is now on the cardiac floor, not the ICU. There were the expected and unexpected bumps during her cath, but it is over, and that's the positive thing. Right now, Clare is very uncomfortable. She has a high fever and cannot keep anything down (not even water), so Clare and Shawn are in for a rough night (Simon and I just arrived home and will head back to the hospital in the morning). Both are not a surprise given the amount of anesthesia and dye Clare received during the cath. The cardiologist resident said that if the fever is gone by the morning and Clare can keep some breakfast in, then she will be able to come home tomorrow.

Thank you again for all the prayers. Please keep them up. Although the cath had some positive aspects to it, Clare still has a long road ahead of her.

P.S. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Kerry and Brady (and Kerry's mom) for stopping in BOTH DAYS and hanging with us for a little while. I know after a long day at the doctor's and fighting Boston traffic, you just want to go home. It was wonderful to see your smiling faces (and Brady's grumpy, tired face at times!). We're glad Mr. Brady had such a great cardiology appointment!

Our Peanut is Doing Well

Clare is in her cath now and so far so good. She was first case today, which meant a super-early morning for everyone, but also meant that Clare did not have to wait long sans food before being taken in.

Yesterday was a busy pre-op day with all the usual running around and multiple tests. All this hospital stuff has forced our children to be fairly easy-going and portable, so both Clare and Simon were good little troopers. (Jamie was at home basking in his hours upon hours of alone time with Auntie Erin - children's museum, slushies, blueberry bubblegum, and a rare treat of a can of Sprite - I wish I got to stay home with Auntie Erin!) The doctors were all very positive about Clare's cath and the outcome of it, which lifted our spirits somewhat. We ended up staying in Boston overnight, so we did not have to endure another hell of a three-hour car ride into the city (a ride which should only, based on miles, take 45 minutes - traffic is another story).

We arrived at the hospital this morning at 6:15am. (Yawn.) Clare was in her glory. I am continually impressed with how well she does sometimes. After a long day, late bed, early morning, and no food, I was a BEAR. (Shawn and I never eat on Clare's cath mornings since she cannot eat - how cruel is that to be chomping down on an egg sandwich while your daughter is starving.) But Clare was having a great time. The hospital lobby was fairly empty, so she walked around everywhere. Our parents arrived, so Clare was even happier surrounded by adoring grandparents. Once she was brought into the cath lab, she was given her "happy cocktail" of ketamine and versed. (I will have to post photos once we are home. Clare was ultra-mellow after her drink and insisted on wearing the hospital johnny, way-too-large latex gloves, and green sunglasses. It was very funny!) Shawn and I said our good-byes to our sleepy girl and handed her over to the anesthesiologist.

We just had our hourly update, and Clare is doing well. She has had some blood pressure drops, which they are controlling with dopamine, and is already receiving one blood transfusion. The cardiologists have started using balloon dilations in her left pulmonary arteries. The nurse reported that "there is a lot to do," so Clare will be at least another couple of hours in the cath lab. Thank you, everyone, for all the prayers. We know Clare is in good hands here at Children's, and even better hands with God.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Stuff We Don't Talk About

Shawn and I had a good cry together last night. Clare goes back into the hospital on Thursday this week for her cardiac catheterization on Friday. She has come through five caths already, so I know her track record is good. Yet with each looming cath, the fear creeps back in. I hold her longer, find more patience with her toddler obstinacy than I thought I had, run my fingers through her curls and kiss her smooth cheeks as often as she lets me. I relish in her big toothy grin, blowing me kisses and waving bye as she rounds the corner into another room.

(There is a pattern in my blogs - nights that Shawn is out-of-town, I find myself in the basement alone, thinking these thoughts, depressing myself. When I really should be in my bed, watching a movie, and eating ice cream. So, you may want to take the opportunity and do that now. I am not making excuses for my thoughts. I am warning you that they are dark, and I need to get them out.)

Lately, we have noticed that Clare desperately needs this cath. She has high blood pressure but the fact that she could not pump any blood out at the blood draw last week signifies low blood pressure. I know her blood pressure must be all out-of-whack again (my medical term for it). I know her heart is working too hard. But tell that to a 2-year old who has recently learned to walk. Who finally has the means to explore this great big world (or at least the first floor of our house). She does not want to stop. Clare wants to go, go, go. But the fatigue is there. And with the fatigue comes crankiness, frustration, and tantrums. Tantrums which drive my stress level through the roof because I can visualize what it is doing to her heart. Add to that a 4-year old who understands his parents are on edge about something (which to him comes out as snappish and short-tempered) and so he responds to these undercurrents with his own outbursts of anger. And then add a normally happy, content 4-month old who is experiencing his first virus, complete with fever, rash, and diarrhea, so he is inconsolable unless he is held and nursed around the clock. The equation adds up to one mommy and one daddy who are maxed out at the moment.

In church yesterday, we were sitting behind a middle-aged couple we often sit near (the gentleman is the same one who I caught holding hands with Clare one time). Clare has charmed this man, so he always has a smile and greeting for us. I imagined arriving at church without Clare, being questioned by this gentleman about her absence, and explaining WS, her heart defects, and her passing. At the same time, while the congregation sang "On Eagle's Wings" (a beautiful hymn which is often played at Catholic funerals... "And He will raise you up on eagle's wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand"), Shawn was imagining that hymn being played at Clare's funeral. Why do we imagine these things? I tell myself that it does no good to dwell on the depressing. Yet part of me feels that if I can plan these scenarios out, walk myself through them, if someday, I am forced to actually live them, I will be prepared. I know this is a big fat lie.

Today I read an article in Brain, Child about the death of a child. (Yes, I question why I am reading this article when I am already thinking morbid thoughts, but I forced myself to not be a wimp and finish the article.) The author writes, "Before becoming a mother, I never knew that having a child means crafting not only a life but also a death, that each of my babies would carry within him or her not only the potential for death but the inevitability of it." I was too new a mother when Clare was born to know what motherhood was like without the very real presence of death lurking in the background. When Jamie was an infant, I followed all the advice about preventing SIDS. I cut his grapes in half to protect from choking. I never left him unattended in the bathtub. Yet I never thought anything would really happen to him. The mantra is that that happens to other families. But the reality with Clare is that it just doesn't happen to "others." It may be us. And I know I am trying to come to some sort of terms with that knowledge.

In all probability, Shawn and I will outlive Clare. Given the severity of her heart defects, her average lifespan is 50 years old. Younger than my parents are now. That's a hard pill to swallow. But what I wouldn't give right now to be guaranteed those 50 years with Clare. Fifty wonderful years. I don't care if she still lives with us, is a bagger at Hannaford, whatever. I just want those years. All the years I can get.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Confessions of a Furry Red Monster Lover

Clare is in love. And, yes, he is furry and red. I am always amazed at the affection for Elmo that seems to instantly spring up in our house. Maybe it's those big googly eyes? That annoyingly high voice? His big never-ending grin?

When Jamie was about 20 months old, he started talking about Elmo. He did not watch Sesame Street, we had no Elmo paraphernalia, never talked about the little guy. But, sure enough, Jamie knew who he was and pointed him out in stores, in magazines, anywhere he saw Elmo. (Maybe it's pre-programmed into modern toddlers' heads.) He received a large Elmo as a Christmas present and they were immediate best friends. We did not, however, go overboard with collecting Elmo gear (unfortunately that phase would come later with ninja turtles and superheros). Jamie had an Elmo-themed party for his second birthday and a couple board books - that's about it. So although Elmo was Jamie's constant companion for about a year, we were not on Elmo overload.

Flash forward two years. Lo and behold, Clare knows who Elmo is as well. She has seen maybe one episode of Sesame Street (as Elmo is now too babyish for Jamie, Clare watches "older" shows with him such as Dora and Backyardigans). I do not even know where our two Elmo books are on the shelf. Jamie's former beloved Elmo is buried in the back of the stuffed animals. We have been Elmo-free for at least a year now. But, for some reason, Clare can recognize Elmo anywhere as well - she points and says "Elmo" whenever she glimpses something that even kind of (sometimes not really) looks like Elmo. A new generation of Elmo-lovers has begun.

Clare has been having "violent" temper tantrums for a few months now. I say "violent" in quotes because I do not know quite how to describe them except she needs to hurt herself during them and cannot calm down on her own. She often pulls her hair or bites her fingers and will scoot on her back across the room until she can hit her head on something hard, such as the wall or piano. Her OT and PT explain it as she needs the sensory input as a coping technique during a tantrum. Well, obviously, we don't like that she is hurting herself and do not want that to escalate, so we have been looking for other ways that Clare can soothe herself. Especially for the future when Mommy and Daddy cannot be there with her to help her calm down (such as when she goes to preschool). Enter Elmo. He is Clare's new transition toy. We found the cuddliest, softest Elmo we could find and purchased three of them (one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and one for on-the-go).

We were unsure how Clare would take to this because, although our kids have favorite toys, none of them has ever had a "lovey" that they have insisted go everywhere with them. The three Elmo's appeared in our house and the connection was, once again, immediate. Clare's face lit up, she uttered one word, "Elmo," and a friendship was made. Now Elmo goes everywhere with Clare. He can be seen either dragging along behind her or cuddled in her arms throughout the house. He is showered with hugs and kisses. He sleeps secure in her crib, snuggles with her in the car seat, and, yes, he is thrown and bitten during tantrums (better than biting herself!). So Elmo is doing his duty right now. Thank you, Elmo.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

School Daze

Jamie's first day of school. It was a big day for us! We started our new tradition of taking "first day of school" photos on the front steps. When we pulled up to the school, Jamie bounded out of the car, slung his backpack over one shoulder (he explained to his old, old mother that this was the way the kids carried their backpacks - as if I had never been to school and wore my backpack oh-so-cool), and walked ahead of us into the building. He graciously allowed us to take more photos and pin his name tag on him, then he bestowed kisses on everyone and entered the classroom. He never once looked back.

When we visited Jamie's preschool for his open house, we trooped the whole crew in. Clare did fairly well playing with the older kids (it is getting easier now that she is walking) and instantly latched onto a baby doll and carried it around with her. But then she became tired and cranky, so she sat in the stroller in the hallway to eat a snack. (The room was too small for the 19 preschoolers, parents, siblings, teachers, and our double stroller.) I stayed in the hallway with Clare and Simon, while Jamie sat with his new classmates for snack time, and Shawn stood with the rest of the parents for some final information on starting school. I strained anxiously to hear what the teacher was saying to the parents while keeping an eye on Clare and Simon and craning to watch Jamie eat his snack and interact with his new friends. I was very proud to hear him say politely, "Excuse me, I did not get a drink" as the juice bottle passed by him. I was trying so hard to peek between the adults to watch my boy. And it struck me - I would not be able to watch Jamie at school. I would not be there physically with my eyes and ears to see what went on in his school day. I would have to rely on Jamie's word and his teachers for what he was doing in school. Oh sure, he will bring home beautiful art projects and tales of other students. I will have a chance to discuss his progress with his teacher and peruse his folder of work on Curriculum Night. But I will no longer be present at these events. I am now a bystander instead of a participant in part of my son's day.

I stood at the door of Jamie's classroom for a few seconds, watching him instantly start to play trucks with another boy. I desperately wanted to go in there with Jamie. Walk him to his seat, pour his juice for snack, help him choose his colors at craft time. Instead I have to trust that he is okay. He has wonderful teachers and he has the skills and values that we have instilled in him to get him through his school day. I am proud of the caring, smart, funny young man that we are raising. And it was time to let him go into the world independent of Mom and Dad... just a little bit at least.

While Jamie was at school, the four of us headed over to the hospital for blood draws. We are participating in the Williams syndrome research study going on out of the University of Nevada. They sent us a kit to return with blood from Clare, Shawn, and me. After making call after call to find a place that would draw the blood without orders from a doctor and let us keep the blood to send it out ourselves (since we had the kit and all the materials for shipping), we finally discovered our local hospital's outpatient lab would do it. Since Shawn was already taking the morning off work because it was Jamie's first day of school, we thought it would be the perfect time to head over to the hospital. I called FedEx to arrange a pick-up for the blood since it needed to be in Las Vegas the following morning. At the hospital, the phlebotomist put a little wrench in our plans when she announced that, at 20 pounds, Clare could only have 10 cc's of blood drawn per their guidelines. The genetics lab, however, wanted 16.5 cc's - almost double. After having the lab manager talk to a doctor at the hospital, discuss the situation, and discuss Clare's condition, it was determined that Clare was "hemodynamically stable" for the full blood draw (we learned a new term today!). That was when Clare's veins threw a huge wrench in the plan. After fishing around in the right arm with no luck, the phlebotomist tried the left arm. Although a big vein was found, Clare's body would not pump the blood out. No matter what the phlebotomist tried, no blood would come out. So Shawn and I had our blood drawn, took our little tubes with us, and were on our way. I was fuming in the car on the way back to school to pick up Jamie. Two hours in the lab, countless phone calls to set all this up, and lots of stress. To do it all over again in the near future. As Shawn reminded me, "The only thing you can't control is life."

So today was a big day for all of us. Not surprisingly, Jamie loved school. He cannot wait to go back on Friday. I am happy that at least one person was spared the torture of the hospital blood lab today! Jamie will finally not have to come along to all the countless appointments we have, since I can schedule them during his school time. Next week, Clare and I start swim and gymnastics classes, so she is going to enjoy her time as well. And Mommy and Daddy are learning to let go. One small step at a time.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Day

My day:
- Jamie wakes up at 5 am. This is after a night of getting up every 90 minutes because Simon is going through a growth spurt.
- Simon has two explosive bowel movements requiring complete clothing changes and baths. The second one also requires a complete clothing change for the defenseless mommy he exploded on.
- Clare falls for the thousandth time. This time, however, she splits open her lip again (after doing this already on Saturday). Shawn walks in from work to find Simon screaming in the playpen, Clare screaming and bloody on my lap, and Jamie frantically following my orders of finding diaper wipes and tissues to staunch and clean up the blood.
- Clare pees all over the bathroom floor after she is done with her bath. More laundry to throw in with the poopy and bloody clothing. Might as well make it a whole load.
- Shawn and Jamie call for me to come upstairs. Clare has a stomach ache from eating too much chocolate and almost throws up. (Both Shawn and I allowed Clare to have two big pieces of a Hershey's candy bar after dinner, not realizing that the other parent had done the same.) I sit with Clare and the "spit-up bowl" for a while.
- I return downstairs to find the kitchen sink overflowing with scalding water. It seems I forgot that I was running water to soak some dishes prior to being summoned upstairs.
- One last huge temper tantrum from Jamie because, by the end of the day, he is so exhausted from being up at the crack of dawn.

On the other hand, this is my day as well:
- Simon has his four-month photos done at the photographers. All the kids behave beautifully and Simon's photos come out gorgeous.
- Both Clare and Simon take a 3-hour nap at the same time. I actually am able to scrub my shower, do some laundry, concoct a marinade for steak and shrimp kabobs, and bake banana chocolate-chip bars.
- Jamie and Clare receive packages of stickers in the mail from Grand Dad. The only thing more exciting than mail is mail that comes with stickers.
- Jamie, Clare, Simon, and I take a walk on a sunny, breezy early fall day. Jamie and Clare love riding in the wagon, and Simon takes in the view from the front carrier.
- Shawn makes s'mores on the grill, which we all enjoy after a fabulous dinner outside.
- Jamie and I make homemade Cherry Garcia ice cream. Yummy!
- Clare stands up from the middle of the floor all by herself. She is proud to do it again and again for everyone.
- Jamie and I get his backpack ready for his first day of school tomorrow.
- Jamie, Clare, and Simon are all fast asleep in their bed. Now it's my turn.