The addition project has begun. It is moving V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y in my opinion, but we've had some rain, and now I think they are waiting for the building inspector to approve the footings before the excavator returns to backfill. Right now, our front yard is half-covered with lots and lots of dirt. But I can look out my kitchen door (which remains securely locked for the time being since it drops into a big hole) and kind of visualize what it's going to look like. I can't wait for the framing stage to see the addition take shape.
Spring is here to stay in NH, and our wall garden is growing. (Although we did have snow one morning last week!) All the bushes from last year survived the winter and are coming back up and the new tiger lilies that Shawn planted at the end of summer are flourishing. We had gorgeous hostas in the front yard that were in danger of being excavated, but Shawn was able to get those unearthed and transplanted to around our deck. I hope they survive their move and bloom this summer.
Jamie's travel soccer began two weeks ago, and I am already exhausted. Two evening practices and one weekend game per week is a bit much, in my opinion, but I have to admit that his soccer skills are taking off. Jamie loves it - soccer is definitely his sport. He played two seasons of baseball and did not want to do it this year. Too much standing around and waiting! He is a kid on the move. We are going to try to catch a Revolutions game this summer (New England's professional soccer team). I never thought I would be a soccer mom, but here I am. Shawn and I ruled that the two older children are allowed a maximum of two activities or we would go crazy. So Jamie is doing soccer and his school's play, and Clare is doing ballet and the Special Olympics Youth Athletic Program has started up for its spring session.
We are at that time of year when everyone has their doctor's appointments. Jamie and Clare both have follow-ups with the endocrinologist in the near future (Jamie's is tomorrow with blood work... yuck), all four kids have their pediatric visits (annual physicals for the older three and Violet's 15 months well-baby visit), and Clare had her work-up with the new cardiologist a couple weeks ago (more about that in a moment). Other than Violet (who is healthy, walking, babbling, doing everything she should be doing and nothing she shouldn't!), I have a list for each child of what I want to discuss. Jamie's headaches have gotten out-of-control again. He has had a headache or migraine every day for almost a week now. His migraine medication does not always work, and I feel like every morning he needs Tylenol to even get out of bed. His allergies seem to be under control now that he is on allergy shots, so I can't blame it on that. Sometimes I feel that his week is too stressful between school all day, homework, school projects, and soccer, but it is still not normal for a 7-year old to complain of a headache on a daily basis and end up vomiting fairly frequently. I am ready to sit down with the pediatrician next week and figure out where to go from here. I think that Simon is starting to develop allergies as well. He had eczema as a baby like Jamie did, and there is a link between having eczema and developing seasonal allergies. (Shawn, too, has battled eczema and has allergies.) Neither Clare nor I have ever had eczema and we are not affected by allergies. Thankfully, Violet has never had eczema either, so hopefully the girls are out of the woods when it comes to seasonal allergies! Ever since the tree allergens have started full-force (and where we live is on a high level right now), Simon has started with the runny nose, congestion, and shiner eyes. I am giving him a small daily dose of Zyrtec, but can't help but wonder if we're just going down the same road as we did with Jamie. Jamie did not have his allergy testing until age 5, and I don't know if they can test Simon sooner.
I took Clare down to Boston Children's Hospital two weeks ago for another echo, EKG, and to meet the new cardiologist. It was a 9-hour trip (3 hours of lovely Boston traffic and 6 hours of hospital time), but worth every minute for the hour we spent with Dr. S. Dr. S is a highly-recommended pediatric cardiologist who specializes in cardiac defects associated with genetic disorders and Williams syndrome in particular. The excellent news is that Clare's echo and EKG confirmed what her NH cardiologist had told us. Her main pulmonary arteries have grown a tiny bit and her gradient measurements where her stents are placed are minimal, between 10-18 mmHg. (To compare, when Clare was very sick as a baby, her PA gradients were in the 60s). Clare's aorta still looks fabulous with a pressure gradient of almost zero (pre-surgery, Clare's aortic gradient was 125 mmHg - this means that if Clare's systolic blood pressure reading was 100, the actual systolic pressure going across her aorta would have been 225 - you do the math, not so good!). This just illustrates how "healthy" Clare's heart is now compared to where we were five years ago. Clare's only real problem right now is that her distal pulmonary arteries are hard to see on an echo and measure, and those little arteries are still small and narrow. The only way (other than a cath) for the cardiologist to get an idea of how those pulmonary branches are doing is through a lung scan and measuring her right ventricular pressures. Her last lung scan in October was excellent (which means the blood flow to each lung is fairly even) and, at this appointment, her RV pressures were less than 2/3 systemic. They are creeping up again, since in April 2009, the pressures were less than 1/2 systemic, but for now, they are still at an acceptable level. So, in regards to Clare's pulmonary stenosis, we are going to follow up with Dr. S in nine months for another echo, EKG and lung scan. In the meantime, Clare is still off her blood pressure medication and her readings remain borderline. Dr. S went into a very long, very thorough explanation of why sometimes a person may need a high blood pressure to ensure proper blood circulation throughout their body (an explanation which made a lot of sense to me and one that I had never heard before - this is why we switched cardiologists!). There is a slight possibility that Clare could have renal stenosis (narrowing in the arteries leading into her kidneys), so the next step is to have a renal ultrasound in a couple months. In the meantime, we will continue her off her blood pressure medication and continue to have the school nurse take measurements once a week and then fax the measurements to Dr. S. So there is your medical lesson for the day. Whew!