Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trunk or Treating

Long story short, we spent Halloween evening with some long time friends. We met up at their house and then ventured to an outreach put on a by a church that neither of us had been to, but have heard great things about. It took us a while to get out there due to traffic. Unfortunately, along the way, we lost Rachel. The night was just beginning and she's fast asleep. Because Rachel had fallen asleep in the car, she wasn't quite with it. Having been warned at dinner, if she didn't eat her dinner, there'd be no candy (mean rule on Halloween, we know, but they needed some substance), it was clear she needed a boost in her glucose level after her nap and we forwent with the previous rule and gave in to giving her some M&Ms, and that helped! We left shortly thereafter and headed to another church where we had friends hanging out. But by the time got there, the friends were gone, and everything was shutting down and closing up. So we headed for home. Rachel had fun. And as you can tell from pictures, she wore a different costume at each event she's been a part of. LOL. Gotta love the dress up box. Here is the combined efforts of both the girls. See anything you like?? I sure do! They got lots of good stuff!

Halloween Parades

Our day started off by checking out all the dressed up kids at Hannah's school. Rachel got to participate in Hannah's parade, which she loved hanging out with the big kids!
Minnie Mouse, and her friend, Minnie.

Just one of the big kids parading about.
After the parade at Hannah's school, we went to another Halloween parade at the school in which our friend Amy works, and Bethany attends. It was so much fun to see a bunch of kids- kindergarten age and younger parade around. Rachel got to participate in this parade as well.

Minnie Mouse and Hannah Montana.

Rachel had a lot of fun this morning wearing her costume all over the place. She's gotten quite a few compliments too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Party and Parade

It was a busy morning at preschool today! They had Halloween parties with all kinds of yummy treats and a costume parade that followed. All the classes participate by walking around the patio and then trick or treating through the church offices and then back out to the patio to sing a few Halloween songs for all the parents, grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, and anyone else that might have come. LOL. There were a lot of Disney princesses, pirates, and quite a few Power Rangers. Rachel was Dee Dee Doodle and was the ONLY one! Of course no one probably knew who she was cause she refused to wear her wig for the parade, but was still cute nonetheless. She did agree to put her wig back on for pictures with the cousins following the end of the parade.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Tour of Papa's Work

Papa works for one of the major grocery store chains in Southern California, and today, we got to take a tour of the brand new corporate offices that opened last month. When we arrived for our tour, the kids were given plastic grocery bags and were told there was lots of candy waiting for them inside. And boy, they weren't kidding, every time we entered a new department where there was someone there to tell us about the area, they had candy, and not just the boring stuff, we're talking the good stuff... miniature Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, and more! It only took one stop for candy and it brought back the memories of Rachel trunk or treating last year. She had it down, and even said 'thank you'. She'll be a hoot to watch come Wednesday at truck or treating.

Rachel especially loved seeing the Yellow Peanut M&M. M&M's are her favorite candy. She knew the routine, stand next to the character and pose for a picture. Here, she is checking out Captain Crunch instead of looking at the camera. After the tour inside the corporate offices, we boarded trams that took us out to the grocery distribution warehouses. They still aren't open, and will open in the new year. It's a good thing they had trams for us, there is no way we could have done all the walking! The place was HUGE!!!I took over a hundred pictures of our tour. To see more of our tour and where Rachel's Papa works, you can see my album of pictures here. After our tour, the entire family went out to dinner to celebrate Mommy's and Gramma's birthdays. Following dinner, everyone came back to our house where the girls had so much fun playing together for a couple of hours. A perfect way to end the day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

ENT Post Op

Rachel had her Post Op visit with her ENT's office this morning. The nurse practitioner checked her ears to see if the tubes were placed and doing okay and they were. She asked a few questions about whether or not I thought she was hearing better, etc, and then we were out of there, less than a five minute visit. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Blog Anniversary to Me!

Wow, where has the last three years gone?? It's three years ago today that I started Rachel's Journey, in the form of this blog. This blog was created to keep family and friends up to date with Rachel's surgeries, appointments, and progress in the journey to making her face whole and complete.

Today, three years later, it still serves that purpose, in addition to sharing a lot of the day-to-day happenings and events in Rachel's life. If anyone has come here looking for cleft related posts, and would like to skip over all the daily happenings, the cleft related posts are categorized on the column on the left hand side of this page.

Thank you to all you who come here daily, and weekly, to keep up with Rachel. If you haven't already, I would love it if you signed my guestbook.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet Adalynn

Living in the cleft world, is sometimes lonely when it comes to actually knowing people who've walked the journey you're walking or have walked it. So when you come across a family in the internet world of the cleft affected, it's special, it's as though you have a bond immediately. Last week, a comment was left here on Rachel's Journey from a family who had found me.
Adalynn was born with the exact type of cleft as Rachel, unilateral cleft lip and palate, the only difference in our story and theirs is that Adalynn's Mommy and Daddy discovered on an ultrasound that their baby girl would be cleft affected, they had time to prepare. Time to research.

Check out Adalynn's blog. But a word of caution, if you view the slideshow, have a box of Kleenex very near, especially you Gramma's and special Aunts...their journey looks a lot like what we've been through with Rachel and will bring tears, believe me, I know!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It was Pick-A-Pumpkin day at preschool this morning. Check out the size pumpkins that these girlies picked!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mondays Are Great...

...when they include a trip to Disneyland. Yes, we went again today. Today we went with some old and dear friends who we've not gone with in a while. It was a gloomy and drizzly day, but that didn't keep the crowds away. We still managed to do a lot though and had fun together.

Today held a new adventure for us...we did Disneyland without the use of a stroller!! Rachel walked the whole day (arriving just after 10 and leaving by 3), which also meant I had to lug the backpack around. There are pros and cons to not pushing a stroller, but, today it worked for us, and I may attempt this again on the days I know we won't be there for great lengths.
"I'm not in a stroller! Whoo Hoo!"
Watching the Mark Twain from our lunch tables.
Waiting at the exit of Star Tours for the rest of our group.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Saturday Trip to Disneyland

With the Daddies away on a church Men's Retreat, what better way to spend the day then going to Disneyland with friends! We were able to all fit in my minivan this trip down as both Daddies and an older brother were away for the weekend, and we had such fun riding together! It especially made the drive home late at night more enjoyable being able to chat with an adult while all the kids were fast asleep in the back seats.

Our afternoon started off kinda bumpy when Rachel fell and landed head first onto the concrete sidewalk. This happened right after getting off the tram, before we'd even gotten to the security checkpoints. We had to go into a nearby cafe to ask for a baggie of ice. Her bump actually doesn't look too bad in this picture. LOL. Check out Rachel's apple, do you see what we saw?? She did this all on her own, truly her mother's daughter. A couple of weeks ago, she started wandering around the house with the cutest phrase "Hey Cowboy", complete with the cutest of accents. We had no idea where she'd picked this up from, until one day she watching Toy Story II and I realized Jesse says it. She was so excited to see Jesse today.Despite the heavy Saturday crowds, we had a really great day and had lots of fun!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rachel's Hearing

It's almost been a week since Rachel had tubes placed in her ears (where does the time go??) and I think she can tell a difference in what she is hearing.

For example, yesterday afternoon, she got into the pumpkin candy jar on the coffee table and the lid rattled. When I came out to make sure she'd not broken anything or eaten all the candy pumpkins inside, she said "it too loud, it hurt my ears". The clanging of the glass pumpkin lid was so clear that she might have been hearing it for the first time, either that or she was afraid she was going to get in trouble for playing with the lid in the first place. LOL.

Another example is this morning was when I was vacuuming, she covered her ears and once again said "that too loud, it hurt my ears".

Defiantly something to remember to tell her ENT at her post op appointment on the 22nd. I'm not sure if they'll do a hearing test in the next couple of months to see if her hearing has improved or not. But for now, I do think she's hearing things differently.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jumpin' Jacks!

Last fall, we went to a birthday party at Jumpin' Jacks. A few months ago I discovered that they have walk in hours on certain mornings and evenings of the week. Having errands to run near where Jumpin' Jacks is located, I told the girls we'd go there if they were good on my errands.

We arrived just as the walk in hours began, and we had the entire room to ourselves for about an hour and a half. It was SO nice!! The girls played and had such a great time!! We stayed for just over two hours and then went and grabbed some lunch. Both girls are laying on the floor watching a movie, all tuckered out from all the bouncing. Best $7 I've spent in a long time! LOL.

Heart Murmur Update

In following up on Friday's post of the anesthesiologist hearing a heart murmur, I heard back from the Pediatrician's office this morning and the EKG was indeed normal, no heart murmur, just as our Ped had suspected. PTL!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The La Brea Tar Pits

This afternoon, we went into Los Angeles and visited The La Brea Tar Pits. Hannah has been studying fossils and such in school and this trip was a great reenforcement for what school has been teaching. Rachel did pretty good at the museum and appeared to enjoy the displays, etc.After our time at The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, we went on search for a place to eat dinner and ended up at The Grove, an upscale, outdoor mall in the middle of Los Angeles. We had a wonderful dinner and browsed The Apple Store, and then enjoyed this water fountain that at times was coordinated and moved to the music! The girls really loved this, especially Rachel, she was giggling and laughing so hard.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Because She Can't Get Water In Her Ears...

* Edited to Add - With tubes, you really need to avoid getting water in the ears for the duration. But for the next two to three weeks, until our post op, and until the surgery site heals over, we need to be extra cautious to not get water in there. And then we'll see what her ENT says.

Tubes in the Ears

We arrived to the Outpatient Surgery shortly before 8:00. Did the check in and paid our portion of the bill upfront thing. And then sat for a while. Rachel was happy, there was a corner of kid-like things to keep her busy.Shortly thereafter, we were taken back to the holding area where they had us put a gown on Rachel and gave her a hat and slipper socks. They took her vitals and gave her some Tylenol. By this point, she's not eaten or has had anything to drink for almost 12 hours and is hungry and grumpy and anxious. She wouldn't wear the hat, and kept taking her gown off. Dr Rowe came by one last time to ask if we had any questions and go over things once again. The anesthesiologist came by and talked to us and then listened to her heart and lungs. She kinda threw a wrench in the morning when she said she heard a heart murmur and suggested we get it checked out by her primary pediatrician (more on that later). It wasn't long after that they came to take her away. Rather than wheel her away, the anesthesiologist carried her away. She did better than I expected with being taken from us. No tears, on both her part and mine. :)From the time they took her from us, to the time they called us back to see her in recovery it was only 25 minutes! She was a little cranky coming out of the anesthesia but soon perked up with some apple juice. They went over discharge instructions and follow up and we were out of there less than half an hour later!Because the girl (and her parents) were hungry, we stopped at the place of Rachel's choice for something to eat. She got fresh french fries from Mickey D's. Back to the heart murmur - like we needed anything else to have to think about or be concerned about. I called our pediatrician's office on the way home to see about any appointments this morning or for this afternoon. I needed reassurance before the weekend from Dr Berry that everything was okay or needed further testing. There was an opening this morning so I droped Steven off at home cause he needed to get to work and I headed for the other end of town to see our Pediatrician. He listened and heard NO murmur, but to be safe, he ordered a chest x-ray and an EKG and said he'd call with the results. I was able to do both right then. Rachel was such a good girl and cooperated so well for both things. I was so proud of her. The little girl had been through so much this morning and she was doing so well. She got lots of stickers and suckers from the nurses and techs! I stopped off in our pediatrician's office to let them know the tests had been done and by chance Dr Berry was still there and he checked the results and told me the chest x-ray was normal! PTL! We'll wait for the EKG results, but since he heard no murmur, he thinks the EKG will be fine as well.

One more stop before heading home and that was to the pharmacy, which was conveinently located in the same parking lot as a Starbucks! After the morning we've had, an apple juice and a Frappuccino were very much needed!

We're home and Rachel is doing great!! She was practically herself an hour after the surgery. And is in such a great mood. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for her all week and especially today. We know it's the prayers that are said on her behalf that things always goes so well. We appreciate the prayers more than words can express.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pre-Op Appointments

It never fails, the days we come prepared for having to wait great lengths with coloring books, snacks, and magazines, we are IN and OUT BOTH appointments in 25 minutes!! LOL.

The first appointment was with the Nurse Practitioner for Rachel's ENT. She went over the procedure, had me sign a consent, etc, etc and then looked Rachel over. From there we visited the surgery scheduler to pick up paper work to take downstairs to the Outpatient Surgery receptionist where I signed another paper, and was given the instructions and told to be there tomorrow morning at 7:45. I got the call a little while ago that Rachel's surgery is scheduled for 9:30, and they may take her earlier, depending on how the doctor is running, etc.

Thank you for all the prayers thus far, keep them coming! I'll update the blog tomorrow when I can.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oak Glen

We went on an adventure today, or as Rachel calls it 'a venture'. LOL. The girls, Gramma, and I ventured up to a place where we like to visit in the Fall, a mountain community called Oak Glen. It was a beautiful day and the weather was great!