Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zeke is 4!

Zeke turned 4 at the end of July.  I'm only slightly behind.  In fact, I still find myself telling people that I have a 3 year old when I really don't.  His birthday wishes were 1.  a visit to our local children's zoo so he could pick out stuffed animal (When we visited on another time, he was so excited to see several varieties of stuffed sharks, rays, and even an octopus.  After much deliberation, on his birthday trip, he opted for the octopus.)  2.  Birthday hats and 3.  Shark and crab cupcakes
Quick pic of all 3 at the zoo

Zeke with his new octopus friend

Hanging out with our family in Grandma's yard

Kenson actually was going to help me with these once we got to Grandma's since he had made a sample of each one as a 4-H project for the county fair but once he got there, it was way more fun to play.


The Salt Lake City and Berwyn cousins

Uncle Jared thought we needed a pinata

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ten Fingers are Overrated-I can draw!

One of the things that I find most interesting is that there are a lot of people who don't think Zeke can write.  People will ask if he has surgery if he'll be able to write.  Or they will look surprised if they see him hold a pencil.  The reality is Zeke has very good fine motor skills.  He came to us pretty adept at using chopsticks, able to use silverware, and able to use writing utensils.  He has turned into such a good artist.  If you know anything about child development, it's really interesting how a child's artwork is tied into their development.  And it's also really interesting how a child's drawings can show their voice and will eventually become the pathway to writing, including writing stories with a plot and writing descriptions and details.  I thought I'd snap a few pictures of his artwork because it just shows how well he really does when writing, even with a non standard grip.  He can also write his name (with assistance on the K) and loves to write the names of his friends because he loves writing letters.

This is part of a large picture so you can't see all of it.
He actually started drawing just an outside picture with flowers (the starlike things on stems) and grass
but it somehow evolved into an ocean.  (Imagine that!)
I drew the sharks.  (Don't laugh.)
There are jellyfish, octopus, and a squid with tentacles.

Zeke was so excited when he got home from school on Tuesday because he had drawn this:  it's sharks!
He has been so frustrated because he couldn't draw sharks.
Trust me, the big kids, the teachers, the grown ups, we have all drawn shark after shark after shark for this kid.
But he finally did it.  He drew sharks!  They even have gills!

Zeke drew this picture and then told me the story.
It's manta rays and an octopus in a storm.
And someone has delivered pizza.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kai + Kleenex

Uh oh!  I got caught.

It's actually kind of funny...

Maybe I'll do just one more.

Maybe one more?

Yep, I pretty much got all of them.

I love pulling out Kleenex.  They are so white and so soft and so messy and so oh my goodness, I can tear them!

Pretty sure it's empty

Mama distracted me with a Kleenex in a cup while she cleaned up.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

First Day

The big kids headed back to school today.  Off to second grade, to conquer the world!  They have two partial days today and tomorrow before having a full day on Wednesday.

I love that Conleigh is a sparkly delight and that Kenson is wearing a faded tee shirt, an old pair of our friend, Clayton's, shorts and bright green socks which match nothing.  They enjoyed their days.  Conleigh is very excited about their new reading teacher, Mr. Hazard.  She especially likes that he smells good, "like Papa."  (Yes, she is a bit quirky.  Foods and smells...they both matter a lot to her.)

As for me, if you're wondering how my morning went when the children were pared down to a mere two, I'll set the tone for the last two weeks by telling you that my kids have not been able to get along to save their lives.  In fact, last week,after a morning of playing well together, Conleigh actually said, "We didn't even fight at all today.  Maybe Jesus worked a miracle."  Perhaps she was not so wrong.

That and yesterday when we were discussing the first day, Conleigh wanted to know what I was going to do all day today since all the drama would be gone.  I am not sure why she clued in on the word drama.  Anyway, yes, dear, let me ponder how lost I will be without the drama for a moment.  For the record, I did a load of laundry and a load of dishes.  I actually swept the kitchen floor.  I had breakfast and got out of my pajamas.  (Which should be seen as a major task for any mom.)  I enjoyed a home visit from Zeke's preschool teacher.  I took Zeke and Kai on a 30 minute walk.  I cooked and froze tomatoes.  I called the hospital.  I called to get estimates on fixing the hail damage on our siding.  I called the cable company to discuss adding a phone line and getting a better price since we have all of services with them.  (And spent a good 30 minutes on the phone with them getting nothing accomplished.)  Yes, somehow I managed to find something to replace the drama.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Post Surgery Foot

I realized that I didn't post any pictures of Zeke's foot after surgery.  I have often heard people in the limb difference community say that a toe to finger transfer amounts to creating another disfigured limb.  However that is a bit relative.  In Zeke's case, his feet were unaffected by any congenital issues.  So we knew that removing a toe would change the appearance of his foot.  But the doctors do not lop off the toe and leave a large gap.  They instead adjust things and create the illusion of five toes.  There is a decent amount of scarring but I am cautiously optimistic that this will lessen over time.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Toe to finger transfer update

Zeke's cast has been off his hand for just a bit over two weeks.  The swelling has gone down some on his new finger but it is still puffy and tight.  The doctor advised that it would take about 3 months for the finger to become a fully functional appendage.  It will also take a while for the nerves to rebuild their networks so this new finger may not feel hot or cold or pain for awhile.  Zeke will get some occupational therapy once school starts back next week including some fine motor practice and some sensory work which will hopefully jump start those nerves.  I had someone asked me if I was happy with the surgery.  To be honest, I really don't have an answer for that yet.  A successful surgery for us would be one where Zeke gains increased functionality in his hand.  It is just too early to tell if that has happened.  I do know that my initial thoughts were a bit of uneasiness and doubt.  I suppose there really isn't any manual for surgeries such as these and that's pretty normal, to find yourself surprised by a few things and a bit unsure.  His hand was pretty gnarly looking once the cast was off with a lot of scarring and swelling.  This will reduce over time but it still was a bit disappointing.  I'm not really sure what I expected; did I seriously think he would just have this wonderful new finger, that looked like it had always been there?  I am very glad that Zeke wasn't disappointed.  He didn't miss a beat and was very interested in what it looked like and where the skin on his leg went during the skin graft.  The other thing I don't think I had thought about was how evident Zeke's finger differences now are.  I think before his hands were so small that people often didn't notice that he was missing most of his fingers until they gave him a good hard look.  Obviously, the swollen and scarred up finger does stick out a bit like a sore thumb-eh um-finger.  But even once all of that is gone, Zeke's hand is forever changed and will look a bit more "foreign" than the hand he was born with.  It will be much more obvious that he is missing fingers because this third finger sticks out a bit more.  Those two things are not major issues in the grand scheme of things; there just things I hadn't really thought through until post surgery.  And in some weird ways, I kind of miss his pre surgery hand.  I knew others in the limb difference communities had said that about their children and surgery but I wasn't sure that I would feel that way, especially since he is not my biological child which I think does make a difference in the psychological part of parenting a child with a visible difference.  But I do miss his little hand a bit.  I can't really explain it well; it's just kind of one of those things where I look at his new hand and am a bit sentimental about how his old hand looked.
Right after the cast coming off-the pins are still in.
You can see how much swelling there is between his half a pointer finger and the new third finger.

Another shot from right away.

This was taken on Thursday, the 7th.  There is a lot less swelling between the pointer and the third finger now.  It's still pretty swollen.  He really can't make the third finger and the thumb touch easily.

More from Thursday the 7th.  With the swelling starting to go down, it is becoming more of a "y" shape.
I didn't anticipate that.  I'm not sure if that will change over time or if that is how is hand will end up looking.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Photos from Grandma's

A few pics from our trip to Grandma's last week...
First time on real playground equipment

Yep, I like to stick my tongue out when I smile.

Big kids x 3 down the slide

Ring around the rosy with the baby, who manages to keep up pretty well.  I personally think it's hilarious that Zeke thinks he wins a game that actually has no winners.