Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Wild Ride

Hello everyone,

Well, as many of you have heard, Dave finally came home from Singapore. He got home on Monday the 23rd in the early evening. Yes, he finally escaped the too-small face masks, cleanrooms with no chairs, hard floors and unpadded shoes, traffic jams from his hotel to the lab and endless extensions of "just one day more." We were excited to see him and he was excited to be home. We were hard pressed to get the kids to let him eat something before the kids dragged him out on the trampoline to jump.

Tuesday the 24th was my ultrasound. As many of you have heard, we found out we are having a boy!!! We also spent a little bit longer then we expected for the whole ultrasound process. They found an abnormality on the ultrasound, so they immediately sent us to a perinatal expert at a local hospital for a more in-depth 3D ultrasound to double-check the findings.

At first it was kind of like a re-run of Camryn's ultrasound: when we had Camryn's ultrasound they found what looked like it could possibly be an echogenic bowel (which is connected to chromosomal disorders) -- the words of the sonographer were "I don't think this is anything, but I like to be cautious-- so they immediately sent us to a "genetic counselor" so they could explain in great detail exactly what terrible defects she could possibly have as a result of this and then back to our doctor who pressured us to get more testing and an amniocentesis (before the cutoff date for a 2nd trimester "termination") and was absolutely floored when we told her we didn't want them. She brought in another doctor to tell us how terrible we were for not getting the amnio and put more pressure on us. After recovering from the trauma of 5 hours at the hospital, with doctors trying to induce panic and a toddler in tow, we switched doctors, ignored their making a mountain out of a molehill and went on to have a perfectly healthy baby.

Unfortunately this case is not quite so clear cut. The abnormality they found, an enlarged nuchal fold (or thickened skin on the neck)--which was confirmed at the second ultrasound, is much more of a concern that what they found with Camryn. There is a much greater risk that the baby has Down syndrome and there is a lot of reason to be concerned. This obviously is not what we were hoping to hear and we spent several days trying to process this and figure out exactly how worried we should be. The end result is we really don't know... the baby could have a chromosomal disorder or could be perfectly healthy. Luckily we had much better doctors this time around. My OB, the genetic counselor and the specialist we saw didn't try to pressure us into making any specific decision or try to induce panic. They just tried to let us know what the possibilites are and what our options are. For the present, we have decided to not worry about it (as much as that is possible...) since there is really nothing that can be done to change it at this point. So, the downside is that we will have to live with some uncertainty for a while and pray that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. The upside is that we got some really cool 3D pictures of the baby from the second ultrasound. =]

During this last week the kids and I had an unusual cultural experience. They went to "Vacation Bible School" at the Lutheran Preschool that Camryn attends during the year and I volunteered as a group leader. You may ask "How exactly did THAT happen?" I was asking myself the same question throughout the week... =] I had a friend in our ward whose daughter had gone last year and enjoyed it and she had volunteered, so I thought "That sounds like a fun activity for the kids...." and it was free. I was impressed that there were people who were willing to do camp from 9-12 M-F for 200+ kids, to teach kids about the bible for no charge. That seemed like a worthy thing to volunteer for.

So we went to camp.... It had the theme "Avalanche Ranch: A Wild Ride through God's Word" and for the most part it was really cute and fun and the kids had a fun time. Meanwhile I actually survived herding 11 four and five-year-olds from activity to activity for three of the days. Whew! There were just some cultural differences that I was not prepared for. We began with music time in the chapel. I was guess I was expecting something akin to primary, so I was taken aback when they brought up a music video with country/rock songs with video of kids singing along in cowboy outfits and had the kids sing along and do hand motions. On the one hand, the songs were fun and the messages of the songs were positive. On the other hand, I just could not get used to (strong rock beat) "Our God is an awesome God! Our God is an awesome God!", (bopsy beat) "Everybody Pra-ay-ay-ay-ay-aise the Lord!" or (strong country beat) "We're going on a ride through God's Word!" Each day had a "bible point" with an accompanying scripture, like "God is real," "God is strong," or "God is awesome." Again, all good points. I just had a hard time with when (in the chapel) the leader would say "God is awesome!" and we would all lasso our arms and go "WOO HOO!" in response. I do have to say that it was impressive that they would do the camp, all run by volunteers for free. But, yes, it was a new and different cultural experience for me.

On the last day of bible school, we had a friend over in the afternoon and the kids played in the sprinklers and had a good time. But Jared really wanted to go to Safari Sams (like a local Chuck E. Cheese) and I said no. So Jared told me, "It's been a really bad day. Every thing we've done today has made me sad." Me: "Even having Connie over to play, playing in your swimsuits with the hose and going to the hot dog barbecue?" Jared: "Well everything has made me sad except for those three things. There are 10 or 15 sad things that we've done." I guess you just can't win.

Since I refused to spend money to take the kids to Safari Sams, Jared decided to take matters into his own hands. While I was mowing the front lawn that evening, Jared brought down the kids table from his room and set it up in front of the garage with a chair and an umbrella. He then sat in front of our house with 3 cups of milk on the table and a sign that said, "Milk. $1 Plese." He actually sold two cups of his milk to the neighbors, after which he eagerly put the proceeds into his money jar. I figured this was a good time to teach him about tithing, to which Jared responded, "I don't want to give any of my money away." So.... we did some more explaining. After some discussion and after he figured out that he didn't need to give ALL of it, just a little bit back to Heavenly Father, Jared was much more amenable to the concept.

Although I had done a more-admirable-than-usual job of cleaning up the kitchen this week, I unfortunately have the habit of sometimes leaving the kids alone downstairs for too long. I came down one afternoon after checking my email and the counter and surrounding floor was scattered with corn syrup, powdered sugar, sprinkles and some unidentifiable mixture of the above ingredients with something dark like cinnamon. Meanwhile, Camryn was eating a "sandwich" she had made out of bread, corn syrup and sprinkles. ARGGGHH!!!!!

Meanwhile Dave had a typically crazy work week. They told him, "Usually when you get back from a trip like that we give you a few days off to rest, but RIGHT NOW we can't because....." So yes, he spent the week working his usual late hours. The upside is that he should be able to leverage it to get all the days off that he needs to go camping with my family at Sly Park. We spent Saturday doing our typical household cleanup and hanging some things on the walls and then took Jared and Camryn to Safari Sams to play the games. They were absolutely thrilled that they got 200 tickets (between all of us) so they could buy a plastic slinky and a paddle ball game. Then we went to Cold Stone and got some ice cream. [Yes, Jared. We only do sad things in our family.]

I am writing this update from my mom's house in California. She flew up on Sunday night. We spent Monday doing various errands, packing bags and taking the kids on a very brief visit to Safari Sams (two tokens each).

Then Tuesday Mom and I drove to California with the kids. We had a mostly uneventful trip except when we stopped for lunch at Wendy's. I was about to order Jared his usual chicken nugget kids meal when he saw a picture of a triple cheeseburger with bacon. "I want one of those!!!," he said, "but with no cheese." So I got him a junior bacon cheeseburger (with no cheese) and some fries and a lemonade. BUT, when we got our food he realized that Camryn got a TOY and HE DIDN"T (because he didn't get a "kids meal"). This put Jared into tears. I tried to tell him that I just got what he ordered, but he was distraught. He even asked at the counter if he could get a toy and they said no. So Jared spent 20 minutes telling me how much he wanted a toy and how sad he was and how he NEEDED a toy and it JUST WASN"T FAIR. Finally I took him out and gave the option of sitting in the car and talking as much as he wanted about it or coming back in and being quiet. He opted for the latter. I finally took a bite of my hamburger but Jared saw that there was mayonnaise on his hamburger!!!! This was absolutely unacceptable!!!! So I wiped it off. But there was still some there!!!! So finally we discarded the half of his bun that had mayonnaise, threw out the tomato and lettuce and he ate half of a bun with a meat patty and bacon. He didn't want his fries because they were yucky. Good grief!

Once we got into the car Jared still went on and on about his lack of a toy and how unfair it was. I finally told Jared that he needed to stop or he was not going to get any treats that day. He countered with, "Mommy, how would you feel if I had ten toys and you had none?" I answered back, "How you feel if you had no toys and neither did I? That's what we have! Now let it go!!!!"

Later in the car (do you think the kids didn't get enough sleep the night before?) Jared and Camryn got into an argument about a movie, so I put on a different one. Jared started screaming about not wanting the movie, so I handed the movie player to Camryn. Then he started screaming about how he wanted to watch the movie. I told him he could watch as soon as he stopped crying, so he screamed for 20 more minutes. Finally my dad called and I asked if he wanted to talk to Grampa. He did happily for five minutes and then calmly watched the movie with Camryn. Camryn, on the other hand was mostly happy and pleasant during the trip. She entertained herself by throwing carrots and grapes, squirting water through her straw at the window and emptying the stuffing out of her car lap pillow.

But we did eventually make it to Milpitas and get the kids to bed. Today I had a pleasant leisurely morning and then mom took me out to lunch for my birthday. [I will skip over the negotiations with Jared to go someplace other than McDonalds.] Tomorrow my mom and I are flying to Boston to pick up Alisa from her mission. We will be there for a few days and then go to New York City before coming home. Meanwhile the kids will stay at Grama's and play with Marty dog, their aunties, Uncle Nate and Grampa. Hope you all are doing well.



Quotes of the Week:

Jared: "You say no to me all the time, so maybe I'm going to go to a different family." Me: "Well, I guess we'll miss you when we're on our trip to California."

Camryn [after our neighbor Sophie went home]: "I want to play with Sophie until 7:06." Me: "But Camryn, it's past that time already." Camryn: "Oh, well really I want to play until 7:07."

Camryn: "I was in mommy's tummy first." Jared: "No you weren't! I was. If you were, you would be 6 and you would be smarter than me."

Camryn: (some of you may have heard this from my mom already...) I had made a list of things to remember for the trip and I left it out on the counter. My list said: "Pack Camera," "Target," "Cut Kid's Hair." When I came back to the list later, Camryn had made her own additions to the list: "PACUPSUTCAS"... ["Pack Up Suit Case"] and "GOTOGAMOROGRSHS" ["Go To Grama Rogers' House"]