Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Well Deserved Visit from the Tooth Fairy

Up until a year ago, Morgan had done just fine at the dentist's office. Probably because she hadn't ever had a cavity and was able to tolerate (fairly well) the cleaning and suctioning noise. The dentist (not a pediatric dentist and definitely not great with kids) found her first cavity last fall. I went ahead and scheduled an appointment to get it filled along with having a baby tooth pulled per her orthodontist's recommendation. We took her in for the appointment. She got upset and nervous when they tried to put the nitrous mask on her to help her relax. We distracted her long enough for him to give her the shots. She got really mad and told him to quit pinching her! Then he turned on the drill. Not sure why I didn't think about the drill. I know how much she hates loud noises. We had to leave the house during some remodeling because she would cry and cover her ears every time they used the hammer. She freaked out when he tried to put the drill in her mouth and refused to open her mouth. He suggested we try in-office sedation instead of forcing her to cooperate. I'd never heard of anyone being sedated in the office and was a little hesitant. My insurance will only cover a Pediatric Dentist for children under 6 years old. It took me almost a year but I finally got the documentation the insurance needed to prove that Morgan needed a Pediatric Dentist even though she was 7 years old. We saw the dentist in May and Morgan refused to do x rays so he had to guess what she was going to need to have done. The one cavity had grown and looked like it might have abscessed and he could see a few other cavities. He was shocked that a dentist was considering using sedation in his office on a patient with Down syndrome considering their fragile airways. Tremendous relief that I pushed my insurance for the Pediatric Dentist. We scheduled her surgery for August in the children's hospital.

Playing with the toys in the Same Day Surgery waiting room

They gave her Versed to help with her anxiety. Luckily they brought her this cute doll to color a few minutes after she got the medicine because she colored this doll and just a few minutes later was unable to stand or talk.

When I carried her over to the wagon, she got a big smile and said "Wheeeeeee. I'm flying!" She was wheeled in the wagon into the OR by the Anesthesiologist. She couldn't even hold her head up from the medicine. It's so hard to watch your child be taken away from you when you know she is going into surgery. Even though she has been in the hospital several times for pneumonia, it's been a long time since she's had surgery. 6 years ago. She had her tonsils and adenoids removed when she was almost two years old.

The dentist called me in the waiting room after he took the x rays to let me know the plan. He needed to crown one bottom molar, pull 5 baby teeth to make room for the permanent teeth so they will come in straight and in the right place, pull 1 baby molar that was abscessed, Fill a cavity on a top tooth, and put sealers on all of the other teeth.

Waking up from the anesthesia

Before her surgery, Morgan had lost 7 teeth and never been excited about the Tooth Fairy. She hated the idea of the tooth coming out of her mouth and didn't want anything to do with it. She usually threw the tooth across the room before we could even see it. It had almost been a year since her last tooth had fallen out and I wanted to try the Tooth Fairy idea again. She deserved some sort of reward for losing 6 teeth in a day. Griffin had never heard about the Tooth Fairy and was getting so excited listening to me explain it to Morgan. It's so fun to still have little ones around. They bring so much magic and excitement into the home. My older kids just tell me, "I lost a tooth. Do you want to give me the money now or do I need to put it under my pillow?" I asked Morgan what she wanted the Tooth Fairy to bring her (since she doesn't care about money). She thought for a minute and said, "a cat!" Gavin and I tried to make sure we understood her. "Did you mean a book? or candy?" "No. A cat. Meow. Meow." She definitely earned herself a new little kitten but that wasn't going to happen. She wouldn't let me put the teeth under her pillow. Too close for comfort. So I put them on her dresser. Still a little too close. She asked me to put them on the very end of the dresser, as far away from her bed as possible.

She (and Griffin) was very excited to wake up and see the surprise left by the Tooth Fairy .

Showing off her new toothless smile. Hopefully those permanent teeth will come in sooner than later!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Water Disaster

I had big plans for today. And by big plans, I mean, I was going to attempt to sew on all of the patches on Jack's scout uniform for his court of honor tomorrow and maybe post some blog updates. My day was quickly changed this morning when Jack let us know the carpet was wet in front of his dresser. Gavin asked Ryan about it and he tried to blame it on Griffin. "Griffin must have peed in front of the dresser". He's got quite the bladder, that Griffin! The playroom carpet and boys' bedroom carpet was soaked! I spent the first part of the morning cleaning up all of the toys. Excited to see the playroom floor all clean. Toys on the shelves. All the right pieces together with the right toy. A big pile of toys for my friend's fundraiser (she's adopting an infant girl with Down syndrome from an orphanage in the Ukraine) and to donate. I thought I could use my steam vacuum and get the water out of the carpets. Still not sure the source of the water. I spent about 3 hours vacuuming up the water when Gavin came home and decided to pull up the carpet. Yah, I wasn't ever going to be able to vacuum up all of that water. The pad was soaked and dripping in inches of water.

Notice the beautiful reflecting pool on our basement floor

We ended up throwing away all of the carpet padding and drying out the carpet with fans

And all of the organized toys? All. Over. My. House. We had to empty out everything from that room and of course the kids were all excited to see all of their toys again and carried them into every room.

Just another angle showing the same disaster

The boys' room.
All of the stuff on their beds was either under their bed or on the floor of their closet. Luckily we only had to pull up half of the carpet and padding in this room. The boys get to sleep on the couch in the downstairs family room tonight. They were supposed to be asleep an hour ago and I can still hear their music blasting.

The playroom

Mia enjoying a new toy that was in the donate pile.

And we finally found the source of the water. The water heater. (This installer got really nervous when I took this candid picture.) And felt like it was almost free after the first guy came out and wanted to charge us $1300. We found this deal on ksl classifieds for $580.
And Jack's scout shirt? It's gonna have to wait another day or month. Busy day tomorrow. Morgan's going up to the children's hospital in the morning for dental work with sedation.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Lagoon Day with UDSF (Utah Down Syndrome Foundation) kind of snuck up on us this year. But we knew we had to go on that day or it wasn't going to happen this summer. It was a different experience this year with no babies, now that Mia is a big girl. All of the kids LOVED the rides and had a great time. We couldn't stay until closing this year because Ryan had football practice in the night and anyone who has a boy in football knows that nothing is more important (to the father) than football!

Walking through the entrance. Ready to take on the day! Hadley got to bring a friend. So they could stay together and go on the big rides. The "stay together part" got lost somewhere in our communication.

We usually have a big family group that goes with us to Lagoon every summer but everyone backed out after Rushings chose Hawaii over Lagoon. Everyone except these cute girls -- Sarah and Gracie.

It was a very hot day (high 90's) but that didn't slow the kids down. They had so much fun. Mia went on all of the rides and loved them. Morgan and Griffin even tried "The Bat" this year. But their favorites are still the green swings and tiki boat. Morgan even dared to go hands-free on the whales and boat (Grace frowned the entire time on the whales. Apparently she is too old for them this year, but too young for "The Bat"). She's been talking about the whales and dolphins ever since. I thought she wanted to go to the beach again. Nope. Lagoon! She knows what fun is!

I will NEVER go on this ride again. The airplanes spin around so fast and I had the worst headache and nausea afterwords. It's almost been a week and I am honestly just starting to feel better. However, Mia LOVED it! I guess I am just too old for the rides at Lagoon.

Time to go home. Hadley was mad because Jack didn't want to stay at Lagoon until it closed. And she and Brinley couldn't stay without him. Griffin was disappointed that he didn't get to go on every ride.

Maybe that can be our goal for next year. Every. Single. Ride. And I will sacrifice and let Gavin be the one to help him reach that goal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ryder's Heroes

We joined in "The walk to cure Diabetes" today with my cute nephew, Ryder, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three years ago when he was only 3 years old. It was a fun morning at Wheeler Farm. There is so much to hope for in the future of Diabetes. For the first time, scientists are predicting that we will see a cure for Diabetes in our lifetime. I know one little boy, and his family, who can't wait! We love you Ryder!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Faster! Faster!

Morgan has always been "a runner". A familiar term in the Down syndrome community and a common question . . . "Is your child a runner?". Morgan will not stay by me or walk beside me. She likes to run the opposite direction or wander out of my sight. And she's fast! She's been a runner since she started to walk. It's probably the most frequent question I've asked other parents of older children with Ds. "When did your child stop running?" Almost all of them said around 8 or 9 years old. So 8 years old has been the magic number for me. The year Morgan decides to make life a little easier. We've tried lots of different things to keep her near us. . . we put her in a stroller for years just to keep her buckled in and near us. She's since learned how to unbuckle the stroller and escape. We've tried the leash but end up feeling like we are just pulling her around on it. The best solution has been holding her hand. She fights it and spends most of the time trying to pull her hand free. "I do it myself!" which means "I'm almost 8 years old and want to walk without holding your hand everywhere." I test her from time to time to see if maybe today's the day she's going to stay by me. We went to Target yesterday and I decided to forgo the shopping cart and let her walk with me through the store. We only needed to pick up one item which should have been relatively quick. She started wandering through all of the aisles as soon as we got to the electronics department and waited for someone to help us. And then it becomes a game where she runs from aisle to aisle trying to get away from me. We held hands as we left the store. Yesterday was not the day.

We've also had to make adjustments in the home to keep her inside and safe. I always keep the garage doors down (she isn't tall enough yet to reach the garage door openers). We have a lock on the top of our front door that she can't reach. And we have gates in the backyard that she can't open. This makes life doable for us. She likes to wander around the house and play by herself. She will play for hours in the basement playroom. Listen to music and dance in her room upstairs. Play on the swing set and trampoline in the backyard. She doesn't need me by her side every minute and this way I know she is in the house somewhere. This system usually works unless there are friends over. Then the boys go outside to play basketball and leave the garage door open or run out the front door to play football and leave the front door unlocked. That's what happened yesterday afternoon.

I assumed Morgan and Mia were downstairs playing and had to go pick up Hadley from gymnastics. I started looking for them. Couldn't find them in the house. Not in the backyard. The front door was unlocked. The garage door was up. The gate in the backyard was open. I'm not one to worry. That's Gavin's job. But he wasn't here and wasn't answering his phone at work. Morgan usually only goes a few houses down and is found either knocking on their front door or trying to open it. I ran down the street both ways and couldn't see her on anyone's front porch. I got Jack and Ryan and their friends to help look for them in the neighborhood, after yelling at them about the garage door and front door being left open (something about never getting to have friends over again). I got in my car and started driving through the neighborhood. Asking neighbors if they had seen them. No one had. I didn't think they could go far. Neither of them had their shoes on in the house. I drove almost to the school and didn't see them walking down that sidewalk. I drove the other way to the school and didn't see them on those sidewalks or in the big church parking lot that has a short cut to the school. I was beginning to panic. My mind was racing about all of the possibilities. Hit by a car. Abducted. Wandered into a neighbor's yard and drowned in their pool.

Just then my friend called and said she had found them. They were at the school playground. She had them in her car and was bringing them home. Morgan was wearing Jack's friends tennis shoes. 8 sizes too big. Mia was barefoot. Both had red, flushed, sweaty faces and big smiles. I asked them where they had been. Morgan just kept saying, "Stop it mom!" She knew she had done something naughty. Mia kept saying, "Faster! Faster!" I tried to get her to say more but all I got was "Morgan do!" I guess I'll never know the full story but if I had to guess I'd say Morgan knew this was their chance at freedom and must have grabbed on to Mia's little hand and ran as fast as she could. And she encouraged Mia to keep up with her by repeating the words, "Faster! Faster!"

I wish I would've gotten a picture of those naughty faces. All hot and sweaty from their big escape. Running at least 1/4 of a mile. Morgan in shoes way too big for her feet. And through all of my fear and worry was a little pride. Proud of Morgan. Finding her school playground all by herself. And grateful that her school is in our neighborhood and not across a busy street.

Maybe 9 years old will be the magic year . . .

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alaska Cruise

Alaska wouldn't have been my first choice for a summer vacation getaway. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I've never really thought about going to Alaska. I don't enjoy cold weather and when I think of cruising two things immediately come to mind . . . sunshine and beaches. Not glaciers and icebergs. But I'm willing to go anywhere when it's free. This was definitely a trip of a lifetime! I couldn't imagine seeing Alaska any other way than on a cruise. It was perfect. Plenty of time at each stop to get a taste of each city and all of the beauty. Allstate chartered a Royal Caribbean cruise ship for the Chairman's Conference this year. Everyone told us we were going to be shocked by the number of senior citizens on our ship (not that there's anything wrong with that!) but since it was chartered we didn't get to experience that part of the Alaskan Cruise. Maybe next time.

We flew to Anchorage and took a 3 hr bus ride into Seward. This is when I realized we were in for an amazing trip. It was so beautiful. Green mountains. Lakes. Wildflowers. Rocky beaches. Snow capped mountains. Wildlife.

Arriving at the Anchorage airport and starting the long bus ride to Seward

Day 1: Arrive in Seward and board ship

Day 2--Hubbard Glacier. The longest tidewater glacier in Alaska.
Amazing. We were playing pool on the ship as we drove to the glacier. It was crazy to look out the window and see huge chunks of ice in the water, eventually the water turned to almost slushy consistency. They started playing the Titanic theme song (Celine Dion) as we got closer to the glacier and started seeing more and more icebergs.

The glacier was beautiful. The colors were amazing. Fluorescent shades of blue. Seals swimming around in the ice. We could hear the cracking noises of the glacier as it "calved" off huge icebergs that would crash (sounded like thunder) and sink deep into the water and then make huge waves as they surfaced. It was really amazing. Unfortunately I never caught any of the calving on video. I had no idea while we were looking at the glacier how enormous it was. It stretches 76 miles into the sea.

Day 3: Juneau
We went whale watching. This was my first time to ever go on an official whale watching tour. I've seen them from a distance on other cruises but this was so different. Being able to see them right next to our boat. They even seemed like they were performing for us. We saw about 4 Humpback whales and 20 Orcas (killer whales) and lots of seals. It was the perfect way to start our adventure. This was the coldest day of the trip. High 50's. This was the only stop where I needed to wear my jacket and mittens.
Juneau, the capitol of Alaska, is a beautiful town. Downtown Juneau is sea level with steep mountains right off of the street. You can take a tram to the top of the mountains. We were able to see the Mendenhall Glacier from our whale watching tour. We had fun looking through all of the souvenir shops. Lots of Russian stuff including those wooden, painted nesting dolls (Matryoshka dolls). It was fun to see one for the Utah Jazz and BYU. I really looked but apparently the UofU just isn't as popular in Russia as BYU. Even if they are part of the PAC 10.

Gala Dinner
Our surprise entertainment was . . . The Eagles! We enjoyed listening to them jam and then had a yummy dinner of steak and lobster.

Day4: Skagway
We spent this day on a steam engine train ride to White Pass summit. We started in Skagway and climbed 3000 ft in 26 miles up to White Pass summit and Fraser Meadows. Gavin read some travel books and was our tour guide, teaching us all about "Dead Horse Pass" and "Soapy Smith". This railroad has no direct connection with any other railroad but was part of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Construction was started in 1898 and completed in 1900 after the gold rush was basically over. It was fun to go on this excursion with our friends (Adam & Cami, Howard & Mike, Heidi & Dave) and the scenery was amazing!

After the train ride everyone went their own way. Gavin and I thought it would be funny to buy some corny souvenir t-shirts to wear to dinner that night. Our group was all dressed up when we showed up in our "Hungry Like The Wolves" shirts. We decided to get our professional portrait taken in them. It was hard to pretend like we were serious while the photographer was helping us achieve the perfect pose. This was only the beginning of the great souvenir shop t-shirts.

Day 5: Sitka
We walked around the town of Sitka (made famous by "The Proposal" only it was all filmed in Canada). Went to a small aquarium at the Sitka Sound Science Center which was really cool. We got to touch lots of crazy sea life. Then we walked through Sitka National Historic Park and looked at all of the totem poles. Gavin and his buddies attempted to make their own totem pole. Got lunch at "Two Chicks and a Stick". And checked out the views of Sitka from Baronaf Castle Hill.

More Alaskan t-shirts came out at dinner. Bwares and Kerseys.

Day6: Ketchikan
We weren't sure what excursion we wanted to do in this town but had heard it was a great stop to see bears. We were sucked into a crappy 'wildlife tour' by the cheap price ($50/person). They sold us by saying there was an 80% chance we would see bears. Then as we bought our tickets the percentage kept dropping but for sure we would see salmon, seals and bald eagles. We got on our 'coach' (aka shuttle bus) and stopped at Saxman Park for some more totem pole admiring. Then we drove out to see the bears. It still makes me laugh. As we approached the supposed location of the bears, our tour guide informed us that we might not be able to see them because they hide in the grass (all 8 inches of it). At this point we realized we signed up for a really bad tour. We saw lots of salmon spawning and bald eagles in tree tops and flying through the sky but that was all. As we were leaving, the tour guide acted all excited, "Look! Do you see the seal out in the water? Too bad we have to keep going." Yah. It was a rock! But we did score free tickets to Dolly's House -- the most popular prostitute's brothel house in Ketchikan--in Creek Street (the red light district). We saw lots of salmon and even a seal right there at Creek Street. Didn't even need to leave downtown Ketchikan!

And what's a trip to Alaska without Sarah and Sasquatch t-shirts?

Day 7: Inside Passage
We spent our last day on the ship. Looking for whales (finally saw one right before dinner). Listening to a random trumpeter in a boat. Relaxing in the Starlight lounge. Playing cards. Some people even layed out by the pool. Reading books. Admiring the largest totem pole in the world (looked like a really skinny leafless tree). And hanging out with our friends. It's always so fun to be able to travel with people you love. Great memories with these guys! They even convinced me to finally play a game of "Peasant" on our last night.

Day 8: Coming Home
We didn't even make it in the front door. We got attacked as we got out of the car and were unloading the suitcases. This might be the best part of going on a vacation!

P.S. Still trying to upload the video from our cruise but YouTube keeps rejecting the audio. Copyright laws. I'm sure I own the copyright to all of the Eagles music. Anyway. Hopefully one day the video will make it on here too.

Finally it worked. Had to remove all The Eagles music. Hope Coldplay works just as well.