Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Strawberries and Airplanes

When it gets close to the 4th of July we know it's strawberry picking time! The kids love picking strawberries and I'm pretty sure we've done it every year since K-man was 2 years old. Some day I'll have to go back and look for pictures if I can dust off our photo albums.

For some reason (probably user error) these pictures are in backwards order

 All 4 K's!


 K-baby - She LOVED the strawberries as you can tell by her face. She picked and ate the whole time.



 Loading up after we finished. K-baby was trying to crawl in to the back to get a few more strawberries for the road.

 mmmm....6 buckets of berries and 4 cutie pies

 Showing off a BIG one.

 K-baby and Daddy eating their way through the patch.


 more K-baby...she was just so darn cute I couldn't narrow it down.


While we were picking strawberries a bi-plane that does spraying work flew over. The kids all waved and the pilot waved his wings back at us. That got the kids all excited. I don't think it could have been a better set up. Every few minutes we would see the bi-plane turning in the air. I love the sound of the engine and I can't wait until we get to go to EAA in Wisconsin next month. Papa Bruce, you should have been here!

We've already ate some pure yesterday, some on pound cake today and now I'm looking forward to some delicious freezer jam tonight.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Papons Go Camping!

 For Father's Day this year the kids decided to surprise Shawn with a camping trip. We went to Walmart and each kid picked out a special camping related gift to give dad. We wrapped up the gifts and made Shawn guess what his special surprise was going to be. Needless to say, after getting roasting sticks, marshmallows, fishing lures and camp fire colors he guessed correctly!

The kids and I had everything else packed up and ready to go. No easy feat with 4 kids because we don't ever travel lightly. Just imagine; shoes x 6, clothes x 6, life jackets x6, pillows and sleeping bags x6.

Lucky for us we live in a county that has over 1,000 lakes so we have lots of interesting places to go. For this trip we choose to keep it close to home and traveled to Glendalough State Park which is only 20 minutes from our house.
 Abby dog really wanted to go too, but no dogs were allowed at the campground. We have great neighbors who watched her for us.

As we were driving to the camp ground on Friday night the radio started announcing tornado warnings for a town 30 minutes west of us. We had just checked the radar at home and it had been all clear! So, we took a quick walk around the campground and then headed to Battle Lake to eat ice cream at Granny's. YUMMY! I'm willing to camp in the rain, but severe weather is not my thing so we headed home to our soft, comfy beds for the night.

 Saturday morning with everything packed up, we headed back to the lake bright and early. We even managed to bring Shawn's jon boat and his kayak. I didn't get any pictures of the kayak because we forgot to bring the old camera and I didn't want to chance dropping our new one in the lake. The kids had a great time fishing with daddy and I took one kid at a time in the kayak. We didn't flip even once.

 The kids in front of our tent.

 Eating outside is always fun!

Getting ready to boat with daddy! 

 Shawn's boat that I bought at a garage sale a few years ago works great, but as the kids grow we will definitely need a bigger boat.

 The lake is all sand bottom and you could see all the way to the bottom in almost any spot. The kids had a great time "swimming" along the sandy beach.

brrrrr...the water was cold, but that didn't stop us! 

 K-man collecting rocks along the shore.

 K-girl showing off our catch of fish which we later served for supper.

 Shawn building sand castles on the beach with the kids.

 Daddy boating with the kids.

 Even washing the dishes can be fun outside. The kids begged to do them, now I just need to figure out how to have this happen at home.

 We took a lovely walk all the way around Sunset Lake.  It was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for better weather and the bugs weren't even bad.

 Sunset Lake

 Walking along the beautiful prairie surrounding the lake. The scenery at this park was so wonderful. We will definitely be coming back here again.

 K-baby sneaking in a short nap right before dinner.

 Roasting marshmallows around the campfire....yum!

Cooking pancakes for breakfast. Even cooking is fun outside, especially when I didn't have to do the dishes.

We had a great Father's Day and we are all thankful that Shawn is such an awesome father and husband. I'm very thankful that God brought us together and has blessed us with such a wonderful family!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yeah for Summer Fest!

We had a busy Saturday trying to fit in all the fun activities in town.

I started the day off by doing a little garage sale shopping with my oldest two k-kids. K-man thought he hit the mother load when we stopped at a garage sale where they had a Jeff Gordon run for $1 and hotwheel NASCARS for .20 each (these were $6 each at Target last year). He found a few he didn't have and was smiling from ear to ear when we left. K-girl found a bag of really nice horses for $1 and I managed to find some clothes for both kids for future years. Then we watched a hot air balloon take off while we were out. You don't see that every day!

 After visiting a few garage sales I help K-sis work on her outfit for the kiddie parade. She really wanted to be in the parade, but I didn't think she would be able to bike the whole way. We ended up dressing her as a pioneer girl and putting the kid's covered wagon in our red wagon. Daddy pulled her down the parade route and she got to throw out lots of candy. The dress is one that my mom made me when I was her age and I was able to make the bonnet from a pattern I found online. I'm looking forward to getting together for a play date with some friends to make more later this summer.

 We also put in a stop at the Red Horse Ranch to watch some barrel racing. Their favorite horses were the paints and the ones with younger riders.

 At Summer Fest we stopped by the Home Depot booth and made some projects to take home. We went pretty early in the morning so the kids were able to jump in the giant jumpers without even waiting in line. They loved the giant slide. I loved the craft booths and found a metal horse head to put on K-girl's wall and Shawn's favorite part was the food. I'm ready for the KS State Fair.


 K-baby at the top of the slide. She has no fear.

K-man and K-girl in yet another jumper.

All duded up for the parade. K-man was patriotic. K-girl wanted to be a cowgirl and wear her hat so I sewed it on to her bike helmet to be safe. She also had horses on her bike to lead K-sis' wagon. K-sis is the prairie girl in the covered wagon. They loved getting to throw candy to all the kids on the route. Before the started they wanted to know if they had to throw ALL the candy.

Collecting candy. I think we managed to come home with more candy than we started with.

 Our family picture courtesy of a lady that I met who came to our garage sale last month. She's an older lady with a funny sense of humor. She is in her 60s and bought some of my baby head bands to wear because she is going through cancer treatments. She wanted to bring smiles to the other people she meets so I was glad that we had some time to talk about how her treatments were going.

The basket and flame from the hot air balloon we saw take off. This was a hit during the parade and we could feel the heat even when it was far away! 

 K-baby and Dad at the parade. I don't think she remembered doing this from last year. Here eyes were HUGE when the floats came by and the candy started flying! She was in heaven and the big kids always made sure she snagged some candy.

I'm hoping that today will be a little more relaxing. We were hoping to go fishing yesterday, but we couldn't fit it in to our schedule. Hopefully it won't get to windy today and we can go after church and a picnic at the park with church friends. We are also trying to fit in our monthly camping trip, but our weekends are booking up.

I'm so thankful for summer, we are having a blast!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Playing Catch-up

I'm trying to catch-up on the last few busy weeks of our lives. I'm starting with the story of what happened to my busy, brave boy. I'm apologize for this post being long, but I didn't want to split it up.

Back in April I was sitting on the couch reading a book to all four of my kids. I stopped to say something to K-man and I saw a bump on his face. At first glance I thought he was sticking his tongue in his cheek, but then realized that it wasn't possible with the location of the bump. Right away I called Shawn and he told me to contact the doctor.

 Here is his cyst on the side of his neck right under the jaw line.

 My pediatrician was able to get us in the following morning. Waiting over night to figure out what was going on was nerve racking! The following morning I got my troops ready and took them with me to the doctor. My kids are used to going to the doctor's office for check-ups and know the routine of reading and doing school work quietly while we wait. Dr. Eisinger got us in right away and spent about 10 minutes looking at K-man and asking me questions. The thing that worried me most is when he left the room and went to get the other pediatrician in the office to have him take a look at the bump too. Neither one of them new exactly what the bump was so they sent us right over to the ENT Doctor in the same building. ENT is ear, nose and throat, I didn't know that before this happened.

Now I'm really worried, I'm seeing my 3rd doctor for the day with 4 kids in tow! We waited for the ENT doctor to fit us in to his already busy schedule. He said it was probably a cystic hygroma and to give it a week to see if it would go away.

A cystic hygroma is a genetic cyst that is usually found in infants or children under 2 years of age. Sometimes it will appear later in life after an illness and K-man had been sick a few weeks before this happened. He had woke up in the middle of the night and came to our room unable to breathe. Shawn rushed him to the ER and they gave him an Albuteral treatment which cleared him up. That event suddenly rushed back into our minds as the trigger that probably aggravated this cyst. Later as I talked with my mom she reminded me that my brother had had the same type of cyst removed when he was in high school.

A week went by and after much prayer the cyst looked the same so the local ENT doctor scheduled us an appointment with a pediatric ENT doctor at the children's hospital in the Twin Cities, three hours from our home.
 His cyst on the right side of the picture. He was very self conscious so I didn't get many pictures of him in the month we had to wait for surgery.

 God has blessed us with a wonderful family and we were very grateful that both of our moms were able to get away to come watch the girls for us while we were in the Twin Cities for the surgery.

 Shawn's mom Yvette, K-man and my mom Kristi.

On the Monday before his surgery I toted all 4 kids back to our doctor so he could have a pre-surgery physical. On Tuesday the Nanas arrived and we took them to School of Choice and soccer with us. Then on Thursday morning Shawn, K-man and I left to drive to the Twin Cities for his CT scan and pre-surgery doctor appointment.

Of course they forgot to tell us that he couldn't eat lunch because of the IV medication that he needed for the CT scan so we had to wait longer for the scan to happen. While we waited, we went ahead a figured out where his surgeon's office was located and they actually fit us in before the CT scan. After his CT scan we check in to our hotel room and then went to the Mall of America.

 Friday we checked in at the hospital early for his scheduled surgery at 10:30.
 K-man's last picture, pre-surgery.

We loved the staff at the Children's Hospital. They were all friendly and very good with putting K-man at ease. A little bit before K-man's scheduled surgery time they had an emergency so we had to wait a little bit longer. He enjoyed playing the Game Cube in his room while we waited.

Our surgeon came in and explained that his cyst was a little bit more involved than he originally thought. (It had shrunk quite a bit for when we initially discovered it, but it was still there.) The day before he had thought that he would only need to make a small 1 inch incision to remove the tumor, but after looking at the CT scan pictures he found that the cyst was longer and tangled with one of his facial nerves under his jaw (the nerve that controls smiling). He said he would take his time during surgery and that we shouldn't be too concerned about the time that it took because with a cystic hygroma they have to get all the cyst out or it has a high chance of coming back.  

He also said he would take care of K-man's tongue tie. The little flap on the bottom of his tongue went all the way to the end so he couldn't stick out his tongue. Some times this can effect kids speaking skills or pull on their gums so we were glad that they could fix two things in one surgery.

When it was finally time for the surgery to start K-man decided he wanted to walk down the hallway instead of riding on the bed. I was starting to get teary at this point, but I did manage to hold back my tears. He did great until they asked him to climb up on the surgery table, which he didn't want to do. I helped him up on the table and he held his Elmo and quilt that he had made. Shawn and I stood beside him while they gave him a mask of medicine to make him sleep. As we left our precious, firstborn son in that room my tears started. That had to be the hardest thing I have ever done!

We knew it was going to be at least 3 hours so we went to the hospital cafeteria to eat lunch and call our families with updates. After lunch we went back to the family waiting room to wait until K-man was out of recovery. I posted some updates on Facebook about the progress and we watched some tv. We had dropped him off in surgery at 11:45 and we didn't get to see him until around 4:00. Wow, does time drag by! I didn't think they would ever call us and the longer it went on the more I was worried that something may have gone wrong.

While we were waiting we had a special delivery from K-man's Sunday School Teacher, Lisa Hart. It was comforting knowing that our church family was also thinking about us and praying for K-man as he went through surgery. Also knowing that God is control of the universe and our every minute on Earth was a comfort because I knew that nothing was going to happen without his knowledge.

 K-man in his post-op room. He was crying when they brought him out of recovery and said he was in pain. After a few doses of Morphine and something else I can't remember he pretty much slept through the night even though the nurse was in to see him every few hours.

He did wake up long enough to order tons of food for dinner. He ordered enough food for the whole day since he had already missed breakfast and lunch. He ate quite a bit that night and then had a huge breakfast in the morning.
 His bandage and drain tube.

They put the bandage on so he didn't need staples, which we would have had to come back to have removed. They used disolvable stitches instead of the staples (which my brother said hurt really bad when they pulled them out after his surgery). The poor guys slept and only woke to go to the bathroom and eat. He said the worse part was the CT scan when he needed an IV for the medication and then when they pulled the drain tube out before he went home. His doctor came and was very friendly and tried to joke around with him, but K-man wouldn't even look at him.

K-man slept all Saturday morning in the hospital and then on the 3 hour trip home. Sunday morning we stopped giving him the pain medication we bought and just gave him Tylenol and he perked right up.

 K-man the 2nd day after surgery.

We had K-baby dedicated the day after we got home from his surgery so we were glad that he was feeling better and was able to go. I think the worst part was the pain meds that totally knocked him out. He definitely got caught up on his rest.

In this picture he still have quite a bit of swelling from the surgery, but he didn't complain about any pain, which we were thankful for. His smile is a little bit crooked right now because the doctors had to detach his facial nerve from the tumor. They are hoping that after a few months his nerve will recover and will be fully functioning. They also ended up removing 2 of his saliva glands along with the cyst. We haven't heard back from the doctors yet on exactly what the cyst was, but they did think it wasn't a cystic hygroma after all. They were pretty sure it wasn't the big "C" either, but I'll keep pestering them with phone calls until they call me back with results.

 A picture from Nana's house a week later. He's looking better everyday.

 He's still self conscious. He smiles with his lips closed because he doesn't want anyone to see his crooked smile. He also didn't want anyone looking at his bandage or scar, but I think he is getting better and more laid back about it each day.

His bandage finally finished falling off today (3 weeks after surgery). We weren't supposed to pull it off. His scar is about 4 inches long, but it's under his jaw line so it's not very noticeable.

I'm very thankful for all the people that prayed for us during this journey! I'm hoping that after this surgery, 3 previous sets of stitches in various kids, and lots of other ER visits we will not be going back to the doctor for a while.