Sunday, August 15, 2010

Little Patient

August 11:

Molly has always been a dainty little thing. Almost everything about her is petite. Except, if you ever heard her sleep, you'd think she was a 300 pound linebacker! Seriously, the girl was LOUD! Crazy loud.

Back when Molly was a toddler, Dave began to worry that something wasn't quite right. At first (for a long time, actually) I downplayed it, chalking it up to some kids are just loud sleepers. But then she became not just a loud sleeper but a loud breather. All the time! And it was a little alarming (just ask Kim and Sarri) if you weren't used to it. It was as if just going about her day winded her. Poor thing. And then there were the tics that manifested. Oh the tics! When Grayson was 2 and 3 he stuttered, so of course I went straight to the speech and language specialist at my school in a panic, CERTAIN that he would suffer from the condition his entire life! He, uh, grew out of it a couple of months later. I should have learned my lesson. But when M's first tic surfaced--a highly annoying, constant blinking that she seemed to have no control over--I spent a few nights in tears, mourning the fact that my sweet daughter wasn't in perfect medical condition and that she CERTAINLY had Tourette Syndrome! Oops, maybe my diagnosis was wrong because, uh, she kind of stopped the blinking thing. Huh. Go figure! But then (and this gets us back to the whole breathing/throat issue) she started this most irritating snorting, sniffing thing that again, she seemed to have no control of. Ugh! Having to sit by her while watching a movie or reading a book was almost too much to handle! And I haven't even mentioned what her throat actually looked like! Before, I never gave much thought to what one's throat was supposed to look like, but when I looked at Molly's and then looked at Grayson's, I knew (as Dave had suspected for a long time already) that hers wasn't right. Thus began our quest to convince the doctors...

At age 3 no one, including her pediatrician and an ear/nose/throat specialist, denied that her tonsils were big. VERY big. But they also didn't act too concerned. Instead they took a "let's wait and see" approach. So we waited. And her breathing didn't get better. And her airway seemed to get smaller, if that was possible. A year of waiting was about all we could handle, and thankfully at her 4 year well-child appointment her doctor decided that perhaps it was time to actually do something. He supported us taking her back to see the specialist. And then her dentist took one look in her mouth at her regular cleaning and quickly affirmed that something definitely needed to be done. Good. We had people on our side just in case we needed to plead our case to the specialist. In fact, we thought we probably would have to plead our case because doctors, so we hear, don't routinely remove tonsils like they used to. There has to be a legitimate reason for them to operate. We of course thought our reason was legit. We didn't pay for a sleep study, but all of M's symptoms pointed to sleep apnea. So we were armed and ready earlier this month when we took her back to see the specialist. He took a (quick!) look in her mouth and said, "At this point I would suggest removing her tonsils and adenoids." But!...I prepared to launch into my argument...Wait. What??? He agreed with us? Thank God.

I was never scared about the surgery. It is, after all, a very common and relatively minor procedure. But nothing about it was common or minor for our sweet 4 year-old. Ugh. I felt sick that she was so, SO scared. And nothing I said was going to take her fear away. :( But in truth, the moment that they had to wheel her away from us into the operating room wasn't nearly as bad or as heart wrenching as I thought it was going to be. Likely, it was the medicine that they gave her beforehand that helped. It calmed her down just enough so that she wasn't in hysterics (or even crying, for that matter) when the nurse wheeled her out of the room. I know she was still scared though, and my heart is thankful that I didn't have to see the look on her face as she was wheeled thru the hallways.

Thankfully, the surgery went as planned and lasted just under an hour. And the best part? The very next day, less than 24 hours later, I COULD NOT HEAR HER BREATHE while she napped. All that laboring that she used to do just to get a breath...gone. The snorting tic...gone (so far). We are so relieved and so thankful!!!

Changing into her hospital jammies.

Showing off her giant tonsils one last time.

Daddy trying on M's hospital cap.

Holding up a very sweet letter that Grayson wrote, assuring her that everything would be okay.

The pre-anesthesia medicine kicked in, and she got silly!...

...but still scared. When it was time to go, she wouldn't let go of Dave's head. Sad. :)

Not wanting to go...

Scared but calm...

And off she went. Sob! (Not really. I was okay.)

Post-surgery. Sleepy girl battling a bit of nausea.

And then her eating streak began...2 popsicles, a slushy, an ice cream cup, 1 jello, a pudding, 2 bowls of mac and cheese, a smoothie, and a milkshake...all before bedtime! Wowzer.
Part of me has a feeling that my girl, who has been 32.5 pounds for 2 years now (!!!), is going to start growing like a weed! Stay tuned...

Days 3 and 4 at Disneyland

June 29:

Since we're seasoned D-Land vets, we knew that on our DCA day, Toy Story Midway Mania had to be our first ride of the morning...or else we'd have to wait in a ridiculously LONG line later in the day. So we did the sprint back to the pier and snagged some stylin' 3D glasses:

Cute kids in Bugs' Land.

Bug eyes!

That evening we headed over to the Disneyland Hotel for dinner at Goofy's Kitchen. Before the trip, during the planning stages, I asked the kids to choose one restaurant that they wanted to eat at while in the 'Land'. They both, without hesitation, chose Goofy's!

Dancing 'The Twist' with Goofy. I love that my reserved boy is starting to come out of his shell! Finally! Molly, as we all know, has never been in a shell! :)


June 30:

Our last day of vacation. Sniff, sniff. We made sure to grab lots of fastpasses early on so that we could hit our favorite rides a couple more times. This trip worked out REALLY well for Grayson since Molly wasn't quite ready (or tall enough) to ride most of the 'headliners'. But we were still able to use her entrance ticket to collect fastpasses, so we always had 4 for each ride. Which meant that G got to go once with me and then again with Dave, with very little time spent waiting in lines! But as you'll see, once you scroll down, next trip a certain brave little girl may use all her fastpasses for herself!

While G and I were off using said fastpasses, Dave and Molly got to experience something new! Little Miss got asked to pilot (steer?) the Mark Twain riverboat! So cute (and Daddy was great about taking pictures).

See her sweet little name that she wrote all by herself? Love it.

After that Dave and I switched kids, and Molly and I hung out in Adventureland while the boys rode Indiana Jones one last time.

We enjoyed one last yummy lunch in the park and had time for a few more rides before heading out. Mind you we had been in the park(s) for 4 days now, and for 4 days Molly had refused to go on any of the 'thrill' rides. Then, with just 3 rides left, she decided to be a daredevil! First, she went on (and loved) Star Tours, and then?...

Space Mountain!!! Granted, she was just a hair over the 40 inch height requirement, and 3-4 different cast members checked her against the measuring sticks as we proceeded thru the line, but in the end she made it on and even let out some "woo hoos" during the ride! Our next trip will be even more fun if she, too, decides to be a thrill-seeker (and is finally tall enough to go on most everything)!

And that was that. Another great trip.

And do you know what my husband said in the car after we got home???
"That was fun. Let's start saving for next year."
Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 2 at Disneyland

We were up and at 'em and ready to roll for Day 2!

One of the day's highlights was the Jedi Training Academy. Grayson did it for the first time last year, loved it, and wanted to do it again. We re-used his sign from last year and sure enough, he got picked out of the audience right away. Then, to our surprise, Molly said that she wanted to be picked, too! I only half believed that she was serious, but even so I told her to jump up and down while I pointed to her, hoping that the guy (Jedi Master?) would notice her and call her onto the stage...

Sure enough, he did. But look at her? Right away, both Dave and I knew that it wasn't going to happen.

All I could imagine was a little puddle forming around those cute pink shoes, so we waved down a cast member to 'rescue' her. Thus, her training came to an end before it ever really started, and she was MUCH happier to watch her brother from the audience. Valiant effort though, Sis!

Here was Grayson's competition--Darth Maul. Scary!

"You're no match for me, Darth Maul!"

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for some pool time and a nap!

In the evening, we went back to the park and took our very first stroll thru Pixie Hollow...

Now tell me that this guy doesn't love Disneyland! Ha! Ha! In truth, he humors (mocks?) me...a lot...and it drives me crazy!!! :)

Hey, look who we met?

Grayson will argue this fact 'til he's blue in the face, but he totally digs the ladies!

Jedi Training, Pixie Hollow, a smattering of fun rides, lots of fastpasses, and Fantasmic at night--that was Day 2 in a nutshell!

California 2010

In June, as has become tradition for our family, we took our annual trip to southern California to kick-off summer! This trip, however, had a few added elements of fun besides Disneyland. We got to help family members celebrate a couple of pretty big milestones--a going away party and a 95th birthday!

The first 2 nights we stayed with my cousin and her family. She was super busy getting ready for the first milestone event--her daughter's big send off. EARLY Saturday morning found them on a plane bound for New York and West Point Army Academy. Big stuff. Jamie (my 2nd cousin?) is there on a soccer scholarship. We're so proud of her! And my kids love, love, LOVE her and her big sis Corrianne. It was a quick, busy visit, but we really enjoyed our time with the Molacek Fam!

Corrianne works at Magic Mountain and was able to get us free tickets to Hurricane Harbor--the water park adjacent to Magic Mountain. The weather was perfect, and we all had a great time. Grayson was eager to try the slides he was tall enough for, Molly was content with the kiddie zone, and Dave and I even got to go down one of the 'black diamond' slides together because Corrie was there to watch the kids. Fun day! But I hardly took any pictures.

Happy girl.

Soakin' up the warm California sun!

After our day at the water park, it was time for Jamie's big party. Sadly I took not one. single. picture. But it was fun! Lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and my parents and grandpa were there, too.

Speaking of my sweet grandpa, the next day we celebrated his 95th (!!!) birthday. But poor Grandpa sipped a few too many margaritas the night before and not enough water. He dehydrated himself and almost missed his own party!!! Luckily though he recovered in time and made it over to my uncle's house before Team Ryan (and Corrie) had to depart for Anaheim.

Carrot cake with booze behind it. Ha! Ha! That's kind of how my family rolls! (I know, I know, you're wondering where I came from...)

My sweet 95 year-old (!!!) grandpa.

After a nice lunch, yummy cake, and some time to visit, our little family (and Corrie) said goodbye and made the couple hour drive to Anaheim. Thank goodness Corrie drove us! All that traffic--ack!
We checked into our hotel and then immediately hoofed it to Downtown Disney and Rainforest Cafe. We were way late for our original reservation, but they seated us right away anyway. Yay!

Worms and dirt--always a favorite!

Then after dinner, since we knew we weren't actually going to go into the park itself that night, we went to see Toy Story 3 at the theater. The whole night was a great way to start the Disney part of our vacation!

There was a fun 'Despicable Me' display in the theater lobby.

Disneyland--Day 1:

We got up bright and early as we always do and waited for our 'magical' day to start!

Grayson and Dave, in the very back.

My first time on California Screamin'. Fun! I felt a little guilty though, as Grayson had really, REALLY hoped to try this ride out for the first time, too. But the poor boy was too short. Still. :(

That night we watched World of Color, a new nighttime show with water, lasers, lights, and sound. Very impressive! (Think Vegas.) Then it was time to say good-bye to Corrie (who had to work the next day) and hit the hay! Great first day!