Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Easter Fun

We saved this pinata from Lito and Lita since Gloria was sick on Easter Sunday. After a lovely daily mass (I love the Octave!), we had some friends over to enjoy it with us.

This was the toughest pinata I have ever seen. Everyone, including the adults, had at least 3 turns! We did cascarones too, but it was already dark so I couldn't get pictures of that. So fun!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

We woke early to Gloria vomiting. Nice. But it was still Easter, and we were determined not to let that get us down too much! I stayed with her while everyone else went to early mass.

My pretty redheads
And two handsome guys

I went to the later mass, and then we had a nice Easter lunch with Pawpaw and Manah. Mariana received a kite in her basket, so after a quick nap I took her to the park to fly it. It was perfect kite flying weather!
And a wagon walk, of course!

After naps, we had some Easter egg hunts

 And Allia made this lovely cake with supplies she received in her basket.
 Gloria made a quick recovery, which was a huge blessing...but we kept her in quarantine in order to try and save the rest of Easter week! So we saved the pinata Lito and Lita gave us for another day.

And just for fun, a photo before the Veneration of the Cross. The children were all so cute surrounding the Holy Water Font and talking about why there was no water.
Jesus is Risen, Alleluia!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sebastian!!!

Technically he turned 2 yesterday evening, but we deferred celebrating until today since it was Good Friday!

I did get a picture of him playing at the park on his actual birthday while Stephen was at soccer.

 Then Saturday morning we sang to him in his room when we heard him wake up.

He went down to open gifts, which he thought was great fun. Anastasia wrapped a his favorite matchbox car. He didn't mind the re-gift. ;)

 Lito and Lita got him this cool little house with locks, keys, and doorbells on each side.

 And he got a bowling set from us (as well as a much-needed new car seat!).

 Then it was time for bacon and cake breakfast and more singing!

 Pawpaw and Manah got him this cool wagon. He was thrilled again, of course.

It being Holy Saturday, the kids also made the crown of jewels for Jesus and dyed eggs at Paw paw and Manah's house. But I guess I thought I had taken enough pictures for the morning because I failed to take any pictures of that!

Sebastian, you are such a sweet boy and so eager to be big like your siblings. You look up to them and love them so much. You are so eager to participate in family prayers, and it is so sweet to hear you saying the words with us. You are very proud of yourself when you do that (and we are pretty proud too!). You are quick to say please and thank you and give hugs and kisses. You keep insisting on sitting at the big table instead of your high chair. But mommy isn't giving in so easily. I don't like extra messes to clean up! You have been hitting when you get upset at someone, but you do a good job sitting in your time out chair for a bit and then giving a hug and saying sorry when you are ready.
You are speaking really well in sentences and are so careful to enunciate. In fact, you often repeat the last consonant of a word several times. Ex: "I want-t-t-t some, Momma."
We are so thankful for our sweet Sebastian!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016


She had her post-op appointment yesterday. Everything went well (except for Anastasia puking in the car about 30 minutes before we got there, but that is a whole other story/post! Ugh!).
Her tumor was a ganglioneuroma (benign, grown from nerve tissue), which was great news. She does have an approximately 10% recurrence possibility because the doctor could not remove the root of the main nerve it was connected to. So we will be going back in a couple of months for another followup with the surgeon and an appointment with the pedi oncologist to plan monitoring via MRI. Her pain is doing a lot better, and they said she should be able to wean off the heavy pain meds over the next week. She still has some numbness, but that is expected to correct itself too over the next month.

So everything is good news, except the fact that we have to go back. :/ She wasn't so happy about that, and frankly we are sick of driving back and forth. But at least we aren't returning for chemo, right?!We are very blessed, indeed!

Here are some pics I took of her with her balloons. I didn't include the giant bugs bunny since he was in previous photos. Sebastian has been coveting the balloons ever since she got home from the hospital. She is very protective of them but has also generously let him play with one at times.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


It has been tricky trying to keep up with a recovering girl and returning the household back to its normal routines. I am so thankful her surgery was right before spring break so we at least had some time to ease back into it!

Here are some videos of Sebastian from this month. The girls are always begging me to video him. It seems like almost everything he does is cute...except the hitting. He hits when he is angry or frustrated, which is why he is sitting in a time out chair in the last two videos!!!

This kid can really dribble a soccer ball!He likes to say, "I got a goal, Momma!" after he scores!

He is singing "Lead Me Shepherd," a song from the CGS atrium that I have sung to him for naps since he was a tiny baby.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Gloria's Surgery

She had an early morning report time Thursday, and the hospital was an hour and a half from home, plus the weather was bad. So we headed out the evening before. Lita came up the day before to stay and help with the kids along with Pawpaw and Manah. The kids were all thrilled to see her! We left her preparing dinner Wednesday evening while the kids played happily in the many puddles outside! These pics helped me in the days to come because I missed them like crazy!

Lito came in just before we left and took Allia to the OPAS show of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This was a date they had planned in the fall, long before we knew they would be coming to town for a surgery! Don't they make a lovely couple?
The trip was uneventful, and we arrived at our hotel and got all cozy for the night. She had to have a shower with antibacterial soap as part of her prep...and some Orange Chicken for her last good meal for a while.
The next morning, Austin and I took turns getting a quick hotel breakfast so as not to tempt our fasting patient, I did some Dutch French braids to keep that long beautiful hair out of the way and untangled, and we headed across the highway to the hospital. She was a little nervous in prep but handled things well and even had a great big smile for Lito when he arrived (drove up that morning to be with us after staying the night at our house).
It took them two whole hours in anesthesia just to get her all ready. But thankfully the actual surgery only took a few hours. So almost 5 hours later, the surgeon came to tell us that it was over and she did well. She was able to remove almost all of the tumor, saw the nerve it grew from, and still suspects it is benign (they are sending it for pathology).

When we came in to see her, she was still very dopey and in a lot of pain when she was not asleep. It was tough to see her like that. Lito made sure that he got another smile (as soon as he could) by going down and getting the biggest balloon the gift store had...a life size bugs bunny!
Our sleeping princess

It was a tough couple of days as they got her pain under control (we suspected this would be an issue since she is the most intolerant to pain of all 6 of our children). She got her chest tube out Saturday morning and finally perked up a bit, just in time for some visitors. It was amazing that she had so many considering that none of our friends or family live nearby!
Austin spent the first 2 nights in the hospital with her and let me rest at the hotel. So Saturday I sent him home to sleep in his own bed for a bit and to help the grandparents get the other kids to mass. He agreed since Auntie Carol was coming up that day for an overnight visit.

Gloria was really happy to see her, and Auntie Carol treated her like a princess. She made a few runs to the store for favorite foods, as we were having trouble getting Gloria to eat. The caramel sauce she got to dip with apples was a huge hit along with the gummy lifesavers and skittles to help Gloria take her yucky tasting oral med. She even sat with Gloria so I could walk to the nearby church for mass!

That afternoon she also had a visit from our sweet friend, Dr. Posvar, who was passing through on a trip. The rest of his family stayed in the car due to illness.

  Some friends and neighbors sent notes and gifts with us for her, and she finally felt like reading and opening.
 And she tasted some treats her sisters sent. They were so sweet initiating "project Gloria" a couple of weeks before, which consisted of collecting a list of things for Gloria including a special box, various candies, an electric toothbrush and some other things I have forgotten in the sleepy fog. ;)
Sunday afternoon she had a visit from Pawpaw, Manah and her big sisters. I think the girls were really glad to be together again for a bit.

At this point, she had been in bed for 3 days, not wanting to get out because of the pain/discomfort. It didn't help that the hospital play room was closed all weekend. So she really had no motivation to move. But it was open Monday, and we had strict orders to get her out and moving around. So I talked her into a quick trip which turned out to be a longish trip because they had Wii with lots of games she had never seen.
 Austin drove back in around lunchtime Monday, and we were told we could leave that evening if she was up and walking around and proved she could take her pain meds. The doc kindly switched her to a less disgusting medicine. Then Austin turned into Daddy drill sergeant (not really but close!). We got her up and around several times and finally got orders to leave after dinner. Yay!!! We got home just in time to see everyone before bed and to get her pain meds before all the pharmacies closed! We all slept so well with no nurses or beeping monitors to wake us up every hour or two. Gloria didn't even need meds in the middle of the night! She was zonked!

Lita generously stayed to make sure we caught up on some sleep and were back on our feet. We had a visit from Uncle James and Aunt Karen too!

 They caught a lizard that Anastasia was more than happy to torture hold.
We had a big dinner of Daddy's BBQ ribs to celebrate with Lita, Pawpaw and Manah, and our friends the K family. I failed to get pictures of that. Oh well!
Praise God for such a blessed experience! She will be on limited activity for a few weeks. I can't wait for our girl to be completely healed up and back to normal!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reading time

For lent, we gave up watching any shows in the evening to try and reinstate family reading time after dinner. Sebastian loves it of course. He is always ready to be read to.

I especially like this picture because (if you look closely) you can see how incredibly long Sebastian's eyelashes are. He must have the longest eyelashes in the world. Lucky guy!

Soccer Saturday

We had another soccer game today. This team was a little tougher than last week, but our team played hard and won the game. They only had 2 subs today, so they were all tired. Allia played every position except defender, including goalie.

Coach has been working with the girls on trapping the ball (letting it hit against your body when it is flying towards you to gain control of it before the other team), and they all did a really good job of it today.

(This one is blurry, but Allia liked it so I kept it.)
She outgrew her cleats from the fall, and I had to get women's because she needed a size 7! Where did my little girl go? ;)