Category Archives: Grandma and Grandpa

Granting a wish.

Patrick has been learning about Disney World.  For a time when asked where he lived he said Disney World.  Patricks wish granters would send a package every once in a while to let him know that it was still happening.

A few months ago we got the dates for the trip.  There was a lot that needed to happen between then and the trip, so it got put off in our minds.  We had a trip to Omaha, I had a business trip, Patrick started Kindergarten, and we had an attempt at camping (gee most of those should be blog posts, I’ll see what I can do about that).  A few weeks ago we got a call from one of Patricks wish granters Beth, she told us that they were working on planning a wish granting party.  Something to tell Patrick that his wish had been granted, and he was on his way.

About a week ago we got details of his wish granting party.  And started inviting family, and close friends (sorry to those that didn’t get invited, the group was fairly large and we didn’t think it would be right to go larger, we still love and appreciate you).

We had coordinated the details with Beth.  We would send Patrick to the neighbors, the guests would come, and then we would surprise him, and then an ice cream truck would come as the cherry on top.

As with all things in our life, things change.  Emily started exploring some new therapy for Patrick yesterday.  They said great would it be possible to come tomorrow afternoon.  This caused our plans to change a bit.  The new plan was that I would come home early and meet everyone, help Beth and Natasha setup and then Emily and Patrick would arrive home from therapy to a group of friends.  With the contingency that if they got back too early they would play at the neighbors.

I got home from work early thinking I needed to help clean the house.  Cleaning the house with Patrick around is sometimes an effort in insanity.  When I arrived home Emily had the house in great shape.  I sat down and read for a while.  Then I decided to grab some chairs.

As I got outside Beth pulled up with balloons.  We tied balloons around our front yard.  Guests started arriving.  Natasha arrived with more balloons, which made things look all the more festive.

The majority of the guests arrived, and I texted Emily to let her know we were ready.

Patrick was taking in all his guests at his surprise wish granting party.

Patrick was taking in all his guests at his surprise wish granting party.

A few minutes later Emily pulled into the drive way.  Patrick looking out his window noticed we were all there, and started grinning.  Emily reports that Patrick saw everyone and yelled, “Hey! Why everyone here?” Then, grinning ear to ear and climbing out of his seat before we were even parked, “I want talk to them!”

Patrick got out of the car as fast as Emily could get his door open.  Ran to the driveway and just grinned.

He saw the present that was waiting for him on the porch and ran to it.  Beth cut him off, and presented him with a certificate stating that his wish was granted.  Then he resumed his quest for the gift.

He pulled all the things out of the gift bag, and around the corner comes music from and ice cream truck.  It stops at

"You are officially granted your wish"

“You are officially granted your wish”

our house and Beth leads him over to the truck.  Emily got there just in time with Patrick safe (soy) ice cream.  Patrick was more fascinated with the van than the ice cream, but none the less it was a hit.

The rest of the evening was spent with everyone getting ice cream, and Patrick running from person to person hugging and saying hi to them.

Then Beth let him play with her car (big points from him).  And she led him up and down the street naming all the car makes, which is one of Patricks favorite games.

I pulled Patrick aside and told him we were going on a trip on Sunday, and that we were going to go to Mickey’s

Presents!

Presents!

other house (he’s been to Disney Land a few times).

The night was great.  Big thanks to those who came.  Even bigger thanks to our wish granters Beth (and her husband Tim who accompanied her tonight), and Natasha.

We are super excited to go on our adventure.

The ice cream truck came just for Patrick.

The ice cream truck came just for Patrick.

 

The left overs of the balloons.  Each child took one home as well.

The left overs of the balloons. Each child took one home as well.

Christmas in Patrick’s House

DSC_9449Well, despite the fact that Patrick spent most of the week before doing forbidden things and saying “naughty, naughty, naughty,” Santa still came to Patrick’s house.

I was very excited to share Christmas with a little boy finally old enough to understand. In fact, I was wide awake at 5 a.m. after having a horrible dream about needing to collect a sample to test for C-Diff… and could barely get back to sleep because I knew it was Christmas!

Patrick, on the other hand, slept until 9. Brian and I actually got up and started making breakfast before the little munchkin dragged himself out of bed. Who was I to argue with him sleeping in on a day when naps would be near impossible?

IMG_2526 IMG_2527He loved opening presents, though wasn’t so keen on the fact that mom and dad kept taking the new toy away to give him another present to open.

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Still, it was quite the Christmas complete with lots of Elmo, cars, new clothes, books, and a stocking with goodies of bottled water and puffs.

Then, we finished breakfast. I found that I could make decent eggless milkless pancakes from a mix, so we made some silver dollar sized pancakes for Patrick and some big, fluffy, pecan laden pancakes for mom and dad.

We ate and then, still in PJ’s went to take presents grandma and grandpa. The rest of the day we visited family. We had a big family get-together with my family at my grandpa’s house. The place was so packed with cousins and gifts that you could barely walk!

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We spent the evening with Brian’s family. His brothers drove in from out of state and for the first time in years, the whole family was together on Christmas day.

At last, exhausted, we headed home to bed. Christmas was everything I could have dreamed!

As I reflect back on this Christmas season, I realize just how blessed we have been this year. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the presents and family and good food… I’ve had a few little moments where I realize that we have been given the greatest possible gift this year. Our little boy was able to share in all of the Christmas magic with us.

 

This year, Brian’s company party took us to the theater for a production of A Christmas Carol. You know, I think I’ve seen or read that story at least a hundred time in many, many formats. I’ll admit, the character Tiny Tim has always seemed a bit romanticized to me.. how could a little boy really make THAT big of a difference?

This year, it took a conscious effort to hold back the tears. Having Patrick in my life has taught me just how a very special child can really touch hearts and lives. I understand why Bob Cratchit would stay working for that awful Scrooge. And what’s more, I understand why Christmas in their house was so very special.

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Dickens described Christmas in the Cratchit household with these words:

“There was nothing of high mark in this. They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; . . . But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time; and when they faded, and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit’s torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last.”

Happy, grateful, please with one another, and contented with the time. That is how I’d describe our Christmas this year. With our own Tiny Tim, each seems a little more precious.

Yes. We had a very merry Christmas in our house.

Christmas Eve in Patrick’s house

This year was Patrick’s 3rd Christmas.. And, once again, we were blessed that he was well enough to spend it at home. Still, with Patrick’s needs, getting ready for Christmas was quite a feat! I was exhausted in the days and weeks before but, looking back, all of it was worth it!

In our family, we start celebrating on Christmas Eve. Daddy got the day off again this year, so we were able to spend the whole day together. First, we went to Christmas Eve breakfast with my family.

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It took some effort to keep Patrick safely away from the eggs, but thanks to everyone’s help, we managed. Then, we exchanged presents and Patrick got to play with his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

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Then, we packed up and headed to the zoo. Christmas Eve at the zoo is a tradition Brian and I started before having kids and this year Patrick was strong enough and old enough to take with us.

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The zoo on Christmas Eve is a different place. It’s much less crowded. It’s cold. The animals are all given Christmas treats. These factors bring out a different side of the animals. This year, for example, we got to watch a rhino take a mud bath. And Patrick got to visit with a very unshy cavy.

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Patrick managed a nap in the car on the way home.. just enough to be up and active the rest of the afternoon. It took some help from daddy to free me up to cook Christmas Eve dinner.

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I tried to keep the dinner simple but elegant, after all.. the only part Patrick cared about were the rolls.

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After dinner, we open just a few presents. Pajamas, of course, and a book. We decided this year to start a tradition of getting a new Christmas book to read on Christmas Eve.

Then, as Patrick had only had one very short nap, we put tucked him in bed, set out the presents, and went to bed early ourselves.

Trick or Treat – but hold the treat

Because Halloween fell on Sunday this year, it was celebrated on early in Utah. This gave us the rare opportunity to celebrate Halloween and Patrick’s birthday separately. And just in time, too… as Patrick is just old enough to enjoy the ideas of costumes, walking, and collecting small things in a little bag. A perfect year to introduce him to trick-or-treating without the woes of having to make up for the fact that he’s not allowed to eat candy.

We started our celebrations on Friday. Brian’s office invited the children of employees to come in to the office and trick-or-treat desk to desk. So we got Patrick all dressed up and went to spend the morning at daddy’s work.

Patrick was a lion this year. We lucked out on the costume. We ordered it online… early… to allow time for me to make modifications to allow for his tubes and his brace. But no adjustments were necessary. The snaps were all in just the right places. And Patrick loved the hood (still asks to put it on to play) and the little mittens. He’d ask to put his hands in the gloves, then wave them around excitedly.


Our very talented friend Jillian made a little trick-or-treat bag that Patrick could carry on his arm to collect treats in. I had a larger trick or treat bucket to move things to when the bag got too full or too distracting.

Trick or treating in the office was fun. We went from floor to floor and Patrick got to flirt with the women, show off for the men, and collect lots of little candies in his bag. It was funny that, although he’s never tried candy in his life, he seemed to prefer the M&M’s. Brian kept trying to sway him to different treats, since mommy and daddy would be eating them, not Patrick… but Patrick was persistent in choosing the M&M’s whereever they were offered.

Saturday morning was still a flurry of getting ready for Patrick’s birthday party on Sunday.. but by afternoon we were ready to go trick-or-treating again.

We started with grandparents. Patrick enjoyed showing off his costume and playing with the little toys that each had gotten for him in lieu of candy. Then, we hurried on our way hoping to make it home before the day’s rain made it too cold to want to go out.
We made it home after the worst of the storm and ate dinner, but it was still sprinkling when we loaded him into the brand new wagon we’d gotten as a birthday present. The ward had scheduled a trunk or treat, but chickened out in the rain. So we went ahead with our original plan to just visit a few close friends.

At first, Patrick was happy enough and quite adorable. He’d wander up with me to the door and try to go in, then act confused when we put candy in his bag and walked away.

After a couple of houses, though, this wasn’t much fun anymore either. He didn’t get why we were doing this and his foot seemed to hurt, to boot. He started to cry whenever we took him out of the wagon, so we went to just a couple more houses and then came back home.

He was content to spend the rest of the evening moving his treats from his trick or treat bag to the bucket and back. He got sleepy and went to bed around 8, thoroughly worn out.

All in all, it was a pretty successful first attempt at trick-or-treat for Halloween.

Mother’s Day

Patrick is feeling much, much better now. The infection has been well treated with the medicines he’s getting. He’s stable, happy, and playing. Doesn’t need monitors. Doesn’t need much attention at all, except giving his medications on time. There’s only one thing keeping us here. . .

Because this is the 2nd time in a very short time that Patrick’s had a yeast infection, they wanted to make good and sure that the bug is dead before they put a new line back in. Right now, Patrick has a good “deep line” in his leg. This means that it is in deep enough that they can draw labwork out of it and give better nutrition through it. However, it doesn’t go all the way to his heart, which means that it’s not as likely to get infected – but it’s also not really the safest for taking him home with. He’ll get a new central line on Tuesday and go home as soon as possible afterwards.

So, we spent Mother’s day in the hospital. It was a good day, though very quiet. We got to visit with both Brian’s mother and mine today. Patrick got to get all dressed up and go to church. (Best dressed patient in the hospital today, I’d bet.)

Being here has been a good opportunity for me to reflect on how grateful I am for the many different types of mothers who play a part in our lives. Mothering Patrick is not the kind of job I could do all by myself.

I’m grateful for a mother and mother-in-law who’ve been willing to step up and step in to learn how to provide Patrick’s medical care so that Brian and I can get the occasional night out or so that when I’m exhausted and at my wits end I have somewhere to turn. You may not know what a rare priviledge that is that you have given to us.

We are grateful for our mothers. You prepared us to be Patrick’s parents and you help us each day to do it. I don’t think it’s possible to count the number of prayers, meals, phone calls, visits, crazy projects, and more that you have offered for our little family.

I’m grateful for sisters and a sister-in-law who are also there to help lighten my load when I need it, to fill the fun aunt roles. They are helping to raise some spectacular children, Patrick’s cousins, and him as well.

I’m grateful this week for nurses and CNA’s who have taught me how to do this job, who’ve sat rocking Patrick in the dark so I can catch a few hours’ sleep, who listen when I need to cry or share in small, although sometimes icky, triumphs and who make my day every time we see them because of how much they love my child.

I’m grateful for Patrick’s birthmother. I have no doubt that she loves and is proud of Patrick. I am impressed by her strength. I’m grateful to his birth grandmothers who trusted in their children and loved Patrick. It’s not easy to support a son or daughter considering adoption when you know it means a grandchild will be far away. We are grateful for the love and trust and support they’ve shown in us. We also owe thanks to Patrick’s aunts who helped offer comfort when needed and still are lovingly watching over him. What a blessing it is that he was born into a family who loved him so much.

This mother’s day, thank you to all of you mothers who are there for us. You come in all shapes and sizes.. friends, neighbors, family, and more. I couldn’t do this without you.

Through Grandma’s eyes

I have so far resisted the impulse to write and to let Emily handle all the blogging. But after reading her most recent post about the beginning of this journey, I feel like adding some of my own thoughts.

It is difficult for a mother of seven to see her daughters struggle with infertility. I always have a prayer in my heart for them to be able to experience the joy that I feel as a mother and grandmother.

When Emily and Brian came to us with the story of the little baby born in Michigan that might not have a long life, I had such mixed feelings. I wanted them to have this little guy in their lives, but didn’t want them to have to suffer any more sorrow. There were so many unknowns. I can’t tell you why I fell so instantly in love with that little 2 x 2 inch digital image, but I did, and hoped that things would work out.

I don’t want to jump ahead too much from Emily’s story…but the best part of November last year for me was that I got to go to Michigan and meet Patrick myself. Brian had to come back to Utah and complete a project at work. Thankfully, we have access to Delta Buddy passes and I was able to fly out and stay with Emily for the week he was gone.

She picked me up at the airport and I don’t remember if we went to the hotel first, but we were at the hospital in no time. We had to check in at a secure desk and then off to wash. This was an event in and of itself. Roll up your sleeves, take off your jewelry, look at the clock and then begin to scrub and not just for a few seconds, it took several minutes.

Then through a maze of sorts (took me a couple of days to figure it all out) and we were in Patrick’s room. The lights were dim and there he was…big brown eyes and lots and lots of dark hair. He was so tiny. Just over 5 lbs. His tiny head fit easily into just the palm of my hand. Holding him was no effort at all, except that he had leads and tubes that connected him to life-saving and monitoring equipment.

The next few days were spent mostly at the hospital. We spent very little time in the hotel, just enough to heat up some food (can’t cook everything in the microwave believe it or not) and send home the many, many pictures that we were taking to keep Brian up-to-date. We had time to attend a Sacrament Meeting and catch some people at the Detroit Temple and ask them to place him name on the roll there. But we made sure that we were there for rounds morning and night as much as possible. Every day there were new things to learn about Patrick’s condition.

Emily was swamped with the details of the adoption, the insurance, medical decisions, travel plans and keeping family back home in the loop. Because she had phone calls to make, I got to hold Patrick for many, many hours. He isn’t able to have much by mouth and the instinct to comfort a crying baby with a bottle or breast just wasn’t an option. We quickly learned the value of a “paci”.

The nurses there are amazing. They are caring and skilled. They seemed to have an instinct for being available but not in the way. I felt comfortable enough to sing him and tell him stories and I know Emily did, too. And I know that when we weren’t there, they were holding him and loving him just like we did.

I will forever treasure that special week getting to know this grandson. I am grateful for the self-less decision that Brian and Emily made to bring him into our family. They are amazing, completely prepared by the Lord for their role as Patrick’s parents.

Patrick’s 1st Birthday Party

Patrick had SUCH a good birthday! He could tell from the party preparations the night before that something good was going on. He watched me decorate his birthday cake… and then was too happy and excited to go to sleep.

He did, though, finally, and when he got up in the morning, he was again just HAPPY! It’s like he knew this was a big day.

Because Patrick’s birthday is on Halloween, we dressed up and invited guests to do the same. We chose a circus theme for the party. Patrick was dressed as a monkey. Brian was the ringmaster. I was a clown.

We spent the morning finishing things up for the party. He thought watching me hang streamers was great fun! (I used red and white streamers to create the feel of a circus tent in our living room.) About 1 we changed into costumes.. he loved my clown wig and played with it for most of the rest of the day.

Slowly the guests arrived. Because Brian and I have brothers, sisters and parents nearby, we knew there would be a lot of grown-ups… so we made all the circus activities self-serve. The adults helped the kids paint their faces and learned to make balloon animals for them. We had popcorn and animal crackers and caramel apples.

Of course, most everyone came in costume. Some carried on the circus theme… My dad came as a lion tamer, with my mom dressed as his lion. My brother was a magician.

Some of the friends and family who dressed up

Once everyone arrived, we sang Happy Birthday and Brian blew out Patrick’s candle. (Patrick was too confused about why everyone was singing and just kept watching me to see if it was OK.)

He’s not allowed sugar, so he couldn’t have cake, but he was given permission this week to have cheetos and hulless popcorn, so that’s what he munched on instead.

Daddy’s better than any boring old snack.

Then we opened presents. He got lots of new toys and some new clothes. He loved them all, but I think his favorite thing about the party was not the gifts, but the fact that all the people he loved best were there.

Patrick & “Papa”, Brian’s dad

Patrick and Grandpa, Emily’s Dad

The party wrapped up around 6. All the kids went home with hands full of balloons, balloon animals, caramel apples, and cracker jacks with faces all painted. I think everyone had a really good time!

That put us just on time for trick-or-treaters. Patrick didn’t go trick-or-treating this year… he’s too little and not allowed candy anyway. At first he liked seeing all the people who came to the door. Eventually he got tired and not too happy when people would ring the doorbell. Eventually I sat him on my lap and we read books until we were sure he was good and tired. Then, we turned off the porch light and put him in bed. He was exhausted, and so were we.We all crashed for the night.