Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How we spent our summer vacation:

Hanging out in waiting rooms!

 Seriously. This was the summer of appointments and my poor kids were such troopers! Our insurance period runs the fiscal year, aka October - September. Thanks to things like staples in Clyde's head last October, treatments for Clyde's Hirschsprung's, and you know, having a baby, we met our family out-of-pocket-maximum in May - meaning that aside from office appointment co-pays, all medical procedures and surgeries and therapies were freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. So you better believe that Chuck and I took a long look at our kids and each other and started dialin' up doctor's offices for all sorts of fun :).
We probably spent the most time at speech therapy. Jack was screened at the end of May and did therapy once a week all summer, ending yesterday. We are thrilled with his progress - he went from speaking very, very little to speaking a LOT... although still with some slight enunciation and pronunciation problems, haha. My favorite is exchanging 'L' sounds for 'Y' sounds, like when he tells me he yoves me or asks to sit on my yap :). We ended up putting both older boys in speech as well to work on their tongue thrust issues.

We'd been a bit worried about Will's congested-sounding voice for a while, so off he went to the ENT in July for a closer look at his adenoids. Sure enough, there was a significant blockage up there.
 Chuck was at the appointment with him, so these were the pictures I got at home - Will was thrilled to be the center of attention and check out all of the equipment and informational posters :). 

In a stroke of genius/paternal instinct, Chuck made an appt for Clyde to see the ENT as well and even went so far as to schedule an adenoid-removal surgery for Clyde the same day as Will's, with the plan to cancel if it didn't end up being necessary. Alas, a look up Clyde's nose/mouth revealed a serious issue there as well!

So, a Friday in mid-August found two little Izatt boys donning cute little hospital gowns for surgery! Funny story: Clyde and Will were across the way from each other in pre-op and Chuck and I talked back and forth and such. When the anesthesiologist came to check Will and talk to Chuck, I naturally followed the conversation from my seat in Clyde's little room, even smiling and nodding when he commented on how smart Will was. The anesthesiologist saw me and gave me kind of a funny look, and I realized he probably thought I was just some random lady creepily watching his interaction with a patient!
Sure enough, when the nurses sent him over to Clyde a few minutes later and referenced that these two boys were brothers, he said, "Ohhh, that makes more sense; I wondered why you were eavesdropping!"

 Here the boys are post-surgery:
We found out that although their blockage rates were the same (about 80%), Clyde's adenoids were more difficult to remove and resulted in a rougher recovery :(. And a shout-out to a very patient baby girl who got to tag along for the fun! (Ooh, and an extra special shout-out to Grandma Pam for taking Jackers for an overnight stay. He had loads more fun with you for 24 hours than he would have with us!!!)

Here's a mish-mash of other assorted appointments:
Between the six of us, there were 76 appointments/procedures/tests/check-ups/surgeries in the four month span of June-September alone. YIKES. Some to note: postpartum visits, the aforementioned adenoidsectomies (sp?), another round of injections for Clyde in August (he actually went under anesthesia twice within a week), contrast x-ray testing for Carma in July when she was presenting with possible Hirschsprung's symptoms - very happily the tests showed a very normal digestive system!, suspicious moles removed from me, weekly physical therapy for Clyde, regular dentist appts (not technically medical, but whatev), Chuck's physical for Scout camp, and a different/new-to-us surgery for Clyde last week, which reunited us with his pediatric surgeon who did the original pull-through surgery when Clyde was a baby.

Here are some shots from later last week; Clyde's post-op visit fell on the same day as Clyde's and Will's last speech therapy so I sat in waiting room chairs a LOT that day...
This last year has obviously been very heavy on medical treatments, and it leaves me feeling grateful for so many things: our fantastic insurance! I looked today, and our insurance has been billed for $76,000 in the last year - and a few claims haven't even shown up yet, including Clyde's surgery, which will add another 5-8 thousand. Our family's portion for all services rendered during this insurance period, while pretty significant to us, pales in comparison to that amount. I'm also so grateful for the advancements and research and treatments presently in use that have benefited our family. Of course, I'm very grateful for the relatively minor natures of our complaints - we aren't facing anything life-threatening. And finally, I'm grateful for all of the good friends who have so willingly watched various kids... mostly Jack... when certain appointments or procedures would have been rendered impossible when accompanied by a squirrely, curious two-year-old.

Of course, one good aspect of waiting room monotony is watching this cute girl inchworm her way around and also just be sooo darling:
Love her!!

So now our insurance period starts over and I'll have to reacquaint myself with wording like 'deductible' and 'patient's portion', bleh. I've strictly forbidden everyone from getting injured or seriously sick... which I expect fully to jinx it and lead us to a broken bone within weeks :).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cousin Courtney's visit!

(me and Court the day she left)

Chuck and I have loads of cute nieces (nine altogether) but most of them are little and darling - not quite old enough to steal for extended visits :). Two of them are, however, and we were so happy that the stars aligned for 12-year-old Courtney to come and stay with us for a couple of weeks in July! (We are crossing our fingers that the stars similarly align next summer so that Mallory can come - this summer she was busy being a forensics rockstar at a national tournament!!).
 We grabbed Courtney in Elko and brought her home and immediately started subjecting her to Izatt family traditions, starting with taking a ridiculous number of pictures of ourselves :).

 Here we are on our way to dinner with the Curtis fam:
One day we got ambitious and hosed down the van... and each other...

 Court got roped into playing legos with the boys one day; she created a pretty epic battle scene with a bunch of minifigures:
Of course swimming was on the agenda; we left Carma with Grandma Pam for an afternoon at Ivywild Pool with the big kids!
 More adventures: while Courtney was here, the youth in our ward went to the temple and our wonderful Bishop went out of his way and made phone calls so that Courtney could go too! (also, please enjoy that picture of Chuck's beard, a mere four days before he shaved...). Court and I had a girls' night at the mall, complete with Orange Julius...es.
 Painting our nails was a regular event; this time we opted to match. Courtney proved to be an amazing babysitter, one morning she watched Will and Jack while I took Clyde to a dr appt, and then that afternoon two cute girls (Kiki and Stormi) from the ward came over and the three of them stayed with all FOUR kids while I ran some errands by myself. Heavenly! And I love the last picture of Court and Carma - Courtney was so sweet with her baby cousin. She got her dressed and in and out of her carseat everywhere we went and helped SO so much.

Chuck's cousin and her family live pretty nearby and have a daughter just younger than Courtney, so we got the second cousins together a couple of times while Courtney was here:
Including a trip to the mall and a sleepover at our house. I feel like I've now met my mall visit quotient for like five years :). 

The girls were super sweet and helped me set up for our Relief Society clothing share and swap at the church, even after staying up late the night before. Lexi was such a doll; it was so fun to spend time with the girls together!!
Courtney got to come back to the share and swap the next day too - she was amazing; she made the sign and manned the cookie station and folded a million clothes and held Carma for hours on end. Love her.

And then, just like that it was time to say goodbye! That afternoon I packed her into a car with the ever-accommodating Curtis family (they feed us, they transport us, we love them):
It was such a fun two weeks! I loved getting to know Courtney even better and doing fun girl-y things and having such a great helper around the house and our late night, front yard porch swing talks :). 

Love you Court, come again!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

4th o' July

It just so happens that today is 'Constitution Day' - a fact I learned from Will and his excellent first grade education - so I figure it's entirely appropriate to post this throwback recap of our Independence Day weekend events this year :).

First things first: I'm semi-dreadful at traditions (I always think they sound great, start them off strong, and fail to keep them going after the first few rounds) BUT this is officially the fourth year that Clyde and Will have worn these shirts on the fourth of July:
I know; it's a little sketchy to call this tradition... more like kind of a weird coincidence-turned compulsion... but it makes me laugh, and I rarely require more reason than that to do things!

The day started off, as always, at our ward pancake breakfast. I had enthusiastically volunteered Chuck to help cook, so he arrived real bright and early :).
It was a good, good time; Carma got passed around lots (including a sweet moment with one of her future boyfriends, Abram) and Clyde adorably took to writing the title of his favorite primary song in the sand. (spoiler alert: it's He Sent His Son)

Right after breakfast, we celebrated our freedom by cramming all seven of us + luggage into the minivan for five hours!
Happily, the destination was well worth it: Elko! Chuck and I haven't been to Elko for the 4th of July since Will was a baby, so it was definitely time. Fun fact: this trip marked 11 years since I accompanied my then-new boyfriend Chuck to Nevada to meet his family. We've come kind of a long ways since then, haha. 

We hit the park as quickly as possible and found everyone already in the midst of enjoying the day - food and friends and flags, what more could you want? Will found a good buddy in family friend Ben Neff; I'm hard pressed to say which of them enjoyed their time together (mostly with Will on Ben's shoulders!!) more :).

Carma was a doll and snuggled up to lots of new people - she got to meet (top left to right) cousins Courtney and Lily and Aunt Amanda...
and good family friends Vonda and Ronda (bottom corner, left to right). And I absolutely promise I'm not making up that their names rhyme, haha! And of course Grandma got lots of time with Carma :).

Jack and Anna were SO cute together!

Once it started getting dark, Chuck's mom passed around the glowsticks and the kids... and adults :) ... had loads of fun while we waited for the fireworks to start.
And as always, they were worth the wait!

The next day we met up at Grandma and Grandpa's for a day of fun, starting with water guns and sprinklers on the trampoline since we missed the big water fight at the park the day before:
The porch was a designated 'dry zone', which made it a perfect spot to swing and talk! Bri really wanted to hold Carma, and she did a great job - we kept asking if she was all done, but she kept her for at least 15 minutes :). I love that Carma will grow up with so many fun girl cousins to spend time with.

Pops got his customary baby nap in, and Chuck managed to catch a smile from Pops (bottom right) which is a rarity!! Well, I should say that getting a picture of it is rare; Pops smiles a lot :).
 For an afternoon adventure, we decided on bowling and had a great time.

 I'm pretty sure Chuck and I should join a bowling league in a few years. We obviously have the moves.
 And my dad's diligent instruction from childhood FHE bowling nights paid off again; I won on the grown-up lane.

After bowling, we had just enough time to test out Grandma's homemade ice cream ... churn? maker? device?... primarily operated by Courtney, Bri, and Jack :). They did an awesome job - it was delicious!

Aaaand then it was time to pile back in the van (with a different Blue - we traded George for Courtney!) and head home. It was a quick trip, but so much fun!!
 Happy Constitution Day! Happy late fourth of July! Love America!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clyde is EIGHT!

Clyde Monster turned eight this week, a milestone that we've all been eagerly awaiting. I don't know if it's because the oldest child, or if it's because he's the youngest in his grade at school, but to me it always seems anticlimactic when his birthday rolls around because he already seems that age - ya know? But now it's good and official: We have an eight year old, hooray!
Clyde is such a good kid; he's bright and active and protective and imaginative - sooo imaginative. Coming home from school the other day, he explained that during class he had come up with new things to imagine but since he couldn't get up right then and run around, he was saving them for when he got home, haha. He's forever bouncing around the living room, battling invisible foes, usually from whatever book he's reading right then.

His birthday fell on Labor Day this year so Grandma Pam was off work and since Chuck's Wood Badge beading had been held the night before, Grandma and Grandpa Izatt were still in town and able to celebrate with us. Chuck made us a delicious blueberry pancake lunch extravaganza and Clyde was thrilled with all of us presents, notably the rest of the Percy Jackson books that he didn't have yet, Greek mythology books, legos!, long-sleeved football shirts, and more legos. It was all perfect!
 8 brings lots of fun new adventures, such as Cub Scouts! (ohhhh, and baptism! Which will be at the end of this month, Saturday September 27th at 1pm at our stake center here in Nampa on Greenhurst. Love to see ya there....) Clyde has already been to Scouts twice (we may have sneaked him in a week early) and he loves it. There's three little boys who have turned 8 in the last month, so they're all starting together.

Another exciting aspect of turning eight was getting the go-ahead to finish reading the Harry Potter series! Clyde read 1-4 last fall, but Chuck and I stopped him there for a bit, partly because 5-7 are pretty intense, but mostly because they're SO SO good that I wanted him to be a little older and more appreciative of them.
Aaaand the little nut pretty much devoured book five. He started reading it Tuesday evening and finished it this afternoon. He may have stayed up a little too late last night reading, and today at school he had extra free time to read due to IRI testing... but even then. Insane.

I think another reason that Clyde seems older is how much responsibility we give him as the oldest of four kids.
 Clyde and Carma! Clyde is for sure just faking sleep there, but it's a darling picture nonetheless.

 Clyde and Jack:
 I'll tell you what, it takes some real bravery to sit that close to Jackers. He's back to being pretty mellow overall, but he remains a bit unpredictable and you never really know when he'll bare his teeth and go for a bite...

 Clyde and Will, aka the cutest brother duo in town:
 This is usually where Clyde really melts my heart - his relationship with Will. Chuck wisely reserved the Minecraft video game at the library so that the boys could have it during their adenoids-ectomy recovery (notice their hospital bracelets on their ankles in the bottom middle picture, haha). It was so sweet to watch them play together - Clyde was constantly aware of Will and helping him and building him armor and a house and letting him bunk overnight and such. They seriously got loads of extra screen time during that few days just because of how adorable their interactions were, haha! 

  We sure love our Clyde, happy birthday sweetheart!!

Cousin George's visit!

When I found out that Chuck's mom would be here the last weekend in June and that we would be in Elko for the 4th of July the following weekend, I realized it might be a perfect time to steal one of our older nieces or nephew for a few days. A couple phone calls and some finagling later, the plans were set for George to hang out with us - making this the third summer in a row! George is two years older than Clyde and fits in perfectly around here.
The weekend George came was spent around the house playing board games and running around like crazy kids in the front yard. Carma and I watched sedately from the porch glider.

We ventured out and about quite a bit during George's visit, which at first seemed unlikely since I had yet to really attempt just taking my four kids anywhere... but it turns out, a fifth kid that is almost 10 and very helpful and responsible makes outings much easier! George was so sweet to always help buckle or unbuckle Jack, hold hands with the boys, hold Carma when I needed two hands, etc. Such a great kid!
We hit up the dollar movie one morning; alas, Rio 2 was sold out but Mr. Peabody and Sherman wayyy exceeded my (very low) expectations. The three older boys all gave it a thumbs up, Carma slept through the whole thing, and Jack got real antsy about half way through and ran up and down the aisles.

The past two summers part of George's visits have been to attend a science day camp, so this year I just put all the boys in the playroom with a bunch of recyclable materials and scissors and tape and told them to go at it. They were as adorable and creative as I knew they would be!
 Chuck took the four boys to our favorite park in Nampa for a bit one day; I think Carma and I were visiting teaching...

And one afternoon we left Carma home with Grandma Pam so that Chuck and I could take the four boys swimming, wooo!
Love all these boys :).

There was also plenty of screen time: the boys played lots of video games and we initiated George into our mandated nightly viewings of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. George was also sooo sweet with Carma, always quick to respond when she fussed or needed anything. I'm so glad he was able to come; we love this summer tradition!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Baby fashion show

Well, Carma hit the three-month mark a couple of weeks ago and to make sure I reeeeally got the message that she has no intentions of staying little forever, she also embarked upon a serious growth spurt wherein the size of her thighs doubled and a third chin emerged. 
{Ahhh, to be young again and have those characteristics be so. dang. cute...}

The sad part of all this? All the darling clothes she's outgrown! So without further ado, here's a quick fashion recap of some of my favorite outfits and such from the last three months...
Dresses for church! SO cute, right?

I've taught Carma early the versatility of a good graphic tee (er, onesie...):
Why yes, I did make that 'C' onesie. Thanks for noticing!

A couple little pajama numbers from when I was a baby:
 My Little Pony is always in style, thank goodness. The other one... I was unsure about. The lacy collar and wrists seemed a bit formal/early 19th century men's wear for my taste.

Here's a random assortment of Carma sporting greys and pinks:
The pink shorts on the bottom left are some of my favorite, Holly found them so that Carma could fit in with our 'soft shorts' (aka athletic shorts) family, hahaha. And the picture on the bottom right isn't directly fashion-related, but rather a good reminder about the importance of beauty sleep :). 

It's always fun to dress up for a specific occasion, amIright? Here we have (clockwise starting in the top left) Father's Day, Fourth of July, the night before Father's Day, Grandma Pam's birthday, the Sunday before Grandma Pam's bday, and finally, Janell Hyer's birthday - she LOVES Mickey/Minnie Mouse. 
(PS my bfsc Courtney made that onesie. And that bow. And a bunch of other bows. She's amazing).
 Here are some more Sunday outfits! My niece Courtney made the braided fabric headband Carma's wearing in the middle picture. Is it a thing that all Courtneys are cute and crafty and awesome??

And a few more casual ensembles:
The cute monkey onesie (bottom left) was part of a huge assortment of clothes and accessories that a group of Chuck's co-workers gave us back in January, shortly after we found out we were having a girl. It was so fun to open the gift bag and see so much pink! And the fun, bright outfit in the middle was courtesy of another one of Chuck's co-workers, Sylvia.

Ahhh, this eases a bit of the pain I felt packing away all of these darling clothes, never to again adorn a wee Izatt baby. AND it also made me feel loads better about all the times that Carma wears the same onesie two days in a row or spends a majority of the day in just a diaper, haha. At least I have proof that she gets dressed up on a pretty regular basis!!