School Bell’s a Ringin!!!

1185774_10201283310778156_1521847280_nA friend of mine posted this picture on my facebook page.  It is pretty accurate to how T and I felt yesterday.  I LOVE when summer ends and school starts back up.  We get back into our routines, the kids play less video games, they don’t get as sick of each other, the house stays neater, they aren’t constantly eating, I have several hours a day to get things done, and the list goes on…I just love it!

That said, I do miss the time we have in the summer to go to fun places and spend quality time together.  We always take one summer vacation with the kids.  Last year it was a cruise to Mexico, this year it was a trip to Lake Tahoe, next year we already have an Alaskan cruise booked.  I also like the last minute fun times, like a trip to the beach or an over night trip to Universal Studios.  Those are the times the kids will remember.   Let’s face it, before we know it, they will all be graduating high school and starting their lives.

This school year will be a busy one.  Kami got her dance schedule and she will have eight dance classes a week!  Charlie is gonna try taking an all boys tap class.  Jenna and TJ will do horseback riding.  Claire is gonna try soccer.  Jenna will most likely have several doctor appointments to hopefully rule out different medical issues that could be connected to her 22Q.  I am continuing to study to get my real estate license and will be starting a new career.  Yes, busy times are ahead!

As of right now, I look forward to waving goodbye to the kids each morning, watching them ride their bikes down the street to school, and then sipping my coffee, studying, writing, and having some peace and quiet until that school bell rings at the end of the day.

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DiGeorge? 22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome? VCFS?

1085150_207399699418419_1559807765_oWelcome to the name game.  What do Di George, 22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome, and VSFS all have in common?  They basically all fall under 22Q11.2, which is the syndrome that Jenna has.  What we decide to call it, really doesn’t matter, for the most part, they are the same.  I think shortening it to 22Q is the easiest, and what most people are preferring.

Since Jenna’s diagnosis I have spent the last few weeks in research mode.  What does this diagnosis mean?  Why wasn’t Jenna diagnosed years ago?  How could none of the doctors and specialists have know this is what she had?  22Q is the second most common chromosomal disorder in the world!  Why aren’t professionals more aware of the signs?  Basically, because these kids don’t “stick out like a sore thumb”, they go unnoticed.  If you have a child who doesn’t have a major health issues (i.e. heart problems, immune problems, etc.), not being diagnosed is very common.

So, what does this mean for Jenna?  For the most part we are very lucky so far.  Jenna has been a very healthy child and her delays appear relatively mild compared to some.  However, there are some possible “silent” health problems we need to check out.  She will need to go to a cardiologist to have her heart thoroughly examined, she will need to go to an ENT to have her hypernasality checked out to see what type of palate issue causes it, she will need to go to an immunologist to check for underlying immune issues, she will need to go to a Rheumatologist to find a reason for her joint pains, she will need to have a kidney ultrasound, a C-Spine x-ray, and the list goes on.

I’m thankful to finally have an answer.  Jenna is such a sweet little girls.  Here is a link to her story on the Dempster Family Foundation site.  They also have a lot of good information about 22q on the site as well.

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Rest, Relaxation, and an Answer!

Kids In SacramentoWe just got back from Tahoe and had a fabulous time!  We braved it and drove with all 5 kids and grandma too.  We stopped in Sacramento and met up with T’s parents and had a nice dinner at a little pizza place downtown.  Tahoe was beautiful and the weather was perfect.  We spent our days hiking, hanging out at the beach (lake beach that is), kayaking, and eating a lot of good food.  It was great to spend time with the family.  The trip ended with a dance performance choreographed by Kami and Kaitlin.

While we were there, T and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  We got away from the kids, went gambling at the casino (only lost $3.00) and had a wonderful dinner at a very romantic restaurant.

Now for an update on Jenna and her diagnosis.  We have an answer.  She has a chromosomal disorder called 22q deletion, aka DiGeorge Syndrome.  It explains a lot and is why she has learning disabilities, as well as other physical issues (low muscle tone, joint pain, etc).  We are very lucky that she has not had the heart issues that many have, or the low calcium levels.  However with this new diagnosis, we will be seeing many specialists just to confirm all is good with her health.  I’m still in the process of researching it all, but again, we have an answer and that is huge!

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Okay, okay, so I took another break!

Spring Break Vacation

Spring Break Vacation

I confess, I have been really bad about blogging lately.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it is the challenges of juggling five kids at home, two out of the home, a grandchild, a husband, mounds of laundry, cooking, cleaning, and trying to fit a little school for myself in there!  Yes, that has to be it.

Since I haven’t posted since January, I guess a little update is due.  The kids just finished the school year and are now officially going into 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades!  They are still all in the same school, but this will be the last year for that, as Jenna will go off to high school in 2014.  But, I don’t even want to think about that yet!

Kami and Claire had their dance recital in May.  Kami is still super passionate about dance, but Claire has just informed me she would like to play soccer.  Kami just finished a two week dance intensive camp where she danced 7 hours a day.  The performance was great and she was in 7 dances.  Needless to say she wants to add more dance classes to her already busy schedule next year.  I’m not sure how I will pull it off, especially since now I have to figure out soccer for Claire, and horseback riding for Jenna, and who knows what for TJ and Charlie!  I can do this, I can be in five different places at once, right?

Next week we are going on vacation.  We are packing up the suburban and getting on the road for Lake Tahoe!  The best part is T’s parents will be there, as well as his sister and her kids.  It is kind of like a mini-family reunion without all of the family.  I wish everyone was going, but that trip is planned for next year (2014 cruise to Alaska).

Now for the struggles.  Most know that Jenna and TJ are in resource at school.  They both get special help with the classes they struggle with, and they both work at well below grade level in math and reading.  The school staff indicated at their last IEP’s that the kids really should get official diagnosis’ to continue receiving help beyond middle school.  What they have now is only speech/language IEP’s, and that may not be enough to follow them through the years.  I don’t get this, as they are clearly so far below grade level, how could they ever be expected to do the same work as the other students?  Anyway, I asked the doctor to refer us to a neurologist and she did.  Jenna had her appointment last month and TJ’s is in October.  The doctor ordered a Chromosome Microarray test for Jenna.  She suspected she may have a chromosomal disorder.  Well, yesterday I got a call from the nurse that there were abnormalities with the test.  One part of me is totally bummed out, but the other part of me is glad we may finally have an answer.  I will be going in next week for the results.   Whatever they are, it doesn’t change who she is, or the fact that she is and will always be her unique self.  🙂

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Back from Break

Okay, so I took a little break.  Things got totally crazy around here with the holiday’s and shopping for 7 kids and a grandchild.  So, Happy New Year everyone!   I am really looking forward to 2013!

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, add to that blending a family and it increases to the four years!  We are almost 6 months into that.  This means in 2016 everything should be flowing…I wonder if that means teenage and preteen hormones settle down too?  I actually think this may be our biggest battle right now.  I can’t imagine how it will be in 4 years when we have yet another little girls starting into that phase.  The boys are easy right now…do they go through a hormone phase?  Really, I just can’t remember with my first son.  Girls are just so moody!

Christmas went well.  Joey came over a few days before Christmas.  Jackie, JP, and Hope came over to celebrate a couple of days before.  It is hard to get all of the kids in once place with so many families in their mix, especially when Joey had to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  The kids got lots of presents.  The boys got tons of video games, however we did try to get them some things to encourage them to play outside…like a new electric scooter for Charlie and roller blades for TJ.

After Christmas T and I took a little trip to Sedona with my brother and his wife.  It was beautiful and a nice little get away with no kids.  We had great food and even wine tasted!  Who knew?  Grapes in Sedona?  We came home on New Years Eve and were exhausted.  We skipped a party we were invited to and were in bed by 9:00.  So…we didn’t ring in the new year.

We wrapped up the end of winter break by going to Paso Robles.  We stayed at a sweet little bed and breakfast, had some wonderful food, saw the giant elephant seals, and went to Hearst Castle.  Paso is one of our favorite places to go for a weekend.

The kids went back to school on Monday and they are slowly getting back into their routines.  Dance has started up again, so Kami is happy about that!  She missed it over the break.  TJ & Charlie are trying to relearn going to bed early and getting up early.  They were in video game world for a couple of weeks and it is a hard transition back.  Claire is happy to go back to school and see her friends, while Jenna is happy too, but bummed that that also means she is back at the after school program.

Terance and I are back on a lo-carb diet…the holiday’s put some extra poundage on in places we didn’t desire it.  I joined the YMCA to help force me to get that exercise in.

Over all things are going well and we are looking forward to this year!  Here are a few pictures from the past month!

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Thanksgiving and Picture a Day

Okay, well first, the “picture a day” is obviously not happening.  I am going to change that category name.  I will however make an effort to take more pictures and post them more often!

Now for Thanksgiving.   Jenna and Kami went to their dads and TJ, Charlie, and Claire Marie went to their grandparents.  T and I decided to take a trip to Arizona and spend the holiday with my brother, his family, and my mom.  We had a wonderful time.  We missed the kids, however it was nice to be able to catch up on life with my brother and his wife while being “kid free”.   Next year we will have all of the kids with us and hopefully the adult ones too.  We have so much to be thankful for.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

The group minus Tena (who was taking the photo)

My niece Monica and me

My mom and me

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Picture A Day (times 3)

Making up for missing a couple of days…today is Claire Marie’s birthday and we had a little party at the local bounce house.  The girls had their faces painted.

 

 

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