Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lots of "special" days...special in so many different ways!

March was another busy month. I spent the first couple of weeks recuperating from the "flu," and praying no one else got it, especially Bryce. Bryce had surgery scheduled for the end of the month, and I REALLY didn't want to reschedule. Mainly because after the surgery he would have to refrain from swimming for 8 weeks. So an end of March surgery date was safest, in order to be cleared before summer! Thankfully I was the only one who ended up sick.
We hit the ground running in March. The first weekend we helped host a wedding guest dinner for a girl from church. I was feeling better, but still coughing, so I felt kind of awkward, but no one noticed. At least I don't think they did.  The following Monday Lucas' brother and his wife finally had place to call their own, and a vanload of their household things was delivered. I spent a day helping Sarah unpack and clean. I was ever so glad I wasn't the one moving this time, and it was even a bit fun to help her find a place for their things. Our two boys played for a while, while we worked, then Micah went home with his Grandpa, and Dylan just followed me around trying to "help."
Dylan and Micah in the toy box
We've had some rainy days, as is usual for spring, and Dylan loved taking the umbrella out to play.
He loves to greet the kids as they get off the bus...his usual comment "You're ALIVE!"
Dylan asks often throughout the day when the kids will be home, or when we will go get them!
Collin and Dylan enjoying a lovely afternoon
Dylan and Halle at the park
We had parent-teacher conferences this month too, which called for a couple early out days, spring band concert, Bryce's pre-op physical, a snow day, a few days of subbing, a missed potluck (because I was sick again!), company over to enjoy a smoked brisket, Bryce's surgery, Easter, a visit from Uncle Bill and Aunt Charlotte Metzger, funeral for a dear friends father, school committee meeting, breakfast date, and a VERY anticipated trip to IL! Since our trip back home we've had our post surgery Dr. visit, started baseball, and are looking forward to this week off for spring break! 
 Collin is showing interest in the grill, much to his father's delight, so he helped Lucas smoke this brisket for supper one night!
A gorgeous snowy morning...while we were sad to see the snow, in what is supposed to be spring, it was quite beautiful, falling so softly!
 snapshot of my big kiddos!
 Bryce all smiles before his surgery
 Heading back to the OR
 All done. He got quite a pile of loot!
For those of you who are wondering, Bryce had a tympanoplasty surgery done on his right ear.  He has had two sets of tubes and an adenoidectomy because of fluid buildup in his ears. One of the risks of the tube surgery is non healing of the eardrum after the tube falls out. This was unfortunately the case for Bryce. During the second surgery our Dr. tried to fix the hole left behind, a little less invasively. However, it was not successful. So we felt like it was necessary, after a year had gone by, with no healing or change in the size of the hole, to do a final surgery to correct the hole. The hole covered 30% of his eardrum. Without the surgery it could've caused hearing loss, which he is already at risk for, pain, and recurrent infections. The surgery went well. Dr. Grindle took a piece of cartilage from Bryce's outer ear, cut it to the size/shape (we are talking millimeters here!) of the hole in Bryce's eardrum, and placed the graft piece in the hole. The challenge was in the two weeks following...keeping Bryce still, so as not to disrupt the graft while the healing started. You can't stitch the eardrum, so I was VERY nervous that we weren't going to be successful in keeping things where they need to be. Especially since he didn't feel bad, and was already trying to bounce around the night of his surgery!
The kids had a couple days off for Easter. We all enjoyed decorating eggs of a different sort! We all like hard-boiled eggs, but to make enough for everyone to have enough to dye, means WAY TOO MANY hard-boiled eggs in my fridge. So we've started our own tradition of decorating sugar cookie eggs! 
 Dylan, Bryce, Collin, Halle
 our finished eggs
Sunday we were invited to join the Reutter family for their Easter celebration. We are so, so thankful for those who remember us when holidays roll around! I planned an activity for the kids, since I knew Bryce couldn't run around. They each got to make a bunny car out of goodies!
 Bryce all done
 a table full working hard
The week after Easter, Uncle Bill and Aunt Charlotte were here. We enjoyed having them along with Uncle Dale, and Uncle Roy and Aunt Joyce for supper. The conversation was a delight and I even learned a few things! ;) 
Dylan helping with the dishes!
 Dylan playing with Aunt Sarah's puppies!
 Halle and Bryce
The highlight of the past month was a trip home! Last Friday Lucas and I headed back to IL for a wedding of a very sweet couple. Trips home are always something we look forward to, but especially when we don't have to drive! Our flights were mostly on time, a little delayed leaving Detroit because we needed to be "de-iced." That was cool! Friday night my parents picked us up in Peoria and treated us to dinner before an evening with my siblings at Teresa and Landon's house. We got to celebrate March/April birthdays...Dad's was Friday, and two of my in-laws this week. #40 for both of them! Of course, lots of laughs happened, and I just sat soaking it all up! 
 waiting around at the Boston airport
Saturday morning we planned a breakfast date with Janet, complete with it being crashed by our dear Libby! :) After quite a lengthy breakfast, we headed north to Bradford for the weekend/wedding. But first a stop for a tractor ride with Austin.
 Can you tell my honey misses the dirt/farming of IL?
The dirt did smell SO good!
 waiting for his ride
 Austin, Lucas, and I piled it the tractor cab
A quick picture with the tractor and nothing but blue skies for miles!
We got to meet our newest niece, Gracelyn, for the first time. She blessed me with some smiles! I LOVED all the time I got to snuggle and love on her...not sure if it will hold me over until next time, but I hope! Sunday was the wedding, which we were so excited to attend. Afterwards we stopped by the cemetery to "visit" Grandpa Stoller. As we were standing there looking at the beauty of the stone and remembering Grandpa, Lucas said, "You know, I could never understand why people would go to the cemetery to visit and just look at the headstones. Now I know!" We shed some tears, miss him terribly, but rejoice in his victory won, and no more suffering for him in Heaven!
We flew home VERY early Monday morning and all was well when we arrived home. We are so thankful for the many who helped us out and loved our kids while we were gone!
One of my favorite snapshots of my kids' weekend. BTW, I loved getting the updates! This picture was accompanied by the question, "Mom, can I keep it!" Plus an add -on that he carried this chicken around all morning then snuggled into a pile of hay and fell asleep with it! 
And lastly, the good news...Bryce's eardrum is healing, the graft is in place and all looked good at his 3 week post-op check. The eardrum looked and performed as it should, and we will see how his hearing is in May, at two months post-op! We celebrated with a new Lego set and ice cream!
This past week we started up with baseball. With two boys playing, our evenings are shortened by practices and soon games. Today we spent a good portion of the day at the ball diamond, and I came home with a sun-kissed face!
Looking forward to a gorgeously forecasted week, with my kiddos home for spring break!
That's all for now! We are counting down the days until our next company arrives at the end of the month!
Lots of love and hugs from CT!