Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fall 2014

I blame school. The fall has gone so fast and I think it's because we have gotten into the routine of school. Lennon is doing really well in school and really loves it. Tesla doesn't seem to mind having him gone. I need to be better about doing fun things with just her. It's so much easier running errands with just one kid, so I've been taking advantage of that in the mornings.
Lennon is obsessed with sharks, so we surprised him by taking him to the aquarium. I love that Lennon chooses the "surprise" more than not. I usually give him a choice of knowing a fun thing we're planning or having it be a surprise--both kids were super excited when we finally told them (can you tell?!!)
This was the first shark he saw...I just love his reaction!
Lennon was super brave and put his hands in to pet the sting rays. We hung out with the rays for a a good half hour. We decided to feed them, but Lennon backed out the last minute, so we just got to see Adam hold the shrimp for those crazy, hungry rays!
 Corn Maze
We ventured to the Botanic Gardens Corn Maze one afternoon and had a ton of fun. They had a kids maze that Lennon led the way through, and then we ventured into the big maze, doing half without a map and half with the map.
Ready for the hayride:
Instead of a bouncy castle, they had a giant bouncy "pillow," which was awesome because we were able to stick to one corner and not get demolished by other kids. Tesla liked to just sit down and feel all the bouncing.
Lennon had a blast, even though Adam would always double bounce him to make him fall!
Rock Climbing
Adam's been taking Lennon to the climbing gym for a good part of the year. Lennon absolutely loves it, and Adam gets excited about it.
 He's good, too, according to Adam. I have yet to watch him, mainly because Tesla has to be 3 before she can climb, and if I take her to watch Lennon, it's going to be difficult to keep her off the wall!
CCU Harvest Festival
The kids were so excited about Halloween this year--well, Lennon was really excited, therefore Tesla was excited! Lennon decided in March that he wanted to be a shark and Tesla would flip-flop between Ariel, Minnie Mouse, or Abby Cadabby; she decided on Ariel. She chose a big dress instead of a mermaid fin and picked out the fabrics for the dress as well. While we were in Joanns getting fabric, she made the decision that Babydoll was also going to be Ariel--and so she was!
Playing one afternoon, pre-Halloween, in their costumes. Waiting for Dad and Uncle Ross to come home so that they could show Ross their costumes.
 At the ReMax pumpkin festival, getting our free pumpkins:
 This year I made it easy on myself and decided the kids would just paint their pumpkins. Last year they painted their pumpkins and then I carved one for them. I definitely didn't regret my decision as I was sitting on the couch with some wine while the kids painted away!
Tattooing herself:
Lennon took his pumpkin painting quite serious, as he does most things!
Lennon's class Halloween party--so cute!
Trick-or-Treating on Halloween wasn't quite what we planned. First, Adam was in the hospital, but I was still planning on taking the kids to the Dows like we always do. However, the Dows were fighting off the flu, so we went to Grandma and Papa's to go trick-or-treating with Jordon.
Lennon the Shark!
Tesla with her hair sprayed red...which took several washes to get out!
 Final destination: Papa's!
She loves her m&m's--with every piece she exlcaims, "M for Mama!"
It was a fun Halloween, considering all that was going on. Lennon made sure to put some of Adam's favorite candy in a bag and he took it to him the next day in the hospital...
Adam's Collapsed Lung
On Wednesday night, the 29th, we were putting the kids to bed with Adam reading Lennon a story. When he got up he had severe pain that seemed to be radiating from his left shoulder. He went to bed saying that the pain seemed to move from his shoulder to his back to his chest. He was in a lot of pain but wanted to see how he felt in the morning. He was able to sleep a bit, but only if he laid on his right side; he couldn't breathe if he was on his back. That next morning his pain hadn't subsided at all. We were talking about whether to go to the ER or not--we were thinking it could be a rib that popped out, like happens to me, but then we were concerned that it could be a blood clot somewhere. We called our insurance nurse line and she said that it didn't sound like a blood clot, but the fact that it was such a sudden onset of severe pain, he needed to go get checked out.

He was able to get an appointment with our family doctor at 3pm that afternoon, so he decided to head into work. He parked four blocks away and he said he was so winded, that he knew something more severe was going on. At the doctor, she listened to his lungs and couldn't tell that something was extremely wrong. She also said that, though it may not have been anything, she wanted him to get some tests because of the sudden onset of pain. She called over to the ER and told them he was on his way to get the tests done. He drove over to the hospital, only after debating whether to head home instead.

He called me when he got to the ER, saying the tests should only take about an hour.  About an hour later my phone rings and I hear, "Mrs Schafer? This is "John," the ER nurse at St. Anthony's taking care of your husband." Not what I was expecting, and my heart had to start beating again after it stopped in the split second it took him to say "taking care of your husband." He explained that Adam's lung collapsed and that he would be in the hospital a few days.

 I dropped the kids off at Adam's parents for a couple hours and headed to the ER, not quite knowing the severity of it all. I got to the ER and Adam was out of it, after being shot up with adrenaline and pain meds. His  nurse came in to tell me more of the details: Adam's lung was 100% collapsed (that rarely happens). There was so much pressure in his body from all the air that escaped his lung when it collapsed that it pushed his heart to the right side of his body, his trachea, which is normally completely straight, was bowed about 2 inches, and his diaphragm was down to his bellybutton. His good lung was less than 50% because of all the pressure.

When Adam got to the ER, they did all the routine things, hooked him up to the machines and checked to his lungs, which sounded "fuzzy" but nothing that would immediately alarm them. They were waiting for him to get a CT scan when all of a sudden his heart rate dropped to 27 and all of the machine alarms went off. Everyone came running and they shot him with adrenaline. They rushed him to a CT Scan, where they saw his lung, which looked like a completely deflated balloon. He said everyone was freaking out, running and yelling (he said it was totally like one of those ER shows). They ran him back to his room and the nurse asked the doctor what size chest tube, and the doctor said, "just give me the big one," which they used to puncture him. The moment the chest tube went in it sounded like a very loud balloon deflating. He took a couple breaths and his lung filled with air.

Adam, not having much fat on his bones, was in a lot of pain because he had a giant chest tube in between his ribs. The surgeon came in to talk to us )because apparently the surgeon is your doctor if you are a Level 3 Trauma patient, which Adam was). The surgeon said he had never seen such a severe case of a collapsed lung and that it was life-threatening, and he would have passed out soon, had he not gone to the hospital when he did (remember, he was thinking about driving home!).

He got several chest x-rays each day. On Saturday he was able to get off of the forced air and finally, on Sunday, around lunchtime, they took the chest tube out, which immediately relieved his pain. They then waited four more hours to make sure he wasn't leaking air or his lung didn't collapse again. He was home around 6pm on Sunday.

The kids were unaware of the severity of the situation, which was our intention. I went about our plans for Halloween as usual. After Lennon's class party, Lennon decided he wanted to go to the hospital to see Dad before we headed over to Grandma and Papa's to go trick-or-treating. On Saturday, the three of us went over to the hospital to bring Dad breakfast and then again for dinner.  Lennon said he "loved the hospital." As we were bringing Adam home, pulling out of the parking lot, Lennon said, "I hope we come back here soon!" We quickly corrected him!

Adam hadn't gotten much sleep in the hospital with the chest tube in, and I didn't get much sleep at home. Each night I kept going in and out of sleep to make sure my phone didn't ring, and that it wasn't the hospital. Friday I was on auto-pilot, doing what had to be done and making sure the kids had a great Halloween. Saturday, the shock started to wear off for me, realizing how close we were to losing him. Even now, when he sleeps late in the morning (which he never used to do) I wonder whether I should go check on him.

He's on the mend now; he feels better each day. He has a lingering dry cough that occurs when he takes a deep breath or exerts himself, which the surgeon says he will have for a while. His energy and endurance was super low the first couple weeks home, but, again, that get's better each day.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


How did we get here so fast....Lennon is in kindergarten!  This whole summer, I was struggling with preparing myself for it and the few nights before his first day I had some breakdowns.  He's only doing half day, but it's still such a big step.  And, in the case of sounding super dramatic, life will never be the same--we will always be scheduling around school, holidays and breaks.  It was also difficult to let him go, knowing that he may not be 100% loved and protected in the school world...

But we got there--Lennon was talking about school some, and seemed a little excited.  The night before he picked out his outfit, which included his brand new Angry Bird converse high-tops.  On the first day of school, he was feeling excited and super cool (as, of course, he is!).
 Tesla even got in on the action:
 Don came over to watch Tesla so that Adam and I could just take Lennon to school.  Green Gables Elementary did this big thing on the front lawn where all the kids lined up according to classroom.  As soon as we got to school and found his classroom line, Lennon's excitement faded.  You could tell he was scared and he was trying hard not to cry.
 Adam and I said our goodbyes to Lennon and then moved to the parents area.  I kept telling him how proud we were of him and that he was being brave.  I was trying to keep it together.  I could hide my tears behind my sunglasses--I was trying to be brave like I was telling Lennon to do.  However, I looked over at Adam and he's wiping away tears. Somehow that made me feel better--if Adam was crying, I was completely valid in my tears!
 The school rolled out a "yellow brick road" and each classroom would walk down in while all the other classrooms and parents would clap.  It was really cute, but Lennon looked so small as he walked with his class.
Even though he was only gone 3 hours, I was really missing him that morning.  When Tesla and I went to pick him up from school, Lennon talked a tiny bit about his day.  I figured the fact that he talked about it at all was great!  The next few mornings he did great--he was excited to go to school!  But then the runny nose started--he caught a minor head cold that first week.  That first Friday, as I was saying goodbye to him in his classroom he clung on and started to cry.  But he still did great after I left and still talked about his day.

That second week began with more tears, even before we left the house.  He still wasn't feeling 100% and would cling onto me as I dropped him off--I felt awful!  I was trying to think of ways to make him feel brave about going to school and on Wednesday, as we were walking to his classroom he started crying and said that he missed me so much.  My immediate response to him was, "that's so great, thank you!"  He stopped short and was very confused.  I went on to explain that you don't miss people that you don't love, so the fact that he misses me so much and that I miss him so much means that we love each other so much....Success!!  He cried a bit as I dropped him off, but not as much.  The next day, no tears!!  As we were walking to school, he repeated what I said, saying, "Mom, I miss you so much because I love you so much, and that's good!" and that was that--he's been doing great every since!

He's doing great in school too--the other day he brought home a slip that said, "Lennon has been leading by example all day!"  We're super proud of him and he's extremely proud of himself!  He will tell us stories about how the other kids didn't listen, but that he always listens.  One day they didn't get to go to art because they were listening--he said, "I was listening, but I still didn't get to go to art." He's learning to be in a community of other kids...and the world! 

He says his favorite things to do in school are "learn...and gym!"  We're excited to see him continue to grow this year!


We finally have a new car that we got in June, so when I broached the subject of me taking the kids to Wisconsin, I wasn't expecting Adam to concede so easily by saying, "of course, that's one of the reasons we bought the car."

Lennon was prepped for weeks about the long car trip and the fact that dad wasn't going to be with us.  He was a little leery about the trip until we moved him into a booster seat where he had more freedom to move around--he was then excited!  The dollar store was a life saver for me--I went before the trip, bought a bunch of things and wrapped them.  After we would stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner, they would get to pick out a "surprise."  Lennon would be occupied for hours...Tesla is a 2-year-old and would move on more quickly, but she did great!  

On the trip out we left the house at 3:30 in the morning and stopped at the hotel after about 10.5 hours of driving.  It worked out great--I only wanted to drive in the dark once, at the beginning of the trip; and I wanted the second day to be super quick.  The kids were a little more antsy on the trip home, as I expected, but they still did so great and I was really proud of them!

Our first priority in Wisconsin was to see Great-Grandma.  Lennon still talks about the cars and toys he played with at her house!
Leah and Emery came into town a couple days into our trip--Lennon was so excited to have a sleepover with Emery in Grandma's sewing room.
Lego mania--they would spend hours with all the legos.  I love that Lennon (and Emery too) is full immersed in the Lego phase--I have a feeling he will be in it for a long time!
Playing with Jenny:
Tesla was super clingy towards me, as was expected, but still difficult to deal with.  It was always a fight to hand her off to someone to get a break.  So it was a little piece of heaven when Tesla left my lap and crawled right into Jenny's.  Jenny looked over at me and said, "is this normal?"  We all gave a collective, "no!"

Wisconsin State Fair:
The day we went to the state fair, Lennon and I were having a bad day.  Lennon was missing Dad a lot.  I was extremely tired without having Adam to help with the kids--needless to say, our trip did not include some of my best parenting days, and the State Fair was one of them....

First stop (at 10am) was cream puffs!!
Lennon wanted to do the big slide--he didn't love it after the first time (neither did I since my stomach kept jumping with each bump) However, he wanted to go again and loved it after that.
Tesla looked like she was going to throw up after her time...she didn't do it again.
The Discovery Barn was geared towards kids and it was awesome!
Watching a baby chick hatch!
Tractor riding!
We were given a mission by Great Grandma to get a good picture of the three I did what any good mom would do--I told them we would go get ice cream if they took a good picture.... worked!
Even though Tesla had a tiny trim at Christmas, we're considering this her "first haircut," even though we only have about a half inch of hair to show for it!
Having fun on Aunt Diane's phone:
Cousin love!
The boys had so much fun together.  They would take their breaks from each other with no problem and then come back together for fun!
Hotel stay on the way home--getting "surprises:" Angry Bird Go cars...
...and Princess Sophia rings.
A few weeks after we had been home, I was in my room cleaning up and I heard the kids in their room playing "Going to Wisconsin." They were in there for a good hour or more.  They would climb on their bed and "be in the car." Then they would get out and go to their kitchen to "stop for something to eat." There were also many "surprises" on their trip.  It was so fun to hear and watch them...Even now, a couple months later, they still play their game, which I take 100% as a successful trip!