and kids

and kids

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

My typical Halloween post with tons of pictures is not going to happen this year.  All I have is a few individual pics - no family pic on the steps (and I even dressed up this year!!!).  Part of the change/problem was we went to a friends house and needed to get there by 5:30.  This caused confusion with Tavis had no costume at 5:10, even tho his wonderful mother had him a costume already.  I will not go into the attitude, but you might sense it from his picture...

Capps as a soldier
 Mac as Ironman
 Tavis as a "greaser" not a hockey player (and let me remind you it was freezing and we actually got sleeted on and a hockey sweater might have been warmer.  Just sayin')
 Mollee as a witch
 Daegan wanted to be a shadow - this pic was taken before he got his black face mask

We had a great time with lots of friends!  Good food while we thought we were waiting out the rain.

And then off to Trick or Treat!!!!!
We broke up into groups (obviously didn't show up at houses in this group).  The teenagers went in one direction and didn't show back up for a couple of hours.  The littles went in a van and drove around from door to door.  Then there was the middle group.  

I was in the middle group with Capps and Mac.  We cut thru the woods to get thru the huge neighborhood we were in so we could wind back around and hit a lot of houses.  After about ten houses it started to rain/sleet.  And it was cold.  And our kiddos were soaked and cold and all parents were out, so no ride to come back to pick us back up.  The only person left at the house was Jason and he had given his phone to Daegan in case he got sick b/c he insisted on going with the teenagers.  So, we trudged on!!!  

Finally, we finally made it thru the rain and the kids kept running from door to door.  Having fun!  Except maybe Mac, he was cold!  :-D  And then Jason came to the rescue and we piled in 19 people in our 12 -passenger van!!!  Good Times!

A great evening had by all!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mollee turns 14

With Halloween on a Friday night, and a big evening planned with the Middletons, we decided to celebrate Mollee's birthday on Thursday night.  And Grandma J got to join us!  Plus, Uncle Daniel, Aunt Heather and Libby popped in to drop off a gift as we were going to sing Happy Birthday!

 Make-Up and Shoes!!!

The Ultimate Puzzle with Grandma J

Daegan's teacher gave him this puzzle to try to work on as he is stuck at home.  We still have not figured it out.

What to be Thankful for in the midst of Crap

The past seven weeks have been crap.  Sorry, Mom, I've never been known to sugar-coat.

I want my boy fixed.  End of discussion.

My brother sent me his sermon from this past week discussing sickness in this world.  Obviously, that is not what was meant to be when God created the world.  But, in light of the crap, what a wonderful peace you can get from the thought that God is not surprised by this.  He has a plan!

Therefore, through this, I have to find what I am thankful for.  And there are many things:

1) Prayer
2) Prayerful Friends
3) A husband that knows me too well
4) Waterproof mascara
5) A bible in my hand at all times, via my phone
6) An oldest daughter who helps me out, and even tho she doesn't talk much, she texts me throughout the day (even tho illegally) to express herself
7) An older son who hugs me when I get teary randomly (which is often these days) and who is constantly checking on his brother.  And who, and I oddly grateful for this, still picks on Daegan and doesn't "handle him with care".
8) A youngest son who is happy-go-lucky
9) A monkey who has taken up all of Daegan's responsibilities at home without complaint
10) The fact that Jason's jobsite during this time "just happens" to be in our neighborhood and I can eat lunch with him almost everyday, being a major stress relief.
11) A school that will work with my struggling, dizzy son, taking some subjects "off the table" for now, Face Timing other subjects, and allowing him to come only a few hours a day when he can.
12) A school I feel confident all the teachers are praying
13) Warm, yummy meals after doctor appointments
14) Daegan, thankful God blessed us with him on 3/8/03
15) Thankful for two pediatricians that I know are studying and researching and discussing Daegan's symptoms daily.  And, I am certain one of them is praying for Daegan!  I am thankful for their guidance and my trust I can put in them.
16) Salted Caramel Chocolates
17) My work - so far has not been too stressful to keep up with, my office is mobile and the guys have covered for me as needed
18) Legos - something Daegan is still good at and makes him feel good as he struggles with reading and math (things that used to come so easily to him)
19) A church body that comes together and supports
20) Prayer, prayer and more prayer

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ode to 18 years

Short courtship, young kids.
Rainy wedding, cocky groom, sick bride.
Incredible 8-day honeymoon.
Apartment living, Astor Lane, then Larry Drive.
Four years, just the two of us!
Rossville Machine Shop, Quick Print, Coker Tire to Self-Employment.
Self-Employment stress for 12 years.
Realty Center to Mommy and now back to real estate.
One lost baby, then five.
Colic, croup, RSV, asthma, stomach bugs, migraines, unexplained brain scan.
First steps, first days of school, high test scores and positive "attitude" scores across the board.
Class parties, Field Days, and soccer games.
Family Game Nights, Movie Nights, bowling and swimming.
Errands with Mommy, Waffle House with Daddy.
Date Nights.
Chilis, Urban Stack, Sticky Fingers and the Brewery.
18 years
Good Times, Bad Times.
Laughs, Tears, Joys, Struggles and Fears.
Sickness, Health, Plenty, Want.
18 years
Many lessons learned.
Incredible journey so far.
With an incredible man.
And an incredible Father above.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Two Verses That Are Speaking To Me Right Now

Romans 12:12 " Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

Romans 5:3-4 "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Guys Night at our house!

Jason is the leader of a high school small group at church on Wednesday nights.  He is also part of a men's small group every other Monday night.  Tonight we mixed those two groups and had pizza, sodas, junk food and Xbox.

These guys literally brought their own TVs and Xbox systems and are playing against each other - two per TV.  Can't you do this online via Xbox Live you say?  Yes, but it just isn't the same if you aren't in the same room....
Cracks me up, and I love it!  Glad to play hostess to a great group of guys!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Parties 2014

Today was Fall Parties at school.  Daegan has missed most of the last five weeks of school, but I thought it would be fun to get him out of the house.  I encouraged him to go, and he was excited but then he didn't want to go an hour before.  I think he panicked.  I was fine with that, I am sure it is overwhelming.  

We ate lunch and as I was getting ready to go, he cleared his plate and said he wanted to go with me!  Yeah!  

I was glad to see him have fun for a little bit.  Here he and Miles are doing crafts:
 Capps' class painted trees with fingerprints!
 And tossed candy corn in the candycorn game.
 Mac's class made turkeys and trees out of candy
 And Mac was a goof, of course!

A Rollercoaster Week for Daegan and His Parents

I got into bed last night and told Jason that I felt like Daegan's MRI, which was Monday, was a month ago.  My last post gave a brief synopsis on what Daegan has been feeling, but here is a summary of our week:

We were scheduled for the MRI on Monday but couldn't get in to see a neurologist for six weeks.  We went at 3:30 and everything went fairly smoothly.  Daegan did great.  It is a long, tedious process of pictures.  He was still and didn't have to be sedated.  After the first set of pictures, they gave him the shot/IV of contrast and did the second set of pictures to have to compare.  The first arm/vein didn't work out for the nurse (keep in mind he had to lay still so his head was in the same position as first set of pictures), so she had to go to his other arm.

As we were leaving, I asked what the procedure was to find out how it was.  She said the doctor had already called, so she would call him back and let him know that the film was being sent to the tech lab right then.  At that point, I was hopeful to get the results Monday night.  We waited and waited.  Daegan would pop up every once in awhile, "Any word?"  Bless his heart.

Then Tuesday morning.  I tried to be patient.  I don't want to be "that parent".  I waited until 11:00 and then left a message with Dr. May that I was just curious when we would hear b/c we were all anxiously awaiting.  Around 2:00, we finally got a call.  "Daegan has a lesion on his brain.  It is in the center of his brain so it cannot be biopsied or test.  It could be the cause of an auto-immune disease or could be a scar from something in the past.  We'd have to meet with the neurologist for more information."  Because of these results, the neuro wanted to meet with us the following at 12:30.  A lesion.  On his brain.  That was all I had.  No real information.

Thankfully, it was raining that day and Jason was home.  We delivered the news to Daegan together, being honest with him that we really had no idea what this meant, but we hoped for more answers on Wednesday.

It was the longest 22 hours of my life.  I tried hard not to let too much get worked up in my own brain.  I didn't search the internet, I knew that was a bad idea.  Dr. May was the ped we saw that ordered the MRI, but Dr E is our regular ped and he called me that night.  He was a little more reassuring that a lesion could very well be absolutely nothing.  He gave me his cell number and asked me to call him directly as soon as we left the neuro office.

So, Wednesday we went to the pediatric neurologist.  We thought we were seeing the head of the group, but he ended up in surgery.  So, we saw a partner.  We liked her fine and she did a very detailed work-up of history and then a detailed work-up of the past five weeks.  We tried to give her as much information as possible.  She felt that because all the motor skills were good, and because he was having a better balance day (we have him rank his days from 1-10, usually he is a 6 or an 8 and that day he was 4.5), we informed her she was not seeing him on a regular, bad day, she just didn't feel the lesion was anything to worry about.  Because of the way it was described by the tech, she felt it was something old, probably from when he had a concussion at age 4.  Unfortunately, there is no real way to know without testing it again in six months and seeing if it grew?

The neuro was going to meet with the entire group of pediatric neurologists and discuss the case.  They were going to come up with a list of labs to run and see if anything popped up that could be causing the dizziness or if anything popped up that could point to an auto-immune disease.  They called the next afternoon around 2:00 to say the lab list was decided and we were at the hospital by 3:00.  There were so many labs the lab tech thought it was a joke or a mistake.  After understanding it was not a mistake, she was able to draw enough blood for most of the labs - the rest would be done on Monday.

And now we wait and see if they find anything.  If not, I do not know where we go from there.  More labs?  Second opinion on the MRI?  Wait out this Ataxia (word used for this form of dizziness) and see if it clears on its own as many do?  Curse a little in between?

And, of course, PRAY!

Daegan has been good and frustrated and ok and ready to be better.  He can't read because his mind won't concentrate and that really, really is upsetting to me.  But we are trusting the Lord to guide us through this roller coaster and bring us steadiness.  No pun intended - ok, maybe there was...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dizzy Daegan

I sent this out in an e-mail and thought I'd post it here too:

Daegan, 11, 5th grade, started with a headache and dizziness about five weeks ago.  He gets headaches often, so that wasn't abnormal, but we couldn't get anything to get rid of it.  He doesn't typically get migraines, but we went with Tavis' migraine process and kept trying Gatorade, Advil and ice.  It would alleviate some, but wouldn't touch the dizziness.  After a few days, I took him to the doctor (not our regular pediatrician, but another in the group) and he said it was a migraine that was lasting too long and I was doing the right thing, but he had no other symptoms and no other proof of anything else wrong - being a Mom with high "mommy sense", I was ok with this diagnosis.
Let me say that many of you know that I have struggled immensely with vertigo for three years and have found no doctor to help me.  This dizziness that Daegan has is not like my vertigo.  It is dizziness, not vertigo and his symptoms are completely different from mine.  I can explain in another e-mail if you are interested, but I won't bore the others.
After another few days passed, I took him back to the doctor out of pure frustration for Daeagn.  At this point, his headache had passed but he was still dizzy and he had missed a week and a half of school - even tho he had tried to go a couple different days, only for me to pick him around 10.  He still had no other symptoms, like swollen sinus or ear infection, etc., but I demanded a sinus x-ray, just to ease my mine.  It was clear.  The doctor did many tests with his dizziness and then did many neurological tests.  Since his neuro tests were ok, he asked we give it a little longer and then we would get a CT scan if needed.  Obviously, if anything changed drastically, we were to go to the ER immediately.
Daeg missed the rest of that next week, but slowly began to improve, so we felt we were getting to the other side of this weirdness.  He went to school for two weeks, but this past Sunday he woke up very dizzy again, again with a bad headache.  We went to church, but he was so miserable, I took him home halfway thru church.  I gave it a couple of days and took him back to the doctor on Tuesday.  Again, we saw another doctor (I love being part of a big group b/c I like most of the doctors in our group and it is nice to pull from different opinions) and this doctor did the same dizzy tests and neuro tests our own pediatrician did.  Thankfully, Daegan still passed the neuro tests, but the dizzy ones he failed miserably.  Like, stand up straight - not an option!!  Later, I told him I felt he was over-exaggerating his dizziness a little with the doctors tests - he said he wasn't, the doctor asked him to stand up straight and he usually keeps his knees bent at all times so he doesn't tip over.  So, he is clearly learning to compensate for this dizziness.  Plus, he usually has his hand on something to hold steady if you watch him.  Makes me sad and very frustrated for him.
So, this third doctor appointment is sending us to a pediatric neurologist and to get an MRI.  We've been waiting on insurance approval (to get test done before we see the specialist) and waiting on apt time to see neurologist.  I just got a call that they will do the MRI at 3:30 on Monday.  They will do a regular MRI and then one with contrast.  So he will have to lay still for 45 minutes for the first one and then have the IV of contrast and lay still for the second one.  I was really hoping to get that done today, but we will have to wait it out thru the weekend.
I am sad he is missing so much school, just because he loves to be at school and to learn.  He has now missed almost three weeks and I know he can make up the work fine, but he is missing so many experiments and fun activities.  But I think the anxiety of falling at school is more than his little mind can handle, and with all of my vertigo experience, I can understand way more than he knows!
So, we hope to have some answers next week, but with the test so late on Monday, I think we will have to wait until Tuesday to know anything from that.  Plus, if it comes back clear, we will still have to wait to see the neurologist?  All the while, trying to keep his spirits up.  He is a big reader, but hasn't done a lot of reading b/c he says it is hard to concentrate.  All the doctors keep asking me if I am sure he didn't hit his head or something?  It is almost like they want it to be a bad concussion, but there has been no injury that we know of?
Pray as we wait.  Pray for Daegan to be healed.  Pray for answers.  And pray for Mommy's anxiety.

Friday, October 10, 2014

How do you take your hot dog?

Mac - nothing on it

Capps - lots and lots and lots of ketchup

Daegan - one strip of ketchup, one strip of mustard

Tavis - one slice of American cheese and chili

Mollee - chili sprinkled with chedar cheese

Gretchen - mustard with lots of diced onions

Jason - mayo, blue cheese dressing, American cheese, chili and onions (times 3 or 4)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Covenant College Alumni of the Year 2014

During the 50th Anniversary chapel today of the college being at "The Castle", my parents were named Alumni of the Year.  They were part of one of the first classes on the mountain.  Dad has served on the Board for almost thirty years.  All six of their kids have gone to Covenant, and now their oldest grandchild is at Covenant.  It is no secret that they are huge Scots fans and loyal supporters.

It only seemed appropriate to everyone involved in choosing them for this honor.

Mom and Dad had no idea.  Dad was at chapel because he was at Board Meetings and my brother, David (an advisor to the Board), was responsible in getting Mom there.  He told her there was going to be a special 50th anniversary chapel, which there was, and then a big luncheon afterwards that he thought she needed to come to, which there was not.

They had chapel and they had a few sweet tributes to different professors that are long in years and will not be on this earth much longer.  They then had the 50th anniversary presentation, given by Dr. Mueller, which was great!  Then, President Halvorson, whom I can really only call Derek, called Mom and Dad to the stage.

All this time, we Caines kids and in-laws, were hiding in the balcony so Mom and Dad didn't see us and wonder why the heck we were there.  Derek gave Mom and Dad high regards and explained how much they loved and supported Covenant.  He even mentioned that Mom had cheered him (President Halvorson) on in his soccer games at one time when Philip was playing soccer as a Scot.
And then the strangest thing happened, that made us all laugh, and made the crowd erupt - even if my father doesn't understand.  President Halvorson stopped Mom and Dad to take a selfie before they left.
I am certain this is Grandma and Papa's first "selfie".

As the chapel crowd began to sing "All For Jesus", the Caines kids and grandkids began to file down the chapel staircase and it was sweet to see the surprise on Mom and Dad's face as they realized we were all there and, clearly, we all knew about this for awhile.  

Proud to be the 4th kid of the Alumni of the Year!

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