Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Smithson Pumpkins

On Monday we went to the Pumpkin Patch at our church! It was voted the best photo spot in Gainesville! What the sign didn't say or guarentee...the pumpkins were great at having their pictures taken, sitting still the entire time....the kids on the other hand, were not as cooperative! Not only was it cold and windy, but the excitement of tons of orange things that look like balls laying in one area, was more than Sid and I could handle! Logan was impressed he could carry even the "biggest" pumpkins without droppppp....ing them, oops! Liam was just interested in how far the small pumpkins could travel when thrown with the wind! Needless to say, we left Lainey in the car due to the weather, took a few pictures, picked out a few pumpkins, and headed home! Pictures at home are just as cute, right? Took some convincing for me, but soon became the best idea Sid had ever .... and I mean ever, thought of!
Logan James and the "biggest" pumpkin...at least in his 4 year old eyes!

"Ummmm.....I wonder how far this one will go?" thought the cute, little innocent Liam!

The warmer "pumpkin patch."

Liam had enough of all the pumpkin stuff ... Lainey and Logan were debating on whether or not they are really related to Liam!

Who needs those boys in the picture... when you have me!

Watch out! There is a "Bug" in the pumpkin patch!

Our Little Pumpkin Girl!
We hope you enjoyed the pictures as much and more than we had taking them! Check back this weekend for more pictures of the kids during an afternoon full of Trick-or-Treating! We have an "action" packed afternoon planned as we Trick-or-Treat with a few of our friends!
Much Love,

Church Bug

Lainey before attending church!
She is finally able to wear the pretty dress Aunt Dayna gave her!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Snug as 3 Bugs in a Rug!

Logan, Lainey, and Liam in the blankets Great Aunt Shirley made!

The kids love blankets . . . and these blankets have been numerous places in the past two weeks since getting them in the mail! Thanks a bunch Great Aunt Shirley!

"Frog Boy" Liam at our church's Trunk - or - Treat.

Georgia is missing out not having this "Big" guy on their team! Logan was "scaring" everyone at Trunk - or - Treat with his muscles!

"Lainey Bug" has lost her wings, but continues to be full of smiles!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tonsils....What tonsils?.....I want to eat and go to the fair!

The tonsils are gone....but the meanness, not quite so much! Liam had to be at the hospital by 6:00 this morning. All he wanted was apple juice! It is amazingly difficult to keep apple juice away from a 2 year old! Although he refused to wear the hospital gown, his surgery went well. Dr. Stewart removed his tonsils, scraped away the regrowth of his adenoids, and cleaned an abundant amount of earwax out of his ears. He decided to hold off on putting ear tubes in again in hopes that removal of the tonsils will keep his ears well. You would have never guessed that Liam had his tonsils out due to the excessively loud screeching following surgery! Why the screeching? Is he in pain? Does he feel sick? None of the above! He did not like the pulse oximeter on his finger! Plus, he could not bend his hand well enough to drink his apple juice due to the iv! After an hour of listening to him scream, the nurse was ready to see us leave! On the way to Gigi and Papa's house, Liam spotted several things he wanted....Chick-fil-A ("Biscuit. Play."), the fair ("I ride"), Mommy's school ("I go!"), and IHOP ("I want some!"). As soon as we arrived at Gigi and Papa's, Liam began yelling from the car for Papa to get him out of the car! We have been servants most of the morning as well as deterrents! He wants to eat only red and/or blue Popsicles, apples, hot dogs, pizza, pretzels, chips, and everything else in sight! Thank the Lord for Hydrocodone! It helps with keeping the pain at bay, but it doesn't keep the activity level down like it would on most people! It hypes Liam up! Sorry Gigi and Papa....no down time from this surgery!

Lainey also went to the doctor. On Monday we went to see Dr. Caplan. All was well with Lainey. She now weighs 13 lbs. 1 oz. She is 24.7 inches long! Although she gained weight, she fell in her percentile. She was at the 40th percentile for her weight and she has now dropped to the 23rd percentile. Not what we wanted, therefore Dr. Caplan decided to up her Ultrase enzymes from 2 before each meal, to 3 before each meal. We have also upped the amount of salt in her bottles from 1/8 tsp. in each bottle to 1/4 tsp. in each bottle. They have encouraged us to begin feeding her baby food in addition to the rice cereal she is already eating. Like her other food, we have to make additions to the baby food. With each jar/container of food, we have to add 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil!! Talk about nasty, but she doesn't know the difference! Her lungs continued to sound clear and for that we are thankful! Other than adding a few things to Lainey's diet, her visit to the CF Center was fairly uneventful. Well....at least for the health aspect of the visit. As for her cooperation, I can say that it was less than desirable. If anyone at the CF Center was unaware Lainey was there for her check-up, they were soon in the know. She fussed from the time we undressed her to weigh in until we put her in her car seat, which was about an hour and a half. Due to this behavior, Dr. Caplan (her adopted Great grandpa) was a man of few words! We will go back again on November 17 for another check-up.

Today was also Lainey's first visit from the home health care nurse. She came to Gigi and Papa's house to administer Lainey's first of 7 Synagis shots. This took about 45 minutes and I had to be present for the first appointment to sign paperwork. The shot took about 5 seconds to give, but it took 30 minutes to calm Lainey afterwards! I wrote in an earlier post that each shot costs about $2300...well I was wrong! With the nurse, her travel time and mileage, the medication, the digital scale, and other supplies, each injection costs almost $4900! Now I have a better understanding of the reasons we had to fight with the insurance company to get these shots approved. My dad warned me that girls cost a lot of money, but Lainey is taking it to a new level!!

Logan went to the doctor on Tuesday because his fever and headache from Friday was still lingering! Just what I thought would happen..."We will continue to watch and treat the symptoms," says the doctor. He finally began feeling well enough to go to school today! For Logan's sake, I hope he is well for at least a week. I am glad he is feeling better because the Lucky Duck is leaving on Friday after school to go to Athens with Gigi and Papa. They are going to tailgate and then he gets to go into the Georgia vs. Vanderbilt game! According to Logan, "This is what I have dreaming about for 50 years! Plus I have to get a picture of Uga the dog for my teacher, Mrs. Wood."

Sid and I went on a date last Saturday for the first time in forever! Sid's mom watched the children while we went to see the movie "Fireproof." What a wonderful movie for all married couples! We highly recommend going to see it.

I am hoping that next week is less eventful than the current week. We will have one less kid this weekend since Logan will be at "the Georgia" with Gigi and Papa, I am going to a baby shower honoring my sister on Sunday, and then taking the kids to Trunk-or-Treat at the church. Look next week for some pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes! Thanks again for your prayers this week and always. It is great to have a positive update to post.

Much Love,

The Smithsons

Saturday, October 11, 2008

When it rains, it pours....and we are in a monsoon!

Liam tailgating at the Georgia game.

The Smithsons definitely love each other, but we have been spreading more than love! Liam had a fever of 101.4 on Sunday night, leaving us no choice but to resort to our emergency plans on Monday morning....Gigi and Papa! Thankfully they were able to watch him while Sid was at school and I was at work. How it breaks my heart to go to work instead of taking care of my children when they are sick! In all efforts to save my sick leave for a "rainy" day, I had no choice but to leave him at mom and dad's house. Fortunately we had previously scheduled an appointment with Liam's ENT that was conveniently scheduled for 3:30 on Monday! This appointment was scheduled to discuss and determine Liam's need for the removal of his tonsils. With one AHHHHHH, Dr. Stewart confirmed Liam's second case of tonsillitis in a month. He had just completed his 10 day round of antibiotics for bronchitis! We have scheduled to have his tonsils removed, a bilateral earwax removal, removal of his adenoids (which were removed last December, but are growing back in the form of scar tissue), and to place new ear tubes (this will be the third pair!) His surgery is on Wednesday, October 15th at 6:00 a.m. Hopefully this will be the answer! Dr. Stewart thinks this should solve his problems with constant ear infections, respiratory infections, and throat infections, as well as improving his speech, snoring, and constant drooling. If only it would help with Liam's anger management!

Lainey at the Georgia game!

Wednesday is also a big day for Lainey! She will be receiving the first of eight Synagis shots for the prevention of serious illness related to RSV. The home health care nurse will come to mom and dad's house to bring a digital scale and administer her Synagis shot. Two days before each shot we will call the suppliers of Synagis to report her weight. Knowing her exact wight is vital in determining the correct dosage of Synagis. Each shot costs $2300! The doctor wanted these shots to begin in September and last through April. Obviously the insurance company didn't agree with the doctor, thus the reason for beginning a month later! After an appeal from the distributors of Synagis, the insurance company agreed to continue Lainey's monthly shots through April 14th.

The sick Logan James!

Last night Logan went with Gigi and Papa in the "big bus" to begin tailgating at "the Georgia." Around 10:30 mom called to report that Logan was complaining of a headache, had a fever, and was throwing up! At least he made it to the toilet when he felt sick! This happened to be exactly two weeks from his confirmed case of strep throat, and just four days from the completion of antibiotics! Now we are hoping Liam does not get this stomach bug which could possibly postpone his surgery. Although Logan is feeling a little better, he is still feverish as I type!

"Oh really?"

Wednesday evening when I finally got around to opening the mail, I found a packed envelope from the endocrinologist. I had blood work drawn two weeks ago and an MRI brain scan one week ago, with no call from her. It was then when I understood why she had not called me with my results! She mailed fifteen pages of test results and prescriptions. With the 3 tubes of my blood they found several things. My red blood count, hemoglobin, hemocrit, and Ferritin was low. It was determined that I am anemic, therefore I am now taking iron supplements daily. It was also determined that my vitamin D levels were low. Once a week I take 50,000 units of vitamin D. My serum prolactin level was high, so I am now taking medication twice a week to lower these levels. Neither the doctor nor I know what has caused these level to be higher than normal, therefore I will have it checked regularly. My estrogen level was also extremely low. For a female of my age, the reference range is 19 - 528 (and should be at the higher end). The test showed my estrogen level to be 7, that of a postmenopausal female with no treatment. This low estrogen level may be related to the elevated prolactin level and will be monitored through blood tests. Last, but not least, my kidney function was low. Tests on my kidney function will be performed regularly to rule out chronic kidney disease. The other tests were normal, including the MRI brain scan. I was worried they might not find a brain!

Lainey and Uncle Brad hanging out in Gigi and Papa's motor home.

On Monday Lainey will go see Dr. Caplan for her monthly visit. Maybe she will weigh 13 and one half pounds...this is my goal! She has been eating rice cereal daily, which has helped lower the number of poopy diapers we change per day! Mom and dad will watch the boys since they are out of school on Monday for Columbus Day, while my friend, Jenn, Lainey, and I go to the CF Center. I will try to report about Lainey's doctor visit and Liam's surgery on Wednesday.

Thanks again for all of your prayers! Hopefully we will get a break with illnesses, for the sake of our health and wallet! In addition to the amount we are spending on numerous doctor visits, we were just informed by Liam's daycare that the fees are increasing. We will pay an additional $40 per week beginning in November. This will bring the total to $525 per month, not including his lunch and snacks! We are thankful that mom and dad are able to watch Lainey! Daycare for the two of them would cost roughly $1100 per month. Due to this increase, Sid will be picking up a few hours on Monday and Tuesday after school. It makes it harder on all of us when Sid has to work more hours, but we just thank God that we have that as an option when times get rough! Although it is hard to see at times, God really is Good! Continue praying for us ~ especially for Liam during his surgery on Wednesday and Lainey with the beginning of her Synagis shots.

Much Love,

The Smithsons

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Doctor Visits!!!!!....and new pictures!

More illness at our house! Logan was out of school on Friday and Liam should have been....but who wants to take care of a 2 year old that doesn't slow down when he is sick....even when given medication that causes drowsiness?! After convincing the kids into going through the doors of the doctors office (they remembered the blood test for Cystic Fibrosis and didn't even want to go in), we soon found out that Logan had Strep Throat and Liam had Bronchitis! Two co pays and two prescriptions later, we were headed home for a weekend of recuperation.
It is amazing how hard it is to keep the baby away from the boys and even more difficult to keep the boys away from the baby!! Every few minutes Logan wanted to know if it was okay to kiss the baby, since he was feeling better! After a Saturday of not feeling well myself, being home with 3 kids while Sid was working, nursing two sick boys back to health, cleaning the house, cleaning out closets, doing laundry, and watching Georgia "blackout" during the game...I was wishing I hadn't taken the boys to the doctor(or watched the game)!! They were more than feeling better with just one dose of antibiotics and I was worn out!! Whoever had the wonderful idea of making Saturday "Go outside and Play" day on the cartoon station, did not have the moms' of sick children in mind! Although I was feeling better on Sunday, our day was just as crazy...but I managed to take a few pictures of Lainey!
"I hope those boys don't give me what they have!"
On Monday we went to the pediatrician for Lainey's 4 month check-up. She did not have Strep Throat, but her throat was red!! We are praying that red is all she has in her throat...no germs! She weighed 12 pounds 13 ounces...that is a gain of 10.5 ounces in 13 days!! YEA!! Lainey was not very happy to have Dr. Onal checking her out...especially when he was pushing on her belly. She showed him by dirtying her diaper before he was able to check that area! Although we have seen her reach milestones quicker than Logan and even faster than Liam could have ever imagined, she refused to show Dr. Onal! She didn't want to hold her head up, roll over, be on her stomach, "talk," or grab on to his fingers! Mom and I were bummed out that she was not showing off (which is a Smithson trait), but we know what she can do and that is what counts!! After much reading and research, Dr. Onal decided it was safe...or at least that the benefits outweigh the risks...for Lainey to receive the Rotovirus orally. She did not get the first dosage at 2 months due to the precautions...DO NOT take if you have had a blood transfusion (Lainey had one at 6 days old), if you have had bowel obstructions (Lainey had for her first 5 days of life and then some), if you have had bowel surgery (Lainey had at 5 days old), and if you have digestion issues (Lainey's everyday issue). With all of these precautions, it is easily understood why we had an issue giving her the oral vaccine! Dr. Onal did a lot of reading and research, received a thumbs up from Dr. Caplan (the CF doctor), and I said I was comfortable with it, therefore she received her first Rotovirus dosage out of 3. So far, so good. No issues related to the vaccine that we have noticed. She has been running a fever, but we are contributing that to the other 4 vaccines she received! Overall, her visit was very good. Dr. Onal was happy with her progress and her unchanged status of health related to the Cystic Fibrosis. Two hours later, we were all happy...because we were finally getting out of the office!
Lainey liking the view from her Bumbo!

Today at 3:30 I will be having a MRI brain scan. The endocrinologist wants to check for any tumors in the pituitary gland. In addition to the MRI, she also had blood drawn for 15 different tests (one being pregnancy, so I know the answer is "not" an issue, but I am worried about the other 14). I should know results from the MRI and the blood work by the end of the week, or the beginning of next week. For my family's sake, I hope nothing is wrong with me! I think I could handle it personally, but if someone had to take over my responsibilities, I don't know what I would do! On that note, I think I will start a manual to surviving at the Smithson household! :)
Please keep all of us in your prayers! We need good health for everyone and bad germs out of our house! Thank you for everything ~ we count on your thoughts and prayer more than you will ever know!

Much Love,
The Smithsons

"Sitting up is way cooler than always lying down!"

Lainey and Logan watching cartoons!

Mommy's Love Bug!

Have you ever seen a "Naked Bug?" Well, now you have! If you look closely...I mean get real close...you can see her scars from the surgery and t-tube. The scar from the surgery is about an inch above her belly button, about 2 inches long, and parallel to the top of her diaper. The t-tube scar is next to her thumb nail! The doctors did an awesome job, didn't they?!