Sweet October

October is the best month.

The mornings are cool, the leaves are starting to turn colors, and fall is such a sweet ending to our steamy summers.

Every morning Eva asks me if it’s fall yet🙂  We’re ready.

We made our annual fall trip out to Ponca to see the elk herds and we weren’t disappointed!


We’ve made other road trips this last month to Kansas and Little Rock.  Audrey’s second cast was removed (hallelujah).


Her incision isn’t quite done healing so we’re doing some wound care at home.  I’m not posting any true incision pictures.  You’re welcome.


Her foot continues to heal and to settle into a better and better position.  Poor girl just had so much swelling post-op.

The girls both had appointments at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock this week.  They had no cavities (hallelujah) and their dentist said that at their age, diet has a greater effect on cavities even than brushing…as in, not having refined sugar as part of their diet has a great impact on dental health.  Food for thought, right?


Besides a teeth cleaning, Eva also saw her orthodontist again.  Because she has a class two malocclusion and a very deep bite, she is now using a T4K appliance.  Once Eva is done loosing most of her baby teeth and is ready for a big growth spurt, we might try a built-in retainer.  But for now, we are using the T4K in hopes that it will guide her erupting teeth into a better alignment and encourage her mandible to pull forward so that her bite can align better.




Welcome, September.

Welcome, September.  We’re so glad you’re here.  August was crazy.

The last three weekends we drove up to Kansas for botox, surgery, and cast changes.  The girls are both doing well post-botox, and Audrey is recovering nicely in her purple cast.  She had quite a bit of swelling the first two weeks after her right club foot repair but as time goes by, the swelling dissipates and she becomes more and more comfortable.   Immediately after the repair, her foot achieved a “normal,” neutral position.  But due to swelling, her foot positioned changed some and she’s had three series of casts to maintain her repaired foot position.


The day after surgery, a local contractor began work on a ramp on the side of our house in an effort to make our first floor completely accessible.  He and his team did great work and we’re so thankful to have a ramp!img_3486

To celebrate that August is over, we went fishing.  We took the stroller off roading.  It was the girls’ first time and they loved it!  They caught lots of rocks;)  Audrey loved reeling in her catch and Eva loved looking at the beautiful river rocks.



Botox number three is complete.

Audrey’s right clubfoot repair is complete.



This caption would maybe say, “I love Versed.”


This caption might say, “Post-op can be a booger.”


And this caption might say, “…but then there’s MyON-Q.”


And this caption might say, “Post-op recovery=Lots of TV!”

We’re not picky.  Olympics.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Duck Dynasty.


And, “I saw Uncle Si for the first time and thought he was Gollum.”


And, “Thank you, Jesus for Narcotics.”

The hospital staff at Shawnee Mission was wonderful, as ALWAYS.  And they told us that they just especially love our girls.  I don’t know how anyone couldn’t love our girls, but it’s still good to hear.  We really appreciate them and the girls’ surgeon, Dr. Gupta.

The girls are doing great.  They gained much coveted range in their joints and are feeling mostly wonderful.  They’re looking forward to being reunited with Sibby Cat.

A blur

Life’s been a blur lately.  For real.


We drove up and back to Kansas in one day to have Audrey’s first post-op cast removed and for her to be fitted with a second.  Audrey’s cast removal was uneventful and her incisions looked great.  The second splint was then cut along both sides just as if it was going to be removed, but then supported with straps for more wear, creating a bi-valve cast.


About half the way home, we realized that the cast wasn’t going to work.  So from Friday to Tuesday, Audrey wore Eva’s stretching splint.  Not ideal, but fortunately the girls feet are nearly the exact same size.  Then on Tuesday the girls’ PT made another cast which looked really good but once we were home, we found that due to Audrey’s foot position, she consistently rubbed along one of the walls.


Sometimes you can create a cast or a splint that looks great and then the body just rejects it.  Sometimes, despite a custom fit, you realize that it’s not going to stay fit.  Either it’s too loose and the foot moves or that it’s too tight and then creates potential pressure sores.  Or the sides are too short and don’t provide great support or they’re too tall and an area rubs.

I will never forget making a splint in grad school that literally fit like a glove.  It was gorgeous.  For 15 minutes.  Then my lab partner noted that her new, gorgeous theraplast glove was creating a very sore place along the styloid process of her ulna, which I had forgotten to “flare out” (basically heating the splint and making a little half bubble around the bony prominence).  In fact, I will absolutely never forget because at that point our instructor walked by and decided to use my splint as an example for the class of what not to do.  Ouch.

You can have a perfect fit and get an awesome position for a hand or foot only to realize that overtime, your splint will not work out in daily life.

And in Audrey’s case, she essentially has three specific points that we’re wanting the cast to support and maintain post-op with the most neutral position possible:

the heel cord-keep that heel down with the foot at about a 90 degree angle with the leg

the midfoot-keep it straight and not curved in a “C” shape

the calcaneus heel itself-keep it straight down, not curved “inward” like it used to be where Audrey’s point of contact with the floor was only the outside of her foot.

So just imagine how difficult it can be to juggle all those corrections, if you will, with leaving enough room but not too much room.  It’s a tricky business.

What we ended up doing was using an extra Dafo 3.5 with a softy shell.  Resolving all those foot issues took about a week.  The good news is that we’re able to manipulate Audrey’s foot to get it into a good position and keep it that way without too much discomfort on her end.  And in another week or so, Audrey’s custom orthotic should be in.IMG_3385IMG_3386

And Sibby finally recovered from her declawing surgery which was just one week after Audrey’s surgery.

Her surgery was performed using a laser which was supposed to be a lot more humane and easier to recover from.  Well, I pity the cats who had the scalpel.  Laser is bad enough.  Poor Sibby was so stressed that she licked herself a couple of bald spots.  I read that self-induced alopecia in cats is common after a stressful event, like moving their litter box.  In that case, I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that Sibby only liked off two patches. (For any would-be-haters:  Sibby has cerebellar hypoplasia and is not nor will ever be an outside cat where she would need those claws for defense.  She will forever be an inside cat where the situation was was kinda like get rid of the cat or get rid of the claws.  So. Surgery.)

And we celebrated our nation’s independence.

And we celebrated my dad’s 50th birthday.  Happy birthday, Dedu!


And we’re chugging on with summer school, which includes daily lessons from How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and the occasional educational movie.

The girls are picking out words they can read from some of their favorite books and making up the rest.  It’s great.

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The girls are still enjoying Inquisikids (from Mathtacular) and are learning some very basic air, plant, and kitchen science.  We jumped on the plant science bandwagon this week and did some leaf crayon-rubbing, checking out the stems and veins and dancing with notions of chlorophyll and photosynthesis.


Here’s to a relaxing four weeks until Audrey’s next surgery.

Happy 7th Birthday, Evalena Claire Claire!

Eva just turned seven.  Oh, my goodness. That girl.  My heart.

Eva’s bright little life has now reached the point where she’s spent the same amount of time in our family as in her orphanage.

Big bad medical post

Seven years old.  What a blessing Eva is to our family.  She’s so bright and kind.  Such a gracious little girl.

We celebrated her birthday just a few days ago.

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This girl loves her coffee!




And she (thankfully) really enjoys educational dvds.  This one is Inquisikids, by the Mathtacular guys.


Eva LOVES using her hands.  It’s a lot of work for her, but she absolutely enjoys the challenge and asks to “hold” things all the time.  She uses her trunk and shoulders to move her arms to “pick up” toys and put them into containers or just move them and play with them.  So she was really excited to get some Eva-sized toys.  She has a whole set of farm animals now.


And Eva-sized letter manipulatives.


That night we all stayed up past the girls bedtime and watched The Incredibles. The girls loved it.


And in keeping with tradition, Audrey received a gift on Eva’s birthday.  A ribbon wand.  Audrey was ecstatic.


As was Eva.


And no family celebration is complete without some chocolate covered strawberries!

Enter Lily’s dark chocolate to the rescue.  Vegan.  Zero sugar.  Stevia sweetened.  Score.



Eva, we hope your seventh year is full of joy.  You are such a delight!