Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Julie's Hernia Surgery

Monday was a hard day for me.
My little girl had to have surgery.

It was a pretty minor surgery but the hardest part was that she was so anxious about it.

About a month ago, I took Julie to the doctor for a sinus infection.  While we were there, the doctor discovered an umbilical hernia.  She had a tiny hole in her muscle right behind her belly button.  When she tightened up her stomach muscles, her belly button would inflate like a little balloon.  Then as she loosened, the doctor would push it back in.  Every baby has that little hole when they are in their mom's belly.  It is supposed to close up shortly before birth and sometimes shortly after birth.  If it doesn't, surgery is required to close it up.

So, has she had this since birth?  We have no way of knowing.  This doctor is the first one to notice it.  It is possible that it just was never big enough to notice before and that as she grew, the hole grew too.  Or it could be that the muscles there were weak and she just pulled it and caused the hole more recently.  Either way, when it was discovered her pediatrician thought it was significant enough to send us to a surgeon.  And the surgeon said she needed to get it fixed.

Even though the hole was very small (the size of her belly button), it was dangerous to do nothing.  That little "inflating like a balloon" that I mentioned earlier was her insides coming out of that hole.  And even though they went back in every time that we were looking at them, it is very common for someone with a hernia to have their insides come out and get stuck.  And if they get stuck, it can cause major damage to the person's intestines.  The surgeon told us the smaller the hole was the more dangerous it was because it was harder for whatever came out to get back in.

In light of all that, we opted for the surgery.  Since it wasn't an emergency (yet), we had some time to pick a date that worked best for us.  I made sure to pick a week that there weren't any big tests at school and we picked Monday morning for the surgery so she could have a full week to heal.

Monday we got up insanely early since we had to be at the hospital at 5:50 AM.  Julie was most concerned about getting an IV and despite the fact that they gave her Versed and numbed her hand with a topical bandage, she still freaked out when they put that IV in.  I really think it was the thought of something in her vein and the anticipation of pain that she was upset about.  The anesthesiologist told us she was already numb when it went in.

They took her back soon after that and a friend of ours from church got to be her anesthesiologist and take good care of her during the surgery.  The actual procedure wasn't long at all, about 20 minutes.  She did great.  As soon as she started waking up, they let us go back to recovery with her.

As you can see, the first thing we did was to give her all her lovies.  She might look peaceful here but this was taken just before the storm unleashed.  She was hysterical and was crying and thrashing all around.  She kept telling us that there were too many wires and to get these wires off of her (imagine that with a LOT more emphasis).  She kept saying "I want to go home," over and over and crying through the whole thing.  We were pretty upset because we couldn't calm her down.  But the nurses didn't even bat an eyelash.  They just said "She's fine.  That's just how kids wake up from anesthesia."  But it was very rough to go through.

She pretty much went beserk until she got moved back into a Same Day Surgery room.  And that room held the magic box with the magical words on the corner - "Disney Channel."  Yes, the TV was a life saver.  We turned on the Disney channel and like a magic wand, she stopped crying and was mesmerized by the TV.  We breathed a sigh of relief and called in our parents who were all in the waiting room.  She even got some cool "Get Well Soon" balloons.

Mesmerized by the TV
After an hour or so there, she was doing so much better.  She drank some apple juice and ate some crackers.  They got her up to walk and that was the first time that she felt any pain.  When she got back in bed, she was in a fair amount of pain.  We got her some pain medicine and waited about 30 minutes to make sure she didn't get sick from it.  Then we got to go home.  It was about noon when we got back here.  Everyone was so tired from emotional stress and from getting up so early.  Tim and Julie got a couple hours of sleep.  I only got about 45 minutes of sleep because I wanted to be sure to be awake when David got home from school.  I knew he was worried about his sister and I needed to reassure him that she was OK.

Since then Julie has done very well.  She's been a good patient and is healing quickly.  She will be out of school for the whole week.  I hope that by the time she goes back next week that she'll be pain free.  She won't be able to do gym class for 6 weeks but I assured her that she would be well enough to jump up and down on Christmas Day.

Thankfully she doesn't have any stitches on the outside.  She has stitches on the inside to close the hole, but they used DermaBond on the outside, which is surgical super glue.  That means she can take a shower ("She's waterproof" is what the surgeon said) and she doesn't have to go get any stitches removed.  The glue is also less likely to leave a scar which is good.

All in all, it was a minor procedure, but it was still emotional and stressful for me and for Tim.  I will be glad when my little girl is back to normal again.  And in case you want to see it, she took a picture of her belly button to send to a friend.  If you don't want to see it, just close the window now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Disney/Universal 2013 Day 4

Read all about our Disney trip!  Day 1, day 2 and day 3 posts are up.

Tuesday was our "free day" meaning we didn't schedule a park visit for that day.  We had a free day in the middle of the week the last time we came to Disney and it worked out really well. So we decided to do it again.

We slept in on Tuesday (as you have noticed by now, that is one of our favorite things to do).  Then it was back to Downtown Disney for some intense shopping.

We started out at the Disney "Design-a-Tee" store.  That was pretty neat.  There were kiosks all over the store that you use to design your own T-shirt.  You choose the color of the shirt, which design you want on the shirt and what words you want to write.  You submit the design and pay for it, then you go back about 45 minutes later and the shirt is all ready for you.  Julie and I each designed a shirt.  Hers originally had Mickey holding a British flag saying "I love Harry Potter" but when we went to submit that, they wouldn't let her use the phrase "Harry Potter."  The guy said he thought it was copyrighted but I think it was more that it was advertising for their competition.  Anyway, she kept the picture but changed the words to "Disney World 2013."  Not quite as unique but still her.  She ordered it in adult large so she could use it as a night shirt.  That baffled the guy too.  He wanted to change it to a child's large and almost didn't believe us when we said, no, that's really what she wants.  In the long run she got the shirt in the adult large and she has slept in it almost every night since.

We explored the World of Disney store for a while.  There is soooo much to see there in all it's 12 rooms of Disney themed stuff, it takes a while to get through it.  Julie and I each got Mickey earrings and I spent a while looking at the Disney Infinity XBOX game.  That is high on our Christmas list this year.  There was a nice employee who took a lot of time answering my questions about the game.  It looks like a really great game with a lot of playability and tons of possible expansions onto it.  It could keep us busy for a while.

Incidentally, I was surprised that the huge World of Disney store didn't have accessories for the new Magic Bands.  Those were only found in the store at the resort, but I didn't discover that until the day we were leaving.  At that point it was really too late.  The bands were coming off within the hour, so I didn't buy anything.  But if I had known about them earlier in the trip, I definitely would have bought some.  They, obviously, need to have those things available to buy in other places because everyone I saw at the Disney parks had a Magic Band on.

Then we moved onto one of our favorite stores - the Lego store.

As you can tell, I gave Julie the camera while we were at the Lego store.  I knew David just wanted to look for a while and play for a while and that Julie would get bored fast.  So I had the idea to let her use my camera.  She took about 20 pictures of everything.  She had Tim and I pose in different ways and she took lots of pictures from different angles.  She really had a good time and didn't whine or complain once.  So my camera idea was completely brilliant, if I do say so myself.

David was a little sad that he only had money left for one small Lego set.  But it was his choice to spend it all the day before.  He knew the Lego store was on the agenda.  He still had a good time playing with everything and looking at all the built sets behind the glass.  We did buy David a big gray flat Lego board.  We had bought him one the last time we were there and he uses it all the time.  Since they are only available in the store, we decided to get a second one.  I also got him $5 off his set by using my Lego VIP card.  I think it was nice of me to let him use it instead of me, but I'm nice like that sometimes.

In the Lego store.  David has a Minecraft Lego set and
Tim is looking off at some other Legos somewhere.
Yes, the Lego store holds the attention of boys, young and old.
For lunch we ate at T-Rex.  It's owned by the Rainforest Cafe so it has a similar type of decorating but all in dinosaurs.  

There was a little play place that kids could dig up "dinosaur bones" in.  It occupied our kids for the short wait until we were seated.

We got to sit in this cool room that was an ice cave.  The lights kept changing colors so the room would go from blue to red.  It was pretty neat, although it was a little dark which made it hard to see our food...but still worth it for the cool factor.

I convinced David to order the ribs that were on the kids meal.  It was the only non chicken nugget/pizza or hotdog that he ate all week.  And he LOVED them.

Speaking of food...we were very fortunate on this trip.  Once again we had chosen not to sign up for the Disney meal plan, believing that we could buy food for cheaper than the cost of the meal plan.  Technically the meal plan was being offered for "free".  But, as we know, nothing is really free in this world.  When we visited Disney in 2011 we had bought 8-day, no-expiration-date tickets.  We used 4 days on the 2011 trip so we still had days left on those tickets that we were using this time.  In order to get the "free" meal plan, we would have had to buy new Disney tickets, which aren't cheap.  So for us, the meal plan wasn't really free.

But...we did have a bunch of rewards built up on a gift card from when we used to use a Disney Rewards credit card.  I thought we had about $250 but I hadn't really checked.  When we used our gift card to pay the first time, the balance printed on the receipt and it was $400!!  We used that money to pay for our meals on the trip as well as for a lot of the souvenirs we bought and it covered almost all of them.  Besides the food we ate while traveling down there and back, we paid for food in Universal, of course, and for 2 meals at the resort.  And. That. Was. It.  Yay!

After lunch we visited the Disney Christmas store for our obligatory 2013 Mickey ornament.  I also bought Julie an ornament for the tree in her room (since we had bought David something at the Lego store).  Then we rode the bus back to Pop Century.  We all went for a swim that night in the flower pool and the kids played some of the games they had going on - a cake walk kind of game and a big wheel race.  We had dinner at the resort and turned in early.  We had to get our rest for the next day - the day I had been waiting for - Hollywood Studios!

Check out what we did on Day 5.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Disney/Universal 2013: Day 3

Need to catch up?  Read about Day 1 and Day 2 here.

This was it.  The big day had finally arrived.  It was Universal Studios Islands of Adventure day, or as my kids like to call it "Harry Potter Land" day.

Julie, especially, is a huge Harry Potter fan.  She has read all the books several times and watched all the movies.  She's played on the Pottermore website and loves the Lego Harry Potter video games on both the XBOX and her DSi.  For over a year now she has been waiting and anticipating visiting Islands of Adventure and going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The rest of us love Harry Potter too.
Julie just loves him more.

Unlike the two previous days, on this day we woke early and got to the park an hour before it opened.  We weren't the first people in line, but we were close.  As a true type-A personality, I had researched the park and knew that the Harry Potter part fills up early.  Everyone goes there first then goes to visit the rest of the park later in the day.  So our strategy was to do all the other stuff in the park while all the crowds were in the Wizarding World, then go see Harry Potter Land a little later when it was less crowded.  That strategy kinda worked.  We were just so excited about the Harry Potter part that we couldn't stand to wait too long to go there.

We started out on the Hulk roller coaster.  Tim and I had to do the child-swap option because David wasn't tall enough - poor kid.  Julie got to ride it twice, once with each parent.  She absolutely loved it.  Tim and I liked it but came off with a headache so it made it a little less fun.  Then we did the Spiderman ride - absolutely phenomenal.  We rode that one again later in the day.  It's one of those rides that combines a moving car with 3D images on big screens.  We all liked that one.  Julie and I rode Doctor Doom's freefall.  It was fun but kind of anticlimactic.  I was expecting it to be scary but it wasn't at all.  Tim and David were very interested in the Marvel stores and all the cool comic book paraphernalia they could buy there.

Spiderman happened to be in his store when we got there and
we had an impromptu picture made with him.
Spidey riding away with Wolverine.
Hanging out in Wolverine's claw.
After that we just couldn't hold out any longer.  We had to go see Harry and Hogwarts.

The Hogwarts express
We're finally in Hogsmeade!

We visited Zonko's joke shop and Honeyduke's Candy store.  Then it was on to the wand shop.  If you just wanted to buy a wand, you could go directly into the shop.  If you wanted to see the magical wand presentation, you had to stand in line 45 minutes.  Our kids wanted to see the magical wand presentation.  They let in about 30 people at a time and they only pick 2 to take part in the presentation.  Our children were not picked.  But it was still a cool presentation - drawers move, magical little sounds and lights come on.  It was fun.

Then our kids got to go into the store and pick a wand.  They give out wands by birthdays but since both Julie and David are June babies, Julie picked a different month's wand so we could tell them apart.  Tim decided he needed Dumbledore's wand.

At $35 a pop, they are making a fortune in that store.

We rode the Dragon Challenge dueling roller coasters.  Well, Julie and I did anyway.  It rattled you around a lot and I wasn't a huge fan, but the styling of the queue was pretty cool.  It was from the fourth book where Harry competes in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

We got to eat lunch at The Three Broomsticks.  I think it was some of the best food we had all week.  They had real food - roasted chicken, fish, lemonade - you know, the good stuff.  It was jam packed but they did a great job of finding tables for people.  I was impressed with that place.

In Hogsmeade, the kids also made their biggest purchases of the trip.  For this trip we told our children that they needed to save up their own money to spend.  Julie saved up $250 and David had $150.  The only things I bought them were pin lanyards, a Lego board (for David) and an ornament (for Julie).  Everything else was up to them.  So they each decided to get these.

Hogwarts robes.  $110 each.  Yes, you read that right.  They decided to spend almost ALL of their money on robes and a wand.  As much we we tried to discourage them, it was their money.  I strongly believe your children need to be able to make mistakes with their money now so they can learn for the future.  Better to waste $100 now then to waste $10,000 later in life. They both still say they were glad they made that purchase, however David was very wistful in the Lego store later when he didn't have money left to buy anything.  Needless to say, these are their Halloween costumes this year.

While in Hogsmeade we also rode one of David's funnest rides of the trip, Flight of the Hippogriff.  It's a little roller coaster that was more his size.  I loved to see his grin and hear him yell "This is totally awesome!" into the wind.  I love to see my children happy.

And, to make Tim happy, we rode the Jurassic Park ride and got soaking wet (he liked the Jurassic Park part not the getting wet part).

This is getting to be an incredibly long post so I will sum it up here.  Universal Islands of Adventure was great!  It had fast roller coasters as well as great theming.  There were rides that each of us loved there.  It wasn't my favorite park of the trip but it was a close second.  For Julie it was her absolute favorite.

We ended up leaving about 5 and getting dinner at the resort.  Of course that was after we had Cinnabons and ice cream in the park for snacks.  Nothing like thoroughly ruining your dinner because you are on vacation.  And just because you can.

Onto Day 4.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

We had so much fun last night.  The kids didn't have any homework so we could just party, party, party.

As you can see below, this is why you shouldn't have 2 wizards in the family - dueling matches.  Oh, and in case you can't tell, David is Harry Potter and Julie is Luna Lovegood.  She really wanted to have Ravenclaw robes and Luna was easiest to be since Julie was blond already.

I told them to pose together and act like they liked each other.  I didn't notice until later that Julie was pointing her wand at David's head.  So much for acting.

Luna with the spectrograph glasses.
My little Harry Potter.
Ready to trick-or-treat and party with our friends,
the big, bad wolf and a Minecraft enderman.
We partied all night with our friends from the neighborhood and with my sister's family.  We started off at the Trunk or Treat event at our church.  Then we all went back to our house for pizza.  Last we walked around the neighborhood trick-or-treating.  The weather was perfect - not too cold, but not hot either.  There was a bunch of kids out and we loved seeing all the cute and creative costumes.  The kids got a great stash and didn't get too high on candy.  We ended at our friends' house and the kids stayed to play for a few minutes before going home to meet up with daddy.  He had stayed home to pass out the candy...such a sacrifice.

All in all, we had a great Halloween.