Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dance like no one's watching

So much to say, so little time.  I think it should be a requirement to go to an Autism Carnival and dance with all the kids, it's life changing.  More on Lady Evey coming soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Grills and Bridges

It seems like we've had a few marathon days in the last little while.  With the new addition of school and soccer and doctor appointments - it's official - we're a family of 6. 

Zoey has officially joined the supreme team children surgery club.  She was our last and latest to have surgery and it was a doozy. 

Zoey got a new grill today! (sorry for all the gangsta terms, there's just something about living in Utah that brings out the gangsta in me).  Zoey's teeth have slowly been disentigrating into nothingness and after a visit to the dentist we were informed, once again, that Nate & I's genes do not get along and that she was just born without the necessary enamel.  So they scheduled an operation where they would cap and fill all her teeth so she wouldn't have to walk around like an 80 year old until her adult teeth came in.  After watching 3 of our kiddos go under anasthesia we were all taking bets if Zoey would be a good or a bad drunk - verdict is in -bad drunk.

First of all, everyone thinks she's a 3 year old when she motors around talking like a 30 year old and is in the 140th percentile for height for an 18 month old.  Yes, that's right, 140th percentile.  Hello Volleyball pro, Tennis pro, Swim pro or super model??? She also has this terrible scab on her nose and mouth that makes her look like Charlie Chaplin from face planting in the driveway on Sunday, the dentist probably should have called Child Protective Services on us.  So I helped the anasthesiologist restrain Zoe without a blink of an eye while they were trying to gas mask her and apparently I was so good at it, the doctor said, "So you work in anasthesiology?"  Haha, no, not really, I work in the Mom/medical field of learning how to restrain 30-50 pound toddlers/wet seals during medical procedures and doctor appointments.  If only that earned me an anasthesiologist salary. 

Immediately after dealing with the backwards flipping Zoey coming off of anasthesia, we went straight to an Eye appointment for Eli because we have kind of noticed that his eyes might be turning inward.  So this is what the optometrist told us. Because of his large nose bridge (aka his mother's nose) and his small eyes with epicanthal folds (aka his dads eyes) it can make it look like his eyes are turning inward when his vision is just fine.  Hahaha, that's so classic.  So basically Doctor you're saying our son has a big nose and small eyes and it just looks like he's cross-eyed, awesome!  All I'm saying is can we really make fun of a nose that comes from an apostle?  I didn't think so. 

So that about sums up the day.  Grills and Bridges.  As I was carrying our super floppy 4 month old Evey, that should be strong enough to hold her head up by now, around the house today after doctor time, I had yet another epiphany of how worked up we get about these mortal bodies of ours.  We have these funny noses and small eyes, and these genetically messed up bodies, with these grand spirits inside. Note to self - focus more on spirit, less on big nose. I officially retract my super model comment about Zoey.  Lessons learned.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's official...

For those of you that know Nate & I you're really going to kick out of this one. They've officially given Eves knees syndrome a name. No longer will I have to say Evey has 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome, quite the mouthful. Drumroll please ... the name of Evey's syndrome will now be called...


Oh sweet victory. Our daughter's syndrome has the word cool in it, could it get any better? I was rooting for Johnson syndrome or Seventevey, but this is actually better. It's named after the doctor who has been at the forefront of all the research with the 100 or so people with this syndrome. His a pretty amazing guy and regular gets on the facebook group page to ask us our opinons and to let us know about more research being discovered. So kudos to him, I think the syndrome should be named after him.

One of the most surreal things to me while in contact with other parents with kids with this syndrome is seeing how much they all look alike. It's like looking at Eveys' brothers and sisters, but knowing they're scattered across the world and belong to different parents. Its crazy to see that they look like their parents but that they all have similar features that make them appear from the same family tree. What a blessing modern technology is for us. I can't imagine being in the dark and not knowing other families and their Koolen journeys out there. Just saying the word Koolen is so much fun, I'm as pleased as punch.

Just a little update on Owen - we had his first parent conference today since starting his second year of preschool at the Pingree Center for children with Autism. He's officially at age level for almost everything except fine motor and is now being integrated into the "typical" preschool that they have on campus with "typical" kids. I would have never guessed 2 years ago that our flapping and head banging non-verbal boy would be where he's at today. Early intervention and the amazing staff at the Pingree Center have helped our little dude in so many ways. We are now having to think about mainstream options for kindergarten next year and what the future plans are. What a good dilemma to have, choosing a school for your son to be mainstreamed in. One word - blessed.

Update on Evey - she has gained a pound and a half since her g-tube surgery and is thriving. The older brothers and sister are starting to pay attention now that I lay her on the floor with them. Below is a small glimpse of what happens when she's on the floor with them - if Evey can make it through the Zoey gauntlet, she can make it through anything.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a love story

Pardon me, while I indulge myself for a moment.

As Nate & I are adjusting to our new lives, we are uncovering all sort of new things in our marriage. So I thought I'd uncharacteristically reminisce about how the Supreme Team began.

It was 6 years ago almost to the day that I met the Natronius Johnson. I had just turned 25 and had an epiphany after tearing the ligaments in my knee, for the second time, that it was time to slow down. I guess, not so much an epiphany, but the lord smiting me, physically, so I had no choice but to reevaluate life. The week before I met Nate, I had a Saturday night prayer fest with the Lord telling him I knew it was time to start looking for my companion. I told him that I would no longer chase after the dude bro dudes (as I like to call them). I told the Lord that it didn't matter if he liked the same music, or snowboarding, or that he was a superior athelte. I promised him that as long as he loved the lord and the gospel as much as I knew I did, then I could compromise with everything else.

Enter Nate. Nate was a beautiful looking man that would walk into church, sit in the side bench and pour over his scriptures all throughout church. He never would lift his head up and he never talked to anyone, so I thought, that's the guy for me. Quiet, sullen, and devishily handsome. He did manage to perk up and give extremely intelligent answers during sunday school, so I knew he was wicked smart. Little did I know that I was being fooled. He happens to be more extroverted than me and quite the social butterfly. Ends up, he had just given up on dating, and decided to retreat from socializing because none of his girlfriends over the years had turned into marriage.

Enter Cally. I was a sunday school teacher in our ward. The sunday after my talk with the Lord I strolled into church on a mission. We were studying the Old Testament and my lesson that sunday was on Job. I could always count on Nate to fill in all the details of the doctrine that I dont have the mental capacity to retain, especially within the Old Testament. Thing is, I never knew Nate's name. I just called him "the smart kid" because I could always turn to him for the answers I needed during Gospel Doctrine. After my lesson I went into the hallway to track the "smart kid" down. I went out once, couldn't find him, went back into class. I decided to try one more time after sitting in class for a few more minutes and I ran right into him in the hallway. I waltzed up to him, trying desperately to disguise my nervousness, and I punched him in the arm (awesome second grade flirting move) and said, "hey smart kid, I need your help on something." I told him I thought Job was super underrated in the church and wondered why we don't talk about his story more. And that was that...we talked for an hour and a half about Job and eventually got around to learning one anothers' names and exchanging numbers. Nine months later we were sealed in the Bountiful, Utah temple - and 6 years later we find ourselves on this adventure called life. By the way, just in case you're wondering, because of my pact with the Lord, he did take care of everything else. Ends up Nate and I have everything in common, from sports to music to our sense of humor, he is without a doubt, my 100% perfect match. So I didn't have to compromise on anything in the end.

We laugh, all too often, about how our first conversation was about Job. We have had a whirlwind life from the second we got married and everything seems like it's on fast forward. We joke, how maybe if our first conversation had been about rainbows and butterflies we wouldn't have had all the bumps and bruises that we've had over the last 6 years. One thing we do know, is Job is on our short list of people we want to talk to right away after we die.

With the arrival of Evey, we know she's going to be our third companion through life. We hope that she gets to come on our missions with us, she would be the ultimate companion in our trio. We are learning how important it is to stay on top of our marriage game even when our gas tanks are running on empty. 100% of our energy is going into the fearsome foursome, but Nate and I have been wisely counselled over and over again that number one is and always should be our companionship, children second. Even if it means we're bonding over a plate of our favorite onion rings up at Primary Children's Hospital. So this is my public declaration to the Natronius. Thanks for putting up with your sometimes heartless wifey. Thanks for being the smartest man in the whole wide world and for respecting me as your equal. Thanks for giving me four amazing children and for teaching me that being a Wife and a Mom is so much more fun then snowboarding or going to concerts. Because of you, this mortality is so so worth it. Here's to you baby bubba and all the many more missions the Lord has in store for us!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Double Salmon Ladder

Only one out of our four children can hold still for a picture. Eves is by far our best behaved child. Late one night Nate made a collage of the monkeys, so that's officially our family picture for the next little bit.

Speaking of not holding still, Owen's newest obsession is American ninja warrior. If you haven't seen it, stop reading this blog and google "double salmon ladder". Owie has been climbing everything and anything around the house while yelling, "double salmon ladder".

I'm super grateful that his fixations are on some pretty cool things, he has great taste. My favorite is watching Eli try and follow him and make the jumping of gaps between furniture. You can see Eli's thought process, he totally pauses and you can tell he's like this isn't going to work out for me and slowly gets down. Ninjas or pirates for Halloween...parenting decisions are so difficult.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eyes on the prize

Lately Evey has been going crazy with the smiles. A lot of the time I'll walk into the room and she'll be looking up at the ceiling just grinning from ear to ear. When I see her looking heavenward it makes me a little homesick and also reminds me to constantly keep my eyes heavenward. Eves knees strikes again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And then there were 2

Once upon a time 4 years ago, I had just gave birth to Owen at 34 weeks. We knew he had a nicu stay ahead of him so we buckled down in anticipation of a road unknown. The second night we were in the hospital Nate woke up and told me about a dream he had. Owen was learning to walk while there was a baby boy laying in the corner. Unfortunately for Nate he got the typical 2 day postpartum reaction, I told him he was crazy. Fast forward 6 weeks to my postpartum check up and wouldn't ya know, I was pregnant.
10.5 months after Owen was born, Eli came superman style Into this world (fist-first). During that first year we talked about how they'd both be in preschool at the same time, and it seemed like light years away. Well, the light years have arrived and the boys are both officially in preschool and are on the same soccer team. I'm not a nostalgic person, but there's the mom inside of me that's wanting to press pause for a moment, just so I can fully appreciate the boys growing up. I love these little dudes and I can't wait to watch them go on their missions together and take care of their sisters.

Heaven help the other members of their soccer team, they have no idea what's coming.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nana boot camp

Evey must be feeling better because she is all smiles. I think pulling the slime out of her left ear must have restored her hearing because she's all sorts of alert.

When I was on bedrest with Eli we lived up at my parents house for 2 months. While there my mom, aka Nana was on a mission to teach Owen to crawl. All it took was a week and nana boot camp was a great success and Owen learned to crawl. That's the ongoing joke in our family now - if you're ever trying to teach your kid anything send them up to nana and papas for a few days and they'll be taught in no time.
So last night as we were wrapping up Swiss days in midway with the fam, my mom went over to Eves and got her smiling for a whole hour, nana boot camp wins again.

It was a very blessed weekend and yet another huge reminder that the lord knows exactly what he's doing and that there's no such thing as coincidence, we're never ever alone in our "moments".