I know I’ve severely neglected Mommy Brain. Our year was the craziest and hardest we’ve experienced in a long time, and I simply couldn’t find time to process and then write about what was going on. I’m not sure what the future of Mommy Brain will be – I am blogging at Books and Movies on an an almost daily basis, and I don’t know if I have the time or energy to maintain two blogs. In the meantime, though, here is the letter that is going out with our Christmas cards this week. Hopefully it will explain my length absence.
December 13, 2010
Dear family and friends,
I am writing to you on Natalie’s 14th birthday. I can hardly believe that time has gone by so quickly, and am very grateful that Natalie is doing so well after a particularly difficult year.
Our “hospital year” began with a trip to the emergency room in April when Natalie fell and cut her shin to the bone on our cat’s water dish. (The addition of Sam the Cat to our family is definitely one of the high points of our year!) After X-rays to make sure that she hadn’t damaged her growth plate, she was given eight stitches and we went home, having no idea that we would be back in the same place two months later for something much more serious.
On the last day of school, I took Nan back to the ER for what Kevin and I thought was appendicitis. A C/T scan revealed that a section of her intestines was inflamed. After an ambulance ride to Spokane and some more tests, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Over the course of the summer, Natalie and I spent a total of 25 nights at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, culminating in bowel resection surgery in September. Fortunately, the surgery seems to have completely eradicated the inflammation and she is now in remission – a remission we hope will last as long as Kevin’s has (years). God is good and faithful – He gave us the strength to get through the summer, provided her healing through the surgeon’s hands, and provided encouragement, prayer, meals, childcare for the boys, and groceries through the grace of dear friends and family. Kevin and I are so proud of how Natalie handled the ordeal, including four weeks of eating nothing but clear liquids, getting her nutrition through an IV at night. She showed amazing grace beyond her age, and has decided that she will pursue a nursing degree after high school.
The boys were also wonderful throughout the summer, being patient with each other and understanding why I had to be away so much and why both Kevin and I were often worried, stressed, and cranky. And we did have one fantastic event in June – all three of my sisters, their husbands, and kids came to stay in Chewelah. It was the first time in years that we were all in the same place, and our time together was much too short.
Speaking of the boys, Noah is 12 now. He is taking Tae Kwon Do lessons again and has started guitar lessons, which he enjoys. He is changing so quickly, growing into a responsible and helpful young man with a kind heart.
Jonathan is 11, and all boy. He’s affectionate, active, and goofy, in the best possible way. He is taking a geography class and an astronomy class and doing well in his studies at home. And, of course, video games are very important!
Josiah is 9. Our baby is nine! He likes to play with the neighbor, build with his K’Nex and Legos and play video games with his brothers. And, in spite of his “advancing” age, he’ll still curl up on my lap and snuggle.
Kevin is doing well and – thank God – still working full time for R-Garden. He telecommutes from home most days. He has also built up a nice side business designing web sites for various businesses and acquaintances. In spite of the fact that much of our summer was taken up with Nan’s illness, he still managed to take the boys on some fun fishing trips. Lately, he’s been enjoying the snow, sledding and tubing with the boys.
Earlier this year, Kevin and his family suffered a loss as his older sister, Carol, lost her fight with cancer. It has especially been difficult for Kevin’s mom, and we are continuing to pray for her healing and comfort in her grief.
My days are busy as ever with homeschooling, homekeeping, and driving the kids to and from their various classes and extra-curricular activities. For a homeschooling family, we sure spend a lot of time in the van! I also continue to feed my book habit, with my book blog providing an outlet for writing and talking about books – and lots of free review copies.
The past few weeks have been difficult ones for me. I lost a close friend, who died suddenly, leaving behind three boys, ages 15, 12, and 9. It is times like this that it can be hard for me to see God’s plan, and I have to simply hold on to the hope we have in Him.
As we get ready to begin another year, Kevin and I are hoping that it will hold less – preferably NO – time in the hospital and more time camping and having fun with the kids. I’m hoping we can kick it off by using some of our tax refund to take a weekend away just the two of us – we need it!
I hope that this letter finds you all well and holding on to hope in spite of any challenges you’ve experienced in the past year. Here’s to 2011!
Kevin, Carrie, Natalie, Noah, Jonathan, and Josiah