Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Holidays!


It all started back in 2010 with the dream of buying property. A year later, after three offers, many crazy rounds of interaction regarding a short sale, and several disappointments, we are still living in our house in Lafayette. As of now, we believe that it’s God’s plan for us to hang out here for a bit longer. To make our home more comfortable, I’ve been painting floors, walls, ceilings, trim, doors, and anything else that will hold still, even a light fixture. Kids watch out, Mama has the paint outJ When we aren’t working on the house, we’ve been globetrotting. We’ve been to Indiana twice, spent a week in gorgeous Estes Park, Colorado, and Chad and I even took a trip to the beautiful Minnesota in October.  We also have a lovely new addition to our family. It has four wheels, a sunroof and lots of space for us to stretch out inJ We purchased a new-to-us 2006 Subaru Outback XT in July after a long year of saving $$.

Chad finished his time at NWEA early this year and then went on to Nike. His next assignment starts at the beginning of the year for the Bonneville Power Administration. During the summer, Chad found a workshop teaching about First Lego League, a Lego robotics program for 8 – 14 yr. olds. Little did we know that it would change the course of our lifeJ

In September, Chad started a FLL club at Kyla’s grade school and what a whirlwind it has been! We ended up with two teams with a total of 16 kids. (I say we as I was roped in to coaching…too many kids and not enough adult bodies) Chad is an excellent teacher and coach and displayed amazing amounts of patience. The kids learned so much and both of our teams were very successful at our local tournament on December 3 and 4. One team did so well, that they are going on to compete at the state level (it happens to be the team that Kyla is on)! What a feat for a first year team, let alone the youngest team at the competition! We are so proud of all the kids.

Kyla (8) is living life to the fullest with a peace about her that just shines through. She finished up 2nd grade in June and started 3rd grade in September. Her entire class (including her fabulous teacher) moved up together and just jumped into learning. She had her first go-round with an orthodontist this summer with a fancy appliance to correct her very noticeable under bite. Just as she was learning to talk with the thing in her mouth, it was time to take it outJ Her love of horses continues and we fed that with a short horse camp this summer and a long horseback ride while we were in the Rocky Mountains.  Her and I were also gifted a ride in a hot air balloon for her birthday this year. It was spectacular! She is keeping busy with her weekly Lego club meetings, Awana, school, growing taller, and playing with her brother.

Gavin (4) is a singing, coloring, running, climbing, swinging, Awana loving, Lego building boy. He had a month of preschool in May and is now taking part in Little Lambs preschool three mornings a week and enjoying it. He is our assistant coach for the Lego club and can out build most of the studentsJ After 5 days of illness, Gav ended up at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in November for intussusception but was able to leave without having abdominal surgery. We are so thankful for the healing power of the Lord! More info about this adventure is on our blog. He loves clip-on ties, bible songs, drawing, hanging out with his grandparents and talking. That boy can talkJ He’s always ready for an adventure and is showing some great skills in design and math already!

The busy theme continues on with me. I am the chauffer, personal shopper, house keeper, gourmet chef, and the list goes on. Through the spring and into the fall, I’ve planted, tended, harvested and preserved my garden. I have a total of 8 raised beds and love sitting out on my lovely wooden swing surrounded by my beautiful garden. During the school year, I volunteer at Kyla’s school (this year I’ve been able to go in once a week for the day). I volunteer regularly at our church and am part of the worship team. I sew off and on when I have the time and energy and love to take rides on my old fashioned pink cruiser…with a basket and bellJ I just had minor surgery and am slowly recovering.  Our family blog has suffered because of my busyness but I hope to set aside time for keeping everyone updated with the start of the New Year.  

Love to All and Blessings This Holiday Season!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Here's a glimpse

I didn't have my camera until late Wednesday night once we'd been admitted at Doernbecher's Children's Hospital so I didn't get any pics of the ambulance ride or the ERs. Gavin was pain free by this time, just tired and still lethargic. Here is a glimpse of our wild two day adventure.

Playing with the legos that Grandma Lynne brought him

 Checking vitals, again and again and again

A bacon mustache:) He was feeling pretty good by this time and had a full breakfast.

The nurses said we needed to walk a bit and get his legs working again. We also needed his bowels to do there thing so a walking we went.

Once he was finally discharged, we found the tram and rode it down, something that we've been wanting to do for a while now.

 To home again, home again, Jiggity Jig:) 

We feel so blessed by all the prayer and support for Gavin. We had fabulous care at both hospitals and praise Jesus that he was healed! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We are Free!

Wahoo! We are good to go home. All the prayers have worked! Gav's body healed and no surgery is needed! (At least at this time he he) We are now waiting for our discharge papers. Had a great talk with the Surgeon and feel like we have some good working knowledge to prepare us if this were to happen again. To celebrate, Gav and I are going to ride the tram:) Continued prayers for a calm tummy and a bowel movement:) Hurray, the Riddles are on their way home! By free I mean that we are free to go...not that the whole experience ist free mind you, that bill will be a fun piece of mail to open:) I'm sure that you'll hear my gasp of astonishment from where ever you happen to be:)

We have movement

Gav is up and walking around the hospital. We took a little trip to the sky bridge over in the VA hospital and watched the tram. We've been told that discharge is somewhere on the horizon today as long as his stomach doesn't rebel or pain flairs up again. We have a list of questions for the Doctors that we'd like answered before we go so they are hunting someone down for us. That may be harder than it sounds here:) Gavin had a full breakfast (eggs and bacon and muffin) early this morning and now he's having some cereal. Ahhhh, my eating machine is back:) His abdomen is gurgling in the right places so it looks like life may be getting back to normal here. Praise the Lord!

Some News

A group of surgeons just came in and pressed and massaged Gav's belly and decreed that if has no more vomiting and no more pain, we may be able to go home today! He get's breakfast as soon as we order it and he's pretty excited about it:) We are all up now and getting set for our day.

Caution-Curve ahead!

Unfortunately, we didn't get that caution sign this week, just the big curve that threw our life a bit off balance.

This past Saturday, Gavin started complaining about stomach pain. Knowing that the flu was rampant all around us, I marked it to the flu and prepared for the vomit and other fun stuff that I heard was going around. After a couple times of isolated stomach pain that day, we all went to bed for a good night's rest. Gav woke me up at 3:30 in the morning covered in vomit wanting to snuggle. After we got him all cleaned up and cleaned his bed, we made a nest for him in our room preparing for a flu battle. But we didn't get it. He had several different times during that Sunday where he complained of stomach pain, but no more throwing up and it didn't stop him from playing in the least. That went on until Monday night. All Tuesday he was pain free. At dinner time (as in we were all sitting at the table eating) his face got white and he started saying "my tummy hurts," and before he could finish his sentence, he had vomited...while we were eating dinner...on the table...on the food. EEEK! We got him cleaned up, no one really ate much after that show of stomach muscle strength, and got him ready for bed, again expecting a night of flu craziness. He slept in his rebuilt nest in our room again and slept well until a little before 6:30...Then the crazy began.

He started dry heaving and curled up in a ball writhing about. Then the screaming started. If you know Gavin, you know that he has a very high pain tolerance. A couple of years ago when he received 1st and 2nd degree burns, there wasn't even a whimper from our brave boy. This was not the case yesterday morning. He was screaming in agony and I was scared to death. Chad had left earlier that morning to chauffeur his dad to the airport and Kyla awoke to the screaming and worriedly stumbled into my room as I tried to comfort Gavin. I got him downstairs so I could get the advice nurses number and tried to keep him as calm as I could. It was hard to focus on what needed to be done as he wouldn't/couldn't stay still and continued to alternate between moaning and screaming. I got Kyla to the bus and talked with two different advice nurses and decided that what we were dealing with was far past the flu. Both of the kids have had the flu...many times. I know what it looks like, this was not it.

With fears of appendicitis floating in my head, I bundled his now sleeping body into the car and headed to the ER in Newberg. Chad met us there as we were being checked in. At that point, Gav was all smiles and saying that nothing hurt. Geeze kid, can't you at least act sick now that we've gotten to the ER:) We talked with nurses and then with the Doctor and a CT scan was ordered. After drinking some vile stuff and letting that sit in his system for a bit, we all tromped down to the CT room. Gav was such a brave boy and held still as they slid his tiny little body through the doughnut over and over again while Chad and I were able to see the scans (amazing stuff!). After more waiting, the doc came back and started using huge scary words and ended with asking our preference of St. V's or Doernbechers hospital. What?? I was sure at this point they were just going to come and in and tell me that I had totally overreacted and that it was just the flu.The "Crazy, high strung mother syndrome."

The CT scan showed that Gavin is dealing with intussusception, where the intestine telescopes back into itself. The Newberg hospital felt that he would get better care at Doernbecher's so off we went via ambulance to the children's hospital on the hill. Gav was enthralled with the ride and then feel asleep half way there:) The ambulance crew was amazing and kept Gav safe and comfortable.

We arrived at Doernbecher's and were hustled into the children's ER and started the process again of telling everyone and their assistant what has happened the past 5 days. We talked with doctors, nurses and surgeons. The CT scan showed that he has four separate spots of intussesception in his small intestine. According to the ped doctors, it's not usual for kids his age to get this, it usually happens in infants up to one year but has been reported in kids up to five. It is rare to find it in the small intestine. Now as a parent I do want my children to shine and to be perceived as extra special to everyone they meet, but this was not what I was going for:)

We were admitted around 6:30 and the doctors finally let Gavin eat something. He hadn't eaten in nearly 24 hours and if you know my boy, that it not the normal protocol. He eats a lot...all of the time. He's the kid that needs a full meal every two or three hours and this wait was killing him. He hadn't had any more pain since we had arrived at the hospital and had answered every question and suffered through pokes and squeezes and cold hands and big machines and not once did he mutter a complaint. But by 7, he had had enough. He started crying and wanted to go home. He even said we could go home and eat and then come back. I finally asked him why he wanted to go home and he tearfully replied that he wanted to eat the left over pizza that we had saved for him...the very same pizza that he had projectile vomited the night before:) Then Grandma Lynne saved the day!

She arrived with a bag of legos that were specifically picked out for Gavin by the Lego store man once he heard what was going on. Hurray for Legos! They kept him occupied and happy as we waited and then were wheeled across this huge city that they call a hospital. They kept him busy until his dinner arrived and as he sleepily visited with Grandma Trina.  Once they were back in the bag, he snuggled up and went to sleep for the night.

At this point we aren't sure what the next step is. Since the problem is in the small intestine, surgery is the only option if his body doesn't fix itself which can sometimes happen in this situation. The staff here is not familiar with it happening in the small intestine so they are consulting and discussing and evaluating as I type:)

For now, we wait. And we pray. They took blood already this morning and he's been able to urinate since last night. He's been on IV fluids since yesterday morning and was looking a tad like the marshmallow man with all that fluid being pumped in and none of it leaving. I'd love to post pictures of our adventbraveryure but though I remembered to have the camera thrown in our care package that was delivered last night, I forgot the cord to download with. Along with my cell phone charger. We do have Chad's though:) I will be leaving updates on facebook and here as well so keep checking if you are interested in this newest road trip that we are on:)

I ask for prayers. For Gavin's peace of mind, for his comfort. For the doctors and surgeons and nurses who are working with Gav, that they have steady hands and clear thinking. For Chad and I, for calmness and strength, for bravery and dry eyes in front of our brave boy. For Kyla, for comfort and calmness and for very little upheaval.

Thank you to all that have been praying and that continue to do so. Thanks for lending a hand or a home as all this is happening.

Praise the Lord that he is pain free right now and that my mom instincts were on target and that I didn't suffer from that dreaded "crazy, high strung mother syndrome.:)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monster Trucks

This week, Gav was keeping himself occupied by building monster trucks out of legos. Soon that wasn't enough, he had to crash and bang them. Even then, that wasn't enough. A theme song was born for his monster truck rally. After about 5 minutes of listening to him and giggling to myself, I grabbed the camera and recorded him from behind the couch. He didn't know that I was back there, you can see his surprise when he realizes that I'm recording:)


Each time I play this, he gives me an embarrassed grin and then walks off humming:) Love him!

Sunshine, snakes and the sea shore

After checking the weather report, we piled into the Subaru and headed West. Once we hit Newport, we had a classy picnic in the back of the car and then headed out to explore the Oregon Aquarium.

We saw snakes and other scaly creatures in their swamp exhibit and then enjoyed other fishy things throughout. We lounged about in the shark tunnel and gazed in wonder at the jelly fish.

Since the sun was shinning and the rain was far away, the kids got to play and we were able to enjoy beautiful views of the bay. (Ha, that rhymes. I'm a poet)

As we were leaving, the fog rolled in so quickly and thickly that we couldn't see parts of the bridge as we crossed it. It was amazing and kind of creepy:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Triple A Saves the Day!

Chad and the kids took a trip to Seattle for the Bric Con (lego convention) and on their way home, had an unplanned adventure...on the side of the freeway. The Honda (which has been our family car for many years and has just recently down graded to be Chad's car) decided that it was tired. So it took a rest, on the side of I-5 South, just South of Olympia. Many, many, many miles from home.

Chad called AAA and found that they were very willing to help - tow the car one hundred miles. Yeah, that would get them half way home. After searching for a long haul tow truck that was big enough to hold car seats and children, a tow truck pulled up and hooked up our refreshed but now busted car. 

A three hour ride home gave the kids a chance to take the tow truck glory in and even take a nap, much to the delight of the driver who had three young ones of his own at home.

 So the kids, the husband, and the car all safely made it home and the battle to resuscitate the car began.  A new timing belt, water pump, radiator, seals, and other random belts later, we have a car that runs again.

 Hurray for Triple A!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Plum Butter

Last year I didn't make any plum butter. And all winter I've heard the quiet begging for plum butter on sandwiches. But alas, there was no plum butter to be found. Who would have guessed that plum butter would be such an integral part of our family life:) So when I was offered some picking time at a friends plum tree, I jumped at the opportunity!

I half filled a bushel basket and grabbed a some pears as well and came home grinning with my bounty. Then the work began.

I washed, pitted, chopped and weighed.

I cooked, and stirred, and chopped some more (this time with the help of my blender) and cooked it more.

Then I canned it and water bathed it. 

Then with great elation...listened to them pop! Ah the sounds of a good canning session. Success was audible and my kitchen smelled like heaven. Now my sticky floor, that was a whole different matter:)

While all this slaving away and hot, sticky matter was splatting everywhere, it seems that my son was chatting on my cell phone. To his grandmother...who knew:)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lego Mania

We have LEGO mania here at the Riddle house. Chad has started a LEGO club at Kyla's school that we all get to take part in twice a week. Did you catch that, all of us...twice a week. Oh boy:) On top of that, Gavin and Kyla are building with LEGOs every day! 

Our boy is showing some mad skills in the building and designing department. Here is a little taste of what has been coming out of the playroom.

All on his own, with no help from us. He's four people!


Please focus your attention towards the amazing lego creation, with a loading door. Please don't notice the amazing bed head and tired eyes. Lots of Lego building = not much personal grooming:)

And you know that Gavin isn't having the only building fun. Here's Chad's latest creation, which was used for the LEGO presentations at our local grade school. Introducing Robot Dude. Or Dude on a Robot:)

I'm sure that there are more creations to come, both from the kids and from their toy-lovin' daddy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Jump through July

In my effort to catch everyone up, we'll take a quick jump through the month of July.

To start off, we raised 12 caterpillars and watched them turn into 12 beautiful butterflies, amazing! We released them with a bit of help from some friends.

The kids and I were in our local Lafayette Fourth of July Parade. We even won a prize for our wagon...I mean float:)

The kiddos spent two fun filled weeks at two different local Vacation Bible Schools. The second was cowboy themed, right up our alley:)

We spent a week poolside as the kids took another round of swim lessons.

We bought a car, a new to us 2006 Subaru Outback XT, with cash. Dave Ramsey was very proud of us. Well, he would be if he knew:) 

We were able to take a couple of laps around the Bonnell gocart track (AKA Grandpa and Gradma's back field). Kyla is a mean driver, she'll take you out. Gavin will take you out as well, but only if you are a small tree or large bush:)

Our neice, Ana, was down for a fun, whirlwind visit. The weather was cold and blustery, but a blast was had by all.

 We took a trip up to Washington to help celebrate our nephew turning three. 

And to finish off the month, one of our chickens laid the biggest egg known to man, poor gal:)