Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cadenne quote

Oh my.... this kid cracks me up and I think she's too smart for her own good.

She was just looking at the Wii's list of players and said, "We are the 'A Team!" All of us have As in our names! (Tricia, Brian, Karissa, Abigail, Zachary, Cadenne, Susan (my cousin) and Emma (our neighbor).

Now we just need Mr. T to join our group.

"First name Mr, middle name 'period', last name T!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zach's Art Gallery

Just some fun! Zach decided to make his little sister the subject of his artwork:

Eyelashes and Pigtails:
The artist was inspired by Cadenne's love of "jewels" and cute hair. This whimsical portrayal of the subject was the first attempt by the artist to capture his sister's personality.

Boogers and Beads:
The theme of the pink pearls continues, as does the desire for cute hair. Note the brush stuck to the subjects head. The artist also wants you to note the presence of boogers in the subjects square nose.

Cadenneuss (AKA Cadenne meets Dr. Seuss):

Do you like it with a string?
Do you like it full of bling?
Yes, I like it with a string.
Yes, I like it full of bling.
I do so like pink pearls and glam.
I do so like it, Mom-I-am!

Fat Lip and No More Tears:

Sometimes one just gets a fat lip and cries. But the tears do eventually go away! : )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cadenne to Susan:

"Susan, I know how to spell my name: C-A-D-E-N-N-N-N-E."

(Long Pause...)

"Did I say a lot of Ns?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Almost 4 years ago, Cadenne was born. Almost 4 years ago, Zachary was 20 months old... a baby who developmentally was learning how to trust the grown-ups in his life. Almost 4 years ago, his parents were suddenly practically non-existent in his life. Comparatively. I mean, he visited us at the Ronald McDonald house, and we were at times able to come home and spend time with the kids. But life as he knew it was turned completely upside down. He was used to a mother who was with him all the time. He was a real "mama's boy." His little smile would light up the room. He was a truly happy child.

Something shifted soon after we brought Cadenne home from the hospital. He was fussy and discontented. His sweet little personality was somehow altered, and it pains me to admit that I didn't notice it at the time. It is only in retrospect that I realized just when the change took place.

He has never ever recovered. This past summer, we figured out that he has severe trust issues. It is really hard to describe exactly what he is going through, but I can give an example. This past summer, we were preparing to go on a camping trip. We had the kids all excited about it... We had talked about it for weeks, planned meals, purchased supplies, and packed everything up. Literally, everything was piled up in our living room. When the kids went to bed the night before, we reminded them that we were going to leave for camping first thing in the morning. Well, the next morning, Zach came running into our room excitedly, asking, "Are we going camping today?" (Here I should mention that we are very much the joking family... we tease the kids good-naturedly and we all have fun with it.) In reply, I said, "Nah... We decided not to go. Maybe next week." I am not kidding when I say that the poor little boy BURST into tears. Unconsolable. It was at that moment that I realized what we were dealing with.

Sometimes this manifests as disappointing tears. Sometimes it manifiests as vein popping fits of anger, when even HE doesn't know why he's upset. Honestly I find the behavior frustrating. This is very different than anything I've ever had to deal with as a parent. But beyond the frustration with the behavior, I am really sad at the idea that we are in some way the cause of this. He probably felt abandoned all those weeks during the time when he was supposed to be developing trust in those who are supposed to love him most.

Logically I know that I did what I had to do. Which baby needed me more? I had no choice but to be with Cadenne. I knew the statistics... that NICU babies with parents by their sides had a better chance at life. It was a hard choice even at the time. I missed the other kids immensely, but not being able to drive, (due to my seizure) I was pretty much tied to the Ronald McDonald house 45 minutes away.

I just never thought that 4 years later, Zachary would still be suffering from it.

This morning was rough. He worked himself up in to a frenzy because his bed didn't look perfect. I told him that it looked fine, and that he needed to finish getting ready for school. I can't even describe how angry he was. I even had to send the two older girls on ahead because he just was too out of control to walk to school. We eventually calmed him down and prayed with him, and by the time he got to school, he was his little happy-go-lucky self. It is crazy how quickly his moods swing!

I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to grant us wisdom as we learn how best to help Zachary through this and learn to trust us again. I want my little boy to know that I love him unconditionally and that he can't do anything to change that. I want him to grow up knowing that he is safe and secure... that though we may fail him as parents at times, that Jesus will never fail him.

Zachary, I have made and will continue to make mistakes along the way. But Mama loves you. Please never, ever doubt that.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kidney update...

I took Cadenne for her spa treatment kidney ultrasound yesterday. When I told her I was taking her to the hospital for a test, she literally jumped up and down saying "YAY!" for a few seconds before pausing to ask, "Wait, are they going to cut me?"

When I assured her that they were NOT going to cut her, she resumed with her enthusiastic cheers. When the time came, she hoped up on the table, pulled up her shirt, and was very still... Does this girl know the routine or what? She expressed momentary concern that the technician was going to see her "underwears," but I assured her that he wouldn't!

While she lay there waiting, she said, "I'd be more comfy if I didn't have my shoes on." Um, diva much? :)

She has these ultrasounds once a year or so to determine how her left kidney is growing and functioning. I reported in November of 2009 that her right kidney was 4.5 cm x 3 cm and that her left kidney was 3.7 cm x 1.7 cm. Yesterday they measured 8.3 cm x 3.9 cm x 4.0 (right) and 5.2 cm x 2.2 cm x 2.0 (left) So in 2009 her left was about half of the right, and now it is a third of the size. (Well actually if I multiply in the depth, it looks like it is a fifth the size, but I don't know how they calculate it!) Of course, the ultrasound hasn't been read by a radiologist, so I have no idea what the "function" is yet. She has an appointment on October 31st with the nephrologist. We should be able to get more clarity then! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writer's block...

So I confess that it has been so long since I have written in this thing that I now feel like I don't really have anything to write about! Of course, I have four children, all of whom are amazing in their own little ways :) but for some reason nothing seems blog-worthy. I've been doing so many mini-updates on Facebook for the past few years that it is hard to think anything more than one liners! So I thought that I'd just jump in anyway and let it come to me as I go! :)

We are a good 6 weeks into the school year. It is hard to believe that I now have three kids in elementary school! Karissa is in 6th grade and loving it! She is enjoying diving into pre-algebra in the hopes of being placed into full-fledged algebra as a 7th grader! I didn't take algebra until 9th grade! It is hard to believe how far ahead she will be by the time she graduates from high school!

Abby is in 3rd grade and is looking forward to multiplication and cursive writing. She is following in her sister's footsteps with her love for reading. She is reading at an end of 6th grade level! :)

Zachary has started kindergarten and is loving it! The sun rises and sets on his teacher as far as he is concerned. Several of her phrases have made it home with him. He also convinced his teacher that he had 11 toes one day. When asked why on earth he'd do that, he grinned really big and said, "I was just tricking her!" Mrs. M. is in for it! :)

Cadenne has started a little school of her own. Three other moms and their little girls have gotten together with us, and we take turns teaching every Thursday. Cadenne LOVES it, and if you give her the opportunity, she will recount every school session in great detail! :) She is doing great health-wise and keeps us cracking up on a daily basis!

Brian is still working for the city of Orange as an equipment mechanic. He is approaching the end of his third year. He also does car repair on the side, so if you need any work on your vehicle, I know of a good mechanic!

My cousin Susan and I have been working together on selling stuff on eBay. We've learned a lot in the last year and it is starting to pick up! :) We'll see!

One big piece of news that I was meaning to share following my last entry is that we are pursuing the goal of becoming foster parents. We have a burden to help take care of orphans, and eventually maybe working with pregnant moms in crisis. In order to begin the foster process, we legally have to be in a 5 bedroom place. The state doesn't allow mixed genders to share a room if either of them is over 5. Children over 2 can't share a room with an adult, and we also can't have more than three kids in a room no matter how big it is! We have a lot of work to do before we are in a position to get into five bedrooms. :) For one, we need to pay off some debt. That is actually our hugest obstacle right now. Please join us in praying for this! Our hearts want to do this tomorrow, and we know that God will provide! :)

Well look at me... I managed to get several paragraphs out of my now inexperienced fingers. Over the course of the next few months, I hope to transfer some of my Facebook statuses to the blog. Don't get too excited in you suddenly see a billion posts from me over here!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Update on us...

I know it has been a reeeeaaaalllly long time since I've given any real update on our family. Things are busy, but we are doing well! We are about to embark upon a fun new journey. I'll save that for my next entry, as I should update on the goings-on in the McDaris house first!

Karissa is 11 years old and in 5th grade. She has grown to be very tall. I think I will be looking at her eye to eye in the very near future. She is doing very well in school and is an avid reader. Currently she is reading at the mid-8th grade level. It is difficult to keep her in books that are BOTH age-appropriate and level-appropriate. There aren't many books in existence that bridge that gap! Our church places 6th graders in the middle school group, unlike the school system, where she will still be in elementary school. I love that she will be in middle school in church first!

Abby is 8 years old and in 2nd grade. She has also grown a bunch. She has certainly followed in her sister's footsteps in school, and is reading a good three years above grade level. She has also begun to show interest in drawing. I'm amazed at some of the drawings she has done. Abby definitely did NOT get that gene from ME! :) Her use of color and perspective is (I think) very good for her age! She and my niece, Emily have been pen pals for the last year, and she definitely looks forward to mail coming her way! :)

Zachary is 5 years old and looks forward to entering Kindergarten next year. He loves spending time with his Daddy. In fact as I type this, he has just returned home from a long bike ride with Brian. They rode to the post office and back... a 4-mile round trip! Zachary is a beginning reader and has recently become very interested in Star Wars. I'm learning every day what it means to be the mother of a 5-year-old boy. He has a very intense personality which has both it's pluses and minuses. I pray that he will someday use his passions for good and not evil. :)

Cadenne is doing marvelously! She is nearly 3.5, and has gone almost a year and a half without any surgeries or meds! She still sees the nephrologist every 6 months to monitor her smaller kidney, which isn't really growing much. It doesn't cause her any issues, though. I'm at an interesting point with her. It seemed like in the first couple of years, I couldn't look at her without remembering everything she'd been through. Now, I'm catching myself going almost a whole day without thinking about it even once. She's doing that well. It's not that I forget what a miracle she is... it's that if I don't see the scars, I forget that she actually had a rougher start than any of the other kids. Speaking of her scars, she refers to them as her "pwetty, pwetty scaws." I, too, think they're beautiful, and I hope that she always thinks so, too. They tell a beautiful story! She is finally on the charts in weight, too! We're excited about that, after having struggled to get weight on her.

My cousin, Susan, moved in with us in July, and it has been so fun to have her here. I think we all have forgotten what life was like "before Susan." :) The kids enjoy having "Susan dates" to places such as the library, PetSmart (to visit the kitties) and Disneyland. (annual passes) Susan and I have begun a little Ebay business together, and we are having fun learning that as well as making a little extra money. (It has served as a little fund raiser to help us raise some money for our church's new youth room, too!)

Brian is still enjoying his job with the city of Orange. He is once again on light duty, due to having one of the plates in his arm removed. (From his motorcycle accident in November 2009.) We all enjoy his schedule with this job, as he's home every day by 4:00 and has most Fridays off! He is traveling to Sacramento for work in a couple of weeks, and I am excited to be able to go with him! Susan is graciously taking the kids for the week! (Pray for her! hehehe)

Check back tomorrow for more news on our next adventure!

It's good to be back! :)