Thursday, December 10, 2009


Just to let everyone know, the boys are doing much better. They are coughing, but with asthmatics, seems no matter what illness they get, a cough is guaranteed. Ryan has almost lost his voice but doesn't stop him from his constant chatter.

Both boys went back to school yesterday afternoon. They were running around here in the morning, playing tag, throwing balls, being crazy. If they are well enough to do that, they are well enough for school. Besides, if I waited until they had no cough, they would never go to school.

Yesterday was physio with Steve as well. I gave Matthew the choice of going to physio or heading home afterschool. I was shocked. He chose to go to physio. That speaks volumes to the relationship that Steve has made with Matthew.

This is no longer a client-professional relationship. It has stepped over into something else. Something more wonderful. Something more therapeutic. A big brother of sorts. One who has gone through so much of the same. One who can give advice in a way I can't. He's walked the road (shoes and bar included) and come out the other end with some invaluable information. And he wants to pass it on to Matthew. And Matthew listens to what ever he says. After all, Steve is much cooler then mommy. Steve has a faux hawk.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Tale Of Two Fevers, Chapter 2

Here's hoping this is the last chapter of this tale.

Last night, 30 min before bed, Ryan started barking like a seal. Those of you who know what that means know my heart sank thinking I was headed back to the ER for a second night. For those of you who don't know, the barking is from croup, or in this house, a really bad cold settling into an asthmatic's chest.

Luckily, this is not our first seal and we have meds to work with this. I gave Ryan his ventolin and flovent. Nothing. Then, I gave him one more dose of ventolin. I know, I know. Not good to give extra ventolin without being able to check heart rate, but I was desperately trying to stay away from the hospital for a second night in a row. And, my gambled paid off. Within minutes, the barking ceased and breathing rate went back to normal.

Until this morning. The bark is back.

In the past, I have been able to convince a doctor at the walk in clinic to give me a prescription for dex (dexamethasone). Usually one shot of dex is all he needs.

I'm going to give it a few hours, see how he is doing before I head to a walk in. After all, I still have Matthew home, sick. His headache woke him at 6 am, luckily, a dose of motrin helped him back to sleep and is still sleeping at 8:15 am. Unheard of around here. Hoping that is a good sign.

Tis the season for seals and runny noses.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Tale Of Two Fevers, And A Lumbar Puncture

First, I have to say that Matthew's physio appointment on Friday went well. His old p/t was pleased with how loose his foot was. Yay! That means that Steve is achieving what we had hoped. We may be able to make the complete switch soon.

Also, his p/t told me that she really pushes him. More then she has ever pushed a 7 year old before. In fact, she pushes him almost as much as she would push an adult. Her words were "He is one tough 7 year old." Those words became very important to me a few days later.

Ryan's fever started Thursday afternoon. It seemed to bounce from about 38.5 C (101 F) to 39.8 C (104 F). He was lethargic, tired, cold and had an upset tummy. But he was doing fairly well with piggy backing Tylenol and Advil.

Matthew's fever started at noon on Saturday. Same symptoms except he also had a headache. Fever was about the same and was responding fairly well to Tylenol and Advil.

Sunday. Ryan seemed to be over the worst. Matthew, got worse. His headache was really bad and not responding well to anything. Neither was his fever. I was only able to get it down to 39.4 C (103 F) He had a few naps, and each time he got up, his headache was worse.

7 pm. He woke again. This time his fever was 39.7 C (103.5 F) and his headache was intense. And his neck was hurting in the back. Really badly. And he wasn't able to have any medication for another 2 hours. He was sobbing uncontrollably.

I decided to take him to a walk in to see what could be done. He must have looked and sounded bad. We got in before all the people waiting.

The doctor was worried about the headache and neck pain. I was too. I remembered what his p/t had said two days before. This is a kid who doesn't complain about pain very often. And he was debilitated by it. She quickly mentioned Meningitis and a lumbar puncture and sent us to the children's hospital with a letter hoping to rush us in.

We didn't have to wait long, but in the meantime, after crying steadily for almost three hours, he fell asleep. Made it easier to talk with the doctor when he came in.

The doctor was great. He discussed the possibility, the outcomes, the research, the side effects, the options, everything. Then he examined Matthew and we discussed what to do again.

In the end, the doctor was pretty sure a puncture would come back negative but was very concerned over the level of pain in the head and neck with no other cause. He said he would agree if I decided to take him home and wait it out. But he would also feel better having checked the fluid.

I decided to go ahead with it. I had not seen Matthew in that kind of pain since his calcanial osteotomy. And we were all ready at the hospital. And we were already out of the waiting room. And it was really really cold outside. And I was worried if I took him home, I would end up back a few hours later waiting to be seen again.

We went ahead and did the lumbar puncture.

And all tests came back negative/normal.

The best diagnosis is he has a really bad viral infection causing a terrible headache. Keep up with the Tylenol and Advil and they gave me some codeine to help manage the headache pain. And to come back if things don't get better in a day or two.

Today, Matthew is doing better. Fever is down to more reasonable numbers, headache has been manageable with medications, and he had a 2 1/2 hour sleep this afternoon.

And the boys actually had a squabble. Always a sign they are feeling better.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Day Off School...

Tomorrow the boys are off school for parent teacher interviews. But instead of having a pj playing games watching tv day, we are heading off to Matthew's old p/t across town. We only get this opportunity every month or so and we take it when we can.

Not sure what to think heading into this appointment. Last night, while I was stretching his foot, it seemed, good. And, I really really like the relationship that is developing with Matthew's new p/t, Steve.

But am I fooling myself? Am I falling for the magic that this new relationship brings? Matthew actually looks forward to p/t now where he used to hate it. The drive is 5 minutes rather then 45+ minutes. It is all around easier and more fun.

But is that what is important?

Or is it what is important? Maybe I have been stressing too much on keeping his foot stretched perfectly, getting every last degree of dorsiflexion as possible. Stressing over even the tiniest loss. Worried we are headed for more casting, long terms stays in St Louis, even surgery.

Maybe Steve's laid back nature is more in tune with Dr Dobb's. Less stress over it. Cast here and there when needed. Fix the problem slowly, rather then all at once.

After all, it was after seeing his old p/t all summer that his foot had tightened enough to need recasting in October.

Will update after his appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A New Mom To Report Cards Wonders What To Do

The boys brought their report cards home last week. I am proud to say that they both achieved excellence in almost every single area. Ryan got a B on patterns (gosh, the kid is in kindergarten...we are not concerned) and Matthew got a B in phys. ed.

Now, getting all A's and a B in phys ed is an outstanding report card. We are not concerned at all about Matthew's grades. But I am curious. At the beginning of the year, I let his teacher know about his foot. I never thought about him having a different teacher for phys ed. So, currently, the phys ed teacher does not know about Matthew's foot.

That means, the grade he received is comparable to every other child that teacher works with. That B is rather great in that perspective.

So, that begs the question. Do I tell the phys ed teacher about Matthew's foot? Not so that he grades him accordingly, but so that he knows that if he sees limitations, it is not for lack of trying but for physical reasons.

Or do I just let it be and have him continue to work with and grade him as a student without physical problems?

I'm torn. What would you do?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

To My Future Daughters-In-Law

Some day I will be a mother-in-law. I know that term strikes fear in many a daughter-in-law. I hope I am not one of those MIL, but only time will tell.

To my future daughter-in-laws. I want you to know I am trying hard. I want my sons to be good husbands. I am trying to teach them to be helpful, caring, loving boys who grow up to be wonderful men.

They have their flaws. I know that. I am trying to fix some of them. Matthew rarely pees in the garbage can anymore and Ryan doesn't wipe his boogies under the table, at least not when I'm looking.

I am teaching them to cook. So far, it is easy things.

They love to cook. Maybe some day they will cook for you.

They may not be perfect, but at least they do bathrooms.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Normal Seems... Well, Normal

Tuesday was Matthew's physio day. He was actually looking forward to it. He has really bonded with Steve. And, well really, how can he not? Here is a young, cool guy who thinks Matthew is the best thing since sliced bread. Seriously. There is some sort of magic there.

And my husband booked a p/t appointment for himself at the same time. Perfect. I dropped Matthew off at 4:15 and headed to the reception desk with Ryan to head to home to make dinner.

Stopped at reception to make Matthew's appointment for next week. The owner of the physio shop stopped by to say hello and ask me, "So, what did you do to your son? Soccer accident?"

I replied with "No. He was born with a neuromuscular clubfoot due to nerve damage. We are trying to keep his heel cord loose and his talus in position to avoid more surgery."

He looked, well, speechless. After a few seconds, he said "Surgeries?"

I gave a brief outline... tenotomy, medial release, tendon transfer, calcanial ostiotomy... that we were really trying to avoid another tenotomy or worse. Or at least post pone as long as possible.

He stepped away from me. Looked at Matthew, and Steve. Walked back to me. Said, "Wow." Deep breath. "Steve is great." And left.

Some days I forget that my normal, Matthew's normal is not that normal. But I think that as long as I can keep him feeling normal through this process, the better off he will be.

Two insights from p/t this week.

1. Giving Matthew Motrin helps immensely. I forgot last week but remembered this week. Steve noticed a huge difference. Will try not to forget from now on.

2. People in the office for treatment while Matthew is in will receive less care. Craig said he will never book another appointment at the same time as Matthew. Steve was just to focused on Matthew.

Hoping that remains a good thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Touching Moment

I love my boys. Especially when I come downstairs and this is the activity they have decided to do before school.

Matthew teaching Ryan to read.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Soemthing Magical

I know. I posted that Matthew's appointment with his old p/t (L) did not go well last week. I was concerned that his new p/t (S) was not getting the right stretching, not getting the time in (he does 30 min as opposed to 60 min) that he has never worked with kids and may not have the experience needed. I was worried that we were going to have to try and fit in trips across town over the dinner hour back to L for physio.

Matthew saw S again yesterday. I told him L's thoughts on Matthew's foot. That is didn't seem any looser then when she saw him last (pre-cast) but that she thought his talus was moving better. I showed him the new stretches (mobilizing the talus) she wanted me to do. S said I was doing them right, good, they are harder then ones I have been doing.

After stretching for about 15 min, S said he thought that Matthew's foot wasn't too bad. He compared it to someone with a bad ankle injury. He felt that he wasn't missing that much dorsiflexion. He believes that what we are doing will keep him away from surgery.

He opened up about what he went through. He said was born with severe in-toeing. Said that the doctors told his parents that they would cut the bones of his lower legs, turn the legs out, then reattach them. He was old enough to understand what was said and was terrified. His parents said no way. They sought other ways to fix the problem. They found physio and they found sport. In particular, skiing and skating. Forces the feet to be parallel. He asked if Matthew had ski boots.

I looked out the window. From there, you can see Canada Olympic Park. The night lights had just come on and the snow was sparkling. It is open and they have started lessons. I told him that for the past few years, Matthew's foot has either been operated on, casted or so messed up he has not had the opportunity to try skiing. But this year, we had been talking about it.

S smiled and said "get him in."

There is something about S that just feels right. Maybe it is hope. Maybe it is his positive attitude. Maybe it is the special relationship that is forming. He is young and Matthew thinks he is cool. And he really cares about Matthew. You can just see it. I think he sees himself in Matthew. Perhaps this was the reason he became a p/t in the first place. To help one person like he was helped. And here is Matthew. With a foot that the doctors here want to operate on, and his expertise and experience to stop it.

Some days, it just feels magical. I have no other words to explain it.

This morning, reading the paper, I saw an article about getting the family out in the winter. Talking about skiing. The article talked about how to save money and still ski with your family. Seems that Sunshine Village has some special passes. A child born in 2002 (Matthew) can get a season's pass for $25 (one day lift pass is $27) and a child 5 yrs and under (Ryan) can get a season's pass for $25.

I called Canada Olympic Park. I can have both boys in lessons as soon as this Saturday.

Do you feel the magic?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

News, Not Stellar

Matthew saw his original p/t yesterday. We stopped seeing her weekly because she is across the city and the trip takes 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the day. Add on an hour or so when we try it afterschool battling rush hour traffic.

Anyways, this is her first time seeing him since he was casted in St. Louis and since he has had the lift.

She felt his hips were more even. Good.

She felt his foot was tight. Not good.

Seems that the new p/t we are seeing isn't keeping his foot mobile enough. She showed me two new stretches to work on. They are complex. I tried for about 10 min. Still not sure I have it right. Gosh, I could use a degree.

Not sure what to do now. They do not have weekend hours. If we need to continue with her, we need to see her M-F either before school (7 am to 8 am then fight traffic to get to school for 8:55) or afterschool (4:30-5:30 and fight traffic both ways).

Need to think some more...

Getting There

I must be doing something right. Matthew has requested this lunch again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Latest Toy

Matthew's favorite new toy is...words.

I can't believe it. The kid has fallen in love with reading and more so, writing stories. Now, instead of telling me something, he writes it. I am not a huge proponent of whole language, but hoping that my work on phonics will counter it.

This was his latest this morning. He has a crush on a little girl in his class. So cute!

For those who can't read it, it says I see Alice shes going to kiss me today we are going to married

Teeheeheee! I love the big kiss lips and his freakishly long arm. This one is going in the 'keep for when he gets married' box!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can't Have One Without The Other

So many things seem to go hand in hand.

This past week for me it is frustration and guilt. I was going to make a long whiny post about it, but most of the frustration has been left in the bathrooms and toilets I scrubbed today. I do find cleaning a wonderful outlet for my bad feelings. Although, with the way my house looks most times, you would think I was never frustrated.

Another strange pair I find with my kids is horror and pride. Let me explain.

Matthew was drawing a picture on the plane returning from St. Louis in the spring. He was drawing a picture of himself and singing away. I was very proud of him. Working hard, quietly, happily.

He added the anatomical features. Not so bad I suppose.

Then he added the horrifying part. He added relieving himself. I kept hoping that the steward would not walk by and ask to see his drawing again. Or to explain what it was.

Then he drew a thought bubble that said "Ahhhhhhhh". I had no idea that he even knew what a thought bubble was. And, I was oddly proud again.

Seems I can't have one without the other.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Something Different This Week

The boys have Friday off school so I booked an appointment with Matthew's original p/t. It is so much easier to make the trek down there during the day when we have time and there is no rush hour.

His new p/t is looking forward to her comments on Matthew's foot and his stretching.

I am too. Crossing my fingers she sees good things.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

Wow... I have been busy. I am now volunteering twice a week at the boy's school and finding little time for anything anymore.I am really enjoying being in the school. Feels good. Feels right. Maybe because I used to teach before kids. Maybe because it is interaction. Maybe because it gets me out of the house. Not sure if the reason really matters, just happy to do it. In fact, I have to head off again in 45 min to help out with Matthew's in-line skating class.

And yes, we were able to get the skate on over his brace! Yay!

I asked Matthew's p/t about his back pain. Yes. It is from the lift. And he should know. He also wears a half inch lift. On his left shoe. Eventually, it will get better.

I've also been busy trying to make Matthew's lunches more exciting and have discovered the world of Bento Boxes. Never heard of them? Neither had I but now it is my obsession. This is what I aspire to

Ok, maybe just this

So I am starting off slow. Today, this is what Matthew got for a Halloween lunch.

Owl and bat jam sandwiches, pumpkin muffins and fruit.

I know, I know. Nothing like what I aspire too, but I have many, many years to get to where I am going. So be patient, I hope to share some better stuff soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back Pain For A Six Year Old

Matthew started complaining Thursday morning of back pain. I thought maybe he slept funny. Offered him some tylenol before school which he took. Very unusual for him. This is a kid who can be wracked with allergies and refuse medication.

Thursday evening. Same thing.

Friday morning, again.

Friday late afternoon. Bad. He was so upset at the end of school. Won't get into it, but he had to be dragged off the playground for bad behavior and ended up losing movie night. He was in bed by 6 pm. Slept 13 hours straight.

Saturday morning. Back pain still.

Sunday, finally. No pain.

It took until Saturday afternoon for me to to clue in. He had been wearing the shoe with the lift at school for a week when the pain started.


I am betting that he has been moving for almost 6 yrs with his hips out of place. Now, for the first time, they are in place.

And it hurts.

Poor kid.

Hopefully it will stop hurting soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Backyard Visitor Getting Brave

We were all a bit shocked at dinner tonight when this guy stopped by the deck (right by the back door) looking for his own dinner. I think it is a sharp shinned hawk.

Guess we weren't the only ones who were hungry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

School Update and a Jack-O-Lantern of Sorts

All is well with Matthew's lift and the school. As long as Matthew doesn't intentionally make marks they are fine with him wearing it.

When he needs new shoes, I will look into perhaps a different color.

Right now I am not going to worry about it. I have other things to do. My glasses broke on the weekend and they are not able to get replacement parts to fix them. I have a lovely piece of electrical tape holding the arm on. It works somewhat, but I need new glasses. And, of course, I have not had my eyes checked in years, so I need a new prescription as well. Will be busy getting that done.

And my Jack-O-Lantern.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Sad Day For The Clubfoot Community

On Sunday, after suffering a debilitating stroke, Dr. Ponseti has passed away at the age of 95.

Dr. Ponseti revolutionized the world of clubfeet by developing a method (now referred to as the Ponseti method worldwide) of serial casting rather then surgeries to correct clubfeet.

Matthew and I never had the pleasure of meeting this man although I did correspond with him through email. In 2003, when Matthew was 4 months old, I had concerns that his foot was not correcting properly. I decided to send an email to the legendary man himself thinking that maybe if I was lucky, one of his staff members would email back with their professional opinion. I mean really, at the time, the man was 89 years old.

I was shocked to receive an email back within an hour from his personal secretary stating that he had gone for the day but would respond to my inquiry first thing in the morning. And, yes, he got back to me the next day with his professional opinion as well as contact information of the nearest doctor (Dr Pirani in Vancouver) that could do what he would do.

The clubfoot community has suffered a great loss but at the same time is very fortunate to have so many doctors that have trained under him to continue his legacy. For not only has this great man imparted his clubfoot knowledge, but he has somehow shared his love for the children and parents as well.

What a rare person to touch and change so many lives. What a rare opportunity for us to have seen his accomplishments first hand.

He will be dearly missed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just When You Think It's Safe To Get Back In The Water

I really thought I had things licked. I foolishly thought we were over a rough spot and it would be smooth sailing for a few months.

I was wrong.

Matthew came home yesterday upset. His indoor shoes have a black sole and he is not allowed to wear them because they mark the school floor.

Remember what they look like now with the lift.

So, I took the shoe and sure enough, it marks my kitchen floor. And the mark does not come off.


I have a call into the teacher. Hoping that we can come to a compromise with this shoe. Hope that if he is responsible and does not intentionally make marks, that he can continue to wear them.

Otherwise, it means buying yet another pair of new shoes and trying to see if there is a lift that can be added that is not black.

That reminds me, I need to call Matthew's orthotist and see if there is even such a thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Too Soon To Tell...

It may be too soon to tell, but I am getting a good feeling from Matthew's new physiotherapist.

When I met him and asked if he would be willing to work with kids, he told me that when he was little, he had some rather severe issues with his feet and legs. A surgeon had wanted to do some intensive surgeries. His parents sought out other therapies, hoping to avoid surgery. He was fortunate enough to do so. And, now he is a p/t.

When we arrived today, he asked how St. Louis went. I told him about the cast and about the leg length discrepancy. He stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me.

"which leg?"

"the left"

"how much?

"1/2 inch"

He looked at me again and said

"mine too"

I am struggling to find words to describe the feeling I have about this situation. Uncanny, fortunate, uplifting, beautiful, wonderful... seem to work. Somehow, this little foot has taken Matthew to a person who has led a similar life. Who has been casted, needed p/t, wears a lift in his shoe.

I think he has a soft spot for Matthew. I think that can only be the start of something good.

He told me today I was doing the right thing with Matthew. That this was the right path. That he just knew it.

Somehow, today, I feel it too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Feels Like Christmas

The view out our window is enough to make you think Christmas is just around the corner.

And we got to open this cheery looking package today.

Not sure who I felt more sorry for. The poor doctor attempting to remove a Dobbs cast or poor Matthew who had to endure it. Normally, cast removal takes five minutes tops. This poor guy was stumped and mystified and it took him 40 minutes. Normally, the cast comes off in two pieces. This poor guy butchered the cast (better then butchering the child) and we only saved 2 of the bigger pieces.

Matthew is doing well and walking on it already, although it is tender and he tires quickly. Shouldn't take long before the crutches go back into storage.

Also stopped in and saw Matthew's orthotist for a lift on his indoor school shoes. Found out that only 3/4 inches and more are covered here. How silly is that? So 1/2 inch lift is considered...what? Unnecessary? Cosmetic? How silly. They shoe should be ready in a few days.

Here's hoping this leg length discrepancy and shoe lift is the last piece of the puzzle and his foot stops regressing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

St. Louis, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

We are back from St. Louis with an interesting update.

First of all, the good.

We were sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. I was reading my book when Matthew said "Mommy! I see my friend D!" I told him, no that I didn't think he would see his buddy there. (He made a friend in St. Louis his first trip there in May and saw him a lot) I looked up and sure enough, there he was! Talk about fate! We had all flown in for an appointment that day without knowing the other was there. The boys were thrilled to be able to see one another again and to play at Haven House later.

The other good... Dr. Dobbs was happy with Matthew's foot. He said it still looked good.

The Bad

Matthew's heel cord has been getting tight despite all the p/t. Dr. Dobbs thought it would be beneficial for him to spend a week in a cast. Get a good long stretch. Matthew was really upset about this. He really didn't want a cast again. He had some tears when we were left alone. He cried because he would miss swimming. He cried because he didn't want to fly again with a cast. He cried because he wouldn't be able to do the monkey bars. He cried because he didn't want to have to go to school in a cast. But, by the time we made it to the cast room, he put on his brave face and sucked it up better then any adult could. Have I ever mentioned how proud I am of him? :)

The Ugly

Dr. Dobbs intern came in first and had Matthew walk. He immediately felt Matthew's hips. It was like a huge light bulb going off... leg length discrepancy. Sure enough. Matthew's left leg (clubfoot leg) is 1/2 inch shorter then his other leg. The X-rays they took when they removed his cast in May show it clear as day.

Why is this the ugly? Maybe because I am so mad that his surgeon here of 6 years never once measured for it. Never once mentioned the possibility. Never once said that clubfoot with neurological disorders often have leg length discrepancies. SIX years... not once. And Dr. Dobbs found it in Matthew's first post-cast appointment.

What is really ugly is that perhaps, if this had been caught earlier, he could have been wearing a lift in his shoe for a long time and maybe, just maybe it would have slowed his regressions or (maybe this is wishful thinking) prevented some of them.

I was able to pick Dr. Dobbs and Kristina (his nurse)'s brains while they casted him. Dr. Dobbs said that yes, it is possible that with the lift, it could reduce the regression. That his running/walking with his foot turned in could be due to the leg length difference. He also said that one day, Matthew WILL be done with casts. It will happen, he just can't tell me when.

Those were the most beautiful words I have heard in a long time. I told him I was going to hold him to that.

I have to say, Dr. Dobbs and Kristina are such a wonderful team to work with. We have been so lucky to have found them.

So Matthew got his cast (red with a green stripe - his choice) and it is straighter then any of his previous casts. It has made it difficult to move and impossible to reach his foot, but I hope, a better stretch.

Then, off to orthotics to get his brace fixed and to get a lift on the shoe that we had with us. The entire black portion on the bottom is the lift that was glued to the shoe. I have an appointment to take his other shoes in here to have lifts put on them.

Then, back to Haven House to play with his buddy.

What is under the cups? Why praying mantis's of course!

We are now back home and Matthew has not complained once about his cast, save for this morning when he said he had to show me something. I took a peak at his big toe. It was covered in dried blood. The fiberglass was a bit too long and digging into his toe. I got out the scissors and cut it back. He said thank you and ran off to play before school.

Man... that kid is one tough cookie. Makes my heart swell with pride.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Time Is Right

The time is right to head back to St. Louis.

This is what happened to his brace yesterday.

Yes, I could take it in to his othotist here in town, but because we are off in 4 days, I fixed it myself. Thank goodness for my sewing machine.

And, yes, his brace straps are filthy. Yes, I have scrubbed them. This is as clean as they get. I think some new straps from Dave in STL are in order.

Another reason to be heading back... I am having a lot of doubts right now about his foot. Maybe it isn't doubts. Maybe it is me wanting his foot to be perfect. Maybe I have read too many posts these days on the clubfoot yahoo group of parents excited that their child's journey is done. Maybe I am just tired of battling with him to stretch his foot every day.

I want his foot to have 20 degrees of dorsiflexion. I want his foot to be straight. I want him to run without that foot turning in.

Maybe my hopes are too high.

Or maybe I am seeing a problem.

Either way, it is time to go back and see Dr. Dobbs for Matthew's check up.

Besides, they are calling for snow on Sunday. Seems everytime we go to St. Louis, it snows.

Countdown to St. Louis, 4 days.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I love Matthew's physiotherapist. I do. She is knowledgeable, loves Matthew, willing to get direction from doctor's, confer with other p/t's, and she has given me not only her office and cell number, but her home number and home email address as well.

Why would we change?

Because the commute to her office is horrid. The reason Why I Hate Tuesdays.

I have found someone who is 7 minutes from our house. He is not a pediatric p/t but he works with kids and is willing to take on Matthew. We have an appointment on Wednesday. And I am nervous. When I told him that his current p/t was willing to come in and show him what she has been doing with him, he seemed ok, but then called later and told me it wasn't necessary. She is still meeting us there.

He also told me to book a late appointment. After 7 pm. Ummm, my kids are in bed by 7:30 pm.

So, my red flags are cautiously raised, but still hoping it works out.

Countdown to St Louis, 5 days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Tooth Fairy Cometh...Again!

Yet another fun side to having children so close in age, they loose teeth at the same time!

Ryan lost his first tooth today and gets his first official visit from the tooth fairy!

Matthew lost tooth #4 four days ago.

And, picture day is on Tuesday. Yay for toothless grins!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Physiotherapy - You're Doing It Wrong!

Have I ever mentioned that I do NOT have a degree?

Apparently I have been doing Matthew's p/t wrong. Placing too much pressure on the ball of his foot rather then lower down, causing some mid foot break.


Will adjust hand positioning while crossing fingers I haven't made things worse.

Have I ever mentioned that I do NOT have a degree?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

This morning was a chilly one. 3 C (37 F) and with the wind chill, 0 C (32 F). Brrrrr.

The boys asked if we could dig out mitts for them. Fortunately, the temperature is supposed to go back up for the rest of the week. I won't need to start looking for the winter gear quite yet.

Also, fortunately, my little garden has a few more days without a frost threat. Good thing, because all of a sudden


I had all but given up on these plants. They grew so tall and had all sorts of blooms, but no tomtatoes, until now. Three little ones.

We have been enjoying these ones already. This is from my 50 cent tomato plant. The tomatoes are smaller, but very nice. This plant has produced over 12 tomatoes! The leaves are starting to yellow, but the tomatoes are still turning.

My strawberries are still producing as well. In fact, they look really good and have sent out numerous runners. Next year should be a good year for strawberries.

There are still carrots growing. I assume if there is frost, I just dig the remainder up. I was hoping to let them grow a bit more.

My little garden has grown in two months.

And I'm not ready for it to be done yet. Still holding on to those last few warm days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday Me! I'm not afraid of my age and am proud to say today I am 41 yrs old. I have yet to hit a milestone that has bothered me. In fact, I embrace each year as a wonder. Every year gets better, so I look forward to this one.

This is what my boys got me for my birthday.

My husband let them go crazy in the dollar store. Each item was carefully inspected and picked out for Mommy. Yes, that is a wonderful sequined belt that may have fit me when I was 12 right beside the hair rollers. What a scream! I have to admit I had been looking forward to this gift all week.

I think these were their particular favorite items for Mommy.

These items were secretly removed from the bag, hidden behind their backs and one at a time placed specially in my hands while my eyes were closed.

I'm not a person that wants for material items. That said, these are items I will never forget. Ever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Physio...MY physio

Once upon a time I was a gymnast. Not a very good one. But a gymnast none the less. I liked it and worked hard. But still, not a very good gymnast. Then, one day, the head coach thought I had something. Not great gymnast potential but great coaching potential. My coaching career was born.

I have done or coached gymnastics for over 30 years. (I guess that hints a bit of my age...) In those 30 years, I have done some damage to my back. I remember some specific injuries. One in particular, after coaching for 5 hours trying out some Russian fronts. After all, if the boys could do them, why not the girls?

In case you are interested, this is a regular punch front that we all did

This is the Russian that we were working on

Maybe it was the fact that I had just coached for 5 hours. Maybe it was the fact that I was an inferior gymnast, but after landing a few Russians on a crash pad rather nicely, we decided to land them on the regular spring floor.

I landed mine with perhaps a slight twist in my back. I will say, I did land it on my feet thank you very much... Doesn't mean much when you are in your 40's and you have some rather extreme back pain.

After that day, I had some terrible back pain. I saw a chiropractor, it went away... but never far. It seemed to crop up every now and then.

Having 2 kids at an older age, I had some terrible Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. I blamed it on being old and having 2 kids in less then 16 months. But after reading up on it, seems its cause can be possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis.

I have been seeing a physio for myself. I am in a lot of lower back pain. The worst is in the morning. I can barely get up out of bed but a hot shower and some stretches in the shower make it bearable.

Not knowing a lot of my history, my p/t said my hips are out of alignment. So much so my legs are different lengths. He has been working to get my hips back to position and strengthening my now mushy core.

Since starting on this path, my back still hurts more then ever. But, now, my hips hurt and my foot has been in spasms daily.

I hope this is progress. If I was a race horse, I would fear the worst.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why I Hate Tuesdays

Tuesday. Physio day. I hate Tuesdays.

Matthew has been doing well at school. He has settled down into routine. There are no fights to go, there are no tears.

Except Tuesdays. Physio day.

I picked him up after school. Told him he could only stay 10 minutes to play because it was physio day. He sobbed. Two moms I have never met came over and asked if everything was ok. Hard to explain to a stranger in 30 seconds what has been his lifetime.

We got in the van. He screamed. He cried. He refused to take his Motrin. He yelled. He cried some more. Unfortunately, this went on for the whole 55 min drive through downtown rush hour to his physio's office. And poor Ryan, along for the ride was shuttled to Daddy's car along the way, off to follow Daddy to his appointment.

Once there, he sobbed in the waiting room and begged me to stay. His p/t agreed I could stay only if he worked hard. And work hard he did for an hour. It hurt. It was hard. I could see. Normally, I don't. Now, I see why he hates Tuesdays.

50 minutes home through the last of rush hour, he didn't complain as much. I let him pick out a Bakugan toy at the dollar store. That kept him happy for most of the trip.

Once home, push dinner, a few minutes to play, then bed.

Now, for me, a glass or two of wine... and a few tears.

I hate Tuesdays.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grotto Canyon

Sunday morning. Sunshine and blue sky as far as the eye can see. Glorious. To glorious to spend in the city. They boys felt it too and begged to go hiking to Grotto Canyon. Didn't take much convincing.

Approaching the mouth of the canyon.

In late summer/early fall, this canyon is easy enough to traverse. We avoid it in the spring and early summer. As you can imagine, the creek crossings become more difficult with spring runoff. Now, they are just so much fun for a 5 and 6 yr old. No wonder they beg to hike the canyons!

The rock is worn smooth where the water rushes by in the spring. It is slippery and so much fun! Imagine the power of that water.

Up to the falls.

Not much water, but more then I expected as it has been so dry here for weeks.

Onto the dry part of the canyon, the geocaches and the 'cave'. In past trips, the boys have begged to climb to the 'cave' but we have always said no. This time, we let them go.

It was rather steep and a few dangerous spots. Here is a rare photo of me waiting at the mouth of the cave (rather just a very very large opening) waiting to assist the boys back down through the steepest, slippery spot.

The safest way down.

Looking back.

After a long day. Ryan crashes, Matthew...never.

What a wonderful day. Nothing recharges my batteries like a day hike in the mountains. Ready to take on the week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Backyard Visitor

This new visitor has been causing a stir in our yard for a few weeks now.

We think it is a female Merlin and we know when she is about by the number of bird strikes to the windows (despite the decals) as the sparrows and finches attempt a getaway.

We now know, if the yard is quiet, she must be lurking.

Beauty comes in many forms.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For you Sue

My blogger friend Sue was asking about my clematis. Because I am rather proud of it, I will answer in a post. :)

I planted my clematis a few yrs back. Can't remember how many years. It was one stalk, maybe 2 feet tall. Looked happy, but up against the 12 feet of lattice, I am sure the poor thing felt it had rather big shoes to fill. And fill it has. It has grown from one tiny stalk a few years ago, adding each year to this year where I gave up trying to count the stalks. Every year it grows more.

Last year

This year - it hit the top

A few tips I have for growing clematis.

It loves hot and sunny spots. This is the hottest and sunniest spot in our yard.

It likes to have it's roots shaded. I used to plant flowers below it. Then I had a lovely plant come in from our neighbors yard. This year, the sunflowers did the job.

For winter... In warmer climates then mine, it will survive and grow from where it left off. In my climate, if I want it to continue to grow, I should lay it down in the fall and cover it. Then put it back up in the spring. Sorry, that is not going to happen. What I do is leave it all up for the winter. We put a bird feeder up and the birds move from dry vines and lattice to the feeder. It is right by the kitchen window and makes for a lovely winter show. We have already seen the sparrows start to take cover.

In spring, once it starts to grow, I cut back the dead vine. Last year, up to a foot survived. Other years, I have cut it back to the ground.

I love my clematis.