JASON: We continue to feel so very blessed that Jason was able to work from his laptop. He didn’t get in as much work as he’d hoped, but his work also donated a lot of leave – and helped raise $1,200 to help with our expenses. We are SO very blessed! He continued to be the strong one through this trial & Heidi had to give the phone to him more than once to help a crying child as Heidi was crying, too. Jason was great at meeting people at Ronald McDonald & talked with a few of them who were Spanish & also bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon to a girl who had received a copy from the missionaries. Jason was able to give Link blessings a few times & they were very powerful. He is so thankful his son is cured & home!
HEIDI: Heidi is just so thankful EVERY DAY to be out of the hospital – out of Philadelphia – and home here in Cedar City. She has learned a lot on this journey and hopes that this adventure will change her for the better. She hopes she can be as good to others as others were to her family during this ordeal. She is amazed at the outpouring of love from friends, family & even strangers. It has been amazing. Heidi did finish a book during their hospital stay – the 3rd book of the Matched series – and it was good. Heidi will definitely not miss Philadelphia, but she will miss the mile-long walks with her sweetheart through the University of Pennsylvania campus and she will miss some amazing people who they have met – and a handful of them are now friends with on FB so it’s great to keep in touch. This is one Christmas season that Heidi won’t forget – having Link home was the best Christmas present ever! Since we’ve been home Heidi has kept busy keeping house (something that she’s actually thankful for right now), writing & sending thank you cards to doctors, family, friends, teachers, etc, and just enjoying her sweet family.
McKinley’s teacher at Longview Elementary was Mrs. Forsyth. McKinley enjoyed her class & did well. She did really well with mom & dad being away for the most part, but about a week before we came home, she was talking with mom on the phone & having a hard time. She was crying & asking if she could just come to Philadelphia. She said she would sleep on the floor. She was really missing us. It was hard for mom to keep the secret, but we did J She was so very excited to see us at the airport & see her little brother. For Christmas, McKinley asked Santa for a Laurie Berkner CD and a Leapster Game. She was sweet and knitted (on her hand) a scarf for Santa & left it for him on the night before Christmas. She did find a Laurie Berkner CD in her stocking. Santa also left her the game Twister & TWO small American Girl Dolls. Mom and dad got her a ball-like marble game, some PJs and snow pants, and a string game. The girls also got a Leap Pad from Uncle Richard! Later on, Camri gave her a full-size American Girl Doll! She has loved having her baby brother near & is a terrific big sister! She can pick him up, feed him a bottle & she loves to sing & dance for him. She’s really good at making him smile, too J She is glad to be back home & has already played with Addison, Olivia, and Jennie. For the 2nd year in a row, she’s stayed up till midnight on Jan 31st! She is looking forward to getting back to South Elementary & her friends & teacher, Mrs. Robb, who sent her an amazing care package while she was at grandmas, with a book of her classmates pictures, wishing her a Merry Christmas & hoping her brother gets well. She also sent about 7 brand-new books! It was awesome.
Ireland’s teacher at Longview Elementary was Mrs. Wright & she liked her a lot. She even won a HARD WORKER award! Great job Ireland! Ireland was SO excited for mom & dad to come home. Grandma said every day she would wake up and say “Only _more days until mom & dad get home!” When we Skyped with her, she would get SO excited about talking about us coming home. She was also so very glad to find out that her brother got to come home – she said she just KNEW he was going to come home J Mom & Dad have been surprised at how much Ireland understands about what has been going on with Link. She will explain to us that Link had to have half of his pancreas removed & she can show you where if you show her a picture. For Christmas, Ireland asked Santa for a scooter that goes by itself, but mom & dad told her that Santa probably would wait on that for a while for safety reasons. She got a Trouble game for Christmas, along with a Princess and Pop Star DVD, a keyboard, a soccer net, and Bendeez craft sticks. Ireland LOVES having baby Link home & will get right in his face & try to make him smile. She, too, is great at feeding him & doesn’t want anyone to help her. She’s constantly asking if she can hold him. She loves to lay down by him – on the ground, in his crib, and under the music-maker thing. She has also enjoyed being home & has played with Jackson & Isabella. She’s excited to get back to Mrs. Ekker’s Kindergarten class, who also sent a sweet care package to Ireland – including pictures drawn by each student for Ireland, a book, and a tape with the class singing Merry Christmas to You – in English & Spanish & they said “Merry Christmas Ireland!” It was so cute. Ireland didn’t quite make it to midnight this year. It was about 11pm when she asked mom if she would come cuddle with her.
Kezia enjoyed spending lots of time with grandma while mom & dad were gone, but she missed them, too. She regressed quite a bit on her potty training while mom & dad were away – and she wanted to be held a lot – and watch grandma’s ipad. For Christmas, Kezia got a VeggieTales DVD & CD, and a “ice” cube game from Santa. From mom and dad she got some clothes & PJs, a cookie monster Play Doh set, and a My Little Pony remote control car (a favorite). She also got a My Little Pony DVD from Uncle Richard. Kezia is so glad to be home now. Since we’ve been home, she has done so much better with her potty training – and she loves to “call Rachel” (from Signing Time) – a phone app – and tell her when she goes potty & when she has an accident J We let Kezia sleep with us one night & it was a bit rough. Kezia was moving all over the place – dad finally gave up & slept on the couch – and she kept sleep-talking. At about 5am, she mumbled something & then said “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” Mom tried to go back to sleep & she said “I SAID AMEN!” so mom said “Amen” and then Kezia said “Now I want my orange.” She has gotten to play with Brecken and Adelaide since we’ve been home & she loves having friends over & showing them our new swing set downstairs. Kezia took a 3-hour nap on New Years Eve, so she actually made it to midnight this year!
LINK: Oh, our blessed miracle boy! We are SO very happy to finally have our wireless Link!! J He was so good to give his grandmas, aunts, uncles & cousins smiles. He also slept pretty well. We think he’s pretty glad not to be hearing all the beeps and machines in the background – not to mention all the pokes & pricks, waking him up. He’s getting more used to having his sisters around him all the time and trying to get his attention. He loved his first bath at home & splashed & kicked his legs. He is completely off his medicines – unless he gets sick & then he needs stress dosing of hydrocortisone steroid. Which is why we are mostly keeping him inside for a while. We really don’t want him getting sick! We were a little worried that we might have to supplement the breastfeeding or put back in the feeding tube because he lost about a pound since discharge, but Dr. Polson, his pediatrician, wasn’t too worried – especially since it looks like he has started gaining again – and he’s still in about the 68th percentile for weight. He is fully breastfeeding now, which has been wonderful. He sleeps pretty good in his crib – or the portable swing – or the papapsan baby chair – or the Baby Bjorn. At night he usually gets up 2-3 times. He didn’t really like the Soothie binkis in the hospital, but he has really grown to love the Nuk binkis. His head strength is getting really good and he loves to stand up – his legs are getting strong! Since Link was pretty much clothes-less for the first couple months of his life, it has been so much fun to dress him in the cute outfts he’s been given – and such a change from cutsie girl clothes – cars, trucks, dinosaurs, bugs, etc. He just looks so handsome in all his new clothes. He’s almost too big for most of his 0-3 months clothes – we may have to end up returning some L His scar looks great & is healing really well. Jason & I never noticed it the first month or so of his life, but he seems to have a birth mark on his inner left leg –a dark brown large splotch. At first we thought it had something to do with the blood clot in his left leg, but all the doctors say no. His hair is getting thicker on top & he has lost most of it in the back on the sides, but he has basically a mullet – long hair just in the very back, bottom of his head J His left eye seems to be goopy a lot – probably a clogged tear duct. We think his eyes are going to be blue like his sisters! We are so thankful to have him home and are hoping with his young life that the hospital – and all the pain that came with it – is already a distant memory for him. For Christmas, Link got a tummy time mat, some church clothes & some toys.