Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Saga Continues...

Georgia and I went back to the orthopedic surgeon last week.  This was a follow-up visit to our visit last October and the primary purpose was to determine if / when Georgia should have a third surgery.  Georgia, as you may recall, was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome and while she's come a long way (Click HERE and HERE), her right leg is still a half-inch shorter than her left leg and the doctors have always planned a third surgery to correct this issue.  When we last saw our doctor in October, we were pleasantly surprised to find that he was not particularly in favor of doing the surgery after all.  Georgia's leg length-descripancy is on the very lowest edge of needing to be corrected and it was his opinion that if she continued to wear her orthodic shoe insert and her back/ pevis remained straight, than he saw no need for an invasive procedure.

The procedure itself has a fancy name that I don't remember but it involves opening up the left leg, fusing growth plates to retard the growth on that leg to give the right side (the shorter side) time to catch up.  All of this needs to happen before Georgia stops growing and I imagine it means no exercising, no sports and no movement and a whole lot more xrays, scans and pain.

We put off the decision for six months to allow Georgia to grow some more and we repeated the body scan (xrays) to see her growth progress.

Our appointment last week was almost identical to our last visit to Chidlren's Hospital Boston.  The scans were done, the doctor spent time reading the xrays, talking to Georgia and to me, watching Georgia walk and checking her legs.  We left feeling encouraged and hopeful that no additional surgery would be needed.

And then my cell phone rang a week later and the number was local but not one that I recognized.  I picked it up right away.  The Doctor had been reviewing and signing off on on his notes from our visit and was confused about something he had written.  He went back to Georgia's chart to check a few facts and while he was checking, he noticed that contrary to what he had seen before, her leg length descrepancy was increasing more than he had realized.  AND Georgia (to all of our shock) is currently in the middle of her final growth spurt and the window of opportunity to do the surgery is getting smaller.  We also learned that Georgia's growth age is 12 when she is in fact, a short 11 1/2.

So now we have a big decision ahead of us.  We have to decide if it's worth the pain and agony to have two legs that are the same length.  We need to decide when to do such a surgery, since the summer is already accounted for and this fall, Georgia starts middle school which is not an ideal time to miss a week or so of school.  Obviously we want what is best for Georgia, but who is to say what that means?

Could she spend the rest of her life always wearing an insert in her shoe and be fine?  Or in a few years from now, will her leg lengths be so different that she is uncomfortable, her spine starts to curve, her hip begins to rise and we are back to where we were when she was seven and we had her last surgery - only this time, it will be too late to do anything about it?

And why on earth is tiny Georgia half-way through her growth spurt?!?!  She's only 4' 11"!  What's that about!?

We are headed back to the surgeon's office in July and A Decision will be made then.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fun For The Sun Deprived 2

Thursday was our Day of Rest during spring break.  I had an exercise class in the morning and we still had to drop off and pick up Henry from school like all the other days, but instead of doing an activity or planning a day trip, we elected to stay at home and relax.  I did suggest an outdoor picnic as a mid-day diversion but that was mostly because I didn't want boredom to set in, four o'clock arrive and be forced to listen to Georgia and Josie complain that it was the Most Boring Day Ever.  

I really wanted to enjoy the day off - I'd forgotten how exhausting Spring Break really is.

Which brings me to another interesting fact - we are working on getting Georgia to eat more protein.  I had started to type "getting Georgia to eat better" but that's not being honest.  Georgia does a great job when it comes to fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbohydrates... she just patently refuses to eat any protein.  And we're starting to get a little worried.  I'm planning to write a blog post to address this topic in full, but to summarize, Georgia had another appointment with her orthopedic surgeon and we learned some startling news.  Georgia is half-way through her growth spurt and her bone age is 12.

Georgia is 11.

And she's only 4 foot, 11 inches.  

Unless she wants to be itty-bitty for the rest of her life, Georgia needs to step up and start eating more balanced meals - including protein.  And she needs to do so quickly.  Not that we expect Georgia to be a giantess, but it would be grand if she at least got to my short height of 5'3".  Even with that, she's dooming herself to a life of shopping in the petit section, hemming every pair of pants and every skirt and dress she buys and the worst - THE WORST - being constantly picked up in high school and college.  And I'm not talking about the "hey baby, want to go on a date" type of pick up.  I'm talking about literally being removed from the ground and carried around like Bubbles the Chimp and Michael Jackson.  

I don't know what it is about young men and picking short girls up, but it happens and it's a real problem.  There is nothing worse than being picked up - except maybe clowns.  

Or being picked up by a clown.  OOOHH, that's scary.

But back to our picnic.  We did what I like to call a French Plate - coissants, cheese, fruit and a big scoop of natural peanut butter and a large tankard of milk for the adolescent shorty.

I refuse to believe it's too late for Georgia.


Josie's not exactly an amazon herself.  But at least she eats well and happily enjoys all meat and soy products.

It was a cold, cold windy day.  Our garden is only slowly showing signs of spring.  Most of our views were of a tree/shrub graveyard.

I'm hopeful that these will all grow back.

And I'm hopeful that this little miss will grow as well.

But the picnic needed to be cancelled right away.  It was way too windy to enjoy a pastry.

We moved back inside.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fun For the Sun-Deprived 1

We have been so sun-deprived!  Even the hard-core New Englanders are grumbling about the unusually harsh winter we had.  You've probably noticed how weather-centric this blog has become and for that I apologize.  It's just that when you crave sun and warmth like I do, it's natural that you become obsessed with the weather-related apps on your phone!  

It's Spring Break and it's still pretty cold, but the sun was shining on Monday and we took advantage of the situation to get outside and absorb some vitamin D.

I took Georgia and Josie plus two friends to a great playground in a near-by town to get some fresh air.

The Elliots were not properly dressed.

Well.  Two Elliots were not properly dressed.  The Third Elliot (moi) was wearing long pants, socks, sneakers, a wool sweater, a down vest and gloves.  

Because I know better, that's why.

This playground is famous for it's zipline.  It's not the highest zipline (it's only a few feet off the ground) nor the fastest (It's quite slow) but it's still fun and unique and therefore the crowning feature of an all-around great play space.  

All four girls took turns on the zip line.

And then they moved on to the playground's second best feature - the spinny things.

Don't you love the way I name playground equipment?  I'm so creative, I know.

There is an enormous, wooden castle in the middle of this playground, with towers and slides and monkey bars, but the girls didn't spend much time exploring that area.  Instead, they stuck to the aforementioned zipline, spinny things and the swings - specifically, the tire swing:

We didn't stay long at the playground.  I had a doctor's appointment in Boston and I wanted to leave plenty of time.  It was Marathon Monday, afterall, and I knew that Boston would be crowded.  

There was just enough time to get to the playground - no easy feat since the town we had to cross to get to the park was having a Patriot's Day parade and had blocked off most of their streets.   Here's a fun fact about New England for you:  New Englanders do not believe in signs.  While you are driving on a major street, you will notice that there are signs letting you know the name of streets that intersect with that major street, but they stubbornly refuse to tell you the name of the street on which you are currently find yourself.   You could (and do) drive miles on a street without realizing that you made a dreadful mistake and that you aren't even ON the street you thought you were on.  It's very vexing.  This hatred of signs (or more acturately, the hatred of non-native-New Englanders) also manifests itself during moments of street closures and road work.  There will be signs placed telling you that a road is closed and there MIGHT be a Detour sign pointing you in the general direction of the detour but that will be all.  You are expected to know an alternative route and to get there without complaining.  After all, if you had grown up here, it shouldn't be difficult.  There will be no other detour sign after the original one.  Mark my words.  For those of us who grew up in New Jersey (or California, for example) and are used to x-shaped street signs that tell you what road you are on and what road turns to the right/left and who need a constant stream of Detour signs pointing us in the right direction, New England is more difficult that we remember our childhood states being.

But I've lived here for 15 years and I'm finally getting used to it all.  I encountered that Road Closed Sign and instantly recalculated the trip in my head.  I may have needed three tries before I found an opening in that major closed road, but I did it and I was proud.

Yeah me.  

The things we do to get ourselves a hour of sunshine!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Minute Man National Park

On the day after Patriot's Day, the girls and I visited the Minute Man National Forest near Lexington.  Gordy, my parents and I took Henry there when he was a baby and I always planned on taking the children back when they were old enough to understand the significance of what happened at this site.

We started out a the Visitor's Center where we watched a movie about the events leading up to (and including) the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

It was quite good and I'd say we learned a lot.

We then moved onto the trail itself, which is a five-mile long path that takes you past historical sites and markers.

We stopped along the way to do a few cartwheels and to admire a pretty pond:


We only made it about a mile along the path before the inevitable hunger set it.  My children are always dying for a snack.  

We did read a few placards and we did spend time at the Paul Revere Capture site.

But then we turned around and headed back to the car which was parked by the Visitor's Center soon after.  Our next stop was further down the road in Concord, where we would visit the famous Old North Bridge:

... which was lovely, by the way.

We walked across the bridge, pausing to read the engravings on the obelisk and to admire the minute man statue:

Georgia has spent the year learning about the American Revolution in her social studies class, so this field trip of ours was very timely.  And the fact that the weather was mild (notice how I'm not saying that it was warm, because it really was not) and sun was out, made the excursion even more enjoyable.  

Henry is still in school - this is our first year of the competing spring breaks - so we aren't taking long trips or venturing outside of our immediate neighborhood, but it's still nice to do something that isn't folding laundry or playing in our basement.  

It's a true stay-cation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter At Our House

On Easter morning, the children woke up early,  eager to find their Easter Basket.  The Easter Bunny hides the baskets at our house.

The children searched all the old places - behind the drapes in the family room, behind the door in the kitchen - to no avail.  It seems that the  Bunny got extra creative this year.

Georgia walked past her basket about five times.

It was hidden in my tote bag, which was hanging on a door knob in the kitchen.

We're still not sure how Henry managed to find his basket, which was hidden in the oven.  I mean, who thinks to look in the oven?!?!

Eventually, all the baskets were located and the candy-eating began.  

The Easter Bunny fills our baskets with candy (we like to be old school that way).  He does put in one toy, though and this year the girls got nail polish kits and Henry got a scuba flashlight.

I know a lot of people shun baskets full of candy, but I'm not one of those people. I wouldn't give my children that much junk everyday, but an occasional binge shouldn't hurt.

Later that morning, we headed over to our friends' house for an Egg Hunt.

When we arrived, Josie hid our family's eggs and then twenty minutes later, she picked them all back up:


Henry and some of the older boys "helped" too.  One of the boys' uncles had put money into the eggs and the 13 year olds were determined to get as much cash as they could get.

Georgia didn't bring her basket, but she did help her friend Katie find eggs.

It was a fun time and a good harvest:

The girls are now on Spring Break and between driving Henry to and from school, we are taking fun day trips and enjoying the slightly more pleasant weather.  More to follow!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Day Before Easter

Happy Easter, everyone!  We are off to a friend's Easter Egg hunt in a few minutes, so in the interest of time, I'll divide my usual Easter post into two.  

On the Day Before Easter, I got a gift from Josie.  It was a paper chick in a handpainted "basket."  Cute, no?

We also dyed Easter Eggs - a process that was much more successful than last year when I forgot to buy white eggs and we learned the hard way that brown eggs don't dye nearly as well.

We aren't planning to have our own egg hunt, but it didn't seem like Easter unless we dyed some eggs, so we did.

Henry was at a lacrosse game and didn't participate in the festivities - which meant more eggs for the girls to decorate and no one around to tell them that they were doing it wrong.

There was much "double" dying and lots of crayoning.

I think the eggs turned out perfectly.

What do you think?

We prepared treat-filled plastic eggs for the Egg Hunt Party we are attending.  Each child is supposed to bring 20 eggs to hide - but that doesn't mean that you have to find only the eggs you brought.  You are allowed to pick up any 20 eggs that you see.  The last time we went to this party, the eggs were all found within 10 seconds and the children spent the rest of their time there eating the spoils.  That's what happens when the children get older!

Well, we're off!  I hope you all enjoy your day.

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