Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sweet 16 and More Family Happenings

"Catching Up" should be this blog's nick name lately!
I just can't seem to stay up to date on our family's
happenings! But, busy is good as long as it means
Mason has stayed healthy and out of the hospital!

The best sister ever is 16!
(Kaitlin's birthday was on September 16.)

Happy sweet 16th birthday to my beautiful, 
fun, kind, caring, and absolutely amazing Kaitlin!!
 Can't' believe she officially has her driver's license now!! 
My first baby is too grown up!! 
I love you for infinity Kk!!
Love❤️, Mom

After we went out to dinner as a family on 
Kaitlin's birthday, we returned home to a surprise party!

Many of her sweet, cute, and fun friends came over 
to help us celebrate this special birthday!

She has grown up too fast! But, I am certainly
grateful to have another driver in the house!

Not knowing we had a surprise party up our sleeves for her,
all Kaitlin wanted to do for her 16th birthday, 
(well besides getting her driver's license), was to
 take a few friends to Lake Powell for the weekend...
And that's we did!
So the weekend after her birthday we road tripped it to 
Lake Powell again!

Kaitlin, Kenna, Kelsey, and Grace  had a fun weekend!
And, so did the rest of us who got to enjoy the warmth also!

The birthday girl is one amazing wake surfer!

I don't think Braiden minded hanging out with 
all these cute girls for the weekend!

Mason either, and he was the official flag boy!

Kaitilin we love you! Happy Belated Birthday!
My heart is over filled with gratitude that I get to call you mine!
Thanks for being the best sister, daughter, and friend ever!


Next up.....

Preston had foot surgery on September 24

Preston is one tough kiddo! He had surgery on both feet!
No crazy accident or anything, it was something he needed done. 
But, of course he timed it perfectly in between boating season, 
lacrosse season, and snow skiing season.... He plans to be skiing the
slopes in December! We will see!! (I will say it was very odd for me to 
be waiting in same day surgery for a kiddo other than Mason for once!!) 

Preston has been a good sport! One foot in a cast
and the other in a walking boot has been quite tricky,
although I think he's had some fun with the knee scooter!


Mason received an award at a school assembly for 
always being kind to others. He and one other child 
were picked from his class... so proud of him!


Mason continues to LOVE school and hasn't missed a day yet
for being sick!! Woohoo!!


On the weekend of October 10 we took a trip
down to Las Vegas for a special event....

Our Super Nanny Sammi got married!

(Sammi moved in with us back in February 2010
to play mom while Mason and I were in California
waiting for and recovering from his heart transplant.
She has lived with us ever since. The first year she
was my full time assistant/helper, after that she 
continued to help our family part time, but always
making us her top priority during Mason's 
hospital stays. We will miss her greatly!! She has
become part of our family, and always will be! I am
grateful beyond words for all she has done for us! 
I know it's time for her to move on, am excited for her, 
but am also sad all at the same time! The good news is
 that she won't be too far away, and can help me out still 
some times. Sean is one lucky guy! We love you Sammi!)

Sammi and Sean got married in the Las Vegas LDS temple.
We were so happy to be there for this special day.

Kaitlin was a beautiful bridesmaid, and
Mason and Ammon were two very cute ring boys!

Mason's favorite part was the pool at the reception!

We love you Sammi, 
and you will always hold a special spot in our hearts!

Although we all miss her, Ammon is the one
most heart broken about her new life journey!
Tears are streaming down my face as I write this, 
because Sammi became Ammon's best friend
while living with us. When Mason and I had to
move to live by Stanford almost 5 years ago, I was
sad and worried about leaving all of my kiddos, but 
the one I worried about the most was Ammon. He was
only in preschool and also has his own special needs.
At the time I called it the "biggest leap of faith" I'd
ever taken....but Sammi was an answer to my prayers!
She has been a friend and big sister too all of my kids,
but Ammon believed he would marry her some day!

Good luck with you new journey Sammi!
Thanks again for all you've done for us! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flashback- Summertime fun

I'm embarrassed that it is the middle of October and I'm just now posting about our busy and fun summer. I have worked on this post many different times over the last 2 months, but with what seems like a million pictures to go through and very little free time I'm just glad I'm finally posting it! I thought I'd have all this free time with Mason in Kindergarten, but that really isn't the case. I do help at least two days a week in his class (which I love by the way), but also with kindergarten being less than 3 hours long it seems like by the time I get the morning mess cleaned up, showered, and a load or 2 of laundry started... kindergarten is over! The good news about kindergarten so far is that Mason has not missed a day of school for being sick! Hooray! 

Mason continues to get an IVIg infusion every month. (That's actually where we are right now. It's Wednesday night October 15 and we are spending the night for his infusion). Tomorrow morning we will go to transplant clinic. It's been two months since Mason's last clinic visit and echo. That is a long time for us! We have gone two months a couple times in the past, but his rejection would always start to creep back up and we'd be back to more frequent visits. Hopefully that's not the case this time! He seems to be doing GREAT so I'm praying that means a great clinic visit too! His next heart cath/biopsy is scheduled for November 13 to follow up on his rejection. 

So here it is... a picture summary of our summertime fun. Cousin's camp, a wedding, California, baseball, and a 2nd trip to Lake Powell kept us quite busy from the middle of June until school started  the third week in August! Lots of fun memories...

Cousin's Camp and Cousin Elise's Wedding

The annual Strickland Cousin's camp was a lot of 
crazy fun as usual! And then to add to the excitement,
all of the cousins took part in the first wedding of one
of their cousins! Kaitlin was one of the bridesmaids, 
Ammon and Mason thought they were in charge of the
golf cart shuttling guests to their cars, and Preston and 
Braiden helped take videos of the fun evening! I think the 
little kiddos favorite part of it all was the sparklers used 
to send the bride and groom off at the end of the night!

Elise and Micha's celebration

The morning of the wedding, 3 of my sister in laws
and I ran the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon.
It was my third time running it and it was so fun to
have some company to run with this year!


Southern California beaches was where we headed next for the 
week of the 4th of July.  Mason and I got to skip the long drive 
there because he got sick the day of his last biopsy. We were 
supposed to leave for Cali the day after his biopsy, but instead
he and I were stuck in the hospital! Thankfully though, he seemed 
to be much better three days later so we flew down to Cali
to catch up with the family. The stinker that he is though,
the fevers came back and he felt pretty crummy for a lot of our
trip! A call to our pediatrician and the transplant team back home,
some antibiotics, and some rest enabled us to stay on our family
vacation at my most favorite place of all... the beach!

Mason loved our plane ride!

Kaitlin and her cute friend Kelsey on Monday morning
caught the train in San Jan Capistrano to go up to
 EFY(especially for youth) at UCSantaBarbara for the week.

The rest of us just had a relaxing week on the beach!

Feeding pigeons and making sand castles is always fun
at Doheny Beach in Dana Point!

We celebrated the Fourth of July at Riviera Beach 
in San Clemente with some patriotic face painting
(colored zinc sunscreen), body surfing, boogie boarding,
relaxing in the sun, playing beach baseball, and visiting with some good friends. It was an great day!!!


That night we watched an amazing firework
show from above the Dana Point Harbor.

Preston got some cool photos of the fireworks as well!

Early morning surfing.....

We were even lucky enough to have cousins at the 
beach with us for a couple of days this year!

We had fun hanging out with cousins at Salt Creek!

Although, Mason was not feeling so great this day :( 

Saturday morning we picked the girls up at the train station after their fun week in Santa Barbara.


After they returned from EFY we spent a couple more days
in beautiful Southern California.

We were so happy to have these darling fun girls back with us!

 Family photo at Salt Creek

Our kids +1..... I loved having 1 more girl with us! Usually
Kaitlin and I are over powered by all the boys!!!


It wouldn't be the summertime truly without a few more
baseball games for the year right?!

 Mason was there for every single game as Braiden's #1 fan!

Braiden and Mark also took a trip to New York in July
with Braiden's baseball team. They had a great time!

They saw a couple Yankee's games,

toured the Yankee stadium and museum
(holding Babe Ruth's bat and Derek Jeter's jersey below),

visited Time Square,

and toured the 911 memorial. These boys
 worked hard this year to earn this awesome trip!

Kaitlin spent 2 1/2 weeks in New Hampshire with 
3 of her cousins nannying at Lake Winnipesaukee.

They worked hard, but I know they also had some fun too!

A few times a day they dropped into the lake
from about 55 feet up from this rope swing!

(Kaitlin and her twinner cousin Brooke)


We ended our summer vacation with a 2nd trip to Lake Powell.
We spent a week on a house boat with family and friends.
It was a beautiful fun way to wrap up our summer!

(This is the medicine prep for a week away with Mason)
Crazy huh?! But, well worth it!

The week was filled with...
wake surfing, wake boarding, paddle boarding,
cliff jumping, sea-dooing, picture taking, 

(You can sure tell that all these beautiful cousins are related!)

The nights were just as beautiful as the days!!!

I will say... I'm so grateful that Mason has been
 doing so well! Healthy enough for Mason and I
to enjoy all these fun family memories this year!

Just to wrap things up, It's now Saturday October 18 and I'm finally finishing this!! The IVig all-nighter went well. Mason is such a good sport about it! Then clinic the next morning was fantastic! His echo looked great, his blood work was good, he has but on almost 4 pounds (putting him up to 35 lb's), and the transplant team was pleased with how well he has been doing. So hopefully he won't need to be seen until his biopsy next month. An exciting parts of clinic was meeting the transplant team's newest doctor to join them. We actually knew him at Stanford! He had been doing his pediatric cardiology fellowship while we were there waiting for Mason's heart. It was just so great to reconnect with someone from Stanford. Mason and I had such a great experience at Stanford that I've missed being able to go back! And, I also know he will bring some great knowledge and experience to Primary's Transplant team.

Sorry for the long post. But, more than anything I do it for
 my own journaling. My next post will also be a catch up post, 
we celebrated Kaitlin's sweet 16  birthday in September! 
So so so very crazy that she is already 16!

I hope that all of Miracle Mason's
followers are doing well and enjoying life!!