Rayce turned 6 years old this year, and 6 just seems so much older to this mama than 5! We celebrated with our family on his real birthday, and took cupcakes to his kindergarten class – Dash was very excited to participate! We had his birthday party at the Gymnastics place again (its kinda hard to do much during the winter) and started the day by going to the Huckleberry where he got to wear the birthday crown! We visited the train station while we waited for party time to come around, and then had a great time at his Minecraft themed party!
Rayce’s 6 year old stats:
Weight – 52lbs // Height – 3 ft 9 in
Funny, when I started this post, I was bumming pretty bad on 2015, ready to bid it adieu and not look back, but after going through all my pictures from the last year, there are so many more good things that overshadow the bad. Yeah, we had some not-so-fun times this year, but we had many more wicked awesome times and those are the things to celebrate and remember! Life is so good, even in what you might think is the worst of times.
January was full of skiing on little amounts of snow, lots of emotional football games, Rayce’s first time having a friend sleepover and me getting to see my childhood BFF for the first time since 2nd or 3rd grade (that was a LONG time ago!).
February was more football games, saying goodbye to Grandma Finny who had been staying with us since the fall, Rayce’s 5th birthday and the addition of Olive, our golden retriever. She came home with us just hours before Rayce’s birthday bowling party…..she was so adorable.
March was Easter egg dying time, and also the month which we enrolled Rayce in Kindergarten for the fall. And even though there isn’t a picture, this is also the month I started Crossfit! We finished out March with Brad turning 31!
April was a month full of celebrations and friends. The kids looked extra cute in their Easter getups, and Rayce and Duncan got to take a ride in the scoop of Carl’s tractor – it brought back fond memories of being on the Ranch during my childhood. Our dear friends got married and Dash especially enjoyed the Mariachi band and wearing a sombrero. It also marked another 6 month checkup at Childrens – this time I tried to go on my own and realized quickly after Dash came back into the room and was still loopy that it was a mistake…..Brad was deep in a work project so luckily my dad came over to finish out the Neurologist and Oncologist appointments with me!
In May we took a quick drive over to Snohomish to check out the train museum, we also took our first camping trip as a fam with some friends. Rayce learned how to use the rowing machine and also graduated from preschool!!! Dashyl turned the big 2 years old and we celebrated by going to the waterslides with family and friends.
June was not my favorite month of the year, although it started out awesome. We took a drive to Moses Lake one weekend to hang out at an ATV store while daddy tried to win concert tickets. We also took our first trip to Barbie beach….aka the river by our house which also happens to be right next to the train bridge. We spent my 34th birthday at Rudy and Cathys in Woodinville as I prepared to run in the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon the next day, just a few short hours before flying out to spend a week with my awesome co-workers in Taos, New Mexico. I came home the day before Fathers Day. That day we found out a good friend of ours had lost his dad suddenly, which prompted Brad to ask me to make him a doctors appointment. Long story short, Brad was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer on Friday and had surgery on Saturday morning. It was and still is terrifying…..that was one of the longest weeks of my life, and so were the weeks following. Fortunately we saw the best Oncologist ever, and he suggested closely monitoring Brad for the next few years instead of radiation or chemotherapy. He goes in every 3 months from here on out……thank God for insurance, and that things turned out as good as the did.
July felt like we spent a LOT of quality time together as a family, spending time out in the sun on the boat, at the beach, and I took Rayce to Crossfit with me as much as possible – he would row with me and it turns out he does the cutest burpees I have ever seen! We also were deep into raising money for the Hydrocephalus walk – our team, Dashyl’s Posse was doing awesome and we had the support of so many people…..it was very humbling.
The beginning of August was the Hydrocephalus Walk – our group walked in what I swear was the hottest day of the year for Seattle…..it wasn’t even just the walk that blew me away, we had people coming out of the woodwork donating money for Dashyl’s posse – people who we barely even knew donating, our favorite restaurant offering to donate a portion of their profit for the day, and one of my favorite photographers teaming up with me to take pictures to raise money for our causes. Honestly, it was a wonderful thing to have happen at the time it did – we have THE BEST family and friends. Period. August also marked my first Crossfit competition, also quite humbling but in a little bit of a different way 🙂 My Crossfit family is amazingly supportive, the Pipehitters Classic will always be an awesome memory for me! At some point in August, we decided to throw caution to the wind and take a quick trip to Disneyland at the end of the month. We didn’t tell the boys at all. A slight (great!) wrench was thrown in to our plans when Brad was offered HIS FIRST TEACHING JOB!!!! Luckily, his Principal was very understanding and didn’t mind letting him go visit the mouse just a few days before school starting……the boys didn’t know we were going until we were driving to the airport early one morning. It was the best trip ever even though it was a trillion degrees there. I can’t wait to go back, experiencing that with your kids is the best thing ever.
September marked the start of Kindergarten for Rayce! He had no hesitation whatsoever about going to the Elementary school! I also learned how to can pears for the first time! Our Alaska cousins came to visit but unfortunately it was the night before I was leaving to spend another week with my co-workers in Portland. In Portland, we rode bikes, explored, ate great donuts, drank good beer, had awesome food, and of course had a ton of fun, I really couldn’t ask for much better people to work with. When I came home, Dashyl was starting preschool at Miss Shellys and the house became very quiet during the day again.
October! Rayce ran in the Vale fun run – I about fell over when he told me he had ran 12 laps – 3 miles!!! Olive was almost a full size dog by this point, and Dashyl was all about riding his bike off jumps (aka bump-bumps). I put together a Freezer Meals party at Crossfit, and we had another MRI/Oncologist/Neurologist appointment at Childrens. Rayce was awarded Student of the Month for having a good Attitude and the theme of Halloween was clearly super heroes this year!
Rayce got into the holiday spirit with me early and we put lights up around November 11th. We also got crafty and made a trip to Hobby Lobby to make a few different garlands. Rayce tried out for the school play and got a part, only to get sick the next day and then wasn’t able to participate. We had our first snowfall which the boys were very excited about, and Brad and I went to Sheltons for the 2nd year in a row to find and cut down our own Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend – I love doing that! We had planned to go to Oregon for Thanksgiving but for some reason Dashyl decided to have a go around with Hand Foot Mouth, something I don’t EVER care to experience again……ugh, poor baby. The boys relationship has been so fun to watch these last few months, they love eachother so much, which makes my heart so happy ❤
December seems like it flew by. We saw so many Santas that by the end of December, I think Dash expected there to be one everywhere! Rayce had his first school concert, and Dash was a super proud little brother. We spent an evening up at Mission Ridge where I did the torchlight parade for the first time at Mission (I’ve always either been in charge of the event or pregnant so this was my year to shine!) Christmas was magical as always, there were lots of versions of trains that came in different packages for the boys – they were in heaven. We had lots of fun with our Elf, Sebastian, but now that he’s gone back to the North Pole for the year, Dash is quite sad and still wants to look for him every morning. The kids are loving the snow, sledding and playing around. Our New Years was nice and mellow – I was asleep by 10pm.
Awhile back I stumbled upon this new App called Timehop, it’s an app that pulls pictures and posts from your Facebook, Instagram, Blog and even your computer’s photo storage. I LOVE it, it’s fun to see what we were doing last year at this time, even 2,3, 8 years ago on this very day.
About a month ago some pictures were beginning to come up that really started to trigger some unexpected emotions in me. I could see what I was unable to see last year – I could see Dash’s head getting bigger, his eyes looking more and more puffy, almost like they were sinking back into his head…… but surprisingly, he still has a smile in most of the pictures – oddly enough, that smile never faded.
They reminded me of the horrible feeling I had in the pit of my stomach for weeks, the feeling that this was more than just an ear infection ….. and at the same time made me feel so crappy because I now know that sweet little thing was having some seriously horrible headaches.
The roller coaster of feelings continued for a few weeks, I looked forward to looking at my Timehop and feared what it would show me all at the same time.
This picture was the one that really did me in though……
We had gone to the Leavenworth Pool that evening, and had a wonderful time swimming, even though the water was frigid. We came home with sleepy boys who took little to no effort to get off to dreamland. I was annoyed when Dash woke me up tossing and turning before midnight had even hit, and remember feeling mad because I was just so.dang.tired. A little while later, he threw up all over the place, several times, and I didn’t sleep the rest of the night because I knew there was something really wrong with our baby.
Here we are, a year later, with so much to be grateful for. Dash is healthy, active, and you’d never know he ever had something wrong with that noggin’ of his. We’ve managed to loosen up the reins a little more, and don’t freak out every time he hits his head on something (because it happens ALL the time – he’ s a boy right?!) His Neurosurgeon has put no restrictions on him whatsoever – the boy can play football if he really wants to (although he might have to plead his case to his mommy). He’s SO happy, and has the best little personality ever. He wants to you to “watch, mama watch” EVERYTHING, and then follows up with “funny mama?” I look forward to the day when he is just as grateful and amazed as we are that everything turned out as awesome as it has.
Dashyl turned 2 – we spent the day with family and friends at Slidewaters – it was hot and fun and this kid loves the lazy river! We came back to our house afterwards and had cupcakes and opened presents – bubbles and balls were the theme for this little mans gifts! Dash weighs in at 31lbs and is 35.25 inches tall! Just about the exact same as his brother was at this age! He LOVES yogurt, anything sports related, and adores “Ollie” He’s the best cuddler and he’ll never turn down an episode of Team Umizoomi.
We had a great time at Brians Bulldog Pizza celebrating Rayce’s 5th birthday, such a great time that I didn’t take very many pictures 5 years has gone by so fast for this momma, but I couldn’t be more proud of my smart and handsome 5 year old!
5 year old interview:
Who are your best friends? Duncan
What is your favorite thing to do? Play trains……with Duncan
What’s your favorite color? Yellow
What’s your favorite food? Taco Soup
What do you like to do with your family? Go on trips to Alaska
What is your favorite toy? A train…..green and yellow diesel locomotives
What do you want to be when you grow up? A train driver
What makes you happy? When I get presents and when friends come over to my house
What makes you sad? When I don’t get presents/Leaving places that I love, like Alaska
Favorite TV show? Paw Patrol
Favorite book? Polar Express
Favorite Animal? Giraffe
Favorite thing to do with Daddy? Watch him work
Favorite thing to do with mama? Come see you when you’re working
What do you want for your birthday? 2 wooden CSX engines with 20 livestock cars.
It’s been 2 months……62 days. That’s it. I feel like when I count back the days since Dash’s surgery, I should be seeing 3 digit numbers, not 2. It has honestly been the longest 2 months of my life, but I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re constantly on pins and needles watching and hoping nothing is going wrong with your baby. Let’s see, we’ve made 6 visits to our local Pediatrician, 2 or 3 visits back to Childrens, and 1 visit to the Emergency Room here.
We’ve seen his little “overflow” sack start to have fluid it in, and watched how it clearly affected him. We’ve seen him go from completely normal, happy and excited to lethargic and tired all the time, and all within a very short amount of time. We still have no idea what “normal” is for Dash, but I suppose we are becoming more comfortable with his symptoms, albeit slowly and with great deals of anxiety. Running a fever is one of the signs that his surgery could be failing, so I’ve gone from being the mom who never used a thermometer to the thermometer nazi. I’ve stopped reading stories on the Hydrocephalus Facebook board that I joined, because all they did was scare me. Rarely did anyone have something good to say about ETVs (the surgery Dash had) and the feed is constantly full of people having revisions to their shunts. We do have a good thing going for us in the fact that Dash was over a year old when he had his surgery (if over the age of 1, the success rate is over 80%) so we will continue to hope it works and we never have to see a shunt.
Now let’s talk about happy things, because we don’t ALWAYS live in the dark shadow of Hydrocephalus….. shortly after Dash’s surgery, it was evident things were going crazy (good) in that little ol brain of his. He went from saying 1 or 2 words, to trying to repeat back what you’re saying, and even saying thank you! It has been awesome. He loves to dance and while I was in Minneapolis for a week for work, he learned a few new dance moves that involve “snapping” and holding his hands above his head. He is proud of himself for learning how to walk backwards, and has become the baby gate sheriff, yelling UH OH every time he sees that someone has left the gate open at the bottom of the stairs. He has THE most contagious smile, and when he’s feeling good, is so incredibly happy. At his last well-child checkup, his head was officially growing at a normal rate, although it’s still well above the 100% mark! He runs, and runs fast, and he giggles at the funniest things. He is so much fun to watch and be around.
And then there’s the other members of the Jones family – Rayce is loving school, and I am loving how much fun stuff he comes home with! He can say the pledge of allegiance and I love that he is getting to hang with his buddies while going to school. He’s playing soccer (I’ll use that term VERY loosely) and I’m pretty sure the only reason he goes to the games is because the train track is right by the soccer field.
He doesn’t seem to mind the extra attention Dash gets at times, although once in awhile he’ll start crying like a baby, saying he’s “the baby”, and that makes me feel like he’s yearning for some attention. He and I have gone on a few dates the last few weeks which has been really special. He wants to sit beside me in the booth at the restaurant – I love it.
We had a night where we ran out of Pull-Ups and didn’t know it until it was bedtime- and since that night, he has gone without and hasn’t had a single accident…..coming from someone who wet the bet until I was 22 (not really, but it felt like it) this is a HUGE deal!!!
One of the most challenging parts of the last 2 months though, is coming to terms with the fact that Dash’s condition is something we are going to be dealing with our whole entire lives. Hydrocephalus is incurable, it’s not going to go away, and every day we will live in some level of fear that something is going to go wrong in his head. Every time he takes a fall, bumps into something, or gets whacked by his brother, I hold my breath for an extra second wondering if everything really is ok in there. It’s exhausting. I’m hoping our appointment on the 15th will relieve a little of that anxiety and that we will get some more answers to our questions.
So send Dashy your good vibes – on the 15th we will go to Childrens for another MRI (he has to be put under) and then we will meet with a Neurologist, Radiologist and an Oncologist about the results and form a plan for the future. It’s going to be a big day for us – and hopefully a very positive one at that. ❤
And when it all comes down to it, I’m so thankful for Brad. What a journey we are on together. In a few weeks we will have been together 6 years. SIX. I know, you’re thinking we don’t look old enough. Those were my first thoughts too 🙂 hahahahahaha