It didn't take long for life to ramp up into overdrive around here! Our weeks have been full of dentist appointments lately. This coming week will be the first week in over 2 weeks that we don't have any dentist appointments - twice I double booked appointments now! We'll have more dentist appointments starting in just over a week, and then on the 9th and 18th I'll be taking Esther down to Children's for follow-up appointments too!
We've also dug into school and are making good progress, finally. It's so nice to have all the school age kids reading this year - last year was so difficult teaching 4 kids to read at different levels. I still have all the school age kids reading everyday, but only one is still learning some phonics. We're studying amphibians and reptiles for science, reading from the Mayflower Series for early American history - they are almost up to the Salem witch trials now, Everyone has math, of course, and three of the bigger kids are doing Engish/Grammer together with Switched On School House and we have been studying the origins of the English language and spelling. We are also working on penmanship - the oldest three are working on their cursive, and the younger ones on basic writing.
Esther is doing really well. She's growing, slowly, but is growing. She's gained around 9 ounces since she came home, which is 3 ounces a week - the cardiologist said that he wanted her to be gaining around 3 1/2 ounces a week. Since she's doing this without a feeding tube, I'm happy with the progress. She's been gaining faster the last week, but I've noticed that she does better with feeding (more volume throughout the course of the day) when we are home than when we go away for appointments, so I'm trying to delegate appointments more.
Esther is talking up a storm now - she was talking off and on before her surgery, and seemed to lose the skill after the surgery, but the last few days she's been talking like there's no tomorrow! It's sooooo cute! She has a very feminine voice that is soooo sweet! She's smiling too, but not as much - it's harder to get smiles out of her - it's like she likes to talk more right now.
She's also starting to try to hold up her head now. That was something she really lost after the surgery - but I've been working with her, so she's been gaining strength and now she's starting to try to hold up her head on her own - but she's like a bit bobble head doll right now. But it's progress and she's progressing faster everyday now.
For those of you who love photos, here's some recent ones of Esther:
Here's a cute shot of Rachel cuddling with Esther this afternoon:
And here's Esther last Sunday, just before we left for church:
Here's our family (minus our oldest son, Jeremy) at Esther's dedication:
And here's Esther this morning, all dolled up for church:
And here's Rachel and Esther - Esther is wearing a new hat made by my friend, Laurie, who knitted this hat out of wool that she had purchased to make socks for herself, but after she read about Esther's problems with polyester and acrylic, and some prompting from her son, she made a hat for Esther instead - and she told me that with every stitch (and there is probably well over a thousand stitches) she said a prayer for Esther! Isn't that the most wonderful thing!
And here is the latest photo of her scar - taken just moments ago...doesn't it look marvelous!!
And last, but not least, we found out this week that our son, Jeremy, will be coming home on leave on February 21, and staying for 2 weeks. He'll be deploying to Iraq following his time at home. We are all very excited to have him coming home since we haven't seen him in well over a year now!