Monday, February 17, 2020

10 years in the making

This sweet, tender hearted kiddo turned 10 yesterday.

Double digits.

I just can't even.

When I think of where we were 10 years ago. 

When we weren't even sure we'd get 10 minutes with him, let alone 10 days, week, months, years....

When he was so fragile, already struggling to breathe and they were whisking him away to stabilize him. 

When I think of all the scary moments in the 10 years since then. 
The multiple codes, the health scares, the surgeries, the setbacks, the sudden onset of heart failure, the nights in the hospital.

So many moments where 10 years old seemed like too much to hope for, too much to expect to be blessed with. So many dear heart friends who didn't get 10 years. 

And yet here we are, celebrating a whole decade with this little fireball of a human being we're blessed to call ours. 
I don't know how we got so lucky.

When I started to tell him how, if you had told me 10 years ago, we'd be sitting here, I'd have cried tears of happiness, he just rolled his eyes and said "Moooooommmm, can we not talk about that please???" 
So we won't. We'll just tell you that this kid is kinda awesome. 

Our beloved neighbor Denise made the trek all the way down from LA to surprise Bodie! 
I seriously don't have enough words to thank Denise for everything she has been to our family, and everything she has done for us! We love her so much and the kids were over the moon to see her. 

Bodie is currently obsessed with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series (and I'm obsessed with anything that will get this kid reading). 

So we decided to celebrate Wimpy Kid style, with a few friends over. 
The kids helped decorate "Cheese Touch" cupcakes. 
Wonder of wonders, Bodie has already been blessed with some very sweet connections in the form of some incredible boys who were happy to celebrate with him... 
And indulge his desire to "read" his Wimpy Kid books for the picture 
Last night, I asked Bodie whether Dusk and I had been right in predicting that he'd meet nicer boys to befriend down in San Diego than he had in LA. His response? "No, I haven't met nicer friends. I've met the nicest friends." He'll tell you that his favorite birthday gifts were the crossbow he received, or the Harry Potter Lego set. But if you ask me, I think his new friends have been the best gift by far. 

You know, one of the most universal truths about having a medically fragile kiddo is that every milestone is huge. Even the ones that wouldn't normally be.
But this one? 
Hitting double digits. 
That's a big milestone in anyone's book. 
Just maybe a bit more epic in this kiddo's case. 


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Old Man Bennett had a farm...

Hi! Remember us? 
I can't believe it's been almost a year since I last blogged!

SO much has changed in our neck of the woods...most notably, our neck of the woods!

We moved from our very urban home a stone's through from Los Angeles International Airport to a very rural town in North San Diego County. 

More space, less people, slower pace of life, 

We moved on December 23rd. 
Yes, 2 days before Christmas.
Because where's the fun in going through a hellish experience like moving if you can't do it during an already ridiculously stressful and busy time of the year? 
As I always say, if there's a hard way to do something, the Bennetts will find it. 

But I digress. The important thing is that we did it - and even got a Christmas tree! Grabbed it from Lowe's at 6pm on Christmas Eve!
You now when you're out on Christmas Eve and you see some poor dude driving around with a Christmas tree on his roof and get all judgy and think to yourself "seriously, dude? It's Christmas Eve. I mean, why even bother at this point?" Oh wait, right. Me neither.

So we moved. 
And we've been settling in, working toward our dream of a slower pace of life. 

Allie, our resident 10 year old sweet rescue kitty caught a mouse less than a week after we moved in.
In our living room.
So we set out to get a barn kitty, to help with rodent control.
Except that we got a really adorable 4 week old kitten.
One who was supposed to stay in the cardboard box for a bit.
But ended up in our bed night 1. 
And almost every night since.
I mean, how cute is she??? Her name is Bootsie and she is adorable, and ornery, and just SO.LOVABLE. 

So clearly we need to get ourselves another barn kitty. Because this one's obviously an inside cat. Or maybe we need to get a mean feral cat who won't let us touch it? We're discussing it.

Next, we added 4 little week and a half old chicks. 

I can't ever remember their names. The kids named them and they're all some variation of Stars Wars characters with chicken themes. Like "Luke SunWalker" and "Obi-chick-nobe." That kind of thing. 

So they pretty much chirp and poop. And spill their food and water everywhere. 
And try to escape the box they're in.

The two most egregious escape artists. And they have no shame about it.
Maxi and Bootsie don't understand why we don't let them be in the room with the chickens. Maxi just wants to be their friends. Bootsie just wants to eat them for dinner (and isn't even pretending she's not thinking that.)
Can't wait to have a coop built and them to be old enough to be outside! And laying eggs. Or maybe just strutting around. Because we might have ended up with 5 roosters. Or 5 hens. It's anybody's guess. We won't know until they start laying eggs...or starting fights. We're really hoping for the former? 

Goats are coming at some point. 

In the meantime, Allie and Maxi are adjusting. They LOVE Bootsie. Maxi just wants to play with her all day - and Allie wants to clean her. And they all play together really well. We're super lucky!
Maxi is loving being a country dog and just adores running wherever we let him on our 2 acre property. He gleefully realized yesterday that not only is he allowed to dig now, but we want him to go get those gophers! He is having the time of his life digging and running. 

Kiddos are doing well with the adjustment. We were still going up to LA weekly to finish their classes up there, but that ended last week. So now, they're down in San Diego fulltime. 

Sierra is growing LIKE A WEED. I mean, seriously, this kid. Won't be 13 until April, and is already 5'7.5"!!! She's grown an inch and a half in the last month alone! I'm still holding out for the last few inches I have on her (I'm, 5'10") - but she's getting dangerously close for my comfort! She had a hard time with the move at first (she had so many friends she was sad to leave behind), but seems to be hitting her stride now and starting to really like it down here.  We're so proud of how she's branching out to meet other kiddos here. 

And Bodie is growing and holding his own, cardiac wise. We saw his heart failure team in December and his electrophysiologist last week. He continues to have a low BNP (measure of heart inflammation) and his function continues to improve, even if only slightly. He's doing so much better than we ever could have hoped 3 years into heart failure, and for that we are so very blessed! At his last appointment, he was riding his pacemaker 85% of the time, which is fantastic. He continues to have his care managed by his team at CHLA, with appointments every 6 months (and followups with the Stanford transplant and heart failure team annually). He loves San Diego and is already making friends. 

We're still homeschooling and enjoying watching the kids learn and grow. 
(Bodie has decided multiplication and division are pretty cool when you can use poker chips!)

(Yes, Bodie's protective eye glasses are helpfully sitting ON TOP of his head as Sierra prepares to light carbon bubbles on fire inches from his (now completely unprotected) eyes. At least his hair won't catch fire?). 

If you find yourself in North San Diego County, come visit us! We're about an hour or so south of Temecula, have wineries close by and have lots of space for guests! 
At some point I'll post pics of our new digs, but for now, I'll leave you with this. This is the view out our master bedroom window. Almost every night. 

We love our home. We love our town. Many times since the move I have stop to looked around and think to myself "How did we get so lucky to get to move here???" 

We are feeling so very, very blessed. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

And puppy makes FIVE...

Bodie has been begging for a dog for a couple of years now. Actually, full out campaigning is more like it. He wanted one more than anything in the whole world. We held off, mostly because our life has so many moving parts and so much uncertainty already that we just couldn't justify adding another living being to our chaos. But a couple weeks before Christmas, I really started feeling the pull for a dog, feeling in my heart like the time was right. A day or so after I started feeling it, Dusk came home from work and told me he had been feeling like it was time. Clearly, God was moving both of our hearts in the same direction. Kinda futile to keep resisting at that point. ;-)

We managed to keep it a secret from Bodie until Christmas, where we gave him a box with a bone and leash in it. If you have a tissue handy, you need to watch this video - especially starting around the 45 second mark, where it all starts to come together. 
(If you're having trouble viewing the video, the link can be found here)
It was worth every second of keeping it a secret!

Once we got back to LA after Christmas, we started looking in earnest, hitting up many of the local shelters. Nothing felt quite right and we were feeling fairly discouraged. And then, we happened to find the most amazing little guy on Craigslist, of all places! 

A wonderful woman had a change in her life circumstance and needed to rehome her year and a half old Corgi Mix. The kids and I went down to "just to meet" him, and fell in love instantly. We walked back in the door a few hours later with the newest member of our family (and all of his belongings that his former owner graciously gave to us as well!).

Meet Maxi.

(I'm campaigning to change his name to something a touch more masculine, but Bodie appears to be sticking with the name his former owner gave him, so apparently, Maxi it is.)

He officially joined the Bennett clan on January 3rd.

Not exactly a "puppy" (he'll be 2 in March), but I'll be darned if we didn't end up with a dog that will forever look like a puppy! At around 20lbs, he's fully grown and the cutest thing EVER. We're not 100% sure what he's mixed with, but we're guessing Chihuaha. 

He is obsessed with me. We laugh that we got Bodie a puppy, but somehow Maxi didn't get the message and thought we got ME a puppy.
But there could be worse things. Maybe I needed someone to think I hung the moon, since I don't exactly get a lot of daily positive feedback on the whole homeschooling gig. ;-) 

But he loves everyone (ok, LOVES LOVES LOVES the kids and I, and is getting there with Dusk - but always picks him to snuggle with first in the morning), and is really bonding more and more with Bodie, which we LOVE seeing.

He goes to bed with Bodie, and oftentimes falls asleep with his head right next to Bodie, sharing his pillow.

He LOVES to dive under the covers and snuggle up any chance he gets - and smothers you with kisses the second you walk in the door (even if you just went out to the car to get your cell phone charger).

He lives for treats and is such a quick learner. The kids have already taught him to sit, stay, shake, dance on his hind legs, turn around on his hind legs, and give hugs. Bodie is having a blast.

He and the cat are getting along - more or less. He chases her. She screams. And then comes back for more. And then she hits him in the face over and over and gets mad if he walks away while she is "playing" with him. I stopped defending her some time ago, once I realized she's actually enjoying it!
He LOVES to be with us, wherever we are - on walks, snuggled up on the couch, exploring in the backyard, playing ball and going on car trips (he's already been to both Palm Springs and the Central Coast). He is the silliest, sweetest dog ever.

He gets spooked, especially by men (not sure what that's about), but has finally stopped barking at Dusk in the middle of the night, so we're making progress. I predict that these two will be besties eventually. :-)
 He's settling in nicely, and we expect that nervousness to continue to diminish.
In the meantime, we are all falling in love with the sweetest addition to our family - and wondering how we got so lucky to get this little guy! 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Birthday fit for a King

As hard as it is to believe, Bodie turned NINE yesterday (I know, right???)! 
We celebrated his birthday with a special dinner with BOTH sets of grandparents last night, and then a birthday bash today. Because he's Bodie, and he came out of the womb keeping me on my toes, and he's obsessed with King Tut and all things Egypt, he chose King Tut as his birthday theme.

Because, where's the fun in doing Lego or army dudes, or anything easy to find on the shelf at Party City - when you could ask mom for a PYRAMID CAKE and Egyptian decorations??? 

Thanks to the help of Dusk, my parents and inlaws, and Sierra and her sweet bestie Olivia, we managed to pull off a teensy bit epic + a whole lotta chaos birthday party with 17 of Bodie's closest friends. 

If you know Bodie, you know he's stubborn. So when he asked for a costume and I agreed to purchasing the headpiece only, he went right to work making his own costume. And the added makeup and gems were just the icing on the cake.  
He was so proud of his costume and he definitely owned his version of King Tut.

The pyramid cake was actually made out of Rice Krispy treats, cut to shape (thank you Grandma Jan!), covered in molding chocolate and then frosted. So fun!
Bodie had such a wonderful time with his family, friends, grandparents all the way from San Luis Obispo and Reno
and even his favorite teacher from Venice Lutheran, the beloved Mrs. Rehrer. 
We felt so blessed. 

Bodie, Daddy and I could not be prouder of you. This has been such a year of transition, as you navigated moving from a traditional school to homeschooling. I know it's not always easy. And I know that trying to navigate all of that while being in heart failure is just sometimes too much for you. But you're such a trooper and you keep trying. You're growing. You're learning. You're stretching yourself. And you're owning who you are and who you're becoming. Bodie, you are so special (not so special you can get out of chores, but yes, special) and so unique. Please don't ever forget that. We will always be here for you, to pray with you and for you, to shepherd you, to push you, to support you. We love you so much and are so grateful for you, buddy!