A Pain in the Neck

I’ve been meaning to write a post for a couple weeks now, but things have been a little out of the ordinary in our world lately, and the old blog often ends up on the back burner. Two weeks ago Jessica ended up having neck surgery to correct a “massive herniation” at the C6-C7 discs in the base of her neck. The pressure on her spine was pinching the nerve that runs down your left arm, into your thumb and first two fingers. They ended up fusing the discs and relieving the pressure on the spine, which provided instant relief to all the pain she had been experiencing. Everything went perfectly well so now it’s just about recovery.

It seems like something of this nature should require a night in the hospital, but they’ve got it down to such a science that it was actually just day surgery, and she was able to come home about 4 hours later. Since then she’s been wearing a neck brace and will continue to do so for another 8 or 9 days. She wears it 24 hours a day, minus the occasional 5 minute break, or shower.

So far everything seems to be going well for her recovery, and we’re right on track. She’ll have to do physical therapy, but not until she’s been cleared of the neck brace, so that’s the main upcoming milestone right now. It’s tough not being able to lift the kids, or look side-to-side, but she’s been a champ about everything and is doing well. I think the kids deserve a lot of credit too in how they’ve adjusted to her in recovery. The girls especially have gone out of their way to be helpful to Mommy, and both seem to revel in accomplishment after doing something Mommy asks of them.

Beyond the obvious with Jessica’s surgery, we’ve had, and continue to have, a lot going on. The week before Jessica’s surgery we were visited by Grandpa Rick and Grandma Chris for nearly a week. It was great getting to spend time with them, and of course we ate well throughout the visit. Rick made us a great steak dinner one night at home, then the following night I made homemade pizza, just like we did for Enzo’s birthday party. We had Butch and Carol over to visit that night and it was great getting caught up with them. The following night I did my best to make a nice seafood dinner and was really happy with how everything turned out.

Since it was Memorial Day weekend, we all ended up going to something called “Tankfest”, which was this huge military exhibit filled with tanks, planes, helicopters, guns, etc. There were all kinds of people dressed up in military uniforms from various eras and countries. They were even acting out battle scenes. At times it felt like you were walking through a time warp. They would even fire the tanks (with blanks of course), and the shock of the sound of that huge gun going off was a bit scary.

The following day, after Rick and Chris had left, we spent the day at Kristy’s doing a Memorial Day BBQ. A few months ago Kristy purchased a Groupon for herself, Jessica, and I to go racing at an outdoor go kart track. It’s a full-sized track (one lap is one mile) and the go karts are quite powerful, capable of hitting 55 mph. So, we basically dropped the kids off with Jim, Brenda, and Madi, then all headed out to the racetrack. Jessica hadn’t had surgery yet at this point, but was in no shape to be out racing, so Kristy brought a friend along to fill in. At least Jess was still there cheering us on and taking photos. I’ve never raced at this speed before, but it ended up being a blast and I definitely want to do it again.

After that we all went back to Kristy’s house for food, lots of badminton, and hanging out in the nice weather. Oh, and fixing the screen door that Ava ran into and broke. Jim and I made a trip to Lowe’s, and like 3 trips to his garage, which is only a few minutes away, working on fitting the door with higher quality rollers. It was a bit of a production, but also a bit of fun. I’m afraid to find out how it’s currently doing, but I guess I’ll hear when we see them tomorrow.

Today we spent the day with our friends the Palmers, and celebrated their son Miles’ 4th birthday. This was our second time hanging out at their new place, which is up in the farm country of Sedro Woolley. They’re renovating the house and doing a lot of work on the property, so it’s cool to see all the progress they’re making. They had a huge bouncy house (literally twice as big as the one we had last year for Elise’s party) and a bunch of food, so we all just hung out all day while the kids bounced, played, and fought over various random toys that all became important as soon as someone showed an interest in them. It was a great day, and Leon had his camera out, so I can’t wait to see the photos. Strangely enough, the photos included with this post were all taken by Leon on our last visit to their place, which was on Easter Sunday.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, so it would only be fitting the we attend the Father’s Day Car Show in Burien with Jim, Brenda, and Kristy. This has become a new tradition over the past few years, and I always look forward to it. The weather is supposed to be good, and the turnout of cars is always impressive, so I’m sure it will be fun. Then later in the afternoon, Ava will be having her first hockey lesson. It’s the kids version of the Learn to play Hockey series at the Everett Community Ice Rink. I’m doing the adult program, and now Ava is starting in Level 1 of the kids program. She’s super excited and I think it will be a nice Father’s Day treat for me to see her start on that day. Then I have my class directly after hers, so it’s going to be a busy day.

Oh, and I almost forgot, we’ve also got Amy and Tom arriving in their R.V. tomorrow night. They’re driving up here from Colorado to take the girls on a week-long road trip, which will include stops at various parks, before reaching their final destination of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This means that it will just be Jessica, Enzo, and myself for a week. The timing actually works out well though because I’ll be on call at work this week, meaning I’ll be working more than normal. Knowing that Jessica only has to take care of Enzo while I’m gone will be a relief. I think they’re actually going to come visit me for lunch at work one day. More importantly, I’m glad things will be easier on Jessica, that she and Enzo will get a lot of quality time, and that the girls will be having so much fun with their Grandma and Grandpa.

Earlier this week, Ava and Elise finished the year at preschool. In Ava’s case, she finished preschool all together and is super excited to start Kindergarten in September. Elise will do another full year of preschool, then most likely start Kindergarten in September, 2018. I say “most likely” because her summer birthday kinda forces us to make the decision on which year she gets started. I can directly relate to this because I have a July birthday, and consequently was always one of the younger kids in my class. Although arguments can be made both ways, ultimately I think Elise is pretty advanced for her age, and from a scholastic standpoint she’ll be ready to start Kindergarten a year after Ava. We just have to make sure she’s emotionally ready as well, but I think having another full year of preschool will take care of that. Hopefully we can get Enzo started with preschool midway through the year, right around his 3rd birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, it’s almost Elise’s! We’re only a few weeks away from her turning 4. Her birthday falls on a Friday this year, so we’ll be holding a party the following day at the house. We’re still working out the details, but as always I’m looking forward to doing the food. Not sure what we’re doing for the 4th of July this year, but it’s safe to say there will be a big fireworks show in our neighborhood (as there always is), so chances are we’ll be enjoying that.

I guess that’s about it for now. As always we’ve got a lot going on, a lot to look forward to, and a lot to be thankful for. Looking forward to writing soon about Jessica’s continued recovery. As previously mentioned, here are some photos from Easter Sunday at the Palmer’s house. Can’t wait to see the new photos Leon took today. They always capture the kids so well. Enjoy!

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