So, apparently it’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this simple little blog of ours! In fact, it’s been over a year! So here’s what’s been going on…it’s  probably gonna be a long one!
Homeschool – We jumped into it head first last September and have loved it ever since. It has definitely been a lifestyle change, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course, it’s been challenging at times, but more rewarding than we could have ever imagined! We are on OUR schedule and it has given us so much more flexibility to spend more time together as a family, allow our kids to progress at their own levels, and also to travel a little.
Bob had a 3 week class in Oak Ridge, TN (you know, where they developed and built the atomic bomb) and the kids & I were able to fly out there and stay with him for 2 of those weeks. We had a blast and it was simply amazing to be able to homeschool while we were there and learn SO MUCH HISTORY!
We also were able to go hunting and camping anytime we wanted, so that was great also. Korah went and spent 2 weeks with my grandma in Post, TX last fall and in May, the kids went to Phoenix to see my brother with my parents for 2 weeks. I had a MLH convention in Dallas and then flew from there to Phoenix for another week & 1/2. We recently went to Albuquerque, NM for 2 weeks for another school for Bob. And Korah is back in Post, TX for 3 weeks this time!  So it’s been quite an adventure in our travels and can’t wait to see what the future holds!  I’m hoping for a road trip to Washington, DC next fall…maybe in our camper????!!!!
As far as academics go, Kaston is doing well and progressing nicely. He still has some problem areas, but he’s getting there. There has been alot of recent research on CHD kids that show delays in the same areas Kaston has…reading, sequencing, fine motor skills (handwriting), hyperactivity – pretty much every problem we are having with him has showed up in research through the top surgeons, researchers and hospitals in the country. They believe it could be from a multitude of things, anywhere from having low oxygen levels early on in life, to being on bi-pass, to having insufficient blood flow, etc. So many things are starting to come up as they begin to study these kids. For so long, it has been, How can we keep these kids alive? And now that they’ve figured that out, it has become, What can we do to make them have a better quality of life? and Why are we seeing so many developmental problems in a large percentage of these kids? So for now, we are just working at his pace and making sure he gets enough rest and is happy.
As far as Korah is concerned, she’s done really well with her academics. She actually ended up skipping 7th grade last year and went straight into 8th. So this year she is in 9th, a year early. And it is tough! School has always been relatively easy for her. This year she is actually having to apply herself! She is very self motivated and knows what’s expected of her, so I really don’t have much that I have to help her with (which is a good thing, because when she does ask me a question, I never know the answer off hand and always have to look in the teacher key!)  She occassionally tells me she wants to go back to public school because she really misses the daily interaction with her friends.  And I totally get that.  And I know she does miss out on alot of stuff.  But she also gets to do so much more than her friends could ever dream of.  Like leave home for 3 weeks at a time, or travel across the country at any time for 2 weeks.  So she does sacrifice time with her friends to be with her family, but that’s more important in our book.  She still gets to go to football games and hang out with her friends on the week-ends, so really, she gets the best of both worlds and stays out of all the teen-age drama that comes with this age.   It’s a give and take and you have to weigh what is most important, because neither public school nor homeschool is perfect…both have their positive and negative aspects, but for us, homeschooling is the right choice for our family dynamics.
Both kids are in karate at American Freestyle Karate and it has been such a blessing to our family and especially for our kids. Kaston is now a purple belt and in the Black Belt club, where he learns the different weapons and Korah is a yellow belt, as she started about 9 months after Kaston and has only had 1 belt test.  It’s been great for their self-confidence and it teaches them so much self-discipline and accountance, which is rare in kids today.
We still occassionally go rock climbing and we’ve gone to Palo Duro Canyon a couple of times since I last posted. Of course, the summer brought lots of boat rides and time out on the water and even a trip to Possum Kingdom and Lake Greenbelt, but not nearly as much playtime as we wanted!  We had a super busy summer.
We were finally, after 3 years, able to put in a retaining wall, sprinkler system, yard, fence and garden in our back yard! It is SO nice having some privacy and having a place for the kids to go out and play! Of course, it took up most of our summer, as we did it ourselves (actually Bob did most of it, we were just occassional helpers!) So, our summer was just busy with work.

Bob was promoted to Captain and his job has become very demanding of him. Even more so here recently and he has been working non-stop. Right now, he’s on a 17-day stint of working with only 1 day off. And keep in mind, he works 13 hour days…gets up at 3:00 am and doesn’t get home until 6:30 pm. So it has made for a rough couple of weeks around here!  Please keep him in your prayers. 
We have also seen a steady decline in Kaston’s health, which tells us he’s getting closer to a pacemaker (we’ve been saying that for how long?) We go to Dallas week after next to do another evaluation and Holter monitor. His rates are now in the 40s-60s and he’s having short episodes where his heart rate shoots up to over 100 for no apparent reason, which then makes him nauseated. And his activity level has decreased and he seems more out of breath than usual and his stamina is minimal. He slept for 13 hours last night! And he seems to just lay around most days and has an aweful greyish color to him.  What is happening is that scar tissue from his heart surgeries have started to develop around the area of the body’s natural pacemaker and interrupting it.  So the mechanical pacemaker will help regulate it and not allow it to go under or over a certain bpm (beats per min).  I think it would make him feel so much better once he has it implanted.  It’s just waiting on his cardiologist to make the decision to do it.  His question to us last time was, “Is he passing out yet?”  What?  Come again?  I’m guessing that’s a common thing and we should expect it to happen.  We are getting close with more frequent dizzy spells and these episodes he’s having.
Part of me just wants to go ahead with this pacemaker thing so I don’t have to worry about it anymore and maybe Kaston can get back to himself. But what mother wants their kiddo to go through so much pain? It’s not just any standard procedure or like getting your tonsils taken out. But it’s not open-heart surgery either. Still, it is risky, it is many days in the hospital, and it’s 1 more thing to deal with. It’s not like implanting a pacemaker in a 60 year old’s heart.  That’s day surgery.  For these kids, they have to go up under their ribs and try to attach it to an area of the heart that is mangled with scar tissue.  Where a normal person would have the wires inserted doesn’t even exist in my child so they have to make do with what they have.  And of course anesthesia is always a risky thing.  But if it makes him feel better and it eliminates the risk of his heart stopping, then let’s get it done, right?!
Which brings us to Make-A-Wish and the reason why I wanted to start updating this blog again! Several months ago, after our last cadiology visit and the notion that a pacemaker is in the very near future, I decided to contact Make-A-Wish. Once Kaston has a pacemaker, he will be limited even more.  We’ve talked about this for awhile and he has never waivered from going to Disney World.  Korah and I have tried to convince him we need to go to Hawaii or the Bahamas or even an African safari.  Of course, we realize this is about his dreams, his wish, but we just wanted him to realize there is more available.  Once the MAW board approved Kaston for eligibility, we had the pleasure of Kaston’s Wish Grantor coming to our house, which happens to be the wife of someone we went to high school with and Bob has known since 5th grade!  Small world I’d say!  She asked him all kinds of questions about what his favorite things were, and of course, if he had 1 wish what would it be…I Wish To Be…I Wish to Have…I Wish to Go…I Wish to Meet.  And he wished to go to Disney World.  So we are (not so) patiently waiting for our dates!  We have requested to go sometime in November or the first week of December!  I am hoping we will hear something back next week so we can start planning appropriately!  It is going to be an awesome, well deserved, much needed vacation for our family and I can’t wait to be a part of the magical world of Disney, Give Kids the World and Make-A-Wish!

In the mean time, we will go to Dallas week after next for a couple of days for a cardiology visit.  Then we are planning to take Bob’s dad, Drew, to Red River the week-end after that.  He is in pretty bad health and they are prepping his veins next week for him to be put on permanent dialysis, so we figured we’d take him on a short trip…it’s been over 2 years since he’s been anywhere.  Once we get all that done, then I say it’s time to head to Flordia for a few days of relaxing sunshine!  I will keep it updated as we learn more!

Until then,

The Snyders