Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Elmo Christmas



Our Christmas plans changed when our niece got sick with a croup-like cough and fever.  Since we have been sick ALL FALL we decided not to spend the holidays with Randy's family and instead we stayed home and had another quiet family Christmas.  It was just the four of us and my mom (who also needs to avoid germs while receiving chemo treatments).  We let the boys open one Christmas presents on Christmas Eve when we got home from Christmas Eve candlelight service.  (Justin was incredibly wiggly until we lit the candles and then he was mesmerized.  He wanted to blow it out when it was over and it took him about 15 blows.  Everyone around us was rooting for him to blow it out.  SO fun!!)

Of course, the presents were PJs and both boys were enamored.  Especially Justin.



In the morning we started with stockings and there was some fun stuff in there.  Justin let me help him sort through his goodies.


Justin showed Daddy his card game and his Toy Story water bottle.  (Sidenote:  Later that day I had washed the bottles and the boys were using them.  Travis said that he really liked his botttle.  Randy said, "Yeah, mommy really did a good job, didn't she?"  Travis looked at him funny and said, "For what?"  Randy just sat there with his mouth hanging open.  I piped up and said, "You know, washing the bottles so you can use them."  "Oh, right" Travis replied and turned back to his food.  Whew, good save!)


Travis got a Veggie Tales watch.  Everything Travis said that day started with, "According to my watch..."


Everyone got chapstick and Justin learned how it put it on: smear it all over every part of your face from your nose down.


Santa brought funny glasses too!


After opening our stockings we went to visit our doughnut lady and do some caroling.  She is always open on Thanksgiving and Christmas because she uses the big ovens to cook her holiday meals.  Since she is there anyway, she opens for business.  (They are only open until lunchtime anyway.)  I thought she wouldn't be very busy and we could sing some songs and then come back for breakfast.   In spite of them being surprisingly busy, Travis got in a few songs and we walked out with a boxful of kolaches and breakfast tacos, our Christmas present from our favorite doughnut shop.

After breakfast we started in on the rest of the Christmas presents.  Justin got all the Elmos in the first picture.  His favorite is Hokey Pokey Elmo and Justin is getting very good at moving right along with it.  I am very impressed!  Video coming soon...

Justin also got a guitar, and he spent a little time practicing.


Travis got a Toy Story racetrack and the first time we raced the cars he jumped up and down he was so excited.  Justin was very excited too.


Another of Travis' faves is his Nerf gun.  Somehow it was okay for him to shoot at our brand new windows.  Thankfully nothing broke.  Travis also hit the ceiling in our two-story living room.  He is a surprisingly good shot!  (That's my new Shark steam mop in the back.  So much fun for me!)


Our Christmas dinner was crazy eclectic.  We used paper plates and tupperware and a pretty gingerbread house as our centerpiece along with candles.  The table was prepped for 10, so there was lots of extra space!


It was a quiet and calm holiday.  We ended up talking and opening presents on Skype with the rest of our family.  There was a little bit of coughing going on, so it was good that we didn't spend the day with them.  I hate that we have to think about things like avoiding getting sick.  One of Travis's presents was a book about germs and how they make you sick.  Kind of ironic, but cute too!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread House

Making gingerbread houses has never been one of our family traditions, but when a friend had an extra one that she offered to us, we decided to give it a try.  She also gave us all their extra candy, so there was more candy than gingerbread, and you'll see that Travis made good use of it.



Travis even let Justin help a little bit.


Then Justin found out that you could eat the decorations, and it was over.


Travis was very meticulous in his decorating.  He wanted icing and candy everywhere!


Did I say everywhere??


Travis and his masterpiece

It was the most colorful centerpiece we have ever had on our Christmas table!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snow, Soup, and Santa

Our church does an annual "Snow Day" that has been expanded and now includes the kids' singing program, dinner and a visit from Santa.  This was Travis' first year singing and we spent lots of time practicing the songs.  They had the kids sing "Deck the Halls" - 2 verses!  That was tough to learn, but Travis did great and even got a third verse too (how many are there anyway?)
Here's the guys before the program began.



Travis refused to go up front so I had to go with him and stand as close as I could off stage but within visual range.  After the first song he got into it and he did much better!



Of course, what children's program would be complete without "Jingle Bells" and real bells to shake?



Then we did a quick wardrobe change and it was on to snow!  It was so unsteady that Justin kept falling down so I held his jacket to keep him from spending too much time on his bottom.  Travis quickly learned what the snow was for...


Throwing!!


It took a bit for Justin to learn that the snow could be picked up.


But then once he did, he decided snow is better for...


Eating!


I did try to explain about eating only fresh snow, but he didn't seem to care.  Probably good we don't live where there is snow all the time.

Our snowy family picture


Our friend making a snow angel.  She was quite damp when she got up.


Then it was back inside for Santa.  Actually, both boys could have stayed outside a lot longer, but Justin's nose was turning various shades of pink and his lips a bit purple so I had to pull the mommy card and call it a night.  In spite of all my worries and fretting about getting a Santa picture, I ended up with quite a few this season.  And this was a very friendly Santa!  Justin almost sat in his lap.  Given another two or three hours, it might have happened.



It was a really enjoyable evening.  I got in a few snowballs myself.  My aim wasn't too bad, unless you count the poor little girl I hit smack on the head.  I don't think it left a mark, but she was quite surprised!  I did get a few other people and there was talk of revenge next year.  We decided next year the adults should get 10 minutes of free play before the kids can go in.  That would be fun!

'Tis the Season...


...for eating packing peanuts!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More Christmas Creations

After last year I added "Make Christmas ornaments" to our holiday to-do list.  We had to do some quick thinking last year to come up with an ornament to give to the family, so this year I didn't want to let that happen again.  A friend shared this idea with me to make yummy-smelling ornaments out of cinnamon and applesauce.  It sounded easy enough, so we gave it a try.  It worked out like a charm, the first time even, so I was thrilled.  We were able to make then early and then paint them, which was fun for both me and Travis  (I did the candy cane while the kids were napping.  Travis did the bell when he woke up.)  They smell so great too.  I am curious how they will smell next year.  I am actually more curious how the rest of our Christmas ornaments will smell!  Everyone is very impressed.  Anyone have any ideas for next year? 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookie Day 2010

We survived another Cookie Day!  It was so much fun and slightly less insane in number than last year.  After last year I told my mother that she was going to be in charge of selecting which cookies to make since I didn't want to make 13 different kinds again this year.  She spent several hours pouring over the cookie cookbook and during her first chemo treatment we narrowed down our selections to only nine:  mint chocolate chip, gingerbread cutouts, stained glass cookies (my only request), rocky road fudge bars, caramel apple bars, rum raisin cookies, lemon nut refrigerator cookies, and chocolate orange shortbread.  Everything was new except for the gingerbread, which Travis requested.  I must say that my mom did some great picking.  They are all delicious!  I am sorry to say that I forgot to take a picture of the completed spread until after they were all packaged and delivered, so you'll have to imagine.  (The total was close to the 30 dozen Randy predicted last year, but I think we gave more away.  Better for our waistlines!) 

Justin was a much better helper this year.  As soon as Travis pulled over a chair, Justin went right over and got himself a chair. 


The boys helped smash the candy for the stained glass cookies.  That was a good way to start!  It looks so pretty!




Travis had to taste his stained glass creations.  They turned out surprisingly well in spite of the difficulty in pouring a small amount of crushed candy in a small opening.  We probably won't make this one again for a few more years until Travis has steadier hands.


I did break down and let Justin sample a cookie even though I didn't make anything wheat-free for him.  I told him only one and while I was removing some cookies from a cookie sheet I heard some munching.  I looked down and saw Justin with one of the mint cookies that was closest to the edge of the table.  He had walked over, reached up and helped himself.  He was sitting under the table enjoying the goods.


How can you say no to that face? 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bass Pro Shop

Me-Me and Pop took Travis to the Bass Pro Shop yesterday.  It seems to hold some kind of mystique for Travis.  He loves wearing his shirt from Pass Pro Shop and he often asks when he is going to get to go again.  When we learned that Santa was going to be there this holiday season, I very enthusiastically agreed to Me-Me and Pop's request that they take both boys for 2 reasons:  an opportunity for unassisted Christmas shopping and a free Santa picture!  Between illnesses and timing issues, it didn't work out when it was originally planned, but they still wanted to go, so yesterday it was!  Travis had so much fun playing all the shooting games, seeing the "animals", touring the fishing boats, and visiting Santa.  Me-Me and Pop didn't make it out without one little purchase for the boys: matching fishing hats.  Justin loves his hat!  It's his first hat and he enjoys being just like brother.  Since then he has been wearing it all the time.  So sweet!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

DS Clinic - Take 5

Yesterday was our semi-annual trip to the DS Clinic.  It was a fun Justin and Mommy trip that doesn't involve any poking, prodding, or needles.  It's definitely Justin's favorite doctor (is it right to have a fav?)

We had evaluations from the doctor, PT, and Speech.  And Justin wowed them right off the bat.  The doctor and speech therapist came in and commented on Justin's cool haircut and he did the sign for "Daddy".  I interpreted and said that Daddy had cut his hair.  Reaction:  impressed eyebrow raises.  Score one for Justin!

Speech worked with Justin while the doctor asked about his medical history since our last visit.  I filled her in on our trips to the ER, the sleep study, and endochrin.  Meanwhile, the speech therapist held up a ball and a banana and asked Justin which one you throw and he correctly chose the ball.  Knocked my socks off!  Then he grabbed the banana and tried to peel it.  Not very successfully given that it was plastic.

Justin did all his signs like a pro and both the doctor and the speech therapist were beyond impressed with his progress.  Justin went toe to toe with her on everything she threw his way.  She said that last time he only had about 5 words/signs and now he has close to 25.  And he is doing great with imitation.  He is trying more to communicate.  He is showing interest and curiosity.  He is communicating in jargon and really making his wishes known.  Score two!

The doctor worked on OT things.  She dumped out a cup of blocks and he responded by putting them all back in.  Check!  He stacked blocks (his least favorite activity) and he put them in a line and pushed them like a train after the doctor showed him how.  Lost my socks again!  He didn't do very well with the shape sorter.  He did the circle (easy-peasey) and put the square and triangle in the right place, but not all the way in.  Then she flipped it around and he put the shapes in the original places (prior to the flip).  He doesn't really like this activity very much, but he is doing great with twisting the pieces around until they are lined up to fit in.  He just doesn't finish it by putting them all the way in.

The best was when the doctor got out her card of pictures and asked Justin to point to different things.  This is something new that she hadn't ever shown to Justin.  He showed her the dog and then she asked about the house, which is not something we have worked on much yet.  Then she showed him some hard pictures like a clock, a book (the only thing I think he knew) and a few other things.  But Justin amazed me again!  She pointed to the clock and asked what it was and he said "ock"!  No kidding!  Another eyebrow raise followed by a prolonged "VVVery good!"  Since I was without socks, my buttons were bursting!

They said we should start seeing/hearing some multiple-word combinations and he should continue to follow two-step commands (pick up your toy and put it in the basket).  They put him at about 21-24 months of age in progress.  I was pleased!

Then came the PT.  We haven't seen her in about a year because we only get PT or OT each visit.  She liked his walking but noted he still pronates and curls his toes when walking without shoes.  She asked if we are working on walking up stairs or climbing the slide and I said that we don't climb the slide (Duh!  Has she never been to the park with kids before??) and he is too unsteady to walk up the stairs.  She really wants him to be standing on one foot and hopping/jumping.  I was thinking that Travis still struggles with those things.  And I guess since the space was so small she couldn't see that he still needs more balance before he goes on to kicking a ball.  She has always been one to be disappointed with his skills and expect more.  I remember when Justin just started crawling before one of our visits and she was expecting him to be pulling up and cruising.  So I always take her words with more than one grain of salt.  I am not bothered as much anymore.  Justin did get in a zinger though.  She asked him if he could stand on one foot and he promptly leaned over, put his hands on the floor and picked up one foot.  Score three for Justin!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Be Still - Resolution #1

I have discovered one of the natural consequences of my mother moving to town, albeit temporarily, is that she shares stories about our family with the people she meets. People who usually happen to be my friends and acquaintances who were formerly unaware of my checkered background.  Just kidding, usually it's just a funny story that I would never share, but my mom thinks is just hilarious!  One of her favorite is when I was in high school and I was in dance class 5 hours a week, baton corp, dance team, youth group, the school play, band, and still struggling to keep up with my honors classes.  I think I was having one of my mini breakdowns, which I needed every once and a while to help clear my head and refocus, and my mom came in and suggested that maybe I couldn't do it all and I should think about dropping one or more of my activities.  I glared defiantly at her and said, "Watch me!"

I continued in all my activities, and mom thanked God for teenage driver's licenses, but now I see what I was missing, or what I neglected to consider in all of it.  I didn't spend any time with God.  Not really.  I ticked "bible study" off my list, but there was no "give", only "take".  I am embarrassed to say that times haven't changed all that much.  I can multi task with the best of them:  I read the Bible on the treadmill, I watch the news while ironing, I double recipes and freeze to save time, and this past week I even found myself putting my book on a stool so I could read it while I dried my hair upside down.  But quiet time with God, one-on-one, with no distractions is rare.

I freely admit the ratio of "amens" to "Dear Gods" is pathetically small.  Most of my "finished" prayers are quick, to-the-point, arrow prayers.  Anything longer than three or four sentences doesn't seem to get finished. I was amazed and somehow pacified when I heard a woman in a conference I attended describe some of her prayers which begin, "Dear God, protect and guide Tom and Julie as they travel today. Give them eyes to see any danger, eyes, oh, I need to remember to make an eye appointment for Beth, and I wonder how Beth is doing with the entertainment for the ladies lunch, and I need to call my neighbor and invite her. Oh, and I meant to ask her how her mother is doing...etc, etc, etc."  And the prayer is forgotten. She suggested writing down your prayers, which has been a huge help.


But the hearing is still an issue.  The listening and getting what God wants me to know.  I can't continue with a one-way relationship and still expect to grow and mature . So in 2011 I want to "Be still and know that I am God..." (Ps. 46:10a)  Here's my problem:  When I stop either my body falls asleep or my mind wanders. This might be a bigger challenge than I think, which is why I need your help to keep me accountable.  I don't want Dec. 31, 2011 to arrive with me in the same place.  Please ask me how this is going and I would love to hear/read suggestions and ideas on how you succeed in this area.

There will be other resolutions.  I don't think I shared the ones from this year with you.  I wrote them out and put them where I would be reminded of them often.  Some did great, others, not so much.  I had intended to resume studying Italian and I decided in June that that wasn't going to happen so I decided to switch to reading Moby Dick, which I have begun at least ten times and never finished.  I am pleased to report that I am over halfway through, but that still leaves me with over 200 pages out of 540.  It reminds me of the Grapes of Wrath in which the story alternates every other chapter with historical info.  I am learning about the various categories of whales, the history of the crow's nest, and how to extract the sperm from the whale.  Does it really matter??? Just tell me the story!  Anyway, one that failed miserably was playdates once a month with one of Travis' friends.  Not sure that happened...even...once.  That one goes on the list again next year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tidbits

Just some things I wanted to make sure didn't get missed in the holiday shuffle:

  • We have been struggling with Justin's diapers.  I know that's silly, but he has no bottom, and his stomach is huge, which makes his diapers slip down.  That causes leakage, which is never good.  I debated going down a size in diapers, but I hated to buy a package and then waste them.  I was talking to a friend and she suggested using a cloth diaper cover.  She had glorious plans of using cloth diapers before she had children.  So she had prepared for that and then settled in to her new reality with twins.  So she passed along some gdiaper covers she had bought.   So we have been testing them out to see if that helps.  So far, so good, if I get them cinched up tight enough.  Still a work in progress.
  • Travis is singing in the Christmas program at church this next weekend.  He has to learn "Deck the Halls".  Do you know how hard that is?  I have trouble with the words!  Well, somehow he has mastered the words not only to the first verse, but the second verse also.  And with all the practice we now have Justin chiming in with the "Fa-la-la-la" part.  It's too cute.  I am trying to get a video, but he gets shy.  Travis tries to get him to do it by squeezing his cheeks.  He's having the same success as we are with plumping up Justin's arms and legs.
  • I have been working on getting Justin to walk longer distances.  He seems to need a goal at the end of the walk so I have been getting him to walk up to the front of church to put the money in the Children's offering.  I sit about 6 rows back, and he toddles right up and drops his money in and then turns around and get knocked over in the tumble of children pushing their way up.  So Travis tries to help him up and then Justin screams because he doesn't want help.  Then I have to intervene and we head back to our seats.  But the first part is great!  One of Travis' Bible class teachers stopped me after church and called Justin walking a "Christmas miracle"!  She said, "I just wanted to freeze time and watch him walk like that forever!"  Warmed my heart.  :)
  • My sister found out that she is having a boy!  So great!  Another boy to play with our boys.  Travis thought it should have been a girl.  Maybe next time...
  • I was struggling with how to get pictures with Santa this year.  I decided that paying for them was too much, and there were no Breakfasts with Santa that fit into our schedule.  My rule-follower friend told me that you can get pictures with Santa without paying for them.  Then the boys got sick and I couldn't take them to the mall last week.  I didn't want to wait until too close to Christmas because the wait would be too long.  So thankfully, my good-listener of a husband, to whom I have been lamenting for several weeks, picked up a card from Walgreens that informed us that Santa would be available on Sunday from 10 am -2 pm.  Perfect!  We swung by on our way home from church and got it done.  And I am SO glad since Justin refused to get anywhere close to him.   I had to hold him on the far side of me, away from Santa, and pose with the boys.  It would have been difficult to take the picture AND be in it.  This is the best we (Randy) took.  The good part was that they took pictures too and we got all of the pictures they took, for FREE!  I (heart) Walgreens!


  • Friday is Cookie Day!!  (I am so creative in my naming!  Good thing Randy helped with the boys' names!)  We will be making an insane amount of cookies, as evidenced last year.  I promised I would let people know so that if anyone wanted to taste (or help ;) we would love it!
  • I was reminded that when checking last year's winter clothes for fit, it doesn't help to check the length of Justin's sleeves.  Belly coverage!  That's the sticking point!  And I was reminded, again, of how glad I am we live in Houston.  I only have to worry about sleeve length for a very small portion of the year.  The rest of the time, the shorter, the better!  Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Haircuts

As soon as we found out that my mom was going to need chemo she promised Travis that he could cut her hair when it was time.  Well, this weekend it was time.  I wasn't sure about documenting this for ourselves much less to share on the blog, but one of the first things my mom said when she came for her new do was that her friend had requested a video for the blog.  So only because of Mommy Sharon is this getting posted.  It was quite the sight, and Travis loved it!  He was really proud of his handiwork.

And the day before the big day I was out walking with my neighbor.  God placed her next door to us at just the perfect time to be going through this with us.  She is also going through breast cancer and her hair is just growing back from chemo.  She requested a "trim" from the barber of the family (Randy, not Travis, just to clarify!)  She asked me to call when we were ready for her and she came over and got a little trim around the ears and across the back.  It was so funny watching all this happen in our kitchen!


 video


video

This is the end results, the trimmer and the trimee:



My mom is doing very well with chemo. She is tired and achy, but she is keeping her spirits high.  She is now done with 3 of 12 in this round.  Number four is this week.  And our neighbor's last radiation is this week.  We are all planning a big party! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Orthotics, Endochrin and a Lesson

We went back to the orthotist for a six-month check-up for Justin's orthotics.  There are three things they check: length, width, and girth.  Girth of your foot, that made me laugh, but that's what was getting tight on Justin.  He hasn't needed new shoes, so I knew that he hadn't grown that much, but I felt like they were getting too tight around.  I pinched his skin once when I put them on and gave him a little blister.  Ouch!  Instead of getting new ones, he gave us a little extra piece to fit in between, where the two pieces meet, which should buy us a couple of months more.  I love resourcefulness!  We will go back in a month or two to get fitted for another set.

And I am proud to announce that we have a walker!  I think it is safe to say that Justin walks more than he crawls.  He is still unsteady, but he wants to be on his feet and he struggles to stay there.  Just what we like to see.  He can do things while standing too.  He can play, push doors closed, climb, grab items off shelves (or Christmas trees...), and tons more.  I think the orthotics have been really helpful for Justin, and he likes wearing them.

Yesterday we went to the endocrinologist for another six-month check-up.  I had to take Travis with me because he is still sick and I cannot leave him to infect anyone.  Justin is sick too, but I figured that would just have to be the way it was.  She checked his measurements and noted that he hadn't grown much since her last visit, except his head.  Not sure about that...  I wasn't surprised since he is still wearing 18-month clothes and I haven't bought him new shoes.  She said that we need to feed him more and I told her that Justin often eats more than Travis.  And all his food goes to his belly, which I am not sure can get much bigger.  We have tried squeezing him to see if we can get some of it down into his legs or out to his arms, but it hasn't worked yet and Justin's not a big fan.  ;)

The same day my mom had her port installed for chemo.  Kind of sounds like she's a construction site or something to have the port "installed".  Anyway, it was surgery, so she needed to be released to someone after she was awake and ready to go.  All the way up four floors where she would then have a chemo treatment that would take another couple of hours at least.  And then Randy would pick her up after work and bring her home.  So really it would only take about 30 minutes to sign her out and drop her off at chemo.  Since I was there already for Justin's appointment, it was agreed that I would drop the boys with Randy for lunch, go transfer my mom, and get the kids and head home.  Well, of course it didn't work out that way.  She was supposed to be there at 8:30 am.  When I got there at noon she had just gone in for surgery.  It took an hour and a half for surgery and for her to wake up to see me.  Then it was another two and a half hours before she was ready to leave post op!  By the time I took her up to chemo it was 4 pm and the boys had been with Randy more than four hours.  Not quite the plan.

My mother was beside herself apologizing and wishing it had gone better.   But the word Randy used to describe the boys was "awesome".  They had moved into a conference room and right after lunch Justin had crawled up in Randy's lap and gone to sleep.  Travis took his school bag with books and papers and told Randy that he had lots of paperwork to do and not to worry about him.  So Randy typed with his left hand and did as much work as he could.  And Travis earned a little spending money unloading the paper boxes and filing the copy machine.  Apparently a less than desirable job for Randy and his co-workers, but more than thrilling for a four-and-a-half year-old.

We didn't get home until after 5 pm and Randy and my mom were out until nearly 10 pm.  When I talked with my mom later she continued to apologize.  I told her that she needed to understand that this is a time that she is going to have to ask for help from family and friends.  And that help might inconvenience them.  And that has to be okay.  A simple "I'm sorry" and it's over.  She cannot continue to fret and worry because that won't solve the problem.  She said that she hoped to learn that lesson quickly.  She said that's what she had prayed for, to be a quick learner.  I thought that would be a good prayer for me too! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

November Follow up/ December Prayer Requests

The months are flying by and it's hard to believe that the year is almost over!  Is it just me, or does the year seem to speed up as it nears the end?  Anyway, time passes whether we are ready or not, so here it comes!

November:

  1. Health:  Still a HUGE problem!  Travis got Justin sick again so we are back where we started in October with croup.  We are going back to the doctor today to see if Justin needs anything else because he is having so much trouble kicking this!  He needs to get better so he can fight off other illnesses.  Travis and Justin are both sick and my mom has to stay away until they are better.
  2. My mom's testing: Great news!  No other cancer present, and she started chemo last month, right before Thanksgiving.  Today she is getting the port installed, which will help the treatments go more smoothly.  That is a huge answer to prayer!
  3. Schedule:  Obviously the sickness has made the scheduling still a problem.  We are doing what we can, but this isn't getting much better.  We are attempting to add an additional PT session once a week for a couple months and then we will double up on Speech for a couple of months, and then OT.  I cannot fit two of everything at once, but I think we can handle one extra.  I plan to do errands or find a play place to chill between the two sessions since they need to do PT and OT on the same day.
December:

  1. My mom's chemo:  She is starting to lose her hair and she is really tired.  Today will be the third round and she has nine more to go.  She just needs patience and strength.  I imagine you understand.
  2. Health:  The boys are tired of being sick and Randy and I could use some more sleep.  And we don't want my mother to get sick!  So we need the sickies to get healthy and the healthy to stay that way!
  3. Decisions:  Randy and I have some big decisions regarding our family and the direction we are heading.  We want to make wise decisions following God's will.  It's tough to tune out the world's knowledge and trust only God's wisdom!
Thank you for your faithfulness!  We love being confident that we are not alone! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankful


This was my surprise from Justin from OT right before Thanksgiving.  It is so wonderful!  I love the outline of his little hand.  It's the best turkey I have seen in a while.  See the grass at the bottom of the page?  Miss Caroline drew the black lines on the page and told Justin to cut with the scissors on the lines.  She said that he worked really hard to get right on the lines.  He did an amazing job!  He is working with loop scissors that work the reverse of regular scissors.  Instead of having to pull them open and squeeze them closed, you only have to squeeze them closed and then they pop open again.  He is getting very good with them!  We are getting our own pair to start practicing at home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Croup - Part 2

Oh yes, it's back!  But this time it's Travis.  I am not sure how we avoided it until now, but now they both have had the experience.  At least no ER this time.  We're pretty sure if we went back to the ER they would have laughed at us!  Instead, we went to the doctor and while we were waiting we saw a millipede walk across the floor.  The boys and I all got down on the floor and watched it walk around. While we were checking him out, a doctor walked by and asked if we wanted to take him home with us.  Sure we would!  So she punched holes in a urine specimen container and we put our little treasure inside.  Just what you want as a souvenir from the doctor's office.  Oh, and a diagnosis of croup with a prescription for steroids.

After some foibles with the new electronic prescription system at the pharmacy, we made it home and settled in for some healing snuggles.  He has had a couple days of fever off and on and lots of coughing, but I think he is on the mend.  Now we have to pray that Justin doesn't get it back!  And we had to make my mom move out so she doesn't get sick with her chemo treatments.  This is a whole new set of circumstances with the boys and my mom.  It's a tough time of year to stay healthy, but we really need it for all of us. 

Early Christmas

I really thought we would never buy an electric car for the kids, but when a neighbor happened to be looking for a new home for their electric car, I couldn't say no!  That is how we became the proud owners of a blue Mustang convertible.  Love it!  At first Travis wouldn't drive it.  He wanted me to drive it home.  I looked at the car's tiny seat and my wide seat and told him that I thought he needed to try.  Thankfully we made it home without incident (He's been known to crash into parked cars...) and after a few trips up and down the street, he was doing much better.  And Justin was a great passenger.  His little legs don't touch the pedals, but he was content to ride along and play the "radio" and honk the horn.  And then yell because he didn't like the noise!  I loved watching the boys ride around.  I was wanting something that we could take for a walk that Justin would enjoy more than the stroller.  It's going to be a while before he can reach the pedals on the tricycle and even longer before he can work them.  This will be perfect for afternoon walks now that the weather is cooler.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Go Packers!


I am teaching the kids their heritage while I still can!  It's tough being a foreigner in these parts!

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Changes

My mom returned from her "healing trip" to Wisconsin.  He drove her car full of stuff all by herself, against the advice of her mother, all her children, and a few friends.  But she made it just fine and now she has moved into the spare bedroom on the second floor of our house.  Actually, it's what used to be Travis' room, and before that, Mireille's room.  We did a big room switcheroo last week including dismantling Travis' toddler bed and swapping bedding, wall art, clock radios, and wardrobes.  Organization!  I loved it!  Justin, not so much.  Still getting over the clinginess, so we took snuggle breaks every little bit.  I had planned to move Travis to a big bed when he turned five and redo the room and get new bedding, etc.  The new bedding is still the plan, but for now he's in his temporary room for the next nine months.  I have been talking it up so he wasn't bothered giving up his room to Nana.  He was very excited to show Daddy his new room and Nana's new digs.

Now we are at the hospital for my mom to get her first chemo treatment.  We were hoping she would be able to get her treatments at a center close to our home, but it didn't work out that way due to a policy change last week.  So she will be heading down to the main hospital every week for the next twelve weeks.  We are not sure how she will do with it, but I am so glad she will be close to us.  It's not something I ever expected to be experiencing.  Kind of how the past few years have been!  But I am glad for the lessons I have learned in that time.  It's always amazing to see God's preparation looking back.  It gives me encouragement for the future.  I always need more of that!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Trip to the ER

I know!  So long without ever going to the ER and then two trips in a month!  This time it was the stomach bug that has been making its way around every school, day care, and church in the area.  Justin just couldn't seem to get rid of it.  He threw up once a day for a week, and then he started twice a day and added a rash.  He stopped eating and drinking and we were at a loss.  And since he had been through croup and an ear infection in the past month, we were concerned that Justin just didn't have enough in him to heal himself.  We called our doctor friends and after getting the advice to take him in, we did.  We were a little smarter this time though:  We packed our bags with plenty of snacks, plus the DVD player, laptop, and ipad.  We took toys for Travis and Justin's blanket and lovey.  Oh, and coffee for us!

We got to the ER at a perfect time, not busy at all, and the same doctor from our last visit was there to treat Justin so she was familiar with all his oddities.  And our same nurse too!  God answered my prayers!

It took four times to get an IV in Justin, and they ended up having to use his thumb-sucking hand.  They did a blood draw and gave him fluid.  The labs all came back with nothing, so all we had to do was get Justin to eat something without throwing it up.  He hadn't been wanting to eat anything, but after the bag of fluid he was like a different little boy!  He was interested in the food and engaged in activities rather than lying limply in my arms.  Don't get me wrong, again we watched an insane amount of television, and both my legs went numb in the process, but it helped us turn the corner.

I hated making the trip, again, but it was a good decision this time.  We are struggling to learn Justin's "line" - the point when none of our techniques are working and we need medical intervention.  I think I jump quicker with Justin than I would with Travis, but I don't want to jump too quickly.  Each illness we learn something new, but then something else comes along and we flounder again.  Poor Justin, when he can talk he is so going to tell us off!

Since being at the ER it has been two and a half days keeping everything down.  We did get some medicine to help in that area and it has been working.  We were able to return to therapy for the first time in two weeks, and Justin is getting less clingy and more enthusiastic every day.  So glad!


Justin enjoyed playing around with the sick bag they gave us.  He bit on it!



The electronic age in the ER:  Justin watching his movie and Travis playing on the Disney website.  Mommy got to stand up for a minute and eat some lunch!