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!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Buddy Walk 2010

Every year the Buddy Walk brings something new and this year was no different!  Our team had the best mix of people we have ever had.  I was able to convince our therapy center to sponsor our team (it wasn't very difficult! Justin and Travis are both faves!) and we also had people from my work and Randy's work, plus some of our family and church family, and even a family friend from Minnesota!  We were really looking forward to having everyone there, but when Justin got sick the night before we weren't certain we would be able to walk.  Since Justin seemed fine when he woke up, we decided to brave it and hope for the best with Travis and the rest of our family.  Our shirts were jade green and Justin's was sky blue.  Justin liked showing off his shirt for me!

Mary, our friend from Minnesota, helped us blow up all the balloons before the party began!  Travis was a good helper too.  It was windy and a little cool, which made for good walking weather, but not so good balloon-blowing-up weather.

Our team opted to meet outside of the plaza since there were projected to be more than 5,500 walkers this year.  Last year was crazy and we only had 3,500 walkers.  I had to get some shirts for our team, so I braved the plaza.  The volunteers were lined up greeting everyone with thunder sticks.  I took Justin with me and he was a little overwhelmed.  We ran into the Buddy Walk organizer and she told Justin that all the cheers were for him!  He still wasn't impressed.

We ate a little lunch while we were waiting.  The kids didn't sit down for very long.  There was too much excitement!

The volunteers had made little welcome signs for each of the teams.  There were over 190 teams, and each team had a sign on the barricades.  The signs were all over and I just happened to see our sign!

Here's the view inside the plaza.  This was still over a half hour before we started.  It was swarming with people!

Pop and Justin.  They do lots of snuggling and this day was no exception.  I think Justin might have shared a few germs as both Me-Me and Pop were sick this week!

A sign of things to come.  Travis does not normally lay down when there are other children around. He said he was tired, but really it was more.

Travis rode in the back of the stroller all curled up for the whole walk.  This is the best picture we have of him from the walk.

Our whole team!  Some of the balloons got in the way of some faces, but our group was great this year.  We missed some of our group that has been with us the past two years, but we also had some new faces.  I love the Buddy Walk because it reminds me so clearly that we are not in this alone.  We can see the people who support us.  One family had a schedule conflict and mom gave her teenage sons the option of which one to do.  "There's no option, mom.  We have to do the Walk."  I love that!  It's pretty cool when teenage boys choose you.  Teenage boys didn't even choose me when I was a teenage girl!

The walk goes over and around the Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston.  It took over two hours to get everyone through the 1.5 mile route.  So there were people on both sides and over the bridge and everywhere.  It's such fun to watch.  There were volunteers cheering us on as we walked.

The Walk is always so much fun for us. It is good to see the people with DS who have grown up and the great things that they do. There are posters around the plaza that share success stories and accomplishments that will never make it on the news or in a magazine, but they're the things that keep us going as parents. They call the posters "Imagine the PossAbilities".  Our kids are filled with potential!  It's great to see that potential exploited in creative and constructive ways.  There is a song my mom used to sing to us that had a chorus that said, "I am a promise, I am a possibility. I am a promise, with a capital P. I am great big bundle of potentiality!" It's great to see what these big bundles of potentiality have achieved!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Trip North

I have been trying to get up to Wisconsin for most of the fall and with everything going on it didn't look like it was going to happen.  Some things changed and at the last minute we decided to take a quick trip up to see my grandmother.  So we left Tuesday morning for Milwaukee and my mom picked us up and we drove to Ripon, where my grandmother lives.  We had such a good time and it was great to watch my grandmother play with the boys.  She has a toy box full of toys from when my uncles were young, plus a few toys from when my cousins and I were young. Travis remembers some of those toys and the first thing he wanted to do was pull out the toy box and find some fun toys.

Travis got to hear his favorite story about Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, Marianne.  He asked my mom to bring the book with her from her house and she forgot, so we had to go the library in Ripon, and fortunately they had it.

Justin loved dumping the beads out of the can.  Again, and again, and again.

We got to wear our Packer gear!

Thia was another favorite toy.  You put a ping pong ball inside and hit the bottom and the ping pong ball goes flying out.  We didn't have great aim, but fortunately there wasn't much power behind it either.  He did manage to hit the ceiling once.  That was a surprise!

Justin got sick the first night we were there and he was up all night throwing up.  It worked out well when it came to cookie tasting.  Travis and I hit the Rippin' Good Cookie factory and Justin stayed home and took a nap.  Then I didn't have to explain to Justin why he couldn't eat any of the cookies.  I think Travis might have had Justin's share anyway.  He got two of every kind, one for me and one for him.  It was like a tasting contest:  that one is too crunchy, that one is too chewy, that one is too chocolaty.  Is that possible?  We did come home with a few boxes of cookies that passed Travis' taste tests.

We went back to the library and Travis took some pictures while I looked up some phone numbers for my mom.

Some pictures were better than others.

And of course, the picture with the boys and my grandmother.  This is why I make the trip to Wisconsin.  When I was going through security in Houston, a man behind me said, "Now I understand why my daughter wants me to visit her.  I didn't get it until I saw all the stuff you have with you."  If I saved one woman from making an unnecessary plane trip with children, it will have been worth it!  But I would do it again and again to see the joy in my grandmother's face when she holds her great-grandchildren.  And I soak up all the wisdom I can when I am with her.  She is amazing and I wish every time we leave that we lived closer to her.  I am going to build my mansion in heaven right next to hers!

Justin stayed healthy enough to make the trip back to Houston and since then he has been sick once a day.  He has kept it during the day since this weekend, which I really appreciate.  We went to the doctor yesterday and got some medicine, so I think we are on the right track.  I have heard bad things about this bug, and I will be happy to be rid of it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Next Computer Genius of the Family

October Follow-Up/November Prayer Requests

All the guys have been sick in our house and I have been busy cleaning up behind them.  I have been trying to stay ahead of the game, but it's not always working!  I had to slack at something, and it ended up being the blog.  I will try to catch up over the next few days so hang in there with me!

  • My mom's surgery went well.  There were no complications and she recovered quickly.  She was able to keep up with my laundry!  Her friend Sharon stayed in town for more than three weeks and her help was invaluable.  My mom is still in WI healing, and we hope to continue with the next phase of treatment sometime around Thanksgiving.  Her next set of tests will be next week, and then we find out the results and decide on the plan the beginning of the next week.  More prayer are needed here!
  • My work is still in flux, but we should avoid more major changes until next year.  I was able to get a good schedule for this month.  I have to look at the short term and not worry about all the big changes since that's how the transition will happen.
  • Potty training is off and on with everyone being sick.  Justin is doing great using the potty, but he's stubborn about when and how he goes.  We're just taking it slow!


  • Get rid of germs!  We need to get rid of all our sickness before my mom comes back (next week) so she doesn't have to worry about getting sick.  This includes Randy's parents who are sick as well.  We all need good health through the entire winter.
  • My mom's testing:  That the cancer has not metastasized anywhere else in her body.
  • Getting back into our schedule:  We haven't been to an entire week of therapy for more than a month.  We hope that we can work chemo into the schedule without much difficulty.  It has been a good break for our family with no extra appointments for my mom (or Justin or Travis!) We know the holidays will bring new challenges, but we pray that the disruption will not be too stressful for any of us!
Thank you.  It seems like there is so much going on around us and we are trying to keep our sense of focus and direction in the midst of it all.  With Justin doing so much better at walking, the only thing he is lacking is balance, and that's what we ALL need right now!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Everyday Thankfulness

Today I am thankful for being able to clean up vomit without getting sick.

Yeah, it's been one of those weeks.

We went to WI last week (more on that later...) for a quick trip and during the first night Justin spent most of it gagging or throwing up every 20 minutes.  I did manage to find a plastic bowl for him to throw up in and every bit of it was contained.  Until I stepping in the bowl when I got out of bed in the morning...

After some morning naps he felt better and we prayed that no one else would get it.  There were no more incidents and we felt good about traveling home a couple of days later.  We came home in the afternoon with enough time to get dinner for the kids and put them in bed before I had to return to the airport and pick up our friend Mary who came to town for the Buddy Walk (more on that later...)  We had a great day on Friday and then Friday night Justin was up throwing up again.  This time we weren't so lucky about not making a mess.  I was the baby snuggler and bucket grabber and Randy cleaned up and snoozed between incidents.

Then we were faced with the dilemma:  Do we all go to the Buddy Walk or do we stay home?  Is someone else going to get sick?  In the end we went with the theory of the germs blowing away in the breeze and warning everyone in advance.  And besides, most of the other people with kids who were coming called and cancelled because THEY were sick!!

So as people start gathering for the Buddy Walk, Travis starts acting tired and even laid down on the steps.  Not like him.  He rode the whole walk (I wisely brought the double stroller!) and by the end he wasn't looking good.  Justin fell asleep on me and I passed him off to Randy in time to hold Travis and have him throw up on me.  But even in that God was watching over us as I happened to have worn a tank top under my Buddy Walk shirt and Mary had a jacket which we put on Travis after his shirt came off.  That one incident was all for Travis and he has been fine.

We opted not to go to church on Sunday and just relax.  We dropped Mary off at the airport and prayed that she avoided the bug that was stalking our family.  The rest of the day was fine and we thought that was the last.

Now Randy appears to have gotten it and he is on his way home from work.  I told him not to go, but since I go to work when I am sick, I'm not really one to talk.  And while eating lunch, out of the blue Justin threw up one more time.  All over me and on the kitchen floor.  Guess it's mopping day.  Justin just hadn't gotten me good enough yet and I guess he didn't want to be beaten out by Travis.

  Really?  Are you kidding me?  I just have to laugh.  At least I don't have to make dinner tonight.