Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Report from the Neurosurgeon

Today was the big day. We had our meeting with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Menezes, today and it was kind of like we expected. He showed us the MRI scans which were really interesting to see. He showed us where the cord was tethered at the base of the spine and long story short, my baby is scheduled for surgery on January 20th. :( He said that it was a "simple" surgery, but let's remember this is coming from a world renown neurosurgeon so I'm not sure "simple" is the word I would use, but whatever. He said that sometimes with tethered spines the part that is tethered is the same color as the nerves so that makes it so much more difficult to fix, but Kai's is a different color, which we could see on the MRI, so that is good news. He explained how they use hair-thin wires that they run current thru to make sure what they are removing is only the fat and nothing of importance! :) There were a few interesting things also. One of the first things he looked at was Kai's feet. He pointed out that Kai's 2nd toe is slightly raised-kind of pulled back, it's hard to explain, but as soon as he noticed that, he said that that is a signal that there is something wrong with his spine! Wierd! They also did a little test-broke one of those long cotton swab things and poked the pointy part on his bum cheeks. Kai has no feeling at all in his bottom. It's so wierd! I never ever noticed but Dr. Menezes is right-he didn't flinch or anything when he got poked.
So we are scheduled to head to Iowa City on January 19th for a pre-op, lab work and an appointment with anesthesia, then surgery on the 20. The nurse said that Dr. Menezes blocked 4 hours for the surgery but I don't know how much of that is prep and how much is the actual surgery. They will keep him sedated for 48 hours after surgery because he needs to be on his tummy. Hospital stay will likely be 5-7 days.
Not quite sure how I feel about it at this point. It's good to have answers and to know that he is scheduled for surgery, but at the same time it's so scary that he actually this is REALLY going to happen! I like Dr. Menezes so that helps, but it's just so scary that my sweet little baby has to even go thru this. I am thankful though, that it seems as if once this surgery is over, the cord will not retether or anything of that nature, so that makes me feel better too. I was a bit freaked out by the wait time, but then realized that it will be ok after all. This will get us through the holidays and Claire's birthday, a couple weeks to bounce back and be ready to roll for Kai's surgery. We are on the wait list for the Ronald McDonald House, so hopefully that works out as well.
Thank you everyone for your kind words and encouragement. Along with your prayers, they mean a lot. We are so blessed!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Claire + Pop=LOVE!! AND Darren's Blackberry

So I am a pretty laid back mom as most of you know. I let my kids get dirty, figure they'll put shoes on when their feet get cold, things like that (ok, I'm not THAT bad...I do make sure they have shoes on when the snow is over a few inches...). BUT there is one thing that I feel very strongly about-my kids DO NOT NEED POP!!!!! They are thrilled with chocolate milk and juice boxes for a treat, so we'll just stick with that. I do have to say though, it's probably easy because for the most part my kids don't like pop, so they don't ask for it-my feelings might be different if the situation were different, so if your kiddos like pop, that's your biz and it don't bother me a bit (enough gangsta's been a REALLY long day folks, bear with me).
Ok, back to the story at hand. I have been fighting a stomach bug the last week so I have had a bottle of 7-up in the fridge. The exception to my no-pop rule is when the kids are sick. I usually let them have ginger ale to encourage drinking and such. I have let Claire have a little when she said her tummy was hurting. She was actually wanting milk, but I didn't really want to take a chance, so I gave her some pop much to her SHEER delight. My little Claire Bear LOVES her some pop! I don't let her have it mind you, but Grandma does and sometimes she sneaks a drink of Daddy's when Mommy isn't looking. So tonight at supper I asked the kids what they wanted to drink-meaning milk or water like I do every other night, and it doesn't take a genius what Missy Moo decided she wanted to drink...POP! I gave her "the look" and told her no, her choice was milk or water. She kind of sighed and made her choice. Supper continued with all family members calmly sitting perfectly in their chairs, using perfect table manners, and having a calm and lovely conversation....SIGH...or not. It was the usual supper chaos, but that's my life! :) All of a sudden, Claire must have swallowed her milk wrong or something and starting coughing like you do when it "goes down the wrong tube". I asked her if she was ok, and she looked at my, as earnestly and honestly as you can image, eyes huge with sincerity, and said "MOM! SEE??? THAT is why I needed POP!" I looked at Sam, who was struggling not to laugh, and just couldn't contain myself. Oh Claire B-you make me smile. :)
So awhile back, Sam's company switched cell phone providers so he got a new, upgraded phone. That, of course, made his Blackberry of no use to us, so we gave it to the kids to play with. Every so often, it surfaces from the murky depths of various toyboxes. Yesterday happened to be one of those times. My son took upon himself to carry "his phone" in his pocket all day. Now, we happened to have a VERY busy day today. We had to be to the ENTs office at 8:50, and dear friends, I try to not have to be ANYWHERE before 10, so this was a stretch for us, but we made it! Then it was groceries, lunch and wal-mart, a quick stop to drop off a few things to my mom, and finally home with 3 exhausted kids and 1 exhausted Mommy at 3:00. Alright, enough whining-back to the story.
So, anyhoo, my son has his Blackberry is his pocket all day. 1st stop-ENTs office: Darren whips out his phone and asks Claire what kind of music she wanted to listen to. Now you have to remember, he gets to play with Daddy's REAL phone on occasion and that one is FANCY SCHMANCY with games, music, cameras, flashlights, you name it. So he asks Claire is she wants to listen to some music and can she hear the princess song playing? She looked at him like he had grown an extra head and when back to her book. Not wavering at all he looked at me and said "how about you Mommy? What kind of music do you want to listen to?" I told him I felt like a little "I am a Promise" which is a song on a CD that he got for his birthday that I LOVE listening to him sing along with. Not missing a beat, he said "Ok!" and starting pushing buttons on his phone. He then turned around so his back was to me and started humming the song, pretending it was coming out of his phone...HAHA! I love imagination!
We then moved on to Fareway. The newest thing there is these little mini kid-sized shopping carts that they can push etc. I figured why not? and let each kid have one. They actually didn't do too bad with them, and the back of my heel only got rammed about 468 times, but who's counting right? Anyway, I so wish I would have had a video camera. I was in the canned veggies aisle checking out prices and look over at Darren. He is leaning kind of on one hip, proped up against the cart handle "talking" on his phone! I quickly looked away, but kept one eye on him to see what he was doing. He talked for a bit and then ended with "Ok, I'll call ya later. Bye" and pushed some button on his phone, stuck it back in his pocket and went on with his day, just very nonchalant like he talks on a cell phone all biggie! I just about lost it trying not to laugh. Then a bit later "oh shoot, someone's callin' me, I better get this" and out of the pocket comes the phone and up to his ear for another short convo that involved a lot of "yeps" and "oks" and ended with "ok, see ya" and back in his pocket. The best was yet to come tho! We continued on and I was aparently taking too long looking at something or another and I look over and he is standing, kind of just a chilaxed pose, flipping his finger on the screen part of the blackberry like he was just browsing some apps. I chuckled but just went on my way, (Darren having stuck his phone back in the pocket) but there was something vaguely familiar about it that I just couldn't put my finger on. Fast forward to about 5ish. Sam is home from work, I am (still) working on putting away groceries, and we are just chatting and catching up, etc. Sam leans up against the dishwasher, crosses one ankle over the other, pulls his phone from his pocket....standing, kind of just a chilaxed pose, flipping his finger on the screen part of his phone.....Holy smokes I just about died laughing. Darren had looked EXACTLY...EXACTLY my dear readers, like Sam. He even put the phone BACK INTO HIS POCKET THE EXACT SAME WAY!!!! THAT was the reason it looked so familiar-my hubby does it EVERY DAY!!! HAHAHA!!!!! Oh man. I know all parents probably feels this way, but seriously my kids are so stinkin' funny they CRACK me up everyday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So proud of my kids...

I'm sorry-I'm just so proud of my kids, so I have to share how wonderful they are. I won't be offended if you stop reading.........

Ok, you kept reading, so here it goes :)

Tuesday Claire had to get tubes in her ears. She did FANTASTIC and was so brave throughout the whole thing. I was so proud of her being such a big girl. She has recovered great and was back to normal within a few hours! There was quite a bit of thick fluid in her ears so the doctor gave me some antibiotic drops to put in her ears for a few days. I'm sure it feels REALLY wierd, so obviously she is not so fond of me doing it to her. When I had to do Darren's when he had surgery, it was all out battle to get his drops in! When I say battle I mean battle-I had to almost lay on him to get him to hold still to put them in! Needless to say, I was not looking forward to doing it for Claire Bear!
So last night before bed, I got the drops out and readied myself for battle. However, I needn't have worried! Claire started to cry and protest when I said it was time for drops, and immediately her big sister and brother were there. Long story short, this is how we now to drops for Claire bear-she lays on the floor between my legs. Inevitably, she starts to whimper. One sibling or the other (usually Darren) says something to the effect of "remember ClaireB, it's just a tickle-it won't hurt-I PROMISE!" and SHE BELIEVES HIM! Ellie holds her hands and Darren rubs her back, and talks to her ("It's ok ClaireB, it's ok, almost done") while I do one ear. Then we all count to ten while I have to do a wierd thing to basically pump the medicine into her ear. Then she flips her head and Darren and Ellie switch roles. Darren holds her hands while Ellie rubs her back and talks to her. We count to ten again and then she's up. Both kids heap praise on her, telling her that she did such a great job,etc. This morning, Darren even gave her one of his stickers! This is all without ANY prompting from me! She wants so bad to be big like they are, so them telling her that she's doing a great job means so much more than if Mom just says it! I never have to call them-they just hear it's time for drops and spring into action! I'm so proud of them I could just burst! It's moments like this that I think maybe, just maybe they do listen when I tell them to be nice to each other! I guess in my mind, I LOVE it that they feel like it's their duty to help and protect their little sister. Moments like this seem to make it all worth it. It's just a little moment like that that keeps me going. Granted, they are all sleeping right now, and it's past my bedtime, so I'm allowed to feel sappy. If they were all awake and running around like hooligans, I might not feel the same.... :) Just kidding-they really are pretty cool kids.
Darren told me the other day that he thinks that since Kai is the cutest baby ever, we should put him in a baby show. Those were his exact words. It just struck me as hillarious-I know what he meant, but in my mind a baby show is like a dog show, except with babies...think about how funny that would be....ok, like I said, it's past my bedtime.
Got some good news today! They called from Iowa City and we have an appointment with Dr. Meneses on Nov 30th-2 weeks from today. I am so relieved to finally have an appointment, but at the same time, it kind of brought back all those nervous feelings that had kind of lessened while we waited! We just keep praying for patience!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not much to report...

Several people have asked recently, so thought I would do a quick update on here! We STILL have not heard from the pediatric neurosurgeon as to when Kai's appointment will be. I was driving myself crazy thinking about it and wanting to call the clinic every day until they gave me an appointment, but then I had a change of heart. The reason that we haven't heard is that Dr. Meneses' wife had to have surgery. He had to take several weeks off to care for her and then could only do his clinic times when his daughter could be with his wife. I finally realized that I needed to cool it because his family NEEDS to come before his job. He NEEDS to make his wife a priority over me and my baby. That was not an easy conclusion to come to, let me tell you that :) but I told myself that that means he must be a good guy if he takes good care of his wife right? :) I did call last Friday to see if they had heard anything and the very nice lady on the other end of the line told me that they have everything crosssed that they can possibly cross that he will let them know this week. She was very kind and assured me that it understandable that we would be getting anxious. They are so nice at that hospital. I have only met 2 people-1 doctor and 1 nurse that I wasn't overly fond of, but when you think of how many people we have dealt with throughout this whole ordeal, I think that's pretty great odds.
Meanwhile Little Man is growing with leaps and bounds. He is crawling all over the place and is starting to get brave enough to crawl out of the living room (mostly when he is trying to find me :)) on his own. He gets frustrated that he can't crawl as well on the kitchen floor since it isn't carpet but it's kind of funny, so we just let him go. He loves people-especially his siblings, even though they think it's fun to wrestle with him now. The kid eats like a trooper, and is a solid little bugger but when we went to the doctor for a well baby check, he was around the 50th percentile for both height and weight, although his head measured in the 97%! Big head, big brain right! :)
And speaking of siblings, I have to share a funny story with you:
So Claire has a My First Dollhouse, which she LOVES to play with. We had it down in the living room the other day and her and Darren were playing with it. Darren was of course the daddy, and Claire was the Mommy. Daddy, when he wasn't fixing things by banging his head like a hammer on them, seemed to spend a crazy amount of time on the toilet and hiding from Mommy (you know they say kids mimic what they see, so I had to check with Superdad to see if he was indeed hiding from me when he wasn't in the bathroom) while the Mommy was taking VERY good care of the baby and rearraging her kitchen table and chairs about 500 times (THAT Claire must get from her Aunt Heather b/c my kitchen table and chairs are in the same place they were when we moved here!). But anyhoo, back to the story. I was in the kitchen, listening, but not letting them see me and this is a paraphrase of what I overheard:
D: I'm going up on the roof Mommy!
C: Don't go up there Daddy! That's dangerous!
D: It's ok! I'm just going to go parachuting! Do you want to parachute too?
C: Oh Yeah, ok! That would be fun!
D: Bring the baby too! We could take her parachuting for her birthday!
C: Oh yeah! That would be fun! Ok Daddy, here we come!
...and so on! I got a smile out of that one! But remind me when Kai's birthday comes around, let's not let Darren and Claire plan his present....
Now that it's WAY past my bedtime, I need to head to bed. It was a crazy busy weekend around here. Friday, I did 13 (that's NOT a typo friends...13...I REALLY needed to get caught up...'nough said) loads of laundry, made a wal-mart list for the hubby of all the last minute party supplies, got stuff picked up and organized so that when Sam got home we all worked together and cleaned. Joe and Heather came to watch the Iowa game on Saturday, so they were here a little early which was super fun, and then the big party Saturday night for Ellie girl's birthday. That = late bedtime for super tired kids from all the excitement and fun. This morning up bright and early for meeting, then lunch at the hall and a baptism. Helped clean up, got home about 3:45, quick changed and took Ellie to dance. Dike Rec does a dance class for 6 weeks and some girls from the UNI dance team teach the little girls a routine. Today was their final class and then a "performance" for the parents, so my poor little kiddos got about a 40 minute nap before we had to be ready to go watch El. Then home for a quick "supper snack" as my kids say, changed again and headed to Gospel Meeting! Kiddos and hubby to bed means some much needed quiet time for Mom! I will probably need a nap tomorrow but that's ok-it's worth it for the few minutes of peace and quiet now! :)
So that's a quick (ok, so it turned into a not-so-quick) wrap up of the happening of our family. I will keep you posted on the status of the appointment for Kai. Thank you all for you concern and prayers. We appreciate them all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful Challenge!!!

Saw this on Facebook, so decided this would be a wonderful thing to do, especially at this time in my life! I'm starting a day behind, so today you get TWO days! :) Don't you feel lucky! :) So here we go!!
I'm taking the Now & Forever challenge: During this month of November I challenge you to say something you are thankful for everyday!
Day 1: I am thankful for the awesome man that God has brought into my life. He is truly my best friend. I appreciate his steadyness when I feel like I am about to go crazy. He is wonderful at thinking logically instead of emotionally, which I will admit drives me CRAZY at times, but more often than not, I find myself drawn to it when I can't think straight. He is always willing to help me (ok, not while Hawkeye football is on TV, but we'll give the guy a break!). He is an wonderful dad and I love it that my kids adore him. He makes rockstar pancakes and is the official Saturday morning breakfast maker of our house! :) I think we truly do balance each other. I know he has his faults, unlike perfect me :) but I know that every day I am blessed to have him be my partner in life. I love you Babe!
Day 2: I am thankful for my smiley little man. He had brought so much joy into our home. His big brother and sisters think that he hung the moon, and we all go to ridiculous lengths to get him to laugh. He just started to take a bath in the "big tub" and LOVES to splash and would stay in there all night if Mommy would let him! :) He is so happy, even when he has to get IVs, dilations, surgery, etc that he makes me happy. Even his little baby drools and slobbery grins makes me happy. I am so sorry that he has to go through all that he does, but at the same time, thankful because I truly believe that by going thru this trial with him, Sam and I have learned more about the love of God and how to depend on Him in all things. So Little Man-I love you and every day I am thankful for you!

Monday, October 31, 2011

What we know so far...

So the results from the MRI were not what we had hoped they would be. We were told that Kai has a "fatty intrusion" on his spinal cord. I did some research and basically normally the spinal cord is free and just secured by an "elastic band" at the end. It needs to be free to move and bend, etc as a person grows. If it is "tethered" as Kai's is, it just stretched which can cause problems with the nerves, etc. Even though he doesn't have any symptoms that we know of now, if they don't correct it, it can lead to a whole host of problems later on in his life. Any of you medical people out there, feel free to correct my info, because this is just info I've gotten off the internet, so PLEASE correct me! I am in the "researching" phase right now, just trying to find out all the information that I can!
To start from the beginning, we got a call last week from our PA that we work with in the pediatric speciality clinic that she had talked to Dr. Pitcher and the Radiologist and they both agreed that Kai needed to be referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon. My heart just sank. "Neurosurgeon" sounds so scary when its in regards to my precious little man. She assured me that the doctor that we will be seeing is a world renown pediatric neurosurgeon, so that made me feel a little better that it wasn't just some Joe-Schmo just out of med school that's going to be operating on my baby's spine! We are now just waiting to hear back from the doctor when he can squeeze Kai into his clinic schedule. I just called this afternoon, and there are several factors that they are waiting on to determine the doctors schedule, which will determine when our appointment with him is. Sounds like it won't be several weeks for sure, which isn't what I wanted to hear. I have had a headache since I heard "referring to a pediatric neurosurgeon" so a couple weeks isn't my ideal, but I'm learning to be patient! The lady I talked to said that surgery was much easier to schedule because the the dr has 1 clinic day and 4 surgery days per week, so hopefully it won't be too long after his appointment that he has his surgery.
To be honest, I have good days and bad days. I have to keep myself busy and try not to think about it but it's definitely hard. I don't sleep real good at night and like I said, I think I am destined to have a permanent tension headache until this ordeal is over! :) I am trying hard to keep reminding myself that nothing in my life is outside the plan of God and to have peace and rest in His love, but most of the time I am absolutely terrified. Most of my fears are probably completely illogical, but even though my head knows that, my heart just can't seem to catch up. He is such a happy baby, so it's hard to be sad when I see his little drool-y grin with those 2 little teethy peeking thru. :) It's a definite postive that he won't remember all this. I have kind of started a journal because someday I know he will like to know how I am feeling and all the details that might slip our minds as the years go on and this ordeal becomes a distant memory. Thank you all for your prayers. We value them all more than you know-please keep praying!
Love to all~

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little Update and Some Cute Pics! :)

Thought I would just give a quick update on my little man:

Tuesday went well. I had to wake Kai up at 5 so I could feed him since he couldn't have anything after 5:20 AM due to the MRI and anesthesia, etc. He was quite confused when Daddy brought him out, but woke up enough to eat and went back to sleep thankfully. When we got to the hospital, he was such a happy little guy. Everyone was commenting on how happy he was and how much fun he was to play with. I know they probably say that to lots of people, but it made me feel better! :) He was EXTREMELY wound up and hyper for some reason-he was jumping all over and wiggling like none other-all while smiling and talking to anyone who would pay attention to him! :) The IV went ok. They put some numbing cream on both hands, inside both elbows and on one of his feet, so that was nice. When it was time for the IV, a lady from a department called Child Life showed up with a HUGE bag of toys. Her sole purpose for being there was to distract my baby so it didn't hurt so bad! What a cool job! She had all sorts of fun toys that he was more than happy to play and make noise with. When they started to put it in, I could feel myself getting very worked up, and then he made a little whimper and I just had to get out of there. Sam was holding him, so I went to a different room and plugged my ears. Looking back, the staff probably thought I was losing it! Sitting in an empty waiting room, tears running down my cheeks, with my fingers stuck in my ears so I couldn't hear my baby cry! I felt awful leaving him, but I didn't want him to pick up on my anxiety, and Sam the Superdad was there, so I figured it was probably best to just get out. Sam told me later that he didn't even really fuss-the only time was when they were holding his hand still and he wanted to move it! So thankfully the cream must have really worked. He has a couple bruises where they tried to get it in and it didn't work, but they don't seem to bother him. It took him a little while to fall asleep and he did cry then, but that was more a tired cry, not an owie cry, so I could handle that. There was a rocking chair in the room, so I could hold him and rock him to sleep which was just what this Momma needed to do.

Sound asleep, heading off to get his MRI

The MRI didn't take too long and then we headed up to the Ped Surgery Clinic for him to wake up. He was kind of a little stinker and didn't really want to wake up. It was pretty cute actually. We were trying to wake him up and he just kept whining like "MOM! I'm TIRED! LEAVE ME ALONE!" :)

This picture CRACKS me up! He was so tired, but we kept messing with him and I think he was getting hungry at this point too. I just love his facial expression. :)

He finally woke up enough to nurse and then fell back asleep. I think I needed to nurse and snuggle him as much as he needed me, and knowing that I was able to be a comfort to him went a long way to soothe this anxious mommy's heart. He slept until about 3 that day, and has been pretty normal ever since. He's got that nasty cough that's going around, so that's making him a little crabby, but no big deal.

The PA that I talked to on Tuesday called yesterday and said that Dr Pitcher was gone for the day and she wanted to talk to him before she gave us the results, so I am still trying to be patient and wait on Him! Thank you to all of you who have e-mailed, texted, etc letting us know that you are praying for us and thinking of us. It REALLY means a lot! Please keep at it and I will let you know when we know more!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Enjoying The Love of God

Sitting here rocking :) and trying to wait patiently for a call with Kai's MRI results. This morning I was a mess to be honest. I know part of it is nerves and part of it is that I am exhausted from the big day yesterday, but I am just so nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, slightly terrified, not sure what I am hear the findings. I was kind of dinking around doing little odds and ends this morning and decided that the best thing I could do was read my Bible. I was just kind of flipping through Psalms and came to 103. Verse 11 says "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him." It struck me as I was sitting there-I am scared and nervous because I love my baby so much, but God's love for me is even greater. Sometimes I have to do things for Kai- things like shots, IVs and MRI's-things that he doesn't understand why I am allowing people to do that might hurt or be scary to him, but I allow them because I know that that's what's best for him. I love him so much and this is the process that needs to take place for him to be safe and healthy. The same way with God. He allows things to come into my life, even things that are scary and hurt me. He has a plan that is only with my best interest in mind because He loves me SO MUCH! I can't say that I immediately felt perfect, but my heart is much lighter. No matter what happens, I know that God has a plan and a purpose and whatever happens, I need to do as verse 1 says: "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy name." So Happy Wednesday and my prayer is that you are enjoying the love of God and praising Him as well. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family Update and a Prayer Request

It's been a while since I've had a chance to post on here, so I thought I would just give you a heads up on what's been going down with the Brandt Family 6!

Claire has finally decided to be potty trained! I say that she has finally decided because we have been working and working and WORKING on it for MONTHS but being the stubborn little thing that she is, she pretty much had to decide. So, one day she just decided that she wanted to wear undies and has had VERY few accidents ever since! I don't even have to remind her-she just goes like she's been doing it for years! What am I going to do with that girl....

In the last week or so, Kai has gotten 2 teeth, started sitting on his own, is now army crawling wherever he wants to, and rocks on all fours-crawling will start soon I have a feeling! :) He also is now "talking" and has discovered how to holler loud enough to keep up with his siblings! He is still a happy guy and brings so much joy to our family.

We are still dealing with lots of colds in our family. I had a sore throat for couple days and it was downhill from there for the kids. Seemed like we were at the doctor just about every other day for a while there! We're talking spiking 104.5 fevers and horrible coughs. Darren and Claire were sick FOREVER and still cough quite a bit, but they are on the mend. They both seem very tired still, so I think it took a lot out of them.

Sam, Kai and I are heading to Iowa City tomorrow for an MRI for Kai. I think I have mentioned before that there is a syndrome that can be associated with his malformation, so they have to check for tethering of his spine. They had to wait until he was 6 months old because he has to be sedated for the MRI. I know that more than likely he is going to be completely fine and the MRI will show perfect results, but I am still scared/nervous/worried...I don't even know how to explain it. He has to get an IV for the sedation, which makes me want to cry because of the last time he had one. Granted, it was when he was 2 days old and dehydrated and I was post partum hormonal, but it gives me a pit in my stomach to even think about his pitiful little screams as they tried and tried and TRIED to get that stupid thing in. I will never forget that feeling as long as I live. They called from sedation the other day to get some information and tell me about the procedure, etc and said that I can hold him and they will rub some medicine on him so it's not so traumatic for him (and hopefully me! ). Plus, even though I know he's more than likely going to be fine, there is that very small chance that they will find evidence of tethering. I don't even know what they will do if they find it, but my guess would be surgery and that scares me to death. My mind gets going a million different directions and I start to think worse case scenarios and that makes me crazy. I have been earnestly praying the last few days for God to help me to leave my worries in His hands, knowing that He holds the future and all things are according to His plan, but would appreciate your prayers for this and for my baby as well.

As I type, said baby is "helping" me :) so I should probably wrap this up and get that washing machine going again! Have a wonderful Monday-it's a beautiful day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thanks to a Stranger

Dear Stranger in front of me today at Wal-Mart:
I know you will never see this, but I just wanted you to know how much I appreciated you today. You saw me with my 3 little munchkins-1 IN the cart, 1 BESIDE the cart, and 1 strapped to me-and didn't comment "oh my! You must have your hands full! Are they all yours?". Instead, you looked at me and smiled and then asked if I needed you to unload my cart. I think I was in shock but managed to reply that I would be fine, but thanks so much! You didn't stop there however-you then asked if I wanted you to wait with me and help me get my purchases out to my car! My hooligans were actually not being too bad (if you don't count Claire STANDING in the front of the cart-with no shoes on and VERY old socks that she INSISTED on wearing-reaching precariously for a little box of Goldfish-I don't so you shouldn't either) so I assured you that I was fine but thanks so much for offering! I turned around to finish unloading my cart and when I turned back around, you were gone. Almost like you had never been there-but I will never forget you. I promise you this though. Someday, when I actually go to Wal-Mart by myself :) and I see a mom with her busy little people, trying to keep them occupied while they are waiting in line, I will offer to help her unload her cart and carry them to her car. And I may even tell her about you, Mrs. Nameless Stranger who made this Mom's day. And if you see me again...please offer again. Just because I didn't need you today doesn't mean there aren't days that I HAVE to run to the store when I would rather just keep my tired babies at home. There will be times that I am THAT mom with THOSE kids who people "tsk tsk" at and I would rather just sit down in the aisle and cry as opposed to going through that check out. At those times, you really will be my heaven sent angel, so please-keep offering and someday, in your honor, I will do the same. Thanks Wal-Mart Lady-from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Where are we going? (Clap Clap Clap) To the Jungle!"

So I'm on FB and a friend's status is "I'm the map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map..." you get the idea. For those of you who may not "get it" this is the song from Dora. This reminded me of a story that I thought you, my lovely followers, might enjoy.
So the other day my kids were playing Dora. They found a little mat thing that you can drive cars on, you know like it has roads and stuff on it? So they had the mat and that was their map. They were walking up and down the halls singing "Where are we going? (clap, clap, clap) To the (fill in the blank, wherever they were going)". I thought it was pretty cute but didn't think too much of it-hey they were happy and playing nicely together, so I was happy! I was cleaning up the kitchen, which is seems I do ALL day-how is that possible???? ANYHOO, Darren walks in with a screw and said "Here Mommy, this came out of the wall". I hadn't heard anything crash, so I didn't think too much of it and went about my business. All of a sudden I hear Sam holler "WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!" I run to the living room where my living room curtains are hanging precariously-one end of the rod is completely off the wall (hence the screw my son brought to me) and the other end is just about there. I just about had heart failure. Long Story Short-they were playing Dora and were in the Jungle. Everyone knows that in the jungle there are vines and you have to swing on them, right? We we seem to have a shortage of vines in our house at the present time, so the next logical thing is the living room curtains, right?!?!?!? Oh my dear...what a disaster. They got in trouble, but sercretly, inside I was kind of proud of their creativity! :) Let's just hope that next time they find a "vine" outside....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray!!

The wash machine is going, Kai is content, and I have brushed my teeth. I consider this morning a success. :) Thought I would take a moment to update my blog since I haven't done so in a while!
Yesterday I had to take Kai to Iowa City for another checkup. I had to go by myself which I wasn't crazy about, but it turned out ok. Fellow mom's understand how nice it was to listen to NOT kid CDs or just have silence if I so desired...ahhh sweet silence...I miss you! :) I left a little early and hit up the Coralville Mall and actually found stuff for myself-that NEVER happens so I consider it a sucess! I even bought a few birthday/Christmas gifts-go me! :)
We have been tapering off on Kai's dilations and I was really hoping that they would tell me we could stop. My wishes were granted-Dr. Pitcher said that everything looked GREAT and he was extremely pleased. I pointed out some more "cosmetic" issues that I wanted to make sure weren't going to lead to other issues (I tend to be a slight bit paranoid, but I think that's acceptable) and Dr. Pitcher smiled and said something to the effect of "I do the best I can, but I am a man. I can't make it like the Creator would." :) I knew I liked this guy! :) He said that's Kai's little bum looks almost better than normal and we can completely stop the dilations!!! YAY!!! We have to go back the end of October for Kai's MRI and we'll see Dr. Pitcher again and he will evaluate Kai to make sure he hasn't regressed at all, but he didn't seem to think that would be a problem. He said he may have some problems with constipation in a month or so, but was very thorough in explaining how to spot it since it's a little different than normal constipation and I feel confident that I could do so. He commented on how happy Kai was and was rewarded with a "full face" smile! :)
On a completely different note: my Ellie girl has her first cheer clinic this afternoon-she is VERY excited and I have to admit that I'm pretty excited too. :) I have to admit, I kind of wish I could get out there and cheer with her! HAHA wouldn't that be a sight! She gets to cheer before the football game on Friday so my little performer is VERY much looking forward to that! :)
Claire just informed me that my name is now "kid" and she is "Mom" and do I want some butter on my toast? Yes please. "Ok kid-it's time to eat your breakfast and then I have to go to the store". Guess I better get going to get something accomplished today! Wish me luck!! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On this day in 2010...

My Happy Little Man :)

This morning when I opened my Facebook page, a little message on the side told me what I had posted on this day in 2010. It was as follows:

Tiffani Harbaugh Brandt is SUPER excited to make the big announcement!! Another little Brandt will be joining our family next April! We are all very excited and I have answered about 6 million little questions in the last few days! :) Ellie cried she was so excited, and Darren is convinced the baby is warm and cozy with his blanky in there! :)

Part of me can't believe that was only 1 year ago and part of me feels like "holy smokes! It's been a year already!" From thinking we were going to lose him to a miscarriage to his issues after he was born, it's been a wild ride but I am thankful every day for my squishy smiley little boy. He brings so much joy to our family. He adores his big brother and sisters, even when they are rocking his swing like maniacs and in his face kissing him constantly. He just goes with the flow and is happy as long as he has a clean diaper, a full tummy and Mommy in his sight! :) He even tolerates his mommy kissing on his squishy cheeks all the time.

I remember being giddy with excitement when I pushed "post" on that message. I think it was because I knew that he was going to be my last baby so I was determined to enjoy every second of it! I'm still trying too and it just seems to be going so fast! My heart still gets a little sad when I tuck him into his crib in Darren's room-now "The Boys" room- instead of his little cradle in my room, and I admit, I cry a little when I have to put bigger clothes in his closet, but at the same time, he is growing and laughing and talking and is so much fun to be with. AND sleeping consistently thru the night is WONDERFUL! :)

So Kai Geordon Brandt, my Little Man, I am so glad I was able to post that update on this date in 2010. You make our family complete and I can't imagine my life without you in it! I love you Buddy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Header!!!

I was just so excited with my new blog header that I just had to share! Thanks SO much to my awesomely talented sis-in-law Heather Brandt for designing it for me! :) AND on a side note...seriously-look at those kids-how CUTE are they!! :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Missing Darren...or Not!

Tonight's bedtime routine was a little less hectic than normal due to the fact that we are down a kid! Darren and Owen are having a special "Boys Weekend" with the very brave (and I am quite certain by now TIRED) Grandma and Papa! Darren was very excited to spend some quality time with his BFF Owen and I'm sure they are having a blast.
Anyway, tonight while we were eating, Sam was teasing the girls and said something to the effect of "You know what? We don't need Darrey. Let's just leave him at Grandma and Papa's." Claire got this look on her face and I honestly thought she was going to cry! I wish you could have heard her-she almost sounded hysterical! "NO DADDY!!! NO! DON'T LEAVE HIM AT GRANDMA AND PAPA'S HOUSE!!!! NO Daddy! Darrey needs to come HOME!!!" Awww...isn't that sweet, I said to myself. Claire is missing her brother! So I asked her why she didn't want Darren to stay at Grandma and Papa's, all the while imagining her response of something along the lines of "I miss him!" or "I wuv him" know something sweet and sappy. *SIGH* I should have known better! :) Her actual response made her baby brother jump as both Sam and I just BUSTED out laughing. "Mommy, Darrey HAS to come home" "Why??" "Because if he doesn't come home then I can't go to Grandma and Papa's!" HAHAHAHA! She wasn't worried or missing her big brother at all! She just wanted him to get home so she could have her special time with Grandma and Papa!!! That girl...LOVE HER TO DEATH! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Nope, They're All Mine!"

It's been a while! Big kids are outside playing and little kid is asleep, so while I haven't showered or brushed my teeth yet today :) I decided to share a few little "funnies" as my kids call them with you. :)
So last Monday we got all new windows installed in our house-YAY! :) They look fabulous and I love them, but anyhoo. We had been at Garnavillo Conference for the weekend and while everything was unpacked, there were some clothes in laundry baskets, etc that needed to be put away. My thought was that since the living room was ready to go, they could start there and I could just stay one step ahead of them in the bedrooms, etc. Well, that's not how it works. These guys were FAST! They had all the old windows out and the new ones installed in less than 2 hours. They had outside work to do after that, but holy shamoley they were all over the place in here! Of course the 3 older kids had formed the welcoming committee and were making every attempt possible to engage the workers in conversation so they could show off, but Kai was sleeping so he hadn't made his appearance yet. The foreman of the crew walked into our room where Kai was sleeping in his cradle and said "Holy Smokes! There's ANOTHER baby in here! Are you running a daycare????" AND HE WAS COMPLETELY SERIOUS!!!! HAHAHA! I just looked at him and said, "Nope! They're all mine!" and just about died laughing. He felt so bad I think he apologized to me about 100 times, but I wasn't offended and I think I will remember it as long as I live. :)
Sunday we went out for Chinese for lunch. My children absolutely LOVE chinese food. We had finished lunch and were passing out fortune cookies. The kids would open them and pass them to Sam to read. Little Miss Independent Claire decided to read her own and said "Mommy! Guess what my fortune says?" I played along and said "what?". Her answer melted my heart. She was dead serious as she commented with a big smile on her cute little face "It says 'I Love Mommy!!'". Awwwww!
Quick update on Kai:
He is doing great. He's almost 10 weeks already!!! He's kind of a little chunky monkey and I would guess he weighs about 13 or 14 lbs by now! That is unusual for my kids-I think Ellie was about 13 lbs last week! :) Seriously tho-my kids have always been scrawny babies, so I love his chubby cheeks and legs! :) He has started to smile and "talk" quite a bit and LOVES his Mommy! :) There are times I wish he wasn't SO much, but I guess if that's the worst of it, I can handle a baby who just wants to snuggle with Mommy! :)
We head back to Iowa City next week to meet with the surgeon. Hopefully he will tell us that we can taper off and then stop the dilations here soon. We cut back to once a day tomorrow so I think we're headed in that direction. He has to have an ultrasound of his kidneys when we are there since they were a little enlarged when we were in Iowa City after his surgery but the neonatologist wasn't too concerned. This is basically a check to make sure everything is ok, but they are assuming it will be fine. Thanks again for all the prayers on our behalf!
Ok, the 3 big hooligans are hungry and I think the little one might be too, so I better log off for now! Have a wonderful day!! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's times few and far between when I have a chance to be online these days! But, my little people are all sleeping and I keep thinking Kai is going to wake up and want to eat, so I don't want to lay down because he has a wonderful knack for knowing the exact second that I get warm and start to feel drowsy and that's when he wakes up! :)

Just thought I would update everyone on his progress and what's going on. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. They mean so much to Sam and I.

We went back to Iowa City on Tuesday for a follow-up with Dr. Pitcher, the pediatric surgeon who did Kai's surgery. He was VERY pleased with Kai's progress and said everything looks great. The stiches all fell out like they were supposed to, so I was glad they didn't actually have to remove them. He said the placement is perfect and the healing looks great, so that was wonderful to hear. HOWEVER, now we had to start dilation of poor little Kai's bum. SOOO not a fun thing! Basically I have to put a little metal thing into his bum morning and night. I almost cried the first time I had to do it, and Kai was not pleased either to say the least. Dr. Pitcher made me do it with him watching the first time. I started and then stopped and told him I just couldn't do that to poor Kai. He just smiled and told me it was either that or another surgery down the road. I did it. Every time I do it, it's a little less traumatic and Kai is tolerating it better too. Dr. Pitcher said before too long it won't even really bother him much at all. I think I've said it before, but we are really pleased with Dr. Pitcher. He is very easy to talk to and is a very "real" person. It makes this whole process a lot easier when you completely trust the person running the show! And not just Dr. Pitcher either-I need to keep telling myself that-"This whole proces is much easier when you have faith and just put your trust in the ONE who is running the show!" I have to admit, it's not always easy, especially when I see my sweet baby in pain, but I'm trying.

We head down to Iowa City again in 2 weeks and every 2 weeks after. Each time they will increase the size of the dilation tool until it's where Dr. Pitcher thinks it should be. I was worried it would be a long process-like several YEARS of dilating, but he said probably just 3-6 months, so I can handle that. Plus, when you go to a clinic like that and see how much worse things could be, it really makes you count your blessings and realize this is VERY do-able

Other than that, Kai is a model baby. He is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen and one of these days I will get some pics of him up here and on Facebook. He hasn't got the memo about sleeping good at night yet, but he's getting there. He tolerates the "love" he is constantly surrounded with VERY well. Claire is CONVINCED that he needs his pluggy at all times, so we are working on that he actually does NOT need it ALL the time and when he does we do not just SHOVE it in his mouth. Poor kid! :) He gets about 400 million kisses a day and the SECOND he makes a peep from his bed, I hear about it and 3 little people are there INSTANTLY to see if he's awake! :) To say they are in love is an understatement, but I wouldn't want it any other way. It gets a bit challenging at times, but overall, it's nice they love him so much. He's very calm and has proved he can sleep thru the chaos that is our house, so we are pretty sure we'll keep him. :)

I hear the tell-tale little squeaks and grunts :) that there's a little man starting to wake up, so will wrap up for now. Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update on Baby Kai

What a whirlwind few days of life my little man has had! For those who don't have Facebook :) Kai Geordon Brandt was born on April 7th at 4:33 PM. He was 7 lbs 7.9 oz and 20.5 inches long. Seriously, he is the cutest baby ever. To quote a very special Granny "It's not biased, it's just the truth!" :) Shortly after Kai was born, they found he had low blood sugar. He wasn't really wanting to eat and was very sleepy. Nothing could really get him to eat, so we, per a dr order, had to give him some formula. It broke my heart, because I so badly wanted to nurse him, and in my brain, even one formula feeding would screw all that up. Thankfully, it didn't but he still just wouldn't eat very good. I was a little concerned, but figured that he was just sleepy from being born and would come around eventually. We were laying in bed the next night and I remember laughing as I was changing Kai's diaper. I told Sam that he sure had a funny little butt. When he would poop, it wasn't the big yucky meconium poop that my other kids had. It was just little tiny spots in the diaper. I mentioned something to the nurse and she said that's just how some babies are and that was that. Saturday rolled around and preparations were being made for us to head home with our precious little man. The doctor came in to give us info about Kai's circumcision, which was the only thing stopping us from going home. He said I probably won't see you again unless I have a problem and headed out. Sam went in to shower and I was talking to my mom on the phone when the dr came back in. My heart sank and I told Mom that I would have to call her back. The doctors words were something to the effect of "I did not do the circumcision and plans are in the works for you to head immediately to Iowa City. I have talked to the doctor there and they are expecting you." Turns out his funny little butt wasn't very funny at all. Basically, Kai was born without an anus. Seriously??? I didn't even know that could happen, but apparently it can! The little hole that he did have was something else I guess. We had to come to Iowa City because they don't have the capabilities at Covenant that they do here. So, here we are-on our way to Iowa City with my brand new sweetie, not a clue in the world what was wrong with him. I'm tired from being up at night trying to get him to eat and those lovely post pregnancy hormones are flowing like crazy and my mood swings are just as crazy. I tore a little during Kai's birth so that discomfort is there as well. LOVELY!! When we got here, on the of first things they did was of course, put in an IV. I absolutely HATE IV's in me. They hurt me like crazy and I was seriously just about hysterical as they were attempting to put his in. They wouldn't let me feed him once they knew we were headed to Iowa City, so of course he was a little dehydrated which makes it hard to start and IV. They had to work FOREVER to get it in and I will never in my life forget standing there with my head buried in Sam's side sobbing and listening to my baby whimper. It was all I could do to now grab him and run, even though I knew that wasn't an option. It was horrible. The pediatric surgeon, Dr Pitcher, came to talk to us later and upon examination, decided to go ahead and do surgery immediately to basically make him an anus. Things kind of went into high speed from there and before we knew it we were walking with him in a little oven looking thing heading to the OR. Again tears were shed as I had to turn and walk the opposite direction, but I was very comfortable knowing he was in good hands. Dr. Pitcher is really wonderful and we like him a lot. The staff here is all fabulous and we can't say enough about the care that Kai has received here. Kai's surgery went really well. Dr. Pitcher reassured us that everything went perfectly. From the way I understand it, the insides were pretty much intact, and they just had to cut a little hole and do a few things at the very end of the inside if that makes sense. Dr. Pitcher said they have a special tool that they use to find the perfect spot in the muscles, etc, so his little bum hole is now right where it should be! Kai hasn't seemed like he is in much, if any pain. They keep on top it with tylonel, and he seems to be doing great. The kid is a pooping machine now! All that meconium must have been backed up but it's all coming out now! I know your opinion of poop changes once you have kids, but I am seriously THRILLED everytime I smell that stinky smell! :) We have to stay at the hospital a few days for several reasons. Kai is on antibiotics to ward off infection from surgery, and that is via IV, so we have to stay here for that. The neonatologist, Dr. Morriss, said this morning that he wanted a CBC to see if Kai needs 3 or 5 days of antibiotics. 3 days would mean that we get to go home tomorrow, so please pray that he only needs 3. Kai is also having a whole bunch of tests done today as well. Basically, Dr. Morriss said that when there is any abnormality of this type, they do a whole bunch of other tests to make sure it's not part of something bigger. So far today, Kai has had a chest x-ray and a echocardiogram and we're waiting on an ultrasound of his renals and his spine. They are also hoping to get him off his IV fluids today, so they have been checking his glucose levels as well. That poor childs heels look like pin cushions but he seems to be tolerating it well. He is nursing very well which I am more than thrilled about. Sam and I spent the night last night at the Ronald McDonald House here in Iowa City. I desperately needed to soak in a bath tub and my poor ankles are no longer. I have never swelled this bad in my entire life. My feet and legs are huge. My mom and the wonderful nurses here convinced me to spend the night there last night to take care of myself too. It was absolutely awful to leave him, but I feel MUCH better today and he did wonderful during the night. The RMH is such an awesome place. I'll have to take some pics and blog about that in a post all it's own. Volunteers bring in food and such, so it's been wonderful to not have to eat at the cafeteria. The food there is mostly fried and honestly not very good. It's can get kind of pricey too, so this has been such an answer to prayer. This morning we had Panera bagels (donated by Panera) for breakfast and I packed up sandwiches, fresh veggies and cookies for lunch. Sam and I would like to thank you all for your prayers during all of this. We have to have our cell phones off, so if you have called or text us, we do get it and we appreciate it. Keep praying and we'll try to update when we can.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cute Kids and Pneumonia

This is the picture that is on my desktop of my computer. It's one of my very favorite pics of my kiddos ever. Last night just before bed I was ready to close the computer and this picture happened to catch my eye. I just looked at it for a while and had to smile. First off, seriously, how cute are they?!?!? :) It makes me REALLY want to meet this little person growing
in my belly! I've been feeling really great and have gotten TONS accomplished lately, but I am to the point now where I am ready for him to be out of my womb and into my arms! Plus, when I see my other cuties, I just can't wait to see what he looks like! In my mind, he has dark hair like Claire did and beautiful blue eyes like his daddy, but guess we'll just have to wait and see! My dr says he's not real big (thank goodness!! :)) but that's ok with me. I would like to have at least one chubby little baby since my other 3 were rather scrawny, but tiny is so precious too, so whatever he looks like, I'm sure I will think he's beautiful (or awesome-Darren INSISTS that boys aren't beautiful, they're awesome! :)).
I think we are pretty much ready for Little Man's arrival. The cradle and crib are set up, one more small load of laundry to finish for him, clothes in the closet, and carseat washed and waiting to be installed! :) Daddy is shopping tonight for Little Man's coming home outfit-something that he has done for all the kids. As much as he despises shopping, he comes home with pretty cute outfits, so I can't wait to see what he gets for this little guy!
We had a little scare with these horrible coughs the other kids have had lately. The girls are both definitely on the mend, mostly coughing first thing in the morning if at all, but Darren's actually turned into pneumonia! When Claire was born, Darren had RSV, so he couldn't come to the hospital and he had to be away from home until she was a week old. He was pretty little yet, so he didn't really care. Now, it's a different story! He is a gigantic Momma's boy (which I love! :)) and is absolutely BESIDE himself with excitement for his baby brother to be born. If I had to tell him that he couldn't see his Mommy or his brother for a week, well...I just don't know what he would do! Thankfully though, I don't think that will be a problem! His dr switched antibiotics 2 days ago and he has done AWESOME since then! The dr could still hear a little rattle in his lungs today, but he is sleeping so much better and not coughing so much, so we are SO thankful! We also found out that since he responded so well to the antibiotics he more than likely has bacterial pneumonia. Pneumonia is not good, but if you have to have it when your mom is having a baby anytime, bacterial is the way to go! :) That means that since he is on antibiotics, he won't spread it to Little Man! We have to go back in a month for a follow-up chest x-ray just to be sure, but that's definitely do-able! :) I'm just SO thankful this has all worked itself out. One of my newest favorite quotes holds very true here-"Worry ends where faith in God begins". LOVE IT!!!!
So, now that I can breathe a sigh a relief that we aren't spreading pneumonia to helpless infants, I am moving on to hoping this baby comes out SOON! 13 days or less-COME ON BABY!!! We love you and are all anxious to meet you!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cuteness from the Brandt Children

I decided that since my kids are so adorable you know :) that I needed to post a few of the cute things they've said lately. So here we go~
The other day I, feeling particularly huge and preggo, commented to Darren that I sure was ready to get his brother out of my belly. He looked at me, looked at my belly, and said in a very mature, grown up voice "Mommy, you 'dis have to wait. He 'dis needs to grow a little bit more and then he can come out." LOL! Can you tell I've been responding to the question of when Little Man is going to be born A LOT!?!? I looked at him, laughed, gave him a squeeze, and thanked him for reminding me.
My little Claire Bear is definitely my "challenge child". She's VERY determined and gets into everything! The last week or so we have been butting heads and by that I mean, she is even MORE determined to get her way than normal so that means that Mommy has to more determined also. These phases are exhausting! Anyhoo, it was after a particularly "challenging" day, we had taken a quick shower and I had passed her out to Sam to dress while I finished up my shower. He was drying her off, lotion, etc. She was not in trouble in the least. They were talking and out of the blue, I hear her little voice, sweet as can be, say "Daddy, don't give me a 'pankin"! I busted out laughing. I obviously couldn't see her, but I can just imagine her big 'ol eyes blinking innocently at her beloved Daddy. I don't know if she figured it had been a couple hours since she had one and she was about due or what, but she was just so funny that I couldn't help it. I tell her all the time it's a good thing she's so cute!
I think we have finally decided on a name for Little Man. The other day, I asked Darren what he thought of it and he looked at me for a sec, cocked his head to one side and said "Mommy, that's so SILLY! We're going to name him RACECAR!!" Oh dear...I thought he knew we were kidding...
This morning in meeting, my dad stood up to pray and Darren looks at him, puts his little hand on his hip, then looks at me and whispers "Wow! Grandpa sure has a fancy lookin' suit on today don'tcha think Mommy?!?!?" HAHAHA It's the same suit my dad has worn for a while, but apparently today, he looked extra snazzy or something! :)
So Claire has started telling jokes. Except she either just makes something up or mixes several together. Her very favorite is "why chikin' cross road, Mommy??" "I don't know, why?" "To get to other SLIDE" and then she DIES laughing! She's so funny and so stinkin' cute when she says it that you just can help but laugh too and that's what she loves.
(For the record, the actual joke is "Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide" just in case you were wondering. Shout out to Uncle David Harbaugh for that one! It's one of my kids' favorites!)
Ellie is having surgery on Tuesday to get tubes put in her ears. Not a big deal, but she is understandably nervous about it. We have talked about it a lot, she called Grandma Harbaugh to get details since Grandma used to do lots of them when she worked in surgery, etc. We were coming from her pre-op physical when she gave me the look that she gets when she's thinking. Usually there is a doozy of a question coming, but this was just cute. "Mom?" "What?" "You know when I have surgery..." (SIGH from me, thinking We've been over this 600 MILLION times! What more can you POSSIBLY want to know????) "Yep, no big deal, right?" "Right, I know that Mom, but....(I can tell she's trying to phrase it right in her head) do people get presents when they are done with surgery???" LOL!! I just busted out laughing. I tell her that nope, sorry-no presents after surgeries. "That's what I thought, but I was just checking" was her reply! :) She doesn't know it, but there may be a few things in it for her on Tuesday.... :) What a sweetie!
As I think of write their funny little sayings out, I just have to thank God again for them. They make my life worth living and put a smile to my face. I am so blessed. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beloved Blankys

In our house, I pretty much make the kids share all toys, books, etc. However, each kid has their special blanket and that is THIERS. They never have to share, and no one can ever mess with it. It's sacred. :)
Tonight I was tidying up the house and getting everyone's rooms ready for bed. Darren was in the living room with Sam, when he came and asked me if I knew where his racecar blanky was. It's not his "blanky" but since I've stopped trying to figure out why they want certain things, I helped him find it and he headed back to the living room. When I came in, he was watching cartoons on the floor covered with said blanket, and his special "blanky" was on the footstool. I asked him if he wanted that one, and Sam asked if he had told me WHY he needed his racecar blanket. I said he hadn't, and Sam said that Darren told him that he was going to give his beloved truck blanky that he sleeps with every night to his little brother. He apparently decided that since he couldn't cover his whole body with it ( "my toes are pointing out the end Mommy") that he would just give it to his brother because he would like it. He was just so nonchalant about the whole thing. It absolutely melted my heart that he would so willingly give up one of his prized possessions to his little brother. What a sweetie. I almost got tears in my eyes, I was just so proud of how unselfish he was! I got down to his level and assured him that if his brother liked truck blankys too that we would find him his own and that he could keep his truck blanky even if it was too little. I told him that it's still great for snuggling with, even if it was too small to cover up with. He looked a little relieved and when I tucked him in tonight, guess what was right on it's usual place behind his head on his pillow??? :) Man, I love that kid! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our Scary Couple of Days!

Tuesday afternoon, we were, as usual, running a couple of minutes late to preschool. It was afternoon preschool that day (usually Ellie goes in the AM-Tuesdays it's afternoon), and there were several mom's around having just dropped their kids off. I was rushing with Ellie and she turned in front of me, and my feet got a little tangled up. I'm sure it was hillarious to watch. My arms were spinning, and my feet were trying to catch up with themselves. Unfortunately, they didn't quite make it and I fell, quite ungracefully, on my face! I didn't get hurt really-skinned my knee and my hand, and got the wind knocked out of me. I was absolutely MORTIFIED-beyond motified actually. Being that I have a little extra on the front these days, I couldn't even hardly stand up by myself, but thankfully, there were some nice moms there right away to help me up. Ellie was yanking on my arm to hurry up since she was excited to get to school. I could hardly breathe, and was so embarrassed, I seriously wanted to just die on the spot. I delivered the excited little girl to school, and made it back to the car keeping myself upright thankfully. I didn't think too much of the fall, being that this has never happened with any of my prior pregnancies, but figured I better call the dr just to make sure there wasn't something I should watch for, etc. I thought she would just tell me to watch to make sure there was no spotting and that my water didn't break-things like that. Ummm...nope!
My first clue was that the nurse returned my call IMMEDIATELY! They are great about returning calls, but this was around lunch time and I figured they would call me after I had the little kids settled in for naps and I would be able to talk. Jacque (my OBs nurse) called me and said with a very serious tone that I needed to get to the hospital immediately, as in RIGHT NOW! I was in shock, but after a few questions, I understood that when you fall as hard as I did, it can cause the placenta to pull away from the uterus, which could have serious consequences for the baby AND me! Holy Smokes-I started to panic. I couldn't get ahold of my mom-she was at work, I didn't have anyone to watch the kids, I was trying not to be hysterical, started bawling as soon as I heard Sam's voice...ahhhh!! My mom called me right back and told me she was going to get off work as soon as she could and to meet her at Sam's office, where I was meeting him. I got the kids ready as soon as I could and headed for CF. In the meantime, I realized that, while a friend had already planned to drop E off after preschool, there would be no one there when she got home, so I had to try and make arrangements for her too. Looking back, it's easy to know who the important people in life are when you call them in semi-hysterics and they don't blink an eye. You guys know who you are and I love you for it!
So, we finally get to the hospital, and the hook me up to monitors only to find that I am having a few contractions. My nerves are about shot to pieces at this point, but I hold it together admirably well I think. Little Man seems to be doing good, and I breathe a sigh of relief. My doctor happened to be on call for which I was SOO thankful. I like the other doctors in the practice, but she is definitely who I am most comfortable with. She assured me that placental abruption ( I think that's what it's called) while very dangerous, is EXTREMELY rare. However, if anything is going to happen it would happen in the next 24 hours and since I fell hard enough to knock the wind out of myself, she wanted me to stay overnight and be in the hospital until that 24 hour window was over. Now, these things get a little challenging when you have little people that depend on you and need to be places! My mom was wonderful though, and even with her crazy life, she said she would keep my little crazies with her that night. Dad was working late, so her and Trav had to feed all five kids-I can't even imagine the chaos THAT supper was!!! Mom had to work the next day though, so that was our next challenge. Seriously, I don't think my cell phone even had a chance to cool from the time I called the doctor until about 9 that night. It was crazy. In the end, Sam ended up going early in the morning to get the kids from Mom's, took D and C to Andrea's who didn't blink an eye when I called her watch them, brought Ellie back with him, took her to an appointment with the ENT, and then brought her to hang out with me until they released me around 11:30 today. WHEW! We made it! :) I was pretty pooped when we got home, and just kind of chilled. My awesome hubby once again picked up the slack, but this time, there are so many others the filled in the blanks. From Tiffany Asche for agreeing to go out of her way to bring Ellie to Mom's after school, to Andrea for kiddo watching and even supper tonight! My mom was WONDERFUL (and Dad and Trav helped her), and even everyone who called or texted letting me know they were worried-I felt very loved. Even Ellie's ENT called me while Sam was there so I could ask him my questions! Like I said, situations like this make you realize what and who are important and it makes me feel really REALLY good knowing that while situations like this are scary and not fun at all, people surround you with any help they can and love in abundance, and THAT, my friends feels WONDERFUL!
**Side Note: Little Man and I are both fine-a little tired and a little bruised but feeling good!***

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So THAT'S how it works!

My Ellie-girl is an EXTREMELY fussy eater. There are lots of nights that she doesn't eat anything for supper at all because of it. I'm not a short order cook, so while I will slightly modify her meal (i.e. raw carrots instead of cooked or PB & J instead of grilled cheese-you get the idea) if she doesn't like what we eat, she doesn't eat. I was worried for a while. So much so that I actually talked to a nutritionist who said to look at what she eats in a week, not a day. As long as she eats decent amounts of all food groups in a week, she's good. She usually does and her doc says she is growing perfect, so we don't stress about Ellie and food. HOWEVER, like most kids, she LOVES desserts and treats. She doesn't get them if she doesn't eat her supper, because "if you are too full to eat supper, then you are much to full for dessert" as I like to say.

Last night, she informed us about how you can be too full for supper, but still have plenty of room for the good stuff. She's sitting in her chair, big ol' brown eyes just as earnest and serious as they can be and says "Mom, I'm really NOT too full for dessert. See, the food goes like this (finger goes down throat to her tummy) but the dessert just goes like this (finger goes down a short way down her throat and to a random spot between her shoulder and her neck). That's the dessert spot Mom." I paused for a sec and then Sam and I just busted out laughing. "Perks for being creative Ellie!" Darren pipes up that he wanted perks too, so I had to say "Perks to you to Darren!" and then he was happy even though he hadn't a CLUE what it meant. :) It was a great note to end supper on and everyone had eaten good, so desserts all around!

On a completely different subject, last night's supper conversation was again about baby names since we STILL got NOTHIN'! Darren had the winner, so if all goes according to his plan, his brother's name will be (drumroll please.....)
Jarsandwichcookie Refigerator Brandt
LOL! I don't know where the kid comes up with these, but I think they're awesome! :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just a little chuckle...

So this weekend, Joe, Heather, Mia and Owen stayed with us! It was a crazy, hectic, crammed, fun FUN time! :) Friday night, we hired a babysitter (she's a BRAVE girl!! :) We LOVE her!) and Trav, Joe, Heather, Me, Sam, and Becka went to ROADHOUSE! SOO delicious! :) Those rolls....oh so good!
Ok, back to the story~Since it was Friday night and we had a larger group, Sam went right over when he got off work to put our name on the list. He told me later that while he was sitting there waiting, he saw a family that "looked like they had a TON of kids!" Then I looked some more, and they had FOUR"! LOL! It still makes me laugh when I think about it. In just a few short months, WE'RE going to be THAT family!! :) I can't wait! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hey, that MY name!!!

My hubby, without really trying, has given all our kids nicknames when they were really small that seem to have stuck. Missy Moo (Claire), Belly Boo (Ellie), Darrey Doodlepants (Darren) are the top contenders, but there are spin offs and shortened versions. The main one is that we call Darren "Darrey" or "Darrey-doo" a lot.
So the other day, Claire told me her ears were "owie" and didn't want me to touch them. With the blizzard that is supposed to be coming this way, I didn't want to take any chances of having a poor baby with ear infection in the middle of a blizzard! SO, off to the doc we went to make sure. I had to pick E up from school at 11:15 and our appt wasn't until 12:45. I decided that we were going to make a MAD dash thru Wallyworld to get some groceries before our appt so I wouldn't have to make another trip later in the week. I was on a MISSION and my poor kids were literally running alongside the cart as I hauled thru the aisles. I was so focused on my list that I was very confused when Darren stopped short and said "Mommy! They're calling me!!!" Me: "Who's calling you??? Is my son hearing voices in his head??? He's being summoned by aliens!!" He was SOO insistent! "Mommy, they called me-they said my name at Wal-Mart!" This went on for some time with me being thoroughly confused and him being so upset because I didn't hear his minute of glory where they called his name at Wal-mart! Finally it clued into my thick skull when they did a second call over the loud speaker for someone from DAIRY to pick up the phone!! HAHAHA! "Did you hear it that time Mommy??? They said my name AGAIN at Wal-Mart!!!" He was so excited by this time that he was almost jumping up and down. I assured him that I did indeed hear his name, and tried to explain, but finally gave up. There was no convincing him that they weren't talking to him on the intercom! Ahh, they make me smile! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

TV Dinners...YUMMY!

Tonight, Sam had to be out of town, so the kids and I were on our own for supper. Normally, I would jump at the chance for take-out or pizza, but since Sept-Jan is a VERY expensive time of year for us with EVERYONE's birthdays and Christmas, we are really trying to stretch our dollars a little right now. I had just gotten groceries and just happened to grab some TV dinners that were on sale for really cheap. I NEVER buy them, but I thought they might be an easy lunch or something someday, so I let the kids each pick one and got one for myself, inwardly congratulating myself on being thrifty and economical.

Today was a busy day. I had a dr appt this morning where they test for gestational diabetes, so it was a long one. Usually I take the kids with me to the dr but since I would have to sit and wait for a while, our awesome babysitter Amanda was hanging out with them. I took advantage of my freedom and did some errands all by myself (YAY for that!!) so it was about 2:30 when I got home. Claire and Darren both took exceptionally short naps, and Ellie really needed one, but I wasn't going to make her take one when both of them were up! *SIGH* ANYHOO, long story short-no hubby, little to no naps, and Children's Meetings in Stout equaled needing something fast, easy and delicious for supper. AH HA-my TV dinners! I KNEW they would come in handy! So, I pop them in the oven, get everyone's clothes laid out, pull out my innner drill sargeant to get the troops to pick up our tornado house, and lo and behold, the timer beeps-Dinner is served!

Well, we got the fast and easy part at least. Oh man, was I reminded why I never buy them. Those things are DISGUSTING!!!! The mac and cheese was like rubber, the potatoes were...I don't know what they were, but they weren't potatoes, and the corn was so overgrown and overcooked, it was pretty much inedible. Claire Bear summed it up best: "Moma, dis yucky. No yike it." I completely agreed with her so we each found one thing in our meal that wasn't disgusting. I ate part of my chicken, Ellie ate her ckn nuggets, Darren ate his chicken and dessert, and Claire had an extremely overcooked, hard as a rock, brownie for supper (which she loved btw!). Way to go SuperMom! Thank goodness tonight was pizza night at Children's Meeting! :)

Moral of the Story:
Self, there is a reason those suckers are .50 and why you don't buy them. Please remember this the next time you are tempted.
Thank you kindly, Your Taste Buds

I think I need to go rock.....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Questions and Library Books

Due to the influx of baby-related questions in our household, we made a little trip to the Cedar Falls library today while we were in town to get some groceries. We asked the smiley librarian where the books were about Mommy's with babies in their tummies and she showed us a whole section, much to our delight!

I have to tell you, this is about the most fun pregnancy that I've ever had. The kids have brought a whole new aspect to it and it's a BLAST! While pregnancy is never "ho-hum", after a while you can forget really how amazing it is. Since I've done this a time or 2 (or 3 or 4...) now, I am not so nervous about every little thing and overall, I feel great, which helps a LOT! The questions that the kids ask also remind me of the wonder of creating another little person in your body!! We're, thankfully, past the "How did that baby get in there Mom? Are you sure it wasn't thru your belly button? Did you eat him to get him in there???" phase. Our current "obsession" with 60 gazillion questions is with the umbilical cord. I'm honestly not sure why, and have stopped trying to figure it out. Darren is the main one who just can't seem to ask enough questions. I think he might be just trying to figure it out and asking the same questions over and over is his way of understanding. Although, in his mind, that hamburger and baked beans I ate for supper the other night went to his brother straight thru that "combilcal cord"as a hamburger and baked beans, so now he's a little confused about if Little Man has teeth to chew it, and why he can't eat a hot dog when he comes home from the hospital....*sigh*

SO, based on the above mentioned questions, we decided to check out some books from the library that would help little people understand a pretty confusing subject, without being too graphic of course. There were some GREAT ones, and it really made me smile, seeing them all lined up looking at their "baby books". The books do a really good job of explaining things in ways that kids understand (and make a question-tired Mom think 'WHY on EARTH did I not think of that????'). We even have one that has lots of pictures of umbilical cords! :) We had checked out one when I was pregnant with Claire for Ellie about Mommy being in the hospital and I honestly think she was very at ease there because we had read that book NUMEROUS times, so she wasn't scared to see me in a hospital bed, wasn't scared of all the machines, she knew what the special baby bed was for, knew why she needed to be quiet, and lots of other things that I wouldn't even have thought she might be worried about, but they turned out great.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it that I can find information from people that are much smarter than me and my kids EAT it up! You would be amazed at how fast they got their jammies on tonight when I told them we would read "baby" books for bedtime stories! :) I love it that they can ask me questions in the privacy of our home where we can help them understand and they don't need to be ashamed. They don't ask too many embarrassing questions at this age, but it's nice to have to time to fully explain and know they understand rather than a quick answer and that's that.

It's funny the things they worry about too. Darren had been asking me a LOT lately if Dr. Rellihan is going to take the baby out when I go in a couple days for a check-up. I told him no, it's just a check up and it's still a while until the baby comes out. He just kept asking and asking so finally I asked him why he was so concerned. My sweet little boy finally told me "Mommy, I don't want your tummy to break"!!!! Awwww....he's such a sweetie! My belly isn't really that big I don't think, but it is DEFINITELY growning, so I guess in his mind, it was just going to break open one of these times, so the dr. better take that brother out!!!! I reassured him that wasn't going to happen, and I haven't heard about it since!

In other pregnancy news...there is no news! I am feeling great-tired and achy back, but that's pretty par for the course! I'm 28 weeks now, so it's coming up FAST! We did some rearranging in Darren's room to make room for a crib, but it's not done yet, so I'll post some pics when it's done. I think the nesting phase is kind of starting, so I'm ready to get some stuff in order so I have a little time to catch my breath before he actually gets here. I am pretty sure this house isn't meant for 6 people, so it's going to require some major organization, but we're starting and i think it will be ok once it's all done.

Guess that's the highlights for now. I am going to try and update my blog a little more often now that the craziness has calmed. Holidays and birthday parties are over, my classes are done, I'm finished filling in long-term at the bank, and life is slowly getting back to normal (soon to be un-normal in a few months-YAY!!). Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night!! :)