Monday, December 30, 2013

Results of Iowa City Appt

I am TERRIBLE about updating this thing lately and after several people have asked how the appointment went, I knew I needed to get it done. Today is a good day for something like this! It's snowing, the wind chill is something like negative 30, Sam has the day off so he is putting together Christmas Legos with Darren, the other kids are keeping themselves occupied, and I don't feel like doing laundry! :)
Overall, the appointment went well. Dr. Cooper (the urologist) was VERY happy with the newest kidney ultrasound. On the last scan, there was some inflammation on the kidneys (which is a bad thing) but this one showed just a little inflammation on 1 kidney and none at all on the other, so he was very pleased with this and said we should just keep with the 3 times a day urinary catheters. Kai tolerates them very well. They are definitely getting much easier for us now too. We asked Dr Cooper about moving up a size in the catheters and he thought that would be fine. This tiny bit of difference in cath size makes a WORLD of difference in the speed that the urine comes out. Wowza...I couldn't believe it. Kai doesn't seem to notice a difference and it takes about a 3rd of the time, so that is pretty nice too. The only thing Dr. Cooper seemed a little concerned about was the fact that Kai has lots of bladder spasms. That's why he has wet diapers and stuff-the urine leaks out during these spasms. Since the bladder is a muscle, the continuous contractions make it bigger, just like any muscle would with lots of contractions. However, if the bladder wall starts to thicken, that is a bad thing, so he is watching that as well. He mentioned that at Kai's next appointment he wants to do another urodynamic test so we'll see what that says I guess.
The newest major thing we are doing are daily "bowel cleanouts" (aka enemas).  My little trooper is definitely NOT a fan but a VERY dear someone sent him a new Kindle Fire complete with kid safe case and Amazon gift card so that has helped a TON that he gets to play "my bery own Kinnel" with some new games and new Diego episodes. Every time I look at that Kindle I wish I could give you a big hug Very Dear Someone. It means so much.
Anyway, basically every evening Kai lays on his side and we put this catheter thing in his bum. We take tap water in a syringe and put it in one head of this catheter and it fills up a balloon inside his bottom. Then we pull it back and the balloon basically acts as a  stopper so that the enema solution doesn't come out as soon as we put it in. Then we put a solution of saline and glycerin in, put a cap on the catheter and he has to lay there for around 5 minutes while it does it's thing. This is when he usually starts to fuss and say his tummy hurts because the glycerin causes cramping. That's what it's supposed to do because the cramping is the muscles moving the stool along. After about 5 minutes we put his urinary catheter in, put a cap on that, move him to the potty, take out the urinary cath cap, remove the water from the little balloon thing, and in a perfect world everything just drains nicely in the toilet. It's not usually that easy though. We are still trying to figure out the right ratio of glycerin and saline and if we should give him his Miralax still and if so how much and all that fun stuff. Every person is different so there is no perfect formula and it can change daily depending on what he has eaten, etc just like a normal persons stool would change based on diet. Plus, he is obviously not a fan of the tummy cramping and it absolutely breaks my heart when he cries. The other day, I decided that I would just give it to him straight and be honest with him since he is such a little smartie. I told him that the tummy cramps make him toot and then his poops come out and that makes his tummy feel better. So now when he has a cramp, I say "what does an tummy owie mean?" and he will say "I have toot coming" and what happens after the toot? and he will say "my tummy feel better" and that seems to calm him down a little bit. He has to sit there for a while-usually around 30 minutes or so, but normally he does ok and just plays his Kindle or Sam's phone. Sometimes if he has really bad cramps, I sit by him and just rub his tummy a little and kind of talk him thru the cramps for lack of a better description. I'm glad we just have to do it once a day that's for sure! Sam has done it most of the time, but I am making myself do it too so when he has to travel for work, etc I can do it. Right now it's kind of a 2 person job to move him from the changing table to the toilet without causing a huge mess :) but we are getting it figured out. We've gone thru lots of Clorox wipes and have learned to just move the rug out of the way. HA! :) This is why I wanted to start this plenty ahead of when he was in preschool. I knew it would take some time for us to learn what we are doing and hopefully this way we will have it all figured out when he goes to school.
So that's where we are now! We have an appointment on the 8th with the neurosurgeon with some x rays and stuff, so that's next up on the agenda! Not really sure what he will do but I do want to ask him about repairing nerves and see what he says. With all the advances in technology I just feel like there must be SOMETHING out there, but then again our other doctors are pretty on top of things so I think they would have told us. Guess we'll see. Then we go back to see Dr. Cooper again in 3 months for another ultrasound and urodynamic test. We will probably see Josh-the NP that helped us with the enema stuff-again to maybe do some fine tuning and ask questions.
SO that's the latest in the continuing saga of Brandt doctors appointment! :) Thanks so much for all your interest and prayers. They mean a lot! Stay warm everyone!!! :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Off To IA City We Go.....

I was talking to a friend the other night and she asked about Kai and commented how she keeps up with him via my blog and I realized that I haven't done a very good job of updating lately. Shocking since I have SO much free time these days....HA! :) BUT tomorrow is a another big Iowa City appointment, and as I have said on here many times in the past, I have a hard time sleeping the night before them, so I figured I might as well do an update now!
Kai has been doing really super with the catheters. We currently cath him 3 times a day-morning, before his nap, and then again before bed. He does really great. We say "Ok Buddy-time to go potty!" and he VERY seldom complains. Being able to play the Kindle or Mommy/Daddy's phones while being cathed is a rather large draw as you can imagine, but hey...if it helps, awesome. When we first started, he would sometimes complain of pain but hasn't mentioned anything along that line in a really long time. I think his body is just getting used to it more so now than it was. We have also stopped drawing the urine out with a syringe (aka aspirating) because it seemed like that caused him the most discomfort. It's quite comical how we do it now actually, but again....hey-if it works, let's roll with it. We lay him down, do all the cleaning, etc. that is required, insert the catheter and then he stands up and the urine drains into a measuring cup that I purchased from the dollar store for this specific purpose. I have only caught him using it to get a drink from the sink once or twice (blleeeeecchhh!!! I rinse it after each use, but still...SOOO GROSS KID!) I have a picture, but for his sake in 20 years, I won't post it on here. :) It's a picture of him from the back, standing in the bathroom wearing only a shirt and socks, playing Sam's phone "going potty". His skinny little legs and skinny little bum are stinkin' adorable. I can't help but smile every time I look at it.
Overall the experience has been a LOT easier than I thought it would be. Of course it's not fun, and it is pretty time consuming as it's just another thing to add to my day, but it works. This is our normal now, and we have tried to just treat it as such. We tell the older kids that this is just the way Kai goes potty and it's just a little different than normal, but that's HIS normal. They are fine with it, and Kai follows their example so, like I said, it's just our normal. It's cute-sometimes in the morning while I am getting the stuff ready Kai will be laying on the floor of the bathroom watching Diego or playing a game on the Kindle and Claire just comes up and lays by him or on her tummy with her head by his and they watch whatever or she "helps" him play the dot to dot or letter matching or whatever they are doing. They love to watch "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" and laugh hysterically at who knows what. Things get a little dicey when they start to dance to some of their favorite songs on it as you can imagine. It's a little tricky to insert a time little tube into a tiny little hole when the person attached to said little hole is busting a move and "dancing like a pirate" :) so Mom usually has to call a halt for a sec, but seems like that is just part of the fun for them.
Our visit tomorrow is to see Dr. Cooper, Kai's urologist. They are going to do another ultrasound to see if the catheterization is working to alleviate the stress/damage on his kidneys. If not, then I think we have to increase the amount of daily caths, but I don't foresee that happening. Who knows....I've stopped trying to guess!
About a month or so ago, Sam and I had both been thinking that it was time to look into options along the lines of a bowel regimen also. Sam mentioned something and I had been doing a lot of thinking about it, but hadn't mentioned it to him yet, so I took that as a sign that it was time. Kai will be going to preschool next year ('s only 2 mornings a week, so I think I should be fine.....I THINK, anyway....) so I wanted to make sure that we had time to get as many "kinks out" as we could prior to him starting school. It may seem weird, but it has always bothered me a LOT to think that he might smell at school and kids will make fun of him for it. He will most definitely still be wearing pull-ups when he goes but those can be pretty well hidden and at that age aren't really that big of a deal. However, no joke, Kai is the STINKIEST child I have ever met. Come to find out, it's because his bowels don't move the stool along like a normal person so that gas basically just has time to sit there and ferment. Let's just suffice to say, when Kai has gas, you can DEFINITELY tell...whew!!!! Plus, he is young enough that he really doesn't know any different. Kind of like going potty. He doesn't think anything of it because that's the way it's always been and if we can have that with his bowel regimen too, it will make things much easier in the long run.
I called a nurse practitioner that actually works with Dr. Pitcher (Kai's first surgeon). His name is Josh and he is really great. He does a great job of understanding and making suggestions and I feel very comfortable with him. He had talked to us quite a while ago about several things to think about whenever we decided to start doing bowel stuff, so I felt like he would be the best resource for us. I called him and mentioned that we would like to start making some decisions, etc so we have an appointment with him tomorrow after we finish with Dr. Cooper. I am pretty sure, unless Josh can find a reason not to, that we will begin bowel clean outs. When I talked to him on the phone, it sounds like we will just start with regular enemas. They will be a mixture of saline and glycerin (isn't that the stuff that explodes? Maybe I should warn them again about his really bad gas......). I was concerned because right after his tethered cord surgery they did several enemas and it just built up inside until it caused a massive explosion of crazy pooping. I would rather avoid that if at all possible, which I think is a pretty reasonable request. I think that's what the glycerin is for-to make sure that doesn't happen, but I am sure I will find out more tomorrow. Then after we can basically prove that we can do the enemas and keep up with his schedule/cleanouts/whatever they are called, they are seriously talking about doing a cecostomy-at least I think that's what it's called. From what I understand it's where they put a spot in his side where a tube is inserted and we can basically do an enema from the top so it cleans out more. Again...not sure about all this but am pretty sure we will find out more tomorrow.
These nights are tough. I have so much to be thankful for yet I have a hard time sleeping. It's almost like I lay in bed and just feel so sad for Kai. Sometime I get mad because I HATE this. I HATE that he is going to be different but most of all it absolutely breaks my heart to think that something I allow to happen to him, is going to cause him pain. Josh told me that the glycerin will cause cramping, which isn't unusual. Think about when you have to poop really bad, a lot of times you have a stomach ache and what mom among us hasn't responded to a child complaining of a tummy ache with "are you sure you don't need to poop?". However, he hasn't ever really experienced that. He gets tummy aches from constipation I think at times, but never like this. So even though it's technically a 'good thing', no tummy ache is a 'good thing' when you are 2 years old. Nights like this, honestly, I just want to quit. I just want to wake up and realize this really isn't happening and I can worry about things like if my baby is up to date on immunizations, not wondering if the medical supply company that we get catheter supplies from also has enema stuff. I want to hate the pain from shots, not the pain from a surgical incision just so he can go poop and not stink at school. I want to make appointments with family doctors, not 20 different specialists at a Children's Hospital. I don't want the stress, the worry, the literally physical hurt in my heart that at time seems like it just wants to overwhelm me. I just don't want to do it anymore. Sometimes, I think "Why me God? Why MY baby? It's not fair". But then, that still small voice answers "Why not you?" and I really can't answer that one. I really don't have a good reason why not because I don't think there is one. So I load up my playlist of songs that speak to my heart at times like this and sing along, sometimes with tears running down my cheeks. Tonight one of those songs was "All I Can Do" by Mikeschair. The chorus is this:

All I can do is thank you
for this life I never deserved
wanna thank you for the grace
I know I don't have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
all I can do is say thank you
How can I do anything but thank God for the life that I have? I have an amazing best friend for a husband, awesome kids who drive me crazy and make me want to hug them to death every. single. day, a tiny house that is still a home, a small budget that squeaks, but still allows me to experience the magic that is Christmas morning Santa surprises on the faces of my children, wonderful friends and family, and most of all a God who loves me beyond what I can even fathom? How can I be anything but grateful for that life? This isn't to say that I walk around basking in this knowledge daily-I complain, I cry, and I get overwhelmed, but somehow in that craziness and even despair at times, I know in the deepest part of my soul that I am never alone. There is plan to all this. I am the first to admit, I have a hard time seeing what it may be, but it isn't designed for me to see the big picture at this point. It's designed for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes on a minute by minute basis, and to enrich my faith in a Person that I have never seen with my physical eyes.
A month or so ago, I took some time to read my Bible on a particular day when I was feeling very overwhelmed and sad, and these verses jumped out at me. I have marveled at them many times since then because they stood out to me in a completely different way that day. It's Psalms 139:13-16. It contains a verse that we see often "I am fearfully and wonderfully made". But that day, I kept reading and I am so glad I did.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
It struck me that day that this was no accident how my son was created. I asked Dr. Menezes right when we found out about Kai's issues if there was anything that I could have possibly done that could have caused the tethered cord and he said it was that way probably before I knew I was pregnant. Yet God knew. I read those verses as if Kai was speaking them and it took on a whole new meaning in my eyes and my heart. This is how Kai was CREATED by God himself. This wasn't an accident or even a "defect". It was exactly how God meant for my son to be! Again, this is not at all to say that I still don't get angry or upset, but it seems lately I always come back to this. My son, my baby, was wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe in exactly the way he was supposed to be!
I hope this doesn't come across as preachy or that I think I am better than anyone. I hope it's just the opposite actually. I blog about this stuff for several reasons. One is for myself. There are times that I go and reread stuff that I have written in the past and I can see how good has come from that and there are times that I just need to give myself a little pep talk and say to myself "you did that, you can do this too". It's my way of venting. I usually blog late at night (it's midnight as I type this) so I can sit and cry if I need to and just release frustrations and feelings with words. Its a very cathartic process because I usually feel much better when I am done. I would feel much better even if I never published these posts. But I do publish them because I feel like somehow, someway, maybe I can help someone else going thru a tough time. I can help them to realize that it's ok to be sad and hurt and angry and overwhelmed but it doesn't have to end there. I want to share with someone else what has given me encouragement and help when I am feeling those exact same feelings in hopes that it will encourage them too. I just sit down and type what comes into my head. Sometimes they are short and sometimes, well.....sometimes they are this post. :)
Other than all his crazy issues, Kai is quite the little guy. Currently he is obsessed with the following: Lightning McQueen, Diego, anything sports related, Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, and Maters Tall Tales. He loves running around pretending he is a racecar and is pretty sure he can run MUCH faster if he is wearing his tennis shoes. Him and Claire are great pals and have a lot of fun pretending all sorts of things together. He is constantly trying to "play" something electronic "dis for a yittle bit, k?" and I have to watch my gum stash like a hawk. He is very typical in that he loves machinery of all kinds, and waits anxiously on Monday mornings so he can wave at the garbage truck. The snow has brought new excitement in the form of snowplows! He tells me that him and Sam (Wardell) are BEST BEST BEST fwiends in da WWHHOOOLLL WURLD! He's a smart little cookie and I love watching him play some of the games on the kindle and stuff just to see what he knows! :) He is such a funny kid and loves to make his siblings laugh-usually at mealtime by doing something naughty. He loves chocolate milk and won't touch white milk just like his Grandpa Harbaugh. He's pretty sure he's awesome at "wesselin'" and is does a great job protecting his Mommy from those imaginary bad guys with his "inja" kicks. :) He gives really good huggies and thinks he's hilarious when he gives me a zerbert instead of a kiss at bedtime.
And now it's REALLY late, so I really need to go to bed so I can be semi coherent tomorrow. Sam, Kai and I would appreciate your prayers tomorrow. Pray that Sam and I will ask the questions that need to be asked and make the right decisions in regards to our spunky little man. If you wouldn't mind asking God to be a little close to my Mommy heart tomorrow, I would appreciate that as well.
I will try to do another update soon to let you know the results of the appointment and please know that we sincerely appreciate all the prayers and concern for us. It's nice to feel loved! :)

All I can do is thank You
For this life I never deserved
Wanna thank You for the grace
I know I don't have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
All I can do is say thank You
All I can do is say thank You
All I can do is thank You
For this life I never deserved
Wanna thank You for the grace
I know I don't have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
All I can do is say thank You
All I can do is say thank You

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reliving the Moments...

Ok, so I am sure most of you have seen the video or at least the link for the video about the baby born too soon and his life in videos and pictures. I put a link to it at the end of this post in case you want to watch it.
So I clicked on the link this morning thinking it would be a quick "awww" story. Instead it ended with my sobbing! I think I am having an emotional morning :) but it just hit SO close to home for me when I really wasn't expecting it. What really started it is the part where, after 4 days, the mom finally gets to hold her baby for the first time. I will never, ever in my life, forget the feeling of attempting to get comfortable in a chair EXACTLY like that one and watching the nurses lift my baby and untangle cords and tubes and wires from his little body and then placing him in my arms after his surgery when he was 2 days old. After the stress of the unexpected trip, the horrible IV, having to let that nurse push him down that hallway away from me and just all the emotions associated with everything, it was literally sheer bliss to have him in my arms. The moment in the video where the nurses step back and the mom sighs and snuggles her baby was what started my tears today. Then when she started to cry, I just lost it. Pretty sure I did the exact same thing. I remember just putting his little head up by mine, smelling his sweet baby smell at the same time the "hospital smell" that still lingered post surgery, and the overwhelming feeling of relief to finally have him back to me, in my arms where he belonged. At that moment, I don't think I would have let him out of my arms for all the money in the world. I cried then and I cried again today reliving all those feelings.This video brought all them flooding back this morning in a mad, totally unexpected, rush. I cried so hard, I could hardly breathe for a few minutes. I think Claire was getting a little concerned that her mom was looking at her phone sobbing for no apparent reason. :) Then the subject of my tears and emotions stubbed his toe and needed his mommy to kiss it. I snuggled him and Claire on my lap, still so snuggly in their jammies, and we watched cartoons for a couple minutes.  I breathed in the smell that is distinctly toddler, and was so thankful for my kids. There are definitely days where all his medical stuff seems so overwhelming and I just want to quit, but then God sends little reminders that I have so much to be thankful for. I kissed his soft baby skin cheek and whispered "I love you Buddy!" and he snuggled a little closer and said "I love YOU Mommy" and with those 4 little words, all is right in the world again.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Todays Results...

I don't even know really where to begin this post. Today didn't turn out like I had hoped and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning!
First up this morning was a kidney ultrasound. Kai was a little hesitant at first, but once we got going, he did awesome. He just laid there so good while the tech did her thing. I think he was a little worried that it was going to hurt but once we got going he looked at me and smiled and said "dat tickles Momma!" We had some time before the urodynamic test, so we grabbed some lunch and watched the diggers for a while. They are building a new Children's Hospital, so there is lots of construction which thrills my little man to no end!:) Then off to the urology lab for the test.
Basically what they do during a urodynamic test is see how much your bladder can hold before your bladder contracts and you pee. They take x rays of your bladder and record all sorts of squiggly lines on a computer monitor.  Kai had to lay on the lab table for a REALLY long time, but again, he did amazing. The techs were SUPER and did a great job of keeping him distracted with bubbles and sparkly wands that eventually were turned into dueling swords-he's such a boy! :) He did start to fuss just a bit just as they were about done, but in his defense, it was naptime and it had been a pretty long test. Mommy caved and let him have his pluggy and the Kindle, so he was happy until they were done. Once we got out of there, we headed to the Pediatric Specialty Clinic to see Dr. Cooper. We had to wait a REALLY long time, so Kai finally crashed and ended up taking a pretty good nap. Well, pretty good for a doctors office/testing day, but a nap none the less. :) Daddy managed to get one in too, and Mom was thankful I had just downloaded a new book on my Kindle.
Once we got into to see Dr. Cooper, he immediately told us that the test results were not good. Kai's bladder should normally hold around 120 ml. Today his bladder held 450 ml. That's almost 4 times what it should. Dr. Cooper said Kai's bladder never completely empties. The urine just dribbles out as he moves around. And now, since his bladder is so full all the time it's starting to put pressure on his kidneys and that is a bad thing, so now we have to do what is called intermittent catheterization. 3 times a day we have to cath him to drain his bladder and we'll see what we happens in 3 months when we go back for another kidney ultrasound. Not at all what I wanted to hear. To be honest, after Dr. Cooper left, I cried. I know that I have so much to be thankful for, but it is just so hard to hear that there is something wrong with your baby. Something that will affect him for the rest of his life. Before he left though, Dr. Cooper was VERY sweet. He said he knew this had been a tiring day for us, and that what he had told us was a lot to process. He said we could come back to do the catheter training if we wanted, but I didn't want to make another trip so he called the nurse. She had us practice a couple of times, which went much better than I had anticipated. It's definitely NOT something I relish doing but I think I can handle it. Luckily Kai has no sensations at all in his "boy parts" so I don't even know if he realized that we were doing a catheter. That makes it MUCH easier for me because if I felt like I was hurting him, it would make it so much harder to do. Thank you all for your kind words, texts, and prayers. They really mean a lot and if you could continue to pray, that would mean the world to me. Hopefully this all makes sense :) because I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and my brain is SO tired right now. I will do a re-read in the morning and hopefully fix any mistakes! LOL!

To IA City for More Testing - Prayer Request

It's been a while since I've done a prayer request, but I am going to do one now. Tomorrow we head to Iowa City with Kai again. AAANNNDDD since I can never sleep on the night before big appointments, I figured I might as well update my blog! Most of you are aware that since the surgery to correct his tethered spinal cord, his bowel and bladder functions have not been what they should be. Basically, from what I understand, his bowel and bladder muscles and the associated sphincters do not work in unison like a normal persons would. For example, when a normal person goes to the bathroom, their bladder contracts and the sphincter relaxes so they can empty their bladder and then when they are finished the sphincter contracts and the bladder relaxes. (Medical people, please correct me if I am not right, cuz this stuff can get pretty confusing.) Kai's body doesn't work like that. Somehow during that surgery, some damage must have been done to the nerves. Now, I am NOT saying that his doctor did any damage or anything of that nature. We were told that when that cord was released it was just like a rubber band snapping back-there was THAT much tension on it. So when you go from that much tension to releasing it, there is bound to be some damage. Shortly after his spinal surgery, a little over a year ago, they did a urodynamics test on him, where basically they see how much fluid they can put into his bladder before he would start peeing. His body was supposed to hold around 90cc of fluid. The tech stopped putting fluid in at a little over 200cc. He still hadn't peed, so they had to take it all out with a catheter. Since then we have been going every 3 months to see a peds urologist who does ultrasounds of his kidneys to make sure that urine isn't refluxing back into them, and all of those have thankfully been clear. He also has not had any urinary tract infections which are another indicator of bad stuff happening. So we do have stuff to be thankful for. The way it was explained to me was that as he moves around, etc it causes the urine to kind of leak out. This has really not been an issue since he obviously wears diapers and it's no big deal. Now we are getting to the age where I would normally kind of start potty training, but how in the world do you potty train the child who has no control at all? Potty training is hard enough when they do!! :) So that is kind of tough for this momma's heart. When he was little and the diapers were obvious it's not such a big thing. But as he is growing up, it's becoming more obvious that he has disabilities and I don't think any parent WANTS their child to be disabled in any way, shape, or form, so that is going to take some getting used to on my part. It's tough to think about things like sending him to preschool not wearing big boy undies like the other kids, and having to try to figure out when the right time to start doing catheters is, if it comes to that. It's having to try to figure out the perfect balance of Miralax and food so that his stools are soft enough that they come out, but not so much that he has diarrhea and worrying that kids can be mean to those that are slightly different. I have to keep reminding myself of all the good though. He is the smartest, funniest, most adorable little spitfire ever. He is running and jumping and climbing and riding scooters and trying to ride a bike like the big kids. There is not a THING wrong with that little smarty-pants's brain, and his smile is absolutely infectious. He loves his mommy and loves to play tackle and wrestle and crash things together. I am so blessed.
So now to the prayer request. Tomorrow Sam, Kai and I head to Iowa City. They are going to repeat the urodynamic test to see if there is any improvement, and that will also tell us if Kai has any feeling in his "boy parts" because at the last test, there was none. I am pretty sure I know what the outcome of the test is going to be, but to have it be official is going to be hard. It's almost like I can still pretend until I see it on paper or hear it from a doctors mouth. So if you would pray for my sweet little man that all his tests would go well and quickly and easily and painlessly, and for his mommy and daddy to make the right decisions if any need to be made and to ask the right questions. And maybe even a quick one for his Momma's heart to be strong? I know God is able, but I also know that sometimes His answer, even when we pray SO hard for it to be Yes, is No. I can't see the big picture, but He can, so that's where I am trying to place my heart. Thanks for the prayers~

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Listen for the POP!!!

Tonight I did something that I have never done in my life. I canned. Granted, I watched my mom can all sorts of everything when I was growing up, and even helped her I'm sure. But "helping" as a kid and doing it all on your own as a grown up are two COMPLETELY different things I've come to learn! :) I remember thinking my mom was crazy for going to all that work when we could have just bought it, but I think I am beginning to understand. It's not just about the money, although the savings are pretty rewarding. It's no secret that homemade just tastes so much better, but it's more than that. It's the satisfaction of opening the freezer and seeing that homemade applesauce or wanting to make burritos and knowing that you have your own homemade salsa waiting in a jar on a shelf! And that's exactly what I did tonight. However, I did NOT do it all on my own. I may have called my mom more than once (or twice) and my awesome neighbor Sharon came over to help me with some chopping and doing the actual canning. I was SO glad for her knowledge, because me trying to do this on my own would NOT have worked!! :) I was literally nervous as we got butterflies in my stomach nervous. Then once we got going, I was seriously grinning like an idiot as I watched the jars line up, full of salsa! And then I started listening for the pop. I never really understood how exciting they are! For those of you that don't know, the "pop" is a good thing. It means your jars have sealed. I was listening for those pops like you wouldn't believe, and when they finally started coming, I felt like I had won something! LOL! I was SO excited, I just couldn't stop smiling! So Sharon, thank you SO much for all your wonderful help and advice and Mom, I take back every thought I had growing up that would were crazy when you would tell us all how many jars popped. I am going to be that mom too I think! :)  And now, I am going to go to bed. That was the other thing I didn't realize growing up. This stuff is hard work! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Real Love

Today I want to use my space to wish two very special people a very special Happy Anniversary. My parents are the most "in love" people I have ever seen. Not in a mushy, gross, showy kind of way but in a best-friend kind of love. Growing up there were plenty of times that I would be grossed out and roll my eyes, but what kid doesn't? :) But at the same time, there were times that I would walk into the kitchen and see them just standing there talking with their arms around each other or the living room and see Mom sitting on Dad's lap in the rocking chair.  My mom ALWAYS stopped what she was doing when my dad got home from work to give him a kiss, and she probably still does. I know without a shadow of a doubt that my dad would sacrifice his life for my mom. This is probably going to embarrass him (sorry Dad!) but being with him while my mom had her surgery when she had breast cancer and then watching him take care of her afterwards just solidified it. And she of course was worried about him worrying about her. :) The love he has for her, that they have for each other, is an amazing, wonderful, rare thing. What a wonderful gift to give to a child-the knowledge that her parents love each other no matter what. So Thank You Mom and Dad, for giving me a wonderful example of what real love looks like, and for making it easy to find my perfect man by using your example. I love you guys and wish you so many more happy years together!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Those Little Moments

Has it really been November since I last blogged? Oh my word...time flies when you are having fun (or something like that..... :))! So many little everyday things have happened, and I wanted to blog all of them, but time just slips away so fast and before I know it, it's been 6 months since I last blogged!

Last night, a sweet moment occurred, and since this blog is supposed to be things that I want to remember, I knew this was one I HAD to write down. It was bed time, and in the spirit of being honest, not my favorite time of day. It was also bath night, which means the kids have to come in a bit earlier from outside, which makes NONE of them happy. We managed however, and everyone was bathed and in clean jammies. Books had been read and everyone was doing their best to come up with reasons to stay up and pulling out all their best stalling techniques. Claire was pretending she was scared of the thunder, except she's not AND it wasn't really even storming so she could hear much thunder. They are getting creative with their stalling techniques. I laid in the girls' bed for a bit and we chatted and made weird shadow shapes on the wall. Too often, I just can't wait to get them into bed so I can have a little bit of break, so I am trying to slow bedtime down and spend a little time just chilling with them. This has happened for a grand total of 2 days, so we'll see how it goes in the long run. ANYWAY, I got Darren settled in his bed with his flashlight and books, and went to tuck in Kai. He had had his bath and was so snuggly in his fire truck jammies and his pluggy snuggling with his blankys. I went to go cover him up and he patted his pillow and said "Mommy sleep? Mommy sleep Kai bed?" Now, normally, I just say no but last night he just looked so cute and hopeful, that I just had to say yes. I crawled in and laid by him. His little body snuggled up next to me, and he was so warm and smelled so good. That smell that is so distinctly baby. Baby wash, baby lotion mixed with a little bit of boy and a little bit of sleep. I wish I could bottle it and save it forever. I laid by him just for a couple minutes and then gave him and kiss and told him I loved him, and for the first time, he, all of his own accord, said "I love you Mommy!" My heart squeezed and it almost brought a tear to my eyes. He's SUCH a little turkey-stubborn and determined and it's so easy to get frustrated when I feel like all I do is tell him no and give him spankings all day, but then little things like the first "I Love you Mommy" randomly slip out and it makes it all worth it. Yeah, I guess I can do this another day! :) This morning, of course, he is back to his life goal of turning all my hair gray in the next year, and being his crazy wild self, but the little boost was just what this momma needed. :)
Hope you have a blessed, wonderful, crazy, "I Love You Mommy" Day! :)

Update on the life of the Brandt's! :)

Not sure why this didn't get it's out of date, but you can read it anyway! :)

My Goodness! Checked out my blog tonight and realized my last post was in NOVEMBER! Waaaayyy too long, but I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles! :) I don't feel like going to bed tonight even though I really need to, so blogging is a good excuse to not go to bed right?!? :) I thought I would just fill everyone in on our lives these days. Nothing too exciting, but you don't have to read it if you don't want to! LOL! :)
Sam: For those of you that haven't seen him in a while, you might need to look twice. The man is about half his size! Ok, maybe not half, but 90 lbs less! He really looks AMAZING! No real gimmicks or fad diets. Just some good ol' willpower, calorie counting, and exercise! I told him he needs to stop losing weight because we can't afford to buy him new clothes all the time! :) He is planning on doing a Tough Mudder sometime this summer-crazy fool! :) I know this may be a little TMI, but hey, it's my blog, so tough. :) Back before Sam and I were dating and even when we started dating, I have to admit, the first thing I noticed were his VERY blue eyes and his MUSCLES! Guess I just have a thing for buff arms! :) Those muscles got hidden for a bit, but now they are back, and I really like them. :)

Me: Unfortunately, I cannot say for myself that I have lost 90 lbs...or 20 lbs...or 10 get it. I wish I had an ounce of the determination that Sam has, but I guess I just love food! However, I am doing much better choosing healthier options (most of the time) and hitting the gym at least 5 days a week. Sam and I are doing a boot camp class together at 5:30 am on Mon and Fri and I LOVE it! It's definitely tough, but I feel so good when I get done. I don't sweat easily as a rule, but that class makes me sweat! :) I'm too scared to weigh myself because after the first month of doing the best I could, I lost a grand total of ONE LOUSY STINKIN' POUND!!! GGGRRRRRRR! Sam says the time of day, etc that I weighed myself wasn't the same and that makes a difference, but still! So we just keep plugging away and pretending that the next time I step on the scale it will be 10 lbs lighter...yeah right. I am doing the C25K thing so I am really hoping to run at least one 5k this summer. I also signed up with my crazy husband for something called a "Hard Charge". It's like a 4.5 mile race with obstacles...mud, barbed wire, fire, etc. I can't believe I am actually doing it, but in a crazy sort of way, I am excited just to see if I can do it and prove to myself that I can. Thankfully we are getting a pretty good team, so I just tell the guys if I can't do it, part of their challenge will be to carry me over all the obstacles. Plus, it's just a fun run and not actually a "race" so that takes a lot of the pressure off too.
On the homefront, I really love snow and being snowed in, but I am REALLY ready for spring/summer. If for no other reason than I am SICK of socks and shoes...hurry up flip flop weather! :)

Ellie: Loving school, just finished her 3 or 4th Boxcar Children book, which I am very much enjoying reading with her as well. She has very eclectic taste in her books, so we just get a little of everything when we go to the library! :) HATING school lunch-which I'm not so sure I blame her. Some of that food sounds awful. I know they are trying to make things healthier, but I'm not so sure that making it taste bad is helping matters. She would come home SO crabby until Mommy finally clued in that she wasn't getting enough to eat because she's so picky. Plus she HATES it when they have to put stuff on her tray that she doesn't like. She just can't handle it. So, while it's kind of a pain for me every morning to pack her lunch, I have definitely noticed a change and I think she is feeling better too. Still my little fashionista and still LOVES to perform for whoever will watch her! :)

Darren: In training to be a ninja. He told me this afternoon that he "has some really awesome ninja moves Mom. You better watch me". They were pretty amazing, let me tell ya! He loves school, and is  really well, much to my surprise.  Not that I thought he was stupid, but just that I didn't think he would care and be too spacy. He's still pretty spacey, but has grown intellectually this year by leaps and bounds. It's amazing to witness his progress and hear him be SO proud when he shows me what he knows. Super Kudos to his teachers-they really do an amazing job! He's super pumped for it to get nice out so he can get back to practicing his baseball. Santa brought him a football and a tee that his mean ol' Mom won't let him use in the living room, so he's ready to break that in as well. He is a FIERCE protector of those he loves.
**Ok deviation here for a SUPER CUTE story...
A couple weeks ago, Sam had to go to Texas for a few days. I hate it when he leaves, but we always seem to manage. I made mention to Darren, kind of off handedly, that now that Daddy was gone, he was the man of the house! From that moment on, he was in protector mode. CUTEST. THING. EVER!!! He carried his nerf gun around, fully loaded. I didn't really think too much of it until he told me that if any bad guys came to our house, he was going to shoot that "nerf shooter" at their eye and when the suction thing got stuck in their eye, he would pull it out with their eye, and then they wouldn't be able to see so we could get out and I could call the police while he was doing that. Apparently the constant repetition of me saying "please do not shoot that thing at people's faces-you could really hurt their eyes" really did sink in! :) Anyway, for those several days, he was always packin'. For the most part, it was the nerf gun, but he did switch it up from time to time with a water gun, so I always felt very safe. :) I didn't realize until later how serious he was and how much he had taken my off handed comment to heart. Sam had gotten home, and I was tucking Darren in when I commented about how he should go right to sleep because he looked so tired! Seriously-he just looked absolutely bushed-more tired than I think I have ever seen him. Not crabby tired, just weary tired. He looked at me and said "Yeah, I'm 'dis glad that Daddy is home. I sure am tired of being the man of the house"! At that moment, I realized that all that time, he was in a fierce protector mode. I had smiled and thought it was cute how he was "protecting" me but in his little 5 year old mind, he was DEAD SERIOUS! He was the MAN of the HOUSE and he was going to protect all of us from any bad guys. My heart just kind of swelled with love. My skinny scrawny little 5 year old had worn himself out to exhaustion protecting his momma and his sisters and little brother while his daddy was gone. I also realized how awesome it was for him to recognize that now that his daddy was home, he was off duty and the trust he had that Daddy could handle it and he could just rest made my heart happy too. I'm a lucky girl that's for sure.

Ok, well...I think you are going to have to wait for the rest of the update! :)I'm ready for bed now, and I have to be up bright and early to hit the gym before the yahoos start to get up! We are heading to Iowa City tomorrow for a check up for Kai, so I probably should get SOME sleep so I can be cohearant with his drs! :)
Night All! :)