Friday, January 30, 2015

Cookie Monster

Natalie is all girl... she loves chocolate.  So, she was very happy when I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Such a cute little cookie monster!

Fun with Play Doh

Like her siblings, Natalie loves to play with Play Doh.  She gets so excited to show off the things she has made. Here she is trying to mimic Talon's creation... a bear with a hat and sword.
Talon was super proud of it, and was a bit disgruntled when I told him it was time to put away the Play Doh. He thought it should be a permanent decoration, I guess. I told him I would take a picture of it, so here it is.

The Energizer Monkey

Sometimes with her nap, Natalie sleeps a bit late into the evening, then doesn't want to go to bed at night.  We've tried putting her to bed at the usual time, but she just lays in her bed and keeps Kaitlyn awake too.  In times like these, we have learned to just let her stay up for a while and play off some of her pent up energy.  This particular evening, she was playing 'house' all by herself in her kitchen.  I walked in to find her sitting in the sink, having a conversation with her imaginary friend.
After that, she went to swinging back and forth from one stool to the next.
Such a crazy little monkey!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Urology consult

We took Kaitlyn in for her urology consult on Monday with Dr. O.  Because of her age, and the grade of her VUR (vesicoureteral reflux) being III-IV, he feels strongly that her reflux will not go away on its own, and will most likely get worse.  The risk of not treating it is kidney scarring and permanent damage.  He put her on a low dose, prophylactic antibiotic, to prevent her from getting an infection in her kidney.  He wants her to get a scan done in nuclear medicine to check for extensive scarring.
His recommendation for treatment of the VUR, is to do Deflux.
Deflux is a gel that is injected around the ureteral opening.  It is a tissue bulking agent (kind of like a silicone material), that prevents urine from flowing back up the ureters.  The great thing about Deflux is that it is minimally invasive, can be done as an outpatient procedure, and has been proven to be very effective in children with VUR grades II-IV.  After the procedure, she is closely monitored for 6 months to a year, to see if the procedure was effective. If Deflux is not effective, she will have to have a complete ureteral reimplantation.  That surgery consists of changing the way the abnormally positioned ureter connects to the bladder, by creating a new tunnel into the bladder. 
(Normally, the ureter connects to the bladder, which is made out of muscle, in such a way that urine is allowed to enter the bladder, but not allowed to back up to the kidney. When the ureter enters the bladder abnormally, the valve formed by the ureter pressing against the bladder wall does not close properly, so urine refluxes from the bladder to the ureter and eventually to the kidney.) Clear as mud, I know.
Since we are moving soon, Dr. O thought we should get all of the scans and prep work done here, so that the new urologist will know exactly what is going on.  He feels that the person doing the follow up should be doing the procedures.  We are hoping and praying that the antibiotics that she is on will be effective enough that she won't have any more pyelonephritis until she can get the Deflux procedure.  We are also praying that we will find a really good pediatric urologist in North Dakota.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

All smiles

Nolan is all smiles tonight.  Why?  Because Talon has finally grown out of the highly coveted Mario pajamas, and he has inherited them.  I found these for Talon when he was 5, and haven't seen another pair like them.  Talon has worn them just about every time they have made it through the laundry.  I'm anticipating that it will be no different with Nolan.  I can only imagine the horror that will be expressed the first couple of times that I accidentally put them back in Talon's drawer!
One of the many reasons that I absolutely adore kids... sometimes it's the littlest of things that bring the most joy and smiles!  Love my little Nolan-bug!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Conversations with kids

Anthony was making toast and putting peanut butter on it.
Natalie: "You making peanut butter and jelly?"
Anthony: "No, I'm making peanut butter and honey."
Natalie: "I got honey in my ears."
Anthony: "You've got honey in your ears?"
Natalie: "Yeah, I got honey in my ears so I can hear you!"

Anthony told me about this little conversation they had, so I asked her a while later, "Hey, Nat, do you have honey in your ears?"
Natalie: "Um, yeah."
Me: "Why do you have honey in your ears?"
Natalie: "Because I pick my nose!"

VCUG results

Today was Kaitlyn's appointment for her renal (kidney) ultrasound and VCUG.  She did really well.  They wanted to do a little sedation, so she couldn't eat or drink for about 4 hours prior to the procedure.  She did great with her ultrasound, and as far as the tech could tell, there were no major anatomical defects, and the vasculature looks good.
She then went for the VCUG.  In this procedure, a catheter is inserted into her bladder, contrast is flushed through the catheter to fill the bladder, then multiple x-rays are taken while she voids, to see if the fluid refluxes back up to her kidneys or is eliminated properly.
She was such a trooper.  The whole catheter placement and procedure was very unpleasant, but she did great!  Unfortunately, the test showed that she does have reflux.
Vesicoureteral Reflux is graded from 1-5.  1 being very minimal, and 5 being very severe.  Her reflux is somewhere between 3-4 on the left side.
She goes to see the pediatric urologist next Monday to find out what the next step is.  I'm hoping and praying that it can be managed with constant prophylactic antibiotics, but we will see.  At the very minimum, she will probably have to have yearly VCUGs to check the status of her reflux.  The most important thing is to not have kidney damage from it.  I thank God that she hasn't had more bouts of pyelonephritis with her reflux being so severe.
I called Anthony when we were on our way home.  I was a little upset over the fact that we are moving soon, and all of this is coming up.   He reminded me that this didn't come as a surprise to God, and he is going to work everything out.  He always does! 
 As much as I love Kaitlyn, I'm so thankful to serve a God that cares more about my little girl than I ever could.  She's in good hands.  This I have confidence in and peace about!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


We had our LASIK surgery done on Saturday afternoon.  We had a bit of recovery time that night, but were feeling better the next day.  It is amazing how bright everything can be.  We are both very thankful for the dark glasses to rest our eyes.  I think we should probably buy stock in the Allergan company.  It's crazy how many eye drops we go through in a day to keep our eyes moist.  They say it will get better over the next couple of weeks to months.  Right now, I always keep the Refresh Plus drops in reach!
Just a little bruising (the red spots), but getting better.  Still some swelling with some halos and glares, but I can see about 20/25 without glasses or contacts.  When the swelling goes down and the glare reduces, it should be 20/20.  Anthony may get to 20/15.  I had 20/50 or worse before.  It's amazing to actually be able to see!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dental check-ups all around!

It's that time again... time to get the kids' dental checkups and teeth cleaned.  We absolutely love our dentist and his staff.  They are great with the kids, and the kids always look forward to their visits.  Sadly, we couldn't convince Dr. Lorio to move to North Dakota.
Patiently waiting for their turn
Trying to get Natalie used to the chair.  She was happy to sit next to Sissy and wear the cool glasses.
X-rays.  Looking good!
Debbie is great.  She let the boys sit together, and took turns between the two of them.  They loved it!
Natalie was very intrigued.  She was convinced she wanted to sit next to "Noni" in the chair, too.  I guess he made it look really fun!
This is what the parents do when they get bored while waiting for the kids to get x-rays.
When it got to be Natalie's turn, she quickly decided she would rather sit on Mommy's lap, so Mommy got to ride in the chair too!
She did so good.  She was very nervous at first, but cooperated really well.  She even held and operated 'Mr. Thirsty' (the suction wand) all by herself.
All done!  Her big-girl smile for Daddy.
All of the kids' teeth looked really good, and none of them had cavities.  I think we will just keep brushing and flossing their teeth for them until they are ready for college.  It's worked well so far!

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I thought the flu was hitting our house.  Kaitlyn started throwing up on Monday, and running high fevers (up to about 105*f).   We treated it with the usual regimen.... alternating Ibuprofen and Tylenol, activated charcoal, probiotics, Zofran, and tried to push the gatorade and fluids.  While doing all of this, I was not feeling so great, so I was convinced it was the flu.  I started feeling better really soon, but she didn't.  
(She slept on the well-protected couch downstairs, to be close to our room and the bathroom.)
By day 4, I was starting to get de ja vu of last February.  I made a doctor appointment for her and asked them to check her urine.  Poor girl, when the fevers hit, she is just miserable.  She just gets so pale and lethargic, and cannot quit vomiting.
 My suspicions were confirmed.... pyelonephritis again.  They gave her an IM antibiotic and sent her home on oral antibiotics.  She started feeling a little better that night.  Thank you, Jesus!  They had us come back the next day, but felt like she was doing well enough to not do another IM antibiotic, and just wait for the urine cultures to come back.  She still ran low-grade fevers and threw up a couple more times, but was slowly getting better.  
After the 5th day of the oral antibiotics, the culture and sensitivities grew back on her urine, and showed that the antibiotic she was on was not effective on the type of bacteria that was growing.  We started a new antibiotic, and she hasn't ran any more fevers or thrown up.
It felt like we had our own little pharmacy on our kitchen counter.  I finally had to start making a list of what she had taken, and when.  I couldn't keep up with it all anymore.
Since this was her 2nd bout of raging pyelonephritis, the doctors feel it is important to get the pediatric urologist involved, and do some testing.  She goes in next week for an ultrasound of her kidneys and a VCUG (a test performed using a catheter, contrast [dye], and imaging, to see if she is having urine reflux back into her kidneys).  We are praying, of course, that everything is normal with her anatomy, and that there is no reflux.  This is one of those tests that I have prepped parents and patients for many of times, yet never imagined that my own child would be having one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's that time once again

 The potty training has started.  We haven't gotten far, but it has started.  She was super excited for the first...oh...five minutes.  I bribed her to stay on a little longer with fruit snacks.  She humored me until they were gone, then she was "all done, Mama!  All done!".  I'm hoping she is strong-willed enough that, once she figures it out, she won't want to wear a diaper anymore.  I can only imagine what it might be like to not have any kids in diapers anymore.  It's been over 7 1/2 years.  I am definitely ready!

It's Official...

After much prayer and consideration, we are announcing...
we are moving to Minot, North Dakota.
Anthony will be on the ministerial staff in the church there where his brother, Jesse, pastors at Apostolic Faith Church.
I have been hired at the hospital there, Trinity Health, working in their pediatric department and floating to the NICU and ICU.
While it is difficult and very sad to say goodbye to our family and friends here in Oregon, this is a great opportunity for our family, and we are excited about the possibilities for our future.
The kids are very excited, although I'm not sure they completely grasp the meaning of "moving to North Dakota".
Our kids are very social, so they are hyped about getting to make new friends, having a big Sunday School to attend, and having lots of kids their own age to play with.  It will be great to be around some of Anthony's family that we don't get to see very often, as well.
Because my job starts on February 27th, we will be leaving Oregon on the 22nd, to hopefully give us enough time to make it there, should the weather be bad and the streets be less than ideal for traveling.  The rumor is, moving to Minot, North Dakota, in the middle of winter, can be difficult.  We are praying for traveling mercies, and that all goes as smooth as possible, as we make our trek to the state that I've often heard referred to as "the coldest place in the US".  Not sure if that's exactly true or not, but the negative temperatures that I've heard report of lately, make me think it could very well be the case!
We are thankful for all of the support we have received by so many about this decision, and covet your prayers as we embark on this journey.  We feel we are definitely in the will of God, and are excited to see what the future holds!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A little shady

Anthony and I are so excited.... it has worked out for both of us to get LASIK eye surgery!  It's something I've dreamed of having for about 10 years, but have never had the chance.

We took the kids with us to get our consult.  They were each given their own pair of shades.  As you can see, they were very pleased.  They wanted to wear them home, but were a little sad when we left after dark, and they had to take them off to see to get to the car.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Until next year...

I finally got all of the Christmas decor put away.  These were the lights from the tree (minus the couple of strands that kept blinking off and I threw away).
 All the kids were sad to see it go, and they competed over who got to turn the Christmas lights on each day, but Natalie was the worst.   Since I didn't figure she would understand the concept of it being dry and the branches being brittle, I told her, "The Christmas tree is broken.  The Christmas tree had to go bye-bye."  Her confident response... "Papa fix the Christmas tree and bring it back!"
For days now, all we've heard is, "Christmas tree all gone?  Christmas tree outside?  Christmas tree in the garbage?  Papa fix the Christmas tree?".  She will forget about it eventually, right?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Katie Quip

We were driving home the other day, and Kaitlyn hollers out, "Look mom, that sign says,

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to a wonderful new year, and excited to see what God has in store for 2015!
From our family to yours...