Sunday, June 23, 2013

No medical change

Sara had a trip to OSF Friday for an ultrasound, x-ray, and VCUG. I am so thankful that appointments like this are easy. After all she has been thru, most kids would be nervous or scared or downright unwilling to go. But the day before, Sara told my mom "Grandma, they are going to give me medicine that makes me loopy tomorrow!" and then she giggled and ran off to play.

What a difference these past months have made with how I handle the ultrasounds. I remember the first time I saw white things on the screen that the tech would stop and take extra pictures of and measure. I knew in my gut something wasn't right when they would do that. I could feel my heart beat faster just watching the screen. But Friday it didn't bother me at all to see the pauses for extra photos of the stones that still remain. It's just part of our reality now, our unexplained reality that just is.

Pediatric sedation has a new area on the ground floor by the surgery area. Walking thru there is like seeing old friends as we exchange a smile and a wave. 7 surgical procedures in 3 months will create relationships like that. The staff is always so nice. They got Sara set up on an iPad with some games. The doctor game was fun, putting sick animals in a hospital bed and doing procedures to make them feel better--eye drops for a kitty, shining a flashlight in a sick monkey's ear, removing things a puppy had swallowed with a magnet. The nail salon game was a little disturbing seeing a giant toe on the screen as Sara picked different designs to decorate it with.

It took a while for her loopy medicine in preparation for her VCUG to kick in so they gave her just a little more. Things went very smooth. She had just a little discomfort as the catheter went in but apparently it was minimal compared to what they normally experience. They injected fluid to fill her bladder while she laid on an x-ray table. Photos were taken to document whether her urine flows backwards from her bladder to her kidney, indicating reflux. This is the same test that was done last August and the urologist wanted a follow up to see if her body had corrected itself any over the past 10 months.

Sara really wanted pancakes for lunch but we ran out of time and had to eat at the hospital sandwich shop. Sometimes it can be so funny what Versed does to her. We walked into the shop and she screamed in excitement "Daddy!!! A banana!" as she saw it in the display window. Shannon bought a banana, a muffin, a BLT for himself, and a couple hot dogs. He set the tray on the table and she expressed her anger "I don't want a banana!" We just smiled at each other as she also complained that she wanted a donut. I asked if she wanted some muffin and she about bit my finger off taking a bite. A few minutes later I calmly asked if she would like some banana. Apparently enough time had passed and she was interested now. The mood swings between coming off of being loopy, being hungry, and ready for a nap creates quite the perfect storm for an emotional break down.

We headed to the urologist to discuss the results of our morning of tests. In a nutshell, no change.

The kidney stones are the same. 2 large ones remain on the left and there are still some on the right, as well.

The ultrasound showed both her kidneys are still dilated. He isn't as concerned about the dilation as he is about her kidneys becoming thinner.

And her reflux has not improved at all. At this point it is unlikely that her body will correct itself. Up until now, every time the urologist talked about her reflux, he talked confidently that he thought it would improve. This was the first time he said he thought it wouldn't be possible.

He still wants to give her more time, as long as her kidneys continue to keep up and remain stable. Time for her scar tissue to heal from robotic surgery in Boston. And time for her to grow. The access point is just so small for Sara that he needs it to be larger to do another surgery. Maybe in a year he will do robotic surgery just on the left and remove the stones that remain first and then correct the reflux that exists on the same side. We did not discuss any plan to remove the rest of the stones on the right. Another ultrasound in 6 months.

We are focusing on the positive of the news. We are thankful that no more stones have formed. We are thankful that her kidneys remain stable. We are thankful for Sara's strength in handling these medical issues.

Honestly, I wasn't surprised and had expected the news. I'm not happy about it. And it would have been nice if she didn't have to take antibiotics every day anymore. I'm not happy that she will have to do another surgery but that also probably won't be the last one. It's just our reality that we have to accept. Our reality that God is still in the middle of.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby birds

Over the weekend Shannon was knocking down a bunch of weeds and discovered a bird nest hidden just off the ground. 4 speckled brown eggs were inside so he knocked down all the weeds and tall grass around it and left that little patch. This morning I actually got to see them hatch!

There is still one egg left in the nest so I wonder if that one won't make it.

 This is my favorite picture--one of the birds still had part of its egg on its head and then leaned back and opened his mouth!

We planted a new tree tonight that required a giant hole. The kids got a bucket and collected all the worms so we could set it next to the nest and the mama bird wouldn't have to work so hard finding food for her babies!

Friday, June 14, 2013


I saw on my friend's facebook page that he was in his field planting today. Adam has been obsessed with seeing all the tractors in the fields by our house lately and I thought he would love a chance to climb in the driver's seat.

Shannon came home from work early and we grabbed DQ dinner in the car on the way to find Sean. Adam was just cracking us up when he said "I can't wait to go farming. I'm not quite skilled at it yet, though, so I need some practice."

Sean was just finishing up one field and told us to meet him just down the road. Off we went to get in the car.

We caught up with him and they climbed in.

It really was quite beautiful as they drove off. I can see how people love farming.

While they were tractoring around the field and learning about the GPS system, I walked down the road and took in the beautiful scenery around me.

A little ways down the road I found a pasture with some horses in it.

When Sara had enough of the tractor, she enjoyed watching the horses with me, too.

Both the kids had a super fun time on our spontaneous little adventure.

Adam just couldn't stop talking about it the whole way home.

He even thought he should call Grandpa and tell him all about it. I have never heard Adam so engaged on the phone for so long. I bet they talked for 15 minutes. Adam told him about the GPS system and how Sean pushed buttons to make the tractor drive by itself.

He told Grandpa about how it was a tractor with a covered cab but it was still really dusty. And they were planting soy beans. And Grandpa should come visit so they could farm together. Usually when Adam is on the phone, he gets distracted with everything around him and it's just a few minutes of conversation before he says bye, hands you the phone, and runs off to play. But tonight, Grandpa got the pleasure of one long-winded boy!

Sara was a total chatter box on the way home, too. She had some get well cards that people had made her for Boston and was pretending they were a story that she was going to read. We were supposed to pick which one we wanted her to read as she read off the titles...
"Winnie Pooh and Piglet"
"Horsie Hey Little Neigh"
And my personal favorite "Once Upon a Time There Was a Boy With No Hair!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Way to grow, baby girl!

We have a little wall where we document the kids' heights. Sara was helping her bear get a  measurement the other day so I thought it was a good time to check in on her progress. I have noticed some of her pants getting a little short lately.

Good news--she has grown as much over the past 2 months as she did the 6 months before then!

That is what a break from doctors and stable kidneys will do for your growth!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mr. Adam

I can't believe how much older Adam has seemed the past few weeks.

He has come out of his room fully dressed, including buttoning his shirt and snapping and zipping his pants!

He hops on one foot and climbs stairs alternating his legs like an adult.

He loves to spend time outside and can keep himself occupied, especially if it involves scrap boards and bungee cords.

Apparently he is going thru a stage where he is sweating profusely because he keeps telling me things like "I'm so sweaty and stinky from helping with the mulch. I need some man deoderant."

I'm guessing it's because I call him "Mr. Adam" from time to time but apparently my new name is Mrs. Mama.


At the end of last week, the weather was perfect to pack a picnic lunch and go for our first-ever hike! The kids were super excited when I woke them that morning and told them what I had planned for the day.

I love it when I see sweet moments of the kids loving on each other without prompting. I can't imagine how much fun it must be to have a twin to share life with each and every day.

I thought Forest Park Nature Center would be perfect for our first hike. Short trails in case the kids got tired. It started out easy and we were able to talk about staying on the paths and not touching things around them to be respectful.

Gradually it started to get a little more difficult. They thought it was a neat little adventure.

After a long climb we had to stop for a snack and a drink of water.

We found this neat tree that had been uprooted but Adam was a little scared to go any closer to it.

Because of the record-setting rain there were areas that were treacherous. One of the bridges in the park had been washed away and some of the steps had a lot of erosion around them, making them very steep. Sara especially wanted me to hold her hand during this part of the hike.

After our hike we found a great picnic table nestled in the trees and enjoyed our lunch. They kept saying "I had a great time, mom! Did you have a great time?"

It's been a long time but years ago it was one of my favorite things to steal away and go for hikes by myself. For some reason, spending time in nature always helped me process things and feel more alive. I am excited that we can start sharing that together as a family!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Washington Cherry Festival

Last weekend was the Washington Cherry Festival in town. We were excited that the kids were finally old enough to really appreciate it. I stopped by the Chamber of Commerce and bought discounted all you can ride carnival bracelets. Then we prayed for the next 2 days that the rain would stay away. And about every hour for those two days the kids asked if it was time to leave yet.

It was a cooler morning and because of the record-setting rain we had in the month of May, no parking on any grass was allowed. We found a spot right near where the pedal tractor pulls were being held. How convenient that we could sign up on our way in to the carnival. And...they asked if Shannon wanted to sign up for the adult division. Hmmm...this should be interesting!

While waiting for the event to start, we snuck in a few carnival rides.

Sara picked the ever-appropriate horse to ride on the merry-go-round.

Adam, of course, chose...a pig?!

Adam loved this little fun house thing. He tried it last fall at the Morton Pumpkin Festival and it did not go well. There were way too many kids playing rough and he just wanted out. But this time, it was just him. He went thru there 3 times and thought it was awesome he was by himself.

Adam thought the jet skis were pretty cool.

Sara, not so much. I think it about gave her whiplash when it started and was jerky the entire time.

Time to head to the tractor pulls, come on Dad!

Adam was first up in the 4-5 year old division. He was the only one to do a 3-point turn and back his tractor into the sled! That's my boy!

I'm not sure what was with the tongue but apparently it helped him pedal harder!

Sara's turn and she was really working hard. Actually, I was quite impressed with her effort.

They got a nice ribbon for their effort, as well as a free ice cream cone and free pizza at Monicals. Next year when they aren't the smallest kids in their age group, we'll see what happens!

Back to more rides while we waited for the adult portion of the contest. The motorcycles were a big hit.

I think the Wiggly Worm was my favorite. Not only was the name fun but the ride seemed to have just the right level of excitement. Plus when I look at these pictures and a giant bird is photo bombing every one of them, it cracks me up! Sara kept lifting her hand as quick as she could to wave.

Finally, it was time for Shannon's pedal tractor pull. Check out this homemade masterpiece!

The first heat had 120 pounds on the sled. If he made it the full 40', he would advance to the next heat and 40 more pounds would be added to the sled each heat.

A handful of guys made it to the third heat, with 200 pounds on the sled! It was no easy task and Shannon came in 3rd place out of about 10 guys that started.

Adam really wanted to get his hands on this tractor instead of the little green one! It was really awesome - the steering wheel turned both the front and back tires at the same time.

The last ride of the day before it rained was the antique cars.

Corn dogs, hot dogs, tenderloin, hamburger, pulled pork on a baked potato, chocolate cherry cupcake, cherry pie, cherry cheesecake, and funnel cake. We had an awesome time--see you next year!