Saturday, June 26, 2010

Picture of the Day, Week 25

Happy Father's Day!

I play with the women's church softball team on Monday nights. There I am, at second base, which is where I normally play. I'm not good. But tonight the other team forfeited (they didn't have enough players) so we scrimmaged with them, and with no nerves, I did pretty well!

We followed up with Drew's pediatrician today. This is what HSP looks like. Thankfully, its bark is worse than its bite! Other than being quite ugly, it doesn't bother Drew in the least. (And isn't that Strawberry Shortcake band-aid the best?!)

Leaving a trail to find his way back???

Good or bad, I'm not sure, but Drew's the kid who stands and watches from the sidelines. He actually played really well tonight until they started with a "game." He didn't quite understand why they wouldn't give him his ball.

A group of women from church went to St. Louis to hear Beth Moore speak at Living Proof Live. It's the second time I've seen her live, and it was fantastic! And we had great seats! :)

Red Robin is my favorite restaurant of all time. Unfortunately, central IL hasn't discovered its greatness and there aren't any close to us. But St. Louis. Oh St. Louis knows what's good! The group of ladies I was riding with humored me and we drove a little out of our way to find one for lunch as we headed home. Hence the giddy sparkle in my smile! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend Update: Vrieze Edition

As you can tell with my last couple posts, things have been a bit out of the ordinary here the past week or so (read: Henoch Schonlein Purpura!) and our very good friends were here in the midst of it! Poor things. They didn't know what hit 'em. :) But they have two children of their own, so we knew they'd been in our shoes before.

We are so so blessed to have the Vrieze family in our lives. We met Scott and Kathy about seven years ago when we moved back to Minnesota from Colorado. Kathy and I became close quickly. I was beside her when she and Scott married, and we've celebrated the birth of our children together.

When we moved to Illinois over three years ago, Kathy and Scott were the first of our MN friends to visit us. They came shortly after Drew was born, when their oldest, Grace, was about four months old.

And they've made the effort to continue to visit us twice, sometimes three times, each year.

And it's really really special.

Because, to be honest, they're great people. But beyond that, it's tough to make friends as an adult, in a new town (state!), away from family and friends, and when our days revolve around our work and our kids.

So it's always nice when they come. It's a touch of home. It's a touch of adult conversation.

It's a touch of friendship.

We never do anything particularly special; just enjoy each other's company and watch our kids play together. Take a look...

We played in the tent and the tunnel,

and attended the last night of VBS at church. This is the preschool class; Gracie is on the right in the blue and green top. But where's Drew?

In the nursery with the babies because he's not into that whole "participation" thing.

There we go!

We colored (I didn't realize this until later, but I think Drew was starting to experience some of the joint pain associated with HSP because he moved awkwardly every time I told him to sit down),

made kabobs (delicious, just for the record),

played with water,

a lot,

and stood by the pool and just looked.

We drove,

colored more,

swung (is that proper grammar??),


and splashed.

And we introduced the Vrieze's to the fun that is a Pizza Picnic!

(Reed was there, too. See?)

And of course, in the midst of all this was the trip to the Urgent Care on Saturday morning, and an early departure on Sunday after Drew's rough night.


More than once Kathy and I marveled at how our oldest have gone from this... this!

Thank you, thank you Vrieze family.
The effort that you put in to taking time off work and traveling so far (with young ones!) to spend not near enough time, is appreciated so much. (Especially this time when you headed home early because of Drew. I didn't want you to go, but it showed just how much you care about us and value our time to take care of each other.)

You are so very dear to us.

And this. I love this.

Good golly, could they be any cuter?!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Henoch Schonlein Purpura


Yeah, that's right.

Exactly right.

Remember Drew's trip to the doctor last week, resulting in a double ear infection diagnosis?

Right. Why couldn't it have been just that easy???

Drew began on his schedule of medications last Wednesday, and it appeared as though by Thursday, he was already doing much better. Sleeping well, and no longer complaining of ear pain.

And then Friday happened.

I was giving the boys their baths that morning, and as Drew was getting into the tub, I noticed that he had these little red freckles on his bum and his legs. It looked like someone had taken a red pen and dotted it all over his lower half. Weird.

But what was weirder was that by Friday night, it looked like this:

...and it had "spread" to his elbows...

...and his toosh was especially flaring up, but I'll spare any kind of indiscretion or embarrassment and keep that picture offline. :)

All in all, not looking good.

My initial reaction was that he had developed a rash/hives allergic reaction from his antibiotic. But it was super odd looking, like no other case of hives I've ever seen (not that I've seen a whole lot, but you know, mother's instincts...this stuff looked funky!), or maybe chicken pox? (Can't say I've seen a case of those, either.) So, I called the after hours nurse line. They recommended a trip to the Urgent Care on Saturday morning, and they also said to hold his antibiotic until after I saw the doctor there.

So, Saturday morning, off to our local UC to see a very odd doctor. Nice enough, but definitely not a pediatrician. Anyway, right away he diagnosed Drew with Henoch Schonlein Purpura, which is a form of blood vessel inflammation. Basically, little tiny blood vessels were hemorrhaging, causing these ugly red bumps. He said that it's a condition that typically comes after an infection, and is most common in kids, boys in particular. Symptoms include these red bumps, joint pain, stomachaches (which Drew had been complaining of) and it can also affect the kidneys.

~Let me just interject that I was totally fine until he mentioned major organs, then I got just a teensy bit nervous. Just.a.tish.~

[When we got home, I Goggled HSP, and if you'd like to read more about it, click here. Drew is pretty much a textbook case.]

Anyway, he couldn't say it was a result of antibiotic use or not, so he said to forgo all meds expect for Tylenol for any ear pain, and check in with our pediatrician on Monday.

So, thankful for an answer, not so thankful that my son who has a double ear infection is now stuck with taking only Tylenol for two whole days.


Drew did start experiencing the joint pain symptom, randomly complaining his legs hurt, unable to go up and down the stairs without groaning, and walking around on his tiptoes, legs spread like he just got off a horse.
And being the awesome mother I am, I totally neglected giving him any Tylenol because he said he didn't want it. He was feeling "good."


Ha ha ha.

Come Saturday night, not feeling so good! He woke in the night, screaming in pain, and he and I ended up being awake from 12:45 until 4 in the morning, giving meds and trying to distract so he'd relax and fall back asleep. Finally, at 3:30, a dose of Benadryl, a second dose of Tylenol, and his most favorite Lightening McQueen movie, caused his eyes to close.

Needless to say, all day Sunday (and Monday as I couldn't get him in to see Dr. Hunter until today), he was on a four-hour Tylenol regimen! And he's been doing great on just that, not complaining of anything.

So today, off to Dr. Hunter's office to finish up our week-long Drew drama. She confirmed the UC doctor's diagnosis, but clarified that antibiotics don't cause HSP. It's the infection itself that results in this condition. So, back on the antibiotic he goes (good!) as his ears are still red and fluid filled. She reiterated HSP's symptoms, and said that the one of most concern is the way it could harm his kidneys (very rarely would this cause any long-term effects, so that's a relief, but still important to keep an eye on things now). So Drew gave a urine sample to make sure no blood microorganisms are swimming around in there, and the results came back perfectly normal. *Sigh* HSP will clear up on its own, but it could take anywhere from 2-12 weeks. We'll see Dr. Hunter again in about a month to recheck Drew's ears and to check his urine again.

So, super thankful that we've got this mystery figured out. A little weirded out still by what it is, but thankful that it doesn't bother Drew. As horrible as these bumps look (these pictures don't do them justice...they've increased in number since Saturday and are super red and inflamed, and his bum is absolutely covered!), they don't itch or burn or scab over or anything. And they won't leave any scars.

So... Reed gets herpes.

And Drew gets this.

What's next?!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Picture of the Day, Week 24

I'm a little behind getting our pictures posted for last week. It was a full week, and an even more eventful weekend. I have a lot to post about, but for now, enjoy our POTDs!

Drew was in need of new underwear, so a trip to Walmart was in order, wherein he wanted to pick out his own. A package with Toy Story and Cars undies was the winner, and Drew thought it necessary to "try them on" right away. After this, he proceeded to put all five pairs on, over his shorts. Quite the comedian!

Monday {6.14.10}
Today, we celebrated our eighth anniversary. Our picture for today will be a photo of the two of us. We just need to take it. :)

This kid gets into 100 different kinds of trouble. And yes, I totally said "don't fall!" while running to grab the camera, and then promptly removed him from the toy after this picture was taken.

Drew hadn't been feeling well (on and off again) since Saturday, and a trip to the doctor couldn't be put off any longer. He was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Five medications later, and we were on our way home. (The story doesn't end here...stay tuned...)

It was Reed's turn today to head to the doctor for his 15-month well baby check. You can read more about that here.

We had VBS at church this week, and tonight, the last night, Drew finally (kind of) participated, with the help of his very good friend, Gracie.

The Vrieze Family
Kathy, Scott, Norah, and Grace.
They've been coming to visit us from MN since we moved here over three years ago. Very very special friends to us.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Father's Day!

Brad and the boys. They gave Daddy this new shirt and tie for his special day...

...and these new ties, too!

We made cupcakes to celebrate our #1 Dad...

...and this was his gift. Modified from this idea here, I solved the shopping-for-Mr.-Impossible-to-buy-for by creating tokens that tell him what he can go buy for himself. :)

We are so thankful for you.

Thank you for being the the best dad my boys could ever have.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reed's Turn

We had so much fun yesterday at the doctor's office, we did it again today!

Reed's 15-month well-baby check was previously scheduled prior to Drew's visit yesterday, so back to the clinic I went today with Baby Reed.

And just to reassure everyone (translation: the grandmothers!) Reed is fine. The first thing I asked was if they'd check his ears to make sure nothing's brewing, and after removing his wax (sheesh! these boys!), I was reassured that his ears look just fine. Whew!

They did the normal growth and development check on our little BIG guy.

Weight: 29 lbs 7 oz (the nurse actually transposed this when she wrote this down, and said he weighs 27 lbs 9 oz, which is in the 80-90th percentile, so I'd say he's closer to the 90th)
Height: 33 in (90-97th percentile)
Head: 50 3/4 cm (off.the.charts!)

So, he's growing great! (No surprises there!)

He got his next round of shots...

(not a fan)

...and his hemoglobin was also rechecked. (If you remember, it was slightly low last time and he's been on a multi-vitamin to try to bring it up. It was up this time, at 10.5, but still a bit low so we'll continue with the vitamin and they'll check again in three months.)

The only other thing of note was that she heard a slight heart murmur. This is normal! Don't freak out! (Grandmothers!) Dr. Hunter said that 50% of infants/toddlers have some kind of murmur that they can occasionally hear upon exam. As he grows and his heart muscle strengthens, the murmur will diminish. When Reed was just a day old, and Dr. Hunter saw him for the first time in the hospital, she heard a slight murmur then, too. It was gone by the next day. So, no worries. :)

Next visit: September 20 for his 18-month check-up.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Meeting Mo

Drew made a new friend today.
His name is Mo.

Dr. Mo Khan, that is.

Whoops! That's not Dr. Khan! How'd he get in here?!?! :)

Isn't it true that just when you think you're out of the woods *bang* you walk right into a tree? (Or something like that anyway.)

Drew's my healthy kid. A runny nose or cough every now and again, but really, he's hardly been to the doctor outside of his well-child visits. This is unlike Reed, as you know, who's been to the doctor any number of times, and came home with numerous medications at his last appointment.

I guess Drew thought it was his turn. Or time just caught up with him.

Into the doctor today, and out with five medications of his own.

Here's the long and short of it.

Saturday night Drew developed "sick eyes" (that sad, pale, droopy, kinda glazed over look) and had a fever of 100.1. He was exposed to a little girl that afternoon who was sick, but I thought it was a rather quick emergence of his fever to have caught anything from her. Anyway, he had a difficult time sleeping that night, but by the morning, his fever was gone. For the next few days, he just wasn't acting like himself. Extra moody, extra whiny, incredibly sensitive and easily upset (like crying-wailing upset), but no signs of sickness. He was really good at telling me that things were hurting him, but in the next second, he was behaving normally, wanting the regular things, and not bothered by whatever ailment he claimed to have. He didn't sleep well Monday or last night, and he began complaining (more like wailing) that his ear hurt.

I have to interject here that Drew is getting really good at telling stories. He's putting his imagination to the test, coming up with excuses and reasons why he can or can't do something. Usually one of the pains he claimed he was having arose when he didn't want to do something we asked him to do. So it was really hard to tell if he was crying wolf or if he really was in some kind of pain. Regardless, he still wasn't acting like himself, and his appetite was not at all his usual.

So, a call to the doctor and an appointment this morning proved that Drew wasn't telling any stories this time around.

Double ear infection, fluid/drainage in both ears, and a possible slight rupture in his left ear.

Yep. That explains it.

He was a trooper at the doctor's office (after telling me numerous times that he was "feeling good" and that he didn't want to go). He had a slight fever of 99.8, his blood pressure was high for a kiddo his age (102/63...attributed to being nervous about being there), and his weight was down from March (36.8 pounds today, 38 pounds then). I found that kind of odd, but neither the doctor or nurse said anything so I guess I'll attribute that to soccer. :)

Dr. Khan was super nice (Reed has seen him a handful of times, so I was familiar with him) and I think Drew thought he was pretty cool, too. He cleaned big hunks of wax out of Drew's ears (did you know excess hair and wax in ears is genetic? The boys have Brad to thank for that!), and he could see that both ears were red, infected, and had some drainage. Dr. Khan said a few times that Drew was a little old for ear infections, but that it does happen with kids his age.

So, that's where we are.

And here's Drew.

He spent the rest of the day in his jammies, curled on the couch with Teddy, either watching movies or half-heartedly playing his video game. He took a normal nap this afternoon, and had swings from feeling "good" to feeling miserable. All he had to eat all day was a half serving of mac and cheese, about three bites of toast, and one package of fruit snacks. With that kind of interest in food, I knew he wasn't feeling well.

Oh, and those five meds...

1) Antibiotic for the infection
2) Ear drops
3) Sudafed to keep him unplugged and the tubes flowing
4) Claritin to help him sleep at night
5) Motrin for pain

With that kind of regimen, he should be on the mend soon!

UPDATE: It's now Thursday morning, and Drew slept over 12 hours last night. That has to be a good sign!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Picture of the Day, Week 23

I promise I'm not strangling him...I'm just trimmin' a few hairs. :)
I cut both the boys' hair, and Drew, well, he hates it. He wails bloody murder at the sound of those clippers. I think I did discover today, though, that it's not the clippers that he dislikes, it's the hair that falls onto his neck and pokes him. Unfortunately, he refuses to wear the cape that will keep this from happening. "That hurts! That hurts! AAAHHHHHHHH!" We were almost completely done before he started wailing. What the neighbors must think...

My summer reading list. (I might be a bit ambitious...)

I got through to the 5th inning at Brad's softball game before I lost control of the boys. Let boys be boys, right? A little dirt won't do them any harm. :) (I love how this picture captures the mess they made (see Reed's tooshie) and the fun they had (see Drew's mouth).)

Video gaming must be some kind of boyhood rite of passage. I don't think it can be overstated how much Drew loves this game (l.o.v.e.s. it), and it goes to show that practice does make perfect. He got his first first place finish today.

Special visitors today!
Brad's cousin, Jenny, along with her four kids and Grandma VW, made the trek to our place to spend the day and play with us. We had a fabulous time, sharing meals, conversation, and toys. We hope to do it again sometime!

Also, Monkey turned 15 months old today. I'll find room in my album to squeeze in this adorable face, too. :)

Eating can be exhausting.

There was a kids carnival at church today, and both boys enjoyed playing some of the games. Reed mastered finding the hidden ball (this picture also shows Liz, one of our stellar young women at church, and also our baby-sitter!)...

...and Drew would give Bozo a run for his money on the Grand Prize Game!