Saturday, October 22, 2011

April Wrap-Up

Despite all the smiles, sparkling blue eyes and beautiful, bouncing, blonde hair, April had some challenges for both boys. 

Benjamin was sick a good portion of the month.  He had numerous eye infections of no known origin and weeks upon weeks of coughing & nasal congestion.  After waiting two weeks for the coughing to end, we saw the doctor for a confirmed (via x-ray) sinus infection.  We did the prescribed ten days of antibiotic, but it only minimally improved.  4 weeks later we had another x-ray reveal only a small lessening of the fully-impacted sinuses.  Lovely!  By this time, we also opted for an injection of antibiotic to kick-start the recovery.  It really affected him short-term (he was far more tender than he ever is with shots), and he had a fever.  However, the meds did their work.  but, this all means he spent >6 weeks with infected sinuses. 

After burning through far too much Vigamox treating all his eye infections, we luckily got in with a pediatric ophthalmologist to investigate a blocked tear duct.  We had gone through all that with Jasper as an infant, but Benj never had the same problems.  It seemed odd it would start being a problem now, but it just seemed like the likely area to investigate next.  Dr. Busse thankfully had an opening (from a cancellation) the day after I called and we got in for the diagnosis: a narrowed tear duct.  He prescribed Pataday (to reduce the swelling around the tear duct and improve drainage) daily to see if that would lessen the problems and frequency of eye infections.  He also explained that what likely was happening with Benj was that his tears were not draining from his eyes, and he was likely rubbing his cheek/eye and transferring germs which live on our skin into his eyes which were causing the green goop – and that the green goop was infectious but not contagious.  ahh!  finally an explanation that made sense (and was spoken with confidence). 

We know now that Benjamin has no allergies – no foods, no pollens, grasses, animal dander, etc.  none.  so what’s causing all his sinus infections are anatomy: likely small sinus draining holes.  so he gets eye drops and nose sprays to try to keep the troubled areas less irritated.  Things have improved.  Now we hope and pray his head gets big enough to accommodate his sinuses. 

Jasper had his own source of challenges – at school.  For reasons that we honestly cannot fathom, one day in April Jasper went from nearly running into Mrs. Kelly’s class with nary even turning around to say goodbye to clinging to my leg, crying and begging me not to leave.  I was so shocked I almost didn’t know how to handle it.  Thankfully, Mrs. Kelly was nearby and intervened to distract Jasper and get him into the room and calmed down.  But this was such a dramatic change that it shook me.  I was in tears after I left him.  Each day of school after that was hard for him.  Some were worse – (once, when Mrs. Kelly wasn’t able to intervene and Benjamin snuck away and was heading out the front door to the parking lot which meant I had to turn my back on Jasper and run for Benjamin, which made Jasper completely fall apart … yeah, that was worse) but others were better.  And he always calmed down and had fun at school once he was there.  But his exuberance about going was gone.  He was nervous (still positive but nervous) and we had to talk with overwhelmingly positive tones about being there.  That was sad.  We still cannot figure out what triggered this.  Nothing changed at home.  No new medicines.  … Drew thinks he just became aware of his surroundings more and was more anxious.  Whatever it was, it was hard on him … and on us. 

Kiddie Acres

It was hot even in April, so our one trip to Kiddie Acres this year was to celebrate Isaac’s birthday.  The boys had a blast!  They love the airplanes and surprisingly liked the ferris wheel.  Good thing Drew was along and opted to take one for the team, ignore the max total weight limit per car and ride with the boys.  God is good.  They survived. 



Easter 2011

With riding bikes under their belts, Easter was about Jesus, baskets and hunting for eggs.  I’m not sure for 2 and 4-yr-olds it was exactly in that order, but we definitely celebrated at church.  Except we didn’t celebrate at Austin High School like we usually do.  We celebrated at the UT Erwin Center.  You know – the basketball arena.  Sa-WEET! 


For a couple of weeks leading up to Easter, Drew and I took the boys to the Erwin Center and looked around, walked around the concourses outside, talked to them about how this was going to be our Easter church and then we prayed for our pastors, taking care of all the kids, all the logistics and all the visitors.  The boys prayed for Pastor Matt (Carter) and Pastor John (Murchison).  It was a great time of prayerful preparation and also mental preparation so that they were ready for a completely different environment on Easter Sunday.  Gratefully, both boys went into their KidStuff areas without hesitation and had a great time. 

Drew and I worshiped with thousands others (I think it was close to 11K) in the arena, being lead-off with a prayer by Coach Barnes - UT’s basketball coach and the instigator behind using the Erwin Center for Easter services.  Unbeknownst to the vast congregation, Matt revealed that morning, Coach Barnes approached Matt with this idea and arranged for it to happen.  Coach Barnes’ prayer was contrite and humble, and it left most of us in tears before we echoed amen.  Worship was wonderful.  Matt’s sermon was great, and in addition to that we were able to bless the city of Austin by being open & visible and by collecting large donations of food for the food bank.  It was a GREAT Easter. 

Here is a clip from the local cable news station about our service.

Here are some highlights from the materialistic side of things:


Two of Jasper’s favorite things: his Thomas apron and a book about Fire Trucks. 


Benjamin lovingly checking out his new Thomas blanket.


Both boys pouring over the stack of new books from G&G Gant.

Hunting for Easter eggs:


sitting pretty with their friend, Adolai


Learning to Ride His Bike–April 22, 2011

Since Drew had Good Friday off from work, he took advantage of that afternoon to spend time encourage Jasper to ditch his training wheels.  On a few occasions previously, Jasper would go on one or two rides without his training wheels, but he always wanted them put back on.  Drew is patient, enthusiastic and encouraging, and he was ready to spend a few hours to help Jasper get over the hump of needing his training wheels. 

Look at the look of determination on Jasper’s face.  Wherever did he get that? hmm ….



Drew never left his side – either on foot or on wheels for the entire time he helped Jasper learn to go faster, to stay straight, etc.


Of course, there was the understandable learning curve – riding slow is tough when you’re just learning, and he’d teeter off to one side or the other … but he just kept going. 


He loved his cheering section: Benjamin, Ella and Mr. David and mommy. 


Even when he fell, he just dusted himself off (sometimes got a couple hugs) and got back on his bike.



Benjamin is Jasper’s #1 fan!  Spontaneously clapping and saying, “Yeah, Jasper!”  He also is a fan of our neighbor, Ella.



Look at the ease with which Jasper turns the bike!  Thank you, Mr. Skuut!


Benjamin is always moving, so it’s actually pretty hard to get a good shot of him with the camera.  I was lucky to capture his sweet face.



Riding on daddy’s wheel is a great place to be.


By the end of a couple of hours, he was ready to take on the roads by himself (under our watchful eye, of course). 


The day after he learned how to ride without his training wheels, Drew rode with him down to the cul-de-sac behind our house to ride with the kids down there (Fred, Andreas, Eric & Caroline).  He was just screaming around the circle, even going down an inclined driveway to pick up speed.  Everyone was amazed!  When they learned he had first really learned how to ride on a Skuut, the next week Fred’s dad bought him a Skuut and after 2.5 weeks of riding it, Fred was able to take his training wheels off, too!  Proven success! (if only a slightly small sample size.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

American Heroes Days - April 16&17, 2011

It’s been a rough spring for Benjamin.  He’s been hit hard with viruses: colds, croup, pink eye, sinus infections, fever … one after the other, and some at the same time.  On this, the weekend of one of our favorite events of the year, he had a mild fever and was probably recovering from one of multiple bouts of pink eye.  (I honestly can’t remember.)  Needless to say, we had to make it a brief tour of Camp Mabry.  Benjamin could not keep up running across the fields, and he was a goner just after lunch. 

Day 1

On Saturday we made it through the circuit of helicopters.  One of the Starflight rescue helicopters took off shortly after we arrived, and the boys had a front row seat. 


After that Jasper would have nothing to do with the multiple helicopters lined up in a row and instead wanted to leapfrog them and head straight to the Blackhawk.  He loves this helicopter!  He loved it even more when he found out it was used to fight forest fires with it’s 500-gallon basket for water!  He very respectfully asked the captain of the crew about fighting fires with the helicopter. 



Next we checked out the Apache helicopter on display …


and then made it over to the massive Chinook!  This behemoth is the first to arrive and the last to leave – or it would tip over other helicopters from the great swells of wind it produces. 


The boys thought it was GREAT that it had a built-in slide!  Jasper & I talked to the office at the back of the aircraft and asked him what they could transport or how the Chinook is transported.  He said they can carry all sorts of trucks inside or carry them by straps underneath.  Jasper really wanted to know if it could carry a fire truck.  They officer said he thought they could underneath. 



Day 2

On this day, Drew took the boys to Camp Mabry by himself.  Again it was a short trip because Benj still wasn’t 100%.  Once again we brought little bags of lifesavers with a note inside saying “Thanks for keeping us safe.  You’re a Lifesaver!”  On Sunday Jasper got really active and generous in handing these out.  He circled the Apache helicopter with a handful of bags asking each Army man he saw if he had received a treat bag.  He even returned to Drew to get more to distribute.  As he handed each one out he said, “Thank you for being here, and thank you for all you do.”  We are very proud of how he is growing in being considerate and thankful to others!

Sunday was a jeep day for the boys.  You have to notice the hat to figure out who is who on this day.  Red = Jasper; White = Benj.  We happened to dress them both in navy tops and gray shorts.  sorry!







But they couldn’t help checking out the helicopters again.



Benjamin looks comfortable in the pilot seat of the Blackhawk.



Since our family & friends having served in active duty to defend our freedom and liberty, Drew and I want very much for our boys to not only respect our men and women in the armed forces but look up to and admire them.  We are so grateful that we live in a nation that is defended by the best armed forces in the world.  We do not have opportunities each day to show the boys how significant this blessing is.  This is why American Heroes Day is a wonderful time for them to really see how cool our military machines and personnel are so that their admiration will grow. 

As a side note: on Memorial Day we watched a wonderful documentary “Hallowed Grounds” about American military cemeteries around the world which hold approximately 40% of the men and women who fought and died during WWI and WWII.  It was beautiful.  If you happen to get a chance to watch it, we’d highly recommend checking it out.