Friday, August 31, 2012

Skories and Junk.

Ephram LOVES telling "skories" with me whenever it's just the two of us. Usually it's at naptime or at night but sometimes if we're playing he wants to hear one too. He'll ask, "mommy? do you have another skory in your brain to tell me?" I then tell him one and next he takes a turn. His stories usually go something like this:,

"Once upon a time there was a mommy and a GIANT GIANT turtle (insert lion/spider...he loves choosing animals). The mommy rode on the turtle then a spider came but Frank took my shoe and smashed him with it so the mommy didn't get hurt. But it was a nice spider. So it wouldn't hurt mommy. Because then I would save her. Ok, Mommy. Do you have another one for me yet? Is it in your brain yet?"

I LOVE that he knows that stories come from your 'brain' just because once I told him I needed to think of one. He's very interested in Science and the human body. He constantly asks things like, "What's inside bones?", "Why are the blue veins on your arm?", "Is this my arm ankle?" (wrist...LOVE!), What's inside my toes?...the list goes on and on. And I love it!

This week I decided to get the kids anatomy book and teach him about veins, arteries, and anything else he wanted to read about. He seriously soaked it up. Two nights later he said what I thought was, "'re not supposed to be drunk" while we were telling stories. Ummm...what? Brian looked up and said buddy, what's drunk (b/c that's not a term we use in the house). Ephram replied, "you know, like chips, soda, candy" said junk?? Ephram said, "Yes! You're not supposed to eat junk". That's right buddy, so what's NOT junk? (Ephram is the junk lover of the family so I was especially curious to see what he'd say.)

Peaches, Green Beans, Milk's not junk, right mommy? (no, buddy), water, grapes, cheese, bananas, frozen bananas, apples, peas...and goes on to list appropriate foods. We were shocked as we've not sat down and had a 'good food/junk food' conversation with him before. I asked where he learned it and he said it was in the Science book! Wow.

August 2012

August 1- played games with the youngest three, cailey joined us for Hey Diddle Diddle, comforted Cailey and played Temple Run w/ C, watched olympics together, cailey felt better in the evening and the morgan's came to visit...and had FUN times catching up!, kids played hide and seek/just dance wii.

August 2- watched the olympics with the kiddos, kinsey and braden got creative today and made up games, rocked and read with ephram, snuggled my cailey girl who ate a TON of popsicles, and youngest three played outside.

August 3- kinsey went to kelly's house all day long, the boys went on "ventures" and played Legos and in their room most of the day (except for times when they'd play outside and go for wagon or stroller rides), they all watched Rio, swim team practice, played lost of games with my cailey girl all day, Kinsey spent the night with the Morgan's and got a call from Matt.

August 4- stayed home with cailey while the others went to the last swim meet, ephram went to the Morgan's to play, abby and nicky came until monday, braden and nicky played with legos and robots, Kinsey and Abby played pet shop/polly pockets/ponies, they all played outside in the evening, brian mulched, spent hours on a picture project for the party, and did lots of snuggling with cailey who had her WORST day yet:(.

August 5- more playing with the cousins, cailey started to feel a little better and played a bit in between resting, ephram broke his leg...and i took him to the ER, movie/popcorn for everyone, and figured out how to best care for ephram.

August 6- said goodbye to nicky and abby, quick visit from klick's, tons of reading/games/imaginary play with ephram, cailey could feel part of her scabs coming off in her throat and was having pain, and went to the swim team ice cream party/couponed with the fam.

August 7- cailey was feeling much better and one of her scabs was gone, marsie and lucas came over for lunch and playtime, played a ton with the kids, cailey had fun facetiming with rebecca for the second day in a row, ran errands with the fam in the evening, and packed for Carowinds and the "surprise weekend!"

August 8- Early morning to take Cailey and Rebecca to Carowinds ALL day:) while Laura watched the other kiddos (they played tangrams/outside/drew/played cars/Mr. Wolf, etc.) had an awesome day with the girls! and drove home late.

August 9- got ephram's carolina blue cast (and frank's) put on, Brian took the day off to help get ready for the party, shopped together, did party stuff all day, braden helped/ephram and kinsey played in the living room, mall as a fam, cailey found out that she gets to sleepover rebecca's house until SATURDAY!

August 10- watched alex, party prepped, mom and dad came, party prepped more while they played with the kiddos, couldn't sleep from excitement, went to Jason's Deli for dinner, ran errands with Mom and Dad, and stayed up late working on the picture 10 and collage.

August 11- finally got to arrange the candy 'bar'..yay!!, had fun with last minute prep/cake decorating/food making, mom and dad went around house hunting, dad played with ephram a ton, braden and kinsey helped with the balloons and the prep, freaked out about the bad traffic laura endured...but rejoiced when she finally made it!!, and was able to SURPRISE!! cailey!

August 12- woke up early for goodbyes and the Olympic Marathon as a fam, ended up falling back asleep, church, rested, restored the house back to normal, and had some great talk time with my cailey girl!

August 13- did some school, dentist, errands, more school, games together, katherine and kelly came for dinner...and lots of laughing thanks to brian:), switched kinsey for caden for our last Monday night sleepover, and crashed.

August 14- went to kelly's for a playdate, went to the home school store, walked around crabtree mall with the kiddos, hair trims for the girls, school, played Pente with Cailey, Cailey cooked mac and cheese by herself for the first time, and snuggled my babies.

August 15- piano lessons for the oldest two, met the Keel's at a free movie, school, played lots of Pente with Cailey, watched 101 dalmatians together for family movie night (inspired by the Klick's buying a new doggie for Ephram from Disney Store), and the girls set up a 'buffet' of leftovers for dinner.

August 16- school, Cailey is asking to cook dinner nightly:), went to the hospital to meet Molly's baby Austin with Kelly, Braden went to Caden's for the day, got Cailey's tooth filled, took the other three out to Bo's for lunch, went to Cailey's follow up from her tonsils, and packed for the beach with help from Braden.

August 17- watched alex and ashton, cleaned, did laundry, packed more, school, played games with kinsey, kiddos did an Ariel play together and played tons of games...and outside, and soccer practice for the girls.

August 18- cheered on kinsey at her soccer game, packed up the van for the beach!, cheered a super hot cailey, left for the beach, watched the kids play in the water, LOVED just hearing the ocean, pizza night out on the deck together, walked on the beach with the older three in the evening, and felt sad for sweet ephram who wanted nothing more than to go in the water.

August 19- went on a run with brian/braden/cailey and lasted a mile, got prepped for the beach while the boys did three, spent four amazing hours on the beach playing together as a fam/building sand castles/swimming/chasing/and burying before a thunderstorm came, showered up early and the kiddos went to play Putt Putt at a pirate place with daddy while the storm lifted..and got to hole 14 before rain came they headed to the mall while I hung out with ephram at naptime, sticky fingers for dinner, then had a blast at Barefoot Landing together.

August 20- ran 1 1/2 miles with brian (yay:)!, beach, sand fights, fun, friend making, pool, met klick's for dinner and chatting, shark shop with fam, and figured out the automatic timer on the camera:)!

August 21- woke to a rainy morning, hot krispy kreme doughnuts for breakfast, card games played, watched Dolphin Tales as a family, went out to lunch together, played putt putt since it stopped raining, stayed on the beach all afternoon and did the pool in the evening, walked with cailey in the morning...then kinsey...then braden in the evening on the beach, picnicked, had a BLAST on the sand bars way out, and brian took the oldest two out on a night walk.

August 22- happy 10th birthday to my biggest girl who had tummy aches all night:(, ran 2.5 miles!! with brian and braden (goal for the whole week was to do 2! now it's 3!), bagels on the beach for breakfast, fun ocean day...the best!, took braden to an eye apt, met keel's at broadway for dinner, shopping, and rides.

August 23- cloudy morning on the beach together, braden's eye apt, girls swam in the pool for a few hours, went to Benjamin's in the pouring rain, had a blast playing downstairs in the kids area together and swinging on the giant porch swings, played cards until late with the fam (UNO), and stayed up to blog.

August 24- rainy rainy day so we went to Wonder Works which was AWESOME!, stayed for hours, mellow mushroom for lunch, quick trip home for naps, rain finally stopped, broadway at the beach for shopping, braden was THRILLED to get to make a radio controlled car, cups for kinsey and ephram, and earrings for cailey, girls came home to swim while we started getting things packed up.

August 25- ran 3.3 with Brian and Braden!, packed up to head home, took white pics, drove home, laundry/cleaned, kiddos played outside in the GORGEOUS fall like weather (72 degrees), and sat outside with ephram chatting about volcanoes, bones, and other fun things.

August 26- church, family time, school, errands, games, clean up, prep.

August 27- piano lessons, school with kinsey done at 9, braden went to work w/ brian so he could go to his eye dr. apt at duke, ran 2 out in the HEAT, great talk time with cailey going through the body book, preschool and lots of A crafts with ephram, awesome time listening to kinsey read frog and toad, caden came to scouts with braden and then spent the night.

August 28- big boys played while i did school with kinsey and cailey did independent work, school with everyone, play/lunch date with klick's, kinsey went to their house for a playdate, preschool with ephram, great talk time with cailey, gave braden drops ALL DAY LONG praying they'll work, and went to Chili's with the Klick's.

August 29- kinsey to oral surgeon, school, pistachio pudding:), games one on one, outside play, fun preschool with ephram, made dinner with cailey, bad eye pain for cailey:(, lots of The Amazing Labyrinth, fun family night, and reading with cailey.

August 30- ephram got his cast off and moved to a boot (though won't walk yet), braden went to work with brian then to Duke for his eye check up which was a mess..they came home six hours later, baked with the other three, school, worried:(, prayed, hugged my babies, hugged my braden, played more, and crashed.

August 31- Braden to work/dr. with brian and brandon went, school, watched Alex, cleaned, LOVE doing preschool with ephram!, chatted with cheryl, got a good report from the dr. as Braden's eye improved!, did crafts, watched baby videos with the fam, and talked about adoption with kinsey.

Today's appointment

Braden's vision improved today! YAY!! It was 20/70 today and he was able to see fingers that were in front of him. His eye still didn't dilate and they aren't sure if it's because of swelling or what so his eye is very sensitive right now. His other eye is working overtime and his vision has gotten worse since this whole thing started but it's minimal and we're praying that once the infection is gone it'll go back to normal. All the cultures haven't come back yet so they still aren't sure what it is, exactly, but for now the course of antibiotics is working. Since we've been down this road before (of improvement on days 1-2 then GREAT decline) we'll be going back to Duke again tomorrow at 10am.

The eye is amazing. I just had no idea that you can be pretty blind one day and see the next. I'm in awe that it can improve so drastically! There will be permanent damage to his cornea but as long as the infection clears up then the danger of him losing his vision all together goes away. Amazing. The doctors treat Braden like a "rock star" and love on him:). Praying and Trusting and honored that so many have joined in with us!

If you are so inclined, please comment on this blog post. Yesterday I showed him (and the other kiddos) just how many people were praying for him (or commented on fb) and they were FLOORED. He couldn't believe that there were so many people that cared for him. If I have the comments on the blog I can save them for him and print it...but I can't figure out how to do it from fb.

Thank you for walking with us on this journey!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Braden's Eye

When Cailey was two months old we took her for a check-up which we assumed would take no time at all and routine in every way. When she was weighed we found out she had actually lost weight between check-ups setting in motion hours of worrying over her and punctuated attempts to draw blood from our screaming baby.

When I took Braden to have his eye checked today, it turned into that day in 2002. I assumed it would be routine or at least a validation that perhaps things were heading in the right direction. They unfortunately were still leaving us with questions and fears.

Braden had an appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist and then the cornea specialist to see if they could determine anything else about his eye. The nurse saw him first and ran him through a series of eye tests including your basic vision test. This was the first sign of real trouble as Braden was unable to read letters in the 20/125 range with his bad eye while wearing his glasses. This had not been an issue on Monday but clearly was today. He had complained that his eye had begun hurting and we wondered if maybe it was a bad reaction to the new antibiotic drops.

They put drops in to dilate his eyes but his 'bad eye' didn't dilate. I wasn't sure what that meant.

After those tests Braden was seen by the pediatric ophthalmologist and then the cornea specialist. They did more tests, looked at the eye and ultimately decided to take some cultures from the eye. Now, if you are unfamiliar with what that involves, it sounds exactly like you think it does. Basically, after giving him some "numbing" drops, the doctor used swaps to take fluids and what not directly off Braden's cornea. Braden, ever the trooper, sat still and let them finish the work without a peep.

Following the cultures, the doctors were still discussing what to do and brought in the chief of pediatric ophatamology to consult. One thing about going to Duke is it is a teaching and research hospital which means there is no shortage of quality doctors or doctors in general coming in to look at Braden's eye. By my count six different doctors and a second year medical student all looked at Braden's eye and 2-3 more were in and out of the room for part of the discussion.

After all of that, the verdict for now seems to be an infection caused by a virus. As such Braden is on two antibiotic drops (to be given very hour) which were mixed specially for his case by the pharmacy at Duke. He is also taking a giant oral anti-viral medication and has additional drops and ointments to be taken at least four times a day. The hope is the cocktail of antibiotics will kill whatever "bug" is causing the infection. The first step is to deal with it from a bacteria/virus perspective while waiting for the results of the cultures. It is possible the infection is fungal which would require a different course of medication.

So at this point Braden is on tap for daily visits to Duke to keep tabs on what is going on with the eye which means more wait and see.

Heather's add...
they finally got home at 6:40...after starting the apt at 1:00. They both had cakes waiting for them because when I don't know what else I can do I feed people. I make them happy through their stomachs:). And they were both happy!

Kinsey and I made Braden a Boston Creme Cake while Cailey and Ephram made Brian a banana pudding cake.

Tonight I was sitting and talking to Braden about his day and he was his normal chipper self. At one point I asked him to cover his good eye (while wearing his glasses) and held up two fingers. I asked him how many fingers I was holding up (thinking for SURE it was silly for me to be asking because of course he could see from a foot away) and he said one. My stomach sank. I knew Brian said it was bad but I never imagined he couldn't even see my fingers from a foot away. I asked him what it looked like and he said it was a big blurry blob then faded to black.

It's been an emotional day as we thought his appointment today would be routine and Brian would be in and out without a problem. I'm thankful for prayer and certainly needed it today! I want to say that though my stomach has been in knots all day and I've felt short of breath I feel like God gave me peace this afternoon. I went outside on the steps with Ephram and Kinsey while Cailey was cooking dinner and as soon as I went to sit down there were 14 butterflies on our bush...all fluttering about. We've had two or three there at a time before but I've NEVER seen so many and just felt like it was God's way of letting me know that He Is. He cares for the butterflies and He most certainly cares for my Braden.

I don't know what the future holds for my boy but I'm praying that he will be healed and this last month will just be a crazy memory of 'the summer of 2012'.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

White Beach Pictures

I kept waiting for a nice evening to take our annual white pics this year....but it never came. So thankfully the rain stopped long enough for me to take them the morning we left.

They turned out pretty cute! And we will certainly remember this beach trip as the one like no other!

farewell until next time, beach!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

Wonder Works

When we stepped in the building EVERYTHING was upside down. We had to walk through an inversion tunnel to get to the exhibits. (Mommy had to close her eyes and hold on to daddy because she was too dizzy to even get through it.)

Since it was pouring we decided to take the kids to "the upside down house" for a day of fun. They were SO excited because they are always curious about it when we drive past. It was pretty neat and the kids loved it! The whole 'museum' is all about different aspects of science or I'm counting it as a school day:). The kids learned about different pulleys and why some worked easier than others...above is ephram trying one out. The middle picture is of Cailey and Brian trying to generate enough power by pedaling to flip themselves completely upside down. I did it with her afterwards too:). The third picture was an interactive snowboarding course...which even mama liked.

They got to go in a 'hurricane shack' and feel winds up to 84mph, learn all about the Titanic, throw baseballs and see how fast they went, play a really cool game of virtual air hockey (mommy and daddy's fav), make music with their feet on the floor piano, do a high jump, and tons more.

Cailey and I trying to flip over and Braden laying on a bed of in real nails.

kinsey using the pulleys and playing with giant bubbles at the bubble factory, and then going on a roller coaster simulator after designing the ride they wanted. (Cailey and Braden also went on together.)

They had a whole section devoted to space which Braden loved. He got to lay down and be a 'real' astronaut. Ephram's hand compared to Shaq's was even Brian looked short next to him.

Cailey and Braden really wanted to do the ropes course that was lit with black lights so everything glowed. It was pretty scary getting across some of the obstacles but we did it.

After four hours in Wonder Works we left to get some lunch at Mellow Mushroom (YUM) where all my hungry peeps devoured every morsel, then went back to the condo so the oldest three could play games while ephram napped. (mommy and kinsey decided to nap too:)

The rain stopped after naptime so we spent the evening together at Broadway for some fun shopping, ice cream, kettle corn, and lots of laughter.

We stayed out pretty late then got home and the girls wanted a nighttime swim since they hadn't been in the water all day. The boys wanted to go watch but didn't go in. I took the opportunity to take another matchy pic because I was sad that there were TWO MORE matchy bathing suits that because of the rain the kids wouldn't get to wear. Sigh. Getting over it:).

Brian and I TRIED to warn the girls that they would be too cold and it wasn't worth going in for 10 minutes just to come out and have to get showered but they insisted that they'd stay in for a long time. The temp only got to 70 degrees all day and it poured..that makes for cold water! About 10 minutes (or maybe 15) two shivering girls came up to snuggle and get warm.

Another fun day spite of the rain:).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Braden Update

Today Braden went to Duke for a TWO HOUR appointment about his eye. Brian took him since it's close to where he works then he spent the rest of the day doing independent work (which took all of 30 min) and playing.

A nurse came in to see him. Two different residents came in. Then a cornea specialist, and finally a pediatric ophthalmologist. Apparently what's going on with his eye was enough to get everyone in the department down to see it under the scope. They took close up pictures of his eye which I'm guessing will show up in a medical book by the way they were acting. Braden was a trooper through it all and never complained. This boy gets drops that BURN every hour and doesn't say a word.

Basically we found out that the original ophthalmologist was treating him for pink eye. I don't have a medical degree but I know pink eye and could have told him that's not what it was. He never told us that's what he thought Braden had but we're guessing he just didn't know what to do and gave him those drops. So the drops Braden was using would get rid of the redness and make Brian and I think it was better but the infection was still getting worse and worse in his eye (where we couldn't see).

They have no idea what is wrong with his eye other than it's a raging infection. They don't know what kind of infection (fungal, bacterial, etc.) His cornea is permanently damaged and the white stuff covering his eye is pus from the infection. They are being very aggressive with how they are treating him because they don't want the pus to cover his pupil completely and make his vision even worse. Because they aren't sure what caused the infection (or what kind it is) they have him on a variety of antibiotics. He has Bacitracin (like Neosporin ointment) that we put in four times a day, Vigomax (drops) that we put in every hour, and they want him to take an oral antibiotic (Augmentin) because they want to try to put as much in his system as possible to fight the infection (since they don't know where it's coming from).

He goes back Thursday for another appointment where he will see all of the doctors again to check the progress.

Basically we still don't have answers but know that we are in the right place now with doctors who are going to be diligent about how to help the infection to not get worse, and hopefully make it go away so no further damage will be done.

Thank you for all the prayers and please keep them coming!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Last full day on the Beach

(it was our last full day because of rain)

tag was a popular game with the whole family! and daddy made Yoda for Ephram and Braden

It was another great ocean day with a sand bar that the kids loved to go out to. Cailey was helping Kinsey get out. We dug a GIANT pool.

Braden and Kinsey loved doing gymnastics on the sand! Daddy pulled them all in the pool which was a big hit!

tricks time

For dinner we went to Benjamin's. It was POURING outside so we covered ephram's cast with an umbrella bag:). Braden was in heaven eating tons of muscles, clams, oysters, shrimp, crab, and mushrooms! He LOVED it!

After dinner we went out on the deck to swing in GIANT gliders together and play cornhole. Then we went downstairs to play in a "marbles museum" type playroom. There were boat rides, lots of fun cooking with the kiddos, a water pump that braden loved, great fishing, puzzles for ephram, and just lots of great family playtime.

We came home several hours later to play UNO together for a family game night. Daddy also played war with the oldest three. What a fun fun family night!