Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All About Annalise

Since Bryce has been stealing the show here a little bit lately, I decided to let you in on what is going on with Annalise.  I'll tell you what, this little girl has more personality in that little 2 yr old body than most people I know.  She keeps us laughing with all she says and does.  I absolutely love to just sit and play with her.  She has a fantastic imagination.

I guess she decided that my drink looked better than hers. 

This is right after she cut her bangs.  Luckily you couldn't really see where she did it.  

She and Bryce in one of their favorite places.  The pod of our "relatively" new Zigo bike.  They love going for bike rides where they can sit on the front of the bike and see everything that is happening in front of them!  This picture was taken a few months ago when it was a bit warmer! 

Annalise also loves painting her nails.  She has to do it herself and although her fingers get a bit pink in the process, her nails always look beautiful!

Even with 4 brothers, she is such a girly girl!

One morning I had to run to the grocery store and I decided to let her play in Basha's play area.  She loved it!  Didn't want to leave, so the lady there picked her up and carried her over to the bakery and got her a cookie.  Then she was perfectly happy to get into the cart and eat her cookie as we left the store.  


Another new found love of hers is "cream" as she calls it.  She first had some on her pie at Thanksgiving and she has been hooked ever since.  Shortly thereafter, her dad introduced her to the "straight from the can to the mouth" approach and she has taken to it quite nicely.  In October, she had lost weight, so we have been doing  various things to help get the calories into her.  She had a follow up appointment with the nutritionist last week and she is up 1.6 lbs!  She has come from below the charts up to the 10th percentile!  Hooray for Cream!  

She often tells us that we are being too loud and then covers her ears or

tells us to Shhhh!

Here we are in our latest vehicle...a minivan!  Who would have thought that our search for the right vehicle over the last couple of years would lead us right back to the same type of car we were driving before...only a bit modified.  I'll update you on our latest vehicle happenings soon, but this post isn't about cars, it's about an adorable girl and her brothers!

This picture just melts my heart!  Bryce and Annalise both love books.  Here I was reading this book to Bryce and I had to leave for a minute.  When I came back I saw that Annalise had gotten herself over to Bryce and was turning the pages for him and "reading" the story.  Too sweet!

She can be sweet and girly, but this girl never turns down a chance to play in the dirt!

Here she is sitting on her new froggy potty.  I have no idea if she will be able to be potty trained or not, but she has been telling me when she has a dirty diaper and has shown interest in sitting on the potty, so I decided that we might as well give it a try.  I will be thrilled if she is able to potty train!  

I have to share a funny story about this potty.  When we bought it, there was this one and one other just like it and she wanted them both.  I tried to convince her that she only needed one potty, but she insisted that I get both of them.  So, I finally put both, exactly the same, froggy potties into the cart.  As we began moving on to something else, she completely forgot about the potty and I carefully returned the extra one to the shelf.  She had no idea and was totally fine...until we got to the check out line.  She saw me put the one potty up and asked, "where other froggy potty?"  Oh no!  So I told her that we were only going to get one because that was all we needed.  She then began crying, "I need 2 froggy potties" over and over the whole time we were checking out.  Finally the lady there gave her a sticker and everything was okay.

That is until we got home and she realized again that only one potty had come home with us.  Then she said, "where baby froggy?  Baby froggy at store"  She then pointed to her potty and said, "mommy froggy, baby froggy not here,"  in a very sad voice.  I then realized that I had brought the mommy home and left the baby in the store.  No wonder she was so upset!  Luckily she is happy now to sit on the mommy froggy potty, even though the baby is not here.  Hopefully I haven't scarred her for life! :{

This particular day, she and I were the only ones home at the time and I was having fun talking and playing with her.  She was in such a silly mood.  It was so fun!  Here she is showing me her mouth.  She wanted me to take a picture so that she could see her own mouth.

This is what happens when you have 4 older brothers and you think you need to be wrestling right along with them.  She got this rug burn one night while playing with her brothers.  A day or so later, while she and I were in the car, she picked the scab off, held it out to me, and said, "here Mommy!"  It was then covered with a bandaid so that she couldn't get to it and it could heal.

Being silly!

She often pretends she is a dog.  Here she is licking her walker.  She thought that was funny too!

Here she is being brave and letting go of her walker.  We count while she stands.  We can usually get up to about 10 now.

After playing with me for a while, she then said, "I go sleep now."  and leaned back on her walker with her eyes closed.

A few seconds later she opened her eyes and said, "I awake!"  She is seriously a crack up.  

She is huge into pretend play.  Everything is mommy/baby or daddy/baby.  One morning I went in to get her out of bed and she looked up at me and said, "Hi Mommy doggie!"  Another morning I went in and said good morning and she looked up at me and said, "two eyeballs!"  Yeah, you never know what is going to come out of that little girl's mouth, but it usually makes me smile!

If you haven't ever gotten a chance to hang out with this girl, you really should!  It will make your day!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Amazing Jake's

It's late, so this post will be quick, but I just had to share what Bryce and his dad did tonight.  A couple of years ago, John decided that he wanted to take each of the kids out to dinner for their birthday...just the two of them.  Well, this year he wanted to take Bryce out as well.  Since Bryce is completely tube fed now, the whole "take him out to dinner" thing just wasn't going to work.  So, John has been thinking about it for a few weeks and decided that he would take him somewhere fun, even if they didn't eat.  So tonight he and Bryce headed out to Amazing Jake's and spent a couple of hours going on rides and playing games together...just the two of them!  They let Bryce in for 1/2 price since he wouldn't be eating.  I don't have any pictures of the actual event, but the smile that Bryce had on his face when they returned home told me that he had a great time.  His eyes lit up as John told me about riding the carousel (always a favorite of Bryce's), the train, and the roller coaster.  John doesn't always get a lot of time with the little ones, so I'm glad that he and Bryce were able to spend some quality time together tonight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

His Eyes...the Rest of the Story

There is just a little bit more to the story that I want to share here.  It continues on the next day, Sunday.    As I sat there at church with my three oldest boys, partaking of the Sacrament, listening to the testimonies, and feeling the wonderful spirit that was there that day, my thoughts turned back to Bryce and his eyes.  First the scared, pleading eyes.  I thought of how many times in our lives we have looked to our Heavenly Father with eyes similar to those eyes.  Pleading eyes and a voice that calls up to him, begging him to help us make it through whatever our current struggle is, to help us find the peace, to help us breathe so that we can make it through just this one more trial.

And when He does, and everything is safe and peaceful again...do we go back and thank him with a voice as loud and strong as Bryce's eyes were that day in the rocking chair as he thanked me?  

I obviously still have so much to learn.  It is however amazing to me how much one little non-verbal boy can teach me in such a short period of time!  Thank you Bryce.

Monday, January 16, 2012

His Eyes

Bryce may be non-verbal, but through his gorgeous brown eyes, he speaks volumes!

I've been thinking about writing this post for a little over a week.  I knew I wanted to share this experience with all of you, and yet it has been hard to get it down in writing.  Even tonight as I sit at the computer, the words aren't coming easily.  

I love my boy more than words can express.  A few years ago, my then 3 year old son Spencer, was throwing a fit over something and I said to him," Use your words.  What do you need?"  He looked up at me and through his tears he said, "words!"

Words are powerful!  Words...something that Bryce has not had for over 3 years now.  Because he does not have words, he has been labeled "mentally retarded" by the system and yet anyone who spends time with him soon learns that his mind is alive and active.  I have never heard him say "I love you" and yet through his eyes and his soul, he has spoken to me many times. 

Saturday, January 7th was one of those times.  It was the day that John was in the hospital and Bryce woke with croup.  Throughout the day he had many "non-breathing episodes" as we call them.  He has these when he is well also, but when he is sick, they come more often, last longer, and are way more scary!  They are intensified by his inability/lack of strength to cough and get rid of any mucus or phlegm that comes with common respiratory illnesses.  They are also harder for him to overcome when he is upset or afraid.

So, back to Saturday afternoon.  As Bryce began to cough and make a quiet sound, that I know all too well and can hear from across the room yet cannot even explain, I ran to him, picked him up in my arms, and got him into the best position to help him through what I knew was coming.  The cough assist machine, breathing equipment, and suction machine were all close by and soon would be used to help him clear his airway with hopes of keeping anything from being aspirated into his lungs and causing more problems.   Like so many times before, he began to gag, choke, and then struggle for breath as I held him and worked with him.  His heart was racing, as was mine as he looked up at me with those eyes that spoke so loudly to me.  His eyes were calling out for help, for peace, for breath.  There was fear in those eyes that looked up at me, begging for relief and trusting that I would help it come.  It is a look that I am sure will never, as long as I live, leave my memory.  

Although the color of his lips and face began to change as I looked into those pleading eyes, I was reminded that I must remain calm so that he could become calm and take that breath that would allow him to stay with us.  His eyes have spoken to me like this before, but for some reason, it really affected me this day.  

As he spoke to me with his eyes, I silently prayed and spoke quietly to him with my words reminding him to breathe, telling him that he could do it, and that everything would be okay.  Finally he took that breath and soon he was once again okay.

A few minutes later I sat holding him in our rocking chair.  As I held him in my arms, he looked up at me and again spoke to me with his eyes.  He thanked me!  He told me that he loved me and thanked me for helping him!  I snuggled him a little closer and told him with my words that I loved him too and how thankful I am that our Heavenly Father has allowed me to be his mom.  How lucky I am to be the one to care for him while he is on this earth and to experience his amazing spirit in a way that only a mother can.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breathe Baby, Breathe

It seems like I've said that a lot over the past week.  As we prepare to head into another weekend, I am praying that this one will be much more calm and uneventful than the last.  Annalise began running a fever last Thursday, she is finally getting over that and the cough/cold that has accompanied it.  Thursday night, John came home with what we thought was the stomach flu.  He was sick throughout the night, but was feeling a bit better Friday morning other than some pain in his stomach, so he kept the appointment and went to sign the papers to refinance our home.  As he was driving back from there, he began feeling very ill again.  He went into work, since that was close, and called me saying that he was going to have a co-worker take him to the hospital.  When he got to the hospital they found that he was dehydrated.  They then decided to do a CT scan just to make sure there was nothing else.  They found a bowel blockage and admitted him to the hospital.  I wasn't happy about him being so sick, but I was thrilled that it wasn't the stomach flu that would be running though the family!  He ended up being in the hospital until Monday.  Luckily he did not have to have surgery!

So John was admitted to the hospital Friday night and about midnight Bryce's breathing seemed really strange to me, but not terribly alarming.  About 5am, he woke again with this weird sounding breathing and then began with croup.  I did all the usual things to get the croup under control (in the mean time, all the boys had heard him struggling and woken up).  As we were outside and his breathing was a little less labored, I told him that it was Daddy's turn to be in the hospital and that he couldn't join him!  :)  Luckily he listened, and soon was breathing a bit better.  We spent the weekend and the last couple of days doing breathing treatments and major suctioning, trying to keep his breathing stable and his lungs clear.  He has given me a few scares, but now seems to be on the mend.  We did end up at the doctor's office yesterday because he began running a fever and seemed very uncomfortable.  Ends up he has an ear infection.  Luckily his lungs sound clear, so hopefully we can get rid of the ear infection and he will be back to the happy, healthy Bryce we all know and love!  He is really looking forward to going back to school.  He gets bored with just mom and Annalise all day!

Another weird thing that Bryce has been going through is this weird rash.  It is totally unrelated (I think) to the croup.  It began just over 3 weeks ago.  Here is a picture of the first spot. 

Looks like ring worm doesn't it?  

Then this one showed up on his belly.  
Bryce had a GI appointment the day the second one showed up and the GI also thought that it looked like ring worm and told us to just use the over the counter anti-fungal cream which we continued doing for another week and a half.  In the meantime, this rash began to spread all over his body,

so I decided to take him to the pediatrician since I didn't think ring worm spread like that.  She looked at it and first thought ring worm, but when I showed her the whole rash, she confirmed that ring worm does not spread like that.  She then looked for a while, put her hands up and said, "I really don't know what that is, you need to take him to a dermatologist."  So I made an appointment, but they can't see him until next week.

So, we weren't really sure what was going on, but when my Mom was talking to my younger sister, Kim said that it sounded just like what she had a couple of years ago.  I sent these pictures to Kim and talked with her a bit and she said hers looked just like that.  She couldn't remember what it was called, so she called her dermatologist and asked her.  PITYRIASIS ROSEA!  I looked it up on the internet and sure enough that is exactly what it is!  Thanks Dr. Kim!  When I took Bryce in for his ears, the doctor we saw that day confirmed it.  Luckily it is not contagious.  It usually affects people from the ages of 10-35, so he has it a little young.  The rash usually lasts 6-8 weeks, but can last for months.  He doesn't seem bothered by it, so I guess we'll just wait for it to disappear.  Weird!

They keep me on my toes, but aren't they just adorable?  Keepers for sure!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December Updates

We didn't see too many doctors in December, but I thought I would fill you in on the few that we did have.  Bryce gained back the weight that he had lost, so we do not have to alter his feeds this time, which is always nice.  We go back in two months for another weight check.

Bryce and Annalise both had eye appointments and found that both of them are slightly near sided.  This isn't a huge surprise considering both parents spent many years in glasses!  Annalise also has an astigmatism and is just slightly near sided.  They said that nothing needs to be done right away, but we will need to watch  that because she will most likely need glasses in the future.

Bryce's eyesight is a little worse.  The opthamologist said that if he was needing to read a chalk board or something, then they would give him glasses now, but we are going to hold off since he doesn't really need to see far for now...oh, and the fact that he hates having anything on or around his face!  The doctor said to just put him up close to the TV  :)  I have to admit, John and I both thought the doctor was a little odd, but that's okay.

The good news though is that there is no sign of any of the eye issues that often come from the  Leukodystrophies in either of our children!  So, although the near sidedness reminds me that these little ones aren't immune from the normal, everyday issues, their overall eye sight is still good!

Today I got an email from the neurologist letting me know that the doctor here in the states also did not find any deletions.  Dr. Narayanan has officially diagnosed them with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS5) because he strongly believes that's what it is. However, he did say today that he obviously has more work to do.  I'll keep you posted!

Oh, Annalise also got some new AFO's that she is really not liking.  The tightness and spasticity in her legs has gotten worse so these will hopefully help stretch her and keep her off her toes a bit.  Unfortunately, she seems to be in pain a good part of the time now, so she is now on pain meds a couple times a day.  I'm sure she will be starting baclofen soon.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season.  Our hope for 2012 is a true, sure diagnosis and a cure...that isn't too much to ask for, right?!