August 2013

August 2013
Photo by KME Photography

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brecken can be so funny!

Brecken has really started to talk a lot more lately - more phrases/sentences instead of just a couple of words, and boy is he hilarious! He frequently makes us laugh out loud, and I just had to share the funniest thing I can remember from the past few days... I put him on his potty after breakfast yesterday morning, and as soon as he sat down, he looked at me and said, "I need book, please!" HAHAHAHA! I definitely laughed out loud. (It's funnier in person!) I did do just that and went and got a book to read to him. As soon as I finished, he said, "Different book." The funniest thing is that I don't think he's EVER seen anyone read on the pot, so I just have no idea where he got his from. I guess maybe males are just born reading on the pot? Hope this made you smile a bit. I'll do a Christmas post soon hopefully.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Catch-up post

Well it's been awhile since I've posted...lots has been happening, but I just don't find the time to write as often as I'd like. In my last post on Halloween, Brecken had come down with another fever and high cough. His fever improved after a couple of days, but his cough continued to get worse despite the instructions from the pediatrician to start the Albuterol nebulizer treatments at the very fist sign of cold/congestion symptoms. I took him to the pediatrician again that Wednesday, and thankfully his lungs were still sounding clear. However, since the Albuterol didn't seem to be doing enough to prevent the upper respiratory troubles, the dr. came up with a new plan. She said that if we have to use the Albuterol as often as we have been this fall, Brecken will eventually be less responsive to the drug and we won't have it when we really need it. She recommended starting him on a different nebulizer medicine once a day to prevent respiratory problems. With all of Brecken's respiratory illnesses (one late last spring and 2 already in October), she said he is border line being diagnosed with asthma. This new medicine should hopefully prevent him from having more respiratory illnesses documented in his chart, which will prevent him getting the "asthma" label. For now, he's just listed as having "Reactive Airway Disease" which is essentially asthma type symptoms triggered by colds or allergies. So this is the new addition to our nightly routine:

Brecken is such a trooper with his daily neb treatments. He often insists on holding it himself :) I was quite hesistant about putting him on this daily med, but after further research we decided it is truly what is best for Brecken right now. It seems to be doing the trick, and he's been healthy for a full month now...hallelujah!

In more exciting news, we've had a busy few weeks. Here are some pictures from our recent fall events.
One last trip to the park

My friend, Steph's, wedding 11-19-11

Snow!

Thanksgiving with the Hoelscher/Schmidt family


Peek-a-boo! (Christmas tree box)

Brecken helping to decorate for Christmas ;)

In case I don't get a chance to write before Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Our little lion was sick, so we didn't get to go trick-or-treating :( We were really bummed (well mostly Mommy and Daddy since Brecken doesn't know much about it yet.) He has even been practicing his lion roar and saying trick-or-treat, but I guess we'll have to wait another year. Although I do plan to bring him over to a couple of our neighbors later in the week once he is feeling better. He came down with a pretty high fever yesterday afternoon and has started coughing again. The dr. told us earlier to start the nebulizer at the first sign of any respiratory issues and so far that seems to be keeping things under control. We're thinking it's probably just a virus because there was a girl at daycare last week that had similar symptoms and was out for several days. Anyway, enough on our little sicky. Here are some Halloween pictures...
Vocab. Parade at school - check out those lovely pants


Mommy made Pumpkin Pancakes for Breakfast on Sunday

Carving with Daddy

Poor Brecken - sick on Halloween

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brecken is a Big Boy

I have suddenly realized that Brecken is really growing up... About a month ago we converted his crib to the toddler bed, and recently we have packed away the sippy cups and high chair and took down our baby gate. Wow, Brecken is definitely not a baby anymore. How did this happen...where does the time go? I have to say though that I just love the age he is at right now....he's just getting to be so much FUN!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Concordia Homecoming 2011

Last weekend we headed up to Moorhead for Concordia's Homecoming. This year we stayed with the Endreson family (DJ's friends from college), and we had a GREAT time! Saturday morning we went to the parade, which was lots of fun. The rest of the weekend the kids just played together - the highlight was probably the bouncy house they had. Here are some pictures...


Tenley (1), Brecken, Kaycee (5)


All done
My friend, Amanda, and her fiance also joined us at the parade, and it was so great to see them too! After the parade, we had lunch at Panchero's, and then it was nap time for the 2 younger kids. During nap time, I went to meet up with another college friend, April, and it was great to catch up with her as well! Sunday, we left right after lunch and we were able to make a stop at Lake Osakis to see Grandma & Grandpa Hoelscher.

This weekend, DJ and Brecken went up to Browerville so DJ could do some work on his deer stand. I have the house all to my self and am getting caught up with pictures while Mama Mia is playing in the background :) Tomorrow my goal is to wash windows and get a bunch of school work done, then possibly meet my mom in the evening to go shopping if the boys aren't home yet. Hey, I have to sneak in a little fun while the boys are gone ;)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2 year Check-up and more...

Brecken had a great 2-year check-up with his pediatrician a couple of weeks ago...He weighed in at 28 pounds exactly (50%) and was 35 1/4 inches (73%)! What happened to our little peanut?

Last weekend we went to a Corn Maze for some fall fun. They also had a petting zoo, corn pit, and giant slide. It was LOTS of fun and here are a few pictures.
Corn Pit



This weekend was unfortunately not so fun...Brecken was sick (with Bronchitis!). He started with a little cough here or there around Tuesday last week. Then Thursday I got an e-mail at work from his daycare lady saying that he wasn't feeling that great, was crabby, and just not acting at all like the normal Brecken, but he didn't feel warm and she didn't think it was anything too serious. Well Thursday night he had a fever of 101 and was up coughing throughout the night. So on Friday afternoon DJ took him into the pediatrician and they did a chest x-ray because his cough sounded so terrible. The radiologist wasn't available right then so the dr did her best to read the x-ray and said she saw a little cloudiness which was likely the start of Bronchitis. She didn't want Brecken to have to wait through the weekend to get the official word, so she started him on the Z-pack (Zythromax) and said to give him nebulizer treatments every 3-4 hours, as needed. Saturday morning I got the official x-ray results online and found out that he indeed did have Bronchitis and possibly the very beginning of pneumonia :( Overall, he's done really well and is still his happy, silly self. We've actually had a hard time keeping him mellow so that he can better. He just wants to keep go, go, going! The nights have been another story...when he lies down, he coughs, and coughs, and coughs! It's been almost like having a newborn again with the amount of sleep we've been getting around here :( The dr. said to call on Monday if he's not doing a lot better. I have to call to get a refill for the nebulizer anyway (since we're still using leftovers from when he was just a few months old), so I think I'll also let her know that although his fever is gone, his cough is pretty much the same as it was on Friday :( Here's to hoping for a better night's sleep before the work week (and I'm getting observed tomorrow - nice timing ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brecken's 2nd Birthday

I'm a couple days late, but Happy Birthday, Brecken! I can't believe our little peanut that started at just 2 pounds is now a big two-year-old! On his birthday, it's incredible to remember the journey he has had. I look at him on his 2nd birthday and just cannot believe that he was born 3 months early, yet never had a single surgery, and he is a completely normal two year old in size AND development. We are just so thankful that he his able to live a perfectly normal life. Miracles DO happen, and we are so grateful that God blessed us with a huge miracle!

Here are a few pictures from his birthday party with the family, last Sunday, 9/18.
It was a full living room!

Cake made by Great-Grandma Schmidt




And here are a couple pictures from his actual birthday:


Baseball cake that Mommy made

He ate a whole piece of cake!
 And a little video :) You'll have to pardon my singing!
video





Oh, and his daycare lady e-mailed me this picture from his lunch party with his daycare friends -




Hallelujah - No Matter What

Last Saturday, I attended a women's conference titled,  "Hallelujah!--no matter what...The journey from hurt to hope." The keynote speaker was singer/songwriter Heather Williams, and she has quite the inspirational story! Heather had a very rough childhood to say the least. She was abused and neglected. After high school she turned her life around and got married to a strong Christian. They got pregnant after trying for 5 years, and after the baby was born, he died of a medical issue at the age of 6 months! If she can still praise God after all she has been through in her life, I think almost anyone can!

Here is a video of her inspiring story (definitely worth 7 minutes of your time!)...
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=91B1E1NU
(I hope she can inspire you in a similar way that she did for me.)

Here is a link to a shorter version of her story.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG3n0htT-2Y

For more information, you can visit Heather Williams' website:
http://heatherwilliamsmusic.com/Home

I would love to share my personal reflection to her story and how I can relate it to our experience with Brecken's premature birth, but I'll save that for another day. He's up from his nap, and I'm off to play with that miracle boy now :)

Oh, and I have to say THANK YOU to D.J. for encouraging me to go to the conference even though I didn't know a single other person that was going. I was definitely glad I went!

God bless,
Laura

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brecken's Girlfriends

It seems that everywhere we go it's girls, girls, girls! We are in BIG trouble if this trend continues in his teenage years!

Liana and Brecken dancing

Liana and Brecken again

Liana, Brecken, Amaya (fellow preemies & friends)

The neighbor girl and Brecken




My friend's daughter, Emmelia

Daycare friend, Brielle

Daycare friends Emma and Paige (It's ALL girls at daycare!)
And I could continue with a lot more girls too if I had pictures of all of them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recipes!

Over the last several months I've been trying really hard to plan out new meals before I head to the grocery store. Otherwise I end up getting the same old things every time, and it gets rather boring. Since I've found quite a few good recipes (all fairly easy too!), I thought I'd share them because I know how hard it can be to come up with new, easy dinner ideas. If you have any recipes you'd like to share, you can e-mail them to me at laurahoelscher@hotmail.com and then I can post for others. I figure we might as well swap recipes to save us some time and energy :)

Here are some of the recipes we've liked (I won't waste your time posting the not so good ones):

I'll start with a few of our favorites...
Tortellini Marinara - http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Tortellini-Marinara
Taco Bake - http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/taco-bake-63779.aspx
Cajun Chicken Pasta - http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/cajun-chicken-pasta-6/

Weeknight Ravioli - http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/weeknight-ravioli-bake-114685.aspx
Pierogi Beef Skillet - http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Pierogi-Beef-Skillet
Sweet 'n' Tangy Pot Roast - http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Sweet--n--Tangy-Pot-Roast (This is more of a BBQ flavor that works well for BBQ sandwiches.)
Shortcut Stroganoff - http://www.campbellkitchen.com/recipedetail.aspx?recipeId=25201&fbid=tXRAP4S_Xe4
Pineapple Pork Chops - http://www.moneywisemoms.com/2009/09/wfmw-pineapple-pork-chops.html
Teriyaki Chicken & Rice - http://whilehewasnapping.blogspot.com/2011/03/20-minute-teriyaki-chicken-rice.html#axzz1VuKaA9fd
Banana Brownie Waffles: http://mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen/2010/02/10/banana-brownie-waffles-giveaway-for-a-cuisinart-belgian-waffle-maker/

And a great smoothie:
http://mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen/2010/05/03/healthy-meal-with-kid-appeal-award-mommys-kitchens-blueberry-banana-smoothie/

I find most of my recipes at Organizing Junkie - Menu Plan Monday...It's on my link list. I don't follow her menu plan, but it's a great source for recipes. Another good source is the cookbook, No Whine With Dinner. I asked for it for Mother's Day, and DJ & Brecken got it for me :)

Enjoy everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NEW YORK!

My mom and I took a trip to New York last week, and we had such a great time! My mom has always wanted to go to NY, but my dad didn't really have any desire to go soooo... I got to go instead! We've talked about going for a few years, but it took until now to actually put it into action. We were only there 3 nights, and 4 days but I'm pretty sure we packed every attraction into our trip! We saw Times Square, Rockefeller Center, two Broadway shows (Mary Poppins and Sister Act - both were awesome!), the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, and went on a Harbor Cruise. We took the tour bus to a couple sites that were the farthest away, but other than that we walked, and walked, AND walked! We never once set foot on the Subway or a taxi! The trip went really well and we were amazed with how fast we got oriented in such a big city. The only little glitch in the trip was our flight home. We were scheduled to leave at 8:35p.m. but we were delayed due to some thunderstorms there. We got on the plane just before 11p.m. but then didn't actually take off until almost 1 a.m. because of the runway back-up! By the time we landed, stopped at my parents, and I got back to Elk River, it was 4 a.m. (5 a.m. New York time!)  I think I'm still trying to catch up with my sleep ;)

Here are a few of the trip highlights:
Times Square

Broadway show #1

Tour Bus
Views from the top of the Empire State Building



Night Tour

Central Park

Broadway show #2 - Sister Act
Thanks, Mom for a wonderful trip and great memories!

(While I was gone, Brecken spent one day getting reacquainted at daycare, 2 days at Grandma and Grandpa Hoelscher's, and one day home with Daddy.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Corn on the Cob

A couple weeks ago, we had some home grown sweet corn. For Brecken, we of course cut the corn off the cob being that he is not even quite 2 yet. Well I guess we can forget that; Brecken wanted to do it just like Mommy and Daddy! :)
video

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2 years ago today...

2 years ago was such a whirlwind of a day! Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's been 2 years since that awful day when we were sent straight from a routine ultrasound to the hospital. Now that 2 years have passed, I don't think we'll ever forget the events of August 21, 2009 and the challenging months that followed. I don't think many people can fully comprehend what it is like to fear so much for your baby's life, then to watch your tiny baby fight so hard, and then wait 2 1/2 months to bring your baby home for the very first time! And boy were we naive to think that our difficult journey was ending when we finally brought him home. We still had a heart monitor to carry around everywhere (and prayed that it didn't go off!), still couldn't have visitors except immediate family, and we lived in fear that he would catch a minor cold or illness that could send him straight back to the hospital! Thankfully all of that is behind us, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't stop and thank God for our miracle boy! Brecken is a healthy, happy, thriving little boy that lives a perfectly normal life! PRAISE GOD - miracles DO happen!
Here is my post from last year when it was the one year anniversary:
One year ago today (Friday, August 21st) is when the craziness all began. Yes, one year ago today is when we went in for a 2nd ultrasound (just so they could get some more pictures of the baby’s spine because he was on his back the whole time in our first ultrasound). In this 2nd ultrasound, our moods quickly shifted from excitement and anticipation of seeing our baby again, to extreme confusion and worry. As we sat in the room watching the ultrasound tech, I started to feel that something was wrong when she started taking tons and tons of pictures. I kept thinking to myself…I thought they were just checking the spine (and also the heart because it is standard procedure to check the heart on ANY ultrasound.) As I was beginning to sense that something was wrong, I was assuming it was a problem that they saw with the baby (which would have been awful too), but as time went on, the tech finally said she was trying to contact my doctor because my cervix was very short. I thought to myself…hmmm, what does that mean? The tech of course wasn’t allowed to give us any more information, so we waited several minutes (very LONG minutes might I add) while the lady went in and out of the room and we sat wondering what in the world was going on. Eventually I couldn’t take the suspense any longer, and I told DJ to Google ‘short cervix’ on his phone. He did just that and his response was…. “I don’t think you want to know,” and right then is when the ultrasound gal walked back in the room. She put a phone call through to me from a triage nurse. I picked up the phone and then heard these awful words…“We need to you to head straight to the nearest hospital to keep this baby from coming.” My thoughts were…WHAT?!, I’m barely over half-way through my pregnancy (23 weeks exactly) and I feel TOTALLY fine!
As we walked out of the ultrasound place, I remember still feeling pretty calm at that point, but still not understanding how in the world they were so worried that this baby was coming, yet I didn’t feel a thing. We got in the car to head to the hospital, and I called my mom because I was supposed to be meeting her to go to a movie for one last summer outing before school started again for both of us. I called her (again still calm somehow) and told her I had just gotten done at the ultrasound and I explained to her what we had just found out.
My mom says, “What do you mean (that they have to keep the baby from coming)?”
I replied, “I don’t knowww”…and instantly burst into tears. This was the moment where my emotions finally started to catch up with me a little bit.
We headed over to Mercy Hospital, and DJ went in to see where we were supposed to even go (ER or labor/delivery). I stayed in the car and he comes out with a WHEELCHAIR. I thought this is SO CRAZY – I feel perfectly fine! We were only at Mercy Hospital about 20 min. They asked me a few questions and started an IV to hydrate me. Then they said they would be transferring me down to Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where they would likely stitch my cervix. I thought…ok, this sounds fine, we’ll go down there, they’ll do this little surgery, and then I’ll probably be sent home and on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy (not ideal, but manageable). I was still pretty calm and not too terribly worried because again, I wasn’t feeling a thing! NEVER did it occur to me that I was going to be STAYING in the hospital until I delivered!
We got in the ambulance and the paramedic says, “Yup, they want us to go Code 3 with lights and sirens.”
I responded, “Oh, what’s the highest code?”
He says, “Code 3.”
I think at that moment, my eyes popped out of my head because again, I just couldn’t understand why they were so concerned about me when I was feeling perfectly fine. Then I made some small talk with the paramedic, and I said something about this ride just being a transfer, so it should be fairly calm and easy. He (trying to be funny and lighten the mood) says, “Yeah, as long as everything goes as planned - You don’t want ME to be the first thing your baby sees - hahaha.” Let me tell you, that was NOT the thing to say to get me to laugh. I remember thinking…WHAT, you mean that could actually happen?! I think I was pretty speechless after his comment and my eyes probably popped out of my head for the 2nd time.
Then we finally got down to Abbott, and the nurse says, is this Laura? I thought…you’re kidding me, they already know my name and situation, this must be serious! It was down at Abbott that we learned I would stay IN THE HOSPITAL until I delivered (with the goal being to make it just 24 more hours to let the shot for baby’s lungs take effect – little did any of us know that I would spend the next MONTH there). At some point during the evening, I started having contractions, which just felt like a little lower back pain at that time. They loaded me up with TONS of medicines that made me absolutely MISERABLE. They told me I wasn’t even allowed to get up to go the bathroom, which I think is when I finally realized, “Ok, this IS serious!” Later on that evening, I vaguely remember one of the doctors or nurses telling us that there is no guarantee that they’ll resuscitate a baby born at 23 weeks. At this point, you would have thought I really would have freaked out, but I don’t think I was totally coherent anymore (thanks to all those lovely drugs.) The first 24-48 hours were probably a lot scarier for DJ and our families because I was just SOOOOO sick from all of the drugs that I couldn’t even fully comprehend the situation. The first week of my hospital stay was by far the worst because I had to be on such high doses of medicines to keep all of the contractions away. I was very HOT and felt as if I was shaking (more like jolting) uncontrollably, I wasn’t allowed to get up to go the bathroom (I’ll spare you the details of my bed pan and catheter, plus you probably all remember the stories about me needing raisins ;) I had horrible chest pains, and the world’s worst headache from having to lie angled down 24 hours a day except during meal times. I couldn’t sleep because my blood pressure cuff was automatically set to start up and take a reading every hour, plus the nurses would come in constantly to check all my vitals. I wasn’t allowed to shower, so my hair was washed into a garbage bag while lying in bed! It was NOT a fun few days to say the least, but I knew we needed to keep that baby in as long as possible.
The very first morning (Saturday) when I woke up at the hospital was definitely my weakest moment throughout this ENTIRE experience. I woke up to the sound of a baby crying after just being born, and I instantly started bawling. I remember thinking… that is what should be happening for us in DECEMBER and I should be able to hold that little baby in my arms after delivery. (I already knew at this point that it was almost certain that I would not go full-term and therefore our baby boy would have to be worked on immediately after being born in order for him to have any chance of survival.) Still to this day, I can’t watch a baby being born on TV without tearing up and having to change the channel. I just can’t help but think that I never got that moment which every mother longs for…holding your baby in your arms right after they are born. Throughout my labor/delivery (in between pushes), I would glance over at this nurse standing there with her arms stretched out holding a blanket. I knew that she would be running over to grab our baby right away, so she could take him to the doctors who were waiting in the adjoining room. I also have a hard time looking at Facebook pictures of people who just had babies, and I see them (and everyone in their family) holding the new baby at the hospital. I feel SOOO bad for our families who had to wait over 2 MONTHS to be able to hold Brecken for the first time!
On the other hand, every few weeks my eyes well up with tears…but these are tears of joy as I see our HEALTHY baby boy grinning ear to ear. I sometimes can’t help but think that he shouldn’t even be here, but through God’s gracious miracle, here he is laughing and smiling away J
One year ago today marked the start of a very difficult journey, and we are still so thankful that God arranged for that ultrasound at that specific time (I had scheduled it earlier than necessary “just so I wouldn’t have to take off of work.”) Without that ultrasound, I likely would have gone into labor (and possibly even delivered) AT HOME within the next HOURS and our story could have had a VERY different outcome. It was a long road, but our faith and trust in the Lord is what kept us going and helped us through the difficult time. Here we are one year later, with a perfectly healthy little boy that never stops smiling! WE ARE TRULY BLESSED and we appreciate our miracle baby SO much after this experience!
Thank you again to all of you for your prayers and support for our family during this past year!

Family Reunion

I spent this past week in New York City with my mom...more on that later, but first I better catch up a little. Last weekend we went to Browerville to visit DJ's parents. While we were there, we attended the Becker Family Reunion (that's his Grandma Hoelscher's side). Here are a couple pictures from the reunion:
4-wheeler train ride :) The cars were constructed from 55-gallon drums!


Bean-bag action

DJ and his dad were the champs!

Here are a couple pictures from hanging out at Gramma and Bucka (Grandpa) Hoelscher's house:



And finally here's a short video of Brecken knocking on the door trying to get Gramma's attention:

  video