August 2013

August 2013
Photo by KME Photography

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Great Check-up

Earlier this week we had Brecken's NICU Follow-Up Appointment down at Children's, and we only heard great news! They did a thorough evaluation using the Bayley's scale of infant/toddler development, and Brecken came out almost at his actual age for all categories. In Language usage, he actually came out a tiny bit ahead of his age. They said, "He is just a gem!" and "He is the kind of kid that helps our hospital statistics!" (They keep stats on all the preemies and run reports of the different hospitals. Children's is one of the top hospitals in the NATION for survival rates of the tiniest preemies, and were surely blessed to have that hospital so close to us!) He will return to Children's for one final eval in another year to check his speech, but I don't really anticipate any problems ;)

Way to go, Brecken! Your Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Fun Weekend with Friends

This past weekend we went up to my parents' cabin with some friends of ours. My parents weren't around because my dad was Muskie fishing up on Lake of the Woods, so we thought it would be fun to have some friends join us at the lake. We invited another couple and their identical twin 2-year-old girls (who were also preemies) up to the lake. They have taken their daughters to Germany twice (to visit Esther's family), but they've otherwise never taken them on an overnight stay. Esther and I left Friday morning with all 3 kids, and the guys joined us after work on Friday night. The trip up went very well despite the fact that we essentially had THREE 2-year-olds in the back seat, plus I was pulling my dad's boat behind which I've never done before! We had lots of fun together even though the weather didn't cooperate with us on Saturday. We headed home on Saturday evening and all in all it was a great trip that we hope to repeat again sometime! Maybe it could be repeated without me getting vomited on though ;) You can read Esther's version of the weekend on her blog http://estherslittlewonders.blogspot.com/2011/08/weekend-at-lake-cabin.html I think the vomit incident honestly bothered them more than it did me! I was happy to help out and allow them to miss out on one of the MANY puking incidents they have in their house!

Here is a video of the kids running wild when we first arrived:
video
And here are some photos:

3 preemies, 3 miracles, now great friends!





Resorting to "Baby Genius" while it's pouring buckets outside


Monday, August 1, 2011

Fun Memories

A week ago, we spent the weekend up at my parents' cabin with almost all of my dad's side of the family. We do it one weekend every year, and it's always a GREAT time! We get pretty crazy at times, and sometimes I wonder what the in-laws are thinking (mainly D.J. and my cousin's wife, Amanda). They're probably thinking hmmmm...I don't think I realized how crazy this family is! Anyway, I just have to share this video from that weekend, but first I'll fill you in on the background...so about 2 weeks ago, I decided to teach/show Brecken how to roll down the hill in our backyard. Well he LOVED it, but what he loves MORE is getting Mommy to roll down the hill :) Now almost every time we go outside, he grabs my hand says, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" and points at the ground. Well the weekend at the cabin was no different. He got me to roll down the hill, then pretty soon he added Daddy. Guess who was next? "Bucka" (that's grandpa)! Brecken grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the hill. But what was even more funny was that he kept getting more and more people, but he didn't let the first people quit. We all had to roll down the hill every time! Here is the video of the final roll down the hill with all of the people that he slowly added one by one. You can see that I thought I was off the hook since I had already rolled down at least 3 times, but ohhhh no, he insisted that we ALL go down together.
video
Here are a few pictures from that weekend:
The Back-rub train



Happy 25th Anniversary, Kevin & Marcia!


Fishing with "Day" (Uncle David)