Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ya Gotta Have Faith

First things first... Brady peed on the potty at school today! The teacher said she went to bring the boys into the changing room for their diapers, and Brady pointed at the bathroom area where some other kids were going. So she brought him into a large stall and sat with him. He went! She said he was very nervous when it first started happening, so he stopped and she reassured him it was ok and to relax.
Yay! She thinks it helped to see other kids doing it, so we'll see if we get anymore success with it. We try every day at home and even entice with m&m's, but we just don't get any results. So I'm hoping this may be the beginning. We shall see!

Second thing... I received a call from the boy's teacher last Friday to talk about having the boys see an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) because the speech therapist is suspecting a possible physical oral difference. (Say what now?)
She said that when they plug Brady's nose, they're able to get him to say certain sounds that he's never able to do. This may be an indicator that he's losing air when speaking and can't get enough power behind his sounds. The boys also have a level of nasality when they speak. The teacher said she'd have the therapist send a note home on Monday as to how to proceed.
I got the note and the therapist is requesting for the boys to get a 'Nasal Endoscopy' with an ENT and Speech Language Pathologist to measure the function of the boy's physical anatomy when speaking.

I called our pediatrician to talk it over (she would be the one to refer us to the ENT) but she was out on Tuesday, so the nurse took all the information from me and told me the doctor would call me tomorrow (Wednesday). I got a call from the doctor's office at 6pm while we were out trick-or-treating, so naturally I missed the call, so I'll be calling back tomorrow to see what she thinks. I looked around online to see what this could all mean, and I found this document that made sense to me. I have no idea if this particular disorder is even a possibility, but I have to say that the thought of a medical procedure helping the kids talk better gets my hopes up. I shouldn't, but oh my gosh... how does it not??
One day at a time and I don't even know what the pediatrician will say...

Tomorrow we have our big Genetics Specialist appointment at the hospital. We will all be leaving bright and early and we have no idea what to really expect. Hey, maybe the specialist will pat us on the back and tell us to have a nice day and there is no need to even consider any specific tests. The boys will outgrow everything with hard work and it will all be just fine. One day Jax will eat without any problems, Brady will speak without any problems and Jax will be better understood, Jax will not need his braces and will have perfect coordination with his hands and the boys will be going potty independently all while being 6' tall some day. I know Jax will always be medically fragile with his lungs and GI system, and I have accepted that, and actually feel blessed that he's as well as he is (remind me of that when flu season is in full swing).

I've started to do this. I've started fantasizing that the doctor will say these wonderful things. I've convinced myself that it IS possible and there's no big unpronounceable disorder, so that's what I'm hanging my hat on.
As George Michaels so eloquently stated, "Ya gotta have faith".

Enjoy some Halloween pictures!

A little art time.

Happy Halloween! (Thanks for the shirts Sidney!)

Spiderman and the Hulk!!

The kids all lining up to trick-or treat!

The kids playing a game at one of the houses. The boys didn't seem to do as well this year, they were really tired and couldn't keep up with the kids, so we cut it short.

The boys lining up their loot!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

All over the map!

The boys had fun this weekend with all the planned activities. We took them to Valparaiso University to see cousin Eric play football. He's the quarterback, so we get to see him play most of the game which was fun. The day ended up being much colder than we expected, so thankfully there was a lot of family there to add layers of clothing to the boys. They sat pretty good for the entire game, and only played musical chairs a few times moving between different family members, but all-in-all, they really loved being there.

Brady started a nasty cough this weekend. As of Saturday night, I was getting concerned because a 'bark' was starting to form. We were giving him a homeopathic cold medication for kids (Hylands) but it only seemed to help a little. Since his cough was still pretty bad this morning with a low grade fever, we decided that I should take Jax up to Macy's birthday party alone. Brady needed a day at home to nap and recoup and not spread his unknown ick. I've had a humidifier going full force in the boy's room for the last day, so hopefully that helps. I have a feeling I'll be running that machine now until April!
Jax and I had a nice day alone together driving up to Green Bay and attending the party. He had a blast with his little ladies Layla and Macy girl. He sat nice during the meal and cake, which has usually been a struggle in the past at parties, but this time he seemed to understand that he wasn't allowed to go back to the games if he didn't sit nice and eat. He did pretty good and actually drank his full cup of Pediasure with bites of his puree food and even a little ice cream. (I must say, the sparkling Barbie cake was to DIE for amazing... I thoroughly enjoyed all the girly-ness!)

Auntie Sidney sent us home with some surprises for Brady, so Big B was really excited to see us come home with those! Jason said that he and Brady had a nice chilled day together and Brady seemed to really turn the corner later in the day, so that's great! But of course... Jax's nose has been  running pretty steady since dinner time, so he's definitely picked it up, which I guess we expected. He also puked while drinking his milk at breakfast, which is usually his body's first sign of an impending illness. (sigh) This winter may be a continuous snot-fest around here. As long as I can keep the coughing away for Jax with his inhalers, he's A-Ok.

Playing football with the Hoffman cousins.

Jason and the boys with Uncle Rick, Kyle, Josh and Nana/Papa.

The layers just kept coming!

You know these crazy cats.

Eric with Jason and the boys after the game.

Brady wearing Eric's helmet - too cute!

It was REALLY big on Jax's tiny bean!

A bunch of the cousins playing games during dinner.
Jax with his lady Layla and purple tiaras (yeah, Jax is actually 10 days older - shorty cake!)

But look! He's taller than a 2 yr old! :) Could they be cuter? no.

Jax and Macy were two peas in a pod, adorable.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blanky & straight nose... where are you?!

We are wrapping up our week tomorrow and starting a busy weekend.
Jax has been saying tons of hilarious things, and each time he says something I try to remember to report to you all. Hmmm, yup, they escape me of course! The little stinker was up at 1am on Tuesday night very upset. We thought he was saying something about Brady, but when I went in by him, he was just SO upset. Brady had his blanket over his head trying to sleep from the noise and finally I realized what the problem was.
I saw Jax's blanky stuck between the bed and the wall, so he couldn't find "him". I grabbed the blanky and Jax immediately stopped and went to sleep. (sigh)... at least we solved the problem. He was up again this morning at 5am wanting to start the day... dude... stop it. Between Jax's wakings, Jason's alarm going off at 4am and my awful sinus problems and nose bleeds, it's been an awful week of sleep.

Ahh yes, the lovely nose bleeds are back and in full force. Lovely indeed. So I had a visit with my doctor when the kids were in school today and she put me on another round of antibiotics (ICK) for another sinus infection. She also had X-Rays of my face taken to see if anything else is going on. I should get a call for that in the next day. I've also been referred to an ENT to discuss the reoccurring infections and nose bleeds. My doc thinks I have a deviated septum which may be pressing on a vein. I couldn't help but laugh and point at my seriously screwed up nose-end. I mean... any of you who know me in real life can clearly see it's a bit messed up. It's literally moved over more in the last 5 years. Maybe I'll blame the recent speed of it's move on my pregnancy since that made my feet grow a half size as well. (hmm, I should crop in a photo of my nose to see if any of you out there with experience think this doc may be onto something. Ok, I will. Well, not too close for my pores and all.)

I have some seriously affectionate little dudes lately. They've been really into hugs and smooches with me. Um, I'll take it! They're plugging away well at school, and working hard at their therapies. We'll be going to Valparaiso to watch Jason's cousin (Eric!) play football on Saturday and then we'll be going to my goddaughter's (Macy!) birthday party on Sunday in Green Bay. Busy little weekend that will fly by with fun pictures I'm sure!

Oh yay, let's look at my weird nose. There is an "S" shape that starts at the middle and swivels its way down to the base. One side is much larger and the smaller side is where I'm getting nose bleeds. Neat huh? (If you click on the photo, you get to see it even closer, yes, you're welcome.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Soaking up fall

The weekend was very low key, which was so nice and needed!
Jason had a poker-night with the neighborhood 'dudes' on Friday night after the kids were in bed (and I got to watch a girly movie off OnDemand), then we all worked on some fall cleanup of the yard all afternoon on Saturday after a trip to the YMCA. All my perennials have been finally cut down and hauled to the recycle center. Jason cleaned out the gutters and the crazy leaf mess in general.
I had dinner with a few girlfriends that evening, and we all woke up to an amazing fall day on Sunday.

We took the boys to The Elegant Farmer in Mukwanago to meet up with some friends and find some apples and pumpkins. The boys had an absolute blast running around with their little friends and soaking up a beautiful fall day. We all left the farm together and headed to one of the homes of our friends for some lunch and a bit of the football game. We headed out early to get the boys their hair cuts and try to unwind at home a bit.

The boys have their vision appointments tomorrow morning, which will run into their school time, so I'll be running them over to their school as soon as they are done. I know I can pack a lunch and have Brady eat it in the car during the drive, but I'm not sure how to get Jax to eat a meal between the appointment and being late for school. Hmmm, I guess I'll be figuring that out!

Jax with our neighbor 'Kate'. It's his lady.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mild hearing loss, but we've got a "MM-AH-MM"!

The boys had their hearing exams this morning with the Audiologist at Childrens Hospital. Jaxon's ears looked good and the doctor said she could see an ear infection healing nicely. His hearing tested great and I got to check off NORMAL for his genetics paperwork that had to be faxed in today.

Brady's ears proved to not be "healthy" right now with fluid and negative pressure, all a likely result from his current sinus infection. His left ear tested normal, but his right ear has mild hearing loss. We're hoping it's just from the illness, so he will be retested in six weeks.  We will have to re-schedule that appointment if he has a cold. I asked if we should've just rescheduled the exam today in the first place and the doc said NO, especially since kids will be sick off-and-on all through spring now and often they still test ok even with illness. I guess we DID get 3 out of 4 ears!
She said I could not check off NORMAL for Brady's paperwork since we don't know for sure if it's his illness or not.
So I guess we'll see by the end of next month if there's really an issue there or not. Always something to keep me nervous!

I received a phone call from the boy's speech therapist before they got home from school. She said she worked really hard with Brady on the word MOM. She said he says it very choppy, but he definitely understands how to move his mouth now to each part of the word to make the sound. The therapist had Brady stand in front of the class to say it for them, but I guess he got shy, so the therapist turned him around and had him say to her so they could all hear. I guess they all clapped and cheered. I seriously tear up thinking of this scene.
Jaxon then yelled, "MY TURN, MY TURN! MAAHM!"
They've told me once that Jax likes to speak 'for' Brady lately, so I'm really wondering if they'll be in the same 4k class next year. Usually twins are separated for social reasons, but this may actually end up being their reason because Jax is getting used to communicating for Brady now.

A worksheet was sent home showing a pictures of the therapist's mouth making the 'mmm' 'ahhh' 'mmm' sounds, and our job is to go over it as many times as possible over the weekend to see some progress.

So I thought we could all track Brady's progress on the way to a full MOM!
Here is a very short clip of Brady working on it today:
He got really frustrated and upset at this point, so I cut it off here.

Brady during his hearing test.

Brady concentrating very hard on a painting.

The boys playing dentist. I'm just waiting for some bleeding gums...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Braces have come a long way since Forrest Gump!

We have been busy busy, but really, isn't that always the theme with us lately?
Jaxon got his new braces yesterday and he's very proud of them. Although he pouted during the car ride home because he didn't have "dancing shoes" like Brady. Hilarious. Brady wears some fun plaid shoes that are his 'dancing shoes', but with Jax's braces, it's hard to fit shoes like that on him.
So later that evening we had a dance party and I taught the boys a small routine of winding their arms and shaking their booties. Jason enjoyed the show when he got home.

We quickly ran home for lunch after the brace fitting and then headed back out to the pediatrician to have Brady looked at since he was on day 15 of a cough. It turns out he has a sinus infection, so he was started on meds last night. I picked up a neti pot for myself to try and fix my crazy sinus'. It's interesting how certain colds that run through the house affect everyone. Last year the boys and Jason got walking pneumonia from a particular cold, and then once the same cold gave Brady and I a sinus infection and Jax an ear infection. Low and behold... the same thing happened again this time. Now I'm not sure if I have an official sinus infection, but it's definitely not great with week three of symptoms and head aches, so I'm hoping the neti pot helps because I just really don't want to be on meds.

I had a nice talk with the boy's teacher last night about various things. She and the therapists are helping me with some of this paperwork for the genetics appointment in two weeks. We set up a parent-teacher conference for  November to review the first quarter. She's having the OT (Occupational Therapist) take a peek at Brady this week to give me any indication if there are any delays to report to the specialist. Brady won't get his formal evaluation until Nov/Dec, so they said they'd give him a once over to give us any informal indication of red flags they see. The PT (Physical Therapist) eye balled him and said she believes he will test at an appropriate level and not need services, but I guess the Special Needs Phy Ed teacher said she thinks Brady will test into her program to work on making his movements more "fluid and coordinated" to best prepare for 4K. We shall see.

The boys just left on the bus now and I'm about to get some work done. They have an early morning hearing test at the hospital tomorrow followed by school and then a flu shot on Friday, so we're looking forward to the weekend for a break! We promised the boys an afternoon at a pumpkin patch!

New kicks

Notice all the stickers. The boys got quite spoiled at the hospital by the Orthopedist for being good.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dental - check off the list!

The boys had a fun weekend. I took them to see the movie Hotel Transylvania on Saturday afternoon and they really liked it. They were a bit more squirmy at this movie than they had been in the past, but we got through ok. I mean... Brady did YELL out "excuse me!!!" after he burped, which sounded like "DEE DEE", so no one knew why he was yelling, but alas, it was fine.

Jason took the boys up to Manitowoc to visit Nana and Papa for Nana's birthday lunch, and they saw Father Dick and even Great Grandpa Letts. I hosted a baby shower for  Rachel at the house while they were gone, but the boys got to see Auntie Rachel and Nana Jayne when they got back, so they were pretty excited about that!

Today the boys had their dental checkup and everything looks great. They had Jax in a separate room with me, and Brady out in the large room with Jason where a few other kids were getting their checkups (like last time we went). Well Jax did AMAZING. He never cried and the hygienist (who was the same one last time) did such a great job with him. She gave him a light up Hulk necklace to earn his trust (clearly she has experience with small boys) and she let him touch everything before she put it in his mouth. I heard new things OUT of Jax's mouth while there. He picked up a rocket from the prize pile and said, "A wocket mama! 3-2-1 Bast off!" Too cute!

We could hear Brady crying often out in the room, so they've decided that next time they'll put Brady in the other private room to maybe help with his anxiety. So the boys flip flopped from the first visit of who was scared. Maybe in 6 months when we go back, they'll both have a fun time without any tears.

So this checkup helps me with filling out the packet of paperwork I received on Saturday for the Genetics appointment coming up. They want dental, hearing and vision reports and now I know the boys have 20 teeth and nothing abnormal to report, which is helpful.
The part of the paperwork that I'm going to struggle with is giving exact ages of when the boys did the following things:
MaMa/DaDa (specific to parent) *This one I can figure out!
Single Words
Two-Word combo
#Words in Vocab *This one I can figure for Brady
Head control
Holds toy
Follows object
Rolls front to back
Rolls back to front
Sits alone when placed
Gets self to sitting
Pulls to stand
Stands alone
Walks alone *This one I know!
Feeds Self *mmm define "feeds self"!
Drinks from cup
Uses Utensils

So... do all you parents out there know the exact age that your children did all these things?? I will seriously have to SEARCH this blog for clues to find the answers. Since this is just a half page part of the 15 pages of paperwork, I need to get this started since it has to be faxed back by this Wednesday. I realized that the boy's hearing and vision appointments are after this paperwork is due, so I'm just going to have to write in the date of their appointments and call in the results. Although, we're expecting 'normal' vision and hearing results.
Hmmm, have I learned yet to NOT make those public assumptions? I really should... ((looking for wood to go knock on))

A photo of some of Rachel's besties before the party started.

Brady and Rachel

Jax kissing the baby

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hamming it up and taking small bites

Look at these hams up here!
And yes... I know... it's sooo un-artistic or cool of me to use "school pictures" in my blog header, but my artistic abilities, effort and time are not at their highest right now, and I die a little inside each time I see those cheeky grins up there, so excuse the use of the photos please!
Now I realize that the photos should be switched so Jax is on the left since most people will read the title and assume as much, but I seriously can not stay awake to re-do the entire header, so just so you know... Brady is on the left and Jax on the right! My beans!

Ok, so good news on the medical-front. Brady's Pertussis test was negative, so he was cleared to go to school today. Jax's lung check was great, so if he slept through the night on Tuesday, he was allowed to go to school, and he did! I called the teacher to give her a heads up that Jax had a dose of Albuterol before school and to watch him, and he did great. Although he's apparently having issues with snack time lately, so I'm going to try and send along a different snack for him to see if that helps. He has never complained about an ear ache, so hopefully the antibiotics are getting to it early.

We did feeding therapy at the house to work on biting and chewing and it went well. Well... for us it did. Jax was taking his OWN tiny bites of a cracker and chewing on his chew-stick to figure out how to swallow the cracker. He gagged/slight vomited a few times, but honestly, he did really well. I had Jax show Daddy last night and he did decent. Tonight, he was "eh", but we're working hard on it.

Jason has a crazy week of work and has been gone so much and sadly, he leaves first thing in the morning through Saturday night, so it will be just me with the little men until Sunday morning. Haha, pray for me :)

It's official... people are now asking how much older Brady is, look at this height difference... epigenics at its finest!

This "hug" went straight into a take-down tackle of course.
Some soccer in the yard!



Monday, October 8, 2012

It was a good run

Hello cold and flu season!
While the boys have had spring/summer/fall colds, I can tell the tides of change with cold-severity has come along with October now. The boys each had a cold while we were gone and have started up a new one already (I think it's from me) this past week. Brady has been up at night crying, but no fever. He points to his head and throat, so we've been trying to help with Tylenol. As of today, he's on day 7 of a cough (which is unusual for him), but he's acting fine.

Jax started up Friday night/Saturday morning with a runny nose and by Sunday, a cough also came... uh oh... a cough typically means ASTHMA for Jax since his daily steroids should typically never allow a cough to develop with a cold. Sure enough, last night he was breathing faster and harder and had a crummy O2 reading while sleeping. So, we're back to the good ole' Albuterol breathing treatments and seeing the doctor for lung checks. It's been since last JANUARY since any asthma/lung/pneumonia issues, so it was a good run.
We spent our Monday morning at the doc's office and low and behold... Jax has an ear infection, which I didn't expect without a fever or even a complaint about an ear. The doc could hear wheezing in his lungs, but the asthma was controlled with the Albuterol so far.

The doc didn't like the sound of Brady's cough, so she asked for him to be examined as well. I was always on the training that a non-asthmatic kiddo could go up to 2 weeks with a cough/cold without being seen as long as there was no fever/vomiting etc, but apparently not this season. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is so bad, that the doctors want to see kids if they've had a cough for one week now. So Brady was examined and his ears and lungs were good. He had his throat swabbed, and it was negative, so she swabbed his nose for Pertussis - none of which Brady enjoyed at all!

The test results for Brady's nose-swab should be in tomorrow, but we'll be back at the office regardless because Jax has to have a lung-check to gauge today to tomorrow to make sure he's on the right track. He's getting an antibiotic twice daily for his ear, Albuterol every 4 hours for the lungs, and then an extra dose of his preventative Flovent inhaler as extra backup. Hopefully tomorrow's appointment is good and at least Brady can go back to school on Wednesday (the doc said he couldn't go until we get the results back).

Both boys are still decently spunky, so we just need to weather the asthma-storm it seems! And no, I don't miss asthma!

The boys got their costumes on Sunday and they've been wearing them every second since purchased! Here is Brady wearing Jax's costume and posing for me!

I know you're smiling!

Jax was wearing Brady's costume and going for a ride.

My new favorite machine in the whole world! I couldn't take our old unreliable clunky pulse ox machine anymore, and got this nifty little guy Sunday night. It slips over Jax's finger and gives me a reading while he's sleeping without any noise or tangled cords - I LOVE IT!

Ever wonder what Jason and I do on a Saturday night when we don't have work to do?

We reupholster our kitchen chairs of course! It's amazing what you can do with a 50% off sale at JoAnn Fabrics and a staple gun. And a husband who is willing to take apart chairs for you ;)