Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Sara!




My sweet sister-in-law's Birthday was yesterday. She always does sweet blog posts on her blog for others' Birthdays, so I thought it was fitting that I do one for her Birthday. Only a day late, too! :)


Happy Birthday Sara! We love you and miss you. See you very soon!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Poly-what?

I have mentioned once or twice on here that Rider has had some struggles in using his left hand/arm. Because he was still struggling with it at his 6 month check up, his pediatrician wanted to take a closer look at what might be causing it. Since we were pretty confident it wasn't anything to do with his actual arm, the feeling was that it was neurological. So, they scheduled an MRI for his brain. Last week, I had to starve him (okay - no food for 12 hours isn't starving him, but he sure thought so!), and take him to the children's hospital for an MRI. That was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done as a parent. Holding the poor boy down while they stuck him (3 times) to start his IV. Then watch him completely go limp when they gave him the drugs (which they prepared me for, but still...), and then just leave him in there. Wow! Thankfully he woke up just as quickly as he fell asleep and was happy and ready to eat when I got back to him. Thankfully the MRI was on Thursday, so we were able to get results on Friday - without having to wait through the weekend. So, after several phone calls from me to the drs office, our ped called late Friday evening with the results.

Rider has polymicrogyria (if you are a curious researcher, please know that there are mild and extreme cases, Rider's is very mild) which means that when his brain was developing in the womb, the nerves in the brain that start in the middle and migrate out in a specific pattern got out of sequence. Thankfully, it is only out of sequence in a small area on the right side of his brain, therefore making this finding significant, but not devastating. This on his brain is permanent and will never become worse or get better, and interestingly enough some people live their whole lives with it, and never notice anything until after death an autopsy is performed revealing it.

We met with a (now our) neurologist this afternoon. God has been so faithful in allowing all of this to happen quickly for us - not causing us to wait, which has been so nice! This neurologist had a cancellation this afternoon, and we were able to get right in. I haven't ever tried to get an appointment with a pediatric neurologist, but I would imagine it takes longer than a day. Praise God! Anyway, we felt reassured after talking with him, and have nothing but positive thoughts as we move forward with Rider's treatment....which actually is just to continue what we've already started with therapy. In fact, he's already made huge improvement and is army crawling all over the living room chasing Brice, Chloe, or computer cords. (Maybe I should baby-proof now. :)) He expects Rider's brain to figure out ways to work around the affected area and be able to crawl, walk, run, and chase after his brother. There may be some initial difficulty, but those are things that can be addressed in therapy. We also found out that he will qualify for the state's early intervention program, which means they will come to us to do therapy and it will be at no cost to us...another huge praise!! He also does not believe that his learning, language, etc will be affected by any of this.

So, the questions have been answered as far as why he is behind with his left arm, and really it keeps us in the same situation we were in before we knew; love him just like we were, treat him just like we were, and always expect the best from him. The only difference is that there is a real physical reason to why he was having those struggles and that now we need to watch out for other similar situations to ever arise.

How are we feeling about all this? Well, we know we serve a very big God who cares about Rider very much. We know that God knit Rider together in my womb exactly the way he wanted him to be. We know that miracles happen, and we know that God is our ultimate physician. All that said, we want God to be glorified in this situation. We will be careful to give Him praise when steps forward are made. We also do NOT want to put God into a box, and say, "well, this is what we are stuck with, and Rider may never be able to do (fill in the blank)." No, nothing is impossible with God - nothing! We will believe only for the best for Rider and his development. If you know me, you know that if someone tells me I can't do something, I'm bound and determined to prove them wrong...I am finding that I'm even more so that way with my kids! So watch out! ;) Rider may very well be a left handed pitcher in the majors someday! And no matter what, we trust and know that God has a perfect plan for this sweet boy of ours!

One thing that we would ask that you join us in prayer for...with the way his brain developed, the nerves are a little out of sequence, which could cause seizures. There is no real way to know when/if this may happen. So, please pray that first and foremost, this would not happen. But, I also ask that you pray for us (me especially - Darren is really good about this), that we would not live in fear of what may happen, but trust that God has Rider in His hands, and will take care of him. My prayer is that I am constantly reminded that God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Thank you for any prayers offered up for our sweet boy and our family!

The 8th Wonder of the World

On our trip to Texas, we took a little time driving back to do something fun. We decided to stop by and take a tour of the new Cowboys stadium. It is as big and impressive as it seems on TV!! Just a little sidenote...if you go, and they tell you it will take an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, plan more for like over 2 hours. There is no way we would have gone on the tour if we had known it would take so long - especially with little ones, but they did great, and I'm glad we were able to see the stadium!

Watch for this guy next time you watch a Cowboys game...not quite as big a deal as Jerry Jones, but don't tell Rider that!

"Artwork" commissioned by Jerry Jones to make it "more than a stadium."
Darren ran through the tunnel pretending to be Tony Romo on game day.

Even the drain covers are stars!

Yep - on the field...Brice started at this endzone and ran all the way to the other one...

...and then took a break. :)





Trip to Texas

Sadly, Darren's grandmother passed away a couple weeks ago. The family had learned that she had just a little time left, and we were hoping to make it to see her at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, she didn't make it that long. So, instead of a Thanksgiving trip to Texas, we went down there a little early to be with the family for her funeral services. She was an amazing woman - mother to 9 children! That in itself is admirable - especially since there are days I don't think I can make it with 2! Grandma Kuhl - you will be missed by so many!!

We did get to see a lot of family and some friends while we were there. (And got to tour the 8th Wonder of the World - which I will blog about soon!)

Uncle Dee and the kids...we stayed in this great little cozy cabin with Darren's brother's family. It was great to watch the kids play together!
4 Generations of Kuhls

All 9 siblings and Grandpa Kuhl

Brice playing with cousins (or are they second cousins? who cares!)

And to round things out, a visit (short, but sweet) with Becca. Love this girl! Do yourself a favor and check out her blog!
And now, we will be staying put in Tennessee for Thanksgiving. It will be a first without family around, but we have such a gracious church family and have been invited for Thanksgiving dinner by some people from church. And, thank God I still haven't had to cook a turkey! :)











Halloween - Better Late Than Never, Right??

This year's Halloween was a lot of fun since Brice actually knew kind of what was going on. I'm sure he'll drive us crazy in the years to come, but this year was just enough not knowing, mixed with just enough understanding to make it a blast. I ordered their costumes online, and when they came in, I tried to get Brice to try his on. He wanted nothing to do with it! So, when the day of our first* event arrived, we knew we would need to do something. So, we got him to put it back on again and "practice" trick-or-treated (yeah, I just made trick-or-treat into a verb...it's my blog, I can do what I want!). Sure enough - the promise of candy if he put on his costume was enough.

*We got good money out of the costumes this year...the boys wore them 4 times!

Here are some pictures of our many Halloween celebrations...


Our MOPS group took the kids to a nursing home to trick-or-treat.

Brice and Addy were a hit. :)

Of course, so were Tigger and Pooh!

This was the best part of that trip...most of the residents were in therapy, so the lady in charge (aka Marylin) wanted to take the kids down there. Brice - being Tigger - "bopped" right in and put a smile on their faces. It brought tears to my eyes (laughter and joy!). He can be such a ham!

Brice getting his face painted at Darren's work party...it was so great. They had lots of fun stuff for the kids...but, with 2 kids to keep up with, we didn't get many pictures. Oh, and I think the camera battery died - explaining why we don't have any pictures of the actual trick-or-treating that took place on Halloween night.
Hey - at least I got this posted before the next holiday, right? :)















Monday, November 2, 2009

Brice's Birthday

Brice turned 2 a couple weeks ago. I am a bad mother for just now posting this. Hopefully he won't hate me for it someday. As previously mentioned, we took a trip to KC the week before Brice's Birthday and had a party with family. Then on his Birthday, I couldn't resist making a cake for him, so we invited a few friends over to share in the sugar with us. I cannot believe he is 2 now. I will post some pictures of his parties. But, before I do that, I want to run down all the cool things Brice is doing now that he is two...

* Talking...incessantly. He can and will say just about anything - better watch your mouth around him! He can speak in short sentences, but often, his mouth moves faster than his brain can think, so his sentences come out pretty broken and scattered. It's so cute when he gets excited, because he will just spout out words that go together, but not in any order. Some of our favortie phrases/words: "car-tunes", "sorry dude", "Brice Kuhl", "kool-i-ade", "Rider awake - play Rider!", "see?", and my all time fave..."clean up, clean up, clean up".

*Bopping...in big people terms...jumping. He can jump and get both feet off the ground. His most recent display of this talent was when he was Tigger for Halloween, and when asked what Tigger does, he would proceed to "bop, bop, bop". Awesome.

*Singing...especially in the car...to old Sesame Street songs. I love it...he doesn't know all the words, but he knows when the notes go higher, and he belts them out. He will also sing with me to several favorite songs, which Rider thinks is pretty funny. Also, awesome!

*Counting. He is just like his momma...he counts everything. From the shapes on the bottoms of his shoes to the number of waffle pieces on his plate. His numbers go something like this...one, two, three, four, six, ne-nen, eight, nine, two, three, etc. I love it!

*Cleaning up. I promise I didn't really force him into this. It is something I think they taught him at MOPS, and it has just stuck. He loves to clean up...I must say, I really like it!

*Sleeping on his couch. I'm not sure exactly how this started, but he prefers to sleep on the little love seat in his room rather than his bed. Whatever - I don't care as long as he sleeps. I usually go in before I go to bed and put him in bed, but sometimes, he just sleeps there all night - or on the floor next to it. Oh, and he doesn't sleep with his pacifier anymore, either. What a big boy!

Alright - here are the pictures...


His party in KC

Pretty sure he's in love with Addy :)

Birthday kiss from Addy...yeah, we put her up to it.


"Car cake"

Happy Birthday, Sweet Brice! We love you!!



Trip to KC

We had 2 great reasons to make a trip to KC a few weeks back. Brice was about to turn 2, and his family in KC, of course, wanted to spend time with him for his Birthday. AND, the Cowboys played the Chiefs. Since I don't work, (that could be debated...pretty sure I worked pretty hard today...anyway...) we decided I would make the trip on Monday, and Darren would join us on Friday. The question became...do I drive with both boys for 10 hours or brave the airports for an hour and a half flight? If you count the time it took to get from our house to my sister's house, the airport route took a total of 6 hours...yes, please. Now, traveling with two children under 2 (Brice hadn't had his Birthday yet) isn't easy...don't get me wrong. BUT, God was so faithful in ordering our steps for us. Everything we did that morning was smooth. We had incredibly sweet people sitting next to us - willing to hold Rider when I needed to lift Brice's carseat into the airplane seat, understanding when one of them may have fussed (which was actually very rare - even without the DVD player!), and no doubt, placed there for a reason. The flight attendants were very helpful, and both boys even slept a little. Anyway, we got there, and I think I could even do it again! We spent a relaxing week in KC - not doing much - just enjoying family time. Darren drove in on Friday night, and we got to see his family on Saturday. We had Brice's Birthday party that night. I didn't plan it well, but it all worked out in the end...we even got to eat Pizza Shoppe - which we miss! Sunday was the big game. Really - it was a win-win situation for me. Either team could have won, and we'd have been happy - well, I would have. Darren is pretty loyal to the Cowboys. Anyway, we went with Darren's dad and brother, and ended up with some pretty good seats. After an overtime victory by Dallas, the boys all went home happy. :) (I'm convinced the Cowboys won because I was cheering for the Chiefs - you're welcome Dallas!) Anyway, we left the next Monday, and had a LONG 11 hour drive home (not really 11 hours of driving, but after stopping with Grandma and Grandad for a delicious lunch and being stuck in Paducah, KY for an hour in traffic, it ended up being an all day affair.) Some pics of the week we spent in KC...



Playing with Taylor at Brice's Party

Playing with more cousins

Go Chiefs...er Cowboys!

Trip to the Farm

Okay - we didn't actually take a trip to a real farm, but we did drive about 10 minutes from home to go to Ring Farm back at the beginning of October (or was it end of September?? It's been a while since I've updated, huh?) Anyway, it had rained for something like 2 weeks straight, and we finally saw clear skies in the future one Saturday afternoon. So, we waited for the sun to come out, and then headed out to the farm. Since it had been so rainy, we were the only ones there. We were able to get some pumpkins, navigate the corn maze, climb a pile of rocks - okay - only Brice climbed the rocks, go down slides made of industrial sized tubes, and take a private hayride (private only because we were the only ones there). Enjoy some pictures from our day at the farm!



I told you we had a lot of rain!!

Brice's Pile-o-Rocks...he loved this! (Those shorts still look dirty - after 3 washings!)


Tube Slides...doesn't feel great on the behind!


Hayride - what handsome guys?!?


"How Tall This Fall?"
We had a great time - I love it when we get to spend time as family out and about making memories. For now, they are just memories for Darren and I, and will be memories through pictures for the boys. But, memories nonetheless.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Goin' to Grandma's (and Grandad's)


I remember when I was little, I had a suitcase that said Going to Grandma's. I used to love visits to my grandparent's house. After we moved to KC as a kid, I remember getting to fly to their house for a week or so at a time. I still love going to their house. Since they are our closest family now that we live in Nashville, I decided we should take a trip to see them, and let Brice and Rider experience going to see the grandparents. So, one Monday morning about 2 months ago, we loaded up the car - me and the two boys and made the 5 hour drive to Troy, IL - pretty close to St. Louis. Thankfully, the drive was very uneventful. In fact, my bladder cooperated, and we didn't even have to unload everyone on the way there...we drove through Mickey-Dee's for lunch, I fed Rider in the parking lot while Brice ate his nuggets and we were back on the road in under 15 min. (One reason why diapers are still an okay thing). My sister and her sweet little Max also made the trip from KC, so we got to see them, too! Bonus!



We had a great time that week. Brice - like he does with most men in our family - fell in love with Grandad - whom he lovingly calls PawPaw. PawPaw loved his new little buddy and they spent a lot of time together. Brice got to pick okra from the garden, and one afternoon, the girls took the little boys shopping while PawPaw and Brice stayed home and napped together. In fact, Brice took a nap on his lap - if you know my kid, he doesn't do that with anyone! How special! :) Brice sure does love this man, and I mean, really, how could you not???





Rider and I shared a room - which didn't allow for a ton of sleep for me, but we managed, and he got all kinds of love from Grandma. Max loved playing with Rider...he was so good with him. I think Beth should have another one for Max to play with. Just a thought! :)



Grandma taught Beth and I how to can that week, too. They have a nice, big garden - that I am jealous of - jealous of the space and time to have a garden - someday I will have one, again! Anyway, their garden was full of tomatoes, so we boiled, peeled, cut, strained, boiled again, then canned our very own tomato juice. We also made some delicious chili sauce - which I have used on - yes, you guessed it - chili, and it is very yummy. How fun to learn one of those long, lost skills! I've since looked at stuff in the grocery store to do my own canning, but it is a little expensive, plus, I don't have my own veggies from a garden. I'll stick to buying them for now. :)






We also tried out a new omelet cooking method - in a ziploc bag in boiling water. Yes - it works - in fact, that's what we ate for dinner tonight. It is so easy! Crack 2 eggs, add a little milk, salt, pepper, any fillings (bacon, sausage, cheese, peppers, onions, etc) put all into a quart size ziploc bag, "smush" everything together (Brice's favorite part), place bag into boiling water for about 15 min, cut bag, and your omelet will roll right out. Try it! I love omelets and this is the easiest way to make one!



Since our trip last month, we have been able to see Grandma and PawPaw again. We recently took a trip to KC, and on our way home, we stopped off for some delicious potato soup, grilled cheese, and peach cobbler. Grandma sure does take good care of us!! Thank you for all the wonderful memories, and many more to come. We love you guys!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Growing Boy!

I am constantly amazed and reminded how quickly babies grow up. Rider turns 6 months old on Sunday...seriously...6 months?? Where has the time gone? I can't believe he is halfway through his first year of life!
Some of Rider's favorite things:

*rolling - back to belly, then crying because he's on his belly - which is getting better - sometimes he'll flip back on his own.

*sitting - he will now sit for extended periods of time, then either face plant or fall to one side or the other.

*standing/jumping - if you're holding him, he wants to be standing in your lap. Relax? No way! He also loves his johnny jump-up...the doorway jumper thing. He gets going, and gets so tickled - it is adorable! He has an exersaucer that he will tolerate, but he must feel a little restricted in that. :)

*eating - we are still doing the nursing thing which has been a huge $ saver, but also sweet times. He has also started eating solids, and isn't a huge fan of the veggies. He enjoys his fruit, though. It's amazing, really, how anti-climactic starting solids for the 2nd baby is. I remember it being much more fun with Brice than it has been with Rider. It is fun watching his face light up when he sees his food, though. :)




*sleeping in his car seat - no, not all the time, but he does love to sleep in his carseat. For now, his naps happen there. If he naps in his bed, he will still only take a 30 min nap, but in his seat, he'll at least take one 2 hour nap for me. Yes please! It is really nice because he will do this anywhere...at church, the daycare at the gym, restaurants, friends' houses, you get the idea... He gets strapped in, gets his blanket, and I cover his carseat with another blanket, put him in a corner, and he drifts off to sleep without much of a peep at all. It's amazing, really. No cuddles for him - he'd rather be ignored. Not really - of course I cuddle him as much as he'll let me, but in reality, that's not much at all. :(

*visiting his friend Amy at physical therapy - he is a perfectly healthy little guy, but he likes his right arm and hand better than his left...a lot better. So, we had some tests run, and nothing is wrong with him, so now it is just a matter of getting his left hand caught up to the right. He's just a little slow on that side. Darren is still holding out hope that he'll be a left handed pitcher someday. :) He is making tremendous progress - last night, he held his bottle by himself with both hands!



*sleeping at night - yay! He doesn't sleep through the night - he still wakes up once to eat - somewhere around 3 or 4. But, he goes to bed at 7, wakes at 7 or 8, and if he does wake up at other times, he will get himself back to sleep on his own. No more walking, rocking, bouncing, etc in the middle of the night! Now, I get up for no more than 10 min, feed him, snuggle him and put him right back down. We are all much more rested at night! It is wonderful!

One of his last nights sleeping swaddled...the picture quality is terrible, but ahhh - a sleeping baby is too sweet!

Rider's little personality is really starting to come out. He is absolutely precious and has a smile that lights up his whole face. He loves to laugh with his big brother and I swear sometimes he's telling me jokes. Hard to believe he'll be crawling, walking, talking, and feeding himself so soon. For now, I am very much enjoying my baby!

Catching Up

So this morning at my MOPS meeting, we had a guest speaker in talking about scrapbooking. I am not a scrapbooker...I don't have the time, money, creativity, or really the desire to get into it. When I started my blog, I intended for this to be "scrapbook-y"...a way to document and journal what goes on in our lives. I have been so bad lately about updating, and the longer I wait, the less I want to do it because I start to feel overwhelmed, and feel like I can't leave something out. So, I am going to be playing catch-up the next couple days. Hopefully my blog readers won't get overwhelmed by all the entries I plan to post. Enjoy, and hopefully I can be more faithful in documenting our lives - so at least my children will have something to look back on - even if it isn't a scrapbook!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Watch Out!

Look out - you might get video overload from our blog for a little while. We were given a new Flip camera yesterday. It is the size of a digital camera, but takes video. It has a built-in USB, so you just plug it in, and can upload videos, edit videos, and even create a "movie mix" all very quickly. So, we went to McDonalds today (I take the boys once a week - Brice LOVES to play there), and I got out the new camera. I took a couple videos of Brice, and when we got home, I got both boys down, and started playing. I created this movie mix using the videos I shot. Really - it took like 3 clicks of my mouse. The video isn't that great, but I am very impressed by my little man being able to make it all the way to the top in the playland. What a stud. :)

video

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movie Night

We have been thinking of ways to get Brice to sleep in later. One theory we had, was that he was hungry early in the morning, so we tried getting him as full as possible before he went to bed. Nope - 5:30 still. Next theory...he goes to bed at 7. We thought maybe a later bedtime would help. So, last Saturday, we decided we'd have movie night. Rule #1 for the next movie night - don't tell him quite so early in the day. As soon as we said something about movies, he went and got all his favorites, and had a stack about 6 high of movies he wanted to watch. Thankfully, he forgot about it after a little while.

During the afternoon, we went and picked out a new movie - Charlotte's Web - he loves farm animals, so this was an easy choice. We then wore him out at a grand re-opening shindig at our local Lifeway Christian Store. They had a huge inflatable slide that Darren took him down once...after that - he was all about it...I swear he went down it at least 15 times.


Rider decided he would rest during the concert put on by our friends' band Pocket Full of Rocks.

So when we got home, we ate some dinner and then movie night began. Rider even got to participate a little before he went to bed.

Brice when we started the movie and he saw the pig...unfortunately, you can't see that he is jumping up and down saying "pig, pig".


We rounded out the evening with milkshakes and fruit snacks. Brice had a great time - he didn't sit through the whole movie, but he got to stay up until 8:30 anyway, playing with his new car from Grams.

And no, he didn't sleep any later...still got up at 5:30. Needless to say, his bedtime will remain 7pm. :)

Grams and Pa-paw Visit

Grams and Pa-paw came to visit a week or so ago. After a visit to the park and lunch date with dad, we took a trip to Arringon Vineyard, where Brice got to pick grapes right off the vine. He was very meticulous about his grape picking - making sure not to pick ones that were within his reach, but choosing ones that were well over his head. He would reach up, pick a grape, step back, eat it, repeat. This kept he and Pa-paw busy while Grams, Rider and I were inside checking out the wine.



That night, after the kids were in bed, we taught David and Joan how to play Wii Bowling. David was a natural, and it only took Joan one game to get in her groove.

The boys had a blast during their visit - too bad it was so short. We look forward to seeing you guys again soon!!





Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Is He Thinking???

The mind of an almost 2 year old is an amazing, intriguing thing. I often find myself wondering, "What is going on in his head?". His, meaning Brice's, of course. Lately, he's been asserting his will and independence in some pretty adorable ways. Here are a few things that he's done lately that make us laugh and make us wonder...

At bedtime, we always read books. Lately, Brice has taken to designating one of us as the "reader" for the night. It is usually dad, but sometimes I get to do it. After jammies are put on, he snuggles under the covers, and will tell us who gets the honor for the night. And don't you dare try to change his mind, or disobey. He comes un-snuggled and throws a mini-fit until the proper person begins reading. Thankfully we both still get hugs, kisses, and get to pray with him.

He will only drink milk from an orange sippy cup. You think I'm joking? Try giving him milk in another colored cup! He will drink water or juice from any color, but milk - only orange! Thanks to cousin Taylor (and Uncle Brad and Aunt Crystal) for forgetting Taylor's orange sippy cup after vacation, so now we can use one and wash one! We owe you guys!

So this one, we got to the bottom of, but it is still very funny. I have to preface this by saying that at dinner time, if something is on the table, it has to be on Brice's plate...salad, salad dressing, butter, shredded cheese, etc. So, if it is something we are using, he wants it too. So, sour cream has been an addition to our meals a few times since vacation, and every time, Brice would ask for some, but rather than putting it on his plate, he wanted it on his nose. Yeah - his nose. So, I obliged - what can it hurt? He just would wipe it off, and lick it from his finger. After the second or third time of this happening, I had to know why. My first thought - my dad, "dad-dad". "Why?" you ask. Well, that is just the type of thing he would teach the grandkids. So, I called him - my mom answered - I asked her about it. She said she didn't teach him that...my dad overhears and I can hear him laughing in the background. Sure enough, he taught him to put whipped cream on his nose, and since sour cream looks like whipped cream, Brice thought that is where it went.


Finally, Brice likes to get up at 5:15. Are you kidding me?? And if he didn't bang on his door and yell "daey" (daddy) until we went in there, it wouldn't be so bad. However, this morning, Darren went in, and got him to chill out - he stayed in there until 6:15 when his banging and yelling routine started again. Not sure what he did for that hour, but we got to sleep more. Anyway, I really wish I knew what was going on in his head to cause him to get up so stinkin' early!


So, what is he thinking???





A post about all things Rider coming soon!