Sunday, May 29, 2011

lots o' bunnies

It has been weeks since we posted and asked for your help in naming our rabbits.  As it turns out, if you submitted name ideas, this is actually in your favor.  Instead of 3 names, we ended up needing nine!  Finally, after much discussion, they have all been named.  Our kids are excited to send a little 'prize' in the mail for the winners of the name contest.  (See bottom of this post.) 

Now for the list of bunnies.  These sweeties are looking for new homes!

Our biggest rabbit, who seems to have identity issues, was dubbed el Pollo Loco/Crazy Chicken. 
Update: CC has found a new home with Anna-Lise & Isaac.  He probably misses his lady friends, but he'll get over it (we hope).  Isaac LOVES him, so at least he'll get lots of attention!

Update: Hop (or Hop-Pop) is 'visiting' Kim & Brian.  He may have found a new home.  It sounds like he is Evie's new playmate!  She calls him Buddy. :)
Flopsy, busy Mama that she is, will be looking for a new home after she weans her last litter.  (Which is hopefully the newest babies, born just a couple days ago.) 
We'll be keeping two of her babies.

Daisy and Coconut, also known as 'the twins'.  (How weird is that -- I actually caught them doing the exact same thing!)

Carrot is very cuddly and is a favorite around here.

Velvet has very unusual coloring -- fur the same color as Brooklyn's hair! (Plus some random grey markings. I think it's kinda endearing. :)

Sweet little Mocha. AKA Mocha-Lotta-Bunny.

Bun-bun also has really random markings and is a sweetie!

And here are the 7 new babes.  They were born on May 25, exactly one month after the above bunnies (born April 25).  They're a little scrawny, but hopefully they'll do okay. 

If you are on Facebook, you may have noticed that we are having trouble limiting the number of bunnies that keep coming our way.  It's rather embarrassing, actually.  I assure you that we do know how this happens. ;)  When we bought our rabbits, they were supposed to be female.  And we didn't know a Mama could get pregnant just hours after giving birth!  So we may end up with 3 litters in 3 months.  (oops.)

That means we have LOTS of bunnies needing new homes.  Would you like one?  Pretty please?  

If you don't know much about rabbits, check out this site.  Rabbits make wonderful house pets (easily litter-box trained), are quite social, don't bark or meow, and they are just plain fun to have arround.  Ours free-range in the back yard.  We wet down an area of dirt every day, and they dig into it and find a cool spot to lay.  They are pretty tame, and even hop up to us when we go out back. 

Did I mention that we haven't had to mow the backyard grass since last Fall? :)


Congratulations to: Heather & Cooper, Dee, Samuel, Denise, Annie, Daddy/Andy, Sandy & Mark.  Thanks to everyone for all your great name ideas!  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

cool summer snacks

I first saw these Tovolo Green Star popsicle molds on One Little Word She Knew.  Since it's getting hot out and our kids are clamoring for the food dye and high fructose syrup popcicles at the grocery store, I knew these would be a better alternative.

We bought them with some of Brooklyn's birthday money.  
(Thank you, Uncle Archie! :) 

I filled them with layers of rice drink and juice, and so far they are a hit!

Apparently they're yummy on both ends. :)

If you decide to buy these through Amazon, don't forget to use Madi's link.  A percentage of your purchase price goes toward medical supplies and a playground for Madi.  (They are local friends of ours.) 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

another quick update


Apparently we've started a new tradition -- taking pics with the rabbit at the hospital whenever we stop in.  Kinda fun!  I like the silhouettes, so I'm quite happy to oblige. :)

And now for the update....  (Did I actually write that I won't be posting about this for a while?!  Ha!  Wishful thinking.)  On Thursday, we started Keandre on Prevacid, and quit the Zantac.  Within 4 days, he was starting to feel better.  It is so wonderful to see him relax sometimes and just be a kid.  The doctors think he has probably been in pain most of his life (sadly, we agree), so it's like a new side of him is emerging as he starts to heal. 

The Prevacid did not help him in the past, so hopefully this means we are on the right track and have removed foods that are triggers for his EGID.  (Now we just need to wonder which foods, and are there more to remove???)

We also have to decide if we'll avoid the 15 new allergens that showed up on the skin prick test (SPT) right after his diagnosis, or just the Top 8.  The SPT can have a lot of false positives.  And if we remove too many foods, and change too many variables, it will be next to impossible to know which change(s) helped him heal. 

If you are interested in learning more about the world of EGIDs, check out my friend Jenny's blog.  Her post on choosing a treatment approach is here, and allergy triggers here.  God has blessed her with a way with words, so I won't even bother trying to say what she has already explained perfectly. :) 

Tomorrow night Jenny and I are attending a support group for parents of children with this disease.  I'm excited to meet other AZ Mamas who are walking this journey also!

Monday, May 23, 2011

family time


Flagstaff, AZ

I wish we had a picture of Ian setting the camera timer, then sprinting around the pond to take his position.  Over and over and over.  Quite successfully, I might add!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

AZ Cousins


A recent family vacation in Flagstaff yielded a new cousin picture. 

I'm guessing this is the start of a new tradition.....lining up by height. 

Can you imagine all 10 children in one cabin for 4 days?  The good news is we all survived.

In fact, we do this every year and we actually look forward to it! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a quick update

It is not our intent to make this 'the-blog-about-Keandre's-health-issues'.  But I do want to quickly update on how he's doing, since many of you are praying and checking in regularly.  Then we'll move on to other things. :)

I just got off the phone with Keandre's GI doctor.  He called after hours, and was in no rush to get off the phone, so I was able to ask him lots of questions.  (What a blessing!)  After much research, prayer, talking with a few moms of EGID kids (we all know they are the real experts!), and this conversation with his doctor tonight, we have decided on our treatment approach until our next endoscopy.

1.  Avoid all foods Keandre appears to be allergic to. 
2.  Continue the supplements we feel are important for his overall health: vitamin D, flax seed oil (Omega-3s, etc.), a good quality multi-vitamin, lots of probiotics, digestive enzymes w/ every meal, kombucha tea (probiotics, enzymes, etc.), a homeopathic remedy, and slippery elm (for his esophagus). 
3.  Feed him good quality organic foods, grass-fed beef, and bone broth soups.  
4.  This week we will add in a high dose of Prevacid (30 mg.) in preparation for his next endoscopy, and drop the Zantac.  (Regular endoscopies after 6 - 8 weeks of Prevacid are the ONLY way to see if treatment has been effective.) 

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

deep breaths

Keandre loves this rabbit statue at the Children's Hospital. 
I love this picture of their silhouette. :)

I admit it.  This has been hard.  Our son is hurting.  He may hide it well sometimes, but he is not okay.  And it is impossible to settle for that.

I am doing research like there is no tomorrow, and skipping sleep in order to do so.  Keandre has both EE and EGE (both are types of EGIDs).  EE is rare, but is the most commonly diagnosed of the several types of EGIDs.  EGE is even more rare. 

Keandre's GI doctor treats this disease on occasion, but it is not his specialty.  And since we're not traveling out-of-state to a clinic that specializes in the treatment of EE and EGE, I can't assume his doctor is up-to-date on the more recent treatment plans.  That means I have to research and advocate for the treatment we hope to use, then approach his doctor for input and hopefully approval to proceed.

Today I met with Keandre's GI nurse.  I had a whole sheet of questions for her!  Now, after an awful weekend where I was seriously stressed over all of this, I finally feel more confident that we're going in the right direction, even if it may not be the approach that ultimately heals Keandre.  

We are trying a more natural approach right now, and I'll admit it is not working very well so far.  But we will feel much more comfortable approaching the use of heavy steroids and an elemental formula diet after we know we've tried the alternatives first.  It is a big deal to go no-food for a couple months.  It is an even bigger deal having a g-tube for feedings.  We don't want to skip ahead to that point if we don't have to.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Update on Keandre


This is the best description of Eosinophilic Esophagitus that I have seen!  If you want to understand our journey more, this is a good starting point -- much easier to understand than other links I've given. 

Please, please pray for Keandre.  We saw so much improvement when we first took out the additional 15 foods (+ the orig. 4).  A week later we realized he was also reacting to wheat and honey, so we removed those as well.  Incredible.  Apparently our son is allergic to 21 foods.  And to think that we hoped none of our children would be allergic to peanuts.  The whole food allergy issue seemed a little scary to us. :)

After seeing about 80% improvement in his worst symptoms (severe reflux & vomiting, stomach/esophagus/throat pain, runny nose & eyes, irritability and behavior issues, etc.), he seems to be getting worse again.  Although he has not thrown up in two weeks, his stomach hurts often, and sometimes his throat is very painful (reflux burn).  He is completely dependant on twice-a-day Zantac to neutralize the acid, and still it is not enough.  The steroid slurry that is prescribed for EE would not help him, as the EE (esophagus) is moderate, but the EG (stomach) is where the disease and pain is worst, and it would not address this at all.

We may need to go in for another round of patch testing, to see if there are other foods he's reacting to. 

This disease is difficult to treat.  It is rare, which means there are very few doctors who specialize in it, and there is no set protocol for how to approach treatment. 

For Keandre's sake, we need to see a lot more improvement when we do another endoscopy in a couple months, or we will need to try him on just elemental formula to help his body heal.  That would be so hard on him, not to mention the surgery and tube feedings we would need to administer.

Oh, how my heart hurts for my son tonight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birthmother's Day!


Nichole and I surprised Destany with a visit today.

Destany gets to choose when she feels ready for a visit these days, and she had asked if we could celebrate Birthmother's Day again, like we did a couple years ago.  I said maybe.  I stalled.  I said hopefully sometime soon.  And secretly....I planned.

Standing in the line at Starbucks (Nichole and I needed a little treat!), I told her who the second coffee was for.  She squealed.  She jumped up and down.  She was absolutely glowing!  Everyone stared.  I thought of how God delights in giving gifts to us, His children, and how fun it was to give the gift of this visit to my precious daughter! :)

I'm so thankful our sweetie knows how loved she ALL of her family.  Her birth grandma even sent her a gift when she sent one for Arjay and Dedrick, Nichole's sweeties.  What a special surprise!

Adoption is bittersweet.  It is a wonderful way to grow a family and provide a home for a child, but it is based on deep loss.  Today is a day that we can honor the connection and say thank you for the blessing of our children.

(See the link above to read a bit of history about this day, designated by moms who placed an infant child for adoption at birth.)
Do you recognize Birthmother's Day in your home?  How do you honor your child's birthmother on this day?  If you do not know your child's birthmother, how do you keep her presence alive in your family at special times like this?  

one hour


That's all it took for me to settle in and feel downright giddy at the thought of being 'alone' for the next 2 days (Brooklyn is with me since she's still nursing).  In fact, despite the fact that I didn't arrive at my little retreat until 10:30pm, and am in a perpetual state of fatigue these days, I was up until 1am.

It's just so peaceful here.  I couldn't help it! :)

I love these rare times when I can steal away and relax, think, pray, and seek God.  He is so gracious to show up and provide rest, refreshment, and new perspective.  I am still learning how to effectively balance life as a family of six, and I really want to slow down the pace of life a bit. But how can I do that when I barely have time to think?

This time away is probably the best Mother's Day treat ever.  Thank you SO much, Cathy, for the use of your beautiful home!  It is a treasured friend who not only knows my need for time away, but then gently insists that I take the opportunity when I can.  What would I do without you?!?

Thank you also to my sweet husband, who has the older three children with him.  He isn't just keeping them alive while I'm away -- he is doing all sorts of fun activities with them!  (Are you sure they miss me, hon? ;)

Now that I'm recovering from the craziness a bit, I am off to take my sweet baby out to dinner, then indulging in a little 'just for me' shopping!  Happy Mother's Day, my friends and family.  And for those who are still waiting to become parents, you are on my heart today.  Don't give up! :)

So, if you had a couple days to yourself for an in-town retreat, what would you do to rest, recover, and have a little fun?
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