Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Little Miss Chatterbox

Maddie LOVES to talk...and it doesn't even matter if there's anyone around to listen. She talks to her baby dolls, to Lucy (whom I assume is hanging on her every word!), to her favorite TV shows, to her teddy. We just rearranged her room (we put in my sister's old Trundle bed, so now Maddie has a "big girl bed"...but she's still sleeping in her crib), so now at one end of her crib is the rocking chair and her big box of books. Right now she's obsessed with the old classic "Pat the Bunny" and the newer sequel "Pat the Puppy". She's figured out how to reach through the crib slats and pull her books into her crib, so now I frequently hear her reading the books (page by page) to her baby doll...how cute is that?!

Keith jokes that Maddie is going to be like that little girl on the Volvo commercial from a few years ago who is chattering nonstop when her dad picks her up from school, continuing to chatter as he puts her in the car and she's talking to herself inside as her dad walks around to let himself in. :-)

It's so funny (and a little scary) to hear your 2-year-old child using phrases that you must say in your daily life, but never really think about. A day or two ago I was in the bathroom upstairs while Maddie was on my computer in the room across the hall. I'd set her up on an ABC computer game while I was "otherwise occupied" for a few minutes. All of a sudden, I hear this little conversation she's having with the computer:

I click it! (typing and mouse clicking)

Hmmm... (her tone sounds just like mine)

It not working! (more clicking)

What going on? (totally bewildered)

Darn it!

It broken. (resigning herself to this fact)

No working. (like, how in the world could this be happening to ME?)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good News & Bad News

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH to all our dear friends and family who faithfully prayed for us and Maddie today. We definitely felt God's presence and peace when we were at the hospital.

The good news...
Maddie was a little angel during the procedure. In fact, the nurses commented that they rarely see 2-year-olds who are so cooperative and well-behaved! She thought all the huge x-ray machines and computer screens were so cool and she wasn't intimidated at all. After she changed into her gown, I saw her raise her arm up and say, "Here you go" and I couldn't figure out what she was doing until I saw the nurse coming with the little machine to take her temperature...Maddie was ready and waiting! HA! Guess she's done this before. :-)

They gave her a light sedative to make her drowsy while we chatted with her and Keith read her a book. Amazingly, when they put in the catheter she didn't make a peep--I'm not sure she even noticed it! They took x-rays, then put a dye in the catheter so that we could see and take pictures of the flow of liquid from her bladder, up the ureter tube to her kidneys. In a normal case, when the body produces waste products they are filtered through the kidneys, travel down the ureter tube into the bladder, and then are emptied out from there.

The bad news...
Maddie's kidneys are not functioning normally. I'm not sure if she has kidney damage (or to what extent...that will be for future testing!), but we did find out that she has what's called vesicoureteral reflux (VUR). This is when the valve between the bladder and the ureter tube does not close off properly, allowing urine to reflux (back up) into the ureter tube and back up into the kidneys, which exposes the kidneys to infection. There are 5 stages of severity ("grades") for this type of reflux. Maddie's right kidney (the one that's too large) is moderate/grade 2, which kids usually grow out of by age 5 about 90% of the time. Maddie's left kidney (the one that's too small) is severe/grade 4. This severity of reflux is almost always treated with surgery. The radiologist said that, most likely, these problems were present when she was still in the womb and that the ureter tube and/or the valve did not develop properly. The surgery usually involves lengthening the ureter tube and/or replacing the valve. We will now be going to a pediatric urologist at OHSU, Dr. Skoog. He's doing a nationwide study on kidney reflux and the use of long-term prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics (which is a controversial topic) and he's also one of the few people in the area who does this type of surgery laparoscopically, which would be great, since the healing would be much easier on Maddie. I read that this procedure is done under general anesthesia and only takes about 20 minutes. In the meantime, Maddie will start taking low-dose antibiotics to prevent further kidney infections until we have a definite plan of action.

Today when we got home from the hospital, I went straight to the Internet to look up information. Especially when it comes to medical issues, having some background knowledge and information under my belt helps me feel much more calm and prepared...perhaps that's the teacher in me...I always like to be over-prepared, just in case. (Funny, when the doctor called me with the results tonight and I started asking questions she said, "Wow, it sounds like someone's been doing their homework!") :-)

This may be a long road for us, but for now I'm feeling very optimistic and at peace about everything, even the possibility of surgery. Of course, it's not something I'd want Maddie to have to go through, but on the other hand there are much worse circumstances in this world that we could be facing. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and precious daughter and the support and love of all of you! Please continue your prayers! Thank you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Prayers for healing

For all of you who are Believers, I'd like to request your prayers for our daughter Madeline. Since Maddie was an infant, she's had a couple (probably around 3 or 4) episodes of having a high fever (up to 103-104) for a couple of days, but with no other symptoms. No runny nose, coughing, ear infection, anything. Just the fever, which always made it a bit unusual. In mid-December the fever came back, so we had to take her to the dr. and have her catheterized (horrible) for a urine sample. They suspected either a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection. So on to antibiotics she went. Then we spent a week in Ohio for Christmas and she picked up a chest cold. When we got home, a small fever returned and come to find out she had an ear infection. Round two of antibiotics, then an ultrasound of her kidneys last week at Emmanuel Hospital. (Her dr. has been concerned that these unexplained fevers could be linked to her kidneys not functioning properly, so he wanted to check.)

The ultrasound seemed to go well and the radiologist didn't mention anything when we left, so I took that as a sign everything was well. Apparently not. I talked with her dr. today and both of Maddie's kidneys are the wrong size for her body. One is too small and the other is too large. Apparently for a 2 year old, each kidney is supposed to hold about 20-30 cc's (I think that's the unit of measure he said) of fluid. Maddie's kidneys hold 10 cc's for the small one and over 40 for the large one, so one has to over-compensate for the other. They aren't sure if this was a defect at birth or if the early fevers caused the damage.

We have a more invasive ultrasound scheduled for her on Friday at 1:30pm at Emmanuel, which includes having to catheterize her and give her some sedation for the procedure. Please pray that Maddie will be comfortable and cooperative, that the doctors will be wise in their diagnosis and treatment options, that Keith and I will be wise in seeking a second opinion if needed, and most of all that Maddie will be restored to full health with no future complications. Thank you for your prayers, dear friends!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Healthy Recipes for the New Year

If you're like most people this time of year, I bet you're looking for new healthy recipes. I tried two new recipes tonight from cookinglight.com and they were great!

Salmon with Spicy Cucumber Salad and Peanuts

  • 4 cups sliced seeded peeled English/Hothouse cucumber (about 2 large)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 4 teaspoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts


1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper over fish. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 fillet in each of 4 shallow bowls, and top each serving with 1/2 cup cucumber salad and 1 teaspoon peanuts.

(The cucumber salad would also be good on top of shrimp or chicken breasts, if you don't like salmon.)

and this was so yummy too...

Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Pistachios

A tiny grain with a texture lighter than rice, quinoa (KEEN-wah) is often dubbed "supergrain" because it's rich in many nutrients, particularly protein. If apricots are in season where you live, by all means substitute fresh--about 6, coarsely chopped--in place of the dried.


4 servings (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots (about 10), quartered
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 1/4 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine) or slightly sweet white wine (such as Riesling) or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced jalapeƱo pepper (I don't like jalapenos, so I just used a sprinkle of cayenne pepper instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


To prepare the salad, combine water, quinoa, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa mixture through a sieve. Combine quinoa mixture and next 8 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl; set aside.

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine reserved 3 tablespoons water, lime rind, and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour vinaigrette over quinoa mixture, and toss well to coat. (Mix pistachios in at the last minute to keep them crunchy.)

I'd never tried the grain quinoa before, but I'd heard about how healthy it is for you, so I wanted to try it. It was so delicious! Even Keith liked it! It has a very light texture, even lighter than couscous, and is very mild on its own so you can really give it whatever flavor you want. I've even seen recipes that use quinoa to make a hot cereal, like you would with oatmeal. I know that Trader Joe's carries it (love that place!), but I've also seen it in bulk in the health food section at Fred Meyer.

Here's to making healthier choices this year! :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas in Ohio

Okay, I know Christmas has now come and gone, but I wanted to share some pics from our trip to Ohio to visit Keith's family. Keith's sister Robin and her kids, Dominic and baby Sophia, stayed with us at the grandparent's house for most of the week. Great-grandparents and aunts/uncles and cousins all came to visit too. We had a full house, especially with two 2-year-olds and a 3-month-old in the mix! :-)

A big THANK YOU to Ron and Darlene for being such wonderful hosts to us and working hard to make sure we felt welcome and cared for...even in the midst of the craziness! Love you guys!

The whole clan. Our family, Grandpa Ron, Grandma Darlene, Robin & Sophia, Chris & Dominic.

Our family Christmas photo for this year.

Robin & Chris's family photo.

Awww...a moment of love between cousins...in between fighting over toys and yelling "MINE!" :-)

A rare photo of Dominic actually looking at the camera!

Can you believe it?! Santa Claus actually stopped by our house! The kids were in awe, especially Maddie. We'd wanted to visit Santa at Macy's before we left for Ohio (Maddie's been obsessed looking at the photos of Macy and Ava with Santa on Allison's blog), but this was even better. (Side note: Notice the shiner on Maddie's eye? One of our first days there she slipped and whacked her face full-force on the side of the toilet! Then the next day she fell on the coffee table and split her lip. Poor girl. We joked they'd be calling Child Services on us by the time we got home!)

Grandma was a great sport and had fun wrestling with the kids. Notice where Dominic chose to sit?!!

Cutie pie Sophia! She is SUCH a good baby. Hardly ever makes a peep! :-)

A visit with great-grandpa Frank.

This Little People airplane was the HOT TICKET at the Frank house this year. You know how there's always that ONE toy that everybody fights over? This was it! Dominic carried it *everywhere* with him, just for safe keeping & protection from Maddie--he even took it to the bathroom and to bed with him at night! That's some serious dedication!

This was Maddie's new Little People toy...tractors are right up her alley! She loves to ride the tractor at Papa's house all the time, so now she has her own!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everybody! We got home from Ohio last week and it's been a little crazy around here since then. It started in Ohio. First Keith got sick. Then Maddie. Then me. So far, I'm the only one who's actually gotten better! Keith and Maddie both have head colds and Maddie's went into her chest, so she has the horrible cough too. We took her to the doctor a couple days ago and discovered she also has an ear infection! Seems she's been to the doctor a lot lately. In mid-December, before we left, she was running a 103.5 fever for three days (without any other symptoms). She's had these "fevers of unknown origin" on probably 4-5 different occasions over the past 2 years and the doctors never know what it is. This last time they were thinking either a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection,which is much more serious. Her doctor is actually still concerned about kidney damage, so Maddie is having a kidney ultrasound on Thursday morning at Emmanuel (looks like no Bible Study or Mom-to-Mom for me this week, dang it!). So, if you could please pray for the health of our family, I'd really appreciate it!

Here's our silly girl in a moment of feeling better. I just love how festive she looks...like a little Gap girl! That red velvet coat is actually from Aunt Dana for LAST year's Christmas gift and it *still* fits!

Maddie is much more aware of Christmas traditions and decorations this year. It seems like everywhere we went she was pointing out Christmas lights and trees and especially nativity scenes, so I decided to buy her one that wouldn't break and that she could play with as she grew up in the coming years. This one is from Playmobil and has a barn/manger scene backdrop and a book that goes with it. Maddie loves it and calls it her "baby Jesus toys".

Just a silly pic of Maddie with her Papa...oh, and she actually asked me to put ponytails in her hair! Couldnt' believe it! Well, they stayed in for about 15 minutes anyways. Better than nothing! :-)

P.S.--Sorry if this post shows up with little rectangles in it or the same pics twice! I tried posting it originally through my Picasa photo software, but the pics wouldn't load, so I had to go back and put them in again! Technology...ugh.