Time is just flying by! We are nearly half way into October already, but I wanted to share the highlights of September 2017. If you don’t already follow Scott Family Homestead on Facebook and Instagram, you are missing out! The Instagram stories feature is my favorite place to post day to day happenings. You can check it out at Instagram.com/scottfamilyhomestead.
September was an amazing month for our garden. We harvested over 20 lbs of tomatoes, 2 dozen cucumbers, and many carrots, zucchini, and green beans. We also collected about 15 cups of blackberries, which made 8 delicious jars of jam. This year was my first “real” garden, and I am so proud of our harvests.
Ryan was successful in getting the Little Blue Truck running with minor repairs and breaks. It is now road ready, with insurance and registration. We received our “Collectors” licence plates and are ready to go. Ryan likes to use it to run errands and I hope to learn how to drive it soon. I’ve never driven a manual, so I’m a little bit nervous.
We traveled quite a bit in September. We started the month out with a camping trip and visit to the Twin Cities for the Minnesota Renaissance Art Festival. We had a good time at the festival and we able to visit family too. It turned out to be a great trip. The boys shared a lemonade at one of the food stands and it is a favorite picture of mine.
We also spent several days during the week at a waterpark resort in Wisconsin Dells. The kids are at a great age to enjoy the water as well as the playgrounds and arcades. For more details of the trip, I wrote a detailed post. We had a blast, and most of it was chronicled on Instagram stories, including a trip to a lumberjack breakfast and Harrison’s first mini golfing adventure.
We ended the month with a beautiful wedding in the Madison, WI area. My cousin and his beautiful wife were married in a small little chapel on a gorgeous day. The boys loved dancing the night away and meeting some of their cousins for the first time. We stayed in our camper at Governor Dodge State Park, which was so convenient and fun.
September ended with beautiful but warm fall weather. We captured some great pictures of the boys in the same place as last year. You can read the details and see more pictures on the blog. I put together a collage of 2016 and 2017 to show the difference in these handsome boys. They have changed so much and have really developed their personalities.
September 2017 was quite an adventure and we have enjoyed settling in for the first bit of October. We like to be busy, but time as a family is what we love the most. Stay tuned for more updates, as I have been trying to make a better effort to keep everyone updated on our adventures!
5 years ago when I started to blog, it was just Ryan and I. We purchased a fixer upper and wanted to share the projects we were working on. Now, we have 2 little helpers that seem to want to be involved with everything. At first, I was resistant to letting the kids get involved in my projects. It took me a long time to decide that I could keep doing what I love with littles under foot. Having kids takes patience I never knew I could have. Letting them help with things I want or need to get done takes even more patience. When it really comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s be honest. Little hands aren’t always that helpful. They are more likely to spill paint than to get the job done quicker. They are more likely to crawl on your new table than to help assemble it. They are more likely to eat the vegetables right from the garden before you can get them inside. They are more likely to drop the fresh eggs than to crack them neatly into a bowl. Sometimes, it really is just a mess.
It’s important to remember though, for every bit of spilled paint, Harrison has seen how his mom can paint neatly and clean up a mess. Even if he isn’t as careful as I would like, he is more likely to be careful next time. He knows how to make a mess and he knows how to clean one. If my boys help with a project, they have to follow through with the clean up. Sometimes it is easier to give them their own project or a pretend one, but they still get the experience.
This week, not only do they have a table sturdy enough to climb on (against my wishes), the boys watched their Momma build one from scratch. They know that anyone can build something if they put their mind to it, and women are no exception. Watching their mom and dad work hard is just their “normal”.
As far as eating from the garden, well, my boys like vegetables. I credit a lot of that to the fact that they grew them from tiny little seeds and watched them grow every step of the way. I may never see a full sized carrot at the rate the boys pull them out of the garden, but they will both tell you that is their favorite food.
Harrison cracked his first egg when he was just under 2. When I would cook he wanted to be involved. I bought him a cute little apron and we started to keep an extra chair in the kitchen for him to stand on. I always crack eggs into a bowl before adding them to the recipe just in case of egg shells. Harrison gets his own egg and bowl. Now at just 3 years old, he can crack an egg into the bowl perfectly and he is so proud. If the kids prefer to play with their toys nearby while I cook, that is alright with me. I don’t want to force my hobbies on them, but while they are interested I will teach them everything I can.
These are just a few examples, but let them spill the paint, check out your work, eat the food they grow, and help you cook. It isn’t always convenient, and it isn’t always fun, but their little minds always learn something. I won’t lie, they almost always make the job more difficult. I like to give the boys an easy job, like using a sanding square on furniture I am planning to paint. When I am cooking, the boys are great at stirring, or I measure the ingredients and they pour it in the bowl. The job doesn’t have to be big, they love it all the same. I am easily overwhelmed and stressed, but letting Harrison and Micah help with things has gotten easier over time and my patience has grown. Obviously, there are some things that kids need to stay away from. The boys aren’t allowed anywhere near a saw or the hot oven. They know that, and Harrison will tell you exactly how excited he is to grow up and use a chainsaw. Not today little man, not today. (It is important to make time for hobbies that aren’t kid friendly too, but that is a topic for a different day.)
As a stay at home parent, it is especially important for me to let the kids help me. Without my little helpers, I would never get anything done. For a while, I stopped building and crafting. Now, it does take longer when the kids get involved, but I still get to do the things I love while teaching them what hard work looks like. I really do believe our boys have found appreciation in what we do and how much work it takes. They also take pride in the things they have worked on. If appreciation, hard work, and pride come at the price of slowing down what I am working on, I think it is worth it. So, get back to doing what you love or start something new together. Now is as good a time as any!
This year Harrison has started preschool at home. We don’t have a 3 year old program here, but Harrison is so excited to start school (mostly because he thinks the school bus will take him to Disney World, but that’s a whole different issue). We have been working from a workbook, reading, and doing a little bit of crafting. Today we decided to go on a search outside for some colorful leaves to make fall wreaths. These are such an easy project anyone can do it, and Micah helped too!
We collected leaves of all different colors, shapes and sizes. This is the perfect time of year to collect, because the leaves are about 50% changed at this point. If you don’t have colorful leaves in your area or it is past that time of year, you can buy colorful leaves at your local craft store.
*If you want your wreath to last for quite some time, you should press your leaves to dry for several days once they are collected.*
Once the leaves were collected, we headed back inside. The best part – this craft only takes 2 other materials, a paper plate and some glue. We cut the center out of the plate to make a ring and started to glue down the leaves.
That’s all there is to it! Put as many or as few leaves on the ring as you would like, set it out to dry, and find a place to display your work! Harrison is just 3 and was able to do this project completely on his own. Micah, who is 18 months, needed a little help. He liked collecting leaves and placing them on the plate, but I helped him finish it off.
What kinds of crafts have you been up to this fall? I look forward to seeing them!
Last year I took some fall photos in our driveway and they are some of my favorite pictures. I couldn’t pass up a chance to make it a yearly thing and put the boys back in matching plaid outfits.
The leaves are changing colors and falling fast. Ryan picked up some pumpkins and mums from the store yesterday and they are beautiful! The kids were very excited to take pictures with the pumpkins. I’m not going to lie, taking the boy’s pictures isn’t always a treat. They like to wiggle and crawl away, but this time they made it easy.
Keep in mind I am far from a professional photographer or blogger, but I need to capture these memories. It’s true, the days are long, but the years are short. My boys are growing fast and I feel like I’ve just blinked.
Make sure you check out last years pictures too. It is amazing to see the difference a year makes. Harrison is losing his baby look and is becoming a little boy (big boy if you ask him). Our little 6 month old, dark haired Micah has turned blonde and is almost as tall as his big brother. Make it stop!
Fall is a really great season around here. I’m harvesting what is left of the garden. Last night we canned 12 pints of pickles and I baked 24 zucchini muffins. It even smells like fall in here now! I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the fall weather. Pull out your sweaters and jackets, the best season of the year is here!
We have been in desperate need of a family vacation. Ryan has been busy with work and keeping everything running around here, while I have been in over my head with the kids, garden, and chickens. It is that time of year when everything needs to be cleaned, organized, and put away before snow flies. We had a great chance to step away for a few days and really enjoy the kids. They are at an awesome age and we don’t want to miss anything because we are too busy.
*This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.*
We had a list of things we wanted to do while on our vacation. The Wisconsin Dells are full of fun things to do, but we definitely wanted to go to the waterparks, mini golfing, shopping, ride a Duck, and eat good food. I’d say it was a successful trip, although we did have to skip one item on our list.
We took a trip to Wisconsin Dells. This is a great time of year to go (September), because even though the outdoor waterparks are closed up, the crowds are low and the rates are cheap. We got a suite at the Wilderness Resort for a great price, and the 3rd night was half off! The Wilderness Resort has everything you could want including several indoor waterparks, mini golf, arcade, ropes course, playhouse, restaurants and bars, shops, spa, and more. Between it being during the week and in the off season, the place was practically our own. We have stayed at other resorts (Kalahari, Chula Vista, etc) but the Wilderness is by far our favorite.
Harrison loved the multi-level playhouse. Micah loved it too, and it is big enough for parents to supervise (and have a little fun too). I’m sure it gets a little crazy in the busy season, but it has a lot of space for the kids to run and play. The boys also liked the arcade. Harrison figured out how to swipe his card to activate the games all by himself. He ran around playing games and winning tickets for cheap prizes we don’t really need…but he loved it!
The lazy river in the waterpark is my favorite part. They have double tubes with a mesh bottom in the front. Micah and I spent a ridiculous amount of time floating circles around the park. He was terrified of the dumping bucket, and the river kept him far away. Harrison was busy riding the big slides with Daddy. They did all of the adventurous stuff while Micah and I took it easy.
We also enjoyed a few other things around town. We enjoyed breakfast at Paul Bunyans. They have an all you can eat, lumberjack themed breakfast. The kids got Babe the Blue Ox hats and ate until their little tummies were all filled up! We have also loved going to Moosejaw Brewing Co. in the past. They have great pizza and homemade beer and soda. I highly recommend it!
We also couldn’t visit the Dells without a trip to Pirates Cove Mini Golf. Harrison hasn’t ever golfed before. It took a few practices before he had it all figured out. We had a blast and Micah fell asleep in the Tula carrier. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was a beautiful, warm day.
Of course, no trip is complete without a little shopping. The Dells have an amazing outlet mall and we scored some great deals, including a few fall outfits for the boys from Carters and Gymboree. Since becoming a mom, I find it much more enjoyable to shop for the kids than to shop for myself.
One of these times, we hope to take a Dells Tour with the Original Ducks. They have vehicles that are both trucks and boats that take a tour of the beautiful parts of the Wisconsin Dells. We planned on going (because they have a fall discount) but the boys fell asleep after lunch and we decided to just get on the road while we had quiet kids in the back seat. Next time!
It was good to get away for a bit. We only have one more camping trip planned and then the camper and boat will be put away. The leaves are already changing color and dropping leaves, and the yard needs to be mowed at least one more time. The coops are in good shape, but we will be adding windows to encourage more light for egg laying during the winter. The garden has handfuls of cucumbers and tomatoes that need to be processed. The list goes on and on, but we sure do love this life.
Another month has flown by, and we have more photos to share! August was a busy month for us on the homestead, but also very rewarding. The weather has been great and we have been able to get quite a bit from the garden while also enjoying the camper and boat. We started the month by harvesting a big batch of green beans.
We were also able to spend a few days camping. With Ryan’s work we are even able to camp during the week sometimes, so we took advantage of that. You can’t have fun without a little bit of work though, and both cars and the camper have required a bit of work this summer (not even counting the F100 truck work Ryan has been doing).
August 14th is our wedding anniversary and this year we celebrated 7 years! We spent the weekend out on the lake and finished the day off with pizza and ice cream on the boat. The kids had a great time and spending the day as a family was the perfect celebration.
The boys are becoming more independent and Micah weaned this month. It is a bit easier for me to leave them home for little while. Ryan always does great with the boys, but going out is a little more guilt free now that Micah doesn’t need me all day long. I spent a nice long time on a Hobby Lobby shopping trip. I got all kinds of goodies to help decorate the house and make it feel a little more “grown up” along side the toys and sippy cups.
It has been a beautiful month around here. I’m excited for September though, it is one of my favorite months. While the weather gets cooler, the tourism slows down and our town begins to feel a little bit more like home. Fall is coming but we still have plenty of nice summer days to enjoy, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy too!
Micah was seen at the UW hospital yesterday for a bladder dynamics study. The test (called a CMG for short) measured the pressure in the bladder as well as bladder capacity and muscle use. We discovered a couple of things from this test, with mostly positive results. The test itself went well and took about 2 hours. Micah was lightly sedated and likely won’t remember it. Child life brought toys and books to keep him occupied. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor and this is my understanding of the results, which may not be perfect.
The urologist was trying to find out whether Micah has a spinal or brain disorder that prevents him from being able to empty his bladder. He has all of the symptoms of a neuroligical issue called a neurogenic bladder (similar to the bladder issues found in children with spina bifida or other spinal injuries). He has a large bladder capacity but doesn’t fully empty it. On his last x-ray study it looked as though he had high bladder pressures and a thick bladder wall, leading the doctors to believe he couldn’t feel how full his bladder is.
The CMG found that it does seem as though he can’t feel how full his bladder is. A typical 16 month old will fill his bladder completely with 80-100ml. Micah’s bladder took 180ml each time, about double what a normal bladder would hold. The good news though, is that once it is full enough to be uncomfortable in his abdomen he has the ability to use the muscles to partially empty the bladder. That would not be the result if he had a neurological issue.
The urologist believes Micah has Hinman’s syndrome. The other name is non-neurogenic neurogenic bladder. Clear as mud, huh? Simply put, Micah has bladder dysfunction for an unexplained, non-neurologic reason. It is likely just a developmental mishap which also affected his ureters and kidneys early on during pregnancy. This diagnosis is better than a neurological disorder because there is hope that he will be able to train his bladder to empty. He has muscle control to some extent and we hope to teach him how to use those muscles once he is old enough to understand potty training.
In the meantime, we will do our best to keep Micah healthy and free of UTIs. If he begins to get UTIs or further kidney damage he will need catheters several times a day to help him empty his bladder, with the hopes that he will eventually gain the ability to control urination without a catheter. Once he has control over bladder pressure, he will be able to have the surgery on his ureters to fix the reflux issue. This will likely be done around age 5, or whenever he is fully potty trained.
While we are relatively happy with the conclusions of the test, we are still concerned about his kidney function and size. The issues Micah has in his urinary tract were probably caused by the same early developmental mishap, which leads us to the Hinman Syndrome diagnosis. On the positive side, the urologist thinks this was more likely a developmental mishap than an inherited gene. She does not believe we should have to worry about Harrison or any future children’s urinary tracts with this diagnosis, but we will stay on the lookout for any alarming signs.
We are finally at a point where we can stop searching for a diagnosis. Micah has hypoplastic kidneys with VUR and bladder dysfunction. He has a diagnosis and treatment plan. He will only have to undergo routine ultrasounds and blood tests to check kidney function every 6 months without any other major testing. He can stay off of the antibiotics and avoid catheters unless he starts to get UTIs. He will have surgery around age 5 to further prevent kidney infections.
I know sometimes the terminology becomes overwhelming if you aren’t dealing with this issue yourself, so if any part of this seems confusing I would be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability. This has been quite the journey, but Micah is mostly just a happy kiddo.
I have a major love affair with Instagram. I love choosing a photo every day or two to show off what we have been up to. As a bonus, it is hooked up to Facebook, so the pictures can be seen on Scott Family Homestead there too. I know not everyone has Instagram, so I thought I would do a little recap of what July had in store for us.
We started out the month with a week of 4th of July celebrations. We went to the fireworks and 2 parades. The kids are at a great age for holiday celebrations and they had a blast. We went up north to Michigan and enjoyed great weather at the lake.
The chickens and ducks have been laying eggs like crazy. They have been happy and healthy. Hoping not to jinx things…we haven’t had any predator issues since the bear in the spring. We have had some deer in the yard, but they have stayed out of the garden, so I’m happy.
The garden has been such an adventure this summer. Ryan has been super helpful with weeding and watering. We have had some great successes and some failures, but we are learning a lot. The zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes have been a major success. The carrots, pumpkins, and broccoli need a little more time, but they look great too.
One of the most exciting events of July was purchasing our Little Blue Truck. It has been a good project for Ryan and I can happily say it is up and running. The kids love it and have been “helping” dad work on it.
This spring we made a promise that we would really enjoy this summer with the kids and pack it with as much fun as possible, but also time at home. We don’t often spend weekends at home, but we wanted to enjoy it this summer. We live where everyone else comes for vacation and we have enjoyed going to town and doing the tourist things that everyone else enjoys. It has been a great summer so far and I am looking forward to what August has in store!
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Today we met with a great pediatric urologist who has been studying Micah’s case. We learned a couple of things and have a plan for another test, date to be determined. *As a reminder, I am not a doctor and I am only trying to convey the information as we received it and try my best not to pass on misinformation.*
First, the good news! After turning 1, the chance of UTI in boys with kidney reflux goes down considerably. This means as long as we closely monitor Micah for signs and symptoms of UTI, we can take him off of the antibiotics!! This is such great news for our little boy who gets very sick from those medications.
Now, there are 2 possible issues we are worried about. The first is primary reflux. This means the problem could be VUR alone. That would be solved by ureter reimpimplantation surgery. While the reflux should not get worse over time, it may be possible that the first VCUG (a test with a series of xrays with contrast in the bladder) when Micah was 1 day old didn’t show the extent of reflux on both sides. It did show very clearly that there was no urethral blockage, so that has been ruled out.
Surgery can not be done before ruling out a neurological disorder that keeps the bladder from emptying. This would explain why the problem appears to have gotten worse with time. This would also explain why his very first and most persistent symptom has been an enlarged bladder. There may be a syndrome associated with that issue, or it may just be a dysfunctional bladder on its own. While this issue would be a long term problem, most problematic around potty training, it may allow Micah to outgrow the reflux once he learns to control his bladder on a schedule. While we would never wish for a neurological or spinal problem, the idea of avoiding a major surgery that could lead to more complications does have it’s advantages. If it is determined to be a neurogenic bladder, tests will be done to rule out spinal issues and the reflux will be closely monitored until potty training age. If the reflux does not improve by age 4 or so, reimplantation surgery may be required.
The next step is a test that measures pressure in the bladder as fluid is added (a cystometrograms or CMG). It will measure bladder size, pressure, and flow rate. If the bladder does not empty at the appropriate pressure, it is likely a neurogenic bladder. The test is similar to a VCUG. Micah will be lightly sedated and the test takes about an hour. The test will be done in Madison at the UW Children’s Hospital, but it has not been scheduled yet. Sometimes it can be months to get on the schedule, but we should know more next week.
The kidney size and function is something that was determined during development and won’t be changed through surgery or time. It will be what it will be, and we just have to do our best to protect his kidneys as they are. It is disappointing that we can’t do anything as a quick fix, but taking Micah off of the antibiotics should at least make his day to day better.
Thank you to everyone who is keeping Micah in their thoughts and prayers. We are doing our best to stay positive and the support is very comforting.
Our sweet boy had a rough day today. The results of Micah’s tests were not what we had hoped for. The issues to this point were in the left side of his urinary tract only. This scan showed severe reflux, a large ureter, and a smaller than normal kidney on both sides.
We can not schedule a corrective surgery without ruling out bladder disorders or blockages since it is now a problem on both sides. We also need to have a better idea of kidney function, so new blood and urine tests are being run. The hospital is having a radiology clinic tonight with radiologists, nephrologists, and urologists that will review Micah’s history and scans to better treat him.
We will be seeing a urologist in 2 weeks to rule out other disorders or blockages. Other than waiting on more test results we don’t have much else to report. Please keep Micah in your thoughts as we continue on this journey.