Category: Family


Micah’s Urology Update


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.*

Micah at Urologist

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.

Micah Smiles

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.

Storms Don't Last Forever

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.

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Micah’s Kidney Update


20170627_081523

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.

Micah Miles

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Pre-Appointment Update for Micah


Micah, our 14 month old, has an important nephrology appointment coming up next week and I wanted to do a little update on him. As some of you know, Micah was born with some urinary tract issues.

Newborn Micah

During pregnancy the doctors noticed that he had a large bladder that never seemed to empty and hydronephrosis (fluid in the kidneys). When he was just 1 day old, Micah had an ultrasound and a VCUG. The VCUG is a series of x-rays taken while a catheter is inserted with contrast fluid. The contrast shows the flow of urine and fills the urinary tract structures in order to see their shape and size better. We learned several things from this test.

  1. Micah has reflux (VUR) from his bladder to both kidneys, much more severe on the left side (Grade 5). When his bladder fills up it also fills his kidneys and ureters (the tubes that go from bladder to kidney) with a back flow of urine . This makes him at greater risk for infection. Micah has been on antibiotics since birth for this and will continue until we can surgically correct the reflux. If Micah were to get an infection it would damage his kidney significantly.
  2. Micah’s left ureter should look like a small straight tube, but instead looks more like intestines. It is thick, long, and meandering. They call this a torturous ureter.
  3. Micah has renal dysplasia on the left side. His left kidney is small, has a cyst, and has some limit to it’s function. Renal dysplasia makes Micah at greater risk for high blood pressure, so we monitor that at every appointment.

Micah's First Ultrasound

It was determined that nothing could be done while he was so small. Micah was seen again at 6 months and had an ultrasound and blood panel taken. He had some signs in his blood of kidney malfunction. His creatinine was higher than normal and his CO2 was low. This along with other factors shows some decreased function from “normal”. The kidney did grow some between birth and his appointment around 6 months and we are hopeful it has continued to grow. The scan at 6 months also showed a cyst on it that did not appear at birth, although that is not significant on it’s own and can be fairly common (but more so with age). A cyst IN the kidney would be more of an issue.

Micah 6 Month US

We have been playing the waiting game for a while and he is finally getting to the age we can move forward with treatment. We did a new blood draw a couple weeks ago and were sorry to see the createnine and CO2 numbers as well as some other indicators for kidney function have gotten slightly worse. This could indicate kidney failure on the left side or the growth of the left kidney may have slowed or stopped.

Next week Micah will have an ultrasound and another VCUG. The VCUG will tell us a lot, especially since he hasn’t had one since birth. We will see if he has grown into the extra large ureter at all, we will see if his kidney is growing, and we should be able to see if the reflux on the right side has resolved.

Micah 14 Months

Grade 5 VUR is the most severe and requires surgery. We are hopeful that Micah can have his surgery sooner than later so that he can be taken off of the antibiotics. The surgery will entail re-positioning where his ureter enters the bladder and tapering it so fluid can not back up so easy. He may also need the upper part of his ureter tapered where it meets the kidney. We are hopeful that his kidney is still functioning enough to not need it removed, but the tests will tell us more.

Once surgery is complete, he will remain on antibiotics for 3  months and until another set of tests are done. This is unfortunate because Micah gets sick from his antibiotics and we have been fighting acid reflux and vomiting since he was born. He still doesn’t sleep through the night, but he has gotten better since we switched his antibiotic to the morning rather than bedtime. We might be able to try a different antibiotic after seeing the nephrologist.

Micah Miles

We are looking forward to having a healthy baby boy and putting this behind us. Please keep Micah in your thoughts and prayers over the next week and I will update when we have more information.

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Lumberjack Birthday Party


Lumberjack Brunch Birthday Party

First of all, I want to send a big thank you to everyone who attended our Lumberjack brunch! I love throwing birthday parties for my kids. Getting everyone together and celebrating the two best things that have ever happened to me sounds just about perfect. Besides, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict and love to fill my evenings with projects when I have the time. While this party wasn’t exactly Pinterest worthy, I would love to share some of the fun things we had.

Lumberjack Birthday Party Decorations

Lucky for us, Hobby Lobby has a whole section of lumberjack party supplies. If you know Ryan and I, you will understand that we are kind of lumberjack people. I majored in Forestry, we live in the country, plaid is a staple in our wardrobes, and Ryan has the lumberjack beard. We pretty much didn’t have any choice but to have a big ol’ brunch with plaid on every surface. I still had some birch disks and lanterns from our wedding center pieces, and they fit right in.

I made some simple envelop pillow covers in some “Bearly Beaver” fabrics I found on Fabric.com. Micah has some cloth diapers made in this fabric and it was too cute not to use it at the party. I have a bunch of mismatched pillows that I’ve been meaning to made seasonal covers for and I think these will look great in the fall/winter next year. You can see them in our family picture.

Lumberjack Party Family Picture

I made a progression banner of Micah’s monthly pictures, which hung above our drink station (complete with paper birch straws from Amazon).  All it took was a little bit of card stock, pictures, and some plaid ribbon.

Lumberjack Brunch Decorations

We had all of the good brunch foods, including pancakes, french toast, farm fresh eggs, bacon, sausage, homemade maple syrup, fruit, juice, coffee, mimosas, and beer. What could be better? We bought some great red chaffing dishes from Party City that fit the theme perfectly and labeled the food with some plaid card stock.

Lumberjack Brunch Food

Oh, and several posts on Pinterest got me interested in s’more mix, a tasty treat of marshmallows, chocolate chips, and golden grahams. I highly recommend it.

S'More Mix Lumberjack Party

Like I mentioned before, Hobby Lobby had an assortment of lumberjack decorations and party supplies.

Lumberjack Birthday Supplies from Hobby Lobby

We finished the day with a lumberjack cake and some cupcakes with ax toppers, also from Hobby Lobby.

Lumberjack Cupcake Cake

Lumberjack High Chair Banner

The boys had a great time and I hope our guests did too! Ryan and I enjoyed having everyone here. Now we have to think up a theme for next year! As any parent knows, the months go by fast and it will be here before we know it. As always, thanks for reading and check back soon for more fun!

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Micah is 12 Months Old!


12 Months

Our smiley boy is already 1 year old! Sometimes it seems like he was just born yesterday and other times it seems so long (especially when I think of how many times I’ve seen 3 a.m. this year). Micah is learning and growing every day. This month was a big one for him. He took his first steps, got his first haircut, and celebrated his first birthday.

MICAH 12 MONTH STATS

Micah weighs 23 lbs and measures 30.5 inches. In the last year he grew 14 lbs and 8 inches! He is right at the 75th percentile for all of his measurements.

Micah is such a daredevil. He loves to climb anything and gets especially excited if he sees the baby gate is open to the stairs. With supervision he can easily climb all the way up. Micah loves Harrison’s toys (which we are still learning to share). He has really started to like books, which makes me very happy. He also loves music more than I thought a 1 year old ever could. He has a hard time getting anything done in a day because he has to stop what he is doing every time he hears music, which is a lot in our house. He loves to dance.

12 Months Tigger

Micah is a terrible sleeper and loves to nurse. He still wakes up to eat and I can’t quite get him to quit, but we are working on it. I am happy to say I have been breastfeeding for 30 of the last 35 months, but I’m ready to be done whenever he is. I think we have quite the journey ahead of us though, because he is still nursing about 7 times a day. He also eats 3 solid meals a day. It’s no surprise why he’s in the 75th percentile!

Brothers

Every time I talk about my kids being close in age the first question I get is “How do they get along?” I am pleasantly surprised that these boys love each other so much. Harrison loves being a big brother. They fight over toys but Harrison is starting to be more understanding, We are very blessed having such a laid back kid for our first.

Monthly Picture Collage

Our baby has come so far in the past year and we are so excited about what the next year will bring! Happy birthday Micah!

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Lumberjack Cake Smash


Since your baby only turns 1 once, you might as well go big! We did a cake smash for Harrison’s first birthday as well and it’s just so much fun. We had to do Micah’s cake indoors, which was a big mess but completely worth it! Get ready for picture overload!

2- Lumberjack Cake Smash

We decided on a lumberjack party theme when we got this Best Bottom diaper cover in burly beaver plaid. It is one of my all time favorites and the fabric is available on Fabric.com, which we used for our backdrop. We bought the wall hangings from Hobby Lobby and the lantern is from Amazon.

1- Bear Smash Cake

I made a cake shaped like a bear using a round cake and 2 cupcakes. I bought 2 different frosting colors, which turned out to look the same, so it wasn’t quite what I was going for. Since it was cute and about to get smashed to bits, I didn’t worry too much.

3- 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Both kids gave us the same look when we set them up for their cake smash. (This devious look combined with “Can I actually eat this?”)

4- Micah Miles Smash Cake

5- Micah's Bear Smash Cake

Micah started out slow and got a good taste. Turns out, he’s a big fan of cake.

6- 1st Birthday

7- Lumberjack Cake

11- Chocolate Smash Cake

He didn’t eat much cake before he decided it would be fun to see how much he could get on the walls and ceiling.

9- Lumberjack

10- Micah 1st Birthday

The mess was totally worth it. About 3/4 of the pictures were blurry because Micah is a mover. He is very different than Harrison in that way. While Harrison takes his time with things, Micah is all over the place.

13- First Cake

12- Lumberjack Beard

He ended up with a pretty epic lumberjack beard.

8- Cake Smash

I’m not a professional cake decorator or photographer, but these moments will be some of my best memories with the kids. I can’t believe Micah will be 1 next week. It is incredible how much kids change in that first year. Micah, you will always be my baby. Happy birthday!

 

 

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Disney Vacation 2017


We were very lucky to score a great deal at a Disney Resort for the end of January/beginning of February. The All Star Music resort ended up being less than $90 per night and the kids are still both free at the parks since they are under 3. With a deal like that, we couldn’t pass up the chance to relax and enjoy the nice Florida weather while it was snowy and freezing at home. We were lucky enough to get such a great deal that my parents came with too.

How did we get such a great deal? I checked their website a couple of times each week and priced out every week for the next couple of months to see if there was a deal. For whatever reason, each day the prices seem to change for each week at each resort. We had an “up to 30% off” code for returning guests, but you can often get an “up to 25% off” or free dining plan code if you wait until the right time to book. Sometimes it takes a bit of patience and the ability to travel within the next few weeks to get the best deals. Keep in mind that the best rates are during the week, so if you travel Sunday – Friday you will get the best rates.

Disney Family Picture

We have been to Disney many times and have even stayed at Disney resorts a handful of times. We really love the value resorts because they seem to be much more geared towards kids than the moderate resort we have stayed at (Coronado Springs). The rooms are cheaper, and so are the dining options. We have stayed at All Star Music and Pop Century and I would recommend both.

Disney Plane Ride

We had nonstop flights from Milwaukee to Orlando and back. The kids did remarkably well. Harrison got his own seat and Micah snuggled up with us. The trip back was definitely harder, but the car ride was the worst part. Harrison had a backpack of entertainment and Micah was mostly entertained by snacks.

Once we arrived, we used Disney’s Magical Express for transportation. This service is nice because you don’t need to get a rental car, and they deliver your luggage right to your room. As long as you plan on staying within the resorts and parks I recommend this service.

We had 4 days of park hopper tickets. We spent the first morning (Monday) at Animal Kingdom and then hopped over to Magic Kingdom. The next day we spent at Epcot. Wednesday we were at Magic Kingdom all day and stayed until the fireworks. We relaxed and spent some time at Disney Springs on Thursday, and we finished out the trip at Hollywood Studios on Friday. We booked our fast passes as soon as we booked our room, so we were able to do most of the rides we wanted to. The last 2 times I was at Disney I was pregnant, so it was nice to finally have a chance to do some of the roller coasters.

Micah Sleeping at Disney

Micah slept so much during the day. We took pictures with him all over the parks sleeping in his carrier. It made the day easy and he was happy whenever he was awake! Harrison also took naps in his toddler Tula baby carrier.

Meeting Pluto

Harrison LOVED meeting the characters. He watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Winnie the Pooh at home, so those were really big hits. We did a Character Lunch at Magic Kingdom where the characters from Winnie the Pooh come right to the table (Crystal Palace). We really enjoyed it, but it was the most expensive part of the trip.

Disney Lunch

We brought a sit and stand stroller, which was a life saver. Both kids loved it and we had a lot of storage space for everything the kids needed. We brought a lot of food and snacks with us to save money, which was also a big help. PhotoPass_Visiting_MK_398890613497

Harrison asks us every single day if we can go back to Disney, so I’m sure there will be more trips in our future. It is such a great family vacation and the kids love the magic of it all (Harrison especially). As Micah gets older I’m sure he will love it too.

I would be happy to answer any questions about our trip! We aren’t exactly experts, but we really do love Disney. As always, thanks for reading!

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Mommycon Chicago 2017


If you follow along on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that we recently made a trip to Chicago for MommyCon/Wear, a natural parenting conference with extra emphasis on babywearing. This was the second MommyCon we have attended and we already have our tickets purchased for next year, because we love it so much. We love everything about it, including the vendors, talks, giveaways, and support from other parents. They have several shows around the US throughout the year and we definitely recommend it to any parents looking for natural parenting ideas.

Tandem Babywearing

We started the weekend at the Wear Party, hosted by Abby’s Lane. Our boys loved seeing and playing with other kids, while Ryan and I socialized and filled up on yummy appetizers. The theme of the party was “Keep Doing What you Love” and several amazing women spoke about getting their businesses started and maintaining it all while raising a family. Ryan won an awesome Smartbottoms potty training set for Harrison, including 2 trainers, a seat saver, and key chain. We are very appreciative to Abby’s Lane and Smartbottoms for this giveaway and we can’t wait to try them out.

Smartbottoms trainers

Everyone who attends gets a gift bag of freebies and coupons from vendors. There are several giveaways at the parties and in the vendor hall. We did not have tickets to the Tula or Cottonbabies parties, but we heard they were great too. Tula Baby announced their newest product, the Free to Grow carrier that can be used from birth to toddler without an insert. We are sad we missed the party and reveal!

My favorite part of the conference is getting a chance to meet and speak with vendors. There is something to be said about getting hands on with products before purchasing them, and the discounts were nice too! I finally got a few things I have been really excited about and have a few more added to my wish list.

Mommycon Purchases

MommyCon also offers information sessions that focus on natural parenting concepts (cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding, labor and birth, etc.) I attended a sleep consultation and sessions on crying prevention, car seat safety, and growing your passion into your profession. Ryan attended those talks and a session about being the support in a breastfeeding relationship. There are a lot of sessions geared just towards dads. Each room is set up with a toy box of goodies for the kids to play with so parents can enjoy the talks. The entire schedule is available online if you are curious about what else MommyCon has to offer.

Green Toys Treasure Chest

Ryan and I would love to answer any questions you have about MommyCon, both from a mom’s or dad’s perspective. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and thank you for reading!

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Micah is 11 Months Old!


The countdown has begun to big birthday #1! This time last year we were scrambling to get everything set for baby #2 and had an induction scheduled. We were nervous about labor, delivery, and our baby boy. Now he is a happy, healthy little guy that is on the move!

Micah 11 Months

Micah is so close to walking, and it could happen any day now. He lets go of furniture and stands on his own but hasn’t taken that first step yet. Ryan was traveling all of last week and I was so nervous Micah would take his first steps while he was gone, but he held off.

Micah 11

Micah loves music. If he hears music, even in the distance, he starts dancing or clapping. He loves to play around on the piano and has learned to be gentle with it. He also loves to wrestle with his brother, but isn’t quite as gentle with that.

MICAH 11 MONTH STATS

Micah has started to give hugs and kisses. He is starting to say a few words and is working on his animal sounds. Cows say moo and everything else says woof woof!

Micah and Tigger 11

Micah is staying right on his curve at 22.5 lbs and 30 inches. He has definitely grown quite a bit in length this month but has slimmed down a bit. We are so happy to see him growing so big and healthy.

As far as his kidney goes, he will be having a VCUG (a series of x-rays that watches his kidneys and bladder empty) after his first birthday to assess whether he has grown enough for surgery. We will keep everyone updated when we have more information, but he will stay on the antibiotics until we can get him the surgery he needs.

We had an exciting month with a weekend at MommyCon Chicago and I will post a bit on that later this week. Look for more updates soon and thank you for reading!

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Micah is 10 Months Old!


I’m one day late because of the amazing vacation we just got back from, but more on that later! Micah is 10 months old!

Micah 10 Months

Micah is becoming more independent every day, which is great. He is starting to have more preference over what toys he wants (usually whatever Harrison is currently holding) and plays independently or with Harrison. The boys actually get along great, but we did have to move Harrison’s train set upstairs so Micah can’t tear it apart.

Micah 10

Micah is also starting to test limits to see if he can walk. A few times now he has let go of furniture and stood alone. He’s still very wobbly but he wants to walk, so I don’t think it will be long. He also loves to dance, sing, give kisses, wave, and clap. He now says “Dog” and “Muah” for kisses.

MICAH 10 MONTH STATS

Micah weighs almost 23 pounds and measures 29 inches. He is such a big, happy boy! Both boys came home from vacation with new teeth. Harrison is cutting his 2 year old molars and Micah got tooth #8!

Micah and Tigger 10

We took a family vacation to a Disney resort this past week. My parents came along, which was a huge help with the kids and so much fun. We visited all of the Disney parks and spent a day at the pool. It was great! Micah flew on his first airplane and we didn’t have any major meltdowns. He absolutely loved Disney and napped on and off in my Tula carrier. Harrison and Micah loved the rides and shows, but they especially loved meeting all of the characters, including Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. We did a character lunch with the Pooh characters and they stop right by the table, which the boys loved!

Micah and Tigger

We’ve got more pictures on Instagram and Facebook and I will write a post soon with more details of our trip. Even though the kids may not remember everything from the trip, we will always remember how excited and happy they were. It was worth every penny.

We also have kitchen renovations going on and some fun spring time things planned, so check back soon for more updates! Thanks again for reading!

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