Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little Monster

Seizure night tonight.
Just one.
In bed, snuggled up & reading a Berenstain Bears book when that limp arm & hand took over. Not sure why....so it's time to pay a little extra attention.

Hopefully, tonight's "wiggly hand" is just a blip...a subtle reminder.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Madness

Physio this morning for me.

OT this afternoon for Warner.

Yoga right now for Warner.

Um....when does the Schooling take place?
Hopefully, an hour or so will take place tonight after dinner.

What about Rhett today? Well, he enjoyed time outdoors on the trampoline and bike riding, before the flurries set in as well as reading Berenstain Bears with me and is complaining that today is the worst day of his life due to the snow!

Are your Mondays mad?

If you are a homeschooler, do you have a daily schedule you adhere too?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Visitor

Intense isn't he?

This fellow flew into our back yard and perched on that skinny branch, in the spring snowstorm, beside the trampoline.

A Great Grey? Maybe. Definitely not a Great Horned Owl.

Whomever he is, he is magnificent. Intimidating. Amazing to watch. HUGE. Seriously, he's as big as a Bald Eagle.

Hopefully, he'll be back tomorrow and we can continue our staring contest.

Guess who won?

By the way, Mr.Wise is looking backwards towards the camera. Amazing...wish I had that range of motion....just to keep an eye on my boys!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Clean Eating Dinner

Tosca Reno first came into our life via the Eat Clean for Families cookbook.
It's awesome!

Tonight I cleaned up our dinner with two Clean Eating recipes.
Quinoa & Cranberries - Super Yum!
CE Porkchops
Cucumber Salad

Oh Yummers!
I could eat the Quinoa dish all. day.

Of course, we had to "force" Rhett to eat it. That cutie does not like to try new foods and it drives me bonkers. But that's another post.

Quinoa & Cranberries
1 1/2 cup quinoa - soak in metal seive/strainer while prepping, then rinse well with cold water
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Place almonds in food processor & whiz until fine. Transfer to small bowl & set aside.
Place quinoa in water & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer, covered, for several minutes. Add almonds, almond milk, cranberries, lemon zest and pumpkin pie spice. Let mixture cook over low heat, stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat, let sit covered for a few minutes. Use a fork to fluff grains.

CE Porkchops
4 porkchops - defrost and trim fat.
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp coarse pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 TBsp dijon mustard
1/3 almond milk

Lightly spray skillet with non stick spray. On med-high heat add pork chops, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Flash brown chops. 5 min each side. Remove and place in warmed oven to keep warm.
Add broth, mustard and milk to skillet. Simmer 7 min. Thicken and spoon over chops.

Do you have a favorite clean eating recipe? Light dinner choice?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sneaky Sleeper

Look who snuck into my bed.
Just crawled right in, made himself at home.

Sneaky Sleeper!

Look at that face. So sweet....except....those facial angiofibromas that just keep growing & spreading. Not freckles on his nose & cheeks & chin, skin tumors. There's a bad one right below his bottom lash line.

Regardless, I'm grateful because the TS is "stable" right now. As stable as it can be.

So, I think I'll just stay snuggled up with this boy....listen to his sleepy breathing, enjoy his stillness....and be grateful.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's a Weighty Issue - Weighty Wednesdays

This is a biggy.
In SO many ways.....not just my butt! ;)

In the effort to be transparent and real and committed I'm going to chronicle my weight loss and health gain journey.

And success. There must be success!!!

As I break out in hives from even writing this little bit, my stomach is both sinking & jumping into my throat at the same .

In the past, I have not been good at this....this weight loss, get healthy business.

I like to eat. A lot. Not often, yet A LOT.

This past year I have lost 30lbs and have another 70lbs to go.

So, here's hoping that with A LOT of perseverance, clean eating, and activity I am successful.

Goal #1: 190
Current: 250lbs

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tasty Tuesday

In an attempt to provide the boys ( who am I kidding? Me to!), a healthy treat, I begged a sweet friend to share her super oatmeal cookie recipe.

Miss Ell's Cookies
1 cup oatmeal
2 mashed bananas

Mix & bake for 15 min at 350 degrees.

The beauty of these is that you can add whatever your taste buds desire.
For example, tonight I added vanilla & chocolate chips.

"Oh that's easy! It's a cuppa, cuppa, cuppa."
Dolly Parton from Steele Magnolias

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Wild Life

Living in the foothills of the Rockies is a blessing to our family. We are living the dream. I have wanted to live in the mountains for YEARS and here we are. Living that dream!

With living in the woods, there comes risks as well.
 Which is also true of living in urban areas, right?

Deer in our backyard.

"Maisy" the Moose visits too.

Are you wondering what that blue block is? It's a salt block. There was one here when we moved in so we kept up the habit, however that will be changing as of tomorrow morning. 

Do you see the white pole by the salt block? That is a deer feeder which we have NEVER filled and I think is just crazy! By the way, our local general store sells rolled oats soaked in molasses specifically for feeding deer. Nuts I say! 

Deer need to remain dependant on nature, not on humans.

The birds are beautiful.
Sweet little Chick-a-dee.

Yes, we feed the birds....for now. It's a spoken rule in our community that bird feeders are put away in April as they act as an appetizer for bears. So, our wee feathered friends will be on their own soon.

Also attracting deer means attracting cougars. This is our next backyard visitor. I have not snapped a picture of the "kitty" as he remains elusive which is scary. I would rather see this amazing predator than have him lurking in our woods and stealing the next door neighbors' dogs. Two big dogs, one on either side of us, have been taken within three weeks.


Tonight our next door neighbor saw the cat in their backyard during daylight hours.Just leisurely walking across the yard. Probably checking to see if dinner was available. Yikers!

When Mrs. A telephoned to report the sighting, goose bumps ran up and down my whole body. Still gives me shivers.


Reported to Fish & Wildlife....check! 
Backyard flood lights on....check!
Dog in doors....check!
Boys in bed and safe....double check!!
A little freaked out....check! 

Hmmm....cougars are leary of skunks? Maybe we should raise skunks! I have a friend in the city who traps and releases skunks. Maybe Miss T could bring them here!


Click the above image link & read the story. It cracks me up. This was taken in Waterton National Park and that little skunk did scare the cougar away!

Spring in the Rocky Mtn Foothills

You know it's Spring in the Rockies when....

  • three pairs of socks... including one of Dad's woolies... keep little feet dry & warm on the trampoline.
  • a child makes a frost angel on the trampoline.....and gets really mad when his brother wrecks it.
  • you just take the bikes out of the barn....and it SNOWS the next day.

Spring Snow April 7th

What does Spring look like where you live?

image from Pinterest

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Brother's Heart

Today Warner was sitting on my knee as I viewed this blog. He laughed at Rhett's baby pic, but then turned away when he saw the pictures from surgery. Poor fella still can't (won't) look at them.

When Rhett was hospitalized for neuro surgery, Warner went camping with sweet friends, family-friends. We kept in daily touch which included sending pics of Rhett. Which Warner would not look at then either. It was just too much for him. Even when he returned and Rhett came home from hospital, it took a few hours for Warner to be in the same room as Rhett or look at him.
Camping "cousins".

Remember....Warner was still 5yrs old at the time.  It's hard for us parents & adults to see Rhett hurting and scarred, let alone a little boy.

Yet, it still surprised me today when he couldn't look at these pics....and was a good reminder that Rhett's journey affects Warner too.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rhett's Journey

For the new RWB & Me readers, you may not know Rhett's story. His journey with Epilepsy. 
So here is the "Reader's Digest" version, if you will.

Rhett began life at 8lbs 13oz. My tiny baby. I was shocked at how little he was. Seriously.
He was healthy, other than a few small glitches, such as being tongue-tied, a weird heart beat, and a couple other "manly" issues. Adorable, squishy faced sweetness.
Rhett's first snuggle with Mommy.

Brand new Rhett & Daddy.

Our littlest one, grew and grew and charmed us with his quiet, loveable nature. Rhett met developmental milestones by the text book, other than his growth, which took off in true Gertsma style. When the seizures began at 8 months old, we were completely shocked and unprepared as it seemed so out of the ordinary and unbelievable, that this perfect baby boy could be having seizures. 

Rhett 8 months old.

After the unthinkable began, those Seizure Monsters reared their ugly heads, our new normal of hospital stays, tests, EEG's, MRI's, meds, explanations, searching for answers and a lot of fear, tears, and praying began.

Rhett's first ambulatory EEG.
At 15 months, an additional diagnosis to Epilepsy was given. Rhett has TSC. Tuberous Sclerosis. And so another journey begins. Education ourselves and everyone on our path, about TSC. Genetic testing for our immediate family, more tests for Rhett and more results. 

Rhett has all the major markers for TSC. Tubers (benign tumors) in his brain, right eye, heart, right kidney, facial angiofibromas (skin tumors on his face), those little fall down ears indicate kidney problems, the white ash marks all over his body, the serious, not super smiley nature of TS babes, and on and on and on. More of the unthinkable. More fears, tears, and learning.

Rhett 15 months.

The Seizure Journey continues as meds are tweaked and tried. Those pesky seizures keep rearing their ugly faces. Knocking our Bup down. Still coming. Trileptal & Keppra are a part of Rhett's daily routine. But the seizures keep coming and the Keppra adds sadness and unconsolable tantrums, sadness really. so eventually Keppra is switched out and Topamax is added, much to our concerns. There's a reason it's called "Dope-a-max", it sedates, it heats up and it can affect vision. Thankfully it is a small doseage and so far no side effects. Each increase in Trileptal always brought side effects for a few days....clumsiness mainly...and then it would go away. We have been very lucky. 

Eventually, a new seizure shows and although to the unknowing it seems minor as this new temporal seizure would just put Rhett on "pause" shall we say, it is wicked and left unchecked will cause more developmental delays, eventually effecting memory and development. 

Meds are not working to stop this quiet monster. Not well enough anyhow. And so during one LVEEG (long stay video EEG), our sweet Doc Neuro explains that Neuro-surgery is the best option. I will always remember that day. That hospital stay with our adorable, three year old. How does a parent absorb this? Let alone a three year old. So now we prepare for another chapter in this Epilepsy Journey, wrought with fear, facing the most difficult decision of our little boy's life.

Bup in ICU.

Rhett had his right Temporal Lobe and Hypocampus removed. He came through surgery and recovery beautifully. 

We have never shed so many tears of fear and gratitude. Never has Rhett reaching for me meant so much as it did that day in ICU. 

Rhett recovering.

Rhett's sweet preschool teachers sent him a balloon bouquet and a group of lovely ladies in a near by city gifted Rhett with a handmade quilt. These small gestures showed us love and hearts that brought tears and smiles to Rhett, Brad and I. 

Taken 6 weeks after surgery.

And now here we are almost two years post surgery, with new growth and development, meds still holding those seizure monsters at bay, barely at times, but still at bay. Yes the surgery was successful. Rhett is a different little guy since surgery. He's happier, More outgoing. Friendly. And was NONE of that prior to. But since Rhett's brain is riddled with tumors, seizures will always be a part of his life as will meds, tests, dealing with fine motor, gross motor, speech and other delays.etc, 

As difficult as this Seizure Journey has been, I know we are blessed. We are blessed that Rhett is doing as well as he is. We are blessed to have the Neuro team we have. We are blessed to have others in our journey that care for us, lift us up and make us laugh. But most of all, we are blessed to have Rhett. 

Rhett Kindergarten