New Blog for Nathanael

We recently started fundraising with COTA to cover Nathanael's medical expenses, so updates about him will be on his new blog from now on: Please check out the blog, pictures, and opportunities to help, and feel free to pass along the link to others. We appreciate your concern!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago today (at 3:18am) our precious second son was born.  Our lives were changed forever.  Before 5:00am that same day, the doctors came in to tell us that Nathanael's platelet count was low...and we knew then that he had been born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome.  What opened one of the most difficult chapters in the life of our family to date has now become a distant memory: this fall he will have his 3 year-post-transplant check-up!  What once almost completely defined our little boy has now become just a footnote in his medical records.  We are so thankful that the Lord chose to heal him completely.

At age three Nathanael is an active, busy, somewhat bossy and very determined little guy who loves to tackle his big brother, talk about dinosaurs (and pretends to be one!) and trucks, and will crawl on the floor almost anywhere.  He's adventurous, silly, and opinionated; he's also loving and cuddly (he will even ask me if we can go snuggle!), and he'll sometimes grab my face with both hands and kiss my cheeks, while telling me not to laugh.  (I can't help's so cute, especially when he tells me how he loves my "precious cheeks"...think I've said that to him just a few times?!)  He is strong and fearless, even in the face of doctor and dentist visits, including blood tests.  He is still learning to be gentle.  ;-)

He loves to sing (on his own terms, of course: Dinosaurs A-Z is probably his favorite, followed closely by several songs from a Veggie Tales CD we have), loves to run and be chased, enjoys climbing, and wants to jump off furniture like his brother.  (Last week at the park he scraped one elbow and both knees, and I didn't see any of the "accidents" wasn't until later that I realized he'd been hurt at all!)

Some days it's hard to believe that this crazy little boy was once very sick and medically fragile.  Sometimes I wince just thinking about the germs he's picking up (and putting straight into his mouth - he still has one 2-year-molar that's coming in, so he's teething and constantly chewing his fingers), and then I'm thanking the Lord that we are no longer concerned about all those germs!

So when you think of us, join us in thanking God for our healthy, happy, crazy little boy who brightens up every room he enters with his contagious smile!  And then pray for those you know whose little ones are sick, or are struggling in some way, and give them a call, or drop them a note just to let them know you care.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!  We love you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On Wisconsin!

While Brad spent the weekend in Detroit with family recently, the boys and I flew up to visit my parents in Wisconsin.  Mom and Dad have lived northwest of Milwaukee, in Slinger, for 7+ years now, so with some of my cousins and an uncle and aunt not too far away, it has become home to them.  However, since the boys had only been up there once (last fall) and only for a few days, this was a great opportunity to spend more time enjoying their home and exploring southeast Wisconsin!

Butterfly Garden
Flying a kite at a park near the lake
We had a busy week, started by an early morning flight (we left the house at 5am) to Chicago, a drive to Milwaukee, a park right on Lake Michigan (where Jamison flew a kite for the first time!), and the Milwaukee Public Museum (Natural History), where the boys found plenty of animals to check out, before heading home for dinner.
Jamison with a praying mantis
Wishing they could run with the animals

Pressed against the glass checking out the antelope

Riding a bear at the museum
The next day we took it slow, playing at my parents house, and not venturing too far, as we needed some rest!  (Both boys napped - a big deal for Jamison, who stopped napping LONG ago.)  We did manage to find a local Germanfest where we enjoyed live polka music while eating bratwurst for dinner.  The boys had fun in a bounce house and playing at the playground there.
Enjoying German Night at Regner Park in West Bend with Grandma & Pop Pop

Someone liked the slide!

Visiting camels at the Milwaukee Zoo
We got close to the flamingos
Look at those grins...these boys love the zoo!
Tired after 6 hours of walking
Friday we planned a trip to the Milwaukee Zoo, and we spent all day seeing shows, exploring various parts of the zoo, and looking for air-conditioned buildings where we could take a break from the heat and refill our water bottles!  I especially enjoyed the tall trees (and the shade they provided) throughout the zoo, and the boys loved the variety of animals.  After spotting peacocks in quite a few places, and two crossing the street, we decided that they thought they owned the place.  Our favorite parts of the day may have been the shows: we saw a water show with a sea lion and two harbor seals, one on birds of prey, and one called "Alien Invasions" about non-native species and their impact on the environment (i.e. zebra mussels in the Great Lakes).

Saturday we experienced what seems to be a tradition in most small towns in the midwest: the local festival.  Port Washington is a medium-sized town on Lake Michigan which hosts "Fish Day" each summer, and boasts the "largest one-day outdoor fish fry" in the world.  The boys and I left early with my dad to catch the parade,
Parade watching with Pop Pop George
which we enjoyed, and after work my mom joined us for a yummy lunch of fresh fish.  Had it not been for the heat we would have stayed longer to walk around the art show, or maybe take the long walk down to the beach (looked like hundreds of stairs, and none of us wanted to carry two tired kids that far!)...but it was a fun day.
Lake Michigan - view from Port Washington, WI

The boys and I with Grandma Bonnie

Port Washington's location on the lake, many sailboats, and the festival atmosphere reminded me of Vermilion, Ohio, a cute town on Lake Erie where Brad and I lived for five years.  It is also home to the Festival of the Fish, a fun local tradition. 
Jamsion's Jenga-block tower

Building with Lincoln Logs!
We attended church together, played at their house, and spent some time with extended family.  The boys were thrilled with the basement, where they could build and drive trucks to their hearts' content and leave the mess to clean up later. 

Fun on the deck

On Monday we went swimming with a friend at the private lake in her neighborhood.  Jamison and I got to watch small bluegills swimming near our feet, while Nathanael mostly wanted to dig in the sand.  It was fun to watch the boats in the other part of the lake too.  While it was hot outside, the water was pretty comfortable, as there was a slight breeze and a place to sit in the shade.
Enjoying sand and shade at the beach
Monday night we went to our first little league baseball game to see our cousin play (and to play on the playground nearby).  Here's a pic of the boys with our cute!

Monday night we went to our first little league baseball game to see our cousin play (and to play on the playground nearby).  The boys found a toy they could sit on that operated like an excavator, and both tried it out (and both bumped their heads on it), though it was better suited to someone Jamison's height.  They also both rode a merry-go-round for the first time!  (We don't have them at parks here, so they both watched for awhile before trying out the new park equipment.)  Fortunately they did have some help from their cousins. 
Jamison helps get it started...

Here's a pic of the boys with our cute!
The kids enjoyed playing together

On our last day in Wisconsin we dropped off my mom at work, then spent time at a park in town, and visited the local library.  We had a quiet afternoon at my parents' house while I packed and prepared for an early morning.  Since our flights were through Chicago (O'Hare) we needed to leave around 4:00am for our 7:15am departure.  To my parents' great surprise, all was packed and ready by the time I went to bed around 10:00pm, AND we were able to get the luggage, the boys, and myself out the door, into the car, and on our way about 5 minutes early!  (If you ask, they'll tell you that the only time in my life I was early was at my birth; and my brothers could easily tell stories of me missing the bus numerous times in high school; so for me, this was a momentous achievement!)

Though we missed Brad, as this was the longest we've all been away from him in the past two years, we were really glad that we had the time and resources to travel to be with my parents.  We still missed some of my cousins I had hoped to see, but were thankful for the time we had, and for the good memories.  It was pretty sweet to see the boys run to meet him in the baggage claim area at the airport.  If one hand had been free, I'd have taken a picture, but as it was, I'll remember the scene and smile, just the same.