Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a good Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Pretty laid back. No Christmas shopping was done at our house. ;)  No thank you!!

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and Bowen helped us get ready by vacuuming. Teach them young, right?  My dad came up and we had a very laid back sort of day.  We had a ton of food that I shared with our neighbor and still were lucky enough to have a lot of leftovers. 
Jenna was in charge of the table decorating and was also a good help in the kitchen.  My favorite thing we made (for the first time ever!) was stuffed mushrooms.  We will be making those again. 

 Our afternoon was comprised of cards, naps and football watching.  We played some Bananagrams (love that game!) and cribbage. 
 The twins played on the iPad for awhile.  Yep...Blake's wearing Bowen's Hulk costume, because...why not?!
 This is where Mr. Burdorf could be found following lunch...
 Friday we had girls basketball photos in the morning.  It was good for the kids to run around the gym for awhile.  Then, it was home to watch the Hawks lose another football game. UGH!
 Friday night we headed to Des Moines to go through Jolly Holiday Lights.  We had gone every year since the twins were born (minus last year) and we love it.  It benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the kids really enjoy it. 
Saturday was the day to deck the halls.  Total chaos.

 Ornaments are one of my favorite things about Christmas.  We started a tradition three or four years ago with the kids where every year they each get a new ornament.  It's always fun to pull them out every year.  Baby's first Christmas.  Or our first Christmas together, back in 2003. 

 Because it was a ridiculous 50 degrees (bye, bye snow) on Saturday, Aaron went out and put up some lights on our fence.  And yes, I really wanted to keep our snow around that we got on Wednesday, because it's Christmas and I like snow for Christmas.  I just do. 
 While Aaron was putting up lights, the boys took advantage of the very last of the snow we had in our yard and proceeded to slide in it and ended up being muddy messes.  Showers x3!
 Also this weekend we spent time watching Christmas movies and playing games.  It was nice.  Does anybody else love the cheesey Hallmark Christmas movies that are on continuously this time of year? too!
 On a not so awesome note, Brody seems to have passed whatever bug he had on to Bowen and it hit the poor kiddo Sunday afternoon.  The rest of us were eating supper and I found him asleep like this.  So, we could have an interesting night ahead of us. :(
Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and have a great first week of December!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve

Happy Thanksgiving Eve friends! I'm typing this from a snowy Central Iowa.  It's been snowing here pretty much all day.  My brother just told me they've gotten about eight inches in Minnesota, so I guess our two-three inches of snow isn't so bad.

I realized after looking at my last post that I didn't share the great, wonderful, joyous news about Blake's urology tests.  Although his tests weren't awesome, but good...he can continue to pee like a regular kiddo! :)  Best. News. Ever.  We have made some adjustments to his feeding schedule to take his overnight volume down so it is putting less pressure on his bladder and kidneys, but otherwise we will just keep on keepin' on.  This kid continues to amaze me! 
 These pics were from the first snow of the year, so I just thought I would throw them in for good measure. :) 
 I've been thinking about Thanksgiving and being thankful a lot lately and I genuinely think the two most important things we can have in this life are our relationships and our health.  Where are we without those two things?  I realize I may be skewed on the health part, but any day your life can be turned upside down.  This life can be so different without the ones we care about and this one body that we all have.  I have great family, friends and support system and for that I am grateful.  I am healthy and for that I am also thankful and never, EVER will take that for granted. 
 We have no big plans for Thanksgiving.  We are staying home (yay!) and my dad is coming up for the day.  That's it.  I am actually really looking forward to not traveling since I feel like we were on the road a lot this fall.  We have a couple of photo shoots, but otherwise, nothing too pressing going on. 
I was home with the twins and a sick Brody today.  Here's hoping the flu stays away from the rest of us.  I have been busy make some food in preparation for tomorrow.  I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving friends!  Thank you for your love and support in this little space of mine, it means more to me than you could possibly know. Alright, I better go, there is cream cheese frosting waiting to be made, so I will leave you with this little bit of turkey humor...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Urology testing

Tomorrow is a pretty big day.  Blake has his rescheduled appointments from five weeks ago in urology.  They are going to sedate him and then look around with a scope in his bladder.  While he is sedated, they are going to put a catheter in him for his next test, urodynamics.  The urodynamics test (he's awake for this) will measure the pressure in his bladder, among other things.  Pre-transplant it was high and that's why the urologist knew Blake would need a catheter.  They just want to be sure that in no way are we doing damage to his transplanted kidney.  So, that's kind of a big deal. 

So, to say I'm a little anxious is probably an understatement.  The thing is, it's been so awesome to see Blake pee like a regular kid.  To hear him say, "I gotta go potty!"  To see, with my own two eyes him overshoot the toilet ,pee out the back and laugh about it.  To be able to be just like his brothers.  It warms my heart.

I feel like it's going to be ok.  I feel like the doctors have continually told us Blake wouldn't be able to do this or that and he has proven them wrong time and time again.  That's our Blakers!  And you know what?  If they decide that he needs to go back to cathing, we'll deal with that too.

I have so many friends who are struggling with their health for different reasons and it has just put everything into perspective.  We'll get through it.  Our track record is pretty good so far, right?!. :)

I will give you all an update as soon as I can, but all our appointments are scheduled for late afternoon, so who knows.  Please say a prayer and think happy thoughts for Blake.  Thanks, as always, for you continued support!!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rock that Scar!

Many months ago, I saw another photographer post a photo of a shoot she had done for a little boy that had had open heart surgery.  The motto was, "I rock this scar!"  I immediately took a screenshot of it, sent it to Aaron with an excited text that said...We MUST do this with Blake!!!  

He agreed and then with so much going on, we kind of forgot about it.  Since Blake had his one year kidney-versary last week, it reminded me of this idea.  And, because Blake and all his health stuff is an entire Burdorf family thing, Jenna, Brody and Bowen got in on the action too.  

So, here are our photos from our shoot... "ROCK THAT SCAR!"

So determined to hold the guitar by himself... ;)  
 We're kind of like the Partridge family, aren't we?!
 This kid is a future drummer.  As much as I would love for him to play something out of the amazing brass family (I'm bias!), he just has a thing for the drums.  He plays and acts like he knows exactly what he's doing.  Plus, the music therapist at UIHC was always super impressed with his sense of rhythm!

 Aaron's editing handiwork.  Love it!

 Bowen impressed us with the fact that he could make noise on the trumpet.  Like, real life trumpet sounds.  He may have found his future instrument and I'm sure Grandpa Larry would be proud!

 It was a lot of fun, LOUD fun, but FUN!  Taking pics of my kiddos is always my fave. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

One Year Kidney-versary!

I could write for pages on everything from transplant day.  I thought I would summarize it though and share with you my editorial for this week's paper.  

The way I see it...
Today, November 5th, is Blake’s one year kidney-versary.  I know, it’s crazy!  I can’t stop thinking about the day of his transplant.  The good parts, the scary parts, the part where I felt the most incredible sense of desperation to just see Blake already.
In some aspects, it seems like it was so recently that he got that kidney.  I turned our calendar in our kitchen, which has every month filled with photos throughout our year, to the month of November.  On that page are a bunch of pictures from the kids playing in the leaves on the Sunday before Blake’s transplant that was on Tuesday.  I looked at that last night and couldn’t believe it had already been a year since that day in the leaves.
On the flip side, when we were stuck in five months of hell in a seemingly endless string of hospital stays, infections and complications, then yes, that part seems long ago.
When I think about the fact that a complete stranger was kind enough, brave enough and gracious enough to donate an organ, to give the gift of life, to Blake, I just get teary-eyed.  Who does that?!  An incredibly generous person, with a big heart, who is always looking to help others.

Another thing that seems strange is that we’ve only known Steph and her family for about a year.  After everything we’ve been through, it seems weird that we’ve spent most of our lives not knowing who these people were.  Now, they are such a huge part of the Burdorf family story!
I think the best part of our relationship with Steph is that she knows Blake and Blake knows her.  Those people that give their kidney to a stranger and then go on living life never knowing how things turn out with the recipient?  That is not us.  Steph and I have had numerous conversations about how our families were matched so well.  It’s the coolest thing to get to see Blake and Steph interact and Blake most definitely knows that he has Steph’s kidney.  We tell him that often and if we ask where his kidney is, he points right to it.
We never want to forget the kindess of a stranger.  How do you say thank you?  How do those two little words even come close to encompassing the amount of thankfulness that Steph did what she did? Because of her, our son gets to live a more normal life, a longer life, all because she donated the gift of life, but that’s just the way I see it. 

A few more thoughts:
-It's interesting to listen to Jenna and Brody talk about transplant day.  They remember everybody at school wearing green for Blake and taking a picture with everybody in the gym.
-If you think it doesn't affect everybody, you're so wrong.  The conversation this morning with the two oldest was incredible.  They asked great questions, like how long Blake's kidney would last.  Brody asked if he would be able to donate a kidney of his someday to Blake.  Melted my heart. 
-Ironically, Steph had a planned trip to Nevada TODAY!  So, it worked out that we got to see her and the girls.  It was great to see them and share memories of that time a year ago. :)

We got Blake an Dairy Queen ice cream cake.  He even ate some!  Such a proud boy.  We love you Blakers.  You inspire us with your fight and resilience.  You are our daily reminder of what is important in this life and we can't wait to see what amazing things are in store for you!