Friday, September 16, 2011

Foto Friday - Project 365: Days 253-259

253 - 9/10: 1st trip to the park.

254 - 9/11: Hotels have the best pillows and they were all mine.
255 - 9/12: Late afternoon run on the trails in Columbia.

256 - 9/13: Sparky's Ice Cream - COMO

257 - 9/14: Latte Art

258 - 9/15: "Hiking"

259 - 9/16: The best frozen pepperoni pizza ever.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Scheduled - Columbus, OH...Here We Come

The nerve damage to Greyson's arm/wrist/hand has made some small improvements and we know that it can/will continue to heal up to 6 months after the initial injury. Besides his arm issues he is doing awesome. This past weekend it seems like he is trying to "talk" to us often blurting out what seem like full sentences in some other language even pointing and changing inflection in his tone. His walking is almost mastered and he seems to think he is ready to run. He still loves the lake and being outside. We took him to the park for the first time last weekend and he couldn't get enough. I had to travel this week for work and we FaceTimed on the iPad so that we could see each other. When he saw me talking on the screen he got excited, smiled, waved, blew me a kiss and even tried to hug and kiss the iPad. It was SOOO cute and made me want to rush home but work called.

But because there is still lymphatic tissue inside his shoulder area that can "flare-up" at any time, the new growth needs to be dealt with. We have a plan!!! In the last couple of weeks we have talked multiple times with Dr. Spaeth, the plastic surgeon that specializes in Lymphatic Malformations and Brachial Plexus injuries. She and Dr. Shiels, an Interventional Radiologist, from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH have collaborated and come up with a plan to help Greyson.
Our hope in sending Greyson's records to Nationwide Children's Hospital was with that Dr. Shiels would review the case and have some sort of suggestion. We feel like Greyson got even better than what we had hoped for when Dr. Spaeth got on board. Even though we have not officially heard back from Boston Children's yet, she attended a conference this past weekend and was able to share Greyson's case with other plastic surgeons that specialize in the same field, including one of the doctors from Boston. She said that no one had an alternate idea but all agreed she had a very challenging case on her hands.

In talking with her we are pleased with how comprehensive, overly cautious, and knowledgeable she is as well as her experience in doing surgery in this area and her concern for Greyson's well-being.
We will be driving to Columbus, OH for an appointment to meet Dr. Spaeth on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Greyson will have a round of sclero therapy with Dr. Shiels on Oct. 5. He could possibly have to stay the night in the hospital. On Tuesday, Oct. 11, Dr. Spaeth will do the complicated surgery on his shoulder and also do some work on the original growth site to remove more tissue. She hopes that Greyson will be ready to go home in 2-3 days but won't let us go until she is sure that he is doing well. Dr. Jiang with support Dr. Spaeth and continue to care for Greyson when we return home.
This seems like it is still so far away but we realize it is just around the corner. Thanks for all your support. We will continue to make updates to keep you in the loop.

Take care,
Brooke, Michael, & Greyson

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Foto Friday - Project 365: Days 246-252

246 - 9/3: We are so different - and he will be winning "Dad of the Year"

247 - 9/4: Superstar (not dad approved)

248 - 9/5: Swing Giggles

249 - 9/6: What a big boy he is getting to be. He loves sitting on the steps.

250 - 9/7: Birthday Self-Portrait (in my new running shirt - Thanks Sis!)

251 - 9/8: Driving his new car from the Avis'

252 - 9/9: Have I said "Daredevil" before???

The Perfect Brunch Item: Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I am such a sucker for a sweet breakfast treat and when I saw this recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Cake you know I had to make it. Since the recipe had blueberries I could justify making it since Greyson is a big fan of blueberries. Of course I found it on Pinterest :)

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Serves 9
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
1 cup + 1 T. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk and 1 tbsp vinegar)

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries last.
4. Grease a 8-inch square baking pan or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan (it is very thick). Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. (If you can wait that long)

*Couple of recipe changes....
  • The original recipe called for 7/8 cup sugar, I changed that to a full cup since sugar doesn't scare me. 
  • The recipe also called for kosher salt but it seemed to have then small pieces of salt that didn't dissolve. 
  • I don't normally have buttermilk but love cooking with it and have learned that you can make your own by adding 1 T of vinegar to 1 C milk. 
  • I didn't have an 9 in. square pan so I used my 8 inch pan and it ended up taking 15 minutes longer than I expected but it still turned out nice and moist.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Homemade PopTarts

YES you can make your own "PopTarts" and guess what....they are better than the ones you get out of the box. I found this idea on Pinterest which was originally inspired by a blog post from the BakeMeMore blog.

They could not have been easier....For the filling I used the blueberries I make for Greyson (boil frozen blueberries with a touch of water and blend in the food processor) with a little extra sugar added for flavor. Store bought pie crust made this even easier but you will notice I didn't get the nice rectangle shape but no worries, it didn't affect the flavor :)The topping was a simple glaze with whipping cream and powdered sugar.

They were a hit and I plan to make them again soon.

My New Best Friend

For about the last year I have been pinning lovely craft ideas (and so much more) to my Pinterest  boards; many of which referenced using Mod Podge. How I made it this long in my life without using this AWESOME product I will never know???

I bought some a few weeks ago and today decided to give it a try. Now I can say that I am IN LOVE! The crafting stars aligned...I found an idea for homemade toddler "toys" (on Pinterest of course) and had an empty Pringles can and some scrapbook paper.

I love everything about it (the Mod Podge not the game)...the cool things you can do with it, the how easy it is to use and clean up, and even the smell. I am a bit worried that the paper will eventually peal off the can by am hopeful it will hold together.

For now I'll consider it a success so I think I may try out a couple more ideas and when I use up the whole jar I may even make my own homemade Mod Podge and save some cash.

What kinds of projects have you made with Mod Podge?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Foto Friday - Project 365 Days 239-245

239 - 8/27: Greyson loves the lake.

240 - 8/28: Sitting at his very own table in the kitchen.

241 - 8/29: Teacher schedules - and there is still that one person that couldn't make this easier by using technology....and she is one of my new eMINTS teachers.

242 - 8/30: House-guest - Somebody was missing her parents.

243 - 8/31: My view from the back seat. Sometimes it's nice to "need" to sit in the back.

244 - 9/1: EMG - this was the easy part if the test. At least the the results were positive.

245 - 9/2: Greyson knows how to enjoy his wagon rides.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Very Productive Labor Day

I know that Labor Day is when you are supposed to relax and take it easy but it seems that this was the day for me to try some new things, finish a couple of projects, and start another. Most of the following things were inspired by Pinterest. If you haven't joined and want an invite all you have to do is ask :)

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
From my Yum Pinterest board from - they were good but I am still not sure if they were worth all the extra work.

Butternut Squash Soup

This might be the yummiest is Alton Brown's recipe from Food Network. 

Hand Print

I started this a while back but got stuck because I couldn't figure out where I wanted to write our names. Today I finally committed and just did it and I like it. I originally found this idea on Pinterest and of course made it my own.

Mini Fold Wedding Book

Callie & Brad got married Memorial Day Weekend so I guess it is only right to finish up this little gift for them on Labor Day. The tutorial for the flip book was easy-peasy to follow. I knew exactly which pictures I was going to include but it was the words again that slowed me down. Thanks to my friend Allison for this idea - you can find the link to the tutorial from one of her Pinterest Boards.

Wine Cork Monogram
So I have been planning on starting this little project for our friends Don and Jackie for some time now. Today was the project day and I am almost 2/3 of the way done but need 25 more corks. They are going to have to start drinking up. You can see the inspiration on my Pinterest Give board.

Mealtime Success
 And I got Greyson to eat off a plate for both lunch and dinner without trying to throw it. We picked up the special plate at Target yesterday and......Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! (he is really eating chicken :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nerve Clinic Appt. & Second Opinions Successes

We can’t believe it has been almost a month since our last visit to Children’s Mercy. Greyson is getting better with walking and has learned how to show us what is in his mouth, point to his teeth and tongue, and can follow directions such as taking things to his room. He has perfected throwing food and his sippy cup off his high chair tray and is becoming a bit pickier with his food.
To remind you (or catch you up)…last we learned Greyson developed a new growth in his shoulder behind his collarbone, which is unfortunate because now it is inside his chest cavity where it might (and has) interfere with other things. His right arm had stopped working and after an MRI, the doctors decided that it must be pushing on his Brachial Plexus (set of nerves that come off the neck and go down in the arm controlling all movement in the arm). They decided to drain the largest of the cysts thinking it was the main issue and then we waited for results.
Within the first week he had regained most use of his shoulder and elbow and within two weeks he was partially able to extend his pointer finger but since then his progress has seemed to plateau. He cannot extend his fingers or use his wrist.
We requested second (and third and forth) opinions from doctors at Children’s Hospitals in Boston, Cincinnati, and Columbus and another specialist in New York. Did I say we have been waiting and waiting and waiting….calling and calling and calling…. Trying to be nice and appreciative to any help they can give and see what options there are to help Greyson.

Finally last night, Dr. Spaeth, a doctor with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH (specializes in Brachial Plexus injury and Lymphatic Malformations – what G has). When we were first contacted by her nurse it seemed like the perfect fit. She has a very positive outlook and we will talk with her in the near future and see what she might be able to do for Greyson. We met with Dr. Jiang, Greyson’s plastic surgeon in KC, and talked about Dr. Spaeth’s ideas as well as some from Dr. Adam’s in Cincinnati, OH Children’s Hospital. She is running a trial with a cancer medication that seems to be working for some with his condition. She is going to get back with Dr. Jiang to let him know if Greyson would be a match for her trial. We found a direct number to a doctor at Boston Children’s and will continue to “bug” them for their opinions.

We took Greyson to the Brachial Plexus Clinic today and met with a Rehab doctor and Occupational Therapist. They did a test to see if his nerves are sending messages to his muscles and determined that they are, but he needs more time to heal. We learned that when nerves get damaged they have to “re-grow” their connections and that rate is 1mm a day. They said for a child his age it could take between 3-6 months for that to happen. Unfortunately the test uses needles and you have to be awake so that your muscles will respond. They told us the sedative should hopefully keep him from remembering what happened.

The Occupational therapist evaluated him and they are giving us strategies to help him regain use of his hand. He has a wrist brace to keep his wrist in a neutral position so that muscles are not damage because his wrist lies limp and so that he doesn’t injure it worse falling on it.

We look forward to hearing from more doctors in the near future and will let you all know what we decide is the best plan for Greyson.

Brooke, Michael, & Greyson