Tube Infection

by Kayte

Lola’s pediatrician wanted us to follow up with him after a week or so of breathing treatments for her cough. These past few days have been fever- and cough-free, so we thought today would be an easy visit. I should know better than to think anything medical with us is simple. As the nurse was checking vitals, she noticed Lola had a fever. Upon further examination we found that Lola’s newly-tubed left ear was gushing liquid. Ear infection.


We were a little bummed because we thought these new tubes would help to prevent ear infections (which they do, to an extent) but the upside of the tubes is being able to administer antibiotics locally (e.g. ear drops) rather than orally. The other bonus is that all the yucky infected liquid comes out instead of building up in the middle ear and causing pain.


The pediatrician did think that the ear infection in combination with the frequent fevers and on-again-off-again coughing was a little suspect. He thinks maybe Lola has a sinus infection that is wandering around her ENT (ear-nose-throat). In addition to the antibiotic ear drops, he also sent us home with a prescription for oral antibiotics in case her fever doesn’t clear up in the next few days. I’m ready to kick whatever this malaise has been and get on with a healthy December.

Hot Chocolate

by Kayte

We enjoyed a rare rainy day this weekend and took full advantage: puddle stomping, fireplace and hot chocolate!





#OptOutside 2016

by Kayte

We avoided the stores again this Black Friday and opted to head outside instead. The fresh air and exercise were relaxing after a long week of cooking and eating. I think we’ll just lay low the rest of the weekend and enjoy being home as a family.






Thanksgiving 2016

by Kayte

The usual crew flew in to town for our third annual Thanksgiving celebration. The food was great and the company was amazing. Max and Lola were so excited to have “their family” come over – they could barely contain their excitement all morning long. I think I might be getting the hang of this Thanksgiving thing – it was still a lot of work, but it felt a lot less stressful than years past. Already looking forward to next year!






Thanksgiving Prep

by Kayte

Max and Lola had the entire week off school for Thanksgiving break, so I enlisted them to make desserts for dinner tomorrow. Lola helped me with the apple pie – rolling dough, measuring ingredients, stirring sauce, and taste-testing apples. Max helped with the pumpkin cheesecake – measuring ingredients, cracking eggs, mixing, and taste-testing the batter. I hope everything tastes as good as it looks!



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Chilly Bike

by Kayte

Biking is our new favorite way to get around the neighborhood. The kids get a lot more exercise vs. sitting in the stroller, and we can cover more ground than if they were walking. The weather has (finally!) gotten cooler, so we bundled up for our morning walk today.



Still Coughing

by Kayte

Lola is still fighting the same phlegmy cough that sent her to the doctor at the beginning of the month. We’ve been on the fence about taking her back since she hasn’t had a fever and hasn’t been acting sick otherwise (not to mention a doctor’s office is a great place to catch new germs), but after three weeks of wet coughing (a lot of it at night, causing her to throw up in bed, resulting in late-nights showers and bedding changes) we finally took her back to the doctor. He said her lungs sounded clear (no pneumonia) but she was pretty gunky. He said it could be a lingering sinus infection (sans fever) or it could be that she originally got sick (and better) earlier in the month, but her body is still reacting to it (e.g. producing mucus). He sent us home with two breathing treatments, albuterol (bronchodilator) and budesonide (steroid), plus a nightly dose of Singulair (montelukast sodium) which is an anti-inflammatory used to treat allergies and prevent asthma attacks. The Singulair has a *fun* rare side effect of being able to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause nightmares and/or extreme mood swings, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for that. However the first day of all these treatments resulted in a cough-free night of restful sleep for the whole family, so at least now we’re feeling optimistic about it.


Yoga Moves

by Kayte

Just a little impromptu yoga.

Fashion Show

by Kayte

As part of Max & Lola’s clothing study at school, they both participated in a fashion show where each student wore a special outfit and shared its significance with the audience. We got to see sentimental outfits, clothing from different cultures, and Sunday Best dress clothes.

img_5278 Lola is wearing a special a rainwear ensemble given to her by her Nana. Should it ever rain again in Los Angeles, it’s designed to keep her dry as well as look fashionable on the playground. By way of Bangladesh, this pink LL Bean jacket is Gortex-inspired and is made from 100% un-organic nylon. It features a classically shaped hood designed to keep Lola’s head dry and warm, and conveniently stows away when not needed. A reflective patch on the back of the coat makes sure she is visible while walking the dog at night. It also features two roomy pockets to stash away goldfish or candy. Should water ever fall from the sky again, Lola is sports a pair of purple Muk Luks to keep her feet dry and warm. Thoughtfully designed with a breathable upper and rubber sole, no puddle is safe from a stomping!









img_5279 Sparty’s in the house! Max, a big fan of the Michigan State Spartans, is sporting authentic Michigan State apparel sent to him by his Grandma and Grandpa who live in Michigan. This was the perfect attire for watching his Spartans defeat the the Stanford Cardinals in the 2014 Rose Bowl. Max’s officially licensed sleek black tracks pants and green Michigan State Spartan football jersey were both machine crafted in Indonesia and are made from a luxurious soft poly blend. His hat, featuring the classic white Sparty logo, will never go out of style and keeps his dome warm on those chilly Los Angeles nights. Whether cheering on MSU or showing your colors out on the town, this comfy Spartan wear does it all.










Cake for Breakfast

by Kayte

Since Brody usually gets home from work after the kids are already in bed, they celebrated Brody’s birthday this morning with what is becoming an annual cake-for-breakfast tradition. Max and Lola get a big kick out of eating dessert for breakfast, and Brody gets some celebratory time with his kids. Who could ask for more?



Hemangioma Post-Op

by Kayte

We were supposed to go to the doctor’s office for Max’s post-op followup, but Brody’s work schedule got messed up and we wouldn’t have been able to get Max to the doctor without also pulling Lola out of school. The doctor’s office offered to do the post-op over the phone, so I snapped a few pictures of Max’s recovering scar and emailed them to the doctor who said everything looked great. I spoke with a nurse on the phone who went over all the technicalities, including the fact that the biopsy of Max’s hemangioma came back negative, and she told us that we were in the clear.


ENT Post-Op

by Kayte

Lola had her post-op followup with the ENT today, three weeks after her tube surgery. It might have been the fastest doctor’s appointment we ever had. The doctor came in right away, looked at both ears, declared the tubes perfect, and sent us on our way. We’ll go back every six months to keep an eye on the tubes until they fall out. In the meantime if Lola gets another ear infection, we will be able to treat it locally with antibiotic drops directly through the tubes (vs. general oral antibiotics).

Sewing Demo

by Kayte

Max and Lola’s classes are in the midst of an 8-week study about clothing, so I volunteered to bring my sewing machine into class and make mittens for all the kids! Each student got to pick their colors from a variety of fleece, then we cut out a pattern and sewed them together right in class. I didn’t have much of a game plan going into it and the first couple pair were pretty rough, but I got into the groove pretty quickly and the project turned out really well. The kids all had fun and I’ve seen a lot of the students wearing their mittens in the mornings now that our weather has gotten cooler.


Lola’s teacher asked me to come in and do the demo for her class is well, so I’ll do that after Thanksgiving. I didn’t realize that having kids in two different classrooms would end up being double the work!

Color Mixing Lab

by Kayte

We completed part two of the kids’ My First Science Kit from Uncle Brother. (How funny is it that Lola is wearing the same shirt?) Today we mixed lots of different colors, made a color tablet rainbow, and grew watery crystals with cross-linked polyacrylamide.






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PALs P/T Conferences

by Kayte

We had parent-teacher conferences with both Max and Lola’s teachers this week. The best part is that Max and Lola both love school and are excited to go to class every day (especially Lola). They are both making lots of progress, learning new things, and building strong friendships.

Max’s strengths include asking in-depth questions, literacy, participation in the classroom/routine, excitement about learning, expressive language, making friends/socializing and physical play. Max is working on expressing himself when upset, impulsivity and pre-academic skills (letters/numbers/fine motor). When he does act up in school his teacher thinks that it is out of boredom – he is ready for kindergarten! His teacher thinks he will be ready to mainstream into a general education kindergarten class next fall, which is great news. We won’t know for certain until his annual IEP next spring, but Max is doing well.

Lola’s strengths include interest/enjoyment in school, verbal communication, clean up, peer interaction, following directions, curiosity, asking questions, sharing and pretend play. Lola is working on socially appropriate behavior, using a quiet voice, focusing on non-preferred tasks, pre-academic skills (letters/numbers/patterns), fine motor (writing/scissors). Lola’s teacher thinks that Lola would be better served in a special education setting for kindergarten – a classroom that follows the same academic curriculum, but with fewer students and more teachers/aides. It was sort of what we were expecting, but we were disappointed to learn that Lola’s home school doesn’t have this type of program for kindergarten, which means that potentially the kids could end up in different schools next year. Definitely not ideal logistically, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

As opposed to last spring’s annual IEP, they are both making great progress and are on track to meet almost all of their goals by next spring. We should work with Max more on his number/letter recognition. A lot of Lola’s struggles still center around physical mobility – she is still not able to independently climb stairs or catch a ball from a long distance. But it is so good to see them succeeding in other areas such as recognizing the letters in their own names, social/emotional, language/communication, etc. I couldn’t be prouder of these two!

Lanterman Act

by Kayte

A couple of Lola’s teachers (last year) suggested that we apply to a couple of county programs for additional services. They thought with her Orthopedic Impairment (OI) eligibility she might qualify for some extra therapy through the county, sort of like we had for the first three years the kids were home. I applied to two different programs over the summer, and we just recently had our phone interview and scheduled today’s psychological evaluation. Government moves slow.


Today’s evaluation was hard for me. When we did the phone interview I realized that this program was more focused on developmental disabilities related to intellect, autism, CP, epilepsy, etc. and less related to the physical therapy we were initially looking for. I thought for sure we were barking up the wrong tree, but as we went through today’s psychological evaluation there were definitely some areas of concern with Lola: immature behavior, short attention span, lack of independence, etc. It was hard to watch her struggle with so many of the tasks during the evaluation.

We won’t get the final results until after Thanksgiving, but the psychologist mentioned the possibility of a learning disability and attention deficit disorder. Of course I would rather know now and have Lola get all the help she needs as soon as possible, but it was hard for me to accept that after years of talk about “catching up” that this might be an ongoing issue. When the kids were born they needed time to “catch up” to their gestational age, when they came home they needed time to “catch up” with growth and therapy, and when they started preschool they needed time to “catch up” academically. It seems like now we might be at the end of our “catch up” rope and we need to change our approach/outlook to something more long-term. It’s obviously not the end of the world and we are SO so so so lucky in SO so so many ways. Just a hard milestone to take in for today.

Rock the Vote

by Kayte

We took the kids with us to the polls bright and early this morning. I remember going with my parents when I was too young to vote, and I think it’s important for the kids to see us performing our civic duty. We had a bit of a wait in line, but everyone was upbeat and pleasant. These pictures were actually taken once we got the kids to school where they were also doing student council elections (Go TK!).



Sheriff Station

by Kayte

This weekend we went to an open house at the local sheriff station. The kids got to sit in all types of emergency vehicles: fire engine, sheriff cars, command stations and a helicopter. There were food, games and even a zipline using the search-and-rescue crew’s setup. The first thing Lola said when she landed back on solid ground was “Max, want to do it again!?” Little daredevil.


Pearl the miniature therapy pony saying “Cheese!”



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Cough Cough Cough

by Kayte

Lola is still fever-free and acting spunky, but after five days her cough is lingering so we decided to take her to the doctor. He said she definitely sounded gunky and ordered a chest x-ray. I have been incredibly anxious about her catching another respiratory illness, but thankfully her lungs looked clear! He sent us home with breathing treatments and orders to rest until the cough improves.



November (left) vs February (right)