Sunday, December 28, 2008

Going out with a BANG....

Well, 2008 is definitely going out with a bang in our household...compliments of Collin's Christmas gifts this year!

We have decided to not really push the "Santa" angle with him, instead focusing on Christmas as Jesus' birthday. We try to explain that the gifts we exchange with family and friends are really birthday presents and that since Jesus was so special everyone gets and gives gifts on His birthday. Since he obviously sees Santa everywhere during the Christmas season, we have just explained that sometimes Santa helps with this, since there are so many presents being given.

When it came to gifts this year, suggestions were pretty easy. It has been obvious for quite some time that our little guy is a music lover, so this year we directed many of our family and friends toward that theme when it came time for gift exchanges. As a result, we are now pretty equipped to start our own band... (drums, guitar and keyboard, right)

Ironically, neither of his parents have any talent or special interest when it comes to music, aside from my short stint in choir at St. Thomas and some voice lessons for easy class credits that I am not sure should count...perhaps it has skipped some generations and all the extra has landed with Collin?

He is now the proud owner of a children's Gibson guitar (compliments of Grandma Nola), and a keyboard (compliments of the Butcher family). These two items will happily replace the Wiggles guitar and the infant piano we have been using for way too many months. You see, not only does Collin love music, he loves to direct us as his own personal band....assigning each of us what instrument we are to play and then alternating the assignments after each "song," just to mix it up I guess...this has been going on for as long as he could stand and point at us at the same time...

"Rocking out" in his PJ's for Cousin Grace and Cousin Kalie. A Rocker's work is never done...

Doug and I decided to purchase the drum set...we thought this was likely to be the most annoying gift, so we ought not to leave any room for blame once it started to drive us crazy. It was a very inexpensive gift (thanks, KMart) but Collin loves it.
Actually, we are not finding the drums to be too bad either. The cymbal, however, is a different story....This is still a better set-up than the large blue plastic ball that kept rolling away and the recycled chopsticks from LeeAnn Chins that we had been using for drums and drum we are still not complaining! Yet....

Collin playing drums at 6:10am on Christmas morning.

Despite his love of music, he is still a toddler, so even that does not hold his attention span forever. Collin also got a plastic bowling set from us and a very nice and extensive farm equipment, animal and barn set from his Grandpa Don and Grandma Lynn. He is now totally set with Play-Doh and will be practicing "catch" with his new indoor friendly ball and mitt, thanks to the John Rosenau family, in addition to clothes and other odds and ends from various family and friends. All of this has occupied his time nicely over the last few days! I am sure we will be able to "spotlight" all the presents in this blog as he uses them...he really loves them all!

Perhaps some of my favorite gifts are the 2 books given to Collin by the Westphal side of the family. My Uncle Stanley and his family have started a tradition of giving Collin 2 books at Christmas that used to belong to my Grandma Rose. I have memories of reading these books with her myself as a child, and I think that some of them were also read by her to my father.
At the Westphal house. Collin fell in love with the skiing snowman decoration. It moved and played could he have resisted!

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful gifts. More importantly, thank you for sharing your time with us over the Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wishes

As the last few weeks have brought more than their fair share of stress, we wanted to be sure that we greeted Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with some cheer!

Our family Christmas festivities started today, beginning with lunch at Grandma Jan's. We followed that up with our own family gift opening earlier this evening, a Christmas Eve tradition (photo, right: more to come in future posts). Tomorrow we head "back home" to spend the afternoon with the Westphal's and the evening with Grandpa Don and Lynn. We will spend the night at Grandma Nola's house and celebrate the following day with all of the Rosenau Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

We wish all of you a very safe and Merry Christmas as you celebrate with family and friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sick Day(s)

On Monday, Collin seemed to be coming down with a cold. A very slight cough and not quite as "toddler" as he usually is. On Tuesday morning he slept until 7:45 a.m....clearly he was off his game, as he is usually ready to go at 6am sharp.

He was cranky, but seemed fine with the exception of the cough. His temperature was below 100 degrees and he wanted to play, so off to daycare he went...after a late start and some additional hang out time at home to assess him.

When I got home on Tuesday night around 6:30 (damn the snow!) he had clearly taken a turn for the worse. Always a trooper, he was still in good spirits and had played with Doug since arriving home at 4p...but his breathing was labored and he was wheezing slightly. We started up the car again and off to Coon Rapids Urgent Care we went. I am so grateful they are open until 9pm!

This is his second episode since August, after a similar occurrence that seemed to be sparked randomly after a trip to the Renaissance Festival. While at the Emergency Room I kept joking (well..sorta joking...) that I was hoping he was allergic to the elephants we would be so easy to keep him away from elephants the rest of his life as opposed to other allergens or asthma, etc....

At Urgent Care, Collin was given a nebulizer treatment. Anyway, after this treatment we were given a 5 day course or oral steroids...exactly the same treatment as in August. This time we also opted to buy the nebulizer and bring it home in case this continued. We were told that the wheezing was likely a reaction to the cold virus we had noticed brewing since Monday and that his lungs were reactive to it in this way.

Collin and I hung out and enjoyed a "sick day" on Wednesday which was some rest and some play. (Picture right). We used the kid friendly penguin theme nebulizer throughout the day every 4-6 hours if his breathing did not sound clear. We scheduled a follow-up with his regular pediatrician for Thursday morning.

No problems were noted overnight, but there was still some congestion in the morning and I was very happy to be leaving for the doctor soon. Still in good spirits, we were off to the awesome Dr. Barth, Collin's pediatrician since birth, at the Allina Clinic near our home.

Dr. Barth decided to diagnose Collin with asthma since this is his second episode of wheezing. He defined Collin's asthma as Collin's lungs being more receptive to bouts of wheezing, and that future colds etc. may result in the same thing all season long. We've been directed to use preventative nebulizer treatments (a different liquid medication is put into the machine than when it is being used for an active episode) for him twice daily, until further notice. That will for sure be all of cold and flu season, and I am not sure if it will be year round yet or not. We have another follow-up in a few weeks for more asthma education and to see how things are going once we have been doing the preventative treatments for a while.

I know this is minor and, for more and more families, it is also increasingly common. Still, I am sad and angry. More to manage each morning and at bedtime. More to expect Collin to put up with, as he has to sit still while using the nebulizer. We have no risk factors in the home or closely related family history...just "lucky" I guess.

On the other hand, I continue to remind myself that we are lucky. There are people out there struggling with much worse, so I am trying not to be too disheartened. It has not affected his mood or stamina, and he still remains ready to play at all times...he does not get winded when he is active either, which would indicate exercise induced asthma. He also does not mind the nebulizer, which has a penguin theme for kids. He has taken to kissing it goodbye when we put it in its "house" (an igloo like thing) until the next treatment. The likelihood that Collin will outgrow this sensitivity is also good and it is not seen as a precursor to worse things to come. In general asthma is very treatable and "user friendly" as far as illnesses go....I keep telling myself these things. However, if anyone else has any positive ways to frame this diagnosis, I would love to hear them. The more the merrier...

Still, no one ever, ever wants to see any child sick. At all.

So, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we work this new routine into our life and learn more. Please also do the same for all kids out there struggling with any degree of illness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas Tree

We took the plunge this year and put up our Christmas tree. For years when we were first married, I insisted on having a "real" live tree. Doug pleaded for a "fake" one. I don't recall his argument at the be honest I don't know how much I listened....

After a few years, I eventually gave in (mostly to end the pleading, not so much because I was convinced) and we purchased a tall beautiful tree for our home. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that whenever we had children a "fake" tree may be more convenient anyway for the first few years. No pine needle sap or sharp needles in the carpet if we get lazy with watering or wait too long to take it down, etc. As a married couple we put it up every year and part of our Christmas gift to each other was a new ornament. We slowly added little elements to add to the elegant white and gold tree that we displayed each year. In 2006, (left) the year Collin was born, we also "decked the halls" with all of our ornaments.

Last year Collin was in a very exploratory mode at Christmas time. The big tree, which was the subject of all this debate for years, was never put up. We have a variety of other decorations and we scattered those throughout the house, and used a small fiber optic Christmas tree as our family tree for the year (Christmas Eve 2007, right)...very easy to keep on the entertainment center or move when needed.

This year, Collin, Doug and I were all excited to get back into the Holidays and put up the tree, as we listened to Christmas music (see video) and ate cookies.

We did skip a few of the more "tempting" decorations, such as the ribbon and icicles we typically wind around the tree. Still, even without these elements present, Collin finds it "beautiful". It is topped by an angel that my Grandma Rose used (right). My guess from the style is that it was purchased in the 1920's. I remember putting that angel on a tree with her each year growing up and am so happy to have that remembrance on my own family tree now.

Each morning when we come upstairs the first thing I have to do is plug the lights in on the tree. And, as I do I so, I sense myself giving in again, and we will have a "real" tree next year.

Christmas Tree, 2008

"Baby New Year" wearing Christmas stockings? Hmmm....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Danika's Baptism

On Sunday, December 7 we were invited to celebrate the Baptism of our niece,
Danika Rosenau.
Danika was an angel during the Baptism. Collin also enjoyed the event, especially the modern music played for the service. He had a little dance party and clearly enjoyed himself.
The service was followed by a lunch and gift opening in the lower level of the church.
All in all a beautiful event.
Congratulations, Danika!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just something funny...

So, this is not really a post about the family. It is just a funny joke that was sent to me by a co-worker. For some reason it really made me laugh more than anything else lately, perhaps because I parent a toddler who at times can seem much like the parrot???...Anyway, I thought I would share it and hopefully brighten someone else's day as well:

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly open the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to Winter

So, I really dislike winter...mostly the snow, actually. Not as much as our friend Molly, but I am still not a fan. However, so as not to taint Collin's childhood memories, I am going to give it an honest try this year and "celebrate" this winter season.

In the past Collin has not been deterred by the wind, the snow, or the biting cold. He is still as ready to play and be happy as on the nicest 80 degree day (as you can see by the photo at the right...we had to practically wrestle him to get him to hold even this still for a picture, he was so excited about the snow last year), I suppose if he can tough it out, so can I. Of course, he never has to drive in it...

Oh well...Welcome to winter!