Brennan's Journey

The support Brennan has received is overwhelming and incredibly humbling. There is a growing number of people who are asking us how they can help Brennan through his journey and our main focus and priority continues to be prayer for Brennan, his overall health and for the doctors. But so many people are wanting to help even more. For those that feel led to help Brennan financially, a "donate" button is now available. It is linked directly to a special account for Brennan and his long road ahead. Any amount is greatly appreciated. I wish there were words to express our gratitude for all of the support and prayers B is receiving. Thank you to all and God Bless.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Special Family Pictures

We were in Arizona for a few days to celebrate Christmas with Joel's side of the family. It was so very special because we were all there together! Joel's sister, Beth, her husband Keith is working in Afghanistan for a year and had a 1 month leave due to a surgery he had, so he was able to spend Christmas at his home! Joel's grandparents were able to be in Arizona too! So, we all were there... Joel, me and our kiddos, Joel's sister Beth her hubby Keith and their 2 kids Jessica and Gunnar, Joel's brother Tommy and his wife Kim and their 3 kids Anna, Isaiah, and Amaya, Joel's dad and mom (Tom and Sharon) and his grandparents (Floyd and Edith). We set up a photography session with Beth's friend to take pictures. They are coming soon! These are just a few I took with my phone.
We are so thankful we were all able to be together! It was such a special time!

Tom and Sharon and their gradchildren

Grandparents and Great-grandparents!


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


The past 2 months we have felt an overwhelming amount of support from so many people. With Brennan's surgery, Joel's surgery and Joel's dad's ALS diagnosis, we have been given so much love, encouragement and support from so many people.

*Thank you everyone who offered up a prayer for our family.
*Thank you to those that sent an email, text, or phone call to see if we are doing okay.
*Thank you to those wonderful families who have brought us dinners.
*Thank you to all of Joel's co-workers and friends that visited and stayed with him in the hospital for his 4 day stay.
*Thank you to our family and friends who watched the kiddos for us while we took B to his post-op appts., while I took Joel to his post-op appts., and when I just needed to get out of the house.
*Thank you to Brennan's pre-school friends who gave him pictures, cards and gifts to make his time away from pre-school fun and his transition back to pre-school go okay
*Thank you to the Awana leaders at church who have been so accommodating with us throughout B's recovery
*Thank you to all of B's Awana/Cubbie friends who sent the hand made card to us during his recovery at home
*Thank you to the Glendale Police Dept. for giving Brennan such a wonderful gift of toys from their Toys for Kids program
*Thank you to everyone who came to our fundraiser at Golden Spoon
*Thank you to everyone who have donated money to help with the costs associated with Brennan's hearing journey
*Thank you to our neighbors for taking out our trash cans :)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Family update

Update on B:
B was able to go to Awana tonight, without my assistance! He was so excited. My sister went to check on him during their song/skit time. She was next to him when they were singing the Cubbies theme song. There is a part of the song where they yell "hop" and they all jump up and down. B jumped up and yelled really loud, "I can jump now!!!"... Isn't that cute?!!!
Also, I've been noticing a huge difference in his hearing already. I keep finding myself saying, "WOW" to the things he is doing or saying. I really feel that his speech is improving. He didn't seem to have an issue with it before, but he seems to be saying more things and pronouncing words better. He seems to be more aware of noises around him. A HUGE thing is when I call his name, he looks right over to me!!! Before, he didn't have any sound localization and it would take him a while to find out where a noise was coming from or where I was calling him from. I've noticed lately that when I call him or if he hears something, he turns and looks directly at where the noise is coming from!!! That is so awesome and a huge answer to prayer!

Update on Joel:
Yep, he is still on crutches. He was able to get his cast off and into a leg "boot" but he still can't put any pressure on his leg. So, the majority of the day is still on the couch with his leg up. He can't wait to start physical therapy a few times a week and start moving around more.

Update on Joel's family:
Hard to talk about still, but as many people now know, Joel's dad was diagnosed with ALS. Please pray for Joel's mom and dad as they are going through this and trying to find the help they need to get through this. It's been a shock to our family and we are all trying to get through this while trusting completely in God and His plan.

So here's what we've been up to the last few days.....

Park buddies

There was breakfast at church, Angel Breakfast, and I took B as my date. We had yummy food, including the donuts which were his favorite, made crafts and listened to the children's choir (which B said he wants to do, which is age 4 and up, so next year he can join!).

Me and my lil man

Playing at the mall kid's area with friends

The kid's train outside our mall

Pnut loves the train too!

Mall buddies!

Taking a stroll through the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights

Friday, 3 December 2010

6 weeks Post-Op

It's been 6 weeks since surgery and I thought I'd post pictures of how his new "ear hole" looks! You can always go back to my previous post of the after surgery pictures and see how incredibly graphic they were. They are even hard for me to look at now. I can honestly say that he has healed so much faster than I thought he would. The site on his scalp where they took the skin graft is healing so well. It's already hard to notice. His ear canal looks amazing! It's weird to think that in 3 months Brennan will have an ear to go along with his new canal. Wow, I still can't believe we are already in the process of B's surgeries. We did so much planning and preparing and here we are, one surgery down and 2 to go. We are so glad we decided to help our little guy!
Here are some pictures of B 6 weeks post-op:


B enjoying the slide after 6 weeks!!!
These past 2 days have consisted of lots of running, jumping and playing at the park! I must say, I'm kind of worn out chasing him around :)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Free to be 3

Today was Brennan's 6 week post-op appt. It went incredibly well! The Dr. was impressed with his ear canal and ear drum. He said it looks 100% healed! He said Brennan can go back to normal, everyday activities!!! He's CLEAR!!! He can go to the park, he can run around, he can jump up and down... He can be a 3 1/2 year old boy again!
Yipee! He can start back at his pre-school! He can go to church again! He can have play-dates with friends! He can be "out of my sight" for more than 2 seconds... we might be experiencing some separation anxiety (both him and I).
It is truly an answer to prayer to have such great healing. We are are praying it continues to heal properly and to have no issues with it in the future.
After a total of 5 visits with Dr. Roberson in the past 6 weeks, our next appt. is in 6 months, kind of weird to have it so far away since we have seen him so much and he has been so involved in our little guys amazing little miracle. We are so thankful to have been blessed to have our little guy taken care of so wonderfully by this amazing doctor. We are forever grateful to him!

Also, Brennan had his first hearing test since his surgery. His hearing is overall improved!!! We will know even more in a couple months when he has another hearing test. It is such a blessing to have success with this surgery!

Here are some pictures from today:

Waiting to get his ear checked and cleaned out

The instruments used to clean out his new ear canal

Cleaning out his ear... Monkey came for the visit of course!

Close up picture

In the hearing test booth

With Dr. Roberson

Thanks Dr. Roberson for your amazing talent to help our lil guy hear better!!!
Next step for B... March 1st, Medpor surgery at Cedars Sinai in LA with Dr. Lewin for his new ear!!!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Holiday Cheer

Throughout our chaotic life... our kids constantly remind me about the important things in life. With everything going on we still had to do our yearly trip to see Santa. As expected, Pnut wasn't too fond of the idea. This picture makes me laugh. It's good to laugh... we need more laughter in our lives.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Psalm 119

Whenever I am going through something difficult in my life, I am always reminded of this verse: Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"

This verse was made into a song and I tend to sing it to myself a lot when I am struggling. It reminds me that God is in control and He will lead me through whatever I am going through.
Here are the words to the song:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path (2x)
When I feel afraid,
And think I've lost my way.
Still, You're there right beside me.
Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near;
Please be near me to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path (2x)
I will not forget
Your love for me and yet,
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus be my guide,
And hold me to Your side,
And I will love you to the end.
Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near;
Please be near me to the end
They word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path."

Through my family's challenging times right now I pray this verse can encourage others to trust in God and search his Word to find His strength and peace as well.

Update on B...

A couple days ago we were finally able to get to the park! He was so excited to get on the swing! We spent a long time there as I pushed him higher and higher and he just laughed and laughed.
Through our recent circumstances, it's amazing how the laughter of a child can bring you back to the enjoyment of life and the little things that really matter.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Makes My Day!!!

A quote from my hubby's status update on Facebook today...

"Brennan is standing across the room from me, picks up a small squeaker toy and squeezes it while holding it next to his new ear canal. His face immediately lights up and he looks at me and says, "Daddy! I can hear!! I can hear!!" He does it again and again trying to contain his excitement. Makes my day..."

This makes my day too!!! Of all the craziness going on in my life, this makes me happy!!!


Brennan went to Awana last night, I was with him the whole time kind of like his personal "one-on-one" making sure he didn't jump around, fall, run around... During story time, the leader was speaking on how Jesus healed the lame man and he ended by saying, "and Jesus healed the man and he was all better." And Brennan blurted out really loud, "Just like my ear!"... it was so cute, it made me cry.

Times like these make me look past our hectic life and treasure the small moments that mean the most!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Meeting Auntie Sara!

We picked up my friend Sara from the airport today. She is from Michigan and here for a week! We have been pen pals since I was 13. We have remained very close through letters and phone calls throughout the years. We have been there for each other from boyfriend breakups, family loss, new jobs... We have been a support system for each other through prayer and encouragement. The very first time we met in person was 2 days before my wedding, and she was a bridesmaid! I consider her one of my closest friends. We haven't seen each other in a few years and this is the first time she is meeting my kiddos! They were excited to meet Auntie Sara!

Here they are waiting for her flight to arrive. We had lunch at a spot where the planes fly overhead and land really close!


Waiving to the plane

Such Cuties!

Big one!

Deja Vu

9 days ago, as I was in the waiting room anxiously waiting for Joel's 2 hour surgery to be over with, I couldn't help but think, "wow, this is really deja vu." I'm so glad the surgery went well. Now it's just going to be a LONG recovery road for him.

*WARNING* Graphic Pictures below (explaining Joel's leg)

Joel had a hard splint on his leg for a week since his surgery. He said it felt like 50 lbs. He hadn't seen his leg until we went to our post-op appt. yesterday. This is what it looked like when the splint came off. There are staples in his leg (about 18) that had to be removed. The staples on his knee are where the surgeon inserted the long titanium rod through his tibia down to the ankle. The staples just below the knee are where the surgeon placed a screw. The staples by the ankle are where the surgeon placed 2 more screws. The titanium rod is permanent but he can have the screws removed anytime after he is fully recovered if they bother him.

Here is the surgeon's hand as he takes a look at Joel's leg

This is after the painful staples removal

Placing the cast on

And done! He will have this on for the next 3 weeks. At his next appt. he will have it x-rayed again and have another cast put on. Joel says this one is much more comfortable and lighter.
Brennan's next appt. is in 3 weeks and so is Joel's. So for the next 3 weeks, it's recovery time in our household.
We would LOVE your prayers.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

3 Week Post-Op Visit

First of all... aren't these 2 just so precious?!...

Today I drove 4 1/2 hours up and 4 1/2 hours down from the Bay Area. We left around 6am to drop off Faith at our friend's house. Then we made our way up north for B's 3 week post-op appt.
Joel insisted on going, despite his broken leg in a cast. So he hung out in the 3rd row of our suv, b was in the middle and I drove. Fun times, especially when Joel had to get in and out through the back. I'm glad it worked out for him to be there.
I was a little anxious about the appt. to find out how his ear canal looked. Dr. Roberson was so pleased with it. He even said that it is healing better than most patients at this stage!!! That was such exciting news. I know that a lot of the healing process is out of our hands, but we have been very careful with B and so diligent with his ear drops and making sure it doesn't get wet. Our next appt. is in 3 weeks. Until then, we still have to be careful with B. He can participate in things as long as someone is with him, monitoring him, making sure he isn't too bouncy etc. The doctor did clear him for the swings at the park (the baby ones where he can't fall out)... so guess where we will be everyday???... You've got it... the swings!!! Still no slides etc, but hey, who's complaining, we can do the swings!!! I used to get slightly annoyed at standing there at the swings just pushing away when the kids could be running around, but not anymore! I'm excited about the swings, hey, I'll stand there for an hour if he wants to swing that long! Okay, enough about the swings, but really, it's the little things in life right?!

B on my lap while the doctor is taking out stitches and the ear plug (B did awesome! He didn't move at all the whole time! I think he is finally getting used to this) Dr. Roberson also said that B should be able to hear more now, so we might notice him picking up on more sounds and being a little sensitive in loud environments for a while, until he can get used to it. Cool huh?!!!

His new ear canal!!! There is still a thin gel pack at the bottom near his ear drum but it's cool that he now has an "ear hole"!!! With a flashlight you can see right through it. Like I keep saying, it's AMAZING what doctors can do these days. And this doctor is amazing. He said he now does an average of 15o atresia repair surgeries a year.

Just a funny picture. I don't dare show our doctor. I asked him more questions about keeping it from getting wet and I think I may be going a little overboard on the vaseline :)... hey, can't be too careful right?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

2 Weeks Post-Op

Last night, 15 days post-op, B's skin graft guaze pad came off. I have been soaking the area with water to keep it moist and clean. B woke up yesterday morning and I found the guaze pad under his pillow. The site already looks better 1 day after coming off. I've been putting cocoa butter and aloe vera on it throughout the day so it heals properly. If it heals right, all the hair will grow back and it will be completely back to normal.
We have been putting ear drops in his ear canal 2x a day. That's the only thing we have had to do, other than not getting it wet (which is really hard during baths). We go back up north next week for the doctor to take out some of the "plug" in the canal and check how it is healing. Hopefully it is healing properly. We've been doing our best to keep our very active boy calm and relaxed the past 2 weeks. I can't wait until we can go to the park and play!!!

Side view

Close up of the new ear canal. He has an ear plug in it that the doctor will trim out during the next visit.

Close up of skin graft site.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Under 1 Roof

Finally...we are all under one roof again! Joel was discharged from the hospital around 5:30pm. He is downstairs sleeping on the couch and I am falling asleep at my computer. So, this is a short post to say we are all together again!!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

B, Pnut and Monkey of course!

Reality set in this morning and I cried... I cried like a baby for about 15 minutes. I think I've been running on adrenalin and just so busy with the kids and trying not to worry about things that it all just hit me at once. It did feel good to get it out but it happened at an interesting time. It happened in the downstairs lobby at the hospital just when some of Joel's co-workers came down from visiting Joel. I was embarrassed but they hugged me and told me it was all going to be okay. I am so thankful that Joel is okay and that nothing worse happened. I am not complaining about our situation. I just got completely overwhelmed with the situation. I know there is a bigger picture in all of this. Things will be different at home for a while, but I know it will bring our family closer together. I look forward to the challenging moments when I can either dwell on the hard, negative things or choose to dwell on the blessings in my life. I trust the Lord that it will move me closer to Him and help me become a better wife and mommy.

This picture is so special because the kids were not even supposed to be in the room. Visitors under 12 are not supposed to be anywhere in the hospital, just the downstairs lobby. I was there from 11:00am till 6:30pm with the kids. Joel's parents and I were taking turns in the lobby with the kids and visiting Joel. The kids were troopers. Joel's mom and I took the kids to the mall across the street for a bit to get a change of scenery. Joel hadn't seen the kids in 5 days so he was disappointed he couldn't see them. He wasn't allowed to leave the floor he was staying on. Well, after the physical therapy appt., the therapist said she would see what she could do. With a couple calls from the nurses and permission from the hospital administrator, the kids were allowed up to his room for 15 minutes!!! It was so amazing that it worked out. The kids were good and quiet on the way up and so very excited to see Joel. B and I wrapped his monkey's leg this morning :)... That monkey has been through a lot too!...first a neuro-surgery, now this :)
Joel walked about 20 feet with the walker 2x today. Tomorrow he is going to learn how to use the crutches and how often he needs to walk around each day. He should be released tomorrow!
Please pray for Joel's pain to diminish. He has a lot of pressure and pain in his leg and the incision site on his knee is the worst of the pain.
Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Doing Great!

Joel hasn't eaten for 26 hours... his choices this evening: apple juice, orange juice, broth and jello....yummy! He's talking and doing well. He says his leg is okay (thanks to the meds) but with some pressure and he feels some pain in his knee (where they put the rod through). Thanks for the prayers!

Surgery is done!

The Dr. just came out in the waiting room and told us the surgery went great. He put a titanium rod in his leg with a couple screws. He says Joel will be in a lot of pain tonight. He should be able to come home tomorrow night or Friday morning.
So, Joel's in the recovery room for a while. We will get to see him when they take him to his room. Can't wait.

Trust in the Lord

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your way." Proverbs 3:5-6

In a nut shell: Joel was training on a motorcycle at work yesterday, and broke his leg. He called me from the ER room around 5:30pm. My mom and sister stayed at my house with the kids so I could go see him. I was there until around 1:30am. I went home and slept a couple hours. My mom is at my house with B and my friend Becky is watching Faith today.

The x-ray shows that his Tibia is broken 3 inches above his ankle. His Fibula is fractured 4 inches below his knee. The Fibula should heal on it's own and the Tibia will be repaired with a steel rod or some plates and screws. The doctor will know more while he is in operating.

He has been in the operating room for over an hour. They said it should take 2 hours so within the next 45 minutes, he should be out in the recovery room. Joel's dad and mom came and got to spend time with Joel for about an hour before he went in. We are all just waiting... wow... about a week and a half ago, I was sitting and waiting for another surgery to be over with. That one was planned and prepared for over 3 years and this one is so unexpected. Weird how life works.... how God plans for things to unfold.
I got to go into the prep room with him and be with him until they took him in. I won't be able to be in the recovery room with him but the doctor will come out and talk with us when it is over.

I can truly say may God be praised through all of this! We put our complete trust in Him and know His plans are bigger and greater than our own.... good thing I have that peace or I would be a wreck.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Taming a Wild Animal

"Taming a wild animal"...ha ha ha... but that's what I feel like lately. B has SO much pent up energy and I feel so bad stopping him every time he starts to run, jump... I feel like I have to hold his hand everywhere we go and follow him around the house, keeping my eye on him. I turn around for one second and he's leaping onto the couch or trying to do a somersault. So, I've been trying to keep him occupied with other things...

Trips to the store... where he is contained in the shopping cart (B found a friend, there was no way this was coming home with us)

Doing floor puzzles

Going on lots of walks, where he is contained in the stroller

Feeding the ducks!
And lets not forget about our lil Pnut. We missed our sweet lil girl while we were gone. It's so great to be a family of 4 again! She's our lil princess...