Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Little "Chef"

Our dear sweet little Collin.

With all the research on the psychiatry of birth order, I wonder if there is research on the psychiatry of rainbow babies, the children that come after loss and fertility struggles. Collin is our miracle and at 2 1/2 years old he seems to be aware of it. He is a sweet, bright, snuggly boy, full of energy and admiration for his big brother, but he also has that occasional twinkle in his eye that says "I'm a little chef"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Boys will be Boys

September 23, 2003-November 21, 2010

I believed the phrase "Boys will be Boys" meant
*newborn baby boys pee on the wall every time you take their diapers off
*toddler boys prefer Thomas trains to Cabbage Patch Dolls, but still enjoy a daily dose of Dora
*preschool boys eat, live and breathe Star Wars
*primary school boys love Harry Potter and Magic Treehouse books, but will tolerate Junie B. Jones
*boys of all ages love Legos

November 22, 2010

The phrase Boys will be Boys actually means boys will jump off a piece of furniture causing fractures in both tibias. The only evidence of this is a mysterious limp, and that after two weeks of medical appointments, xrays, blood tests and an MRI, will be diagnosed as toddler fractures probably caused by an attempt to jump off something.

After growing up in a house where the G:B ratio was 4:2, God decided that I should have Will first, an intro to boys, the pre-algebra of boys if you will, before giving us Collin. Boy. All boy. The algebra of boys.

He started limping on Tuesday, November 9th. He didn't seem to be in pain at all but he was definitely limping. Mike took him in the following day and he was diagnosed with a limb length discrepancy, but that just didn't sit right. One leg grew a centimeter overnight, without the other leg?

We are blessed to have a wonderful friend, Mark, who happens to be an orthopedic resident at the Mayo Clinic. By the following Wednesday we were on the phone with a resident on the service of the limb length specialist at Mayo, Dr. Stans. He was concerned about an infection in the hip so we brought Collin to the ER at St. Marys. They took some standing xrays, ruled out an infection and sent us home with orders to see Dr. Stans. Dr. Stan's resident, Dr. Abdel called the following evening to tell us they found a fracture on the xrays and to report to the cast room in the morning.

I laid awake that night trying to imagine life with a two-year-old in a full leg cast.

When we got to the cast room the next morning they took more xrays and could not find the location of the fracture. What they saw on the xray could be evidence of a variety of things, simple things like infection or arthritis and scary things like leukemia. They found this on the right leg. He's been limping on his left. They then sent us to the children's lab for bloodwork.

I left the cast room wishing I was leaving with a two-year-old in a full leg cast.

On Friday night we learned that the blood counts were normal, ruling out leukemia! There were two other levels outside the normal range indicating a range of problems, this time on the infection/arthritis end of things. We were to be scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

We reported to St. Marys at 6:30 on Monday morning. At 8:30 I held my baby while they put him to sleep and handed him over to the professionals. We would be hearing something within the hour and would be there when he woke up. At 11:30 we were finally reunited, numb to the possibilities awaiting us.

At 5:30pm Dr. Stans called. They found fractures on both legs, explaining the limp on the left and the xray results on the right. Toddler fractures are common, but somewhat unusual in both legs, probably the result of jumping off something.

The phrase Boys will be Boys means finding relief that it's just two broken legs.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You've Got a Friend in Me

This year's Pixar Halloween theme was Toy Story!
Special thanks go to Grandma Sharpe for sending Buzz his space suit and to my godmother Joan Izzo for making the perfect cowboy shirt and vest!
We had a busy Halloween weekend!
Collin's school had a costume parade on Friday afternoon.
My friend Kate also signs her monthly paycheck over to Primrose. We don't teach together anymore so it was great to see her and her darling Fairies at the school's Halloween parade!

The Winters hosted us for pumpkin carving on Friday night and for a sleepover on Saturday night so we could party in up with locals at the annual neighborhood Halloween party.

Sunday night was trick or treating and Monday was detox day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Orchard Update

Apparently the Repede Family Blog has two disgruntled readers who are not on Facebook and want to see updated pictures of the boys. I'm not really sure what happened to the month of August, and I give myself the six weeks between the start of school and MEA weekend to let just about everything go to heck (laundry, eating habits, exercise and the blog...) Well, here we are, the Sunday night of MEA weekend and it is time to get back on track!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vegas Baby!

4th (somewhat) Annual Mother's Day (or pretty close) Weekend in Las Vegas!

A highlight of our June trip to Phoenix was going to Las Vegas to meet up with my Aunt Linda and cousin Amy. For us, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. It either needs to be crammed in your suitcase or walked off when you get home! Our four days went something like this (not always in this order)

Eat. Drink. Shop. Relax. Repeat.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Arizona-June 2010

Here are a few of the highlights from our recent trip to Arizona.

The Main Event: Toy Story 3 in IMAX 3-D!
Everyone was dressed for the occasion-Pixar shirts and Movie Shorts.
(Movie Shorts-shorts with cargo pockets, necessary for sneaking candy into the theater when no one with a purse is invited!) Will, Uncle Kevin and Grandpa were the VIPs who saw the IMAX 3-D version. Mike, Grandma, Collin and I settled for the regular version a few days later. Poor Collin had to sit on my lap, his hair soaked with my tears as I watched Andy go off to college!

Collin LOVED swimming in the pool!
In keeping with the theme, Grandma got him a "Foody" towel.
Uncle Kevin selling soup with SARRC
Diving for Dollars.

This is a game Grandma invented. The player who recovers the most dive sticks gets to choose a numbered upside-down dixie cup containing money, anywhere from a penny to a dollar. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins five bucks. For those of you who are fans of Friends, it is was very reminiscent of the episode where Chandler invents cups to give Joey money! I believe the final score of Will vs. Grandma was $7.32 to $0.26.
Will and Collin at the Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale. Collin had been on a BRAT diet after some pretty nasty diapers. This was the first thing he'd seen that wasn't bananas, rice, applesauce or toast in a few days. He finished his sherbet AND Will's dreamsicle drink!

Costco cake to celebrate Father's Day, Bridget's return to Phoenix and my birthday. Rumor has it they are still eating it.
Collin eating one of Grandma's lemons, as if it was an orange.

Flying with Children

I have decided that flying with young children is a lot like running. If you do it regularly, you stay in shape and it isn't painful. Going a year between trips will knock the wind out of you and leave you sore for days. Last year I took two solo trips with the boys, before Collin was a year old. In the past year the only trip I took was just grown-ups. Clearly, I am out of shape.

Now, it wasn't all bad. Will is now a seasoned traveler and drags a suitcase for us.

I'd like to personally thank Steve Jobs for creating small, lightweight devices that play movies, tv shows, music and audiobooks.

I would NOT like to thank Frontier airlines for losing a suitcase, not having a tracking system to track lost luggage, placing Will in a exit row alone and blaming us for it, yelling at Will and I for him having to use the lavatory after the plane left the gate and for charging us an extra $30 to check a 4th bag and then offering FREE gate checks when we got to the gate. I'm so thankful Mike was with us this time. I think if I had been alone you may have seen me on the evening news.


What an incredible year.

At our fall conference we wrote down our hopes and dreams for Will in kindergarten.

Yoga Dad wanted Will to enjoy school and learning.

Teacher Mom wanted him to master the skills necessary to be ready for first grade.
We both wanted him to make a diverse group of friends.

I think the most important thing Will (and I) got out of kindergarten was something neither of us could have anticipated or dreamed of.

Will learned that he is the only one who can place limits on his success.

He spent the better part of the year telling me he was going to read at a level 30 by the end of the year, to which I responded with more "reasonable" goals and reminders that meant lots of practicing home. Like the monkey bars, I had a idea of what was reasonable and possible and it wasn't the same as Will's idea. Guess who was right?

Maybe everything you need to know about parenting you learn when they are in kindergarten. Provide them with structure, a safe warm place to learn, fruits and veggies, and a damn good kindergarten teacher and get out of their way.
Thank you Mrs. R-H for an amazing start to school!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 6th

Becoming parents changed our lives, but losing our child changed us.
June 6th marks the day we met and said goodbye to our daughter, Caroline, a day we were changed forever. It is a hard day and a hard time of year, but it is also full of reminders of how supported and blessed we are.

The boys send pink balloons to Caroline in honor of her birthday.
Will thought it would take a long time for them to get there since they had to go all the way through space. He talks about Caroline sporadically and shared the other day that he had a dream about her. She talked to him in his dream and she looked like Mrs. Rollie's baby.
It is hard to know what Collin understands. We got a card in the mail from NILMDTS sharing that a donation had been made. He asked "dis?" which means what's this? I'm not sure exactly what I said but he carried the card around for awhile and said "sister."

Thank you to the Leverenz, Kruse, Auger and Friedman Families for your donations to NILMDTS and to all of our friends and family for kind words and prayers.

Memorial Day Camping 2010

Memorial Day weekend marked the first camping trip of the season! I wasn't prepared for the difference in prepping for a camping trip as a stay-at-home mom (last season) and a back-to-work mom (this season). Items we forgot included: towels (beach, bath, wash-you name it, we forgot it), Collin's booster seat (which resulted in only one tumble off the picnic table bench) and a cooler (yes, a cooler! although it really limits your caffeine and alcohol consumption when you can only chill one beverage at a time in the mini-fridge). We are lucky to camp with experienced families who provided us with a few of those items.
A year has passed since we began this pop-up adventure and the boys are definitely a year older. Will is not quite 7 and big enough to roam with the big boys, who are 8, is happy to hang with Allie, the middle-schooler, yet a little bit bummed when Katelyn has girlfriends to play with. Collin is now mobile and thinks he is also going 7 and able to run with the big boys. Luckily, Allie and the 'tweens think babies are cool and love to play (babysit!) with him.

Collin enjoying the pool with Paige, Allie, Andrew and Mike
Lindsey, the baby-whisperer, got Collin to sleep twice!
My boys chillin' in a raft (on the grass!)
Collin enjoying breakfast in a booster provided by the Adams! People with 4 kids have everything! I think it is appropriate that Collin is eating strawberries and drinking Silk in this picture, as our camping food choices are the source of many questions and jokes!
Collin's new love of camping (after successfully smearing pancakes and blackberries everywhere!). Last year his expressions said "Are we seriously STILL outside?" while this year he is happy to play all day with Auntie Soup and Grandpa Chad!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Monkey Bars

For quite some time I've been hearing occasional chatter about the monkey bars-one kid is learning to skip, another kid can do the rings-and I've noticed the familiar scabby palms, but I think I just pictured my experience with monkey bars. Hanging from the first bar for awhile and then falling.

The other day I was able to go outside during my prep to see Will at kindergarten play day. As I got outside they were heading to the big toy (that's Minnesota for "playground equipment"). Will hopped on the monkey bars and started to swing! I was shocked. I had no idea he could do this! I was SO glad I had my camera and was able to catch him in action. Go Will!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today's school work

Will usually comes home each day with a piece of writing he did.
This was today's:

We thought his Grandmas would appreciate this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Reports

In my teacher preparation programs they stressed the importance of making regular positive contacts with parents. Before I had kids of my own I never really understood the importance of this. My days were busy and depending on the year I had anywhere from 18 to 40 kids each day. I assumed the good kids' parents knew they were fine.
After I had Will and sent him to daycare I understood it a little bit better and the daily report of what he ate and when he pooped gave me a window into his day. Now that he is at Riverside with me I can peek in on him at anytime. I know when he eats and hope not to talk about his poop. Collin is attending daycare now and they have an eat/sleep/poop form as well, but what I really love about Primrose is the Happy Gram notes we get every once and awhile. The thing about Collin is that he is very different from Will. At home he thinks "no" is funny. When he hears it he smiles and runs away. It's hard to picture a child as young as Collin reserving that behavior for home. He is a sweet boy with a mischievous side, but I love that his teachers only see him as a sweet boy. Or at least that is what they share.

These pictures and this note came home with him today.

I'm not sure how clearly the note will post, but it says that he was busy with the linking toys seen in the pictures. He was building towers and when his friends would come close he would yell "No, No, Thank you!"
I think what every parent wants is for the other trusted adults in your child's life to know how wonderful they truly are and you never really know that until you hear it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Happy 33rd Birthday, Mike!

Happy Easter!

Here is an overview of some of the Easter weekend highlights!
Will at the IBM egg hunt.

Collin on Easter morning-very excited to find all the surprises in the basement!
A big boy cup like Will's!
The bunny brought Will a duffle bag, perfect for traveling to the Grandparents' (we can pack and send immediately, just say the word!)
Collin thinks he is hot stuff in his new backpack!

Brunch at the kids' table.

Family picture! Franny and Bridget visited from Des Moines and Chicago!
Sharpe Sisters
Aunt Franny and Aunt Bridget with Will and Collin (who was overdue for a nap and had poopy pants!)

Arthur's Eyes

President Elect Obama!!

Will's Travels

One of our goals is to show Will the world outside of our small town in Minnesota. Here is a record of his travels so far:

    Our Boys

    Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker