Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My baby boy is 4!

No one pass out because I am posting.  Seriously.  I know you're excited, but settle down. :)

My camera broke, which is why I have no pictures, but don't ask how it broke because I'm slightly embarrassed about it.  Okay, okay, I'll tell you.  I had a stash of dark chocolate in my purse, and when I went to girl's camp a few months ago, I put my camera in there, too.  Well, in case you haven't heard, Texas summers are hot enough to melt things, and now my camera is full of melty, runny, chocolate.  Boo.

Anyway, my baby boy Jackson had his 4th birthday last week.  I can't believe he has gotten so big.  He makes us laugh every single day.  His latest thing is smells.  He's completely obsessed with them.  He'll walk around saying, "Mom, what's that smell?  It's broccoli!" or "Ew, it smells like toots!" or "What's that smell? I need to eat it."  It actually makes for some embarrassing moments when we walk into someone's house.  It can actually smell pretty good, but he'll act all disgusted and start asking everyone what the smell is. *sigh*

A couple other gems from the last week or two:

-- Heard from behind me, "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!  Hey mom, I'm punching myself."

-- "Hey mom, I have a girlfriend.  But I don't know her name."

-- "I just burped - just like my daddy."

-- Jackson: "Mom, I am so sorry I was punching you in the face."
    Me: "What are you talking about?  You didn't punch me in the face."
    Jackson:  "Oh, well, never mind I guess."

 -- "I just sneezed out my butt!"

He has been loving his birthday presents.  He wears his new Spiderman outfit as much as possible.  He also got a remote control car from his Aunt Kelli that he thinks is pretty much the coolest thing he has ever come across.

He is also in a really part-time preschool.  He just goes a couple of times a week, for four hours each.  He loves it.  It makes him feel very grown up and important, like his big sister.

He loves anything that moves: cars, trucks, helicopters, trains, tractors, etc.  He has recently decided it's pretty awesome to jump off of furniture, which I'm sure our downstairs neighbors appreciate.  He has almost no desire in coloring or drawing.  He still loves food, which I doubt will ever change.  He can still eat as much as a grown adult.  His favorites are applesauce, yogurt, goldfish, and pretzels.  And you can usually get him to do what you want him to, if you can somehow convince him that Spiderman or Superman would do it.

He is the funniest, quirkiest, most loving little boy.  He knows I adore him and he milks it for all it's worth.  And I'm okay with that.  He may be 4, but he will always be my sweet baby boy.

I love you so much Jackson!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We must be in Texas...

...because summer is already here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good news!!!

We had Jackson's first follow-up blood draw this morning, and the news is good!  His platelet count is up to 392,000!  We are so, so grateful for how well the IVIG has worked for him so far.

Some things I learned from the doctor today... Jackson has a 90% chance of having Acute ITP - I was happy to hear the odds on that.  Acute ITP lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 months.  During that time, there is a somewhat decent chance he will have to get another treatment if his platelet count goes back down once the IVIG wears off (usually wears off between 3 and 8 weeks after receiving it).  Because of his excellent response to the treatment, we get to wait 3 weeks before getting another blood test (but we'll need to be watching closely for new bruises, nosebleeds, etc.).  The results to that blood test will determine the frequency of more tests in the future.

If 6 months pass and we're still dealing with drops in platelets, it will mean he has Chronic ITP.  The doctor said that he would have it for the rest of his life, although I HAVE heard of children with Chronic ITP going into remission.

We are so feeling so grateful today for our little Jackson.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jackson's hospital stay

We had an eventful weekend, and I'm warning you that this is the long version, or the "blue" version, as my family likes to call it.  We took Jackson into the doctor on Thursday because he had been having some weird symptoms... bruising all over his legs, nose bleeds, and an old scab had been bleeding.  He had also had a rough night on Tuesday where he couldn't stop throwing up.  Then Thursday he had a fever, which finally got us to go in.  The doctor seemed nervous right away.  She asked us a bunch of questions about family medical history, and sent us to the lab to get some blood drawn.  Jackson was so brave.  Tom, myself, and Joni honestly marveled for hours at how brave he was about getting his blood drawn.  I think we were all expecting a complete meltdown or something.

The next day we got a call from the pediatrician telling us that his platelet count was 6,000 (it is supposed to be 150,000 to 450,000) and that we needed to get to the local children's hospital immediately and have him admitted to the hematology floor.  My heart sank.  All I could think about was leukemia.  I had just recently looked up the kind of leukemia that my mom has and learned that her type is common in both adults and children.  I don't remember reading that before.

The whole drive to the hospital, Tom and I were both preparing ourselves for the worst, but we knew there were some other things besides leukemia that can cause low platelet count, so we were hoping for that.  After being admitted (which took a pediatric hematologist came in and explained the different things that could be going on, and told us what the plan was.  Jackson got some more blood drawn, and an IV put in.

Once the results came in, the doctor seemed pretty sure that what Jackson has is ITP, which is short for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.  It's basically where the spleen starts creating antibodies to fight the platelets in your body.  The problem with his platelet count being so low is he runs the risk of bleeding internally - either from some sort of trauma (hard fall, car accident, etc.) or sometimes ITP patients will just start bleeding internally for no apparent reason.  But we were so relieved to hear that all signs were pointing towards ITP.

So we obviously went ahead with treatment, which included two rounds of IVIG, or intravenous immune globulin.  It's a blood derived antibody something-or-other, that I couldn't accurately describe if I wanted to.  The first round of treatment was on Friday night.  Jackson and I did not sleep well that night.  He started having reactions to the treatment (shaking really badly all over, and really high fever), so they had to slow down how quickly he received it (which made it take 7-8 hours through the night), and it also meant that they monitored him more.  They took his vitals every 15 minutes for several hours, then finally every 30 minutes.  Jackson and I finally went to sleep (sort of) at about 4 am.  The only amusing part of that night was that Jackson kept saying funny things when he was half asleep... he talked about Grandpa, and the "Jesus ghosts", and his friends from Joy School.  He also got really, really sad because Tom wasn't there (he was home with Joni that night).

I have to laugh now, thinking back to how feisty Jackson would get about the blood pressure cuff going off so often.  Several times he just sat up in bed and yelled, "I'M DONE!" and he would ripe off the cuff and throw it onto the floor.

We were worried about how he'd feel all day Saturday because we were told that some patients get really sick the next day.  But I'm pretty sure it was one of the funnest days of his life, thanks to family and friends.  He was literally showered with gifts.  I couldn't believe the outpouring of love and support from our ward.  It really took me off guard.  Jackson had more treats, toys, and balloons than he knew what to do with.  The only really hard part about that day was when Jackson lost his initial IV, and had to get another one in the other arm.  It was a long drawn out thing, and I was near tears myself.  But I'm pretty sure his joy from receiving a Percy train and his own box of fruit snacks helped outweigh the pain. :)

Saturday night went much better.  They administered the treatment a lot more slowly this time, and Tom stayed overnight at the hospital with me.  I think I actually slept a little.  The nurse that night was also very gentle and nice with Jackson.  He got another bloody nose in the middle of the night, and all I remember is the nurse's soft sweet voice whispering to Jackson that she was just going to clean up the blood and that he could keep sleeping, and that he was going to be okay.

Then first thing this morning the hematology doctor came in and told us that his platelet count had gone up to 89,000!  Besides the fact that this is a much healthier number, it also reinforces the theory that what he has is ITP.  The doctor reiterated that it doesn't mean he is 100% in the clear for more serious underlying diseases, but the odds are definitely in our favor now.  He will have to get regular blood draws for at least the next several weeks to make sure his body is able to sustain the increase in platelets.  From the reading I did today, it sounds like the effect from the IVIG is known to wear off in a couple of weeks.  So I feel like the blood tests we get three weeks from now will mean a lot.

Some of the pictures from this weekend... I had a bunch of pictures that didn't turn out for some reason, so I was bummed about that.... but this is probably sufficient... :)

 Jackson's poor bruised legs 
(that sheet looks gross, but it's just because he had spilled his juice).

 This was taken while we waited in the lobby to check in.  He absolutely LOVED the fish tank, and spent the next two days watching Finding Nemo that we borrowed from the hospital.

He loved that he could order anything he wanted at every meal.  His first meal was macaroni and cheese, fries, honey nut cheerios, and chocolate milk.  I promise he was ecstatic about it - you just can't tell because he has the Sowards stare that naturally occurs when watching tv. 

This basket came from people in our ward.  The tongue sticking out is a sign of absolute approval. 

And this is when he received a little Percy train from his Joy School friends.  Again, the tongue. :)  This package also included several home made cards and signs from Joni and some of the other kids in the ward.

 This was after he first started getting his treatment the first night.  He called his IV arm his "robot arm".  And he kept showing everybody at the hospital the race car sticker that he picked out to go on it.

Taking his vitals for the millionth time.  He was such a trooper.

Leaving the hospital on Sunday morning.  We were soooo happy to get out of there!

I felt like an absolute zombie driving home.  All three of us immediately fell asleep for a couple of hours (some friends still had Joni and even took her to church).  I feel like it will probably take us (mostly him) a few days to feel back to normal.  He is still getting fevers, and he's extremely behind on sleep.  And I'll tell you what - after three days of everyone waiting on him hand and foot, he has become quite demanding. :)

A few more things I want to mention.  It gets humbling, fast, when you spend a few days on a hematology/oncology floor where you see bald children walking around with their IV towers.  It was a constant reminder of how blessed we are that this will most likely resolve itself in the next several months.

I'm also so grateful for our family and friends who were praying, and even fasting, for our little Jackson.  We received more texts, emails, phone calls, and facebook messages than we can count.  It was also so nice for him to receive tangible distractions from his grandparents, his Joy School friends, and his ward family.  We also had different friends watch Joni all weekend long, even overnight.  My visiting teachers were amazing.  As soon as I got the call from the pediatrician on Thursday I knew I could call them and they would help me.  I feel like the church needs to do a little demo video on our ward as an example of how the church should always work when someone needs help!

Most of all, I am grateful that Jackson seems to be doing fine, and that it looks like he will even be fine in the long run.  Tom and I realize that there is a very small chance that that could change, but for now we are focusing on the huge blessing of a good outcome to his recent treatment, and we will be praying that the upcoming blood tests continue to show improvement.

I feel like I just got up and gave a huge, drawn-out travelog/thanktimony about our weekend.  Oh well, I'm sure that at least Jackson's grandparents will read through the whole thing. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jackson moment(s)

I just found a newly purchased bottle of strawberry jam on the floor in the kitchen.  About one-third of it was gone, and there was a spoon in it.  I asked Jackson if he had been eating the jam with a spoon, and he said, (in an annoyed voice, rolling his eyes), "No, mom!  I was just drinking it!"


As I was typing this, Jackson grabbed my glass of cherry limeade Crystal Light, put both hands in it, then sprinkled it all over the kitchen floor.


As I was carrying him to think-time, he said, "Yeah, mom, take me to think time.  That will help me feel better."

He cracks me up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


So, what would you say if I told you Joni got the crap beat out of her by a big bully at school?

JUST KIDDING!  She just tripped over her friend's foot.  How do you not throw your hands out in front of you to catch your fall?

Poor kid. :(

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sleep talking

I inherited the weird trait of sleep talking from my Grandma.  It was pretty bad when I was a kid, and I remember waking up many times to the sound of my sister, Kristin, laughing her little tushy off.  She loooved to get me all confused and riled up in my sleep for her own personal amusement.

Well, this time it was Tom's turn to be confused.  I was just sitting here at my computer, doing a bunch of emails for church stuff.  I realized I didn't know what the Priest's quorum called their youth class presidency.  Tom was sleeping on the couch next to me, so I "woke" him up to ask him if he knew.  The conversation went like this:

Me:  Tom, do the Priests call their youth class advisors a class presidency like the Laurels do?
Him:  Well..... (after a long pause, he starts talking in his official, professor-type voice).... doesn't it have more to do with the weather than it does with the whole timing of everything?
Me: (*laughing hysterically*) Huh?  Do you know what my question was?
Him:  Yes.  It was about the ultimate destruction of this planet.

I'm still laughing.  Now I know why Kristin always thought it was so amusing.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year in Review

Yes, I know I've turned into the worst blogger in the world.

Yes, I know my header is reeeally in need of a makeover.

Life has been B.U.S.Y.

A little catching up...

Between school and work, Tom is pretty much always working on something.  This last semester he helped teach a Women in the Bible class, and this next semester he is teaching Intro to Islam. He loves his students and will do pretty much anything to help them succeed, if they are willing to put in the work.  He is on campus a lot, and even when he's home, he's not really home because there is always so much to do.  As always, I am so proud of how hard Tom works.  I'm even more proud of him for how hard he tries every day to spend time with me and the kids.  He is always trying to balance work/school and family life.  I think he does a pretty good job at it.

Joni is still enjoying Kindergarten.  I am amazed at how well, and how quickly, she learns (yay for English!).  She's definitely got her daddy's brain, not mine.  Her teacher says she's very observant of all that goes on around her.  If she (the teacher) starts to get flustered or upset, she'll look at Joni to see if she needs to calm down.  Her teacher says she's friends with everybody, and makes special efforts to be nice to the kids in the class that everyone else seems to have a hard time with.  At the end of each school day, she loves to give me a play-by-play of all that went on.  Joni is a very special little girl, and we are so blessed to have her in our family.

Jackson... ohh, Jackson.  He's my crazy little 3 year old.  He loves to cuddle and give kisses, but then other times he will come up to me and say, "Mom, I just want to HIT somebody."  And he does.  He has tormenting his sister down to an art.  But he's so darn cute, we can't help but love him.  Another one of his favorite phrases is, "Mom, you're ruining my LIFE!!!"  I'm pretty sure he learned that from a Barbie movie we rented one time when the kids were sick.  Jackson knows all of his letters and their sounds, and he loves to count.  He also LOVES anything with wheels - cars, trains, trucks, tractors... you get the idea.  When it's his turn to pray at family prayer, he prays that Percy, Thomas, and James will be able to stop on the tracks on time and that something (can never understand what) will get out of the way.

As for me, I received the shock of my life several weeks ago when our bishop asked me to be the Young Women's President in our ward.  I have never felt so shocked and dismayed.  I still wonder sometimes what the heck the bishop was thinking.  I'm much too big of an idiot to be in charge of 42 teenage girls.  There were audible gasps in the ward the day they called me - no joke.  I still feel like a fish out of water, and probably will for some time, but I just keep plugging along.  I no longer know what free time is like on Sundays or Wednesdays, and Joni and Jackson do not like all the meetings I have.  I'm slowly getting to know the girls, and they thoroughly amaze me.  They are so much more put together than I was at that age.  I'm pretty sure I am in this calling to learn from them.

We have had a great holiday season as a family.  Joni and I made a big Thanksgiving feast together.  She was horrified at the "rotten chicken" we were brining and cooking.  I think I've traumatized her for life.  Tom's parents gave us a surprise visit about a week before Christmas.  It was a short visit, but we really enjoyed seeing them.  Since then, we have all managed to get sick with colds and flus, but it was still one of the best Christmas holidays we have ever had.  We are so happy to have each other, and to have a Savior that was willing to be born on this earth and fulfill His mission.

It has been a good year.  Coming home from Jerusalem has obviously been a lot easier than going there in the first place.  I still feel like I need to pinch myself sometimes when I am driving around shopping, or when I am able to share the gospel with somebody.  I appreciate everything so much more, and I hope that doesn't go away.

Year in review, in pictures.....