November 30, 2007

A 60 Minutes VACTERLS bit

We recently learned about a bit of coverage given to VACTERLS on 60 Minutes Australia edition. It appears this little guy has all 7 of the VACTERLS defect areas, whereas Ben has 4. There are two segments, Part I and II below...



If you can ignore the sensationalized descriptions of this "horrible syndrome" you can appreciate what a character this little boy is. We're hoping and praying that we can resolve most of Ben's issues while he's still a baby. It's SO much easier for the little babies than it is for the bigger kids. Anyway, hope you found it interesting!

November 25, 2007

Boo cracks me up

We discovered tonight the secret to making Ben crack up laughing. Boo!

November 20, 2007

Football vs. Library

Grandpa Wuhwuh was over one afternoon and said to Benji, "Son, no football for you. We're not doing all this just so you can go out and mess it up playing football."

Ben's mom's reply was, "Not true, Ben. We're doing all this just so you CAN go out and mess it up playing football. I'd rather you do it playing football than falling down the stairs at the library or something lame."

So there!

November 18, 2007

Da da da da da

We know he probably doesn't know what it means, and it was probably just a fluke, buuuuuuuuuuutttttttttttttttt....


He was in bed with us babbling and rolling around when his mom caught his eye and said, "Da da da da da....can you try it? Da da da da da." He watched her intently and then out it came, "Da da da."

What is about visiting his Schaefer family?! Last time we took him over there he started giggling. And now this? We drove over there last night for a surprise party for his Cousin Katie. The highlights of the evening included snuggle time with Aunt Barbara, entertaining Uncle Bob, and the Amazing Rolling Benjamin show on the living room floor...complete with two of world's best adoring fans, Cousins Katie and Laura.

Happy birthday, Cousin Katie, way to go getting your doctorate, and congratulations on the engagement!

November 17, 2007


We've never really cared much about the why-me's in all of this. We sorta think, "Why not us!?" We're great at this. We totally kick butt when it comes to being Ben's parents. It was always and absolutely meant to be us!

But, why Ben?

Now that's a real kick in the pants.

Why Ben? He's just a nice little baby. Why does have to go through all of this crap? Why does Ben have to get stuck with needles, scanned with radiation, and cut open? We get pretty hung up on that question. It has no answer, of course, but we think Ben's Grandpa Wuh-wuh (Dennis) has come pretty close to answering it:

When God was making Benjamin, one of two things must have happened:

1) God saw how ridiculously beautiful and amazingly strong Benjamin was and decided He couldn't send something so perfect to Earth, so He gave him some medical issues.

2) God made Benjamin with these medical issues and then decided it wouldn't be fair to send him to Earth with such a load to bear, so He made him ridiculously beautiful and amazingly strong.

By the way, although it may not be statistically proven, there is a strong possibility that VACTERLS kiddies are super stinkin' cute. Seriously. No...really! They all seem to be beaten with the purty-stick (you know, the one that isn't the "ugly stick"). Darn good lookin' kids on the outside which might make up for the cuckoo-bananas on the inside.

And now, your honor, we would like to present the evidence...

Exhibit A

PS - Thank you, Aunt George, for our new favorite word, cuckoo-bananas!

November 09, 2007

6 Months Old!!!!

Thank you, Benjamin, for giving us 6 amazing months. A picture just won't do this time. Click here for a picture montage.

Happy half-birthday, Ben. We love you beyond words and pictures.

November 08, 2007

Good times

When we were in Cincinnati, Auntie Christina helped Benjamin bounce around to his heart's delight. What a fun little guy!

(And what a fabulous Auntie.)

November 05, 2007

Look ma... bladder spasms!

Yeah, that's me on my tummy NOT having a bladder spasm. I'm lying on the bed at the Ronald McDonald House having fun rolling around and trying to eat Ronald's lovely afghan. I sorta miss the catheter because it was really fun to watch mummy's face when I would grab ahold of it and pull. I get to throw out a medication now and in a week I can throw out another. Then I'll be back to just taking vitamins! I gotta say, it was really crimping my style to have to stop rolling and jumping 6 times a day to take medications. But, sometimes it was fun to just spit them all back out, watch the parents freak, and then get a change of clothes.

I gotta go now so we can check our mailbox to see if someone has left us a present today (wrapped presents randomly appear in our mailbox here), see what kind of holiday decorations are up now, and then watch mum do that super-interesting thing with that stuff they call "dinner."

Smile atchya later.
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Happy mama

Even though this picture was taken on Sunday, it pretty much shows how happy Ben's mama is right now. Happy that things went well. Happy to be going home. Happy that Ben is happy. Happy to be happy. Happy happy happy happy happy.

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Pig Tail Gone!

Ben got his catheter out today! Yayyyyyyy!!!!!!!! We'll be heading back home on Tuesday just as soon as we get the car packed. Yay! Yay! Yay!

While we were in the waiting room, Ben flirted it up with everyone. And I mean everyone! Somebody would walk by and he would smile and them, follow them with his head, and if they didn't notice he'd let out one of this goofy laughs. There were a couple of little girl babies for him to flirt with and show off his jumping moves. For whatever reason, his favorite was this man with a huge mustache. Ben couldn't get enough of him. When I said something to the man about how much my son seemed to like him, his reply was, "Oh well, it's the baseball cap. Babies love the baseball cap." Uhhmmmmm....okay.

In the middle of Ben's flirt fest, Dr. Pena came over and when he noticed I was there by myself with a baby and stroller to move he reached out and took Benjamin. Oh my god, it was so cute. Ben was smiling and laughing...while grabbing our surgeon's nose and chin and stuff. Dr. Pena kept saying, "What is he doing now?" and "Benjamin, don't jump so much!" and finally, "Okay, those are my glasses." Hee hee.

The catheter came out very easily. It seemed a bit uncomfortable for Ben, but he recovered quickly. I have to say that I was a little shocked at how long that catheter was! I mean, God knows I've seen a lot of crazy stuff since Ben was born so it takes a lot to shock me these days. They call that catheter style a "pig tail" because the end of it, the part that sits inside the bladder, curls around like a little pig tail. I pictured it much, much smaller than it was. No wonder it was giving him those spasms.

Well, our little guy is now pig tail free!

November 03, 2007

Rockin' the RMH

We got off the waiting list so we're rockin' at the Ronald McDonald House now! The Vernon Manor was awesome about us checking out late - 3pm instead of 11am. We got one of the renovated rooms here and ooooooolaaaaalaaaaaa it's nice. I mean, our last room here was nice, too, and I really couldn't imagine what they would do to improve on it. Somehow they did, though. This room has wood floors instead of carpet, one of those rain shower heads, lots more lighting so it's much brighter, and ... drum roll please ... Tempur-Pedic beds! Woo hoo.

Man is Ben's mama looking forward to Ben going to bed so she can jump in the rain shower and fall asleep weightless...

November 02, 2007

Still lookin' good

We got our diaper! And then we had our clinic visit. Dr. Pena still says things look good. Hurrah! We're supposed to keep the catheter clamped over the weekend and see how things go. He also asked me to let him go around without a diaper on so I can watch him urinate and tell the doctor what it looks like.

Yeah, I laughed, too.

Only a surgeon would come up with something like that! Well, we'll give it a try anyway. I mean, it's the Vernon Manor's carpet and not ours, right? Besides, Ben is due for a bath.

Things look good

We got to Cincinnati just fine last night and we're tucked back into the Vernon Manor again (and on the waiting list for the Ronald McDonald House). We spent the morning at the hopsital doing tests. The last one was a VCUG and probably half the hospital was in the room for that one.

Dr. Pena somehow got stuck with the leopard print lead apron and boy was that funny. Camera phones were going off everywhere. It was pretty silly, but after a while I was starting to get a little annoyed. I finally said, "Hey, could we knock it off with the pictures until Ben has some clothes on please!?"

Things got pretty quiet. Heh heh.

Well, the VCUG looked great. Dr. Pena said everything looks fine. YAY!!!!!!!!! We're clamping the catheter now and allowing Ben to urinate on his own. We're sticking around the hospital until he fills a diaper and then we go to the clinic for another exam and to talk about removing the catheter.

So far so good!

They have a very nice Family Resource Center here at the hospital where you can get on computers, print, fax, copy, scan, play, read, whatever. So nice.

My parents are on their way (with apple pies and deviled eggs in tow) and so is my best friend, Christina. Can't wait to see everyone and show off Ben's new tricks - laughing, rolling, shaking rattles, scooting across the floor. Looks like we should have a fun weekend!

November 01, 2007

Snow Monkey

No, this isn't my Halloween costume. It's my winter bunting. Yes, it's a monkey bunting. We would have posted the full body shot, but it might be too dangerously cute. So, we'll start with the head and work our way around little by little so nobody is overcome by the cuteness. (Yes, it is complete with a tail.)

This snow monkey and his mama are headed back to Cincinnati this Thursday morning. He has some tests on Friday morning to check if things with his urinary tract have healed properly. If so, he could get the catheter removed on Monday!

Here's what we're hoping/praying for:
- safe travel to and from Cincinnati
- tests on Friday look good
- catheter removal on Monday goes well
- we get into the Ronald McDonald House again
- Ben is his usual happy, sweet, fun self and not in any pain