Monday, January 16, 2012

New Car and Potty Training for 3

The Car

While in Boise, on New Year's Eve, we had an unfortunate car wreck. We survived it without injury – wonderful blessing! The other car and it's passengers survived just fine with only a tiny scratch of paint on the back bumper - another great blessing. However, our car did not survive so well, it crumpled a good amount and wasn't worth the repair. We actually had a lot of generous help and offers for getting us through this, the biggest one was borrowing my grandma's car to get us home and around for a week. Besides a financial hit, it was a fair amount of stress for our family...

Background: Alene gets some pretty serious anxiety over getting things done that need to get done, or deciding things that need to be decided. I will say that she did quite well, for her, on this one though. We made it a full week before deciding and then overnight before purchasing. Anyway, because of that anxiety, we did spend a lot of time looking, and discussing a multitude of options.

We had so many options because, although we are NOT pregnant now, we are thinking of having our next kid sometime in the next year or so and 3 cars seats do not fit in the back of any sedan I know of (until your kid can fit in the base-only style car seat). So, options:
  1. Fix up Earl (our car)
  2. Beater car to hold us off until we were planning on upgrading our car anyway in a year or so
  3. Decent (but cheap) sedan to hold us over, but may be good as second car or sell-able
  4. Bigger car now that’s on the older side, but easily in our price range
  5. Bigger car that we dream about, still get a used one but one we’d be excited about (we’ve looked at cars a few times long ago just for fun and found family crossovers that get good gas mileage, and other things).
With the hope that the company I work for does well we were hoping for #5 possibly at the end of the year. But, decision hit us now. We ended up going right between #4 and #5. Major financial purchase, one that drained our saving quite a bit, but will be somewhat replenished by tax returns.

Without further adieu (the car we’re both excited about, is affordable enough, and will be the family-upgrade-able car we need):

Mazda5! (nameless so far)

A minivan, right? Not exactly… As you can see by the next picture, Alene is basically as tall as it, and, technically, some call it a microvan. It seats six, has sliding doors, and has a hatch back, so kind of a cross between wagon and minivan.

Interior Seats:

It gets great gas mileage for being able to carry 6 people. It’s a 2006 with 90K miles on it. It drives more like a car than a minivan and it fits into our garage much much better. We like it a lot. It’ll be something we’ll enjoy and something that we can grow into over the next 5-6 years. :-D

Kids and Cats

We’ve had a couple go’s at potty training Camden. The latest was in December and didn’t go well, so we thought we’d hold off a while. However, after seeing potty training for cats in the Skymall magazine on our flight back from Hawaii, I researched and found a good cheap option. We started that a week ago. Camden saw the cats sitting on the potty and getting treats, decided he wanted some of that action too. So, contrary to what Alene said she’d NOT do (back in decemeber with the failed attempts for Camden), we started potty training two species at one time.

It’s going much better this time around for Camden, thanks to some extra research Alene put into it and inspiration from my sister Tenley – we took him straight to underwear rather than the in between step of pullups.

Click this Link to see Video of Camden Helping With Dishes

Above is a movie with Camden in his big boy pants wanting to play with water – watch for the part where he says he wants to help. Below is the kitty’s setup.

It started with no hole. We went to a small hole after a few days. Then, after a few more days, to this larger hole you see above. That unfortunately was a bit too fast for Leo. We had some accidents, so we took it back to square zero for couple days and now we’re back to the small hole. We’ll let them get used to that longer this time around.

I’m excited! It’ll be great to get rid of buying kitty litter, scooping kitty litter, buying diapers for Camden and changing them on Camden. Good times ahead! Some pain along with these changes we’re going through, but it’s for the better. We’ve felt blessed through the deals we were able to find and make with the car (brought the dealership down $2,500 off their normal price), and we’ve had good success (along with the set-backs) in training both the cats and Camden.

Sorry about the long post!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guess who's 1!


Yup, he's one years old now and becoming such a little man!
Alene came up with the great idea of a gumball machine because he enjoys picking up objects and putting them inside various containers (including an actual toy gumball machine Camden got for Christmas a while back). It made for a fun cake to share and a great cake for Xan to have himself (an entire cake for your kid at his 1-year-old b-day is a Duersch tradition).
Alene did a fabulous job with the cakes, and left me the project of making a mini-edible-gumball machine. I whipped up some rice krispie treats and sculpted it over top of a balloon, let it harden, popped the balloon and pulled it out. Putting it together, it actually allowed Trix to drop down through the top and out the bottom. Fun project, and Xan enjoyed dropping the Trix we gave him into the top!

It took him a while to warm up to the idea that he could eat the thing in front of him, but once he figured that out, he had fun! We had lots of family and friends come to celebrate with us - thanks for coming! We really appreciate all the support we've had with all the treatment Xan has had to go through. His club feet are hugely improved, and very functional!

Xan is really taking to his standing and scooting now-a-days. He's been doing it for a few months now. There's definitely a mental block keeping him from trying to take steps on his own, but, just recently, he's gained a fascination with pushing around or climbing on all the wheeled objects we have around the house.

Mohawk Xan!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Update on the boys

Well, since that includes me, I'll make it brief on my end... I'm graduating/walking for my graduation on Thursday and Friday :-D. Masters in Computer Science, wahoo!

Has some new favorite toys...
He rides his tricycle everywhere and loves to build train tracks with his train set from IKEA. Thomas and McQueen are still his top two favorite toys though.
The doctor said it was time, so it was time - Camden has gone binky-less. We cut the rubber end of all his pacifiers and told him they were broken. He was pretty heartbroken. He stopped asking for them almost immediately though (success!), but without a binky to help him fall asleep for naps or when he'd wake up at night it was a rough week of transition.


After wearing a cast for 3 weeks following his surgery Xan graduated from casts and was fitted for the "dobbs" bar and boots system. We took pictures of all the casts (minus at least 3 we weren't able to grab) as a memento.
So, as you can tell, Xan is ok with his boots at various points in the day, and can be his normal happy self. Unfortunately, it's really hard to see him in pain - which he is very obviously in pain for much of the day. Here's why... Fresh out of the cast, his incision from the surgery still wasn't quite healed:
The boots have to be put on tight (very tight), otherwise in all the baby's movements, he'll get blisters. We followed orders to the T even though it meant a lot of hard work and enduring the crying and struggling each time we put the boots on. Sadly the result was still a blood blister (likely due to the amount of pressure put onto the heel) right around the incision:
Which eventually opened up:
And after opening up and draining out, rather than healing, things got a bit worse. Over the weekend the blister area started to discolor and form puss. We thought the blister had become infected despite the neosporin we faithfully applied.

However, when Alene took him in to the doctor today it was diagnosed as a pressure ulcer. Unfortunately an ulcer like this is not treatable by antibiotics - which would have been tame compared to the treatment he will likely have to go through.... debridement. Debridement is where they'll scrape off the dieing tissue and clean the wound. Not fun.
We've been referred to the wound clinic at Primary Children's to get that done after getting a second look at the wound by our Surgeon Dr. Stotts. For the meantime, Dr. Stotts is letting us keep Xan out of the braces to relieve the pressure. We're just hoping we don't lose too much progress and that Xan's wound will heal swiftly.

Our poor little Xan... It's tough to see him have so much pain as such a little guy. A sweet, happy little guy - like he is - doesn't deserve this kind of trial. Probably for that very reason, he is able to endure it so well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kelv loves Leo.

Oh wait... I might have stated the direction of that affection backwards...

Can you spot the cat? How did he get up there?

He's also been spotted sitting on top of our closet doors!

That cat has some serious hops!

Keep your eye out for a couple posts to come... Camden's Tumbling Tots and Xan's New Braces!(The later future post has resulted in an incredibly difficult week. Hence why it's not up yet.)

Monday, March 21, 2011


I am not a cat person.

Well, I guess I could be if have to be :-P

I knew we'd get one eventually, but it all came sooner and faster than I ever expected it to. Alene's been talking about wanting one for quite sometime now. The event that really pushed the initial domino over happened on a rainy Wednesday night.

Alene and I were home, the boys were in bed and we were getting ready to watch a movie. Before we picked out the movie, we heard a crying sound outside. Opening the door, only a crack, I could see the inevitable fate of owning a cat even more imminent, real, and knocking at my door.

With a bit of investigation, we found the owners of this tag-less feline (in our ward) and I gladly returned him to his owner. Alene enjoyed the hour of cat we had that night. I thought I'd have some time before a mischievous cat joined our family, but, alas, the dominoes had begun to fall...

I thought our tight finances would save me from having to give in to the pleas of my wife. However, a few days later, we mapped out the costs of getting and owning a cat. A bit of up front cost - but fairly manageable with some of the options we found online (cats that had vaccinations already completed, etc). Monthly costs would be very do-able (less than $10/month).

In the process, Alene found a cat, a litter box, and a bed on all for incredible deals. We set out on Friday last week to round up all the supplies and the kitty himself. Seeing "1 year old cat" on the description made us think we'd get a small, fun little kitten. However, getting there, we immediately realized he must be on the latter end of 1 year old. He's a loooong and skinny kitty. A beautiful cat with a kind and loving personality.

Without further ado: Leo!

At the shelter, Camden was much more excited about all the puppies, but fortunately did share some of his excitement with Leo ("Jingles" at the time).

Leo was a bit skiddish from the get go...

He was even more skiddish and terrified of Camden when we got home. He literally spent about 98% of his first 24 hours in our home hiding under either our bathroom vanity or bed.

Screeching, squealing and screaming aside, Camden did very well with Leo, he was very soft and sweet to the new kitty (he's using the brush to pet him in this one).

Although Leo hasn't warmed up to an over-excited Camden yet (he hides and sleeps while our kids are awake), he has definitely grown to like Alene and I - and has begun to show more of his playful nature :-D. He spent most of last night running around exploring the house and jumping on the bed to nuzzle our faces as we slept.

Saturday night when he finally ventured out from his refuge (our bed) of his own accord, we were so pleased with the new development that we took the following video (shortened for your convenience):

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So Xan had his surgery today at Primary Children's. They clipped his Achilles Tendon again (tendonotomy) and also opened up his ankle joint capsule to try and get his foot up to a normal position vertically. My mom was so wonderful and came up to Primary's with me since Kelv had to work. It was so nice to have her support especially recognizing the sacrifice of time she was making! (She works for an accountant and we're thick in tax season!)

The surgery went REALLY well except for the fact that they couldn't pull the skin closed around his incision because of how vertically they pulled the foot. They stitched the incision closed as close as they could and and then we'll go back in next week and try and suture it all the way closed after giving the skin a week to stretch and heel. We unfortunately (and fortunately for the pain aspect) have to put him under again for the procedure which means the whole surgery process again. I'm just hopeful that since it will be a much faster procedure, recovery will also be much faster.

Xan had a pretty hard time recovering from the surgery. No one likes what anesthesia does to your body. It took about an hour of snuggle time before Xan was ready to try and eat, but he held it down great once we were able to get going.

He's had a rough day, but the liquid lortab, Baby Einsteins, and Mommy near by has seemed to help. We so appreciate all your prayers, thoughts, and fasts for Xan. Thank you!

And overall, we are so happy with how things are turning out and love our little boy so much! Here's a picture of Camden showing how happy we are!

And just as a quick side note and excuse to post this adorable picture...we also bought ANOTHER stroller this week (we now have 6!) We realized that we can't fit any of our current double strollers in our trunk if we need to also take luggage (aka. trips to Boise) so we got a compact unbrella stroller. This will be great for the trips!

Monday, March 7, 2011

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