Saturday, December 5, 2015

Aloha Hawaii!

On November 14th, we set off for a week long trip to paradise.

My mom took my sisters, myself and our family's on the trip of a lifetime . . . to Hawaii. It was absolute bliss. It was such an amazing trip, full of beautiful weather, tropical breezes, breathtaking views, great memories and treasured family time.

It was a 9 hour nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Honolulu, and surprisingly the kids did very well. Thanks to the age of electronics, their tablets kept them well entertained as did the in-flight movies, some games and coloring projects they had along for the flight.

The worst part of the airport and flight was passing through TSA with all of Olivia's medical equipment, but having a previous airport trip now under our belts, all in all it went much smoother this time. However, the line was so long and slow as it just so happened our plane took off the day after the attacks on Paris, thus slowing things down. No worries however, we made it to our gate, with about 10 minutes to spare until boarding!

Warmer weather awaits just outside our window!

We began our adventure in Honolulu. Not quite like it's depicted on television, as we didn't get lei's when we landed so Daddy bought his two girls each one - made our day! 

We spent 3 nights at the Hilton, Waikiki. It was a gorgeous hotel and the onsite pools and ocean views were amazing. We enjoyed much of their time swimming in the ocean and walking along the ocean shores. 

Jeff and I wanted to try our luck at surfing. We headed over to Waikiki Beach on our second day, rented a few surfboards and headed out. Unfortunately, we only had an hour to do so and the waves didn't cooperate so we didn't have much luck. It was still super fun to try and be out there in the ocean and we were grateful we didn't come across any sharks along the way.

The kids had even more fun than Jeff and I "surfing" and were pretty proud of themselves! I absolutely loved Olivia's "I'm doing it" face in this photo.

We toured Pearl Harbor on our last day in Honolulu, and had a great history lesson in doing so. This was more for us adults but the kids did well and were very respectful. My sister Amber and her husband Ryan did the land and sea tour and were able to view much of the island by helicopter, capturing some amazing photos.

After 3 days in Honolulu, we jetted off to Maui for the remainder of our stay.

Maui was equally amazing and a bit more slow paced and relaxing, the perfect way to finish off an unforgettable trip. We rented a condo in Maui - Kahana Outrigger, which was grand. All 9 of us were able to stay under one roof together and it was much more chill and relaxed with incredible ocean views and breezes right off of our lanai.

View from our condo - Kahana Outrigger
On our first full day in Maui, Landen, Jeff and Ryan got up early and went on a bottom fishing trip. This fishing trip is what Landen was most excited to experience while in Hawaii. The trip sounded incredible; they saw a whale, sharks, caught some fish, spotted Jon Jon out fishing from the Discovery television show "Pacific Warriors", absolutely amazing! I wish I could have been along to experience in Landen's joy, but I knew Olivia wouldn't tolerate the trip so it was a "boys only" morning while us girls headed to Front Street in Maui for some shopping. 

The whale they spotted from the boat.

While shopping us girls found some great souvenirs and enjoyed lunch dining on seafood along the ocean shore.

Much of the rest of our time in Maui was spent relaxing and enjoying the ocean:

Jeff rented another surf board while in Maui but there were no waves to surf on, maybe next time . . . if there is a next time.

The kids loved the body boards that our condo had for use. They spent a lot of time on these.

Landen's body board doubled as a collection site for all his rocks and shells.

My sisters and I decided to go parasailing on one of our mornings in Maui. We went to Kaanapali Beach. Darci and Amber were legitimately scared, I had a blast!

Due to heavy rains on the last two days of our trip, our Luau was canceled as was the helicopter tour my mom and sisters were going to take of the island. Kind of a bummer, but hard to be down about much when you're in Maui, especially given the what the weather was like back in Minnesota!

Since we were all dressed up in our Hawaiian gear for the Luau, which was canceled, we braved the rain and headed over to the Sea House restaurant and enjoyed a huge seafood meal with lava flow drinks. It was delicious!

Landen and Jeff took a stroll along the beach in the rain on our second to last morning in Maui and Landen found a coconut. He was pretty pumped about this and later asked if Jeff would open it up. Man oh man, the sight of Jeff and Ryan fighting with that silly coconut was absolutely hilarious. Jeff finally did get the thing open, by smashing it on the ground and from what I hear, it wasn't worth it as this particular coconut had no taste. 

On our last evening, Amber and I headed over to Soular tattoo shop in Maui to finish off our trip with some fresh ink. 

It was definitely a trip I'll never forget, such a beautiful place, such awesome memories. Thanks mom we had an absolute blast!

Hawaii 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November CF Clinic Visit

We started November off by heading down to CF Clinic for Olivia's follow-up visit. She began the morning by completing her PFT's. She's getting the hang of how these work now so the data they get from her is proving useful as another tool to be used in her CF care. Her readings are right around 100% for the values they measure so we are happy by this.

The sputum culture continues to be a cause of anxiety for Olivia so she chooses to do this right away to get it over with. Once it's done, she's much more relaxed and it makes the rest of the appointment go that much smoother.

This was one of our better appointments, since Olivia has been doing well. She's tolerating her g-tube feedings with the method we are using and since the onset of school her anxiety has decreased a ton so things are going well. She has gained an impressive amount of weight over the past 3 months as well as grown taller. Her BMI is near the 64th percentile and her height is near the 74th, which we are extremely pleased with. Because of this, her enzyme dosage was increased quite a bit but other than that, we are to keep on doing what we are doing.

Her growth is a direct result of the use of periactin combined with her nightly g-tube feedings. Now that we are able to keep the feeds down and she is tolerating them, things have improved for her so much. Our GI doctor told us that the periactin helps to open up the stomach so it empties quicker, thus increasing ones' appetite, which has always been the case for Olivia but it also helps in how well she tolerates her g-tube feeds. When she's taking the periactin, we are able to up the rate even more and she tolerates it well. Using a full does of mirilax every day to help prevent blockages has also been another piece to the puzzle that has assisted in how well Olivia's been doing over the past 3 months. It's nice to finally have some things figured out and working . . . at least for now.

Her sputum culture reported a moderate growth of staph which is typical for her and we continue to thank the Lord that she hasn't grown pseudomonas or b.cepacia as of yet.

We were able to get Olivia enrolled in a 24 week CF research study that we are excited about. I can't share specific details but we have our fingers crossed on the this one and are thankful to be able to partake in it. This will kick off in January.

In other November news, Jeff and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary on November 8th. We were able to go out for dinner to celebrate which was wonderful. A big thanks to Aunt Darci for watching the kids. We also got to celebrate in Hawaii for a week thanks to the trip my mom took our family on. A true paradise . . . more on that to come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catching up . . . Halloween 2015

It's no secret, we enjoy Halloween at our home. Annually we trek to the local pumpkin patch to pick out our perfect pumpkins and the kids have a blast, and make quite a mess, carving them!

Olivia is fond of wolves and has been for quite some time. She calls them her "wolfie babes", so she chose a wolf face to carve into her pumpkin. As comes with age I suppose, Landen was into all things creepy and crawly this year. He chose the Ghost Face from the movie Scream, which he's of course never seen, to carve into his pumpkin. He also chose the Ghost Face for his creepy Halloween costume. He was going back and forth between that or a zombie, whichever one was more scary and Ghost Face won. 

On Halloween day, we started the day off by having a Halloween themed lunch and bash with Aunt Darci and cousin Braelyn. We all dressed up in Halloween costumes. Landen as Ghost Face and Olivia as none-other than a wolf. I dressed up as a vintage or 50's housewife; something along those lines, although Darci thought I ended up looking more like the late Amy Winehouse . . . Braelyn too was into all things creepy this Halloween and was an evil jester and Darci was a football player. 

Around dinner time, the clouds broke, the rain passed and the sun began to peek out. Jeff, I and the kids packed up and headed over to Aunt Em and Uncle Mike's for some trick-or-treating fun. The neighborhood in which they live is great for trick-or-treating. Many neighbors go all out with the Halloween decor, tricks and treats which makes it a fun environment for kids and adults! Landen and Olivia had a blast playing and trick-or-treating with cousins Austin, Carter and Makayla. 

Landen's costume came with a squishy heart that pumped fake blood through the mask, making it that much more gory which continued to baffle my mind on how he's grown up to be at this stage, where this is cool - way too fast!

Creepy Cousins - Austin's Zombie and Landen's Bloody Ghost Face

One last look at a "wolfie babe" for the road!

That's a Halloween wrap for 2015. 
Lots of fun, too much candy with most of it being thrown away and great times and memories made with family!