Photo by Sarah Stucky Photography

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Relying on the Lord's strength

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint

So our sweetie went to the ER again last night :(   The Lennertz family has been a little sick for a few days.  Kathryn has been coughing and said her tummy hurt, but thankfully she is better.  Joshua ran a fever of 102.3 on Sunday, and has been complaining of slight headaches and body aches.  With rest and relaxing with movies and toys on the couch, he's getting better too.  Yesterday Matthew all of the sudden started feeling sick.  He didn't want to eat or drink anything so I forced him to eat a popsicle to make sure he had some liquid.  At 4 pm he threw up twice and I took him to the doctor.  She said to take him in to CHLA if he threw up again because we can't risk dehydration in our boy.  He had liquids, and a few bites of dinner, but he threw up at 9--so I took him in.  They watched him through the night as he started to drink some, gave him IV fluids to make sure that he didn't dehydrate, and we were home by 4:30 am.  Today he is doing great! We are just a bit weary, as it seems like any little stomach bug or any little sickness can send him over the edge of dehydration right now. 

We are praying for full healing for Matthew.  It seems as though he is fully recovered from surgery.  It is amazing.  It hit me a couple of weeks ago that I was finally so happy that the surgery happened.  Matthew no longer has the bag, and it is such a relief! He doesn't even complain when he 'goes' any more.  He can poop out of his bottom like everyone else, and the rash is under control.  It comes and goes, but it is not nearly as acute as it was the first few weeks after surgery.  Matthew isn't 'going' so much anymore either.  God has been healing him, and Matthew's body has been getting stronger. He is obviously a little more 'fragile' right now.  He doesn't have a colon and is not even 2 months out of surgery yet. But I trust that God will continue to bless him and pour His healing touch all over him, and protection and grace over his life. 

So glad that we can truly rely on the Lord's strength through every trial right now.  Knowing He is in control makes all of this bearable.

Thanks for praying with us.  God is so very, very good !

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kids have the best ideas :)

So the other day, it was Kathryn's turn to choose what we were going to do.  She came up with... having a Monster party?!  (Not sure where that came from, but ok!) So, I asked her how we had a monster party and we went from there.  First, we created monster costumes.  We have a hooded monster towel, so that was one.
  Then we cut out eye holes in a brown paper bag, and glued on the mouth, nose, hair, ears made out of construction paper.  I think I first saw the bag over the head idea in the book "Olivia".  Super cute, and funny looking!! 

After we made the costumes we took pictures and practiced roaring!!

(The was the best I could get of Matthew ... he wouldn't keep either costume on :) )

 Our Monster Party agenda (as directed by Kathryn):
  1. Make costumes
  2. Practice Roaring
  3. Make a cake (Used a piece of leftover cake from the dinosaur cake...)
  4. Eat the cake like monsters..  no hands, making a mess 
  5. Play hide-and-seek
  6. Have a pillow fight
  7. Jump around to music
  8. The End

They had a blast, good idea, princess :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Amazing Lemon Cookie Recipe


Fore-warning! This are highly addictive!

Wes actually told me I shouldn't give away this recipe, for fear that no one will come to visit us anymore :)  But we like them so much, I want to share it! 

Lemon Crinkles 

1 box of lemon cake mix 

1 egg

4 1/2 oz. of cool whip (comes usually in an 8 oz. tub, so I use just over half)

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional, but you grate 1 tsp of lemon peel)

1 bag of white chocolate chips

1/2 cup of powdered sugar (for rolling the cookies in)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. Mix the cake mix, egg and cool whip together.  Add lemon zest if you want. I like it because it makes it a little more lemon-y.

  3.  Mix in the white chocolate chips.  The dough will be sticky. 

    *It is a good idea to actually put the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hr. It will make it easier to work with *

  4. Form balls of dough, rolling each in the powdered sugar.

  5. Place onto a GREASED cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  

  6. Bake for about 10 minutes (ovens vary).  You want your cookies to "crinkle" and have cracks across the top, to be somewhat set, but not brown.  (See picture).   If you over bake them, they will turn into hard little rocks!

  7. After you take the cookies out of the oven, let them set on the pan for several minutes before transferring to a cookie sheet.  

Cool completely and enjoy!!  :)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make up Birthday Party

Since Matthew and I missed Joshua's birthday party because we were in the hospital, we decided to have another one for him on Friday (July 16). 

On his real birthday, Daddy took him and the other kids to Red Robin, they stopped by the hospital where we gave him a gift (from the Child Life staff).  It was a great race track toy and a "Cars" writing set.  They also had made a sign for Joshua, which I got to add a note and pictures of dinosaurs to: 

My mom made a really nice dinner and cake for Joshua,  and he had such a nice party with everyone the night of his birthday.  The only thing he told me is that he wanted a T-rex cake.  And I was very happy to give him that...even though it's a bit belated!  Here is the creation: 

Super fun to make!  I made two cakes.. a rectangle and a square, and I cut and pieced it until it looked like a dinosaur. I used fondont to make the longest teeth, the eye, the hands and arms and the toenails,  also a bright red tongue in the mouth! :)  He's sitting on a bed of graham cracker crumb dirt. I made him blue because Joshua wanted it to be his favorite color.  And really, since no one has ever seen a dinosaur, who's to say they weren't blue?  I also used white chocolate chips to make the rest of the sharp teeth in the mouth and the toenails.  I love creating these cakes!  It really doesn't take that much time either, and it brings me so much joy to make our  kids so happy. 

And happy birthday again to our 5 year old.  :)

Having fun with the cousins: 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


July 13th, 2002 I married my love, my Wesley.  I love him more now than I did then, even though I didn't think it could be possible!  He has been my strength through everything we have been through, my best friend through all the fun times, my partner in raising our kids and making important decisions, my other half, and such an amazing husband.  He is a man of God, seeking always to please Him and do what is right and he inspires and encourages me.  I couldn't ask for anything better! 

Engagement and wedding:

And celebrating our eight years!  My brother, Johnny and his wife Sarah had their 7th anniversary on the 12th of July (day before ours), so we decided to celebrate together and went out to eat!  Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Lennertz who came all the way from Menifee and spent the evening with our kids, and Grandma Ottesen who took care of Nathan and Ellen.  We had such a nice time together going here:

Story behind this restaurant!  When Wes and I were first dating, it had been a couple of months, so I took Wes to Old Town Pasadena for his birthday.  We were just walking and saw this restaurant and decided to go there.  It was a bit more pricey than I expected so we just had enough money to share a meal, drink water, and eat lots of bread and salad!  It ended up being so sweet and so memorable, though, it became a special place for us.  Later we went back and enjoyed whatever we wanted, but we still remember that first visit and our poor college student days ! :)

We really enjoyed our time double dating with Johnny and Sarah and celebrating our anniversaries.

Good times :)

After some not so fun times we have been so thankful and blessed lately. 

Matthew came home from the hospital on Monday, the 12th.   The day before, Sunday, had been a much better day.  Matthew got his appetite back and was eating and happy.  We went for walks all over.  Rosy, a blind, trained dog came into our room to visit and Matthew loved petting her and touching her nose. :)  And then, Santa came into the room.. a summer Santa dressed in Hawaii attire and giving presents.  I didn't find my camera quick enough, but here's Matthew looking at the toy he got: 

He's having fun :)

Matthew stepped on his IV and pulled it out, and they said we could just leave it out and watch to see how he was doing, as he was much improved and eating and drinking fine again.

Monday they said we could come home and we are so happy to be out of there and with our family again.  We visited the play room once more: 

We are so absolutely grateful that God took care of our boy and he is looking and feeling wonderful again.  We are grateful for the surgeons and doctors who really care and did their best to care for him and help get a good balance for Matthew.  And the nurses are amazing.  Matthew made friends with everyone, and they all wanted to hold him and would talk and wave and give high fives every time we saw them.  He had the same nurses for about 4 days and the morning nurse, Viti, loved him so much and said that she was his second mom, and the night nurse Jonathan was his buddy and would make him laugh and every time he saw him.  How awesome that Children's has nurses and playrooms and visits from dogs and Santa to make the stay as painless as possible.    Of course I hope we never have to  go back ! God is in control of our sweet baby.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still here...

Well, we are still in the hospital since being admitted on July 5th for dehydration.  I guess Matthew got a little sick, and his body couldn't catch up.  Where someone else might just feel sick and rest for a couple of days, Matthew has such a high risk for dehydration since he doesn't have the large intestine to process the fluids.  His body still was recovering from his major surgery, which made him a little more fragile.  They also treated him for enterocolitis (infection/inflammation of the intestine).    He had several days of a couple of different types of antibiotic to treat that.  He is off the medication now and simply has the iv left.  It is taking this long just to get him hydrated again and everything balanced in his body.

They have also added a supplement to his diet for gaining weight again (he lost a lot of weight since the surgery, especially with this sickness and time of not eating anything).  They also have him taking something to slow the number of times he "goes".  They are hoping that this will help him to feel better and not dehydrate so easily again.   They interesting part is that I thought they were going to do that immediately following the surgery.. but Matthew was doing so well they sent him home.  And now that we are here, they are addressing everything and trying hard to get a good balance for Matthew so he can truly just be healthy and fine.  I am very grateful for the good care they are giving Matthew.

We've had our ups and downs.  They were changing the 'central line' in his leg and it started bleeding a lot; they have had to draw blood daily to check the levels, and that has not been fun because they sometimes couldn't get anything.  He has been trying to get back his appetite after being sick, and unfortunately the antibiotics he was taking can almost cause some nausea, so it was hard for him to keep anything down at first. Matthew has been such a trooper and really has pulled through this time.  He is eating better--although he is being a little bit picky, we are trying to work up the appetite again.
I'm not sure when we are going home. Matthew is going to have to let everyone know when he is ready and well.. and able to eat and drink normally again.
We do get to go out with the IV pole.  They have a great playroom we go as much as we can and we take walks in the garden and all around the lobby.  It helps to not be cooped up in here all of the time.  I have been here with him, of course.  Wes has been home Mon-Thurs. last week taking care of the kids and everything and coming to visit us.  My Mama took care of everyone on Friday, and we are so thankful.

Go, Matthew, go! Drink up :)

He wants to go home! 

It was also the 5th birthday of my favorite Joshua in the world on Thursday!  Matthew and I were so sad that we weren't home to celebrate with him.  Daddy took him to Red Robin for a special birthday lunch and then they came to visit us at the hospital.  I had just mentioned to one of the girls that works here in the playroom that it was Joshua's birthday and they were coming to visit, so she made a sign for Joshua and even wrapped up a couple of gifts for him.  It was so special, and I appreciated so much having something to give our to our boy.  I have been so blessed by the people here who really care and try to make the stay at the hospital the best it can be.  Joshua even had a birthday party and cake that night at Grandma and Grandpa Ottesen's house, and a visit from Grandma Lennertz too.  I told him I'd make him the T-rex cake that he requested after we got home, but I'm so glad that he had such a good day.  Here is our big 5 year old.

Thanks for continuing to pray for Matthew!  We are praying for a good balance, no more sickness or infection, and health for his life-- hospitals aren't fun: (  Sorry for not updating too often, we have just been waiting and healing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back at CHLA

Thanks again for praying for our sweetie. He's had a rough couple of days!

I guess I should start with June 27.  It was a Sunday, and we had just returned from Menifee watching "Uncle Mike" perform with AmericaSingers.  Matthew woke up and started walking, and tumbled into Kathryn's bed, hitting his upper lip on the corner.  (Evil, evil bed corners!) We went to the ER, got 3 stitches and he's been healing up pretty well since then.

On Friday, June 2, I noticed that Matthew didn't look like he was feeling very well.  He wasn't playing as much and was whiny.  I also noticed a change.. like he had diarrhea. (Since the surgery it already looks like that... it was now way more watery and worse).  His rash had finally cleared up, but now it flared up again.
We gave lots of fluids and tried to help him feel better, and he seemed okay, just a little sick.  Saturday it was about the same, maybe just a little worse.

Sunday we had quite the time.  We went to church and I stayed in the van for a minute to change Matthew's diaper again while Wes went to check the kids into their Sunday School classes.  He left me the keys, so I locked up and then let Matthew hold them.  I kept my hands under his to catch the keys if he would drop them and then continued into church.  We went to look for Wes in case he was already sitting down, but didn't see him, so Matthew and I went to get a drink of water.  I lost track of the keys by this time, and it wasn't until I found Wes a minute later that I realized that I didn't have them.  *sigh*  Well, we combed the church a few times and the trail from the van and then just sat to enjoy the rest of the service.  After church we got the kids,and retraced steps again and then asked for help.  A free lunch at the church, a couple hours later, and we had AAA come and make us a new key so we could at least get home.  And, to keep up and take responsibility.. yes, I gave the baby our one and only van key to play with..
Well, we got a call later that night, and a young kid from the church had picked them up and stuck them in his pocket.  His parents found them in the evening and called the church.  Amazing!  Praising God for that.. and now we have a spare key!

On the Sunday (which was the 4th) we celebrated with an early dinner at my parents house (that would have been lunch had we not been stuck at the church for so long), and we had a really nice time! The kids even helped make these and were so proud:

We were hoping to do the fireworks and fun later on, but we started to get very concerned for Matthew.  He looked a little worse... his eyes were sunken in a little bit and he looked pale.  He had lost his appetite and I tried to feed him but he didn't want to eat anything.  (That is absolutely not normal behavior for our boy!)
So, I called the surgeon and they said to bring him in to the ER to see what was going on.  They ran tests and said he looked okay.. Maybe he had a viral infection (or small flu) but everything else was fine as far as they could tell.  They gave fluids through an iv since he looked a bit dehydrated and sent us home.

Monday morning... Matthew woke up and was.... lethargic, and pale and had the same sunken eyes.  I thought he might be tired so I held him for a bit so he could rest and gave him something to drink.  He promptly threw up the 2 ounces he drank and looked so awful it was frightening.  I called the surgeon, left Wes home with the kids and arrived at the Emergency room.  The surgeon had given me his cell phone number which we called from the elevator to let them know we were there and we got in immediately.  They took one look at him and about 10 people rushed into the room and started poking him, trying desperately to get in an IV to get some fluids in him.  After about 15 tries the surgeon finally put a central line into his leg/groin area.... and Matthew's leg turned purple.  They elevated his leg and after some fluid got into him, everything slowly started to get better.  His skin returned to normal color, he started to fight and complain about what was going on, his leg returned to normal shape and color.  I can honestly say that I have never been more frightened than in those moments... claiming the name of Jesus over and over again as I begged for mercy and healing, and guidance over the doctors and nurses as they got the line in.  And the Lord heard my request.

They admitted Matthew to the hospital.  His improvement after fluids was so dramatic that he went to a regular room rather than the ICU, thankfully.  They are treating him for enterocolitis, which basically is an infection of the intestine.  Apparently it is very common and very easy for kids to get this kind of infection after the surgery Matthew just had.  They have ran a bunch of tests, he is on antibiotics and IV fluids, but is getting better.  We've done this bit before :)  They are just moving slow to let him drink clear fluids tonight, probably progressing to food tomorrow if he does well with no issues.  Not sure when we are going home, but hopefully it will be soon as it's Joshua's birthday on Thursday!

I write so I can share our journey, but I also write from the heart.  This has been such a struggle, but God is greater than all of are struggles and indeed all of the fears that we may have.  I used to be so afraid...wondering and worrying about Matthew and his health and how it's going to affect his life...

Now I write this with no fear.  Yes I still wonder those millions of things, but I find absolute comfort in the Lord.  He says over and over in the Bible.  "Do not fear, do not be afraid, don't worry, Cast all of your cares upon me for I care for you".  YES! God can have our worries and fears.  Matthew is His child first and He is more than able to carry him through every health issue we deal with now. More than able to heal and take care of him.   And when we ask, The Lord answers! I could fill so many pages with lists of answered prayers.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Please keep on praying.. for healing over Matthew, for comfort as he's in the hospital again, and for a complete restoration of health.  Thank you.. I keep saying it, but it really means so very much to hear and know that so many are fighting with us in prayer for our sweet baby.

I leave you with a song, adapted/written by my brother-in-law Paul Frantsen.  I have found such comfort in singing this lately and thinking deeply about the words.  I hope that it blesses you too!  Words and an audio clip can be found here (sung by Paul and his wife... my beautiful sister Julie):