Thursday, July 30, 2009

Update on Natalie...

Update from Jess -
Natalie saw her Oncologist today at Methodist Hospital. They have decided to admit her to Methodist and begin radiation treatments immediately today. Her oncologist is expecting that she will be at Methodist for at least a week. While it's not “fun” to be in the hospital at all, this is probably the best place for Natalie right now so that they can manage her pain and monitor her blood counts.

It does not sound like the Mayo has any clinical studies that would be applicable for Natalie at this time, so she will not be going there as we thought earlier in the week. From what my mom indicated, it sounds like the cancer is on the bone of her spine, and not on/in the spinal cord, so it was important to begin radiation today in attempt to prevent that from happening.

We'll try to keep this site updated as much as possible. Natalie is pretty tired and still trying to get her pain under control, so visitation should probably be kept limited for now - but we will keep you updated.Thank you for your continued support!
The Gieseke and Roufs families

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Potty Training Success!!

Potty training Ellaina is going really smoothly. The last few weeks she has been going consistently on one of the three potties we have around the house for her. Although she has been hesitant to go #2 on the potty, she has twice today! I think we are on the road to diaper least for her. She still wears a diaper overnight, but has woken up dry from her last two naps. I do have to laugh at some of the conversations we have been having while potty training. Her interpretation of potty training is hilarious. Here are some of my favorite things she has said.
"Don't pee on the princesses" (she has princess underwear)
"I'm pooping on the princess"
"Two poopies, two candies" (we are bribing her will M&Ms)
"You go pee pee pn the potty for candies Mommy?"
"Come on Mommy lets get your candies for pee peeing on the potty!"
"I peed on the puppies" (has puppy undies too)
"Here it comes" (everytime she is peeing on the potty)
"Look my hearts are still there" (training diapers at nap time)
"I did it!" (includes an "I did it!" song & dance)
P.S. Her little tush is so cute in her big girl undies! I am so proud of my little Ellaina!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Please Keep Up Those Prayers for Natalie...

Update from Jess (Natalie's sister):

Natalie was able to enjoy some time at our Mom & Dad's Anniversary party on Sunday - she really loved seeing everyone and being able to visit with all of the relatives and friends. It was a beautiful day! Unfortunately, Natalie has continued to suffer from back and chest pain. She went to the Glencoe hospital this morning due to the pain. While she was there, she was given the news regarding her MRI she had on Friday. We are devasted to say that the cancer has spread to her spine. She will be staying in Glenoe to get the pain under control and her doctor recommended she go to Mayo this week to seek more aggressive treatment. She most likely will be going to Mayo in the next couple days. As we know more we will keep this Caring Bridge site updated. Thank you for continuing to keep Natalie in your prayers.

The Roufs Family

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a Week...!

Despite the air conditioning setbacks, potty training has been going really quite well. Ellaina will NOT poop in the potty, but has been really good about peeing in it. Even at the pool on Wednesday, she told me she had to go potty, so we got out of the pool and she went. She did however proceed to poop in her swim diaper about 30 minutes later, which was an extreme mess...oh the joy of earth friendly reusable swim diapers :)

Our air conditioning was not working that morning when we got home from the gym. How could I tell??? It was already 83 degrees and the air was very thick. We called for the repair and went to "chill" at the Barron's house. That was a nice break to our day, but we ended up coming home to sleep in the miserable heat. When Brad left for work around 5:00 in the morning, it was finally cool enough to comfortably sleep. The kids struggled all night too. I was up at least six or seven times attending to them and trying to get them comfortable again.

The next day we headed to a splash pad with some of my MOPS group friends. For you Minnesotans, a splash pad is a park with a water play area. No standing water like a pool, but tons of fun free standing water activities to cool down the kids. They had such a blast there! Of course busy Braden had his eyes on the only two mud puddles and would not forget about them. We came back to our hot house and decided to head to the neighbors. After a while it became quite apparent that Ellaina was going to need some sort of nap, so we came back to the 89 degree house and set up a bed in Braden's room for her. His room is in the back of the house, so it is the coolest come afternoon. Her bedroom has the sun beating on it in the afternoon/evening, so it had to have been in the mid 90's. Once Ellaina woke up, we went played in the backyard sprinkler and just killed time until the AC guy arrived at 6:45 pm. Luckily for us, he had the part and we had AC that night :)

Friday was back to normal. We went to the gym and then played around like usual. Ellaina is getting to the point where she doesn't necessarily think she needs a nap, but she does think she needs to watch the movie "Cars" everyday...everyday.

I had my MOPS leadership retreat on Saturday, so the kids got to spend the morning with the Daugherty's until Daddy got off work. Ellaina gets so excited about playing there, and Gavin is such a sweetie pie to Braden that he has a blast as well! I know I say this all the time, but I am truly blessed when it comes to Sister-in-laws. I hit the jackpot!!

Today the entire family is off to Great Grandma & Grandpa J's house for a visit before the kids and I head up North of the month. It will be nice to see them and catch up on what they have been up to. Hopefully Ellaina won't destroy Great Grandma J's artificial flower arrangement again.

You know it was a crazy busy week when you can't even remember what you did the beginning half of it. Kids make life so entertaining! They are incredible! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Saturday night we headed to the Ballpark in Arlington to watch the Minnesota Twins play the Texas Rangers. Josh & Courtney got Brad and I awesome tickets for Brad’s birthday! We took the bus from Sherlock's to the game and were excited to find ourselves sitting in the 14th row above the Twins' dugout! It was such a GREAT game with the perfect company!

Courtney brought her "Circle me Bert" sign, and once again had NO luck getting circled. I think the secret may be to have the sign bigger then a 8x10 sheet of paper :) After the game we took the bus back to Sherlock's to meet up with Jessica and...Joe Mauer. Unfortunately he never showed...I guess that's what happens when you believe a "cousin" of Joe's :) After a while of waiting we decided to head back to Josh & Courtney's for a swim. This has been one weekend! Thanks to everyone who was a part of such a wonderful weekend!!

Weekend with Papa J and Jeanne!!

Friday we dropped the kids off for a sleepover with Papa J and Jeanne, and they had such a GREAT time! Ellaina did a little swimming with uncle “my Joshie” and Ryleigh before getting ready for bed. Braden was out at 7:00pm and stayed asleep way until 7:00am. Thought I was told Ellaina didn’t quite sleep so well :)

Jeanne slept on the couch and heard thump thump and patter patter at about midnight. She stopped Ellaina, and Ellaina said she was going to go lay with Papa. Jeanne helped her back into bed where Ellaina must have pulled out her "Jeanne lay with Ellaina?" talk and batting of the eyes. She trys to pull that all the time :) Well that ended up working and Ellaina got some cuddle time with Jeanne.

Around 6:30am Jeanne was getting ready to go for a walk when she heard Ellaina running down the hall the go lay with Papa...and that was what she did. Ellaina and Papa cuddled for the rest of the morning until Braden woke up. It was soooo cute when they told me about it!

Later that day they did some more swimming at Josh and Courtney's house and got some more time with Papa and Jeanne. They had so much FUN with everyone and it definitely wore them out :) Thank you Papa & Jeanne!!

ZAZA Surprise!!

What began as a usual Friday, ended as one of the most fun nights I have had in a long time. I was going to be watching Kim's kids , so when she showed up at my door I was not surprised. Then I heard the Mission Impossible music on Laura's IPhone and was handed a letter with a mission on it. My mission was to pack myself and the kids an overnight bag...and no questions asked :)

We dropped the kids off at Dave & Jeanne's and headed into uptown Dallas. Kim then informed me we were headed to the hotel many famous people stay in while visiting Dallas...Hotel ZAZA!

We got up to our floor where Laura, Courtney and Jess where there to surprise me more. It was so much fun!! Toni, Cathy, Allison and Kate all showed up right after. We had a couple cocktails, and I opened being my first Coach purse!! It was so exciting...did I mention I have the best sisters & friends :)

After that we all squeezed into the hotel vehicle and headed to Patrizio Italian Restaurant for a delicious meal and tons of laughs. The hotel vehicle came back and picked us up for another crazy ride back to ZAZAs. We had some amazing cake at the hotel and got ready to head down to the hotel bar "Urban Oasis". It was so much fun being poolside relaxing, sipping on some specialty drinks, and people watching. At bar close, we headed back up to the hotel for some junk food and shut eye.

In the morning Kim, Laura and I headed out to see a little of uptown and have a yummy lunch at Tom Tom. The entire night and next day were soooo much fun! I had such a great time and want to thank everyone for making my surprise EARLY 30th birthday party to amazingly FUN!! You are all the BEST!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"I Did It...Let's Call Grandma"

As I was walking out of Braden's room, Ellaina jumped off the potty and said "I did it. Lets call Grandma". It was so adorable. I have been doing the bribery thing with M&M's, but apparently calling Grandma is even more exciting :)

Potty Training!

Ellaina is showing all the "signs" of potty training readiness, so we have been trying to potty train this week. If you think it is as fun as it sounds you are right :) Ellaina has gone in the potty two times and in her training pants about 12 times. Every time I think she is getting the hang of it, she has an accident. I just keep trying and encouraging her. Yesterday I realized we pretty much need to stay home to help this process be successful. This is easier said than done when it is 100+ degrees outside. Without being able to go outside to play we all feel cooped up. This morning we played in the backyard for about an hour before it got too hot. I turned my head for one moment and when I looked back, Ellaina was already naked running around playing in the sprinkler. It was pretty funny. Such has a cute toosh :) Wish me luck...I need to get one of my two kids out of diapers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Do You Say Goodbye?

Last night Toni asked all of us girls to her house for an "emergency meeting". That is when she dropped a bomb on us...she is moving to New Jersey/Philadelphia area for work. It was not the best moment and although I am so happy for her & her career, it is hard to get myself together enough to be alright with such a great friend moving so far away.

It is such a new experience for Toni, and I am so proud of her for getting this promotion! I can only hope and pray her career continues to advance and leads her back to Dallas...sooner than later.

I know you are probably reading this Toni, so I want you to know, you are one of my rocks here in Texas and I will miss you so terribly. You have been such a great friend since I moved here and had my first Cosmo night. You are such a beautiful and thoughtful person. I laugh so much when I am with you and will miss our late night goofiness (dancing on your bedroom ceiling). I know you will have no problem finding friends up there, but no matter what, you will always have true sisters down here. I LOVE you Toni!

No Longer Crawling...

but No Longer Walking. Now that Braden is up on his feet moving around, there is no stopping him. He is literally RUNNING everywhere he goes. It is so funny and exhausting. He is all over the place and he moves so quickly with those little legs. I keep thinking he is on the verge of falling over because he is running so fast, but he doesn't...all the time :) It is amazing how quickly Ellaina and him are growing up. I'm afraid to blink.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Brad's 30th Birthday Bash

Saturday we celebrated Brad's 30th birthday with bowling, games, laser tag, family & friends at the Main Event! It was so much fun and Brad had such a GREAT time! I think bowling kind of started boys against girls, but the girls did a little too much chatting between turns and ended up not getting to finish the game.

Brad was pretty witty when putting the guys names on the scorecard. We had "Brad", "Pro" (Josh, who had his own ball & shoes), "Name on Ball" (Keith...self explanatory), "G.I. Jane" (Brandon who came up from Fort Hood), "Betty Crocker" (Kevin...also self explanatory if you know Kevin), "Cowboys Suck" (Phillip...he's a big Cowboy fan and Brad is not). I think the only one missing was "Nancy Boy" (Greg, who didn't want to re injure himself by bowling).

Later that night Brad, Brandon, Kevin and I played laser tag. It was so much fun!! Brandon was on a team with two ladies waiting in line to play. He wanted to prove a point that "Mr. Army" could beat us. Sadly that point wasn't proven as the red team dominated the green team. P.S. I got high score...a fact I couldn't let Brandon forget when he was blaming his lose on the girls on his team. All and all Brad seemed to have such a wonderful time! Thanks everyone for coming and making it so special for him!!

Brad, Greg, Kevin & Brandon playing a trivia gameLaser Tag CrewTackle Laser Tag

Braden's 1st Lollipop!!

When Braden was at his 1 year check-up, the doctor gave Ellaina and him a sugar free lollipop. This was Braden's first lollipop and it was soooo messy. He really enjoyed it though. Luckily I had my little camera to remember the moment :)

Little Side Note: Ellaina loves "lollipops" so much. It is the first thing she says when we pull up to the doctors. Even when we was barely talking, she would ask for a "lollipop" from the doctor and point to the cabinet they kept them in...she was a rashy kid. We frequented the doctor almost once a week the month she got poison ivy/scabies...that was fun.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


My old man turned 30 on Monday! Since he is the first, I was curious how it felt. Not surprisingly, Brad said it was just another day. It probably didn't help that he was working until after 8:00 pm. Because of that fact, we ended up doing the birthday candle thingy yesterday instead...Brad's idea :)

Ellaina was too excited about the candles to sing the happy birthday song, which she so loves to sing. Ellaina helped Brad blow out the candles and we ate his birthday pie. We are having a bigger celebration on Saturday, so that will be a lot of fun! Happy 3oth birthday Babe! We LOVE you soooooo much!

My Not So Big Guy

Braden had his one year check up last week, and I was surprised to hear he is on the small side. He was only weighing in at 21 pounds & 12 ounces. The pediatrician said he was only 31% for his weight and we need to start "fattening him up". A little easier said than done when he still has an intolerance to dairy. Everything she recommended we do included using dairy products.

When we were about to leave, Dr. Sutton asked..."Is he always this busy?" Once she found out he is, she said that could explain why he is underweight. It kind of made sense...I guess. Ellaina was pretty busy as well, and she was 2 pounds heavier at this age. I do believe the dairy is playing a big role in his weight, which also makes me nervous about him not getting enough good fat (DHA). With him only being able to tolerate rice milk, it is a legitimate concern. He is already such a smarty pants, so I don't want to hinder him. I'll have to take a trip to Mike's Health Collection today to see what they suggest.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The BEST 4th of JULY EVER!!

This weekend the Jackson family headed to San Antonio for our first family of four vacation! It was the best weekend ever and so amazing to get to spend an entire weekend with Brad. I guess Ellaina could only agree with that statement, since she became the biggest daddy’s girl over the weekend. It was so sweet to see her loving up on Brad, and getting a lot of cuddle time in. One morning, we were all laying in bed together for a family cuddle…cuddlefest 09’!!

We headed to Sea World the first day, and quickly realized it was only going to be a one day adventure :) The kids are still a little too young for that, especially when it is 103 degrees out. Shamu excited Ellaina and kept her attention for about 2 minutes before she decided she was over it. The excitement on her face, the first few jumps the whales did, will last forever in my memory though. Braden enjoyed walking back and forth while we waited for the show to begin. He thought he was a big guy walking. That was pretty much what consumed his time during this vacation.

We stayed at the Drury Inn & Suites with our room overlooking the River Walk. It was the perfect place for our family. They had a snack bar and beverages in the evening, which the kids LOVED the popcorn! Trying to get a sleeping arrangement that worked for everyone proved to be a challenge. At one point I even had a sing along to try to get both Ellaina and Braden to relax and go to bed. I was waiting for Brad to start laughing when I broke into a slow, lullaby version of “Take me out to the ball game” (ran out of songs to sing). It was really quite adorable though. Instead of putting the kids to sleep, they would just get quiet for a while, and then both start singing along. We ended up putting Braden’s crib, with Braden in it, to sleep in the bathroom. Once we got the sleeping situated, nap time and bedtime became quite a bit easier. Ellaina slept pretty well in the fold up bed, and was happy when we moved it next to Daddy the second night. They are both pretty light sleepers, so we had to keep one separate and the other an arms reach away to comfort when she was wakened.

After a hot hotel breakfast, we headed off to Sea World for a fun day in their water park. We were getting close to the park, when both kids started getting fussy and looking real tired. Realizing that this might not be the best idea, we decided not push our luck and headed back to the hotel. Brad and the kids took a nap, while I headed down to walk around the River Walk. It was my first time and I was really enjoying myself. I think I walked the entire River Walk and made my way to the Market Square. I had heard good things about Mi Tierra and wanted to try it out. Once the kids woke up, we headed to the roof of our hotel for a swim. We all had a wonderful time cooling off and swimming. Both Ellaina & Braden would live in the pool if we would let them.

That night we dared the River Walk again…this time without the stroller. Ellaina walked great holding onto Daddy’s hand. She is getting so big and was really enjoying herself. We had dinner on the River Walk which was its usual state of ciaos. I found myself enviously watching the table near us with two young kids that were sitting and behaving themselves. That is not how our dinning activities usually take place. Let’s just say our tips have gotten larger as the mess around us has grown :) We headed home after the late dinner to put the kids to bed and call it a night. A lot different than our all night pre kiddo days, but wouldn't trade it for the world. The Best 4th of July Ever!! The Sea Lions were waiting to be feedBrad & Ellaina checking out the alligatorsWaiting for the Shamu show to startI know, no shoes...they kept falling offBrad & Ellaina cuddling!Toilet paper...againMommy & Braden cuddlingOur stroller journey on the River WalkMommy & Ellaina watching MadagascarBrad giving Braden a high five at dinnerEllaina talking to Grandma & Papa on the phone. It was a night time ritual :)