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Summer: Week 2

Make it Monday

The boys said they really wanted to make a rocket ship.  So I looked on Pinterest and found an idea.  I don’t think we had enough patience to make it look good so they didn’t turn out the best but at least we attempted something.


Then I had a new (healthy) cookie recipe I wanted to try and Cason helped me!


Then the boys made their airplanes they got at a party.


Take it Easy Tuesday

Errands, errands and more errands.  But we did have a picnic dinner in the backyard.


Work the Body Wednesday

I didn’t plan anything big for this day because I was watching my friends 3 small kids so she could pack to move.  I think watching 6 young kids(ages 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) is a pretty good definittion of working my body.  The boys did walk around the house mkaing a parade at one point.  (See I told you I follow my schedule VERY loosely.)


Time to Read Thursday

They did get read to before bed, but I had a doctro’s appointment in SF for my foot so this day we kind of skipped.

Field Trip Friday

The boys had been wanting to go to The Lego Store so we made a trip to the mall our field trip.  We got there when it opened and found this awesome parking spot right in front.


I have never seen a family parking spot before.  I like it!  Especially when it’s just me and the kids.

The first stop was The Lego Store.  The boys brought their money so they could buy something.  Corbin had a lot more saved than Cason.  Cason was sad about it however, I still don’t think it taught him about the benefits of saving.


Then we went to the Disney Store.


Then we went to the food court but saw they had changed it and it was all fancy and there wasn’t much there the kids would want to eat so we went to California Pizza Kitchen.  They were so good in the resturaunt.  I feel like I’m at a good place with them and being able to take them places by myself.


Then they went to the little play area for a bit.


Then because they were so good I let them get a treat.  Corbin and Kinsely chose cupcakes and Cason chose pretzel bites.


We had a wonderful week!

My Feet: The Medical Story

Here we go:

-In mid-December (2013) I got a cold.  There was one day, I felt awful but for a few weeks it was more of annoyance than holding me back from doing anything.
-December 31, I was not feeling good at all.  We went to the CA Academy of Sciences and I really had to focus to make it through that day.  When we got home, I headed to bed and slept for two hours.  I woke up still not feeling the greatest but was able to participate in some New Year’s Eve festivities.  But I went to bed early.
-January 1, 2014 I woke up miserable and could not get out of bed.  I had a fever of 102.7. I figured it would just last a day or so. 
-January 3rd I still had the high fever so I decided I better go to Urgent Care.  The doctor there said I had tonsilits and she prescribed me antibiotic and said I should be feeling better in 24 hours.  
-Jaunary 6th I still had the fever so I made an appointment with a doctor.  He met with me for a while trying to figure out but couldn’t quite think of what it could be and he prescribed me a stronger antibiotic and said I should be feeling better in 24 hours.
-January 8th my fever finally broke and stayed away for good.  I still felt pretty weak but I felt I was finally on the mend.  I took it super easy but slowly started adding my normal mom duties.
-January 9th I decided to pick up Corbin from school but was late so I started running to the school.  I remember thinking my shoes weren’t the best for this and it wasn’t the most comfortable run ever but I didn’t think too much of it.  Later that night, it felt like I had pulled a muscle on the top part of my foot/ankle on both feet.  I figured it was just because of how I ran.  
-Mid-January I was noticing where I thought I had pulled a muscle was feeling really uncomfrotable.  I could walk fine without pain but it was just annoying.  Then my toes started hurting in the evening.  At first was just uncomfortable then it started getting worse.  Then my left foot started clearning up and I had no problems with that foot but my right foot toes were still hurting in the evening.  Then that started clearing up and it started to be really painful in the foot and ankle.  Then one day near the end of January, I was looking at my right foot and noticed it was looking a little bit swollen.  At this point I thought maybe I badly sprained it or possibly broken it.  The pain started getting really severe at night.
-January 27th I decided to go to Urgent Care to see what I needed to do for it.  The doctor said he didn’t think it was broken but that it would just go away in 2 months or so.  I went home expecting that little by little it would start getting better.  
-February 4th I headed back to Urgent Care since it seemed far from getting better almost it was getting worse.  The pain in the evening it was so severe I was in tears.  During the day, my foot didn’t hurt that much and I could walk without pain but I couldn’t even sleep at night because os the pain.  This doctor ordered an X-Ray on my foot.  He said he didn’t see anything broken but that he would put on a temporary cast and send me to a podiatrist.  The thought of having to get a cast and not be able to drive for 6 weeks seemed like the worst possible thing that could happen to me.  If only I knew what was to come.  That same day I was able to see the podiatrist.  He looked at the X-Ray and confirmed nothing was broken.  He checked out my foot and tried moving it around and said it seemed like I have something called a Coalition where two bones are fused together and it could cause pain in the area I had pain.  He suggested I get a cortisone injection and to wear a walking cast for 2 weeks.  He said if it wasn’t better in 2 months to come back to see him.  I felt relief since I could take off the cast to drive and take kids to school and live a somwehat normal life.


-In the beginning of February and day by day my foot was not getting better at all.  The pain was still so much at night and now it was starting to hurt more in the day.  It almost felt like the cast was making it worse and my foot was so starting to get so swollen and stiff.  Then I started noticing pain coming back to my left foot, specifically my left ankle.  Then a week after the cortisone injection I started getting all these brusies on my right foot.  There were several all over.  Then some started coming on my left foot, and my third toe on my left foot looked completely brusied and swollen.  The pain was also so bad at night that I could just go lie in bed and cry and hope that I could get 5 minutes of sleep here and there.
-February 25th I went back to the podiatrist because I wasn’t sure I could take the pain anymore.  He ordered a weight-bearing X-Ray which he said confirmed his earlier diagnosis of the Coalition.  He said to wear some store bought orthotics.  My foot at this point was so swollen I couldn’t even fit it in a shoe so I wasn’t sure how to wear the orthotics and to also get a CT.  I kept the walking cast for a while hoping that the swelling in foot would go down so I could start wearing the orthotic.  In the mean time, the pain was still so bad.  I did get the CT done on March 4th.
-March 7th I made another appointment with the podiatrist just to let him know it was not getting better and to go over the CT.  He said the CT confirmed the coalation as well.  I told him I couldn’t wear the orthotics because my foot was so swollen so he told me to wrap an ACE bandage on it.  
-Over the next few weeks, my foot was not getting at all better.  The pain was so bad and I was miserable.  I wrote to my doctor asking if it could be the coaltion AND something else that had nothing to do with the coaltion.  He wrote back saying no and that I was too young for arthritis and it wasn’t an infection.  I wrote back asking if I could get an MRI done just to confirm it wasn’t something else.  
-March 12th Connor and I felt that I should get completely off my foot.  This meant having people take and pick up kids for school among other things, but we felt this was the best course of action for me.  I also made an appointment with another doctor for a second opinion.  


-March 19th I got the MRI done.  I remember laying there being so grateful that the only part of my body that was hurting was my feet and that I felt otherwise very healthy.
-March 20th I woke up with a 103 fever and felt awful the whole entire day.  I couldn’t move and was so sick.  My feet hurt, my body hurt.  I did feel considerably better the next day.
-March 26th I went back to the podiatrist to go over the MRI and he said he still thought it was the Coalition and that I should get custom orthotics made.  He said the MRI showed pockets of inflammation but that could be from the coalition.  He also said my left foot was in pain because of compensation.  He took the cast of my feet and said it would take 3-4 weeks to get them.
-March 31st I had the apppointment with an orthopedic surgeon for the second opinion.  I took all my X-ray’s, CT’s, and MRI’s to him and he said he didn’t quite see the Coalition and even if I did have it, it wouldn’t be causing the swelling and discolartion and stiffness like that.  And especially not in my other foot.  He thought it could be an autoimmue or hormone problem.  He ordered some blood tests and suggested I see an endocrinologist or rhuematologist. Those blood tests came back showing markers that I had inflammation in my body.  This doctor also suggested I try contrast baths for my feet alternating between hot and cold two times a day.


-April 8th I had an appointment with the endocrinolgist.  The first thing she said to me was that I was in the wrong department and I needed to see rhuematology.  I was extremely frustrated to say the least.  Later that morning, the podiatrist called me to see how I was doing and I had to tell him that I had to get a second opinion.  It was an awkward conversation but he seemed to understand. 
-April 16th I had been off my foot for 4 weeks and I decided I better start trying to put pressure back on again for fear of losing my ability to walk.  It took some time but slowly I was able to put more and more pressure on my foot and could walk for short periods of time without too much pain.
 -April 18th I had an appointment with a rhuematoloigst.  She semed very confused by my symptoms and said she had never seen anything like it before.  She did lots of research while we were there trying to figure out what blood tests to order for me.  I ended up getting 17 vials of blood taken.  She also told me to see a Vascular Surgeon and a Dermatologist and to get a biopsy. 


-April 21st I saw the Vascular Surgeon.  He felt different spots on my body and said my major arteries in my body had good blood flow and that I should continue my visits with the rhuematologst.  He also said maybe it could possibly be chilblains.  
-April 22nd I saw the dermatologist.  He did the biopsy and thought I should also get my blood tested for tuberculosis (which came back negative) as well as the X-Ray checking for it.  


-End of April a lot of my blood tests were coming back.  Most were negative but there were some abnormalities on a few.  My pain was a lot better than it was in February and March.  I could walk a little bit more but really needed to make sure I was taking breaks and elevating my foot.  I had to stop doing the contrast baths because of my stitches from the biopsy.  
-April 29th I got the results of my biopsy that there were micro clots in my blood vessels but they still weren
t sure what was causing them.
-May 2nd I had another appointment with the rhuematologst to go over my blood tests.  Honeslty, there was so many tests I
m not sure I am able to remember everything but basically my tests showed I had some markers for clotting.  She told me to see a hematologist to find out if I should be going on blood thinners or not.  
-May 5th I met with the dermatologist again to get my stitches out.  He said he will help when he can but he is more in the perephial while this gets figured out and if they needed to do another biopsy.  
-May 7th I met with the hematolgist who seemed just as confused as all the other doctors but ordered a few more blood tests, an ultrasound of my legs, and a CT of my abdomen to rule out cancer.  He also suggested I take a baby aspirin once a day to help with the clotting.  He also referred me to a physical therapist so I can start trying to get strenght back in my leg since there are signs of atrophy. 
-May 9th I had the ultrasound and CT done.  I also started taking some internal Doterra Essential Oils just to try anything at this point. 
-May 11th I got an email while at church that my test results were back.  They all basically were negative for what the doctor thought would help give some answers.  
-May 14th I emailed the doctor about the tests and he said that I didn’t need to do anything more with him but to follow up with the dermatolgist (who had told me he wasn’t the one to keep seeing).
-May 19th I saw a physical therapist on the recommendation from the hematolgist.  She told me that while this wasn’t the weirdest thing she had seen that it was up there as being strange.  She gave me some exercises to work on at home to regain strength in my hip, leg and ankle.  She also specilaizes in swelling so she is hoping to work on some of that with me as well.  Later that day, I wrote an email to the rheumatologist and asked for a referral for a doctor at the university sit it has seemed I have exhausted all my efforts at my current medical practice.  She said she would speak to a couple of doctros and get back to me.
-May 27th I had a follow up appointment with the physical therapist.  She did some massaging on my leg to help with some of tightness and also for the swelling. She gave me several more stretches to add to my exercises.  She tested me on the previous exercises she gave me and she was surprised I knew them all with out looking.  (There were only 4.) But I told her I have been doing them everyday because I really want to get better so I will do anything anyone tells me.  
-May 28th Today I decided to reassess the pain from the last month.  I remember in April still feeling a good amount of pain and was off my foot a lot.  By the middle of May, it was noticeably less.  I stopped using my knee scooter at all but in the evenings I still hurt.  The mornings were the best time of day.  Now, by the end of May, I’ve noticed a bigger difference.  I don’t have any pain in the morning and the pain throughout the day is a little more sporadic no matter what I am doing.  There are still some times it hurts but that seems to directly correspond with how long I am on my feet without any resting.  The evenings are the worst for the pain, but it is bearable.  The swelling is still there all the time, but it can get less or more depending on the situation.  I think this also seems to correspond to the pain.  The discoloration is still there always and it doesn’t seem to be changing at all.  I can also see new spots appearing.  I have no idea what this means but no doctor knows either so I don’t feel too bad about that.  
-May 29th I had another appointment with the physical therapist and she added stretches to my exercises.
-June 3rd I had an appointment with an internist.  This was my first appointment with my new regular doctor.  She didn’t even attempt to try and figure out what was wrong with my foot and said to just continue with what I was planning. 
-June 4th My rheumatolgist suggested I go to a dermatologist/rhuematologist at Stanford.
-June 18th I have been on my Doterra Essential Oils for about a month and a half.  I have been doing my excercies and stretches every day and have been taking the baby aspirin every day.  I do see some improvement in the amount of time I am able to walk on my foot without severe pain.  I have also seen improvement in the swelling on the top of my foot.  My ankle seems swollen still and it seems like I am having swelling moving up my leg along with the discolored spots that range from red to purple.  When I wear my compression bandage and then remove it, there are nodules of varying sizes all over my foot and starting to go up my leg.


-June 26th I met with a dermatologist/rheumatologist at UCSF.  She said that she likes cases like this but needs to go over all my medical records before she can tell me what to do.  She asked a lot of thorough questions and we are hopeful that she will be able to help me.  We have another appointment with her in a few weeks.  This is the picture I took on the day of the appointment.  You can see some of the nodules and the red bumps and that it is traveling up my leg.  To me even though it looks strange and I have no idea what it is, it doesnt look so strange that doctors cant figure it out even after 6 months.  But apprently I am a medical mystery.


I will be adding more to this as time goes on as I (hope to) get new information and possibly even a diagnosis.

Stay tuned for the upcoming post “My Feet: The Spiritual Story"

Summer: Week 1

This summer I am trying to do the same plan I had for last summer.  I can see where things are already getting off but we I am trying to continue with it anyway.  The boys have swim lessons every day at 9am but that gives us plenty of time to do other fun stuff througout the day.  Here is our first offical full week of summer!  

Make It Monday

This day was also Kinsley’s birthday.  I still had plans of us doing some sort of craft or to bake something but when we got to the car after swim lessons, the car battery was dead.  AAA took longer than they normally do to come and he said we actually needed to replace the battery and he could do it right then.  So by the time we got home it was already lunch time and Kinsley was ready for her nap.  By the time she woke up and the boys were done with quiet time it was time to get ready to go out for dinner for Kinsley’s birthday.  But I made up for it the next day.


Take It Easy Tuesday

I deliberately made a down time day for errands or chores or other things that needed to get done.  After swim we did go grocery shopping and then Kinsley had her doctors appointment and then it was time for lunch.  Once Kinsley went down for a nap, the boys and I decided to bake cookies to make up for the previous day.  


For dinner, Corbin had been begging me to have us sit at our dining room table for a special dinner.  I guess we only sit there with guests and he wanted it to be just our Duke family.  I made salmon and sides and we taught them a little bit about table manners.  


Work the Body Wednesday

Technically, the boys work their body every day by doing swim lessons but I want to focus more on this.  After swim (and a quick Target run) we came home and I tried to get the kids to go on the trampoline or play basketball or tennis or something.  Only Kinsley really got into that and was jumping on the trampoline.  But later we went to the park and they played in the splash pad where we met my old neighbor who had moved away and was in town for a bit.   


Time To Read Thursday

We read some of our library books!


Field Trip Friday

This summer I am going to have to get creative as far as field trip’s go because of my foot.  I will still probably try some that have walking but not as many as I normally would.  We decided to go to a movie “How To Train Your Dragon 2”.  I was a little worried taking all 3 kids by myself.  Kinsley did great for 45 minutes but unfortunatley a lot of that was taken up with previews and commercials.  Next time I will try and go and miss previews.  


Connor met us for lunch at the mall after and they got to go on a few mall rides.


Then that night, Connor set up the tent in the backyard and the 3 boys had a campout.  They had a wonderful time!  Kinsley and I joined for a bit.  


It was a fun first full week of summer!

Our Kinsley is 2!


We think she is a cute and fun little 2 year old and are excited to see what this new age brings!


-weighed 23 lbs 5.7 oz at her doctors appointmnet.  This put her back up to the 10th percentile!  Still tiny!
-was 32.0 inches tall and at 34th percentile.  
-has a BMI (this must be new) of 15.16 which is the 17th percentile
-has a head circumference of 46.1 cm.
-her favorite foods are watermelon, cheese, nuts.
-can count to 10, sing lots of songs, knows hundreds and hundreds of words.  My favorite word of her’s is watermelon “wamumum”.  
-holds a pen, crayon, marker like no other 2 year old I’ve ever seen.  She holds it correctly just like we do as adults.  It took me forever working with Corbin to do this and Cason still can’t without me moving his fingers to the correct spot.  Kinsley has just always held it naturally correctly.  
-is still in a crib, takes a binky at bedtimes, and still in a diaper.
-is wearing 18 month to 24 month clothing.  
-is an awesome jumper on the trampoline.
-still wants to do everything her brothers do so this means play Lego’s.  
-loves Frozen and dolls and is especailly fond of a play cell phone she has.  She still likes to carry a purse around with all her accessories.
-likes to play ball and has a pretty good arm.
-is our snuggly girl.  And she snuggles with lots of people.  I love this!
-is able to tell me so well what she wants or how she feels that when she has a screaming or crying fit I have to sometimes stop myself from getting too mad.  But usually if she is throwing a fit I can usually try and get her to just talk it out with me.  I was surprised when recently whe came to me and said “I’m scared” when a lawn mower came on next to her at a park.  She didn’t scream or cry but just calmly rushed to me so I could hold her.  

I have to admit, there are wonderful things about her being so mature for her age.  Like going out with the kids by myself is getting so much easier, but I still wish she would be my baby sometimes!

On her actual birthday, we got up in the morning and let her open her presents.  We had also decorated the house like we normally do and all throughout the day Kinsley wold point to it and say “For Kinsley’s birthday!”  It was so cute and it made me glad we had done it because we had considered not doing it since we had a party the day before.


We had to go to the boys swim lessons so I stopped and got donuts for us!  Then after swim lessons our battery in the car was dead so we had to wait for AAA to get there to fix it.  We waited way longer than I thought we were going to.  Kinsley was cute anyway.


We had lunch!


Then we went to meet Connor at BJ’s for her birthday dinner.  

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We sure love our fun girl and feel like she is a perfect part of our family!

Kinsley’s Happy Party

Months before her birthday, I asked Kinsley what kind of party she would like and she said a “Happy” party as in the song by Pharrell Williams.  She loves that song and I thought it would be a great idea for a party and relatively easy.  I kept thinking about the cake.  A round cake with yellow frosting and a smiley face on top!  The more I started thinking about the party, the more ideas came.  Holly and I kind of bounced ideas off each other and thought it would be really fun to make a video of her family dancing and put it to the “Happy” music.  Luckily, our family sent us videos and I was able to make a pretty cute compliation.

Kinsley’s invitiation

Kinsley 2nd Birthday Invitation

The Party!


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And without further ado, the video:

Happy Birthday to my sweet Kinsley!  I can’t believe she is two!!

Father’s Day Celebrations

The first Father’s Day celebration was Donuts with Dad’s at Cason’s preschool.  They had a performance and handed out gifts and got to eat donut (holes).  I didn’t go so these are from Connor.


The second Father’s Day celebration was Donuts with Dad’s at Corbin’s school.  


Then finally, actual Father’s Day.  Connor said he wanted to have Kinsley’s birthday party on Father’s Day again this year even though her actual birthday was the next day.  I thought that was very gracious and generous of him since for my side of the family Father’s Day is very hard since we have now lost my dad and grandpa.  I think it’s great for my side to be able to celebrate something other than just Father’s.  I do think it’s important to celebrate Connor as a father though, so I tried hard to make sure his day wasn’t getting left out just because we were celebrating Kinsley as well. 



Of course, Father’s Day makes me think of my own dad.  I miss him and wish I could still celebrate this day with him.  He was a wonderful father but I know I will get to be with him again someday!


Our 8th Anniversary

Connor and I celebrated our 8th anniversary on June 2nd and then got to sneak off for a night away a couple weeks later.

On our actual anniversary we went to The Cheescake Factory that we had our rehersal dinner at 8 years ago.  Connor only got a picture of me.


Then a couple weeks later, my mom took the kids overnight and Connor and I decided to stay in Half Moon Bay for the night.  It was amazing how just spending 24 hours away from home can still feel like a rejuvenating vacation.


We lucked out with the timing of this getaway because the weather was gorgeous the whole time instead of foggy like it usually is.


I sure love my husband.  It was also fun to reflect on the last 8 years together.  Of course, there have been some difficulties but it is nice to feel so sure that each other is committed to us being together for eternity!  I love you, babe!

End of School

Corbin and Cason have both finished school!  We now have a summer of weddings, swim lessons and hopefully lots of relaxing and playing.  

Corbin’s last day was Wednesday and his class did a Teddy Bear Picnic.  They had the big end of Kindergarten performance on Tuesday.  It was so cute and fun and I was impressed how well they all were.  His school had 185 Kindergarteners and they all performed.  This is one of my favorite songs they performed.  Corbin is in the red shirt. 

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After the half hour performance, we went back to the classroom where the kids got their certificates.  Then I got a picture with his beloved teacher, Mr. Hugo.  We absolutely loved him and are sad he won’t get to see him every day.


His last offical day of school was basically just a 3 hour party.


Driving away from the school this day made me really sad.  His first day of Kindergarten was not hard at all, but his last day I felt so sad.  Corbin is excited to move up, so on to 1st grade!!!!

Cason’s last day of school wsa the day after Corbin’s and they had a promotion ceremony and a potluck at a nearby park.   I wasnt nearly as sad for this since Cason still has another year of preschool before he starts Kindergarten.

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We got a picture with Corbin and Cason and his teachers because Corbin had these 3 same teachers when he was in this class.  We are hoping for Kinsley to get them too!


We sure love these kids and are looking forward to summer!!!!

Baseball for the Boys

We just finished our t-ball season with both boys getting to be on the same team!  Connor was their coach and I was the team mom.  We had a great time getting to do this as a family.  This is probably the last time they will get to be on the same team.

When Connor first became the coach, the league asked him which team he would like.  He said the Giants, of course, not thinking he would actually get it.  But he did! We were the envy of all the other t-ball teams.  Corbin chose number 6 because he is 6 and Cason chose 4 because he is 4.  That made it really easy for me to remember whose shirt was whose when I did laundry since they both had the same size.

Opening day!


Picture Day!


First Game!




Other Games!


Closing Ceremonies! (Look at Corbin putting his hand on Casons sholder.  He totally did that on his own!  Too cute!)


End of the Season Party!


Overall, the season was so great.  I was super impressed with all the kids and of how well they did.  Corbin has gotten so much better over the years and he looks like he enjoys and understands the game so much more than that first year.   Cason is our little athlete.  He may be small but he did awesome.  He was great about paying attention (for a 4 year old) and seemed to pick up the rules of t-ball pretty well.  I thoroughly enjoyed being at the games each week.  I also came to love all the kids on the team and felt so proud of them when they did well too.  I felt we had the best team since the kids on our team rarely missed a game or a practice.  Other teams didn’t get so lucky!  

I always know how good Connor is with kids so it came as no shock how much the team loved him.  But it still just makes me feel so blessed to have married a man as wonderful as he is.  Connor is asked to give attention to A LOT of different things and people.  And for some reason, he is able to balance it in such a way where everyone can feel he cares about them.  Of course, it’s not perfect but I think it’s pretty darn close.  

Baseball is incredibly special to me and so I love being able to enjoy it with my family!!!

© The Duke Fam 2014