Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I In her own words…

Kids say the funniest things…and my kid is no exception.  I WISH I had taken my mother’s advice (never thought I’d say that!) and write down every single one of Ellie’s funny phrases, but I haven’t.  So, I ‘m going to keep track of them on here the best that I can from now on.


~Cullen was crying in his crib one afternoon.  I was close and I knew he wasn’t in danger, he just wanted to be held.  Ellie ran into his room and turned his light on and said, “There, Cullen, now you can’t be scared of the dark anymore.  See, mommy he isn’t crying anymore because he isn’t scared.”  Well, if only I had thought of that!!!

~Daddy threw a pillow through the living room to put it back up on the couch.  He missed his target and hit one of my picture frames instead.  Ellie let out a gasp and looked right at me…then back at him.  (yelling) DADDY!  That is why we don’t throw in the HOUSE!  MOMMY…daddy just made a mistake.  He is throwing in the house.  But he didn’t mean to.  (I asked if Ellie if she thought he needed to go to timeout) No, daddy is sorry and he won’t do it again.

~I must say, “Do you understand me?” A LOT, because now if Ellie does something wrong this is what she says: “Mommy, I just (insert wrongdoing here) I’m sorry mommy, I understand, I understand mommy, I won’t do it again.”

~Eating is a nightmare right now with Ellie…as in, she just doesn’t eat.  So, in an effort to bribe reward her, we offer chocolate chips after she finishes a meal.  Now, she comes in and says (groaning), “Oh mommy, my tummy is just so full of _____.  (in a chipper voice) Can I have some chocolate chips now!?”  Ummm, NO!

~When she wakes up she immediately runs to tell me that she has sugar in her eyes.  It’s from the sugar fairy, so Ellie will be sweet all day long!

~I have been trying to teach Ellie how to get out of her new car seat.  (I got her the frontier 85 and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!)  She really needed a new seat b/c she is so tall and she kept asking for a big girl seat.  Now, because I am making her learn how to get out of it on her own she tells me: Mommy, I just can’t.  I’m just small, I’m just teeny tiny still.” 

~While passing a fast food restaurant a few weeks ago Ellie asked for chicken nuggets and fries.  We were in a hurry, so I quickly replied with, “No sweetie, mommy doesn’t have money for that.”  Ellie says, “Oh, mommy, I’m so sorry I take all of your money.  It’s in my bank for college!”  HAHAHAHAHA!! 

~If I give in and let her do something out of the ordinary she gets very dramatic and says, “Oh, thank you mommy.  I love you mommy.  Thanks for being nice to me.”  Like I’m not usually nice to her!!!


My little Ellie is one of a kind!  A day doesn’t go by without me thanking Him for blessing me with her.  One of the greatest loves of my life!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A dear friend…

A very dear friend of mine is pregnant with her first baby.  Last weekend, we celebrated with the most beautiful baby shower I have EVER been to.

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(I had to crop myself right out of the pic with the beautiful mommy to be…holy double chin!)

A few days later, Jocelyn was put on bed rest due to high blood pressure. 

Jocelyn and I met when I was teaching first grade (a million years ago).  She was my substitute teacher when I left to marry Brandon.  From that day on (nine years ago) we have been good friends.  She went on to become a teacher and is now an assistant principal…and  I retired!  We have laughed about that a time or two!!!

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She and her hubby, KJ, have always shown their support for our family through prayer, friendship and fundraising for team Chunky Monkey.  I feel confident that God will protect Jocelyn and little Kaylen in these last few weeks of her pregnancy, but if you have a few extra minutes today would you mind sending up a prayer for them. 

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Dr. Visits and results

I am pretty sure that between co-pays and parking I spend more money in one month at the doctor than I do in groceries…and I spend  A LOT at the grocery store!!

Last week was filled with doctor visits.  The kiddos had their CF clinic and both were supposed to have shots for: Ellie’s 4 year check and Cullen’s 6 month check, but it didn’t all work out like that.

cf clinic

Tuesday was our all day visit to Texas Children’s.  When I say “all day” I mean I left my house at 11:30 and didn’t get home until 6:20!  It’s not that our doctor is always running behind, it’s that we get visits from:

social worker

dietician (x2 this time)



respiratory therapist

x-rays (not every trip)

Keep in mind this is ALL x2 b/c we have two kiddos with CF!

Here are the results from the weigh-in:

Ellie Grace: (at four years old)

37 lbs (75%) 41 inches (75%) BMI: 75%

Cullen: (exactly 7 months old)

19.12 lbs (75%) 27 inches (50%) BMI: 65%

Usually, Ellie is a star at clinic.  However, after her last experience with the sputum collection (with a swab) she is scarred for life!  If you’ll remember, she temporarily quit eating and swallowing her saliva (which, incidentally, resulted in an ER trip and another trip to the pedi).  SO, folks…we were those parents this time.  The ones with the screaming child that had to be held down by three people for a SIMPLE throat swab!  She bit the tongue depressor in half, which stressed the nurse out and Brandon had to pry her jaw open to make sure she didn’t get any splinters from it!  I decided to step out of the room in hopes that she would relax without me, but daddy couldn’t get the job  done, so back in I went.  We got another nurse and sent B out in the hall with Cullen.  I held Ellie in my arms, another nurse held her head and another one held her arms and legs.  The whole time she was screaming, “I’m afraid!!!”  It was truly heart breaking.  I was a cross between heart-broken and seriously irritated b/c it was 5:00 at this point!  FINALLY, we got it, but only b/c she opened her mouth to scream and the nurse quickly inserted the swab.  Daddy did help a little though b/c he told Ellie the cotton swab tasted like chocolate!  Genius!!!

Over the holiday both kiddos were sick.  We were really afraid Cullen was coming down with RSV and Ellie appeared to have another sinus infection.  Both were treated (just in case Cullen’s wasn’t viral) and seemed to be better by clinic.  My one major question to the doctor was about Ellie constantly having to be put on antibiotics for the same symptoms.  She is like clockwork with fever and abx every 4 weeks to the day.  What I learned was interesting and frustrating!

So, when Ellie gets sick I take her to the pedi unless she is SUPER DUPER sick then I take her straight to TCH for the CF doc.  The last three months I have been to the pedi once a month for the same symptoms.  They usually treat her with omnicef which works, but the last visit was with our pedi’s partner and she gave azithromycin…which NEVER works on Ellie.  When I told this to the CF doc she wasn’t surprised.  Ellie always cultures e-coli in her sputum.  The only way to get rid of any bacterial bug that she gets is to treat her with an abx that is sensitive to the ecoli.  The pedi wasn’t doing that, therefore she was never really getting rid of the bacterial infection, just suppressing it.  How stinking irritating!  Why wouldn’t the pedi KNOW to treat the ecoli too?  Grrrr!  Let’s just say they will know from now on!

Since Cullen was sick as well we were on pins and needles waiting to see what his culture grew.  That scary news was delivered yesterday.  More in a minute.

The rest of the visit was pretty good.  Always a boat load of info and questions answered.  More than I care to rehash. 

On Thursday, I took both kiddos to Cullen’s 6 month check alone.  The nanny was getting over an allergy attack and B had to work.  It’s not impossible to manage both of them, but it is always an interesting experience.  Ellie got a “get out of jail free” card for shots b/c she had such a high fever the week before for several days.  The weight check was the same as Tuesday’s info and the visit was relatively short.  He is a fat little man.  He eats great (except for the issues with green veggies), BUT his left tear duct has not opened yet.  We massage daily and will continue to do so.  If it doesn’t fix itself by 8 months we will have to see an ophthalmologist.  I am praying that this will not be the case b/c I don’t want my little guy to undergo the procedure associated with opening the duct.

cullen check up2 

Next came the shots…poor little guy.  Cullen has always been a little dramatic when it comes to shots and this visit was a true example of that.  He was set to get a total of 4 shots, but we decided to do 3 and return in 4 weeks for the other two.  He was HYSTERICAL all the way to the car…where I ended up sitting and nursing him for thirty minutes while Ellie kept begging to go home and play with her toys.  Joyous day!

cullen after2 cullen after

The week ended without a call from the CF clinic with a report on the sputum cultures. 

ch eve

Yesterday, was the day the info was delivered.  The nurse called and said that Cullen didn’t get rid of the klebsiella that cultured last time and in addition he also grew stenotrophomonas Maltophilia.  Ellie cultured her usual ecoli.  The doctor was very concerned with Cullen’s culture, so now we are on 10 days of a strong abx called Septra.  Cullen is homebound until the end of the abx.  The two bacteria that Cullen cultured are pathogens for respiratory infections.  So, basically he is SUPER susceptible to pneumonia, RSV, bronchitis…ANY and ALL of those serious bacterial infections.  We will attempt to get rid of the steno with the oral abx, but if we are unsuccessful and he is still sick at the end of these next 10 days the next step is to be hospitalized and put on IV abx.   This is  LAST RESORT in my mind and I am praying very hard that our little man is bacteria free on his next culture. 

This whole disease is a battle.  As a parent I am always second guessing choices that I make for my kids.  Yes, they have to live normal lives.  But, sometimes normal is just too risky for us.  We aren’t just trying to keep one person healthy, we are constantly trying to keep three people healthy.  Each of us is at risk for culturing the bacteria that another one has.  I am constantly watching to make sure Ellie isn’t close to Cullen’s face.  Making sure we have sanitized everything separately.  Washing hands.  Lysol’ing toys.  It is a lot of pressure to say the least.  DON’T GET ME WRONG…I wouldn’t trade my life for anything on the planet, but some days are just full of anxiety.  A lot of this disease is still new to us and a lot of it is very scary.  A lot of the time I feel alone and it is hard to find people that truly understand what we are dealing with.  I was very blessed to get a call from my friend, counselor and CF specialist, Somer, yesterday!  She made me feel a million times better!  Talking to her always puts my fear into prospective. 


So, today was a new day.  We are at home, next to a warm fire, just relaxing.  Not that we could go anywhere anyway…B’s transmission has to be replaced in his truck, so he has my car! 

Never a dull moment around here!!!

If you wouldn’t mind saying a prayer for our little Cullen we would be so grateful.




ellie poseellie movie

My silly girl in her favorite jammies that she just recently wore the knee out of!  And, a picture of her watching a movie and eating popcorn!  Crazy girl!

Monday, January 3, 2011

My TOP ten…

I had a lot of time to research and read reviews while I was on bed rest last year.  I spent a lot of my time reviewing baby items because we had to start all over with our buying for Cullen. 

I have so many friends that are pregnant right now that read my blog, so I thought I would compile a list of the top 10 things I couldn’t have lived without these last six months. (in no specific order)

1. The germ guardian nursery sanitizer: I love, love, love this item!  I use it at least 2 times a day.  After all of my sippy cups and bottle nipples come out of the dishwasher I throw them right into the germ guardian and dry heat sanitize them.  I also use it for our nebs and any syringes we use after meds.  You can throw any toys and pacifiers in as well.  If it will fit, you can believe that I have put it in there to be sanitized!

Germ Guardian Nursery Sanitizer - Guardian Technologies  - Babies"R"Us

2. Medela Harmony Manuel pump: So, I have a very expensive hospital grade electric pump and I think I’ve used it 5 times since Cullen was born!  I also have a TON of reserve frozen milk (like an entire deep freezer full), so you know that I’ve been busy pumping when he isn’t eating.  So, with what???  I L.O.V.E. this pump so much that it is the only one I use…and I have two of them now!  It literally takes me just minutes to have at least 5 ounces pumped and in the freezer.  It is the most practical pump I’ve ever used and between the twins and Cullen I’ve owned…FIVE!  This pump is worth every penny and it’s only $34.99!

 Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump - Medela  - Babies"R"Us

**I also used the me.dela breast milk bags b/c after trying several brands I found they were the thickest.  Lansinoh bags were my second fav.

3. MOBY wrap and baby sling: We all know I’m a germ freak…and for good reason!  So, when my babies were super small I would only carry them in public if they were in a baby sling.  I have had two brands and been happy with both: hot.slings and a petu.nia pickle bottom one.  Now that Cullen is more curious and a little bigger I carry him in a MO.BY wrap and he loves it!  At 18 feet long it can seem a little overwhelming to tie, but go to (thanks for the tip Mindi) and you can watch videos that teach you all different ways to carry your baby.  Both are definitely worth every penny!  (side note: We did have a b.jorn with Ellie and B used it to carry her around in, but when she hit about 6 months her chubby little legs were too big for it)

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4. Me.dela quick clean breast pump and accessory wipes: LOVE these!!!  Yes, it’s easy to just use soap and water, but I wanted to make sure I was using a product gentle enough so that no soapy residue was left behind.  You can take these with you for pumping on the go which is so convenient.  These were a must have in my breast feeding world!

Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump & Accessory Wipes - 24 Pk - Medela  - Babies"R"Us

5. Be.aba babycook system: I was lucky enough to buy this 50% off from a friend that also made her little guy’s food.  I would have spent three times that for this little gem!  I LOVE this thing!  There is no comparison to this and a food processor.  The blades in the babycook are slanted at an angel that puree’s food perfectly every single time.  I usually spend a few hours one day a week prepping food for the week.  I make, pour into ice trays, freeze and then divide into labeled freezer safe baggies.  I have sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, applesauce and peaches in the freezer already for this week.  I will never have to buy baby food that has a shelf life of 2 years ever again.  We also use Earth’s whole grain cereal because it is the only truly organic baby cereal on the market. (I’m a little too chicken to make my own cereal!)  If you are wanting a good book to read about feeding your baby the Baby Food book is awesome!

Beaba Babycook BPA Free Baby Food Maker -  Beaba - Toys"R"Us

6. The miracle blanket: Bringing home a newborn was a whole new experience for us!  We quickly learned that Cullen would sleep so soundly if he was swaddled.  Our fave (b/c there was no Velcro and we could wrap him to size) was the miracle blanket.  Priceless in those first few months! 

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7. Crinkly lovey: So, we discovered early on that the sound of the diaper wipe bags fascinated Cullen.  He has always loved to have soft cloth in his mouth as well.  I spent a fortune on small “lovies” that had a layer of crinkle between minky fabric until I had a great idea!  I would make him a crinkly lovey out of minky and flannel.  He LOVES IT!  It literally keeps him entertained and not fussing for a half hour! (and it is monogrammed…too cute!!!)


8. aden & anais blankets: Cullen LOVES to have cloth in his mouth.  We have loved this brand because of its thin, soft muslin fabric.  We have the large blankets and the small security blankets and we are constantly washing them to have on hand.

aden + anais Issie Security Blanket - Kai Guy (Cars) -  Toys 'R' Us - Toys"R"Us

9. BOB stroller: I agonized for months over which twin stroller to buy.  I don’t let Ellie walk/wonder while we are shopping, I still make her sit in the stroller, so having a twin was a must.  I have owned 7 (yes, it’s an obsession) strollers and I absolutely can not say that any of them are the quality of the BOB.  My only issue is that I wish the BOB looked a little less…rugged.  Alas, the quality wins over the looks, so we went with the strides twin BOB and even though it is super hard to lift up into my SUV I still love it!  I can honestly say I wish I wouldn’t have spent a dime on any other stroller.  This product is totally worth saving to splurge on.  (They are 15% off on BRU right now!!!)

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10. Mustela baby wash: This has got to be the best smelling, best for baby, wash we have used.  Both of my kiddos (Ellie more than Cullen) have super sensitive skin.  The 2 in 1 wash is soap free and leaves your clean little one feeling so soft!  Ellie LOVES the milk bath (mommy does too!) and this is the only shampoo we have ever used on Cullen.  I am sure that people will think I am nuts, but I bathe my kiddos every night.  This product is so gentle that they have never had dry skin from “over washing.”

***Okay, so I realized a few more as I was typing!

11. The boppy: I still nurse and the boppy is still the pillow that I use for a hands free comfortable nursing session.  Cullen still falls asleep in it!

12. The bumbo chair: Thanks to a good friend I didn’t have to buy another one of these.  I didn’t remember using this very often with Ellie, but as soon as we put Cullen in it he learned to sit on his own!

13. Play.tex bottles: When he actually takes a bottle we like these.  They are the most sanitary in my opinion b/c you use a brand new bag every time.  When the bottle is done you simple throw the insert bag in the trash, sanitize the nipple and throw it in the sterilizer (if you are me!!). 

I should probably do a post of things that were a waste of money for us!   

So, that’s it!  My favorite baby items that we couldn’t live without.   



Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Year end review

2010 came and went…pretty quickly!  Well, looking back now it felt like it went quickly, but I remember days that seemed to DRAG on forever! 

January-May: spent in bed, unless I was at the doctor or being admitted for contractions.  Worth every second of it though!

January 2010:

~We found out that the little miracle growing inside of me was going to be a BOY! 

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Ellie in January


~Ellie was diagnosed with RSV and stayed sick for weeks.  She started ballet this month.

~I started home health care monitoring my contractions.  Put on terb pump.

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Ellie in February


~Admitted for my first time at 24 weeks due to a UTI. 

~B started on Cullen’s nursery.  I loved watching it go from a guest room to a little boy’s nursery.  A true dream come true!

~Had an awesome baby shower!!!!

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Ellie in March helping daddy paint Cullen’s room


~I turned 32!!! 

~Admitted for the fifth time and ended up staying in the hospital for almost 2 weeks.

~Team Chunky Monkey celebrated it’s third MOD walk and crawfish boil.

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~Last month of bed rest!!!  I broke the rules at the end of the month and enjoyed a few days of running errands with Ellie as a pregnant mommy.  I LOVED doing that with her!

~Had a fantastic Mother’s Day

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Ellie in May


~Delivered a HEALTHY baby boy on June 4, 2010 after spending over a half of a year on bed rest.  Cullen Spencer Kahl was born at 4:50pm weighing 7.2lbs and was 19 3/4 in long.  He went straight to general nursery and we went home as a family of “5” three days later.

~B celebrated a fantastic Father’s Day!

~We had Bennett’s third anniversary of his death…hard to believe it happened that long ago.

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~Adjusted to life out of bed and as a stay at home mommy to two little ones!!!June2010 153

Happy 4th of July


~First family vacation in over a year and we took Cullen.  Ellie had fun on the “beach”. 

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~We officially started homeschooling.

~BUSY with homeschool, soccer, gym, dance and work!!!

~Annual fantasy football draft and Aunt Courtney visits!!!

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~Ellie got her ears pierced and we celebrated Halloween with a skeleton and a Raggedy Ann Doll.

~Cullen is 4 months old!

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~Happy Thanksgiving 2010!  We have a million blessings to be thankful for.

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~Daddy turned 33!!!  We celebrated with a trip to Las Vegas.

~Our princess, Ellie Grace turned 4 years old!

~We celebrated 8 years of marriage!  It has been a long journey!

~We attended Ellie’s first ballet recital

~Cullen turned 6 moths old!

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              2009                               2010

It’s amazing how things can change so much in just one year…

Hoping all of you have a happy, healthy and blessed 2011!!!