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Friday, November 11, 2011

We hit the paper again!



Students Supporting Students

Elk Mound High School students and members of the group Students Supporting Students will be collecting donations for Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minn., and Faith Lodge in Danbury.

When Emily Stokke decided as an Elk Mound High School freshman she wanted to get more involved in her community, joining Students Supporting Students seemed like a no-brainer.

Three years later, Stokke, now a 17-year-old high school senior, can rattle off a number of activities - such as promoting safety among young students and buying gifts for needy families - she has taken part in during her time with the high school group that helps students and community members.

"I think it's so much more rewarding going shopping for others," Stokke said about the group's holiday shopping effort, her favorite of the organization's many activities.

These days Stokke is SSS co-chairwoman and is preparing for the group's next opportunity to make a positive difference. Beginning Monday, the group will collect items for charities in Minnesota and Wisconsin that supported its adviser, Randi Stanley, during her son's illness and after his death.

Stanley's son, Brextin, died in May 2010 before his third birthday after a 2007 diagnosis of infantile spasms, a rare form of epilepsy. During Brextin's medical treatments and after his death, the Stanley family received extensive support from Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minn., and Faith Lodge in Danbury.

"We always encourage the kids to do and act out what (they have learned through SSS), but this time we're actually putting forth something extra," said Stanley, who is one of the group's advisers and works as an Elk Mound business and information technology teacher.

Since 2001, Students Supporting Students has been an active organization at Elk Mound High School that focuses on asset-building, Stanley said. Asset-building centers around 40 developmental assets, such as integrity and social justice. This month group members are finding ways to help others.

"We are basically a group that focuses on giving back to others as you would unto yourself," Stanley said, adding that more than 90 high school students are involved.

SSS members are encouraged to lead by example and to make happy, healthy decisions. The organization is made possible through grants, which Stanley's fellow adviser, Peggy Bodenburg, writes. More than 90 students are involved.

Stokke said she has grown as a person through her involvement in the organization.

"I'm learning to be a lot more helpful to others and not be afraid to lend a hand to those in need," she said.

Breann Schossow can be reached at 715-833-9203.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Faith Lodge!



We were so LUCKY to have the opportunity to stay at Faith Lodge in Danbury Wisconsin. http://www.faithslodge.org/ It is sponsored by the Ronald McDonald Foundation. In order to stay there you have to qualify in three ways: 1) lost a child under the age of 18 within the last 3 years 2) Have a terminally ill child under 18 3) lost a son or daughter while serving in active duty

Private parties can reserve the lodge as well. While you stay at the lodge you are able to connect with families that can relate to you and your family. They group the three categories together. So the week that we stayed allowed us to bond with 4 other families who have lost a child under 18 as well.

I would love to go back next year - you are only able to attend the lodge up to 3 years after the passing of your child. Your first visit is based on a donation to the lodge then the price goes up the following times. They offer group sessions and wonderful bonding activities. I truly enjoyed our time there and it was real comforting to be surrounded by such caring families!

Here are some of their children's webpages:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/krahnfamily
http://njoybooks.com/sunnydays/
http://riversrally.org/
http://riverdaniel-foreverourangel.blogspot.com/
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/vivianmcalister

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Please vote for our son's memory garden!

I have just entered Brextin's Memory Garden into a local contest - if we win - I could win prizes to help to enlarge his garden in the back of our home - you are allowed to vote - one time per day. The contest ends July 20th - I currently have around 60 votes - but the winner so far has over 300 - please please please help me out - please post this to any of your other support groups -

You will need to register first - they then approve your account - by emailing you then you may return to their site and vote (remember one time per day) until July 20th. Ours is currently #21 out of 23 entries - look for the garden that is filled with SUNFLOWERS - plus the image of our beautiful son peaking through. I did include a description under the garden entry as well.

Thank you so much for the love and support!!!

Just click on the link below!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We are sadly approaching our one year anniversary . . .






This coming Friday will be our one year anniversary of our son's passing - we are planning a couple of events to honor his life.


  • t-shirts in his memory are being created

  • we plan on visiting an eagle center near us - to remind us he is soaring high above and watching over us

  • lighting wishing lanterns into the nightly sky so they can reach the skies of heaven! http://www.wishlantern.com/

  • a memory ad will be placed in this Sunday's newspaper which is Mother's Day - which is fitting since he was born on Mother's Day 4 years ago!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Montage of Brextin's life


You can create a 30 second Montage for "FREE" I had a very hard time limiting the video to just 30 seconds. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In memory of Brextin (car decals)


I found a lady on ebay - her auction was actually for a soldier in the service or someone with breast cancer but I just sent a message to inquire if the ribbon could be purple and have it read epilepsy - and for $4.99 a piece I was really pleased - I ordered 6 for family members but I won't be offended if they don't want one - they are basically a vinyl sticker that was real easy to put on - it said they are easy to remove as well. I kinda think the sticker resembles that he is always with us - even in the car!

Monday, December 27, 2010

This is my favorite video!

videoListen to Brextin's giggle - he would only giggle like this when tossed in the air or swung side to side - that is why the video is blurry - because the camera was in my hands as well - I am SO glad that I caught this on tape!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My first Christmas in heaven

This poem was written by a 13 year old boy who died of a brain tumor that he had battled for four years. He died on December 14, 1997. He gave this to his mom before he died. His name was Ben.

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can’t comparewith the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart
But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I’m spending Christmaswith Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do
For I can’t count the blessing or love he has for each of you
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear
Remember, I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year

A very special gift!

The Very Special Gift
By S. Guevara

Once upon a time, three angels were busily working in the miracle factory. They were responsible for wrapping up all the little miracles and sending them on their way. Normally they wrapped each one in bright, sturdy paper with big, shiny ribbons. They stamped them with a delivery date and away they would go to the parents who eagerly awaited their arrival. Things usually ran pretty smoothly.

One day, however, down the conveyor belt came a little miracle that made the angels pause. "Oh my," said the first angel "this one's uhm...well...different." "Yes, he is unique" said the second angel. "Well I think he is quite special," said the first angel "but I don't think he will quite fit our standard wrapping procedures." And the second angel added, "And we know he's special, but will everyone else?" "Not a problem," said the third angel "obliviously a special miracle deserves extra special wrapping; and of course we'll send him off with our most heartfelt blessings. Then everyone will see how special he is." "What a wonderful idea!" replied the othims. So they searched the shelves high and low for their finest paper, and their most delicate ribbons.

When they were done, they stood back and admired their work. "Beautiful!" they all agreed. "Now for our blessings," said the third angel "for it is time for him to go." "I will bless him with innocence and happiness," said the first angel. "And I will bless him with strength to face the many challenges that lie ahead" said the second angel. "And I will bless him with an inner beauty that will shine on all who look upon him" said the third angel. Before sending him off the third angel, who was very wise, gently tucked a note inside.

And it said,

"Dear Parents:

Today you have received a very special gift. It may not be what you were expecting and you may be disappointed, angry and hurt. But please know that he comes with many blessings. And, while time may be pain, he will bring you much joy. He will take you on a very difficult journey but you will meet many wonderful people. He will teach you patience and understanding and make you reach deep inside yourselves to find a source of strength and faith you never knew you had. He will enrich your lives and will touch the hearts of all who meet him. He may be fragile but he has great inner strength.

So please handle him with care. Give him lots of attention and shower him with hugs and kisses. Love him with all your heart and he will blossom before your eyes. Him spirit will shine like the brightest star for all to see and you will know that you are truly blessed." 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

National event: Light a candle for all children taken way to early!

At 7:00 p.m. on December 12, 2010 please light a candle in memory of our son along with the many other children who have been taken way to early in life.

Compassionate Friends organize the event.

The Compassionate Friends, with nearly 630 U.S. chapters, is the nation’s largest self-help bereavement organization for families going through the natural grieving process after the death of a child. Members include bereaved parents (or anyone in that role), siblings, and grandparents.

For more information, visit www.compassionatefriends.org or call the National Office at 877-969-0010. TCF’s Facebook Page with more than 14,000 members can be reached through the organization’s website at www.compassionatefriends.org. The organization also has an Online Support Community with trained moderators and daily sessions.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Been thinking and struggling. . .

Earlier today I received some news that we have now lost another child who was a member of our Infantile Spasms community (he was only 4 years old) - which caused me to flash back our son's passing -

I have been struggling these past few days - like yesterday - I just began to cry while driving down a road. The night our son left us keeps flashing in my memory after hearing we just another member's son. I keep replaying it step by step. Getting the phone call around 10 pm while sleeping with my oldest son - and picking up the phone only to hear that Brextin has taken a turn for the worst and that he was being placed on a breathing machine and that I needed to get to MN as soon as possible. I then quickly called my daycare provider who came over right away to help comfort me and to take my oldest son with her. (she only lives 4 blocks away) Then I called my parents and my in-laws to fill them in - my mom and dad came and got me and we quickly drove to the cities. On my way there I called every pastor that I knew and left messages asking for prayers then I started to text everyone I knew asking for even more prayers - I then received a call from Andy telling me that he was getting his color back and everything was improving. So I started to calm down. Then once we got to the hospital the ER has a special lock down so I had to push an intercom asking to get in to be rushed to the PICU - there was another family who arrived at the same time - their father just had a heart attack - we were able to hug each other for support (a total stranger) then once I got to the floor I heard a child who was babbling just like Brextin did and I thought everything was ok - until the nurse directed me to the only "glass" room in the unit - then I walked in to notice my husband holding our son- (who I thought was sleeping) only to glance up and notice my husbands eyes were totally bloodshot and that is when he said - "we have lost him" I quickly fell to the floor and just screamed - how could I have missed saying good bye to our son!! Especially since he was bouncing and babbling just the day before and even sucking on his fingers - where did everything turn ugly?? Then shortly after my parents entered the room as well - while I was holding our son with a breathing tube in his mouth (unconnected) and I had to tell them - we were too late to say our good byes - it was so painful to say those words! I even wore my shirt that read "Love and Hope for Brextin" in hopes of everything being ok - I continue to have save the same shirt since my son's blood remains on it and I will never wash it -

For some reason - I thought by me sharing or venting my story out one more time would give me peace - ooh how I miss my little guy - I sure do miss him this holiday season - oh how I miss him!!

We will be attending a local event tomorrow night - it actually a national event (World Wide) - at 7:00 pm tomorrow it is encouraged that everyone lights a candle in memory of the many children who have lost their lives so soon - I ask for anyone who is reading this right now - please please light a candle in remembrance of all of our children - thank you so much!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brextin's blog has been published!

I just purchased this blog to be printed in a hard-covered book format. www.blog2print.com It has over 209 colored pages - and I will cherish it forever!!

The best thing that I did was document his life - it will be a forever cherished item!

I do wish I would have started earlier - however I am blessed to have at least one year documented covering most of his accomplishments along with some of his setbacks! He was a true fighter and a loving son!

Monday, October 11, 2010

So True!

"I thought I would have had to teach my son about the world. It turned out I had to teach the world about my son. They saw a boy who could not talk, walk, or stand. I saw a miracle who didn't need words.” -- Unknown

This statement is SO true!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Brextin might have consumed my life . . . but he stole my heart!
We were a team and I miss him dearly!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This garden stake will be perfect for Brextin's garden!


I specially ordered some personalized garden stakes off of ebay right after Brextin became an angel and I am still waiting for them - it is going on 4 months - and I am hoping they still will be arriving. The lady told me they were shipped but some how got returned back to her home and they were all broken - so she is redoing them for me. I sure hope that I am not working with a dishonest person.
In the mean while - I found this website http://www.tagdesigns.com/personalized-garden-stake.htm They make a garden stake that will be similar to the one from the ebay lady- but isn't as high as quality. (the one from ebay will allow me to add a poem and is twice the size) This garden stake was under $25.00 and every time I look into his garden - I will see him staring back at me. Currently since Winter is approaching I have placed the garden stake into a rubber tree plant that is housed inside - we received the tree from my husbands friends in memory of our son.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Beautiful Miracle (A necklace made just for me by a past student)


A former student of mine, Tyne has recently started to create beautiful necklaces in her spare time and I have been totally impressed with her designs that I asked if she would be willing to create a sunflower necklace for me to honor our son, Brextin. - I am overwhelmed with the piece of art that she created. I absolutely love it and will cherish it forever!
As you go through life - you tend to meet a lot of different people. Some of those people leave memories that will last a life time - and I must say that Tyne has always been a wonderful lady- who is thoughtful and caring and she will remain in my heart forever.
As I mentioned above, Tyne makes these beautiful necklaces in her spare time - but in reality - I have no idea when she creates these art pieces because she is also a full-time English teacher and has created a blog as well to show off her talent - here is her blog address:
http://tynebodennecklaces.blogspot.com/

Heaven's Very Special Child

This was sent to me after Brextin's passing . . .

Heaven's Very Special Child

A meeting was held, quite far from earth
"It's time again for another birth,"
Said the angels to the Lord above,
"This special child will need much love"
His progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show
And he'll require extra care

From all the folks he meets down there.
He may not run or laugh or play
His thoughts may seem quite far away
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where he's sent
We want his life to be content

Please, Lord, find the right parents who
will do this special job for you.
They will not realize right away
the leading role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
comes stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given
in caring for this gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and
mild is heaven's very special child.

By John and Edna Massimilla (Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul)

Brextin's temporary headstone


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Almost done with Brextin's Memory Garden


The beautiful statue was a gift from our wonderful daycare provider - he even has wavy hair just like our Brextin. I can't wait until next year where we will be able to see the sunflowers bloom.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Frusterated with insurancce!

Just this week - I got two bills in regards to our son, Brextin - who has been an angel for at least 4 months. We had BCBS over one year ago - and just this week - I got a bill from them indicating that they over paid us - Mind you - this is "one year ago" and now they want $1500 in 15 days or we are being sent to the collection agency.

Plus we got a bill from the center in which we got our medical supplies from (Apria) - they now claim we owe them $71 for syringes - really - if they would have told me in advance that they were not covered under both of our insurance companies I would have sought out medical supplies from some place else (possibly ebay) (this is where I first got his feeding tubes)

They were sending me 4 syringes at a time - then one day the operator told me they could send me as many as 15 - I made certain to ask - now these will be covered correct - and she stated they would be - so I gave her the go ahead of sending them.

When you feed a child via a feeding tube - you need to have a ton of syringes since this is the ONLY way you are able to get food into their bellies - we were using olive oil on the syringe to make them last longer - but by getting more of them - caused life to be a little easier - but for $71.00 - I could have continued to use the olive oil and lived with it. Plus this bill is only for January - so I am sure more bills are on their way - URGH!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A field of sunflowers!












I have always said that sunflowers remind me of Brextin - since they come in so many different sizes and colors. Right now I envision Brextin as a 2 foot drawf size sunflower - yet in the years to come he will grow as tall as the 8 to 10 foot sunflowers that are seen in the above photos. The flowers are so beautiful and bring back happy memories from his joyous life that he shared with us. He will be forever missed!
These photos where taken on a farm in-between Altoona and Fall Creek on a farm owned by Sara Sivertson. She came up with the plan to plant sunflowers on the day that her daughter gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Next year she plans on planting even more flowers - I guarantee we will be back for more photos next year!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The stone is in!!






We placed Brextin's memory stone into Irvine Park this past Friday and I absoultely love it!!

video

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brextin's memory stone is in - it will be placed in the ground this Friday!

We just got notified that Brextin's 8 X 16 stone has been delivered to Irvine Park - So this Friday we will be meeting as a family to watch the grounds crew place it near the two bear statues. Plus I had a landscaping company come yesterday to provide an estimate for his memory garden - our first landscaper fell through - so I am hoping this company will shine threw.

I am so close to printing this blog into a book - I have found a wonderful site that allows it to be very easy - but will wait until I can add photos of his memory stone and of his memory garden. http://blogspot.sharedbook.com/blog2print/googleblogger/index.html

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thrift sale was a success!

The thrift sale was a success - a very trying day for me - especially when I saw his walker and his rocking horse go- yet the money will be used to create a scholarship to honor his name and life so it was a very meaningful day as well.

We just got notified that his memory brick is in - to be placed in our local park or zoo - so we are now just waiting to hear when it will be "placed" into Irvine Park. I am excited to see it - Brextin's brick will be the very FIRST one that will include a photo.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Brextin's Scholarship Thrift Sale

This week will be another sad yet promising week. We will be selling most of Brextin's items in a two day thrift sale. All proceeds will be put towards a scholarship that we are creating to honor his memory and name. I have kept at least two boxes of items that help me recall the most happy and eventful moments of his short life.

Some of the items include:
* Baptism outfit
* Past Birthday/Christmas gifts
* Some of my favorite outfits that I lOVED seeing him in
* His favorite chew/rattle toys (there were a ton)
* His recent shoes and his "dinosaur" AFO shoes"
* His winter hat (which he never kept on) and coat
* His glasses (I can still envision him taking these off while I was driving and seeing them fly throughout the van) What a naughty boy.
* A TON of photos and videos (especially this blog) I am forever grateful that I kept a journal of his life- we were NEVER told that he would live a short life. (I still need to find the time to make it into a book)
* A special dog that he got from Rochester Mayo (A pound puppy - that each time you would pat his back he would bark - no switch was needed - his tail would also wag)
* Three Linus blankets that he got throughout his short life (the 4th one is in heaven with him)
* All of his Leader Telegram articles
* Plus a ton of other items
* A special pair of pj's that we saw him standing up in for the first time while holding onto a toy. We were so impressed with him!

Gosh I miss our little guy (it sure is quiet around our house without any babbling) but fully understand he is at a better spot where he is able to enjoy a totally different life style - where he is seizure/vomiting free and is able to run freely with my other relatives that are in heaven as well.

I am hoping for the thrift sale to be a success and we will be able to add the money to his scholarship account. It will however be a very sad day to see his items go - but comforting knowing that they will be put to good use by other little boys and girls.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thank you for all of the warm thoughts and prayers


Here is a thank you card to all of those who have provided us comfort during this difficult time!

Friday, June 18, 2010

G-tubes have been sent out!

All of Brextin's remaining G-tubes have been sent out to well deserving families - may the families find them to be of good use!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Missing Brextin!!

I am extremely sad - missing our little guy! At times I still struggle with the "whys" just like I did when we were told he would be a "special child" They just never stop!

However, I just got word that the monument place is working on his proof for his memory brick that will be placed at our local zoo- he will be the first one EVER to have a photo included. They were going to do an etching portrait ($425) - but asked if they could actually do a porcelain portrait ($300) instead http://www.everlifememorials.com/ceramic-pictures-s/22.htm (it would look something like this) (However they go through their own company) - they even guarantee the photos for life! We will be using the portrait that was taken professionally back in December - the one that was posted with his obituary.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Supporting Jaxen!!

We just attended a wonderful benefit for a local 4 year old boy who suffers from Sotos Syndrome. http://www.sotossyndrome.org/what.php We met him through Brextin - and enjoyed ourselves very much - a ton of family, friends, and strangers came to support him at a local establishment - he is one totally cute kid!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vision books(these are amazing!)

These were some of the books that Brextin received from the state since he was legally blind - they were truly amazing - I just wanted to pass this information onto other parents - the only disappointment - is that they are expensive - the books ranged from as low as $17.00 all the way up to $71.00. Some books were 3D - if you look closely to the picture with the pretzels you will notice that the pretzels actually pop out of the page - they are truly amazing. Here is their webpage - scroll all the way down you can view other books and items. https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category_412A2B2C_10001_11051_20721_-1_20716










Friday, May 28, 2010

We have extra g-tubes Bolus extensions with cath tips - do you know someone who could use them?

When my son was feed via g-tube we used the Kimberly - clark MIC-KEY bolus extensions sets with Cath tip - secure-lok straight connector and clamp - and we would be willing to pass these tubes onto other families that would be able to benefit from them

We were only allowed two a month from the state - in fears that bacteria would grow in the tube - we bought additional ones from ebay - and now that he is an angel - we would like to pass these onto another deserving family -

We have about 30 of them - most are 12 inches Please email me or leave a comment on this blog if you are interested - and indicated how we can communicate.

(depending on shipping costs - we might need to stay within the US)

I have posted this to two of my list serves that I belong to - but no takers - which amazes me - so if you know someone who could use these please pass this information along.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last article about our son, Brextin - Leader Telegram

Here is the last article on our son that was written by Christena T. O'Brien - printed by our local newspaper, www.leadertelegram.com - on May 12, 2010

Joys, challenges of young boy's life remembered

Randi and Andy Stanley planned to celebrate their youngest son Brextin's third birthday Thursday.

Instead, the Eau Claire couple attended his funeral Tuesday.

"Brextin was a true angel," Randi said, "and I believe God gave him to us for a reason. He touched so many people, and I have been touched by so many people because of him."

Born on Mother's Day, May 13, 2007, Brextin died May 6 at Children's Hospital in St. Paul, where he had been taken for a second-opinion electroencephalogram, or EEG, which is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.

About two months after his birth, Brextin, also lovingly known as "Brexy Doodles," was diagnosed with West syndrome, or infantile spasms, a rare and serious form of epilepsy that usually affects babies younger than 1.
He also had microcephaly, a condition that is present at birth in which the baby's head and brain are smaller than normal for an infant of that age and gender, and he struggled with vomiting almost from birth.

The day before Brextin's death, "he looked great, and he was as happy as can be," Randi said. "I never thought that would be the last day he would be like that."

The number of Brextin's seizures began to increase, and by May 6 he was having about 12 a day, Randi wrote on her blog, Brextin's Hope. When he had a seizure, he would often vomit, and some of the contents of his stomach were inhaled into his lungs, and he developed pneumonia.

Randi had left the hospital at 3 p.m. May 6 to return home to Eau Claire to take the couple's older son, Brayden, who will turn 6 in August, to kindergarten orientation. She got a call about 10 p.m., asking if she wanted Brextin put on a ventilator.

On her return trip to the hospital that night, she was told "he was getting his color back, and everything was looking good."

When she arrived, she found Andy in Brextin's hospital room, holding their son. Initially, she thought Brextin was sleeping - until she saw Andy's tears.

Devastated, Randi fell to the floor.

"I missed saying goodbye to my son," she said, breaking down. Brextin had died about 11:40 p.m.; she arrived around 12:15 a.m.

Two years ago, the Leader-Telegram featured a story about Brextin, detailing the struggles the little boy, then almost 1, and his family faced.

Since then, Brextin had made a number of strides, said Randi, who tried therapy after therapy with her son. He was able to sit, kneel on his hands and knees and stand if supported.

"We were told not to expect him to walk or talk," she said. "He would have walked. We firmly believe that."
That said, Randi has found solace knowing her son with the beautiful smile and special giggle no longer has to experience the vomiting, seizures or any sort of pain.

The Elk Mound school district business education teacher also has been touched by the caring of others, including her students, one of whom created the Facebook page Students Supporting Mrs. Stanley.

Hoping to give back, Randi is planning to put Brextin's therapy aids and toys into her family's garage one day and invite parents whose children might benefit from them to come by and help themselves. She plans to sell what isn't taken and use the money to establish a scholarship in Brextin's name for students with epilepsy who attend Elk Mound High School.

"Brextin's life took a toll on our family at times, but it was a good toll," Randi said. "I want parents of (other) special needs children to not give up hope. Take one day at a time and believe in your child."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Looking for a site to print Brexitn's blog into a book

I plan on beginning to search for a site that will print our son's blog into a book - I am uncertain what it will look like since the video's of course won't print. If anyone has done this - I would love to be notified as to what site you used.

I also am thinking of starting a blog on my oldest child - and then using it more like an on-line baby book - then he too could have a book once he gets older - just a thought - I never seemed to keep his baby book up to date as it just sat in his closet- but maybe this would be easier - hhmmm.

I have three wishes . . .

I have three wishes . . . I wish everyone did the following while sending their condolences 1) write their names legibly 2) write first and last name 3) include their mailing address (two wonderful people included their mailing address – right at the bottom of the card) This was a god sent!! – So the next time you write a card – either for a wedding, graduation, funeral, etc – remember that tip – we know we will! Thank goodness for Yahoo - people finder!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brextin's life is passed on . . .

We have passed along all big items to about 8 to 9 local families in hopes that Brextin will live on through their children. These are some of the items that we used and found to be invaluable:

http://www.waterwaybabies.com/ (this is the wonderful neck ring we used for swimming, water therapy, and bathing)

http://www.ottobock.com/cps/rde/xchg/ob_com_en/hs.xsl/5164.html (this was his wheelchair - Otto Back Kimba stroller/wheelchair) The base came off so it could have been placed on a spider base - Brextin could sit on the floor so we never took the seat off of the base.

https://ssl202.chi.us.securedata.net/~arktherapeutic/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ATSI&Category_Code=Z-Vibes-Tips-Kits (A great site for oral motor tools and special cups) (We used the z-vibe and many attachments - we had a ton more tools than any therapist had that we visited)

Here is the link to the special cups that we used https://ssl202.chi.us.securedata.net/~arktherapeutic/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ATSI&Category_Code=CIPKUP and this is the link for our honey bear that we used to squeeze liquid into his mouth - http://www.talkingchild.com/shop_HoneyBearCupwithStraw.aspx

http://www.flaghouse.com/AAI-FOLDING-MAT-5-X-10-BLACK-item-18139 Exercise mat. We did his at home exercises on a mat like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Folding-WEDGE-Incline-30x72x12-Spotting/dp/B0014P60I6 Folding wedge - this was used to work on rolling and for sitting on an angle.

http://www.wingbousa.com/ (site for the wingbo - a great therapy swing) We bought ours off of Craigslist - best investment.

http://www.adaptivemall.com/sosionsi2.html (soft sitter chair - ours needed the replacement straps since we never used them and misplaced them)

http://www.merrymuscles.com/ (This is what he bounced in - it also comes in one for children with special needs - http://merrymuscles.com/product_info.php?products_id=30&osCsid=de73430b8434a869f715323e0f930f42

Therapy centers: http://www.naturesedgetherapycenter.org/(Rice Lake/Chetek)http://www.specialchildrencenter.com/ (Hudson) http://www.communicationinnovations.com/ (Madison)

Oxygen center - http://www.wisconsinhyperbarics.com/ (Madison)

MEDEK therapy - http://brextinshope.blogspot.com/2009/08/azriel-novogroder-is-our-medek.html

Special needs bumbo chair (we never used this): http://www.childrite.com/story.html or http://www.childrite.com/childriteseat-info.html

Special needs chair for grocery carts (we never used this) - http://cgi.ebay.com/Infant-Support-Chair-special-needs-babies-/130340375679?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Feeding&hash=item1e58e44c7f
They are working on one for bigger children as well

http://www.therapro.com/Therapros-2010-Product-Catalog-P17528C17524.aspx? (A good catalog for toys and other items)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Paying it forward - through the life of my son, Brextin

We are paying it forward with all of Brextin's items - if anyone would like to send me a message and we could arrange a time for you to check out his toys - that would be awesome

I kept buying and buying new and new toys in hopes to find the perfect toy and now that he is an angel in heaven we want to be certain that those toys go to homes that would benefit from them -
We live in the state of WI.

Most toys are intended for those under 12/18 months.

thank you so much!

A mother of a true angel!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A mother's day wish from Heaven (I love this!)

I just got this from a past student of mine - I truly love it!

A Mother's Day Wish From Heaven

Dear Mr. Hallmark,
I am writing to you from heaven, and though it must appear.
A rather strange idea, I see everything from here.
I just popped in to visit, your stores to find a card.
A card of love for my mother, as this day for her is hard.
There must be some mistake I thought, I saw every card you could imagine.
Except I could not find a card, from a child who lives in heaven.
She is still a mother too, no matter where I reside.
I had to leave, she understands, but oh the tears she's cried.
I thought that if I wrote you, that you would come to know.
That though I live in heaven now, I still love my mother so.
She talks with me, and dreams with me; we still share laughter too, Memories are our way of speaking now, would you see what you could do?
My mother carries me in her heart, her tears she hides from sight.
She writes poems to honour me, sometimes far into the night.
She plants flowers in my garden, there my living memory dwells.
She writes to other grieving parents, trying to ease their pain as well.
So you see Mr. Hallmark, though I no longer live on earth I must find a way to remind her of her wondrous worth.
She needs to be honoured, and remembered too Just as the children of earth will do.
Thank you Mr. Hallmark, I know you'll do your best I have done all I can do; to you I'll leave the rest.
Find a way to tell her, how much she means to me Until I can do it for myself, when she joins me in eternity.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pay it forward

Today we gave gifts for Brextin's birthday -

First we visited the school in which he was scheduled to attend and donated his adaptive bike.

Second -we visited the assitive technology teacher and donated his glitter/music/vibrator base pin toy

Third we visited our local food pantry and donated his baby food/spoons and diapers

Fourth we returned a switch we got on loan from our local UCP office

Fifth we dropped of medical supplies to a local man who was diagnosed with cancer and currently doesn't have any insurance to pay for feeding tube items

After we did all of the above we went to a monument store and picked out his flat headstone. That was pretty tough - we have decided to have some sunflowers engraved on it and an etching of his memory garden up in the corner. My husband and myself will be listed on his headstone as well as our resting spot - we figured our oldest son would be laid to rest with his future family.

We also released three balloons into the air in hopes they would hit heaven to be with our big birthday boy who turned 3 today!

Happy Birthday Brextin!!!

Today we will be picking our healthy boy up at the funeral home and taking him home in an adorable urn where he will be spending his 3rd birthday with us, his parents and big brother. We will also be picking up 4 balloons. One balloon will read, Happy 3rd birthday - this one will be laid on his resting spot in Forest Hill Cemetery, where the other 3 balloons will be released to the skies of heaven.

He will be forever in our hearts!

Our local newspaper did a wonderful follow up article on our son - it was titled,
"Joys, challenges of young boy's life remembered"

Here is the link - unfortunately they are now making people pay to read the article - but maybe in the days to come it will be available through a different website.

http://www.leadertelegram.com/local_news/story/article_d26c1b62-5d7d-11df-a7c8-001cc4c03286.html

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Holding on

Our son's service yesterday was beautiful, a wonderful gal who has touched our lives forever gave a heart warming eulogy, my husband and I were able to share some long lasting memories with our family and friends, his music therapist performed "beautiful boy" which summed his life up in two words, and a wonderful student performed a song that he had written for our little Brexy. All in all - a very memorable day - we will certainly miss our little angel!

We were to lay him to rest today - however my husband and I thought things were moving to fast - so we have decided to slow life down - and bring him back home - his body will be cremated and placed in a beautiful urn and join us once again in our loving home.

We are doing a couple of things in remembrance of his life :

The first thing - will be to purchase a granite brick (8" X 16") that will be placed at a local zoo in his memory - that will read . . . "In memory of Brextin - our Brexy Doodles - May 2007 - May 2010)" that will placed in an area just for special children who left our world way to early.

The second thing - is a memory garden will be created (a landscaper is actually coming today) it will be filled to the max with a ton of sun flowers and forget me not flowers.

I am really overly whelmed with the love and support of friends, neighbors, family and even strangers! God Bless our little Brexy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One word "Unbelievable"

Last night was our precious son's visitation and I must say I was so honored by all of the wonderful people that came out to provide prayers and their condolences. The visitation was scheduled for 5 pm until 7 pm - however the last person left a little after 9 pm - we had over 400 friends and family members that stopped by. We are forever blessed by everyone! Some people waited in line for over 2 hours to see either myself or my husband and I am overwhelmed by all of the support however am very comforted by it all!

Thank you thank you Thank you

Monday, May 10, 2010

I now understand why God had selected us to be Brextin's parents

I thank each one of you that have sent their prayers and thoughts to our family - they say that God often selects certain parents for his special children and I am beginning to understand why I was chosen - I truly enjoyed sharing all of Brextin's accomplishments with others as well as his set backs - it allowed others to know that no one is ever alone when it comes to raising a child with special needs and I am forever honored that some of you have followed our blog and thought of my son/family as an inspiration - to keep moving forward with certain therapies or just not give up in general -

I am forever touched by the many of parents, therapists, doctors, and children that we have met over the years - and will forever have a place in my heart for each and everyone of you!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The days just get harder and harder

I got up this morning with a deep pain in my stomach - I knew I had to go and take the very long walk to the mailbox to see my precious son's obituary in the paper. It sure was tough to include everything - if we have missed anyone we are forever sorry. We were told to have it to our funeral director by 1:30 yesterday and I kept putting it off - I just didn't want to write it and say goodbye to our loving son. All in all - I think it gives a good representation of our son's life. He will be forever missed!

He was also survived by the following aunts and uncles: Staci (Cowan) Kauman, Jenny Duke, Karla and Doug Dehnke, Beth and Dan Marcus, Pete and Lori Stanley, along with over 12 cousins.

http://www.leadertelegram.com/people/obituaries/article_ca65f6d3-c1a3-547f-977c-9d27b83be4ec.html

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I love you more! What a great book!

I read Brextin the same book EVERY day of his life - I never missed a day - the book was titled, I love you more - http://www.amazon.com/Love-You-More-Laura-Duksta/dp/1402211260 and it was so true - I loved our son more than anything in the whole wide world - we were defiantly blessed with an angel!

Beautiful Beautiful boy

Beautiful Beautiful boy - thinking of having this song sung at his funeral.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uldu_1-JCJE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN96-pHFlsM&feature=related

Friday, May 7, 2010

Here are the funeral arrangements

Visitation will take place on Monday at Fuller Speckien Hulke on Rudolph Road from 5 until 7:00.

Funeral will take place on Tuesday at Our Saviors Lutheran Church on Main Street in Eau Claire at 11:00 with visitation one hour before.

I am thinking about creating a scholarship in Brextin's name and offering it to those students who have suffered from epilepsy and who have attended the school in which I teach at.

We would like to thank all of his therapist and all of the many other parents who have connected with while he was with us - I have met a ton of amazing people!!

Brextin is now an angel up in heaven



Our son was born on Mother's day almost three years ago - so he would have been turning three on the 13th of this month - however he will be celebrating his special day with the angels above.

Here is a video of him that was taken on the first day of his EEG at the Epilepsy Group in St. Paul (this past Wednesday). He looks fantastic- I never new it would be the last day we would see him happy as can be.
video


video

I never thought I would be typing this on his blog - our son has been a true fighter through everything - however his life will continue as he walks in heaven's arms.

He was born on Mother's Day almost three years ago - and his special journey began when he was only two months old - he has struggled with seizures and vomiting almost since day one.

It all started when we were scheduled for a second opinion EEG and something occurred that we were not expecting - his seizures began to increase - and by Thursday he was having about 12 a day - as our son had seizures he would often vomit - and because his tiny system was backed up (not able to have a bowel movement) - his stomach wasn't emptying as it should - and so when he had seizures - the food kept coming up and it eventually entered into his lungs - which caused him to have pneumonia - they pumped his chest for over one hour - and eventually gave up.

I am at a total lost - I never thought I would be laying my youngest son to rest -

As you look at the videos posted above - he looked fantastic- I never would have thought - that he would only be around for one more day.

I tried therapy after therapy with our son - and I now know that he is finally walking, running, and talking up a storm up in heaven with his Great Grandpa and Uncle.

We were blessed to have known such a wonderful boy - he had a contagious smile and a heart of gold.

Peace be with anyone else who is traveling along a special child's journey. I am so at peace knowing our son is no longer having seizures, vomiting, or having any type of pain.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things are NOT good!

Brextin is currently at St. Paul - having another EEG done - he had two seizures yesterday and at least 6 more today - one that lasted over 2 minutes. They were going to give him some velum but luckily the seizure stopped. Since Keppra isn't working we are going to try trileptal, lamictal, or tegretol. I think our first attempt will be the trileptal drug - but they plan on keeping on Keppra - as well. I would prefer not to give him a cocktail - but at this moment in time - I just wish I could stop seeing my son having to suffer through all of these seizures - It is really making me depress especially since he is approaching his 3rd birthday next week.

After some of his seizures today he looked very lethargic, pale, short of breath, he was even experiencing hot flashes. His oxygen levels even dropped as low as 70% during one of his seizures that happened while he slept. These are the ones that scare me the most!

We sure need the prayers - and I mean a ton of prayers!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Honeyemoon is over :-(!

Brextin is having about 2 seizures a day - we will be heading to a hospital in the cities for a second opinion this week - he will be under observation for a 2 to 5 day EEG - we are hoping we are able to find a medication that will control his seizures 100%. Please continue to pray - It seems as if topamax controlled his seizures in the past - but the side effects are tough to ponder.

I have been noticing our counter on this blog is increasing which is WONDERFUL - I am interested in knowing what are visitors reading - is it his blog in general or certain videos such as MEDEK or certain links? Nobody has been leaving comments - which I truly enjoy to read.

One more thing this website was shared with me and thought I would pass it along . . . http://www.exceptionalfamilytv.com/about

Friday, April 30, 2010

He failed his hearing test - an ABR has been scheduled

Brextin seems to like real high frequencies so I am a little concerned that his hearing might not be the greatest - so we went to the hospital yesterday for a hearing test- we sat in a booth and the doctor did a variety of tests to see if he would respond as he heard different sounds at a variety of locations in a small sound proof room - he scored around a 40-50% on his responses. So we are now going to be scheduled for a stacked ABR test that will test his hearing capabilities as he is asleep or is sedated by attaching electrodes to certain areas on his head. We have tried to do something similar at Mayo but they keep putting us off so we will be doing the test locally at a hospital in Chippewa Falls.

He is also having a second opinion EEG done at a children's hospital in MN next week - our last second opinion was when he was 2 months old and that hospital totally missed any of his seizures - that was when we sought out Rochester Mayo.

My husband is against this second opinion (his opinion is - it is what it is) - I myself have an open opinion and I am gladly interested in what this new doctor has to say about his development and EEG results.

So far the name brand Keppra has been working - knock on wood - but we have not seen any seizure activity since Sunday. Again knock on wood! He might be having a honeymoon period. This is when a new drug works for about 2 weeks and then stops.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thrift sale was a huge success!

We had a wonderful turn out for our thrift sale and have raised a nice amount to help pay for some therapy. There was even a nice lady that stopped by and only talked with my husband - she offered to work with Brextin free of charge for therapy - and can you believe it my loving husband said no thanks - apparently she has three special needs children of her own - god bless her sole that she would be willing to open her heart to one more child.

I asked my husband - do you even know what your son's therapy schedule is? I don't think he even knows that we take our son to three different therapists to try to improve his development - he is totally clueless - I would be honored to have someone in the community help with his well needed therapy if they offered and they knew what they were doing - yet he turned her down -

Even though he turned her down for the therapy it still would have been nice to have met her to discuss what she has tried with her own children for therapy. I love connecting with other parents who can relate to us - however the lovely Hippo law doesn't allow us to find anyone - and support is really needed in order to stay strong.

Locally we have a group called the "gene pool" and it has been dying over the years since most of the children are entering adulthood -however, luckily this Sunday they will be meeting in hopes of rejuvenating the group. I am looking forward to meeting other parents in our community that can relate. So I am really looking forward to attending.

However since I will never meet up with the parent from the thrift sale again (unless she attends the gene pool meeting on Sunday) - I will have to continue to spread myself thin as I try to transport him to all of his therapy centers in two different areas in hopes he will continue to move forward with his development.

We have sadly had a set back for his seizures - today alone he has had over 5 seizures - so he will be having a 24 EEG in May to monitor any changes in his brain pattern.

I again simply say - Lord please allow our son the capabilities of living a life without these terrible seizures and allow him a miracle in living an independent life - allow him the right to learn how to communicate with others and remain strong as each day can be a struggle. Oh Lord please hear our prayers!

I am concerned that the spasms have returned!

I am concerned that the spasms have returned - we have never seen spasms with our son - the brain pattern just has been observed while on a EEG - however this time I believe we are physically seeing the spasms. I can be holding him and he will be grabbing at my hair and all of a sudden he will let go and both arms will go straight up in the air and then come back down - it is bizarre behavior. Our daycare provide has said she has seen many of these - and I experienced my first one the other day. I have a call into our neuro at Mayo - and so I am now waiting to hear a response back. (waiting for a returned phone call can be the hardest thing!)

I am fearing he is loosing some skills - he has always bear weight and actually lifted his foot to walk while holding onto our fingers but lately he has been a little stinker and not wanting to bear weight or lift his feet - I just thought he was being defiant - I sure hope he isn't beginning to lose the skill due to the spams! Please pray!!

We did finally get the name brand Keppra as well - it wasn't the doctor that was slowing the process down it was the pharmacy - they never called to tell us it was ready to be picked up TWO days ago!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

School - IEP - and diapers

We had his transition meeting yesterday and I think it went pretty well - nothing is finalized yet - but I think we will try to send him 3 days a week for about 2 hours a day. He will also receive OT, ST, and PT while at school. We plan on also getting therapy at Nature's Edge as well if we get approved with medical assistance.

I thought every state paid for diapers once their special child turned 3 - but I have been told WI is different and doesn't pay for them until the child turns 4. So I guess we will have another year of buying diapers and depends!! Yippee for us!!

Why does it take so LONG for doctors to reply!

It would be two weeks this Saturday that Brextin has had a seizure - however today he has had many - I have asked our neuro at Rochester Mayo to put him on the name brand drug instead of the generic brand of Keppra - but it is taking him forever to get it prescribed (first it was our insurance that was slowing the process down and now we are just waiting for our doctor to write a letter in support of trying the name brand drug) - it will be two weeks very soon - he is a well known doctor so he is out of the state or even country quite often - so I usually have to wait and wait until I hear back from him - I hate the waiting - my son is hurting because of the wait!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting ready for a block thrift sale - a sad moment for me

As I am beginning to mark items for the sale - I can not help but hold back the tears as I am marking toys that his once older brother use to play with - in hopes that our youngest son would be able to play with - yet that will not be the case. It will be very sad to see these once playful toys go out of my house knowing my son who will be 3 next month will never be able to play with them. The only thing that will be positive out of this sale is that the money raised will be able to be used for well needed therapy or equipment for our son!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Purple toes



We have always questioned Brextin's circulation - and our local doctor claims that it is normal among children who are non-mobile - I just can't believe that - yet I have no idea what type of doctor would work in this department - here are some photos of his feet -

We are going to try name brand Keppra instead of the generic

We are going to try the name brand version of Keppra to see if it will make a difference other than the generic version - since he still continues to have two to three seizures a day - Hopefully the prescription will be called in today.

I plan on attending a social gathering tonight to meet with other parents in our area that can relate to raising a child with extreme needs. The last time I planned on attending it was canceled.

Tomorrow will be his first official visit to Nature's Edge therapy center.

I am currently checking on another center about 45 miles away that will hopefully be able to help us teach him to better suck. Here is a video of him actually sucking on his fingers.
video

Sunday, April 11, 2010

They're back!!! Ugly Seizures!

Brextin has been having about two to three seizures a day (plus throwing up after some of them) - we have increased his generic Keppra to 5ml twice a day. I have an email into his neuro at Rochester Mayo to see what the next step will be. Some parents have said that once the child received name brand Keppra and not the generic it made a huge difference. Who knows - just waiting to hear back from his doctor.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spread the word - end the Word!! www.r-word.org

One of my high school students came to school with a shirt that read . . . stop the r-word and I loved it and commended her for wearing it in support of all children who have challenges. (she had gotten it through her girl scout troop) The slogan is a campaign through the Special Olympics and the Best Buddies organization.

http://www.r-word.org/ (here is a link to their home page) - I truly loved shirt so well that I bought one for myself at . . . http://bestbuddies.org/shop/storefront/ scroll down until you see other words - then click on Woman's and scroll down till you see the shirt (it was only $8.00 with about $5.00 for shipping and handling) On the back - it reads . . . Acceptance, Passion, Humanity, Unity, Be a fan of RESPECT - http://www.r-word.org/ The shirt is made of a very thin material - however I love the saying and the meaning behind the shirt and their slogan -

You can purchase different shirts at their main webpage as well but they were more expensive than going through the best buddies website.

Help spread the word - end the word!!
Help eliminate the use of the R word in everyday speech!

Alternative therapies??

A topic that has been discussed on one of the groups that I belong to via Yahoo - has been on alternative therapies. I still strive each and every day in hopes of finding the miracle therapy that will help advance our son's development - however I am beginning to think - maybe time is the only cure - but how much time - time to me is standing still - to know that my son will be turning 3 next month and still can not crawl, communicate, drink liquids via mouth, stand, or even reach for me is breaking my hopes down.

Some therapies that were mentioned was:
Working with a naturopath
Neurofeedback - it is a way to help your own body regulate the brain's electrical activity
ABR - advanced bio-mechanical rehabilitation
Neurological Reorganization - "Masking" or "Rebreathing" It allows more oxygen into the brain without directly supplying it like with HBOT.
Tomatis - It is listening therapy
Feldenkrais - engaging the child in a process that provides the brain with the conditions and information it needs in order to begin learning
VitalStim - is a new medical break through used in the treatment of swallowing disorders

Has anyone else used these types of therapies?

I just found a center near us that offers VitalStim and Feldenkrais - It would be awesome if Brextin would learn how to suck and swallow. Then we could possibly get rid of his g-tube.

We have talked about getting him tested to see if his body is short on certain supplements - but when I mentioned this to his doctor at Rochester he just told me - often the test is given so the companies can sell their supplements and they are not really looking out for what is best for the child. We do give him fish oils and MB12 shots.

Any ideas or suggestions -

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We have had over 10,000 hits yahoo!!

I can not believe our son's blog has had over 10,000 hits - I love it!!!

I sure hope people are able to learn about our son's condition and visually see all of his accomplishments over the past years.

We have tried a ton of different therapies over three years -
occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, medek therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, water therapy, music therapy, massage therapy, CranioSacral, and will soon be trying AIT therapy, and hippo therapy.

It is hard to believe that our little guy will be turning three next month. We will be having his transition meeting in a couple of weeks and I have called an advocacy agency in hopes of their support in helping me to fight for Brextin's needs as he heads to school in the Fall.

Thank you to all of those who read and follow our blog - we sure do appreciate it!