Sunday, August 20, 2023

Krewson Lee at 13 Years Old

Dear Krew,

You are a teenager!!! We are several months into you being 13 years old now, and age 13 has brought so much growth and amazing changes for you. I'm so excited to share about 13-year-old you.

We'll start with the physical stuff. You have grown by leaps and bounds. You are now almost 5'5" and hovering around the 80th percentile for height. This is incredibly baffling considering that you were below the 25th percentile until age 11! You have continued to wear your aligner braces over the last year and now have straight top teeth (and the bottom teeth are on their way). You also were diagnosed with pectus carinatum and received a chest brace many months ago, but at your appointment last week the pediatric surgeon said that you've graduated to only wearing the brace at night since your chest looks so improved. You've also been exercising a lot more and are starting to develop upper body muscles, which you are super proud of. Your feet are huge - a men's size 10.5 - and you now wear your dad's shirts.

School is currently going well for you. You are in 7th grade, and you seem to like your teachers. Your math teacher is helping you prepare to take a placement test in the spring to potentially test into High School Math 2 for next year. We are super grateful to her for this! You still love math and science the most but get good grades all around.

Last fall was a very rough time for you, right after I wrote your last life update. Starting middle school was difficult and interpersonal relationships were very messy. You were overcome by debilitating depression and anxiety, and it made everything hard. You rarely smiled and cried daily. It was very overwhelming. However, through meetings with school staff, the pediatrician, and starting anxiety/depression medication, we were slowly able to pull you out of it. Now, nearly a year later, you are honestly a completely different kid. You smile, laugh, and joke daily. You are trying to make friends, even when it involves going outside of your comfort zone. You are choosing to exercise because you say it makes you feel better and helps you sleep. We are so incredibly relieved.

Last fall you started year-round swim with New Wave swim club, and it was a rough go for a while. You felt slow and unskilled and typically walked out of practices within 15-30 minutes. This is also the same time period that you were struggling socially at school and experiencing severe anxiety and depression. However, in the spring you made some new friends and also your anxiety/depression medication started to work, and you began applying yourself at practices bit by bit. Over this summer you swam for your summer swim team at Shepherd's Vineyard, and you saw that you were a valuable asset to your team. You also started becoming more socially confident and talking with your teammates, and you seemed to realize how awesome it can be to be part of a team. You now seem dedicated to swimming, and you asked to sign up for year-round again and told us that you want to go to practice three times per week (instead of the two that we required of you last year). In the month and a half between summer swim and year-round practices starting, you've frequently gone to the summer pool to swim laps to stay in shape. We are so impressed and shocked and excited by this development, and we can't wait to see how the next year of swimming goes!

Over the past year you have continued taking piano lessons again at your own request, and you seem to be truly enjoying it even if you still don't want to participate in recitals (and I don't blame you for that). For fun, your favorite things to do right now are video games, programming, spending time digging or "building forts" in the park, working on a pond for our backyard, fishing (a new friend has gotten you into this), and reading.

Your dad and I love hanging out with you. You are witty and crack sarcastic jokes, but you also enjoy deep conversations and pondering life together. You are constantly sharing your knowledge about various topics. You seem to be super honest and open with your dad and I right now, which we cherish. When we do have issues with certain behaviors, we talk about them and they're usually resolved pretty quickly without much discipline.

We love you Krewson Lee, and feel so fortunate to have you as our son!

Mom and Dad

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Krewson Lee: 13-Year-Old interview

We have a teenager!!!!! (Ahhhh!!!!)
Below is Krew's 13-year-old interview. We switched up some of the questions a bit this year. :)
Past years' videos are below, too!

Age 13:

Age 12:

Age 11:

Age 10:

Age 9:

Age 8:

Age 7:

Age 6:

Age 5:

Age 4:

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Greyden Roy at 10 Years Old

Hey Buddy!

You are 10 years old!! And also, your mommy here is struggling to do these life updates on time. Here we are, when you've been 10 years old for 5 months already and we're on the last day of 2022. But at least I'm doing them, right? :)

This may be a bit of an emotional post for me to write. Life has been a lot for you over the last year/year and a half. Really, ever since your CRMO diagnosis in early 2021, it's been hard for you to maintain your glass-half-full attitude. And we can't blame you for that one bit. You've just been through so, so much. So many doctor's appointments, pokes and prods, infusions, testing, unanswered questions, pain, and bad news. Not to mention the chronic pain, frequent fatigue, and anemia. You now dip in and out of depression and anxiety, which required several months of therapy for you to work through (and you will likely need to go back at some point). You've developed an intense PTSD reaction to needles and doctor's offices after some horrible (honestly, downright traumatic) experiences. And all of this is 100% understandable. Your fight to maintain health is a constant presence in your life, from the multiple medications you have to remember to take every day, to the wondering if it will hurt to walk tomorrow, to the way you have to pace yourself at sports practice so you don't run out of energy. It seems never-ending, and I guess for now it is. Because we don't have an end in sight. Your CRMO is not in remission, and you're still anemic, and you'll actually be starting a new treatment soon which requires injections at home. But you keep fighting, and we're so proud of you. You keep doing your best to play sports and do the activities you love, you keep pushing through the pain, you keep putting on a brave face to see yet another doctor. My heart breaks for you over and over, but we are doing our best to support you and you're able to still smile and laugh most days, so I think we're succeeding.

You are now in 4th grade, and you continue to really enjoy school. You are such a social person, and you crave constant connection with other people. I am so thankful you're able to be in a classroom and get that filled a little bit by outside sources. This year you're doing safety patrol, so you help with flag duty and carpool. You LOVE doing carpool, because it means you get to interact with probably hundreds of people haha. Whenever I pick you up after carpool duty, you seem so energized and always have stories to share with me (because apparently putting other kids into their cars can be SO exciting!!).

You still play soccer in the spring and fall, and you love it (especially the games). You are so competitive! Your CRMO does still hold you back at times with pain in your legs and feet, but you fortunately went through time periods this past year where you felt fairly strong and were able to play pretty well. 

You also did swim team again over the summer, and afterward you asked to join a year-round swim team! You are now swimming all year long for New Wave swim team. You go to practice about twice a week, and I think it's such good exercise for your body. It is zero impact to your bones, so I don't worry about you injuring your legs (where all your bone lesions are) near as much as I do when you play soccer. You did your first year-round swim meet a couple weeks ago, and you were the heat winner for three of your five races. This made you SO happy. :)

In addition to soccer and swim team, you absolutely love disc golf and seem to have natural talent for it. It's another low-impact sport, so pretty ideal for you. You've done a couple competitions now, and we very frequently find you throwing mini discs around the house for practice. It's also been a great activity to do with your dad, as he loves to play disc golf also when he's not actively playing ultimate frisbee.

You still do piano lessons and ad hoc voice lessons, along with being the vocalist for your rock band The Exploding Bobs. You've now performed on stage quite a few times, and you actually seem to enjoy it. You recently sang for our church (the song "Known" by Tauren Wells) and sang while playing piano at your piano recital (the song "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi), and you did so well at both performances. There were even people crying in the audience both times (which made you very happy hahaha). I absolutely love seeing you develop your musical talents. For Christmas this year you got a microphone so that you can sing and hear yourself while playing piano in our house. I'm excited to see what songs you learn next!

You and Krew are still going through a stage where you don't do a lot together. Krew is almost a teenager and now in middle school, so this makes sense. However, once in a while we'll catch you having fun together, and it's always nice to see.

You are still average for height and weight [at your last doctor's visit where they measured you, you were 4' 7.1" (52nd percentile) and 74.3 lbs (56th percentile)], and you are still on a tooth-losing hiatus (I don't think you've lost any teeth in at least the last 18 months!). We recently reintroduced baked egg to your diet, and you had a completely clear endoscopy, so you get to keep baked egg in your diet! This is such a game changer for us, as SO many baked goods that would otherwise be safe for you do have baked egg in them. (Your list of EoE allergies is now down to gluten, soy, dairy, unbaked eggs, pork, and green beans!) 

Bedtime is still a struggle for you (and us!) because you have a hard time settling and often come out of your room and say that your mind is racing or you're having bad thoughts. (Looking back, it appears that you were struggling with this a year ago as well). We just take it night by night right now. But you also still do a sweet thing that you've now done for years: when I say goodnight, you always hug me tight around the neck, wait for me to kiss your cheek or forehead, then turn your face and put a kiss in the center of my cheek. Every. Single. Night. Oh how I love this. :) I know it will end eventually, but I'll take it as long as it lasts!

That's all for now, Greyden Roy! We love you!!

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Greyden Roy: 10-Year-Old Interview

Well this is INCREDIBLY late, but here is Greyden's 10-year-old interview!! He turned 10 years old on July I'm almost three months behind schedule. I'm trying to tell myself that I was just allowing him to really get into "being 10" before interviewing him. :)

Here it is, along with interviews from past years below! Enjoy!

We love you, Roy Boy!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Krewon Lee at 12 Years Old

Oh Dear Krew, I am so far behind on writing this update. But here we go. You are now 12 years old!!

You have been 12 for about 4 months now, and I can honestly say that I love this age. You are just so much fun. You are acting more mature, like a teenager instead of a child, and you are conversational and witty and sarcastic. We have real, deep conversations and can talk through issues. There is very little "discipline" that has to happen anymore, as typically we can just have a talk and resolve any dilemmas.

You have grown an insane amount (you gained approximately 6 inches in height from age 11 to age 12 and jumped to the 74th percentile for height!), and your voice has deepened and your face has matured. You have started braces (you are doing Invisalign-type, so no one can really tell), and you now wear contacts so we rarely see you in your glasses.

You still love all things computers and programming. You regularly play Minecraft with and against your friends, and you also spend hours writing programming code that does all kinds of things, from mathematical calculations to creating video games. You also still love building with Legos and tinkering with electronics in your spare time. You now have your own room with all of your Legos in it, so I'll hear you in there digging through your Lego bins at various times. When not on the computer or building something, you usually have a book in your hand. You still go through hundreds of novels per year, mostly fantasy. We often have to tell you to shut a book when it's time for dinner, or to go to bed, or to be present and socialize with the people around you.

You are a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on various topics, and your nickname this year in school was "The Professor" because you would help teach the class and answer questions when you understood a topic well. You still struggled with your emotions in class at times, but by the end of the year your teacher said she could see a huge improvement in how you handled frustrations. It was so exciting to hear. (And yes, you went back to in-person school for 5th grade after doing virtual school for 4th grade. It seems like it was the right choice, fortunately!) You head off to 6th grade in a new school in less than a month, and I'm both nervous and very excited for you.

You are still a quiet and emotional kid compared to others, but you are much more in control of yourself now than you used to be, and you seem so much more confident in most social situations. Your anxiety has greatly lessened (or else you just handle it better) and you rarely seem depressed. You no longer go to therapy and are managing life just fine without it, which is so wonderful. Overall, you seem to be very content right now. Yes, you occasionally get moody and grouchy (because I think every pre-teen does!), but really it's pretty infrequent and super manageable.

Shortly after I wrote your 11-year-old post, you decided to take a break from piano. It was stressing you out too much. And then, after a year, you decided to start it up again just recently. It still definitely stresses you out, but you're trying to push through. I know it's hard for you to work through things that are difficult for you. You also decided to try swim team again this year after not doing it for three years. Your dad and I were shocked and also so impressed. You've not gone to every practice and have only done a couple of the meets, but we're trying to give you space to do it at your own pace. So far you haven't quit, so our current way of handling it seems to be working well enough!

We started going back to the ninja warrior gym this past fall and winter, and you really enjoyed that. It was great to see you participating in physical activity that you actually enjoy. I am sure we'll take you back again this fall once swim season ends and we're not at the pool almost every night.

You are still a cautious rule follower who avoids risks at all costs. We regularly leave you home alone now with a phone, because we know you are super responsible and won't do anything crazy. We can leave Greyden home with you, too, which has been AMAZING because now your daddy and I can go out together without kids or a babysitter!! This is a great new stage of parenting!

Speaking of Greyden, the two of you haven't been playing together as much over the past year. I know that your relationship will ebb and flow, and so this isn't unexpected. Hopefully you move into another period of really enjoying each other in the future, but I do realize that you are very different individuals with not much in common (other than living in the same house and having the same parents). At least you are typically kind to each other, and you care about each other's feelings, even if you don't hang out together a ton.

Overall, having you as our kid is SUCH a blessing. We love you so much, Krew!!

Mom and Dad
(I thought maybe you would appreciate me cutting out the "Mommy" and "Daddy" now that you're headed to middle school.)