Baby Braden Petska

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Happy Sunday!

Hello everyone,
--Once again...another busy week, and I can't believe it's Sunday already as I sit and update the blog. Mr. "B" was a bit under the weather earlier this week....a little virus causing fevers, messy poops, and a different side of "B" we're not used to. We knew when he'd just sit on our laps, chill, and put his head on our shoulder that something wasn't quite right. No need to Wednesday he was himself again, tearing up the place :) We did bring him to the pediatrician to check out this virus just to be safe, and we found out that Braden now weighs a whopping 25lbs. What? How did that happen? He just weighed 21 last month...Rich and I are shocked! He does love his homemade mac'n' cheese :)

--We had the Stankovich family from MI over for an overnight visit on Thursday/Friday. Sydney and Nick enjoyed playing with Braden, and he got to open his first birthday gift...thanks guys! Braden also got to enjoy his first luau on Saturday at the Braden's (yes "Braden" is a family name - this is where his name originated from).

--It's amazing how everyday I can find something new to share about Braden - he's growing so fast. His latest is saying "moo" when we ask what the cow says. He's trying to say kitty, but just gets a spitty kkk-kkk out. He also tries to say "fish" when Rich shows him the fish in our tanks. He still does the piggy nose and upside down Braden on command. He's definitely Mr. Brave as he climbs and pulls up on everything....daddy's not too happy though when he uses leg hair to help pull himself up to daddy.

--Just two weeks away from our first annual golf outing fundraiser....we're so excited to share this experience with so many people. A big thanks to those who are helping out our charity's cause...we wouldn't be here without you. There is still room for more golfers and dinner guests.

--Heart buddy updates: Gabe is still at CHW trying to rid some excess fluid. It was not a pleural effusion, but with fluid comes the tricky party of getting the right medical "cocktail" to "dry" it up. Please pray that he and his family get to go back home soon. Maddison continues to gain weight in the pleasure of her own home. She goes tomorrow for a check-up and gets to see our card, Dr. Cava. There's still no surgery date. Please continue to keep her in your prayers as well as her parents, for their strength and patience. Also, many of you have asked about Sam and Carter...both are thriving :) Yeah!

--Al's Run update: So, there have been a few people who have joined our team and received some pledges....we've almost met our team cool is that! Thank you, thank you for your generosity!
--We got a sad letter in the mail on Friday: The cardiac social worker who worked with us and helped us out a lot, especially in the beginning process of what I call the "fuzzy times," is leaving CHW to pursue another career path. We wish her well as she opens this new chapter in her life, but would also like to let her know how much she will be missed. Good luck Krista...we wish you well.
--Thanks for checking in! Until next week....enjoy these pics of Braden outside today!
Love, Steph, Rich and Braden

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Al's Run

Hello everyone,
--Ihope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend had to offer. If you noticed the blog title, "Al's Run," then you may have a hunch as to what today's blog will be about. If you have ever visited CHW, you may have noticed the nicely matted frames/pictures that adorn the 3rd floor hallways near the PICU. These frames all have one common denominator...they capture and hold many beautiful moments of Milwaukee's longest running tradition, "Al's Run." Throughout its history, the event has raised more than $8.5 million to help Children's Hospital of Wisconsin provide medical care, conduct research to advance pediatric medicine, advocate on behalf of children, and educate medical professionals and the community about issues related to children's health. In 2006, 15,236 participants raised more than $1 million for CHW. After finding out more about this event, I promised myself that I would attempt to run it. That would mean some serious training as my body hasn't hit the pavement running in almost 15 years...yikes! I know that if I have half the determination my son has, I can accomplish this goal. This year marks the 30th anniversary of this run (now called the "Brigg's & Al Run"). It offers a 2 mile walk, 3 mile walk, or 8k run (just short of 5 miles). If you would like to join our team to walk or run in this event on September 15th, please contact Rich or myself at: I know this is really close to our charity event, so I will only extend the pledge information via blog. If you would like to make a pledge, please feel free to visit our webpage:
--Now for Braden updates. On Tuesday, Braden turned 11months and took his first road trip alone with mama. We ventured to the U.P. to visit some friends and see Grandpa Greg and band play for the Music in the Park. It was a nice trip, but quick since we headed back home on Thursday. On Saturday, we had another boat adventure with Braden and some friends. Braden did great and even fell asleep a few times.
--Summer is flying by and we've been keeping busy building our bar and working on the charity. Yesterday marked only 3 weeks from our first annual golf outing. Wow, where has the summer gone? We still have lots of room for golf and dinner reservations.
--Kiddo update: Maddison was readmitted into children's this past week, but was again released. They're still not sure when her surgery will be or what kind of heart repair she will have. Gabe was sent home on Thursday, but again admitted today due to fluid build up in the lung area (pleural effusion). Thank you for your continued support and prayer for these families as well as ours.
--Have a great week,
Love the Petska's

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Hello everyone,
--Here are a few pics of Braden beachin' it today for the first time. You could tell who the only non-beach going family was at the beach today as we had the fairest skin of them all :) Braden ventured in the water and did well staying on his blanket - avoiding goose poop and cigarette butts (a little disappointed in the lack of care our local beach gets). Braden had his first sleepover on Saturday, allowing mom & dad a night out with friends. Even though he was only 10 minutes away at Grandma and Grandpa's, it was tough for us to be away from Braden for the first time (excluding hospital stays). I found myself searching for something of his to smell before I went to sleep....I guess that's crazy mom-love for ya!
-- Braden is 11 months on Tuesday...yikes! That means the big 1 yr birthday is right around the corner. I can't even believe it.
--Our guest list is increasing for the golf outing....keep 'em coming :)
Have a great week,
Love, The Petska's
--PS... Kiddo Updates: Gabe's surgery was a success. His recovery is going well. Thank you for keeping him and his family in your prayers. He does have a carepage ( if you would like to read their updates. His carepage name is: gabejohnson
AND, get this....Baby Maddison got to home on Friday. What a miracle she has been. Her CHD is not HLHS, so her 1st surgery has been postponed until a later date (unkown at this time). She has a caringbridge site: Thank you for keeping this lil' peanut in your prayers as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Back from the U.P.

Hello everyone,

--Sorry for the late post. After getting in yesterday from your trip, we were too pooped to blog! Braden had a lot of fun up north, and once again experienced many new things. Braden enjoyed his first Munising 4th of July and met many new people...he didn't, however, care for the sirens and truck horns in the parade :( He got to experience fresh Lake Superior White Fish ( I know some of you are drooling at the thought of eating this U.P. delicacy), and Grandma's famous homemade baked beans. One of the pics shows just how delicious they were! Braden was also given his first Grand Island boat tour. He wasn't too fond of the life vest or the fact that he couldn't eat the sand off of the boat floor. After the boat ride, daddy dipped Braden's feet in the water...I think his face says just how cold this water really is :) On Saturday, we helped G'ma and G'pa LaCombe celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary....whoo-hoo!
--This week, "B" goes to see G'ma Lois as mom is taking a class and dad is hosting a b-ball camp. G'ma Lois was definitely having Braden withdrawls.
--Braden continues to amaze us everyday as he is so full of spunk and energy. I've never seen a kid get so excited when he knows A.) he's going to eat or B.) we're going to read him one of his favorite books. We've even started calling him a lil' scavenger as he'll race to crawl across the room squealing the entire time when he sees you with a plate of food...this is after he's already been fed. He also wants to explore everything he can get his hands on, so he definitely keeps us on our toes. Oh, and I think we have another top tooth coming in...this makes 9. 9 teeth? Seriously, I have yet to meet another kid his age or even older who has that many teeth....unreal!
--Thanks for those of you who have been praying for lil' Gabe. Unfortunately, his surgery was postponed until this Thursday, July 12th. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he endures his 3rd open-heart surgery (the Fontan). He's having this done at CHW. Also, I told you when the arrival of baby Maddison would be...she's here! She was born this morning at 6:30a.m. I will hopefully have more good news on these two kiddos when we blog next.
--Keep on sending in those registration forms. We're almost 1 month away from this exciting event!
Have a great week,
Love Steph, Rich, and "B"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Hello everyone,
Braden had a few firsts this weekend as he enjoyed his first parade, first Libertyfest in Twin Lakes, and his first family reunion (Grandma Lois's side of the family). We'll be making the hike up to the U.P. this week for the 4th of July extravaganza up der. We'll be introducing Braden to the first of many G'rage parties at the LaCombe residence :)

The following link will bring you to a very heart-warming story that was televised on ESPN. It's about a 5 year HLHS kiddo whose dream it is to be a football player. He gets a "WISH" from the "MY WISH" foundation to meet his idol Drew Breese from the New Orlean Saints. Rich and I got to see it twice on ESPN and of course I cried (no bawled) both times. Hopefully your computer will allow you to check out the neat story.
New Pics: Mr. Happy; Post-Libertfest fun with Sydney; life upside down; being a prisoner in his own home - darn steps; "braving" out the fire truck sirens at the parade; post-parade siesta.
Prayer Request: I have been in contact with another HLHS family whose little boy, Gabe, is having his Fontan (3rd surgery) this week. It looks like they'll be operating on the 5th of July. Gabe's Glenn (2nd surgery) recovery was a bit rough as he was in the hospital for 4months. His parents, as you can imagine, are very nervous about this surgery. Please keep this little boy in your prayers this week. Thank you!
Registration forms, hole sponsors, and silent auction items have been coming in. Rich and I get so excited everytime we visit the P.O. box.
Happy 4th of July!