Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...


27 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Klaasen!

Klaasen Burke,
You are TWO years old!!!
August 1, 2010

December 20, 2010
April 14, 2011

April 27, 2011

August 1, 2011
November 10, 2011
February 14, 2012
July 18, 2012
We celebrated your second birthday at Bumpa and Grandma's house with your cousins Brittany, Sarena, and Natalie, and your Uncle Jay and Aunt Nancy (and of course your brother, sister, and Mommy and Daddy).  You weren't quite sure about what to think of the celebration, but I think you enjoyed all the attention.
To watch the big birthday boy blow out his candles, click here.
As I write this, you are out in the backyard sitting in the sandbox.  Every morning after you wake me up (you are ALWAYS the first one up), you ask me to "wake up," and then ask for, "bekrast, peese, Mommy!"  After eating your breakfast on the deck at your little picnic table, you always play in the backyard with Summit or in the sandbox while you wait for Maida and Skogen to wake up. You absolutely love and adore your siblings and you had no idea what to do without them when they left you for six days earlier this summer.  You are still our biggest snuggler and love to get in bed with Mommy and Daddy every morning. You are finally sleeping through the night and have dropped your nap most days.  You love cars, trucks, and tractors.  You love tools.  You love to talk and sing.  You love Bible Class.  You are fearless.  You're a great little swimmer and love to be in the water.  One of your favorite highlights of the summer was driving Bumpa's tractor and Bumpa's boat and you ask to go back to Bumpa's house often.  You love to talk on the phone and you are getting really good at carrying on a phone conversation.  You're the best eater in the family.  You still weigh as much as you did at six months, you're just longer!  You love animals and especially Summit.  He will always be your little tag along.  You sleep in bunk beds with your brother and love your bottom bunk.  You call it,"Kaassie's big bed."  You listen to classical music as you fall asleep and you hate watching TV.  Daddy is one of your favorite people, but you couldn't live without Mommy.  You refuse to go to the bathroom in the potty chair and would rather wear a diaper or pee on the floor.  You are a horrible sharer and put up a good fight with anyone.  If you're fighting with Skogen, you always win.  You have a unique relationship with Maida and love to sit by her, ask her to read you books, and lay your head on her shoulder.  You love stickers and coloring.  You have a great pencil grip and can write lines and circles when we ask you to.  You know all of your colors, you can count to 12, and you are constantly looking for more to learn.  You know that Kinley lives in Oklahoma, Bumpa lives with Grandma in Park Rapids, you have brown eyes, Daddy works at the hospital, Skogen is your brother, Maida is your sister, your birthday is in July, and much much more.  You blow me away with your intelligence and your ability to understand exactly what is going on.  You're a special, kid, and I am so proud to be your Mommy!
We love you so much, BooBoo, and can't wait to see what this next year has in store for you!

- Mommy

26 July 2012

A Quick Oklahoma Recap

All packed and ready to go!
We took a family trip down to Oklahoma at the beginning of July.  When we left Minnesota, it was so cold that morning, I had to have the heat on.  14.5 hours later, we arrived in Oklahoma and it was so hot, I couldn't take off enough clothes to be even remotely comfortable. 

Skogen was happy to find that Nana had
all of Daddy's old cars waiting for him
to play with while we were there!
The trip down wasn't easy.  I drove alone with the three kids and two dogs (Erik met us down there a few days later).  45 minutes into our trip, Skogen threw up all over the car. Of course we were miles and miles from the next town or gas station.  Luckily I found an exit with a small river near the road.  I pulled the car up to the river and what I couldn't wash in the river, I wiped with wet wipes and called it good.  Luckily the car didn't smell like puke for too long and we rode comfortably and happily until we were about an hour out of Kansas City.  We had stopped to let our dogs out to run and go to the bathroom and while I had the car door open, Skogen's backpack of his entire car collection fell out.  Being at a sketchy truck stop and not trusting anyone around, I hurried the dogs through their potty process and we took off - leaving all of Skogen's cars behind.  I didn't realize until we were two more hours down the road and I was devastated!  We had one more bad stop where our puppy, Summit, ran away, forcing me to chase him for 10 minutes in over 100 degree weather.  While I was chasing him, the kids locked themselves in the car and Klaasen spilled my entire large Mocha Frappe all over the front seat. Other than that, our trip down went fairly smooth and we made it all in one drive.  I even got to introduce the kids to the Beach Boys and was extremely excited that they liked them just as much as I do!  :)

We arrived just a few days before my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had their second baby!  Ever since they announced that they were expecting over Thanksgiving, I had big plans to be there for this event.  I was beyond excited to receive a call from my sister-in-law at 3:00 in the morning, two days after our arrival, saying that she thought she was in labor!  I loved ohhhing and awwwing over my new niece, Evyn Ruth for the remainder of our trip and won't ever forgot how special it was to be there for her big arrival.

We made lots of good memories while we were there.  The kids really enjoyed spending some good quality time with their cousin, Kinley.  They spent most of the time in the pool, running through the sprinkler, or sliding down the slip'n'slide.  That's all we could do to keep them cool.  We also enjoyed a trip to my cousin's farm (pics to come later), Fourth of July with the family (pics to come later), a trip to the zoo, a visit to the emergency room, making and playing with the Blob, seeing my college roommate, Aubrey, and her sweet babies, and we enjoyed some good old Oklahoma snowcones...

Klaasen, Maida, and Kinley in the pool

At the zoo with Papa.  We took a ride on the train!

Klaasen fell out of our big Excursion and got a concussion.  We made a trip to the emergency room for a CAT scan to make sure that everything was alright (it was!).

I got my baby fix :)

The Blob we made out of a big piece of plastic and duct tape.

Sweet sleeping baby

Aunt Karlie (not looking like she just birthed a baby), Evyn, Kinley, Kyper, and Uncle Brandon

Snowcones with Daddy

Nana helping Maida hold baby Evyn
 Our trip home was rather uneventful (thankfully).  The most memorable part of the trip was when I was driving through Kansas and recognized the truck stop where we left Skogen's cars!  I quickly pulled off and ran into the gas station nearby, thinking there was no way they would have the backpack full of cars that we left in the field behind their station.  But, to my surprise, they had found it and kept it for us!  Skogen was so excited to be reunited with all of his cars.
Skogen with his cars!!!

To see all of our pictures from the trip, click here.  I'll post a few more pictures and stories from Oklahoma soon...

19 July 2012

Update on Erik - A neat little story

Here’s a neat little story...

While I was driving last week, I lifted my left arm to the top of my steering wheel with my right hand to stretch it out a bit. I had to use my right arm to move my left since there really hadn’t been any improvement in any of the four muscles that were paralyzed in that skiing accident way back on January 22. I noticed slightly more episodic stinging-type discomfort in my tricep during that moment and when I tried to flex my left tricep… I SAW IT TWITCH! Of course, I was very excited about this visible muscle activity and called Kara right away, but there was really no strength to actually move my elbow joint, just the little bit of visible contraction (1/5 strength for you medical types). I continued to “work it out” by consciously flexing my tricep as often as I could with newfound motivation. So, great news that one of the muscles was at least beginning to be reinnervated, but nothing to report about the deltoid (which controls most normal shoulder movements), supraspinatus (lifting your arm away from your side), or infraspinatus (rotating your arm outward, away from your body).

Again, if you’re new to what’s been going on, here are links to the previous blog posts. I’m sure Kara is proud of me for my contributions to her blog! I was told by a friend that I am now a “blogger” since I have 4 more posts than he does.

1. Initial story with a few pictures (February 6)
2. Description of the first EMG with some videos (March 20)
3. Second EMG and description of the surgery planned for July (May 28)

We can call this one, “Good news from the third EMG!”

Exactly one week after first noticing the activity in my tricep, I had an MRI and my third EMG. This was two days ago now and was scheduled as a pre-operative test with surgery scheduled for July 24, as described in the last blog post from May with some pretty good explanatory pictures. I knew my tricep was improving, but I didn’t know what that meant for the surgery that was already scheduled for next week. Would my doctors want to postpone the surgery to see if the other muscles started to improve, as well? Would they want to leave the tricep alone to see if it continues to heal, but go ahead and operate on the other injured nerves? There is a pretty hard line drawn at six months post-injury for surgical intervention as that’s when surgical results start going downhill. I’m at six months on July 22. These questions would go unanswered until my appointment after the MRI and EMG were done.

The EMG results were even better than I had expected! The neurologist found that my supraspinatus and infraspinatus were showing some signs of improvement, as well! All three muscles have very unorganized activity and the back muscles are still unable to show any signs of flexion on physical exam, but those tiny needles picked up electrical activity from several motor units that are firing in both my supraspinatus and infraspinatus, which is such a blessing!

So, with three of the four muscles starting to improve, albeit minimally, the decision was made to move surgery back to August 13 with another EMG on August 10 and see what kind of improvements my body can continue to make on its own. I will admit I was a little surprised the new date was so soon since it had taken six months to see any improvement and now we’re only going to give it 3.5 weeks before we check for more healing, but we’ll keep praying about it and hope the healing process speeds up!

I think Kara also has some anxiety about the timing of the surgery since #4 will be coming via C-section on August 30 and if my surgery was any later, the stress in our house might be overwhelming. Please keep praying for Kara and the kids as this journey continues. We could never adequately express our gratitude to everyone who has prayed, encouraged, or helped us over the past six months! Thank you so much!!!

16 July 2012

Fresh Beans

When I was growing up, there wasn't a summer we didn't have a big vegetable garden. It wasn't just a hobby or because my parents liked the extra work, it was simply a way of life. I grew up helping with the weeding, picking, and freezing of the veggies. I didn't like all the work when I was younger, but loved eating my mom's fresh veggies all year long. I rememeber thinking as I was growing up that everyone had a garden. It wasn't until after Erik and I had been married for several years and bought our first house that I realized this wasn't true! Erik hadn't growen up in the type of gardening family that I had and he had absolutely no desire to have any kind of garden. Now after buying a house with a spot for a garden already in the back yard, Erik encouraged me to have a garden.
The kids and I got a little carried away this year and planted a few too many kinds of veggies in our garden! We no longer have rows, but waist-high plants all tangled around each other. I can still pick out the different plants, though, and have been so excited to see our carrots, cucumbers, peas, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, and watermelon plants come up! A couple days ago, I showed the kids some pea pods and we shared some fresh peas. Yesterday I picked an ice cream bucket full of green beans and Klaasen helped me freeze them. There is nothing like fresh green beans! We are so excited to see what else our garden successfully produces this year!

Our freshly picked beans

First we washed them

And then maybe tasted them!

Scrubbed them good

Cut them up

Boiled them for four minutes

Immediately put them on ice to cool them quickly

And put them in bags and into the freezer!

14 July 2012

Sweet Siblings

As I've said before, I never grew up with siblings. I don't understand the fights, the teasing, the annoyance, nor do I understand the love, the bond, and the blessing. Through my kids I am gaining more of an understanding of this type of relationship and the more I know, the more I realize just how lucky my kids are to have each other.

Skogen and Maida went up to spend six days with my mom and dad this past week.I had no idea just how much Klaasen would miss them or how hard it would be for him to be apart from them. He's never known life without them and not having them here was a complete devastation! There was no one or nothing that could replace his siblings.

When the kids were reunited with each other last night at midnight, I saw the joy, the completeness, of having a sibling. Klaasen wouldn't leave his big sister's side and while we were switching the car seats from Daddy's car to Mommy's car, Klaasen wanted to sit right by Maida with his head on her shoulder. It was such a sweet moment to treasure (especially since this afternoon they are back to fighting and arguing!).

I hope that my kids are always close to each other and that I am able to nuture their relationships with each other as we all grow in this together.  I'm extremely excited to add number four to the mix and watch a whole new family dynamic develop.

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin