Thursday, December 25, 2008

News

She does not have Cystic Fibrosis; the test came back clearly and decisively negative. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Report

Proverbs 3
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

We are still in the hospital with Scarlet. All day we have believed that she has pneumonia and bronchiolitis caused by RSV. These are very nasty diseases. Unfortunately, we are familiar with them, and I have been so sick with worry for Scarlet. Her arrival at the hospital on Sunday evening was by a dramatic ambulance ride, and something I never want to repeat again. That was after almost 2 hours spent in urgent care, and then we had 3 hours in pediatriac emergency at Beaumont, and only then was she admitted to the pediatric unit. And here we still sit. I am thankful for the doctors and the nurses, especially the nurses, who are really patient advocates as well as caregivers. Last night when we arrived I asked for(demanded) a pediatric pulmonology consultation to happen today, and the respiratory therapy staff and nurses kept telling me it would be "someone" who was an associate of this "wonderful" Dr. Doshi, and unfortunately Dr. Doshi was on vacation for the holiday. The nurses raved about him, the residents were kind of in awe as they spoke his name. Come to find out he is the Director of Pediatric Pulmonology here at Beaumont. Partway through the day, after I had asked a hundred times, I was told that he was coming, then I was told that maybe not, and then I was told that the computer system went down so they were unable to check who was coming in for consults, and the doctors were unable to receive pages because it is all done electronically. So I was disappointed, and I figured that we would just accept the diagnosis that we were given, and that I would be glad that I have the next two weeks off of work to help her recover. As my parents and Stefan were getting ready to leave for the evening, Dr. Doshi arrived, and after another long wait, he came into Scarlet's room (which we are now sharing...yuck), and spent quite a bit of time with us. We were able to explain that for the last three months, she has just not been able to overcome wheezing episodes, and that we didn't feel the medicines were helping, we didn't know how to help her, her pediatrician was beginning to question our choices, and we basically felt stuck between a rock and a hard place.

To add to that, I confessed to him that I have been scouring the Internet for any kind of literature, medical reports, studies, definitions, medical sites, patient boards, anything really, to pinpoint Scarlet's symptoms. The medicines that she is taking are powerful asthma medications, but they DO NOT seem to be effective against this wheezing. And the majority of the time, my girl is happy, eating and drinking just fine, sleeping great, smiley, and playful. It's very strange. And it's also very obvious when she does not feel well. She acts like a sick baby. But the sick baby times are way less than the amount of times she is wheezing. The wheezing is constant, sick or not sick, and it's maddening, worrisome, and kind of heartbreaking because as a parent, you never want to think that your baby is struggling for one of the most basic things: breath.

All of my constant reading late at night led me to something called Broncholmalacia
. I don't mean to say that I have it all worked out, but the symptoms of this disease are Scarlet. Along with its cousins tracheomalacia and laryngomalacia, which Slade was born with, all of these are basically congenital birth defects of the bronchus, trachea, or larynx. That's the bad news. The good news is that kids with these defects typically grow out of them by the age of 2, like Slade has.

So when we spoke with Dr. Doshi tonight, and I asked him about this, he agreed. The official diagnosis has to be made as a result of a bronchoscopy. We are going to schedule this in January after Scarlet has a chance to heal and recover from her sickness. He doesn't feel she needs the asthma meds. He cut out two of her medicines tonight, leaving her on one antibiotic for an ear infection, and a steroid for her upper airways, along with a leukotrine inhibitor, which is a safe drug.

After he listed to her for a long time, he said it could be bronchomalacia or tracheomalacia. The scope will be definitive. She does have to go through a sweat chloride test tomorrow morning to rule out cystic fibrosis. But he said he is 99% sure that she does NOT suffer from that. Please continue to pray the report from that test is a CLEAR NO WAY!

I know that no parent wishes their child to have a congenital birth defect. But trust me when I tell you that I will be so relieved to know a diagnosis. It will mean Scarlet will be a wheezer and that colds will affect her longer and harder than other kids. But it will also mean elimination of powerful medicines with possible negative long-term side effects. It will mean a peace of mind that all we hear is the sound of the air being pushed through, but that she is getting all the oxygen she needs to be normal and healthy. It will mean that she can go to daycare and we don't need to worry, they don't need to worry, she isn't spreading or getting sick from those kids anymore than any other normal baby.

I have to remember that God made Scarlet who she is the ways she is for a purpose. I don't know why she suffers with this. I don't know why any kid suffers. It will be one of my first questions when I get to Heaven. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS when I come through the fire of parenthood on the other side of a crisis, I see the Lord's work at hand. If I had taken her to the pediatrician instead of urgent care, we would have not been admitted to the hospital, or if we were, it wouldn't have been Beaumont. If I had not had prior experience with airway malacia, I would not have known what to look for. If Scarlet had not been assigned the nurse she was given last night, I would not have known to trust Dr. Doshi. If I had not kept asking for a pulmonology consult, he wouldn't have made it here. If the computers had not gone down, Dr. Doshi would never have called the hospital on the off chance to see if there was someone who needed him. The long three months we have endured may be ending.

If it's not bronchomalacia, then I trust we are in the right hands of a great physician who has an alternative treatment plan to figure out what comes next. And we can live our life with a lot less worry in the coming weeks because we know that even though Scarlet is wheezing, she is not "sick". She is healthy, she is oxygenating. She's just noisy. Some kids don't sleep. Some kids have weird behaviors. Some kids have hearing or eyesight issues. There are any number of things. My kids have a wheezing thing, one of which we know (Slade) was caused by laryngomalacia, and one for which I am hoping broncho/tracheomalacia.

At the end of the day, she is always in the hands of Jesus, and I freely admit that I have been angry and feeling forsaken for weeks. Unable to understand why my daughter can't breathe, or so I thought, I have begged and pleaded with the Lord to heal her or show me what to do for her. He has. Just not the way I thought he might. And so the verse I quoted at the beginnning of the post is one I will keep reminding myself of in the coming weeks as we continue our journey as Scarlet's parents.

Scarlet's bronchoscopy will be in January, a few weeks from now. Before he left and after he examined Scarlet, Dr. Doshi said she does not have pneumonia, and she has a much milder case of RSV and bronchiolitis than we were first told, and she will be okay.

Proverbs 3:4-6 (The Message)


3-4 Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
in God's eyes and the eyes of the people.

5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;
a father's delight is behind all this.

Request

Please pray for Scarlet. We are at Beaumont, and she has pneumonia (they think). The thought of possibly spending Christmas here makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prizes

Check out this website for really great giveaways.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Create

My sister, Emily, and her husband, Joshua, are very creative people.

This year, they have just decided to make these Christmas and Winter craft pieces to sell. There are so many more (CUTE) examples than what I am showing here; these are just the pieces I bought for our house! You should buy some, too! ;-)






Since I took a half day off for Scarlet today (Stefan took the other half), I got to watch her enjoy Sesame Street for the first time. She has seen bits and pieces of Elmo dvds, but this was the first time that I sat down with her in front of the television, and we watched together. She loved it, and she spent a good 30 minutes just totally entranced by all the characters and activity. When they started singing or dancing, she just wiggled her little booty all over the place. It was hilarious.










Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feelings show...

I don't mean to complain, complain, complain on this blog. I'm just me. For over a week now, I have refrained from saying anything on here, only sharing the basics with our family or very close friends. I get tired, as you might imagine, of the comments, and the endless questions, and the wondering why. Always why? why? why? Trust me, if I knew, I would give you the answer, and we would be fixing it. I simply am exhausted. I suppose we all feel this way at times. So, now I spill the beans. Scarlet is sick, sick, sick. It seems like she has been sick for three months now. Last week she started with the wheezing again, and I was so worried one morning last week that I texted my family to ask them to pray for her because I didn't know what else to do. My dad jumped in his car and came to watch her for me. After taking her to the doctor that day, who agreed with my decision to put her on steroids (since we have a pharmacy in the kitchen) and give breathing treatments every four hours, we made the choice to keep her home and get her well. Good thing, because the results of her blood test showed that her white blood cell count was soaring (22,000), and so she is also on a broad-spectrum antibiotic because the pediatrician was concerned about bronchitis or pneumonia settling in her little lungs. So far getting well has taken 9 days now, and we aren't there yet. We both work. Everyday. Basically, we are paying our childcare provider to not watch her. It's been hard, and we are so grateful to our families, who have stepped in and picked up the slack for us, driving an hour early in the mornings, and sometimes in bad weather to watch our girl. And I am still unsure about next week. What if she's not better? What do I do then? I don't even have enough sick days to to comfortably take time off, and Stefan doesn't even get sick time! It's the classic struggle, and I am sure all those better moms who stay at home with their kids can feel good about their family decision when they read about my worries and frustrations because I work to provide the health care that is keeping her breathing. So what do we do if she is still wheezing on Sunday night and we are faced with waking her at 6:30 to take her to daycare? What?

Back to my point - I am so exhausted and worry-filled that I am not enjoying anything right now. I find it hard to enjoy this beautiful season, I find it hard to wake up in the morning, I find it hard to smile, I find it hard to relax, I find it hard to make life fun for the boys, I find it hard to make dinner, I find it hard to have order, I find the sound of giggling boys annoying, which makes me sad, and then I get angry at myself, and then I am sad again, and I have to count to ten before I react, and take a deep breath. I know times are hard for so many right now. I know. I am thankful for my job, for Stefan's job, that there is, hopefully, a light at the end of this twisty tunnel we are in. I know she will grow, she will get stronger, she will be okay. I have to believe that. It's the best I can do right now. So I'm asking. I'm breaking down and asking, please pray for me, for us, for her. I know some of you already are, and thanks for that. I don't know how much more I can take, but I know I'm right there on the edge, and I think I am a really strong person.

And what do you make of this?

Interesting website I heard about on the radio this morning!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Microphone

My thoughts exactly.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joy in the Making

It was surreal for me. The whole pregnancy was a joyful time from the very start. I had so wanted a third baby, but as a couple, Stefan and I were not on the same page. I can very much understand, and even agree, with his point of view. Babies, who turn into kids, require a lot of money, time, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy, and our life was already very full with our two wonderful sons. We were really very happy and as a family, we were in love. My pregnancy was a total surprise, as we weren't trying to have a baby (in fact, we have never tried to have a baby, and I count that as a blessing).
I can vividly remember the day I found out I was pregnant for the third time, July 18, 2007. I had been at the beach with the boys that morning, the kind of day that was just baking. I remember coming home late morning, all gritty with sand and chapped lips and squinty eyes, and getting the boys to lay down for a quick nap. I was planning on a long afternoon because we were going to the Ann Arbor Art Fair with my family. For the few weeks prior, I had really been trying to lose weight, and I had joined Weight Watchers. It wasn't going well. Although I was following the program religiously, I would either just be the same weight each week or even had gained some! I was so frustrated, and it really never occurred to me in those early days of summertime that I could be pregnant.


The day I got home from the beach, I had one pregnancy test left out of a pack of two. I bought the tests on a whim, thinking that I didn't feel "right" over the weekend, but when I took the test, it was negative, so I put it out of my head and went on with my week. I mostly decided to take the second test to quit wondering about it. It had been three of four days since I took the first one, and I didn't really expect the test to show up with two lines. So much so that I had never even shared with Stefan my recent suspect about the possibility of a baby, or that I was feeling "off". When those two lines appeared on the little stick, my whole body just kind of jolted, and I don't know that I can really convey the heart-stopping thrill of seeing a pregnancy test turn positive.


My first thought was that Stefan was at work, and I had to call him because when he got home we would still be in Ann Arbor...and I wouldn't be able to tell anyone until I told Stefan. Soon after, I was also thinking that he might just have a heart attack. When I called, the poor man was trying to enjoy lunch, and all he could say was, "Excuse me?"

It was a pretty great feeling to show up at my parent's house and say nothing but hand over the pregnancy test to see for themselves. The boys were excited, and most of all, it was thrilling because Allison, my sister, had found out about her pregnancy exactly a month (to the day) before.

The following seven and half months were wonderful. It was my healthiest pregnancy, to date, I didn't gain much weight at all, and I tried to relish every moment because I knew it was to be my last. It was also the only one in which I experienced some nausea, though. It was fun to be pregnant with my sister, and to imagine the new joys that a baby girl would bring to our family. And EVERYONE who found out we were having a girl had the same comment, "You finally get a girl." To be honest, that was really the most annoying thing, and a little rude. It's my personal opinion that you don't have babies to get the "one" that you want. And I would have been completely thrilled with a third boy; in fact, we only could come to terms with a boy's name, and I found it very hard to believe that we could and would have a girl. You may not believe me, but it made no difference to me or Stefan what gender the baby might be.

Fast forward to February 27th, 2008. My doctor had planned an induction for me that day to avoid having a baby on leap day. And while it was still two and half weeks until my due date, the baby needed to come out; she was enjoying all the wonderful holiday food I had been eating and was gaining weight at a steady pace. Having had a 9+ pound baby the first time around, I was all too happy to oblige so that I could have an 8-pounder.

I worked that day, and it was really strange to know that one day I would be at work and then the next day, I would be a new mom again. My sister, Emily, had graciously agreed to stay with our boys through the night and bring them to the hospital the next morning or the next day, whenever the baby arrived. So at 6:30 that evening when we left, it was just me and Stefan. It felt momentous, that drive to the hospital. I wasn't worried or scared; I was happy, and it seems strange to say, but at 31, I felt like a grown up. I was driving to the hospital with my husband, the person I love so much, and we were going to be welcoming our daughter into the world. It was an awesome feeling.

When we arrived, it was quiet at the hospital, and Stefan and I were experienced at this kind of thing by the third time around so we didn't have many questions. The night was quiet and dark with swirls of snowflakes gently falling around us as we walked through the main entrance and made our way up to Labor and Delivery.

As we idly watched our way through Wheel of Fortune and American Idol with our daughter's heartbeat thumping through the monitor's speakers in the background, I couldn't help but wonder what the night would bring. The waiting was mundane, but the coming event was so not. Would it be long? Would it be painful, or would my epidural take care of that? What would she look like, our little Scarlet Grace? Would she be healthy (our biggest concern)? It was well after 9 P.M. before the ball really started rolling, and I was given the drug to induce my labor. Sometime around 10 P.M., just our parents arrived and did some talking and praying and retreated to the waiting room. Soon after, my wonderful doctor arrived to assess "the situation". It was just about midnight, when the new day was arriving, that she decided to break my water. I'll spare you, Internet, the gory and glorious details of delivering a baby naturally. I say naturally because that darn epidural failed me. Oh, my right leg was number than doornail, but that was about it. I felt every movement that tiny baby was making. But the process of labor isn't what makes you mother. Certainly, it's a rite of passage, and I think that I would be sad about missing out on it, actually, but like walking through a firestorm, literally or figuratively, it's how you come out on the other side.

Scarlet Grace arrived both fiery and gently, like her name. She came into this world boldly, yet it was so peaceful and quiet in that room, just the four of us, doctor, nurse, mom, and dad, waiting with our hearts open. The elation I felt as the adrenaline rushed through me while birthing her was incredible. As the mom, ironically, you take a back seat in the process. Everything is about the baby, and it's so gratifying and almost haughty to know that you are creating a family. One of the best parts of it all is being able to watch your husband watch you have a baby. Every emotion plays out on the face, and while I was of course the one feeling her birth, I was also watching it by watching Stefan's face and eyes. She was born at 2:46 A.M., just two hours after active labor really began. Having never had a baby in the middle of the night, it was a totally different experience than my first two children who were labored throughout the length of the day(s). The busy humming of the labor and delivery ward is eerily quiet, lights are off, interruptions are minimal, and there was no big waiting crowd in the lounge. In fact, Stefan rarely left my side to give updates because they were all sleeping, and when he eventually went out with the camera to show pictures, only his mom was awake and the others awoke to the sight of a beautiful baby girl.

In my mind, that night is recorded in memory snapshots, like the ones they take at Christmas time that have that glowy effect all around the edges, and my mental movie is on permanent slow motion. I can savor every sound, sight, and detail of the delivery room, the cadence of the nurse's speech, the doctor's progress reports that energized my efforts, the smell of the handsoap, and the awkward feeling of the bed. The moment I became her mother and her little squirmy body was placed upon my chest was among the four greatest moments in my life.

The early apprehension we felt about adding a third child to our brood melted away so quickly. On paper I still see the financial implications of my maternity leave and baby supplies, and another nursery to decorate, and baby food, and everything else "baby". But in our heart of hearts, we know that our strong, graceful baby girl was intended for great purpose within our family.










Monday, December 1, 2008

Road Trip

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Six Mile, South Carolina. As small as it is, I don't think I've ever actually been anywhere in "town" except for Gin Shoals Road and Durham's! I know there must be more to it, but maybe next year.
We spend each Thanksgiving week with Stefan's family. This year, I was able to leave work a little early, and we thought, logically, that we would not have to spend the night on the road, and we would arrive earlier than in past years. We were wrong. First of all, we had to turn around because SOMEONE forgot to put all the necessary items in the car. By the time we backtracked, the kids wanted lunch, and it was 12:30, which was still earlier than we usually leave, so we stopped and got them some food. Finally on the road, we made good time until Dayton, Ohio. Construction. Three lanes down to two. Almost 2 hours just SITTING there, and because of the sitting we were unlucky enough to be in a congested area at rush hour. As soon as we made it to where the road opened up, BAM...accident right in front of us. Luckily we were able to swing around it and hightail it to Cinci, where we waited in more traffic. It just took forever. I-75 was closed because of a tanker fire, so congested, so we finally stopped in Eastern Tennessee and spent the night and made it to South Carolina at the same time we usually get there each year. I guess the fact that we had good intentions counts for something!







It's always nice to see Stefan's extended family; we aren't able to spend much time with them throughout the rest of the year.
There was a lot of eating and laughing and talking going on, and the we had a chance to see some of Stefan's family history on his dad's side.






Later in the weekend, we had the opportunity to go horseback riding with Stefan's dad, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and our family (except Scarlet, who was napping with Grandma Ruby). Spencer was allowed to ride his own horse, and he did so awesome! It was NOT an easy trail. It was up a mountain, down a mountain, across a stream with a waterfall, and all around the woods, but it was a lot of fun, and it happened to be the nicest day of the whole week with warm sunshine and temperatures in the 60s.
Now we are back to the daily grind, however, Stefan reminded me that there are 13 workdays left until our long Christmas vacation, and that is a very good thing! Although, I still have LOTS of shopping to do, but thankfully I can do much of it online.
On Monday, I took Spencer to the library to paint windows for the holiday season. All the library windows were painted, and Spencer and I were assigned one right by the front door, so we took the opportunity to say Merry CHRISTmas in a festive and creative way.







Thursday, November 27, 2008

THANKS

Family,salvation and grace,my absolutely wonderful husband, hot tea, my Blackberry, card games, hair bows, pens that write smoothly, medicine, lotion, potatoes, water, buttercream candles, twinkle lights, Hidden Valley ranch, gum, bags, libraries, Elmo, mascara, my laptop, cameras, Diet Vernors, and Target.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Snowing....

As I look out my window right now, it's a swirl of snowflakes. So beautiful. I couldn't be happier. I know lots of you are lamenting the fact we get snow, and the roads get bad, and kids get sick, but the beauty of a snowy day just kind of makes it all okay. That and the fact that if you live in Michigan you shouldn't be too surprised about the snow! We're off to the south tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your loved ones or find someone to love!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Results

Ah, so it was...no, IS a staph infection. And the doctor says that this one needs a stronger antibiotic than the two he has been on already, so when we are through next week, hopefully, he will have been on antibiotics for 30 days. I know, I know. It could be worse, and thank God it's treatable.

There is a hole in the eardrum of boy #1, and that is very disappointing. According to the doctor, this perforation is in a position that typically heals well. Considering we have had two surgeries on that one eardrum, and both times the hole has been patched and subsequently healed up, there is some kind of breakdown during the end stages of healing or soon after. It continues to remain open. There are lots of details I won't go into because I am sure my son would not like everyone to know all his health details, even at his age. HE doesn't even know all his health details! Plus, it REALLY bothers him and he gets in a funk when this ear thing becomes the focus of conversation. So, we continue to tell him that the Bible says we are healed by the stripes of Jesus, and that is what we will believe. He believes it with all his little heart, and more than anything, that is why I want him to experience healing.

And, yes, we are STILL administering breathing treatments to two of the three kids. I have come to hate the mysterious Reactive Airway Disease!

It's been a tough week, and it's like I am hanging on until we get a break from the daily grind. As much as I want to be angry, I feel like I really can't. I feel like I am being cheated, and that life isn't fair, but then the good times really outweigh the bad sometimes, and the hard stuff fades into the background. Mostly, I am confused. I don't understand why, and I probably never will. That just makes our level of frustration rise. Both Stefan and I have looked at these situations from every angle, and we have done everything we know to do, and sometimes we feel like we have just failed our children...faulty genes and all that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do not repeat

Wednesday night, 8:00 P.M.

"Mom, I feel pressure in my ear like I did when I was 5. I don't like it."

"Let me see, get the flashlight. Um, Stefan, what is this in his ear? His ear is bleeding, and it won't stop."

"Looks like some kind of something."

"Put it in a bag, you'll have to take him to the doctor tomorrow on your half day."

11:00 P.M.
"I don't know, what do you think?"

"Well, I know I don't like the sound of that, so fill up the humidifier and put it in her room."

12:00 A.M.
cough, cough

12:47 A.M.
cough, cough, cough

1:00 A.M.
cough, cough, cough, cough

Thursday, 6:00 A.M.
"I don't know why I set an alarm, I was up all night listening to the coughing."

"Me, too. What time do you want me take him to the doctor?"

"I don't know; I have to make an appointment when they open at 9. I will call you on my break. You'll have to get him early from school and then get the little kids when you are done. Do you think she'll be okay today?"

"I don't know. I will make sure she sounds okay before I take her in."

"Well, let me know. I hate this."

1:45 P.M.
text message
"His bleeding ear is fine; some kind of scratch or something, he has ear drops to make sure it's okay. The other ear has another hole in the eardrum, though."

"What?!"

"Hi, I need to make an appointment for my son. The ear he had surgery on has another hole in the eardrum. We would really like to see the surgeon before Thanksgiving."

8:00 P.M.

"I don't know what's wrong, but she sounds horrible, tons of wheezing. You should take her to the doctor in the morning."

"I already have to take #3 in for his 4-yr. well visit plus a recheck on his ear because it won't stop draining from that ear infection, so I'll just add her. Did you give her breathing treatments while I was at conferences?"

"Yeah, but she still sounds bad."

"How's the ear?"

"He's pretty upset about having to go back to the specialist."

"I know, but what else can we do? Now both of them have some ear thing to worry about."

"Do you think he'll change the antibiotic again tomorrow?"

"I don't know. I hope it just goes away. It's been two weeks and two antibiotics. Have fun up north hunting with the boy. Take his mind off everything, maybe."

Friday, 1:00 A.M.
cough, cough, cough

10:15 A.M.
"Dr. Sundar, I don't know what else to do about this draining ear. Should we try another antibiotic? Is this normal?"

"It's not 'normal', but it's not 'abnormal' since he still has the tube in that ear. At least the infection is draining out and not causing pain. I think I will swab it because it might be a staph infection in his ear."

"When will we know about that?"

"Probably Tuesday; it has to be cultured."

"What do we do if it's a staph infection? Isn't that serious?"

"Yes, but let's cross that bridge if we get there. Now, what's the deal with her? She doesn't sound good? Are you still doing inhaled steroids? Albuterol? Humidifier?"

"Yes, yes, and yes. She was fine until yesterday. Then she started with the wheezing. I have been doing everything I can think of to avoid steroids again. She is so little."

"Let me take a listen....yes, bad wheezing. We have to do something different because you are doing the max you can for prevention, but it's not enough. I am going to put her on a new medicine; it's not really approved until 12 months, but it's the lesser of two evils. Let's try it for a month.

"Are you sure it's safe?"

"I think so, yes."

"Okay, but I don't like this. I don't know what else to do, though."

"Try it for 30 days, and I am writing her a steroid prescription. Use it if you need to; you'll know when, you always do. I want to get you through the weekend without having to take her to the ER. Call me or bring them back if they get worse. I'll let you know about the ear culture, too. Keep her on 4 treatments a day and 2 of the steroid."

Sigh.
text message
"Little kids...not good. Things are falling apart while you are gone."

Saturday, 10:00 A.M.
"Are you wheezing, too? Do you feel okay? Is it scratchy? Does it hurt? Let me see your ear? It's still draining. Let's take your medicine...and why don't you sit here and watch Cars while you have a breathing treatment. Let me get the other machine because it's time for your sister's too.

2:00 P.M.
Another round of breathing treatments

6:00 P.M.
Another round of breathing treatments

7:00 P.M.

"Hi, it's Mom. She's been in an accident on her way home. She flipped the car and Dad's on his way. I don't know much, but she is walking and talking; I'll keep you posted."

"Stefan, are you on your way home? My mom just called. My sister's been in an accident. No, I don't know much, but I am waiting on her to call. I might need to drive out there. You'll have to finish up the last round of treatments tonight and give all the medicines."

Sunday
More of the same

12:00 P.M.
"I was so worried about you! Always hit the deer! How's your neck? Fracture, sprain, and concussion? Go lay down!"

Monday, 6:00 A.M.
Work...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bubba

My Bubba turned four last Sunday. I can't believe he is four! Just look at that sweet little face in the banner picture; he looks so pure. Tomorrow we are celebrating his four wonderful years with friends and family. We actually rented the Tumblebus, and he is very excited about it. The look on his face tonight when I reminded him that his party was tomorrow was so blissful; like there could be nothing better anywhere than his party. On his actual birthday, he kept asking, "Is it still my birthday?" He just couldn't believe his good fortune that he got a whole day to himself. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, considering that he is the middle child. When he was born, I was happy that he and his brother would be buddies, but at the same time I was apprehensive that he might not be able to find his own voice. His brother had come before him, you see, and not that our family or friends wouldn't value Slade for his individual worth, but all the "boy" things had been done, and all the boy sweetness and fun didn't seem quite as new and shiny. The Lord in his ever-faithful way took those quietly whispered worries and has made life such a sweet and exciting adventure with our Sladey-doodle. He recently quit saying that his whole name was Sladey Doodle, as in first name, middle name, and then Anderson.

Sladey Doodle Anderson: we couldn't have special-ordered a more complete blessing. You have given us hours of enjoyment and a million smiles. As many times as my heart has squeezed with worry about your health and my mind filled up with a myriad of unanswered questions, the joy out of your heart has been two-fold. Through you, the Lord has sustained both your Daddy and me. Everyday, we speak blessing over your life and your choices. The same way we trusted the Lord four years ago in making our family of three into one that would include you completely, we will continue to entrust you in His care. We love you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Fall


So now it's November...can you believe it? I so can't. This year has literally flown by for me. I can't remember a better time in my life! I am so happy and blessed by my family, and we have had a lot of fun this year in welcoming Scarlet into our close-knit family of four and making the Anderson Five. I don't think there are two brothers who love their sister more than Spencer and Slade. She lights up when she sees either of them, and it's so wonderful to see that. I hope she continues to do the same thing when she's 13 and they are still protecting her and loving her!

In the last few weeks, we have done several Halloween/fall-related activities. I already wrote about the Friendly Forest, of course, but we also went on a hayride and enjoyed a bonfire at Spicer's Orchard in Fenton; Slade had a field trip with his pre-k class to an orchard in Oxford; Spencer painted pumpkins in art class; we participated in the family pumpkin carving at our library, and then last night...Trick-or-Treating with Commander Rex (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Buzz Lightyear, and Minnie Mouse!

It's been a great autumn, and I am looking forward to seeing a few snowflakes. I know people think that is weird, but in MIchigan, we get to enjoy all four seasons, and I really do. In fact, I have been disappointed with the forecast for the coming week: every day the temps will be 65-70, and that doesn't seem right for the first week of November in Michigan!









Saturday, October 18, 2008

Milestones!

The Friendly Forest was so much fun. Spencer and Slade both seemed a bit apprehensive when they had to approach all the characters, but they got over it pretty quickly; the candy was key! At the end of the trail, cider and donuts were waiting and then a hayride and a hay bale maze, and a picture station. By the time we got there, though, the kids were a bit "pictured out", but we did our best.






The picture below is from Spencer's Taekwon Do testing last night. He was testing for the 6th gup, and if that means nothing to you, it's going from his high yellow belt to his green belt. Basically, that means he still has high green, blue, high blue, red, high red, and then black, finally. We won't get to black for a couple of years! Testing was a LONG time, and the little kids were so good. By the time we got home it was nearly 10, and we left the house at 5:30. Spencer was so nervous, but his favorite part of testing is always the board breaking, which is hard to do, but he broke three boards! Good for you, Spencer!

To finish it all up, here is a picture of Scarlet with Lolly, my baby doll when I was a baby. There is a rattle inside of her, so she loves the sound. No, I wouldn't give her a stuffed doll that was 30+ years old without making sure it was clean! It's actually machine washable and dryable, so we washed it on hot and dried it on hot! She loves it!

Events

Hello All! First off....if you think about it, say a prayer for my sister-in-law, Angela, who is running the Detroit Free Press Marathon tomorrow. Pray she will be safe, remain healthy and strong, and be proud of her accomplishment! Go get 'em, Ang! Also, Happy 5th Anniversary to my sister, Allison, and her husband, Jeff. Congratulations and we love you!

Today we have had a busy, busy day. We all slept in...thank you, Lord. Spencer is cleaning his room as we speak and using the dusbuster without being asked. Slade and Scarlet are napping, I have laundry going, and Stefan went to work to get in some overtime. Normally, I would be not thrilled about that, but can you believe in this economy that my husband is not only working full-time, they need him for overtime! Thanks again, Lord!

This is all after we divided and conquered this morning when Stefan took Slade with him to get an oil filter in order to change the oil in the Bravada. Stefan teaches the boys the names of tools when he does things like this, and Slade did a great job today. I took Scarlet with me (who was in the most adorable outfit until she had this disgusting blowout thanks to the antibiotic) to Spencer's basketball class. Spencer did so wonderfully during the game, and he was able to run up and down the court with the ball several times. I took video of it, and tonight my goal is to load a short clip of that on here. This evening, in about 3 hours, we are taking the kids to the Friendly Forest and then going out to eat with my parents. It's a good thing we are attending this pre-Halloween event because Slade has 4 costumes this year, and between today, Halloween, and school, he can at least wear three of them. He has a choice between Thomas the Tank Engine (tonight's selection from a garage sale this summer, $1 and still like new!), Buzz Lightyear (which used to be Spencer's), Woody from Toy Story (that I bought for super cheap last year at a resale shop), and Sully from Monster's Inc. (used to be Spencer's). He is so excited; I just hope that he doesn't think he gets four choices every year. It just so happens they all fit him this year! I will post wonderful pictures tonight, I'm sure. Spencer is a Clone Trooper from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Scarlet is going to be a giraffe or a teddy bear; can't decide, but I want to save the real costume, Minnie Mouse, for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update

We went back to the specialist today. Dr. Savi said there is still a slight wheeze, her ear infection isn't any better, but he was pleased. We also asked the doctor to change her antibiotic because the current one that she has been on since Saturday is not working. I am sure it's a great drug; however, my girl is very picky with her tastebuds, and it doesn't matter what I do, she spits that medicine out right back at me as fast as I can get it in her little mouth. We have tried all manner of tricks: putting it in her food, putting it in her bottle, giving it to her straight, trying to give it to her while eating and then shoving her bottle back in her mouth (same with the pacifier). So, I can't do that for 10 days because it means she is eating and drinking less, still not getting the full dose to help her ears, and generally hates it. Seriously, you can smell the crap across the kitchen when the bottle is opened! The pharmacy tech. suggested that special flavoring be added to make it taste like grape. The normal smell of it was unpleasant, and my kids have been on a lot of antibiotics, and I can't recall ever having this kind of trouble with the medicine. Note to self: don't go for the flavoring! Tonight she took it out of a spoon and didn't spit it back at me, so progress.

My girl is still on four albuterol treatments per day and two pulmicort treatments in addition to that. We have been doing this treatment schedule for more than two weeks now. She will be on pulmicort, which is an inhaled steroid, for the rest of the winter, and today, the doctor increased the dosage from 2.5mg to 5 mg. I find this a little scary, but I am trusting God. Spencer had the same dosage, too, and he is fine. There are nasty side effects from steroids, but pulmicort is not a systemic steroid; it goes directly to the lungs, and while it can have some bad effects over time, a year of pulmicort is just about equal to a short course of an oral steroid like Orapred (prednisone). This is all for at least another week, and then we can skip albuterol and only do one pulmicort, if she sounds good and is healthy. The second she starts coughing, wheezing, having a runny nose for any reason, we have to start the hardcore treatments again, with no waiting. I hope that tomorrow she can get her flu shot. We also went over the results of her chest x-ray from two weeks ago, the day after she left the hospital. There were some questionable spots in the lower lobe of the right lung. He didn't exactly call it pneumonia, but he did say that the antibiotic and inhaled steroid would address that issue over the next week. Over the years, I have learned to ask doctors and nurses specific questions. After the medical professional goes through the details of a particular issue or illness, I find it really useful to ask him or her about their gut feeling. I say, "So, what's your gut feeling about this? You just told me yadda, yadda, yadda, and I understand all that, but what does your gut tell you about the outcome of this ________________ (fill in the blank with whatever the problem is)?" Generally, I get a much clearer and honest answer from the doctor or nurse, and you have to MAKE them talk to you about the illness, not just listen to their expertise and get a report; you have to ask smart questions that don't waste time and that are straightforward.

Throughout all of this, she is her happy self; I adore her.

That's it in a nutshell. I am really exhausted of hearing the breath squeak out of her everyday. After awhile, it grates on the nerves like nothing I have ever experienced. It creates a stressful kind of worry that just escalates with each breath, and it makes my head want to explode or implode, I don't know which is better or worse! Please continue to pray for her.

Also, Slade experienced his first allergy shot today. He did alright. Of course, he didn't want it really, but when I promised him a sucker, a sticker, and a trip to the dollar store, he at least lessened the screaming. Picture this: I was holding Slade because he didn't want to sit in the chair, so we were standing. I was holding him against the front of me, locked in my arms so he couldn't move, except I couldn't get his legs so he was kicking the crap out of my shins. Because he had to be still, the receptionist came from the front to hold his arm, but that kid is a brute, and she ended up standing to the side of me and wrapping both her arms around Slade and me, in a kind of professional bear hug. It worked. Let's hope next week won't be quite as "touching".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The result of three kids who love to play

If I posted a picture of my living room right now, you might think that we have experienced a tornado.

Three posts in one afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought this was so appropriate! It's from one of my favorite websites, Mom4Life. If my family is reading this, I want one of the new Mom4Life t-shirts they are selling on that website. Good Christmas idea! :-)

A Reminder

Happy Autumn!

Today I got a massage. I have been getting regular full-body massages at my chiropractor for over a year now. By regular, I mean I do everything in my human power to go once a week (Yay for MESSA!). My massage therapist is named Rose, and she works in the office a few days a week. Well, today I really needed my massage. I am coming off of a very stressful few weeks, worrying about Scarlet's health, and the economy is falling to pieces, and just life is feeling not so free and easy at the moment! When Slade was born, he was so sweet! (Do you remember those cheeks!?) With all that sweetness, he was a hefty little dude and because he was so sick, I carried him on my hip for a long time. That, compounded with the fact that he took his own sweet time in walking (14 months), I held him forever, and in doing so, damaged my right shoulder. I don't know all the muscle names off the top of my head, but it hurts like h-e-double hockey sticks, and when I am under a lot of stress or tired, it flares up. Sometimes my dad and his pseudo-chiropractic ways help a lot, and sometimes nothing helps except getting rid of the stress and chilling out, a lot of ice, and ibuprofen. And my massage. Today, Rose helped more than that, though. I try to keep the whole "my kids are a sickly crew, well not really sick, but they have airways that react too strongly to a list of whatever" conversation to a minimum. It always takes a long time, people ask stupid questions, and then I get irritated and mad about the whole thing over and over, so I just say we are doing "okay" most of the time. Today, the minute she put her hands on me, she said, "What's wrong? Why are you so stressed? Your shoulder is awful!" So I told her the short version of Scarlet and the boys. I have been beating myself up a lot in the last two weeks. For working, for having "faulty" children, for not being able to prevent my kids from having to deal with this crud, for not being perfect. Yes, I know, nobody's perfect! I don't want to go all super-spiritual on blogpot or anything, but I do believe that we are not here randomly living out our days on Earth. I believe I have a multi-fold purpose, not yet fully realized, and I think everything happens for a reason. I don't have a clue why I have to be the one to know so much about RAD through my kids, but I will find out one day, that's for sure.


Back to the story. Rose, who is the mom of one of my former students (5 kids, actually), runs a farm with her husband and is a wonderful person, was appropriaty sympathetic, like most people. She always makes me feel so good about being there, and I appreciate that about her. And then she said something so simple: "You know what the problem is, you're experienced in it, and you know that things will get better. It's a blessing, actually, isn't it?"



Yes, I guess it is.

26 moments of bliss

Ah, got ya! Did you think I was going to list something sweet and sappy about my family? Well, I could, I guess, but no. What I am referring to are letters. Yep, the good old alphabet that I am sure many of you recite often as you teach your kids the alphabet song. Seems simple, doesn't it? It is, really, but if you get to thinking about those letters, they take on a complexity as intricate as you can begin to imagine. I was listening to NPR this morning, yes, I listen to NPR, and I love it, but anyway, there was a segment on in which the NPR staff was naming their favorite letters, and I have never actually thought about it! Have you? When I began to try to figure mine out, and why, which is actually the most important part of your favorite letter because it says so much about who you are and your personality, I found that I was trying to figure out the most versatile letter; the one that can be used the most often. And then I got frustrated because I am so completely practical that I irritate myself. Yes, my practicality serves me well in many, many situations, but it's so boring sometimes. I am challenging myself to not be so safe all the time. For example, I might choose a dish that I totally think is boring at a restaurant because I want to make sure I am getting my money's worth. I know I will like it, but on the other side of the menu, something else might look so tantalizing, but what if I don't enjoy it? Then I would be mad at myself. I need to lighten up. I am sure that while reading this my husband is holding his chest before he falls on the floor in total amazement.

I like B, but I don't know that it would be my "favorite". I love words and letters so much, it's hard to choose a favorite, but maybe I just think that because choosing just one is so impractical! You need all the letters to get something accomplished.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reasons

As you know, Scarlet is currently in the hospital. We are hoping to go home today. As you can see from the pictures, she is her usual, jovial self, and for that there is much thanks. Being in the hospital is bad enough, but being in the hospital with a cranky baby is NOT fun; I've been there, too.

This is a good reading!


Sweet Cheeks!

I started this blog so that my sister could keep up-to-date with my kids' happenings and feel like she knew our day-to-day. However, she didn't move to Tennessee as it turns out, but I am still blogging. I didn't think I would enjoy it, really, as well as the fact that it's a litte presumptuous to think that people might really want to read about you and your family all the time, as if there aren't more important things happening around us. But, according to the Feedjit tracker, people in a lot of places are reading this blog, and that is fine by me; it's actually kind of nice.

This month has been a very busy one, and sometimes I wonder how I managed to get it all done and still leave everyone feeling good about how our life works (except sometimes me). I am not complaining by any means, and I knew three kids would not be a breeze. But it's true: there is no time left for me, ever. I sneak time away by going to the grocery store alone(great fun!), taking 1 hour between dinner and the time Stefan needs to leave to take #1 to taekwon do in order to use my birthday gift certificate for a pedicure, or leaving the kids at daycare for one extra hour so I can get a massage when I go to the chiropractor. Then I feel tremendous guilt that I have taken time away from my kids. So much so that sometimes, I can't even enjoy doing above-mentioned things, some of which are necessary. Maybe I'm sick. I think it's more common than people realize, though, and I have yet to hear a good father say, "I feel so guilty about going to work." Work is a dad's expectation but a mom's poor choice, and I don't understand the disconnect. I do choose to work because I have bills to pay, because I went to school (twice) and earned a degree (two), and because I value the benefits of good health care for my family. On the flipside, I would also like to be the supermom who makes homemade delicacies with her young children, visits every attraction in Southeastern Michigan and takes appropriate pictures with said children looking happy and well-dressed, who welcomes her husband home with a nice dinner and boys quietly playing and the baby has become a genius child with amazing tricks, and everyone is ready to tell dad about their wonderful day. Are you laughing yet? Because the reality is that we bought a zoo pass in May and have used it only one time (the same day we bought it), that I have successfully convinced Spencer that fake seafood is real seafood and that he likes it, and if we have pizza night once a week, I feel smug. I have also realized that if I put a movie on in the van for #2 between the time I pick up the little kids and wait for Spencer in the carpool line, it counts as quality time with the baby or I can read a whole magazine article and fulfill my duty to be well-informed about the latest and greatest in child rearing and good citizenship or how to be "green". I'm exhausted just writing about it all, and in the back of my mind I question my choices. And then, when the dust settles and the sun is sinking and my babies find no better place than my lap and a story and a good talk, all those misgivings are gone. Is it like this for everyone? I wonder often.

I will update September later on. There are lots of good pictures, first days, birthdays, and fun stuff to share!

Monday, September 29, 2008

RAD

stands for Reactive Airway Disease, which is Scarlet's official diagnosis. I am writing this update from the parent's lounge at St. Joe's Oakland, and I am frustrated and disappointed and angry. Scarlet is her usual happy self, if you can believe it. We went to the doctor this afternoon because she was wheezing so badly, and I knew in the pit of my stomach that we would end up here tonight. I hope that we can go home tomorrow, and it looks likely. Her oxygen levels were 94, and then they went up when we got here, and now they are down again. It stinks, but I am glad we are able to provide care for her. She will see a specialist tomorrow, the same doctor my boys saw when they went through the very same thing and who they still see to this day. Slade had a check up just last Wednesday. I trust him and he has always been so good with my kids. It looks like the third time was not the charm we had hoped, but Scarlet herself is a treasure who is very much worth the time sitting here and worrying. We love her so much. We covet your prayers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tasty Treats

Oh. my. gosh. These are so good. I found the recipe in Wondertime (Sept. 2008), and my family has been eating them like they are going out of style; Spencer thinks that it is dessert! I will try to post a picture later, but it was a ton of fun to make these with my kids. They got to get their hands all gooey and wondered what in the world was wrong with their mama that I told them to play with food. I have not been blessed with a nice Kitchenaid stand mixer, but I thought using our (clean) hands was actually much more fun! My boys love to cook with me, Slade especially, and I know their inspiration comes from the movie Ratatouille. Slade is always making a "wecipe" (recipe) and sharing it with everyone, and Spencer always gets in on the action. Scarlet is with me most days I cook dinner, so I hope that my kids always stay in the kitchen and want to be with me. It's the best time to talk, I've found. You learn all kinds of cool stuff about their day. Personally, I have been eating a couple of these for breakfast every day (Stefan, too!).

Powerballs (I know, the name...)

1 c. honey
1 c. peanut butter
Blend together until smooth
Slowly add (in a stand mixer or by hand) 3 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 c. chocolate chips
Mix together
Add:
1/2 c. coarsely chopped peanuts
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. dried cranberries(I think you could use any dried fruits in place of the raisins/cranberries)

Roll into ping-pong sized balls. You can eat them as soon as you are finished, but they are better after some time in the fridge. They can be frozen as well (layer between wax paper in airtight container). If you use your hands, I found that spraying my hands first with cooking spray helped not make it so sticky.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One of the best...

blogs I have ever read is this one. On more than one occasion, I have laughed, been moved to tears, been inspired, and have been made to evaluate my relationship with Jesus. I would encourage you to read it, starting from the very beginning, if you can.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I had to fix....

all the typos in the Paint entry! Sorry....it was Friday of the first full week of work in 6 months.

Paint Primer

This is taken from the September 2008 issue of Wondertime Magazine, page 29. I just thought it was a great reminder for those of us with kids (or maybe it will help you remember how to be a kid).

Back when I was little, kids who wanted to paint had three options. There was the cheapo box of rockhard watercolor tablets with a six-hair paintbrush for scraping pigment onto the Horses of the World booklet. Or the upended gallon of house paint on the driveway, applied to the picnic table until someone came out and said something to you in "French." Or the sturdy easels at kindergarten, where not much painting took place because adults wouldn't acknowledge that men's old dress shirts were bigger than 5-year-olds. (We all stood with both arms in the air like we were habing conversion experiences when actually we were just keeping our smocks on.)

But painting can be truly memorable when it's done right: washable formulas, responsive paints with rich pigments, and tools that are kid-sized but still high quality. The enchantment of paint, at first, has nothing to do with making a picture. The appeal is just the stuff itself: the earthy smell of it, the gooshy smear of it. Then kids feel the transformative power of paint, turning a perfectly white expanse of paper wet and red. Pretty soon they get the idea to turn the paint into images of things they know about - first the sun, then Mom. After that, bottles of paint become little bottles of potential. - Lynne Bertrand

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If you can't say something nice....

Okay, so I have only shared these feelings with Stefan before, but here I come, Internet! As you have read, I am back to work. While I like what I do, and I probably wouldn't choose to earn a living a different way, I DON'T like feeling torn all the time between being away all day and being at home. Well, we had to take Scarlet to the doctor yesterday because she has been experiencing a lot of congestion. For 10 days, she was kind of "snotty", and I figured if it was a cold, it was just going to have to run its course because there was nothing I could do. And before you get all, "Oh, she is in daycare, of course she is sick...", I'll have you know the congestion was there the day she started daycare, so it had nothing to do with it. Actually, I wasn't really sure it was a cold because she didn't have any other symptoms. Her nose wasn't running, her eyes looked good, no fever, no cough, etc. It was just upper sinus congestion when she was having a bottle, laying on her back, or sucking on her pacifier. When I picked her up from daycare on Monday, her nose was running, she had horrible naps, looked like she didn't feel well, and she was wheezing. If you don't know the past history of my boys' health, let's just say these symptoms were not welcome and I was immediately on the defensive. I took her in right away, and to make a long story go by quickly, the doctor said he was sure it wasn't a cold. She does have an ear infection because of all the congestion; however, he is sure that she is experiencing reactive airway issues because of the change in seasons. To say it plainly, the beginning signs of allergy-induced asthma. This is how we started our parenting life with Spencer, but much earlier than the age of 6 months. Slade was even worse, and when I got pregnant with Scarlet, both Stefan and I were very fearful that we and the baby would endure the same troubles. But when she was born, things were so smooth. I really thought we were in the clear. And then comes my first full week of work, and we are at, what feels like, back to square one. I am so disappointed and angry.

Today, Stefan took the morning off with her and I took the afternoon. Yesterday, her pediatrician told us she was not at all contagious and because she is on steroids and breathing treatments, we should see an improvement. We are so familiar with this route and we truly hate it. I didn't have the heart to send her to daycare today, even though she got the go ahead from Dr. Sundar yesterday. I wanted her to have good naps and feel comfortable, and really, I still feel like I am mourning my work situation. I know I don't have it bad, but it's my life and this is how I feel. You don't have to understand other than to know I struggle.

As I was leaving work this morning (my half day begins at 10:13!) I shared with someone why I was leaving, and I am not sure what goes on in peoples' heads. Her first comment and reaction was that she was thinking that it must be something in the daycare that was making my kids "sick" all the time. Then it was that it must be our house or the way I clean. After that, the idea was that I was feeding them food that wasn't good for them or that they were allergic to, and gee, maybe I should consider getting them allergy-tested because you know, of course, I must not have already done that. As IF! I am not a total idiot. But comments like these, or even the thought that someone is thinking things like this, drive me completely insane and really make me feel like I am doing something wrong or that I am a complete failure as a mom. Then I waste time going over in my head everything I should do, could do, should've, could've, second-guessing myself. I know this isn't true, but it's not the first time I have heard these "theories" and answers from friends and people who should know better! In fact, even people I would consider close to our family have hurt me more than they will ever know with "ideas" like this. And it's really infuriating. I mean, if someone else's child had an allergy, a genetic condition, a deformity, or was delayed mentally or developmentally, the LAST thing I would ever do was question what the parent was doing wrong that they made their kid suffer. I wouldn't ask what they did while they were pregnant, or what they ate while they were pregnant to make their child so "sickly". I wouldn't tell them that the medicines they were giving to their child might cause latent developmental delays after they had just shared that said medicine was finally something that was working for their baby. I wouldn't share my "worry" for someone else's child in such a way that the parent feels stupid and has to answer and actually justify what kind of treatment they have sought for their kid(s). What parent would want their child to suffer?

All of these examples have been thrown at me first hand about one or more of my kids more than once, and I am tired of it. If I hear it one more time from someone who is "well-meaning", they just might regret it. Even our doctor(s), since I have made the effort to delve into these conditions and symptoms (and when I say delve, I haven't yet come up for air), have stated time and again that what my kids experience is genetic, and it hits boys moreso than girls (another reason I was hoping that Scarlet escaped this reactive airway curse).

I know it could be worse. I know it could be life-threatening (and it has been), I know it could be incurable, I know there all sorts of terrible things it could be instead of what my kids go through. But my mother's heart doesn't consider those things when I hold my baby close and listen to the air whistling through her lungs, or see my baby hooked up to machines in the hospital, or when I have to give the medicine that has yucky side effects. My heart doesn't care, at the moment, about the plight of every child around the world. I can't. My heart is glued to my own three, and I hate when they suffer, and I am incapable of making it better, no matter how hard I try.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Faithful

The Lord is so faithful. My mom always told me that we operate under the favor of the Lord, and while I know that to be true, time and time again it's been proven, sometimes I forget how relevant we are to the Lord. I have been worried about daycare and my work schedule and going back to work for some time now. It's not been a secret, that's for sure! I have laid awake some nights, my mind too full for sleep, and sometimes the tears wouldn't stop. So, today, it was with a heavy, yet expectant, heart that I left my babies in the care of other people and went off to work for the first time since February.

The difference between the last few weeks and this week is remarkable to me. Because last week, most of the days were bad; really bad. I felt so heavy, so down, and generally sad. This week, when I expected to be a basket case, I was strangely peaceful. More so than I have ever been at the start of a school year. In a sense, I almost felt prepared. In church a few weeks ago, our pastor (my dad) spoke on living a blessed life. That really spoke to me. In that message, there were several scripture references about blessing and how to pray for blessing. However, in my prayers to the Lord, it felt to me that about all I was able to do was cry out and tell him how badly I felt. And even that prayer seemed helpless to me because I felt like words, of all things, are my strongest ability, and I couldn't even find the words to express my desires about my children to the Lord.

Then, last week, I was able to access my work schedule online, and I found out that I was supposed to teach 2 literature reading classes, 1 journalism writing class, and 3 general writing classes. If you don't know anything about middle school writing, let me just say that it needs a lot of help, and those 4 writing classes were equl to 114 students (no to mention the 60 literature students!). So my mom and I decided that we would pray for favor. I emailed my boss, asked if I could meet with him this week when we returned to work, which is the week before school starts, the week AFTER kids had already picked up their schedules. What I really felt would be manageable for me was to have 4 reading classes, 1 journalism writing class, and 1 writing class. I felt it was a long shot, really, but I decided to ask for it, expecting that I would be relieved of 1/3 of the writing classes, but not 2/3. When I got to work, it didn't look good for me. My boss stated that there were two other teachers with difficult Language Arts loads; one of them with the exact schedule that I had. He asked if we could meet later in the day, and so during that time, I simply told the Lord the problem was his, and that I knew I was in his favor above all else. The meeting was set for 11:10. I walked in a couple of minutes before, and my boss had already begun the meeting without me. In fact, they were almost done. It was the other teacher in question, my boss, the department chairperson, and then me. As I sat down, they announced they had moved the schedule around and asked if it would be okay with me if another teacher took two of my writing classes and gave me two of her reading classes. I am sure my face gave me away, but I was able to say, "If that is what you have worked out, then it will be just fine with me." I walked out of that meeting with exactly what I asked the Lord for, and it may not seem like a big deal to many, but when you walk away from a day of work in which you have collected more than 100 3-page writing pieces or projects, and then have another 60 reading book reports to grade on top of that, it is evident just how much the Lord was working on my behalf!

To top it all off, I picked up Scarlet from her first day of daycare. A day in which her primary caregiver (the one who knew all the details) had called in sick. Not only did she take 2 naps, she took two really good naps at the correct times, and her eating and everything else was totally normal. This was my other prayer...that there would be no interruption to her and that she would be able to sleep in a completely different environment than she was used to, without trouble.

Let me remind you how faithful the Lord is. He is always on time, and as humans, we seem to forget that our lives are not our own. I was able to tell two people at work today that the Lord had answered my prayer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scarlet Grace

Well, she can't walk away like the boys would, so that is why she gets the pictures. Here are some recent developments (and I was playing with her hair, and she is wearing the cutest new jammies...but she would only look at her lamp)! Enjoy.





Riding the waves

To be completely and totally honest, I have been in quite a turmoil over the last week. Each August, I sink into a mini-depression. I say this not to make light of depression because I know many people struggle with it. But I know it's coming, and I know why, and I try to brace myself for it. No matter how hard I try to insulate myself, I still get very upset when I think of having to leave my kids and start working again. Summer is such a magical time for us; like the eye of a hurricane, actually. We get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and go wherever we want. It's uncluttered, peaceful, and happy. Then, suddenly, it is as if we are thrown right into the storm part, we have to deal with routines, homework, childcare, transportation, procedures, making sure everyone gets enough sleep, scheduling EVERYTHING. It's like a balancing act, and I always feel we are on the verge of collapsing if I don't hold it together. And everyone around us still has the same expectations. The weekends during the school year, I feel, are mine. I don't want to be obligated to go to functions and share my kids with anyone, but then, everyone feels like they should get a part of us too. It's hard to manage.

When Spencer started elementary school, it was a little easier, after I got used to the idea that I no longer had the freedom to just do what I wanted because he was in school and needed to be there. That meant on my days off, he might still have school, and I wouldn't be with him like I used to. That was difficult to navigate. Slade loves his teachers and he has friends at school. He likes routine and has always done well. I am sure when he goes to kindergarten it will be the same kind of adjustment I experienced with Spencer. Right now, though, he is still very much a little boy.

Now, I have sweet Scarlet, and while I thought 6 months was a long time; it's really not. It has gone by so quickly, and I am not ready. So not ready. Last week, we visited the daycare three times. I think it would be really unfair of me to send my little kids there with no previous exposure. I do my best to take everything they need, meet and know the caregivers, ask all the questions I need to, fill out all my forms, etc. BEFORE the first week they are supposed to attend. Stefan, ever positive, repeats the mantra, "They will be okay. We have done this before." But it doesn't help. It doesn't help at all. In that place where my heart meets my stomach, I feel sick, like someone is just twisting the knife in. I have shed countless tears, and I know that many people have it much rougher than I. But I am not them, and I don't live their life, and this is my reality, and I am really struggling this time in a way that I don't think I can accurately convey and that most people don't understand. For sure, there is the guilt; always the guilt. But then, I feel like I have cheated my daughter and myself. My boys never had to go to daycare until they were 2 and 1, respectively. They stayed at home, slept in their own bed until they wanted to get up, had a set schedule, took good naps. Granted, they weren't with me, but they were with people who loved them. Now, I have this beautiful 6-month old little girl, and I have to let someone else hold her, and feed her, change her, calm her down, see her instant smile when standing over her. It's too much to bear, really, and I feel miserable, unsettled, and generally distraught. Plus, I don't really LOVE my job. It's okay, the people are average, it's a paycheck, the schedule is better than a 9-5, but it's a lot of stress, too, and some of what I do seems pointless at times. So, I don't know if I am just miserable or if it's because I shouldn't be leaving her at that specific place, but nothing better has turned up, there is only a week to go, and my unending prayer is that the Lord will take this situation and make it at least okay. I know she won't remember it, but I will. Everyday I will.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things I love the most


These are the three best things I have ever done or known.

Spencer

Slade


Scarlet