Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Busy Friday

I have a rather full day ahead of me tomorrow. In the morning, I'll be going to a friend's house to have a short play date. I'll be leaving Tucker with my friend in order to take Judah to Hopkins for a laser treatment. I'll also be taking Bella with me. My sister in law is meeting me at the hospital in order to watch Bella while I take Judah into the laser room. Then, we'll all head to her house so that I can feed Bella and wait for my husband to pick the kids up after work so that I can stay at my sister in law's house for a ladies' night she has planned. Lawrence, then, will have to pick up Tucker and has agreed to keep all three of the kids tomorrow evening so that I can enjoy a night out.

I'm tired just thinking about it!

Please pray for our family tomorrow....for Tucker who will be left with a "newer" friend of ours, for Judah to cooperate with all that's involved for his laser treatments, for Bella to be the flexible, "peach" of a daughter that she typically is, for Lawrence to receive much grace in his desire to bless me by keeping all the kids and for me, that I would not grow weary of crying out to God for His grace throughout the day because I know I'm going to need it in large measure tomorrow.

Please pray for our friend and her family as she has so willingly offered to keep Tucker while she has 4 of her own!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Bella Girl

I recently took Bella for her 4 month check up. I can hardly believe she's already 4 months old! She's growing and changing so quickly, much faster than I remember the boys growing up. She is doing very well, per the pediatrician: in the 75% for weight at 14. 6 lbs, the 95% for height at almost 26 inches and is developmentally right on track. She giggles and coos, rolls over from belly to back, makes some serious eye contact, is very intent on studying people and loves her mommy most of all.

Because I do not yet have a baby book for her (classic 2nd child [really, 3rd child, but 2nd pregnancy for me] syndrome), I decided I would write some things down here on the blog to help me remember these days that are flying by.

We moved Bella to her own bedroom at 4 months old. Mommy was sad to see her go. She was my own personal sound machine. And, I was sad to see her in that big room all by herself. The boys have each other, and I have Lawrence. It doesn't seem right that she's all by herself. But, no announcements to make, I promise! :)

Bella is attached to her nuk, which is fine for now. It helps her sleep and be quiet when she's growing cranky which is seldom. Bella is a pretty happy baby for the most part. She has been getting up around 6 a.m. when I give her medicine for reflux or try to get her to go back to sleep. Usually, by 7 or 7:30, I give her the first feeding of the day. She's up with the boys and me until about 9/9:30 when she goes to bed for a morning nap. She's usually up again around 11:15/11:30, when she eats again and plays with the boys and me until we all go down for an afternoon nap around 1:30.

It is super nice to have that afternoon nap still, though it's hard to come by some days with the boys needing a lot of discipline to stay in their beds.

I have to give Bella her reflux meds. again around 2/2:30 and sometimes, this keeps her from getting a good nap in. Sometimes she'll go back to sleep, but other times she just spends the next hour or so fussing off and on until I finally wake her up for the 3rd feeding of the day.

After she nurses, I usually make dinner and enjoy some alone time with my girl while the boys still sleep (this is on a good day when the boys actually nap!). The boys wake up anywhere between 4 and 5 and I frantically try to keep my sanity while getting dinner together and wait for Papi to come home.
On a good day, Papi will be home by 5:15/5:30. We'll eat dinner together while Bella sits in her Bumbo seat on the table. Mommy cleans up while Papi plays with all the kiddos. Sometimes, we'll take walks as a family after dinner. Bedtime is around 7/7:30 for Bella and the boys are typically about a half hour behind her.
I have to wake her up again around 9:30 p.m. to give her reflux meds. and then I feed her about a half hour after that. Because she only eats 4 times a day at this point, all her feedings tend to be hearty ones (hearty for Bella anyway which means about 5-6 minutes on each side). Papi and Mommy get some alone time with just Bella which we have cherished. It's usually brief, but we love spending this time with just her. I put her down for the last time in the day and she sleeps through until the next morning. She has slept through the night since almost 7 weeks. I am very fortunate, I know.

Right now, she enjoys playing in her exersaucer, playing with her little duck wrist rattle, laying under her singing star on the playmat and most of all when mommy just spends time talking and playing with her. She loves her brothers and her brothers love her. They have done really well with her, are very gentle and attentive, sweet big brothers.

A quirky, little fact about Bella that I want to remember just in case it goes away: her hands and feet are always clammy.

We love our little, beautiful Bella!

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Son's a Genius!

I know, I've had this title before. But when one's told her son could be mentally retarded hours after he's born, she sort of appreciates any moments he proves to be anything but a little more than the average proud momma. Such was this morning.

As I encouraged Tucker to eat the apple he asked for, "Tucker, you must eat your apple before the timer goes off. You may drink your water with it....and so on," I hear Judah pipe up from the living room with, "Eat it with a goat!"

For a moment I was puzzled until I remembered we read Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" yesterday. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Judah's Follow Up

Judah's appointment was fine yesterday for the most part. He was unusually upset by being at the doctor's office. He grew upset as soon as we walked in the building and initially resisted letting the nurses triage him. Eventually, (like after he realized he would get a sticker if he was good), he warmed up to everyone, and we were fine.

Dr. Comi and I mostly talked in between checking Judah's reflexes, talking about his development and looking over his measurements. Not seeing her for more than 6 months, there were a few things to discuss: Judah's growth, the hypertrophy (swelling) on his face/arm, potential circulation issues, etc.

I am able to give thanks that Judah's situation is not really acute or emergent (as they say in hospital world), meaning there's nothing that needs to be done immediately. He's not really "sick" in the way we typically think of "sick". Yet, there are things going on in his body that will have an impact on his way of life, some things we can only guess might happen and other things we may not see coming at all.

It can be difficult at times to know how to proceed in Judah's care as most of the treatment for SWS is based on symptoms, a reactive approach rather than preventative. I spoke with Dr. Comi about this just to make sure that I was thinking correctly about Judah's syndrome. There is indeed, very little that can be done preventatively for SWS; it's mostly treated per symptoms. There are so many aspects of SWS that are simply not understood by the medical community to date. So much more research needs to happen.

What that means for Judah and for our family is this.
Judah COULD have growth hormone or thyroid issues. We are going to start bloodwork to find this out.
Judah COULD have trouble in the future with the hypertrophy, but we're hopeful that laser treatments will help with this or that he just won't have the kind of trouble that some folks afflicted with SWS have.
Judah COULD have a like syndrome known as Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome which would affect his arms/legs, but we need to do further imaging to find out.

I walked out of the dr.'s office yesterday again crying out to God for wisdom. I don't know what tests to subject my son to and what tests can wait or not be done at all. I don't know what experimental supplementations to possibly try and what ones won't be necessary or might actually harm him. I don't know what information to seek out and what is better left unknown. Sometimes, I don't know how aggressively I should invest time, money, energy, etc. into gaining all the knowledge out there on SWS, knowing that it's man's wisdom, and that seems to change with time. What was recommended 10 years ago is quite different than what might be recommended today.

I walk away from these appointments and conversations tempted to feel very vulnerable and insecure about taking care of my child. But, I have to continually remind myself that God has promised to teach me and instruct me in the way I should go. He has promised me His Holy Spirit to be my guide. He has promised to grant me wisdom lavishly without finding fault if I simply ask Him and believe that He will be true to His promise.

SO, I have a couple lab slips, other doctors' phone numbers to call in order to set up further imaging for Judah. I have a list of things to bring up with our pediatrician. And, I am where I often don't like to be but where I most intimately come to know Lord: completely dependent upon Him to tell me what to do, to look out for me, for Judah and for our family, to once again show Himself strong and faithful and good to us.

We may not have "emergent" needs for Judah, but we certainly have needs. And, as always we covet your prayers as we seek to do our best in caring for our child and glorifying God with the lot He has assigned to us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A doctor's appointment

I know we haven't had one in a while! Actually, we have had some appointments for Bella and things are looking good for her. I will post another time about her progress.

Tomorrow, I am taking Judah to the neurologist for a follow up visit. We now see her every 6 months which for us seems like an eternity between visits. I'm grateful for this; it's a sign that Judah is doing well. :) But, there are a few things that I need to discuss with her. Judah's syndrome is such that most of his health needs, for Judah anyway, don't tend to be emergent. They are nevertheless present and need to be addressed.

I need to bring up Judah's growth with her again, see how he's tracking in the charts and what we want to decide if need be about growth hormone testing. I have some concerns about his circulation and the hypertrophy I continue to see on his face, neck and one arm. And, we will most likely be scheduling a follow up CT Scan to see that his shunt is working appropriately.

Our appointment is at 10 a.m., and I will be leaving both Tucker and Bella with my mother in law. Hopefully, Bella will just be sleeping while I'm away, and the visit won't run too long so that I can get back in time to nurse Bella.

We would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow's visit, and I'll try to let you know how things go soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Father's Grace

Grace: a disposition to kindness and compassion
Mercy: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender...

There are many ways I could honor my dad today, but I want to share a story in which my dad exemplified these two words to me in an unforgettable way.

When I was in highschool, I worked at a local dairy scooping icecream among other duties. One night, I was leaving to drive home and backed up into my co-worker's new Toyota 4 Runner. I don't remember it doing a whole lot of damage to her car, but the tail light of my dad's minivan came off along with some other structural damage. I was so upset about it and wished that my quick 5 minute drive home could have been longer to prolong the announcement I'd have to make to my parents when I got home.

When I arrived home, I walked into our dining room where my parents were jointly working on the budget adding insult to injury to my forthcoming announcement. Dejected, I threw the tail light onto the table and waited for the lecture to begin. What followed I will never forget. My dad calmly asked what happened, a tone of compassion in his voice rather than the irritation I expected to hear. Once he heard what happened, he said something like, "Don't worry about it. It'll get taken care of." Then, he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a 10 dollar bill, threw it down on the table and told me to go get some pizza with friends and forget about it for a little while.

Do not be mistaken. My dad always sought to make us responsible and not cover for our mistakes. But, my dad saw in this moment that I was certainly disposed to do what was right and pay for the damages myself. He saw that there was a greater lesson to be learned that night, not one of responsibility, but of grace and mercy. He sought (whether intentional or not) to teach me what it means to receive something we don't deserve.

That incident forever became a tangible picture to me of God's love for me. God, in His mercy and grace, gave me the gift of His Son's death to pay for my sins, when I did not deserve it.

Since then, I have cost my dad much money, even recently when I again crashed his truck trying to get out of a parking garage. Stuck on the fourth floor of the garage, I called my dad crying and fearful that I would never be able to get his truck out of the garage. True to his character and love for me, he only sought to care for me, calming me down and giving me a strategy to get the truck out of the garage.

Dad, there are so many things I could say to honor you. Today, I'm choosing to focus on one thing that has made a profound impact on not only feeling secure in your love for me but also in God's love for me. You have been a picture of my Heavenly Father in these incidents and others. Thank you for giving me that precious gift. Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Need Some Help

My near 3 yr. old boys cannot for the life of them seem to figure out how to blow their nose. I feel like I've tried many things to teach them the concept of blowing OUT of their nose. They don't get it. Are they too young or am I missing something in my instruction?
Any suggestions?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Zone Out, Freak Out or Cry Out

Recognize this scene?

Multiple people needing you all at the same time. Most, if not all of them are not asking but demanding your attention, lacking gratitude for your service and thinking they are entitled to all you have to offer them because they are, after all, the center of the world. Of course, I'm being a bit dramatic here for effect, but you get the picture.

Maybe you're a teacher to 2nd graders or better yet, pre-schoolers! Maybe you work under multiple bosses (like my husband) who don't always communicate with each other the entirety of their expectations of you. Maybe, like me, you're a mom of several children who daily require much attention and energy.

Whatever your position, I think most people at some point in their lives find themselves in this type of stressful situation. I found myself there tonight (and really, almost any night at our house these days). All three children managing to need me at the same time while my husband is fixing to go do some work out in the back yard. I looked at my husband and actually said, "If I don't zone out right now, I'm going to freak out." Now there's a godly response for you! :)

My gracious and oh so patient husband quickly ushered 2 of our 3 children to the van for an after dinner drive to leave me to some peace (and probably hoping I'd get it together for once!).
This may sound strange to some of you, but to be left to a quiet house where I can clean without interruptions brings me peace. Should it? Who knows. But, it does. However, this time, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, "Washing your dishes right now might bring you peace in the moment but it is not going to help you when those boys walk through the door in about a half hour. You need ME."

So, I put down my sponge and went to read my Bible. It dawned on me that when I said, "If I don't zone out right now, I'm going to freak out," I was convinced those were the only two options for me in that moment. I had forgotten a third option and really, the only option if I am seeking to glorify God in the midst of tempation. That was to cry out to God. I went searching God's Word for promises made to those who cry out to God and here's what I found.

Psalm 34:17
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

I thought of the many troubles I have found myself in over the years: some big troubles, some not so big troubles. But for every one, the Lord has heard and delivered me when I've called out to Him for help. It has not always been easy. In fact, I find I often have to apply much effort to take my thoughts captive to believe the truth and to act upon God's truth, and then my emotions eventually change even if the circumstance doesn't. Sometimes, however, God has delivered me from the very thing that is troubling me and in some way or another provides very tangible relief.

So, I went back to my dishes asking God for help. Not long after, the boys all walked back thru the front door, and I was tested again. My hubby asked me to do bedtime with the boys, which at our house can be like herding cattle into the barn at night, a very slow and laborious process. I took a deep breath (sad, isn't it that this opportunity to love on two little boys presents temptation for me), asked God for help and got the boys ready for bed.

Tonight, even as I post this I have another opportunity to cry out to God as I hear both my boys screaming from their bedroom. They need me AGAIN! My husband's needs me to take care of it so that he can attend to other things. I will cry out to God for help to serve all my men; He will hear me and once again deliver me from all my "troubles".

Cilantro Anyone?

I bought a bunch of cilantro on Saturday for a recipe I tried last night which was very good. I have a lot of cilantro left over and wanted to offer it to anyone who thinks they might use it this week. I don't think I'll use it all before it goes bad. SO, any locals want some of my cilantro?

I will even provide the recipe I used it for, and if you want to try it, you'll have the cilantro to go with it. :)

From Cooking Light:

Spiced Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Sauce

1 cup uncooked couscous (which I didn't have and didn't use)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I didn't have this on hand)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (I didn't have this either)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
Cooking Spray
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (I used fresh)
1 (6 oz.) carton plain fat free yogurt
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Cook couscous according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. (Obviously, this recipe is fine without the couscous, or you could use rice as well.)

Combine cumin and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a bowl; stir in 1/4 tsp. salt. Sprinkle spice mixture over chicken. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray (I used olive oil). Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

Combine remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, chopped cilantro, garlic and yogurt in a bowl, stirring well. Serve with chicken and couscous. Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.

IF any locals want my cilantro, leave a comment in my comment box.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Moving Sale

Sadly, our good friends, Aaron and Lori Chambers are moving within the next month. They are hoping to sell most of their furniture rather than haul it with them. I wanted to direct any of my readers to a blog Lori set up to advertise their stuff. Feel free to ask any questions at that blog as I won't really be able to answer any of them myself. FYI: The furniture is currently in Baltimore, so any of my long distance friends may not be interested.

The blog is:

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Greatest Comfort

  • a friend who just lost her aunt
  • another friend whose husband found himself in the ER with a ruptured appendix
  • a third friend whose 2 yr. old precious, little girl is fighting for her life in the hospital with Leukemia (please pray for Alivia)
  • a conflict with my husband
  • other friends who are discouraged by the challenges their newborns are giving them
  • a catty competition with a caricature of a woman who most likely doesn't exist
  • a client my husband's firm might acquire which would mean a 2nd busy season this summer
  • a limited food budget I've got to stay within to feed a family of 5 and no inspiration to cook
  • whether to put my children into their sunday school class and risk having them get sick (which has happened almost EVERY time we've done so this calendar year)
  • failing to respond to emails and phone calls, feeling like a failure of a friend
  • even seeing dirt under my sons' fingernails too many days in a row

All these things and more have served to disquiet my heart this week.

So often recently, I have walked around with a low grade agitated spirit. I find myself short tempered with my children, not tolerating my husband's sin, and scurrying around trying to meet the needs of others in my own strength. In my disquieted state, I've tried to hush my mind and heart with many things: writing more to do lists, reading a plethora of cookbooks for inspiration to feed my family, assessing the needs of others and offering to meet those needs without really prayerfully considering whether I am the one to meet those needs, giving advice, making phone calls and lots of apologies. All these things, while not necessarily wrong in themselves, have not served to ultimately quiet my heart.

There is only one thing that has consistently hushed my tumultuous, emotion driven thoughts, and that is the gospel. Only when I've taken time to come back to the gospel truths has my heart truly been at peace. When I've listened to worship songs that declare these truths to me:

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me...
Who crushed the power of sin and death


The Lord is not our equal
He doesn't need the help of man
Who could ever give Him counsel
Who could ever stop His Sovereign plan...

He punishes the wicked
Pours judgment out on sin
Yet this Champion of Justice
Is a Savior if you call on Him.

My heart has been comforted by God's Word that also tells me of God's kindness and provision to me through the gospel:

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.

For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
Ps. 86:11-13

I've tried many things to quiet my heart, but only one thing consistently works: the gospel truths. God's word is again proven true: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3