Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mealtime/Bedtime Routines

Throwing out another question for all the mom's (or anyone else who cares to comment) out there. Lawrence and I have discussed and tried MANY things, and we've prayed considerably about the various ways our household functions on a daily basis in the mundane tasks of life. One of the areas where we have met little success is mealtime and bedtime with our children, specifically our boys. :)

Specifically, we have daily battles with our boys to eat. They're picky about what they eat and pokey when they eat. Truly, we have tried nearly everything (or at least what we see as viable options for making them eat and moving them along when they eat). Currently, I make one dinner, will improvise a tad to make the meal more palatable for 3 year olds (almost 4), and now have begun setting a timer at the beginning of dinner time for them to eat in an allotted amount of time. We have begun at 45 minutes. Last night, they finished in under a 1/2 hour. Woo Hoo!!

We've disciplined for not eating and/or for playing at the table. We've bribed with dessert (something I never thought I'd do). We've made them go to bed hungry. We've tried saving their dinner for the next morning. We've tried making them separate meals just so they'd eat anything. (I will not do this with any kind of regularity.) We've tried the 2 bite rule. We've bought food type videos for them to watch with the hopes that they'd get excited about eating. We've eaten with other families whose kids are better eaters. We've allowed them any and every kind of dip they'd like. Ranch dressing is working for one of the boys currently, and I am so grateful. We still impliment many of these things, sometimes all of them on the same night. Needless to say, mealtime is EXHAUSTING. And, sadly, it's not only dinner anymore. It's breakfast, lunch and dinner. I feel like a cattle herder, prodding them along at every meal to finish their meal, even breakfast, which never used to be an issue.

Anyone want to offer any suggestions and throw in hope for good measure?! :)

Another area we have trouble is bedtime. We have a routine down pat (except for cleaning up their toys...that is hit or miss at our house still). It takes us easily a half hour to get the kids down completely for bed, and this is without baths on a good night. When we throw in a bath, it could easily take an hour! Again, it's either the constant re-directing, re-focusing or a whole lot of discipline, sometimes both. Is this just normal life having toddlers, particularly two toddler boys of the same age? (Maybe Laurie or Suzanne could chime in here). Again, we're open for suggestions and hope! :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Adore My Daughter

This is a thought that goes through my head so many times a day along with, "Thank you, God, for Bella." She truly is a joy. I am often struck with how quickly my kiddos are growing up, especially our little girl. I wanted to jot a couple things down for my own memory's sake.

She does this strange thing where she'll grab and pinch my elbow when I'm changing her diaper..that is, when she'll lay still.

This morning, I was laying on the floor as I went through the circulars writing out my grocery list. She grabbed one of the circulars, laid down on her belly just like me and started pointing at things on the pages. TOO cute!

She chatters all day long, baby babble...got to get it on tape.

One of the first pretend play things she did was to pick something up and place it at her ear, tilt her head as if she was talking on the phone. My boys did the same thing.

She lights up when she hears her Papi (Lawrence) greet her on the messages he sometimes leaves in the morning on our answering machine.

And, I love her smell. It's not a "bottled" smell because we can't use the fragrance-y shampoos or lotions on our babies. We all have sensitive skin. It's an authentic baby smell and it's all her. I love it. I love walking into her room and taking in the "Bella" smell.

We had her 15 month check up recently. She's a peanut..only 21.5 lbs, about the 30% for weight and 10% for height. We have shorties....with big heads. She was in the 80% for head circumference. She continues to have reflux occasionally even on 2 medications, and one can still hear her stridor pretty easily. Our ped. is willing to give her to 2 before he'll send her for any more tests. We are grateful to have some more time to pray and wait on God.


Dunkin Donuts 16 oz. Iced Coffee, today from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Go here: https://www.dunkindonuts.com/ for participating locations.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

25 Things To Know About Little Boys

*This is most funny when read late at night with a glass of wine!

1. A king size water bed holds enough water to fill a 2000 square foot house 4 inches deep.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 foot room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up in the air a few times, before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words 'uh oh', it's already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9. A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

10. Certain Legos will pass through the digestive tract of a four-year-old boy.

11. Playdoh and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12. Super glue is forever.

13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15. VCR's do not eject 'PB & J' sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20. The fire department in Austin, TX has a five-minute response time .

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24. 80% of Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

25. 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

Thankfully, my boys haven't tried any of these...YET. The closest we've come is when Tucker decided pennies might taste good and swallowed one. My guys aren't the "dare-devil" type, but they have friends who are and easily egg them on. So, I know my day is coming.

What would #26 be on your list of Things To Know About Little Boys?
*This was not originally written by me. I don't know its original source, however, to give credit.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My New Website

I am very glad to announce that I have a website for my Pampered Chef business. It is:


Go check it out and pass it along to any of your friends who may be interested in ordering product, hosting a show, joining the business, or have any questions/concerns about Pampered Chef product they currently own. I'm especially interested in serving soon-to-be brides with our wedding registry and/or a Pampered Chef wedding shower.

If you are a soon-to-be bride or know of any soon-to-be brides, please consider setting up a registry with Pampered Chef through my website. I think Pampered Chef offers one of the best wedding registries out there. Not only will you receive personal assistance from me, but you will also be eligible for the benefits a host normally receives when he/she has a cooking show: up to $200 in free product, 4 half price items and 30% off additional product. You will also receive 10% off all Pampered Chef product for up to a year after you register with the Pampered Chef!

This month is "Help Whip Cancer" month. The Pampered Chef designates one month a year to raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. Check out the pink products we're offering for sale this year. One dollar from each pink product bought will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Stop by to see other ways you can participate in this worthwhile cause.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Just a Virus

Funny how the threat of something more serious can make one grateful for a virus. Bella broke out in a definite rash today, confirmed by the pediatrician because it was rather faint and scant on her neck and trunk. It's not the chicken pox. Her fevers have come down to more normal ranges as well. SO, the ped. is pretty convinced it was "just" a virus. The test on her urine was normal which was also a relief.

Thanks for your prayers for our little girl and for us this week in particular. We are heading to PA to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom this weekend. For all the moms who read here, Happy Mother's Day. May you know God's pleasure for any and all the ways you lay down your life for the sake of your children!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's Funny What We'll Thank God For...

At the Almengor's tonight, it was for pee in a cup and tiny red spots on Bella's trunk and back indicating, we hope, a viral rash of some sort. We thought Bella did better through the night last night. Though up several times throughout the night, crying and obviously cranky, we thought she felt cooler than the previous four nights and thus, didn't take her temperature. I was hopeful that the fevers were gone. But, this morning when I took her temperature, it was 101, a sign that the fevers were still here.

The pediatrician checked in with us today, though, and said even though she had a fever, it's lower than it's been and that's a good sign. He said the viruses he's been seeing have had fevers that trail off toward the end rather than stop all of a sudden. And, the faint rash on Bella's body is a good sign as well of a virus.

We also managed to get a urine sample from Bella tonight, so we can have that tested for a bladder infection if it's still unclear as to whether or not she has a virus. The girl has tonight to show us it's just a virus by getting through the night and waking tomorrow a.m. without fevers. If she does, I think our ped. will conclude it was just a virus and not take a blood sample. Otherwise, she'll have to get some bloodwork done tomorrow.

Thanks for your prayers. It's crazy how consuming children's illnesses can be of one's energy and focus. But, we have felt God's grace helping us to trust Him with the unknowns of our little girl's health and to live our life while waiting on His timing to make things clear.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Bella continues to have fevers...last night's highest was 104.1. We're managing the fevers with over the counter Motrin and Tylenol. The dr. is going to have me try to get a urine sample here at home using a bag or cup even though it's not the most ideal way of doing it. Also, he wants to give it until Friday to see if the fevers break and/or a rash breaks out which would indicate to him a viral issue which is what he's been seeing a lot of. He said if the fever doesn't break by Friday that we'll likely go ahead with some bloodwork. Or, if she continues to get these fevers through the summer, when viruses aren't as prevalent, he'll want to do a blood workup then, too.

So, we pray and wait. It's in these kinds of circumstances that I take great comfort in Psalm 139

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Renal Ultrasound...

...showed nothing remarkable. A good thing, I guess. We're left with a cranky baby whose temperature rises over the course of the day. She didn't seem warm to me today, so I didn't take her temperature but ended up giving her tylenol around 3 anyway because she was so cranky. Tonight, however, before her bath, we checked and her temperature was up to 102.5. So, in went the Motrin.

This episode is different than the others in that she's not been a happy baby, and her fever has risen significantly higher. Last night when we checked her, the temp. had risen to 105.2! We bathed her, gave her some Motrin, and thankfully the temp. came down 2 degrees within a half hour! But, that gave her the "shakes", and we didn't sleep so much last night.

I'll wait to hear from our ped. to see what the next step is. I'm guessing they're going to try to get an actual urine sample to rule out definitively a bladder infection. If that doesn't show anything, I'm thinking they're going to take a blood count to see if that indicates anything.

Please pray for my baby girl. Any parent knows it's no fun to have a miserable, sick baby. And, please pray for the doctors to have wisdom to know how to proceed. Thanks!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blown Veins, High Fevers and My Gentle Shepherd

Today, Judah had some testing done to see if he has a growth hormone deficiency. It involved receiving an initial IV through which he received medication and was to have blood drawn about 6 times over the course of 2.5 hrs.

When it came time for the IV to be placed, I decided it was best to be straigthforward about what was going to be done and why. I figure for a little boy who has and will continue to be a "frequent flyer" at doctor's offices and hospitals, it is no use trying to fool him. So, in language a near 4 year old can appreciate, I let him know what veins were, that they carry blood and that the nurse needed to get some of his blood in order to see what it looked like. I think this helped him not be so squeemish and fearful about seeing red stuff come out of his arm.

The nurse applied numbing cream to 2 spots where she thought she could get a good stick. She tried the hand; Judah screamed like nobody's business. No matter how much I've watched my little man go through, I still want to cry my eyes out, grab him and run right out of the room whenever we have to go through the "next thing." I prayed and God supplied grace to cheer him on. The nurse was able to get the IV in, but his vein quickly blew, and she had to go up to his arm. She let us know at that point that the Sturge Weber kids, for unknown reasons, tend to have weaker veins. My faithless heart immediately thought, "Great! This is going to be a long, horrible day," instead of saying, "Oh, Thank you, God, for giving us this opportunity to pray and see you come through on our behalf." ;)

We did pray, though, and the second stick, Judah amazingly did not cry! Can you believe that?! He watched the nurse stick him and said, "It doesn't hurt." We were all elated! When he saw his blood, he made some kind of comment about Jesus spilling blood and dying on the cross for our sins. Our nurse chimed right in with, "But He didn't stay dead, did He? He's up in Heaven and we'll get to see him again, right?"

Oh, Lord, why are you so kind to us?

Judah's veins blew two more times before it was all over. He cried on the last stick because the numbing cream wasn't on so well in that spot. But, he was so brave and resilient through it all. He sat on Lawrence's lap for more than 3 hours watching movies, having the life literally sucked out of him, having had nothing to eat and only sips of water until 1:00 this afternoon. Once again, my little guy won my respect like few others by his display of grace while undergoing such trying circumstances.

And, as is becoming our tradition, he proudly let all the nurses know that he would be getting Dunkin Donuts after he finished with his test. Not only that, but a very cool "Certificate of Bravery" now hangs on our fridge from his nurse, Catie (and a few other great prizes they had stashed in their prize closet)...**Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital has the BEST prize closet I've ever seen! :)

We arrived home close to 3 pm and not long after that, Bella woke up from her nap. When we checked Bella last night before we went to bed, she had a high fever, over 103. This is the 4th occurence of her starting a high fever in the middle of the night. We've talked with our pediatrician about it in the past and there's never been any alarm because she acts normal when she has them. She eats fine, plays happily, and apart from her body feeling very hot, she shows no other signs of distress. So, we've given her Tylenol and Motrin around the clock until her fever finally breaks. Sometimes, it's a day; sometimes 3 or 4 days. Today, after her nap, she woke with a 104.4 temp., the highest it's ever gone, and unlike in the past, it was affecting her breathing, her mood and energy.

So, not 2 hours after we had arrived home from the hospital, I was taking Bella to our pediatrician. The ped. thought it might be a bladder infection, and the only way to test for that on a baby is to have a catheter get a urine sample. I frowned with displeasure, but knew we had to do it. The ped. tried several times and wasn't able to draw a sample. So, we now must arrange for a kidney ultrasound.

The circumstances of our day would test anyone, I'm sure. But, all throughout the day, I sensed God's gentle Spirit shepherding me through it. When Judah's veins blew, I did eventually hear that still voice remind me that it was indeed an opportunity to pray and watch God come through. There were many times throughout the day that God directed my focus toward things I could choose to be grateful for such as my husband's presence and help today (that is often not the case), or the fact that our nurses were so patient and persevering with Judah, that Judah was so unbelievably brave and persevering himself, that we had videos to enjoy while we waited, etc. Then, when it became apparent that I was going to have to take Bella to the ped., again I sensed God's Spirit right there with me, shepherding my heart that is so prone to self pity and despair. Instead, He reminded me that THIS was the way HE chose for me to bring glory to Him today, and that HE'D provide grace for me to do it with a grateful heart rather than a fearful or despairing heart.

Again, when the catheter didn't draw a urine sample, God reminded me that His wisdom is profound and much greater than my own. He gave me grace to quietly, in my spirit, agree with the truth that for some reason I didn't see in that moment or may never see, it was better for that catheter not to work than for it to work.

I know folks were praying for us. There was evidence of God's grace all throughout our day. Thank you! Please continue to pray for our family. I can tend to fear tomorrow...not just the circumstances tomorrow may bring, but also that my heart will fail me, that the grace I saw today to choose to believe God's truth and walk in His Spirit will elude me tomorrow. But, there again, I know that, "though my heart and flesh may fail; God is the strength of my heart." I know that, "nothing can separate me from the love of God," not even my wandering heart, prone to faithlessness and despair. I know that even "if my hold should fail, HIS wondrous love will never let me go."