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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Big fevers for little people

Well the flu is rampant among our household. I had VERY high fevers for four days last week and a headache that made sticking my head in a vice seem like an inviting offer! Anika still isn't quite right although she is MUCH better than last week.

Unfortunately, Ethan developed a fever on Sunday and it persisted for a good 24 hrs. When he was fever-free, he was left with major sinus congestion but at least he never developed the cough that Anika had. He has not been himself since then with very few nursings and major irritability... he's up every hour or so during the night since Monday.

As you can tell by the timing of this post, I am up with him tonight with some concern and come to you for prayer. He is burning up again and now with the deep chest cough. I know I shouldn't be scared but there is just this underlying fear... and of course there's all those blasted comments I have made about wanting this arduous journey to finally end.

I find myself whispering "I would rather have you here all eczema-ish and full of allergies than not have you here at all! I need you, not sleep!"

Why do our brains do this? Anika has fought this, I have gotten over it, Izzy finally got over it (after two weeks), Mina and Duane have been spared so surely this is just a passing ailment... right?

Anyways, had to put my over-emphasized concerns out there in cyberspace just to get them off my chest. Duane and I are treating Ethan with colloidal silver in 45 minute intervals with the deepest prayer that all will settle by morning. Here's hoping you are all in good health! God bless...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

What's ailing us?

Izzy has been quite sick with a major chest cold for the last two weeks. I remember a time when she was like this ALL THE TIME but that was years ago before her surgery to make her stop vomitting. Man o man, I do NOT miss those days... The oximeter was my best friend as I would constantly be checking her oxygen saturation percentage and heart rate to make sure she did not require another emergency visit. It's pretty sad when you start to know the nurses by first name...

Gone are those days and we've spent the last couple of years enjoying Isabel's new found strength and health. However, two weeks ago, she had a really rough night - lots of coughing and crying. Sure enough, the next day at school, we received a phone call by noon saying Isabel had developed a fever.

Had this been the old days, I would think nothing of it as it was abnormal for her NOT to have SOMETHING ailing her, but things are certainly different now.

At any rate, she spent the week with James last week and returned to us on friday. We've had some rough nights (thank God almighty for my respite workers!) but all in all, she has done relatively ok.

Anika, on the other hand, stopped eating her usual "healthy" portions a few days ago. We had wondered if it was due to eating pizza and ice cream at bowling on friday (she just doesn't seem to tolerate gluten & dairy well, either) so we just waited for the mild setback to pass.

However, yesterday, in the span of one hour, she went from being perfectly normal to spiking a rapid fever of 104 with a dog-barking-sound-type cough. She has not been able to keep anything down since although we have had SOME luck with watered down apple juice. We have been trying to get her to drink water and baths are certainly a huge help in bringing down her high fever... anytime I have tried giving her tylenol or children's advil, she throws it right up. (Duane says "atta girl"... but sometimes I think it really does merit a little "help" in the fever department).

Last night, I was not feeling so hot, or rather I was feeling hot. By the time I had to nurse Ethan at 1:00 a.m. I had brutal chills and had to take a HOT bath. Today I am left aching all over and a throbbing headache that feels like someone put an oversized brain in my skull and it's trying to throb its way out.

Ew... that was a gross descriptor (visually speaking) but it sure hits the nail on the head... get it? Cuz it feels like someone's also hammering my head? Oh will the jokes never end? (Duane wishes they would).

Anyways, please keep our darling Anika in your prayers, too. Izzy seems to have gotten over the worst of it but I worry about how quickly and how hard this has hit Anika. And all the media crap surrounding the H1N1 virus has me battling my thoughts to stay positive.

Here's hoping you are all safe and healthy and free of viruses! And if you're reading this wearing flannel pjs and sniffling in discomfort (while someone's trying to place an oversized brain into your skull) then I pray for swift recovery! Take care everyone!

Strikin' good time!

On Friday June 12th, Duane's family and I got together to celebrate our May & June birthdays. Considering Isabel's was among the birthdays celebrated, I asked if we could all go bowling as this was an activity that Isabel could participate in.

Part of me wants to let you guys imagine how on earth a severely disabled little girl could possibly go bowling... a giant pendulum for her to use its momentum to get the ball going? How about an arcade approach with a huge sling shot device that whips out a strike every time (and some mild alley repairs)?

Well, it is not nearly as complicated as any of these (but isn't fun to use your imagination?).

Isabel's wheelchair can roll right up to a table tray that is slightly angled forward and comes to a point at the ball ramp. The slightest movement of her arm and she COULD likely push the ball enough to roll down the ramp and towards the pins.

It was great to have my two nieces help choose Isabel's ball and to help push her hand towards it. They're enthusiastic cheers when Isabel would hit a pin were positively priceless and Izzy would flash them a big grin.

The evening was another ring master moment of helping Anika to bowl (and not run through the other occupied lanes OR use someone else's turn) followed by helping Isabel, followed by trying to bowl my own game in the adjacent lane, etc... Thank God Duane's mom was available to keep Ethan happy because in the whirlwind of flying/tossed/rolled/dropped bowling balls, (and my lack of sleep) I likely would have unintentionally ended up trying to bowl Ethan!! Not good!

Ethan was in GREAT spirits! He had pretty much completely healed by the time we had this gathering and was in a great mood, fascinated by the black lights, the flashing arcade game and the sound of pins getting knocked off. The best part was when Aunty Maureen was holding him next to the lighted game box of stuffed animals. Ethan saw his reflection against the back mirror and proceeded to smoosh his face against the glass and laugh at his reflection. For one of them, he looked like a Star Trek baby!!

So it was a rip roaring good time despite the fact that I bowled the lowest score... yes even lower than Anika and Isabel...

But hey, this was all about the kids! (Weak laugh).

Monday, 15 June 2009

Essan... STOP!

I have discovered the secret to getting Ethan to stop crying for long periods of time...

Thanks to your collective advice, I decided to tough it out a little bit longer with Ethan and Anika sharing a room. Sure enough, Anika has learned to sleep through his nightly wakings and the many creaks in our old floors as I walk into the room, to his crib, to the rocking chair (followed by loud creaks from the rocking chair) and finally back to his crib and out of the room again.

Sometimes it is an adventure finding Ethan in the dark... it has resulted in picking him up upside down at times. Once again, Ethan's mild complaints and my sudden "oh shoot" whisper does not seem to disrupt my sleeping beauty.

However, bedtimes can be somewhat challenging. Ever since the daylight has been lingering until well after ten p.m, my darling little ones cannot seem to quiet down for their 8:00 pm bedtimes. But for the sake of consistency, we try to make sure they are in bed around that time or within half an hour.

Some nights are ok... Ethan settles relatively easily and Anika requires a few minutes of cuddle time which also includes a loud whispered request "Five wittle monkeys jumping on da bed?" Thankfully she has not mastered counting backwards as my song progresses from five to two to one little monkey jumping on the bed.

But other nights, (such as last night) Ethan decides it is quite nearly the end of the world that I lay him in his crib. At the very first CREAK as I shift my weight to walk away is enough for him to pipe up and scream as though I had stepped right on HIM! Anika waits patiently as I offer her a goodnight kiss and then she sits up in her bed, looks over at Ethan with frustration then back at me and points at him and tells me "Mommy, GO GET 'EM"

What seems an eternity is merely five to ten minutes but I walk out of that room feeling like I have just been the ring master in a circus! Down I go to stare despairingly at my dirty kitchen while the baby monitor roars the sound of Ethan's distress like a fire siren. The poor device is maxed out on its capacity as the little green dial revs up beyond the red ones to max capacity... sigh.

About five minutes later, I hear Anika yell above the screamaing "ESSAN! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!"

I chuckle to myself until I realize Ethan has actually stopped screaming!

Are you kidding me? Is that all it takes? All those times I kept my cool I should have just yelled "STOP IT!" and maybe clobbered him on the head with a frying pan? Ok, ok, maybe we'd leave the frying pan out of it, for the sake of Child & Family Services...

Anyways, just had to share how hilarious it was to hear Anika take charge with her little brother only to have him ACTUALLY respond to it! Atta girl, Anika! We shall see if it works again tonight. hee hee hee!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

B-A-D spelt BAD!

No, that is not a misprint... Spelt is an ancient grain that we thought we could try with Ethan via my breastmilk. According to the Chinese medicine doctor, spelt was a grain he did not SEEM allergic to. We were hopeful as this would mean he wasn't completely allergic to gluten AND it would mean eating more than just corn & rice thins!

So yesterday, for a Sabbath lunch, we had spelt pancakes. So delicious... first time we have had pancakes in over three months. We bowed our heads and prayed that it would bring nourishment to our bodies and be safe for Ethan.

Then the worst part... waiting to see how Ethan handles the next few nursings.

Well, his mouth turned red around the edges right after the next nursing but his mood didn't seem affected. By the time middle of the night feedings arrived, he was scratching his legs and his tummy was making those strange gurgling sounds it made when he was at his worst. Oh no!

This morning, he woke up looking like he had just been in a street fight and he just spent the last two hours crying and screaming (with occasional bouts of contentedness). He is not wanting to nurse because he knows it is causing him pain. I finally got him to fall asleep in my arms minutes ago. It breaks my heart to see him in pain.

No more spelt in this house! Let's just add that to the ever growing list! But hey, at least we are getting EXACTLY what we have been praying for: answers! And we know that he can have relief from this... in fact, Friday ended up being an awesome day/evening. I'll post another entry about that one with some pics... we went bowling with Duane's family and it was a blast!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. They are slowly being answered and TRUTH is revealing itself slowly but surely! And isn't that better than NEVER knowing what is wrong? So thank you very much!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

A waltz in the park

Today was one of those nice "family moments".

Well, it wasn't so nice just prior... The day was finally beautiful and sunny (for those who don't live here, it has been grey, cold and gloomy for weeks now). Naturally, I figured it would be nice to get out of the house as a family and head out to Birds Hill Park. We had all been cooped up in the house for the day and what better way to spend quality time together than to enjoy the outdoors as a family? Right?

WRONG! At least according to a teenage daughter, it is. The irony was that I wanted this mostly for her considering she is often stuck in the house with either Isabel, Anika or Ethan crying and whining at SOME point. Thinking I was about to earn some mother brownie points, I looked at her and said, "Ok kiddo, let's get our walking shoes on cuz we're heading to the park."

No brownies here... just a pie in the face! And it must have been SOUR cream pie or something because the look of disapproval was enough to turn the whole point of this outing sour! My darling teenage daughter decides to begin negotiation skills:

"Can I stay home while you guys all go out?"

"Um, no!"

"Well, can we walk around the yard or something cuz I don't feel like going out."

Oh really? And who forgot to give me the memo that the world revolves around teenagers? Ah yes, and then I remember a time not so long ago when I was one... so sorry mom and dad!!! Oh and classic mother moment about to happen, you know, the one where you hear yourself saying the dumbest thing ever and your inner conscience hits itself in the forehead saying "DOH!"

"Well, you sure know how to ruin a good thing!"

Ding dong... who's there? Oh it's the worst-mother-of-the-year awards people... guess who just won another one? Does it end here? Nope... I gotta take it one step further and say: "and you've just been cut off of internet & tv privileges because you just made them more important than your family... so get your shoes on and act like a decent human being."

Oh can you just FEEL the fun we're about to have at the park? Sheesh! Seriously, what takes over us in those dumb moments? Something purely intentioned became a sore spot in an awful hurry.

Anyways, once we got there, we ended up having some fun. It took a bit of time for Mina (oh, pardon me, she no longer likes that nickname...) MELINA to smile and let us see that she was having a good time but at least it was there at all.

As you can see from the pictures, it was a wonderful time in the end. One in particular, Melina and I freaked out about how much she looks like me! (Evil laugh) and I shall call her mini-me!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Wedding bells and wedding hives

Living as hermits these last eight months, Duane and I figured it might be nice to attend a wedding within the Twelve Tribes community. These weddings are always so inspiring and centered completely on God. The groom represents Christ when he returns and the bride represents the bride of Christ (or his church as some hypothesize). The actual bride and groom are kept a part the week prior to their wedding and during the reenactment of Christ's return, he summons his bride and she comes barrelling out of where she's been kept hidden during the ceremony to this point and the two stare at each other with such intensity and love and gratitude (and other intensities we won't mention) that you can't help but well up with tears from the sheer weight of the moment... like you just witnessed the most sacred of sacred between a man and a woman just before they become man and wife.

There's singing and folk dancing as though you'd just stepped into a historical reenactment of "the good 'ol days". The groom dances for his bride with his fellow men... and not just any dance... one the groom created for his bride as a gift. And vice versa. They are beautiful! My cheeks hurt from smiling the whole time we are there.

All of this rambling to say, it is a privilege to be invited to these weddings and we delight in sharing the day with these beautiful people who live in community.


With our itchy son, we have avoided attending Friday night Sabbaths with them among other celebrations for fear of his allergies and flare ups. Heck, we feel like we've been avoiding EVERYTHING because of this! But this invitation arrived after Ethan had had two GLORIOUS weeks.

Yes, two amazing weeks of ROUTINE, CONSISTENCY, NAPS, etc... I even had a glimpse of my old self, puns and all, much to Duane's chagrin. Hee hee hee. So we stupidly figured we'd attempt a whole day at this outdoor wedding...

So not-smart.

The community was so diligent in making sure they cooked me a special meal according to all the restrictions. The day was beautiful but chilly, the music was merry and inspiring, they served the delicious looking brownies without too much heart ache on my part... well, ok, maybe there was some tummy aching but my heart was fine.

Upon our return, Ethan began to be irritable. At bath time, we noticed eczema flare-ups on his body, which he has been mostly free of for a few weeks now.

Oh NO!!! Out came the hydrocortizone cream in hopes of nipping it in the butt... and hands, and tummy, and legs, and arms... sigh.

The night was not so good. While he had spent the last few weeks consistently waking up at 11:30, 2:30 and 6:00, that night he woke up every forty-five to sixty minutes. Ok, one bad night... not too bad a price to pay for a lovely day.

Oh but it does not end there, my friends.

Ethan won't nurse for more than five minutes in total now and he is clearly irritated by SOMETHING which I figured would have cleared my system by now. Mind you, I had also tried spelt bread the Wednesday and Thursday before... could it be delayed reactions to gluten in spelt?

ARG! I was feeling so much better getting nearly three hour stretches of sleep at night and I have spent the last five nights wondering if I should re-post my boy-for-sale advertisement!

All these thoughts of "what did I eat? What did I drink? Could it be too much honey in the hibiscus tea? Was it the oil in the salad dressing? Is it the chicken we've been eating the last few days (which was likely fed wheat)" Followed by the thought "Dear God, please don't let him be so allergic that we can't even eat the animals that have eaten his allergens... seriously!"

It is like a game of Russian roulette and I just do not know which thought will be the one that does me in. I have been joking around that I think Ethan will be the death of me... now it doesn't seem so funny anymore.

Today I had a melt down... sleep deprived again, feeling hopeless and mentally exhausted from trying to figure out what went wrong, feeling scared as I watch his diapers become less and less wet and wondering what this is doing to my milk supply and dealing with the guilt of wanting to pack my bags and join a convent... arg, today was just too much!

And is it right that my instinct is "well that does it! We're never going ANYWHERE!" Even my friend who came over had eaten a muffin and drank a coffee with milk (not something I typically allow in the house but I hadn't told her before hand). Anyways, she held Ethan and the kid broke out in hives on his face! Was it the muffin? Did she kiss his face? Was it the milk? Was it the dog hair from her Shi Tzu? Could someone shoot me now so my brain just STOPS?

How do you LET GO and LET GOD? So much fun... NOT! So I am working on my own vows... not to sell my son. More seriously, I am working at rejoicing in the now and not wasting my energy on "this is NOT what I bargained for! This is NOT fair!" But it is really hard some days not to give in to those self-pity feelings.

Ethan never asked for this, either, and he has to live with this for the rest of his life. I often forget this is not about me... this is about what Ethan endures and will have to endure for who knows how long. And that breaks my heart.

Keep up with your prayers because he is still doing better than ever other than this mild set back. He is nearly crawling and gets into EVERYTHING including wires which he likes to yank on and unplug from whatever devices are connected to them... I think I can feel the gray hairs coming in...

Love you all out there and for those of you who have recently spoken your vows, will soon speak them or you are living them... I pray that you feel a renewal of love and commitment to the one who won your heart... that you remember that God made that special someone just for YOU and vice versa... that together, you are the image of God's most holy union. I pray you are happy right where you are, in your heart, in your soul and in your thoughts. God bless you, my dears!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The tooth be told

WARNING: Due to some humble graphic description, reader discretion is advised! :)

Two bottom baby teeth plus two top teeth (in a matter of two weeks, I might add) equals a very sore mama! Oh how I dread this stage of nursing... and to think there are women out there who go and get their nipples pierced ON PURPOSE! Just breastfeed, people!

I am having one of those humble days... you know, the one where you look in the mirror and think "I remember a time when I didn't have to LIFT my breasts to put on a bra." Nobody warns you that your children will suck the life out of you AND your breasts! How this is physiologically possible is beyond me. Shouldn't there still be milk ducts and fat deposits? What's with "all the skin and no filler"?

I know, some of your stomachs may be churning at these descriptions but one of my friends literally had me on the ground laughing when she gave me the best post-motherhood breast descriptor of all time. And I quote:

"They've become beaver tails with woodticks."

Ok, if that's not disturbing enough an image for you, let's add the wonderful component of stretch marks. Oh yes... I believe when God cursed Eve with the whole "I shall greatly increase thy pain in childbirth" I think He was referring to the pain of losing our bodies AND gaining STRETCH MARKS!

And isn't hind sight a wonderful curse in these moments? Suddenly your recollection of what your body USED to be like is much better than what it actually was! But truthfully, upon looking at old pictures you think "why on earth didn't I celebrate what I had while I still had it?"

Yet even as I type this, there may come a day where breast cancer has claimed my beaver tails and I will look back at this time and wonder why I had complained at all.

And Zebras are beautiful animals so why should I be ashamed that from my belly-button to my upper thighs, I just so happen to be part-zebra? When the light hits just right (and it's usually candle light... sigh) you can see every amazing stretch mark and the glorious story of how you gained too much weight during your pregnancy.

Mothers are the queens of humble pie! If humility is not brought upon from your own children, it is brought upon by your children's friends! I still remember picking Isabel up from daycare when I was battling acne and one kid came up to me and asked "How come you always have chicken pox?"

Thanks, kid.

So the tooth be told... now you know why there are no recent pictures of me on my blog. Until I find peace with the fact that I am half a zoo with my beaver tails & zebra stripes and post-pregnancy pear-figure, I will be hiding behind whatever baggy clothes I can find (which are limited these days!). I hope I can celebrate the sacrifice my body made to bring forth & sustain life as my husband sees it. But even though he sees the beauty beyond the reality of my motherhood physique, I still miss FEELING sexy.

Bottom line, my hubby loves all of me as I am (or is that just something husbands say to keep their wives happy?). I truly feel cherished and he recognizes the sacrifices made for our children. This alone is a gift of unconditional love. I suppose this means that should he go bald and lose all his teeth, I will have to be just as loving! Not that there is anything wrong with toothless bald men (hope you're not one reading this right now)!

I seek peace with myself and a celebration for the fact that I CAN have children even if they come out all eczema-ish. And what purpose would I have to my life if I did not have these beautiful children? Funny how I feel like I lose my identity temporarily in raising young children yet I feel as though I would not have ANY identity without them!

To all you mothers out there, I am proud of you! I hope you are celebrating YOUR life and YOUR sacrifices! May you feel fruitful (and I am not referring to feeling like the shape of a fruit) and may you feel blessed. We are women, hear us ROAR (or whimper when we look in the mirror). And by all means, stay away from nipple piercings! Luv you all!