Search This Blog

Friday, 30 October 2009

My little Poo-Bear

What is it with children and their innate attraction to bodily wastes? What makes them so drawn to it? Yes, it is a natural process and things would be far more "gross" if they didn't "happen" but why do they have to try to play with it? Smear it? Taste it? And why can't I seem to have a dinner conversation without bringing up something to do with our bodily functions?? Shouldn't I have outgrown this by now???

Anika's red potty is rather mobile so sometimes it is in the living room so she can watch Veggie Tales for ten minutes while waiting for something to "pass". Other times, it is in the kitchen where she can visit with me... I know, sounds gross, but we try NOT to make it a big deal. The problem is that when Anika gets up to let me know she is "all done", Ethan's radar picks up on the unguarded waste bucket and makes an unnatural beeline for it! And if I am not quick enough, he joyously smacks his hands around in it or picks up the little bucket and spills it all over... at which point he then plays in it.


I need sonic ears to hear that little skin-peeling-off-plastic sound to catch Anika before she gets up and say "YEP.. OK... just hang on, Anika... mommy's coming... don't get up!" Either that or distract Ethan with something else before tending to Anika.

Who knew potty time could be so mentally exhausting?

And then there are the "accident" moments to which Ethan is ALSO creepily tuned into. I was on the phone with my brother when Anika came running into the kitchen looking panicked saying "I gotta go PEEEEEEeeeee!!" just as it started POURING and man do I mean POURING down her legs! Her natural inclination? To step backwards as she watches the waterfall of urine, tracking it all over the floor with every fascinated step back she takes.

My inclination? "What the heck? Did you drink a pool?? When WAS the last time I sat you on the potty?" Guilty bad mother moment as it dawns on me that it has been 4 hours!!! DOH!

At this point, I am on a CORDED phone (because my darling hubby doesn't want anyone in our house to die of brain cancer from electromagnetic waves pulsating through our heads - darn his love for our well being & lack of convenience!) so I am standing helplessly watching this all play out. I reach pathetically under the sink for napkins to start cleaning up the mess only to hear the lightning speed thumping of a crawling boy (who has clearly picked up the scent of bodily waste??). I literally throw the phone down yelling "NOOOOOOoooooo!!!" (as I run in place like in the cartoons) as Ethan barrels through the little pacific ocean on our kitchen floor!

Anika keeps stepping away from the commotion so our little ocean is turning into a river as I reach and set her down in place while scooping Ethan with my free arm and knocking the roll of paper towel strategically to land on the mess... as I wonder, hmmm, should I put these "used" paper towels in with recycling or not?

I quickly yelp towards the dangling phone to say "I'll just be a minute!" as I strip down both kids, wipe up the mess, and yes - wash my hands (and Ethan's).

Ay caramba... anyone else feeling pooped? Pardon the pun?

Once again, never a dull moment in our house. Not even for one cotton-pickin' minute! Sigh.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Samsung toners

As I try to find responsible ways of "recycling" or dealing with the garbage we are accumulating as a family, I will share whatever resources I can with all of you and store it under the label: Recycling - Mina's Clean Earth Wish.

And as any of you discover other information on how we can be more responsible, please add them under the "post a comment" section. We'll figure this out together!!

Finally, as the title suggests, here is Samsung's Canadian website for their toner recycling program.

My once-so-little girl's wish keeps me motivated... and my children continue to be my inspiration. And the promise of my future grandchildren keeps me searching for ways to better care for our world and each other.

God bless you all, out there! And may your day be a little greener, a little more "breathable", and may you feel positive about what YOU can do.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Thank you, Mommy

Another precious moment that melted my heart and of course, what do I have to do in those moments? Well, share it with you, of course!

At lunch today, I had made some hot beef wraps (with rice tortillas). Mealtimes are hectic with Ethan demanding to be fed more before the spoon has left his mouth while trying to put his foot on the table so he can see me give him the look of "NO WAY mister, no feet on the table!" and while Anika is trying to get my attention saying "I NEED my chocwat miwk, mommy! Chocwat miwk... CHOCWAT MIWK!"

It's usually after I have gotten up five times that I realize I forgot to get utensils, or glasses or Ethan's main course is done and he needs some fresh grapes cut into bite size pieces he won't choke on... Then I'll try to turn to acknowledge something else Anika has been trying to say to me only to hear the sound of Ethan gagging... darn it, I didn't cut that grape small enough!


Needless to say, mealtimes are FUN. Today's lunch was no different except that Melina didn't have any school so we had the pleasure of her presence, too. Lunch was late so the kids were extra whiny. Things got more and more delayed as Ethan held on to my leg like some amateur Tarzan which required that I walk like a zombie to and from my cutting board, to the frying pan, back to the counter to make the wraps, etc... slowing things down considerably!

FINALLY, we sat down to eat and thanked God for our food. Anika started eating her wrap and then with her mouth full of food, she said "Mommy? Thank you for making my food."

(Cue the heavenly music) As my heart started melting away while attempting to whisper "you're welcome, my love", Melina quickly whipped me back to reality as she looks at her wrap before biting into it and says "what a suckup!" (Cue sound of scratching record!) Her sly smile my way saved her from getting a wrap whipped at her head! Teenagers!

So I giggle and smirk as I share this motherhood moment with you hoping it sparks memories of your own... perhaps when you were the suckup? Or the one about to get a hot beef wrap whipped at your head. Hee hee hee!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mina's earth day

A memory tickled my mind the other day...

Melina was only about four or five years old. She was always looking out for garbage and we would often make a point of carrying shopping bags to put trash in when we walked to the park.

Now I can't remember how the "wish" aspect of this story came into play - if it was one of her nightly prayers, or a "first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight"... either way, her heart was set on a special request which came to light this one day we were walking back from the park.

Boy she was a busy body so holding her hand while walking was not always easy as she was often distracted by cracks in the side walk, sticks in the grass, etc... But I do recall her holding my hand as we approached our house when she stopped dead in her tracks and gasped.

I looked at her to see what she was looking at and saw City of Winnipeg workers down the road picking up trash with special little grabby-devices. I looked back at Melina who looked up at me in awe and said "Mommy... my wish came true! I asked God to make the world cleaner!"

A simple request... not for toys or for "things" but for our planet to be better cared for. How beautiful is the heart of a child?

So let us keep the hope of a little girl in our heart when purchasing new items or throwing them away. I have no doubt that there are ways to be smart with old lightbulbs, tv's, computers, batteries, etc... There has to be a way to reduce the ridiculous amounts of garbage we create individually and worst of all, collectively.

So my prayer tonight joins in with my little Mina's from so long ago... that we become wiser as a collective, that we work WITH our beautiful planet, that our love for it exceeds all greed and that we give back twice what we take. That our planet be pure and clean for our grandchildren's children so that their food may be life-giving and the air they breath be clean. In Jesus' precious name... amen.

PS - if you click on the last image, you will see the amazing moment I captured on film. Melina just stopped out of nowhere and reached her hand out just as I snapped the picture. In my mind, I had wanted to capture her riding her tricycle but when the picture was developed and it showed her "catching" the ray of light, I was deeply moved. No wonder Jesus told us to have the faith of a child!

Breaking ground

We have officially (and finally) begun our addition!

There are still some issues with our permit - they have required that we apply for a variance. Our home (which was built over a hundred years ago) is apparently too close to the road and they don't like any "buildings" being built too close to the road... We HAVE to build off the north side because the south of the house is the driveway, east of the house is the garage and west of us is the road... that leaves only the north side of the house as an option. It's not like we can pick up the house and move it back a few feet! Oh the joys of "technical details!"

So it may not be approved until November's council meeting (because they cancelled October's). Despite this fact, we asked for some reassurance to move ahead with the project due to Isabel's immediate medical needs. Our contractor didn't like it, but one phone call from the Rural Municipality assured him that moving ahead without a permit would not affect their working relationship.

So there you have it! We have FINALLY begun! It is terrifyingly exciting! And bloody expensive! But we will have a lift system in Izzy's room and a track in her bathroom (which includes a huge wheel-in shower). We will have three-feet-wide doors and a beautiful wheelchair ramp built right into the deck. We are so excited about better meeting her needs (and saving our backs!).

We'll keep you posted on the progress. Will upload pics when I can. Love you all!

Pumpin' Iron

Amazingly, the therapeutic doses of iron had incredible effects immediately! Within 24 hrs, Ethan's skin healed and his overall mood was very happy... just in time for his Birthday celebration with Duane's family.

It was wonderful! He even took a few steps. His favourite thing in the world is STAIRS! Once he spots stairs, he just cannnot seem to resist. Up and down, up and down, etc... He has mastered flowing down the stairs on his stomach at an alarming rate. I have to keep him in onesies just to make sure he doesn't rub the skin off his stomach!

The iron has clearly helped him out. We saw the naturopath on the 21st and he gave Ethan a B12 shot, "prescribed" some licorice root, L-Glutamine to heal his guts and said to continue with the vitamin D drops, too. All encouraging stuff.

However, today Ethan's skin has broken out in brutal eczema spots again. I have no clue what the culprit is/was. I had blueberries in my bland rice & sorghum porridge this morning... could that be it? I had salsa at lunch... could it be the tomatoes? I put a little licorice root in his food at lunch... is that it?

Well, at least I feel confident that his red blood cell count is climbing every day. So that's Ethan's update, to-date for this date which leaves you up-to-date. Can you tell I still need a little more sleep?

Some day. There will come a time when I sleep seven hours straight... someday.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Finally...Hope for the unborn!

My mother and I discussed my entry regarding abortions and we agreed that better support has to be in place for the pregnant women who are scared and alone. There is MUCH work to be done and many prayers to have answered regarding this topic. I am just so grateful that SOMETHING is happening about it.

If you click here, you will be lead to a UN petition for the unborn child and the family.

The petition calls for Member States of the UN to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. It also calls for special protection for the family!

Their goal is to reach 1 million names by December 1st. I urge you to make your voice heard on behalf of the voices we will never hear. Thank you so much and God bless you!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Our not-so-Iron little man

Long time no type! I have been dedicating ALL free time (if any) to researching sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids and more recently, iron deficiency so I apologize for the delay in updating you all.

Ethan turned one this past Tuesday... a milestone I remember fearing he would not see when he first took a turn for the worst only months ago (seems like an eternity ago). Needless to say we delighted in the privilege of his health and strength. He has been fighting a cold for a few weeks now so Papa kept him home during Thanksgiving festivities.

So what do you do as a birthday celebration for a highly allergic one-year old boy? Well, take him to two doctor's appointments, of course! Yes, happy birthday precious Ethan... here are some skin pricks to test more allergies, a puffer prescription to treat asthma, and an eczema protocol that includes antibiotic & hydro cortisone creams... again.


What of his birthday cake? Oh silly, silly you... unless you can find a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free blah-blah-blah-free cake (THAT IS EDIBLE) I am afraid it is sweet potato puree with a hypothetical candle on top!

What of his presents? A high quality Britax car seat and the added discovery that he is highly allergic to mustard, curry and mildly allergic to lentils. But we also learned that he is NOT allergic to kidney beans, dill, zucchini, olives and watermelon. Another "gift" was the results of his hematology report which showed extremely low red blood cell count (104 when normal is 140-175... and below 100 can cause serious damage to the heart & other major organs). Within that test, they also discovered that his iron stores (ferritin levels) are alarmingly low measuring in at 6 ug/L (normal range is 20-250).

Our son is quite anemic and the neurological long-term damage if left untreated could be significant.

Now, try finding a bio-available source of iron (preferably ferrous fumarate which has 33% availability for absorption) in liquid form WITHOUT additives such as citrus flavour or berry flavour... crap he is ALLERGIC TO!!! Good 'ol enfamil's Fer-in-Sol will have to do for now as we try to treat him with therapeutic amounts of iron without toxicity issues.

For your own info, should you experience major fatigue, dizziness, inflamed tongue, destructibility... (later edit... just noticed the word DESTRUCTABILITY instead of disTRACTability! Hee hee hee) you might want to look into this iron supplement fact sheet.

As for taking in adequate amounts of iron through diet, he is allergic to the fish, eggs and dairy but can eat red meat, fortified cereals and chicken (thank goodness). Further research shows that calcium interferes with iron absorption so try avoiding taking any supplements (or eating iron-rich foods) along with calcium. But vitamin C is welcomed during iron-ingesting time! Oh yes, it plays a key role in its absorption. Hooray vitamin C!

Delving deeper into issues creating hemoglobin, I discovered a huge link to vitamin B12 deficiency which correlates with my theory about his gull bladder affecting his fat-soluble vitamins... there is a bigger picture and I feel like I am working on a 2 million piece puzzle with little to no time to work on it! And by the time I get to it again, I forget where I left off in organizing my pieces!

Suffice it to say that I am determined to find the ROOT CAUSE of this eco-system of off-kilter-ness (if that is a word... highly doubt it is but it sure sounds good). My concern is the link between iron deficiency and ADHD... as my son is pulling out every kleenex from the box at my feet... oh and chewing on it now... sigh. Thank goodness he is not allergic to kleenex... Wow, who am I claiming is ADHD? I can barely focus on one paragraph over here!

Bottom line, we are getting answers that lead us to more specific questions which means we are on the right track. Luv you all!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

We're home again

You prayer warriors are amazingly gifted! As is typical of any child brought into emergency, Ethan's symptoms seemed to miraculously dissipate as I stood there looking like an idiot saying "Um, he was having lots of trouble breathing."

His sats were great, his heart rate was quite elevated from working so hard & from the dose of ventolin I had given him at 9:00 pm. He still had indrawing at the ribs and the trachea (where he is working so hard to breath that you see his lungs sucking back the skin in those areas). He was now breathing 40 breaths per minute instead of 60.

Doctors looked in his ears - all good. Praise God! They took his temperature and it was not alarming (101). They listened to his chest and agreed that he was having some difficulty breathing but that it was likely virus-related and/or asthma related.

They advised to continue watching him and that should he seem distressed by his breathing (which he wasn't last night) to return immediately.

So that is that. Amy, you hit the nail on the head with your comment... his little body is stronger than I give him credit for and he is WINNING this fight against whatever is trying to get a foothold on his immune system.

I am wickedly pooped today. Every now and again my eyes get out of focus (either that or I am aging prematurely!). The body is an amazing thing the way it copes and heals. I am blessed to have my health and thank God for every winning moment Ethan knows in his own battles.

And for you, his prayer army, that is right there behind him. How you are all so beautiful to me... how your prayers call out like a chorus of angels. You make me feel like Ethan's suffering can bring glory to God in the ways you come together in spirit so selflessly, so lovingly.

You are all so beautiful to me! God bless you from the bottom of my heart and from the deepest realms of His heavenly grace.

Off to emergency

Ethan's breathing is very rapid and laboured so I am taking him to emergency. Please pray.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Melt down 101

Um, yeah... too bad the new-found serenity from my previous entry didn't last into this past moment!

Can you guess who is causing the upset? Could it be my healthy Melina? Nope... Could it be my healthy Isabel? Ironically, no. Anika, you wonder? Nope! Once again, my Ethan's health is spinning my head into a frenzy.

We took some family pictures outdoors on Sunday which ended up being quite a chilly day. I thought I had Ethan well clothed but he woke up Monday morning with a runny nose, congestion and the beginnings of a cough. Anika began complaining "mommy, I tired." So I knew something was up with her, too. That and she kept running up to me yelling "I NEEEEED a kleenex, mom!"


Sure enough, today both kids have full blown (pardon the pun) colds. Thankfully, Anika's mood is not affected by it. She has been sweet as pie these last few days but poor Ethan's breathing has been getting progressively worse. Earlier today, he was beginning to develop a fever and tonight, his breathing is laboured. He is miserable and can barely nurse due to stuffiness & a runny nose. His fever is getting worse and he is growing more and more irritable.

So is this a minor cold or did he contract the feared H1N1? You know, if he was a normal child, I wouldn't get so scared when he gets sick like this. But he is not a normal child health-wise and I am DEAD scared of what a powerful virus would do to him.

And with that fear in my heart, I attempted to take his oxygen sats using Izzy's machine but it requires sitting still with the probe on your finger for several seconds. Well, have you met Ethan? Add a dose of irritability and it's like trying to probe a jumping Mexican bean... or some other legume he is NOT allergic to.

I lost it and spanked his little padded bum because he was just screaming and screaming and flailing and all I wanted to do is make sure he doesn't need emergency care. That frenzied moment where you just don't know what to do anymore and stupidity takes over.

Recognizing that I was in "the danger zone" (you know that fine line between sanity & insanity?) I quickly brought him upstairs, put him in his crib and left the room as fast as I could. I came back downstairs to my supper that was now burning due to being side-tracked and Duane calls from work (at the time he would normally be arriving home) to say he got held back and would be home in the next twenty minutes.

Ethan is screaming on the monitor and I don't know how to fix him, how to find out what is happening inside of him... and is it a tantrum or is it pain? What is happening and when will I ever get the answers?

And the internal voice yelling at God begins "If you're planning on taking him early anyways than get it over with already! I can't take this anymore!"

...And cue the flood of tears...

With every day that he grows more and I learn more about him, the more I love him. The longer we go down this road the more heart wrenching it would be to lose it. Are we fighting a losing battle? I just want to know if my heart will be ripped from my chest... is that too much to ask? I feel like my faith is on the brink of jumping off the cliff. I know I have many blessings to be thankful for... just read my next entry and it is obvious that the blessings are abundant. But these deep pains where my children's health is concerned are just cruel.

First Isabel... years of not knowing from one day to the next if she would make it. All the vomiting up to twenty times a day, all the trips to emergency, that blasted moment in the resuscitation room... all those moments where my heart stopped beating for fear it would go on WITHOUT my precious little one. It took nearly eight years but she finally attained health. Now she is hardly ever sick!

But now there is Ethan... my heart feels so much where he is concerned. Just last night I was telling Duane that I am more than willing to keep nursing and being restricted in every single thing I put in my mouth if it means Ethan is healthy and with us. I don't want to complain about how hard it feels because I would kick myself for it if we ever lost him. And then I wonder if in eight years, I will look back at this time and be glad it is over? Just like I am doing with Isabel? What is in store for Ethan?

When he gets sick, it scares me so much. How long before we seek help? How can we help him in the meantime? Like I said, if he was a "normal" child, this wouldn't bother me nearly as much as it does.

So there you have it. My ugly meltdown of October 7th, 2009... less than a week away from Ethan's first birthday. My son who was born on Thanksgiving day... perhaps there is more link between these last two entries than meets the eye. I will have to pray and seek further guidance, a stronger heart and a faith more willing to submit lovingly to God's plan. Wherever you are as you read this, I love you for being part of this with me. You in Netherlands! You in Korea! You in Oakbank and Dugald! You in Brandon! Etc... All of you... thank you so much. I do not feel alone in this.

I do not feel alone.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Thank you God, for...

I tell you my friends, a delightful way to end any day is lying next to a two year old (who is avoiding bedtime like the plague) and beginning the usual bedtime routine prayer: "Thank you God for... Daddy. Thank you God for... Mommy. Thank you God for... Melina. Thank you God for... Isabel... for Anika, Ethan, Grandma & Grandpa, Pepere & Baba, Grandma Jacqui, etc.." On and on the prayer goes as we add fun things like "sunshine" and "smiles" and for "healing bo-bos". No matter what kind of day you have had, when you stop and give thanks for all of those good things, you can't wipe the smile that finds its way across your face and into your heart.

Tonight was no exception. I lay there with my beautiful little Anika who told me to "put your head down, mommy" when I was busy brushing the hair from her face. She then said "I want to say 'thank you God'."

"Ok, sweetheart... Thank you God for..."

"No, mommy... it's Anka's turn." (Yes, I love that her name is Anka when she is trying to get a point across quickly).

"Oh, ok. It's Anika's turn. Go ahead, Anika."

"Thank you God for... daddy! Daddy's right here. (giggle). Thank you God for... MOMMY! Mommy, are you right here?"

"Yes, mommy is right here."

"Thank you God for Anka. Thank you God for... tractors. Thank you God for... combines. Thank you God for... fields. Thank you God for... friends. And for flamily."


"Yes mommy, flamily. Thank you God for... aunty Rhea! Thank you God for... puppy dogs. (giggle, giggle). Thank you God for... sheep."

"For sheep? Oh that's a good one."

Giggle "Yes, sheep. Thank you God for hay."

"Oh yes, hay is a very good one, too."

"I all done now, mommy."

"Ok, now we say 'thank you God for... EVERYTHING. In Jesus' name... AMEN!'"

And with that gladness in my heart, I gave her her cup of water to sip from and kissed her goodnight. This feeling is something I wanted to share with you all. It lifts the spirit from all its burdens and you remember the very glory that brings us peace. Our lives get so hectic and busy that we often forget the gift of "grace" and "serenity". And that is precisely what they are... gifts!

My darling sister reminded me in the hecticness and mental chaos of trying to solve Ethan's health mysteries to take peace, be still and to meditate. For me, that stillness comes when I can go for a walk or a jog... when my mind is free of "I should wash the potatoes first and then get the carrots going... no wait, I should get the pot of water going for the potatoes first because that takes the most time... well first I'll get Ethan's food thawing THEN I'll get the water going... woops but not til I've given Izzy her water. Shoot, I was supposed to do that ten minutes ago! ETC..."

Oh that glorious stillness where the universe suddenly fits into my head and each thought is a galaxy away from reaching me... it makes me finally understand why God said "Be still and KNOW that I am God."

Of course! In that stillness there is time to REFLECT and all of those "thank you God for..." come flooding in like a meteor shower of gratitude. You feel yourself being filled as though LOVE itself had poured itself into you. And the mundane becomes nothing short of a brilliant star in the symphony of the sky. So insignificant in an endless sea of sparkles, yet without it, the sky would be short of all its light.

THAT is the gift I want to share with you. That is the feeling I want you to experience. That is my prayer for you tonight.

Whatever is on your mind at this very moment, whoever has recently upset you, whatever disappointment plagues your self-esteem, whichever fear keeps you from achieving... I pray this:

"Thank you God for... the people reading these very words at this very moment.
Thank you God for... the breath of life YOU breathed into them that they could be here today.
Thank you God for... their PURPOSE, for the tears you have wept for them, for the glory their good deeds have brought you. And most importantly, thank you God not for the moments they let you down but rather for those humbling moments where they faced you again to be ACCOUNTABLE. So Father, I ask you this: bring them SERENITY and the peace that fills their soul when they let go of their struggles and embrace their blessings.

And thank you God for... puppy dogs. Because they're just so darn cute. In Jesus' precious name... Amen."