Monday, September 24, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hope Emerging

So our friend's angel baby, Shylah, did tremendously well yesterday through surgery.  She was in and out in an impressive two hours...  The reason for the short duration, though, was that surgeons had to remove her entire pancreas.  The lesions were diffuse, which was the most upsetting of findings.  This was such a defeating blow to our friends; it means many, many complications for their sweet baby girl well into the future.

Yet even amidst this disappointing news, today their hearts are hopeful for their daughter to go home and get back to life outside the hospital, even though that life might be difficult.  What bravery.  What fortitude.

My hope and prayer for them tonight is found in Romans 8:28:

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose."

I can't tell you how often I am reminded of this verse and fall back on His goodness in relief.  I may not like every outcome, every answer life has to give me, but I can be assured of Him working for the good for me.  How blessed.  How powerful.  What love!

Ever heard the expression: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"?  This Romans verse is my lemonade verse--its God saying, "When life gives you lemons, I'm going to help you make lemonade.  In fact, I'm going to be making lemonade for you all the time, especially when you're walking in My Path."  Fantastic!  Wonderful!

How do I get to be so lucky?
Thank you, dear Lord,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep Storming!

Last Friday, you all graciously joined me in prayer for a sweet angel baby, Shylah, the daughter of good friends of ours from Princeton.  Today, we ask that you keep the prayers coming.  The results of the scan last week were inconclusive, which means that Shylah's surgery today means everything.  The docs will find out if her pancreas has a focal lesion (good news) or lesions throughout/diffuse (hard news).  Please pray for focal!!  Here is a pic collage of their life as of late...  Lord, bless them.

In prayer,

Monday, September 17, 2012

From G-Ville to Grandpa Frank

With love from your family,
the editing team,
  and GG

Pitter Patter

The rain is pitter pattering outside the window as I sit here before the evening glow of the computer.  I would much rather be lounging before a fire writing to you all, but for right now the computer will have to do. ;)  GG is upstairs getting the last of the kiddos to bed and I am here editing a video that we'll send off to GG's dear Grandpa Frank in honor of his 90th birthday today!

Happy birthday, Grandpa Frank!!  He is spry, quick-witted, and has accomplished so much in his 90 years.  Most notable among his accomplishments is raising 6 beautiful children (5 girls and 1 boy), who are all remarkable individuals (our Mimi included!) with vibrancy and strong character.  They are a fun, fun bunch and seeing them together makes me thrilled to see what our kids will be like when they're grown.  Grandpa Frank is also a math and engineering whiz and is responsible for the design and implementation of Naval submarine missiles.  Wow!  We tell the boys they have strong engineering, math, and science genes in their court! ;)  Lucky kids!

How much we wish we could be out in California amidst beautiful sunshine tonight to celebrate.  Alas, the video will have to do.  I'll post it when its finished...  (Unfortunately it is also taking ages to upload all of our footage!  This could be quite a project! ;)

We are well here in G-Ville.  Baby G is grabbing her feet and being a ham with her siblings.  MG's favorite word is "no", but she says it with such cuteness and flair on her way to time-out.  J's favorite game these days is "harass the sister" in any way he can.  Tonight it was chasing her around the house with a diaper box on his head.  Off to time-out he went as well. ;)  T is specializing in potty talk these days and his favorite word is four letters: p--p.  He'd love to use it in every sentence, but unfortunately (and fortunately) he can't or else it's off to time-out for him too.  And M, well, M is a masterful piano avoider.  He is up there with the best of 'em, managing in some way to avoid practicing no matter how much afternoon time remains.  Because I am often running every which way and then attempting to get dinner on the table, my follow-through stinks.  Must. get. on. the. piano. horse!  Thankfully, he is doing a wonderful job with his school work so I can't complain too much! ;)  And he just graduated to level 3 for piano--our teacher repeatedly asks him how old he is because he can't believe he's only 7 and in level 3.  That doesn't mean he likes it any better, though!  That is, not until he's mastered a song and then he'll play it for hours. ;)

So there's the behind-the-scenes look at G-Ville tonight.  Pretty funny as I read back through it.  No facades here.  Just life.  And a lot of Grace, thanks be to God.

The footage is done loading, so I'm off to edit as the house is now quiet as a mouse.  GG must have fallen asleep with one of the boys...  It's a perfect night for rest.

God bless,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Please storm the gates of heaven...

for a little baby named Shylah!  She is the daughter of friends of ours, Justin and Sarah-Charlotte, who have been through so much in their 2.5 short years of marriage.  SC is a breast cancer survivor, but the cancer came back around the time of their wedding (they didn't know until after their honeymoon--can you imagine that homecoming??)  8 mos. later after a round of chemo, docs told her they needed to remove SC's reproductive organs to keep the cancer at bay.  She was told she had less than a 1% chance of conceiving due to chemo damage from back in her 20's.  By only God's miracle, she became pregnant not once, but twice in the following year, first with their son, Asher (1), and secondly with their daughter, Shylah, born in July.  Both were healthy pregnancies and deliveries, thanks be to God!

Unfortunately, little Shylah had a seizure two weeks ago and has been at CHOP since.  She was diagnosed with hyperinsulinism and docs did a scan today of her pancreas, hoping to find a focal lesion only, which would be easily fixed with surgery.  Can you please pray for this?  If the lesions are throughout the pancreas, her prognosis is much more complicated.  Pray for the doctor's wisdom and for baby Shylah's resiliency.  Also, please lift up Justin and SC and their ability to handle the stress and fatigue while keeping life as normal as possible for their son, Asher.

Thank you, prayer warriors!  God bless,

Friday Catch-up!

Are we back in school or what?!  Busy, busy!  But also more peace in the mornings for me and the girls, which means I'm trying to cram even more into my days!  I need to focus more on taking moments for peace, moments to just "be".  I wrote about this in a post over at BC today...

We have resumed peace around here on the nursing front.  Baby G and I are back in our groove and both SOOO much happier than we were last week at this time.  I called my doc and talked to my favorite nurse, who said I did the right thing getting a second opinion and not to worry about telling the doc until G's 6mos. appointment.  Perfect.  Procrastination will give me time to work up a good story and muster up enough confidence and courage to say my piece.

On Saturday, we jumped head-first into a new soccer season.  This fall, all three boys will be playing while GG and I manage their (often overlapping) game schedules.  GG is actually coaching T's team, which is fun for the two of them and wonderful because they are joining up with one of his buddies from preschool and his dad.  M is on the same team as last season and will have 6 players on the field now.  Strategy and team playing are more important than ever now and he seems to like it.  We are seeing him cater toward a defensive position, but we'll see what the coach has in store.  He's having fun and that's the bottom line.  J had his first "meet the coach" gathering Saturday and we were all in attendance to watch and cheer.  He was all-smiles and thought the practice was so funny.  I caught him chuckling several times as they played games with the coaches.  Super cute.  Here are some pics we caught of the family...

Can you tell it was sunny? :)
On Tuesday, little man J started preschool.  He was so eager after watching his brothers already at school for a week.  He seems to have a nice, calm, organized teacher, who drew a class of young, crazy kids!  lol.  She's already written a note to the parents about encouraging listening skills at home, etc., etc.  Yikes!  We are hoping J can rise up and be a leader and helper to make her life easier!  Go J!  Here he is on the first day...

All in all, it's been a great week as we look ahead to a pretty relaxing weekend.  The boys all have games tomorrow and it will be the one time this season that we can attend all of them!  It will be 4 fun-filled hours of soccer and driving between fields.  Joy!!  But this is what we live for and we love it!

Blessings and prayers today from G-Ville,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

48 hours later

After running in circles, fighting through a few 1/2 formula/ 1/2 breastmilk feedings with baby G, breaking down into tears yesterday morning, and feeling really out of sorts, I went back to nursing yesterday afternoon.  (Not like I was really gone that long! ;)  It was the right thing to do while I amassed information to make the most informed decision.

In the end, I also got a second opinion from an awesome top ped. doc in our area (who happens to be the husband of a good friend and all-around great person).  We chatted last night and he spoke what my heart needed (and wanted) to hear: breast-feeding is the best option for us right now.  Praise God.  He doesn't even do heme tests on baby diapers because they don't tell him anything; they can't reveal the source of the bleeding.  He looks at the baby and how she's doing.  He talked through the knowns: 1) she's gaining weight, 2) she's happy and not in distress, 3) she's sleeping well, and 4) she's nursing beautifully and receiving the best nourishment there is.   If she does, indeed, have intestinal irritation, then we just have to watch out for a chronic case of blood streaks in the diaper.  Otherwise, we are in the clear and I can continue to feed her as I've been doing!  Awesome awesomeness.

Had he agreed with my ped., we would have dropped everything and stuck with the plan, no matter how miserable it was.  But he didn't and we really trust his judgement.  He's so reasonable and encouraged me to go back to our ped. and explain the emotional strife we were experiencing.  We went from a happy, healthy, content baby to one who was distraught over not being able to nurse to the point of not taking in enough food!  I am going to approach the issue with her next week and explain that I got a second opinion (as she suggested I could do) and am proceeding with that course of action; how we still very much respect her as a physician and would love to stay on under her care.  I am praying she'll still have us and support us, otherwise we'll be looking for a new doc.  And very sadly because we love our pediatric practice!  I'll keep you updated.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, and suggestions. You all made me realize that this wasn't necessarily the ONLY option for us; we had a say in our future course of action (at least on this issue).  You were a lifeline, so thank you!

And I sat on the soccer sidelines today and nursed my baby, I had a happy heart, knowing we're doing what's best for her right now at this moment.  If in two months she starts having more difficulty, we'll tackle that then, but for now I'm going to enjoy it!

God bless,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baby G Update

Hello friends and loved ones...  So nice to have you here to report to at the end of a long day.  I am in need of a sounding board, so thank you, in advance, for being just that!

Today we got the wonderful news that Baby G is growing beautifully.  She is 60th% for height, 45th% for weight, and 90th% for head circumference (she gets it from her mama ;).  While at her 4 month check today, she absolutely charmed the pants off the doc.  She was laughing, smiling, and talking with our pediatrician, wiggling all around, and just being all-around adorable.  The doc swept her up after the exam and carried her on her hip to finish her notes.  Meanwhile, G kept trying to steal pens out of the doc's coat pocket.  Cute!  She got compliments for her advanced fine motor skills ;).

All this to say, she's doing really great and we THANK THE GOOD LORD for this.  It is such a blessing and one that I don't take lightly.  We are so very very blessed and we know it.

But (you knew it was coming) it the midst of this wonderful visit, we got the news that she is still testing heme-positive in her diapers.  And when I say positive, we're talking immediately and strongly blue for the results.  Seriously?  I almost fell out of my chair, I was so surprised.  This is after 3 months of being dairy-free and now 2 months soy-free.  I really thought we had turned a corner and were seeing more positive results from her--less mucous in the stools, less green, etc., etc.  It was a total downer to hear.  But then came the ultimate downer--I have to stop breast-feeding.  Bummer of all bummers.

The bottom line is that my breastmilk is not good for my baby.  It causes her intestines to bleed.  For her to continue bleeding could make her more susceptible to future colitis, anemic from the blood loss, and generally, jeopardize her growth.  We obviously don't want that.

Breast-feeding is all I know how to do.  It's what I do with my babies for the first 12 months of their lives.  It's what I've done through four children.  I know how to do it better than a lot of other things.  And now I have to start over.  I don't know how to do that.  I feel like I'm coming home from the hospital for the first time ever with a newborn.  No more experience to fall back on, just a wide-eyed mama with no clue.

In addition, I am going to try to pump through the next two weeks to the next heme test, where if her intestines have healed enough, we *might* get to add breast-feeding back in a little bit to see if the healing is all she needed.  So now, in addition to learning how to bottle feed (and get her to drink the stuff, which proved to be a challenge tonight!), I also have to manage pumping and keeping my milk supply up.  Yikes!  I'm definitely stressed at the thought.  Instead of heading out now with my nursing cover in tow OR packing a bottle to feed, I am going to have to pack said bottle and schlep my pump.  And since I have to pump more frequently, the schedules will no longer be concurrent or easy to follow.  Oh, and how am I supposed to do this with 4 other kids in tow?????

I flipped out tonight a little (okay, maybe a lot :) to Geoff.  Poor guy.  He bears the brunt of all the extra the world doesn't see.  Isn't that the beauty and the curse of spouses?  They are there for us, but then we save our garbage for them.  Sorry, hon!  My external processing got the better of me.  I will say, he was very calm and handled it well, coaching me through.  Good man.  The most frustrating part of our "discussion" was that baby G was rejecting the bottle the entire time.  I then ended up pumping and putting half formula/half breastmilk in, which she seemed to enjoy much more than solely formula.  Still, I only got 3 oz. in her!  Tonight should be interesting, to say the least.

So that's my story tonight.  I have to press on, just when we were really starting to find our groove.  It's a bummer, but there are many disappointing things in life and we don't always get our way.  For now I ask for your prayers as we surmount this little bump in the road.  I know as I type this is SO SO small potatoes, but it is still challenging and I could still use some assistance from the Big Man for peace throughout.  Thank you so much!

Keep on, keeping on.
God bless,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day Report Card

The boys reported a successful first day of school.  I arrived to pick them up and T was already waiting,  smiling and giggling with some other boys from his class.  He's quick to make friends, which is always soothing to my mama heart.  We also have him on alert to befriend some newer kids in the class who might not know anyone yet--one is a friend of ours from church and the other is our backyard neighbor who moved in recently.  We, unfortunately, never got in playdates with either boy, so now we're encouraging T to reach out.  Not like he needs anything else added to his plate, but he seems to be responding positively to everything.  Here is a peek at what he brought home yesterday:
He did such a nice job coloring.  We laughed that T needs to hide a few of his cards or else we'll get in trouble for not sending him to kg last year!  We also laughed remembering hovering over the bottom half sheet of paper 2 years ago when M brought it home after his first day of school.  It gave us such hope--we clung to the words "great first day"--what does this mean? did he do well? will he be successful?  lol  Such first-timers, we were! ;)
Matthew also seemed to have a great day.  It's always more difficult to extract information from him.  He's my one word guy--"good" or "fine" are usually the responses I get to questions about school.  But he was all smiles and said that he liked his teacher.  I was really grateful for a homework activity he completed later, where he had to fill in the blanks of a paragraphs with details of his first day.  Excellent mom information! :)  I found out that he was disappointed when he first woke up for school because he was bummed summer was over, but that by the end of the day he said he felt "happy".  He also made two new friends, said the Pledge of Allegiance first thing in class, enjoyed his grilled turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch, and that his two favorite parts of the day were lunch and recess.  lol.  Wonderful.

Wouldn't you know it, though, he was dragging his feet out the door this morning, wanting to stay and play at home!  Crazy kid.  I tried to dig a little deeper and make sure there wasn't some fear holding him back, but when I asked, "Are you nervous about something at school?" his immediate reply was, "No, I just want to stay and play with my toys."  Sweet.  He is my play guy--LOVES to sit and play with his legos and various collections.  That, my friends, is why school is good for us (over homeschooling).  It gets him out and interacting with the world because his tendencies are to stay at home where life is nice and comfortable and he rules the roost.  He's my little birdie who needs a little pushing out of the nest...  Fine at age 7, let's just hope not at age 25. ;)  lol.  Love that guy.

Now, how to motivate them to practice piano after homework, but before practices and dinner while still allowing time for precious play.  That seems to be our biggest obstacle as I look ahead, but we'll figure it out...

Tomorrow, a fitness update!  Insanity in full effect!
God bless,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And they're off!

We had a smooth start to the first day of school this morning.  The boys awoke in good spirits and eager to get going.  In fact, we were ready with 15 minutes to go and they were like racehorses in the gates, ready to take off.  Finally it was time!
The newest second-grader on the block!  Ready for a great year!
And the kindergartner is raring to go!  He's been waiting for this day for quite awhile!
Can't tell you how often I'm asked if they are twins!  

Don't forget little brother-- he starts next week!

Me and my boy!  The sky's the limit for this one! 
Another good one thanks to photographer M!  
And the boys are off... finally!  They were waiting and waiting and finally, it was time!  This will be the last on-time morning we'll have all year.  lol
The farewell committee
Our big kindergartner at his class
Heading into 2nd grade!
I pick them up at 2:15, so we'll report in tomorrow how things went.  I can tell you already--great!  These are my guys--"the most wonderful boys in the whole wide world" (or at least that's what mama tells them!)  I hope they believe it because I do. ;)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Last Summer Romp

On the eve of the start of school, it is only apropos that we report on one last summer outing...
Last Friday, we toured the gelato shop and watched a fresh batch being made!
Then we were able to sample...  Such fun!
Touring the back kitchen--hey, we know that guy!
There were many cool contraptions to behold!
Getting ready to "tour" the freezer!
Boy!  That's cold!
Watching the man in action...
This was such a simple, easy outing and one the kids enjoyed immensely.  We were back by lunchtime and able to hang with some favorite friends for a playdate.  The moms even got to "play" and chat too! The best!!  Thanks Schmitts!
We are praying for an awesome school start tomorrow!  The crew is in bed and off to dreamland thanks to a new bedtime ritual that we decided on during a family meeting the other night.  Now to cement the morning and after-school routines and we're totally in business...  I'll have more to report tomorrow!!
Lilypie First Birthday tickers