Saturday, April 30, 2011

She is four!

This week our Emma turned four.  I can't believe how the time has flown by.  She is such a joy to us and our lives would be so boring without her. 

On the morning of her birthday Emma rushed in our room around 6 am saying, "I am four!  Isn't it marvelous?  I am four!" What a way to begin the day.  For her birthday breakfast Emma wanted a cheese pizza with ranch dressing.  Not exactly what I would have chosen but that is what she wanted.

Emma had preschool and was able to bring cupcakes with her.  We got princess cupcakes and juice boxes to share with her class.  She was so excited to pass the treats out to her friends.  She decided to wear her fancy pink dress to school for her special day.

After school Aubrey and I picked up Emma and headed to Applebee's.  We had some free kids meal coupons.  While we were there Emma told anyone that would listen that it was her birthday and that she was now four.  They brought her a small free ice cream to celebrate.

We had to pick up Dawson from school but after we got him I thought that it would be fun to take Emma flower picking.  She just adores dandelions and is so sad that we never have any.  So on the way home from getting Dawson I pulled over on the side of the road and let the kids out to pick all the dandelions they wanted.

I snapped a picture of Emma's beautiful flowers:)

Dan had been out of town for work but got home mid afternoon with some flowers for Emma.  They planted the flowers together in one of our pots by the front door.  It was sweet to see her face as he came home with flowers just for her.

For Emma's birthday dinner she chose to go to...Red Lobster.  She was so excited to eat shrimp with Daddy. 

While Dan and Emma were enjoying their shrimp Dan leans over and asks Emma if she would like one of his fried shrimp.  She took one look at it and said, "It looks like a butt."  It was so funny.  Every time after that she would ask Dan, "Can you pass me another bottom."  What a silly girl.

After dinner we headed home for gifts and cupcakes.  It was a wonderful day with our Emma.  Each day is it's own adventure with her.  I am so thankful that God gave me such a creative, spunky and joyful girl.  I love you Emma!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finding Truth

Today has been a little rough in that Dan is gone to North Platte and I am here with the kids.  Normally this was never that big of a deal.  Sure, sometimes it was hard having him gone and being with the kids all the time but bed time was always around the corner:)  Tonight though I feel like the reality of my diagnosis has hit me.

How can I be a good wife and mother if I can't clean my house, or make meals from scratch, or bake fabulous birthday cakes or go on school field trips?  I am realizing that much...okay all my identity of what makes me a good wife to my husband and a good mother to my children is based off of these things I do.  That is being slowly stripped from me and I feel a little lost as to who I am.

I was doing some research this evening and stumbled across an article about RA and parenting.  This following paragraph was exactly the truth that I needed to hear.

"At the end of the day, being a good parent isn't about running down a hill or taking the stairs two at a time. Being a good parent is about unconditional love, patience, paying attention, talking to your children and teaching them how to become a kind, responsible human being. Becoming a role model who shows your kids that you can live with bad things and love and laugh anyway is a far better lesson than whether you can get the lid off the pickle jar. To your child, how your family works is normal and you are mommy or daddy, period. If a child has to crawl up on your lap themselves to get a hug instead of being lifted up, what's important about that moment is the hug, not how you got there."

I have some thinking that needs adjusted.  I will be honest that changing a life long idea of what it means to be someone is not going to be easy.  I think that it will take a lot of digging for God's wisdom and praying the right truths into my life.  I know that changing my thinking will be a daily (probably multiple times a day) issue that I have to address and them lay at God's feet.  I found this verse this evening at it occurred to me that this is the kind of wife and mother God wants me to be.  God doesn't care if I serve my kids frozen waffles now instead of ones made from scratch but He does care if I teach my children about mercy.  God does not care if the house is not picked up when Dan gets home from work but He does care if I show him kindness and gentleness.   So here is the first truth that I found and will be praying into my life.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."  Colossians 3:12

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Blessed Weekend

What a wonderful weekend.  I feel like God really blessed our family with the gift of time together.  It looked like Dan was going to have to work on Saturday evening and Sunday so Dan called in for a personal leave day.  We weren't sure if he was going to be able to use it because often around holidays you aren't allowed to your PL days.  However they let him take it!  We were pretty excited about it and decided to celebrate our Easter on Saturday because we thought for sure that Dan would get called in sometime Sunday.

We made our Easter "feast" as Emma called it.  We had all the usual foods; ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, braided bread, deviled eggs.  It was a fun meal together.  Emma told be that she loved all my best recipes.  After nap time we hid all the eggs in the back yard and had a fun egg hunt with the kids.  I knew that the kids would be getting more candy on Sunday so I only filled the eggs with a little bit of candy and the rest with quarters, nickles and dimes.  I think that the kids were just as excited to get the coins as they were for the candy so I think that I will do that again next year. 

Here is Dawson and Emma getting their egg hunting game faces on.

Aubrey found an egg!  She actually got it open when we were looking and was scarfing the jelly beans inside.

Later in the evening I rested inside and Dan had a campfire with the kiddos.  Emma roasted hot dogs over the fire and then strawberry marshmallows.  Emma loves campfires!

On Sunday morning we got around for church.  Dan checked the board and there were a lot of guys on it so we ended up having him home all day Sunday too!  What a blessing.  We got a pretty good family picture of all of us dressed up for church.  Aubrey wore the dress that Emma did for her first Easter.  Then I had found the same dress in Emma's size on ebay so even though I never thought that I would do it the girls matched.

Emma with her classic cheesy smile.

We had a great time at the church service.  I especially enjoyed watching the baptisms.  To me there is nothing more beautiful the watching someone be baptized.  Dawson told me all about the resurrection when we got home.  I am not sure that he understands it all yet but to see him excitedly tell me all about it was fun.  We spent Easter lunch at our neighbors house and the kids made out like bandits in the candy department.  I believe that I will be freezing some of it!  The kids played outside for the rest of the day and when they were all tucked in for the night Dan and I were able to watch a movie together.  It was a great weekend and I feel so blessed that God gave us this time together. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Appointment

Well today was the big day.  I finally had my appointment with my Rheumatologist.  It was clear across Omaha so I had plenty of time to pray on my way.  Also, I popped in one of my favorite cd's Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay.  I was praying over the appointment and praying for peace whatever the outcome was going to be.

I met Dr Doud and I really like her.  She was very personable and I felt that she really listened to what I was trying to say to her.  This in itself was a gift from God because that was one of the things that I was afraid of.  Before I was diagnosed with Crohn's I went to several doctors who didn't listen to what I was trying to say and just wrote me off as being anorexic, having just a nervous stomach and that it was mostly in my head.  She asked me a lot of questions trying to see if my joint issues were more Crohn's related or if it was something more. 

Dr Doud believes that based on my symptoms that I am showing signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I went to get some blood work done and then to get x-rays of my hands and feet.  The blood work is to check several things but also to look at what my Rheumatoid Factor is.  The RF number is just an antibody that floats around in the blood of many people who do in fact have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Doctors use the RF test in blood work because the values of RF is often quite higher in people who do have RA.  RF supports a tentative diagnoses of RA...but used alone, is not enough to make a diagnoses of RA.  Normal values are usually 0-20 U/mL give or take a few depending on the lab (all labs have a tendency to vary a point or 2).  Now Dr Doud mentioned that an absent RF does not exclude Rheumatoid Arthritis.  They'll use this test, plus my statements of symptoms, pain levels in joints, swelling, symmetrical joint pain & swelling & stiffness, RA nodules, and XRAY changes of the joint or decalcifications/deformities to make a final diagnosis.

Dr Doud will be contacting me early next week to talk to me about the results of my blood work and x-rays.  She has put me on 5mg of Prednisone to try and give me some relief.  Hopefully this dosage will be effective to help but not so high that I have a lot of side effects that go along with Prednisone.  Dr Doud said that most likely she will be putting me on a medication called Methotrexate.  It is compatible with my different Crohn's medications.  I have heard of this medication before because it is sometimes actually used to treat Crohn's disease. 

I am disappointed that I do have something in addition to my Crohn's disease.  I feel sorrow more for my family then really I do myself.  They are going to be just as effected by this as I will be.  I will just have to lay this at God's feet (maybe daily) and trust that when my body fails me that He will provide as He has promised.  God has given me wonderful friends and family that pray over me, send notes of love and encouragement or call me and flat out tell me that they are sending someone over to help me knowing how much I hate to ask.  I know that I am not alone in this and I am grateful beyond anything that I can express.  I do have to say though that when God calls me home I will not be sad to leave this broken body behind!

Philippians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Bad and the Ugly

I am struggling.  I have wanted to share how I have been feeling but I was waiting for some deep revelation to come to me.  For the feeling that it will all be okay.  However, that feeling has not come. 

I am in constant pain.  My joints swell and hurt all the time.  Last night I believe that I hit some wall in my ability to keep a positive attitude and not to be overwhelmed by everything.  Dan went to bed early last night because he was going to be called in the middle of the night.  I stayed up a little while longer watching Battlestar Galactica (geeky I know) and went to feed Aubrey before I hit the hay.  Usually we feed her one more bottle before bed and then she will sleep until about 6:30 am.  I went to go pick her up out of the crib and I couldn't.  With her laying flat my hands and wrists could not take lifting her up.  I have been picking her up by putting my forearms under her armpits and lifting her that way but usually she is sitting up when I do that.  I will admit that I starting bawling.  How ridiculous is this?  I can't even pick up my own daughter.  I feel heartbroken and overwhelmed that I can no longer to all the things that I want to do.

I have an appointment with a Rheumatologist on Friday but instead of being relieved I am anxious and worried.  What if she tells me there is nothing really wrong with me?  That this is all because of my Crohn's and I have to just tough it out?  What if there really is something else wrong with me?  Crohn's disease is enough of a burden to my family but to have something else too?  Poor Dan is already carrying a big load.

I am trying to remember that God is in control and He works all things for His glory but I am just overwhelmed and tired.  So there it is.  A few weeks ago I feel like there was the good in my story.  I could see and feel God's work in me.  Now here today I feel all I have is the bad and the ugly. 

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

Psalms 130:1-2

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How big is Aubrey? She is sooo big!

Today was Aubrey's 9 month well baby visit.  She has been eating all table food and not very interested in her bottles anymore so I was anxious to talk to her doctor about that.  The nurse brought us back and they weighed/measured her before her doctor came in.  I am sure that you all will be shocked to know that she is officially a "big girl" according to the nurse.  Aubrey weighed 22 lbs and was 29.5 inches long.  To put this into the Westfall perspective, Dawson weighed 25 lbs when he was one.  Emma weighed 22lbs when she was one.  If you were wondering, I weighed 22 lbs when I was 2.

I talked to the doctor about Aubrey not wanting her bottles as much and we got the okay to start transferring her to sippy cups.  So, I think that I will start giving her formula in her sippy cup at meals and see how that goes.  Aubrey is working on three top teeth now.  Finally the top middle two teeth are coming in.  Her smile has been so funny with those random side teeth growing in first.

We had a lot of fun this past weekend with the nice weather.  Aubrey had a blast outside on the swing.  We took lots of pictures of her.  She just loves being outside with the kids and Dugan (our black lab).  Here are some recent pictures of our big girl.

I snapped this picture of Dawson reading to Aubrey in her room.

Aubrey having a blast on the swing.

Dawson loves to push Aubrey on the swing.  She just laughs and laughs even when he pushes her a little too high for Mommy's taste.

Aubrey worn out from a fun day playing outside.

Aubrey wearing a silly bow that I attempted to put in her hair.  It lasted about 5 seconds.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I smell like an onion

The following took place today between Emma and I. 

"Mom, I need a bath.  I smell like an onion!" Emma yelled as she came running into the house from playing in the back yard.  I was busy in the kitchen and didn't really look at her as she had came in the house.  I gave my standard response when Emma asks me if she can take a bath, "No Emma.  Not right now.  You can take a bath tonight before bed.  You know the routine."  This is where she began to pitch a fit because she's not getting her way.  She has started doing this recently.  She will cross her arms over her chest, squish up her face and turn her back on me.  It is a little funny but like a pro I keep a straight face.  As Emma turns around I notice that she isn't wear her shoes and her legs seem rather shiny.  As I walk closer to her that is when the smell hit me.  I kid you not my friends when I tell you that it almost made me gag.  I can handle dirty diapers and vomit pretty well but the combo of old onion and fryer grease was disgusting.  I immediately whipped out my "Mommy voice" and asked Emma what in the world had she been doing outside?  She replied (with some fear in her eyes), "I was playing in Daddy's onion fry thing." 

A little background here.  We have a small fryer that Dan uses once in a while to cook onion rings in.  We usually use it outside on the deck because if you don't the whole house smells like McDonald's.  Apparently Dan has made some onion rings the other night and left the fryer on the deck table.

 Emma had opened the fryer (which how she knew how to open it is beyond me but then I always say that about her) stuck her hands in the oil and then wiped it all over her legs and arms. After getting the whole story I march her straight into time out. She is already crying because she has to go into time out.  Emma hates time out so much that one day she asked me to spank her instead.  I set the timer for three minutes and then open a window.  Seriously, the old onion smell was gross.  When her time out is over we talk it out.  She says she is sorry.  I forgive her and then launch into a speech about the dangers of fryers.  When it is all said and done I tell her, "Let's go put you in the tub.  You really do smell like an onion."  And Emma replies, "I told you so Mom."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jedi Room Complete

May the force be with you!  We have completed decorating Dawson's room.  He absolutely loves it.  Here are some pictures of the finished product.  You can see the big Yoda on the wall in this picture.  The green light saber glows in the dark.

We also found smaller Star Wars stickers that we put all over the walls.  Those light sabers glow in the dark too:)

Dawson was pretty excited that we found a cool poster to hang on his wall too.

This is the sign that Dawson made and hung on his door:)

It was a fun project to do and actually did not cost that much to make the perfect room for our buddy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It wasn't me!

It wasn't me!  That is what they said as I held up my camera.  Someone had taken it outside and left it there.  It has rained and had at least an inch of snow cover it.  Needless to say the camera is toast.  You could look at the pictures that were taken but it would not take any pictures.  Now, a few days later, it doesn't even turn on at all.  As I was scrolling through the pictures I found the following as the last picture that the camera took...

I turned the camera around, showed the kids and said, "Emma, this looks like you took that picture."  She then said, "Oh yeah mom.  I forgot.  I took your camera outside on campfire night."  Now I actually believe that she forgot because two or three days had past.  Well, off to time out Emma went.  I have to be honest now, while I was frustrated because a workable camera was ruined I actually hate that camera!  The flash takes forever (like 30 seconds) and often takes blurry pictures of the kids.  I have been wanting a new one for a bit now but it seems pointless to get a new one when you have one that already works.  Anyway, after time out was over I was talking to Emma and she told me, "I am sorry Mommy that I took you camera.  I shouldn't have.  I should have used my princess camera instead.  Do you forgive me?"  I told her that I did forgive her and thank you for saying sorry.

So there it is.  The proof as to who really took the camera.  (Not that we didn't already guess.)  Sometimes though it is nice to have some visible proof;)