Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thanks to uncle Tory and aunt Lisa and their generous decision to let us borrow their walker, Ethan has been working his leg muscles a lot!

And while he's working those leg muscles, he's thoroughly distracted by Cookie Monster and Big Bird, too!

He is almost too distracted by the TV behind me to look at the camera, too!

Maybe he will notice me if I direct his attention to the side!

Rodney Dangerfield, anyone?! :)

My precious babe scratched his forehead all up!  We promptly clipped his nails after this.

Okay mom, you're not interesting anymore ...

Thank you Tory and Lisa for our new and fun toy!  I'm certain that we will get lots of use out of it while we have it!

P.S. For those of you who may have noticed - the baby in these pictures is NOT a sick baby because his RSV has finally broken free and left!!  Praise the Lord!! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's no joke that I've been walking around my house singing the chorus to Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It".  That's how I feel.  I'm done with this and I'm not taking it anymore.  Yesterday morning I was feeling incredibly defeated.  I was congested, I could feel the fluid in my lungs, my cough was awful and I hardly had a voice.  I was certain that this was going to take over my life for the rest of the week.  It already has consumed Ethan, Colin, Monte and myself, and I was allowing it to do so.  

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn't even like my attitude!  I'm a fighter and I don't have to take this sickness trying to consume me.  So, I have prayed about it and in faith am believing God is healing our family.  You know what?  I truly do feel MUCH better today and I believe that a lot of it is because of my choice to change my perspective.  Yes, I'm still coughing and have the occasional sneezing fit, but I really am feeling a TON better.  

I'm thanking God already for His healing in me, in Ethan, in Colin and in Monte.  We don't have to take this anymore!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

After our third trip to the doctor this week, it seems that we have been given a good report!  While Ethan still seems to be extremely congested and uncomfortable, the doctor told me that his lungs sound like they're clearing out.  Praise the Lord!  This mama's heart needed the relief of hearing those words, it truly was rest for my weary soul.  

Our plan of attack is to continue with the Nebulizer every four hours and to continue praying for our sweet little blessing.  One thing that blesses my heart is that, no matter how sick he feels, Ethan is still his smiley happy little self!

Please keep him in your prayers as we are on the uphill climb out of RSV.  Please keep our family in your prayers as well, as I will be leaving Monte behind this Saturday as I go to my aunt's funeral and he will be staying home to take care of Ethan.  Pray for strength for all of us on that most difficult day.

My sweet little baby sleeping through his late-night nebulizer treatment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I knew it on Friday.  I heard the little coughs and the little sniffles and just knew it.  I was gone all day long on Saturday (being with my uncle and helping to do planning for my aunt's funeral) so I wasn't around to hear it.  Sunday definitely confirmed it: my darling baby boy had a cold.

The catch about it was that it seemed to keep getting worse.  Yesterday his cough was more intense and you could hear the fluid he was trying to cough up.  He was uncomfortable, yet happy; bothered, yet content.

This morning he was still smiling, which is why I hesitated to bring him to the doctor.  I believe that God truly prompted me to take him in anyway, and I'm so thankful that I did because I learned what is really trying to attack my baby's tiny body: RSV.

Ethan's doctor explained to me that RSV causes his airways to swell (much like asthma), but that the cold in his lungs causes added mucus in those airways, making it difficult to breathe.  Being he is only four months old, it's impossible for him to cough up that mucus and impossible for him to blow out the mucus that's clogging his nose.

Right now he is being treated with nebulizer treatments of albuterol, which truly is helping!  While I am incredibly grateful to have this medicine for him, I do know The One who is his ultimate healer and I am crying out to Him now for His healing power to touch my baby's tiny little body.  Will you pray with me, too?  Please?!  Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  I truly believe that we can even gather over the internet to pray for my sweet baby.

This mother's heart is begging you for your prayers just as I am begging God for my sweet baby's health to be restored.  It truly is in Him that we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28)!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Have I ever told you about my uncle and aunt, Sherwin and Laurie?  They are the most amazing, phenomenal couple I have ever met in my life (yes, even compared to Monte and me!).  Sherwin was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and has used crutches to get around since he has been able to walk.  He has always held a very special place in my heart, as I grew up only 10 minutes away from him.  I used to go with my dad to visit Sherwin and my grandma on Saturdays, and Sherwin and I would head out - sometimes on a walk to the local cafe to get pie, sometimes on a drive to McDonald's to enjoy some food.  Sometimes we would just walk for the sake of walking together.

For as long as I have known him, Sherwin has been a perfect example of Christ's love in action.  He loves God with all of his heart and never hesitates to sing praises to Him; whether he's walking down the road, at home, in his car or at the mall, Sherwin is almost always heard singing or whistling a praise song to God!  It's one of the things that I love most about him.

On July 17, 1993 he married his beautiful bride, Laurie.  I can't imagine a person better suited to be Sherwin's wife than Laurie!  She is full of life, spunk, laughter and love for God, for her family and her life.  Laurie had the right amount of sassiness to keep Sherwin on his toes (as it truly takes one with a good sense of humor and a lot of spunk and "fight" to keep up with my amazing uncle!).  One of the most remarkable things about Laurie, though, is the fact that she had Muscular Dystrophy (MD), but she never let it slow her down.  Due to her MD, Laurie was limited to being in a motorized scooter/lark, but she used that as a means to love on people, too!  You see, due to the fact that Sherwin and Laurie couldn't have kids of their own, they poured all of their love on their nieces and nephews (and their great-nieces and great-nephews) as if they were their own children.  So oftentimes one of the younger children would happily jump right on Laurie's scooter with her and go for a ride; the thing is, I think Laurie loved it just as much as the kids did!

Sherwin and Laurie have always been completely selfless, giving their all to be there for family.  No matter the occasion, whether it be a sporting event, a birthday party or a wedding or bridal shower, they were the first people to make sure that they would be there!  Truth be told, I had to tell Sherwin that he wasn't allowed to come to my baby shower, as he did come to my bridal shower (though he arrived toward the end) even though it was "girls only"!  They have always made it a priority to let the people in their life know just how loved they are, which in turn makes us want to bend-over-backward to help them in any way possible.

Unfortunately, the worst imaginable reason for help came this past Saturday.  Laurie had been in the hospital earlier in the week due to a bout with bronchitis.  As a result of her MD, Laurie didn't have the strength to cough up the fluid that was building in her lungs.  When she was in the hospital, they continually cleared her lungs for her.  She was sent home later that week, where Sherwin said she was still miserable.  She couldn't lie down to sleep, so she tried to sleep in her scooter or in a recliner, but Sherwin said she was getting only a couple of hours of sleep per night at best.  On Friday night she took a sleeping pill that the doctors had prescribed for her and went to sleep around 12:30am.  Sherwin awoke to check on her at 3:30am and instantly knew that she had gone to be with Jesus.

I received the phone call at 6:30 Saturday morning and was shocked beyond belief.  This beautiful, selfless, loving woman is now free from the pain of her MD and is dancing on streets of pure gold.  My sister, brother and I were among other family members who spent the day by Sherwin's side, walking with him through the meeting at the funeral home and the moments of grief that swept him.  It was a very hard day, as it breaks my heart to see his grief, but I know that he is extremely steadfast in his faith still to this day, as he told me today (on the phone) that "God is still good ALL THE TIME and she's finally home."

He's right, she truly is home now.  I imagine that she must be walking, running, dancing, cartwheeling and doing all those things that her physical handicap did not allow her to do on this side of heaven.  She's in the arms of Jesus and I can guarantee that she most definitely did hear that "well done good and faithful servant" because she truly was always a servant of God.  She and Sherwin had an unshakable unending love for each other and for our God, and it was and is one of my absolute favorite things about her.

Please keep my uncle in your prayers as he grieves for the loss of his beautiful wife.  We know that our time on earth is short, but I also know that it feels overwhelmingly long to him now that his best friend is gone.

*Photo "stolen" from my sister's blog, as I don't currently have another picture of Laurie.  This is Sherwin and Laurie with my nieces, Breanna and Khloe, and my nephew, Dawson.

We love you so much Laurie!  Your life on this earth spoke volumes to those who knew you.  To know you truly was to love you and I am forever grateful to have known you.  I can't wait to see you again.  Save a place for me.  I love you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last night there was an elephant in the room ... and it was perched right on top of my chest.

After already having an emotional day (because, let's face it, women have those now and then) I made the decision to go to my belly dancing class.  I won't lie, I really didn't want to go, I didn't want to AT ALL.  Maybe it was the thought of the shimmy circle and how completely exhausting it is.  Maybe it was just the thought of working out.  I really don't know, exactly, all I know is that I didn't want to go.

I went anyway.

The beginning of the class was truly enjoyable.  I was having a great time.  I was moving and shimmying and lifting my hips and trying so incredibly hard to get these moves down.  Something wasn't right.  I couldn't make myself move in the ways that I wanted to.  It was too hard to move my feet and my hips at the same time.  This was a very unusual feeling.

Then it happened.  An asthma attack.

I was totally unprepared for this.  My inhaler was still at home.  I hadn't had an asthma attack in two-and-a-half years, so why now?

I slowed down.  Maggie (the instructor) told me to pick it up.  I believe her exact words were, "you have a LOT more than that, I've seen it - pick it up!"  Then I explained to her that I was fighting an asthma attack and she apologized, asked if I needed anything and told me to "fight away"!

I stopped and got some water.  I tried to focus and slow my breathing.  My sweet friend, Trish, was quickly at my side to see if she could help.

I'm thanking God that it wasn't a major attack.  I'm praising God that He helped me through it without the assistance of my inhaler, which is VERY expired, as I learned when I got home and used it (it expired in January of 2010!).

Lesson learned.  When you have a medical condition and you're given an avenue to treat said condition, stay on top of your checkups and renewing your prescriptions!!!

What a night.  Oh what a night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

This is a blog hop that I haven't participated in for quite awhile, but decided that today was a good day to jump back in!  To see who else participated, visit Mama M's blog here!

1. Do you know what your REAL hair color is?
Why yes I do - in fact, my real hair color is a grayish shade of blond, that I often refer to as "Mousy".  This is why I continue to color my hair!

2. Do you plan ahead for summer, or fly by the seat of your pants?
We often plan a "vacation" at a cabin up north for a weekend mid-summer, but beyond that we really take it as it comes.  I like to get the kids out and doing something a couple of days per week in order to keep the peace and sanity, though!  We find lots of things to do whether it be going to the beach, a park, a museum or just having friends over for a baseball game in our front yard.  Summers at our house are the best!

3. What is your favorite meal to cook?
Spaghetti with my homemade sauce, garlic bread and a salad.  It's an easy meal, but it's one that I always get compliments on because the sauce is just phenomenal!  It's one of my favorites to make when we have people over.

4. Do you get offended by not receiving thank yous?
You know, I know that I shouldn't, but I have to admit that I really do.  I think it's extremely tacky to receive a gift at a wedding or shower or something along those lines and then not acknowledge it at all.  I would truly just be fine with a "thank you for your gift" card with no further words.  Maybe it's because I'm just an old soul (as many people have told me) but I really appreciate the old-fashioned necessity of a Thank-You card!

5. How did you meet your best friend?
I was managing a physical therapy clinic and he was a patient there.  We later went on to date and eventually got married.  It was amazing!  To this day, my Monte continues to be my best friend - and I just LOVE that!

I met my other best friend on the day that I was born, but I'm fairly certain that I annoyed her for the first 20 years of my life!  My sister and I are very close now, we talk almost every single day and I don't know where I would be or what I would do without her.  She is simply wonderful!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

If there's one thing I've learned about my sweet little Ethan, it's the fact that he has inherited my sensitive skin.  That's something that makes this mama kind of upset because I know just how difficult it is to live with sensitive skin.  I tried for a long time to find something that could take away this insane rash that lived on my baby's face, and for a long time my search was to no avail.  However, after spending some time with my sister and her seeing which lotion I was using on my sweet babe (which will remain nameless!), she told me that it was not a good lotion to use and to switch to "California Baby" products, because they are made from natural products.  

I kid you not, when I bought the "Calendula Cream" by California Baby I almost messed myself at the price I was paying for the cream.  All I kept thinking was, "this BETTER work!".  Well - it did!  My sweet Ethan's face went from looking like this:

to looking like this:


I'm not kidding you at all - I love this product and will continue to promote it to other moms out there because I know the frustration of not being able to fix your baby's skin problems!  We put the Calendula Cream on Ethan's face before bed one night, put him in his crib to sleep (I must note that he also sleeps with a humidifier on in his nursery) and woke up to find his skin absolutely cleared up!  It was amazing!!  You would think that I Photoshopped these pictures, but I can promise you that I absolutely did not - both of them came straight from my cell phone (to my email and to my blog!).  Plus, my Photoshop Elements hasn't been reloaded onto my computer since I had to completely wipe and do a system restore on my computer.

Regardless of all of that, I am promoting these products NOT because I'm getting paid to or being asked to (because I most definitely am not getting paid and I most definitely was not asked to write about them), but simply because it is a solution that worked on my angel's sensitive skin, and if there is even one of you who can benefit from that, then it's worth it!

We have tried some of their other products and LOVE them as well (especially the bubble bath - I had to figure out the correct amount after almost drowning myself in bubbles, but truly only about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of the bubble bath produces a LOT of great smelling bubbles!).  I just ordered the diaper rash cream and am excited to use it!

If your baby (or you!) have sensitive skin, I would recommend these products in a heartbeat!  I use them on myself, too, and I can't tell you enough how much I love love LOVE them!!  Try them out - you won't regret it!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Once upon a time, about one or two months ago, Monte's brother and sister-in-law came up with the idea that they would like to have all five of our kids at their house for a weekend, and with that weekend would come a weekend of "just us" time for me and Monte.  Once upon a time we took them up on their offer and arranged to have all four of our boys go to their home for the weekend while Claire stayed at home with a friend, as she is involved in an extra-curricular activity that requires her to be home.  Once upon a time is right now.  Monte and I are enjoying our stay in a cabin near Brainerd, our children are having a fabulously wonderful time at their aunt and uncle's home and life really couldn't get much better.

I will admit, however, that as much as I crave these little get-aways, it only takes one night for me to miss my regular routine of being home with all of my family under one roof.  This time away is wonderful and very much treasured and enjoyed, but the time of picking up our boys tomorrow and heading home to see Claire will be that much better because my heart is missing them all so much!

I have more details of our fabulous weekend to come once I'm home and can upload some pictures and the like, but for now I'm signing off letting you know that I'm happy, relaxed and wonderful, but missing my babes oh so terribly!  I guess I really was made for the life God gave me after all, and I just LOVE that!! :)