Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Little Superhero

I found a great gift for Drew that has more than payed off!!! It was a box full of superhero capes, masks and shooter things! He absolutely LOVES to morph into his chosen superhero for any given task! He has relenquished a big, bad spider, saved baby Jack, and always asks, "Hey Mommy, where's Andrew??" when he is dressed up! It has been so nice to have our "Andrew" back in spirit and energy! His days are once again full of building, adventure & make believe! Watch out, spy kids, here comes SUPER DREW!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Uphill Down

I want to thank everyone for all the support, encouragement and prayer during this time. I KNOW the Lord has worked on Drew's behalf because there is no other explanation for how well he was doing today! After how he was yesterday, I wasn't expecting him to be back to normal for a week, but he woke up his old cheery self this morning. I know this is nothing short of a miracle due to all the prayers for Drew!!!

The appointment with the pediatrician went very well yesterday. I must have sat in the examination room for over an hour conversing over all the possibilities with Dr. D. He has been SO wonderful to work with and I feel like he is on our side, not like I have to pull teeth to get an answer. After he talked through his concerns, he asked me, "So, what other theories do you have that we can hash through." He ended up sending Drew over to the lab to get some more blood work done to run some more tests (NOT the highlight of our day). Just last night a friend said she heard that "they" found some kind of parasite in the Lake we frequented this summer...YIKES!! But, Drew has NO indication of this since his "intestines" seem very normal!! The definites are it is some kind of infection and it is cyclical & consistent. So we go from there. Taking one day at a time. Enjoying the healthy days, laying low on the sick days. But rejoicing in ALL of them!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Poor Baby

It is 11:30am.

Drew has not left this spot since he woke up this morning...he just drifted back to sleep.

As you might guess, he is sick, again.

I am only sharing this so you might also pray for us.

Drew has been consistently sick every 3 weeks since May. With only a high fever.

The blood work came back negative for lymes & coxsacky virus.

I am at a loss.

But this time it is much more.

He is also lethargic, complains of his head hurting and sensitivity to smell and cold, and is having difficulty performing simple requests without having a meltdown.

He's thrown up 3 times since last night. So on top of everything he is now probably dehydrated.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful pediatrician who is taking time to really explore the different culprits. And I have another appt. this afternoon.

For whatever reason this may be happening, I do know that it is doing something HUGE in my heart. I would never say I struggeled with loving my children, but there are times the pressures choke away my perspective & patience with the 2 wonderful gifts He has given to us. This is certainly stripping away any and all distractions and cares that take away from my love and care for my children. Especially Drew right now. From the beginning, I have had to fight for him. He never latched on his own until he was 6 weeks old!! I cannot begin to tell (and will spare you) all that I had to go through to get him to independently nurse! (I think I only grasped the full of it when Jack was a pro-nurser from the get go). And in the hospital with Drew, the dr. noticed some muscle tightness in his legs. They ran test after test to rule things out that could be cognitively related. Wow...did that throw me for a loop as a first time mother.
"You're taking my baby...WHERE??
And doing a brain scan...WHY???"
Which resulted with in-home physical therapy for Drew's first year due to hypertension in his hands & neck.
Now, I know there are families out there who have gone through much deeper trials and health difficulties, and I in no way compare myself to them. And upon meeting Drew, you would never guess any of these things about him. We have had a managable amount of "bumps" in the road with all the medical help & support I could have ever asked for.

But nonetheless, it is scary.
Last night, Drew was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I was parked on a mattress on the floor beside him. Once he fell asleep, I must have checked his breathing a dozen times. I just pleaded with the Lord to reveal the reason of his sickness if it is life threatening, and if He doesn't that I will rest in Him, knowing He is completely in control.
He also is a carrier of a blood disorder from his Mediterranean lineage (i.e. paternal...who also has it) called Beta Thalacemia Trait. The doctor explained it like this:
If you were a baker, and had an order of 200 donuts to make, but were short on flour, you decide to still make the donuts and deal with the consequences. So, in the end, you still have 200 donuts, they are just not as cakey and fluffy and are much smaller in size.
This is how Drew's and John's red blood cells appear. They cannot carry the same amount of oxygen as normal and therefore it easily comprimises their immune system. It looks like anemia, but there is NO iron defficiency, a common mistake of a diagnosis. So...if Drew misses a nap or gets to bed quite late for some reason...he inevitably wakes up sick. Sleep deprivation is their biggest enemy!! Not only does he seem to catch EVERYTHING but it also takes him much longer to recover. Even though it is quite frustrating, the Lord allowed Drew to be a carrier and we rest in His sovereignty. The pediatrician drew out a whole genetic chart of % for me and there is a 50/50 chance for our children to be carriers (even though all 3 of the neiner kids have it). THUS, the wonderful news that Jack IS NOT A CARRIER!!! I was really thrilled about this and even though I know God makes no mistakes in these matters it certainly spells out to less sickness for Jack!!! AND, the neat thing the dr. told me about the trait is that carriers build an immunity to MALARIA. He even said, "So, Andrew would be a good candidate to be a missionary to Africa someday!!" Isn't that amazing!!??
Thanks for taking the time to "listen" and for praying.
I have to go...Drew is awake now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

T says Tih

After lunch, Drew grabbed his little dry erase board and said, "I want to draw a note for daddy!!" So I replied, "OK, what do you want to draw???" At this point, he normally scribbles lots of lines and circles and covers it all with dots. But this time he was very particular (as he held his marker "like an artist"---something John taught him from the beginning) and drew each stroke with care. When he was finished he looked at his "artwork" and smiled. I shock!!! I asked, "What did you write???" He proudly said, "THE LETTER 'T'!!" I then asked him how he knew to write the letter T like that. And he said, "It's just how I saw it!!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Request Granted

This one's for Leah:
No more will you have to enter






upon leaving a comment!!!! I finally turned off the word verification setting. JUST FOR YOU, MY FRIEND

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blogging Slacker

for this month!!!!!!!!!

Not only do I have files of pictures on my computer for this month alone anticipating their grand entrance into the blogging world, but I have SO MUCH to write about. AND on top of that I only blogged twice in August. There were many, many times I sat down to blog only to find myself diverting the feeling until it passed. I have been keeping up with you all, which is the wonderful thing about blogging. You can go "underground" for awhile if you so desire while remaining connected with your blogger friends. Thankfully, there is no minimum in the world wide web, so I am not at a loss. I do apologize for those checking back having to look at the same picture everytime! So here is my attempt to bring you up to speed.

It's been a full month, although it's not like we went to DisneyWorld, or traveled abroad, or ran a marathon, or moved, or had a baby, or remodeled a classroom, or painted our kitchen, or any of those great accomplishments some of you can account for. But we certainly have had our share of "hometown" excitement. Thus the prompting to finally push aside the huge stack of books (mainly my exuberant cookbook collection) overcrowding the computer desk to sit down and record these ecclectic events:

Here is a list of things we have done this past month, in no particular order:

We found solace in frequent visits to a local lake & beach. We would pick up John after work with a van packed with towels, dinner & swimming gear for a wind-down night "away from it all" even if it were just for an hour. This is where we learned how much Jack LOVES the water, and are reminded how much Drew LOVES other kids. He spends his whole time making friends. He is definitely type A personality!

John & I went out to eat. I know this doesn't sound too exciting. No remote, excuisite restaurant or classical performance of a violin trio afterwards. We just visited one our favorite locals, Applebees (for the Bruchetta Burger. It is so fabulous!!!). It was just so nice to sit, talk and really connect. We are learning how proactive we have to be to stay connected. It doesn't always just happen like it used to! I didn't even bring the camera (on purpose). I decided to just enjoy the evening!!!

We have had workers in our house on and off the whole month. I am amazed at how much this alters our daily routine. They are in the basement so we still have our normal territory, but the noise level did prevent Drew from taking many naps. (And I learned I am not yet ready for him to give this stage!!) BUT, our basement is looking amazing!!! I cannot believe how much has gotten done this week. I have been showering our workers with coffee in the morning & baked goodies because I am so, so thankful for all they are doing. I know, they are getting paid, its their job. But I feel like this whole project is a complete gift from the Lord and we are soooo thankful for every aspect.

down the stairs

laundry room to right, family room will be through the double doors

steel framing to keep it from warping
from family room looking into laundry room/furnace

storage area

look how off the floors were!

cracks that John had to patch

new electrical pannel
(the electrician basically said he's never seen a panel as old as ours was. we are thankful there were no fires!)
I was a witness for a neighborhood crime. I did not actually witness the crime, but I talked to the suspect at large before the "crime" happened. I thought I was just doing my citizenship duties when explaining the situation to our policeman, but I didn't realize how official this was going to be until the officer called and asked me to come down to the station to give a statement. It was the real deal! (but certainly not as intense as Jack Bauer!) I was taken to a remote white, cinder block room with no windows. The officer questioned me in all seriousness & I even had to do a line up, though it was just a photo line up. This was quite exciting for me and I even noticed my heartbeating more rapidly than noramal!!

Jack is 10 months old & has become one mean-eating-on-the-go machine!!! I can barely keep up. This is probably the uttmost reason why I have not been blogging much. I feel like ALL I have been doing is feeding & chasing this child!!! I had a nice little system down and now that one is as good as naught. I have had to do a lot of refiguring to keep the both of them happy, clean & fed simultaneously. Most days I feel "I need either a maid or eight hands!!!" I did have an "AHA moment" and pulled out the pack-n-play. I used that thing all the time when drew was that age for when I needed to keep him contained but happily playing. STATS: weighs in at 20 lbs. ~is a pro-straw drinker~LOVES yogurt~has 4 teeth~calls drew "gooo"~plays shy when meeting new people~has just started cuddling at night before bedtime~gets excited when I say "ready for your bath??"~is super, super ticklish~has no fear/is a daredevil~does not like hats on his head (they're off before we are out the door!)~is learning the DVD shelf is off-limit!! :)

the bumbo has been a life saver, but is short-lived.
jack is an expert escapee. I do LOVE the tray!!!

(left) someone needs a haircut!
(right) no-this picture doesn't need to be flipped. jack loves to hang upside down!!!

We just returned from visiting John's sister Amber & her hubby, Brian for Labor day. We LOVE getting together with them & even though were about 2 hours away, we don't get to get together quite as much as we all would like! The guys (John, Brian & Brent---Brian's brother) got to do some serious outdoor climbing while Am & I took the boys to Chuck E Cheese and had fun hanging out. They also taught us a new game, Ladder Ball. It is soooooo cool (but forgot to take pics).

In our area there is a circus camp for 3 weeks where kids attned to learn a variety of circus tricks. Then they put on a great performance, which the Neiners wanted to treat Drew to this year. Drew was in awe & I was quite impressed.

This was quite amazing. A family has been doing this for about 14 years. They started by going to the library and checking out a book on Marionette dolls and making their own. We made the last show of the summer. They performed Carnival of Animals, which was soooo great. They had about a dozen different animal marionettes and afterward let the kids play around with them.

My 5 dinky hydrangea plants I bought at Walmart 3 years ago on clearance for $2.99 each have blossomed into bushes that belong on Cape Cod!!! I am sooo thrilled. I thought I was going to have to move them because they weren't getting enough sun, but this year they proved me wrong. My mom said they just needed time to get established and they certainly must feel established because I had so many blooms this year, each one being anywhere from 8-12" wide!!!

10. 4-H FAIR
While tag saling we happened upon our local 4-H fair. This is something a bit out of our league but it was so fun to walk around at. Drew held his first bunny and both the boys were able to sit in a real firetruck!!!

The rest fits in here, just our day-to-day living.



PETER PAN washing the van

FOGGY MORNING out our backyard

You can pray for us as it's been kind of a rough summer health wise!
Drew has been sick almost every 3 weeks since May. His symptoms are a moderate-high fever for about 3-4 days. He just had some blood work done (which half way through he pronounced, "Mommy, I do not like this at all!!!!!!) and we are going to hopefully rule some things out through that. Drew said it best, "Mommy, it is NO FUN being sick!!!"

WELL, that was A LOT of blogging.
Maybe I'll take the rest of the month off! (JUST KIDDING!!!!)