Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Raining It's Pouring!

About a week ago we got a few droplets of rain. Noah quickly ran outside to see if he could feel it hitting his face:) A couple of nights before that we had a brief downpour, but Josh, the boys and I were at the movies seeing the Lion King. (that was SO fun!) We were all a tad sad we had missed the highly anticipated rain, but were so pleased to have a few droplets to enjoy!!!!

Last night was super exciting though! I had just put the boys in bed and heard a loud crash, boom, smack on the back porch. The boys flew out of bed and I flipped on the light to see a big gust of wind had flipped over our two rocking chairs and the hanging swing was smacking the post on our porch. The lightning was wild and the storm lasted for about an hour! We were super excited to finally have a bit of rain. Driving through the neighborhood this morning we were amazed how tall all the weeds in the yards had grown just overnight! They must have really wanted rain too:)

When brother is away Andy will play....

This fall has brought about a big change in our household. Noah has started pre-K three mornings a week. Andy goes two mornings a week, meaning each Wednesday is just a Mama and Andy day. Each Wednesday we go to storytime, then we come home and Andy plays and plays and plays. There is such a difference in his personality. He seems much more independent and has a ton of confidence in himself. He really loves driving McQueen around the yard with his Super Why cape on:) That cape has made many trips to HEB and Target! He is such a fun almost three year old!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mr. Andy Man

Oh Andy. It is hard to believe our sweet Anderson is about to be 3. I am seriously emotional over this. H.O.W. in the world is my baby almost three? Where has the time gone? Why do I feel like it flew by and I want to slow the time down? It seriously makes my heart skip a beat to think of him as a 3 year old. I just love him so much and want him home forever. BUT I know that will not happen, but man alive I love this kid!

Our little Andy man. Man of many names. Andyman, Andypants, Anderson, Andy, And (which is the ONLY name Noah really calls him!), buster, lovebug, sweetie pie, and cutie. This little Andy man is seriously determined. I love that about him. It can be trying, but it is such an amazing part of his personality. Josh and I noticed this about him from the moment he could show us what he wanted. From the throwing up in his crib the MOMENT the door shut. No crying had even happened, it was like he just willed himself to throw up because he just KNEW I would open that door and rescue him. (he was seriously not even a year old!) Then he started talking...and anytime he would want something he would say it over and over. For example... "Milk. Milk. Milk. Milk" until he was acknowledged. Or he would repeat Thank You over and over til her heard a 'You're Welcome.' And now, this persistence is even more prevalent. A big part of that rubs Noah the wrong way, but another big part of it just amazes me. Take for instance tonight.... we had a big day. Noah had a soccer game (he scored his FIRST goal today! He ran down the whole length of the field with that ball, tripped and his head butted it right into the other teams net! It was so exciting to see him get that kind of control over the ball, I was SO proud!) we also went to lunch with my Dad, ran an errand, and did a bunch of projects and chores around the house. Andy took a nap, but even with that still falls asleep around 8:30 or so normally. Well...I mentioned Josh was coming home. He had been out of town with his Dad and he was on his way back. I slipped and mentioned his coming home in front of Andy before he went to sleep. Andy seriously is still awake at 10:58. Josh got home 15 minutes ago and Andy was waiting up for him. Singing songs, looking at books, anything he could do so he would not fall asleep because he wanted his Daddy. That is SO late for a little guy, it is amazing the will it took and the determination to stay up! Although at times I get frustrated by his persistence, I really need to focus on the amazing qualities of it. Plus, it is just an integral part of who our little Andy man is!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I love being a Mama!

All of my life I imagined myself with little girls. Frilly little socks, the white ruffled diaper covers, embroidered dresses, princess clothes, baby dolls, and my little ponies. Seriously. I am so glad I am not the one in charge of these decisions! I feel like God just KNEW our first two children should be boys. I LOVE being a Mama to two boys! If God blesses us someday with a girl, that would be fantastic, but if not, this boy thing is fun!
Here are the reasons I love being a Mama to little boys...
*Tea parties do happen in this house! We just have them with the guests of dinosaurs, Elmo, Mickey, and all our other stuffed friends!
*Bed time stories about super powers and flying through the sky, rodeo clowns and roping, and knights and their castles are really pretty magical
*Collecting sticks, rocks, and dirt is really fun
*I now have a little one to pick bugs up and put them in the trash, back out side, or flush them for me! (Thank you Andy! Noah inherited my squirmy nature with anything creepy crawly, but Andy will bring me any lizard, cricket, spider etc with no fear!)
*Dress-up clothes are super fun, Buzz, Woody, and Cookie Monster are really fun, football players too!
*A whole day spent in the sandbox is a day well made.
*Planes, trains, and automobiles. Pretend, real, you name it...makes their day.
*Little boys are so super sweet. They love me 'to the moon and back' and I just cannot imagine life any other way.

So although a lot of these things may apply for little girls too, I really do love life with our little boys. They made get super dirty, but a warm bath and some lotion and they are the best cuddle bugs on the planet. I sure thank God everyday for knowing just what Josh and I needed. I look forward to the future and seeing if we are blessed with another child, what God thinks will be the right

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dinner Time...

Tonight at dinner my heart really swelled when I heard Noah's prayer. He was praying for the firemen and all those that had fire by them to be safe. It was such a sweet heartfelt prayer and I could tell he was so concerned about the people. He then asked me....

"Mama, is Kristin's house okay?"
.... I really had to compose myself here ...
I replied, "Noah, Kristin does not have a house here on earth. Remember sweetie, she is in heaven."
Noah then said "Is that the same heaven I will go to someday?"
"Yes Noah, if you continue to be good and learn about God and Jesus. Then when you choose you should be baptized, then keep being a good person and then a good man and believing and you can go to heaven." I said.
Noah thought for a second, then said thought after thought "When I am baptized do I have to open my eyes under the water or can I keep them closed? And will the water be deep or can I stand right back up? And do you think eleven will be a good age for that?"

...I was floored. It is amazing to me how much our little four year old knows and understands. His heart is so sweet and so pure, it is such a blessing to see.

At bedtime tonight Andy was singing a little song I had not heard before, he said...
'I love you Lord I love you Lord
I sing with ALL my might'
It was such a sweet little song!
I asked Noah where they learned it and he said at their new school. I am loving hearing all the new songs and all that they are learning about. Then Noah said, Mama it was actually a prayer, not a song. He was able to remember all the words, but now I cannot remember them and he does not want to perform :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

National Celiac Awareness Day... My Story!

Today is National Celiac Awareness Day. It really has made me sit and think back to 17 years ago when I got sick. It made me think about my diagnosis and how few people probably know any of this about me. So, here is my story.....

It was my freshman year in high school, spring semester. The year was 1995. My sister was a senior and was driving me to school. I thought I was so cool! I played the alto saxophone that fall in the marching band and had started playing the baritone saxophone that spring for the concert season. I tried out for Softball and made the high school team. I worked it out with the band directors and the Softball coach to do both. I was seriously on top of the world! I was so excited to be able to do the TWO things I loved the most. One night during a softball game my parents came to the dugout. They asked me if I was okay. I said I was alright, but I felt like I was running in slow motion between the bases. Both my Mom and Dad said, "Amy, you WERE running in slow motion!" I will never forget how sluggish and gross I felt. The following day I stayed home from school sick. My Mom made me a doctor's appointment with our pediatrician, Dr Rahman. (Oh how I miss her! She was also our boys doctor before we moved!) I had a killer sore throat. I was spraying my throat with chloraseptic, which is something I do not like at all. She did some blood work and said I had mono. BLECH. I had not even had my first kiss and here I had the "kissing disease." Thank you softball and probably drinking after someone!

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I had been told I should start feeling better, but I did not AT ALL. I was still so lethargic and was starting to drop weight like crazy. I remember very vividly, I started off weighing 147 pounds. Within just a couple of weeks I weighed about 120. My sister knew my clothes were falling off, and I will never forget she went and surprised me with a new outfit. I still have it. A mauve colored shirt and an elastic waist a-line knee length skirt that was sage green with little mauve flowers on it. I was starting to have horrible stomach cramps. Through Kristin's transplant team my Mom got in touch with the head of pediatric gastroenterology at Texas Children's, Dr. Klish. I started seeing him. At this point I was still losing weight very rapidly. He put me on a feeding tube (NG tube) which is inserted in your nose and goes into your stomach. Through that they pumped in Ensure. I was hospitalized and they started running tests. At this point I had been eating very little and now my only nutrition was Ensure. With the occassional cherry limeade slush with a good friend! All blood tests for Celiac Disease and anything else they could test for came back negative. But I was showing signs of severe arthritis in all joints, my feet were quickly shrinking in size, I shrunk an inch in overall height and was losing my hair at an alarming rate. I could not concentrate. My memory was very poor and all I wanted to do was still sleep. After testing me for osteoporosis, they said I was losing bone mass too. At this point it had been months, with two separate feeding tubes. I was out of school at this point, being homeschooled by a really neat lady the school district sent to my house. Desperately wanting to stay in touch with friends and really feeling sad.

School pictures were quickly approaching, so after a talk with Dr Klish we scheduled the removal of the second feeding tube for the morning of pictures. I vaguely remember my Mom helping me wash my hair that morning, then my Dad taking me to school for pictures. At that point I realized how important it was to be around friends. I had my freshman class picture taken, then headed right back to the medical center to have my third feeding tube put in. We then decided I should maybe try to go to school half days. The fall semester came around and I was still not feeling well. A lot of this is hazy, because my memory did not ever really come back from the time I was so malnourished. Our band directors let me march, even though I could not make it to all practices, games etc. The posters, cards, and calls from all the band members just truly made every day amazing. I marched in every single game. I was homeschooled, but would occasionally try to do half days at school (which usually included band!) as often as I had energy. A lot of that time I had a feeding tube. It was so hard to be seen with it. It was a very vain feeling, but a lot of people did not know what was going on. One kid asked me in Geometry "Are you dyslexic" I know he meant to ask "Are you anorexic" but as I sat munching on my counted out amount of jelly belly jelly beans trying to keep my caloric intake up on days I was unhooked from the feeding pump I am sure I was a sight. But to me, sitting in that classroom amongst the peers I had gone to school with since kindergarten was absolutely theraputic.

During this time I had multiple cat scans, mri's, radioactive isotope tests, six endoscopies, and one horrible test where I had to eat dry chicken and they put three long tubes down my throat that had sensors and I had to sit completely still for hours while they tracked the movement of my food. The only movie they had was Dumb and Dumber. Yikes! None of these tests showed the doctors anything. They ruled out cancer. They ruled out rheumatoid arthritis. They ruled out Celiac Disease. They ruled out Lupus. What was left?

At this point I was going on Tuesdays for weekly weight checks. Slowly the weight kept creeping down til I was about 90 pounds at 5 foot 7. At this point my heart started skipping beats and I had to wear a halter monitor. They called it tachycardia.

My doctor was amazing. I will always love Dr. Klish. Seeing him each week made me happy. My Mom would drive me to him and we would try anything we could to see if I could feel better. Then he threw up his hands and referred us to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.

In the next couple of years I went to Mayo Clinic a total of three times. This first time though was the most pivotal. We got to town and checked in at the Ronald McDonald house. The next morning we were scheduled for an appointment. We arrived with all of my boxes of medical records. A team of doctors sat down with those records and began pouring through them. I was called back to see my doctor, Dr. Camilleri. He looked at us and said "She has Celiac Disease." We were shocked. I had been blood tested, stool tested, endescoped. How could I have Celiac? He said "I am pretty certain she has Celiac, but has been on a gluten free diet because of the feeding tubes, therefore her tests came out negative. I think she has another problem which is also masking the symptoms of the Celiac making it even harder to diagnose." WHAT?! So he started dictating in his little recorder then made me 10 or more appointments for the next week.

The tests were pretty wild. One was called a Sweat Test. I was covered from head to toe in a yellow/orange powder. They then put me in an "oven" and "baked" me for over an hour, trying to raise my temperature and get me to sweat. Anywhere that I did sweat would turn purple and they could see how my nervous system was working. I had one tiny ring of sweat around my navel and they aborted the test after over an hour. Another test was called a Radioactive Isotope study. They mixed radiactive isotopes with eggs and had me eat them. Then over the next couple of hours I would return and they would take pictures of my intestines. They learned from this that the eggs were still sitting inside my stomach after many hours of walking. Meaning my instestines were basically not working at all.

Towards the end of the week I had a diagnosis. First, I have Celiac Disease. We were given a small pamphlet on the gluten free diet and were told I needed to adhere to this for life. Second, we were told I had something that only one other person had a recorded diagnoses of... Selective Cholonergic Dysautonomia following accute infectious mononucleosis. Oh the mono, THANKS a lot! The other person to have this Selective Cholonergic Dysautonomia had also seen Dr. Camilleri after many years of problems. My diagnosis and theirs were nearly identical. Basically, the sweat glands, the gastroentestinal tract, and many other parts of the body fail to work. Here is the link for the published article from 1991.

After making many friendships from our week at Ronald McDonald we returned back to Texas. My Mom dove into a gluten free support group (without the help of the internet!) and all the books she could find. After many yucky pastas, cereals, etc she found a good knack at cooking gluten free! Within the next few months my stomach slowly felt better! Within the next few years, my problems from the Dysautonomia became better and after two more visits to Mayo Clinic my Senior year in high school I was back to feeling great! You can just say, the Celiac Disease diagnosis saved my life! It is now a huge blessing. With HEB having a gluten free aisle, General Mills having a gluten free facility to make chex, many restaurants having gluten free menus, a husband that does not mind having a gluten free home (saying he loves me more than food!) and many brands willingly labeling their foods as gluten free (for example Ore Ida!) life has become so easy and instead of Celiac being difficult it is just a way of life!

So nice...

The school year is going along well! Andy was a little hesitant at drop off last week and did not seem to happy with me at pick up either. This morning on the way to school we had a chat. We talked about how me leaving means.... I ALWAYS come back. It also means FUN with friends. And Noah sweetly added "It means I am only TWO rooms away from you at school, Andy!" I love how supportive and helpful Noah can be. Drop off was awesome. Andy ran in his class, sat down on the little striped rug and waved bye! YIPPEE! Noah takes off running and does not look back. He just flat out loves school!

This morning I left the boys and headed for MOPS. I loved every second. Sometimes I have a hard time feeling like I fit in. A ton of the ladies are super cute, with adorable fun clothes, and funky jewelry and they all know each other because their husbands are in the residencies at our local hospital. BUT then I got to thinking.... we are ALL there for the same reason. We are stay at home Mom's...we have young children, we love God, and we want to find a bond, eat snacks, visit, talk about the bible and how to make home life easier, and do crafts! At that moment I relaxed a bit and hope to have made some more friends.

We had a really great lesson today, one that really stood out to me and I wanted to remember. One of the members read this blog post... click here to read it. I definitely plan on re-reading this over the next years as the boys grow older and our lives change. It just had so many great points!

Pick up today went great! Andy was so excited and so happy. Noah was too! We are very excited that Noah's soccer practices start tonight. Andy really wants to play too. He is not old enough until next year. I did get him a yellow pair of soccer socks though, so he can at least dress like big brother!

A few cute things... lately Noah has taken to calling Andy "And" It is just a cute little shortened nickname. Andy has continued to tell him, "Noah, my name is ANDY!" Noah said today "I know And, but I like giving you a nickname" Andy then replied "My name is not nickname, my name is Andy!" Funny!

The boys got sick over the weekend. My folks were in town yesterday, because we had all just returned from a trip to Ft Worth from one of my childhood friends weddings. I woke up and ran to the store so I could get our weekly shopping done without the kids, in case they did not start feeling better. While at Wally World I picked each boy out a pair of black skeleton pj's that glow in the dark. When Noah was laying down to nap he said "Mama, my bones are hurting!" I replied "I am sorry, do they have a tag on them?" Noah then said "No Mama, my real bones, like under my skin!" Then less than five minutes later I heard Andy yelling from the closet "My bones are glowing! My bones are glowing!" I can only imagine how strange those things would sound to someone listening in but not seeing their pj's! SO funny!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fishers of Men

I love it when I hear singing in the house. Usually the boys are playing and not even realizing they are singing. Today Andy was singing a favorite, one I knew Noah knew, but did not realize how much of it Andy could sing. He was singing...
Magnify oh magnify
Magnify our God and Father
Magnify of magnify

It just makes my heart so happy to hear him singing about God!

Just now Noah was playing on the porch singing. I did not recognize the song. I asked him what it was and he said "It is one I learned today at that new school you took me too." Then he sang these words...

I will make you fishers of men
fishers of men
fishers of men
I will make you fishers of men
if you follow me
if you follow me
if you follow me
I will make you fishers of men
if you follow me

So neat! I love that he sang it today at school and is already singing it!

First Day of School!

Such big boys.
Such an exciting day!

Running around the yard yelling - "School time!"

Being sweet and posing for pictures for Mama

(I love Andy's little legs in the background below)

Noah starting his first year of pre-school. He leaves behind him two fun years of MDO and now gets to go three mornings a week! He is super excited and cannot wait to learn to read!

Our little Mr. Andyman, he is starting his second year of MDO. He will go two mornings and is so excited to go to class with friends! He is also excited that one day a week it will just be a Mommy and Andy morning!

Time to go!

So excited!

The boys were so excited to go to their new school and had such a fun day! Andy really liked his teacher and had a great day with no accidents. He loved getting to paint and read books with Ms. Leslie. Noah was most excited about his an adorable picture he colored of an apple and a necklace he made of noodles. He said Ms. Kristie was really really nice and that he made a few new friends! All in all, a really great day!!!!

***This morning made me really stop and remember the past two years of our first days of school. I had to go back and look at my blog posts of our adorable little babies. These two have grown so much!!! Click if you want to see the posts from last year and the year before.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Daddy's Little Helpers

Josh has been hard at work getting our  new house fixed up.  He has tiled the bathrooms, kitchen, breakfast room, and laundry room.  We have new wood floors in the living, master bedroom, and carpet in the boys rooms and upstairs.  Dad, Josh, and I (and a friend) have painted every room in the house.  We have almost finished putting in new baseboards.  Crown molding comes soon.  Josh and I painted the kitchen cabinets.  We got new counter tops, dishwasher and a sink.  We refaced the fireplace.  We have a million and one other projects still going on, but NONE of them could have happened if it was not for Daddy's Little Helpers.  They have their own measuring tapes (they call them measurements) that they bring to the hardware store along with us.  Josh was measuring for the new back splash we were headed to buy for him to install and the boys starting measuring too.  It is always good to double check the work!

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Josh working on the board and batten a couple of weeks ago - more posts about that soon!


Noah "installing" baseboards.  That day Josh was running around in a swimsuit and no shirt working, so so was Noah!  I love the drink and apron sitting in the boys bathroom floor - ha!


Josh taping off the countertops getting ready to install the back splash!  We were finally putting on the cabinet doors that day (YIPPEE!) and you can see the board and batten a little in the background.  We LOVE how that turned out!


Rare sleepy moments...

Ever since Andy could walk, he just does not slow down.  He is one of those little boys that just goes goes goes.  I love that about him, but also it makes Josh and I really miss those sweet baby cuddles.  Andy is quickly nearly his third birthday (sniff, sniff) and he is still such a little guy, but is growing so quickly.  I miss just holding him for hours.  He has reached the age where missing a nap is okay, but it does mean he will be asleep for the night around 6:30-7.  We do not miss naps often, but last weekend he did miss his nap.  He was sitting on the couch with Josh watching a movie and just feel right to sleep.  Josh was so happy, because cuddling Andy like this is so rare.  Josh just laid back and enjoyed every moment of the cuddles.  Which then sent me running for the camera, since I had not seen this sweet sight in so long!

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Andy is just growing up way too fast.  His favorite thing to yell is "Moses says LET MY PEOPLE GO!" and yells it in this hilarious little country boy voice.  He loves singing "Five little ducks went out to play, over the hills and far away.  One little duck went quack quack...."  while playing his ukulele.   He loves food, but does not eat much.  He is moving into the 3T shirts, but still wears mainly 12 month shorts and some 18 month shorts.  He can write the letter A and the letter H.  He can count to 20 and almost always gets blue and red confused.  He loves his brother, and loves pestering his brother equally.  His favorite color is yellow.  Everything needs to be yellow.  He has a yellow room.  Yellow silverware.  Yellow bowl.  And really wants yellow crocs for his birthday!  We met his teacher this morning for his new MDO and he is really excited about his class.  If he gets embarrassed (which sadly happens often) he either starts swinging like he is going to hit or spits.  He is a little riot!  Andy wants to do everything on his own.  He does a great job with going potty and loves to swim (but not put his head under water!)  He truly melts my heart and I cannot imagine not being with him every moment of every day!  I love you Andy!!!

Treasure Chests

The boys really love the new Disney show Jake and the Neverland Pirates. They walk around all day singing "yoho let's go, jake and the neverland pirates!" We have been talking lots about pirates lately and what they looked for or kept in treasure chests. The boys each decided they needed treasure chests. I was so excited. We went to Hobby Lobby for all the supplies and picking them while singing about pirates was really cute:)

Painting and decorating the pirate chests was some serious work!         

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It was more fun watching the boys paint and you can tell from Andy's "moustache" a treat of fruit punch Gatorade was super exciting too!