Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Itchy Baby

Baby Boy has been on Zantac (or the generic version - Ranitidine) because of his "floppy esophagus" which causes reflux. Unfortunately when increasing his dosage to go along with his weight gain he began to get eczema. Missy Blue also has it but usually only in the winter and hers is in small patches on her legs and arms. Now that she has been spending time out in the sun it has disappeared. Baby Boy began to have eczema covering his back and belly  and his skin felt like sandpaper, not the silky smooth that a baby should have. I was trying any cream/lotion that I could but nothing was working and it began to spread to his arms and legs and when he scratched at it it began to bleed. The only thing I knew that was different was his increase in medicine as he is still not on any solid food and I haven't changed laundry detergent. We looked online for side effects of Zantac and of course a major one is eczema. My husband decided that we should try him off of the medication and see if his eczema cleared up and if he could tolerate the reflux. Well, Baby Boy has been off for two weeks now and the rash is indeed going away, albeit very gradually. His skin is still red and irritated but it feels much smoother. He is spitting up more but thankfully his reflux doesn't seem to be bothering him at this point.

Baby Boy seems to only be bothered by the rash when he doesn't have clothes covering it and then he scratches at it like crazy. This is a picture after the eczema began to clear up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is it in the water? - update

You may remember a post I did back in October about three friends and I being pregnant and due within weeks of each other. We have wanted to get an updated picture with our baby BOYS but over the winter it is difficult to get a day that everyone was healthy and at church. Last weekend we were finally able to get a picture, although the babies aren't very cooperative at six months! We look forward to our boys growing up together.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Women Need To Know

I love listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and since she is on the radio at a time in the day when I am the busiest I have taken to downloading the day's program and listen as I prepare breakfast or supper or am nursing a baby. Earlier this month she had a 4-day series featuring Shaunti Feldhahn who is the author of the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men. I blogged briefly about this book awhile back when I first read it. Needless to say, this is a must-have book for any woman who is trying to understand how her husband is wired. It is about seven things "we women just don’t get about men and things that, most of the time, our husbands really desperately wish we knew" but don't know how to explain. While it is written by a woman, she gathered all of the information from men and put it into a form that women would enjoy. A few things I was vaguely aware of. For women, our highest need is typically to feel loved and cherished. But the highest need for a man is to feel his wife’s respect and trust and admiration and honor. Reading the book was great but now having listened to the series for the second time this week I have been so encouraged as I was reminded of how I can best meet my husband's needs and help to make him the best that he was created to be. I have learned so much and I encourage you to go to Revive Our Hearts and listen to this series or just read the transcripts.

Ephesians 5:33b (Amplified Version)
....Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband” (“that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Business and pleasure

My husband had meetings at work today with some men from Korea who came over to see where their Hyundai engine block is being built. They needed to make a good impression and things needed to be just so, so he did go in on Saturday to prepare. The lengths they go to impress people amazes me. The best of the best it seems, from accommodations at an area resort to lunch and then dinner at the finest restaurants. I will say that I was a bit jealous as my husband had two wonderful meals today while I sat home eating peanut butter and jelly for lunch and pancakes for supper since he wasn't here anyway (and I haven't been to the grocery store in too long!) I was in luck though as they were told to buy dessert for their wives. My husband knows me well and brought home chocolate cake with a filling of chopped nuts and coconut. Yum! One of the guys he was with told him to get the Tiramisu or then just to get both so I ended up with two desserts! A nice treat after a long day. I do plan on sharing with the children tomorrow.

On another note -- my husband told me they were discussing their families today and the guys jokingly told the Koreans to ask him how many children he had. He told them he has six children and they couldn't believe it, especially after he told him how old he is.  One of the men even made a note of it on my husband's business card. We got a chuckle out of that. (I suppose they did also.)

I am so proud of my husband and am always amazed at things like the fact that this major project for his company is in his very capable hands. He definitely deserved to take it easy today and enjoy himself.

New Normal

Last week I was kind of dreading going to the visitation and memorial service for Jean. But then really, who ever wants to be in that situation? We found out what we already knew, that she was a very loved lady and touched many lives. We stood in line at the visitation for at least 45 minutes just to get into the room and the line never seemed to end. Many people sharing different stories and reflecting on Jean's quick wit and her love for others.

The service the following day was beautiful and had so much music with some of the songs requested by Jean, her favorite being, "In Christ Alone". Her love for her Lord and Savior was so clearly proclaimed as was her desire that everyone there would choose which path to take at the fork in the road. Follow the world or follow Christ. You can't have it both ways. At the dinner to follow it seemed almost like a big family reunion as we got reacquainted with family from other states. It was bittersweet though as it was a strange feeling not to have Jean there with us.

For our family, there aren't any big changes as we hadn't seen Jean much in the past year. But I knew that her family would be feeling the changes. On our way into church yesterday morning Jerome, Jean's husband, passed us on the highway, alone. He sat in church a few pews ahead of us with his daughter's family. My eyes often went to him at various times in the service wondering what he must be feeling and tears came as I thought how this is his new normal. Pastor preached on Psalm 46 which was excellent and so timely.

Another trial this family is facing is that Jean's mother needed to have her gallbladder removed the day after the funeral. During her surgery she suffered a mild heart attack. They will now decide what course to take. She is strong and feisty and I don't think there is much that can keep her down.

~ From Psalm 46 ~

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Be still, and know that I am God.

1953 -- 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sweet Ending

In my previous post I mentioned that family members were at Jeannie's side when she died but I forgot to tell you the sweet way in which she left this earth. The family and our Pastors were with her and were singing hymns about heaven. They stopped for a time to have supper and came back and started singing again. Our Pastor said that when they began to sing Jeannie was visibly excited. They came to the song "It is Well With My Soul" and while they were singing, Jeannie opened her eyes, looked at her husband, gave him the biggest smile, took two more breaths and that was the end. What a sweet ending to the story of Jean's life. 

Mixed Emotions

This weekend I was able to spend a nice time away at our church's ladies retreat with my Mom (and Baby Boy who was so good!). Our speaker was lighthearted and encouraging and the topic was "Life Changes" learning from the book of Ruth. We were challenged, we shopped, had fun with friends, and laughed enough to bring tears. However, at times our emotions were so mixed and thoughts were heavy as my Mom's cousin Jean, who I mentioned last summer here, had been taken to a hospice a day earlier. I haven't mentioned this for awhile but Jean has been struggling in her battle with cancer since last fall. For awhile we thought she was doing so well but then she started to get weaker and they needed to stop chemo, in order to build up her strength. She didn't ever feel like eating as she was nauseous all of the time. How she longed to be worshipping with us at church but coming, often completely wore her out. Then the headaches began and a month or so ago they found that the cancer had spread to her brain. Jean continued to rest in God's perfect plan for her life and was making a list of things she wanted to do in her time left with her family, even as we prayed for a miracle.

Last week was a difficult one and things turned, with Jean suffering more with seizures and such and being taken to the hospital, from there to be sent to a hospice center. Saturday evening emotions at the retreat were very mixed. We had found out that they could no longer find Jean's pulse and that it wouldn't be much longer. Our hearts ached with that realization and for her husband, daughter, mother, and other family who were at her side. Her 84 year old mother had been selflessly taking care of Jean for the past months and I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to watch her daughter suffer so. Aunt Dorothy is an amazing and giving woman, never thinking of herself!

The theme song for this weekend was "God Makes No Mistakes" and it was so difficult to sing that song without breaking down. Oh, I know without a doubt that it is true, but painful to think about none-the-less. Later that evening we cut into our session as news came that Jean had gone home to be with her Savior. Praise the Lord that she no longer suffers, but what a hole we have here on earth. I was thankful to be with my Mom and good friends and the church body of ladies as we all brought comfort to each other and had a time of singing and prayer.

Jean had told her good friend a week earlier that she didn't want any of us crying for her and we tried our best. I kept thinking back to a year ago at ladies retreat right before Jean was diagnosed with cancer. She was in a lot of pain at that time but wouldn't miss the retreat. I remember clearly as we went out for ice cream and a bunch of us squeezed into a tiny booth and I sat across from Jean who was joking at the goofy names of the ice cream sundaes and eating much more than we were hungry for. She joked and laughed and was full of life, talking about a new grandchild about to be born and how she was planning on being at the birth. I can't believe that now a year later we are at this point. This will be a difficult week. I am so thankful for the future hope I have because of Christ and the fact that I know that I will see her again someday. Just one more person in heaven that I long to see.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Inspiring Blog

A few weeks back I mentioned my cousin and his wife  who are expecting a baby with anencephaly. In our correspondence she directed me to a blog that so expresses her own feelings. It is written by the wife of one of the members of the group Selah.  They are expecting a baby girl who has many problems and most likely will not live outside of the womb. Angie is her name and her writing has been very transparent in how she is feeling, sharing both the ups and downs but all the while continuing to praise the One who created this little life. I have been keeping up with Angie's blog and today is the day of her c-section. If you would like to be blessed by a beautiful story check out this blog (make sure to start at the beginning and get your kleenex ready)-- Bring the Rain.

Our Weekend

This weekend we spent a relaxing time up North with my husband's parents. We haven't been since last summer and thought we should take the trip before race season begins. The fact that they have a new puppy was a nice incentive also.

Daddy & Morgan. George is still trying to convince us we need a puppy. I think we'll just have fun visiting with one. :)

I was a little concerned as they had had 9 inches of snow earlier in the week and at home the temps were supposed to get to 60 degrees. But the Lord provided us with weather that was absolutely beautiful and finally felt like spring. It was the first time we were able to be outside without a jacket and I reveled in that! We started the day with a visit to the next town over for a rummage sale and a visit to my favorite quaint shop. I only ever look there for ideas as the prices are crazy and I always think how I could make that myself if I just had the time. This time I found the cutest frame idea with a quote by Winnie the Pooh that I am going to make and have already enlisted my husband to find wood for me.  I'll post a picture when it is complete.

Our afternoon was spent with the children making stepping stones for Grandma's garden (the kits were our Christmas gift to her) and they all turned out really nice. Baby Boy put his hand in the cement and Missy was so excited to but as soon as she felt the wetness decided that she would rather not. I got her hand in anyway and she did have fun decorating with the colored stones.

Pete, George, & Re-Pete concentrating on their stepping stones.

Missy & Tank working on her stone.

We played with the adorable puppy, Morgan; went for walks just breathing in the fresh air with the scent of spring; and then just sat and watched the boys barefoot (their favorite way to be) in the puddles sailing their boats. They had so much fun.

Racing their boats in the puddles.

On the way home I watched for more and more signs of "green" and less and less snow! We have a bit left to melt here but I know that thankfully it is on it's way out which brings with it a new season of traveling as race season gets underway next month.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Background Music for life

Do you ever watch a movie and listen to the music wishing that your life had background music like the movies do? I often think how nice it would be and on that note typically will have music playing throughout my day with a various mix of styles. We may start the day with energetic songs for the kids at breakfast then move to a mix of hymns, contemporary worship, soundtracks, and instrumentals through the rest of the day. The children love to listen to the soothing sounds of instrumental praise songs, especially those mixed with the sound of crickets or waterfalls, or Kenny G to fall asleep to and it puts me at ease also.

Music is such a powerful thing and it often sets the mood or conjures up memories for me. When my Grandma was at home dying from cancer I spent as much time as I could with her and also kept my Grandpa company. We would play hymns for her and at the moment she died we were at her side and the song that was playing was "Surely the Presence of the Lord Is In This Place". I will never forget that and the song brings back memories. Grandma's favorite hymn was "How Great Thou Art". She could play the piano by ear and played this with such passion. Even after 13, years at times I still can get choked up singing the last verse of that grand hymn. -- "When we've been there, ten-thousand years..." Praise God Grandma is there today.

During the Christmas season memories my Dad and growing up abound, especially when I hear Nat King Cole singing "O Holy Night" or Johnny Mathis singing "Sleigh Ride". What a wonderful feeling when I hear those songs I grew up with!

This past November when I gave birth to Baby Boy I made a mixed CD to have playing during my c-section. At the moment he was born I took notice of the song and it was another old hymn but set to a new melody -- "Jesus, I am Resting".  What a great reminder for me to be resting in the Lord as I was in the midst of surgery! The arrangement is from a Praise Baby CD and I love to listen to it and will forever have the memory of Baby's birth when I hear that song. I sing it often for the children and we are working on the words together. Every time the song is played Tank says, "Is that what ----- was born to?"

Yesterday after years of searching I finally found the arrangement of the song (
"Take My Life and Let It Be") that I walked down the aisle to and after downloading it was brought back to those nervous moments when I was on the arm of my dad waiting to be married.

Those are just a sampling of the memories both good and bad that a simple song can bring.

Ahh, music, sweet music. What is the background music in your life?
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