Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf: Days 1-11

Because it was graciously given to us as a gift last year we are participating in Elf on the Shelf.  I'm not sure if I would have purchased one myself because the idea of an Elf getting into trouble every night and then it appearing fun and silly didn't appeal to me.  I just didn't want to see my kids repeating those same silly "bad" actions that the Elf I researched and got some ideas from The Elf on the Shelf-Jesus Style.

Our Elf arrived on December 1, 2013 and was cleverly named "Elfie" by Summer.
Day 2-Elfie was found reading Summer's new Children's Devotional book she won at church.
There was also a letter written from Santa explaining that every night Elfie will come visit me and I will send him back with a new activity that you can do together to help you learn and remember the true meaning behind Christmas.  Each morning, look for your new friend.  He will be in your home waiting for you to find him so you can do the activity together!
Each letter from Santa is intended to focus on these values:
It is better to give then to receive.
God loves you so much!
You can help others because you have Jesus in your heart.
We have Christmas to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.
By Day 3, Elfie provided some money and a reminder that it is better to Give than Receive.
We decided to go get a Star off the Angel Tree at Chick Fil A and give to another child in need.
Day 4,  Elfie was on top of the nativity scene reminding us that God loves us so much he sent his son, baby Jesus, to die for our sins.
Summer was so nervous when she saw Elfie on this side table because the one rule with Elfie is you can't touch him...rightfully so, as Zane sends the 3 wise men flying across the living room a few times a day.  However, on this day he actually didn't touch him...ok, while I was cooking dinner he did bring Elfie to me (I panicked to get him back without Summer seeing) but otherwise he didn't touch him.
Day 5, Elfie was encouraging the kids to help others (Mom, Brother/Sister, Friend/Teacher) with a cheerful heart!  Both kids were "helpful" to each other handing the other whatever it was they needed...lovey toy, drink cup.  Oh, and because Elfie had a paper towel and some cleaning solution she begged me to "let" her clean the windows before she left for school.  O.K. I have to admit, this was one of my favorite days! 
Day 6, Elfie celebrated with supplies to make a birthday cake for Jesus, after all that's why we have Christmas! 
Day 7, Surprise Surprise, Elfie made those cupcakes himself since Summer and Zane spent the night at Nana and Grandad's house (and they weren't all eaten at our Christmas party). 
Day 8, Elfie hung on a family photo letting us know that family is a precious gift from God.
He also reminded the kids of Colossians 3:20, "Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord." 
Day 9, Elfie encouraged us to do something nice for our neighbors.
The Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 12:31
We took Elfie's big bag of M&Ms and Summer poured them in jars.  We wrapped them in burlap and tied with a red bow attaching the M&M Christmas Story about the "3" Wise Men following the star to the "E"ast where they found a "M"anger where Jesus was born and how we "W"orship the king. 
We are blessed with the best neighbors.  We also plan to give some to our trash men this Friday.  They have been purposefully waiving to Summer (and now Zane) for four years and it is about time we show them our appreciation. 
Day 10, Elfie rewarded Summer and Zane for obeying his only rule of NO TOUCHING by sending them 2 of his cousins who they CAN touch. 
They have been named Allie and Bama.
Day 11 Elfie was celebrating in the Christmas tree attached to a balloon. 
His letter reminded the kids that "Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it." Psalm 118:24 
These are some ways to use the Elf on the Shelf as an encouragement and to redirect the focus of the season back on Jesus's birth and sharing God's love with others. Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave me some ideas...25 days is a long time!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sixth Nerve Palsy-Update

Just to update you, my now 20 month old son has a sixth nerve palsy in his left eye meaning it won't turn left past the mid line (in his case).  It was sudden onset at his one year old birthday party and came and went two times (once when he was sick, but second when he was healthy) yet it has been abnormal for the past six months.  The eye specialist has determined him to be in a league of his own and the cause is unknown as a MRI, CT scan and blood work showed no negative results.  It hasn't affected him in any way that we have noticed...not dizziness, no headaches or balance issues.  We have been diligently praying for his healing and God has given us peace in the meantime. 
This is a picture of Zane if you were to try to get him to look left (late September).
Two weeks ago, after battling a cold for five days I took him to the doctor and it turned out he had developed walking pneumonia.  He was put on antibiotics and breathing treatments.  Two days into the five day dosage he woke up from his morning nap and I thought I saw him look left!  I was in disbelief so I grabbed my phone and had to take a picture.  Praise the Lord! Zane looked left.  I felt like I could shout it from the rooftop and in fact I did text everyone I knew this picture of Zane looking left (late November).
I emailed this picture to Zane's eye specialist and he was very pleased.  Mostly I was thrilled that he responded to my email in 30 minutes! Anyways, he said that the antibiotics would not have affected the nerve in that short amount of time so the cure is also unknown.  Well, unknown to most but to us it is a result of faithful prayer and God's grace. 
Whether his eye is abnormal or normal this little guy has a grip on my heart!
A few things you should know about Zane:
His voice is really loud!
His response to almost any question is "Alright" (pronounced LOUD and SLOW)
He likes to tackle his sister.
He is a mama's boy and loves to be held at inconvenient times.
He is a big boy and loves to be independent at inconvenient times.
He has a follow up eye appointment in December where they will be dilating his eyes and checking vision.  So far, his vision is still good and no need for glasses.  I will let you know if there is any new information to share at that time.
Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

been WAY too long

Hey Friends and Family and sometime strangers.
I disappeared from this blog due to an overflowing plate and this was one of the first to go.  However, its been on my mind and my to-do its actually happening...because the other things on my list are no fun (clean out my organizer, really isn't it called an organizer for a reason!).

I'm just going to jump right in with a kid update:

Last I wrote Zane's eye was diagnosed with Sixth Nerve Palsy.  He still has that.  Doctor says he is in a league of his own and we are just watching and waiting.  We have ruled out all the bad reasons that may cause it and they really don't know the trigger.  However, God has given me peace in the waiting period and we are praying God to allow him to look left.  He doesn't seem affected by it at all.  It has gone back to normal then back to abnormal 3 times and is currently abnormal (my lingo).  Most people wouldn't even notice unless you catch him trying to look left which would look like this:
Otherwise, he is ridiculously cute!
Summer is in 4 year old preschool 5 days a week.  She loves school and her teachers are the sweetest.  She has made some new friends as well as all the girls from her 3 year old class are in this class.  She is a super big sis and is so tolerant of the hair pulling and sometimes biting from her brother (he is improving but it still happens).
Summer, at age 4, is so sweet.  Just this morning on the way to school she said, "Thank you mommy for my smoothie this morning (she had at least an hour earlier).  I love you! I just can't stop loving you, not even one bit!" Well THANK YOU too sugar angel pumpkin head!

Finally, I always think of my blog as a way to share God's word and how powerful it is as encouragement to me.  So today I read in the book, Jesus Calling, about complaining.  Often when I have a complaint I turn to my family or friends...which can easily lead to self pity and gossip.  God actually wants us to turn to him and tell him our complaints and he will straighten up our perspective...putting his thoughts in our mind.  I thought this was very applicable in my daily life. 
The verse to go along with this is Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

This was fun...maybe I'll be back again soon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Something is not right

The day of Zane's one year old birthday party I noticed something funny going on with his left eye.  I saw his eyes cross, and it caught my attention, but then they uncrossed.  There was so much going on that day that I didn't think much about it.  The next day was Sunday and he was dedicated at church so it wasn't until lunch that I finally took a good look at him to see what was going on. 
As you can see in the picture here his left eye is turned to the inside corner. 
 In addition, his head is turned to the left a few degrees. This seems minor but I knew it wasn't right or normal for him.
The next morning, Monday, was his one year old check-up with his pediatrician.  I mentioned it to him and he referred me to the ophthalmologist and we got an appointment the next day. 
Tuesday, the ophthalmologist said it was one of two diagnosis: Duane's Syndrome (something you are born with) or Sixth Nerve Palsy (sudden onset). He asked me for some photos of Zane looking left and I could not find one in my 300+ pictures on my phone. Chad and I searched our computers that night and we were able to find 3 throughout his life therefore ruling out Duane's Syndrome.
Side note: take a picture of your kids looking left and right just in case.
We were left with the diagnosis of Sixth Nerve Palsy. After I emailed the doctor with the pictures of Zane looking left he decided to admit him to the hospital that day.
Wednesday we were admitted to the hospital with the concern that Zane's chronic ear infections (he had one in his left ear at the moment) had spread outside the ear and infected the mastoid bone, therefore inflaming the sixth nerve (whose only function is to control eye movement). This is called Gradenigo's Syndrome and can be cured with IV antibiotics but if untreated would lead to meningitis.  We were sent to get an MRI but it couldn't be done at that time of day so they thought about a CT Scan but then the doctor didn't think it was necessary.
Our poor boy is a challenge for even the expert nurses to get an IV in.  They would get a vein but then it would clot and bruise and they would have to try again.  It took them 45 minutes of deathly screaming to finally get the IV in his head.  He was so happy to be back in Mama's arms.  Chad and I can take some screaming but 45 minutes was breaking our hearts. 
Thursday morning! Oh, were we happy the night was over.  Sleeping, or rather not sleeping in the hospital is brutal and the time seems to go so slow.  Zane couldn't sleep in the crib because of the IV in his head.  So he slept in my arms sitting in the chair ALL NIGHT.  But I would do it again (and I did). 
Later that day our ENT ordered a CT Scan.  I appreciated the doctors keeping us in the loop (we had Zane's ENT, Ophthalmologist and hospital Dr working as a team) and telling us each time they changed their mind or thought they had a different diagnosis.  It just shows that in Zane's case it was a process of elimination to get a diagnosis.  Thank goodness for baby cocktails-the ct scanner girls said he was the funniest patient in 20 years.
Since Zane was otherwise healthy we did a lot of playing in the days.  We raced those halls like a Nascar driver!  And big sister came up to visit and participated in an Easter egg hunt in the hallways. The hospital staff at Mission Hospital really was caring and friendly.   
On Friday, after ruling out Gradenigo's Syndrome and having a clean CT Scan and blood work we were discharged from the hospital with an appointment for an MRI the following Friday.  By ruling out most other "bad" diagnosis the only one left was a brain tumor which would be found in an MRI. We tried not to think about that and it was a long week of prayer.  We felt so much support from our family and friends.  We appreciate the prayers and the morning of the MRI I felt peace that God would be there for us whatever they might find.  
 Although he did get poked 5 times to get the IV (both arms, head and both sides of his neck) his MRI came out clean.  The radiologist came to speak with us immediately (which is rare) and told us the good news.  Thank God we didn't have to wait all weekend.  On Monday, we went in for our ophthalmologist check-up and Zane was able to look past the mid line!  Amazing.

Today is 3.5 weeks after the Sixth Nerve Palsy began and we have seen Zane looking left (all the way at times).  Plus, as you can see his head tilt/turn has straightened back to center.  Praise God.  As fast as this palsy came about it seems to be leaving. 
This situation has reminded me that as Christians we must be ready to trust God.  Really trust God.  We cannot do "life" on our own and our heavenly Father loves us, supports us, sends angels (fellow Christians) around us to lift us up.  He has a plan for each one of us and I am so happy to see what he has in store for Zane.

Zane's 1st Birthday

On March 20th Zane turned ONE.
At 1 year old, Zane is 22 lb and 28-ish inches.
He loves to eat food with his hands. 
He loves his parents and being held although once he gets in the zone he can play by himself for 20 minutes at a time. 
Zane's first birthday party was a JUNGLE theme. 
Thanks to Mimi (and Pinterest) for helping me with the decorations.   

I special ordered Zane's birthday cake and for his "smash cake" I had a cupcake...I mean a one year old doesn't need to eat THAT much cake, right.  Well Daddy didn't agree.  He ran to the grocery store prior to the party and got Zane a full size sheet cake for him to destroy.   And that he did!
Ironically, we didn't even encourage him to open presents-he just began ripping the paper.  He's a destroyer by nature.
For the record, Zane is not walking yet but he can stand unassisted, couch surf and crawl pretty fast.  Walking will be here in no time.  His only real words so far are "Mama" and "Dada."
Zane got to celebrate with Mammy and Papa  
Grandad and Nana 
 And Mimi and Grando (sorry not pictured).  Plus a group of our local friends.  We had a great time.
Zane's birthday fell on a Thursday.  Since the party wasn't until Saturday we treated him (and big sister) to a trip to the donut shop! This is Zane's first donut ever.  He's a fan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hello March

What an exciting, fun filled time 2013 has turned out to be.  Chad had a business function at the Grove Park Inn and I was able to join him for the social portion and we spent the night.  And to our surprise we woke up to a little snow storm.  Too bad I didn't get to check out their spa! That would have been a dream.
 Summer has stayed busy with playdates with her school friends
And our sweet friends from church.  We are so blessed to have family friendships that have grown and our kids are growing up together.
 Zane and I do sometimes get some one on one play time...and boy can I crack him up!
 Those beautiful blue eyes make me just want to squeeze and kiss him!  Which is good because oh...during dinner time he makes me crazy.  He sits in his highchair and does the windshield wiper move on any piece of food I put on his tray.  So frustrating.  This week, if it isn't pizza, Chick fil A nuggets or strawberries it isn't going to last long before he starts sending it flying!  He is getting at least 1 new bottom tooth.  It has broken the skin but I fear it may take a whole week of pain before we are in the clear (and then another one will probably start). 
Last week, while in the car I said Psalm 118:24 "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  I actually said it with quite a bit of passion to make an impression and found myself repeating it each morning as we drove somewhere.  Well, Monday when I picked Summer up from school she walked out of her classroom door and said, "Guess what?"  Then she proceeded to quote the scripture back to me! I was so proud at that moment and actually questioned if she learned that in chapel that day but she hadn't.  My little girl is a sponge.  I won't be underestimating her ability to memorize anymore.
 Here is a video of her saying the verse to cousins, Emma and Ella.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Zane 11 months old

Zane is 11 months old-2/20/13
Wow, this past month Zane has really grown and developed.  He is a super fast crawler now who likes to practice standing on his own.  He doesn't walk yet but has the foot motion once his balance gets there.  Speaking of balance, he has a hard time because he is a tub of love!  This boy can eat!
At 11 months, Zane LOVES:
  • To eat: most anything he can pick up by himself, pizza and strawberries are his favorite
  • Playing in the Playroom: he would prefer to be let down and set free to roam by himself...OK, didn't have to convince Mama of that.
  • Drinking milk from a sippy cup
At 11 months, Zane does not like:
  • Being fed with a least this week
Other notable accomplishments:
  • Zane is sleeping through the night...or at least, Mama is no longer getting up with him if he wakes up.
  • Zane is no longer breastfeeding...he has moved on to whole milk.
  • He is beginning to mimick big sister...when she coughs, he coughs...when she laughs, he laughs
This is his oh-so-happy face 
This is his I'm-so-cute face 
And of course, here is a little tribute to Big morning before school. 
Summer has fallen in love with her Daddy!  She refers to him as "my best buddy" and must do all things with or next to her best buddy.  She waits to eat with her best buddy, must sit next to him and hold his hand.  It is so sweet. I asked her, "If Daddy is your best buddy, then what am I?"  She responded, "just mom."  Right...of course...just mom.
This was the only dusting of snow we have received at our house this winter.  So we made the most out of it.  Summer said we were making a snow castle. 
Daddy is getting a new office and we went to check it out.  It is the two empty windows to the left of Summer's hair bow in the taller building.  Really neat.