"For You O Lord are a shield about me, You are the glory and lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

"For You O Lord are a shield about me, You are the glory and lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Expectation {Alice Update}

We're celebrating.

And by that I mean if you stop by our house, you will see deliriousness.
The truth that butta' makes everything better is about to be taken to a whole new level.
yep, that's butter and baby food
In February, my girl started vomiting.  I thought she had a tummy bug.  After 2 weeks, I knew something wasn't right.  For a few months she tried several medications for Reflux and we cycled through all of the tricks to keep her food down.  Nothing was working and by April she had stopped growing.
May would be one of my most challenging months as a mommy, watching my baby vomit so hard it would splatter the kitchen cabinets.  Waiting patiently for test results and what the next step would be. She had quit sitting up and seemed to lose interest in playing.  
In June, my tiny fighter went into surgery for her tumor removal and stomach scope with biopsies.  From the operating room, to our room in the hospital, my girl was sweet and tender.  
4 days and we were home, gratefully. Bunny had the feeding tube for 2 weeks when she pulled it out for the last time.  We were meant to have the tube for months, not weeks.



Today's weight check with Dr. Steele ended with results that we are done with the feeding tube.  Ali needed to gain 7 ounces, she gained 8 ounces.  




Our growing-Alice-recipe (12 bottle feeds a day, butter in the baby food) will continue for the next 2 months. 
Our first family vacation to the mountains will be here soon and although we stand grateful for the tube, we will not be missing its presence.  And we will happily not be packing it in our suitcases.






There are so many things the Lord is teaching me in this season...

I have learned to war for my girls.  To war and contend with Holy Spirit inspiration that she is His royalty, His beloved.  That sickness has no place in her body.  That fear has no place in my heart.
I have learned that the surgeon's suggestion of searching her body for tumors each day is an avenue of fear in my heart, so I will be wise but will no longer be searching beyond the simple observations of applying lotion.  
I have learned my friends are world changers.  So many phone calls and conversations, declaring her healing, His peace, in boldness and truth.  
I have learned He is my authority and peace, and it's the only thing I want to cling to. 
I have learned there are layers of tenderness and compassion from my Sophie and Emma, deep layers that have surfaced into endless affection for their baby sister.
I am reminded that He makes all things new.  He can take a failure to thrive baby girl, He can take her tiny body and He can grow and restore.

Alice Elizabeth, my daughter, who I am so proud of.



May our ceiling of understanding His nearness and power become your floor, baby girl.


From an early age you will know of His healing power and restoration.  

Thousands of kisses, prayers, and embraces so that you will always know your worth and value.




In the morning Lord, You hear my voice, 
In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.  
Psalms 5:3

Bunny, you are marked for royalty.  You are being healed by the Maker.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

If I Were a Food

If I were a food, I'd be scrambled eggs.  Tossed all over a sizzling skillet, a splash of salt and pepper, sprinkling of cheese.  Maybe a drop of Tabasco.  Yep, that's me.  Bouncin' around with a lot of things thrown in the mix.
I do love me some scrambled eggs though.  I wouldn't have 'em any other way.
And a side of Brown Sugar Blueberry Cream Pie, please.
recipe at the end of this post
Sophie made the graham cracker crust.  Although this one was extra thick.  Maybe a few more crackers were tossed in there, which suits us just fine.
Homemade whipped cream and topped with fresh blueberries from our Farmer's Market trip.
Perfection.
All mamas know this scene all too well.  Just one picture.  Nope, no one was having it.  Scrambled.
 Still scrambled. 
The oven was ready for some baking before our trip to the pool with friends.
Kerri's Cinnamon Coffee Cake, drenched in cinnamon icing.
We trickled outside to play just a bit while we waited for the house to burst with smells of cinnamon and sugar.  It didn't disappoint.

The perfect welcoming breakfast for my family's visit.
My mom is many things.  A mom, a friend, a lawyer.  And she's a wonderful cuddler.
I love Saturday mornings for many reasons.  The jammie bodied babies who play in the floor for hours after a homemade breakfast. Trailing around the house with lovies and sippy cups.
Watching cartoons and making plans.

Even when we're not actually baking until our heart's content, she's creating in her kitchen.
Grating parmesan just like that as Giada says.
And then we just had to go to Target and see what treasures we could find.  And my brother kindly played Sophie's game of how-many-times-can-we-drop-the-ball.
Like any baker's recipe, I'm a step by step girl.  It's coming in quite handy right now for the littlest one.
We finagle the day's plans around this new recipe to help Bunny grow.  It's my favorite one so far.
Because the plans on this list, the measurements, the additions, all of it makes her stronger.
We are more than hopeful, we are expectant and confident we will be done with the tube next week at our weigh in.  My girl knows it.
(She is loving her new foods too.)
Speaking of food, we had some delicious pizza with friends to support friends going to Africa in a few weeks.  A delightful evening for all.  We swam, chased little ones, watched them giggle and prune.
The guys played some basketball accompanied with tackling.
sweet Katelin

In this moment tonight, if I were a food, I would be Tiramisu.  My heart is soaked in layer upon layer of sweetness from time with family and friends.  Listening to a new bride-to-be tell of her plans of a winter wedding.  Watching friends hold my baby girl and rock back and forth, back and forth.  Catching up on how He's moving, how His current is flooding other homes and lives.
All to the tune of a summer's night that whispers it's not time to go home just yet.
Layer upon layer of His goodness and grace.
And maybe I'll just whip up some scrambled eggs tomorrow morning.  Just because.
Catherine, Shannon, Katelin

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cream Pie Recipe:
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. whipped cream (homemade, with a splash of lemon extract)
1 graham cracker crust (we add a sprinkle of cinnamon to ours)
2 c. blueberries (any berry will do)
***********
- cook graham cracker crust, cool
- whip cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar together
- fold in whipped cream
- pour it in your pie pan as desired
- chill for 5 hours

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alice Update

Butter has made it to the list of remedies.  I'll explain.
We met with our GI today.  Bunny is growing, up to 16.3 pounds.  Alice's tube has been out for 2 days, since she pulled it out and she had a small amount of blood on the tube.
Dr. Steele said we have a one week of bottle feeding Alice every hour plus adding butter, avocado, or cream cheese to her baby food, to make it a higher calorie diet.  Yep, butter.
So total, Alice will have 12 bottle feeds a day.
She will check Alice's weight next Thursday and if she has gained one ounce a day, then we will be completely done with the feeding tube.
If she hasn't, then we'll have to put the tube back in for 20 hours a day or continue with the bottle feeds and have the tube at night.  We are grateful that we are even having this trial period because the original plan was a feeding tube for months.
Dr. Steele is still concerned Alice may have some delays from the weight loss/lack of growth.  She said time will tell but that she's still concerned.
Alice's surgeon has instructed me to watch for tumors all over her body every time I bathe her in between our monthly rechecks.

We already have the victory, we know He is a God of growth.  And He will continue this work in her to grow her, sustain her growth, and keep her body free of tumors.
Judi Hartsock got ahold of me, and that's always a good thing.  She spoke bold truth to me, saying there is no such thing as good fear.  Perfect love casts out all fear, and we have His love, then we are not to walk in fear.  That the mindset of "I'm a mom, I worry" isn't truth.
We know He has the authority and power to heal.  We are more than grateful for our doctors, they have cared so well for our Bunny.  And we know our hope and peace comes from the One who leads us beside still waters and restores our souls.  We are learning to walk in His peace in this season.
For me, that means every time I see a bump on Alice, I choose to trust in His goodness and not fear it's another tumor.
And if we're behind on a milestone, choosing peace and joy, that He holds her in His hands.
Whatever He has for us is exactly what we want and what she needs.
Until next Thursday, we'll make Paula Dean proud.  We'll start with a stick of butta.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Girls {Alice Update}

Little girls.  Sugar and spice and everything nice.  And oh so much more.
I have a wonderful update on this little girl.  
Notice something missing from this picture?
loving the chubby rolls on her back
Ah, yes, the NG tube is missing.  
The last few days have been challenging because Alice has pulled out her tube once a day. 
There has been a small amount of blood on the tube, the part of the tube that drops into her stomach.  I did not put the tube back in this time and instead called Dr. Steele.  She said because Alice has gained so much weight, we could try feeding her 2 ounces an hour, each hour by bottle.  We are to keep a lookout for blood in her spit up or diapers but she is not concerned other than the tube has caused the blood somewhere in Alice's esophagus.  Our appointment is on Thursday and we will see if she has still sustained her weight gain.  If so, we may be reevaluating the feeding tube.  Hopefully the tube will not be going back in.  
We celebrated with a pool trip.  She loved it and so did her sisters.  We splashed and had no worries of tape or tubes.
Yes, please!
And a few Sonic drinks too.  Just the icing on top for these little girls.
She's full of wonder and love of dressing up in her mama's clothes and shoes.
Then she whispers Look at me mama, look at me.
I'm looking sweet one.
These little girls love to plan, and plan we are.  Our first family vacation will be here soon and each morning over breakfast, we let our happiness build.
Girls can turn any place into their kitchen, and that means a box of rocks too.  I am slowly losing my stash of measuring cups.  I can deal.

My oldest girl is fearless.  For bugs, if it has more than 6 legs, no playing.  Squashing instead.
So she squashed with a tea pot and spoon.  Well done.
Our view from a night of little ones playing outside.  He painted this picture for me one night, because I needed to forget how I had allowed the stresses of the day to overcome my heart.

Little girls are a gift.  To be treasured and honored.  And while there are plenty of moments when the negotiating, bickering, and arguing push me to my limits, I know I've been entrusted with royalty.

Any mama knows that wrangling babies can be challenging, at times it seems overwhelming.
One day at a time.  Each little girl has her own combination of spice.

One little girl at a time.  Full of sweetness, fire, stubbornness, compassion, and tenderness.
That's what my little girls are made of.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fatherhood

Fatherhood.  We have composed our own definition.
Dreamy.
He's just plain dreamy to us.
Fatherhood is the blessing to the leader of our house who loves us well, takes care of us, and makes the perfect ice cream sundae.  It's the unending job of setting limits, enforcing time-outs, and giving the tightest hugs imaginable.  The tasks of putting together bicycles and slip n slides with a little in his arms.
Patience, affection, love, and care.  The joys of fatherhood.

We spent the weekend playing in the sun, swimming, eating pizza, brownies, and watching these little gifts grow and play.  He does this well.
(Speaking of brownies, I was indecisive between my go-to peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and Betty's cake brownies, so I swapped coffee for the milk in the batter and threw it all in a pan and under-cooked it by 10 minutes.  I highly recommend it.)
Back to the daddy...
Miss Rose, she looks like him and has absorbed his love for people, friends, and anything social.

Sissy Lynn, she is loud like him and misses him when he leaves, every morning.

Bunny, she knows her daddy's voice and turns the minute she hears it.  It brings a smile to her face like nothing else does.

They're crazy about him.  His deep voice stirs up their hearts into a silly, happy volume.
The sounds of his car pulling into the garage, his keys in the back door, his shoes in the laundry. Sounds of him coming home, are by far their favorite of the day.
They run and hide, giggling and waiting.  Because they know he's coming to chase and tickle.

Today we are celebrating him.
Blueberry Banana Oat Pancakes
And today the little girl heart in me is celebrating, remembering, and wishing my daddy was here to taste these pancakes made with love by tiny hands.  Wishing he was here to endearingly read cheesy Hallmark cards, unwrap theme ties he would actually wear with pride, and hug me and tell me I'm his best girl.
And I wish he could know this best girl.  He would be so proud.

A special delivery came for us, a backpack specifically for Alice's feeding tube port.
Let the giddiness continue.

This will be our little friend for a season.  We are so grateful.

The celebrating will continue all weekend long.  We'll happily get lots of use out of our new backpack and bunny won't miss a beat.

We'll enjoy his hugs and so much more.
He is in the riches of fatherhood.  We love him more than he knows.