Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The messiest kid in the universe.

I am officially bestowing this title upon Abraham. He always amazed me how dirty he can get himself in such a short amount of time. Its his passion. He goes through about four or five sets of clothes per day.

In this picture he had found somewhere in Kristen's back yard a See's chocolate lollypop. How on earth does a person eat a lollypop and get it so thoroughly distributed over the surface of his entire body? Yes, I know its gross that he ate a lollypop that was found on the ground outdoors, but obviously most of it didn't get actually consumed anyway.

You can see here that the lollypop even made it to his rear end and the back of his legs. I dont think there is anything better than chunky chocolatey baby legs.
This is a daily scene. He has a thing about putting food in his hair. I made the mistake of giving him a little bit of yogurt to dip his apples in and then turned my back for a minute. I think he might have potential in the hairdressing field.
I know why he does this. He thinks its funny. He is always looking for a laugh and I have to admit that I laugh everytime. I'm not laughing as hard later when Im doing 5 loads of laundry a day.

pictureless post

My camera's battery ran out. This is the first time. Now I know how the camera rolls. He's not into friendly reminders like my courteous iphone. He doesn't warn you that the battery has 10 percent remaining. He uses the tough love approach and seizes up unexpectedly, flashing the words REPLACE BATTERY PACK for about 20 seconds and then goes black forever. The problem is, I can not find the stupid recharger. It must be at my parents house or packed up in a box. The charger is waiting for me to go spend money and replace it before it will show itself. Its all a conspiracy and my poor pictures are being held hostage.

I guess it doesn't really matter because all I have been doing lately is obsessing over my new diagnosis. I have read and read and read and am becmoning an expert on Autoimmune Vasculitis and all of the associated diseases. Its pretty depressing. Its so rare and its uncurable and next to impossible to find a doctor who has seen it before let alone treated it. I found a girl this week through a friend who has a form of AV and she was treated in the midwest with a drug called Remicade. Her disease is in full remission for two years and she says its a miracle drug that I should try. Except that its not FDA approved for AV and probably never will be because its so rare. Also, don't let me forget to mention that it is administered by IV and you need three intravenious treatments in the first month alone and each one costs $12,000. I'm sure you can imagine that our insurance is going to be pretty excited to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for a treatment that is not FDA approved for my diagnosis before I try chemotherapy and all of the other things people usually try first. Assuming I can even find a doctor who knows anything about it. Its frustrating.

I'm convinced that I can find an alternative treatment or get my body healthy enough that it can balance itself out. I have a hunch that the source of all of this may be a Candida imbalance. Doctors don't really believe in that but I'm just going to keep plugging along down every road I can think of. I have an appointment this week with an MD who does believe in Candida and I have an appointment with a Naturopathic physician as well. I can't wait to see the look on the rheumatologist's face when I tell him that I didn't take the Methotrexate and that I have been seeing Alternative medicine practicioners. I can see his eye roll and condecending smirk. Oh well. Actually, I think if I go to a rheumatologist again it will be a different one anyway. I need a fresh start. Anyone know a fabulous Rheumatologist who won't think I'm lame for refusing Chemotherapy?

On a brighter note, We had a really nice Family Home Evening last night and at the end John game me an amazing priesthood blessing. He told me that through My faith in Christ I would be healed completely sometime soon. The spirit was strong and I know its true. It was a relief and I was blessed with comfort immediately.

Jack gave the closing prayer and once again prayed that Daddy would be strong and able to lift heavy things. After the prayer I said, "What about me, Jack? Don't you want me to be strong and lift heavy things?"

He thought about it for a minute and then asked "What heavy things do you need to lift?"

"Uhhh....giant five year old boys."

This made sense to him. He winked at me and said "I'll get ya next time."

Friday, April 24, 2009

I am so sick of being sick.

I don't think of myself as a big complainer and I always thought I had a pretty high tolerance for pain but this post is going to be a big whining session about my health. I'm hoping it will be cathartic to get it out and I am totally open to any ideas anyone might have to help me.

I don't even know where to begin. For years and years I have had these weird bouts of symptoms. I get this weird migrating joint pain. The affected joints get hot and red and swollen and I never know if it will last for half a day or weeks. Usually its in my hands and feet but sometimes it gets into my knees and elbows too, and there are times when I feel literally crippled for days on end. The weird thing is that I also get these big horrible open sores on the joints and sores in my mouth too. There's a whole list of other things like insomnia and randomly occurring numbness, but I won't bore you with all of the details. The flair ups used to be just annoying but now they have gotten more and more frequent and more and more severe and its starting to overtake my life. Its painful but its also really scary. I have always taken my good health for granted. I never will again.

I have been to literally dozens of doctors and specialists. I have had every blood test, x-ray and analysis you can think of. I have been to Rheumatologists, Allergists, Internists, and Neurologists. Everyone is stumped. All the tests always come back perfectly normal. Its not Rheumatoid arthritis, its not Lupus, Its not an allergic reaction, I have no deficiencies in my blood. I have had MRIs and brain scans and full body X rays and everything looks perfect. They always tell me this like its great news and I guess it is, but I start to feel like I'm losing my mind. I have been on prednisone, percocet, antibiotics, etc. etc. and nothing makes anything better. at all. I have always said I would rather have a diagnosis and a game plan than a medical mystery. After the doctor's appointment I had this week, I would like to officially take that back.

Vasculitis. Inflamation of the blood vessels. The doctor looked at my newest rash and my swollen hand and said shrugging his shoulders "I think you have Vasculitis, and I want you to try Methotrexate." It was said casually and sounded a little like he was making a wild guess. like, "I think its going to be cold tomorrow so I want you to bring a sweater."

My response: "What is Methotrexate?"

His response: "Its Chemotherapy. We'll try you on that for maybe six months and then we'll have a better idea of what will work for you."

Chemotherapy? What in the hell? There is no way in the world I am going to take chemotherapy without a second opinion first. Wait a minute, scratch that. There is no way in the world I am going to take chemotherapy. period.

If I do have vasculitis, something has to be causing it, right? Can we please try to figure out what is making me sick? We discussed it for a few minutes and the bottom line is they have no idea what causes it, not treating it is a dangerous choice because it gets worse and worse until it is affecting large blood vessels and you end up with aneurisms and crap like that. I walked out of the office feeliking dazed and holding half a dozen perscriptions. Oh, and I don't want to forget my favorite part, when I told him that I'd like to have another baby soon and he told me that I would be crazy to even think about getting pregnant.

Okay, so thats my sob story. I'm glad I got it out there. I know there are far worse trials in life and I feel indulgent and ungrateful to spend even one minute complaining because I have been blessed with SO MUCH. And it could be so much worse too. My good friend Julie's two year old baby girl is in the hospital recovering from one of a series of heart surgeries. I looked at her blog yesterday and she had this picture of her precious child hooked up to breathing machines and fighting for her life and I thought, Thank you, God, that my problems are so trivial.

I have some research to do and some decisions to make and I have an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor. I have been feeling guided by the Spirit in my search and I am actually feeling like things are going to get better and I am going to get it all figured out soon.

Tonight Jack's prayer was great. "Please bless Daddy to be strong and lift really heavy things and play clone troopers with me. Please bless mommy to feel better and not hurt anymore. And bless me to not pee the bed." I love his prayers and his faith. I think it might even be better than Methotrexate. In fact, I'm feeling better already.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Brother

This is a really long post but I think its worth reading. This is a perfect example of how raising kids can drive you to tears of rage one minute and tears of joy the next. I spend my life teaching my kids but ultimately they teach me far more.

This morning I got up and got the kids fed breakfast. Babyham is at an age that he refuses to be fed by another person. All food has to be self fed. This means no yogurt, no babyfood, no cereal etc. They just don't make it into his mouth, they end up all over his body and all over anything within a few feet. Today he had scrambled eggs and pear slices and fresh strawberries. The other habit he has developed that is particularly charming is when he is finished eating, whatever food is left on his tray gets thrown as far as he can throw it. The dogs love this program, but it is driving me insane. Not only do I have to pick up all of the food, I have to sweep and mop the floor and then usually clean up dog barf within the hour if I am lucky enough to discover it while it is still in a clean-able form. You get the idea.

Abraham is at such a tricky age with discipline. He is only 15 months old but he knows what he is doing. He knows it is naughty. He knows that he is cute enough to get away with it. So, today when I discovered that the whole kitchen was covered with strawberries and pears, I insisted that he get down and help me clean up. To say he refused is an understatement. He made it clear that he would not be picking up any of the food. I was down on the floor with him physically forcing his hand to pick up strawberries and he was throwing his body into contortions to avoid picking up the fruit. We were locked in a battle of wills and we were both absolutely commited to winning. Weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, smashing of pears and strawberries, flailing arms, the clean up song sung repeatedly through gritted teeth. You get the picture.

He went into a full tantrum over it. Doesn't he know that he is way too young for this terrible two's crap? I decided "fine, he can just sit here on the ground in my lap until he decides to clean his mess." He freaked. I held my ground. He threw a strawberry in my face. I held my ground. Finally I said to him, "Babyham, I think you might need a spanking." This comment got Jack's attention, who up until then I didn't know was watching. He raced over and said to Abe earnestly, "Just pick up the mess, Babyham. I don't want you to get a spanking!" Babyham responded by throwing a pear in Jack's face. Then Jack did something that surprised me. He began picking up all of the mess. He even got out a rag and spray cleaner to wipe up the juice. I was so impressed with his display of brotherly love (especially since Jack has a long history of being adverse to cleaning). Once it was all clean he said "Mom, will you let Babyham go now since his mess is clean?"

Yes. Babyham is free to go. You paid the price for him.

I was deeply touched by the whole interaction. I pulled Jack aside and explained to him that what he just did for his brother is just like what Jesus Christ does for us. He cleans up the messes we make so we can be set free. He does is for the same reason you did it for Ham, because He is our Big Brother and he loves us. I thought about how often we toddle off like Babyham after the fact without any appreciation of the gift we were given.

I really felt like Jack understood this lesson and we felt the spirit confirm it to us. The spirit taught us both about the atonement. (Babyham not so much) but Jack and I had a tender moment.

I then said "I would like to reward you for your selflessness. What would you like?" I listed a number of things that he loves and that are usually offered only on special occasions. A trip to QT for a donut? We could make chocolate chip cookies together, we can go to Walmart and pick out a toy... you choose." His answer: "I feel really warm inside. Could we just snuggle on the couch together for a little bit?" Adorable.

I am so thankful to be a mother. I don't even know what to say. Words fail me. Its so hard but it is so worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Take Cover! Babyham Style.

Since he was old enough to notice, Abraham has liked putting things on his head. Hats, blankets, toys, plates full of food....you get the point. He has always known that for some reason, putting things on your head #1 gets a laugh and #2 feels awesome. He is particularly entertained when something that is placed on his head stays on for a period of time.

I think this may have started when we began forcing him to wear a little helmet at 6 months of age. He was already standing and trying to walk and kept on bonking his head. He had so many bruises that I was beginning to worry that CPS would come through the door. Plus I'm not going to lie, he looked ridiculously cute in it. It had little animal ears for crying out loud! He liked being able to take a tumble with no risk of brain damage and he loved the attention everyone gave when they would see his little "special ed" helmet (as we lovingly called it.) Here's my proof: This is when he was 6 months old:
Since then He has turned 15 months old and has an affinity for helmets that I have never seen before in such a young kid. It might also have to do with the uniform loving gene that my husband seems to have in abundance and which has been passed to our children. If this kid finds a hat or a helmet (or a bowl of food for that matter) its gonna get worn.

Here are a few of my favorites from the past few weeks:

Sitting in the middle of the street with no pants or shoes on but feeling totally safe because of the thin plastic and foam around his skull. traffic? Bring it on.

This one is an authentic dough-boy helmet from World War I... I think??? Its part of John's military helmet collection and Ham has taken a particular liking to this one. Its relatively lightweight and doubles as a percussion instrument of some kind.
I love this one because he really didn't mind that the helmet blinded him completely. He just stumbled around, refusing to remove it, all in the name of looking cool. Its a british helmet from the colonization of Africa and I get the feeling that the officers might have worn this a bit differently than our Abe does. Sure they cound see, but were they nearly as cute?This helmet had been left at our house by a neighbor and it was so awkward and made him so top-heavy that he had to hold perfectly still because the momentum of the tiniest movement would throw him to the ground. Enjoy this one, Ham. Its as close to dirt-bike riding as you will ever come as long as I am alive.

This is his favorite helmet. It is super lightweight and fits him perfectly. Its Jack's bike helmet but if Babyham is around he insists on stealing it.
This is a perfect illustration of why Babyham gets 2-3 baths a day. He has no problem with accompanying his hairdo with melted cheese.
This car belongs to someone on our block. We really don't know who. It was on the sidewalk a few doors down and when he saw it and he headed straight over. All of a sudden he stopped in his tracks and I could tell he had had an idea. He turned around, walked home and got this helmet on before returning to the drive the little car. The aforementioned uniform gene must come with a driving safety gene. Who knew?
And of course the bowl on the head. Why is this endlessly funny? You'll have to cunsult a toddler.
He loves wearing his daddy's hat. If you look closely you can see a stream of drool glistening in the sunlight. A perfect sunny day in the park, a swingset, dad's cool hat...who wouldn't drool?This one is by far my all time favorite. He is a Clone Trooper. Actually more of a Clone Trooper bobble-head. We have a Darth Vader bobble head and it is the exact same proportions. I have been looking for the clone trooper version of the bobble head so I can do a side by side comparison. Except that I don't think the authentic Lucasfilms product has a diaper on. And I am certain that real Clone Troopers don't have such deliciously kissable rolls on their chunky thighs.

And Finally I am compelled to post a couple more Ham pictures that have nothing to do with the headwear theme but that are just a shameless showing of my adorable child. These are actually for my dad who I know has been going crazy without his Hambone. He went from seeing him everyday allday to seeing him once a week at most. These two have a special bond and I give my baby extra squeezes everyday to make up for missing grandma and grandpa Haws.

He and Jack are just so cute and they light up my world. I can't remember how lame and meaningless like was before I was a mother to these two special souls. It really is mind boggling if you get to thinking about it. The responsibility, the privilege, the risk of screwing it all up! Thank Goodness for the Perfect example set for us by Jesus Christ and for the knowledge wehave through His restored Church. I am so glad that I can repent of my mistakes and fulfill my potential as a mother. The highest and noblest calling on Earth.

While I'm on this blogging marathon, I might as well mention that tonight is my Jack Jack's first attempt to sleep through the night without a pull up. We have been counting down the days until we run out of them and the magical day has arrived. I have my doubts. He has never woken up dry but he has also never really had a lot a motivation when there had always been a diaper attached to his butt. He is so nervous about it. I secretly installed a plastic sheet cover under his bedding because as much as I know he can succeed at this, I am not a glutton for punishment. Especially the punishment that involves handling of bodily waste products. I dread having my child's room reeking of urine, but I think I dread more having a full grown child in school wearing .a diaper to bed. I gave him the pep talk of his life before bed and got him all excited for a mystery prize that awaits him if he appears in the moring with a dry bed. Motivation is in place, now we just have to see if he can force his little body to wake up and get out of bed for the big event. We'll see. There will be some serious disappointment from all involved parties if I end up changing sheets and lysoling plastic covers in the middle of the night. Oy Vey. Please let this work. I actually have a full stash of night time pull ups but enough is enough! You have to start somewhere!

Here are some pics I took recently of my grown up boy.

And for this one, PLEASE don't flag me as posting inappropriate content. Please don't think I'm insane for posting this picture but I absolutely can't look at it without bursting into a fit of laughter. Anyone who has spent time with little boys knows that I'm not the first one to witness this outfit. When I saw him like this and asked him to get dressed he informed me that he was an "Indian" and that the nuduty was not only for a reason but it was ,in fact, totally necessary.
Jack, you might want to find yourself a good loincloth and you might want to work on your tan. Just a suggestion. And by the way, this picture is guaranteed to make an appearance in your wedding video.
(Photo Removed because there are crazy's in the world who are turned on by a little boy running around with nothing but a holster on instead of entertained, although I highly suspect that the paranoia of such individuals FAR outweighs the odds of actually running into one of those freaks on here. Nonetheless, the problem is solved and if you ever want to see it again you will have to attend Jack's wedding video showing or else come on over and I'll show you the cutest little penis that ever did run wild.)

Follow up to last night's diaper free night: It went perfectly. John got him up to pee when he got home at 2:30 and he made it dry till morning. This may seem mundane to some readers, but to me its like the biggest accomplishment of Jack's young life! No more pull ups? I'm free at last! Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
Its amazing how humbling parenting is. years agao I would have turned my nose up at a parent who let their kid's wear a diaper well past age five. I am so over that. Everybody's got to do what they got to do. Now that we are settled back in our home, I let Jack know that when the current package of pull ups ran out, we were done done forever. This whole week has been a nervous countdown. I gave my best cheerleading and made all of my most tempting dollar store promises and put a plastic sheet on his matress. "I KNOW you can do this, big boy!" I said as I wrangled the plastic matress cover. his response was very pregmatic. "If you know I can do this why do you need the waterproof sheet cover?" A very good question. Well buddy, I don't think our house will flood and we don't live in a flood zone, but I still pay for flood insurance everymonth just in case something totally unexpected happens. It is just good planning, Jack Jack, not a commentary of my confidence in you. This is just one of those lessons in life to be prepared. He was both offended and relieved by the plastic matress cover. I honestly feel like getting a king size plastic sheet for our bed as it seems like we never sleep alone these days, and the bed seems magnatically attracted to un-lidded beverages, and diaper leaks. (and vomit amd blood and everything else you can think of absorbing into an expensinve foam bed).

As soon as Daddy wakes up today we are going to that Mecca of capitalism that is the dollar store and we are going to reward Jack for his big boy efforts! We might even get Bahama Bucks on the way home! sweet success!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Amen to that

I just tucked Jack in to bed and he said the prayer. These were the exact words of his heartfelt communication with God:

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for, uh...... all of that stuff we have. Please bless us with, uh...... all of that stuff we need. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I almost stopped and corrected him for being so short and I almost made him start over but then I realized: this is not a prayer I can argue with. This is EXACTLY how I feel right now too. It was short and sweet and I am sure it will be heard and answered because it always has been in the past.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Girlfriend Reunion

This Week I got together with my three best girlfriends from High School. Teesha Burrow (now Wiggins) Deborah Gaisford (now Winward), Mandy Robinson (now Dettman) and me. The Four of us were so close back in the day and all of us have since married and had children and gone about our lives as wives and mothers. Mandy Is the only one who live outside of AZ and she was in town from Utah so we arranged a play date at the park with all of the kids. I had more fun than I have had in a long time.

There are a few things about these wonderful women that are striking. First of all, I find it miraculous to look back and realize how lucky I was to have this group of girls in my adolescent years. None of us ever rebelled or even wanted to rebel. When everyone at school was sleeping around and getting drunk at desert parties, we were planning big group dates and going to the church dances. It didn't seem so extraordinary at the time but now I look back and just pray that my kids will have such a good group of righteous friends. Girls can be so catty, and we had none of that. We all got along all the time and there was never any of the drama and meanness that accompanies most teenage female friendship groups.

The other three girls all got married pretty young and started families. It was weird to be all together because it feels like just yesterday that we were in high school and dreaming about the families we would one day have and then it feels like I just snapped my fingers and here they all are. All combined we have had 13 beautiful children.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our little reunion.Deb's two oldest were in school but she brought her youngest, who is so fun. She and Jack got along really wellThis is Mandy. She has FIVE kids. Yes, she is the champion childbearer among us. I marvel at anyone who has that many kids and is still sane but Mandy manages to be not only sane but funny and beautiful and strong as well.
Mandy was a gymnast in her youth and it is cool to see her muscular little gymnast daughters who seem so much like there mommy.

I couldn't help but sneak a picture of this little sand taste test that was going on. Childhood is awesome. Her boys were always ready for the camera...total flirts.

Teesha Has three kids but her oldest was in school. She brought her two little ones and they were so fun to see. They look just like her and have her calm sweet personality.

Of course all of the kids had to get back in the water after they were all dried off and redressed. I thought this was a great shot of Teesha's daughter.

This little boy of Teesha's was so cute I wanted to steal him. Check out those beautiful brown eyesJack and Abe had a ball. They had so much fun with the other kids and being allowed to run loose for hours while the moms talked.

I love being a mom so much and it was so great to see that these girls do too. It felt like no time had passed since we were giggling about boys and passing notes in high school, which makes me realize that it will be no time before all of our kids are grown up and having families of their own. No that we have all gotten together we vow to make it happen more often. I am truly blessed to have such amazing girlfriends in my life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frikin Lazer Beams Part II

Okay I told the story of My hard core negotiating for Lasik at an affordable price and now I have two things to say. My Eyesight isn't even recovered 100 percent and I can already proclaim this laser surgery among the greatest things I have ever done. Its right up there with marryng John and serving a mission. I can't believe how wonderful it is to see clearly with no contacts or glasses. Hallilulja. I just can't get over It! Everyone with glasses needs to do this! I am working on negotiating my crazy cheap deal for my dad and I will work it to the best of my ability for anyone else interested, It really is amazing stuff. Yeah for modern medicine. I still recomend the valium though.

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys