Friday, May 28, 2010

The Chosen Mothers

I came across this post on another blog I follow and felt it was worth repeating. What an incredible look at how God chooses mothers. I pray God sees these characteristics in me and that I demonstrate them to my sweet kids. I am so blessed!!!

The Chosen Mothers

By Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit.

Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with life threatening illnesses are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint Cecilia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint Gerard."

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a child with an illness." The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

"Exactly" smiles God, "Could I give a child with an illness to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But, does she have patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she will handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has it's own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she believes in you."

"No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps. "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take anything her child does for granted. She will never consider a single step ordinary. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see... ignorance, cruelty, prejudice... and allow her to rise above them." She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side."

"And what about her patron Saint?" asks the angel. His pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

HLHS Angel

Please keep the family of beautiful little Maia Deeb in your thoughts and prayers. Sweet Maia went home to Heaven yesterday. She was only 10 months old. My heart is breaking at this devastating loss and I cannot begin to imagine the grief Shannon and Elias are feeling. Please pray for the Lord to hold them close, especially over the next few weeks, as they mourn the loss of their precious child.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heart Friends

So... a few weeks ago I was able to touch base with a soon-to-be-"heart-mom," Lindy, who lives in the same city as I do. It was definitely a God thing in how the circumstances lined up. She happened to visit a dentist office where a church friend of mine, T, happens to be a dental hygienist (and also happens to be a close followed of my blog and of sweet Chase). When Lindy mentioned she was expecting a baby with HLHS, she certainly didn't expect T to tell her she knows all about HLHS. She definitely didn't expect T to hand her a photo of Chase and tell her he'd already had his first 2 surgeries and is doing great. Long story short, Lindy and I were able to meet briefly and I was able to introduce her to Chase and share some insight into what she can expect once they head to MUSC for her baby's delivery.

Well, little Mr. Brandt Ethan was born this morning at 11:49am, weighing in at a healthy 6 lbs. 15 oz. Congratulations, Lindy!

Please be in prayer for little Brandt as he will be having his Norwood surgery within the next few days. Pray for Lindy and her husband, and the rest of their family, as they deal with the roller coaster ride of this journey with HLHS. Please be sure to follow her blog for the latest information on sweet Brandt.

On another note... please also be praying for Chase's little heart friend, Maia. Maia needs a miracle straight from the hand of God, and I believe He is capable of just that! Please pray for healing... she's been through so much in her 10 months of life. Her parents are trusting in the Lord and are awaiting His will to unfold for their precious daughter. Please pray for mommy Shannon and daddy Elias as they put their sweet girl in God's hands and wait expectantly for Him to touch her with His healing hand.

Thank you for your prayers for these precious heart babies!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Update

I took Chase to his 6-month pediatrician appointment today and his doctor was very pleased with how great Chase is doing! He said Chase was the happiest patient he'd seen all day, and also asked what I'd been feeding him since he's so adorably chunky! Too fun!

So here are his latest stats:
  • Weight: 16 lbs., 9 oz. (24th percentile)
  • Height: 26.5 inches (42nd percentile)
Yay, Chase!!!

He got his 4-month vaccinations today (one orally and THREE shots!) and won't need to have his 6-month vaccines until his next appointment when he's 9 months old. Did that make sense? Whatever. All I know is that this was the LAST BIG HURDLE (as far as I know -- I'm sure hubs will correct me) Chase needed to complete before we could "officially" release him from the bubble!!!!! He's still technically "behind schedule" on his vaccines but it's not enough to warrant keeping him (and ME! and LO!) locked up any longer!


So, if my math is correct... we saw Chase's cardiologist last week and his pediatrician today. He's not due back at the cardiologist until JULY 2nd (TWO months!!) and he's not due back at the pediatrician until he's 9 months old (July) so...


It's the little things! And I'm SOOOOOOOO happy my sweet boy is doing so well! Praise God!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some Updates

Just a quick update to let you know that Chase had a cardiology appointment last Friday. He weighed in at about 16 1/2 pounds and about 26.5 inches. He's getting soooooooo big! His o2 saturation was 89, which was awesome! His blood pressures were nice and low and his pulses were good, too. He had an echo and everything there looked good, too! In fact, Dr. Horne was very pleased with how well Chase is doing, he dropped a med and told us to come back in TWO MONTHS!

Yay, Chase!

I'm so pleased/blessed/grateful/amazed at how wonderfully my little boy is doing. God truly has His hand on Chase! There's no other explanation for how well he's done! He is such a sweet, laid-back little guy and I love him to pieces!

He's just about worked his way through starting veggies and will be moving to fruits this week. I can't wait to see how he likes the applesauce I made for him! He's now completely on formula as I officially gave up breastfeeding one week ago today. It was a HARD decision and took me weeks to make myself accept the fact that it was going to end. Basically my body decided it was done. My supply, which was already low to begin with, finally started a downward decline to where it was really more of a struggle for Chase. I'd nurse him on one side and literally less than a minute or two later, needed to switch him to the other side. After another minute or two there, he was done and would need a bottle. It just wasn't fair to make him suffer with 2 or 3 minutes of nursing, then screaming his head off because he was still hungry (obviously), and he'd been taking more formula than breastmilk on a daily basis for months now. So as difficult as it was, last Sunday night was my final time nursing him. :(

Chase is spending more time on his tummy these days. He used to hate it and start screaming almost immediately, but now he'll hang out for several minutes before getting upset. He did roll over once from his tummy to his back, and when he's on his back he'll roll onto one side, but hasn't rolled from back to tummy yet. He still needs support when sitting up and is obviously not anywhere near crawling yet. If I had it my way, I'd keep him like this forever! But I am working with him, trying to get him up to speed on his milestones.

We had an organization called BabyNet send someone over a few weeks ago to do an assessment on Chase to see if he's behind in any areas of development for his age. We were very pleased to hear he's on track with everything, with the exception of his gross and fine motor skills (this didn't surprise us). So we're going to have someone come out once or twice a month to work with Chase and show hubs and I how to do exercises with him to help him get on track.

While it seems he's been contemplating popping out a tooth for the past month or so, there's no visible sign of his first tooth... yet. LO got her first tooth when she was 6 1/2 months old, so I'm sure it's just around the corner for Chase. I love his little gummy smile but I can't wait to see those little teeth start to show up. My boy's getting so big!

We have an appointment tomorrow for Chase to get his 4-month vaccines (yes, we're about 2 months behind schedule). I'm not looking forward to it, but I know he'll do fine. And I'm VERY excited because we've been waiting on his immunizations in order to finally be able to "release" him from bubble-life completely! I can't wait! We'll always take precautions with him but I feel like that will be able to ease up somewhat once he's got another round of vaccines out of the way. I'll be ecstatic once he's finally completely caught up and on schedule with his immunizations in July! Yay!!

There's not too much to report on LO. She's a typical almost 3-year-old and has been driving hubs and I C*R*A*Z*Y!!! She doesn't listen and she has temper tantrums All. The. Time. I guess this is rather typical for her age... yay.

Let me leave you with a cute video of the kiddos. LO loves Ice Age, and if you haven't seen it, there's a part in the movie where a tiger (Diego) plays peek-a-boo with a baby. It's cute and hilarious! I've attached a clip for you so you'll know what I'm referring to (you only need to watch the first few seconds of this clip to get the point).

Well, LO loves to play "where's the baby" with Chase. And what's even cuter, is that Chase totally loves it, too! Here's a clip of the two of them from the other night:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Take Three!

Turns out my burnt carrot fiasco the other day wasn't necessarily a bad thing! I read yesterday that carrots have a high level of nitrates in them and that it's better to wait to introduce them until after age 7 months. So, I decided to do squash instead.

I bought two huge butternut squash, about 2 pounds each. This time I only cooked one of them! I sliced 'em in half and baked them in 1-2 inches of water for almost an hour. After they cooled, I tossed 'em in my lovely new Cuisinart blender and whirled them with some breastmilk until they were the perfect consistency for a stage 1 baby food. I still chose to put them through my strainer, then put the purée into my ice cube trays. It worked out beautifully! I ended up with 2 trays of squash plus a little to put in the fridge to let Chase try for dinner last night.
The clean-up was such a breeze!

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this baby food stuff! It's about time! :)

Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More Baby Food Woes

Today I was going to make Chase some carrot baby food. I put the carrots in the steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and popped the lid on top. After 15 minutes, the carrots weren't quite soft enough. I set the timer for another 5 minutes, checked them again and they still weren't soft enough. I let them continue to steam while I played with the kids until...

Uh, oh. What's that smell?

At first I thought a plastic container or lid was caught in the bottom of the dishwasher that was running. You know, that lovely burning/melting aroma? But I checked the dishwasher and all was well. That only left one option:

My carrots.

I checked 'em and sure enough they were finally soft! The problem, however, was that the pot of boiling water had, well, run out of water.

Eeew. That smell. I checked the pot and it was quite possibly the worst kitchen mishap on my record! Here's a shot of the pot after it had been soaking in hot, soapy water for about 20 minutes.

As you might imagine, I tossed the carrots since they were infused with that lovely burnt smell and I didn't think it'd be fair to Chase for his first introduction to carrots to be quite so eeeewy.

Guess it won't hurt to keep him on sweet potatoes for another day. Lord knows I have enough of 'em!


Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kitchen Disaster (again)

Well, it was time for another round of baby food. I started Chase on green beans back on Sunday, April 25th. You know how you're supposed to wait 3-4 days before starting another food to be sure there's no allergy, right? Well, day 4 would've been the day we left for Cincinnati (family vacation!) and I was not about to start a new food while on the road away from home. SO... the poor guy was left with green beans for an entire week! So Monday I went to the store and decided it was sweet potato time. Now, you remember this post where 1 pound of green beans resulted in a HUGE kitchen disaster and a measly 12 cubes of baby food? Well, that was not going to happen to me again, no siree bob! So, without thinking (that's just how I live my life), I bought 8 sweet potatoes.

Eight large sweet potatoes.

I read that the best way to cook them was baking them in the oven, so I cleaned them really good, poked 'em with a fork, wrapped 'em in foil and baked 'em for close to 2 hours. They were all kinds of soft and mushy when I took them out of the oven -- just what I wanted! I let them cool for a bit then got to work.

And work I did! Ohmygoodness! I had NO IDEA how much potato I'd be working with. It was insane. Every time hubs walked by the kitchen, I'd hear him mutter, "Man, that's a lot of sweet potatoes!" As if I didn't already know. Men.

So I'm working away with my blender, trying to show these sweet potatoes who's in charge, and my blender... well, it died. The motor started crying out for help, but when I wouldn't address it, it started smelling like burnt somethin'-or-other. Eeew. I gave up on my blender and borrowed my sister's (she conveniently lives down the street from us).

So two blenders later, I finally was able to finish up this mess of sweet potatoes. See how much fun I had? See how it resulted in the same kitchen disaster as the green beans? This time with two blenders instead of one blender and one massive food processor.

See that square container in the middle of the chaos? Ya, that'd be my NINE CUP tupperware container. Yes, NINE cup. I filled it to the top, to the point that the sweet potatoes squished up against the lid when I attempted to close it. Wow.

I've only got 2 covered ice cube trays, so it's been a continual process of taking the baby food from the frige, filling up the two trays, freezing them, then starting over again. Three days and FOUR trays of sweet potato cubes later, I still have over half a container left to go:


On a related note, yesterday I was at Costco buying formula (I've officially quit nursing... more on that later) and decided to scope out their selection of small appliances. I found (what I hope to be) the mother-load! It's a Cuisinart combination blender AND food processor. The food processor holds 2.5 cups so it's big enough to handle a lot of food but not so big that the food just sits at the bottom under the blade. And the blender is a lovely, heavy glass container (mine was cheapy plastic, not to mention about 10 years old) and the base/motor on this thing looks massive! My favorite thing is that it's shiny. It doesn't take much for me, people.

SO... while my introduction to making my own baby food has been somewhat overwhelming and it's clear I have a lot to learn in order to get into a good groove (buying and making the "right" amount of fresh veggies & fruits, etc.), looking at this face is all the encouragement I need to keep doing what I'm doing:

Have I mentioned how much I love this boy?!