Thursday, October 28, 2010

Update

Hey friends, I just wanted to give you a quick update on my health. I don't want this blog to turn into a huge bummer, so I will make the bad news zippy:

I still can't see out of my left eye. This makes driving impossible, and since optic neuritis comes with lots of swelling in the optic nerve, it makes headaches inevitable. The headaches make me feel nauseous pretty much constantly. Boo. This issue is what is making it the hardest to function.

Also, I am having pretty bad fatigue. My legs and arms feel like they weigh 100000000000 pounds, which makes it hard to get around. Usually I start out in the morning fairly normal-feeling, but I peter out pretty soon after lunch. This week I have had doctors appointments during the day, and the appointment and lunch are pretty much all I can handle. If I stay home all day, rest, and stay sitting, I can function semi-normally. Add any physical activity and I collapse at around 3.

So long story short, I am on FMLA leave from work for now. I have no idea what will happen. Pray pray pray friends!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Little Pumpkin is ONE!

This is Levi on his birthday. He is obviously very excited about it. I made him that little star, just for funsies. Because I am ill, we didn't really get to do much on his birthday, but we did take him to Chick-Fil-A so he could play in the play place. I think he probably enjoyed it just as much as he would have enjoyed any other birthday celebrations we might have had :)


Grandpa was definitely the main attraction. "Grandpa, what are we still doing sitting here when there is fun happening in the playplace??!?!?"

Mommy and Levi playing together. Actually, as you can see, he just wanted to play. He could have taken me or left me.

Lovin on Gigi and Grandpa :)

Lovin' on Mommy and Daddy!

More lovin' on Mommy! I can't get enough of his sweet kisses!

Okay, so let me tell you about my big one-year-old and all that he can do:
1. He has taken steps. Yes, friends, about a week or two before his birthday he took his first step. Sean was there, and so were our good friends Chris and Michelle. So far he has taken 6 consecutive steps at a time, but he averages about 2 or three before he gives up usually. Let's face it, crawling is so much faster for now!
2. He is quite the talker. He says Mama, Dadda, Gigi, Papa, Ya ya, ball and bubble. And lots of gibberish. But he mostly says ball. Ball ball ball ball ball. And he can spot a ball-shaped object from miles away. The kid is definitely going to be into sports.
3. Speaking of balls, he loves to play with them and throw them. Soccer balls, bouncy balls, footballs, whatever he can get his hands on. He even loves my mom's giant exercise ball. He can roll them back and forth with us, and sometimes he just throws it and goes and gets it over and over. He is special.
4. He still growls. We took him to a wedding and he growled through the whole thing. I was embarrassed, but he sure wasn't!
5. He eats 3 meals a day, breakfast lunch and dinner, and eats whatever we are eating usually. I am starting to order him his own food at restaurants. He loves juice boxes and using straws.
6. He is so happy. The kid smiles and smiles, and laughs and laughs. As long as we get our 2 naps a day, we are good to go!
7. He is still sleeping 10-12 hours at night, and taking 2 naps a day. When we visit other people's houses he struggles a little, but we are definitely not complaining about this kiddos sleeping patterns!
8. He still loves Papa more than anyone. Who knows what Dad has that the rest of us are obviously lacking, but he is the man in Levi's eyes. Here they are watching the Green Bay game in their jerseys.
9. Random fact: He loves my sister's bellybutton. Hmm. I know this is weird, and none of us understand, but he just loves it. I think he is hoping he can pull his little cousin out of there...
10. He is so intuitive. This whole health issue that our family has been struggling with has really affected him. He wants Mama all the time, and is always wanting to snuggle me (which of course I don't mind :) Any time anyone tries to take my blood pressure, or give me a shot or anything, he FREAKS out. My mom put a brown wash cloth on my head the other day because I was really flushed, and he screamed at her, crawled over and yanked it off. He inspected it, and then gave it back, but it really upset him and he would leave my side after that. Poor baby, he is so protective right now.

So that's my baby! He is such an absolute joy. I am so so so so proud and happy that God has given me the opportunity and responsibility of being his mommy. I have never loved anything that God has called me to more than I love "wife and mommy." Those two boys are the lights of my life!

I will post an update tomorrow about what is going on with my health. I will say that it is not favorable, but Sean and I trust the Lord and we are petitioning him for healing. We know that He is mighty to heal, mighty to save. Know, friends, that the Enemy will not be victorious in convincing us that we walk alone, or that we have no hope. The Father is purposeful and intentional. We trust Him. We will continue to trust Him no matter what.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Levi's Birthday party! EG: A much less depressing post.

(Kiddos decorating guitars that I spent forever cutting out. We had glitter, markers, star spangles, and paint. Also, this was a "backstage area" where the kids could spray color and glitter in their hair, use glitter makeup, and choose as many tattoos as their bodies could possibly handle. These activities proved to be a HUGE hit.)

So I definitely gave birth to a super-star stud, as my son proved at his Rock n Roll, Rock Star Birthday party. I have never in my life seen a more handsome, suave, smooth, ladies man of a one year old in my LIFE. No lie. Ask anyone who was there. Here he is with one of his girlfriends, Madeline:
Madeline babysits him sometimes, and she is FABULOUS. I have her info if you live near Arlington and need someone.

And here is his his Rock Star birthday cake! Carrie made it, my precious friend who watches Levi while I am at work. She is AMAZING. Mom picked out the candles, they were great.

Carrie also made this cake, the guitar was white cake, and this one was chocolate. They were both delicious.
Here was the cake table. Since I was really sick this weekend, my mom, Nicole Miller, Emily Dennis, my mother-in-law, and my sister in law did all of this. Sean and Jay (Nicole's sweet husband) inflated all the balloons.

Inside the bags were star sun glasses, guitar bubble necklaces, several music-makers, and lots of candy. They were so fun. Also, you can see that L came home with lots of loot.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand, we had a clown. A FULL SERVICE clown, even. He did balloon animals AND a magic show! (This is actually Mike, Sean's friend from PA school. He did a magic show and balloon animals at his own daughter's first birthday party about 2 months ago, and we claimed our own show before we even left her party, haha) He was a big hit.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. There was a lot going on!

This is the Hyde family. They are amazing. Let me just tell you that since Sean has been in school, John and Shelley have been so supportive of both of us, always there as friends and helpers. We are so lucky to know them. They went by and picked up all the pizza from Ninos, and then spent the whole party making cotton candy in the kitchen. Servants, I tell you. I want to grow up and be more like them.

Levi and another girlfriend of his, Katelyn. Her daddy is the clown. And her mommy is a dear friend. They also have been so supportive and have really been there for us through PA school. John and Mike really help hold Sean up through all of this.

PS, Katelyn is 2 months older than L, and everytime they hang out, Levi gains new skills. She may look super-dainty, but she is a rock star for sure.

Here is a family pic with the entertainment! Funny story, Carrie's youngest kiddo, Camrie, refused to come in the room until the clown had vacated the premises. Even after he wiped off his makeup, she still stared at him warily.

And here is our cake picture. Honestly, most of it was on the floor, and Levi was highly uninterested in it. I had to pretty much shove it in his face to get this pic. Notice how the white shirt is virtually untouched by the bright orange and red frosting. What can I say, my kid is a veggie-lover, not a cake-lover. How sad for me.

Opening presents with Papa. Levi pretty much established from the beginning that if he was going to do what we wanted him to do, he was going to do it with my dad. Or not at all. And what the birthday boy wanted, he got!

Aunt Sara's awesome gift. He spent the rest of Saturday pushing the empty container around the room like a car. If he came across one of the blocks, he would put it in, but he was more interested in the box. Figures.

It was amazing. We had hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy, fruit punch, tea, water, cake, presents, guitar-decorating, rock-star primping, balloons, and LOTS of fun! The party was definitely an expectation-surpassing experience. And this coming Saturday, my little 7 lb 2 oz baby boy will be a big, 21 lb 13 oz ONE YEAR OLD. I love him, people. I love him so much. And no matter what EVER happens, I will always love him.

Next week I will post all of the updates about what he can do and who he is right now at 1. I know you are dying to hear it all :)

Also, I want to thank all of my sweet friends who read and commented on my blog and on Facebook this week. I am overwhelmed by your love and support. And I am equally overwhelmed that I serve a God who's tenderness and compassion for me moves in you to pour out his love and blessing on me through your words. Oh how He loves me, friends! And I am covered in it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Confession

Okay, friends, I am going really just let you know what is going on with me right now. There is a lot of mixed emotion all coursing through me these days, from worry and anxiety, to flat out fear, guilt, and anger. And although vague Facebook posts may satisfy some, I could use some specific prayer from those of you who love our family enough to follow this blog.

So last week, on Sunday or Monday, I started having pain behind my left eye, accompanied by some blurred vision. I have also been having extreme fatigue, which has caused me to not even be able to get out of bed some days. It got significantly worse on Tuesday, and I ended up taking the rest of the week off from work to get some medical help. I went on Wednesday to see my neurologist, and was diagnosed with optic neuritis, which is caused by my Multiple Sclerosis. It is the inflammation of my optic nerve, and if left untreated, it can cause all sorts of vision problems, including possible blindness. That is where the fear comes in, friends. Deep fear in my heart, that wants to trust my Heavenly Father to heal, protect, and carry me through, but that feels trapped by what could happen. What He could decide to allow me to walk through.

My doctor decided to put me on IV steroids for 5 days. Thankfully, they are able to do this as an outpatient procedure, so a nurse came out and put the port in for me and gave me my first infusion. I have given the last two to myself with a pressure ball and a tube. It is incredibly painful, and leaves my body feeling nauseous, tired, and all around yucky. It is helping the pain in my eye, but since I have started the infusions, I have lost feeling in my right middle finger, and also in some patches of my legs. Bummer. The unknown scares me, because this will either get better, or get much worse. Which leads me from fear, to anxiety and worry.

My doctor thinks that it would be prudent for me to take some sick leave, and file for disability. So many unpleasant feelings and questions rise up in me when I think about this. What will this mean for my class? How will this affect my team at school? How much harder will their jobs be if I do this? What will everyone at work think? What will my family and friends think? Will they be disappointed in me? Will they think I have failed, and that I am weak? Will they doubt my motives? Will they think I should tough it out, that I am giving up?

So much guilt. So much anxiety. So much fear. But none of those questions were the right ones. Most important question: Does this decision honor God?

To answer that question, I have had to really think and pray through this. I had to think of both options here, to stay home and give my body time to heal without the immense stress caused by work, or gather my strength, push my body, and risk losing more. What is better for me, for my family, and what honors God?

If I continue to work, the main issue is that my body is already showing progressive signs of MS attacks. The stress of work, especially a job as difficult as mine, is proving to be detrimental to my health. Continuing to work is taking a risk with my body, a risk that could include: blindness, paralysis of my limbs, including my legs, chronic and debilitating fatigue, loss of muscle control, lots and lots of pain, and many other possible symptoms.

On the other hand, if I take my leave, and go on disability, I will be able to spend that time going to therapy, resting my body and allowing it time to heal. Or at the very least, cease getting worse. The cons of this decision include all of the former questions I was asking. And my heart is troubled over the problems this might cause for others, and how it might affect my relationship with them.

Friends, pray fervently for me, if you can. I am scared. I am worried, and I am torn. Logically, I can see the right choice. But my emotions are clouding my reasoning. I feel genuinely bad about the idea of disability. I just do. But my family comes first. And risking not being able to take care of my son is not an option. It just isn't. My biggest responsibility is to him, because God has intrusted him to me. And I need His strength now, friends!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Costumes, Heroes, and Other Joys of my Heart

Doesn't look like Levi? That's because it it not Levi...yet. But he will be donning this precious little costume in t-minus 2 weeks and 3 days. That is right, friends, Levi is going to be the heartless little Tin Man for Halloween. (Or as my "Wicked" friends would know him, the boyfriend of the Wicked Witch of the East.) We have aquired the costume already at a little sale some of you might have heard of: The Just Between Friends Sale. 8 dollars. No Lie.
So I needed a costume to go along. Grown ups don't have JBF sales. Thus we don't have the funds to purchase an adult costume. Hmmm, time to be creative! So I made this little number:

Those are some seriously glittery shoes, the picture doesn't do them justice. And they took a whole bottle of red glitter. But they are a dream. I am super excited to don them.

And unfortunately, I see this in Sean's future:

But much more "thrift shoppy." Because that's how we roll.

On another note, I have become fascinated with a new show. (Sitting on your bottom all day with an IV in your arm will get you experimenting with new shows.) It is called Heroes, and apparently it has been on for several seasons now.

I, however, have just discovered it. It is wonderful. But it is one of those shows that you have to pay attention when you watch because it can be really confusing. Lots of surprises. But I am prone to become addicted to shows that involve special abilities, magic, and Japanese men stopping time and moving through space. I suppose it is a weakness I will carry with me always :)

And the final, and most splendiferous joy of my life:



I bet you could have guessed that :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Searching for something...



And we found it! It was the bottle! Levi spends half of his day digging under the couch for things. And then lets out a high pitched scream when he cant reach them or get them out. It's fabulous, let me tell you. This is how we spent our morning!

Then we painted our pumpkin! He had a blast, and got filthy. But the pumpkin is truly art, if I do say so myself. The kid has talent :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Fun!

First stop on our fun fall journey: Levi's first camping trip! This little guy is definitely an outdoorsman. Very first order of business for the L-man: eating mucho mucho rocks and dirt. He loved it.
The tent was like a whole new fabulous world for him. He even took a nap in it, and when it was over, I saw his little face poking out from the opening I left, haha.

Sean definitely built this fire with ONE MATCH. I married a stud.

Levi decided that he would choose this trip to assert his independence. He wanted his OWN chair, people!

We went with Tim and Elisa Stamps, and their sweet daughter Sahara. Sahara is 2, and can obviously walk, which Levi cannot do, much to his disdain. He wanted so badly to walk, so we helped him a little bit :)

They were precious together. They are going to be great friends!
Looking at the fish while the daddy's were fishing.

Probably the sweetest part was watching my boys fish together. Levi absolutely loved sitting with Daddy by the water and holding the pole. I can't wait to see how these two bond in the future.

Here is a group pic of everyone on Saturday night. That's Tim, Elisa and Sahara on the left, us in the middle, and Chris, Michelle and Savannah on the right. They joined us for the afternoon and evening on Saturday. It was such a sweet time of fellowship with friends around the campfire, and I felt renewed as I lay in the tent that night. Praise the Lord for sweet friends.

Our next stop: the pumpkin patch! On Sunday, Levi had an appointment with another sweet friend of mine, Sarah Carlson for pictures at the patch! She did a fabulous job, and we snapped a couple of pictures along the way.
He loved riding the tractor, he got to do it twice.

He also got to pick his own pumpkin! We were cracking up because he kept rolling the pumpkins away from himself, off of the benches, hay stacks, anywhere he could.
And there he is with his pumpkin :) What an absolute joy this little guy is to me, and to his daddy. Every day I am more in love with him, more captivated by him. God has given me the most precious gift in him, and I am desperate to be faithful as I raise him. I pray that Levi would see Christ in me, that he would know Jesus and Him crucified. What a weighty responsibility!