Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hanging In There

I found this photo on my camera when I got home from the hospital. I was told that Taylor had everyone dress up for dinner and eat with a table cloth and fine china and wine glasses. After dinner they played classical music and danced. It is Taylor's dream to have a ball with fancy dresses and tuxes. This photo reminds me of that old fashioned picture of the farmer and his wife with the pitch fork - classic. I am pleased to know they can hold down the fort with me gone. We are having a tough time getting back into the swing of things. Some of the children are having more trouble than others. To top it off I went and got my hair cut and colored and the lady took so long that I missed Taylor and Ian's awards at Keepers and Contenders. I was so frustrated. The cut is fine but shorter than I wanted and much blonder than I requested.
I slept for 5 hours in a row last night and it has made all the difference in the world. However, Libby lost another 1/2 ounce. I am not sure how she can be eating 30ml of fortified breast milk plus 4 ounces of breast milk and still not gain. We are checking out our other options as far as getting more calories in her. We desperately want to avoid the NG tube and another hospitalization.
We were able to go to church today and it was such a blessing to be welcomed back into the flock after being gone for what feels like forever. We are so excited to have finally found a place that we feel like we belong and that cares for the members in the magnitude that they do. I hope that I can in turn be a blessing to others when I am able to get my feet back under me.
I am going to sleep now because I only have 3 hours. Please continue to pray for clarity and for God's will.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I am so tired!

Seriously, I have not been this tired except immediately post partum. I am setting my alarm every 3 hours around the clock. We are supplementing with fortified breast milk, feeding the baby, and pumping. Between that, a little sleep and eating (like a horse) I don't have time for anything else.
I keep waiting for someone to tell me I am on hidden camera and they are doing a psychological study on sleep deprivation. Libby has gotten used to being in the ergo with me at all times and we are having a hard time breaking that habit.
I once told Taylor that when we do outside work the inside suffers and vice versa. She came in the other day and said,"Mom, remember when you said that about the inside suffering when we do outside work? Well, Grandma is able to do all of it, and nothing is suffering."
My mother in law is amazing. She is so gracious and willing to serve. She is doing everything for everyone around here. She dug out my flowerbeds and put new bark in after some major weeding. She has said that she doesn't know how I do it, well, I honestly don't know how she does it all so well.
My goal is to be as big a blessing to my daughters in law as she is to me!I really hope that she doesn't have to go home anytime soon. She ran an errand for me and said, she really liked the little town of Lynden. I of course, got really excited and told her what a wonderful place it is to live. Maybe we can talk her into moving closer?!

Monday, May 25, 2009


We got the great news this morning that we get to go home! For now we are going to try to maintain and improve without the NG tube.
I was reading Job this morning and it helped me to improve my outlook and attitude and I prayed for forgiveness about my pity party yesterday. I knew it was wrong but I did not care. Then I was so graciously rewarded with a release!! God is faithful and just and will see to all of our needs.
It was a bit frustrating that the doctor said to make sure to feed her EVERY three hours around the clock until we get her weight up and so continued improvement. I do feed her every 3 and have for her whole life, except when she started sleeping through the night. Then I praised God that I got to sleep. I guess we are back to no sleep for awhile.
As I write my mother in law is on her way to my house to help for a few days and Sean will be gone for the rest of the week for work. Life never slows down but I love my life.
Off to feed, supplement, pump then GO HOME!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Birthday Continued

I really enjoyed seeing my family today. It seems like the children have all grown so much in the last week. They all looked beautiful, the boys all had on ties and button up shirts and the girls were in beautiful dresses and clean and neat. It ended up being a very warm day so we were able to enjoy the out door play area. which, by the way is located right next to the inpatient psyciatric ward, Hmmmm??
It was really difficult for me to utilize all the time and spend time with each child in such a short time. I was already really raw emotionally and pretty spent from crying then I just cried harder when they left. My mom came to the rescue with a rootbeer shake from Burgermaster. Other than that I really did not feel like eating.
Rebecca, a blog reader, stopped by today with the most encouraging note. I was disappointed that I missed meeting her and hope that someday I will, only under better circumstances.
Sean's dad, his 3 sisters, his dad's wife, and a fiancee of 1 of his sisters all joined us at the play area, it was lovely to see them and so sweet of them to bring an iced vanilla latte, and cupcakes.
I wish that I felt more like celebrating as I had so many wonderful wishes and feel so loved and supported but I was more in the mood for a pity party. I know and am holding fast to the promise that God does not give us more than we can handle and a spirit of fear is not from Him.
I have not gotten more than an hour and a half of sleep at any given time so I am off for a quick sleep before the next feeding at 11:15. God Bless

Happy Birthday to me.

OK so it isn't exactly a Happy Birthday but I don't want to complain. The doctor came in the AM and informed us that no, we do not get to go home. He was very compassionate and even remembered to wish me a happy birthday. It looks like the NG tube is inevitable. instead of the expected 70g of weight gain Libby lost 90g that is a negative 160!! I have been feeding her every hours and using fortified breast milk that is high calorie and she is still not gaining! I am very discouraged.
Our wonderful nurse, Amanda brought me a delicious chocolate mousse pie and her and several other nurses sang me happy birthday.
I am waiting for Sean and the Children to come and visit and have a picnic. I miss them all terribly.
I had a killer migraine last night and could not get aspirin to save my life. Fortunately my father in law and his wife came for a visit and I was able to take some vicoden.
My sister in law, Nicole came and kept us company for a while. I really enjoyed our time together and a chance to really talk, which is difficult to come by.
My headache still persists but hopefully having my own pillows will help. I know the 'bed' doesn't do anything for me. Also, I am finding it very difficult to feel like I am getting any exercise. Well, I need to go change a diaper and put a sweet little Libby down for a nap. I will post later and let you know the plan but for now, We are still here.

Friday, May 22, 2009


We have been at Children's for 5 days now. It seems like an eternity. Libby is such a sweet happy baby, she is a joy to be with and loves to smile at everyone, especially the doctors, and little boys. I think she really misses her brothers and sisters.
I feel so very blessed with the generosity that is being poured on our family right now. I know it is especially hard on Sean. Today when I was trying to give him an update on the phone I could hardly get an word in edge wise. I heard, "Whose helmet is in the bathroom? Go put it away." "I know I did not brush some body's teeth, whose are not brushed?" "Don't touch that" "Pick it up." "Clear the table." "Clear the table." "Clear the table."
I won't tell you whose job is table this week but I bet you could guess.
I was exasperated today because we decided to try fortifying the breast milk with a high calorie formula. That is so that she won't have to consume as much fluid ounces to get the calories that she needs. But after rounds and discussion with the OT/PT and the Dietitian it literally took 9 hours to get the orders written so that I could get the fortification! That is 3 feedings that could have occurred with the supplement. That is 9 hours sooner I could have possibly been sent home. UGH
Liberty's intake was averaging 60ml per feeding when we were admitted and today they were up to an average of 110ml per feed. The goal is 160ml each time. I am fervently praying that they will let us go home and continue what we are doing and slowly increasing her intake.
The doctor's are really wanting to put a NG tube (Nasal-Gastric) which goes in her nose and to her stomach. I am desperately trying to avoid that. I feel like it would not teach her to eat, and she would get even lazier as far as recognizing her hunger cues (there would not be any) and it would be harder to maintain at home. Not to mention long term effects on her desire to eat. She enjoys nursing (a lot) but she just is not very effective at it, and she is too polite to complain when she does not get enough.
I have been pumping and taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle so my milk production and supply is definitely not the issue.
Again, we do not have definite answers and do not even have a projection of when we get to go home. Fortunately, I have learned my way around the hospital and discovered the beautiful path to walk on when I can.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I just want to go home!

We are on day 4 with no end in sight right now. I am extremely tired and just want answers. We have answers to what is NOT causing the growth/weight issues. It is not: Celiac, Liver, Heart, Caloric Demands, Cystic Fibrosis, Breast Milk Quality, or Absorption.
We are currently feeding, weighing, supplementing and pumping every 3 hours, which rolls around pretty quick when I am trying to eat, drink, sleep, and occasionally shower or go potty.
I apologize that I am not able to answer the questions or the phone, and please, limit the calls to Sean as he is pretty busy managing the house right now. Feel free to leave a comment and I will answer as time permits. I love to hear the encouragement and appreciate the prayers.
Liberty's intake and output is up unfortunately so is her spit up and her weight continues to go down.
I am hanging in there but would appreciate prayers for my family for peace and joy to be in abundance. For Libby to get better, and to be home for my birthday on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Still waiting...

Thank you all again for your prayers and support.
We have some answers today and we know a lot of what is not causing Libby's weight and Liver problems. However, we do not know what is causing them. Her feedings are going fairly better but she is all over the board from 32cc's to 130cc's the doctors really want her average to be above 130cc's per feeding. I have not slept more than 2 hours in a row since Monday and they are letting us sleep for 5 hours tonight! I am excited!!! I miss my family and continue to pray that this will be resolved soon. In the meantime it is comforting to know that they are being well taken care of and that we are covered in prayer. Thank You

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

thank you all for your support

Liberty and I are still at Children's Hospital. We are doing well and really appreciate all the love, prayers and support. I won't deny the lattes and desserts are an added bonus (thanks Tami, her mom, Kimberly and Geaba)
The doctors are still doing tests and trying supplemental feeding, thankfully we are doing it with a nurser and breast milk. We are both having a hard time getting up every 3 hours around the clock, doing weight checks both pre and post feed and weighing diapers and pumping on top of it. They estimate we will be here through the week but not for certain.
Sean and the others are doing well albeit very busy and adjusting to different schedules (I run a pretty tight ship) He and the children are enjoying the meals, thank you Tami B, Aumony, Naomi, and our friends at BCF.
I am so thankful for all the support and the visits, but most importantly the prayers.
Please continue to pray for Libby's weight and to figure out where all the calories are going. Off to pump.....again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Please Pray

The Doctor's have been concerned for some time about Liberty's slow weight gain. My concern has been about her poop not changing from newborn to the seedy older baby poop. I went ahead and had some testing done. Yesterday I must have walked 5 miles between going to an office that no longer did testing on newborns but it was a nice day and I was alone with Libby so it was OK. Today I got a call from the Doctor and he was very concerned, her heart was abnormally large, and her liver tests came back with cause for concern on 3 different tests.
She will be admitted to Children's Hospital on Monday and they estimate that her stay will be up to a week.
I am asking for prayers for:
~Sean and I to discern what is medically necessary for her
~Wisdom for the doctors
~That the doctors will share the same faith and beliefs that we do
~Peace and protection for our other children
~Healing for Liberty

Whatever else I may have forgotten. Sean just told me that the doctor's diagnosis is failure to thrive. That makes me angry, she is a beautiful happy baby. She nurses well and is content and is developing normally.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rainbow Party

We started Rainbow day with a purple breakfast of blueberry muffins, and mango blueberry smoothies.
We invited Ben and Syndi to join our party!

Justice and Erik were taking a break from the activities and watching everyone else make their stepping stones. Sean was in charge of getting the quick crete but bought cement instead. Most of the stepping stones turned out beautifully but unfortunately some of them will have to be redone.

We made tie dye shirts, everyone except Ian wanted swirl patterns so I attempted to demonstrate how to do it. I remember doing it at Keepers Camp last year so I was hoping that I learned how to do it better. Syndi donated a really nice kit that she got from a garage sale for $3!

I did Ruby's dress and 'helped' Ian quite a bit but it was really enjoyable to have all the other children able to do their own dyeing. Even Erik was mostly responsible.

Savannah was hot so Ben and Aaron went and got our beach umbrella but since Savannah had worked it out with sunglasses they used it for shade for themselves. We were really happy that the sun decided to shine on our fun day!

Jess spent all week making this beautiful Jello Ring for our party. Ian and Ruby did not like it but everyone else enjoyed it. Sean made us burgers on the outdoor toaster (BBQ) that were to die for! We also enjoyed rainbow dips of salsa, guac, sour cream, and peppers. Jess brought rainbow sherbet and I made funfetti cake! I think one of my highlights was definitely the food.

Libby has really started talking~it seemed like she was trying to tell everyone how to properly make their stepping stones.

You gotta love to see those boys work, they all took turns mixing the cement and getting it to the perfect consistency for the stones. I found some really cool stones in rainbow colors to commemorate rainbow week.

The hardest part for me was doing something every day but it really cemented the learning for the children. Even Ruby knows how to spell red now. Using so many different methods (M&M's, watercolor, light, milk, pencils, crayons, food, books, actions, movies, and more) helped them to see all the ways light and color are in the environment and how creative God is in his use of color.
Thank you so much to Jess and her family for doing this together and for such fun and memories! and thank you to Renee and Hilary for the ideas!

Blue Day

How could I have forgot?!? Yesterday while at my house Jake ran out to the play set and whacked (I'm a home schooler, I can make up words if I want to) his foot on the border. He broke his toe! This is a picture of the covered wagon that the children made out of our wagon and pulled Jake around in. We ended up taking the covered part off for the walk, but Aaron was such a great friend pulling Jake and including him in the exploration. Ruby even hitched a ride with Jake toward the end of the walk, it was very sweet.

Back to Jessica's for Blue Day on Friday! We began by doing some copy work and coloring. This week has showed me where I need to improve on my teaching and also what my children are capable of, especially the one that tries to get out of work by saying that they don't know how to do it. All of the children were so respectful and hard working. We fit all of us, Libby and I included into the powder bathroom. It was the only room with no windows and completely dark. Jess did a really cool experiment with flashlights and color pieces. We were able to see some of the secondary colors but when we combined them all, they did not make white. Some scientific discovery told us that the experiment did not work the way it was intended because the flashlights were not true white and the walls were not white either. I keep telling myself it is the process not the product!

Next, the children made pie graphs. They figured out percentages, and did some division and graphing using skittles. It was yummy, and I learned a thing or two.

Poor Erik had me helping him and we had to keep redrawing the percentage pieces. I was really grateful that I taught bar graphing, it was much easier to explain!

We had blueberry bagels with blue cream cheese, blue (dark purple) grapes, and blueberries! Blue food that is not really bad for you is difficult to find. However after lunch Jess and I were not satisfied! Jessica's wonderful husband went to the local Mexican restaurant and brought us back chips, salsa and a delicious Chalupa!What a guy and what a way to save the day!

Green Day

Some green frog eggs that Erik found on our walk after Green Day Activities.

Thursday was Green Day in our Rainbow Week! We began by experimenting with watercolors. When we first started Jake said, "mom, I don't really like this." Not to toot my own horn I think I did a pretty good job explaining and demonstrating the techniques. I am NOT an artist. I am much to picky and I like things to look like Hilary's crafts. Watercolor is definitely not a precise craft. Savannah and Erik and a little bit Taylor resisted using the water because it would mess up their picture, Savannah was persuaded by the temptation of a watercolor pin for Keepers at Home.
By the end of our 'session' the Keepers and Contenders had earned pins, and the Cub Scouts had earned belt loops, Not Bad!
My favorite part was that Jake said, "hey mom, remember when I said I didn't really like watercolor? Well I was wrong, I like it!" For me, that made everything we were doing worth it!

Ruby is such a great little helper she just loves to feed Justice. If she is not there when the babies need fed she goes and gets her baby and feeds it.

Ian was pretty excited for Green Day lunch! His favorite foods are green, again the funny thing is that we forgot to serve the green broccoli. We had Delicious green limeade floats, grapes, kiwi, celery, pistachio pudding, and spinach herb lettuce wraps with ham and cheese. Yum, I wish I could eat like that every day.

When Jess got to my house Ian looked at the boys and exclaimed, "Hey look their PJ's match, they are twins!" It cracks me up that he didn't realize that, just like when I said something about Renee's son, Moredcai being adopted my children were shocked!

After lunch we made window clings using tissue paper and liquid starch, they turned out really pretty but were so messy (especially the ones that went on the window starch side touching) that I was not able to take any pictures of them.
At 1:30 we were done and all cleaned up and looked at each other with a big sigh. Jess said exactly what I was thinking, "It is a long time until bed!" We decided to call Ben and Syndi and go for a walk. It was perfect! We all enjoyed stretching our legs, some fresh air and exploration. Erik has an internal magnet toward anything frog and at the pond he found some frog eggs. Of course with our frog saga we could not just leave them there so Taylor, Ben and Erik went home at got a bucket (They picked a really nice one off of the shelves that we use for honey) and we collected the eggs and brought them home. We are anxiously awaiting the hatching of the eggs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yellow Day

For Yellow day Libby wore a little outfit that was mine when I was a baby! She kept taking the booties off and sucking on her toes. Ever since she discovered her toes they are constantly in her mouth. Her feet get that cold clammy feeling that comes from being wet! Sometimes she misses her mouth and gets poked in the eye. It makes me laugh, but I do feel bad for her because she looks so surprised when it happens. We began by watching a Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD about light and color. He did not have a Biblical World view but we discussed that and moved on. My favorite part was the crayon factory. I would love to go take a tour of a crayon factory, anyone know where the closest one is?

We enjoyed popcorn (yellow) with the movie and Jess even put some skittles in the bottom of their popcorn containers! How fun!

They worked on some more parts for their lapbooks, and Jess saved the day again by her extreme patience working with Erik on his letters. That boy does not want to attempt anything unless he knows he can excel at it. She talked about being grown up and independent and practice. I know I need to work with him more on writing but he knows how to push my buttons. Please pray for me in that area.

For lunch we had lemonade, 'Olivia Eggs' (deviled eggs), Honey Mustard, home made pretzels, yellow peppers, bananas, and pears.

I needed a few items for tomorrow and Jess offered to keep the kids while I went to the store, ALONE!! Seriously the first time since Libby was born that I have been completely alone. I went to the Library, grocery store and dollar store in 45 minutes!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Orange Day

Tuesday, we met at our house and I was in charge of the activities. I felt some pressure to measure up to the fun we had at Jess' house so we began Orange day with a chromatography experiment using coffee filters and watching the water travel up the filter and separate the colors. There were some really cool designs and we discovered the highlighter pens do not work.
Then, we had a color scavenger hunt. The children had to find the next clue on an object of the color they just found. I bought a scavenger hunt book from Klutz Books, it has been a great investment and we have used it over and over again. At the end of the hunt the clue was black, it took some hunting but they finally found a HUGE bag of M&M's in my oven! We used the M&M's to do some estimating (which really made Ian sad, because he did not understand, poor little guy) we also did graphing (it was much more difficult than I anticipated. But thanks to some quick thinking on Jess' part the activity was saved) OK so I know that was a run on sentence but frankly my brain cannot figure out how to fix it. Then they got to eat the M&M's. I also helped myself to a few.

We painted a color wheel on paper plates, we discovered that we had to paint the bottom because the paint did not stick on the front side. Way to adapt! Then we used Aaron's Snap Circuit and spun the plates. It was supposed to turn white but instead we only say primary colors. Maybe it would have worked if we could spin it faster?
We had Orange Lunch: Grilled Cheese sandwiches (we call them boy-cheese not girl cheese), Orange Peppers, Peaches, Apricots, Tomato Soup, and Orange Juice. Funny thing is I forgot about the Carrots.

Even Honor and Justice had on Orange for the festivities! I love those cheeks, only wish I knew how to crop Ian out of the photo. After lunch we dyed eggs and experimented using rubber bands, wax and mixing colors. I divided up the eggs only to discover later that I accidentally used one dozen that were not hard boiled. That should be fun to figure out. We tried to do the 'spin technique' but they all spun the same.

This is Aaron's new picture look. After Jess and the family left Syndi and Ben came over to do a wee bit of the American Revolution. We all painted some Red Coats, and Minute Men. It was very tedious but all the children, save Erik did a very precise job. Erik's soldier was painted all red because he was wounded and dieing!

Syndi was extremely patient with Ruby during the painting time. Ruby just kept wanting more and more paint and ended up with it in her hair and on her arms. I felt bad that I did nothing to help, I just laughed and Syndi cleaned it up.
Syndi read the story of the Liberty Bell and they added one more component to their lap books! All in All it was another successful day!

Red Day

Monday was the kick-off day of Rainbow week. We discussed the creation of rainbows, Noah and the Flood, the color wheel and primary and secondary colors. Jess did an experiment using milk, food coloring, and dish soap and we watched the colors mix. It was really neat to see the different bowls mix in different ways. The children then drew pictures of what they observed.

It is fun to work with Jess on this because she is a great gatherer, organizer, and planner, and I am really good at doing what I am told to do. I was a little concerned that Taylor was going to get frustrated with Savannah doing her project exactly the same. I asked Taylor about that and she replied, "Imitation is the best form of flattery." What a great sport!

I admire how Jess gets right in there and experiences it with the children. Probably my favorite was the ice cubes that were made using primary colors and then put into bags to melt. Red and Blue, Yellow and Blue, and Red and Yellow.

Ruby did some of the experiments but mostly looked at books and helped to feed Honor and Justice. It is pretty cute to see her hold Honor who is over half the size of her. She also spent a lot of time nursing, diapering, and burping her baby.

We had a red lunch: Braeburn apples, red pepper, craisins, strawberries, pizza and Cranberry Soda (which my children did not care for-at all).
The rest of the day was equally busy. We went to Cub Scouts, Cash n Carry, JoAnn Fabric, back to Jess' to pick up Taylor, Ruby and Ian, home for a quick dinner then off to a Ladies' Tea with Deanna and her girls and Jess and Savannah and Taylor, Libby and I. Whew! This was a successful and fun day 1.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Copy Cats

Because it is really important to hold up your dress when you are playing in the mud?
I am really excited this week Jess and I are copying Renee and Hilary and their Rainbow week! Tomorrow is Red Day. Stay tuned for some wonderful fun and activities.
Sean had to do some major maintenance on our bikes this weekend. We had several flat tires an broken pedals, and loose nuts (not just on the bikes). Anyway, he took the pedals off of Erik's old bike and now Erik is riding it all the time! He loves to ride 'Flinstone' style. He wanted to ride his bike off of the porch and I told him no, he said, "Why not? I have been riding it down the slide in the back yard!" I do pray he learns some safety rules and adheres to them.
Today in church Ian was sitting next to the pastor and smiling great big, listening to the announcements. When the pastor got up to speak he said,"I asked Ian why he was smiling and listening so intently, and Ian said, "I was counting how many times the announcer said Ummmm"" I love the childish innocence and creative ways to entertain themselves.