Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bekah is Reading!!!!

 I have read to my girls since they were babies.  I love reading and have wanted to give that love to my children.  We often go to the library and get piles of books.  We read together all the time.   It has been exciting to see Bekah learning so much in her Kindergarten class.  She has mastered all her letters and sounds.  She is slowly learning to read.

Years ago I bought a set of books for beginning readers in Kindergarten.  It is identical to the books that I had read when I was in kindergarten.  I still remember my parents showing me the books.  I pulled the first one out and read it.  It was awesome!!  Then I read the second, the third and the fourth.  That night was such a special night.

Tonight was just as special.

 Bekah read her first book. 

 Actually two books. 

I found the box of books tucked away for when Bekah was ready to start reading.  I pulled them out and showed her the books.  She took the first one, sat down and read it.  Just like that.  I had no idea that she was doing so well.  Then she got the next one and read that too.  I was so excited to see her reading and loving it.  What a wonderful night.

Hannah wasn't as impressed as daddy and mommy.  She kept whispering in daddy's ear and making him laugh.  Then jumping on top of him.  Bekah was a good sport (mostly) and finished the second book.  She wanted to read more, but it was time for bed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1,000 Gifts

Last year, on January 9, 2012, I started to write down the many, many beautiful gifts that God has given me.  I was in the middle of reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  She talked about her journey as she learned to daily seek the gifts or blessings that were given so freely to her by God.  This book was such an encouragement to me.  Little by little I began also seeking to discover what God was giving me. 

My sister gave me a cute journal with pictures of my family on it.  So I began to journal my way through the year with daily blessings.  Some were big things that God generously bestowed on our family.  Most were little, wonderful things.  As I read over my list, I see that God has been so good to me.  Most of what I have recorded, I had forgotten.  But each was a gift to me.  Real and sweet and tangible.  Now that they are written, I will never truly forget them.  They are a part of me.  A part that I can share with my children.

  As Ann said in her book, "The discovery that naming offers the gift recognition-that is priceless. 

This naming really does call now a gift, a gift from God.  I look at a day, a thing an event infront of me, and it may look manna-strange: "What is it?"  But when I name it, the naming of it manifests its meaning.  To know it comes from God.  This is a gift.

In naming that which is right before me, that which I'd otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible.

Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant-a seed-this plants the giant miracle.  Do not distain the small.  The whole of the life-even the hard-is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimal, I miss the whole thing.  The moments will add up."

I loved how she pointed out that the gift is nothing, until we name it.  Once we name it, it is ours.  We recognize the gift and can now take joy in them.

So I began to do just that.  I named every blessing that God gave me.  At first it was just a few words.  Simple gifts written out.

* * * * * * * * * * *

My husbands faithful love. 
 A whispered "I Love You" from Bekah.
 A full nights rest.
  Light from the sun on my children's hair. 
  Little girls laughter. 
 A good book. 
 A kitchen cleaned by my husband. 
 Teaching my girls to love helping others. 
 First time obedience. 
 Coconut Ice Cream. 
 Seeing my friends baby move with new life inside her.
  Catalyst group.
  Sincere apologies. 
 Pine trees-the taller, the better.
  Peppermint hot cocoa. 
Water balloons in the bath tub. 
 Getting my face painted by my little girls.
  Hannah's bright smile as she sits and enjoys being with mommy. 
 Snuggling in bed after nap time with my girls-drawing pictures on their backs with my finger. 
 Hannah saying, "I love you Mommy!  I super love you!". 
 Worship songs from Ross King. 
 No headache today. 
 Listening to the girls say their Awana verses.
  Rain spitting on my face in the early  morning-so refreshing. 
 Game night with friends. 
Holding Chris' hand in the car.

* * * * * * * * * * *

As the days stretched into weeks and then months, I began to see that the moments with our family and with our friends were so special.  Each moment that I cherished them was a gift.  How sweet it is to look back on these moments, these blessings that are so freely given.   I am writing down the whole experience, which is a gift in itself.  

* * * * * * * * * *
My husband is a wonderful father and husband.  I have been sick for a week.  Chris made bread for me and had Hannah help him.  It was super sweet to hear him in the kitchen with her.

We are so blessed to have both of us at home with our children.  We can enjoy their lives together.  

Our friends are such a blessing to us.  Last night we went out to look at lights all our friends.  What wonderful fellowship!

During the musical house light show, Hannah fell asleep in my arms.  What a beautiful picture of a child at peace and sleeping while the world goes on around her.

"When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables them to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift of God."  Ephesians 5:19  Thank-you for giving me a job I love and an amazing family.

Chris went out to dinner with family and took the girls.  I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home.  It was so nice to just lay on the couch and read a book.

Hannah did the dishes all by herself.  I did not have to rewash any of them.  She is just 3 years old.

I went to wake Hannah from her nap today.  Her room was flooded with sunlight.  She was asleep all sprawled out on the bed wearing her bumble bee dress and Chris' 49'er socks pulled up to her knees.  That made me smile.

Bekah to Mommy, "I love you so much.  If I find a flower that is not too hard to pick, then I'll pick it for you."

* * * * * * * * * * *

So I counted and journaled the gifts.  Day after day.  Week after week.  My heart changed as I sought the blessings God gave me and my family on a daily basis. Today, after just over a year of seeking to record the gifts from God, I wrote my one thousandth gift.  What a blessing to look over all these things.  I am going to continue to seek the blessing of God and write them down.  This will be a gift to share with my children as they grow.

Read this book.  Be touched.  Take the time today to start writing down the many blessings that you receive each and every day.

Have your read this book?  How have you been changed?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What is wrong with my Little GIrl: Part 2

Hannah has been struggling with tummy aches almost non-stop, plus bloating and headaches and such. After a visit to her pediatrician last Tuesday, we went in for labs on Friday.  She did NOT want to go, but did well while we were there.  I held her and it was over and done in 45 seconds.  They even let her pick 6 toys out of the toy chest.

On the way home we stopped at Olivers to find some dairy free food for her.  Her Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet started as soon as we got her tested.  The Silk Almond milk (vanilla and chocolate) are good and she doesn't mind them.  None of us liked the coconut milk.  I thought it tasted like barium that I had to drink for my GI tests as a kid.  It had a good after taste but overall, not great.  Hannah didn't like the Almond yogurt and I didn't care for the texture either.  She tolerates her dairy free "cheese" when it is melted but it doesn't look very good to me.

Since getting off of these foods, her belly looks smaller and her tummy aches are all but gone.  I talked to her pediatrician yesterday.  We are waiting on one lab to come back, but the rest of them are back.  It shows negative tests for Celiac disease.  The CBC and metabolic panel was good.  The only thing that was off was her Vitamin D was a bit low.  Weird since she drinks a ton of milk, eats lots of yogurt and cheese too.  Plus she takes a Flinstone Vitamin with Vitamin D in it.

 To start off with we'll give her double the Vit D for a month and add probiotics to help her feel better.  Two of her pediatricians will meet to see what to do next.  She will probably end up going to a doctor down in the city to see if he can tell why her tummy is so bloated.  For now we are keeping her off of milk and wheat, since it seems to be helping her feel better.  It is good to see her just enjoying life instead of crying and whining constantly.

Thank-you all for you prayers.  I covet them.  God is good and is in complete control of everything, including my sweet child.  I fully trust Him to take care of her and to give Chris and I wisdom as we seek to help her feel better.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What is wrong with my Little Girl?

I love my sweet little Hannah.  She is such a joy to have around.  When I need some one to hold the dust pan, wash or set the table, fold the towels or any other job she can handle, my Hannah is right there ready to help me.  I love how she is always ready to smile, laugh and give out a hug.

In between her happy, helpful times though, she is often whiny and complaining.  It is like there are two little girls at times.  She had been the perfect baby.  Hardly cried and was such a pleasure to be around.  When she was around 8-9 months old, I noticed that she began to get pretty grumpy and cried a lot.  She was teething and was started on table food around that time.  I saw that she had a big, round belly, but I thought that lots of little ones have a big belly.  So we really didn't think much of it and let her keep growing.

As she has gotten older, her sweet and helpful spirit has blossomed.  However, her whining and irritability continued.  When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 1 1/2 years ago, the girls both were tested and it came out negative.  I was relieved, but still felt that something wasn't right with Hannah.  

Before her 4th birthday, I decided to make her gluten free.  I wanted to see if it would make a difference.  She was constantly running to the bathroom, having diarrhea, still had a bloated belly, eating a little bit and then saying that she was full.  Twenty minutes later, she would cry that she was so hungry.  She was irritable and fussy.  I just felt that it was worth a try.
She was super excited about it and told everyone that she was gluten free and not a wheat (that is what she calls others who can eat wheat).  It went very well and I thought that all her symptoms improved a bit.  Chris wasn't fully convinced, but he was fully supportive of trying the gluten free approach.  

Before Christmas, I put her back on a wheat diet with no restrictions.  
She loved eating wheat again and enjoyed all the cake and cookies she could get her hands on.  However, over the past weeks since then she has been not feeling well.  In addition to the other symptoms I mentioned above, she is crying 20 to 30 times a day about her tummy hurting her.  She wakes in the night crying about her tummy. Last night as I held her while she cried, I could hear her little tummy talking and grumbling loudly.   Her head is hurting often as well.  So I finally put a call in to the doctor.  I don't know exactly what is wrong, but I know something is not right.  

So our pediatrician said that he was concerned about her big, bloated belly.  He wants to do a pretty thorough work up and see if we can figure out what is wrong.  This Friday we will take her in for extensive blood work (20 mls of blood and a whole lot of tests).   We are looking at a milk allergy and a wheat allergy, but more specific tests than were done earlier.  Possibly a food allergy panel as well.  He will look to see if she is processing fat or protein as well.  Please be in prayer that the tests will be conclusive.  If the tests show a wheat allergy, she will also have a biopsy.

I pray that if something is wrong we will find it now. 

 Then she can have a healthy and good life that is not filled with pain. 

 I struggled with my allergies since I was a young girl.  All the symptoms that she has, I had for years.  We knew something wasn't right, but we didn't know what.  I spent over 20 years dealing with tummy pain, headaches, fatigue, debilitating migraines, skin rashes, and a ton of other symptoms.  I was told that I was making it up.  I was told that it was just stress.  I was told that I was supposed to feel that way.  Once I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and an allergy to peanuts, my life changed.  I am healthy and feel good for the first time in my life.  

I so want Hannah to not have to go through life thinking that she has to live with the daily discomfort of something wrong with her body.

Please pray for the blood tests to go well.  Having her temperature taken at the doctors office is a huge deal for her.  She does not deal well with strangers in her personal space, until she has decided that she likes them.  It took three of us to hold her down for the previous blood test.  Pray that they draw every test that is necessary and she will only be stuck once.  

After the tests, she will be put back on a gluten free diet as well as being taken off milk (not lactose-just regular milk).  She is really upset about that now.  She understands what that will mean for her and she cried all the way home from the doctors.  Please pray we can find something similar to chocolate milk that she will like.  That is what she will miss the most.

I would love to have my happy, loving little girl back and just be able to enjoy life with her.