Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nathan Update

I've had e-mails from several of you, so thought I ought to post a quick Nathan update.

Spoke to the nurse from our Dr.s office yesterday. Nathan's bloodwork for tick-related illnesses all came back negative! These tests are not 100 % accurate, but it is a good start. Unfortunately, his lymph nodes haven't changed, and he still has pea-sized knots running down the left side of his neck. Thankfully, he doesn't have any other symptoms of illness. After a consult with the Dr., I was offered a round of amoxicillin to have a stab at treating whatever it is that Nathan's body is trying to fight. But, for now, I have turned it down. We have absolutely no idea if what he has is viral or bacterial, so no way to know if the amoxicillin would be effective. And, antibiotics are a great thing, but I don't like to use them unless absolutely necessary. So, for now, we will continue to watch him closely and give him another couple of weeks to see if the lymph nodes resolve themselves. With some viral illnesses, it isn't uncommon for lymph nodes to remain swollen for 3-4 weeks. And, as he has no other symptoms, his body must be doing a good job of fighting off whatever it is.

If the swelling hasn't resolved within a couple of weeks(or if he develops other symptoms), then it will be back to the Dr.s office for more bloodwork. But, for now, I'll just keep an eye on him; which he will be absolutely unthankful for! He is definitely sick of Mommy palpating his neck every evening.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Message From Nathan

Setting the scene: While we were visiting the farm 2 weeks ago, Nathan got a small hard lump at the base of his skull. As he had been out playing in the woods and picked up several bug bites and a couple of tick bites, I wasn't too surprised, and have just been keeping an eye on it. At first, he just complained that it itched, but by last week-end he began to complain that it was sore. It developed into a sore spot, and yesterday another small lump began to form underneath it. By last night, Nathan had developed "pea-sized" knots running down the left side of his neck through his lymph nodes. Needless to say, Mommy was concerned and we visited the Doctor first thing this morning.

The Doctor had a good look and a poke around. He agreed that his lymph nodes were swollen and after checking found more lymph nodes throughout his body swollen up. Then, we agreed that it might be just a virus, but that as he had a couple of tick bites, we should have some bloodwork done to rule out Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Nathan was such a trooper! I told him that we needed to have some blood drawn and that it would hurt a little bit like when you get a shot, but that it wouldn't last for long and I would hold him while the phlebotomist took his blood. Nathan promptly assured me that the sore wasn't that sore and the peas in his neck didn't hurt, so we should probably just go home.

But, we didn't go home, and having assured him that this was really important, he said "okay" and crawled up into my lap for tickles. When they called his name, he took my hand, marched right into the lab, crawled up into my lap, let them have his arm, turned his head so he couldn't see the needle go in, and didn't even flinch when they stuck him. Then, he turned his head back and watched the blood going into the tubes with big eyes and open mouth. The phlebotomists and I were suitably impressed with his bravery, and so was he. He was feeling so brave and grown-up that he informed the phlebotomist that he didn't need a sticker afterwards.

Anyhow, all of that is just background, and this blog post is really supposed to be about a message that Nathan said I should put on the blog. So, without further ado, Nathan's message:

I was pretty brave, and I didn't even look. It was a little scary, but it didn't really hurt much. I just didn't even look. And, it's a good thing my blood wasn't green, cause that would have meant I was an alien. But it wasn't green; it was red. So, they know I'm not an alien, I'm a boy. And, I was really brave, so I got to have a drink at Sonic, and I'm going to get a pick out of Mommy's treasure chest. It doesn't really hurt now, not even a little bit. Okay, that's all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things that Make a Mommy Go All Mushy Inside

I grabbed Nathan for a cuddle last night, and as he wriggled backwards to get himself settled in his favorite snuggling position, I whispered in his ear how much I love my snuggles with him. He leaned back, kissed my cheek, and said, "You know, Mommy, the older I get, the more I like to cuddle with you".

I'm counting on this, as I don't want to imagine life when my boys are too old to cuddle with their Mommy.

Bierre's Birthday Party

Last Wednesday night, as Gareth was tucking the boys into bed and praying with them, he asked them what kind of day they had. Nathan was very excited to tell him that he had a good day, and that the next day would be GREAT, because it was going to be Bierre's birthday. Gareth passed along this tidbit of news, and I assumed that Nathan would have forgotten by the next morning. But, he had not. He woke up very excited about Bierre's birthday, and I decided that I should go along with this idea.

So, after school and after play time outside, the munchkins brought all of their favorite stuffed animals into the kitchen and we set up a surprise party for Bierre. Nathan was SOOOO excited! I had to keep encouraging him to not bring Bierre out until everything was set up.

We popped popcorn, made lemonade, set out the bag of Hershey's Kisses that I had been stashing in the pantry for "sometime when I need them", and made a quilt on the floor where all of the animals could sit together.

Then, Nathan was sent to bring Bierre. When we saw him coming, we all shouted "Surprise"! I love this smile on Nathan's face. He was so pleased.
Then, we all gathered round to sing "Happy Birthday" to Bierre.
While the animals enjoyed "invisible popcorn" and Hershey's Kisses on their quilt, the "big" people sat up to bar for their popcorn and kisses and lemonade. The kids were especially pleased, because our friend and ace-housekeeper, Lindsey, was here and could join in. (By the way, every Mommy should have a Lindsey in their life! I look forward to Thursdays all week. Even if I haven't gotten to some aspect of the housework earlier, I know that by the end of Thursday afternoon it will all be done, my whole house will sparkle and smell good, my munchkins LOVE her, and she loves them, too!) It's great to have a Mommy's helper who has a sense of humor and just joins in when Mommy or the Munchkins cook up some hair-brained scheme or another.

Here are the animals enjoying their plate of Hershey's Kisses.

Afterwards, Noah led devotions for all of the animals and Rosie got out her current favorite book to show them the pictures.
A great time was had by all, and Rosie is now busy cooking up a plan to have her Bear's birthday party this week. (Think I might have started something here....)
But, it was a good reminder for me, that it doesn't take much to please my munchkins. Only 20 minutes out of my day, but Nathan felt so special, and I am sure this is a memory that he will look back on, knowing that His Mommy loved him and took the time to just play and be silly. Must make sure that I keep looking for those small (but intensely sweet) chances to do so.....

A Few Fotos From The Farm

Snapshots of Easter

Easter was Rosie's last "first" to experience. Last year, I was on an airplane to Ethiopia on Easter Sunday, so Rosie missed out on experiencing Easter here. But, we made up for it with lots of fun this year.

The traditional bunny cake. Just like my Mom made for us every year-very 70's, complete with angel food cake, cooked 7-minute frosting, and tinted coconut! But, it tastes great, and the kids LOVE it.
Someday, Rosie may hate me for this picture, but I love it. Having been outside all day, the kids were filthy. So, Gareth put them through the shower while I got things set up to decorate the cake and dye eggs. Gareth very carefully picked out Rosie's hair to remove all of the grass, and, boy, does that girl have an afro! (My apologies for the lack of clothing and for the resulting lack of pictures of the kids dyeing the eggs. I just couldn't face up to ruining clothes while we dyed eggs, so the kids had a great time decorating eggs and watching me decorate the cake in their underwear!) And Rosie had a great time licking the 7-minute frosting off of the spatula!
Celebrating holidays with the munchkins is more fun every year! The older they get, the more we can do. This year, we made some really intense dyes using my paste food colors, and then we used white crayons to put on designs before dyeing, and Elmer's glue and glitter to glitter-wash some of them. The munchkins did really well. We didn't make too big a mess, and Nathan was the only one who ended up with dyed body parts.

A few photos from Easter morning:

A couple of snapshots from the egg hunt:

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We had a BUSY last week. By the end of the week-end, everyone was tired. Tired Nathan equals very cuddly boy when asleep.
Unfortunately, tired Noah doesn't settle for just cute, cuddly sleeping pictures. He sleep walks.

He is really amused by this picture and the thought that he can wander around the house while he's asleep. Mommy, however, is not so amused. It is pretty freaky to wake up in the middle of the night because you canhear someone prowling around your house.
Should be good incentive to make sure the munchkins don't get over-tired.


Noah is growing up. Last month, he came to tell me that he had decided to read his Bible every morning, but that he was having trouble understanding some of it and kept losing his place (his Bible was a NKJ versio and quite small print).

So, I said that if he was really serious about wanting to read the Bible for himself, that Mommy and Daddy would make sure he got a Bible that was easier for a boy to read. He assured me that he was serious, so we made a trip to Mardel together and selected a large print young-reader friendly Bible (New International Readers' Version) and a Bible cover to help protect it as he carries it around.

He was SOOO happy with it. The next morning, no boys appeared when their alarm went off. I snuck in to see what was happening and found this:
Noah was having his devotions, and every time Nathan tried to budge, Noah would order him to lay still "cause it is good for you to listen to what God's Word says, too".

For you Mommies and Daddies, a visit to is a great place to order great kids' devotional books. I used to listen to the Children's Bible Hour on the radio every Saturday and read "Keys for Kids" when I was a kid, and they're still great!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bad, Bad Blogger (Again!)

What can I say? I'm tired. I'm busy. Actually, the whole family has been busy. Gareth is still employed as of today, for which we are very thankful!! We are steaming ahead with finishing out the school year (yes, it is in sight). And, in the last two weeks, we have also : celebrated Easter, completed our last "offical" social worker visit and our 12-month post placement report, visited Shawnee and spoken to a lady's group about adoption, made a trip to "The Farm" to visit Grandma and Grandpa, taken the class to update my life support certification, finished planting the vegetable garden, and finished all of the paperwork to become offically enrolled in the RN refresher program.
I have some pictures from the last couple of weeks, so will try to get them all posted over the week-end to catch you up on life with the munchkins. But, for tonight, I will leave you with this one.

Spring has officially arrived, and with its' return, comes the many hours of playing outside. Rosie's curls were a mess! The tangles were taking longer and longer to work out, and she was developing less and less tolerance for it. So, I took her to my stylist tonight, and we took off about 2 inches and gave her a "bob". She LOVES it. She calls it "Mommy Hair". We can still wear it curly like this, and I should still be able to pull it into pony tails, but hopefully getting rid of the ends will help with keeping it healthy. And, I can use the straightening iron to let her wear it straight sometimes. Can I just say, that Rosie LOVES the camera. And, it seems to love her back. I told her that I wanted to take a picture of her with her new haircut, and she automatically popped down into this pose. The girls at the salon were trying to convince me to let her model. Somehow, I don't think either her ego or my patience would survive!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Being Nathan's Mommy-

It's never dull. Take this morning as a case in point. I'm tidying up the house, and I give each of the munchkins a chore to help. I sent Nathan to put a card in the mailbox. A couple of minutes later, Nathan returns with eyes the size of saucers, and with a loud voice and big gestures says, "Mommy, I can't go play yet. I have something I have to tell you! I found a frog. I touched him! I was petting him." Now, this is indeed a big deal! Last year, Nathan loved to "hunt" for frogs but would shriek and wail anytime I would pick one up and try to get him to stroke it. So, I am suitably impressed and say, "Wow, Nathan! That's great! Would you like to bring the frog in to show Noah and Rosie?" Then it occurs to me, "Where is the frog?" Nathan says, "Sure, Mommy. He's a big frog. I found him in the road. He's a flat frog!"

Oh, NASTY! EEEWWWWW! EEEEEWWWWW! GROSS!!!!!!!!! UUUUGGGG! GROSS! (Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.) Anyhow, I submit this as just one (of many) piece of evidence that life as Nathan's Mommy is a job worthy of hazard pay. But, it is never dull!

By the way, you young whipper-snapper ushers at church (namely Jon and Paul) who laugh at the industrial-sized bottle of hand sanitizer peeking out of the side of my purse, one day when you have sons this age, maybe you'll understand! :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection Cookies

I found this idea through a link to a parenting website I visited recently, and LOVED it so much that I wanted to share it. It's very simple, but the munchkins love to do anything that involves cooking, and I thought it was a great way to remind them of the Easter story.

Resurrection Cookies

You will need: 1 cup whole pecans, 1 t. vinegar, 3 egg whites, a pinch of salt, 1 c. sugar, a ziploc baggy, 1 wooden spoon, scotch tape, a Bible

These cookies are to be made the evening before Easter.
1. Preheat oven to 300 F (this step must be done now, don't wait until you're halfway through to remember!).

2. Place pecans in ziplog baggy and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 t. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19: 28-30

4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10: 10-11

5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to love and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

6. Beat ingredients with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus: Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3: 1-3.

7. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read: Matthew 27: 57-60

8. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF.

9. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66.

10. Go to bed. Explain that the children may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20 and 22

11. On Resurrection morning (Easter Sunday), make sureyou're up before the children. Remove the tape and leave the oven door open. Allow the children to find the oven door open and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28: 1-9.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Good Friday

It was, indeed, a Good Friday. Mommy and Rosie went shoe shopping and were treated to pedicures (my Easter gift from Daddy as chocolate doesn't really fit with the no flour, no sugar thing). We window shopped at Williams Sonoma and shared lunch at the mall. I saw the chiropractor and had a 1/2 hour massage (this is my favorite form of therapy yet!!!!!) from the world's best therapist (even if I do occasionally come out with bruises!).

Gareth and the boys spent the day outside. Gareth got to do woodwork almost all day, the boys played in the rain in the morning, and when the sun came out in the afternoon, they got to wear shorts for the first time this year. We had dinner at Abuelo's, and I got to cuddle Nathan for an hour while he napped. Our church's Good Friday service was excellent. But, by far, the best part of Good Friday came after Good Friday service.

Noah didn't really want to go to Good Friday service. He was tired and a little out of sorts. So, when I finished with the choir and came to sit with the family, he had to be told to sit up. Nathan hadn't even let me get comfortably settled before he crawled into my lap and fell asleep, and Rosie was sitting on Daddy's lap but cuddling my arm, so I wasn't really paying much attention to what Noah was doing once I made sure that he was sitting up. Wasn't really paying much attention that is, until I heard the little sniffing sounds and looked over to see tears rolling down his face. When I leaned over to ask him what was wrong, he dissolved into full-blown sobs (apologies to those families sitting around us last night).

Nathan was blissfully ignorant, and my arms were full, so I did my best to shhh him, and when this didn't work, asked Daddy to set Rosie down and see what was wrong with Noah. He only sobbed more, buried his head in Daddy's arms, and wouldn't tell us. Gareth managed to get the sobs to at least be quiet ones, and Noah continued to cry quietly throughout communion.

When we got out of the van to walk into Abuelo's, Noah came to find me, and slipping his hand into mine, said, "I was just crying because all I could think about how many times I sin. And,
I was thinking about what it cost Jesus to pay for what I did".

I remember as a little girl the first time it really hit me just how much Jesus suffered and that it was my sin that made that necessary. It was a life-changing realization (and I seem to remember a certain little girl who had to be removed from a service because she was sobbing rather a lot). It continues to be a life-changing realization, and it was so special to be there when it happened to Noah and then to be able to talk with him about it.

It has been 3 years since Noah told us that he had asked Jesus to be His Savior, and it never fails to thrill me as we see evidence of him growing in his understanding of Scripture and seeking to apply it in his life. What a privilege it is to watch a little Christian grow. What a responsibility it is to teach and train these small lives I have been given responsibility for.