Last year my friend, Becca, brought us a nativity scene from Haiti. It was so fun to get it out this Christmas and play with it a little. The kids have been loving it.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Last year my friend, Becca, brought us a nativity scene from Haiti. It was so fun to get it out this Christmas and play with it a little. The kids have been loving it.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
|A full table.|
|John and Elisa with the lego turkey. Gobble, Gobble.|
|Grammy and Nora work on cinnamon roll turkeys with bacon tail feathers.|
Friday, November 21, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
We had talked a couple days ago about having a soft heart toward God. We were talking about the story of the Exodus and how Pharaoh hardened his heart and kept saying, "No, you can't go!" even after God took away the plagues. So I thought he might get the idea of the soft/hard heart. But when I asked him if he thought I was talking about your actual heart inside your body he said yes. So I knew he needed more concrete language. So then we talked about following Jesus and obeying him.
We talked about how sometimes when Jonathan or Leesi is upset about something, or is being disobedient I will call them to come and talk to me. I hold out my arms and beckon them to come and sit on my lap. Sometimes they come and we can talk about it and figure it out together. Other times they turn away and refuse to come to me. I think one of the most important things in following God is repeatedly coming to Him, not turning away from Him but being open and surrendered to Him... in whatever place we find ourselves. That's how I envision the soft heart... the child who doesn't turn away when called to come to the parent waiting with open arms.
So, tonight when I was putting Jonathan to bed, I asked him if he wanted to pray and tell Jesus that he wanted to follow him and obey him and become part of God's family. He said yes and then prayed, "Thank you God that we got to ride on the diesel tractor.... and I want to follow you and obey you..." It was very sweet. After he prayed he launched into questions about different scenarios with trains that I had a really hard time following.
I think that it is important that Jonathan had a soft heart toward the Holy Spirit and wanted to tell Jesus that he wanted to follow Him. But I have changed my attitude about this aspect of the spiritual life. I no longer think that becoming a Christian is about praying one certain prayer, and then you're good. You have a ticket to heaven. I am now starting to believe that faith is more of a process. Becca expressed it beautifully the other day. She said that as we go through life we say, "I give all I know of me, to all I know of God." As we grow and mature we know more of ourselves and more of God, so there is more to give, and more to experience. This is a step for Jonathan, one step on the spiritual journey of giving himself more and more to the God he knows more and more.
I still sometimes worry about my inadequacies in guiding my children in their faith. But the more I see of God's goodness the more I am able to lay down my fears about all aspects of life, even this one.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
So quite apart from us working with him, Jonathan has started being able to read short words. I noticed that pretty often he could decipher words. But I wasn't really sure how much of it was reading and how much was just lucky guesses or a good memory. So yesterday I got out Hop on Pop and had him read some of the short words from the lists at the front of the book. He read them pretty easily. I mean, he needed some help and he doesn't know all of his sounds ('th' still threw him off, as well as some vowels sounds). But I was surprised by how much he could read. Now if only we could solve the pencil holding problem.
Jonathan has started going to preschool. He goes for three mornings each week. I think he likes it. When I ask him about it he says that he played with cars and trucks, and went down the slide. His class has seven boys and one girl. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
|Nora right before all this started - 4th of July|
On Wednesday I called the doctor again because of the vomiting and low grade fever. They had me come in and this time the doctor said, "It could have something to do with her kidneys. Let's send you in to the ER and do a blood test." So, dutifully we went to the ER. Sat in the waiting room for 3 hours. Got in to see the doctor, and after listening to our story and checking Nora out again, he said, "She seems fine, you should just go home. It's probably just another virus on top of the last virus." We pressed him, asking questions about things that weren't adding up, telling him that our doctor had said maybe it was her kidneys. Finally he said, "We can do blood work if you guys want to, but I'd be shocked... well, not shocked, but really surprised, if this had anything to do with her kidneys." I looked at Greg helplessly, I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt like there was something really wrong, and now the professional was telling me there wasn't anything wrong, but I couldn't quite believe him. Greg wasn't going to back down though, "I'd like to do the blood work," he said.
So, they did the blood work and from that, the pediatrician from the hospital was able to make the correct diagnosis. When he came in to talk to us and told us about this syndrome called HUS, all of a sudden everything started adding up.
It turns out that Nora had HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome). She had all the signs and symptoms, and we had been calling and going to the doctor (and the ER), but it had just been missed or misdiagnosed the whole time.
So, when she had the week of diarrhea - that was from E. coli (or possibly another bacteria). The toxins from the E. coli then got into her blood stream and started to break down her red blood cells. Thus the pale skin and lips. The red blood cells then clogged her kidneys and prevented them from filtering the way they should. Thus the lack of pee for days, and also the swelling in her cheeks and abdomen. Then when she did start peeing, all of those red blood cells were coloring her pee - resulting in the dark bloody urine. Without the right amount of red blood cells in her blood, her body was having a hard time getting the oxygen it needed. This resulted in high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate.
|Grandma and Nora. |
Picture was taken a few days after she had started peeing again.
Notice her slightly puffy cheeks and overall lack of color.
She wasn't getting any sleep though. As soon as we got her to sleep a nurse, or cleaning lady, or doctor would come in and wake her up. She was super cranky and asking to go home. Finally I put a sign on the door that said, "Do not disturb unless absolutely necessary. I need a nap!" And Nora and I settled in for a nap.
A couple hours later (the sign did indeed work) the doctor and nurse came in and told me that they had been in contact with the kidney doctors up at Doernbecher in Portland, and that they thought that Nora needed a blood transfusion. Her blood pressure and pulse were high because of her lack of red blood cells, a blood transfusion packed with red blood cells would give her body an extra boost, and help her heart rate and blood pressure come down. At that point the doctor told me that we would be able to drive Nora up to Portland since she was so stable, but later that changed as the kidney doctors insisted that Nora be transported by ambulance.
So into the ambulance we went. Nora and I, once again, in an ambulance together.
Now this whole time Wanda (my mother-in-law) had been with the other two kids. Greg had been going back and forth between home and hospital. At this point he was at home, so the doctor called him to tell him the news. He and the kids and Wanda decided to follow us up right away. So they quickly threw stuff into bags and backpacks and loaded up.
When Nora and I got to Doernbecher we were directed to our room. As soon as we turned the corner into our room there was my friend Sharlene, who just happens to be a pediatrician, waiting for us. I can't tell you how relieving it was to see a friend right at that moment. I didn't feel worried, or overly emotional, but as soon as I saw her I felt like I exhaled a little of the breath I didn't realize I was holding. We hugged and then the second thing Sharlene did was pull down Nora's eyelid and look into her eye. "Oh good," she said, "she still has some pink."
After a terrifying experience comforting Nora as they put in her IV (note to self: that should have been Daddy's job), they started her transfusion. Slowly, all night she got the blood she needed. Throughout the night I would get up to comfort Nora whenever I heard her crying because they were checking her blood pressure or some such thing. Very early in the morning I looked at her with my bleary, sleep deprived eyes and thought, "She looks kind of pink for the first time in weeks!" I couldn't be sure though, since I still had my early morning eyes. But sure enough, when I got up a little later, Nora once again had her color back. She also was extremely swollen on one side of her face (the side she had been resting on), but they assured us that the swelling was normal and would go down, which it did. Her blood pressure and pulse came back down. She was still on the blood pressure meds (and will be for a little while), but other than that her body seemed to be doing well.
|Blood going in. Face looking pinker.|
They continued to monitor her throughout the day. The kidney doctor (and a bunch of interns) came and talked to us. He was amazed that no one had done a stool sample when she had bloody diarrhea. He just shook his head when I said that I didn't think the doctor's believed me when I said she wasn't peeing. He said about half the kids who have this have to be on dialysis for a short time. He said he was glad she wasn't in that half. So were we. The nutrionist came and talked to us about Nora's new - low sodium, low potassium, low phosphorus diet. They checked her labs again in the afternoon - especially looking at hemoglobin levels and percentage of red blood cells. Everything had improved just as they'd hoped. So, to our surprise, they told us we could go home.
Late in the afternoon they discharged us. As the nurse was going over our discharge paperwork, she told me, "This is the shortest HUS summary I've ever seen. It's not uncommon for kids to spend weeks in the hospital for this."
We spent that night at Wanda's house. The kids slept on the floor together, and stayed up too late giggling. When I went in to take a picture after they had fallen asleep, I found that Leesi had fallen asleep with her hand reached out to touch Nora's head. So sweet.
|Sweet sleeping siblings - together again.|
|Raspberry girls. Nora's face still slightly puffy from transfusion.|
Through this whole experience I felt a huge amount of peace carrying me through. I just took one step at a time, doing what I could do, and leaving the rest in God's hands, trusting that He is good. (Right now, I can just hold Nora and try to get her to sleep. Right now, I just need to sing to her as they poke her. Right now, I get to enjoy my other kids for a few minutes. Right now, we have to ride in the ambulance.) I had started to congratulate myself on this sense of peace, until we got back home, and I logged into Facebook for the first time in days. I saw comment after comment saying, "praying for you." And I realized that hundreds of people had been praying for us. It was beautiful and overwhelming. And I was so thankful.
There were so many other ways that I saw God's goodness through this whole experience too. Little things that weren't "necessary," but were just God's gifts to me. Here are a few of those things:
Greg was in Portland on Wednesday for work when I found out that I needed to take Nora to the ER. But Wanda had, spur of the moment, decided to drive down to see us, before she even got the phone call about us needing to go back to the ER. So she was here in time to take the big kids to their swimming lessons, and I could leave to take Nora to the ER.
I'm thankful for people who make hospitals beautiful with artwork, for the pianist in the hospital lobby, and the pink hydrangeas planted outside. The beauty fed my soul.
|Pink hydrangeas (one of my favorite flowers) outside the Springfield hospital.|
I am thankful for all those who came to be there for us when we got to Doernbecher. Sharlene came (and brought chocolate). Her presence was very comforting. Alan brought lots of food and drinks. The Kind bars he brought gave me the energy to make it through the second night of light sleep. The Hammersborgs came to see how we were doing. Rolf cracked us up by donning the full medical isolation outfit before coming in. Uncle Rick came to make sure Nora was okay. He was very relieved to see Nora standing, looking out the window when he came in. He was expecting lots of tubes and cords.
|"What? Sarah, why aren't you wearing this?"|
Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjkjkkjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjnnnkkkkkkoiiiijjjhhjjyghggjtuymnbvcxzaoygcbvccfvn,n,hjhjjlkkklllllkm,,bbmbnmhhvfghfggtfhtfddsxdddkfpljkjjhuhbffedmhjggbdryhhggklkjthxzBut last time, Leesi and Jonathan sat together and they ended up with this cute little story:
Zoom went the car oh no the car crashed in to a big truck it was night the car broke down the tow truck came it towed the car went to bed
We had beautiful weather, sunny and 70s... but on the beach it was a bit windy. Luckily Wanda brought an umbrella which we used as a wind shield. At one point it blew away and Greg had to run down the beach after it. A little later, it blew away again. This time none of us noticed right away because we were busy with other things. None of us, that is, except Jonathan. He saw it blow away and ran after it just like Daddy had done. When he finally caught it though, he couldn't bring it back. Finally, I noticed him struggling with the umbrella and ran to help him.
The kids can play in the sand for hours. They decided to make me a birthday sand cake with pretzel candles. I sang "Happy Birthday to me" and blew out the candles. Then we all ate the pretzels... the sand added a little extra crunch.
|Nora with the water sprayer.|
|Nora walking around Costco with her new backpack. |
She had to have one since the big kids were both getting them.
We heard, "That backpack is as big as she is!" from about twenty people.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I think about the fact that Leesi will change schools next year. She has a little friend at her school now. Her name is Juliana. She is a little shy and quiet just like Leesi. One time when we were walking into school, Leesi and Juli saw each other and fell into step with each other. Then they slipped their little hands together and walked into school holding hands. Leesi loves Juli. They sit at the same table in the classroom; they play together every recess. When I think about Leesi starting over again at a new school next year, I feel as though all the air has been pushed out of me. ...
I know you have nothing but good plans for us. I know we can rest in Your goodness and love. Thank you ahead of time for helping Leesi through this transition to a new school. I pray that you will prepare a new friend for her at her new school. I pray that somehow we will be able to keep in touch with Juli over the summer.
Monday, May 26, 2014
|This is her first-ever selfie :-)|
|Yum! Nothing like a "roasted" banana!|
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
"Where is your favorite place to go?" I asked him today.
"To the place where the mailman lives." He answered.
"The Post Office?"
"What do you like about going to the post office?"
"Because then the mail man might bring out a Hot Wheel ramp for me."
Once he got a Hot Wheel ramp in the mail for his birthday (from Uncle John and Aunt Kristine), and he's never forgotten it. He still holds out hope every time a package comes that it just might be another Hot Wheel ramp.
We have questions on little slips of paper in a jar that we pull out and answer at dinner time each night. Jonathan's answers usually center on Hot Wheel ramps:
Q: "What was the best part of your day?"
A: "Bible Study because I played with a Hot Wheel ramp there (insert a long description of what the ramp looked like and how it worked here)."
Q: "What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?"
A: "Well, the nicest thing you have done for me (cuz you're my friend, Mommy) is give me money. Because then I can save up the money to buy another Hot Wheel ramp."
Q: "If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?"
A: "A Hot Wheel ramp! (Insert description of what it would look like here.)"
And then there was what he told me to write in Grandma's birthday card. Totally cracked me up.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
"Welcome to Eugene - Ideal Home and Recreation Area" the welcome sign brags. I know that someday it will be home… but right now the sign mocks me, reminds me that it is not home yet.
Here the homeless are all around, little tent cities set up everywhere. When we first got here, the tent cities were always moving: two days in a field, three days by the highway, a week by the courthouse. Now they have seemingly found stable spots for the cities.
We also have seemingly found a stable spot. Four years in Arkansas, three years in Portland (both times in jobs we knew couldn't be permanent), four months in the rental house, two months in our new house. I love our new house. I feel a little giddy at the thought of my kids growing up here. The thought of growth charts marked in pencil on a doorframe and the kids knowing every crack in the sidewalk. I am glad for the stability. I just wish the house was in Portland.
There's a niggling question: "Will I make friends here?"
I am beginning to find my way around pretty well. But sometimes I unexpectedly find myself lost. New streets jumble in my head, "Broadway that's the same as 7th, right? Oh wait, or is that in Portland?"
Suddenly the two and a half hour drive to my parents has a become a five hour drive. They are wondering when we are coming to visit and I find myself calculating if it's really worth it for just a weekend.
We've found some good new places. Sweet Life, where tons of drool-worthy pastries and desserts beckon from behind the glass case. They always have a line. Townshend's, a trendy tea shop with over 80 kinds of loose tea (not to mention the bubble tea, kombucha, etc.) It feels like a hip coffee shop but when you leave, your clothes still smell good.
I want to find a new church and get plugged in there. And yet somehow when we do commit to a church it will feel like we have officially turned our backs on First Covenant (our Portland church). The thought of this makes me want to cry.
One morning I wake up with a fear that Ash Wednesday has passed by and I didn't realize it. Will our new church have an Ash Wednesday service? Will they have a Good Friday service?
Perhaps the bigger question is, "Will God reveal Himself to me here? Can I know God and seek God as well here as I did in Portland?"
Someone at the church we are visiting (for the fourth or fifth time) gives me a look because Jonathan is frog-hopping down the hallway. And I am reminded of how much I love First Covenant where people say things like, "I'm so thankful for how free the children are here." as the kids run from "the mouse man."
One week, at a different church, a young family invites us over for lunch. They also have some friends coming, another young couple. All of the men work in Higher Ed. in some way. We have fun conversation and feel a certain kinship with them. We think we might be friends if we went to that church, but secretly Greg and I know we can't go back there.
There are some potential friends around: another mom who brings her kids over for play dates, a couple of Greg's coworkers who have come over for dinner, some of the moms at MOPs.
But still the question: "Will I really make friends here? Deep friends? Always and forever type friends?"
Monday, January 27, 2014
As I write this, I'm sitting in the living room of our house, looking out the window at people walking their dogs in the park across the street. Ah, love this view.
|A great daydreaming window, and it's low to the ground. Even Nora can see out of it.|
We have been officially in the house (as in sleeping here) going on three weeks now, although we got the keys to the house over a month ago. Since Christmas we have been busy working on the house.
|Jonathan and Leesi both helped rip the wallpaper off. |
Not all of it came off in nice big strips like this. Some of it came off in tiny shreds.
|Jonathan helping Grandpa with the nail gun.|
Greg had a week off in between Christmas and New Years. And my parents came down and stayed with us for a week and a half to help. (They were life-savers! We couldn't have done it without them; and lots of help from other people too: babysitting by Wanda, moving help from Uncle Rick and McKenzie, meals from Debbie, painting help from Sarah and Stead).
We decided to focus on the main living areas and leave the improvements on the rest of the house for another time.
In the kitchen we ripped out the wallpaper, tore up the flooring (which ended up being quite the job!), and took down the cabinet doors to be repainted. We found that the walls beneath the wallpaper were not in great shape. So we (by which I mean my dad) ended up skim coating the walls, and while he was at it he skim coated the paneling in the eat-in kitchen area so that it would look smooth like drywall too. We put in the new bamboo flooring, painted everywhere, and installed new baseboard. My mom was the super cupboard door painter. Last week I finally finished off the ones she didn't get to, and Greg installed them and a couple new light fixtures, so I figured it was time for some kitchen before and afters!
|Eat-in area off of kitchen - before|
|Eat-in area - after|
|Kitchen - before (how could you forget?)|
|Kitchen - after|
|Kitchen - after (from the other angle)|