Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas EveWe attended our church's Christmas Eve service this evening.  The girls were so excited to get dressed up in their Christmas dresses so we asked a friend to take a picture! 
Christmas Eve
We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year and remember why we celebrate this amazing holiday!  We have all received the most incredible gift through a tiny baby born so many years ago!  Glory to God in the highest!!!!!
Christmas Eve

Friday, December 23, 2011

Is it Really Christmas?

I hate admit this but I am in a serious Christmas funk.  Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I am not done shopping or making things.  We have had so much on our minds this season so wrapping my head around Christmas has been so difficult.

Daddy's biopsy was last Tuesday and went very well except for some mistakes in the "system".  His doctor's orders were sent to the wrong place, our nephrologist was not the one who did the biopsy which is what we were expecting, and then the orders for him to have a 23 in hospital observation were not faxed.  The most important part was the biopsy and it went well so for that we are grateful.  Daddy said it was not painful just a pressure sensation.

We were told we would have the results by Monday.  When Monday rolled around and we had not heard anything, we both called the doctor's office only to be told by the assistant that we were scheduled to meet with the doctor on January 4 so he would go over everything with us then.  Daddy who called second told her that we had been told we would receive a phone call with the results and that is what we wanted. 

Tuesday still after no phone call from them, we called several times trying to get somewhere.  Finally I spoke with the receptionist and told her our frustrations.  She was so nice and tried to explain why things had happened they way they had and then she told us that our doctor was on vacation.  No one had mentioned that to us at all.  We were told that Daddy could drive back to the hospital (an hour away) sign his "patient's right to know" form and get the results himself, which is what he did on Wednesday. 

The results were not what we were hoping and praying for.  Daddy has been diagnosed with FSGS which increases the risk for dialysis and/or kidney transplant significantly.  Right now we feel like the blind leading the blind as we try to figure what he can and can't eat and such.  We are hoping his body will respond to medicine but we will not know what the next step is until we meet on Jan. 4 with the doctor. 

He seemed to be recovering well from the biopsy until two days ago when the spot started causing him discomfort.  He has had major trouble sleeping as it is worse when he lays down.  So yesterday he called the nephrologist's office and was told to go to our local hospital for blood work and a urinalysis. 

Then we were to head back to the hospital where the biopsy was done (an hour away) for an ultrasound on the kidneys today. 

We did that.  We registered at the front desk, got Daddy's paperwork and ID bracelet then headed to the radiology/ultrasound department where we ran into a problem.  They were not expecting us.  Daddy's name was not on the list.  The specialist had not been contacted to schedule the procedure.  (I thought to myself, "Why does the specialist need to know?")  We met with a specialist who seemed very confused as to why we were there again.  He said we could do an ultrasound or CAT scan to see what was going on in the kidney.  He just seemed aloof as to what to do.  Finally an RN came in and we told her from start to finish what was going on and she started investigating only to discover we were on the list for an ultrasound.  She then went to the radiology/ultrasound check-in and found out that the woman at the front desk had printed out Daddy's biopsy orders from LAST week and this receptionist didn't realize it was from last week.  She thought we were there for a biopsy!!!!!!!!!  OH MY WORD!

Finally everything was figured out and within 10 minutes Daddy was getting his ultrasound and we were on our way.

I'm worn out and so is Daddy.  It has been quite a week. 

I love Christmas so much but this one has just been hard.  It's hard to even think of getting things ready or celebrating.  I am so thankful for our little girls who seem unaffected and are so extremely excited.  Our advent activities have went out the window this week.  They have been playing at friends' homes while I run Daddy around so I keep saying, "Surprise!  Now you get to go to 'So and so's' house to play!"  Happy Advent Activity!

This afternoon I need to make a mad dash to get some more Christmas shopping done and tonight I will be sewing like a mad woman.  I will still be shopping next week for two nieces who will be getting belated Christmas gifts!  (So sorry sweet nieces!)

This is where we're at!  But Gigi just called and said he is on his way to see us.  YEAH!  He is worried about our little family and wants to see us for himself.  Dobbie and Papa are coming on Christmas Day for a few days then we will head to Gigi's for a few days.  Ahhhh....I'm hoping and praying that these next few days will just slow down, Daddy will feel good and we can just truly celebrate the meaning of this Christmas and Christ did for us.

And like Cora told Daddy yesterday, "Daddy, God knew you would have to go to the hospital.  He knew your kidney would need a shot."  Yes, He did know.  None of this surprises Him.  We are in the clutch of His hand and He has promised not to let go.

Thank you for your prayers for us.  We appreciate it more than words can say!  We will certainly keep you updated on any news we find out. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Sisters

The girls looked so cute on Sunday so I have to share pictures. These aren't really their Christmas outfits. Thanks to lots of hand-me-downs and gifts we have several sweet outfits for them to wear. They will be all decked out this Sunday though in their Christmas best!


The dress that Pumpkin is wearing is the one that Peanut wore to Mimi's funeral. It looks so sweet on Pumpkin just like it did on Peanut.
Mimi's Funeral
How has she grown up so fast? She was just 2 and 3 months in this picture. (She "borrowed" her great aunt's earrings for this picture.)

Advent Continued

Dec. 16 The girls got to camp out downstairs by the Christmas tree and watch a movie and have popcorn. This was Pumpkin's first time to get to camp out downstairs and she did relatively well. We watched the movie Enchanted which both girls really liked. Nothing like a good princess movie for two little girls!

I didn't get a picture of them all camped out but I did take this picture the next morning of Peanut who is currently obsessed with pretending she is having a baby! Oy! One day she had 65 babies. Wow!

Dec. 17 We invited some friends over to make Christmas cookies. The kids really did do a great job and had fun. Who doesn't have fun when there is frosting and sprinkles involved, though. They even got to taste test and everything passed inspection.

Cookie Party

Cookie Party

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Polar Express Pajama Party

Peanut's last day of Kindergarten before Christmas break was a Polar Express Pajama Party. They were told to wear jammies and bring a flashlight, a blanket and a stuffed friend. She was so excited! Even Pumpkin wanted to wear her jammies since we got to join in on the fun party for the last half hour of the party.
Peanut gave each of her teachers a gift. She gave them the rainbow Christmas tree ornaments that she and I had made and I made a rice pack for each teacher too. (A rice pack is a fabric rectangle filled with rice and some drops of essential oil. It can be put in the microwave or freezer to use on aches on pains. We have one that I received when I was a teacher and I LOVE it. I use it alot and it is still in great shape.)
We got to listen to the book The Polar Express. The teachers gave each child a silver bell ornament that Daddy and I can't seem to hear ring but Peanut and Pumpkin can. How strange! (If you do not know the Polar Express story then this won't make sense, so you need to either watch the movie or read the book this season.)
The party ended with gingerbread cookies that the students had made that week to share with everyone and hot chocolate with marshmallows. We had a wonderful time! Parties are always chaotic and loud but it is so wonderful to see the kids just having fun and showing off to the parents.

We also had our first parent teacher conference on Monday with Peanut's teachers. Our decision to send Peanut to this kindergarten was affirmed even more. This is where she needs to be this year. Public school would have been a really hard thing for her this year and both teachers affirmed that to us due to her age. We are so grateful that the Lord just keeps providing and directing and we are able to send her to this school. The teachers had only great things to say about our little girl! we left knowing we are all on the same page regarding her education and that felt so good. What awesome teachers and school we have this year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bath Tub Painting

I snuck another good idea from a friend to do with the girls. We filled our muffin tin with Daddy's shaving cream and mixed in some food coloring to color it. Then the girls got in the tub and went to town, painting the tub, the walls, and themselves. They had so much fun and it was such an easy activity! It even cleaned up really easy.



It is so fun filling our days with simple, fun memories! Being a Mom is the BEST, MOST rewarding job in the world!

Pajamborie Party

Our advent activity for Dec. 15 was to go downtown to a Pajamborie party.  The girls got to wear their new Christmas pajamas.  (I couldn't resist letting them have them now instead of waiting until Christmas Eve.)  We ate some yummy cookies, made some fun Christmas foam crafts, watched a bit of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with a bunch of other cute kiddos and waited for THE MAN.
THEN he came! We jumped into line and Pumpkin peaked around everyone trying to get a glimpse of Santa Claus. The girls were so excited, armed with their letters that we had just written to him.
DSC07396 was our turn and oh boy, they were thrilled to see him!
He was so merry and jolly and just what they had expected him to be.
He read their letters and chatted with them for a little while. Please check out that grin on Peanut's face...utter DELIGHT!
After visiting with Santa the kids got to have a massive snowball fight with each other using huge cotton batting balls. The girls had a ball with this.
What a fun night filled with some really fun memories for both the girls and I!
We were sure to walk around the block afterwards to see the amazing lights on display. Our downtown is absolutely gorgeous this time of year with white lights twinkling everywhere. The trees look like they are covered in sparkling diamonds. I LOVE it!

Advent 2011

We have been busy trying to keep up with our Advent activities but got a bit sidetracked this week due to Daddy's biopsy.  We seem to be getting back on track and the girls were so flexible and didn't complain about not doing something each day. This post will catch you up a bit on what we've been up to regarding Advent.

Dec. 5  We read The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg.  Then I hid candy canes all over the living room for the girls to find.  I think we did this at least 3 times, then they did it with Daddy a bunch of times the next night.  Who knew finding candy canes could be such fun? (I totally stole this idea from one of my good friends too!)
Dec. 6 We cut out snowflakes and sprinkled them with glitter.  Both girls did a great job as cutting snowflakes is a hard task for little hands!  They of course loved the glittering part the best.
Dec. 7  We made Christmas cookies.  One was a very yummy success, Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars and one was not, Mint Meltaways.  The girls had fun adding things into the mixer and just helping Mommy in the kitchen.
Dec. 8 Go through our toys and find at least 10 things we can donate to Goodwill.  This has been a very hard task for Peanut to do.  We are still working on it but do have a box that is half done.  We talk about it each day and I am hoping she will see how important it is to be willing to give even when we don't want to.  We want to teach her and Pumpkin that we need to be willing to serve others.

Dec. 9 We were supposed to go to a Christmas Sing Along but this got changed and we ended up at a friend's house playing, having pizza and hot chocolate, and watching a movie.  I was sad that we didn't get to go but after a very busy week, relaxing with friends was something we needed to do.

Dec. 10 We made a gift for Peanut's teachers thanks to a very cute idea on Pinterest.  I am so happy with how they turned out.  I cut out the felt circles.  Peanut helped me glue the trunk together.  Then after I marked the center of each circle, she sewed the circles all together.  I added the jingle bell and ribbon to the top to create a beautiful rainbow Christmas tree ornament.
Dec. 11 We went Christmas caroling with our church's children's ministry.  The kids made crafts and cards at the beginning to give to the people we caroled to then we loaded up and headed out.  We even got to ride along with our buddies!  After the caroling we ended up back at the church for hot chocolate.  A fun day indeed!

Dec. 12 - 14 We got a bit side tracked due to Daddy's biopsy but Gigi was here and the girls got totally spoiled by him and even had a candy party while we were gone!

We're certainly keeping busy and having lots of fun so far!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Daddy's Health

We are preparing for Daddy to undergo a biopsy on his kidney's next Tuesday.  We have found out that his kidneys are only functioning at 35% right now.  We discovered this all out very early in the semester.  Before school started we were swimming at a friend's house and Daddy hit his head on the floor of a pool after diving in.  He started having some headaches and also got a pretty bad cold.  After school started a couple of weeks later, I asked him to go into the university health clinic to see if he had a sinus infection because he is not prone to headaches.

At the clinic they discovered that his blood pressure was VERY high.  They put him on blood pressure medicine immediately and ordered blood tests to find out what was causing the elevation. 

About a week later we discovered that his kidneys were dumping a massive amount of protein which is not good.  We heard words like dialysis and transplant that day.  Talk about overwhelming. 

We were directed to a nephrologist that we met with a few months ago.  He believes Daddy has what is called Minimal Change Kidney Disease and we are hoping this is the case.  We were told if this is the case that the function of the kidneys could be reversed to as high as 65% and he could live a normal, healthy life. 

There are two other things the doctor said it could be.  They are not as hopeful as they do not respond easily to medicines.  The chances for dialysis with these two diseases raise significantly. 

It sounds strange to say we are praying for a disease but we are praying that it is Minimal Change Kidney Disease and the function of his kidneys will increase. 

Daddy will go to the hospital next Tuesday morning and undergo a kidney biopsy.  They will take 2-3 samples from one of his kidneys.  (He has already undergone numerous blood tests and a 24 hour urine test).  He will have to stay in the hospital for 24 hours to monitor for internal bleeding. 

We covet your prayers for our family.  The realization of how big this could be has set in for Daddy and I.  We have been so busy surviving Daddy's first semester of grad school but as that is wrapping up, we have begun to focus on the upcoming biopsy.  Daddy is nervous about the actual biopsy procedure as we were told in great detail what would happen.  It does sound intense but it will lead to knowing what is going on and what the next step is. 

Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers during this time.  The girls so far don't really know what is going on.  I'm sure there will be questions as to why Daddy is in the hospital.  Pray that we have wisdom in knowing what to say especially to Peanut who doesn't miss a beat and tends to be a worrier. 

We will certainly keep you posted on how things go and the results.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent 2011

We have started the advent season here in our home. I used to have a string of paper cones that held each advent activity but we just don't have the wall space now so I made a new way to display our advent calendar. I made 25 little drawstring bags. While we were at Gigi's I cut some small limbs from one of his trees and took a bag of limestone rocks. This is what our advent "tree" calendar looks like when you put all of those things together.
Advent Tree
The little bags were pretty simple to make. I added a little tag with each day's number on it. Inside each bag is a small piece of paper with our advent activity for the day written on it.
Advent Tree
I love how it turned out. It is also a great Christmas centerpiece for our table and can be moved as needed. Peanut has had fun coming down every morning and looking for the new day's bag.

So far this is what we have done each day.
Dec. 1 We decorated our Christmas tree. The girls had so much fun hanging the non-fragile ornaments and hearing about the ornaments that they have gotten for each year. This year's ornament is a IU basketball to represent the big part that the university has played in their lives.

Dec. 2 We watched The Polar Express for the first time of the Christmas season with some friends. Pumpkin was awe struck with the movie this year. Peanut remembered it from last year and was able to remember what was going to happen. They loved watching it!

Dec. 3 We made Christmas handprint trees together. They thought it was so fun that they got to have paint on their hands. The trees turned out so cute and will be a fun keepsake to get out every year.
Handprint TreesHandprint Trees

Handprint Trees

Dec. 4 This was a busy day for us. It began with Peanut's first choir performance at church. She did a great job! We were so, so, so proud of her. She can't wait to do it again next year.
Children's ChoirChildren's Choir

Children's Choir

Our actual advent activity was going to a local church's live nativity called Moments in the Master's Life. It was really cool. Volunteers (who had to be out all night in the rain) from the church depicted scenes from the life of Christ starting with Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and ending with Christ's death, resurrection and ascension to Heaven. Pumpkin slept through the whole thing as it was something we drove through. Peanut on the otherhand LOVED it, so much that we had to go through it twice. Her favorite part was seeing Mary and Joseph with the baby in the stable. She was so sure it was a real baby, but it was not. ;) The real donkey, sheep, and camels were pretty awesome too.
Live Nativity

We have many more fun things planned for December!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Pumpkin's Prayer

At the end of this past summer while we were at Gigi's, he took all of us to a local zoo. The girls love the zoo and had so much fun. Ever since this zoo trip, Pumpkin has prayed basically the same prayer at meal time and bed time. It has not changed at all since that trip to the zoo.
Here's the gist of it...
"'Pumpkin' do you want to pray?"
Meal Prayer
"We see lion at zoo. We see two tiger at zoo. We see red tiger at zoo.
Meal Prayer
We see...We see...We see...We see white tiger at zoo.
Meal Prayer
We see two lion at zoo. Amen."

It is the cutest thing ever and we are not tired of it one bit! It changes only in the order she says it but it is always these same sets of animals. CRACKS ME UP!

Our Cuties

These pics are just too hard to resist putting on so I must share.  The first two are self portrait pics that Peanut took of herself at Gigi's house.  They turned out so cute and she took them of herself.

One nice...
Self Portrait

And one silly...
Self Portrait

And then we have Pumpkin who we have completely worn out this week. Naps haven't been top priority due to a busy week. We had friends stop by one afternoon and Pumpkin just napped away in the chair amongst the flurry of activity. She was one pooped kid.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The First Snow of 2011

It was a very rainy start to our week and cloudy and gray.  It just seemed the rain wouldn't move on until....

Tuesday on our way home from Kindergarten the rain drops went from splattering on our windshield to sloshing to sticking.  We watched as the drops turned from clear rain to white heavy flakes of snow by the time we got home.  The girls were ecstatic and had to try to catch some of the big flakes in their mouths before heading inside.
First Big Snow
They stood at the window and watched it fall from the sky as I made lunch for them. You could just see it in their eyes...snow such a magical thing!
First Big Snow
After lunch we bundled up and headed out to play in it. It was a very wet snow so it was hard to stay dry and they got cold fast but they didn't seem to mind. They made boot tracks all over the front of our building and tried their best to have a snowball fight. Even cleaning the snow off of our van was exciting!
First Big Snow

First Big Snow

First Big Snow
The snow didn't last long and it melted by the next day but they are still talking about it and waiting for the next snow! It's winter, right...there should be snow!