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Monday, December 6, 2010

Busy Week Ahead--Prayers Please!

We have a really busy week ahead of us.  We have an appointment with an immunologist at University of Alabama Birmingham tomorrow, which is a minimum three hour drive for us, one way.  Korban has always had problems with his immune system--he gets sicks very easily and has a hard time fighting it off.  I had worried for a long time that there might be something wrong with his immune system.  We got a referral to an immunologist when he was around three.  She did some blood work.  At the time, it didn't show any specific immune deficiency but it did reveal that he didn't titer to several of his vaccines.  Meaning they just didn't work.  He got the shots just like he was supposed to but his little body didn't make immunities to the diseases they were supposed to.  Scary, huh?  So they checked blood levels periodically but basically just watched him.  He was tested for cystic fibrosis, and that was negative, thank God.  When Korban had his tonsillectomy in September, we asked the ENT who did the surgery for another immune system work-up.  This time, it revealed that he was IgG deficient in classes III and IV.  The ENT told us we needed to see an immunologist.  (You think?)  So I started calling our immunologist, who is in Jackson MS.  I found out that she is on FMLA leave until some time in 2011, so our pediatrician referred us to a new immunologist at UAB.  I am praying we get some answers and that something can be done to help my little man.  I know our situation could be much worse, but it still stinks being sick all the time.  The way I understand it so far is that he is not more likely to get seriously sick, he is just more likely to get frequently sick.  I'm hoping the new doc will shed more light on things tomorrow.

Wednesday my mom has an appointment with a neurologist to check on some health issues she has been having.  I will be taking her to her appointment.  Korban will be at school, but Selah will be going with us, so I really hope she is a good girl.  Shouldn't be too much of a problem.  And Thursday Korban has an appointment at LeBonheur in Memphis, TN with an infectious disease specialist.  This is regarding his recurrent strep infections.  He's had it three times just since getting his tonsils out in September.  He has even tested positive for strep when he was already being treated with antibiotics.  His pediatrician says she has never seen anything like it.  He had strep almost constantly over the summer, but we thought getting the tonsils out would fix things. We were very disappointed when it didn't.  Strep is scary business.  If left untreated, it can affect your kidneys and lungs.  Plus there is a lot of debate over something called PANDAS, which is basically a sudden onset of OCD type symptoms and tics after a child has strep.  Apparently, some doctors believe in this diagnosis and some do not.  I know that Korban's autism symptoms get worse when he is sick or on antibiotics, which is most of the time.  I asked the ENT about PANDAS, and he said to ask the immunologist.  I asked our old immunologist, and she said to ask the neurologist.  I haven't seen her yet to ask her, so I'm hoping this doctor tomorrow will have some wisdom to offer and not just pass the buck.

Korban has gotten to the point of being able to tell us if something hurts him for the most part, but his communication skills are still limited.  I worry we will miss something.  I am a little stressed about this week, but mostly just hopeful that we will learn something new and be able to help Korban in a way that we haven't been able to so far.  Please pray that the doctors will have godly wisdom and that they will see Korban and truly care about his well-being.  Pray that Brad and I will ask the right questions and actually have them answered.  Pray that nothing is missed or left out and that the best course of treatment is found.  Also, pray for traveling mercies.  That's quite a prayer list!  Feel free to add anything I may have left off.  We appreciate every prayer sent up on our behalf.  I'm headed to bed to rest up for tomorrow!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Zhu Zhus, Shopping, and a Birthday Party

Korban got a Zhu Zhu pet last year for Christmas.  My aunt actually got it for us to give him, because they were really hard to come by. We were thrilled, because we had given up on finding him one. It was one of Korban's favorite gifts.  He called it "mouse" which was sort of gross, and he was really thrilled that it could move about on its own.  The only problem with the "mouse" was that it was prone to run under pieces of furniture.  It disappeared on or about January 1st, and we had not heard from it since.  We conducted several search parties, which didn't turn up anything.  While shopping at a consignment sale this past October, I found the little Zhu Zhu  maze thing with two Zhu Zhu pets for $12.00.  I snapped it up, and stashed it for Christmas.  Then they were on sale at Wal-Mart for $4.00 on Black Friday.  I planned to get four, one for each of my children, and one for each of my nephews.  I figured if we had four at my house, that should hold my children to spring at least.  But the Zhu Zhu pallet was completed decimated  before we ever got a chance to descend upon it, so we didn't walk away with four like we planned.  We were actually standing in the produce section deciding which loot we wanted to keep and what we wanted to put back, when Brad noticed a random unattended buggy next to us.  Brad walked over to a group of people standing nearby and asked if the buggy belonged to them.  It didn't.  He continued to look for its owner.  I didn't see what the big deal was.  The buggy had a Rubbermaid container and a few other random things in it.  I asked Brad what was going on, and he reached in the buggy and produced a Zhu Zhu.  We looked left.  We looked right.  No one appeared and pounced on us, and so put the Zhu Zhu from the abandoned buggy in our buggy and moved on.  I said to Brad "Now that we have new ones, you know the old one will come back, right?  It will smell the new hamster blood and come out to play with them."  He laughed.  I was right.  Last week, Brad pushed our big entertainment center in the living room away from the wall and I was sweeping behind it.  I found a plethora of dust bunnies and Megabloks, but nothing terribly exciting.  And then I noticed a little pink nose sticking out from the side that was still against the wall.  I got a flashlight and confirmed my suspicion.  The prodigal Zhu Zhu was home.  I tried to sweep him out with my broom, to no avail.  I had to pry him out with a coat hanger.  He was really stuck, so it took some prodding.  During this whole process, he was making all those whistling, chirping noises that mechanical hamsters are prone to make.  I'm pretty sure he was mocking me.  At any rate, he is now free and from now on whenever I lose something or we appear to be short on Megabloks, I know to check the entertainment center first.  (And just in case anybody was wondering, I really do sweep behind the entertainment center more than once a year.  At least twice!)

We had Selah's birthday party yesterday.  It was a lot of fun.  Korban was extremely excited about it.  He doesn't care whose birthday it is, as long as there is a "tuptake" in it for him.  He helped me shop for the party, and was really excited to pick out balloons.  He LOVES balloons, maybe even more than he loves tuptakes.  He told me we needed a "Buzz Light" balloon.  I didn't think it totally  fit with the princess theme, but we sure got one anyway.  We bought the balloons at our local Dollar General.  Several of the balloons had lost a little air, and I asked the cashier if they could put some more helium in them.  She said sure, no problem, and called a clerk to come do that.  While we waited, Korban talked to the cashier and the sweet lady in line behind us about Selah's birthday.  They thought he was adorable, and he was being so cute.  Then the clerk showed up to get the balloons, and I handed the bunch to her.  I didn't even think that this looked to Korban that I was giving them away and might stress him.  I didn't consider that at all.  So I pass the balloons off, and the cashier if asking me how old Selah is, and I tell her one.  She asked Korban's age, and I told her four.  She said "Oh, that's such a sweet age.  They are just about perfect at that age."  I was agreeing with her when Korban went into freakout mode over me handing the balloons off to a total stranger who disappeared with them.  He punched me in the back and shouted "Hurt Mommy!  Blood come out!"  Yeah.  Perfect.  I continued to smile and nod at the cashier, who was now looking at us strangely.  The balloons came back in record time, and life was good again.  Oh, well.  I strongly dislike the use of the word "perfect" when it applies to fallible human beings anyway.

Selah seemed to really enjoy her first birthday party.  She and Korban both did well with out house being full of guests and  excitement.  Selah was too busy playing to take much of a time-out to open her gifts.  It was funny.  In most of the pictures, I am opening her gifts with one hand and holding her in my lap with the other hand while she tries to squirm away from me.  She got a lot of nice gifts, including but not limited to a Fur Real kitty, Fur Real bear cub, and a Zhu Zhu.  Our house is full of talking, moving animals.  My kids are thrilled.  (And I have to admit, they really are cool!)  It was a blessing to be able to celebrate with our family and friends.  My kids had a ball.  We are well stocked with Zhu Zhus.  I couldn't ask for more!  (As I type this, Korban's "mouse" ran into a chair and he shouted "Bump your noggin!  You okay, mouse?"  I love it!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Letter to Selah on her First Birthday

Dear Selah,
You are one now, sweet girl!  I can't believe how fast this past year has flown by.  Everyone tells their children that they are growing up too fast, but baby girl, you really are.  A lot has changed since you came into our world.  The past year has been bittersweet, but rest assured, the majority of the sweetness came from you. You came screaming into the world on December 3rd, 2009.  And I do mean screaming!  But you settled down right away when they gave you to your daddy, and he brought you to me.  You seemed pretty pleased to meet us, and we were really glad to finally get to see your pretty little face.  We had to pry you off of me for the nurses to take you to the nursery to get your measurements and everything.  We were reunited shortly thereafter.  You spent your first night sleeping on my chest.  The night nurse scolded me for not sleeping more when she came in to check on us, but I was just happy to hold you.  (Plus, I was afraid I would drop you if I went to sleep!)  You haven't really spent a night by yourself since you arrived.  You wouldn't want anyone to have to sleep by themselves, especially you!  Ever since you came to us, you've seemed very alert and aware of everything that is going on around you.  You won't even eat if too much is going on.  I think you are afraid you might miss out on the fun.  You seem to pick up on everything quickly, and you amaze everyone around you.  You smiled your first real smile at three weeks, and it was beautiful.  I used to lay you in my lap and talk to you and you would make faces back at me.  It was like we were having a conversation.  I loved it.  You laughed out loud really early too.  You rolled over for the first time on Easter Sunday.  You were lying in the floor playing and started to flip over.  I shouted to get your Daddy's attention, and startled you so much you almost didn't make it.  But you did.  And you've been on a roll ever since.  You crawled at six months and started pulling up right after that.  You walked at ten months.  You and Korban were playing outside in front of our house, and you took one step and fell into my open arms.  I was so proud of you, and you were proud of yourself too.  Now you are all over the place!  We can't take our eyes off of you for a second.  You are very quick and also very curious.  You have seven teeth already.  Seven!  Considering that your brother cut his second tooth on the morning of his first birthday, you seem exceptionally toothy to me.  You like to eat, but you want to do it yourself.  You weren't crazy about baby food, but you like anything you can pick up with your fingers and feed yourself.  You are learning how to use a spoon.  And you love to freak me out by finding little particles on the floor and stuffing them in your mouth.  You have a strong personality, and I am thankful for that.  I think you will be a strong leader one day.  I know God has big plans for your life, and I believe he has already used you in powerful ways.  I mentioned earlier that this year has been bittersweet...Your Pop went to heaven when you were only two weeks old.  It was hard on all of us.  He had been very sick for a long time.  He did get to meet you, and that was what I had asked God for.  I knew Daddy's time was coming, and I just wanted him to see his granddaughter.  On the day you were born, your Nana and Pop came to see you in the hospital.  They didn't get to stay long.  They brought Korban with them to visit, and lets just say he wasn't too thrilled at the prospect of having a baby sister.  (Don't worry--he's warmed up considerably now.) They also came to see you on the day we came home from the hospital.  We spent quite a bit of time together then.  Your Pop even got to hold you.  I'm SO sorry I didn't get a picture of that.  I probably won't ever stop regretting that, but I can still see it in my mind.  He was so proud too--afterwards he kept telling your Nana "I got to hold her, I got to hold her."  It was sweet.  Everyone says how crazy he would've been about you.  And it's true.  You guys would've had a lot fun together.  I hate it for you that he won't be around while you are growing up.  He was a great Pop.  But he's in a better place and he's not sick anymore, so we take comfort in that.  I think people felt bad for us, losing such an important person in our lives right after gaining such a precious little person.  It didn't seem fair.  But I'm glad you came when you did.  Honestly, sweet girl, in those days, holding you was about the only thing that made me feel any better.  I can't believe an entire year has come and gone since that time.  I pray for you., little girl.   I pray for wisdom and strength in raising you.  I pray that me and your Daddy will set a good example.  I pray that you will know God's love and never doubt it for one second.  And I pray that you won't ever doubt our love for you either.  I pray that when God knocks on the door of your heart, that you let him in with no hesitation.  I pray that you and Korban will have a close relationship and that you will understand him.  I know all siblings fight and get on each other's nerves, but I pray that underneath all of that, you guys will have a truly special relationship.  When you first got here, Korban cried whenever I held you.  Now he cries for me to hold you because you get in his stuff. It's hilarious.  But you guys play together and you have learned things from him and taught him so many things too.  It's amazing to see.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I just want you to know that he truly does love you, even if he does occasionally try to sit on you.  I pray that you will have a compassionate heart, a sweet spirit, and a loving heart.  And I believe that God has already placed those things inside you.  You are miraculous and we love you so much.  We thank God for placing you in our care.  You are such a blessing!  Here's to many more wonderful years!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tales From Thanksgiving Eve

Last night I did the unthinkable.  I willing ventured into Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving Eve.  I don't know what I was thinking.  Next year I will make sure I have all of the necessary grocery items for Thanksgiving cooking well in advance of Thanksgiving Eve.  I distinctly remember making a similar comment last year, but I digress.  I realized it was not going to be the average shopping trip before we even got into the store.  Some random guy headed into the store starts screaming at a woman for holding up traffic.  Not even sure why he felt compelled to do so, since she was in a vehicle and he was walking into the store, so she obviously wasn't holding him up.  But he told her off, big time.  Way to spread the holiday cheer, yo.  Then of course the store was packed.  I guess I should feel better that I'm not the only procrastinator in the world, but it was a madhouse.  We finally made it to the check-out line.  We didn't even have to wait long, which was a blessing, and we had entertainment while we waited.  The kid in front of us was slurping whipped topping out of an aerosol can the entire time his mom was paying for their purchases.  Seriously.  I only hope that she was aware of this and had purchased it for that reason, and not to top some pie she was planning on baking.  I would hate for anybody to have to make another trip back to that crazy place.  But we made it and laughed about it, so all is well.

That's only part of the story, though.  When we got home, I still had to cook!  I had planned on keeping it simple--apple dip and a cake, and then making a casserole right before we head to my aunt's for Thanksgiving.  I really do like to cook.  And it's so cool because Korban has gotten really into helping in the kitchen.  It's sweet and I always like to see him get involved in stuff.  So he helped me add ingredients to the apple dip and we knocked that one out quickly and easily.  Then we started on the cake.  Now let me tell you, I was extremely excited about fixing this particular cake.  It's called Ding-Dong Cake and one of my friend's mom makes it and it is SO good.  I didn't have the recipe and had been lamenting that fact.  I was flipping through some cookbooks earlier in the day and when I opened the Habitat for Humanity cookbook my in-laws bought me for Christmas last year, it fell right open to the recipe for Ding-Dong Cake.  It seemed like a sign, and I was really excited about giving it a go.  Now I may not be the best cook in the world, but I've come a looooong way, baby.  Even so, this was my first ever layer cake.  This made me a little nervous, but I forged right ahead with it.  Korban and I mixed up the cake batter and baked it in two round pans.  I was able to flip the cakes out of the pan without tearing them up or dropping them, which is always good.  Now to make the filling.  The ingredients were simple: blend a block of cream cheese with a box of powdered sugar and then stir in a carton of Cool Whip.  As a side note, I consider myself a frugal person.  Which is why I purchased the large bag of confectioner's sugar as supposed to a small box.  I figured I could just measure out what I needed, save the rest for future use, and save money in the process.  Turns out my measuring skills are not so great.  So there I am armed only with a hand mixer in the face of a mountain of confectioner's sugar and a molehill of cream cheese.  Powdered  sugar began to swirl through the air and coat everything it came into contact with, including me.  Korban, who was standing in chair next to me, began to look very worried.  "It's okay, Mommy, it's okay," he said nervously.  I assured him that it was, in fact, okay, but I was beginning to have my doubts.  I knew I had put in too much sugar, but I thought it could be fixed.  It wouldn't be like to me to head into the holiday season without an appropriate stockpile of cream cheese.  So I tossed in another block.  (There's no such thing as too much cream cheese, right?)  This remedied the sugar dust problem right away, but it created a new problem.  All the cream cheese began to wad up around my pitiful little mixers.  The wad grew in volume until it began to resembled a swamp creature.  Korban's look went from "worried" to "abject horror."  He abandoned his post in the chair and ran for cover behind the counter.  He may have hid, but he was still offering encouragement, God bless him.  From his safe position behind the counter he would periodically shout "Don't be scared, Mommy!"  I tried to reassure him, calling back "I'm not scared!"  Due to the fact that I was still wrestling the swamp thing it came out "I'm not sc-a-a-a-a-red!"  Sounded like I was wielding a jackhammer.  (Felt like it too.) Not sure if I made him feel any better or not.  But eventually the cream cheese and sugar became a workable mixture, and it tasted good too.  Korban came out of hiding, and we filled and iced the cake.  I was shifting items around in the fridge to make room for it when I came across a carton of Cool Whip.  Upon this discovery, I remembered that the Cool Whip was supposed to be IN the cake.  Not a whole lot I could do about that fact then, now was there?

So we went to bed after that to rest up for the big day today.  I woke up early, excited about seeing our family today.  We slept good, and Korban didn't have any cooking related nightmares, so that is good.  The cake is sitting in the fridge in all of its Cool-Whipless glory.  And in all seriousness, I have SO many things to be thankful for.  I'm blessed beyond what I deserve.  I have a God who loves me and whose mercies are new each morning.  I have a supportive husband that I love and enjoy sharing my life with.  We have two beautiful kiddos who continue to grow and amaze us.  And we have this crazy full life that may not allow for much rest, but it sure doesn't allow for any boredom either.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hello! Anybody Out There?

Hi!  My name is Melissa and I recently became a stay at home mom.  I'm starting this blog as an outlet basically, to vent the thoughts that cycle through my head at random intervals.  I have a degree in social work and was working full time until recently.  I have been married for almost eight years to my amazingly cool best friend Brad.  We have two children, Korban, who is four, and Selah, who is eleven months.  Korban has autism, asthma, and immune deficiency.  So a lot of what I write will revolve around those challenges and how we attempt to deal with them.  I firmly believe it's better to laugh than cry.  It feels better, plus my face looks really ugly when I cry.  We've had some pretty big changes in our life within the past year.  Selah joined us to complete our family of four in December of 2009.  Two weeks after her birth, my dad passed away.  A bittersweet time, to say the least.  After spending much of this year spinning my wheels, my husband and I came to the realization that we simply had too much on our plates.  So after a lot of talking and praying we decided I would  leave my job and be a stay at home mom.  Basically, just getting Korban to all of his doctor and therapy appointments is a full-time job, and we were spread way too thin.  So we made the best decision we could make and we have peace about it.  I loved my job, but my family is my priority. I feel very blessed to be able to be home with my children and excited about what God has in store for us.  I started this blog after much encouragement from my family, so this is for them.  If you are an innocent bystander who happens to wander across my drivel, read on if you like it and navigate away from this page if you don't.  God bless!