Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

My Christmas letter,
A year in review,
Our kids- they grew,
And grew, and grew!

Like my poem? I should write greeting cards for a living- NOT! I really don't have much of a letter to write this year- this blog is my letter-- and pretty much sums up the year in our family.

We did an advent of the Savior's life and mission this year. Tonight, we ended with the second coming and the story of his birth. I hope that my children, as little as they are, were able to grasp the meaning of the season a little bit better!

I love Christmas! I love the lights, the music, the cookies, the shopping, the decorations, and the general spirit all around. For me, it culminates on Christmas Eve. I love the traditional reading of the the Christmas story in the bible. Something about sitting as a family, reading the account of the birth of Christ, and wondering what it must have been like to be sitting out in a field, watching one of the greatest events in history unfold before your very eyes-- Awesome!

I am so grateful for the quiet birth of a baby boy more than 2000 years ago. I am grateful for his life, his death, and most grateful to know that he will come again. May we be as those shepherds  in the fields that night-- ever ready to meet our Redeemer. 

Merry Christmas from our little family-- to yours!

The Peacocks

Sorry we didn't get a better picture. Ava was more interested in her slippers--and Ethan more interested in Ava. At least Andrew cooperates--for pictures anyway!

Monday, December 21, 2009


A really tasteless joke (trying to stir up some controversy). Remember the Helen Keller jokes- (Bad, all of them) How do you torture Helen Keller? Put her in a round room and tell her to sit in the corner. Not nice at all, but it's how I feel today. I'm stuck in a round room with idiots telling me to sit in the corner, but I'm quite certain I haven't found a corner yet, and less certain that any exist.

Every doctor I speak to has a new opinion -they are right, I am wrong-that other doctor over there is wrong, but he said she was wrong. And yesterday you were suppose to know what you were talking about, but today you don't remember what happened-- and this doctor overrides that doctor's decision, but that doctor is out of the office... (are you frustrated yet?-- Yeah, me too!)

I have accepted that my child is a freak of nature, but is it too much to ask for one appointment where all her doctors sit down and explain to eachother what they know, how she should be treated, and most of all who the heck I'm suppose to talk to when she's a freak show next time? Apparently so, because they all have to collect their share of my insurance money, and it would just be too productive to actually agree and what should be done for her.

Four days out from a bad reaction and the allergist says she can't still be reacting- something else is wrong. ER doctor says nothing else is wrong- she is just still reacting. I'd call her pediatrician, but he has already admitted his ignorance and at least isn't afraid to tell me she is beyond his expertise. Now I'm sick from worrying about it, and I lost my voice and can't talk to anyone else.

I think I'll go watch "Christmas Vacation" now so Chevy Chase can scream my frustration!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I want to say that this blog also serves as my journal- which means that you have to put up with some of my posts that may be of little interest to you, but are important milestones in my childrens' lives.

This is one for Andrew.

At Andrew's first parent teacher conference this year, his teacher suggested that he be tested for the gifted program at his school. We agreed do go ahead with the testing. His teacher warned us that he must test at the 99%tile to be accepted. That seemed like a pretty steep standard to meet and I had decided that I didn't really expect him to make it in.

In typical, public school system operating fashion- the forms and testing werent' completed until last month, and we finally received the letter this week. I was excited to read that he had tested high enough for both sections of the program (as they put it- he "qualifies for special services") and would begin (pending our signatures) after Christmas break. I have no idea what he will be doing, but I'm assuming they will clue me in-- I hope.

I must admit that I'm proud of him, and grateful that he will be less bored at school. Now the goal is to prevent him from becoming a nerd! He asked Santa for a globe and a book about Oceans for Christmas, so we definitely have our work cut out for us!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The $130 Hershey Bar

Yesterday was one of those days-- you know the kind you never want to have again?

It started at 2am with Ethan puking up all the nasty popcorn he ate at Target the day before. That woke up the entire family and after settling everyone down again I had to get up an hour later to get Ava to Children's Hospital for her procedure. All went well there, but we had to stay an extra hour because her heart rate wouldn't come out of the 180's. Then, to put the icing on the cake,  last night we got to experience the joy of the $130 Hershey bar--or should I say Ava did.

Wondering what is so special about a Hershey bar that it cost $130?? It was actually a couple miniature hershey bars, ingested by a highly allergic child, that ended in an epipen injection and a lovely night spent in the ER.

I shall never forget the look on Ava's face ( with a chocolate bar in her mouth) of sheer pleasure as she realized we'd been holdin' out on her. And I'm sure she'll remember the look of terror on her mother's face as I scooped her up and frantically tried to remove chocolate from her face and mouth.

We'll spare you all the details of the next 15 minutes- basically Bendaryl- Flovent- Ventloin- two panicked parents- a couple calls to my sister for advice (Thanks Debbie!)- and finally when she began to cough so badly that she was no longer breathing- an epipen.

And in case you were wondering- it WAS a movie like effect! I stabbed the pen into her leg and held it for ten seconds- at the end of which she began breathing somewhat normally. Though I hope to never have to do it again- it was amazing to see the immediate and drastic change.

We called our neighbor to watch the boys and headed to the most ghetto, white trash ER known to man. Unfortunately, it's the closest one to us, and Ava was so pale and sleepy that we didn't feel we could chance going to a bigger hospital. There was "no room in the inn tonight" and she was placed on a bed in the hallway- where Mom and Dad spent the next three hours getting a white trash education as she was doped up on Xopenex, oral steroids and oxygen.

My favorite was the lady next door. Apparently she got hungry and her shave head, ponytailed boyfriend asked the nurse if she could have something to eat. The nurse said, yes, but nothing salty - no salt." Ten minutes later he shows back up carrying a huge bag from Taco Bell! Sometimes you just have to laugh out loud and apologize later! When they repeated to the nurse what she had said- she shook her head and walked off. I guess some people just can't be taught! We won't mention the lady that came in off the ambulance because she threw up once and didn't feel good--and then proceeded to coo over Ava. Or the lady next door who's pain scale was on a 10, but was well enough to argue with the nurse over why she was drinking Gatorade when she wasn't suppose to.

So now you know that a $130 Hershey bar is not as great as it sounded-- I don't think I ever want to try one again. And if you're not dying - never go to a backwoods, white trash Emergency Room. You may come out worse than you went in!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fingers Crossed

Ava goes in tomorrow for another scope-- I'm amazed at how relaxed I am the second time around to throw $8,000- $10,000 out the window! Ha ha!-- No really, it's just easier all around when you've been there, done that.

She has posted her best weight gain ever this month!!!! She is now in the 30%tile (negative that is- LOL) I'm full of it today. Honestly she is, by all standards, still very tiny for her age, but this is the FIRST TIME in her life, her weight has trended upward on the growth charts. Very exciting! And to top it off- she grew an inch--which puts her only 1 1/2 inches below the 0%tile!!

Armed with this great news, we and the doctors go into tomorrow hopeful that this scope will be clean, and we have finally gotten rid of everything that is causing her EE to flare.

So here's my fingers crossed-- X!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deep thoughts....

"The necessity of trial and tragedy is to point out the divine potential in all of humanity."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lunchtime Conversation

Ethan asks me as I'm making his sandwich, "Mom, are you gonna get the piss out?"

"What did you say?"

Are you gonna gets the piss out now?"

"Oh you mean the pears?"

"Yeah the piss-- I love them!"

Let's just say we're going to be working on how to properly enunciate the word pears.

Reminds me of a time a few years back when a certain little toddler loved frogs-- and his parents had no idea for months that he liked them so much-- they just knew they were constantly red-faced as they tried to explain to strangers why their 1 year old was saying such awful words! (And when you don't understand the child,- they repeat it over and over times!)

And to announce the end of lunch Ethan declares, "okay, I'm full with piss and sandwich now."-- at least I'm entertained!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The List.....

....Cake Balls
Caramel Corn
Peanut Brittle
Candied Almonds
Chocolate Pretzels.... (Santa's Wish list arrived today-- apparently he's still thinking if this is enough or if he wants more!  Greedy little twit isn't he? Oh and his elf list keeps growing too- don't know if I can keep up this year!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the World revolves...

Around Ethan. Didn't you know that already? He's quite certain it does.

I dropped him off a preschool this morning after a week of Thanksgiving vacation. The preschool director opened his door and said "Good Morning!"

Ethan stepped out, surveyed the landscape of preschool teachers and helpers, and in his loudest, and most charming 4 year old voice asked, "Did everybody miss me?"

The sidewalk erupted in laughter and I guess for that moment-- he was right in his assumption!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The South: What's not to love?

Since I never pictured myself a redneck (or as I prefer to call me-self a "Georgia Peach"), I never thought too much about making fun of the south. I mean come on-- everybody does it. You think "the south" and you picture Larry the Cable Guy drinking a beer, fartin', and yellin' "git r done," at the neighbors.

Don't mistake what I'm saying-- this is a most deserved stereotype of the typical born and bred southerner, but I've found there is more to these Rednecks than meets the eye. For those of you who don't live below the Mason Dixon line, I'll let you in on a couple of the best kept secrets of the south.

Simply put, they are two holidays-- the 4th of July and Christmas.

If you want to know what unashamed pride and love of country looks like- watch a redneck. They would defend this country's freedom to their dying breath, they know how to honor our soldiers and veterans, and they are unafraid to play " I'm Proud to be an American" at every social gathering possible (after they sing the national anthem of course!) When I experienced this the first couple times, I thought them to be corny and overdone-- until I realized they were sincere. They meant what they said and sang.

I've found Christmas to be much the same in the South. True, church is a solicitation here. I've never seen so many billboards, flyers in the mail, and knocks at my door hoping I would join their congregation. BUT... no matter what your religious persuasion, they are not afraid to share the meaning of the season with you.

This week, while we were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, we took the kids to one of my favorite dinner theatres-- The Dixie Stampede. I love their Christmas show- it's a lot of fun. My favorite part is right smack in the middle of the show. They lower a set down from the ceiling with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They have a live nativity with all the animals, and the wiseman- the whole nine yards. Most importantly, they are not afraid to let the audience know that this is the reason for the season.

I've really come to love living here, especially at these two holidays. Agree or disagree, these folks are passionate about what they believe and are unafraid to share it with the rest of us. Tacky or not, it is heartwarming to see the conviction and makes you stop and be grateful that your children are still learning "old fashioned values" that are so easily brushed under the rug in other parts of the country.

I guess I'll say I'm proud to be a Redneck!

And no... Ethan does not have a speech impediment. He's just been exposed to boiled peanuts and sweet potato fries since birth-- it happens.

(Man, I've got to do a picture like this, If only I could get Colonel Mustard to oblige my request! Please comment if you'd like to see our version of the "White Trash Family Christmas Photo" )

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


With Thanksgiving coming in a couple of days- I know I'll get wrapped up in the excitement of the holidays and forget to post. So..... I'm going to express my gratitude a couple of days early. I could say I'm thankful for my family, the gospel, good health, etc. etc., but I think everyone tunes out when we repeat those common, albeit important, gifts we all have been given.

A few things I'm thankful for this year.

I'm thankful for good insurance. Although it costs more than I care to discuss, it has allowed us quick access to some of the best doctors around. Some may call it luck, or a blessing, but I also know that because we were insured, we were sent to the best help available for Ava.

I'm thankful for unconditional love. It has been a trying year for my family and I have seen the power of unconditional Christ-like love at work. No matter where we are, or what happens, we are a family and will come together to help one another out in times of need.

I'm thankful for modern medicine and science. We have been blessed to use our minds to better the lives of our fellow men. Although I recognize that it is not the answer to our every woe, I also see that many of us have benefited greatly from it. Over and over, I have watched Ava struggle to breath and always say a prayer of thanksgiving when a simple dose of medication allows her body to calm and breathe normally again.

I'm thankful for portable DVD players. They make an otherwise awful drive, more pleasant. I would much rather hear Kung-fu Panda -- the legendary warrior who's Kung-fu skills are the stuff of legend!-- 500 times, than the the sound of children fighting in the back seat!

I'm thankful for disposable diapers. -- enough said.

I'm thankful for Colonel Mustard's "skills." Not his "nunchuck skills," but his handyman skills have sure come in, well....handy! I could not send the kids to the basement if he didn't have the skills to build one. I also couldn't check out my ghetto booty in my new full length mirror I got as an anniversary gift! (though sometimes is better to live under an illusion of what you think you look like!) Haha.

I'm thankful for Sunday afternoons, little voices, rice cakes, hot showers, good neighbors, dump trucks, freedom, marriage, and a few moments of peace and quiet.

Lastly, I'm thankful for this blog. I'm grateful that I have found a way to keep a little journal of my life to share with others and to keep for myself in the future. I feel as though it has allowed me to finally accomplish a goal I have set for many years. (this is just so much more fun the a pen and paper!)

I hope this Thanksgiving you find yourself thankful for all the big and little things that make your life the challenge and joy that it is!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Faith and Prayers

First I apologize for the quality of the image. This was the only picture I had on my computer, and for those of you who don't know my brother Kirk, I wanted you to be able to put a face with the person you are praying for.

Yes, this post is for the purpose of soliciting your faith on behalf of my family once again. It seems the Lord is testing our faith on a continual basis. While I am grateful for the spiritual presence in my life, I must constantly remind myself that the Lord has a purpose in all he does. I may not understand it now, but when I feel overwhelmed I must only find faith and the rest will be provided for me.

My brother Kirk, husband to one amazing woman, father to 5 beautiful children, and resident family comedian, ( #8 of 13) has recently been diagnosed with cancer. I waited to post until we had more information regarding his treatment and prognosis, and now we do. We have found out that his cancer has metastasized to multiple parts of his body and traditional treatment plans are not an option at this point. An estimation from his doctors is a year to live.

I am here once again, asking for your faith and prayers on behalf of him and his family. We are all aware and believe that the Lord will take him home when he sees fit, but we also recognize that we cannot give up--for we know not his purposes or the miracles he has in store for each of us.

Please pray for his continued strength and that of his family. I would ask that you especially pray for his son, Cameron. He is preparing his mission papers at this time, and I can only imagine the heavy weight that rests on his young shoulders as he bears a great priesthood responsibility for his mother and 4 younger sisters.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, for our knowledge in his plan makes all the difference. Thank you, and may you be blessed as your faith will bless others.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Unfortunately, Ava has inherited her mother's temper. (No smart comments, Colonel Mustard.) And what's a mother to do?

I'm trying desperately to ween her, as I really do not have a choice. Her diet has now been restricted to fruit and it's juice (the ones she is not allergic to), vegetables, plain rice cakes, and Elecare. NOTHING else. Since it is impossible for me to nurse on such a diet, and because there is no way to determine what proteins my body makes for her, she must stop nursing.

At first, she took it rather well. I dropped her down to one nursing a day and she seemed to really like the Elecare. I was relieved, and decided this may be easier than previously thought. In the last 5 days, she has started whining more and more for food she can't have, and eating less and less of the Elecare in the bottle before she stops drinking, and just carries the bottle around with her for an hour. This morning she vehemently refused the Elecare and cried and cried. I tried to pacify her with some fruit and apple juice, hoping she would get over it and take the bottle. (Here's where the temper part comes in).

I tried for about an hour and a half to make her happy when she finally couldn't take anymore. She freaked out when I picked her up to comfort her and wouldn't nurse her. After several minutes of ear piercing screaming, I put her down and she proceeded to bang her head on the floor---At which point I picked her up, nursed her, and cried. (Of course, she was perfectly fine after that and has played most contently the rest of the morning.)

See for yourself.

What would you do? How on earth am I suppose to make this work when this is her reaction? Heaven help us both!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Four years ago today, my sweetest, easy going, mild mannered little boy made his appearance in the world-- 15 days early and we joke the doctors had to spank him to make him cry!

Could somebody please tell me where that quiet little boy went? The one in the other room is slamming doors, pouting, and refusing everything I suggest to him today. Maybe it's the age. He went running through the house this morning-- "I'm four, I'm four, I'm four!" Maybe that was code for, "I'm old enough, I'll do what I want, when I want, and there ain't nothin' you're gonna do about it!"

Oh well, he's still cute and nice most of the time, and I appreciate that he always picks a rather easy cake for his birthday!

Crazy to see him turning four in the same house he came home to from the hospital.

The Frog Cake

I guessed the wish....
"I wish my brother over there would have his lips permanently taped shut, and his hands tied behind his back so he can't pick on me anymore!" In reality it was probably more like... "make a wish... what are they talking about? I have no idea. I'll sit here and smile and pretend I get it-- that usually works."

The presents must have been well wrapped...

But it looks like it was worth the wait.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Losing Friends

I find myself in a strange place today. For the first time, I am watching people come and go while I stand still. Admittedly, it is hard for me. I love change and can pick up and go with nary a second thought. But this time, I must sit back and watch someone else make that move, take that next step, enjoy that next phase in their lives.

As we got ready for bed last night, Byron and I talked about how weird it was, and the tinge of envy we felt that our boxes were not packed, and our truck not loaded, and our goodbyes not said. Many may laugh, but it is unsettling to us to be so rooted where we are. It is foreign.

I took comfort in knowing that this is just a small piece of the circle of life here. Through the years, people come and people go. Some are here for a short time, and others spend many years here watching the others coming and going-- in and out of the phases of life. How interesting to stop and ponder the wonder of it all.

I think we have these friends and family for a reason, and someday, in the next life, there will be no goodbyes-- Only seamless transitions from one place to another, where we can be together and associate with all those we have learned to love in this life.

So in honor of their departure I have written a poem for Rod and Jazz.

Ode to Rod and Jazz
You're moving,
You've left us,
You suck!

Okay, that wasn't very nice, but the conversation was getting too deep-- we had to lighten it up a little!

We really do wish you the best, and pray that, along with all the other friends we've made in our journey, we will meet again someday.

Now, a personal ad:

Young, childless, couple. ( with no responsibility so we may feel young and free for a few moments!) Must be quirky, funny, and able to play games for extended periods of time while sucking down Sonic, and obscene amounts of junk food. Any who cannot love our obnoxious kids unconditionally need not apply!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Help me, Santa

I don't know why, but Halloween is my trigger for Christmas shopping. Probably because Ethan's birthday is only 10 days after Halloween, so I'm already in shopping mode.

Now I love Christmas, all the holidays in fact-- October 15- Jan.1st is the best time of the year. But this year Santa is a little weary of holiday shopping. This Santa, you see, hates toys. I'm sick of them. They are all crap and I'm tired of cleaning them up day after day.

BUT, I'm no Humbug, and will not be one of those Santas who refuses to buy my children toys. I just have stipulations-- they have to be cool toys that at least keep my interest through un-packaging on Christmas day.

So fellow elves- give me your best shot. My kids are 6 and 4 year old boys, and a 1 year old girl. Tell, me your favorite Christmas gift as a kid, one you're buying for your kid or grandkid, something new that looks too good to live without, or just make something up!

If I happen to buy you suggested toy for my kids this year...hhhhhmmmmmm........I mean if Santa happens to get it for them-- I'll put you on my Christmas goody list this year.

Oh yeah, I'm taking suggestions for what should be on the goody list also!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Size 2 diapers $9.99. Size 2 shoes $14.99. Growing-- even just a little bit....priceless.

No really, we can't afford her. My house cost less. My credit cards are experiencing sticker shock. I'm mortgaging my future faster than the government! Okay.... not that bad, but at least kids are worth it, right?!!

Yeah, okay, the diapers are a little big still.

And no, I'm not trying to save money by never changing them, but go Pampers-- they can handle a load!

I know, I know... these last two pictures have nothing to do with my post, but my brain gets off track sometimes--- a lot of times-- and it really is priceless that he walked around for several hours without know I put this on his back!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Let me just put it out there. I strongly dislike it--and I'm terrible at working with it. Ava's birthday cake was so disappointing to me, I wouldn't even post a picture of it. First off it was suppose to be chocolate fondant-- that turned into nasty boxed fondant, that turned into-- well I didn't like it and that's all that matters.

So my sweet neighbor's Birthday is today and she asked me if I would make her a cool cake. I said sure (cause she is awesome and I couldn't turn her down)-- just find a picture of something you like and I'll do my best.

What did she pick? What do you think she picked? I smiled through my teeth as she pointed to a picture of a lopsided cake covered in ....yes, fondant.

So, I braved it. This time with homemade fondant, which tasted much better, but was still a pain in the butt. I though the results were a little better this time, but please don't look too close-- I'm very critical of my work.

Ethan sat watching me and talked about his Birthday cake. (coming up in a few weeks) I could see the wheels turning in his head, and I hoped they weren't liking the awful fondant. (How bout that dump truck cake that takes about 1 hour start to finish?!)

But.... I know me, and even if he doesn't ask, I'll do it again, cause I just can't stand when something eludes me in the kitchen. Anyone give fondant lessons?

Monday, October 19, 2009


$238 in co-pays a month, on JUST her prescriptions. If my phone becomes disconnected, you'll know why!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Well, after 21 hours spent in doctors' offices and hospitals in the last 7 days, and consultation with 6 different doctors and a stack of lab and tests results that would wear out any printer cartridge, we think we are finally on the right track with our little Ava monkey.

The Good

We are fairly certain she does not have a metabolic disorder. YEAH! There are still a couple of possible tests to be run, but after examination by the genetic counselor and geneticist, they are are confident that the methylmalonic acid build-up is secondary to her GI issues. Now the only concern is why they are out of whack and how to get them back in normal range.

The Bad

Ava's endoscopy and sigmoidoscopy did not come back clean. (though fortunately she came through the procedure with minimal anesthesia issues) In a way this was a blessing as it pointed fingers away from metabolic issues and back to a more manageable diagnosis.

She has been officially diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE). While I had hoped she wouldn't go down this road, it is almost a relief to have a diagnosis we can begin to manage.

This diagnosis does not change her anaphylactic food allergy diagnosis-- it is a different mechanism, and though related, remains a separate issue. She has also officially been diagnosed with Asthma. This diagnosis too, is somewhat of a blessing since she has a documented "Asthma Action Plan" and there is no more guessing at how she will be treated. This also means NO MORE BREATHING TREATMENTS!!!! We hate giving breathing treatments--they are time consuming and she does not like to sit still for them. Her asthma will now be managed with inhalers and oral meds that are much easier to administer.

The Ugly

Unfortunately, an EE diagnosis just brings a whole new host of questions as to what is causing it, and how we will treat it. She has a new allergist that specializes in this disorder, and I really like her after the two hours she spent with me yesterday. Her approach is tiered in 3 parts. First, we put Ava back on reflux medication and a nasal spray to determine if the EE is being caused by environmental allergens we don't yet know about, or GERD that is untreated. In two months she will be scoped again. If this works great, if not, we move onto allergy testing for a ton of food and specific environmental allergies that may be causing the issue. After 2-3 months on a new, further restricted diet, we scope again. If it's clean great- keep going, if not the last step is a purely elemental formula diet.

Although the doctor says her gut tells her we're going to end up on the elemental diet anyway, she wants to give Ava every chance to take the easier road out! Since she is already on a solid diet it will be a brutal transition at any point.

She is being put on 5 new prescriptions for the next couple of months and we will see how it goes. There is no telling if or when she will outgrow, but the doctor did warn me that only a very few come out of this with no restricted diets as adults, especially since we have the anaphylaxis and asthma diagnosis in conjunction. BUT....she said kids surprise her everyday and we can always hope Ava will be one of them.

So there is the scoop we wish we never had to share!

Thank you for all your prayers on her behalf. We really appreciate all of you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two Facts

Fact #1 I am left handed.

Fact #2 I cannot be trusted with a knife!

(Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I happen to really like Hello Kitty band-aids)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Testing 1...2

Several of you have asked what is going on with Ava, so I'm going to explain it here one time. It is a little complicated, and I am definitely not the expert on these things. (I only know what I have been told and have read.)

Ava is considered FTT (failure to thrive), has sever food allergies, and RAD (reactive airway disease--basically asthma, but they don't technically diagnose asthma until the child reaches a certain age).

About 6 weeks ago, she went back to the allergist for some skin tests. The allergist found a few more allergies and was concerned that her weight was only 13lbs. 6oz. She contacted her pediatrician and they recommended that Ava be seen by a GI doctor (gastroenterologist).

About a month ago, we took her into the GI doctor. Both doctors she saw were immediately convinced she has an eosiniphilic disorder (an autoimmune disorder where the body reacts to the protein in foods). They determined she would need to have an endoscopy and sigmoidoscopy performed to biopsy the tissues in her digestive track. (this is the only way to diagnose an eosiniphilic disorder). Pending the results of those procedures, she would most likely be put on an elemental formula diet with little or no other foods allowed. We are hoping they are wrong.

About 3 weeks ago, Ava's pediatrician ordered another round of testing prior to the scopes. I felt this was a waste of time, but I took her in anyway. Last week the pediatrician called and informed us that a couple of her labs had come back abnormal. Apparently, the first round of labs a couple months ago showed an elevated level of methylmalonic acid in her urine. This time, her urine and blood were tested and elevated levels showed up in both. Long story short, elevated levels of methylmalonic acid present in both urine and blood, is the main diagnostic test for methylmalonic acidemia-- a very rare genetic metabolic disorder. I will not bore you with the details, but basically it means that your body is unable to process fats and proteins correctly and methylmalonic acid builds up in your system causing-- let's just say-- bad consequences. We are hoping they are wrong too.

In addition, Ava has been struggling for the past 5 weeks with her asthma. We can't seem to keep it under control and she basically sounds sick a majority of the time.

So that is where we are. She is scheduled to undergo her scopes tomorrow morning at Children's hospital, and will have an appointment with the geneticist next Tuesday. We are worried with the procedures tomorrow, as there is some concern with her allergies and asthma in conjunction with the anesthesia.

I obviously want everyone to be wrong and have her magically begin to turn this around on her own, but I now realize that I may have to accept some challenges. You can pray all day in vain for something you're not likely to get, but I have found it more productive to accept the things you can't change and begin to pray for the best likely outcome.

So, if any of you feel inclined to keep her in your prayers, we would sincerely appreciate it. We are praying for answers how to help her grow and be happy and healthy, and hoping for the lesser of two evils-- if you will-- in a diagnosis. And....holding onto a glimmer of hope that she will just outgrow all of this and be a normal little girl!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Laugh it off

I guess I've been too stressed to blog lately-- sad, cause that's when you get the best stories-- Like the construction barrel I hit today while on my way to the doctor--we'll save that story for another time, but in restrospect ( after the scathing death looks from Colonel Mustard) it was kinda funny.

The outrageous fees from an independent lab that my insurance won't cover-- not so funny. Neither was the phone call informing me of more abnormal test results for our littlest twit. Or... the pap smear (hate those) I had today... though my doctor's face was priceless when I discussed our form of birth control would be "choppin' 'em off."

Maybe that's my problem. I have failed to laugh enough. Not that everything should be lighthearted, but one can't deny the positive energy created from laughing at your troubles.

So today, the hospital called to run through some pre-procedure questions for Ava. "no, no, yes, no, not sure, don't know yet, yes, no...." And when she got to the last question she said, "Now in regard to her diet... never mind. I'm just going to put that she's allergic to everything." She probably wondered what kind of mother was laughing at her own child's aliments, but in my mind I saw the preview to that movie-- you know the one with the food falling from the sky-- something about meatballs-- and "run for your life!" Literally!

Yeah, I'm crazy, but I feel a litte better now that I laughed it off.

Maybe I'll go up the road and see if I can find the mirror to my car!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pass the buck

Today I want to quit. Quit trying. Quit working. Quit paying. Quit caring.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to fall into the trap and allow my fellow taxpayers to pick up my tab. If I try a little less, maybe we could qualify for WIC and I wouldn't have to pay for Ava's expensive high calorie formula-- or all of my basic groceries for that matter. Heck, if I try even less than that, I may qualify for food stamps! (I wonder if they accept those at Whole Foods???)

If I gamble a little with my kids' well being, I could probably get them qualified for Peachcare-- and maybe those dreaded medical bills would stop showing up in my mailbox, and Ava's exorbitant cost of healthy existence would cease to concern me. ( Do they cover dental??- Andrew's starting to wear the pocketbook in that department too.)

BUT... instead I'll remember that with great sacrifice comes great blessings, and hopefully someday, I'll experiece the joy of informing my children that they OWE me----BIG TIME!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And...he's off.

Someone once told me that the first was the hardest--letting go of the second one would be easier.

Well... they lied.

Maybe the second lets go a little easier, but Mommy struggled just like she did the first time.

My little Ethan is off to preschool and thrilled to be such a big boy.

Ava and I were both happy to pick him up and take him home. I've never been much for "girl time." I guess Ava isn't either. We like our boys!

Monday, August 31, 2009

6 year old Thank You

Want to know what happens when you give a six year old some cards and tell him to write thank you notes for his Birthday presents?

Charming, isn't he? Grandma and Grandpa-- you'll be receiving this in the mail. Hope you enjoy!

(translation for anyone who can't read "Thank you for the card and the $20 bill. My mom and dad won't let me spend it because they're punks. Love Andrew"-- OK, so I had to correct his spelling a little-- I'll cut him some slack-- he's six!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Banana Bread

I never knew that craving food could be so mentally exhausting. Usually... I want it, I make it, and I eat it--good to go. This morning proved to be more trying than our weekend excursion at Outback Steakhouse, where I begged the waitress not to spit in my food that was such a pain in the butt to make.
All I wanted was some banana bread--and I wanted it bad. so I thought to myself,

"Hmmm....maybe I could try out that rice flour in the cupboard and see if I can make banana bread out of that. It might be a little dense, but maybe it won't taste too bad. And soymilk has more protein in it-maybe it would work better than the rice milk I've used. Ohhhh......I have to substitute the eggs...............well, I read that soy flour can be used as an egg substitute, I'll try that...............Oh crap- She's allergic to bananas, BUT I do have some shredded zucchini in the freezer--I'll just make zucchini bread..........Dangnabbit- forgot she's allergic to that too............maybe I have some canned pumpkin and I'll make pumpkin bread--it's almost fall, that would............BLEEEP..........she's stinkin' allergic to that too........... BLEEP, BLEEP........@%#$&@%$@##&$*^^#@&#$!@*&**!

(disgruntled SIGH)

Where's the freakin' popcorn?!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Andrew's 6th

Well, I have a million sappy thoughts running through my head at this moment, but I'll save them just for me. Poor kid, being the firstborn, always has to put up with his Mommy's emotional instability about her first baby growing up.

So...............Andrew is 6! Wow.................................I really can't think of anything to say that isn't sappy........................that's ridiculous!

He said it was his bestest Birthday ever, so I guess that's good. (Hmmm.....delete sappy thought................)

I give up--- out with the pictures!

He asked for a Volcano cake. ( I think my family has it out for me- trying to come up with a cake I just can't make--I always have fun trying!)

Pictures don't really do it justice- It made me wanna get all crazy and go to the science fair or something.Now if only I could come up with a way to make the entire cake explode at the end--That would definitely win a blue ribbon.

He really is a good lookin' kid if I do say so myself! Nothing beats that smile.

Happy Birthday Andrew! We love you and pray that your 6th year will be filled with fun and happiness. Thank you for choosing to be part of our family.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Allergy Update

Well, this is a boring, informational post, for any of you who wanted to know how having a girl has made our life more difficult and severely drained our pocketbook. (most recently at "Whole Paycheck" aka "Whole Foods.")
Just kiddin'! That sounded so mean--didn't it. We adore Ava, but she has not been the healthy horse our boys have been (I say that as Andrew is coughing in his bed!)

To the point--- The first round of Allergy testing on Ava came back Friday- they tested the major allergens and a grain panel. I just got the results over the phone so my insight is limited, and further tests are likely pending when the doctor is back in the office and contacts us.

We were expecting to find milk- obviously, and possibly eggs. Needless to say we were a little shell shocked.

She tested positive for:

Talk about a frustrating trip to Whole foods! Rice and Soy--Yummy! Soy ice cream- not bad, not bad at all. Soy yogurt?? I throw up a little in my mouth every time I think about trying it again.

I could complain and whine about reading 5 million labels only to find that almost everything has one of these ingredients in it, but I refuse to be negative about this. I'm positive the list of allergens will grow as we know other things bother her, so I must look on the bright side.

Her most favorite snack, and my most favorite snack DO NOT contain any of these ingredients! Hallelujah! And she will outgrow this--because I'm certain I may go Mad if she doesn't, and God doesn't want my kids to have a mother that is any more loco than she already is!

Good thing her feet are still safe to eat!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Internet Self-help

"Somebody somewhere is laughing at you right now, because they wrote that crap and you actually tried it!"
-Colonel Mustard

I am a victim of internet self-help. I have an issue-- I research it on the internet. I read far too many articles and determine an appropriate course of action for myself-- or the loved one I'm trying to help.
Most times, I get pretty credible information, but sometimes my efforts--backfire--literally.

I should be embarrassed to admit this, but for your entertainment- I'm willing.

I have a history of digestive issues. My system(part genetic and part diet) just tends to stop working sometimes. The last few weeks I have just felt off and sick enough I was willing to do something about it. Logic tells me to go buy a bunch of yogurt and eat it faithfully, but since I can't have yogurt right now, I did some trusty internet research and learned about a salt water flush.

I can do that, I thought--drink some salt water- stay close to the toilet, and by all accounts feel like a new woman 3 hours later. Let's just say that's not how it went down.

I prepared my salt water mixture, sat down and began to drink. I hate salt, so this was definitely one of the most disgusting things I had ever done, and failed to get the last cup down. I instantly felt sick and spent the next ten minutes wandering from the kitchen to the bathroom,until... it backfired.

Yes, I ran to the toilet and puked it all back up, sending my hypochondriac son running for the hills as he was sure the plague had been unleashed on our house and he would be the next victim.

It took me a few minutes to assure him that Mommy only threw up because she was an idiot, and he would surely not get sick.

So, the next time you're feeling less than chipper, do not turn to the internet for self help advice. the very least, you can cross off the salt water flush from your home remedy choices! (Unless puking is something you like to do!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Failure to Thrive

What kind of label is "Failure to Thrive?" They may as well call it "Crappy Mom Disease," or how about "Your Mommy needs to find a new day job Syndrome."

They are just words I know, but I can't tell you how my heart sank when the nurse came back in the room with 4 pages worth of test orders, and FTT scribbled in dark black letters at the top of each page, describing a "diagnosis." I know I'm not the world's best mother, but I thought I was pretty good at keeping my kids healthy and getting them to grow properly.

Now for the past two days, poor Ava has been poked, prodded, and stuck to determine if there is a medical reason she is so small. You should have seen the poor phlebotomist about wet herself today when she realized the patient she called was a 13lb. 1 year old, and her orders were for 22 vials of blood. (this on top of the blood already taken for allergy testing just a week ago.--Bless that wonderful lady who finagled with the Lab several times how to overlap testing to utilize what little blood they could get from her. Only one more stick tomorrow.)

Of course we want to make sure she's healthy and there are no underlying medical conditions, but the process is a bit traumatic and disheartening.

And I really wish they could come up with a better term in describing her. Maybe, "Skinny Minnie Syndrome" or "Hypochubbs" or "Noassatall." They would be greatly prefered, as I myself do not see a child who is failing to thrive.