Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We welcomed Christopher and his team home last night from Malaysia!  They were delayed getting home due to thunderstorms in the area.

Family and friends were there waiting.  It was good to see the weary travelers!

We are looking forward to learning more about the trip over the days to come.  Please pray for these students and leaders.  I know its hard to come home from a missions trip for a variety of reasons - physical, emotional and spiritual.  Would you join me in praying that their transition home would be smooth and that they would be able to share their experiences and what God has taught them.  Please pray that God would use this time to continue to challenge them and grow them in their faith.  Please pray that their passion for God would continue to grow.

Tomorrow is another first for our family.  College Orientation.  Though I wish there could be a little more down time for Christopher to rest, I know he is excited.

Thank you for the notes, prayers and encouragement!

With love

Monday, June 27, 2011

Waiting for another phone call

We had the first phone call 6 months ago.  We've been waiting for another one this month.  Its official.

Eliana definitely has Celiac Disease.

I've put off writing this for a few days because I just didn't want to do it.  Its not fun sharing news that isn't good, but it does need to be done.  For those who are new to this blog or don't remember, here is the background briefly.  Eliana had a routine blood panel run in December.  (Because she has Down syndrome she is at a greater risk of various things - thyroid disease, leukemia, celiac, etc)  She had elevated levels of TTG.  Anything above 4 was considered above normal.  She tested at 5.  Based on this, we had a biopsy done in January.  The results showed signs "consistent with Celiac".  The doctor though was amazed that we found this at a "5".  He said that since she had no symptoms and her numbers were only slightly above normal, that if we wanted, we could wait 6 months and have her tested again.  Just in case in ended up not being celiac.  Once we choose to go GF, the tests will no longer be valid so it is good to be sure.  We decided to wait 6 months which our doctor thought was a good choice.

We have not changed her diet, but have noticed that she is increasingly fussy at meals.  She has also started eating less.  :-(  She is not able to tell us verbally that she is in pain of any kind.  We went in for another blood draw at the beginning of this month.  Eliana screamed and cried and fought it.  On the first try, the vein blew.  We put more numbing cream on the second arm and then waited and tried again.  Our ped did it this time.  She was able to get some blood and then the vein blew in that arm too.  She didn't think it was enough to get all the testing done, but was enough for the Celiac screen.

We waited for the results.  And waited.  I called while we were on vacation and heard that the lab couldn't find her blood.  They kept looking.  And never found it.  :-(  We went in again last week for another draw.  (It had taken this long for the bruises to heal.)  This one went much better - thankful answer to prayers!

Again we waited.  Her thyroid is fine.  Her cholesterol is elevated.  Her glucose is 101.  Then the numbers I was waiting for.  There were two parts of the celiac screen and I don't remember the name of both of them.  For the first, she was positive.  The second was the TTG number and it was 86.  This is the one that was a 5 in December.

So, in waiting, we have clear results.  I wish they were different, but in my heart, this is what I expected it to be.  Do I wish we didn't have to go down this road?  Absolutely.  However, I'm trying to look for the positives.  Wanting to choose to be thankful.   I'm thankful we know what is going on as Eliana is not able to tell us that she is in pain.  I'm thankful for resources that are available.  I'm thankful for the offers of help that I have had.  I have a number of people that I need to contact that have offered when this first came up.  I just wasn't ready to tackle it until I had to.

Because we now have 2 children with autoimmune diseases and this can tend to run in families, they want us all to be tested for celiac.  I have appts scheduled for the rest of our children this week (except for Christopher who already tested negative).  Please pray that the testing would go well.  It's going to be challenging I imagine for our little guy with Sensory issues.  I'm hoping that none of the rest of us will test positive though I do think will be easiest for our family for us all to try to follow a GF diet.  Maybe I'm wrong though, I really don't know.

I would love prayers, advice and wisdom.  Here are some of the things I'm wondering.

*We will be leaving to travel soon half way across the country.  Any tips of travelling and eating GF?  We'll be driving, staying in hotels, eating out some.

*Tips on where to start?  I'm planning to do a large purge of my kitchen soon.

*Any other encouragement or advice is appreciated.  Lists of foods that are GF?  I've seen some of the specialty items and they are just really expensive for a larger family.

Thanks for your prayers and hugs and encouragement.

I know that through all of this that God has a purpose and a plan.  He is good all the time.  He will use this for good in our lives.  He will give me strength to do all that needs to be done - and give me wisdom on what I need to give up.

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds"  James 1:2

I studied the book of James when I was pregnant with Eliana and it continues to be a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement to me.  Its hard to consider all things joy when you face trials.  I'm not always sure how to do that.  What I am trying to do is to trust that God will give me the strength to do what needs to be done.  He will use this for my good.  He is going to use this for good in our family.  In all things, HE is good.

With love

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Daniel!!!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little man.  I can't believe you are 7 years old.  Seems like you are getting so big some days - and then on others I still see my little boy.  You'll always be *my* little boy.  My youngest son.

I was so happy to see you arrive 7 years ago.  You were my biggest baby at almost 9 and a half pounds!  After an extremely rough pregnancy, I was delighted to have a healthy baby.

You delight me in so many ways.  I love your sense of humor and your curiosity.  It is exciting watching you growing and learning more each day.  I've especially enjoyed watching you grow this year in your abilities - especially in memorizing Bible verses and in having fun at church.

I love holding your hand and just talking with you.  I enjoy cooking with you and reading books.  I just enjoy you!  You are smart, organized and creative.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday a little early at the beach so that Christopher and my family could be a part of the celebration.  (More on that in another post.)  For his actual birthday, we asked him what he would like to eat and do on his special day.

For breakfast, he chose waffles.  (Have I mentioned that Eliana calls these "bopples".  Its really cute.)

 Soon afterwards, he was surprised by a fun activity planned fully by his brothers!  He went outside to find a "wanted" poster.
 Hmmm ... that guy looks familiar!
 They spotted the crook.
 Then were off on a chase!
 After apprehending the criminal, they led him back for questioning.
 Information gained from the crook, led them to a hide-out in which they found a note.

 The note led them to the "loot".
 Police themed legos.  Isn't that a fun way to get your gift?!!!  I love seeing my children do this for each other!
   After a fun hunt, we headed out to ...
the Lego Store.  We had so much fun in there.  Looking at various sets, building mini figures and planning out fun!

 Daniel spent some of his birthday money and got some gifts from us too.
 Eliana enjoyed visiting the Disney store and found one of her favorite characters here.  She was so sweet about giving him a hug and saying good-bye when it was time to leave.  Her brothers are already planning to get a "Perry" as a gift for her birthday (which is in December!).
Daniel chose Taco Bell for lunch.

The afternoon was spent playing with lots of new Legos!
 Rebecca and Hanna decorated a cute drum cake for Daniel.  (He picked this one out from one of our books.  Its a favorite because he has chosen this one before.)
 Pizza for supper.
 With friends and family.
 Happy Birthday Daniel!
 We love you and had a blast celebrating with you!
I pray for you that this is the start of a year filled with laughter, sweet memories, learning adventures and more.  I pray that you would grow closer to God and more deeply in love with Him.

I love you Daniel!  Happy Birthday!


Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Other Side of the World

That is where my son is now.  Literally on the other side.  He is on a missions trip with a group from our church. This is his first international missions trip and I'm so excited for him!  He was pretty excited about it too.  :-)  Even though it was hard to tell from his calm demeanor.

Last week, we were at the beach with my family, my parents and my sister's family.  This has become a wonderful family tradition for us to spend a week together in the summer.  We all love it!  We had amazing weather and a delightful time.  More on that in another post.

On Wed afternoon, Christopher and I left for home.  We ran some errands picking up a few last minute things and then home to wash clothes and pack.  It took a good part of the night.

On Thursday morning, we went to Chick-fil-a for breakfast (his choice).  Then headed to the airport.  We met the rest of his team there.  I was surprised to see how much smaller his suitcase was than everyone else's!

Our youth pastor was there and he prayed for the group before they left.

 Time for hugs and good-byes!

What a sweet privilege to see this team off!

Would you join me in praying for them?  Here are some things I've been praying for and feel free to add your own!

*Health and safety for the team.
*For God to work in the hearts of all involved - the team and those with whom they will be meeting
*For God's love and grace to be visible to each of them
*For the church they are working with to grow as they seek to share the gospel.
*For seeds to be planted and people to come to know Jesus
*That the team would grow in their love for and knowledge of God and that they would have His love for others!
*For their return- that the transition home would not be difficult and that they would be able to share all that God has done.

That's just a bit of what I'm praying.  Thanks for lifting up this group.  We are missing Christopher - and yet also really excited for him and praying for him lots and lots!  In some ways, this is a bit of prep time for what is to come I expect - though I do expect to be able to talk with him more easily!


Thursday, June 16, 2011


Christopher finished up his last high school sport.  Flag football.  It's a fun group and he has enjoyed playing.  It's the same league as the contact football that he plays in the fall.  It has been a great experience for him. 

It was bittersweet seeing his high school sports career come to an end.  Christopher is focused, tenacious and fun to watch.  As a family, we've been to most of his games.  Its something I'm really going to miss. 

Thanks for the memories.  From starting soccer at 4 years of age.  Oh, that seems so long ago.  To basketball, football and running.  We have cheered you on week after week and year after year. 

Even though the field has changed, know that I'll always be cheering for you. 

Just a bonus photo that I took of Eliana playing during the game. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Virginia Visit

This post will let you see how really far behind I am.  This was Easter week-end.  I'm hoping to finish April this week and then quickly move on to May.  ;-)  I do have current posts in the last couple of months too!

We went to Virginia to visit some dear friends.  Its become somewhat of a tradition since they moved here 3+ years ago.  We attended a fun egg hunt and festival at their church. 

Lauren, Joshua and Isaiah. 
Rebecca and Hannah enjoying some cotton candy. 
Ready for an egg hunt.  Look at all of the eggs!!!  There were thousands of them.  (There was a count, but I don't remember how many now that it was - some ridiculously huge number!) 

Will stop what she is doing to pose for pictures.  A sign that she has posed a lot!

Brothers on the hunt. 

Friends gathered when the hunt is complete. 

A little footbal or maybe tag?

Rebecca and Hannah made cupcakes.  Aren't they cute?!

Mowing is fun when you get to go for a ride. 
Beautiful girl!
Cook-out in the backyard. 
Roasting hotdogs. 

Then time for s'mores!
Lauren's baptism on Sunday. 

Trying to get a good photo - never an easy job. 

Christopher styling Katelyn's hair. 

Friends hanging out. 

The girls with their cupcakes. 

One last cupcake photo in case someone enjoys seeing them from another angle. 

Thanks friends for a wonderful week-end!!!