Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Step in the Right Direction

Little took her first step tonight! For the past few days, she been standing by herself, not holding onto anything, for long periods of time. Tonight, right before bed, she stood and then rotated on one foot. Then, she stood again and took a step forward. Frank and I were both there to see it! I can't wait to see what she'll do tomorrow. She's also getting two more teeth in, as of yesterday, which makes a total of six! I can't believe how fast she's growing!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Playdate at Amara's

Today was a fun-filled day of babies playing and momma's catching up. A few of us got together for a playdate at our house. There were six mommas and six children, ranging from 2 months to 2 1/2 years. Here's a group shot of the little ones:The top row: (l to r) Allie and Caroline. The bottom row: (l to r) John, Amara, Catherine, Isaac.
We couldn't get a group shot of the mommas, but we got a few pictures to show that these kids really did have supervision. Lauren and Jenny

Mandy and Joy

Megan and Heather

We ate spaghetti and fruit, talked and played. There were even a few kisses given out. Amara is a little more aggressive than Isaac prefers.
And thanks to Allie for bringing some big-girl toys. Amara loved the feather boa and play curling iron. We definitely missed the ones who couldn't make it. We'll do this again very soon!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What a Day!

I've tried and tried to come up with a word to describe today, and the only word I can come up with is exciting! It all started as we were getting ready for church this morning. Now that I don't have to nurse Little at church, I have a lot more options on what to wear. In addition, I can now get back into clothes that I haven't worn in years. So, today, I decided to wear a dress. And surprise surprise, my legs and feet were well enough to handle heels today. I was thrilled! I thought surely that I'd be more sore with this cold weather, but not today! So, I started out the day with feeling decent about my outfit. (Ladies, you know how this can get you started in the right direction for the day.)

So then, we took Little to the nursery where she immediately started playing with her friends. They gave me a "buzzer," which is really a pager so the nursery workers can get in touch with parents if necessary. Frank and I went to the worship service and then to Sunday School, and I never got buzzed! You have to realize how amazing this is. Little takes a nap EVERY morning at 9:00, and she misses that nap to come to church. She has never been able to rest in the nursery because there is just so much to do and so many friends to see. So, at some point, I always get buzzed because she's just upset from being so tired. Because of this, we usually leave straight after Sunday School so Little can make up her missed nap on the car ride home, which means we don't get to go to lunch with our friends. Before we had Little, we went to lunch EVERY Sunday with friends and I have SO missed that. So, you may be thinking, where is the excitement in this? Well, I went down to the nursery to get Little after Sunday School, expecting to walk up to a crying Sweet Pea. On the contrary, she was actually asleep! Yes, that's right, asleep in the nursery. I was ecstatic! I hugged the nursery worker while asking her if this was inappropriate for me to be hugging her. Thankfully, she just laughed. And I left to go socialize to let Little sleep awhile longer. She ended up sleeping for 45 minutes! And because she took a nap, we were able to go to lunch with our friends!!! Can you hear the excitement? Can you see me smiling through the computer? If you were in our Sunday School class, you'd understand. We have the greatest group of people to hang out with.

This leads me to the lunch story, which is more funny than exciting. Warning: This contains information about baby poop. So, Little was wired at lunch. Not only had she just woken up and had a bottle, but she was sitting by one of her buddies, Catherine, and was at Jason's Deli where there are oodles and oodles of people to look at and socialize with. She definitely has her momma's personality. Well, about halfway through our lunch, Little started grunting...A LOT. And you know what this means. So I turn to Frank, who can't hear her because he's having a conversation of his own with another friend, and let him know that she's going to need a fresh pair of panties (No, she's not really wearing's just what we call her diapers). He didn't realize what he was volunteering for and offered to take her to the men's restroom to see if they have a changing table in there. What a sweet husband and daddy! And I accepted the offer. I knew it was going to be bad. He was gone for awhile and when he got back, he looked at me very seriously and said "You owe me." Ha! As if I don't do this every day. So, then he proceeds to tell me that while he was in the restroom, a man walked in and happened to pass by as he was doing the panty change, and the man said "Woah!" And he looked at Frank with a really serious look on his face and said, "Do you want me to send for help?" Frank looked back at him and said "I got this. " He said the moment was like two buddy cops with one about to stay behind to diffuse a bomb and the man, as he was walking out, said to Frank "Good luck." It's really hilarious to hear him tell the story. And kudos to Jason's Deli for having a changing table in the men's restroom.

When we got home, Frank built Little a fort, and of course it was big enough for us to get in, too! Oh the memories of childhood, and to think now we have a child of our own to make new memories with.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sewing Project #3...Little's Birthday Dress!

Here are the beginnings of Amara's birthday dress. I realize that I should probably wait until I have a finished product to post, but I couldn't resist sharing the cuteness. First pic is the front, next pic is the back. I just love the criss-cross on the back and the pink rick rack on the entire dress. There will also be yellow buttons at the top (right now it's just pinned), but first I have to learn how to make buttonholes on my sewing machine. The plan is to have her name embroidered on the front. The pattern came with bloomers, but I think we'll pair this dress with leggings instead. Also, I have enough fabric left to make a tablecloth for her birthday party. I can't even believe it's almost time to start planning!

Monday, March 21, 2011

RA Update

Many of you have been calling and emailing to see how I have been feeling. I really appreciate your encouragement and concern, and so I wanted to give you an update. I was really hoping that this warmer weather would make me feel like a new woman. I guess that was wishful thinking since I still have RA. On most days that the weather is warm, I do feel better than I do on other days, though I'm still very sore. I think the bit of relief that I get on warm days makes the pain on cold mornings or rainy days even worse because I'm just not expecting it.

You've also had lots of questions. Quite a few people have asked "Aren't you too young to get RA?" It's actually very common in women in their 30s and 40s. There is no known cause and no cure. It can, however, go into remission. Also, some have asked the difference between Rheumatoid Arthritis and just regular arthritis. RA is something that happens very quickly. It doesn't develop over time like regular arthritis, but rather at a very fast pace over weeks or months. The immune system basically starts attacking good tissue. Some people think that if you have an auto-immune disease, your immune system is weakened. That's not actually the case with RA. The weakening of your immune system happens when you take certain medications that suppress your immune system in order to suppress the attacking of the good tissue. I am not taking those types of medications.

I've always been a very independent person, taking care of myself and not needing anybody. So, it continues to be hard to ask for help when I need it. Frank just mentioned to me this morning that if I ever need help with anything, just ask. And I responded by saying, "Don't you know I get tired of having to ask for help with every little thing every single day?" I mean, literally, snapping Little's pajamas, picking her up, opening jars of baby food, walking down the stairs, really anything that you take for granted being able to do without even thinking. I think that really put things into perspective for him. I'm learning to accept help from those who love me. It's not always an easy thing to do.

My medicine hasn't started to work, nor have the all natural supplements that I'm taking. But the most discouraging thing has been that this disease has caused my milk supply to dwindle, and I'm almost at the point of having to stop nursing. You nursing moms out there know how heartbreaking that can be as it's such a special bond between momma and baby. However, I'm thankful for the time that I was able to nurse my sweet angel, and she's transitioning to a bottle like a champ.

I go back to the doctor next month and don't really know what to expect with the visit. Last time I was there, he did some labwork to rule out other possible problems (lupus, fibromyalgia, etc.) He told me that if I didn't hear from him within 3 days, then all the tests were negative and the diagnosis of RA was correct. Well, I never heard from him. Maybe I'll get more details at the next visit.

Please continue to pray for me...for strength, for healing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

9 months and counting...

My Sweet Little Pea turned 9 months old on the 17th. She just gets sweeter and sweeter, if that is even possible. You can see her sweet personality in these pictures. Katie Cochran took some awesome pics so we can remember this special time in Little's life. I have loved watching her grow and can't wait to see what a beautiful young woman she is going to be one day. Frank was unable to make it for the pictures, but Katie took some of Little and me.For her nine month birthday, she decided to get not one new tooth, not two, but THREE new teeth for a total of four altogether. What a week! She has definitely been a trooper through the teething process.
Little has increased her daily food intake. She now eats solids 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) and has milk 4 times a day.
She has done really well with transitioning down to 2 naps. They usually are about 1 to 1.5 hours each. Sometimes she'll sleep longer, sometimes shorter. She is still going to bed between 6 and 6:30 every night and wakes up around 7:00 in the morning. She has gotten to where she really likes to go to bed. When I start carrying her to the crib, as soon as the crib is in sight she starts reaching for it. Then she rolls over and watches me walk out of the room. What a sweetie!
Little is now working on her balancing. She is getting better and better at standing by herself, not holding onto anything. She also pushes her dino-cycle around at pretty much a running pace. We definitely think she'll be walking soon.
The hair on the top of Little's head is now long enough to clip a bow in. How fun!

Little's eyes are still blue! I'm thinking they're going to stay that way. People make comments about her eyes and always ask me where she gets those. The shape is definitely mine (exactly like my baby pictures) but the color remains a mystery. Her granddad and uncle both have blue eyes, so we'll credit them with passing those to her. Thanks Big Daddy and Daniel! After the photo shoot, my Mom, Little and I went to JoAnn's Fabrics to finish off our Girls' day. Little had a lot of fun looking at all the colorful fabrics, and I found some great fabrics and patterns so I can make her some outfits for the summer. I am most excited about the birthday fabric I bought to make her a birthday dress. There will definitely be a post about each of the upcoming sewing projects. There will be lots!

Until next time...
Love to all...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank you...

for all of your sweet comments and encouraging words regarding my last post. It is amazing to know how many people can understand this due to either going through it themselves or having a family member with the condition. How wonderful that God puts people in our lives that can share in our joys and support us in our struggles.

I'm very hopeful that things will start looking up since the weather will soon (hopefully) get warmer and stay that way. It's surprising how much the weather actually affects how someone with RA feels. Frank has a good friend at work whose wife has had RA for years. His friend will actually ask him on cold and rainy days how I am doing when Frank walks in to work because he already knows based on how his wife is feeling that I'm probably not doing too well either. It's truly a pain that I can't describe, but I am confident that things are going to get better and I will beat this, especially with all of your prayers.

So, to continue my last post...on to other things that have been going on at our house...

We got a new roof this week! I never in a million years thought I would be excited about getting a new roof. Seems so boring, huh? But seriously, our house looks like it has gotten a makeover. I won't post pictures until the makeover is complete because we have many other things that we are going to be working on in the next few weeks, such as pressure washing our siding and landscaping. The outside of our house has been really neglected for the past year, mainly because we had a baby. So now we are ready to get back into the groove of things. Hello summer pool parties, working in the yard, planting flowers, swinging on the porch, etc. It does help that Little Pea's favorite place to be is outside. Although, I'm still trying to figure out what we're going to do with her while we're out there. I welcome any suggestions. I don't think she'd be happy playing outside in a small confined space, like a pack 'n play, but she can't just freely roam because of safety issues (like the pool). She does enjoy the Baby Bjorn, so that helps. Another exciting thing that has recently happened (well, exciting for me) is that I finally got some pants that fit! If you've seen me at church anytime in the past few months, you know what I'm talking about. I've been wearing the same pair of black pants that are way too big for a long time. I have lost a lot of weight since having Little (about 60 lbs). I was about 15 lbs over my normal weight when I got pregnant with her. I didn't gain that much with the pregnancy until the last 2 weeks when I blew up. Seriously, I looked like a different person. I had so much swelling and water weight. Thankfully, breastfeeding, not eating out and staying active with her has helped me to get back to the weight I was when I met Frank.

I didn't want to buy any new clothes because, well, I'm not a big shopper and I just kind of put it off for too long. With Little's nap schedule, it was just always easier to hang out at home. But now that she only takes 2 naps, we have a lot more time to be able to go and do fun things during the day. So, I loaded up Little and we went for a girls' day with my Mom to Bridge Street. It was so much fun and Little had a great time. She hung out in the dressing room at Ann Taylor Loft. She even ate lunch in there. hehehe I was very thankful for the spacious dressing rooms, huge mirrors for her to look in and clean floors for her to explore on.She was having a great time, as you can see.
She even tried to pay for my clothes. What a sweet Little Pea!Her favorite store was the Clark's shoe store. She has definitely inherited her Momma's love for shoes. Anyone that's seen my shoe closet knows what I'm talking about. I used to sell Women's shoes for Parisian (back when it was Parisian...oh, how I miss you...tear) so I managed to rack up quite a collection with my associate discount. Of course, right now I can't wear hardly any of my shoes because of my RA, but that should be better with the summer heat.

Things inside our house have changed in the past few weeks as well. With Little crawling now, she doesn't really like to be confined in her jungle gym anymore. Thankfully, we bought one that transitions to a stage where she can walk around it and crawl under it now. We are having some family pics made next week since Little is turning 9 months old, so I'll have an upcoming post about that.

Until next time,
Love to all...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where to Start...

I realize it's been a long time since my last post. It's not because I haven't had anything to write about. I was just trying to decide if I actually wanted to share what's been going on lately. So, here goes...

I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Let me give you a little background about my health...I am (or was) one of the healthiest people I know. I rarely get sick, and I mean very rarely. I've never really been in any pain (until now). I've never even broken a bone. So all of this came as quite a shock. After I had Amara, I felt great. Even the whole birthing process was amazing and something that I definitely want to do again. About 5 months ago, however, I started having these awful pains. I can't even explain it. It started with just a feeling of soreness, like that feeling you get when you've helped someone move or have done a lot of house painting. I didn't really notice the soreness until the weather started to get cold, I guess in late fall. I even mentioned to my best friend that if I ever was to know what arthritis felt like, this is what I would think it is. Well, the months went by, and I just kept getting more and more sore. Finally, it got to the point where I would be in so much pain that I couldn't even function. Even a blanket was too heavy to pull up over myself at night. I would wake up in the middle of the night in so much pain that Frank would have to rub my arms in order to be able to help me to get some small amount of rest. I was waking up every hour from pain. I could barely walk in the mornings, let alone go down our stairs. Every step felt like my bones were just going to snap into a million pieces. I finally got an appointment with the doctor and he did a blood test. Did you realize that they can actually test your blood to see if you have arthritis? It was surprising to me that they could actually do that, but nice to know that we could have a definitive answer. So, my test came back positive, and my doctor referred me to a rheumatologist. And so begins life with RA.

I am also one who does NOT like medicine. Having worked in the health insurance industry for a few years, I see what medicine and its side effects do to people. I do agree that medicine does have its place, but I feel that it should be closely monitored by those taking it. People need to take more responsibility for educating themselves on what medicines they are taking and the consequences of those, especially if they are on multiple meds. Anyway, my rheumatologist prescribed a VERY mild medication, so mild that it takes up to 3 months to even start working. We had to go this route because I am still nursing and would like to in the future have other children. To treat the RA with anything stronger would not be safe for Amara or for me in the event that I become pregnant in the next few years. So, I am still dealing with a lot of pain while waiting for this medication to work.

In the meantime, I am trying to beat this with natural things. I am taking an all natural supplement that has helped many people with RA to beat the symptoms and come off of all medicine. Frank is also putting his juicer to use by making us some carrot/apple juice. We are going to be experimenting with some other veggies as well because I'm not a big fan of the apple. Believe it or not, I'd rather have straight carrot juice. By the way, did you realize how much of a super food carrots actually are? They are amazingly good for you...and delish!

So, this was just a spout to kind of get you up to speed. Many details were left out, but I'll try to be consistent with updates. Maybe this will even help someone else that might be dealing with the same thing.

I am just praying for complete healing. Doctors will tell you that RA is an auto-immune disease and will never go away, but I say that my God is bigger than that and he can completely heal me. Please pray for complete healing and soon so that I can better take care of my precious little girl and get back to normal for my supportive and patient husband.