Friday, April 29, 2011

Seven Months

My cutie is seven months old...closer to one than a newborn. She celebrated the auspicious day by cutting a tooth. This is unaccountably exciting to me. It takes no talent to get a tooth, and as far as I know most every baby cuts them. And yet there I was, squealing to everyone who would listen about the new arrival.

We also celebrated her 7 month birthday by taking her into the pool. She was not really a fan. The water was 82 degrees, which is probably not warm enough for her discerning little self. Maybe we'll try again when it gets to 85 or so.

I noticed that she has been sleeping better in the last few days, and I wonder if her short naps were due to teething. I can never identify teething except in hindsight.

The girls are sharing sisterly confidences.

Everyone wanted to get in on the photo session. One day I will get a picture with all of them looking and smiling at the same time!

We are doing a bit better around here. Vance has had some more fatiguing days, as we expected, but the second half of the week has not been as exhausting as previous weeks. I started to get sick yesterday, but slept for 11 hours last night, and that seemed to stave it off. Thank goodness! Overall I think we're feeling a little more hopeful that Vance is (slowly) mending.

Thanks again for all your prayers and care--we have felt very loved by you all!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vance: An Update

Many of you have expressed your concern for Vance over the last few weeks--here's an attempt to fill you in on what's going on with him.

We are on week 6 or so of the relapse (or so we think), and about to hit the 3 month mark for the total virus run. It seems these days that Vance has several good days in a row (usually Mon-Wed), followed by the rest of the week in bed (usually Thurs--Sun, it seems). The well/sick periods don't seem to have any correlation to rest/sleep/eating habits, etc. Right now he's having one of his good days, and I have learned to just be thankful for those without expecting this to be the beginning of the end. We're both learning a lot of patience.

He went to see the immunologist last week, and that was very discouraging for me. Basically he told Vance, "On the scale of 1-10, you're a 10! Everything about you looks perfect. There's nothing wrong with you!" Except of course, there is. The immunologist even seemed skeptical about the CMV diagnosis, leading me to wonder if we were dealing with some dark horse disease that nobody knew about. It didn't help that after he went to the doctor, the rest of the week was pretty rough.

We decided to send him to his regular physician on Monday to get his blood drawn again. While the first titer indicated CMV, it takes a second test to confirm. If we know it's CMV, then at least we know what to do...wait. If it's not, then we start the search. His doctor said there was no obvious alternate his words, if it's not CMV, figuring out what's wrong would be "like hunting zebras." I'm assuming zebras are hard to catch? :) At any rate, it will take a week or two for the test results to come back.

Last week was pretty difficult, I must say. I was exhausted, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had all these expectations that weren't being met. I expected Vance to be making some sort of progress toward health. I expected the immunologist to be helpful. I expected the kids to understand that we were in emergency mode, and act like perfect little angels in consequence. All of those went unmet.

I have been fighting for faith, hope, joy, peace...but last week seemed to show more losses than wins. I felt like I was drowning in chaos, crying out to God and hearing only silence in return. In desperation, I have started to get up 45 minutes earlier so I can have a more profitable time with the Lord before everyone is up and the day is running away with itself. That has helped. But ultimately, the Holy Spirit has been comforting me and reminding me of my identity--not in my failures, but in Christ who is my "all in all".

Vance has been struggling somewhat with discouragement, weariness, etc...but overall he has been so patient and longsuffering through this whole process. He continues to express his trust in God in all the ups and downs. Amazing.

I'm still having difficult days (like today, when I'm starting to feel sickish myself--noooooo!), but my feet are touching bottom. Hiding myself in Christ is feeling more like a reality, less like mere words. And that is worth everything.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Happy Easter

Sunday was the best day of the year. I did not really understand that until I became an adult, but now Resurrection Sunday (as my mom so rightly insisted) is my favorite holiday. I think I've said that before.

This year I celebrated by bouncing babies and rocking infants and changing diapers. You should have seen me trying to get everyone into their Easter finery, putting a hot cross bun and a banana into each sleepy hand, and piling them all in the car by 7:45! Vance stayed home until the second service so he could rest, which partly explains why this Easter shot of the kids is so haphazard (and this is the "best" one I got!). It doesn't really show off the heirloom dresses that Granny smocked for us girls growing up, but it does show that we were alive and well, at least. I didn't have an assistant for this one...and Isaac let Eve roll into the dirt afterwards :(. Fortunately she wasn't hurt in the slightest, and didn't even cry.

I'm working on taking some shots to enlarge for our very undecorated church nursery...and I got one halfway good one of Evie :)

I had a lot to be grateful for on Sunday. Firstly, the resurrection--Christ's and mine. Secondly, that Vance was well enough to come to church and enjoy the rest of the day with us instead of in bed. Thirdly, friends to come over and celebrate with good food, lots of little kid chaos, and fun in the pool. Fourthly, for my very comfortable bed that I crashed into by 10pm :).
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Family Shoot

Everyone wanted to be a photographer this morning! Here's my picture.
Vance's work.
Isaac's picture.
And Claire's. You should have seen Claire try to shoot a camera approximately as large as her torso! So funny :)
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Our Strawberry Girls

Their first matching outfits are, appropriately, strawberry dresses. I tried to get a few shots before church this morning.
"Behold, the baby!"
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eve & Great Grandma

These are the pictures I meant to post last time...not sure why they didn't show up. I meant to get some more of Eve with her 2 other great-grandmothers when we were in NC, but I didn't check my camera battery before we left. Phooey on me.
Aren't they so cute together?
Thanks for coming, Grandma. We love you!
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

6 Months

Well, I'm a bit behind, and my baby is really 6.5 months. Close enough, right? :) These pictures, however, were taken right at 6 months. My grandmother, grandfather, aunt, and 3-year old cousin came for a visit before my other cousin's wedding. It was so fun to see my mom's side of the family. We don't see enough of them...maybe one of these days we'll have to plan the family road trip extraordinaire and get all the way up to PA.
Eve got her 6 month checkup this week, and she has clocked in as a petite wee thing. Except for her head...apparently she's got mine :/ Length: 26 in" (42%) Weight: 15 lbs (22%) Head: 17.5" (94%) Since I'm pretty sure that she doesn't really belong in the 22nd percentile, we're beefing up her feedings a little. Seeing her weight drop in the curve always makes me nervous, but at this point I'm doing all I can to keep my supply up. I'm just not one of those powerhouse mamas with milk to spare, I guess. Unlike many of my friends :) At 6 months, Eve is adept at sitting, and she is so stinkin proud of herself for this accomplishment. She will often sit without toys, just grinning at anyone coming near her. She is starting to reach for EVERYTHING, and I predict she will be active like her predecessors. Crazily enough, she has skipped rolling from back to front. She has no interest in doing so whatsoever. My pediatrician doesn't seem concerned. She has also decided to make naptime a battle, which is disappointing, to say the least. Things are improving, but she is no longer taking that blissful 3-hour afternoon nap. I guess I shouldn't have expected it to last :). She is talking a lot these days, still gives her biggest smiles to her brother and sister, and loves to be held 24/7. I cannot believe you have been with us for half a year, sweet girl! We can't imagine life without you and your smiles.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It's been about a month since I've posted. And we are still alive. But it's been a rough patch.

Early on in February, Vance had some weird virus...if you were at the kids' birthday party, you might have noticed that Vance spent a good part of the party hiding in the bedroom. That's kind of how the last two months have been...Vance collapsing in bed every free second there is, and me trying to hold everything else together without succumbing into the pity parties I am unfortunately prone to.

That sounds really bad, and I don't mean to make it more dramatic than it is. Much of life looks somewhat normal. Vance still holds babies and functions on a basic level, so it's not like he's an invalid. He even had a week or two that felt pretty normal in the middle there, but I think he worked himself into the ground at that point, and the relapse (if that's what it is) has been worse than the initial virus. His doctor diagnosed him with a different strain of CMV than he had four years ago. It's a relative of mono.

Adding insult to injury, we both got the stomach flu two weeks ago, right after a slew of company. It was the first time we had ever been sick together. It was pretty pathetic--both of us shivering in bed with 104 temperatures. We were so desperate we had to call some friends to come to our contagion-filled house to take the kids for the morning. They came in looking like a HAZMAT team with their masks on :). Thank God for friends, especially when family is a day's drive away. We muddled through, but I think that second virus pretty much stripped Vance of his last reserves.

With all that, Vance was unable to fly to Spain/Italy for his work trip. I was able to get everything together so we could at least spend a week in NC for a little R&R. Vance got a lot more rest in than he does around here--as hard as I try, life with 3 kids ages 5 and under is just not the most peaceful environment! All that rest didn't get him where we had hoped, though, and he's still dragging.

So you can pray with us that this virus would end. Soon. And that we would both fight the discouragement and fears that creep up. Vance's doctor recommended that he see an immunologist to try to get to the bottom of this mysterious thing. So we're going to take that next step. But our real (only!) hope is Jesus, our advocate and healer.

Thanks for praying.