Sunday, March 31, 2013

We're so glad when Daddy comes home...

Where did my blog go?! I lost it for a while. Thank goodness we have found each other again. I was feeling a nagging void in my life.

Daddy (he's "Daddy" to me know. It is the most endearing name I have for him. It's funny how that happens.) went to Texas for a quick overnight trip (or "business trip" as we liked to say &act all grown up about) for an interview at the Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio, TX. We missed him. It was worth staying up past bedtime for him to get home. He brought us PRESENTS!!! Now that's a Daddy. Jude was bamboozled to receive his very own cowboy hat. He has always been intrigued by his daddy's. And I got my very own Mystical Horsies of San Antonio shirt! How funny is that. He knows I am drawn to these type of shirts, it's up there with my Wolves Howling at the Moon shirt. (It all started out as a joke but no one knows but me so now I'm just one of those people who wears shirts with wolves howling at the moon.) I embrace it. Jude loves the shirt. Everytime I wear it and everytime he re-notices I'm wearing it he points and oohs and has now learned to "neigh" and "click, click, click, click" with his tongues to make a horse galloping sounds. I wore every day for four days after I got it just to make Jude happy. It's now been washed and ready for it's next marathon.

There was a whole-lotta-luv in this household when Daddy got home. We were all giddy and smiley and happy to be together again. We had a nice celebratory dinner (no chicken involved) and shared stories.

We love our Daddy. These past few months have been hard for all of us, but especially for him. Our lives have been uprooted and especially his. He has stayed positive and optimistic and hard-working through it all. 

And guess what?!?!

Since I'm so behind on my blog, you don't even have to wait for the next news...

He was accepted! And received a scholarship!

You go Dr. Dan and make that look so easy. We are still waiting to hear back from UAB and hoping to hear something this week. We were told we'd hear back in mid-March so we're feeling a little high and dry over here. So, once we hear from UAB we can finally start to make some decisions around here and figure what we are going to do with our lives!!

Let it be written, let it be done.

Monday, March 18, 2013

dandy lion delight

A few words that come to mind when trying to describe how things have been around here lately...

disaster area

Dan's surprise call from The Dean of Admissions at UAB Optometry School on a Sunday night
No, that was not an announcement... unfortunately.
A big mistake was made when dealing with his letters of recommendation which has turned this whole thing in a slight nightmare.
One round trip ticket to San Antonio, TX... departure: Friday
One little baby with a stomach bug, on top of a new diagnosis, and a haggard mother trying to... just trying.
This precious child has been through enough.... PLEASE!!!!?!!!
Dan working seven days a week and having to work with a couple icky people talk about crude things and use vulgar language
A home that was r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s.l.y pig-pennish. It has been out of control. 

Other words to describe these little lives over here...


Dan standing up to prevously mentioned people at work and asking them to not talk like that around him and that is was offensive to him. (They were respectful &I am so proud of him for standing up for what's right)
I met with the Dietician today. She is a saint. We talked for an hour and she has helped me greatly.
Heavenly Father answering little prayers, like "Please bless Jude that he will sleep while Mom has gone to see the Dietician (as he has been sick and throwing up all day) so Daddy can sleep in the other room (after a long night of work) and that he can keep his food down and get some rest..."
Starting tomorrow I am DAIRY-FREE... this is big for me. I'm doing it for my little Jude. I don't want to wean him. He will stop when he's good &ready. :)
Dan staying home from work and it ending up being a perfect blessing.
A job interview
Jude took three baths today (He loves to say "no" and wants to stay in the tub forever)

Two nights ago as I was getting Jude ready for bed, he was lying there so contently on the carpet. I was lathering his body up in a thick layer of coconut oil &he was just laughing and smiling. I said, 

"Why are you so happy? Is it because you love your mommy so much?"

He looked up at me and said, plain as day...


It wasn't "no" and it wasn't any other word, it was yeah. He whole-heartedly agreed.

the big moment for me today:

I was speaking with the dietitian and she told me about the Facebook group for parents of children with EE. She told me not to be surprised if I see people on there from Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, or other states in the area because their clinic are the specialist of EE in the entire region. 

And we live 25 minutes away in little old Boiling Springs. And we ended up here and we thought it was for Dan... didn't work it. It was for Jude. Heavenly Father sees the big plan. He knew what Jude would be going through and that we needed to be here.

Overwhelmed with gratitude.

This blog post is slightly confusing, but so is life. Especially ours lately. 

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet EoE.

Our sweet little Jude has not been growing like he should. He got an EGD (a scope that goes through the stomach and looks at the esophagus, stomach, &duodenum and takes pictures and they get biopsies, or samples of tissue) yesterday and showed all the signs of 
Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE).

This is an inflammatory disease of the esophagus where Eosinophils, or white blood cells, build up in the esophagus as a response to allergens. This can cause many different symptoms, but in Jude has caused vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and poor weight gain. We are waiting to hear back form the doctor on the results of the biospy, which will definitively diagnose the disease. From there, we will go to an allergist and get more in-depth testing to find out his allergies so we can eliminate them. That is how it is treated, just eliminating whatever is causing the eosinophils to flood to the esophagus. We have already had allergy testing done and we eliminate those foods, so there has to be something else we are unaware of. I am thankful that we are getting answers and progressing towards figuring out what is going on so we can fix it and get our little boy growing! I as most worried about not being able to give Jude anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure, wake him up early and no be able to feed him (he usually nurses at 5:30 and when he wakes up), then drive over 30 minutes to the hospital (he does not care for his carseat). I thought he would be hysterical and miserable... but he wasn't. :) He was happy and cheerful and patient and sweet. He had fun in the waiting room and playing with the glove was probably one of the highlights of his life. He absolutely loved it! He was not the happiest little camper after the procedure but soon all was well and he even endured the ride home like a champion!

Dan: "I learned this in Medical School... old pediatric trick." Rachael: "You did?!?!" Dan: "No... Patch Adams..."

The group of GI doctors we are seeing are specialists in this disease and we feel so incredibly thankful that we are here to be able to see them. Maybe this is why we have ended up here in South Carolina at this time. We have received superior and timely treatment. Every doctor and especially those involved in the EGD yesterday could not have been better. Having the CRNA take my baby away was hard but trusting them and having confidence in them made it okay. I have been the health care provider and I have been the patient, but being the mother of the patient is completely different and so much more difficult. I feel incredibly indebted to the our doctor, the anesthesiologist  the two nurse anesthetists, and the nurses who took care of Jude yesterday and will forever be grateful to them for choosing the careers they have and dedicating their lives to helping others and taking pride in what they do.

It is so hard seeing Jude struggle in any way. I know it is harder for us, as his parents, at this point because he has never appeared to be in any pain, he doesn't even know he is missing any foods, he doesn't mind that he is smaller, and he is overall perfectly healthy and happy besides the occasional vomiting. It could be so much worse. I am so thankful we are getting this diagnosed and treated while Jude is so young so we can do everything we can to treat it and increase our chances to get rid of it! 

As I have been researching and starting to let myself get a little worried, this video came to my mind. It brought me so much peace as I watched it. What an absolutely amazing girl. I am thankful to have answers. I am thankful for my perfect child and the health and strength that he does have. I am thankful for all we know about EoE and how far it has come in the past few years and we are being treated how we are. I am thankful that we are moving forward and doing everything in power to help Jude. Most of all, I am thankful for faith in our eternal plan, that no matter how hard life is and how difficult these trials are, and no matter what the outcome is, we are being watched over and protected by our Heavenly Father. Our Savior knows every pain and sadness we have been through and as we turn to him, we will be made whole. 

I am ready to face this and do absolutely anything to take care of my sweet, precious child!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

She's a Mormon.

I love this woman. She is confident, courageous, and stays true to her beliefs. Inspired? Check!

Hi I'm Nadia | Convert, Muslim, Iranian, Middle Eastern, Persian, Pakistani, Mormon.

bread, "boo," &buddies

The title of tihs post sounds like a great name for a Cake Boss episode. I wish I lived through a cake boss episode! My back is hurting from throwing a dinner together in record time so we could eat before Dan left for his meeting (Parmesan Honey Pork, mashed potatoes, &green beans!) and I'm savoring my time to rest before my sweet baby arises ready to play. I'm so behind on my blog so this will be much more than bread, boo &buddies! First of all, Dan got a job! It comes with a story too good to pass up.

It was February 28th and we had not been to the temple yet that month. So we seized the day and off we went. Our temple is two hours away and Jude has a unfortunately consistent history of throwing up in the car and being completely miserable. We try to avoid long trips with him but we weren't going to let another excuse get in our way! I had called the temple a couple of days prior &made appointments for Dan to go in for about an hour and then I would and we would switch off watching Jude outside. It was our first time to the Columbia Temple so we had the directions pulled up on Dan's laptop (smart phone/GPS-less over here). Jude had been miserable &was at his wit's end. I, mistakenly, gave him an apple to nibble on and entertain him as a last resort. Bad idea! I have officially learned my lesson. As we were getting off the freeway and nearing our destination, Jude started throwing up and throwing up and throwing up. I couldn't take it so I took him out of his car seat and held him on my lap and he just continued to throw up, now all over me &the car. (In all honesty, it doesn't bother me a bit!) Dan had the laptop propped up on the passenger seat trying to read the directions as he is driving and worrying about his sick baby &frazzled wife. The phone rings. It was a lady calling about a job opportunity for Dan. It kept cutting out....

"Mr. Mulder, would be willing to accept ______ at Fehr____ doing manuf____?"

"Umm, sure..."

"Okay, can you start tonight?"


So Dan got a job in the midst of the storm and we found the temple shortly after. Dan went in to get started. Five minutes later I was still in the car trying to get Jude clean when Dan appears at my side informing me that the temple is closed for the next five hours and we can't do anything. I had him go double-check and inform the man that I had made appointments! Yes, we were a few minutes late but there still should have been time for at least one of us. They found our appointments but the man must have been confused because he made them 15 minutes apart! Not enough time... So we kindly asked them if we could at least read scriptures in the lobby. Dan went in and read while I fed Jude lunch (who was feeling 100% by that point). Then Dan watched Jude and I read in Alma and got to know the Temple President. He showed one of the sealing rooms and told me a sweet story about an elderly lady who had painted one of the beautiful paintings in the foyer. We knew Heavenly Father was grateful for our effort even though it did not go quite as planned! On the way home I prayed fervently that Jude would sleep the entire way. That's one of those prayers that was totally my will, but I think it was his too because he slept about 80% of the way home. All is well in Zion.

So Dan started his seven-day-a-week job as a quality inspector for Fehrer, who makes the foam seats for another company who puts the whole seat together and then sells them to BMW. Since he joined, they have been able to get a day off, thank goodness! He has made some nice friends and hasn't minded it too much. Tonight he is switching to night shit. He will go to his class every morning after work and then come home and sleep!

A few weeks ago I attempted to make bread for Jude. Wheat-free, egg-free, milk-free. It's not as easy task. I baked a brick so I blended it up and made bread crumbs. I asked the breadmaker of the house to help me and ta-da! It turned out perfectly. He tweaked the recipe to his liking and even used the bread machine! He is amazing. The bread tastes delicious, too. Enjoy Jude!

A classic game of Peek-A-Boo before bed. This is the first time he initiated it. He was so cute. He would cover his cheeks and his ears and everything else. We have so much fun with our baby. He has the heartiest laughs ever when Daddy's around!

Some friends :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

loving him was red...

Last Monday for Family Home Evening we sang "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock," said a quick prayer, and Dan began the lesson. We haphazardly flipped through the Ensign and pointed to all the pictures of Jesus, repeating his name and try to teach Jude little snippets about his life. Jude was energetically running from one side of the living room to the next, climbing onto &off of the couches, and riding his pink plastic pony. As we were finishing up &wondering if it was all for naught, we found one last picture of Jesus and called Jude's attention to it. He walked over and very purposefully leaned his head in and gave Jesus a big kiss. What?! He was listening! He innocently taught us a powerful lesson of his spiritual intuition. He knows Jesus. Of course he does...

Tonight, Dan was at work all evening and Jude and I played in his room. Jude was fiddling with the iPod so I turned it on for us, Red by Taylor Swift. We both got all giddy-like and started dancing and giggling. He threw his arms up in the air and repeatedly opened and closed his hands. He then clenched them in the tightest fists he could muster and as his whole little body trembled he slowly lowered them down to his sides. Funniest and cutest. New dance move. He then ran over to me and collapsed in my arms for a hug and the tears began (mine). The love I have for this child is the most indescribable, unwavering love I have ever experienced. Never a disappointment. Never an argument. Never a misunderstanding. Only the most pure, unadulterated love. A foundation of perfection to build on, so any future disappointments, arguments, and misunderstandings could never alter my feelings for him. Like air in my lungs and blood in my veins I need him and he needs me. After a stress-inducing doctor's visit and blood draw experience from little arms earlier that day, this moment with my baby was everything I needed to remind me what truly matters. That every and any joy and life's goal or dream will be fulfilled right here in my home, in these quiet moments in our PJ's. Not at a graduation or an award's ceremony or in a bank account, but right here.

I am learning so many lessons. As I look back on the days and months and years, I realize I am happy with who I am and I am becoming the woman I want to be. I am so ridiculously thankful for how Heavenly Father is molding me and teaching me and helping me. I could say so much but it is past midnight, my weary bread-winning husband is falling fast asleep by my side, and Jude will be singing to me in a few short hours. With that thought, good night!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

a perfect [snowy] day.

A perfect day over here in the little house at the end of the cul-de-sac on JB Drive. We love it here... sigh. Dan made these deliciously from scratch cinnamon rolls with what seemed to me as little to no effort on his part. (He has honed all my homemaking skills.) It was one of those stay-in-your-pajamas/dance-to-Daddy's-electric-guitar-tunes/rumor-of-snow days. We were expecting some frozen rainy droplets and were pleasantly surprised to first find a pleasant little snowy drizzle, that kept coming, and kept coming until the floor was covered &it was nothing short of a winter wonderland. It wasn't long before we were all bundled up and Jude's wishes came true as we went outside to get a little snowy. He wasn't quite sure about it all &wanted to stay close to Mama &Papa. It felt like Narnia in our woods. It was magical. 

"Please... can we go?!?!"

The Ledford's dog, Aly, and Cesar hiding in his house :)

Jude and I went in after a little while so he wouldn't get too cold. We dried off and watched Daddy through the front window. It wasn't long before we had the couch pulled up right in front of the window like we were watching a movie out front. We watched Daddy skim board, build a snowman, and throw snowballs at the window. Jude was giggle and laugh and wave like crazy every time we saw him. We enjoyed our snow day &can't wait for the next one! :)

Owan the Snowman