Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A smile.

As an update to my last post, Jude had his EGD on April 24, 2014. The long-awaited day finally arrived and it could not have gone more smoothly. It's about a five minute drive to the outpatient center where we had it done and the staff were soo good to us. Jude was such a good sport, as always, and didn't complain about us having to wake him up early and wait for a couple hours without being able to eat or drink anything. We know our prayers and the prayers of many friends and family were answered this day. We really felt extra strength with us.

This was probably our smoothest EGD yet. It was our fourth. They let me take Jude all the way into the Operating Room (Scope Room?). I stood by his side, the anesthesiologist put the mask on him, and before he could even fight it he was asleep. He never had to remember me leaving him or even being in that room. They only take about fifteen minutes. It doesn't take long to look at such a tiny little tummy. We anxiously await in the waiting room waiting on the results. The first three times it was not good. We were so hopeful that maybe this time would be different.

We were sitting on the far end of the waiting room and before we knew it Dr. Brigman opened the door. I popped up and waved so she would know where we were. I will never forget seeing this cute lady eagerly trekking across the waiting room with a big smile on her face. I think I turned to Dan and said, "She's smiling!!" There was so much hope. I don't remember exactly what she said, but in a few words she told us that he was all healed and looked "perfect." I instantly burst into tears of joy! I kept asking her in ten different ways to tell me again. We skipped back to the post-operative area and we got to see our baby, who was still under the effects of the anesthesia. They pulled a rocking chair over for me to sit in and put Jude facing me on my lap. He didn't have a hard time recovering like last time. We brought some frozen fruit juice popsicles for him and he munched on those and really liked them. I'm sure they felt good on his sore throat. He was a doll and we were all on cloud nine, including little Abe who was more than willing to go along for the ride and support his big brother and bestest buddy.

Our faithful friend, George, came along for moral support.
So, it looked good but we still didn't know for sure until the biopsy results came back. I got a call while at the park with a bunch of friends and, after having not left my phone for days awaiting this phone call... I missed it. I called the number back and they said their office was closed on Fridays and there was no way to leave a message or speak to anyone unless you pressed the number saying you were a doctor. So I pretended to be a doctor for a second to get through and they were able to transfer me to the nurse. She told me she had good news and that he had ZERO EOSINOPHILS! This was our big goal from day one and we finally achieved it. I don't remember the exact numbers, but he had 80 on his first biopsy (80 thousand, or million, or something.. per high powered field). The second time he had 60 something, the third time he had 25.

So now he is perfectly healed on the inside. We know take him off the steroid he was on (Pulmicort slurry) for about a month and a half... and then the fun begins. We redo allergy testing in mid-June and then start reintroducing foods! The doctor wants to get some hearty things in his diet so, if he tests negative for these things, we will start out with


HELLO! It's very exciting. We will give him beans for one week and if all seems well, we will add rice the next week. If all goes well again, we will add potatoes and then have another EGD. And if it is still clear with zero eosinophils, we will know those foods are safe for him and then we can do it again with more foods! If it is bad again, then that is a huge bummer because you have to take away these foods he was just enjoying. The way I understand it, some people with EoE do well and are able to add more and more foods and it's almost like a positive feedback cycle. While some just continue to reject almost everything they try to add and are left with only a few foods they can eat. Let's hope for the first scenario. I am hopeful this will be the case with Jude since his Eosinophil count went down with each EGD and the second to last one was almost clear. I like to hope there were only one or two things in his diet then that were causing the irritation. We just need to figure out what those things are. I hope he will continue to "grow out" of his allergies and eventually he will have a relatively normal diet and not have to rely so heavily on Neocate for his nutrition.

We are so excited and grateful beyond expression for how he is progressing and how this last EGD went!!! Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes. We truly felt your strength. We are looking forward to our next step and will keep you posted!

One order of toe jam, please.

Let's talk about toe jam. The toe jam of a certain someone, even. 

This little guy has an affinity for toe and finger jam since he was brand new. He has an impressively strong grip and holds on tight to every little cotton/fuzz ball that comes his way. Combine that with his sweaty nature and you have a no-fail recipe. There have been times Dan has given him a bath and as we're getting him dressed we notice big globs of finger jam in his hands. Trying to pry it out is no easy task. I don't know if finger jam has a bad rap, but this boy is turning things around because 


I want to bottle it up and keep it forever. It's like that brand new newborn smell. You just savor it because you know it won't last long. OH! I just remembered it for a second and sigh, my heart. Even if he doesn't have any jam, the inside of his little hands just have the most precious little aroma. As I type this, little Abraham is laying right next to me on my arm with his hand on top of my nose and I am just savoring this little smell. It is indescribable, indeed. I may not always remember exactly how it smelled, but I will always remember loving it and how it reminds me of his innocence and sheer perfection. 

Those lips. Just look at those lips. They are so slippery and soft and just waiting to give Mommy a big wet one. 

And the cheeks. Let's talk about the cheeks... So soft. So squishy. I love to squish my cheek up against his and go to my own little heaven for a second. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

"Happy... Brother's! Day! Abe."

Best friends.

When dreams (might) come true.

Sometimes I dream about dreams that seem like just that, dreams. But life is too practical and too expensive and too far, or whatever it may be, to make those dreams reality.

And then sometimes, just sometimes, you decide you can make that dream real. And you pray that things will fall into place if it's right, and they DO. They do!!! And that far-off, "maybe someday" dream becomes a "where do I sign?" JUNE 10TH dream!!!

And periods replace all those question marks in the many "what if's?" and the "I don't want to get my hopes up; it probably won't work outs..." turn into "is this really working out?!?!s" 

And now my hopes are up and I'm just crossing my fingers waiting for Tuesday at 11:00... when we tour our possibly new apartment! That is e v e r y t h i n g we wanted... and more. Like... washer and dryer, backyard, garage, three-bedroom, open non-galley style kitchen, white-walled perfection. Oh, and did I mention four of our good friends live on the same street?!?! 

We decided a lovely quality of life is a worth a little bit more a month. We sent in our applications without even seeing the property! HELLO! When it's hot, it's hot, and you gotta jump! 

We are touring it Tuesday morning at 11:00 and if we like it and we are the first ones to have sent in an application... It's ours!!!

We move a lot.

But after this, hopefully not for three more years! Because we will be SO HAPPY there!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mother: lover, lion-fighter, pioneer.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but my last weekend was completely overtaken by the Biovideo photo contest and I completely dropped the ball in making the day special for my mom and paying tribute to her like she deserves. I also know that she pretty much spent her entire day and weekend being my campaign manager. And that just furthers my case that my mother is one faithful woman who is dedicated to the success and happiness of her children. And she deserves a shout out.

I got an email about the photo contest and upon seeing there weren't many contestants, I entered on a whim thinking I may actually have a chance. Before I knew it, another girl and I were going head-to-head trying to stay on top. We were usually within one or two votes of each other. We thought it ended Sunday night at midnight so we (my component, my campaign team [my parents], and I) stayed up til midnight trying to get the last votes in before the competition closed. Midnight came and it didn't close. It must be the next time zone over, we thought. 1:00 am came... didn't close. 2:00 am, surely it will close, we thought. 2:00 came and went and it remained open. We realized it didn't end until the next night and midnight. At this point we had put so much heart and soul into it, there was no backing down. More than my desire to win a $100 Sephora gift card was my desire to not have all my time and efforts be in vain. More than that, I knew my parents (especially my mom) had put in countless hours recruiting voters and I didn't want her efforts to be In vain. Why would she put so much time and effort into the contest, you may ask. Not because she so badly wanted me to win the giftcard. Simply because she wanted to support me. It was important to me so it was important to her. She could have easily just taken me to Sephora and gotten me some make-up or put a post up on her Facebook to do her part. But no, she took this on like a mama lion would for her cub. She was going to win this just because she loves her daughter and wants to support her and see her succeed. 

This experience that started out as an innocent contest turned into an experience I'll never forget that proved to me (once again) how much my parents adore their daughter and that there is nothing they wouldn't do for me. She would call me and check on our status. She was determined. I would call her and she would be on the phone with my sixty-something year old uncle walking him through the steps... and it was past midnight! She called friends and family old and new from one coast to the next, probably you! I was just humbled and tickled by her and my sweet dad's efforts for me. These two are a power couple. There is no stopping them. At one point, it was getting late and we were all getting worn out and tired. Every time we would get ahead, our component would get some votes out of nowhere and come back on top. It was getting late and she just pulled another four votes ahead (that's a lot when you feel like you've already pulled out your big guns, and then some). I was on the phone with my dad and he was ready to throw in the towel and just go buy me a gift card. They then firmed up a family more of votes and we were back in the game. My dad called back, as enthusiastic as ever, telling me we were back in the game! It was the forth quarter and we were coming on full court press (or something). He was pumped and ready to do whatever it took to help his daughter win. They were so funny. I can't even tell you! You would have thought I was in my final run of an Olympic race with the support I had behind me!

The contest turned out to be incredibly exhausting. We did win... thanks to you all! Looking back, it was such a fun memory, with or without the gift card. I learned, once again, how loyal my parents are to us. They stand behind me 100% in whatever I'm pursuing. I'm one lucky girl, I tell you. 

And about that gift card, Dan took me to Sephora yesterday and boy, that place will just entrance a girl. For one who wears bareMinerals foundation and a little Target mascara, I didn't even know where to start. I ended up being completely crazy and instead of getting some back-up foundation (the practical choice), I got some SMOKIN HOT fuschia lipstick that has pretty much changed my life. (More to come on that later. I think it deserves a post all it's own)

So after that introduction, I move on to my tribute to my mother.

I am strengthened every day by the fact that I come from a legacy of strong, faithful women.

My own mother is an angel to all who know her. She is everyone's best friend. She is a lighthouse to those in the dark. She is the warm, outstretched hand to those in distress. And above all, she is a fiercely loyal wife and mother to her husband and children. This is something she has taught me through example over the years. Always defend your family. Always speak highly of your family to others. Always put your role as wife and mother first. She would take on lions for her family. And by the end she would have them eating out of the palm of her hand. That's just her. Everyone loves her, whether it's someone who needs a mentor to be their surrogate mother figure or a customer service representative in Milwaukee giving her a discount and a rebate, just because they like her.

I am forever grateful for all my dear mother has taught me. I am following in faithful footsteps and am so incredibly blessed to have such a heritage of strong women before me.

That leads me to her mother. Her mother was the epitome of an angel on earth. She was soft-spoken and meek and loved her family dearly. She spent her life in quiet service and humble faithfulness as she served her family and stayed true to the Gospel. She taught my mother how to be a loving wife and mother, and those lessons have now been passed down to me and for that I am grateful.

My father's mother is a woman I admire in many ways. She not only was the most classy, beautiful woman who carried herself with grace and lit up every room she entered, she was unapologetically faithful and strong. She raised six boys and a girl, oftentimes without the help of her husband who was in dental school and the Stake President over an area that covered more than one state. She was remarkably strong and no-nonsense, yet she was poised and beautiful and always seemed to have her ducks in a row. She remained unwavering in her faithfulness to the Gospel she knew to be true. She loved her family with a passion and adored her husband, Garth.

But it goes back further than this. Both those women were preceded by women who were rocks of faith themselves. One particular woman who has truly impacted me is Elizabeth Simpson Haugh Bradshaw, my forth great-grandmother. She literally gave up every material possession and opportunity she had to follow the Prophet's call to go to Zion and trek across the bitter, forsaken cold of winter with her children (and without her deceased husband). Her story is one that I hold dear to my heart. I often picture this powerhouse of a woman standing on the bow of that ship in England with her arm held to the square and her children behind her, boldly testifying of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel. Her story is depicted in the stirring film, Ephraim's Rescue. You can read the biography of her, written by her granddaughter, here.

I am an heir to greatness from these beautiful women. How could I not move forward in faith as I embrace my role as a mother? How could I not think of these women and be empowered by their courage as I face my own challenges? I am a mother. The mothers who have come before have left me the greatest gift of their legacy. It is something I cherish and will never forsake. The faith of my own precious mother and my grandmothers past is an unseen power that strengthens me and gently encourages me along as I forge my own path and try my best to write my own story that can be added to theirs.

Friday, May 16, 2014

three months of abraham.

Oh my dear Abraham. You are three months old! Wasn't it just yesterday I was singing you "Happy Birthday" all day to celebrate your first two months of life? I don't know how time goes so fast but I do know that I love you about a million times more than I did then. Just because you are so endearing with every little thing you do. And every little moment I have with you just strengthens and deepens my love for you. I try to describe your personality and I have a hard time putting it into words. You just have the most tender little heart. When you get frightened by a loud noise, a little frown slowly forms on your face and you burst into tears. Heartbreaking doesn't even begin to describe it! You are content just hanging out... whether it's tummy time, laying by the bathroom so I can shower, laying on the floor while Jude plays, or rocking in the swing being enchanted by the moon and stars going by. You're a patient little soul and you bear all your brothers hugs and rough housing and games with long-suffering. You have learned to be on guard when your big brother comes around. You put your dukes up and get a little nervous if you can't see your mama. And you might even be starting to like it a little!

You rolled over for the first time on April 26 at 9 weeks old and have been doing it almost every day since! You also roll from your back to your side a lot and even onto your tummy once! You grab onto things and will even pull your Occe up into your mouth. You're still sleeping with us and are getting better at napping during the day.

You are full of smiles, coos, and laughs. You get so happy just to see us and it thrills you just when we come over and talk to you. You are easy-going and easy to please. You still aren't a huge fan of going out and about unless it's family walks. You are really making your way right into Jude's heart. The other day Jude and I went out by ourselves and he said, "I miss Abraham. Abraham come?" He often says, "I miss mine baby Abraham/Abe." The day after Mothers Day he came up to you and said, "Happy Brothers Day Abe! I love mine baby Abe. Aww... I miss you." He will just look at you and say, "aww..." in the most cutesy little voice. He definitely likes having you around! We all do! We love you sooo much.

For his picture this month...

1: He's holding Daddy's hand. If we are driving and he's upset, often the only thing that consoles him is to hold on to my finger.

2: Nasal aspirator. I got a cod/flu of some sort and was sick as a dog for a weekend. I, regrettably, gave my sweet little angel my cough, but thankfully it didn't turn into anything more for him!

3. MyBiovideo photo contest. This contest was so fun and funny and I owe it all to the little boy in the picture! He was patient with me while I devoted so much time to my campaign! We also went on a little mommy/son date to pick up our prize and that was a lot of fun!

Jude had a photoshoot too... :)

One of his favorite games... his "I'm sick" face

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Witte.

Sometimes you're blessed with a really beautiful subject and the job of photographer is really easy. I just had to throw that out there. Anywho, Tuesday's are free museum days here at the Witte Museum and the Museum of Art. We went to the Witte and we were thrilled with it! Jude has a Curious George book when George visits the "Dinosaur Museum." We told Jude we were going to the museum so he immediately thought it had to be a dinosaur museum! I explained to him that it was not but it would still be fun. We were all overjoyed when we saw a BIG DINOSAUR statue outside the museum and a dinosaur skeleton inside!! Jude was right. And I'm so glad.

He gets really wide-eyed when we visit places like this. He just quietly and inquisitively takes it all in. We found a schaveet (new) double stroller (Graco Classic Connect, would most certainly recommend) on Craigslist and it has been so nice to have. Our car seat is a Maxi Cosi and it fits fine! We are in business on family outings.

Examining river creatures

Excuse me... does anyone know where my baby went and who this grown-up little boy is?

Thank you, Witte Museum, for contributing to our learning and overall enjoyment of life. We are looking forward to going back and seeing the HEB Body Adventure in the Science Treehouse!!

Monday, May 12, 2014


I feel like a queen today. With all the attention on mothers, I feel empowered by the fact that I hold that title.
Although billions of women share this calling with me, it makes it no less revered or reverenced.

I am a mother.

I am honored to be called upon to raise two incredibly beautiful and special spirits and sons of GOD. Yes. Two sons of God have been entrusted to be raised under my care. What a blessing and a great responsibility!

Mary, the mother of Jesus, became a mother in the most humble and lowly of circumstances. It is only fitting that motherhood, although the most important calling one can hold, it often (dare I say always) under appreciated and certainly far from glamorous. Our days are filled with early morning and late nights, dirty diapers and dishes and floors, cries that only we can hush, and dry showers and dusty makeup. Yet they are also filled with sweet storytimes, slobbery little kisses, baby smiles, innocent, heartfelt laughs, and the most sincere and simple declarations of love.

To be a mother... there is nothing greater. I hold my motherhood deep in my heart and would trade it for nothing.

Also, I'm in a Mother's Day photo contest that ends tonight! I am neck and neck for the lead so please vote for me/have your friends & family vote for me, and share this photo!!!