Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review of the NIV Pink Bible

Having never reviewed a Bible before, this was a new experience.  But this Bible was a special one because it was made especially for breast cancer survivors.  Zondervan donated a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research.

There were 9 pages of reflections written with the survivor in mind, offering practical advice and encouragement.  I was disappointed that there weren't more of these pages, given that there were no other devotional pages.  I really would have liked to see more of a focus on encouraging survivors throughout the entire Bible, rather than just 9 pages.

What drew me first to the Bible was the beautiful Italian leather cover.  It's a two-toned pink cover and has just enough embellishments to make it pretty and feminine.  I also really love cherry blossoms and was pleased to see that they were included on the reflection pages instead of just on the box.

One of my favorite quotes from the reflections was this:  "However you approach living with breast cancer:  You'll have to dig deep within yourself.  You'll have to scour God's Word for insight.  You'll have to talk to God like never before.  You may have to yell at him in your pain and frustration.  You may need to seek the help of a good counselor.  But a positive outlook can be yours.  Whenever you're ready, it will be there for you to experience and joy."  I think that this is something we can all relate to, no matter what our troubles.

Review of Messy, Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht


Messy Beautiful Love is a marriage book with a biblical perspective.  Darlene Schacht encourages spouses to lift each other up and commit to fixing the problems through discussion and compromise. While that may sound similar to a lot of other marriage books, the difference is that Schacht is constantly pointing the reader back to the Bible and encouraging them to pray for their spouses.

Whatever expectations I had of this book flew right out the window when the first chapter opens with Schacht confessing that she had an affair.  I really didn't expect that and it certainly gave her writing more credibility as she shared what she learned about love from the sin.

I didn't agree with all of what Schacht shared, especially regarding allowing your husband to make all of the decisions for your family--even if you know it's the wrong decision.  Then you are to support him after there becomes a problem.  My feeling is that if I know that a decision would be detrimental to our family, I'm going to speak up!  My husband values my opinions and recognizes that we have different strengths.

The main themes of this book were certainly ones I could get behind.  God should be in the center of your marriage and it needs to be founded on mutual love and respect.  Schacht definitely got that right!

I'm a Book Looks Blogger who receives books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wash Your Hands!!!!

If you haven't heard (because you live under a rock!), Dnterovirus D68 is closing in.  While there haven't been confirmed cases in Maryland yet, I know it's just a matter of time.  This message from the health department confirmed it!

Please, PLEASE wash your hands often! EVD68 is hand sanitizer resistant, which means you HAVE to wash your hands to keep it from spreading. 

And for the love of all things holy, DO NOT send your kid to school sick!! This virus turns bad quickly and it spreads rapidly.  I know that childcare is often an issue and who wants to take a day off, but this is serious here.  Be careful.

Read this too.  Maybe it will help you understand my position. http://allthathathlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/just-a-little-cold/

NO, I'm not overreacting.  What could be s bad cold for your child could be deadly for mine.  It's my reality.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Frederick Friends

Caleb, my super hero!

This is the front of the card a sweet group of Frederick friends sent to Caleb.  This is a group of men and women in the Sunday School class of our wonderful friends, the Reeds.  This group have prayed our family through the last 4 years and send thoughtful cards for birthdays and get well cards to Abby after surgeries.  They are the SWEETEST PEOPLE!  

Recently, they sent Caleb a special card congratulating him on speaking about the Rknald McDonald House in front of a group of 70 high schoolers.  He loved the card!  

Me?  I'm thankful for those who recognize the wisdom and compassion of my little guy.  He's pretty much one of a kind!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sibling Love


They love each other.  And they even color-coordinated for the occasion.  <3 p="">

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Preschool Princess

Abby has been in preschool for two weeks now and is loving every second!  She's so well-adjusted and really enjoys going to school.  In fact, she begged me so much for homework that I've started giving her some to do with Caleb is doing his each day!  She truly loves to learn and soaks it all in.  I love how teachable she is!

Her preschool teachers are awesome and have been so great at dealing with all of the "high-maintenance" issues with Abby.  They know how to hook up the oxygen, they have emergency procedures, and they will Facetime me if they ever have a question about her respiratory status and want me to check on it.  It is SUCH a relief to know that she is in good hands!

Here are a few pictures from her first day of school.  She was so excited to wear her Olaf dress!  

Friday, September 12, 2014

2nd Grade All-Star

This guy has jumped into 2nd grade with two feet!  He has two fantastic teachers, and I'm really impressed with the level of homework coming home.  He has risen to the occasion and is doing a great job.  We have the occasional homework struggle (Mom couldn't possibly know anything about 2nd grade homework!), but he is usually pretty good about it.

He especially loves switching classes for math/science/social studies.  I think that change of scenery has been really good for him.

Unfortunately, he has had a fever and is missing his second day of school in a row today.  Never fear--Mom will make sure the make-up work gets done! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Plan H...or something like that!

I got a call this morning from the nurse practitioner who works with Dr. C at CHOP.  After I called them last week to let them know about the upcoming jaw surgery, Dr. C spoke with the anesthesia team to discuss whether Abby's December 30th VEPTR date would still be okay.  Everyone felt like Abby needed to have everything related to the jaw completed before the VEPTR to keep her as safe as possible during anesthesia.  Since the metal bars will stay in until early March, the VEPTR will need to be postponed until early April.  We also tentatively scheduled the left side of the VEPTR for early August...but we know all too well how that can all change!

I should be used to this by now...

But, I am actually super glad that we have a little break after the jaw surgery instead of jumping right into the VEPTR.  I just don't want to bump these anymore after this.  The VEPTR needs to be done.  And, we have a little girl with big plans to be Elsa in Disney World come next November...no surgery is going to keep her from doing that!!

Review: The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper by Karen Poth

I just love Veggie Tales!!  What's not to love about little vegetables that teach the Bible and good morals?!  As always, Bob is the serious one in the book while Larry gets carried away with his antics.  While trying to lay low in order to figure out who keeps slamming doors, Larry keeps doing things to irritate Bob.  Finally Bob just loses his temper and starts yelling.  Larry lovingly reminds him that it's not good to lose your temper.

Written for young children, this book shares its message very simply.  But that doesn't make it any less important.  The verse, "A foolish person lets his anger run wild.  But a wise person keeps himself under control" (Proverbs 29:11) is shared several times throughout.  Bonus:  the boy remembered when we discussed this verse together last year when he was having some anger issues.  I love when life lessons of reinforced!!

Very cute, simply stated, clear message.  Love it!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jaw, ears, and g-tube...OH MY!

Who knew that these ears were going to start such a whirlwind of phone calls?!?

I called our ENT's office this morning to let him know about the ear tubes and ask if there would be any way to fix them during next week's g-tube revision.  In his wonderful way, Dr. T. called me back himself in less than an hour (seriously, I love this doctor!  He is only second to Dr. S., her pediatrician!).  We talked a lot about Abby's rib surgery and recovery, and he was concerned about her need for post-operative oxygen, since she had never needed it before.  His feeling was that she needed more time to recover before putting her under again.  He emailed her surgeon and I gave the office a call as well.

Again, within an hour, a third surgeon joined in on the conversation.  This time, it was the jaw surgeon who works closely with Dr. T.  Dr. T. had called him because he was wondering if the oxygen requirement proved that Abby needed the jaw surgery sooner rather than later.  After speaking with the plastic surgeon doing the g-tube revision, all 3 agreed that the jaw surgery needed to be done in November rather than waiting until the summer like we had hoped.

So...the jaw distraction will be November 5th.  Titanium plates will be inserted after he jaw is broken on each side.  Her ear tubes and g-tube revision will be done at the same time so that she'll only have to be under anesthesia once.  Abby will be inpatient for roughly 10 days and intubated for around 5 days to give the swelling time to go down.  External screws will be turned daily for several weeks, then the screws will be cut off during an outpatient procedure.  The plates will stay in until late February or March to encourage additional jaw growth.  She will most likely be back in the hospital for a few days when they are removed.

I have no idea how all of this will affect her eating.  Don't even get me started. UGH!!!!

But, if Dr. T. thinks this is a good idea, then we are on board.  I trust him whole-heartedly.  It's a bonus for all 3 surgeons to be on the exact same page.  That rarely happens!

Surgery #9 in exactly 2 months.  She will have just turned 4.  She's been under anesthesia more than the rest of her family put together.  I have such a brave little girl.

Can I just say how thankful I am today for modern medicine?!?  It has kept my little girl alive and thriving!!  Choose joy!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Those darn ears!

Abby has been losing speech sounds and asking us to repeat what we say a lot.  Since she doesn't have an audiology appointment until December, I had the pediatrician check her out.  Turns out, her tubes are sideways in her ear canal, blocking her ear drum!  Yikes.  They aren't being very helpful that way and are actually causing trouble, so they need to come out.  I'm going to call tomorrow to see if they can remove and replace them during her g-tube closure next Thursday.  This will be her 4th set of tubes in 2 years.  I kind of doubt if that will all work out to get it taken care of next week, but a girl can dream!

In other, but related, news...I found my first gray hair the other day.  I named it Abby.

Monday, September 1, 2014

For Caleb

I came across this article yesterday.  I feel like it was practically written for Caleb. 


Life as "the sibling" can be hard and I don't discount how much Caleb has been through.  He walks his own journey as Abby's brother.  When you pray for Abs, please pray for Caleb too!