Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Chance!

Somebody's turning 3 today

Yesterday before we left our family in Austin, we celebrated Chance's birthday.
As you may recall, the "real" birthday party will be in June at the half.
But we had a great time. Chance got Thomas, Thomas, and more Thomas.
And here's the video of the singing:

3 years ago today, I had my only picture perfect delivery, and my only baby under 8 pounds (he was 7 pounds 2 ounces). And don't tell Chandler, but Chance is still my baby. Actually they all are (right, Moms?! Anyone with more than one kiddo knows...). And now he's growing to be so big. He's so full of joy, full of fun, and has the most hilarious laughs! Although I complain about his sassiness, he's really a happy and compliant child most of the time. He's the most affectionate one, too. Oh how I cherish this kid!

Happy Birthday, Chancey! We love you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Creativity Meltdown

Today I got a reality check. (Yes, I'm venting. Maybe it'll offset all the sappiness of my previous post ;)

Chuck's mom is a very creative person, and was very good at teaching her children to be creative. I've always admired that, and have had a goal to cultivate that in my boys as well. The only problem is, I'm not very crafty. I have neither the talent nor the patience for such things. And currently my life is so consumed with keeping up with housework, I really have no time.

But last week the boys missed out on an invitation to decorate Christmas cookies at a friend's house because they were sick, so I thought I'd make it up to them by having us make our own, and deliver them to neighbors and friends tomorrow.

Overly ambitious, as usual.

So, this morning I got Charlie and Chance to help me make the dough. With Chandler on my hip, we managed to mix it all together, despite the fact that Chance had several time outs for whining and crying about every little thing.

Then we get to the table, where I've taped wax paper down. Which Chance promptly pulls up. I set the dough down. He starts putting his fingers in it. These sorts of things keep occurring until I finally restrict Chance to having to stand by me until I have everything ready. Every time I would get his dough flattened, he'd stick his fingers (or pretzel!) in it, and we'd have to start all over. Anyways, we make it thru that, and thru cutting the cookies. Charlie is actually quite good at it, and did a lot of it without even needing my assistance, which was a pleasant surprise.

I set the cookies in the oven, and Chance continues to whine (this time because he doesn't want to wait for the cookies to bake before he eats them), so I tell him it's time for him to go to bed. I scurry him upstairs, hoping to only take a moment to get him to sleep. And since it's "rest time" and Charlie has been obedient, I tell Charlie he can get some books to read instead of taking a nap. But his reaction is...far from obedient. So, a few spankings later, he and Chance are both in bed, and instructed to take naps. All the while, the cookies are burning in the oven. Lovely.

Up next is icing and sprinkles...I'm not sure I even wanna go there. Ha! Wish me luck. Or at least an extra helping of patience.

And the next time I plan to do something creative with my kids...please remind me of this day. Thanks... :)

Monday, December 22, 2008


Before there were diapers everywhere. Back in the days when I managed to shower often. When the idea of kids to fill my home with laughter, and destroy every ornament on the Christmas tree, seemed so far off. In an era where I thought an all-nighter for a final exam was the definition of "sleep deprivation." When I was young...I fell in love with this man:

The younger years

And on the day of this photo, a mere 4 weeks into our dating relationship...he accompanied me to a friend's wedding. And when I gushed over how cute a kid there was, he said, "You want some of those?" and I nearly fainted. But then...he surprised me by pulling me into a jewelry store. I was in such shock, I could barely remember my name, much less choose a wedding ring. But many stores later, I finally settled on one. It was platinum, small, and had with a small band of 3 diamonds to go with it. Seemed perfect to me, for this Scripture seemed to be our motto for our future:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

It had become apparent to me that if I was going to be able to take the plunge and enter into a marriage covenant, it was going to be with God's help. There was no way we could succeed on our own. So, this ring seemed perfect, with 3 diamonds on the smaller band, signifying God, Chuck, and me. The cord of 3 strands.

But the next day, Chuck showed me another ring. It was his grandmother's. When his grandfather passed away years before, she had given her rings to Chuck. It was a small platinum ring set, nearly identical to the one I had chosen. And one of the only times I ever cried about being engaged, was the first time she saw her ring on my finger and talked about how beautiful it all was.

Sorry, I digress..

Anyways, 5 months later, here we go:

The younger years

And now, this year we celebrated 9 years of marriage. And like a good pair of shoes, it just keeps getting better with time.

And now

All 3 boys stayed with Nana for 36 hours while we had 2 days to ourselves (THANK YOU NANA!!). And during our weekend, Chuck surprised me a second time by pulling me into a jewelry store. This time he did the picking, so my shock didn't hinder the situation. He had picked out a pearl necklace and earrings for me, which I love. They go well with the wedding bands, too.

Speaking of the wedding bands... The smaller band has 5 diamonds. Not 3. It was almost like a prophecy - the 2 of us and now our 3 boys. Our completed family.

Next year, we plan on creating a matching top band, to add to the set. So when we pass it on (hopefully to Charlie's firstborn son), we'll have contributed. It'll be a small band guessed it...3 diamonds. Signifying the only way to have a successful marriage.

I love you, Chuck. Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Newest things

(I've been adding to this post for over a week now, and it's completely random...but I wanted to remember these things...)


Chandler has started that "night night" thing, where anytime he sees a pillow or blanket and lays his head on it, and looks at us smiling while we say "Night night, sweet baby." And sometimes when he won't stop doing it, I realize the poor child really wants me to put him in his bed. ha!


He also has awakened me with laughing and saying "Dadada" instead of crying lately. So fun! Today he slept and played in his crib for 3 hours!! I even got dinner done with so much time on my hands (in a crock pot).


At the doctors office this week, he checked in with 80% for weight (22.5 pounds), 90% for height (28.5 inches tall) and off the charts for head size! Charlie was the same way, so I'm not concerned.


Conversation with Charlie yesterday:

Charlie: "Mom, why can't I play the Wii or watch tv?"

Me: "Because you need to go play something that uses your imagination."

"But I don't have an imagination!!"

"Well, then pretend you do."


Today Charlie said "Mommy when I cough I sound like Hosea barking (Hosea = our old dog)." Ha!


Young Families Class Christmas Party Young Families Class Christmas Party Young Families Class Christmas Party

Here's what the boys asked Santa for, for Christmas:
Chance wants Thomas (not very specific, huh?)
Charlie wants an action figure and a camera (oh, child after my own heart)
and Chandler wants his 2 front teeth.

It looks like Santa just might deliver on all fronts. :)

I'm Always Right

This morning, my mom called at 7:30 to ask if Charlie was playing outside in the snow. I informed her that it was 80 degrees yesterday, and yes, it did sleet last night (supposedly mixed with snow; I wasn't about to bundle up and investigate in the dark), but I can't imagine that it has truly "snowed." This is San Antonio - it doesn't snow here, like, ever. And if it had snowed, it would've melted before it hit the ground.

After our conversation, I got out of bed, and decided to peek outside.


Ooops! I was wrong. Sorry, Mom!

So I trek up to Charlie's room, so excited that he'll get to see snow. Granted, not play in it. But still, we South Texans get excited about the white stuff.

I wake him saying, "Charlie look outside! It snowed!"

So what was his first response, before he even looked out?

"See, I was right."

"About what?"

"It does snow in Texas."

Ha! Charlie and I had had a long conversation about whether it snows in San Antonio ("Texas"). He wanted to see snow here in the winter, and I told him it doesn't snow here. Trying to explain that it snows up North in the Panhandle of Texas, but not here in Central/ South Texas wasn't going over well. So I just told him, "No, it doesn't snow in Texas."

Then he said, "See, Mom! I'm right. I'm always right!"

Yep, buddy. And you're the second person to prove me wrong this morning...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thankful #5

Ah, you thought because Thanksgiving is over that my Thankful posts would end too, huh? ;)

Lightroom experiment

Just like Christmas, I think being in the spirit of Thanksgiving is something I could use more of, ya know?

But I promise to end my little series today. With the greatest blessing of my life: My God.

For Him, most of all, I am thankful. Thankful that I'm not some mindless blob intended to feed my own selfish desires to no avail or satisfaction for the rest of my pointless days. But instead, that there is a God, who made the Heavens and Earth, is right in everything He does, and has more power than I could wrap my head around. And this God decided that I would be worth saving (and thus my life has meaning). That little ol' me, with my deceptively wicked heart and unfaithful soul, would be worth humbling Himself. He chose to take on human flesh, dwell among us, and then -as if that wasn't enough- he chose to take my penalty, my destiny, my end on Himself, just so we could be able to communicate, to fellowship, to have a relationship....

And oh, what a relationship it has been. I remember the night I realized He was real, and the Bible was true. I was too young to realize the ramifications of such a relationship, but with childlike faith I gave my life to Him. And now as an adult I can't imagine what life would've been like these 17 years without Him. He's shown me His character, how He provides, protects, convicts, changes, challenges, encourages, blesses, disciplines, and loves me. And I am ever so in awe. No matter what times lie ahead, I know He is beside me. He is my friend. He is my savior. He saves me from myself, and He'll save me from an eternity without Him.

And I am ever so thankful.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights-- His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-9

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful #4

I am thankful that I live in America.

I have no photo for it, so you'll have to see it in my words.

I am thankful that God graciously allowed me to be born and raised in a country that values freedom. Freedom to worship however and whoever we want. Freedom to have an opinion and speak that opinion. Freedom to own property and prosper from hard work. Freedom.

Although I haven't been much of a world traveler, I have heard many who've traveled the world over report that we truly live in the greatest nation on Earth. Not because we're better people. But because we have the most chances at a good life. Because we have freedom.

And I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful #3

Chuck is one of four kids (five if you count his cousin who might as well be his sister).

Our trip to Austin Natural Beauty. Happy Reunions

Grandpa Thier's 70th Birthday Bash

I am one of six.

My ever beautiful sister Witte Museum Anna Pregnant Library Grounds

The Portraits

Lake Travis Photo Shoot

My dad is one of 10 kids.

Altogether we have 17 aunts and uncles, 32 cousins (plus spouses), 9 siblings, and 9 nieces and nephews. But who's counting?

To say we have a big family is kinda...a given.

Family parties are never boring, or sparsely attended. Laughter is in abundance. Stories abound. There's always someone who remembers when you were "that age." There are always kids to entertain us, good cooks to feed us, and someone to hug us.

And I'm thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful #2

Maybe it's his quiet strength...
Oh so handsome :)

or his good looks...
Angie's New Camera

and those deep brown eyes...
I love this man

Maybe it's his love for our boys...
Daddy & Chance

And how he plays with them...
Playtime with Daddy

Playing with Daddy Challenge

Maybe it's his meekness...
Bedtime Story

And gentleness...
Going home again

Or maybe it's his sense of humor...
Playing with Daddy Challenge

And his smile...
Mini Fiesta

But I love this man.
Niagara Falls

And I'm thankful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deja Vu

Chandler in the jumper

Chance in the Jumper

Thankful #1

Thanks to the inspiration from Stephanie, I thought I'd do a short series of posts about what I'm thankful for...

Pumpkin Patch

The biggest thing on my mind lately has been how I need to express how thankful I am to be a mother. As my friend Jenny says, I get to be the mommy for 3 boys. In all my whining about how tired I am, I often overlook the greatest blessings of my life.

Pumpkin Patch

And I'm thankful that God answered my prayers with these boys. He is sovereign, and could've created these boys any way He wanted. Yet I specifically prayed for blonde hair and blue eyes with my first born. Considering Chuck's brown hair and eyes, you'd think it wasn't likely. But then came Charlie.

Charlie 16 months

But then I realized that it kinda wasn't fair to Chuck - because people kept saying "Wow, he doesn't look much like you." (cringe!). But after about 2 years, Charlie's hair turned dark...and suddenly everyone could see the resemblance.

Then God gave us Chance. I worried he'd look so different that people would wonder if he and Charlie were brothers. I prayed that he would look enough like Charlie that there'd be no doubt. Amd then he came, with strawberry blonde and blue eyes. It seemed to confirm the blue eyed genes.

Chancey Boy

And then we knew Chandler was coming. This time I prayed for brown eyes! For one that would look just like Chuck. Chuck actually hoped he'd have green eyes. But then he came with those big dark browns....

Spontaneous Photo Shoot

And, as if to meet Chuck's request for a green eyed boy - Chance's are now slowly turning green.

I've got sunshine...

These were all "silly" requests. Not all that important. And really, we'd taken them no matter what. But God in His incredible grace, granted my petty requests. And I'm thankful.

All of the shirts

Saturday, November 22, 2008

funny stories

Lately Charlie has made a habit of waiting until we get in the car, with all the boys in their seats, to tell me he needs to go pee. One particular day, I had just walked the boys out of church, and Chandler was fussy because he was ready for a nap. So when Charlie informs me he "needs to go" I'm faced with a dilemma: Walk a fussy Chandler back into church, or tell Charlie to hold it 10 minutes until we get home. Neither option is optimal. So I did what any creative mother would do: I handed him an empty styrofoam cup and told him to hide himself in the back of the van and relieve his bladder! I think for the future, I'm going to get one of those containers that hospitals use, just for moments like this, ha!


As I've mentioned before, Chance really wants to go to school, and watching Charlie go 2 days a week makes it difficult on him. So this Friday, as he woke up at 10 am(!), his first words were "Charlie at his school, Mommy?" Then he said "I want Daddy (to) take me (to) my school." So I held him and tried to explain that he's almost 3, and when he's 4, he'll get to go to school. He just has to be bigger.

What I didn't expect was how many times that day he'd ask me "Am I bigger yet, Mommy?"


Lately, Charlie has been telling me "Wherever you go, I will go." And then he clings to me, cuddles with me, tells me that I can't go to the store without him, etc. I'm not complaining, it's nice. Anyhow, this week Nana was here and he kept telling her the same thing. So sweet. I kept wondering where this came from though, since it was definitely something new for him. Then we were looking at his Bible basecards (he gets at church, so cool!!), and I noticed under the story of Ruth, it had printed the verse "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. " (Ruth 1:16) So I asked Charlie if that's where he gets it from and he said yes. And I think that maybe that's why he does it to me and Nana - because we're mothers, like Naomi was to Ruth. Precious!


Remember how I said in my last post that Chandler's tongue got snipped and now he's doing better? Well, the grandmothers all had voiced that he didn't want them - because he didn't want to take a bottle from them, and preferred his momma. Until now. This week Nana gave him a bottle and he liked it so much, he took 2 bottles! "Little goat" is how Nana referred to it! She said she feels like she's bonded with him now, and I think his newfound desire for a bottle helped!

He also kept making his flirty face at her

Such a ham

While we rarely rent movies, and prefer to borrow free ones from the library, 2 new kids movies have been released that we've rented and enjoyed: Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E. I was surprised that I approve of both of them, I didn't expect them to be that good. Anyhow, the funny thing is, we watched Kung Fu Panda and talked about how it'd be worth buying. The next day, Granny calls and says, "Could I buy Charlie Kung Fu Panda for Christmas?" Uh, sure! One week later we rent Wall-E and once again have the conversation that this one is worth buying. The next guessed it. Granny calls again and says, "Could I buy Chance Wall-E for Christmas?" Ha! The boys are going to love their Christmas presents this year!


I have many more to share, but that's about all I can recall at the moment. So stay tuned. The big boys are with Nana and Big Daddy this weekend, which means I have a chance to get a few blog posts out of my head.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How do you get a baby to sleep?

3 kids later, I still have no idea - as far as which way is best.

But if I had to do it again, here's what I have figured out...

(Here's the disclaimer: I know many people who've tried various methods and they've worked well for them. So this is by no means the definitive way to go. It's merely what's worked for me - every parent and child is different.)

Co-sleeping isn't as bad as you might think. As I mentioned before, I co-slept with Charlie for the first 15 months of his life.

The only reason I didn't do it again was because of the negatives:
1. You don't sleep as well, because you're ever conscience of your child in the bed with you.
2. You don't have privacy.
3. Weaning the child out of your bed is NOT easy.
4. I also did attachment parenting during the day which meant every time he cried he got to nurse. He over ate and was way too attached to me for his own good. And he had to nurse to go to sleep. He had a hard time learning to soothe himself to sleep.

But the advantages (of co-sleeping) are:
1. It doesn't matter as much if they sleep thru the night (if you're breastfeeding), because it's oh-so-convenient. You don't even have to sit up, or be fully awake for a feeding.
2. There's the emotional component, and you get to cuddle with your baby even once they've reached the no-cuddle, I'm-busy-learning-to-be-mobile stage.
3. You know your child is close, protected, and breathing.
4. Your baby will be harder sleeper, not a light sleeper because they're used to noise and movement around them while they sleep.

Some people don't like the idea of co-sleeping because they worry about SIDS. And actually, SIDS was the reason I preferred co-sleeping. I would always sleep with the baby's head on top of my arm, and so close to my body that his head would be pointing up so he could breathe, and his body would be turned to the side, tummy facing me. Another advantage was that this would soothe those upset tummies from reflux. And within a couple of months, they have enough muscle control, that I didn't worry about suffocation at all. And sleeping lightly enough to protect them in this way was not a problem for me - I was a deep sleeper until I had kids, but that all changes once your baby is born!

Then there's another technique which I dub as "Babywise" but really it could be credited to someone before that. The idea is you get the baby on a schedule of eating every 3 hours (waking them if necessary), and the routine goes: eat, play/stay awake, sleep.

The advantages are:
1. You know why your baby is crying, depending on the schedule. That was a big one for me. You can allow the baby to cry themselves to sleep without worrying if they're crying for other reasons.
2. Hopefully they get better feedings when they nurse, because they're good and hungry from going 3 hours.
3. Supposedly, this helps the baby figure out night and day, and sleep thru the night sooner. I say supposedly, because my guys didn't sleep thru the night by 8-10 weeks like the Babywise book said. They were skipping 1 feeding maybe, but not sleeping thru the night. I know many who have done it successfully, so maybe it's just me (or my kids and their health issues).

The disadvantages are:
1. You don't get to sleep with your baby. That's just an emotional thing for me, I guess, but it gave me peace of mind when they were so near to me. (And I worried more about SIDS, so I'd wake up to check on them often.)
2. You have to be a structured person, and keep an eye on the clock.
3. You have to wake the baby for feedings (well, I guess you don't have to...) This one was always tough for me to do. I just always feel bad waking a baby, when they need their sleep.
4. It also didn't account for the fact that 2 of my kids wouldn't sleep thru the night for their first year because of health issues, which left Mommy with some major sleep deprivation.
5. At least in my experience, my babywise babies are lighter sleepers. The slightest noise or movement wakes them.

However, I know many people who've done this method or a variation of it, and love it.

So, I think I've mentioned before that I started out doing the baby wise method during the day. I would keep them on a routine, although not strict to the 3 hour mark, where they would eat, and I'd try to keep them awake if I could, then let them nap. When they woke up, they'd eat again. I let them cry it out for naps, if needed.

But at night...I'd co-sleep. It worked better, and with the health issues leading to not sleeping, it would've helped both of us get a little more sleep.

As for Chandler, he co-slept with me the first couple of months. When I would try to get him to sleep in his own bed at night he'd either be really uncomfortable, or he'd want to wake up for awhile. Once I started co-sleeping, his tummy felt better, and he took cues from me on when to sleep (figured out day and night). But then around 3 months old: he got really wiggly. I don't know why. That's when I decided to go to the babywise way at night too. But from 3-8 months old, he might skip one feeding, but that was it. Around 6 months it actually got worse. But, since I wrote him the letter begging him to sleep thru the night, he has finally starting doing it...because we figured out what was wrong.

Chandler was mildly tongue-tied. Tongue-tied means that the little piece of flesh that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth was too big. It prohibited him from sticking his tongue out very far = not being able to suck strongly. So when he nurses, he's only getting the watery milk, not the "hind milk" which is like the meat and potatoes of breast milk. So of course he was hungry all the time! It caused me to start him on solids sooner (also due to his reflux/ spitting up which is still terrible! I cannot wait for him to outgrow it. He's earned the nicknames "little volcano" and "Old Faithful," poor guy!). I had noticed that unless I really filled him with solids (a lot more than I fed the other boys at his age), he would not skip a feeding at night. I had a hard time letting him cry it out at night because I could tell he was really hungry. So finally I asked the doctor to look at him, and he said he's borderline tongue-tied. He could get by with his short tongue if he had to (Chuck has a short tongue, too). But, for a baby, the procedure is quick, in office, so the doctor said he'd do it if I wanted him to. So that's what we did, and I am so glad! It was 2 weeks ago, and he's been nursing better, and sleeping longer on his own!! He's been going 8-12 hours at night!!! He had never liked taking bottles much, and now he'll even take a bottle well. I am SO happy that's over.

And with Chance, I had tried the babywise method at night, and was a zombie for the first year because he had recurrent ear infections. He didn't really sleep thru the night until he got tubes in his ears at 12 months! If I had it to do again, I would've co-slept with him.

So the moral of the story: Babywise during the day, enjoy the co-sleeping at night. And know that every child is different, so do whatever works. There's no right or wrong in this area, so don't let anyone make you think there is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chan's a Walker

So it's official: Chandler is walking. Well, toddling... Ok more like, taking a half dozen steps at a time. he is in all his cute glory...

And while I'm not about to show a video to prove it, Chance is going potty on a regular basis!! Woohoo. And my apologies to the person who delivered the phone books to our door, and saw more of our little nudist on the porch than he bargained for. Ha!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fluid and Constant

One thing I've learned about parenthood is this: once you figure something out, another problem arises. You may finally have managed to consistently discipline your child for one issue, and another crops up. You master caring for a newborn just in time for the baby to become a toddler with a whole new set of challenges. Life is never truly routine, it's always changing. It's fluid, not constant.

Kinda like faith. I always have questions. As soon as I explore and come to peace with one issue, another arises. Did You bring life into being in a week, or allow it to evolve over centuries? Why do You allow bad things happen to good people? Why do you allow tragedies? Why do you allow it to rain on the unjust? Why did you create Satan if you knew he'd turn evil? Do the ceremonial laws of the old covenant still apply?

And every allergy season: Why did You create Cedar pollen?
Yet through it all, I am understanding who God is more, and I'm changing. It's a process. It's not routine. It's fluid, not constant.

Lately, I've felt the need to step back and reflect on what I know to be constant. I am on good terms with the Almighty God who created the Heavens and the Earth. Not sure I fully comprehend that, but I know it's true. He is the one who knows if Creation happened in a week or evolved over time. He knows how everything works, from the cellular level all the way to the ecosystems. He is just, good, perfect, always right. He is in control, even when it seems He's not. He sees the fullness of time, everything that happens is not without His knowledge. He can work all things for good. He was there at my birth, He knows the day of my death. He has planned the days of my husband and children. He knows if my sons will know Him. He knows the number of hairs on my head and the desires of my heart, evil and good. He is for me, not against me. He knows all of the sins I have committed and will commit. And He accepts me as His own still because of His Son.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Nothing can separate us. This is what I know. It's constant, not fluid. And I'm so thankful, in the midst of watching three little boys grow and change, that there are these constants in my life. And in my questioning, I gain a peace that passes understanding...

What about you? What's fluid? What's constant?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome

Preface: this is yet another post of me telling what I know about a health issue, which is not to be confused with someone who would actually know what they're talking about. Also, this happened over 5 years ago, so my details are a little sketchy. ;)

In talking to my friend Kristina today, I realized this is a family story that I should publish here, in case anyone can glean some wisdom from it, and so our boys will know what runs in their family.

I'm talking about Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. Let me explain...

Chuck's mom has a heart arrhythmia. She even wore a heart monitor to try to catch it for a month once, but no real diagnosis was made other than she had a heart arrhythmia (no idea on what type, what causes it, etc). But heart arrhythmias are usually not a cause for concern, just an annoyance that happens when your heart beats at a weird pace, or rapidly.

So when Chuck was in high school, as he would exert himself in sports, his heart would begin to race. It often took awhile to get it to stop, even after slowing down and cooling down. This then gave him reason to back off from doing too much physically.

After we married, he woke up one morning and his heart was racing. He'd only sat up in bed. Obviously not a reason for your heart to race... So it alarmed us enough that we went to the dr, who sent us to a cardiologist, who did lots of tests on his heart, and deemed that he had super ventricular tachycardia. Basically, just an arrhythmia. No big deal, right? The cardiologist did say- next time it happens, go to your family dr and have him get it on the EKG so we can see it better.

A few years later, we get the happy news that we're pregnant! And the next morning...Chuck wakes up with his heart racing again. We head over to the family doctor, who says not to worry, but here's some meds in case it doesn't stop, and if all else fails, go to the ER to get meds thru IV. We go home, Chuck takes the medication (it's been over an hour now of a higher than usual heart rate...), and tells me he'll be fine, he is just going to take a nap, and so I go to work. He wakes from that nap with it still racing, so he goes to his sister Melanie's house and watches a movie with her and her husband.

Halfway thru the movie, Melanie sees that Chuck is still pale in complexion, and she decides it's time to take him to the ER. I meet them there, and at this point his heart's been racing for 9 hours straight. The nurses tries to get a pulse on him, and seeing how erratic it is, they rush him in and do all sorts of crazy things to try to get his heart rate down. It was in the 250s and sometimes spiking to 350 (if I remember right). Seeing him hooked up to everything and all the rushing, I began to cry. The ER doctor turns to me and says, "Don't cry, he'll be ok." I tell her how I'm emotional because I'm pregnant, and she says, "Me too." LOL Anyhow, they kept warning me that if they can't get it down, they'll have to shock him as a last resort. Sorta like you see on movies, the atrial defibrilator, but they put a patch on his chest, and another on his back.

Here was one miracle... The ER dr was on the phone with 2 different cardiologists, asking them what to do. One recommended a certain medication, which she ended up deciding against. Come to find out, due to what his condition (which they hadn't figured out yet), that medication would've killed him. We are so thankful for God's intervention!

So, once his heart rate starts jumping even higher, they rush him into another room to shock him. They gave him anesthesia but it hadn't even kicked in yet. They gave him 100 jules, which he remembers as being the most painful thing ever. He said every muscle in his body tightened, and he could hear himself screaming, then he blacked out. The 100 jules didn't do it, so they vamp it up to 200 jules. They said if this didn't work, there would be nothing else they could do. By God's mercy, it worked. Chuck's heart finally fell back into a normal rhythm!

Shortly after, a cardiologist visited us in the ER. Here's the recap of what he said:

This is the only type of arrhythmia that will cause a cardiologist to come to the ER. It's the only type that could kill. Most often it strikes even stronger than it did in Chuck's case, and the person dies before anyone can figure out what's happening. He said that it was missed when he'd been checked over before because it is so rare. It's called Wolff Parkinson White, after the doctors who discovered it.

What happens is this: around your heart you have receptors, which send electic impulses, telling your heart when to contract (beat). Chuck was born with an extra receptor. Think of it like a little hair and it sometimes crossed with the other hairs, causing the heart to be confused and beat like crazy trying to figure out what to do. So, this would often happen when he would exert energy because it's already beating fast, so it was easier for the hairs to get crossed. However, for everyone who has this, there comes a time when it happens even when it's at a resting rate, and no matter what triggers it, it can cause a person to die.

Another miracle: remember that nap Chuck took that morning? Most often going to sleep is the worse thing you can do - it causes it to get worse. Talk about protection from God.

So, what to do? The dr said that while there is medication to keep this from happening, because Chuck was young (he was 27 at the time), it'd be better to surgically remove the receptor, "the hair", rather than be on meds with side effects for the rest of his life. The hospital kept him overnight to observe him (since he'd been shocked), and the next morning he underwent surgery. It took 3.5 hours, and the dr went in thru his groin orthoscopically, and ablated (burned off) that extra receptor. Recovery wise, he had to lay still for the rest of the day, which was quite uncomfortable, but he went home the next day, and all was well.

Another of Chuck's sisters, Mitsi, 8 months pregnant with her second child, jumped on a plane from Kentucky to join us when everything started happening. Her love touched us deeply.

When it was all over, the dr said, "You now have no excuse to not play with your baby that is coming." 3 boys later, I can't tell you how thankful I am for that!

A week later, we sat together reading a newspaper and read an obituary of a 32 year old man who suddenly died of an "unknown heart arrhythmia." And we praised God that He spared Chuck. Sometimes when you hear of youth, often males, who fall dead on the sports field - it may be due to Wolff Parkinson White.

About 6 months later, I crossed paths again with that ER doctor, and was able to tell her of her wise choice with the medication, and thank her. She said she remembered that day very well, that she'd never seen a case like Chuck's, and how it really scared her to see a heart rate jump up like his did. She and I were both were "great with child" and it was so neat to celebrate our bright futures ahead.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This is the Life.

Coughing to clear my raspy throat, I call to the boys, "Charlie! Chance! Come here please." Chandler's ever-hungry mouth is gaping open, waiting for that next bite of oatmeal at the kitchen table. He begins to babble, "bu bu bu ba ba ba." I can hear the boys above us, playing upstairs. I clear my throat again, hoping to increase my volume just a bit... "BOOOOYS!" Still no answer. I smile at Chandler as I feed him another bite, and think, "Watch this, buddy." This time I don't yell, I just say, "Cinnamon Rolls."

Suddenly, the upstairs is in an uproar as their feet stampede. "Breakfast!" they both exclaim. Soon I'm surrounded by hungry boys.

This... is the life.


When I was a kid, while some girls might've been playing princess and dreaming about their wedding, I was catching tadpoles and climbing trees with the only kid my age on the block, Jeff. Sure, we played with my barbies sometimes, but mostly with G.I. Joes and even playing his Atari. So it was no surprise that I'd be a mom to boys. I would've been lost with a girly girl.

As I've come through the last 8 months of having 3 boys, I have definitely had moments where I've questioned why God called me to 3 boys this close in age. While I have no doubt I was meant to be a boy mom, did it have to be 3 of them under the age of 5? I feel like I wake up every morning with the odds stacked against me. Like I'm set up for failure. Like I can't do anything well or with excellence. Like this ship is sinking and I'm throwing everything overboard to save us.

But then mornings like this happen, and I just relish having these three little souls in my family. So what if the house is a wreck and I need a shower and I have a mile-long to-do list? I have three boys who love their momma and keep me laughing. How could I ask for more?!

So, as I attempt to yet again adjust priorities and catch up on things, here are the boys' latest developments:


No more pictures, Mommy

As a friend astutely pointed out, he hasn't gotten much attention on this blog lately. While he doesn't have any big milestones lately, he is growing like a weed. He is using the potty once or twice a day. He often hides under the table and tells me when he's making a diaper. I always remind him that he'd get candy and rewards if he'd just go potty like a big boy. "I not big boy, I little boy! No potty." is the usual response.

Yet I relish this boy's sweet side. He is so affectionate. He loves hugging and kissing on Baby Chanwer. He loves playing with him. He's also quite sensitive and gets his feelings hurt. But to counter that, he is territorial, and easily provoked. If someone's playing with his toy, he will get aggressive. However, if that person asks if he can play with Chance's toy, Chance will usually reply, "Sure!" in the sweetest voice. And if Charlie does something Chance doesn't like, he'll hit, kick, and even bite Charlie. We're working on that. He has a griping voice that is hilarious. "That my toy, CHARDEE!!" I need to get it on video sometime.

Oh how i love this boy.

There's a special sympathy in my heart for Chancey. He is the only one who gets to experience being a little brother and a big brother. He has advantages and responsibilities from each role. I hurt for him as he watches Charlie go to school. He has a melt down every time, because he wants to go to school, too. I'm grateful that Chuck often takes Charlie and picks him back up, because when I do it (with Chance), Chance's melt downs are worse. Yesterday I took him with me to Charlie's Halloween party at Pre-K and he loved it! When it was story time, he sat obediently like the other kids, hanging on to every word. He decorated a cookie and played with Charlie's classmates. It was like he was trying to show me how good he'd be in class, so maybe he could join it. I'm guessing we'll need to put him in Pre-K next year (which will be a year earlier than Charlie started).

Charlie's Pre K Fall Fest Party

Chance is getting more articulate, and his sentences are getting longer. The other day, as I turned on my laptop, he came running over, asking to play a computer game. This happens nearly everytime I turn on the computer. Anyhow, I told him "Not now, Mommy's working." To my amazement, he replied, "You always say dat, Mommy. You always working." Thanks for the reinforcement for taking a photography sabbatical, buddy. ;)


Big Foot's been sighted

Simply Marvelous

Charlie's becoming quite a kid. A few weeks ago he seemed to change from rebellious to obedient. I'm not sure what caused the change, but it's been a welcome relief. He can push my buttons like no other sometimes. So, now he's really growing in areas like: controlling his temper, not throwing tantrums, and just being more submissive. The other day I said, "Come here, Charlie, I have a job for you," to which he replied, "Sure Mommy! I will do whatever you ask, always." (Then my jaw hit the floor. What are they teaching this kid at Pre-K? And why didn't we start sooner, ha!) Later that day he actually cuddled up next to me on the couch (another rarity), and said, "Mommy I just want to always be with you." Things like this never happen! LOL

He's really getting into school. He is constantly asking me how to spell words. Last night he asked me to spell and sound out the word "cough." Yeah, you try explaining that one to a pre-kindergartener. ha!


No first step yet...

His big news is he cut his first tooth! And he's putting it to good use. Usually, you'd expect to see a red bump before the tooth cuts the surface, and lots of pain/fever, but not so with this guy. It was a complete surprise. He's had a runny nose for a few weeks, but otherwise no indications. Thank You, Lord!

He's starting to babble more. Chuck is quite excited at his newest word: "Da da." About a month ago, I remarked to Chuck's parents that he doesn't seem to babble much; at least not as much as Charlie and Chance. Just as I finished that sentence, Chandler started babbling, "buh buh buh," and did it pretty much continually for the next 2 days. Chuck's dad kept saying, "It's a shame that kid never talks, right Angie?" LOL

Also a few nights ago I moved him out of our room and into the guest room upstairs. I've started letting him cry it out when he wakes for the 2 am feeding. He eats at 11 pm, goes to sleep, then I don't feed him again until 5 am. He feeds again at 8 and gets up for the day. So far so good. He doesn't cry much, just whimpers around 2 am. This morning I had to wake him at 6:30 to feed, and I got 8 straight hours of sleep for the first time in what feels like years.

Holy Costumes, Batman!

So there you have it - the full scoop on the Thier boys. Thanks for reading my longggg post. :)