Kawasaki Update

Monday, August 29, 2016

It feels like it's been years since we were in the hospital with Aiden for Kawasaki Disease! Another lifetime ago, honestly. She's had multiple check ups since we were discharged on Christmas Eve, and I don't think I've done much updating on them. Her first post-hospital check-up in mid-January showed that she had developed two aneurysms on her coronary arteries. Adam and I heard the word aneurysm and just about passed out. The wonderful cardiologist quickly walked through what aneurysm actually means - dilation of the artery. It's not scary in itself, but could potentially cause problems if it got too big or shrunk too quickly. (The body. It's a crazy thing.) We were told we'd need to come back for more echo-cardiograms over the next few months to keep an eye on them, and that she would need an MRI a little further down the road to get a better understanding of what we were dealing with.

The MRI honestly scared me more than the hospital stay, because they would have to put her under anesthesia to keep her still enough to get the pictures they needed of her heart. After our third or fourth follow up with Dr. Iannucci (Saint Iannucci, if you ask me) in April, we scheduled her MRI for Thursday, July 28. We knew we would be back at CHOA for the MRI, but a different campus.

Our continual prayer through all of this, and especially leading up to the MRI, was that her heart would look perfect and they would have no answer for how it healed so quickly and perfectly other than it was a true miracle of God. In addition, we also asked God that if there was something wrong that He make it very known in the MRI so we could figure out our next steps immediately. Our church prayed for her, along with so many family and friends.

The day of the MRI arrived and we checked in at 6am. I know I said it in my original Kawasaki post, but pediatricians are angels. Truly doing God's work. They all have this gift of immediately dominating a room in the calmest, most gentle way. Everyone got down on our level - whether it was taking a knee or sitting in a chair - to walk us through every detail. The anesthesiologist, her nurses, the cardiologist - it's so clear that they are truly dedicated to all better.

Before they took her back, they gave her some medicine to make her loopy. It was hilarious! She was giggling and winding her head up. So funny. We gave our little love a kiss and away she went. They said the entire process would take about two hours, so we were pleasantly surprised when we heard she was done about an hour into it! She was not a happy camper when she woke up, and it took about 30 minutes to calm her down. We were told we would hear from our cardiologist the next week and we headed home.

I was surprised to see a voicemail from Dr. Iannucci that afternoon. A part of me instantly thought it must be bad news. Why would they be calling so soon? I can't even explain the relief I felt when he told me that her aneurysms were gone. Her coronary arteries are now measuring within the normal range for her age! Talk about answered prayers!!! You guyssss, God is such a good, good Father. (And I pray that I would say those exact same words if we had not received this ideal news.)

Aiden will most likely continue to see Dr. Iannucci once a year, but just for quick check-ups. As we've known all along - she's healthy as a horse!

Pictures of our goofy girl before she went back.

Aiden: One Year

One year old. We're here already. How? I'm not even going to try to think of something mushy or funny to say about how the time has flown and how much we love her. Go find a better writer and read what they have to say about the first year of motherhood, I bet my feelings are pretty similar.

  • She took her first step on August 3 at my mom's house and officially started walking on August 24 - the day before her birthday! 
  • She talks all day long, and I finally got a "mama" out of her! She's speaking her own language for the most part, but definitely trying to communicate. Lately we've gotten a lot of "this", and she just recently started saying "hi".
  • Speaking of "hi", she's an expert waver. She's still a little wary to wave to new people, but then sometimes she'll sit at a restaurant and just wave to every single person who walks by. She's a joy.
  • She gives the best open-mouth kisses. Oh, they're the best.
  • She still has the greatest laugh.
  • She loves to drink water out of our cup, and really loves to stick her hands in it. If she can, she'll grab ice from the cup and eat it. Weirdo.
  • She also really loves to drink water in the bathtub. Except she fills the cup to the top and then tries to chug it. Basically, she water boards herself and then freaks out.
  • She's still a great eater, but has discovered she can stand up in her highchair if we don't strap her down. She also stands up in the grocery cart and will only sit down if I go running through the aisles. Literally. I look ridiculous. She's a mess.
  • If she has a free moment when Adam or I are preoccupied, she makes a beeline for the dog food and water bowl. I finally decided to just let her eat the dog food (cool parenting moment!), but she likes it! 
  • If we take the dog food and water bowl away from her, she will (sometimes) go play quietly with her toys...for maybe 2 minutes. But it's the sweetest thing to watch. Such a big girl!
  • Adam discovered that she loves a good back scratch. It's hilarious, and the only time she sits still.
  • I don't know what's going on, but she is mosquito bait. The poor thing is always covered in mosquito bites! I'd love to quarantine her inside, but she loves to be outside. More bug spray it is!
  • She has started to remember certain surroundings. When we walk up to the park she starts squealing, kicking her legs and flailing her arms because she knows she gets to swing. She does the same thing when we drive up the hill to my parents' house. Genius, I tell ya!
  • She had her first "temper tantrum" at Target the other week. As I mentioned above, she won't sit still and has to stand up in any cart she's in. I let her out of the cart to play with boxes of thank you notes and when it was time to go I picked her up and put all of the boxes away. She was NOT HAPPY. It was the first time I really noticed that she was angry because I took something away from her. Oh, boy. Here we go.
  • We celebrated her "Wild One" birthday on August 20! I'll post more on that later.
  • She received an A+ at her one year visit to the pediatrician! She's weighing in at 20lbs 14oz (65%) and is 29.25" tall (50%). She also has two molars (top and bottom left), bringing her tooth count to ten!
Sharing, kind of: https://vimeo.com/179922858
Peek-a-boo sprouts: https://vimeo.com/179922917
On the move: https://vimeo.com/179925625
Officially walking: https://vimeo.com/180100028

Other than her brief temper tantrum, she is truly the happiest baby. People comment all the time and ask if she's always this happy. Our answer is "yes!" I can't believe we've had the joy of having this chick in our lives for an entire year. Wow. We love you, AG. You are the brightest star and we're so proud that you're ours.

A letter to my one year old

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sweet Aidy Grace,

There just aren't words. Truly. You are one year old, and I can hardly believe it. At the same time, it feels like you've been here forever, and it was just yesterday that I stared - terrified - at that positive pregnancy test. I think the most bittersweet part of you turning one is that this whole year I've been able to look back and say "this time last year..." with the best memories of being pregnant, finding out you were a girl, spending time with your daddy, the final countdown to your big debut. Now those memories will be even further behind me. But when I think back to this time last year, I'll now be able to reminisce on the sweetest memories of your big milestones. The day you arrived, the day we brought you home, your first bite of food (avocado!), the day you learned how to crawl, your dance moves, your silly babbling, your first steps. I know the years will only get sweeter - until you're a teenager, Lord give me a grace.

When I look at you and am overwhelmed by love, I'm thankful you are God's way of giving a small glimpse into the love he has for me. I never understood when people would say, "There is nothing my child can do that would make me not love them." I mean, surely, there's something. Now I get it. Nothing. I will love you with my whole heart for my whole life, and luckily (or unluckily?) there is nothing you or I could do to change that. Isn't it crazy to know that God thinks the same way about us, but on a completely different level that we can't even comprehend? It's mind-blowing. (For real, I go cross-eyed if I really think about it.) I hope one day, when you're a mom, that you look down at that little bundle in your arms and you think "This is what mom and dad were talking about all these years". I hope you're not shocked at how much you love your sweet baby, I hope it just finally clicks that this is the love we've felt for you since day one and you finally understand.

Oh, little bug. You make me smile, you make me cry happy (and frustrated) tears, you make me laugh, you challenge my patience, you give me a completely different perspective on life, you make my heart burst with love. More than anything, you make me so proud. It is my greatest honor to be your mom, and you are my most precious treasure. I tell your dad all the time that there is no way I can love another child the way I love you. You will always be my favorite because there just simply isn't enough room in my heart. One day, when you, God-willing, have siblings I'm sure you will hold this over your head. (Mental note: When we have more kids make sure I write down that I actually do love them the same.)

Aiden means "little fiery one" and Grace means "the free and unmerited favor of God". Good night, could there be a more perfect description of you? We truly feel unworthy to be gifted with such a fiery little babe. You are smart, you are beautiful, you are so sweet, you are hilarious, you are curious, you are independent and ready to take on the world, you know what you want and you get pretty annoyed if anything gets in your way. You are pure joy.

My prayer for you every day is that you continue to be happy, healthy and bring joy to so many people's lives. That you know and love Jesus from a young age. That your daddy and I are good examples and point you straight to Jesus. That you are a bold voice of your generation. I am so excited to see what God has in store for you. They're big plans, girlfriend. I know this, because your personality is already larger than life - he's already prepping you for your mission field.

Happy first birthday, Aiden Grace!


And I'm Back!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

In the beginning of the year, I promised that I would start using this blog for truth - not just the fluff. Now that's it August (oops), maybe I should hold myself accountable.

I love Jesus. So much so that I was finally going to declare my love for him in front of my family and our church on Sunday, July 24. Instead, I woke up in a full body rash that could have landed me on National Geographic (turns out I'm allergic to penicillin). I know Jesus is real, and nothing anyone can say or do will ever convince me otherwise. After being forced to reschedule that public declaration, I now know that Satan is also real. I've always put Jesus on a (well-deserved) pedestal, but never gave much thought to the one who is trying very hard to steal us away from Him.

Satan isn't your average bully. He doesn't knock you down, brush off his hands and walk away. He knocks you down. And knocks you down. And knocks you down. He doesn't ever think you've "had enough" and reach down to give you a hand. When you're at the lowest is when he strikes the hardest.

I'm at a low. From the outside looking in, my life looks pretty sweet. And to be honest, my life is pretty sweet. But I know better. I know how great it can be, because I've been there. Jesus doesn't settle for "meh". I'm in a rut because I've stopped putting Jesus first. Yes, I pray multiple times every day. But I'm really just going through the motions. Until tonight, I can't remember the last time I actually opened my Bible. We haven't been to church in weeks (well, technically we have - but we've just been loving on the babies in nursery). Church on Sundays has always been my weekly reboot, it helps me to refocus on Jesus. I've found I've been faltering without that, and I'm so ready to be back.

Early in our marriage, before either of us had found Jesus, I remember waking up exhausted thinking about the day ahead. There was always something to stress about. Money. The future. Our jobs. I felt like I was constantly clawing at the shore trying to keep my head above water. It was exhausting in every sense of the word. One of my favorite stories about how Jesus has worked in our life is when we learned to completely surrender control to Him. It was scary. It was unnatural for me. But it was the most liberating, freeing time in my life. When I let go, I realized I could float. Spending my energy on other things - such as my relationship with Jesus - made me feel like I was on a high. And everything I stressed about fell into place. Seriously, I would wake up and want to pinch myself because life was just so wonderful.

Lately, I find myself clawing again. Worrying about the usual suspects again. Money. Our future. Insert other cliche here. It's weird, because on one hand I have a very real sense of peace about financial freedom. I believe Jesus was kind enough to lay this peace on me because He knows it's a weak spot for me. For a long time I struggled with not having nice-to-haves, but I'm finally at a place where I can 100% say from my heart that I truly don't care about those things anymore. I remind myself on a daily basis that just the fact that I'm an American puts me at an advantage over the majority of the world. And who cares about this world anyway? I'm more concerned with where I'm spending eternity, and Heaven seems pretty legit.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. I'm drowning.

I guess I figured once I knew and loved Jesus that I was done. Congratulations to me! WRONG. Jesus needs to be my #1 priority. Always. It needs to be the relationship I commit the most time and energy towards. Not Aiden. Not Adam. Without that steady foundation of Jesus, Adam and I are all sorts of out of sync. I'm not being the mom Aiden deserves. And like I said, I can't even remember the last time I opened my Bible before tonight. If I let him, Satan would relish this opportunity to keep knocking me down. To keep me from being the daughter of Christ, the wife to Adam and the mom to Aiden that I know I was created to be.

Here's the great news. Even though I certainly don't deserve it, God is always waiting in the wings. He's been waiting there since day one. He watched me rebel through my teen years. He watched me stumble through college. He watched me and Adam struggle through the first years of our marriage. He's watched me these past few months slowly drift away from Him and assure myself that "I got it". I'm sure I've broken His heart many times, but I'm also pretty sure I've made His heart soar. He never screamed or lost his temper or decided to just give up on me. He's always been there. And looking back on my life, I can see Him. He's been a quiet warrior fighting for my heart, always on the sidelines softly saying "I'm here. I'm always here and I will always love you."

But that's not where He deserves to be. He deserves to be front and center. He deserves my time and energy every single day. So here I am. TTYL, Satan. I'm back and I'm excited. Because I know how beautiful life can be when He's truly in the center of it.