Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Turn for the Worse

Urgent Prayer Request.

Things have taken a turn for the worst. Our daughter's blood work results from this morning show that her neutrophils are back down to only 1-2 percent and her platelets are abnormally high. We have no idea what is going on, but we are terrified. The pediatrician is talking to a blood specialist this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

God Answers Prayer

These past couple of weeks have been emotionally tiring for our whole family. During the times of panic, fear, and worry, we have prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more. God is a God of comfort in times of distress. He has answered our prayers and shown us Himself through His written word, which has provided us so much comfort during the times we were very worried about our little girl.

Here's a very neat thing: The significance of our daughter's name has do with God answering prayer.

Here are just a few ways God has comforted us when we were feeling very worried during these past couple weeks of distress:

  • One night I was at the hospital with Little Bittles, and my husband was at home. He was praying very much and God directed him to read Psalm 34, which answered all of his concerns. It fit exactly what my husband had been praying.
  • During one day at the hospital, God brought to my mind how in the Old Testament, He directly intervened in many of the battles so that Israel would win against all odds. Through this, God reminded me that He cares for his people and that He is sovereign and can fight the infection on Bittle's behalf even when she can't fight it on her own.
  • On Friday night after the major scare and complication with the drug allergy to the antibiotics, I was feeling extremely panicked. I was praying and then I looked out the window and saw a shadow of a cross on the sidewalk, which was distinctly formed.
  • Once we got home, I was feeling very worried still, and I was praying in my bed. I had the baby monitor on and Little Bittle's lullabies were playing through the monitor. God directed me to read Psalm 33. In that Psalm, I read the verse that says that "He fashioned their hearts." Just as I read that part, the lullaby through the monitor was playing a song that had that exact verse in it. I had never even known that that line was even from the Bible until now. The Psalm reminded me again of God's sovereignty and I was reminded that God cares for us.
When I look back on how God has answered our prayers for comfort when we've cried out to Him, I am SO thankful. I am thankful we serve a God who cares for us. I am thankful we serve a God who cares so much that He has given us His Words to comfort us. I am thankful for our God who is sovereign. I am thankful for our God who answers prayer.

*I am linking this post to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers*
To read more about our crazy past 2 weeks with our daughter, please read my earlier posts.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 3 At Home

Just thought I'd write a quick update as to how things are going with our recent situation. Today was our 3rd Day at home from the hospital. Little Bittles seems to be doing well. No sign of infection as of yet. PRAISE THE LORD! Not being on antibiotics right now (due to her allergy) and being so neutropenic makes it that much more nerve-wracking.

I have not been feeling well for the past few days, either. This morning I was feeling worse and starting to cough a bit, so I decided I better see a doctor (to make sure it's not bacterial). Normally I wouldn't have gone to the doctor yet, but with our daughter's situation, I thought I'd get checked out just in case. Turns out I'm fine (thankfully!). I probably just have some sort of virus (or it's just due to being stessed out and tired). Just to be on the safe side, I'm being a more cautious and wearing a mask when I'm in close contact with Bittles. Strangely enough, this evening my cough has seemed to have disappeared!

We just need to get to Wednesday and then she'll have blood work done again to check her neutrophils and she will see the pediatrician again. We are really praying her neutrophil count will come up to normal. Please pray her neutrophil count will come up. Her cousin's 1st birthday is coming up and we would love to be able to be there!!

Today, I'm feeling optimistic that everything is going to be okay. God is sovereign. He holds her in His hand. There have been some very neat answers to prayer we have seen over the past few days. I want to write about them soon. For now, it's time for me to get to bed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Update - We're Home...But.....

Here's the latest:

Yesterday (Friday) during the day:
  • Little Bittles looked really good. They did not do blood work because they had done a ton of tests the previous day and the doctor did not feel it was necessary or that it would change anything to do more blood work. I'm sure this made Little Bittles happy as she absolutely hated getting blood work done. (I don't blame her, either!).
  • Things were pretty much the same. She remained in isolation as the previous day's result was that her neutrophils were only at 1 %.
  • She remained on IV antibiotics and fluid. Her dose of antibiotics was decreased slightly and her IV fluid was decreased.
  • She was eating really well (as much as she normally would) and was very active and happy during the day
  • One of my good friends was our R.N., so that was very nice for all of us
  • I started to feel sick, so I wore a mask as a precaution. Not sure if I was actually sick or just tired (most likely).
Friday During the Evening:
  • I put her to bed and tried my best to catch a few winks in the hospital bed (Next to impossible for a light sleeper like me.)
  • At about 9:30 p.m. she woke up crying and seemed like something was bothering her. I thought she was maybe overtired, so I tried settling her down, which didn't really work.
  • Hubby got back to the hospital (he had gone home for a little bit), and I noticed that a few red spots were showing up on Little Bittle's legs. At first, I though it was perhaps just due to some irritation, but then within minutes, the rash has spread. We knew something was wrong and quickly called the nurse. By the time the nurse got there, Little Bittle's lips were swelling up. I right away suspected that she was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. By this point, I was trying very hard not to panic. For a brief minute I had to turn away as panic seriously started setting in. It was really hard for me to hold myself together once her lips started swelling up. The nurse called the pediatrician who arrived within 10 minutes.
  • The pediatrician quickly determined that she was definitely having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. He stopped the antibiotic and gave her Benadryl.
  • This was a big setback because there are only certain antibiotics that are proven safe in children. Also, the antibiotic she had been on was a very good one and the most effective for her circumstances.
  • Now, she could not be on the best antibiotic, which meant that if she catches anything now or gets an infection, it is a LOT more serious.
  • The doctor decided to do more blood work the next morning and then decide what to do from there. So, she went off of all antibiotics for the night.
  • Hubby and I both tried staying at the hospital for night, but after we had trouble falling asleep, we decided that hubby would go home and I would stay because I am a very light sleeper and would wake up easier if something was happening with Little Bittle's.
  • The night went okay. I slept extremely poorly (as in, not at all) and was constantly getting up to check on her. The benadryl had made her irritable and drowsy, which wasn't a good combination.
This morning (Saturday)
  • Blood work was done this morning to check her blood count. The neutrophils had come up to 5 - 6 %. This is still very low, but at least they had gone up and now down since the last test.
  • The pediatrician came to see her and examined her. He decided that we could go home if we would remain in strict isolation. (Normally, she would have been sent home on oral antibiotics, but because of her allergy, she cannot take the usual antibiotics.)
  • He decided to not give her any oral antibiotic for now because she seems like she is not fighting any infection anymore.
  • We were told to watch her very carefully for signs of infection (fever, etc.) and to bring her in right away if she started to get sick again.
  • She will have more blood work done on Wednesday and will see the pediatrician again on Wednesday if all goes well.
This Evening
  • We are happy to be at home. I am officially now the Germ Police and am trying my best to disinfect and clean everything down. She is currently only allowed to play in the living room until I get everything else disinfected. (Hubby held her for about an hour while I got the living room disinfected first!) We are being EXTREMELY careful and trying our very best to prevent her from getting any type of infection. Little Bittle's is happy to be home.
We are praising the Lord for answering our prayers that her neutrophils are up and there are currently no signs of infection. Please keep praying that she stays free of infection and that her neutrophils increase drastically. Because of her allergy to the antibiotic, it is that much more important that she does not get an infection. For this reason we are allowing NO VISITORS. We are not evening allowing family at this point. Thank you for understanding.

We know that there are so many people praying for us. Thank you so much and please don't stop praying. We are not "out of the woods" yet. Please pray for me and hubby that we would get some rest and stay healthy, too. If we get sick, then we won't be able to take care of her as it puts her at risk.

If you are reading this post from Facebook and want to comment, you can comment on either facebook or on here, but I won't be publishing your comments if you leave them on the blog, just because I want to remain somewhat anonymous to those I don't know in the internet world.

Thanks again for praying, and please don't stop!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This morning our little girl's neutrophils are at 1 %. Still not great, but a lot better than zero, which is what they were at yesterday. The doctor is hopeful that she will get better and is fairly confident that this is a result of a very sinister virus. They are trying to find out what specific virus she has that has caused this. Her rash has improved quite a bit, and she seems in better spirits and is eating a bit better, too. She seems like she is in less pain as well. I was home for the night, but when I got to the hospital this morning, I could tell she looked and acted quite a bit better than yesterday. Thanks again for praying.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

URGENT Prayer Request

Our little girl's test results are back, and the situation is extremely serious. She has pneumonia and her blood count is at zero. She is being hospitalized in strict isolation. Any illness whatsoever could be life threatening for her. Please pray that she would be able to fight off this infection and her blood count would come up. Pray that she does not catch anything else, too. Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on Our Little Girl

*Just a quick update on our sick little girl.*

We took her to the pediatrician this evening. He thoroughly checked her out, and he said that he truthfully is not sure at this point what is wrong with her. There are a few different possibilities, some being very serious. He is an excellent doctor and has figured out very difficult cases in the past. He has ordered blood tests, urine tests, and xrays for first thing tomorrow morning. He has warned us that he suspects it could potentially be a pretty serious illness. He will be getting back to us tomorrow as soon as the results are in. The complication is that the one serious illness he mentioned it could possibly be has no conclusive lab work or testing to confirm it. A big part of the diagnosis is eliminating all other possibilities.
I have to be honest. I know that the Lord is completely in control and knows exactly what the problem is. However, I am feeling extremely worried and am beyond exhausted. Please keep praying.

Prayer Requested For Our Little Girl

Our little girl is very sick right now. She's had a fever for about a week now and a high fever (103 - 104.5) for 3 days. Last night we headed to emergency because she started shaking, was lethargic, had shallow breathing, and was turning blue. I had run upstairs to check on her because I could hear through the baby monitor that something was not right. I cannot explain to you the fear I felt when I found her like that. The doctor thinks she was probably just shivering from being feverish, which is possible, but I am not 100% convinced. After about 20 minutes (and by the time we saw the doctor), she was almost back to "normal". She's been extremely irritable at times and even refuses to be held or comforted; she is often writhing in pain. She's been on antibiotics for the past few days, but they do not seem to be helping. This afternoon she has broken out in a rash that is spreading all over her body. Today we are heading to a pediatrician to get her checked out again. I was up all night last night checking on her and am worried and worn out. Friends, family, and strangers a-like, your prayers are much appreciated.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (September 20, 2010)

Last week's menu plan went according to plan for the most part. The only change I made was that on Friday we had pancakes and bacon instead of Chili, and then we had Chili on Saturday and leftovers on Sunday. Saturday was a crazy day for us (our little girl came down with a very high fever, so I had to take her to the doctor. She has some type of throat infection, possibly strep throat) Thus, I only got the cornbread made on Sunday for our leftover chili. I ended up making this buttermilk cornbread instead of my planned jalapeno cornbread.

I also tried an AWESOME new recipe for ginger cookies. These were sooooo good. I seriously could hardly keep myself from eating them all. In fact, they disappeared so quickly, I didn't even get a picture of them! Oh time because there definitely will be a next time! These were a very melt-in-your mouth type of cookie. I found the recipe for them here.

As planned, I got around to making some beet pickles for the first time and some more of our favourite rhubarb jam.

Here's the plan for this week (And here's hoping hubby and I stay healthy):

Sunday, September 19
Leftover Flatlander Chili, Buttermilk Cornbread

Monday, September 20
Tuna Macaroni Casserole, Veggies from the Garden (probably carrot sticks)

Tuesday, September 21

Wednesday, September 22
Farmer's Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Thursday, September 23
Homemade Tomato Soup (scroll down for recipe), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Friday, September 24
Chinese Steak (new), Rice

Saturday, September 25

Cookies (probably another batch of the soft ginger cookies)
Beet Pickles or Beet Relish

*For more meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thankful For Today

Here are some random things I'm thankful for today:

  • A warm and cozy house
  • The smell (and taste!) of coffee this morning
  • A great night's sleep last night (I went to bed at 10:30 last night!)
  • A kiss and "I love you" from my husband before he left for work
  • An adorable little girl (who even slept in this morning)
  • Staying home and being able to dedicate all my time to taking care of my family instead of working outside the home and having my time divided between work and family

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Re-purposing Sewing Projects

Here are a few projects I'm hoping to try out this fall and winter (After I get all my canning/blanching/freezing done).

Re-purposing Sewing Ideas

Got an old pair of jeans? Follow this tutorial to transform them into an adorable little girl's jean skirt. Or, make a cute twirly jean skirt following these instructions here.

Got an old t-shirt or two? Check out this really easy tutorial for a cute ruffled skirt for a little girl.

How about some scrap material? Try out this easy elastic skirt.
Find French seam instructions for it here.

Receiving Blankets

Now, here's a project, a ric rac receiving blanket that even I can make. (I think!) I even bought fabric especially for it! There's another tutorial on this same website for a rag edge receiving blanket, too.

Now...I must get back to my beet pickles!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (September 13 , 2010)

Here's the plan for this week. Some of the meals might look familiar, and that's because there are a couple meals I've had on my menu for the past month or so but still haven't gotten around to making them. They are meals for which I already have all the ingredients in the pantry or freezer, so when I plan an excess of meals for any given week, those are the ones that get bumped up to the next week.

Sunday, September 12
Eating out

Monday, September 13
Red & White Tortellini, Green Beans

Tuesday, September 14
Leftover Tortellini

Wednesday, September 15
Chicken Enchiladas, Corn

Thursday, September 16
Crockpot Super Short Ribs, Rice, Cooked Veggies

Friday, September 17
Leftovers or (if no leftovers) Flatlander Chili (recipe to come) & Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Saturday, September 18

Possibly more Rhubarb Jam
Possibly Beet Pickles

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time... How Am I Spending It?

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to how I spend my time. Am I being a good steward of the time God has given me? I wasting the time God has given me? Am I efficient with the time God has given me? I need to straighten out my priorities and and get back to "first things first"?

After doing some serious thinking, I have to conclude that I have been guilty of both wasting time and being inefficient with my time. Generally I would not consider myself to be a lazy person, but I definitely struggle with keeping "first things first". I am often "busy" all of the time, but that does not necessarily mean that I am being busy at the right things. There IS only so much time in a day...24 hours to be exact...or 1440 minutes. Each minute is precious, and God cares how we spend each one of them.

I think I have been in denial as to how much time I spend on the internet. While I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with Facebook (well..maybe there is, I don't know!), I am embarrassed to admit that I think it's become a major time waster for me. I am hesitant to deactivate my account because I do like to keep in touch with some of my relatives whom I do not get to see very often. Through Facebook, I can see their photo albums, which I really enjoy. BUT I have decided that I need to set up some limits for myself because I am simply too undisciplined to keep myself in check otherwise.

Although I do not watch a lot of television, I do spend quite a bit of time on the internet, reading blogs, looking up how to do stuff, etc. The internet can be a good thing. I have learned A LOT of useful things from reading information on the internet. The thing is that if I am not careful, I can spend too much time on the internet when I should be doing other things. So, I am setting a time limit for myself.

God has given me the job of being a wife and mother. My time needs to be spent accordingly. My little one is only little for so long. These are critical times for training and teaching her, and I simply cannot afford to waste the time I have been given.

So, in practical terms, what is my plan of action?

1) Get off the internet. No, not completely, but I am going to keep track of the time and limit myself. For starters, I'm going to allow myself 1 hour a day in total online time. This hour online is for reading blogs, articles, writing on my blog, etc. I'm going to start with that and keep a log. Truthfully, I don't know how much time in total I have been spending online most days. I think 1 hour is very generous and reasonable (this is combined time during the whole day), and if I find I have to cut it down a bit more, I will.

2) Check my Facebook no more than once per day. I have a terrible habit of checking my facebook page each time I go on the internet. That has to stop. I gotta be honest...I think this will be a tough one for me. Ridiculous, I know. That's why I have to limit myself.

3) Go to bed at a decent hour. I find that I am just so tired all the time, and I really believe I have not been getting enough sleep. Our daughter (just over a year old now) is still not consistently sleeping through the night without waking up. We are at the point where we do not go to her at night unless she really needs something (besides just our attention) but she will still "complain", sometimes for an hour or more (not cry, but just make noise and play around in her crib) which still prevents me from sleeping; I am a VERY light sleeper. My goal is now to be in bed at 10:30 p.m. I plan on reading for half an hour and then lights out at 11 p.m.

4) Develop and stick to a daily schedule. I have been working here and there on this for the last little while. I am a pretty detail-oriented person who likes things to be done in a particular way most of the time, so this will probably be the easiest change for me. The schedule will be somewhat flexible. I mean...all mothers know that things rarely go according to plan, but I think that having some predictability in each day is a comforting thing and can help a person be more efficient with the time they are given. If the important things are scheduled in, I am more likely to get them done.

I am really hoping and praying that by spending less time on the internet, I will have more time to devote to the more important things in life. Maybe I'll keep tabs on myself by reporting in on my blog. No guarantees, though. I only have so much time now, right! ;) ). So, you'll excuse me if I don't blog regularly, won't you? I just have more important things to do!
Note how 1 Peter tells us to "pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." I'm going to try to be more careful with how I pass the time.

13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 1:13-19

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picture Post!

Here are a few pictures from our family holiday and from our baby girl's 1 Year birthday party.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back Again...Well, Sort Of

We just got home from a little family vacation to the United States. We were gone for about 5 days. It was a fun trip, but honestly, it was a bit more tiring than I had hoped it would be. Turns out that our little one (who just turned ONE!) does not adapt well to change. Bed times were an absolute nightmare. We barely even got to enjoy our jacuzzi tub in our hotel room because she screamed like crazy in the evenings if we weren't holding her and playing with her non-stop. And in a hotel, it's not like you can just let her cry it out a bit (unless, of course, you don't mind angry people banging on your walls telling you to be quiet). Needless to say, we had a few very short nights on our trip. Thus, we decided to cut our holiday early, and head home 2 days early, which meant traveling through the night. Through the mountains. As in, leave final holiday destination around noonish, stop at my grandparents' house (in the mountains) for a 6 hour visit, then leave my grandparents' house at 9 p.m. and arrive home at 6:30 a.m. Travel through the night. Bathroom breaks on the side of the road. Stopped at Timmie's 2 x for caffeine boosts. Yep. Desperate times called for desperate measures. BUT we got to watch the sunrise, which I haven't seen in a very, very, very long time, AND it felt oh-so-good to crash into bed at 6:30 a.m.

Okay, so I just reread what I wrote and realized that I just made it sound like we had an absolutely terrible holiday.

On a positive note, we DID enjoy the DAY times, when little bittles was a happy as a clam to see the sights, ride around in her stroller, and what not. During the day time we did a bit of shopping, took a short hike in the mountains beside a gorgeous lake, drove around, went out to eat, had a great visit with my grandparents, and just tried to relax as much as possible. It was nice to get away for a few days, but ya know, I was also happy to get back home. There really is no place like home! :-) And little bittles is VERY happy to be back in her own bed!

I must confess, part of me still feels like I need "a holiday after our holiday", so I am thinking of "unplugging" for a few more days and getting back to the basics. I was feeling pretty stressed out yesterday. After we got back from our holiday, instead of unpacking and unwinding, we were running around town taking advantage of some great sales for our home renovations. We bought some new baseboards, tons of paint, and new interior doors, so I guess we are now renovating our house! We were so busy that we didn't even have time to unpack from our trip and everything just ended up getting thrown on the floor, tables, and then there were dishes and stuff lying around everywhere. The house seriously looked like it had been hit by a tornado. It was embarrassing. Truly, it was. I did a quick clean up yesterday, but I still have more housekeeping to catch up on. Sooo....I think I'm going to take a few days to recover from our holiday and get back into my normal routine. Maybe I'm weird, but part of me is looking forward to getting back to the daily grind and getting back into a routine again.

I'm VERY excited that during our holiday I was able to pick up some fabric and sewing supplies for a few projects I have in mind for the winter months. I can hardly wait to get started. Hmmm...check that. I can wait. I am NOT ready for the snow to fly quite yet.

Hopefully in a few days I'll get a few pictures up of Little Bittles' birthday party and our trip. But for now...I need to take a few days to recover from our holiday and get things back to normal...whatever that is! :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (September 6, 2010)

I'm back after a brief break from blogging land. I hope to soon share a quick update as to what I've been up to, but for now, here's my menu plan for the week.

Monday, September 6
Lunch: Penne with Lemon Caper Sauce
Supper: Took my sister out to eat

Tuesday, September 7
Lunch: BLT sandwiches
Supper: Peach Smoothie, Omelet, Toast

Wednesday, September 8
Crockpot Super Short Ribs, Rice, Steamed Green Beans

Thursday, September 9

Homemade Beef Barley Soup (using some leftover cooked beef in freezer), Cheese Biscuits

Friday, September 10

Saturday, September 11
Homemade Pizza, Salad

Rhubarb Crisp

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Layered Lemon Dessert

(Sorry for the poor picture quality. I'm no professional photographer, and this was the best I got, glare and all.)

This is one of my all-time favourite desserts!

Layered Lemon Dessert

1st Layer
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Mix until crumbly. Press into a 9 x 9 square baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool.

2nd Layer
1 8 oz brick cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Beat cream until stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread over cooled crust.

3rd Layer
1 lemon pie filling (NOT instant)

Prepare according to package directions. Cool, stirring often. Pour over cheese layer.

4th Layer
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat together and spread over lemon layer.

1/2 cup sliced almonds.
Sprinkle on top. Refrigerate.

*This recipe can be doubled for a 9 x 13.*

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