Thanksgiving Feast at TCA

Every year I look so forward to the annual Thanksgiving Feast at our school. The preschool children dress as Native-American Indians, wearing a decorated shirt, macaroni necklace, feathered head-piece and a custom-made drum. The children love the weeks leading up to the big event, too. They practice their songs and learn a special dance. The elementary students dress as the pilgrims. So much hard work and love goes into making the outfits. It is just such a fun day. Here are some pictures of this year's Thanksgiving Feast.

Pilgrim boys from Ella's 1st grade class

Pilgrim girl Ella

Our little Indian and Pilgrim

Lucy dancing to "Little Red Fox" with her class

Lucy was a little timid to begin

Lucy's beloved teacher, Mrs. Charlie. She deserves a whole post all in its own!

I just love these girls. They are so beautiful.

Lucy's best friend Hyatt

Presley Kate, Lucy and Shelby. The 3 amigos!

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Look Who's Happy....

This precious 2 month old is. So very, very happy. He is such a good baby--now that he stays full all the time. I just love him so much and could kiss those fat cheeks all day long. And even though my pregnancy with him wrecked havoc on my body I could not imagine my life without him. As I adjust to my new lifestyle and conform to a life long change of diet, I will forever be reminded of just how strong a mother's love can be. Because no matter how hard things may be for me, I'd do it over a million times just to have one day with this perfect gift from God.

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Christmas Card 2010

Seasonal Chic Noir Christmas Card
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Making Memories

The kiddos and I went to my parents the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The girls helped decorate the tree while Rebecca and I laughed at our old ornaments. Especially the ones that had our pictures on them (hello bad haircuts!!). What wonderful memories. I hope we do this every year from now on!
The girls helping Pops put the star on the tree

Group shot. It was the best one we could get. YIKES!
My beauties. Let's just say this one did NOT make it on the Christmas card. I had high hopes for those cute outfits, too. Oh, well. Maybe better luck next year.

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I Have Celiac Disease and I Will Live G Free

It's like saying out loud makes it more real or something. It doesn't make it any easier, that's for sure.

Celiac disease is a chronic (which means I will have it for life), auto immune, inherited digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine. When I eat gluten, my immune system is triggered and begins to attack my small intestine (SI), resulting in damage to the villi that make up the lining of the SI. The villi are necessary for the absorption of nutrients, which in my case went on for so long that I became very malnourished. Celiac disease will lay dormant for your whole life until there is some sort of trauma that causes it to "wake up." For me it was my 3rd pregnancy.

Gluten is a natural protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Sit for a minute and think about your favorite foods. I would wager that 80% or more contain gluten. Here's a short list of the obvious ones: bread, pasta, cereal, beer, cookies and cakes. Now, here's a list of items that you would never imagine: cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, soy sauce, instant coffee, some medicine, some cosmetics, bacon bits, deli meat, french fries, chicken nuggets, spices, salad dressing, envelope adhesive, stamps, play-doh and the list goes on.

This diagnosis has been a tough pill to swallow, but it explains so much. All the swelling I had while pregnant and post partum, my thyroid disorder, the severe iron deficiency anemia I have lived with for so long. Not to mention the problems I have with my teeth and the acid reflux I deal with on a daily basis. Learning that I have this condition does give me some comfort in knowing that I was not just a hypochondriac for all these years. I really was sick. VERY sick!

There is no cure for Celiac. The only way to treat it is to adopt a G-Free (gluten free) diet for the rest of my life. And let me tell you, I am NOT excited about it. G-Free bread products suck and going out to eat at a restaurant is nearly impossible. Especially in a small town. Cross-contamination is a huge problem for those that adhere to a G-free diet. It might be easy to chose the g-free menu item, but ensuring that it has not had contact with another gluten item is so hard. And let me tell you, shopping for gluten free food is not cheap! Geez...

BUT. I'm worth it. I have to be. I have three children and a husband who need me. They need me to be healthy, active and otherwise engaged in life. I know there will be days when I slip off the wagon, but I am making this commitment to Erik, Ella, Lucy, Jack and to me!

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Update on Life

If I were to say things have been eventful around here the past few weeks, it would be an understatement. Geez! Where do I even begin? Well, for starters, Jack is now 9 weeks old. I think I blinked and the time just vanished. During this time we have overcome and are working on jumping some pretty major hurdles.

First of all, Jack never had colic. I, unfortunately, have been dealing with some fairly significant health issues that led to my body's inability to effectively produce breastmilk. For those of you who have dealth with this, you know how discouraging and disappointing this is. I never had this problem with my girls, so this was a new emotion to deal with. It was quite a hard pill to swallow, since I thought that nursing was the one thing that I actually was doing right with Jack. Everything else around me seemed to be in chaos and I was holding on to nursing as the one thing I could and did control. And it's so primal. It's the most basic need that a mother should be able to provide for her child. Upon the realization that Jack was actually just hungry all the time, not colicky, I began to pump, supplement with formula and feed from a bottle. He immediately was a different child. See.....

He began sleeping better and stopped crying for hours at night. Everyone else in the house seems to be happier, too.
After a few week of pumping, I noticed that I was producing less and less and after consulting with my doctor I decided that my body had given all it could. With the other issues I am dealing with I had to make a tough decision. But as so many close friends and family members reminded me, I can not be a good mother to Jack or Ella or Lucy or a good wife to Erik if I don't take care of myself. So, this chapter in my life was abruptly closed, but I know God is in control and His hand has been in all of this. And, seeing this baby smile and laugh makes it all worth while. He melts my heart with that crooked, gummy smile!

For posterity sake:
This week alone I went to Memphis 4 times. Monday was a doctor appointment for me. Tuesday I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy (fun!), Thursday was 2 doctor appointments for me and all three kiddos had well-baby check-ups and Friday was another visit to the doctor for me for labwork.
Jack at 2 months weighed 11 pounds and was 22" long
Ella at 7 years and 2 months weighed 43.8 pounds and was 47" tall
Lucy at 4 years and 8 months weighed 36 pounds and was 43" tall

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Fall Soccer 2010

Our family was really excited about soccer this season. Erik was coaching, the girls were on the same team (which will never happen again in any sport) and we had a lot of friends on our team. I was particularly excited because Lucy was going to get to play on her first organized sports team.

The season started with a bang! Jack was born the day before our first game, so Erik had to leave me in the hospital to go and I missed the first three games staying at home with Jack. Ella played her heart out every game and Lucy, well, she didn't. I'm not sure she stayed on the field for a total of 30 minutes all season. We were disappointed that she did not play, but decided we were not going to force her for fear we'd ruin her on soccer for life. We were so proud of Ella, though. She did great and had such a wonderful time.
Our team went undefeated for the season. Not that the kids cared. I'm not sure any of them ever even asked who won or lost!

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Tiger Football

This is the only football event I made it to in 2010. Jack and I went to one tailgate and he did great. He was only 3 or 4 weeks, so he slept the whole time. It was a nice treat getting out of the house for a little while. The rest of this group made it to several games and had some great times. I have to admit I was more than a little jealous when Erik was able to "escape" from home for 3 or 4 fun football and tailgaiting outings.

Amber, Sarah, Amanda and Me

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Hanging in There

A big thanks to everyone who has offered encouraging words and reassurance over the past few days. It would be an understatement to say that things are not going well at the K house. On the rare occasion that you can catch Baby Jack not crying, we are running like mad trying to do a load of laundry, prepare dinner or take a shower. On a positive note, I do think that Jack has thrown a purposeful smile a time or two in my direction. I guess it's just God's way of encouraging me in "hang-in-there," or at least that is what I am telling myself.

You know, the hardest part of this all has been missing out on so much time with the other members of my family. Ella and Lucy have learned to fend for themselves on so many levels. Even warming up their chocolate milk proves to be a monumental task for me at times. Halloween was a blur--I don't really know if I even took any pictures of sweet Jack, much less the girls in their adorable costumes. Forget carving pumpkins or going to a pumpkin patch. Erik did step in and do pumpkins with the girls, but there are no pictures to show how cute they were. And poor Erik. I guess we will resume our marital relationship as some point in the distant future. I long for the first night we get to sit on the brown couch together and watch some frivolous tv show and banter worthless chatter. Ahhh...fun times.

Thanksgiving and Christmas seem like a foreboding task just looming over my head right now. There are school field trips and activities that I need to attend and holiday decorating that must be done. It would be totally wrong to not have a tree this year, right? OK, ok. It'll get done. Somehow.

Sometimes I feel like a first time mom. The unexpected turning my life upside down. I always say no one can prepare you for bring a parent. While that is true, there is a lot about being a first time parent that just comes with the territory. What no one warned me about was being a third time parent with a monkey wrench called Colic thrown in there to boot.

Now, I want to make something perfectly clear to my kids (especially Jack) who may one day read this. I love you more than anything in this world. Even when Jack is screaming for hours on end, something in me deep to my utter core loves him to pieces. And I will be the first to acknowledge that this short-lived problem we are facing pales in comparison to the trials faced by other parents. I will forever thank my loving God that this is the battle he is allowing me to fight, not something so much worse. I try to remind myself of this everyday. BUT...that does not change the fact that things are hard right now. Trying, tiring and down right not fun!!

And just a side note, the Colic in itself has been hard, but right now I am experiencing some pretty intense health issues of my own. I have been advised to have an exploratory procedure next Friday but I just don't have a peace about it. I am praying that God will reveal His will for me in this situation. I know that if I don't take care of Momma, I can't take care of Jack. I get that. I am just faced with weighing the pros and cons of the procedure. The major con being jeopardizing the first truly successful and enjoyable attempt of breastfeeding any of my children. I'm just not ready to take that chance, but I'm also so tired of being sick and tired!

So, that's what's happening in the K house. Lots of diapers, tears and prayers. I am reminded daily that Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Christ, Mylicon, Mylanta, Prevacid and a fabulous glider rocking chair!

"Thank you God for allowing me to be the mother of Ella, Lucy and Jack. Thank you for allowing me to be the wife of Erik. Please help me be the best mother and wife I possibly can be. And please, if its not too much to ask, make this Colic go away. Amen."

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Keeping My Fingers Crossed

I need this to work....I'm desperate.A sorority sister from college found my blog and read about Jack's issues. She, too, has a newborn with reflux issues worse than I can even imagine. She lives in Orlando and sent me an email with some helpful hints she has picked up over the past few months. She told me about this Fisher Price Newborn Sleeper. It's specially designed for babies who need to sleep in an upright position. She said it has made the biggest difference for her son. After reading the crazy good reviews about it, I ordered it immediately and even paid for overnight shipping. Did I mention I was desperate?!?!?

My poor, sweet baby has a really, really yucky tummy. We are going to the doctor tomorrow and are praying for some answers. I need some answers because I am at my wit's end. Not to mention that I am having some serious GI health issues as well. It makes sense to me that until I get my tummy straightened out, he can't expect to feel much better. We do sort-of share one food system right now. Jack is 6.5 weeks old and its been a fairly miserable go of it for him so far. Please say a prayer that things will get better around here. We are all so tired and just plain exhausted.

This being my thrid child, I can whole-heartedly say that this is the hardest thing I have ever done. No regrets, just an acknowledgement.

Jack in one of his rare non-screaming moments today.

Doing the bicycle with Daddy. Trying to pass that gas!

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