Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fall Pictures

Holidays are here!

I LOVE Christmas. I wanted to include some pictures of our kids decorating the tree. It was stressful, and all of the ornaments ended up in the same place, but they had so much fun! Jacob loved putting the star on the tree. Jacob also asked a lot of questions like why we put a star on the tree and about putting angels on the tree. It was a great opportunity to talk about Jesus' birth and the Christmas story!

Just before the Doodlebops

Here are a few pictures of the kids before Maria's seizure. In one picture you can see that Mike is trying to get the kids started early on video games!

Maria's unique style

Maria loves cloths and she has her own style. She loves dresses and braids in her hair.

First WFU Basketball Game!

Before Maria got sick, we took the kids to their first WFU basketball game. They honored Skip Prosser at the game too. The kids were really good and loved it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things I love (or Things I am thankful for)

Thanksgiving always makes me reflect on the many blessings in my life. This year was a time of reflection because of Maria's sickness. I realize now that Maria was not near death, but when she had her seizure, I thought that she had died. This event has made me so thankful for every small thing that my kids do. This has also made me realize that a great pleasure in life is enjoying the little every day things.

I am so thankful for so many things. Of course I am thankful for general things like my health, healthy kids, my husband, my family, my church, my great friends, etc. But I am also thankful for many small things. A few things that I love / am thankful for:

1. The public library. A favorite trip for our family is to the library. Maria loves the puzzles and Jacob loves to find new books. The kids often find books that they have read at school and they find books that we have at home. I love discovering a new book or new author that they love. Kids are such creatures of habit and routine, so it is fun to have a library full of books that we can check out without any commitment. I always loved the library as a kid - I could spend hours analyzing the books and trying to decide which books I wanted to read. I would go every week and check out the maximum number of books allowed. Even now, I love to walk through the shelves and make lists of the books that I plan to read.

2. Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. I try to make the holiday last as long as possible. I was ready to put up our tree the day after Halloween, but Mike did not agree. I love the glow of the white lights on our tree. I especially love our ornaments. Our tree is not a Martha Stewart tree. Instead, it is a tree filled with ornaments that are full of meaning. We have ornaments that I had as a child, ornaments that the kids have made, ornaments that we have collected while traveling, and ornaments that were given to us as gifts from dear friends. I love to pull out the ornaments and remember friends, fun times, and bits of my childhood. I also love the Christmas season. I love the spirit of giving and the Christmas songs. I love Santa Claus - I love the magic of Christmas - it takes me back to a time when I would anxiously look out the window hoping to steal a glimpse of Santa or a reindeer. The magic of the Christmas story and Jesus birth, along with the magic of the traditional stories (of Santa and his generosity, of Frosty and Christmas snow), fill my heart with warmth and hope.

3. I love the innocence of childhood. I want to begin to teach my kids that not all people are as blessed as we are. One way that I am trying to do this is by adopting a foster child. I invited Jacob to go shopping for presents for a foster child with me. Jacob responded that he did not want to buy presents for someone else because he wanted to buy toys for himself. I explained that this little girl may not get any toys for Christmas unless our family helps her because her family may not have enough money. Jacob looked at me and said, "Why doesn't Santa bring her presents?" I explained that Santa may bring her one present, but that I am sure that her family would like to be able to give her a gift too. So if we buy a gift for her, we will be giving a gift to her foster parents (because they can experience the joy of giving to their foster child) and we will be able to help the girl because she will get more than one gift.

4. I love to laugh. My husband is a practical joker. He loves to hide spiders in my closet or jump out and scare me. He loves to laugh. My kids also love to laugh. They love to be tickled and play rough and tumble games.

5. Imagination. I was an only child, so I spent many lonely days wishing for playmates. To fill my time, I developed a very active imagination. In my imagination, I had a large family, a twin sister, many friends, and I could travel all over the world, or even the universe. I love to watch my kids use their imagination now. Jacob loves to use household items as props to dress up. He will use a stick for the tin man's ax, and he has used a pink pompom for Captain Hook's hair. I love to watch Maria pretend to go to the beach. She will put Dora the Explorer in the back seat of a van while her "mommy" (a dinosaur) drives.

6. I love the journey. At one time I was so preoccupied with the destination and end result that I failed to enjoy the trip along the way. For example, I so desperately wanted to grow up that I complained away many childhood days. Or I am sometimes so anxious to get to work that I fail to notice the beauty of my drive. This was brought to my attention when my friend Gretchen visited. She rode with me to work one day, and she said, "Your drive to work is beautiful!" I had not noticed. She compared it to her drive to work which is over bumpy roads with potholes and angry drivers. It made me realize that I am often so determined to get to work quickly that I fail to notice the beauty of my drive. Another example of this is when my kids play "going to the beach". They spend huge amounts of time gathering their toys, packing their bags and deciding who gets to drive. They generally never make it to their destination; instead, they have fun in the preparation.

7. I love to ponder deep questions. I love to think about the meaning of life. I love to consider what the Bible actually means to me. I especially love to discuss these questions over a good cup of coffee or chai with a fellow friend who is not afraid to explore the more difficult questions in life. I love finding others who are not afraid to drink from the deep waters ……

I also love reading to the kids!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Febrile Seizure Information

Febrile Seizures Fact Sheet
What are febrile seizures?
Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness and shakes, moving limbs on both sides of the body. Less commonly, the child becomes rigid or has twitches in only a portion of the body, such as an arm or a leg, or on the right or the left side only. Most febrile seizures last a minute or two, although some can be as brief as a few seconds while others last for more than 15 minutes.
The majority of children with febrile seizures have rectal temperatures greater than 102 degrees F. Most febrile seizures occur during the first day of a child's fever. Children prone to febrile seizures are not considered to have epilepsy, since epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures that are not triggered by fever.
How common are febrile seizures?
Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them. Febrile seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or after 3 years of age. The older a child is when the first febrile seizure occurs, the less likely that child is to have more.
What makes a child prone to recurrent febrile seizures?
A few factors appear to boost a child's risk of having recurrent febrile seizures, including young age (less than 15 months) during the first seizure, frequent fevers, and having immediate family members with a history of febrile seizures. If the seizure occurs soon after a fever has begun or when the temperature is relatively low, the risk of recurrence is higher. A long initial febrile seizure does not substantially boost the risk of recurrent febrile seizures, either brief or long.
Are febrile seizures harmful?
Although they can be frightening to parents, the vast majority of febrile seizures are harmless. During a seizure, there is a small chance that the child may be injured by falling or may choke from food or saliva in the mouth. Using proper first aid for seizures can help avoid these hazards.
There is no evidence that febrile seizures cause brain damage. Large studies have found that children with febrile seizures have normal school achievement and perform as well on intellectual tests as their siblings who don't have seizures. Even in the rare instances of very prolonged seizures (more than 1 hour), most children recover completely.
Between 95 and 98 percent of children who have experienced febrile seizures do not go on to develop epilepsy. However, although the absolute risk remains very small, certain children who have febrile seizures face an increased risk of developing epilepsy. These children include those who have febrile seizures that are lengthy, that affect only part of the body, or that recur within 24 hours, and children with cerebral palsy, delayed development, or other neurological abnormalities. Among children who don't have any of these risk factors, only one in 100 develops epilepsy after a febrile seizure.
What should be done for a child having a febrile seizure?
Parents and caregivers should stay calm and carefully observe the child. To prevent accidental injury, the child should be placed on a protected surface such as the floor or ground. The child should not be held or restrained during a convulsion. To prevent choking, the child should be placed on his or her side or stomach. When possible, the parent should gently remove all objects in the child's mouth. The parent should never place anything in the child's mouth during a convulsion. Objects placed in the mouth can be broken and obstruct the child's airway. If the seizure lasts longer than 10 minutes, the child should be taken immediately to the nearest medical facility. Once the seizure has ended, the child should be taken to his or her doctor to check for the source of the fever. This is especially urgent if the child shows symptoms of stiff neck, extreme lethargy, or abundant vomiting.
How are febrile seizures diagnosed and treated?
Before diagnosing febrile seizures in infants and children, doctors sometimes perform tests to be sure that seizures are not caused by something other than simply the fever itself. For example, if a doctor suspects the child has meningitis (an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain), a spinal tap may be needed to check for signs of the infection in the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord). If there has been severe diarrhea or vomiting, dehydration could be responsible for seizures. Also, doctors often perform other tests such as examining the blood and urine to pinpoint the cause of the child's fever.
A child who has a febrile seizure usually doesn't need to be hospitalized. If the seizure is prolonged or is accompanied by a serious infection, or if the source of the infection cannot be determined, a doctor may recommend that the child be hospitalized for observation.
How are febrile seizures prevented?
If a child has a fever most parents will use fever-lowering drugs such as acetominophen or ibuprofen to make the child more comfortable, although there are no studies that prove that this will reduce the risk of a seizure. One preventive measure would be to try to reduce the number of febrile illnesses, although this is often not a practical possibility.
Prolonged daily use of oral anticonvulsants, such as phenobarbital or valproate, to prevent febrile seizures is usually not recommended because of their potential for side effects and questionable effectiveness for preventing such seizures.
Children especially prone to febrile seizures may be treated with the drug diazepam orally or rectally, whenever they have a fever. The majority of children with febrile seizures do not need to be treated with medication, but in some cases a doctor may decide that medicine given only while the child has a fever may be the best alternative. This medication may lower the risk of having another febrile seizure. It is usually well tolerated, although it occasionally can cause drowsiness, a lack of coordination, or hyperactivity. Children vary widely in their susceptibility to such side effects.

Still sick

We had to take Maria back to the emergency room on Saturday night. On Friday at 5:15 when she awoke from her nap, she had a fever. Of course I discovered this just after the doctor's office had closed for the weekend. She kept a fever friday night and Saturday. The fever was as high as 103 (she had a seizure when it reached 103 before). I called the nurse on call and she called the doctor on call. He was concerned because the strong antibiotics should have cured the pneumonia and he wanted more tests so he told me to take Maria back to the emergency dept. I took Maria on Saturday night. She did not want to go to the doctor and she told me and the nurse, "I do not want a booda booda". This is what she calls a catheter. The doctors ran more tests and determined that it is a virus. They said that the xray of her lungs looks a lot better so the pneumonia is not an issue now.

I am relieved that it was not something serious, but it is also so frustrating. This is our 3rd trip to the emergency room in 2 weeks and Maria is still sick. On the discharge instructions that they gave me, it said that I should bring Maria back if she has a fever above 102 for more than 3 days. She's had a fever for a few weeks, and at times her fever has gotten up to 105.

On a lighter note, Maria kept the Emergency Dept staff entertained. Two doctors and a few nurses came into her room just to talk to Maria. They said that they loved to hear her talk and could not beleive that she was only 2 becuase she can talk so well.

Maria seems to be doing ok this morning. Please pray that she will recover.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Febrile Seizure & Pneumonia

On Saturday, Mike and I were taking the kids to see the Doodlebops (a disney show) in Greensboro. We got there early. Mike took Jacob to the bathroom and I noticed that Maria's head felt hot. Then, she took a raspy breath, her eyes rolled back in her head and she stopped breathing. Her lips began to turn blue and I could not get her to wake up. Of course I paniced, screamed for help, for someone to do cpr, etc. No one knew CPR, and the two folks that worked at the coliseum were as paniced as me. When I realized they could not help, I ran into the hall screaming for help. Mike ran up and blew into maria's mouth and she began to open her eyes. The EMS folks at the coliseum arrived at about that time. Then they checked maria out and gave her oxygen. They called the ambulance and they took us to moses cone. When we got there, we found out maria's temp was over 103. They did chest x-rays and other tests and determined she had a virus and had a febrile seizure. We brought her home with instructions to give her tylenol and motrin. We did that round the clock and then Sunday night her fever went back up to 103. She was coughing and feeling terrible. Her fever broke around 2 am. Monday morning at her dr, they told me that it seems like it is just a virus and that febrile seizures are fairly common in young kids. The doctor told me that his daughter also had a seizure at 2 years old. His wife was also alone with his daughter and he said it took a while for his wife to get over it.

I now know that I do not respond well under such circumstances - I became hysterical because I literally thought she had died in my arms. I am so thankful that she is ok. I am also so thankful that we were at the coliseum where the EMS folks could give us immediate assistance.

Since then, Maria has kept a fever despite giving her tylenol and motrin. On Tuesday night her fever went to 105 so we took her to the Emergency Dept at Baptist. The Emergency Dept visits are so hard because of all the tests they have to do (Maria screams and cries). However, the nurses and doctors were wonderful. They diagnosed her with pneumonia and put her on antibiotics. The fever is finally down, so I hope that she is on the road to recovery.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Adventures - Boot, Carnival, Goats, & Cows

Below are a few pictures. There is a picture of me and my friend (and cousin's wife) Kerrie at their new house. There are pictures of the cows, goats and the kids at Aunt Betty's. The kids LOVE to feed the goats acorns and feed the cows apples and pears. Maria, who loves to climb, was caught climbing the fence. There are also pictures of Hanging Rock.

In one picture, Jacob has his foot on a stool and has a boot on. My dad and mom have each had numerous foot problems lately. They have been wearing a boot. I came home from work one day and Jacob had on one running shoe and a boot. He told me that he "hurt his foot at work" and so he was wearing a boot like Papa.

We also took the kids to a carnival in town. They had a blast!