Monday, February 23, 2009

Random Things

1. Why is it that I have one child who could care less about eating and my other child wants to eat everything in sight? Eva will eat food items and non-food items alike as if it is completely normal. For example, breakfast for Eva might include the following: a cup of milk, a waffle, some fruit, half of a paper towel, a handful of dog food and a booger. Not even kidding. I'm talking DAILY she eats dog food despite the fact that we continue to tell her how gross it is and that disciplinary action will be taken if she keeps doing it. Somehow she is not getting the message.

2. The other day I found Eva blowing the toilet water. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up a little bit.

3. Eva thinks it is hilarious these days to toot on purpose just to get a laugh. She will strain and strain just to produce one little toot and then she looks around to see if anyone heard it and just laughs. I am an easy audience of course because I think passing gas is extremely funny but we are working on saying excuse me since this type of behavior is obviously socially inappropriate. Her other socially inappropriate behavior that she has started doing is picking her nose and trying to wipe it on me. I know some of you who know me well and know that I think toots and boogers are funny maybe shocked to hear that no, I did not teach her either of these things. I promise! Again, we are working on what is appropriate and that there is such a thing as Kleenex. They have those now you know? Pretty sure they do.

4. Where have all the El Camino's gone? You know what I'm talking about. Those half truck/half muscle car combos that leave you wondering, "Is it a truck? Or is it a car? I'm not really sure."

In my opinion they are hideous looking but a GENIUS idea. Anyway, the other day we were driving to a doctor's appointment and were stopped at a light and hit the jackpot! A bronze El Camino pulled up beside us and to our delight the driver had the most amazing mullet I have seen in a long time. AND, wait, there's add even more greatness to the story we still to this day are not sure whether the driver was a male or a female. GOOOO! I don't know which is worse a male mullet or a female mullet...I'm thinking the female mullet is prreeetty rough. In my mind the stereotype is that if you own an El Camino you more than likely will also have a mullet but in reality seeing the two together is a rare sighting so this just made my day. This person was obviously stuck in another era and you just know their car music of choice was probably like Journey's "Wheel in the Sky" on repeat or something. You can almost bet on it. Anyway, bring back the El Caminos I say. Are you thinking what I'm thinking...Eva and Ella's first car? That's right, El Camino baby, yeah...minus the mullet of course.

5. Ella has been doing this move a lot. I'm not really sure if she is practicing her hurkey or what she's doing. I was not a cheerleader but just in my observation I'm thinking that the hurkey may be the #1 move to know so Ella, you're on your way sister.

6. I have a motto that I've been going by lately because it seems like we like to take the difficult route for pretty much every situation these days so to prepare myself I like the motto of "Go in with low expectations and you will be pleasantly surprised." Let me explain. For instance, you get up in the morning and you think, "on my way to work I will probably have a wreck, total my car and be late for work." When none of that happens and you get to work a little early you are "pleasantly surprised." Another example, you are going to the grocery store and you think "the store will probably be out of everything I need, the kids will throw a fit and there will be some annoying person who stays on my tail with their cart down every aisle." And when none of that happens, you are what my friends? All together now..."pleasantly surprised". Do you see how this works? Are you picking up what I'm putting down? That's my theory, low expectations people, it's the way to go. :)

7. Because things have been diffcult and frustrating lately one of my very sweet, funny and caring friends, Nicole, showed up at my house a few weeks ago with a stack of plates from the dollar store. Plates you ask? Do tell. She thought that maybe if I could just throw a few plates when I'm frustrated it might make me feel better. Awesome idea! It makes me feel SO much better. I'm sure the neighbors are wondering why they occasionally hear breaking glass and someone crying in the backyard. No one has called the police yet, who by the way live right next door so I think we're good. Yeah, there's no counting to ten or taking deep breaths around here, it's just straight up plate-throwing for the Carders. That's just how we roll.

8. Last week my twin sister Ann and I turned 25 again. :) I love that I always know what to expect on my birthday from Ann. Every year we wish each other "Happy Birthday womb-mate,"...get it? Ha! Womb-mate, because we're twins. I know we are so clever. Anyway, then Ann usually gives me a card with some sort of inappropriate humor, language or both. Classic, she never disappoints. Anyway, we had a fun birthday and some of my dearest friends also happened to be in town so we all got to partay--haaay, together. I love spending time with these girls. I think my maturity level drops a few notches when we all get together from just being silly and laughing a lot. You know how it is when a bunch of girls get together, there's lots of loud laughing and everyone is talking at the same time but is still able to catch every word of what everyone else is saying. It's great. Thanks for the fun day ladies! And thank you to everyone for all of your calls, texts, and cards on my birthday, I felt very special.

My roomies from college, me, Kimberly, Ann, Christiana

Ann bought herself a shirt for her birthday and decided she liked it so much so she got the same one for me too. Our friend Holly said she would pay us to dress alike on our big day but of course we said there's no need to pay us, we would be more than happy to dress the same! Do you see what I mean by maturity level dropping a notch or two? Don't worry, we didn't go out in public dressed alike since that is a little awkward and we don't usually make a habit of dressing the same. It was just for the day and we didn't leave the house so it's cool.

Aunt Kimberly with Ella. She put her right to sleep.

Ella with her friends Neva and Callie all in their leg warmers

Ella and Callie in their matching pjs

The whole gang!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Update on Dr.'s Appointments

We'll start with the fun stuff first. Here are the girls in their Valentine shirts that daddy got for them. Rick is so sweet and just loves taking care of all his girls and making us feel special. He is the best daddy and husband, we are so blessed! He got a shirt for me too but umm, well, it was just a weeeee bit too tight. That's what happens when you get a shirt in the teeny-bop section of the store for an almost 31 year old with a post-pregnancy body. Fo sho right laydeez? FYI, along with Holla sometimes I kind of like saying fo sho, translated "for sure" for those of you who don't understand the lingo. Anyway, the best idea now days in clothing for me is to try and camouflage the muffin top as much as possible instead of drawing attention to it. Moms with muffin tops, are you with me here? So obviously I need to exchange my cute shirt for a bigger size. Thank you though babe, you are SO sweet and thoughtful! Also, Ella rolled over today for the first time from her tummy to her back! I know this might not be exciting to anyone else but it is extremely exciting for us. Yea Ella!

Okay, so the not so fun stuff is the information we learned from our doctor's appointments this past week. This post is a little lengthy, just a warning. Here we go, this past wednesday Ella had an Upper GI procedure done which, I'll spare you the details but just know that it was terrible. She would not drink the barium (shocker!) even though they wheeled in a tv with baby einstein playing for her and 5 nurses were standing around singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Negative, so they had to put a tube down her nose and into her stomach to get the barium in that way to do the x-rays. It was awful, she was screaming and crying the entire time and I was about to lose it myself. At least they got the images they needed but it was just not fun for any of us. On Thursday we had a follow-up appt. with the GI doctor to go over the pH probe, Upper GI results, etc. I was fully prepared that she was going to say that Ella had severe reflux, here's the new med and that's it. Not the case.

She did say yes, Ella does have significant reflux, here is the medication but that there are some other things wrong internally as well. I'll try to explain this as best as I can since I am so not medical and don't completely understand how everything works with the whole GI thing. Starting off, her small intestines and colon are malrotated which means they are in an abnormal position in her body. This more than likely happened in utero when everything was forming and apparently in every fetus there is a period of time when the intestines come out of the abdomen, rotate around and return back into the abdomen. With Ella, hers just did not complete that rotation and because of that they are not in the correct position. The doctor said that this is not that common but it is also not uncommon. Do you see a running theme here with sweet Ella on the not-so-common things happening to her? sheesh! Anyway, there are people walking around out there that have this same condition and never know it or know it and know how to deal with it. In my understanding, malrotation in itself may not necessarily be a problem but there can be complications that present themselves and then it can become a serious problem and surgery would have to be performed. Basically for Ella this is important information for us to know as far as her future health is concerned but nothing is going to be done or needs to be done at this point about it unless she really shows signs that something is going wrong. Time will tell but more than likely things will be fine.

Okay, I'm not done yet. In addition to the malrotated intestines Ella also has a hiatal hernia which is common and pretty much goes along with reflux. In addition to that she also has a tortuous esophagus which means her esophagus is curvy and wide as opposed to a normal esophagus that is straight and narrow. There you have it. I think I covered everything from our GI appointment. Needless to say, I burst into tears in the doctor's office because I was not prepared for all of this info so it was kind of a blow. No wonder this poor baby is having trouble eating! However, despite all of these things we do feel like once the reflux and esophagitis gets under control she will eat better. We are so blessed that Ella is such a happy baby even though she has been through so much. Things will get better but it is just going to take some time.

Last thing. On Friday we had an appointment with the Cranial Band people to get Ella's head evaluated for a band or helmet. Her head is flat on the right side because she has trouble looking to her left due to her shoulder problems. We try to position her as much as possible to relieve pressure on the right side but there is only so much you can do. So we had an evaluation and they said that on the scale she is in the severe range and is a good candidate for the band. She has plagiocephaly which is flattening of the head as well as brachycephaly in which the head forms in a wider, shorter shape. We realize that they have a product to sell and it is ultimately our decision on whether or not to get a band for her but we feel that it is important to have this taken care of so we are moving forward with it. The time table for how long you have to wear the band is different for every baby but it is usually around 6-8 weeks we were told and it must be worn 23 hours a day. We'll go back this week to have the mold made then it will be a week or two before they get it back to do a fitting. After that we'll have to go every week to make sure it is fitting right yadda yadda yadda. Awesome right? As if we really need one more issue to deal with. We just kind of laugh at this point because it really is amazing and what else can you do. Cry? I do enough of that already so I would rather laugh. Anyway, my friend Holly said she would buy a Bedazzler and we'll just slap some rhinestones on that bad boy and Ella will be good to go. So, get the creative juices flowing people, I need helmet decorating ideas. Send me your serious, funny, silly, whatever suggestions, we could use and appreciate the humor.

Okay, I'm sure there are other things I need to update about but this post is long enough so I'll stop for now. Thank you for all of your prayers this week for us. It was a hard week finding out all of this but we are glad we know more because it is just steps in the right direction to helping Ella get better. Much love, 10-4.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I have just been thinking so much lately about how blessed we are. Over the past several months since Ella has been home we have had SO much help from friends and family and we are just so thankful and overwhelmed by it all. Seriously, we go into a state of shock almost daily (and I'm not kidding when I say daily!) as we continue to receive unexpected meals, gift cards, financial support from family, friends and people we don't even know, encouraging notes and phone calls, people coming over just to help with Ella and Eva and do household chores, bring me sonic drinks (awesome!) and just give me encouragement since I don't get out much. Our sweet parents still are coming once a month or so to visit and help. They are helping too by getting our house cleaned for us and also getting someone in the works to come over for a couple of hours a week during the day to help with Ella so I can actually leave my cave and join society. I could write forever about all that our families have done and are doing for us. They are incredible! And did I mention a new washer and dryer, night help three nights a week, and a fun lunch with my girlfriends in which I left with a trunk full of diapers and wipes? The list goes on and on and on. Unbelievable! I know, my run-on sentences go on and on and are unbelievable too, grammar is not my strong point...don't worry about it.

Rick and I just stare at each other in amazement every day when we think of all the blessings we are receiving from such caring and generous friends. We are beyond blessed and really are speechless because we don't know how to handle it all. We feel that our life has been forever changed by the generosity of friends and family and we are learning so much from all of you about how to carry others burdens and help those in need. We will do things much differently in the future when it comes to helping others and how we use our time, money and the talents the Lord has given us. We are so thankful for everything everyone has done and is doing for us. You are blessing us more than you will ever know! These are hard days we are in and often we wonder why some of our prayers are not being answered the way we would like them to be. Then when we come out of our pity party we see that the Lord is answering prayers but just in different ways. For some reason God doesn't seem to do things the way I think He should. Weird, I know. :) However, I am SO glad because He is in control and has amazing plans for our family and for Ella and I know that He will use all of these things for His glory. Our prayer is that we exemplify Jesus through this struggle and that others may come to know Him. Thank you for continuing on this marathon with us, we could not do it without you.

Okay, so here is the new washer/dryer story. So the week that it was so icy I got a phone call one morning and this man tells me he is on his way to deliver my new washer and dryer. I told him that I didn't order a new washer/dryer and that he had the wrong phone number. I didn't think anything of it because we often get calls from Home Depot saying, "Yeah, this is Steve and your sheet rock is ready." You know, things like that. It has happened several times so I figured this was the same story. Well, he verified my name and address and I told him that he had the right info but still I had not ordered a washer/dryer so something must be wrong. He said he would call his boss and call me back. Poor guy, he didn't know what to do with me. He called me back and told me that he couldn't tell me anything more than that the washer/dryer were a gift for us and he was on his way. What?!!! Talk about shock. I felt like we should be on Extreme Home Makeover or something. So he shows up about 30 min. later with these beauties.

Unbelievable my friends, unbelievable. After talking with a friend I now know that numerous precious and generous families from our church all went in together to get these for us. I still can't believe it. Sometimes Rick and I just stand and look at them because we are still in amazement. The other day I kept the pantry door open so I could gaze at them while I ate my lunch. Hysterical I know. Thank you, Thank you to all who were a part of this generous gift!!

Another gift that we have been given from some very generous friends is night help with Ella three nights a week. This past month I have been up pretty much every hour of every night with Ella so needless to say there was not much sleep happening. Brruutall! So some very caring friends who want us to be able to have a break and get rest have helped us by hiring a caregiver for Ella. We interviewed a couple of people and we now have a sweet woman named Ann that comes from 9pm-7am three nights a week and takes care of Ella, helps with laundry or whatever we might need. She is from Kenya and is a christian and just has the most precious personality and caring heart. We really think she is wonderful and she just loves Ella so it is a blessing having her in our home. I really could update daily about all that you all are doing for our family. We are forever grateful and we love you all dearly. Thank you again!

As far as updates on things with Ella I don't have much. We did get the biopsies back from her scope and all they told us was that she has esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) which we pretty much already knew. They did prescribe a medication for it so we are praying for good results with this new med. That is pretty much all we know at this point. We haven't gotten the results back from the pH probe yet and tomorrow Ella has her upper GI so hopefully we will have more information later in the week. We also have a dr's appt. with the GI dr. who did the scope on Thursday so we are hoping to be able to ask more questions and get some answers then as well. Thank you for your prayers for all of this, please keep praying for Ella and her feedings. We'll update again soon. Here are some pictures of the girls for you.

Ella is SO much easier to get a smile out of than Eva was at this age...or even now for that matter. Eva is always too cool for school and just stares you down sometimes no matter how hard you try to get her to smile. I am actually shocked that in this picture when I told her to smile she did so maybe we are turning a corner. Oh will I have stories to tell them in the future of all they put their parents through. By the way, don't you love that sweet widdle Ella at 5 months old is the same size as the bear Eva is holding. Hilarious! Sweet baby girl. Amazing these two girls, love them!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Update on Ella's scope

Before procedure...hasn't eaten in 6 hrs but just as happy as can be...I don't get it!

In recovery, what a sweet baby!

Thank you all for your prayers for Ella today. Her scope procedure went very well and the actual procedure itself was very quick. It was the waiting before and after that took so long so it has been a long day for us but we are just thankful to hopefully be on the right track with getting Ella some help. So far from what they could see her esophagus, small intestines and stomach look good and healthy. The doctor did say though that her esophagus looked leathery and irritated probably from all of the spitting up that she does and her stomach is quite small. She said it looked healthy but was just very small. That was pretty much all the information we got as far as visual results from the scope. They took biopsies from her stomach, esophagus and small intestines as well and I think those results will be much more informative and help identify problems as far as damage, certain allergies, etc. are concerned. We will not get those results for another week. Overall, we are very thankful that things went smoothly today and that so far there is nothing hugely significant that was wrong. However, we are hoping that the biopsies and pH probe will give us more information as to what could be causing Ella's feeding problems.

Ella came home today with the pH probe and she will have it until tomorrow morning. This test is to check and measure for acid reflux. She has a tube down her nose that goes to her stomach and we have to chart every time we feed her, what we feed her and how long, when she coughs, cries, is restless, is irritable, when she spits up, when she sleeps, how she sleeps, when she wakes up and on and on. We will do this until tomorrow morning so it will be a long night. :) We also have to alternate feeding her juice and milk every other feeding so we have to change out all of that in her feeding tube every three hours so that is kind of brutal. Okay, not kind of brutal, very brutal but hey if all of this will tell us anything about how to help her we will do it! Poor thing has to wear arm immobilizers too throughout all of this so she can't bend her arms to pull out the tube. We will pull her tube out in the morning and return all of our charting to the hospital and we will get those results in a week when we get the biopsies. Sweet Ella, she is such a trooper!

That is about all I've got so far. We will definitely update once we get more results in. Please continue to pray that we will get some clear answers from these tests. Oh, by the way, in my last post I said that this Wednesday Ella had an Upper GI prcedure scheduled and a follow up appt. on Friday but both of those have been canceled and rescheduled as of today. The Upper GI procedure cannot be done within five days of a scope so she will have that next Wednesday, Feb. 11th instead. So next week she will have several appointments so we'll update on that when we know more. Thank you for all of your prayers and support, we definitely feel it and we are so thankful for all of you. Good night, I'm off to do some charting!