Sunday, January 31, 2016

Anchor Update (kidneys)

On the outside, little Anchor Joel looks like a healthy, growing baby boy. And for the most part he is. 

But there is no doubt that he has overcome many challenges and still has a few he will be facing head on probably sooner than we will be ready for. 

Just days before we left the NICU after our nearly 3 month stay, Anchor started showing signs of hypertension. His blood pressure was considerably high, enough to medicate him immediately. After a renal ultrasound it was assumed that the hypertension was caused by a blood clot sheath that was most likely left behind by his picc line. We'd leave him on medicine until that sheath broke down and dissolved and that would likely take care of the hypertension. 

After working with Seattle Childrens, we were able to 'borrow' a blood pressure monitor and check his pressure measurements twice a day. The bigger Anchor got, the more meds he had to be on.  

The end of October, we went back to the pediatric nephrologist (kidney specialist) and had another ultrasound of his kidneys. This time it showed that his right kidney was noticeably smaller. Unsure if that was natural or caused by prematurity, we were told it was likely caused by restricted blood flow to that kidney. 

Last Wednesday, we had a follow up with his nephrologist. We are understanding now that there is likely a blood clot in his right kidney causing stunted growth or worst case no growth to that kidney. We will have more answers the bigger our sweet boy grows and we are able to track and trend kidney growth through ultrasound. 

We know whatever the outcome, we will continue to trust The Lord with everything. How can we not? He has never once left us with anything but peace and comfort during this journey. Sure, this can be uncomfortable... But I know there is good to come from every little thing in not only this boy's life, but ours too. 

I'm asking for prayers from you. Please pray for the healing for our precious sons kidney. Pray for normal function and growth. Please pray for lower blood pressures (which Joel and I continue to monitor here at home daily) and a chance for his little heart (more on that soon!) to get some rest from working so hard.  Oh and don't forget about his lungs.... We will have more news on that after Wedensdays appointment. God is good and full grace and hears every prayer. 

Now I just can't quit smiling at this photo. Today,  Joel and I found some diapers with anchors on them and we just HAD to have them for our boy. I melt. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Clean House - With the Whole Family

I have to share with you what IS working for our family and it may work for yours too! 

House Cleaning! House cleaning?!  We have tried many (and I mean too many to remember) ways to get (and keep) our home clean. 

We've tried separating out the chores per day of the week, we had hired housekeepers not once but twice, we tried challenges and contests, we even pretended that Adele was coming over and we wanted to impress her and would run around like crazy people to get things picked up. But.... None of them worked long term. 

A few weeks ago, I was picking up some girls to bring to the next mom to take into town for volleyball (yes that sounds confusing but it takes a village to get all these athletes where they need to go, when they need to go!) I asked one of Arly's friends if she got to do anything fun with her extra hour that afternoon since it was Thursday and they get out of school an hour earlier than usual. She told me that on Thursdays, her sister and her clean the house and instead of an allowance or commission, the work they do is rewarded by how they spend their weekend. If they do a good job, they will get to go to the movies, spend time with friends, etc. 

Great idea!!!!!

I needed to figure out a way this concept would work for our family. That weekend I thought of many scenarios and finally landed on this one. We tried it, and now we are 2 weeks in and it's working splendidly! 

We have one night during the week that is currently not filled with another obligation. We use that night to get all of our house cleaning done. 

First I grabbed a chalkboard and wrote down 12 chores that needed done that week. The four oldest Sprys would each have 3 chores to do. 

Then I grabbed a bowl and cut up paper and put each of our names on just ONE. I have the chores broken into categories from hardest/takes the most time to easier/less time to complete the chore. This way, one person couldn't end up with the 3 hardest chores. For example; the kitchen and the 3 bathrooms were one category... 4 hard chores. The vacuuming, wood floors, dust upstairs, dust downstairs were the next category and so on. 

Then we simply drew names out of the bowl. Each would grab one name and we'd work down the list, putting a name next to who was in charge of the chore. Then dos the next category of chores, all 4 names went back into the bowl for the next drawing, and so on. 

This put a absolute end to the 'that's not fair!' and the 'I always have to do that!' and 'ew! Anyone want to trade?!' It's just the luck of the draw and so far, ZERO COMPLAINTS! Win!!!

Then we crank the music (not too loud for the littles' ears) and get after it. It takes about 2-2 1/2 hours to get our whole house cleaned but it relieves us of a weeks worth of stressing out about a dirty bathroom, bedroom, appliances, or whatever we see. 

For a mama that is home all day, this has brought much peace and order to our home. When there is a mess, my brain is a mess. When I feel overwhelmed, intend to shut down. This system is the perfect fix to help me be productive in my every day and let's be honest, keeps me a little calmer and my sanity in check! 

Oh and want to know what else is keeping me sane and is actually quite fun doing? Tidying our home! We're trying a new tidy method that has worked wonders for friends that are currently working through it or have finished. We are seeing success and sin through this method but I'll share more of that here oh so soon. 

Do you have a cleaning system that works for you? Have you struggled like us? I want to know! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Story

When you let fear sneak in and grip your soul, you essentially are welcoming the devil to reside in your heart. 

Unfortunately, we let him tell us lies and we listen. We close up; trap ourselves from what we know and find joy in because we now believe that nothing is good and no one cares. We shrink into a pit. 

That's where we were, both Joel and I... In a pit. A self pity pit and we sat there just surviving the everyday life. Not thriving. Not growing. Just there. Numb to the outside world. 

But then, the Holy Spirit made it very clear that we have this moment, today this season to grow in Him. 

When Anchor was in the NICU and the days leading up to delivery, I knew what it was like to be on my knees. Physically and spiritually I was there.... Praising, thanking, begging, loving, trusting.  There was no room for anger, resentment or fear. I knew what it felt like to be close to The Lord; wrapped in his loving arms. Peace. Even through utter chaos, scary days and isolating weeks.... Peace. 

But then somehow, sometime, in the midst of all the crazy 'back to somewhat normal' life at home, I chose to believe the fear and lies. 

I'm a woman of few real regrets. I've learned from so many choices I've made in the past that I don't regret even poor decisions. But I do however regret not journaling and sharing this story... My story. It has all happened so quickly but yet the days have dragged on and on. I thought sometime I'll record it; but never did. That time is now. 

I want to share my story. All of it. I don't want to forget any day... Happy, boring, sad, crazy, scary, unpredictable, fun day. I don't want to forget any event... Sudden, to be determined, planned, spontaneous event.

It feels so good to be sitting in our quiet, albeit messy house... Back on the keys where one by one, sharing my thoughts. I'm looking forward to opening my heart  again here; being vulnerable in my every day life and doing my very best to glorify our gracious Father for each moment.