Lazy Day

A cute picture I forgot to include from Nana’s phone the other day ~
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Today was just a nice lazy weekend day! We were either lounging around in the baff or on the couch.

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And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

NINE MONTHS OLD!!!

It’s hard to believe that nine months have passed since this sweetest baby girl entered our lives. I am amazed to look behind us at all of the steep hills and valleys we’ve traveled across. Some of the cliffs and crags are jagged and menacing, impassable. Yet we made it to this beautiful peak. I’m so thankful for the “lead climbers” who have traveled this route before us beckoning us onward. An army of warriors in the physical and spiritual realms have been behind us every step of the way safeguarding us from danger and evil. From where we started, a little over a year ago, this summit was not even a visible speck on the horizon. We imagined we’d be living out the rest of our days in a dark, oppressive fog. Placing one foot in front of the other, day by day we began to see the sun again. As the fog gradually dissipated the sight of a beautiful landscape unfolded before us. The comfortable and familiar flat terrain was replaced by magnificent peaks and valleys. While we have hope and faith that we will get to spend time at the tops of the mountains, we realize there aren’t any shortcuts to get to them. We may spend time in the low valleys surrounded by the thick fog, but we will also journey through beautiful fields of wild flowers, and quaint little villages nestled into hillsides. We are confident and trusting that we can ascend the sheerest of rock that we may happen upon. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.

This perspective is so clear from up high, but admittedly obscured when we are down in the depths. I write this note to myself more than anyone, that I may be reminded of God’s continual grace, mercy, protection and kindness when the road becomes “impassable”.

Happy Nine Months, sweetest thing!!
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Nora got to try rice cereal for the first time! She isn’t so sure about this new menu item.

More pictures ~
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We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.
(2 Corinthians 3:4 NLT)

Tired

I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a couple of days! All is well – just trying to catch my breath! Very tired again tonight, so I will just leave you with some pictures!

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Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people!
(Psalms 66:5 NLT)

Home! :)

We’re finally all healthy and back under one roof!! Influenzapalooza is officially OVER!!! I was so happy to hear that garage door go up! Gavin and Greta were so surprised to see their Dad when they walked in the door from school moments later.
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And then of course Nornor… It was so so precious to watch the little smile slowly spread across her face as she recognized her Daddy’s face live and in person!
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I took a video of the sweet exchange and would have posted it but for a maniacal dissension over the iPad taking place in the background between a certain two children who had only been home from school for three minutes!!!! “Turns out they’re a bunch of crazies!”

While things are evidently back to normal in that regard, I’m heaving a huge sigh of relief that everyone is well! Nora loves being able to hang out with her brother and sister. She’s just “one of the kids” here!!
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“Arrrr. Me love me sister, matey”
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Here are pictures from the past couple of days.
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How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1 NIV)

* We’re still working on that “unity” part, some of us! Eh hem!

Nora on Being a Baby

Oh, hi! Nornor here. You might think it’s easy being a baby. Yes, it’s true, people wait on me hand and foot. They feed me, love on me, change my clothes and diapers, bathe me, massage me, snuggle me and talk cute to me all day. But I assure you being a baby is no easy task!

There’s a lot of things I need to look at and review.
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I need to assess whether or not I like things. Just constantly.
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I like to run a lot of my findings past my caterpillar friend. Just to get his input. He’s kind of bold and eccentric, but I like him.
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Sometimes I can just hardly take it anymore and I’ll have to schedule a spa session to relieve some stress. It’s all I can do.
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Then maybe I’ll clear my really sweet, fuzzy head with an afternoon siesta.
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I’ve got to have my own personal space to stretch out when I wake up. If you’re in my way, I’m going to have to let you know with some not so subtle hints… Brudder…
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Oh wait!!!!!!! I forgot to tell you about my chair!!!!!
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Look at me, all big in this thing!! Eh??
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I still like to hang out in my bouncy seat from time to time. Gotta bounce!
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But nothing beats hanging out on Mommy for some cuddles and loves. This is what I like.
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My sister is alllll better. One more day then we think it’s safe for her to be around me. Just to be absolutely 100 trillion kazillion percent sure. I think Daddy might be coming home tomorrow too!!!! I just can’t wait to see my Daddy!!

The weather has been sooo nice here. Mommy had the windows open to air this place out. I heard sister yell, “Yay!!!! It’s spring!!!!” Hmmm. I sure wish!!!!
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Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases
(Psalm 103:1-3 NIV)

Staying Strong Amidst the Flu

There is nothing better than awaking to the sound of a squealing baby!! She’s made it through another night protected and safe!!

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Greta is all better, no fever the past 2 nights in a row, but she’s still coughing and a little congested so we’re continuing with the quarantine.
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William is feeling a little better, but is still away. We all miss each other terribly. I’m so thankful for modern technology that allows us to stay in touch with one another!

You should have seen Nora’s little face light up when she initially saw her Daddy on the screen and heard him talking cute to her!! She KNOWS and LOVES her Daddy so very much! You could tell she was so excited to see and hear him!
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“Oh Daddy!!!! You look terrrrrrible!!!!”

Nora and Greta had some FaceTime sessions too. The sisters miss each other so so much! Nora got big-eyed and turned her head to see her sister. It is so sweet to watch them interact – even digitally!
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It’s still a little disconcerting to have a “coughing face” inches away from Nora’s face, even if it is on a digital screen! Even Gavin asked, “Can you get germs through the phone, Mom??”

Greta and William have had their FaceTime sessions too. It’s the next best thing to being together, and I’m so thankful for this little bit of new (to us) technology!

I get the sweetest text messages from Greta which is something new. She even figured out how to attach a picture.
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I love that one of the words to draw on Draw Something was ‘Jesus’. This is what I drew for Greta to guess.
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While I can’t stay downstairs and play a board game with Greta, we can at least play these little games through the phone and iPad, while tending to Nornor.

This experience has given me a whole new appreciation for being together as a family. It has also been an indisputable illustration of God’s attentiveness to our prayers. He surely makes all things work together for our good, even though it might not seem possible at times.

This is a very appropriate song today:

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

Chorus:
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Verse 2:
The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

Bridge:
You make all things work together for my good

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I know many of you are battling the flu in your families or are fearful of falling prey to it. In my moments of hysteria I was reminded that the number of flu cases being reported is not an indication of its severity. Yes, it’s a huge inconvenience, but it is not a particularly deadly strain. Yes, there are reported deaths, but that is not typical. I just read a story online about a flu related death, but upon further investigation the individual acquired a staph infection while in the hospital which lead to his death. Key word: “related”. If you catch the flu symptoms early you can get a prescription for tamaflu which halts the reproduction of the virus. This lessens the duration and severity of the virus (which supposedly the vaccination will also do if you get it prior to infection). Early symptoms for Greta and William were bad headache, chills and fatigue. We weren’t in a hurry to get to the doctor because we didn’t realize it was the flu. We all got our vaccinations back in November and assumed we were protected!! In reading on the CDC’s website I learned that the virus is more likely to be spread from an errant cough or sneeze, even up to 6 feet away, as opposed to surfaces. The flu virus only lives for a very short while on surfaces, but sometimes that’s all it takes. Up and down fevers have been very common, sometimes getting as high as 103.3° for Greta during the first few days. When it would go back down I assumed she was getting better. Before I realized it was the flu I was thinking about getting her back to school! This may be one of the reasons it is getting spread around so badly–you think you’re getting better and return to work/school, not realizing what you’ve got or that your symptoms are about to return! On CDC’s website it says the incubation period is about 3 days after your initial exposure. You are contagious for that time without even knowing you have the flu. After the onset of symptoms you are contagious for 5 – 7 days, sometimes longer for children. Greta has been fever free for the past 2 nights with only a sporadic lingering cough. Ordinarily I’d have sent her back to school with having been fever free for over 24 hours, but it’s not worth the risk of spreading it further. Today is officially the 7th day of her illness, but I plan on keeping her quarantined over the weekend just to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect Nora. I wear a surgical mask around Greta as well as Nora. If I HAVE to go out, I will be the “Crazy Lady” wearing the surgical mask in the grocery store (maybe I’ll get out my leopard coat and try to land a spot on “People of Wal-Mart”. Wait. Is there a “People of Remke-Biggs”?) I also wash my hands and arms before and after spending time with each of the daughters. Clorox wipes, Lysol and waterless hand sanitizers are always within reach, and let’s not forget about the amazing, powerful effect of protective prayer!!

A huge thank you to everyone who has been taking care of my hubzbind and the rest of the family through this bump in the road!

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. (Psalm 91:3-7 NIV)

1 Year Later

About this time last year I was indulging in a mid afternoon bath watching back to back episodes of Portlandia on Netflix. I was desperately trying to keep my focus off of the phone call I was expecting — the phone call from our geneticist. The results of the amino would be in. The phone finally rang and from that point on my life was forever changed. I vaguely remember collapsing on the bathroom floor in a heap of abject misery. It went from “what if” to “what now”. I imagined all sorts of horrors before me. There is no way I could have foreseen THIS:

Further proof that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)

It’s hard for me to go back and read the posts from the early days of this blog. It was such a scary time, drowning in the metaphoric ocean of uncertainty. We didn’t drown. We were instead washed up on the most beautiful beach with this smiling, squealy baby that has stolen the hearts of thousands! Through her we were given an entirely different perspective on living. We were given an entirely different perspective on dying, in that there is no such thing, only new life in Christ.

So here we are a year later and I find myself asking the same question, “What now??” in regard to the realization that Greta and William have been formally diagnosed with the flu!!! We’ve been so careful by getting flu shots, diligently washing our hands, limiting visitors, keeping Nora inside. There’s only so much we can do when the virus is airborne and this particular strain is seemingly excluded from this year’s vaccination’s recipe. Once again the situation is out of our hands. I can only sit here and make myself miserable with my own imagined answers to, “What now?” OR I can only put my hope and trust in God and rely solely on the power of prayer, the power of God.

I went outside to get Greta’s overnight bag out of the car last night. It was dark out and I paused to look up at the starry sky. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a barely discernible steam trail streaked from one edge of the sky to the other. Usually I only see these during daylight hours or if the moon is directly behind one. As I let my eyes further adjust to the dark I saw that it was in the shape of a cross — directly over our house. I gasped a cold breath of air and thanked God for His obvious presence here, His grace and His protection literally right over us. We are faced with another trial, on a much lesser scale than we were given last year, but God is no less present. He is the same now as He was then, able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.

Greta is feeling better, but her fever keeps intermittently showing up. At least she is in good spirits and eating again. She also has a lingering cough, but that too seems to come and go.
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Legos, cartoons, a sick nest and a smile!
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William, on the other hand, has been feeling terrible. He said he can’t remember ever feeling this bad in his life. He has been staying in one of the upstairs rooms of his office. Fortunately he just had those rooms renovated a couple months ago, and fortunately Greta’s old mattress was relocated down there just a few days ago. I sent some bedding for his own “sick nest”, some soup and vitamins down to him yesterday and he’s been there since. I’m so appreciative of everyone who has been taking care of him for me. I miss him terribly and wish I could be there. Get better, my sweet!!!!!!!

Gavin feels fine, although he’s been extraordinarily quiet without anyone to tease around here! Strange having an extra 20 minutes before catching the school bus when you remove all the shenanigans from the getting ready equation!
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Nora woke up yesterday and this morning happy, pink and squealy. I couldn’t ask for anything more!!

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That’s eye patch remnant on her cheek. Things stick like glue to the tegaderm!!!
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Oh yeah – me. I’m feeling fine but for my stomach being in knots. I’ve been wearing a surgical mask around here on the off chance I have the flu but just not symptomatic yet. Nora looks at me funny.
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Thank you so very, very much for your continued prayers!! Also wondering if anyone knows the whereabouts of Ethel? She hasn’t commented in a few days and I’m worried about her! I know her only through this blog and don’t know how to contact her. Praying that everything is okay!!