Google Analytics

Friday, May 31, 2013

Journey with Josiah {6}

You might want to read my blog from yesterday before reading this one.  If not, yesterday I explained that we are about to have Josiah evaluated for Asperger's/high functioning Autism.  In situations like ours, it can be hard to focus on all the positives when the negatives loom overhead.  But today, I want to focus on the incredible gift from God that Josiah is.  One day, when he is older and understands all of this, I want him to be able to look back on his early history and understand that while he was a little "different", he was so very special and he was always very loved.

So, Josiah, if you are reading this ten or twenty years down the road, I hope that we have done the best job possible at showing you tons of love. I hope you can feel our love for you deep in your heart and soul.  I hope you know that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that God has had a purpose for you even before you were born. I hope you know how much joy you have brought to our lives.  People probably wonder why I spend so much time blogging about you, taking pictures and recording videos. It's because of that clock on the wall...ever ticking...hours turn into days...days turn into weeks...weeks into months...months into years. You are ever-changing. And this is how it should be. But it does something for me to be able to look back on all of our memories together. To me, the pictures and videos are a clear reminder of God's grace on us and His many blessings. And you are a huge blessing to us! I hope and pray that you always know that! I love you so much, Josiah...just the way that you are!

























Thursday, May 30, 2013

Journey with Josiah {5}

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a nurse. I am simply a mom who has been forced to search deeper and ask more questions than most parents have to because I have a child with developmental issues. And what I have found, seen and heard has lead to a deep un-trust in our medical community.  What most people do not realize is that there is a huge conflict of interest between the FDA, CDC, drug companies and doctors.

For example, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is composed of 30 advisory committees that are divided by product, such as food, devices, drugs, and body systems. The role of these committees, is to offer the very best advice possible and to lend credibility to the FDA decision-making processes by having public discussions of controversial topics. To serve on these committees, members must not have any financial or intellectual biases. Intellectual biases arise when a committee member is somehow involved with the creation of the drug or company that is being evaluated. However, in just two years,  the CDC (center of disease control and prevention) issued 803 waivers to members on the FDA committees for conflict of interests. In fact, in the 57 meetings on regulatory policy during this time period, committee members were found to have some sort of conflict 91% of the time. (paraphrased from yalemedlaw.com)

So what you have is members of the FDA pushing for certain drugs and vaccines to be approved (even if the substance has proven to be harmful) because they stand to gain something from it. And the CDC, has become lax in its enforcement of rules on the FDA.  Why? Because members of the CDC are also in big leagues with the drug companies. Want some alarming stats to back that up?

*The Chairman of the CDC's advisory committee until very recently owned 600 shares of stock in Merck, a pharmaceutical company with an active vaccine division.

*Four out of eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.

*Three out of five FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine. (Majority Staff Report-Committee on Government Reform-U.S. House of Representatives-June 15, 2000)

And the list goes on....

But it doesn't end there. 

Once these harmful drugs and vaccines are passed by the FDA, drug companies mass produce them.  And where and how do doctors decide what drugs to prescribe and which vaccines to administor? From drug company representatives of course:

They haunt offices of physicians offering bribes in the form of candy for the office staff for "just a minute to talk to the doctor," to free samples, inscribed pens, to lavish gifts including cherished tickets to college and professional sports games, trips and dinners in fancy restaurants. In fact a whopping 30 % of the marketing budgets of pharmaceutical companies is used to "educate " physicians and lure them into writing prescriptions for their latest banner drug. Other obvious methods of drug use seduction are television and print media ads to encourage people to request a specific medication from their doctors. (Nancy O'Connor, Ph.D.)

So, in a nut-shell, the FDA  and CDC have become just another front for the unscrupulous drug companies who value profit more than developing drugs that can save lives.  And even more so, I would argue that many of these drugs and vaccines that they pass cause more harm than good and actually end lives. 

I guess you are probably wondering what this has to do with Josiah, right? Well, quite a lot actually.  Truth be told, it has a lot to do with Eli and Addy Jo too.  With Eli coming down with Chicken Pox last week, I heard this a lot: "Children still get chicken pox? I thought vaccinations prevented that in children these days."

I found myself trying to explain over and over again as to why we have made the decision to not vaccinate.  Some people were very understanding and others just didn't understand it at all because they don't know what I know.  And what I know now, I wish I would have known earlier or we never would have vaccinated Josiah at all.

Like most parents, we followed the vaccination schedule to a T for the first 18 months of Josiah's life without questioning it much.  But then we started noticing that Josiah's speech wasn't developing like it should have been.  And then my nephew was diagnosed with autism right after receiving the MMR vaccine.  Before the vaccine, he was perfectly normal. The day after the vaccine, he got sick, started flapping his arms, stopped talking, started walking on his tip toes, etc.  Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so.  I started reading every credible source that I could about the link between vaccines and autism.  And the amount of reports like Micah's and Josiah's was alarming.

But there isn't a link between vaccines and autism, right? So the experts say. But who are the experts? Who even has the power and control to prove that there is a link? The FDA and CDC! And who has the ability to reform our vaccines? The drug companies! They would all lose millions of dollars if such a link actually existed. It's just an on-going wheel of greed and corruption!

And if you are waiting for "this link" to be "proven", you will probably be waiting forever. It is something that you are going to have to prove to yourself.  Start by checking out the ingredients in the vaccines that are shot into your children every few months.  You can find a list here.

Some of the most alarming ingredients: formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, thimerosal, aspartame, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue, chick embryonic fluid...

Now, I am no expert and I do not claim to be. However, I do have "some" common sense and can put two and two together. Is it no wonder that Josiah's hair test results showed very high amounts of aluminum and other metals?

And did you know that thimerosal contains mercury? Mercury can cause neurological, immunological, psychological and enzymatic issues and can be instrumental in or cause Alzheimer's, autism, heart disease, autoimmune disease, endocrine problems, and neurological and behavioral issues. Yet, it is still found in trace amounts in some of our vaccines.

I am not na├»ve. I know that a vaccine cannot be an easy or cheap thing to make.  And I can't ignore the fact that vaccines have played a large part in the eradication of many fatal illnesses and diseases in our world today. For that, I am very thankful.  But I can't turn a blind eye to a new epidemic that is spreading.  And that epidemic is the alarming rise in autism and other developmental problems in our children.

What I would like to see happen is for our FDA/CDC/drug companies/doctors come together and produce safe vaccines for our children. Unfortunately, I don't think I will see this in my lifetime. This greatly saddens me because I want my children to be safely vaccinated.

So, I guess I will get off of my soap box now. I just wanted everyone to know exactly why we have made the decision to not vaccinate our children for now. Now, let me  bring you up to date on Josiah....

Around 18 months, we stopped vaccinating and we spent a lot of time, energy and money into helping Josiah and getting him to talk between speech therapy, special diets, and a very expensive doctor. We saw zero improvement.  Then we moved to Lawton and we felt like God was telling us to just stop and enjoy him.  And that is what we have been doing for the past 14 months.  But for the last couple of weeks, I have felt like God has been pushing us to be proactive again. But this time, we have a different game plan.

Right now, we are in the process of having Josiah's ears checked.  Last week, he did very well and passed his test with the audiologist. He was then referred to an ENT who will take a close look at the inside structure of his ears and also check under his tongue to make sure it doesn't need to be clipped.  We are still waiting to hear back from the ENT as to when that appointment will be.

Though I really hope that it's a problem with his ears or tongue, my heart of hearts tells me that it isn't.  Josiah's pediatrician seems to agree which is why she referred him to a child psychiatrist who will evaluate him to see if he needs further testing.  I'm almost positive that he will. Honestly, I think he has Asperger's syndrome or falls somewhere on the high functioning autism spectrum.  If the only red flag was him not communicating, then I wouldn't feel this way.  However, it's more than just the lack of communication.  Here are some of the other red flags:

*most of the time, he would rather play by himself without much social interaction. And it takes him a long time to warm up to new people. He also hates large crowds.  Especially if he doesn't recognize anyone.  We have had several melt-downs because of this.

*Josiah almost always has something in his hands.  He gets "stuck" on certain objects and they can't leave his sight or he melts down.

*He is very obsessive compulsive about things.  He thrives on order, routine and repetitiveness.  (lining his toys up, eating in his chair and not Eli's, sitting in his car seat and not Eli's, he can't wear socks unless he has shoes on too, he can't wear pants without a shirt on too, etc)

*He has narrow area of interests. (the alphabet and numbers but will occasionally get stuck on other things like penguins one week, turtles the next, etc.)

*sensory development issues...he doesn't like to touch objects with certain textures and the same goes for food.

So what will we do if Josiah is diagnosed with either?

Well, I feel like God is already granting us peace. We know that He has Josiah's present and future in His hands and all things are possible.

As for a game plan? Well, we will wait on the diagnosis before we get in over our heads. Until then, we are going to focus on seeking wisdom from above and just continue doing what we are already doing.  Thankfully, Josiah has been vaccine free for around two years now. And in that time frame, we have seen great improvement with some of his "abnormal" behaviors and even his communication. I guess as he gets older, his body gets rid of more toxins...Either that or as he grows, the toxin to body ratio becomes less. That is my theory anyway...

So if you are reading this, please keep us in your prayers over the coming weeks.  Thank you. 











Saturday, May 25, 2013

Addy Jo {24 weeks}

I hit the 6 month mark last Saturday and today I am 25 weeks. It's hard to believe that I only have roughly 14 more weeks to go. This pregnancy seems like it has flown by so much faster than my other two did. I guess chasing two extremely active little boys around all day will do that!


How far along: 25 weeks

Maternity clothes: pants...I'm still getting away with regular tops and dresses...stretchy ones, anyway...

Best moment this month: Josiah and Eli kissing my belly. Josiah is starting to understand what is going on.  He'll touch my belly and say "baby" and then he'll point at Eli and say "baby".  Eventhough Eli is two years old now and not exactly a baby, I think Josiah is remembering when we brought Eli home from the hospital. He was only 19 months old at the time and didn't really understand, but he'll be 4 when Addy Jo gets here.  It melted my heart to see how gentle he was with a little 9 month old at church the other day.  Eli, on the other hand...well, let's just say that he has a different idea of what it means to be sweet.  Like, for example, he is being sweet when he picks Nelson (pet bunny) up by the ears...we're working on it...

Miss Anything: flat belly, fit legs, exercising without the extra 23 pounds, sleeping without waking up 3 times to go to the bathroom...
Movement: mostly at night when I finally sit down.  However, she has been getting the hiccups a lot lately and that is usually when I feel her during the day.  She isn't near as active as the boys were in the womb.  She'll make her little adjustments and then get really still again.  The boys were constantly kicking and punching just for the heck of it I think. The only time she gets rowdy is when I lay on one side for too long.  And she definitely prefers me to lay on my right side rather than my left.


Food cravings: CARBS! Which is horrible because I can't have a lot of food with carbs and sugar right now.  I have had a horrible go with my sugar levels with each pregnancy and with Eli I was borderline being diagnosed with gestational diabeties. If I have a soda, I get real shaky and light headed.  Because of this, my doctor sent me for an early glucose test.  I passed it but I still have to take it again in a couple of weeks just to keep a close eye on it.  If I pass it a second time, then he won't make me take it again.  If I fail it, then I will have to have the 3 hour test.  I had that one with Eli and it was HORRIBLE!


Anything making you queasy or sick: not anymore really.  That was not the case three months ago though. Everything made me queasy then and I couldn't keep anything down.  So thankful that that is over!


Have you started to show yet: ummmm....yes.  definitely yes.


Gender: Girl!


Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks contractions but not too often


Belly Button in or out: In.


Wedding rings on or off: On.


Happy or Moody most of the time: Ask Jordan...I have my days, I'll put it that way...


Looking forward to: Finishing up her room! We have finished the hard stuff like scraping and painting the ceiling, painting the walls and trim, installing a new ceiling fan, etc.  Jordan even built and installed a closet unit in her room. It looks great! We had new carpet installed and I painted her crib and changing table.  Things that are left to do: darken windows... install new blinds and curtains
...order bedding...order changing pad for table...finish a few decorations that I'm working on...We're getting there!






Saturday, May 18, 2013

Couponing and Deals of the Week {3}

My original plan when I started couponing back in March was to post pictures and a summary of my savings each week. Well, that lasted about two weeks.  But I'm still at it! And each week it gets easier and I get faster at it.  I now have a pretty good and fast routine for all the coupon clipping, searching the ads in the newspaper, planning my grocery trip and the actual trip. I know it sounds like a lot to do, and it is, but do not get discouraged! Once you develop a routine that fits your schedule, it becomes really fun! I mean, who doesn't like saving money? I would also like to add that the Extreme Couponing show can be a little misleading. You do not have to spend 30-60 hours a week doing this.  It only takes me about 5 hours total each week in prep work and the actual shopping trip. Sometimes even less than that. Here is my routine:

*After church on Sundays, during the boy's nap, I do my coupon clipping. I then search the ads for the sales of the week and match my coupons with the sales. 
*On Wednesdays, Country Mart comes out with their ad (why can't it Sunday like all the rest?!?!) so I do my price matching for there.
*On Wednesday night, after church and the boys are asleep, I plan out my trip. This includes a list of every single item that I am going to buy at each of the 5 stops. (Country Mart, Walgreens, CVS, Save-A-Lot and Walmart). This list also includes how much I am going to spend on each item after the sale price and coupons so that I have a close total of how much I will spend at each store.
*I make one shopping trip each week and I get up around 6:00 on Thursday mornings while everyone is still asleep. This past week it only took me a little over 2 hours to make all 5 stops and this was my biggest trip yet. I arrived back home shortly after the boys had woke up. Jordan even had enough time to help me unload the car before he headed to the office. : )

In my previous shopping trips, I have mostly focused on stockpileing toiletries and household goods.  Now that I have accomplished that, my goal is to focus mostly on food items. However, if I see a REALLY good deal on a toiletry or household item, I can't pass it up.  For example, this week I bought a tube of Crest Toothpaste for 50 cents and a bottle of Aveeno shampoo and conditioner for less than $2.00 per bottle.  And I definitely couldn't pass up the 4 boxes of Hefty freezer bags that cost me less than $3.00.

So here is a pic of all my groceries from 5 different stores:



Total Cost: $205.00
Total Savings $106.00


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Not your typical Mother's Day blog...

If you would have told me four years ago that being a mother would be one of the hardest things I ever did, I wouldn't have believed you. 

Those who know me best, know that I am a perfectionist. I am also a fixer and a do-er.

And before I had children, I viewed motherhood like I did everthing else...If it can be done, then I can and  I will do it.  And not just do it, but do it very very well. 

Did you catch that? The "I can" and "I will" part? I didn't really leave much room for God or His grace did I?

In a nutshell, grace can be defined as God giving us something that we don't deserve. 

At 21 years old, pregnant just four short months after her wedding, I really didn't understand grace at all. I knew that God had graciously saved me as a teen, but I never expected him to keep giving me things that I didn't deserve. And I surely didn't think that I had need to ask him for help....Why ask someone for help, when I could do it all myself? oh, little did I know...

I wish I could say that my sanctification happened as quickly as my salvation did. 

Have you ever seen a gem when it is first extracted from the ground? Yeah, me neither.  But I do remember from my historical geology class in college that gems are usually rough and dull. It takes much preparation and specialized knowledge of the particular rock to convert it into a smooth and shiny gem.

I think we as Christians are very much like those rough gems when we are first saved...rough, dull and dark. Thankfully, Jesus has a special knowledge of what each of us needs in order to be converted into salt and light of the earth.  For some of us, the process takes longer.  Sanctification is not an easy thing.  Our sinful flesh fights against it. 

And for roughly ten years after the Lord saved me, my flesh fought extremely hard againt sanctification.  Fortunately, the Lord knew exactly what I needed.  He knew that I needed to be brought low to my knees and realize that I can't do it all. The truth is, I can't do anything apart from Him.  And though He has let me go through many hard trials to realize how much I need Him, the thing that has made me most humble and brings me to my knees almost everyday is this:

Being a mommy.

Motherhood has been the biggest part of my sanctification process.  There are just so many things that are out of your control when you have children.  And that was such an unknown world to me.  I had always lived with the mentality that you get out of something what you put into it.  So naturally, I expected that my children would be perfect if I was the perfect mom.  It didn't take long for God to start pounding that notion into the ground. 

With Josiah, I expected the labor and delivery to go exactly as I had planned it to.  26 hours and 35 stitiches later, it didn't. 

I expected him to nurse every 3 to 4 hours like the books told me he would.  he didn't...no, try every 1.5-2 hours until he was three months old.

I expected him to eat all the wonderful baby food that I made him myself instead of buying the jars. he didn't...all he would eat was bananas and guacamole.

I expected to be able to keep a perfectly clean house, cook the perfect meal, and be the perfect wife and mother. hahahahaha

And then Eli came along...some different expectations...but the same results.  What I expected, usually didn't happen.

But the thing that threw me the most and still brings me to my knees every single day is this...

I expected Josiah to start talking at the age when most babies start talking.  he didn't.

Although he has made a lot of progress, he still isn't there. And I'm not going to go into all of the details or my theories, but I will say this:  As a mom, I have tried everything within me to get him to talk.  Reading to him, talking to him, speech therapy, doctor's appointments, special diets, etc.

God has taught me so much through Josiah.  The thing that he has most taught me is this: HE is in control.  When all my striving proves to be in vain, HE takes me by the hand and says to me, "Why are you afraid? Oh, ye of little faith." and "My grace is sufficient for you..."

and then I say,  Lord, it is well with my soul...

...oh, such undeserved peace that he showers on me when I'm on my knees saying, "Lord, I can't do this..."

...and oh the love that I feel when he says back, "My child, I know...but I can..."

...beautiful grace...beautiful, hard motherhood...

I am so thankful for my boys. And for my little girl that I haven't even met yet.  They have brought me closer to God than I ever thought possible.  And they have also brought me more pain and joy than I ever thought possible.  And God has showered so much grace on me.  And I don't deserve any of it.

It's beautiful,isn't it?  How God and grace and joy and pain all walk hand in hand. Yes, even pain.  For the pain and heartache and trial teaches us to reach out to God and press into the grace and joy that can only be found in Him.  

Happy Mother's Day






















Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catch All Blog Post

We have been super busy since my last blog post and I have missed documenting several things.  I have to say that I am looking forward to Addy Jo getting here in a few months...for many reasons...one of them being that I know she will force us to slow down a little bit! But even with all the crazyness the last few weeks, we have managed to have fun along the way.

So in no particular order, these are just some of the things that have kept us busy the last few weeks:

pet bunny...
another trip to Mount...
church nursery renovations...
decorating Addy Jo's nursery...
church garage sale...
restoring some old furniture...
nasty pregnancy glucose testing...
fishing and lots of playing outside...
trip to Bowie...
major garage cleaning...
VBS planning...
doctor appointments for Josiah and Mommy...

The way I'm doing this blog totally erks (sp?) on my OCDness, but it's the fastest and easiest way...so here are a bunch of random pics from the last few weeks as well:









(at 20 weeks)























 
I am so thankful to my God for this life He has given me.  Even when it is crazy and I can't seem to catch my breath, He is my rock and I find my rest in Him.