Saturday, September 27, 2008

Broken van

Well, just when we were starting to catch our breath and look toward reducing some debt, the transmission went out on the van while Josh was driving it on the turnpike ("the Mass Pike") AFTER he dropped the girls off at his parents. Praise God that Josh did not get into an accident when he could no longer go forward in the car! It's a discouraging blow, but a reminder, once again, to store our hope in things above. Is God unable to care for us in such a little thing as transportation?

The Ana loves climbing on Gracie, she picks up Gracie's shirt to tickle her belly, and they can be found giving each other kisses. Gracie loves the attention and Ana is showing her new ways to get into mischief! Ana also enjoys pushing Gracie in her wheelchair which is a nice activity for parents as both kids are occupied and happy in each other's presence! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008


If only we could get sleep... 'yawn!' (of course, rather than sleeping when both girls are asleep, we are frantically trying to actually get work done and here I am blogging!) Ana still gets up 1-2 times per night to nurse. Gracie has been sleeping terribly, culminating with spending 5 hours straight last night whining and not able to sleep. We assume that this is from her lamictal which has a common side effect of poor sleep. But, it could be from any number of things as she can't tell us what's wrong. Does she have pain somewhere? An infection without fever? Even a broken bone? We don't know!! It's so frustrating to have a non-verbal kid just whining, knowing that we could be missing something serious. It's even more frustrating for her, I'm sure, to not have us meet her needs. Needless to say, she gets tylenol sometimes, even if we're not sure that she really needs it, just in case she's whining because of some discomfort.

I'm looking into melatonin for her - some studies postulate that it even has anti-seizure effects. Any of you using it with your epileptic kids? She's on lamictal and keppra now at hefty doses, last seizure was nearly two weeks ago. But if she keeps sleeping so poorly, she could have a seizure just from sleep deprivation! (let alone the sanity of her parents!)

Please pray that the girls would settle into sturdy and sustainable sleep patterns! Gracie doesn't nap, Ana takes two short naps, so getting things done is quite a challenge, especially when it takes two hours to get Gracie to sleep, so that golden time between 8:30 and 10:30pm that we used to have to get things done while the kids are sleeping has vanished!

I'm taking biostats for my master's in public health degree this semester, and, even though I've taken it 3 times in the past (in each prior level of education - college, med school, residency), it's quite a challenge! My brain just isn't made for that kind of stuff!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

With our friend, Rachel, who was the nanny for our kids while we were in sessions in Seattle. In Olympic National Forest!
Yes - that's a wild bird on Josh's hand in Olympic National forest - the girls thought this was hilarious!

Gracie STANDING on the ferrie into Seattle! Look at that girl!

First day of school, wearing a new dress that Auntie Amy brought from Hawaii!

(Gracie is leaning against the railing on our patio.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Action International Ministries

Well, friends, we spent the week in Seattle, WA at Candidate School for Action International Ministries (ACTION) - where to begin?!

First of all, we were immensely blessed to have a friend, Rachel Harrison, use a week of her vacation time to come with us to Seattle to nanny our kids while we were in the all-day sessions. Rachel has a heart for supporting missionaries and this was, essentially, part of calling. The girls love her and she managed a Gracie seizure and two active kids all week without missing a step or getting flustered!

Secondly, we have grown to appreciate ACTION even more after spending an intense week here in interviews and training. Each person has such a heart for God. We were blessed to spend time with the founder, Doug Nichols, the international and USA directors, and amazing people from each department. ACTION is a mid-sized mission with approximately 235 missionaries now.

We still do not have a country assignment. We are contacting the country directors with our profile to see where we would be best suited and used. We are excited to get a field assignment so that we can start preparing specifically for a given country, culture, and language!

Our week included interviews with the board, a psychologist, and the directors; many self-assessments; setting of goals and learning plans; teaching about culture and missions; and the practical sides of being a missionary - support raising, newsletters, prayer cards, finances, etc.

We're really tired, mostly because Ana got a cold and growth spurt and cried all night long for several nights, wanting to comfort nurse every half hour all night... yawn!!! But it was so refreshing to be with like-minded people and like-hearted people all yearning for the Glory of God and heading to mission fields with eternity in mind, not just doing good works.
We now have a renewed vision of preparation for the mission field and are truly about to begin deputation - raising funds and support. We anticipate that it will take over a year to raise all of our support as we have to raise enough funds for our "outgoing expenses" (airfare, setting up in a new country, deputation, etc.) as well as 110% of our monthly budget.
We are now officially ACTION missionary appointees! (We walked 9 miles round trip to visit one of the Mars Hill churches in beautiful Seattle on Sunday!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Boston Epilepsy Clinic

We went to Boston today to make a next attempt at getting Gracie's seizures under control. It is such a blessing to have such a marvelous pediatric team right here in Nashua NH but also the experts in Boston so accessible to us (only one hour away)!

Our next steps will be: a sleep study to eval for sleep apnea, a sedated MRI to get a better picture of her right sided basal ganglia stroke and right frontal scarred brain, and a phase 1 video monitoring EEG. We're also maxing out her keppra and lamictal dosing (to much higher than she currently is taking). She may be a candidate for surgery to excise the scarred brain tissue which may completely stop her seizures... yikes! We'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

This neurologist also recommended getting an apnea monitor, an O2 sat monitor, and a pulse monitor, all with alarms as a step to preventing SUDEP Sudden Unexpected Death in Epileptic Patients ( and a step to helping Gracie's mama sleep better! I'm very happy with this solution!

Gracie also finally got glasses that fit her better and she likes wearing them! Apparently her eyes changed a lot, one of her eyes essentially reversed and she's now far sighted in one and near sighted in the other. This explains why she wouldn't keep the last glasses on!

Ana is a little monkey, climbing everything, giggling like her big sister, imitating talking and singing, fascinated with all music, and quite the eater and talker! At 9 months, she's still not sleeping through the night. She is SO adorable - she just never ceases to thrill us with her adorable-ness. Interestingly (other nursing moms will find this particularly humorous), she does say "Mama," but it means "food" not "mom" - haha! She has finally started saying "please" and she does it just the way Gracie does, by clapping her hands! So cute!

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