Friday, August 31, 2012

At a loss...

I really didn't know how to title this post. Isn't this painting lovely? This is Hunting Island South Carolina. We have booked a family vacation there in a few weeks. I'm praying we can still make it happen. 

(this is one of my favorite pictures of Elliott from Halloween 2010,he was Jon from Peter Pan)

On Monday of this week Elliott spiked a fever. He had been doing so well, no fevers, no seizures. But, he did break out in a strange rash the week after we got here. It started on his legs,then worked it's way up to his trunk and arms, eventually showing splotches on his face. On Monday he not only woke up from his nap with a fever of 103.7 but, the rash looked worse than ever. He didn't want us to touch him , telling me he hurt. I gave him Tylenol right away and called his pediatrician. I didn't hear back from the pediatrician (they had already closed) and he was just acting like he was miserable. I took his temp after one hour, still  a high fever. I decided I better take him to the ER before he started seizing. 

We spent the night in the ER. They did all the routine things, and when the blood sample came back his white blood count (WBC) was 25,000! The attending Dr. was in shock, they started an IV antibiodic. They also performed a skin strep test, it came back positive. Dr said he had not seen many cases of that. They contacted the pediatrician on call. He was not convinced that it was strep of the skin...considering he had the rash for 6 weeks, then got a fever

The ER doctor was really concerned and wanted to admit Elliott. The pediatrician on call, didn't.

 Considering the Dr. on call didn't know any of Elliott's history, or for that matter had ever seen him. We went with the ER doctors suggestion. We stayed through the night to monitor the fever, they gave him saline and IV antibiotics and fever reducers through IV. His temp slowly began to come down, still there, but not so high. At 6am they took another blood sample (from the same IV site where they had administered the drugs) his WBC was 10,000. So, they sent us home and said to see his Doctor on Wednesday.

 Elliott slept most of the day on Tuesday, and was acting pretty miserable, rash and fever were still the same. So Wednesday we saw his pediatrician. He was not convinced that Elliott's WBC came down that fast, said that was virtually impossible. He looked through his past medical history, and every lab showed high white counts. The pediatrician wanted to contact Elliott's infectious disease dr in Indiana to get his opinion. Our pediatrician said he wanted to refer us to Atlanta, but wasn't sure what kind of doctor would be best. Since our doctor in Indiana knew all the tests we have already been through,and all of Elliott's history. I thought that was very wise.

 Yesterday while I was in the shower, the phone rang. It was the pediatrician. He talked to our doctor in Indiana, as well as the ER attending doctor we saw on Monday. All three agreed Elliott needs to be seen by a rheumotologist.

 If there was ever a moment in my life where time seemed to stop. That was it. The pediatrician's voice got really soft and serious and he began asking me a lot of questions about family history of medical problems. I took a minute to answer, but it seemed more like ten as I held the phone thinking, trying to put together my thoughts. 

He then told me they would be sending us to Emory University children's health center. How they have some of the best doctors in the country. He told me a few things that his symptoms match, but of course to " not worry because we are not sure yet". "The doctors in Atlanta can run more tests,and likely need a bone marrow sample". "You might want to take things with you to be prepared for an over night stay, they want to test him while he has the fever".

 I stood there in the shower stunned. Or better word would be numb. I thought we were done with all of this. Elliott had been doing great. The rash was just  supposed to be 5ths disease, or maybe an allergic reaction. My heart broke for Elliott, more doctors, more pokes (bad painful pokes now), more waiting for test results. You think you will know what to do, and how you would handle things if your child were to be sick. And in that moment, I was at a loss.

 I'm glad I was in the shower,I hung up, turned the shower on and stood there numb. My mind went racing back to being in the hospital in May, they were going to do a lumbar spinal tap then. But decided not to. I should have insisted they do it. His white counts were crazy high then, I should of asked more questions as to why they were still so high even after days of IV antibiotics. How could we have gone THIS LONG with no answers! 

And then, I just broke down. The pent up emotions of having moved away from everything that is familiar, to still being ever so tight financially, to now being faced with having to tell Elliott we have to go to another hospital, and endure holding my baby down for more pokes.

 My emotions rushed over me like the hot water over my head. 

My heart was literally breaking. 

Brandon had the day off work, and sat in the bathroom and we talked. I got out finally as the water was going cold. Able to gather my emotions and so glad the kids didn't see me falling apart. The kids had been playing in the living room, Jackson had set up a puppet show, doing hilarious things, while the others giggled. They laid out blankets so Elliott could lay on the floor and watch. I don't want to forget that moment. It was just a normal afternoon together at home. Daddy doing house repairs, mowing the grass. I made dinner, and special "Yes Mamma" charts for every time they respond with a "Yes Mamma,I'd be happy to!" they get a penny. (Thank you the Duggars book for giving me that idea!) Kids played outside, Jackson caught a ton of frogs, and climbed over the fence to play with their cousins. Even though it was a day laced with Elliott in our bed resting, or me snuggling him, or giving him some meds  to help with what he calls "whole body hurts", it was a "normal day".

 And I realized that we will be having a new normal, and it's okay, because the kids adjust. They make pallets on the floor so their brother can still participate, they read him books in my bed. They bring the frog inside to show him, they help him over into the back yard at their cousins so he can try to play for a little bit (lasted about 8minutes, then was ready to go inside and lay down). We can do this, I can do this. I gain so much strength from watching them. They just go with the flow, and make adjustments, and giggle away the day. My verse for this season....

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25
The king james version says she "rejoices in the days to come". I'm not there yet, I can laugh, and I can put my trust in the Lord and not succumb to fear. Rejoice in it? Working on that. 

I couldn't sleep well last night. My darn brain can't seem to shut down. I did drift in and out of sleep. Clara came to our room after having a bad dream. I wasn't glad she had a bad dream, but was that I could snuggle one of my babies. She drifted off to sleep, and I put her back to bed at 5:30. At 7:30 my phone rang. It was the doctor in Atlanta. She wanted to assure me that we would get an appointment asap, and asked if I could send her all of Elliott's medical files via fax. Then her nurse called me to say they could get Elliott in  on Sept.14th...that is the day before our family vacation. My heart sank. She is working now to see if they can get him in sooner, so that we can still go on vacation, thankfully where we are going is only 2hrs away from Atlanta, so if something should happen we would be able to get him to help fairly quickly. 

We need a vacation as a family, just to be together and have fun. It will be the first time we have gone just on a vacation as just our little family. Usually we have my parents with us on vacation. It just made it easier when the kids were little, now that there are no babies in diapers, going on a vacation can actually be just that. A vacation! :) We plan to camp on Hunting Island for four days. Pray that we can still go, as this is something we ALL have been looking SO forward to! 

Pray God works a miracle, and that Elliott's health would be restored. Pray for peace as we wait, and no more hospital stays between now and his appointment. Thank you friends and family for loving us, and praying for us. 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. JeremIah 29:11

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of School...

Home school that is.

Do I have any adorable pictures of my children? Nope.

Did I insist on doing every subject? Nope

Was it all "oh this is just glorious, your all darling creative little children?"......

Actually. Yes!

Okay so maybe not exactly that "Glorious". As I can't remember the last time I showered.
Aaannnnnd my house is a disaster.

But. We did it! (cue a celebration dance...or a midnight "you made it" run for ice cream!)

It was by FAR the best first day of school we have ever had.

And it has only taken me three years to figure it out.

My secret?!?


Gasp! Shocking. I know.

Yep. That's right.

We woke up, ate breakfast, had devotions. Ran 2 miles. Came home, did math and reading. Took a break for play time/ practicing music and lunch. Came back did some history and spelling. Finished with a craft and called it a day.

 I'm pretty sure everyone wore their pajama's all day.
 Oh,except Jackson. He had to wear his "running clothes".
But hey, I'm just trying to keep up the "All home schoolers wear pajama's all day" thinking.
And what is wrong with that I ask?!?

We laughed. And just had fun. I followed my little boys cues. When they needed a break to do some "constructive play", I let them. This is the first year we have schooled all four.

Won't lie. I was SO nervous.

But, I survived. We survived.

And I have learned a valuable lesson.

To Chill.Out.

Tomorrow we will add history, some composition, and more.
 If any of you prayed for us today. Thank you!
Mark it on the calendar, today was a GOOD first day back to school!

Tomorrow I'm expecting rainbows and unicorns. While children loving learn from their dear mother, and thoughtfully take turns using the elmer's glue.

I'm thinking a unicorn will be more likely to be seen.

Okay. So I'm just hoping I can pull myself together and manage to do the house chores...along WITH school.

Who am I kidding.

 Note to self:

"The day is much more enjoyable when you have NO expectations.".

Yea. Still working on that.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Keepin' it real...

We have had a good week. Catching up on household chores, and preparing to start school with the kids on Monday. Our last full week of summer break.

We miss our friends. We are so happy,and thankful for our new home. But, truth is, we do miss our friends. We have some rockin' friends in Indiana. The kind of friends that love my kids like their own. That took more than just an interest in my children, but really wanted to get to know them, and love on them. That can laugh, and cry with us, and still want to call us friends after one of our children has had a huge meltdown. The kind that would randomly call and say "Hey,come over for!". Friends that have been through thick and thin with us. Spent nights in the hospital, holding our new babies, or praying over our bigger babies. That would bring me a latte, because they could. That asked what they could pray for, and did.   That loved us like Christ loves, expecting nothing in return. I really wish I could up and move them down here. Make my own little village of awesome peeps we love. Sigh.

Truly. We had an amazing body of Christ around us. And we are so thankful for them. To any friends in Indiana who might be reading this:

 Thank you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ to our family. Thank you for loving our children like your own. Those times when you picked up one of our children, and comforted them like your own. We noticed it. When you lovingly played our children, we noticed that too. No words could ever justly describe what your influence has had on our families life.

You are SO loved, and dearly missed.

 Not a day goes by we don't think of you, and pray for you.

Can you imagine how sweet heaven will be? We miss worshiping with you on Sunday mornings...but you know what? That is what eternity will be like! Oh how awesome will that be?!?! Standing at the feet of our savior worshiping together!?!

Until that day, I am planning a retreat/camp out. I'm thinking in the mountains in Tn. To meet up with all of our awesome peeps. For a week of:  kids running free, lots of latte's and campfire sings.

 That is what I picture heaven to be like. We have to do that. Wouldn't it be awesome!?


What else have we been up too? Yesterday we had an alarm system put in. Due to Brandon's crazy hours, and the fact that the house across the street was robbed in broad day light last week. Brandon decided to help ease my mind and have the alarm installed. Wow, did I sleep great last night!

Plus,every time a door opens it says "ding dong,back door is open"...super handy when you have little boys that try to sneak outside at 7am to "Go visit Liam" (their cousin). (Your Welcome Aunt Livi!)

Brandon stepped in an ant hill while taking the trash out a few nights ago. And apparently he is allergic to ants. His foot swelled up like I do when I go into shock, err, nothing I've ever seen before !
He's claiming I must be contagious. Considering he has never had a reaction like that to a bug bite.
I'm claiming he wanted to be in the cool "I carry an EPI pen club". I mean, we are a pretty cool, and rare breed of awesome EPI people.
His new nick name at work? Frankenfoot.
That pretty much sums that up.
On the kid front.
Jackson is all about robots right now. Somehow I am going to incorporate them into ALL of his school work assignments. That and fake robot animals that look real. He had to apologize to the alarm installers for bringing out his fake tarantula (that is remote controlled) and putting it in the box they were getting parts out of, then making it run across the floor. I have a feeling we might have a hard time getting anyone to come out for service calls. OH,and THIS needs to go in the baby books. He washed his own laundry yesterday. Not because I asked, or would even make him do it. He just saw the basket was full, and put it in. Then, switched it out, and put it away. I thought for a moment I had died, and was in heaven! He has such a servants heart. (okay,and so maybe he likes all the cool buttons and sounds on our new fancy washer and drier.haha!)

Clara. Sweet Clara. She has been my little helper getting things around the house ready for school. She is so excited to get back to learning. The other day she was sitting at the table, and was doing her cursive work sheets, just "for fun". Her reading has taken off this summer, she read peter pan in velvet to me, TO ME! We just need to work on her confidence, she refuses to read out loud to anyone but me. I know where she gets that from, I've always hated reading aloud. (Like in Sunday School, thank-you Dan Julian and Mr. Miller for making me get over my fear!) The other evening I had to run to the store, and while I was gone, she cleaned the ENTIRE house. Granted, we don't have much. But still. I don't know what I'd do without her. Goodness knows her brothers would never do that just because they "wanted the house to be beautiful when you (I) came home". She is so sweet with Mali too. Her baby cousin adores her, and rightfully so. With all these boys running around being loud and obnoxious. Clara will sit and quietly sing to her, and play peek-a-boo. Clara is a baby whisperer. I know she misses her friends the most. Moving has been hard for her, as it takes her a while to make friends, and when she does, she is very loyal and has little desire to work towards making new friends. Sigh. Yet another trait she gets from her dear old mum.

Elliott. Oh, Elliott. He is such a ham. Always. ALWAYS making us laugh. His two front teeth have yet to make their appearance, and honestly, I'm loving the little toothless wonder look. Not to mention his rasp just adds to his hilarity. He has more sass and spunk in his little 34lbs of self than anyone else I know. Yet, he is such a cuddle bug. And I LOVE that. He got a new pair of shoes from his Grammy and Popop while they were here. They are brown loafers (church shoes). But he wears them All.The.Time. Usually paired with knee socks,and shorts,and a vest (cowboy,sweater,or button up). It's just awesome. I love how he does not give a care to what other kids think is "cool". He makes his own style, and I'm fine with it. My motto "Yep, we are home schooler's, and we gotta keep up that appearance!" (anyone home schooled will get that joke)Elliott helps insure that no one will have misconceptions of who we are. Thank goodness he does, I don't have to wear any jean jumpers thanks to his service.

Riley. Baby Ry. I've always loved the age of 4 yrs. He can be SO funny, and not even realize it. Last night for example, Brandon asked "What is there for dinner." Ry said...(while raising his eye brows up and down) "Oooo, dwere is chocowate chips we could make pancakes,you wubv those".  Seriously, it was adorable. He has really gotten into playing with his imaginext toys lately. He will sit for hours playing, I love listening to him play. He loves to snuggle too. And loves being silly with me. The other day we were being sooo goofy. He thinks it's hilarious when I talk in "Pirate". So I was pouring him some milk and being all "Err Matey,do ye want some milky?"....and he was cracking up. So much so that he took a sip of milk and it came out of his nose. He hated it, and I felt like the worst mom on the planet. After we got him all cleaned up, he laughed about it. Thank goodness. Hopefully he is not scarred by that and every time he see's a pirate as an adult cries and milk comes out his nose.

On another note. My sister in law has become my closest friend. I can't even imagine life here with out her. She always makes me laugh, and will be crazy with me. Like running to Kroger after we get kids in bed, to get nothing in particular...okay, we *might* have needed chocolate.
She is always willing to let me borrow her vacume, or watch my kids while I run to do an errand. She loves on my kids every chance she gets, and takes delight in how different they each are. She's not afraid to go out with all the kids, even though it's always wild and crazy. She braves mid-afternoon walks,when it's so hot you could die. Just because the kids want to. She serves Popsicle's and lets us play in her sprinklers. She feeds us on a weekly basis. She does cool art projects, and paints Clara's nails all.the.time. She makes life fun and exciting. And I'm so blessed to call her not just my sister, but my friend. I am so thankful my brother married such a great woman! Yo, Ross, you done good!

So that is what's up here in the Hartman Household.

Monday, August 13, 2012


What a fun week we had with my parents and brothers. We did so many fun things together.
All the Grand kids in their matching outfits= LOVE!

It was quite surreal when they left,and we stayed here. In Georgia.
All of my family. (Perk of having no furniture...lots of room to take a family picture inside!)

We've been here a month. You'd think it would be "home". And it is. But the reality that this isn't a long vacation really sank in when my family left. We really do love it here. Though we do really miss our precious family and friends in Indiana.
My Adorable niece Mali

Georgia is our new normal. I think we've gone through so many crazy things over the past few years to teach me to adapt quickly to "new normal's".  I really could not have made it without my brother and his awesome wife right next door. They have been so loving, and supportive. We love them so much.

All the girls in the family.Yes,Mali is that happy.All.The.Time! Such a good baby!

We had precious friends, that are way more like family. Come to visit us. Their visit was short, but ever so sweet. Next time it has to be longer, and hopefully their daughter and son in law will be able to come too! We really need to plan a vacation with them. We'd have so much fun together! We are so blessed to have so many friends from all over the country. I moved quite a bit as a kid. Thankful we live closer to these friends now. Hopefully we can take a road trip soon and head to Dothan, Alabama, I'd love to show my kids all of my old haunts. :)

All of us at my brothers house. 
My sister is an amazing artist...she just finished the awesome painting over the couch!

This week is back to life "as  normal" in Georgia. We are staring school, and continuing with follow up doctors appointments for Elliott. Thank you for your prayers for him. Keep them coming. He needs them!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trials. randomness,and a few prayer requests...

I read Amanda Moore Jones Blog yesterday and was challenged, and encouraged. Having studied the book of James recently I was reminded of these verses in James 1.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

 It was no accident that our church choose the Beth Moore study of James when they did. God knew I needed it. The refresher on what exactly His promises are when facing trials, flooded my mind months later, as I sat in a hospital room with our son, while my husband was miles away starting a new job. 

Moving has had it's challenges. It has been a blessing to have our schedule slow down.
 It's been a step, no, leap of faith. 
A good leap.
But scary, and at times unsure. 

As I was reading Amanda's blog, and how she related to Michael Phelps and learning to swim with broken goggles. And not even just swimming, but winning Gold! I was reminded of just how faithful God has been in all of the trials we have faced.

It's hard to remember that trials, DO MAKE US BETTER! I could so relate how she said they have just had weird things happen. Things that make you shake your head and ask "Why?". I don't know "why?" to many of the events of the last two years of unemployment, and health struggles, and just crazy life in general issues.

But I am thankful that I do know the Truth's of God's Word. He's not finished His work in me. If the trials we continue to face, are simply to reveal to us the Love of Christ. I will resolve to stand in amazement of that. If it's to soften my heart to the daily trials of others, I hope I show compassion and mercy. If anything, I have learned, don't judge others based on their circumstances. You just don't know what is going on behind closed doors. I have been blessed by the generosity and love of so many wonderful people. I only hope I can be so generous and compassionate in someone's time of need. 

This move has been hard. Won't lie. Everyday God has faithfully provided a Word from Him. Reminding me that He knows our needs. And then faithfully provides. We have so much to be thankful for, and yet I still tend to worry and fret over how we are going to make all of this work. I suppose it's a minute by minute "renewal of my thoughts". Constantly reminding myself to focus on ALL That we DO have. Not on what we don't. To step back, and trust God. I suppose that you could say I've been demonstrating  the "oh ye of little faith" attitude. Getting caught up in the day to day stuff, that I forget to see the big picture. 

If you could remember us in prayer over these things we would so appreciate it.
1.We are having hang ups with insurance. Elliott needs his prescriptions and appointments with neurologists and specialist next week.The insurance company screwed up,and have been working to get everything straightened out. Yet it is still a frustration and extra thing to have to work out.

2.We visited a church last Sunday that we think will be a good fit for our family (The name, Friendship Baptist, just the name led us to try it out!), pray the kids can make some friends this week. Hands down one of the hardest things about moving for them, was leaving our wonderful church family. It's been hard for them to not compare every church to our old church. Honestly, it's been hard for all of us! Elliott especially has had a hard time, pray this Sunday he would really connect and feel at home.

3. We have made some precious friends, one family in particular we love dearly. They just got orders for a transfer to Oklahoma. Our kids are heartbroken. There is a chance that these orders will be revoked. We are praying for that! If not, they would be moving the end of September. :( If they do have to move, pray they would have peace about it as it's not what they wanted either.

4. My parents and brother are traveling down here this weekend. Pray for safe travels. We are beside ourselves that they are coming, and CAN NOT WAIT to hug their necks and go explore cool sights together. :) Pray some dear friends can come up from Alabama too, we'd love to hug their necks too! ;)

5.We currently have one vehicle, it's been a challenge since Brandon works 30+ minutes away. We need a God sized miracle to be able to get a second vehicle he can take back and forth to work, that's better on gas than our van. Believing God can make a way!

We have a washer and drier! YAY! 

Elliott has not had ANY seizures since being here! THANK-YOU JESUS!

WE ARE ALL UNPACKED!!!!! Miracles DO HAPPEN! Still sitting "Chinese style" considering we don't have any furniture...but being that my children have this desire to try everything the Olympic gymnast's do. It's super handy to have an empty living room they can perform their "routines" in!  Speaking of the Olympics, this is a super fun activity for kids! Check it out! 

Okay, we are off for a stroll through the neighborhood before lunch! :)Maybe I'll take some video again,hopefully it won't rain on us like it did last week.;) And a song that just makes me happy!
Happy Thursday to you!