Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Excuse

Ok I have no excuse to not have updated a post since July. Well I have been traveling a lot, been absorbed by Facebook and Alex's Caringbridge site. So I do have excuses, not necessarily vaild but I will throw them out there anyway. We are all doing fine and I will update just a bit on Alex since you can get more information about his Cystic Hygroma treatment on his caringbridge site ( ). So Alex had did very well with his first treatment and it seemed to go down quite a bit. Two weeks later I was in Toronto for work and saw via webcam call with my husband that his CH was just huge. So I called his Dr. from Toronto, and big props to Dr. Chaudhry at MUSC. Within 1 minute of calling the hospital, he was on the phone with me. Amazing!!! Anyway, he said to try not to worry and we would be seeing him soon as his appointment was coming up. We went back to MUSC on August 10th and Alex's CH was starting to go back down. Alex had his second treatment last Tuesday and did very well. His CH didn't go down like it did after the first treatment but it is just a wait and see thing. I am waiting for his office to call me to set up our next treatment in 4-6 weeks. It's hard, so hard to see your child lay in the hospital. I am thankful for people God has placed in our path that we have been able to connect with, that can understand what it is we are dealing with. So we are just back to the waiting game to see what it does between now and our next treatment. Other than the CH Alex is normal, healthy and just great. He is just about to turn 11 months old. He says Ma Ma, Da Da, Ella, Mi Mi and just yesterday I was saying Poppi to him and he said Pa Pa (well something very close to that) and he said it again today....Can't wait for my dad to hear that!!! He also says bye bye and waves and is starting to say "up" when he is picked up. He has been standing on his own for about a month and took 1-2 steps a few weeks ago and he is still at that point. He is so close to walking, he will take that step or two and then just slowly sit down. He will be running before I know it!!! Can't believe my little boy will be 1 next month.

Now, little miss Ella. She is just growing up so much!!! She just started school Tuesday and is now in real "big kids school - kindergarten" Last year she went to the school half days for K4 but now it's all day with the big kids. She loves it. Her first day we walked into the room and her teacher knew her name and showed Ella the bunnys and hamsters and frogs they have in class. Ella was in heaven. I was trying to kiss on her and hug her and have those special mommy moments....Ella just waved me off and said "bye mom" Oh how it hurts, but oh how proud I am. I love her independence and her being to inquisitive!!! I will blink my eye and she will be in high school!!

Stephen and I are doing well. We are both happy that my travels are over for this year. It was great to go to all the places I was able to travel to for work, it truly is a blessing that God put me in this job, doing my hearts desire....serving Him internationally. I am as blessed to have a husband that supports that and helps so much with everything. I know it's not easy when I am gone but he doesn't complain. I will post some photos soon of Ella's first day of school and of Alex's treatment. I will try to update more often.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Alex Update

Alex had his first treatment yesterday at MUSC (medical univ of charleston). He did great and will be going home today. I have updated in more detail on his caring bridge site:

Thanks for all the prayers, they were felt, needed and still needed.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Good Googly Moogly

I can't believe it has been so long since an update. Man, time flies and I just get busier and busier. We are all fine. Alex is doing great and getting ready for his first treatment tomorrow...more on that later. I have been so busy with work and traveling. In May I went to Winnipeg which was great but it was cold and snowy!! June 5-17 I was in the Ukraine for 1 week and Prague for a week. Both were amazing and it was great to see some of the same children at came in the Ukraine that were there last year. Prague was just unbelieveable. I can't even put into words how beautiful the city is. My computer at work crashed and I am waiting for a new one and can't post photos on my temporary computer but will as soon as I get a new one. I never seem to have the time to do it on our home computer!! Ella finished up her first year of school (4K). She had to adjust to no school for the summer and still doesn't quite understand it, she askes everyday if she will be going to "big kids school"....I guess that is a good sign that she wants to go back. Alex, the boy is growning and going all over the place. He now has 2 bottom teeth and a top tooth about to break through any day now. He is pulling up like crazy and just wants to walk so bad so I wouldn't at all be suprised if he was an early walker. Ella walked at 10 1/2 months.....but I will be fine with him staying in the crawling stage as long as he wants too. Once they walk, it's on. He really is doing well. He will have his first treatment for his Cystic Hygroma tomorrow. We will go to Charleston tonight and get admitted to the hospital at 6:45am. I don't know if they will have wi-fi or not but if they do I will post updates, probably on Alex's caringbridge site that I started to have all of his medical things in one place. It's We are just encouraged and although I am nervous and at times weepy, I have a peace and calm...for now anyway. I am thankful for that. We just pray that we will remain calm and that the treatment will go well and Alex will respond to it. I am just amazed at the outpouring of love for Alex and our family. Thanks to everyone for your prayers!!!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What's New

Have mercy, I have not posted much lately. Just life.....busy busy busy!!! It isn't slowing down for me that is for sure. We are all doing pretty well. Stephen has been so busy at the University getting ready for graduation. Glad when that is over and his schedule slows down a bit. I can't complain, his schedule is pretty good and only a few times a year does it call for longer hours. They are always understanding if he needs to adjust his schdule for a Dr. appointment or when I am traveling and he needs to take Ella to school. Speaking of miss thing, she is just getting bigger and growning up so fast. It's unbelieveable that she is almost 5 years old, just over a month from now. She has done really well with her first year of school and likes it. Last week we had a Mommy / Ella day. I have been away so much traveling and taking Alex to Dr. appointments she needed a special girl day. We did some shopping and went to a pottery shop and painted and the day is not complete without Chuck E. Cheese!! She is enjoying having a baby brother more and more. She is interacting with him more now because he laughs at her and gives her attention which she just eats up. He is "her baby" and she is very protective over him. She got a hair cut the other day and it's her first real style. It's a little short in the back and just a little longer in the front. I wasn't sur how she would react to shorter hair but she loves it and couldn't wait to show everyone at school. Well, Alex has just turned 7 months is 18 lbs and 27". It's hard to believe he is 7 months old already. Here are some things he is doing now:
* started rolling over in March and rolls all over now
* sits up unassisted
* Says "Da Da", "Mum Mum" "ba ba" and a lot of other cute sounds
* waves bye bye
* on the verge of crawling, he gets up on all fours rocks and scoots his little legs
and gets up on his feet but doesn't know what to do
* Is eating stage 2 foods but still NO Teeth!!
* loves his jump-a-roo and goes crazy especially early in the morning when I walk in
the room, I think he is going to bounce himself right out of the thing.
* loves to watch Ella and laughs out loud whenever she is around
* still sleeps all night 7:30pm-6am

Travel is getting ready to pick back up for me. I leave Friday for Winnipeg and return on Sunday. I will be home a week and then go to Toronto for 3 days home a week and then to the Ukraine from June 5-12th and then to Prague from the 13th-17th. I will be home a couple of days and then off to the beach for a much needed family vacation.

Alex is getting an MRI today and on Monday we will go to Charleston to meet with the Intervention Radiologist to discuss the best treatment for Alex. I am posting most of his medical information on

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CaringBridge Site for Alex

I have decided to create a site for Alex on CaringBridge. I will continue to update this blog about our life etc. but most of Alex's medical updates will be on the Caring Bridge site.

You can access it by going to and entering his name with no spaces "alexhoward"

Or here is the site:


Monday, April 20, 2009

Charleston Dr. Update

We spent the weekend in Charleston, SC and it was so nice. Perfect weather and Alex did great the whole time including the drive. Saturday we got in, in the afternoon and after checking into the hotel we went to the beach for an hour. Alex didn't quite know what to make of the water but it was fun. Saturday we drove out to Magnolia Plantation and walked the gardens. It was beautiful. Then we went into Charleston and walked around the market and my parents favorite candy store that has the best pralines in the world!! We drove down to the Battery area and walked around the park and up and down differnt streets. Just relaxing to walk around without a set adgenda or time-frame. That night we ate at Water's Edge. It was VERY good, I highly recommend the salmon! Monday, fun time over, we packed up checked out, got breakfast and headed to the hospital. My mind was racing and my stomach was in knots, I don't know why I am so at peace with things until I actually go to the Dr.....maybe it's just denial that anything is wrong until I am facing it head on. UGH!!! Anyway, I did like this Dr. and he said that he was sure that it was Cystic Hygroma (which we already knew) and he gave the run-down of possible options: surgery or sclerotherpy (ie chemo). He said that before we make any decisions they want to do an MRI. All we know is what we can see on his neck/back....we don't know what or how extensive it could be, where we can see (it could be in his chest and we just can't see it). So the MRI will tell them everything they need to know. We are set up to go the last week of May and he will be put to sleep for the MRI since you have to be still, and there is no way to keep a 6mo old still!!! After the MRI we will meet with another Dr. that will evaluate him and let us know what sclerotherapy options may be best for him. The Dr. said that they would like to try that first instead of surgery if possible. I think that there are just more risks with surgery in the neck area where so many nerves are located. So we are back in the wait period. I think I am ok, but haven't really processed everything yet. We have not ruled out staying with our Dr. in Greenville. We just don't know and have not really had the time to process. Prayer, that is what we need....that and for time to just stand still long enough for me to breathe and appreciate my kids while they are kids. Time is just gone before I know it....with my work and the Dr. appts it seems like my life is just one schedule after another!! I will upload some photos from Charleston very soon, if you are my friend on Face Book I have already uploaded some there.

Special thanks to my Mom and Dad who helped with Ella while we were gone, they have been so amazing any time we have needed them, they are there no questions asked...I hope Stephen and I are as good to our children as they have been to us!

Another special thanks to all of you who I know check this blog and some that I don't...Thanks for your prayers, they are felt and so needed. If you check in on this blog every now and then and would like to, leave a comment, you don't have to really say anything just let me know you stopped by so I can say a prayer of thanks specifically for you!


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Alex Dr. Appointment Update

It has been nice to be home for a a change. We are all doing well but we had to take Alex to and ENT (Ear Nose Throat) Dr. because he keeps getting ear infections. The Dr. said he needed to get tubes in his ears. The will call me next week to let me know when. The Dr. asked about the mass on his neck and he highly suggested that we see a Dr. with MUSC (Medical Univ of SC) in Charleston. There is a Dr. there that specializes in neck masses and has seen other CH patients. We have an appointment on April 20th. I like the Dr. we are seeing now but it can never hurt to get another opinion, especially one that deals with this more often. I just want it to go away, I don't want my son to have to deal with this. I pray that whatever treatment we choose will be the best for him. There is no cure for CH and only a few options for treatments, sometimes they are successful sometimes not.....we will just have to pray and wait. Ella has been so sweet and she is such a sweet little girl that loves her baby brother. After I took Alex to the ENT, Ella rubbed his little cheek and said "You did so good at the Dr. Alex, I am so proud of you." Oh, those moments are just the most precious. Ella is almost finished with her first year of school 4K. It's gone by so fast, she has enjoyed it and has done really well. Alex has achieved a milestone, he has started to roll over. He's rolling like crazy now that he has the hang of it and it won't be long before he starts scooting around. I wish I could slow time down.....these days are going too fast!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back From Brazil

I had an amazing time in Brazil. It was so beautiful and the people are just the nicest people you will ever meet. They have nothing but their hearts are so full. What a blessing to have been a part of it all. I left on March 11 and got to Sao Paolo on the 12th and flew straight to Campo Grande. It was good to get on the ground after flying for so long. We were met by missionaries Walter and Carole Ponder. They took us to our hotel and then we drove around the city. That evening we had dinner at an amazing restaurant. They just keep bringing skewers of different meats one after another until you just can't eat any more. It was so good, and I was so full! The next day we went to Bandierantes. A small town/village about 1 hour out of Campo Grande. We had vision casting that evening and then actual training the next day. The people were so receptive! They were the first church to ever do an Upward league in Brazil and several other churches came to train and are very interested. After training we went back to Campo Grande and had training at a church there Boas Novas. They had also run a league and were in the middle of evaluations. That evening they had a fund raiser for their Upward league and many people brought food and other items to sell. It was such a fun and festive atmosphere. The next day we trained at the church. The next day we left for a 5 hour drive to Corumba, which is on the boarder of Bolivia. On the way we stopped on the side of the road in the Pantanal (similar to the everglades) and a man took us to the waters edge and banged on the water and all of these aligators just came out of nowhere, at least 20. It was amazing and a little scary! We got to Corumba and held vision that night and trained the next day. Again the people were just so friendly and excited about Upward. The next afternoon we flew to Campo Grande on a prop plane, which I was not thrilled about but it was fine. Actually some dignitary was on the plane. Military personel lined up and he saluted each of them before boarding the plane. Not sure who he was but he must have been someone important. We flew on to Sao Paolo and met up with a pastor there, Ailton. He had a tiny tiny car and we tried to explain that we did not need all of our luggage we could store it at the airport and he kept saying it would fit in his car. We finally got him to understand that we didn't need all of it and got lockers. When we saw his car, we just laughed and laughted, there was NO way any of that luggage would fit in his car. We all had small carryon's and backpacks and we ended up having some of that in our laps. That is the Brazillian way thought, they want you to be happy and will tell you "sure" when there is no way it will happen. It was pretty funny. We drove 3 hours to his village and got to our hotel (that was over an auto station) at 2am. The next 2 days we drove around different villages where he wants to start Upward leagues. It was some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. Just breathtaking!!! I was ready to come home, 9 days was a long time to be away. We drove to see the largest Catholic church in the world, so I am told. It was really really big and then to the airport. We stopped by a sports store and I was able to find 2 cycling jerseys for Stephen. I was so happy to find something nice for him. Sometimes it's hard to find that perfect gift. I also found a stuffed piranha fish. I didn't want to get it, it was ugly and gross but I was told about them before I left and mentioned it to Stephen and he insisted that if I saw one, to get it. I reluctantly complied. I think he was happier with that than the cycling jerseys!! It was good to get home to my family even with Alex's double ear infection and Ella's strep was so good to be home!

Next week.....Vancouver


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Canada and Brazil

I got back from my trip to Canada. We flew into Buffalo and drove to Toronto. I flew in a day early with a co-worker to have an early meeting so we had the chance to spend s couple hours at Niagara Falls. I had never been and I just loved it, it was so pretty with the snow. I missed the kids and Stephen though! He did fine but the true test will be this week. I leave today for Brazil and will be gone for 9 days. I am excited about the opportunity to go and to meet with the churches there and help them begin Upward!!! I hope to be able to connect via Skype with Stephen and the kids. I was able to while in Canada and Ella loved being able to talk and see me talking to her via the computer. I don't know what kind of connection we will have there but we should at least be able to talk on the global phone. I ask for prayers for safe travel. Lots of flights getting there and back and several within Brazil. I never was nervous flying until I had children so it's a little harder for me now. I also ask for prayers for Stephen & the kids while I am away and also for our work in Brazil. That we will be able to be used to help pastors there use Upward to reach kids and families!

Photos of Niagara Falls and Brazil to come soon.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


It finally snowed in SC and more than just a dusting, we actually got about 4". Which of course closed down the schools, businesses and just about everything else. It was so much fun to see Ella enjoy her first real snow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travel Time Again

Gosh time is just flying by....I can't believe that I have gone so long without a post. Busy Busy is all I can say!!

Alex is 5 months old today. He is just such a joy, he has had 2 ear infections since Jan and you would never know it....he just smiles all the time and rarely cries. I guess the Lord knew we needed some calm since Ella is just wide open all the time. Alex is really doing great and growing up. He is up to 16lbs already, he has found his toes and can push up on his arms when he is on his belly. It won't be long until he starts rolling over. He babbles and we think we have heard "da da" a couple of times but nothing consistant yet. He certainly wants to talk and loves to watch my mouth when I talk, actually he likes to grab my lips or hair, whichever is easiest to get at. We just got him a jump-a-roo and it's the funniest thing to watch him bounce around. He loves it. We have started rice cereal and will start other foods soon. We took him to his appointment at Children's Hospital yesterday and the Dr. thinks he is doing really well and doesn't think he needs to be seen until July. At that point he will do an ultra sound and then schedule his treatment. He will be put to sleep for the treatment and kept 1 night...that's the plan. So I feel good that the Dr. doens't think he needs to be seen again until then. I am at peace with it, really totally at peace. I just think that he is going to be fine and have a good feeling about the treatment, a far cry from when I was the mother of a two week old baby just discovering there was something wrong but not knowing what and the Dr.'s didn't know either. It seems like a lifetime ago, it was only 5 months!

Ella is doing wonderful. She is still enjoying 4K and doing really well. She is loving Alex and helps me take care of him and is just a little momma. She went to Stephen's sister and Brother-in-law's house last Friday and spent the night for the first time. She loved it. They have some cows and other animals close by and Ella just thought that was wonderful.

Stephen is doing fine and is such an amazing help with the kids! He had to get a tooth pulled yesterday so he's not feeling so good but better than he was last week when his tooth was hurting! Nothing worse than a toothache!

I am doing pretty good. Just very busy at work. I moved from upstairs to downstairs a few weeks ago and now sit by the window that overlooks the lake. It's really beautiful and a constant reminder of how Blessed I am to work here! Not that I have much time to gaze but it's still beautiful. Speaking of work, traveling season is upon me once again. This time it will be different....last year I had Alex in tow as I was pregnant with him. This time I am on my own and Stephen will be taking care of the kids while I am away....say some prayers for him. He is amazing and will do fine, but anyone with kids knows how hard it can be and I will be missing Stephen's Birthday on March 7! I leave next Thursday (march 5) for Toronto and return on Sunday. Then I leave that Wednesday (March 11) for Brazil and will not return until March 20th. So I will be gone quite a bit beginnig next week. I think I will be home fow awhile after that. I know that I am doing what I am called to do and feel very certain of that but it sure is hard to leave my family. So say a prayer for all of us!!!

I will be posting some updated photos soon. Sorry for the lack of posts especially with updates on Alex. I know there are people out there checking in and I hate that I have not updated sooner!!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No Pink Cookies!!!

The other night Stephen was getting Ella ready for bed. I came in the room and it was a total disaster. I told Ella that she had a messy room and needed to clean it up. She was not happy with that at all. So I told her that tomorrow after school if she came home and cleaned her room I would give her one of the pink frosted cookies that she had been wanting all evening that I wouldn't let her have because it was too close to bed. She stopped and pondered this, and then said "Mommy, I don't think I want a pink cookie". Figures!

Alex is doing fine, he got his 4 month shots the other day and did ok other than not having much of an appetite. He is growing so fast, he is 15.9lbs and 27". I introduced him to the exersaucer this week and he loves it!! He is now reaching for things and putting them in his mouth. He grabs for my nose and loves to grab my hair. He has great head control but is still a ways off from sitting up. He goes back for his next Dr. visit at the Children's Hospital in late Feb. about his Cystic Hygroma, which seems to be doing fine. He is not bothered by it but it is definitly getting bigger. I just hope that it's growth will be slow enough to wait until he one and they will do the treatment then.

Stephen and I are fine, we have all been sick and Stephen is just now getting better from being sick AGAIN. We are doing fine with our jobs and thankful that ours are secure. It's so scary out there right now. I have just moved from the upstairs of the building to the downstairs. I liked it upstairs as it was quiet and our group was a little secluded. Down here it's a little louder and definitly colder!!! BUT, I sit by the window that over looks trees and the I can't complain about the view!!! It really is beautiful.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

One year ago....

One year ago today I took a pregnancy test expecting the same result that I had for over a year. But this time was different, positive, I couldn't believe it an actual positive....Alex was forming. What an amazing feeling, I wish I could live that moment over again, that first realization that I was in fact going to have another baby after finally coming to the realization that it probably was not going to happen. It wasn't the easiest of pregnancies but I'd gladly do it all over again. We had no idea if it was a boy or a girl but we both (as well as most everyone) felt it was a boy. The Dr. let Stephen tell me and I will never forget that moment in time, hearing Stephen say, "it's a boy, we have a son" the most beautiful beautiful as hearing the Dr. say "it's a girl" when we had Ella. It's still hard to believe that it has been a year since that positive test.

Well we are all finally better, we have all been sick (except for Ella)just about since Christmas. We are all doing much better. Alex had his first sickness, double ear infection. He handled it well, a couple days of fever and more fussy than normal but he is doing great. We go for his 4 month shots next week, that is never fun but he did really well with the last set of shots so I hope he does as well. Alex is just growing up so much. He is now really wanting to sit up, he's not quite there yet but he's trying. He is now grabbing things and putting them in his mouth. He knows his name and knows it as soon as mommy or daddy comes into the room. He loves to watch Ella and she loves him so much. She just loves to give him kisses and show him toys and how to play. It's really cute and she is such a great big sister. I am so blessed by both of my children!