...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Something Fishy

Gavin won a coloring contest at school.

He got to choose his prize.

This is the beauty he came home with.

I think it is awesome (and hilarious).  Now his bedroom is decorated with deadly fish...just in time for Halloween.  I love it.

Today I am thankful for:

1. The scriptures...especially the Book of Mormon...but also the words of living prophets, I am so looking forward to LDS general conference this weekend (and if you need guidance or just peace in your life you should definitely watch!)

2. Ice-cream (if you need momentary contentment and happiness in your life, this is the way to go)

3. My kids.  They make me laugh, they make me cry, but mostly they just make me glad that they are around. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend: check

This weekend was full of excitement, or rather busyness, at our house.  Because parent/teacher conferences were this week the kids had Friday off from school (except for Logan who still had pre-school).  Here is a little bit of the fun we had on our long weekend. 

 We took a trip to the library and came home with five zillion Goosebumps books and also a goosebumps movie (wow, that is quality cinema if I have ever seen it -- notice that quiet hint of sarcasm).  However, the true hit of the trip is a "real life horrors" book that Gavin found in the reference section with a picture of the skeleton of a two headed baby.  The kids are completely enamored with that one.  It is a book full of odd real life things.  Everyone loves looking through it (I have to admit, it is interesting, so I don't mind when they ask me to read them bits from it).  Success at the library.  SCORE!
  On the not so successful side, I discovered that Logan has been stashing food on his chair underneath and besides his booster seat the last couple of days.  Awesome!  It was lots of fun to clean up crusty bread, soggy fruit and hot dog bits.  Actually, I made him clean up the bulk of it but he's only four so I did have to follow behind to finish the job.  Oh, kids.  No wonder he has been fighting me so much less about eating his meals. 
This weekend we emptied our lovely backyard pool.  We have been de-chemicalizing it for the last 10 days so that we could drain the water onto the lawn without killing the grass.  The kids had all kinds of fun playing with the draining water. 

Aubrey recruited the younger kids to make a "dam" with her.  She used pieces of 2x4 to try to contain the water and let it pool up on the grass.  It was fun to watch them (surprisingly, the wood pieces did not hold the water in very well). 
 The boys also used the drainage hose to make their own "water slide."  They set the hose at the top of our swing set slide and then slid to their hearts content. 

The kids were having such a good time with the draining water that they didn't want the excitement to end.  So they turned on the yard hose attached to our house and towed it over to the now sagging pool to fill the pool back up.  So we had one hose putting water in and another hose pulling water out.  When Josh realized what they were doing he was not too thrilled, but he did have to laugh a little before he mad them turn it off. 

 Even though Logan had lots of fun, he was not too happy when Gavin sprayed him with the hose...not sure why it mattered since he was already soaking wet, but that's how he rolls these days (you would think the kid was a teenage girl with all the drama he finds in life).

The children played "top chef" with moon sand in the yard as well.  I have a love/hate relationship with moon sand (a sort of moldable, sticky sand that kind of works like play dough).  It is great stuff  because the kids get to be creative and make things out of it...but it is horrible stuff because it is ALWAYS a huge mess.  However, when the weather is good and they can play with it outside I hate it a lot less.

Josh reinstalled the brick step we have between the carport and the back yard.  We had to tear it out when we put up our new fence/gate and this was the last piece of that project that needed to be done.

And last, but not least, Josh made a bike rack for the kids bikes.  Not only do they tend to be a jumbled mess all over the carport (because we really don't have anywhere else for the kids to park them) but we have also had two bikes stolen in the past month (one we got back the next day because it tends to have its chain come off regularly so we found it abandoned at the school with its chain off...ha ha, jokes on the bad guys...sort of). 

Anyway, we created the bike rack so the bikes can all be parked in a row and we can now chain them up at night and (hopefully) put an end to their clandestine adventures. 

It was a productive weekend and that is always a good thing.  As an added bonus, the BYU football team won their game on Friday (even if it was not beautifully done) so overall we'll call the weekend a success. 

Today I am thankful for:

1. A hard working -- and very kind and understanding -- husband.

2. Chocolate chip cookies.

3.  Lessons in church that inspire me to want to be better (cause boy do I need that).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thinking Thankful

A friend of mine wrote about a friend of hers who challenged his friends to spend a week recognizing the things they are thankful for.  He noted the blessing it is for us and those around us to remember how much we have to be grateful for. 

This idea struck home with me.  This has been a rough year...not just for me and my family; it seems to be a hard year for A LOT of people.  It seems to be raining troubles and there hasn't been much of a break in the deluge.  Thing after thing after thing seems to be falling in the laps of loads of people.  2011 has been a year of interminable trials.

I wears on you (you know the feeling).  This week has felt exhausting, even though nothing in particular has happened.  It's soccer season so Josh isn't home much and when he is home he is working on school work (the college kind and the high school kind).  That leaves me to do it all at home (soccer season always reinforces my intense respect of single parents...I don't know how you do it all). 

Last night, this frustration resulted in the breaking of the ceramic cake topper that Josh and I had on our wedding cake.  And I can't even get mad at anyone because it was my fault (I was upset at the kids and as I left the room I tossed a book I had been reading them -- "Where the Red Fern Grows" -- onto the bookshelf but it slid and knocked this piece over).  That'll teach me to leave the room in a huff.

Thankfully, I was able to glue it back together (notice the lovely cracks on the boy's chest).   We carefully pieced the day back together as well and went to bed all happy at each other.

Anyway, when life gets to the point where frustrations are at their worst, it is time to stop looking at the problems and annoyances and instead focus on what is right with the world.  So this gratitude idea could not come at a better time for me -- I need it. 

So here we go.

Today, I am thankful for:

1.  Super Glue

2. Good (and very worn) books

Both of these showed up at just the right moment (one to help me have some peaceful moments with the kids even when I was tired -- until the fighting started -- and the other to repair the damage done by the first one).  Each of them made my night just a little bit better in its own way. 

3. The sweet forgiveness of little children.  Even on my very worst day as a mother these small people are willing to look past my faults (which are many) and love me anyway. 

And I love them right back, which is a good thing too.

It is therapeutic to be thankful.  I think I'll have to keep at it this week.  It's penance I guess.  Besides it is a great way to get out of a frustrated funk.

I'd love to hear some of the things you are thankful for as well.  I'll bet it will remind me of all that is good in the world, and we all need that once in a while. 

Friday, September 23, 2011


Lately, Ellie has taken to going limp when I try to get her dressed in the morning.  She lets her muscles relax and doesn't stretch or exert pressure of any kind as I try to put her clothes on.  This makes putting pants and shoes on especially difficult.  She thinks it is funny to watch me struggle and a couple of times I have gotten a little bit exasperated with her because she is making things hard on purpose.
But that made me think of my sweet little sister-in-law, Paula.  I have told you before about my niece, Becca.  She has rett syndrome (a severe form of autism) so her body just doesn't function as it should.  She can't move much on her own and so every day -- every single day -- Paula faces this dressing challenge that my little daughter thinks is so funny.

Every day Paula gets Becca dressed, and Becca is not so small anymore so it isn't as easy as it used to be.  Every day she helps Becca's legs stretch into pants.  Every day she carefully, tenderly puts socks and sometimes shoes on tiny feet that will never push back to make the job easier.

But she doesn't complain, she doesn't whine.  She loves that little girl to pieces and I am grateful for her sweet example.  I wish I was more like that.  Paula is kind and loving and gentle, but she fights fiercely for her daughter to have what she needs.  From pre-school to vacations to hospital stays she stands up for what will be best for her baby no matter what anyone else tells her is right.

She also had the courage to bring more beautiful children into this world, even with the concern of rett gazing over her shoulder. She and my brother have had to make many difficult decisions and will have to make many more, but they do it while smiling and adoring their growing family.

She is the kind of person who makes the world a better place.  Actually I have a whole bunch of sisters-in-law (especially because Josh and I have four brothers a piece and no sisters at all) who do that and I love them all.  They are amazing women and I'm grateful for the chance to learn from them.

But today I'm grateful for Paula.  She's pretty incredible.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fashion tips from four year olds

This is the shirt that I wore yesterday.

You may be wondering why I am mentioning that as this blog is not normally overly concerned with style (that has NEVER been something I cared much about).

Well, I'll tell you why we care about clothes today.

Yesterday morning, after scooting the four oldest kidlets out the door and off to school, I got ready for the day.  This is the shirt that I wore. 

As soon as I walked out of my bedroom Logan walked up to me looking disgusted and this is what he said:

Logan: Mom, what is that thing around your shirt.
Me: That is a belt.
Logan: No it isn't, belts go around your pants (pointing to my waist) down here.
Me: This is a different kind of belt.
Logan: Mom, take that off, it looks weird.  You should wear a normal belt.

That's right, fashion advice from my four year old (like he knows anything, remember that picture of him a few days ago with the green socks...and sandals none the less).

Anyway, I ignored him.  A little while later Logan and Ellie and I trucked over to the elementary school to pick Gavin up from kindergarten.  Gavin tends to come running out of class and to rush over to hug me (he doesn't do anything half way...it makes me smile every single time).

Gavin thundered out the door.  He ran toward me, arms stretched to the sides.  Inches from that embrace he suddenly stopped.  He looked at me like I was an alien.

Gavin (sounding disgusted): Mom, what is that thing around your shirt.
Logan (very triumphantly):  That is belt, Gavin.
Gavin (bending over Logan and speaking in a very condescending tone): No it isn't, Logan, belts go around your pants.
Me: No, Gavin, this is actually a belt, it is just a different kind of belt.
Gavin (sneering): Mom, that looks stupid.  You should take it off.  Belts are for pants.

So that is the consensus.  Belts are for pants and mom is a fashion faux pas in progress.  I guess I should probably get used to that attitude, I doubt this is the last time I will run into it. 

But I showed 'em.  I wore the shirt all day long.  TAKE THAT!  So there fashion forward youngsters!
(Gotta love those boys!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pushing Pills (down my throat)

These are the pills that I have to take every morning (those blue ones tend to get stuck going down...they are the devil).

These are the pills that I have to take every night before I go to bed.

I feel like an old lady.  Aren't old people the only ones who have to take piles of medications to keep them running on a daily basis.  Guess not.

Dr. Seuss has this fabulous book called "You're Only Old Once" that has a fun section about taking mountains of meds every day when you are aged and decrepit.  He pokes fun at taking a blue pill to remind you to take a red pill as well as a bit that reads something like "this purple pill is what I take if I should die before I wake" (you know Dr. Seuss, the man was brilliant and hilarious).  Anyway, that's about what I feel like anymore.

The morning pills are mostly the ones that keep my colon in check.  The evening pills are mostly vitamins and supplements because my body just doesn't absorb what it needs from food thanks to Crohn's. 

One side affect of Crohn's is weight loss.  Sounds nice, except that it is coupled with malnutrition which is not so nice.  I just have to find balance (it's always nice to shed a few unwanted pounds, but who wants to waste away to nothing).

Anyway, just thought I'd share.  I wonder how many people out there take more pills than my little pile just because they believe in supplements for regular health reasons?  My brother works for Usana and I know they sell vitamins in pre-packaged packets to swallow morning and night so really my little pill offering probably isn't all that outstanding.

Still, for me, it's an exciting -- and growing -- cocktail.

Friday, September 16, 2011

bYu forever

A couple of my little cougars.
I was born and raised a BYU fan.

I have been trekking to the stadium in Provo to watch games since I was in elementary school.  There is nothing like watching a game amidst the cheers of fellow fans, especially night games...love em (plus the hot dogs at the stadium are AWESOME!).  I can sing the fight song.  I can recognize Cosmo from 387 yards away.  I love cougar football.

Josh is also true blue at heart so we now watch the games in our living room with our own mini cheering section (except for Parker who likes to be contrary so he constantly tells Bryce he prefers the U but honestly I think he only does it to get a rise out of his brother...I just tell him he can cheer for whatever team he wants so when it is just us he tells me he is a cougar). 

So all I have to say as the rivalry game rears its competitive head this weekend is...


La la la la Logan...

First day of pre-school.  Don't you love those green socks.
His sense of style is still developing and I like to watch it
September has been a big month for this little guy.  He started pre-school (which was a little more traumatic than I expected).  He took a trip to his great-grandpa's farm (which he loved much more than I expected) and he even celebrated a birthday (which was exactly as wonderful as we both expected).

I can hardly believe this little man is already four years old.  We get to spend a lot more one on one time together now that the older kids are in school and it is fun to watch my big little boy grow up.

Logan loved his bionicle guys (I was thrilled because we
found them in a set at a thrift store for $12 for 10 guys...it was Kismet!)

Old, rusty, nasty bike
that we've had since Bryce
turned three.
Logan on his new, shiny, awesome Spiderman
bike from his grandparents who were
embarrased to see him ride that beat up,
purple monstrosity (just kidding).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Harvest Festival in my own Back yard (sort of)

When I was in elementary school we had an event called "The Harvest Festival" at the beginning of every fall season.  Kids were encouraged to make creations out of vegetables to then display around the school.  Each class got to parade through the halls and see all the vegetable masterpieces.  To me it was magic. 

I remember loving this festival every year.  Some kids (with the help of their parents) made Cinderella pumpkin coaches with zucchini people or squash rockets and tomato aliens.  I was a bit more independent and refused any help so my offerings were a little more, shall we say, unique. 
I was remembering those times as I went out in what's left of our garden today to check on our pumpkin crop.  Our pumpkins have plumped up nicely this year (maybe that's because I bought the seeds that were supposed to produce "state fair" sized gourds).  They aren't quite state fair material, but they should make excellent jack-o-lanterns in another month or so and that's what they were intended for anyway.

One minor disappointment with my garden this year is that I planted what was supposed to be a lovely, purple heirloom tomato plant.  It grows tomatoes alright, but they aren't what I call purple.  They still taste good, but I was really hoping for purple tomatoes in my salad.  That would have been beautiful!  Oh well, red is good too. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Minor Miracles: Miracles relating to my minors

This past week I had a follow up visit with my GI doctor.  I got some test results from my colonoscopy last week. Thankfully, I get to start tapering down my dosage of the corticosteroid I am on (which is good because I don't really care to be on a steroid).  That stuff is pretty tough. I missed taking it one morning (that happens sometimes when you get busy with kids) and I ended up with a horrible migraine that evening. My GI said that this drug can cause major problems and even sometimes death to people who suddenly stop taking it completely (not usually after only having been on it for a week, but it really IS tough stuff).  Thankfully it has really helped calm my abdominal pain already so I guess I can't hate it all the way.

Anyway, the GI lady I was seeing (she and my doctor work closely together) was getting ready to write out prescriptions for what I need when she suddenly stopped and asked how old I was.  I told her 33 (because I am honest and not sad about my age...yet).  She bit her lip and said maybe they would need to consider some different drugs because I was still young and in my child bearing years.  I smiled at her and told her that I had six children and my husband and I decided (or should I say felt prompted) that our family is full.
Back in the old days when I was pregnant.

She just smiled slightly and said that was good because apparently some of the drugs that will be best for treating my version of Crohn's disease will increase my chances of infertility and severe birth defects.  They could use other treatments, but I guess they wouldn't work quite as cleanly.

That is miraculous to me.  Josh and I always felt strongly when it was time for us to bring another soul into our family, just like we felt strongly when our family was complete.  We didn't know what life had in store for us, but God did.  He helped our family get to the point where we didn't have to worry about interactions with budding lives when I started Crohn's treatments.

I know we all have struggles and things in life don't always work out the way we would like, but it is so comforting to see these miraculous moments show up every now and then that remind us that God loves us and that he can see the big picture even when we can't.

If Josh and I had been left to our own devices we probably would not have had our children quite so close together (20-24 months distance between them...not the closest ever, but still pretty close).  We probably would not have had six children either.  Thankfully, God let us in on a bit of His plan for us and I LOVE the outcome.  I feel grateful that we successfully got our children here and had time to feel that our family was done so that Crohn's disease wouldn't cause one more hiccup in our lives.

I head back to the doctor again in another month so I'll have some time for this new stuff to kick in.  Hopefully things in my GI track will be even better by then.  That's my plan, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fun on the Farm

Growing children and growing corn.

This weekend we took a trip to Huntington, Utah.  Huntington is a quiet, rural town in Southern Utah and I LOVE it there.  My mom grew up there, and my grandparents are still happily settled there.  It was perfect timing because the state fair is going on right now in Salt Lake, but we just aren't going to get there this year so we had our own mini-fair on the family farm.  We also haven't seen my grandparents in a while and I missed them.  They are amazing people and I want my children to know them and love them as much as I do. 

So, we did chores in the yard and the kids worked really hard and then we decided to play hard.  Grandpa loaded the kids in the back of his pickup and drove around the block to what we affectionately call "the corral" (pretty fancy stuff, huh).  It was a great weekend adventure.

 The boys got to hang around with pigs.  In the past my boys have ridden these big porkers (great exercise for the pigs and loads of fun for the children) but not this trip.  They just trotted around with these future strips of bacon and had fun feeling their course hair and squishy snouts.  Also, turns out the pigsty is tidier than their bedroom so my calling their room a pigsty when it is a mess isn't quite so accurate.  
 The kids got to feed the chickens and collect eggs.  Gavin forgot how breakable eggs can be so we lost a couple to his roughness (and he felt so bad he cried a bit...poor guy, don't cry over broken eggs).
 Everyone took a turn feeding grain to the horses.  Logan, who was initially nervous because horses are so big (especially when you are only three feet tall), ended up LOVING the feeling of horse lips tickling his hand.  He could barely reach high enough for the horses to eat from his hand, but he had the time of his life, especially when the horses tried to eat his hair.  We told him the horse was kissing his head.  It was fun to watch.
Thanks to my sweet Aunt Estelle, we also go to ride the horses.  Horseback riding was one of my favorite hobbies while I was growing up (I could saddle a horse pretty fast for a city kid back in the day) but my kids don't get too many chances to do it.  Estelle called them cowboys and cowgirls and just helped them have an awesome time.
Estelle also convinced me to hop back up in the saddle (it has been a lot of years) and it was great to be on a horse again.  I really do love riding.
My cousin, Shaylee, has put together her own outdoor aquarium in her yard and has filled it with "water dogs" (I have no idea if that is their official name, but they are essentially salamanders with a frill around their necks).  The boys had a lot of fun holding the slimy creatures and watching them dart around the pool.  So many things that they don't get to see at home!

Notice the cows in the back ground.  This is as close as we could get to them before they ran away scared.  Who knew that DeMoux children could be so terrifying?

Bryce got a bb gun for his birthday a couple of years ago and he doesn't get too many chances to shoot it (since urban back yards aren't really made guns of any sort).  We set up some cans and the boys had a blast trying to blast them full of lead (or bb's...you know). 

Elinor was not quite so impressed with all of our animal adventures.  She was frightened of just about every creature that I showed her (not to mention being petrified of the song played by my grandparent's cuckoo clock...weird). 
This is Ellie screaming as she sat on the horse.

This is Ellie screaming as she sat on a pig.
 And this is Ellie, encountering the most chilling animal of all...chickens. 

 While the rest of us enjoyed a couple days of country life, Josh stayed home and did home work for his college classes and corrected papers for his high school classes. 

Oh, and also he built a fence. 
(Pretend like I cleaned up the carport before I took the pictures).  Josh and
my dad did a great job putting up this section of fence so that we can
keep the kids in the back yard.  Thanks honey, you are amazing.
It was a really fun weekend for all of us (although I missed Josh terribly because I am pathetic like that).  But it is really good to be home.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dinner Drama

Despite dramatic medical diagnosis, life goes on.

Last night, I made pot pie for dinner which is a favorite of several of the children...but not all (seriously, with eight people in the household I can pretty much guarentee that someone is going to HATE whatever we are having for dinner.  You just can't please 'em all.)
 Well, tonight it was Logan's turn to be distraught over my dinner choice.  When I called the kids in for dinner he saw what was on the table and immediately collapsed in a crying heap on the floor screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOO!"  at the top of his sad lungs.
He then wrapped himself in his favorite blanket and proceeded to tell me that if I tried to serve him pot pie he would never eat again for the rest of his life (he can be a little bit dramatic too).  I calmly informed him that if he never ate again he would wither away and die.  He said he didn't care because nothing I could do would get him to eat a single bite of pot pie.  That sounds like a dare.  I just can't ignore a good dare.
He wailed and cried and moaned and gnashed his terrible teeth and showed his terrible claws, but I did not relent.  I am not a short order cook.  I do not cater to dinner tantrums (although I do try to be sure there is something on the table that everyone can consume so they won't starve). 

I eventually got him stationed in his seat (after a stint in the naughty corner for talking back) where he watered his dinner with tears.

However, his anger couldn't last forever and eventually he gave in and ate his salad and managed to choke down a couple of bites of pot pie.  Eveyone survived and no tummies were harmed in the process.  It was just a normal, DeMoux evening.  Just like I like them.  Silly kids, they make everything more exciting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Child's Prayer

Since my actual Crohn's diagnosis, we have had a couple of very candid discussions with our children about what is wrong with their mother and how we will handle things as a family.  We don't tend to pull punches when we talk to our children about things; we try not to be grossly graphic, but we tell them the truth and try to help them honestly understand whatever it is.  We have had very blunt discussions about sex, pregnancy, rhett syndrome, alcoholism, gestational diabetes (Bryce was terrified he was going to catch that one from me for a while...if he ends up with gestational diabetes the diabetes part will be the least of our worries) and now Crohn's disease.

The point is, our kids pretty well know what is going on.

Well, several of my children have very tender hearts although some of them bottle it up more than others.  Bryce and Gavin have taken our Crohn's conversations particularly seriously and they are particularly open with their feelings.  When it is their turn for family or dinner prayer they have each sincerely and tenderly petitioned our Father in Heaven to make my pain go away and then, quietly, almost apologetically, they have asked that if it is ok with Him maybe God could make the Crohn's disease just disappear all the way.

These are the moments that warm a mother's heart (and make her eyes leak a little bit).  What a humbling and at the same time strengthening experience to listen quietly as your children faithfully ask their Heavenly Father, your Father in Heaven, to heal you. 

Now, we have told them that having the disease vanish is unlikely.  We've explained that those choices are up to Heavenly Father and they understand that, but who am I to tell them what to pray for?  Who am I to squash their budding faith and tell them that miracles like that are impossible?  I do not feel like complete healing is in my future.  I feel like this is just a weight I will carry in life just like someone else's poor eyesight, low back pain, arthritis or high cholesterol.  But as long as my little ones trust God and His path for our lives I will not tell them to stop praying for what matters deeply to them.  Maybe they just have more faith than I do.

Thank God for the things we learn from our children.  What a blessing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Truly a Crohn at heart...or, rather, at colon

(Warning: This could be a long story...sorry about that.)

In April, I started experiencing unexplainable abdominal pain.  It could show up any time of the day but was usually most severe right after I ate and in the evening.  I felt tired a lot of the time and I lost my appetite.  I blew it all off as a bug or a weird phase and I just kept on plugging through life.

Two months later things had not really changed and my husband and mother were noticing and beginning to be concerned.  The symptoms became more and more severe until I was rushing for a hot bath after dinner most nights to combat the abdominal discomfort.  I became very cautious about what I would eat because many foods just caused me too much pain if I ate them.  I also noticed my sense of taste had altered -- foods just didn't really taste good anymore and I had a weird metallic flavor in my mouth all the time (kind of like I was constantly sucking on a penny).

In June I finally went to see my doctor.  She is a great physician and I've always liked her even though I (thankfully) don't see her very often.  She listened to my symptoms, poked around on my tender tummy and sent me for a CT scan of the abdomen.  That afternoon she called with the results.  I had a massively inflamed colon and needed to see a gastroenterologist.  We went through a bunch of additional testing (blood samples, urine samples, stool samples -- oh the joy) and I headed to another doctor.

Long story short, I had a colonoscopy last Friday.  I am told that for most people that procedure is no big deal but I spent the night before trying (eventually unsuccessfully) to keep down the prep that you have to drink to flush your colon and then two excruciating hours after the colonoscopy pacing my hospital room waiting for my colon/stomach to release the air that had been pumped into them during the procedure.  I have never experienced so much pain in my life (sorry if you have to have a colonoscopy any time soon -- I hear for most people that it really isn't awful at all). 

My incredible gastroenterologist, Dr. Karnam (who called me sweetheart over and over and has a delicious East Indian accent...love that guy!) informed me that I have one of the worst cases of Crohn's disease he has ever seen. 

<-----------------------------This is what a normal healthy colon is supposed to look like.

These are the pictures of my colon (never thought we would be so personal here on my sweet little blog now did you?).

I have ulcers on top of ulcers and parts of my colon are so constricted that Dr. Karnam wondered how anything has been getting through at all.

The first day that I went to see my regular doctor (way back in June) I knew there was something very wrong (you don't usually have CT scans for nothing...besides her face just said "something is not right here").  After that first visit, I had been in the yard pulling weeds that afternoon when suddenly into my mind flashed the words, "You have Crohn's Disease."  That felt so true and right that I have had no doubt since that moment what the problem was.  I hurried into the house and read everything I could find about the disease because, to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about it before that moment.

For those of you who are like I was, Crohn's Disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder.  Basically what happens is that your body identifies food and good bacteria and other healthy bits as dangerous invaders so it floods your colon (or other digestive system because Crohn's can affect anything from your throat to your anus) with white blood cells which try to fight off the infection that isn't really an infection which causes inflammation, ulcerations and real infections.  These can be very dangerous as they can create tunnels (called fistulas) from your colon to other organs and can even allow bile to seep into other parts of your body.  Crohn's Disease can also cause arthritis, vision problems, skin troubles and malnutrition leading to weak bones etc.  Sounds like fun eh?  (Seriously, it could be soooo much worse, so I am not trying to sound all doom and gloom). 

There is no cure for Crohn's Disease.  There are medications that can ease symptoms and help doctors try to "induce remission" but there will always be flare ups and times of "relapse."  That's just the way it is.  That is not exactly what I was hoping to hear. (Wow, that really sounds whiny..sorry, things could be so much worse and I'm glad that they aren't.)

However, I have much to be grateful for.  First of all, I am surrounded by capable and kind doctors who have helped me get to the bottom of the problem...and there are treatments that can help -- I don't just have to suffer without any relief.   Secondly, despite having a fairly severe case, my symptoms have not been nearly as bad as some people that I have read about.  With a house full of small children and a husband who works a lot and is in school as well that is a gigantic blessing.

For months, come afternoon, I often feel spent and I just want to go lie down and check out.  However God made me very stubborn (I'm not sure Josh would always classify that as a blessing) and early on I decided I was not going to let this disease rule me, I was going to rule it.  I will NOT let an illness control my life (and thankfully so far I've been blessed with enough umph to manage that).  I don't always get as much done as I would like, but I get something done and I have been able to find great joy in those successes.

In the past I would often beat myself up for not accomplishing everything I wanted to in a day (and often my expectations were ridiculous so I was just setting myself up for failure).  Having this struggle has taught me to smile at the things I do accomplish, be pleased with what I did do and to save the rest for later. 

I am also learning to focus more on what matters most.  I find myself saying, "My children need me to read them a story, I can sit here in pain and whine to myself or I can take my pain in the other room and spend the time with my little ones."  I have learned so much already from this trial and I've only been facing it for a few months. 

I am not happy to have Crohn's Disease.  I would love to snap my fingers and have it vanish.  I don't want the medications and their side affects for the rest of my life.  I don't want the flare ups and worry about whether my children will have to endure this.  However, I can see the blessings that have come to me already as I have had to battle this dragon and I can only imagine that a God who loves me more than I understand has many more blessings in store for me. 

So, I guess, bring on the Crohn's.  I have a lot more life to live and I know with the help of my family and my Father in Heaven it will be a beautiful journey.

(P.S. I asked Josh what it was like to be married to an old Crohn...he said he didn't know because he married to a young Crohn.  Trust Josh to help me laugh my way through whatever comes.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a crazy coupla weeks

The summer is drawing to a close and somehow that seems to mean that it is time to get in a bunch of great get togethers before the days start to grow tired and fall creeps into the world.  (I love fall, it is my favorite!).  So, we've done our best to make the most of the last moments of summer and spend them with people we love. 
The DeMoux ladies had the chance to get together for lunch to celebrate the upcoming birth of another DeMoux female.  It was great to spend time with my beautiful and always happy sisters-in-law and Josh's incredible mother (not to mention two adorable nieces).  We laughed and chatted and just had a great time together while watching Trish open cute baby gifts (buying stuff for girls is sooo much fun!). 

And speaking of baby girls, I also hosted a baby shower for a cute mom-to-be in my ward this week.  Aubrey and Ellie helped me spruce up the living room (and Aubrey has now claimed many of said decorations and had strung them all over her bedroom).  Dozens of sweet women from the neighborhood dropped by to celebrate the pending birth of this little bundle of joy.  It was fun to visit with so many ladies that I love and look up to (and as an added bonus my kids -- who were strategically stashed in the basement since Josh was at soccer all night -- behaved beautifully...what more could I ask for!). 

 But we haven't just been bombarded with babies, we have also been bursting with birthdays!

Across the street from us lives our bonus grandma, Sister Sweet.  She is amazing and our kids ADORE her.  She is a fabulous influence on our little ones and I am really grateful for her posotive and loving example.

Well, it was her birthday so we decided to sneak over while she was out and leave a surprise for her.  We chalked up her driveway with pictures and messages and left balloons and birthday cards on her door to greet her when she got home.  The kids went all out and even recruited some passing neighborhood kids to help (that is so like my children...they get that from their father).

It was fun to try to make our Sweet Grandma feel special and let her know how much we appreciate her.

 (This was Josh's contribution to our chalk message...that guy!)

But our family had birthdays of our own to celebrate.  G turned six the other day.  He started kindergarten this year and feels all grown up.  He begged to have donuts for breakfast so that's what we did.  We do try to indulge on birthdays. 

Our tiniest princess also turned two so she got to have the spotlight on her as well.  She is a gigantic fan of ANYTHING Mickey Mouse so she got a Minnie Mouse phone and a Minnie Mouse t-shirt and she was thrilled!  She didn't quite understand the whole idea of presents and we sort of had to chase her down and trap her on the couch so we could give them to her (and she still cried a bit) but all in all she had a good day.  Welcome to the terrible two's. 
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