Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Once Tiny, Always… TINY?

Here we are, a couple of weeks past Finn’s 3rd birthday, and I am reminded of this picture.  Of this season.  A season we thought had basically passed through and moved to the other side of.  All the struggles of prematurity and delayed development… The day of his first birthday party was also the day we participated in our first March of Dimes March for Babies.  Finn’s shirt won the T-shirt design contest (just like this year, too!).  His shirt said, “Once Tiny, Always Strong.”  We loved that shirt.  And as we approached and passed the milestone of his third birthday, we thought we would start being released from some of the specialized physicians we see.  But, this was not the case… 

Let’s turn back the clock 6 months.  We had seen our local pediatrician because we were concerned about Finn’s weight gain and stature. She started us on an appetite stimulant, and referred us to an endocrinologist in the City.  It took 6 weeks to get in with him, and in that 6 weeks the stimulant medication had worked WONDERS on our boy!  He was growing, eating, and  developing at amazing pace.  We did find out something new at this visit, however.  He asked if we knew that our son had been diagnosed with “SGA” after his birth.  I had no idea what that was, so I said no and asked what it meant.  He told us it meant he was “Small for his Gestational Age.” In other words, Finn was smaller than the average 26 week 5 day gestational age baby.  Once Tiny. But, based on that and the other presenting factors, especially the success we had with the recent prescription, the decision was made to stay the course, but to make a 6 month follow up “just on case.”  That appointment was scheduled for October 20.

On October 5, 2014, Sweet Mr. Finn turned 3.  Feisty, Finicky, Fearless Finn.  Funny, Fretful, Fighter Finn. Fabulous, Flirty, Fickle Finn.  We celebrated at his pre-school with cupcakes that week, and had a small gathering at home for his friends and family.  His favorite things are play-doh, Legos, and all things FLAGS – especially American flags!  It snuck up on us, and it took our breath away.  We made it!  “Early Childhood!”  THREE!  And he was doing so well!  At or just barely below all his developmental milestones for his age.  A glimmer of normal…
And as all 3 year olds do, he had a well-child check with his pediatrician the next week.  Where everything checked out well – and the only shot he had to get was for flu prevention.  Except… Except for the pesky little fact that he’s not getting any bigger.  He weighs 26 pounds (9%) and is 35 inches tall (3%). Her exact words were, “he’s not growing as we would expect.”  I guess with parents both over 6 feet tall, an uncle who stood 6’7” and a 7 year old brother pushing 5 feet and 95 pounds, being tiny definitely isn’t “expected.”  She went on to say she thinks this is something beyond just being born prematurely and we probably ought to keep the appointment with the endocrinologist.  Man!  We just knew we were going to leave there and call to cancel that appointment because we were doing so well.  No such luck.
Fortunately for us, we already had that appointment on the books, AND it was just a few days later.  Easy enough to pass the time.  With thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams.  With questions and concerns and prayers and tears. With hope and love and cuddles and kisses.  We are weary.  All of us, from the fight we have been on for these past 3+ years.  And we truly thought we might be on an upswing. Only to be brought back down by the crest of this wave.  A wave we will ride, but not without adversity, I am sure.
Monday, we spent the entire day in Oklahoma City.  After dropping all the big kids and their respective schools in Stillwater, we were off.  First stop – the pulmonologist.  Where, even with this newest round of cough and congestion from allergies that Finn is struggling with, we were given a clean bill of lung health and made a plan to be back after the first of the New Year.  Then, it was lunch at Jason’s Deli (YUM!), a jaunt to the mall to play on the indoor play equipment, then to Mercy Hospital and the OU Children’s Clinic to see Dr. George, our endocrinologist.  The lobby was busy and bustling – very different from the last time we were there.  And the wait seemed intolerable – our baby had already had a long day!  But little did we know what was to come. 
He was very thorough.  The doctor, that is. Very patient. Thoughtful; deliberate with his words.  He seemed to waver back and forth a bit about what our plan of action should be.  He asked lots of questions about the past 6 months, about his prematurity, and about family history of stature.  This was the plan of action we decided on as a team.  Even though his was diagnosed “SGA” and currently below the 10th percentile for both height (3%) and weight (8%) and he would probably qualify for growth hormone therapies, we are going to give him until age 4 to catch up some more.  Always Tiny?  In the meantime, the physical examination yielded no evidence of hormone deficiencies, but there could always be some underlying factor only detectable by more comprehensive testing.  And there’s no time like the present.  The doctor ordered an X-ray of Finn’s left hand to determine bone age, and 2 and a half PAGES of blood labs – that needed to be collected in 4 different vials. 
The bone age test will determine if his bones indicate the same aging as his chronological birthday.  If his bone age seem to only be 2 years, then he has a lot of growing left to do and he will probably catch up.  If his bone age is 3 (or more), well, then, we probably need to help him catch up.  We went down to radiology – where the wait was long and the room was tiny.  But Finn LOVED the X-ray tech and getting his picture taken with her BIG camera!  Even if it was of his hand!  She was so sweet and kind to him.  And when she was checking to make sure she got a good image, she let Finn and I watch it render on the “pa-cuter” screen.  Finn saw his hand, then saw the images of the bones and he exclaimed, “It looks like Halloween!”
The blood work is testing for many different things – most of them over our heads.  The doctor told us that the 2 “big” tests take 14 days to get back. These tests are looking for anything else that might be causing the growth delays and any hormone deficiencies he may be experiencing.  It was off to the lab we went.  The lab wait was short, and the room more comfortable.  And the lab tech was excellent, too!  Kind, patient, caring, professional.  But getting a good stick on a squirmy, tired, coughing 3 year old proved to be a challenge.   One she could not overcome on her own.  She called in reinforcements (and THIS SONG was playing while she was gone - I knew my brother was watching over us!) in the form of an experienced nurse they called “Grandma Vickie.”  45 minutes, 3 sticks, 2 techs, and 1 teddy bear (his gift for being so brave) later, they got the 4 vials of blood needed.  And we finally got to go home.

The 2 week wait is upon us. I definitely left the clinic and hospital on Monday night feeling better.  Dr. George is in no hurry to push us into (expensive, grueling, time consuming) growth hormone therapies, but he wants to get to the root of the problem with some preliminary testing.  If these tests all come back within normal ranges, they become the “benchmark” for the tests we run next year – when he is four.  I like this plan.  I have every faith that the results will be favorable.  That the next 12 months will yield extraordinary growth for Mr. Finn. We serve a mighty God and we have prayed BOLD prayers over this situation.  We ask you to do the same.  In Jesus name!  Finn may always be tiny, but he will also always be STRONG!

As for the rest of us… Well, life keeps happening at break neck speed!  Emma and Lara both landed roles in the chorus for their middle school production of High School Musical 2 this spring and are constantly at rehearsals.  Lara is LOVING dancing at her new studio and is also helping with choreography on the musical.  Emma is working with a practice volleyball team to improve her skills and looks forward to trying out for the school team next year.  She is excelling at school and loves helping others.  Both girls got straight A’s the first 9 weeks of school – something they both worked very hard for!  Britt and I are both working, working and WORKING.  Working our jobs at OSU keep us in the know and young at heart while working on our weight loss and wellness journey (he’s lost 65 pounds, I’ve lost 45 – and both still counting!) and WORKING our AdvoCare business so soon we can live out our dreams with our family.  In the meantime, Jake just finished up his flag football season tonight with a double header.  SILVER BULLET ended the season UNDEFEATED!  Jake looks forward to playing with this team of amazing boys and coaches again next year.  He is doing GREAT in school – his teacher calls him the Gentle Giant.  I have felt the presence of my own Gentle Giant, Big Oaf to my Little Oaf, my Big Brother, many times over the course of the last few weeks.  None greater than in that lab when I was begging for guidance from above so those ladies could get the blood they needed form my sweet boy and we could get him to stop screaming, coughing and flailing about.  God provided.  He always does.  As I know he will through this season for Finn and our family.  God is good.  Finn is proof.  All the time. Once Tiny. Always Strong.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

It’s AdvoCare Saturday!

Labor Day Weekend 2014. Here we are! Season opener for my OSU Cowboys. On a neutral field in Texas, against last year’s National Champion, but still. COLLEGE FOOTBALL! And Go Pokes! We want to see LOTS of Pistols Firing today.

But another fun part of that for me, the game is sponsored by AdvoCare. That’s MY company! A company and products that have literally changed my life. For good.

So, what else makes it “AdvoCare Saturday” you ask? Well, not only are they the title sponsor of a game I am very interested in, they are also title sponsor of another college football game, AND Trevor Bayne will be driving the Number 6 AdvoCare car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Atlanta! Here’s what the looks like on TV (all times CT):
  • 7:00 pm ABC AdvoCare Cowboys Classic: Oklahoma State vs Florida State from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
  • 8:00 pm ESPN AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: Louisiana State vs Wisconsin from NRG Stadium in Houston, TX
  • 7:30 pm ESPN2 NASCAR Nationwide Series with Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Advocare Ford Mustang from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, GA
  • 7:30 pm TWC Sports FC Dallas at Chicago

On a related note, I broke through another weight loss barrier this weekend! I have left another “tens” number in the dust – for good. Never going back. I might also have gotten back to weighing less than my husband... I had a slight panic attack last weekend when we weighed in and he was about a pound under me on the scale. Men lose it so much easier! Just not fair! But, I refocused, set a “mini” goal (have a big one coming up on my birthday in a few weeks!), and pressed on. Even with the shoulder injury and yucky steroids in my system for that, I had a good week on the scale. MOMENTUM!

All this to say you are going to see the AdvoCare “A” a lot this weekend. Not just from me. If you watch sports on TV, you will see it! And it might make you curious… What is Advocare? Why are the Weavers so passionate about it? What does it mean for me? I want to answer ALL of those questions for you! You can read about our story and watch a short video here, but the best way to get involved is to chat with us. Let us tell you the “why!” Let us share our passion with you. Let us change your life!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

It Started with a SPARK

How and Why we AdvoCare: Our 2 Minute Story

AdvoCare found us when we were overworked, excessively overweight, worn out with no energy, had no money, and no hope.  With 4 active kids and 2 full time jobs, we were struggling to just get by day to day.  Britt had taken a second job to help us make ends meet, but it definitely took him away from our family even more than our regular jobs.  That’s when our friend and AdvoCare sponsor, Lindsay, stepped in and told us about AdvoCare.  She showed us how the products could help us with our health, and how the opportunity could help us with our finances. 

Both of these aspects drew us in.  The idea of better health and a Plan B income really intrigued us, so we jumped right in with both feet.  We immediately signed up as distributors and ordered 24 day challenges for each of us – without ever trying a Spark or any other product.  We held our first mixer in our home that week.

We stuck to the 24 Day Challenge program and worked hard resulting in both of us experiencing great results.  We felt better, we looked better, our clothes were looser, and we lost weight and inches.  All the while, we were working the business to change other people’s lives for the better and we quickly earned our way to Advisor.  Since then, Britt has lost over 50 pounds and Betsey had lost 40.  We are walking taller, standing straighter and we are able to just function better on a daily basis.  We notice a huge difference in every aspect of our lives, and our kids are so grateful.  We also have more margin in our finances as well, which allows us to breathe a little easier - including unexpectedly having to replace 3 tires on 2 cars within a matter of weeks which would have DEVASTATED us in the past.

We knew that to continue our growth in AdvoCare, we needed to get to Success School.  We had an amazing experience there this summer, and we came home energized to hit the ground running.  We are building our team so we can rise to the top!  We are talking to everyone we come in contact with – whether it be the nurse at the pediatrician’s office, the mom at day care, the young family at church, or even the Fed-Ex man who continually delivers the AdvoCare boxes to our porch! We truly want to change lives – both physically and financially, and AdvoCare gives us the tools to do this. 

Britt and Betsey Weaver – remember those names!


First Day of School 2014

Well, another school year has started with a bang!  It’s always crazy getting back into the routine, getting all the school supplies purchased, getting everyone to bed on time, coaxing everyone out of bed on time.  But we are 4 days in.  And we made it!  2 7th graders, a 2nd grader, and Year 2 of preschool for the little guy! He is going 3 days a week this year instead of the 2 he went last year.  Trying to get him caught up to his peers with language and social skills!

I will let the pictures do most of the talking.  I am in just in SHOCK that these are my babies.  The time has flown.  When we went to meet the teacher for 2nd grade last week, Britt remarked how it felt like we were just in Jake’s 1st grade classroom last week!  So true.  And funny that we found his last report card of the year from 1st grade still in his backpack after the first day of 2nd grade!  OOPS!  Emma and Lara are ruling the Middle School as 7th graders.  They are such wonderful young ladies.  Level headed, low drama, smart, dedicated, organized.  So proud.  And Jake!  MAN!  He is just a joy.  Somewhat shockingly, NOT the tallest kid in his class this year, too!  ;)  He loves his teachers and Westwood – such a great fit for him.  Sweet little baby Finn is almost 3.  And talking up a STORM!  I am so proud of how far he has come.  He’s still a nervous nelly, and has his funny quirks, but he is much more social this year and people can converse with him which truly helps.  He is going to have a great year in the Rainbow Room at FUMC ECC.


It’s strange to stop and think during the day that the 6 Dream Weavers are spread out all over Stillwater.  But it sure is nice to come home at night and we’re all cozy under one roof. God id good.
OH!  And they first Middle School Dance was Friday Night as well...
*sigh* Who ARE these girls???


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sisterhood: Bid Day 2014

It is August.  The middle of August in fact.  Around here, that means a busy time.  Back to School.  BID DAY!  Last Monday, the Alpha Omicron chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at Oklahoma State University welcomed almost 60 new Alpha members.  It was not as hot outside as it has been in recent years, but it was HOT inside!  ;)  Lots of hugs and excitement for these young ladies - and I am honored just to be a part of it!

For the Weavers, it also means volunteering our time to work Welcome Week registration in the ballroom of the Student Union for a few hours.  It's a family tradition!  Britt and I have done it every year for the past several years.  It's super fun, and great people watching.  We had out their first ORANGE T-short for orange Fridays, a map of campus to help them get around, and a booklet showing the week's events.  These are Freshmen who have just arrived on the OSU campus for the first time as students, and it is SO MUCH FUN!  (Great people watching, too!)  We worked out shift late Tuesday afternoon, and it did NOT disappoint!

This morning as I was trolling my apps on my iPhone waiting for the rest of the house to get going, TimeHop Abe reminded me of this post from exactly one year ago today.  Remember this, readers?  I was so excited about how this story turned out.  Well, revisiting that reminded me that there is a Part 2 - and I'm going to tell you about it today!

While my (skinny) husband and I were greeting new students Tuesday night, I was (as always) on the lookout for ADPi lavalieres, headbands, bags, T-shirts and any other identifying apparel.  In the 2 hours we were in the ballroom.  I saw 2 girls with my letters.  JUST TWO!  That's crazy - I normally see at least a handful.  The first one was not in my line - in fact she was CLEAR DOWN at the other end of the giant room.  I didn't feel like being too obnoxious and flagging her down.  But the second one?  She was in MY LINE!

Here she comes, right up to us to get her registration taken care of and most importantly to get a brand new orange T-shirt.  She had on a necklace with the Greek letters Alpha Delta Pi on a sweet little charm.  So, of course, I had to engage her.  She was so excited to talk about her new sisterhood! (We got a GREAT group this year - can't wait to see what they do in the future!).  She said she remembered seeing me at the house on Monday and was glad to meet me.  As part of the conversation, I asked who her "Bid Day Buddy" (older Delta member who helps the new Alpha members navigate the craziness that is Bid Dy) was.  YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHO HER BUDDY WAS!!!!

Ok, you probably already guessed.  You're right!  It was the young lady from last year's post.  I can't make this stuff up.  I was floored - and so was my husband.  ADPI just keeps surprising me over and over.  Renewed my love for Stillwater, Oklahoma State University and Alpha Delta Pi.  What a GREAT week I had.  I always love a fresh, new fall semester, and this was just icing on the cake!

Welcome to campus, #OKState18.  Here's to a wonderful year!