The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Boys!

Isaac and Eli, my sweet, crazy boys… you are 2.  I just can’t believe it.  I feel like I was just crying over the fact that you turned 1!  And now, here it is, your 2nd birthdays.


Your name means, “laughter” or “he will laugh,” and you have certainly proven this to be true.  When you were teeny tiny, before you had even learned how to laugh yourself… you were always doing, silly, cute things to make me and your Daddy laugh and smile.  Once you learned the joy of laughter yourself… well, you really haven’t stopped laughing since.  Just today, Daddy was letting you watch part of a Shrek movie that was on TV, and Fiona and Shrek were being silly ogres and fighting- punching, kicking, hitting, using all kinds of crazy barbaric weapons… And just as I thought, “Hmmm… I don’t know if he should be watching this…”  You let out the biggest belly laugh!  You thought it was so funny that Fiona punched Shrek in the face.  Your Daddy and I laughed… and then immediately changed the channel.  But that does bring up another side of you- the side that is “all boy,” as everyone says who watches you for even just a few minutes.  You are rough and tough.  You fall down and get right back up.  You love to throw and kick any type of ball, or anything that looks like it could possibly be a ball. One night, when I got home from work, I went in your room like always to give you a little pat and tell you I love you… and in your sleep you said, “B-ball!  B-ball!  SHOOT!”  Which is what you spend a large portion of your day doing- shooting the “b-ball” in the basketball goal that Uncle PJ got you for Christmas.  You love cars, trucks, trains, and dinosaurs, too.  You also seem to learn new things constantly.  You love shapes and would play with any of the shape sorter toys 50 times in a row if I would let you.  You know and say, “heart, circle, square, triangle, oval, star, cross, trapezoid, hexagon…” and maybe a few others I’m forgetting.  It amazes me!  You can also name most of the Sesame Street characters- Elmo, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, The Count, Telly, Abby, Big Bird, Grover…. You LOVE to take a bath, and you splash the majority of the water in the tub on whoever is giving you a bath, and the rest of the bathroom.  You love to stick your head under the running water from the faucet, and dunk your head in the water in the tub- therefore, we have to watch you REALLY closely in the bath, Wild Man!  You love to brush your teeth, and your hair, and put on lotion (I guess you get this trait from your Poppo...)  My favorite thing about you right now, is that you LOVE to hold my hand.  If say, "Isaac, you ready to go?"  You will gladly walk to the door or car, but you say, "Hand?" first and hold your little finger our for me to grab.  Melts me heart every time.  You love music, so you love to watch American Idol with mommy.  You'll say, "Singin'... Find it..."  which means, let's watch American Idol on DVR, Mommy."  You are even starting to sing.  You sing part of the Alphabet song, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  You love for mommy and daddy to sing you to sleep- your favorites are He's Sweet I Know, Your Love Is Deep, and Isaac Franklin (the song mommy made up for you when you were teeny tiny in the NICU).  You sleep with your frog lovie, which you call, "night night" and suck your thumb right before you fall asleep.


You have grown and changed so much over the past year.  This time last year, you were still on O2, and sporting your cool blue helmet.  I'm thankful both of those things are gone.  Now you go around sporting your brown glasses (that probably get you too much attention), your spiky hair-do, and contagious-heart-melting smile.  If I had a $1 for every time someone saw you said, "Awwww..." I could quit my job and stay home with you two silly boys all the time!  (Hmmm... maybe I'll start charging for people to look at you...)  You have your sweet, adorable, heart-melting side... but the bigger side of you is "Mr. Independent," especially now that you are walking!  I often wonder if this has something to do with how much we babied you, or doted over you, making sure your O2 was always in your nose right, carrying you around (because you weren't crawling or walking yet), making sure you didn't get sick, making sure you had your medicines, holding you to feed you in your g-tube...  But now that you are healthier, and independently mobile... you totally protest if someone starts to make you do something you don't want to do.  You will tell them, "I GO!" which usually means, "put me down and let me do what I want!  Y'all been telling me what I'm gonna do for 2 years now... now I make my own decisions!"... and off you go!  You LOVE TV.  You'll really watch anything- Sesame Street, or anything on Sprout, Sport Center, The Today Show, Price is Right, America idol, Paula Deen cooking show… you don’t care, you like all of it...  So we have to be careful to not leave the TV on all the time.  If we did, we'd know where to find you... right in front of it.  Thankfully, you also have other interests...  You LOVE books.  Often times I find you camped out in the playroom closet- there is a book shelf in there and you will just sit in the closet and look at book after book.  You are learning your shapes- you don't say their names yet, but you can match them up and put them in the right hole.  You love cars and trucks- and talk about all the cars and trucks we pass while we are driving.  "Car, car, car... truck, car, car... truck... truck..."  You love animals- especially DeeDee and Poppo's doggie, Rudy.  And he lets you pull on his ears and legs and doesn't get upset at you, thankfully.  You love music.  Love to cheer for others- especially Isaac when he plays "B-ball.  Love to smile and clap, and say, "Amen!"  You LOVE Elmo and Ernie from Sesame Street.  These are usually the second and third words out of your mouth in the morning.  You say, "Mama" or "Daddy" (whoever gets you up), then it's immediately on to Ernie or Elmo.  You are a man who knows what you like and what you want, that's for sure.  You LOVE to get a bath- love to play with the squirt toys and splash with Isaac.  You still love your paci, and maybe I should start weening you from it soon... but you really only get it when you go to sleep at night... You fall asleep the quickest when you are rocked and patted gently on your bottom, just like when you were tiny in the NICU, with your paci in your mouth, of course.  You sleep with your paci, lovie duck, and Elmo that daddy bought you after your last surgery.

Daddy said about you both yesterday, "I mean what I'm about to say both in a good way... But when I think about Isaac I just want to laugh, and when I think about Eli I could just cry."  I have actually said the very same thing about you.  So has DeeDee.  So has Poppo.  And others who know you both well.  We are so thankful for each of you, and your unique personalities that keep us on our toes.  I love you both more with each passing day!  I cannot wait to see how God writes the rest of your stories.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my two sweet, silly boys! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Testing... Testing... Is this thing on?

Anyone out there still following us???  I understand if not... it's not like I've given anyone anything to follow in 2 months anyway...

How do two months go by so quickly, and I didn't manage to blog one single time... Sheesh!  Sorry to any of you who were disappointed by my lack of updates...

But you'll be pleased to know we have been somewhat productive since you last heard from us... Eli's learning to walk!!!  (Trust me, that takes a lot of time and therapy to accomplish ;)!)  And we MOVED!!!  (Perhaps another post on that another time...)  So I'm choosing to blame my lack of blogging on those things... as well as these: a few holidays, working, etc...

I'm not going to try to really catch up, but rather post a few pics from a few things we did since my last post...  Maybe I'll do better this next month... Here's hoping!

Madison Academy Class of 2001 Ten Year Reunion, Huntsville, AL

Celebrating Halloween with Harper Rose

Thanksgiving Morning
Breakfast with Santa at Didi and Poppo's church- Dec. 3rd, 2011

Last year's Breakfast with Santa picture... just because it's fun to see how much they've grown!  :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye Baby Mullets...

Eli's baby mullet
So before I had kids, boys to be specific... I would look at little toddler boys (who could have passed for girls if they just had a bow...) with their long locks, and think to myself, "Come on Mom, cut his hair... he looks like a girl... Poor kid..."

Isaac's Baby Mullet
Fast forward to present day- Me with two sweet little, blonde-haired boys, who's hair would curl up especially sweet when it was hot outside...  And before I knew it, I too was the proud owner of boys who were getting a little too close to needing ponytails and bows to keep their hair out of their face and off the back of their neck.  "Uh oh... I've become that mom..." I thought to myself, and after a few more days of brushing and admiring those sweet, but-just-a-little-bit-too-long locks... I knew it was time... for the first haircuts.

So today, Mr. Mart (mommy and Dee Dee's hair stylist) cut the boys hair for the 1st time.  The boys love to have their hair brushed and even like to play with the hair dryer, too- so I was pretty confident they would cooperate and even enjoy this little event.  They did not disappoint- they were little rock stars, as usual...

Oh, and Eli even got to go 1st...
Chewing on a comb, being so good and still...
Tada!  Of course I had to go with a spiky cut for Eli... He wasn't cute enough with just the glasses ;)
Dee Dee, Eli, and Mart- Yeah! for Haircuts!
Isaac's Turn!  Before...
Loving his sucker... not caring at all what anyone else is doing...
Still lovin' the sucker...
Yeah, so handsome! (Still with the sucker...)
Eli and Mart- with the same hair cut ;)
Big boy- Yeah for haircuts!
Watching Sesame Street... looking very studly...
What a heart-breaker!
"Hey I look good..."  Isaac's self portrait with the iPhone...
Watching "Baby Bear gets a Haircut", of all things, on Sesame Street back at home...
Oh yeah, and I actually got my hair cut, too...!!!
Thank you Mr. Mart for being so good to our family and our hair :).  We love you!

And a special shout out to Dee Dee and Poppo for coming along to help hold extra babies... and taking pictures and videos... and make sure the hair clippings made it into the baggies, for that memory book I'm gonna get around to making one day...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Therapy Update

A few months back it was decided Eli should be evaluated for Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech Therapy (ST), too.  Eli had his OT evaluation this past Wednesday.  There are two areas that they focus on for OT- fine motor and sensory processing.  At 18 months old, 15 months corrected, he scored 12 months in one and 13 in the other- can't remember which was which though.

Miss Missy (that's fun to say) was the OT who did his eval and we are excited to say she will be his OT, too!  At first she reccomended that we come every week, but after talking through schedules, etc... we decided that he would do just fine coming every other week- and that will help mommy keep some amount of sanity, juggling all his therapies, work, church, Isaac... etc, etc, etc...

So as of now we have Mondays free... Tuesdays is water therapy for Eli ... Wednesdays is physical therapy for Isaac and Eli both... Thursdays our TEIS teacher comes out to the house for 2 hours to work with both boys... and every other Friday Eli will have OT.

We will go for his ST evaluation later this month.  Hopefully he won't need it more than every other week, and maybe we can go to that on the weeks we don't have OT...  We'll see...

So, assuming he qualifies for ST... that will be 5 therapies... and based on his ST evaluation, if they decide he also needs Feeding Therapy... that would make 6.  That kind of makes my head hurt, and makes me tired, just thinking about it.  !!!  But, I would do anything for Eli, to give him every chance possible to be the very best Eli that he can be.  If you see me and I look tired, I probably am.

I'd be lying if I said I don't get frustrated at times about the way our life looks because of this preemie journey we are on.  And it's true that sometimes Chris and I say to each other, "Do people with healthy babies realize how easy they have it...?!?!?"  And we try to have sympathy for people around us who have "normal" baby struggles, sicknesses, issues, etc... but honestly, in our heads we are thinking, "That sounds like a walk in the park to us!"  Satan definitely wants me to have a bitter heart and attitude over that... but I don't want to let him win that battle, so I try everyday to just focus on how blessed we have been because of this journey we are on.  The amazing people we have met, the love we have received, the lessons we have learned, and the way our hearts have been changed.  

The paragraph below is from another mom's blog who is struggling through the journey of her daughter's heart defects and numerous surgeries as an infant and toddler...  It was very encouraging for me to read the way she feels blessed from their circumstances... and be reminded of the many, many blessings that we, too, have received through our journey.

"We won't ever be the same people that we were before we had any knowledge of Noah growing inside of me, but we wouldn't trade the joy or the pain we've found in this journey. Without the sorrow and uncertainty, we couldn't have learned or experienced the profound joy and confidence that we have. No question, Noah is a joy. Absolutely. She, however, is not all that we've received in this process. We have learned to love more deeply and have received love in a deeper way than we had before from friends, family and God. We don't understand prayer any more than before, but are humbled because we know that God hears and acts on what people say to him. We have learned to hold things loosely and enjoy them while we can. As it pertains to people, love them while we can and love them well. There is a profound freedom in it! We know that we can be thankful in ALL things- God is always at work. There is always enough- time, energy, money, people. God doesn't withhold from us, but gives us what is best. We have experienced these truths time and again. "

Honestly, I don't have to think more than a second and realize I have nothing to complain about or feel bitter about.  At the end of the day, I have exactly what I begged God for... two little boys, at home with us, that we get to love and laugh with everyday.  What more could I ask for?  Over the past 2 years that we've been on this journey with our boys, we have met many other families who would gladly trade places with us.  They are families who lost one of their twins.  Families who lost their only child.  Families who's preemies survived, but are facing much harder days ahead than us and either of our boys.  Families who are still patiently waiting on a positive pregnancy test.  

When I stop to think about that hard reality, I am very, very humbled and usually brought to tears.  Those families would gladly tote their child they lost to every therapy known to man.  Just the same as I at times think, "Are you kidding me?  You have no idea how easy you have it...!!!"  when I listen to moms with "normal" babies complain...  There are plenty of families who probably have listened (or read... or overheard) me complain about our journey, who wish I would put a cork in it and open my eyes to the blessings that surround me.

If you've hung on to this post for this long... thank you for letting me share my heart.  I definitely do not pretend to have our journey, other's journeys, or this life all figured out...  I am taking it one day at a time with God's gracious help.  I just strive to honestly share our journey in hopes that it encourages someone else who may come across our blog.  To help someone else who's struggling not feel alone.

So for today, I am choosing to be thankful... instead of bitter or overwhelmed.  That's pretty easy to do when I look at this picture...

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

18 months

I can't believe the boys are 18 months old.  ?!?!?  They are learning and growing and changing constantly.  I am trying so hard to cherish every little moment, because I know this is the only time they will ever be this age, and it's going by at lighting speed.  I am so thankful for these two little munchkins.  My heart and life are forever changed because of you two!

Here's a little of what they are up to these days...

Isaac at 18 months:
-29 lbs!!!
-Still gets PT every Wednesday with Miss Mandy, and TEIS on Thursdays with Ms. Suzanne.  But I don't think you'll qualify for either service much longer because you are doing so well catching up on your developmental milestones!  You go, boy! :)  I'm so proud of you!
-Your hair is getting longer and longer, and I know you probably need your 1st haircut soon... but I can't stand to think about cutting off your curls  :(!  You have this one right in the back of your head that curls up like a little pig tail!  And the hotter it gets, the curlier it gets!
-Walking/Running everywhere, and loves to hold your finger to walk.  If you hold out your finger for him to hold on to, he grabs it every time.  I treasure that, because I know there will soon be the day that he's running and chasing everything, and too distracted to hold my hand.
- He says lots of words.  Let's see if I can think of them all... "Mama"  "Dad-dee" "Ba" (ball) "Na" (no) "Dia-pur" (diaper) "Ock" (sock) "Oouh" (shoe) "Ook"  (book) "DeeDee" "I-aack"  (Isaac)  "Eeee" (Eli)  "I"  (hi) "Uuup" (up) "Do-nn" (down) "Nana" (banana)
-Your favorite toys are any ball or car.  You also like the shape sorters- you will sit and put them all in and take them all out, over and over and over.  You know how to put the circle shape through the right slot, and we are working on the others.
-You love books.  You will sit and look at them on your own.  Or bring one to me or Daddy to read to you.  You point to the pictures on the pages, and you love to turn the pages.  Sometimes you babble when we are reading, like you are reading the book yourself.  So cute.
-You love to put things in the trash can.  Unfortunately, it's usually stuff that's not supposed to go in the trash, so we have to check it daily to make sure you haven't thrown something important away.  I think you just like watching the lid open and close, too.
- You know how to crawl up and down the stairs on your down.  And you'll say "Uuup" while you are going up.
- You love bath time.  Splish-splash!  I'm usually soaked by the time you get out.
- You love to brush your hair, and your teeth.
- You point to and touch your hair, when I ask you, "Isaac, where is your hair?"  We are working on nose, eyes, and mouth.
- You sign "more," usually when eating.  You LOVE to eat.  You've gotten a little picker lately, but overall you are a great eater.  "Nanas" are your favorite.  You are still only on non-dairy milk products, but I do think you are starting to outgrow the need for non-dairy.  You've accidentally had it a few times lately and haven't spit up... We'll see...
-You love to put on your socks and shoes, and you try to help with this task.  You also think hats are so funny and think it's funny to take them off and on over and over.
-You laugh and giggle A LOT.  You are still my little funny man.  Even your laugh is funny, and contagious.  On our Gatlinburg trip you were laughing at a game we were playing, and a lady in a store heard you and commented that they had never heard a baby your age laugh like that.  You were making them laugh, too. I hope you always have such a fun sense of humor.  I think you will.  After all, your name does mean "laughter." :)
-I don't really let you watch much TV, but you do love Sesame Street, especially Elmo.  It's about the only thing you really pay attention to.
-You love music, and it seems you especially love country music.  You always stop and listen to it if it comes on TV while you are playing.
-You've been going through a bit of a clingy phase, where you cry for a few minutes when I leave you, at home for work or in the church nursery... but I can already tell you are outgrowing it.  You are doing that less and less.  It only lasted about a month.
-You love Joshua's daddy, Mr. Todd, because he plays silly games with you after class.
-You love all the kids in the youth group and they love you!  You like to try to play basketball with them in the gym.  They are very sweet to you, and let you play, too :).
- You know where the gym is at church, and that there are lots of balls in that room!  If I put you down in the hall after class, you immediately run there and pick up a ball.
- You are usually very happy when you wake up.  You smile immediately when someone comes to get you out of your crib or pack-n-play.

Eli at 18 months:
-19 lbs!  That's a long way from 1lb!  Others may think you are small, but to me, you are SO BIG ;)!
-You see Mrs. Gena for PT every Wednesday, and Mrs. Suzanne for TEIS every Thursday.  You have made  a lot of progress since you started these services last summer and winter.  I am so proud of you, and when I look back all you've been through, I just can't believe how well you are doing... !!!
-You are scooting everywhere.  Yes, scooting, not crawling.  I don't know if it's because of your g-tube, or what... but you refuse to crawl, and you've gotten this scooting thing down pat... I'm starting to think you won't ever crawl...  because...
-You LOVE to stand up.  You cry if we make you sit down a lot of times.
-You are starting to cruise up and down the furniture.  You will scoot yourself to the couch, end table, etc, to stand and then cruise up and down.
-You are taking steps if we hold your hands and help you.  You laugh the whole time, like it's the most fun thing to do ever!  :)
-You babble all of the time.  To us, Isaac, and yourself.  You say, "Mama" "Dada"
-You love animals, especially DeeDee and Poppo's little dog "Rudy."  You babble and giggle at him every time he comes running into the room, and he lets you pat him and pull his ears, legs, tail... You love Rudy!
-You are doing so well with wearing your glasses.  You have finally learned how to put them on, not just take them off.  You don't really bother them much, because you realize they help you see.  When we ask you "Eli, where are your glasses?"  You touch them and smile.  And in a crowd of people (who are usually having a fit over how cute you are in your little brown glasses...) you touch them and smile... This happens so much, that you automatically start touching your glasses and smiling when people approach you- like you know they are about to say something about your glasses!  Too funny!
-You LOVE bath time, and you cry whenever you have to get out.
-You still love your Wubanub pacifiers.  You only use it when you are going to sleep, and sometimes I let you have it if you get really upset at other times.  I've tried giving you a regular Soothie paci, without the animal attached, but you just look at it like, "What am I supposed to do with this?"  You only want the ones with the animals attached...
-Your favorite toys are cars, books, the Noah's ark set... and anything that lights up and makes music.
-You love the Price is Right!  Ha!  You stand right in front of the TV when it's on- I think you like the lights and noises.
-You are starting to make progress with your eating.  You are starting to eat some table foods, diced up into really small pieces.  Green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, bread, peaches, oranges...  You even cried for me to give you a french fry and ate it all by yourself!  I was SO proud :).  We are getting there, little buddy!
-You love for us to be proud of you when you do something good.  You always smile really big and clap for yourself :).
-You are going through a phase where you want to be held all most of the time.  You will scoot to wherever I'm standing or sitting and just whine till I pick you up.  Once I pick you up, you are fine.  I know I'm probably reinforcing a "bad" behavior... but I had to wait almost 3 months before I ever got to hold you... so, we are just making up for lost time little buddy :).
-You love going to Bible class with Isaac.  (Miss Dawn and Miss Mandalynn on Sundays, and Miss Marla on Wednesdays).
-You have lots of girl friends in the youth group at church already :).  They all fight over who gets to hold you and play with you.

Our 1st professional family photo, taken at your 18 month session with Nicole Spaller...
Colossians 1:9-12
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance.... in the kingdom of light. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Celebrating Our Independence!

Last year on July 4th...

Our 4th day at home as a whole family... Still trying to figure out how to handle 2 babies at once!

Eli 2010

Isaac 2010
The boys have a lot less "accessories," as I lovingly nicknamed them, than they did this time last year.  So this year on "Independence Day," I was certainly celebrating our independence from oxygen tanks and monitors.  I can't believe they were so little last year, and still so dependant on so many extra things...

And this year... well... they played in a sprinkler, homemade-pool, and even went down a slip-n-slide!  Yes, that's right- a slip-n-slide!  Oh my!  I probably won't win mother of the year for letting them do that... but, no one was hurt, and fun was had by all.


(Click on these links below, to see video Chris posted on FaceBook of the boys on the Slip-n-slide...)

Isaac on the Slip-n-slide

Eli on the Slip-n-Slide

They also got to see fireworks for the 1st time.  Well, Isaac saw them- and LOVED them!  His little face would light up with the sweetest smile everytime they went off!  I can't believe he wasn't scared!  But Eli slept through the whole thing...

Saturday, July 2, 2011


These were taken of each boy on their 1-Year-Anniversary of Coming Home from the NICU.  They look so much alike to me!  What do you think?

Eli 7.1.11

Isaac 6.1.11
(And check out Eli, just one month ago- you can just barely see him in the corner of Isaac's picture- he still had his blue helmet and O2, and was still in the infant carseat!  So much changed in just one month!  YOU GO ELI!)

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. 
Psalm 127:3