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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011, A New Year

2010 is over.  What a year!  (The following is a small reflection of my 2010...)

I got pregnant...Whoopsie! (ok, that was 2009, but still...)

Found out it was TWINS!  OH MY!  (again, really in 2009...)

One of them is sick... (What a great start to 2010... ugh...)

Decide to deliver them both early...

Boys are born!!!  Welcome to the world 2 lb Isaac Franklin and 1 lb Eli Merritt!

5 month NICU roller coaster!!!...!!!...!!!...!!!...!!!

Boys come home June 1st and July 1st!!!  Praise the Lord!

Figuring out life with twins one feeding or diaper change at a time...

Managing usually multiple doctor appointments each week...  (Only missed 1, and showed up for 1 that we didn't actually have...)

Still trying to figure out how to be a mommy to 2 babies at once.  Sometimes it's really easy.  Sometimes not so much...

Chris and I have been talking the past couple of days about the past year, and we have trouble really summing it up or putting it into words.  Sometimes I am tempted to say things like, "Ugh, Goodbye 2010.  You were awful.  Worst. Year. Ever."  But I can't really let myself think that or feel that way, because when it's all said and done, I have exactly what I begged God for at times (and more, really).  2 little boys.  They are alive.  Getting healthier everyday.  (And there is light at the end of the tunnel... now we even get to venture out into the regular, real world sometimes!  Like normal families!)

I can't lie.  Most of 2010 was very, very stressful for us.  Really.  I mean it started out with finding out that "something is wrong with Baby B, and that he might not make it."  Like I said, not the best start to a new year...

And here we are a year later.  Here's that sweet "Baby B" just a few days ago (pictured below), with that sweet smile of his that just melts my heart and fills me with joy every time I see it.  And you should hear him giggle!  Eli has given us many scares in 2010.  As I've shared before, we were told "He's very sick.  We don't know what else to do for him...." during his 5 months in the NICU.  I was usually pretty strong while I was in the NICU visiting him and Isaac, but then I would usually cry the entire way home after leaving him.  Sometimes I was literally begging God, "Please, don't take him.  Please heal my baby."  Those were the only words I could muster, and I just repeated them countless times.  And sometimes I didn't know if that was God's plan, so I tried to prepare myself that maybe God was going to take him to heaven.  I tried to be really brave and tell myself, "It would be okay, that would be the very best place, because Eli would be with God."  I tried to tell God I would be ok if that's what His plan was.  I didn't know what was going to happen...  And here we are, we made it through that year... thanks to God's strength and patience He's given us.  Everything we've been through, and are going through, and may go through with him... none of it matters.  Here we are starting 2011... He's alive, and I get to love him everyday.  That's all that matters.

And here is his precious, silly brother.  The baby that sacrificed a 3rd trimester in a safe, warm womb, to enter the world 3 months early... because mommy and daddy said, "We need to try to save your brother."  Our prayer for Isaac a year ago was that he wouldn't suffer from having to be born early.  He had his share of bumps during his 4 months in the NICU, but, when we tell people today that he weighed a little over 2 lbs at birth and spent 4 months in the NICU, they don't believe us.  He's "graduated" from all the doctor's and clinics that originally wanted to follow him.  He's healthy.  He doesn't need to be seen or checked by them.  What a blessing!  That is an answered prayer, right in my face!  He weighs over 21 lbs and has an even bigger personality!  Isaac loves life and everyone he meets, and is just happy to be here!  Do you need a smile, cause Isaac's got one for you!

God said "yes" to our prayers of 2010.  I want to live a life that says, "thank you."  My blessings far outweigh my pain, and my joy far out measures my sorrow.  It sounds cliche I know, but we are truly blessed more than we deserve.  Sometimes I struggle with why God seems to have said, "yes" to us, and others it seems He's saying "no" or "not in the way you are asking."  There are many others all around me who had much rougher years than we did.  I wish I could take away their pain.  But I know from my own pain I've experienced, that you can't take it away.  But bringing food, and just little reminders to say, "I'm thinking about you and I love you" can help.  So I hope to do that for others in need this year... like it was done countless times for us in 2010.

So in conclusion, Chris and I decided that 2010 was the hardest, best year of our lives.  We are more compassionate people for having gone through it.  And we have two of the cutest little guys around to show for it :).  Praise God!

My prayer for you for 2011:

Ephesians 3: 16-21:

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Boys' 1st Christmas

We had a great first Christmas with the boys, of course!  We spent Christmas Eve with my family and stayed the night at my parents' house.  Then woke up and went to Murfreesboro to be with Chris' family on Christmas Day.  Sadly, we didn't get to take the boys with us to Chris' family gathering, because they were both seeming "under-the-weather" with a cold we'd all passed around to each other that week.  So they spent the day with "Didi and Poppo" and Chris and I went to the Gannon Family Christmas sans twins :(.

Despite our attempts to tell family to not buy the boys anything because they are too young to even understand the concept of gifts and holidays anyway... they received piles of toys and clothes!

I am learning that I'm not such a great photographer in the sense that I don't do well with actually taking pictures...  I want to really be in the moment and see with my own eyes, not through the camera.  And I want to hold, and tickle, and play with my boys... not have my hands occupied with a camera.  But, then when I go back and look through my pictures a few days later, I'm always upset I didn't take more.  I just need a personal photographer to accompany us at special occasions...  But anyway, I did manage to get a few pics, which I will of course share with you below, so you can share in some of our excitement. 

Poppo reading Charlie Brown's Christmas to Isaac:

My brother bought the boys stuffed rats from IKEA.  Gross!  But the boys loved them of course! 
Eli going through his stocking, showing you his new Snoopy plate...

Eli with his laughing monkey from Poppo:

Eli and Charlie Brown...  (By now you've probably figured out we had a thing for the Peanuts this Christmas... We can't help it... Our sweet little Eli kinda looks like Charlie Brown to us!  But I don't think Charlie Brown ever had a cool blue helmet...)

Eli and Poppo...  Opening so many presents can make a little guy sleepy!

 Didi and Cowboy Isaac...

Boys and some of their STUFF!  Oh my!

Isaac, ready for Christmas Eve dinner...

Isaac loved his new Santa cup!  He was just wondering where the milk was...

"Ralphie!"  We heard many times this Christmas season how much Isaac looks like Ralphie from A Christmas Story.  We couldn't resist putting some of Poppo's glasses on him for a picture!  Too funny!  Here he is eating one of the wise men from the Fisher Price Nativity sceen my mom bought them...

We hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season as well!  Now I'm off to clean out their closet to make room for the new stuff... and find a new, bigger toy box to hold all their new toys!  (And their 1st Birthday is just around the corner!  OH MY!)