Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Delight, Daniel

I cannot imagine life without my firstborn, Daniel. I love how energetic, athletic, and brave he is. I really (somewhat) like that he remembers everything he's ever done, seen, or heard. I like that he loves to swim, ride his tractor, and run through the mud. I enjoy his singing, his crazy hair, his sense of humor, his way-too-blunt opinions. I am learning patience from his constant messes and his strong will. God really outdid Himself when He blessed us with this amazing boy!See More

Our Excited Elias

I am smitten with this precious baby. I am head over heels with the fact that he smiles any time we tell him we love him. I am overjoyed with the way his toothless laugh lights up his whole face. I love how chunky his legs are, how chubby his cheeks are, and how cheesy his grin is. Most of all, I am thrilled that God blessed us with the surprise of this, our third boy.

Our Sweet Samuel

I love every thing about this sweet child. I love that Samuel is timid, cautious, and attached to his family. I love that he loves to pretend he is preaching and song-leading. I love that his favorite toy is his red car. Most of all, I love that God chose us to love him.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Quiet Surprise

Last Thursday was really busy.  Elias had his appointment at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital with a pediatric pulminologist.  It ended up that he and I were there for 2 hours.  While I was at Vandy, Brian left work early in order to get the older boys from Mother's Day Out.  He also was busy working on a surprise for me.  I had no idea, so when I finished up at Elias' appointment, Elias and I headed downstairs to visit Addy.  I took my time with her.  I gazed into her eyes and listened to her every word.  And yet, I knew it was date night, so I hurried home through Nashville traffic. 

However, when I got home, Brian said he'd gotten me a card and I needed to read it right then.  It said a lot of sweet things, and then I noticed it said to "pack your bags."  Brian had planned a getaway for the two of us and Elias.  He'd taken care of getting the older boys prepared with having Ms. Jennifer and Mimi here. 

So, to my surprise, I quickly packed (and forgot to pack) A LOT of things for Elias and myself.  We loaded up and headed to Chattanooga.  Can I tell you the best part?  It was quiet.  Oh, sweet silence.  Here is our weekend in pictures:

Fascinated with the Marriot's elevator

Eating lunch at Sticky Fingers

Even Elias enjoyed the atmosphere

It's a brick couch.  Really?

Heading into the Aquarium

Brian would have spent all day
with the sea dragons.

Elias would have spent all day with the turtles.

Amazed by this scary alligator snapping turtle

It was so nice at the Aquarium.
Brian and Elias both got a nap
while we were there.

With the penquins

Intently watching the fish

Easily, the jellyfish were Elias' favorite things to watch.

Riding the shuttle back to the hotel

Showing how he can lift himself up

Lunch at the River Street Deli -
Oh. my. word.
So delicious.

We found the Grinch at a bookstore
on the North Shore.

Happy boy ready to head home

Stopped off at Bell Buckle
to have a Moon Pie

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thriving at Three Months Old

Elias is three months old.  Every time I look at him I realize how quickly time is passing. 

In his 3rd month, Elias:

Went to a lot of revival services.
Was still wheezing, coughing, vomitting, etc.
Lots of people would ask what was wrong.
Spent time with the Calhoun family.
Went to West TN for the first time.
Celebrated his Aunt Kim's 30th birthday.
Went to see the Rickett family.
Was in the pediatrician's office a lot.
Had a chest x-ray, GI series, antibiotics, steroids, breathing treatments, etc.
I went dairy free for a week.
Doctor thought his symptoms were allergy related.
Started on reflux medication, Zantac.
When nothing changed, we added Prevacid to the mix.
Saw small improvement.
Weighed 16 lbs and 4 oz when he was 2 1/2 months old.
Visited the pediatric pulminologist at Vanderbilt.
Learned he has tracheomalacia and laryngomalacia.
This means the cartilage is floppy in these areas,
which causes Elias to wheeze and have other problems.
He will grow out of the problem by age 2.
Started holding his own bottle.
"Sucked" on his first two fingers,
but wouldn't take a pacifier.
He mostly "chewed" on them.
Went on a mini-vacation with Mom and Dad to Chattanooga.
Rode the city shuttle.
Visited the Aquarium.
Was sleeping 6-10 hours a night.
Would eat 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours.
Loved playing with toys.
Was always grinning.
Needed lots of bibs.
Wore size 9 month clothes.
In size 3 diapers.
Was rolling over, finding his hands, focusing, and holding himself up when on his belly.
Visited his friend, Addy, in the hospital.
Was trying very hard to sit up!
Was off the chart in growth!
Stayed in childcare at the YMCA for the first time.

His eyelashes are just too much.

This bouncer was meant to be for Elias only.
He lent his hands to Aunt Kim's birthday card.

His big brother loves him...
sometimes a little too much.

Visiting West TN to see Mema
and ALL of his cousins.

Showing off his Bumbo skills.

Seriously, there is always a camera in his face.
He is just too cute.

Trying to show Aunt Ca how straight he can sit.

He voted.  with me.
As did the other two boys.
All 3 children + voting booth and stickers =

He can hold himself up so well.

Proof that 6 month clothes didn't fit.

In Chattanooga at Sticky Fingers
with his very own bottle of BBQ sauce.
His face is priceless.
As is his hand placement.

Enjoying the Marriot.

Holding his own bottle.

Enjoying the Backyardigans with big brother.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On My Knees

One day after my last post, I received a call that sent me to my knees.

I learned that Addyson, the boys' sweet 3-year-old friend, had brain tumors.  The details weren't yet clear; many tests would soon be done.  She'd been losing weight for a few months, and Addy had experienced headaches and some other symptoms.  However, the tears didn't come.  I was filled with a strange, familiar peace. 

I have found myself on my knees a lot since then.  I've been thanking God for every precious moment we've shared with Addy, and I have been begging for more.  I've been reminding myself how blessed we are to know her, and I have been comforted by the Lord himself that this is no surprise to Him.  I've been reminiscing on the day I learned Amanda was pregnant with her.  I have relived holding her in my arms for the first time at the hospital.  The memories of our time with Addy have flooded my mind throughout the last few weeks, and yet, God still beckons me to my knees.

It's there that I find that familiar peace each and every time I become burdened over this amazing girl.  God reminds me of her strength, and He tells me that He will carry her.  He brings to mind her bright smile, and He tells me that He is shining through her.  This little girl, who has touched my life and is one of the boys' best buddies, is busy fighting what will be a battle that God has already won.  When I'm worried or frightened for Addy, God brings me to my knees, and in prayer, I'm finding such sweet peace in the midst of Addy's scare.

God has great plans for her, and while I'm not certain what they are, I'm very sure of this one thing...  Addy knows who holds her in His hands.  The next time you are on your knees, please lift Addyson up to the Lord.

Addy meets Daniel two days
after he was born.

Playing together on Memorial Day.

At Addy's 2nd birthday breakfast!

Going to look at Christmas lights together...

Daniel and Addy
having a mustache snack
at G's birthday party

Daniel and Addy having fun
at the water table
at Samuel's 2nd birthday party

She was pretty pleased
with the party favors!

Addy holding Elias
when he was 8 days old.

So, in case you've wondered why I haven't been writing, it's because we've been living, laughing, learning, loving, and bending down on our knees for Addy.  Daniel of course has been very concerned.  He understands that Addy is sick.  He asks to pray for her, then two seconds later, he wants to go to her house and play.  He especially likes picking out things at the store for her.  There is just something precious about children and their friendships.  :)

Please do not copy photos from this post. 
I would greatly appreciate your respect in this matter.