Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remembering 2011


2011, You have come and now you are going. And I guess I should do some type of review of you.
I had two resolutions from last year...First was to live in the present and not rush my life away-which I think I pretty successfully did.
The second was to not mircro-manage my hubby. Well I'm sure if you ask him he would say I still do this. But hopefully he would also say that I am getting less like this. Cause I sure have tried hard.
I guess a lot of people have resolutions about weight. Well this year I gained and lost roughly 20lbs...and now I am the same weight I have been most of my adult life.  I would venture to say I like my post-baby body more than my pre-baby body...And a perk is that I have found a brand of jeans that fit me PERFECTLY!!! I mean PERFECTLY. It has taken years to accomplish this task. That probably is the best thing that happened to me this year...oh wait. Emmaus. j.k j.k

This year has been really wonderful, and really hard. So here are a few things.

-We became parents this year. One of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me. Emmaus has changed our lives forever.
-This year I learned that I can do a lot more than I previously thought. That I am stronger than I thought.
-I have learned the power of community. & of family.
-I have learned that you have to ask for help if you need it. And if there isn't help to be found where you asked then ask elsewhere.
-I have learned that people have all kinds of advice to give. But there are only some people that you should allow to "speak into your life" find those people and listen to them.
-I have learned that you truly will not be given more than you can handle. Even if the waves come one right after another there will always be a place of refuge to be found.
-I didn't learn this in 2011, but it was confirmed yet again. God is always with me. He has plans for me. He takes care of me, and never has left me. I may not see the whole picture this moment. But He is FAITHFUL. The love of the father has surrounded us in incredible ways this year.

(Side note...my daughter is currently sitting in her exersaucer...watching friends. Laughing out loud... hysterically. Kid has good taste!)

Here are a few pics of the highlights of the year.



Supporting Emily and Wyatt as Clara entered this world

My brosefs graduation from KSU with his undergrad

Watching Emmaus Anne Grow
Enjoying my pregnancy with Dan. The last months as a family of two of us was such a special time for us as a couple. This pic was taken 1 day before we found out that Emmaus would have TSC. It marks a definite changing point in our lives. 

Dan and I at my sis-in-laws 30th birthday party less than 24 hours before emmaus was born!
Our family changing from two to three


Discovering Em and I sleep the same...
First snuggles
First Smiles
Me reuniting with old friends, and Emmaus making new ones. (Pic from Miss Charlottes 1st birthday party)

My little octopus on halloween

Thanksgiving

Christmas


Lots of fun in 2011. We are so excited for 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back


A friend recently pointed me towards a blog that she thought I would like. The author is a mom of a special needs little girl. After reading it, my friend was right and I LOVED the blog. The woman writes a lot about her little girl and the challenges that come with having a special needs child.  One of her posts really just hit the nail on the head for me.
She basically says this
-Her world has been forever changed, and as much as she would like to get over it, she probably never will, it may get easier, but it’s always present
-There is a black spot on her heart. In this spot is where the dreams she had for this child have been laid to rest, every hope and dream had been buried there, and while new hopes and dreams have been planted on this spot they are much different ones.
-This whole thing is a learning process.
-Certain things trigger her mourning process all over again
-She knows she is selfish in her sadness, the sadness is pity for herself and the way she thinks things should have been.

Ummmm AMEN.

I probably (or definitely did) cry when I read this. These are exactly my feelings.

It has been a rough couple days around our place. A few days before Christmas Emmaus started having pretty frequent seizures again. She was only having a couple a week for probably the last 6weeks to two months. Then bam out of no where (or since she has grown so much I probably should have seen it coming) she started seizing a lot again. Not a TON, but still multiple types of seizures, multiple times a day. We have increased her meds, but it really takes around 2 weeks to get the level increased in her blood. So we have a bit to wait before we (hopefully) start seeing a decrease in seizure activity again.
Dan said today after her therapy that he needs to just throw aside all assumptions he has had about her development. She will do things when she does them and we need to be excited when she does them and not disappointed when she hasn’t.
It is hard because at first she was developmentally right on track. Then she was about a month behind, then two now around three. And as we see forward progress we then see regression with periods of increased seizures, sleepiness from meds, ect.

I maybe spent a good amount of time yesterday day dreaming about what it would be like if she was perfectly healthy. About the time we would spend doing normal baby things instead of the time we spend doing things that revolve around development and tsc. About how the “normal childhood illnesses” aka ear infections and colds would seem like a big deal to us. I heard my best friend mention that her daughter had an ear infection the other night when we were at a Christmas party.  She said it in a sad voice, and I could hear that it truly made her sad that her daughter was ‘sick’. Emmaus had an ear infection too. And I started to say something about it, but didn’t. I guess it just felt so inconsequential. Almost like “who cares”? That is the least of this kids problems.  A part of me just ached to feel like the ear infection was a big deal. Like it mattered. It is a normal mom thing to feel sad when your baby has an ear infection, or overwhelmed by giving your kid 4mls of ammoxicillian. To us the 4mls just added to our twice daily routine of 16mls, so no big deal, and the ear infection doesn't do much on a sadness scale either. 
I’m aware that Daydreaming about these sort of things is probably super unhealthy. But part of me can’t help it. Part of me can’t wonder what ‘normal’ would have looked like for us. I know there is no guarantee of normal. I work at a children’s hospital. I see kids affected by all types of problems. Car accidents that change the course of a kids life, infections, organ failure, ect ect. I know there are no guarantees and that ‘normal’ is a very rare case.

Like the mommy blogger I mentioned before a part of my heart has died. The hopes and dreams I had for my family are no longer what they were. And while I know new hopes and dreams will grow and replace the original ones it takes time for hope to sprout. This woman’s daughter is 7(I think). Mine is 6months.  It just takes time. And while I wait we will continue to take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. We will heal slowly, we will have good days and bad ones. I will be proud of what my baby girl accomplishes, and help show her how to do more. I will wake up trying to choose joy, and daydream about the ‘what if’ less. Trying to overcome this sadness about the way things should have been.

I know we have been chosen to parent this beautiful baby girl. I know there is a story forming around our lives. A beautiful story of redemption, of hope, of love and of family. But the knowledge of this does little to take away the sting of reality.

I am thankful for Dan. I am thankful that I have a strong man to live this life with. Who in so much confidence says exactly what I am feeling and need to hear. Who is real and will walk through the hard things with me.

So hug your babies today. Your normal or abnormal ones. Your snotty nosed, ear infection prone, diaper rashy, completely healthy, colic-y or TSC ridden babes. Be good to those babies. They are such a precious gift.
Love, La

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

6 months

UMMM excuse me...When did this baby

Turn into THIS baby???


 And this
into this??
 Did I miss something here? When did my teeny tiny baby become a huge 6month old?
Emmaus-
 You turned 6 months old yesterday! I can hardly believe how big you are and how much you have changed in 6 months. You continue to be a joyful happy child. You study people and when you decide they are okay smile at them. If you aren't sure they get a scowl. You Have had a great month with very few seizures and A LOT of developing. Although you are still somewhat "floppy" your strength has increased so much this month. You started laughing out loud this month and you think your daddy is pretty funny. At your last doctors appointment you weighted 18lbs 8oz. You are a great eater and now eat peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, bananas and pears. YOU LOVE PEARS! You are eating baby food 2-3 times a day and nursing 4-5 times a day.You have started sleeping better this month often sleeping through the night but sometimes still wanting to nurse at night. Your hair is really growing in now and is very blonde. You celebrated your first Christmas this month. You got to see almost all your family and you got spoiled rotten with lots of snuggles and TONS of toys. Guess what you liked the best? Your hands! You are totally into your hands right now. You don't really have a daytime sleep schedule. You spent a lot of the month blowing raspberries and then you suddenly stopped and just started vocalizing a lot. You are quite the happy screamer.
Baby girl. This month has been a delight. We are so proud to be your parents. We are sad when you have hard days, and overjoyed when you have good days. You are a very strong little girl and there are are so many people that love you.
We love you so much!



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Overwhelmed by Christmas

I have been somewhat overwhelmed by christmas this year. Not the "what the heck and I suppose to get all these people overwhelmed" but overwhelmed by the fact that God sent his ONLY son Jesus to earth, to be born by a woman, so that he could grow up and give his life on the Cross, so that we can be reunited with him in heaven. (longest run on sentence ever!)
We went to church last night and I cried. I cried in the gift shop looking at the willow tree figurines, (the sweet ones with a mom and a child). I cried when we worshiped by singing the traditional christmas hymns. And I cried as I held my sweet baby girl. I just was overwhelmed by the whole christmas story.  I think having a baby this year I just get it for the first time.
I understand the Love that a parent has for a child. I understand the sacrifice that God had to make to send his son into this harsh world.  I understand the pain that she felt in bringing Jesus into this world, and the overwhelming Joy that immediately followed. I understand the feelings Mary had as she wondered what kind of person this very special child would grow to be.
I just am awed that God loves us so much that he would sacrifice his son. As a parent I would do ANYTHING to protect my baby girl. I would give anything so that she doesn't have to suffer. And I think Gods heart must have ached watching his son in this harsh world. Just like mine aches watching Emmaus have so many struggles to overcome.
Last night our church service was about the idea of Emmanuel, which means God with us. It was about God coming to this earth to be with us. To be with us in our pain, to be with us in our rejoicing. The pastor then transitioned the sermon into challenging us about who we are living life with.
We have learned how to do community this year. We have learned the value of having people walking in this life with us. And we have learned this because of Emmaus being sick. We have been blessed not only to have a wonderful family, but a kick ass community that has surrounded us. That has celebrated with us in victories, that has cried with us in hard times, and that prayed and prayed and prayed. It has been the most rewarding wonderful thing we have ever experienced. And we would not know this type of community, this type of "being with" others unless we had a savior that came from his throne just to be with us.
So tonight and tomorrow I will be worshiping the King of Kings who came to this earth as a little babe. Who came just to be WITH us. (and so that we could be with him forever).

I hope you all know the Goodness of the Lord this Christmas. That He is WITH you. He is with you wherever you are in life. Whatever struggle you have, whatever hurdle you face, however broken your life is.
HE IS WITH YOU.

Merry Christmas!
Love, La

Friday, December 23, 2011

A post of photos

I have a more serious christmas post to write, however, tonight I will just say a few things and post a lot of pics. First- ITS THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! I just love christmas. There is just so much to celebrate! First Jesus- I mean enough said right?! then giving gifts- not sure if you know me, but I LOOOOVVVEEEE gifting. Probably a little to much.  Speaking of things I love too much crafting is one too. So I have been crafting up a storm making some homemade gifts.
First gift- A People puzzle! I made this for my sweet friend Amanda's little girl. I simply sanded, painted and covered the pieces of a wooden puzzle. Then I placed printed pictures of her family inside and used deco-pauge to glue them inside.


I also made this for my Friend Kelsey's little girl Lila for her second b-day. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic of my finished product, but I included a pan, left out the spatula, and used a plastic cookie cutter. Here is what I used for inspiration.
Felt Cut Out Cookies With Frosting Tutorial

The full tutorial for how to make the felt cookies is  HERE
Then while at lila's birthday party I saw this adorable cloth dolly that another mom had made for her. And I just HAD to try it.  So I whipped up these cuties the other afternoon when I had some free time. (I am totally kidding when I say I whipped them up. They took a 4hours to make the 3 dolls and that was with my gma helping me stuff the extremities. My machine is broken so I've been sewing at my gmas) 
These aren't the finished product. I decided to add little bows to their hair after this picture. I also found this as a tutorial online. I can't remember where though. I will have to find it.
So I have been really enjoying myself with all this crafting/gift giving fun. 
We also got Emmaus' pictures taken by our fav photographer last week. Um they are SO CUTE. Here are a "few" of my favs...










Yep. Alea is AWESOME. She takes GREAT pics. Check her out! Book a shoot. You will be so happy with the pics! www.alealovely.com
And last but not least... I leave you with this. 
 Yes, she is asleep. She totally inherited my ability to sleep ANYWHERE at anytime. More often than not she falls asleep in the bath tub at night. So sweet. Look at that chubby baby! Rolls!
Love, La

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa, & Sleeping

I write this blog because I don't want to forget. So much happens and changes that I couldn't possibly remember it all. I really have a terrible memory in general. But I want have memories for my family. I feel like as moms we also have the job of memory holders. So thus I put ours here. Some day I will get this bad boy printed up into a book. 
So this post is all about memories from lately. Emmaus' first visit to see santa. She was very indifferent about the whole deal.  Infants and Toddlers which is who we receive Em's physical therapy from hosted "A night with santa!" THEY EVEN BROUGHT IN THE REAL SANTA! umm I was impressed!

First visit with santa!
Dionne went with us to see santa because she LOVED taking her boys to santa. So I just figured it would be fun for her to go. It was a great time! Emmaus Loves her grandma D. Just coos at her jabbers at her. So cute.
Talking to grandma D after visiting santa

Family Pic after visiting santa

A friend from work let me have their car seat cover that they no longer needed. Um its awesome. Keeps Emmaus so warm and cozy. Only problem is she tries to crawl her way out of it from the minute I put her in it. She also strains her little neck to look out. She looks like a little peeping Tom. It is adorable. 
Let me outta here!
And then this. She sleeps like this...with her hands behind her head. It is just the cutest. She also nurses like that, but with only one hand behind her head. She truly is a chill child.  I kinda am a little obsessed with her. 
sleeping at grammys house 
Look at that belly!! 

She always manages to get one leg warmer off!
Love, La

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weekend option

 I know I have mentioned this multiple times, but Dan and I manage our fiances by following Dave Ramsey's plan. We were lucky enough a few years ago to take his "financial peace university" class. It is often offered at churches.  One of the things that Dave talks about is having "gazelle like intensity" That might sound like an odd phrase, however if you have ever seen a video of some predator chasing a gazelle it is explained. Those creatures just don't stop running. And often they out run the beast that wanted to eat them for dinner.
His plan involves the baby steps.
1. Build a $1000 emergency fund
2. Pay off all debt using debt snowball
3. 3-6 months of expenses in savings
4. Invest 15% of household income in roth IRA for retirement
5. College funding for children
6  Pay off home early
7. Build wealth & give

We have been doing dave Ramsey for  about 2 years now. October 2010 we finished step 2 and in April of this year we finished step 3.
We plan ahead for future expenses and save for them monthly (ie, car tags, taxes, healthcare deductibles, new car ect) We had to dip into the emergency fund this year due to having to meet two deductibles with a sick babe and a switch in insurance...but thanks to the generosity of our community we didn't have to use all of it. It is currently being built back up again.
You might as why I am talking about all of this. Two reasons. 1. I AM SO THANKFUL for this class and what it has taught us about money.
and 2. We have a huge change coming to our family because of Dave Ramsey & his advice of having gazelle like intensity.
My work offers a program called weekend option. It is where you work two weekend shifts and get paid for 3 days of work. (As a nurse 3 days if full time). I have been working 2 shifts (part time) since Emmaus was born. Welp the second part of baby step 3 is saving for a house. Dan and I are shifting back into having gazelle like intensity to save for a house. We will be budgeting more tightly, and I will be joining the weekend option staff at my work.
I will definitely miss having the weekends free with my hubby & baby girl, but It will nice to work 2 shifts in a row again & have 5 days off after working two. The extra day of income will be pretty sweet too.
So as of January 14th count me out for weekend activities. As I will be working (or sleeping). I do get a few weekends off. But they will be few and far between in the next year. I am excited about working hard, budgeting well and being able to have buying a house be a possibility & one that isn't super stressful financially.

If you want financial freedom check him out. It isn't a plan for the weary, but I can honestly say we are thankful to feel free financially. And if you have been reading my blog this year and know the expenses  we have incurred that should be testament enough for his program.  Check it out. You won't be sorry.

Love, La

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

exorcist baby

So in the last month Emmaus has started eating baby foods. She is doing so well. She likes pears the best- go figure. But also is a huge fan of green beans, avocado, and banana, sweet potatoes aren't her favorites, but we are still trying.
We received a baby bullet for a shower gift so we have been making our own baby food. I kinda am obsessed with making baby food now. It is yummy and cheap! We spent 20 bucks and bought all organic food products. Green beans, peas, avocado, banana, sweet potatoes, pears, & carrots. Then I followed this websites  recipes and whipped some up. I froze it in ice cube trays, stored it in ziplock bags and now we have months of organic baby food for 20 bucks. UMM WIN.
And then there is this... Emmaus eating green beans. um yes she looks like the girl from the exorcist in this pic...and even though it looks like she isn't eating any she really does. Aww I love my sweet little exorcist baby.

I also cleaned today. Cause my house was DIR-TAY...yes that is how you say the dirtier form of dirty. IT WAS GROSS. We sweep frequently (every 3 days frequent) cause we have the ever shedding pooch..however it is just such a process to mop...but I did today. And it was much needed. So here is my question. what do you all use to clean hardwood floors? Mine even after being cleaned just aren't shiny like I would prefer.
So please leave a comment and share.  So my wood floor can be nice and shiny.
We are taking Em to see santa tonight. So I have got to go and get us ready.
Chao.
Love, La


morning time.


 I love mornings with Emmaus. Mornings where we don't have anything to do. They are the best. She's been waking up around 6. She eats, gets her meds, and then gets in bed with me. Then she and I usually fall back asleep until either of us (has to) (or does) wake up. Today was a lazy morning so I finally woke up around 10 and she continued to snooze. The kid likes her sleep. I mean look at the digs she gets to take her "morning nap" in.



 
 Don't feel you need to leave a comment about how unsafe that HUGE down comforter is. I am aware. But doesn't she look so snuggly?? And I am also aware that many think co-sleeping isn't safe...however, kid sleeps in her crib. Just naps with me.


 Morning attitude anyone? She is so happy when you get her out of her crib at 6am...but then at 11am she is not as happy. (yes that is a burp cloth under her head- she likes to spit her meds out)
And lets be real. I HAD to post this pic...even though I look like that. And my boobs are so GLARINGLY WHITE and my tank top obviously is too low. But stop looking at me & check out that face. That morning scowl would give my bestie Emily Bury a run for her money.
Love this kid & our lazy mornings.
Love, La

Friday, December 2, 2011

Love

I really can't imagine being more in love with this girl. She is such a sweet wonderful child. She becomes more alert and interactive every day. And every morning I am excited to see her and spend the day with her.  And hear her sweet little raspberries and screeching, and see her huge smiles.
UMMM LOVE HER. 
and that sweet little face. 
(and yes her fly is un-snapped because baby flies snap...and because her daddy changed her last and he never re-snaps the fly)
And she looks just like her daddy. (who is also pretty cute)
Love, 
La