Monday, August 15, 2016

9 months

Happy 9 (and a half...oops) months Hannah!!  This little girl is growing up so fast!  She is so incredibly full of joy, laughing and giggling at her brothers, content to play just about anything, in LOVE with peek-a-boo and flipping upside down.  Oh, she can throw her head back in a temper tantrum with the best of them, but I love seeing that innocence in her face, the quickness with which she forgives her brothers for being mean, and the sweet joy she has in life.

Have I really not given a Hannah update since 4 months??  Wow, I knew I was a little behind, but I fully expected that I had at least shared she was sitting...Hmm.  Anyway, she's certainly changed in the months since we moved, getting in 5 (almost 6) teeth, learning to sit, crawl, pull up and cruise, feed herself finger foods.  She looks like a little chunk to me but continues to only be in the 15th percentile and still fits several of her 6 month clothes.  Naps don't come as easily as they used to, but Hannah still loves her night sleep and typically gets a good 11.5-12 hours in.  I know we are completely blessed with that as I think back on those sleepless nights with the boys.

Here are some of her monthly pics.  Poor planning with the blocks as that child will not sit still if there is a toy nearby that she might be able to chew on, so we've lost our visual markers.

6 months, last with a block...

7 months

8 months

9 months

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Facebook memories.  Most days I get a little reminder and see a fun note from an old friend, a picture of Andrew and I traveling, a video of the boys first walking.  Most of the time, it fills my heart, reminds me of how blessed we are.  But some days, it feels like I've been hit in the face with a brick.  I never choose to look at the memories in the weeks following Reagan's birth.  I know better than to look back and read the condolences, to see verses meant at comforting the gut retching pain, or to see my own words of despair.  It's been years, but it sure isn't any easier, and I still have to protect my heart.  But August?  August is one of my favorite memory months - with the boys in the NICU but growing stronger, experiencing so many firsts.  First time wearing clothes, first time breathing without tubes, first time taking a bottle, first time holding them both together without all the wires and tubes.  They still had a ways to come before they could come home with us, but these NICU days were incredible at showing us just how strong our little preemies were and just how miraculous life was in general.  So much we take for granted.

So today, I was completely caught off guard to see a memory of Reagan, our pregnancy announcement.  I was in that "safe zone."  I'd had 3 ultrasounds and knew she was growing well.  We'd heard the heartbeat, and I was moving into my maternity clothes.  How many years will go by before I stop feeling like my world is crashing down around me?  Does it ever?  Probably not...

Moving has been hard for many reasons.  To the outside world, I look like a mother who has her hands full.  Who has *that kid* who is screaming uncontrollably while throwing a crumbled cookie in Publix while the other one runs and grabs the avocados and starts dropping them on the floor while also wearing a crying baby.  I get stares and looks, though I've only ever had 1 person dumb enough to comment to me about where babies come from (if he only knew...).  Add to in the Florida humidity and a constant glistening of sweat, and I have all appearances of being an extremely fertile mother, with more than she can handle.  But the thing no one can see is how much I long for my first baby, how incomplete our family feels.  That I should also have a little girl about to turn 4, adding to the craziness. I hate that she doesn't exist here.  She still felt such a part of our lives in Charlotte - maybe because our friends knew us while I was pregnant with her and were praying for us while she was being born?  Maybe because we had just always imagined her running down the streets of our neighborhood, playing with the other little girls, swimming in the pool and having park dates. I never had those moments, those memories or hopes, in our new town.  And really, that's all we get with Reagan.  Memories and hopes, until we reach heaven.  And then I know (in my head) that it's all worth it, but my heart just can't seem to feel that some days.  I miss my Rea Rea, so much.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bob the Builder Birthday

This was the first year our boys were able to be involved in choosing their party theme.  Had their birthday been 4 months ago, it surely would have been Daniel Tiger.  They would play with a variety of toys, play outside, go to the park, etc.  But they LOVED Daniel Tiger.  With the house on the market, they learned to like this one TV show so I could stage things right before a showing.  But when we moved to FL, they discovered Bob the Builder.  Suddenly, everything was all about fixing things.  Block towers, forts, and puzzles were all completed with the aide of construction trucks.  Warren walked around "fixing" things with his drill.  They became obsessed.  So, when I asked them what kind of party they wanted, both Warren and Dean proclaimed they wanted a Bob the Builder birthday party this year.  Can't argue with that...

And so the planning began.

Birthday Boys!!

Tools for eating

Chips and dip, served in paint cans

Dumping chex mix.  This lasted for all of 2 minutes before Warren dumped the entire truck onto the floor. Sounds about right...

Build your own Dog station, paint brushes for Ketchup and Mustard.  It was actually so much nicer to get that even coat rather than use the bottle and get the big globs.  Just sayin...

Food table

Chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream

Strawberry cake with chocolate buttercream
Building station.  Such fun for the kiddos
Make your own dirt

Pinata.  Not gonna lie, the boys were pretty bad at this.  But it was Warren's one request.  AND we found one shaped like a dump truck :)

Because every girl should ride in a dump truck...

Mommy and Daddy with the birthday boys

And that's about it.  So thankful for everyone who came out to help us celebrate our little, no so little, miracle boys!  Happy 3rd birthday Warren and Dean!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A letter for Warren at 3

Happy 3rd birthday Warrie!  This 3rd year has brought about so many changes, so much growth and development for you!  One year ago, you had maybe 2 or 3 words.  That's all.  And now??  Now, you wake up each morning singing Bob the Builder.  You talk to your brother constantly.  You have come so far, overcome so much, to get to this point.

You are my biggest little boy, older by 1 minute.  And you have done a wonderful job loving your younger brother and sister.  I have loved watching you learn so much this year.  You love your tools, using a screwdriver or drill to "fix" everything around the house.  And you love building a fort - stacking up all the pillows and blankets in the whole house in one big pile.  (I promise not to mess up your pillow pile again tomorrow!)  I love watching you play with your brother, asking about him if he's not in the car with us.  I love how you cannot go to sleep without giving Hannah at least 2 hugs and 2 rounds of kisses, even though you immediately complain about her wet kisses.  And I love watching you come alive in the pool, laughing as you splash us or jump in.

Warren, you are so special to me.  When I think back to your birth, that scary moment when I was told I would deliver before hitting the 3rd trimester, I am just amazed at you and all God has accomplished.  Through the years of therapies and changes, you have thrived.  I love you so much my biggest boy!



A letter for Dean at 3

Happy 3rd birthday Deanie Man!  I love you so very much!

This past year, you have grown so much.  You are such a sweet and caring little boy, always concerned when someone doesn't seem happy, making sure that everyone is included.  My heart swells when I see how you love your brother, how you wait for him and make sure he is okay.  I love your passion for life, how you feel so deeply, even though this often manifests in temper tantrums.  What you feel is always written right on your face, so easy to decipher.  There is no deceit there, just a air of innocence.

You love your cars and trucks, especially the construction trucks.  I love hearing you play and coordinate efforts with Warren to move piles of clothes around the room.  You also love reading and would sit in my lap for hours and hour reading the same book.  I love how, as soon as I'm finished, you ask to read it again.  And I love how you will sometimes come and find me and give me a huge hug, just because.  You love so deeply and I pray you never lose that trait.

Dean, your little life is a miracle.  You are thriving, overcoming your birth history to the point that I feel like I almost don't have to mention it!  Know that you are always loved.



Warren and Dean turn 3!!

Happy birthday boys!!  I cannot believe my boys are 3.  I have 3 year olds!  And to celebrate...they're sleeping in!  Maybe it's because they haven't napped in ages, maybe it's a combination of day camp and swimming in the pool, but I'm feeling very productive on this birthday morning.  Who knows, maybe this will be the new normal...haha, right.

I love Warren and Dean's birthday.  I love it.  There is so much to celebrate on this day.  First, that they were able to have a birthday this late, that they didn't come in May or early June when we thought they would.  And second, that they survived even born so early.  We know all to well that this is not a given, that the odds were against us.  And not just surviving, but thriving.  They are going to camp together, learning so much and sharing it with each other.  This year is a little sweeter, as they are so clearly best friends.  They love each other and look out for each other and play (flight) together, which makes my heart so happy.  Three years ago, I was being moved back from labor and delivery to my longer to room, only to go back to labor and deliver a few hours later.   I still so vividly remember the way our doctor calmly stated "I'm going to take them now."  The rush of fear and anxiety followed immediately by calm and peace.  (And then reeeally calm as the mag drip set in).  We knew God was in control, we knew God would be with us and these little bitty boys.  We didn't know the outcome, knew better than most that there are no guarantees, but we knew that, no matter what, God was by our side.

We are so thankful to celebrate Warren and Dean's 3rd birthday today!!

Friday, May 20, 2016


So days you just feel like a failure as a parent.  Some days we wake up and have a great time playing, everyone is getting along, and there is only moderate levels of whining. Let's be real, with 2 toddlers, the best you can hope for is moderate whining, and I'm okay with that.  And then, you have days like today.  Where there is nearly constant whining.  Where the whining hits a nerve and causes me to yell, which I hate.  Where they run around like animals, banging on the walls, breaking things, hitting their sister, acting like some demon has taken over their little 2-year-old bodies.  Where no amount of punishment or grace has any effect on them.  I just don't get it.  So, tonight I quit.  They are running in their room, banging their blinds, hitting the walls, bound to wake up Hannah.  I have gone in there and tucked them back in.  Gone in and punished them.  Gone in and explained why their actions are dangerous (blinds falling down) and irresponsible (wake up sister).  Nothing matters.  I can even sit in the room with them and they just don't care.  There is no change in action.

Nothing makes you feel less in control that this whole experience with children - from trying to conceive, loss and pregnancy complications, and now parenting.  I used to walk into work sure of what I was doing, knowing what was going on with someone's body and able to help heal them.  That was the easy work.  THIS, this day in and out feeling like a failure, of knowing my children are a bit more, shall we say, free-spirited than most, this is what gets to me.  I worry that my boys aren't getting all they need, that they are falling more behind after losing all our therapies at once.  Yet, we're finding it nearly impossible to get in with a pediatrician here in FL to start the referral process to get the therapy started again.  And we've been told the waiting list for some of them could be months.  Meanwhile, the boys are not interacting well with kids, throwing violent temper tantrums in public.  And no amount of love or disciple makes a bit of difference.  I know we are all sinners, but no one sees that more than the parent - child relationship.  Not with college roommates, not with spouses, it's the kids that point out the sin in your life.  And it's amazing to watch them lie or bite or deceive right in front of you.  AUGH!  I know this is a stage, a stage we prayed for for years.  But it is a difficult stage, stretching me to my limits.

And just when I am about to lose my mind, I step funny and hurt my foot (biopsy this morning on the plantar surface of my foot, so I've been hobbling around all day).  I sit down and cringe.  Dean comes over to me and makes a pouty face/whiny noise.  And says "It's okay Mommy.  I'll take care of you."  I wrap him up in a hug and, as he buries his face in my shoulder, he whispers "I just love you so much."  :)  God knows when we need these moments, for our sake and our kids.  His Grace is sufficient, and I need to rest in that on these off days/weeks.

Potty training starts tomorrow, so that should be fun....more to come on that I'm sure!