Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{First Grade Eve}

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Tonight Madison and I went out and had some girl time.  We did a little first grade eve photo shoot in our old stomping grounds, which I miss so much -- but really only because it's a great place to take photos!  Of course I once again look at these pictures and my jaw drops to the floor in disbelief that Adam and I created this beautiful little girl.

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After our little photo shoot we went to the track and we ran a mile.  Madison has been wanting to run with me lately and to be honest she runs at about my pace therefore making the perfect running partner.  That would be so awesome if she could get past two miles and we could do a race together.  Hmm -- I see it in our near future!

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Our little soon to be first grader is having trouble going to sleep.  Gosh, I remember those days.  The horrific butterflies that would party in my belly all night, not letting me fall asleep.  Tonight we thanked God for giving us an amazing summer and also thanked him for the exciting year ahead!

Enjoy the photos...

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Monday, August 29, 2011

{Letting Her Go}

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School starts in just a few days, so here comes my post written out of panic -- out of my mommie fears of letting her go -- letting her go to first grade.  Public school works for our family.  I have nothing against homeschooling kids and even feel that in many families it works out great, but for our family -- our personalities and for our purpose and mission as a family, public school fits in great.  With that said I believe strongly that we as parents are responsible for the education of our children.  In my mind the important education is not numbers and words but rather ethics, spiritual truth and self-worth and esteem -- all of which comes from this house, equipping our little girl to make the difficult choices she will one day be faced with, within the public school system.

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Anyway, back to my fears.  She is my baby.  In many ways when I look at her and she's telling me about how she needs an upgrade for her broken hand-me-down no service iPhone I see this twenty year old trapped in a six year old body.  Then I really look harder and I still see my baby -- you know, the one that I held for the first time and made me a mommie for the first time.  Ugh.  

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Letting go has always been one of my most difficult things to do. When you add in the fact that this is about my little girls life it makes it even harder.  I worry about if kids will like her.  I worry that she will stutter and people will not understand her.  I worry that she will start telling the story of her life and people will not fully understand the awesomeness of her story.  I worry that she will eat a peanut and go into anaphalaxis.  

Then I take a deep breath.

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God has placed his hand on Madison's life in such a way that even is to deep for me as her mother to understand.  He has intricately woven the details of her life to prepare her for such a time as this -- first grade, this is part of her story -- the good the bad and the amazing.  I could shelter Madison until the day she dies but in reality I would be keeping God from writing the amazing chapters of her life.  

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Wednesday I'm letting her go. I'm letting her go to test out her own waters.  I'm letting her go to use all the skills and gifts that God has used Adam and I to instill within her.  And yes, I'm letting her go to most likely come home in tears one day.  But with tears comes healing and understanding and the most awesome chance for me to be her mommie and make it all better.

Happy first grade to my amazing little girl.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{Jumping Over Hurdles}

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Angela's belly has been such a mystery to us lately.  When she was first placed with us last year she was having tons of reflux and vomiting, but after taking her to the GI specialist we figured out that she was being fed way to much and too fast through her g-tube.  Once we cut back her tube feeds she was doing better, still the occasional throw up but it was mainly just a normal reflux issue.  She was placed on various meds to help, which from the results of her biopsy, are working great as there was no sign of damage to her esophagus.

Anyway, after a few months with us Angela learned to eat by mouth.  She did amazing -- progressing faster than anyone ever thought she would. But with progression of oral feeding came lots of vomit.  Lots and lots of vomit.  It got so bad at one point that she no longer wanted to eat by mouth and every meal was a struggle.  So we cut back her oral feeding and gave her a break.  Even on the g-tube feeds and minimal oral feeding she still was throwing up, just not as bad.  We finally figured out a good rate and amount to oral feed where we could eliminate the vomit, but sadly this meant she started to lose weight and was not growing.  

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So we decided to try to GJ conversion and start feeding down into the jejunum and leave the belly empty for oral feeding.  Really this isn't solving the main issue of vomiting, because it's a motility issue of her belly.  You put food in and since it doesn't go down it just comes back up.  She seems to be tolerating the J feeding and at this point we want to just try to get her to pack on some pounds.  

This is a tricky situation because truthfully we could just give her continuous J-feeds, she would grow and she would live happily ever after without vomit.  But Angela can eat by mouth and enjoys doing so and if she has a chance to have this kind of quality of life then we are going to give her this chance.  If she didn't have the motility issue she would probably be able to eliminate all tube feeding.  So we need to figure out what the next steps will be.  We've been throwing around the idea of the fundo with the docs and other parents.  I've learned one thing -- people either love the fundo or hate it.  The tricky part is you don't know if it will work for your child unless you try it.  Bummer.

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With all this said.  Angela is happy.  As far as the world of medically complex kids go she is so easy!  One thing we have learned with Gavin is that most of the things we think are huge problems really are not -- they are just simply part of the story and hurdles to jump over.  We continue to celebrate all her progress and hope that along with her new gained strength will come better motility for her little belly!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{Hearing Her Thoughts}

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As parents one of the most fascinating things to watch develop in our children is the ability to tell us what they are thinking.  I can't exactly remember when this happened for Madison, but I do remember almost everyday Adam and I being blown away by the things that were coming out of her mouth.  We would on an almost daily basis have one of those where is the world did she learn that moments.  Well it makes me so excited to say that we are beginning this new and exciting stage with Angela.

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It looks different and she is obviously older than your typical kid learning to communicate, but never the less the child that we have believed and trusted was a smart little girl is finally being able to show the world just that.  Angela has learned how to nod her head yes and no!  I look at Angela and I see a spunky three year old with so much to say and so many opinions to give but I also see a little girl locked inside her own body.  Could it be that we are beginning to see the unlocking of her little body and mind -- I totally think so.

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Yesterday we were at the nutritionist to discuss her ever present weight issues and her inability to take in enough food to help her grow.  Angela was yelling and whining the entire visit.  For those parents with kids with spastic CP you are all too familiar with the arch.  The arch that holds so much power and tests the strength of even the strongest people -- it was one of those moments.  I could tell she was frustrated.  She was bored and did not want to be sitting in that office.

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I got out her iPad and we began to go through the apps.  One after the other.  I would select an app that she did not want and she would vigorously shake her head no and scream at me.  It then occurred to me what she wanted.  My little delicate princess wanted her fart piano.  Yes, you heard me correctly. The fart piano is a big deal  in our house -- it provides hours of entertainment.  Well, I just did not want to turn on the fart piano for the myself and the nutritionist to talk over.  So the fight continued.  I would select another app and Angela would tell me no over and over again.

Then I totally gave in.

For the rest of the appointment Angela sat happily making a million different fart sounds.  

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Sounds like a typical story of the struggle all so common in families with toddlers -- but that very statement makes me the happiest mommie around.  Angela totally is a typical toddler, and the fact that we can even have these silly arguments over a fart piano brings a tear to my eye.

Besides telling us no to the iPad apps, she is also telling us she does not want to take a nap, she does not want to eat and she does not want to stretch her muscles.

Are you smiling? Totally frustrating and yet totally amazing.


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Love her.  Love that God would choose Adam and I to have such an amazing daughter who was destined to be ours and put aside for such a time as this.  People wonder why we chose this life again.

This is exactly why we chose this life.




Friday, August 5, 2011

{Vacation: Day Six}

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Today we are packing up and heading home.  This vacation was everything I wanted it to be -- so relaxing and amazing memories made.  Today has been both amazing and disastrous all wrapped up together.  As I mentioned yesterday Madison has been having a difficult time with making good choices and listening to us. Today she made a really bad choice and had something fun taken away that we were going to do tonight. It just really stunk for both of us.  I didn't want to punish her and obviously she didn't want to be punished.  

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After she cooled down a bit she came up to me and said she was sorry and really truly meant it.  She told me that she doesn't understand why she does the things she does and we were able to have a little heart to heart talk about how Mommie has the same type of personality and how both us girls are so stubborn and need to have extra self-control when we are challenged.  It was a good talk for us to have, one of those parenting moments I'll probably never forget.

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Today we hit the beach again and as we normally do, Angela and I walked about four miles up and down the boardwalk.  On the way back I looked down at her and was so in love.  I stopped right in the middle of the boardwalk turned her head toward me and told her I loved her so much.  Adoption is so beautiful -- it is a process that you can't possibly understand until you actually walk it.  I thought the moment I met Angela I loved everything about her -- but as time has gone on I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with this beautiful little girl, which I guess isn't that much different than how it was after the birth of my other two.

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Although we are sad to see our time away end, we are also so happy to head home -- find routine and structure and begin our normal once again.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

{Vacation: Day Five}

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It's amazing how when you want time to go by fast it seems to crawl and when you want it to slow down it seems to pass by in seconds.  That's about how I feel right now.  We are winding down this vacation and I'm wanting a bit more time.

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With that said, I'm certainly ready to find a schedule again.  Madison is six.  Do I really need to say anymore?  She's just like her mommie in so many ways, it actually sends chills down my spine as I have a slight understanding of her will power and stubbornness.  To the outside world she is so good -- and to us as well, but she is very challenging in our eyes.  But we love her to bits -- stubbornness and all!

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Today Adam and I had some nice alone time and rode our bikes to the other side of the island and enjoyed a nice lunch just the two of us.  It was great to spend time with the man I love more than words could say -- after all, without a husband like Adam vacations like this would be a disaster -- a serious overwhelming disaster.

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We spent the afternoon on the beach and now we are getting ready to enjoy a nice dinner out with my parents.  Adam and I were talking about Gavin this morning.  We were saying how what we thought would be difficult proved to be ok.  Really -- no matter where we are or what we do, Gavin is not with us.  Being at the beach -- a place we have so many memories feels no different than each day when I tuck my children into bed fully aware that he is not there.  Being here is no worse -- just different.  If anything it gives me time to remember so many happy times where we defied all odds and gave him the best life possible with so many amazing experiences.

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Life is so good.  These days are just simply a reminder to treasure each and every memory making moment -- no matter how big or small.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

{Vacation: Day Four}

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These photos represent so much -- the healing of our family, the continuation of Gavin's legacy and the start of something new, something beautiful!  This vacation has been a great time to spend together as a family -- our new different kind of family.  Angela is blooming beyond what I could possibly describe here on this blog.  She is beginning to just light up.  Her little smile and bright eyes show a little girl, who like our family as a whole, is also finding healing, not just physical but the kind of healing that comes from being loved, accepted and wanted ever so deeply.  

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Today has been nice and quiet. We skipped the beach and choose to just relax here at the beach house.  My mom and Madison went to see a little concert on the music pier and tonight just the four of us will find something to do -- still keeping it low key and restful!

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Enjoy the photos of my sweet little girl!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

{Vacation: Day Three}

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Today vacation exhaustion has set in full force.  Today was another nice and quiet day but the heat and time spent playing in the sun has left us all rather sleepy.  We had lots of fun on the beach today and Angela actually did a bit better with the heat and was able to have some fun sister time with Madi in the shade under the beach umbrella.

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Tonight we hit the boardwalk again, rode some rides and ate some very yummy ice cream.  Bed time is extra early and as I type and I can hear it calling my name -- very loudly.  So with that said I'll just leave you with these photos of my beautiful family.  Love them so much and I'm so happy to be spending this time with them!

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