Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SK's Christmas

We have had a wonderful Christmas.  We are certainly blessed with more than we deserve.  Here are some pictures of our girl and how she experienced Christmas...

We are spending some days with my family unwinding, unplugged and unscheduled...just like I like it.  I'll share Christmas pics soon, in the meantime I'm gonna soak in every minute of our Christmas break.  Thanks for checking in on us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Wise Men

Matthew 2:1 "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem" 
Matthew 2:2 "and asked, Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
Matthew 2:10 "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed."
Matthew 2:11 "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him...
 "...Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."
Merry Christmas, may the cradle and the cross be at the center of all we do this Christmas season.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Week Before Christmas

It's the week before Christmas and I have all my littles here with me, I couldn't be happier.  This is where I would like to slow time down if I had the power.  I try really really hard to have everything done by the time they get out of school for Christmas break so it can just be us.  No more running around like crazy, no more presents to buy or wrap just a slower pace with time to spend watching movies, drinking hot chocolate, sitting by the fire and spending time with family and friends.  Oh and a morning or two to sleep in would be awesome. Also, after the craziness of last week, I have confined myself to within a 2 mile radius of my home between now and Christmas...the traffic and the stores were nuts and shopping is just not my thing.

We awoke one morning to find our elves making snow angels.

They brought some Legos for the boys when they came to stay with us this year and brought Sophie Kate her very own kitty.

She's been so sweet with SK and very low maintenance, ha ha.  When Sophie Kate pets her she snuggles with her.  

Those precious hands, those long beautiful fingers and those tiny fingernails...I hold her hand and stretch out her fingers and watch as she starts to close them around mine in a effort to ball them into fists (her preferred position for them).  There is so much I want for those grasp a toy, to hold a spoon or a cup and feed herself (if she were able to swallow correctly) and maybe even one day to play the piano with those long fingers of hers.  

Christmas shopping is certainly a mixed bag of emotions for me.  I look forward to the boys opening their presents on Christmas morning, but I struggle in the stores to find a 0-6 month toy that we don't have yet. The one toy that followed me to every store I went to this year was the Disney Princess Dream House.  Have you seen it?  I don't know if that's really what it's called but it's like the Barbie Dream House only it's for the Disney Princesses.  I want it real bad for her, but more than that I want her to want it.  

It sounds silly when I see it written in "black and white" to be stressing over presents, that's not what Christmas is all about anyway.  However, I find myself longing for her to bring me a baby doll that needs their clothes changed or see her strolling her baby dolls in their little doll stroller or whatever else little four year old girls do.  She has more baby dolls and stuffed animals and baby toys than she will ever need or play with.

Here's where she makes things real simple, here's where she teaches me...she's happiest when we're all together. She smiles when she knows her brothers are near.  She lights up when her daddy talks to her.  She loves to be around people.  All she needs is to be loved, held and simple.  We make it complicated with our wants and expectations.

The ultimate gift of love was sent to us from the Father in the form of a baby...born to die for us, for our sin.  This Christmas let's not make it so complicated that we miss the true blessing and the gift that was given to all of us that night in Bethlehem.

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Kindergarten Christmas Party

The reason Sophie Kate is so happy in this picture...
is because she was able to get out and go to Grey's Kindergarten Christmas party.  We stopped by her classroom to see all her friends too.  They were so thrilled to see her and SK's face just lit up at all the attention.  She will be able to go back to her class after Christmas break.  

Grey was so happy that his sister came to his party.  He asked me to get her out of her wheelchair so that she could sit with him while his teacher read them a book.  I wasn't really sure how to make that work but we did it anyway.
Grey was great with her and so proud for her to be there.  He handled it all himself.  He is precious with her.
They had a Lego Christmas party.  Each child got there own container of Legos and a pad to build on.  What a great idea this was, the kids loved it!
I love the way she looks at him and looks up to him.  He feels responsible for her and looks after her in such a sweet way.
As Sophie Kate and I were preparing to leave, Grey's teacher told me how glad she was that we were able to come and how much Grey loves "that girl."  I already knew that, but it shows how deep his love is for her.  He can't help but talk about her even when she's not around.  He wants everyone to know his sister.
Now you know why SK smiles all the time, she knows she's loved.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season

We attended our first Christmas party of the season a couple of weeks ago.  A family in our church hosted a special needs Christmas party in memory of their son and brother, Shaun.  It was a wonderful evening.  I am so glad our girl was up for it.  If the invitation had come too early we would have had to decline but she is feeling so much better that we thought she could handle it.

There were activities for the kids, dinner was served and Santa was there too.  When Grey found out Santa was going to be there he quickly stated that he knew it wasn't the "real" Santa, "it's one of Santa's helpers," he said.  Once we got there, we all quickly changed our tune.  "I think he's the real deal," I whispered to Grey.

Go ahead, pull on his beard, he ain't scared.

We rolled Sophie Kate up to Santa in her wheelchair and proceed to position her beside him for our picture.  Santa would have none of that and asked if he could hold her.

Santa was great with her, that's how we knew he was for real.

The boys got to carve a snowman out of a bar soap...

Grey kept decapitating his snowman, so he needed some help from Mr. Randy.

Their finished products...

Jacob made one for SK...

The boys also got into playing, of all things, the Dulcimer. Mrs. Payne had her Dulcimers there and she showed the boys how to play and they immediately took up with it, playing almost every song she taught them.  The sounds were wonderfully fantastic and Sophie Kate loved listening to her brothers play.  

After dinner, Santa did what he does best...give out presents of course.

These are my absolute favorites, just look at her face....

The sweetness of the night could be felt by everyone there. It was a wonderful evening for our family.  I love our church home.  It's a safe place for us, one where we feel loved and supported continually.  Folks stop and talk to Sophie Kate and I love that and she does too, believe me.

A special thanks to the Flowers family and our church for a fun night filled with the sweet aroma of love, encouragement and friendship.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Baby

I saw someone post on Facebook this morning that it's been 70 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it must be December 7th.  I have to be honest and admit that December 7th usually came and went without much fanfare around here and still does for the most part, but today it struck me when I saw something about Pearl Harbor. December 7, 2007 was Sophie Kate's due date.  Whenever anyone would ask me what my due date was (when I was pregnant) and I told them December 7th, they would follow that up with, "Oh, Pearl Harbor day."

I usually don't pay this day very much attention but when I saw the stuff about Pearl Harbor, my mind immediately took me back there.  The anticipation, the excitement, the expectation of what was to come.  A friend told me of sweet midnight feedings by the light of the Christmas tree with her December baby and I would sleep each night with sweet visions of such things in my head.  There was even talk that she might be born on my dad's birthday...what a precious time filled with possibilities.  

December 7, 2007 found us home with our baby girl under a completely different set of circumstances.  I was up all night for difficult feedings with a crying baby while I myself grieved and pleaded for a life that would not be.  My heart shattered to pieces, broken beyond repair, wounded to the very core...forever changed.

I spent some time at the boys' school this week, helping with Christmas crafts and having lunch with them.  I am usually only affected by seeing little girls Sophie Kate's age but that day as I watched them my heart ached.  I saw them interacting with one another, laughing with their friends, walking, running and skipping.  Their ease of movement was not lost on me. 

The innocence and anticipation of pregnancy is gone for me.  The path for my daughter is so different from the girls I encountered at school this week.  The life I dreamed for her no longer exists, the reality is it never did exist except in my mind.

This cold, cloudy raw day reflects my feelings.  My baby girl is awake now and as I pick her up I feel the warmth of a snugly bed still on her.  Her eyes are bright and clear.  I see a smile start to break out across her face and she stretches out so big.  The first moments of the day with her are so precious to me.  How is it that she can bring warmth and sunshine to such a day as this?         

Monday, December 5, 2011


I know I totally let Halloween go this year and I also know that the time period in between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems an odd time to revisit it, but I can't let it go without at least an honorable mention.  Everything was so crazy here on the blog with our Disney trip and then updating about Jacob and Sophie Kate's surgery that somehow it got left out.

Well, I do know how it happened...see, SK was just a week out of surgery on Halloween and while I was so hoping we could get her back in her Cinderella dress...sister just wasn't feeling it.  She stayed home and handed out candy with her daddy while I went out with the boys.  

This is the part I hate, this split family thing that we are back to, I hate it.  One of us has to stay home with SK while the other one of us takes the boys wherever they need to go.  It started with Halloween but has now for the past 4+ weeks become a part of life once again.  Chad and I for the most part take turns, like going to church with the boys or going to see football/soccer games, you know stuff like, but I don't like it when she's not with us.  So I have to say that while I put on a happy face this year for Halloween, my heart wasn't really in it.  Thankfully, my boys didn't seem to pick up on it...hey, there was candy involved believe me they were happy.

 Jacob as Darth Maul, Grey as Boba Fett and Cooper as Captain Jack Sparrow 

No one could believe that was our sweet Jacob underneath that freaky mask and cape, they said it didn't fit his personality at all.  While they are right about his kindheartedness, they don't know him like I do, these boys love them some Star Wars. 

These guys dressed up for Halloween is still blog worthy in my book, even if their mama doesn't get to it until December.  Thanks for checking in on us.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Our Christmas decorations have been up for weeks but I didn't want to brag about it too early and make y'all all feel inadequate and stuff so I decided to wait until at least after Thanksgiving to share, ha ha.  I have said before that I was not raised that way, but my mama understands how happy it makes me and my first born so she has forgiven us.

It is true...those Christmas decorations and that tree does make me happy although it loses a lot of it's joy once it's time for everything to come down, then I'm not so thrilled about it all, but for the time being Cooper and I are happy. Since Sophie Kate has been born we have put up what I call our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I call it that because it's not as tall or as full as our big tree, but bonus it's a pre-lit tree.  I found it on super sale after Christmas one year and thought I had found the bargain of the century...a pre-lit tree not one that you have to put all the branches and lights on.

(Christmas 2010-Our Charlie Brown tree-Ok, I admit it is kind of pitiful now that I look back on it.  I didn't seem that bad at the time.)

I got what I wanted, it was much easier and it was still a pretty tree (well, maybe not) and I got away with it for 4 years.  Each year though, Cooper would ask me if we could put the big tree up and each year I somehow talked him out of it...until this year.  He wouldn't budge, no amount of begging, pleading or bribing on my part would make him change his position, so I gave in and I am so glad I did...
You can't see all the lights in this picture, but it is a pretty tree.  I told Cooper I was glad he insisted and then I made him promise to help me take it all down, when the time comes.  I don't miss the Charlie Brown tree at all this year. One of my favorite things is turning all the lights off at night while the lights of the tree glow. 

Like this...

I remember when Sophie Kate was in the NICU.  Instead of going back up to the hospital like I always did in the evenings, I decided to stay home one night and we put the tree up together.  It was just Chad and I and the boys and we all needed that even if it was the Charlie Brown tree that year.  It was such a difficult time but you have to continue to do some of those things that you used to do to keep your mind from being consumed by the enormity of the situation.   

This has been Sophie Kate's best week since her surgery over a month ago.  She is healing well from her surgery and her kidney infection although being immobile, feeling bad and lying flat on her back for over 4 weeks has left her extremely weak.  Her smile has emerged this week and she has been able to string together 3 good days...for that I am thankful.  Sophie Kate so enjoys the lights of the season, it's time for her to feel well enough to enjoy them this year.

Happy Birthday to my daddy.  I've been told all my life that I'm just like him, sometimes that's been intended as a compliment and sometimes it hasn't, ha ha.  I always take it as a good thing though, b/c this daddy's girl thinks the world of him.  He proudly shares a birthday with our black lab Jake.  Even though Jake has been gone for years, I remind daddy every year when I call that it was always him and Jake on December 1st.  If you knew my daddy you would know that he totally doesn't mind, Jake was a really good dog.  Happy Birthday Daddy!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

We spent Thanksgiving with Chad's family this year and in case you didn't know, when everyone gets together we are quite a force to be reckoned with and even though we were missing 4 of our members this year I think the kids outnumbered the grown ups yet again.  We better hope they never decide to stage a revolt.  We keep them happy by supplying them with snacks of all kinds including but not limited to chex mix, chips, fruit and desserts aplenty.

This group is also known for cooking a lot of food.  I know, I know doesn't everyone around this time of year?  Well, we met and surpassed our own record by cooking 4 turkeys this year.  Yep, you heard me f-o-u-r...umm...winner!  I am personally giving thanks for the fried turkey that my husband and his brother cooked.  It was a first for me and I have to say that I am a fan of the deep fried turkey. 
Yes, that is a picture of our Thanksgiving turkey being fried.  I wish I could show you a picture of the finished product, but alas it didn't occur to anyone to do anything with it but eat it once it was done, yum!

I love our kid table.  Like I said before, we do our best to keep this group happy so that all the grown ups can stay happy, it's not a bad position for those kids to be in, ha ha.

Cooper and Jacob somehow bypassed the kid table and went straight to the grownup table, they don't seem to mind, do they?

I'm pretty sure this was the first time Sophie Kate has been out of her pajamas in four weeks and while that may seem like a dream come true to some, it really does get old after a while.  It was good for her and me to get cleaned up and get out of the house for something other than a doctor's appointment or an ER visit, you know?  I know this isn't a very good picture of SK but I wanted to show y'all how sweet her cousin Jill was with her.  I caught her in a random act of kindness with SK.

I had a sweet encounter with Jill's brother Michael as well, in which he was singing to "Sophie Cake."  I thought it was so cute that he called her that.
OK, that picture is better...she looks a bit more happy in that one.  I will say that this continues to be a slow process. She is getting better each day but she is still not my sweet smiley Sophie.  It concerns me that it is taking this long to get my baby girl back.

Leave it to Cooper to find himself some alone time even amongst a crowd of people.  He hollered up to me to take a picture of one of the fish he caught.  Even with my long lens I couldn't get close enough, sadly I don't think I did that fish he caught any justice, sorry dude.

It was good for us to be able to stay close to home this year. Sophie Kate was in no shape to be driving long distances. It was good to see everyone (even though we were missing some), just hang out, watch some football and let the kids play.  

By the way, Chad's birthday is today and having him here for the past five days has spoiled me greatly.  I miss him today, but am grateful for his commitment to me and to our children. He's showing these boys what a real man is and what a real man does by the way he loves and cares for them, their sister and their mama.  Happy 40th Chad!