Monday, October 31, 2011

Diggin' In

She stared at it for a minute or two...

But then she got the hang of it!

She managed to successfully get cake everywhere:  in her hair, on her pants, in her ear...

5 Little Pumpkins

5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate.  First one says, "Oh my!  It's getting late."
The second one says, "There are witches in the air."
The third one says, "But we don't care."
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run."

The fifth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"

Ooooooh went the wind and out went the light and five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...

What a difference a year makes...

Birthday Treats

I'm planning to drag the birthday posts out for as loooong as possible, if you haven't noticed!  :)

We asked Caleb's girlfriend, Heather, :) to take pictures at Abby's party.  I didn't want to stress myself out taking pictures (or worse, NOT take pictures!), and I don't like asking party-goers to take them when they're there to have fun too.  We think she did a fabulous job and got the pictures back in just a week!  I hear she's available... :) 

Heather took a lot of pictures of the treats we had, so I figured I'd share them with you! 

My awesome sister made the cupcakes using a Georgetown Cupcake icing recipe.  She even learned how to put a chocolate filling inside to make them extra fancy! 
These were a true "labor of love."  Thank you for all of your hard work, Amy!!

Abby can't eat cake, but she can eat frosting.  Solution:  a cake made entirely of icing!  Sammi, who has made cakes for us in the past, made this beautiful icing cake for Abby to dig her fingers into...and dig she did!

We had a variety of cheesecakes, cookies, cream puffs, and chocolate eclairs

And I made heart-shaped cookies for the favors with a tag that said, "All You Need is Love."  The back explained that a donation was made to the Ronald McDonald House.  I think that most families would agree that a donation to a worthwhile organization is a better party favor than some dollar store toys that will be under the couch in a few hours.  :)

By the way:  Thanks to the generosity of our friends and family, almost $500 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House!!  What better way to say Happy Birthday to Abby than to donate to such a wonderful organization that has done so much for our family?!

Hay Pits Are Good For...





And taking pictures!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Birthday Pumpkin Patch Trip

On Abby's birthday, the four of us went to our favorite pumpkin patch (well, it's a little bit pumpkin patch, but more fall festival) and celebrated the day doing something fun.  I can honestly say that we all had fun, because Abby is to a place in her development where she can enjoy some of the activities as well.

They started out by acting silly in the picture cut-outs.

 This is my favorite one.  I love her face!

We then took a barrel ride through the pumpkin patch, which ended up being a whole lot bumpier than I had thought it would be.  I had to hold on really tight!

Caleb went through the hay bale corn maze.

He also navigated his way through the big maze, without any help from us or the map!  It was pretty amazing.  I'm glad he got his daddy's sense of direction.

Abby L-O-V-E-D the hay pit, so be on the look out for many more pictures of that!

There were too many wild kids to put Abby in the corn pit, but I gave her some corn to play with on her tray.  She didn't seem all that thrilled with it, but you don't have to worry about dried corn being a choking hazard when your child has an oral aversion!  There's always a silver lining!  :)

While Matt and Caleb watched the antique tractor-pull with all of its smelly exhaust and dust, Abby and I strolled around and looked for places to play.  She liked this big pumpkin a lot!

Four hours and two exhausted, no-naps children later, I decided it would be nice to get some pictures in front of the mum display before we left.  Yep, this is the best I got!

It was the perfect day and the perfect way to celebrate such a milestone in Abby's life.  Look for more pictures from our farm adventures to come!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Speaking at the NICU

Matt and I had an amazing opportunity today as we spoke to the NICU staff that saved Abby's life.  We loved thanking them for taking care of our daughter.  We loved showing her off.  We loved seeing so many familiar faces. 

But what was the most amazing part was that we were able to share our faith and hope in Christ with so many people.  How could we not tell Abby's story without giving credit to the One who performed all of the miracles?!  There may be no medical explanation for why Abby's spine is straight, her sight and hearing are fine, her rib gaps are closing, or her cognitive ability is on target....but we know why.

We were impressed with how reflective the group as a whole was and how they really seemed to be taking our concerns and suggestions to heart.  While our talk was mostly about Abby's miracles, we were also asked to include some ways the NICU could improve.  There were a few things that we wish had been different, most of wish involved communication, and the staff had an open dialogue at the end about ways that they could avoid those problems in the future.  We even heard a few doctors discussing how there needs to be training on how to be a better communicator. 

One of the greatest comments that was made by one of the doctors is that they all need to remember that they really do not know the outcome of a situation, and it is wrong to make something sound certain and take away a family's hope.  She then said that Abby is living proof that doctors don't always know.  I agree.  :)

At the end, we brought Miss Abby in (she was hanging out in a little side room with our nurse) and they oohed and ahhed over her and remarked about how fat she had gotten.  :)  It was awesome for them to see her. 

I think it was really nice for the staff to hear a success story when, all too often, there's a lot of sadness in the NICU.  It was really nice for us to be able to share it too!

Over the next few weeks, I will be working on a few other writing pieces related to our life with Abby.  I am constantly floored by how God took a seemingly hopeless situation and turned it into something so beautiful and FULL of hope!  While I never would have pictured my life this way, it's exciting to see the opportunities God is giving us that we never would have had otherwise. 

Thank you guys for praying.  I was surprisingly calm throughout and only choked up a few times.  (If you know me, you know that's no small feat!)  :)

Here's a sweet little picture of Abby playing with one of the respiratory therapists who took care of her a lot.  I meant to take more pictures, but I was too busy chatting afterwards!

This is the slideshow that I did for Abby's party.  Unfortunately, we are unable to put our own music in the slideshow, so we set it to one of their songs, muted it, and played the songs we wanted on my iPod through the speakers.  I can't really do that here, so it loses something when the big band music is playing.  :(

The best I can do is show you the slideshow.  I tried to also include the songs we played, but for some reason, they won't imbed here tonight.  Technology!!

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Art of Opening Presents

The morning of Abby's birthday, Caleb, Matt, and I went in to sing Happy Birthday to her. (Matt and I also set our alarms for 12:12 a.m. and went in to wish her an "official" happy birthday and shed a few tears!) We then piled onto the bed for Abby's first experience with opening presents.
 Caleb is just not used to sharing the present-opening around here, so it was pretty hard for him to sit back and watch Abby...he just wanted to "help!"  (read: do it for her)
 She shook every present...learning early!
 She started playing with this one before she even unwrapped it all!
 Her ball popper was by far her favorite gift, although I'm not sure who likes it better--Caleb or Abby!

Stay tuned for many, many more birthday posts!

Stubborn Sally

This girl has so much personality!!  This is the look she often gives her physical therapist when Abby doesn't want to do whatever she is trying to make her do.  It's like a, "Do you really think that's going to work?" kind of a look, because Abby is too stubborn to be coerced into doing something she is against.  I'm hoping that this will do her good when she's older!