Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bat Dog

Ever since we lost Becky, Caleb has rediscovered his love for his little stuffed Boxer.  He didn't really have a name before, but now it is most definitely Bat Dog.  Bat Dog pretty much goes everywhere with him in the house and Caleb throws a fit if you tease him about taking him or something.  I'm pretty sure the missing of Becky has a lot to do with that.

Bat Dog often gets carried around in a little "pouch" like a kangaroo.


I am slightly concerned that this could be foreshadowing, should we get another dog...please don't call the Humane Society on us!  I promise I would never let them do this to a real dog, much less take pictures while they are doing it!

But they had a great time making Bat Dog "fly," and that's all that matters...right??

In other news:  Caleb is really missing Becky.  He'll sometimes stare out the back door at her grave and just get this face of udder sadness.  It makes he tear up every time.  Sometimes he'll vocalize his feelings and sometimes he'll just sigh and turn away, but I know he's feeling the same way I am.  We just miss our dog!

Great Little Thrift Store Finds!

abby monkey shirt

Amy and I went thrift store shopping last weekend and got some pretty great deals!  This little monkey shirt is just one of many Gymboree pieces I found for wayyyyy less than in the store. 

caleb in jacket

Doesn't Caleb look handsome?!  I found this Children's Place sport coat at Good Will and decided that it would make the perfect addition to his Easter outfit.  Knowing that Caleb would be less than thrilled about this coat, I decided to call it his Magic Jacket.  Amazingly, coins and treats appeared in his pocket every now and then while he was wearing it!  Even more amazingly, he wore it for the better part of the day with little to no complaining!  :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

video issues

I'm not sure what happened to the bath video I posted last night, but I re-uploaded it and it is working now.  :)

Momma's Girl

Not really...I'm pretty much third in this girl's eyes (Caleb, Matt, then me!) but we'll just pretend.

mom and abby outside 2

mom and abby outside

And my favorite...
mom and abby outside 3 saturation

(Do you see that pudgy little hand on my leg?  Isn't she the sweetest?!)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Her Very First Bath!

Abby got her very first REAL bath the night before Easter!  Nope, she'd never had anymore than a sponge bath until then.  Crazy, right?! 

I finally found our missing infant bath tub and worked up the nerve to try her out in it.  Because it's so dangerous for water to get into the trach (read:  into the trachea), I've been pretty hesitant to try it. 

At first, she looked at me with this are-you-sure-this-is-a-good-idea look on her face, but once I splashed her legs a little and showed her how she could use her hands and feet to splash, she loved it!



video
I still wouldn't brave bathtime without two people, but it was definitely a lot of fun.

Here's a video of Abby's first introduction to the water.  There will be many more pictures to come!

The Play by Play

Here's the entire scoop of Abby's doctors' appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday!

ENT
Abby went to see the ENT on Tuesday with Matt and a nurse.  (You wouldn't know it by the amount of times I've had to take off, but we really do try to split the appointments as much as possible!)  It was a good visit and Dr. T thinks that she is developing well.  The trach site looks good and he gave us a few suggestions on how to keep the site from getting so red.  He will be doing a bronchoscopy (scoping her airway) during her palate repair to see how it is growing.  During the palate repair, he will also see if she needs tubes (90% of cleft palate kids do, so we're figuring she will) and put them in then.  He'll also do a comprehensive hearing screening using brain waves (they aren't questioning her hearing, but they just want to make sure).  I'm glad that they'll be able to get so much done at once so that they won't have to put Abby under anesthesia any more than necessary.  At his suggestion, I called to make an appointment with the cleft palate clinic to schedule a consultation and get the ball rolling on that.

Low and behold, I was able to get it for the very next day, on a day when we were already going to be there!!  This is no small miracle, my friends!!

So we headed back up again on Wednesday.  This time, Matt and I both went.  Afterall, this was the BIG appointment about her ribs and we both wanted to hear the news firsthand.  We would be crying after this one, one way or another!

Thoracic
We met with the chief of pediatric surgery, who is the only pediatric thoracic surgeon at JHH.  He checked out Abby's x-rays and noted that the gaps are posterior.  This means the gaps are away from the sternum, closer to her side.  He was happy about this because it means that the sternum is strong and the gaps won't do as much damage.  Dr. C assured us that her lungs and heart were well-protected and that we didn't need to be extra-careful with her.  Furthermore, he said that as long as she was breathing well and was able to be weaned from the ventilator, he didn't see any reason to do any surgery at all!!  He claimed that lots of kids live very "normal" lives with rib gaps. 

When we asked about the titanium rib surgery, he said there was no reason to pursue that because Abby isn't that severe.  Thank you, Lord!  That surgery scared me so much!!  If they did do surgery on her, it would be relatively minor in comparison and would be using bone grafts from her good ribs to fill in the gaps.  Right now,, though, Dr. C just wants to leave her alone and let her grow.  Yay!!!

As expected, we cried happy tears and enjoyed a moment of thankfulness together.  :)

Cleft Palate
So then, we headed over the the cleft palate clinic, where we saw a plastic surgeon who does ALL of the repairs for JHH.  He does about 650 a year!!  Craziness!  We really liked him a lot and appreciated the time he took to explain everything to us.  He even drew diagrams!

Abby's palate repair will be at the end of September, when she is 11 months old.  This will allow the palate to be intact and avoid speech problems.  (We'll still have some because of the trach, but let's not have anymore than necessary!)  It's her soft palate that is cleft, which is the best place if you have to have a cleft.  Hers will be a simple repair and she'll only be in the hospital one night if all goes well. 

Dr. R will also follow her jaw growth, and ENT and he will determine together if a jaw distraction will be helpful for Abby.  If it will be useful, it could speed up the amount of time she has to have a trach!!  Ahhhh, decannulation (removal of the trach) day will be a national holiday in our family!!  We'll know more about that after her palate repair when they scope her airway.

Swallow Study
Abby's next appointment is on Monday, and it's a swallow study evaluation to see how she does drinking a bit of milk by bottle and eating solid foods!!  I am SOOOOOOOO excited about the prospect of Abby getting to eat by mouth!  I know that g-tube removal is a long way off because she'll have to be able to get her nutrition by mouth before that can be taken out, but anything by  mouth is a start!!!

Pulminology
After this round of appointments, I can now safely share that we are planning for Abby to be weaned from the vent this summer!!!  It had been mentioned in our last pulminology appointment, but we were waiting on ENT and thoracic to confirm it.  We'll do an elective admission to good ole Mount Washington for about a week, where they will slowly wean Abby under close observation.  I'm thankful for that though, because I'd much rather do that in the hospital!  It's much safer!  The goal is a complete weaning, but they definitely want her at least off during the day.  We have another pulminology appointment in June, so we'll hopefully schedule the weaning at that time.  I can't wait for decannulation, but right now, I will very gladly take a deventilation!  (no, that's not really a word...but I really just want her off of the ventilator!)

Alright, I think I've caught everybody up to speed on all of the medical news.  Does this even make any sense to anyone else?!  I have no idea.  But I figure that at the very least, you can know how to pray and how to praise...because there's a whole lot to praise God for in Abby's life!

Thank you for all of your prayers.  We are, to say the least, ecstatic about all of this good news.  I don't dread going to the doctor anymore because I can actually have hope that we'll get some positive information!  :)

On Why Spring is My Favorite Season...

...Because after a LONG winter of being cooped up indoors, we are finally able to spend lots of quality time OUTSIDE!!!

hiding around car

laying in grass
Do you see the slight blurriness at her hand?  That's because she was rubbing her hand back and forth on the grass.  I think she liked the texture. 

caleb under car

matt under car
Playing peekaboo under the van. 

Have I mentioned that this was a looooooooooooooong winter?!?  TGIS! (Thank Goodness It's Spring!!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Really Quick Update

I don't have much time at all to post, but I wanted to let you know, in case you haven't heard...

Today went FABULOUSLY!!!

I will write a more detailed post later, but Abby doesn't need to have any rib surgeries right now, nor does the doctor think she will EVER need them!  (This would probably only change if the rib anomalies get impact her breathing.)  We cried happy tears and then got back in the car to hear--what song?  "Our God." 

Perfect!

We also learned about her cleft palate repair, which will take place in September.  They're going to do a whole slew of things during that procedure to maximize the time she's under anesthesia, but more on that later. 

Thank you for all of the prayers!  God is hearing them and is performing miracles in our girl to show others His power.  :)

Easter

Easter this year was wonderful!  Caleb's big gift was tickets to the Monster Truck rally in Baltimore (he watches it every morning!), but he also received a few little things.  Abby got a learning cow that does all kinds of things and a cool ball that flashes.  They got their first joint present of a butterfly garden, and Caleb is incredibly excited about this!  (We're still working on teaching Abby about metamorphosis, but she's getting there.)  He's been asking every day if the larvae have arrived in the mail, so hopefully they'll get here soon!  I have sooo many great memories of raising butterflies every year growing up.  I can't wait to get some good pictures!
easter c and a 2

easter c and a


We adjusted our nursing hours so that we would have the afternoon and evening to celebrate on our own, so we headed up to my parents' house around 2:30.  After a lively Easter egg hunt that included lots of running, squealing, and crying (and that was just Bruce!)  :), the kids headed back inside to dump out their eggs and examine their loot. 

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast-for-dinner meal, but the best part was just having a good sense of normalcy!
family photo

Wordless Wednesday

egg hunt in tree

egg hunt in tree 2

egg hunt in tree 3

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On Why Today Has Been a Fabulous Day

1.  I passed my BIG test that I took back in March with flying colors!  This is a huge sigh of relief....especially since I was "slightly" busy during study time! 

2.  We had a yummy dinner that included roasted broccoli--one of my new favs!  I added some feta cheese this time, and it was SO good!

3.  I've been selected to be a blogger for Lock-n-Lock (you know, the storage containers?), so I will be getting lots of freebies in exchange for some blogs about how much I love them...which I do!

4.  Somehow, I was able to get two appointments for the same day...tomorrow!!!  This is no small miracle.

5.  Warm weather makes me happy. 

In other news, tomorrow is a HUGE appointment with the head of pediatric surgery at JHH.  He's the thoracic surgeon and he'll be checking out Abby's ribs and letting us know the next steps.  We also were able to get an appointment with the cleft palate clinic for tomorrow, so it's a big day!  Please pray for more miracles!!!

Treasure Hunt

My parents went camping at the Navy Rec Center in Solomons (a very nice facility, I might add!), so we visited with them one night.  Caleb and Sara spent the night there and had a blast!

Mom and Aunt Judy set up a treasure hunt for the kids, complete with clues and--of course--treasure!  They were thrilled with the idea and had a ball running from one place to another in search of the next clue.
treasure hunt

treasure hunt 2

treasure hunt 3

treasure hunt 5


treasure hunt 4
Matt took all of these pictures so that I could stay a safe distance away...for germs' sake.  Yep, still a germaphobe, but for very good reason!

The treasure was a bubble gun that works extremely well, a bunny bubble wand, and some colored bubbles!  (Note:  these colored bubbles are cool in theory, but they stain everything they touch...including kids!  They are definitely a bathing suit toy!!)

caleb bubble gun

caleb bubble gun 2

Heidi tried to stay away from the mayhem, but there's no rest for the weary when Caleb is around!  (Did you know that he has decided that Heidi is his dog who just lives at Nina and Paw Paw's house?  I'm not sure how Heidi feels about this arrangement...)

heidi

Oh yeah, and I learned how to carry Abby in the Baby Bjorn!!   It was extremely exciting!  We're all feeling a little more "normal" every day!

abby in bb 2

abby in bb

It was such a fun night.  Thanks for having us over, Nina and Paw Paw!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sleepy Head

abby on momma bw

abby on stomach sleeping
PS:  Can you see how red her hair is getting in the back?!?  Ignore the bald spots and focus on the beautiful red locks she's growing!  :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

We hope that this Easter season, you are able to celebrate its real meaning!  Candy, eggs, and bunnies are all fun for the kids, but Jesus is the only reason that we even have this holiday.  And it's not really all about Jesus dying on the cross...anyone can die.  What sets Jesus apart is that he actually rose from the dead!  I don't really know anyone else who has been able to do that, do you?!

If you want to hear more about how cool this holiday is, I'd love to talk to you about it!  :)

We'll be enjoying our own celebration later on today, so enjoy some pictures from a recent Easter egg hunt Caleb attended in our community!
egg hunt c and momma

egg hunt eating

egg hunt under cherry tree

cherry trees

PS:  Aren't the cherry trees beautiful?!  I think they're a new favorite of mine.

Trachs and Vents 101--Feeding Pump

This is neither a trach, nor a vent, nor does it have anything to do with a trach or a vent.  But, it goes along with my series.  Perhaps I should have come up with a different title.  Oh well...

feeding pump

This is Abby's feeding pump, and it provides her with all of her milk.  She doesn't take anything by mouth right now, but we're hoping that will change soon!  (I'm kind of doubting it, but a girl can dream!)

There is a feeding tube in Abby's belly that this pump tubing connects to.  The feeding tube is really not much of a tube at all.  In fact, we call it a "button."  It's a round circle (hence the name button!) that has a deflated balloon attached to it.  You insert the balloon side into her belly and fill it (through a little hole on the side) with a few mls of water.  That inflates the balloon and keeps the button in place.  We clean around the site each day, and that's about the extent of the care!  You only change the button once every three months.  It's actually very simple to check and replace, but the stomach muscles close up quickly, so you have to be speedy with your changes!  Don't have a broken button when you're out somewhere without a replacement, or your child will be having another surgery!  (We just keep a spare in our to-go bag!)

The feeding pump is set to a certain rate (depending on how much milk Abby should get) and then it gives her that over the span of an hour....in theory.  Our pump has issues and sometimes does half an hour, and sometimes does two hours.  Thankfully, we've just received a new one that does seem to work a bit better.

I'm not sure if these posts are boring or interesting, but I figure it might satisfy a few curious minds.  I wouldn't call anybody "trained," exactly, but at least it gives you a little background knowledge!  :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

First!

We took Abby to the playground at my school for the first time last Sunday!  It's Caleb favorite playground because it has a castle--plus it's handicapped (stroller) accessible and we rarely see anyone else there!

playground coming down hill

playground with stroller
We kept her in the stroller most of the time for simplicity's sake....and because it was really sunny.

playground saving princess
Caleb was soooo excited and loved "rescuing" Princess Abby from the tower!

playground swing
I did take her out for a bit to swing.  (She was awake, but the sun was in her eyes.  We faced the other direction as soon as this was taken, and she was much happier!)

playground with daddy

playground c monkey bars


playground c monkey bars 2

playground slid
It was such a nice day to be outside, and I'm SO glad that we can finally do that!!!

Calebisms

(In the midst of throwing a tantrum over what he was going to wear to church):  "But I haaaave to wear my Batman shirt, because that's how I get all of my powers!"

(When I wasn't understanding the word he was trying to say):  "I wouldn't expect you to understand, Momma.  I'll talk to Daddy instead."

(In a sing-songy high-pitched voice):  "Where's my precious little sister?!"

(Regarding his new car seat):  "Riding in the car used to be soooooo boring.  Now it's so exciting!!"

(Asking me to read a book in German to him):  "Well, you're German.  You're a really good Germaner!"

And I just have to throw in an Owenism (Owen is my eight year old nephew), but I need to stage it a bit:
We were watching The Sound of Music in the car on the way to RMH, and I was giving a simplistic explanation of WWII.  He really loves history and was asking lots of questions about Hitler and the Nazis.  When I explained that Hitler didn't like Jewish people, he said, "So it's kind of like the way the Redskins don't like the Cowboys?"  :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Giving Back

We went back to the Ronald McDonald House on Tuesday...but this time, as volunteers!!  Do you know how great it feels to get an amazing welcome from everyone on staff, like we're some long-lost family members?!  I know the director, Sandy, must have hugged us at least 5 times!  I tell you, I love those people!

Our Easter egg hunt was a wonderful success, besides the fact that only 4 RMH kids participated.  I think that it may have just been a little too early and some of the kids were still at therapy.  Sandy also said that they have a lot of inpatient kids right now, so there's more adults at the house than usual.  It didn't really matter though, because those four kids had a blast and got a lot more eggs because of the small number!  In addition to all of the candy-filled eggs, each kid got to find four golden eggs, which with slips for the special prizes.  They were so excited with the prizes!  My favorite was an eight year old boy who was in a wheelchair due to limb lengthening surgery.  His older brother was pushing him around and he would point to an egg, they'd zoom across the room to it, and he'd grab it.  That duo was hysterical! 

Caleb and I made homemade play-dough and put it in eggs for the mailboxes, along with the recipe for it.  My students at school made cards for the kids, so we also included those.  (Side note:  I had mentioned at one point that the sodas were only 25 cents there, so a bunch of kids decided to tape quarters into their cards and say "Enjoy a soda on me.")  :)

I think that the students in the youth group who went really enjoyed themselves, and I know that we did!  We're already thinking about how we can take the puppet team this summer and do a backyard show with a cookout.  I can't wait!! 

Along the same lines with giving back, I have some exciting news to share with you.  We have been asked to be the face of a new program called, "Adopt-a-Night."  This program allows people to donate directly to the families to help them pay for their stay.  You can choose to donate for one night, a week, a month, a year, etc and it will go to help families who are financially unable to pay their entire bill.  Any amount is welcomed and so appreciated by the families!  While $15 a night is very inexpensive, it does add up when you are staying their for an extended period of time.

We were asked to share our story in writing and include some pictures of our family and some of Abby. That piece is sent in the thank you note for all of the Adopt-a-Night donors.  We were incredibly excited to do this because we are so thankful for everything that RMH has done for us and we would love to do whatever we can to help them raise money as well.  I just got the published version of our story and the brochure when I was there on Tuesday and they did a fabulous job with it.

If you or someone you know would like to make an Adopt-a-Night donation, feel free to go here to RMH's website and check out the details.  You are also able to do it in honor of someone's birthday, anniversary, life, etc. and RMH will send that person a card on the designated day letting him/her know of your gift. 

On the website, there are also numerous ways that you can help RMH.  They are always in need of monetary donations, but there's a whole list of supplies as well.  If you're interested, saving the tabs off of soda cans is an easy way to help out.  They turn these in and get money for them.  You can get your soda tabs to me and I'll take them up there if you'd like.  We're just starting to collect them ourselves.

Of course, don't forget about the change containers at McDonald's!  In Maryland, ALL of the change collected in those containers (both in the drive thru and in the restaurant) goes directly to RMH Baltimore...not to the corporate headquarters!  Feel good about going to McDonald's!  :)

Quick story:  We were in McDonald's the other day and Caleb saw the RMH logo on the bottom of a poster for Happy Meals.  He was so excited and exclaimed (quite loudly), "Look Momma!  There's the Ronald McDonald House!"  Lots of people turned to look, and so I took the opportunity to explain to Caleb--so that others could hear--how McDonalds helps RMH and how we should always donate our change, since RMH helped us so much.  Can't hurt, might help!  :)

Seriously, RMH is the real deal.  We know first-hand what an amazing charity this is.  If you are looking for a new charity to support, this may be one for you to consider! 

Trachs and Vents 101--Suctioning

suction

This little guy isn't an alarm, but it does have a pretty important job.  This is our suction machine, and it suctions the junk out of Abby's trach, nose, and mouth.  We have two because we need one to take with us when we go places and one to be stationary.

Without getting into too much of the gross details, the suction machine manually does for Abby what you do when you cough.  We usually suction the trach between 6-8 times a day (more if she's sick).  Although we could suction her nose all day long if we wanted to, we try to just use a tissue as much as possible and save the nose-sucking for when absolutely necessary.  (Think how much your kids love/loved the nasal aspirator, and times that by 50.  That's how much Abby "loves" getting her nose sucked!)

What she does truly love, though, is getting her mouth sucked!  Now that she's putting toys in her mouth, she's creating a lot more saliva.  Sometimes she can swallow it, but sometimes she needs some help.  It's basically like the straw the dentist uses, but Abby LOVES it.  She gets a huge smile on her face whenever I suck her mouth.  She especially likes when I get her tongue stuck to it.  Weirdo...

To suction the trach, you need to keep it as sterile as possible.  That is difficult in a home environment, but we do everything possible to avoid contaminating the trach.  We do all of the opening of packages and such before cleaning our hands so that a clean hand is what goes inside the glove.  The gloved hand only touches the suction catheter and nothing else.  You use your "dirty" (non-gloved) hand for everything but the catheter.  After attaching the catheter to the suction tubing, you disconnect the vent and put the suction catheter down inside the trach to the specific measurement you're told based on the size of the trach.  For Abby, we only go down 4 cm, which is not very far at all!  She's so little that you don't have to go down very far to get the stuff out.  In fact, going too deep could damage her throat. 

It sounds complicated and it is at first, but you get the hang of it.  Now, I don't even think twice about suctioning.  It's funny how I used to be so concerned about messing up that I would freak myself out, and now I can carry on a conversation while doing pretty much any of these tasks.  That's experience for you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smiley

The other day, Abby was soooo smiley!  Just putting her hand on my face got big grins!

smiling 3

smiling 2

smiling 1

Another Great Song!

Are you getting tired of my song-sharing yet?  I hope not, because the songs I share are so important to me.  God speaks to me through music!

A few weeks ago, Matt preached at church.  The Friday before, he was sharing the verses he was doing and it was very much about struggling and how God meets you where you are.  I asked if he was going to talk about Abby and he said he didn't think he was ready.  I told him that he either needed to get ready or save this sermon for when he is, because these are the verses to use!

Well, as you know if you were there, Matt did it!  He even shared our conversation.  :)  I have never been more proud of my husband than that day.  He allowed God to use his brokenness and transparency to minister to others, and it was beautiful.  He definitely made me cry....but then again, that's not so hard to do!  :)  It was certainly an encouragement to Matt to hear from so many that they appreciated his words, because making yourself vulnerable is always a little scary. 

Anyway, this is the song that he shared at the end.  He didn't have someone sing it as he would have liked (it was a rather last-minute decision to switch it up like this, and it's not a well-known song to begin with!), but he read an excerpt from it.  It's a pretty great one!  Matt Papa shares a little of his story in the beginning.  I like his transparency too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Things That Have Absolutely Nothing to Do With Each Other

1.  The sinus rinse  is by far the best thing I've ever done for my allergies.  I have been on about a million medications...Claritin, Allegra, Singulair...and nothing has worked as well as this.  Plus, it's the safest and most natural thing to do if you are pregnant or nursing, so it's the only thing I have really used in the last year.  If you've heard of the Neti Pot, it's a lot like that, but I have heard it's a bit easier to use.  I haven't tried the Neti Pot myself, but I can attest that the Sinus Rinse is pretty user-friendly.  Before I started using it about a year and 1/2 ago, I got sinus infections constantly from my allergies.  Now, I don't!  I can tell when I didn't do it one morning (I don't use it as much in the winter time unless I have a cold, but I'm using it daily now that it's allergy season), but I feel pretty good all day if I use it in the morning! 







2.  Does anyone else send their food to Leftover Land, only to be discovered one day--many days later--in the back of the fridge as some unidentifiable, mold-growing object?  Seriously, I don't know why we even save them.  I am the only one who eats leftovers, so anything I don't eat (like leftover chicken, beef, turkey, steak, etc.) just goes to waste. 
 
Why yes, I was in fact cleaning out my refridgerator this morning!

Wordless Wednesday

egg hunt caleb closeup 2

egg hunt caleb closeup

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love in Written Form

We received Abby's book that we (a collective we--so many of you contributed!!) made her on Friday, and let me tell you...it is beautiful!  I can't wait to show it to many of you, but until then, I figured that I would share some excerpts.  The vast majority of those who contributed have not met Abby, and some have not even met us before, but the love and sincerity that is portrayed in their writing is evident.  Thank you to all who contributed!!

"...We are inspired by your strenth and it has been so special to share in the miracle which is your life..."

"...Through your parents' words and actions, you have opened eyes (mine included) to see the glory of God and have us longing for Him more..."

"...You are so LOVED!!  You are a daughter of the KING!..."

"...I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, briging something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return..."  (From "For Good" in the musical Wicked)

"...May everyone reading this find at least one moment to experience and enjoy those miracles.  For you truly are a miracle, Abby!..."

"...You have secured a place in my heart and it amazes me that as little as you are, you are a hero, and so strong.  You are fighting your own battles, in your own way and God has a plan for you and you are his Little Joy to be our miracle..."

"...But most of all we have praised God for the work that He is doing in the lives of those of us around you and those who know of you..."

"We have never met you in person but feel that we know you.  We have been praying for you daily for months and will continue to do so..."

"...God knew exactly who your family would be before you were born..."

"...Abby, I want you to know how deeply you are loved by so many caring and loving people..."

"...Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops--at all..."  (Emily Dickinson)

"...Your journey inspires us to make each and every day count..."

"...During the short time since your birth, you have been living proof of God's miracles..."

"...You are also teaching all of us more about love..."

"...What I didn't know until after you were born is how special of a gift you were going to be to so many others!..."

"...You are a fighter, just like your mom and your grandma!..."

"...God's creative abilities knows no boundaries..."

"....Love is a special gift and you are so surrounded by it hands down!"

"...You are a constant reminder of how God uses all of us even if we feel that we are small and not significant..."

"...Your courage and determination for life has been and will be an inspiration and demostration of the love of God for a long time..."

"...Thanks also to your parents, who in their love for you and your brother, share your journey with a world of people hungering to know and see God's movement..."

"...You encourage us to choose joy and to remember that through prayer and petition, all things are possible with God..."

"...I think your brother summed it up the best, "Our God is Greater!"  I'm sure that he has sung that to you about 10,000 times.  Amen to that!..."

"...Your bright eyes and long hair are so sweet and when you smile that little mouth is so cute..."

"...Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose.  I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations..."  (Jeremiah 1:5)

"...You have one of the best big brothers ever.  He has adored you every moment of your life.  He was never intimidated by being in a big scare place like the hospital.  He was just focused on being able to see his new baby sister..."

"...Always know that no matter what you face in this world, be it medical, emotional, physical, or just the growing pains of childhood,, as long as you stand firm in your faith, you will persevere..."

"...Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requestions to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:  4-7)

The books ends with this quote, which I absolutely love:

"When God wants to change the world, He sends a baby.  And then, He waits."

There's so much  more to this book, but I hope you've enjoyed reading a bit of it.  We will enjoy it forever and can't wait for Abby to be old enough to understand the love that has been written.

Singamajig

Abby got a Singamajig as a gift from RMH at Christmas. They're supposed to be one of the hot toys and it got Toy of the Year....not really sure how because you can't compare it to past winners like Cranium or the Leapster Explorer.   Basically, everytime you squeeze it, it "sings" a note and its mouth moves. When Caleb gets ahold of the Singamajig, it gets annoying very quickly! BUT, Abby absolutely loves it and especially enjoys her poof of hair. Here's a video of her grabbing it!

**Remember to pause the music at the bottom!

video

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Booster Seat!

On Saturday, we jumped on a good deal at Babies R Us and got Caleb a booster seat.  He's of the right age, height, and weight for it, and switching a booster from car to car when he's riding with someone else is a lot easier than a regular car seat.  We'll still primarily use his 5 point harness because it is safer, but this will be good for rides in other people's cars and such.

Public Service Announcement: Don't get sucked into buying the all-in-one car seat that works for infants, toddlers, and as a booster seat. Car seats have expiration dates and yours will expire well before your child is ready to be without one! (And yes, you really do need to pay attention to the expiration date...it's important!!) They are ridiculously expensive and they won't last the whole time anyway.  I saw them at BRU and thought, what a waste of money!  Our booster was $26 and has a removable back for when he gets bigger!


Let me tell you, this boy LOVES his booster seat!  He told everyone, including Abby, that he was big enough to sit in a booster seat now.  Matt put it together in the house and Caleb promptly plopped down on it and proceeded to sit there for quite some time. 
car seat 1
 
car seat 2
 
A little later, Matt was getting ready to go to the dump.  Normally, Caleb hates going with him and refuses.  Matt asked if he wanted to try out the new seat and he practically ran to the door!  He's so funny.
 
car seat 3

car seat 4
His favorite things about it are the cup holders that slide in and out (which is nice if you're short on space!) and the fact that he can stretch in it.  (??)  I guess he means because the seat belt is stretchy, unlike the 5 point harness.  We've had many talks about how he can't pull on it while the car is moving because then it can't do its job.  He's been good about it so far!  He also likes that he can unbuckle himself, but we're still working on the whole don't-do-it-until-one-of-us-tells-you-to idea.  He took it upon himself to unbuckle yesterday and the car hadn't stopped yet, so I wasn't too happy.  A little maybe-you're-not-old-enough-to-ride-in-a-booster-seat threat never hurt anyone!

Caleb informed me that riding in the car used to be really boring, but now it's very exciting!

At any rate, he's a very happy camper with his fancy new seat!  Now I just have to help him to understand that he won't be riding in it all of the time!

Speaking of camping, we're going to visit my parents tonight while they're camping!  I think Abby will enjoy walking around, because she loved the playground yesterday (pictures to come).  Naturally, we are going to avoid people and keep her in her stroller as much as possible, but fresh air is good for her.  Caleb is staying for a sleepover with Nina and Paw Paw!  Oh boy!!  :)