Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to You....

The kids enjoyed their pizza...

...then we sang "Happy Birthday" to Abs.  Yep, those candles are in a pudding cup.  It's a Paula Deen recipe that probably has more calories per tablespoon than her Pediasure.  :)

One day, I will be able to sing "Happy Birthday" to Abby without crying.  This was not the year.  
Here's to many more teary-eyed "Happy Birthday" songs, Abs!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Wind Tunnel

These three cuties, who are all just about the same age (they are spaced out about 2 months apart), loved playing in the Wind Tunnel that was at the bounce house.  We never paid the money for them to actually feel the wind; they just liked being inside of the big plexiglass door.  They had so much fun!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Abby,

Today is your third birthday.  At exactly three years ago today, you came flying into this world and quickly stole our hearts with those big black eyes you had.  Three years old, little girl!  Where did the time go?!  You have SO much personality, and you are living up to your name.  You truly are a joy to everyone you meet.  Even strangers who have no idea how much you've been through in the last three years comment on how much of a joy you are.  If they only knew!

It is amazing to me to see how far you have come.  Three years ago, my only prayer was for God to let us have you for a just a little longer.  No one thought we had much time with you, and I tried so hard to cherish every second.  I took so many pictures because I didn't want to forget your face.  I held your little hand and tried to fill a lifetime of love into those first few terrifying days.  I vowed that no matter how much time we had together, I would show you what it means to be loved.

As you began to improve and things didn't look quite so dire, I allowed myself to think of what "home life" would be like once we left the hospital.  It wasn't anything like I pictured it!!  But nonetheless, we were so thankful to be able to bring your home.  The memory of walking out of the hospital with you, nurses and respiratory therapists shedding tears right along with us, is not one I will ever forget.

Although time seemed to creep by while we were in the thick of it, you really did improve so fast!  For a girl who was supposed to be trach and vent dependent for life, you were trach-free before age 2!  Equally amazingly, you were feeding tube-free by three!!!  You have so far surpassed the doctors' predictions for your life in just three short years.  What an awesome God we have, Abby!

In case you read this in the future and want to know what you were like at age 3, let me give you a little glimpse!  You still love Hello Kitty, but you are also very fond of Abby Cadabby.  In fact, you are currently insisting that your real name is not Abigail, but Abby Cadabby!  Your favorite shows are Caillou, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and Sophia the First.  We watch those shows on the iPad over and over and over again while you eat...until Daddy decides that those apps are broken!  You love to play with ponies and princesses, and you also love to draw on your easel.  You are fond of Caleb's legos, but he doesn't like for you to play with them.  You aren't nearly as excited about the Duplos that are really for you.

You are really a chatterbox now!  I love sitting back and listening to you talk.  Although we are still working on making sure others can understand you, you certainly have a lot to say!  Some of your favorite phrases are, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!" "Chloe, you're so cute!" "I can do it myself!" and "Daddy's a princess!"  You've also come a long way in your gross motor skills.  You are running, galloping, and jumping all over the place.  Just recently, you've started getting really excited about jumping off of stuff.  Now I can't keep you from climbing on things to jump off of them!

Happy birthday, sweet Abby Joy.  I'm so proud of you and look forward to many more birthdays!  May you continue to discover all that God wants you to be.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Bouncing Around

Abby's 3rd birthday party was at an indoor bounce house.  Based on the smiles, I think they all had fun. 

Uncle Bruce was hiding in the moon bounce!

Stay tuned for lots more pictures of Abby's party!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Fun!

Recently, we went to a local pumpkin patch with our dear friends for some fall fun!

We went through the corn maize, allowing each child to take turns leading.  We also learned that Caleb...and Matt...have a hard time letting other people take charge in leading.  I think they were afraid of getting lost.  Abby definitely has my sense of direction!

We played in the corn pit, which was a huge hit with all of the kids!

The two little ones (just 5 months apart and in the same Mom's Morning Out class!) loved the hayride!

I finally convinced Abby to ride the barrel train by riding with her.  It was just a little crowded!

They all loved the playground and big drain pipe slide.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many times Abby went down the slide by herself!

Each of the kids picked out a pumpkin...a big decision, to be sure!

One of the last things we did was play in the hay pit, which was a big hit.  Caleb loved jumping into the pit!

What a fun day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Remember Emily?  She's the young adult with CCMS that we have been fortunate to get to know over the last few years.  I talked to her mom for an hour the other night, and I can say we are blessed to have a family who gets our life.  It's really interesting to the surgeries and therapies she's had and get a glimpse of what could be in store for Abby.  We don't typically have any indication of what Abby is going to need in the future, so learning about Emily's journey is as close as we will ever get!  Plus, she is such a sweet girl with a huge heart.  Just read a little of her blog!

We've been saying for quite some time that we would really love to meet Emily in person.  So, a month of so ago, we started really planning!  After our recent conversation, we have chosen a date and Emily is going to come visit for a long weekend!!!

It means so much to us that this college student wants to give up part of her winter break to hang out with us, and it makes me smile even more to know that her reason is because she wants to give Abby what she never had growing up--a friend who is like her.  How awesome is that?!

I'm so excited to spend time with her as a family, and to show her around our beautiful area!

Making the Most of a Cloudy Day

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thank You, Walmart

So, I ran to Walmart tonight for a few things I really needed (read:  I couldn't run my overflowing dishwasher because we were out of detergent...and I don't wash dishes!) :)  It was supposed to be a quick, relatively easy trip.  We were also shopping for toys for Operation Christmas Child, so the kids were excited to pick out toys for the two children for whom we are filling shoe boxes.  Fairly painless, right?

Just as we walk in and head to the cart rack at the entrance to the store, two punk kids with scary masks over their heads start acting up.  Abby has a ridiculous phobia of slight fear of masks, which typically results in a lengthy meltdown, "That's so scary!" repeated a few hundred times, and heavy stimulation to sooth her.  Today did not disappoint.

I just kind of rolled my eyes at the punks and hurried to our cart, figuring I could calm her down once we were out of their sight...

...until they started chasing Caleb.

He was screaming, she was screaming, and I had had enough.  I spun around and fussed at the boys, saying, "Can you please stop?!  You're scaring my kids!"

They both thought that was hysterical, although one of the boys did take his mask off.  The other one continued being obnoxious as I hurried away as fast as I could with two terrified children clinging to me.

The worst part?  We were right in front of layaway, where several Walmart employees watched without doing anything.  They're just as bad as the kids, if not worse!

We stay away from haunted houses, costume shops, and even the Halloween aisle to avoid these types of meltdowns.  I should be able to get my cart without having my kids freaked out.

Can you tell I'm still a little put off by all of this?!

Farm Life

Stay tuned for lots of pictures from our day at the pumpkin patch!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sesame Place

We had a great time at Sesame Place during our quick trip to Philly!  Abby discovered her love for Abby Cadabby (except when the wooden cut-out is the same size as her, apparently!)

She now insists that her "real" name is Abby Cadabby, not Abigail.

Caleb rode his very first "real" roller coaster...twice...and loved it!!  We would have gone again, but the line was too long at that point.  

Abby really liked Elmo too, and we even watched a show with all of the favorite characters...and Elmo as Michael Jackson dancing to "Thriller."  

Both kids enjoyed climbing the cargo nets, although Caleb went a lot higher than Abby!  I'm secretly kind of glad she didn't want to go up too freaked me out a little!

They both loved riding these push-pull trains.  We were impressed by how much Abby could do on her own!  You can see her look of determination!

While Caleb did some of the rides for older kids, Abby played on a bouncy thing with huge soft blocks.  She had SO much fun!

Caleb and I rode a ride that jumped up and down.  We couldn't quite convince Abby to ride it, but Caleb loved it!

This was part of Abby Cadabby's maze, but I thought it was perfect for Abs!

After a long day of riding rides and having fun, we headed home from our little trip.  It was quick, but we packed in a lot of fun.  

Oh, and since it was Halloween time, they had "trick or treat" stations.  The treats were real snacks, like popcorn, fruit leather, and juice boxes.  The kids were set for the ride home!  Of course, they slept most of the way...thank you, Sesame Street!