Monday, December 6, 2010

Is Anyone Still Out There?

My deepest apologies to all my loyal blog readers for not keeping you all updated on the Fillmore family's latest adventures. I am a terrible blogger. I have no excuses.

Perhaps I shall regale you with the highlights from the last week, or month.

Brock has a heart murmur and had an echocardiogram last week to check it out. We got the report on Saturday that it is a "normal" murmur and he will have it all his life. I was so stressed out about this. Thank goodness it is fine. What a relief.

Sydney is taking ballet again this semester and we are actually going this time. She is really enjoying it and doing quite well. We have a recital sometime in June that we have to purchase a costume for this week. I didn't realize this was how things were done. I am new to all of this. I don't think we (her best friend is in the same class) are among the teacher's pets, but we have a good time.

Braden microwaved my iphone in November. Yes. Microwaved it. Just in case you ever wondered, iphones are not microwave safe. It was in there less than two seconds, but it was totally fried. There is no coming back from the microwave. Insurance does not cover microwaving. Now I have no record of any of my appointments, none of my contacts, no email, no weather, no iphone. My plan doesn't renew until Dec. 24 at the earliest (really Jan. 24) and I am not paying full price for an iphone. Tony says someday I will be able to laugh at this story, but I just can't see the humor quite yet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Be Careful Little Ears What You...

Things at the Fillmore house have been crazy busy this last month.

We made a long over due trip to Dallas to visit Nanny and Papa. Had a great time. We got to see our big cousin, Alex, win his all star baseball tournament. Way to go, Alex! Got a cool new coupe to keep at our nanny's house and some new little people toys for when we spend a week there later this month. We even got to visit some friends that we don't get to see very often since they moved a couple years ago. It was a pretty great trip. We are super excited to go again for Camp Nanny and Papa when it starts on June 23. We will go to Six Flags (Sydney only) on the 24th for the very first time with our big cousins and we even bought some "magic shoes" to help give her the extra boost she needs to make it to 42" in order to ride on the one or two rides she might not make. She is beyond excited.

Camp Nanny and Papa will be extra special for mom and dad this year because we will be in sunny (read rainy) COSTA RICA! For a fabulous extended child free vaca. My parents have happily and graciously volunteered to keep the kiddos for eight fun filled days, and nights :), so we can have some much needed alone time. Thanks again you two! We love ya!

And boy do we need it after the month we have had. Braden and Brock have both had back to back ear infections and Braden had a ruptured eardrum, too. Not to mention the strep and scarlet fever and countless shots and oral antibiotics, ear drops, etc.

I took them back to the doctor on Tuesday because Braden was up all night screaming. Sure enough, another ear infection. Another shot. I just didn't feel comfortable with the course of treatment laid out by the pediatrician. SO I got a second opinion from an ENT on Wednesday. He took one look at Braden's ears and said, "this boy needs tubes." but in a lot more doctor talk than that. Complete with charts and stuff. He asked me how many ear infections he had had and I told him seven or eight that we know of, but that his brother had had way more and he said let's look at brother. After examining Brock, he said, "Brock is worse than Braden."

SO...Sydney had sleepover at her best friend Caroline's house last night and the boys' and I showed up for surgery this morning bright and early. Tony surprised us and rescheduled some things and was able to go with us. Which was super great. We got the VIP treatment from the moment we walked in the door. Tony even got to walk them back into the OR and hold them when the anesthesiologist put them under. Braden cried three times and he was out.

Brock did the cutest thing. He and Braden both like to zurburt when you come near them with a medicine they don't want in their mouths. He did this to the anesthesiologist when he came near him with the mask! Everyone in the OR just started laughing (not the anesthesiologist.)

I was able to be in the recovery room when they each woke up which was great. And when that stuff wears off, they wake up fast! Braden woke up great. Took his bottle right away (they weren't allowed to eat so they were starving by this time) and was his usual smiley self.

Brock, well, Brock didn't wake as well as Braden. He totally freaked out. You could tell his ears were really bothering him and he didn't understand. He wouldn't even accept his bottle or his beloved night night for about 10 minutes until he finally calmed down. Boy was I glad Tony was there at this point. They are both total Daddy boys.

We got home and Braden ate breakfast and watched Handy Manny. And then he took a nice long nap.

Brock just screamed. And screamed. And screamed. He was having none of nothing. Finally I just laid him in his bed and he settled down in about two minutes. And I had to wake him up 2 and 1/2 hours later when we had to go pick up Sydney from Science Camp where she had been from 9-12 this week (she loves it!)

Sydney has also been to the swimming pool every day this week and she just started lessons yesterday. She is already jumping off the diving board into the 10' deep end and swimming with her instructor to the side. She is loving every minute of it and asks to go every day.

She also has two soccer games each weekend and she is getting more and more aggressive in her playing. Which is good because there was no aggression when she started. Her team is called the African Killer Bees and they are yellow and black. She has pink shin guards and pink cleats. She wanted everyone to know that. And she just got a pink water bottle, too. We have not yet taken a camera to the games, but I will try to remember to bring one tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Last Man Standing

Brock Stood First

Braden Wasn't Far Behind

They may be standing, but they sure aren't walking. Oh how I wish they were. I am so tired of watching them crawl. Everywhere. Their grubby little paws touching everything little dirty thing on God's green earth and the not so green parts, too.

And they just keep getting sick! Not really, really sick. Just sick enough where we can't leave the house for a few days and be around people. Or go to school, so I miss those very precious wonderful joyous days called MDO. And the kids like them, too. Honest.

I am so tired of them picking up the yucky germs from the ground when they are crawling. ARRGHHH! I clean their hands just as quickly as I can, but there are two of them, they're SO fast, AND they suck their thumbs. Let's be realistic, the odds are really against me. I think if they would just start walking, we would pick up a few less germs from the ground and maybe be in a little better shape. Maybe I'm just kidding myself- just wishful thinking. Sigh.

They do have a little interest in walking. Brock will take about four steps and then lunge for his nearest target, usually me. Braden normally just plops back down onto his seat if he thinks the goal is more than one or two steps away. They truly are just content to crawl. No one crawls to kindergarten, do they?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?

Braden Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar!

This is a daily occurrence at our house. When the boys wake from their afternoon nap, they let themselves into the pantry and pull up to the animal crackers. They pound on the container shouting, "Cra-cka, cracka!" until one of us lets them into the tub and then its a free for all. On this particular day, Sydney was in charge and things got a little carried away.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Great Pre-K Search

After visiting nine schools and researching pre kindergarten curriculums for over a month, I have finally found the very best place for Miss Sydney to receive her pre kindergarten education next year. It has been an arduous journey; one I do not wish to repeat. Ever. Thankfully, the information I uncovered during my research should hold true when B and B are in Pre K in a few years and I won't have to.

The school Sydney has been atttending for the last three years has been terrific. I have no complaints about their teachers, curriculum, facilities. Nothing at all. It has been, and continues to be, a fantastic school.

But. It is only two days a week and for Pre K, I simply wanted more days. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted a five day program or a three day program. Then I tried coming up with a hybrid four day program where she could stay at this school for two days and I would "homeschool" her for two days.

But I know me. And I know Sydney. And I know, THAT probably wouldn't work. It might...but I just don't know. We get distracted too easily. With some little people named Brock and Braden. Or cooking. Or shopping. Or cleaning. Or organizing. Or playing. Or whatever.

We applied to our school district's magnet program Pre K that is filled using a lottery system. We didn't get "picked." Which was probably a good thing because I kept doing research and looking for the best place to send her and I probably wouldn't have if she had gotten in. The magnet school was five days a week from 8-3 and I wasn't sure I was ready for that.

Now I'm sure I'm not and I'm sure she's not. And she doesn't need it. I have gotten to talk with several Kindergarten and Pre Kindergarten teachers at these various schools and they have all given me wonderful tidbits of advice.

Don't start her too soon-she'll be in school all day soon enough. Let her have one more year of a couple days while you can.

Keep her in a Pre K program where she can be a leader in her class instead of placing her in a private Kindergarten a year early where she will always feel frustrated that she is behind the other children. That will undermine her self-confidence unnecessarily.

Developmentally they are not ready to sit and "learn" yet. They still need to learn through play much more.

We want to foster her love for learning- not squash it with too much too soon.

I have been so worried about her being behind when she gets to first grade (more about that in a later post), I have been missing the here and now. Thank goodness I have someOne who knows just what I need and how to give it to me just when I need it most to save me (and my kids) from myself.

"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.
That's why it is called the present."

Thank You, Father.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Problem

About six weeks ago, I had a medical problem arise (details omitted out of embarrassment) that would not fix itself and I could not do what was necessary to give it time to heal because I was sick from my intestines all the time. And I mean ALL the time. I could not eat ANYTHING. It got to the point that I was afraid to eat. PERIOD. My BFF and I devised a plan that omitted gluten from my diet and decided to implement it immediately.

And it worked. Right away.

I went from being sick 8-10 times a day to 0. After almost three weeks of this new "diet," I went to the gi doc and he ran some tests. He told me he was pretty sure I had celiac sprue, but also thought the test would come back negative for it since I had not eaten gluten in three weeks.

He was right; it did. So he put me back on a gluten diet. Uhhhhh. That has been just miserable. Living G-free for a month and then being told you have to go back on it? No, thanks. It just seems stupid to purposely make yourself sick just to have a test come back positive. He repeated the blood tests today to see if maybe I have eaten enough for it to come back positive, so we'll see.

I get to have a super-duper fun EGD and colonoscopy next Tuesday to make sure there's not something else that we're missing. Can't wait for that one!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lessons In Life

We took a trip to Santa Fe the second week of February for a family ski trip- and Miss Sydney LOVED it! She thought it was the best thing ever! She kept asking if we could go back again tomorrow. She skied two days in the ski school with a private instructor and just got better and better. If I ever figure out how to post video on here, I will upload some of the video of her first time skiing. She is just about the cutest thing ever.

The boys went to the childcare on the mountain called Chipmunk Corner and had a marvelous time. They had some of their favorite toys and they could watch Sydney through the window whenever they wanted. Tony and I got to ski while they were well taken care of on the mountain. I took a lesson which went quite well, until I got really tired and stopped being able to turn my legs. I am really out of shape. I think this was the start of a beautiful family tradition of yearly family ski trips. I just am not sure mommy has to participate in the ski part of the trip. There are a number of lovely day spas and shopping around all of these ski towns...

The day after we got back I had my tummy tuck. It went quite well and I am now on week four of restrictive duty regarding any lifting and I am about to go crazy. I cannot pick up the boys. Period. If I do, I risk a hernia and another surgery to repair said hernia and I go back to square one on the six weeks of restrictive duty. I am about to go out of my mind. I feel completely handcuffed. Tony has been traveling a lot lately and I have been relying heavily on my BFF, Jen, and the nannies, to help me out. And she totally has. I could not have made it through this without her. My mom flew out this weekend to help me which was great, but she flew back thinking Tony was flying the opposite way, but his plane is still in Dallas as I write this (maintenance, way to go AA!) and he will not be home until at least seven hours after he was supposed to be home. No big deal, right? but this is his sixth trip in the last month and we still have one more next weekend. I am so ready for him to be home. I do not know how people do it when one spouse travels for their job. I am so thankful mine does not. I will be so glad when his last trip is over in April. And my restrictive duty should be lifted by then as well. I am glad I had my surgery, but in hindsight, the timing probably could have been coordinated a little better with Tony's travel schedule right now. Oh well.

Oh. And I got diagnosed with Celiac disease during this time, as well. So add to all of this a brand new gluten free diet. More about all of that in my next post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I have sat in front of the computer to begin this post at least three dozen times in the last year. And each time, I have been unable to do it.

Even now as I sit at the computer, I wrote last night's post first and then attempted to begin this one yet again because it was so much easier to write about the crazy lady at Walmart than the one I need to write. The one that is always on my heart and in my throat.

But I need to get this one out. It is literally eating me alive inside. Sometimes so much so to the point that it paralyzes me at night when I am lying in bed.

I guess the quickest way to show you all where I'm at is to tell you what happened at the Discovery Center on Saturday.

I took the kids there to play in Tiny Town and it was fairly empty, really nice and quiet. We were having a great time and Sydney was playing with another little girl and I started chatting with her mom about hair products for the girls' curly hair. Really pleasant conversation. Then she asked me if we had just the three children, and I immediately replied, yes just the three. But, then something inside my just snapped or broke or gave way or something.

And I said, very quietly, no. That's not true. We have four. We just lost one of them.

And then I totally and completely just lost it. Right there in the middle of Tiny Town. Right in front of a complete stranger. She said she was sorry. We tried to pretend like I hadn't just lost it and she left soon thereafter.

Well, that's it. In a nutshell. I have four children. I have four children. But I only have three of them. And I am not okay with it.

I am happy and grateful and love each and every one of them dearly. I love Sydney. I love Jonathan. I love Brock. I love Braden.

But it seems like no one remembers Jonathan. I do. Oh, how I do.

God gave me a gift before Jonathan died that I treasure and cherish. He allowed me to meet Jonathan in a dream the night before I lost him. Some of you may remember the dream, some may not, I will retell it here anyway because it does my heart good to recount it every chance I get.

My husband and I were in an orphanage looking at the children. Across the room I saw a little boy I knew immediately to be our son. We went over to him and saw that he had three arms. I remember thinking to myself, it's a good thing I am learning how to sew so I can make clothes for him. I was so pleased I could meet my son's needs! I asked him how old he was and he held up seven fingers on two of his hands. We smiled at each other and God blessed me with experiencing the love of my son. I delighted in his presence. Then he held up his other hand and waved to me saying, "Goodbye, Mommy." My eyes filled with tears and I woke up. Tears were streaming down my face and I quickly awoke Tony to share this dream with him.

It was just minutes later that I began to miscarry.

And I still do treasure that dream, even now. But it has begun to be a bit of a double edged sword now. The very part of it that comforted me for so long- the smile, the wave, and the bye mommy- Jonathan's brothers have started to do that very thing two dozen times a day. And I see Jonathan's face and I hear his voice each and every time. And it hurts so very much. And I know, and hope, that one day this could be a good thing, a comforting thing, but right now, it is just painful because it is all I have had of Jonathan. And I have been clinging to it like a lifeline to him because he is my son and I don't want to let go of him. I can't. I have so many wonderful things to share with Brock and Braden and Sydney. So many, many wonderful things that I love to cherish and treasure about them. When I see them wave to me and say bye-bye mama, of course I love it, but it hurts because it brings back the only memory I have of Jonathan. The one that I have comforted my heart and soul with in the dark of night. And that I'll never have anything more than that with him this side of Heaven.

Tony said, maybe it's God's way of showing me Jonathan through his brothers. I think he's probably right, but it still hurts so very much. Because there is only one thing I really want.

I want another dream.

More than anything else in the whole wide world. I want another dream with Jonathan. Just one more dream. I lay in bed at night with a softball in my throat begging God, pleading with Him to grant me just one more minute, no five more minutes with my son. Please. Please. PLEASE. Just five more minutes. PLEASE I need to see him just one more time. I need to see his face-hear his voice. Just linger in his presence. It was magnificent. Just magnificent.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Does Walmart Really Need Door Greeters?

Had a little run-in with the door "greeter" at the Walmart today.
It did not end well for her.

When you have three children under the age of four, going to any store solo is always a monumental task. Today was no exception. A few stores, Walmart, Target, Sams, make it a little easier with a limited number of kid-friendly carts that allow an industrious and brave shopper with multiple children to place all of them in the same cart with seat belts instead of simply piling them all in the basket of the cart willy-nilly and hoping for the best.

Now when I say limited number, I mean limited number. Today was an exception. There happened to be an abundance of said carts in the cart line today much to my delight.

There was already one happy shopper piling her children into the first cart, so I carried my double-arm load of children (yes, I carry them both) to the second waiting cart. After much strap adjusting and balancing of children, we are finally ready to set off on our third banana run of the week (sixteen bananas since Thursday!!!). We began to pull out around the infant seat cart parked directly in front of us-when it started.

"Excuse me. You'll have to take this cart in the front of the line.


There is now a new cart in the front of the line and you'll have to take it.

Ummmmmm. I don't think so.

Yes. You have to. Because it is the one in front and you can't take one in the back."

Okay, is this lady seriously deluded? She must be. I know she just watched me balance two screaming, squirming one- year old toddlers between both knees and arms and hands as I deftly buckled them in and adjusted the straps for the five minutes prior to her "proclamation" that I "must" move my children to the cart in the front because she, "the door greeter," said I had to? She had to be out of her mind! I was not about to take any guff from someone, who by the very definition of her job title, was supposed to greet me when I came to her place of work to spend obscene amounts of money (just ask my husband, he'll back that up).

"There is no way I am taking my children out of this cart and moving them to that cart. If you want me to change carts, you are going to have to move them yourself.

We're going to get a manager over here."

And with that, I simply drove around the other carts and her and went on about my shopping trip thinking, this is ridiculous. And I left it at that.

The "Door Nazi" had other ideas.

By the time I made it to my first stop, the cereal aisle, she had caught up with me. She stalked me through the Walmart. OVER A CART! She proceeded to tell me exactly why she was enforcing her ridiculous "rules" and why she wanted to make an example of me. I told her, look I am sorry for your problem, but I have two babies who need naps, one of which whose head you are squishing by getting in my face (she totally was and she didn't even notice that he was screaming-she did apologize) and I don't have time to be your example today because I just need to get a few things and put my babies down for their naps.

During this little exchange a department manager noticed the heated discussion and called a store manager over and then I had to explain to her what went down between me and the door "greeter." The greeter had already left by the time the manager arrived so I got to explain everything. She assured me that I could feel free to take any cart I liked and she would have a "talk" with said greeter. Poor Brock and Braden were so done by the time we left Walmart they were in complete meltdown mode.

I was afraid to go back through the exit because I didn't want to run into the door nazi again. Luckily, we passed through without incident because she wasn't anywhere to be seen. Now I am nervous about the next time we go to Walmart. Man, if only our Target had groceries...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pictures At One

Sydney at age one

Daddy at age one

Mommy at age one

Mommy at age one

Daddy at age one

And last, but not least,
Braden and Brock at one!

Can you guess which is which?

I'll put the answer in the comment section...

Did you guess right? Even we couldn't tell them apart when we were looking at the photos after the shoot today! We are starting to think they are identical more and more every day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Until She's Home

Our application for adoption was accepted by our agency last week and we will turn our signed contracts in tomorrow. I am not sure what the next step(s) after that will be, most likely the home study. But, as we have done all of this before, I feel this will all be somewhat fast tracked similar to a review or a "freshening" of what we did before. Since we have added to more children to the family since the home study was done, I am sure some of it will need to be redone. The home our social worker "studied" is now a little different than it was two years ago.
Now that we have finally started the process, I am anxious to get the ball rolling. I know it is going to take a long time, but I feel the need to "do something." Even if only to get "it" going. I know how much paperwork there is. I know how long the road is. I am just ready to start the journey. My daughter, our daughter, is out there somewhere just waiting for us to come get her and bring her home. I lay awake at night just wondering where she is and who is holding her. Who is feeding her. Who is singing to her. Is anyone picking her up and cuddling her when she cries? These are the thoughts that keep me awake long past the time that I should be sleeping. I know I can't allow these thoughts free reign in my mind for the next three years because they will absolutely take over, but they are there just the same. I don't know why God placed this unquenchable desire in my heart or this undeniable knowledge that we have a daughter somewhere in another country that we have to bring home, but we do. And I cannot, will not, stop until she is here with her family at home where she belongs. And if I have sleepless nights along the way, then that is part of the journey for me. Until she's home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Line in the Sand

The lovely dinner I labored over today died a quick death after a mere three minutes in my newly "fixed" oven. And so the war rages on. I texted my oven guy at home after this latest assault in my kitchen and told him about my line in the sand. He said he'd call his guy and they'd see what they could do. I'll tell them what they can do...

In other news, Brock has a new word, "No." Well, technically, it's no, no, no with a little giggle. Because he thinks it's really funny. This from the kid who will lay prostrate on the ground if you even come one decibel too close to a harsh sound with the word 'no.' He is so incredibly sensitive. But for whatever reason if you say no, no, no in a sing song voice he thinks it's just hilarious and will copy you immediately. I found this out when he discovered he could stand up in the back of the double stroller yesterday and I didn't want to scare him with the sharp 'no' so I used the sweet one and he thought it was too funny. I will try to video it in the near future and then try to figure out how to get a video on blogger again. I am so blogger illiterate it's not even funny. I tried to post those pictures from yesterday again today and still not working. And I really can post pictures when it is working. It's just not right to have things not working for someone who already has a tough time figuring things out in the first place. It's just plain mean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The War

I have been embroiled in a fierce war for the last seven months give or take- with my oven. And so far it is winning. We have had a brief detente at times, but just when I least expect it, or when it matters most, it strikes a most devastating and swift blow.

Case in point, Christmas eve- I prepared my breakfast delicacy long after every else was asleep to rise overnight in preparation for the oven in the morning. Christmas morning arrives, everyone awakes, I place the dish in the oven and three minutes later everyone rushes to the kitchen to see what is on fire. I have tried to display a picture below for documentation purposes, however, blogger is not working at the moment so I will try later, so check back for the photo evidence.

This is not some rinky dink broke down old oven. This is a brand new top of the line Viking range. It has two separate ovens, one big and one small, for cooking foods at different temperatures. It has four gas burners on the top and a built-in grill (which I don't really like because it's kinda smoky when you use it even with the ventilation system). This thing cost way more than my first two cars PUT TOGETHER! I did not pick out this oven. It came with the house when we bought it. I would not have picked out this oven. I like the ones that go in the wall because the babies cannot reach them and I think they are safer. Apparently they are also better. This one sucks.

The service people that are specially trained by the "Viking" people have been out SIX times. SIX times. And it is still not fixed. It burns everything that goes in it. Within minutes. At first they blamed it on the factory not calibrating it to the correct altitude we are at and that's why it was burning stuff. Then they replaced the thermostat on it. Next they "rigged" it so it didn't get as hot so quickly. They told me they had tried everything they could think of to make it work. Then they hired someone new two weeks ago and sent him to try to fix it. He came last week and said it needed a new computer board or some such nonsense. So he came today and finally replaced that. Maybe it's fixed this time. I am honestly scared to try anything more time consuming than slice and bake cookies because I don't want to waste anymore of my time making something that will just burn in three minutes anyway.

If this doesn't fix it, I am done. Just done. They are going to replace it with a new oven. From a different company. I don't want another product from their company ever again. And they better not give me any guff about it either. I have been way beyond patient. And if it takes a long time, they are reimbursing me for my restaurant costs. I have to be able to feed my family! Enough is enough. This is beyond ridiculous. Not to mention my need to bake. It is how I deal with stress and cope with loss. Losing Matthew six weeks ago was very traumatic and I have not been able to process it the way I needed to through baking. It has not been good for my psyche. These are the rantings of a woman who desperately needs her oven at all times.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let's Party!

We finally had the big party for the bubbas tonight. A little late due to the unscheduled appearance of a tummy bug for Braden. Boy, was he an unwelcome party guest. And he did not bring a nice present. I sure wish we could have returned that one. At least, he only brought one for Braden, and not Brock.
We had to move their party from Friday night to Sunday night because the poor little guy was just not up for eating much more than "O's" and certainly not has first taste of cake (pictures to follow.) One cool thing to report from this first encounter with a tummy bug- he said his first complete sentence.
On Thursday night, Braden had a yucky diaper and I changed it a little too quickly. Because he had another one about a minute later. As I prepared him to change that one, he looked up at me in distress and proceeded to spew like a fountain from his mouth as he was laying down on the changing table. He had it in his ears, his hair, his head was lying in a pool of it. Poor little guy. I hadn't let him eat or drink anything other than pedialyte all day until about thirty minutes prior when I finally gave in to his pathetic begging and allowed him to have some "O's" and a few pieces of his siblings' banana. And about three ounces of milk. Big mistake. And just for good measure-he had some more for his diaper at the same time. My hand was on his tummy during this incident and I could just feel the little war going on inside. Poor baby. Immediately, big sister Sydney and I jumped into action (Tony was in surgery, of course.) She ran for the boys' room to get pajamas, towel, and bathwash. I cleaned off the yuck diaper and as much of the vomit as was possible and then held him at arms length as I carried him to the sink in the kitchen. I used the sprayer to hose him off as best I could and then Sydney was back with reinforcements. She even brought her favorite Boots the Monkey bath toy to entertain him. She's so thoughtful. I carefully and gently got the banana chunks and O's out of his hair and ears and then washed him down. I got him rinsed and dried quick as I could and into his diaper and jammies. Then I offered him his cup of pedialyte thinking he might want to rinse that awful taste from his mouth and he just looked up and me and said, "All done, Mama." My poor, poor little baby boy. He was just done. Sweet little guy.

Tonight they were all better and ready to celebrate their first birthday. We had our closest friends over for a little cake and singing. They loved their balloons. They liked their presents. But they really loved their cake.
Brock's First Bite of Cake (Icing)

Braden Digging In With Gusto
The Boys Having A Big Time With Cake

Someone Took My Cake Away! NOOOOO!!!
Can You Believe It? How Dare They? Don't They Know It's Our Birthday?
We're Still in Shock and We're Not Gonna Smile
Now It's Bathtime


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And The Journey Continues

The catalyst for this blog (or rather its precursor "") was the start of the journey to adopt our daughter in Asia. I will not get into much detail about that part of our family's story here, but if you are interested in the history, I encourage you to read the previous blog; it is a part of my life that is very dear to me and, at times, is very raw and difficult to read, but it has made me into the woman and mother I am today and for that I would not give up a single part of it. All that being said, today, our journey begins anew.

We are finally able to start the process to bring our daughter home- from China.

According to Chinese adoption laws, the youngest child in your house must be at least 12 months of age before you can begin the adoption process for their country. That happy day is today. We have much to celebrate today; the anniversary of the birth of our beautiful, healthy sons and the day we can finally officially begin the process to bring their little sister home.

January 6th will forever be a very special date for our family.

We are expecting the entire process to take about three years from today. Sydney will be seven. Brock and Braden will be four. And we are hoping their little sister will be between two and three years old.

We have waited a long time for this day to come. Sometimes it seems as though I have waited over half my life. The road to Kyrgyzstan was an interesting side road along the way and I found some lifetime friends on that path. I would not give up that detour for anything. It was worth its weight in gold to me. You know who you are. While on that path, I felt for sure it was where I was supposed to be. It just felt right. And the day I found out we were pregnant, that felt right, too. I heard God's voice clearly calling us to add two more children to our family at that time. Without one doubt that is what I heard. It was His voice. No doubt. I knew we could adopt and have the baby.

The day I found out there were two babies...was the most bittersweet moment of my life.

I knew it meant letting go of the child of my heart. The one I had dreamed of for so long. So many years. So many dreams. Just when she was within my reach...I had to let her go. I had to let her go. It was like when I lost Jonathan all over again, only this time, I couldn't tell anyone because God had given me two healthy babies to care for and to love. I didn't know how to grieve the loss of the child of my heart, while growing to love the babies in my womb. Boy was I mixed up! Put with that a double helping of pregnancy, I don't know how anyone could stand to be near me! Luckily, I was throwing up between 7 and 10 times a day, so not many were! The first time I remember actually smiling and being happy about the babies was around week 13, or so. I felt immense relief when I heard two healthy heartbeats, but actual happiness, came later I think. Remembering these thoughts now, when I have known my sweet Brock and Braden for a year, makes me feel incredible guilt that I ever felt anything like this at all. But these are my true, real feelings. And if I have learned anything from my dear friend in the last five weeks, if you're ever going to free yourself from the pain and the guilt, you have to own up to it. That takes away hold or power the devil may have over you. And I don't want him to ever have any weapons against me again. He has had enough of those in the past. God has made me a new creature, a strong one who fights against the evil one. And I will not back down again.

So our journey begins anew. When our name is at the top of the waiting list...her name will be at the top of the waiting list. And she will finally come home. Home. To her mother's waiting arms at last. We're coming, baby, we're coming.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year With Twins

The last twelve months have been a very interesting window into a part of human life that many do not ever get invited to be a part of: the world of twins. Being the mother of two babies at the same time is an experience that no one, other than another mother of twins, could possibly understand.
In the beginning, when you find out there are two people growing inside your body, you are filled both with awe and fear. Awe that you could be chosen to have this remarkable gift of two children bestowed upon you at the same time. Wonder at the mysticism of the world you are about to join.
And all consuming fear. Fear that you alone are responsible for the protecting the two lives that are growing inside you. Fear that you surely are not the right person for this honor, surely a mistake was made somewhere. Knowing what it was like carrying for one infant and being absolutely terrified that there is no way you could possibly handle two at the same time. Fearing that maybe, just maybe, God made a mistake.
And then the sickness sets in. You can't even handle the one child you already have and you wonder how on earth you could possibly handle two more.
Then you hear them. Two heartbeats. At the same time. And just for a moment, everything stops. Nobody moves, nobody speaks, nobody breaths. It is just you, and Them. For the very first time. And you think, maybe, just maybe, this is. I can do this. These are my babies. My babies. I have two babies. And they have two heartbeats. Surely this is from God.
Then one day like magic, the sickness turns off like a faucet. The sun comes out again. I start to feel them move inside me. Not like their sister did, in little flutters. More like, a set of choreographed movements within me. One will move left, the other will move right. They are already wrestling each other inside me, much like Jacob did with Esau.
Finally, we got to see their blurry little faces. What would they look like? Were they beautiful little girls or handsome little boys? I really didn't even want to know anything this day beyond the words: they are both healthy. And they were. So perfect. Absolutely perfect. What joy filled my heart this day. As tears of joy streamed down my cheeks, tears of despair poured from their sister. She wanted sisters. Not "brudders." I had to let her grandmothers handle that one for me because I was no help once I learned of their health. I was an absolute blubbering mess. I was too busy praising my Father for the gift of two perfect healthy sons.
Not long after this joyous (for some) day, we learned it would be best for me and the boys for me to be on "modified" bed rest. What this actually means for a mother of a three year old is still up for debate. But thanks to good friends, a great husband, and an extraordinary housekeeper, it was made completely doable. And I'd do it all again in a second if it meant giving my sons a chance to stay in my womb and grow longer. As it turned out, we needed every single day of that bed rest. We made weekly, sometimes twice weekly, trips to L&D over the next two months to stop labor and by the grace of God our sons were able to grow an extra seven weeks. Praise be to God. I will never stop praising Him for that priceless gift.
We made to week 34 and on January 6 at 9:11 pm both Braden and Brock made their entrance into the world. We had a bit of a rough beginning, but after 18 days in the NICU, we finally brought them home.
Things were tough those first couple of weeks at home. No sleep. Feeding, pumping, burping, diapering, bathing, putting to sleep, soothing, all times two. It was hard. We had some wonderful help. It was still hard. We had to sleep in shifts. Tony and I did not sleep in the same bed until the twins were four months old. It was just too complicated. One of us had to keep the babies, while the other one tried to "catch up" on sleep missed from the night before. And if Tony was on call...forget it.
We were really just in survival mode until one day something just didn't seem right. Something was wrong. And I mean very wrong. With Braden. His coloring was off. And it was getting worse. He had been home for two and half weeks, so we were just getting to know him, but something wasn't right. And if it weren't for having his brother right next to him to compare him to, we might have missed it. Who knows? Lesson one for parents of twins- you will compare them to each other and sometimes it's absolutely necessary. Braden had hemolytic anemia. He was admitted to the hospital where he received a blood transfusion at 2:00 in the morning. That was the number one most terrifying moment of my life to date. I did not ever want to go through anything like that ever again.
One week later. Brock was admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion to treat hemolytic anemia. Lesson two for parents of twins- when one gets sick, the other will almost always get it. Not that this was contagious or anything, just a good lesson for parents of twins to learn regardless.
Since then, the drama has been dialed down considerably- thank you to God. Normal lumps, bumps, fevers, ears, etc. Teeth have been a pain, but getting better. We are learning how to corral them a little better now that they are crawling. But they do seem to encourage each other's escapes and escapades. Braden will see Brock take off down the hall or vice versa and will promptly take pursuit. They really are starting to be quite fun. I will try to post some video if I can ever figure out how.
Their first birthday is on Wednesday and I just cannot believe a year has already gone by when it seems like only yesterday there were times I would count minutes. Thank you, Father, for the most precious gift of my sons. I cherish them. Both of them.