Sunday, May 30, 2010


Dear Holly,

I don't know about you, but I think I got heat stroke yesterday sitting out under the sun. I felt weird for the rest of the day.

Today is our first official day without you. Yesterday, we loaded up your parents' car with your things and said tearful goodbyes. You guys were smart, and distracted Noah with the Buzz Lightyear sprinkler, which he loves. I know that Noah doesn't really understand that you won't live with us anymore. He thinks your parents are "just visiting" and that you "will come to church with us" today. I saw how happy you were to be with your mom and dad, and that made letting you go ten times easier.

It was such a pleasure having you stay with us these past two months. You are an amazing young lady. Your parents have done a terrific job molding you into the young lady that you are today.

Please drive safely as you go back home. Our house is always open to you and your family, and hopefully one day, when everything with Juliana has calmed down a bit, we will come and visit you and your wonderful family.

Good-bye, Holly. We miss and love you.

P.S. It's not just us four that miss you. Liam asked Jaime if you were coming to Florida with all of us this summer.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holly and Graduation...

Dear Holly,

In a little less than seven hours, you and I will walk out onto the football field with the rest of your classmates. We will sit and bake in the sun; you in your blue and white gown, and me in my black gown with my even hotter hood on (why do we have to wear polyester?!?). We will listen to various speeches given by the principal, classmates, and the chosen staff member (I still can't believe I was a finalist, what were you guys thinking?!?). We will stand up row by row and applaud as each name is called to receive a diploma, and cry when they recognize Eric's family and we remember that he is not with us anymore. Then, we will all file out of the stadium and back into the field house where chaos will ensue. Graduates will turn in their gowns and receive their actual diplomas, and staff members will hang out to hand back whatever we held onto (or confiscated) from our assigned row of students. In the chaos that will ensue, classmates will be hugging each other, crying, and saying things like, "keep in touch," or "see you at the party later"!

To me it will be bittersweet, because while I know it is time for you to be back with your family, it will still be hard to let you go. Holly, you have been such a blessing to our family, and there is no way we could possibly thank you for all you have done for us these past 2 months. When you leave us tomorrow, there will be a definite void in our family.

We love you, Holly. Congratulations!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Holly and Noah Part II...

Dear Holly,

Or should I say "Howeeeeee", which is how Noah says your name when he is only playing with you? I felt bad that last night when you asked Noah if he wanted to go get ice cream with you, he said, "no". Please know that had Ryan not been out of town, I'm sure he would have said, "yes" in a heart beat. Of course, being the sweetheart that you are, you still went out and got him a "tasty tasty", which he enjoyed eating with you.

Normally, Noah only likes to "snuggle" when he doesn't feel well, but with you around, he snuggles all the time... with you. I'm sure that once you leave, none of us will get any snuggle time with Noah. Below are some pictures that show the special bond between you and Noah. I hope you like them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Holly and Noah Part I...

Dear Holly,

You know that Noah has developed a bit of a crush on you. I knew it would happen, but I didn't realize it would happen so fast. The morning after you moved in, Noah's first question was, "Holly up yet, Momma?". I knew we were in "trouble" when about a week in, Noah said, "Night, night, Holly. Love you!"

I think one of Noah's favorite times with you is when you guys play "dragons" after Juliana goes to bed. I remember coming downstairs, and you and Noah were sitting on the couch, under blankets, and you were showing Noah how to shoot the catapult. You said, "Don't hit your mom," as you let the play rock launch and hit me. The expression on your face was priceless, which is why I am including this picture in the blog.

Another one of Noah's favorite times is when you play on the jungle gym with him. He loves when you swing with him, or go down the slide with him. His face radiates pure joy. You have been an excellent sister to him. I know I don't need to tell you how much he is going to miss you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Holly and Rori Rose...

Dear Holly,

When I saw your prom dress, I knew that my niece, Rori Rose, would love it. I also knew that Rori would be coming to Juliana's birthday party. As you now know, Rori loves her Disney princesses, and I made sure to tell her that you had a beautiful princess dress.

Somehow, Rori Rose convinced you to put on your prom dress during Juliana's party, and she convinced you to keep it on for most of the afternoon. She thought you looked like Belle. To top it off, you then gave Rori a necklace to keep. It is now one of her treasures.
She was very excited that you were coming to baby Brendan's baby dedication. I remember that we didn't see much of you after lunch since Rori wanted to show you her room. Rori has wanted a sister for a long time, and it was really sweet of you to give her a taste of that.

Holly, you are a such a special young lady. You aren't like most teenagers these days, and it's a really nice quality. Rori Rose will miss her special friend when you move.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Holly and Juliana...

Dear Holly,

I'm not going to lie, it's been a rough year for our family. I never thought my little girl would have as many issues as she has had. Back in March, I was fighting an ongoing battle with depression. Then, you asked if you could still move in with us. Ryan and I talked about it, and prayed about it, and even asked our pastor for his input. Before you moved in, I wasn't sure how it would work out. Would it be awkward? Would it be uncomfortable?

From the first day that you lived with us, I knew it was going to work. You let Noah drag you around the house, and as soon as you got home from school or I got home from school, you immediately began to help out.
You know my kids love you. Juliana lights up as soon as you walk into the room. You have been such a help with her. Even if she's cranky, you willingly pick up the slack and entertain her or attempt to feed her. You've praised her with us when she started saying, "Uh-oh", and when she started army crawling. You are such a natural with her. You will make an excellent elementary school teacher.

I know that Juliana may not remember you after you move home, but please know that we will let her know how much you meant to us, how much you loved her, and how much she loved you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Special Blessing...

Right before spring break this year, one of my students approached me. "Does your offer still stand for me to live with you until graduation?" she asked, as her eyes filled with tears. I told her that I would have to talk to Ryan but I was sure he would say yes. She gave me her cell number and I told her that I would get back to her before spring break was over.

Ryan and I talked it over, and just like I thought, he said not a problem. I called her on her phone and told her that if she still wanted to, we would be happy to take her in. I guess right now the big question is, "Why doesn't this girl want to live where she was currently living"? Her dad had been transferred to North Carolina, and she wanted to finish out her senior year here. She had been living with a friend, but that arrangement wasn't really working out.

So, the Monday after spring break, while Ryan was out of town, Holly moved in. Both of my kids immediately adopted her into our family. She quickly adapted to our routine, and became a huge help to both Ryan and I. When Ryan is out of town, Holly entertains the kids so I can start dinner and pack the diaper bags. She runs errands for us, she helps clear the table, she comes to church with us. She has even survived several family gatherings- Juliana's birthday party, baby Brendan's baby dedication, and jungle gym extravaganza 2010. It's like she has always lived with us.

Why am I writing this now? Well, this coming Saturday, Holly is going to graduate, with honors, from high school. On Sunday, she is going to drive back to North Carolina with her family, and I don't know when we will see her again. I know it's going to be hard for us to get used to her not being here. Noah tells her that he loves her and misses her. Juliana lights up as soon as Holly enters the room. Ryan has noticed that I am less stressed, and I have noticed that he is less stressed as well.

So, this week, my goal is to write a daily blog about Holly and how much she has meant to our family.

Meet Holly. She is in the top 10% of her class. She is in National Honors Society and the Spanish Honors Society. She is one of the nicest kids I know. Here are some pictures I've taken of her for her various honors dinners she has had this month. Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekend Projects...

For Noah's 1st-3rd birthdays, we have never really gotten him a gift. We would get him something to open on his birthday, like a book or a train, but for the most part we wouldn't get him anything. For Juliana's 1st birthday, we didn't get her anything either. Why? You might ask. We have been putting money aside to build them a jungle gym.

Last weekend, Ryan enlisted Uncle Bill and Uncle Jeff to help build them a jungle gym. Aunt Jenny, being the awesome person that she is, brought lunch to our house and then hung out with me and the kids while the boys worked.

They didn't finish the jungle gym on the first day, but they got most of the work that required more than one person done. I didn't need to help Ryan too much on the next day, although he did give me a pretty good bruise on my shoulder. This weekend, Ryan was able to finish building it. I think it turned out really nice, and Noah has enjoyed playing on it the past 2 days.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Discouraged, Again...

Juliana had her doctor's appointment at Children's Memorial (off site) yesterday. For the past few weeks, she had been projectiling on and off. I had a feeling that this visit might not be a good one. I was right.

The last time Juliana saw this doctor was April 2. She weighed 16 lbs. As of yesterday, her weight was the same 16 lbs. I was glad that she hadn't lost any weight, but I started to worry about what the doctor was going to think and suggest.

Let's just say he was not happy in the least about her weight. After a short visit with me, he told he would be "right back". We waited...and waited...and weighted. I sent a text to my dad and to Ryan letting them know that the doctor wasn't happy. Finally, the doctor came back.

He wanted us to see another specialist (I think that's doctor #6 at this point). The reason it had taken him so long to come back to the room, was because he had called the doctor and left her a message that he wanted Juliana seen ASAP. Not being satisified with just a message, he then sent her an email saying the same thing. He told me that he wanted to get this doctor's insight before he made the decision to put Juliana on a feeding tube.

A feeding tube. He explained to me that she wasn't getting enough calories to sustain herself. The more he talked, the sadder and angrier I became. In my head I was screaming obsentity after obscentity, and they included all of the words I rarely use. I don't want my little girl on a feeding tube.

So that is where we stand right now... on the brink of a feeding tube or no feeding tube. Insert swear word here...

Friday, May 14, 2010


Miss Peggy has been working on getting Juliana to say "Momma" and "Dada". Well, this isn't it, but it's pretty darn cute!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Miss Peggy...

This is Miss Peggy, our speech/feeding therapist. She has done amazing things to and for our daughter. She has shown her how to eat off a spoon- now Juliana uses her top lip to help clean off the spoon. She has shown her how to drink out of a cup and a spouted sippy cup. She has shown Juliana how to sign "more".

I know that all of those seem trivial, no big deal, but to our family these are huge stepping stones for Juliana to cross. When we started with Miss Peggy, feeding Juliana tub foods was a disaster, and getting her to drink was a battle. Miss Peggy introduced us to the vibrating spoon- called a Z-Vibe. With that magical spoon, Juliana began to open her mouth to take the food on the spoon. She also introduced us to the vibrating alligator which also served to get Juliana to open her mouth.

Miss Peggy also told me about Early Intervention when the doctor told us that Juliana needed multiple therapies. Peggy supplied me with the number to get the ball rolling and then once the ball was rolling, she advocated for us. She was able to be one of our evaluators, and was able to write Juliana's paperwork the way it needed to be written to get us the help we needed. She followed up with our coordinator to get the paperwork pushed through to get Juliana's program started so she could see her 2 days a week. She was even able to get Juliana's Physical and Occupational Therapists from the company she is currently with.

Today was our last session with Miss Peggy. She is moving on to branch out on her own. I mentioned in an earlier post that when she had told me, I cried the entire way home. Today was not much different. I, again, saved my tears for the drive home. I never realized how attached I had become to our speech therapist. I did get to meet her replacement and she is a very nice lady, but Peggy is leaving some big shoes to be filled.

If you are looking for a speech therapist, I highly recommend her. You will get results. Thanks, Peggy for everything. You have made a difference in our little girl's life, and we appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No One Wears Patches, But Noah...

A few weekends ago, Ryan and I took Noah to his first movie, How To Drain A Dragon, in 3-D. I had been wanting to do something special for Noah, because we are constantly in the car going to different doctor's appointments and therapies for the little girl.
Noah was very excited when we got to the theater. We tried to get him to wear the 3-D glasses as soon as we got to our seats, but Noah kept saying to us, "I got glasses on already!" Once the lights came down and the movie started, I was able to slip the glasses on over his glasses. Immediately his hand reached out like he was trying to touch something.

Noah LOVED the movie. There were parts where I thought he would be scared, but during those "exciting" parts, Noah was literally out of his seat, standing, watching the movie. Occasionally he would ask a question, but he was really into the movie.

Since then, he has been fascinated with dragons, particularly the Night Fury from the movie, named Toothless. He plays dragons with his trains or with his cousins. Aunt Jaime even had an extra Toothless from a Happy Meal that she passed on to Noah this weekend. He brings Toothless every where.
Now, how does this relate to my title?
Easy. On Monday, I took both kids to the opthamologist. Noah needed to get his eyes tested, and the neurologist had recommended that we get Juliana's eyes looked at (so did the opthamologist when she found out I was pregnant with Juliana).

Juliana finally had a doctor appointment go her way. By that, I mean that her eyes were good and developing how they should be for her age. The doctor wanted to see her back in 1 year.

Noah had a different visit. We discovered that his right eye, the eye that wanders, is weaker and doesn't see as well as his left eye. The doctor told us we were going to have to patch his left eye for 3 hours a day for the next 2 months. Noah did not take that well. There was A LOT of crying involved.

I was able to bribe him into wearing it by taking him to Wal-Mart and letting him pick out a toy. He chose Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon. I told him that if he took the patch off, I would take Hiccup. He seemed to understand this. I told him we could even make a patch for Hiccup and Toothless to wear. Noah responded in a sad voice, "No Momma. No one wears patches but Noah." It broke my heart.

The patch seems to bother Noah's skin. Apparently he has sensitive skin like his momma. Fortunately, my friend and boss, Tino also had to patch his daughter. His wife found a website where they make custom patches to fit over your glasses, and will even put an applique on the patch for free of anything that you pick. Ryan and I talked it over, and tonight I placed an order for a patch for Noah. It's Royal Blue and will have this picture of Toothless and Hiccup on it that I uploaded. Hopefully it will make it easier on Noah, because this morning the battle to get his patch on was a mighty one, but in the end, I prevailed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Momma!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You are such a great role model for Jaime and I. I love that you proudly wear your "Team Jacob" t-shirt, and have given all your grandchildren a vivid imagination. Thank you for all that you do! I love you!