Friday, July 30, 2010

Letters From Marwan...

When Noah was 2, we decided for Easter to pick a child from Compassion International for him to sponsor. We wanted a boy with a birthday in March, the same as Noah's. We chose Marwan from the Phillipines. He's a cute little boy with a mischevious look about him, which pretty much sealed the deal for us. Marwan is 3 years older than Noah, so now he is 6.

Noah has enjoyed getting letters from Marwan. He likes to pick out stickers to send him, or picking out coloring pages to send him. He also enjoys telling me what he wants me to write down in the letters that we send back.

A few days ago, I had mentioned to Ryan that we hadn't received a letter in a while. Yesterday we got a letter from him. In it, he told us that he had been very sick and had lost weight. He also mentioned that he missed his mom a lot. The letter didn't go into it, but mentioned that there was a problem with Marwan's dad and his mom was living at Marwan's uncle's house. His letter kept mentioning how much he missed his mom and wanted her to come home soon. It broke our hearts to read about this and there isn't anything we can do except pray about it.

If you remember, please pray for Marwan- that he gains back the weight he lost and that his mom comes back home.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Of My Favorite Things...

One of my favorite things to do is to watch Noah and Juliana play together when they don't realize I'm there. Today we were down in the basement, and I watched while Noah watched Juliana trying to climb into a wagon. She couldn't get over the high wooden sides. Noah told her to stop, and he took off the sides, and said, "that should make it easier, sister". After she climbed into the wagon, he proceeded to slowly and carefully push the wagon around the basement, stopping to give her imaginary toys or food. Both of them were giggling, and there isn't a better sound in the world than a child's laughter to make you smile. This went on for a little while, and I really wanted to go up and grab the video camera and capture the moment, but I knew that if I moved by the time I got back it would be over. Watching my two babies play together reminded me that this time will pass all too quickly. That even though there are days when I am exhausted from all the therapies and car rides to this doctor or that doctor, I need to just stop and enjoy the time that I have with my little treasures. Thank you, Jesus, for this reminder.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pretty Princess...

The little girl had several appointments this week. First we had our two days of therapy. Finally, she made it through physical therapy without crying, much to my and Miss Meghan's surprise. Her Tuesday session did not fare well. She was horribly cranky and cried quite a bit.

Wednesday she had her neurologist visit. I was pleased to find out that she had made a giant leap in her gross motor functions and tested in the 10-12 month old group. On the down side, she only made slight movement in her fine motor skill and speech, but a gain is a gain and I'll take it. Socially, she tested right where she should be at the 14 month stage. I left the office very pleased, because it has been so long since we've had any type of win for the little girl.

Thursday we saw her cardiologist. I was again pleased to hear that her murmur was fainter which means that the medium sized hole is closing. I wasn't as pleased to find out that her left ventricle was still enlarged. Her doctor wants to monitor this, so we go back in 6 months.

So, we had some fairly good doctor visits, and that made me feel good. But what made me feel even better, were these beautiful pictures that my mom took of my little princess wearing a dress that I once wore. Isn't she gorgeous?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Boy...

For Christmas, Frampa Jim got Noah a big boy bike. For the past couple of weeks Noah has been asking Ryan to put it together. Last weekend Ryan finally had some free time to put it together. Yesterday, Noah had a chance to take it out. Ryan got him on it and helped him pedal to the sidewalk and turn around. Then, Noah got a little scared and got off. He had done really well up until that point and had done some pedaling on his own. I know that he will try again soon. He's growing up sooooo fast!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thomas Blue...

A few weeks ago, Framma Vicki stayed with us while Daddy was out of town. While she was here, she painted my toenails. Noah was so intrigued by it, that he kept asking for his to be painted. The only color I had was pink, and Noah didn't want pink. So, I took him to Wal-Mart with me because I had to get some blackberries for Juliana. He saw two different blues and picked the bright blue color. So, I painted his toenails- much to his out-of-town father's dismay. Noah was very proud of his toenails. He showed all of Juliana's therapists and doctors that we went to. They were the first things he showed Ryan when Ryan came home. Ryan took it all in stride and called it "Thomas blue", which is what Noah calls it now when people ask him about it. He has received lots of compliments on them, especially from the ladies. Mary at church today gave him a compliment and showed him that she had the same color on. Of course, now they are chipped, but his daddy told him that it was okay, Momma would re-paint them for him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are We Failing?

Tonight was a regular night. We had veggie grinders for dinner, and Juliana surprised us by eating several bites of sauteed mushrooms and zuchini, along with the slices of avocado that were on her tray. After that, Ryan got her to eat several bites of this high calorie ice cream he made just for her (I'm not even tasting it because I don't want to know how good it is).

Then it was time for Juliana's bath- at lunch she had decided to mash some bananas in her hair, and at dinner she did the same with avocado. This was her first time being in the tub and not the baby tub. She did well. I yelled down to Ryan and told him not to bring a bottle up with him, because her stomach was hard. We've learned that when her stomach is hard and you try to get her to drink some bottle, she projectiles. She played in the tub, and then started to cry when I took her out- all normal. I laid her on her bunny towel (from Aunt Jenny) and started to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to her, she started to smile.

Now, I don't know if it was my singing that did it, but her smile turned into the tell-tale look that I have come to know in the 14 months she's been alive. She projectiled. I quickly sat her up and got the towel around her to try to contain it. She continued to projectile. I yelled for Ryan to come and help me. She continued to projectile. Every time we thought she was done, more came out. Finally she was done and it was time to start the bath all over again.

I know that we are doing everything that we know how to get her to eat and gain weight. I KNOW this, but every time she projectiles, I feel like we are failing her. It's not something we can control, but I feel like we are failing her. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable and watching my daughter not want to eat because she has learned that it will hurt her, kills me. I would love to give her my desire to eat or any of this weight that I can't seem to lose, but I can't. All I can do is to continue to do everything we are currently doing, and that doesn't seem like enough to me. We are seeing results with all her other therapies but eating, and it's not for lack of trying. Our feeding therapist busts her butt trying old and new tricks to get Juliana to eat. Our gastroenterologist can't figure out why she won't eat or why she continues to projectile. We are all trying so hard, and we are failing. I don't know what else to do, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. I don't like to fail and I don't like feeling like a failure.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


About 13 years ago in the spring, I was the closing assistant manager at Blockbuster Video. The guy closing with me was a friend. My mom used to say, "I never worry about you closing when you are closing with Jeff".

That night was a rough night. One of the registers was off by a lot. I told Jeff he could go home after we closed, because I had to figure out where the money was. Jeff decided to stay so he could make sure I got to my car safely. At the time I thought that he was being nice. Around 1:30 AM, I gave up. I couldn't figure out where the money had gone. My manager was opening in the morning, so I left him a note on which drawer was short and that I had checked everything. Then, I set the alarm, locked the doors, and started to walk to my car.

All of a sudden, Jeff grabbed my arm and pulled me to him. At first, I didn't understand what was going on. I thought I was dreaming. Then I realized what was happening and a wrestling match ensued. Jeff outweighed me by a lot, but I did put up a struggle. I was screaming in my head at God to help me get out of this situation. I remember Jeff stopped and I just ran to my car, started it and sped out of the parking lot. When I got home I jumped into the shower and cried.

I told my parents what had happened. I told my boss what had happened (he also found the missing money). Jeff was fired and I never saw him again, but that didn't mean that I didn't carry the baggage with me. The first time Ryan kissed me, I ran back to my apartment at college and threw up in the toilet. It brought so many horrible memories back. I had trust issues with Ryan, but fortunately Ryan is a patient and wonderful man, and he helped me get through my issues. As time has passed, my flashbacks have gotten less and less. I usually only have them once or twice a year and I wake up in a cold sweat and screaming- it's usually when Ryan is out of town.

A few Sunday's ago, Dennis mentioned that while you can forgive someone who molested your child, that doesn't mean you leave your child alone with that person. I realized that I haven't forgiven Jeff for what he did in that parking lot, and it is probably time for me to do that. So here it is. Jeff, wherever you are, I forgive you and I thank you for stopping when you did.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Big Pool...

Continuing on with vacation stories, we've got the big pool. The house we were staying at had an in-ground pool with a hot tub connected to it. The pool wasn't too big, it was the perfect size for the kids. Only one drawback... it reeked of bleach.

The first day we went swimming in it, I said to Ryan, "You brought 2 swim suits?" Ryan said, "No, I brought 1 swim suit." Me, "I thought you brought your green swim suit?" Ryan, "I did." Me, "Oh my gosh!" Why did I say that? Because, Ryan's swimsuit had gone from green to khaki after being in the pool for an hour. Bill's swimsuit went from red to a nice salmon color within a day of swimming in it. Fortunately it only affected their suits. The rest of ours were safe.
Ryan's swimsuit before: Ryan's swimsuit after:

We also got to spend an afternoon at our aunt and uncle's house. When Jaime and I were younger, we used to drive down to Florida every summer. We would spend most of the day in our cousins' large pool. It was nice to see our kids swimming in it and having fun. Noah keeps talking about, "cousin Nicky's big pool". My aunt had gone out and bought a bunch of noodles and pool toys and the kids swam for a long time having fun.