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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Trying new things.

So far, 2015 has been a brought a little adventure for our family. January has now come and gone. But we all started this year with trying new things!

Jeremy - began a new job this month. Same company, but new manager, new team, new project, new building, new job. So far, so good. Not a work related picture, but I thought it was too funny not to share.
Me - a friend offered me an opportunity to do an EARLY morning outdoor exercise class for free. I'm never one to turn down free/cheap exercise programs so I jumped on it and signed up. Friday was supposed to be my last class with Camp Gladiator. When I began staying home and raising our kids we gave up our gym memberships. And mostly, I've been dedicated to working out on my own over the last 6+ years. But that was an easy expense to sacrifice when we gave up my extra income. But on my drive to my last class yesterday at 4:55am, Jeremy (who I thought was still asleep) texted me and told me to sign up for a year. My heart nearly melted. Seriously. I was in shock he was giving me the go ahead on this. I was smiling through my warm up burpees at the thought that I was going to get to do this on a regular basis. Camp Gladiator is incredible. You should check it out. There are 550 camps in the nation...or something like that. So surely there is one near you. Tell them I sent you! I'll get a friend credit, which adds $$ in my account towards camps. :) Just a little something from my FitBit after one of the workouts. I'm a little bit in love with my new gadget!
Holden - My biggest boy began a new little class outside our home this month. Two mornings a week he goes to a homeschooling school...for lack of a better word. Haha. It's not a homeschool co-op. It's not a part time private school/homeschool program. So I'm not sure exactly what to call it. But it's been a good thing for us. He enjoys it and it's challenging him a lot...which he may not enjoy the challenging part. But it's good for him. After an evaluation they put my little 6 year old in 2nd grade level reading/writing/spelling and 1st grade level math. And it has kept him plenty busy! And me, it keeps me busy as well! :)
Pax - our game boy. This boy has now added Skip-bo and Uno to his list of favorite games. The cards said for ages 7 and up so I questioned if he would be ready for them. But he is. And he loves to play these two new games!
Abe - this crazy kid that doesn't really like sweets and breads had his first donut hole this month! And he really seemed to enjoy it! Then I offered him a second one and he told me no. He just happily went back to his oatmeal and fruit. I've never met a person that can only eat 1 donut hole. But good for him.
I guess that wraps up our adventure of the past month. We shall see what new experiences February will bring us!

20 to 35

Yesterday we celebrated Jeremy's 35th birthday. Old man! ;) Fortunately it was his Friday off so that was an extra birthday bonus. On our way to the bowling alley I was counting up his birthdays that we have celebrated together. Our 20th birthdays were our first to celebrate together. So this year marks 15 birthdays! This was the fun lovin' guy I fell in love with. Affectionately named "King of the Electric Slide" by one of my college roommates. Which I'm sure is what he is doing in the picture below.
We've both changed so much over the years. But it's funny to me that we both didn't really shy away from the attention for a good chunk of our lives. But center of attention is definitely not the place we like to be now. We can be very similar personalities. We definitely have our differences. But I've always described us as like-minded. I'm thankful for this guy. I really am.

We celebrated with Friday morning bowling and dinner out that evening.
Goodness, Abe was all over this bowling alley. He is 2 years old in all ways you can imagine. It's exhausting being the mommy of a 2 year old!
I'm not going to lie, growing old does not sound fun to me. I'm definitely starting to see in the mirror that my face is beginning to show the years. And I don't enjoy those changes AT ALL! But I'm thankful to be growing old with Jeremy. And it helps that he's 2 months older. ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Surgery Update

I am a little late in an update over here. Mainly because we have been taking care of our little patient and enjoying much downtime at home since we returned on Thursday evening. Surgery went well and the surgeon said it was a success. His dressing will come off of the surgery site tomorrow evening. So at this point we haven't even looked at it. I have no desire to. I don't do so well with blood. He also has a follow up with the surgeon in about 2 more weeks. The first 24 hours of recovery for Pax were rough. It was more than I thought it would be. But among the oldest two, he is the tough one. He is typically a trooper. The other one can be a little dramatic about every bump and bruise, and that's ok too. But many times during this process I thought about the drama this would ensue for Holden when there was really none with Pax.
pre-surgery with his new stuffy he got to open up in the car on the drive to the hospital
They were so good to us at the Children's Hospital here. One of the nurses was walking us through the prep and procedure, saying....we'll give him a sip of silly medicine to relax him before taking him away from you. Then they will give him some gas, once he's asleep they'll insert an IV and breathing tube. And right then the tears started falling and wouldn't stop. I just pictured our little guy with all these additions, all the while calculating risks in my head. When really I had no calculations, I just knew it all had risks. It was too much in that moment. She stopped and told me she did this every day. I thought she was going to give me a speech about how she does this all the time and the risks are minimal....blah blah blah to my ears. But instead she explained how even though she does this every day, her son had the exact surgery last summer and she bawled like a baby. It's what we mother's do. Those were her words. She was an angel. I was thankful. And that conversation has stuck with me. Sometimes it's nice for our emotions to be justified. And she did that for me.
watching cartoons as we waited for go time
Pax is all personality, if you know him very well. He's silly and loves to make others laugh. He's a happy guy 95% of the time. If you get to really, really know him, you'll learn that he is just about as sweet as they come. Staff got to see both of these sides of him. Luckily he had a very funny male nurse. As they wheeled him back for the operation I heard the nurse say, I'll push you halfway and then you can push me the rest. And Pax was just laughing at the nurse. We walked to the waiting room a little more light-hearted and feeling like he was in great hands. About 45 minutes later the surgeon appeared and told us all went well. Sigh of relief. Another 30 minutes later we were headed to recovery to see him. As soon as we headed towards his bed a nurse stopped us to say "Y'all have a very sweet little guy." She got to see the sleepy, groggy Pax that wasn't cracking jokes and being silly. Pax was uncomfortable and kept asking to go home. They had to give him a little morphine because every move or cough was causing him a great deal of pain. He was coughing a little due to the breathing tube that had been down his throat. Seeing him in so much pain was hard to watch. But after a couple of hours in recovery, they loaded him into a nice cushioned wagon and into the truck to head home. All of this movement included pain and tears for him. And I kept thinking....he's in pain. Shouldn't we just stay here? But we headed home. And on the drive Pax asked Jeremy if he could avoid all the bumps on the freeway. :( The van was in the shop and the truck is not quite as smooth of a ride. Poor guy. I just wanted to blink my eyes and have him home in our bed.
This was in recovery. As soon as they handed up this popsicle, he touched his tongue to each color saying: grape....candy apple...lemon...and so on. He was still very much groggy and this just made us laugh. Recovery was a hard time. Seeing your baby in real pain and not being able to fix it for him can be heart wrenching.
Our recovery nurse started to wheel us in this wagon downstairs to the vallet to get in the truck. And this young man, Luis, came running saying he would take him. I took this picture long before he told us some of his story. But halfway down he asked if we had adopted. Then he shared that he loves adoption. That he wants to adopt one day. That he was adopted. That he is also the middle son of 3 boys that "match" him. How cool! He went on to say how appreciative he is of his family. How it changed his life. I'm hoping Pax was still groggy enough to not remember that conversation. Our boys never need to be appreciative. I actually hate that crap. (Not Luis' words...maybe he was adopted at an older age and he remembers some past before his adoption...I'm not sure. He feels how he feels and that's fine if he feels appreciative.) But our boys changed our lives. We wanted them. They didn't need us. I believe God would have given them a family. We're just grateful it was with us! But I love meeting adult adoptees that share their positive experience. And even better that have that same desire to turn around and adopt one day also. It does something for my heart. It's a huge source of encouragement.
 And this was our painful ride home. Broke my heart.
 All snuggled up in our bed, where he has remained that past 4 days, more or less. He's still sleeping with us so we can monitor pain and give him his medicine when needed. I don't mind snuggling with this guy at night at all.
 And personality already emerging again.
 My parents kept the other two boys for us on Thursday. When Holden returned home he ran straight to our room to check on Pax. I overheard their conversation. Pax was putting a positive spin on a rotten day. Telling him how he got to play with toys and watch cartoons. That's my Pax. Cup half full! As Pax was talking, I looked down and Holden was gently holding his hand and stroking the top of his hand with his thumb. I walked away in tears. These boys are close. And Holden has stuck by his side most of the last 3 days at home.
And here is the only picture I have of the surgery site. I love my boy's little outtie belly buttons...I'm really not sure if it will still be an outtie or not! I think it will....

Pax has about 1 more week of laying low and taking it easy. Yesterday he spent most of the day at the kitchen table playing with his legos. He's also walking around on his own now. Though he sort of walks a bit hunched forward for now. So yesterday was a good turning point for him. He was glad to be able to get out of bed. Movies and books are only fun for so long. I'm happy to have this procedure behind us. And it seems as though we are now on the downhill of this recovery. He should be back to his normal self in no time. Thank you for your prayers for our Pax!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pax's surgery

My sweet boy has an outpatient surgery tomorrow. He has had a umbilical hernia since birth. Holden had one also, but it naturally repaired itself as he grew. I believe it was gone by his first birthday. Pax's has remained. It looks minor. It just looks like an "out-ie" belly button to me. But he will need surgery for his long term health and safety. They give these things 5 years to go away on their own. So we were told this fall we would need to move forward with this. So here we are. I'm not looking forward to it. It's not our first go around with having to put a child under for surgery. As first time parents we were nearly traumatized only a month into life with Holden. If anyone remembers this. Traumatic. But we didn't have time to plan and prepare for that one. He needed it and was scheduled for surgery pretty immediately once they detected the issue. We didn't have much time to think about it. He needed the surgery to live and eat and thrive. This one I've been dreading. I know people do it all the time. I'm just not looking forward to it. So I would covet all prayers for Pax. Surgery is at 1. It will take about 1 hour. Recovery is 1-2 hours. In about 30 hours, we'll have it behind us. We will hopefully be headed home with our healthy boy. I'm just ready to have it behind us.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

We had an extra special New Years Eve celebration. The Myers came and stayed the night so we could ring the new year in together. My big boys love to play with Camryn. She shares her princess dresses with Holden. Why does Holden love to dress up like a princess? I have no idea, but he does. :) And she has lots of dresses to choose from. And at this visit we even noticed a special friendship blossoming between the little brothers, Reid and Abe. Abe went to bed before the real fun began. We did a countdown at 8pm for these party animals. And then they all went to bed.
 Amanda was kind enough to pick up these obnoxious horns and then leave them at our house when they left. ;)
We taught them how to cheers.
 The sparkling apple cider was "spicy" to Reid.
A little game before bed.
 2014 had some great moments. Some really sweet, fun and memorable moments in our family. But the last half of the year has included plenty of struggles and discomfort. Things that I've pleaded with God to take away, to heal, to walk us through safely to the other side. And for whatever reason, He keeps us here. Sometimes just treading water. And sometimes peacefully making it through one day at a time. But I know He is present with us, each and every day. That is enough. He is enough. I pray that I can know and remember the depth of that truth as I head into 2015, unsure of what exactly this year holds for us. I'm also thankful to have this guy by my side through it all.
Happy 2015!

Christmas 2014

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration. I think we went a little overboard with the boys this year. Considering that last year all we did was stuff their stockings, this year we did more and it was fun. After years of not "getting" boys and sometimes being at a loss of what to buy my boys for gifts ~ because I've never really seen the appeal in boy toys (maybe because I'm not a boy!)....well, I finally get them! I know what my big boys will love. They are two very different boys. Yes they have some similar interest (like Ninja Turtles and soccer), but all in all, they are very different boys. And now at ages 5 and 6, I can easily pick out gifts that they will love. So shopping for them this year was a lot of fun. We spent the morning at home. They woke to a new train set in the dining room under the tree. We did a big gift for all 3 of them to share this year. They were excited about it. It was so much better than the $12 Ikea train they've been playing with all these years. After a little train time, Jeremy read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Then, they each opened 2 gifts plus 2 new books and a gift from their brothers. Jeremy and I exchanged. (I'm super excited to get my hands on my Fitbit Charge HR!!! I'm still waiting on it!) And we relaxed all morning at home. Around lunchtime we went to my parents and celebrated with my sisters and their families. It was complete joy to see the 8 cousins playing together and running around like crazy. They are all growing up so quickly. My boys adore their cousins and they had a fun 3 days of playtime with them all.
Pax picked out this Ninja Turtle watch for Holden. He loved it!
Holden chose this car for Pax.
Pax was so excited about Mouse Trap and both boys have loved this new game. They want to play it everyday! 
 Holden got a remote control car that flips and lights up
Abe got this cool Melissa and Doug toy. So far he has no interest. Don't worry buddy. Give me 3 more years and I will nail your gifts! ;)
 Stocking time.
The kid table at my parent's house. These sweet cousins. I love each and every one of them so much!
 Remember how fun it was to be at the kid table? Abe thought he was big enough for it. He was pretty quickly moved to the high chair. Nice try, two year old.
 This was the crew the day after Christmas...lined up in order of age (Almost 12, 11, 8, 7, 6, 5, 5, 2)
And a silly picture.
It was a really nice few days with family. We all soaked it up!

Christmas Traditions

We have several Christmas traditions that our family loves. Here are a few that I captured on film this past holiday season.

Each boy picked out a new Christmas ornament to represent this past year for them. A puppy for Abe...because of his deep love for puppies.
Pax got a "New Reader" ornament since he learned to read this past year. And he is an incredible reader. It's insane. His first choice was a lego ornament because legos are a big favorite with Pax. But we couldn't find one, so we went with our 2nd best option.
 Holden chose a Ninja Turtle ornament. It has been a huge obsession for the past couple of years.
I can't call this one a tradition yet, but I'd love for it to be a new one. Our church had a little hayride to go on that would display Jesus at his different stages in his life. It was a lot to take in for my big 6 year old. We were happy to do this activity with some friends. 
I hosted 3 extra brothers at my house for a little Christmas party one morning. Six boys. Ages 8, 6, 6, 5, 4 and 2. It was loud. And it was fun. They jumped on the trampoline, made a Christmas ornament, read some Christmas books and shared lunch together. Here is the crazy crew showing off their snowmen ornaments.
We spent a morning at Outdoor World to get our free picture with Santa and have some playtime with all the cool toys.
The boys put on their Christmas jammies and we loaded into the car with snacks one night to go Christmas light looking. Such a fun tradition!
There were other memorable ones that I didn't get on camera. I think that I will have etched into my memory forever the night the 5 of us sat around singing Christmas carols by candlelight. Or the pride Pax had delivering Christmas goodies to our trash truck and recycle truck drivers. And one of my absolute favorites this year was Christmas caroling at a local nursing home with some others from our church. Those dear people just loved seeing children! It was definitely another season full of memories and celebrating the One that came for each of us.