Sunday, November 22, 2009

Give Thanks

I love the Fall!  

The beautiful colors of nature; the changing temperatures from hot and muggy to cool and breezy; the smell of crisp air; looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Part of my love of Fall has to do with not having it growing up in China.  The weather usually went from hot to cold, with no in between.  The 5 years I spent in Manila, Philippines, were even more disappointing.  School started in August Hot and humid, then went to hot and rainy and by Christmas it was just hot.  No fall weather at all!  I used to long for the refreshing coolness I remembered from my early days in Tennessee.

Many Autumn days have past since I returned to the US.  Now it has taken on new meaning for me.  The cool weather and beautiful trees remind me of the first several months Abby was in the NICU, fighting for life.  The drive from my parents' condo in Knoxville to the hospital took us through many colorful areas.  Each trip taking us back to face a new crisis for her.

It's amazing how all the senses grab hold of intense memories and cling to them until you experience those triggers again.  Smells especially.  I remember each and every race to the NICU with the back drop of Fall.

Right before Thanksgiving 2003 Abby had undergone one of many surgeries.  This one was to place a temporary shunt in her brain to relieve excess fluid.  We all thought she was strong enough to tolerate the procedure, even though only weeks before she had been gravely ill.  The surgery went well and I distinctly remember driving home weary from the day, admiring the fall foliage, looking forward to sleep.   

Then the dreaded phone call.  

Driving back to the hospital in a fog of exhaustion and disbelief we returned to give permission for an emergency surgery.  Her bowels had perforated, again.  The stress of the shunt surgery had proved to be too much for her body.

That night we stayed in the NICU with Abby and prepared to say good bye to her, again.  In the early morning hours the doctors took her back to the OR for yet another procedure.  Her body was fighting hard, her veins had shut down and they needed more IV access.  They put in a central line (broviac) for all the medications she needed.

This all happened days before Thanksgiving that year.  This is what I think of when we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving day.

I have so much to be thankful for!  Thankful that Abby no longer has her ileostomy bag, and is able to have mostly normal stools.  (sorry if TMI!)  Thankful that she doesn't need TPN anymore.  Thankful that she is growing into her 6 year old self, with attitude and sweetness.

So thankful for my boys.  My two, full term, handsome boys.  Thankful for all the laughter, smiles and tears of joy they bring.  

Thankful for my hard working, compassionate husband who has shared so many experiences with me, sad ones and happy ones. 

Thankful for a Faithful Heavenly Father who never leaves us, and never gives up on us.

Psalm 34:7-9

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

5 months

Our little guy is 5 months old!

He is 15 lbs 11 oz and in the 50 %ile for growth.  We just pulled out the next size up (3-6 mon) outfits as he is busting out of the 3 month size.  *sigh*   He is growing way too fast.

His new trick is rolling from tummy to back.  

He sucks his thumb like a pro, and is sleeping longer nights.  Lately he has gone to bed around 9 pm and waking about 6 am!  Yippee for us.

He loves to be on his tummy looking at the colorful blankets.  Pushing up on his hands has become a favorite position while flashing a winning grin!  We often find him looking around his crib when we get him out of bed after naps.  

This week has been full of sickness for Josiah, and for Abby also.  Poor 'Siah had the stomach bug Sunday which lingered 'till Tuesday.  Fortunately today he is feeling much better!  Abby has been acting sick, running a low grade fever and having lots of seizures.  In the last 2 days she has had 12.  

We've been giving her the extra seizure meds (saved for times of illess) to ward off the prolonged, horrible ones.  So far, so good.

It's Wednesday and we are trudging through the rest of the week, thinking about Thanksgiving and looking forward to getting out of the house more.

Here is the "Thankfulness Turkey" we made today:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Family Vacation 2009

Our family spent a week in Florida last month relaxing, swimming and just hanging out together.  We had a gorgeous house with private beach access and a private swimming pool!  

This year we added two new members to our group.  Matt is our new brother-in-law and of course, our little Levi!

On the way down we stopped in Montgomery at the Boundless Playground there.  They have equipment that is accessible for children in wheel chairs.  It proved to be a nice break from our long journey.

The time we spent together this year was truly peaceful and restful.  Watching the ocean waves, the diving birds, and just taking time to stroll down the beach was very soothing.

One of the things we were most thankful for was that Abby had a good week!  No sickness, few seizures and restful afternoons were all answers to our prayers.  She spent time in the pool, feeling the sand and going for cart rides on the beach.  She did especially great in the car both ways too.  We think this vacation was great for her little spirit!

Thank you Papa and Grandma!