Thursday, June 22, 2017

Even If..

I've had the urge to sit down and write again for quite a while. However, life happens... Life is funny sometimes. As soon as you think you have it all together, another bump appears in the road. Those bumps, for us, have come in the form of relocations, lifelong diagnoses, unexpected surgeries or hospitalizations, planned procedures with unexpected complications, illnesses, etc.
I sat at the beach over the weekend watching people get knocked down time and time again by the rough waves. I realized how much life is just like that. You get knocked down, then try to slowly, and sometimes not-so-gracefully, get back up, but life comes at you again sending you back down to your knees.

I've been thinking so much lately about this crazy roller coaster that I feel like I've been on since 2008. So many questions and so many thoughts have consumed me. Of course, in times of trial, many people ask "why me?" But that has never really been my hang up. I've always found peace in knowing that I can take the bad, ugly, and trying times in my life and turn them into good. I've been intentional in never letting diagnoses define my child or myself. I have advocated with every ounce of my being, at every possible opportunity, for our diseases. I believe knowledge is power and when you know better, you do better.

The questions that I get stuck on are more like: 
"What happens if Kinsley really does need yearly or every-other-year procedures for the foreseeable future?"
"Will she deal with anxiety and depression forever as a result of the out of control feelings she gets from her procedures?"
"With each procedure, will we have to fight to get our sparkly-eyed Kinsley Anne back?"
"Am I doing everything I can as a mom & advocate to educate my family, my friends, and the general public on Congenital Heart Disease?"
"Am I teaching people to be kind because invisible diseases are still horrible diseases and the people fighting them deserve our compassion?"
"Am I showing people that it's SO much easier to jump these hurdles when I lean on a source of peace greater than myself?"

You see, everyone is fighting a battle. I am well aware that the battles we face as a family are no bigger or more difficult than those any other family is facing. Whether it be that your marriage is crumbling, your kid has walked away from your family, or you are reading this from the confines of your child's hospital room. Whether you're pregnant and moving the day before your due date (been there, done that), you're struggling to conceive and you just don't understand why, you haven't had a vacation in God knows how long, you're working 90 hour weeks, or you have a cold, your kids never listen to you until you act like some type of demonic being, or you're just run down and tired. We all have our cross to bear. 

A couple of months ago, I heard Mercy Me's song "Even If," & it stopped me in my tracks. I have always tried so hard to sing God's praises through our our laughter AND our storms. I've encouraged myself and others to choose joy daily. But the reality is that it's really hard sometimes. For those people who really know me well, know that I have had a very hard time with Kinsley Anne's last procedure and recovery. It's been harder than anything else I've been through. It has been impossibly hard to watch her endure anxiety like I've never known before. It's been gut wrenching to come to the realization that we're not as close to "success" with her heart as we thought we were 6 months ago. I've wrestled and pleaded with God. I've even yelled out to Him as if he couldn't hear me sometimes. And after many nights of crying myself to sleep, I am finally getting some peace that even if God leaves these mountains unmovable for us...for her, that He will give us the strength to sing "It is well with my soul." 

Friends, I'm pouring myself out to you only to tell you that even if you're in the seemingly impossible throes of life, please know that God is there. Don't you dare mistake his silence for weakness. He may be drawing you in, closer to Him, so that you realize that your option is to rely on Him.

Love y'all lots.
Until next time,

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jeremiah 29:11

One year ago today, I was told that medically, there were no more appropriate treatments left for me to try in regards to my Ulcerative Colitis.  No matter the diagnosis, this is a tough conversation to have.  My mom and I sat in the hospital room up at UNC: Chapel Hill and wept. We struggled to understand why this would happen less than a week from Christmas. Why, during the busiest weeks of our lives, would everything come to a screeching halt?  Well, one year later, I think I have at least two of those answers.

1) Christmas has become the busiest season of most people's lives. But should it be? Why do we pile so many engagements on our calendar just to stress out about how we will attend them all? Why do we feel the need to bring our child to every single Santa, Christmas tree, and snow related activity, even if it is at the cost of our sanity?  I don't have an answer for that.  But, is that what is most important?  Christmas is very simply about the birth of Christ. It is about spending time with those who you love and celebrating our Savior's birth. It is about the acts of giving, as Jesus so selflessly gave of himself.  And, I was in full swing of the typical December madness when I "squeezed in" an appointment to my GI doctor on 12/15/15 that would lead to my admission, and later the surgery to remove my large intestine. I think that God was teaching me so many things through that admission and surgery and this was one of them. Slow down. Stop trying to check boxes on your December to-do list. Be still. Listen. Pray. Trust. I have never, ever felt closer to God than the many times that I've sat helpless and out of control inside the walls of the hospital...whether it be for myself, my child, or a loved one. I had no choice other than boredom & self-pity last December but to dive into the word of God and find peace in Him. This year, December has still been busy, but much less so. I've toned down the number of to-dos for both myself and my family & instead tried to just soak up & enjoy the season.

2) I like to be in control. Those who know me well know that I am not a good decision maker.  However, I still like to have the feeling of control.  I hate flying on airplanes because I have no control. I hate when my child is in the OR/cath lab, because I have no control over the outcome. I hate relying on others to complete my to-do list, because I am nervous about whether it will be done the same as I would do it.  But, slowly, I've learned to give up control {in most areas}.  I still have to take an ativan to fly, but I've had no choice but to lean into God during Kinsley's procedures, finding peace only through prayer.  I have learned to delegate tasks, both at home & at work, to avoid a stress overload. And last year, while sitting in the hospital, I learned that Christmas would go on, with or without me.  Mom kept me company and distracted. Kyle's mom wrapped presents. Kyle's aunt attended Kinsley's school Christmas party. Kyle's cousins helped assemble large gifts. Katy and my Dad were willing to help do anything to ease the panic that I was feeling since I was supposed to host Christmas. Kyle's cousin Jamie sent me a Christmas tree to my hospital room to decorate so that it could feel more like home. Kyle was incredible in many ways, but also brought the kids to see me despite the long car ride. I had to rely on others. I had to rely on Him. And that's exactly what I think He had in mind for this season of my life.  He was quietly whispering, "Let go. It will get done. Even without you. I AM THE ONE IN CONTROL. I am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow...despite your circumstances, despite your location, despite everything."

Remember that when life doesn't go according to your plans, there IS always a bigger plan. And it is for your good. Be glad that you don't get to see the big picture all upfront, as it likely wouldn't be as valuable or make as much sense before the struggle. Trust & believe that things will work out. Look for the blessings & look for the lessons.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Miracle Maker

I'm back!! After a few friendly nudges, I am back to writing.  So much has gone on since I last wrote. But, the highlights seem to be that we've moved into our new home in South Carolina after ~10 months of construction, I had 2 surgeries for my Ulcerative Colitis (another story for another day), Kinsley Anne started kindergarten, Wyatt started preschool, and Kinsley Anne had another heart procedure...the last being today's topic.

{Insert back story before I proceed for anyone new to the story: Kinsley Anne was born with a couple of "special features" including a left pulmonary artery (the vessel that carries blood from the heart to her left lung to pick up oxygen) that was barely open.  About 2.5 years ago, Kinsley Anne had a balloon blown up inside the artery to inflate it slightly...this took ~10 hours.  Then, just over 2 years ago, she had 2 stents placed inside that artery (this also took 10 hours).  She was only born with ~1/3 of her left lung.  Having that artery opened up lets her lung get additional blood flow, which hopefully encourages the lung's growth.}

This past week feels like it's been such a whirlwind but I sit here with such a thankful heart. For some reason, with this heart procedure, I had such an unsettled, uneasy feeling. When K had her first 2 procedures, she was sick so often...on antibiotics more than she was off. So, while it's never easy to consent to lengthy procedures, the need was clearly evident. Since that time, Kinsley has been incredibly healthy. In just over 2 years, she had a quick bout with the flu, a sinus infection, and an occasional cold.  So, the decision to do this procedure was not as obvious.  However, we knew that the time had come and as nervous as that made me, I knew it was the right decision.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. I had spoken with Kinsley's teacher and school nurse and because of the rampant GI bug, strep throat, and various other illnesses floating through her school, the decision was made to pull Kinsley Anne out and allow her to do her schoolwork at home until procedure time.  The cardiologist supported that decision & with the help of my parents, she was distracted and entertained.  Then, the day before her procedure, I received a phone call that temporarily turned our world upside down. The nurse practitioner called me and told me that K's cardiologist had a mix-up and would actually not be in the cath lab "tomorrow," the day of our procedure.  She gave us two options: we could reschedule or we could come as scheduled and allow another doctor to do the procedure.  I'd like to tell you that I was cool, calm, and collected while making this decision. However, I lost it. I was really upset that a "mix up" could be threatening my girl. Mama bear came out.  Then, my rock solid husband began to speak with his voice of reason.  We quickly researched the alternative cardiologist (who was available to step in and perform the cath) and decided that he was MORE than capable. He is actually the director of the cath lab and has performed an unreal number of complicated cases. A blessing in disguise? Quite possibly.

On the day of the procedure, we arrived at the hospital and were treated extremely well. We met with the pediatric interventional cardiologist that would be performing her cath (for the first time) and really liked him. However, he is a realist and discusses all possible outcomes.  He told us about how tricky this procedure would be and how there was a chance of her needing open heart surgery before the day was through.  Kyle and I swallowed hard.  Although we knew that in the back of our heads, it was hard hearing it from the doctor's mouth.

At about 1145, our sweet girl was taken back to the OR. Kyle and I left to go downstairs for lunch.  Upon our return, the nurse requested an update for us. She told us "they are ballooning the stents now."  When she left, Kyle and I looked at each other and said, "well, surely she misheard or misunderstood."  We decided to tell people that they had started.  You see, in previous procedures, it took ~4 hours for the doctor to reach her artery.  So, in 1 hour, we found it very difficult to believe that they had already accomplished that.  Then, ~45 min later, the nurse practitioner peaked into our room and told us, "They're done. Just holding pressure."  I asked, "done?" in disbelief. She nodded and said, "yes. Dr. Kim will be out soon to explain everything."  Kyle and I literally sat with mouths wide open. My sister, who had come for a quick lunchtime visit, saw our state of shock and excused herself.  Soon, the doctor came and told us that it was "dare he say, incredibly easy."  He was able to dilate the stents from 5mm to 8mm and there were no complications.  He even did some "mapping" of her vessels since they got done so quickly.  He laughed and told us that "even a blind squirrel gets a nut now and then."  We appreciated his humor but continued to stare at each other in awe.  I finally said, "Kyle. I don't know what to say. God is so good. He's the miracle maker!" ...and like all emotionally unstable women, I busted out in tears. The happiest tears I've cried in quite some time.

God is so good. He took us from absolute chaos to miraculous outcome in 24 hours. And only He can do things like that.

Our sweet girl was so incredibly anxious this time. She did not want to eat for 36 hours before her procedure and actually got sick quite a few times from her nerves. While she is a courageous child, she is still human and did not like the unknown. She asked many difficult questions, such as "why do I have to do this? Why me? Nobody else in my class has a special heart."  Questions that she deserves to ask, but that here on Earth, this mama doesn't have a simple answer for. She was a trooper, though, and we are really proud of her.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:27

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wyatt @ 5 months..

  You were 5 months on 9/30.  What a crazy month it's been. I look at you often & pray with all of my might that I could slow down time.  However, since we know all too well that that doesn't work, I have been trying to soak it all in & enjoy.

At 5 months, you:

  • Weight somewhere around 17#
  • Measured 28" (100%) at your 4 month visit.
  • We are currently doing a little better with reflux.  You are on a full tab daily.  When I remember which has been often, I do 1/2 tab twice daily and think that works best.  But on the occasion that I forget your morning dose, I give you the full tab at night & it is obviously better than just 1/2 tab.  I haven't heard you silently refluxing as much, so I hope that continues to get better!!  You are still exclusively breastfed (95% of the time with pumped milk) with the exception of 1 tsp of formula in most bottles to add extra calories since you can't tolerate the volume you really desire.
  • I have attempted rice cereal feedings a couple of times & even tried sweet potatoes once.  The result was not good.  You were not at all ready to eat off of a spoon & honestly looked at me like I was a crazy person.  I am just waiting until closer to 6 months now since your reflux seems to be better controlled.

  • You are trying really hard to sit independently.  You pull it off for a few seconds now & then but have to lean forward, kind of tripod style (feet/legs out at an angle & hands on the ground to prop outside of your feet).
    • You also do very well in the bumbo. And sister likes you in the bumbo because you are looking straight at her.  Y'all are going to be trouble one day (probably sooner rather than later).

        sister had a dinosaur nose from a birthday party. Wyatt wanted to eat it.

  • You LOVE the bouncer at school.  Your teacher said you will happily do that for a while each day.
  • You also LOVE any toy that allows you to be upright. 
please take note of those precious baby New Balances!
who said that dressing a boy wasn't fun?!!?
  • You are back to full swaddle at night since I found one that works really well. It's called the Woombie Wrap & Snap. LOVE it!  Really easy contraption to use & keeps you nice & snug.

  • Have discovered your tongue over the last week.  You have tried to blow a raspberry a few times, but not consistently. Such a fun thing to watch babies discover their body parts that most of us take for granted!
  • Are teething.  Who knows if you'll get your first tooth in 2 weeks or 2 months+, but you "chew" on everything!  The other night, while staying out of the house because of showings, Kinsley Anne and I ate pizza in the food court at the local outlet mall.  You kept eyeing my pizza & I finally handed you a piece of crust to gnaw on.  You went to town & Kinsley Anne thought it was one of the funniest things she had ever seen.

  • You had your first real sickness & did it up right.  You started with a clear runny nose on a Wednesday.  Then, Thursday morning, you woke up with a barky cough. I immediately knew that it was croup, but you were breathing OK and had no fever.  So, you went to school, but I explained to the teachers that you had started coughing.  They kept a close eye on you & told mommy that afternoon that the noise you were making while breathing was starting to concern them.  Mommy didn't think much of it, but as the evening went on, you were making loud noises with every breath...I later realized that you were retracthing (belly pulling in with every breath), so I decided to take you to urgent care at 1015pm.  By 1030pm, you were being treated with a racemic epinephrine treatment, a dose of steroids, and we were told to go to TX Children's ER for further observation/treatment.  Luckily, when those meds kicked in, you were able to go to sleep and your breathing got a little easier.  The ER doctor agreed to let you go home (at ~130am).  Friday night, you started up again, but I was able to keep you at home (with a steamy shower, cold air, etc) until the pediatrician opened Saturday morning.  You got another round of racemic epinephrine & were put on 3 days of steroids.  Luckily, that did the trick.  Poor buddy, mama does NOT like to see her babies sick.

    in the ER being monitored

    your pitiful cough & awful sounding breathing just broke my heart.

in the pediatrician on a Saturday morning.

  • You were such a little angel during sissy's big procedure last week.  Aunt Carol took good care of you & you even got to come to the hospital to greet sister in recovery.  For the first time ever, she did not light up and smile when she saw you since she was groggy from medicine.  BUT, it took her no less than 1 hour to mess with you.  We laid you on the foot of her bed so that you could stretch out & she pulled the covers off of her legs & put her foot on your head so she could mess up your hair.  Good luck keeping her in line, bud.

  • It is obvious to everyone how much you love "big sissy."  Your entire face lights up when you see her.  You pretty much think she hung the moon... and I am 100% positive that she feels the same way about you. Nobody was able to prepare me for the love that I feel when I watch the two of you together.

  • You usually fall asleep on mama or daddy's chest during the late afternoon or evening to catnap.  We all love it because you are so peaceful.  One day, Kinsley Anne asked if you could sleep on her instead of mama.  I obliged &

she rubbed your head & kissed your forehead until you fell asleep... proud of herself!

 My little doodlebug.  You are so precious. I just love you and your sister so much that my eyes often well up as I thank God for His blessings.  You are developing such a little personality and I can't wait to see how it continues to evolve.  I cannot wait for you to catch up with a lot of family over the next few months.  We are moving next week to South Carolina where you are sure to be spoiled.  Then, we will get to spend time with Mema, GPop, and Nanny at Thanksgiving and you will probably never get put down which I'm sure you're fine with.  Please always know that you are prayed for & loved.  We love you wider than the sky.

your mama

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3: 12

Monday, September 22, 2014

Round Two..

Kinsley Anne went to her 6 month cardiac cath follow up today.  We started off with an ECHO.  Kinsley Anne hopped up on the exam table, laid down, and did the entire ECHO without any compalints, whimpers, or tears.  How far she has come in 9 months since her first ECHO.  After the ECHO, Kins had her appointment with the cardiologist.  Dr. Liou was so impressed with how much our sweet girl has "matured."  She is wise beyond her years & follows directions to complete quite the physical exam.  Dr. Liou remembered "Raffy's" name & asked how he was doing.  Let's suffice it to say that that made Kinsley Anne REALLY happy.  Kinsley Anne got a pretty good report, including having a "NORMAL" more heart murmur! Dr. Liou explained that today's ECHO showed no real change, for better or worse.  Before the cath, her pulmonary artery was measuring ~3mm, if I remember correctly.  After the cath/ballooning, it measured ~5mm. ~5mm is what it still measures now as well.  We were all not so silently hoping that the pulmonary artery would continue to grow after the cath.  But, that hasn't happened.  The good news is that it hasn't decreased in size, which was also a possibility.

So, with all of that being said, Dr. Liou recommended doing a 2nd cath.  This is not an urgent need. But, she desires to do it nonetheless.  She has goals for Kinsley (which Kyle & I agree with) and we're not quite there.  Although we have seen definite improvements in Kinsley Anne, we too have high hopes for increased activity tolerance, decreased antibiotic use, etc.  She said that if we weren't moving in the near future, we would just schedule it based on convenience.  Given that we're moving, she said that she would look to see if she could do it in the next 2 weeks, but chances were that we would not be able to and we'd follow up to do the cath with our new doctor.  Dr. Liou's nurse coordinator, Cherryl, said she could try to "work her magic" but that Dr. Liou's schedule was really full.  I had texted Kyle's mom that we needed prayers for a cancellation and not 30 minutes later, Cherryl called saying that another patient cancelled for THIS WEDNESDAY, 9/24.  So, prayer warriors, we need you!!! Please keep our sweet girl (and us) in your prayers this week.

We talked extensively about our upcoming move as well.  Dr. Liou has a colleague in Atlanta who used to work with her at TX Children's.  Given that there are no pediatric interventional cardiologists like Kinsley Anne needs in the upstate of South Carolina, we will continue her care at the Sibley Heart Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta once we move.  We have the utmost confidence in that program as well.

Here are our specific prayer requests:

  • That Kinsley Anne would not be anxious Wednesday morning through the check-in process.
    • She already knows that we have to go back to the hospital Wednesday for Dr. Liou to keep working on making her heart healthier.  She is OK with this but wants to be asleep to get her IV (which we will ensure happens).
  • That the team of doctors/nurses in the cath lab would be extremely careful, patient, and purposeful with everything they do to & for our sweet girl.
  • That she would tolerate anesthesia well & that she would come off of the ventilator without difficulty at the end of the procedure.
  • For Kinsley Anne's pulmonary artery to tolerate balloon angioplasty well, like last time, and that it would provide further dilation (we want the pulmonary artery bigger, allowing more blood flow).
  • That Kinsley Anne's recovery would be uneventful & that we would be able to bring a spunky, healthy little girl to South Carolina in 2.5 weeks!
  • For peace of mind for her mama & daddy.

Kinsley Anne picking out prizes & stickers with Cherryl

Thank yall for praying for our family as you have been so faithful in doing in the past.  We love you & appreciate you.  Jen will update Facebook on Wednesday throughout the day (our best guess is a 6hr procedure, but it could be more or less).  

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Meanwhile, Back at Mama's...

What a story God has written for Kyle, myself, and our two amazing kids.  To many, our life seems like utter chaos & pure craziness.  To us, after spending a lot of time praying & pondering, it seems that the only explanation possible is that our lives are planned by someone much greater than ourselves.

Almost 2 years ago, we wrote this. ...A letter explaining our decision to move to Houston.  We talked about Kyle's career development & my desires to find the career that allowed me to be a nurse practitioner and also care for my family.  We only thought those were the reasons that we came here...

#1: Kinsley Anne.  We can, without a doubt say that she is the primary reason for God leading us to Houston.  Before we moved here, we were living in the revolving doors of doctors' offices....constantly testing & treating something that we didn't even understand.  With the right pediatrician (hi, Dr. Wong!) who ordered a chest XRay on a Saturday because of the same, fairly constant cough/congestion/fever that we had dealt with for 3 years.  Then, the head of cardiology imaging "just happened" to be the radiologist on call that Saturday morning looking at her XRay.  He called Dr. Wong, who then talked to us about the abnormality that he thought he saw on the chest XRay.  Dr. Wong referred us to cardiology.  That next Friday, there "just happened" to be a cancellation for the pediatric cardiology interventionalist, who would later take AMAZING care of Kinsley Anne, Dr. Liou.  Kinsley Anne, as you know, has been diagnosed with congenital heart defects as a result of all of this, and is better than ever thanks to all of your prayers & the incredible care & diligence at Texas Children's Hospital.  Since her procedure, her antibiotic treatments are shorter & have been half as frequent.  We have her 6 month follow up ECHO and appointment at pediatric cardiology on September 22nd & continue to believe that we will get great news.

#2: Family.  When you are less than a mile from family, you tend to take their presence for granted.  I will tell you that we will NEVER do so again.  We are incredibly blessed & fortunate to have Aunt Carol & Uncle Dick in Houston with us.  If not for them, I'm not sure what we would have done!  Aunt Carol & Uncle Dick have been a 3rd set of grandparents to Kinsley Anne and Wyatt.  But they have not only been family to the 4 of us, but the best of friends.  We love joining them for meals, laughing over both our children's antics as well as their sweet dog Alfie's, and just spending quality time with people who get us!  However, we have realized that a huge piece of us is missing & that is the joy of cousins' laughter, the sweet sight of Kinsley Anne romping on family land, and the ability to hop in the car & spend the weekend with Aunt Katy & Uncle Stephen.  

#3: Jen's job.  Jen thought she wanted a part time, clinical NP job at a dedicated children's hospital.  She actually took that very type of job (36 hr, so basically full time though..not part time) and decided that this job, too, was not the best fit for her.  Despite meeting some of her very best friends in Texas at this job, she was still on the search for something that met the desires of her heart & family.  That is when a position opened up doing something she never dreamed of doing.... case management for a medical device that she had worked countless hours with during her time in Pediatric Neurology.  She took that job & has never looked back.  She has said repeatedly that this career is "what she never knew she always wanted."  She gets patient contact (even though not face to face), a rewarding feeling knowing that she is helping patients improve their lives, and just enough flexibility to meet her family's needs.  She is now working from her home office & desires to do nothing else!

#4: Kyle's job. Kyle came down here for career & salary advancement. Although both were accomplished, he has taken on a whole new viewpoint on his desired career trajectory.  Prior to the move, we thought we were committed to making the sacrifices needed for rapid career advancement.  This opportunity has proven his interest in project management but he is more confident in taking a slower pace. Now, he realizes that he will continue to push himself hard & do the very best work that he can do, but is now content with a career that offers him time with family & stability in location.

If you take the time to read back through our post when moving down here, the #1 reason we believe we are here was not even mentioned. #2 was always an important consideration, but allowed us to truly open our eyes wide to the value of a close knit family & community.  We thought #4 was the primary reason for our move & #3 close behind.  Boy, did God rock our worlds on that.  

All in all, just when you think you have life figured out, God shows you that you are not in control.  He showed us that his plans are bigger & better than anything we could ever have imagined and we have really learned to pray diligently & follow His lead.

All this to say, South Carolina - WE ARE COMING HOME!  Kyle has accepted an offer with the company he walked away from 2 years ago.  This time, he is taking a different position in another business line & is excited for the opportunities ahead.  Jen is beyond fortunate to have the most understanding and compassionate boss, who is allowing her to work from her home office in South Carolina.  Kinsley Anne will continue to get the care that she requires, whether here in Texas or back on the east coast (we will figure that out at her appointment). Wyatt is along for the ride & will soon know what farm life is all about!

We will be driving back from Katy, TX to Inman, SC on October 9th and cannot wait to see everyone.

Thank you to our friends & family both here in Texas and there in South Carolina.  You have made this journey amazing.  To have friends/family here that are SO hard to say goodbye to and friends/family waiting for us in South Carolina & the surrounding areas jumping up & down with open arms, there is no doubt - We are most certainly blessed.  Please continue to keep us all in your prayers as we complete this transition and thank you to those who have prayed regularly for us since we started on this journey.

We love yall, 
Jen, Kyle, Kinsley Anne, & Wyatt

...this song has been played repeatedly as we navigated this most recent chapter...

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wyatt @ 4 months

  One moment I'm thinking How has it already been 4 months?! Wasn't it yesterday that we brought you home?? Then, I get to thinking How has it only been 4 months since we've known you? It feels so perfect. Like you've been here all along..

Either way, our family has been so blessed by your life.  You were 4 months on 8/30/2014 but I waited until after your 4 month appointment to write this (9/8) so that I would have your stats.

At 4 months, you:

  • Weigh 16# 10oz (69%) 
  • Measured 28" (100%)
  • Your BMI is low because you're super tall!

  • We are still having to battle reflux.  You've been on 1/2 tab daily of Prevacid and eat fortified breast milk (5oz breastmilk + 1tsp of Similac Sensitive).  You have good days and bad days.  We can pretty much count on your spitting up every 15 minutes all day, but luckily it's not massive amounts.  Unfortunately, mommy & daddy have heard you refluxing (long after your done eating) without the spitting up. Sometimes you're OK with it. Sometimes, it obviously hurts. There have also been a couple of times where you have been sitting in your car seat, bouncy seat, etc and you cough...and cough... and turn red...and mama has to jerk you up and pat you on the back.  I think you get choked on the spit up. Scary! I wish there was more that I could do for you!!
    • Update: At your 4 month appt, which happened to be a particularly bad day for your reflux, we decided to move up to a whole tab of Prevacid. Praying for relief for you, sweet buddy.

  • No longer stay on your back long.  You started rolling to your tummy around 3 months & can just roll yourself over & over until you get where you want to go.  I have also been noticing that you "creep" backwards a little.  There have been several occasions where I put you down, run to the kitchen to get a drink or cook supper and come back less than 5 min later & you are a solid foot from where I put you.
    • One of those times, Kinsley was on the couch & kept giggling "he's eating my ipad!" Sure enough, you had gone about a foot forward and gotten the corner of her ipad to gnaw (it's in a rubber case and must have felt good on your gums).
  • Prefer to sleep on your side or tummy.  If you are unswaddled or just in a sleep sack with arms out, you sleep on your tummy.  If you are fully swaddled you are on your back or side.
    • You slept with your arms out for a while, but you started waking yourself up because you'd pluck your paci out.  So, you are fully swaddled at night again. You sleep in a sleep sack with arms out during your naps at school.
  • Have discovered a new "grrr" sound and you like to do that more than anything else.
  • Started laughing a few days before you were 4 months old.  Your first series of belly laughs were at sister while she was repeatedly saying "Hello....I said, Hello!" to you.  Mommy cried because it was like music to my ears.
  • Are teething.  Who knows if you'll get your first tooth in 2 weeks or 2 months+, but you "chew" on everything!  Cold key toys, teething toys, your fingers, my fingers, it doesn't matter!
  • Love bath time! It is very relaxing to you & you love to kick your feet to splash.  You do not mind the water in your face at all.  Sister, not surprisingly, likes to help with your baths...but often puts wet washcloths right on your face, so I'm glad you don't mind!!

  • Went on your first family vacation (aside from the trip to visit family) to San Antonio. You were a very good boy & tolerated all of the extra activity easily.  It was SO hot!!! but we had a great time staying on the Riverwalk, going to Sea World, and learning about the Alamo.

he LOVED the mariachi band playing at dinner.

outside of Sea World. It was 100* all day!

on the riverwalk before dinner one night

  • You met the little man in the mirror & think he's pretty fun to talk to!

  • You absolutely adore your sister. You light up when she talks to you.  You used to look for mama all of the time, but now sister gets most of your attention (which is OK..I'm glad you love her)!

 My doodlebug.  I can't help but smile when I talk to you. I think if every mom of more than one child is honest with themselves, they will admit to worrying, even just a little bit, about "how will I ever love another child as much as your older sibling?"  But I assure you, that my love for both of you has grown tremendously.  I love you and your dimply smile.  I love way you search your sister out in a room & beam when you find her. I love the noises you make when you eat. I love how you grab a hold of my shirt when we cuddle as if to say, "please mama, keep cuddling me. I'm not letting go." I love how you completely knock out asleep on your daddy's chest and are completely at ease with him. I will always love your sister & you very deeply and I hope you never forget that. We cannot wait to see what amazing things your future holds, but for now...just be little, my man.

your mama

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never Will I leave you. Never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13: 5