Saturday, April 26, 2014

FCA Banquet & Award

Last week Jarrod and I attended the annual area FCA "Night of Champions" banquet.  It was held at Carolina Creek Christian Camp (where Emma attends camp!).  We enjoyed a delicious meal and delightful company!

Jarrod was honored to receive the Mark Johnson Coach of Character Award.  He was introduced by fellow Coach Don Hill and the award was actually presented by Mr. Mark Johnson himself.  It was an exciting time :)  Pictured with us above are Mark Johnson and Beau & Stacy Bevers, FCA area direcctor and his sweet wife.

We were blessed to have some great local friends join us for the evening 
{L-R Charlie & Lyndsey Robinson, our youth pastor & wife, L.C. & Cathy Courtney, school board member & church friends, (us), Josh Boyd, THS junior & FCA huddle leader and Dave Plymale, TISD Superintendent}

Owen at age 4 1/2

Last week we celebrated Owen's half birthday!  For months now he has claimed to be "four and a half" and "almost five" but now it is the truth!  He now wears mostly size 4 clothes, size 11 shoes and weighs approximately 40 lbs.  He constantly asks questions and is very curious about the world around him.  {Some of his most recent questions:  How does a car run?  What are trees made of?  How does a baby get in a mommy's tummy?  Will I be cute in high school?}

Since turning four we have had two routine conferences with his teacher.  Ms. Anitra has been such a blessing to us!  She says that he is doing great!  He has two best buddies, Keaton and JK.  They are all among the oldest in the class and also have older siblings, which she thinks might have something to do with the way they get along so well.  She commented on how comical Owen is and how much he enjoys making others laugh.  She tested him on alphabet letter identification and he got almost all of them correct!  She agreed that he has mastered all tasks and expectations for the year, which has contributed to our decision to go ahead and promote him to the Pre K class at the same school for this fall {Mrs. A will be moving up to Pre K, too!}.  We still plan to hold him back a year but will most likely have him spend a year in Pre K at the elementary school as well.

He loves to count, dance, do crafts, vacuum, play sports (especially baseball, soccer, football & golf), play Wii, play on the ipad, and do exercise videos with us at home.  He loves to play at the Sonic playground after school, which we have done quite often recently with the beautiful weather!  Each child in his class gets a turn to take home the homework backpack.  Owen was thrilled to take it home.  I've never seen anyone so excited about doing homework!  He prefers not to play alone, tidy his room, run errands or try new foods.  His diet primarily consists of Boston cream pie breakfast strudels, pumpkin muffins, biscuits with gravy, bacon, Ramen noodles, fettuccine alfredo, weenies, garlic bread, pop corn, chips and queso, peanut butter sandwiches, tortillas, yogurt, rice and hard boiled eggs (without the "olk" - yolk).  Very rarely will he deviate from this list.  Pediasure is a thing of the past!

His speech has improved recently.  Over Spring Break he randomly started sounding out his 's' and 'f' sounds perfectly and consistently!  There are still occasions when we simply cannot understand him.  He tends to get irritated but has figured out how to use context clues to better communicate what he is talking about.  We followed through with Dr Knight's referral and he was evaluated for speech last month.  As we suspected, he is just a little behind the curve in articulation.  He will start meeting with a speech therapist once a week and then will be re evaluated every 90 days.

Lately we have noticed that Owen has taken interest in math.  When we give him two different single digit numbers he can put them together in his head and tell us the double digit {4, 6 =46}.  He has recently made several different number associations.  He called attention to the fact that there are four members in our immediate family and that his age is four.  He also made reference to the fact that both he and his daddy both have the number eight in their ipad passwords.  He is also great at 20+ piece puzzles!  He focuses and completes them in record speed!

Our boy is a very light sleeper.  He almost never stays put in one place during the night.  He still starts in Emma's bed but transfers to our bed during the night.  He often falls asleep on the way home from school.  He definitely still needs that daily nap and will do so in Pre K!

His favorite days are t ball days!  He doesn't seem to understand the difference between practices and games but has the time of his life out there!  The first thing he asks each morning is "Do I have a game today?"  On game days he constantly asks "How many minutes 'til my game?"  His coach let him play pitcher which was hilarious!  He had the biggest grin on his face and proceeded to tag the opponent without  the ball.

Things I never want to forget about 4 1/2 year old Owen:

  • He is very shy and it often takes him quite some time to warm up to new adults.  
  • He is extremely cuddly first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  
  • He still adores his big sister but doesn't allow her to push him around as much as he used to.  
  • While she is at school he sneaks into her room to play Barbies.  
  • He has all of the Frozen song lyrics memorized.  
  • He has an amazing memory ("one time you said...").  
  • He is scared silly of bugs.
  • He often holds my hand on the way to school.  
  • He furrows his brow and grunts when he doesn't get his way.  
  • He loves his little school friends with all his heart.  
  • He can easily be bribed with McDonalds happy meals and electronic privileges :)

We love him to pieces.  He is growing up faster than we wish he would but we are enjoying every minute - temper tantrums and all!  :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter 2014

We had a great Easter week!  Owen's class party and egg hunt was on Thursday.

Owen's sweet classmate and fellow future Baylor bear, Willa!

Combined preschool classes before the big hunt

Emma's class also had a fun party and egg hunt on Good Friday.  The Easter bunny even made a quick appearance :)

We made a short but sweet trip home to central Texas.  We were glad to be able to visit with lots of family over the weekend!  We went bowling, enjoyed two different egg hunts and consumed too much good food!

On Easter morning we attended FBC Waco with my parents.  

My guys in seersucker :)

One of my favorite childhood Easter memories was with my Parmer cousins.  After hearing our grandfather  preach we would enjoy a big egg hunt at their home in Valley Mills.  We are carrying on the tradition with these sweet second cousins (Emma-7, Owen-4, Anaiah-3 Kannon-2) {there will be two more to add to this group next Easter!!}

I just love this photo of Owen!  He thoroughly enjoys his egg hunting :)

The kids' table decor 

My littlest cupcake :)

"He is not here.  He has RISEN, just as He said He would."  ~Matthew 28:6

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Barnyard Moosical

Lansberry Elementary first and second graders performed 'A Barnyard Moosical' last Tuesday evening.  Emma's class represented the gourmet goats.  The students practiced their songs in fine arts class.  A few of the room parents got together and created the costumes (farmers, goats, pigs, cows and funky chickens) and stage decor.  

Singing and dancing to their song

The kids did a wonderful job and I was so proud of our favorite girl and her friends!

Emma with her farmer friend, Becca

Strike a pose!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Another angel

For weeks now I have wrestled with whether or not to share this.  As much as I wish it never happened it has become part of life.  This blog tells our story.  The good, the bad and the sad.  My hope is that it fills in details for the ones who love us most and that maybe someday someone will stumble upon this post who feels as lost and sad as I have and that it might help them in some way.

The week after Thanksgiving I had a feeling that I was pregnant.  I can't exactly explain it, I guess I just had a hunch.  I took close to a dozen pregnancy tests that week, I suppose just to be sure!  After the loss of baby #3 it also offered me a glimpse of hope to see those two beautiful pink lines again and again.  I've always wanted to share the news with Jarrod in some special way but as he knows, I just can't keep a secret!  For the next couple of months we kept the news between the two of us.  Around the eight week mark the morning all day sickness hit.  It seemed to worsen by the day.  Most days I simply lived on dry Cheerios and Gatorade.  I slept a lot more than usual and Owen was such a good sport during the day.  My sickness eased up a little and I felt my best around bedtime each evening.  My first noteworthy cravings were Olive Garden salad dressing, Cutie oranges and real Dr Pepper.

My first prenatal visit was in mid January.  Jarrod took the day off to be there.  We dropped the kids off at school and headed to Ihop for a romantic breakfast :)  As much as I really wanted to enjoy the alone time with my hubby, words cannot describe the anxiety that overwhelmed every ounce of my being.  My nerves didn't subside once we arrived at the office.  After all, the last time I was there I discovered the loss of baby #3.  It was refreshing but bittersweet to see our sweet baby #4 on the ultrasound screen.  It was a new beginning and the perfect way to start the new year!

Dr D kindly allowed me to return the next week to hear the heartbeat again.  It was at that visit that he was successfully able to detect it with the doppler.  He reminded me that, statistically speaking, my miscarriage chances dropped to 3% at that point.  I was finally able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and relax.  Or so I thought.

Because I had reached the second trimester and was so sick we told the kids.  Soon after we told a few close friends and family members.  I found a great deal online and purchased my very own home doppler.  My doctor warned me that it wouldn't work until I was much further along.  Of course I decided to try anyway!  The day I was exactly 12 weeks along I finally heard it loud and clear.  I checked it almost everyday after and found the heartbeat in the exact same location.  On Valentine's day Jarrod and I listened to the strong heart beat right before we went to bed.  We had a busy Saturday and I never used the doppler.

On Sunday, February 16th I was running late for church (what's new?!).  I decided to listen with the doppler very quickly before heading out the door.  I couldn't find the baby.  The batteries were on the fritz so I didn't panic entirely.  I searched the house high and low but couldn't find the battery charger anywhere.  During church I prayed and prayed that this baby would be fine and that the Lord would continue to offer His protection.  After church we rushed home for lunch and back into town for pregnancy announcement photos we had scheduled with a local photographer friend.  Deep down I knew something just wasn't right.

I decided to call my doctor on Monday morning and shortly after drove to his office.  After waiting in the exam room what seemed like forever Dr D arrived.  The only thing his doppler detected was my aortic vein.  He took me across the breezeway to the ultrasound room.  In my heart I knew this baby was gone.  A few moments later he confirmed what my heart already knew.  He stared at the screen trying to make sense of it.  It was not a common occurrence at this point and he had not expected to find this.  He said that it must have happened very recently because it was measuring right on track to date.  As he solemnly explained the next steps my body went numb and my mind raced.  In that instant my world flipped upside down.  Nothing made sense.  My heart ached all over again.

I simply couldn't speak so I updated Jarrod with a quick text.  I returned home to face my kids, plan the rest of our week around a hospital stay and put my maternity ware back on the top shelf of the closet for the second time in four months.  I am thankful for a husband who went through the house to put away the doppler and ultrasound photos before my arrival.

Early Wednesday morning, February 19th, I arrived at the hospital for a D&E.  My room was on the labor and delivery floor which was hard.  I wanted so badly to be there for a joyous reason.  Within the first hour a young lab tech came by to draw blood.  I'll never forget her first comment: "You don't look big enough to be having a baby".  I managed a head nod but shielded her from the whole story.  The procedure took most of the day and I delivered our baby at 10:20pm.  Jarrod and I agreed to find out the gender if possible.  Soon after the delivery my nurse returned and handed me this.  She said he looked perfect.  He shared a birthday with my sweet Memaw.

Thank you to those who prepared delicious meals, sent beautiful flower arrangements, cards, called, text messaged or prayed for us.  We are truly blessed with lots of love and support.  A special thanks to Jarrod's mom and cousin Kirsten who visited and helped out while I was in the thick of morning sickness and to my parents who visited and helped out after my hospital stay.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Two months have passed and I am still trying to put the pieces back together.  Painful little reminders sneak up on me.  Pregnant women and newborns seem to be everywhere.  I'm so happy for them but so sad for us.  It's true; everyone handles grief differently.  Some days are easier than others but a day doesn't go by that I don't think about our sweet angel babies.  It doesn't seem fair and it doesn't seem right.  My mind could swirl with questions all day long.  The bottom line is that our great God knows what He is doing.  He doesn't make mistakes.  He is in control.  I am not.

 During this stormy season of life I have learned to be much more sensitive to what others may be going through in a way that I never was before. I have learned to count my blessings. I have developed a new appreciation for my children on earth and I have been reminded to savor Children are such a blessing and it is so easy to lose sight of that in the hustle and bustle of life. I have been reminded of what an incredible man I married.  He is strong when I can't be and lets me grieve the way I need to. He loves me through thick and thin and I am grateful to have him by my side.   

Between losses a dear friend loaned me the book I Will Carry You by Angie Smith.  It tells the story of the loss of her fourth daughter.  It offers help to find grace and peace in the midst of such trials.  Her husband Todd (lead singer in the Christian band Selah) performs a song dedicated to their sweet baby.  The words are beautiful.  Grab the Kleenex.