Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!

What a remarkable year it was for our family!!
Praise God for his blessings! Here are a few more comparisons from 2006 to 2007. These are all Christmas items with the boys in the NICU and then now at home.

Andrew & the Snow Seal
You have to look close but both Andrew & the seal are in the 1st pic

Adam & the Penguin

Andrew & his stocking

Adam & his stocking

"And he took the children in his arms,
put his hands on them and blessed them."
Mark 10:16

Thank you most merciful and loving Heavenly Father, Christ Jesus our Lord, and Infinite Spirit for sparing these children. You touched them with your healing hand and cared for them with gentleness. Thank you for allowing us to bring them home, for making us a family, for protecting them against illness, for giving them hearts of joy. We Praise you and give you all the glory for working this miracle in our lives. We commit them to you and ask that you would enter their hearts and fill them with your good news. Amen!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa's

We had a blast at Grandma & Grandpa's this past weekend and enjoyed seeing them and Uncle Steve & Aunt Amy. Everyone got lots of wonderful presents, we played lots of games together and shared lots of laughs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day Photos


My email server is having problems so I'm not getting all my emails. My email address has not changed, it's just having issues. So if you've tried to send me an email and have gotten an error message, please resend it again later and hopefully things will get fixed soon.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A One Horse Open Sleigh!

This was my deal of the day, I found this adorable decorative Christmas sleigh at Kirklands for 60% off and had to get it. Thanks to Sarah for introducing me to such a cool item!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's good to have friends . . .

. . . that know exactly what you are going through!! Our play group has been like an unofficial new mommy support group for me. The Lord has really blessed me with this special and much needed comaraderie this year by bringing all of us together. We all have so much in common and have faced similar struggles. Our babies are all very close in age as are the mommies, we are all first time moms, and the fact that three of us have twins is really special as it's so nice to know I'm not alone in this crazy place of mothering multiples. Also sharing in the fellowship of Christ together has been so encouraging to my often weary soul ;-).

These pictures may look easy but getting this many babies to cooperate takes strategy!

This is Andrew and his "other twin" Jackson. I'm not sure if it's the eyes or the nose but they often resemble each other in their pictures. If Andrew only had longer hair they'd really look alike!

Steep Curves!

Adam's 12 Month Height & Weight Charts

Andrew's 12 Month Height & Weight Charts

These charts only start at 4 lbs and 16 inches so it doesn't capture the steepest part of their catch up growth. Praise God for them being able to eat and grow!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My how you've grown!

Here are comparisons of the boys' hand and foot prints at One Month of Age and One Year of Age (adjusted age 9 months). I only wish we could have gotten the original prints closer to their birth, I'm sure that would have really been something!



Some Perspective

I'm not sure if this helps or not to see how small they were because people always tell me I have tiny kid hands. But these baby hand prints have always reminded me of racoon paw prints!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Best Christmas Ever!!!

Here is our family this morning before church. We are all dressed up in our Christmas attire to light today's advent candle.

A look back:
Our 1st Christmas 2004

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2006

When I was a little girl I would always say "This was the best Christmas ever!" every year after opening presents on Christmas morning. Once I got older Christmas really lost its gleam for me. I don't mean the most important aspect which is celebrating Christ's birth, I've always held that as sacred and dear to my heart but rather when it came to the "holiday" aspect of Christmas I was a bit of a scrooge. Christmas season was always depressing for me perhaps because it always falls right before my birthday and I was always feeling "older" and because it was a constant reminder that another year had gone by and I wasn't married and I didn't have a family.

I never "got into it", the Christmas spirit that is. In fact when I lived in Houston after college and owned my own townhome I didn't have a single Christmas decoration to call my own. I even hosted part of a progressive dinner Christmas party for people my age at church and it NEVER even occurred to me that I needed to decorate for this and when people asked me where my Christmas tree was I just looked at them like they were nuts. When I was riding in my car, anytime a Christmas song came on the radio I immediately changed the station. I neither owned nor wore anything even slightly festive to a Christmas party if I even went at all.

But once Kenny and I got married I warmed up ever so slightly. About half way into the full bloom of our first Christmas season I decided we needed a tree and so I went to the dollar store and bought a super cheap little tree and some plastic glittery ornaments. It was very tacky but at least we enjoyed ourselves and had a merry time together as newlyweds enjoying our first Christmas. I'm not ashamed to tell you that some of those dollar store ornaments are still displayed on my current tree!

Christmas 2005 I did even better leaving my scrooginess behind, we went out and bought a nice pre-lit tree and even posed with the dogs for a Christmas card photo. This was the first Christmas in our new home that Kenny had built for us. It was a pretty fun year but I was still not totally over my "holiday emptiness" that always plagued me, you see we had been trying to start a family and our lack of success left me wondering if I'd ever have that happy family Christmas I'd dreamed about and experienced as a child. Never the less I was still merrier than I'd ever been at Christmas before in my adulthood, in fact I even hung stockings for us up on our fireplace mantle.

Christmas 2006 came pretty close to destroying any chance of me enjoying a Christmas season ever again. My teeny tiny babies were fighting for their very lives in a hospital so many miles away from our home and I was living by myself in an apartment across the street while Kenny and other family members would commute down to visit the boys when they could. If it weren't for my sister decorating the apartment before I moved in, there wouldn't have been any sign that it was Christmas time at all. I really appreciated her effort for me, surprising me with a miniature size tree. But nothing could erase the fact that although I was a mother and a wife, we would not be sharing our first family Christmas together. I was struggling with thoughts of whether or not we'd ever get to take the babies home with us. Would we ever have a Christmas with them? Would we spend next Christmas with only one of them? The unknowns were too much to bear.

I still had not gotten the opportunity to hold my first son Andrew and it was killing me. It sounded simple enough to others who offered answers like "if he hadn't been born yet you wouldn't be holding him anyway". But it seemed that only I remembered that if he hadn't been born we wouldn't have been apart at all. I would have carried them with me everywhere. I would have felt them moving and they would have been hearing my voice and my heart beating with theirs. Instead they had been stripped away from me in the most unnatural of circumstances.

Christmas Day 2006 was painful and depressing, I absolutely had to see my boys on Christmas Day but no one else wanted to go. I know men and women experience things differently and for me it would have hurt too much not to go, but for Kenny, it hurt him too much for him to go and see his babies that way. It broke my heart at the time, and yes the babies probably didn't realize that it was Christmas but I did and I had to see them. Looking back it still hurts that the four of us were not together but I understand now at least somewhat where Kenny was coming from. He doesn't have a painful memory of his first Christmas together with the boys because this year will be the only one they'll have had and it won't leave behind a flawed memory.

Thank goodness my sister-in-law Amy offered to join me because I just couldn't have gone up there alone. Andrew's bed was closest to the entrance and so he always got visited first. (I still hate how our NICU separates siblings, I think they don't understand the emotional toll this takes on the parents.) When we got to him I was dissapointed to see who the nurse was that was caring for him that day because she always rubbed me the wrong way and would never let me visit him properly. All I wanted was to tell him Merry Christmas, to touch his little foot and to tell him that I loved him. But we had barely reached his bed when she told me to go see my other son because Andrew couldn't tolerate my presence. Everytime she had cared for him and I visited him I had to stand behind him where he couldn't tell I was there and I was not to touch him or speak to him because she said it would cause his sats to falter. Talk about pouring salt in an open wound. It's bad enough that I couldn't hold him but not to even be able to look upon him, what if this was our only Christmas together? (Little did she know that I soon figured out to visit him in the middle of the night when the "nice" nurse was there who actually wanted me to "bond" with him.)

So anyways, we went on to Adam's bedside and he was doing well and he had a really nice nurse who encouraged me to touch him and talk to him. I always used to say "Thank goodness for Adam" in the early NICU days because he was my little rock most of the time and when things were not going well with Andrew I always felt I could count on him to brighten my day with his strength and determination. After a brief visit with him we headed back home after one more peek at little Andrew on our way out. I wasn't quite sure if I should rejoice in my new found mommy-hood and getting to see my beautiful little ones or to crumple up in heap on the floor and let the tears flood. I guess you could say I did neither, all I had in me was to thank God that they were still alive and I begged for next year to be better. Pleaded with him to allow the four of us celebrate the birth of His Son with our sons next year.

Fast forward 12 months and Christmas 2007 is still more than a week away and I can tell you without a doubt it is already shaping up to truly be "The Best Christmas Ever!" In fact my sister will tell you that I have gone completely Christmas Crazy. I've never gotten into the holiday spirit like this before ever, I've bought Christmas decorations for almost every room, red and green bath towels, new ornaments, socks, t-shirts, lighted garland, dishes and who knows what else and I now turn up the radio when a Christmas song comes on rather than changing the station! I know Christmas is not about any of those things at all however. It's about Christ our Saviour, period. But my joy to be celebrating the gift of our Lord together with my sweet husband and precious sons has overflowed into every aspect of this season.

Praise God for bringing us through that season of pain and worry, for allowing me to now delight in this season like never before, and most of all for saving sinners like me through the life and death of His Son Jesus Christ.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6:

More Photos for the Christmas 2007 Family Album

And Special Visitors!

We got a special visit from some of our oldest & dearest friends: Christie, her daughter Taylor, and her mom Marilyn. Christie's family went to our church when we were little girls and we were best friends and so were our moms. Like families in our town often do, her family moved far away (Michigan) the summer before we were in 4th grade. We only got to see each other a handful of times over the next 10 years but every time we got together it was like we'd never been apart. Now here we are all grown up with families of our own and we get to see each other much more often since she moved with her husband to Texas. It is so neat to see our kids getting to play together. Her precious little girl Taylor is too cute, Andrew has a thing for older girls I guess and he enjoyed her sweet kisses. He even attempted to say her name several times and it actually sounded pretty close! What a fun visit!