Friday, October 26, 2012

Harper Loves Her Brothers

This just happened yesterday and after, I thought I should share it with you all.  We have pictures of the boys hanging over the changing table in Harper's room - it was Joshua and Caleb's room first and we just can't take them down.  She points to them a lot and smiles and jibber-jabbers.  Yesterday as I was changing her she pointed and said what sounded like "Baby Joshua and Caleb." At first I thought I just heard what I wanted to hear, but Billie - who was in her room down the hall- said "It sounded like she said 'Joshua and Caleb!" And then later in the day I was changing her again and Matt was talking to her and she pointed at the pictures and again said "Baby Joshua and Caleb!" Matt just looked at me and said "Did she just...?" I was like "Yes, I really think that is exactly what she is saying." What is so funny, is he was asking her at the time "Harper, who's your favorite man in this house?" Ever since we brought her home I have felt like I see recognition in her eyes when she sees their picture.  I am sure I am wishing some of that, but she always smiles at them and points to them and jibber-jabbers at them.  I guess I just find it comforting that before she was born she knew them, and that maybe they had a part in her early success when it was so hard and almost impossible for her to survive.  There were so many times in the beginning that she was on the brink, heart rate disastrously low, O2 levels in the tank, nurses bagging her and pleading with her "Come on, Harper!" I like to think they were there cheering her on telling her to quit clamping down, to allow the precious oxygen into her lungs. All of this is to say, Harper loves her brothers and they will always be an important part of our family and of our lives.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to be their mommy, and it was yesterday when Harper was pointing at them that I felt a little more like I am their mommy.

To update you on Harper's progress - she is up to 15 pounds 4 oz! Not walking yet, but crawling everywhere, pulling up and cruising.  She has three teeth, and three more on the way.  She says about 6-10 words, sleeps through the night, waves, claps, dances, knows 6 different signs, feeds herself and just last night took a sippy cup for the first time! She is developing in leaps and bounds, she may be a little delayed still but she is catching up quickly.  She is still tiny, but she is growing and with the way she is now eating solid foods I am sure she will continue to make strides here.  She doesn't want to be spoon fed, little Miss Independent wants to feed herself.  She will eat almost anything she can pick up and put in her mouth, though, unless it is meat or a green vegetable.  She will, however, eat Tuna! We are still working on the veggies, but she will at least eat spinach and any orange veggie so that is a huge improvement.  She will devour any fruit or grain.  She still chokes a lot, but I have calmed down and we just work through most of them without assistance.  She is so happy all of the time, she is just a real pleasure and blessing.

Billie is doing great in middle school! She got 4 A's and 3 B's on her report card.  She had a rough start finding her place and making friends, but now she has settled in and is enjoying it much more.  Soccer season is almost over, she is playing for the middle school and she loves it and loves her team mates.  They have a big tournament this weekend and then the season is over.  She is maturing so much, the changes she has made this year (6th grade) remind me of the changes she made in Kindergarten.  It was like she went to school a baby one day, and came home a little girl back then. She went to 6th grade a little girl and has turned into a young woman right before my eyes.  Wednesday night we had company over to watch game one of the World Series.  I had made dinner and had everyone eat while I put the baby to bed.  As I was rocking Harper, I could hear someone doing the dishes and assumed it was Matt. I was so surprised when I walked out of the nursery and saw Billie at the sink!  She had taken it upon herself to do the dinner dishes, no one asked her to do it, she just did it because she wanted to.  It was so sweet and such a wonderful surprise for this momma! I am so proud of her. 

 Matt and I are good, but  we are each having surgery in the coming month and can use your prayers.  Matt has a shoulder surgery and I have to have my hernia repaired again because it has failed. Matt will be down for about two weeks, or at least in a sling for two weeks and then he should be feeling much better.   He has had a lot of pain from his shoulder and he is actually looking forward to getting relief from that pain. Please pray that all goes well with the surgery and he gets great results.  He loves to golf, and if his shoulder pain continues or worsens, he will have to give it up and that would break his heart.  I will have a longer recovery, but it has to be done so I am just going to suck it up and do it.  Please pray I am not it the extreme pain I was in with the last hernia surgery, and that this one doesn't fail.  They are going in surgically this time instead of laparoscopic like last time, and they will not just be putting in the mesh but they will be putting in an additional mesh and also pulling the muscles together to close the hole. Sounds miserable to me, that's why when he offered this option the first time around I chose the other laparoscopic option instead.  Of course, hind sight being what it is, I wish I had just gone this route back in January when I had the original hernia surgery. Hopefully I will be back to myself in 4-6 weeks, only better because the hernia will be repaired once and for all.

Thanks for you love, prayers, and support ~ Crystal

Friday, September 7, 2012

No-Nap Harper

I thought you might get a kick out of this video.  I already posted it on Facebook, so if you are among my FB friends you may have already watched this.  I had put Harper down for a nap and she cried like she usually does and then got quiet.  I thought she was settling down to go to sleep, but then I heard her crying with that tone that says "something might be wrong."  I picked up the video monitor and peaked at her and at first had a hard time figuring out what I saw, then I grabbed my camera and ran in there.  It was so funny I had to laugh, which made her laugh, and then she cried some more.  Needless to say, there was no nap had that day.  Enjoy...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

International Conjoined Twins Day

Joshua And Caleb
August 21.  Today.  International Conjoined Twins Day.  It's something that parents and families of conjoined twins have put together and are trying to get passed as an actual day.  They picked 8 (August) because if you turn an 8 on it's side, it is the symbol for infinity - our families are infinitely joined because of the bond we share, just as our children are bonded with their twin. 21 is the symbol for 2 people, 1 body. I love that.  I have said so many times I wonder if Joshua and Caleb are conjoined in heave.  I choose to believe they are.  But I have had so many people over the years tell me there is no way they could be, because (in their opinion) heaven is perfect and without sin and they feel cojoined-ness (my made up word, don't you love it?!) isn't perfect. But I am here to tell you they were so perfect I can't even put into words how perfect they were, are.  And as much as I love love love them, God loves them infinitely more.  So why would he choose to send them to me in such a perfect form only to separate them in heaven?  They were not separable.  They shared a heart.  You can't split a heart.  They shared a lung, can't split that either.  The rest may or may not have been separable but their chest was so tiny it wasn't even big enough to make a chest for just one of them, should we have considered separation at any time in the future. Now I know God can do all things, heaven is perfect, and we do not need our Earth bodies in heaven.  But since I really can't wrap my mind around any of that, I see Joshua and Caleb as I saw them here. The same way I see Michael in heaven, or my grandparents.  Although I sometimes (usually) see them older and bigger. I mean they are 4 years old, right? But I always picture them conjoined, I can not see them any other way.  I am not claiming to know one single thing about heaven or how it will be or what we will see and do (other than I know we will be in the presence of Jesus but how that presence will work I have not a clue) but in my opinion, the boys are still conjoined.  Today is about celebrating.  Celebrating those conjoined twins who have passed on, those that are still here and still conjoined, and celebrating those that have been separated, too! There is a new reality show coming to TLC on August 28 and you can be sure I will be tuning in, at least for the first episode.  It is  Abby & Brittany who are conjoined twins and are about to graduate from college.  I just pray it is done right.  They have been pretty private until the last few years, so I hope this will just be something that gives them a nice way to make ends meet and doesn't make them look like a circus act.  From the preview it looks like it will be done tastefully and I usually like TLC - minus a few shows.  That's my take on today and conjoined twins and just so you know, this day is easy and fun and not hard like their birthday.  I guess because I am celebrating what gave me them in the first place.  If they hadn't been conjoined it would have just been another pregnancy like everyone else.  But they were special and I was special because I was blessed to be their mommy.  Their birthday is not only the day they were born, but also the day I lost them and I can't separate the two, just like I can't separate Joshua and Caleb.

Monday, August 20, 2012

JC Stitches

Blowing a kiss, I think to the cat!

Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

Just a few pictures of my latest creation, Witchy Shoes for Halloween!
Hey guys.  I am working on growing my business, JC Stitches.  If you wouldn't mind, can you jump over to that blog and follow it for me?  Here is the link to it: JC Stitches I started creating sweet baby clothes, burp clothes, dolls, napkins, and other cute gift items and I am working hard at adding new things every week.  It is all hand made by me and super cute and one-of-a-kind, too! I will create something special just for you if you don't see something there that interests you.  And you certainly do not have to buy anything, just follow my blog to help me get the word out there about my shop! This is just a way for me to help subsidize our income for special things like vacations and extra curricular stuff for the girls. Thanks to you all for your support, it really means a lot to me. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mourning Something That Never Was

I just need to get this off my chest and then maybe I can finally move on.  I am not nearly as thankful for my many blessings as I should be, or as I pretend to be.  I secretly think angry, selfish thoughts ALL THE TIME! It makes me crabby with my family, and it robs me of the happiness I should be enjoying. I am still mourning the end of my pregnancy I never got to experience.  I am still mourning that I didn't get to really nurse Harper the way I wanted to.  I am still mourning that I am no longer able to bear more children. Of course I am still mourning Joshua and Caleb, but that is OK. They were real and beautiful and perfect and taken way to soon. But the other stuff that I feel robbed of never was mine to begin with.  What is wrong with me? I am so blessed.  I have two amazing children.  I was witness to an awesome daily miracle while Harper was struggling just to survive all those months in the NICU.  I get to witness daily her amazing accomplishments - I can't even tell she was a micro preemie except for her size! She is healthy, happy, and thriving.  SO why do I still find myself crying over my losses?  Why do I feel like a failure because my uterus gave up at 24 weeks? Why do I feel like a failure because Harper refused to nurse after 6 months? Why do I feel like less of a women because I can't have more children? That ship was about to sail anyway, I am almost 40 years old! So it is time to be honest with myself, accept what I can not change, and move on.  None of it was actually my fault - even though it was my body that failed.  I could not have done anything different to keep my uterus from rupturing.  I wish I could have, but God had a plan and He was in control.  Thankfully, God kept Harper safe and allowed her to grow and get healthy with the help of the nurses and doctors in the NICU. Why isn't that enough for me?  Some people never get to even have one child, I have two healthy children.  I should just be so thankful for my many blessings.  Don't get me wrong, I am thankful and I am thankful every day.  But it is just that there is always that little voice in the back of my mind that says " don't get to have more." or
" should have made it to 40 weeks." or " never really got her to nurse well." So how do I shut that voice up for good? I have stifled it, quieted it, but it always comes back and makes me feel terrible. I feel terrible about myself for being less than I should be, and then I feel guilty for feeling that way because deep down I know it is wrong and stupid.  But I still feel that way.  I wish at the end of this blog I could tell you how I figured it all out and I have this amazing answer for how to fix it for good, but I haven't.  I know that I pray about it.  I know that when I see others struggling with horrible problems, my feelings of inadequacy are pushed aside. I am able to celebrate others accomplishments and those of my family and myself. And I have truly happy, thankful feelings.  It's not like this consumes me or my every thought.  It's is just this nagging feeling that comes and goes.  Some days it is stronger than others. Sometimes when I see a very pregnant women, I feel jealous - how awful is that?! And when strangers say "You don't even look like you just had a baby!" it makes me angry, my answer is either "thank you," or "Well, I was only pregnant for 24 weeks - I didn't get a chance to get big." But that just sounds like sour grapes so I try not to say it, unless I am having a bad day and I can't fight the urge. I guess that is it, I just have sour grapes and I need to get over it permanently and quit feeling sorry for myself and quit mourning what was never mine to begin with.  We have no guarantees in life.  I don't deserve anything more than I have.  I actually deserve a lot less- I deserve nothing.  I am not worthy. I am but a sinner and God has given me grace (Harper Grace) and saved my wretched soul. This all could have ended so much worse - I could have lost not only my uterus but also my bladder or bowels, my sweet baby, my life. So no more pity party, no more feeling sorry for myself. No more mourning something that never was. Maybe my confession will bring healing and acceptance and I can finally move on.  We are coming up on my due date, and Harper's corrected one year birthday. It only took me a year to come to my senses.  Could be worse. So I forgive myself, and ask God to also forgive me. I accept what I can not change and what was never my fault to begin with. I just need to put my big girl pants on, grow up, quit being a baby. Easier said than done, but I am no longer going to let myself live in the past when my future is so bright. I am going to live for today and hope for tomorrow. God's grace is sufficient for me.  I need to practice what I preach and stop pretending. I shared at Harper's baptism last Sunday the verse that God gave me the week before I had Joshua and Caleb, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong." Sometimes I let myself forget that God has this, He has a plan, and He is always good. Temporary insanity, temporary selfishness. Luckily God is good and He forgives me and loves me through it.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Harper's Baptism

We had an awesome experience this past Sunday in Johnson City at the church where Matt grew up.  We had Harper baptized! It was wonderful and beautiful and I will post pictures of it later.  We made a video to show of Harper's amazing 1st year and I thought you might enjoy seeing it, too. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Crazy Climber

So, Harper decided she had enough of nap time and climbed out of her crib today.  And fell all the way to the floor.  It was terrifying for me.  I heard the fall and went running.  It was hard to get there fast enough. Then when I got into her room, I could hear her screaming but I couldn't find her anywhere! So then I started screaming "Harper, where are you? Mommy can't find you!" I at first started to pull the crib out but then was afraid I would set it on top of her.  Then I decided I would just climb over it. So as I hiked my leg up to crawl in and then back out on the other side, I saw her out of the corner of my eye in between the wall and the side of the crib to my left, under her huge stuffed zebra.  She was looking up at me like "Here I am Mommy!" she stopped crying as soon as I dragged her out and picked her up.  I was shaking and crying still.  I stripped her down and checked every where for a sign of injury.  She seemed fine, and even though I am still worried, I think she is fine.  I went back in later to investigate and I think I figured out how she did it, and even though the mattress is low enough, we will be lowering it to the lowest possible setting tonight when Matt gets home. And taking anything that was close or in the crib, like her mobile which is how I think she got out, away from her reach.  We really dodged a bullet.  Thank God for watching over her and keeping her safe and injury free.  I just keep thinking she could have hanged herself, or broken her neck, or injured her brain. But God is good and she is just fine. She is probably not getting a nap today, but hopefully we can fix the problem and make her crib safe for her again later today.  Billie was twice her size and never once climbed out of her crib, the exact same crib - I am using Billie's crib for Harper.  Now we know how she survived being so tiny at birth - she was born a fighter and I just have to be thankful she was! So to try to give her a nap, I put up the pack and play in her room and I have the video monitor set up so I can watch her because, of course, I am scared to death to let her get out of my sight now! Below is the video of her pulling herself up by her little teeny tiny hands, all the way until she is head an shoulders above the top rail! This baby can do chin ups! She is only 24 inches tall and 13 lbs 13 oz!! Boy, am I in trouble! Thank you God for the blessing of Harper Grace, my little monkey!

(It's a video of the monitor, so it isn't great quality, but it still tells the story!)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Don't Want To Do Today

I woke up at 7:15 on 7/15, no small number for me.  I thought to myself as I have thought for the past week, "I don't want to do today."  I just want to be happy, and I don't want to think of what this day means in my life, in my history, in my story.  That is the most selfish thing I have done in a long time.  Today my boys turn 4.  I didn't make a cake with cute little African Animals like I have done every year for their birthday, I don't want to celebrate.  I don't know what is so hard about 4, but it is so hard. Maybe it has nothing to do with 4 at all.  Maybe it is just that I am so happy, I just don't want to be sad.  Not that I don't think of them often, daily.  I have their pictures up in my home and I see them all day long as I clean and take care of the girls.  I now see them when I look at Harper sometimes - which sometimes knocks the wind out of me and sometimes makes me smile. Life is hard, and it's days like today that remind me of just how hard life can be.  It's really the month of July that does that for me.  I hate July. I shouldn't hate it quite as much because I brought my miracle baby Harper home in July last year, July 23, 2011.  That should have softened July for me a bit. A lot of happiness and abundant blessings brought to a month so filled with loss for me.  It's not just the boys birth and loss that makes July hard for me. Next Saturday is another day I hate, the day Michael passed.  Then there's July 24, the day I buried both my husband and my sons, 4 years apart. And to round it all out, July 29, the day we lost my sweet, precious Grandma.  That one even hurts, probably just because I am wallowing in my sadness because it is very natural to lose a grandparent to old age.  She did die very suddenly, and no one got to say goodbye, but it was peaceful and in her sleep, we think. I'm just feeling sorry for myself, so just ignore my ramblings.  Thanks for letting me get it off my chest. Maybe I can try to celebrate a little today, the gift that Joshua and Caleb gave me.  Not just one gift, but many gifts.  They were so brave and so strong.  I can still see Caleb trying to lift his head to see me as they put them on my chest.  The doctor said it was just involuntary, but he couldn't see Caleb's eyes.  He was looking at his mommy.  Oh how I wish I could have taken the pain away for him, but thankfully his heavenly father did that.  I can't imagine what it must have felt like to not be able to take a deep enough breath to sustain life for longer than an hour and a half.  I imagine it must feel little like when I go for a run after having not ran in months - I can't breathe about 5 minutes into it.  My throat closes up and I wheeze as I struggle to get a breath. But if I continue to run, my throat and my heart and my legs and my lungs eventually figure it out about 15 minutes into the run, and I can then run for hours if I want to.  Harper knows what the boys felt like I bet, but she won't remember by the time she can tell us.  I don't want her to remember, that is one thing we kept saying as we watched her tiny little body struggle to breathe while the ventilator pushed breaths into her lungs - she won't remember any of this.  I wonder if Joshua and Caleb remember me.  I also wonder, as I do every day, if they are conjoined or separated in heaven.  I hope they remember me, and I hope they don't so they don't have to miss me. I hope they are separated, and I hope they are conjoined. I am so selfish.  I know heaven doesn't work like life here works, but since I can't really wrap my mind around that I have to put it in the schema that I do know so I constantly compare it to life.  But it is the life ever after, not life.  I am so thankful He took them home, so they do not know pain and they do not struggle to breathe, to eat, to live.  But I miss them.  So this year I am being selfish for their birthday.  No cake, no celebration.  We are going to go to church. We will go to the cemetery. We will cook dinner. I hope when I get out of this selfish funk in a few days I don't regret not celebrating their 4th birthday.  You don't get a do over with stuff like that.  There's only one 4th birthday.  That's OK, I am taking my chances.  I don't have a lot of regrets in my life so I am willing to risk this one. July 15 will come again next year, there's nothing I can do to stop it. Trust me, I tried this year really hard.  I don't want to do today, but today came anyway.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Busy Bees

I am so sorry it has been so long since I updated the blog!  We are all doing very good.  I actually started a new business - JC Stitches, and have been very busy filling orders and getting myself organized. Check it out here:  Matt is working on a real website for me, but until then I am just blogging every thing I make.  You can look through each blog entry to see the different things.  Most of them were written in June. I received a sewing machine for Christmas and after getting lots of requests from friends, decided to make it a business.  It is mostly baby and children's clothes, but my favorite thing to make in the world is special, one-of-a-kind rag dolls!  I make them special, to-order just the way you want them - most people choose them to be "look-a-like" dolls.  I also love to make softies, which are soft stuffed-animals just perfect for babies and toddlers to play with.  Billie loves them, too, though.  I got my first pattern from a website, and then designed my own giraffe and made some.  I am working now on a monkey and an elephant.  I also make hand made blankets, buggy covers, and napkins.  My next project is a car seat cover like the one I received as a gift when I first brought Harper home. 
We went on vacation last week to the Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.  It was hot.  We had a great time.  We went with all of Matt's family, the Rosecrance/Sprigg's.  We had about 24 people.  Matt, Harper and I had a little cabin and everyone else camped by the lake.  We also had two boats to play on.  We golfed a little and it was fun.  I spent a lot of my time studying, I am taking the DTR exam (Dietetic Technician, Registered) on Saturday and I would appreciate your prayers.  I just want to pass it.  I've been out of school over a year now, and it has been so hard to get my self to where I feel prepared to take this exam.  I wish I could have taken it as soon as I graduated, I feel like I have lost a lot of info over this past year.  But I have been studying for about 2 months, so surely I am more prepared than I feel. 
Billie is having a colonoscopy/endoscopy on Friday - just to make sure everything is OK - nothing is wrong.  Because of her family history, she has to have one every 4 years.  Prayers for her are also appreciated.  As all of you know, the worst part for her will be tomorrow and the preparation.  So today she is playing with her Grandma and Grandpa at the pool, celebrating the 4th of July! Matt is golfing, and now that Harper Grace is down for a nap - I am hitting the books.  I promise to update soon and let you know how the colonoscopy went for Billie and I have been trying to get video of Harper and all the funny noises she makes, but as soon as I pull the camera out she always stops and gets very quiet!  Happy 4th to you all!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Birthday Party Results

The NICU roommates! Together for the first time.  Harper and Milly were pretty interested in each other, too!
 The Food Table.  Mackenzie made the fabulous banner!
 All of the NICU girls and the mommies!
 The birthday girl, she looks tiny here to me!
 She loved the frosting on her cake!
 So glad it was red so we could see it so good!

 Sharing her cake with momy
 This look was on her face a lot that day, and is every day and it just cracks me up!
 The family in our Minnie Ears! Obviously, Minnie was our theme for the party!
Sisters - so sweet!

It was a successful party! Everyone had a good time, but no one more so than the birthday girl herself, Harper Grace.  Not a tear was shed, it was all smiles and good times for her.  She thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  I think she loves to be the center of attention, and so she felt right at home even in the biggest crowd she has ever been in. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Harper Grace - 1st Year in Pictures

  • Today we celebrate a year of firsts and a year of MIRACLES!  Thanks be to God for giving Harper Grace the strength, courage, and the fight to live even though she had so much to overcome right from the beginning! I could not be more in awe of this little girl.  Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers over our precious little girl!

April 23, 2011 Born 4 months early at 24 weeks. 1 lb 6 oz
1 month old. Still tiny at 1 lb 11.69 oz, but off ventilator and on cannula for breathing support. She was switched to CPAP on 5/17, and then to cannula on 5/21. This is what finally helps her start gaining weight - while working so hard to breathe, she just couldn't gain.
2 months old! No oxygen support at all since 6/15! 3 lb 3.3 oz and wearing clothes and breast feeding.
3 months old - and going home today! 7/23/2011 - one month before her due date, 4 lb 13 oz.
4 months old up to 5lb 14 oz! So happy and thriving at home! Her corrected age here is newborn -this pic is when she was due to be born.

5 months old, 7lb 1 oz! Getting bigger, slow and steady wins the race! 1 month corrected age.
6 months old, lots of smiles. 8lb 7oz. Such a big girl and such a happy baby! 2 months corrected age, can you see the huge improvements she made from 5 months to 6 months?

7 months old! Hard to believe this is the same baby as the first picture, isn't it? 9 lb 8 oz here. 3 months corrected age.
8 mos old, 10 lbs 6 oz. Finally hit 10 lbs! And this is when she finally started sleeping through the night- yeah for Mommy! 4 months corrected age.
9 months, 11 lbs 4 oz. 5 months corrected age.
11 months - so sorry my 10 month old picture will just not upload to the blog, and short of starting over, I do not know how to fix it. And having spent an hour preparing this blog, I am not starting over. I am so sorry to skip a month, but this will have to do! She is a BIG 12 lbs 2 oz now! Crawling, standing, pulling up, sitting up - always on the go and very happy! 7 months corrected age.

Our Big 1 Year Old! She is just doing amazingly well! I still can not believe she is one, or that she started at just 1 lb 6 oz and a year later you can not even tell she was a micro preemie. We are so blessed with this precious miracle. She is around 12 1/2 lbs (She goes to the dr this week so I will update exact weight then). She is saying a few words, bye-bye, momma, dadda ( Well, kind of. They all may just be Freudian slips, but they seem like real words to us. The jury is still out, though). Her corrected age is 8 months and I feel like she is right on track developmentally for her corrected age, maybe a little ahead. She definitely has the mental ability of an 8 month old, maybe even a 12 month old, but her physical capabilities hold her back a little and this really frustrates her at times. I am certain by the time she is 2 we will no longer be able to tell she was a micro preemie at all. She will always be small, she isn't even on the growth chart yet and may never be, but we always knew she was going to be small, even if she hadn't been so early. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support since her miraculous birth this time last year. Without God and the support of our friends and family, we would not have made it. But look how far she has come - it was all worth it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Making faces at Blue, who likes to come over and give kisses to Harper through the net of the pack-in-play.
She was so determined to stand up in her pack-in-play, even though she is tiny and there is really nothing to pull-up on. Here she is standing there.
All smiles in her stroller at the eye doctor. Clean bill of health on her eyes. Dr. Gitchlag even said if he didn't know she was a preemie, he would not be able to tell by looking in her eyes.
On her tippy-toes, peeking over! Very determined. I am sure she will start working on climbing out soon! This just cracked me up. She is really about two inches shorter than the top rail of the pack-in-play. She should not be able to stand up in there, and yet she can! I really hope she doesn't figure out how to crawl out any time soon - if she does, there will be no rest in our home ever again!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life's a Beach!

Harper is pulling-up now! She will not lay down in her crib - as soon as I set her in there she stands up! She crawls every where, there is no keep her still, and as soon as she gets to where she wants to be she finds something to pull up on and stands. It is very cute and very exciting, but does make it a challenge to get things done! She is very busy all of the time!
The sun making it's arrival!
The sun just barely showing, can you kind of see the large crowd?
Fun in the sand!
So happy under her umbrella!
Billie on the last night of our trip.

We took the girls to the beach for Easter! It was amazing and wonderful for all of us. We really needed to get away. We went to a sunrise service on the beach, right out from where we were staying and it was so special to see so many people come together at such an early hour, and on their vacation, to worship and celebrate the ultimate price Jesus paid. And when the sun did rise it was amazing. He has risen indeed! Beautiful. Some how I feel closer to God at the beach. I don't know if it is because the ocean is so huge and amazing and beautiful that it just makes it easy to see how mighty God is, or if I feel like it is the "end of the Earth" and God is just on the other side of the ocean, maybe it is a bit of both. I wish I could do that every Easter.
The weather was great after the first day, which was cold and rainy - only 58 degrees! It was 10 degrees warmer at home that day then it was on the beach. But we just relaxed at our condo, and then took the girls to Build-A-Bear and out to dinner that night. The next two days were sunny and warm, around 72, and perfect for playing on the beach. Billie built sand castles and Matt buried her in the sand (one of her favorite things to do, not sure why). Harper loved the sand and the water, but didn't like the wind. The first day on the beach she was able to nap in my arms under a towel, but the second day she just got tired of it and wanted her bed. We all got to take a run or two on the beach, too, which is the perfect place to run in all the Earth, if you ask me.
We are planning Harper's birthday party. It is so amazing to look back over the past year and see how far she has come. I think I take it for granted a little bit until I see the pictures of how tiny she was. I have an awesome blog planned for her birthday, so check back her next Monday (if I am on top of things, it will be up on time.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012


This is Harper pulling herself up in her crib!
Billie wore this dress that Harper is wearing for her first Easter back in 2001! Billie was 3 months old when she wore it, though. I will try to get a picture of Billie in the dress up later in the week.
Doesn't she look proud of herself?

I just had to share that I woke up with thankfulness in my heart. We are so blessed in so many ways - a strong roof over our heads, healthy, happy girls in their warm beds, full bellies, beautiful spring weather to enjoy, and safe cars to get us where we want to go. The list goes on and on. Life can change so quickly and everything can be ripped from you in mere seconds. I guess I just feel so blessed to have Harper and Billie and to have them both so healthy. I look at Harper and I am so amazed at how well she is doing - basically no lasting effects from being a micro-preemie. She is happy and healthy and doing things right on time for her corrected age. She is actually trying to pull up now! She went from not crawling or sitting up to crawling, almost sitting up, and pulling up in a week! She is so strong and so strong-willed. She will not sleep unless she wants to- she fights sleep like no other baby I have ever seen. She sleeps good at night, but she does not nap well at all. She is so funny, she will fall asleep for about 5 minutes and then she jerks herself awake and she is good to go, wide awake! She gets that power nap in and that's all she needs! She crawls every where now, and even though she can't sit up yet, she has learned to improvise and "prop-sit" by propping herself up on one arm and playing with her toys with the other. She is eating better and I am certain she is growing well, although she hasn't been weighed in about 3 weeks so I don't know for sure. I have to pinch myself sometimes so that I know all of this is real. Harper was so tiny and so sick at birth, but she beat all the odds and I am so thankful.
Billie has been on spring break this week and has been enjoying time with her grandparents. The Rosecrance's took her on a bike ride on the Virginia Creeper, and her Grandma and Grandpa Williams have her today, I think they are making a trip to Build-A-Bear and possibly the nail salon to get her toes done! She is a very lucky girl, but she is also very deserving.
I have been sewing up a storm. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and I made the girls matching dresses for Easter, and bunnies to love on, too. They aren't perfect, but I am learning and I enjoy it so that is all that matters.
Our good friends The Delgados just brought their son home from Eastern Europe. He is in the hospital for surgery today and could use your prayers. They are an amazing young couple, and he is a miracle child with EB. EB is a skin disease he was born with and is very serious. You can read about them here: .
Yesterday I was changing Harper's diaper and just above her head are pictures of Joshua and Caleb. She looks at them and I swear she knows them. I always tell her they are looking over us from Heaven. I still miss my boys every day, but the pain gets softer with time. I love thinking of them in Heaven and how wonderfully made they are, and how happy they must be in the presence of Jesus. I am so thankful that God blessed me with Joshua and Caleb. I feel so honored to have been chosen to be their mommy. God is so good and knew how special this would make me feel forever. Such a gift to be in the presence of angels. I am so thankful that God gave me the strength to live even when my heart was breaking. There are three very special people in heaven watching over me and my family. Not a day goes by that I don't miss them or wish I could be with them, but I am also thankful that God chose to give me life and multiple blessings within my life. I am just thankful and in awe of my many blessings. There were days I didn't think I would get through, but God brought me through them. There are still days I ask God "why?" but then he gently reminds me that it was all part of his plan and that is all that I need to know now. I love that when I am still I can hear him. I also love that God does know what I can handle and carries me through- that I can always feel his presence and even when I worry and feel scared, I know he will never leave me. I am so thankful for my many blessings!

Here is a little video of Harper crawling!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Keep You in the Loop

Matt took Billie to see the Star Wars movie in 3D, it was the opening night so they got special Darth Maul glasses and got to meet Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. She had a great time, and it was a surprise - which just makes it more fun!

Harper was napping in my lap and I was holding her sweet little hand and just snapped a few pics with my phone. I thought it was sweet and worth sharing.

Matt is itching to get Harper on a bike...This helmet will not fit for 6 mos to a year, but it was very cute. I told him until she fit well in a helmet and could sit up well on her own, no bike was in her future. He just wants to get her out and have fun with her!

Billie reading to Harper as I cooked dinner one night. Once again, they are adorable together and Billie is the best big sister a girl could ask for. It warms my heart and makes me smile every time.

Valentine's Day morning the girls both opened gifts from Matt - It was a great start to a fun day!

This is Savannah, Billie fell in love with this horse at her lesson on Saturday. She just so happens to be for sale, and one of her fellow classmates had her new horse there for her lesson, so Billie was kind of hoping we might buy her a horse, too. We are not buying her a horse, but a girl can dream, right?!

This is her in the ring riding. She loves to ride and is getting very good. She can trot, canter, two point, and does a pretty good job at it all. Her teacher says she is close to learning jumps, which is really what Billie wants to learn!
Matt just had to put Harper up on Savannah. She didn't really seem too impressed.

This was Valentine's Night. We had our traditional fondue dinner. This year we did a swiss cheese with fruit and veggies and bread. Harper had sweet potatoes and bananas. It was a very fun night.

So this was just a quick update to keep you all in the loop. I do want to add we took Harper to see the therapist yesterday and I was very disappointed with the results. She will start weekly therapy because Dr. Trainer says she is developmentally delayed and her gross motor skills are delayed. I felt we had accomplished every thing she had us work on since our last visit, and she didn't even mention any of those! So now we have a long list of new tasks/goals for her - all new to us and we will work on them at home and go once a week to work with a therapist to help us. She needs to be sitting up on her own and she is not flexible enough - I am probably not stating this correctly, but since she is a preemie, her muscles are tight, especially her flexor muscles in her back, and this causes her to be less flexible than a baby that was term and is 6 months old. And she is using them to do everything, including rolling over, and these particular muscles are always seen in preemies to be strong and if we don't get her using her core muscles instead she her developmental delay will worsen and could cause delays in other areas. I have to run, but we will take your prayers on this - it has me very stressed out and worried about her development. Also, she is off of formula now and her weight gain has slowed to a crawl ( or less!). I really do not want to put he back on formula so I am increasing my calories, fat and protein intake in hopes to help my breastmilk content. So prayers for her weight gain is also needed. Thanks to you all!!