June 21st
The longest day of the year
The first day of summer- no, really, it is!
Summer Solstice
The day I left for my trip to Spain and France
The day Luke took me to the Alive music festival
The day that marked midweek of VBS for years
One of the days my parents’ lives would be forever changed

Am I forgetting anything?

Summer Showcase- Noah

Noah, age 2
What is your favorite color?
What do you like to do in your spare time? Ride bikes, dress up (actually means to take off clothing, to him, so he can be a jungle boy)
Who is a person most special to you? Deemy- I won’t do much without him lately
What are you excited about these days? The Wiggles guitar has new batteries! [what was Mommy thinking?!]
What is a favorite memory you have? Watching Aerdon Ioll this past spring- I often ask if it is on at night
If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would it be? Anywhere Deemy’s going
Do you have any goals you hope to reach before the end of the summer? Eliminate myself from the “diapered ones” group in my family
Photo: Noah with ‘Mini Me’

Summer Showcase- Little-S

Little-S, age 4
What is your favorite color? Red
What do you like to do in your spare time? Play with Nafin (Nathan), play with Andrew, play with Legos
Who is a person most special to you? Nafin- “he’s a cool guy!” he says
What are you excited about these days? Not a thing
What is a favorite memory you have? The bouncy fing at Leah’s graduation party
If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would it be? Camping with Nate and Callie…and us, too
Do you have any goals you hope to reach before the end of the summer? The chance to bounce in a bouncy fing again

Throw Baby A Bone!

Well, I am getting to the final weeks of this pregnancy, being due July 25th. Many days in July and early August are birthdays of people I know, and if Baby chose to come on one of those days, it would make the celebration extra fun in years to come. I thought it would waste some time be enriching to craft a poll of those dates we’re shooting for and put it on the sidebar. The list contains birthdays of BFF Angela, Cousin Nate, Brother Patrick (no, he’s not a monk), my dear mother and Noah, in that order. Any one of these would work, Little One. When the poll is up, cast your vote for the date you think Baby will come, and we’ll see if Baby cooperates. I must warn you, however- my babies have had no respect for due dates in the past, so your vote in this poll has about as much chance as there is of it snowing this month. You never know, though, this time he (He, rather) could surprise us all.

The Lord Our Healer

Our son, Little-S, I have mentioned before, was my easiest delivery, and my largest baby (so far- this baby I’m carrying now feels like he might be trying to break the record). Our experience with him has been unique in other ways as well. He was born with a meningocele, or neural tube defect. Right after birth, the nurses turned him over in the warmer, and we saw a mark on his back, about the size of a quarter, that indicated his spine had not formed properly. It was 3:00 in the morning, I was obviously very tired, and I just started crying.
Thing was, Little-S was moving all his limbs and acting completely normal (even peed on one of the nurses:), so after my good cry, I couldn’t muster up very much fear about his condition. He had tests done during our postpartum stay in the hospital, and they all had good results. We went in for x-rays and an ultrasound and could see for ourselves that at the foot of his spine, things weren’t right. It was decided that Little-S needed surgery to fix that area. He wouldn’t have to have it done right away, so it was scheduled for June 16th, when he would be eight weeks old.
There were many thoughts in my head the day of the surgery. This kind of procedure wasn’t exactly life-threatening, but you never know what can happen, especially while operating on an infant. Would Little-S survive it? Was this the right decision to make for him? He might have grown up just fine without the surgery, but then again, he might develop problems with the spinal cord tethering at the spot it was abnormally connected to his skin tissue. We thought we were doing right by having it fixed.
For six hours prior to check-in, he couldn’t have anything to eat. I remember waking him up at 2 am, to nurse him at the last possible time. He was already sleeping through the night by then (what a champ!) and would have slept til morning if I didn’t do that. I remember the too-big yellow gown they put on him when we checked in, and tiny id bracelet. There was quite a wait before he was taken into surgery (big surprise there), so I got to walk around with him and sing to him and look at some books with him. He was hungry, and would fuss, and that made it so upsetting for me to hold him at times, so Luke would take over.
Finally, Little-S’s name was called, and we laid him on his back in this tall, steel crib. He didn’t cry, and was totally at peace to look at the lights overhead and suck on his fist. A nurse pushed him down the corridor, while we stood and watched him go, this little, kicking bundle of yellow. There was a strange sense of deja vu at that moment. I remember standing and watching my mother’s bed be rolled down another hospital corridor, years before, on her way to heart surgery. Now it was happening again; this time it was my son.
That was probably the hardest thing I have had to do so far in my life- let my baby be taken away, and trust a surgeon with his little life. In reality, though,I wasn’t placing my faith in the hands of a (albeit able) neurosurgeon- I was giving my Little-S back to the Lord, the God of all creation. This would only be one of many opportunities to surrender his life to God’s wishes. If God wanted to take Little-S, we were ready for that. If He chose to heal Little-S, we would rejoice.
Which isn’t to say that my time in the waiting room was a piece of cake- it was very difficult. And, the surgery took a long time. But eventually, someone came and told us that the operation was over, and successful, and we could go up and see our son.
That brings me to the second hardest thing I have ever had to do- see my baby come out of anesthesia and know the pain he is experiencing, and further know that there is nothing I can do for him. One of the saddest sounds I’d ever heard, Little-S would cry weakly, his throat sore from being intubated. He couldn’t be moved much for another day or two, his spine had to stay as flat as possible. Thankfully, however, he only suffered that much pain for a short time; soon the nurse had him comforted with meds, and I had the comfort of knowing that Little-S wouldn’t remember any of this. And that was the worst it got. From there on, he began to heal quickly, and after a day of rest was able to be held and nursed. Everyone told me babies bounce back easily, and Little-S certainly proved them right.
After getting home again, I don’t think it took long at all to fall back into a routine and be normal again. His incision required some care, but all in all, it became almost easy to forget that this baby had had major surgery at two months of age, unless someone would ask about his scar.
That day four years ago certainly doesn’t enter our thoughts very often now, as we run around with this very active, healthy boy. But, on the anniversary of his surgery, it is good for me to go back and think about that experience, to remember those tiny feet with huge yellow footies taped around them, to cry over the pain I saw in my son, and so many others on his floor, to again feel that joy when I could once more hold him and feed him. To remember the goodness of the Lord, our Healer and Life-giver. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have had such an easy time with Little-S’s birth defect- many children born with forms of spina bifida have had to undergo many surgeries and go through many ordeals to maintain their health and wellbeing. That wasn’t what the Lord had planned for Little-S, and I can only thank Him for His mercy.
Top Photo: Little-S on “crunches”, like Grampa Chase was recently

Summer Showcase- Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth, age 5
What is your favorite color? Pink
What do you like to do in your spare time? Play with paper dolls, dress up, play on Grandma Carol’s playground
Who is a person most special to you? Three-way tie: Callie, Grandma Carol, Daddy
What are you excited about these days? Grandma Carol’s summer sleepover, Noah’s birthday (in August-“It’s coming up”, she says), cousin Natalie is here to visit
What is a favorite memory you have? Playing with the neighbors in the snow last winter, Daddy’s graduation (Master’s degree-“Way back when I was three”)
If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would it be? “Virginia-you get to eat cereal, bananas, and orange juice next door” (the kids were enamored with the continental breakfast at the motel in VA)
Do you have any goals you hope to reach before the end of the summer? Learn how to go ‘hunderwater’ in Aunt Charley’s swimming pool

Summer Showcase- A-Major

A-Major, age 6
What is your favorite color? Violet- it is a mix of blue and purple
What do you like to do in your spare time? Play on the computer, read, play outside, ride my bike
Who is a person most special to you? Grandma Carol
Why? She is nice, she is good at solving people’s problems, she cooks good things
What are you excited about these days? A graduation party this weekend, it is my last week of school
What is a favorite memory you have? Having fun with Grandpa Don
If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would it be? Florida- it is always warm there
Do you have any goals you hope to reach before the end of the summer? Earn money for an American Girl doll, ride my bike on two wheels

Time Once Again For…

It has been about six months since I posted in-depth about the kids; they are growing big and changing so quickly! So, it only seems right that, since I am running low on my own blog material these days, I should devote the next few posts to them. Each child will be asked a series of questions, to help you get to know them better. And I hope to get a good, recent shot of each of them doing something fun. It will be called “Summer Kids Showcase”. Enjoy.

What Do You Think Of This Print?

I saw this painting, Baby In Red Chair, last week, and have been thinking about it ever since. My (very painstaking and elaborate) decorating style tends to be: find one object, and decorate the whole room based on it. It works for me, limiting the endless choices I am faced with when it comes to design and style. My sister once gave the girls these wall-art flowers, you can see the resulting decorated room here. So, I am thinking this painting is going to be the catalyst for my next bedroom- reds and browns, creams and white. What do you all think? Apparently, it is a favorite purchase at Colonial Williamsburg, but this girl won’t be paying gift shop prices for it. Allposters.com, anyone?