Thursday, November 17, 2011

Celebrating Mia

Every year the Sunday afternoon following the boys birthday party we have a brunch celebrating Mia's life. It is a small group, just the people who were at her funeral. We all enjoy a nice meal together at Village Tavern. The kids all love being able to eat together.Logan and James posed for an extra picture.Preston, Logan, Nathan, Owen and I headed to the cemetery. Logan said a nice prayer for Mia and then we all sang Happy Birthday.

Logan and Preston always enjoy walking on the big hill near our graves.

Operation Christmas Child

Two weeks ago we took a family trip to Dollar Tree and bought tons of little presents to fill our shoe boxes. The shoe boxes are for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan's Purse collects shoe boxes full of gifts and distributes them around the world. This will be the only gifts these children receive at Christmas. We filled our shoe boxes with fun things like balls, crayons, notepads, stickers, sun glasses, stuffed animals, kazoos, and some other practical things like wash clothes, tooth brush, tooth paste, soap and hand sanitizer. We let each of our children pick the items for their shoe box (though Nathan and Owen got a lot of help this year and Preston and I always pick out stuff for the girl box).

Sunday morning Logan asked if he could go to big church with us. He enjoyed taking his shoe box to the front.

He did a great job sitting in big church. To be just like Preston he asked for my iphone to take notes. He listened very intently to the sermon and typed "God" 17 times. He was trying to write it down every time Dr. Fenton said the word.

Trip to the Governer's Mansion

Tuesday morning we started our caravan to Montgomery around 8:15. Logan and I really enjoyed riding with Esther Marie and her mom, Sarah. Sarah and I have actually known each other for quite some time. Preston and her husband, Jasper, worked together about 10 years ago. Logan's kindergarten class along with the other kindergarten class were invited to the Pardoning of the Turkey at the Governor's Mansion.

This is an official ceremony where the Governor pardons a turkey from being killed and eaten.
Logan's school was the only one out of the entire state to be invited to this ceremony. After the Pardoning of the Turkey Logan class sang 5 turkey songs to the Governor. When the performance finished the children enjoyed chocolate chip cookies, met Clyde the Turkey and a tour of the mansion.

Nathan is ON

Nathan's cochlear implant was turned on yesterday. They started the mapping process, a process that will take about 1 1/2 months and he will need to be remapped annually. Mapping = programming all the electrical points in his implanted cochlear devise to the correct volume. The volume on his implant is very low right now. The remote for his implant has 4 different level programs in there right now. In the next few days we will turn him up to level 2 and so on. When he is hearing at full capacity he will be at level 10 (I think). His brain needs time to learn his new way of hearing and over stimulating him would be very negative for him. We are not getting huge reactions out of him yet but this is good and normal. I will post our "turn-on" video soon. It is on Preston's phone so I need to download it when he gets home.

After mapping we had an hour long meeting teaching us about his devise and all its accessories. Wow, there is a lot of stuff. It is going to take some time to get used to everything. He also received a few fun things from the company. My favorite is the elephant with cochlear implants.
We are so excited for Nathan to have this opportunity.

On Tuesday Nathan had his post surgery follow-up with his doctor. Since everything went so smoothly his doctor said he would allow Nathan to have his second implant at any time. Preston and I talked about when we would want to do the second implant and right now concluded that we would let Nathan make the choice. (Of course we are open to things changing and making the decision on our own if it is clearly better for him). We have given Nathan the ability to really learn to listen and speak. There are pros and cons to one or two implants. With an additional implant he would have better sound localization and a little better overall hearing, however if he takes out both his implants then he is pretty much completely deaf (swimming, sleeping, etc). If he does not get an additional implant he would keep the little hearing he has in his left ear allowing him to hear VERY LOAD (ambulance, fire truck, tea kettle whistling, smoke detector, etc) without his implants. So, that is where we are on implant 2 right now.

I promise to post some pictures and video soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

NOTE: I will post more pictures later. Our internet is running really slow right now because both our exchange students are video skyping to China, chatting with other friends, and playing games all on line.

Today was Nathan's and Owen's 2nd birthday party. They had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends. The theme of this year's party was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It is a very cute children's book. In addition to just the party I am planning to decorate their room in Very Hungry Caterpillar so all the party guests assisted in the art work for their room. Preston, the incredible artist that he is, painted a large picture of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for their room. On four smaller canvases, guests painted their own versions of the Caterpillar. The big caterpillar on the small canvas was done by Logan for his brothers. Tomorrow all the paintings will be hung in their room. (I will post a picture.)

Their delicious cake was made by Laura Perry, my sister's sister-in-law and long time family friend. She does such a wonderful job making cakes and I was so excited she was able to make the boys cake. She lives at Lake Martin and met my sister in Prattville to deliver the cake. Thanks to my awesome sister who drove very carefully all the way to Birmingham with my cake!!

Along with the cake we had ice cream, pizza, munchies and gumballs. Watching people eat the gumballs became quite hilarious. Everyone expected for them to be peanut M&Ms. They would all grab a handful, start chewing, continue chewing, make a funny face, put back the rest of their handful and then say, "Oh, I thought those were M&Ms." So, not to disappoint anyone I got out the rest of the Halloween M&Ms and at one point I looked in the living room and just about everyone had a little fun size bag of M&Ms.

Nathan and Owen loved having so many people here.

They were all smiles, until it was time to sing and cut the cake. Neither one of them enjoyed everyone singing Happy Birthday to them. They also did not want any part of the cake. After cake, it was nap time.

All the guests left while the boys were napping. When they woke up we did their presents. They loved pulling the tissue paper out of the bags and ripping off wrapping paper. Logan enjoyed helping them too and was so good at patiently holding the gifts so the boys could pull the paper.

These two, along with big brother Logan, are such a joy. I am truly blessed to be their Mom.


After all the presents were opened, I headed to Publix to get a few food items and some flowers for Mia. I was excited to find some beautiful star gazer lilies and a dozen white two favorite flowers. I was enjoying my trip to the grocery store, quickly going through my list...and with great ease since I did not have three kids in tow. I was thinking of all the fun we had during the morning. As I was checking out the friendly clerk asks me, "if these flowers were for a special occasion". Immediately I thought, "well, they are to put on my daughter's grave"...but I generally don't like to mention things like that knowing the people are asking to be loving and kind and I don't want to ruin their day (because usually they feel awkward, guilty for asking, etc). So after a second I said a birthday. Well, driving home it hit me.... for Nathan and Owen I had the best time creating a fun birthday party (invitations, decorations, personalized labels on their caterpillar craft, getting canvas and paint, etc) and for Mia I got to buy flowers, but not to share with her and see her enjoy their beauty and smell...but to put on her grave. So tonight after everyone went to sleep I got out my flowers and created an arrangement to lay on her grave tomorrow afternoon.

Each year the days surrounding November 14th always bring such a strong roller coaster of emotions: excited the boys have reached another birthday because let's be honest their was a time we weren't sure they would reach 1, the joy in putting on another fun birthday party, the pride I feel for the great accomplishments they are making every day, the melting of my heart when they smile at me and the pain that another year has gone by and another birthday celebrated without my precious baby girl. I will say, I am eternally grateful that she is in Heaven spending eternity with God and I can't wait to spend eternity with Him and her.

As I was running the other morning I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman. He wrote an album after his 5 year old daughter died. The song, Our God Is In Control, really spoke to me and I wanted to share a part of it with you.

"This is not where we planned to be, when we started this journey.
But this is where we are.
Our God is in control.
Though this first taste is bitter.
There will be sweetness forever when we finally taste and see our God is in control."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The past 4 days

Nathan is recovering very well. He is enjoying most of his normal activities. He is smiling a lot again. He is still taking his antibiotic and some pain medication, but less and less of it. He will continue to recover over the next several days and then should be totally back to his old self. He has his post-op appointment with Dr Woolley on November 15th and will have his implant turned on November 16th. We will take video of the turning on session. (I know most people have watched video on line of the cochlear implant turn on. Not all children have a big reaction so don't be disappointed if Nathan does not. No reaction does not mean it was not successful.) Nathan will have mapping (where they set all of the electrodes of his devise) about once a week until the end of December. Friday was just the beginning of a long and exciting journey for him.

Saturday we were able to take it easy around here. Owen was with my parents and Logan was with Preston's Mom and Mr B. They both enjoyed their individual time with their grandparents. We were also able to cheer the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to a huge victory against #5 Clemson.

Sunday our house was filled with talking, laughing, eating and playing. It was a wonderful day. (Don't worry Nathan still had plenty of rest time). One of our exchange students, Chen, asked to have some friends over to cook lunch for everyone. We had eleven people and the best Chinese food, ever!!! It was great to have yummy food, fun time meeting new people, eating....and not having to clean up!
Later in the evening, Preston, Chen, Junchen and I carved our pumpkins. I also baked some of the pumpkin seeds for the boys to enjoy.

Logan had a cute parade at his school Monday morning. All the kids dressed up in their costumes. Nathan, Owen and I watched the parade. Nathan especially loved seeing all the costumes. Logan then went to a nursing home where they sang songs and trick or treated with the residents. Though we had the opportunity to go, I thought it was best for Nathan to come home and get some rest. Logan had a great time and Nathan and Owen had a great time sleeping. My friend, Misty, came over Monday afternoon to give Nathan some home relaxation time while Owen and I picked up Logan from school and took him to piano lessons. Owen thinks it is pretty cool to leave the house with Mommy all to himself.

Monday night we went trick-or-treating. Logan had the best time and was so excited. The people in our neighborhood loved seeing all three boys.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Nathan's recovery is going well. His surgery area looks great. He is enjoying more and more of his favorite toys, walking around in his gait trainer and spending some time outside. He still has some moments of pain and fussiness but they are getting fewer and further between. I will post some picture of him tomorrow.