Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Evening

Christmas evening my family came over and we had a wonderful time visiting, opening presents and enjoying a great dinner together.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Weekend

We had a wonderful Christmas weekend. Preston was off work on Friday, so we spent the morning taking in some of God's beauty at Ruffner Mountain. Though I have been in Birmingham since 1993 I had never gone. Ruffner Mountain is a large mountain very near downtown Birmingham filled with miles of hiking trails, including one that overlooks downtown Birmingham. All of us had a great time on our hike. Logan especially loved it, wanting us to take pictures of him in front of lots of different trees, reading the map, finding the old query, and singing songs with Preston. Nathan and Owen love being outdoors too and enjoyed their ride on us. One thing we are going to get them before our next trip out is carriers that go on our backs. The bjorns are just too small for those big boys.Overlooking Birmingham at the outlook.On Christmas Eve we had the pleasure of spending lots of time with DiDi and Big House. Big House had double knee replacement surgery and was recovering / receiving therapy at Lakeshore. In the late afternoon the kids and I came back home while Preston went out to get his Grandmommy and Mr E and brought them to Lakeshore to see Big House. I met them back up there later in the evening so Grandmommy and Mr E could visit with our kids. Once we got home Logan made cookies for Santa and headed off to bed.Santa at most of the milk and cookies we set out for him.
Christmas morning CiCi and PawPaw Bill came over to enjoy a big pancake breakfast and to watch the boys open their gifts.

After all the gifts were opened we went to church. Nathan and Owen enjoyed sitting in their new stroller during the service.

After the service was complete we headed to Changed Lives Christian Center and ate Christmas lunch with the homeless men living there. This is always a highlight of our Christmas day!! We are always glad CiCi and PawPaw Bill join us for this special time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three Wise Boys

My children are always teaching me so much. In the past few days I have learned a lesson from all of them.

Logan: excited to be a cow. His Christmas pageant at school is Monday. At first he was a Shepherd. I thought that was a pretty good role, somewhere in the middle of who he could be. Not a Joseph or Wise Man but better than an animal. So on Thursday Logan came home from school very excited that he was now going to be a Cow. A Cow, great I thought. He must have done something bad in class and is now demoted to a Cow. On Friday I chaperoned his field trip to a retirement facility where they performed their play. I found out that another little boy was having a very difficult day and really did not want to be a cow, so Logan graciously traded with him. Wow, that changed my attitude about the cow. Here I was wanting Logan to have a good part and Logan was more interested in helping a friend than if he had a good "part" in the play. It made me realize God wants us to be cows: helping others in need is more important than our own status.

Nathan: only received the memo of Joy. Yesterday we had our family Christmas with Preston's Mom, Steop-Dad, Brother, his Wife and Son. We all had a wonderful time eating lots of yummy food and playing dirty Santa. When Nathan woke up from his nap he played and played in the tissue paper. He had the best time. Photos will come soon. I mentioned this little boy only received the memo from God to have joy. When I made that comment it really struck me that Nathan does only have joy in the midst of what so many people would feel is hard times. He teaches me every day how to find joy in a situations. God pours out His joy a little on us each day through this tough precious boy.

Owen: never give up. Owen is such a hard worker. He just keeps going and going. For a while it did not look like he was making much progress but over the last several weeks, WOW!! He is now walking well in his gait trainer, sitting up (for about 10 seconds) unassisted, eating crackers and giving the most precious smiles. He is where he is because he works very hard. He has taught me that we can never give up when we aren't seeing many results. We must just keep working hard and over time we will achieve.

Mia: God has taught me so much about Himself, His Peace that surpasses all understanding and so many other things. I am a much better person, in Him, because of her amazing life. I will blog more on that later.

Thank you God for my wonderful three children and the ways you use them to teach me more about you. I am truly blessed by all four of my babies.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Medical Update

From time to time I post a medical update on the boys. I will have another update after their 2 yr old check-up this Thursday. Yes, they turned 2 back in November but I had to keep rescheduling because of therapy appointments. It is sad when you have to change one medical appointment for another over and over.

The boys had their yearly Occupational Therapy review. They scored at 15 months. This is great considering their corrected age is only 18 months and at this time they were not even out of the hospital because they could not survive on their own. They are making great progress!!! God is so faithful working in them.

Nathan is working on pulling himself up. He loves it and will do it over and over again. Right now he still needs some assistance to stand but did stand for a few seconds on his own with his therapist, Kristi, on Tuesday. His hamstrings are pretty tight right now. We will be botoxing them in February which should make standing much easier for him. Right now the hamstrings are really pulling hard against his legs. Nathan was scheduled for another eye surgery before he received his cochlear implants. Because the implant surgery was able to move ahead so quickly we rescheduled the eye surgery. We went to the eye doctor Thursday for him to remeasure his eyes for the surgery. After a very thorough examination the eye doctor decided his eyes are actually looking better on their own. He canceled the surgery and does not need to see us back for 6 months!!! Nathan is doing even better than expected with his cochlear implant. The mapping process has gone extremely well and he has reached his final setting.

Owen is getting very close to sitting up. He can hold it for several seconds but will loose his balance a lot. He is jabbering all the time. Lots and lots of new sounds. He is starting to say ball and bee (though there is only a little difference). He is so proud that he can say Owen (and so are we). He continues to walk more and more in his gait trainer. I don't have any medical updates for Owen like I do Nathan because Owen is not working on as much stuff right now.

All three of my boys are such a joy. I love them!!

Coming Soon: Lessons from Logan: Be excited to be a cow.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Gingerbread House

Tuesday afternoon Logan decorated our Gingerbread house. We had lots of fun. He loves cooking and decorating.

Holiday Gait Trainers

I decided to decorate Nathan and Owen's gait trainers for Christmas. Owen especially likes the feeling of his felt.
The boys are doing really well. They had their annual OT assessment on Tuesday and scored at 15 months. We are very excited considering their adjusted age is 19 months and they weren't even thriving enough to get out of the hospital at their due date.

Nathan is starting to become very aware of his environment. He is doing better than expected both in speech therapy and during the mapping process for his implant. Nathan is also holding his straw cup completely on his own. He loves to ride in the car holding his cup and taking a drink whenever he wants.

Owen is starting to walk all over the house in his gait trainer. We love seeing him so excited to move.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Visit with Santa

Logan decided weeks ago that he needed to go talk to Santa on December 1st. So, when the day arrived we met Preston at Brookwood Mall for the boys to meet with Santa. The boys did a good job. Last year Owen was terrified of Santa but this year he could stand him. Both Logan and Nathan love Santa and thankfully Nathan did not pull hard on his beard this year.


For Thanksgiving we wanted to take our Chinese guests, Chen and Juncheng to see some more of the US. We rented a house near Bryson City, NC.

We enjoyed lots of outdoor time. This beautiful gorge is in North Georgia. Lots of stairs but totally worth it.
I tried to take a picture of all of us. Unfortunately Chen stayed up all night playing video games, so he wanted to stay in the car to sleep instead of taking on this beautiful view.
Nathan and Owen loved being out in nature.

Juncheng at the bottom of the Gorge.

Logan on the footbridge across the Gorge.
Logan and Chen hiking at Deep Creek.
Owen having fun.
Deep Creek had several water falls. This one is 80 feet tall.
Logan the Tree Hugger.
Deep Creek.
We made s'mores one evening. Everyone enjoyed them.
We wore the boys out!!! We were gone all day. Good thing the car provided a good place to nap.
At Clingman's Dome. Elevation 6,400 ft. Beautiful day with 100 + feel of visibility.

This is a pretty waterfall we found on the side of the road.

Thanksgiving dinner. Preston, Logan and I made the entire spread. It was yummy and Chen and Juncheng enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Logan made our hats at home before leaving for our trip.

Logan made our pineapple casserole.
The view from our front porch.
The house we rented.
Another view.
On our way home we stopped at Brenau just for fun. We snapped this picture and thought it was a great shot of the family.