Isabella Danielle, born at 24 weeks and 1 day, 1lb 11oz, 12.5in

Zachary Michael, born at 36 weeks, 5lb 13oz, 18.5in

Alexander Charles, FULL TERM, 7lb 1oz, 20in

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Sadness Never Changes, But Miracles Do Prevail

Yes, this title seems a little odd given that it is my firstborns birthday. The title should be all encompassing rejoiceful "HAPPY #5 BELLA BABY". But as 98% of you know, the experience of her birth was atypical and scary as hell. (Goodness, it is how we have gotten to know most of you). I must admit that today was not an easy one. I cried several times. Pain actually filled my body a couple of times. Regardless of it being 5 years removed, the anniversary of this day conjures up what was treacherous, odd, and almost a constant blur. And I don't ache for losing the pregnancy experience, but for the pain my daughter would endure for months; the first several months of her life. Those are supposed to be the happy times, the peaceful cuddle with your baby times. Not for this momma...I had to schedule to hold my baby...I had to make it to rounds to hear how she was breathing and meds administered for the day...I had to promptly show up on the hour to do diaper and linen changes...we had to ask permission to sleep on couches in the lobby while she was recovering from multiple surgeries.
With Thanksgiving coming late this year and leaving little room to get into the holiday spirit, I didn't have the cushion to soften how this time always makes me feel. I can normally use the decorating and jolly songs to lighten my mood before this week starts. Doesn't seem to be doing the trick this year. But just like my AMAZING, MIRACULOUS, SPIT-FIRE daughter gracefully pulled herself through SOOOOO much, I will too. I use her endurance to put a smile on my face. She is always my beacon of light. To this day there is always one second during the day that I look at her in awe. There is only one way to describe the blessing that she is...CHRIST! Through prayer, spreading our story across the world, sharing our story with and leaning on Father David, and having such a knowledgeable medical staff guide us, we are beyond blessed to have our baby girl turning FIVE!!! And not merely turning FIVE, but doing it with flying colors: reading, writing, doing math, running, skipping, jumping, speaking clearly. I could go on and on and on because all of that could be oh so different. And it is different for many families that went through something similar to what we did. To all of you out there that have suffered loss, I pray for you. For all of you with a special needs child, I commend you for all you do for your child. No matter how much I feel sad in a few split seconds of a day, it does not compare to what these families face; for our lives could be drastically different without our little beacon of light.
You light up our lives constantly
Her birthday blessing...such a big girl going by herself
 Decorating her room tree
 Having an early birthday dinner at the place of her choice,
with her favorite cupcake from
Peace be with you all during this holiday season! I hope you grasp the miracles of your life, big and small, and lean on CHRIST to fill your heart with joy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blessed day for #3

We took our time having Alex baptized compared to his sister and brother!!! Chris would point the finger at me on that one :) Luckily we were able to fit it in when Nana and Papi were in town, so it was well worth the wait. They made the trip in from FL to celebrate Halloween with us this year. For months Chris kept teasing me saying that "the kid is going to be able to walk himself down the aisle"...and that is exactly what he did! He still takes a short morning nap and he happened to do it just before our 9am service. A little way into service he woke up and was ready to run around. When it was time to go to the alter he wanted down so that is what I let him do, walk himself to God. He refused to let us hold him during the first two-thirds of the presentation. He screamed and threw himself backward and ended up doing circles around us. What was so precious was that when the water graced his head he instantly mellowed. Peace of the Lord truly came over him. We were surrounded by family and that made it even more awesome! On top of Nana and Papi being with us, my mom, Lisa (my sister-in-law, and Alex's godmother), Brayden (my nephew), and Kim (one of my mom's best friends) were all able to come in from New Braunfels. It was a great celebration.

As for Halloween, the kids had a blast. They had a fall party at school during the day, gymnastics after school, dress up time when they got home and trick-or-treating once dusk hit. And they loved being able to share it with their grandparents. Bella was Merida from Brave, Zach was a triceratops, Alex was Mickey at home with Daddy passing out candy, and Papi & Nana were clowns! (I'm only going to embarrass Papi with the picture below.)

Before that we got to celebrate Trunk or Treat at Church. The kids loved the games and bounce castle. I love that Halloween was a week worth of fun this year with Halloween being a Thursday. It gave us extra days to dress up.

The kids are all still doing very well in school. I've met with everyone's teachers for conferences and each is going great. Right where they need to be for their age. Bella's teachers even suggested that we have her tested in the spring for gifted and talented upon entering kindergarten. She also passed all of the state vision and hearing testing. The speech pathologist did suggest that she have a little work though...not surprising! We also need to work on skipping and hopping on one foot to hone her gross motor skills. On a super awesome note, the pediatric surgeon did not feel she is in need of surgery right now. He asked that we up her fiber intake to keep her even more flushed out. Apparently the number one complaint of girls from 4-9 is abdominal pain do to some form of constipation. Of course with her bowel history and hernia, she is already very sensitive in that area. So we've added fiber gummies, prune juice, and flaxseed to her already intense vegetable/fruit and laxative induced daily regimen as well as cut out a large portion of dairy and bread. We haven't heard any large outbursts of crying or complaints of pain.
Someone being a daredevil....and Zach at his first concert!

We hope you all are enjoying the beginning of your holiday season. Many blessings to you all :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Festival Season

Happy fall everyone! The weather change, the rain, and the endless fun events around town (and out) keep this family in high spirits.

All three kids are loving school...

Alex, in the last week, has even stopped crying as I drop him off and diving for me as I pick him up. Must say, this is a little disappointing! I could handle him no longer crying as I leave in the mornings because what child crying doesn't break a momma's heart just a wee bit. But I loved the way he would reach for me in the afternoons. My baby is gradually becoming a little man and this mommy is ever so slightly sad. He is walking every where now with ease and climbing on everything he can like a little spider; even trying to climb over the couch.

Bella is doing awesome interacting with her classmates. It has helped tremendously to be back around kids her own age. She talks about her friends all the time and even draws pictures of them and their adventures. She has artist genes from both sides of her family so I am curious to see where this goes. We give her a sketch pad along with colored pencils all the time and let her go to work. I'm fairly impressed by what her imagination comes up with and the details she creates. This makes my heart happy given that her dexterity and fine motor skills have always drug a little behind. Now she seems to be catching up centimeter by centimeter. Which is fabulous!!!

Zach, as always, is our loving, energetic, rascal! He has gotten in trouble a few times at school for hitting. We are doing our best to discipline him in a way that encourages him not to be so aggressive. I always get a kick out of observing his artwork compared to his classmates when it is posted on the wall outside his classroom. My boy always tends to "draw a little outside the lines", going in his own direction and thought pattern, and it is reflected in this work. As much of a handful as he is, I LOVE this about him. He is all about dinosaurs right now and building his imagination around them. I thoroughly enjoy watching him talk to his dinosaur family and have each one play together. We made it over to the Sugarland branch of the Natural History Museum a few weeks ago and he was ecstatic. They had T-Rex and Triceratops...his 2 favorites.

On a medical note, please keep Bella in your prayers if possible. Her hernia along her incision from her bowel surgery while in the NICU appears to be bothering her. We will see the pediatric surgeon this week to confirm what is going on in that area. Based on preliminary review by her pediatrician, it looks like the surgery might be necessary sooner rather than later. We always take her for annual check-ups and in the past the thought was to delay the surgery as long as possible, preferably until she is closer to 8. But like so many other things with our preemie miracle, you constantly have to monitor health/behaviors and take action when required.

Peace be with you, enjoy the pictures!




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Quiet Time

For mommy that is :) !!! After 6 months of the kids being home with me (for the vast majority of the time), they have started a mother's day out program down the road from the house. I'm super excited about this for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it is at a church, so they have chapel, music and prayer time each day. Very happy for that! Second, the director of the school is our neighbor. It really is a relief to know someone I trust completely with my children is there with them and leading their teachers. She is an amazing lady and educator. Third would have to be the social interaction, especially for Bella. I've noticed that being around her brothers constantly has brought out many "baby" attributes in her attitude. My hope for each of them is this; Alex will start to walk and not be so attached to me, Zach will mellow in his level of aggression and willingness to share, and Bella will be prepared for Kindergarten come next September by learning the rules of a classroom. I'm still excited to be able to work with them each morning and the other days of the week. This will also give me some time to manage tasks around the house, which is so much harder than I expected with the 3 of them running around me.

Here are the happy/crying pictures of their first & second day:

Peace of the Lord be with you :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zachary the Zupendous

Oh little man, how you have grown! You are our spit-fire, rowdy, loving ball of energy. You could entertain the socks off anyone you meet; from your dance moves, to singing, to unbelievable intelligent conversation. You are so witty it is a little scary at times. I can only begin to imagine what you will be like in 10 years. You make each day incredibly interesting, and slightly challenging. Regardless your smile, tight hugs and kisses, and open "I love you's" melt my heart. Happy 3rd Birthday Zach Attack!!! 
The day Zach was born
1st birthday
2nd birthday
 3rd birthday
We got to do whatever he wanted today...snuggle time in mommy&daddy's bed watching Team Umi Zoomi, lunch at Double Dave's and play time at Monkey Joe's (the streak of blue coming down the slide is the little daredevil)