Sunday, January 31, 2016


Be your own person. Have an original idea. Don't be a follower. Find a new angle. Be set apart. In many households, as well as classrooms, one is encouraged to be a leader and not look like everyone else. Although, there is a fine line between not copying others and standing out too much, in which case you appear to desire unnecessary attention for yourself. It all depends on the context.
In writing, originality is of utmost importance; I stressed the importance of understanding plagiarism in order for my students to avoid it like the plague. In fashion, many people seek to wear what the media deems "in style," ultimately copying everyone else, unless you are truly unaware or avoiding garment trends altogether. At the end of the day, I believe the verse that claims, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). 

Really, mimicking is one of the first forms of learning. For that reason, Silas is one of the best (and worst) teachers for Levi. As Levi watches his big brother eat food orally, I can almost see him move his mouth in copycat fashion. Likewise, toddlers begin to speak, act, and respond in similar style to that of their parents. Friend choices feel overwhelming critical to parents of pre-teens and teenagers because their child's individuality is being shaped by what their new friends are doing.

All of this has baffled me as I continue to have a desire to "be set apart" and "look different" from the world. However, we do not know what we do not know. Let me explain this rationale. Even though I feel like I've grown and changed this past year, others are growing and changing in their own way based on their own life circumstances. I may desire to be "different," but I'm going to be similar to someone, and someone else is going to desire to be "different" from me. Who is to say which "different" is the right "different." It's a tongue twister, but really it's just a rabbit trail identifying that making choices for yourself and your family may look different from others, but that doesn't mean you are making a judgement against their choices. We all just have to make those choices personally and respect the differences.

I think that at the end of the day we have to think about those people (for me I can name only a few) whom you walk away from wanting to be a better person. Those people that have a light and a joy about them that is different from anything else you have ever seen. They seem understand how to love the world and how to leave a lasting a palatable imprint on your heart that you want to understand deeper. Those are the unique individuals that we should seek to mimic because they are the fragrance of God.

Instead of excluding, judging, or hating the copycats or crazy unique characters in the world, we need to keep looking within to find out who we are trying to mimic because it's a guarantee that someone else will be copying us along the way.

My sweet boy trying to copy my reading in the early morning hours.

Our sweet BFF Birdie always trying to copy her older buddy Silas (sorry Dana!) :)

Mommy copied the internet for this fun science project!

Little Levi always looking to copy his crazy older sibling!
~Copying Buster

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Why Snow?

Silas had some terrible, two tantrums way before turning two, and now as he approaches three, he's already in that wonderful inquisitive "why" phase. While my educator heart loves to explain, I find that many of his "whys" are posed at concepts that have no understandable response. It's not the easy questions pouring from his mouth that frustrate me, "Mommy, why does that water go down the drain? Mommy why do we have to sleep? Mommy, why do we talk in an inside voice?" Nor is it the more abstract ones that press on my patience, "Mommy, why do we have to be good? Mommy, why do we pray? Mommy, why do we need to forgive?" However, I do begin to grumble curt, cantankerous answers at his unanswerable recitations: "Mommy why is this my hand? Mommy why is it Saturday and not Tuesday? Mommy why are people, people?"  I finally understand the indefinite "BECAUSE, just BECAUSE!"

While this phase like any other will come and go, I can't help but see the glaring similarities with Silas's questions and those of mature, educated adults. Doesn't humanity grapple with it's own version of the unanswerable? Why do children get cancer? Why would a loving God send people to hell? Why do deserving people suffer and undeserving people prosper? Why are babies starving around the world?  Why are young mothers killed without cause? While many would argue that there are some very obvious answers to some of these tough questions, others would still debate that those responses aren't really answering the question. Likewise, when I try to give an answer to Silas' most abstract questions, it's not always the end of his rabbit trail questioning.  As a parent accepts that he/she will not be able to answer every question a two year-old mind can conjure, why don't we all have the same acceptance for life? I believe God practices much greater patience with His questioning children than we do with our own.

Silas' questions subsided a bit this weekend after a fun mommy date on Thursday and a snow surprise on Friday...
Thanks to Linda (and her husband Ron), a sweet retired nurse from our church, I was able to get out with just the Si-man for a fun mommy and me class at the Southern Civil War and Locomotive museum in Kennesaw. Silas could have stayed all day! 

 He vaguely remembered the snow from last year, but I know he'll remember the little bit from this year.

Crazy that this little hat has fit him for three years!

I think Levi would have stayed outside all day because he's always hot, but the teen-digit wind chill just made me nervous, so he just glimpsed the beautiful white stuff coming down on Saturday.

Almost immediately after the sun came out and melted our little wonderland, Silas' questioning returned. "Mommy, why does the snow have to melt!?!"  I have found that returning his question with a question seems effective. "Silas, do you think maybe it will snow again another day?" "YEAH! I DO!" He said enthusiastically. And that was that. Hoping for more snow soon...

~Why Buster

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Instant Gratification

I grew up with parents who didn't know what a glass half empty looked like. Thus, my ever-positive mindset comes rather naturally.  I am grateful for this perspective, but I am also human. There are times when my thoughts are not so Rosie the Riveter.

Sometimes it feels as though Levi's progress is slow as molasses. It pains me to watch him struggle through every normal and otherwise automatic development. Fixing one thing simply delays another. We must try and address every potential issue, but sometimes I wonder if he'll ever grow. Then I am reminded that I've bought into our current state of instant gratification thinking. We simply aren't used to waiting for anything for more than about five minutes; anything that takes longer loses our business quickly. Levi will have such a leg up on his family members when it comes to patience. Hopefully, his tolerance for waiting will be ingrained in his development.

I am trying to read through the Bible this year from a "mixed plan" that involves both old and new testament scripture simultaneously. I've recently read multiple accounts of people from old, who had to wait ridiculous amounts of time to see God's miracles fulfilled. Not only did Noah stay on a boat for 40 days, but it struck me this time how even when he sent out multiple birds and "knew" the land was dry enough for him to leave the boat, he still waited until God told him personally that he could leave. Talk about some patience to wait on God and not your own intuition.
Likewise, Abraham waited until he was 100 to see God's promise of an heir fulfilled. I doubt any of us would keep believing his word past fifty. His grandson Jacob worked twenty years for his father-in-law before he was able to leave and find his own land with his own family. Of course Moses' waiting through Pharaoh's continual denials with every kind of plague imaginable seems almost ridiculous when read aloud.
Now fast forward to Jesus' time on Earth, and people got to see miracles happen in a matter of days or seconds. If you believed he could heal you, then it happened "according to your faith." Talk about some instant gratification. People knew that they could merely touch Jesus or speak to him and whatever ailed them vanished.
We know that miracles and unexplained healing still happen in our world today; however, like most of us, we'd rather read the accounts in the new testament surrounding God's perfect love and grace. We forget that our idea of time is not the same as His, and we must never look only to the new testament because it wouldn't exist without the old. 

As such, I will always try to celebrate Levi's days with or without progress because I must remember that each of his breaths is a sort of unexplained miracle.

Levi doesn't know how to pick up food with index and thumb, because he won't eat anything but a thin puree in small doses. He hates stuff in his mouth, so he left this on his lip for quite a while before it bothered him. :D

Levi is still a "supported sitter," but I love watching him strive to play with Silas.

Ball rolling!

When Levi and I came home from an errand this weekend, Silas was yelling that he ate a "marshmellow plant!"

I think this was the best idea ever!

So did Silas.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pants and Shoes

You know that scene in the movie Titanic where Leo is teaching Kate to hack up phlegm? You know..."spit like a man!" Well in our family of mostly men, and my not-always-genteel self, we all know how to "spit like a man," except for poor baby Levi. I had this "motherly instinct" (if you can call it that) when Levi was in the hospital, that told me he just needs to become Kate Winslet, and I need to become Leonardo DiCaprio and remake that scene. The poor boy seems to cough and cough trying to and clear some thick mucus from his throat until he spits up his meal. (He also seems to throw up whenever he's done eating because he feels so full that he's nauseous, but I'm not sure what movie has that scene for reenactment purposes.) Well, my instincts were confirmed after our past couple of doctors appointments.

The GI scan was both good and bad. It was good because apparently everything gastro-related looks normal. His fundoplication is still in tact (so he just really likes to throw up even after with that surgery, which apparently is possible after all), and his G-button looked fine. He was able to digest the dye that was sent through this g-tube (with just a little reflux) and take another picture ten minutes after to see that it traveled down the correct way. The bad news is that it didn't really answer questions as to why he isn't gaining weight as much and spitting so frequently. Later, they noticed some upper respiratory gunk... yep... a bunch of mucus in the x-ray. Since his pulmonologist said his lungs are clear, they don't want to do another chest x-ray, so now we'll have to get back with GI to see next steps.

Even though I was hoping for some concrete answers, I am getting a little bit used to the big fat question marks that document our lives. It makes the future outcome less about my abilities, and much more miraculous.
We did receive two wonderful nuggets of news this week. First, Levi hit sixteen pounds! He may be a skinny tortoise, but I know he can win this race... slow and steady baby boy, slow and steady. Second, Levi only has to wear his leg braces when he sleeps! He went from 23 hours a day to two-three hours a day. It's absolutely incredible! It feels life changing! Not only did my sweet baby put on his first pair of pants and shoes yesterday, but I can wear him around and hold him like the precious baby he's always been! It makes me imagine the celebration we will have the day he gets that g-tube out. It may be years away, but it will be a celebration we'll never forget, nor forget to appreciate!

A little feeding therapy or "tasting" as we affectionately call it.

A little shaving cream, or mess if you want to call it.

Our celebration over pants and shoes!

I don't think anyone has ever been more excited about pants and shoes as we were!

I almost did back flips.

How much I thank God for these moments.

~PS Buster

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Never seen in ourselves

As a former high school teacher, I swore to myself that I’d never overly inflate my children’s egos, never coddle, never act as their safeguard against necessary failures, and always push them to figure things out on their own two feet. I just saw too many parents who obviously felt that their child’s performance, behavior, or even personalities was somehow a reflection on them, so they’d do whatever it took to cover up flaws and focus on the phenomenon that was their child. Of course, I’m far from high school aged children, but it’s incredibly humbling to see how quickly I have subconsciously wanted to show off my son’s skills. As a full time mommy, I think there is some part of me that regards my children’s abilities as my personal end of year position analysis. Whether I get that raise or not depends on how well my kids behave and whether they’ve advanced in their intellectual and physical abilities. Even typing this nauseates me a little because I don’t believe any of it, but if I’m humble enough to admit even the subconscious, and then I may be able to change it.

This is just another reason I feel unbelievably blessed that my second child has “special needs.” He may catch up one day, but for now, and for the foreseeable future, he is delayed. Even if there was a short cut through this milestone mountain, I don’t think I’d want to find it at this point. It would feel like I was cheating myself from an incredible chance to see the world through a different lens. Plus, I cannot wait to see how God uses these challenges in the lives of my boys’ future. It is certainly making me a better person.

We are thrilled about our third GI doctor (number two was good, but already had an apt set with this new doc so we went on Monday to check it out)! He looked at Levi like his own son, and he is eager to “figure this out” with us. Apparently he’s a sort of “feeding specialist” in his GI practice. Levi continues to hang tight around 15 pounds, but we have some things in the works that we’d love your prayers over:

-       Friday Levi will get an upper GI scan to check out exactly what’s going on!
-       Levi’s internal button could be blocking things, or the fundoplycation could still be in tact (lots to see and figure out since GI team was not part of the initial surgery!)
-       Levi is still on a continual nighttime feed, but we are trying some new formula for the time being. There is a medicine that we can look at in the future if needed to help him not “feel so full and nauseous” at the end of his feeds and increase hunger drive.
-       Next week we will see all of our therapists PT, ST, and OT, as well as orthopedic and orthotics (his leg braces) we are praying that we get good news from all, especially the okay to just where leg braces during nap and nighttime in order to help with PT.
-       Levi also gets another dose of the RSV shot next week. We continue to pray for his good health during this season of germs, but so far we’ve been greatly blessed!

We truly believe in the power of prayer. I was reminded of this when my mother-in-law came in town for the holidays. She showed me this picture taken many months ago from her sweet town in St. Simons. Talk about humbled...

  We can't thank you enough if you are someone who has ever prayed for our family. Thank you, thank you.

Just some fun "science experiments" with my big man to make these cold days fun!

First time in the Johnny Jumper. He didn't hate it, but I'm not sure he loved it either. :) Look at the great second position of those feet though! 

~Boasting Buster

Friday, January 1, 2016

Levi's First Christmas

Normally I am very sad when the holidays come to a close, but I'm realizing that the quicker they leave, the quicker they seem to return. As life moves forward, so do the sweet changes in life.

We ended up changing Levi's feeding routine just before Christmas because neither medicine seemed that effective; now he gets a slow drip for 12 hours at night, decreasing the amount of food he eats during the day. While this is a step in the wrong direction, it seems to be helping his spitting issues and hopefully his weight gain. We have another GI appointment on Monday, so I'm anxious to hear thoughts on our progress. However, Levi seems to be changing almost daily. He's rolling much better, sitting up for extended periods without assistance, and constantly smiling! Does everyone have happy babies, or did I just luck out somehow with mine? Also, Levi seems to be making some good progress with his feeding therapy, as we desensitize his mouth and increase his tolerance to various spoons dipped in baby food. It all would look terribly delayed and uneventful if you were a fly on our walls, but if you were that same fly ten months ago, you'd be as thrilled with the minor achievements too!

It was a true blessing to have both our boys home for Christmas and New Years! Here's a look at some of our joys...

Nothing like a classic gingerbread house to spice up a rainy day

I had a helper with my Jesus Birthday cake this year, but no store had red food coloring! Pink it was!

We taught Silas to wait until the clock said 7:00 to wake us up, but here he is Christmas morning telling his daddy that there is "a 7 on the clock." It was 5:47. Wrong place bud.


His smile is unbelievable!

I am terrible at remembering to take family photos. Silas dancing with his cousin was all I captured.

Smoothies are the best!

Seriously!? I can't put my finger on why his smile is so amazing!

Happy New Year!

Started 2016 with a little fake snow (hoping to influence mother nature!)

Had a great NYE with our new fire pit!

Welcome to 2016 boys!

His hair, his posture.... it's wonderful to see him get bigger!
~2016 Buster