Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Unexpectedly Expecting!

Yes..... that's right! If you didn't already know or haven't already seen me, we are 13 weeks along in adding to our family! This was not expected at this point in our story. While we definitely wanted more kids, our "perfect" plan would have given us a little more time between Levi's life and the next, but we believe God's plans are ALWAYS perfect. We couldn't be more thrilled, especially since this pregnancy and baby seem to be developing perfectly on target. Many people would be utterly overwhelmed with the thought of caring for another baby when Levi himself will only be twenty months if I deliver full term. However, our experience with Levi and with our whole family history has given us a new precious appreciation for being able to parent, and the idea of bringing home an uncomplicated infant actually seems like a breath of fresh air. Life is always crazy with little ones, but we know without a doubt that God will not give us what we can't handle with Him leading us every step of the way.

The best part of this story is that our little baby is due on Kyra's birthday, November 27. While doctors can't let me go until that date because of Levi's complications, it was a beautifully sweet gift and whisper from my Lord who loves me and cares about every one of my hurts. I still miss her every single day, but this is just a sweet reminder of her amazing life.

Sweet Baby Smith waving to my BFF

This is how I told Matthew we were going to have another baby. Easter weekend he got this basket with notes on being a parent again. (No not twins, just a potential for either gender at this point!)

Levi was BEYOND ready to get into a big boy stroller seat. And Silas was equally as excited.

Silas wanted to turn around so he could face his brother (and hug him)

I am so thankful these boys love each other so dearly.
Our garden is providing me with great fresh herbs! Hopefully fruit and veggies soon too!

How the boys feel about begin big brothers!

We would welcome prayers for the newest baby and my pregnancy. I have a whole new understanding of Levi's struggles. My nausea has been much worse this pregnancy, so cleaning up throw up when you want to throw up yourself isn't really a walk in the park. Also, Levi will have a sleep study in July to help determine next steps for any possible surgery, as well as meet with a nutritionist next month to try and get him eating more by mouth and less by tube. He is doing great with physical therapy! Starting to pull up and cruise a bit! God is good, and we continue to thank him for every part of our story even those tough moments when Levi is trying to crawl and drag his feeding backpack with him! ;P

Smith LOVE!

~Pregnant Buster

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Smith Vacation

The word "vacation" means different things to different people. Some require the absence of responsibility, while others equate vacation to self-spoiling; still others determine vacation based on whether water or adventure is on the agenda. The dictionary defines it as "a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday" ( I know many people who would not consider something a vacation if it involved diaper changing, spit up cleaning, and a little hotel laundry doing. I beg to differ. 

Once again, it's all a matter of perspective. I think vacations mean much more if you have something bigger than yourself to thank for the rest and recuperation.  When you simply pat yourself on the back for a job well done, you are merely giving yourself a larger load to carry. You subtly and subconsciously add the burden of being able to provide yourself with a future equal if not superior vacation. You are at the mercy of living to find future security. Instead of feeling utter gratitude at the end of your vacation. You are left yearning for the next one. 

Don't get me wrong, I was yearning to stay with my boys at the beach longer, but I couldn't help but feel unbelievably grateful the entire time. I couldn't believe we were able to take our little Levi away from home. Feeding tube and all, he was able to experience life, and we were all able to breathe a little deeper, thanking God that we were not still living in the NICU as we had been a year ago. It was a celebration of a five year marriage, a boy who has traveled so far in his one year of life, and a family of four who loves spending time together. Instead of congratulating each other on a job well done, we looked to the sky and praised God for always providing us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. 

Levi LOVED the sand!

Silas did too, but he LOVED the "water only" (pool) too!

Levi's daily morning lap. Love his flexibility (in all areas of life).

Hotel down time.
Silas did great at his first putt putt.... probably the fastest game I've ever seen.

He got some practice when we stopped at my friend's house in Charleston on the way the Hilton Head.

Love capturing these sweet moments.
I wish Levi would wear sun glasses it might help with this look.
Just put him in a swing and he'll smile.

If only you'd wear hats too. They look great on you bubba!

Now that we are back to reality. We'll keep you posted on our upcoming appointments for little Levi! Doesn't seem to be growing, but he's loving life, and that is all that matters!

~Vacay Buster

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Milk for moms

The milk spilled over the top of his feeding bag as I tiredly tried to refill it before breakfast. Milk spilled shortly after when my older one attempted to fill his own cereal bowl. Milk also spilled hours later as I screamed at the sight of ants surrounding our kitchen table; they must have smelled remnants of the old milk spilled. The day would come to a close with the largest out pour of milk into our garage because the grocery bag attendant didn't know I'd open the trunk so quickly allowing two gallons of milk to smack the floor and crack open simultaneously. Now that we were officially out of milk, I was actually relieved.
Spills happen in life, but they seem to happen a lot more in the lives of moms.  There are many ways to respond to spilled milk as the expression goes, but I don't think mine ever followed with tears. Frustration is my natural instinct as a relative neat freak. But after the last spill that filled our garage with the stench of milk, I had to laugh (especially because I decided to buy the organic brand that time). Isn't this what I signed up for when I became a mom? If you can't handle spills, you shouldn't be a mother. You have to be able to roll with the mess and allow the hiccups to strengthen your character. Your children are always watching, learning how to respond themselves.
My life, my story, is filled with messy details. Events that don't sound pretty or magical. Situations that take a long time to clean up. Aren't those the stories and events that have made me who I am? Aren't the spills the things that have taken away all the things that held me captive before? If you don't let the messes happen on their own, and try to enjoy the clean up process, they just happen again, again, and again, until you stop and laugh a little. When you try to keep your children from spilling anything in a vain attempt to keep yourself from clean-up duty, you are ultimately hurting their chances of building true character while still under your roof.
Milk is really not that hard to clean up; if you wipe bottoms, wipe up spit up, and wipe away tears, imagine the puddles that you'll be able to laugh at one day.
Thank you to all the moms cleaning up daily messes without any anger or resentment. Thank you to all the mommas who have shown me what genuine love looks like. Thank you to my babies and their daddy for making me a better mommy.

Regardless of the spills this week, I have loved my job!

The artist is always at work.

Levi hasn't experienced some of the delights of childhood (like Catch Air), and now that we are taking him out more, its fun to see his reactions!

My favorite part of mothers day- breakfast in bed. Thank you Matthew!

Someone else wanted the royal treatment too!

And someone else too!

Little man had a crazy rat-tail mullet that required a little attention. First trim in the books bubba!

This busy bee had a busy appointment last week with a new ENT. He not only scoped him, took a culture of his mucus, but also x-rayed his entire neck and throat area. Levi has swollen adenoids, tonsils, and sinuses (which we kind of figured), so the doc really wants us to do a "sleep study" to see if all this obstruction causes him to go apneic at any point in the night. Even though he was monitored months after coming home never stopped his breathing during the night, I think the doctor wants to see for himself before taking out both adenoids and tonsils. So that's what's on the docket now.

Thank you for continued prayers. We are looking forward to a mini vacation with the boys in a week! Finally getting to take Levi to a beach! If nothing else, it will be lovely to be together for a week away from doctors and routine.

Happy Mothers Day to all the great moms in my life!