Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Boy Oh Boy

When you are expecting your first baby, everyone is equally thrilled for you. People begin to say and do things you've never experienced. If you don't know the sex, people will certainly tell you with a matter of fact what you are having (in my experience: 50 % of those people are always wrong). Many people will even begin rubbing your belly, talking to your belly, and asking you repeatedly how you are feeling. When you are expecting your second child, people seem equally as joyful, letting you know the blessings of close siblings. The belly-rubbing typically stops because they are either talking to your first born or asking you about him. However, when you are expecting your third child, people begin to divide over their enthusiasm, especially when your other two are still under the age of three. It saddens me how few people are able to express true excitement over another baby. You hear things like, "Oh, wow, you are going to be busy, " "Gosh, you'll have your hands full," "Oh wow, you'll need some help, huh?" or a simple, "Were you all trying for another!?"  I believe advice is not only essential in life, it's Biblical. Proverbs is loaded with input on the importance of wise council): chapter nineteen, verse twenty says, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future."
But I'm realizing we are all guilty, my teaching-self included, of giving "advice" that is neither wise nor warranted. We are simply telling our own tales of personal experiences. We think we are helping our younger counter parts by shedding some light on their future, yet we must be careful that our "advice" is truly wisdom, and not just opinions. 
I hope I can learn this lesson better for myself, because I think once we've had a few experiences, we can't wait to let the younger generations know what they are "obviously" missing. Sometimes, as I've seen with my own boys, it's the younger ones who help us gain more wisdom and humility through their naivete and innocence.

I know for certain I will need lots of wise council to raise not two but...... drum roll..... THREE boys!

We didn't find out the gender of the first two boys, and while I loved it with Silas, the way in which I came out of anesthesia with a medical "boy" bracelet wasn't the most fun. Just in case we have another exciting entrance, we figured we'd enjoy the moment ahead of time, which we did, because their was chocolate involved!
Depending on your upbringing, you may think three boys is a lot of testosterone, but I for one am thrilled. I've come to adore my sweet boys who seem to adore me in return, and I would love a house full of them!

What did my boys think about another boy?

They can't wait!

In the meantime, we are trying to dip everything we can in Mayo.... including string cheese!

And enjoying a little free kids zumba-

 Silas wanted to be the teacher just like his mommy, and Levi thought that was hysterical...
Great moves Bud!

Can't wait for all my boys to be laughing together one day. What a gift. 

Thank you all for your constant prayers and love!

~Boy Buster

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What a difference

What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were preparing to transfer our fragile little Levi from his four month stint at Northside Hospital to his new short-term home at Scottish Rite for his G-tube surgery. My precious sister Kyra came over to stay with Silas while I anxiously traveled to two hospitals in one day. I'd never believe just 365 days later that Kyra would be home in Heaven, I'd have another growing baby in my belly, and Levi would be weening his feeding tube!  Let me repeat that last part because it is still fairly new-- in the last 24 hours Levi only used his feeding tube during his night feed!!!!!

After a disappointing visit to our GI doctor where Levi gained no weight and the doc wasn't thrilled I was cutting his feeds by calorie and quantity, (although I think that if he'd lived with us for a while he'd understand a little better.) we still saw great improvement in Levi's holding down his meals. Also, because he hasn't thrown up hardly at all in the last  two and a half weeks, he has been more interested in eating and even swallowing crumbs without gagging (a miracle). SO... we went to visit the nutritionist at the Scottish Rite office yesterday, and to my thrill and surprise, she gave us a great meal plan (all additives to purees) and said that if Levi could take in 4-5 oz of food by mouth, then we didn't have to supplement with the tube feeds. And if all goes well and he starts gaining weight, we can talk about weaning his night feed! It's absolutely amazing. I cannot express the ease and joy it is to feed your child by mouth and not have to do a song a dance to get them to take a few bites, not have to force them to be sedentary for 45 minutes while the tube feed finishes, and not have to have your "throw up bucket" on hand wherever you go. It's glorious!!!!! So glorious that we made a special trip to Menchies, and Levi did a happy dance for you all. 

There is no one person that deserves a pat on the back for this accomplishment. God answers all prayers in His perfect timing and in HIS own perfect way. Even though we still have a lot of hand therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy ahead, this has been a hurdle that will greatly ease our ability to operate in this world. Not everyone is so blessed to wean their feeding tubes or other forms of adaptation, and for that, I pray I never lose my newfound perspective and always have a hand in helping others.

Our first crops!

We had a sweet trip to St. Simons for Father's Day, and I forgot to snap any photos except this one! We love our daddy more than anyone, and I thank God for each day we get to live this journey together.

Thank you for all your continued prayers, they do not go unnoticed!

~Weaning Buster

Thursday, June 9, 2016


I remember when Levi was taking steps forward and backward while living in the hospital, and it made it difficult to rejoice in the triumphs for fear of the nearing step in the wrong direction. I hesitated to bust out my happy dance, not because I didn't trust God's goodness and miracles, but because I remembered that this was a marathon, not a sprint. However, I cannot forget to show my gratitude for the good days even if they are short-lived. If Silas was never happy for fear of potential future discipline, my heart would be sad. Thus, I will rejoice in the fact that Levi has NOT thrown up in almost a week!!!! (Minus the standard gagging spit up that occurs with a frequent choker.) The secret sauce is... running out of doctoral ideas, and choosing to try my own recipe without permission. Levi is on a lower calorie diet with standard toddler formula and baby food, and I have cut his tube feedings short by 15 minutes. I will ask for forgiveness on Monday during his GI appointment, but I pray even if he hasn't gained much weight, they will see the benefit in him keeping his food down. While I'm hesitant to say we conquered the year of throw up, I truly hope and pray that this hurdle is nearing its end so we can focus on increasing food by mouth.
We continue to try and strengthen his right hand and in the meantime, he is a little cruiser making my life busier! I have to tape or wrap his G-button whenever he's not eating so that it doesn't get snagged and come out. (Never fun for anyone.)  Since I rarely exercise anymore, at least little Levi is helping me keep a little baby weight down!

There's never a dull moment in our lives, and I am thankful for every second of it. I'm often asked as the Coffee Cub if I indulge during pregnancy. The answer is of course- YES! While my intake has probably increased a bit with each pregnancy, I try to keep it to a minimum. Plus, watching them give Levi shots of caffeine after birth assuaged my concerns about potential side effects of a little cup of joe each day. Speaking of... Here's a great idea I saw on "The Kitchen." I hate wasting food, especially coffee, so freeze it up into cubes and either add it to iced coffee or cool off hot coffee without watering it down!

Cautious first born is getting a little more adventurous, and I love it!

Slime is always a good idea (except that his hand stayed purple all day).

Northside Hospital had a preemie reunion party at the zoo! The event occurred in the evening hours, but Silas didn't care!

Levi cared a little.

Our mouth breather was in a crazy dream all evening.

Even though our favorite nurses and doctors were working and couldn't attend, we appreciated celebrating Levi's return home!

Thank you for all your love!

~Coffee CubBuster

Friday, June 3, 2016

Gaining or Growing: two boys and a dog

While Levi may not be gaining much weight, he is still growing, and that is what matters.  It's funny...  we went to my parents' lake house for memorial day and I looked at Silas, Levi, and our precious dog Chloe. All three of them are not very stocky or weigh much for their respective ages, but all three are still healthy (all things considered). Chloe may have been deaf, Silas may still wear 2T shorts and Levi may still throw up, but all of them are happy and pain-free. Many people are not as fortunate. I was reminded of the verse I read the other day in 1 Corinthians. "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." We can toil all day long, but that toil may be in vain if it's not part of God's plan. You can plant the best seeds and water your brains out, but that plant won't actually grow unless God wills it to grow. All our efforts are futile if we continue to believe we are the one's who create life or take life away. We may have a hand in the planting and watering, and it may appear at times that we are the ones making things grow, but truly we just get to witness daily miracles.

While traveling with two young boys and an old dog isn't always easy, it was certainly worth the effort for the memories, especially because Chloe, after 15 and a half good years went to Heaven today. She will be missed!
Fall camping with Chloe as our practice baby in 2011
Captain Silas loved "driving" the boat

I wish my boys would keep on sunglasses or hats!

Pictures make everyone think everything is always easy. While it took Silas a bit to warm up to the jet ski, while it took Levi a bit to warm up to the boat, and while it took Chloe a bit to warm up to Levi and Silas, we are thankful for the weekend and thankful for each of them.