Wednesday, September 20, 2017

French Toast Tuesday

Two and a half years ago, Matthew and I were under a relatively stressful season in our lives, and unchartered dramatic scenarios were quickly becoming commonplace. For this reason, something prompted us to let go of normal routine and find joy in spontaneous simplicity. That's when French Toast Tuesday was born. Now, whenever we feel ourselves getting sucked into the cycle of life or the ebb and flow of exhaustive routine, we stop and say, we need a French Toast Tuesday.  While the name originated around 11:00 pm and included late-night syrup spilling over freshly cooked egg-bread, it now holds significance for all opportunities to stop looking at the clock, stop looking at the calories, stop looking at the concerns on the schedule and just look to live in simplicity.
When life begins to feel a bit heavy, maybe your French Toast Tuesday will include a solo car ride singing and dancing at the top of your lungs (picture Jerry McGuire singing "Free Falling"), or maybe it will just include a quiet afternoon nap without any screens available to beep or interrupt your REM sleep. Maybe your French Toast Tuesday is staying up late to finish a novel when everyone else is asleep in your time zone. Whatever is outside of your routine and outside the realm of your "to-do" list, we all need those moments of spontaneity and simplicity.

In the spirit of FTT, we are excited to see what adventures (both thrilling and exhausting) occur on our upcoming fall trip to New England. As an autumn enthusiast, visiting all the north eastern states during prime-foliage season has been on my "bucket list" since I can remember, and we are about to make the dream a reality (even if it includes three little ones and a flight to Montreal to work first)! I can't wait to share my love of traveling and fall with these boys!

If these boys are excited about collecting these leaves and acorns, I can't fathom what they'll want to bring home from our trip!

Eating some PB and oil... had a good GI trip this week!

Levi is dying to ride like big brother and Ro Ro is ready to cruise too!

Getting ready for the RV trip


I'm just a little excited about fall.

And they are too!

Look who's helping pack!



Levi had a great GI visit and gained a whole pound in a month! Now he's at the 1st percentile for his own weight-height ratio. The doctor said we can see him in December after we see nutrition again in November. If Levi moves to the 5-10th percentile, we'll get his tube out! Either way, we were just happy for peace and progress. Levi also got a new hand splint made this week (because he actually grew!). Please pray that he'll keep his splint on at night so we can continue to strengthen his hand, and he can learn to do more daily skills independently (i.e. dress himself, potty-train, etc.) Finally, we have our follow-up Ortho appointment on Monday before we leave to check Levi's feet. Please pray that his feet look good and straight for the doctor so we do not have to put and braces back on his legs!

Thank you so much for prayers and love!  I hope you get some French Toast Tuesday time this week!

~FTT Buster

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricanes

We've seen the devastation of multiple hurricanes around our home recently. No matter how much we prepare ourselves for natural disasters, they will still come, and even with advanced notice and precautionary measures in place, we still cannot always see the path of the storm. Similarly, no matter how much we try to prevent or avoid relational disasters, they will still come because we live in a broken society with flawed individuals. Thus, our opposite air fronts are bound to create a potential storm. However, like a hurricane that can switch directions at a moments notice, we may believe we've already done our part to board windows, put away outside furniture, and stock up on batteries, but we are completely oblivious to the storm's future destination. No matter the boundaries we think we've established, unfortunately, we may have neglected to set up a single visible line. It is then that we must face those hard places stuck between rocks, which we dread, because only by meeting the storm's eye can we move past it. It is then that we must remember that we will face other hurricanes, but we may have the humility to engage them at a lower category (maybe a two instead of a five?). No matter our love or hate for storms, we need the advice of those who've come through them unscathed and know how to handle them with a little tender, loving care. 

We continue to pray for all who have lost during this stormy season. Our hearts are with you. Sometimes sitting through the real hard of a literal storm keeps your perspective better than sitting through the figurative ones. 



Hurricane weather means popcorn and movie when you still have power!

This boy was getting cabin fever too, which meant time to start standing !

Time to get out of the house!


This boy is at my favorite stage of infancy! Love those baby blues!

Please pray for Levi's GI appointment on Monday- not that he necessarily gets any new news on his tube, or that he gains tons of weight, but simply that regardless of the doctor's view, and regardless of weight gain, I would walk away with the right perspective: we are blessed for sure. 


~Hurricane Buster

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My New Favorite Holiday

I've decided that Labor Day is my new favorite holiday. It's amazing for so many reasons:

1. There is no big prep or hassle.
2. It's a long weekend of rest and relaxation.
3. You don't have to try and see a million people during time off work.
4. There are no planned events or big gifts to distract from time together.
5. It's the start of the fall season!

In short... I just celebrated my favorite holiday with four boys at the lake! Happy Labor Day!












Levi's nutrition appointment went okay. He didn't gain much weight, so we were encouraged to continue adding calories. He's well right now, which means he's doing great eating, but when we try to add too many calories into one 24-hour period, he gets too full and those tummy muscles would rather expel some food than work hard digesting them. We continue with our balance beam act and await our trial with the GI doc in two weeks. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed some extra calories over our sweet Labor Day!

~Holiday Buster

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lucky

"Levi is lucky he was born so early," said Levi's oldest brother the other day during bath time.
When taking care of my boys in assembly-line fashion, it is usually the first-born that tends to whine and wince over subtle setbacks. I explained to him that because Levi has experienced such difficulties in his two years of life, his tolerance is a bit higher than others. Thus, big brother Si thought Levi lucky. "Well, that's one way to look at it," I exclaimed. Then I went on to assure my son that we all face different hard things at different times, which all serve to make us stronger, and he was very lucky that he didn't have to be born so early.
Sometimes I think that Levi's G-tube serves as my own personal reminder of what we've been through these past couple of years. I'm starting to think in a very weird way that I don't mind it. I don't mind the therapy sessions and doctors appointments because it's nothing too critical at this point. Rather it keeps our family focused on something outside of ourselves.
That friend I visited a month ago just delivered her son at 26 weeks, and she and her husband simultaneously said good-bye to him the very next day. As my heart broke with them over such a loss, I couldn't help but rummage through some of Levi's things remembering his own battle to survive. That's when I was flooded with reminders of how miraculous his journey has been thus far. We could very well say farewell to any of our children at any point, but it's those bitter roads that teach us how sweetness really tastes. I see those families who have walked harder roads than us, yet they hold continual banners of hope in healing instead of complaints in daily crosses. I pray none of us forgets, but I also pray we don't need an eternal G-tube to remember what matters most.
I came across a photograph that was taken of Levi around four months of age. His favorite doctor and nurse decided to take him outside for the first time. Even though I didn't get to be a part of such a large milestone (and I'm told an illegal milestone), I was eternally grateful that he finally ventured out of the hospital because it meant he may actually come home one day. Home. No matter how many days we get at home together, I will cherish them. I think that's why I love this stage of tiresome tiny faces because they are all under our roof right now. Praise God for each face we get to see, even if for a day.


I couldn't help but picture little Levi back in his incubator here in his bed.

Annual Touch a truck day!

He's grown so much since our first visit!

Old school date night...

at Chastain jazz festival. I love dancing under stars!

Silas' preschool started! And the other two were anxious to partake!

First organized gymnastics class started too!

Monkey man loved it!

And Levi loved the waiting room!

We are wearing T-shirts now! No more onesies during the day!

Check out my G tube! 

This man is all over the place now, so we have frequent dance parties during dinner prep!

Some days I actually prefer running errands with these funny, crazy kids!

Levi's nutrition appointment was canceled due to his nutritionist going into labor a week early, but that means we have another week to grow! Thank you for prayers!

~Lucky Buster

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Patterns

Isn't it true that football coaches try to come up with new play patterns in order to stump their opponents? I mean it doesn't take a Allstar to figure out that if you use the same play done over and over, the other team will figure it out and upset your plans.
I believe the same is true for our life, but I'm not quite sure which "patterns" are staples we should keep in the playbook, and which ones are outdated and useless.
When I look back at the life of Kyra, I know that she lived out a different pattern making it difficult for her opponent to penetrate her peace and purpose.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind so that you may discern what God's will is for you, what is good, acceptable, and perfect. --- Romans 12:2

When it comes to decisions for the life of littles, a clear pattern isn't always obvious, nor is God's will the same for each child. Does every little boy have to play on a baseball or soccer team before the age of seven? Does every little boy have to attend public or private school? Does every little boy have to have big muscles to be considered strong and healthy? The questions for what is right for each family are diversely different, and sometimes living out normalcy is an act of conformist rebellion in and of itself. On the other hand, it is only by transforming our thoughts and being open to a new acceptance of perfection that we live out truth despite the criticism of those around us.

It's not always as easy to live in luxury and escape conformity. In the same vein, an impoverished  place doesn't mean you are living out God's will either. I have always longed to move away from mainstream, while still connecting with mainstream America. I'm not sure what this looks like for my boys, but I find myself considering more heavily those decisions that most never question.

Our summer draws to an end, and so does it's seeming simplicity. Decisions placed daily at my feet for the upcoming year for every member of our family. Please pray that we all hold true to God's perfect will for our family...
 Levi update below too...



I love these boys something fierce!


Silas made lunch one day and found his old little lunch box for Levi. He didn't want to let it go!


No he's not on any teams, but this boys is a natural sportsman simply by playing with his daddy!

And this one just wants to be like his brother!

Here's our lefty


Here's our righty
Who doesn't love marshmallow/spaghetti engineering?!

This nine-month old is the sweetest

Most adventurous

Most easy-going

Biggest eater, 

Happiest baby.... Please stop growing Ro Ro!

He's going to be my big-explorer for sure

Celebrating Kyra's Heavenly anniversary with her sweet family. Her life continues to affect ours for the better! 
Thank you for continued prayers!

All three boys got yucky end of summer colds this past week, which for Levi means low appetite and more puking. We were able to check off our pulmonology appointment this week with a stern warning about how his small stature means premature lungs for life. We don't have to go see that doctor in the future unless we have a problem with his lungs, but I was warned Levi will most likely never run a marathon, and he should really put on some pounds to help fight infections. "Thanks doc, cause I don't hear that enough!" Insert hand-in-face icon.
Please pray for a miracle in Levi's weight-gain because we have our nutrition appointment next week, and I would LOVE not to see the concerned faces about my little boy. He's so happy and healthy that it hurts my heart to see a preoccupation with size. I don't mind extra eyes and charts for good-measure, but sometimes I think they miss the big picture of his overall health.

Please also pray for Silas as he starts a new school season at the same pre-school but with new teachers. Pray for his heart and his ability to not bring home too many germs for little Levi. :)

And PRAISE our little Roman is growing so easily and normally now at a healthy nine-month age he is such a sweet gift to our family!

We love you all and praise God for His perfect Pattern!