Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Hannah & Isaac!

Sweeties...just took this tonight in the front yard....

June: First bath together...cuties!

July: Trip to Pentwater, MI with friends

At Lake Michigan beach in Pentwater

July: Happy 1st birthday, buddy!

Opening gifts

Things have been crazy busy and I don't think I could even try to recount all that we've been up to!

First off, we celebrated Hannah and Isaac's birthdays on Sunday (Hannah turned 3 on July 14...yesterday and Isaac turned 1 on July 15...today). We had a great time. Hannah wanted a princess cake...she really put me to work! Isaac had a cupcake and wasn't too thrilled with it. They both received plenty of wonderful gifts (better get on those thank you notes....) and it was long enough to visit and short enough that we were still able to take Hannah out for a birthday date to her first movie, Horton Hears a Who. She wanted Panera for dinner and then had popcorn and pink lemonade at the theatre. It was a fantastic day.

Issac is now 8 months adjusted (the age they expect him to be developmentally) and 12 months corrected (his chronological age). He's rolling over both ways, getting to sitting and sitting by himself, crawling and (sometimes) pulling himself up to standing. He's still on his $47/per can formula (and will be until he's 12 months adjusted) but eats babyfood 1x per day for taste/texture. We actually moved to Stage 3 babyfood tonight and he did great. He eats Cheerios, applesauce and has had chopped bananas. He's doing great. He has an appointment at a specialty clinic at the end of August...I'm interested to hear what they'll have to say. He continues to have a physical therapist come 1x/week (every few weeks in the summer) and she is very happy with his progress. Considering all the problems he had while in the NICU, this boy is really doing wonderful. In fact, he's never been to the doctor because of an illness since he came home in December. Talk about a miracle.

I've been reflecting a lot lately on our stay in Ohio. In about a week it will be a year since we first met Isaac. And we've all come such a long way.

We'll actually be leaving home again in January for 6 months as Jason will complete his JAG school training for the National Guard. We've just started planning so I'm sure the blogging will pick up again once we know more and then once we leave.

The kids and I have been hitting the YMCA 4-5 mornings a week and we're loving it. I'm in shape, feeling good, and the kids are playing and having fun. Jason continues to work in Lansing and then hits the Y in the evening.

We've visited with friends both close by and far away, spent time with family and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Until Journey's End is TAKING OFF in an awesome way. We have a full board of directors, now, and have our tax exempt application slated to be mailed in August. We have a new website about to go live and a passion for serving families in medical crisis that's going to send this thing over the edge. We are really excited to see what God has planned for UJE.

Thanks for following along, I know the posts are few and far between, but I do appreciate all of you and the dedication you've shown our family.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Around the middle of April, my Mom & Dad (who live in Grand Blanc) came for a visit. We cooked out and had a very nice time. I love to see my kids with their grandparents!

We decided to try Isaac in the bike trailer a few weeks ago for the first time. We have to rig it a little bit...but it works! Other than Isaac trying to eat Hannah's arm, it was a fun time for all.

Just a cute pic of Isaac eating one of those nasty biter biscuits. He's eating baby food once a day, just for taste and texture. As a preemie, it's still very important for him to get a lot of calories, all of which come from his formula. So far, he's enjoying all the vegis and fruits. His OT came over last week and said he needed to move on from the preemie nipples we worked so hard to get. Go figure! I was worried he wouldn't be able to switch to a normal one, since he'd never been able to use one before, but, all the muscles he built up in his cheeks/chin with the preemie nipple made the transition go very well. Good job, buddy buddy!

And look what else he's doing! He started rolling from tummy to back and sitting up in the same week! Little stinker! He's also saying da-das, ra-ras and ya-yas. All of these are HUGE milestones he's accomplished. I think he waits until I'm completely freaked out that he's not doing something and then does it the next day.

Trying to re-arrange our budget to make room for Isaac and UJE, we're trying to do at-home date nights. After the kiddos go to bed, we share some wine and have a nice dinner and watch a movie. Jason does the grilling and I do the inside work. This time I made mashed redskin potatoes and they turned out great.

Ever heard of Letterboxing? Visit this site to check it out. In a nutshell, searching for a buried "treasure". TONS of fun, we all loved it and can't wait to go again. One-time monetary investment? $25. Time with the fam in the woods on a beautiful day? Nothin' better!

Hannah being all adorable while we were out letterboxing.


Thank you to all of you who sent cards, emails and left comments upon the loss of Papa. He was a wonderful person who I loved very much. We spent the weekend of his funeral with Gram and the rest of our extended family. Albeit a very difficult time, it was nice to spend time with family we don't often get to see. Papa served in the Army for 35 years and received a military funeral. His service to our country meant a great deal to him and seeing the military personnel and hearing the 21-gun salute was something I'll never forget. As with any loss, it will take time to heal, especially for Gram and my mom and my uncle. But, I know we'll all pull through. On a fun note, Gram got a new cat last week (she hasn't had a cat for many, many years). Her name is Tabitha and I can't wait to meet her! Love you, Gram. Love you lots.

The kids are doing well, although Isaac has a pretty bad cough. It's in his lungs. This is the worst he's been since the NICU and he's hanging tough. Still his smiley self.

The kids and I have been going to the Y every morning, M-F. On Wednesdays I don't work out, but M-T, Th-F I do. It's slow going...the weight isn't falling off, but I know it's worth it. Jason's been running in the evenings and trying to get to the Y a couple nights a week. This time in our lives it's just really about the kiddos. I'm trying to remember that they'll soon be in school and I'll wish for these days back.

We're having our first board meeting for UJE next Monday. I'm excited to move another step closer to making this a reality. We've sent out 10 care packages and are looking for the next family.

It's after 9, now, I better get on the laundry. Jason needs a white T shirt in the morning and the whites are still in the washer!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Papa

Papa and Isaac a few weeks ago when we went for our visit. Papa was telling him he wanted to play basketball with him someday.

Papa died tonight. Mom called and said about 10:25. I was relieved. For a few minutes. And then the waterworks. I started thinking about the way he always looked at me when I walked in the door and when I was on my way out. It was the sparkle in his eyes. If a person could love another the way Jesus loves us, that would be how Papa made me feel. Everytime. And when he said, "I love you, peanut" I knew he really meant it. And that always felt really good.

I keep thinking about him being restored, now, in heaven. No more breathing treatments, no more pills, no more sleepless nights. He can mow the lawn, he can shovel the snow, he can go on trips in his motorhome again. He can collect more milk jugs, organize the carriage house and get around to fixing up his antique car (at least antique to me). And that makes me feel good.

A good friend of mine has a Puritan Proverb on her blog that reads, "Life has become a little less sweet, death a little less bitter."

Well said.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Isaac Update

Yesterday we went for our WIC appointment and the dietitian seemed quite displeased with Isaac's progress. She was very concerned with his weight and overall growth and asked a lot of questions about what he is and isn't eating. At first I was defensive (and if you know me, obviously so), but I had to give her credit, she was asking all the right questions and seemed very knowledgeable. So, I left feeling like a terrible mom. I already had an appointment scheduled for the pediatrician's office today, so I added the dietitians concerns to the growing list in my notebook.

I went to the Y today for the first official time since last July. I dropped the kiddos off at KidZone (1.5 hours of free daycare at the Y) and did 30 minutes cardio, talked with a good friend and took a shower. It was a fabulous start to the day! Off to the peds we went. Isaac measured 24 inches long and weighed 13 pounds 2 ounces. Her response to my concerns?! "Given where Isaac started, with all the complications he faced, in my opinion, Isaac is doing stellar." Ok. Well, now what? I shared the concerns of others he'd seen within the last month and she just didn't feel worried about his development. She said he could be getting more calories and made a few suggestions, but that was it. She's pleased with his growth and his skills. I'll go back in another month to get a weight check. In the end, no referral to the specialty clinic. And it's hard, ya know, because I agree with her. According to what other 5 month olds are doing, he's right on target except for rolling over and she's not concerned with that, yet. And, even if we did get a referral, they wouldn't diagnose him for at least a year, if not longer. And if they did, it could be a premature diagnosis and I don't want that. Jason's response? He said I go to the appointments and meet the docs. Who do I trust? Good question. I think I'm going to go with his pediatrician and hang in there until there's something more solid that points to a deficiency beyond prematurity.

But it's not easy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yea for Us!!

After we checked into the hotel in Canton, we made a visit to Aultman Hospital where Isaac was born and where we met him for the first time when he was a week old. Linda, the nurse pictured here, was Isaac's nurse the first night I met him. During his stay at Aultman, I was always thrilled when Linda had him. She was always kind and sensitive. Linda will always hold a special place in my heart.

On Saturday, we had a wonderful lunch with Chip and Sharon and their family. Chip and Sharon graciously offered to let us stay with them for several weeks before Isaac was tranferred to Rainbow Babies. They are such wonderful people. We had a great time with them and were so thankful to have met them. We look forward to keeping in touch with them over the years.

On Saturday afternoon we went to visit our friends we met at the Ronald McDonald House, Ken & Jeannie. Their son, Grady, was born two months early and had a heart transplant before his due date. Both boys are doing well and it was great to see our friends again. We're hoping to make it to their house again this summer.

On Monday we made our way north to Akron for Isaac's finalization hearing. This is us waiting outside the courtroom.

This is our family pic inside the courtroom after we were finished. We love you, Isaac!

Isaac's finalization is complete and he in now legally our son! It's a great feeling to be finished with the process. I feel like a bigger weight has been lifted than I did with Hannah. Not sure why.

We had a wonderful time in Ohio catching up with old friends. I didn't get a pic of our friends at the McKinley Grand Hotel (big mistake) but we had a great time there, too. It was nice to see everyone and for everyone to see Isaac (all for the first time). I would love to make a trip to Ohio every year. Hopefully, we can make that happen. Next time, we'll have to stop by Cleveland, too.

On another note, Papa remains in the hospital. Along with his heart and lung problems, he now has pneumonia. Gram continues to visit him everyday. We continue to pray for God's will in Papa's life. Loads of love to my Gram and Papa.

And one more thing....within the last two weeks, Isaac has started playing with his toes and blowing bubbles. Two big things for our little buddy, buddy. He'll be seeing his pediatrician this week and hopefully we'll get that referral I've been wanting....

Many blessings to everyone.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The kids and I were able to go to Grand Blanc last Monday-Wednesday. We had a nice time and know my mom and grandparents enjoyed seeing the kiddos.

Papa has since returned to the hospital. At this point, his life is in God's hands (I mean, it always is...but you know what I mean). The medical staff is doing everything they can to diagnose problems and keep him comfortable. Friends and family are praying and checking in. I want Papa to keep fighting, but I also want him to be comfortable. I continue to pray for God's will. I pray for strength for Gram. I couldn't love my grandparents ANY more. I simply adore them. I don't like to see them hurting. I can't do anything. So I pray.

Isaac had a visit with the opthalmologist (I know it's spelled wrong) today and we got some sobering news. While his eyes are doing well, the doctor is concerned with his neurological development. He saw some abnormalities and is suggesting an MRI for more information. We were aware in July, when we began this journey, that this would happen, but you're never prepared to hear that there's REALLY something potentially wrong. So, we'll be seeing his pediatrician next week for a (hopefully) referral to a specialty clinic at DeVos Children's here in GR, for a complete work-up. His PT and I have also been seeing signs of slower than "normal" fine/gross motor skill development. We will again, pray for God's will and hope for the best.

Within days, we'll be headed to Ohio for Isaac's finalization. Soon, Isaac will legally be our son. Of course, he's been our son in our hearts since the moment we heard we were his family. It's been quite a journey. Thank you for all you've done to make it what it's been. And it's been wonderful.

Jason and I are working dilligently to make UJE a bigger reality. We've started to put together a Board of Directors and are filling out all the paperwork to apply for 501(c)(3)status. Please, visit the UJE website to read more about what we're doing and how we could use your help. We have also started a $10/month club where you can commit to sending $10/month for 12 months. This money is strictly used to guy gift cards and stamps to include in care packages. Again, you can read more in the UJE posts.

Always love to hear from you.

Much love.

Monday, March 31, 2008


Papa came home from the hospital on Thursday, while I was there, along with my brother and mom and dad. It was nice to see everyone....we are rarely, (maybe once a year) all together at the same time and it felt good. Papa was in high spirits but tired and worn out. Gram has been sick, too, thankfully, my mom has been with them to help out. She'll be there all this week, too, to get things squared away before leaving.

My friend, Jeannie, and her son Grady, came home on Saturday. Jeannie is still under the weather, but Grady is doing well. RSV can be very dangerous but God kept our little Grady safe.

Thinking about heading to Grand Blanc again to visit Gram and Papa and my mom with the kids. Papa calls Isaac his "tiger" and that is about the cutest thing ever.

So, if I can get things taken care of here, this morning, we'll head out late this afternoon.

One of my good friends just had baby #4, Audra. Wow. I totally think we're done at 2. Much love, Janet. Miss ya!

Allright, better get on the laudry. That stuff really piles up, doesn't it?! Hannah's watching Caillou and Isaac needs to eat....gotta love being a SAHM!!!!!