Thursday, September 30, 2010

So far she's been a trooper!

My apologies for taking so long in posting an update. Besides entertaining my parents (actually the kids are doing a good job of that!), staying busy with a 6-week old baby, wrangling a two year old who just learned how to climb out of his crib this week, and keeping the other kiddos on track, I was able to spend time with Wyndham for just a bit as she got settled into her hospital room last night. Chip has been with her the entire stay and has given me updates and good reports. Thanks so much for your prayers!
We are happy to report that the surgery went well and so far the recovery has been going better than we had expected. Today Wyndham was able to keep down liquids and later ate soft foods for dinner. She has tolerated oral pain meds and has had minimal nausea. I have no doubt that the prayers said on her behalf are the reason she is doing so well at this phase in the whole process. Chip even took her to a little "party" down the hall from her room where the Michigan Whitecaps mascot and a couple of players were visiting patients at her Children's hospital. She even gave the mascot a high 5. I have to admit I was more than surprised to hear that from Chip.
We're hopeful that she will do well through the night tonight and we'll get an update from her surgeon when he does rounds in the morning. It's possible she could be home as early as tomorrow. We so appreciate your thoughts and prayers and truly believe that they are helping to speed the recovery process and also are keeping the stress levels of all of us to a minimum.
Hopefully I'll be posting about Wyndham's homecoming sooner than we thought!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trading places...

Wyndham's wheelchair arrived at our home yesterday and we were pleasantly surprised at how much interest Wyndham showed in trying it out. This is her with Grandma Genie this morning as we got her ready to leave for the hospital today. She was all smiles and so happy to get rides around the house. She kept holding up one finger- indicating she wanted "one more ride".
I have no greater longing in my heart today than to trade places with her and go through the pain she will bear. It's not often in this world that we wish to trade comfort and happiness for pain and suffering. Since I am unable to do for her what my heart longs to do, I instead am pouring my heart out in prayer for her and trusting in a great big God to hear those prayers, to touch her in a special way, and to bring healing and peace as only He can.
Thanks for joining me, for Wyndham, today. Her surgery starts at 12 noon (eastern) and will wrap up in early evening. I will post another update when I get that chance.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes life gets a little more challenging...

That is certainly the case for our family this week. Wyndham will be having major surgery on Wednesday, Sept. 29th. She isn't fully aware of what is to come, nor what to expect. As you can see from her photos here, she is doing well right now and is very happy and healthy!
We (Chip and I) have known this day was coming for a long while now, but that doesn't make it any easier. I know that many of you will be praying for her, for her doctors, and for all our family as we help care for Wyndham during her recovery. It will be a long process and I just wanted to share what is involved.
Wyndham will be undergoing double-foot realignment surgery which will hopefully resolve the issue of her feet turning more and more outward. Left untreated, she faces problems with bone formation as well as ongoing and long-term chronic pain in her joints, back, spine and neck.
The surgery itself will take approximately 5 hours. It involves taking a bone graft from her pelvic bone and placing a wedge of that bone on the outer side of both her feet, and then the tendons in the back of each leg will be lengthened too.
We are most concerned with how Wyndham will come out of the recovery itself and then in order to be discharged from the hospital she needs to be taking oral meds for managing her pain. On both counts we have concerns because of how Wyndham has done in the past. She typically has a weak stomach and can have extreme nauseau. She also has issues with swallowing pills
and so we anticpate that she may have a longer hospital stay than the expected 2 day stay.
Once she comes home we are not totally sure what to expect as far as how challenging her needs will be. She will be in casts for a minimum of 8 weeks, and could face another 4 weeks beyond that, and then she will be fitted for orthodics. We will be her primary caregivers and know that it is going to be demanding on her and the rest of us. That is why we so appreciate your prayers in the coming days and weeks.
This all stems from her original brain injury sustained as a young infant in the Old Depot tragedy. We have watched Wyndham go through so many medical procedures and therapy/rehab for over 9 years now and sometimes we just feel tired and sad when we
think about what she has yet to face. Still, we are trusting in the God that has healed her in the past and hoping that He will give her more grace and mercy as she endures more pain and recovery.
Sometimes it just feels so unfair and it definitely tugs at our hearts to have to be at her side as she undergoes yet another struggle. But we're thankful to be her parents and family; we feel lucky that this will be her first major surgery since her shunt was placed and she's enjoyed many happy days that some doctors wondered if she'd ever have at all.
We hope that the next couple of months will be opportunity for our family to become stronger, to lean harder on the God in whom we trust, and a good reminder to never take the simple, "ordinary days" we have for granted. They are special and we look forward to having many more of them with Wyndham and all our other kids too.
I will be posting frequent updates on my Face Book wall as well as occasional blogposts here too. Fell free to stay in-the-loop with us as we go through these challenges with Wyndham.
We appreciate your love, prayers, thoughts and cares every step of the way!
Jody & Chip and family too

Friday, September 24, 2010

To my readers...

For those of you who listen and/or care, I created a new playlist of songs. I hope you like some of the new/my favorite tunes. They'll probably be around from now until I put up my Christmas playlist. Then I may bring them back again. =)
Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Right now...

My little guys keep me at least as busy and entertained as my little girls do these days. I couldn't help but put those little bear cub ears on Teague and nestle him on top of the clean laundry the other day. He made it more fun to fold towels. =)
I don't say enough about Brock on here, but in real life he is my right-hand man. He helps wrangle Crew on an ongoing basis, and always jumps to help me for whatever it is that I need his help doing. I love him so much and couldn't have picked a better kid for my own. He just started playing the alto sax in band and is doing well with learning his notes and practicing too. I'm always impressed when a kid is self-motivated. Especially when they are motivated to do something good- besides play on the computer or Nintendo DS. =)
So that's my post and pictures for today... I feel lucky to have these little guys in my life!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My bitty bear...

I can't believe another week has come and gone. Some days I am nearly on top of the world by noon and feeling I have it all together. And then just shortly after 3pm, when all the kids are home from school, I can topple from my "mountain" and free fall til midnight or longer. Almost like I'm drowning in stuff that needs to be done or worried about. Maybe I need to stop worrying so much. =)
One of the things I feel like I miss in my life right now- no matter how full and busy it may be- is the connection with friends. Most of my 'close friends' I actually know and love through online connections. Many of them I've met in person and it only makes me wish for more time and opportunity to be together with them more often. I have an amazing friend, Jo-Anne, who lives in Holland. She is beautiful inside and out and will likely have tears in her eyes when she scrolls through the pictures of Teague on this post. You see, she has a big, tender heart and we've connected in a special way. And she crocheted this little bear cap and gorgeous sweater for Teague. Over the past month he has been such a snuggly, cozy little guy that I didn't know he could be any cuter. But Jo has a way of bringing out the best and even more in a person and she did that with her handmade lovlies for Teague.
The good news is that I read her blog and she has a link there to her etsy shop if you just have to have a little bear hat or another handmade treasure of your own. Here is the link and you can trust that everything she makes is made with love and care. She will probably be blushing by the time she finishes reading this post too. That's just how Jo-Anne is.
I'm listening to my bitty bear squeak and squirm from the other room. He's 'watching' Notre Dame football with Daddy right now. Things are calm around here. For at least a brief moment. Tomorrow my medium bear turns 2 years old. I don't know how our day will go- Crew can be lovable, crazy and even more crazy- all at one time. =) SO, in case I don't get a brief, quiet moment two days in a row, I'll wish him a Happy Birthday now. I hope we get a chance to snuggle and cuddle him a few more times before he's too big and grown for all that gush.
Happy Birthday to you, my Crew. I hope the terrible in the "terrible two's" eludes you!! {wink}

Friday, September 10, 2010

Three weeks...

Teague is three weeks! That 3 weeks went by rather quickly, if I do stop and think about it. Although I don't have too much time to stop and think about it. =)
I am trying to take it all in and just soak up the one-on-one time that newborns demand of their mommies because I know just how fast this little guy will grow. I am also so thankful for each and every one of your thoughts, prayers and to those who left comments when I was hurting and angry the other day, I especially appreciate the time you took to do so. It is one of the things that Chip and I learned we needed- very early on when dealing with grief- friends, family and even "strangers" help to carry the weight of what we feeling. Sometimes just knowing that someone is aware of what you are going through helps make the journey sting just a tiny bit less. So thank you for those prayers! Feel free to leave scripture references, quotes or lyrics/links to music too. I don't always feel that I have the strength of faith that so many of you seem to 'see' when you read this blog and I am always looking for ways to grow my faith- especially when it feels weak. I'll be digging in deep for the next 3 weeks as Wyndham's surgery approaches. As much as I hurt for what she is going to have to go through physically, we ALL are going to go through some rough stuff emotionally, mentally and spiritually too. I don't want to be unprepared... and I think my heart needs to be readied for what is yet to come.
* * * * *
My dad spoke at Teagan's memorial services and one of the things he shared has stuck with me and served me more than once in the past 9 years. With September 11th on my heart and mind for another year too, it seems appropriate to share these thoughts.
He and my mom were visiting my sister in Cancun and had to take a ferry to their resort earlier in the year 2001. My dad has never liked 'the water' and on this particular day the waves and winds were especially high and strong. The ferry boat was really rocking- much to my dad's dismay. He went out to the deck for some fresh air and my sister offered this insight/helpful hint to him. She told him that the locals say if you keep your eyes on the horizon when the winds and waves get strong that you feel less of the motion. The fixed place for your eyes helps to give you balance and a better sense of calm.
My dad said that it really worked when he tried it.
When our tragedy struck just a few months later my dad thought back to that day on the ferry. And now, even though the winds and waves of life were figurative rather than literal, he felt the same truth applied. When we fix our eyes on God/Heaven- the One who is constant and the Prize that awaits us, then the world can fall apart and swirl around us, but we can have a sense of peace and calm just knowing that God has it all in His hands. We can trust that our anchor is going to hold and we will make it through the storm. And often times we'll come out stronger on the otherside as a result.
So that is one of the things I am telling myself in the next 3 weeks. We face some unknowns, but we can be confident that God is bigger than whatever comes our way. He's never failed us yet!
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mixed emotions.

This morning as we woke early {compared to the past several weeks of sleeping in until whenever this summer} to get ready to send Brock, Bella and Ava off to their first day of school I thought the hardest part was going to be the waking early part. It turns out that it wasn't the hard part at all. The kids were excited, their clothes and backpacks were laid out and ready to go and I simply had to make and pack their lunchboxes and they were basically all set. Ready to take on middle school, third and first grades- respectively.

Chip helped get them into the car with all their school supplies, backpacks and lunch bags and then they headed off. That's when I turned back to head inside and start the day with the other three at home- Wyndham, Crew and Teague. All three of them needed soggy, saggy diapers changed and after I re-tucked Wyndham in for some extra morning sleep time {she loves to sleep in and would do so til noon each day if we let her} and tossed her pull-up in the trash I felt the tears starting to sting my eyes. I finally let the emotions fill me and hit me and overwhelm me and then I let the tears fall. I felt the hurt this morning like I haven't felt in a long time. This time the tears stung my eyes and my heart ached- not for missing the kids I sent to school and realizing how much they are growing up, but instead I hurt for Wyndham and what she will never experience.

In the past I have hurt for missing Teagan and wondering how grown she would be and imagining what kind of backpack and clothes she would have picked out to start the schoolyear. This year I am hurting for two girls who didn't start school with their siblings. I hurt for the dreams that I had for them when they were tiny newborns- like Teague is in my arms these days. I let the tears fall for the emptiness I feel for what will never be, and what I still wish I could change on mornings such as these. I would wish it so different. I ache for once holding Teagan and Wyndham's little heads steady as they started to develop the strength to hold their own heads up, and I wished the world for them- just as I do for all my kids. I always hoped to be the mom who could be there to help mold and guide my kids into the potential that welled up in them from the time they were tiny babes. I always imagined that I would be there for their mountaintop experiences, as well as all the milestones in between.

Today is a day for mixed emotions. On one hand I am thrilled for my kids and the education and opportunities that await them. I once felt like I wanted to keep my kids home; close to me and safe forever, but soon realized that that only holds kids back. What I really want for my kids is a place for them to grow and blossom and be challenged in order that they might become all they are meant to be. Today Wyndham didn't get that chance, and it's yet another year that I face the fact that Teagan had her earthly dreams taken from her at such a young age too. It's a day of mixed hurt and feelings and I simply had to write it down here- just to get it out.

For me, writing it down {It hurts... I hurt... it's not fair... I wish it were different... I ache for Wyndham...} and letting the tears fall is part of the healing process that I find I still need. Especially on days like this. The process of grief goes on- just as the years and seasons change. Recognizing that we have had dreams shatter and change and then accepting the reality of what is now is simply a part of our lives now. I know a lot of moms who are shedding tears today as they send their little ones off to school for the first time... or the 10th. They ache and it is expected. But I have to say that what hurts more than sending a little loved on off to school is not being able to send them off to school. In a few weeks Wyndham will be prepping for her double-foot realignment surgery. Her life is about to take on a whole new level of pain and suffering and challenge and that makes my heart ache so much.

I wish she could have come to the store with Bella and Ava and picked out new shoes and clothes and a backpack for school. But for whatever reason, her life is taking her on a different journey. I let the tears fall today, but my hope for her is to still give her the best this world has to offer her- even though it doesn't look the way I had hoped and dreamed it would be. I don't know that writing this all out does anything for any of you, but I would appreciate if some of you helped share our 'burdens' and prayed with us to be hopeful even on the days that hurt. Especially on the days that hurt.

My heart is still full for the 3 kids we did send off to school this morning. I felt blessed- even as I changed 3 diapers of the other kids this morning, that I had them in my life to love and care for and to hold and show love to. I am a lucky mom and I never want to take motherhood for granted. The mixed emotions are a part of being a parent- as many of you already know. I just didn't expect the wave of emtions to flood over me like they did just now. And I hope that just as tears flow from hurt, I can expect tears of happiness to flood over me in the days and years to come too. True, Wyndham didn't wake up to get ready for her first day back to school. But she is still here and she can hug me and laugh with all of us and I get to brush her thick hair after her bath in just a bit and she dances with her daddy before bedtime each night and she is a bright, shining star in our lives no matter what she does. I can't change what has happened to her and I still wish I knew more about who Teagan would be at this point in her life; but accepting it all as it is is shaping and changing me to be different than I imagined and dreamed I'd be too. I am choosing to trust that despite the occasional tears we're all challenged to be better than what we would have been if our lives had simply stayed on a "safe path". I am choosing to trust- yet again- that God knew all this in advance and He is holding us and guiding us through the challenges and just as a parent to their child, He has big hopes and dreams for us and will see to it that we grow into the full potential He has given each of us. His ways are higher and I'm so glad they are. My mixed emotions are another reminder to me that I need to lean on Him and trust Him fully. Joy or pain... He understands it all. For that gives me real comfort and peace. Even on these mixed up, emotional kind of days.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Who needs excuses?

No need for excuses to post baby pictures and photos of your almost-2 year old being a little show off when it's your blog. These are for my parents- who look forward to print-outs of my blog and I'm happy to accomodate them with a few photos.
Other than letting you know that Kristen in Texas won the blog/scrap contest from the other day I don't have a whole lot to tell you.
So, enjoy your weekend and depending on when we get accustomed to our new fall/school schedule, I'll be back at that time! This could be a long blog break... =)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wrapped in love...

Here it is- the official baby announcement. Teague is two weeks old today, and we couldn't be more happy about having in our lives. He gets his share of hugs and kisses. We plan to keep those coming his whole life long.
Welcome {officially!} to our world, Teague Easton.
You are one loved-on little babe!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How we "do it"...

Ava has it all figured out for us. She said to me a couple of days ago (after I must have asked her to clean something or help me with something around the house), "Mom, we should get some servants so you don't have to do so much work around here". I don't know that we need full-time servants, but I do wish we lived closer to our families so we could 'employ' their help a bit more! =)
Teague has been so easy and content so far. I can't complain about him as a newborn one bit. I don't know if he's such an easy baby- or if Chip and I simply have babies all figured out after having so many. Either way, I've been feeling good (other than occasional bouts of itching arms) although some days I am more worn out by the time bedtime arrives, and I've also sometimes wished that Chip had a 9 to 5 job. It would be nice to have two parents around at dinnertime and bedtime!
Crew has still been the handful around here. He fights his naps almost everyday and goodness knows he needs one... and I need him to take one yet! He has hardly noticed that he has a new baby brother, but does love to take turns holding him when the other kids show interest in Teague. It won't be until Teague starts rolling over and looking for trouble himself that I think Crew will finally realize what is going on- there's a new guy in town! =)
So, I get asked a lot, "How do you do it?!" or "You must be Superwoman!". The truth is I'm a lot more like Roseanne Barr in her tv sitcom than I am Superwoman on any given day. I do have semi-high standards though when it comes to certain home-keeping chores- like getting beds made each day and staying on top of the laundry. I definitely find myself 'begging' the kids to help out and do their part more. They just don't have the sense of obligation or urgency about keeping things picked up that I do. But they are learning.
When it comes to doing extra activities like baking or scrapping, well, those things become the "activity" for everyone to do- even Crew was coloring and playing with paper scraps while the girls and I scrapped last week. We had the dining room table covered with stuff and everyone was having fun being creative together. The hard part was getting the table cleared off everytime we needed to eat a meal. =)
I'm trying to not be so hard on myself if things don't get done- like the dishwasher being emptied every night, and I also rely on Chip for certain things- like bringing home gallons of milk and bread and bananas from the grocery store every few days. We also sacrifice a lot of things that some people consider normal or routine in their weekly schedule, such as going to movies or out with friends or each other. I think one of the things that keeps us going too, is to remember that this is a season in life. It will actually be gone before we know it, and so I try to just take it in and recognize that these are the days I will wish back sometime down the road. Babyhood and toddlerhood don't last forever.
That helps me get through the days... and makes me want to hang onto certain moments all at the same time. That's {in a nutshell} how we do it around here. =)