slide show

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Big things around here!

Guess who can drink out of a sippy cup on her own????? Oh yeah, this girl! And guess who is super proud of herself? That would be ... this girl! And guess who is beyond measure ecstatically over-the-moon tearfully thrilled about this new development? That would be this MAMA! I can't tell you what an amazing feeling it is to teach Sunshine to feed herself with a cup and be successful! I also can't even begin to describe the feeling of pride I have for my girl ... like my eyes welled up with tears when she "got" it.
It's a simple milestone for almost all kids. But not our kid. This is a BIG deal for our little lady. Trying to teach a cleft kiddo who literally physically can't suck how to drink out of a sippy is a pretty miraculous feat. But it's not even just that. For the first time in almost 4 months, Sunshine ate & drank her first meal completely unassisted, on her own earlier this week.
And again, that may not sound like much, but it means the world to us. For the past (almost) 4 months, we have been feeding Sunshine a bottle by squeezing it into her mouth - this is something that unfortunately, she just can't do herself as much as she would like to do it. Also unfortunate (for us) is the fact that she is a sipper, rarely ever finishing a bottle in one sitting. She usually only takes a few gulps at a time. That means that we are squeezing a bottle off and on all day long. It can get a bit ... tiring ... to say the least.
So this whole cup thing is AMAZING. Liberating for everyone even. Sunshine no longer has to wait for us to help her (and get frustrated in the process) and we now just need to make sure her cup is full. And Sunshine is so stinkin' proud of herself. And that itself is just awesome to witness. Can ya tell I'm jazzed? If you can't, let me tell you - MY cup is pretty darn full :-)
So how were we able to make this work? It's the Nuby silicone spout cup. I cut the inside of the bite straw to allow more liquid to flow through it. She always bit the bottle nipple, so it was pretty easy to transfer that over to the cup. So once she tips the cup back, biting the straw allows the drink to flow into her mouth - no sucking required! And she is now a PRO! Wahoo for my girl!
In other awesome news, Sunshine's physical therapist asked that I get her "real" tennis shoes to help support her ankles. A happy accident side effect to having new tennis shoes is that they make it much more difficult for her to scoot around on her bottom. So she actually started crawling! At 16 months! LOL! Go figure! She still scoots mostly, but more miraculous (albeit slow) progress coming from our girl!

She is still terribly physically delayed though. In fact, the PT has suggested orthotic braces because of her low muscle tone and lack of control over her feet & ankles. Ugh. I think we have decided to hold off on those for a bit and just wait out her progress. *Every* thing is so traumatic for her. I don't know why, but every visit from anyone is traumatic ... the multitude of doctors appointments, blood draws, surgeries, therapies, etc. ... she screams, thrashes, kicks, etc. through all of it. And seriously, the last thing I want to do is add one more specialist into the mix ... one that will require me to restrain and hold her down so she can get casted for molds of her feet. Yup, that one would be very traumatic and I just don't want to put *us* through that. We have another surgery in a month and a half ... isn't that enough?

Honestly, the physical therapy is probably MORE than enough for her. LOL. God Bless Sunshine's therapist - she only sees her kick, scream, throw herself back ... you get the idea. The great thing is that she is giving me more tools and tricks to help Sunshine get moving but ... well, I often feel like every day, all day is a physical therapy session. It's not pretty. And the progress is just so. darn. slow. Unfortunately Sunshine's low muscle tone and extreme flexibility have left her not able to trust her legs to hold her up. Getting her to do anything therapy-related is downright painful for everyone involved, even without her therapist here!

I *know* that she will walk one day ... and what a sweet day that will be.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {My precious kiddos}

So the rain held off and we were able to get our family portraits in! I got there early to snap a few individuals of the kids myself and I just adore the results. The location suggestion was all Jen and it couldn't have been more beautiful. It was a construction site ... the most gorgeous construction site I've ever laid eyes on :-) LOL. I can't *WAIT* to see what Jen comes up with ... the few that I saw on her camera were stunning! We had such a fun time and even enjoyed going on our "hike" and getting muddy. And seriously, I was dripping with sweat by the time we were done because of the humidity. Totally worth it though, we had a blast! Angel said, "this was the best day ever!" Yes, I can agree with her on that ... feeling so blessed with my amazing family right now. THANK YOU JEN!!!!

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Got my hair did!

So I actually did get my hair cut yesterday (thank you Julie!!), but *today* I had the privilege of getting it styled by my very talented daughter :-) I'm home with the kids tonight and Angel decided it was high time for a hair makeover. LOL. I think she put almost all of her hair thingamabobs in my hair before she was done. Gosh I love that girl!

Here are a couple other shots from tonight also ... Angel took this first one, not bad for ISO6400! AND she was holding the 5D with the 24-105 lens! LOL. Sunshine wasn't all that interested here ...

... but she sure was happy with her big sis holding her here!

Tomorrow we are getting our family portraits done by an uber-talented friend and photographer. I just adore her work and can't wait to see what she comes up with! Hoping the rain stays away just like it did today!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {She's back!}

Oh how I love this child. I have so missed her smile and laughter since her first lip repair last month ... so thrilled (or relieved) that she has finally returned to her happy, joyful, sunshiny-self! She has figured out her new smile and I gotta say ... it's the sweetest, most precious thing to see. Of course, she'll have to figure it out all over again after her 2nd lip surgery in November, but I'm convinced she can do it :-) I think after seeing Sunshine go through such a rough time, and knowing that we can get through it together ... it makes the recovery that much sweeter. Oh God is so good!

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Returning to normal

Not gonna lie or try to sugarcoat ... it's been a tough 4 weeks since Sunshine's surgery. She did well initially and healed up physically *very* quickly. But the rough sleeping, crying, temper tantrums, anger, and all-around not-so-good mood have made for ... honestly ... an unpleasant and difficult month. On top of that, the kids have been sick off and on and Sunshine has been cutting THREE molars at the same time. I have prayed for more patience and grace in the last month than I think I ever have.

Praise God though, we are doing *so much better* ... Sunshine is finally smiling and LAUGHING again. It has been music to my ears, literally soul food, to hear her giggling and even belly laughing in the last few days.

What was wrong? Not really sure ... it's so difficult to tell because we don't have much history with our girl and she can't talk to us. I just know she has been such an unhappy camper and truthfully, very little was consoling her. It makes my heart soar to see her returning to normal though ... the last few days have been mostly smiling and laughing with very little crying. I took this video 2 nights ago after dinner (sorry, it's from my iphone) ... she thought Daddy was the funniest guy ever ... God is so good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She loves him

Sunshine adores her big brother ... he can (almost) always make her laugh in any situation. She scoots over to him just to pat his head when she needs some lovin'. It's seriously totally precious. I can just see it, years (and years and years) down the road, when Lovebug brings a girl home ... Sunshine will be there to pat his head and say "hands off, he's MY big brother" or something like that. LOL.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tea Part for 5

Well Angel gets an A+ for creativity with this one. She used a long, flat box propped up on 2 step stools for a table. Where does this girl come up with this stuff?!
Oh totally adorable - I knew I just had to capture this special moment! The colors are really wonky, I apologize! Our fluorescent lighting is so unflattering.
Sunshine is so funny - she always "drinks" out of cups backwards.

Our gracious host with her babies ... one of DH's clients gave the kids these ridiculously bright neon light thingamabobs (thanks Tony). Uh, to say they were a hit would be an understatement.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Is it wrong to want to nibble a few bites of your child because he's just *that* sickeningly sweet and delicious? Nope? I didn't think so either. Oh I love this little man to the moon and back!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My little hambone's first day of Pre-K3

And I didn't even cry. I thought about it ... but then remembered that he is only gone for 2 half-days each week. Then I felt better. Oh my little Lovebug is growing up ... so cliche, but seriously just not sure where the time has gone. I'm excited for him though - he will have so much fun in school! And especially now that he's not the *baby* anymore, it'll be good for him. I'll just keep repeating that over and over. It'll be good for him, it'll be good for him, it'll be good for him ... LOL.

I know most of the pictures above are so similar, but I just couldn't resist. He is such a hammy child ... 73 different facial expressions in the 2 minutes I had with him. Gosh I love this little boy. It's funny ... when you are pregnant with your 2nd child, you never think you'll be able to manufacture enough love for 2. And then it just happens ... and you realize there's always room in your heart ... and it's just as good.

Happy first day of Pre-K3 to my special little boy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {Child of God}

"But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'"
Luke 18:16-17

Today was a good day.

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, September 3, 2011

She has crabs!

Tonight, we dined in our backyard with crabs that DH steamed. Oh so delicious. I'm honestly not into picking them that much. So much work with so little food. But I sure do love crabmeat. When I was younger, my granddad and dad used to pick for me. This year, I did the picking and Sunshine LOVED it. That's a crab leg hanging out of her mouth and another one in her right hand. Yeah, the cutest thing ever.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thankful ...

... for wonderful, amazing, giving neighbors that are willing to help in any crisis ...

... for family that are willing to drop everything they are doing to come help us in a time of need ...

... for friends that check in on us just to see how we're doing ...

... that this hurricane flood could have been so, so, so much worse ...

... that this stuff is just s.t.u.f.f. and we are safe and healthy ...

... for my precious children who didn't complain about not having a TV for 2 days ...

... for a husband who keeps going until the job is done ...

... for one super-special neighbor who bought a new generator after the hurricane and let 5 families run their electricity from it ...

... for a merciful God who watches over us always.

We are praying for all of the families that still don't have power, were displaced from their homes, lost their homes, or worse, lost a loved one. Will you please join me?

(The last few pictures in THIS post show what the basement will look like once it's repaired!)