Thursday, December 17, 2015

One, Two, Three, Four

I had my life together with two kids, as much as one can. When I had Kinley, my life was thrown upside down. He asserted his big personality from birth. I remember being in the hospital with my screaming newborn unable to calm him and a kind nurse came in to relieve me. They didn't even have a nursery at that hospital, but she offered to take him so I could rest. That's how long he screamed. Then, when we got home it was no different. That first night, my sister ended up sleeping with him on the couch because no one else could get him to calm down. Yes, his personality was fierce. He wanted something, wasn't always all-together sure what it was, but he wanted it now. He continued to assert his opinion when his brother arrived fifteen months later. He was not a fan of Abel, this new squirmy baby who took his time away from mom. He is determined, spirited, and often challenging, but I know these traits will serve him well in life. Even though I had two under two, I took control of my health, went back to grad school, spent time in the Word, and truly started believing in myself as a mother.

Then I got pregnant with Merit. They say that going from two to three is harder than one to two and I agree with that, for sure. I continued to, for the most part, hold on to the things that were most important to me while I grew baby number three in my body. Despite Abe's diagnosis during this time, I was doing okay. Then, Merit graced us with his presence and he was the easiest, sweetest baby. He was only twenty months younger than Abel which meant I had, briefly, three children under the age of three. I cried a lot looking at my kids. I couldn't believe they were entrusted to me, someone who deep down felt as if she wasn't capable. The year has gone by quickly and I'm finally (finally) at a point where Kinley and Abel are becoming friends. Everyone told me they would be close, but I questioned it. But with age comes another stage, right? Now the tables have turned again and Abel and Merit are the ones who constantly compete for attention and fight over Mama. It's incredibly exhausting. When one graduates out of a stage, I always have another one coming into the same one. That's what's hard about my job. The endlessness of it. All through the day, all through the night if they decide not to sleep well. I go through my day just trying to make it through instead of living, being productive, or anything else. This has been a big year for me that I shouldn't discount. I did that little facebook analysis the other day to see what my most popular photos and posts were and it turned out to be quite a good recap of the year:
1. I obtained my Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy (and I did it while mothering three young children!).

2. Abel was released from the surgeon's care after over a year post op!

3. And, of course, we found out we'd be adding to the madness!

I write this so I can focus on me for a few minutes, to realize I still have more to offer than being around for my children. I'm capable of a lot. I've learned that over these last four crazy years. I still have me. I'm not totally gone, although it feels that way more often than not. In 2016, I'm going to try to remember that as best I can. I have some of my writing being published this upcoming Spring. Then by Summer, we'll be welcoming Baby #4. There ARE good things coming.

One kid felt hard. Two felt like a breeze. Three kids=challenging. Do you see the pattern? I think four is our lucky even number. You let me have that hope, ok? ;)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thoughts on Baby Four

I used to be so good at sharing our lives through a blog. It would be unthinkable to announce a pregnancy online and not accompany it with all my thoughts on the new bundle of joy on the way. Those are often among the most popular posts, too (followed closely by birth stories (1, 2, and 3) and periods of extreme pregnant meltdowns. See here or here.). This being said, I hope you'll forgive me for the delay in writing this. If we're not pals on social media other than this space...

I'm pregnant! Yay! Are you shocked? We weren't either.

Honestly, I've been feeling for awhile that our family wasn't done growing. I dared not admit it to anyone because people can't seem to blend the ideas that I could be occasionally stressed by our lot of young boys AND considering wanting more, too. But deep down I know what's important to our family and we see children as a blessing because God's word tells us that's exactly what they are (Psalm 127:3). How could we not be so happy to add to the chaos? Another precious gift from God. I was talking with a friend the other day and told her that I didn't know anyone who got to the end of their life and said, "I wish I'd had less children." Perhaps four children will mean less vacations or the latest, greatest iPhone or whatever. But what is that to us really? NOTHING. 

Honestly, I was nervous for the response we would receive from family and friends. I wanted them to be happy for us (for them!) and they were. Other people who might question us don't matter. We don't ask for help. Our kids are not deprived of love and attention, but instead they're learning now the importance of family, inclusion of differences/disabilities and blending of personalities, sharing, and so much more. We're not perfect, far from it, but just because you might see a glimpse of a naughty preschooler or toddler of mine does not mean that we are not good parents and we're too overwhelmed to have more. What you don't often get to see is the kindness of my four year old, the loving kisses my three year old dishes out, or the laughter and closeness my one year old shows to each of his brothers and his parents. They are great kids. Number four is just as celebrated and important as when I saw the two pink lines for the very first time after trying to get pregnant for months with Kinley. We are feeling blessed, loved, provided for, and oh, so excited.

I've been feeling great. It has been much different than the other three pregnancies. It gave me something extra to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving- no sickness. Praise the Lord. I'm still in the first trimester, but looking forward to another sweet babe joining us by July. Thanks be to God! Here's to four kids, four and under!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


In my last post, I talked about a yearning I had to just get away. After a quick family text reading, "Can you watch the kids?" Jordan and I were off on a birthday get-away to celebrate the big three o. The kids did everything in their power to keep us from boarding the plane. Their bags had been packed for days, but the morning of I was frantically tossing in my summer clothes, trying to think of everything I might need to spend a weekend in South Florida. I forgot my makeup and all hair products and tools, but perhaps it was better that way. Anyway, that morning I had our babysitter coming over until the kids would be divided up among family members when they all got off work. Abel woke up feeling a little sluggish and by the time we were "ready" to leave, he was burning up with fever. Of course. Then Merit's diaper rash was the worst I've ever seen it when he woke up. And Kinley? He was insisting he join us as the beach, his favorite place. I told him that his Pap was coming to get him so he could spend the weekend there and naturally, he expected that to happen RIGHT NOW. Our poor sitter is a trooper to inherit those three as we took off flying to the airport so as not to miss our flight. We were off to a rough start, but by the time we arrived our worries were behind us...

We booked ourselves a mini vacay in Captiva Island, FL in a resort on the island. We appreciated the small things, though. A cat-nap on the beach. Time to read. Sunsets. Not having to prepare food for little people that would soon be refused anyway. Sleep. Chatting with new friends. Sunrises. The beauty of being alone together. It was perfect, honestly. The best birthday.

We also took time to fish, ride bikes, go down water slides, swim in the ocean, dip in the pool, and remember what it was like before we had all these little people to attend to. It was great, but our little clan was beckoning us back home because even though we enjoy a break every now and then, these kids make our lives worth living!
Hopefully the next time we get away alone won't be another five years in the making!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Messy Life

"Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul."

 I just have to laugh. It's incredible the messes that I clean up on a daily basis. Earlier this week I cleaned up an entire bottle of baby powder that was sprinkled throughout the house followed closely by an entire box of cheerios. I'm still finding remnants of both. WHY LITTLE PEOPLE?!
This was a new one, though. Dog food in a Christmas decoration. 
This was also the day of this:
 so I was ready for an early bedtime, as you can imagine. The first thing I did the following morning was clean up a broken glass. It's always something. There's never time to just sit and enjoy a clean, quiet house. Never. Still I know that this time is fleeting and so I try to just laugh. It's funny isn't it? As I approach my 30th birthday, I've been reflective on my goals. It's bizarre to think back about where I thought I would be at 30. I thought I would ADOPT my FIRST child by this age. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would have three children that I nurtured and grew in my body before my thirtieth birthday. It's a new kind of wild life that I wouldn't trade for all the vacations in the world. 

I'd take a vacation, though. I'd take it gladly.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Goals Updated and Created: October

It's October 1st and Fall is in the air. I truly love this time of year. Despite having to actually clothe my children when we play outside, I enjoy every bit of this season. September seemed to fly by! Perhaps that's one of the reasons why my monthly goals went un-accomplished. I thought I would revisit those and then create some new ones. Last month I wanted to accomplish these:

1. 8 glasses of water a day
2. Limit 2 cups of coffee (what? I can't give up everything!)
3. #50milesinSeptember
4. Regular weekly exercise
5. Lose 5 lbs (Starting weight: 124)

I failed to finish the fifty miles this month. I stopped somewhere in the thirty mile frame. I was struggling because my husband has been working long hours and they don't exactly make a three child running stroller. Anyway, that will change though because I've finally signed my oldest up for preschool. The other goal of 8 glasses of water a day was probably accomplished 75% of the time. It's not hard for me to drink water when I remember. I love it. For October, I have some new goals I hope to accomplish:
  1. Continue with regular exercise and water in addition to completing the October Ab Challenge I created a few years ago. 
  2. Spend an hour (at least) each week working on my writing and publications.
  3. Go to a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or both!
  4. Bake again.
  5. Create fun Halloween costumes.
  6. Take at least four bags of donations to KARM.
I hope each of you enjoy a cup of joe on your porch as the leaves fall around you. I hope you build piles of leaves for your kids to jump in. I hope you dress up on All Hallows Eve and disperse candy or trick-or-treat. I hope your football team makes you happy (unless of course it makes us VOL fans sad). I hope you carve pumpkins and bake apple pies. I hope you climb a mountain and feel God's presence as you look out on all the magnificent colors this time of year brings. Happy Fall, y'all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Ugly Part of Me

I've had people tell me lately that they don't know how I do it all. Between the kids, doctor appointments, school, my business, and exercise, they wonder how I can make it all work. That's flattering, really...but I'm always striving to be honest with you and that's just not accurate. While I try, I do not have it all together. Far from it. I hardly feel afloat most days. My days are filled with appointments I have to be at and I get stressed out just thinking about trying to arrange babysitters for each engagement. It's probably one of my biggest stressors actually. Just once, I'd like to get a babysitter and have nothing to do for someone else. My selfish spirit would like just one day to not have to do anything. To do something fun during the time I have a sitter. Instead, I rush off to another appointment for the kids. As I type this, I'm sitting in group speech. On the way in, I was already worried about the next few weekends that are booked up when my phone rang asking me to schedule a meeting with the school psychologists for Abel. I often wonder what life would be like if Abel didn't have special attention so often. What if we could just register him for preschool like most children? What if he had a Type A mother who flawlessly organized her schedule with ease? One who purposed to do everything possible to get him to talk? What if I thought only of my children and died to myself daily to fulfill God's purpose in my life? I know I'm to have a servant's heart, but it is so hard for me for some reason. I struggle with wanting to help others because I feel like that's all I ever do. I know how ugly that makes me sound. But in this age of social media, when everyone only presents the pretty parts of their lives, I will continue to be open and raw. I struggle. Daily. This season of life is challenging and scary and wonderful. I just hope as I grow older that I remember the good and the bad so I can reach out and help other young mothers who stay home with their children constantly when mine are grown and out the door. I hope I don't forget. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

All Things Fall

Thank you all for your kind words about our new house. We certainly feel at home here, as if we have been here forever. I'll continue to update you as we make changes to the house. It's kind of fun to have small projects that we can do ourselves. We got some great news since I last wrote. We have found renters for our home in Cleveland! What a burden that has been lifted--thanks be to God.
We have been trying to settle in here and enjoy being less busy. Yesterday was one of those very busy days where I had lots of stuff I had to do and places I had to be. One of them was the nursery at church. Periodically, I watch the kiddos in the 18-36 month room. We only had one boy (Abel) in there yesterday and the rest were girls. I was amazed at how quiet the room stayed. Typically it's much rowdier, but as the boys have moved up a class the noise level has gone down. I wonder how much quieter my life might be if I had three girls instead. I'm sure this was probably just a fluke, right? :) Anyway, attempts to minimize the crazy around here have morphed into a bit of a tot school. Google it. I've just been trying to create quick, fun educational activities or play that is structured for the two oldest. It's difficult to be on a strict schedule because of the nature of our weeks revolving around various appointments for Abel. Each day is a bit different. That makes it hard as I have heard and read that the best thing I can do for my children is to create a routine they can find comfort in. Still, we do our best. The kids have been enjoying adding this new element into our daily routine. It makes getting them outside and away from the t.v. much easier. We've been learning about the current season we're in and all things Fall. I'm in my element. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Welcome to the Farm

It was weeks ago that I promised a tour of our new nest, wasn't it? You know how it is. Life gets busy, messy and it's easy to put it off after watching HGTV or seeing your picture perfect Instagram photos of your home since there's a ton of stuff we want to do here, but you know what? None of that matters. We love it here despite the work we plan to do when we can afford it. We love it because we wake up every day and can sit in relative silence on the porch with coffee and Bible in hand and literally see how God has provided for us when we trust in Him. Having two mortgages is scary...but my husband felt God was leading us home and here we are. We love it here because our boys fill the rooms with joyful noise (or sometimes just awful noise, let's be honest). We love it here because of the room to roam. We love being within 9 minutes of all our families. We love it for many reasons. Here are a few more:

1. We live on a working chestnut tree farm. We can walk outside and enjoy chestnuts from the trees or cherry tomatoes that the previous owner planted. We look forward to a major garden overhaul this spring.

Would you like some? $10 will get you seven pounds packaged in an official First Fruits Farm bag. They're pretty good. I had never tasted one until I moved here. I actually like them raw even more than I do cooked, but that requires more work to get to the good stuff. I'll have to type a whole other post about what I've learned thus far on farming chestnuts.

2. We love the outdoor space. There's a large front porch that I've lovingly decorated with some colorful pieces and I'm loving the brisk Fall mornings outside as I sit and watch the fog lift and the sun rise. In the back of the house, there's a large fire pit that we haven't broken in yet and a brand new play set plopped down on the four acres of playroom for the boys (Thanks Lolly and Pop!).

3. There are four bedrooms and all people sleep in their own beds and well, that's glorious.

4. There's plenty of storage for all my Christmas decorations!

5. Lastly, I have created a Harry Potter room! I might have lost some of you on that one. I'll rephrase- I made a reading/writing/prayer room for this mama. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's such a cool, tiny place for me to relax at the end of the day. With space enough for only a twin size mattress, it's a cozy place for just me. Plus it's under the stairs- just like HP.
We are delighted to be here. Our proximity to the Interstate makes travel to Jordan's job and Abel's therapy much easier for us. We are settling in, as we always do, for the long haul. This time we hope to break the record of longest we've stayed in one house. One and a half years is the new time to beat. Think we'll do it?

Thursday, September 3, 2015


It's funny what you do when you're avoiding packing a little boy's hospital bag. Paint your nails. Scrub the floor. Unnecessary activities. Whatever takes your mind away from lovingly choosing suitable hospital toys or folding tiny, fresh smelling t-shirts that you might not even ever put on him because his head dressing will be so big and his head so sore due to the surgery he will be there to have. I don't ever want to get used to this feeling. I don't want to have to do this anymore- sending my baby off into the hands of mostly strangers. If we have spoken in the last few days, I'm sure you could tell my thoughts are everywhere. The one thing that bothers me most about this surgery as opposed to all the others is that there is seemingly nothing happy about it. Hope is powerful and all the other surgeries provided that. Hopefully he can hear. Hopefully his nerve isn't damaged. Hopefully he is a candidate for cochlear implants. Hopefully the surgery goes well and he can start his hearing journey. Hopefully this infection will clear up. Hopefully they'll save the implant. The hope in regard to his hearing is gone with this surgery today. When he comes out of surgery, he will have been drilled on, poked, and prodded and for what? The hope is that the infection can have a chance to heal when the implant is out. The surgeon disclosed today that he fears the nerve is too damaged to reimplant again. He could try and he wants to do so, but we won't know if it worked until after a new implant is put in his perfect little head. Another surgery potentially. One that might not work. Our case is the cochlear implant community's worst nightmare and I'm sick thinking of that sweet, curly headed little kid having more hurdles to climb. He's a climber, though unlike his mama. I wish you could have seen him scaling his hospital crib while we were waiting on the OR to open up. I've never seen anything like it. My two year old was climbing better than I ever could. We need to get this boy in a climbing gym! I'm left in the waiting room now with my thoughts of him. I know God has his hand on him. I feel your prayers. I'll check in soon.

Monday, August 31, 2015

September Goals

Nearly two months have passed since I've dusted off this ole keyboard and sat down to write something other than research papers or status updates (that I know you all sit around waiting on and thinking: wonder what Kace is doing/thinking/feeling right now). Maybe that's why I don't blog as much as I used to. I know very few of you care and I'm talking to myself a lot, but there's always been something to that for me (I sound crazy, don't I?). From the time I could form sentences on paper, I've had a journal of some sort. I need to write like I need to bathe. It's good for me and when it's not happening, I feel icky. It doesn't even have to be something I'm proud of. The words just need to be out. 
The past few months have been so busy. For the record, I don't love busy. Many changes have been made. I finished my Master's degree- finally! I'm proud that I stuck with it and worked hard. I kept my 4.0 while raising three beautiful boys. I remember when I had Kinley, I was finishing a research paper in the hospital. I continued to work on it through many moves and finished it the day we closed on our second home we've owned. Yes, we moved again. This time, we're here to stay. Surely. Hopefully. We've been here a week and it feels like we've just always been here. It's nice. Home. Finally. I'll give you a virtual tour soon, but I logged in today to get my butt in gear (I can hear my four year old saying, "We don't say butt. We say bottom" in my ear right now). Merit turned one year old and he's nursing a lot less. I've been focusing on school and not me. We've been moving and therefore eating a lot of crap ("We don't say that word, Mom"). I've got all kinds of excuses, but I've gained weight and I'm ready to run it off (and keep it off) again. I know the importance of accountability and public goals so I'm making my declaration here now. I want my body to feel strong and capable again. 

1. 8 glasses of water a day
2. Limit 2 cups of coffee (what? I can't give up everything!)
3. #50milesinSeptember
4. Regular weekly exercise
5. Lose 5 lbs (Starting weight: 124)

Every September I make a goal of logging at least fifty miles. I even did it last year at around one month postpartum! It just helps me to get back into the swing of things after indulging toward the end of the summer. I call it "Fall Back into Fitness" because I'm a dork. Anyway, inevitably I have some  folks who want to join me. You are welcome to do so! Walk, run, or crawl them- I don't care. Just get out there and get active with me!

If you want to follow along with my progress, look me up on Instagram by using my #mrskgetsfit or checking out my profile (ksjd22). I'll also periodically update here, too. Let's get fit, friends!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Lord is good to all {an update of Abel's Ears}

The bible verse I've been working on helping Kinley to learn this week is Psalm 145:9-
"The Lord is good to all..." 
The way I get a three year old to memorize scripture is repetition. Over and over, we both recite it. The Lord is good to all. The Lord is good to all. The Lord is good to all. Even to me when I don't deserve it. Even to my family. Even to my sweet middle child. Even when it doesn't feel like it. The Lord is good to all.
I'm glad I had that truth fresh in my heart and mind. Yesterday, I had an appointment at Vandy again as a follow up for Abel. Infections, hospitalizations, and trouble just weren't on my mind. I was having faith and truly believing he would be released. Finally. After ten months.
Instead, after ten months of struggling with this aggressive infection, the surgeon has decided to take his implant out. Obviously, this is nightmare scenario in the cochlear implant community. As he told me the news, doctors gathered in the room with somber faces expecting to console, I suppose. I held it together. Inside my heart, it feels like a devastating blow, though. How silly it is to mourn a foreign object placed into my child's head! It isn't even working. Why should it matter? It's just the point of it all. Another surgery is on the horizon. My child has been put under more times than all of my extended family members put together. More than I can count on two hands. I've gotten to know the back of his precious little head as I strap him into the small umbrella stroller and push him from appointment to appointment. I know his curly tendrils and how they curve around the cords and headpieces he wears daily to help him hear. His head has two "ears" not one. Still, soon he will go under anesthesia again and his right cochlear implant will be removed along with his adenoids and (Lord willing) this nasty infection.
A thousand thoughts go through my mind every day. I wish we had never put it in. I'm so glad we had this surgery. I need more chocolate. Et cetera. I never quite considered how I would feel with this news. The answer is sad, but focused on the future. It's a setback, for sure. The surgeon says the infection seems to be nestled in the internal piece of equipment. He is hoping the nerve is not damaged so that once this infection is history, he can re-implant making him bi-lateral again. I don't even want to think about that right now.
I appreciate your prayers for him. Despite this ever-present problem, he is doing well. His left "ear" is working great allowing him to pick up much language. Lately, I've noticed him stringing words together into phrases. "What's that? Who is that? I don't know. Brother, no!" You know, the basics ;) Receptively, he's a rockstar. He knows what I'm requesting most of the time. His language is coming and I hope it continues to do so. On top of everything else, his early intervention program stopped paying for his speech therapy. We have begun to appeal to insurance in hopes they will start footing the bill as it is roughly $250 a week. A lot has been going on. For those of you who donated or bought items helping with "Abel to Hear", I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of the excess money we raised, I had enough for two aqua ears instead of one. This possibility was on the horizon so I only purchased one aqua capability. The rest of the money I put towards his hospital bills. Please know how much that meant to us. Thank you. It's because of people like you that I can see God's hand in all of this. Thank you for supporting us, for giving, for sharing in our excitement and setbacks, and for praying for my baby.
The Lord is good to all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Job Searching

Every few months or so, I start to lose my lid and proceed to do a little job searching. It's either a.) because the kids are driving me absolutely bonkers or b.) because I start to feel like we need money between the hospital bills, house, and LIFE. Tonight, it was the latter. While the hospital bills roll in (seriously, that infection can clear up ANY time. That'd be great. I bet Abel thinks so, too.) so does the urgency in getting Abel in a more permanent social situation, us set up in a house in the area that feels like home, and getting Abel set up in the school system of the hypothetical house in the county it resides so we can get the IFSP and IEP created and/or blending smoothly. If I lost you and you don't know what that is, just count your lucky stars.

Anyway, that's how I arrived at a blue and yellow glowing screen displaying a job in my field that is in this county. That's a big deal. I stared at it for awhile. What if? I know I can't do that, though. I can't NOT stay home because of the endless appointments that my totally-worth-it-every-single-day middle child has weekly. If I went to work, there would be no one to take him to speech or audiology or surgeon check ups or meetings with his teacher of the deaf (TOD). It's not in my cards right now. I stared at the screen until I heard, "Mom, are you going to watch this with us?" And right then, I snapped out of it for the time being. I needed to stop with the worry and focus on the sweet kids right in front of me, asking me to watch Happy Feet 2 or something like that. Off I went, to snuggle with them.

Because when has God not provided? Never.

The jobs can wait.

I get to watch these kids grow right before my very eyes...and that's a pretty sweet deal.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

St. George Island, FL

I told you we have fun(ish) times and it's true. Right before Abe's hospital stay, we got to enjoy a week long beach vacay with friends we met at church. We have kiddos the same age and we thought, "Wouldn't it be great to all live in a house together for a week? The kids will play and it will be fun!" At least that was our pep talk to each other when positivity was flowing. The other part of the time we were wondering what in the world we were all thinking. Brave, we are. We set off on a journey to St. George Island, FL and didn't look back. 
So glad we did it! We made some great memories and even though we were outnumbered by the kids, I think we had some fun, too.
Do you know how awesome it is to wake up and be able to exercise and study the bible with one of your best friends? Pretty awesome. She has great insight into the Word of God and is one of those people you can just talk to about anything. It was so nice to have so much girl time first thing in the a.m. As you can see, we are often wayyyyy outnumbered by little boys.
And the kids weren't too bad. Sure, they refused to sleep at times. They pitched two year old tantrums. They interrupted our beach layin', book reading, nap taking mornings, but who needs those? Chasing babies is nearly as fun. ;) They played and played and let the sun drain them.

We caught fish.
We dated.

Abel heard the ocean for the first time despite living there for a big chunk of his life.
It was great, really! Beats the heck out of the hospital any ole day.

Monday, May 11, 2015

9 Months

All throughout my pregnancy with Kinley and into his first full year of life, I wrote him monthly letters. In them I described what was new, how I felt about him, and all of those sweet little things you might find in a baby book. At the end of the year, I printed them in a book, each with a corresponding monthly picture of him with the numbered stickers that everyone does. I was on top of it! Abel made his way into the world about fifteen months after Kinley, but still I made a point to write during his first year and snap those photos, too. I think I only missed one month writing him, but I did have the photos! Enter Merit. The poor third baby. I think I have months 1-4 photos and maybe, I don't know, two letters. Whoops. I hope he'll forgive me.
This month marks nine with him attached to my hip instead of the umbilical cord. I can hardly believe it. It has been the hardest year I've ever had but it has nothing to do with him. He is the most delightful child. I put him down and he sleeps. I smile at him and he laughs. I switch up his routine? No problem. He rolls with the punches. Sweet, sweet baby. If they were all like him, I'd have a dozen more.
He doesn't crawl. He sits, leeeaaans, and reaches but hasn't braved the all fours position. I'm not surprised. All my boys have been late crawlers (according to Drs standards) and walkers. Typically, they only crawl for 3 weeks or so and then they're all about their big boy status with walking. I mourn in silence that I actually have to have shoes for them then. I already dread thinking about finding three sets of little boy shoes every single time I walk out the door. I'm pretty sure I spend 72% of my day putting shoes back on all those little feet. I digress. We were talking about Merit, weren't we? What else can I share?
His brothers are so good with him. They are quick to entertain him when he gets bored and starts to fuss. They'll search for pacis, do a little dance, or even share their toys just to see him smile again. It's that bright. You can't look at a smiling Merit and not feel happy. His attitude is infectious. When I walk into the room, his whole upper half starts shaking violently and his arms flail about as if he's having a conniption and must, must, MUST be in my arms. I love it. Truthfully, he'll do that with about anyone, but I'm the only one he actually reaches to so at least I have that.
Merit has said: mama, dada, and hi. That is for sure the earliest any of my kids have uttered words. I think he only said them so I would quit getting his hearing tested every 3.7 seconds. 
I love him so. He's my breath of fresh air every day and I'm so glad I'm not waddling around this May waiting to be able to hold him in my arms. I can just go scoop him up almost any time I want and I'm doing just that. I'm trying so hard to savor this time. His little life has flown by and my heart feels so strange when I see newborn photos of him now. It just doesn't seem possible since that was just yesterday, I'm sure of it!

More Rain

I hate that this blog has become my dumping place for all the lowly emotions. We have happy times. Lots of them. I'm just too busy savoring the good to make a point to write during them. There have been highs and lows since I last wrote. To catch you up (in case we're not facebook friends), Abel was discovered to have a bacteria growing inside his middle ear and around his cochlear implants. Oral antibiotics were not touching it so they admitted him to clean out his ear and put him on IV antibiotics for awhile in the hospital. The surgery was nearly five hours long, but the surgeon came out smiling saying he thought he got it all and was able to salvage the implant. We continued to get good news after we were released from the hospital early thanks to Infectious Disease (ID) who said the infection appeared to be gone. They cultured from every angle and nothing was growing on the results.

This morning I was planning to get the boys out and do something fun. They all deserve a little fun. My phone rang and my heart dropped as I saw the 615 area code. Always bad news from Nashville, it seems. On the other line, the surgeon told me an update. They found two bacteria growing now which means more medicine. I truly thought, prayed, and believed that this was behind us and it's not. It's so upsetting. I wish I could take it from him. I'd gladly take disgusting medicine several times a day, spend much of my life in the car or at some office, and have my head operated on more times than I have fingers if it meant that I could shield him from it. I just feel so helpless in all of this. I've followed medical advice. I've followed spiritual advice. I can't do anything to help him.
When it rains, it pours. The rain just keeps coming. It's soaking my boys, me, and my marriage. I am so tired. This brief period of a few days was an umbrella shielding us from the cold and wet of the storm, but that's gone now, too and I'm left standing alone in the rain again. I know God is with me, with us. But that doesn't change the fact that I just want all the rain to stop.

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