Friday, May 13, 2011

My Beautiful Little Ella,

You are JOY. When someone tries to define the word they can see your smiling face. Your daddy and I believe it’s because, in those first few days of your life, you got to sit in the lap of Jesus and let him hold you while we couldn’t. I believe that you have a special angel who walks you through life and God has allowed you a perspective that only He can give. The rest of us see so much bad in this world, but not you my little girl, you only see the happy things. I thought of this today when you were getting a shot (ironically a meningitis vaccine) and you only flinched. A few hours earlier Jonathan got shots and he cried and carried on, but not you, you are strong in the face of anything. We’ve heard it said that so little can affect you after all that you have already been through in your 5 short years, but either way, it is a blessing. I often read about special needs children who can’t find comfort, and I’m so grateful for the unending joy that you have every day…it’s often you who will get me through the rough times, instead of me helping you. Well, maybe we help each other. You are beautiful, yes on the inside, but that shines right through to your outside. People often say that you resemble me as a child, so maybe I was cute too, but there is something so special about you to everyone you meet. I hear the phrases “look at those curls!”, “you have the most beautiful eyes”, and “wow, you are just so pretty” on a daily basis. Sometimes it is funny how many people will stop us and comment on you, but we know that it’s God shining through you. It’s funny that your head actually measures very small (they call it microcephaly) but no one would know for the head full of beautiful curls on your head…see, God really does take care of the little things. You challenge me. I have never looked at my faith the same since the day you were born. It’s funny, but I have often felt that I don’t deserve you. That someone could have done better or would be more equipped to handle all of the challenges, but then I realize that God made me so specifically to be your mother. Oh Ella, had I known that I would get a gift like you it could have changed who I was in life, but God knew all of this and here we are…you and me. It’s not easy. Most days are just our “normal” but there is at least a few times in a week that I realize my life is so different from so many people around me. My life consists of the words: therapy, brain development, seizures, wheelchair, handicapped accessible, aspiration, and all of the terminology that I never knew I never wanted to know…proprioceptive…and I say those words a lot. I have been asked at least once or twice if I’m a nurse because of the lingo that I can speak when talking about you, but I just laugh, since I barely went to college. You are a gift. A true gift for more reasons than I can list, because I think I don’t even know most of the reasons yet. You have caused me to admire and love your father more than I thought possible. Do you know how much that man loves you? He has prayed for you without ceasing and he believes in you (he also never gets mad at you or disciplines you, even when you are totally misbehaving!) You will make your brothers stop and think about everything in a different light than their friends, and I hope that they are better men for being your brothers. Mostly you are just love. You make my ability to love increase in ways I didn’t think were possible. You have the knack for causing random people to fall in love with you without saying a word. You are my perfection in this imperfect and sinful world. Oh, you have a sin nature; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We do pray that one day you will come to know who God is in your life here on Earth and that you will have the realization that you are a sinner, in need of a Savior. That you will know how important the life, and death, of Jesus were for all of us…and that you will accept His free gift. We want so much for you sweet child. For now, we will enjoy every day that God has given us as your parents, and pray that we do the very best that God has called us to do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Sweet Jonathan,

You are my baby, and for now, you are my last. You are a joy and your smiles brighten even the middle of the night. I have loved trying to figure you out and try to get to know you better. I remember being pregnant with you and being so scared not to be able to love you as much as I thought I's amazing how God just makes our hearts bigger. You are already so much of a have mastered crawling and cruising and now you are trying to stand on your own...I'm afraid it won't be long before you are walking, and then you are no longer a baby. 9 months have flown by. I can remember every bit of your birth and how much I already loved you when I saw you. You had the greatest pouty lips and a sweet cry...and you were mine. I have loved snuggling you and learning how to make you laugh. You have a GREAT laugh. You seem serious a lot of the time, like your brother was, but when you think something is funny you really let it show. I look forward to getting to know you better and seeing what kind of a man God has created you to be. You were a perfect way to wrap up our babies.

My Dearest William,

You are my buddy. We go almost everywhere together and have our routine down during the week. Speaking of routines, you hate it when one is changed. You like to go the same way to all of your familiar places and you like it when everything is where it should be...except your toys. You are so adventurous. I love to watch your excitement with anything new. One thing you really hate is loud noises. You've never like lawn equipment, anything being blown up or anyone to talks or laughs too loud. You seem to hear everything, except us calling your name. Most people would say that you are a good boy, and you are, but you have a tendency to want to do things your way and in your time. Daddy and I work very hard at teaching you why you need to obey and what role God plays in teaching us obedience and submission. You learn most things very quickly, but I think this one may take a while. We pray that you learn the easy way and not the hard way. You have loved learning who God is already. You love to read the bible, you love the stories, and you have even memorized some scripture. Daddy has taught you John 3:16 and Matthew 5:8...and he's working on a new one, he wants to make sure that you hide God's word in your heart, even at your that you will always know truth. I pray that you grow to be a man like your father. May you be gentle and kind, giving and a good steward with your time and resources...may you love people, but know that God and your family come first and second. You are so curious. You ask a MILLION questions. Even your teachers at school and church notice that you are smart and you want to know everything, about everything, and why! You are a joy for me. You are so much like our first child because you are getting to do so much first for us. We love watching you grow up to be a young boy. We pray that you will be a leader for Ella and Jonathan, may you always love them and take care of them. We pray that you and Jonathan will be close friends and always be able to count on each other. May you always cherish Ella and learn from the life that God designed for her. You are such a wonderful 3-year-old and I look forward to watching you develop into a wonderful young man.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day has been so special since my very first one. I remember a friend telling me that it didn't count unless I had already given birth to Ella, but I disagree. Anyone is a mother who has given birth to a child, adopted a child, lost a child or been a mother-figure to anyone along the way. It's not the child that makes you a mother, it's the heart of the woman. My first Mother's Day Ella was only 4 days old and had just spent her 3rd night in the NICU. Re-reading my posts from that day and she had gone from "critical" to "guarded"...oh, those emotions. A child I was afraid to love too deeply, for fear she would be gone at any moment. I hadn't even had a chance to hold her long enough to even know her...I was a mother, even if I couldn't touch or talk to my child. Now I'm a mother of three sweet and very different children. Ella, well, she's just Ella. I don't know how to put into words what being her mother has meant to me. She has taught me more about myself, Joe and my loving Savior that I ever thought one little person, who doesn't speak, could do. She's an earthly angel. Sent to bring so much joy and hope to my heart. It's a challenge to know what to do to be the best mother I can be for her, it's not easy and I'll never try to lessen what we go through, but I don't know any different, and for that I thank my Lord because He was gracious when He gave me her first. Will, oh my goodness I had no idea that a "healthy" and "typical" child could be SO much work!! I have often said that Ella is my easy kid...and Will makes this very obvious. There are many challenges to raising a special needs child, but to any mother raising a very typical boy...the challenges never stop, or slow down, or freeze, or obey, or just sit quietly for one minute so mommy can think...and he's pure love. He loves to hug and cuddle and tell me how much he loves me. God knew that following Ella I would need someone who would talk to me (and boy does this kid talk) and give me all of the things that my heart missed with Ella...he gives me so much verbal input...enough for both of them! Adding Jonathan has made us very complete as a family. He's mild mannered like Ella, talks a fair amount already (no real words yet, but he's trying to learn from his big brother) and working hard to keep up with Ella and Will by crawling everywhere and doing everything they do. He's active, but he's also fine to just relax...he's my baby and he always will be...and for that I'm grateful. He's a happy baby. Will adores him and has never asked for us to take him back. He wants to be the first to go in and talk to Jonathan when he wakes up and Joe and I have prayed consistently that they will be friends to each other. We know that God provided a buddy for Will through Jonathan, and we will be excited to watch them grow in knowledge of God together. They are my children. They will stretch me and challenge me in ways I can't even imagine yet, but wouldn't trade any of the rough days for not being a mommy. I don't think I ever realized in my early 20's that I was created for a job so perfectly. I have made a lot of mistakes in life, but my children prove to me that we have a loving God who will still grant us small miracles as we grow to help us grow even more.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Getting Stronger

Ella has been working with her new Physical Therapist to get stronger. They have been doing a lot of sitting for long times and lately they have been standing. Ella is making a lot of steady progress...we have had so many great therapists over the years and have been so blessed by the people who have loved on Ella and loved helping her progress.

Good News Cruise

I'm so thankful that Ella has gotten to participate in Children's Choir this year. It's hard to figure out where she should be "age-appropriate" and when it's best for her to be in a room with other special needs kids of different ages and abilities. Brandi Bassett has taken on the responsibility of taking care of Ella during choir and evening holding her during the are some pictures of both Ella and Will in "The Good News Cruise" from Sunday night.

Tea for Two...or more

SarahBeth has become one of Ella's closest friends and she wanted to come over and have a tea party...who am I to argue with a teaparty was had on Monday and the boys tried to crash, but it was a success either way!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Is this thing on?!

I know...I can't keep up...I'm not even going to try to do this blog anymore, mostly so I don't feel guilty about NOT doing it. However, I think I'll give it a shot for the next 10 days and try to update and close out what's going on in our lives.

Why 10 days you ask? Well, baby BIG GIRL, Ella turns 5-years-old in just 10 days. I know, I'm with you...5?!!? Sounds crazy that we started this blog to keep family in the loop on our first pregnancy...and God knew I would need an outlet to talk about her. So, I'm going to update on all of us for the next few days and then wrap this all up on the celebration of Ella's birth.

For tonight, we are headed to watch Ella and Will perform in a church musical (pics to come) and Jonathan is staying home (with our beloved Kristie) since he has strep throat/rash.

Stay tuned as we end 5 years of blogging!