Sunday, December 21, 2008

O, Pitiful Christmas Tree

The Sad Christmas Tree
Cow Elvis Ornament

The Christmas Tree guard

The Culprit

Do you notice anything about our tree? It's only decorated with ornaments one-third of the way down. That's because Micah has taken all of the ornaments off that he can reach one by one. We didn't even bother to put them back because we knew he would just take them off. He's also been fascinated with the lights and had grabbed at some, which is why some of them are hanging low. It's a real tree and he has had a great time batting at it, knocking an abundance of pine needles on the floor. So, I had an idea early on that I would scoot Gabriel's little toy farm pad that he lays on close to the tree. I said "Hey Wayne, who needs a gate when we have Gabriel?" You know, since Micah doesn't want to come to close to him. I know, it's kind of mean, but it works when Gabriel is out in the living room.
I got the cow/Elvis ornament last fall (2007). I went to Boston to meet up with four of my dearest friends ever from GGBTS. It was quite a memorable trip and so much fun to be with all of them again. When we were all at Golden Gate, we used to do an ornament exchange among the four of us, and at times I think one or two other gals participated. So when we got together last year we decided to do it again. My friend Amy, who lived in Boston at the time gave me a neat ornament from Boston's North End. When we went to Maine the next day, she found the Cow Elvis ornament and couldn't resist getting it for me (since she knew my love of cows and Elvis) even though she had already given me one.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Great news!

We're teaching him how to drive early.

Don't you just love to watch a sleeping baby?

First cereal feeding a few weeks ago. He wasn't sure about it or what to do with it at first.

Most of you know that we have been waiting for Micah to be approved for a branch of Medicaid that is not based on income, but only on the child’s disability. We applied in August and have been waiting to hear since then. We were hoping for this to be able to get him into a Medical program here called Kids First through University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; it’s sort of like a medical preschool which involves a school curriculum and any therapy that a child needs (Physical, Occupational, Speech). It’s an all day Mon-Fri program. He has been in a two hour per day M-Th program at an elementary school here. It has been good, but not enough time for him to get the therapy and individual attention he needs.

I am so excited and thankful to God to let you know Micah was approved last week! Honestly, I wasn't expecting it to be this soon because I met with Micah's case worker back in September and she told me it might be three to six more months from then! So, we are now in the process with Kids First and it is very likely he will start in early January provided all the necessary paperwork gets processed in a timely manner. It’s a very expensive school since it is considered a medical clinic, but it will be paid for with this type of Medicaid!

I’m so glad for this opportunity for Micah. I know it will be a great environment for him and one in which he can learn and hopefully progress in speech in particular. He still has no words. I want so much to be able to hear him speak and be able to communicate even a little bit with us. We were at church last night for the Christmas program. The children’s choir had a couple of opening songs. I got a little choked up just thinking about Micah and wondering if he’ll ever be able to sing or even speak.

He still has not made huge strides in adjusting to Gabriel. He actually smiled at him twice last week because Gabriel was watching him and smiling. Sometimes Micah doesn’t seem to be bothered by him (though he still won’t come within 2 feet of him), and other times he will immediately go back to his room and close the door if Gabriel is out in the living room with me.

Micah has had a few seizures since we’ve moved here and two as recent as this past weekend. They are different than what he had as a baby until he was two. They seem to be pretty mild, but still something we are going to be watching. He has seen one neurologist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and will probably be seeing another one early next year.

Monday, December 08, 2008


5 Months Old!

My mom with Benjamin


Gary with Benjamin and Harrison

It was the first time in 9 years that I spent Thanksgiving with my family! We went to my parents house in northeast Arkansas. Kim and Thomas and their two boys came up from Texas. My brother Gary lives in the area as does his 18 year old son, Zach. I can’t believe my first nephew is 18! He is a senior this year. I didn’t get pictures of Kim, Thomas, or Zach, but I will have some after the new year.

We had a good visit and great food that my Mom cooked. All of us had a little part in preparing the meal, but Mom always does the majority of it and she is a great cook.

We also celebrated Mom’s 60th birthday, that’s right she’s still young! She was a young Mom of 3 by the time she was 22! It was so nice to be with family for Thanksgiving and next year, Wayne’s family will have their turn. We will get to see them in just 2 weeks!

Harrison and Benjamin had so much fun with Gabriel. I wish I had gotten a video of Harrison dancing for Gabriel and making him laugh. I'm sure there will be more opportunities when we see them in a few weeks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Wayne!

Happy Birthday to Wayne! He’s catching up with me today by turning 37. I thought I would share some ways I am thankful for Wayne.

He is a great husband, so thoughtful and sweet to me. In our seven years of marriage, he has never raised his voice to me, has never spoken an unkind word toward me, or even jokingly put me down for anything. This is so much more than I can say for a lot of men. His words are those of encouragement and often complimentary. He often greets me in the mornings by saying “Good morning, beautiful.” even when I KNOW I don’t look beautiful. Who does when you first roll out of bed?

I love that he is so intelligent and knowledgeable about so many things. I can ask him almost anything that I’m uneducated or curious about and he will usually know the answer, and not make me feel dumb for not knowing. He’s sort of like my own personal search engine.
There are no household chores that he will not do. He’s a great cook, he will do laundry, and even clean the bathrooms. I will never forget when we lived in San Francisco how he would sort and haul all of our laundry to the Laundromat two blocks away. This was an every Saturday occurrence when I was pregnant with Micah and then after he was born. Now we have the luxury of having a washer and dryer in our house!

Wayne loves God and His word and is a gifted teacher of it. He has always been diligent about spending time with God, even if it means rising very early in the morning to do it.

And of course, he is a great father to our precious boys. He helps take care of them in so many ways and is so fun and silly with them. It blesses my heart to see how he loves them.
I know I haven’t exhausted the list, but these are a few of the things that came to mind.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Scary incident

Yesterday as Micah was eating his snack, he started choking. I had given him a small piece of raisin bread. When we give him bread, we have to give little pieces at a time or else he will grab the whole slice and shove it in his mouth. He loves bread and doesn’t yet have the concept of biting off a little at a time. I thought that I had placed the bread out of his reach and turned to do something quickly. He started choking and I could tell it was not just a cough or two and then it would be okay. He had a look of panic on his face and I could tell his breathing was obstructed. So, I had a moment of fear mixed with determination. I got him out of his chair and prayed “Oh God! Help me!” and started doing the Heimlich Maneuver. A huge wad of the bread came out in his mouth and I fished it out. I sat on the floor and started sobbing because it was so scary. I think Micah thought I was laughing and so he started laughing hysterically.

We had just learned earlier in the day that a former roommate and friend of Wayne’s from Nebraska and his wife had lost their 15 month old son on Monday morning following a horrible accident at church. He swallowed a nail in the church nursery and his breathing and heart activity stopped for 30 minutes. Apparently, he fought for several hours but had brain swelling and his organs began to shut down.

I had been praying for them intermittently throughout the day. I can’t imagine their heartache and unspeakable grief. It just reminded me once again how life is so fragile. People can be doing routine things every day and something tragic comes out of nowhere. Pray for the Rhodes family in Salt Lake City if you think of it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mad Cowboy

Friday night we went to the fall festival (or Hallelujah Halloween, as Wayne likes to call it) at Grand Avenue Baptist Church. This is the church we have been visiting for quite some time. It was quite a big production, held in one the parking lots of the church. There were hayrides going on, pony rides, live music, bobbing for apples, and several other games. They had chili dogs, smores, popcorn, and cotton candy, and they had about 15 cars backed in with each containing a laundry basket or something similar filled with candy. They had a nice little system going in which each child had a box checked off at each car they went to so as to avoid multiple visits to each car. We stayed long enough to eat hot dogs, look around a bit, and let Micah get some candy out of just a few cars. Ok, let’s be honest, it’s Mom that wants the candy. Micah is only fascinated by the packaging of the candy, he doesn’t realize there’s something wonderfully delicious and so bad for you inside.

We borrowed the cowboy outfit from a friend here for Micah to dress up for his school party on Thursday. He was none too thrilled about us dressing him in the vest, chaps, boots and hat. Having experienced this on Thursday morning, we waited Friday night until we were in the church parking lot to dress him in all the attire. I had the camera ready just as Wayne was finishing up, so that’s the reason for the mad cowboy shot. Hilarious, isn’t it? The hat only lasted on his head for about 30 seconds. Poor kid, why do we torture him just to make him look so cute?

Gabriel was content to ride around in his stroller and I snapped the great close up shot of him smiling.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our little angel Gabriel

My mom sent the little valentine's outfit to us last spring sometime after Valentine's Day. We knew at that point that we were having a boy, but didn't know what we were going to name him. He can wear the outfit now (barely) but I think it's so cute with the little angel wings on the back.
Gabriel is quite a smiley boy and it only takes a little movement or singing anything to make him smile or laugh. He can even squeal loudly and I think he surprises himself sometimes.
He's about to outgrow some of the 3-6 month clothes we have. He has a big appetite and so we're soon going to be getting him started on some rice cereal in addition to his milk.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lessons in patience

Isn't he cute?!
He's proud of that water on his shirt.

I have hesitated to post about Micah lately because of that old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Not that I’m not going to be nice, but it has been hard to deal with Micah lately. Yes, he still doesn’t like to be around Gabriel. But that’s not the only thing. He’s just in an annoying phase right now, at least I hope it’s a phase! He’s enjoying spitting his water out everywhere, either on the floor, on his shirt or wherever it lands. We have beige-ish tile in our kitchen, so it makes it hard to see where he has spit water if we don’t happen to see it. I find myself walking around tilting my head to try and spot droplets of spit on the floor. Or, I step in it and then I know.

He’s also into throwing things. Sometimes it’s because he’s mad (about who knows what), sometimes it’s just for fun. It’s okay if it’s a soft toy or ball(soft one), but it’s very frustrating when it’s a hard plastic toy or a glass picture frame. He also enjoys taking his hand and raking it across the counter to knock stuff off (papers, phonebooks, what have you). We tell him “No!” or “Stop!” and sometimes he will and sometimes he will just do it over and over. Then the only solution we have is to take him to his room which I don’t like to do because he already spends multiple hours in his room every day as it is (he goes in there when Gabriel is out in the living room). AHH! How do you discipline a child who doesn’t seem to understand it? Any suggestions?

So, now what can I say that’s positive? Well, he seems happy to get on the bus and go to school and he seems to be doing well at church. And although his behavior can be quite frustrating…he’s such a sweet kid in general.

Please pray that we’ll have patience with Micah and the grace to know how to deal with him in the frustrating moments.

Monday, September 29, 2008

3 months old today!

He likes to read while he swings. We're teaching him early.

Wow. Three months have gone by fast! You probably won’t be too surprised to know that Gabriel has doubled his birth weight and has grown 6 inches! He’s now 14 pounds and 25 inches long. I knew he was growing and doing well because he has been quickly outgrowing many of his clothes.

He’s a sweet baby and pretty easy to take care of. His times of fussiness are few and far between. He generally hates his car seat but usually settles down once we get moving. He has been sleeping through the night for about 3 weeks now. Woo hoo! Go ahead and talk smack about me, you, the same women who gave me a hard time about my fast labors! I know you want to!

What else can I tell you about Gabriel? Well, the doorknob, ceiling fans, and the characters on the boppy are his friends. He likes to look at them and smile. He smiles quite often and has even given some chuckles here and there. He likes to look at Micah, but so far Micah is still not that interested in returning his gaze. Someday.

So, happy 3 month birthday to Gabriel; he brings more joy into our family.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Did you really say that?

You know how people sometimes say things that they “think” are in the Bible, but they are really not? A couple of them that really annoy me are “God helps those who help themselves” (where is the dependence on God in that statement?) and the one that really bothers me is “God won’t give you more than you can bear.”

I recently finished a book by Nancy Ortberg called Looking For God . One of the chapters is titled “Could We Please Stop Talking Like This?” and basically she’s reflecting on things that Christians say that are either offensive to non-believers or things that we say that are not theologically or biblically correct.

I love what she says about “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” She says “For starters, the verse that is derived from, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is talking about temptations, not trials or suffering. Beyond that, the idea implies that as followers of Christ, we are protected from heavy doses of difficulty. That is simply not true. This idea gives the impression that people going through rough circumstances have missed the protective shield. Please protect me from that kind of love. Of course we are going to face hard things in life. Unbearable, unthinkable, inexplicable things. And the power and the presence of God will meet us in those things. Difficult circumstances require from us enormous amounts of courage and faith that often come only after we’ve pleaded, searched, wrestled, and waited. Not as the result of a mindless and inaccurate phrase. The way we talk matters. We need to think deeply about the theological implications of what we are saying and remember that God is not simply a useful tool to support our politics or our beliefs. He is not a pawn in our hands. He is not the parking lot fairy. He does not comfort grieving parents by telling them He knew they could handle it. God is the powerful center. For our soul and the souls of others, it is worth thinking before we speak. Talk matters. The way we speak and what we say paint a picture of God in our hearts and minds.”

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I ran to Oklahoma and back

Micah loves to push things these days, so I gave him the Swiffer and said "Get to work!" Ok, not really. He did have fun though!

We have a two car garage!
Front entrance and side entrance; fence to the back yard.
The farthest trees on the right at the end of the road are in Oklahoma. This picture was taken close to our driveway.

Well, Oklahoma is not that far. Just when you thought I had gone back to my days of training for a marathon…Oklahoma is about a five minute, maybe seven minute walk from here. Yes, we are that close to the state line. I’m trying to get back into shape and have slowly started jogging. It really feels like I’m just a step above shuffling my feet. I hear my high school basketball coach’s voice shouting “WHITESIDE, PICK THOSE KNEES UP!!” Oh well, it’s a start anyway.

I’ll post some pictures of the inside of our place soon. I’m sure the suspense is more than you can take! We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our dining room table. We actually have room for one! We still have to put things on the walls, but will work on that soon.

Micah started at the public elementary school last week. It’s only 2 hours a day, M- Thurs., but it helps some! We will probably be waiting for at least another month on the other school. Please pray that it happens soon. I’m anxious for Micah to get the therapy he needs!
You may be getting tired of reading this same line every post, but no, Micah has still not adjusted any better to Gabriel. This last weekend we went to visit my parents for Labor Day weekend and Micah spent the first two hours of the trip with his head turned toward the window so he couldn’t see Gabriel. I guess the only slight improvement is that he is not AS clingy to Wayne and me when Gabriel is not in the room. And when I bring the baby out from his room (if I’m at home by myself with them), Micah just goes into his room and closes the door now. I don’t like it because I feel like I can’t take care of both of them at the same time like I should be able to, but there isn’t much I can do about it. I know the LORD is helping me deal with it though, and I do believe one day Micah will not be afraid of Gabriel and will even like him.

Monday, August 25, 2008

YouTube - Ennio Morricone - Gabriel's Oboe from "The Mission" concert

Gabriel is 8 weeks old now! These last 8 weeks have been a little busy, but he has handled it all like a trooper! He is such a sweet baby. As you can tell, he is starting to fill out some and getting chubby cheeks and legs. He is smiling a lot and cooing some too. We are so thankful for him.
Some have wondered why we named him Gabriel. We were thinking of names for a long time and had narrowed it down to Eli, Levi, or Gabriel. When we looked up the meaning of each name, we loved the meaning of the name Gabriel. It comes from the Hebrew name “Gav’riel” which means “God is my strength.” Of course, we pray that Gabriel grows up to be a man who claims that God is his strength.

One interesting thing is that one of my favorite songs of all time is an instrumental song written by Ennio Morricone called “Gabriel’s oboe.” It's from the movie "The Mission" and the soundtrack is of my favorites. I had wanted the song played in our wedding seven years ago, but it was too expensive to hire an oboe player. I didn’t even think about it until two weeks ago, how much I love the song and that we named our son Gabriel. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the song. It’s only about 2 minutes long.

YouTube - Ennio Morricone - Gabriel's Oboe from "The Mission" concert

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Settling in at the Fort

Paw Paw has spent a lot of time pulling Micah in the wagon and playing with him.
The hat and shirt were a gift from a friend in SF...thanks Cheryl!
Nana rocking with Gabriel.
Paw Paw talking with Gabriel.
Kim, Thomas, Harrison, and Benjamin with Gabriel. Not a chance of getting Micah in the picture with them.
Micah reluctantly joins Nana and Paw Paw for a photo.

We have been in Arkansas since the 4th of this month. It’s been a little crazy with taking care of two kids and trying to unpack. Thankfully, my parents have been here and have helped tremendously and we have enjoyed them being here. My sister and her family were here to visit for a few days and it was great to see them. I have found it hard to make time to sit down and concentrate enough to send an email or update this blog, but maybe I can be a little more consistent.

We are enjoying our new place and are still unpacking and trying to settle in. Wayne’s job is going well and he is enjoying it. U of AR Fort Smith is a beautiful campus and much bigger than I imagined. We are slowly exploring the town when we have a chance. We have visited two churches now and will visit one or two more and will likely go back to the first one we visited to check it out a little deeper. I have to say Sundays are a little weird because we aren’t going to FBCSF. There is just no place like it. Sure, we miss the bay area as a whole, but our church and the folks there was one of our favorite things.

One disappointing thing that we’ve found out is that the public school programs for preschoolers with special needs is not the best. They only offer a 2 hour per day Mon- Thurs. option and any services (PT, OT, and speech) would be included in that time. So, we are exploring other options. We’ve found that there are two organizations here in Fort Smith that have all day preschool programs for kids with special needs. I am going to meet with the director of one this week. It’s called Kids First and they have a M-Fri, 8-3 program which includes any therapy a child needs. There are only 9-10 kids per classroom with 2 full time staff in each and the school has 2 full time nurses and one pediatrician. It is through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and is supposed to be a top notch program. Micah will have to be approved to be enrolled, meeting the requirements (which means being developmentally delayed enough, and he is) and being referred by a physician among other things. The lady I spoke to said that it sometimes takes a month before a child can be enrolled, but that sometimes there are exceptions. We’ll find out more about it this week.

Micah is still having a really hard time with Gabriel, with maybe a slight improvement. He got close enough to touch him last night but didn’t even realize Gabriel was in my lap until he touched him. He then got a really scared look on his face and ran back to his room. Gabriel is doing well, but he is spitting up a good portion of almost every feeding in the last week or so.
We will update again soon. Thanks for continuing to pray for Micah.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Not in Arkansas yet

Well, I'm sure some have wondered if we got all moved in and are getting settled. That would be "No." When we called middle of last week to see if our belongings were arriving on the 31st, they gave us the date of August 4th. We weren't happy about that because that's the day Wayne starts work at U of AR Ft. Smith. They had given us a range of 10-17 days and they are taking the full amount of time. When we told them it was really 18 days, they said "Oh, Sundays are excepted." It has been a bit frustrating, but you realize it's no good to stay frustrated in these situations because it accomplishes little more than a bad attitude. So, the plan now is for Wayne and his Dad to drive over tomorrow afternoon, stay in a motel (since we have nowhere or no bedding items for sleep, and so Wayne can have a decent night's sleep before his first day), Wayne will go to work Monday morning and Cecil will be there when the moving company comes. Wayne's Mom and I and the boys will drive over on Monday. We thought it would be best to not have Micah there for all the chaos of moving in.

My parents will be there either Monday or Tuesday. We are excited to see them since we haven't since Christmas! They will get to meet Gabriel for the first time and get reacquainted with Micah.

We'll update more later in the week. We may not have internet access for a few days. The cable internet folks can't make it until Thursday. Why, I'm not sure. I guess these things take a is Arkansas. Just kidding...I'm a native Arkansan so I can make comments like that.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Fun at Grandma & Grandpa's

Well, there isn't much new to share. We are still waiting for our stuff to arrive in Ft. Smith. It may not be there until next Thursday, the 31st. That's a few days later than we were hoping, but what can you do? Our car arrived in Enid yesterday, so that's good. Wayne and his Dad went to Ft. Smith yesterday to meet our landlord, get our house keys, get things set up for water and electric, etc. So, hopefully in a week or less, we'll be there!
As you can tell, Micah is having a blast playing outside. Grandma and Grandpa found this wading pool, which is way fancier than any old circular pool that I was imagining. He has been in it every day. In between minutes in the pool, he loves to get out and roam up and down the yard for a little while and then get back in the pool. Yesterday, he decided he'd just have a seat in the garden, so we had to hose him down before he got back in the pool. I love the picture of him looking through his legs. I had never seen him do that before! So cute.
Not much new to share on how Micah is adjusting to Gabriel. He still isn't much. Still doesn't care for the kid too much. Still cries when he makes an appearance in the room. Still hits and kicks Wayne and me at seemingly random times. We're thinking he might actually be afraid of Gabriel because he gets hysterically upset if we try to bring the baby near him. Sigh. So, we're still waiting and praying for him to be happier and make the adjustment. But, we know he still has more adjusting to do once we move, etc. He does have happy moments, especially outside. Let's just say Grandma and Grandpa (and Aunt Janel until she left yesterday) take him for walks outside a lot, or down the street, or in the little wagon. It's a blessing to have some extra folks to love on him and spread out the attention.
Gabriel's great. He's eating like a champ, sleeping a little longer at night, and I'm sure he smiled at me purposely today. I don't think it was just gas. He's growing and is more alert. He'll be four weeks old tomorrow. I'm sure he has enjoyed being held a lot. There's more of that to come once we get to Ft. Smith and Nanna and Paw Paw come to visit!