Monday, April 28, 2008

Potty Training Update

Thank you for your words of advice - and encouragment.  Those early days can seem long - and messy - but thankfully don't appear to be long-lasting!  :-)

Daniel is doing a great job!!!  He is thrilled with his big boy pants - and even likes to show them off.  The first couple of days seemed long -  lots of reminders and some accidents too.  Though by now - he is doing a great job!  He is still needing some reminders, though also goes on his own.  Whew!!!  This will be the 5th one trained - can I say he is trained yet?  Well, we are close. 




Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heart Day

I took a few photos on our "Heart Day" that I wanted to share.  (I like the term Heart Day that my sweet friend Karen shared with me.  She is a mom of a heart baby too and was a great encouragment to me through all of this!!!)

We had a couple of therapies that day.  In the morning we had speech therapy.  Eliana is doing more and more babbling.  She is also trying to repeat things we say to her and it's just so cute!  I love seeing her learn.  In this photo she is pointing (she uses her thumb!) to a pic of an animal.  There was a recording of the sound which she tried to imitate (sheep was the one she could do). 

Eliana also had physical therapy in the afternoon and a meeting with our case manager then too.  She is practicing her walking in this tiny little walker.  She took one step holding on to it.  She is using it to bend/squat which is good.  (She was just falling down with her legs straight.)

At some point during the day, Rebecca decided that our princess needed to wear a crown.  She looked adorable and we are all taken with her.  Her Daddy thinks she is the sweetest!

For dinner I wanted to do something special.  We decided a picnic in the park was a good choice.  Some dear friends met us there and brought a present for Eliana.  Doesn't she look pleased?  It's a snowglobe with a heart in the center and pink glitter around it.  The words on the bottom say ... "Live, love, laugh".  What a sweet and perfect gift!!!  Thank you!

We stayed out late just relaxing, playing and having fun.  It was a sweet day - much different from a year ago.  I hope we can use this day to celebrate, give thanks and praise God for His good work.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Potty Training ...

Words that strike fear - or maybe just dread - into the hearts of many moms!  Or is it just me???  Uggghhh!  Of all the things I've had to teach my children, this is one of them that I dread most.  *sigh*  I've done it four times already, you would think it would be no big deal by this point, huh?

I'm thinking my next two may give me the biggest challenge yet - and I would LOVE to be proved wrong!!!

We are late in training Daniel.  I had planned to train him after "the baby" was born.  Well, our sweet baby, Eliana, came with more to deal with and potty training took a back burner for quite a long time.  It was just too much.  We did try briefly for awhile, but he was not interested so we gave up.  Then, we began dealing with sensory issues with Daniel and his therapist recommended waiting.  We did.  Well, I've waited long enough now - the boy needs to be trained.

We started yesterday and it's going ... OK.  Not great.  He hasn't yet "figured it out".  Ugh.  I really don't like doing this, but it needs to be done. 

Anyone really good at this?  I'd be willing to hire out?!  :-D  Advice?  Prayers?

More later as I've uploaded more pics of things I've been promising to share.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One year ago today ... April 16, 2007 ... a date to remember!

***Photos included that may be difficult for children if you have some watching/reading. ***

One year ago, our sweet Eliana's heart was repaired!  We praise God for His faithfulness in walking us through this valley.  We are thankful for our family and the many friends he placed in our lives that helped to ease the pain and difficulty with prayers, words of encouragment and acts of service. 

One year ago, so many people were praying for our little girl.  Some of my friends were fasting while they prayed.  Friends on the FIAR board (my homeschool community) set up an around the clock prayer calendar for Eliana.  I was humbled and blessed immensely that people cared so much for our little girl.

One year ago, we slept through our alarm!  How could that happen on such an important day?  We rushed to get ready and get to the hospital so very early. 

One year ago, we handed our little girl over to two very kind men (the anesthesiologists).  I remember watching one of them cradle her in his arms as he gently carried her down the corridor to the surgical room.  The sun was coming up in the window in front of them and they looked so relaxed and calm.

One year ago, I had to hand over more than my daughter.  I had wrestled with God and felt that I had to come to the point that I was truly willing to hand her over to Him.  The story of Abraham and Isaac become more to me than just a story.  I knew that God had given us a gift - yet she was still His child.  Ours to care for and to love on for an undisclosed amount of time.  "Yes God," I said, "She is yours.  I do so want more time with her."

One year ago, I held onto a little bow waiting for news of her surgery.  I had expected to be broken and devasted, but God met me there and gave me His peace that passes understanding.

One year ago, Roger and I, along with some dear friends sat waiting, praying, talking ... and just waiting.  Anxious to hear news and yet fearful to hear it as well.

One year ago, I so wanted to hold my little girl.  Waiting to hear the news was hard.  What a joy to meet with her surgeon and to hear that all had gone well.  When we were finally allowed to see her - I remember running to her room.  I should have waited, but could think of nothing but seeing our baby. 

One year ago, our baby's heart was made whole.  It was hard to see Eliana with so many tubes and wires.  Hard to find a place to just love on her.

One year ago, I continued to see God answer prayers for Eliana's care.  I watched her heal rapidly and was so very thankful to see her smile again.

One year ago, the end of a very difficult and dark time in our lives was marked by a healed heart.  This didn't mean that things suddenly become easy or without pain or trial.  Not at all.  I know that those who have experienced something similar though will understand these words ... It's so much better on the other side of surgery!

Today as I reflect and remember I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I am thankful that Eliana has had no complications from surgery.  I am thankful that she is growing, learning and progressing in so many ways.  I am thankful for a beautiful little girl that has taught me so much about trust, faith, love and acceptance.  I am thankful for a loving God who truly does give good gifts!

With love,


PS  I may write more later, but wanted to share something on this special day.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Year Ago ...

We were facing something that was so big. It had been looming over us for months and the day was almost upon us. It was the day prior to Eliana’s open heart surgery.

Has it been a year already? In some ways the time has gone quickly, but in others it seems like so much longer. This has been the hardest time of my life – and yet it has also been filled with some of the sweetest times of my life as well. There were many, many times when I wondered if life would ever be good again as I was so overwhelmed. I wondered if I could ever be thankful for this path. I am grateful to say – YES! I am so thankful to have walked this path with our precious girl. I couldn’t answer any other way because any other path would be one without our beloved Eliana. Her very name is filled with such meaning ...

Eliana Joy – My God has answered with joy

I just read my blog entry from a year ago.  Here's a link if you want to see it.

Blog from April 15 2007

Not surprisingly, it made me start to cry. We’ve come a long way. We saw our ped today – she is such a gem. I reminded her that tomorrow was 1 year. She asked if I were going to look at pictures. I told her yes, I was planning to remind myself of all that I could from that day. I often do this with very significant events (like the birth of a child).  I think that though it will be hard to see the pictures, that it is good to remember. It’s good to give thanks for the many, many blessings.

I will write more tomorrow as I reflect on that day. The day of my daughter’s healed heart.

I’m not sure what we will do as a family, though I’d like to do something special to celebrate this day. I want my children to remember the blessings – not just of this day – but of this time in our lives.

With love,


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Did you notice the ticker?

The little heart one under Eliana's photo at the top of my blog?  I put that on there last year as we were counting down the days until her heart surgery.  Open heart surgery.  Oh, how those words were hard for a mommy to hear!  It's hard to explain how difficult it was to wait ... and wonder ... and pray. 

I have been blessed abundantly by friends and family that prayed and encouraged me.  Just one year ago today Eliana had her pre-surgery day - tests, questions, forms, and meeting the surgeon.  It was a full day.  I should go back and read my blog entry from that day.  Here is the link if anyone else wants to see it.

The night before pre-op

Pre-op Day

I'm so very thankful to be on this side of surgery.  So very thankful that all went well and that Eliana has recovered beautifully.  I've often said that this is not something that I would have chosen, but I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned and would not want to give that back. 

Thank you God for healing my little girl's heart.

I'll try to post more tomorrow on our week-end.  We had a fabulous trip and experienced a lot of neat things.  Eliana was a super traveller too.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Easter ... a little late

I know - it's been almost a month.  I did want to post and share some pics though and better late than never, right?!

We visited our dear friends in Virginia for the week-end.  We have shared many years of Easter activities together (egg hunts, and other fun times).  Since we are no longer able to pop right next door, this was a fun extended time of being together.

We made resurrction rolls.  This is a great way to explain the resurrection to young children and is an activity we've been doing since Christopher was a very young boy.  You take a marshmellow to represent Jesus.  You dip the marshmellow in butter and then cinnamon sugar to represent the oils and spices that were put on the body for burial.  Then you take a crescent roll and wrap it around the marshmellow.  This represents the tomb in which Jesus was buried.  You then bake them.  (Make sure your seals are really good on the crescent rolls or it will leak.)  When you take them out, the "tomb" will be puffy and inside it is empty - obviously representing the empty tomb.  It's a neat visual for young children - and a tasty treat as well.

We also had an egg hunt.  The tall grass made it a fun challenge.  When Daniel had finished finding his eggs, we hid them again as the search is most of the fun.  Well, the eating what's inside them is fun too.

I just liked this photo of Christopher and Eliana.

This is a photo of us all dressed up after church.  It was bright and I know I'm squinting.  It isn't the best photo - but it's the only one we have.


I like this photo of the kids better. 

Eliana is wearing a dress that my Mom made - for Rebecca.  I love seeing her wear things that her older sister has also worn.  We've waited a long time for a girl to wear this again.  We have quite a few beautiful dresses made by Nana for Eliana to wear. 

We also made cookies and decorated them.  It is fun watching them display their own ideas and creativity in making designs. 





We had a wonderful time with our sweet friends.  I'm thankful that they are close enough to visit - though still wish they were right next door. 

Tomorrow the children and I are leaving for an overnight field trip.  It's our first since Eliana was born.  I'm excited and a little nervous.  We'd love prayers for travel safety, sleep (it's a lot to sleep in one room) and good weather would be nice too.  I'll share more when I return - as well as photos from our last field trip when we went flying!

Blessing to all of you!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Time for a photo!

It has been awhile since I posted a picture.  This one of the kids and I at one of our FIAR group field trips in March.  We were at Harris County Lake Park.  The older children had a class at Shearon Harris Nuclear power plant.  The fun thing is that it was taught by a former homeschool mom (that even used our curriculum)!  Everyone learned a lot and found the hands-on exhibits fun and interesting. 

While the older kids were at the power plant, the younger children had ranger led classes at a nearby park.  These were also experiential including games, facts about animals and going on a short hike. 

It was a cold, but beautiful day.  We stayed for a picnic lunch and the day warmed up.  The kids played on the playground equipment, exploring the park and played kickball on a large field.  I loved having a large span of time to just relax and enjoy my friends and family.  Our family stayed with another family until dinner time.  It was a fun and relaxing day for all of us. 

Monday, April 7, 2008

More on healing

I've been pondering things this week.  Some of it heavy.  I was personally struggling with the loss of our little one.  Reminders seemed to hit on a day when I was emotional anyway (ladies know what I mean).  It's only been a month and the physical reminder was one that just served to emphasize the loss.  (I hope this makes sense as I'm trying to be discreet.)  I just need more time to mourn the loss of this little one that I loved even though we've never met.

I've also cried for other families this week as they mourn the loss of a child that they have known and loved.  Three different families with a sick child who last their battle this week.  Prayer requests for this child for health and healing that weren't answered in the ways we had hoped.  It's heartbreaking to think of losing a child.  One little boy named Paxten who lost his fight with cancer, a little 5yo girl who had heart surgery with complications and a little boy named Noah with Down syndrome who died from pneumonia after having a bone marrow transplant.  I'm thankful that these sweet children are in the arms of Jesus, but I grieve with the families that are mourning. 

In the midst of pain I am constantly reminded that God is good.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away - blessed be the name of the Lord.  He never promised that this life would be easy.  He has promised to always be with us.  I'm so thankful He is there.   

In counting our blessings here, Eliana is doing great!  Her site is healing beautifully - well, it's not leaking.  It does look good - but funny.  I'm guessing it will eventually look like a second misplaced belly button.  LOL  We'll see.  I'm thrilled though that she is no longer leaking!!!  She is continuing to learn and grow and just delight us all.

We've had some sickness here - though thankfully not bad.  Fevers, sore throat, lethargy - no bodily fluids involved in this sickness!  Daniel seemed to have the worst of it Sat night and Sun (yesterday), but was bouncing around full blast today.  Rebecca came down with it last night and is still feeling poorly.

We would love prayers for healing - and that this not have to be passed through the entire family.  I would also love for you to personally join me in praying for these precious families that have lost their beloved child.



Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Healing is happening!

Praise God!  The first 4 days were rough - lots and lots of leakage.  At times I wondered if I should be doing something more or different.  She didn't seem dehydrated though and so we just plugged along doing the best we could.

Yesterday (Tues) was the first day I could see any improvement.  Today has also been much better!  The leakage is much smaller and is contained by the pads.  Also her site is looking better.  There is a strange "black string-looking thing" coming from the site.  I haven't had the nerve to pull on it until tonight and it is definitely "stuck".  I'm not sure what it is and am hoping that maybe it will fall off.  If not, I'll call our ped.

So, the surgeon was right.  It would close on it's own - with no intervention at all.  I'm thankful for that.  I'm thankful Eliana did not have to have another surgery.  I'm so very thankful that the tube is OUT!!!  Yippee!!!  Now, I'm feeling like I can celebrate and enjoy. 

The bandages are irritating her skin.  I'm treating it with mylanta.  (Per the surgeon's instructions.)  I'm not sure how much longer we'll need to keep things bandaged.  We'll just play it by ear and do our best. 

Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragment.  I'm thankful for you dear friends that have walked with us through our ups and downs. 

This note is short.  We've had a busy day.  In between trying to do school, we had 2 therapies this morning - sensory/feeding therapy for Daniel and then feeding therapy for Eliana.  In the afternoon, physical therapy for Eliana.  So many things to remember and try to do.  It really goes against my "go with the flow" nature in terms of my days.  I'm learning though and working to get better.  Maybe in truth it's just laziness and I'm learning to be more disciplined.  That is a good thing too. 

Tomorrow we are expecting a visit from my parents.  We are all very excited to see them!  In the morning before they arrive we are scheduled to go on a field trip - flying!  It is weather dependant so we'll see if we are able to go up.

I need to get some sleep now.  Thank you again for your prayers.  I'll try to post some Easter pics soon.