Happy Birthday Flo!

April 18th, 2014

Wednesday was such a fun day! Florence loved her doggie shirt (she wanted to wear it right away!) and her walk-along dog. She promptly named him Happy Dog! She wasn’t fond of our silly Birthday Hat, but I finally got a good picture of her wearing it. Also, I just love her choice of footwear! Welcome to two, Florence!

DSC 4264 309x466 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4339 309x466 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4492 311x466 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4506 466x310 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4550 311x466 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4555 310x466 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4582 466x310 Happy Birthday Flo! DSC 4584 466x311 Happy Birthday Flo!

Month Twenty Four

April 16th, 2014

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(Two fingers for TWO YEARS OLD!)

Dear Florence,

Happy birthday! Today you are two years old! I am so proud of the little person you are becoming. You are incredibly strong-willed and fiercely independent, but at the same time you shower others with love wholeheartedly. You’re a funny, kind, sneaky, imaginative, silly, clever, amazingly unique little girl.

You’ve been pretending to be both a dog and a frog this month, and for both of them you hop around on the floor in the exact same way – the only way we can tell what you are is if you say “woof! woof!!” or “ribbit! ribbit!” Most of the time when you’re playing with Amelia and she asks you to do something, you’ll pipe up with a loud and enthusiastic “SURE!”. You’ve named one of your toy horses Poopy Horse (or sometimes Poopy Neigh), because you like to pretend he poops all the time and that you have to clean him up and change his diaper. I’m sure that came from watching me change your brother’s diaper all the time, but it sure threw us for a loop when you started asking for your Poopy Horse! I’m equally sure you’ll be incredibly embarrassed by that story in about 12 years!

You’re such a tender-hearted kiddo, and you’ve started telling us that things are scary. You’ll hear a train outside and you’ll run to me and say “train scary!” – repeat that with cars that drive by, large trucks, airplanes, the dark and most recently the moon. Most of the time you’re not really scared, but you’re clever enough to know that we’ll give you cuddles if you say you scared! You’ve learned that we like you to use manners – you’ll say “pees!” when you want something, and even after we say no you’ll keep up with the “peeeeees? PEEEEEEES???” – you’ve yet to learn that you don’t always get what you want just because you say please. Quite often you say “thank you” at the appropriate times, and we’re proud of you for learning to use your manners.

You drive me crazy sometimes, trying to push any boundary you can find. You are so ready to be a big kid and are itching to do things all on your own. Sometimes I wish you wouldn’t push all of these boundaries, but at the same time I’m proud that you do. I love your strength and tenacity and know that it will help you manage all that God has in store for you. Your life will not be easy but it will be forever full. Full of joy, full of kindness, full of fun, full of laughter and always, always, ALWAYS full of love.

I love you so much, my sweet Florence Josefine!

Love, Mommy

You’re Two, Kid!

April 15th, 2014

Hey Kiddo! I have mentioned this before, but I normally leave this blog stuff to Mommy. She is much better at writing than I am and she captures the highlights of our life in better detail. That being said, I have written here on occasion–typically only extra special occasions or at major milestone type events in our life. Today marks both of those qualifications, so I want to capture a few things here for you to look back on through the years.

So what is this special occasion and major milestone? You’re TWO! Way to go, Kid–you made it! It will never cease to amaze me how quickly time flies by us. At the same time, the past two years (but mostly the past six months or so) have been full of some of the longest minutes, hours, days and weeks we have ever experienced as a family. I will get into that more a little later, but I want to take a moment to focus on some of the things that make you who you are today.

First of all, you are the coolest two-year old I know. No doubt about it. It has been so fun to watch how you and your sister are so different from each other. Your likes, dislikes, moods, joys, fears and humor are unique from Amelia’s. That is not to say you do not share similarities in some regard. But, you both have subtle nuances that make each of you a thrill, and sometimes a challenge, in your own ways. You are very self-reliant, for the most part, and you like to do things your own way and in your own timing. Overall, you seem less fearful in general than your sister was at this age. There are times when I find you trying to do normal things in your own way–just because you can. You try things like walking up the steps backwards, sliding down the steps like a playground slide and sitting on the back of the couch (though you know you’re not supposed to). You tend to “push the envelope” at times, though, and you have had to learn some valuable lessons about obeying and what can happen when you don’t obey.

For the most part, you go with the flow of your sister’s imagination. You tend to be fairly quiet when things are going your way, but you can also voice your opinion when something does not strike your fancy. Your face lights up when you hear something funny or when you get tickled. Where Amelia tends to be all about babies and baby dolls, you are much more inclined to love on animals. Dogs, ducks, horses, cows… you love them all the same. Shelby is your buddy and she knows you are one of her best play friends. You show a lot of aptitude for new words and sounds. Even at two years of age, you have very sound logic skills and you are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas pretty well. We did not have the same opportunity to get a good glimpse of the mind of a two-year old with Amelia because of her speech delays. While we are thankful the Lord worked through that situation for Amelia, we are equally thankful the Lord has allowed you to develop your speech at a much earlier age. You do have your own challenges, though, and this leads back to where I started earlier… the long minutes, hours, days, etc…

November 14th, 2013 is a day Mommy and Daddy will remember forever. That day, which we have come to learn is World Diabetes Day, was a defining moment in your life–in all of our lives, really. You were just eighteen months old and full of life, at least up until about two weeks before that day. We had been on a trip to join in your Aunt B and Uncle P’s wedding. On the return trip, you and Amelia both had picked up head colds which made the trip quite long and not too enjoyable for any of us. Once we got home we noticed a change in your appetite. It was not too terribly unusual for you to go through periods of appetite changes, but we started to notice other oddities as well. Amelia got over the cold after several days, but you seemed to have a hard time kicking it. You would sneeze and cough and in doing so, it appeared to be laborious for you. When we would put you to bed at night, you would no longer snuggle up with your blankie and doze off as you did before the trip. Mommy and Daddy assumed, at first, it was because we had spent several nights together in close proximity while traveling and maybe you just missed the closeness to us. But you would fight the sleep–sometimes for hours. We would check on you sometimes a dozen times or more trying all the things we parents are supposed to be able to know to solve bedtime problems. The only thing that we found to calm you down and get you to sleep (but only for short periods of time) was to let you keep your water bottle in your crib.

You loved that water bottle at night-time. When we first figured that out, we thought maybe you were going through a growth spurt and you just craved water. But Mommy had a feeling–one of those feelings that only a mommy can have–which led us to begin a more observant approach to your behavior. You started needed multiple diaper changes per night, which we knew was a result of your constant desire to drink your water. Mommy knew something at that point that I had no clue about. She told me the signs were indicative of diabetes. I tried to play it off like it was no big deal. I remember saying something to the effect of, “It’s not the end of the world…if she has to take some medicine a couple of times a week for it, we will just deal with it.” I was naive, as are a lot of people, about diabetes. Nevertheless, I encouraged Mommy to take you to your doctor to set her mind at ease. I genuinely believed it was nothing more than normal “almost two” behavior and the doctor would confirm that so we could move on.

Mommy took you to the doctor on November 14th. That started one of the longest days we can remember. I met with you, Mommy and Amelia for supper shortly after your doctor appointment. We believed we had a good report from the initial visit with your doctor, but they had drawn some blood for some tests. I wanted to have a nice supper with you guys as sort of a celebration about the good report. Our food had just arrived at the table when Mommy got a call from your doctor. The message was short and clear, “Get Florence to the hospital ASAP.” You cannot possibly grasp the emotions that overwhelm you when you hear something like that. Questions flood your mind. Adrenaline kicks in and you start to get anxious about everything.

We immediately made our way to the children’s hospital having no clue what things would be like when we arrived. We knew from your doctor that your BG was over 600, but the question in everyone’s mind was how long it had been elevated to that extent. The seconds of waiting for a diagnosis turned into minutes, then to hours. It was as Mommy suspected and as we had feared–your official diagnosis was Type 1. I had no idea at that moment in time what that really meant. My focus was on trying to keep your sister upbeat, trying to keep Mommy upbeat, and trying to be strong for you. You had tubes stuck in your arms and wires coming off of toes. You had a tiny blood pressure cuff attached to your leg. Your little face was red and you looked so weak. It was hard, Kiddo. Really hard.

Mommy and Daddy did not have much time to deal with the emotions of it all, though. We were very rapidly introduced to doctors and nurses who were going to help us learn the basics of keeping you alive. Looking back, I think it is by design that parents of newly diagnosed kids are quickly thrown into the “deep end”. If you let emotion cloud your ability to perform the very basic steps needed to keep your youngin’ alive, you find yourself in a very dangerous situation. The doctors knew we would deal with the emotional aspect of it in time, which we did, and sometimes do even now. Mommy and Daddy had to learn how to count carbs, fill syringes with insulin, check and interpret blood glucose levels and ketones, and the list goes on. There was hardly any time to be sad because we were constantly preparing for the next thing–the next meal, the next BG reading, the next insulin injection, etc. We were reading pamphlets and books, watching videos and preparing very carefully carb-counted meals. It was a hectic time at first.

Things have gotten to the point of being very second-nature. That does not mean it is easy now and to that point, I do not think it will ever become easy. Learning about anything new comes with challenges and you will find that all throughout your life. The challenge of learning about a life-threatening disease is no exception. There are so many things parents take for granted until something like this is introduced. I want to be very clear and have you understand one thing in particular through all my ramblings here: Mommy and Daddy do not regret having you. You are a blessing and an inspiration to us and God has an amazing story still playing out through your life. Is this fun for any of us? No. Is this what WE would have chosen for you? No. Is everything great and perfect now that you are on insulin? No. Is all of this for a reason? You better believe it, Kiddo.

Just as we have seen God work through other difficult situations, we have seen His love and goodness through this as well. I know it is hard–trust me. Ever since your diagnosis, Mommy and Daddy have been up with you every night to check your BG before we go to bed, then at 3:00am every morning, and sometimes more each night/early AM to ensure you are still alive. It is not easy, as your Daddy, to go to sleep at night not knowing if you will be there smiling at me in the morning. Harsh reality, but it is our reality now. But to know that God has a plan for you, as He always has even before you were born, gives us a comfort that allows us to get some sleep at night. There will still be scary moments and long nights, but God is in control.

Kiddo, one last thing before I wrap this up. I tell the same thing to your sister and will tell the same thing to your brother once he is older, but Mommy and Daddy are not perfect. We make mistakes just like anybody else and we look to the Lord to forgive us and help us to learn from those things. Even though we may not always get everything right, we are intent upon remembering that God has blessed us with three wonderful, lively and awesome kids. You guys are worth every bit of challenge we face in this life. Whenever I look at these challenges in this life, though, I have to keep reminding myself of this truth–this is all temporary. All of the pains, the imperfections, the sleepless nights and the questions of this life are going to be history once we reach Heaven someday. It is my charge, as it is for your mother, to make sure you kids know the love that we know in Christ. We pray you will know the same love and believe it in your heart so that you will know a life in Heaven that is void of all the present challenges you face. I pray and believe that you will one day have a new body that is perfect–free from this disease you deal with–one that will leave you with such an overwhelming appreciation and joy for the very one who authored your life on earth.

Mommy and I look forward to so many more birthdays with you in the years to come. You are blessed to be growing up in a time where technological innovations are abundant. You are blessed to be surrounded by family–grandparents especially–who love you more than you can imagine and who have stepped up on several occasions to provide some of the very things that we use to keep you alive today. You are a big part of their lives and ours and we all think the world of you.

I love you, Kiddo.

-Daddy

Mondays with Edison

April 14th, 2014

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What a charmer!

Mondays with Florence

April 14th, 2014

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This is Flo’s last official Monday picture. I did two years of Tuesday pictures for Amelia, and now I’ve done two years of Monday pictures for Florence. I hope she’ll appreciate and enjoy this little snapshot of her first couple of years when she’s older!

Month Two

April 10th, 2014

Month 2 310x466 Month Two

Dear Edison,

Today you are two months old. It seems like you were born just yesterday, but it also seems that you have changed and grown so much that it must have been more than just eight weeks ago! You are the cuddliest baby I know, and are more often than not calmed the instant you are picked up. You don’t complain often – fussing is basically reserved for when you need a new diaper, when you’ve lost your pacifier or when you want to nurse!

Eddie, you’re a great sleeper and you have quite a healthy appetite. You’re wearing 3-6 month clothes already and I’m sure you’re at least 12 pounds now – we’ll find out your official weight at the pediatrician next week. I hesitate to write this, but at night you’ll go to sleep around 8p, wake up to eat once between 2a-4a and then sleep until the rest of us are awake and ready to head downstairs to start our day! You also can nap anywhere – no matter how much noise your sisters are making – and for that I am very thankful!

Over the past month you’ve started to coo, and more recently you’ve been smiling at us! Whenever you make a sound, Florence says “Eddie talk!”, and Amelia prides herself in being able to coax you into a grin. You can be so serious while studying the world around you, but then you break out into a grin that melts our hearts. You’ve got gorgeous grey-blue eyes and a tiny bit of soft brown hair. You’re the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met, and we are so privileged and honored and blessed and overjoyed to call you ours. We didn’t know what our family was missing until we met you.

Love, Mommy