Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's someone's birthday today!!!

Today is New Year's Eve, but that is not the most exciting thing going on for our family today! It may be a time to remember the past year and a time to celebrate a New Year, but it's also a day to celebrate one awesome boy!.....Our second born son, Nolan!

Today Nolan turns 10 years old! In many ways he is wise beyond his years, but he always exhibits his goofy side as well!

He is a great brother.....Well, most of the time anyway! :)

He is very kind, thoughtful and giving! For Christmas this year he made a card for every member of our family and surprised us with them on Christmas day!

What a wonderful day to celebrate a birthday and a very special boy!

Happy Birthday Nolan!!! We Love You!!!

"My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 7:1-3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tis' better to give than receive!

Last year our family was looking for a way to give to others in a different way than we normally do. I had a difficult time deciding how we should give, until I got an idea from another Blogger, Jessica. Her family was going to visit the NICU that their son was in after he was born and they were going to give Christmas ornaments to the families that were having to spend the holidays in the hospital. Having spent many days and nights in the hospital with Gavin, I knew how lonely and sad those days can be. So, I decided that our family should do something similiar.

Last year we brought bags of goodies to one of the hospitals that Gavin has stayed at. This year we did the same thing, except we chose a different hospital that Gavin has been in. Our boys really love doing this and I hope that it is instilling compassion for giving to others at the same time! I love shopping for the items and I love knowing that our gift might brighten someone else's day! Our family was blessed with family and friends who gave to us during our many months in the hospital with Gavin and I believe that we have a duty to give a little something back.

Here are the boys helping me put the items into piles and then into bags:

Here they are with some other items that we bought for the NICU unit. We brought them some baby onsies, outfits and blankets to have for the babies that might need them during their stay in the hospital. The nurse manager said that they would give them to families that might not be able to afford new items for their baby.

Here is an almost finished bag:

This particular hospital only has 10 beds in their NICU unit. We made up 20 bags, so they said that they would give bags to Mommas who are in the para-partum unit. These are Moms who have been hospitalized while still pregnant due to premature contractions or other health issues.

Here are the boys in the lobby of the hospital:

Here they are in the NICU waiting area. This is where Joel and I would have to wash our hands and robe up to go in to visit Gavin each time.

We dropped off the bags on Christmas-Eve day and my Mom came with us to help. Here is a picture of her and I loving on Mr. Gavin:

And, finally, here is a blurry picture of the boys and I out in front of the NICU unit:

It is such a blessing to be able to give to others! All of us have been given so much and I know that I have much to be thankful for! It definitely feels better to give than to I suppose we are quite selfish in doing this.....but it is so much fun not to! I can't wait until next year!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures." James 1:17-18

Monday, December 28, 2009


Yes, I realize that Christmas is over with, but since our lives were infected with viruses, I wasn't able to do any posting and wish all of you a Merry Christmas! When I say we were infected with viruses I am talking about Gavin, (who is still sick!), Me (I'm all better!), and our computer!!! Our computer was being attacked by viruses and it wasn't a pretty sight (very bad things were popping up on our computer and it made me feel even more sick!), but I was able to get it fixed this morning, so.....Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Here are some pictures to get you caught up on our family!

The boys on Christmas morning:

Our dog, Hunter, opening his stocking:

Jacob opening his:

Nolan and Caleb checking out each other's stocking:

Besides a few goodies in their stockings, the boys only received one gift from us that they had to share. Here they are opening it:


A Wii!!! The boys were VERY excited about this!

Here is a wide-eyed picture of Gavin. He is wondering if you want to know what he got for Christmas?!

It is difficult to find things to buy Gavin as gifts. He isn't able to do a whole lot, so the toy isles at stores don't really apply to him. But, I was able to find a few good options!

Here is a toy that I got that looks like a T.V./Aquarium. It lights up and a picture scrolls across it. He really seems to like looking at it!

Here he is enjoying it again:

He also received a really fuzzy blanket! I love snuggling him in it!

I also found a few shirts that he can wear. I got them at and since I love putting Gavin in shirts that say something. (I like to do this because since he can't speak for himself, I like to use his clothes to give him a voice sometimes.) I thought that these shirts spoke very well for him!

And, here he is wearing one of them:

I figure that a couple of these would be great options for him to wear if he's ever in the hospital again or if he has a doctors appointment. I'd like to think that Gavin won't be having anymore hospitalizations, but who would I be kidding?! So, now he will have his wardrobe all set!

I pray that all of you had a wonderful holiday and that you took some time to remember the best gift that was ever given to us! I know that we don't know the actual day that Jesus was born, but we do know that He WAS born for us and that this is definitely something to celebrate! I know that I will never get a better gift than what God sent for us!

Merry Christmas!

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke2:11-14

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sick Boy!

So, last week I posted about being worried because Gavin had a cough. Since this was his only symptom, and the cough sounded just like my grandma's used to sound like when she had congestive heart failure, I got myself all worked up into thinking that this is what Gavin might have!

I'm happy(?) to say that Gavin has added additional symptoms since then and it's definitely not congestive heart failure, BUT that he has continued to worsen over the last couple of days. He ended up getting a VERY stuffy nose (I have no idea how he is keeping his oxygen sats in the 90's because it is so bad!), his cough has gotten a whole lot worse and just last night he began getting a fever and was quite uncomfortabe during the night. He was up fussing for about 3 hours during the night and this is just not him!

I brought him to the doctor this morning and we found out that he has an upper respiratory infection and an ear infection. I feel so bad for my little man! He just looks and feels miserable!

We have him on an antibiotic now, so hopefully this will kick in fast and help him to feel better soon! While we were at the doctor, even though he was coughing and breathing so loudly that the whole office could probably hear him snorting evertime he took a breath, he gave lots of smiles and was talking away and bringing smiles to everyone in the waiting room! He is such a happy boy and tries to be happy even when he is feeling miserable! If you ask me, I think that he is a wonderful example of how we all should try to be!

I had to be a mean Momma while we were there and I felt terrible about this! He had to have his blood drawn and he also needed to get a shot! Nothing like knocking a little guy even further down than he already was feeling! But, he did awesome with both of these as he usually does! What a trooper!

We keep napkins close to Gavin most of the time since he gags and spits up often. Today I found him with one in his hand.

I guess he learned a new trick, maybe since he was tired of waiting for someone to wipe his nose?, because he started to wipe his nose and mouth with it! What a good boy!

I really hate to see Gavin sick! He doesn't understand what's going on and he just looks so pitiful to me! Pray that my Big Guy gets better fast! I don't have very much Christmas cheer with him feeling so rotten. Oh, and did I mention that now I have what he has and that we are supposed to have people over for Christmas Eve?! I usually stay quite healthy, even when our boys get sick, but of course not during the Christmas season! UGH!

Hope all of you are healthy and happy! Thanks for your prayers! HUGS!!!

"The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?" Proverbs 18:14

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where did this boy come from?!

A couple of weeks ago the students at our boys' school, those that are in grades 4th through 8th, took a geography test. The top 2 students from each of these classes got to move on to be in the geography bee. Nolan was one of the top 2 in his class! Yesterday he got to participate in the competition. He was SO nervous about this and really didn't want to participate, but he studied and did it anyway.

I was very nervous for him and I prayed the whole morning before it; that God would give him a clear mind, no anxiety and that he could at least make it through the first round!

Guess what?! He did!

Not only did he make it through the first round, he continued on to be in the championship round with 2 other students!

I have no idea where he gets his knowledge of geography from?! Well.....besides the fact that he is a terrific student, God gave him this talent and that Joel is also quite good at geography and history. I, on the other hand, am not so great in these categories! I'm great with directions and if you give me a map, I can get you there, but my knowledge of our country and the globe is slightly poor.

So, as I sat watching him yesterday, I kept praising God and also wondering; "Where did this boy come from?!" He surely couldn't have come from me?!

He ended up being in a tie for second place! Nolan is only in 4th grade and he was in the championship round with a 6th grade girl and a 7th grade boy! The 7th grade boy went on to win, but Nolan did great! I was and am so proud! (I'm very proud of ALL my boys actually!)

Here are some of his classmates congratulating him after the competition. They were so excited for him and some of them even carried him back into their classroom! (I wish that I had gotten a picture of that!)

Great job Nolan! We are extremely proud of you!!!

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."" Ephesians 4:7-8

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looming Fears and New Dreams

I realize that everyone has fears in this life. But, when you have a child like Gavin, fears take on a whole new dimension. I thankfully haven't had to walk the road of losing a child to death, but I have come very close a couple of times. Gavin has had to be resusitated from near death, and this is a scary thing to have to watch! I still think about these days and wonder and worry when the next time will be.....

I especially worry when he becomes sick. He has had a cold the last several days and although he is holding his own right now, there are always thoughts that run through my mind....."Will he end up in the hospital?", "Will this turn into pneumonia again?", "Is this truly just a cold or is this coughing due to Congestive Heart Failure(CHF)?" I don't like thinking this way, but when you have spent months in the hospital with your child and they have almost died a few times, you honestly do have these thoughts!

Gavin's cold this time around hasn't produced a fever, which is a good thing, because when he gets a fever he usually starts having seizures again. But, since his main symptom is coughing and no fever, I can't help but wonder if the coughing is due to CHF and not just a cold. Gavin's heart has a significant leak in it's Mitral Valve and this can cause fluid to build up in his lungs and, in turn, cause CHF. Is his cough due to this? These are thoughts running through my head the last couple of days.

I was once told by a doctor that Gavin's heart condition was so bad that they didn't think he would live to come home again. And, if he did live, he might never live another day of his life at home, but instead have to live in a hospital for his remaining days. I told the doctor that Gavin WOULD LIVE and that Gavin WOULD come home again, because I wasn't going to have him live out his remaining days in the hospital and that I would care for him at home until that day came!

Obviously, God had the same plans that I had for Gavin, because he is alive and at home! I am very thankful for this! BUT.....I also know that Gavin's heart is not good and that an illness or CHF could put him back in the hospital or take his life at any time.

I HATE having to worry about this and having to bite my nails wondering if this will happen soon?!

I HATE feeling like there is always something bad just over the horizon and feeling like I have to be prepared and look over my shoulder at all times!

I do not constantly feel this way, but when Gavin or his brothers get sick, these are feelings that I have. I sometimes wish that I could go back to those days of innocence, when I didn't have memories of hospital days and near death situations. Of course, then I wouldn't have this precious little guy! And, he is definitely worth all the worries!

I've been reading a book called, "You will dream new dreams" by Stanley D. Kline and Kim Schive. It has been very therapeutic for me. It has stories of parents and their special needs children. If you have a child with special needs, I highly recommend it! I'm only half way through it, but so far it is great!

Here is a quote from the book that really touched me:

"Deep, abiding sadness is my constant companion, as is unending joy. Sadness for what will not be, and joy for what is - life and all the good things that can be shared, like love, happiness, friendship, and peace. There are days when sorrow weighs heavily and, thankfully, days when life seems quite typical. Typical. I no longer use the word "normal." What is normal? Normal has nothing to do with my life. I am the parent of a child with special needs."

This quote pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say in this post! Life with Gavin is full of worries, and sadness that will probably never go away. I will live in worry until he dies and I will live is extreme sadness when he does! This doesn't seem like a very promising life to live, does it? But, the truth is, Gavin has brought more "life" to my life than any other circumstance ever has! It is so difficult to explain, and you truly can't understand my feelings unless you are walking in my shoes. These shoes are very beat down, but they are also helping me to run and jump with extreme joy!

Gavin has helped me to see that my life may be full of worries and difficult memories, but also that "Life is Good" as well! This boy is here for a reason and however long his life will be, on this earth, it is a life that is so worthwhile!

"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:13-15

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Should Be.....

Gavin has made lots of progress in his life, considering all that he has gone through. He has especially made significant progress since he started school this Fall. But........he is three years old and there are so many things that he should be doing at this age, that he is not able to do! I've been thinking about this lately.

Most of the time, I try to focus on what he can do and all that he brings to the lives of those who he is around. But........sometimes I can't help but think of what he should be doing right now!

I really started thinking about all of this after school started this Fall. Gavin really should be home with me all the time, not going to school! We have never sent our boys to school until they are 4 years of age. This kind of hit me hard. It also hit me even harder when Sunday School began at our church this year. Normally, children start going to Sunday School when they turn 3. I'm not even sure if Gavin will EVER attend Sunday School! And, this makes me feel sad.

Gavin should be going outside today to play in the snow with his brothers, since it's ANOTHER snow day! But, instead he will be staying warm inside with me. Gavin should be getting into all of his brother's Legos, but they go untouched on the floor around them. Gavin should be wrestling with his brothers and annoying them, but instead he's the only brother that never has a bad thing to say or do to another brother. (Yes, this is actually a good thing, but it's still difficult to accept.)

Gavin should be eating food with us at each meal, but instead he just joins us at the table and sits with us while all of us are eating. Gavin should be making a mess at the table and I should be telling him to sit still and use his manners, like I have to do with his brothers each and every meal! (Yes, this is also a good thing, but I really wish that he were driving me nuts at the table instead!)

*On a side note:

Most meals around here are anything but peaceful! Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are usually rushed and the boys are usually being reprimanded for poor manners and acting goofy. Lastnight Joel had a WONDERFUL idea! I had just called them in to eat, from playing outside. And, of course they didn't hear me or decided to just ignore me. So, Joel said, "Why don't Gavin, You and I have a nice peaceful meal tonight and call the boys in after we eat?" I wasn't too sure about this idea, but then I thought about the indigestion that the boys usually give me each Dinner hour and decided to go along with it. Let me tell you, We had such a pleasant meal! :)

Anyway, there are so many other things that Gavin should be doing right now and I really hate that he isn't able to! The good thing is, Gavin doesn't know any better and he is a happy guy whether or not he is is capable of doing all that he should be doing! Plus, he has a way of brightening my day because he is the one person that always has a smile for me and who is always happy to see me!

I don't know what God's plan for Gavin is. But, I do know that, although Gavin can't really do much, he sure does a whole lot just by being him!

"Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope." Psalm 16:9

Monday, December 7, 2009


Saturday night I didn't sleep very well. Nolan was up coughing half the night and I kept checking on him, plus I was thinking a lot. One of the things that I was thinking about was how emmersed in life I get. Life just seems to fly by and everything seems to become such a blur. I get caught up in caring for my family and driving them places and doing errands and just getting consumed by it all. Sometimes I wonder, "What is the purpose of it all?" I mean, am I really serving a purpose? Are any of us really serving a purpose with what we do with our lives? In today's world it sure doesn't look like it a lot of the time. Everyone appears to be consumed with themselves.

Anyway, I know that I become consumed with myself. When I say "myself", I mean my family, because that IS primarily what I am: My boys' mother and my husband's wife. And, I'm totally O.K. with this! But, I do feel like it consumes me and I'm unable to help others as much as I'd want to and unable to "put my stamp on this world."

I started thinking that most people I know probably feel like this. I know that my purpose is to mother my children and to try to raise them to be the best that they can possibly be, but am I really helping the world or others by doing this? Many days it surely doesn't feel like I am! I look at many people and their calling in life and think that they probably feel the same way that I feel.....maybe not, but I think so. Then there are doctors, nurses, teachers and these professions' purposes are very clear to me. They are saving lives and educating! I long to feel more purposeful, like they must. Actually, I am a nurse and when I worked outside the home, I never really felt that purposeful then either. So, maybe all these crazy thoughts and feelings are just me?!

But, seriously, I find myself going through each and every day and wonder if I am really accomplishing anything important? Yes, I try to be a good Mom and I try to raise up my children so that they will someday be able to offer something important to this world. And, having Gavin in my life I truly do have a huge role.....just in keeping him alive alone! But, what is the purpose in that in the end?

And, in all of my duties how well do I even do them? I FAIL MISERABLY ALL DAY LONG! I lose my patience. I give up sometimes. I get lazy. I get angry and want to knock someone upside their head occasionally.....OOPS did I actually just type that, maybe this is just how I act and feel some days?! :) But actually, I'm confident that I'm not the only one who feels this way!

Many of us try to be good people. But, when you think about it we are, for the most part, pretty rotten! At least I know that I am! I try! And, I do succeed to do well often, but probably half of my day I am feeling grumpy or upset with someone, or I'm annoyed or, I am not feeling fulfillment in the role that God has given me. In other words I sin all day long!

Yesterday morning I woke up and said something like this to Joel, "Can you imagine being Jesus and living on this earth and NEVER sinning?!" I sure can't imagine! I'm sure that I wouldn't have lasted 1 hour without sinning!

"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10

Guess what the message was that we heard in church yesterday morning?! You guessed it! It was on this very topic! I love when this happens!

It AMAZES me that Jesus was able to do this, as a human, on this earth! Although, He was God, He was sent in human form and, like we learned in church, He was under the same laws that we are under (The Ten Commandments) and He was able to uphold all of these laws! WOW! And, He did not have to do this, but He did.....For us! And, He did it PERFECTLY!

Since He had to endure a lot of what we have to endure each day, He can truly understand us and our feelings:

"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

I feel that it is such a blessing to know that God understands the feelings, concerns and hardships that I go through each day! But, I can't even begin to grasp that He was able to go through all of this and NEVER sin or have a bad thought or action! AMAZING!

He walked this earth and suffered for us, so that we might be saved and live eternally with Him! And, another blessing that we have is that we do not have to do ANYTHING to gain entrance into life eternal with Him! He took to Himself our transgressions. He purchased us and redeemed us! He did all of this for us and He did all of it while living perfectly! Truly Amazing.....but that's God!

So, every day I will try. I will try to do the duties that I have been called to do and although I will continue to sin all day long, I will try to be thankful that; although this life is far from perfect and I am far from perfect, there IS A PURPOSE!


Here is a picture of Nolan reading the Bible to Caleb and Caleb's stuffed animals.

Seeing this warmed my heart! I fail miserably as a Mom, but for the most part, their hearts are in the right place. In fact, Nolan's teacher said at school conferences, that sometimes she really wants to go home with a child to watch them interact with their family, just to learn how a child has become the person that that they have become. She told us that she feels this way about Nolan, because he has so many gifts.

While this also warmed my heart, Joel and I can take almost no credit for him being the way that he is! He is the way that God made him and God gave him some really wonderful gifts! Nolan was also given some really bad behaviors, :) but, he was given many WONDERFUL qualities and he tries really hard to use these qualities to their fullest! This is a daily inspiration to me! That I should use my gifts and to try to be content in my role!

And, this little guy!

He is so innocent and I often say, "More God-like." I can't help but feel closer to God when I am around him! God made Gavin very different than most of us, but I can't help but feel that he is, in many ways, more like Jesus than any of us could ever be! This, too, is an inspiration to me!

Actually, ALL of my boys are an inspiration to me! They are such blessings!

So, all this thinking has created a LONG post (Sorry!), but it has also made me realize that I am truly blessed and that, although life is crazy and it may seem to be without purpose, it sure is GOOD!

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all that trust in Him." Psalm 18:30

Friday, December 4, 2009

Can you guess what today was?!


Here is a hint:

Here's another hint:

The part of Michigan that we live in got it's first big snow lastnight! This is late in the year for these parts! But, This snow grinch (ME) is certainly not complaining!

So, guess what the boys got to do?

They got a snow day and got to stay home from school!

Jacob was very excited about this! Nolan and Caleb wanted to go to school, but they were very excited about the opportunity to play outside in all the snow!

What about Gavin?

He got a snow day from school too, but instead of playing outside, he decided to play under the Christmas tree with his toys!

I actually LOVE snow days! I like the opportunity of having my boys home with me for an unexpected day of fun. I love getting more time with them and I love watching their excitement!

But, How do I feel about the snow?????


It's BEAUTIFUL.....but that's about it!

Here we go..........Wet boots, hats, gloves, snowpants and coats! Wet floors and rugs! Dangerous driving conditions. More time in getting the boys ready to go anywhere and more time getting there! And, LOTS of Shoveling! UGH!

But, it sure is gorgeous!

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Isaiah 1:18