Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!

December 31st is here again! Which means that Nolan is another year older! Happy Birthday Nolan! We love you and feel very blessed to have you as our son for 9 whole years! We pray that you have a wonderful day and year!

And, Happy New Year to all of you! May God Bless you with health and happiness!

Love, The VW's

"They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gavin has been a happy, busy and naughty boy!

Gavin has been quite happy lately! He gives us so many smiles each day, that it is getting easier to actually get a picture with him smiling! We are thoroughly enjoying this, since not so many months ago, Gavin wasn't even smiling at all! We feel very blessed that this is one of the areas that Gavin has had some significant development. He will even giggle a little when we tickle him! You have no idea how satisfying this is to hear and see!

Another recent development is that Gavin is now rolling over from his back to his stomach! He did this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but just today he did it 3 times in a row! It amazes me to watch him do these little things! And, it makes me VERY happy!


As for being naughty, Gavin has somehow been able to find his present under the tree and has been grabbing at it and playing with it! You really can't realize how HUGE this is, unless you were around Gavin a lot. Gavin does not crawl or scoot, but he does lay on his back and somehow scoot himself around by pushing his heels into the floor. He does not appear to have the intention of scooting anywhere or have the ability to tell himself, "I'm going to scoot over to the tree and grab that present." In fact, he rarely even tries to grab for anything that is held in front of him. Like I've said before, Gavin is legally blind and won't keep his glasses on for anything, plus he just does not have the mental capabilities to even play with his toys, unless they are put in his hands or he happens to feel them out. Despite all of this, he has somehow gotten over to the tree the last 2 days and has been able to find HIS present and play with it! I'm in awe about this and feel SO happy!

I just thought that I would share some more great news with all of you! It really amazes me that he is doing all of this. Some days I look at our other children and wonder how they were able to get this far, because it takes so much effort for Gavin to do even the littlest things! I guess it goes to show how much we all take for granted in life and how awesome our bodies are, that God created! May all of you remember to thank God for your abilities and use those abilities to their fullest! I know that I have been, a whole lot more, since Gavin came into our lives!

"O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!" Psalm 68:35

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Great News!

I just spoke with Gavin's ENT doctor. He said that the biopsy came back and it's not a tumor or cancerous! The lab called it "ulcerous inflammation." I am very relieved about this! The doctor sounded quite relieved as well. Gavin will still need surgery to remove it. This will probably take place the beginning of January and will most likely only require a one night stay in the hospital. The only concern that the doctor had was, "How do we keep this from growing again?", since Gavin is obviously doing it to himself by somehow rubbing his teeth on the under side of his tongue. He suggested seeing our dentist and having a bite made for Gavin. I actually laughed when he said this! Gavin doesn't even like tasty food in his mouth! Do you think that he will tolerate a mouth piece?! I guess we'll take it one step at a time.

Thank You for your prayers!

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cup "Half Full"

This is not the post that I had intended to have you read next. I started typing one on Friday, but ran out of time and am now just getting around to finishing it. When I read it this afternoon, I thought to myself; "How negative!" and erased it. It was titled "Caution: Negativity Ahead", but I didn't realize just how negative I was feeling until I reread it. I was feeling quite down at the time and I am still feeling sad about some of the things that I was then, but I am feeling a lot better than I was.

Some of the things that I was feeling sad about are as follows:

Obviously, I was worried and sad about what the growth that Gavin has, could possibly be. I'm still worried, but know that I can't change anything by worrying, so I've relaxed a little bit. We still don't have results of the biopsy and the doctor's office is now saying that we may not know until Friday.

I was also feeling sad about Gavin's development. Last time I told you how sad it is to watch Gavin have to suffer so much, but it's also sad to have to watch him not develop further either. I feel so sad when I see other children his age. He is SO far behind and will be all of his life. The saddest part is that he didn't have to be this far behind. If mistakes weren't made in the hospital, he would not have had a stroke, which did so much damage to his brain. I see other children with Down syndrome and it kills me to think of how much he could be doing right now, if the stroke hadn't occured. Gavin can't do anything for himself and it's really hard to watch your child be like this, especially when it could have been quite different.

Another thing that I've been sad about is how lonely it is raising a child with special needs. People don't and can't possibly get what it's like. There are other moms that I know who "get it", but they are busy raising their own children or so far away that it's impossible to really support one another. Plus, I have to stay couped up so often, trying to make sure that Gavin stays healthy and that's really difficult on one's psyche, especially in the Winter months. I have been blessed with a lot of support from our mothers and some people that I never even thought would be there for us. But, I also feel like we've been forgotten or deserted by some people, who I thought would have definitely been there for us. It's a life changing thing to have a child as fragile as Gavin has been. Everything changes and that is hard to accept sometimes, on so many different levels.

Anyway, these are just a few of the things that I had so negatively wrote about on Friday, but did not post. Saturday I was still feeling very sad and negative, but when I got Gavin dressed for the day, my attitude got a little bit of a lift. I dressed him in his "Half Full" shirt, which got me thinking. Here is a picture of him wearing it:

At first when I put the shirt on him I thought to myself, "A picture of a sippy cup! How dumb! He can't even drink or eat by mouth!" (See, I told you I was feeling negative!) Anyway, then I started thinking about what the shirt really meant. Usually I can truly say that I'm a "cup half full" type of person, but last week that was not the case. I was looking at everything with a "cup half empty" type of attitude. I hated the person that I was last week! So, after I put the shirt on him, I started thinking about why I was feeling so negative. Yes, I do have actual reasons to feel sad and worried, but should I really have had such a bad attitude about it?! NO! Are there things that I can't change that just don't seem fair compared to what others might have? Yes, but that's still not a reason to feel as bad as I did! I have been blessed with so much and instead of thanking God for ALL that He HAS given me, I chose to focus on what I thought wasn't fair. I can feel sad about things, but I should always remember to thank God for everything as well! Now that I'm back to thinking more clearly, I once again can see that, not only is my "cup half full", it's OVERFLOWING! Thank You, God, for Gavin! Thank You for making him just the way that You want him to be! Thank You for the trials that You have given me, because I know that suffering is actually a gift from You! Thank You for loving me enough, even though I'm not always very lovable, to forgive me and always give me what I stand in need of! And most importantly, Thank You for sending Your Son! Life IS Good!

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." John 11:25-26

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

We love you! Thanks for all that you do for us and with us! Hope you have a great day!

Love, Jacob, Nolan, Caleb and Gavin

P.S. Momma loves you too! :)

"As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him." Psalm 103:13

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feeling Sad.....

Gavin had a rough afternoon yesterday when I took him in for his ENT appointment. The doctor seemed quite perplexed over what the growth might be. He thought that it could just be "injury" and inflammation to the tissue under Gavin's tongue, caused by Gavin's teeth rubbing on it. This would be called granuloma. Gavin does grind his teeth occassionally, so this might be possible. Although, it seems hard for me to grasp how he could have created such a large growth, in such a short period of time, in such a hard area to reach with his teeth. The doctor could not really understand this either. The doctor also could not rule out the possibility that this growth could be a tumor. This is where the sadness comes in.

The doctor decided to go ahead and remove part of the growth right then and there, so that it could be sent in for a biopsy. This meant that I had to hold Gavin down while he gave him a shot under the tongue to numb the area. Then after calming him down, I had to hold him down again while the doctor cut out 2 pieces of the growth to be tested. I felt so bad for the little guy! He was just happy as can be before all of this took place and then we come and do this to him!

Next, I had to take him for a blood draw! Which meant that I had to hold him down again, while someone else ruined his day! The sad thing is, Gavin is such a content little guy most of the time. He just hangs out, "talking" and smiling, and even after all of this he forgave us and started to talk and smile soon after. It breaks my heart to see him suffer through so much in his short life! Last night I just woke up crying in the middle of the night, thinking of the pain that he has had to endure and will have to endure! It's hard enough to be a mom and watch your child get hurt or be sick, but with a child like Gavin, it happens way too often! When I think of all that he has been through, it's sufficating. I just wish that I could take it all away from him.

Whether this growth turns out to be cancerous or not, it will need to be removed. This means that he will have ANOTHER surgery and ANOTHER hospitalization. If it is cancerous, then there would be more treatments. If it's not cancerous, then it could just grow back again if he continues to "injure" the area! What then? Another surgery?! The doctor said that the surgery isn't an easy one because of where the growth is and that it must be done carefully.

Gavin has had 5 surgeries, so far, in his 2 years of life. His future will most likely be littered with more surgeries, due to his having a pacemaker and a leaky Mitral valve. He's a sweet little man, who has to go through so much pain! Today I'm sad and thinking of how unfair it is! I love him so much and don't want to see him suffer anymore! I know that we all suffer, but to see it happen with such an innocent person.....It's just hard!

I know that God has a great purpose in Gavin! I know that he has touched my life so much and I know that he was put here on Earth for a reason, but today I'm struggling with why he has to go through so much! Please pray for Gavin and pray for my peace of mind. Pray for God's will to be done in Gavin's life and pray that whatever His will is, that we can faithfully accept it.

The tests should come back by Friday. I'll let you know how they turned out. Thanks for your prayers!

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tomorrow is the day

Tomorrow we have the appointment with the Ear, Nose, Throat doctor to find out what the growth under Gavin's tongue might be. I'll be glad to know what it is, since I find myself thinking worse case scenerio. Although, if it is something bad, I don't really want to know either! The growth has doubled in size and will definitely need to be removed, whatever it is. I assume this means some type of surgery for him in the near future. Please pray that the growth is found to be nothing serious and that Gavin tolerates whatever procedures are necessary.

On top of worrying about this growth, Gavin got sick yesterday and I was a little worried about that as well. He was throwing up and had a bad case of diarrhea. We went through 4 clothing changes yesterday! I put him on Pedialite, instead of his formula, and today he seems to be doing well thankfully! It never seems to be boring around here, yet I find myself bored out of my mind half of the time. I guess it's due to staying couped up inside most of the time and doing the same thing day after day. But, there never seems to be a dull moment with Gavin and his brothers around, that's for sure!

Thanks for your prayers! I'll let you know how the appointment went.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, December 5, 2008

Do you think that if I click my heels together 3 times, I could get back to summer?

I know that this winter weather is absolutely beautiful.........

But, I've had my fill of winter coats, gloves, hats and boots already!

I'm running out of register space to dry all of the boy's winter wear! I'm tired of it taking double the time to leave the house for anything! And, constantly having to dry the floor from melted snow has me feeling kind of grumpy! This morning I told Joel that we were going to have to move to Florida! Anyone want to come with? Some of you may be dreaming of a "White Christmas", but I'm dreaming of Hawaii!

I was feeling frustrated by all of this the other day, while cleaning it all up, when I thought to myself; "Someday you will miss all of this." So, I took a picture of all of it, to look at when I'm longing for the craziness someday. It helped my perspective for the moment, but then it all started over again this morning getting them ready for school! One positive to Gavin not walking: no boots to put on him or clean up after! Anyway, just wondering if any of you are feeling the same way.

Also, I thought of more reasons why giving gifts to those in the hospital, instead of getting a bunch of gifts, is really a selfish thing:

1. I have less thinking to do about what to buy for gifts. I bought numerous of the same items for all of them!
2. I don't have many presents to wrap this year, since we are putting all of the gifts in canvas bags.
3. I won't spend the few days after Christmas trying to open children's toys! Have you ever noticed what a pain it is to open those packages?!
4. I won't have to try to find a spot for all of those toys!
5. Did I mention how much joy we are getting out of this?! You should try it some time!

Oh, I forgot one more reason why I'm fed up with the Winter weather; having to listen to the boys complain about shoveling all this snow! Next time you see me, remind me that I'm really going to miss these days when they get older! :) Happy shoveling to all of you! I'm going to try to think of the following as I drudge through this season:

"For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land." Song Of Solomon 2:11

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Proud Momma!

Let me start off this post by saying that there are many times throughout each day that I think to myself, "Where have Joel and I gone wrong as parents?" Our boys are great, but they are constantly doing something that raises my blood pressure and makes me wonder if they will ever turn out to be decent young men. This week I was blessed to be able to see the depth of their character.

This year Joel and I were talking about doing something different to celebrate the holidays. We knew that we wanted to 'give back' in some way, but we weren't sure how. We have always been so blessed and, quite frankly, spoiled this time of year. Our boys are given so much, being the only grandchildren on my side and always get way too many presents and I often go away from the holiday season feeling overwhelmed and somewhat miserable. This year I knew that I wanted to do something in a more giving manner and to really celebrate this season in the way that it should be celebrated. I just didn't know how. Then I read a post,(November 20, titled; "No more excuses, Be there"), of a dear blogger friend of mine at She wrote about how it felt to be in the hospital with her son a year ago and that we should be there for others going through a difficult time. All of the feelings that I felt while in the hospital with Gavin came flooding back, and right then and there, I knew what we should do! Thanks Jessica for the inspiration!

Anyway, we decided to make 'goodie bags' for patients and their families in the Pediatric ICU, where Gavin spent a lot of time. My mom is helping us with this and we decided that the items that we should put in the bags, are items that we seemed to use a lot of during our hospital stays. Things such as: gum, mints, lotion, chapstick, thank you cards, a fleece blanket, and a small stuffed animal for the child. I know how emotionally draining and depressing it is to be in the hospital with your child. I know how important it was for me to be shown kindness during that time. I also know how much more difficult the days were during holidays. So, we thought this was a perfect idea and way to celebrate the holiday season.

Now, back to our boys. We decided to use the money that we would normally have spent on giving Christmas gifts, to pay for these gift bags. This meant that we needed to ask family and friends to please not buy anything for our family this year, because we would not be buying gifts for those that we usually would. Telling a child that they would not be getting any gifts?!, I wasn't sure how well this would go over! I knew that Jacob would be on board with our idea since he kept telling people that he didn't want anything for Christmas, but I wasn't sure about Nolan and Caleb. I told them our plan and asked what they thought about it.....Nolan said, "Great idea!" and Caleb said, "That's O.K., we have enough toys already." I must say, I was surprised by their answers. They are so excited helping me buy things and coming up with ideas! And, they seem totally cool with not getting any gifts! This makes me feel so proud and makes me think that maybe, just maybe, Joel and I are doing a few things right in raising them! Don't feel too bad for them, about not getting any gifts, they will be getting a couple of things from us. (SHH! Don't tell them!) I always shop throughout the year, so I had already bought some items before we started talking about this idea.

If you are thinking that this is an unselfish thing for us to do, think again! I've decided that it may be more selfish than I thought! We are getting way too much joy out of this, for it to be unselfish. Plus, we always felt a little weird when others did so much for us during our days in the hospital, so this is a way for us to give back just a small amount of what was given to us. For all of you who showed us kindness during our trying time, please know that we have so much gratitude for you! God blessed us so much with you!

Also, friends and family, we meant it when we said that we wanted NOTHING this year! If you feel that you need to give, then give it to someone who needs it more than we do! Thanks for understanding!

As for being proud of Gavin, he did awesome during physical therapy yesterday! Momma was so proud of him! He sat up better than he ever has! Now, don't get too excited, he is FAR from sitting up on his own, but he was trying. I wish that I got pictures of him during it, but I didn't. But, he didn't fall over to the side like he normally does and you could tell that he was working hard and seemed to even enjoy it! It's exciting to see him make even the littlest bit of progress, especially since many of his doctors have basically told us not to expect much more from him, due to the severity of the stroke that he had. So, needless to say, I'm a proud mom today! Thank You God for the little things...actually, Thank You God for everything!

"Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches." Galatians 6:6

Monday, December 1, 2008

New exercise program

I have a new exercise program. It's not working for my figure, but it sure does get my heart rate up and sweat forming on my brow! You have no idea how hard it is to get a decent picture of Gavin! I probably spent half an hour getting the pictures above. None of them turned out that great, but you should have seen the ones that I deleted(about 25 of them!) I am so thankful for digital cameras! If we had Gavin before digital cameras, we would never have gotten a good picture or we would have gone broke in the process!

He doesn't crawl or walk, so it's not like he can get away! Yet, he's ALWAYS moving! He rarely looks at the camera. He's always turning his head. He doesn't sit up, so I prop him up, but he wiggles around so much and ends up falling over or slipping down! He's a tough one to get to smile and when he does smile he's usually 'talking' and making his happy sounds, so his mouth is wide open! Ugh! I'm stubborn though, and I don't quit until I get at least one decent picture! This is where the exercise comes in. I am seriously sweating by the end of our photo shoots! This is why Gavin has had so few professional pictures taken. Which reminds me, I need to do this soon! Say some prayers for me and the photographer please! And, if you ever want some good exercise, come over and see how well you can do! :)

"But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:7&8