Tuesday, April 30, 2013


We are getting into a sort of routine.  John and I have decided that we want to meet every nurse that cares for our children which means that we need to go at least once on the day shift and once on the night shift.  Usually I am spending 2-3 hours there a day, and John is stopping by during his work day. Then, one of us (or both if we have a sitter) will go back up for a while at night after the older girls are in bed.  We want to just be around our sweet William and Violet and hold them when we can and give them bottles when we can.  They tire very easily, and so today, they were mostly sleeping and getting tube fed.  Such is the life - you lay there sleeping and have food delivered straight to your belly.  Bless their sweet hearts.

Here's William with his eyes open - we have just seen them a few times!


And, here are Violet and I a few days ago.  She is just precious and cuddly and wonderful.  I plan on putting bows on her as soon as she weighs enough to get into the crib with brother.  (in case you were wondering . . .)  She has way more hair than Lily and Bella ever did.


The nurses have been truly wonderful.  They seem genuinely delighted about all of our circumstances and the way that God put us all together.  We have met lots of different nurses and been so pleased with all of them.  We also found out that we will have to spend the night there with them before we are allowed to take them home.  I guess keeping other kids alive at home is not good enough.  But, we do understand, and I am thankful that they want to make sure we know what to do.

It hit me today that these children are really ours (eek!  still amazing!), and I need to switch gears on what I do with my time when I am not at the hospital.  Like I should clean out the nursery closet and put Lily and Bella's stuff together in what will soon be their shared room.  I would like to decorate the twins' room.  I should sleep some more just for fun.  I am trying to regroup and wrap my mind around having four kids and the logistics that entails.

Before the sweet babes were born, I had scheduled Lily and Bella for their first dentist appointment for today.  Lily is a little past due, and Bella is a little early.  I wanted them on the same schedule, so we did it all in one fell swoop today.

I made the extremely poor choice of scheduling it at 2 p.m.  That is smack in the middle of nap time.  Now, let the record show that neither girl ever naps during nap time, but I am beginning to see (since I have been frequently disrupting it since the twins' arrival) that their daily time alone is so good for them.

In spite of that, Lily did beautifully at the dentist.  She was a model patient.


The TVs on the ceiling playing cartoons definitely helped.  Bella was much less cooperative, which is what the dentist said he would expect from a 2.5 year old.  We did finally manage to get her into a chair with me watching The Little Mermaid on the ceiling.  Just what I was hoping for my afternoon to look like.  She screamed through her exam, but he was able to see all of her teeth.


After they both got a clean bill of dental health, they got to pick out toys.  Lily picked a rubber snake, and Bella picked a car.  I tried to gently steer Lily away from the snake, because I loathe snakes.  But that's what she wanted, and she had done so well that I couldn't refuse her on the grounds that I just don't like snakes.

I had told the girls that we could get ice cream as a reward.  (I didn't realize they would be getting toys when I dangled this treat out there.)  I made another poor choice and took them to get McFlurries.  Which should really just be called McMessies for a two and four year old.  It required a full outfit change when we got home.

In the picture below, you can catch a bit of the sour attitude that Bella carried through the afternoon.  Also, you can see a bit of what was about to be my low point during this outing.


Lily had been struggling with the crazy spoons that they give out, and she opted to use her toy snake's flicking tongue as a spoon and started to eat ice cream off of that.  Oh. My. Gross.  At that point, I told the girls they had one more minute to eat as much ice cream as they could before we cut our ice cream losses and headed home.


And that wore me plum out.  Lord help me when I have them all home, and I mean that sincerely.  I will need a lot of the Lord's help, sustenance and patience to take care of four kids four and under.  People will tell me all of the time, "You've got your hands full."  And they will be right.

Monday, April 29, 2013


We are so pleased to introduce our sweet miracle babies to you all.


Violet Ann was born at 5:18 p.m. and weighed 3 lbs 11 oz.


We've seen her eyes open a lot more than her brother's.  She is a bit more active, but because she is smaller, she has had to stay in the incubator for longer.  Which means we aren't able to hold her as often.  But, we love nestling her when we can, and she is doing so well.  We love love love our bonus daughter.  Though we thought there would be two boys, we really were pleased to find out that we got another girl.  God had put "baby girl Violet" in my heart for almost a year, even though we were pursuing getting boys.  Now I can see why.

William Joshua was born at 5:19 p.m. and weighed 4 lbs 11 oz.  As the nurses say, "he got all the groceries."


When he raises his eyebrows, his entire forehead wrinkles.  His chin is adorably dimpled when he is sleeping soundly.  He is a bit lighter than Violet, but from what we understand, they will both get a darker skin tone as they get older.  He's taken more bottles than Violet, and he is staying in an open crib now.  Once Violet gains a few more ounces, she will get to move in there with him.  His face is extremely expressive, and it is fun to see their little personalities develop.  William was my father's middle name, so it is special to be able to honor him.  We are delighted to have a son!

By all accounts, both babies are doing incredibly well.  God has been so gracious to all of us.  We need each other - these babies and us, and I am thankful that God saw fit to make us family.

Thanks for sharing in our joy!  We are forever grateful for the prayers and love that have been poured out on our family during this time.  I tear up even now just writing about it again.

Here's a sweet video of Lily and Bella singing "Jesus Loves Me" to Violet.  You will need to turn up the volume all the way to hear it, but it is one of the most precious things ever.  They are smitten with their new siblings.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gifts.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


We are certainly learning the ways of having babies in the NICU.  We get there and call back to announce ourselves as parents of the twins.  They buzz the doors open.


We go back to our corner suite.  Baby boy is in an open crib now and can be held whenever we are there.  Baby girl is still in her incubator and growing every day.  They are both starting to take some of their feedings from a bottle, though it wears them out, and they still get many feeds through their tubes.


They are wearing clothes now that their IVs are out, and it makes them feel more like healthy babies who will come home with us.  We have new nurses every 12 hours, though there have been some repeats.  Everyone has been so kind, and I am so thankful that they were born in the same hospital as Lily and Bella.  I was actually born there as well, amazingly enough.

There is nothing that can be hurried.  They just need to grow and develop and that takes time.  But, they are doing so well, and we thank God every time we hear new reports about their progress.  It is amazing.  Hopefully I will be able to share names and pictures of them tomorrow night.  They are beyond precious, and we are excited to introduce them!

Today, we took the girls to see Disney on Ice.  Because of all that is going on, I messed up the time, and we arrived 30 minutes late.  However, we still got a good amount of princess skating, and the girls were enthralled.


Tonight, I will be headed back to Camp NICU.  Looking forward to baby holding!

Friday, April 26, 2013


We've realized that we are in the middle of the eye of the storm right now.  We weathered a storm to find out whether or not these children would be ours, and it will feel stormy again once we bring home tiny newborn twins.  But right now, we are living in the eye.

Things are good in the eye.

It is a whole new world learning to reorient our lives around when we are able to hold the babies and trying to maximize time with them while also balancing time with our older girls.  And, those things are challenging.  But, we have round the clock care for these babies right now, so we are getting good sleep at night.  Knowing that will not be the case indefinitely, we are relishing the sleep.  (Though we are anxiously awaiting when we get to bring them home and start being a family of 6.  SIX.  How did that happen?)

The babies are doing marvelously well.  Each day we learn of new miracles, and we thank God for his graciousness to them and to us.  Someday soon, I plan on writing out many of the ways that we have seen God's hand.  He has been in the details on this, and I am reveling in the ways that he pieced us together.  I love seeing him work.

They are getting feedings through a tube, and today the amounts they were getting per feeding almost doubled - to almost an ounce at each feeding.  This premie thing is a new ball game - especially since our last baby, Bella, weighed 8 lb. 11 oz. when born.  We are on a whole different growth curve this time.


This was my view most of today.


We are taking people up on their offers to keep Lily and Bella and trying to take time with these sweet new ones.  Quality time is one of my main love languages, and it is helping me bond just to sit in their room.  Parents also get to check their temperature and change diapers, so we have done that as often as possible.

People are starting to filter up to the hospital to meet our little bundles of joy.  One person in particular came up, and I was so happy to see her.  This is the friend that connected us with this family.  God used her in a mighty way to help place these babies with us, and I will be forever grateful!  Thanks, Micaiah!


Tonight we had planned to bring the girls back up to say goodnight.  However, when we arrived at our friends' house to pick them up, Lily was asleep in a chair.  Since she never naps, we knew something was up, and she had a fever of 102.  Poor girl.  (Also, poor friend who was keeping our kiddos, along with hers.  I hope your kids do not get sick, Keri!  So sorry!)


We got her some medicine (which helped her feel tremendously better), and I have been at home with the girls since then.  John is up at the hospital taking turns holding our other babies.  It is still unbelievable to type that.

So yeah - that is what the eye of the storm is looking like right now.  People have asked if I am nervous or scared to bring home the twins.  Either foolishly or not, it is the next step that we are pushing for.  We know it will be hard - probably in ways that we aren't able to predict.  (Except the lack of sleep part.)  But, I know that God will equip us for each day as it comes, and we will get more opportunities to lean on him.  Until then, we live in the eye.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Our life feels like a surreal alter reality.  A good one.  We are still in shock and awe at what God has worked and is continuing to work.  All day today I ran between the hospital and wherever Lily and Bella were.  We aren't moving into the NICU, but we will definitely be spending a lot of time there.  Here are baby boy's precious feet.


They are doing so well, which continues to show us how God answers our prayers.  We are learning about IVs, feeding tubes and oxygen levels.  It looks like they will have at least two weeks in the hospital, if not more.  But they are healthy!  Miracles never cease.


Our girls got to meet their new brother and sister today.  They were really sweet with them, though at times, they may have been more interested in popping the little doors of the babies' beds open and shut.  Lily decided another good name for one of the babies would be "Pickle."  So, we have Pickle and Applesauce at the hospital.

While at the hospital, we discovered some good friends were there in labor.  It was so fun to see them, and we are hoping to meet their newest addition tomorrow!


After a quick dinner, we took the girls back up to the hospital to do some of their night time routine at the hospital with their new siblings.  John read them the "Jesus Storybook Bible" from his iPhone.


We are nesting a tiny bit at home, and John assembled the bassinet for our room.  It has been such a whirlwind and so unsure that we have done very little to prepare.  The good news is that we have time before the babies come home, and really, babies "need" very little when it comes down to it.


We are in love with these new little blessings.  Something about the way that we have fought for them and that God has placed us all together as a family is incredibly bonding.  Holding them is a real joy.  We are so thankful and continue to praise the Lord for the good work he has done.  He is so good.  Even if it had turned out differently (or if something else comes up), he would be so good, but so far, it seems to be turning out in a way that brings us much joy.  Amazing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


There really aren't enough words in the world or hours in the day to record what this day has felt like from beginning to end.  We are exhausted, but in the best kind of way.  Today we got to meet our babies, and we have a great deal of reason to believe they are truly to be ours.  Amazing.  Paperwork is signed.

God moved mountains today on behalf of these children to place them in our family.  We truly stand amazed and in awe of the work we have watched unfold today, and we are so thankful and blessed.  And maybe a bit delirious with joy.  We have shed many tears of joy today.


The girls are excited, though they don't really understand what is happening.  We will take them to meet the babies tomorrow.  Lily is very excited that we got a sister in with this deal!  They had an awesome night hanging out with friends when we got the word that we could go to the hospital and meet them.


Our babies will be in the hospital for a while longer.  I will wait until the adoption is finalized before posting any pictures of them, but they are precious.  We will have a whole new life learning about getting them to where they can come home, hopefully in a couple of weeks.  Holding them and loving on them tonight was a sweet gift from God.  They are such tiny little loves!

This sweet woman of God is the babies grandmother who has fought for them and prayed for them and loved them fiercely.  We are so thankful to welcome her into our lives.


And now, we are headed to bed.  We need to get our sleep now, while we can.  It will only be a matter of time before it is even harder to come by than normal.

This road is not finished.  There are things that could happen to make this go awry, but with every passing detail and day, those things are lessened.

Thank you for your prayers from the very bottom of our hearts.  God is bigger than any mountains we may be looking to climb.  We are humbled and amazed and praising him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Last night at 8:30 p.m., I was typing a blog post and John was working on his computer.  We were about to watch the newest recorded episode of the Amazing Race.  We had gotten Lily and Bella to bed after a lovely evening walk where they put on a display of why it is fun to have a 2 and a 4 year old.  They sang songs in unison, enjoyed wildflowers and giggled continuously.


My phone was in the other room, but I heard the distinct "Boing."  I set a separate ring tone for the babies grandmother so that I would know.  I'm so glad I did that.  She told me her daughter had gone to the hospital (a different one than we thought she would), and that she was waiting for details on what had happened.


More details - the babies were born!  There is one boy and one girl (surprises keep coming).  They seem to be doing well, though they are in the NICU.

We are being extremely guarded with the girls - they have no idea that babies who may join our family were born.  This morning, I asked Lily, "What would you think if instead of getting two brothers, you got a brother and a sister?"  Lily said, "I want a sister!  Then there would be three sisters!"
I then floated the name that we have thought of for a girl to see what she thought of it.  Lily was not a fan of our name, and when I asked what she thought a sister should be named she said, "Applesauce!"
4 year olds are awesome.

Today, John and I headed to the hospital - knowing we most likely would not be able to see them.  Legally, we have no rights in their lives at this point, and I understand that.  But, if we are to be their parents, I want to be able to tell them that we at least went up to the hospital as soon as we could.  We prayed for them there.  We are fighting for them.


There are so many details to all of this, most of them not appropriate to share in a public forum.  We don't yet know if these babies will become our children.  We are hopeful, and we have reason to hope.  God's hand continues to be evident in little and big miracles and "coincidences" along this path.

As it stands right now, we are waiting on a lot of legal stuff.  We need God's favor with a judge.  We need continued support from the hospital.  We believe that God has brought us along this journey, and no matter what, he will be glorified in it.  I love that about God, and I am thankful to see him at work like this.  He knows what is best for all of us, and I am choosing to rest in that.  Though this could still end in a way that I may not understand or like right now, I do trust that God has all of our best interests at heart.

So, now it is time to wait some more.  Thanks for praying and please keep it up!  I can feel the prayers of the saints being prayed on our behalf and on behalf of these children, and I know God is sustaining us through them.

(The beginning of this story is in this post, in case you missed it.)


We arrived in Siloam late Friday night.  True's party was slated for Saturday afternoon, so we spent a lot of Saturday helping with party prep and just hanging out with family.  Oh it was fun.
The girls enjoyed a walk with Nana and Papa.


Then, they enjoyed emptying all of Ellen's food storage containers with their cousins.  (True was chasing a rolling bowl and is not pictured.)
Everyone helped blow up balloons and play with them.




Then it was time for the actual party, which was so much fun.  They enjoyed the treats.


Nana and Uncle Mike helped Bella with her cupcake.
There was milk mustache posing.
Bella did some crying and running to Papa's arms.  He was very willing to cooperate.


After the party, we headed to JBU for the guys to play a little frisbee golf, and the girls to walk a path that leads around campus.  The weather was gorgeous, and everyone enjoyed their activities.
Here's my bro getting ready to load sweet Max up into the car.  They are precious and cause my heart to burst with love and also pride at how great my brother is at being a dad.
My heart also experiences love bursting when I look at these three.  They were racing to a car.  Watching Bella run is truly a privilege.  She was so intent and precious.


It was a great Saturday in Siloam, and I am thankful for the relaxing time with family.  Sunday on the Buffalo was a little less relaxing, but you live and you learn.  It was a great weekend.


You all know I love a good themed birthday party, and Ellen delivered the goods this weekend celebrating her son, True's first birthday.  We got the call about True's birth while we were in Thailand, and this year, it was fun to ring it in with him!


Birthday boy on his birthday morning, chewing on packing tape.  Naturally.


Theme for the party: Milk and Cookies.  It turned out wonderfully.

Here's the door - that is actually salt in the milk jugs.


Milk Table.  (That is actually milk to drink and not fake salt milk.  In case you were concerned.)


Cookie Table.  I didn't get a picture of all the different kinds of cookies.  There were 8 or more to choose from.


Plus cupcakes and milk mustaches.  There were healthy food options as well, but the picture isn't as cute, so I am not showing those.


She had wanted to do a chalkboard with some of his stats and favorite things.  We decided at the last minute to write on the mirror with a dry erase marker.  It turned out really cute.  (P.S.  It was hard to photograph, and I made up the stats since he hasn't had his one year appointment yet.)


People came in droves to celebrate.


Then, it was cake time - an important rite of passage for any one year old.  True was obviously stoked about it.  He is the smiliest baby in the world.


The fire made him a bit nervous.


He did recover and enjoy the cake once he realized it was pure, sugary fun and that his mother would let her eat it off of her fingers.


On the way out, people were instructed to sign the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book.


And grab a cookie, made by yours truly.


It was so fun to be there and celebrate - Happy Birthday baby True!