Thursday, December 31, 2009
If you had asked me when I was in 5th grade what I wanted to be when I grow up, this is what I would have told you:
I would go to college and get a degree in Chemistry and a teaching certificate.
I would marry a good friend
I would teach high school for 5 years after college and then I would have kids
I would like to have a boy and a girl and then be done, but if I didn't get one of each, then maybe a third would be negotiable
I would then be a stay-at-home mom and my life would be complete.
As I went through high school and college, others may have given answers about traveling the world or finding world peace or becoming president or something, but (aside from a brief flirtation with Psychology instead of Chemistry during my 9th grade year) my answer never changed.
I never had any bigger dreams than this.
And I have to tell you something honestly and from the bottom of my heart today.
I am absolutely living my dream come true. I love my kids, I love my husband, they all 3 love me, what more could I possibly want?
Thank you Jesus for all the blessings you've given me and my family and help us learn how to live out our lives like you want them to be lived during this new year.
God bless you! Happy new year!!!!!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Charlie got a Tonka front-loader and another Tonka dumptruck to add to his fleet, so Daddy said it was ok to take them outside for snow removal purposes.
So Emma and I stay inside and be lovely ladies ...
And today when Daddy had to go back to work, the kids got to just be kids :)
not really sure what the stickers are on his arm, but aren't my kids cute together?!?!?! :)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Actually, it started a couple of months ago. Our Children's Pastor (and friend) Jeff sent out an e-mail to a bunch of moms asking us if we would be interested in helping out with the children's Christmas musical that would be going on this season at Valley.
Now there were 2 things I didn't realize at that point:
1) that he didn't mean help DIRECT the musical ... I was picturing baking cookies and helping little shepherds put their costumes on the night of ..
2) that his wife (who actually has formal musical training and experience directing children's Christmas musicals ... unlike me ...) was going to have a scheduled C-section for baby #7 (!!!!!) 2 days after the musical was scheduled and would therefore (WISELY) not be helping.
So I agreed to help
There were 9 songs and I would be in charge of teaching and directing 3 or 4 of them ....
I actually had a great time at all rehearsals. The music was fun and the kids had a blast as well.
But the performance was AWESOME!
And when I say that ... well, I mean that a large part of the performance was intentionally awesome. The kids did a great job knowing their lines and singing their hearts out. I was so proud of them
But there were a few moments that were unintentionally, accidentally, chaotically, hilariously AWESOME :)
First, I loved that Pastor Dave wore a BRIGHT blue bathrobe thing in an attempt at authentic Biblical garb.
Second, a young lad who was supposed to be interrupted by a slightly older young lady got interrupted by said young lady at the wrong spot and turned and announced that he "WASN'T DONE WITH HIS LINE YET!" then he repeated his line. Later, when she was SUPPOSED to interrupt him, she was too scared to do it, so he said his line again. and again. and again.
Third, and perhaps my favorite, was the manger scene, which was to be acted out by preschoolers. Eli and Isabel, siblings who are both 3, were Mary and Joseph. Mary started out holding the baby (doll), but then .... um ... gently handed him to Joseph when her blue veil started to fall off. Charlie was a Shepherd and walked on stage in his Yoda costume holding a staff and singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" right up until Mary showed an interest in said staff ... Charlie wasn't giving it up, though ... thankfully they both moved on just in time for the angels, wise men, and sheep to start wandering around in MASS chaos right on top of the (covered) baptistry. They didn't fall in. Eli and Isabel's mom and I were both in directors chairs and thanking our lucky stars that were were not supposed to be directing at this moment, because we were both laughing so hard we cried :)
There was one more very funny moment, which occurred thanks to the only adult on stage, but I'll let him tell about it on his own blog:
I have to say, our church has had it's share of sorrow during this holiday season and God totally showed up on this night. It was delightful, hilarious, and refreshing. I love the kids, and I love a God who knows that laughter is good medicine :)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Our church services were cancelled due to the weather, so we packed everyone up a day early and went to my mom's house. If we're going to be snowed in, we figured, at least let's all be together!
We ate way too much and even had a little church service in the living room (Charlie prayed, it was pretty cute). It was wonderful.
The kids got so many wonderful presents! I'll post pictures at some point, and they still have one more round of Christmas with Josh's side of the family, but so far we have been so blessed by so many incredibly thoughtful presents for our kids. Seriously, family, good work!
And you should SEE Emma these days!!! Holy cow!
She's become so much more social. When someone walks into a room that she knows, she'll lunge for them and want to play with their nose of teeth or necklaces or whatever she can get her hands on! :)
Speaking of which, I've started saying 'no' to her about things like pulling off people's glasses. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't ... jury's still out on that one, but Mommy instinct says it's time to try.
But for those of you not on Facebook, I'll brag about her IEP meeting last week:
We missed a school district visit because of surgery, so the last time they saw Emma she was working on getting into sitting from lying down by herself.
So they were pretty darn surprised (read: blown away, teary-eyed, SQUEALED with delight...) when they saw Emma transition herself from lying down to sitting up to pulling up to stand on the couch to CRUISING along the couch all by herself. They had come to discuss her therapy plans for the next 6 months and had a rough draft of what they had assumed her goals were going to be, but they said they were going to have to throw that away because she'd already met all those goals!
I'm so proud of my girl.
She's still showing signs of hearing better, although I'm hesitant to say we're at %100. We'll see when we meet with her audiologist in a week or two.
All in all, it was an excellent Christmas!
Monday, December 21, 2009
The music video on this DVD was the new "Give this Christmas Away" song with Amy Grant and it showed images of children receiving Operation Christmas Child toys. Charlie asked about them, and we agreed that we would go and get a toy.
If you ask Charlie about this picture, he will tell you without prompting that he picked out a truck to give "to a boy who doesn't have as much as we do."
I'm pretty comfortable with my choice of stories to tell the little dude.
And I'm pretty proud of him.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Only 6 more days of stupid arm splints for Emma. But I haven't even had to give her any tylenol today, which is helping her tummy feel better and telling me that she's recovering nicely.
Charlie is DEFINITELY ready for life to get back to normal. He got to see some of his friends at church a couple of times this week, and I could tell he was really hungry for that.
Emma is acting like someone popped a bubble that has been around her head for the past year. More eye contact, more social, more "talking," more moving ... you wouldn't think hearing better would help a person's motor skills, but it's seriously as if Emma has realized that the world is a lot bigger and more "explorable" than she thought! She's all over the place! It's awesome! I'm not ready to say that her hearing is perfect or anything yet, but I definitely see a difference in my baby girl.
She still has to keep EVERYTHING out of her mouth for one more week, and then I'm really interested to see how eating goes for her.
And since some of you asked ...
the background story from my last post is that there is a family in our church who lost twin boys this week. they were in the hospital at the same time emma was and we were praying for each other. the boys were delievered at 22 wks gestation and did not survive. it breaks my heart, but i know that God is good all the time, even when sometimes the answer to prayers is 'no.' please pray for this family in this difficult time?
we're all starting to get into the Christmas spirit, too. We're doing our best to make sure Charlie understands the true meaning of CHRISTmas, and I think it may be working ... last week we were talking about Christmas lights and he said that it was Christmas time and that means baby Jesus' birthday is coming up.
I said, "you're right, and that means we'll be getting together to celebrate with our family and ..."
he interrupted and said, "Yeah! and Jesus would like a PURPLE birthday cake."
no idea where that came from
but we're TOTALLY going to bake baby Jesus a birthday cake this year! :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
IT'S NOT FAIR!!!
It's not fair that I have to tape splints to Emma's arms every day and she hates it and she cries.
It's not fair that I have to change her Mickey button and she hates it and she cries
It's not fair that I have to do so many things that make my baby cry.
It's not fair that Charlie's life hasn't been normal for SEVERAL weeks now, but every night he prays and thanks Jesus for helping Emma feel better.
But it's also not fair that Emma gets to hear and others don't
It's not fair that she has 10 fingers and 10 toes
It's not fair that we get our prayers answered 'yes' when we all know that sometimes the answer is 'no'
It's not fair that I get to keep her and some friends today had to say goodbye.
It's JUST NOT FAIR
Friday, December 11, 2009
He’s got a very self-confident sense of humor to go along with this reputation, and that’s fine. He respects Josh’s and my expertise as Emma’s primary care-givers and beyond that, he can be as cocky as he wants to.
Now, let’s be clear: in all of Emma’s pre-op appointments, NO ONE thought that her ears were big enough for tubes.
So when Dr S came to talk to us after being able to get tubes in both Emma's ears on Wednesday, you know what he said? “Who’s your daddy!”
Hee Hee :)
Cuz, see, my Heavenly Daddy (who, by the way, made the universe from scratch), lovingly crafted those ears in her Mama’s womb and has been faithful to continue the good work He began in Emma from the beginning.
He set the stars into motion and He has protected Emma from serious illness.
He made snowflakes and sunrises and gave me more blessings than I'm going to even try to number.
He listened to the prayers of His people and answered them ALL
One by one, each and every prayer for Emma’s surgery was answered COMPLETELY!
NO difficulty with intubation, tubes in both ears, GI scope looks great, palate repaired, and she even appears to Josh and I to be hearing remarkably better!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
In other words,
BOO-YAH! Who’s your Daddy?
We cannot express how thankful we are for all your prayers.
After the hand-off on Wednesday (which does NOT get easier as kids get older!) , we waited in the family waiting room where nurses can call parents during surgery. It was actually a little bit fun to watch the blessings roll in one after another
First our anesthesiologist (not our ENT) came in surprisingly quickly to tell us that Emma was under and ready for surgery without any issues – IV in the first poke and intubation in on the first try. I might have accused him of lying :)
Then we got a phone call (that's how they communicate between the OR and the family waiting room) that tubes were in both ears and quite a bit of fluid drained out when that happened. I cried.
Then her GI doc come in less than 10 min later to tell us his part was done.
The palate repair took remarkably longer, but once we heard that was done, it was not very long until her anesthesiologist came to tell us that we could come back into the recovery room to be with Emma … I felt badly for the family next to us who were just told that couldn’t do that, most parents aren’t allowed back there, but I guess our docs took pity on us or something :)
But here’s the coolest blessing: As Emma started to wake up more and more on Wednesday night, she got more and more fussy and agitated that so much was different for her. One time when she was particularly fussy, I was holding her and waiting for the nurse to come back with some morphine and I decided to try to calm her with a lullaby. As soon as I started singing, she stopped dead in her tracks … instantly calmed, as if she was thinking “Whoa, wait a minute, what on earth is that beautiful sound?!?!” (ok, so maybe not beautiful ... ) Then she snuggled in and settled down. Josh and I both had tears streaming down our checks as we told her we loved her and realized that it was the first time we were CERTAIN she was hearing us.
We're all pretty exhausted and we're still trying to figure out how to manage several aspects of Emma's recovery (not the least of which being that we can't keep those splints on her little arms), but we have not lost sight of how blessed we are.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thanks for praying the Watczak family through a tough week!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
But being stuck in the house for a week and a half DOES mean good quality time with our kids! :)
Whatcha lookin at, big brother?
Daddy put the Christmas decorations up!
Charlie's first cup of hot chocolate
It's nice to have a man around the house
We're lighting advent candles and reading the story of Jesus from Luke 2 everyday during advent (although we got a bit of a late start ...), just like my mom used to do with us when we were kids!
Move over, Linus! (ok, so maybe this is memorized from our church's musical and not the Gospel of Luke, but you get the idea! :))
She's been taking a couple of steps cruising along the back of the couch lately, but it's not a terribly mastered skill, so hard to catch on video. Either way, STINKIN cute! :)
And here's Emma's new sitting up skills. She CAN get all the way up to sitting straight, just didn't in this particular case :)
So that's it, that's what we've been up to! You'll hear from me tomorrow, I'm sure! :)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I just wanted to let you all know what we are specifically praying for:
- We haven't left the house all week except for doctors appts, so we're praying that we'll all be healthy by Wednesday. If Emma is sick, surgery is cancelled.
- Becky is really dreading the "hand off" moment, where the pre-op exam is complete and we have to hand Emma over. We can't be there when she is put under. I know many parents can, but they are anticipating a very difficult intubation and they don't want us there for that. So Emma will be awake and looking at me when I hand her over ... she's gonna give me a "where am I going?" look, I just know it ... so please pray for peace at that point?
- Medically the hardest part about Wednesday is the size of everything. Emma's airways are small, even for someone Emma's size, so please pray for God to keep her safe.
- Please pray for Emma's doctors; Dr S is her ENT, Dr A is her GI doc. I'm praying that they have a good night's sleep the night before! :)
- The first thing they are going to try is ear tubes. Our pediatrician tried to look in her ears this week to see if Emma had an ear infection and couldn't see past her right ear canal because the canal was so small. Please pray that, if it is God's will, Emma can get tubes in at least one of her ears.
- Next we have our GI doc putting a scope down Emma's throat to look around. Please pray that this procedure is without incident, as they expect it to be, and pray that the results give us answers about whether Emma's GI issues really are resolved with her new meds.
- Lastly, our ENT will repair Emma's palate. With Emma's type of cleft, he anticipates that this will be the only surgery necessary to repair her mouth. Please pray that the repair is complete and that we will never have to worry about this again!
- Emma will be pretty uncomfortable and pretty ticked for a couple of days, winning her and at least one of her parents a 2-3 night stay at the luxurious Spa de Children's Hospital to recover from the procedure. Please pray that she not get sick! Hospitals are not healthy places this time of year!!!
- And finally, please pray for the long-term recovery. Just because Emma's mouth will be repaired doesn't mean that she will just instantly eat orally, but it does make therapy a little easier. And even if Dr S is able to get tubes in Emma's ears, that doesn't necessarily mean that her hearing loss will be instantly fixed (although it is possible it will help and that would certainly be nice!)
We check in at the hospital at 7:15, her procedure should be around 8:45, and she won't be done for at least 3 hours. Charlie's going to Nana's for the rest of the week, for which I am very grateful!!
Again, we are so blessed by all of our friends and family praying for our wonderful little Emma! Thank you thank you thank you!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Emma convinced her pediatrician this afternoon that she is on track to be healthy by Wednesday, so she's cleared for surgery!......as long as she gets/stays healthy. Now starts Daddy's weekend of seclusion. Time to get Mommy out of the house.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
And really, it had been several months since we'd had to put Emma in the awful torture chamber to get an upright chest x-ray. All 3 of us were really missing that experience...
She has bronchitis.
This doesn't mean surgery is definitely out of the question, though. She's on a 5-day course of antibiotics to hopefully clear up everything and her pediatrician and I are going to "wait and see" before making a decision about next Wednesday.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Charlie requested to "just go to bed" at 6:00 tonight. He had a fever of over 102!
Emma is acting a little less sick (although both clearly have colds!), but she has a fever of 100.6 ...
So we're stuck in the house until Friday, when we have to go see our PWIL (hmmm, changing our Pediatrician Who I Love to an acronym doesn't really work well, does it?). She needs to sign off that Emma is healthy enough for surgery on the 9th.
So I'm praying for sanity for me and health for the kids!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
UP: He's figured out how to read short words! I'm so proud!! I can write CAT or DOG or DAD or PLOP in front of him, remind him to sound it out, and he can figure out which word it is! Go, Charlie!
FRUSTRATION: He's in a tough stage right now. I've heard it said, "terrific twos, terrible threes" and I think we're well on our way there. He's not quite 3 yet, but he's SO in that "not technically defiant but REALLY pushing the envelope" phase. If you ask him to go clear his place at the table, he will immediately start heading in that direction ... the slowest way possible (moonwalking backwards, anyone?)
So I'm just venting. It's been a little bit of a tough morning for me with the boy, but I AM incredibly proud of him 98% of the time
And now, Emma.
UP: She's figured out how to do something really exciting. She's been able to sit for awhile, and you've seen the videos of her version of getting around and figuring out how to get to standing, but until yesterday, she hasn't ever gotten INTO a sit by herself. She would be lying down and be able to get about half-way there, but ... hmmm ... how to describe this. Ok, if you were lying down on the floor and wanted to sit up, your hands would be involved in getting you there, right? Well, Emma's arms are shorter, so when she's all the way sitting, her hands don't reach the floor. So she'd get herself onto her hip in what I call the "senior portrait" pose, but then wouldn't be able to get all the way sitting up. Try it! It requires a LOT of abdominal strength no matter how you do it.
But when I went in to get her after her morning nap today, she was sitting up in her crib!
I'm particularly proud of this milestone because it's the first one that I feel like I "earned." We've been working with her OT on getting those muscles strong enough to do this, and she does NOT like the exercises! But I've been doing them and now she can do it! Go, Emma!
FRUSTRATION: I know all of us in the special needs' community come face-to-face with our children's differences unexpectedly some days. Yesterday was one of those times for me. A dear friend offered to take Emma's one-year portraits in her home yesterday, so I packed up her cutest clothes and was really excited.
This friend set up a backdrop and got the camera all ready and I sat a VERY cute-looking Emma down where she told me to and we started the photo shoot.
Like ANY photographer would, she called, "Emma! Look up here, sweetie!"
And I knew Emma wouldn't respond to that, so I had to say "She doesn't answer when her name is called."
I was SO thankful that I was with a dear friend who has a heart for special needs kiddos. She was so patient and took so much time figuring out how to get Emma's attention and make Emma smile and I think we got some cute shots (and I'm sure I'll do a different post later with those pics), but it made me think how awful it would have been had I just gotten her all dressed up and taken her to Sears to get cute little holiday pictures taken.
It was sad to have to be face-to-face with a very practical problem with Emma's cognitive delays. Peek-a-boo isn't entertaining yet, she doesn't giggle at a silly face like most kids. She's happy and social and smiles and giggles all the time, but not like a typical kid would, and not WHEN a typical kid would.
Sometimes I just forget that she's not normal ...
Friday, November 20, 2009
But I do have a quick video!
My father and his wife optimistically gave Emma a bib (amoung other things) for her birthday. Emma has taken it as a sign that it's time to really start eating :)
Chomp, chomp, baby girl!
We're all feeling much better, recovering from our colds and such.
Other than that, we're just truckin along ... trying to think of something profound to say ... hmm ... nope
Monday, November 16, 2009
She gets stuck! And don't judge me for grabbing a camera. :) I did fix the situation right after I took the picture, I promise!
Now, back to B-day party day!
Seriously, could this child be any cuter?!?!?!
Please note the ADORABLE tights and shoes look ... this not-so-girly Mommy doesn't do this all that often ...
My friend Melissa sent this up from one of those Southern States where little girls actually wear such things (I'm told) :) Just kidding! This adorable skirt WILL make an appearance at church as soon as Emma's petite little waist will keep it from falling off!
Ahh, there, Grandma and the girl!
A friend of Josh's mom knitted mittens for Emma for her birthday:
It really is hard to convey how tiny those little hands really are! They are very soft and fluffy mittens, though, they'll work someday :)
Emma got lots of adorable clothes, some fun blocks and balls that she is really liking, and a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll that I have yet to get pictures of because every time we bring it out Charlie wants to be a little too helpful in "showing Emma how it works!" Seriously. That's what he says. Can I show her how it works ... ahhh, negotiation ... anyway, she gives it kisses and it's cute and I promise, Nana, I'll post pictures as soon as I get them
It's a Winnie-the-Pooh riding train with lots of buttons and lights and fun things to do.
Notice in the above picture he's helping her "hold it still" (with the additional help of Nana's foot...) while she plays with it. Yes, yes, Charlie, you're very helpful, don't let anyone tell you otherwise ...
Emma gives it kisses:
The other good news from Emma's appointment today is that her lungs do sound clear, despite a pretty good cold that appeared quite suddenly on Sunday. We're praying that not only does this cold not turn into anything more serious but that she gets healthy before her surgery in Dec. I really would hate to have to put that off, we may have to become hermits sometime soon to keep germs away from our little princess!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Blue icing, in case you were wondering, because Charlie informed the lady at the bakery that Emma's favorite color was blue ... I might have been crying a little bit at the time (can you tell this birthday is a little emotional for me???) so I was totally fine with Charlie telling the lady that the cake should say "Happy Birthday to Emma IN BLUE"
Thanks for all your comments and birthday wishes this week! Have a blessed rest of your weekend!