Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Security Item

When Clayton checks into the hospital, they always ask if he has a "security item." And for Clayton, his security is simply Daddy and Momma (in that order). Jackson, on the other hand, has decided no blanket or Teddy will do--he only needs his bottle to rest easy!
Since weaning off the b.reast, he has quickly become attached to his new source of food. The look he used to give me is now reserved for his bottles! And it makes no difference if he's eaten lately or not--if he sees a bottle, he nearly hyperventilates until he gets it in his hands. And for that matter, he covets anyone's drink! Brian and I have to almost drink in secret in order to keep him from throwing a fit! But if we do drink in front of him after he's just finished his bottle, I just hand him a sippy cup of water so he can get used to drinking from it. Hopefully this new found love for the bottles will easily translate to sippy cups!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Morning

We had a really great Christmas this year! Clayton was actually interested in Santa Claus for the first time and Jackson being here made it really seem like we had "family unit."

Clayton loved tearing into his gifts this year, and Jackson just wanted to lay in the floor and chew on wrapping paper!

Santa brought electric drums for Clayton and a little red wagon for Jackson. Clayton was all about the wagon and couldn't wait to take a ride. It was frigid outside, so they had to settle for riding around the house. We took a ride outside Saturday, but the cold nearly froze us.

Yes, I was there in all my pre-shower glory:
Jackson is really getting into climbing all over Clayton these last few days. Clayton does his best to tolerate it, but I know he's wondering why he has to give up his personal space!

Santa forgot to put the seatbelts in, so Clayton had to help Daddy with the job:

Jackson loved the wagon as well--he was so excited he nearly popped out a couple of times--glad we had him tied down!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

God rest ye merry gentlemen,
let nothing you dismay!
Remember Christ, our Saviour,
was born on Christmas Day!
To save us all from Satan's power,
when we have gone astray.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy!
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Weight Check: Six and a Half Months

13 pounds, 1.5 ounces

After two weeks on formula, Jackson is definitely putting on the weight! His little face is filling out and he seems much happier and content after eating. One thing's for sure though: he is still on the breastfeeding schedule. He still wants to eat every two to two and a half hours and when he sees the bottle, he acts as if he hasn't eaten in days. I'm thinking he for sure gets that from his Dad's side of the family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Expecting the Miracle

It's been two months since I began diligently praying for the BIG MIRACLE for Clayton. I've also asked many prayer partners to once again remember to not only pray for the little things involving Clayton's health, but to pray for complete healing of his body. And I'm happy to report that I'm more hopeful than ever that God will honor our prayers! It seems the matter of faith has come up in many conversations I've had lately, and it was even a topic discussed in our Bible Study class this past Sunday. And as it just so happens, FAITH is one of my spiritual gifts! I told Brian last week that I seriously woke up each morning expecting that day to be the day Clayton will walk! And I've never been so optimistic about something so farfetched in my life! (Reminder to self: while farfetched to the human race, it is nothing for our Lord!) So while I'm so used to settling for what is given, this time I'm definitely stepping out in faith in believing his healing will happen for all to see. But here's where it's different this time: each morning I get Clayton out of bed and he is still just as spastic and tight as ever, I don't get down and out about how God isn't answering our prayers, I just assume he's planning for tomorrow to be the big day instead!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Program

The kids at church put on their annual Christmas program this past Sunday. And even though Clayton knew every song by heart, he preferred staring at the crowd instead of singing. Even so, I was able to capture one shot of him singing his favorite: Go Tell It on the Mountain!

My friend's son, Brandon, is always eager to help Clayton at church. I love that little guy--he is Clayton's right hand man. . . literally!

And here's a shot of the A.V. guys:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flashback Friday

Christmas 2004: Our first Christmas at home together!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little Drummer Boy

Clayton is so into the drums right now. He used to talk about the guitar, but now when he hears a song he likes, he immediately acts like he's playing the drums. So Brian pulled out the toy drum Clayton's had for several years and attached it to his chair. He is loving it! He especially loved getting to play with Brian and my brother!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 196

Today, Jackson is 196 days old. Why do I mark today of all days, you ask? It's simple. Clayton spent 196 days in the NICU. Can you believe it!? If Jackson had done the same, today would be the day we would bring him home. And knowing this makes me so sad for Clayton! So sad for all the time we missed with him! Yes, we were there in the NICU with him, but he wasn't AT HOME with us!

I am SO THANKFUL we didn't have to live through the NICU experience again. And I'm especially thankful Jackson didn't have to live through it. When I was looking back through Clayton's scrapbook of his first year to get these pics out, I couldn't believe how many times my journaling was about the noise, lights, and distractions. Can you imagine coming out of the quiet of your mother's womb to the continous noise and light of a NICU for the next six months SOLID? Wow. It's no wonder it took him a whole year to even start feeling good in general.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing us all to be together from day one. It is such blessing to be with my babies here at home, without the audience of the hospital crowd and without the distractions.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

He Looks Innocent Enough

But that first tooth cut through this week and the second is on its way. He has been quite the little stinker these last two days! I'm open to suggestions on how to pacify him--the usuals just don't seem to be working!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday

Christmas: 1980-something
The best gift Santa ever brought my brother and me: a go-kart. It was the neighborhood transportation for years and we ran the wheels off of it! I can't help but notice my new cowboy boots and lovely legwarmers--I thought I was so fashionable . . . NOT!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Six Months (+ 7 Days)

11 pounds, 8 ounces
25 1/4 inches long

Yes, he's a little guy! He's officially gained 3 whole ounces since his four month check-up. And while he has been eating constantly since he was born, it seems to disappear once he swallows it. I started him on baby food at five months and even though he is eating lots of fruits and vegetables, it still hasn't seemed to put much weight on. I did know that for the last couple of weeks my milk has been dropping off dramatically, so I decided to start weaning him from the breast. My original goal was six months, so I did make it that far--I just wish I could have made it the whole first year. But I definitely didn't want to starve the boy!

I knew when I took him to the doctor yesterday they wouldn't be happy. I saw the nurse practitioner and she was definitely a bit concerned. I'll be mixing the formula at a higher calorie rate and she wants weekly weight checks. :EEK!: She probably thought I was nuts--I'm really not all that concerned with it. I feed him ALL. THE. TIME. I can't help it if he isn't gaining weight! Maybe I just have little babies, preemies or no! I did tell her that I'm coming into this with a skewed perspective. I do not want to pile calories on another child just because people think that all babies need to be rolly-polley fat. Granted, he'll be burning calories much faster than Clayton ever has, but I still don't want to get in that position of regretting pumping massive calories into him.

Otherwise, he is doing WONDERFUL! His two bottom teeth just cut through this week, and he is totally into his surroundings. Still wants to be with Momma all the time, but I'm fine with that! =) He wants to socialize with everyone, just wants to do it from my lap!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A is for ASHLEY!

Continuing with our letter of the week theme, we moved on to the letter A (short vowel sound) last week. And much to my chagrin, Clayton never would identify the letter, even after the whole week of practice. All he talked about was little C, big C, O, or T. All I can say is at least he realizes we're talking about the letters in his name and sticks to those!!
Online Resources:

On the bookshelf:
How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World
The Apple Pie Tree
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
Amazing Airplanes
What's Inside an Ambulance?
Astronaut Piggy Wiggy

Song of the Week:
The Ants Go Marching

Our science lesson was on astronauts, but by far Clayton's favorite lesson for this letter was social studies: we read What's Inside an Ambulance? and it was definitely right up Clayton's ALLEY. We had to study every. single. picture. Especially the one with the stretcher (a bed with wheels--wheels ALWAYS get his attention!). Oh, and the page about the oxygen was a favorite as well. I know his little mind was working overtime processing all the pictures of the medical equipment . . . it's unfortunate that he is so familiar with these things at such a young age, but you never know, we may have the beginnings of a medical career forming!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

10-4, Good Buddy!

Talk about a good investment! Clayton is loving these walkie-talkies! We have to talk on them all. the. time. Even if we're in the same room. :) He's even learning the lingo--10-4, what's your 20?, you know, the great conversation starters!
There are so many gadgets out there that are *almost* adaptable enough for Clayton, but we can't get them just right for him to use completely on his own. But since he can use these without having to coordinate pressing his fingers, they are perfect. Thank you walkie-talkie people, for including this feature!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter L

Last week we focused on the letter L. Unfortunately, I didn't do as great a job with this letter as I did with C--the Thanksgiving holiday kind of through a wrench into things, but we still did school every other day that week . . .
Online resources:
On the bookshelf:
The Grouchy Ladybug
Andy and the Lion
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
Leaf Jumpers

Song of the Week:
Jesus Loves the Little Children

Early in the week, each time I asked Clayton "what letter is this?", he usually said T or C. And then later in the week, he changed his answer to "down and across." Now, that's technically not the name of the letter, but at least I knew by that answer that he had been listening to me!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy Birthday, Granny!

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Just Push!

It's so hard for kids to know how to interact with Clayton. But some of them figure out real quick that Clayton's not hard to entertain--just keep him on the go and in the middle of the action, and he's happy! I've noticed the last few times my nephew has been with Clayton he's taken to this job with no complaints. Thankfully, he's at the age when pushing anything with wheels is considered fun--I hope it lasts!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

He's a Sagger

Normally, Brian and I enforce a strict no-sag zone around our house. But poor little Jackson can't help it if he's a skinny-minny! If I don't pin his pants up, this is what ends up happening!!! I guess they just don't think to make "slims" in baby sizes!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday

Thanksgiving 2005: Clayton ended up in the hospital with complications from RSV.
I'm so thankful his hospital stays are few and far between these days!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
Psalm 136:1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

C is for Clayton

I can't tell you what a difference there was in our schooling last week! The stress level for me went down to almost nil and I think Clayton actually took in some knowledge since things weren't so abstract for him! The new system of Letter of the Week is working wonderfully so far. I hope the positive changes just keep on coming.

On the bookshelf:
Caps for Sale
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
In the Castle

Song of the Week:
Count Your Blessings

Bible Story of the Week:

Since you already saw our vocabulary words, I won't show them again, but by the end of the week, Clayton was able to tell both my mom and me even more words that began with C. Our math lesson for the week involved COUNTING his CARS and CLASSIFYING them by COLOR. Our science lesson included reading an animal book and finding all the animals whose names began with C. Our social studies lesson was about CASTLES. With Letter of the Week, each lesson is short but effective. Right up Clayton's alley!

For our field trip/extracurricular activity, we met with our homeschooling group to make Thanksgiving CARDS for some nursing home residents.
He only made a few cards, and even those were made under duress. The whole actvity was sensory overload for him. But the visit to the nursing home was a different story . . . he loved being surrounded by so many wheelchairs and was disappointed the next day when we couldn't go back!

On Saturday we wrapped up the week with an art project with waterCOLORS. Again, sensory overload, but he participated long enough to get his C made on the page. All in all, a good week of learning activities!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I finished my blog post yesterday and went in the bedroom to find Clayton and Jackson sitting snug together without complaint from Clayton. (He usually gets nervous with Jackson that close). I quickly wiped my tears away and enjoyed the moment the Lord had given me with my boys.

Monday, November 23, 2009

He's On My Mind

It all started last week when Brian and I were discussing Jackson's ears. Where in the world does he get them, we wondered?? I mentioned to Brian that I remembered looking at Shawn in his coffin wondering the same thing. Why do his ears stick out? I thought to myself. So to remind Brian, I went on a search for a picture of him from straight on that would show his ears sticking out a bit like Jackson's do. But instead of finding a picture, I just got sad and ANGRY. That's my usual emotion associated with Shawn lately. It just ticks me off so bad. I have no idea what stage of grief that is and why I've migrated back to it, but I'm there. Why did he have to spend his whole little life hooked up to all that crap?!!! Why did he have to live his short days in the enclosed environment of two NICUs? Why can't I have a normal picture of him instead of a picture of all this tubing, that just happens to have a little person somewhere in there? Ugh. It makes me ill to think how unfair it is. And yes, I am aware that life isn't fair.
And then on Sunday our choir sang at a memorial service at the hospital for kids who have passed away this year from cancer. I didn't have to do it, but I wanted to. It did come with emotional consequences for me though. Brian and the boys came along and it was extremely hard not to just break down and bawl. The only reason I didn't was because of Clayton (he would have gotten scared if he had known I was crying). Brian was doing his best to keep it together as well. I had to totally avoid looking at him while we sang our song because he was back there just about to lose it--it was so, so tough.

I'm also reminded of our loss since the holidays are coming on. I often wonder if anyone else at our family gatherings realizes I see an empty chair during our meals? I guess if they didn't, they know now . . . It's like year after year, my child doesn't get to make it back home for the holidays while everyone else's is there. And now that Jackson is here, it seems even more magnified in my mind. I guess when I'm eighty I'll still be missing my baby. It's just so opposite of what nature intended. A mother is supposed to mother. How do you mother a child who's in the grave?