Friday, December 21, 2012

Quality Time: Eli Style

Eli has a bit of a cold.  Which means lots of coughing, drooling, and crankiness.  It's nothing compared to what it was like from August to November.  Those months are going going to live in infamy in our family.  Just like the day the Steelers lost to the Cowboys in the Superbowl.  Or possibly the day Twinkies stopped being made. 

But this time Eli just has a typical baby cold. 

I look miserable, but this is a piece of cake.

Who knew that your kid could be sick, and it didn't have to be catastrophic with multiple trips to the doctor per week?! 

At any rate, I thought I'd teach Eli how to make himself feel better.  It's something I have done since I was a kid: I fire up some video games.  Nothing works better than taking your mind off being sick!

Eli was excited, of course.  He's a big fan of Xbox controllers, TV Remotes, phones, and anything else you want to hold while he's around.  

So as I  turned on the Xbox and handed Eli a controller he laughed with anticipation.  There's no question in my mind that he's a big fan of video games.

Eli, you have to share with Daddy!

Apparently too big of a fan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trusting God Admist Heartbreak

Miscarriage. Something I never thought Eric & I would be faced with.

When Eric and I found out we were expecting #3, I think we were both a little nervous. We wanted nothing more than a healthy baby. Who could really blame us after everything we had gone through with Eli?  

I have prided myself on the ability to get pregnant easily and deliver my babies just as easily. A few pushes and sometimes a literal laugh and I would be happily holding my new bundle of joy.

Afterall, I have always felt, I was born to be a mother. Born to make babies. Something that has always felt second nature to me. I had always assumed, once I got pregnant, I would stay pregnant. I haven't ever miscarried a baby. My body loves making babies and I love being pregnant. 

Yet, last Friday morning, I found myself in the OB office getting an ultra sound confirming my worst fear. We lost the baby.

Once I left the doctors office, it wasn't until around 2:00 that I was aware of the Sandy Hook tragedy. My mind was spinning. How do parents find hope when they are faced with losing a child?

God. And the hope that God brings.

Eric and I have experienced God's redemptive qualities time and time again through our experience with Eli. Our marriage is better for what we have gone through with Eli. We have had a front row seat to some amazing miracles!  We never have to doubt God's presence in our life and whether God is really real.

He has made His presence known.

Through this miscarriage, I have been now been given the gift of being able to relate to the 1 out of about every 3 pregnant women who miscarry.
Even though my faith in being able to carry any more children has been shaken, I know with God anything is possible.

Even though my heart feels like it is broken into a million tiny pieces, I know God's heart is breaking too.

I have faith that God is going to redeem this experience and turn it into something amazing.

It's our job, to keep our faith and hope in Him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

God’s Not Done With You Yet

Dealing with a kid with a disability is a grueling, non-stop job. And while there are many things far, far worse than club foot, it’s not exactly a walk in the park (no pun intended). Every day, Heather and I feel the burden of Eli’s club foot diagnosis. And while I’d like to say we fly through it without issues, I’d be lying. It puts a strain on our marriage, wakes us up in the middle of the night, and prevents us from doing “normal” things.
And while we’re thrilled with where Eli has journeyed, we’re feeling the burden.
Whenever I feel this way, I always look to the Bible to see how, as a Dad and a husband, I should be acting. (I know, that almost sounds old fashioned! But it’s the only way I know of to keep myself grounded.)
Often I find myself turning to the story of Elijah. Elijah is one of my favorite people from the Bible. In many ways he was an action hero. Not only did he spend his days confronting evil - when virtually everyone else in Israel wasn’t interested in taking a stand - he also out ran a chariot on a race back to the nearest city. But perhaps most dramatically was the time he called fire down from the sky:
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18: 30-29)
That’s pretty impressive. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t called fire down from the sky recently. So after this amazing miracle, what does Elijah do next? A few short verses later we read, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” (1 Kings 19: 3)
Interesting. It’s not the message we get from Hollywood. We’re told that after you do something amazing you crack a joke. Maybe you smoke a cigarette. Heroes in our culture tell us that part of being a hero is the acceptance that doing something amazing is kind of boring. And certainly not life changing.
But the Bible paints a different picture. It shows us that in the moments following our greatest spiritual victories, we’re most likely to suffer despair. Elijah performed a miracle and stood up to an evil king. Instead of walking to the nearest bar and ordering a martini, shaken not stirred, he ran away and hid.
Heather and I feel this with Eli. It wasn’t until after Eli made it through his illnesses that we felt the toll it took. We’ve seen miracle after miracle with Eli. But the minute we got a true victory over his suffering, depression and exhaustion set in. There were no clever one-liners. No apathy. Just exhaustion.
Of course God is cool with this. He didn’t yell at Elijah. And he’s not going to yell at you. Instead, he gave Elijah rest. But in the midst of that, he reminded Elijah that his work was not done. That he couldn’t give up.
And we can’t either. God has more work in store for our family.
And he’s got more work for your family.

photo credit: jurveston

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eli's Second Pair of Dobb's Braces

It's hard enough to believe that Eli is one.  It's even harder to believe he's out grown his first set of braces.  But there we were, back in the room that started it all.

Poor thing looks so nervous :( he hates this place as much as I do!

The casting material

It's kind of sad to say good bye to the baby braces :( My little man is growing up!

It's best to feed Eli during casting to prevent screaming and figiting!

They put on a protective "sock" to keep the casting material from getting all over Eli's legs and a white smock for Daddy. You wouldn't believe how sticky that stuff is... and impossible to get off clothes!

THis kids is always eating :) And we wonder why he is so big?!

Pretty handy little contraption to prevent kids from getting cut huh?!
They make ends of the casts longer than the actual foot to make sure the AFO's have room for growing :)

After two "short" weeks we were able to pick up these beauties!

This time the brace shop gave us a choice on color. Good bye hospital white!
Eli seems to like this set much more than the last pair. I don't know if he is happy to have a more manly black brace (hahaha) or if it's because the doctors prescription called for the braces to finally start turning his feet to a more normal angle (35 degrees rather than the 70 he was at before). Whatever the reason we are thrilled!  mostly because Eli has almost started to sleep through the night! And who doesn't love a full night of sleep?!