A Year Ago I Didn’t Know

A year ago today, March 29, 2014, was a special day. It was my due date for Olive. Except it really wasn’t that special of a day because nothing happened that day. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next.

But March 29, 2015 is a special day. It’s a special day because now I know what I didn’t know then.

On March 29, 2014 I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl. I didn’t know if we’d be able to use the name Olive – the name the Lord had put on my heart months before as He constantly reminded me of His {peace}- for which the olive branch is a symbol of in the Bible. I didn’t know if I would be returning the baby boy clothes or the baby girl clothes I had bought for the new baby. I didn’t know what day my baby would be born. I didn’t know how long my labor would be or how traumatic the birth would be. I didn’t know how much my baby would weigh or if he/she would be healthy or not. I didn’t know what job Drew was going to get or where we were going to be living the next month. I didn’t know how Isaiah and Eloise would react to the new baby. I didn’t know how the baby would fit into our family or what personality they would bring with them. There were so many uncertainties.

But on March 29, 2015 now I know. Now I know that my baby was a girl. Now I know that we could use the name so dear to my heart – Olive. Now I know that she would be born almost a week late on April 2nd. Now I know that I would have to schedule an induction because Drew was leaving for a week of training for his work and we didn’t want him to miss the birth. Now I know that God answered with a resounding YES my prayer that I would not need any pitocin or any other drugs to speed up my induction. Now I know that all my doctor had to do was break my water at 8:30 a.m. and my baby would be born a little before noon – just 3 1/2 hours of labor! Now I know that she would weigh in at 8 pounds 11 ounces, exactly 2 pounds heavier than her big brother (and would stay in my belly 4 weeks longer than he did).



Now I know that, as impossible as it seems, my heart can get as big as it needs to in order to be filled to the brim with love for each and every new child that enters our family. Now I know that Olive would be like the missing puzzle piece to our family – the child we didn’t even realize we were missing. Now I know that her brother and sister would be over the moon in love with her and would shower her with kisses every day. Now I know that her little mouth would open to give her own kisses on her own initiative multiple times a day. Now I know that she would be a content and calm baby, easy going and relaxed. Now I know that she would be a snuggle bug, a busy body, a smarty-pants, and a sweetheart. Now I know how God has constantly reminded us of His faithfulness this past year as He provided Drew with a job and the opportunity for us to move to Florida.

Now I know. Now I know what life is like with my sweet Olive Kay. Now I know what I didn’t know a year ago. And my world is that much sweeter.


“And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well…'”

Mark 7:37

Why It’s Never A Good Time For Me To Talk On The Phone

Oh no. There it is again. I hear it from across the room. “This Love” by Mandi Mapes starts playing. But it’s not from my iTunes library. It’s the ring tone on my phone. My phone is ringing and in 5 seconds someone is expecting me to pick up and give them my undivided attention.

“Hello?” I say. And then the person on the other end of the line speaks those infamous words…… “Is now a good time for you to talk?”

“Hmmm” I think. Is now a good time for me to talk? I assess the situation. My almost 3 year old is crying and whining because she was playing on my phone when it started ringing and I took it away right in the middle of her oh so extremely important game. Because she can’t play on my phone any more she decides to open up a big bag of M & Ms and ignore my death stare as I mouth, “PUT THOSE BACK.” She skillfully evades my attempts to take them away while I try not to let the person on the other end of the line know what’s going on. My big boy is running around the house shooting the nerf gun at his little sister which in turn makes her scream and run for cover behind my legs. He’s also suddenly “DYING” of hunger and begging for a snack. I motion to my 3 year old to share her M & Ms with her brother but she refuses, at which point I give in and give them both a good sized bowl of the sugary snack in hopes of 5 minutes of quiet. My baby wants to simultaneously nurse, grab everything in my hands (i.e. my phone), pour out the whole bucket of her brother’s {tiny} legos and start eating them, and screech at the top of her lungs when she doesn’t get her way. My almost three year old is now yelling at me from the bathroom that she has pooped and needs me to come wipe her. Is it a good time to talk? Hmmmm……

At this point I have two options. I can either decided to hold the conversation right at this very moment, or I can say I’ll call them back during……oh I can’t even say it….. during the {SACRED} nap time. *GASP* Give up the only quiet time in my day? I just can’t do it.

“Sure!” I say. “Now’s a great time to talk!” (Not really, but it’s as good a time as any.)

And then I lock all the kids in the playroom – works like a charm! =)

Can I hear an AMEN from any other Mamas out there? Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s children suddenly need complete and undivided attention in every. single. aspect of their lives as soon as the phone rings?!?!? Don’t leave me hanging here!!!

Oh, and by the way, this doesn’t mean don’t ever call me. Just please don’t freak out when you hear screaming in the background, our conversation is interrupted 20 times in a span of 10 minutes, or you hear me say something like, “I will wipe your butt in a minute!”

These sweet kids? How could they ever give me trouble when I’m on the phone?

Update on Eloise – No More Casts and What the Future Holds

It’s been 4 weeks since Eloise got her first cast put on. And that means that she just finished up her fourth cast! I took it off on Tuesday night and this morning we went to the doctor to see how her range of motion has changed over the course of the 4 casts. Success!

Taking her cast off. Her favorite part of the week!
She now has full range of motion in her right foot and doesn’t need any more casts! She ended up only needing 4 out of the 6-8 casts because she responded so well! Her last cast was the worst and she was just ready to be done with them, so we are grateful!

Two weeks ago I took her in for her neurology appointment. At that point we had two suspected disorders on the table: Cerebral Palsy or Dystonia. The doctor was able to rule out Cerebral Palsy from a physical examination of her. There is still the possibility that Dystonia is what is causing her foot to pop up and turn in, but the doctor doesn’t feel like an MRI is necessary at this point unless we see more/worse symptoms. He said that the risks of the MRI to her tiny body out way the benefits of knowing what is causing her symptoms right now. He also said that even if we knew, we would continue her current form of treatment anyways. Maybe down the road we will do an MRI to see what or if there is any damage to her brain that could be causing a muscle disorder, but for now we will just treat what we see.
My cute Ellie Bean at her neurology appointment!
In some ways I was hoping for a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is usually caused by brain damage while in the womb, during birth, or shortly after birth. So whatever damage was done is done. It won’t get worse. It won’t get better, but her case is so mild anyways (just mildly affecting her right foot) that it is totally something livable, especially with physical therapy, botox, etc.

However, Dystonia scares me more. Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract uncontrollably. The contraction causes the affected body part to twist involuntarily, resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures (i.e. her foot turning in and popping up when she walks). There could be many causes of Dystonia including genetics or a brain injury.

There are two main types of Dystonia – Generalized Dystonia and Focal Dystonia. Focal Dystonia affects just one part of your body. And if that is the type that Eloise has that doesn’t scare me. It is not curable, but we can treat her foot with therapy and a brace and it won’t affect her daily life much. But Generalized Dystonia affects your whole body. And the scary part?

“If Dystonia symptoms occur in childhood, they generally appear first in the foot or hand. But then they quickly progress to the rest of the body.” –Source

I think that’s what scares me most about Dystonia. Generalized Dystonia can be a completely debilitating disease. If it spreads, Eloise could be completely handicapped. 
I have done lots of crying since we first heard that Dystonia was on the table almost a year ago. I take comfort in the fact that: 1. So far, we have not noticed anything abnormal in any other part of her body. The fact that she is almost 3 and we still only see symptoms in that foot is a GOOD sign! Also, the foot that does turn in, turns in so mildly that many people do not even notice it until they spend more time with her or focus on it specifically.  2. She is developing normally in every area including speech and is super smart! She also has learned how to cope with her foot and can run and jump and do the splits and head stands and…. you name it, she can do it! It does NOT slow her down! 3. Most importantly GOD is in control. This didn’t come as a surprise to Him. He placed sweet Eloise in our care, He handpicked the baby for us and we will stand by her side through casts and doctors appointments and botox and physical therapy and MRI’s and braces…. you name it, we’ll be there! We know He will equip us for what is to come. 
This girl doesn’t let a silly cast slow her down!
As of this morning we have moved on to weekly physical therapy visits and a brace, which she will be fitted for in the next week or two. She will most likely have to wear the brace on and off and do daily stretches at home for the rest of her life to help her foot keep the range of motion it has gained. In just one visit the physical therapist said that Eloise exceeded every goal she had for her and that she has to make new, more advanced goals for her already! We are so proud of her!

Doing twists “like a ballerina” at physical therapy this morning. 
Isaiah and Olive joined in too but I didn’t get a picture of Livy. 
They had a blast and Eloise agreed that physical therapy was MUCH more fun than getting a cast put on. =) 

Miss Olive: 11 Months

Height & Weight: Olive is 20.6 pounds and not sure of her height but around the 90th-95th percentile for height!

Eating: Funny thing….Olive loves the plain baby oatmeal and whole grain cereal mixed with water but she hardly wants anything to do with the yummy baby fruits and other jars of baby food! My other two kids were the complete opposite. =) Livy nurses 5-6 times a day and eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with us as well as a few snacks. She loves most anything and everything that’s “big people” food and has a good, hearty appetite. =)

Some days (who am I kidding, LOTS of days) go like this. You gotta laugh otherwise you’d cry! 
Dancing sisters! Well mostly just Eloise is dancing and Olive is just trying to stay upright! =)

Sleep: She was doing great with sleeping 11-12 hours straight through the night. Then she got sick and we took a mini vacation to Orlando and her sleep got a little disrupted. It’s hit or miss now, often she’ll sleep straight through but sometimes she will wake up once around 11 pm to nurse and then sleep through to 7 or 8 am. She never wakes more than once a night and it’s usually before I even go to bed, so I’m grateful! She takes two naps a day – morning and afternoon. She’s flexible and adaptable and can nap anywhere when we’re out and about. But when we’re home she goes down awake with two fans to block out the noise of her siblings and soothes herself to sleep. She’s a belly sleeper!

This is from when Olive was sick earlier in the month. She stayed in her pjs and bathrobe all day. Yes, she has the cutest little baby sized bathrobe! ❤ 

Personality: Livy is seriously a ball of fun! What a goofy girl she is already. It’s so fun to see more and more of her personality peeking through. She knows when she does something funny and she expects you to laugh! She is also so loving. She is currently obsessed with giving huge, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses to everyone. She gives them on her own without being asked. It like seriously melts my heart. She also loves cuddles and will give those without being asked too. She’s probably the sweetest baby ever (and I’m not biased or anything). Every time I pick her up from nursery at church or Bible study the teachers always tell me she was “perfect” and “the most content baby ever” but at home she’s become a little less content, mostly because she wants to be doing {everything} she sees big bro and big sis do and yet she’s too little to do most of it and needs help. =) She’s constantly calling out “Ma!” or “Mama!” because she wants me to help her reach or do something!

Kisses for Daddy!!

Milestones: Livy can walk when she wants to, but she still chooses crawling as her primary mode of transportation. I think it’s because she likes to get everywhere FAST and right now the fastest way for her to do that is to crawl. =)

This month Olive became really fluent in signing “please” and in shaking her head “no.” She says Mama, Dada, and waves hi and bye-bye. She knows everyone in the family by name now and will look at each person when we say, “Where is…….?” She converses by grunting and saying funny things like “eh?” “ya?” and other silly words. It’s so cute! She also went to SeaWorld and IKEA for the first time and had a blast!! She was a real trooper in the car and during two long, hot days in the park.

Looking at the fish at SeaWorld.
Watching big brother feed a sea lion. 

Isaiah and Eloise: I keep reminding Zai and Elle that they have to be good examples because Livy seriously does EVERYTHING that they do. Her big eyes take everything in and she tries as much as she can to imitate them. She also wants to be wherever they are. She will stand at the back door, crying and moaning, while she watches them play outside. She desperately wants to join them!

Sweet brother and sister!
Sweet sisters!

After almost a year the novelty of having a little sister still hasn’t worn off for Isaiah and Eloise. They are still so kind and patient and sweet with her. They give her tons of hugs and kisses and I can’t tell you how many times a day they tell me how cute she is! They are always wondering where she is and making sure she is ok. I’m so grateful for the love they show to her and hope it continues, atleast to some extent, as she gets older!

A Smiling Sea Lion and Two Jenny Dogs – Our Trip to Orlando!

Last weekend we took a mini vacation to Orlando and went to IKEA and SeaWorld. The kids had a blast (mostly at SeaWorld, not at IKEA because Eloise was too short to go in the kid’s play area so we didn’t let Isaiah go either). We are glad that we decided to go with the season tickets (again, to SeaWorld, not IKEA =) so that we can go back again for more fun!

Most of our pictures are from our second day in the park as we spent half of the first day at IKEA and also it rained most of the first day.

Can’t go to Orlando without a trip to IKEA!
If you know Isaiah you know how much he LOVES his Jenny Dog. Jenny Dog goes with him anywhere and everywhere (along with his blanket “boo”). Well, at IKEA we found another Jenny Dog and Isaiah wouldn’t leave the store without it! So, now we have “old” Jenny Dog and “new” Jenny Dog and they BOTH have to go everywhere with him!
Sweet girls. 
Isaiah loved this coaster and rode it several times. We tried our hardest to squeeze Eloise past the height checker and get her on, but they caught us! Her hair brushed the top of the measuring pole but they were sticklers and wouldn’t let her on. She balled!! =( 
We had a plastic bag over Eloise’s cast to keep the rain out. Surprisingly it stayed pretty dry, even though she jumped in a few puddles! 

Sweet girl napping in the park. 
We saw three amazing shows! This is Shamu, the killer whale. 
My two little loves!

Brave boy!

And, I’ll leave you with something that is bound to make you smile. This sea lion was cracking everyone up trying to get people to feed her by smiling this cheesy smile!!! Then after she got fed she would do more cheesy smiles! It was hilarious. I got this photo after Isaiah threw her a fish. We couldn’t stop laughing about it. Can’t wait to back to SeaWorld and see her again! =)
Don’t tell me you can look at that and not smile. =) =)