Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Retrospect

To say that 2011 was “eventful” for our family would be the understatement of the year (in my humble opinion).  2011 will be a year that I will say changed me more than any before, and probably any after.  I have learned so much about love, life, and what it means to trust in God.  In retrospect, 2011 was a year of trials and miracles for our family. 

May 11th is a day that forever changed us.  It will always be the scariest, happiest day of my life.  The rest of May through August is quite a blur.  Those days were the darkest days of my life.  During that time I am certain that God was carrying me through it all.  For the better part of 6 weeks, every time I laid my head down to sleep, I was very uncertain that my little boy would still be with us when I awoke.  We also didn’t know the extent of damage that living without adequate blood and oxygen had done to Harper.  We didn’t know from day to day if she was going to have brain damage.  Living like that did something to me.  Having to watch my son’s little body shake from the machines keeping him alive was almost too much for anyone to endure.  To this day, I’m still not over it.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be.  Because of that, I may always be protective of these babies.
This is why I am unapologetic about keeping them both isolated until I feel comfortable otherwise.  I’m just so thankful that our family and friends are so understanding and supportive.  It is the very reason I keep this blog updated.  I am so grateful that so many of the people we love, love our babies and they’ve never even met them.   

I became a mother in 2011 under the most extraordinary circumstances.  It was not the way I planned on becoming a mother, but I’ve learned that the plans WE make just might not be as wonderful as the plans God makes for us!  I learned to trust in God in a way that I didn’t know was possible.  I experienced a peace from God that transcended all understanding.  For the first time in my 29 years of living, I truly feel like my life has purpose.  Mark and I experienced love, support, and prayers from our friends and family that we will NEVER get over, but will forever be grateful for.  I learned how if felt to love two little people unconditionally.  I fell in love with them the moment I laid eyes on them.  I realized that God’s love for all of us was even deeper than the love I felt for Harper and Henry.  Realizing this made me want to live a different way than before.  In 2011, our young marriage was tested in a way that we never expected, and only by the grace of God I can say that those trials made us stronger.

In a way, I’m sad to see 2011 end, but I’m so excited to see what this New Year will bring.  I’m not one to make resolutions and really stick with them, but I’m praying that in 2012, I will love others, and trust in God the way He has commanded us to do.

Please know that despite everything, Mark and I choose to see the JOY that this year has brought us and not dwell on the pain.  We are thankful for this year because of what this year has taught us.  God is real, and He is good!  Even in the darkest of times, He is with us!

If you have made it this far through this long-winded post, I pray you find JOY in the year to come, despite the hardships that this life can bring.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Below is a little video that Mark and I did for Harper and Henry.  It is terribly long, but so was the past year for us.  This is our 2011 through pictures…

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hanging out with Daddy

Pictures from Mark's phone...

Sweet Harper

She stopped smiling when she heard Mark say, "Yankees!" She's definitely her father's daughter!

Henry had to get in on the action!

He likes to wear his hat like Pedroia!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joy to the World

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."   Isaiah 9:6

The past two days have been perfect.  Not because of the gifts or the food, but because I got to spend this holiday with the three people I love more than life.  Just seven months ago I wasn't sure that I would get to spend a Christmas with Harper and Henry.  God has blessed us so!  We didn't take a whole lot of pictures this year.  Mark and I were having too much fun experiencing Christmas with children.

 Just hanging out on Christmas Eve morning

They were holding hands at one point.  As soon as I pulled the camera out they stopped.  Isn't that how it always goes?

Growing up, I always had new pajamas on my bed on Christmas Eve night.  I thought I would continue the tradition at our house.

Grandmommy and Granddaddy stopped by on Christmas Eve and let H&H open one gift.  I think they felt bad that we were missing out on our candlelight service at church and our family dinner.  We missed everyone so much, but it was really nice just spending their first Christmas as a family of 4.

Henry really loved all the paper

Getting ready for bed.  Mark read "The Night Before Christmas."  Henry really liked the pictures, and Harper was being a total "momma's girl" and was just happy sitting in my lap.

Sweet girl wanted to be held all night.  She didn't make a noise, she just wanted to be held.  I think she sensed she might miss out on the action.  So, I held her right up until bedtime.  Even during dinner.  Precious times!

 We left cookies and milk for Santa.

And this is what we found Christmas morning.  Funny, Santa's handwriting looks a lot like Mark's!

Harper LOVED her toys.  She didn't know which one to reach for first.  She finally settled on the bouncy seat.  No smile in this picture, but rest assured, she was all smiles all day.

 Henry loved his bouncy seat too!
After we finished opening gifts, my parents came over for brunch.  My sister and Uncle Nate got to come, too!  My sister hasn't been able to come visit because she teaches and the flu has been going around her school.  Since she's out for Christmas break, she was able to come!  Harper and Henry were so excited to play with their Sissy!!

Just playing with her new toys.  Big girl is sitting up all the time now.  Not on her own, we have to sit her up, but once she's up, she stays that way for a while.  We celebrate the small things in this house!

This little boy has come so far.  

Merry Christmas!  


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

H&H meet Santa

 Christmas card pictures

 See, Harper really does smile

She even laughs on occasion

 Getting ready to see Santa

 Sibling fights have already begun

 Santa looks a lot like Granddaddy...

 Harper couldn't take her eyes of "Santa"

 Henry just wasn't sure what to think
 It's going to be hard to get anything by Harper.  I'm pretty sure she knew who was behind that beard!

 This is about the time I just had a feeling we were going to lose Henry

 Harper continued to stare...

Sweet baby 

Harper thought Henry crying was hilarious

We are ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

iPhone pics

I'm very happy to report that our week of doctor visits went great! Our vision screening Wednesday was very trying, considering we had to wait 3 hours! However, both Harper and Henry's eyes look good. We had our hearing screening today and the entire visit for both babies lasted 35 minutes. Much better! So far their hearing seems right on target. We'll have to continue these routine hearing and vision screenings every six months until they are 3 years old.

Since our appointment was at LeBonheur, we had every intention of stopping by the NICU and saying "hello" to all of our sweet nurses and doctor, but this week of traveling has really worn the babies out! We decided at the last minute that we just needed to get home ASAP! We'll try again another time.

We are so very thankful that our babies continue to grow and progress without any problems or complications. We give God all the glory! Now that all of these doctor visits are over, we can start focusing on Christmas!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone