Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend was such a busy one, such a hot one, and so jam-packed with great memories!

We started off our weekend with dinner at our house with some great friends. It’s the best to just sit back and watch our kids play with other kids. They ran, they wrestled, they got so very dirty! The weather was perfect and we let the kids play outside until well past bedtime.

Saturday we went to the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Baseball Tournament where I spoke on behalf of our family. Matt and the kids joined me at home plate and like I said before I spoke…people tend to pay attention better when the kids are with me:) We were so honored to be there and it was just a gorgeous day!

Sunday we left in the morning and headed to Sunset Bay to visit Grandma and Grandpa at their cottage on the Lake. The kids had a wonderful time playing in the sand and walking back and forth to the water. It was just last year that Brady was unable to walk up and down the beach. Last year I remember him crying for us to carry him and him just preferring to sit and play in the sand. This year was a different story. He trotted all over that beach and had a grand old time. Watching the four of them made my heart so happy.

Today we celebrated Memorial Day with my family and our friends. It was just VERY hot out, but we managed to have fun anyway. We started the day by walking to my mom’s to watch the parade.

Eli gives a lot of attention to our friend Jessica. I should mention that these pictures are courtesy of my mom’s camera!


Cousin Aubrey showing off her American flag!


My gang and Jessica getting ready for the marching band!


After the parade we came back for some fun in the new pirate pool. Matt worked so hard to find a little shade for everyone!



During the hottest part of the day we hung the swimsuits up to dry and headed inside for naps.


After naps we all got back together for a delicious steak dinner and more playtime outside.

I hope that we all were able to pause this weekend and be thankful for the wonderful country that we live in. Perhaps you shook the hand of a service man or woman and thanked them for their sacrifice. Maybe you did something nice for a family whose loved one is far away from home serving our country. Hopefully we all realize the blessings that are ours just by being able to call ourselves Americans.


Friday, May 28, 2010


Tomorrow our family we attend the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Annual Baseball Tournament in Batavia. Last year the tournament was later in the summer, but this year is being held Fri-Sat-Sun of Memorial Weekend in Batavia NY. In addition to the Little League tournament taking place on the Little League fields on State Street, there will be activities for the whole family throughout the weekend. To learn more about this event, you can become a fan of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation on facebook or go to

The Foundation was started in 2007 to honor the memory of Michael Napoleone who passed away from Burkitt's Lymphoma/Leukemia when he was just 8 years old. The goal of the Foundation is to raise awareness about childhood cancer, support local families with a child undergoing treatment, and to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Our family was blessed with financial and moral support from this wonderful group.

Last year I was honored to speak during the awareness ceremony at the tournament and tomorrow I will do the same. Of course Matt and the kids will be along for moral support. And I have a feeling that I will capture a bit more of people's attention with 4 cute kids in tow:)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's New with Brady

It's been a while since I've posted exclusively about our Brady boy. I guess no big news is good news, right?

Brady, along with his other two partners in crime, continues to become more and more independent every day. While he is not quite as advanced in those adaptive-type skills (dressing, undressing, toileting), he is making gains all the time. We continue to try and be keen to what he is able to do but doesn't want to, and what he truly needs our help with.

We continue to go to PT once a month to keep up with what he has gained in the last year. If you think that he has only been walking for 14 months, it is truly unbelievable to see what he is capable of. To the naked eye, you may not realize that his skills are not up to par with Eli and Cara. He runs, he jumps, he climbs...he does it all. But his run continues to be very low to the ground (and totally adorable in my opinion), his jumps are tiny jumps, and he works very hard to climb. There are still noticeable problems with balance and strength which leads to more falling than the others.

Despite all that---this boy sure does have strengths!!! He can throw and catch a ball unlike any other 3 year old I've seen! His new favorite thing is to punt balls around. Because he runs so close to the ground he is just amazing at turning tight corners while running through our house---so he is the best at getting away from someone who might be chasing him!

He hasn't mentioned any pain since that one day a few weeks ago. Matt and I also haven't noticed any differences in the way his spinal curve looks from the outside. We have our next appointment with the orthopedic doctor in mid July. We will have XRAYs done at that time and be able to compare them with those done 4 months previously.

His next scan date isn't until October which seems SO very far from now. Quite honestly I'm uneasy about waiting that long. Every day I read stories of relapse and I'm constantly balancing between worrying too much and staying mindful of the possible warning signs. He is doing a lot of blinking and kind of opening his eyes wide when watching tv, so I'll be mentioning that to the doctor soon. I'm thinking that I may request a brain scan in addition to his usual spine scans just because I like to put my mind at ease:) We will do a urine check sometime in July just as sort of an in between test.

Most of all it never gets old to see Brady just around the house being Brady. What a joy he is (90% of the time!), and we will never tire of celebrating God's goodness as evidenced in his little life:)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Makes MOPS Special

I knew it was going to be a special night when I heard this song on the way to my MOPS meeting last night

I was so humbled to be able to share with the precious women in our group about how God has loved me through the difficult times in my life. In recent years I've come to really understand the depth of God's love as I faced unimaginable fear. There is just no possible way that I could live the rest of my life without sharing my story with those around me.

I hope that the ladies at our meeting were able to feel the awesome love of God through the words He gave me and to understand how salvation is the key to it all.

Being a part of MOPS is such an important element in my life as a mom of young children. To someone who doesn't go to MOPS it may seem like just a group of sappy chicks getting together to do crafts, eat, and talk.

But it is more-

much, much, more.

There are women in our group from all walks of life. There are women who attend church, those that don't, and those who are somewhere in between. There are first time moms, moms of many, single moms, working moms, and stay at home moms. Some of the women come to our meetings full of energy ready for a night out, while others come weary, heavy with the burdens of difficult circumstance, needing a friendly face to identify with them.

But it is our common bond that makes MOPS so special. We all find ourselves on this unbelievable, strange, overwhelming, wonderful, and stressful journey at the same time. By coming together at our meetings we can share together in a very special way. And hopefully, by the end of the year all of our moms know that we can not only lean on each other during this time in our life, but on God-who loves each and every one of us.

Goodbye MOPS 2010---my heart was SO filled up this year!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hurry Back Camera!

The people at the Nikon factory had better get that camera back to me quick! I have missed some adorable photo ops in the last few weeks!

Last weekend we purchased a fantastic picnic table from our friends. It has room for 12 because it is quite large and has these wonderful detached bench sets with backs on them. It is absolutely perfect for our family as no one can fall off the seats! We have had dinner at the patio for the past 3 out of 4 nights and it is so much fun. Matt's parents had a patio umbrella and stand in their basement that they have never used and it was a perfect fit! The kids had their first taste of steak the other night and really liked it!

We have been trying to get outside and play at least once a day. It is not easy to get outside with our family again this year. I thought this year may be somewhat easier, but come to find out, it's still a challenge. With two potty training and an 18 month old who is prone to wander, going outside for any length of time seems to be an exhausting chore. Then there is the whole issue of cleaning up these four monkeys. Matt and I have been quite happy for 3 years with our every-other-night bath routine. It seemed ideal to have one night off from the chore of doing baths. However we are finding the kids are so filthy when they come in that we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't bathe them before bed. Oh the joys that each new season brings!

Tomorrow night I will be sharing my testimony with my MOPS group at our final meeting of the year. Please keep me in your prayers as I will be sharing the amazing ways God has shown His love for me in my life. Please also keep Matt's Grandma in your prayers as she continues to recover in the hospital.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Prayers for Grandma

Please join me in keeping Matt's Grandma in your prayers. She is in intensive care right now with pneumonia and also had a mild heart attack. She and her husband read the blog every morning and I know she must be missing checking in on us:) We love you Grandma and we all are praying for you! Tonight the kids asked God to help "the boo boo on Great-grandma's heart!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Encouraging His Fighting Spirit

My Brady.

We all know that he is a fighter. But you know who doesn't know? Brady! This child is stubborn and will dig his heels in when he wants to. But when it comes to doing something he finds difficult, he is sometimes hard to convince that he should keep trying.

It is so tough to decipher if Brady resists trying things because they are truly hard for him, or if he is just being stubborn. Honestly, as the kids are growing and changing, I am starting to notice that there are things that are just physically harder for him. For example, he really struggles with things like sitting and taking his shoes off, or putting his socks on. He just seems a lot less flexible and his balance isn't quite up to par. So as his parents, we encourage him to try. Brady is quite aware that things are hard for him, so he instantly whines and says he can't. As his momma, it breaks my heart to know that he has a constant reminder in Eli and Cara that he may be different. We try and make modifications for him so that he can feel successful, but at the same time we want to encourage him to try his best.

Today on the playground he was just so frustrated that Eli could manage to get up to the big slide and sit easily. There was a little ledge that he had to manuever to sit down at the top of the slide while ducking down so he didn't hit his head. He just couldn't seem to do it, and although he wanted so badly to do it, he didn't want me to show him how. It was such a battle for him as he realized he couldn't do what Eli could. Frustration turned to devastation...for him and for me.

Sigh. It is a difficult pill to swallow when you realize that your child is aware that he is different. It's even tougher when your three children the same age start to differentiate in ability level. Today it is about Brady's struggles physically, in a few years it may be about who is a better baseball player or who learns to read first. My job is to keep loving them exactly where they are at and to help them understand that it is okay to be in their own unique place in life. I'm thinking this is another one of those great big requirements of motherhood:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busy Day and a Dinner Out

Today we celebrated a wonderful milestone in our family...Ron and Sandy's (Grandpa and Gradma's) 40th Wedding Anniversary. They were so kind to invite just Matt and I to dinner at the Red Osier. We sat, we talked, and we ate a fantastic was just great!

I had a few errands to run this morning while my mom was with the kids. I really love going into local places that I try and support when I can. I stopped in at our local Salvation Army store which I haven't done in years. I saw like 50 cars there and decided to see what all the hubbub was about! I just have to tell you that on Wednesdays they have a 50% off family sale (books, clothes, shoes). For $8 I left with a brand new dress that I saw at Target just a few weeks ago for Cara, two pairs of play shorts for the boys, and two DVDs for the kids! That place is truly a local treasure:) And you all know how much I love a bargain!

In other news, potty training continues and I think we have really turned the corner with Eli and Cara. They are doing just awesome and I'm so proud. We tried with Brady a little bit again yesterday and although I know he wants to be just like Eli and Cara, his readiness skills are just not there yet. I had a long talk with the pediatrician about Brady yesterday and she was so helpful. She reminded me that Brady, just like Eli and Cara, has his own timeline. It isn't going to be beneficial to let him keep trying before he is ready. By experiencing "failure" when he tries, this may actually make the process even longer. This was not something new to me, but I did think that hearing it come from her gave me a better perspective and helped me feel okay about backing off for a bit.

We have scheduled Brady's regular appointment with the orthopedic surgeon for July. We will be very anxious to see what, if any, changes have taken place with his spinal curve.

And...our camera is on its way back to the Nikon factory as we speak! It won't be long now:)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Big Little Girl

What's a mom to do when her baby is growing like a weed and almost the same size as her big kids?

Allison Elizabeth had her 18 month check up today. It's not my imagination that she seems bigger than most other kids her age. Nope. She's a big girl! Her height is in the 95th percentile and her weight the 74. And of course like a true baby of mine, her head is off the charts! The doctor still detects her heart murmur, but like the specialist said, it's nothing to worry about right now.

She wooed the office staff and nurses with her pigtails, especially when she roamed around in just her diaper. She also repeated a new word over and over again while we were waiting. Her new word...turtle! It kind of comes out "tuh-tal" but she pointed right to one in a book and said it clear as day. And then she said it again, and again...

Good news! The camera repair that we need is covered by the manufacturer since it has been less than a year when it was purchased. I have to send it back to the company, and once they receive it we will have it back in 7 to 10 days. I promise that Matt will keep the videos coming in the meantime!

Here is another video from our Disney trip. We were at the Crystal Palace having lunch with Pooh and friends. If you remember, Eeyore is Brady's favorite character and it was hilarious to see him starting messing around with him.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Computer and I are Out on the Town

I thought I'd check in and say that I'm still here! I'm sitting right now in a coffee shop with my laptop trying to accomplish something. In a little over a week I'll be speaking to my MOPS group for our final meeting of the year. I feel so humbled to be in a position to share with these amazing women about my life, my faith, and how they both have become so interdependent. I absolutely needed to get out of the house in order to clear my head and be able to really say what I think God wants me to say. When I'm home there is always something else demanding my time. Even when I find the time to sit and work on something, the thoughts of needing to clean something, fold something, or find something weighs on me so heavily that I can't think straight!

So I escaped for a few hours and feel a little bit like a college student sitting here among all students! Matt and I used to spend hours in the local coffee shop during our college years. He would study and I would study (actually I would just sit there and try my best not to distract him!)

I continue to try and get the problems with the camera resolved. I have heard no response to my email to customer service, so tomorrow I call!

And a potty training update! Cara and Eli continue to do pretty well! We tried to start with Brady Sunday...and after several sessions of sitting him on the potty for 45 minutes at a time, it just seems like he isn't ready, or doesn't want to be ready! We aren't the type to start something and not see it through, but we just aren't sure how to proceed with that little boy. Oh the trials of toddlerhood.

Tomorrow is Allie's 18-month appointment at the doctor. Wait a minute! That means she turned 18 months old at the beginning of this month! Oops! That one snuck up on me!

Well, back to my project! After all, it's 8:30pm and I'm getting sleepy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Love Having This Blog

I know that I haven't been as consistent lately with blogging, mostly because I've been really busy and things have been somewhat uneventful around here. That being said, I'm just so blessed to have this blog! I love that I can share a piece of our life with all of you and that you so kindly give me advice, encouragement, and support! Not even just in your comments online, but when I bump into at a store or see you at is so nice to know that people are reading and care about our family enough to share these experiences of life with us. And yes, I have received more potty training advice than any other topic in the history of the blog!

I had a Tastefully Simple party last night and tonight, so I've been away from the kids for two evenings in a row. I love the flexibility of this job though, and I feel great knowing that they are home with Matt if I am gone:)

Potty training continues with Cara and Eli who are both doing great! The triplets went with Grandma and Grandpa for the morning to visit Great Grandma and they stayed dry during the 1 hour car ride each way! They are using potties out in public quite easily and we are so proud! Brady is starting to show an interest, mostly because I think he finally feels a little left out. Perhaps the peer-pressure approach will work for him.

Matt is working to upload some videos from Youtube of the kids' birthday party. Hopefully he will add them to the blog tonight or tomorrow. So instead of pictures, you may get video!

UPDATE: I just can't seem to embed the video right into the blog tonight, but I'm going to share a link to a Youtube video that Matt uploaded. It is from our Disney trip and shows Cara meeting Alice in Wonderland. She was so excited that she just flapped and flapped her hands the whole time!

I hope that you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Miss Taking Pictures

I really apologize about how long it has been since I've posted any pictures. I really miss taking pictures of the kids too! I have emailed the camera people, and haven't heard anything back. So now, I'll be calling. Don't they know how much I use that camera?!

I have a positive potty update today. Cara and Eli continue to be doing very well on the potty. We are still in the "telling them to go every 20-30 minute" stage, but they are complying so well and having very few accidents. Brady still seems very uninterested, so I think it is becoming clear to me that some heavy bribing may have to come into play with him. I'm going to see how the weekend goes, and hopefully start with him on Monday.

I started with Cara's eye patching yesterday, but I forgot to do it today! She was so happy to wear it yesterday at first! The boys were totally jealous and we all had a great time pretending to be pirates. But after a few minutes, Cara got very annoyed by the stickiness of the patch, pulled it off, and said "Mommy, I'm all done with this!" This morning, I asked her when she wanted to put her patch on. She replied, "Mo-mmy! I don't want to do that. I can't see a thing with that patch on!" So I decided to wait until later, and then promptly forgot about it all together. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If You Need Me, I'll Be in the Bathroom

Seriously, if you need me...I think you will be able to find me for the next few weeks sitting on my bathroom floor, waiting for someone to use the potty. If I'm not there, I'll be scrubbing up wet spots off the hardwood floor or carpet. Perhaps you might even find me doing a load of wash! Yes, my friends, I am a potty training mom!

I'm talking like I was here all day dealing with the potty training...and I wasn't! My wonderful mother in law was on duty today as we started Eli off on the potty training adventure! Brady, Cara, and I were in Rochester at appointments, so I thought Eli might enjoy some quiet time and a more relaxed setting to get going (no pun intended).

Eli is a different sort of child than Cara. He has thoughts, many thoughts, that seem to come and go from his little head on a whim. He's up, he's down, he's running around...the phrase I hear myself saying to him over and over is "Focus buddy!" Grandma reported that after sitting on the potty early this morning waiting for the pee to come for close to 30 minutes, Eli promptly stood up from the potty and peed all over the floor. He did have several successes today, so I'm celebrating that and moving on! Cara did a great job while we were out today, but had a few accidents at home, go figure.

Before I go any further, I need to have a minute of honesty here! For the past day or two I've had a pit in my stomach and I feel that familiar enemy gnawing at me. Fear. Ever since Brady told me that his back hurt my mind has been spinning with worry. I'm not sleeping well and I'm just unsettled. He was up last night around midnight just kind of whimpering. He never is up during the night, so I was alarmed. I came down, sat on the floor beside his bed, and just held him. He was never able to tell me what was wrong, but he just wanted to be held. As I laid my hand on his back and prayed, I just asked God to spare him from pain. I asked God to continue to allow my mother's intuition to give me insight and for God to use my worry for good and for it not to overtake me. That's a tall order, but God has done this for me before and I know He can do it again. Brady seems fine other than these two little instances, but a subtle twinge of worry is all a cancer-mom needs to be on red alert!

After Brady's PT appointment this morning, we headed over to Strong for Cara's eye appointment. During the vision part of her exam, she struggled more than ever to use just her left eye (the one she turns away from using) to see things at a distance of about 10 feet. I was covering her right eye and could feel her wanting to turn that left eye away and try to use her right eye. The doctor and I had a long discussion about the cause of this problem, why the surgery in October didn't work, and what we will do next:

1. Cara was born with a weak muscle behind her right eye (the good eye). This muscle imbalance caused that eye to float up and out slightly. I never noticed this, but he documented this at her first two visits before the surgery.
2. An eye imbalance can cause a person to have a sort of double vision. In order to correct this, a child learns to tilt and turn their head in order to only use one eye. Cara chose her right eye.
3. By continually choosing to use her right eye for distance vision, she was thereby weakening the vision in her left eye.
4. In October the surgery attempted to clip the muscle behind the right eye in an effort to weaken it, making it more in balance with the left eye.
5. Sometimes after the surgery, the muscle will heal and reattach itself to the eyeball, making a repeat surgery necessary. This is the doctor's theory for why Cara continues to tilt her head.

So, the next step is to try patching her right eye. She will wear an adhesive patch over her right eye two hours a day. Hopefully this will help train that lazy left eye to become stronger and improve the vision in that eye. We will go back to the doctor in August and if things haven't improved we will consider repeating the operation. I'm still not sure how patching will improve the muscle behind the eye if has reattached itself, but I'm trusting the expert here.

Potty training, cancer/back pain worry, and eye patching! Good times over here at my house. Tomorrow it is just me, my 4 kids, and our problems:) It's a good thing that I just adore these 4 kids so very much. It's also a good thing that I realize in the world of problems, I'm blessed to be dealing with these!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Octopus Arms

If only I could have 8 arms. If only I had an arm to meet every need of everyone in this house all at the same time.

If I had octopus arms today, I could have accomplished the following:

1. Changed Allie's diaper as she rolled around on the changing table with the strength of a bull,


2. Helping Cara get up onto the big potty instead of hearing her scream, "Moooooommmmy! I have to pee, come here! Moooooooommmy, I'M GOING TO PEE!"


3. Answering the phone instead of letting the answering machine pick it up, again,


4. Folding the mound of laundry that is sitting on the dining room table where a perpetual pile of laundry sits,


5. Returning the texts, emails, and phone calls from those I have neglected to respond to,


6. Dusting the house that hasn't been dusted since before, ahem, the kids' birthday party,


7. Breaking up the fight between Eli and Brady who are arguing over whose diaper I will change first after I change Allie and help Cara,


8. Did I mention that I didn't use the bathroom from 7:30 until nap time today?

Wow! Keeping up with them and the stuff of life is unbelievably busy! Not every day seems as hectic, but with each new challenge (like potty training), I feel like more and more gets crammed into our already over-flowing days.

So, yes, I do envy the that would be multi-tasking!

In other news, tomorrow Cara, Brady, and I will be heading to Rochester very early for a few appointments. Brady has PT and Cara has another appointment with the eye specialist. She continues to turn and tilt her head when looking in the distance. It has gotten no better, but no worse.

I also wanted to document that today for the first time Brady told me that his back hurt. While we were eating dinner I noticed him wincing. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that his back hurt. I didn't get the sense that he was faking, or just repeating something he has heard us say, I think he truly was hurting. That broke my heart. We just recieved a reminder call to schedule our appointment with Dr. Sanders, the orthopedic doctor. This will be a concern to bring up with him. And more importantly, a matter for prayer:)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Celebrating Motherhood

To all moms, grandmas, aunties, sisters, friends, and everyone else who calls themselves a mom...

Happy Mother's Day to YOU!!!
Being a mom is hard work. Some days I want to quit this crazy job. Some days I wonder how in the world did I get to this chaotic and exhausting place in my life. There are even days when I wish for the quiet peace that I had in my life before I had kids!
But then I see a pile of shoes by my back door, long after the kids are tucked into bed, and instantly I feel a twinge in my heart that reminds me of just how wonderful it is to be a mom. To be their mom.
I'll never forget the advice given to me by a very wise friend of mine. When the triplets were infants and I felt little joy in the process of caring for them, she told me, "Don't wish it away." Don't wish it away? Who wouldn't wish that the days of mixing and washing 32 bottles a day would just hurry up and pass by? Who wouldn't want to skip right past the stages of dealing with temper tantrums, sibling fights, and potty training? Who?
A mom who one day realizes that those days are gone...that's who!
I strive every day to find m joy in the ordinary moments. Even though my kids are young, I can feel just how fast these moments are slipping away. With all of the changes happening in our house lately, I can sense this even more. So, I'm soaking up everyday moments, like when I'm sitting on the bathroom floor looking into the eyes of my three-year-old princess on the potty, who is telling me story after story about scary giants. These are the moments that make motherhood so precious.
I just loved this video that Kristen from We are THAT Family linked to on her blog today. It is sappy, but hey, mothers are sappy! I hope you enjoy...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Potty Adventures, Take Two!

Potty Training: Day 2: Two BIG thumbs up!

Cara is just awesome! She went on the potty about 20 times today, no accidents at all! We still have to conquer using the potty for well, you know, but I'm not pushing her and just trying to keep things really light and positive!

We even went out to dinner tonight and she didn't have an accident! We put her in a pull-up just because I didn't want her to panic if we were driving and she couldn't get to a potty. She kept the pull-up dry and went potty at the restaurant two times! She is making the whole thing look way too easy:) But my friends, trust me when I tell you, that the boys are going to be harder, much harder to train! She is quite the independent girl and doesn't fall apart when confronted with a challenge. The boys on the other hand will whine and cry when things are hard, and are quick to say, "I can't!" I think Eli will be okay with lots of reminders and encouragement...our dearest Brady on the other hand...there will be battles, many battles!!!

Tomorrow the big kids are taking a little road trip to visit Great Grandma Vera about an hour away. I'm very excited to see how Cara does away from home for so long. I didn't anticipate so many outings when I started this project earlier in the week, but she is doing so well that we will just roll with it!

I am sad to report that our awesome camera is not working right now. I love that camera and it has been so great to have for the past 8 months, but something isn't right with the button you push to take the pictures. I'm looking into it, but sadly will not be able to share pictures for a while:(

Lastly I wanted to share a video from the CNCF (Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation). It is our goal to continually raise awareness about Neuroblastoma and funding for research aimed at improved treatment outcomes for children with this disease. I shared this video on Facebook and wrote that I had never heard of Neuroblastoma before January 21, 2009. My goal is for everyone I know to understand the warning signs and tell at least one other person about this disease. Please take a few minutes to watch this video. It just may save the life of someone you love...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ups and Downs

Potty Training: Day 1: 2 Thumbs Up!

I heeded the advice of many-a-mom out there and decided to tackle potty training one at a time. The choice was easy...Cara. She's mature in a way that the boys just aren't. She understands things in a different way, can explain just about anything to us, and I've heard a million times that girls are easier. So, with a package of big-girl-undies in hand, I presented the idea to her and she happily agreed to give it a try:) I explained that if we had a great day potty training then we would paint her toe nails, dark pink of course!

I'll spare you all the potty details, but the great news is that Cara had an excellent first day! She spent many, many minutes in the bathroom. She read books, she sang songs, she wiggled, but she successfully went on the potty about 8 times! We had a couple of accidents, but I was SO proud of her. I was so glad to have Grandma Sandy here today because potty training one while caring for 3 others, and trying to do anything else around the house is a tough chore all alone. Tomorrow I'll go at it again, but for now my sweet big girl is sound asleep with dark pink toenails:)

In other news, Eli threw up all over just before dinner. He laid down for a few minutes, decided to try and come to the dinner table, and threw up again. After a little while he seemed to be back to his old self. My prayers have started that the rest of us would be spared.

It was quite a day! Lots of laundry for sure, but lots of celebrating too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm Still Here

I've been terrible about blogging in the past few days. It seems as if the time just hasn't been available to sit down and do it. A few nights ago Matt was using the computer for a long time as he was trying to upload video of the kids from the past few months. In the past few weeks I have signed up to become a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant, so I've been busy getting that going. Keeping up with blog is important to me so I promise that I'll find time to fit it into my new schedule.

The kids are doing great~ We think we have made a decision on where they will be attending preschool in the fall. They are just changing and growing faster than I even though possible! Matt and I are realizing that in a few ways we have kept them babies for too long. In many ways that was done just as a means of survival in our world of 4 very small kids. The transitions from crib to beds and highchairs to the table have gone very well. It is now time to conquer the beast...potty training. I long for the day when I can claim that I potty trained triplets, but I dread all of these days in between. I think this is one of the times when I can honestly claim that having three at the same developmental level makes things SO much harder. In the next few days I'll be off to Target to buy underpants...lots and lots of underpants:) Keep this momma in your prayers as I will be spending the next few weeks and months in the bathroom for more hours than any reasonable person should. I'm also envisioning lots of time cleaning up after accidents. Can you sense the optimism:)

Today looks like a great day to get the camera out. Perhaps I'll be back later with some pictures!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

His Scars

I mentioned the other day that something very emotional happened to me the other day at where else, McDonald's! I want to share with you how God really showed me something that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

My mom, the kids, and I were sitting out in the beautiful sunshine on Friday eating our lunch right outside of McDonald's. After a few minutes an older couple who knew my mom came up and began chatting with her. While she spoke with the wife, I introduced myself to the husband and introduced him to each of the kids. I then sat and continued eating my lunch, and the man made some small talk with the kids. After a few minutes I noticed that he was staring down at Brady who was sitting with his back to him, directly in front of him. He seemed to be looking at the back of his head very inquisitively. I thought maybe he was trying to read a tag on his hat or shirt, but then he stooped down and kind of looked at Brady's neck area with a pained expression and looked up at me wanting an explanation.

It hit me very quickly that he had noticed Brady's scar.

Sad...protective...pity...all of these I felt in those next moments as I remembered that Brady's scars are visible. I shared with the man that Brady was a cancer survivor and that part of his treatment included two very invasive surgeries. I felt sorry for the man who instantly looked sorry for asking, and very concerned that Brady was okay. I assured him that Brady was quite healthy and briefly told him that he was looking at a 3 year old miracle! That was all that happened at McDonald's...but so much more happened in the moments after.

I loaded the kids back in the car and began our drive home. The whole scenario kept running through my mind and I began quite a pity-party in my head. "My poor sweet boy. I'm so sad that for the rest of his life he will have to carry those scars. He will forever be answering questions for nosy people, mean kids, or just people who feel sorry for him. His friends will notice, his future wife will notice, and his own kids will notice someday." I carried on with these thoughts for a few minutes and then all of a sudden my thoughts turned to something that I truly feel was God-given...

We all have our scars. Some of us carry scars on the outside of our bodies, but ALL of us carry scars on the inside. The bumps and bruises that trial and tragedy can leave on the inside of our bodies cause more injury to our beings than any outside scar. But most of us can hide these scars on the inside. We can be cowardly as we go throughout our life, never letting anyone see us for who we really are. Most of us refuse to share our scars with those around us for fear of rejection or just the fear of being exposed as someone who isn't perfect.

But Brady's scars are on the outside. Here is the silver is what God wanted me to know that day in my car...

He put those scars there and He has a purpose for them.

And even though I wish I could carry them on his behalf, Brady will have those scars for each and every day of his life. And each and every person that is nosy, everyone who asks or points or questions, each and every one of those people will have the chance to hear the good news about God's healing grace, mercy, and faithfulness in Brady's life. That is a big job for a little boy, but I'm pretty confident that God knows just what He is doing.

I don't think that this kind of revelation just happens because I happened to change my thinking that day from pessimism to optimism. No, that just isn't how my mind works:( I know that this was just another occasion for God to continually reveal the purpose in the pain we have endured.

No matter our scars, inside or out, God has a divine purpose for them. I'm just so honored that I get to watch and see that purpose unfold in Brady's life!