Tuesday, December 30, 2008

mommy decisions

"Its just not that big of a deal mom"
This is something my son said to me today that made me have to make one of those incredibly difficult decisions. Here is the scenario...I hear those great words "Its just not that big of a deal mom" and I have to instantly decide whether I get out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair and pray that I do not kill myself on the tile because I am soaking wet OR do I just chance that it really is "no big deal" Here is what I have to go on...the last few times he said this there was a lego in the toilet, pudding in a very odd spot on the wall or even once my brand new lipstick that made super great "leg paint". These decisions are made by all mothers and sometimes they are more difficult than others. Another example is this morning when Brody got a little fussy...I rocked him and he fell asleep on my shoulder. A few moments later I realized his spit up was dripping down my bra. So do I move my comfortable and quietly sleeping baby or do I get up and change clothes. This is a mommy decision. Do I scold my son for telling me yesterday..."mom you have a fat butt i think" or do I scold myself for looking into the mirror while getting dressed and saying that exact thought outloud in front of him. There really is just not an answer that is correct...and that is why these decisions are left up to the mom :)
On another note...Marley and Me is an adorable movie. Too funny and too sad. There is nothing better than a movie that can make you laugh AND cry and even better than that...remind you to love.
On a sad and final note for the night, I am really feeling that my mom is beginning to let go. Bryce really added a little light to her life that I notice is not in her when she is away from him. I think my boys provided her with a little extra spunk she needed. I wrote three letters to the American Cancer Society today...so hopefully we can get some info ASAP before things start to get worse. She is my lifeline and I pray daily for her strength...not only in her health but in her faith as well.

staying at home

I never knew how much work and how enjoyable being a stay at home mom is. I really did not think that is was going to be "for me" But it truly is. I absolutely loved working, and maybe because I always had such great jobs. I enjoyed the pride of accomplishment in work and also the social aspect of course...who can beat lunch with friends every day! I stayed at home with Bryce once before and I felt like it was just not the job for me...but this time things are different. I am ALWAYS busy...I know Brody brought a new dynamic into our lives and his appointments definitely help fill up the calendar. BUT something is just different this time. I enjoy our schedule so much. I enjoy caring for the kids all day. I thought I would get bored or ancy...but that could not be farther from the truth. We are a non stop operation around here and the personal satisfaction is so pleasing. Sure there are days where I miss adult conversation and brain stimulating challenges...but I think I found the right thing for me right now. Life is not perfect...but the more you appreciate it...the better it feels.
Brody is getting better and better at sitting up. We are practicing very hard. He has gained so much muscle control recently. Each of his accomplishments are a miracle to me. I know that each child with downs is different...but I just feel like he has conquered so much and proven himself to be such a fighter. I am looking forward to his next therapy appointment tomorrow. It has been awhile due to the holidays and I am anxious to track his progress.

Monday, December 29, 2008

parents etc.

I have been really thinking a lot lately about what wonderful parents I have. They truly love me unconditionally and I am so blessed for their contribution to my life. My favorite thing about my parents is their love for my kids. I talk to both of my parents pretty much every day (and sometimes more haha) and no matter what I tell them about the boys they are EXTREMELY excited and proud. They are sure that Bryce is a genius and are so in awe of our little miracle Brody. I can never fully express my appreciation for the amount of love they provide my boys. It is hard for me that they cannot enjoy them together, but the way their worlds stop when my boys do even the smallest things gives me a feeling that cannot be replaced.
We had a great Sunday. I got to go to Walmart ALONE. You have no idea what kind of treat it is to go grocery shopping alone. Its by far my favorite. Justin and I cooked quail and venison and just lounged around playing with Bryce's new toys. I got to have one of my beloved phone calls with Kristen...I look forward to this uninterrupted chat sessions more than you could know. She saves my life sometimes and always keeps me sane. I even got a visit from Amanda! She was in town visiting her sister and she came by to meet Brody. I love having such great friends that no matter what time passes in between visits, the friendship is always there...and its real. Not that artificial convo that you have with some people.
xoxo

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Pictures

My Little Muffin Brody
Just Relaxing!

Bryce showing Brody his Kung Fu moves


Bryce and Meme Tanya



Nana, Meme and their BOYS!





Yay! Santa brought a lego table!


Kung Fu Panda stuff!



What is he saying?!



Brody Todey on Christmas Morning!



YAY SANTA!!!


Christmas Eve at the River Walk


Little Muffin Brody


MaMaMe and Brody









mopping

Yuck. This is my least favorite chore. Our house is 3500 sq ft and the majority of it is tile. Can someone please give me a clue on how to mop my floor without feeling like I have just run a marathon? I guess its good exercise, but its just not too much fun.
As soon as Justin's parents headed out the driveway this morning, my Dad drove in. Bryce was super excited to see him and they are now outside playing superman. I really do love having company..so Monday when I have no more visitors I am going to have to get used to the quiet again. We are blessed that we were able to see so much of our families this year. Its always a headache getting the logistics together...but it seems to have all worked out the best that it possibly could.
Now we are trying to make plans for the new year and getting organized for 2009. I have been putting a LOT of things off lately because of "the holidays" so...they are about to be over and I will have to think of some other excuse to put things off for. There is nothing better than good ol procrastination.
Things seem to be going great at work for Justin. I think we really made the right choice moving here. It was definitely the most difficult thing we have ever done, but it seems like we are following God's plan. I wish I saw Justin more in the daylight hours...but I know that will get better in time...or not haha. I truly cherish our Sundays.
Having Caiden here was great. The boys had to adjust to the whole sharing things at first, but they were best buds by the second day. They are just at that stage when one has something the other wants it and as soon as they pick up something else the other one wants that now too! It was adorable having Caiden call Justin "daddy"... He said it made him want to have twins! No thanks to that...but things like that make me question if I would like our family to continue growing. Some days I think for SURE I am done having kids. I NEVER want to be pregnant again and I would rather do more for 2 kiddos then a little less for 3. BUT I just love kids so much and my patience expands each day. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than caring for my two little munchkins and I can just imagine a third wrapping his or her arms around me too. Blah I wish adoption was not so expensive. It is sad how some people are given a gift and for selfish reasons...they let it go and pretend that it was the "right" thing to do. I guess some people were just really not meant to be parents and some are. People ask me all the time if its hard to have two kids...and at this point (and granted I am only 4 months in) I think its fabulous and could not imagine it any other way. I just do not find myself getting overwhelmed or exhausted by them. Maybe its because I like playing with Bryce's toys too LOL
xoxo

Friday, December 26, 2008

the Christmas aftermath

Christmas was a success! My turkey was delicious and everyone loved it. The gravy even turned out. The only thing that was not successful was my poor sweet potatoes. Oh well...nobody likes those things anyways :) Our living room is covered with toys and "stuff" that I need to slowly start putting away. We had a great time with John, Tanya and Nana last night and I have to say the hit of the evening was during Taboo when Nana shouted out "sexophene"!!! Is that even a word haha?! It was awesome. I literally thought I was going to die laughing. Bryce and Caiden played until they passed out. They were slightly overstimulated yesterday with all the toys and junk food...so hopefully they will be a little more chilled out today. Brody was just a little angel as usual. He showed off his smiles and giggles to everyone all day. He is just my little muffin. If all babies were like him...I would without a doubt have 10 more. I just cant get enough of his lovin. He really brought a whole new dynamic into our lives. He is just the cherry on top of our family cupcake. Justin and Bryce just swoon over him all day. I think back to the days when I was told I could not hold him or the days when he was so covered in bandages and moniters that I could hardly see his skin. I think about looking at my two week old lying in a hospital and wishing that I could change his diaper or give him a bath for the first time. It has been a long road...he is just a little soldier!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

CHRISTMAS!!

Hooray its CHRISTMAS!!! Brody is having a fabulous first Christmas rolling around in the wrapping paper! Bryce is beside himself and cannot figure out how to play with ALL his new toys at the same time :) We had the most amazing time at the river walk last night. The lights were beautiful and the weather was perfect. We could have done without the homeless people chasing us down with their cigarettes asking us for just "fitty cents sir"...but its all good. We ate at Paesanos on the river and it was YUMMY! Santa brought me the most wonderful presents!! Diamond earrings and a ring that was made special...its has two sapphires (both my boys birthstone is sapphire) and diamonds along the side. So special!! I have the best husband ever...ahem I mean I LOVE Santa! My stocking was filled with other goodies like perfume and lotions and of course I got the Steve Madden shoes I have been begging for! Justin was spoiled too of course...as ALWAYS! I am going to have to clean out the playroom soon so there is room for all the new goodies the boys got! I can't wait to watch the boys play with their lego table. Pop-Pop put in a special request to Santa and its just perfect! I put my turkey in the oven at about 9am and already got the dry ingredients ready for the dressing. Exciting AND scary! Justin's mom, dad, nana and nephew Caiden will be here this evening and we are going to have Christmas with them here. It should be a full house...which I LOVE. I hope everyone is having a MERRY CHRISTMAS! I will post some pictures later today...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

My mom left today to go and stay with my sister. It was really hard to see her drive away because we are not sure when we are going to get to see her again. She has been in so much pain while she has been here. It breaks my heart to see such a strong woman suffer so badly. It is going to be a little gloomy the first few days that she is gone because Bryce adores her sooooo much. We exchanged Christmas gifts this morning and as usual she spoiled us all to death! Justin will get off work early today (yay!!) and we are going to the river walk to take Bryce on his first boat ride! We are starting all our new family traditions and hopefully going to the river walk on Christmas Eve will be one! Everything is ready for Santa tomorrow!! This year is going to be so fun for Bryce. I cannot wait to see that first look on his face when we walk into the living room and look by the tree!!! Brody is getting spoiled too...eventhough he has no idea what is going on. One thing is for sure...he LOVES Santa! Even a picture of Santa makes him giggle. He has the cutest little giggle in the world. When he coos and smiles at us my heart just melts! He is really into his Daddy. As soon as he hears Justins voice, he starts to instantly perk up and start grinning. I just LOVE having two babies. I thought it would be hectic and chaotic, but it is actually just wonderful.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

visitors

We absolutely LOVE visitors! We live in the middle of NOWHERE lol so we love it when fun friends come to play! It is super hard for us to get out and about with the two kiddos and we wish we could visit more! Since we moved Kristen, Mom Sandra and Kelly came for a (too short) visit to love on the boys. I can't wait until they come BACK! Jennifer and her super freakin awesome boyfriend Cory came for a visit which was great and we cannot wait until they come back and bring little Tinley so Bryce can flirt with her :) Jennifer, Bryan and Kaylie came to see us and we are hoping they can make a little vacation and come stay a few days very SOON! Mark (Bryce's BFF) and his lovely Ashley made a trip over and that was awesome! Bryce was in heaven while they were here to entertain him and play "punchers"!! My Dad has come a few times which is always a special treat because he SPOILS us to death and fixes things that we don't even ask him to fix. He is super dad for sure! Justin is like the son he never had and they always have "manly bonding time" haha! They talk more than we do now which makes me so proud...and just a little jealous :) My mom has been here so we can take care of her and let my boys love on her. She is literally Bryce's WORLD! She helped me raise him during his first six months of life and they have a "friendship" that only they understand. Its always fun when she is here. Justin's parents came to see little Brody when he got out of the hospital. Although I was filled with lots of guilt for not being able to be a super hostess while they were here (because Brody had JUST got out of the hospital) we had a great time. They are always fun to visit with! Meme, Poppy, Debbie, Meme and Frances were also kind enough to come and make a day trip to see Brody when he first got home. They spoiled us as usual and we just loved having them all around! Luckily I am making new friends here and we are looking forward to having them over as well! Also...Katie and her husband Chris live close by so when in need of a BIG glass of wine, my forever friend Katie is always on hand! Hooray for friends!!!

Holidays

I absolutely love the holidays. I love the stress and chaos that they bring!! Sometimes it is difficult because we have so many families. With my parents being divorced it adds some extra stress and schedule manipulating but it always ends up working out. We have to be very careful not to hurt anyone's feelings during this time of the year! Justin always reminds me that WE are each others family now and we have to make sure we are doing what WE want to do. Everyone else comes second. It is different being away from Houston this year. I really thought I would miss it more than I do...We had a super fun Thanksgiving with my Dad's family at the Frio River. The Moore's have a FABULOUS River House and they are incredible hosts. It was the first time I really got some help with the kiddos and it was much needed and APPRECIATED! Justin and I left at 3am on Black Friday to get our shopping done...YES we are one of those crazies out in the middle of the night fighting over portable dvd players and doodle pros LOL! We had Sullivan Christmas this past Sunday and of course an Erickson Christmas Sunday as well. I don't know what we would do without Kristen's family in our lives. They are the family we have that keeps us sane :) Tomorrow we will ride the river boats and then come home and get ready for SANTA!! This year is going to be so much FUN on Christmas morning!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

HEALTH

Some health updates:
Brody - He no longer has to see a surgeon. His incision is fully healed!! Praise Jesus! We will visit the cardiologist every six months to keep an eye on his BICUSPID AORTIC VALVE and another slight abnormality that he has in his heart. At this time, both of these things are NON issues. The bicuspid could develop into an issue way later in his life, but we will keep that in God's hands. God has healed Brody and created him so perfectly! We are so blessed for His gift! We continue to have speech therapy and physical therapy every other week. They are impressed everytime they see him!
My Mom - The colon cancer is really taking a toll on her. She is waiting as patiently as possible for information on when she can begin treatment. Please keep her in your prayers at all times. She is only out of bed a few hours a day. The rest of the time she is either too tired, dizzy or nauseous to get up. She has been staying with us for a few weeks, but she will leave Christmas Day and stay with my sister for awhile. My sister does not have kids and can provide a quieter and more germ free environment for her. The oncologist said her cancer is in stage 3...we are praying for treatment ASAP!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

COOKING

I absolutely LOVE to cook. Since I met Justin over 4 years ago...feeding him yummy meals has become a passion. As many of you probably know, he had gained 50 pounds since we met LOL. Although preparing appetizers is my FAVE thing to do, I also like cooking big meals for guests as well! I love opening a new cookbook and flagging all the pages of the stuff that sounds yummy. I sometimes even bring a cookbook into the grocery store as my grocery list! I try hard to keep it creative in there because I refuse to feed my husband hamburger helper or a bunch of fried stuff. This Christmas I will be making my very first turkey and dressing meal. I am going to need prayers while I am in that kitchen :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Starting to BLOG

As 2008 comes to an end I have begun to look back on what a whirlwind year we have had. We found out in the end of January that we were expecting a new baby! We were so thrilled to add to our family!! In June Justin was offered a new job opportunity in Boerne, Texas. He moved in July and in August I started preterm labor issues. I was in and out of the hospital several times before my doctor decided to put me on bed rest. I went ahead and resigned from work at Wetmore and moved to Boerne with Justin on September 1st. Brody John McElhannon was born on September 11th in Houston (the day before hurricane ike). 8 hours after our precious angel was born the neonatologist came in the room to inform us that Brody had duodenum atresia and would require surgery before he could digest. She also let us know the she suspected he had downs syndrome. We were also informed that due to the hurricane I would be discharged and Brody moved to another hospital. The next few weeks were filled with pain, fear and love for our little angel. After 2 long weeks in Houston we finally got Brody transferred to Children's Methodist in San Antonio. His surgery was a success and 32 days after his birth, our little gift from God was able to come HOME! He has monthly therapies and we will continue to watch his heart. Bryce Joe McElhannon turned 3 on September 28th and started preschool at First Baptist of Boerne. He loves all his new friends! He is such a smart and sweet boy! In early November, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. It has been a long year with lots of ups and downs. We have kept our heads high and listened to our Lord. He created me so strong. He gave me challenges because He knows I can handle it. I thank God each day for my blessings and I pray for more strength.

Friday, December 19, 2008