Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!


We've been to worship, partied a little bit, and now it's time for little boys to go to bed, but before that we needed one last 2008 picture. Happy New Year and may God bless you and keep you throughout all of it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Big Boys and Wii Arms

Among John's presents yesterday were a few this-boy-is-growing-up presents, a remote switch so that he can turn a lamp off and on from his bed (thanks to as-seen-on-tv), a lamp for the little bookcase by his bed, an alarm clock with big digital numbers so that he can start to learn that he can leave his light on for 1 hour, or 30 minutes or whatever after he is put to bed, and a small shelf that hangs above his bed that he can reach that holds a few books for him. This morning he was sitting in bed with his light on reading/looking at a book waiting patiently for his daddy to come get him for his bath. The big boy just keeps getting bigger every day, not just in behavior, but in stature also. On Christmas eve as we were standing together in church I was holding his hands as normal, at the full extension of my arms. I've known for a while that he was not fully or even mostly extending his own arms to hold my hands, not until Christmas Eve did I realize just how much taller he had gotten, when he took my hand and rested his whole face in there at first I wondered why he was trying to wipe his snotty nose in my hand, then I realized hey, that's his chin, holy cow this kid is getting taller. Why did he do this, I haven't a clue, it was silly at a moment when his mommy needed some silly, sweet how God provides even those things that we need.

The grown-ups are enjoying their present too. Mark and I are trying to purchase the parsonage here, we have been given a can't-miss-deal on the price of it, but even at that it is taking everything financially that we have and so this year we purchased no presents for each other and only a very few for John from us. My sweet and generous mom sent 4 boxes for us in the box that contained John's most favoritest Playdoh. We didn't have a clue what was in the boxes, except for the first which by it's packaging was obviously a game for the DS that she had given me for Christmas several years back. We were shocked, amazed, delighted and speechless when we unwrapped a new Wii and some components for the grown-ups. Now this is very much a first-Christmas-after for us, comparable to the first Christmas after my dad died, and the first one after Mark's mom died, a friend described miscarriage as a bitter pill to swallow, it is by far the bitterest we have tasted yet. So while we were still into Christmas for the celebration of the coming of Christ, and made sure that John enjoyed his Christmas, both Eve with church celebrations and Day with presents, games and toys, for us there was/is a missing joy that we know will eventually return but is certainly not here now. Last night after we put John to bed we decided to give the Wii a real run, we had played a bit through the day, but really it takes too much floor space and too much in-front-of-the-tv to have John in the floor while you are doing this. We played tennis, we shot pool, played badmitton, and every other game on the thing and my favorite we rode the cows and knocked down the scarecrows, more importantly we laughed, we smiled, we giggled, and we carried on without tears or sadness into the wee hours of the morning. Well this morning we have Wii arms, mine are more tired and sore than Mark's, but it certainly reminds me of days gone by when the skin between my thumb and first finger was bruised from the Atari joystick (mom and dad saved us by sending us to bed so they could play, hmmmm, their hands were red the next day too) and who could ever forget Nintendo thumbs once you've had them, ouch, but really you can play through the pain ;) Moreover we are looking forward to playing again after John is in bed tonight and think we might have even found some things that John can play on here too. Thanks mom for both the Wii Arms and the Wii smiles!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Can you hear the excitement?




Learning to sit up by himself came just in time for Christmas, as the Christmas tree threw him on the floor a couple times as he headed in for more presents.



Playdoh! All presents were loved and squealed over, but the Playdoh had to be shown to the monkey and the doll, and they were excited too!





Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 Years Old!

I thought I better get this birthday post in here before it's time for a Christmas one. We took John up to the Baker's house in Nebraska to celebrate turning 5, and what a celebration it was. He had the best time, playing with the kids, unwrapping presents, putting out candles with the candle snuffer, and just everything was so much fun for him, and us too! My mom got John a DVD-camcorder for his birthday so that he could watch his friends and his birthday party on the way home, he loved this and has watched it many times since. Unfortunately this means that we didn't take as many still pictures and I can't figure out how to upload video from the little DVD to the computer. So I share these pictures with you:


This one was actually taken just before we left for John's birthday, the sweater he is wearing is the sweater that Mark's Auntie Gerry made for him when he was a little boy. John loves this sweater and he has worn it many places. I was initially worried that he would be so hard on it that it would fall apart, but then decided that he was enjoying it too much to worry about it and well it's made a lot tougher than I thought, because it is holding up great.


Here John is opening up his birthday presents, he just loves the little girl that is sitting there with him and she helped him with all of his presents, and then helped him play with them too. Now he really enjoys the rest of the Baker children too, but he and Chick #3 have the very best time together. While we were there she played the piano for him and let him set next to her and play too. John's love for music just seems to grow and grow and after we are through the purchase of our house this year we will begin looking for him a piano for home, one that we can afford and one that can hold it's tune.

I've been amazed at what this 5th year of John's life has brought, as I look back over the posts and think back through the year it's been quite the roller coaster ride as all of his years have been, but this one is ending on such high notes. We see God's gracious hand in John's life everyday and not the least of that is just the good health that he is enjoying right now. John is scribbling on everything, asserting his independence at every turn, playing with toys and in ways that he's never done before, getting to be more helpful and even just more fun and caring, he's growing up in front of our eyes and we are so very blessed to watch and enjoy this.

At the moment he is sitting in the living room cutting the wooden birthday cake that the Baker's got him for his birthday and watching Peter Pan. He now has the patience to watch a whole movie, well okay a whole movie that has a good deal of action in it. We have just been thrilled to watch all the changes this year and we're looking forward to what the next year brings.

As for mom and dad we are doing better each day. I have learned not to cry in front of John, it just breaks his heart, but Mark still lets me borrow a shoulder when I need it. I was able to fully miscarry on my own last Monday so don't have to make decisions about d&c's and such things. Grief is grief, we are so thankful for the loved ones who have called and written, the cards, hugs and love from friends have been comforting and the friends who have opened their hearts and shared their own journey through this grief with us has helped immeasurably. As my body heals and I am able to do more things it helps my mind find some peace. Looking forward is both scary and exciting. I have found a doctor in Columbia who works with women with PCOS so that if God should so bless us again I am less likely to miscarry. We find that we want, hope and plan with God's grace, peace and strength to walk a narrow road between hoping and preparing as best we can for another pregnancy and not obsessing and falling back into the bitter mindset of infertility that we/I once carried.

Well one last note about our sweet John and I'll let this post loose on the internet and go back to some baking for Christmas eve. As I was typing the last paragraph and getting myself close to tears yet again, I heard the sound of paper ripping in the living room. Low and behold the son whom I love so very much was in there opening a Christmas present. Silly boy, this is the first year that he's been really excited about them and he just couldn't help himself anymore. Well the present wasn't his, turkey. So the present is wrapped back up, thankfully he did just enough damage to get my attention and not so much as to make it obvious what the present is, because it's mine and Mark's from my mom and I just don't want to know yet.

Have a Merry Christmas, and I'll post John's Christmas antics a few days or so afterward.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I got to looking back through old posts to find out when John had come out of the hospital this summer, September the 2nd, 107 days ago. WOW! Back when John was 3 we got very close to 100 days of no hospital, I think we made it to 96 or something like that and then he was back in again. This 107 days is the longest stretch that John has ever been out of the hospital in his life, now that is something to celebrate and to thank God for. Oh, and I'll get to a birthday post pretty soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sit Up and Cheer

These are not in chronological order of the evening, but you have to see this...


...this is John sitting up by himself! We cheered, we hollered, and his monkey and doll danced. This is the first time in his whole life that John has sat up from laying down all by himself. What a gift!!!!


Okay, to start at the beginning, John decided that tonight we needed to do garland. First of course he had to do his Mr. T goes Christmas Bling imitation and put the garland on himself and then after we got them all untangled we could put them onto the tree.


Of course after the garland went on the tree then it was the monkey's turn. We have a rotating Christmas tree stand, the smartest after Christmas buy we've ever made, and so John is fascinated with the tree even more so because it moves.


Just a bit after he finished sticking his doll in the tree he started trying to climb in there himself. He was a little disappointed that he was too heavy to ride in the tree, but had a great time giving monkey and doll rides.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

Mark has many fond memories of celebrating St. Nicholas day as a child and so we have found ways to have this celebration be part of our family tradition too. Since John's very first St. Nicholas day we have read him this book about the real St. Nick.

Also this day we usually put up and decorate our Christmas tree. John is a Christmas tree fanatic and so no matter what else is going on in life it's worth it to get the tree up for his enjoyment. This year he decided he needed to help...


...and then I'm sure he's heard us tell him that he's our gift from God enough that he thinks he belongs under the tree, well okay maybe he just needed to get under there anyway...


Finally this evening when we were getting ready for Advent services John just needed to wear daddy's extra collar...


...after all it does match his gloves ;)

We still don't have the decorations on the tree, but it's up and lit and we decided that we need to take it a little slower this year, hauling one big box of Christmas stuff up the stairs a day and putting those things out just seems much more doable than bringing up the whole she-bang in one fell swoop.

Honestly I was afraid this was going to be a little much Christmas cheer for me at this moment in time, but I found it was helpful, not to say that there aren't a few tears on the newly fluffed tree limbs (fluffing is my job) or that there weren't a few shed at the Advent service and here and there throughout the day, but all in all it was a better day than I thought it would be and John's enjoyment of the tree and festivities helped a lot. By God's grace we continue and have even been able to keep up our one and only Advent tradition, well besides going to church, the singing of From Heaven Above to Earth I Come each night, John loves to look at the book and tonight he was warbling something for each of the pages. He always makes his mommy smile.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sadness and Joy

This is Mark, this evening I have the privilege of posting the events of our family life together.

This morning we went to see John's new audiologist, another friendly and helpful lady who is taking care of John's hearing aids, and we made new molds of the inside of his ears to make better fitting ear pieces as John continues to grow in all ways. This was a normal and good part of the day.

Following this we went to see the OB-Gyn for Gina, for we have been celebrating the life that was growing within her for the past week. Yet our joy in this was to be short for now, and yet will be, by God's grace in Christ, eternal. The child she was carrying within her for the past 8-9 weeks left us to return to the Lord who had given this precious little one life. There is no way to know if our baby was a boy or girl, yet we are not going to let this child go unnamed and unremembered. We have chosen to name the baby Katherine, in honor of Gina's mom who, through all the joy and now sorrow, has been there for us with wisdom, encouragement, and hope, even when we had none.

While this is a sad and heart-breaking day it has come also with notes of that eternal joy that I wrote above. When we told John that the baby we had been praying for all week was now in heaven, he signed 'baby with Jesus' and smiled at us. Such profound and simple faith speaks volumes. Even as tears fall, threatening to short out the keyboard, I can be as confident as King David who, while grieving the loss of his unnamed son, said, 'he will not come back to me, I will go to him.' In this way I can commend Katherine into the gracious hands of her loving Savior, Jesus Christ, knowing that we shall meet face to face and eye to eye someday and share the love eternally that we had hoped to here in this life. And if at that point we find that our baby girl is a baby boy I am sure he will forgive us and still love us.