Just checking in...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

 Photo of Everly at 2 months taken by a dear friend of mine. This is perfect.

 First let me apologize for the two week spread between journal entries.  It has been very busy around here, mostly in a good way.  So, as a special treat for your patience, I plan to publish two separate entries tonight.  Stay tuned...

As hard is it is to believe, I just found out that not everyone is on Facebook!  I know...shocking, right?  LOL  I like to post frequent pictures and updates there, albeit short and sweet.  So, for anyone not on following Everly on Facebook, I'll share with you the highlights from the last two weeks.

Here goes...in no particular order necessarily and with no particular pattern here:

Mommy and Everly made a rare trip to Barnes and Nobles, well, actually it was her only trip thus far.  But, never you mind, because it was a fun night visiting with mommy's homeschool friends and even met some new ones.  We drank some ice coffee, chatted and even "Aunty" Sarah got to hold Everly while mommy pumped.  It was rejuvenating and refreshing to sit and discuss school and the new year, co-op classes and high school testing.  I just love this time of year!  Once a teacher, always a teacher and there's something so exciting about the start of a new year.  I'm excited just thinking about hitting the shelves for some school supplies!  Come on, fess up...am I the only person who loves the smell and look of a new box of Crayola crayons??

So the fun continued to the next night as our homeschool group had a family evening at the beach like we did in June.  I love those nights and so does my family!  It's a wonderful time for us to safely visit and connect with those we love so dearly.  We are so blessed to be a part of a community that cherishes family and spending time together like we do.  It does so much good for the soul.  After those two days, I was ready to hit the next week running!

Feeding:  Well, I continue to give sweet pea baby food but rather than the bites I was somewhat really expecting from her, they are actually more like licks.  I tried to put a bite in her mouth the first time and that wasn't the best plan.  So, we are just encouraging her to be okay with things near or in her mouth at this point.  I think I even saw out of the corner of my eye my mom sneak a bit of whipped cream into Everly's mouth, too!  It's okay, though, because we were celebrating my parents' 42nd wedding anniversary so that definitely called for a treat and a bit of rule breaking!!  Back to the feeding, our therapist just wants us to encourage Everly to be comfortable with spoons, textures, and such so she doesn't create an oral aversion.  So far, so good with that!  She does stick out her tongue but doesn't quite have the reflex to close her mouth and attempt to swallow what she has on her tongue yet.  She only gets the taste when she naturally and eventually closes it.  We're still working on it!  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

I am, however, reintroducing the pacifier.  She seems to want to do something with her mouth a lot now and so I thought that might help her.  While she does gag and choke if I put it actually in her mouth, she likes to just play with it with her tongue right at her lips.  She really gets into it and goes to town which is really cute to watch.  For now until she gets more accustomed to the feeling, we'll stick with that.  But that's progress and we'll take it!

Physical:  We are so excited because I was able to find the Tumble Form chair that our therapists use on a medical supply exchange board!  She loves it and it comes in so handy!  Believe it or note, there are actually times when she does NOT want to be held--insert gasp and whimper here--much to my shock and chagrin!  Most of the time she's on her back or being cradled or even facing my chest in the Moby wrap, so I guess I have to understand the excitement that she gets from sitting straight up looking at the world.  She doesn't like it, though, for longer than about 10-15 minutes but I'm happy that we have it for her.  At first I couldn't understand how it was any different than a bouncer but now that we have it and have used it, I do see that is really a therapy-style chair perfect for babies/children with low tone.

Doctors:  Thankfully, we have been light on doctor's appointments this month.  We don't see the pediatrician until next month when she turns 6 MONTHS OLD!!!  Can you believe it?  More on that later.  Our GI appointment in a nutshell had the most changes that we've ever had.  Basically, she needs more calories but we can't increase her volume too much.  So we'll be increasing the fortification with extra calories from formula which we have been doing all along but now will be adding a bit more, increasing her volume of breast milk per feed and also adding some water at the end of each feed for increased hydration.  Her reflux medication has been increased and since we've done that, we've only had a couple small reflux episodes!  That's really amazing!  It is comforting to see her not struggle with choking or the difficult episodes as a result.

Cardio went fine, no change.  I honestly need to do a complete entry just on this issue alone but it's such a hard one that I haven't yet been able to bring myself to do it.  One day I will, promise.

Our family is gearing up for the new school year to begin in our home.  Trying to make LOTS of plans now so that it will go as smoothly as it can possibly go considering our circumstances.  Garren, our 10th grader, will be doing a couple online classes and several co-op classes in two different co-ops in addition to my work with him at home.  I never outsource Language Arts/English/Literature so that is all mine, mine, mine!   :-)  It's my happy place!  Kendan, our 3rd grader, will be also doing some co-op classes with our friends and the rest at home with me.  Thank you, dad, for being so willing to take them to their co-op so they don't miss out!

We'll be making a rare trip to the store soon to pick up school supplies.  Have I mentioned how much I love a new box Crayola crayons??  Really, there's nothing like the sharpened, unused tip of a new crayon.  Then finding the new spiral notebooks each year...whatever is popular or inspirational...and the coordinating folders...the fun erasers and pencils...ah, the joy!  Oh, and I love pencil boxes!  Have always had a slight obsession with them!  I actually have one that is so old, I mean, like from when I was a child, that the family knows is somewhat of a no-touch item.  I do still use it and yes, I do take my pencil box with me (before now, let's say) when I go to meetings or co-op and such.  Okay, I see that I have gotten completely distracted by my love of August and all things school.  But, seriously, this is the BEST time of year!  I'm sorry I won't be starting it off with my students that I tutor but sending them hugs and well wishes from here!

Okay, back to Everly which is, I know, the reason you are reading this...if you still are!  She's busting out of her newborn clothes finally at 5 months old and is moving into 0-3 months.  So, lots of "new" clothes from the closet will be making appearances soon!  She's now 9 pounds and 12 ounces as of yesterday's check.  She is 156 days old today and is still cute as a button!   She's doing lots of "stuff" with her mouth and really exploring the inner workings of her tongue and how to move it.  She's started talking to us this month which has been fantastic!  I'll include that video in the next post shortly as only one video per entry is allowed.  She's also started smiling at us!  It never gets old.  I'll include that video with this post.

There's so many other things, stories and bits about her I'd love to share but I know this would be pages and pages long if I did that.  Just suffice it to say that she is amazing and continues to surprise all who know her!  Her story is not over yet!

Don't forget that she is having a big 6 month birthday bash next month!  We'd love for all who can make it to join us!  There will be fun, games, snacks and cake for all.  The actual invite is on Facebook for RSVP purposes so if you're not on there but would like to join us, please let me know so we can be prepared.  Much appreciated!  I am posting a picture of the beautiful invite done by Lauren Haddix Designs but it will be too small to read the details.  So here's the info:  Aug. 23 from 3-5 p.m. at the Westchase Swim & Tennis Center, theme is Princess and the Pea and younger guests are invited to dress in prince, princess or brave knight attire if they would like.  We are asking that if anyone or anyone in their house has or is ill that they refrain from attending so we can keep Everly healthy.  Thank you!

My favorite photo of sweet Melanie Rachel. Isn't she gorgeous!! An angel indeed.

Earlier I mentioned that the last two weeks have mostly been good.  Well, on July 15, my dear friend Dana's daughter Melanie Rachel went home to be with Jesus.  We were all saddened by this great loss but comforted in the knowledge that she is with her Heavenly Father.  Her Celebration of Life was last night and was, in one word, perfect.  Her father, Michael, conducted alongside his father, the celebration and told Melanie's story from the beginning.  With rawness and authenticity, he shared this tremendously emotional journey with all who came to honor her short life.  Thank you Marquart family for allowing us to walk beside you!  Melanie Rachel was so very loved by all!

I wanted to thank everyone who takes the time to write a note or message to us, either on here, via text or through email.  You really have no idea how important that small gesture is to us.  Even my husband who is not on Facebook, goes on to check what messages have come through for us and checks here to read messages as well.  So, if you have the time, we would love to hear from you :-)

We continue to be in awe of God's goodness.  All the time.  True, we won't know here on earth why He allows things to happen and not other things.  True, He could save us from this pain but sometimes allows us to experience it.  But one thing is for sure and that is that God does not promise us we won't have storms, but he does promise us that he will go through it with us.  Without these big storms, would we feel the intense need to cling to Him?  To cry out to Him?  To go on bended knee to Him?  It's easy to forget His providence when things are smooth but it's when we must come to Him that we get to know Him, really know Him best.  Without faith in His good, devastating monster storms will devastate you.  Go to Him.  He's got this.

Continued prayers for Everly's good health is appreciated. Thank you!!

With love and appreciation,


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