Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday

My boys are 4.

How on earth can they be four already? It astounds me. I realize they do not look or act four years old so perhaps that is why I was in denial...but also, time just goes so fast. They truly do grow up in a blink of an eye.

Oh sweet little guys, we love you so much. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

old fogie parking

Before anyone worries, I was safely stopped when I took this picture:)

As a mom of four special kids, but two very super special needs, I struggle a lot with the things that go along with disabilities and handicaps. I like to avoid it basically. My kids are FINE! Just they don't walk or talk and have some health issues. Just minor little details

Over a year ago, our awesome doctor signed a form for a handicap permit. Let's just say, I was too proud to send it in. Then I lost it. And life carried on. This summer, I hurt myself.  I couldn't function 100% as their momma. I couldn't sleep because I hurt. I was exhausted and sore and still had two sweet 32 lb boys to carry around. And one 20 lb baby who wasn't yet crawling. It was hard. I started chiropractic care for myself and did six weeks of PT. I am stronger now and a lot better, and a smidge bit wiser. I got a stinking handicap permit. 

It took me a while to actually use the dang thing. I think I struggled so much was that it was more for me and my benefit than the boys. They don't care if I have to wheel them 10 feet to a door or 800 feet. 

So I was heading to a GI appointment at a somewhat busy medical office complex. I got there and the closest space was not so close. And that particular lot, the spaces are very narrow so its harder to load the boys into their stroller without banging the stroller into my van. And then I saw it. A space right by the door. With tons of room on either side. And no curb to jump with my stroller. I took a deep breath and pulled in. I got the stroller out and had room to load the boys without finagling them in some awkward contortion of myself. 

I used it again at the Milford Pumpkin Festival. A truck pulled up next to us with a little girl in a stroller. She looked like she had CP and she had a feeding tube. I smiled at the dad and said, my little boys has a feeding tube too. He smiled back at me with a familiar smile. 

Then the other day at Target. It was raining. And crowded. But those old fogie spots were all empty. I pulled in. I loaded the boys in a cart. We didn't get as wet as we normally do in the rain. Maybe that is a little bit to their health, huh? 

I guess this post doesn't have a huge point. I guess its hard to do something more for myself that says "I need help". But I kinda do. And I think I will take it by using that little blue Old Fogie Tag.

Oh I will be super happy when our ramp is done. I am so OVER hauling the boys up the stairs!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

"bibs" for older toddlers

My boy Kaden is a drooler. His hypotonia is in his mouth and cheeks and so a lot of drool still comes out of this kiddo. And lets face it, baby bibs just are not hip. He's three, he doesn't want to wear something that says: "I love my mommy" or "Drool Factory"  After googling and looking at Etsy I found some cooler looking bandana bibs - but they were pretty pricy. $20 for  bib? No thank you.  Morgann and I went to a big box store which I typically avoid and got 18 washcloths for $4. And a bunch of bandanas for $1 each.

So I spread out the bandana. Stuck a washcloth in the middle.
 Fold the bandana in half, then fold about 1.5" so that the washcloth is stuck. I will (when I find my needle and thread) sew across the fold so it stays in place in the wash.
Tie on your kid. Voila. Cheap and cute. Kaden had an especially drooly evening after this pic and it worked as well as a bib, but it still soaked through a little, but no different than one of my better bibs. Tonight he was less drooly and he didnt soak through it at all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

get away

The weekend after Labor Day is the best weekend of the year. Every year, we are blessed to attend Phil Waldrep's Pastor's Encouragement Weekend. Its one of the priorities in our marriage and scheduling. A weekend away without the kids, fellowship with friends who we don't get to see nearly enough and just time for me and Rich to relax and reconnect and just talk without interruption.

Phil Waldrep had a vision years ago to start a retreat for New England pastors and their wives- a time to relax, eat a lot, have wonderful speakers and entertainment - all for free - for us crazy people in the ministry. We are so thankful for all the people who support Phil Waldrep so that this weekend is available for us.

This year it was in North Conway, NH. The weather, as it seems to be every year, was perfect. During our free time, Rich and I headed up the Mount Washington Auto Road. It was amazing ontop of Mount Washington. Apparently, there are only about 60 clear days a year on the top, so we felt very blessed for the gorgeous day. It was 83 at the bottom of the moutain and about 54 at the peak! So cool!

Arranging childcare took a bit of finagling, but we got all the kids set and situated and headed out Thursday around 3 p.m. Thank you so much to Shannon, Kristina, Kristopher, Lynn, and Kelly for taking care of our wild crew.

I felt especially blessed by God as Phil Waldrep gave all the wives $125 in gift cards for the adjoining outlets outside our hotel. As I walked around, supposed to just spend the money on me - I realized I didn't need a thing. I ended up buying a little cute clutch which I so don't need, but it was cute and a few other little things. Rich used the rest of the money to buy a few "pastor clothes" items. We are so blessed. Our kids don't need a thing - they have more clothes than I can count. We are really blessed. Did I say that already? Yeh. We are.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Farewell Summer

One last jaunt at Glen Lake after Morgann's first day of school. The water was still quite warm. She was very tired after her first day. She is very happy to be back at school though. The routine is good for us too.
The boys wait for the bus on their first day back to school. They were thrilled to be going back. In our house we can't "Say/Sign" school unless the bus is almost here lest we get two very mad little boys who want to go right away!

Summer came and went all to fast once again. We enjoyed a wonderful family vacation in the Poconos with our nephews and family. I will try to put up a few pictures sometime. I am so behind in pictures: Blueberry picking. Trips to the Lake.  Splashpad. A waterpark day. A 3-day get-away with just the twins, Morgann, and Amber.

Health wise the boys were pretty good. One virus attempted to take them down but they did well. I was re-reading this blog some and it seems I post a lot about illnesses. I am thankful that they are becoming less frequent and that the boy's immune system is becoming stronger. Our chiropractor definitely works very hard keeping us healthy. I think part of the reason I've blogged less is that we have been so on the go (and not stuck at home with sick kiddos!) that I haven't had time to sit down to write but I have missed it a bit. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This summer has thus far been a whirlwind of activity! Crazy busy. Crazy fun (most of the time). The boys restarted school this week. They are riding the BUS to school. Um. Not sure how I feel about that. But they love school.

We are spending as much time as possible at the lake. The weather has been beautiful. I know I sound like I broken record, but I love NH summers!

The boys are getting stronger and stronger. There tone is improving. Isaiah is trying oh so hard to form words. He is a chatter box. Yay.

We spent one day this week out on the lake all day as a family. It was wonderful. We all love being on the water. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Its *almost* summer here in Manchester! We love it. The boys are enjoying being outside and swinging! They love to sit on the porch and watch the kids play in the yard. Our yard is always full of exciting kids for them to watch. And its even better when they join in the action! Swinging is so fun! We may have a little old house in the middle of the city, but we love our yard! Its small but so much fun:) We are very excited that at the end of the month, we will celebrate the boys 1 year adoption anniversary in our yard (barring any rain.)

We are excited to have Travis, a college student interning at church, arrive this Monday! Hopefully Rich can get the upstairs almost done! Kaden, liked to throw a little wrench in our plans and decided to visit Elliot hospital for a couple days. He's doing much better though.

My poor garden is pretty neglected this year. I'm doing the haybales again, but having some issues with bugs. I knew with the addition of Tot things would be busy, but then add in home renovations and this little illness, I think the CSA will be our biggest source of veggies this year instead of my garden. I do hope to get some pumpkins in again though:)

Here's to happy summering. And healthy kids!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

update to challenges

Kaden is much better! In combination with some patience training, signing NO and WAIT a lot, we think that a lot of his problem seems to be related to his GI system. He is having some motility issues which is weird as for the past almost 3 years his tummy has been very stable. His tube was due to dysphagia (inability to swallow properly) So we are working on getting things moving, but in the mean time, treating it like reflux with some meds. He was like a new boy overnight. Praise God. I dont like giving my kids non-homeopathic meds BUT when I trialed him on it for two days, his attitude changed quickly. I took one day off and he was a crab monster. So he's back on it until we can get his tummy moving better! Hopefully after he gets more regular, we can back off the zantac and also the miralax, but keep him on a probiotic and keep up with flax, chia, and some coconut oil. Isaiah went through this last summer too, but then seemed to correct himself, so I'm hoping the same for Kaden:) We met with GI and decided to keep his tubie in just a bit longer as his momma is nervous and seeing that right now, things are a bit, uh, stuck. What I really hope is that Kaden will just pull the thing out one day, me not notice, and that he makes the decision for us :0) I'm silly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


This little man. Kaden. He is tough cookie these days. He is OH SO VERY opinionated. He likes to get his way. (Who doesn't?!?) But its tough because he is not verbal. And we don't know what he wants. And he completely lacks all patience. I know. He's three. Three year olds do that. So we are stumped on how to discipline and direct him. He can let us know "Yes" or "No" on the iPad. Do you want a drink? "YES" Do you want to go to bed: "NO". But then we wonder if something hurts him and I do not think he has that concept down. So I tried Advil and Zantac this week to see if perhaps its pain. And he wants to be on the go during all waking hours. And while I love doing things, its just not feasible to be always going somewhere. I did find at lunch today as he whined between bites because he wanted the food faster than I was feeding him, that doing some deep pressure touches on his arm and speaking quietly but firmly did stop the whining. "No Kaden. Its Isaiah's turn. You need to wait." I'm open to suggestions on how to help Kaden not be such a whiner...and screamer. Because when he's not getting his way he's screaming. Everyone says how good he is when we are out - its true. He's super happy when we are on the go. But our biggest challenge is at home. We want him to have a happy heart when its time to just play on the mat. Because mama has to shower sometimes, ya know:) Got any ideas? I'm all ears.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Normal

Over in this Hokie household, we are working on learning American Sign Language. Though the boys, only can, sign a few signs, they seem to be understanding more and more signs. I can sign "Boys, lets go play in your bedroom." And they get very excited and look towards their room and put their arms up to be picked up. So I definitely think they get it! When I sign "Lets put our shoes on for school." They get excited and clap their hands. And more importantly, don't take OFF their shoes because they have learned they NEED to keep their shoes on to go to school. Morgann is becoming a great signer. She signs all the time like second nature. Me, on the otherhand, I have to think about it to remember to sign. I am getting a bit better. So to our friends and family, I encourage you to start learning some basic signs to start to be able to communicate with the boys.
My favorite website thus far to learn signs is: I also like the iPad/iPod app - Smart Hands. Worth the $1-2 for the full app.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Playing together

The boys are working on gaining a new skill - interactive play. Most of the time, they are super content to just watch others play. But lately, they have been engaging in play - especially with Morgann. On the way home from the beach the other day, Isaiah made up a game of grabbing Morgann and giggling. Then Morgann would grab his hands and they would both laugh.

Tonight, Morgann, Kaden and Isaiah sat and played ball together. They took turns rolling the ball to each other. It was beautiful to watch. Isaiah especially struggles with being engaged with toys and playing but he was SO into it. Kaden (who loves his picture taken) mostly smiled at me while I was taking pictures, but he was very into playing ball before I pulled out the camera.

It made my momma heart so happy to watch my three kids play together. It also gave me lots of hope for their future. If they can learn to play ball, they can learn other things. Its a good reminder for when I get down about their slow progress. It may be slow, but its progress and I will take that and rejoice in every little "inchstone" they accomplish.

(PS forgive the piles of laundry in the background. It is all neatly folded and almost all put away;-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

"Up from the grave he arose
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And he lives for ever with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!"

What a beautiful, blessed day we had. The victory over death, sin, sickness, and sadness we celebrate with friends and family. A beautiful church service followed by a wonderful lunch and a long nap.

Though we are plagued here on earth with sickness, sin, and other not so pretty things, we rest in assurance that Jesus rose conquering these things.

Even as I type, I watch a sickish girl sleep. One day, upset tummies will cease. Ear infections will be conquered. Those of course are the little things. But the God I serve cares about the little things and the big things. All because Jesus died in our place on the cross and arose from the dead. His gift to us is unfathomable, beautiful, and perfect.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Its 12:18 a.m. I am waiting for Kaden to fall back asleep so I can stick his cannula up his nose (again). Zay woke up around 11 with a fever so getting him up out of bed to give him a nebulizer woke up Kaden who then became a little punk. Seriously that boy has quiet the attitude. He's also a cup thief. If they dont fall back asleep soon I will give up.

I can't remember what I was going to blog about. So here's some randomness.

Life is good.

Warm weather is almost here. I love "Spring Forward" even though it means missing an hour of sleep - it also means that at 7 p.m., it was still light out. Love love love that. Started running again. My first motivation is that the boys are getting heavier and I need to be fit. My back hasn't hurt since I started running. I see this as a necessity.

Speaking of love, I love our church. Grace Haven South Main blended church which soon will have a new name - they are awesome. I love my new friends from South Main. I am going with a mom there to another special needs group - Joni and Friends - on Thursday. I am becoming a special needs group, groupie, I think.

The boys have been so healthy up until Friday. They have snotty noses. Which is typical of 3 year olds, I know. I haven't given a neb in so long it took me 15 minutes to find the stinking nebulizer tonight (Buried under some toys.) I feel that is a good problem to have.

Morgann has the a fore mentioned cold as well. She also has a Teddy Bear Tea Pajama party at school tomorrow. Pajama day! What fun. She is such a cool kid. I know I have said that before, but seriously, she just rocks. She is about 4 chapters away from finishing reading her Children's Bible all on her own. I should learn from her example. She reads her Bible EVERY night before bed.

The boys room just got quiet. Dare I go in there? Kaden probably could use oxygen with that stuffy nose....Isaiah's oxygen sats are also not remarkable. Bleh. He really seems to have some minimal congestion and a fever. His ear drums look perfect. Probably a virus I guess. Alright, gonna sneak in and see if I can settle them down then settle myself down to sleep as well.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Happy Birthday to my sweet seven year old Morgann! What a joy these past seven years have been. We are so blessed to have such a sweet, thoughtful, inquisitive, caring, goofy little girl.

(Our cool dolphin cutlery!)
(Decorating fish bread to make mini pizzas!)
(Dolphin Goodie boxes)

To celebrate, my friend Margie and I threw a super duper dolphin birthday bash. It was a flippin' success! (Flippin...flipper....dolphins...get it? Okay bad joke) My mom and dad were able to be here to celebrate with us. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with our sweet seven year old!

(Opening a dolphin blanket from MeMaw and Poppie)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


My little boys started school on Tuesday.

Public school.

With an EIP. In a classroom. Without me.

Being a mom of kids with some unique needs, I have been stretched in ways that I am not so comfortable being stretched.

Like sending my sweet, precious, innocent little boys to government school.

But in the end, it came down what was best for my kids. And it does not quite line up with my political and faith beliefs. (I may have said in the past that my children would attend public school over my dead body. Alas, never say never.)

Two days in and my little men love it. They are totally beaming when I pick them up. And not because they see me - they are too busy looking around and being happy.

I feel a bit bad for the school. I refuse to let them: contact our doctor, have access to most health records, let the health dept have info, ect. I cant quite get over all my distrust. Maybe later. But for now, this is a big step for me.

In the end, its not about me. Its about my guys. Its time for them to go to school. I am going to have to let down a few of my guards and let my kids go a little bit. They are getting a ton of therapy, in a classroom specific for kids with hearing loss, and most importantly, they seem to love it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


For Christmas we received a gift. It was a coffee creamer and sugar set. When it arrived. It was broken. At first, I sadly thought: "What a waste! I am going to have to throw it away." Then I decided to try to glue it back together. With some super glue (that is banned in California because it may cause one to grow a third eyeball) I started to glue it back together. In about 30 minutes I was done. Good as, well, almost good as new! My set now sits on the butcher block in the kitchen. The sugar bowl filled with sugar. It is doing what it is designed to do. Fulfilling its purpose.

As I was gluing, I started to ponder God, brokenness, the boys, and myself. God designed the boys. He designed you and me. And yet we all are a bit broken. During the boys their first year of life, they have a few scars reminding us that they are broken and needing fixed. Scars that saved their lives. God allowed the boys to be scarred. He allows bad things to happen to us. I think we spend too much time pondering "why"...when the answer isn't meant to be revealed to us right away. But what I do know is that these two little boys have touched so many lives. Just today, I brought them into a room, and a woman there, who was looking a bit downcast, lit up when she saw them. Her demeanor totally changed. That is just a tiny insignificant example.

I guess what it boils down to - how do respond to brokenness. .Our first response, we can say: what a waste. And live a life void of purpose.

We can try to pick up the pieces but live life half broken and ashamed that we aren't perfect.

Or we can use our scars, broken pieces, and imperfections for God's glory. Each scar tells a story. A lesson in living. We still have a great purpose and perhaps even a greater purpose and responsibility. The scars of Jesus after he died on the cross - in our place - for all the nasty, gross things we have done here on the earth - tells us how much He loves us. It convinced Thomas to believe. And reminds us of the great sacrifice He made.

Here are the stories behind some of the boy's scars, for the curious...
The first one, is Isaiah. Its a scar from an intraosseous catheter. You see, Isaiah had aspirated. And a not so wonderful night nurse didn't take this mom here seriously that I thought Isaiah was seriously sick. By morning, it was apparent he was in critical conditions. And severely dehydrated. And we couldn't get IV access. So they basically took a needle and stuck it into his leg bone and were able to infuse some fluids. Enough that we were able to get an IV and get strong antibiotics running in a few hours. Unfortunately it also infiltrated quickly, swelling his leg and leaving a scar. But that whole incident taught me a lot. The second is a scar from an infiltrated IV of Kaden's: another lesson for this mom: check IV's hourly even if the nurse does not. The third is Kaden's G-tube. It sustained Kaden and his life for over a year. I can't say what the future holds for my scarred children, or for my scar-less Morgann, but I have faith that God will use those scars, trials, delays, and hardships and make something beautiful out of it. Actually I can say with certainty, He already did.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NH primary

Today is the NH primary. I voted for my favorite candidate based upon I truly support their beliefs.
But here is why I didn't vote for the following. Yes some are superficial but here is the honest truth. Don't be too offended :)

Newt Gingrich: I won't vote for someone with an amphibian name, sorry. Plus the cheating thing.
Jon Huntsman: in his tv ad he says: "Americans are being screwed." yeh didn't like my 6 year old asking "why are we being screwed? What is screwed?"
Romney: former Mass governor, enough said. But his hair creeps me out too.
Perry: HPV vaccine mandate. Please don't force me to vaccinate my kid against a STD because there are still a million other STD's out there...oh and too many girls have died due to the vaccine than my comfort level allows.

So that's how you don't get a vote in Abbey land.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Interview with Morgann, age 6 and 10 mo. (almost 7...sigh...)

What is your favorite show: Wild Kratts

What is your favorite thing at school: Probably learning our about our senses

What is your favorite food: Crackers

What do you want to be when you grow up: Veterinarian

Favorite Christmas present: Paper doll things

What do you think about church: I like doing the little Bible craft thing

What do you think about your brothers: Um, okay. I like them when they laugh and stuff. I dont want any more questions.