Thursday, May 28

Block Party!

Memorial Day Weekend
Bradley being a big boy on a scooter. We didn't even know he was capable of riding one!
And, Bradley just being silly "B".
Brayden's neighbor from the NICU lives in our neighborhood!
Bradley taking pictures of some of the neighbors!
Kerri (left)
Kelli, Laura, and Louie above
Such wonderful neighbors!
We had a cookout with our neighbors this past weekend. It was a great; we partied late. The definition of party is very different with kids, and late has a different definition too as it was only 10 when we called it a night! It was right in front of our house which worked out well, so we could put the boys down for their nap and enjoy ourselves sans kids. :-) Then, we could run in for whatever we needed once they were up. It did rain a little, but we had 3 tents set up so we stayed dry. Really the weather was the perfect temperature! We can't wait for our next get-together!

Sunday, May 24

Another busy week

This past week Austin had 3 appointments. The first was with his pediatrician, because he was sick. He ended up having a virus with some cold symptoms. So, we had to start him on Xopenex (nebulizer treatments) for his cough, and we did a couple of doses of Lasix. We can do the treatments every 4-6 hours, but so far he has only needed one in the morning and one before bed. Amazingly, he kept his sats up even with the virus and respiratory symptoms. God is so good! Then, we had an appointment with the pulmonologist. He said Austin is doing so well that we could discontinue the oxygen at night too! So Friday night was his first night without his O2 ever, and he did well. The pulmonologist said to look for a change in alarms and issues with feedings (being too tired to eat), and we haven't had any problems. I've checked his sats, and he is keeping them up in the 90's! Austin has even slept longer stretches; he has to be more comfortable without that tubing and tape! Then, the EI and Physical Therapist had an appointment with him this week too. They said overall he is doing well especially with his head control, smiling, and verbalization. However, there are some things we have to work on with him. We have to work on his abdominal strength and getting him to pull to sitting, and holding and interacting with toys. He will swat at us to get our attention, but isn't too interested in toys. He seems to be very personable at only 10 weeks adjusted age! He is still right at 11lbs or so, because he has been sick so much. At least he hasn't lost any weight. Austin is so sweet; he definitely has an attachment to us. He would barely pay the physical therapist any attention, because he was watching me too much. Every time she turned him he turned his head to watch for me- of course I love it, because I wasn't so sure that he would be attached to us after his extended stay in the NICU. Bradley is doing well. He finally seems to be over his ear infection and cold. He has so much energy all the time, but he is so sweet. And, he is constantly answering us "it sure is" at the appropriate times. It cracks us up; it's his new personal phrase. He is saying all sorts of grown up expressions, and he even quotes his favorite shows and movies. He is still being a good big brother; it's just amazing that there seems to be no jealously. I guess Bradley wanted Austin home as much as we did. Bradley's imagination is huge too, and he is such a boy. I heard the front door open earlier; he had run outside to play in the rain! Once we got over how scary that could have been if I hadn't heard him, we laughed at him playing in the rain. We're going to have to change the lock on that door! Saturday evening we had a cookout with our half of the neighborhood right out in front of our house. It was a blast! We had some rain, but we had 3 tents set up which worked out well. The weather was the perfect temp. There was lots of good food and conversation. We're so blessed with wonderful neighbors! Chris has been on call all weekend, but has been home by mid to late afternoon both days. He still has awhile to go before he finishes call at 6am tomorrow morning, but then he'll be home the rest of the day. Pray for a good call night tonight We have a birthday party to go to at Saluda Shoals Splash Park tomorrow evening, so hopefully the weather will hold out!

Tuesday, May 19

Just some fun pictures

Look at that sweet face!
All my boys
Mama's Boys
Our personal photographer took this picture
I'm so proud of my Bradley- he loves taking pictures!
Bradley climbing his rock wall
Bradley posing- he looks like such a big boy!
Look at my big boy!
I just can't get over how big he is looking these days!
Bradley and his bunny, "Mickey"
We had fun just hanging out and taking some fun pictures the other night. Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, May 18

Mother's Day Weekend

Matching outfits!
Austin being baptized on Mother's Day
Sweet boy- he was a little overstimulated though! :-0
Austin with Daddy & Mama Bradley & Cousin Tristan
The Wicker Family at Mellow Mushroom
Happy 7th Birthday Madison!
Yummy homemade cake by Jason & Becky!
Happy 1st Birthday Thomas! Big sister Anna Grace chowing down on cake
Spending the day in our pj's
Look at Austin holding himself up!
Riding the pink piggy at the mall
Mother's Day weekend was a busy weekend for us. We had 2 birthday parties for 2 special kids in our life: Madison turned 7 and Thomas turned 1! Wow, how time flies. We celebrated Madison's party at Mellow Mushroom on Saturday. The kids made pretzels and enjoyed yummy pizza. Then, Sunday evening we went to Virginia Hiton Park where we celebrated under the nice park shelter and feasted on yummy food. Bradley enjoyed seeing his bestest bud Anna Grace and watching Thomas chow down on his cake.
Then, the most exciting thing was Austin's Baptism on Mother's Day at our church, Lexington United Methodist. Most of our family was able to join us for this very special occassion. All the grandparents: Hawkins, Wicker, and Broome; Uncle Michael and Aunt Beth; Uncle Sverre, Aunt Jennifer, and Tristan; and The Cunningham family joined us for the service. Then, we came back to our house where we enjoyed a yummy lunch. Thank to all the grandparents for helping out with the meal! We dined on homemade chicken salad, pimento cheese, croissants, homemade spinach dip, boiled shrimp, homemade salsa (I found the Chili's recipe and it's so good!), chicken nuggets, veggies and dip. Then, for dessert we had fresh strawberries with a cream cheese dip and tea cakes from Parkland Cakes (they make all of our special occassion cakes- our wedding cake, Chris' med school graduation, and etc). It was a very special day. Austin did well in church; we were so blessed to be able to have him baptized in church!
Austin currently weighs about 11.5lbs. He is growing so well and is becoming so much more personable. He even smiled for the NICU nurses when we visited them this last week. We had another busy weekend this past weekend too; tons of fun all weekend long! Our friends, Heather and Michael, came and hung out with us Friday night. We played some Wii and just enjoyed spending some relaxing time together. Saturday we headed out to Harbison for some shopping with Grandmama Broome in tow. This Mama wants to thank Grandmama Broome for buying some new clothes for my birthday! We also went by Babies R' Us and bought a high chair for Austin, so he can start joining us at the table. Then Saturday night our neighbors , George and Kerri, joined us for some Beaufort Stew. We also enjoyed some of Tastefully Simple's Wheat Beer Bread and Lemon Bars. Kerri is a Tastefully Simple Consultant if anyone needs some easy, delightful foods. We are very blessed to have some wonderful neighbors. Then, we ended the weekend with a visit from Uncle Michael, Aunt Beth and the Hawkins grandparents!
Next weekend should be fun as well. We're having a street party, our half of the neighborhood is having a cookout Saturday night. Chris will be on call on all weekend, but we pray it will be a good call- not lots of time away from home! Then, sweet Anna Grace is turning 3 on Monday. So, we'll celebrate with them at Saluda Shoals for her birthday. Gardens by Design finished our landscape design. It's going to be gorgeous when we finish it. I'm going to take before and after pictures. Our plan is to get an irrigation system and the grass down in the next month. The trees, shrubs, and perennials will take some time to install. We'll do that slowly over the next few year probably. Plus, we're going to extend our deck and put in a stone patio. We plan to be in the house for a LONG time, so we wanted to make a great outdoor living space to enjoy with our family. Plus, Chris and I will be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary next Tuesday. I can't believe it's be 8 years! We've had some hard times, but we still manage to keep our marriage strong. Things just keep getting better!

Wednesday, May 13

God's plan is awesome as always!

We went for the ultrasound today, and it showed that Austin's brain is stable!!!!! There have been no changes in Austin since his last ultrasound in February. So, this means he doesn't have hydrocephalus! Thank you Lord! He still has an enlargement in his left lateral ventricle from the brain bleed, but it hasn't gotten any worse. Unfortunately, we don't really know what that means long term. His doctor said that could improve or it could stay the same, but that is something that we're going to have to pray about it. So, continue to pray for him and that he develops as he should in the coming months and years. For now, though, he has been saved from having to have major surgery. We're so blessed! Thank you all for your prayers! Austin also seems to be recovering well from his first ear infection. We can actually see 2 of his teeth under his bottom gums, so no telling when those might break through- could be weeks or months- who knows with a baby and teeth! He has been smiling so much at us and others; we just love to see his face light up! I don't think I've said on here that we weaned him off his oxygen during the day last Thursday. He has done very well with it and is only using it at night. He seems to love not having the cannula on his face during the day and cries at night when we hook it back up (we still have to use tape to keep it on his face during the night). I'm not sure how much longer he'll be on it at night, but we go back to the pulmonologist in a couple of weeks. Bradley is still having a rough time with his ear infection. He seems to have more than an ear infection, possibly a sinus infection and his doctor said he throat looked bad too. However he is on an antibiotic, so hopefully he'll be feeling better tomorrow. Thankfully this is the first time he has been sick since the babies were born, but he is used to getting my full attention when he is sick. He hasn't complained about it, but I wonder if it's why he is whining and moaning so much. I try to cuddle with his as much as possible, and we pray that God will guide us as to what is best when dealing with both boys. Bradley will be just fine; I trust God fully in his plan. He has his own life lessons to learn, and I'm positive one of those is realizing that you aren't the only person on earth. :-) So, we're rejoicing in our good news today and are very thankful for another one of God's many blessings! We had a busy weekend this past weekend; I'll post about it and pictures later. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Monday, May 11

Austin needs more prayers

I took both boys to the doctor today, because I was afraid they might have ear infections. Well, they both had them. We're hopeful that Austin's problems are coming from this and the fact that he is teething. However, his doctor was a little concerned as his soft spot on top of his head seemed a little full. She was also concerned because he has been extremely fussy, had a good bit of spitting up, trouble with feedings, and a stronger gag reflex. She said we could watch it out a few days and see if he improves as his ear infection is treated, but we decided not to wait. So, we'll be going Wednesday at 11am for an ultrasound of his brain. I'm not sure how much you all know, but Austin has had a Grade II Intraventricular Hemorrhage that was caused by his extreme prematurity. It was showing that it is resolving, but in February it was noted in his chart that the ventricle was slightly enlarged. There was not any further testing done in the hospital as the NICU physicians weren't concerned. However, we want to be safe and have it checked out. So, please pray that everything is ok. This could be a complex problem and the ventricle may be clogged causing increased pressure on his brain, so we pray that his brain is resolving as it should with no further problems. Thanks so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, May 6

What's new around here and THANK YOU!

Our 1st family picure together!
Austin even had his own shirt at the March for Babies. He said it's too hot today to walk! Brothers playing
Bradley and his friends
Maddie & Ryan Mills
Bradley & Mama at the strawberry patch
Bradley & Daddy
Look at B's face with that strawberry juice
Austin enjoyed picking strawberries ha ha :-)
Bradley & our baskets of strawberries
Let's see, we have lots going on . . . Bradley is potty trained, Austin will be baptized this Sunday, we have a new addition in the family, and as usual we are busy, busy.
Bradley potty trained in a matter of a few days. We just jumped right to big boy pants and "TA DAH" that was that. He has been asking for a pet though ever since an offer fell through on one this past winter, so we told him if he did well that we'd get him a pet. So, this past weekend we added a new family member . . . Mickey Mouse the Rabbit. Bradley asked for a cat, but I'm allergic so it would have to be an outside cat. We didn't want him to go through the heartbreak of the cat running away. Then, we've had a dog before and realized we weren't meant to be people with pets inside (with the exception of a fish and snail) besides the fact that Austin shouldn't have animals inside with his lung issues. Chris and I both had rabbits growing up and thought that Bradley would enjoy having one too, I guess it's sort of a family tradition. :-) Mickey is a lop eared, light grey rabbit who is living in the garage in a cage until Chris can build a decent pen for outside with a roof and closed in house. Bradley begs to go outside, see and hold the rabbit constantly. He is a very loving child to all creatures, big and small.
Austin is being baptized on Sunday, Mother's Day. Both sides of our family will be attending, and we're having lunch at our home afterwards. Chris, Bradley, and I were all baptized on Mother's Day. It's a very special occasion for us- the day that we're dedicating our son's life to Christ and promising to raise him to love God and put Him first. Then, it being Mother's Day means so much. We almost baptized Austin in the hospital when we had Brayden baptized, but we held out and prayed that he would be able to be baptized in our church on this special day. We're so thankful that Austin has made it this far, he is such a God given miracle. Our little miracle is smiling and cooing a lot. He is about 11.5 lbs and is holding up his head well! How amazing is that? God is so amazing!
In the last month we've gone to pick strawberries twice. Bradley thoroughly enjoyed it. He shocked us by walking up to the first plant and bending over with his little basket. He grabbed a hold of a perfectly ripe strawberry and said, "You twist and pull" and pulled it right off the vine. How did he know that? His amazes us everyday; he is so bright and inventive. For instance we went to Lowe's to buy wood for the rabbit pen. We didn't tell Bradley what we were buying the wood for, but when we got home he told Chris "Let's go build Mickey's house." Wow- how did he come up with that? We love our boys so much. Chris put Bradley to bed tonight; we've been taking turns since Austin came home. We have taught him to thank God for Daddy, Mama, and Austin and all his family and friends during his prayers. Then, please keep everyone safe and healthy, and thank God for our many blessings. Well tonight he added thank you God for soccer, because he has been asking if he can play soccer. How cute is that? I guess we must sign him up for next fall. I can't believe he is that old! Back to the strawberry patch- I've made homemade jam and a strawberry cobbler- yum, yum. We might even go back another time before the end of May, which is the end of their season. Austin seems to enjoy being outside as long as it isn't windy. He screams when it's windy, but we've pretty much gotten past the windy season here. Overall, Austin is a good baby- much more laid back than Bradley!
We did the March for Babies which was great. We had an awesome turn out- Thank you all so much for all of your support and participation!!! Thank you to all of the people who walked with us- Austin, Brayden, and Lexi's grandparents: Grandmama Broome, Gandaddy and Gandma Hawkins, and Papa and Nanny Wicker. Thank you to the babies' aunts and uncle: Aunt Beth and Uncle Michael , Aunt Jennifer . Thank you Britton and Lauren. Thank you Melanie and Danny. Thank you Courtney, Malynda (and Mills, Maddie, and Ryan), Shannon and Kelsey. Thank you to IMA and families: Greta (Taylor & Jordan), Tonya, Maria and Jenna, Elaine, Jessica, Ducky, Karen and Roger. Thank you to everyone at Advanced Fertility: Kelley, Rich, Denise(and sweet baby), Tiffany (and more sweet babies :-) ). Thank you all for being at the walk and giving your time and energy to complete it. Thank you to the following people for sponsoring us: The Criglers, The Devores, Advanced Fertility, The Fricks, The Benders, The Wickers, The Hinsons, The Hawkins', The Mohons, The Flynns, The Grimsleys, The Steinhoffs, The Goings, The Dykes, The Koons, The Williams, The Labelles, and last but not least The Pearsons! All of your donations will help save more babies' lives and that is truly awesome. Thank you to Angie for all your hardword as team captain/coordinator. You did a wonderful job! We loved the t-shirts and thanks to all those who ordered them. Thank you Jessica and Heidi for helping get Austin's handprints; he cracked us up fighting us about it. What a strong little boy! Thank you Celena for all of your help with the walk and everything else too. So many of you who walked raised money too, and we were so impressed with everyone's kindness. I'm afraid I've left people out, but please don't think you weren't appreciated. Everyone helped raise awareness for a very important cause and God definitely smiled down on our family that day. I couldn't help but wish Brayden and Lexi were crossing that finish line with us, but I know they were cheering us on from Heaven.
I also want to take the chance to thank everyone who helped us out during my pregnancy, extended hospital stay, and after the triplets were born. The meals were wonderful- so much love shown to us by providing us with an endless amount of meals. I'd love to sit down and write each person a thank you note, but I'm afraid that isn't possible. We receieved meals 4 times a week for over 3 months! It was wonderful that I could go to the hospital every afternoon to be with Austin, while Bradley was napping, and know that there would be a meal without fail that evening at home. I don't know what we would have done without y'all! Some people had only heard our store and had never met us, but felt led to help us out in some way. Thank you to my MOPS group at St. Andrews Baptist (and other church members) for bringing meals and goodies to me while I was in the hospital on bed rest. Y'all brightened my days and saved me from that awful monotony they call food! Thank you to everyone that brought Bradley and Austin special treats. A puzzle, a decorative cross for Austin's room, beautiful flowers, thoughtful baby gifts, and sweets are just some of the special treats our family received. I'll will never be able to convey in words just how much everyone's love, support, and prayers has meant to us. We are surrounded by some wonderful people; God has truly blessed us with a wonderful support system. Internal Medicine Associates, Chris' practice, was truly amazing with their willingness to do whatever it took to allow Chris 6 weeks off with us. We received numerous cards from some people that we didn't even know, but many were Chris' patients, our fellow church members at LUMC, and other acquaintances we have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. I didn't know we knew so many people! :-) I just wanted to take the time to post something to let everyone know how much you all mean to us. Please know that we will forever remember each and everyone of you and your kind gestures during the last year or so. We love you all very much!