Wednesday, December 8


I'm emotional this CHRISTmas season as I see God working in our lives.  No matter what we go through I can't help but think how blessed we are.  Two years ago we were going through the hardest time we've ever had to face.  We didn't know what the next second held for our family.  We didn't know if Bradley would ever get to meet his little brother who fought every minute to stay alive, so we waited a long time to tell him about Austin. There were many days that brought much anxiety that Austin may take a turn for the worse and never leave the hospital alive.  Everyday, we're feeling more and living more as we heal from that difficult time in our life.
We're enjoying the kids this CHRISTmas season.  We're very thankful to have a full mantle of stockings, children laughing and playing, and for all the other wonderful things this season brings when you have small children.  We're counting our blessings every minute of everyday.  We just feel such JOY over all of the little things we have to enjoy this season.  So, please be thankful for your blessings.  Be thankful for your healthy children.  Be thankful that your child may just have a cold or something easy to treat like Strep.  Be thankful that your arm is sore from holding your child all the time, becasue he/she is here for you to hold.  Be thankful for the sleepless nights caused by a child, because it won't last forever.  Be thankful that for a crying child.  Be thankful for the messes that you have to clean up caused by your children.  Be thankful for the diapers that must be changed.  Be thankful for the many meals you have to prepare every week.  Be thankful for all the simple things in life that you sometimes may find stressful.  Smile, because your smile may bring other to come and know Christ's love for us.  Don't complain, just be THANKFUL!

A meaningful song to remember as we prepare for this special season.  Just keep it simple, so you can appreciate the reason for the season! 

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Awesome Austin

Anyone that has been following my blog over the years knows of the miracle that God has performed with Austin.  A 24 week triplet just doesn't do as well as him, but what a blessing he has been.  So, I started to let me guard down as he neared his 2nd birthday, the huge milestone that would allow us to stop being so cautious. . .  and then he started to vomit more often. Austin has always vomited a lot and I don't mean spit-up.  He definitely has put a new meaning to the word "vomit". He empties his entire stomach from the last 12 hours or so- it's insane and we've never seen anything like it.  So, we made an appointment and took him to the pediatrician who was a little concerned and ordered a good bit of blood work (celiac disease etc). She also found that he had a sinus and ear infection probably caused by the vomiting. So, we went home and waited for the labs to come back.  Over the next 2 days Austin continued to vomit more often, and the pediatrician decided  to admit him because the blood work showed he was dehydrated.  He was put on observation, fluids, and IV antibiotics.  He had an Endoscopy while in the hospital and the gastroenterologist thought he had a type of allergic esophogitis.  However, those results came back negative.  In the meantime we stopped all dairy and Austin stopped vomiting.  So, we took him to the allergist who did allergy testing and all of that came back negative. So, we're back to not knowing what is going on.  We have added everything back to his diet except milk.  We've done almond milk instead, and he hasn't thrown up in 2.5 weeks which is unheard of with Austin.  Who knows what could be going on.  The doctor did say it could have been a virus, but the problem is he has always vomited.  Needless to say Austin has continued to thrive and be happy through everything.  We have a new EI who will be seeing him biweekly.  And, his speech therapist has started coming weekly to hopefully help his speech delay.  Austin should be saying 2 word phrases and have at least a 100 word vocabulary, but doesn't do either of these things.  The therapists think he is capable as his cognitive abilities seem to be present.  So, we just have to wait for Austin to catch up.  We've seen the pulmonologist who was concerned with Austin's breathing.  So, he was started on an inhaled steroid which may help him gain weight if he was working so hard to breathe.  This is caused by his chronic lung disease that is very similar to a COPD patient.  The pulmonologist also, after much talk with the insurance company got him approved for another season of Synagis shots. He will get the first shot this Friday afternoon and have them once a month through March.
We did celebrate Austin's 2nd birthday in November with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party.  He loved it.  He had lots of friends and family help him celebrate. We enjoyed hotdogs, chili, slaw, baked beans, mixed fruit, chips,and a yummy cake.  He received LOTS of wonderful gifts.  He is one lucky boy. 
One thing that I need to add are the restrictions that we're going to continue this winter due to Austin.  The pulmonologist said that a cold could be really bad for Austin due to his chronic lung disease, and that we must still be careful with Austin.  So, if you will be coming to our home please remember these restrictions. Thanks for helping us keep Austin healthy!
- No shoes are allowed in our home.
- No smokers allowed in our home.  If someone is a smoker and wishes to come over they must shower, put on smoke free clothes, and refrain from smoking until after their visit is over.  Smoke can still be absorbed off someones clothes, so that is why we have to be so diligent.
- Please don't come over if you're experiencing cough, chest congestion, fever, runny or stuffy nose.  We did finally get an answer about allergies.  If someone has had a dry cough or clear runny nose for more than 10-14 days then we can assume it's allergies and should be OK around that person.  If the symptoms have just started, then there is no way to know what is going on. 
-Please use the hand sanitizer, in the foyer, after removing your shoes.
-No kissing our family or face to face contact.
After speaking with the pulmonologist we will continue to avoid crowded places where we may be for a prolonged period.  Obviously, Austin is a toddler and can't be kept contained longer than a meal in a restaurant or a run to the store.  In these places, we can sanitize and use the floppy seat cover to limit his exposure.  We don't allow strangers to touch him either.
Thank you all for being so understanding.  This is all such a learning experience for us, and sometimes we have to make decisions based on the individual situation and pray we're making the best choice for Austin and our family.  He is such a God-given miracle and blessing.  Two years ago, after we lost his brother and sister, we endured months of scares.  We didn't share a lot of it, because it was constant.  And, unless someone has been in our situation wouldn't have truly appreciated the journey.  We just want to avoid anything that wouldn't be best for Austin. 
 The Wicker Family celebrating Austin's 2nd Birthday

Wednesday, November 10

So much to do in so little time!

I just wanted to give a quick update to let everyone know that we are all alive and doing well. Chris has been working a lot more than usual I(as if his 60-65 hrs a normal week aren't enough :-)), and we've been busy doing some things around the house, inside and out.  I've been staying up until midnight or later lately in order to finish the necessities: laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. That doesn't even include the sewing projects and other things I've always got going on.  I know some working  moms really miss their kids during the day, and have no choice about working.  However, I don't think some people realize what all I'm doing all day.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being home with my babies and wouldn't trade it for anything . . . just don't think some realize how much work is involved and what all it entails.  It's truly a labor of love that is well worth the sacrifices.  Let me get off that soapbox, because it's something I feel very strongly about and am very sensitive when I don't get the respect I feel I deserve. I keep reminding myself that God has called me to do this, and HE is all that matters. 
So, obviously we've had a lot going on as you can tell from my lack of updates on the blog.  I've been sewing (including making the kid's Halloween costumes and treat bags) and appliqueing, being team mom for Bradley's soccer team and getting everything ready for the end of year party tomorrow night, getting family pictures done, planning Austin's 2nd birthday party, doing some work in the yard, painting inside, finally getting some things done inside, changing around things in the garage to make room for a frig (bc the boys drink so much milk that we have to go to the store lots just for milk! they drink a gallon every other day!), and the list goes on and on.  All good things to be busy with- good thing we try to live a simple life and stick to the basics! :-)
The kids have been busy growing.  B is wearing regular 5 pants and size 6 shirts, even his feet seem to be growing fast these days.  He has always had small feet, but all of a sudden he is wearing 10/11 size shoes.   He is enjoying preschool most days this year. He still begs to stay home, but enjoys it once there.  We've seen a huge improvement in his soccer skills lately. B is running much faster too and staying more focused.  I've been working on reading and writing with Bradley.  He is becoming much more inquisitive about things, such as the planets, volcanoes, sharks, and season changes to name a few.  So, it's fun to do a little homeschooling here and there with him.  Bradley continues to be helpful around the house and enjoys doing chores and anything that will help us.  My goal is to have him responsible for things everyday; he already takes his plate to the sink and throws out his own trash.  We also continue to work on making good choices, and others often hear us ask Bradley if something was a good choice or bad choice.  We hope that will make him realize he is responsible for his own actions.  We pray that God will give us great wisdom as to how to lead our children the right way.
A has lengthened out a good bit, but he still doesn't even weigh 22lbs.  Most of his pants are 18m, but he can wear 24/2t shirts.  He just saw his speech therapist yesterday, and she is going to start seeing him once a week in hopes of increasing his vocabulary and improving other speech issues he has.  His pronunciation is good, but he should be saying two-word phrases which he isn't.  He is also going to be evaluated by Bright Start again, after some issues with Baby Net, to make sure he is on target for his actual age.  As far as therapy, Austin will officially lose his adjusted age on his second birthday, so they expect him to perform like a two-year old.  It's a little silly, but he will catch up eventually- hopefully by the time he starts school! I can't wait to see what percentiles Austin is in for his size at his two-year well visit; I'm hoping he is on the growth chart!  He has shown more lung issues this fall and is requiring the inhaler more often. . . . but I think that is just part of his lung disease.  All in all, he has come a very long way and has done far better than ever imagined. 
Austin's 2 yr well-visit and Cameron's 9m well-visit are scheduled for the same day in December.  I still can't believe I have babies that close together, but it's awesome! Cameron is weighing in around 21lb and is wearing mostly 18m clothes.  She has even worn some 24m/2t shirts which are still tight in the arms.  She is a chunky girl, and like all my babies I love it! Cameron is sitting up unassisted and rolling everywhere. She can even pull herself to sitting.  She is scooting some on her belly, so I'm not sure if she may do an army crawl. She can't get on all fours yet, and I'm not sure she will because her legs are so thick and chunky.  However, she is cruising some around the furniture and can stand for a few seconds on her own.  She is also saying "Mama" and waving some.  Oh, and she does this cute little face to make you laugh- we call it the "cheese face" and Austin used to do it. Was told by a therapist that being the 3rd child, and all being so close together, means Cameron's development will be much different than the average baby. She may take much longer to do things, so if that is true with her then I'll get to enjoy the baby stage much longer!
So, that is our whereabouts lately.  We have our end of the season soccer party and last soccer game in the next week. Austin's birthday party is this weekend, and I'm hoping to make some cute treats.  We are trying to finish up some things around the house, and I have some craft projects I'm working on.  We're thoroughly enjoying the gorgeous fall weather these days.  I'll try to post some pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 13

Finished Project

had to throw in one of all the kids- even if you can't see her shirt :-)

(her shirt needs to be ironed in this pic but you get the idea)

I finally finished my first sewing adventure.  I appliqued pumpkin shirts for the kids.  At some points, I was ready to throw the sewing machine and everything else out the window . . . but, alas I completed them before our montain trip which was my goal. Then, it was so chilly that the kids wore their jackets zipped and completely covering the shirts that I stayed up all hours finishing.  However, since I did pumpkins they should get plenty of wear (and picture opportunities) through Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, September 25

Hey Y'all! We're havin' a ball in the Fall!

I thought it'd be a good idea to update on our whereabouts these days.  Posts to follow soon will include: new recipes, my fabulous' friends business Frills & Flowers , Cameron's 6 month pictures were taken by our sweet neighbors Paul and Kelli Gowder @ Gowder Photography, an update on my sewing projects that are getting there slowly but surely, and the Baby Reunion with Advanced FertilityThese are links for all of the businesses above, so check it out in your spare time- awesome people!

We're going on a little trip to the mountains soon.  Our destination is Hendersonville, NC.  Our main goal is to pick apples while there and just enjoy some special family time.  Chris' sister and her family will be joining us for one night, so that will be extra fun for the kids to enjoy time with their cousins.  If anyone has any suggestions for family fun in the Hendersonville area please comment or send me an email. 

Bradley has started his last year of preschool.  It's so bittersweet as he won't have any idea what is going on next year when he goes all day everyday.  I'll miss that boy so much, but they all grow up.  And, I have no doubt that God will lead him to do amazing things.  B is doing great in school and has adjusted wonderfully.  He adores his teachera and the feeling seem to be mutual.  He is going 3 days a week from 9am-12nooni as  I didn't see any reason to make him go longer since this year is the last year for him to be home any. He does enjoy school, but if you give him the choice he'd prefer to stay home.  They are studying one letter per week. Last week was 'A', and learned how to make the 'A" sounds and had to take show-n-tell which had to be something that started with an 'A'. They also had to take 3 clues to tell the class, so that they could try to guess it before he showed it to them.  The clues were: 1.  I wear it in the kitchen. 2.  It can come in all different shapes and sizes.  3;  It protects my clothes.  Can you guess what it was?   . . . (the answer is at the bottom of this post)  This week was the letter 'B' and Bradley took his Daddy's childhood bear for a bear picnic on the playground.  Bradley brings me a flower almost everyday when I pick him up just like last year.  And, he always so excited to see us and tell Austin, Cameron, and me that he missed us.  Soccer season started a couple of weeks ago and we had our first game this past Sunday.  Bradley has improved some, but gets easily distracted.  We put him in soccer, so that he could learn to be a team player and good sportsmanship which he is learning.  Play your hardest, and whether you win or lose doesn't matter. 

Austin is doing well.  He is hanging out at 21 pounds, but has grown a good bit in length.  He still is only wearing 18 month and moving into 24 month clothes.  He'll get there though when God is ready.  He eats much better than he used to, so that is reassuring.  He isn't picky and will try anything once which is wonderful since his big brother is so picky.  Austin had his monthly speech session this past week.  He is progressing as far as his speech, but as he gets closer to 2 we should see him have about a 50 word vocabulary and stringing 2 words together.  He only has about 25 word right now, which these are words that he uses on his own without being prompted.  He says a good bit when I prompt him these days.  And, the last couple of days he has said more words on his own so that is wonderful. Austin did have a cold/viral thing last week and had some wheezing.  It was the first time he has done that with a cold in a long time, but we took him to the doctor and he is already much better.  Praise be to God! We still don't know what to expect from him when he gets sick, but have been told that he should start handling things better at 2.  He is 22 months now, and that is so hard to believe.  He is 18 months adjusted and does act more like an 18 month old with his tantrums and fits.  Mostly, though, he is sweet and very loving.  We're going to start planing his 2nd birthday party soon; that is so hard to believe! I still cry when I think about how far he has come and the odds that he has beat.  And, when he was sick last week his coughing would make him throw up so we just let him sleep with us a few nights and it was so precious.  He would get in between Chris and me and lay down on the pillow on his back and then pull the covers up to his chest like a big boy and smile so big. Then, once he was feeling better he would start saying, " Bu. . .ba  Bu . . .ba" over and over and we'd ask if he was ready to go back to bed with Bradley and he'd point to their room. Then, we'd take him back and he would go right to sleep.

Cameron Girl is growing, growing, growing.  At her 4 month well check she was 25 inches and 15 pounds putting her over the 95th percentiles.  Now, she is at least 19 pounds and is filling up 9 month clothes. I'm praying it starts to cool off, so we don't have to buy 12 month warm weather clothes.  However, if it doesn't hurry up and start changing we're going to be in trouble. She goes Monday for her 6 month well check; cant wait to see how much she has grown.  She is rolling well both ways and sits up well assisted.  She is definitely getting strong and can sit up a few seconds unassisted.  Cameron's leg strength has increased a lot over the last month, and she started to enjoy standing.  She seems to enjoy spending time in the exersaucer, and she likes to sit in her Bumbo seat on the island when I'm cooking.  Cameron is our best baby, by far, at taking her bottles and eating solids.  We're still doing 2 meals a day as there is no rush to go up to 3 meals.  Until 9 months baby food is just for practice, so I'm not sure when we'll add that 3rd meal.  Most days I feed her half a vegetable and fruit at both meals.  She will also eat any food I give her. That just amazes us as we've never had another baby do that before! Yay! Cameron is taking 2 good naps a day; her morning nap average 1.5 hours and her afternoon is at least 2 hours.  We start baths at night at 8:30, and she is in bed asleep before 9.  This past week she went until 7:45 one morning (and then I woke her up to give her a bottle because of her reflux medicine), but most mornings she goes until at least 6 if not 7.  I guess there is something to say for letting them learn to put themselves to sleep and letting them cry it out some. 

Well, it's getting late and we never know what the night will hold with Austin and/or Cameron.  So, I just want to say that we're thoroughly enjoying our 3 little miracles that God has blessed us with.  Life is crazy and busy, but it's all so welcoming.  This week we loaded up all 3 kids, after Chris got home from work, and took a picnic to the park.  Things like that are what life is all about for us and it's wonderful.  I hate to sound so happy because I know that others may be going through hard times, but we truly are that happy- and I hope that everyone sees God shinning through our family.  It give us faith that God may have trials, but if we just lean on Him we'll find out that He is preparing us for something incredible.  Have a blessed weekend; we're praying for cooler temperatures!

(Answer APRON)

Saturday, September 4

I can talk talk talk!

Isn't it great That I articulate?
Isn't it grand
That you can understand?

I don't grunt, I don't oink
I don't even squeak or squawk
When I wanna say a something
I open up and talk

I can talk!
I can talk talk talk
I can talk!

That is the part of a song in one of my favorite childhood movies, Charlotte's Web.  And, I think about it when I hear my children talk.  Chris will make fun of me when he reads that!

Bradley talks constantly these days and has for a couple of years.  Now, Austin is starting to talk more and more and it's adorable! I LOVE there cute little words they make up for things.  I wanted to journal Bradley's first little words before I forget them. He had nicknames for a few things, and now I'm realizing how precious they were and am missing those sweet little words.  As his speech developed he replaced those words for the real ones: "Ah Ah" for Mickey Mouse, " 9, 10, 11" for a tape measure, "Gonka" for Uncle Michael, "Sockerwocker" for umm  . . well his boy's anatomy (he might be upset with me one day for sharing this with the world, but it's precious).  That last word it took FOREVER for me to figure out what he was saying, but finally one day he had a stuffed animal that he was playing with.  And, he had a diaper on it and as he changed it he mentioned the word and pointed and I finally understood. We didn't talk about it much, so I have no idea how he started saying that- but you know kids only have to hear it once.  When he would say that he was a little boy, which I had him say a lot because it was so cute  . . . he would say "lil lil lil boooyy" and drag the word out. M & M's was a cute word too, but I can't possibly write it out and wish I had videoed him more than the few times that I did. He rolled his tongue with this word and didn't really say much at all, but that is definitely what he was talking about.  When he would say "snack" he would scrunch his nose and say "naaack".  These days I love him to hear him say "I will" as he says it with a strong southern accent. He stutters a good bit, but the doctor isn't concerned.  She says it's just because his mind works so fast, and he gets so excited when he is trying to tell us something.  Bradley has always been a very verbal child and these days he talks from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep (sometimes in his sleep too).
Now, Austin has started saying things. He says "bye" very well and "da da", and he is always walking around saying "Aaah mmmn" for Amen.  I think he is surely being grateful that God spared him and kept him here on earth to share his amazing testimony with the world. :-) I think Austin will be a preacher, so he has to get started early. Right?!!! :-) And he says "Austin" and pronounces it "Aaas tin" He also does a fairly good job pronouncing the following words: more, shoes, please, cheese, bottle, I love you, Mama, and Bubba.  I've noticed him saying "umpa" a lot and he pronounces like the Greek word "Oopaah." You know what I'm talking about? When Greeks are dancing and celebrating they say it? I've tried to figure out what he is saying, and I think it's his word for Mickey Mouse, which is his favorite show. I can't believe he has a favorite show as Bradley didn't even watch TV really at Austin's age, but what can I say besides that his big brother love TV and well you know how it goes. I limit their exposure TV, but it is nice to have when I have something I must do with Cameron or around the house.  Our little Goofy also walks around saying "Hup, 2, 3, 4" and trying to sing the "ABC's" as well as our "Night Night" song. He does pretty well with most of those and gets about every other word. 
Austin is going to be 2 before we know it; he is receiving monthly speech therapy.  At 2, with any therapy, they drop the adjusted age and expect them to perform at their actual age level.  So, we'll see how it goes with that.  His speech therapist is pleased with what Austin is doing.  He is making a lot more sounds and babbling more often.  Chris and I have been given directions on what we should be doing to help him which includes labeling things and activity's, singing, and reading are just a few things.  Austin talks more for Bradley than anyone else, and Bradley even works with him as well . . . TOO precious!
Cameron is turning out to be very verbal as well.  She likes to make this grunting noise and makes this other sounds like a growl- not sure about that one! She also has some sweet cooing and laughs too.  She laughs all the time. 
Speech therapy also includes feeding issues, so I'll journal that as well.  Austin has no problems with eating anymore, and it's wonderful.  His favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, bananas, cheese, strawberries, and macaroni and cheese.  He will try almost anything.  The other week I put a PBJ on the table for myself and went to do something.  When I came back, Austin was in my seat (because he already had lunch and was down and playing) eating MY sandwich with a fork.  He will not let us feed him anymore and eats with a fork at every meal.  He is still taking bottles throughout the day; we just can't get him weaned since he see Cameron getting a bottle.  He drinks a lot of milk.  Bradley always has too, and the boys go through one gallon of milk at lease every other day! They are going to have some strong bones.  Bradley is probably the pickiest eater as funny as that is since he has always been so big (he stays in about the 80th percentiles).  Bradley's favorite foods are bologna, bagel bites, most fruits, peanut butter and crackers, and pickles.  Thank God for vitamins; the pediatrician says one day he will grow out of it.  We have tried everything to get him to try other things, but nothing works.  I'm open to any ideas that y'all may have!  Cameron has tried every flavor of stage one baby foods and will eat it all. She eats about 2 jars of baby food a day; one jar of fruit at lunch and about 1/2 a jar of vegetables and 1/2 a jar of fruit at supper.  She take her bottle better than any baby we've ever had, but she just takes the minimal amount most days.  Hopefully, she'll like milk as much as the boys!  Her size hasn't suffered at all as she is almost in the 100%! Big Girl! We'll see if she can hit 20 pounds at 6 months like Bradley; she has been about the same length as him all along.  Now, if we can just get Austin to move up on the growth chart that sure would be nice! Austin is in about the 3% for weight and 5% for height, but he did make it on there before 2- which is when they want them to catch up! He is on the go so much, and his lungs still aren't up to par.  So, he burns a lot of calories breathing.  He will get there eventually, and we are just thankful that he is here and has stayed so healthy. 
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend! We have a lot of fun things planned as a family. 

Friday, August 20

Chicken Gyros

We've used some new recipes since starting our quest to NOT eat out. And, the recipes have been so good that we don't miss eating out and we're certainly eating healthier at home.  I think everyone can cook good food as long as you're able to follow directions. Right? Anyway, I'm notorious for combining several recipes to make one dish and that is what I did the other night when we made Chicken Gyros (AKA Chicken Souvlaki).  We were both so excited, because it turned out just like we imagined.  I've had some requests to share the recipe, so here you go.  I'm going to try to start sharing more recipes here and there that are quick and easy, like this one, for everyone that leads busy lives! Enjoy! Yum Yum

Chicken Gyro

Marinate chicken in lemon juice, Greek seasoning, and olive oil for at least 30 minutes. Then, you can grill or slice and saute. Serve with lettuce, tomato and flat bread (awesome grilled or pan toasted as well). And, don’t forget the Tzatziki sauce! (that is the best part :-))

The Greek Seasoning we use is Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning.  We use it to make Greek Potatoes (just sprinkle on seasoning and olive oil and bake in oven), and I use it when I boil chicken.  The other night we sprinkled the seasoning and olive oil on zucchini, and it was good that way too.

Tzatziki sauce

* *must prepare and let sit in frig for at least 24 hrs**
½ cup cucumber: peeled, seeded, and diced very small. Squeeze all excess juice; you can just squeeze it in the palm of our hand.
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon fresh dill
Mix and stir; store in frig.

Wednesday, August 18

Being the BEST we can be!

We're on a mission to better ourselves in many ways; I guess that is the best way to word that . . .  Life can be busy, and we'd love to make it as simple as possible so that we may focus on the most important things: serving God and our family! Of course our friends are our family in Christ too, and we're so blessed by them.  I just want so much to teach our children everything that they need to know. I feel a great urgency about it these days . . ."Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" Proverbs 22:6  So, things we've been focusing on:
* Getting Healthy* After having Cameron I knew it was out of the question to go back to Gold's Gym like I did after having 'B'. Austin isn't allowed to be in any kind of childcare setting, so I had to come up with something that I could do a few times a week in about 30 minutes. So, I started running.  It has been challenging, but I'm doing it! And, it feels awesome. I'm using a book my sister-in-law let me borrow and  combining it with a website is the Couch to 5K program to make a plan that best suits me.  Since, I wasn't able to exercise AT ALL with any of my last 2 pregnancies I had to start slow.  I started walking for 3 minutes and ran a minute, and I've now worked up to walking 2 minutes and running 2 minutes.  I warm up for 4 minutes, then do the cycles of walk/run 6 times, and then do a cool down for a few minutes which keeps me on the treadmill for about 32 minutes.  Chris is doing it too, and we're both loving the improvement in ourselves.  My joints don't ache, and I have much more energy to name a couple of things.  We hope to instill in our children the importance of taking care of your body. It's your temple, and you need to take care of it in order to best serve God.
* Saving Money*  I attended the Southern Savers workshop.  I highly recommend it to EVERYONE. Even the busiest people can do the buy one get one free deals and save BIG . . . I'm talking 50% or more on your groceries and personal care products!  Go check it out! Along with our getting healthier and saving money we're limiting ourselves to not eating out more than once a week.  Truly, we've enjoyed not eating out so much that now we're only allowing ourselves to eat out when asked by family or friends.  We went over our finances and were very disappointed to see how much we spent a month on eating out before we started this quest.  It was completely for convenience and we have no other excuse.  We want to make good use of what God provides for us.  It has been amazing to see how full our pantry and frig has stayed. We're going to try not to spend so much on the kid's clothes too which is what lead me to buying my first sewing machine.  We bought a refurbished one off of I have many people that are willing to help me get started.  My machine also does embroidery and applique, so if/when I get good perhaps I'll be able to make a little extra $$$ here and there.:-)  I'll be sure to post a picture of my first attempt as soon as I get a chance to get started.   You know me, I have to have it organized before I start! :-) 
We're paying down debt, and trying to save too.  We feel as though this is God's will and everything has gone so smoothly with our journey to better ourselves and make life simpler.  It has just been amazing to see Him work in our lives and provide.  If anyone has any tips on saving please share! You can facebook me, email, or leave a comment on here. Thanks! Have a blessed week!

8/19/10 *UPDATE* Thanks Jennifer B for the $ tip!!! We had been looking for the Dave Ramsey stuff and just borrowed it from some family. So, we're going to start that too! Thanks US & JT for letting us borrow it!

Friday, August 13

Beach 2010

We enjoyed our first family vacation in 3 years in June.  We went to Hilton Head, one of our favorite vacation spots.  It was wonderful and had been waaayyy TOO LONG since our last vacation, but we obviously had our reasons why it has been so long.  We stayed in a nice house about 1/4 mile from the beach, but we had our own private pool.  Lisa's brother and sister-in-law stayed with us the first half of the week, and Chris' mom, sister and her family were just down the road the entire week.  It was nice having family there to hang out with.  Every morning, after eating breakfast, we headed to the ocean for a few hours then would head back to the house to swim in the pool and have lunch before naps. The kids did great.  We had a little pop-up tent that worked out great keeping Cameron out of the sun since she is too young for sunscreen.  Austin wasn't too crazy about the beach, but got used to it after a couple of days.  He enjoyed hanging out in the tidal pools and had absolutely no fear of the waves.  Bradley like playing with his cousin, who is a couple of years older than him.  They played in the sand and chased the schools of little fish in the tidal pools.  A couple of times Chris did some fishing from the shore and caught some small sharks! He fished, on vacation, with his Dad when he was younger. So, he wanted to share that with our kids too.  Cameron just chilled out in the shade in her bikini and enjoyed snacking on frequent bottles and naps.  Austin usually fell asleep on the walk back to the house, and took a short nap in the shade while we swam. 
Our evenings consisted of some wonderful meals, some were home cooked and others were enjoyed at local restaurants.  Chris and I agreed to not eat at any chain restaurants while on vacation, and that made for some very enjoyable meals.  We took a break mid-week from the sun and went to a local children's play museum, The Sandbox.  It was nice to do something different for the day, and the big kids enjoyed it.  Some of our favorite seafood meals were enjoyed at the Sea Shack, Captain Woody's, and Marley's.  Chris and I love seafood, and all 3 were wonderful.  We also cooked at the house a couple times and enjoyed Ribs one night, and Chris' family made grilled chicken salads another night.  What can I say??? We like to eat! We also went to the Tanger Outlet and enjoyed eating at our favorite little restaurant there, CornerStone Grill. Then, we got some great deals at the Gap Outlet for the kids.  (it's pretty overwhelming to cloth 3 kids! :-) )  One evening we went to Coligny Plaza, which we were very close to our beach house, and had ice cream and another night we got cupcakes.  I was  a little disappointed because they weren't anything like Cupcake in town!  *the link to Cupcake in Columbia and Charleston*
We enjoyed tons of family time, played games, and just enjoyed being together.  It was absolutely awesome, and we can't wait until our next vacation.  (which will be in October, a long weekend in the mountains to pick apples- which the cool weather and vacation can't come quick enough!!!! :-))

Harbour Town
Hilton Head

"B" 4 yrs 3 months

"A" 18 months

"C"   11 weeks

Our ABC's

His "cheese" face

Silly Boy

We're ready for the beach!

Enjoying the pool

Time for a little nap

Having fun in the pool with Daddy

"A" loved to just float around the pool in his float

Another day at the beach

Relaxing in her little tent

Laying on the beach

The boys enjoyed the ocean

"B" enjoyed the sand a little more than the ocean

Children's Museum

Afternoon nap

Sweet treat

Time to go home, but it was fun while it lasted.
A wonderful tradition that we hope will continue every year!

Tuesday, August 10


Thanks for being patient while I do a little remodeling on our site! I'm wanting to add a few more things here and there . . . hopefully I'll be able to make my vision happen!

Thursday, July 29

You might be a mom to several little ones if . . .

I've been getting a lot of looks lately (and comments) from strangers.  Now I know that they are unaware of our little miracles, but I sometimes think that I must have a sign on my forehead that says, "please comment!" I've joked with new mothers and told them that once you become pregnant that people think they are free to comment or give any advice they wish.  I'm fully aware that the advice givers may be just trying to help or they're just saying . .  but really you can't just say anything you wish and follow it with "bless your heart". Can you??? This is all in good humor of course.  I laugh most of the time when I recognize that bug-eyed look trying to figure out if all 3 are my children and how close they may be.  So, in good fun . .


daily showers have become optional.

you sit down for supper and realize you're having your first sip of drink all day.

you know when someone looks at you and starts out with "you . . ." that they will be following that with "sure have your hands full!"

you have to buy clothes to go on vacation, because you only have "comfy" clothes in your closet.

having only one child on your lap equals a good bathroom experience. 

you feel like all you must do is cut nails of children.

you are routinely asked if you're done having children.

you feel like it's a bore to just have one or two children to care for at a time.

you have an assembly line setup for the kid's bathtime.

you aren't used to sitting down at meal time unless there is another adult present.

you have more children than arms.

you sing and dance while doing the dishes to keep the kids occupied until you finish or really any chores you do.

you wish you could get a money tree to grow as well as your dirty laundry pile.

the thought of your kids starting school leaves you feeling afraid of being lonely and bored. Homeschooling is sounding better and better!

you say phrases such as, "no no", "stay in your seat", and "say please" in your sleep.

your social calendar is full of only playdates.

it's cheaper to buy a cow instead of all of those gallons of milk.

your cordless phone is off the hook for 171 minutes everyday, because a child pressed the "talk" button unbenowkst to you.

you get excited because you  managed to make it all day without getting any bodily fluid on you.

toilet paper is regularly shredded on the floor of every bathroom in the house.

your kitchen floor is vacuumed atleast 5 times a day, once after every meal and snack.

you call gas a "tooty woot woot" and a rear end "hinney" because the normal words sounds filthy coming out of your toddler's mouth.

bologna is a food staple in your home.

you give your children vitamins daily, becuase you finally come to terms with the fact that you CAN'T make your children eat food they don't want . . . thus after cleaning up vomit after the last failed attempt.

your car cd player is full of children's songs AND you have no clue where your music may be.

you decide to just shower instead of taking a bath because it will take entirely too long to take all the bath toys, kids different shampoos and soaps, and baby bathtub out of your tub (and you really need a good washin' since you haven't done so in a couple of days!)

you find yourself singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in the car . . . and you're ALONE!

you know that baby wipes will clean ANY stain on ANYTHING.

you can shower, do hair and makeup, get kids dressed and fed (including feed the baby a bottle), and out the door in 30 minutes.

you have caught vomit in your hands.

you get a giftcard for your birthday and use it on your children.

you wake up during the night and take a moment to figure out WHICH child is crying!

you and your husband communicate by spelling words, and your childless friends have no clue what you're saying.

you have laughed at most of the above and definitely know I'm for REAL.

you feel like the most blessed woman alive to be able to spend every waking moment with the most precious, God given, blessings and couldn't imagine your life any other way.

Now, I'd love to hear your comments and input too. . .

Tuesday, July 13

Mumble Jumble

Hilton Head Sunset
June 2010

The grief has been pretty strong lately for me.  I'm not sure if it is because July, for Chris and I, has been an exciting month in the past.  We found out, with all 5 of our children, that we were expecting them in July.  July 4th (2005) for Bradley, July 2nd (2008) for the triplets, and July 14th (2009) for Cameron are the days we got the positive pregnancy test.  Am I crazy to remember those things? No, I don't think so- just a mother that treasures every bit of her children and motherhood. 
Everyday, I love being a stay at home mom more and more.  We love the idea that I can help shape and mold our children into strong Christians and to be good people that help lead others to Christ. However, being home I am a little cut off from the outside world, and it gives me a little more time to think about things which can be good and bad.  I really thought that the hole in my heart, that Brayden and Lexi left, would have started to get a little smaller by this July.  Why?  I'm not sure, because they are our children too and their place in this family can never be filled. I don't want to mislead anyone I do believe that God has his reason and it was his will for Lexi and Brayden to return to Heaven so quickly and we're so truly thankful for our 3 blessings on earth. God has carried us thus far and will continue to do so.  Some people might wonder why we aren't a little more past the grief than we are on some days.  I still get so upset if I get the feeling that someone is trying to avoid the subject of Lexi and Brayden.  From that July 2nd in 2008, the day we got the positive on the pregnancy test, we started to imagine that child's life and what it would entail.  We had no idea that we were being blessed with triplets at that point, but we had an idea there was more than one.  We were thinking twins.  On July 3rd, I got up and took yet another pregnancy test just to reassure myself that the HCG (pregnancy hormone) was still in my system.  That pink line was even darker. . . then yes, on July 4th we wanted to share with family that we were expecting so I took yet another test just to reassure myself that this pregnancy wasn't going to end in miscarriage as the one before it did.  And, that day the pink line was even darker than the control line! Yeah, that doesn't normally happen that early as I wasn't even four weeks yet. So, we knew that actually I shouldn't even have a positive pregnancy test but we still wanted to share with all of our family that we were pregnant!  So, I dressed Bradley in a sweet little shirt that said "Big Brother."  The shirt was a little small as we'd had it awhile since we'd been trying so long. And, we just let him wear it around family and that is how they found out! It was cute. Then, that Monday I went to the doctor and when they called with my HCG level they were as surprised as I was because it was very high.  On July 14th, we got the surprise of a lifetime. It was too early for the hearts to be beating, but that ultrasound showed 3 babies that looked good! This may be a little too much information for some of you, and I'm sorry but I want this in writing so that I  will always remember that special time in our family. Chris had run upstairs to see the ultrasound as he was in orientation for his new job, and we both expected to see 2 because I had high levels on both HCG test. Then, the ultrasonographer moved her little wand around and counted "1 good, 2, good, and what is this??? 3  and it looks good too!"  We were amazed by this awesome blessing. Chris had to quickly leave to get back to orientation, but I stuck around and spoke to the staff.  Bradley was with me, and he was one of their miracles too, so they always enjoyed seeing him.  And, I was shaking so I wanted to calm down before I left the office.  My life changed forever that day as from that day on we started to imagine our lives with 4 children and we knew that they would arrive before Bradley's next birthday meaning that we'd have 4 children under 3! Just a couple of weeks later we had another ultrasound that confirmed all 3 children had heartbeats and looked perfect.  In September we found out that it was 2 sweet boys and a little girl.  Brayden was always so laid back in utero and during ultrasounds.  He would give just a small wave to say hello and that he was well.  That sweet boy reminded us so much of Bradley, everything from his movements to his looks.  Lexi was all over the place, always moving almost like she was dancing.  She looked a lot like Bradley too.  Now, Austin you never knew what he would be doing.  Sometimes he was dancing and other times he was very calm.  That description fits that crazy, little boy perfectly now too as you never know what he has planned from moment to moment.  So, from the start we imagined our lives with them.  We started to learn their personalities and compared their looks to us and Bradley.  We planned their lives as all parents do once they learn of their new little blessing.  I imagined being home with 4 children and how I was going to do my best to raise them in a strong Christian home.  I felt a huge responsibility since God had blessed us with 4 children and thought he must be expecting a lot from me to raise them to know and love God- what faith He had in me! We imagined everything in our lives, everything from simple walks and swimming in our neighborhood pool to to birthday parties, vacations, graduations, and weddings! In July of 2008 we bought a minivan as that was the only way in our minds to cart all 4 children around.  So, now when Austin passes a milestone or we're just living everyday life something - 2 things actually- just seem as though they're missing.  Life is amazingly good right now.  Last year, on the 1 year anniversary of finding out we were expecting "the trips" we found out God had amazingly blessed us with another child! We are certain that Lexi and Brayden had a hand in picking out their beautiful little sister when it came time for God to send Cameron to us.  I love that she looks like Bradley, Brayden, and Lexi!  Of course, it would be nice to have another one that looks like Austin! :-) (you'll have to stick around for awhile to see if that ever happens only God knows what is in our family's future!)  As you can see I go back and forth from thought to thought, some things are not so good but more things are good than bad these days. 
While on vacation we saw an amazing sunset (pictured about and the picture doesn't do it justice).  The sunset makes us think of Brayden and Lexi.  When the sky has that tint of pink we know that they're telling us hello and that they are doing great.  We also bought a stepping stone for our flower garden that we hope to one day finish in the backyard. The stepping stone says, "If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane, I would walk right up to Heaven and bring you back again." So thankful God is taking care of them better than we ever could, but some days we are selfish and just want them here with us. 
I recently met a woman, by chance, in the grocery store.  By chance, not so much, by God's will I should say.  As it turns out she just welcomed a new grandson who was born at 31 weeks. 31 weeks compared to Austin being born at 24 weeks is a big difference, but still scary for this family I'm sure.  We told her how well Austin was doing and walked away.  As we walked away I thought about those days in the NICU and all the things that go along with day-to-day life there came rushing back. Pumping, NEC, feedings, oxygen, brady's, desats, more alarms, blow by, vents, CPAP, and I could go on and on. Once, Austin was established in the NICU off the vent and more stable it still seemed each day brought something challenging that would often leave us fearful of losing him.  Chris and I kept most of it to ourselves as it would have seemed to those who have never walked the NICU path that we would have been "crying wolf" as it was constant. Obviously most things were just false alarms with Austin and he sailed through the NICU if you put into perspective what could have been.  I realize that I've stored the memories of this trying time in the back of my mind. The memories can easily be brought to surface, but they're kept in the darkest corners of my mind mostly.  I also recently ran into one of Austin's primary nurses, and she asked if I still remember that time.  I told her that it was very odd what makes me recall things.  One thing is the soap that we used each day before entering the NICU. Chris uses it before leaving work and if I smell this soap on him when he gets home I immediately ask him to wash it off.  It makes my stomach turn.  I also don't like to talk to Chris or any of my friends while they're working in the hospital where I may hear the alarms over the phone to name just a few things that bring those memories to the surface all too quickly. 
What is the point of this post? I'm not sure that is why it has the title above.  There is so much I want to say and think of as I write every word, but when I finish a thought the other things are just a big mess that I have trouble translating into words.  It does make me feel better to get all of these thoughts off of my chest.  God has given me this avenue in life to work through my feelings when they get to too LOUD in my mind. 
The woman I met in the store makes me wonder if that God wants me to somehow mentor other families of preemies and those that have lost children.  That would be one reason for us going through what we did.  We hope to be very active in March of Dimes for the rest of our lives and are open to whatever opportunities arise to help others.  Another reason, I think, is to keep us grounded.  We constantly strive for a more simple life.  We also will NEVER take our children for granted and why we are rarely away from them.  Is that the right thing to do? I have no idea, but it feels right and all in God's will. 
The kids are taking their naps right now. Hooray, most days all 3 of them are asleep for about an hour! I feel like I won the Mommy Olympics by that accomplishment alone.  I try to stay busy during naps, which isn't hard in this home with all the chores that are constantly waiting to be done.  Today, though, I just wanted to get everything off of my chest.  So, thank you for reading and allowing me to feel better by having this "out"!  I'll post all the new whereabouts of the Wickers soon.  Cameron goes for her 4 month well visit Thursday, so I'll be sure to post after that.  I can't believe how quickly the kids are growing!

Saturday, June 19

Spring 2010

Lexington UMC Preschool Egg Hunt
Our ABC's!

Cameron in the hospital on phototherapy for jaundice.
She seemed to really love "laying out"!

1st picture of the new Wicker Family
Easter 2010

Our Sweet Babies

Cameron's 1st Bath

In the car waiting to pick strawberries

Our awesome double stroller

Sleeping soundly while Mama does laundry

Cameron's Baptism
Mother's Day 2010

Wicker Family
Mother's Day 2010

Sweet Girl in her precious headband made by a dear friend. 
More info to come on how to get one of Tricia's adorable creations.

Austin's cheese face
He does this when you tell him to do his cheese face; I should have named it ham face since he's such a ham!