Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Testing Picasa with Pictures of Joey & Java

Here it is!

Oh man that's better than Photobucket!

Joshua's Journeys #3 - A Shout Out to Josh’s Godmother

Joshua would like everyone to know that his Godmother Auntie Trisha is graduating from Western Michigan Saturday, April 25!

Trisha was Joshua’s Godmother and chosen before he was even born. At the end of April in 2008, I was still on bed rest, but needed to get out of the living room prison, so Trisha, Auntie Pam, my mom, Christy, Chris, Andrew, Phil and myself went out to breakfast. At breakfast I handed Trisha and Christy (because of Joey-don’t forget twin B!) Mother’s Day cards (Chris got one too from Josh, but not a Mother’s Day card, a different one for him). I think Christy knew what was coming, Trisha read the outside of the card and looked at her mom (my Godmother) and said “I think this is supposed to be for you.” She did open it and saw that it was really for her, and with a bright, big smile said “Oh my gosh, I’m going to be a Godmother!” And with that she embraced all that Josh had to offer, and boy did he have a lot going on!

Trisha loved Josh from the very beginning and has been there for him and our family through everything. She came to the NICU to see him shortly after his birth, and tears filled her eyes as she welcomed with loving arms her Godson into her life. She knew he was going to have a challenging and special life, but Trisha was up for it all. She made him feel so loved and included in everything.

Trisha made a special trip in from Michigan to attend his emergency baptism before he was trached. She visited when she was in town at every chance she could. She was always proud of Josh, displaying pictures at school and home, talking about him to others, and making sure he was part of the gang with a Western Michigan t-shirt. She even had Alex visit him in the NICU as well. You could tell by Josh’s eyes he admired Alex's bravery being in Iraq, was impressed by him, and felt honored to meet him.

Trisha was never afraid to jump in with both feet. She visited him at home as well, and held him every chance she could. Being one of the first calls after all procedures, Trisha was always interested in Josh’s latest surgeries, accomplishments, and hurdles. She was one of his biggest cheerleaders and would do most anything for him. Upon hearing that Josh was most likely deaf with profound hearing loss and going to get cochlear implants later down the line, Trisha took it upon herself to take a sign language class her last semester of school. Most people would take a blow off class, but Trisha was always thinking of Joshua. Trisha was one of the first to hear that devastating night that Joshua passed. Without many words, Trisha knew. She had a connection with Josh, and just knew. She rearranged exams and drove in to be there once again for Joshua and all of us. Along with Chris, his Godfather, she ever so gracefully offered the gifts at church, and had one of the hardest jobs through the services of being a pallbearer and help bring him to his resting place.

Before he was buried we placed over his casket a bear angel that played music. Trisha had gotten that for him when he was baptized, it was always on his changing table, and we played it for him often, so he could watch the wings and arms of the bear moving. He smiled at it; I’m sure in thinking of his Auntie Trish.

Trisha still talks about Joshua, not only to me, but to others , for example she drove home from Michigan to look into some internships and jobs with some people from one of her classes and told them about Joshua. She is still willing to share and talk about his life, which makes us so happy and allows us to know he is living on with others as well. Joshua loves her so much and is always looking after her. He has already visited her in her dreams and is always smiling down on her.

Joshua loves you, is so proud of you, and is always there for you Auntie Trisha. Congratulations, we all love you!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Joey enjoying the warmer weather

Yesterday was Joey's first run with mommy in the jogging stroller. He really enjoyed the jaunt, and went out for another run today.

Joey hopped in his wagon this afternoon and headed for the park. He loved the baby swings. He was laughing most of the time, and then he got really comfy and almost fell asleep.

Joshua's Journeys #2: Walking in Winter

Joshua and Joseph going for their first jogging stroller ride together February '09

Earlier in February the weather had gotten unseasonably warm for this time of year so we decided it would be a good time to take the boys for a walk in the jogging stroller. Josh always loved stroller rides in the NICU and as a welcome home gift Auntie Christy, Uncle Chris, and Andrew got him an umbrella stroller that we used to stroll Josh in around the house. Josh would be so calm and inquisitive as we'd stroll him around either the NICU, or the walls of our family room or basement. Outside of cuddling while waiting at doctors' offices, Josh enjoyed the stroller rides to and from the car when we'd go to his many appointments.

We bundled the boys up to get some fresh air since we all were getting a little bit of cabin fever. We popped the boys in the stroller, dad carried the suction machine although I was somewhat convinced we wouldn't need it; Josh had been doing really well with his secretions and boy did he have a strong cough, as well as the fact that he loved stroller rides! Well, we headed out the door and off we went. We didn't make it past the driveway before Josh was able to wiggle his hat over his eyes the way he always managed to do in the car. This did make him mad all the time, which in turn made him very goobery. So, we suctioned him. Then we were ready to go... apparently it was a little bit windier than anticipated but I was determined that these boys were going to have their first stroller ride together in the jogging stroller! So we kept going, convincing ourselves that everyone was happy and warm. Halfway into our loop Josh decided to "Popeye"-- he'd close his one eye, push out his lower lip, and cry. It was so incredibly cute, but of course he was crying which meant more suctioning. He continued the whole way: Popeye faced, pouting, and letting us know he was not having as much fun as we'd have thought. We were laughing pretty hard. It was a short walk, but we did get it in, and I'm glad that he was able to take a stroller walk outside, even if it was in the middle of winter! He sure was a trooper!

Josh in the NICU dressed as Corduroy for Halloween

Josh and Andrew at home November '08

Easter 2009

We had a very blessed Easter. After visiting Josh we went out to Grandma's for the day. We dyed some eggs, went to mass, and then had a delicious dinner with our traditional homemade ravioli.

Albums here!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Joshua's Journeys #1

It has taken a while to start this for no other reason than where should we start? We hope to share a memory, picture, story, anything that comes to mind about Josh on a weekly basis here. While we will not go in sequential order all the time, or much at all, I thought there is no better place to start than somewhere close to the beginning…

Josh’s Journeys #1: Tales from the Womb

Josh always seemed to have something to say or teach us. Before we really even knew we were pregnant we had a sign from heaven on Christmas morning.

It was at that moment we knew not only that were we pregnant, but expecting twins! The next day was the first ultrasound that confirmed everything. Without going into too much detail, I went into preterm labor and was dilated and effaced on March 31. I had my first of many hospital stays, and at this time had surgery to sew and keep the babies in the womb. I was put on bed rest at 19 weeks. After many hospitalizations, drugs, and steroids, I was placed on a pump to constantly deliver medication to my body to stop the contractions. Yes, it was stressful and worrisome, but the upside was that I had ultrasounds twice a week where I was able to see my babies growing and moving throughout the pregnancy.

We had no idea that Joshua would have CHARGE syndrome. However, one of the ultrasounds Josh was making a “C” with his hand, perhaps trying to give us a clue. From early on Josh taught me patience, how to let go, have trust and faith in God, the importance of family, and that life is so very precious. While on bed rest I was able to prepare the baby books and one of them included a spot for Mommy to write a letter to her unborn baby. I think this describes our early feelings of anticipation and explains a lot about Josh’s character even from the very beginning. Here is a clipped part of what I wrote to Joshua:

Dear Joshua,

Words can’t describe my feelings for you. I am so excited that your arrival is nearing. Dad and I have wanted both of you for so long, it is still hard to imagine that you will be in our arms in just a few weeks. We have cherished every moment of this pregnancy and can’t wait to finally meet you!
Joshua, you have been called Baby A by the doctor’s because you will be the first one to be delivered. You have nestled your way nice and low and although I hadn’t felt your kicks quite as often as Joseph’s, when you kick you mean business! You have also been the one to show your face on the ultrasounds. Although ultrasounds aren’t the best quality pictures, we can dream with a little bit of direction about you. Your feet are now kicking high, right next to Joseph’s head. One day Dad and I thought we actually felt the outline of your foot protruding from my belly. From the beginning you have been head down and ready to get into this world.

You have tried several times to make an early debut, but we want you to stay put for just a while longer. We have been getting ready for the two of you for quite some time, and can’t wait to have you here with us. Java is already donning her “Big Sister” collar in anticipation of your arrival. She is a very loving and protective girl that can’t wait to greet you with a kiss! Like her, there are many others waiting to catch their first glimpses of you and see how our lives will be changed forever. We have been so blessed to have you entering our lives and are so anxious to meet you. You are a wonderful miracle and have already made a big impact on our lives. Stay safe, stay healthy, and may God protect you and watch over you always. We will see you soon.

With Love and Joyous Memories to Come,


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun with the Easter Bunny!

Joey and Andrew saw the Easter Bunny today. They both were very happy to meet the friendly critter and their parents had a blast watching them!

Sandy and I were saying how fun it would have been with Joshy. Oh, the popeye faces he would've made!

I'm gonna try something new with photobucket here, so bear with me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break

Joey had a great spring break. Early in the week Andrew came over to play. Since the weather wasn't as nice as it could be, the two boys went for a wagon ride in the basement instead of outside. Andrew also brought Joey his Jeep to walk in which he has been having a lot of fun.

Midweek Auntie Christy and Uncle Chris went to Vegas to meet their new niece Evie. Andrew was at Grandma's house so Joey went over to play.
Friday we had a fun day with Auntie Katherine, Ben, and Abbey. We played inside for a while and then ventured out to the park before Uncle Paul and Daddy were able to join us after work for dinner.

Our fun filled week ended nicely with Eva's birthday party. Eva is a beautiful girl that Josh introduced to us. Her family was so kind to invite us to Bounces R Us to jump around and help celebrate!

We have decided that we are going to start sharing some memories of our beloved Joshua. We miss him so much and think of him all the time. He filled our lives with so much love that we want to share some more of his life with you. Some great stories to come...

Army Crawl

Joey has been trying to crawl, but would much rather stand. Here are a few pictures of him trying to figure it all out and playing with Java.