Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #58 My my how time does fly...

As I mentioned before there have been a lot of things I've wanted to post about Josh, memories, things I don't want to forget, little moments that have popped in my head, and other thoughts I don't want to forget. Things have been pretty hectic with summer festiviites, but Josh is always on my mind and heart. It sometimes takes a lot more effort and a few more tears to put it here which is why I often times, most times don't post Joshua's Journeys as much as I'd like. I don't want to forget, but at the same time in my heart I know I won't and some moments are so personal, feelings and bonds that can't be articulated, and I can't even approach some of the subject matter in a mere blog post. However, a few things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks. First was back on father's day when I cut Jillian's bangs. I had always thought she resembled Josh quite a bit, but thought that I was maybe stretching that a bit. She definitely has the same big blue breathtaking eyes. A lot of times when I look at her on the monitor laying in Josh's crib--her crib too-- I do a double take because she lays in ways that he did, and looks like him on a black and white monitor. I've shown Phil sometimes how her hair will lay upwards making her head seem bigger on top (the lightbulb look of a kid with hydrocephally) and I immediately think how much she looks like Josh. In pictures if I put my hand over their foreheads to take away that hydrocephally forehead where it gets bigger their face shapes are very similar. Of course Jillian has always had more weight on her from the beginning so her cheeks are a bit more filled out. But when I cut her hair I was picking up snippings to put in an envelope just like I had done with Joey, and like Tina did for us for Josh's first shunt surgery. As I picked up the hair my heart skipped a beat. I hadn't noticed it before and went digging through Josh's baby book to find his hair clippings. Sure enough a near perfect match! I remember when Josh went in for his first shunt surgery Tina mentioned the anesthesiologist call him a "ginger" meaning he had reddish hair. It was news to us, we thought he was blondish brown, and the more surgeries the poor kid had the more it looked blonde because of the way it grew back. He had a major head of hair compared to Joey who was almost bald his whole first year of life. Many people have mentioned to me in the past that they think Jillian has a reddish tint to her hair as well. I always thought it was like mine, brown but when I was a kid had some golden highlights from the sun. After cutting it and comparing whatever color hair you want to say the hue is, they are the same!

When Joey went to see Cars 2 I couldn't stop thinking about where Josh would be at this point in his life. What milestones would he have hit? Would he still be trached? We were planning on his first birthday trying to work on getting trach free, but it is a process. I couldn't help but think how he'd love staring at the big screen with all the colors for his big eyes to take in. He was profoundly deaf to where he'd hear a jet plane if he was right next to it, but it may be that he'd feel the vibration more than anything, but I'd wonder if he'd hear anything since movies can be quite loud at times. Even when we were at the carnival the other day, I know Josh would not do well on a ride...maybe I'd be more worried than him since CHARGE kids love to spin! But even then I was reminded of how he'd look around in amazement at his surroundings and you could just see him soaking every little thing in.

As Joey and Jillian get older I am losing the comparison stages. Jillian's pictures are looking like a little girl, not a baby. Joey is turning 3, and I have pictures of Josh frozen in time under a year old.

Newborn pictures:

6 Months:

1 Year (Josh just over 8 months):

18 months (Jillian newborn), 2 years, 2 1/2 years:

Tomorrow Jillian will be 18 months, and Sunday Joey will be 3 years! My, my how time does fly!

Weekend in Photos

The lazy days of summer have got me again. I am in a rush to post these pictures so that I am all caught up for Joey's birthday on Sunday.

Last Friday we went to see Andrew at his last day of camp. He was at camp for 2 weeks because he did 2 camps back to back even though it was the same theme. He got to spend time with his neighbors the second week which made it all the more fun for him, and a little different than the first week on the last day we were invited to hear some of the songs he had learned. Since Andrew was so supportive of Joey in his big race, Joey didn't hesitate at the chance to see Andrew in action.

Friday night was Northlake Days. We went to Auntie Steph and Uncle Don's beforehand where Joey got his first birthday gift. Unfortunately Auntie Steph and Uncle Don won't be here for Joey's birthday, but he was super excited to get a ball, hat and mitt, a great Cars outfit which he wore the next day. We walked over to Northlake Days where Joey and Jillian loved all the rides, lights, games, and attention. Auntie Steph even braved the merry-go-round with Joey and Uncle Don cuddled Jill. Afterwards we went back for some birthday cake and to hang out with Uncle Mikey and his friend and kids before heading back home.

Saturday Joey went to his first movie theater movie... Cars 2! We were surprised to find out that it was in 3D, so Daddy spent some time tinkering with the glasses to get Andrew and Joey some non-3D glasses. It only took the Smurfs preview with something jumping out at the screen to make Joey flinch and not want his glasses on anymore, so Daddy's hard work didn't quite pay off, but the effort was appreciated. The girls were at Grandma's while we were at the York Theater, which I hadn't been to since I was in high school so it was neat to see how things had changed there as well. Joey kept saying that the movie screen was bigger than his house! Even though he watched it without the glasses so I'm sure it was a little blurred at times he loved it, sat threw it really well, and did a great job eating all of his popcorn. We have heard in the past that 3D movies can make kids sick, as Ben has displayed in the past, but Joey actually choked a little bit on popcorn before the movie and got a little sick in Mommy's popcorn bucket. I guess he was helping me with portion control!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day and past weekend

I have been very lazy in posting more than just pictures of what is going on. I will do a Joshua's Journey soon. I have a list of things I want to write/share, but that list keeps growing, I'll blame summer and activities, but sometimes it is just so hard to articulate grief and a love to and from beyond this earth.

First off here is Father's Day...

the kids painted Daddy a "trophy" which Mommy was not good at assembling so it became a candy dish for the Hershey Kisses that they gave Daddy along with some buttons that they really enjoyed making (gluing a whole lot!) for Daddy. We headed to Assumption for a breakfast picnic where Joey kept telling us "Josh's house is cool." And when an old Volvo drove down the side road he said "Josh is here!" After I corrected him and said that was not Josh's car Joey then said "Jesus is here!" To that I laughed, told him how Jesus is always with us, just as Josh is always in our hearts and we can talk to either of them whenever we want. However, I do think that Joey thinks Jesus drives a Volvo!

After coming back home and playing around with Daddy it was nap time. After naps Jillian was looking a little bit like a straggly mess with her hair, so I grabbed her purse and brought her up to our bathroom and let her play in the mirror while I attempted to cut her bangs! Yes, first official haircut, even if it is just bangs, so I had to take pictures. She loved sifting through her purse looking through her fake lipstick, keys, brush, and little book, but when it came down to cutting her bangs she did not like it at all! But, she does look a lot better.

After naps we met Nonna and Grandpa for dinner and then headed back to their house for dessert and to play with Uncle Don, Auntie Steph, and Mikey! We will be seeing them again real soon for Northlake Days which is right by their house. Last year Joey loved riding on the cars, but Jill was a little too young to do anything. I'm sure this year will be fun with both of them!

And finally we got our first babysitting job with Jessie on Tuesday. She was a good girl, played hard, ate well, and loved resting on the pile of shoes that we have by the back door. I guess I'll have to leave that mess there for her to cozy up to! And today a few pictures of some inside fun painting, baking, and I set up an obstacle course for them. Hoping for warmer, sunnier weather!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Boomtown Half: The Race That Could Not Be Run

A little over a week ago I saw a run was going to be held today to benefit the people of Joplin, MO. It was the Boomtown Half Marathon that was to take place in Joplin, MO last weekend. Due to the devastation of the recent tornadoes the race was not going to take place. The race I saw was in support of Joplin and called the Boomtown Benefit: The Race That Could Not Be Run. The distance would be anywhere from 10 yards to 10 miles. There would be no time clock, no fancy t-shirts, no closed streets, no lines of port-a potties, and only water fountains along the course and water bottles at the finish. The entry fee was a donation to United Way for the people of Joplin. Noting the 10 yards to 10 mile distance (not to mention the race was put together in 10 days)I thought it would be perfect to donate and have Joey and I run. I would push Joey in the stroller for 9.75 miles and he would run the last .25 to the finish. He said he was going to beat me! And I believed him! He was really excited, and this morning when I went to get him as I do most races at an early hour he smiled at me, hopped in the car donning his Lightning McQueen race shirt and was ready to go. He persevered through the long (one toilet) potty line doing his dance but keeping dry (the first part of a runner's agony!) We took off and Joey was in his element with the beautiful scenery, looking at the water, the trees, the geese, cheering me and other runners on, and eating his Cheerios. We met a few people, including the race director who I had e-mailed earlier in the week to make sure it'd be okay to bring Joey in the stroller and have him run the 10 yards or whatever it'd turn out to be. We were at 9.94 miles when I pulled him out of the stroller to finish. He was startled by another runner and then didn't want to run or was confused, something. Turns out he fell on the graveled pavement, got a couple of good boo-boos on his knees and was crying. I told him its not easy to run, and when you fall you get up, and the most important thing is to try and finish. So, he whined/cried his way but he did cross the finish and he accepted his medal. I guess sometimes the great visions in your head don't always turn out that way in reality (I wasn't holding hands with Joey smiling and skipping our way across the finish line of his first race, but that is life)! Daddy, Jillian, Auntie, Andrew, and Emma were there to cheer us on too. Andrew made a sign for Joey to show his support. Joey slept the whole way home. Running is tough, but with a little more training I think he'll do just fine!

It was a beautiful day weather wise, and of course a great way to support the people trying to get their lives back together in Joplin. There were 153 registrants accepted, the same number of deaths. Each bib was in remembrance of one of them. My bib read: Gregan D. Sweet, 59, Joplin was at the Pizza Hut with his wife when the tornado hit, according to his son's Facebook posting. His wife survived. Joey's bib: Steven Haack Stephens, 28, Joplin. Died from injuries after he helped rescue his wife and mother when their vehicle was struck by tornado. Worked in construction. Joey's "traumatic" morning is absolutely nothing compared to the devastation the people of Joplin faced and continue to face as they restore their lives and community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Joplin.

Not sure if this is going to work, but Christy had way better pictures of the whole thing than I did since I was running. Poor Joey, but I can't look at these without laughing. Try clicking here.

Last night Java was also able to meet Grandma's latest addition. The kitchen seems slow going compared to the quick taking to Jessie! Yes, last night Grandma's puppy was named. We had the help of Auntie Pam (#1 Dog Lover), Auntie, Uncle Chris, Andrew, Emma, Mr. and Mrs. Sole, Dom, Nick, and Gigi to help figure out a name. Jessie got quite the welcoming with everyone playing outside and Snowy and Java there to play and pounce with. Jessie seemed to like nestling in for a rest on Mrs. Sole's feet. Grandma reported that Jessie slept fairly well last night waking almost every 2 hours but going back to sleep nicely and taking to her crate really well.
(After the race today we had some outside water fun, so just threw some of those pics on at the end.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Catching Up...and a new addition to the family!

I have been negligent again, so here is the mash of pictures and updates from the past 2 weeks:

First some random pictures from the past two weeks. We went to a kids "concert" with one of Joey's friends from school at Wheaton Library but the only picture I had was of Jill and her water bottle. A picture of Joey playing basketball at All Sorts of Sports, the sports camp he is doing on Saturdays with Daddy and loves it! I forgot my camera, but you know Crystal never does! I went out with Crystal, Eva's mom (another CHARGEr)and some of her other friends to help celebrate the end of her cancer treatment. It was a fun day in the city and my first step inside the American Girl store...Jillian it will be a long time before I tell you about that place! And then just other miscellaneous shots.

Last Saturday we had Uncle Paul, Auntie Katherine, Ben, Abbey, and Juliette had been a while since we saw them, but fun of course always fun. The kids had a blast, Joey loves playing with Abbey (and Ben and Juju too), and Juliette and Jillian were a great pair at the table. All the kids left to go play and the two youngest stayed to finish off the desserts! Happy (early)Birthday Auntie Katherine!

Of course it wouldn't be an update without an Arboretum shot. Last Sunday we were able to meet up with Uncle Mark, Auntie Miya, and Nathan and Joey was super excited to see how the tadpoles had grown. Jillian and Nathan had a cute game of peek-a-boo going between the trees. It was a nice relaxing day!

Heading into the weekend we got a surprise phone call. Grandma had been talking about getting a puppy for a while, and the thought was that she would wait until after her addition since it is a mess over there, she travels a lot, is always busy busy busy...but she called this morning to say the breeder was going to drop off the dog to her house so she could see if she liked her. So Auntie came over to put the seats in her minivan and caravan us all out to Grandma's to meet "the puppy." As of now no name. Of course the puppy is not going back, she is here to stay, and we are trying out names for Grandma but not much luck yet. Here are a lot of pictures of this fun loving little girl, and stay tuned because I think she is coming to visit tonight!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Daddy's School

Memorial Day weekend was also Daddy's birthday, so we took a road trip from nap time on Sunday to nap time on Monday to visit Purdue, aka "Daddy's school." The kids did really well on the trip up there, Jillian slept most of the time, but Joey was excited to see all the farms and point out the cows. He also saw a windmill farm that wasn't there when Daddy was going to school, so it was fun to see the miles of windmills. We walked around campus, and unfortunately a lot was closed due to the holiday weekend, and our arrival in the afternoon on a Sunday, but we still got to walk around and see all things Purdue. We did hit one bookstore that was open to get some more Purdue gear. Joey and Jillian just loved running around campus, looking at the clock tower, the fountains, and the bridges and other fountain off campus. Monday we got to see the West Lafayette Memorial Day parade, Joey loved seeing the firetrucks and army vehicles. When asked, Joey says he liked the pool best at Daddy's school....hmm, I don't remember that hotel being there before either! It was a good trial run for our Disney trip!

We came home and went over to Auntie's house for a holiday cookout and celebration of Uncle Chris and Daddy's birthdays. Yummy!
The pictures are a little out of goes from Monday back to Sunday, but I'm not savvy enough to fix it!

And on a final note, I wanted to share this little poem that I had gotten when Joey started school. I didn't cry when I dropped him off his first day (he did plenty on his own) and I didn't feel bad that day at all. The next week I had received a folder with some of his school stuff in it: a calendar, list of what he'll be doing, etc. and also this poem that in reading made me think of Josh, how Joey is growing up, how Jillian will be right behind him in school, and how time just goes too fast; what may seem like the littlest things are so important. This was the "my kid is going to school" tear jerker for me, and I had posted this on my fridge with all the kids pictures, but wanted to leave it here as well since this is more of the scrapbook these days. I know a lot of kids are getting out of school for the summer, graduating, maybe starting their first job, and this poem just hits me a little each time I read it, or see my kids "just playing"...

Just Playing

When I'm building in the block area,
please don't say I'm "Just Playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play,
About balance, I may be an architect someday.

When I'm getting all dressed up,
Setting the table, caring for the babies,
Don't get the idea I'm "Just Playing."
I may be a mother or a father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint,
Or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay,
Please don't let me hear you say, "He is Just Playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I just might be a teacher someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some "playing" at my school,
Please don't feel the time is wasted in "play."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate.
I may be in business someday.

When you see me cooking or tasting foods,
Please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "Just Play."
I'm learning to follow directions and see the differences.
I may be a cook someday.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run, and move my body,
Please don't say I'm "Just Playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I've done at school today,
And I say, "I just played."
Please don't misunderstand me.
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work.
I'm preparing for tomorrow.
Today, I am a child and my work is play.