Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yay! A milestone.


I'm silly I know, but since the doctors determined that Gage has this "left torticollis" issue, I have been anxious to see progress. I faithfully work with him every day on this, so I was excited when Gage was successful with the Bumbo seat (which my sweet sis in law, Kim is letting me borrow). I've pulled it out a couple times before to try it, and he wasn't quite strong enough to support himself, even with the help of the seat. This time, however, he was intrigued! He won't stay in it long--he gets tired, I suppose, but this will be a great tool for me to use to strengthen those neck muscles!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

This year's Thanksgiving was so much fun. We had beautiful weather (64 degrees), so we were able to spend time playing outside, the food was great, and we had a total of 18 at dinner, including Gage. While he didn't eat any turkey, he WAS there, and he counts as a whole person! Josh's oldest brother and his two kids came to stay with us for most of the week, which was lots of fun! Thanksgiving evening, Theresa (my sis in law), Mom G, and I took all of the kids (excluding Gage--he stayed back with the guys) to a Festival of Lights Hayride about an hour away. It was so much fun. The kids loved it!

Here are a few pictures of our fun week, surrounded by family. Let me add that my heart was of course overflowing with thankfulness this year for our precious son, who brings new joy to us daily! Gage is truly one of God's greatest miracles.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Left Torticollis...heard of it?!?!


We went to our appointment with the physical therapist on Wednesday morning, and she determined (after playing with Gage for a while, testing different movements and motions) that he has left torticollis, which basically means "tight neck." Spending so much time on his right side has caused his head to be slightly misshapen. He looks perfect to me, but I guess an impartial opinion was needed here:). This is not a HUGE concern, but we were assigned exercises (which are somewhat time-consuming) and changes, like lying him on the changing table the opposite direction, feeding him on the opposite arm, etc... Basically, we have to train him to use his left side as much as his right. You don't realize how much you depend on your side of strength (mine being my right side), until you have to switch gears. However, we are thankful that it is not more serious. We have an appointment to go back in two weeks to make sure that the changes made have proven productive, and then once a month to make sure this is not affecting him developmentally. I am very grateful we caught this early, so that we can (hopefully) correct it before it slows his development.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our precious Gage and strength and patience for his mommy and daddy, as we work hard at correcting this!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Laughter, the best medicine.

video

I have been organizing my photos/ video clips, and I came across this one I took of LG as a baby. She was nine months old. I just HAD to share it! Now, if you could just guess what I was DOING to make her laugh like that...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Recipe Tag...

I have thoroughly enjoying snagging all of the new recipes from this game of tag (thanks Kelly!-I think you started it), so in playing fair, I will post a couple of my seasonal favorites. (since I was tagged by Karen).

Spiced Fall Cider
4 c. water
5 apple-spiced cinnamon tea bags
4 c. cranberry juice
4 c. apple juice
2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. sugar (I actually use only 1 c.)
3 cinnamon sticks
12 cloves (whole)

Combine all ingredients. Simmer at least 1 hr.
(I love making this for fall parties; makes the house smell great!)


Caramel Fruit Dip
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. caramel ice cream topping
Assorted fresh fruit

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add caramel topping; beat until blended. Serve with apple slices (or fruit of your choice). Gala apples are my favorite. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 3 cups

Neither of these is a very "healthy" recipe, but they are both yummy staples for our fall parties. We seem to have the most parties this time of year, so they are well-used. I think they work well all the way through the winter season though really! Enjoy!

Hmmm, I will tag Kim, Jenni, Ruth, Erin, and Steph!

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Gauging Gage..."

This morning, I took Gage to his four month doctor's appointment with a list of concerns (just in my head--I didn't actually write them down). He is now four months, and he favors his right side quite significantly. He will look to his left, but only if I really make a "scene" on his left side, of which I am perfectly capable:). He also still crosses his eyes some, not a lot. He doesn't roll over, or hold him self up well enough for an exersaucer or Bumbo seat yet. So, anyway I just had a few "not SO scary" concerns.
The doctor agreed that he favors his right side, and she is referring him to a physical therapist for an assessment and possible treatment. No biggie-that is likely a very correctable issue, though of course, I would appreciate your prayers. Gage was much more cooperative with the little flashlight this time, although his right eye was a little lazy. (a problem about which they would be concerned if he had not been premature--it usually fixes itself anywhere between two-four months). Although he is four months, he is only two months past his due date, so they are not too concerned with that yet. If the problem continues, he will see an ophthalmologist. His weight, length, and head circumference were perfect. He weighs 15 lbs 10oz, which confirmed what we already knew--he's a chub! He had two shots, for which he cried all of five seconds. However, he projectile vomited all over the lobby on our departure, expressing his irritation at the "shot policy!"
I will conclude by sharing that my heart is SO FULL of gratefulness. While I am concerned (as any mother would be) about these issues and covet your prayers, they are so VERY small in comparison to what "could have been." We have been truly blessed by this miracle, and every time he smiles, laughs, or coos, I am again reminded of this undeserved blessing.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Little Handsome


I know I'm partial, but this little man has stolen my heart! He was laughing during this photo shoot, but with my camera, you have to have a still picture with no flash or you can have motion but need the flash. I am anti-flash (just typically don't like the picture as well with flash), so I had to settle for this sweet "still" face:)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween/ Harvest Fest


Well, we dressed our little monkey for a few pictures, but we did not "trick or treat" this year. We relaxed at home with some homeade chicken & veggie soup and passed out candy to the precious little neighbors. We actually ran out of candy--we had quite a few this year. As much as I hate to be non-traditional, Gage cannot have candy, we do not need candy, and as you can see, his chubby little neck kept his costume from being the most comfortable outfit:) We thought we should take advantage of the last time (at least for many years) we have the "option" of staying home. Laura Grace enjoyed the holiday thoroughly as a lady bug. Anyway, he did get good use of his costume at Harvest Fest at Greenville Christian last week (which is why Grandma Golden is dressed up--she teaches 6th grade at GCA), so all in all, it turned out to be a wonderful "holiday." (not sure it is really a holiday, hence the quotation marks...) I should add that the "loving" LG is the recipient of in this picture is from Cade, my precious nephew (would you look at those lashes!! What a doll!).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Patch


We took Grace and Gage to the pumpkin patch this weekend and had a great time. Grace enjoyed everything so much this year, and Gage was just "along for the ride," although he does thoroughly enjoy being outside! He was sporting his NC State wear, so he attracted quite a crowd (especially since State was playing ECU that day in Greenville). Poor kid--it was like wearing a TARGET! Oh well. He's got to learn early that supporting Daddy's team will be essential. And YES, that was the best pic Josh could capture of the three of us--think the sun is bothering him a little?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lost Again...

I have been hesitant to even post this, but I am getting desperate for the prayer! I have managed to lose my wedding ring AGAIN! It has been gone for almost four weeks now. I somehow misplaced it when my brother and his family were here visiting about four weeks ago. I have no idea why I am so irresponsible in taking it off so often (to wash my hands or put on lotion), but I cannot seem to conquer this poor habit of mine. It is quite possible that one of the little people in my world picked it up and "hid" it somewhere (still ENTIRELY my fault for putting it within reach of little fingers). Please pray that I find it once again. I will likely hand it over to my hubby when/if I do find it and wear an immitation for a while--perhaps until I gain a little responsibility. I am curious. Am I the ONLY one out there who feels the need to constantly misplace my rings?!?!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Annual Halloween Party

For the past three years, my sister in law, Theresa, has hosted a Halloween/Pumpkin Carving Party! This year's was lots of fun with yummy festive food that helped us all excitedly anticipate this fresh season. Our weather is even finally cooling off, so it really does feel like fall! Laura Grace had such a ball last year, that we just had to include her this time. This was Gage's first of course, and he was surely overwhelmed with all of the excitement! At the first party in 2005, Xander and Cade were the only children attendees. Even though the party has consisted of the same couples each year, the children are quickly multiplying--we had SIX this year-Seven if you include Theresa's little one (still inside:)! God has truly blessed us all, and the children have undoubtedly brought much more joy to the occassion!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tenth percentile?! Not for long!


Apparently Gage heard the doctor and was offended by his "ratings!" He is a CHUBALUB and catching up quickly! The child loves to eat! Why is that cute only for babies?! I SO wish that was still "cool" at my age...
Just look at that belly!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Go Bears!

I watched my very first Bear's game with Daddy on Sunday... Unfortunately, they lost. Dad says they need a new quarterback in a TERRIBLE way! As you can tell by the picture, we were both rather disgusted.
Robby Gould is our favorite player!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Going to School!


Yes, Laura Grace is only two years old, and when her mom mentioned the idea of her attending preschool, I was APPALLED!! My first thought was "THAT IS TOO YOUNG!" She's just a baby. I don't want to leave her someplace. However, it is only two days a week for three hours each day (9am-noon). It is a church preschool with a GREAT teacher, fun activities, a safe playground, and sweet little kids (most of whom she already knew from Kindermusik), and she LOVES it! I think it will actually be good for her "socialization" skills, and truth be told, it gives me a little break in my mornings two days a week to focus on MY little angel!
She sure did look precious in her backpack too! :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Gage's Stats





Gage is up to a whopping 9lbs 2oz, and he is 21 inches long! Little Porker! Doctor says he is doing just perfectly, although it didn't seem to me that he did a very good job at "following" the little flashlight, when the doctor turned the lights off.... Let's hope that was just his Mommy's stubborness surfacing. He is supposed to "follow" it right?! Who knows? I think it irritated him. He is only in the tenth percentile, but of course we are not concerned with that, since he WAS eight weeks early.

He is still a perfect a sleeper and eater (as his weight confirms),
and his mommy is still very much in love with him.

I do often find myself wondering "What did we DO before him?!" Every errand, every activity, and every second revolves around this little person, it seems. We must have been very boring people...

This weekend was Collard Festival here in Ayden... Yes, that's right COLLARD festival. We're just livin' in a good ol' country town. Josh and I took Laura Grace and Gage Friday night, where Josh and Laura Grace enjoyed some very questionable rides and danced on the dance floor (street) to live music. LG was SUCH a show-off, and we all had a great time!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby shower!










Josh, Gage, and I flew to Michigan this past weekend for our baby shower finally! We had such a great time visiting with family and friends! Here are some pictures of my precious niece and nephew (Chae and Preston), whom I already miss DEARLY, bonding with their newest cousin.








And here is also a picture of precious Livvie, whom I have waited an eternity (it seems) to meet! She is such a beautiful child--looks just like her Mama! Karen was so sweet to drive so far with her little angel, so we could see eachother! Although I could have spent hours more with them and enjoyed every second, I so appreciate her taking her Saturday to see us!








It is always precious time that flies much too quickly when we are with my brothers and their families. God has blessed us all so greatly, and we so enjoy one another's company.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My angel


Gage is truly such a precious gem! My world has changed to revolve around this little peanut, and I am so grateful for the change. I have been surprisingly overwhelmed by the feeling of responsibilty for this little man. I expected the unbelievable love for him, but I never (for some reason) anticipated that feeling of being solely responsible for this tiny miracle in the form of my son.

This morning (oh so early), I went to get him out of bed to get ready to head to work, and I just stared in amazement at this gift God gave to us. He just looked so peaceful and so perfect-the only way to describe it. Anyway, I grabbed my camera and snapped this picture.

Monday, August 06, 2007

So relaxed...




Gage has a first love... his crib, a love for which we are very thankful! He is a great sleeper, and he is most comfortable in his very own bed, which is nice.

He has reached the 5 lb mark-still very tiny, but we are grateful he is gaining. He has had the "sniffles" for the past few days, so we are watching him closely, making sure he doesn't get a fever, etc... Hopefully, we can avoid a doctor's visit.

He and Laura Grace have become fast friends. She celebrated her second birthday last Friday, and we had a great time at her birthday party.

We spent this past weekend at the beach with them, and I enjoyed precious time both mornings cuddling with my little boy on the deck, oceanfront. There is surely nothing more peaceful than that.

This time in our lives is so priceless. I have been overwhelmed with such strong emotions, as I try to savor this time that I know will too soon be gone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

So precious...

Laura Grace has adjusted beautifully to having a new baby around. She loves to hold and kiss him. It is very precious!

Gage is doing well. He amazes us more each day, and we are so grateful for him. He is also a perfect sleeper (so far!). I'm sure we have rough nights ahead of us, but he wakes up with a little movement (hardly EVER crying) every three hours to eat-almost on the dot! He is a great eater-rarely spits up anything, and we have semi-mastered breast feeding. We do a lot of pumping/bottles (mainly so Mommy can have peace of mind that he is getting enough), but so far we have not had to "supplement" at all.

My heart is so full, and we continue to feel incredibly blessed. We truly revel in God's goodness to us. Thank you for your continued prayers! I cannot imagine having gone through this without the love and encouragement of so many of you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back to work!

Answering your question, Karen and Alicia, yes, I am back to work! Jim and Michelle have been extremely understanding throughout this whole time, and encouraged me to take as much time as I needed, but as soon as we escaped that hospital, I was ready to get back into a routine again.

I know that it probably sounds crazy to most people, but it is just how I operate. Jim, Michelle, and Laura Grace are our family down here, and their home is our "home away from home," so it doesn't so much seem to be "work" as much as "routine."

After being in the hospital for three weeks-one before Gage was born and two after, I just wanted to be surrounded by family again, and I was anxious to have LG and Gage together.
We know that we are very blessed to have such a wonderful situation for me and for Gage.

So...hopefully, that explains the quick return!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life as we once knew it...



is no more. For the first couple of days at home, I was still hearing the beeps and alarms of monitors, and if I glanced at the clock, I would think things like "It's almost time for his 'assessment' " I was still on hospital time. I am finally learning to relax and just enjoy my baby without worrying constantly about his temperature, weight, or his breathing.

Today was his first doctor's appt, and he is back up to his birth weight (even a tad more)!! His temp was a little low, but nothing too concerning--shocking that his temp is low in this ninety- degree weather! I feel a little ridiculous, wrapping him up so tightly in blankets and hats, but we will do what we need to of course...

We are getting into a new routine with Laura Grace. She loves him dearly already, and fortunately has not shown many signs of jealousy yet (except for the handful of goldfish she threw at him today, but I do think she was just trying to share:). I am surely enjoying having them both together, and I really think that the adjustment will be pretty smooth.

Here are a couple recent pictures of the little guy, and yes, he does open his eyes, but his sleeping pictures are just too precious to resist.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gage is HOME!!!!!!!!!



We brought our tiny miracle home early this afternoon, and I cannot begin to describe to you the gratefulness in my heart for your thoughts, encouraging words, and mostly for your prayers. God gave us not only the grace to handle this but the faith to maintain an optimistic view through this time. We were "stretched" certainly, but bringing home a healthy, though tiny (weighing 4 lbs, 3 oz) baby Gage brings enough joy to look past the rough journey. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we all strengthen (especially little Gage). This is certainly not the end--it is only the beginning of a whirlwind of change for us!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

In these pictures, you will see our little guy, praying fervently for his release, and through answered prayer, his sweet face, resting peacefully at home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The "latest..."


The past couple days have been very draining physically and emotionally! Gage is doing so well- his feeding tube is out--YEA!! NO MORE TUBES OR NEEDLES stuck in my baby! That is such a relieving feeling. They also graduated him from the NICU to "convelescent care." We are so grateful that he is well enough to be moved out of the NICU, but we really want him home! He is doing so well feeding, and keeping his temperature high enough--they are basically just trying to move him slowly, because he was SO early, and I don't really think that any of the doctors can "fathom" his being strong enough to go home this early, even though WE know it is possible. We serve a much higher power than these doctors, for whom we are SO grateful! Please pray for continued strength and patience, as we await that glorious day the doctor tells us he can come home! Josh and I both covet your prayers right now.


Laura Grace got to meet little Gage today! She is showing him a basketball here, trying to distract him enough to swipe his pacifier. She was successful, until Mommy made her give it back.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Our little trooper



This little guy has amazed us every step of the way! Gage is now on the project of "maintaining" his own body temperature, and he did great with that all day. We even got to put clothes on him today! Tomorrow, he will have reached his "goal" in feedings (34 cc), which means his stomach is handling the food fine and we can concentrate more on method (feeding by mouth).

He continues to gain weight--he was 4lbs 3oz last night, and he has surpassed any doctor's expectations. We are so proud of him, and we are anxiously awaiting the day they tell us he can come home. The doctor estimated that he could come home in as early as 3-4 days!! Please pray that we do not hit any obstacles on this final home stretch!

Friday, July 06, 2007

More updates...

First, let me explain that my hand is resting ever so softly on his tiny little head--the "smooshing" was all self-inflicted! He was comfortably sleeping... It certainly does help you understand how very tiny our precious little peanut is...
God has continued to strengthen this little guy. Today, they let me "attempt" breastfeeding. I have been pumping, and they have been giving him my milk through the feeding tube, but they encouraged at least "trying." I was more than happy to do that, and he did pretty well, especially considering it was our first time. We will continue to feed twice a day, while he still gets the milk through his tube. Hopefully, we will get the hang of this soon, and they will be able to ween him off of the feeding tube completely.

Tonight, he weighed 4 lbs, 1 oz, so he is gaining weight now, which is also great news of course!

I have been spending most of my day time with Gage and my nights sleeping at home. Josh and I had some sweet time with him this evening. I fed him and cuddled him to sleep, and then Josh "filled him in" on all of the newest sports news, literally. Please pray for continued strength for all of us.

I have truly felt the power of prayer in these past two weeks, and I cannot stress to you all enough how much your encouraging words and prayers have meant to both of us. I plan to save them all for Gage's baby book, so he will know how loved he was right from the beginning!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Great News!

I met with Gage's doctor this morning, and he decided that Gage was ready to be taken off his breathing "help" completely! He had been mostly breathing on his own, but he still had horrible wires taped to his little face and tubes on his nose, so I was VERY happy to hear this. The doctor also decided he was ready to eat, so after they successfully took him off of the oxygen help (he actually started breathing better and more easily when they took him off), he had his first feeding at 3pm. He did very well with that as well, and if this continues, the next step will be to take the feeding tube out and let ME feed him. This is our biggest prayer request at the moment. Obviously, he can't go home until he is eating well without a feeding tube, so this is our primary concern. He has progressed much more quickly than the doctors had anticipated. This is truly a blessing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

I had a great day today! I did drop down to 3 lbs
15oz, but my doctors are all saying that this is
very normal. Hopefully, they will let me eat
tomorrow, but in the meantime, they are giving
me nutrition through my IV.
I am opening my eyes and stretching lots in these pictures, so you can see how precious I am.
Don't worry about my ear--the oxygen tube makes it look silly, but it really is perfect just like the rest of me!
Thanks for praying for me. I need to get bigger, so they will let me go home!

Holding hands...

This may help you better "picture" his size. He really is so tiny, but most of his pictures make him appear bigger. At first, I could only put my hands in the incubator, so we would just hold hands...

My boys/ Gage Update


The doctor saw Gage this morning, and said he was doing better with his breathing, so he lowered his oxygen help! Praise the Lord! He is still not comfortable enough to let him start feeding though, so that is my biggest concern right now. Please pray that they will let him eat soon!!! He is down to 4lbs--the weight loss is normal--we are just hopeful that he will not go any lower. It is already draining every ouce of energy I have to watch and hold him, unable to "make him better," but it certainly makes one dependent on God.

I held him yesterday morning for two and a half hours, praying and singing to him, and I know that God is going to give me the strength I need to make it through this. Please keep us all in your prayers, especially our little Gage!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

His First Kiss


This is an even better representation of that precious moment in time...

Explanation


I probably should have explained the "before he was even cleaned" picture... That was one of the only pictures we have of him before he was all "hooked up!" I love it, because this picture was taken immediately after he was born, and it represents a moment in time I will never forget. I had prepared myself for a tiny baby, likely not able to breath on his own, so you can imagine the joy I felt when I heard that beautiful baby screaming! Nothing can describe it, but that picture will always be precious to me. This picture I am posting now was also taken right after delivery. I will post some more recent pictures soon! I would appreciate your continued prayers, as he is still in the NICU and will likely be here for a few weeks.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gage Bryant



After some tenderness in my stomach late last night, my doctor decided to deliver my little guy to avoid a potential infection. Gage Bryant was born at 2:45 am. He weighs 4lbs, 5 oz, and he is 17 inches long--an absolutely amazing size for 32 weeks! He is healthy, breathing on his own, and the most precious thing in the world! It was a rough, nauseating surgery, and early this morning, I may have even said "This will be our only child" to my husband:) However, I am doing well now, recovering quickly. I was able to hold Gage for the first time a couple of hours ago, and if I had been able, I would have held him all night. He is a miracle, as every baby is, and we are so very grateful to have our son.

As an added bonus, and many of you have probably already experienced this, I fell in love all over again with my husband as an amazing father!'

Thank you so much for your thoughts, encouraging words, and mostly for your prayers!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Still waiting...

I am going on seven days in the hospital, but my doctor told me that typically for every day I can keep baby in me is two days fewer he has to be in the NICU, so . . . I am trying to be patient and WAIT. What a task that sounds so simple yet proves to be so difficult!
The fluid around the baby is low, so they are keeping a close watch on that.
The doctors are optimistic, and so are we! Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We appreciate and covet them so much!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Unexpected Blessing!



My mom is here, cleaning my house top to bottom, and preparing the nursery, that I didn't quite get a chance to finish. Today, she came running into my hospital room with my WEDDING RING!! I lost it about two weeks after we found out I was pregnant--around Christmas, and we had counted it as "loss," after many months of searching. She found it in that tiny plastic pocket on the back of our dryer. I cannot tell you how much that has lifted my spirits. Rings can be replaced, but my wedding ring was SO special to me, and I knew that regardless, I would always miss "that" ring!
Just another blessing on this trying road!
I just came back from having a thorough ultrasound, and I am currently hooked up to the baby heart monitor. The doctor will be in shortly to discuss the results. We do know that from the ultrasound, the "estimated" weight is 4lbs 1 oz--better than we expected! Keep praying!