Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family Fun Outdoors

Last summer Wesley hated being outside.  He was just learning to walk and fell all the time on the uneven ground.  Then when he fell, he was unable stand back up unless he crawled to the nearest tree to assist him with pulling up.  Of course, with his luck, the nearest tree was always across the yard.  Needless to say, he was not very happy about how difficult it was to get around.

Zach insisted on riding in a baby swing so he could be next to Wesley

This summer, on the other hand, Wesley LOVES every moment he spends outside.  He amuses himself for hours coloring with sidewalk chalk, runs back and forth in our driveway squealing in delight while Zach rides his bicycle around our cul-de-sac, pulls out his stroller to request that we go for a walk, laughs boisterously as he splashes in the kiddie pool, and is thrilled every time we go to the park.  This spring has been delightful as we have watched Wesley explore outside and grow by leaps and bounds physically as he has tried new things, determined to master them.

Just last week we enjoyed a family trip to the park where Wesley showed off all his new skills to Daddy.  He can now climb the steps at the playground and then slide down small slides all by himself.  As well, he is learning to go up steps standing up and holding on to the rails instead of crawling.  His determination continues to amaze me.  He is willing to fall down again and again and still get up and try once more.

The park we visited also had a large hill, which Wesley surprised us by climbing to the top of.  I didn't think he would have the balance or the endurance to keep going - but he did it!

It is a joy to be able to go to parks this spring and enjoy our time as a family.  I have loved standing back and just watching our boys run around and play together.  We are looking forward to a wonderful summer outside as a family this year!

Daddy is watching the angry goose to make sure it doesn't attack his boys!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Today the future came crashing in on me at an alarming rate.  I was talking with Wesley's developmental therapist, and she confirmed with me that the day Wesley turns three, his services with Early Intervention will cease and he will immediately start attending school. He will also be eligible for summer school, which she highly recommended.  What a huge change is coming to our family in just ten short months.

But then, as I asked more questions, his therapist went on to explain in more detail the process we will go through to transition Wesley.  I almost fell over when she said that the initial paperwork for his first IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting will begin six months before he turns three.  This is just four months away!  It is unbelievable to me that in just four months, Mike and I will begin the process of making huge decisions as to what we are looking for the school district to provide for Wesley's education.  I never thought I would be discussing bussing options, school therapies, personal aides, and learning objectives for my two and a half year old.

Just the thought of sending my non-verbal child to school and allowing others to mold him and shape his world view brings me to tears.  Putting him on the bus in the morning and then not knowing what will happen to him fills me with fear.  Taking him off the bus and not being able to ask him how his day went, or what he learned, or if anyone was unkind to him - or worse, abusive toward him - terrifies me.

I often ask myself how it could possibly be that sending my sweet little boy to school would be God's best plan for his life.  Yet, I know that the school system can provide so much for him that we could never give him at home.  I have wept countless hours this past year as I have begged God for wisdom and pleaded for discernment.  I often fear that if we make the wrong decision regarding Wesley's education, we will bring long-lasting harm to him.

But really, this is just another opportunity for me to release my firm grip of Wesley's future and hand it to God.  The Lord is Wesley's protector, and the Lord is the one who upholds His life. How thankful I am that I can entrust my son to my faithful God, knowing that while I cannot be with Wesley every second of every day to protect him, his Heavenly Father will never leave him or forsake him - EVER!

I am comforted by the fact that as Mike and I pray through these huge decisions, we can trust God to guide our steps.  He has not left us to determine Wesley's future on our own. According to Isaiah 30:21, God says "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left."  I am so thankful that as we plan Wesley's future, it is the Lord who is directing our steps.  And we can trust Him, for we know Him to be a good and faithful and loving God who will work Wesley's schooling for his good and for our good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

He Will Never Fail Me

"My grace is sufficient for thee." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring--that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it....He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it--hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end." Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, March 4, morning.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Your Will Be Done

Soon after losing our daughter, we attended a Good Friday service where the preacher gave a message on Jesus' prayer to God in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus' words, asking God to let this cup pass from Him but then submitting to God's will and saying "not my will, but yours, be done", have been ringing in my ears ever since.  Jesus trusted his Heavenly Father, knowing that God was working His pain and suffering for Jesus' ultimate glory and for the eternal good of all those who would trust in Him.  So, despite the fact that the road ahead was one that Jesus did not want to follow, He willingly submitted to His Father's will.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord
However dark it be.
Lead me by Thine own hand;
Choose Thou the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough;
It will still be the best.
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

We are again walking through a season of unknowns, where the road ahead may be smooth, or it may be very rough.  It seems that the Lord may be preparing us to walk along a dark and winding path.  While we are not at all certain of what the future holds, I keep getting the impression that the Lord is telling me something in order to prepare my heart for what is to come.  In the midst of this, Jesus' prayer to His Father has been my example.  This past week I have again begun to pray that God's will be done.  We have made our requests known to the Lord, but truly, more than anything, we want His will, not ours, to be done.

I dare not choose my lot.
I would not if I might.
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I can walk aright.

After Wesley was born, I remember talking about the future and jokingly discussing ultimatums I would want to give God if He placed me in certain situations.  Well, here we are.  And now I am realizing that while God wants me to make my requests known to Him, I need to be making these requests with an open hand, ready to hand them to Him and instead take the lot that He has chosen for me.  For truly, as much as I hope and pray that God will not call us to walk along an even windier path than the one we currently walk, I would MUCH prefer for God to choose our lot, no matter what that may be.  For when I am following the path that He has chosen for me, then I am walking aright, and I am following the path that leads to His rest.  As Psalm 16:5-6, 10-11 says, "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance....  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill
As best to Thee may seem
Choose Thou my good and ill

Not mine, not mine the choice
In all things great or small.
Be Thou my guide, my strength,
My wisdom and my all.

It is a relief to know that whatever good or ill may come to our family in the next day, week, month, year, or in the years to come, it is coming from our Heavenly Father, who chooses our lot, not just to see what will happen, or because He cold-heartedly wants to watch us as we stumble along.  No, our loving Father has chosen our path out of His great love for us. According to Psalm 103:8, 10-13, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love....  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sidewalk Chalk

For a year now we have been working on helping Wesley to hold a crayon and make marks on paper - all to no avail.  He has no interest whatsoever in coloring!  We have tried changing the textures of the crayons by gluing velcro to them and changing the texture of the paper by putting patterns underneath it.  Nothing has helped with his lack of interest.  As soon as Wesley sees the crayons coming out, he starts swinging his arms, seeking to throw any crayon or piece of paper that dares to get near him.

Last week I decided to try a different approach.  While we were outside playing, I pulled out the sidewalk chalk, fully expecting Wesley to throw it or walk around licking it.  Instead, he carefully watched me draw pictures on the driveway and then started coloring himself.  This kid LOVES drawing with sidewalk chalk.  I don't know if it is the different texture of the chalk, or the fact that he can walk around and color with big strokes rather than using just his fine motor skills.  Whatever it is, I am thrilled!

When we go out into the garage now, Wesley runs over to the chalk and grabs it off the shelf to bring it out and play with it.  He squeals with delight as I open the lid.  Then he digs through the chalk to pick out his favorite color - yellow.  If he accidentally gets a blue or pink piece of chalk, he will quickly throw it back into the container and keep digging.

Then he walks around the driveway, examining the chalk and pausing every minute or so to draw a few lines wherever he happens to be standing.  (He also loves to draw on the car, but Mommy's working on curtailing that behavior!)  When he locates a picture that Zach or I have drawn, he quickly sits (or lies) down on top of it to add his own lines to the picture.  This of course results in a very chalky little boy.  By the time we come inside, he is usually covered from head to foot in yellow chalk.

Luckily for Wesley, his Mommy is so proud of him for drawing with chalk that she lets him roll around in it and crawl through it without groaning and is happy to clean him up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a special treat for me this year.  I was brought to tears when Wesley's OT helped him make a gift for me as part of his therapy session last week.  She carefully worked with textures with him, using his fine motor skills as they crinkled tissue paper and glued it together to make a lovely flower.  (Wesley wasn't a big fan of the paper, but the glue - that was fascinating!)

On Friday, Zach came home from school with a gift he had made for me in class.  He was so proud of it that he couldn't stop beaming.  Then Saturday, Mike took Zach out to go shopping.  They hid their gifts and then presented me with some flowers.  Zach was very excited that he had picked them out himself.  He said that he liked them because they had so many beautiful colors.

But Sunday - that was the highlight!  While I was still in bed, Zach ran into my room with his gifts.  With a huge smile spread across his face, he proudly announced "Happy Mother's Day" and gave me a sweet kiss.  He gave me his gift from school - a framed picture of himself and a lovely homemade card.  Then he pulled out some chocolate, at which point he promptly asked if he could have some.  After this, he gave me a card.  Let me tell you, this card was his pride and joy.  It was a pirate ship card, and on the inside it mentioned the words "poop deck".  He couldn't stop laughing as he gave it to me, and he made sure that we all knew where the word "poop" could be found on the inside of the card.  More special to me was the fact that he had addressed it to me and signed his name all by himself.  He also gave me several coupons, redeemable for hugs, kisses, cuddles, and breakfast in bed.  On the coupons, he wrote "Happy Mother's Day".  I just loved reading his handwriting.  It was so special to receive things that he had personally written for me.

After church, Zach was thrilled to take me out to Red Robin for burgers.  We had a wonderful time, except that feeding Wesley at the restaurant was an epic failure.  Apparently we missed the memo that he was not interested or willing to eat any of the food they serve there.  And the food we brought for him was not up to par either.  Oh well.  Thankfully he was happy to play with his toy car for most of lunch while the rest of us ate.

Little did I know, but Mike still had one more surprise up his sleeve.  On Sunday afternoon he asked Wesley to repeat after him, and these are the beautiful words that I heard:  "apap muva day".  I wish I had made a video of it, since it was a one time show, but the memory of hearing those words delightfully spoken will always be a precious treasure to me.

When I look back on this Mother's Day, I am amazed that God has seen fit to bless me with two precious boys and a wonderful husband.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wesley's Birthday Party

In the past I have failed miserably at photographing my children's birthday parties, so this year I asked a dear friend if she would be willing to pick up my camera and take a few pictures for me.  Instead, she used her own fancy camera and documented Wesley's party beautifully. (She and her husband are in the process of saving to adopt a child.  If you are ever looking for a baby gift, check out her etsy store.  All the proceeds go to their adoption fund.)

Wesley and his Daddy

I love this picture - I always think it looks like Wesley is smiling as he sees Jesus

Our dear friends and wonderful birthday party hosts gave Wesley a set of gears.
He didn't let this one go for most of the party.

Gazing at the glow of the candles


Zach does the honors

Family pictures

Happy Birthday Wesley!

Monday, May 2, 2011


It's been a long time since we've heard words from our sweet Wesley.  He used to talk all the time.  By January he had learned six words and proudly used them to communicate his wants and needs.  But then, for reasons we still are unsure of (fluid in his ears? seizures?), he stopped talking.  Completely.

Imagine our surprise and joy when two days ago I asked Wesley if he wanted to help me find Daddy and he jumped up and said "Dada".  And then, he said it again and again and again. Once he realized he could talk, he ran around upstairs saying "Dada" and smiling from ear to ear.  We cheered and cheered for him while he proudly stood in front of us and clapped for himself.  For the past two days now, every time we ask him to say Daddy, he excitedly says it.

Then yesterday Wesley decided to show off his running skills.  He insisted that Daddy run around the circle in the house with him - FOR 20 MINUTES!  That kid must have run at least a mile.  If Daddy stopped running for even a minute, Wesley would run up to him and push him while saying "wa wa" (run, run).  Fifteen minutes into their run, Daddy decided to run backwards. Wesley did NOT approve of this behavior, so Daddy told him that if he wanted Daddy to turn around, he needed to say "turn around".  So, what did Wesley say?  "Ta Awawa!"  To say that we were in shock would be an understatement.  Daddy decided to test him by running backwards again.  Again Wesley expressed his displeasure, Daddy told him to say "turn around", and Wesley said "ta awawa".  Then today at feeding therapy, Wesley's therapist played a turn around game with him, and Wesley said it again for her.

After Wesley's feeding therapy today, Wesley and I stopped by to visit his great-grandparents. As we walked up to their front door, I asked Wesley if he wanted to see Grandma and Grandpa.  With a sparkle of delight in his eye, he said "vama, vapa".  I was sure he was just babbling, so I said, "Can Wesley say Grandma?", to which he replied "vama"!  Then I asked him to say Grandpa, and he said "vapa".  Of course once he saw them he was too excited to show off his new words, but I was floored.

My little boy has started talking.  God has done a work in the mind and mouth of my son and given him the ability to speak!  Of course we still have a long way to go.  His words all sound very similar and are difficult to decipher, and most of the time he requires being verbally cued, but we are leaps and bounds farther along on the road to speaking than we were just three short days ago.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy!