Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas, Love The Thompsons!

Whoooo-Weeee!  This has been a year.  Let's start from the beginning!

We started this year out by welcoming Sam on January 22nd!  It's crazy to think that a year ago we were still just a family of four.   The first few months were rough and all a bit of a blur, but we made it through another newborn stage.  Sam REALLY didn't like sleep, and Evie REALLY didn't like relinquishing her role as youngest child.  This picture below? Pretty much our life from January to April.

The past year Belle started her first organized sport.  Soccer.  I don't have a clue about soccer, other than you run a lot and kick a ball into a goal.  It's a good thing Belle has Paul, because I really hate running and can't kick anything straight to save my life.  Paul coached Belle's team this year.  Nothing entertains quite the same as six 5-year-old girls running around after a ball.  They all run in a swarm and more often than not the ball is kicked into the wrong goal.  We learned a WHOLE lot about Belle while watching her play soccer.  She is just as competitive as her mother, and we are going to have to teach her what it means to be part of a TEAM.

Belle also started DK this year (basically Young Fives).  This girl is meant for school.  I am always fascinated by what she is learning, and how much she retains.  She is JUST starting to sound out words.  As exciting as it is to watch Belle learn to read, I'll be real sad when Paul and I are no longer able to spell things out that we don't want to say it in front of the kids.  Belle might learn early on how to spell a cuss word or two.

Evie is...Evie.  The good Lord clearly has a lot to teach me, however He is certainly entertaining me along the way.  Evie is at this phenomenal age where everything she says is either hysterical, adorable, or makes me want to wring her neck.  I cannot get enough of listening to her language grow.  We started 2014 with her speaking "Evie-nese," and now she is telling stories and bossing us around as clear as day.  

Over the past year it's been fun to watch Evie balance this role as little sister to Belle and big sister to Sam.  She has managed Belle by learning what pushes her buttons, and Sam by pulling him around everywhere and making him laugh.  She is definitely my kid that can easily play with Belle or Sam and be equally entertained.

As mentioned earlier, Sam has been my toughest baby.  He struggled with reflux, and now we are in the process of getting the poor guy tubes.  He just can't seem to kick these ear infections.  The kid has definitely had a rough year.  I am hoping 2015 is much kinder to him.  It has been fun to add him as part of our family, and I could not imagine our family without our chubby boy with a head full of hair.

Nothing major with Paul and I.  2014 started out rough as Paul's department at Meijer was eliminated, which meant he needed to find himself a new position within Meijer or start to look elsewhere.  Thankfully, he found a great position within Meijer and we could stay right where we were at.  Starting out 2014 with a job loss and a new baby definitely put stress in our lives, but it feels good to close out this year much more settled and comfortable than where we started.  Needless to say, we have been growing a lot in our marriage this year.  I am beyond thankful for Paul's dedication to his family, and his hardworking spirit.

I am still the ring leader of this circus at home.  There are days I truly feel like I am on the verge of losing it, but then there are days where I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  I feel thankful and blessed to be at home doing what I love with the people I love the most.  Alive, MOPS, crocheting, and church are still the outlets in my life that keep me sane.  And I could never live without my loyal friends, unconditional family, and a good bottle of wine. 

We want to wish all of you a fabulous Christmas, and blessings for 2015.  May God bless you richly and far beyond any expectation you could imagine!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dear Mother of a Chronically Ill Child

Dear Mother of a Chronically Ill Child,

I thought a lot about you today.  I kept thinking about how you get through your days, how you don't lose it every hour, and how you find the energy every day to keep pushing forward.

I can't imagine what life is like for you.  Today I felt exhausted and exasperated as I heard the doc tell me that my son had yet another ear infection.  His 6th one in 12 weeks.  Over the past three months I have rocked him, given him meds, rubbed his ears, kissed his forehead, held him most of the day when he was a disaster, and attended more doctor appointments than I can count.  I have sat with an ache in my heart over the helplessness I have felt over being able to take away the pain from my son.  All over ear infections.  Ear infections...

I have no clue what it must be like to make a decision over chemo, radiation, medications, surgeries, and therapies that are all a hope and a prayer for a cure, or at least remission.

I have no idea what it must be like to watch as your child struggles through a pain they can't understand, and knowing that it may not ever go away.

I can't imagine the struggle it must be to try to care for things in the home that just have to get done, when you know you have a child who just needs their hand held, or their face rubbed.

I can't fathom trying to navigate the medical world with terminology and treatment options.  With second opinions and charts.  Trying to look at a doctor and just hope that they look at their patient as more than just someone to treat, but as someone's baby.  Your baby.

I can't imagine trying to juggle that "Mother's Instinct" with what experts are telling you.  Trying to take what you know in your gut about your child and fit it into what you are learning and hearing about their diagnosis.

I can't imagine the fears.  The "what ifs," the "I'm not going to let my mind go there," the "It's not going to happen..."

And that guilt.  Oh, the mom guilt, the wife guilt.  Are you doing enough?  Are you doing too much?  What about our other kids? What about my spouse? What if we choose wrong?

Ha, and what about nicely managing all the "advice" others want to give you.  Is it comical how everyone becomes some sort of "expert" on what your child is going through and how it should be handled?

But then there are those that just help.  There are people who help, and for some reason you feel guilty because you aren't sure how to repay them...and yet, you know they don't want to be repaid.

I don't know how you find energy to go to another doctor appointment, to schedule things around your career, or find places for the other kids to go.

And I am certain there is begging, bargaining, and the pleading with God.  Praying He would heal your child or at least let you trade places.

I am not sure how you do it, Mom.  I am not sure how you get up each day and work to put that smile on to be strong for your family, and for your child.  I am not sure how you hold it together when you have no clue what the future holds.  And, to be honest, I am sure you don't hold it together real well on many days.  I assume you spend moments crying in the shower because no one can see you and you can just let it out without being questioned or consoled.

Mother-of-a-Chronically-Ill-Child, I hurt for you from the tiniest taste of watching my own child suffer.  My heart physically aches to try to imagine what it is like for you to care, to give, to journey with your child.  You watch your child fight, and you fight alongside them, not knowing how the battle will end.

Your child?  Your child is a warrior.  But you?  You, dear Mom, you are a hero.