Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Snapshots of Today

Before nap today, Charlie asked me to sing, "I Love Trash" by Oscar the Grouch, "I Dance Myself to Sleep" by Ernie, "Doin the Pidgeon" by Bert, and "All Throughout my Day" by Junior Asparagus. I knew every word to each of these songs.

Emma has decided that she's "All Done" with EVERYTHING today except being held by Mommy. She's sick. She's allowed. And she "asked nicely" by signing it, so Charlie's not going to let me get away with not complying anyway.

I keep trying to test Emma to see if she hears. I think she does. I'm dreading the ABR in two weeks (rescheduled because she's sick)

Charlie calls Emma his "little peanut" and I heard him from the kitchen yesterday wiping off her "little peanut bubbles." Kinda gross, but he's so sweet.

Charlie asked me today over lunch why Emma doesn't talk yet. I told him that she's still little and that she's learning. I also told him (for the first time) that it's going to take Emma a long time for her to learn some things. I told him that she was very special (this made him smile really big) and that meant that she was going to learn how to do everything that he does but that it would just take her a little longer. He said "Ok! Can I have some more chips?"

I'm realizing that there is no substitute for just simply READING YOUR BIBLE and I'm wondering why it took me this long in my life to figure that out.

I was snuggling Charlie this morning and he pushed on my chest and said "What are those?"

Charlie has made up a song to sing when he plays the piano. The words are (in no particular order): "I love Daddy and I love him so much cuz he's a good Daddy and he takes me to Monster Trucks and I love Emma and I love God and I love the WHOLE WORLD!" I'm not offended that I'm missing in this song, I don't mind coming second to Daddy, Emma, or God :)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What have we been up to lately?

What a weekend!!

I LOVE weekends like the one we just had - the schedule was jam-packed, the kids were having too much fun to even notice that they were over-tired, I don't think we had more than 2 meals that WEREN'T in the company of good friends ... it was fabulous!

After staying up past our bedtime to eat pie and play Catch Phrase with friends on Friday night, we got up on Saturday and drove up to Calvary Luthern Church to participate in a Food Packout with Feed My Starving Children. This church committed to paying for and packaging over a MILLION meals for children in Haiti last week. Our little group from our decidedly SMALLER church packaged over 5800 of those meals on Saturday. It's super rewarding. If you've never heard of Feed My Starving Children, click here. It's a wonderful non-profit that Josh and I have been passionate about for years.

Then Josh and Charlie slept for maybe 10 minutes of their appointed naptime and then went off with their man friends to a MONSTER TRUCK rally! Mommy TOTALLY does not understand, but they had such a blast and NEITHER one has stopped talking about it since Saturday night, so I think the sleep-deprivation was well worth it!

I'll let Josh post pictures of that blessed event if he wants to :) basically it was a lot of boys, their daddies, and really REALLY BIG TRUCKS! and hillarious-looking "hearing protection," as Charlie called it.

Sunday was another fun day with friends, even though the Vikings lost, but after this weekend, I realized something about my baby girl.

She is NOT a baby! :)

Emma now waves, claps, and signs "all done" and "help"!!!!!!! The verdict is still out about whether or not she means that "mom mom mom" sound she makes when she needs something ...

I actually am a little teary-eyed about it. I sometimes think that maybe I'm fooling myself, reading into random movements and convincing myself that she's communicating. But no, she really truly does reliably use a couple signs for communication! I'll try to get a video ...

Honestly, tears are hitting the keyboard as I think about the fact that I didn't think she would be able to do this!

I'm so grateful for my little girl!

If you feel led to do so, could you pray for her ABR hearing test coming up this Thursday? I am praying that the test is accurate, that Emma cooperates, and that (please please please, Jesus) maybe possibly we can get a result that DOESN'T indicate a need for a hearing aid? Not that it would be the end of the world, but I'd really like to be done with that!

God bless you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wanna see something cool? :)

Update: the video works now! :)

Last night she finally decided that a good old fashioned traditional CRAWL is the way to go! Watch out, world! Here she comes!

And did you notice how she looked when I called her name? SO PROUD :)

It's a good Emma day. Praise the Lord for my beautiful little girl

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

this n that

Charlie's birthday party was lovely, as usual. We had pizza and cake, but Charlie decided the bowl of Doritos was pretty much all he wanted for lunch. Ha!

Emma decided Papa was her favorite cuddle-buddy for the day. It was particularly cute when she reached her little head up and decided that cheek-to-cheek was the way to be! :)
And, as the Watczak men LOVE their MN Twins, this was Charlie and Daddy's cookie bouquet from Grandma. They were two happy campers! :)
Emma's eating is going very well.

She's gotten to be a stinker about being independent about it, though. No more just eating baby food from a spoon for me, Mommy!!! The arm waving in this video is her "all done," which doesn't really mean she's all done eating, it means she's all done with whatever may be going on at the moment ... diaper changes, independent time on the floor, you get the idea.

But she's doing so GREAT at picking up little bits of food and eating it.

And as some of you saw on Facebook this afternoon, I most certainly did NOT do a little happy dance in Emma's room this morning to the song "Carrots in the poop, carrots in the poop, so so proud of Emma she's got carrots in the poop!"

And Charlie DEFINITELY did NOT join in.

Cuz that would just be weird!


Have a blessed, blessed day!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I often picture the Lord Almighty, up on his throne, carefully planning my children.

He knew Emma would be Emma. He's not the least bit surprised about any aspect of Baby #2.

So when carefully crafting and creating Baby #1 in his Mommy's womb, I often picture him lovingly planning out our family.

I think about my Heavenly Father knowing that Emma's big brother would be have to be careful and tender, loving and thoughtful.

And I think about him knowing that Mommy would need a cheerful little boy's ALL OUT JOY!

I know that the God of the universe planned for that little boy's brain to be always ticking, always coming up with something new to amaze us. And I'm sure He smiled a little when he planned on Charlie liking things "just so," because he knew *I* was not going to have time to clear his dishes for him.

I think, most especially, that my Lord knew that I would need reminders of His greatness, His mighty-ness, His faithfulness, and His everlasting love for me.

And so I'm SURE He knew what He was doing when He gave me a Charlie.

The Bible verse that we're working on this week with my little man is Matthew 22:37, which says "Love the Lord your God with all your heart." I know Charlie's little heart is just FULL of the love of God.

When Charlie was a baby, I used to sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" to him as his lullaby. I tear up whenever I hear this song because I think about how God is just a fountain of blessings and has given us SO many blessings in our lives, and I think about how we NEED to ask God to "tune our hearts" to sing the praises He is due. Charlie reminds me of that. I pray that I will never forget to thank God for the many, many, many blessings He has given us.

I thank God daily for the blessing of my Charlie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Honestly ...

(Update: click here to see Sarah Markley's take on this challenge! Enjoy the real me! You'll love me anyway, right? :))

So there's this challenge going around Blogland this week to post a picture of yourself without make up.

Which, for reasons which should be obvious to those of you who know me IRL, is comical to me.

(See, i don't wear make-up or curl or dry or straighten my hair or have any idea what a diffuser is for and i'm fairly certain my wardrobe isn't going to be winning any fashion awards any time soon, either ...)

But the challenge got me thinking about authenticity in Blogland.

Because we can all make ourselves sound great through the "blog fog," right?

NOT that we lie! Sweet Daddy and Charlie times like this really do happen!

But then again, when I posted the pictures of Emma's new hair pieces a couple of week ago, I left out this picture ... um, no, she's not laughing ...

because what mother would take a picture of her daughter crying? :)

And Josh really is, in my opinion, the best Daddy on the planet! Exhibit A:

So when I went to my Facebook CdLS friends for advice about what to do when we "feed the bed" (or the couch or whatever ...) what I DIDN'T say is "my incompetent husband left the mediport open all night last night and Emma got no food and *I* had to do all the laundry!" because even though that may be what my human, sinful mind is honestly thinking in that moment, it's not respectful of him and not productive for anyone else and just not good to put out there!

(and, just as a disclaimer, i can use that example now because he 'fessed up to it on that same comment thread on Facebook)

Which, again, got me thinking about what honesty really looks like in real life.

And I think if I had to pick one thing I struggle with in my Christian walk, this would be it.

Oh, it's not that I'm a big liar!

Quite the opposite.

And tell me if any of this sounds familiar in your life:

"Please pray for my sister, she's really struggling with (insert thinly veiled gossip here)"

"I need your advice about (insert thinly veiled complaint about someone here)"

"As a Christian wife, what do you do when your husband (insert thinly veiled whine-fest about husband here)"

But then at the same time, what do answer when someone says, "How are you?"

Particularly special needs Mamas! Tell me you haven't told the good story instead of the bad story because you just couldn't bring yourself to say the words "I don't know how to get Emma to stop banging her head on the back of her high chair" out loud.

Or is it really much much better to tell the good story instead of the bad story because it helps our friends see the good in our kiddos?

And is it better to post in cyber space that "I love my husband" instead of "we just had a big fight" because, even though it's not being transparent, it is helping MY attitude in that moment?

So how do you speak the truth in love without gossiping or venting your own issues instead of speaking the Truth?

I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with that pesky Bible verse about taking the plank out of your own eye before attending to the speck in someone else's.

And in that spirit, I would like to tell you a story:

I was mom of the year.

All 3 of us were sitting at the table having lunch together at the same time. Emma even has a puff in her hand and she's eating it right when I take the picture! I rock!

But then I'm cleaning up after lunch and I see this:

Wait, what's that red thing on the floor?

I scolded my husband for 'feeding the couch' yesterday. I said, "Josh, she's squirmy so you have to check that button every couple of minutes when she's squirming to make sure she hasn't squirmed her way out of her tube extension! *I* check all the time! *I* don't have that problem! Why on earth do you think *I'm* so exhausted by the end of the day? I'm spending my day being *on top of* these things!"

And then I fed the floor today.

So there

That's me without my proverbial make-up on :)


Monday, January 11, 2010

ears update

we saw emma's ENT today.

her palate seems to have healed very nicely, which is awesome!

his medical audiologist did not have a lot of good news, though.

while emma did cooperate a few times with her version of the sound booth test, it was, again, inconsistent and therefore not terribly conclusive.

and she didn't pass her tympanogram in one ear, which could be because of the tube being in the way of the sensor, or it could be because one ear is still not working right.

and, even with the tubes, we're still going to be fighting wax and clogging with those tiny ears, so her ears could still work fine and the tubes could not be doing their job from time to time? i think? i was a little unclear about that part.

so we're going to schedule a sedated ABR test, but we're told that they're pretty booked for a couple of weeks, so it could be awhile.

which gives me awhile to get used to the idea that her hearing aid may be making a reappearance.

but i was encouraged by one thing today. dr. s (remember him? the "who's your daddy" guy?) asked how emma was doing overall and then he looked at his audiologist's report and agreed that it was going to be hard to tell with emma how well she hears.

so he asked us, "what is your impression? does she hear?"

we said, "yes"

and then he turned to the resident who was following him around that day and said, "parents are never wrong about that."

i'm so glad that SOMEONE out there knows that! :)


ps - for those of you keeping tabs on such things, no i haven't forgotten my son's 3rd birthday! he turned 3 on the 9th, but we're having his party next weekend and it would be confusing for him to think about when his birthday actually is as opposed to when his party is and he doesn't know the difference anyway, so in this house, Charlie's birthday is still "coming up!" He's excited and I promise to write him his very own post next weekend when we're all in the birthday kind of mood. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Emma officially hears! :)

We had a visit to our friendly neighborhood audiologist today (the school district one, not the ENT one ... that's next week)

Remember the depressing silent room hearing test?

You know, the one where my mobile, active 1-year-old is supposed to sit still on my lap facing the audiologist who is looking through the window and only move to turn her head toward the speaker from which different sounds emanate but be otherwise still and contently wait for the next sound?

Yeah, that one :)

Well, Emma did great today!

She was squrimy and wanted to get down and play or stand up and talk to Mommy or play with my necklace and at one point during the test I'm fairly certain she was distracted by the fact that her sock got stuck on one of her bottom teeth ...

However :)

Multiple times her audiologist spoke into the microphone and it came out of the speaker on the left and Emma turned and looked for the sound! Like, she heard it and she looked for it and she did it more than once! Yay!!!!

And then after the test Charlie (of course) needed to pee and while I was gone her aud. and her DHOH teacher sat and played with her and they are convinced that she hears better than the test was able to measure.

But at WORST Emma is able to hear down to the quietness level of conversational speech and localize where it is coming from! Yay!

We meet with her ENT next week and he will look into her ears and assess from a medical standpoint if the tubes have drained everything and if everything looks ok in those little ears, and then I'm hopeful that maybe we can do an ABR? Not sure what he'll say.

It felt really good handing over that hearing aid to the school district, but I do have to say that her audiologist is not convinced that Emma won't need some sort of hearing aid again at some point, depending on what her ENT says.

But for right now, it's nice to not have to worry about it! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

just because we all need to hear it again sometimes

if you're in the special needs community, i'm sure you've read this a hundred times. i'm having a Holland day today ... this week is crazy FULL of appointments. please pray for me to be the best mom i can be to both of my kids this week?

Emma did great at her eye appointment today and the kids are doing well ... just a little bit of a day for me :)


Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Yes, we changed the name of our blog ... more on that in a minute :)

First, a couple more Christmas gifts! We are so blessed to have such wonderful family on both sides, so the kids both made quite a haul and there's no way I could post about EVERYTHING they got, but please know it's ALL appreciated.

Josh's parents were in town this weekend, though, and Josh's mom bought a bunch of "Emma doesn't have to wear a hearing aid anymore" hair bows and stuff for the little girl. So cute! :)

Wait, I'm confused, what is that Emma is looking at?
Hee hee. More on that in a minute! :)

"Mom, why exactly do I have this puffy pink thing on my head?"

"Cuz you're stinkin cute, my dear!" :)

Emma kisses! She is back into loving those kisses again ... but she's working on two more teeth on the top now and she's SO drooly. Actually, the drool really picked up after surgery. Anyone have any idea if that's a side effect of palate recovery and if we can look forward to it stopping at any point, here? :)

"Ok, Mom. I can get away with big pink bows cuz I'm cute. You just look ridiculous!"

Yup. Ridiculous.
But we had a very nice visit with Josh's side of the family, including his sister, her husband and their little girl, who is 1 and a half.

Charlie had a great time with Cousin Ruby!

And just cuz I thought this was funny ... Now that restrictions have been lifted about stuff in Emma's mouth I'm trying to get back in the habit of doing some sort of tooth brushing. This is Emma's little baby tooth brush that we also used for oral stim stuff. She had mixed emotions about it's return ...

"I'll be ok with this if I can DO IT MYSELF!"

And now for the reason for the blog's name change:

Josh got me the most wonderful Christmas present! He had our blog contents from my pregnancy and Emma's first year printed into a book.
It's so beautiful.
I'm SO glad I have this. It's been quite a journey reading through old posts, particularly the ones from when I was pregnant. I can't say I haven't cried a little, re-reading all that stuff, but it's been SO good.
And Josh picked a great name for the book that I thought I'd carry over to here. He called the book "The Journey"
I like thinking of our blog as Our Journey, and I like thinking about it as the journey the Lord is taking us on. He's in charge, he's got the road map, he knows what's ahead and he will be there when we get there.
And I LOVE that I have friends and family willing to "join" me here in cyberspace on our journey. You all mean more to us than you will ever know!
God bless!

time for a change

Josh gave me an incredibly cool Christmas present that I'll have to show you a little later as I just heard Emma waking up ....

But as a result, I've changed the name of our blog. No, you don't have to change any of your links or anything, it's still the same URL, but I really like the idea of blogging about the Journey that the Lord is leading us on.

What do you think?