Thursday August 19, 2010

Three years ago our family started on an incredible journey of FAITH!

It started on a Monday. Not just any Monday either. It was THAT Monday. Admit it we have all had them. Days where nothing can go right. This was it.

I hadn't felt him much. Why wasn't he moving. Just give me a sign kid. Let me know you are o.k. Darn that silly home monitor that let me hear the major decelerations he was having. Darn it all.

I got in my car. I felt so alone. So afraid. I knew what was going to happen. I ran the checklist in my head. The house was clean. The kids were cared for. The husband was at work. I had everything in order. Ok I was freaking case you didn't get that! Totally. 100%. FREAKING. OUT!

Do you ever notice that when you are freaking out there is absolutely nothing playing on the radio to comfort you in that moment. Yep, happens to me all the time! Off. Just shut it off! I decided I would gamble and see what kind of music surprise was in the CD player. You never know around could be just about anything from Veggie Tales to Def Leopard. Lucky for was neither!
The Lord was watching out for me that day. He was talking to me. I just didn't listen. I was too freaked out to listen. But, I left it playing anyway. Subconsciously I think my brain got the head just didn't engage. Is that possible. You know, to get it and really not get it??? I sang the lyrics to the song. I replayed it over and over. Maybe like you know, 10 times or more. Hey, it's a long ride from Castle Rock to Littleton.
I don't listen to that disk too often anymore. But I pull it out when I am feeling sentimental and let's face it......August is a month for being sentimental in this house. This August, the one we are currently in, it's different though. It's been hard, in a good way. Lots of Good Byes and a few hellos too! So I pulled it out. And there is was....screaming my name again. That song!

Ever Walk With Me Lord
Music and Lyrics by Peter Mayer

Ever walk with me Lord
Each night and day a rejoicing
With kindness the harmony, justice the beat
You've turned my footsteps to dancing
Oh Ever walk with me Lord

How can I come before You?
What worthy gift could I bring?
What glorious feast could I offer?
What songs of majesty sing?
Lift this heart of sadness into gladness by Your peace
Before I can come before You, You come to me

In my work I grow weary
Lost on this road of desires
Where is the path that leads homeward?
To bring me back to Your fire
Lift these eyes of sadness into gladness at Your peace
I am lost and weary, come shepherd me

A million voices surround me
How can I hear when You call?
When at last grace has found me Will I recognize it at all?
Lift this song of sadness into gladness at Your feast
To hear Your voice is calling, come walk with me

So that Monday......I got a room that day! A nice BIG room. I was going to be there a while. They told me so. I believed them. Each day that went on I believed them more. Then it happened. Four days later to be exact. On a holiday weekend. He was coming. There was no choice. You might wonder what was going through my head in that moment. A lot. and a little. All at the same time. I felt overwhelmed. I felt a peace.

Within 2 hours we were in the delivery room. Surrounded by at least 1000 people......our son was born. He was small. He was VERY small. He was early. VERY early. 16 weeks early to be exact. I didn't hear him cry. I saw him. He was quiet. He was helpless. He was SMALL. I cried. I PRAYED. Dear God don't take this child from me. Take me Lord. Take me! He cored on the table 3 times. They had a hard time getting an ET tube in him. He was SMALL. The tubes weren't even that small. Don't take him God. Please don't take my baby. He was breathing. My baby was breathing. Thank you God! Thank you for answering that prayer for me. I'm listening Lord, I'm listening.

I don't remember much more about that day. But I do remember when I was walking into the delivery room to be prepped for surgery.....My God was there with me! He was walking with me! He was holding my hand! He gave me that peace! That PEACE that surpasses all understanding!

What an incredible journey of FAITH the past 3 years have been. What a joy to celebrate the wonderful LIFE that God has created. Both for our Gavin and for us! How truly blessed are we. So as the summer draws to a close so also does another chapter in this walk of FAITH.

This August has been a hard month of Good Byes! Gavin has graduated from all home services that he has received since being discharged from the hospital. It has been hard to see them go. But, with God as their guide....they have given my baby boy his wings. Now he must fly!

It's always so hard to say good bye! There were many tears shed. On both sides. But this boy.....he is going to take those wings and he is going to FLY high! And to you....Miss Beth and Miss Jen.....Thank you so much for all that you have given to us! You were an integral part of this amazing journey of FAITH that we are on. You have shown our little boy how to gain his independence. You have laughed with us. You have cried with us. We will miss you! But this is not good is until we meet again!

And so, Gavin took those wings and he hitched them up.......and our once 1lb baby boy ran off to the start of Preschool this week. With a tear......or two or our eyes we watched him smile with glee as he entered that room! He gets this journey our God has set in motion for him. Our God has BIG plans for our SMALL kid. And I am so very thankful that he has chosen me to be his mother. To watch it all play out. To watch him soar on those wings. To run and not be weary. To walk and not be faint. To taste and SEE the goodness of God! Man, how blessed am I. That my God chose me for this job! Amazing. Simply Amazing!

And so this week, we begin a new chapter in our journey of FAITH! This one is a LEAP of faith. The moment when you place your child into someone else's care and you trust GOD to do the rest! We are ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead......we are ready for the CALL!!

Peace and Love-
Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

Sunday August 30, 2009

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28
Hello to all of our wonderful family and friends-

Two years ago, as I lay in a hospital bed.....hooked up to monitors and listening to my unborn child's heart beat away, I had a lot of time to think. Time for personal reflection if you will. The past few days, amongst the flutter of birthday activity, I have spent some time reflecting as well.

Those of you who have been with us for our journey know that I am very fond of the verse "Be still and know that I am God" This verse held me grounded on many a day that I so badly wanted to crumble.

In my reflecting over the past few days what I have come to realize is that in the stillness, God is my captain! My GPS of sorts. A Garmin sorta guy! What amazes me though is that we have a Garmin. That in itself is not amazing. We call "her" Sally the trusty tour guide. Sally knows everything about how to get anyplace. When we get in our car and Sally talks, we listen. And, we certainly don't argue with Sally's directions, because, well, she knows what is best for us in our navigations. So what I have been reflecting upon for my own life is this.....If I can trust Sally, why do I struggle some days with trusting God. Why do I question his direction for me when things get tough? I don't question him when things are going good.....I thank him. This topic has been on my mind for the past few days.

When I look at Gavin I am reminded that our God is an awesome God. I am reminded that in the tough times I DO need to be still! I am reminded that his mercies are new every day! I am reminded that he will never leave us nor forsake us. I am reminded that I should in every way and in every thought trust him with the navigation of my life.....just as I trust Sally. Afterall, he knows the plans he has for us.....plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.

Two years ago, the Lord set us on an incredible journey. A journey of faith and trust. What an incredible, blessed journey this has been. Tomorrow we embark on yet another chapter in our journey. I think God would find it ok if I personally entitled this chapter....."The Terrible Two's"

So, as we enter our new chapter I am excited.....about what our future holds. Now, don't get me wrong....I am scared too! Any one of you who know my Gavin should be scared right along with me. Scared because my kid.....he knows who is in charge. He knows that God is bigger than the boogey man. He knows that with God all things are possible. And he knows that if he falls.....and if he gets hurt.......and if he goes by ambulance......we have the best prayer warriors around! He also knows, that our God answers those prayers! We know that too! But what scares me the most about what he knows.....he knows to Fear NOT!! And Fear NOT he does! And, he does it well!

And so, as a new chapter unfolds I am making a committment to trust my navigation GPS kinda guy, he knows whats best for me. Lord, I will praise you in the storm......and today, I thank you for the storms......because through these storms, we have blossomed and grown.

Gavin has grown this year too! He has grown into a wonderful, loving, funny, adorable, witty, fearless, cute, cuddly, sneaky, energetic little man! With personality! He always has a smile on his face. He is always curious. He is always into something. And, he always has NO fear! He is walking.....well running! He is starting to talk more and more each day. He is growing. He is changing. And, he continues to amaze us every day!

At last check, 2 weeks ago, after a hospital admission, Gavin weighed in at around 17 lbs. He is somewhere near 30 inches long and his head is getting bigger by the moment. Head circumferance....I have no clue! He is still seeing his physical therapist Beth, although, he may be discontinued soon.....because his gross motor skills have advanced very nicely. He will be starting speech therapy next week and we are excited for him to learn more words and be able to express himself. Check back with me later on this one.....I may regret being excited cause he may talk all the time very soon! We will most likely be adding occupational therapy to Gavin's routine as well. This will help him with his fine motor skills, which are getting better, however, are not quite there yet. We have been given the go ahead to discontinue his thyroid meds because he no longer needs them. He does however, remain on the sodium bicarbonate for his renal tubular acidosis. He officially can wear a size 12mo in clothes and a size 3 in shoes. I love him to wear baseball hats.....but alas, he hates them. He is learning to eat with a spoon and fork and he absolutely loves a good food fight......especially if he knows it will make you laugh! He loves cars and balls and all things boy. His favorite food is Mac and Cheese with pizza as a close second...cheese of course! He is a milk snob through and through and will NOT drink his milk unless it has VANILLA carnation instant breakfast in it! All other milk is, well, subpar to him! He has learned how to ride on his ride on and his feet actually reach the ground now. He loves to ride in the wagon and thinks he is a big kid and can run in the street with his siblings when they play. He is a cuddly sorta fellow, giving hugs and kisses freely.....mulitple times a day. He loves to climb on the back of the couch and stand on the arms of the couch too....and laugh cause he knows it scares the heck out of you! He hates to swing at the park but loves to slide. Oh, and climb too! He is a chic magnet and loves to flirt! He loves to be outdoors and cries when he has to come in. He is a good sleeper but not so great of an eater these days. He is a happy, well adjusted 2 year old.....because, our God is an awesome God! He has big plans for our little man.....and we are just along for the ride.....but now I know, to trust my navigation system....because, it has never led me astray!

Happy birthday to our big boy! Mommy and Daddy are so proud to call you ours! We love you more and more each day! And to all of our family and friends, thank you for your continued love and support. Without all of you, we would be lost many days. You are our support through good and bad and you have shown your unfailing love for us time and time again.

So here's to a new year......and a new chapter......and exciting things that lie ahead!

Peace and Love-
Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

June 8, 2009

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of him"

1 Samuel 1:27

Hello to all of our wonderful family and friends-

Where has the year gone? It seems very hard to believe that I am about to embark on planning a 2nd birthday! Wow! Two years old already! AMAZING!

We continued to be blessed by the grace of God on a daily basis. We are so thankful for wonderful friends and family who have been with us through thick and thin. Without the love and prayers that have been so graciously given to us over the past 2 years, we truly would not have made it.

Gavin continues to amaze us. Lots has happened with the little man in the past month or so. We are now walking....well, more like almost full fledged running in some instances. He is into everything and I do mean EVERYTHING! He has no fear of anything and I mean NOTHING! He takes on the world with full force and a smile on his face. His preferred method of communication is grunt and point although he understands just about everything you say to him. He tries to walk up the stairs now but his legs are still a bit short....well a lot short! He loves to throw...anything! Food, balls, bottles, toys, ANYTHING! He adores cars and loves to climb up the slide and slide down. He has mastered the fine art of up and down the stairs at high rates of speed and makes us nervous every chance he gets. He eats like a champ and loves to feed himself now a days. He is just learning to use a spoon and fork.

Let's see, in the growth department Gavin is weighing in at almost 16 lbs these days and is about 28 inches long or so....I think. We are finished with this years season of Synagis and will gear up for that again in the fall. He is happy to not have to have monthly shots anymore. He is still on the sodium bicarbonate for his renal tubular acidosis issues. We are also still on Synthroid for his thyroid. There has been some talk about growth hormones once he is 2 years old. We will see what the pediatrician and the endocrinologist come up with on that one. He has his 21 month well child check next week and then his big 2 year appointment in August! Miss Beth, his PT, still comes and visits us once a week. We love her to pieces. She has helped him out so much in his gross and fine motor skills. We may be approaching a time where we add speech therapy. He is catching up slowly but surely...and one day he will get there all around. Gavin is also due for an eye appointment this summer. I am confident everything is fine in that department because he does not miss a beat.

We are off and running with summer activities and always on the run....or so it seems. Ian is in the hypes of baseball right now and Brooke finally was able to wrap up her soccer season, after many weeks of snow and postponement. Colin is busy with work but seems to be on a hiatus from traveling for a while. Which is a nice welcome after a busy travel season early in the year. I am keeping busy with trying to get this photography business off the ground and simply being mom. Life is good and we have no complaints.

Stay tuned to the chronicles as we gear up for Gavin's big day! Thanks again to each and every one of you for your continued love and support. We have the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for.

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

The Blueberry Pie Incident!

Do these pictures require words speak for themselves?
Blueberry Pie for breakfast of course!
Who would have thought......

April 12, 2009

The Lord is Risen!
He is risen indeed!

Hello to all of our family and friends!

Happy Easter to each and every one of you! We hope that you all had a blessed day!

As for us, we had a different kind of Easter. We had a quiet Easter spent at home with 4 of us being sick....and I think the 5th of us is reaching the sympathetic illness stage.

I will write more about Easter through the week....but for today, enjoy our Easter through our pictures! It may provide comic relief for you.....Hey, have you ever tried to photograph a 19 month old who sits still for like oh....maybe 2 seconds. If you have not here is what I suggest....find a cheetah charging at about 100mph and see if you can snap a shot of him...then see if you can get him to smile and get a close up shot....THAT is what it is like with Gavin! Enjoy!

All of those shots just to get this one.....ahhh the joys of parenting!

Peace and Love-
Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

April 2, 2009

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4:4-9

I made a phone call yesterday!

Actually, I made 2 phone calls yesterday!

For 19 months I have blogged about Gavin and our families trials and tribulations. I have blogged about my faith and how it has stood strong and been tested on many occassions. I have poured my soul out to you about how awesome of a God we have and the grace that has encirled this family for months.

For 19 months we have felt love and compassion from people all around the globe. We have followers both internationally and domestically. We have felt the love of God in our lives and we have felt the benefits of prayer each and every day of our lives. We have lived the challenges that the Lord has set forth for us and our faith has been renewed time and time again.

Several months ago Colin and I became a part of a wonderful organization here in Denver. Help Heal the Children is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization dedicated to assisting premature babies and their families through difficult times. This organization provides financial assistance to families as well as in home child care, gas cards and prepared meals so that families may focus on nursing their babies back to health. We were approached by the founder's of this organization and asked to sit on their board. We stepped up willingly to take the opportunity. This is a wonderful way for us to share with others so much of what has been shared with us over the 19 months of Gavin's life.

I have personally had the opportunity to work side by side with NICU families during their journey with their child. To have this opportunity is the ultimate gift. Help Heal the Children has given Colin and I the opportunity to share with other families our story. To lend our support to others who are walking the same path that we walked just months ago. We are so excited to be a part of this wonderful organization. To learn more about Help Heal the Children you can visit their website at

Did I mention I made a phone call yesterday?

As many of you know I am somewhat of a blog junkie. I know.....there are probably support groups for this.

I have been following MckMama's blog for quite some time. I am drawn into her style of writing and the humor she puts forth. She and I would get along quite well I am sure. What I am more drawn to is her FAITH. Her PERSEVERANCE. Her DETERMINATION. and Her SPIRIT!

At merely 20 weeks pregnant with her fourth installment, MckMama was told that her baby in utero surely would not make it. He was diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition. At that moment in time MckMama and Prince Charming (her loving husband) decided to give their unborn child's life up to God. They laid their fears and stresses on God knowing that ultimately he and only he knows what is best for us. Despite doctors predictions MckMuffin aka baby S was born full term with no heart problems and complete with dimples!

For months MckMama, Prince Charming, Big Mac, MckNugget and Small fry have all rejoiced and basked in the glory of God. Their baby was born healthy and was living a normal life.....despite what many doctors had predicted. Until....

March 23 when MckMuffin.....aka........Baby S......aka STELLAN was admitted to the hospital after an illness that required the use of Albuteral. Albuteral as many of you know is a rescue drug used to open the repiratory airways. This same drug can also cause heightened heart functions in some patients. Unfortunatly for Stellan, it changed his heart function from having a normal sinus rhythm to having what is knows as SVT. Supra Ventricular Tachychardia is a very dangerous condition for young children. This is the same condition that Stellan was diagnosed with in utero. The very condition that doctors warned would take his life.

For several days now MckMama has spent every waking hour by her young child's side in the Minneapolis Children's hospital. She has slept in a conference room for days on end so she can be there for Stellan. She has missed countless days with her other three children and missed the companionship of Prince Charming while he cares for their other children. She is scared. She is tired. She is emotionally drained. She has felt frustration. She has felt anger. She has felt desperation. She has felt all the same things that Colin and I felt during our journey with Gavin. My heart aches for her.

Earlier in the week a generous follower of her blog gifted her with a night at the Sheraton Hotel. This hotel sits adjacent to the hospital and is connected via a walkway. Thank God cause I know it snows in Minneapolis......another words, they don't just talk about snow there.....they actually see it! After staying one night in a bed MckMama realized the value of a place where she could go to sleep. To take a shower. It might seem simple folks....but when your child is knocking on death's really lose site of just about everything....cleanliness and clothing included. She realized the value in being able to step out of Stellan's room to a place where she could be with her thoughts. She could be alone. She could share this place with her family. Did I mention she could sleep and she could shower? Soon after her first night at the Sheraton came to an end yet another blog follower had called to pay for another night for her. Another night of sleep and another shower made possible.

I came home yesterday afternoon after having lunch with Colin and Gavin. I put my Gavin boy down for a nap and I sat down to collect my own thoughts. Nap time often is my ME time. Sometimes it is my LAUNDRY time. Sometimes it is my BATH time. Sometimes it is my CLEAN THE HOUSE time. Basically nap time is a versatile time with many uses. That is....if Gavin cooperates! Yesterday he cooperated and I chose to just relax.

I opened my laptop and read my email then I began to peruse the normal sites I like to look at. Since I have been praying for MckMama and her family I decided to check her blog for an update on Stellan. I check often because she updates often. In her update she shared the gift of a room at the Sheraton for a second night. My heart skipped a beat. It literally took me to September 11, 2007. The day Gavin was sent via Airlife to Presbyterian St. Lukes hospital here in downtown Denver. Our baby had been moved nearly 35 miles away from home. Moved to a hospital where siblings were not allowed to visit. Moved to a hospital where they deal only with the sickest of sick babies. Our baby was one of the sickest of sick babies they took care of. How were we going to manage being close to Gavin yet having a place to rest and shower. The general manager of the Hyatt Regency gave us a complimentary room on the 27th floor of his hotel for at least a week. More was available if needed. He provided us with parking. He provided us with conceirge service. He provided us with in room food and drinks. He provided us with a place to SLEEP. He provided us with a SHOWER. He provided us with a place to gather our thoughts. He provided all of this out of the goodness of his heart because he knew we had a need. This was such a God send for us. We had the ability to be close to Gavin yet have an escape when we needed it.

Did I tell you I made two phone calls yesterday?

After reading her blog about the Sheraton. I knew her need. I felt her need. I have been there. We have done that. In that moment, without hesitation, I went to Google. Isn't Google a wonderful thing? Anway, I looked up the local number for the Sheraton in Minneapolis Midtown. With the number in hand, I picked up the phone and dialed. It rang and rang and rang. Not sure of what I was going to say......someone answered. I asked for the General Manager and was promtly connected. When Andy answered the phone I introduced myself. I shared a bit about our story with Gavin. Our story with the Hyatt here in Denver. I then shared MckMama's story. I shared with him about Stellan. I shared about her family. I shared about her need. I reached out to this general manager and I asked him to help with this need by providing her with a complimentary room at his hotel for at least a week. More if she needed it. Without hesitation Andy told me he would leave a message on her room phone and he would be honored to take care of her. Tears filled my eyes as I hung up the phone. This is what it is about. To see the love of God in action. To see God's people in action is absolutely amazinginly, awesome. BUT to be one of those people in you the most amazing and awesome feeling on the inside!

Now I had a chore. How was I going to get ahold of MckMama to share with her my news.

Did I tell you I made two phone calls yesterday?

After fumbling around on her website and finding her email address I sent her an email. I once again shared with her about Gavin. I shared with her about us. I shared with her that I understood her feelings and most of all that I understood her need at this point. I was quite proud of myself as I hit the send button.


I realized! Her blog is getting over 200,000 hits a day. People from all over the world know about Stellan and are praying for him. There was no way she was going to get an email from me.....amongst the thousands of other emails from fellow followers.

Once again I went to Google. This time for the directory of Minneapolis Children's Hospital. I found a direct dial number for the PICU. I once again picked up the phone......a nurse answered from the nurses station. I asked if I could just leave a message for MckMama. She placed me on hold. After what seemed like several minutes....someone answered the phone with a hushed hello. I had no idea who I was talking to. She had no idea who she was talking to. One of us had to say something. So, I asked the question.....Is this MckMama? Sure enough it was. I had no plan of talking to her. I had no idea of what to say. Here I was talking to this mom who was sharing some of the same fears that I had one day. I once again shared with her our story. I shared with her about Gavin. I shared with her about the body of Christ in action in our lives and I shared with her about the Hyatt.


I shared with her about Andy and the Sheraton.

She began to cry. I began to cry. Hey remember, my estrogen is still being tweaked......but even without estrogen....I think the tears would have been flowing.

We talked for a fair amount of time and exchanged phone numbers. She was touched by my phone call and I felt that warm fuzzy feeling on the inside. You know the one you get when you are about to....

pee your pants!

The work of God in our lives is amazing. The grace of God in our lives is amazing! The work of God in other people's lives is amazing. His grace is surrounding this family and holding them steadfast to his promise to never leave nor forsake.

I made two phone calls yesterday and I will NEVER forget.....

I made two phone calls yesterday and I will NEVER regret......

Sharing God's love and Grace with another fellow member of the body of Christ....

April fools day was met with NO FOOLIN here......

Please check out MckMama's blog and read more about Stellan.....

You will not regret it! And you most certainly will NOT forget it!

Please add MckMama, Prince Charming, Big Mac, MckNugget, Small Fry and S......aka....Stellan to your prayer list. I know that Gavin has some of the most incredible prayer warriors around.......and I know Stellan is going to be just fine with God on his side!

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

March 24, 2009

Happy Spring!

Can you believe that we have now entered into the season of sunshine, longer days, warmer nights and summer is just around the corner?

What I cannot believe is that I have not updated this blog since January! OK so I took a brief intemission in life to deal with what seemed like a phase that would never end. I am happy to report however that it HAS ended and I am back up and resuming LIFE!

Once again God has shown us his presence in our life. I wondered (for a brief moment....hey I am being honest here....ok it was probably more than a moment) if God had put me on hold. I pondered whether or not I had exhausted my quota of prayers I was allowed in a lifetime...or if there even was a quota. I kept praying....but it seemed to me that God wasn't the end I realize I was the deaf one.....and now I get it! So, if you ever sit there and wonder why your prayers are not being answered.....Be still and know that he is God! I used to cling to that verse when Gavin was in the hospital and now that verse applies to me once again. What I fully realize is that the will of God will never take me where the grace of God cannot sustain me. A hard lesson to learn....but what a learning experience he has given me to make me a stronger pull me closer to him and to show me that he will never leave me nor forsake me.

We are back into the swing of spring here in our house with sports! Brooke started soccer a few weeks ago and had her first game on Saturday. It is so fun to watch these girls learn and mature into very good players. Brooke had a great break away on Saturday and nearly scored a goal...we are so proud of her. Ian will be starting spring baseball here in a few weeks and we will join our friends and cheer him on. He is very excited to be playing on the same team again this year. Colin remains very busy with work and doubly busy with work and home. His job is very challenging yet very rewarding for him and he loves what he does. He works for a great organization with a great group of people.

I am recovering nicely from surgery and will have my 2 week post op appointment tomorrow. Colin has been home with me for 2 weeks and has been the most incredible help I could ever ask for. He has worked full time, maintained this house, fed 3 kids and even changed poopy diapers....all so I could rest and get better. You may laugh at the poopy diaper thing but it is a reality that Colin does not do poop. We have had a marital arrangement since the introduction of children into this family. I do not do vomit and he does not do poop. Up until a few months ago this arrangement worked out swell. In January Colin left for a marathon trip on a Sunday. A very cold Sunday. On Saturday Gavin had acted peculiar....diaper wise and nutrition wise. I explained to Colin I was afraid he was getting sick....Colin assured me he would be fine. What that equates to is that I woke up on Monday morning to not one sick kiddo but 3! Remember the marital arrangement about not doing vomit? Out the window....Daddy is out of town and I am flying solo with three sick kids. So, the past week has been a challenge for Colin in the poop department and we have shared many laughs as he tried to hold his nose and hold Gavin....whom I might add, does not sit still for anything! God bless Colin and poop and God bless mommy and vomit!

Now onto Gavin....He is growing like a weed both in size and character! He is weighing in at 15lbs 10 oz now and shooting up like a rocket in the length department. I think he was 27 1/2 inches at last check. He eats everything under the sun. He especially loves mac and cheese and hot dogs! He also indulges in chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, ice cream and many many other things. He loves to spit food when he thinks he may get a reaction.....which with a 10 and 6 year old, it does not take much to get a reaction. Imagine dinner time at this house. Gavin has learned to play peek a boo and covers his eyes with his hands in anticipation of you saying boo when he pulls them off. It is very cute! He has mastered climbing the stairs. He now knows how to go up and also to come down....the safe way of opposed to the previous free fall way!! He hates to swing but loves to slide. He loves to ride in his stroller to walk his brother and sister to school and secretly I think he admires Spongebob too! He is working to master taking his first steps. I will probably shed a tear or two on that day. One because my already chaotic life will have just become more chaotic....because I don't think walk will be in his vocabulary long before we move on to run....and two because my miracle....the baby we were not sure was going to make walking! Gavin is still on the synthroid for his thyroid and he is now also on a sodium bicarbonate. This is to help him grow. In the future we may be looking at having to add in growth hormones but only time will tell. We just finished up the winter 2009 round of synagis shots so we are good now until next fall. He has mastered saying mama, dada, hi, bye and some rendition of Ian comes out every now and then. He also loves to say oh pooh! Hey, he's my 3rd, it is kind of funny! He is like a sponge absorbing all he can and he brings us such joy on a daily basis. What a blessing he has been to this family. He has taught us a lot about life!

The coming weeks hold birthdays and Easter. It is hard to believe that my big baby is going to be 10 in just a few days. Seems as though just yesterday I polished off that box of girl scout cookies and was laying in the hospital having a C-Section. It has been 10 wonderful years filled with joy and laughter....and a few tears along the way. Ian has grown so much and is such a joy to be around. He is such a smart kid and has such high aspirations in life. Brooke is going to be 6 and she is full of life! She loves everything music and can often be caught singing and dancing. She is trying to master the moves to Hannah Montana's new Hoedown Throwdown song so she can teach it to her friends at her birthday party. She amazes us each and every day and watching her grow has been so much fun!

I think that concludes the long update on us. We are so thankful to be blessed with such wonderful family and friends. To each and every one of you please know that we love and cherish you and we thank God for you every day!

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

January 19, 2009

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

Another year down and a new one just begun! Where has the time gone? I will say this much, 2008 ended with a bang for our family!

It was roughly one year ago that we began on a new journey. Gavin was home and our prayers had been answered. 2008 marked the beginning of a new chapter in our life with Gavin. Our life at home.

We have discovered a lot about life with Gavin this past year. First and foremost we have learned that Gavin is a very strongwilled child filled with strength and determination. There is no challenge too big or mountain too high for our Gavin to climb. We have learned to take notice of the little things and also to let go of the little things. Laughter really is the best medicine and Gavin proves to be a great source of comic relief over and over again. Our God is an awesome God. He brought us to this place and he continues to surround us with his love and grace. Without him, we are nothing. Our faith continues to grow and be strengthened each day.

The last few months of 2008 were a challenge for us. It started mid November when Gavin blessed our house with a wonderful case of the stomach flu. Little did we know he had already learned the fine art of sharing and proceeded to share this delightful bug with Brooke, mommy and daddy. Ian remained well. After concluding our rounds of stomach flu, which included 2 rounds for Brooke, we started December with hopes for a great end to the year.

Colin was once again very involved with running sound at the church for the various groups who perform at the holiday season. His perfomance season actually began before Thanksgiving and did not end until after Christmas. Things at his "day" job seemed to ramp up at the same time and it seemed like an eternity that we actually went without seeing each other and spending time as a family. Colin graced our house with a nasty cold/sinus infection the weekend before Thanksgiving. He also has learned the fine art of sharing and proceeded to share with Brooke, Gavin and mommy. Once again, Ian remained well!

In between sound gigs and his day job, our time at home as a family was spent with a box of Kleenex by our side. Christmas day brought a bought of Pink Eye for Gavin compounded by an allergic reaction of some type that continues to this day. Colin had to go out of town for an emergency trip on December 28. Upon his departure, I so wonderfully had come down with Pink Eye and a raging cold/sinus infection. Gavin once again had shared and once again, Ian remained well! On a good note, Brooke remained well too! Colin came home on the 30th and needless to say, we rang in the new year in bed, with the kleenex still by our side.

So, our new year started with Gavin getting over Pink Eye.....yet having what appears to be a contact allergic reaction to something....which is yet to be determined. Colin is finally over his cold/sinus infection after 2 full months and 3 full rounds of antibiotics. I am on the mend and Brooke and Ian are well! We have opened all of the windows and sprayed lysol on just about everything in this house. I think the bugs are gone for good and we are not opening our doors to welcome them back anytime soon....if ever!

So what's going on with Gavin you may ask? Where to begin....Sometime in November Gavin has his 15 month well child check. At this check up he had shown some growth but nothing too significant. This prompted the doctor to run further testing to make sure there was no underlying cause for the slow growth. The tests revealed that Gavin has Renal Tubular Acidocis. So, with that diagnosis he is now on a sodium bicarbonate 3x daily. He hates this stuff becuase it is like drinking pure salt. We have tried to disguise it in many different things but in the end it is just easier to give it to him straight. The stuff really does taste nasty....spoken from personal experience. This is something that Gavin will outgrow and usually only takes about 6 months of medication to do so. It is very common in infants.

Gavin is still receiving synagis once a month to keep him RSV free for this winter season. At his last shot appointment....last weekend, Gavin weighed in at 14lbs 7oz. He is still a little peanut. Just remember though, he is small and mighty. He remains on the synthroid for growth as well.

Developmentally Gavin continues to amaze us. He is very good at cruising and has become very daring within the past days. He is working to transfer from the table to the couch and only using one hand. Wow! Makes mommy very nervous. He cruises just about anywhere he can stand and hold on to. We have had to lock all the cabinets in the kitchen and tonight upon opening all the drawers in the kitchen, we discovered we may have to lock those as well. He loves to climb into the pantry and paruse the food choices. He is still working to steal daddy's pack of those Kit Kats which seem to be calling his name. It is only a matter of time before his confidence takes him to complete!

News Flash......Gavin HATES socks. Truly he hates anything on his feet. Tonight we were in Target and I caught him with both socks in his hand dangling them over the side of the cart. He was going to ditch those suckers....but mommy caught handed! Needless to say, the socks made their way to my purse and his tootsies were cold when we went outside to the car.

His language development seems to be exploding these days. He is experimenting with all sorts of sounds and starting to blend them together. Last week was an awesome language week for Gavin. For the first time ever my little boy said "Mama" I tell you, my heart melted. This is our baby, whom we were not even sure would make it home and now he is calling me "mama" I think I will ride that high for quite some time. Today we did hear some rendition of No No come out of his mouth.....boy I cannot wait to have him saying that all the time......

He loves to eat. He will eat just about anything you put in front of him. He really is like our little Mikey! So what is his favorite....Smores Pop Tarts. Chicken. Green Beans. Milk. Crackers. Cheese. The list goes on......and did I tell you he likes to spit food too? This has become Gavin's newest meal time trick. He is eating along all happily and then suddenly he gets this little know, the one that says watch out cause I am up to thing you know either you or he is covered in whatever was in his mouth....and then he laughs. Laughs and Laughs some more. Did I tell you that I think parenting him is going to be a challenge?

He is a happy baby. He is always smiling. He is always laughing and he is ALWAYS up to no good! Our God is good. Even though I shake my head many days and wonder how I even go to the bathroom.....which by the way, is a favorite playtime spot for Gavin, I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be his mom. To watch him learn and grow and explore his world is just amazing. I would not change a thing about him....challenging or not. Each day brings a new surprise with Gavin and each day brings new smiles and laughter for mommy and daddy.

I will say this up front for all of you who have been with us for our entire parenting journey.....Gavin is everything that Ian and Brooke were not. And so, our journey continues. We have new challenges now. We are so thankful for the opportunities that the Lord presents us with and we are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Ian and Brooke continue to do well in school and just enjoy life. Brooke is reading and writing at a 1st grade level and Ian continues to grow his social life this year. At some point, we are hopeful that the academic growth catches up. For now, we are happy to see him making friends and taking risks socially. Soccer and baseball season start in March and they will be back in full swing again. Ian is beginning to think about the upcoming spring Pinewood Derby. Car kits should be coming home in the next few weeks. I am sure daddy and Brooke will make cars this year too. Who knows, maybe mommy will even make one too. They are very excited to have a few days off of school this week.

Colin's job continues to go well although it is very busy. He is traveling quite a bit right now but should slow down some as January comes to a close. He will be in Salt Lake this coming week and then has a marathon trip the last week of the month in which he will be in Montgomery, St. Louis and OK city all in the course of 5 days. I am sure he will be tired but Colin loves a good challenge and he is up for it.

As for me, my job is changing and growing every day. Gavin surely keeps me on my toes. I have been faced with some health challenges and it has forced me to take a healthier approach in 2009. I have committed to lose 25 lbs by the end of March and have feverishly been working towards that goal. Since starting this personal journey, I am pleased to say, I am down 8lbs and feeling better each day. I try to make it to the gym at least 4x during the week and I am following weight watchers online. I simply do not want to have to take meds to get my blood pressure issues under control. With diet and exercise I should be able to manage this on my own. In the end I will feel better and be healthier as a result. I ordered the remaining pieces needed to set up my photo studio here at home. They should be arriving in the coming days and I cannot wait to play.

That's it for our long update. Very much overdo I know. I promise to be better about updating in the future. Thanks again for all of your continued love and support. We truly have the best friends and family ever.

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

December 2, 2008

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Well here we are the beginning of December and it is hard to believe that Christmas is only 3 weeks away.

We had a great time surprising Colin for his 40th birthday. It was a fun time for all. The kids and I planned a surprise party and invited about 30 of our closest friends and family. I think Colin was truly in awe and had a great time just being together with friends.

Thanksgiving in our house was one of the best ever this year. It truly was stress free and quite relaxing. The kids had a great time playing Wii with grandma and papa and we all indulged just a little bit on food. Gavin loved turkey and mashed potatoes. He even gave stuffing a try! We had so much to be thankful for this year and being able to spend it with family only made it more special!

I don't really know what to say to you about Gavin these days.....but this.....He is TROUBLE with a capital T! He is cruising very well now....steps included. He knows very well how to get up the steps but his theory on getting down is to free fall. We are working on coming down the "safe" way! He climbs up and just smiles at you as if to say..."you lookin at me?" He is a professional at standing in his highchair....why sit when you can stand is his theory! He loves to grocery shop standing up too.....makes it quite a challenge to get stuff in the cart and make sure he stays in the cart too. His vocabulary is really expanding now and he babbles all the time. He loves to say Bye Bye and on a good day he will wave at you too. He is a very good know, the wet sloppy kind! He has recently discovered cars and if they move that is all the more better for him. He is now on Synagis for the winter and gets a shot once monthly. This is to hopefully prevent RSV. He will continue this until May. He got 2 new pairs of shoes this past week because believe it or not....he finally grew to a size 1! He is still a bit over 13 lbs but eating like a champ. I think he gains very little because he is so active these days. We spent a good week with him and the stomach flu. Poor baby just did not feel well at all. He is back to his normal self now. He is also sporting 4 teeth these days....he invites you to put your hand in his mouth and then gently chomps down!

With Christmas being 3 weeks away, our house is full of busy-ness these days. The kids have 3 weeks of school left and Colin is officially entering concert season. We are working to finish up our shopping and just relax some. This weekend will be our annual treck to the woods to find the "perfect" Christmas tree. The kids are very excited and Ian is sure he is going to cut it and carry it this year. This I want to see! We hope to be able to capture the "perfect" kid photo so we can put it in Christmas cards as well.

We hope each and every one of you are well and enjoying the season. Thanks for your continued love and support.....each and every one of you hold a special place in our hearts and we thank God for you each and every day!

Until next time....

Peace and Love,

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

November 10, 2008

"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers."
1 Thesselonians 1:2

Happy Fall!

It is that time of year again that we take time out of our busy schedules and reflect with much gratitude for all that we are thankful for. Our house is not exempt from this process. This year is special for us. We enter into this holiday season with hearts full of joy. This year we are able to celebrate the holidays together as a family! We are able to rejoice in the wonders of our awesome God and all that he has done for us.

Through grace we are able to be in this place. Brooke has a disk of music from Bible school this summer that has a song about grace on it. It is indeed true that grace is A. Unbelievable B. Indescribable and C. Unexplainable! The book of 2 Corintheans truly explains it all.... “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

So what are we thankful for this year? First and Foremost we are thankful for all of our wonderful friends and family who have continued along this journey with us. All of your prayers and positive thoughts lend us support that carries us along in our journey. Without all of you and your support, we would be nothing. I personally am thankful for my parents who stand by us through thick and thin. They have made our kids a priority in their lives and show it daily. They have supported these kids in ways that thank you's just cannot repay. We are thankful for Colin's job. He has been faced with many new opportunities this year and he continues to be blessed with rewarding challenges along the way. We are so thankful for our church home and community who continues to stand by us. Many Many continued thanks to the NICU staff at Littleton Hospital for all that they have done for us. Without their never failing support for Gavin we would not be where we are today. Most of all we are thankful for the opportunities that we have been given this year to grow individually and as a family. We are thankful for the love that has truly blossomed in this house. We are thankful for God's grace that surrounds us every day in every way!

We are thankful also for the progress that Gavin continues to make. Is it fair to put stipulations on thankfulness? I mean can you be thankful but also not so thankful at the same time? He is growing up right before our eyes. He is everything that his brother and sister were not! He tries everything that his brother and sister did not. Recently, he has discovered doors! Yes, you did actually hear me correctly when I said doors. He can spend hours with doors. He loves to lay and open them then close them then open them then close them. One may say....what is the problem with that? Seems harmless right? WRONG! Last week I had been cleaning house a bit when I noticed Gavin was in no where to be found. I called to the other 2 kids to see if they were by some slim chance playing with him my dismay, they had no clue as to his where abouts. So, as any mother would do, I hollared for him....STUPID....given the fact that he obviously didn't answer. I was a bit panicked at this I began to walk the floor room by room trying to locate my lost child. Not under the dining room table, not behind the dining room door, not under the kitchen table, not stuck in between the couch and cofee tables, not in the laundry room....Ah HA! The bathroom door is it and what to my wondering eyes should lovely child, happily playing in the toilet! Now, while you are laughing I want you to know I truly am thankful for his sense of independence and exploration...not so thankful for his sense or lack there of of FEAR or anything similar. No other child has stood up to the toilet in this house until other child has stood up to drawers in the kitchen and pulled them out until Gavin....I just cannot wait to find out what other tricks he has up his sleave.

So, my thanfulness with Gavin is for the opportunity to spend all of this time with him and even in my frustrations be able to laugh and say.....this kid is meant to be. He may keep me on my toes from morning til night....but it is all worth it at the end of the day when he so willingly gives kisses and then fades off into a deep sleep.

He is working to master saying "Bye Bye" and has recently added the wave to it as well. He now eats 3 complete meals of table food daily and really much rather prefers it to the bottle. He is working to master the sippy cup....but has had a relapse since we were on vacation. Dinner time is social hour for Gavin. He loves to be a part of the dinner hour conversations and babbles up a storm....still no sign of mama in that conversation though....oh well, you know they say, save the best for last! He is still weighing in at just under 13 lbs. No real weight gain in a months time.....wonder if it could be all that crawling that is burning off those says no worries if he is eating and sleeping and well adjusted....He cruises the furniture and I bet will be walking by Christmas.

Gavin went trick or treating for the first time ever. I really think he truly enjoyed the charriot ride for the hour or so that he was out. He likes to try to steal candy from Ian and Brooke....I am sure next year he will be running up the block.

Gavin and Brooke shared a tender moment this morning with the Target toy book for
Christmas. Brooke showed Gavin all the toys she wanted to buy him and he ate the book to show his approval. Christmas in this house is going to be simple and GRAND this year.

Colin and I will be spending the weekend in the mountains this weekend....what do you do without kids for 3 days? I guess we will find out. Next weekend is the starlighting and the kids are excited for that....hope the weather holds out for us. Thanksgiving will be here at our house and they are excited for that as well.

Time for me to sign off as it is getting late. Thanks again for all of your continued love and support. You all are truly wonderful!

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin