Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ok, is this the cutest?!
North East Mall has THE BEST SANTA!!!!
He was so kind and super sweet with the kids-I was way impressed
(and I have seen my fair share of Santa's, so I am fully qualified
 to judge him)
Garrett pretty much just "put on his happy pants" in order to 
please his mom-not alot of 12 1/2 year olds in line.
This mommy was really happy with our pictures-
they turned out great and we made a memory-
which is my favorite part.
Is that not the greatest smile on Santa?
Sterling never new what was going on-
but it is still so sweet.

Garrett is an Artist-it's official!

Garrett has always been so creative.
He gets it from both his parents-but mostly from his Daddy.
He had his very first Art Show this week. 
It is all that he has talked about for weeks!
He entered 3 pieces of his art.....
he won a first AND a third place ribbon!
OH MY the sheer joy on his face- priceless!!!
The next step is the District Art show-
which is at the High School (which is very cool, by the way) in the spring.
I love that creativity is a part of who God made him to be. 
I believe that our God is creative and that it is an amazing gift
that he has given my little guy.
I can't wait to see what pours out of him in the next few years.

Garrett and his Art teacher.
This is his first place piece.
It is a Chinese Landscape.
This one didn't get a ribbon- but it is still great!
Third place- the M&M people (are they people?-i don't know what else to call them)

4 weeks old
This is Sterling at 4 weeks old. 
Her G-dad gave her this HUGE pink elephant.
We are going to take her picture with it every now and then
to see how she  is growing. 
Clearly, this first time she WAS NOT a fan.
Maybe next time she will be a bit happier.

This is how I find "my girls" alot of the time.
Zoey likes to get up close to Sterling and snuggle.
We love to see this. It is the sweetest thing. 
She is a good "Big Sister" to Sterling. 

Friday, December 05, 2008

Maw Maw & Paw Paw

Randy's parents have been here helping us for almost the full 4 weeks since Sterling arrived.
They have been so super helpful- Paw Paw has checked off about a million things
 on our to-do list around the house, taken and picked up Garrett from School, Maw Maw has
fed the baby, changed diapers, gone to the store, helped keep up with laundry and food,
done a few of the midnight and 3am feedings too!  These are just a few of the things
they have done to help us transition to a family of 4-(plus a cute Zoey dog.)
The day finally came for them to go home and we were all very sad. 
I always enjoy having them here and seeing them with our kids and with Randy...
he loves them so much AND we get to hear the "real" stories of him growing up...
we also like to gang up on him a little :)
Anyway...Jim & Carafaye-
I love having you here-wish you would stay forever! We will ALWAYS have 
a place for you to stay and you are ALWAYS welcome. 
I love you both so much!

Had to get a few pictures in of them holding grand baby #7.
I think that she likes them.
She is VERY comfy and sleeps great when they are around!

December 4th- Our Due Date

Today is my due date... 
and to think that this sweet little one has already been here for almost 4 weeks is 
hard to wrap my brain around. When you are given "the date" you begin to live your life
by it-even though deep down it is basically a crap shoot. For 9 months I have repeated
"December 4th" over and over and over again. And every time I did, I would 
think about this day, and all that it might entail- the birth of my new baby girl.
It is so strange to even think about her being inside my tummy now
(which is where she should be). 
If she would have just waited, we would have missed all the drama and scariness 
that the first 2 weeks of her precious little life brought us.
BUT, we would have also missed out on the incredible blessings of our 
family and friends, the goodness  of our God, the miracles that we witnessed, 
the love and selflessness that was poured out on us, and the extra 4 weeks that we
have gotten to be with our sweet girl.

So, here are a couple of pictures on her due date-
one, she is smiling like a sweet little angel,
the other, screaming like a banchee.
Both equally as adorable-at least to us. :)
(the screaming won't be cute for much longer though)

Monday, December 01, 2008

First Bath

Thanksgiving night was also Sterlings first bath!
She LOVED the water, but her favorite part was being held under the 
running water from the faucet-I think that she will like showers the best.
The second we set her in the tub- she pooped, of course!
So we had to dump the water and start over 
(that's when we held her under the faucet to keep her from freezing to death)
After we were situated again, she was happy as could be.
A tiny little wet baby girl wrapped up in a hooded towel is just about the cutest.

look ow teenie she is!

Ahhh! the bath feels SO good!

All snuggled up in my cute pink towel

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So So MUCH to be Thankful for!

We have so many blessings that have been bestowed upon us.
Not just this year, or the past few weeks, but always.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes struggles to really see the blessings.
This year, we have a heightened sense of Thankfulness.
We are praying that it becomes our way of life- 
to be thankful in EVERYTHING and in  EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE!

Here are a few pictures of our very low key day at home with our little family!

Sterling in her
"Gobble til you Wobble" shirt.
Our Healthy kids-so thankful
The Fam

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our two Girls

Well, I must say that we have the two cutest girls ever!
Zoey thinks Sterling is great. She wants to snuggle up to her.
Zoey like to lick the baby on the head and then plop down
 right next to her for a little nap.
We, of course love it and think they are just the cutest,
 and right about the same size too!
It won't be long until that poor little dog is being dressed
up and shoved into a toy stroller like she is Sterling's own little baby.

So after a long two weeks at the hospital, I convinced Randy-
which wasn't too hard- to go hunting last Saturday. Bless his heart, he had spent about 15 hours a day at the side of Sterling's bed and he needed a 
break. He loaded up Chandler, his Dad, and a couple of friends and off to 
the lease they went. (at 2:30 in the morning-to sit in the dark, I don't
understand this silly "sport" but to each his own.)

They had a great day together and caught up on a nap or two in the stand.
The best part was Chandler shooting not just his first deer, but he got TWO!
The phone call from him was hilarious- I am the first one he called-sheer joy.
(again, I do not understand why killing Bambi is fun-again, to each his own)
He was so excited and I think that Randy may have been a little 
more thrilled than Chandler. Chandler is now hooked-as long as he doesn't 
have to clean them. 
Here are a few pics from their day-the last one is a little yuck, so if
dead Bambi bothers you, skip the pictures.
Randy, Chandler, and Will

Chandler, getting ready to hunt.
One of his two prizes-so exciting

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Are Outta Here!!!!!

The day has finally come! 
Actually, we are leaving Cooks Childrens Hospital at least a week earlier
than anticipated.  Sterling is doing so great and so far ahead of the doctors expectations
that she has been released this morning!!! They had told us that they would have us spend the night this weekend and then go home
....but my husband did a little sweet talking,
and they let us out of the overnight stay and we are on our way home!

This is a day long awaited for and prayed for even more-
the only reason that we are able to go home is with out a doubt, 
because of the prayers that were lifted on behalf of our family.

We are so grateful for the care and love that has been given
 to our daughter at Cook's. The entire staff, from the doctors and nurses  to 
the security and maintenance, made our 2 week stay as comfortable
as possible. We have also been so touched by the other families that have been 
there at the same time. They have encouraged, supported, and prayed for us in a way
that only another parent that is dealing with such a scary thing can do. 
Thank you thank you!

On our way out, we were sure to thank them all & with as much kindness that we could muster, told them that we hoped that we never see them again.  :)
They said the same thing.
My going home hat-isn't it ridiculous and fabulous all at the same time?!
Happy Happy Day!
First time in the car

We were greeted by proud big brother at the front door! 
Home has never felt so good!

No Tubes & a Test!

Our girl has the last tube out of her tiny little body!!!
She has been eating like a champ, so the feeding tube is o longer needed! 
So out it came this afternoon-she was not a big fan, I am sure just removing that
dang medical tape (which hurts me) off her sweet baby skin really hurt.
But- it is off, she looks BEAUTIFUL with out all that mess on her face. 
She is just what we dreamed she would be.

So, now we are working on our check list to go home-maybe Saturday or Sunday!
We had to take a CPR class-check
get all her tubes out-check
eat on her own- check
gain or at least maintain her current weight- check
pass the car seat test-check
watch an orientation video- not yet
spend the night at the hospital with her,
 while they observe us through the night-not yet

Her car seat test could be done once she was tube free, so this afternoon we did that.
They just plop her in her car seat for 90 minutes and observe her heart rate and
O2 levels- to make sure she can tolerate sitting up at that angle.
She looks so tiny in that seat!! 
She didn't fuss a bit and passed the test with flying colors!
So we are one step closer to going home!

the last tube comes out!
Stylin' in my car seat
Don't I look so little in here?
I love my car seat-with the leopard trim
that Mommy picked just for me!

Holding Her!

In the PNICU the nurses are a little more relaxed and you can actually let 
other people hold your baby. YIPPEEEE!!!!
We had decided to keep it to Grandparents only-just to keep it simple and fewer germs
(still a wee bit paraynoid)
I happen to ask about others holding her while Randy's dad (Pa Pa) was in
the room with me-he looked at me and said
"Give me that baby, before Cara Faye (Randy's mom) gets in here"
 If you will notice in his picture he has a HUGE grin on his face-he was thrilled to be the
first grandparent with his hands on our girl. :)
Then of course was  Ma Ma, Grandmom, G-Mom, &  G-Dad!
All equally as happy to snuggle up to her.
I have to say, that it was a precious moment to see each one hold her and love on her
they have waited so long.
However-the most precious to me, was to have my "Big One" hold my 
"Tiny One" and have our first real family picture.
We have dreamed of this moment and talked about it so much, it was 
hard for me to wrap my brain around it as it was happening.
Anyway-thanks for letting us share these milestones in our lives!

Pa Pa
Ma Ma

G-Mom & G-Dad

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Movin' on Up!

We FINALLY made it around the corner to our new room!
It is called the PNICU (Progressive NICU). They are calling Sterling
a "feeder and grower" It means just that....they are only keeping her to 
teach her to feed  and make sure that she grows. 
The mood in this room is a little lighter...the babies here aren't nearly as sick as they
are in the NICU. Here, each nurse has at least 3 babies to look after, and Sterling is baby #3-
meaning, she needs very little "looking after" so she is an easy patient. 
Right now she just has the one feeding tube in. They are starting her on a bottle
(courtesy of mommy pumping-which is a WHOLE other ordeal, that I will not go into....just let me say quickly, I NEVER had any intention of nursing in ANY form or fashion, but
because she was so sick I am now pumping-hate it. Now, moving on.. :)
She has 30 minutes to eat what she can then the rest of it is given to her through the feeding tube. She isn't getting the hang of it just yet, but I know her to be not only beautiful, but also brilliant, so it won't be too long before she has it down on her own. 
More pics and updates to come from our new home in the PNICU!
isn't she so cute? 
(please disregard the large circles under Mommy's eyes)
Night Night little one!

Big Girl Bed!!!

Sterling was moved out of her little incubator to a Big Girl Crib! 
This is just one more step in the right direction!
She is doing much better-no tubes in her chest and we are waiting for a spot
in the Progressive NICU-it's still ICU, but not as critical as the NICU
We are 3rd or 4th on the list, so hopefully in the next day or so we will have 
a new address around the corner!
(oops you caught us with out a bow)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Arms are Full and Our Hearts are Fuller
(isn't fuller a word?)

Yesterday we finally got to hold her! They removed her right drainage tube from her lung and that opened the door for us to yank her out of that bed and love on her. I wish I had been there when Randy first held her- look at the smile on his face (thank you to the nurse who captured that moment for me). I too was beside myself. It almost felt odd to actually have her in my arms.

They also had us start trying to feed her with a bottle. She is starting to get the hang of it. They let us try to bottle feed her for 30 minutes and then whatever she hasn't finished, goes into her feeding tube. She is starting to suck and swallow better and each feeding she seems to get a little more down.

The removal of all tubes (except the feeding one) also allowed me to dress her! YAY!!!! We picked a sweet little gown that made it easy for them to still check her and of course a fresh new bow. I am still having a hard time believing that I am actually dressing my own little girl. She looked darling- and of course we love that everyone stops by her bed to see what new bow she is wearing!

Just before we left last night she pulled her feeding tube out of her nose and then threw a HUGE fit when they tried to get it back in (i would too by the way). After about 10 minutes of shoving the darn thing up her nose, they had to put it back down her throat- which also ticked her off royally (she has the temper of her Daddy). She got so worked up that she threw everything up-which resulted in us loosing our clothing privileges for now. So no clothes and no bow- :( See what happens when you don't cooperate?

We are still on the path to healthy, we just need a few more days to get evened out. Will keep you posted on our progress. Again...thank you for your love and prayers!

This is what the first picture without all the mess on her face-
 just a little O2 and the feeding tube
This is what she looks like with nuthin' on. No tubes, no tape, no bow, no clothes.
She looks like a completely different baby.
This is our first outfit. Also this is before she threw up all over it. :)
Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last night Randy and I took a break from the hospital to be together and go to our church worship service. ( We were in great need of a little "fill up" Brandon started a new series entitled "Me, Myself, & I"  It is about how we are wired as humans to be selfish. I find that very true in myself as I am sure all of us do. 
The jewel that I took from church last night though was this...We are called to be selfless and serve each other just as Christ served. At the last supper He served his disciples by getting on his hands and knees and washing their feet. This was a picture of selfless serving, of love for his closest friends. We as His people are to do the same. We are to use the talents and gifts that He has created and purposely planted in each of us to serve one another when there is a need and build each other up when someone needs extra love.
We have been honored, humbled, blessed, and touched by the selflessness that we have witnessed and received this week. From the doctors and nurses, to our family and friends, strangers at the hospital and online, and new neighbors who we have yet to even meet. You have dropped everything for us, gone out of your way to call, come to our side in the middle of the night, cry with us, bring food, magazines, clothes, gifts, done laundry, taken care of our dog, sent flowers & cards, prayed and prayed and prayed,and just sat at our feet and ask "What can I do for you?" You have truly served us and our loving God this week. 

We have always known that we were loved and never once questioned how deep that love flows- but to witness it in such a beautiful way, has changed us forever. We are bound to each of you in our hearts and love you.
Yes, we are a selfish people, but this has been an act of obedience and a witness to the beauty in all of us too. Thank you thank you thank you!

~randy, tomi, chandler garrett, sterling, and zoey