Friday, March 30, 2012

Kanyon's Mule Birthday

We headed to Paris for the weekend to celebrate 5 years.  We like to be there since that is where Jayde is buried and it sure saves the fam a lot of driving time.  Here we go with the celebration.  

Mom and I working on the cake.  When trying to think of a theme, it has to be something the kid actually likes. I don't want to just pick something out of a hat because its cute.  So I rolled around a few idea and then realized there was a very OBVIOUS choice. Especially considering we were going to be in Paris.  There are few things on this earth that klp loves more than The MULE!!  So we had  Mule cake.  

I drew one and then we cut it out and traced it on to the cake.  Again, my mom was there to help/advise/decide on colors and placement, etc.  I don't plan on ever making a cake without her.  

KLP and Paw Paw were in charge of the boys all morning.  They had been outside and then in to town to run errands.  We had just finished the cake when they got in.  Here is klp getting his first look.  When I asked him what it was on the cake I was relieved when he smiled and whispered (the Mule).  

qsp was so amazed by the cake, all he could do was pick his nose.  

There were LOTS of Mule rides all weekend.  

Paw Paw took the kids for a spin in the boat.  Though Q looks quite angry, he was really having fun.  

We had a drive by boat parade for Avery and Roselyn

KLP and Nolan did a little fishing

Within seconds, both boys were hanging out of the boat playing in the water.

We ditched Q and added Avery and Ro Ro.  klp got to stay in....he's the birthday boy!

Then the birthday boy got to drive the boat.  

Q played with a little cup at the edge of the water forEVER. He was loving filling it up and pouring it out over and over.  

The girls were begging to go swimming and no matter how cold we told them it would be, they just wouldn't give it up.  So the girls and Kanyon went for a swim.  Rachel took pics and I'm waiting for them, so I don't have any.  klp got cold pretty quick, but the girls swam for a little while.  They were quite chilly when they got out! :)  

(nice non-swim diaper, Kan man)

Here's the "party decor"....Great Uncle Pee Wee and Aunt Gwen Ann sell Mules at their shop, so they provided the sweet poster.  We now have it in klp's room.  

The cake.  btw, did anyone think I meant mule as in horse/donkey animal?  Sorry for the confusion.

.....another cake on Mom's long list.  She'll act like she doesn't do anything when we make these cakes but she's highly underestimating herself.  She's got lots of years worth of advice, tips, tricks, and know-how.  She's the real CAKE BOSS.  

After the swimming we took everyone on a celebratory Mule ride with the birthday boy, balloon, and everyone singing Happy Birthday!  

Can you see klp's face in this pic??? THAT is why the Mule party was the perfect "theme".  

And for the Birthday meal??  Hot dogs with ketchup....the birthday boys favorite (maybe rivaled only by a hamburger).  The cousins all ate outside.  Oh yeah, and CHEETOS! 

Happy Birthday to Kanyon! 

Singing and blowing out candles.  He doesn't eat cake, so this was the extent of his cake experience. 

Great Aunt Gwen Ann had these awesome Mule shirts made for the boys!  They were so proud of them!  

It was quite the weekend.  Mostly just a regular weekend with a little birthday flare Saturday night. We had a great time celebrating our Mule-lovin' Birthday Boy!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday Kan Man turned 5!  WOW!  5 is a big one!  We spent the weekend in Paris and had a great time celebrating.  That is a post in itself that will come soon.  This time of year is always a little "fragile" for me.  I was thinking yesterday how glad I am that its Spring and the weather is just so beautiful and full of all the pretty flowers and green grass. I really think a gloomy time of year would make this harder.  With each year I feel like I am able to spend this day with a little more happiness.  Our lives are happy and we can't deny that.  Of course we miss Jayde and of course Kanyon's struggles are......well, struggles, but we are happy and have a happy boy to celebrate. 

 Different things seem to surface each year and this year I have been thinking about what I knew then vs. what I know now.  For the sake of length, I will just share my thoughts about Kanyon (not Jayde).  First of all, this time 5 years ago, I had no idea what kind of odds my babies were facing. I REALLY REALLY thought we were just in for a rough, long hospital stay. I was scared and worried, but I didn't think they wouldn't live and it never occurred to me that they might have life long side effects from this extreme prematurity.  I feel sort of dumb in retrospect, but I think I was just subconsciously surviving and doing whatever I had to do in the moment to keep going.  

We all know how this played out for each of my kids, I was very wrong in my initial thoughts/expectations.  It wasn't until Kanyon was about 2 months old in the NICU that the realities started hitting me.  Then as the next few months played out, I think I realized that a normal developing child was not a guarantee or even a likely outcome for us.  Up until that point I thought he would just be about 4 months behind in his development and catch up by the time he was 2.  Afterall, thats common info that floats around. I think that thought has been around for a long time which is why its not always as accurate as it used to be. I think when that was the general rule of thumb for preemies, it was before they were saving babies this early. Preemies and Micro-preemies are VERY different.  All that to say, my mind went in a million different directions and to a million different places.  Some of those places were pretty dark.  I had NO CLUE what was ahead of me.  

The majority of this searching started when we left the NICU.  I knew Kanyon was a little ball of "risk factors" but they were all so broad and generalized statements. I wanted to know what his IVH and hydrocephalus was going to do to MY baby.  I wanted to know what MY baby was going to look like/act like/ be able to do/not be able to do.  It was a consuming and maddening place to be, but I think I had no where else to go.  I remember being frustrated when Drs gave vague answers, or worse...said, "every baby is different".  I would hear of other people getting more concrete answers (which may or may not have been proven true) and that is what I wanted. I wanted to know what to expect or at least a place to start. Even if they turned out to be wrong, I could at least know where to start with my expectations.   I felt like everyone was scared to tell me the truth or they were trying to protect me. There were even times I felt like they thought I was silly for asking those questions.  So I fretted and worried and wondered. But as the months went by and time passed, I demanded less from those experts. I didn't even ask those questions anymore. I didn't make a conscious decision to do that, I just sort of quit doing it. I'm not sure if I just got tired of the same answers or if something inside of me changed.  But at some point, I made a switch. I just didn't care.  I didn't need any answers from people. I was finally comfortable with the truth in "every child is different" and I understood more and more why it was so hard for the Dr.s to answer my questions. In a lot of ways, it really is impossible to know the end result.  I  knew Kanyon's strengths and I've always had a very realistic view of his weaknesses. I am comfortable in all that we are doing to improve on his weaknesses and enjoying his strengths.  So, I didn't feel the need to ask someone that didn't know him at all what he was going to be like when he was 5 or 10 or 20. Formal diagnosis like Cerebral Palsy, etc. have never really bothered me.  So far, we have yet to get a diagnosis that I really feel like changed anything.  When a Dr. finally says those words....nothing happens.  You leave that office with the exact same kid you brought in. To hear those words have yet to really bother me. In fact, it give me a shorter answer when someone asks what is wrong with Kanyon.  :)  I know everyone handles those moments in time different and I don't want to minimize them, but thats how its been for me.  Not a big deal.  

I can't remember all of the thoughts and worries that I had those first couple of years, but I think I can get to the source of the fear.  I didn't know the kid I was worrying about.  I was imagining these different scenarios and they were freaking me out. But the boy in those scenarios wasn't Kanyon. It was some kid I was imagining in my wonder it was hard for me to feel good about those thoughts!  Here's a little side note: This thought is something I always share with friends or people sent my way when they find out their unborn or young child has or will have disabilities.  The kid you are imaging in your fears is NOT your kid.  Your kid will be YOUR kid and that changes everything.  No matter what happens with the child, it will be yours and your love for it will cover those fears.  OK....So like I said, I've thought about what I knew 5 years ago and what I know now.  And I think "What if those Dr.s could've told me exactly what my son would be like when he was 5?"  They would've listed things like:
not walking, bowel troubles, still in diapers, didn't eat until he was 3 1/2, left arm almost useless, visual impairment, cognitive visual impairment, major major language delays, difficult discipline/emotional issues, about the maturity of a 2 year old, not even close to the academic levels (or any other levels for that matter) of his peers, still in the nursery at church, almost 100% dependent on adults........the list could really go on and on.  So, what if they could've given me a glimpse into my son at 5 years old, What would I do????  I WOULD'VE FREAKED OUT.  TOTALLY FREAKED.  OUT.  ALL THE WAY OUT.  That long list sounds so bad and hard and "unsuccessful".  But what they couldn't tell me was how much I would love this boy.  How proud I would be of him.  How I can't even imagine him "like the other kids his age".  How hilarious he is.  How much JOY he brings to our home.  How much I don't even mind carrying him on my hip.  How I don't really care when he walks or if he walks.  They couldn't tell me that there would be supernatural bond between us. How truly happy we are and how GREAT our life is.

Even if they could've answered all my questions, they couldn't have possibly told me the most important things.  The only things that mattered are out of even the best Doctor's realm of knowledge.  I don't think I made a mistake at the beginning or that I was wrong for letting those things consume me. I think its all a part of navigating my way into motherhood and especially into a motherhood with one less child and lots more challenges.  I am thankful I reached this place. Its a much lighter place to be. I'm carrying around WAY LESS than I used to and my perspective has gradually shifted.  I do feel like I will always carry more than a lot of people. And know that I am not saying that I wouldn't change everything if I could. I'm not saying that I don't get sad or discouraged, or frustrated, jealous, or complainy (yes thats a word).  That "list" the Drs could've given me 5 years ago, would in no way have brought ANY relief to me then. Now I know how blessed we are that so many other things aren't on the list or that many things on the list aren't hopeless.  I will be the first to admit things with Kanyon could've gone differently in a lot of ways and we could be dealing with many more disabilities and struggles than we are. I am humbled by that and respect so much the moms and dads that deal with SO MUCH MORE.  I also know that most of the time,  a lot people have it "easier" and that is the thought that has to stay balanced or else it will take me to a bad place.  BUT I also know that NO ONE ELSE gets to be Kanyon's Mom. And I'd say its WORTH IT!  

There are things that hang over my head that I worry about.  Of course.  But I can usually talk myself (or Kory can) through them.  The bottom line is: Ok what if _________ happens?  We'll deal with it.  Its like the ultimate realization that we can't control it and that GOD will give us the strength and whatever else we need to get through it.  Sometimes I kind of laugh at what all we've been through.  It seems way harder in retrospect than I remember it being at the time. We have learned in a BIG way what its like when GOD takes care of your every need.  I still don't have a picture of what I think Kanyon will be like when he's 10 or 20.  I try, but I can't come up with even an imaginary picture in my mind. I think there are too many things up in the air.  I feel like I can imagine Quinn (which I realize he won't be exactly like I imagine him, but I can at least come up with an idea) but Kanyon?  Nope.  But I have a sneaky suspicion that it will be way better than any picture I could come up with anyways.  

So, there you have it.  5 years later, I'm glad I didn't know all the details. I think I would've truly gone crazy.  We love both of our babies so much and I would give anything to have Jayde blowing out candles too, but we live in the only possible comfort we can and that is Heaven.  Some days that brings more comfort than others, but at the end of it all we know we WILL be together.  

Here are our yearly pictures by Jadye's stone:

The kids (the dogs were there distracting them and we were trying to avoid a fire ant bed...not the best pics)

Kanyon showing his 5!!! 

I will now publish this with no proofreading or editing.  I'm sure I could make it better, but I don't know when I'd get the chance.  So here's the unedited version.  :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

People we love, Good times together, Bragging, and Helping


Paw Paw and Gay Gay (who took this picture).  Because who else would do this........... 

knowing that you'll end up doing this.........

and because they read REALLY good stories.  

Another person we love: Paisley!  Our friends Trent, Karessa, and sweet baby Paisley got to come to town for a visit and despite the picture, we loved seeing them.  We just waited a bit too long to take the picture.  :)

Well, its not a person, but Quinn LOVES any basketball. As you can see, he takes one wherever he goes.  

I love how klp is peering over q's shoulder to try and see the book.  

Having a snack on the back porch and having a good laugh too.  

$1 swords at Target.  Lots of sword fights and only a few tears.  


I'll start bragging with Q's fashion sense.  We were watching the Oscars and he ends up like this.  He had obviously seen that the one shoulder gown was IN this year.  Or he's in to togas.  Or he wanted to wear Daddy's shirt and it was just TOO BIG.  

klp did this puzzle all by himself.  We don't do a lot of puzzles. Neither of they boys really spend any time when we have them out so I had no clue how well klp would do.  I'd say he did great! 

He also did this all on his own at school! 

HELPING: klp is lots of help in the kitchen! He was washing potatoes here, a very cowboy thing to do.  

Q man loves loading the washer. I have to make sure the lid stays closed or else there's no telling what I'd end up washing! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weekend Update

Well, this post has no pictures, but contains information that is better than pictures.

The Phillips Phamily is growing!!!!  Yes, we are expecting a baby in August!  I am about 16 weeks along (but look like I'm 20 something) and we are all excited about the baby.

I'll go ahead and answer what some of you are probably wondering:

There's just one.

We will, again, wait to find out the gender until its BIRTH DAY!

Quinn's guess is boy, Kanyon's is girl. I don't have a feeling either way yet.

People keep saying, "Oh, so you're trying for a girl" my answer is always, "We're just trying for another baby." Either one is fine with us.

We are handling this pregnancy the same as we did with Quinn as far as my OB care.  I started my deliluten shots this week and will do that once a week until 36 weeks.  YOOOOUCH!  We will do ultrasounds and FFN tests every 2 weeks starting at 24 weeks.  Its fun to get to see baby that often, but it does make the chances higher of someone slipping and telling us what it is.  THEY BETTER NOT! I see the Dr. more often starting at 24 weeks, but its nice to feel like we're keeping a close watch on things.  Having a "successful pregnancy" under my belt now does bring some comfort.  I know its possible for me to carry to term.  But the fear of the first pregnancy still lingers.

The boys pray for "baby in Mommy's tummy" daily and the other night at supper, qsp prayed "Mommy feel better" (I guess they're ready for this "first trimester" yuckiness to pass.)

We have our "big" 20 week ultrasound in a month so we are prayerfully looking forward to that and would, of course, love nothing more than to hear we have a healthy baby growing.

My due date is August 21 but we will have to deliver a week or two sooner so I'll announce the birth day as soon as we schedule it.

I plan on buying a really big swimsuit and staying in the water all summer.  How else would I survive an East Texas summer gigantically pregnant! :)

We appreciate your prayers as we grow! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

We don't do a ton around here for Valentine's day.  I thought to put klp in a red shirt for school, but I'm pretty sure he had no idea why.  But we for sure got the boys balloons as a little treat.  They went bonkers when I brought them in and have had so much fun playing with them......they're actually still floating around our house.  

The next few of klp crack me up (and make it seem like he watches TV all the time....not true, but I seemed to catch him every time...maybe because thats the only time he's just sitting somewhere).  

He scored both balloons for a little relaxin' in his chair

again....both. It just looks funny to me.  

When he's feeling big, he crosses his arms.  He was obviously feelin' big with his balloon.  

Q "made" this at Ladie's Bible Class. Ooooh that look is sooooo him! I love love love it.  :)