A view into the life of a family who encountered a different future than expected, but has become all the richer for it.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funnest Fall

This past week has been a busy one at the Messick home!

Elyssa went on her first ever field trip to Brantly Farm in Fairhope. We had a great time petting the animals and going on the hayride. Elyssa even surprised me and rode on a pony! I could hardly believe she did that, but after seeing all the other kids ride the pony, she decided she was brave enough to do it! Here is a video of Elyssa on her wild pony ride!

We had Fall Funtastic at our church on Wednesday, the 29th of November, and Elyssa went as Snow White. She looked so beautiful. When Mark saw us arrive at the church he said, "Is she wearing makeup??" I said, "Of course! All princesses wear a little makeup!" Mark was extra busy that day because he has to help everything set up for Fall Funtastic (he is one of the pastors at the church). I believe we had a record crowd this year. I'm expecting to hear that the crowd was in the thousands. It was a pretty huge event this year. Elyssa had a great time with me! And, you have to see the video I took of her before we left for Fall Funtastic. It's pretty funny!

Natalie was sick earlier this week with a stomach bug, so I let her stay home from Fall Funtastic. I did try, however, to get her to put on her outfit and she absolutely hated it. I had to video it because it was pretty funny. I know, I know ... I torture my kids when it comes to stuff like this, but I had to get it on video!

The funny thing is ... Natalie still wasn't happy just getting the hat off. She had to get the whole costume off before she calmed down!

I also let Victoria stay home from Fall Funtastic because it was so cold that night, but here she is in her costume. She is a giraffe! She didn't like her costume too much either!

Even though this was a super busy week, there were many moments of fun! And, I was reminded again how precious my three little angels are. I am so blessed to have each of them under my care. Each moment I have with them and Mark is a gift from God!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Can I Say? I'm Cute!

Victoria is so photogenic! She always has a smile and that makes me want to take more and more photos of her! It's nice to be able to get a smile so easily. And, those sweet smiles usually come exactly when I need one. I think that God smiles at me through Victoria in my most stressful moments!

PS - Some good news ... Victoria's recent therapy sessions went very well. Her Occupational Therapist, Melissa, was so pleased with Victoria's progress. She told me that she could tell that I had been working with her a lot. As she filled out her progress report, she chuckled and said, "I just cannot get over how much Victoria has improved! She is only about a month or month-and-a-half behind now!" She was very excited and so was I! What a blessing that Victoria is getting stronger and stronger each day!
PS - No post is complete without a crazy video from my actress, Elyssa!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grieving Again

Today was a special day. We went to the Messick's for a birthday lunch. This week Mark's dad and brother are both celebrating their birthdays.

Elyssa LOVED getting to play with her cousin Maddy. Maddy is 5-years-old and Elyssa is 3. Natalie is almost 2, and just follows them around, most of the time doing her own thing.

We were also able to spend time with Mark's brother's new baby. Her name is Mary Katherine. She is now around 3-months-old, I believe. She is a healthy and growing little girl. I was able to hold her and she is quite strong. I'm so use to holding a "floppy" baby that I was surprised at her muscle strength. She stood on my legs really well (with me holding her up) and could almost sit up on her own (and will probably be doing that soon!). I thought she was so strong for her age.

I know this probably sounds weird, but I actually felt myself grieving inside for Victoria. I felt sad that she cannot stand with as much strength as Mary Katherine. It will probably be some time before she can sit up, also. Her lower back is still somewhat weak. I know that she will eventually be able to do these things, but it is just taking longer than I thought it would.

I catch myself really being amazed at how much I took for granted with my other two girls. Every stage of their development came so naturally. They moved from one thing to the other without any help from me. Now, I have to think about everything. I have to help Victoria do sit-ups so she can strengthen her "core." I have to make sure she has enough time on her tummy so she can strengthen her arms, lower back and neck. I have to make sure she is getting enough time in her exersaucer (I have to pad the seat with towels around her hips for support) so she can learn how to steady her back, neck, and leg muscles. It's a never-ending job.

There is much stress surrounding a life that involves continuous therapy (physical, occupational and vision therapies). The person having to give the therapy feels so much pressure to put in enough time with the "patient." They know that the development of the patient depends on the time they spend with them. So, you can imagine when things are crazy around the house with the other girls, I have tremendous guilt trips about not getting in enough time with Victoria.

Unfortunately, I have moments of grieving from time-to-time when I see other babies her age or younger excelling in things that Victoria struggles with. I've heard that this is a normal process that parents of special-needs children might go through.

In saying all of this, please know that we continue to covet your prayers for her to continue to gain strength in her body. We KNOW that she is such a blessing to our lives and we only want the best for her. We want her to be healthy, strong and smart. And, we believe in a God that can bless her with all of these things. We know that God is sovereign and He placed Victoria in our lives to constantly remind us of His miracle-working power. He's already worked so many miracles in her life and we continue to pray for more miracles to take place in her muscles as we are on this adventure in "therapy-land."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gift Certificate

I tried to have Elyssa say "Gift Certificate" yesterday and you just have to hear her version of it! I thought it was hilarious!

Here is a cute video we took of Victoria yesterday. She gave us several good smiles. By the way, she saw the thyroid doctor Wednesday (for which they took some blood to check her levels) and we are hoping today they will tell us that none of her levels have increased. I'm actually praying that they find a decrease and that eventually she can come off of her thyroid medication. That would be heavenly! No more pills! What a blessing that would be!

Lastly, here is a precious video of Victoria laying beside Elyssa the other night before she went to bed. I love how high-pitched Elyssa's voice gets when she talks to Victoria! I wonder where she gets that?? Probably from her parents!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Few New Videos!!

Here is Victoria after a bath a few nights ago! You can see her scar from heart surgery has really healed nicely.

Natalie absolutely loathes the camera. Here she was asking me for some more ice cream. You can hear her say "want some" right when I started videoing her. She then puts her head down and starts crying. I'm such a cruel mother to think it's funny to torture her with a camera in her face, aren't I??

Mark was singing "Jesus Loves Me" with Natalie. This is a new song that she has been singing a lot lately. She didn't realize I was filming her so she did much better singing freely!

Natalie was cruising around the dining table singing, you guessed it ... "Jesus Loves Me!" She cracks me up sometimes with what a cheese ball she is!

Last but not least, Victoria is such a mover and shaker! Here is a video of her shaking her legs and enjoying her "floor time."

Hope these videos made you laugh today! They sure made me! And, who doesn't need to laugh a little each day?? I'm glad that God created laughter! It keeps us all from going crazy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

This past week Elyssa was supposed to go to the Pumpkin Patch with her 3K class. Unfortunately, it was rained out. We decided to go as a family and really enjoyed ourselves! Here are a few pictures from our outing.

Oh how I wish Natalie would take a good picture for me!
I finally got her to sit down for a moment and took a quick shot!
Elyssa loves taking pictures and she always looks so cute!
This pumpkin had lots of warts on it. The sun was really bright ... can you tell??
Another warty pumpkin!
Elyssa with Paw Paw on the hayride!
Here is a new, cute photo of Victoria at our house before we left for the Pumpkin Patch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Three Angels

Victoria Jayne
What a sweet little one
You are such a joy
A bright ray from the Son
You show me so much
How to love and to trust
The great One above
By Whom I've been blessed

My blue-eyed, Nat Nat
What a beauty so rare
You grow and explore
Live your life with no cares
You love on your sisters
Give sweet kisses and hugs
You're always the one
To pick up Love Bugs (and try to eat them!!)

My eldest, Elyssa
You've grown up so fast
You're now a school girl
And you love your new class
You are such a helper
Your teacher says so
You are very loved
We always want you to know

My three little angels
Sent from heaven above
I could not imagine life
Without your love

So while I have time
And breath in my lungs
I'll kiss you a lot
And give you my love

*** I want my girls to know, especially today, how special they are to me and how much I love them! I count it a priviledge and honor to be their mother.

PS - Mark's dad, O'Neal, came over last week. He and Mark worked on the backyard fence. I got a great picture of him with his granddaughters sitting on our swing after he had worked "hard in the yard!"

Here is a photo of the fence! It looks GREAT!