I haven't had much time to update the blog lately. Believe it or not, the babies now take more time than ever.
They are growing and changing so much each day. They still eat every three hours, but we started them on rice cereal and orange/yellow fruits and vegetables. Although they are generally happy babies, they don't like it when we leave the room. They get bored easily.
Sarah read some helpful advice from another multiples mom about rotating the babies often, so that is what we do. They go from bumble seat to sleeper chair to jumper chair to play seat to floor to swing. They are rolling over and playing with toys.
To make things more difficult, they got their first colds. Jackson had to go on an inhaler, but no one else did. It is almost comical when we try to comfort four crying babies. Sometimes Callie joins in just for good measure.
Our Sweet Little Bearcubs! They seem so much bigger to us, but according to the percentiles, they are still quite small.
Brown Bear--Landon (15 lbs.)
Blue Bear--Jackson (14 lbs.)
White Bear--Samantha (12 lbs.)
Pink Bear--Isabella (15 lbs.)
Callie Lends a Helping Hand
The babies love their big sister. She can keep them entertained long enough to get some bottles made.
Uncle Eric, Cousin Cassondra and Callie
We are so proud of our boy! He was the lead scorer in two of the three games in his NCCAA tournament. He was interviewed and had his pictures in the paper. His team finished fifth.
Aunt Devon slacking--she's only holding two!
She sent Sarah this text one beautiful morning: "The sun is starting to rise a lot earlier:) Spring is coming! I get to watch it now on my way to work...The bright pinks, flashy oranges and deep purples bring back the all too familiar breathtaking awe of our Master's handiwork. As the sun creeps up over the horizon, the black night explodes into brilliant colors that God has painted across the unsuspecting sky. It's so beautiful, yet few people even take the time to enjoy this free art work for the short amount of time it's displayed every day. Sarah, your babies are the sunrise in your heart's sky! Gods work is FLAWLESS! He knows what He's doing. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy His Masterpiece!"
Isabella loves her blanket and her "boo-boo."
Mamaw Stella helping with lots of shots.
Isabella says yes to rice cereal.
Sammy Jo says no.
Landon concurs with Samantha.
We can't shovel it in fast enough for Jackson. He cries between bites and reaches for more when it is all gone.
Callie is counting down the days until she turns four. Her favorite song is her own original:
"I can't know why!" with some vibrato and twang, followed by whatever sad or unfair circumstance she finds herself in. It is tough being a big sister to four babies.
I have a feeling that they are plotting and planning what to do when they start crawling. Jackson is the ringleader.
Samantha smiles all the time. She seems so happy to be alive.
Izzy B-- our little upside down bat.
Three Couch Potatoes--Samantha has her own couch since she is still in quad denial.
See what I mean? Quad Denial.
Isabella said, "Da-da." (Sarah was not happy.) Izzy is very patient, affectionate and sweet. She reminds me of Sarah when she was little.
Jackson Jumping --Mr. Personality
Please pray for him. He has to have hernia surgery in April. Poor little guy! I think the hardest part will be going without a bottle for 6 hours before surgery. (Katie, bar the door!)
Jackson looks a lot like Tom's baby pictures. He seems to have Tom's personality, too. Interesting.
Samantha, Jackson and Callie
Tom asked Callie, "What do you want to do today?"
She said, "Find a waterfall." So he did.
Patiently waiting for more shots.
Not so patiently waiting
Running out of wiggle room
Done with the shots. Getting ready to go see Papaw Bob and Mamaw Stella.
Samantha loves to talk. We just can't figure out what she is saying.
Samantha's arm was pretty torn up and swollen from all of the NICU pic line attempts to save her life. Since there are not infant vascular specialists, we took her to a transplant surgeon to check the veins and arteries. For now, we are watching and waiting to see what happens. We are praying that her arm will heal. If it doesn't, we will teach her that her arm is a "mark of ownership" from God--a constant reminder of His miraculous love and intervention. "Purify my heart Let me be as gold and precious silver, Purify my heart Let me be as gold, pure gold. Refiner's fire My heart's one desire Is to be holy Set apart for You, Lord. I choose to be holy Set apart for You, my Master, Ready to do Your will. Purify my heart Cleanse me from within and make me holy, Purify my heart Cleanse me from my sin, deep within. " ~Brian Doerksen The doctors said none, so God gave us five. My grandma taught me so much about faith. She also taught me how to handle a crisis of faith. It is strange how certain events can cause us to lose our way, often when we don't see it coming. It is almost as if we are prepared for the full-blown frontal attacks, but the unexpected ones send us reeling. Sometimes those sneak attacks are relatively small enough that I find my reaction embarassing, especially when I consider what other people suffer. That's when I try to get to the root of the problem, which always starts and ends with me. Back when I first started driving, my grandma made me promise something. "Honey," she warned, “never, EVER, start the engine without first praying for protection. We all need God's protection." "Mamaw's been in an accident," Mom finished, “and we’re not sure how bad it is.” I could not tell if she was more worried about the accident or about how I would take it. I learned that Mamaw had somehow hit a telephone pole head-on. She was en route to the hospital and she was not conscious.
Callie and I made brownies. She said, "I like brownies cause they're CHOKWATE (chocolate). That's my favorite color."
Mamaw had a ritual. Without fail, every time she got behind the wheel of her car, she would pray. "Lord, keep us safe from any accidents today, and please protect our fellow travelers." I must have heard her pray that prayer a thousand times.
That promise was easy to keep. My grandmother had made an impression on me with her life of faith. The driving prayer became a habit before I realized it, freeing my mind from worrying about accidents. I had it all figured out: I loved God, I followed Him, and I prayed for protection. Therefore, God would protect me. Actually, that prayer was more than a habit; it was my security blanket.
Several years later, I was standing in the kitchen of my apartment doing the dishes. My one-year-old daughter Sarah was nearby, playing quietly with some toys on a quilt. As it seems to happen so often, life was good until the telephone rang. I dried my hands and answered, "Hello?"
"Sondra, what are you doing?" My mom sounded strange,like she was trying to prepare me. Something had happened.
"I am doing the dishes. What's wrong?" I could feel a knot forming in the pit of my stomach.
"I want you to sit down," she insisted.
I held my breath and grabbed the telephone tightly. "No, Mom! Just tell me!"
I was frantic all the way to the emergency room. Could an older woman survive hitting a telephone pole? Could anyone? I knew she had prayed before she drove; she would not start the car otherwise. And that is when the doubt started. Somewhere down deep in my heart, a crisis of faith was forming.
On the drive to the hospital, I fought the ugly disbelief, but it was no use. Unanswered questions filled my mind. Am I just weak? Maybe prayer does not make a difference after all. I felt betrayed and disloyal at the same time.
Once Mamaw regained consciousness, the nurse took me to triage and pulled back the curtain. My heart broke when I saw my poor little grandma. Her face and body were horribly bruised and bloodied. She looked tiny and helpless, engulfed by the white hospital bed. "Oh, Mamaw, I...." My voiced cracked. I couldn’t say anymore.
The doctor quickly filled me in. Several bones were broken in her face. Her nose was badly fractured. Both eyes were blackened. Quite a few of her ribs were cracked, making any movement-- including breathing--excruciating. Her kneecap and leg were deeply bruised, and she had a severe concussion. Surgery would be necessary to repair her shattered face. Healing would be a slow process.
The police officer who had first arrived on the scene determined that Mamaw had fallen asleep at the wheel, hitting a telephone pole head-on at forty-five miles per hour. All things considered, she was fortunate. Although she was advanced in age, she had lived through an accident that is nearly always fatal. The doctor determined her survival to be nothing short of miraculous.
When Mamaw was ready to leave the hospital, my sisters and I took her home and gently tucked her into bed. I stayed with her, caring for her as she had always lovingly cared for me. Meanwhile, the weight of my spiritual discouragement became almost tangible. My heart felt like ice. Day and night, I relived the accident. If God didn't hear the prayers of a faithful, godly prayer warrior like my grandma, then what chance did I have? Without faith, my life no longer made sense.
Eventually, Mamaw's injuries began to heal. My injured faith did not. God had let us down, and I did not know what to do about that. Faith had been a defining factor my whole life. Now, I felt completely abandoned by the God I served, and He was silent.
"I would like to see my car before the junk yard gets rid of it," Mamaw declared one day. "I have some things in the trunk." Carefully climbing into my car, she grimaced as she settled into the seat. Her ribs were still sore. She was a different woman than she had been before her encounter with an immovable object. She had aged considerably.
We drove silently into Morrow, necessarily retracing the route she had taken that fateful day. Passing the school, we noticed a brand new telephone pole out front. "I cracked the other one in half," Mamaw laughed. "They sent me a bill for the new one, and it was $500. Between the pole, the car and the hospital, that was one expensive wreck!"
Samantha's arm was pretty torn up and swollen from all of the NICU pic line attempts to save her life. Since there are not infant vascular specialists, we took her to a transplant surgeon to check the veins and arteries. For now, we are watching and waiting to see what happens. We are praying that her arm will heal. If it doesn't, we will teach her that her arm is a "mark of ownership" from God--a constant reminder of His miraculous love and intervention.
"Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver,
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold.
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master,
Ready to do Your will.
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within and make me holy,
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin, deep within. "
The doctors said none, so God gave us five.
My grandma taught me so much about faith. She also taught me how to handle a crisis of faith. It is strange how certain events can cause us to lose our way, often when we don't see it coming. It is almost as if we are prepared for the full-blown frontal attacks, but the unexpected ones send us reeling. Sometimes those sneak attacks are relatively small enough that I find my reaction embarassing, especially when I consider what other people suffer. That's when I try to get to the root of the problem, which always starts and ends with me.
Back when I first started driving, my grandma made me promise something. "Honey," she warned, “never, EVER, start the engine without first praying for protection. We all need God's protection."
"Mamaw's been in an accident," Mom finished, “and we’re not sure how bad it is.” I could not tell if she was more worried about the accident or about how I would take it. I learned that Mamaw had somehow hit a telephone pole head-on. She was en route to the hospital and she was not conscious.
I pulled into the junkyard hoping I wouldn’t run over anything that would flatten my tires. I wanted to get the whole thing over with as soon as possible. I turned off that engine. Someone was coming.
"What can I do for you, ladies?" drawled the grease-covered mechanic. The short, stocky man had heavily-muscled arms and legs. His full dark beard completely camouflaged his mouth, hiding the fact that his lips were moving. I wondered how he could even find an opening to feed himself.
"We've come about my grandmother's car," I answered, pointing to the frail woman beside me. "She was in an accident with a telephone pole in Morrow a few weeks ago. The police said that you had towed it here."
"That was you?" The mechanic's black, bushy eyebrows rose in surprise as he let out a long, low whistle. His dark eyes stared out from under the brim of a sweat-streaked ball cap. They looked too small to be of much use. "I bet my partner that the driver of that wreck was road-kill." He sounded disappointed. "I've been towing wrecks a long time. I'm not usually wrong."
He peered at the massive collection of junked cars as if they were card- catalogued in alphabetical order. "It’s over this-a-ways," he said proudly, adjusting his britches. "I can locate any car in this lot with my private system." His lips still weren't discernable. "Makes my partner so mad, 'cause I won't tell him how I do it," he said, chuckling into his beard.
Hiking through a labyrinth of disfigured automobiles was unnerving. I felt chilled as we followed the man through the wreckage. The sky was dark with heavy clouds ready to dump rain on the already miserable-looking cars. The headlights of each vehicle stared blankly at our little entourage, seemingly resigned to their lonely destiny. It was creepy. Each car had once carried a driver. Each driver had been in route to a destination. Those plans had been instantly, and in some cases permanently, changed.
Our strange tour guide was talking to himself in low tones. Turning, he rubbed his hands together furiously, indicating that he had successfully completed his mission. "Found it!" he declared. "Like I said, my system never fails."
He proudly stepped back to reveal my grandmother's vehicle. The car she had taken such good care of was barely recognizable.
Shifting uncomfortably, the man murmured, "Glad you're okay, Ma'am. Let me know if you need anything else." Excusing himself with an odd bow, he shoved his hands in his pockets and disappeared into the maze of cars. His cheerful whistle echoed behind him, then faded.
I turned back to find my grandmother quietly observing what was left of her car. The front looked like an accordion, with a telephone-pole-shaped indention near the center. I was almost afraid to look inside. Pressing my face to the glass, I felt ill. There was blood everywhere. The windshield was shattered with a head-shaped indention on the driver's side. The under-dash was indented with a knee-print. Incredibly, the steering wheel was bent in half from the force of Mamaw's body during the impact. Looking down on the floor, I saw her clear, plastic rain bonnet. She had purchased it to protect her hair from drops of rain. Instead, it was covered with dark drops of dried blood.
I was unprepared for my reaction. Angry tears began to slide silently down my cheeks. They weren’t tears of despair-- my grandma had survived. These tears came from someplace deep in my soul, a bitter place that had grown dark. Nothing made sense anymore.
As if to complete some cosmic joke, it started to rain. I was completely miserable.
"Grab that umbrella in the front seat, honey," Mamaw said. Quickly wiping the tears from my face, I wrestled the crooked passenger door open. A wave of nausea hit me when I smelled the mixture of blood and antifreeze. The umbrella was under the seat, oddly unaffected by the grisly events that surrounded it.
I opened the umbrella and held it over us. Mamaw reached around and patted my hand. "God sure took care of me that day. I guess I would have died, otherwise." She spoke quietly, almost to herself. "That was a strange day."
"What do you mean?" I murmured. I was concentrating on finding our way back to my car, wishing I had left a trail of breadcrumbs.
The rain began falling steadily, making a drumbeat on the umbrella. "As you know very well, I always pray for protection before I go anywhere," she explained. "I won't start the car before I do."
I nodded in agreement. I could feel a faint stirring somewhere inside. Maybe there was more to this story than I realized.
"Didn't you ask for protection that day?" I asked quietly.
"Well, I started to do just that. But it was the strangest thing! I just felt like the Lord wanted me to pray differently that day, so I did. I prayed, 'Lord, I don't EVER want to be in an accident UNLESS you are in it with me.'"
I exhaled deeply, feeling a weight lifting off me for the first time in a long while.
“Did I tell you that I had a passenger with me when I wrecked? I wasn’t alone. Jesus was with me, you know," she added.
"I know," I whispered. I couldn't seem to find my voice, but relief flooded my heart. God had been there all of the time. I was the one who had pulled away.
She continued, "Sondra, we have to believe the Bible. It’s God’s Word! He has promised to work all things together for good in our lives, even when we can't see it. We have to trust Him to keep His promises."
She looked at me with knowing eyes. "He'll use the accident for good, honey," she promised. "You can count on it."
I helped her into my car, shook out the umbrella and dropped it in the back. Starting the engine, I drove away, gladly putting the accident behind us.
Mamaw patted my leg and smiled cheerfully. "Aren't you glad we serve a great God?"
"Yes, Mamaw, I am," I agreed. It was still raining, but it seemed like the sun was shining.
I didn't have to wait for good to come from the accident. It already had.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of my kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." ~James 1:1-4
Thanks for praying!
How Can I Keep From Singing
by Chris Tomlin
There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give
I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne