The Carroll summer fun has continued this week with all sorts of adventures.
We tackled lots of appointments and therapies with both of the boys, getting back into the swing of things.
Malachi went to Vacation Bible School every night this week and had a blast with his friends. Of course his favorite thing seemed to be the recreation part. He had never played kickball before so adding in the concept of running somewhere after kicking the ball intrigued him. He scored a home run and when everyone cheered he was full of giggles. He was so joyful so I took a short video to share with you:
Malachi is a very routine oriented kid, and while he doesn’t mind a change in the plans, it takes him a bit to get into the groove of new adventures. After the first night of VBS I asked him if he wanted to go back the next night and he signed YES.
I asked him if baby Levi could come (who is technically under the age limit so Jake would have to come with him) and he signed NO. We asked him each night and finally on Thursday he gave Levi the green light to join us.
We try very hard to respect Malachi when he has an opinion on something. We always want him to know that we are listening and hearing the things he is trying to say, even though he cannot speak. Obviously if it crosses the line into being mean we won’t allow it, but we recognize his need to be independent from Levi every now and then.
We have actually been splitting the boys a lot lately and it is so interesting to see how their behavior changes when the other one is not around. Malachi absolutely cherishes the one on one time with Jake or I- he is very snuggly and sweet. And Levi craves our undivided attention when he is alone with one of us.
Levi’s nose started running this week and we noticed him getting a bit more clumsy than normal (hence the bruise on his head). Those have been the classic signs of an impending ear infection so we watched and waited. Last night the pain hit around 2am and he woke up screaming. This time he was tugging at both of his ears so we went to the walk in clinic this morning and had it confirmed- double ear infection. This is his second infection in 3 weeks so we are going to have to have a conversation with his pediatrician about putting tubes in his ears.
Like I have said before, we have had a hard time getting walk in clinics to treat Levi for his ear infections. EVERY SINGLE ONE has hit on a Saturday night leaving us no other option but the emergency room where lots of germs breed. Now that he is off oxygen we have a bit more luck sneaking him in before they ask about his medical history and get nervous. This go around we made it to the final minute and the doctor asked if we had ever seen an ENT…busted. I had to explain that he has had nearly two dozen airway procedures in his 18 months of life and that we have several ENTs on speed dial.
Levi started his new antibiotic and crashed this afternoon. We are praying for a restful evening for him.
Today we had a celebration at church, complete with a petting zoo! This was right up Malachi’s alley and I couldn’t wait to take him out there to feel some of the animals. Unfortunately two of the things he hates the most is sunshine and heat so he shut down a bit, but he came out of his funk enough to pet and hold a few of them. I snapped a few pictures to share with you.
Medicated Levi and Jake stopped by and got to snuggle a bit. We have been working on “gentle hands” and thankfully he did great with that concept.
We are gearing up to leave on Saturday to take our youth group to camp in SC. Jake will be staying with the kids at camp (27 kids and chaperones) and the boys and I will be staying at a rental house down the road and traveling back and forth as needed. This year some friends at church who happen to be nurses are going to join me to help with the boys. If you remember the rat poop fiasco from last year you will recognize how happy having help makes me.
I have struggled a bit this week with triggers. Things that mentally take me off into the past as they remind me of a disappointment I have had to process. This week it was the gray bathrobe. I caught a glimpse of it in the bathroom mirror, hanging uselessly on the towel rack and it stirred up so much sadness.
We longed for Levi’s pregnancy to last longer than Malachi’s 24 weeks. I cautiously and optimistically put off all preparations for as long as I could stand it, wanting to make sure I wasn’t “counting my chickens before they hatched”.
The closer we inched to the goal 36 week mark (for medical reasons I couldn’t carry past 36 weeks or go into labor) the bolder I got with my imagination. I imagined bringing home baby Levi after a normal, uneventful 3 day stay. I imagined being able to breastfeed and meet my sons needs without medical intervention.
And that is when I did it- I allowed my hopes and dreams to morph into a trip to Target. I walked the aisles until I found the gray robe. It was going to be the robe I kept close so I could throw it over my pajamas when friends came by for a visit. It was going to be the robe that I packed into my hospital bag, ready to be used in the hospital bed as I breastfed my son for the first time.
I had big dreams for that robe.
This week it almost felt as if its presence was taunting me from its reflection and I started to feel that seed of bitterness starting to sprout deep down in my belly. I am beginning to think that disappointment will forever be my kryptonite…it will be the one thing that I can never get rid of alone. It will be one of the biggest struggles that keeps me connected to the Vine.
The robe sent me into the rabbit hole of Levi’s birth and the emotions of that day. Jake and I spent some time talking through it, which is something we don’t often revisit. Our hearts intertwined in their hurt during that conversation and in the end it made us both feel a bit better.
But the reality is that my life and your life is going to be plagued with disappointment. It will be riddled with bath robe triggers and reminders of past failures.
But the thing I often forget is that the devil is the author of those moments..they are not of God.
1 Peter 5 says “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Day by day I see the ways that God is restoring our family. Through each moment and period of suffering he builds our family stronger, firmer, and more steadfast. I have to choose to always see that truth.
Maybe you are in the middle of your restoration, or maybe you are like me and still in prayer for the day it comes. Wherever you may be in your life, believe with me that God will make us stronger, firmer, and steadfast into looking to Him rather than our circumstances.
I am so tired my eyes are starting to cross so I am going to wrap this up. Please keep my family in your prayers this week as we head to youth camp with our teenagers! And please pray that Levi’s ear infection responds well to his antibiotic.