Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brent & Fundraisers

Many of you follow Brent's caringbridge website and know that his health is very poor at this time. For those of you who don't know how things are going, here's the site information.

In an effort to help our family, several of our amazing friends have begun fundraisers on behalf of our family. Our friend Sue has put together a blog to keep everyone updated on the fundraisers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bag, Anyone?

Tyler is starting to realize that not everyone has a colostomy bag. Recently he lifted my shirt up and said, "momma, where's your bag?" Brent, Em and I all had to pull our shirts up and show him our bellies so he could see that we don't have bags. I think that confused him more since Nate does have a bag.

Ty is somewhat obsessed with his bag. It is a constant battle with him -- pulling the bag off, hitting the bag, lifting his shirt to get to the bag, going down his shirt to get to the bag, etc. We are constantly telling him, "Ty, don't touch your bag....don't take your bag off!"

Apparently he didn't realize that our dog, Max, doesn't have a bag. This morning things were a little bit crazy in our house. Em was sick which threw off my whole groove. I was running around trying to get everyone ready, out the door and on their buses on time. Poor Max was crying and needed to go potty. I was changing Tyler's diaper and I was ignoring Max and hoping he would be able to hold it for just a couple more minutes. He couldn't. He gave me a sheepish look and started to poop on the floor. I immediately yelled at him, "MAX, DON'T POOP!" Tyler, seeing the poop, yelled, "MAX! Don't take your bag off!"

So glad he understands the rules. Now if we could just get him to follow them.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Metal Head

Nate likes to head butt. Hard. And it hurts. I try especially hard to not be on the receiving end. We all avoid it, if possible.

Poor Em got it good the other day. I heard it hit and it hit hard. Poor little bunny. When the crying had finally ceased she said to me, "Mom, why is Nate's head made of metal?" It was all I could do to not laugh, out loud, really loudly. I failed. She was not appreciative. So I did my best to explain that his skull is made of bone, just like the rest of ours. I'm not so sure she was convinced.

Fast forward to tonight. Em had me laying on her floor and she was giving me a back massage, aka hitting me really hard karate-chop style. **Funny side she was beating me up -- I mean, massaging my back -- she says, in all seriousness, "isn't this just like being at a salon?" Of course it was. Only, not really.**

So, during the midst of my "salon massage" we could hear Natey jumping on his bed, yelling and just generally being wild. And I say to Em, "where does that kid get his energy?" And she replies, "who knows. What I wonder is where he gets his metal head from." This got me giggling for sure but her next comment had me laughing so hard I couldn't talk. She says, "you know mom, maybe black people's heads are just stronger."

Oh Em, where do you come up with this stuff?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Fourth Birthday, Nate!

Four years ago today our sweet little Nate came into this world. He came much too soon. He was born 15 weeks early and weighed a whopping 17 ounces. His prognosis was poor. He faced an incredibly difficult uphill battle. The doctors weren't certain he would survive. All of the odds were stacked against him.

And yet, his birth mom, with the greatest love and courage, made an adoption plan for him. She knew that if he did make it through, he would need a family. She contacted Adoption STAR and put the fate of her too small baby boy in their hands. Her love and sacrifice amaze me to this day.

Four years ago Brent and I were considering adopting again. It is something we had talked about quite a bit. But, though our hearts were ready, our finances weren't. We had decided that we would wait until 2008, until the money was there, until we were a bit more ready.

Of course, as we have learned time and time and time again, these things aren't exactly up to us. When we got the call about Nathaniel, just as with Tyler and Emmalee, I knew. I knew this sweet baby boy was meant to be in our family. I wasn't sure how we would make it happen but I had faith that if this was the plan for our family, it would work out.

Brent and I worried so much about Nathaniel's prognosis. At times the doctors were hopeful and encouraging. At times they were convinced he wouldn't survive. We were unable to go and visit him because our paperwork wasn't quite done and we were waiting on things like background checks and fingerprint clearances; things that were beyond our control.

Through it all Nate fought. He beat the odds, amazed the doctors and came through. He had setbacks and created fear and then beat the odds again. No doubt about it, that little boy is a fighter!! After all, he is a Gardner!

Through it all we fought. We had yard sales and online fundraisers. We had raffles and, I'll admit, we outright asked for money. We had faith that it would work out. We KNEW this child was meant to be ours and we put our faith in Heavenly Father, knowing that He would help us get things in order.

And He did. Looking back I am still overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family, friends and even strangers. It still brings tears to my eyes.

Many people ask why Nathaniel's middle name is Roger. He is named after a very special man who helped to make sure that Nate made it home to our family. His financial contribution, along with a matching contribution from his company, was the final $1000 we needed to get Nate home. It was literally an answer to prayers. We decided to name our baby Nathaniel Roger so that we would always be reminded of his love and generosity. It is also a reminder that prayers are heard and that things do work out the way they are meant to.

Today our too small, very ill baby boy is four years old. As I write this I am overwhelmed with emotion. The past four years have been a roller coaster ride for our family. We have faced challenges we never could have predicted. And yet, just as Nate has always done, we have fought. We are strong and determined and faithful. After all, we are Gardner's!

Nathaniel amazes me every single day. His name means "Gift from God" and he certainly is!

Happy Birthday, Natey. We love you!!!