Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Process to Picture Perfect


I love capturing the perfect family photo. You know, the one where everybody is looking at the camera and smiling. But if we are honest, attaining a photo like this requires a tedious process that usually involves elevated blood pressure, bribery and the inevitable threats.

And all for what?! So we can post it to Facebook as if to say to the world, “Look at us! We have the perfect family and the perfect life!” Well let me go ahead and tell you that our family is not perfect, nor do we have it all together.

To get the photo above, it takes a grueling process- one that makes me more and more aware that I have a long way to go as a parent… heck, as a person. Anytime I need a lesson in patience or grace, we can just go take family photos.

So here is reality… For every great photo you see of us, there are 50 others that are pure crap. I’m sad to say, those other crappy photos show just how far I have to go as a mom.

So I wrote a poem to express how this process to picture perfect goes down for us…every…freaking…time.


To get the perfect picture, I think we would all agree,

That everyone needs to smile by the end of “1-2-3”


But rarely does that happen, on the very first shot,

Because someone’s never ready, this happens quite a lot.


Sometimes you get a good one, and it really blesses your heart.

But you can’t get over the fact, that you’re standing so far apart!


And as you move in close, the smiling can never quit.

Unless your youngest child is about to throw a fit.


When he’s found your hair it’s over, the next few photos will be crap.

And you begin to rethink your idea, that he could skip his afternoon nap.


“Keep smiling” you tell everyone, hoping the chaos will soon cease.

Dad begins to laugh, because mom’s blood pressure has increased.


Finally everyone is positioned, but no one is looking except for mom.

She’s the only one stressing about this, which looking back, seems quite dumb.


But we have to get a good one and so grandma keeps on clicking.

And then the oldest turns around, to express her clock is ticking.


“Someone might get the pumpkin I want!” with attitude she screams,

“First we do photos, then we’ll find the pumpkin of  your dreams.”


“But I want to go look now!! Oh mom I just can’t wait.”

“If you turn around & smile, we’ll stop for ice cream cake!”


And when the groans begin, mamma is done being sweet.

“Turn your sassy self around, or you’ll never get another treat!”


With everyone facing forward, finally there’s hope of a great picture.

But dad’s arms are tired, trying to keep brother from kicking sister.


Between the youngest & the oldest, you’ve captured restlessness & sass

And if you weren’t at a church, you’d certainly whip the oldest’s…ugh, bottom.


And just when you think you have had more than you can take,

A sweet moment happens, so a smile you quickly fake.


But the oldest isn’t on board, so the threats again are thrown out.

So she fakes it with the best of them, isn’t that what this is all about?


We need the perfect picture to hang on our perfect wall.

So everyone on social media can think we have it all.


And that’s why I’ve posted this progression, so you can see we’re all the same.

We all have struggles and issues, trying to keep that perfect image is to blame.


I hope that you can relate and I hope this made you smile. If it did, please share it with your friends and family. If you have a funny family photo that shows your imperfections, please post it in the comments below so we can all smile together.

Happy Fall from our imperfect family to yours!




Overdue Thank You

I’m not sure why at this point, but I’m always blown away by the out pour of love for Gideon and for our family. While G was in the hospital we had SO many people reach out & do some wonderful things for us. I have so many people to thank and not enough thank you cards. So like a celebrity who just won an academy award, I’d like to take up some cyber time to thank some people…

To all those who sent a text/called/emailed/Facebooked to check on us and/or pray for us, thank you so very much!! Your words were encouraging and it was such a blessing to know that others were interceding at the Throne of Grace on our behalf. So many of you tried to help out by taking Laynie for us, but the G-Ma’s just wouldn’t give her up. Thanks anyways for trying!! 🙂

To Jamie- thanks for having dinner delivered to us this week. Even though your my P31 trainer, you lovingly turned a blind eye at my request for Mogio’s Pizza. Thanks for not judging…I’m sure you’ll kick my butt in class.  😉 PS: Please don’t read the next paragraph.

To my life group girls- you ladies are wonderful. Many of you stepped up and offered to host and lead Bible study for me (on that rather crazy week) and I’m just so grateful. I can’t even believe I get to “do life” with such an amazing group of women. Shout out to Molly- she sent her hubs to Mardels to get me a free box sea salt caramels!!

To the Abbett Family- you guys absolutely rock. I love that Kevin works with such an amazing group of people. We are so grateful for all the gift cards and I am SO looking forward to having an excuse NOT to cook once in a while. Seriously… poor Kevin did NOT marry a Rachel Ray. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Some of our favorite places!
Some of our favorite places!

To the people who sent items/gift cards/cash via snail mail… you totally caught me off guard and I love it!!! Thank you! At the rate this is happening, my neighbors are going to start wondering why I cry every time I stand at the mailbox.

Seriously, who sent this!?! So thoughtful!!  (I will be stalking people's handwriting from now on!)
Seriously, who sent this!?! (I will be stalking people’s handwriting from now on! I will track you down…. and I will hug you!)

While in the hospital, one of those packages we received was an Upsee device that we’ve been wanting to try out with Gideon.

To my cousin, Kristen- thank you for setting this up. Your heart saw a way to bless our family and you jumped in with both feet. You’re beautiful. (And thanks for the necklace!)

To everyone who donated for the Upsee- I’m just speechless. When I think of all that’s already been done for Gideon- for our family- I just can’t even fathom that people would continue to love on us in this way. I’m SO incredibly grateful… words are simply inadequate to describe how thankful we are for your generosity. So I’ll just say thank you.

We haven’t gotten him into yet, but stay tuned… I’m sure he’ll win an award for most dramatic.

To my parents and my in-laws- we thank you the least, when we should be thanking y’all the most. You guys are always there. Day or night, rain or shine… you never say no when we need help and often times, we don’t even have to ask… you just show up. And that means so much and we never want to take that for granted. Even though you guys do fudge the bed times, buy too many stuffed animals, and allow too much sugar… we COULD NOT travel this road without you guys. So Mimi, Papa, Gamma, & Poppa J, thank you!

Now let me close by saying this… Please forgive me if I have forgotten to thank you. There has literally been an OUT POUR of love over the past two weeks, but due to lack of sleep, my mind is mush. I truly want to thank everyone because I’m sincerely grateful. If you’ve done something for us and I did not already thank you, please accept this as my thank you to you. You’ve loved us well and we are overwhelmed by your servant’s heart.

(Cue music to cut me off and awkwardly rush me off stage…)

Gideon’s 2nd Swallow Study Results

This was at the very end of the study when we had to syringe feed him because he was refusing the bottle and hitting the spoon.

This past January, Gideon had his first swallow study and today was his second one. I must say the two experiences were night and day difference.

The staff was great again, but this time things just went so much more smoothly (despite the picture you see up there). There’s two reasons for this in my opinion. First, I knew what to expect. And second, I actually had the cojones to speak up before the exam began. I summarized Gideon’s diagnosis, explained he was blind and deaf, and then I let them know the best way to approach this procedure. Thankfully, the entire staff was receptive and hopefully I didn’t come across as a witch with a capital B.

After talking to the radiologists, I made the decision that Gideon would not wear his hearing aids (they can get in the way of the picture, and I didn’t want them to do more shots than necessary). I also made the suggestion that I do the feeding, since we were going to have to use tactile cues. The staff was more than happy to let me do it, especially because Gideon doesn’t fight me as much as he fights others… I’m more stubborn than he is and I win 99.9% of the time.

Another thing that was great about today is that Gideon was able to support himself better in the feeder seat… something he wasn’t so good at this past January. This made a huge difference because we didn’t have to have a fourth set of hands holding him place. (Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of re-positioning today, but it was nothing like last January.)

The results today were better than even I expected. Liquids have always been a concern because Gideon’s condition makes swallowing difficult. However, there was no aspiration!! The only bad thing is that the liquids put lots of pressure on his airways, meaning he has to really try hard to make the liquids go down his throat. And he does a great job! But after a while, he gets tired and that’s when he could possibly be aspirating.

So it was recommended that we thicken his liquids to a nectar consistency. (Something we already knew we should be doing.) And that can be done with rice cereal in his bottles or thickening substitutes.

Thanks again for praying for us today. After last time I was really expecting it to go bad. Especially since it was just me and Gideon. I’m always nervous because I don’t want my emotions to get the better of me. But after flying solo today, I feel like I’m all grown up.

I can do this special-needs-mom thing.

Once he was all cleaned up, there was only one little tear left on his face. Precious.