Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Work

Titus consistently goes to therapy. And at times, it does seem that everything Titus does relates to therapy in some shape, form or fashion - whether it's physical, occupational, or speech (both for sounds and eating), much of his day is spent practicing over and over the little tasks that many of us just take for granted.

For years, Ren, his physical therapist at Baylor Our Children's House, has worked with Titus on the basics of sitting up, kneeling, crawling. She will work for weeks (and sometimes months) on training one muscle group on one task.

This year, Ren has been working on combining several of these repetitive motions for a task. Titus is now sitting for up to 2-3 minutes at a time (now, we have to put him in that position - but he can now hold himself there by working to maintain his balance with his arms/hands). He's not to the point where he can put himself into a sitting position, but he's working on it.

Another task they are working is crawling - and while he is far from actually being able to crawl, he is learning to move his arms - and then pull up on a bench. And this little video shows how he is doing. You have to watch him independently move his arms and reach up - and while you may not notice it at first glance, these are the little tasks that he works so hard at to accomplish.


We are very thankful for all of his therapists that work diligently with Titus. We are thankful that they know how to break it all down to small little tasks and train his muscles over and over till he remembers and "gets it". And we are so thankful for a content child who shows diligence in working so hard everyday. When I look at the number of people that work with Titus everyday, it's amazing the stamina that he builds up. Many days after 3 hours at school (where he works and plays), he goes straight to therapy in the afternoon. And while at times I think he may be so fragile, I also realize how his stamina is growing. He is showing us his personality more and more (and on occasion, he shows us a little attitude).

Thanks to all for consistent and sustained prayers for his health and strength. As we enter winter, (and cold/flu season), it's always a tricky time for Titus. Your prayers for his health are always appreciated.

For those of you who read the blog through the Feedburner email subscription, you may need to click on the link to the blog to see the video.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Titus - You're 4!

My son turns 4 years old today. This is a great accomplishment and I'm so proud of my son for his strenght, endurance, and will to live.

It's been 4 years . . .
48 months . . .
1461 days and (many sleepless) nights . . .

I lost count of the number of days Titus has spent in the hospital, the number of procedures, and there are days, I don't think I remember the long list of challenges that Titus' face.

The day Titus was born, and we saw that he could not breathe, we lived in a bubble that surgery would correct his jaw to improve his breathing and then everything we would be fine. And we stood by helplessly as they strapped him down in the transport pod to take him to Medical City Dallas. Neither one of us got to hold him that first day.

The next day, when the doctor met with us to let us know the results of all they had discovered - hemi-vertebrae in the spine, full cleft palate, horshoe-shaped kidney, not-quite-club foot, dandy-walker variant(cyst at the base of the brain) along with the noticiable micronagthia (recessed chin) - we just stood there in shock.

A few weeks later, we learned Titus needed a g-tube so they could continue to feed you and we sent Titus off for his first surgery.

A few weeks more passed, and they did an advanced hearing test since the first results were inconclusive. I watched the nurse as she ran the test. I watched her face . . . I watched the machine . . . and before she ever said a word, I knew the results. Titus could not hear - not a sound in either ear.

Before Christmas, we sent Titus back into surgery to have his jaw broken and reset with pins/screws. His soft baby skin was punctured with a hideous looking screw coming out behind your ears. Each day, I turned the screws to push his jaw out one small millimeter at a time.

In February, Titus came home after 62 days. I was as nervous as a first time dad having him in the house. But his brothers smothered him with hugs and kisses. It was the first time they really got to hold Titus without all the wires and machines. But 8 days later, the ambulance came to take Titus back since he was struggling to breathe. And we spent another 2 months in the NICU - 2 more months where we couldn't hold him and he was hooked up to a ventilator. He was so heavily sedated with painkillers, they had to treat him with methadone before he could come home to wean him off (baby rehab is what I called it).

And then we learned of the congential glaucoma and his eyesight would be limited if there was any at all. And a trip to Houston ended up being another 10 days in the hospital.

But Titus did come home, and we did settle into a routine of learning how to care for such a fragile child. And how to work with nurses and therapists in the home. And how to manage all the doctor's appointments, all the diagnosis, all the paperwork, all the referrals, all the questions.

After Titus turned one, he received his cochlear implant. And over the months, we experienced a thrill to see how Titus react when his cochlear was activated. It has given him the chance to hear and now we are watching him work with the therapist to mimic sounds.

When Titus was two, it seemed like we searched for a lot of answers - many that were answered in our trip to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. It was then we learned the conditions of his lungs - and were faced with a choice: A choice to trach and vent for the rest of your life, or a choice to live on oxygen and therapy. Either way, we were told at that point that Titus' life would not be as long as we would wish, but something that would be the hands of God.

When Titus was three, he started school. And has gone from going 3 days a week to 5 days a week. It is so much fun to see the little items Titus comes home with - and see the pictures of him finger-painting or going down the slide with his teacher.

And now he's 4 . . . wow.

My little hero has taught me a lot over the last 4 years. He has shown me life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. He has taught me that a blessing can come in a disguise. He has taught me that God's provision is greater than I ever could have imagined.

Happy Birthday Titus - I love you dearly.













Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday


Orphan Sunday Fixed from FBCMcKinney on Vimeo.

Today is Orphan Sunday - and like many churches around the nation, we celebrated, informed, and prayed for orphans around the world.

Our church has an incredible adoption ministry called The Journey - and it's such an appropriate name since adoption is a journey of faith, journey of ups and down, and ultimately, a journey to your child. It was a great honor to stand with the other families in our church (many of which are on this video) and show others what adoption looks like.

I have often said, DNA does not make a family - God does. And God forms families in all shapes, sizes, and colors. When people look at us, I want them to see us as ONE family: a family of sons born from the heart.

I want everyone to know that anyone can take part in adoption. You may have the resources to sponsor a child at an orphanage. Our church has 3 families working in orphanages in Boliva, Zambia, and Sierra Leone. Our goal is to have every child at each of these orphanages sponsored.

You may have the resources to help a family with their adoption expenses. We shared this morning the adoption fund just for that purposes.

And you may have the calling on your heart to  bring a child into your home - through foster care or adoption. We would love to share with your our story and point you into the direction of several agencies that can help you pursue that call. I will echo your thoughts "it's scary to think about bringing a child into your home". But I will also tell you, when God calls, God Provides. And God is pleased when we are obedient to his call. It could be the greatest journey of faith you may ever walk. And please know, we will support and pray you through it.

I love my boys. I love looking in the eyes of Aidan and seeing his mother's smile. I love looking in the eyes of Noah and seeing that he has his fathers grin/dimples. I love looking into Tucker and Cade's eyes and know that they have learned the love of father by being in our family. I love looking at Titus and see that he has his mother's beautiful hands. And I love my wife who loves her husband and boys with an unconditional love.

For those of you who receive the blog through the email feed, the video may not come through - but you can view it on the blog at http://www.thelifeoftitus.blogspot.com/.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our Adoption Story

Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday. We are excited to be part of the story tomorrow at our church and to be able to stand together with other families to show what adoption looks like.

But in the process, we wrote out our full adoption story. And while some of you may know/remember all this because you walked through it with us, it's always good to look back and remember all that God has done.

This is our story.

Becky and I were married in 1994. Aidan came along in 1997 and Noah followed 17 months later. After a few years, we wanted to expand our family, but experienced a series of losses and complications.


In October, 2003, Becky and I completed our last round of infertility. After two years of riding the infertility treatment roller-coaster, we had determined that if this last round was not successful, we would explore other options. A few weeks later, we found out that we were not pregnant, and decided at that time to spend some time in prayer seeking the Lord's direction. We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord had called us to having a larger family and we knew that when the Lord calls, the Lord provides.

In January, 2004, we began the adoption process with Dillon International and chose South Korea as the country where we would adopt. We were a little taken aback by the cost for the adoption, but again, we knew that God would provide and as we began the application process and made our initial payments, the money was there. During 2004, international adoptions were moving smoothly and quickly, and we were told that we could have a referral as soon as 4-6 months after we completed our homestudy. We completed all the paperwork, medical work, and homestudy as quickly as we could so we could get on the referral list for a little boy.

At the time, I was a consultant for software company. I absolutely loved my job - It was my dream job. But as the economy began to slow in 2004, the sales pipeline for our business grew to a halt. On June 4, 2004, I received the call that I was laid off with just a few weeks severance. One of my first thoughts was how would this affect our adoption. We were about to hit that window of time when we would be receiving a referral, and along with the referral would be a large payment due towards the adoption. Plus, due to all the processes of adoption, I had to show that I was employed to complete an adoption. I was fearful that the money we had saved up for the adoption would have to be used for living expenses. And, I was worried that the loss of job could postpone the entire adoption for an indefinite period of time.
Two weeks after being laid off, I received a call from a former co-worker to work as a project manager for an implementation project for the summer. I didn't have the specific qualifications for the job, but this man was assured that I had the skills to complete the job. He asked me to come in for interview, but also told me to be prepared to stay the day and start work. I drove downtown the following Monday unsure that I could handle this job, but also knowing that I would never know what I could do if I didn't take a few risks and take a step of faith.

I accepted the position and began work immediately for the next 12 weeks. During that time, God provided abundantly. On the 2nd to last day of the contract job, we received a phone call from the adoption agency asking us to consider the referral of a little 6-wk old boy who had been born a few weeks premature. We knew immediately upon reviewing the paperwork that this was our son and the next morning we accepted the referral and received an email with his pictures attached. This was the first time we saw our Tucker Paul.

 

And, here's the "rest of the story" . . . not only did we have all the money we needed to finish paying off the adoption, but I had made enough money during those 12 weeks to pay ALL of our adoption expenses (including all the money we had already paid) and pay all our living expenses at the time.
What an opportunity we had to teach Aidan and Noah Psalm 37:25 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” and Phil 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” For us, it was a living testimony that when God calls, God Provides.
Through a series of changes in policy and timing, it was 6 months before we could bring Tucker home (at the time, children were coming home 6-8 weeks after the referral). Those were the longest 6 months - everyday was an anticipation of "could this be the day we get our travel call". Finally, 28 weeks after our referral, we got the call that we could travel to Seoul to pick up Tucker. We finalized our trip plans quickly and left within a few days for Seoul, Korea. Becky and I were able to visit Tucker the day after we arrived. We couldn't keep our hands off of him - he was a promise fulfilled, a living, breathing, healthy, baby boy that our hearts had ached for - and he really didn't want to have anything to do with us. The night we received him, he cried (more like wailed) for over 2 hours. He cried, Becky cried, I cried - all I could think was this was going to be a very long flight home. But he had to learn to trust us, and we had to learn all about this little bundle of boy.
As soon as we finalized Tucker's adoption, we began the process to adopt a little girl from China (because Becky was still after a little girl). As I was viewing our agencies website, a picture of a little boy listed as a waiting child appeared after a few months. His eyes haunted me and I kept going back to his picture day after day. I asked Becky to review - she let me know there was no need - we were getting a girl from China. I was persistent week after week, and Becky finally agreed to review his medical records. This little boy was a waiting child due to medical issues - and issues that could become larger problems as the child grew older. We had several doctors review and we all prayed diligently and knew that this little boy was indeed going to be a "Daily boy". He would only be 4 months younger than Tucker, meaning we were going to have "virtual twins". So 14 months after traveling to Korea to get Tucker, we found ourselves back in Seoul to pick up Cade.


 
We met with Cade everyday we were in Korea. He was 19 months old at the time and absolutely refused to let us have anything to do with him. He would not let us hold him, would not sit on our lap, would not play with us, and would scream and cry if we were left alone with him. The day we left Korea with Cade, he kicked, screamed, bit, yelled and basically fought us as hard as he can. Cade's transition was more difficult, but we grew to love him, and he grew to love us.

We know and acknowledge that we are a conspicuous family. We know people look at us and point. We are different: we have 5 boys, we have two boys adopted from South Korea, we have a boy with special needs. But we want people to know that families come in all shapes in sizes. It's not DNA that makes a family - and nowhere does it state in the Bible that families must look alike (As I tell my boys, I don't look anything like their mother). And it's a joy and privilege to see how my "Daily boys" love each other, cheer each other on, and are each other's best friends. It's amazing to see how God can put a family together. It's not what I expected when I married Becky. I never dreamed we would have 5 children and still want more, but God moves in mysterious ways.
When we adopted Tucker and Cade, I learned the love of an adoptive father - to love a child not of my blood, but of my heart; to love a child that didn't immediately love me back; to love a child that was chosen to be part of my family. And, as I stood in front of the judge the day we finalized their adoption, and the judge asked me "will you love this child forever - because what you are doing is irrevocable", I realized that yes, I will love this child forever - and the same goes with God's love. His love for me is irrevocable and He promises to love me forever. It's been over 6 years since we started our adoption journey. I can honestly tell you when I look at my family, I see my boys. I do not see the color of the skin or their eyes, I do not see what makes each one different, but I see what makes us all one. We are FAMILY - they are my Daily boys.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Coming Home Tonight

Titus should be coming home in the next hour. They have been turning his oxygen over the last 24 hours and getting him back to acceptable levels - and the rocephin and steriods seem to have taken care of the infection.

We are constantly amazed and thankful for friends and family who immediately surround us during these times and help keep our household going (especially since Paul was in Atlanta). We are blessed. Blessed with family, blessed with friends, blessed with a praying church, blessed with Aidan, blessed with Noah, blessed with Tucker, blessed with Cade, and blessed with Titus.

As Paul states in Romans 1:8 "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you . . . "

Also, this weekend is Orphan Sunday. I plan on sharing our adoption story on the blog in the next few days. We will also be standing together as family on Sunday to show the world what adoption looks like. So keep checking back.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In for a Tuneup

For those that follow Becky and I on FaceBook, you know we posted last night that Titus is went to the hospital yesterday.

Titus received his flu shot last month, but had a reaction a few days later. The doctor put him on a heavy duty antibiotic for a couple of weeks. During that time, Titus has also been teething with some of his molars coming in. And as you know, with new teeth, comes lots of secretions and sometimes fever (and very funny poo). But as Titus finished the antibiotic, his fevers were still there and his breathing was becoming more and more labored. We kept turning his oxygen, but as we have noticed in the past, once we get to a certain point, it's just time to go to the hospital since it generally means there's an underlying issue that needs to be resolved.

When I left for Atlanta yesterday, Titus was "ok", but not stellar. He didn't have a great night and had a small fever. Becky took him to the doctor that morning to have him checked out and they had him go to the lab for blood to be drawn to see what his numbers looked like.

That afternoon, before the labs came back, Becky decided to go ahead and take him down to Medical City - all the signs were there that he needed to be in the hospital. And, the beauty of Medical City is that since we have spent so much time there, they immediately took him back to a room in the ER, and then started working on getting him checked into a room on the Peds floor. With a few hours, Titus was in a room, had an IV going with some antibiotics and steriods, and was settling in. He had a good night (but his oxygen is also turned up to 2 liters), and we anticipate he will be there for a few days.

The ironic thing is, he's still such a happy child. Except for a little crankiness, you wouldn't know he's sick.

As in the past, our family and friends have kicked in to care for the boys and keep things running smoothly since I'm in Atlanta till Thursday (although I'm not sure who is feeding Quita).

BTW, we had a fun time this weekend. We have a great neighborhood and had a block party this weekend.
Here's some pics from the weekend. And Cade celebrated his 7th birthday last week.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busy Summer

It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of summer (and 40+ days of 100+ temps in Dallas) and I have only blogged once. In some ways, there hasn't been much to write about, and then again, we have been incredibly busy. So here's a quick synopsis of summer so far!
  • Aidan, Noah, and Becky all went to Xtreme Youth Camp in June. They had a great time and Becky survived dorm life with 60 junior high girls. (I think she came back very thankful she has boys).
  • Tucker & Cade thoroughly enjoy Backyard Bible Clubs while Aidan and Noah helped out. They didn't even notice it was so hot since they were having so much fun.
  • Aidan and Noah served in Mission McKinney. Aidan helped dig up posts at the McKinney Housing Authority while Noah cleared brush at a local horse therapy center.
  • Noah went to Arkansas as part of the Trailblazers Mission trip with a hundred other junior high students. He thoroughly enjoyed during yardwork and sharing his testimony on Sunday morning at the church he visited.
  • Tucker & Cade were ring-bearers in their cousin Jeremy's wedding to his new bride Lauren. (Jeremy was a ring-bearer at Becky and I's wedding 17 years ago). Aidan & Noah ushered, and Titus was quiet during the entire ceremony.
  • Our family vacation to Jacksonville, FL and Charleston, SC was full of fun and adventure (including car troubles in Mobile, AL and being pulled over in Meridian, MS because the rooftop carrier was bouncing.) We enjoyed the beach, our friends, good food, and good times. (And spent 4 days in the car together)
  • Paul delivered a keynote address at the Growing Families International Family Conference in Charleston. His 'Raising Daniels in a Technological Babylon' was well received and he's had the opportunity to deliver it several times in Ohio in August.
  • A second family vacation in August took us to Ohio to visit good friends (and escape the heat). The boys went 4-wheeling, corn-picking, cow-milking, and hay-tossing with friends.
  • From Ohio, Becky traveled to MI (with another car breakdown - same issue as in Mobile, AL) and is still in MI with her sister with the boys. She'll be attending the Life Action Ministries 40th Reunion this weekend. The boys have canoed, kayaked, picked grapes and peaches, been to the county fair, and shivered in the cooler weather.
  • Aidan took his first solo flight home from MI to start THEO (the Home Educators Outsource). He will be attending 2 days a week this semester.
  • Titus has been a super trouper with all the travel and sleeping arrangements this summer. Except for an ear infection, he has had a great summer. He LOVES being in the pool and LOVES the DVD player in the car (when it works). He is such a funny traveler and reaches over to grab Aidan or Noah if they are not paying attention to him.
  • Tucker & Cade have started 1st grade - and the beauty of homeschool is that when the books arrive in the middle of the summer, you can go ahead and start doing a few lessons on those hot summer days when it's too hot to go outside. They are enjoying being 1st graders.
  • Tucker is signed up to play flag football this fall. He cannot wait - and I will say, the boy can throw a perfect spiral.
  • Noah started football practice prior to going to Ohio - nothing like practicing in full pads when it's 105 outside. He will be playing 6-man football this year and can't wait. This year, he's not the tallest kid on the team (and I think that makes him a little more comfortable hitting people). My 5'8",180lb, size 11.5 shoe, 2nd boy son turned 13 this summer. We now have 2 teenagers in the house (and I"m enjoying the time now before they both start driving).
  • Tucker turned 7 in July - quite a milestone for my little charmer who is taking hours from my life with his exploits. Tucker is all boy and 'oh-boy' does he make life interesting.
  • Becky and I celebrated our 17th year of marriage right after I turned 50 this July. It's funny, I don't feel 50 years old, nor does it seem like we've been married for 17 years.
  • Our annual 4th of July trip to our friend's lake house in Cedar Creek is alway a highlight. Even with the water very, very, low, Noah still got his birthday morning jet-ski ride.
  • Aidan has learned to water-ski, along with his knee-boarding. And Tucker is also knee-boarding behind the boat - while I have learned that knee-boarding is not on my list of talents.
  • Vanessa, our night-time nurse for the last 3 years, moved to Atlanta. It was hard to see her go. We now have Ada (who makes Titus laugh everytime she walks in). God is good to bless Titus with great nurses. Ada stated the first night she was there as a temporary nurse to fill in - but she said by midnight the first night she had fallen in love with Titus and had to stay on and care for him.
In between all of that, we did our best to stay cool during the heat. As fun as it has all been, I think we are all ready for some schedule and routine with school starting. Titus will be attending school 5-days a week this year. I'm sure it will wear him out the first few weeks, but he really enjoys school. I think the biggest challenge will be getting him (or us) out the door at 7:20am this morning.

I told the boys this summer that I know traveling with Titus can be challenging. It's a lot of work to travel with a special needs child and all the equipment and oxygen. But Titus, like all my boys, is family. And as family, this is what we do. And I love that my boys never complain about the work and extra effort that it sometimes takes to travel with Titus. I want them to know, life is what you make of it, life is the opportunities you use that are presented with you, life is a choice to make the best of all situations, life is meant to be lived and experienced.

While driving to OH last week, we drove through Cincinnati - right past the Children's Hospital where we spent those critical days in Nov, 10. A part of me wanted to stop and shows them how Titus is doing. I wanted them to see a little boy who is happy, content, and with his family; not at home with a trach and vent. I wanted them to see a boy who is taking steps in his walker not confined to a bed. I wanted them to see a boy who can roll around the floor to get to the toys he wants, not a child tethered to a machine.

And then I realized, we never really know what life will be, but we do know the One who holds tomorrow.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Road Again

As sure as I state I would post more often, I don't.

But, since I'm on vacation this week - and since I'm sitting in a hotel room in Mobile, Alabama on a little unexpected detour, I thought tonight would be as good as any. We are headed out to Jacksonvill, Florida to visit friends, before heading up to Charleston, SC for the Growing Families International Conference.

And while driving through Mobile today, we thought we would stop and see the USS Alabama battleship and give us a chance to stretch our legs. And, because life is always an adventure, the Suburban wouldn't start when we all got back in. We tried jumping it - but nothing. But, from some further investigation, it doesn't look like the battery (we replaced that on last summer's vacation in Indiana - on Labor Day). It could be a fuse, it could be the starter. But, since the DVD player went out an hour before - and the boys described a loud pop, I have a feeling a fuse or wiring might be askew.

And, yes, that's the DVD player we replaced this week that was still under warranty. The boys are going to have a real LONG trip if that's not fixed, but we did listen to the Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy today.

Your prayers are appreciated - and as I told the boys, it's not the actions, but sometimes our reactions that are important. These things do happen - we just got to roll with it.

I should also mention, the weekend started with our trip to Waco to see our nephew Jeremy marry his bride, Lauren. The four oldest boys were in the wedding: Aidan and Noah ushering, Tucker and Cade ring-bearing. We drove down to Waco on Friday, but back in the hotel after rehearsal dinner, we noticed several important items for Titus missing, so I drove back to Dallas that night to pick them up. As I said, these things do happen.

Titus has been doing great! Even with all the traveling and being out of routine, he is a trouper. He is so flexible with different sleeping arrangements/spaces, and just rolls over and goes right to sleep - although at the moment, he's been fascinated with the texture on the wall and keeps stroking it, but he's about to nod off.

And, I'll be speaking at the Growing Families conference on Thursday morning - and then Becky and I will deliver a workshop with our dear friends, Mike & Jody on Thursday and Friday. We so love speaking with Mike and Jody - where else can you get to hear a choleric, sanguine, melancholy, and phlegmatic speak together. We don't even care if anyone shows up - the 4 of us will have a blast.

Will post more later (if I have internet capability).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Answered Prayers

Titus evaluation under anesthetic went smoothly yesterday. His pressures are a little high but the doctor is not too concerned. But the overwhelming answer to prayer was that Titus came out from under the anesthesia quickly and with no problems. Within 2 hours, they were in the car and headed to the K's house.

Becky called this morning to say he had a "normal" night - which means the alarms went off a few times due to desat's, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Thanks so much for all the prayers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Know . . . I Know

I know I stated in the last update that I would update more often since I hadn't in awhile.

But, after struggling with a virus on my computer, which led to a total re-build and new OS (and no laptop for a few days), and then a week of vacation (where I swore I would NOT be on my laptop), the weeks have flown by.

Here's a quick update of what all has gone on.

We took a small "staycation" before Memorial Day and spent a few days at Great Wolf Lodge here in town. Since the boys have finished their homeschool (but public schools were still in session), the water park at Great Wolf was not crowded. This meant we could ride all the slides as often as we wanted. It also meant we could climb the 6-7 stories of stairs without any stops as quickly as we could. For some reason, the boys don't seem to get winded climbing 6 flights of stairs 10 times in a row.

The next week, Aidan, Noah, and Becky left for Xtreme Camp with the church youth group. For the next 4 days, I only got scattered emails and 2 short phone calls that she sneaked in, but when I picked them up at midnight on Tuesday, all 3 were talking non-stop. They had a blast spiritually and physically. While they were gone, I kept Tucker, Cade, and Titus for the weekend, then Tucker and Cade went camping with MeeMaw and PeePaw (so they felt like they went to camp too). They had a great time - and Cade summed it up with the statement "We went hiking through the graveyard, but no one was there!"

That left me to care for Titus for 2 days. Although the nurse came at night, it was just him and me for a few days. We went to therapy, doctor's appt., to the store, etc. I realized going to the store takes more effort than I remember since you can't really push his stroller and a cart at the same time - so everything had to fit in a basket. It did make me realize all the work/effort Becky goes through every day with him while I am at work.

After a very busy weekend, Becky and the boys left this morning for Houston. Titus has an evaluation under anesthesia with his pediatric opthmalogist. Several months back, Titus had his annual appointment with the opthmalogist, but they could not get accurate pressures on his eyes while he was awake (and squirming) so this appointment is to go back and review that while he is under anesthesia. As a reminder, Titus had pediatric glaucoma and this doctor has done two surgeries on Titus' eyes when Titus was so young.

Our concerns are always with Titus going under anesthetic - what should be routine for most can take hours (and sometimes days) to get Titus back to normal. The last time we put Titus under was at Cincinnati Children's in December 09 for an evaluation and we ended up in the PICU for 4 days. Becky is prepared to stay at the hospital if needed, but we are praying that Titus is healthier/stronger now that it will just be a few hours today.

The boys will be staying with our friends in Lake Jackson - (you know, our friends with 5 kids - cause when you have 5, what's 5 more - right?) For them, this is their second summer vacation and they were so excited. (And Mike/Jody - as far as I know, Tucker did NOT sneak the rabbit in the car this morning, so need to worry about more baby rabbits being passed on from our household).

I'll update with more as I hear it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cupcakes

I know . . . I know.

I haven't blogged much lately. I've been getting the comments from people, so I'll try to comply and be a bit more timely in my updates.

Last Friday, Titus made cupcakes for Becky for Mother's Day. But, the story behind the little cupcake that came home was quite humorous.

Many of Titus' toys are "switch" activated. This means, Titus will hit a type of switch (usually large and round) and the switch will activate a light/sound/fan. Titus learns how to work these toys pretty quickly at school.

His teacher, Ms. Lindsey, activated a switch to a blender for them to make cupcakes. Each of the 3 children took turns hitting the switch to turn the blender on and mix the cake batter. After the batter was mixed, Ms. Lindsey raised the beaters from the blender . . . and Titus reached over and hit the switch.

Yes (just like a Curious George episode) batter went flying over the room, over the teacher, over Titus. It just goes to show, you got to keep your eye on these visually-impaired kids. You never know what they are going to do.

Here's a few pictures of Becky with her incredible boys. She is an amazing mom and an incredible encourager to other Mom's. When you read this, please pray for her as she leads her GEMS group tonight.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Gloriously Ruined

I love a good story.
I love a great blog.
And I love to see how God moves people in such a way that their life is never the same. The life of comfort and ease that they have grown accustomed to is changed . . . it's ruined . . . gloriously ruined.

Our family has several friends that have had their lives ruined forever. One family has just returned from South Africa where they served faithfully for the last 2 years at Ft. White. And another family just returned from Ethiopia where they were able to put "skin" on their dreams when they got to see their new daughter for the first time. And the other is a young single woman who is devoted her life to caring for orphans in Uganda - we've never met her, but her blog and story has moved us.

So for Philip and Becky, Eric and Laura, and Mandy, I write this for you.

You have been gloriously ruined. You will never take for granted a paved road, a stocked grocery store, consistent electricity, a full tank of gas (even at $4/gallon). You will never see life through the rose-colored, self-centered, materialistic lens that have become so comfortably ensconced on the faces of most Americans. You now realize that the pursuit of the "American Dream" is a bit useless when the rest of world has so little to call their very own. And when you look at people, you no longer see the color of their skin, but only the light in their eyes.

You now know that it doesn't matter how much dirt you can carry in on your shoes at the end of the day - cleanliness is NOT next to godliness, but godliness is wrapped in how willing we are to get dirty.

You have taught me that God moves in very mysterious ways. Sometimes that includes selling all you have to move to South Africa for several years; sometimes that means opening up your heart and home to child on the other side of the world; sometimes it means caring for children and babies with HIV and bringing home one more baby to care for when your house is already full.

You have been willing to put up discomfort, pain, financial difficulty, (home)sickness, and loss of all the comforts that I so easily enjoy. You have even had days without a consistent, high-speed connection to the internet. And yet, you survived, you persevered, you learned, and you have grown. And I would wager that the life and dreams you thought you had so gloriously planned for yourself (and family) has been ruined because you answered one simple question. You said "Yes" when God said "Go!"

You have taught me that life is meant to be ruined . . . gloriously ruined for the sake of following Christ and not following self.

Philip and Becky - I know you have left a part of your heart in South Africa. But the example you have shown of a family that is fully sold out to God has changed lives all over the world.

Eric and Laura - I eagerly anticipate the day that your beautiful daughter is in your arms forever.

Mandy - I have never met you, but your words/pictures and dedication to the orphans in Uganda breaks my heart every time. You are the hands and feet of Jesus in a world full of disease and poverty.

Thank you for reminding me that's what life is all about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Quiet Evening

This is one of those busy months. It seems like we have something almost every night for the last week and coming up for the next few weeks. With Titus in the hospital last week, then the wedding over the weekend, this week was looking to be packed every evening.

But Becky re-arranged her GEMS meeting to next Tuesday so that we could have tonight off. . . just family . . . with nowhere we had to be. I left work earlyl to make sure I get home early enough to enjoy the evening (althougth I did have to stop at the bank and the dry cleaners). I walk in and dinner is out on the back porch - pork chops, rice, and broccoli were a perfect complement to the 78 degrees and nice evening. After dinner, I sat and held Titus while the kids played in the backyard.

After 30 minutes of nice conversation with my wife, we had just gotten up to begin clearing off the table when I hear those familiar sounds - a child's cry - the type of cry that means "I'm hurt", followed by another child immediately apologizing then saying "Tucker, run to dad NOW."

And as Tucker is running to me, I see the trickle of blood running down his face. I have him remove his hands and look at his eyebrow which has a nice gash and I knew - "yep- that's about 2 stitches worth".

I pick him up, take him to the bathroom while telling Becky to get prepared to take him to the ER (with specific instructions to take him to the one that takes our insurance and not the one who "says" they take our insurance, but their doctors who bill out through another agency do not.) I clean off Tucker's wound, put a rag with ice on it to for Tucker to hold there and then get Tucker to the car along with Noah. I stop for moment, hold him close, and pray in his ear for courage and strength to be brave. By now, the bleeding has stopped, but the gash is still pretty big.

Becky calls me on the way and questions "do we really need stitches, or can we just butterfly it and see how it goes?" to which I reply, "this is Tuck's 2nd trip to the ER for stitches in 6 months and at this rate, he's going to have the nickname Scarface by high school." Reason wins out, and off they go to Children's Legacy campus.

A few hours later, Tuck calls me to let me know he was brave and on his way home with 2 stitches.

And, that my friends, is a quiet evening in the Daily household.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wedding Weekend

Titus has been home for several days, and he is doing quite well. As in the past, as soon as we put Titus in the car at the hospital, he started smiling and babbling. And as soon as we walked into the house, he knew he was home and was so excited and happy to be home. Becky had arranged for nursing care to be there for the next 72 hours, and that has been a great help in letting Becky get some rest.



Tucker, Cade, and myself have also came down with the same virus as Titus has. Tucker and Cade keep running a fever off and on. I only had fever for a day, but now it's settled in my eyes and throat. It looks like I have pink eye and my throat is still pretty sore. So we've been a pretty sick lot around here.

But, it was also a wedding weekend. My oldest nephew, Nathan, married his lovely bride Bailey last night. I volunteered my 'floral' services to my sister for the rehearsal dinner on Friday night and spent most of Thursday/Friday getting things ready for that party. Thursday morning, my delivery of fresh roses, gerber daisy's, tulips, hydrangeas, and lily's arrived. The house smelled wonderful. Friday afternoon, everything was setup with enough votive candles to light a bonfire for a beautiful and tasty rehearsal dinner.





Saturday, we rested as much as we could, and then drove downtown for the wedding. As much as we wanted to take Titus, we knew it was best for him to stay home. All the boys got dressed up and Becky was smoking in her new blue dress. Tucker and Cade rallied enough to attend the wedding, but we sent them home prior to the reception. The reception was the Hickory Creek Annex, and old, converted warehouse downtown. We had an awesome bar-b-que catered by Eddie Dean and then watched as the dancing began - even Aidan and Noah (and my mother joined in). I have to admit - I have NEVER seen my sister or my mother dance.








And in 3 months, we get to do it again when Jeremy, our other nephew marries Lauren in Waco.

Nathan and Bailey - congratulations! It was a beautiful and fun weekend.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Home Again

It was a very crazy and rushed day yesterday and I didn't get the chance to post. Titus was released to come from the hospital yesterday. By the time I was able to get down there, get Titus loaded up, and make it home, It was closer to 8pm.

Tucker, Cade, Noah, & Aidan were all so glad to see him. Quita was finally calm and has not left his side (or bed).

Tucker and Cade are still fighting the same fever that Titus had, and I have been fighting it the past few days. It's been a long time since I felt this miserable, so I can only imagine how Titus has felt over the last week.

We are so fortunate and loved. Becky has worked out 24X7 nursing care for the next few days at home.

And, it's also a wedding weekend! My oldest nephew, Nathan is marrying his beautiful bride, Bailey tomorrow. Everyone is resting up so that we can enjoy the celebration tomorrow. (I even gave Tucker dancing lessons with the reminder - "put your hand on her hip, not her thigh).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Medical City: Day 6

Titus continues to make small strides of improvement, but he's just not quite there yet. His fever comes and goes, but he is much more alert like yesterday. I do believe he is getting board with the hospital and would much rather be back in therapy and school.

And because it's just never a dull moment around here, Tucker and Cade and myself are all running fever. Fortunately, Tucker & Cade have stronger immune systems and for now, it's just fever (and feeling lousy). And since it's viral, there's not much to do but rest.

Hi MOM!

If you have met my boys, you know that each one of them have a distinctive personality. And I will admit, each of them make me laugh in their own way. Since the boys haven't seen their Mom too much over the last few days, and since Becky needs her boys, I taped a few videos of them.

And because they make me laugh, I just have to share them.
Here's Aidan and Noah . . .


And here's Tucker & Cade.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Medical City: Day 5

Titus is on day 5 at the hospital (which is Monday by the way). My updates have been hitting later in the evening, so those who get the email update are getting news about a day behind.



Titus did have a better day. He was alert, awake, and more responsive today. He is still running a high fever off and on but his cough is getting better. Today, I was there for at least 45 minutes before he coughed - and considering he was coughing every few minutes, this is a huge improvement. They are still suctioning out some pretty thick gunk though (try not to be to graphic here, but as we know, all mucous is not the same - sometimes it's clear and runny and sometimes it's snot). They did do a deep lung suction this morning for a culture and to see if anything else has developed, but after 3 days of rocephin, any infections should be clearing up.

Since he has a double-whammy virus (as the doctors have named it), it has to run it's course. And, like most viruses, they have their own timetable. They have put Titus on a constant slow feed, so he's getting his nutrition and is tolerating it (unlike last week when he just wasn't digesting).

But, it was good today to walk in and see him awake, playing with his toys, and alert. You could tell he's feeling a bit better.

Thanks to all for the prayers, support, and food.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Medical City: Day 4

Titus is making slow progress, but is showing some improvement. He still has a strong cough, but it's not as frequent. His oxygen has been turned down from 2 liters to 1 liter. And he has been tolerating small feeds today. By the end of the day, they have brought him back to full feeds to see how he is doing.

He is still running a fever off and on, but this is all just part of the virus. He is resting and getting some sleep, but you can tell he just doesn't feel good. Titus did give Becky a smile this morning, but he just isn't interested in playing with toys - he just wants to rest.

So, today was a quiet, restful day for him.

Meanwhile, today was Go and Be - our church's annual Sunday in which "the church leaves the building". We were involved in the Garage Giveaway this weekend. Aidan and Noah helped with unloading donations and setup on Friday and Saturday, and then today, Aidan and Noah left the house at 6:30am to help with setup and loading. I was up there yesterday with the boys and as I left, the thought that kept going through my head was "the church in action". This is what the church really is - not sitting in a building on Sundays, but out in the community serving. And, I am so proud of my boys learning to serve and make a difference in their world. They are developing a servant's heart. I love watching them serve, I love to serve them, and I love to see the church in the action.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Medical City: Day 3

This is the 3rd down at Medical City. Titus has parainfluenza and adenovirus - a double whammy as the doctor describes it. In laymans terms, the flu and upper respiratory infection. His constant coughing is slowing down and he is only coughing every 5-10 minutes and not crying after each cough (that went on for 2 days).

Titus is on an IV to keep him hydrated and they are also giving him meds through the IV (rocephin - which is pretty high-powered). As the doctor said, rocephin should wipe out any infections he has going on, but since the flu/adenovirus are more viral, they have to run their course.

Becky is noticing a slight improvement each day - and starting yesterday, Titus was able to rest and sleep more. His fever is still intermittent, but at least he is more comfortable.

We anticipate he will be down at Medical City several more days. We know that he will need to be back down on his normal dose of oxygen and back to full, g-tube feeds before they let him go home - and we haven't even started that process yet.

We appreciate the prayers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back at Medical City

Titus has been sick since last Friday. What started out as a small fever has turned into increase secretions and a non-stop hacking cough. Becky took him to the ER on Wednesday, but the doctor didn't admit him at that time. After another night of hacking and no sleep, Becky took him back to the pediatrician who admitted him to the hospital today.

What has been determined is that his blood work is showing an infection - but they aren't sure at this point if it's viral or bacterial. We will know more tomorrow. He was a bit dehydrated so an IV has been started and he is getting fluids - but that is also leading to an increase in secretions when he coughs. He is not getting a lot of sleep - maybe 30 minutes at a time.

Titus has never been a crying baby, but when he coughs, you can tell it hurts, and he begins to cry. It hurts my heart to hear it and there isn't much consoling him. I know the nurses have held/consoled him for the last few nights.

Becky is staying with him tonight at the hospital. We really want some guidance from the doctors and some direction on what they feel is wrong so the right course can be taken. We would appreciate your prayers for comfort, healing, and discernment for the medical staff treating him. I would also appreciate some prayers for Becky while she is staying with him. She isn't getting much rest.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Steps

Watch this video of Titus in his walker. You have to watch his feet carefully, but you will see how he works to pick up and move each foot. It is a blessing to have a gait trainer at home now so he can practice everyday instead of just twice a week.

So proud of my little man and how hard he works.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dinner at Woody's




This past weekend, we drove down to Lake Jackson, TX to visit friends and be in town for Titus' pediatric opthmalogist appointment on Monday. It's a good 6 hour drive with no traffic and we always plan to stop at Woody's which is exactly 1/2 way on our trip.

Woody's (exit 164 on I-45) is a hole-in-the-wall gas station and bar-b-que joint that also sells all manner of homemade jelly, pickled vegetables and candy. It's one of the those places where they just pile the meat on wax paper and sell it by the pound.

We got 1 pork chop, 1/2 lb of brisket, 3 ribs, plus the requisite beans, onions, pickles and sweet tea and sat down at the long picnic tables for our meal. As with any good bar-b-que place, you just got to eat with your hands which is why there are plenty of paper towels on each table.

As we are finishing the meal, Becky asked for some unsweet tea and some artificial sweetner.

Tucker handed Becky a basket of packets on the table and said, "Mom, here's some sugar packets".

To which Noah loudly replied in a loud, emphatic (but very innocent) voice, "NO, those are sanitary napkins!!!".

Becky quietly and gently stated "No, honey, those are moist toilettes" - of which I had to use several to clean up the tea I spurted out from laughing so hard.

And sweet Noah, he still has no idea what he said.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Open House

Tonight was Open House at the Early Childhood School. And even though the boys all take turns going with Becky to drop off or pick up Titus at school, they haven't had the chance to visit the classroom. So the entire clan, plus my parents, showed up to visit his classroom and meet his teacher.

Titus classroom is so interactive. There is a huge light box that he can play in, a ball pit, large swing, and lots of toys that provide all sorts of visual or auditory or sensory stimulation. Titus teacher, Ms Lindsey, played a video of Titus at music class. He really loves the harpsichord and the drums.

Titus has 2 other students in his classroom in the morning along with 2 aides that assist the teacher and numerous therapists that are in and out during the day. And Titus LOVES school. From the moment we walked in the door, he was smiling and making noises. He knew where he was. And, we will admit - school for him has been more than we have ever imagined it would be. He comes home so tired, but his stamina to be alert during school has really improved (he does occassionally take a 15 minute cat nap during school).

Thank you Ms Lindsey for teaching, caring, and loving on Titus.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good Eats

Of the many different types of therapy Titus has on a weekly basis, feeding therapy is one of them. Since Titus was unable to take a bottle or nurse when born and due to the surgeries with his jaw and cleft palate, Titus has had to learn how to swallow. You might think that's one of those skills that is easy to learn, but it's truly a complex skill of learning how to take something in your mouth and use your tongue in the correct way to actually swallow something.

Over the years, the feeding therapists have worked with Titus to stimulate his mouth and tongue to do the correct actions. After all this work, he may only take a few bites - probably never more than 1 or 2 tablespoons.

So you can imagine how surprised we were when his teacher and therapist at school came out this week to tell us that Titus ate a whole jar of baby food - a WHOLE JAR! And then the next day at school, ate a whole mashed up banana. Now, he is gravitated to fruits (or sweet potatoes), but the fact he ate a whole jar at one sitting for our little boy is amazing. He hasn't done it for us at home yet - although I did get him to eat some peaches this weekend, but it's those baby steps of progress that we love to see.

And tomorrow is a long-awaited day in our household. Titus should have his gait trainer delivered to the house. This will allow him to practice his walking everyday.

I realize I haven't posted much lately. But there are lots of little things and improvements going on. We are blessed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mr. Titus Goes to Austin

Becky, her mom, and the boys got back home around 9:45pm last night. I haven't received a full report, but here's what I know.

On Sunday, after Becky decided to go, it was a furious display of activity while everyone prepared. Aidan, Tucker, and Cade washed the Suburban after they had packed their bags. Becky "fretted" a bit about what to wear and finally settled on her combination of clothing and jewelry (had to show a little bling). Meanwhile, I worked on finding them a hotel that was reasonable in cost/distance from the capitol.

Once all were packed, they took off around 4:30pm on Sunday - arriving at 9pm in Austin. Upon arrival, Becky discovered her luggage was missing and in fact, still sitting in the master bathroom. She looked up and the "promised land" was across the street (Target) and was still open. She and Aidan made a very quick shopping trip where she purchased the basics (and the "heaviest earrings ever" which kept falling off.)

While she was traveling, she asked me to write up the testimony to present since a written copy is generallly left behind. I worked on that and Becky edited upon arrival.

On Monday, Becky had to be at the hearing room by 7am to sign-up to testify. After enrolling, Becky, her mom, and all 5 boys then showed up at 9:30am for the hearing and testimonies. Becky wasn't called up to testify around 11am. (And yes - that means all the boys were occupied during the two hours to wait).

Becky was able to speak to how services provided from the state of TX through various programs dealing with Deaf / Blind children have been incredibly beneficial for Titus. She pleaded with them to not cut funding for these programs since they are vital to the health and quality of life for Titus and other deaf/blind children.

After her testimony, and on the way to lunch, they caught a glimpse of Governor Rick Perry, saw the Pony Express ride up to the capitol to present a proclamation, and Tucker climbed the rail next to a very rare painting and gave the security guard a heart attack (I'm sure he won't do that again).

During the afternoon, Becky had the opportunity to also testify at another hearing or go visit the Texas School for the Blind - and honestly - this is where my update ends. I'm not sure which she decided to do and the next quick call I got was that they were headed out on the road to come home. They got home last night around 9:45pm - all quite exhausted except for Titus who was ready to play since he was out of the car seat. I took care of getting Titus to bed and as I was finishing up, the night nurse showed up, and it was lights out for the rest of us.

Becky has pictures and more to say - but I'll have to get that from her tonight.

Thanks for all your prayers. I know some people thought we were absolutely crazy to drop and go like that, but we are learning that if we are not an advocate for Titus, no one else will be. And, it's also about obedience. When you hear the call, you have a choice. You can sit around and discuss/debate about it for hours/days/weeks (and possibly miss the opportunity) or blindly obey and receive the blessing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Testify!

While sitting at lunch after church today, Becky looked at me and said "Don't think I'm crazy, but I just got an email and they need families to speak at the Tx House of Representatives Appropriations Committee tomorrow as they review budgets for deaf/blind children. Can I take the boys and go?"

And I said "sure - what a great opportunity".

And that's our life in a nutshell - you got to be flexible when opportunities come up.

And I know my mom is thinking "See - all those times I told you to "play it by ear" are now paying off."

The boys are excited to stay in a hotel. Becky and I are excited that they will get to see the state government at work. But most of all, I'm excited that my wife will get the opportunity to be an advocate  - not just for Titus, but for all the kids in TX that have disabilities. There are approx. 700 kids in the TX school system that are deaf/blind. And we are very fortunate to live in Dallas where we receive great services from the Division of Blind Services and other related agencies. And, as you have heard, the TX state budget is looking at a $10 billion shortfall. There are numerous places they are looking to trim the budget - education being one of the biggest targets.

Our prayer is that Becky will represent our family and all families who live with a child with special needs and receive services offered from the state. These services are vital to the life and education of our children. So join me in praying for her tomorrow as she shows up at 7am to be part of the open testimony period.

(Right now, she's more worried about what to wear than what to say - you know my Beck - never at a loss of words, but she keeps asking me "what does one wear to an appropriations committee meeting?"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Down to Me

Last weekend, with all the boys sick, Becky and I were thankful that we had not caught anything. But last night, the stomach virus hit Becky. As you can imagine, I am now paranoid that I am the only one remaining who has not gotten sick.

I've yet to understand why stomach virus's wait to hit till 10pm at night. And I swear this virus has a timer that goes off every hour for 4-5 hours. Poor Beck  - we have been keeping her in bed today and making sure she gets her rest.

Titus is slowly improving, but still has a hacky cough and secretions. As soon as I say his fever goes away, he starts a small fever. So, I'll just say, he's making improvement.

We are now going on our 3rd day of being house-bound due to the icy roads and below-freezing temps. It has not gotten any where close to above freezing since Tuesday morning. And now they are saying there's a possibility of snow tomorrow before the temps rise for the weekend.

My theory is that Dallas is doing everything they possible can to keep the Green Bay Packers feeling "at home" with the cold temps. But yesterday, it was actually to cold for even the Packers to practice outside. So they used the Highland Park High School indoor stadium for practice. (And for those outside of Texas - yes, we have High Schools that have indoor football practice facilities.)

Thanks for the prayers and concern.

And - GO PACKERS!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brrrr - It is COLD!

If you are in the USA, then you know we are experiencing quite a winter. And right now, it's 13 degrees in Dallas and I have several inches of ice covering my driveway (and all the roads) with a light dusting of snow. And, it's not suppose to be above freezing for the next few days.

Let's just say, it's really putting a damper on the Super Bowl events planned all over the city this week. But, should be all warmed up by the weekend. But at least, it's keeping the Packers acclimated so they are ready to beat the Steelers on Sunday.

A quick update on all the illness - Cade is still running a fever, Noah and Aidan are still coughing, and Titus is still hacking/coughing with thick congestion, but he's not running a fever. With the ice tonight, our night nurse has cancelled. If we can just get everyone to stop coughing, they will all get to sleep.

Monday, January 31, 2011

5 for 5

We hit a new household record this weekend - all 5 boys were sick.

It started Friday with Cade dragging a bit and by Friday night, Tucker was feeling "tired". Saturday morning, Aidan came down for breakfast and looked like death warmed over. Titus had a very low, low fever, but was feeling fine. So, we just kept things quiet around the house and let people rest. Tucker and Noah played in the backyard some making practice swords (since it was an incredible 75 degrees). And, Aidan felt good enough to go to Robin Hood practice - big mistake.

Saturday evening rolls around and things began to hop. Titus' fever goes up and Noah starts to feel ill.  And then Noah and Titus decided to take things to the next level. As soon as we were headed to bed, Noah decides it was time - and he began to throw-up every hour, on the hour for the next several hours. I will say, I'm proud of my boy - he made it to the bathroom each time, and he can definitely barf louder than me.

At the same time, Titus fever is going up. We always know when Titus has a fever, because his heart rate will go up - especially when sleeping. His heart rate was over 150 and he was trying to retch. When Titus was a few months old, he had surger for a nissen - which means a fold in his stomach which prevents him from reflux - but also prevents him from throwing up. But that doesn't mean the impulse a body has to eject is stifled, so we could tell the poor little thing needed to get things "out" of his stomach. Fortunately with the g-tube, we could hook up and empty his stomach out. But, the heart rate was concerning so after consulting the NurseLine, Becky decided a trip to the ER would be best.

As Becky was driving Titus to the ER, he began retching and needed to be suctioned and have his stomach emptied out. Becky didn't even pull over she stopped the car, called 911 and got in the backseat to take care of Titus and wait for the ambulance. Now, it's a bit confusing to an EMT to be looking for a car parked in the middle of the road and Becky could see them cruising the parking lot for her, but she got their attention. They put Titus (carseat and all) in the ambulance and took off with Becky following.

The good thing about showing up in the ER at Medical City Dallas is that they know Titus very well. Within minutes he was in a room and nurses/RT's from past visits were showing up to visit and check on our little guy. He tested negative for the flu, but they gave him some nauseau medicine to help with the retching and within minutes, he was asleep. Becky and Titus were back home by 3am (around the same time that Noah stopped throwing up). By 4am, we were all back in bed and everyone had a few hours of good sleep.

None of the boys felt good on Sunday, so we divided and conquered. Aidan stayed in the media room and watched the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy. Tucker and Cade holed up in the master bedroom and watched Veggie Tales and Toy Story (1/2 in spanish - for some reason, they love the spanish version). And Noah didn't leave the living room sofa for 10 hours while he watched Little House on the Prairie reruns. (boy, that Nellie Olsen is annoying). Titus slept a good portion of the day, but was just not a happy camper.

Becky and I worked to keep everyone hydrated and medicated - and even through it all, I managed to clean out the foyer, polish the door, and repair the broken sofa in the living room.

And we were so blessed to have friends bring us food and gatorade (thank you Mike & Leslie).

As of Monday morning, the boys seemed to be making a little progress. Titus was happy and laughing this morning when I left for work. Cade seemed ok, while Tucker was still complaining his head hurt. Aidan was up and Noah was still in bed. And at this point, Becky and I seem to be ok - tired, but not sick.

Thanks for the prayers.

UPDATE: Becky is taking Titus to the doctor for a look-see this afternoon. He's a little more congested but not running fever and we haven't returned him to a full feeding schedule yet since we want to be sure the "retching" is done with. And, with the winter storm that is to hit Dallas tonight, we would rather have him checked out today in the event we are iced in tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Donors Choose

Becky and I would like to share with you a special website and a way you can make a direct impact on Titus (and his classroom).

As I mentioned in my last post, Titus is a student in Frisco's Early Childhood School. He is in an Active Learning Classroom which means there are numerous items, toys, tools, therapy equipment to help the kids in the classroom learn. This isn't your average classroom by far.

But, as you can also imagine, the costs for all these supplies and equipment is not cheap. We know this first-hand since the toys/equipment for Titus at the house can be quite costly.

Ms. Lindsey, Titus' teacher, has a website where people can donate to the projects she has planned for her classroom. And, you can also see completed projects (with pictures of the kids). In fact, if you look now, you will see Titus and his classmates enjoying the finger painting which was a project funded by DonorsChoose.

Please have a peek at what Ms. Lindsey is planning and if you feel led, you can also have a part!

http://www.donorschoose.org/ellington

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finger Painting

Titus has been enjoying school. He's in the Early Childhood School (ECS) and is in an Active Learning Classroom (ALC). This past week, we had our Admission/Review/Dismissal (ARD) meeting to discuss his Individual Education Plan (IEP). By the time it was over, I felt I had learned more acronyms that when I worked at EDS.  Let's just say, it's a whole 'nother language.

But, we were very pleased with our ARD meeting and the goals/objectives and schedule for Titus. His teacher, along with all the therapist at school, have developed a plan to continue providing Titus with therapy during the school day.

And last Friday, Titus got to finger paint. I think you can tell by the pictures he really enjoyed it! And, he didn't get a drop of paint on him. I'm sure if we had tried this at home, paint would have been everywhere.

And, the lady in picture with Titus is Ms. Lindsey - his teacher. She is a very gifted, patient, and talented instructor with a heart for her kids. We are thankful for her.