Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas craziness :-)...

Well, this has been a rather exciting Christmas for us (this is David writing)!  As many of you know, I took Grace to the ER on Sunday the 21st and she was admitted (for what they assume was RSV despite the fact that she tested negative for it in the ER), but by God's grace she was discharged on Wednesday the 24th, Christmas Eve, at 3:00pm.  Grace's illness all began last Wednesday the 17th, when we took her to the ER the first time, but she was not admitted and was sent home after five or six hours.  The blessing in her not being admitted, even though she was obviously sick, is that I had wonderfully procrastinated completing a very extensive assignment for seminary, which was due on the 18th.  Therefore, I had just enough time on the 18th to get my assignment completed and submitted.  As well as having the opportunity to attend Abigail and Andrew's Christmas parties at school during the day on the 19th.  Then, Grace and I returned to the ER on the 19th and stayed in the ER for 12 hours, waiting for there to be a room available, but as we were waiting for a room Grace began to do better, so they felt comfortable releasing her.  Grace and I got home on the 20th and we were able to go as a family to get Nana Lulu (Kristi's mom) from the airport and have dinner together as a family.  On Sunday the 21st, we had a great day together as a family, wrapped Christmas presents, and then were able to go to the kids Christmas performance at church on Sunday night.  We took two cars to the performance, just in case Grace wasn't doing so well.  Abigail and Andrew did a great job singing their two songs and we (Grace and I) actually got to see their performance this year. Last year we missed the performance, due to an unplanned extended vacation in Boston that lasted a couple months longer than we had expected.  After the kids were done singing, Grace and I left early because she was coughing.  She went to bed that night and as Kristi and I would go in and check on her, her oxygen saturations were down to 76, so we knew we needed to return to the ER for the third time.  All of that to say, even though we had to be in the hospital for 3-4 days right before Christmas, there were little blessings along the way that we are very grateful.  If Grace had been admitted to the hospital the first time we headed to the hospital, then I probably would not have completed my assignment for school, which certainly would not have given me the grade needed in order to pass my class.  I also would have had to miss Abigail and Andrew's Christmas parties at school for the second year in a row.  If Grace had been admitted to the hospital the second time, then Grace and I would have missed Abigail and Andrew's Christmas performance for the second year in a row.  Looking back on the situation, I love to see these little blessings from God.  As small as the Christmas performances and parties are in comparison to Grace's health, I value them and am super grateful to have been present for them.  Thank You, God, for allowing that to happen and still allowing Grace the ability to get better and healthy in time to be home just hours before Christmas!  What a wonderful and amazing God You are!

Here is a video of Grace playing with toys they brought her in the ER


Kristi and the kids baked us some cookies...


Hope that you enjoyed the update from David, I always love when he agrees to post on the blog :-).  Here are a few more fun details to our best Christmas ever!  While Grace was in the hospital, the kids and I would go and literally spend 5 hours there which always feels more like 30 minutes (the hospital is like a time warp, time flies like never before, it's crazy).  Being in the hospital during the Christmas holiday certainly isn't ideal, but we were blessed by Mattel's generosity in sending American Girl dolls to the hospital for Christmas, both Grace and Abigail got one and the sweet child life specialist brought Andrew a Nerf gun and painting set, another group of people came around one day and delivered cookies and a precious Lalaloopsy owl pillow thing to Grace.



The irony in all of this is that I couldn't figure out why I was SO (visibly) emotional whenever people would bless us with such gifts...  I mean, it's no surprise that I'm a crier and always worry that people won't know just how grateful we are for their kindness towards us, but something hit me...  shortly after Abigail was born, my team at work had the pleasure of delivering toys to TCH during Christmas as an outreach project.  I will never forget peering into the rooms and seeing parents with their babies/toddlers and being moved to tears with compassion for these families, as I couldn't even imagine what that type of fear over your child's health felt like.  I would have to hide behind corners while I tried to compose myself, praying for those families because the last thing that I wanted to do was walk into these children's hospital room looking sad when what I really wanted was to bless them with a toy, smile, and words of hope and encouragement (not my own tears).  Fast forward 7 years and we are now one of those families!!!  I know I've said it many times before, but the sentiment is still so true and profound, when people bless us (as so many of y'all have) when we are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, it serves as a sweet hug from God, reminding us that we aren't alone on this journey!  For the 4 days that David and Grace were in the hospital, I continued to beg God to help me see the situation through His eyes, not my earthly eyes that were feeling really discouraged about the fact that our much needed family time (Christmas break), that I had been anticipating for months was being spent separated and with a sick and super cranky Gracie.  We were sure that we would spend Christmas in the hospital, so as I planned how to make Christmas special in the hospital, God reminded me that the very first Christmas was spent in an inconvenient location, with a whole lot of chaos too...

In some ways we got a new perspective on the nativity story.  Just like God chose for His son to be born in the most humble conditions, that same God allowed us to be in the hospital at that time, so the big kids and I prayed diligently that we would choose joy (even when we were sad and fearful) and look at our situation as a mission trip, asking God who we needed to love on in the hospital.  One of the toughest days in the hospital was when Grace literally screamed for 4 hours straight while we were there and the kids were discouraged because none of their normal "tricks" to make Grace happy would work and instead she just wanted to push everyone away from her :-(.  While we left a bit discouraged that day, we returned the next day armed with the best $14.99 I've ever spent...





This dog brought Grace more joy than you could imagine and continues to get her through her daily breathing treatments (that she hates), as well as our dancing Christmas snowmen.  The wonderful side effect of this dog is that Grace can't help but dance when she sees and hears it, so sometimes she will dance despite her tears :-).

The reason that this was the best Christmas ever was because we were together and it was so simple! We soaked in some precious, uninterrupted family time, and ate a wonderful Christmas meal (thanks to a precious friend who was concerned about what we were going to eat for Christmas dinner before I even had a chance to think about it) on our nice china and all (for just the 5 of us, it was awesome)!

Our hearts overflowed on Christmas morning when the kids were more interested in just snuggling in bed rather than begging to open presents, etc.  We laid there, praising the Lord for the evidence that along this journey we are learning the value of simply being together versus all of the other stuff that can be such a distraction.

A little silliness before opening stockings...

Grace loved her Olaf and Elmo...

...Andrew's new beanie, and his new undies too (hence the Spiderman pose)!

This is Grace's new way of evaluating presents... she stands on it and dances!

The big kids got a new basketball hoop, so we bundled up and played basketball for hours...




We celebrated the "cousins Christmas" on Saturday...

"This is my celebration face!"

A little sister love...

Grace gave the gift of sweet snuggle/play time to Uncle Brian and Papa Toot this year...  Saturday was the first time that she joyfully sat with each of them and played (when it comes to men, she has eyes only for her daddy :-).


Grace just wanted to say... "we hope that YOU had a blessed Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2015!"

1 comment:

Julie Wigle said...

We prayed that you would be able to spend Christmas at home! God is amazing and those small blessings along the way are a super testimony! Wish we lived close enough to pop over and see you, but ((((hugs))))) from Iowa will have to do! Love you! Wigle's