Eden's Ninth Birthday. I cannot imagine a child who enjoys their birthday more than Eden. None of our kids would dispute this. Eden has a child-like, innocent, beautiful joy about her birthday. Her excitement beforehand, and throughout every moment of the day. In the morning, she wanted to dress up pretty, and have Maggie put make up on her. And in the midst of it all, her poor, little face, still recuperating from her surgery last month, the surgery I promised would go well and heal quickly... and now she faces another surgery in a few weeks, her face is still swollen, and the bruising around her eye just won't subside. Her mouth is still full of wires and unhealed tissues. But she is gorgeous, and her sunshine and joy just overrides everything. She never complains. She is my Lemonade. From the day I met her, every day she has made me smile. I am sure people get tired of hearing it, but her story is such a miracle, and she could not have come at a better time in my life. There is just something so God-given about this little girl. My heart, my heart....
A big treat of the day was lunch from McDonald's! Our lifestyle has changed a lot over the past five years. (Stay tuned for a post about that soon.) We do not eat out. The only time my kids have been at a sit down restaurant is when we visit with my parents, which is not very often as they live far away. A special treat for them is when we buy a bag of burgers from the dollar menu at McDonald's. There have been times I have felt like they have been missing out, but I have come to learn that they don't see it that way. Sitting on the curb out front of our house, eating burgers and fries, and the best part: all together with family that you love and that loves you back unconditionally. What could sweeter be than that?
When is Hannah coming home from work? I am ready for cake!
And here is the cake! A LaLa Loopsy cake for my LaLa girl. She loves LaLa Loopsy. And why not? When else in your life are you allowed to love things like this? This is the time, so do it! Some kids spend so much time wanting to be older, that they never really spend any time being little, and when they finally are older, they've already done everything. You can't go back. Be a kid while you can!
How old are you? NINE fingers!!!
Look at that face.
This was a hard moment for me. For the months before her surgery, I had told her that she would finally be able to blow out her birthday candles. She has never been able to do it. I took some video of it. But she still had a very hard time blowing them out, and I was sorry about that.
The cake was raspberry with raspberry filling.
Eden and her Buddy.
My daughters, minus one.
Look at her face. She has the best reactions for gifts. Every single gift she completely loved, from her LaLa Loopsy underwear to this box of clothes that Hannah bought for her.
Her favorite gift was this big LaLa Loopsy we got her. She was so happy and loved it and took it everywhere with her. It wasn't until we were at the surgeon's several days later that I was looking at it and realized something. "Did I buy you the wrong LaLa Loopsy?" I asked. "Yes, but that's okay. I still LOVE her!" she said. What a sweet girl.
Reading the card from Granny.
And that's the birthday day for Eden. Now we prepare for the next one in two weeks: Silas turns TEN! This is a busy birthday time for us. But it doesn't even compare to some of the new friends I have made lately who have twenty and thirty children! I don't know if I could remember that many birthdays!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SUNSHINE GIRL!
It seems like we just took down the pool and it's already time to put it back up again! Well, it was kind of a wimpy winter. But my kids are ready to swim! Here Canaan and Daddy are getting the ground leveled out, and Kiki and Laz are picking WORMS out of the ground! It was adorable! Kiki would pick them up and say, "Hi worm, you okay? You okay?" And Laz would pick them up and put them in the bucket. Once again I will say, the best thing I ever gave my kids is each other.
Eden in one of her birthday outfits from Hannah, inventing new ways to swing on the swing.
And now... check out my BOY!!! To explain: for some reason, Silas has always had a very difficult time gaining any weight. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he DOESN'T EAT, but that's just a hunch. He came home to us when he was two years old. Since that day, we have been trying to "beef him up". We have had so many doctors and surgeons tell us that we just had to get some weight on him. He has rods in his spine, and there is only a thin layer of skin between the metal and the big wide world outside. The surgeons had held off putting the rods in his spine for a while because he simply didn't have enough fat on him. They were afraid the metal would break through.
And man did we try. We went to an eating specialist when he was little, a whole group of "experts" and "specialists". This began my disenchantment with "the experts" which has continued to this day. All these people could not figure out - nor even suggest - the idea that he may be lactose intolerant. They just told me to give him cream in everything. Then when Isaac came home, we discovered Isaac was extremely lactose intolerant, and that's when we discovered Silas was too.
At that point Si began to gain a little bit of weight. But it remains that he has a small appetite, does not like to eat very much, or very quickly. It is always a struggle. My efforts amounted to very little, most likely because I could not be consistent enough, with everything else going on in our house.
Enter Hannah. ta dah!!!
After Silas's last surgery in September (he has them every six months) she took it upon herself to beef him up. Every surgery he had was so difficult for him, and he rarely seemed "healthy". He would go into the surgeries feeling weak and puny, and then lose a few pounds after surgery. The past couple of surgeries he has gone in at about 44 pounds, and it has taken him another six months to get back to 44 or 45 pounds before the next surgery.
Hannah is a gift. She loves her brothers and sisters like nobody's business. She will make a better mom than me someday, once we find the dad (and that's a post for another day too.) I couldn't be more proud of her.
She was utterly devoted to this cause, and ramped it up over the past few months. She gave Silas a plate of food each morning that he had to eat in addition to his regular meals. She would add up his calories at the end of each day. She would buy snacks and foods that he liked out of her own money, and would buy him prizes for meeting milestones, like his first day over 3,000 calories, and reaching three days in a row over 3,000 calories. She was relentless with him. No matter how late she got home from work, she would add up his calories and make sure he had filled out his sheet. If he hadn't, she would go and wake him up and make him fill it out, or make him do jumping jacks.
One day I overheard him talking to Maggie and the other kids. They were talking about how hard it was for him to eat all of this stuff. I heard him say, "Well, Hannah loves me. She's aggressive about this because she wants me to be ready for my surgery, so I'm glad." Just when you think they don't get it.
So look at the pudge, people!! WOoooHooooo!
He went from a BMI of 11 to a BMI of 13.8!!! An increase of SIX POUNDS!!!
W O W !!!!
He is still underweight for his height, BUT, the extra weight made all the difference in his surgery this week. He had his surgery on Monday, and you would not know he had had surgery at all by the way he is acting now, a few days later. I had promised him for years that if he would just get healthy before his surgery, it would make a big difference in how he got through it. Then I was nervous. Would it be true? And it was!! He is doing GREAT! And he looks so healthy. What a joy!
This is a picture of him around this time last year. You decide!!
So what's next for the Baker family? Well, I had on my calendar that this would be it for the medical stuff, and I would be getting ready for a rest. But no. I am to Charlotte at least once a week now for Eden. I don't enjoy medical stuff or driving, but here we are. And now Eden is facing another surgery in the next two to three weeks. Not sure of the timing yet.
If you had told me years ago that I would be doing all of this, I would have said certainly not. There is no way my heart could be so strong.
My heart is not. So many tears I weep for my children. And so many tears more to come, and yet, even more children will be coming home. And we will do all we can, with God's strength and provision, to make them all that God wants them to be. And to God be the glory, great things He has done,
and great things still to come!
I have some recent good news, that I will post soon, once I get it into words.