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Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Halloween Blessing

Yes, I realize it is quite the oxymoron to be talking about "blessings" in relation to Halloween. However, I love the way The Lord likes to work in my life and is constantly showing me, and teaching me in the most unexpected ways.

 
As I previously blogged about, Owen started preschool this year. I have been so very, very excited to participate in classroom parties and play dates. Keep in mind, I'm a little limited as the wild 15 month old keeps me quite busy. But, I was ready to jump in with the other "Homeroom Moms" and be that normal, stay at home mommy who has it all together. You know, kids are clean, house is clean, kids have amazing manners, and eat the wonderful, healthy homemade meals all together each night.

Who in the world put this crazy idea in my head?

Well, not only do I not have it all together, some days I wonder if I have anything at all together!

But alas, I wanted to at least give it my best shot. So I prepared cute little treat bags and bought juice and headed out with Batman and Superman in tow, ready for the Fall Festival, Costume Parade and Party Day.

We survived an hour. And then hightailed it out of there like the place was on fire.

Owen was less than thrilled with all the commotion going on and Abel was taking cupcakes, candies and juice from Owen's classmates.

 I left that day with tears in my eyes. Not because Owen cried the whole time and Abel was a tyrant, but because I felt the deep, piercing stares of those around me just trying to "put their finger on" what's wrong with Owen. If you're a parent with a special needs child, or really any parent, you've felt those stares. It's like they were burning right through me to my core.

I don't announce that Owen is a kidney transplant recipient. Or that he has sensory issues that make socializing difficult. That is not what defines Owen.

Owen is a joyful, silly, smart, Elmo loving, hug and kiss giving, tickle monster, miracle. And that's that. He may not sit at the table for crafts, or eat the brightly colored cupcakes. Hey, he may even cry through music class and refuse to play with kids on the playground.

 
But do you know what he does do? He brings me absolutely more joy than words could ever explain.

 I left that day feeling sorry for Owen. Feeling sorry for myself. And then the Lord reminded me of all that Owen does.

Most importantly: he lives. So I'll go back to celebrating each teeny tiny milestone he meets.

I'll celebrate that he made eye contact with me this morning to request an Elmo movie. Not with his words, but by using his sweet hands to guide me. I'll celebrate that every morning he greets me with the biggest "HIIIIIII!" I've ever heard (and also the sweetest Kentucky accent). I'll celebrate that he happily played for 30 minutes in the sensory swing with his OT. I'll celebrate that joyfully (or not so joyfully) bear hugs his little brother when he's near.

The Lord is still growing me through this process of knowing Owen and how to love, nurture and care for him. And I can fully accept that we don't have a "normal" life. It may not be normal in the sense of classroom parties and craft projects. But it's my normal and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Owen is beyond special, and so much more perfect than I ever could have planned.

And you know what? I'll be helping plan the class Christmas Party with a big smile. :)



"I love you like the moon loves each shining star.
 I love all that you will be, and everything you are"
-How Do I Love You?



**For those of you who have been checking in on Owen this week, and more importantly, praying for him; thank you. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for constantly loving Owen and our family. Owen was quite sick, more sick than he would reveal, but his labs were clearly showing us a sick little boy. However, he has been fever free for over a day and is slowly coming back to his happy, busy bee little self! We avoided hospital admission (narrowly) but we are so thankful for the extra help (hello babysitter Ms. Amber!) and extra prayers this week.**

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Linger Here

Back in action, here on the bloggy bandwagon! We've been a bit MIA lately...ya know livin the Florida life. Beaches, swimming, enjoying the 80* weather while our friends back home are getting chilly! ;)

Lots of new, exciting things are happening in the Daugherty Household! One, being Owen is finally liking school! I've been told by his teachers he is learning to appreciate their schedule and following along with their daily routine. We are seeing significant progress with his Speech therapist, Ms. Laura who Owen absolutely adores.

Ms. Laura has challenged and encouraged Owen so much in the few months she has been working with him. His eye contact is improving, his social interaction is teetering on amazing and he is excelling in play skills with peers! We are so, so thankful for Ms. Laura and how she has already fallen in love with our sweet man! (Can you really blame her?!)

Here are the two in action playing Barnyard Bingo, Owen's new favorite. :)




On the therapy front, Owen has lots of new things happening soon. Monday Owen will begin Occupational Therapy. This will hopefully help with his sensory struggles. During his OT evaluation it was discovered that in situations Owen is a "sensory avoider", but in others he is a "sensory seeker". We aren't really sure how or why the sensory issues develop, whether it be from the kidney related issues, hospital life or just the severe sickness from birth. Whatever the cause, we are blessed to be starting a new (intensive) therapy next week!

Also, we have a big evaluation coming up for Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. Basically, this will hopefully help Owen develop coping strategies for situations when he feels uncomfortable, overloaded or stressed. This will correspond well with his OT sensory therapy. The most exciting thing about starting Owen's ABA Therapy is how God totally showed up in our situation. ABA Therapy is not covered by any insurance. Ever. And it's ridiculously expensive. Like over $200 per session. We applied for a scholarship to see if it would be something we could add to our monthly budget. A couple weeks passed and we were second guessing ourselves, wondering if we were making the right decision adding yet another appointment to our already busy weekly schedule. Then, I got a phone call. We qualified for the highest paid scholarship. That's right, 90% of each session is covered for us! Chills? Yes! I just love it when The Lord speaks so loudly and clearly to me. Another assurance of His provision over Owen's life.

Please be in prayer that we continue to seek The Lord fervently in decisions we are making for Owen. He is going to school twice a week and now has 4 weekly therapy sessions. It's very busy and new for us, but it is our prayer that early, intensive therapy will prove to be fundamental in excelling Owen's development.

Since our weeks are so very busy we like to play, play, play on the weekends! Abel started walking right after his first birthday. I should revise that, he started running after his first birthday. He has one speed: fast. He is a true beach babe and loves swimming in any body of water. He has absolutely no fear of anything and is the exact opposite of his brother. While Owen is most definitely a busy body, Abel puts him to shame. But I am loving every single minute! These boys bring me so much joy I think my heart may just burst at times. :)

 










We have been so blessed to find a church down here that has "blessed our socks off" each week. The worship gives me chills each week and I've been challenged in my walk with The Lord each time we attend. Not only are Michael and I enjoying our time to worship together, our children are being loved on and blessed by the best women around! They have opened their hearts (and literally their arms) to loving our, boys....even though they are usually less than thrilled about their time in the nursery! It is such a blessing to know that our children are being cared for, and the compassion and understanding we received when asking for extra help with Owen, or apologizing for Abel crying hysterically puts our minds at such ease. And just to see The Lord working in my life again, these women are leaders in the MOPs group I joined. So not only do my boys get to hang out with some cool, godly women- but I do too! :)

 
This past week at church we were encouraged to linger more fervently in The Lord's presence. It was a message I needed to hear. I pray that my children will grow up seeing me lingering in the presence of The Lord. That they will see me diligently pray without ceasing, for any and every need. And that my days will be filled with praise and worship, even during the most mundane tasks.
 
Thinking of this also makes me want to just linger here awhile. In this carefree, sticky, messy, loud, but full of fun life. I just don't wanna grow up. :) May I squeeze out every second of every minute I have of hugging, squeezing and tickling these sweet gifts that are growing entirely too fast.
 
 
 
 
"I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming."
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

School Days and ABC's!

School has officially started down here and Florida, which means my boy is officially grown up. Well, kinda. ;)

Owen started preschool today at the most precious, loving, sweet little faith based preschool. He is going twice a week, for 3 hours. And he lasted the whole 3 hours on his first day! Owen has never been apart from me (while awake) for more than an hour or two. He has only attended the church nursery a handful of times and he doesn't like busy crowds.

So why send him to preschool? We are really hoping this will improve Owen's speech and socialization skills. Due to germs Owen has been very isolated his entire life. So it's time to start making some friends! His teacher, Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Carol are so very sweet and were willing to meet privately with me last week to go over Owen's extra needs. Although he doesn't need anything medically while at school, he is developmentally delayed, mainly with speech. So he requires a little extra attention....which they are more than happy to supply! :)

This sweet school is such an answered prayer. Tears did not flow as I dropped Owen off this morning. Instead, my heart was just flowing with gratitude and pride in how far this sweet boy has come. Of course, we cannot forget to acknowledge Carrie, and her gift for Owen. Without her, this would not be happening. I am just blown away by how much Owen is growing and changing and how quickly it is happening before my eyes!


Of course I wanted a "First Day of School Photoshoot" and about two seconds in to said photoshoot I was quickly reminded I am the mom of two busy, busy boys. No time for pictures!!













I was told Owen did great, and only cried for a few minutes after he realized I was gone. He is learning about the color red and made a sweet little apple craft. :) What precious days these are!

One thing is for sure...he was one worn out boy!



We've been "touring" around town on the weekends and have had some fun family adventures, including the local children's museum. The boys had fun, but Owen was most impressed by the run-through spray fountains at the nearby park!

















Lastly, I wanted to share a sweet little video of my smarty pants. :) For those that know Owen well, you know that his absolute most favorite thing in the world are letters and numbers. He has been able to name each letter and number (1-10) for a while now. Recently, he began naming letters by their phonetic sound as well. This morning, Owen participated in back and forth communication with me by going through the alphabet. This is the first time I have seen him participate in conversation, other than "labeling" words or sounds. I must say...I'm one proud Mama!

Turn your volume up, and listen closely! :)


  video


Thanks for checking in on our sweet family. The (little) boys and I are bravely flying back home in a couple weeks to visit family and have a urology appointment in Cincinnati. Please pray for safe travels and patient passengers on the airplane... 1 Mommy and 2 busy boys....uh oh! :)

Psalm 69:30
"Then I will praise God's name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We're Still Here!

Hello fellow blog followers (if there's any of you left!)! Sorry we've been a little absent from blog land lately...we've been busy!

Busy Doing what? Well mainly moving, but also getting older! Both boys celebrated birthdays. Twice. :) Yep, we like to do it up right in the Daugherty family!

We had the boys' party back home in Kentucky before our move. This was in June. A little early. :) So we celebrated again, on their real birthdays as well. And sweet little Abel James couldn't be happier! It's possible he inherited his Mama's ginormous sweet tooth. :)






The party back home was great. It's so wonderful to get together with family and friends and celebrate these two boys that we love so very, very much!

It's a little hard for me to accept the fact I now have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Time is so cruel in the way that it flies by. As much as I wish I could just stop time and hold these sweet babies like this forever, I have to be thankful for how amazing this life has turned out to be. Yes, we've weathered our storms, but God has been so gracious in gifting us with these two amazingly wonderful, precious, HEALTHY boys. While I wish I could freeze these moments, I am amazed at how the Lord is working, specifically in Owen's life. He is making amazing strides and accomplishing so much, I am just in awe of how the Lord continues to work in his life.





As if Owen turning another year older didn't break my heart enough, he will be starting preschool in 20 days. This has been a complete blessing fully guided by the Lord. We were apprehensive about sending Owen to school, but we have been prayerfully considering it, knowing it would be so beneficial for his social delays. The most precious, perfect little private preschool has agreed to take on Owen, allowing him to start in the 2 year old room and move up at our desecration. The school is just perfect beyond words and little Owen will be there with his sweet little puppy dog backpack two days a week for 3 hours. :) As of right now, I can talk about school without tears. I am just so excited for this opportunity for him I haven't been overwhelmingly sad. It's something I honestly didn't know if Owen we be able to do. And it's just so very normal. And normal is a great thing in this house!

We are adjusting to our new Florida residence quite well and I'm just so excited for what this new season will bring for our family. We are definitely moving away from our laid back, slow days to having a full schedule! In addition to school twice a week Owen is attending an Intensive Speech and Feeding Therapy Clinic twice a week. On top of that I've decided to join a MOPS group to get to know some ladies around here!

Abel is an absolute ham and is in to everything. Toilet Paper? Yep. The toilet, oh yeah. Cabinets, drawers, the fridge...you name it- he's explored it! He isn't walking just yet but has taken a few steps. He, like his older brother prefers the speed crawl. And he's lightening fast! He does have a quick big brother he has to keep up with! Between the two of them my days are busy, messy, crazy and full of laughter!

Thanks for all who continue to follow our little blog and who diligently pray for Owen. Please continue to pray for his doctors as we are essentially starting over down here. We will be doing a routine ultrasound soon for a bladder check and the results will be sent to his urologist in Cincinnati. I would be lieing if I said this part of our move has been easy. I miss our precious doctors so much and can't wait to visit them again! We are blessed to be in good hands down here and met Owen's new nephrologist a couple weeks ago. Other than difficulty getting labs, things went very smoothly!

I'll leave you with a "photo dump" as I'm sure that's why you're here...picture of cute boys, yes please! :)

 












"I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

We are so thankful for these showers of blessings!