Thursday, December 13, 2012

What We Do for Ear Infections

It's that time of year when ear infections abound and people ask regularly what we do in our house to heal ear infections while avoiding antibiotics.  I am not a medical professional, so please do not take this as medical advice.  All I can do is share with you what works for us.  With that said, here goes:

1.  Olbas Oil outside your ear.  A drop or two behind and under your ear lobe.  And another drop in front of your ear on that little piece of cartilege that sticks out.  Recline for 5-10 minutes to get the fluids draining down.

2.  Garlic & Olive Oil drops.
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil in a small pot.  
  • Add 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped into 4ish pieces.  
  • Heat on medium-low for five minutes, stirring regularly and making sure garlic browns but does not burn.  
  • Wait for the oil to cool just a bit so it's warm but not hot.  Test on your wrist or some other sensitive area.  It's better to err on the side of cool than to burn the inside of your ear, so be careful here.
  • Use a medicine dropper to draw up some oil
  • Lay on your side, fill your ear canal with the oil, and let it sit for 1-2 minutes.  
  • Flip your ear over onto a towel and let the oil drain out and repeat on the other side.  
  • Cover your oil in the pan for re-use.  I often leave the garlic cloves in the pan for the second heating and then remove them for subsequent heatings so they don't burn.  When you're reheating you only need to warm the oil (as opposed to heating to hot and then cooling).  
  • We do this every 2-4 hours 
 3.  Cut out pasteurized dairy and refined sugars.  Also limit the amount of grains, fruits, and other starches being consumed since sugar feeds infection.  Grains cause our bodies to produce more fluids of all kinds, so in addition to the fact that they turn to sugar and will feed the infection, the extra fluids give a breeding ground for infection.  Consume lots of good quality broth.

4.  Lots of water, of course.

5.  A warm compress on your ears can help a lot too.  I often do this at the same time that I do the Olbas Oil, and it's very helpful.

6.  Drinking hot tea can also help.  We like the Traditional Medicinals brand and often choose the Breathe Easy or the Lemon Echinacea Throat Coat varieties when we have ear, nose and throat issues.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What We Do for School...

There have been quite a few people who have asked me to share what we do in our home for school.  It's impossible to list it all because there is so much unplanned, unprompted learning and imagination.  But I tried to make a list of as many things I could think of.  There are no fun pictures... because if I took time for that right now, I wouldn't have time to educate my kids.  Hopefully you understand.  

A few things before I start:

  1. No homeschool environment will look the same because each family is different.  That's one of the great things about homeschooling.
  2. We have switched to a block schedule for some subjects because making transitions between subjects takes more time, and we have to gear up for each one.  You're the teacher in your home, so feel free to make similar adjustments as needed.
  3. We don't necessarily follow a traditional school schedule.  It takes too long to get through material or takes too much time away from active and/or imaginative play time if we try to jam it all in at once, so we stretch things out over more months.  We break in to the school year with one or two subjects and gradually add a new subject every week or two, working up to a full schedule.  Then we get to taper off at the end of the school year when it's nice outside again.  
  4. It doesn't take nearly as much time in the day to cover our content as it would in the school setting.  I don't have to collect lunch money, get a whole class in line, wait for 20 kids to get crayons out, or deal with discipline issues for a whole classroom.  As a result, we legitimately get more free time in a day/year.  Don't think that your kids need to be sitting in a desk for 7 hours in order to be learning things.  
  5. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can slow down or speed up according to your child's abilities.  You don't have to do the same thing for every kid at a respective grade level, because each kid will have different abilities.  Remembering this helps to remind us as parent-educators to really sit back and evaluate each child as an individual, recognizing his/her strengths and weaknesses as well as how we can help maximize potential.  
There are a million things that could be said, but that's enough for now.  Here's what we use...


  • Long Story Short by Marty Machowski  (Our whole family does this together, and it's fantastic!)
  • ESV Bible for each of the older kids  (WTS Books is a good place to see some great options for kids)
  • Jesus Storybook Bible for toddlers (they like to flip through and look at the pictures while listening)
  • There are others we use too, but this is what we do on a daily basis


  • My Giant Sticker Activity Book
  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
  • Letter of the Week.  My sister-in-law did an AWESOME preschool tour through the alphabet for my nephew this year.  I'm so excited to do this for Claire next year.  
  • Lots and lots of educational toys, games, and conversation throughout the day
  • Keep in mind that you do not need to compartmentalize your child's learning.  Sometimes we like to do that because it helps us check something off a list.  However, so much learning goes on if we just talk about what's happening in our surroundings.  It's important not to minimize the importance of this!

  • Veritas Press Phonics Museum (covers reading, handwriting, art history, art, and quite a few other random subjects)
  • Math:  Saxon 1 (We purchased the Rainbow Resource version of the manipulative set to complement Saxon 1-3)
  • Listen along with whatever the older kids are doing for History, Science, Latin, Grammar, etc.
  • Homeschool Co-op:  PE, Art, and other random fun kindergarten things
  • Lots and lots of educational toys, games, and conversation throughout the day
First Grade
  • Grammar:  Shurley Level 1
  • History:  Mystery of History, Volume 1:  Creation to Resurrection
  • History Through the Ages Collection of Timeline Figures  I chose to purchase the CD of figures, and it's perfect!  To make a timeline, I secured 8 ribbons evenly spaced on a tri-fold board.  I printed all the timeline figures that went along with this year's lessons and put them on brightly-colored background paper The colored paper is an unnecessary step, but it makes it more fun.  We have a different color for each quarter, so we feel a sense of accomplishment four times throughout the year. Our second run through history, we will likely make a timeline notebook, but for now, it's really great to see everything in one view and see what came before or after something else.
  • Veritas Press Phonics Museum (covers reading, handwriting, art history, art, and quite a few other random subjects)
  • Math:  Saxon 2 (We purchased the Rainbow Resource version of the manipulative set to complement Saxon 1-3)
  • Reading:  Veritas Press First Favorites Volumes 1 and 2 (Note: There are four pages in this link)
  • PE:  Homeschool Co-op class... and LOTS of backyard play (the beauty of homeschooling is that we have HOURS of active play in a day)
  • Science:  Exploring Creation with Astronomy (Apologia)
Second Grade
Third Grade
Helpful Organizational Tools/Ideas
  • Purchase some side-load sheet protectors and some wet erase markers.  Slide the sheet protector over a workbook page (you may have to cut off the binder hole strip first) and have the student answer the questions with a wet erase marker.  Once you've checked the answers, remove the sheet protector, wash it, and use it again.  Save yourself loads of time and money that you would have spent photocopying pages or buying disposable workbooks for additional children.  
  • I love the index card idea listed in this blog entry:  Raising an Independent Learner
  • MP3 players for each kid if possible.  You can load all their audio learning tools onto their individual MP3 players, and they can listen to History, Latin, Grammar, Spelling, etc. through headphones while building Legos, playing with dolls, staring up at the clouds, whatever.  I found some very inexpensive 4GB players on sale the day after Thanksgiving.  They're not iPods (my kids don't need anything that expensive), and they do take a little bit more time to load than an iPod, but the Philips players we have definitely work for what we need.  I also purchased an MP3 player speaker/case for each kid ($7 each) the day after Thanksgiving.  Their headphones are tucked inside with their players, and they can choose between headphones or speakers.  Also, it allows toddlers to walk around listening to all their older siblings' school stuff, which they thing is GREAT, without putting and MP3 player in their hands directly!
  • Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores
  • Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  There are ALL SORTS of great ideas in this book!  Even if you don't have a large family, there are great ideas you can implement and get yourself off to a good start.  I wish I had thought through some of these things with only one child.  (Note:  The beginning of the book seems a bit less balanced than the book as a whole, so if you're like me and think it's a bit over-the-top in certain ways at the beginning, keep reading.)
  • A laminator!  The Scotch Thermal Laminating Machine is pretty economical.  Purchase the laminating sheets from Amazon to save money on those.  
Fun Supplementary Materials
  • The flash cards in the dollar bins at Target at back-to-school time are fantastic!  I laminated several sets, hole punched them, and put them on binder/index card rings.  I use suction cup hooks (found at Target in the hardware section) on the side of our school bookshelf to store them in easy reach for the kids who need them but out-of-reach for babies and toddlers
  • Building Thinking Skills Series 
  • Math-in-a-Flash flash cards
  • Rocket Math is a free app for iPhones or iPads that is pretty fun for the kids
  • Scientific Explorer's and ScienceWiz science kits
  • AnimaLogic
  • Imaginets
  • Legos and K-Nex 
  • Strategy games
  • Puzzles
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Art supplies
  • Grow your own butterflies
  • The list could go on and on and on.  You get the point.  The hands-on stuff is fun AND educational!  Do not diminish the value of letting your kids explore and learn along the way.
Helpful Resources
Favorite Homeschool Suppliers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thoughts On Adding a Third Child (or Fourth, Fifth, etc.)

I had a friend ask for some helpful thoughts as she prepares to move from two to three kids. Here are some of the things I shared...
  1. Try to schedule some extra help right away, but also again at about weeks 6, 7 and 8 when you've reached the peak of your exhaustion. It's such a blessing to have someone come and take the olders to the park in the morning so you can rest, enjoy a little quiet, or just get something done that's driving you crazy. If that person can also put the baby in the stroller and go for a walk with all three kids for 45 minutes, you'll be amazed at how refreshed you are when it's over.
  2. For me, it's sometimes not easier for someone to be in my house helping me. It's actually easier if, once every couple weeks, Chet can take all the kids out for an hour and a half (between me feeding Will) so I can be in the house by myself to get things done or just collect myself.
  3. Suggestions of spending time with each kid are great. And it's also true that it might only be 5 minutes. Somehow, the Lord multiplies that 5-10 minutes so that it means a lot more than that to the kids.
  4. Remember that babies don't often die from crying. If you have to leave the baby laying down screaming his/her face off for a few minutes so you can pick up your screaming toddler, that's okay. It's not quiet. But it's okay.
  5. Try to be conscientious of the fact that you're asking your kids to drop what they're doing regularly to help you... and be willing to drop what you're doing every once in a while to help them too. Not always. I am certainly not kid-centric around here... but I definitely don't want my kids feeling like they're put on this planet just to help me.
  6. Consistency with discipline is key, and at the same time consistency with attention is key. As you consistently pay attention to your kids, they become assured that your discipline is really for their individual good and not just because they've interrupted you again.
  7. Make plans and try to improve them when they're not working... but mostly realize that no day can look exactly like any other day. The Lord will challenge you to become more and more flexible, to grow in grace more and more, and to die to yourself and become content in Him more and more every day. As you are growing in this, your kids will see where your joy comes from (helps to explain it too), and you can help them grow in contentment with the things the Lord has given them as well.
  8. I like to keep this thought in mind: If I sent my kids to a child care center, I wouldn't want the workers to be neglecting my kids in the name of constantly cleaning and doing projects... and I wouldn't want them neglecting the cleaning altogether in the name of playing with my kids. Sometimes the kids have to wait while you get something done, and sometimes the dishes can sit on the counter and pee in the potty seat because you're reading a story to them. It's impossible to be everything to everyone. Only God can be everything to them, so when you feel like you're failing, point them to the Lord and remind them that only He can satisfy the desires of their hearts.
I know that all of these things sound like terrible cliches and like a list of impossible demands. Hopefully, you'll just read it as thoughts to keep in mind to help you balance yourself when you feel like things are out of control. I'm in a stage right now where I just can't seem to catch up. And then I have to remember that, even if it's 5 or 20 years from now, I'll catch up... I just hope that I've spent enough time with my kids along the way that they'll come back when I'm sitting in my clean, empty house.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did the Teen Years Come Early?

I wish I could record all of my conversations with my kids. Ladan was having a hard time sleeping, and we ended up having the best chat until 11:30. He might be tired tomorrow, but I'm hopeful that his sleep will be more restful than it would have been with all those thoughts swimming around in his head. Some of his thoughts:
  • He remembered the time last semester when one of the kids in his class had an eye patch. It just so happened that his friend started wearing the patch the week after Ladan kicked the ball in dodge ball, and it accidentally hit his friend in the eye. He's been feeling guilty because he thought he hurt his friend. Turns out his friend was just having an eye problem corrected that had been there for years.
  • He started thinking about how terrible it must be for kids whose parents are separated and how they might feel like half-orphans a lot of the time.
  • He was concerned that his friend, Byron, might be on the opposing soccer team in PE tomorrow. He doesn't want to accidentally hurt his friend if they're both going for the ball at the same time.
  • He's a little bit nervous about Saturday's basketball game against his coach and former teammate from last session. He wants to do the best job he can for his own team, but he wants their team to do a good job too.
  • He's realizing that, while God has provided some really great friends here, he might never forget some of his Louisville friends for the rest of his life. I hope he's right.
These are just a few of the topics we discussed. I'm so glad he felt like he could tell me his concerns. They might seem like small potatoes to some, but for a seven-year-old, it's big stuff.

The theme throughout our discussion was how cool it is to see God working and providing what we need at every stage... even if what we need isn't the same as what we want. No matter what, He is there with us helping us when we feel alone or scared.

And at the end of it all, in a way, I'm kind of glad that I didn't have to wait until the teen years to have a late-night heart-to-heart with my kiddo.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Realistic Optimism: Lessons from a Seven-Year-Old

Earlier today, I was explaining to the kids that I want to try out an Ergo baby carrier with Claire in it (one of our local stores has them in stock and allows you to test them with your kiddos). Ladan replied, "Cool. I guess if it works, you can use it for Claire when we walk too far for her to keep up. And then, if our baby doesn't die, you can use it for the baby too." Just that matter of fact. Yes. Precisely. And WOW!

I love that he doesn't take things for granted and at the same time isn't fatalistic and woeful. We have walked through some tough situations with friends who have miscarried, friends who have had stillborn babies, friends who have had children die shortly after birth, and friends who have had children die at very young ages. As it turns out, several of our friends are dealing with trials like these right now. We explain to Ladan what's happening and how we can pray for these families throughout. Ladan has learned not to just assume that everything is always going to be fine. He tears up when he learns about the death of a baby. And he prays for the families he knows are struggling as they grieve the loss of their little ones.

At the same time, he can maintain a balance that also does not assume that something WILL go wrong. As he is fully aware that things can and do go wrong sometimes, he is also consistently looking at the bright side of things and remembering all that there is to be thankful for. He can do this in a way that doesn't make light of horrifying situations and at the same time doesn't minimize the great things that are happening. It's a pretty great characteristic for a barely-7-year-old, I think.

It's the kind of approach where you truly look forward to what's ahead and can be genuinely and overwhelmingly thankful if and when things go really well... because you know that it didn't have to be that way. You know that things could have gone really wrong. But they didn't. And that is not to be taken for granted. But what if things go wrong? Well, you knew that was a possibility. And as much as it still stinks to high heaven when you're in the middle of it, and you could be gasping for air to breathe because it's so hard, you know that there must be SOMETHING to be thankful for. You just have to find it. It might take time, but you'll find it if your eyes and heart are open.

It's realistic optimism, and I love it! It's just a hunch, but I think the Lord also delights in seeing this kind of thinking in the mind of a 7-year-old He created.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Brother

Yesterday was my brother's birthday. My sister-in-law, Amber, thought it would be a really great idea to get 31 people to write him letters of encouragement on his 31st birthday. Fun! Most people who know me at all also know that I'm pretty close to my brother and that I think he's one of the coolest people I know. I thought I'd go ahead and share the letter I wrote him so you can see why I think he's so great...



In honor of your special day, I decided it would be fun to list 31 really great memories I’ve shared with you. There is a rough chronological order, but since I’m nearing my elderly years as your much older sister, my dating is a bit foggy. I’m sure you can forgive me. Here goes…
  1. Watching you play baseball and soccer… and many other sports.
  2. Seeing you in the stands (or beside them running around) while I played softball and soccer… and many other sports.
  3. The first time we got to go to the concession stand by ourselves to purchase a pretzel or the ever-so-coveted chili pie (or whatever that mix of Fritos, chili and cheese was that we hardly ever got to eat) at the field.
  4. Enjoying the Cosby Show every Thursday at 7pm… followed by Family Ties, Fresh Prince, and whatever other show filled in the fourth slot. No television lineup will ever be as good.
  5. Playing NERF basketball in that teeny tiny bedroom of yours.
  6. Breaking into the house after school through the bathroom window when we would forget our house keys.
  7. Riding our bikes or walking to Taco Bell to break up the boring summer days at home.
  8. Playing wiffle ball in the back yard with Greg, John and Dad.
  9. Going to that water park in Waterloo, IL where they had the super-fun waterslides.
  10. Swinging upside down on the monkey bars at Salem. First the little ones, then the big ones, then the really big ones where we all played that strange dodgeball game knocking people off the bars.
  11. Grand Haven. Getting our clothes totally soaked the first day we arrived and couldn’t resist running out into the waves. Russ’s. The pool at Days Inn. Walking the pier. Running down the sand dunes. Taking our rafts way out into the lake and then seeing how far the waves would take us before we reached the shore again… and realizing that sometimes it would take us much farther than we had anticipated. The day you dug a hole in the sand as tall as yourself while I made a mermaid beside it. Watching the sunset.
  12. The long car rides to Michigan and back. Stopping at the same truck stop restaurants in the middle of the night every time: Brazil and Tecumseh. Ordering a cheeseburger and fries every time no matter what the hour of night was and knowing you thought I was a little crazy for it.
  13. Running into you and chatting for a minute between classes in high school.
  14. The day we went to the riverfront right before you left for boot camp. Sending letters back and forth during boot camp. And better yet, the day you came home from boot camp!!!!
  15. Hearing about the Lord’s work in your heart and seeing you IMMEDIATELY begin to run hard after Him.
  16. Writing the first check to help you fund an overseas mission trip. Then seeing missions become your life. It has been more than amazing to see all the Lord has done throughout the world as He has used you as an instrument!
  17. New Orleans!
  18. My wedding weekend. We laughed hysterically at all manner of silliness during the rehearsal. There aren’t many people who have such a fantastic laugh as you. Then on the wedding day, you carried the train of my dress all around the Botanical Garden so it wouldn’t get dirty. Even when other people offered to carry it, you took over and made sure to do it yourself. You take care of me just as well today, even if it’s from far away.
  19. The first time you told me about this girl you met in Houston and then proceeded to hand the phone over to her so we could talk directly. She was great from the start!
  20. Spring break in Houston and Galveston. I remember standing off to the side with Amber and Chet praying as you shared the Gospel and a few dollars with that homeless man we encountered.
  21. Going shopping for Amber’s engagement ring with you.
  22. Praying for you the December day you proposed… and then getting really excited when you told me how it all went down!
  23. Your wedding weekend. Do you remember when all you guys were hanging out the night before the wedding, and Chet decided to drive the Corolla over a speed bump? Then there was that Sesame Street character that flatulated quite loudly at the push of a remote button. Oh my word. On your wedding day, I got to help you get wrinkles out of your shirt, watch them reappear just minutes later, and then try to get them to go away again. Then we had the joy of watching you forget all about the wrinkles when it was time to demonstrate to everyone watching that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.
  24. Laughing with you on the phone when you repeatedly suggested that we attempt to simultaneously conceive. And finding out within a couple months that we got pretty close!
  25. Thanksgiving in the mountains of New Mexico. Remember that porcupine on the post high in the air? Weird. Remember how the wind was so strong that it blew all the smoke from the super-cool fireplace back into the house, and we all had to sleep with wet washcloths over our faces so we had some humidity to breathe? HILARIOUS!
  26. Getting to walk through some of the hardest times of our lives TOGETHER. Mom and Dad’s divorce. Dad’s death. Relationship struggles. Marriage struggles. Parenting struggles. Personal sin struggles. And then getting to celebrate together as we’ve witnessed God’s grace to help us and sanctify us in and through each of those situations.
  27. Seeing you hold Ladan just a couple days after he was born and watching you smash his cheeks to your own. Seeing Gabe’s cheeks squish between your fingers. Seeing Claire’s cheeks jiggle like Jello when you shake her high in the air. Knowing that you love them like they’re your own… and not just because they have great cheeks!
  28. Talking to you as you nervously drove Amber to the hospital to give birth to Titus. And then talking to you in what seemed to be only about four-and-a-half minutes later when he was born! Receiving texts in the middle of the night when Justus was on his way and seeing photos of his sweet face just minutes after he was born. Then getting the opportunity to love on your boys like they’re my own.
  29. Titus’s and Ladan’s first birthday party when we ended up washing the icing off them in the waterfall at Forest Park. Hiking with the kids in and along the creeks in Benbrook. Taking them all to the beach in Grand Haven and hiking up the “cliff” at Gram and Ken’s. Watching the boys do science experiments together and then watch football with you to insure that they both get to share what they’re most interested in with one another. Enjoying the similarities and differences of all our kids and appreciating how God has created each of them to be unique and still equally loved.
  30. Getting iced/snowed in at your house during moving week, resulting in opportunities to help you load your vehicles in snowy 1-degree weather, watch those hilarious comedy videos on YouTube all smashed on the couch, eat pizza that was literally swimming in butter, and wave to you as you drove off.
  31. Throughout all these stages of life and specific memories, we have had almost daily contact no matter how far apart we are geographically. We may not remember the exact words of most of these conversations—and there may not actually be a whole lot of words spoken in a given conversation depending on the day and how many millions of things we’re doing—but you’re there, and I’m here. And that’s a pretty great thing to remember.
The Lord not only gave me a pretty great brother, but He gave me one of the best friends a person could ever hope to have. I love you more than words can say.

Happy birthday, Bro!


Phyll (a.k.a. Sister… and later, Phatty)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Long-Awaited Perrin Twins Update!

SO MANY of you have been praying for and asking about our friends, the Perrins. I have had good intentions of writing updates, but they haven't materialized over time. Earlier today, I started a new blog entry and added a title just so I was that much closer... but I was wondering how I'd think through and write an update that is helpful. The Lord knew. I just sat down to start typing as much as I could in a few minutes, and I had an update written by Chris in my e-mail! Praise the Lord! Here are his words:

I haven’t sent an update in awhile, but since the babies will turn 7 months old this week, and we have some more medical hurdles to clear in the next couple of weeks, I thought it would be a good time to update everyone, and solicit some more of your prayers.

Both Hayes and Bailey are doing really well since settling in at home, and we’ve managed to keep them both healthy to this point through flu and RSV season which is a major accomplishment considering the weakened status of their immune systems. We were even able to get through a scare a couple of weeks ago when Emily was diagnosed with the flu, thanks in large part to the help of good friends and family who stepped up to help out when I couldn’t be there so that we could keep Emily quarantined long enough to get better so she didn’t spread it to the babies. Luckily we caught it early enough that Emily was able to get back on her feet in 4 or 5 days, as daddy, grandma, aunt, uncle, and good friends’ love just isn’t the same as mommy love! We visited the pediatrician yesterday for the final round of flu/RSV shot for this season, and the pediatrician said that she thought both babies were doing great… what a huge praise!

Bailey is now 22.5 inches long, and 10 lbs 12 oz (from 1 lb 9 oz at birth), which puts her at about the 25-50th% in length, and 10-25th% in weight for her adjusted age of a little over 3 months… if any of that means anything to you. I don’t think she could be a better baby. She is so playful and expressive, and really very calm most of the time… especially compared to Hayes… which might not be the best comparison for “normal” baby behavior (he is very fussy). Speaking of normal babies… we finally got Bailey off the oxygen! Her breathing test was during the time that Emily was sick, so I took off work to take her. I think it was more a test on me (and my patience), as she had to lay in a crib for 4 hours, and I had to try and keep her relaxed, and keep her from kicking off her monitor equipment… those of you who have seen her live in action, know that if she is awake she’s moving. She only kicked or pulled the monitors off twice, so I think I passed my test. More importantly, she passed the breathing test and has been off the oxygen for two weeks now… no more helium sized oxygen tanks with 50 feet of tubing running through my house, no more dragging a tank with us everywhere we go, no more taping a nasal cannula to her face and trying it in her nose when she keeps trying to stick it in her mouth and suck on it (gross). She’s been doing great (as far as I can tell) since she has been off of it, and will have a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks for the pulmonologist to check how she’s doing without. Please continue to pray that that goes well, and she continues to breathe well without any additional support.

Hayes is now 23 inches long, and 12 lbs 1 oz (from 1 lb 7 oz at birth), which puts him at about the 10-25th% in length, and 10-25th% in weight for a boy at his adjusted age of a little over 3 months. So they are both a little undersized, but Hayes is in the 50-75th% weight for length percentile which means he’s a good weight for his size. Unfortunately Hayes has not been as laid back as his sister. We are hoping that this is largely due to the pain and discomfort of the double hernia he was born with. They didn’t want to fix this until he got older and stronger, so he has required a lot of attention most of the time to try and keep him calm… a lot of holding, bouncing, rocking, shushing, etc. We have been told that because of his brain damage he wouldn’t have the self soothing abilities of a normal baby, so we are hoping/praying that his issues have less to do with that, and more to do with
the hernia because he has finally reached the point where they can do surgery. The surgery is scheduled for 8:30 tomorrow morning.... Earliest possible time and place we could get this scheduled for, and since we’ve been praying for this day to get here for the last three months it can’t get here soon enough! Dr. Bloss (who performed all of Bailey’s surgeries) will performing the procedure, in addition to circumcising him as this wasn’t done at birth (I assume due to risk of infection or something… don’t know why they didn’t do this at birth). It’s supposed to be a fairly routine procedure, and of course we have the utmost confidence in Dr. Bloss, but we would still appreciate your prayers. If all goes well, and he’s able to come off the vent fairly easily and timely, we should be able to take him home later tomorrow afternoon/evening. If not, they will keep him over night, and should be able to come home on Friday. So, in addition to praying for the surgery procedure, and for Dr. Bloss and the rest of the medical staff, please pray for his recovery, and that there aren’t any infections, side effects, or setbacks.

Also pray that this is able to help him relax, and be more comfortable, and that the issues we’ve been having with him aren’t all brain related. Of course we also continue to pray for his brain, and for miraculous healing to take place there, and that remaining portions of his brain can take over some of the responsibilities of the damaged portions. By all accounts he has been able to do more than the average baby who has suffered the degree of damage that he has. Unfortunately because of the discomfort from the hernia, the early childhood development (ECD) specialist has not been able to take him through all the motions, and really assess how he’s coming along. Bailey on the other hand is doing extremely well with her therapy, and we praise God for that! Hopefully we will be able to get a better idea of where Hayes is at next week when ECD specialist work him out again. In addition, he has an appointment next week with the neurologist who diagnosed him following his first MRI. Pray for a positive report there as well.

I know everyone has been asking for more pictures so attached are several of the latest. Maybe it’s just the stress level and sleep deprivation, but they really do seem to have a lot of personality and are a lot more fun to interact with than I thought they would be. I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time with babies before, which was a conscious effort on my part, because I just thought that all they did was eat, sleep, poop, and pee. I was pretty much right (only with less sleeping and more pooping/peeing than I ever could have imagined), but every now and then, in about 10-15 minute increments, they can be pretty fun.

Thanks again for everything you’ve done and continue to do,
CP, Em, Hayes, and Bailey

I am amazed daily at how the Lord has grown these babies! They have squish! They smile! Hayes is upset for much of the day, but he does smile! These kids LOVE their family, and they know that they are loved by their family. These and many other things are miracles that are not to be taken for granted.

Please continue to pray for the Perrins. Pray for Hayes tomorrow as he goes in for surgery. Pray for the physicians. Pray that he experiences relief from his discomfort. Pray that his brain continues to develop. Pray for Bailey's continued growth and development as well. It's always a bit scary to even enter a hospital with your children, knowing that it's a germ factory. Pray for protection from illness for everyone in the family so that there is nothing else getting in the way of the babies' wellness, healing, and growth.

PRAISE the Lord for all that He is doing in their lives! Praise Him for preserving the lives of both of these babies through so many major obstacles. Praise Him for using this whole situation to draw the Perrins and countless others closer to Himself, the only One in whom we have any hope!