Wednesday, December 31, 2008

4 Months Old

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and we pray many blessings on all of you for 2009. We had a great Christmas having family at our house and especially having Ella here with us.

Opening presents with Mimi and Pawpaw

The Cousins, we love Brynn and Meg

Making Christmas cookies with Dee

Ella has been home from the hospital now for about a month and a half. It seems like it has been a lot longer than that because we have been so busy with adjusting to life with her home, going to doctor's appointments, holidays, etc. We are doing well, it is hard but things are good. We realize that we are just in a very hard time of our life right now and it won't last forever. It's still going to be a long road but we are slowly seeing good changes and improvements so we are trying to focus on the positives. We are so thankful for our friends and family who have carried us through all of this and continue to do so. You are a blessing to us! Anyway here is an update on what the Carders have been up to this month.

1. Our sweet Ella is 4 months old! Hard to believe. She is just so sweet and we are so thankful that God has given her to us. This past week Ella has been doing great with her feedings. The other day she finished a whole bottle for three feedings in a row so we didn't have to use the feeding tube those times! Holla! I know, I'm 30 and just said holla, don't worry about it. I like to throw a holla in the conversation every once and awhile but you have to have the right intonation. I have friends who also like to say it but their tone and delivery is all wrong so they have been banned from using the word holla(Ann Reese, I'm looking at you). Anywho, we were so excited because this has never happened before so this is a huge answer to prayer. Since then Ella has been taking a couple of full bottles a day AND not spitting up as much so we are very thankful for that.
Look at that big smile after finishing a whole bottle!

Even though we have seen a big improvement this week, feedings continue to be our biggest struggle so please continue to pray for good feedings. At this point conditions pretty much have to be perfect for her to eat well so it is a challenge. She has to be in this half-asleep state with no distractions to really eat well. So basically you have to go in a room by yourself for 30 minutes to feed her so there is no chattin' with the fam, talking on the phone, watching tv here. We are still putting whatever she doesn't finish from her bottle through her G-button so a lot of the time her feedings can take about an hour. Feeding time is business time so it continues to be quite time consuming and challenging especially when you've got Eva running around trying to mow the dog down with her grocery cart. So let me set this up for you in case you missed it. We've got Ella safely out of harm's way so no one gets tangled in the feeding tube...check, then there's Eva chasing the dog with her grocery cart...check, then there's the dog running around the house trying to get away from Eva...check, then there's Rick and I wanting to poke our eyes out...check. Yep, I think that pretty much covers everybody. Apparently Eva didn't get the memo about not distracting Ella while she is eating.
Move it or lose it Bruiser!

Anyway, we are so thankful for the improvements Ella has made and we will just continue to work hard at it. Thank you for your prayers for good feedings and for patience and perseverance for us, it really has been better. Next week could be a different story so keep praying!

2. We made it through all of our big follow-up appointments with doctors this month so besides seeing Ella's tummy surgeon and pediatrician we won't go back to the others for another year! WOO HOO!!

Ready to go to the doctor! Thanks for the fun boots cousin Julie and aunt Marilyn!

3. Ella has really started "talking" in the past two weeks. She just makes the sweetest noises and squeals. She is still smiling all the time and loves for anyone to give her attention. She is holding her head up really well and we are working on strengthening her tummy muscles and getting her to move that left arm more. She is doing great, we're so proud of her. And did I mention that she weighs 8 lbs. now? We're getting close to doubling her birth weight, Yea!

Just hanging out in the Bumbo seat

Just stuck in the Bumbo seat...brilliant.

4. Eva continues to be a wonderful big sister to Ella. She loves to hug and kiss her, it is precious. She also loves to help change her diapers and burp her. She thinks it's hilarious when Ella spits up, she says "Bubbles, bubbles!" Real cool, but at least it lightens the mood. She loves to share her toys and her goldfish. Yeah, I found a small piece of a chewed up goldfish in Ella's mouth today...amazing.

Ella! Are you in there?

Eva entertaining herself

Eva entertaining Ella

5. I love this 2 year old age. Eva keeps us laughing all the time. She's got some great dance moves these days. My favorite is that she is trying to do the Thriller dance thanks to our Jonah VBS dvd from church. Honestly, I could not be more proud. I was the biggest Michael Jackson fan growing up and still kind of am. Whoa, now simmer down before you rag on me. Let me clarify that I am a fan of old-school MJ, not so much present day MJ. I mean can we all agree that Smooth Criminal is just about one of the coolest songs ever? Who's with me on this? Stand proud MJ fans, stand proud.

One of her many dance moves...The Power Stance

6. Eva has been interested in the potty for awhile now even though we are not actively potty training. Lately she wants to sit on the potty all the time and it seems like everytime we turn around she has taken her diaper off and is ready to go even though she never does anything in it. Well, so we got her a little potty and she loves to sit on it and look through our church pictoral directory to find all the people who took pictures with their dogs. Yes, that's right, with their dogs. It's great. She also got Elmo's Potty Time dvd for christmas which helps. By the way, have you seen this video? Hysterical. I think I'm enjoying it just about as much as Eva. If you enjoy some good bathroom humor(which who doesn't right?) and you need a good laugh then this dvd is for you. The other day it was on and after about 10 minutes I realized Eva wasn't even in the room. It was just Rick and I on the couch going, "Ha! Did you hear that? They just called the poop duty!" Does this give you any indication of our maturity level here? Wow.

7. Our moms are gone now. :( We are surviving, sometimes barely but we are surviving. We have been so blessed by our families and all the help and sacrifices they have made over the past 4 months for us. It is overwhelming what all they have done and continue to do for us. Thank you, Thank you!! Eva and Ella have also developed a very special bond with their Mimi and Dee which is priceless and it has been so fun to watch it develop. We are so blessed to have such amazing families!

8. So because moms are gone, last week I did my own grocery shopping for the first time in 4 months! Have I cooked anything yet? Negative. One step at a time people.

9. We are starting to get out a little more. We went to church as a family for the first time ever the past two weekends. It was wonderful! Other than that, we don't really go anywhere. It is still very difficult with feedings and all so we pretty much just stay at home unless we have to go somewhere or are feeling brave and want to attempt it.

10. This has nothing to do with anything besides the fact that I think it is so weird and funny and I wonder about this place over by our mall every time I pass it. There's a restaurant called CoCo's that advertises that it serves chicken, seafood and donuts. Really? Chicken.Seafood.Donuts. Are there that many people out there who are thinking, "Man, what should I eat for lunch today? What sounds really good is some popcorn shrimp and a bear claw. I wonder if there is a place I can get both?" Seriously? Grrross. Kudos though to Coco's for their stunning combination of menu choices and for staying in business serving chicken, seafood and donuts. Who knew? I guess there really are enough people out there who like that combo. Again, gross.

If you made it through this whole post I am impressed. Can you tell that I have little contact with the outside world? :) Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for everything you all do for us. We continue to be overwhelmed by all the love and support during this trying time for us. Thank you, Thank you!! Happy New Year!


Nancy Giurlanda said...

I am very happy that you had a great Christmas with family and what a wonderful present to have Ella home, she is just so precious......and Eva !! what a baby doll, they are both beautiful. I am very glad that things are getting a little easier for you and that Ella had good feedings this week, I pray that continues. I love seeing all of the pictures!! I am praying that things will be much better for all of you this new year. Sending my love and wishing you all a happy and blessed New Year !! Kiss those beautiful girls for me. I love you all.

annalee said...

Merry Christmas to your sweet family! Praise God for celebrating at home! Your girls are absolutely beautiful. What blessings!

Ann Reese said...

Holla! Holla! Ho--lll---aaa!

GPaty said...

You MUST be doing better because your sense of humor is in FULL EFFECT! Hilarious. I saw Ann and Darren yesterday at Chickfila in Abi and it made my heart so happy! I hadn't heard about their move,so I was catching up on all of that. Meg and Brynn are precious!
By the way, there's a place in Austin that sells Waffles and Chicken. I never quite got that combination either....
Happy New Year to you and your sweet family! We are so happy for that strides that everyone has made! Keep it up!
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Love the's good to read that you're saying 'holla' again...Ahh, Amy Amy Amy...
The chicken and donuts shop sounds a little like the numerous 'chinese' places we have around here that 'specialize' in chinese food, chicken, burgers, subs and pizza. They have wonderful names like "Eddies,"
"Full Yum" and "Simons Wok and Roll." No kidding.
Love you

Bogle said...

Ok I was seriously crying I was laughing so hard about good ole CoCo's. seriously?!? THAT is amazing. Maybe it was invented by a pregnant woman. I mean who else can mix all that together and actually get away with it?

Natalie said...

My first thought after reading this post is that, although times are still tough, so much of your personality showed in this blurb. So, I hope you're feeling more like yourself, even if it is your "newself". I love it and I love your family. Knowing we probably won't run into each other out and about town due to Ella's schedule, we're sending our love while we're here and as we return to Fresno. Hugs!

DCVol said...

This post made me laugh out loud on MULTIPLE it. Those girls could not be more beautiful and I was jumping for joy myself when I read that she finished three whole bottles in a row~ what a rockstar you are Ella!!! I continue to think about you guys ALL the time and pray for you continuously. BTW~ never knew you were such a MJ lover, Amy :). You survived 2008, so here's to an awesome 2009! Love you, the Specks

Lori said...

You were crackin' me up girl!! A) love me some potty humor (elmo will be our next movie purchase)and B) definately love me some old school Michael Jackson!

Jodi said...

Ok, Ms. Amy... that was pure literary greatness. I am laughing out loud all over the place!!!!! Holla!!! :)

Keep on keeping on with the feedings. Seriously, if we only lived closer!! We could hang out in the back quiet room together and attempt to get our girls to eat! Same scenario here with all that, and with the crazy two year old running around! Man, we have to get our girls together.

And, I knew I loved you, but I love you more now... knowing we share a love of old school MJ.

PS. Coco's is right by my parents's house. David and I crack up at that place every time we go home! And R now has the Elmo dvd too, but we have yet to pop it in. Guess that may be on our New Year's schedule tomorrow in between bowl games!! :)

amber dayton said...

You are cracking me up! We too loved the Elmo potty dvd, and the Bear in the Big Blue House potty dvd got lots of laughs at our house too - Anna still quotes it a couple years later. So glad that the feedings are better - but we'll pray that sweet Ella gets a little more flexible! Hang in there. May God bless your New Year!

Jamie Ridgell said...

Thanks for the the laugh Amy! Seriously, that was helarious. I'm not sure what my favorite part was...Eva chasing the dog, the standing up for M.J...the Elmo potty much content to choose from. I'm glad to hear that Ella is doing better and loved seeing the pictures. We need to see you guys soon! love you!

Shelly said...

Oh man, I'm cracking up! Angie and Adam have a fried chicken and donut place in California that they actually go to and think it's the greatest. I'll have to ask if theirs includes seafood. I always see that place and want to gag thinking of all the oil that is bubbling in there. Yuck. So happy to see that Ella is doing so well and will continue to keep you all in our prayers. That Eva is a doll---the bumbo chair cracked me up. Love you guys!!

Summer and Jason said...

Great to hear from you on the blog again - the girls look great! Happy New Year and please let us know if there is anything we can do, as always. :-) Love you guys!

Julie said...

The fact that your fantastical funny side is still alive and well gives me reassurance that your circumstances aren't sweeping you over completely! I say that many days the fact that that the house is still standing and no authorities have been called in makes it a successful day, so hang in there!

Smooth Criminal. We stand together on this. There is a place downtown not too far that sells Tacos, Burgers, Pizza and hub caps. I think that the hub cap part might be a conjoined store, but that's what the sign says.

Also, my personal favorite number on the Elmo Potty DVD is the song "Everybody Does It" (grown ups, oh yeah we do it...). So inappropriate and I can tell that those grown ups want to laugh!!!! But the cute little kid that yells "I call it dookie!!!" is pretty great also.

I have 5 words you need to tuck away for when you have a dark moment and need a laugh: San Diego. Toilet. Stolen Picture.

There you go.

mindy said...

Great post and pictures! My favorite is the bumbo...oh, Eva! Ella looks great - hope to see you soon! Hugs!

Anonymous said...



Summer said...

Loved reading this post and getting a good laugh. Glad to see your sense of humor is still in tact through all of this. I'll have to get that Elmo DVD for Pierson. We must have missed it with Ava. And I'm with you MJ! What happened to that guy? I was still hanging in there with him and trying to give him the benefit of the doubt until he named his kid, "Blanket." Loved the pictures of the kids. Hope we get to see them again soon. I'm so thankful for 3 good feedings in a row. We're praying for more of those! I We loved getting to see ya'll last weekend. Hope to see you again soon. Keep those blog posts coming.

LYN said...

Such good news. It's great to see the Lord's blessings in your life. I LOVE the blog. Holla!! (says an old woman....I don't even know the joke)

Alison said...

Okay, first of all I was laughing so hard I was crying at your post! And I am totally a proud MJ fan! You are too funny! And Ella, oh my goodness, could she be any cuter! And I am so glad that she is doing so well! And Eva, cracking me up! Two beautiful girls! Chloe and I would love to come by and visit when you feel like some company!

Lea Ellen said...

Oh man Aimes...I haven't "heard" your wit in such a long time! I was laughing out loud!! You crack me up!

It is so good to hear your spirits high & about how well Ella is doing. I am so glad to hear it all!

And yes, I will stand proud with you. I too, am a Michael Jackson fan: don't stop til you get enough!


~Lea Ellen

Mere Ware said...

Funniest post ever! I laughed out loud several times. Ryan and I reference coco's almost everytime we are trying to choose somewhere to eat...don't worry, we've never actually been there. I have been a horrible friend lately!! But I want you to know that I think about you all the time and I miss you!!

Kristen said...

Love the updates!! I'm thinking we should invest in the Elmo dvd too and I'm definitely an old school MJ fan :)

Kristinsgirls said...

Amy, I was great to see you at church when we were in town. Ella is looking awesome. My girls pray for her often. After we talked I told them that was the baby that they pray about and they said "aw she is so cute!"
Ok so the Coco's Chicken...I hate to admit this but my husband loves that place. They do not actually make donuts. Not sure why the sign says that. Atleast they didn't when we lived there. But the chicken is very meaty and is a good deal and actually tastes good too.
Since you admitted to loving MJ then I guess I will admit to liking Coco's. Glad to see that you are smiling and enjoying life!

Suzie said...

Oh, how I have missed your wit and your laugh. Thanks for blessing us, once again, with a truly inspirational posting.

Love you and miss you. Can't wait to see you soon.

Courtney said...

I love it and love you! I am looking forward to the day when we can hang out again and I can get my doses of "Amy" more often!

Giggi said...

That is the funniest post ever. I think you are entitled to a few hollas! So thankful that baby Ella is making so much progress, and sweet Eva is keeping the mood light! Still praying for your sweet family. Love you guys, Kathy Pinson

Brittany said...

I MISS YOU! There is a huge hole in our lives without you guys around to fill it. We are SO looking forward to getting our Small Group back together!

And BTW, I am totally with you on MJ. He was brilliant. In my opinion, no one has ever topped his dancing/vocal talent. Have to love Thriller too. I stand with you sister!

Your girls are both beautiful little angels and I can't wait to love on them both! Love you all so much!

Jen said...

Loved catching up on your family! We would so love to see you soon and meet sweet Ella and spend some time with Eva. She sounds like quite the little entertainer! Since you confessed to the MJ thing, I have to admit I found myself singing along with Boy George the other the top of my lungs at that. Sheew...I feel better already having that off my chest. We love you guys!

Kerstin Davis said...

I miss my Ella Bella!! It's great to see she's progressing (although slowly, but better that than nothing) I'm back in Denver for ski season right now but I'm so thankful for your blog. I think of you guys often and often wonder how y'all are doing! Give Miss Ella a big hug and kiss and tell her it's from Nurse Kerstin!