Friday, December 18, 2015

Precious Vanessa

This was Vanessa's status earlier today.

This morning:

I woke up early this morning in a panic because I couldn't find Anton. I couldn't remember which bed I put him in to sleep. Then I realized he was gone and my heart broke all over again...

I can normally get though the day okay but waking up in the mornings is the worst. It's when I first wake up that it hits me... That it really happened and he isn't here...

I miss him so much.

This evening:

Anton's plane just landed in Texas. I know he is in Heaven but the thought of his little body being in a different state than me is too much to handle.

Guys, can you even imagine? I can a little. I remember the morning after Gabe's funeral was the worst - realizing that I could never touch or feel him again... never again hold him in my arms. Now to imagine having to do that with a child I got to know and love about breaks my heart in two. Will you pray for my dear friend? Mornings are the absolute worst, and if you've ever lost someone so close to you, you know that feeling when you wake up and realize it's NOT a nightmare and the grief physically presses in on you to the point where you feel like you can't breathe. And you relive it all again, and it's almost too much to bear.

My body is in North Carolina but parts of my heart are in Minnesota and Texas. I can divide mine into three parts. Hers is shattered into a million pieces. Will you pray for my friend?

Many have asked how to help, and Vanessa has requested that as people feel led, to please contribute to Dr. Tolar's continuing groundbreaking research. When you would ask Anton what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would say that he wanted to be just like Dr. Tolar and find a cure for EB. His research and trial are the closest thing we've ever had to a cure. We are close. I can feel it. And Anton was a part of that.

If you would like to contribute in honor of Anton, to help realize his dream, you can do so HERE (you can also read more details here as well). 

Thank you for your continued prayers for peace and comfort. They will be moving back to Texas on Tuesday so please be in prayer for all of that too. They're having to say goodbye to their Minnesota family and their home for the last 10 months and going home without Anton. 

Lord, wrap them tightly. Fill those grief suffocating spaces with your life giving breath and sustenance. Hem them in on all sides and make each moment bearable enough to survive to the next. Give them moments of joy in the mourning. Moments of laughter in the sadness. Fill their hearts with the joy of who Anton was and comfort them in their brokenness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Beautiful Anton

I sent my family to church without me, which I never do... because sometimes you just need a minute, you know? I've needed several over the last week and a half.

I'm sure many of you have heard by now, but for those of you who haven't, Sweet Anton went to be with Jesus last night. Do you remember him? I first saw his picture and found out he needed a forever family in early February of 2011. I have NEVER in my life felt so pricked and so immediately called to do something as I did the first time I saw his face. On that day he stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same.

Do you remember what happened next? Do you remember how God moved? Do you remember how He used me AND YOU and so many beautiful, wonderful, life-giving, love-exuding people to fight for Anton? To give him hope and a future? Do you remember how we came together to find him a family, started Hope for Anton and fundraised to bring him home? Do you remember how God used us to change a little boy's life forever? Do you remember the God story?

Do you remember when I had never met Vanessa but she came here and lived with us for a week to learn everything she could about EB? We met for the first time when I picked her up at the airport and that day she stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same. She is one of the most incredible people I've ever met and we were instant friends, even sisters.

Do you remember how God entwined our lives and wrote a beautiful story of love, redemption and faithfulness that changed not only Anton, not only their family's life, but ours as well? Her story became mine and my story became hers and God did something so big it took my breath away and I wondered in awe why in the world He would let me be a part of something so amazingly spectacular. 

Do you know how I have loved that child as if he were my very own from the moment I saw his face? Do you know how the light he gave to the world changed it forever and how it is ever so much darker now that he is gone? 

I got to travel to Minnesota over the weekend to see him and tell him goodbye. I can't believe I had to tell him goodbye.


And now he's gone. And I know where he is and that he no longer suffers. I know that God is good and Anton is healed and whole and running and jumping and playing and wrestling. I know that he's met his older sisters by now and hopefully even run into Gabe and Tripp. I know he's in the arms of Jesus.

But my heart is breaking. I miss his voice and his light that radiated from Russia to Texas to Minnesota and back again. I miss his silliness and his sheer will to fight and live. I miss the happiness he unleashed wherever he went... and even where he didn't. One day I'll be okay. But today is not that day. I miss Anton. As Vanessa said, he charmed the world.

And we will never be the same.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

halloween 2015

I know it's been forever since I posted, but wanted to post our Halloween pics and let you know that we are all doing well. Jonah remains stable and infection free, which is more than we can ask for. He has his daily struggles and with his medical needs and Gideon's being, you know, three, life is not easy, but it's good. It's a hard season, but when we have days like today (zoo and then trick-or-treating), I realize that I really will miss these years when they are so captivated by wonder. I love that they feel everything big! (And I also really love it when they go to bed.)

Can you even stand his Spidey cuteness???

I feel safer already.

"But but but I don' wan' put my mas' back on."

I mean... I feel like this one could be in a magazine. 

Dress rehearsal at our house with Dad before heading out for the real thing.


My mom went with us trick or treating and it was so fun. I forgot to grab her pic with both boys, but got this one while Gid was in the bathtub. Jonah couldn't wait to share his reading skills with Nana. His favorite books are the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and he just giggles and giggles as he does the voices, intonations, and expressions. And isn't Nana lucky? How many people can say they've been read to by CAPTAIN AMERICA???

The new neighborhood has LOTS of trick-or-treaters. They started at 6 and when I turned off the light at 8:30 (just because our boys were exhausted and needed to go to bed), we were at 87. I'm sure we would have had 100 or more if I had kept the light on till 9. It was a fun day.

And look how they're growing!

Friday, April 10, 2015

flashback: gideon, three months


Today I turned three months old! Hooray!

Mommy's not sure how much I weigh right now, but with a face like this, she says it doesn't really matter. Don't tell anyone, but I think she's completely and utterly smitten.

I mean, can you blame her? Gracious.

I'm the smiliest, happiest thing you've ever seen. Unless I'm hungry or tired, I rarely ever cry. And guess what? I'm consistently sleeping all night now. Excuse Mommy. She just stopped helping me type to do a happy dance.

Mommy's silly.

I love to chew on my hands, and the smilier I get, the more I chew. I can now clasp a small, light weight rattle, and I LOVE to be sung to. I make great eye contact and will track Mommy (like a hawk) all around the room. I'm still not eating great and spit up a lot. Mommy says I only eat about 20 ounces a day. But Dr. C says as long as the spit up doesn't hurt me and I'm gaining weight, she's not worried. Just say no to excessive medication. :)

I still don't love my bouncy chair, but if you put me in the kitchen where I can see you, I do okay. The swing is still not my favorite. What do kids see in those? No reclining for me, thankyouverymuch. You know what I'm starting to like??? Baby Einstein videos.

Just say yes to TV. (That was Mommy, not me.)

Mommy's silly.

Mommy and Daddy just love my little personality and can't believe what a sweetheart I am. HAVE THEY MENTIONED THE DIMPLES??? They thank God for me every day, and just want to give him all the glory for my sweet little life.

They say they are so excited about the boy and man I will become and can't wait to tell me my amazing story. Apparently, amazing stories run in this family. I'm so loved and so appreciated, and Mommy and Daddy hope to never take one single day for granted.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

what we've been up to this weekend

Yesterday we spent decluttering the house. We're listing it in a few days. We love our house but just want to move a bit west of where we are now, closer to our church, Matt's parents, Matt's work, and the boys' schools.

Last night we went over to Matt's parents' house for dinner and to let the boys do a little driving in their cul-de-sac.

And today we finished up Jonah's family leprachaun trap project for school. We love his school and his teacher and I even ended up liking this project... although I think I complained about it for a week. I'm real mature like that. We had to use at least one simple machine in our trap, and naturally, ours had to involve a Hot Wheels car.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

flashback: gideon, two months

Hi World!

Today I turn two months old. Look how absolutely adorable I am! (Can you even stand my dimples???)

I weigh 12 lb 7 oz and am in the 50th percentile. I'm in the 13th percentile for weight but the 70th percentile for head size. I have a big noggin'! 

I'm a pretty happy baby when you're making eye contact and talking to me but I still prefer being held. Mommy loves how content and happy I am, and how I'm starting to sleep longer stretches through the night! HOORAY!

I love laying out on my changing table and kicking my legs. Mommy says I have to move my whole body to smile, and when I do, it just takes up my whole face. My hairline even moves back! I think it's funny that Mom told me that about my hairline, because she must not have noticed that I have very little hair to speak of. Ha ha ha.

But my baby acne is gone, so yay for that! I still spit up a lot and have a pretty fussy time in the evenings when my tummy hurts. Gas drops are my friend.

You know who I love? My brother. He is pretty special and helps Mommy by getting my bibs and burp cloths and putting dirty bottles in the sink. He talks to me and plays with me, and thinks I'm about the greatest thing ever. 

I seem to like bath time, although I don't really smile during it. I'm more of a stoic, pensive bather.

But I let the smiles roll after bath. See?

Mommy, Daddy, and Jonah just love me so much and feel so thankful and blessed to have me. I have been such an amazingly sweet and precious addition to the family, and we are all so happy.

Mommy and Daddy know we have a long road ahead but are so excited for my future, and know that God is with us every single step of the way. Oh yeah, Mommy chose my life verse! Gabe's is Revelation 7:17, Jonah's is Isaiah 43:1, and mine is Joshua 1:9. I hope you love it! Mommy says it's a perfect fit. God is good.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9