Sunday, December 25, 2011

 Celebrating the birth of our Savior King!! Wishing you the Merriest Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

This little guy has a cult-like following....children and parents alike going gaga over a tiny Christmas doll.  If you are unfamiliar with The Elf on the Shelf, you can read about him here;  the basic premise is that he watches kids during the day and at night flies to the North Pole to report to Santa, returning to the child's home and getting into mischief in the wee hours of the morn.

Our elf, Ging-E does not monitor behavior (Garrett is too cunning for threats  and knows full-well he will be getting gifts Christmas morning) and does not get into any trouble, because he does not clean up after himself.  This momma does not have time to be sweeping up powdered sugar from an 'elf-angel' gone wrong.  I could have written this.

Ging-E enjoys calm activities in the night:  TV,  board games, and manger scenes.

It is a really fun (just as much for the parents) tradition and yet another way that I'm eating my words on this journey of parenthood-- I made serious fun of these little creatures when I first heard of them:).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just like the rest of America, we've been decking the halls this month....scurrying around like crazy trying to get all the "things" of December done.  As if I needed any more reasons to adore my mother, I am realizing in new ways all that she did to 'go the extra mile' during Christmas (my dad too, but let's face's the women that do most of the work, or at least spend most of the time thinking, planning, and organizing all that needs to be done, which is most of the battle, I think).

Just for the record....we do not put out gifts till Christmas morn.  These are for family:)

I love it, but it sure is hard work being Santa.  Santa is somewhat disorganized and scatterbrained (shocking, I know) and was even spotted in the return lines early this year.....bringing back a gift she bought in duplicate:).

Friday, December 16, 2011

You know how all little boys love their mommas?? Adore might be a better word and I enjoyed a very good run of adoration from my oldest.  Being queen was fun while it lasted, but I have been de-throwned.   It's been a gradual process since the age of 3--as it should be--every day, Garrett studying and imitating Paul instead of me.

As with most little ones, Garrett has gone through phases of likes obsessions:  balls and then trucks, cars and then animals, superheros and then legos.  And then, one day...out of what seemed like the clear blue, it was basketball.  And boy, is it basketball.  Garrett is 'all in'---it is all he does, dribbling that little ball until I think my teeth are doing to fall out of my head...talking about practice and layups and copying celebratory chest bumps, while I nod my head and say "that's great" about 600 times (I am lucky to match the ball with the correct sport).

About 6 weeks ago, Garrett put two and two together that his daddy used to play basketball for the Vols (Paul walked on the team his junior and senior years) and.....OH.MY.HEAVENS!!!! The joy and awe in that little boy's eyes for Paul is about the sweetest thing ever.  And so, there is a new king in town and it's the real-life basketball player:).  G has peppered Paul with countless questions, begged for basketball bedtime stories, and even accompanied him to a few games.  When the girls and I are lucky, we get to be the announcer or the cheerleaders (a vision, I assure you), but most of the time, we are just fans--a role we are both well suited for and comfortable with being.  

Watching some game footage

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My dad and I took Garrett to the circus over Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure who was more excited--me, or my dad.  I don't list Garrett as a possible 'excitee' because I bought the tickets and told him afterwards.  He declared he wasn't going, which is par for the course with him....if it's new and/or not his idea, he's not having it.  I practically had to beat him to get him in the car, which is one of those hilarious parental moments where you feel ridiculous because you find yourself saying, "I don't care if you want to go see a bear riding a motorcycle or not--we are going to the circus and we are going to have fun.  If it kills us".  Ok, so I didn't say that exactly, but you get the drift.
Tiger on a Stick.  Such an important part of the circus experience.

It ended up being fabulous and we all had a great time.  I cried when it started because I was overwhelmed with the excitement....the lights, the costumes, the bear wearing a skirt (I loved the bears)...a sure indication that I need to get out more.:)  Another thing I learned about myself via The Bigtop was that I've crossed over---I can no longer watch death-defying acts and enjoy them for entertainment sake.  I was a nervous wreck the whole time that chick let some motorcycle-man spin her around at 30 mph at a hundred feet in the air, hanging by her toes.  By the time they shot the 80yr old man from a cannon, I was done--which was convenient because momma was broke!

$8 bag of cotton candy.  Gone in 8 minutes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Everyone knows denial is one of the first steps of grief.  When Lilah was first diagnosed, Paul and I were pretty sure we had skipped over that step. We knew and accepted her limitations and the impact it would have on our family, or so we thought.  But, we didn't really know or fully accept all that the cluster of medical terms thrown at us would look like, because......well, we were in denial--which isn't all bad.  Because, I was about to crack the way it was--each day bringing all I could bear, without the full knowledge of the road ahead.

One thing I was sure of, in those early days, is that I did not want my life, or my family's life to be defined by this--a sick child.  It would always be part of us, I knew...but not who we were, I thought.

As the days, months, and now years (thankyou, Lord) go by, I realize I was wrong on both accounts (*Paul* I told you I could say I was wrong) .  We were in denial and it 'is' (having Lilah) who we are.

Because of my background, I had more of an idea than most about the implications---having a special needs child would affect a lot of things....where we lived, what we drove, what schools we chose.  But, I did not realize it would affect every.little.thing....there is almost no aspect of family life that is not impacted differently than it would be if Lilah were "neuro-typical" (did you know this is one of the PC terms for non-normal? I speak a new language these days...turns out all that space I didn't think my brain had for higher level French was being saved for this).  I am sitting here frozen at my computer trying to come up with examples that don't sound lame--laundry, car-trips, dinner, shopping, visiting friends.  None of those get at the fact that Lilah's care,  her limitations, her likes and dislikes weigh into every decision we make.  The burden of these things and worries over her future can rest around our shoulders like a lead balloon.

We decorated our tree last week...made a big deal about getting, bringing in, and lighting a giant Christmas bush.  In my mind, our children would be gathered on the floor, under the lights, as Paul and I sang carols.  Don't laugh.  The reality included the Backyardigans blaring and Lilah chewing on the cords of lights--and I snapped.  I turned off the beloved cartoon and yanked the lights out of her reach...bellowing about how I was sick and tired of every frickin family event occurring with "we're your best friends the Backyardigans" as the theme song--putting an abrupt end to all merriment for everyone.  It was good times.  Merry Merry.

Like I said; this is who we are.  Like it or not (hate it), we are the family that watches TV to get thru family meals, that skips more events than we attend because it's too much trouble, and that carries more worries and what-ifs than we care to count.

Every few months, it--the magnitude of all that having a child like Lilah means--hits me.  And I get all down and crabby.  Morose and, well, if I'm honest,....angry and full of self-pity.  This is not at all what I want for my life, not to mention my daughter's or the rest of my family.  I just want to be normal (this, btw, is a lie--there is no normal).

They're best backyardigans:)

But, it's who we are--good and bad.  We are the family that appreciates each day, that rejoices in little moments, and that is raising some truly incredible children (by no merit of our own).  Paul and I are better people because all we've been through.  We are thankful and do enjoy life much more the ship we're on--sometimes it feels like the Titanic, but I'm pretty sure it's the Queen Mary.  And besides, there is no switching mid-voyage, so we might as well break out the champagne.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Half Birthday

My baby is 6 months old.  Love her heart...she is feisty, and curious, and generally very good natured.  Ada is also sharp as a tack, knows how to get what she wants, and is on the fast track to becoming the most rotten Burch baby.  Cant imagine the days before that precious smile....
Modeling her new winter hat...thanks Granny:)

She's sitting, nearly crawling, and has 1.2 teeth

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Art Appreciation

You know how they say "be careful what you wish for?"...well, I'm living it out around here in the area of crafts.  When I was working, I loved crafts.  I used seasonal crafts as activities to target all kinds of speech and language goals.  It was great.  Organzied. Orderly. And controlled.  By me.  Just how I like it:).

I always envisioned doing such crafts with my kids. And then I had a boy and he would not sit still for .2 seconds and any talk from me about paints, colors, or glue was ignored. I only had one child then and I thought sitting around painting and taping sounded like great fun, and an excellent way to pass the time--an alternate to exploring every blade of grass and pinecone--which is what Garrett wanted to do all the livelong day. And then Miss Lilah came along...she loves crafts, but her joy for eating the materials outweighs her love of production and I usually run out of steam after I have to dig crayon wax out of her teeth.

Now I'm too busy trying to keep everyone alive and fed and stuff like that. And when I wasn't looking....just when I least suspected it, as Garrett says.....I have a little craftsman on my hands. It happened overnight--one morning about 2 months ago, he woke up and wanted to draw--and it hasn't stopped since. It was awesome. For about a week. And then I started to get increasingly aggitated about the crafting supplies and post-production stuff always laying about. I know, terrible. I'm Type A like that....I hate things lying around. I justify it by saying that if I wasn't a raving lunatic 'on top of it', the Burch household would be the next Horders episode. Who knows how many dead cats they'd find under piles of masterpieces, scraps of tape, and broken crayons???

Anyway, Garrett creates, like 10, "things" at home every, models, letters, paintings. And he also comes home with at least 4 from school 4 days a week. Needless to say, I've had to start "thinning out" the production. Proud momma I am, but many of these can you keep?

Well, of course, the little rascal is on to me. "Where is that teepee I drew for Daddy? I left it right here", he'd say.  I started by playing dumb, shrugging my shoulders and looking the other way.  But, then he found something in the trash.  Busted.  "Why did you throw my letter to Jonathan away?" he said. I did what anyone would do, lied like a dog and said it was an accident.

I'll be darned if he hasn't started checking the trash when he can't find something.  So, if you live in my neighborhood and see me sneaking my trash into yours, you know what's up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! My cup overflows....too many blessings to count, literally.  All that I have and all that I am, thanks be to God. 

Here are the things in the front of my mind as I think of all I have to be grateful for:

--my turkeys.  each so different and all so special.  garrett, lilah, and ada have stretched my mind, heart, and body (haha) in ways I didn't know were possible or that I needed.

--my him so much and am really thankful to run this race of life with such a great partner.

--family and friends....we are blessed with both, and most are equally friends and family.  it takes a village to make it and we have been blessed with a beautiful village.

--to live in this great country where freedom is the normal

--that I take less and less for granted as the years go by....I am learning that nothing I know or love is guaranteed--except God's promises.

We are in happiness and wonder with the ways He has blessed our family.  May we remain thankful in all things in the year ahead.  Wishing you full bellies and warm hearts!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I told you all I was addicted to Pintrest, right? It started out great because I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, believe it or not...but only with one hand, as the other is holding a baby or a feeding tube.  My love affair with the site, where you can mark pictures of things you find interesting, is becoming a bit of a love/hate relationship--because it is making me feel very inadequate. 

Pintrest is full of 'how to's on everything you can think of---make your own soap, 101 homemade christmas ideas, original teacher gifts, recipes, handcrafted this, that, and the other.  I love stuff like that.  Scratch that.  I love the idea of stuff like that.  But when it comes down to it, the process of learning, getting, and doing all the steps involved in making an 'oragami turkey that swoops down over your thanksgiving table proclaiming a blessing' is overwhelming to me.  (Ok, I made that one up, but you get the idea).

Pressure, people, pressure. 

I took the bait and decided to try a simpler craft that would preserve the sweet handprints of my babies for posterity.  Here are the steps:

1.  go to Hobby Lobby for supplies.  find paint aisle.  become overwhelmed with varieties of 'brown', and 'washable' and leave store with a multipack what contains neither.  get canvases.  leave store and realize I forgot to use my 40% coupon. 

2.  tell family the plan.  i'm not totally positve they weren't excited, but let's just say, i didn't hear any cheers.

3.  get supplies ready.  mix paints on paper plate to create perfect brown (not easy).  realize i have no paintbrush--use baster from

4.  decide i should start with garrett and would need an assistant (paul)

5. bribe both.

6. lose my holiday cheer with both.

7. paint hands in order of age

8. have a glass of wine (should have moved this up in the order)

9. vow to quit looking at Pintrest

Friday, November 18, 2011

The holiday season is upon us and nothing says holidays to me like...wait for it.....Starbucks.  I'm spiritual like that.  It's not just a $4 coffee, it's a feeling--like it's snowing, and you live in NYC, and you are shopping in the Macy's, and you're in love, and it's Christmas Eve, and it's exciting, and.....oh.....just me?? Well, anyway, Fourbucks (as my husband likes to call it) has some great drinks and I feel like it's my civic duty to provide you with this friendly PSA:  1/2 Holiday Drinks from 2-5 until Nov 20!!!  That's incredible, it's like getting a drink for only double what it should cost.

I had the Skinny Peppermint Mocha, which was like liquid cheer (not to be confused with liquid courage) and delightful, although not nearly as good as the definately-not-skinny Salted Caramel Thingy the hubs got.  I can't wait to go back tomorrow....when I'll save 4 more dollars:).  Capitalism at it's finest (a good thing).
I am fairly brave and have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I have a major chink in my armor (besides my kids)....the dentist.  I am very, very afraid of the dentist.  The dentist and the movie "It"--scariest things out there.  I get the gas for cleanings.  Not kidding.

I'm not sure if my fear started when my childhood dentist snipped my frenulum (the piece of skin under your front lip) to get my front teeth to grow together (pretty sure this is something witch doctors do) or when he pulled 7 of my baby teeth so that he could put braces in my tiny mouth in 5th grade!!!, or the time that another dentist hit a nerve while drilling and I literally levitated from the chair 2 feet.

Anyway, I'm scared.  Which is why it's unfortunate that I experienced a minor toothache, that led me to the dentist, and an x-ray, and a diagnosis of "ROOT CANAL".  I might have cried.  In the office.  Like a 5 year old. Then I swiftly walked to the car, so I could call my husband and cry like a baby.

Because he's my hero, he went by my dental office and paid-off arranged the dentist (who is a very good friend) to see me on Friday so 1) I could get it over with, and 2) I wouldn't embarrass myself in an office full of regular non-scaredy-cats.  The only problem was that there would be no office staff, so Paul would have to be the assistant, and hand him the tools.:).

I survived it and learned a few things.

1.  "sedatives" work.
2.  their effects are not immediate and might leave one still nervous in the chair and yet like a tranquilized  zoo animal after the fact.
3.  2 is enough.
4.  an unskilled assistant might suck up your uvula with the hose intended to suck up sawed-up tooth and spit...and it feels like your brain is coming out the bottom.
5.  there is a place you can go and be put completely asleep for dental procedures--it's called the hospital and I'm going to look into it.  I'm pretty sure my dentist will be relieved:)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Look at this proud! Lilah loves Ada's exersaucer--she's probably only 2 feet and 20 pounds too big for it, but that doesn't stop her.  It's an Act of Congress getting her dangly little legs into it, and pulling her out of it probably doesn't help our back issues....but look at that face...who could say no???  Love her.
I haven't written lately because I am devoid of logical thoughts...I'm tired and my last remaining brain cells after pregnancy #3 have now left the building.  (my other excuses are: i've been busy playing with my new phone and I am a.d.d.i.c.t.e.d to Pintrest).  It is no wonder "they" use sleep deprivation as a form of torture in war--it is real and powerful.

I've told you all: I'm much more laissez-faire with Ada than with the other two (not that I was that uptight with them either).  I do not have the time or energy to get that worked up over anything, even sleep.  Example: when I'm up with her for the [insert # here] time of the night, I'm thinking in my head: must get this child sleep trained or shouldn't have let her fall asleep in the car 3 times today or we've got to get her out of our room...but then, by my second cup of coffee, I've forgotten all about it and can't even remember how we slept the night before.  And then it's a new day week month.

A few weeks ago, my kids got the croup and it has been a downward spiral of nighttime peace ever since.  Humidifiers, saline, Advil, bulb syringes, taking children outside to breathe cool air, setting off the alarm in the middle of the night, the coughing...yada, yada.  Armies of small people needing rocking, or milk, or clean sheets.  There were several nights where Paul and I were literally passing each other in the halls, headed to different rooms--you'd think we have 10 kids, or are running a boarding school.

Anyway, they recovered from what ailed them--and then--the time change.  Don't even get me started on the time change.  While the rest of the free world is boasting about gaining an hour of sleep, I'm wondering how to bribe my children into not waking me up at what is now 5:30.

Speaking of, I knew someone once who brewed their coffee in the bathroom, after walking down the hall on pillows, in attempts to keep from waking up his kids.  Funny stuff.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

my little cat before school

the yearly costume line-up...we were missing a hamburger, Buzz, and a golfer...but we had a bee, Anikin Skywalker, a bat, Darth Vader, a ghostbuster, a cat, princess leia, a duck, a fairy, tinkerbell, and a butterfly!!!

princess leia and my little duck Ada, and  tinkerbell

was Paul not the best Abe??

Pre-trick-or-treating with my parents.
Halloween was great! We had so much fun dressing up and seeing all the other kids (and adults) in costume.  I love that Halloween is so festive here...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

You all will be happy to know the Burch family is back to eating out--in restaurants (kind of), that is.  Actually, we've only tried a few...b/c eating out with 3 children is a risky proposition.  But--as you may know--an important part of our family culture.  When I met Paul, he was 30 and single (obviously) and had not eaten a meal in his house...well, maybe ever.  The first time I looked in his fridge, I was scared.  It had tulip bulbs and 2 European beers.  And butter.   Anyway, the man likes to eat out.  We eat most meals at home these days, but still 'out' a good bit--b/c Paul has found a partner in crime in his oldest child.

Littons is Garrett's favorite (well, it was an Indian restaurant, but after they failed 2 health inspections, I dropped the hammer on eating there.  we are at the hospital enough as it is) and we went last night.  Lilah makes meals out tricky enough...b/c you have to have a supply of fake cheese snacks for her and your iPhone battery charged (so she can watch YouTube)....but adding Ada to the mix has upped the ante for sure.  Just getting out the door is a challenge--pacis, toys, diapers, bitter biscuits.  It's a lot of pressure if you are a girl scout like me--I like to be prepared!

Which is why, when we pulled in the parking lot to get out, I realized I was wearing this:
halloween fashion.  far-east style.
Dinner went well, if you don't count 2 trips to the bathroom, a few threats, ketchup on Ada's face, and a full styrofoam cup of water that "someone" sawed in-half with his steak knife.  The burgers were great.  I think.:)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parenthood is full of emotions, and, I think, parenting a child with so many struggles, even more so.  Paul and I always say, the highs and lows are, somehow, much more intense.  You expect, whether you know it or not, a typical child to do new things....they are constantly changing--nothing surprises you about what kids are capable of doing.  
But, with Lilah...not so much.  Months go by where she, literally, does not do anything 'new'--where she just 'ooches', bit by bit, closer to a goal that was meant to be achieved over a year ago.  And, it is not uncommon for her to lose one skill as she gains another.  New abilities are so slowly arrived upon that they are almost old news by the time she gets them--there is hardly ever an 'ah-ha' moment, if that makes any sense.  
But today, we had a big one.  "Ahhhhh-Haaaaa".  You could see it in her face...a light bulb flashing.  Quickly and clearly.  And she moved.  From across the room, to her Cheetos, on the shelf under the bar.  And it was the closest thing to effortless I've ever seen her do (unless you count swiping her sister's paci).  It was beauty.

 Lilah got her stand-up walker today.  Seeing her in it absolutely un-did me....I cried like a baby.  (I would say I felt bad for the equipment guy, but he's used to me by now) So happy for her to have the tiniest bit more freedom of movement.  So glad to see her body upright, stretched and tall (relatively), as it should be.  Hopeful that she may gain a little independence in her ability to explore the world.  But (and there is always a but), also an incredible sadness.  It breaks my heart to see her in any 'contraption' know that it takes all that (bracing, brackets, metal, padding, etc) so that my little girl can even hold her body up in space.  It sucks that everything is so darn hard for her.  And there is nothing worse in the world than seeing the look in her eyes that lets me know she 'gets it'....she knows she's different and she's frustrated.  I hate that the most--that she is smart enough to know her body and mind do not work as they should.
One of the Lord's great provisions in this rocky trail is that, at the end of most days, no matter the events or trials, we are thankful.  Thankful for this precious child and all the ways that our family is stretched and strengthened and blessed by who she is and how she loves.  Thankful that, by His grace, she has all that she needs (medicines, therapies, equipment, doctors, etc).  Thankful that we made it through the day and hopeful for the next.  And Hope is where it's at.  Well, that and Faith.  And of course, Love.
Check, check, double check.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I hesitate to tell you this story (shocker, I know) because I think it just makes me look (more) crazy, but then I figured y'all already knew most of my here it goes.  It's cold weather season again and I dread it for many reasons, the least of which not being that I live with a small child capable of making an entire household miserable over seasonally appropriate clothing.  I know, right? How many posts can I write about how Garrett hates cold weather clothes? Well, this one is about shoes.

Last year, I let him wear flip flops in the snow.  Not all the time.  But sometimes.  Playing the 'I'm not going to make a mountain out of a molehill' parenting car.  Then I realized the joke was on me, because, while I think forcing the issue on clothing is usually a lose-lose battle....allowing your 4 year old to essentially go barefoot in the cold might be a one-way ticket to an appearance on Super Nanny.  And, I am afraid it might lead to me looking back 10 years later, saying "It all started there.  With the flip-flops. That's when I lost control.  The tattoo, earring, and hoochie girlfriend are all my fault.".

So this year, I've laid out the boundaries and have let Garrett know that the flip flops are being put away until soon as it gets cold.  Luckily for him, we have bipolar weather and he's been rockin the flops though mid-October.   Two weekends ago, we set out on a family adventure to purchase a new pair of winter shoes.  (This is where I start to look crazy).  I have no idea why we all went.  We are just exciting like that.  Oh, wait.....I do know.  The last time I let Paul buy him footwear, this is what he came home with.

uggliest shoes ever

Anyway, I'll set the scene:  New Balance.  !6 year old employee who I feel certain will never have s.e.x. for fear that she will end up like us. One crying baby.  One child picking her nose and grabbing shoes to eat as we wheel her past the displays.  And one 5-yr-old cowering behind his father, as if in fear of tennis shoes.  I am not kidding--he literally cried because he did not like any of them.    So, we said we'd try another place.  No big deal.  Lots of shoes in the sea.

We hop in the car (you would laugh at this phrase if you'd ever seen Burch Party of 5 load up to go somewhere) and I start in on "children in Africa have no shoes.  they are thankful", which totally backfired because G said, "you mean they get to go barefoot all the time?", as if that would be mecca.  Not exactly what I was going for with that lesson:(.  Three shoe stores and 2 very angry parents later, we abandoned the mission and headed home.  All the shoes were 'too tight', 'too big', 'not handsome' , or 'not fast'.  He did find a few that he liked, which the team vetoed (i.e., black, light-up, DarthVader).

Then, after beating my head on the wall and calling my mother to ask what I'd done wrong, I remembered my own personal love affair with Zappos.  So, I ordered the little darling 9 pairs of shoes that I deemed acceptable.  They were all rejects.  Not kidding.!!!!!!! Then, like any stupid, blinded-by-first-born-child-love mother would do, I ordered 'round 2' of shoes from Zappos.  I'm leaving out a lot of the gory details in between here...but you can imagine....tears, yells, power struggles, apologizes, vows to change behavior (by all parties involved).

The end goes something like #2 arrives, G declares before opening it that he doesn't like any of them and I throw down the ultimatum and vow to chose for him.  He wants to know which one I will chose, so, clearly, he can chose the opposite.  And, we end up with the exact same darn pair we've had for the last 4 years, except bigger.  Two weeks, several stores, hundreds of dollars on my credit card, and an ulcer and he choses the same pair!!
Suckered and out-controlled by a 5-year-old again!

The flops are gone....and the meltdowns over shoes (and pants, and sweatshirts) have begun.  Is it spring yet?

Monday, October 17, 2011

My precious little Ada spits up.  A lot.  All day.  It's like a Dr Suess book...she spits up on the floor, in the car, on the bar.  Ada pukes here, there, and everywhere.  It's ok.  I honestly don't care.  I'm not sure if I'm so beaten down by the antics of the other two or the drama in the last 3 years or if I've just matured so much since Garrett was a baby that it doesn't bother me.  Probably the 2nd:).  When he was a baby, it grossed me out...I got tired of always smelling like spit up (these days it might be an improvement), changing my clothes before leaving the house (this, I've found, is not really necessary for preschool pick-up or Target, the only places I go), and cleaning up the piles of 'splat' (now, I just drop a paper towel over it and leave it for later, or rub it in with my socks--that is gross, I know).

I felt like sharing this, because tonight, she set a new record for disgusting--love her little heart.  In past weeks, she has spit up in my shoes (many times), down my shirt, in my hair, in a basket of clean and folded laundry, on a pair of freshly ironed pants that were still warm and folded over a chair, in a drawer, and all over my new People magazine.  But the worst was tonight--when she spit up in my bowl of salad and on my fork, as it was going into my mouth.  I have no idea how it happened, but I think it's a true testament to the power of my stomach...because not even a bowl full of baby puke could ruin my appetite.  But, don't worry.  I did not eat the salad.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Look at this girl....cuter every day! I cannot get enough of her--breathing in her baby smell, holding her hand, rubbing her head.  I cannot believe we've only had her 4 months and do not know what I did without her.
Ada's getting too big, too fast for me.  And she thinks she's bigger than she is...she has swiped food from my plate 3 times in the last week and acts like if she could just move her arms and legs a bit faster, she might be able to get somewhere.  She is sweet and determined and has a mighty temper.
Not that you would know it to look at her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We are working on some positive attitude, thankfulness, and helpfulness goals at the Burch house.  I'd say the (relative) biggest strides are coming in the helpfulness category.  The only hold-up seems to be if G deems the task important to him (e.g.,  please get me my phone so I can call your teacher and tell her you are too sick for school) or fun.  The fun part is tough, because, no matter how many cutesy songs you sing--a 5 year old boy is not going to take the bait that setting the table is a joy.  

 I did discover that pouring rain makes getting the newspaper might have taken him 10 minutes to get his gear on, but he was very proud!
Rain or Shine...he delivers!
After the delivery, he tried on every item of rain clothing we own...hats, boots, ponchos, umbrellas to test them out.  Isn't that helpful?  :)
Tragedy has struck the Burch home.  My tall, strong (and handsome) husband has thrown out his back.  A lesser, weaker wife would be all I told you to lift with your legs and I knew we should have been doing Pilates together when the kids went to bed (instead of eating popcorn)....but not me.  I'm happily serving the invalid man, stepping over his camp-out on the living room floor, while doing everything that involves lifting anything heavier than a glass.  Oh, also, the driving.  I'm doing the driving because his doctor has him on a little cocktail of prescriptions that made me hide his keys.  Because the only thing that would make me more irritated than an injured husband is a dead one.  Talk about no help.

As it turns out, every single household and child rearing task requires the use of your back, did you know that? Luckily we only have two children that are totally helpless in every way, and Garrett is such a joy in terms of helpfulness and positive attitude, that he makes up for it.

Now we know that Paul has 2 bulging disks and I really do feel sorry for him.  Sorry for him and totally panicked for myself because he and I are 'in this' together and a big part of 'this' is lifting our 35 lb darling many times a day...which, unconincidently  is the cause of this excruciating pain.  I counted 30+ lifts of Lilah the other day, just for necessities (in/out of car, highchair, bed, etc) and she's only going to get bigger.  So, Paul and I are getting our acts together and starting some core training...he's thinking CrossFit and I'm thinking one of those electronic belts from the 80s that stimulate your muscles while you watch TV.  Kidding, I've started running again--which is maybe not that good for my core, but awesome for my attitude....which might be weaker than my core:).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I love watching my kids together.  I should note:  they do not fight, at all, yet.  A fact that is both wonderful, and sad.  But,  adding a 3rd increased their all their interactions by a lot, and the fighting is sure to come.  For now, I'm enjoying the new dynamic.
  Garrett, having his antics appreciated by the newest sister, gives more attention then to Lilah, hoping for a similar response.  He doesn't normally "get much" from Lilah, but she at least seems a bit more 'present' lately.  Lilah loves her baby sister...seeking her affection much more so than with anyone else (except, of course, her daddy).  She reaches for Ada constantly, wanting me to stop and hold Ada near her for kisses or pats.  Lilah will scoot across the floor more quickly to be by Ada than anything else.  Ada is just her speed.  For now.
 The thing about typical babies is that they change.  Quick.  I forgot how every day brings a new skill.....Ada is literally changing before my eyes.  And it's bittersweet. I am beyond thankful that she's strong and healthy, obviously.  And, none of her little skills go unnoticed around here.  I think she's a genius....a very strong genius.  But, it also highlights all the things that Lilah never did.... skills that we 'worked on' for a year, that Ada gets in a day...areas of development where my 3-yr-old is behind my 4 month old.  And it makes me really sad that Lilah has to work so darn hard for little things (like making a sound, or rolling over) that should be so easy.
As for Ada, she loves her siblings.  Garrett can make her smile in a nano-second, and her curiosity over what he's 'up to' far outweighs any residual fear over the "Lego Incident".  And Lilah, she's still trying to figure her out--waiting for her to talk, I think.

I love these 3 so.  So fiercely.  So equally.  So differently.  What a blessing it is to be their mother.  Especially at times like this.....when they are moments away from sleep.:)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lilah is doing great with her wheelchair and using it more everyday.  She's even using it with a more cheerful attitude, which is awesome:).  The wheelchair repairman came this week, and brought a new device along with him for L to try.  I already cannot remember it's name, but's an upright wheelchair.  It supports her core, and allows for her to bear weight, but unlike other 'walkers', does not require weight bearing for movement--because it has giant wheelchair wheels also.   So, she can do a little of both, still get around, and not get frustrated.  Here's a clip:

As you can tell, she's heavy on the wheels and not so much on the legs, but this was her first time and she enjoyed it.  FYI: you'll see one of her 'signs' in the video--when she points to her mouth, she's asking for her paci.  Sweet girl:).  We are so proud of her!

Now, on to the insurance game to see if we can get one of those up in here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Garrett

Five years ago my life changed.  Two new people were  born, Garrett and me.  These have been the best years (also, undoubtedly the hardest) of my life.  He is an incredible little boy, and we are blessed in every way by him.

 The years are wizzing past, faster each one.  And, he's not a baby anymore.  I know he hasn't been for quite some time, but 5 is different.  He's becoming his own little person.  This is the year he'll start kindergarten.

I have a 5-year-old.  And I am weepy.  Very weepy.  I cannot believe Garrett is 5 and instead of feeling the joyful nostalgia that I've experienced at his other birthdays, I am downright panicked.  Make it stop.  Put on the breaks.  Slow it down. Please.  I want to freeze time.  Hold that still teensy-bit chubby hand in mine and rock him to sleep.

Birthdays are, however,  a great reminder that you cannot stop the clock....but you can enjoy each minute.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I feel like I've been spending the last month getting my children's wardrobe ready for fall.  I am baffled by the time, money, and organization it takes to outfit a child for a new weather clothes, cold weather clothes, socks, shoes, coats, etc....and it mostly needs to coordinate to maximize the outfit possibiliites.

This is daunting enough before you add in any 'special needs'.  It started with needing button-front baby outfits to accomidate Lilah's heart monitor and then feeding tube.  The needs morphed into needing easy access to her feeding tube for me, but difficult access for her.  Then Lilah's tiny body started getting not so tiny....and her belly grew at a disproportionate rate (because of her severly low tone, they say)....leaving her with the body habitus of an 8 month preggo.  Her feet are the size of a 12 month old...meaning she needs baby shoes that are baby-proof.  Lilah's scholeosis is starting to make her shirts pull tightly accross her back.  Also, she's super hot-natured.   So that goes into account.  All of these needs are not always easy to accomidate, but I have learned a lot over the process.

I consider myself a special needs stylist:).  Kind of like Rachel Zoe for the handicapped population (of my house).  I know, it's banannas.  I like for Lilah's clothes to fill her many requirements-- and be comfortable and look cute.  There are certain brands I go for that are more....shall we say, forgiving.  And, I have many things tweaked by a very talented and creative seamstress over at Cuckcoo's Nest--who has way better things to do with her talent, but loves my girl and appreciates the joy of dressing children.  I have pants shortened, buttons moved, panels added, and things created--the latest creation is a 'belly bra', which I can't explain because the patent is pending.  kidding.

Anyway, my latest undertaking was shoes, because Lilah can and will sniff out velcro like a blood hound, and remove her shoes to chew on them.  She loves velcro.  And shoes.  And both are very gross, especially to bi-standers who think I let my child eat their shoes.  Which I do.  But hers have never touched the floor.  Still, it's gross and she needs shoes that will stay on her feet.  Mostly because I don't have time to put her shoes back on 30 times a day, and apparently neither do her teachers....because I keep finding her bare-feet at pick-up.  I had, what I thought, was brilliant idea.

 I bought 3 pairs of shoes and had an industrial snap put on, over the velcro, at the cobbler.  I'm pretty sure he goes by 'shoe repairman' these days, but I think 'cobbler' is cuter. Anyway, genius, right? I considered buckles, but cobbler-man said snaps would be quicker (sold!) and she couldn't get them off anyway.  I'm sure you can see the writing-on-the-wall here.  Lilah got the first pair of shoes off in 30 seconds, the second pair in 15, and the 3rd pair....well, she just grabbed them straight out of my hands, laughed, and started eating the velcro.  Fail.

shape sorters are the hot ticket in Lilah world these days:)

In the process of cleaning out closets, I found a pair of keds that Garrett wore when he was 10 months.  And they are precious.....she'll just have to always wear red...because she has maxed out her shoe budget.  And mama wants some new boots.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Because it bears repeating:  thankyou for your faithful prayers even still,  outside moments of crisis, for our family.  Prayer is real and powerful and it changes things.  I still have no idea the way to theologically reconcile how that is true along with God's perfect plan for each moment of our lives, from the beginning time.  But, in my aged wisdom (haha), I am learning that there are things about life, and particularly God, that I cannot and will not understand.

I do know that His word is truth and that God alone is able to do more than we could ask or imagine.  It is true for Lilah, and it is true for Hutton.  She is the little angel I asked you to pray for 3 months ago.....and today she is home, with her new heart.

Read her story here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Financial Freedom

You might have noticed the very fancy, high profile ITT tech and Zulily and Ann Taylor Loft ads now gracing this little blog.  You all know how savvy I am...and I've managed to sell some ad space to finance some new boots I've got my eye on (in case it's not translating, note the sarcasm.  I'm pretty sure anyone can agree to put ads on their blog).  I hope boots are still 'in' in 2025---the year I will have made enough from 'selling my soul to corporate America' to buy the darn things.  Partly because who knew cowboy boots were so expensive (I'm from Indiana, where I'm pretty sure you can only get utility cowboy boots at Rural King) and also 'they' pay me 1/1000000000000000 of a cent for every time that someone clicks on those ads.
I feel compelled to tell you:  a) I have no choice over content, although b) those ads are, eerily, things I like or love, like The Loft.
So, I wonder if Big Brother watches what I post, and picks ads accordingly.  If that's the case, I am digging the new season at Anthropologie and would also love to see an ad for 30% Western Boots.  Hint.  Hint.
Which brings me to c) I am not payed to review items, although I wish I were, because I am an excellent critic.  Seriously, if I could find a job being a 'reviewer of items', I'd be all over it.

Back to our regular programing.  Up this week:  Dental Visit from Hades and Parenting is for Ogres. Should be fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ada's Baptism

We baptized our littlest gift this morning.  It was sweet and special and entirely different than the last time, with Lilah.  With her, there was a sense of urgency....a desire to baptize her quickly...a fear we might not get to at all.  But, with Ada, it was a celebration of her life, a commitment on our part to raise her in the Lord, and a seal of the covenant God made with His people....all that an infant baptism should be.

this sweet dress has been worn by 3 generations of babies

I want you to notice that we were easy feat.
 I write very little about all the emotions surrounding Ada's little life...because they are intensely complicated for me.  But, I will say that her 4 months have been the happiest in memory for me--full of a richness and love that brings me to my knees.  Her life has been healing for my heart in ways that I cannot begin to describe.  While certainly not the purpose or intent of her creation, her brightness has filled so many corners of darkness.  That tiny baby's cries and coos have breathed new life into our home, and  her spirit has bolstered ours.

the star was very well behaved

 Ada is curious, loving, sweet, and completely engaged in all the wonders of this world.  Her life is such a precious gift and I am honored that the Lord chose me as her mother.  I cannot wait to see the story he has written for His child.