Noah had a little adventure in store for our whole family. On Monday afternoon he decided to try and play Superman on the swing and took a little spill. He went face first into the ground from about 6 feet. Needless to say, we took a little trip to the ER. After a head CT and a craniofacial CT, they said he was okay and could take the little guy home. I wasn't so sure they were going to let us considering how rough the little guy looked. I thought they might try and find some new parents for him but they seemed to think we could do the job (I'm not always so sure). Anyway, no visits from CPS so I guess we're in the clear.

Poor Noah looks so pathetic. It's not quite caught on the picture. I think he looks worse in real life but I thought I'd post him so he could get some much deserved sympathy. He was looking in the mirror saying, "It's okay Noah." He also isn't talking so clearly cause he's so stuffed up and swollen. When we were at the hospital he kept saying "I wha ing Ek." We finally figured out he was saying "I'm watching Shrek."

He is now back to his naughty self so we figure he's not feeling too bad. Quite the adventure for our little boy.

Josh is 30!!!

Holy Smokers!!! Josh turned 30 today (really yesterday as it is now after midnight). Josh was born at about 8:35 p.m. on the 18th of August. I have had the joy of spending the last 11 years of my life with him. He always seems to keep things exciting for us around here. I think of our time at IWU and think how complicated I thought life was at that time. Oh for the joys and carefree times of college...Our first kiss, the first time I wrote my mom and told her he was the guy I was going to marry (I think this was like 2 weeks after we met and not even really dating yet). I think it took him a little longer to figure this one out, maybe like 4 years longer but, hey, who's counting? :-) I think of our wedding and how amazing it was to stand at the altar and feel like I was standing in front of the most special, amazing guy in the world. I remember finding out we were pregnant with Noah and realizing how much our life was going to change. I remember sitting on our couch in our condo in California and telling him numerous times that NO I was not joking and yes we were having a baby. Three more quickly followed with a few more moves and job changes. Yet Josh always seemed to be the one to keep the positive attitude, the humor, and the one focusing our eyes on God. Then the unthinkable happened when Ava died and we needed to be strong for each other and hold each other up when the other thought they were dying. I was blessed with the most amazing husband. The one who can hold me when I cry and let me hold him when he cries. He's pretty incredible.

So I wanted to let him know I thought he was incredible so I threw him a surprise 30th birthday party. We went out to Carraba's with Mom and Dad and Holly and Jason and then headed home. Everyone was out in our backyard and surprised him. We had a cookout, waaaay too much to eat, cake, a toast to the birthday boy and just some quality time with friends. People left about an hour and a half ago. It was a great mix of friends, family and a few too many kids eating too much chocolate cake (Noah just fell asleep like 45 minutes ago) and turned out to be an enjoyable time together. A great friend of mine helped me throw it together and did a lot of the scheming with me and helped get it all put together while we were out to eat.

Times like this make me appreciate my family. I have an amazing mom and dad who take orders from me such as "Mom, You need to take us out for Josh's birthday and then go back home with us for the surprise. Holly and Jason too. Oh yeah, and you're paying." Aren't parents great? Then I have my kids who couldn't be sweeter. Noah kept saying "it's my daddy's birthday!" and sang his own little rendition of happy birthday with the whole party listening to him. Zoe was her sweet little self, following all the older boys around and trying to sneak all kinds of extra pop and sweets. Then my sweet little niece and nephews played out in the driveway in this big plastic bubble that Josh built for the kids this week. Everyone was so well behaved. I had fun just watching Josh interact with everyone and enjoying being the birthday boy. Even Tico (the dog) had fun being at the party and left a little present behind for us all to enjoy. Aren't dogs great?

All to say that my hubby is now the big Dirty 30 and I could not be more proud to be his wife. Yeah, he still does drive me a little crazy at times (he keeps insisting I sing this random song "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" right now instead of finish my blog) but I enjoy our lives together all the same. So, if you see him and you didn't already, wish him a Happy Belated 30th Birthday!!!

Naked Cowboy Alert!!!

Yeeee-Haaaaw!!! Okay, so I walked into my parents backyard and Noah was going "buck wild" on the rocking horse. I absolutely cracked up and had to snap a picture. He did us proud by displaying a very obnoxious face that cracked me up!!! I'm sure he'll be very unhappy about this pic someday but at least nothing shows!!!!

I thought I'd post a few other pics as I have been taught how to post pics. They may not show up how I intend them to but hopefully they'll be there all the same.

Here is a family picture of us at the end of June. It was Noah's birthday and was he ever excited!!! We were only missing two people, Uncle Derek (off in Japan trying to be cool flying fighter jets) and Ava.

On that note, I'm going to sign off. I just spent a half hour trying to get a few more pictures to post, but to no avail. You know it's bad when Josh can't get it to work. :-) He said to give it a try again tomorrow.

Just wanted to take a sec and tell all of you that keep up with us through this blog how much we appreciate your prayers. I have heard from so many of you through this and it is so encouraging to us to know how many of you are praying for us. Much love.

One year later...

Yesterday was one year since our little girl left us to live with Jesus. Wow... I can't believe a year has passed so quickly yet I can't believe it has only been a year. I feel as though I have lived a thousand years in the past year. Everything that has happened this past year is shaded with thoughts of Ava. We have celebrated every holiday, every birthday and now the first anniversary of her death. No more real firsts. For this I am thankful, for this I want to weep. I am sad that life is moving on without her. I am sad that we are thinking of new babies and new life. I want our life to move on but I'm afraid that if we move on she may be forgotten. I know Josh and I will never forget her, what joy she brought, the feeling that she completed our family, and the way that her death brought us closer together and closer to God. How do you thank your daughter for allowing you to see life in a whole new way. Yes, I still get frustrated with the small stuff and my kids still have a tendency to drive me crazy at times, but the between now and then is very different.

The faithfulness that God promises throughout the Bible was truly experienced this past year. There have been many times that I thought I could not take another breath cause I thought my heart would break. I sometimes thought that would be a lot easier. I remember thinking that if one of my kids ever died, so would I. I now realize that to shut down and let the world go on around you would be one of the most selfish things I could do. I still have two children that need to have a mom praying for them, playing with them and just being a mommy. My husband still needs a friend to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and a decent house to come home to. These are the things that now take up the majority of my time. Without having God to lean on through this entire ordeal would have made the journey impossible. The prayers of friends and family have been nothing short of miraculous many times.

About a week and a half ago, I was having a really rough morning. I was feeling on the brink of breakdown and needed to get out of the house. I decided to take the kids to Target to walk around and have popcorn and pop. (They love to do this.) I was taking a few things out of the car when a cop car pulled up into our driveway. Inside the car was the police officer that was here the day Ava died. On that day she got us water, sat next to us, let us cry on her shoulder, answered all of the questions we had, and told us who everyone was as they were coming and going. She also was the one that encouraged us to see Ava after they had pronounced her dead and I was petrified to see her again. I had visions of how she looked when I found her. She said that she thought it was best to err on the side of seeing her rather than never knowing. We decided to see her again and for that I will always be grateful. Anyway, all to say that she was the police officer here on that day. When she stopped by it was an answer to prayer. She was just here a few minutes but for some reason she brought me such a sense of peace. I can see that our experience really made an impression on her which means that Ava made an impression on her. On that day, I talked to a friend later. She called to see how I was doing and said that I had been on her mind and she was praying for me. This was the day that Diane, the police officer showed up. Sometimes God works in rather odd ways.

I miss my little girl. I wish there was something that could be done to change everything back to the way they were. I wish many things. But the one thing that I can wish for that is possible is that we can be happy again. I want us to be a family, even though one of us is missing, I want us to be happy again. That is my prayer.