Thursday, December 26, 2013

Update and Christmas pictures

A lot has happened since my last post.

 Ivan's pediatrician appointment went very well. The pediatrician was impressed with how calm (no meltdowns, thank you Jesus!) he was and how much English he already knows. According to our scale at home he had gained a couple pounds, but when they weighed him there he was still only 30Ibs :( We still do not have any real diagnosis', just a long list of referrals starting in January. Since we still don't have any real answers it's hard to say anything just yet. Please be praying for us though as we have a very long road ahead of us. Our pediatrician would like for us to just go straight to Gillettes Children Hospital in St. Paul, MN. since Ivan needs to see a bunch of specialists that could all be seen there. Sadly our insurance does not usually cover out of state care unless it is referred by specific specialists in State first. This means we may need to go through neurologists, orthopedics, optometrists, etc. here in ND, most likely traveling a lot to Fargo, and eventually being referred to Gillettes or Shriners anyway. We are trying to avoid this rabbit trail and just go straight to Gillettes where we can get a diagnosis and begin treatment right away. It's really all dependent on how understanding our insurance is so please pray that we will be able to speak with someone who will take the time to help us. Ivan will for sure be going to an optomotrist, dentist and beginning therapies asap in January. We have been so blessed to connect with a new therapy program that sounds exceptional and is willing to come to our home for Ivan's therapies. This was a HUGE answer to prayer since I didn't know how exactly I would get Ivan out so often (we live on the third story of our apartment building with no elevator) and what I would do with Landon during his many therapy sessions. Ivan will be evaluated by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist. So as you can see, January will be an extremely busy month for our little man.

He is doing amazing!! I just cannot get over how he has changed. Every week, even every day, I'm seeing change in him.

Change in his eyes.

Change in his personality.

Change in his behaviors.

Change in how he interacts with his brother.

So. much. change!!

We still have days where something clicks in him and it's like we're back to square one.

Trauma does that.

It's relentless and the devil does not like seeing my little boy healing and coming out of the darkness into the light... but the devil is losing.

We get through those hard days.

We love through those terrible days.

And eventually our little boy comes back to the surface, his heart even a little more healed than before because he is learning that he is NOT alone in his pain.

Now I've got myself crying... it is just so amazing to watch God work in Him, to watch God fight for him.

He is the BEST big brother!! We seriously didn't know how this older child thing would work. We figured that Landon would still seem like the oldest since we expected Ivan to be at an infants level developmentally. We couldn't have been more wrong! Although Ivan is very behind developmentally, the area where he shows the most maturity is in his relationship with Landon. they still don't "normal play" together yet, but they do spend a lot of time around each other. Landon is at a tough age where he is constantly testing his limits and throwing tantrums. He will act up and hit Ivan sometimes. Ivan used to laugh when this would happen (which is probably why Landon keeps doing it), but lately Ivan has started saying "no no Land-in and yelling for mama." He has even said "no no hit Land-in" a couple times. What he has NOT done, is hit Landon back. It doesn't matter what Landon is doing to him (He jumps and crawls over him constantly) he is ALWAYS gentle and sweet to his brother.

Watching their relationship blossom has been one of the major joys of my life. My heart just soaks it up and sings praises to a God whose plan I never would of chosen, because I just didn't know life could be this kind of beautiful.

Christmas Eve we realized at breakfast that Ivan was missing his tooth that was loose. We couldn't find the tooth anywhere so we assumed he swallowed it with his breakfast.

Guess what I found yesterday when I was replacing his sheets?!? YEP!! You better believe I saved that little white nugget. I realized today that his two front teeth are loose!! Isn't he going to look too CUTE with his big toothless grin :)

His english is expanding by the day! Ryan and I just looked at each other in amazement today and I asked him if he ever thought that Landon would be our quiet child? Haha

You may be wondering how Landon is adjusting to all the change. I never want to forget to share about my littlest little. Landon continues to keep us smiling until our cheeks hurt and laughing until our sides feel like they're going to burst. Even with his toddler shenanigans he is our joy. He is having as hard of a time as any toddler has when a new baby enters the family. He is growing in so many beautiful ways though. Although he does NOT like sharing, the past couple days I have noticed him going to get Ivan something special (Ivan's blankie or cup) when Ivan is upset. There has even been a few times where he has shared a car (that's HUGE). We do not take lightly all of the change that our baby man has experienced the past 4 months and we could not be prouder of him.

We had the best Christmas! Every second of every day, the thought was not far from our minds that last Christmas our little boy was just a dream that God placed in our hearts. He was just a picture etched in our minds. We longed for the moment that we would hold him in our arms. We dreamed of his precious face in each of our family Christmas photos... and this year... we got to experience our answered prayers.

Let me tell you, it was more beautiful than we ever imagined.

Last Christmas (we hadn't even officially committed to the boys yet)

This Christmas our home was full, same as our hearts :)

Christmas Eve footie pajama movie night
 Okay now for some pictures!

Could he get any cuter? I don't think so!!

Playing with grandpa for the first time

First haircut time!! Ryan did an awesome job. Yes, I saved a lock :)

He sat so nice and trusted daddy :)

My attempt at Christmas photos

These pictures show his big brother personality so well. He just sat there nicely well Landon was a crazy man. He would say "no no Land-in... smile mama"

big brother lovin

My dad fell in love with him... never mind that Ivan would call him ga-ma :)

 I went shopping with my mom the night before and found these costumes on sale for only 97 cents. I almost didn't get them because the fireman was a size 0-6m and the pirate was 6-12m. I thought they might both fit Landon though so I got them anyway. The boys LOVED them!! Ivan still wants to wear his pirate hat EVERYDAY!

yes you read that right, this is a 6-12 month size. Shows how teeny our Ivan is.

 Opening presents with grandpa and grandma Ramiller

He loved the piggy bank his great grandpa made him. He said MISHKA (Russian for bear)!!

Looking at his new nursery rhythm book. His new favorite word is "twinkle twinkle"

Playing with his new bath toys
Christmas Eve
What goofs!!

He LOVED popcorn! He ate almost the whole bowl! Well I guess I helped a little ;)
Christmas morning!!

He was SO happy!

Working together

It was so nice out Christmas day, we decided to go for a walk. (please excuse our messy garage). We hadn't gone for a walk in close to a month. Our last attempt involved Ivan screaming the whole time and us turning around after not even one block. I remember asking Ryan if our lives would ever be somewhat normal again. He encouraged me and told me it would take time.

What a joyful family we were, pushing our bundled up kids through snowy streets! We were together and we were all "enjoying" our time as a family. Ivan was squealing with delight and him and Landon would scream in unison "weeeeee" It was the highlight of my day! It was a perfect gift from God to show me that we truly have come SO far as a family.

To God be the glory!!

Ivan Abraham's first Christmas. Home 7 weeks

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our first outing

Last night we did our normal routine of bath time right after dinner and dressed our babes in their footie pj's, but instead of putting them in bed we bundled them up in coats, hats, gloves, and blankies and carried them outside for a little Christmas adventure.

Ivan hadn't been out of the apartment for weeks and I knew he was getting cabin fever. A couple days ago Ryan and I decided that we should try to take the boys out one night to look at Christmas lights.

We didn't know how it would go, but we were excited to try :)

Ivan was so excited! He kept saying Machina (car) "Ivanco Machina mama" "Beep beep!!" and "Smile!!" when I would take a picture.

Landon fell asleep within a few minutes :)

Our first stop was the little house that goes ALL OUT every year!! There are always people stopping and walking through their yard.

After that we drove all around Bismarck, just talking and enjoying our time together. Our baby fell right back to sleep, but our oldest stayed awake and shared in daddy and mama's excitement. We are simply LOVING our new family of four.

We can't imagine life before 4 now!

The capitol
Hoping each of you are having a blessed Holiday season!!

Please keep Ivan in your prayers tomorrow as he has his first appointment with his pediatrician. I'm very nervous and anxious about it. I'm praying that he will remain calm and feel safe the whole time. You may be wondering why we are just now taking him to the pediatrician. It's a long story that has to do with lots of phone calls and documents being sent to our insurance, but we believe waiting this long has actually been very good for Ivan. He has progressed so much this past month!! The child that the pediatrician will see tomorrow hardly resembles the little boy she would of seen if we saw her a week after being home.

I am excited to hear what she has to say. You can be expecting a long update soon :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ONE month!!

I can hardly believe that this time one month ago we were on our very last flight from Chicago to Fargo ND!

We have been home ONE month!!

Time has flown by, but when I stop and think about how far we have come in one short month I am absolutely astounded.

Ivan is not the same child that he was one month ago. Yes, we have days when he will regress in an instant and fear will take over again, but that is not the norm anymore.

I think it's safe to say that we have found a new normal for our family. It is so different than our life before bringing home Ivan, but now we can't imagine life any other way than with our little man.

I don't even know where to start when it comes to the changes that we are seeing so I hope that pictures do an adequate job of showing you what your prayers and support have meant for this one little boy.

These were taken tonight at dinner

 Is it just me or does he look like a different child? He has a confidence in him now. He is realizing that he has a voice, he can be heard, and mama and daddy will meet his needs and desires.

I think he has already put on some weight :)

He is super excited in these pictures because he hears the bath water running and bath time is his absolute FAVORITE thing!!

Even with dinner all over his face isn't he just the cutest thing you've ever seen?!? We are so head over heels for him and he KNOWS IT :)