Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mondays...full speed ahead!

I know...today is not a Monday! That title reflects the fact that my last title was..."No more Mondays!" Has it really been since June 1 that I wrote on my blog? I guess that kind of explains what a life has been like for us lately. Crazy Busy!

Just a few things that we've been up to since our last post:

My Big Boy Goes to School!

Lane takes up bike riding!
Remember this... Look at her now!
More soon...today is the big Flyin' Bull Contest at Dawson's school...pictures to come!
Love Ya!

Monday, June 1, 2009

No more Mondays!

No Mondays...Well, at least not for a little while. Schools out for summer! Today was our first official school day without school, if that makes any sense. But, who's keeping track of days? Before you know it I'll be saying "what day is it?" Funny how we tend to lose track of time when we're not working.

Some things I'm looking forward to this summer:

  • Dawson, Lane & Audrey Time!
  • A nice morning run (well, not really looking forward to that, but the results that come from it will be nice)
  • A pot of coffee with my husband in the mornings (since he'll be joining us at home this summer, sure is hard to find part-time work)
  • Wednesdays at the Amish Auction
  • Late nights catching fireflies
  • The Great American Backyard Campout (join us! well, not us at our house, but at your house...or we could do our house...we'll see. Anyway, check it out http://www.nwf.org/BackyardCampout/)
  • Garage Sales! Yes, I'm a garage sale enthusiast-I get this honestly from my garage sale companion-my Mom! (I may even post some of my best buys for you to check out, if you're lucky!)
  • Hilton Head!
  • Catching a few races
  • No Mondays!
Gotta run to get dinner on the table! I didn't say that things slowed down, did I? Here's a few pictures to update you on how quickly our Troyer Tots are growin'!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Olivia's Angel Day

One year ago today one of my precious babies became an angel. Although it has been a year, the memories leading up to this day one year ago are so vivid. The smells, the songs on the radio, the voices of doctors and nurses, the endless discussions with Kevin, and yet the strongest of all is the Hope. I can remember the feeling in my heart, Hope consumed me. Through this Hope came Faith. Faith that God would provide. I put all my trust in him, all my hope that if it were His will He would help my babies to survive. Looking back, I wonder- Did I pray wrong? Didn't I listen well enough? Although in my heart, I know God makes no mistakes. He had a different plan for Olivia than I had. The outcome I ran over and over again in my mind didn't come to pass. I know that Olivia is safe and I know she is in God's arms until I can again hold her in my own. I also know that He created Olivia, just as he created each and every one of us-for a purpose.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are
wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was
made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in
your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139: 13-16

Even though I know and firmly believe all I have said, none of this makes it easy. It doesn't make the pain go away. It doesn't make it ok that she's not here. I miss her everyday and will forever wonder what it would be like for her to grow up with Audrey.

One year ago today my precious baby became an angel. Olivia has taught me many things about life in the short amount of time I was able to spend with her. She made my marriage stronger, helped my faith to grow immensely, taught me how fragile life is, and how we don't always have a lot of time but we make the most of what we got. We will forever have a part of Olivia with us. We can look at Audrey and know without a doubt what she would have looked like. She has taught me what it means to give, she was a giver from the start. She gave a lot of herself to Audrey and ultimately gave all she had so that Audrey could thrive. Olivia had a purpose and she will continue to affect my life for years to come. I don't know that anyone will ever comprehend how much I wish I could have saved Olivia. The fact is, she saved me.

Balloons for Olivia

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our Disney Trip in a Nutshell

I have to start off this post by thanking my sister, Kendra, and my Mom and Dad for such a wonderful family vacation. I'm so glad that my sister hit the big 3-0 and wanted to spend it with us! I'll admit, we provide more entertainment than Paris ever will.

Life at the Troyer Home has been busy. We are still recovering from our Disney trip and our kids are catching up on their sleep, too! Isn't it funny that no matter where you go, be it a tropical island or a mountain resort, it's always good to be home?

So, to start from the beginning of the trip I really wanted to post a picture before we left that showed the snow on the ground. Thankfully we headed out the day they were calling for 2-4 inches in Ohio. Not so thankfully, we headed to Orlando with 3 sick children in tow. Dawson ran a temperature for our entire trip, Lane had a double ear infection and Audrey had Bronchitis. We had more medicine tested by airport security than you can even imagine and Audrey's nebulizer was scrutinized as it was the smallest one they've ever seen come through the gate. I'm sure we did look like we could destroy a plane, but it surely wouldn't be by explosives :)

When we arrived in Orlando it was a wonderful 70 degree day! We loaded the bus and headed to Disney. On the bus ride to the All Star Sports Resort they showed a Disney video showcased the rides at each Disney park. Dawson was just beside himself. At this point he was still asking questions like, "Is the castle taller than Daddy?" You just have to love that Daddy's are, in fact, larger than life to a four-year-old. Once he saw the castle, he realized that Daddy was just a little shorter.

We spent our first evening at the Magic Kingdom. Nina took over her grandmotherly duties and as soon as we walked in the door both boys had a Disney autograph book with a giant Mickey Mouse head pen. Oh, the memories from my youth come flowing back. I distinctly remember Meme doing the same for us. Although that first night at Magic Kingdom was fun, I'm thinking that Disney should really just skip over 2 year-olds in their ticket offerings. Lane did not want to be couped up in a stroller all evening, but the park was so busy that we had no choice. Did I mention the kids got wheels? I mean, he's a runner. You honestly cannot let him out of your sight. So, the idea of letting him down to stretch his legs when the park was so packed was out of the question. Just then it hit me-why didn't I bring that leash? As much as I don't like leashes for kids, I now understand why people use them. Actually, I seriously considered searching the Disney gift shops for one. A cute little toddler leash, you know the kind, it would surely have had a Mickey Mouse hanging from the back. Nope, I just couldn't do it. He would survive the week in a stroller. And for most of the week, he looked like this...

The second day we were off to Hollywood Studios. This is one of my faves because of the Tower of Terror ride. What a blast! This was the only ride that was exhilarating that Dawson didn't get to experience. I thought it would be too scary for him, however, he did thoroughly enjoy the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. Dawson was not too impressed with Hollywood Studios after spending the evening before at the Magic Kingdom. He wanted to know where all the rides were. We did see the stunt driver show and he was quite amazed by that. All I could think about while watching that was that my dad found his "retirement profession." These guys were crazy! If you ever get the chance to check this out, you have to see it. This day was pretty low-key. Dawson got to have some fun in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (notice the pick of him on the Tonka Dump Truck), Kevin savored a Turkey Leg and the rest of us enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast show (or as Dawson refers to it as Beauty and the Roast Beast). After a fun-filled day at the park we went back to have dinner and the kids stayed with mom and dad so Kendra, Kevin and I could head back to the park. We were at the park for 3 hours and rode one ride. Did I mention this was after midnight? The parks were open really late for guests that were staying in their resort hotels. The long wait for the Rock n Rollercoaster was well worth the wait; however, it was over in about 2 1/2 minutes. I may rank this as my favorite ride, just for the shear fact that its the only ride that goes upside down at Disney.

The third day we had breakfast with the characters before heading out to explore the jungle at Wild Kingdom. The breakfast may have been my favorite part of the trip. Dawson and Lane were both in awe at the characters. It was nice to have them come to our table for pictures and not have to wait in line or chase them down. After breakfast at Chef Mickey's we headed off to our jungle adventure. As we walked into the crowded park I heard Dawson say something about Jesus. I asked him what he said and he replied in a proud and excited tone "Mom, I said way to go Jesus!" Not sure what he meant by this I had to ask. What he said was so cute, "Mom, look at this place-Jesus made all of it!" He was so amazed by this great big world and the new things he was getting to experience. We got to see some celebrities at this park as we were exiting a train ride. Carl from Fresh Prince of Bel Air and some singer from a boy band were walking in a back entrance as our train was pulling in. As you can tell, I don't know too much about celebrities real names or frankly who the other guy even was, I just knew his face. I want to say it was Joey, but not the New Kids on the Block Joey. As my Dad says, "they put their pants on the same way we do." Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to tell you the best thing about this park! Expedition Everest is an amazing roller coaster that has the theme of Everest and the Yeti. Dawson, who I remind you is 4 years of age, rode this rollercoaster. My mom, who's age I won't remind you, also rode this rollercoaster. Mom, not the real theme park enthusiast, kept her eyes closed through the entire ride. Dawson, on the other hand had to be reminded several time by Dad to put his hands down out of the air and hold on to the lap bar. Oh my goodness, I'm going to have my hands full with that kiddo!

Next, was the Magic Kingdom for a full day of fun. This place takes the cake! There is nothing like the Magic Kingdom for reminiscing your childhood. As soon as we entered the park we were greeted by Chip & Dale, not Chippendale as I referred to them mistakingly. I got a little "hey, this is a child friendly park" from the man who was chuckling behind me. Dawson and Lane got many, many autographs throughout the day with characters they adore. It took Lane a little to warm up to them, kind of like seeing Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

One thing I love about Disney is many of the rides are safe enough for the entire family to enjoy. Audrey even rode rides. I just know Olivia and Meme were with us as Audrey took her first boat ride through "It's a Small World." Lane was mesmerized by all the bright colors and everything there is to look at, not to mention, he probably heard his native language while we were on that ride. We're still trying to figure out which one it was!

Another family favorite was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I still have "Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me" ringing in my head. We loved this ride so much that we have decided to have a Pirate Themed birthday party for Dawson when he turns 5 in June and he has also decided he would like to dress up as "Captain Jack Sparrow" for Halloween. Oh, how I wish you could hear Dawson say his name.

I could go on forever about all the fun that was had at the Magic Kingdom. Long story short, Kevin and I tuckered out well before Dawson. So, although he was sick and not feeling well he kept up with Kendra, Mom and Dad while Kevin and I took Audrey and Lane back to the hotel. Dawson was so spoiled! He came back to the room that night with a "Captain Jack Sparrow Sword," he was quite proud of that!

Our last day was spent at Epcot Center. Believe it or not, Dawson really enjoyed this park. Epcot does a really neat activity with kids. At each of the countries the kids get a charm to add to their mask that they received at the first country they visited. They also get a stamp on the wooden stick that held the mask. Dawson loved going into each country and getting his charm. We had to write the name of each country on the actual charm so he wouldn't forget where it came from. Since we've been home we have looked at that mask a number of times. He loves to talk about the countries and why the charm was picked for that country. He also played Mission Kim Possible. So, so cool! I can't even go into full detail or this will be the longest post ever, I will say if you go to Epcot, you have to do this! We saw grown adults without children playing the Mission Kim Possible activity throughout the park.

I think this picture sums up the great time we had at Disney...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We're Back...The Post Full of Excuses...

Wow! I can't believe its been 2 months since I've posted on our blog! Lots has been going on in our family and I have lots of excuses for why I haven't updated to share with you. I hope this post finds you and your family doing well and ready to head into Spring.

Excuse #1

Why is his name in purple? you might ask. Well, that's been Dawson's favorite color and it doesn't seem to be changing. I really had to talk him out of getting purple Crocs for Excuse #7! Dawson has been a busy 4-year-old. Pre-school, story hour and Kindergarten Registration has been keeping him rather tied up. I really believe I just gave birth to Dawson about a week ago, is it really time for Kindergarten? Kindergarten registration was so much fun! When Dawson is not busy with school he's got a major NASCAR race happening on our kitchen island. Yep, our island is no longer an eating place, but a NASCAR track. You can see the likes of the following racers any given day at the Troyer House: John Smith (yes, from Pocahontas), Kenny Jacobs (he always says Dad's last name, too funny), Lee, Dale Hart Jr (his words), Kyle Busch, Mark Martin (who always wins now that Keka works for him), BJ, Cody, Uncle Dean, Crank (Craig, a nice kid that helps out my dad on the farms in the summer) and I know I'm forgetting a ton of others who have graced our Corian oops, I mean pavement. I'm hoping now that the weather is getting nice we'll have more backyard baseball games instead of NASCAR races for awhile. I'll keep you posted!

Excuse #2
Lanerz is still speaking chopnese (according to Dawson), but now with a little Dutch thrown in the mix. While he still doesn't have many English words, Lane is carrying on full conversations in his own "Languish." Lane is the sweetest little guy you'd ever meet. He's a charmer, a true charmer. He gets more comments about his blue eyes and smile than you can imagine. I'm hoping he never abuses that gift. Lane is full of energy and always on the go! This is the kid who you really, really can't take your eyes off, not even for a minute. He's a Houdini, always plotting his next escape. Lane spends his time shadowing his big brother, much to Dawsons dismay. He's interested in everything that Dawson is at the exact same time that Dawson is interested in it, which doesn't always make for peace in our home. When he's not mimicking Dawson he likes looking at books and loves to be read to. I have to update you on the toothbrush addiction. Although his toothbrush fetish has not completely ended, it has subsided enough that we are able to purchase toothbrushes on a monthly basis rather than weekly :). We have recently switched babysitters and although I was nervous about taking Lane to someone new, he has adjusted well. So well in fact that when I pick him up he cries because he would rather stay. I tell myself its just the horses, what parent can compete with a barn full of horses? By the way, Lane does have 2 new words: both Dutch (horse and deer)

Excuse #3
The little lady that lights up the Troyer household is growing by leaps and bounds. She is such a happy baby and already shows her personality. Audrey is almost always smiling and with those twinkling blue eyes, she has melted lots of hearts. Audrey is suffering from a terrible cold right now and due to my last excuse on this list I thought it was important to take her to the doctor to make sure there was nothing more than a cold to worry about. Turns out there is nothing more than a cold to worry about :) By the way, my once 2 lbs 14 1/2 oz baby now weighs 18 lbs 4 1/2 oz! Yikes! No wonder this lady is almost 9 months old wearing size 12-18 months pants! Developmentally, Audrey is behind the full-term 9-month-olds. Its kind of frustrating to see other babies that are her age and size sitting by themselves, crawling and even pulling themselves up. This is when I have to remind myself that Audrey is really only 6 1/2 months old and that she is where she should be developmentally, even though she's a really, really big 6 1/2 month old :). Audrey is currently rolling over and back over (yay! that back over step took us awhile) and sitting up with some back support. She's still getting Occupational and Physical Therapy monthly. It's amazing how fast time flies isn't it...where has 9 months gone?

Excuse #4
I don't know if it makes sense to say it like this, but I've been fortunate enough to participate in a group with other mothers who have lost babies and children. Our last session was last week and I dearly missed those ladies this past Thursday night. There's comfort in talking with someone who has walked a similar road. I wish that it wasn't this road that brought us together, I wish that we all had our children back and we could've been meeting for a play-date, but God had different plans for us. Painful plans, but no doubt, His plan. I've learned that grief doesn't end in a year and contrary to what people say, it doesn't always "get easier." It's hard work, exhausting work and it hurts. I miss Olivia each and every day. I can't believe its been almost a year since we went through our TTTS battle. Every detail, every little detail is still so vivid... hearing "there's two," the ultra sound that sent me to Aultman, trips to Cincinatti, the sounds of the doctors voices, the smells, the Hope, the prayers, the taste of Boost, the morning of surgery, the support from family, support from friends, research, advice from surgeons, oh the list could go on and on. It's a painful journey, a life-changing journey, a wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of- the-night wondering journey, a journey that requires you to fall at the feet of God and search for your purpose. It's my journey and I'll walk, run and trudge in it until I reach my destination.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1: 21

Excuse #5
Ok, not actually Kevin, but his Masters Degree. This is truly the greatest excuse for not updating our Blog. Kevin is constantly on our computer earning his Masters Degree in from Nova Southeastern University. I know I'll be excited when he's done in July! However, I don't think that compares to how ecstatic he will be to have some of his "life" back in the evenings. We have many family outtings right now that Daddy doesn't participate in so he can get some work done at home. It will be nice to have my husband back full-time, oh and lets be honest, I'll enjoy having the computer back too!

Excuse #6
Dave Ramsey!
No, he's not a long-lost uncle. Wouldn't that be nice, though? My fifth excuse is our Financial Peace University Classes. Kevin and I have been getting "Gazelle Intense" at Grace on Sunday evenings with a group of about fifty. If you've never taken this class, I highly recommend it! Dave Ramsey makes budgeting and learning about money fun! I'm not kidding. I wish I would've been as interested in my college classes as I am our Sunday evening lessons with Dave. I don't want to leave when the 2 hour class is over-give me more, give me more! Yes, it's that good! When we aren't in class we spend a great deal of time planning. We are constantly at work on our debt snowball, allocated plan and monthly budget meetings (which usually turn into weekly discussions). It's been tough, but also life-changing. We finish our last class tonight "The Big Misunderstanding," I think that's the name of tonight's lesson. I've heard its pretty powerful and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sad that we won't be going to anymore of these classes, because I feel that there is so much more to learn. Although the classes are ending the time we spend on our budget and financial planning probably won't change much, but I'll try not to use that as an excuse again :)

Excuse #7
I just have to say that I have the best sister ever! Kendra turns 30 next Sunday, April 12-another example of how fast life moves. She had been planning a trip to Italy with our parents, which I must say I was extremely jealous over. Italy, one of my dream destinations and my family was going without us! About 3 weeks ago Kendra called to discuss her new plans for her birthday. It turns out Keka would rather spend her 30th birthday with our family than going to Italy! I know what you're all thinking! I can't blame you for thinking it though- Italy, Troyer Family and Disney, Italy, Troyer Family and Disney. I know which way my scale tips! I am thankful her scale has lead on one side when it comes to my children. Kevin and I just get to come along with the package :). So, we've been busy planning and packing. The countdown has been on since 19 days. Keka told Dawson with a cute note from Mickey Mouse and made him a chain to tear off a link each day. Only 3 links are left and Dawson is beyond ecited (his words, again)!

Sidenote: I know some of you must be reading this thinking, "wasn't Excuse #5 Dave Ramsey?" Kevin and I really struggled with allowing ourselves to go on this trip...it's not in the "Gazelle Intensity" plan at this point. How do you turn down a family trip to Disney? All I can say to you FPU graduates is...we will not allow this vacation to follow us home :)

No more excuses. After Disney, I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures and even more stories to share. It's good to be back.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow Days!

Oh, the life of a teacher in Ohio. I have thoroughly enjoyed my five day weekend with my husband and kiddos (will we make it six? just kidding). It's kind of funny to hear teachers talk, I really believe we enjoy these days just as much as the students. Well, maybe I should specify, high school students. I have a little guy here that was pretty upset he didn't have school on Thursday. His class was having a beach theme day and he was supposed to take in his swimming trunks and a beach towel. According to Dawson, he was going to be swimming at school. I'm not too sure about this, since his school doesn't have a pool. I really wish I would've recorded our conversation. I know that ten years from now he would never believe that he was sad to have a snow day. Oh, how things change! I think you would agree from the picture below that he still really enjoyed his snow day.

Snow Day Dawson!

I enjoy staying inside, making hot cocoa and hanging with Audrey while the boys are out to play.Audrey and I were not alone for long, as Lane didn't quite enjoy the snow as much as Dawson.

Not Snow Happy, Lane

Lane was happy to come back inside and play with all of the racecars in our house. This is really the only time he gets to play with them without a fight. A few months ago I had to explain to Dawson why I couldn't put Lane in a bouncy seat so he could play with his cars. Dawson goes to all extents to make sure Lane can't get to his cars during a "big race." He puts up gates and blockades. When those don't work he sits at the island in the kitchen. You can see why Lane was happy to be back inside.

Lane keeps us busy trying to figure out his own unique language. Oh, if he would just talk! It would be so much easier around here. He continues to speak "Chopnese" according to Dawson.

Audrey & Dawson

Loving her big brother!

Audrey has had a busy week. She's doing a few new things that we're excited about. She loves to yell, she has found her voice and wants everyone to know it. She is also rolling over! Yay, Audrey! I am working on getting my disk finalized so I can upload it on here for you to see. I think it's great that Audrey is rolling over, I'm not so sure she agrees. She really doesn't like being on her belly, so after she rolls over she uses that voice to let us know she's not enjoying tummy time one bit. This week was also another first for Audrey-her occupational therapy appointment, as suggested by the Neonatal follow-up clinic. The appointment went well, she actually seemed relaxed when the OT, Jeri, went through the exercises with her. I received homework and we've been working! Hopefully we'll get her in the shape to enjoy tummy time.

Well, like I said a few posts before...it was a fluke! Audrey and I haven't had another full night of sleep. So, I should probably finish up this post and get some sleep before Audrey's midnight snack. Pray for me, hoping to see this adorable sign on Audrey's door ringing true tonight (love it, thanks Deb)!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Name Game!

We have lots of exciting, new things that are going to be happening to our blog. Blogs by Danielle will soon be giving our blog a face lift! I can't wait to see the finished product. If you've ever seen Danielle's work, you know it will be outstanding. She's amazing! So, where does the name game come in to play? We need to name our blog...Keka came up with some great names: 2 men and a little lady, An Angel Among Us, Treasured Troyer Moments, Jenn's Jewels, Time with the Troyers...So, what do you think? Can you help us out in naming our blog? Vote for your favorite by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Also, feel free to come up with one on your own! I'm open to suggestions!

The picture below was a Christmas gift from Kendra. I know how much love went into this gift, Kendra designed it and produced it herself. It's a gift that came truly from the heart and it is one that I will forever treasure! I wanted to share it with you, as you help to decide a name for our blog. I'm sure this photo will be in our header.