Saturday, January 31, 2009

Britton's Upright Mobility

Britton surprised us today by pulling up on his walker and walking across the room! He has never shown any interest in pulling up or walking with his walker, just keeps himself busy playing with all the buttons and gadgets on the front of it. Needless to say, my mother and I were shocked this morning when we watched him pull up and take off. He has been walking around behind it like a pro all day. I am thinking his Mother's Day Out caretakers have been holding out on the details of Britton's mobility! So excited that he is one step closer to walking independently!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pouty Face

Danny says, ignore his bed head, please. ;o)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random Picture Post

Here are a bunch of random pictures that don't really go together, but I wanted to post.

Britton in his new arm chair. It is just as fun for climbing as it is for sitting, he has figured out.

Britton eating breakfast (okay, so maybe lunch by the looks of his food!) -- crazy hair and all.

Favorite time of day. Bathtime with Daddy.

Caught red-handed.

Britton loves to keep this ball in the corner, and then will climb all the way back in the hole and play with it.

Britton in his Bounce-A-Lounger. We pulled the bouncer back out recently needing a place he could lay back to watch a DVD when he he wakes up tired & cranky from his afternoon nap ... you know, about the time I need to pull dinner together? It is funny to see my 1-year-old in his old bouncer, but he seems to love it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Great Report

Just wanted to write a quick post on the great report we got today from Britton's physical therapist (PT) and occupational therapist (OT). It has been over six weeks since we've had therapy with one of them and they couldn't believe all he is doing. He was barely crawling at the beginning of December when we last saw his PT, and she was bowled over that he is now crawling like a pro, pulling to a stand, getting into kneeling position, cruising and turning corners, controlled sitting from a stand, and transitioning from cruising the couch to cruising the coffee table. I mean, her mouth literally dropped open when she saw him doing all this. She said she thought she was coming for a PT session, but it turned out to be a "showoff session." That sure made this mama happy. She also said if she were to give him a standardized test of gross motor skills, he would score in the 11-month range, which is his current adjusted age. So, that means he is closing the gap between any motor skill delay and his birth age. Huge! She also said she has no concerns about him being able to do anything gross motor-wise down the road (i.e. walking).

OT-wise: It has actually been three months since we last saw our OT. We don't see her regularly anymore because his fine motor skills have been on par for awhile. She was very impressed today that he could put shapes in his shape sorter, give & take, imitate what she was doing, and isolate & use his pointer finger, among other things. She told us that he was perfectly on par with his birth age and even doing some 13-14 month skills.

They each gave us some things to focus on, and talked about what is next. We will see the PT again next month, and then might go to seeing her every other month. We'll see the OT again in April. We are also setting up an appointment with a speech therapist to get a baseline of his verbal/cognitive skills.

I'm not sure if I've ever explained about his therapists, but these ladies are Early Intervention (EI) therapists -- meaning they work with children primarily ages birth through 3 who have diagnoses like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, birth histories like Britton's, or just significant developmental delays for whatever reason. We were referred to EI when we left the hospital last February. While they were here today, they said it is very rare for them to see a baby with Britton's birth history develop normally. And then they used the "m" word (miracle), which means a whole lot to us when a health care professional says it. That kind of talk, though amazingly wonderful to hear, led us to discussing how much longer Britton needs to be in Early Intervention. We love EI, and don't want these experts to stop seeing Britton. The PT said she would like to keep monitoring his progress because of his traumatic birth, and that was music to our ears. We'll see, though, after his upcoming one-year evaluation whether he still qualifies to be in the program. I am hoping we can continue in the program until he is at least two, as that will give us a good read on his verbal, cognitive & gross motor skills. Hearing the words "Early Intervention" for the first time can strike fear in the heart of a new parent. But we quickly got over that and think it is the most fabulous thing around to have experts around who know what to do to get your child on track. On top of that, the program is free and they come to your house! The most helpful part for me has been that they tell me what I need to be doing to help Britton meet his next milestone, like giving me specific activities to do with him to strengthen muscles and teach him new movements. Their advice is far more in-depth than any baby book I have found, and I would never know how to do all these things without them telling me. They are a big reason why Britton is doing so well today -- a very important piece in the puzzle of Britton's miraculous healing.

Just wanted to share Britton's excellent report, and about the God-send of Early Intervention. We are overjoyed!

Playtime with Daddy

It's no secret that Britton's favorite person is his Daddy! Here they are playing together one evening. Can you feel the love?

Can you hear the squeal?!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We don't usually make political statements on our family blog, but thought this video was powerful ... especially in light of today's historic event:

Britton's Birthday Invite

Just wanted to share Britton's adorable birthday invitation with you. This talented girl designed it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pruny Feet

The hazard of loving his nightly bath time a little too much.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Picture is Complete

After 12 months of taking Britton's photo with his lion, the big picture is now complete! (If you feel the need, you can click on it to make it bigger.) He has come such a long way since that first picture, at the one-month mark, taken while he was still in the NICU.

Britton is such a busy body these days! He can move, and he is fast. He pulls up on everything. He can open any cabinet door or drawer, and can can get into whatever he wants. He can cruise around the furniture, and can "walk" with you if you hold his hands. He is always playing with his toys -- pushing his truck or Noah's ark back and forth, putting his shapes in the shape sorter (he can get a few of them in the right holes), putting the rings on the ring stacker, flipping through books, or standing and playing at his music table.

Britton also plays pat-a-cake, high fives, gives kisses, shakes his head no when he doesn't want something, certainly understands no (as it is said a lot these days), plays give and take, puts in and takes out (his favorite game), and has become very attached to his daddy. He does laps around the living room, stopping to kiss and bang on the windows, jabbers all the time with lots of inflection, and may be close to saying the words "dada" and "doggie" (more like goggie). I've heard him making these sounds at Danny & Piper but he hasn't done it with enough consistency to know for sure.

He continues to be a very sweet and happy boy. And his only "bad" habit is squealing while he's in the high chair, which you can count on him doing at every feeding. And folks, it's loud. I look forward to him being able to speak one day, so he can tell us what exactly it is that he wants. He continues to be a great eater, and is now drinking whole milk. Hooray! He is excellent with his sippy cups but still prefers taking milk from a bottle in the morning, and especially before bedtime. I am working on getting the bottle away from him, but will give him a little more time before we do that cold turkey. His nighttime routine is just not the same without his bottle, and he is sure to tell you all about that. Britton is still a fabulous nighttime sleeper -- lately on occasion sleeping even more than his usual 11-12 hours. He loves going to sleep at night. We just put him in the bad, with a pacifier, and he goes down with a smile and then talks himself to sleep. Sleep is his friend and we are grateful!

We had an appointment with his neurologist today, and here are his latest stats:
Weight = 20 pounds!!! (He is finally big enough to graduate from his infant carrier into his big boy carseat!)
Length = 28.7 inches

The neurologist gave Britton a great report today. He checked Britton's reflexes and muscle tone and said that he still shows no signs of cerebral palsy or diplegia. His right foot is a little tight (when you bend it up), but he has none of the reflexes that would go along with CP. The doc thinks Britton holds it tight (like he's resisting), b/c when the doc tested it again, the tightness was gone. Any tightness that may exist (for example, Britton walks on his tiptoes), he thinks will go away with the more weight he bears on his feet.

We had a long talk about Britton's head circumference. Britton's head has always measured on the small side (like off the charts small). He is small all around (height & weight), so it is expected that his head is small, too. But, because of his birth history, they pay more attention to his head circumference than they would if he had had a normal birth. Dr. Mathisen assured us that he isn't too concerned about it b/c his head size is following a normal growth pattern and he is doing so well developmentally. I personally think part of the small head circumference may very well be genetic as Danny & others on his side of the family have a smaller head (for example, he & I wear the same hat size).

We talked about doing another MRI, but again, decided to put that discussion off until the next visit at 18 months. Since he's doing so well clinically, it's hard for us as his parents to put him through the risk of anesthesia (he would be intubated, under general anesthesia for an hour for a MRI) when the test wouldn't affect any course of medical treatment. Sure, we are curious what his brain looks like now, but not curious enough to put him at risk at this point. Now, if he's not walking by 18 months, then we'll probably be looking at doing a MRI, but Dr. Mathisen gave Britton a vote of confidence saying he thinks he'll be walking before then.

As it has been since the day he was born, we are in a "wait & see" holding pattern. When he was born, they did everything they could to lessen the potential brain damage he might have, but they told us we would have to wait and see how he met his developmental milestones. Well, now at 12 months, he has met nearly every major milestone prior to standing alone and walking, and we are still waiting to see what the next months and years hold. We are super encouraged by his development thus far -- meeting all the big milestones within the normal timeframes -- and believe he is going to be just fine. But, we just won't know for sure until many years have passed. Regardless, Britton is a miracle, and the doctor said so himself today. He is a bright and happy little boy who is a pure delight to parent. We are so blessed by his life, knowing the impact he has already had on many in his first year, and trusting in God's sovereign and loving hand for his future. Thanks for reading our blog and caring so much about our little boy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Future Techie

Look who loves his Daddy's iPhone:

Do you see his little thumbs moving the picture around? ;o)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Britton's Birthday Party

Britton's 1st birthday party was so chaotic much fun! We had lots of family in town and a few friends over to celebrate Britton's big day.

Yep, he's one!

The smash cake (that didn't get so smashed).

Britton and his friends -- Chapel, Weaver, Kathleen & Alexandra.

Britton with the girls & looking a little apprehensive.

Chapel was there to talk him into digging into his cake.

But, I think he's going to be like his Daddy and not like getting messy!

A glimpse of the present-opening fun.

The paparazzi onlookers.

Favors -- one-year-olds can't have candy, so they got BandAids. ;o)

Elmo Live was a hit. All the babies tuned right in when Elmo started talking.

The only family picture we got of the day -- and the little guy was not having it.

Danny & Weaver.

Britton with his new froggie backpack.

One of the very special parts of his day was Wanda, the NICU nurse who coded him at birth, stopped by in the morning to drop off a letter she had written for Britton to open one day. She told him all about the day he was born and reminds him what a miracle he is. What a treasure?!

She also brought a gift and Britton had fun trying to get into it ... and just showed off for her in general by crawling around, pulling up, jabbering, and flirting!

Hanging with Aunt Danica after the party. It was a long (but fun) day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reflections From a Dad of One Year

It is hard to believe that Britton turned one year old today. I am in awe of God's graciousness to his life and ours. It is truly amazing to see how God uses the prayers of His people to bring Himself glory.

I've learned much about myself this past year--I still struggle to be a good husband and father and minister. All of which I need to repent for not loving my wife as Christ has loved the church, of not giving Britton the love and attention he needs when I am at home and for at times neglecting the calling God has placed in my life as a pastor. I live knowing that I'm a wretched sinner who is saved by grace..."Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling. Naked, I come to Thee for dress, Helpless, I look to Thee for grace. Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me Savior or I die". And I know, the righteousness that is mine is solely on Christ's behalf. But, it is a perfect righteousness. Thankfully my salvation is dependent not on my wavering faith but what my faith is in...not my prayers...but Who my prayer are to. I am overwhelmed at God's love and graciousness to Emily, Britton and me.

Over the past six months I've been able to preach at several churches in Alabama and I've used Psalm 8 as my text. "Out of the mouths of infants and babes, God ordains strength/praise". I've stated that this son of mine brought more people to their knees, caused more skeptics to seek, revitilized more prayer lives than I probably ever will as an ordained minister of the Gospel. God is so sure in who He is that he leaves the defense of His name to the cries of a child. Humbling!

I've looked back at many of my posts last January (I've posted far less after the camera captured 4-500 pictures a week of this little miracle. God was definitely protecting Emily's and my heart and shaping us for parenthood and deepening our marriage. I still lean heavily on some of the devotional material and Scripture that lept to the keyboard when all else was unexplainable. I thought I'd share of few of those quotes here:

"They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of the darkness and deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron." Psalm 107:13-16

"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you." Psalm 55:22 "It is by an act of simple, prayerful faith we transfer our cares and anxieties, our sorrows and needs, to the Lord. Jesus invites you come and lean upon Him, and to lean with all your might upon that arm that balances the universe, and upon that bosom that bled for you upon the soldier's spear! But you doubtingly ask, "Is the Lord able to do this thing for me ?" And thus, while you are debating a matter about which there is not the shadow of a shade of doubt, the burden is crushing your gentle spirit to the dust. And all the while Jesus stands at your side and lovingly says, "Cast your burden upon Me and I will sustain you. I am God Almighty. I bore the load of your sin and condemnation up the steep of Calvary, and the same power of omnipotence, and the same strength of love that bore it all for you then, is prepared to bear your need and sorrow now. Roll it all upon Me! Child of My love! Lean hard! Let Me feel the pressure of your care. I know your burden, child! I shaped it—I poised it in My own hand and made no proportion of its weight to your unaided strength." Octavius Winslow

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19

Thank you all for your prayers and following our journey through this blog. I recognize that Emily captures some wonderful pictures of Britton and our family. To some it may appear that everything is always wonderful and easy...but I can attest this has been a wonderful but difficult year. We have laughed much, but wept equally. We have been humbled by God's sustaining hand and yet I've questioned His calling and direction throughout. I am far from perfect. I mess up continually (thankfully, Emily has snapped far fewer pics of my idiocy) and we still covet your prayers. And, at the end of the day, we know we worship an amazing loving God whose plan for us is being revealed daily. Help us Lord to trust and obey.


Lastly, pray for Britton and I as we are still steamed at the teams in the Nat'l Championship Game. 45-35! Hook 'em Horns!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Britton is 1!

Today, Britton turned one! He was pretty pumped about it.

He woke up his usual happy self:

He got dressed up in his birthday outfit.

He wore a birthday hat.

But didn't like it.

He went out for a big breakfast at OHOP and ate 2 whole pancakes. We finally had to cut him off.

Then, we stopped by the NICU to bring them some goodies and thank them for all that they did to save Britton's life one year ago today. Nurse Pam fed him a whole cookie. On top of pancakes. With syrup. Eek!

We came home, waited for the sugar high to wear off (and waited, and waited), and then put him down for a nap.

When he woke up, he listened to Peter and the Wolf and played with his toys.

He took lots of birthday calls on Daddy's iPhone (Britton's favorite toy).

We took his 12-month picture with the lion. Finally, the picture is complete (coming soon).

I think he'll agree, it was a great first birthday!