Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year tie up and Recap

Wow 2013 is just about to close.  What a year it has been!  We had a mostly good year for 2013 and I'm so grateful for that.  There are always challenges in life, but I'm grateful for my family and their help to get us through when they happen.

Just wanted to write about some things I did not write about yet in this blog and also do a recap of some of the blessings we have had in 2013.  This is a long post.  Sorry about that, I'm wordy today.  Lots to say.

Thomas (Daddy):
At the beginning of 2013 Thomas was still without a job.  It had been a shock when he lost his job in August 2012, but we are so thankful that he got a new job in April of 2013.  The Lord helped us through that challenge and we made it!  

Amanda (Mommy):
I don't typically write about myself much here on my blog.  I love to write about my girls and all that is going on with them, but I would like to write about some things that are going well for me and another loss I had to go through.  I was shocked and surprised when I found out in early April 2013 that I was pregnant.  I was so excited to announce that Rachel and Haley were going to be big sisters again, but when I saw my doctor late April things were not good.  I was suppose to be 11 weeks, but was measuring only 5 weeks.  I went back to my doctor a couple of weeks later and there was very little growth and no heart beat.  On May 17, I had to have a D&C.  I think I have gone through almost all I can bear with infertility, pregnancy losses and infant losses.  It was heart breaking but I am grateful for my heavenly father for getting me through it.  Must keep moving on!

As for moving on, I am slowly but surely growing my small photography business.  In May and December I took pictures of dancers from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio during their shows.  Each time I took pictures I had 800+ pictures to edit!  I love editing pictures and always look forward to editing more.  I hope to make time in 2014 to take some photography classes as I want to further expand my knowledge and skills in photography.  

Also a picture I took of Josh Groban during his concert here in Houston was chosen to be in his 2014 calendar!  The picture I took is shown in January of the calendar.  If you see the Josh Groban 2014 calendar take a look at January (picture below).  So exciting to have one of the pictures I took in the calendar!

The picture I took
My name shown in the calendar

Well the big news for Rachel was her getting the cochlear implant.  We are so happy she got it!  I recently did an update on her regarding the implant and how she is doing.  You can read that post HERE.  Also we are happy that Rachel has been fairly healthy in 2013.  No major illnesses.  She continues to have ear infections here and there, but less than the year before.  Rachel is full of energy and curiosity.  So grateful for her and all that she teaches us.

Haley is doing well.  She is so healthy and doesn't get sick much.  We are grateful for the vision she has (which is not much).  She just goes with the flow so well.  Her developmental progress is slow, but she continues to move forward.  She is also slow to grow in size, but again she is growing.  We are thankful for her sweet, loving personality.  Haley is a special little girl!

Kayla made it through her first year and now is 2!  I can't believe she is growing up so fast!  Kayla also has been healthy throughout 2013.  She is just growing and developing so fast.  Its amazing how much she has learned in 2013.  She is so loving and loves her big sisters.  She is a sweet little sister to her big sisters.

Like I said we had a good 2013 overall, but I look forward to a new year and seeing what will unfold for us.  I hope 2014 will bring new surprises, blessings and much happiness.  From our family to yours we wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Hope it will be a good one for you.  Blessings to all!!!

Stay tuned in 2014 as I will keep updating this blog and will continue to post pictures of the girls and their progress!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Before December ends, I thought I better get this posted.  Christmas this year we traveled to my home town - Austin, Texas.  My parents and Thomas's parents live in Austin as well as my brother and Thomas's two sisters.  It takes about 3 hours to get to Austin from our home.  Its always a challenge to travel with our girls, but the trip there and back was not bad.  They handled it well. We were happy to visit Austin and enjoy time with our family.

Haley and her Aunt plus Smokey the dog
Kayla playing Legos with two of her cousins
Rachel opening a gift Christmas morning
Haley opening a gift with daddy's help
Kayla opening a gift
Kayla, Haley and Rachel sitting in front of my brother's HUGE Christmas tree

On Christmas eve we went to the cemetery to visit the grave site of Ashlyn, Braden, Dallin and Kaitlyn.  It was hard for me and brought tears to my eyes to have to visit them like that for Christmas, but I do know for sure that I will see them again and it will be a joyous reunion.  I do look forward to that day.  We love and miss them so very much!

The girls with daddy at the grave site.

We were so happy to have finally visited our family in Austin.  It had been over a year since we last visited.  The girls especially Kayla really enjoyed playing with some of their cousins. Kayla didn't want to leave.  We love our families and are grateful for them.  Family is everything. 

On our way home to Houston we made a detour to College station to visit Santa's wonderland.  It was so neat to see so many lights. There were 3 million!  It was a great way to end our Christmas trip from Austin.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

We had our family pictures taken back in November.  I finally got them edited and am just now getting them posted.  I wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Haley, Kayla, Rachel

Thomas and Amanda

Friday, December 20, 2013

Update on Rachel's cochlear implant

FINALLY!!!  I'm able to sit and write this update on Rachel and her cochlear implant.  I'm so sorry for not writing sooner about the implant and how she has been doing.  I have been wanting to write this update for a while now, but November and December have been busy with some photo shoots, lots of photo editing (I've started a small photography business), the planning and hosting of Kayla's birthday party and just the everyday busy stuff!  So without further ado here is her update...

Rachel with her sound processor and head piece on

First of all I would like to explain what it is Rachel wears (as pictured above).  Back in September Rachel had the surgery where they put in the inside part of the cochlear implant.  There is an electrode in her cochlea along with a magnet that is underneath her skin in her head.  The outside part (as seen above) consists of a sound processor (clipped to her shirt) and the head piece (round piece) that connects with the magnet under her skin.  The sound processor enables sound to enter.  That sound then travels through the head piece to the electrode in her cochlea where it stimulates the auditory nerve and enables her to hear.  She has a bionic ear!  What wonderful technology!  I'm so grateful for it!

Since Rachel's implant has been turned on, she has been going to the Center for Hearing and Speech for speech therapy and having her cochlear implant adjusted (mapping).  Overall Rachel is doing well with the implant.  She wears it ok (surprisingly), but the head piece (as seen above) falls off easily since Rachel is so active.  It stays on her head with only 3 small magnets.  It would stay on better with more magnets, but its not recommended to have more because it can cause a pressure sore on her head where the magnets connect.  So we just put it back on her head frequently.  As for how she is hearing, well the implant is working and she can hear, but Rachel is still not fully recognizing sound.  Its going to take a lot of therapy and time for her to learn to recognize sound and to know what to do with the sounds she hears.  Her therapist at the Center for Hearing is able to get Rachel to turn her head (show a response) to the sound of a toy that makes noise and to some verbal sounds which is good and her therapist is happy with where she is at after only 3 months with the implant on.  Rachel's teacher has heard Rachel make some new sounds so this is good as well.  Rachel does want to communicate and she does get frustrated when she can't effectively.  We still use sign language and Rachel has learned more signs, but communication is still difficult.  I do hope and pray that she will continue to learn how to use sounds and to be able to use it to communicate better.  One day she will talk, but it will take time and patience.  I'm just so grateful that Rachel is no longer living in silence.  She is able to hear!  That is a wonderful blessing from above.      

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pictures with Santa 2013

We took the girls to visit Santa at the Bass Pro Shops.  This is the same place we went to last year.  Bass Pro Shops is awesome!  They allow me to use my camera and they also take a picture for you for free.

The girls did okay with Santa, but Kayla was scared so I had to hold her.  Haley did great and Rachel, well she just had to check out Santa.  See pictures below...  

The look on Santa's face is priceless
Santa's smile says it all
Rachel checking out his hat
This one is good!  Yea!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Kayla!

Happy 2nd Birthday Kayla!  Wow my baby girl is 2 years old already!  How time has flown by.  I still remember the day she was born.  We are so blessed to have our sweet, active little princess in our family. We love her and her big sisters very much!

We had a little party for Kayla on Saturday (Dec. 7).  We had some friends and family join us for her party.  Her party theme this year was Minnie Mouse.  She loves Minnie Mouse.  Her party was good except we lost power for the two hours during her party.  All we had was window light which was not that much since it was a cold cloudy day.  We made do and all was great!

Table setup
I love this cupcake stand! It will be used for years to come.
Little Minnie Mouse decoration I made.
The cupcakes were delicious!
Kayla and her friend Franklin
Mesmerized by the candle flame
She had some help from daddy to blow out the candle
Enjoying her cupcake
Time to open the gifts!
She got a Minnie Mouse that stands almost as tall as her.  She loved it!
She also loved the new baby doll she got.
Giving her Minnie Mouse a kiss!  So sweet!  Love it!!!

Stay tuned for Kayla's 2 year old pictures and stats.  I have one more photo shoot to do with her.  Just waiting for it to warm up a little.  Its been really cold here in Houston, TX lately.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I was looking through my hundreds of photos and found these pictures of my girls as they were playing (in our back yard and at a park).  My girls love to play outside and these pictures captured some fun, happy moments they had.  Just wanted to share these precious memories.  

Kayla and Rachel