Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

I don't think there is any hope of our oldest having his two front teeth back in time for Christmas. I realize that many children lose their two front teeth at the same time. However, leave it to my child to lose them by some very unconventional means! The Monkey Man's favorite pastime is riding bikes at the Knoxville Skatepark with his dad (the biggest kid in my house).

One day this summer while I was enjoying some "mom time" at a friends house learning some new whole grain recipes, I got this call that began with "honey, now don't panic!" Of course, no words induce panic faster in a mother than those. My husband quickly related to me the events that had taken he and Caleb from the Skatepark and down the road to Children's Hospital Emergency Room.

When I arrived in the ER I found my son barely able to hold his head up because of a concussion and his face swollen from having his teeth knocked out. Apparently, my little baby had accidentally "dropped in" to this godforsaken place called the "flow bowl" and crashed at the bottom.
Praise God they were only his baby teeth. Two days later he was back at the Skatepark. Here he is at the end of November still without those teeth!
After his most recent trip to the skatepark, Caleb came home and informed me that he had "dropped in" again. As I ran across the room to inspect for injuries, he mustered all the "coolness" in his seven year old body and told me, " on purpose this time mom".


Finally an update! Things have been absolutely crazy around the Langford house for the last few weeks. Everyone is home and well and we have been struggling to settle back into a routine. With the holidays quickly approaching, I am not sure how long we can hold back the chaos.

(The Tater can never resist sneaking into a picture. Can you see her?)
The Little Man has reached 7 lbs 10 oz. He is growing so quickly now. He is smiling and laughing constantly. His favorite game is playing peek-a-boo with Lily.
The Screecher got the approval from her doctor yesterday to return to Ballet. She is very excited about that! My husband and I are about mid way through the second sub-term of fall in our classes, so we find ourselves studying more and more. I am pushing the children to make sure we have at least half of our homeschool year done before Christmas and now the Christmas Play begins. I do just love the holidays!

Friday, October 31, 2008


One of my favorite parts of the whole homeschooling experience is all of the extracurricular activities my kids get to participate in. Not being tied up in school for 8 hours a day loosens our schedule so that they can do lots more and we are not pushed as a family. We are able to schedule our activities around meal times and family time and anything else important. We also group our activities so that we are only away from home a couple of days a week and to save time and money in gas.

Here everyone is ready for dance classes on Tuesdays. Below The Monkey Man and the Tater are visiting the state veterans home for a scouting activity.

The Monkey and the Screecher also take gymnastics. Our three oldest co-op on Fridays with our friends at Trinity Chapel and the oldest two take piano lessons. It all makes for a busy week but we love it!

Homeschooling 24/7

Finally, we are all home and healthy. Praise the Lord! Lily Grace is doing well and our little Joshua is 7 lbs 3 oz as of Tuesday. We have been home from the hospital for almost three weeks now and is seems that we are settling back into our new old routines :)

I admit that homeschooling with a new baby has been my biggest challenge. There have been many days when all I felt like teaching was a hands-on unit study on sleep! Even though I could use a lot more of that, the kids didn't seem so excited about the possibility.

Anyway, Dad is being helpful as always. I am terrified of bugs and those creepy crawly things that are so interesting to the little ones. Thus, Dad is always in charge of the hands-on science. Here are the latest pictures of the Science visitor/Entertainment that crawled through our garage. When I stepped into the garage to pick up the laptop case that I was listing on ebay. This little fellow ran across my hand. I screamed, the children laughed and Stacy commenced with the science lesson at 10pm!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Little Man Update

Through all of the chaos in the Langford house of late, the Little Man is still growing. His next weight check is not until this Monday but we are confident that he is now past the 6 pound mark. He is more alert every day (even in the middle of the night!) and he loves to watch and listen to his brother and sisters.

The Screecher's Surgery

Our little Screecher's surgery went better than expected. She spent only one night in the ICU and was discharged on Sunday. These are pictures just two days post op. If all goes as expected this will be the last of her surgeries! Praise the Lord!

She is back at home now with her brothers and sister and back to her usual self. She still moves a bit slowly but, that has not kept her from playing and dressing up. Below is a picture of her latest costume creation. According to her, she is Thumbelina's Mommy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Please Pray for Lily Grace

Our precious Lily Grace is a miracle that runs around our house in front of us every day. She is a constant reminder of what an awesome God we serve.

When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Lily Grace, we found out that she had significant cardiac defects. I still remember the look on my doctor's face when he said "we'll just take this one day at a time". When she was born in April of 2005 things looked even worse than we had thought. Along with the cardiac issues she had numerous other problems. She had 5 surgical procedures before she was ever discharged from the NICU. At three months old, she finally made it home from the hospital with more equipment that I have ever seen with a baby. She was completely tube fed, she had a central line placed that we used to give her IV antibiotics and she was on a monitor. Three weeks later she was back in the pediatric intensive care and two weeks after that, she was at Vanderbilt Hospital having open heart surgery.

I will never forget the Friday before her surgery. My mom and I had driven to Vanderbilt for Lily's pre-op work and we were told that the surgery to fix her heart might not be possible. According to the ultrasound done that day, her heart muscle had thickened to the point that it might prevent the surgery. We drove home with a mix of silence and tears. We were absolutely devastated. We prayed all weekend. We were not supposed to have Lily out in crowds but we took her to church on Sunday morning anyway. When we had prayer for her, the entire church was on the altar. On Monday morning when the doctor called out from the surgical suite, he told us that her heart was nothing like what the ultrasound had shown. The muscle was thinned and the procedure was done. Is anything to hard for God?

After that stay we had several other surgical procedures to remove her gallbladder, and fix various other problems with Lily. According to the doctors, nothing was quite right in her little body. I praise God that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

It has been quite a while now that we have been home and well. Unfortunately tonight we are packing for the hospital again. Lily Grace has congenital scoliosis and other issues with her spine. The most serious issue is that her spinal cord is tethered to her tail bone. Tomorrow, she will have surgery to release that tethering. It didn't sound very serious at first until I realized all that the procedure entailed.

The procedure aside, this time Lily Grace knows what is happening. She knows that she is going to the hospital and they are going to "ouchie" her. I always thought when she was a baby that it would be better if she were older. I was wrong. This is much worse.

Please pray that God in his infinite mercy would spare my baby from pain. Pray that the Great Physician would guide the hands of the surgeon that operates on my precious angel. I pray that she would be healed. I pray that this procedure goes better than we could even dream because we serve a God who is more than able.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sleep Deprived Update

Yes yes, it has been a couple of weeks since I posted anything new. I plead sleep deprivation as my only defense :) As evidence, I submit that I am posting this at 4:45 am. Joshua just finished his middle of the night feeding and I could not get back to sleep.

Things are finally getting back to normal in the Langford house. Well, the new normal anyway. At least we have finally found a new rhythm. Joshua seems to sleep through the morning school time and wake up just when the other children are having a snack.

Someone asked me recently how we do all that we do with 4 children. I must say that I have wonderful parents. Nana and Poppy live just down the hill from us and are always eager to get their hands on the grandchildren. I am a blessed woman to be able to call my mom and have her watch the children long enough for me to take a shower or run to the store. Plus, my children love them to pieces! They get quite upset if they go a day without seeing Nana and Poppy. At any given time in the day my children are ready to run down the hill to Nana and Poppy's house. It is quite cute actually. It looks like the intro to Little House on the Prairie complete with Lily Grace falling down to roll in the grass midway just like Carrie.

For those of you waiting for the new Joshua pics, please visit our photographer and good friend LaDonna's blog at to see the most recent pictures. We hope to have a slideshow of these on our blog in the near future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Joshua Day 32 and 5 Pounds!!!

After one full week at home, Joshua weighed in at the pediatrician's office yesterday at 5 lbs 2.2 oz! On his first visit to the pediatrician last Monday, he weighed 4 lbs 7 oz. He packed on 9 oz in one week!

Here is the latest picture of our little man sitting in his new bouncer that Daddy got him. He seems huge now after looking back at the earlier pictures. More pictures to come...

Cooking Again

My family is thrilled to have Baby Joshua home. There seems to be a new excitement in the house every day as we watch him change and grow. After being home a week it seems that he is finally awake more often. He seems to recognize voices and and look for the person speaking. What a miracle he is!

In addition to their happiness over Joshua, my family is thrilled that mommy is cooking again. I confess that while we were running between home and the hospital, we ate way more pizza and fast food than I am comfortable with. One night we even ate the dreaded Hamburger Helper. Ugh!! As many of you know, processed foods are my enemy! :) I do so love to cook from scratch and I love the health benefits for my family.

Anyway, my kidos are loving my latest kitchen gadget. It's a tortilla maker!! It is now one of our favorite things to make tortillas, and not just plain tortillas. I ran into an old friend at a homeschool fair and she told me how to make cinnamon tortillas. Believe me, they taste even better than they sound. Taking my friend's idea, my kids eat banana burritos for breakfast. These are cinnamon tortillas with peanut butter, jelly and a banana all rolled up.

These pictures are of the kids eating tortillas with honey drizzled on them for desert. Now that was yummy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Additions

Joshua has not been the only new addition to our home this year. In April, Sandee, our greyhound came to live with us. We were a little nervous thinking that she might want to use our home as a racetrack since that is where she spent the first three years of her life. We were so wrong! We have since learned that greyhounds are large bassett hounds in disguise. They only eat and sleep. This is Sandee in her typical posture.

After Sandee came Phatty J. We took Phatty in as a foster kitty when our friend Missy brought him home from work. We had great plans of finding a home for him. Wrong again. His home was here with us. He fits right in with the rest of the crew, lazy most of the day.

This is how Phatty tells us the water bowl is empty. He also served as a great visual aid when Joshua was in the hospital. We told Caleb, Abby and Lily Grace that baby Joshua was smaller than Phatty J. In fact, Phatty is still a pound or so heavier than baby Joshua.

Finally Home Sweet Home!

Our sweet Joshua finally came home on Saturday after three weeks and one day in the NICU at Childrens Hospital. After getting the grand tour of his new house from Daddy, his brother and sisters were lined up to hold him.

Big Brother was the first to hold baby Joshua. Caleb can't wait until Joshua is old enough to share a room with him. He has the bottom bunk all fixed up and waiting for his little brother.

Lily Grace was next simply because she is the most impatient. She is still waiting to find out what Joshua does. Apparently, when you are three years old, a baby that only sleeps and eats is not very impressive!

Finally, Abigail got her hands on Joshua. Abigail is a born nurturer. At 5 years old, she is already a big help to mommy.

After all of the excitement, Joshua needed a nap in his own bed. Finally!! We are so thankful to have him at home. It was such a peaceful night with all of our children under one roof. At last, we were not torn between baby Joshua at the hospital and the others at home. Our home feels complete.

Though we are happy to be home, we miss all of our friends in the NICU who took such good care of not only Joshua but us as well. We thank you all so very much for all you do. To our friends Teresa, Dawn, Becca, Wendy, Debby, Sunny, Christy, Brian "The Car Seat King", Anne, Sherry and all of the others who made a difficult time a little easier, we love and appreciate you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Empty Me

I have been looking for one of my newer favorite songs to add to my playlist and tonight I finally found it. The song is called Empty Me. As I listened to it, it made me think of all the things we ask God for. I wondered, do we ever ask him to take things away. I know I probably should. The more I thought about it, I realized that sometimes our lives are so full of “stuff” that we really don’t need that there may not be room for God to add the good things of Himself that we do need. How can God give us a humble and meek spirit when we are so filled with pride? How can He speak to us when we never listen? How can he teach us charity when we are self-centered and selfish? I pray that my Father will empty me of all that does not bring Him glory and fill me to overflowing with all that does.

Empty me of this selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of these so I can be filled with you.

Joshua Day 20

As of last night, Joshua weighs 4 lbs 0.7 oz. We finally broke the 4lb mark! Unfortunately, even at 4 lbs, Joshua is still too small for his car seat. Tonight, we go on the hunt for the special 4 lb rated car seat. The car seat he is sitting in is one of the smallest on the market, it still looks huge holding Joshua.

Even though he is still very tiny, Joshua looks like such a big boy without his tape on his face to hold his NG tube. He has done pretty well for the past couple of days taking all of his feeds by bottle. Way to go Joshua! If all goes well, we will be able to bring baby Joshua home on Saturday. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Special Delivery

When we first began cooking most everything from scratch, we quickly realized that we could purchase our ingredients much cheaper in bulk from online sources such as Wheat Montana and Something Better Natural Foods. There is also a wonderful local whole foods market called Three Rivers Market. So, instead of buying the regular round box of Quaker Oats from Wal-Mart for $2-4, we buy 50 lbs at a time for less than 30 dollars.
We were thrilled when our order from Something Better arrived this week. (Special thanks to our friend Nancy for taking it home and then delivering it to us.) The picture below is of our kitchen table loaded down with 9lbs Peanut Butter, 5lbs Wheat Gluten, 50lbs Whole Yellow Corn, 5lbs Spelt, 25lbs brown rice and 50lbs of rolled oats.

We were so excited! The kids always enjoy helping open the large bags of grain and pouring them into storage buckets. Of course, they are also ready to immediately start cooking whatever can be made with the latest order.
I think it is awesome for kids to know where bread and other foods come from. When they see the wheat berry in the field and then in the bag of wheat, see it ground into flour and then eat the bread, they really grasp the whole cycle. Plus, it's lots of fun!

Joshua Days 15-18...Finally!

Well folks, things have been getting a bit chaotic around here. We went back to co-op on Friday and it seems that we have been running non-stop since then. As of last night, Joshua is up to 3 lbs 13 oz and it's looking like we are coming home this weekend.

Over the last few days, Joshua has had a bath and his Nana has been enjoying feeding him now that he is taking all of his food by mouth. That's right, no more NG tube. Praise the Lord! (Tape free pics coming soon!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I love hats even though I don't often wear them. When my kids dress up, which is almost every day, hats are a very important accessory for my princesses and super heroes. Hats are one of those things that you can pick up at yard sales for almost nothing or at thrift stores very inexpensively. Recently, my aunt's mother sent us about 10 different hats to play with at the same time she gave us our new piano. The children were more excited about the new hats. They have provided many hours of entertainment and imaginative play already. Surprisingly, they have also been teaching aids in our homeschool. Some of the hats look like they are from different time periods or different regions of the world.

We were able to get online and look for hats similar to ours and discuss where they came from or where they were most often seen. What an adventure! Even our dog Sandy got in on the hat action, with some help from Lily Grace, of course.

Joshua Day 13 & 14

Our sincerest apologies to all of those who had to go one whole day without new pictures of baby Joshua, especially our dear friend Miss Margie! Rest assured, all is well. Joshua now weighs 3lbs and 5.9 oz. We are still gaining more than an ounce per day! Praise the Lord!

Today, we had a very special daytime visit with Daddy. That doesn't happen very often. Joshua was wide awake and already planning his first bicycle ride with Dad. Of course, we have to master eating first :)
The big news of the last couple of days is our new Big Boy Crib. That's right. We are out of the isolette! Of course this will allow for more cuddle time. Mommy is thrilled.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Joshua Day 12

At 2:00 this morning Joshua weighed in at 3lbs 4.8oz. That is up 1.5 ounces from last night. He is working very hard at taking three bottles per day now. Please help us pray that his weight gain continues and that we will have him home soon.

We were finally allowed to post his name on his monitor beside his bed. All of the NICU babies have these wonderful little name tags. We felt a little bit left out for a while.

Eating still makes him very sleepy. After premies are fed the NICU staff offers the mom the opportunity to "kangaroo" the baby. The babies are so tiny they can be tucked inside mom's shirt to keep warm and allow for a little special bonding time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Psalm 113

This morning in my bible reading, the Lord led me to Psalms 113. As I read along I thought, what a beautiful psalm. Verses 5-6 and 9 spoke to me particularly.

v. 5-6: Who is like the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth!

v.9: He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord!

Praise the Lord indeed that he would humble himself to look down on a barren woman like me, hear my cries and make me a keeper at home and the joyful mother of four beautiful children.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Baby Joshua Day 9

All went well with Joshua today. We finally broke 3 pounds!! He is 3 lbs .25 oz. He is finally maintaining his own body temp without any real assistance from the isolette. He got to wear a new duck outfit today. Lily Grace picked it out special for Baby Josh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Joshua Update

Thanks so much to all of you who are praying for Baby Joshua. As you can see, he is doing quite well today. His eyes are open and he is much more alert.
We thought everyone might like to see some pictures of where he hangs out most of the day. These are some pictures of his isolette
or as Daddy calls it, his "Space Shuttle".
Today, his bottle feedings were increased to three per day. As you can see from the before and after feeding pics, it is very hard work for such a little guy to eat.