Choosing the Harder Path

Family and friends- Hello! It has been a great past week in our household!
Last Friday was the 17th… which means baby girl turned 2 months old! Whoot whoot!  For those of you who don’t see our Facebook page (Prayers for the Pragels), we celebrated her 2 month birthday at the Royals game for her first game ever! It was a blast and she loved it! 😉😊

Also on this day, I posted a little video of her doing tummy time. When we do tummy time with her, for part of it we support her head so she can start gaining strength in her arms and legs. Here is the link to the video- for some reason I can’t put videos up on this blog site, only photos. (Hopefully the link works!)

Then on Monday (the 20th), this is what I posted on our Facebook page after we saw the eye doctor for little Miss!
“Once again… I am blown away and amazed at this child of mine. 😍
Here is what I was told by the eye dr:
Because she is so young, the eye dr can’t really tell us much. But what they can tell us is if the structure of her eye is there. AND IT IS! So all the needed structures are there and fine. The optic nerve is the most important part I suppose because that is what sends the signals back to the brain. AND SHE HAS THAT! So where the signals are being sent and if the brain picks up anything is unknown until she is older. So it’s a day by day kind of thing (like everything else with her). But she technically is NOT “fully blind” because the signals are being sent somewhere. We just don’t know if the little amount of brain she does have is picking anything up or relaying to her what she is seeing.
Yes, she will most likely be visually impaired of some sort but depending on how her brain “rewires” determines what she can and cannot see.
Have I ever mentioned just how amazing our God is?!? She was fearfully and wonderfully made by our Savior and I would not have her any other way!! She is such a blessing!”
Isn’t that such amazing news considering she is “supposed” to be fully blind?!?
Tuesday her nurse came for her normal routine checkup. I mentioned in the last blog post that we had to up her calorie intake to help her gain weight. Well last Friday she had only gained an ounce or two since the previous checkup so we had to up her calorie intake a second time this past weekend. It took her stomach a while to get used to the high volume of calories but it finally paid off! She went from 8lbs 3oz on Friday to 8lbs11oz on Tuesday! 🙂 We have to continue with the high calorie intake for awhile yet until she starts drinking more and handling it better.
Then Wednesday (the 22nd) we had two checkups. One with her pediatrician regarding her weight and one with her neurosurgeon to re-look at her incision and shunt. Both appointments went well and got the “all clear” for now! 🙂 We don’t have to do another checkup with the neurosurgeon until 2 months from now since everything is looking so good. And we will go back to her pediatrician in 2 weeks again to check her weight gain once more.
Annalise is just doing so well with everything and we couldn’t be more blessed by it!
As always, I will post the latest pictures of our sweetie- with her crazy new curly hair 😉 and silly personality… But first.
Looking back on our journey, from the very beginning, I cannot believe how far we have come. I remember that day perfectly. All the emotions… the shock, the anger, the hurt, the pain, the numbness, the feeling of all the dreams and plans I had made being shattered…
But I have learned so much from this journey- first and foremost… It has all been worth it. She is worth it. Every child is worth it.
I have learned to love with everything I have no matter where the path may lead. I have learned to walk by faith more than ever as we learn how Annalise “works”. I live for her smiles and when she looks up at me with those big blue eyes. I live for those moments when she shows me that she knows to whom she belongs to here on this earth.
I recently read a blog post about loving someone you could lose (loving a child in spite of a diagnosis) and it really hit home with me. The writer wrote, “…they deserve every single ounce of strength, of love, of faith, of hope, of fight that we pour out. They deserve all of our heart, because these perfect, special, fragile children give us nothing less than everything they have….. And it is worth every single second- every beat of their heart, every whispered prayer, every ounce of love given, every time you held their hand, every tear shed, every smile, every kiss, every lullaby and every single time they looked at you with soulful eyes, and told you in their own way, “I love you, too.” They are worth it all.”
I cannot imagine life without having Annalise now. I cannot imagine how anyone could end a life because they were told that their child has some type of disorder or diagnosis.
Every. Single. Child. is worth it. Always.
You never know what God has planned for that child.
We had no idea that Annalise would be alive today and that she would be doing so well. But we are so incredibly thankful that God’s plan always prevails. We are so thankful that we chose the “harder” path.
Because we chose to go on this unexpected journey, we have a girl who loves to show how great our God is and how He has a plan for everyone. We have a beautiful, special little girl who has changed a lot of lives already… including mine. (And I don’t think she is done yet.)
I cannot wait to see what else this girl can do!!!
And as promised… Here are the latest photos! 😊


  1. colleen · April 23, 2015

    beautiful!!! God Bless You !!


  2. Stacey Guilliams Cook · April 23, 2015

    She is so precious. Still praying that God blesses your family. She brings a smile to my face each time I see one of her pictures.


  3. Lori · April 23, 2015

    I just wanted to say that I’m touched by your story and your posts. Your story is inspirational and very touching. Your little girl is beautiful and you can see in her eyes that she is very happy and content. I’m reminded of a song that is one of my favorites. Maybe you’ve heard it too. It’s “Blessings” by Laura Story. It perfectly describes how sometimes the harder path and trials of this life are the biggest blessings you can receive. Thank you for your faith and sharing it with others. You and baby Annalise are changing lives every minute! I will continue to pray for you and your beautiful family. God’s blessings.


  4. Kerrie Marquart · April 23, 2015

    She is just so precious!! Thanking God for her and her wonderful parents! ❤


  5. red40601 · April 23, 2015

    Oh my Gosh!!!! I am in tears, your baby is the sweetest thing EVER!!!


  6. Shirley Dobbs · April 23, 2015

    She’s just precious! Her facial expressions are priceless! God is so good! I’m glad you chose life! Praise God for sweet Annalise!!!


  7. Caren · April 23, 2015

    I just LOVE all of her different facial expressions …. she’s so so sweet 🙂


  8. karengriffin2015 · April 23, 2015

    We continue to pray the Lord’s healing touch upon His little one. We cannot get over how great she looks! I cannot believe her long, curly hair. I was completely bald at that age :^). We are also praying the Lord blesses you Candace and your hubby, and continues to encourage and strengthen you all as you walk the harder path with Him at your side. Please give little Annalise a kiss for us and a big hug. Lord bless you all! Love, Tim and Karen


  9. kayloudee · April 23, 2015

    Shes so cute!!!!!


  10. dee steinbach · April 24, 2015

    She is so beautiful. God is so good!


  11. J · April 24, 2015

    I am not trying to be disrespectful. Your baby girl is beautiful. If I may what’s condition does she have? I might have not read that part


  12. Sheri · April 24, 2015

    I love these photos!!! She is so amazingly beautiful!!! I am loving her facial expressions!!! How can you not smile when you see her!!! God’s blessings to you all and prayers for an awesome future with such a beautiful little girl!!!


  13. bumblelady · April 24, 2015

    She is a beautiful little girl! Our daughter was born with a cranial deformity almost two years ago. It is not the same, but I remember how terrifying surgery was and wondering what her life would be like after that. Much love to you three. 😊


  14. Ashley · April 24, 2015

    I am so in love with your little darling. She is absolutely precious.


  15. jennycarlisle · April 24, 2015

    Your posts always fill me with so much joy. God truly sent this baby to you for a reason. She provides a blessing to everyone she meets. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  16. Katie Welbaum · April 24, 2015

    Wow, she reminds me so much of my son! He has hydrocephalus with a shunt, optic nerve atrophy, and cortical visual impairment. He is 4 and looking at your beautiful girl’s pictures takes me back to his birth. Thank you for what you wrote, I needed reminded of that with the daily stressors of life!


  17. Cathy Neal · April 24, 2015

    What a sweet angel, I absolutely love her pictures ! She has the most adorable expressions, she makes my heart happy. And wow what beautiful blue eyes and love her hair. God bless you all and thank you for sharing your precious Annalise with us.


  18. Mary · April 24, 2015

    I love the expressions on her face!! You know exactly what she is thinking by those looks!!! She has to be the most precious girl I have ever seen!! You guys are sooo lucky to have a sweet pea like that. She looks like a bundle of fun!!!!


  19. Katy P · April 24, 2015

    Annaliese is beautiful! Thank God for her and parents like you who treasure the gift of life!


  20. mandymomof2 · April 24, 2015

    I love reading your posts!! Wow look at that crazy curly hair; it’s so cute! She is beautiful!


  21. Allison · April 24, 2015

    Oh I just want to love on that sweet baby! Seriously she just brightened my day!! Love seeing her pics and how amazing she is doing. Her hair is awesome! Oh and by the way I completely believe she can see just fine…at least that’s how it seems to me especially the way she is looking at the camera. She is a precious gift that’s for sure!


  22. Kelly Dunbar · April 24, 2015

    While I have never met you or Annalise, I have been following your story through members of BVBC (we are former members). I just wanted to say that I love her sassy new curly hair! I also love some of those sassy little faces she is giving you in pics! She is living proof that God is GOOD…ALL THE TIME! You keep on loving her every moment of every day! Blessings to sweet Annalise!💖🌟


  23. Stephanie · April 24, 2015

    I love her curly hair! She is just too darn cute! Blessing to you and your family that you get this wonderful time together watching her grow. And yay for the Royals! C’mon KC!


  24. Bonnie Sanchez · April 25, 2015

    What a precious little girl. I just want to squeeze her, she is so darn cute. I love those curls. Those blue eyes just make you melt. Prayers for your perfect little family. So glad you chose the path that allowed you to be blessed with this darling.


  25. Jo Ann · April 25, 2015

    She is so beautiful. I love looking at the pictures. I pray for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your story… God Bless you all!!!!


  26. Brenda Murphree · April 25, 2015

    This is some of the sweetest pictures I have ever seen!💜💜


  27. Sandy Cain · April 25, 2015

    Love all the pictures! You have a beautiful family! My only complaint is that Royals ribbon on her. Too late for you and your hubby, but not for the baby. Put the princess in Yankee prinstripes!


  28. Debbie Clark · April 25, 2015

    Annalise Hope is just so adorable! I love her different expressions. You blog comments and pictures brought tears to my eyes. My prayers are with you two and your precious little one.


  29. Kim Amundsen · April 25, 2015

    Love her personality. She will be quite the character.


  30. Angie · April 25, 2015

    She is such a blessing, every time I read your blog it touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes. Not really tears of sadness but of hope, love, faith at all the miracles our God is capable of and of which your beautiful baby is such a shining example of. God bless you all and I continue to pray for your family.


  31. Tina · April 26, 2015

    He hair has gotten so curly and pretty. She is a little fighter, and already come so far. I hold you up as parents in my prayers, and for her with her improvements. All 3 of you are amazing and inspiring.


  32. Tamara Michel · April 26, 2015

    I found out about your story through a cousin of mine and I have read a few of your posts and have been blessed by your continued faith. I have been inspired to share with you a blog called “A Place Called Simplicity.” It is authored by a pastors wife, who is mother to many. They have 3 biological children and 9 adopted children. Their youngest has hydrocephalus and has experienced many miracles throughout her life, all of which had moved her mother to write a book about her titled “Rescuing Ruby.” I thought you would find inspiration through her story. They adopted her from an orphanage in Africa at age 1 and in June she will celebrate her 5th birthday.


  33. · April 28, 2015

    She is so precious, I love the photos of her and pray for her always. You are inspirational to all who come in contact with you and Annalise and you remind me how wonderful our Heavenly Father is. God bless you all … I can’t wait for our next installment …


  34. Lisa · April 28, 2015

    Annalise has the best facial expressions! And that hair! From one hydro mommy to another, keep up the good fight! She is amazing and so worth it. 🙂


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