Never Toooooo Many Photos, Right?!

Hey y’all!

Sorry it has been awhile since I have last updated the blog!

I will let you in on a little secret as to why that just might be….

So here it is: I strongly dislike writing.

I know, I know. Some of you probably had your mouth drop open. (I’ve had so many of you tell me that you enjoy my writing and that I should write a book! You have no idea how much that flatters me SINCE I hate doing it! :P)

But-

We love sharing our journey with y’all and we love telling everyone just how good our God is for giving us our sweet Annalise so I continue to write. 😉

(That’s why the Facebook page gets updated almost daily and the blog not so much… because it is so much easier to write a couple sentences of what that day brings compared to an entire blog.)

Anyways… 😉

On August 19th, we had Annalise’s 6-month checkup! After taking her vitals and measurements (13lbs 10 oz and about 25-25.5 inches long), we went back and visited with our pediatrician. She was so amazed at what all Annalise is doing now (She hadn’t seen her since her 4 month checkup so everything from rolling from back to belly, scooting, starting to talk… was all new to her!).

We talked about doing another scan to relook at Annalise’s brain. (Kevin and I secretly think that maybe there is more brain/tissue than they originally said.) They typically don’t want to sedate a child unless it is absolutely necessary and since the brain kind of “rewires” and “grows” during the first year of life…we are waiting until she is around the age of 1. That way, it will be a more “definitive” answer and will allow us to “re-diagnose” her.

We talked about trying to see if she can start on some baby food. One of the therapists we talked to before said we wouldn’t be able to do that until Annalise can sit up and have head control. So we are going to meet with an occupational therapist (hopefully soon) to decide and see if she can even eat orally. And then figure out how to “sit” her if she can eat. (Most kiddos have tubes and we have been so lucky that she has been able to grow and stay nourished by eating orally with a bottle. If she can’t figure out the process of how to eat, or doesn’t get enough nourishment, then it will have to come to a tube later on.)

The most exciting news of this appointment though was that Little Miss PASSED a CAR SEAT test!!!!!!! She is no longer in her car bed (where she was laying down flat). She rocked the test! She had to sit in the seat for 90 minutes while being monitored. They check on her oxygen levels and heart rate. If she dipped below certain numbers, then she would have failed it.

We are SO incredibly thankful that she did pass it. Things are so much easier now. 😉

To end her 6-month checkup, she got the last set of shots for a little while. She is always such a trooper for those. She barely even flinches and never cries!

Annalise is continuing to do well in physical therapy. Usually, the therapist wears her out and she has to take quick “power naps” throughout the hour session but we hope that this will all help her to lift her head eventually. Her head control with moving her head from side to side is REALLY good. She has mastered that within this past month! (You never really know how strong she is until you are holding her and she wants to move or get down and she throws her head back on you. THEN you realize how impressive that is considering her head size/weight to the rest of her body! ;P)

I’m pretty determined when it comes to getting her PT. I just think with how active she is and how much she is learning, that it is the best thing for her. So we are trying really hard to continue doing it. We get “reassessed” in a couple weeks at Children’s for PT and we want to keep doing it AT LEAST twice a month. (Last time we were there, it almost sounded like they were saying that we will probably “take a break” for a couple months then come back to it. This momma does NOT want that. So let’s pray that things work out. ;)) We do still have our Infant Toddler physical therapist coming once a month to help us out with things at home as well. Our CCVI “teacher” will be coming about twice a month as well now to help with things!

The newest big life change in Annalise’s life is that she may be starting to teeth! ;P

Last weekend, she started getting a little bit fussy, started drooling everywhere and preferred to be on her tummy with her fingers in her mouth (she has NEVER liked ANYTHING-other than her bottle- in her mouth so for her to stick her own hands in is HUGE! –developmentally huge as well!)

I won’t give her a pacifier because the last time I did…. she gagged on it and threw up everywhere. I think she has a natural reaction to swallow when something is placed in her mouth, preventing her from just sitting there and sucking on something. She is SLOWLY warming up to different teething toys. But that may be, because I try to make a game out of it. 😉

On August 26th, Annalise woke up a little bit earlier than normal. I went and got her out of her crib and had tummy-to-tummy time with her in bed. And I got her to somewhat LAUGH for the FIRST time that morning! (It even woke daddy up because we had never heard that “sound” from her before!) It was by far the cutest sound we have ever heard and I was so caught up in the moment of it that I didn’t record it! She has made some other noises when we “tickle” her but she has yet to make that same sound again. I am just waiting for that day so I can record it! 😉

She really has become a lot more vocal in the last couple of weeks. She loves babbling, especially at books. Listening to her sweet little baby voice is one of the best things ever.

And apparently, she is deciding to maybe start a new sleeping routine.

Little Miss decided to wake up at 4 AM yesterday (her usual is 8-9… For the past several months even!). And she decided to stay awake and talk until my alarm went off to get up for church. Then of course, Annalise slept through church and lunch so by the time I could take a nap, she was up and ready to play and eat. Then it was time to go back to church for a Critical Issues Forum which she slept through most of it. So of course by the time we got home, she was wide-awake. Finally passing out at 10:45PM. At 11, I put her in her crib to which she woke up. Daddy got her out to try and put her back to sleep… But that was too much fun. She decided to smile and talk to him. So finally by midnight, she was back to sleep.

Only to wake up at 7 this morning…

Although she may be keeping me from getting sleep, I wouldn’t trade this for the entire world! Every day is a HUGE blessing with her!

Daddy is officially back at school, so we get a lot more mommy/daughter time! He is one year closer to getting his masters though and we are SO proud of him! Needless to say, now that he is in school again, all the craziness is going to start. We went down to one car -to cut bills (since I’m not working anymore)- so figuring out how to get everywhere between all of us will be fun. ;P Makes scheduling a little more difficult and means we get to be “stuck” at home on certain days. (Not like I have a problem with that… I’m so incredibly thankful that I even get this time with her and being able to stay home!)

Well… that about sums up what our crazy journey is like these days.

Just to let y’all know- never be afraid to ask us questions! I understand some people are just beginning to follow our journey and without going through and rereading every blog, it’s hard to catch up. I also know that some of you have been following since the very beginning so there may be things you are wondering about that I forget to address.

Finally, we are SO thankful for all of you. Your prayers and continued support for our journey is felt everyday and we are so blessed by all of you. I wouldn’t be able to stay at home with Little Miss and provide for her everything she needs without your help. (www.gofundme.com/hopeforannalise) What we appreciate most is your continued prayers though!

I hope you all have a great week! (Can’t believe tomorrow is September already!!!)

Cherish every moment and be sure to anchor your hope to the One who has already scripted the perfect ending! 😉

Just for fun…. here are a few songs that have been stuck in my head lately 😉

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Say It Isn’t So! 

Family and friends-
WHERE HAS TIME GONE?!!
Annalise Hope turned 6 months old today!!!! SIX MONTHS! That’s HALF A YEAR, people!!!!!
The little lady who wasn’t supposed to live longer than 60 minutes has been here with us for 6 months!
I am sitting here trying to summon up all the words… all the thoughts and feelings… that are going through me. Through all the happy tears… I can say that we are blessed beyond measure. We have been given such an incredible gift that has taught us SO much.
I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that God led us down this path and that we have such a Loving Father who is always right there with us.
We knew going into this unexpected journey that God had a plan and a purpose for all of this. We didn’t know how much time we would have with her… We still don’t. (Truth is…. No parent knows that.) We didn’t know that we would have a 6 month old who keeps defying all odds and who keeps reaching milestones that she shouldn’t be without a brain. (Makes you wonder if maybe there is more now than there was before, huh?!? ;))
Six months FLEW by.
But the only thing I can think about is… What if we didn’t believe in a God who always has the perfect plan and ending? What if we would have listened to some of those doctors who implied we abort the baby because there was no hope for her anyways? (HA!!! No hope for our Annalise Hope? Look at us now, doctors!)
I remember being so overwhelmed when we were put on this journey. I remember going to the Lord in prayer more than I ever have in my entire life. I was diving into the Bible and reading books. One of the books that I fumbled through was called Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. (Pretty fitting title, right?!? :p) Anyways… The main thing that I remember from that book is that when we are going through something… We have to shift our focus from our circumstance(s) to Christ. We can’t look to Jesus to change our circumstance(s) though… Because more than likely… He’s just trying to change us. We have to refuse to allow our circumstance(s) to shape our belief system and instead allow our belief system to help us overcome our circumstance(s).
Let me tell you…(and I won’t speak for Kevin on this one but I’m sure he feels the same ;))… but He has definitely changed me. Allowing what I believe in God to rule over any prediction for Annalise has given her life and life more abundantly for that matter.
Just a side note- I’m not saying that, any time you go through a trial/situation/circumstance, if you just believe in our Sovereign Lord and His promises, the best possible outcome is going to happen. For us, our outcome has been extremely good. But it COULD have, very easily, turned out differently. Sometimes, your definition of good isn’t going to be the outcome… It’s always going to be His definition of the perfect plan though and that’s all that matters. 😉
Anyways… Back to Annalise 😉
Annalise has a busy week this week. Tuesday is our normal nurse visit day. Wednesday is her 6 month wells checkup and shots (And hopefully car seat test day!!!). And Thursday is physical therapy day!
This little firecracker of ours is such a happy baby lately. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, she’s smiling. All day long when we play, she’s smiling. Even in her sleep she smiles. She’s beginning to figure out how to smile in different ways too- cutest thing ever!
She has gotten to be so alert and active. She is constantly moving and is now officially ON the move. Even though she can’t lift her head yet, she figured out how to crawl, in her own way of course. She still hasn’t figured out that she can put her arms under her to help but we are working on that! She’s our little inchworm and I am OH so proud! Also, her rolling from back to belly has gotten a whole lot easier! 😉 She no longer aimlessly kicks her legs to get over…. It’s just a quick simple motion now. And because of that… She won’t ever stay on her back! She has officially turned into a tummy sleeper as well (just like her momma and daddy ;)).
She still can’t roll from belly to back though. I don’t think she will be able to do that until she can lift her head a little bit. So once she is on her tummy… She’s just stuck. :p
Annalise is FINALLY finding her voice as well!!! She has been ALOT more vocal in the past week. We will be playing and she will just lay there cooing and making all those adorable baby noises. There have even been a few times where we will say something or ask her something and she makes a noise back as if she is responding!!! Now THAT makes this momma super proud and emotional!
She loves books. And her slinky. 🙂 She is getting so much better at reaching for her toys/books. She loves watching infant stimulation videos and Veggie Tales. 😉 Any toy that moves, sings, and/or lights up is her favorite. ;p She loves being outside and going for walks in her stroller.
We are seriously so proud of her and so amazed at how well she is doing. She has accomplished so much and we can’t wait to see what else she does!
Daddy and I are already SO excited and looking forward to spending some holidays with her (God willing of course ;)). We think she is going to LOVE Christmas because of all the lights! We may already be planning and saving up for presents. 😉
I think that about sums up our life lately. :p As always you can stay more up to date by visiting our Facebook page- Prayers for the Pragels.
And as per usual… We will end with pictures. Today you all get a special treat at the end though. We took a few (and by few I mean like 80- haha!!!) 6 month old photos. I literally just closed my eyes and randomly selected photos to put together in a collage. So instead of bombarding you with 80 some photos, you get 32. 😉
Enjoy!
Thank you Karen (from A Perfect Treasure) for the handmade onesie! Thank you Shannen for all our sparkle bows (LiviLane Shop on Etsy) and Tiffany for the jewelry (LittleMissV Shop on Etsy)!

I will update you all soon!
God bless!

—-Anchoring our hope to the One who has already scripted the perfect ending!—-

Gofundme page- http://www.gofundme.com/hopeforannalise

Determination 

Hello family and friends!
I am SO ecstatic to write this post! But I think I will wait to share the best part until the end. 😉
Ms. Annalise is now 24 weeks old. She will be 6 months in 12 days (the 17th)!!! Has it really been almost HALF A YEAR?!? Six months ago, we were getting ready for the week where we would be saying “see you later” to our first child. Wow. It’s hard to believe that.
Annalise is now up to 12 pounds 14 ounces. (For the past 3 weeks prior, she was gaining about 4 ounces per week but for some reason… She didn’t gain a single ounce since last week. So we will have to see if our PED wants to increase calories for the 3rd time or just wait it out a bit.) She hasn’t been eating as much the past couple weeks as she was before and now that she is getting more and more active… That’s why it’s a little concerning.
Other than that, little miss is doing great! Her vitals are always normal, she’s always happy, and loves to play.
Along with her new found love of blowing bubbles when she is laying down, she loves to play peek a boo. But she has to do it herself! It’s not as fun as when you are the one hiding. 😉
She loves playing with daddy, loves tummy time, loves stroller rides, and loves trying new positions of sitting. She loves playing with certain toys- Right now her fascination is a slinky. She loves looking at herself in a mirror or just on my phones camera. She loves to play the game of “let’s pull my headband off every minute to look at it”. She loves to stretch and reach her feet/toes. And she loves to explore her world on her own- she’s becoming very independent. 😉 (She would rather prefer to sleep on her own nowadays rather than someone holding her. 😦 So when she will take a nap in my arms, it’s hard to put her down.)
She loves to be active. It’s hard to get this girl to sit still! She has even been doing this thing when she is tired but doesn’t want to go to sleep for a couple weeks now… She will rock her head from side to side and each time she is going to the side, she makes this noise… As if it’s supposed to keep her awake. It’s so cute.
Speaking about being active, the most exciting part about this post is coming… Right…..
In a little bit 🙂
Yes, I’m gonna make you wait a little bit longer! Hehe!
Annalise still meets with her nurse weekly and keeps amazing her with how well she looks and is doing. I told you last time we met with a PT at Children’s and that starts TOMORROW! We will be going every other week for the next 2 months and then will get reevaluated to see if she needs more or less. I’m so excited to start this new process and see what all she is going to do with it!
In 2 weeks, we have her 6 month wells checkup! She will get the last of the series of shots and hopefully do another car seat test! (Fingers crossed!) She’s too long for her car bed anyways so we really need to get her to move into something else soon anyways. 😉
Other than the regular nurse, 6 month checkup, and PT appointments, that’s all we have for the month of August!
God is so good!
Sometimes when I’m sitting here and looking at Annalise, I’m reminded of all the feelings I had before she was born… the hurt, the confusion, the struggles I was facing. I remember going to the Lord in prayer all the time and searching for answers to anything. I remember the doubt that surrounded me. I remember questioning God. I remember being in that dark place where hurt and pain lingers and you don’t see how any good can come out of it.
I remember why we named her Annalise in the first place. Annalise means “Grace or Devoted to God.” She has and always will be His. She is dedicated. She is loved.
We all belong to God. It reminds me that to be His is to know what it means to be completely loved and accepted. Being His transforms how we love others and even how we see ourselves. We are all imperfect people who will eventually exhibit imperfect behavior. I’ve been there; you’ve been there. But luckily, God has never saved anybody He hasn’t changed. (Credit for that quote goes to the pastor at church youth camp last year ;). It’s stuck with me since then.)
Seriously. Think about that.
But back to all those emotions and being in that dark place… Though I couldn’t see it in that moment, those trials and struggles strengthened my faith in more ways than you can even imagine. I have learned that when we respond to suffering with confidence that God knows, plans, and directs our lives, with perseverance, and with courage… He will carry us through everything. He will always provide His love and strength for us when we feel like we can’t make it through. God leads us towards a better future.
“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10
I am forever grateful for going through that struggle, relying on the Hope that He will do exactly what He intends on doing.
Look what it got us! 😉
Almost 6 beautiful months (so far) of loving on our sweet Annalise Hope.
His goodness, His love, His sovereignty, His grace, and His strength (I could go on and on) is displayed in this little girl that I am privileged to call my daughter.
She may be our little miracle. But honestly, every person is a miracle. Conditions or not, you are all special and I feel so honored to open our lives to you so that you can see just how precious life is and hopefully remind you to cherish every single moment with those around you. Embrace the hard times, cherish every little thing, and remember that God is with you and He cares for you more than you can even imagine.
Okay- enough of my rambling for today! 😉
I guess I should finally get to the most exciting part about this post.
But just one more thing 🙂
As usual, here are the links to our sites:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-For-The-Pragels/1543499849231425
http://www.gofundme.com/hopeforannalise

And here are the awaited newest pictures of Little Miss Sassy Pants!

(Exciting and exclusive to the blog post news after the pictures!!!!)
Okay okay! Now it’s the time to finally share some exciting news and exclusive videos only to be seen on here!!!

Annalise Hope now ROLLS from BACK TO BELLY!!!!! Aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!
This first video shows you how she goes from her BACK to LEFT SIDE. You will notice that she turns from “bottom to top”. Once she is on her side, she can go to her belly (she’s been doing that for a couple months now).

Here’s a picture collage of her doing the full version 😉

This video shows you how she goes from BACK to BELLY on the RIGHT side. Notice how that when she turns this way, she rolls from “top to bottom”.

It’s crazy how determined and how strong this little 5.5 month old girl is for someone who was told she would be in a vegetative state her whole life. 😉
I love how creative she is in figuring out how to roll. It intrigues me how she does it two different ways, depending which way she goes.
But we are SO excited that we have a little roly poly.
Once she is on her belly though, she’s stuck. But we are halfway there! I think once she is able to lift her head even just a little bit, she will figure out how to fully roll. I can’t wait for that day!!!! Eeekkk!
Well family and friends, thank you for your continued prayers and support in our journey. We can’t thank you enough!
Love you all! Have a blessed rest of your week and weekend!
Until next time! 🙂
—Anchor your hope to the One who has already scripted the perfect ending—