Man oh man has it been a long time since I sat down to actually write out a blog!
Life has been so crazy busy with holidays and appointments… that there is never enough time to actually sit down and do this ;P
I don’t even know where to begin! So, I apologize if I am all over the place and jumping from one thing to the next in this blog post! =) Also for spelling errors, typos, etc., because I won’t have time to go back and reread it before posting it!
Annalise has gotten SO big, so fast! Last time we were at the doctors for her 9 month checkup on November 20th, she was 27.5 inches long and weighed 16 pounds, 5 ounces. She has finally moved up to size 6 months clothes even!
She still has a home nurse that comes about every week. We do physical therapy with 2 different people (one with Children’s at the facility and the other is in home) which means she gets about 3 sessions a month. We meet with an occupational therapist at Children’s about every 3 weeks. She has a vision specialist that does in home visits 2-3 times a month as well. We only go to her pediatrician for well child exams, like normal. =) (Neurosurgeon and neurologist appointments don’t come around that often because of how well she is doing ;))
Now that the basic info is out of the way….
The last place I left off at was middle of October. Which means…. Annalise had her FIRST Halloween and Trunk or Treat! This year, she made an appearance as Snow White. Isn’t she beautiful?! ;P
November started off with our home team winning the World Series. That was exciting to watch and be apart of for the first time in all 3 of our lives (Kevin, Candace, and Annalise ;)).
On November 4th, I posted this on our Facebook page:
“And though she be but little she is fierce”
It may be a famous quote by Shakespeare on how Hermia, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, seems pleasant but can be argumentative…. It implies that she is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with.
How easily it is to say that our little Miss Annalise Hope has been a “force to be reckoned with”. She has always been our good little fighter… proving to everyone that every. human. being. has a purpose and a reason. God has a plan for EVERY life.
We have been SO blessed that God has been and will continue to be her Sustainer of life… Until the day He calls her home of course.
We are forever thankful for this time with her.
With that said….. Thanksgiving is approaching fast. So let us all remember that we shouldn’t just be grateful during this one holiday
God is so good. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.
On November 14th, I posted on Facebook this:
With Thanksgiving approaching fast…. These two blog posts that I made last November have been on my mind A LOT lately…. You can find them both here:
The first one I wrote on Nov., 12th and there are 2 parts (okay maybe 3 ;p) that still stick out to me. Those 2 things are:
“When people face trials, struggles, and suffering, it’s hard to imagine those situations as blessings or a time of joy. I’ll admit. The first couple days after finding out was hard. I’m not going to lie and say it has always been easy just because I believe in Jesus. We all have to deal with pain and suffering at some point and we have to effectively cope with it. It’s part of being human.”
“Sometimes I feel like it is better to know God than to know answers. I believe it challenges us to trust Him even beyond understanding.”
What great reminders that even when I was right in the midst of all that pain and hurt and anger… I knew I needed to give it all up to the Lord and believe in His promises and plans. It WAS hard to see those times as a blessing… But if it wasn’t for that… We wouldn’t be where we are today.
(The 3rd thing that sticks out to me is all the songs and what they mean to me… I STILL get emotional and teary eyed every time I hear those songs. I don’t think that will ever change. And I am SO okay with that.)
The 2nd post was one I wrote right after Thanksgiving.
I’ve re-read it a handful of times today….
I remember that pain like it was yesterday. I remember sitting there, watching Kev with my niece… Trying not to cry from the bitterness and anger I felt… all while laughing and smiling on the outside because it was oh so cute.
I have tears of joy… Knowing that we GET to have Annalise WITH US this Thanksgiving. How great is our God?!?
But along with all the happiness this year… This post reminds me what we all need to remember….
“Being ungrateful is a selfish desire. Being ungrateful keeps us in the pain of our current circumstances. Who wants that? Why do we do that to ourselves?”
“In all circumstances, situations, and trials, God is in control. He knows what He is doing. I just need to trust Him and give thanks for everything.”
He has ALWAYS been in control and He ALWAYS will be. Trusting Him with our lives and with Annalise’s has been the best thing that could happen to and for us.
With all of that said…
Annalise’s eating has picked up again in the last day or two!!! Yay!!!
We are hoping for a tooth to pop through soon wink emoticon
We are looking forward to get this busy, crazy week over with so we can slow down and enjoy our first Thanksgiving together!
On November 23rd, I posted:
Thank you to those who are watching out for our sweet girl and us.
Over the last several days, we have gotten lots of messages informing us of a person named “Kadeem Ranger” using an old photo of Annalise. Just one of those Facebook posts saying “Don’t scroll without typing Amen” kind of thing.
Unfortunately, Facebook won’t let me report it… I can only message the person, asking them to take it down.
We really do appreciate prayers and support but we just wish that people would do it respectfully.
I do understand it’s Facebook, so you can share our photos. But out of RESPECT to our family, we would prefer that it’s DONE PROPERLY. Tag where you got the photo from… Give the proper acknowledgement… Give all the glory to GOD, not anyone else…. Please Do NOT just post a random photo without our name/watermark/page not there with it.
I know that once we post things, it’s always going to be “out there” on the Internet somewhere.
I have come to the decision that I WILL be deleting photos after so many days. The status should still be up… There will just not be photos attached to it.
Also…I have now taken down EVERY single photo that we ever put up on our blog of her. (Because most of them didn’t have watermarks.) So if you ever go back and relook at old blog posts… Remember it won’t be the same frown emoticon
I know it’s been awhile since I last updated the blog anyways… But I have been waiting to do that until after all her appointments finished up this week and after Thanksgiving.
I will post her new pics on the new blog post next week…but just like Facebook… I will delete them after so many days.
Hopefully you guys understand where we are coming from.
With all of that said, little Miss Annalise went to her first church Thanksgiving Banquet last night! smile emoticon We are SO incredibly blessed that we got to be a family of three this year (although we “technically” were last year ;))!!
(I am CONTINUALLY getting messages about that picture from Kadeem. I have indeed tried reporting it in every single way I could, messaged him, and everything else I could possibly do. Unfortunately, just from his page alone, it has been shared 20,000 times or more… which means, that picture will be floating around Facebook for a LONG time and won’t ever be taken down. I have just decided to “let it go” and move on ;))
Thanksgiving was SO good! We were SO incredibly blessed to get to spend it with our little girl and with family!
Annalise is continuing to do well in physical therapy! There have been times when we were doing “tall kneeling” and she was “rocking” herself (which shows some really good strength in her legs and core). There are times when “sitting”, when she will balance her head (in the middle) for a few tiny seconds! We have been noticing that she is definitely one side dominant. She lifts her head higher to one side, she pushes with her shoulder on one side, and she rolls to one side more often…. that kind of thing. So we are focusing on trying to keep her as “even” as possible. She still has not been able to lift her head yet so we are continually working on that! She still has not fully completed a roll from belly to back. She still “scoots” when she wants to move. She has been becoming more vocal lately! She STILL does NOT cry. Annalise has not cried in probably FIVE MONTHS! We don’t know if she just forgot how (because she did cry between 2 months and about 5 months old) or just has no need to cry? I am just waiting for the day that she figures out that she can do that. ;P There have been SEVERAL times when she makes sounds that sound EXACTLY like “mama”, “dada”, and “hi”. (Sometimes it may be coincidence, but other times…it is clear as day AND in the right context!)
At OT, we evaluate her swallowing and eating. She is still doing well on the different bottles/nipples we changed her too. Her tongue is very slowly learning how to do the “right thing”. When it comes to baby food… it has been a VERY slow process. We were doing it about every day. But life has been SO busy and we don’t have the proper equipment, seating device to do it at home, that it is almost impossible to do it at home. When she does eat at Children’s during her OT visit, she does REALLY well after she has been doing it for 15 minutes. It just takes her forever to process what to do and how to do it.
We are PRAYING that we get the right chair to help with feedings and therapy in the next month!
Last week we visited the eye doctor. They pretty much told us what we have been noticing with our CCVI specialist…. that she reacts and sees things very close to her and doesn’t have any distance. She has become even more alert lately, and her tracking has gotten SO much better. There are times when you can see her trying to follow daddy or I around the room but we don’t think she is “processing” or focusing on what the “big object” is… just seeing something move. When she had her eyes dilated, she tracked SOOOO much better. It was so strange seeing her react SO incredibly fast to things. (Talked about how her pupils are a little smaller than they should be… so having them dilated definitely helped with her vision… so strange!) Overall, the appointment went well and they decided to have Annalise get GLASSES!!!!! Her new specs will come in, in about a week or so! How adorable are babies with glasses?!?!?
Even though Annalise HATES anything remotely touching her face, we are praying that the result of her being able to see better will eliminate the struggle (just a little bit anyways) of trying to keep them on her! ;P
We go visit her neurosurgeon in a couple of weeks. Just for the routine checkup that they do every 6 months if nothing is going wrong! We are continuing all the therapies and in home stuff for the next handful of months before getting reevaluated again.
I have no idea if I covered everything or left anything out but… little Miss is getting antsy in her sleep. (She’s had a bad case of the runs for the past 5 days and isn’t napping well unless I’m holding her ;( So I must hurry ;P) Please pray that whatever this is, passes SOON! (Her poor little tummy and bum!)
As always, our Facebook page (Prayers for the Pragels) is updated WAY better than the blog so, if you can, go check that out more frequently!
I am going to try and post another blog in a couple of weeks (before Christmas and shortly after she gets her new glasses!!!). That post may be a TAD bit more sentimental than this one… this one was just a “trying to update you as best as I can in 30 minutes”! 😛
We hope you ALL had a great Thanksgiving. We are excited for this Christmas season and getting to spend it with the girl we didn’t think we would have this year!
We are SO blessed!
Here are the pics I posted on Facebook from the past month and then a few from the past week:
We are so thankful for the time that we have been given to have her here with us! And I have been SO incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home with her and give her the best life possible. And that is all thanks to YOU guys for being so generous over the past year. I would not be able to still be at home if it wasn’t for the generous love of y’all on our gofundme page. (www.gofundme.com/hopeforannalise) Those donations are first and foremost for all of her medical bills/necessities but also, we count it as “my income”. I do dread the day that “my income” runs out and I will be forced to go back to a paying job… which looks like it will be that way before we know it! 😦 I have been looking and brainstorming for ways to be able to stay home with Annalise but help Kevin (for when that time does come) at the same time. We know that God will ALWAYS provide for us but prayers that we will find the best solution possible for our family would be greatly appreciated!!! 🙂 (That’s why I mentioned this… prayers have always been a powerful thing for our journey so far, so I can only imagine what it will do when this time comes! :))
I hope you all have a great week!!!! May the Lord bless you, keep you, and give you peace!
—Anchoring our Hope to the One who has already scripted the PERFECT ending!—