WELCOME!

Andrea and I were blown away by the number of people that followed us on CaringBridge and read our journal entries. We felt so loved and supported. With Carrington home, we’re entering a new chapter in our journey, but the journey continues. CaringBridge was a great way to keep everyone updated on what was going on, but it had some limitations. This site will make it easier for us to share more of our lives with you. You can expect us to update this site much like we did with our CaringBridge entires. You should be able to subscribe by clicking on the “Subscribe to our Team LA and Crew Blog” and get notified whenever we submit a new post.

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BEAUTIFULLY & WONDERFULLY MADE

Tonight I became so overwhelmed with emotion as I was giving Carrington a bath. I began to reflect on the first time I bathed her when she was discharged from the hospital.

I was looking at this baby who at the time was on oxygen and had to keep circular tape on the sides of her cheek to keep the nose cannula from falling out of her nose.

I remember enjoying bath time because that meant I could take the tape off to wash her face really well and that also meant I could see her face cannula and oxygen free!

I also remember feeling a sense of frustration for so many reasons. One being the inconvenience of everything that was involved in giving her a bath and it being timed because she couldn’t be off her oxygen too long. Secondly knowing that at the end of bath time I had to put the circular tape back on her face.

Every time I would take the tape off I would see the discoloration of her skin and thought my baby is going to have these ugly marks on her face forever! I was so upset.

When Carrington was taken off oxygen I remember being so excited. The excitement was still overshadowed by the discoloration of her skin from the tape. So even though we had come so far at that point, the discoloration was still a sign that our journey still wasn’t over. As a result my excitement would turn into frustration.

Tonight, I felt ashamed. I had a picture in my head of what my pregnancy and what my experience with my first child would be like. I was so focused on my unmet expectations that there were times when I totally missed what God had done in Carrington and what he was currently doing. I began to weep and ask the Lord to forgive my selfish heart and I also began to praise God for what he had done in her.

I then looked down at Carrington and couldn’t even see where the scars once were. God began to speak to me about how beautifully and wonderfully he has made each of us. Despite what we view as beautiful, his beauty is made in a way that can’t be measured by man.

Even if her face remained discolored from the tape that once held her cannula in place, who am I to regard them as undesirable scars? As someone who love Jesus, whose identity is rooted in his love for me, as someone who is Carrington’s mom, it’s my job to share with Carrington how beautiful the Lord views her and how wonderfully He has made her.

I immediately realized how important my role is as her mother. It’s critical that Carrington grows to have a heart for the Lord that sees past one’s physical appearance and recognizes the beauty of Gods creation.

I can’t wait to share with her how beautifully and wonderfully she is made!

BACK HOME

We made it! One month away from home wasn’t so bad after all. When we first started on the journey of getting ready for camp there were so many anxieties. But like in every other situation in my life, God was gracious toward us and allowed me to feel peace during our time away.

Carrington was a real trooper. She did a great job in the car both going and coming. I was able to pump and felt set up really well thanks to my wonderful hubby.

I still can’t believe how fast the month passed. I feel like I was just sitting on the sofa holding Carrington dreading everything that was still left to do.

Learning to make uncomfortable decisions is something that I feel the Lord continues to show me. Realizing that our life isn’t going to look traditional and trusting him in the most challenging circumstances will make it that much easier for me to continue deepen my faith and trust him without any doubt.

Gearing up for camp was uncomfortable but I met the Lord in my discomfort. Being uncomfortable is just where we are meant to be as a family. I’m learning to be ok with that.

The property and staff at Timber Wolf Lake a Young Life camp was a blessing. The beautiful weather. Great food. Feeling Gods presence everywhere made it month hag much easier.

Since being home ALL bags are unpacked. Harley is back chasing the bunnies in our backyard and we couldn’t be more excited about what the Lord is doing in our lives and did our family while away.

Carrington is growing, growing, growing! She now weighs 12 lbs, she’s rolling over, talking, and LOVES her dada! What a miracle!

SUMMER UPDATE

Our time at Timber Wolf has been a blessing for our family. Leading up to this trip there were a lot of questions and unknowns. But God has been so faithful and shown himself to be who He says he is. He will take care of you and never leave and give you what you need when you least expect it. We love Timber Wolf, Young Life, and more importantly this journey of sharing the gospel.

SETTLING IN

Ok, I’m not going to lie. The idea of leaving home for a month with an infant, a preemie infant at that, was so scary and honestly I was questioning coming. I remember it was the night before we were set to leave and I was holding Carrington looking at everything that still needed to be done. I sat on the sofa and looked Leonard in the eye and said “babe I don’t know if I can do this..I don’t think I can go”. There were so many emotions and really a large level of fear associated with living in community with others and all of the what if’s and the unknown.

Leonard looked at me with worry in his eyes and just stated “babe what can I do to help?” I felt so bad being in a state of feeling helpless and not really willing to ask for help. I responded with a “I don’t know” and left the room. Not my most glorious moment but what I was feeling was real and I had to be ok with that.

After taking some time and walking away from what still had to be done I was able to just breathe and process. I’m not sure what clicked inside of me but there was a shift. I’m sure as soon as I left Leonard fell to his knees and called upon the Lord and every angel to help ease my fears! It worked. Something worked. I don’t know if it was the look on Leonard’s face and the idea of him being alone at camp without his family for an entire month or the idea of missing out on what the Lord could do during this time away that created the fear adjustment.

As I powered through the remaining items that needed to be packed. All I could do was pray. The next morning came and as we packed the car and headed out I was praying the whole time. Praying that the Lord would protect us and keep Carrington healthy. Praying that Leonard would be able to deliver a message clearly to the thousands of kids that he would encounter over the month.

When we arrived at the Timber Wolf Lake property I was excited that we made the journey. Excited that the car ride was peaceful and our first fun family road trip! There is such a peace and calmness that resonates the grounds. I have to say since we have settled into the house here at Timber Wolf Lake the Lord has been good.

Carrington has settled in nicely and has been enjoying the beautiful weather. She is sleeping in mommy and daddies room, and enjoying taking walks around the camp property and around the lake. She has received a lot of love from the kids and other families.

I’m looking forward to this camp assignment and enjoying this time with Carrington, Leonard, and all of the amazing people at Young Life camp!!

Packing Ain’t Easy

Gearing up for a month away from home is proving to have it’s challenges. Mainly my anxiety with packing and not wanting to overdue it! It’s safe to say I’ve totally over packed in the past! I’m not the only guilty one am I?

Despite my anxiety about packing I am so excited to be able to serve alongside Leonard as he gets to share the gospel for 4 weeks to teens and teen moms while at Timberwolf Lake Young Life Camp in Michigan. I am also excited that Carrington will be with us!

Taking this month long journey has been a part of our summers for as long as we’ve been married (7 years in October). For the last several years it has been all about me and Leonard. Our wardrobe, my makeup, hair care products, and accessories. This year it’s all of those things and about Carrington! Learning to only pack the essentials and making sure I don’t forget ANYTHING is most important. In order for this process to go smoothly I have been utilizing my planner. Not my phone planner but the good ol’ hand written planner.

I first started by making a list titled Carrington’s Things and Mommies Things. Leonard was on his own. Sorry Dad! I then began to create sublist based on how I would categorize items we will need each day. To make things even more organized I then bought us each a tote and plan to fit everything inside each of our totes. I’ve told myself if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t need to go!

So I am on day two of gathering the items from the list I created and I have to say it is going pretty good! I am challenging myself in this year by going with the flow and learning to not take everything to serious. Life has so much to offer and so many experiences to have and I don’t want to miss out on those blessings by being in my head. Secondly I’ve committed to getting back active! So YES that means the workout clothes WILL make the tote! I am really looking forward to getting these legs back moving!

I am looking forward to how the Lord will meet us as we embark on our first road trip and also how he will show up in the lives of each kid at camp.

Please pray for us as we pack, plan, drive, all with a newborn. Also be praying for Leonard as he presents the gospel for the next four weeks. Pray for the camp staff and all of the students and leaders that are traveling from various cities and states to come and experience camp at its finest! If you want to know where we will be, click on the link and see the beautiful Timber Wolf Lake property! Please stay updated by subscribing below!

Timberwolf Lake Young Life Camp

LIFE AT HOME

Ok, so it’s taken me a while to write this post. I’ve started and stopped so many times. But I wanted to be sure to really convey everything that’s taken place since bringing Carrington home.

There have been so many emotions and feelings of “what are we doing” as Leonard and I have been navigating this parenting thing.

There are so many cliches and quotes out there related to parenthood. “Team no sleep”,”There’s no manual to parenthood” “You’ll just know what to do”, “Mother’s instinct” and so many more! I have to say we have felt them all and are continuing to experience those and a lot more.

Bringing Carrington home has really been a highlight in the midst of such a challenging time. These last few months of our lives have been turned upside down and inside out. Pregnancy and parenting already comes with a new set of challenges and the need to figure out something new and rather foreign. So adding the challenges of having a premature baby to this equation causes an additional layer to be added to what can be labeled as tough.

Since being home Leonard and I are continuing to learn to adjust. We have been married for 6 years and together for over 10. So I think it’s safe to say we are realizing,Carrington runs the show! We have learned how to sleep when she’s sleeping and be proactive in other areas to make sure we are still good. We have to get creative for having us time and checking in to make sure we are communicating our needs to one another. First came marriage then a baby. So that has to still be a priority for us. And yes, it’s hard. But we are committed.

For the most part Carrington is a relatively easy baby. But then again she’s the only baby we’ve had so we really don’t have any other comparisons. She loves to be held and has begun to show more social ques such as smiling and cooing. We are working on increasing tummy time and pulling up to help strengthen her neck muscles.

When she was discharged she was sent home on oxygen machine and an apnea monitor. So for the past month life has been spent in our master bedroom. Her oxygen machine is large and loud. So with her being hooked up 24/7 there’s no room to move around the house freely. Every night she’s hooked to her apnea monitor to make sure she’s not having and apnea moments while sleeping.

She’s done really well with both and has continued to grow stronger and healthier in both areas.

I’ve been so overcome with seeing how much Carrington has grown and also knowing that she’s a miracle baby. Without our faith in Jesus we would not have the strength to make it through each day. I owe every thing to him. So despite the late nights and very early mornings, it’s so much fun having her home. I know that Carrington has a great purpose and we are blessed to be her parents. I just want to do the best I can as her mom to continue love her and to help her to grow!

Continue to pray for us as we are navigating life at home. Pray Leonard and I keep the peace. Pray Carrington continues to grow and meet her developmental milestones. She is 5 months old. But adjusted age is 2.5 months. So she isn’t doing what a 5 month old would be doing quite yet. She is still on thickened feeds and has begun to reflux. So pray she grows with her feedings so she will no longer need thickened milk. I’m still pumping and nursing her when I can. So pray as I stay committed to providing her nourishment.

Overall life at home has been fun, hard, sweet, tiring, and a blessing all wrapped into one precious baby girl.

FIRST DAY OUT

As a married couple with no kids, we were so accustomed to getting up and going at the drop of a hat. We knew that things would be a little more complicated when we had kids. We underestimated what it would take to get the gang out of the house when there is a baby that was born premature involved.

ROOMING IN

The process of taking Carrington home was an eventful one! I’ll never forget the day we got a call from Carrington’s nurse asking if we could room in at the hospital with her. I knew the day of discharge was close!

Rooming in is a process where NICU parents are invited to stay the night at the hospital with their baby in the room to help them become comfortable with their baby before they are discharged.

So it started on a Monday evening. I met the nurses at the hospital and we began the process of gathering Carrington’s items and being checked into our room. Everything felt so surreal! I was having an outer body experience. I’ll never forget sitting on the bed and being able to look at Carrington in her crib, just she and I. We were alone for the first time. I smiled and was so thankful to be able to have this experience with her.

After the snuggles and smiles I began her regular routine of diaper change, temperature check, and prepping her bottle.

We were off to a great start. She took her bottle. Settled in nicely to her bed. I felt good and confident that the night would be a great success.

I began to put my things away and get myself settled in. With her being on a 3 hour feeding schedule I new I had a short window to eat and just take a break.

Carrington was good. Lights went off. I layed my head on the pillow and that’s when the show started! Carrington wanted to really make sure that Leonard and I were really ready to take her home!

Carrington must have sensed that I had just laid down. She decided to fuss and on top of that her alarms on her monitors were ringing what seemed like every 5 minutes. It’s safe to say the first night was tough! #teamnosleep is a real thing!

The doctors determined that it would be best for Carrington to go home on oxygen. Her going home on oxygen also meant that she would also go home with an apnea machine to monitor her breath and heart rate. That evening Leonard joined me at the hospital and we received training on the oxygen machine and apnea machine Carrington would go home on. At this point I was feeling overwhelmed!

Before bed we began to strap Carrington into the apnea machine to test it out just to make sure we were comfortable with them at home and that her stats were correlating with the hospitals machines. That went well. But again, as soon as the lights went off it seemed as though every alarm and bell that could sound did so on both machines! The apnea machine sounded with a loud fog horn alarm because her leads became loose around her. The sound of the oxygen machine is equivalent to that of a wall unit air conditioner. Let’s just say Leonard and I both looked at one another with shock and worry.

On top of the machines Carrington was fussy and really refused to sleep! So the nights were very LONG!

Wednesday came and we were met with the same challenges. A fussy baby, loud ringing machines, and sweat beads on both our foreheads! We were somewhat surprised at Carrington’s fussy behavior given she’s always been somewhat of a chill baby. We thought we were going to be have to gear up for long nights at home.

Thursday morning came. This was discharge day! Despite the long evenings we experienced we still were excited to be leaving the hospital!

We knew that no matter what Carrington would be fine and we would have to adjust!

Nurses, doctors, and staff would begin to peek in and say goodbye and wish us well on this next journey. Our good friend Wendy came and took pictures of the entire discharge process and we couldn’t have been more excited!

Discharge was bitter sweet. It was great to finally leave but hard to say goodbye to the very people that had become like family to us over the past few months.

As we took the final step out of the double doors and made our way to the car Leonard looked at me and I looked at him and we both smiled! Leonard forgets he has to get the car. He reaches for his keys and they weren’t there. So after the long train of goodbyes Leonard had to make his way back upstairs to look for his missing keys. That was a delay. So our discharge nurse bought lots of chocolate while we waited!

Keys were found and we made our way to the car. Finally clicking Carrington into the car seat base that we purchased so long ago felt amazing!

The drive home was one we had been waiting to take for a long time!

Andrea

THANK YOU

 

So many people have stepped in and helped us in what started as a very traumatic time in our lives. There’s nothing that we could do to fully express our appreciation and gratitude. It’s not possible for us to send thank you notes to everyone. Our hope is that this video will reach out farther than our hand written thank you notes could. Though this video is for the masses, we know and acknowledge each and every individual who has come alongside us.