Monday, February 26, 2018

Potty Praises

One month.  Somehow it's already been an entire month, but it seriously seems like yesterday since I wrote this post ::Diaper Days to Diaper Years:: updating you on an area that we were desperate for friends and family to join us in praying over.

I KNOW that God is able to do anything at all in this world, no matter how impossible it seems (or how "unimportant" it may feel)...but I just really didn't know what to expect or even what those answered prayers would look like.  I was prepared for months of agonizing over this issue.  I had no idea how to know if those "big issues" (like nerve damage) were going to get in our way or how to really TRAIN Bryleigh on using the potty (other than telling her every 5 seconds to go sit on the potty...which hadn't worked).

We had/have a follow up appointment set up for March with our GI doctor.  I really thought we were going to painfully pass the days until that appointment, giving it our very best effort, and then I would bring up all of my questions and concerns to him, hoping he would be able to help us figure out about things like nerve damage and tips to keeping the pull up clean and dry.

{{BUT GOD.}}  God had FAR better plans for us.  He has spent the last month reminding us that HE is in control of our lives, that He loves our girl far more than we could ever imagine, that He has good plans for us, and that He cares about every little thing that affects us (including potty training).

In the last month, this one has worked like daddy, baked a cake from scratch, 
gone grocery shopping, taken her bible to church and bible study, 
played massive amounts of dress up, danced in the rain, 

The month started with enthusiasm from Bryleigh.  A very quick answer to prayer there.  She was genuinely on board with the potty training and began to take ownership of what we were doing, as opposed to the crying and major anxiety any time we had tried in the past.

A big breakthrough came for us when I sat on the couch at their chiropractor's office  (which has become beneficial beyond anything I could have ever imagined or could begin to explain) a week after my last blog post, and she opened up my eyes to where we truly were.  She encouraged us to treat the potty training area of B's life as if she were a 2 year old, since that is essentially where her body was in the process.  We talked through that and it really made sense to me.  Taking the anger/discipline out of it, I feel, was a huge turning point for all of us.  That one conversation freed me from getting so upset over her not "getting it," which made her 100 times more comfortable.

The next big breakthrough came the following week when I was getting Will out of the bathtub and ready for bed - which includes drying him off, dressing him, brushing his teeth, combing his hair...etc - and Bryleigh informed me (while still in the bath) she needed to use the potty.  I told her to hold it as best she could and I'd get to her as quick as possible.  I rushed the process with Will, and as I was coming back into the bathroom, she had a look of terror on her face...she had just peed in the bath.  And you know what, Brad (on FaceTime) and I CHEERED FOR HER.  We cheered for her because she KNEW she needed to potty and then she held it for a good 10 minutes while I tried to get Will taken care of.  We let her know over and over how proud of her we were, and for the first time I really felt like we were going to be able to give this a good shot.  This meant that she had enough nerves/feeling to know when she needed to go and the ability to hold it, at least for some time. HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER AND MAJOR PRAISE!!!! We've praised God for this a million times since that moment.

Since that day we've taken steps forwards and backwards and sideways and every other way, but here we are a month later, and I can honestly say our girl is making major progress.  The last two weeks have been major steps forward to getting her completely trained and ready for PRESCHOOL in the fall...which coincidentally registration opens up TODAY.  I never imagined this day would come and we'd be able to confidently sign her up.  I really thought we'd be holding out until the very last moment praying there was a spot still open and then praying every day that she'd make it through with no accidents (which I will probably still do...). BUT GOD.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Diaper Days to Diaper Years...

People are always asking us how the babes are doing, and thankfully we haven't had too much to update on lately.  Will is rocking his feeding therapy and meeting goals weekly, blowing us away with all his improvement. (God is good!) Thanks to our incredible chiropractor we see weekly, and the grace of God, we are in a pretty steady routine and have found some nutritional supplements that really seem to help both of the kids. We are SO grateful to be where we are today.

We are in a bit of a holding point for any more answers with them, as we don't go back to their GI doctor until March.  We have some questions regarding Bryleigh's spine and spinal cord as well as her nerves, all of which we will address once we see him again.

Our biggest prayer request right now is for our Sweet B to get potty trained!! If you're praying for us, and that's all you need to know, then you can just stop here, but if you'd like a little more background on WHY and HOW you can be praying, that's what the rest of this post will include.

We brought this tiny white potty home for our tiny little girl when she was just 17 months old.  Sometime between the end of June and the beginning of July 2015, we wanted to go ahead and get some things we would need for potty training in case we started to see any of those early signs that say, "HEY MOM AND DAD...I'M READY!"  And then she did it.  The day we brought the potty home, she sat right down, and she tee-tee'd on it, and we all jumped up and down, and we danced, and we cheered for her. She LOVED it.  And a little later on that day, she did it again.

I REMEMBER telling Brad, "Now just so you know, this is probably not going to actually be this easy."  I had NO idea what to expect, but I knew that none of the major parenting milestones were going to pass us by quite that simple. (But one can certainly hope.)

First time's a charm, right?

And then it happened.  The bottom fell out. (Kinda-sorta literally.)  Bryleigh spent the next 2 solid weeks without 1 solid diaper...if you get my drift. Although some "solid" diapers returned, she would continue to have diarrhea everyday for the next 60 days.  We would spend the next (almost) year, going back and forth between somewhat normal to something well beyond not-normal.  Needless to say, potty training was out of the question.  Each time we would start to discuss it and get all geared up, Bryleigh would have another flare up that would shut everything down, sometime for weeks and even months at a time.

Right at the one year mark (July 4th is pretty easy to pinpoint, and that holiday in 2015 AND 2016 will be ones we won't ever forget) we noticed a big shift.  Bryleigh went from going too much to not going enough. Like hardly at all. And when she did, it was almost unbearable to watch (and sometimes hear).  I won't get in to any more details other than that, but those first days are something I'll never, ever shake from my memory.  I can still picture the exact first time I ever saw it - and then a thousand times since then I've seen it in some form or another...including about 30 minutes ago as I typed this up.  (I shared way more about what she's gone through HERE a little while back.)

So here we are, 2 and a half years later with a 4 year old girl that's not so "tiny" anymore and a cute pink potty that resembles our own...and we are no closer to being potty trained than we were that day in 2015.  We've started and stopped more times than I can count, gone about it every different way (Rewards System, Punishment System, hands-off-go-when-you-want, set-the-timer-every-15-minutes...), and questioned everything we ever thought we knew about what parenting would be like. (Brad sent me a text just this week that said "Parenting is hard work." Bless him. Please don't tell him it gets harder than this.)

Even Princesses have to potty!

We've talked to each of her doctors about this issue, and they've all brought up new questions.  There are different, actual medical possibilities that we are questioning that require time and testing to determine, and then there's the possibility that it's just a strong-willed and stubborn 4 year old, or the possibility that she's just behind developmentally because of all of the other issues she's faced that it will just take her some time to catch up.  (Our sweet chiropractor and go-to for ALLLLL medical questions essentially told me to treat that area of her life like she is a 2 year old, because that's essentially where that part of her body is.)

I don't love that my 4 year old isn't potty trained.  I hate that she has missed out on a year of school because we couldn't get that area of our life together.  But I haven't done one thing to hide the fact (like covering it up in pictures on social media...the girl went clothes-less for almost a solid year.)  It's not something I'm going to be embarrassed about or allow Satan to attack me and make me feel like I am failing in any way.  We've done the very best we could with what life (and God) has given us.

I know that some people pray big-picture (Lord, show favor on Bryleigh and allow her to get potty trained) while others take each part and pray for specifics, so that is why I wanted to share a little more in depth with the details of where we are. 

I am praying that the Lord would give me wisdom in this area - when to push in and when to back off, when to look at things medically and when to let go of the "what-ifs".  I am praying that the Lord would make those medical issues clear - if there is something going on that is causing this difficulty, that we would be able to get those answers.  I am praying for perseverance and patience, encouragement and compassion.  Mostly, I am praying for our sweet little girl, who has already been thrown so much in her little life, to "get it," for each day to bring a little bit of light for her in this area...and if He wants to bring it all at once, I'm good with that, too. ;)

Over the past few years I have learned so much about God and my relationship with Him, about how to pray and what to pray (we pray ultimately and always for HIS will and His glory), and to always, always be thankful no matter what our circumstances are.  So that's what I'm doing today.  I'm praising Him and thanking Him while I'm crying out to Him, telling Him that I desperately want our girl to be potty trained for so many different reasons, but also telling Him that I trust Him completely, even with this area of our lives that seemed like something I'd never even think to pray about before I was a momma.  It's gonna happen, and we give Him all the glory and praise for that.  Thank you for the way you love us and pray for us.

Just a little note on fits perfectly with my thoughts today - desperately praying for Him to answer my prayer just as I'm asking Him, but knowing that I have SO much to be thankful for in Him and from Him, and trusting that even this is His will for our lives...But this is a picture I found in my files while I searched for that tiny 17 month old sitting on the potty.  I saved this very verse at the very beginning of this journey, having no idea where God was leading me and how much we would camp out on this very verse, struggling through it as we learned just what it meant. We REJOICE.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

To My Beauty on her 4th

Over the past year, I can not tell you how many times we have watched the live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.  Our little girl FELL. IN. LOVE. with it the moment she saw it (and brother has surprisingly followed suit), so it was a no-brainer to have a birthday party with the same theme.  As I have spent some time getting ready for the party and reflecting back on the last four years, I couldn't help but see the similarities between our sweet girl and the beautiful Disney princess (you can't deny that beautiful fair skin, long brunette locks, and big brown eyes... and it doesn’t get braver than Belle), as well as praying for our girl to have a life that's a bit like Belle's.

To my very own Beauty,

I can't believe we are here, at the beginning of your next chapter - life as a 4 year old!  It has been an absolute JOY this last year watching you grow into an incredible, strong little girl.  We are certainly closing the door on "Toddler Life" and embarking into a season where you are your own little person...and I love watching (and listening to) every second of it.

I praise God for the year of breakthrough we have had, learning all kinds of new things about your little body and how we can help you. You have been nothing short of amazing as you have had to give up so much so that you can have so much more!! (I’m looking at you, Sugar and YouTube!) You have been tough, and brave, and strong, and loving, and kind, and so much more. Thank you for trusting mommy and daddy as we learn to do what’s very best for you.

As we have so carefully (and endlessly) watched “the Beast” this past year, I have a few prayers for your life that have come out of that movie.

I pray that you have a squad surrounding you in your life, that you find your little tribe of people that love you well and lift you up, that will care for you, and encourage you, and wish the very best for you. I pray that you have friends that will celebrate life with you, eating all the good food and dancing through it all.  I pray that you have friends that will see the best in you, speak truth to you, and fight for you.

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere (for you).
I pray that your life will be one of adventure, that the bravery you have already shown over the last few years would expand well into your life, allowing you to see and experience the world, unafraid of anything that might hold you back. I pray that you get to see and experience all that life has to offer.

I pray for a love like Beauty and the Beast. I pray that one day, you will fall in love with the heart of a man that cherishes you so much, that he would do anything for you, that he would fight for the very best for you, that he would show you deeper parts of yourself than you could ever see alone, and that he makes you laugh (I love your little giggle every time Belle asks the Beast, "Oh, you're making jokes now?")...and if he gives you a world class library, that would just be all the better.

Belle was courageous and showed tremendous bravery, especially her bravery out of love for her father.  She was kind and compassionate to those around her, including that mean old Beast that looked like something no-one would give second look (not to mention he was pretty ugly to her when they first met).  She was forgiving and she was strong, never pushed around by that dude with the ponytail.  These are qualities I'm already seeing in you, and I pray you continue to grow in those and so many more over the years to come.

Tale as old as time.
More than anything, I pray that the oldest tale of time would one day prick your heart, stirring up inside you a love like no other. Only finding for yourself that it’s no tale at all, but complete, life-changing Truth. I pray that it’s a story you read and hear and learn until it becomes your very own reality, proclaiming Jesus Christ as your Savior and living your precious life for Him, every single breath of it!

I love you so much, Bryleigh-Girl! I am so incredibly thankful that God made you mine. I'm so excited to see what He has in store for you this year!


We had SO much fun celebrating our sweet girl at her Beauty and the Beast tea party with some our friends and family.  It was full of all of her favorite (and safe) things - tacos, queso, cupcakes, and ice cream, as well as reeses goodie bags for all her friends.  She was SO excited all day long that her FRIENDS were coming over to her party.

We spent the day getting ready for her party (telling her 100 times it wasn't quite time to get ready yet), baking cupcakes and her allergy-free cake, and decorating the house.  She wanted to help as much as she could! I'm so thankful for this full-of-life little girl that enjoys every second of the day. We had so much fun celebrating her!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Serve is the Word in 2018

Okay guys.  I seriously dropped the ball, or should I say...entire basket of fruit on my 2017 word of the year.  I had every intention of being SUPER intentional and focusing on a different fruit of the spirit each month, diving in deep and learning what God had to say about each one...but I didn't.  (I still hope to do this at some point because it really is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and I know it is filled with so many truths, pointing to many different passages and themes in the bible.)  I went a little to crazy on that one, so I will be dialing it back this year and focusing on one single single truth: SERVE. (Just kidding...I had been working on this before God spoke to me about adding another word...but I'll get to that)

I've mentioned before that some years, I have had to really search out what God is speaking over me where these words are involved (like this year's 2017 word coming in at the 11th hour), and other times it is as clear as can be for weeks (even months) ahead.

But this year, this word is different.  God has been speaking this word over me and to my heart for almost an entire year.  We were barely into 2017 when I began to hear Him nudging me to this years word: SERVE.  As we studied through John last year in BSF, one of the lessons about how Jesus SERVED stuck with me.  Over the past year, I have repeatedly seen Him highlighting this area in my life.

**I fully anticipated having one single word to focus on this year, but when God listen! ;) So December 30, during the course of a conversation, someone quickly mentioned the word SURRENDER.  It didn't strike me too much at the time, but the idea behind what she was discussing stuck out to me and was something I knew I needed more of in my life (as in surrendering to my husband in marriage the way we should surrender our life to God).  And then...December hours of the year, I heard it again.  This time it was in a song, "I Surrender All," that was playing on the radio while I was driving.  I have felt as the Lord has led me before, and I knew he was doing so again.

So this year, while there are two words, I feel like they definitely work hand in hand, and as I learn to surrender to the Lord and His will for my life, I will serve Him out of the overflow of my love for Him. Surrender + Serve.

Here's the song I was listening to as I clearly heard the Lord telling me to just SURRENDER to Him in 2018.  So here I am, at the beginning of this year with my hands open, held out to Him, expectant of what is to come, knowing that He will cover it all.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 – Our *Wild, Brave* Year in Review

I absolutely LOVE this time each year! You know, that random time after Christmas and before New Years when no-one has any idea what day of the week it is or what we're really supposed to be doing with ourselves?!  It's a time to just slow down and take a look back over the last year to see every little bit of provision and blessing (and a whole lot of painful growth) God has placed on us...and boy did He ever provide this year.  He provided us with lifelong memories, growing friendships, and peace through some of our toughest days.

When I started these posts, back in 2013, I did them more as a "Top 10," but over the years, some of the moments that have brought about the biggest growth in my life and in our family, as well as those with lasting impressions wouldn't necessarily be considered "Top," so now they're just the most memorable moments. We know that God uses every part of our lives for His story, and for His glory, so here they are from the past year:

10. Birthday Celebrations.  We kicked off 2017 celebrating our sweet girl's 3rd birthday with a little Breakfast at Bryleigh's, and we wrapped up the year celebrating our Wild One at his 1st birthday.  It is always so incredible to watch these kiddos grow up from year to year, to look back on the past year and see all the ways that they have grown and changed, but I know that the best is yet to come as they learn more about who God has created them to be.  I am so very thankful that God chose Brad and me to be earthly parents to these precious kids that make life so incredibly fun.

9. Vegas Vacation.  At the end of 2016, my Boy-Band-loving husband came across some information for the Backstreet Boys residency in Vegas, and the rest is history.  We had an absolute blast discovering a new city that neither of us had ever been to, and the cherry on top was experiencing my middle school self's dream!  Also, we ate a LOT of really good food!!  I am so thankful for times to get away with my husband, to reconnect and just enjoy life together.

8. Sports, duh.  Obviously sports is going to make the list.  The jury is still out on just how good of a year this has been for my hubby since his Sooners are STILL making a run for it, but most of my teams left a little (or a lot) to be desired in cheering them on.  Since number 9 happened (Vegas Vacation), a trip to see the Nets was off the table, but that didn't hold us back from watching them every chance we got (on a computer rigged up to the TV with questionable viewing half the time).  Brad and I had a blast at the incredible Baylor/OU game this year, and I always love getting to spend an afternoon with him at the Cowboys game.  The highlight of our sports year, though, was taking Will to his very first Rangers game!! He's a fan for life. I am thankful for the passions and interests God placed on our hearts as individuals AND the things he placed in our hearts that we enjoy together/as a family. (I am also thankful that my happiness does not depend on the success of the Baylor Bears!)

7. The Holidays. For us, the "Holidays" start with Halloween and go right up until 11:59 when we ring in the new year, looking for ways to work in some memory-making moments every chance we get.  Our Halloween was so fun and special this year as we saw our little girl REALLY growing up.  It was our very first "Teal Pumpkin Project" Halloween, and I'm already looking forward to doing a little more with that in 2018. We had a successful (read: tear-free) sugar free Halloween.  I LOVED getting to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, since last year's was a little...chaotic...and tiring...and every other thing you can think of.  We got to celebrate Will's SECOND Thanksgiving before he turned one! ;)  Any time with family is always special, but time with them at Christmas just seems a little more magical.  Christmas always reminds me of how incredibly blessed we are with an amazing family. God has been SO good to us.  I am thankful for the endless amounts of time I get to spend with my children during these younger years, making a lifetime's worth of memories with them.

6. Brave days.  As I mentioned, not all of the things on the list are "top" moments, but they are definitely BIG moments, and we had a lot of big moments this year with both of our brave babes and their health.  We started the new year with a new doctor, and that was a game changer for us!  There's been supplements, and adjustments, and nutrition education...and a few couch counseling get us to a MUCH better place than we were in this time last year. After jumping through hoops and more details than I care to recount, we FINALLY got somewhat of a diagnosis for Bryleigh that consisted of TEN allergies we needed to completely eliminate from her diet...and it's been a journey to figure it all out ever since. On top of that, we have learned that she does have scoliosis, which is something we were very prepared for as lots of things pointed to that throughout the year.  We're still working through details with Will, and have to wait as his spine develops to see if he will have the same issues as well, but he does have the same GI issues that his big sister does.  Although there have been tough days (weeks.) and lots of questions, we are SO thankful to be where we are at this point and know that God goes before us in to 2018!

5. Summer-ish. Our B-Dad had been hard at work for the last three years, traveling weekly to North Carolina to meet in person with his client, and this summer they had their big finish.  It meant some weekends away, long hours, lots of stressful work, but he did an awesome job, and when it wrapped up, it meant some time at HOME.  It fell right around the middle of July, so it felt a little like we were on summer vacation. We got to do weeknight dinners, double duty bath time, and extra helping hands for this momma.  We're so proud of him and thankful for how hard he works to provide for our family.  He's now off to Baltimore each week to work with his new client, and we have no doubt he'll do just as well there!  I am incredibly thankful for my hubby's job and all that it provides for us, in every way.

4. Celebrating 10, and 8. It's always fun to celebrate and look back at all of God's blessings in our lives, and this year we celebrated 10 years of doing life together.  Our sweet story started on Memorial Day back in 2007, and we married a little over 2 years later.  We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in August with a fun date night out and some shopping, then home to snuggle our babes at bed time (which is exactly what we did to celebrate our 10 years of dating, too).  I really could not have asked for more. I am so thankful to do life with these people.

3. Saying Goodbyes. As I wrote this post last year and looked forward to all that 2017 would bring, I had no idea what was just around the corner.  We got what would be the worst phone call of our lives as we learned that our Uncle B had passed away of a massive heart attack at the end of February.  We have missed him every day since and we know that this world will never be the same without him.

Our heartbreak did not stop there, unfortunately.  In June, we said goodbye to our sweet Grandmother, days before her 93rd birthday.  Although we were so sad to not have her with us, we are so grateful that she was reunited with our sweet granddad and met Jesus face to face, where he undoubtedly said "Well done my good and faithful servant." What a reunion that must have been!  I will always be so grateful to God for her last 3 years of life where she was able to spend time with my Bryleigh Girl.  There relationship was one of my most favorite things in the world. I am forever thankful for the lives of Brian Lee and Pauline Mae, who loved me unconditionally and made me a better person.

2. Becoming Burgdorf. It's safe to say that the best day of 2017 for our family was the much anticipated wedding day for our sweet little sister, Erin, and our new brother, Luke.  We are SO blessed to have them as Aunt E and Uncle Luke to our babes and we had an absolute blast celebrating them and all the fun around their wedding - showers, bachelorette/bachelor weekends, and rehearsal included! I am so thankful that the Lord answered our prayers for our sweet Erin and a husband that will love and cherish her like she absolutely deserves.

1. Life with 2. This year, we settled in to life as a family of four, and we had an absolute blast doing it.  Will is OBSESSED with his sister.  It's obvious that she's his favorite person, and the feelings are quite reciprocated!  There's never been anything that has brought me more joy than to watch them love on each other and grow as little tiny people.  Every day is not perfect, but there is good, good blessings in every single day. I am beyond thankful for this very life that God has given us, each and every day of it!

 "Let me tell ya 'bout my beeeest friend!"