Monday, August 13, 2012

Jason - 1 Year

Holy Moly, a year! Can you believe it? I can't. It really feels like just yesterday I was running around here in a tizzy trying to get things together to go see my injured husband.


I'm going to warn you right now - I've never posted this picture anywhere on the internet. It's very graphic, and if you're squeamish in any way, DON'T look at it. I periodically look back at this picture in amazement of what he's been through, and how far he's come.


Upon arrival to WRNMMC at Bethesda

8.18.11 - First time I saw him - always smiling :)

Countless surgeries, who knows how many different kinds of drugs, three sockets, four prosthetics, infection after infection (still), migraines, months of occupational and physical therapy, two trips to the White House, a couple trips to the ER, a baby born, one trip to the Pentagon, a couple trips to the OBX, a road trip back across the country, and here we are back to 'normal' a year later.

We celebrated his 'alive day' a couple days early since more people would be able to participate on the weekend instead of during the work week. We did the Incline - it's no joke. He's done it once since he's been back with a couple guys, and he did it much faster than we did it this time. He's not at 100% right now, we're in the process of trying to figure out what's going on. But, he finished it, and that's all that matters. Because, a year ago, laying in the hospital bed, with everything but his right arm numb from epidurals and nerve blocks, he never even imagined a year from then he'd be back in Colorado, doing the Incline. He was still trying to figure out how to poop by himself. I'd say he's come a long way, wouldn't you?

We've definitely had disappointments, moments where we would give anything to have his leg back, and the feelings of "why me" or "why us". But with this turn our life has taken, so many new opportunities have opened up for us that we never would have dreamt about before.  He will play in the Warrior Open in September with George W. Bush; no pressure there. He has the opportunity to change his job in the Army to virtually anything, it's just a matter of trying to decide what. The world is at our fingertips even moreso now than it was before. Unfortunately some people view this as undeserved or get jealous of the opportunities, and we're still learning to deal with how that hurts. We try so hard not to act differently or talk excessively about who we've met and what we've been able to do but those are the kinds of things you want to be able to share with your friends. And I guess if they can't handle it, they shouldn't be considered friends anyway. We're just trying to figure out how to live this new normal with humility and grace.

We are so blessed with the people we've met out here in Colorado, almost everyone has been absolutely wonderful throughout this whole process. Unfortunately its PCS season, and I'm reminded every time I leave our house and see at least 3 moving trucks at different houses, that a lot of our really close friends here are getting ready to move :( I still have work friends, but I'm very worried for Jason after everyone leaves. He has a really hard time relating to the guys in the WTU here, and there isn't a sense of camaraderie or the kind of cohesion you'll find in a regular infantry unit.

We will continue to grow and strengthen our marriage together. We will continue to find joy in the simplest things because we know how quickly they can be taken away. We will continue to be strong, loving parents for Cooper, because he deserves nothing less. Most of all, I hope we will continue on this new journey by each others side, with respect, devotion, and more love than we ever thought possible.

The start of The Incline - 8.11.12

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cooper - Month 7

Oh Cooper boy, you are growing so fast! I wish I could freeze time, because you are absolutely divine right now. I love just about everything you do, and every single day you're learning something new. It's amazing to watch. Your dad and I still distinctly remember the days when we thought there would be no end to your crying, we'd never figure out a good routine, and you'd never be able to do anything on your own. It's absolutely breathtaking how much you've grown and developed in only seven months.

You are now almost crawling, you get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth until you just propel yourself forward and face plant in to the carpet. You have gotten the turning in circles thing down to a science, and you can use that to your advantage as you somehow turn in circles on your belly all the way across the room! You are reaching for everything, and it's getting harder to take you out to dinner with us because of that! You can't quite sit up on your own yet, but you're very close.

We've started taking baths in the big tub, no baby tub for you anymore. Except that you roll over and sometimes put your face right in the water which scares you, and you think you can't breathe even when Mommy rescues you, so you get really upset and then bath time is over :)

You still love sweet potatoes, and have had peas, green beans, prunes, peaches, and apples too. And I've homemade all of that food for you. Mommy is really paranoid about you choking, so you haven't had anything hard yet, except for those Baby Mum Mum crackers that are supposed to dissolve really quick. You gag on them, and aren't quite sure about them, so we'll work on that more this month. You're getting really good at holding and actually drinking out of your sippy cup although the water still freaks you out because it comes out faster than the bottle or mommy, and you spit most of it out.

You're learning how to pinch now, and it really hurts! You're teaching mommy to keep your nails short all the time, or else! You're also learning how to pick up all the things you're not supposed to pick up and put in your mouth. When Mom Mom and Pop Pop were here, Pop Pop started baby proofing the cabinets for us since you're definitely going to be on the move soon. I have a feeling we're going to have to put the dog bowls up out of reach once you start moving.

Everywhere we go, and I do mean everywhere - people (mostly women) crouch down to you if you're in the stroller and comment on how happy and smiley you are. You always flirt with the ladies and give them huge gummy smiles, and they all swoon over you! It's one of my proudest moments. They say "he's so happy!" And I don't know what else to say other than "yeah he is!" I'm thinking, "Man, how did we get so lucky to have such a wonderful and perfect baby who really IS happy all.the.time. ?!" You are one perfect little baby, and I'm not just saying that! You really, really are!

You continue to suck your thumb and are able to entertain yourself for hours.  Both your thumbs are bright red, and cracked from all the sucking and it breaks my heart, but doesn't seem to bother you. You prefer your left, so we're hoping you'll be a lefty like your mommy ;) Even when you're not asleep, you'll stay quietly in your crib and practice crawling, inspect your feet, or try to rip the crib bumpers off.

I can't wait to see what you'll learn this month! You amaze me every single day, Cooper Graham!