Keep Your Head Up

Our mission this week is the first of many teaching Finn to keep his head up. This time, however, it’s literal. Prompted by the pediatrician, we want him to lift and hold his head at a 45 degree angle. His neck is very strong, but it’s no match for his heavy head! We’re starting on the Boppy and then working toward lifting from a flat surface. I already admire the perseverance of this kid. He has always been a fighter. Joey and I are going to have to get comfortable watching him struggle to figure things out and to move his body. We want him to be as self-sufficient as possible and never want to disable him by our pity. This will be a tougher task than I anticipate, I’m sure.



Nana and Papa Rosell drove 15 hours round-trip this weekend to spend 24 with Finn.

In terms of family, Joey and I are filthy rich. Our account is teeming full to have such loving, godly parents on both sides. They have provided not only imitable marriages but have also schooled us in devoted parenting.

One simple lesson my mom taught me as a very young girl was that I have worth. When I was sad or got my feelings hurt at school, she would sit me on the bathroom counter and make me look in the mirror. Then I would recite, “My name is Ashley Dawn Rosell. Jesus loves me, and so does my mom.” I actually did this many times throughout my life, even in college sitting on my dorm room floor. As simple and silly as this sounds, it is a powerful reminder that I am loved. Finn will also be taught of his worth in Christ, the many ways he is loved and his irreplaceable role in our family.

Matthew 10:31 “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Boo Hoo

The Armstrongs have shed some tears this week.

Finn endured his 2 month pediatric check up yesterday. The festivities included three shots in his chubby thighs, one shot of liquid medicine into his mouth and an inspection of every tiny body part. I think of all these, he despised the ear probe most.

He’s a healthy boy, weighing in at 12 lbs, 12 oz (64%), 23 in. in length (50%) and 99% for his head circumference. Yes, we get it. His head is large. More room for all those brain cells, right?

Joey and I have also been a little weepy this week. You know, we really don’t like Spina Bifida. We really wish it had avoided our child. The parenting books we ordered off of came in this week. One in particular is called Children With Spina Bifida, A Parent’s Guide. The other night we read through the chapter entitled, “Working Through Your Grief.” It recounted a story of a family and their daughter with Spina Bifida attending a large family reunion at a local park. As they approached the playground, all the cousins, nieces and nephews were running, playing, jumping, and yelling with excitement. The mom watched as her daughter zoomed in her teal wheelchair toward her cousins, then slowed and turned around, exclaiming, “Mommy, this playground wasn’t built for me.” The mom hid her tears as she looked at the strong legs of the children playing, knowing her daughter would never join in. They instead plopped her down in the nearby sandbox, and of course the other thoughtful parents directed their children over to keep her company. Big wet tears plopped down on our pillows as we read this scenario…one we’ve envisioned already. And one we’re terrified of.

We celebrate with great joy Finn’s successes. God has blessed us with many miracles already. But we still wish things were different. The grief will continue and will come in waves with each new phase of Finn’s life. This week, we all cried.

Twas the Night Before…

This shirt will be soiled in a few hours…

…returning to work.

I groan and roll over, noticing Joey is not there. He must be feeding Finn since he volunteered to take the first shift. I was even less coherent than usual. I took Benadryl before bed to try kick this stubborn cold. Despite my foggy senses I could tell Finn was screaming louder than normal. Why wasn’t Joey feeding him yet? I toss and turn, annoyed. I hear birds chirping outside and notice through one open eye that it’s bright in our room. Why? Isn’t it the middle of the night? Then I hear the pipes buzz loudly from our guest bathroom. I decide to investigate.

Joey is giving Finn a bath. “What is going on?,” I ask angrily. “You have no idea the storm I woke up to this morning!” “Well why didn’t you come get me?” (More incoherent, silly arguing ensues). It was 6:00am. Joey explained that the monitor’s batteries died and he woke up to Finn screaming and covered in urine and poo. I run to the crib and see the wet stain. I’m hysterical. “He could have died! What kind of parents are we?! Who knows how long he was crying? You know I took Benadryl last night. Why didn’t you hear him?” (More blaming ensues). I still haven’t put my glasses/contacts on at this point and I’m trying to awaken my brain enough to figure out what happened.

Once we calmed down, here’s what we settled on: Finn slept through the night! He went to bed at 10:00 and woke up at 6:00! The most he’s slept at once was 6 hours, so this was hard to believe. Joey puts diapers on very loosely, and since Finn slept so long, of course he wet his diaper and it leaked out. Joey woke up to Finn waking up. Surely we would have heard him if he were screaming all night long. Right?! Regardless, we like this scenario better than the alternative.

Anyway…thanks, Finn, for eight hours of sleep! More than I’ve had in probably 6 months. And the night before I had to go back to work too; such a thoughtful boy.

I so enjoyed being back at Fitness One today. I am paid to help my clients and the gym members actualize their health and fitness goals, making significant and necessary life changes. The 13 people in my spin class (today was intense!) and 14 in kickboxing kept me motivated to push harder than I thought I could after so many months of just light-moderate activity. I can already feel my quads and hamstrings complaining…and I love it! Finn had a great day at Parent’s Day Out, then joined Daddy at the United Way council meeting and later spent some time with our sweet friends, Trish and Tracy, while we both taught classes. The best part of my day was when I picked Finn up from the Foor’s house after work. He was in Tracy’s arms. I held his tiny hand and began talking sweetly to him. He smiled SO BIG through his pacifier! He knows his mommy’s voice! My heart melted like butter. That grin made today’s separation so worth it.