Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day...Easter...Life

First off, Happy Mother's Day to all of you mother's out there....especially our two amazing moms! The thing I truly loved most about this day is thinking about what amazing mom's we have and all the amazing moms out there who touch my life each day by their examples and make me wanna be a better mom. I LOVE that we have a full day to celebrate motherhood. To be completely honest though it was a REALLY rough day for me. I got to go to church today while Zach stayed home with Dakota. Seeing all of the beautiful children up there on the stand singing to their moms just made me want to bawl...I did my best to hold it together though but it was hard. I used to see those kids up there and think...I can't wait for Dakota to be old enough to do that so I can watch I just thought...will I ever get to hear Dakota sing again? I miss his little voice so much and ALL of the things he used to say. It almost makes me wish he wasn't such an early talker and so good at it because I have all of his little things he said trapped in my memory which I love but also hurts so much. I wonder if he hadn't learned to really talk would it still be this hard??? I'm sure it would but I will never know. All I can do is just keep hoping that some day I will hear that little voice again say, "Mommy you look pretty." Zach came across this video the other day looking for work stuff of Dakota just repeatedly singing "You got a friend in me!" from Toy Story...I thought this would be the perfect time to post it and remember that sweet little voice.

(don't mind my singing along)
We did go to the Friedli's weekly Sunday dinner tonight for the first time ever since Dakota's accident. I have missed going SO much. I always looked forward to going there each week and it has been really hard to not have that so I was really excited about it. I wasn't expecting it to be so hard on me once we were there though. It brought back all of the memories and things that Dakota LOVED to do there. That was seriously his favorite place to be in the whole world...along with my parents in AZ. It was hard because I wanted to see him playing and doing what he loved to do but instead he just had to lay in someones arms which of course nobody minded. There are just so many fun memories we have there and it just wasn't quite the same. I'm sure it will get easier the more we go and don't get me wrong we LOVED the company but what can I was just a hard mother's day.

Hangin out with Uncle Ryan

Hangin with Poppy

Just being handsome...sporting this cute triangle bib my Aunt Jen made me.

On a lighter note to celebrate all of you mom's out there who have a child with a disability...I read these articles Vicki found in this magazine and they listed "Why moms of special-needs kids rock!" and I thought this would be the perfect day to share them...and they are ALL TOTALLY true! So here it goes...

1. Because we never thought that "doing it all" would mean doing this much. But we do it all, and then some.
2. Because we've discovered patience we never knew we had.
3. Because we are willing to do something 10 times, 1000 times if that's what it takes for our kids to learn something new.
4. Because we have heard doctors tell us the worst and we've refused to believe them.
5. Because we have bad days and breakdown and bawl fests, then we pick ourselves up and keep right on going.
6. Because we manage to get ourselves together and out the door looking pretty damn good. Heck, we even make sweatpants look attractive.
7. Because we are strong. Who knew we could be this strong?
8. Because we aren't just moms, wives, cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks and women who work. We are also physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses, researchers, coaches, and cheerleaders.
9. Because we give our kids endless love and still have so much love left for our other kids, our husbands, our family. (and I add friends)
10. Because we understand our kids better than anyone else does- even if they can't talk or gesture or look us in the eye. We know. We just know.
11. Because we never stop pushing, or hoping, for our kids.
12. Because just when it seems like things are going OK,  they're suddenly not, but we deal. We deal even when it seems like our heads or hearts might explode.
13. Because when we look at our kids we just see great kids. Not kids with cerebral palsy/autism/Down Syndrome/whatever label.

I know I'm a little late but I had to write about Easter too. It was our first real venture out of the house. Zach's sweet Grandma Marilyn has a Easter party every year and it is always so fun. Well we weren't planning on going in fact Zach hadn't even told me when it was so I knew it wasn't even on the agenda of going this year. (We are just still really cautious about Dakota getting sick and all) The Saturday before Easter rolled around and it was just another really hard day for me. I promise for the most part I am doing well although this post may not sound like it...but I am. That morning I was just really emotional. Zach's parents usually watch Dakota one night on the weekend so Zach and I can go out and have a little break and they called that morning to say that they were sick and couldn't and out of nowhere I just started crying. (I know you are thinking crazy lady) I wasn't upset at them or even upset about not going on a just hit me hard how much I just miss being able to go places as a family. If Zach and I wanted to go out on a night and we didn't have a sitter or it was last minute...we of course just took Dakota with us and had fun. We can't do that least yet...and it is so hard. We never go anywhere as a family anymore unless it is to the hospital, doctors, chamber, or something medically related. Not long before Dakota's accident we went out to dinner to a Mexican food place and Dakota was just used to the waiter's asking how we were doing so EVERY time the waiter would even walk by...whether they were planning on talking to us or not...Dakota would say, "we're good. Just eatin some chips." I missed those memories and experiences with him and just doing fun things as a family. Needless to say...Zach got a little worried about my emotional state, and told me that the Easter party at Grandma's was today, and that we should go. I was totally in! That got my spirits up and going again. It was so good to see all of the family. We hadn't seen most of them since before the accident since we haven't had visitors because of the germ thing. It was still a little rough though when all the kids got to go out and find eggs and I had to sit on the chair with Dakota. I wanted him to be able to look for eggs like last year. He was not totally understanding the whole concept last year and this year we would have had a blast. Holidays are hard. The first time I went to Walmart and saw all the Easter stuff I had to hold back the tears. I know that that is not what really matters when we celebrate Easter and my thoughts were definitely turned toward my Saviour a lot more this year then any other year. Easter had a greater meaning to me and my gratitude for his atoning sacrifice and Resurrection has definitely grown. He is what helps get me through each day and gives me strength to keep going. At times when I feel all alone I find SO much comfort in knowing that He truly does know EXACTLY how I feel and because He made it through it even with so much more weight on his shoulders then what I am carrying...I can do it too...because He will help me.

Dakotas First Easter..handsome little devil!

Dakota's second Easter

Chillin with his cousin Houston...cuties

This year I didn't get good ones.

Hagin with his mom...This is his cute cowboy shirt I wrote about.

Zach was out working at his parents...right next door to the Dakota got to do one of his most favorite things...ride the skidsteer with Zach!

Playing peek-a-boo with Aunt Ashley at the party. He thought it was pretty funny.

Dakota is still doing really well though and just still working so hard every day. I know every post I say that he is just more alert but he is more and more and I can't really describe how...we just see it in him by his expressions and reactions to things. He totally responds when you ask him questions whether he wants to do something. Smiles if he does...even bigger smiles if he really wants to...a whine if he doesn't. You can ask him to find different people in the room like mom, dad, grammy, poppy, therapists, friends, anyone who he knows and he will look right at them. He totally knows what you are saying and who they are. He is making choices with picture cards and objects. We hold up two pictures of what he wants to play with or do and he will look at the one he wants and smile when you get it. Just so many connections going on in that little brain of his. Even his therapists say he has so much cognition. Physically he is getting stronger still. Starting to initiate rolling more. When we do some of his therapies on his tummy (which he doesn't love) a few times he has rolled right over back to his back and just smiles like your not gonna make me do it now that I rolled right??? He is lifting his head stronger and higher on his tummy and better sitting up. He has a slide that we help him creep down (like an army crawl) and he is starting to do more of the pushing by himself and not requiring so much help. (I need to get a picture of him doing it still) His movements are getting a little more refined. He is starting to reach up higher with his arms and reaching out better to hit things with his arm and push buttons. His dystonia still kind of gets in the way of controlling his movements but his occupational therapist said he is doing more enhanced things and starting to do more on his own after being shown and helped how to do it a few times. His little thinker is sure thinking. He is also doing better and better at his capping trials of his trach (putting a cap over the trach to make him breathe completely on his own). We are up to 40 minutes 2 times a day and it is going more and more smoother as time goes on. I cannot wait for the day we can get that trach out!

Getting to go down the "FUN" way down his slide after doing his hard work therapy.

Swinging in his blanket.

Working with his vision therapist

Loving on therapy of all!

Wearing his cool dude vision glasses watching Buzz! What more could a guy ask for.

My sister Katie came for a short visit while she was down at Woman's Conference and was just amazed at how much better he is doing since she last saw him in February. She said 100% better then last time. It was so good to hear and of course SO good to see her. My best friends from high school came for a weekend visit a couple weekends ago and Abbey who saw him in the hospital in AZ of course was just amazed. She has the most tender heart and just was crying to see him smiling and doing all that he did. Thank you so much Abbey and Katie for coming and being with me! It is always a good time with them. You know you have good friends when you can pick up right where you left off no matter how long it has been since you last saw or talked to them. We are still the same ol dorks we always were. :)

Loving Aunt Katie...She got a BIG smile when she came in the room. Also sporting his Doin in for Dylan bracelet which he loves! I ask him where's your bracelet? And he just smiles and looks at it.

Me, Abbey, and Katie. We joined my other girlfriends for a girls craft night. Always a good time at the craft nights.

They even helped me with therapies while they were here. Abbey is doing his flashlight therapy.

Are nursing ended last week and that has been a little rough on me already. Luckily, Dakota's nights have gotten SO much better. I hate to even write this afraid that I will totally jinx myself but it has been two straight weeks of sleeping through the night. So this is a HUGE blessing. The only crappy thing now is that since I have no nursing I am the one who has to get up EVERY night (except Sunday nights because of my AMAZING sister-in-law Jenny who comes and stays with him so we can sleep...I love you Jen!) to suction and give meds which is usually at least 4 times a night. It's hard to get into a good, deep sleep when you are constantly getting up and trying to go back. It was nice while we had it though so I shouldn't be a complainer. Sleep is overrated anyways...RIGHT?? The little stinker though has decided he doesn't need to go to sleep til like 10:30 or 11 lately. We start around 9 cuddling him to try and get him down but the last week at least instead of going right to sleep he has started looking up and smiling and making these cute little cooing noises that make you laugh and them him laugh. I totally think he knows what he is doing and is just trying to get out of going to sleep. Before the accident he would try and do ANYTHING to get out of bed. It was the perfect time where he would say, "want me to sing my ABC's? Want me to count in spanish? I wanna lay down with daddy"...anything he could do. Now that he can't say those things I think it is his little way of trying to get out of going to bed. Some nights he just whines and fusses so I take the cute smiles any day.

I want to thank ALL of you who have responded to wanting to be a sponsor for our shirts for the race. When my friends brought the idea up I was honestly thinking...who would wanna sponsor us for this little race? Who? Well, I was AMAZED at how many people cared and wanted to help. I am still getting asked if we need more sponsors although we have all we need. So thank you to you generous people out there! You are AMAZING! Thank you to all of you who have decided to come...and if you haven't it isn't too late! ;) The registration closing date is May 14th at 9 p.m. Not sure why but this is the last day you can register. Most races you can register on race day but this one you can't. So if you are planning on going you have until May 14th and that is it! Also, if you haven't already and are planning on coming let me know how many shirts and sizes you need. I just got to see the design and they are super cute! I look forward to seeing all of you and even meeting some of you who I have never met! Dakota does too!

Thanks again to all of you who encourage, inspire, and strengthen me with your comments, thoughts, and prayers! "The best part about miracles is that they happen!"

We need some work done around the house! ;)


  1. You never cease to amaze me!!! You are such an amazing mom!! I get teary eyed every time I read your blog!! Even in his pictures you can totally tell he is majorly progressing!! I love his smiles in the pictures and some of them he is looking straight at the camera!! You are so amazing girl and can't wait to hear more about his progression and see more pictures!!! You are still in my prayers!!! Good luck with the race, I wish I could come! That would be so fun!!

  2. Keep up the great work! It speaks volumes that even just knowing Dakota through pictures and words on your blog, we see improvement in pictures alone. I am amazed. Thanks for sharing why special mom's rock! I started a blog like that forever ago, and never did anything with it. I still need to master #6. You are NOT alone about your thoughts of Mother's day. Going to church on Mother's day for me is still emotional, for the same reason. I just wanted to validate your feelings. You totally rock, and I am sure that has something to do with how awesome your pride and joy is progressing. Celebrate every victory!

  3. I was so excited when I got on facebook which I only do every couple weeks and I saw a picture of Ryan holding Dakota and that you guys were finally able to have family dinner. Vicki mentioned back in March at my grandma's birthday that she wondered if it would ever happen again, but me and Doug were quick to say not 'if" but "when" it happens again. I guess it's just another one of God's little mercies he knew you longed for so desperatly. Dakota you little fighter you look so stickin HANDSOME. I can't wait to see you running around poppy and grandma's yard riding your little green tractor. We love you guys and still pray for your family daily. Sending all our love and prayers your way!!!

    The Lythgoe's

  4. Tessie, he looks so much more like himself in these pictures! I'm sorry Mothers Day was a rough one this year. You are such an amazing mom and I love checking on all the new things you are doing with and for Dakota. Love ya!

  5. Wow, you are such an amazing woman. Your family is in my prayers. :)

  6. Tess--
    Im so sorry you had a rough mother's day this year. Dakota is so lucky to have the mom that he does. You're such an example to all of our friends and many people that don't know you either. Your faith is so strong and I know how much our heavenly father loves you and your family. We continue to send our love and prayers to your family! (Hadlee LOVES to pray for Tota to "det better"!)
    Thanks for coming over for the GNO and for bringing your friends, they are SO SWEET, just like YOU!! :) That video was SO CUTE and I couldn't hold back the tears. (your singing was SO CUTE too :) Sure can't wait to hear him (and you) sing that song again together!! We know miracles can happen and that your family will be blessed! Thanks for always reminding me about the important things in life! We love you guys-- let's do dinner at your house SOON!!! :)
    Love ya Tess!

  7. I am one of those people you do not know, but Vicki is our son's preshool teacher, and was also for our daughter a few years ago. We, of course, love her to death!
    You are an amazing woman and mother! I enjoy reading your blog to see how much Dakota is progressing, but also for inspiration. Your faith & strength are amazing! I have a child with a disability, and I enjoyed reading the list you posted regarding such; I can echo each of those sentiments. Please know that we continue to pray for Dakota, and your family. Sincerely, Stephanie Anderson

  8. Wow, You are one amazing Mamma!!! I have been keeping up with this and never know what to say, I am always speechless!! He is such a sweet little guy and through this without really knowing him I can feel his sweet spirit. You and Zach are wonderful parents, I know Heavenly Father is so pleased with you guys.............WOW..........what an amazing family and great example to all who know you and or your story!!

  9. I just want to let you know that I admire you so much! I have met you a few times (my mom is in the stake RS presidency--Jody Durfee--and I came to your ward activity)and I have always thought you are absolutely adorable! My little sister also suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was seven years old. All I can say is we are SO, SO lucky to have the gospel in our lives! Your testimony inspires me and I hope to be more like you!!! Thank you for your example, amazing attitude...and especially for sharing your precious Dakota with us.

  10. Your blog is an inspiration. You don't know me, i stumbled upon your blog from Heidi Gorder's. I have enjoyed reading and keeping up on Dakota. My older brother suffered a brain injury when he was almost two. Doctors said he'd be a vegetable, but he walks, and although he is deaf, he is pretty much dependent upon himself. I want you to know that i see the improvement in Dakota in the photos you post on here. I get chills when i see them. You have a beautiful family, and you are an amazing, AMAZING person. Heavenly Father is with you through this, every step of the way. We will continue to pray for Dakota and his great parents. Thank you for sharing your blog and lives with us.

  11. What a sweet post! Deacon heard Dakota singing from the other room and came running in he watch the computer screen for a second and said that's kota! Then he heard the word of the song and said its the cowboy!

    You guys are awesome! Your strength and faith will touch so many people and already has! Your one of the most amazing Moms I have ever met! Thanks for helping me want to be a better mom.

  12. It is amazing Tessie, you can really see Dakota's progression in the pictures! So great to see his sweet smile and his eyes so focused! He is a sweetheart. You and Zach are wonderful! We love you.

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I love seeing each new picture you post because even in PICTURES you can see him improving SO much! Keep up the good work you're all doing! *hugs*

  14. I also wanted to chime in and say it is amazing the difference you can see in the pictures!

  15. I wish I could give you a great big hug! You are awesome. I'm sorry for all the rough days/nights you have. Tell your adorable man I said hello (sorry, not you Zach)! ;) I miss you already and love you! . . . Tell Dakota I'll help him with chores around the house anytime (well when I'm there).