Video

Walk Like A Man…

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It is so easy to compare our kids to others. Last year, I was at a baby bounce hour at our local library.  A energetic mama came in with her super cool running stroller, slim never-had-a-baby physique, and a little 12-month old dude on her hip. We were going through all the niceties of new introductions. I said, “How old is your little guy?” She laughed, hiked him up a little higher and said, “He is 12 months old.” then quickly added, “He isn’t walking yet.” I smiled back, held up JAK and said, “Well…he is 14 months old, and he isn’t even crawling!” I grinned a little bigger. She looked bewildered, and I offered no explanation.

It is a hard lesson I have had to learn being JAK’s mommy: stop the comparisons. Every baby, whether or not they have any sort of developmental delay, is operating on their own time table. And as much as it pains us, we can’t force them to do anything until they are ready.  The truth is that JAK has challenges, but I refuse to apologize for him.  I will celebrate his accomplishments, and strive to provide him every opportunity for him to succeed. I will embrace his uniqueness, and tell him that he has everything he needs to complete the amazing plans God has in store for him.  I will only compare him to himself, and boy oh boy, is he a wonder! You wanna see how far he has come? Take a peek… 

 

(That’s daddy singing in the background…he had no idea I would be posting this video-haha!)

Thank you, Lord, for bringing my little guy so far. Next step…running!

 

-Kim

31 Days of Prayer for Your Husband: Day 15

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DAY 15: FATHERHOOD

Sometimes I am in awe of how easily my husband falls into the role of fatherhood. JAK adores him and asks about him constantly during the day. I repeatedly say, “J, you know Daddy is at work. He will be home later.” Now, JAK has stopped asking and just says, “Daddy work! Daddy work!” So cute.

Parenting is a first-time event for both of us, and as JAK gets older, I want to make the most of every opportunity to provide godly wisdom and truth. As a family, we have been really considering what it means to have a Christ-centered home. It takes effort and being very intentional. JAK is going to relate to Daddy as the spiritual leader and role model. I want to support my guys in every way. So, here is my prayer for my husband in his fatherhood role.

DADDY AND J

Dear Lord,

Thank you Lord, that you have given my husband the desire to be a godly parent and to rear our son to be a Christ-follower. I pray that You would give him insight and wisdom, and that he would use every opportunity to direct JAK towards You. I pray that Your Word would be his guide (Ephesians 6:4), and that he would let his instructions be edifying and not destructive or discouraging (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). I pray that my husband would be able to demonstrate his deep love for our son by appropriate discipline and rebuke (Proverbs 13). I pray that he would be a role model to JAK as a Christ-follower and the leader of our home. I pray that he would have integrity and consistency so that JAK knows that his daddy is the same man at work as he is at home. I pray that my husband would demonstrate to JAK how to be a good steward of finances and to understand that everything we have is from You (Proverbs 13:22). I thank you for all of the resources You have provided us in Your word, and the fantastic support system of friends and family. May You guide us as parents and let us not become lazy but always alert and intentional as we guide our family. Thank you, Lord.

Amen

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

“Fathers, do no embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21 (NIV)

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 13:11-12 (NIV)

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)

“A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:12-13 (NIV)

“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous”  Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)

 

 

JAK’s Summer Adventures

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JAK is 21 months now and he is becoming more of his own little person every day. I caught him yesterday singing I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. Except, it was the goat scream version.  It went something like this, “Bubble, Bubble, Bubble. AHHHHHHHHH! Bubble.” We died laughing. His version of singing varies between monotone, under-the-breath babbling to loud, Gregorian-like humming.

If you are curious about goat-scream version, go to Google and type in “Screaming Goat Featuring Taylor Swift.” You will not be sorry.

Discipline

Disciplining a child with special needs gets much easier when you realize that he did ____________(insert toddler crime here) on purpose. JAK is smart, thank you, Lord. This mental prowess comes with all the normal mischief and missteps of exploring the boundaries; thus, we have adopted “The Corner.” This is the area in our living room that is just outside of the master bedroom. He only gets placed in the corner for 1-2 minutes after committing some a egregious act like pulling at Daddy’s glasses or hitting mommy in the face…again. I am terrible at keeping a straight face, especially when he keeps trying to crawl away with that teasing grin flashing at me from across the room. Occasionally, being sent to the corner is met with big, angry tears, and repeated wails of, “DADDYYYYY!” Keeping a straight face then is pretty near impossible.

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Physical Development 165

JAK has all but given up his primary mode of mobility (rolling) in lieu of something much more efficient (and less dizzying I’m sure)…the army crawl! He gets his hands and legs engaged and he is off! We are working towards getting him strong enough for traditional crawling, which is closer than ever. He also has a  walker on loan from his ECI physical therapist, but he is much more interested in playing with all of its knobs and parts than using it to walk. He has, though, started to pull himself into the standing position! Praise God!

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Cognitive Development

We went to the neurologist the other day. It was the first time he has seen JAK since our last MRI in June. He told us that JAK’s scan shows some unusual brain abnormalities, some of which we were aware, others we were not. Here is the kicker, he said that the baby he sees in person is completely different than JAK’s scans and paperwork.  JAK can cross the midline of his body, act and react appropriately, and his language is pretty close to being on target. Even the doctor, without even mentioning the Lord, was testifying to the work that He was doing in JAK’s life. This kiddo is a miracle! Just to make sure we stay on top of his development, we are adding another therapist once a month who will oversee his overall progress. After just one visit with her and a few learning tools, JAK has already been able to complete a puzzle with shapes and his voluntary language skills have vastly improved as well! We are so excited to watch him grow and develop.

Vacation

JAK and I went for a little trip with my side of the family month to West Texas. Daddy had to stay home and reel in the bacon. The conditions at our family cabin are, um, economy-style if not down-right primitive. Concrete floors, no AC, and nothing but aluminum siding between you and the rest of the world. The big improvement to our humble abode this year was…wait for it…a wooden door to the bathroom. Yup! We have been staying there for at least four generations with nothin’ but a breezy sheet between the outside world and our personal bizniz. All in all, it was a blast and JAK played like he had never seen dirt in his life.

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Too bad that we all managed to contract some vicious stomach bug that spread like wildfire, and was friendly enough to hitch a ride home and spread the love to our friends and families, too. Yup, to date, 15 people have contracted the bug. FIFTEEN! Other than that, it was a great trip!

More updates, soon!

Kim

Box-Model Perms and the Frizz Ball Bangs

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Once upon a time, I loved hairspray. I must have seen someone with outstanding bangs that had a flip wave at the top and went over their forehead like a rainbow and with just a few wispy tendrils laying beautifully just so on the forehead. Remember the look?

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(No, this is not our family, but they do beautifully illustrate my point…source)

Here is what all six of us kids looked like then.

 

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(I am bottom right hand corner. Yes, there is so much that could be said about this picture…hmmm.)

The only real way to get that envious hair height was the perm. Perms were a big deal back in the day (ha!) and I totally fell into the “I think perms are cool” group. I would daydream about my slightly wavy hair becoming a radiant curly masterpiece. I just knew that if I got that perm my hair would look amazing! Curls just flowing and falling right as they should. The whole process of getting a perm is rather stinky and messy. There is nothing glorious about it…you would think just by the smell alone it would be a deterrent of some kind and a warning that the picture on the box is not how it will actually look. I happily suffered through the stench and the mess because I knew it would be different for me, and that my hair would look just like the model on the box. Well about two hours later there I would stand in front of the mirror, crying. Crying because reality sunk in and dreams came crashing down in the form of frizz balls. My bangs looked like poodle hair…ugly. My hair would eventually grow out and the frizz balls would subside along with all the bad memories…and so, whole ordeal would start again stench, tears, and unrealistic box-model hair. Better luck next time, right?

 

 

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Big News for One Bennett Girl!

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Well, every last Bennett girl is officially spoken for…yup, Kate is engaged!

He washes her feet

His name is Josh. We think he is wonderful, and so good for Kate. Here he is washing his future-bride’s feet, such a picture of his heart of service and dedication to love her as Christ loves the Church.Popping the question

He involved the whole family in his proposal. He set up a scavenger hunt where each family member met her at different meaningful locations around town. Each of us was given a special opportunity to pray over Kate, encourage her, and chat for a bit before giving her the next clue to a new location.He knows he has it good

I guess those grins give it away…she said yes! Don’t they make a beautiful couple?

  Looking at the photographer Saying yes Looking at the ring

Congratulations, Kate & Josh! We are so excited for and thrilled to watch you choose to serve the Lord through this union! Love you guys!

P.S. We sincerely hope that none of the other sisters are pregnant for your wedding (Yup. Three fourths (that’s 75%!) of the Bennett weddings, one of the sisters has been very pregnant. It makes for a lot of teary-eyed laughter and the inevitable emergency dress repair. Haha!)

Photo Copyright: 2013, Matt Johnson

Purpose in Disability?

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When I worked in the hospital, my very first patient was a man who had a severe childhood injury. Complications from that injury eventually led to surgery that left him handicapped beyond anything I could have imagined. I felt pity for his loss, anger for his suffering, and grief for missed opportunities and experiences. Questions kept pouring through my head…

I questioned if his life was really worth living.

I know. It is not my place to judge, but sometimes you can’t help thoughts that well up. I ended up speaking with my dad about it, a very wise man.  He said something I will never forget.

“Kim, every person, EVERY person, is made in the image of God. It is this fact that makes us valuable and precious.”

That was before I had a special needs baby.  When we found out that JAK had Spina Bifida, all those uncomfortable, faith-challenging thoughts came back in full force.  Why was JAK made “flawed?”  Why would God allow suffering in someone so very small and helpless? Would his life really be worth living? Then the Lord started to show me some scripture…in Jeremiah of all places. No, it wasn’t Jeremiah 29:11, I had even forgotten that verse was in Jeremiah! Nope, He showed me Jeremiah 1:5,

“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations’” (NKJV).

God calls our children to a purpose even before they are born. He made them, and He knew exactly how JAK was formed. Our children are valuable and full of purpose.  Even those kids who have special needs. Maybe especially for those kids.  Long before JAK came into this world, I had to surrender my sweet son into the hands of our Gracious Father. JAK’s life would never be in vain, whether he lived a moment or a million years.

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JAK at 18 months.

I want to share a few stories that have showed me about the preciousness of our special needs children:

‘Thomas’

I know a family whose firstborn baby was diagnosed in utero with Trisomy 13.  The couple decided to carry their son to term, even though the prognosis was terminal. Their handsome little man lived only for a short while after birth. You know how daddy reacted? He said,

“‘Thomas’ wasn’t created for this world…he was made for heaven.”

‘James’

When JAK was born, he was placed in a bassinet in the NICU next to a beautiful little 4-month old baby boy, “James.” He had a shock of wild, curly black hair and sweet round cheeks.  His mother couldn’t come every day, but when she did, she would lean down and whisper lovely things into his ear.  One day, my husband was with JAK and I was away resting.  James’ mother was reading scripture over her little son, and my husband spoke up and welcomed her to read it a little louder. Well, she got between the boys’ beds and began praying and reading scripture over the both of them. When she was done, she bent over her baby’s curly head and said,

“James, you did that. Because of you, I got to do that.”

Shortly after we were discharged, James left this world to be with Jesus.  James had a purpose. He certainly blessed our life, and I will never forget him.

Kayli

One more story I would like to share. This is a story about Kayli, a sweet little miracle who has defied the odds by being a 4-year-old with Trisomy 18, a diagnosis that is “incompatible with life.” Read about her story here. When her mother was advocating early on for Kayli’s right to survive, she wrote this about her experience:

“I started asking everyone around Kayli to ‘take something from Kayli’.  There seemed to be an abundance of medical professionals and people surrounding her, who wanted her to die.  Instead of fighting them, I started telling them, ‘Kayli is here for a reason.  If you really want her to die…then you need to take something from her.  Take medical knowledge of Trisomy, take a stronger faith, take love…take…something… so she can fulfill her purpose.’  I left it all in their hands.  Every person who met Kayli, was told to take something from her.  After the odd looks, I would explain her mission.  She is a child of God, and is with us for a purpose.  All I ask, is that you Take Something From Kayli.  Take something from her, so she can serve her purpose, have eternal peace, and leave an everlasting testimony of God’s love for her and all other ‘imperfect’ children.  Take Something from Kayli…. now I ask, have YOU taken something from Kayli?” Source: http://trisomy18.blogspot.com/2013/04/kaylis-first-year-of-life.html

The fact is that God NEVER makes mistakes.  Each child was created with a purpose. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, and they reflect the glory of God.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

I would encourage people to check out the book, Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability by Krista Horning. It is an incredible resource for any kid questioning how God made them.

God bless,

Kim

In the Past 26 Days

The past 26 days since our last post on the5bennettgirls have been pretty busy. There are some things that have happened behind the scenes, and I thought I would give you a quick run-down:

1. JAK got really sick with an ear infection that caused his temp to skyrocket to 105.6. Yep…scary. He is okay now, but he lost some ground with his physical therapy and he lost a good chunk of weight.JAK in his braces

You can see him here with his braces and shoes on standing at the chair. I love his little thigh rolls…we have worked hard for them!

2. I am a new couponer!

I have always wanted to coupon, but it takes a lot of time and dedication. I shop with my huge three ring binder filled with coupons now, and I love it.  Ahhh, the thrill of saving money! It does take a ton of time, though. So be forewarned! If anyone is interested in becoming some an “Extreme Couponer” or some variation thereof, check out this site:

http://thekrazycouponlady.com

3. I attended a seminar called “Understanding the Gut Brain: Stress, Appetite, Digestion & Mood” by Merrily Kuhn, RN, CCRN (r), PhD, ND, PhD. Over the next few months, I will likely put up some highlights of this very informative talk. I can’t wait to share!

4. Easter came and went

We spent Easter with my in-laws. It was crazy to say the least. My husband got sick and we were EXTREMELY late to church. Fortunately, we still got to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! HE IS RISEN!

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 5. We redid our front flower beds!

Before:

Before Front Yard

After:

Front Yard After

So much better!

CELEBRATION!

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of JAK’s last shunt placement. We had been in the hospital three weeks at this point last year, and we were eager to get our little guy home.

May the Lord be praised for the incredible work that He has completed in JAK’s life.IMG_2029

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no  shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail  not As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy  faithfulness!“   Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I  have needed Thy hand hath provided—     “Great is Thy  faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Source:  http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/19#ixzz2PbWOFHee

~Kim

Do gumballs really grow on trees?

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gumball treeI was a very literal child.I believed the facts just as they were told to me. One warm summer evening I was in the front yard with my dad while he was watering the yard. I saw these round things on the ground that had prickles on them. I asked him what they were and he said, “gumballs from the gumball tree.” Well! That is all he needed to say! We had gumballs all over the lawn and I wasn’t about to let them go to waste! I begin to gather them wondering the whole time how they would taste and if they were REALLY gumballs, but Dad said they were, so I believed him. After gathering a bunch of gumballs. I brought them over to my dad and showed him my bounty. He asked why I had gathered them and I said because they were gumballs! He then re-explained to a very disappointed little girl that they were not really gumballs that was just the name of the type of seed and they were round like a gumball.

 I still pretended that they were real.

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And now, the rest of the story…

liqsty20So, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sweetgum tree, here is what an actual “gumball” looks like.

Gumball

Yea. I’d like to chew on that a while. Hmmm.

This spikey little guy is the fruit of the tree, and it hold up to 50 seeds! A fun little fact: in the past, its sap has been used to make chewing gum! (Source).

I GUESS GUMBALLS REALLY DO GROW ON TREES!

Contributing image sources: microsoft clip art and here; Sweetgum tree and “gumball” source.

My Mommy Style: I Know You’ve Been There

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I am not trendy or fashionable. I am serviceable, aka boring.  As I sit here in my fuzzy slippers, oversized thrifted t-shirt, and grey soffe knock-offs, I have decided I need a game plan. So, I am taking a break from my normal couponing, dishes, and garden planning to look up ways to revamp my mommy-wardrobe.

I started with Elle. The experts have translated runway style into real life for those of us who prefer to look…hmmm…normal. Top trends this 2013 spring: cut outs, lace, leather, florals, gray, exposed tummy (no thanks), structured shirts and shorts, checkerboard patterns, and deeeeep V-necks (source).

Too complicated for me, and um, I live in central Texas…not exactly the epicenter of fashion. I need something a little more toned down. My little sister, Kate, would most likely disagree, though. She always says, “If you think you can pull it off, you probably can!” Thanks, Miss Put-Together.

So, after searching la internet, I am venturing out on my own, throwing all good advice aside. Yes, I have come up with my own official spring 2013 fashion fix:

1. Everyday jeans– I need a couple of really good pairs of jeans.

like these…

(Rerock Boot Cut Jeans, $98 from Express)

Express Jeans 1or these…

(Stella Thick Stitch Regular Fit Boot Cut Jean, $88 from Express)

Stella Jeans

I have always wanted to wear skinny jeans, imagining I will look like this…

The High-Waist Skinny Jeans, Blue Black

(source)

but, they looked a little more like this…

tapered_jeans

(source)

Yep, remember those turkey leg, tapered jeans from the 90s? Uh huh…I thought so! On a side note, if anyone ever pulls off any type of colored skinny jeans, let me know…I will be dutifully jealous.)

2. Accessorize– bracelets, necklaces, fun earrings

I jumped over the ever-popular Stella & Dot website to oogle a little over their green/turquoise jewelry:

     b242gr_zinnia_1e126tu_soiree_studs_1      e212gr_lily_1_1e221bl_seychelles_1      n352tu_maya_pendant_2_1n362_jolie_necklace_1

1. Zinnia Bracelet, $49; 2. Soiree Studs, $24; 3. Lily Chandeliers, $39;
4. Seychelles Chandeliers, $44; 5. Maya Pendant, $39; 6. Jolie Necklace, $79

2. Shoes– Not as much flips…they are flops. More cute flats, please!

How ’bout some fun shoes to jazz things up?
Nadine FlatsKim Flat

Nadine Flat, $33.46 (Nordstrom); Me Too ‘Kim’ Flat, $53.56 (Nordstrom)

3. A New Tote- an easy way to add style.

handbag, anyone?

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Toscanella Italian Leather Satchel Handbag, $267

apparently, the old tote isn’t cutting it…

Diaper Bag

(source)

Yes, this is a picture of JAK’s diaper bag. Hmmm…

3. Haircut- Kim, STOP trimming your own hair. Obvious, I know, and no, I won’t give you any actual visuals. It has served me for now, but what will happen when I actually take my hair out of that ubiquitous granny knot? My husband still tells me I am beautiful, which counts even if he isn’t wearing his glasses, right?

5. Dresses– Nobody does pretty and feminine like Anthropologie. Here are some favorite dresses I found:

Angie Collared Dress, Anthropologie, $158

Angie Collared Dress by Anthropologie

Aurelian Brocade Dress,  Anthropologie $228Aurelian Brocade

I know I am not the only mom out there stuck in a funk.  What are your strategies for climbing out of the sweats-and-t-shirt cycle?

~Kim

The Soap Bubble Bamboozle

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Growing up, all of us had assigned chores. Some of the chores were rotated so that we all shared the responsibility and didn’t get tired of doing the same thing over and over. Sometimes we would trade chores with each other or pay the person to do our chores for the week. Allison and Beth were in charge of doing the dishes after dinner each night. They were the eldest and were tall enough to reach the sink. Kim and I were in charge of clearing the table after dinner. As Kim and I got older, Beth and Allison figured out that the only way to get out of doing dishes was to figure out away to make it look fun so that Kim and I would want to do the dishes.

I remember one night after dinner, Beth and Allison were doing the dishes. They were laughing and making soap bubbles. They made it look like the best thing in the whole world. In my innocence I went over to the sink and started watching. I made a comment about how much fun they were having and how I wished I could do the dishes. Well, they all too eagerly pulled up a stool for me to stand on and showed me how to wash the dishes. Before long, I was washing dishes and making soap bubbles. I then heard my mom say, “Well, you can reach the sink now! Looks like you are ready to start doing the dishes.” I think she is talking to Beth or Allison but when I look up I am the only one at the sink! My two older sisters abandoned me and set me up! And from that day on dishes became a chore not a wonderful soap bubble party.heather signature