Sunday, May 31, 2009


Kelly did some impromptu images of our sweet baby. Go to her blog to check out the other pictures. Thank you Kelly... you did an amazing job! We love them. You captured our heart as you captured our little love in these stunning photos.
Kelly's website:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Baby Justus

Baby Justus is HERE!

Ellie holding him.

This was actually as Phillip arrived before the delivery.


A purple foot, not quite as dark as it did get later.

In the NICU - day three.

Justus Theodore Browning.

A superb NICU nurse.

Going home!!!!

We welcomed the arrival of our sweet baby Justus at 12:56pm, Monday - May 11th. It was an adventurous labor. I started having pretty consistent and regular contractions around 9:30 am with them picking up intensity around 10 am. Amanda drove me to the hospital, where Phillip came in shortly after us. Little Justus made his debut very quickly in probably the easiest labor and delivery I have had thus far. It was a very sweet time.
We were able to enjoy him for several hours. Napping, suckling, all the normal newborn "things". Then when our Pastor and his wife visited we noticed something. Justus' feet were a very alarming dark purple. We immediately called for a nurse, who was followed by a pediatrician. The pediatrician listened to his heart and determined he heard a murmur. He continued to say he thought Justus also had Down Syndrome.
I was caught by surprise. However, my husband was quickly by my side speaking words of comfort by reading scripture to me. I can't explain the peace that evaded my soul. He truly was used of God to help me focus and lean on my Saviour.
The nurses and pediatrician took little Justus into the nursery to monitor him and do x-rays, etc. Phillip followed his son. I rose from bed and got dressed to go down and learn that they were readying my baby to be transported to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit in another city and hospital. They would transport him via ambulance. We could follow in another car. My heart sank. I had never been away from any of my babies in this fashion. All I could do was pray. It was a tearful goodbye. I was quickly discharged so I could follow my son - for what would be a total of four days in the NICU. Once in the NICU they monitored his oxygen saturation levels, did an echo cardiogram, and abdominal ultrasound, and some other things. He had about three or four "lines" hooked to him. I do have to say that those nurses and doctors are so very good at what they do. They are truly in a position of caring for those who cannot care for themselves - a noble "job" and one that requires much strength. I am so very thankful for them.
We kept receiving comments or questions that assumed we knew prior to our delivery that Justus had Down's. We did not. We decline the genetic screening you can do during pregnancy that checks for it. One doctor commented that if we had done the screening we would have at least been prepared. To that, my husband replied later to me: there is no better "preparation" than that is made by the Holy Spirit.
He is so right.
Plus, if the nurses and doctors had been awaiting a child with a heart defect upon delivery - they would have taken him much sooner. Thus, no nap, no suckling none of the normal things Phillip and I relish after every delivery.
The genetic screening is not very reliable. I am thankful we did not have it done, and will not have it done in the future, if God so allows us to have more children.
The cardiologist determined that Justus has a congenital heart defect that is called Tetralogy of Fallot. About 50% of Down Syndrome children have a congenital heart defect. This will require open heart surgery in a few months. Let me say right here: the down syndrome is not a big deal to our family. We look forward to the simple joys that Justus will bring. We know that his life was created with purpose by our Lord. I have a gift that most mothers will never experience. I have a child of whom will probably live with me for a much longer time than any of my other children. I get to experience his love and companionship indefinitely. The real concern regarding Justus is his heart. I would covet your prayer for our son. The cardiologists would like him to get a little bigger prior to surgery. He may have what are called "blue baby" spells. This is where he turns blue. This is normal with his heart condition, however not normal for a Mom and Dad to watch their baby turn blue! I ask my Lord for wisdom and for guidance in determining what to do in those situations. The doctors have given us some advice at how to manage them and when to call the doctors. Once these spells start to occur they will put him on medication to help so he can get a little bigger before the surgery. We also are trying the best we can to keep illnesses at bay. He is more susceptible to infection. So... I carry hand sanitizer everywhere we go and keep it all over the house. This has been a challenge as it seems we are in the middle of a cold running through all our children.
Please enjoy the pictures. Please know that your prayers over the last week have been a huge help and much felt. While in the NICU, Justus made huge leaps of getting better everyday. For that we are grateful to our Lord. He is so good to His children. We feel both humbled and thankful by the encouragement and prayer of the saints.
I will try and continue to update as I have time.
I have to say that Christ has truly manifested Himself in ways that would have to take a much longer "post" to illustrate to you during this time. God's hand has been "in it all". It is unmistakable and ever so clear. What a comfort!
I also want to mention how thankful I am for my sweet friend, Amanda. She stayed with my children - no complaints, no questions asked. She is a true friend that I was able to lean on in a very difficult time. I had complete confidence that my other kiddos were well cared for and loved. Thank you Amanda - and thanks to my Saviour for His provision of her in such a timely fashion.
Again, enjoy these sweet images of my precious baby. He is already such a joy. Such a good, mellow baby. I treasure the gift God has given me in my family. I am blessed BEYOND measure!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Life Lately

Here are a smattering of pictures that show what we have been up to lately. The last weekend of April was spent taking our family to what is referred to as the "ribbon festival." This is a festival that helps to test your youngsters skills in piano. Both Isaac and Gabriel participated. This was not our first year in doing so. The boys love it. They have an opportunity to exercise the different skills that are required in piano playing. After each little exercise, the student receives a ribbon to signify completion. The instructor also grades the student, which I believe goes to the student's piano instructor. So much fun. Thank you Julie for involving your students in these types of activities. The challenges it presents helps to sharpen our boys.
Clearly Isaac is thrilled with my picture taking...
Ellie is super excited while we are waiting for registration

A Ribbon!

These pictures are just random.

Chloe playing with rocks while Phillip is playing basketball with the youth of our church after we had taken them to the nursing home on a Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day outside.

I told Ellie to go take a nap - this is where I found her. She fell asleep in baby Justus' car seat.

A day of rare sunshine. We made a morning of playing in it. I watched while sipping coffee.

I hope you enjoyed glimpses into our family. We are busy waiting for baby Justus to make his arrival. Hopefully the next post will be of this sweet baby that the Lord has entrusted to our family.

Monday, May 4, 2009

State Required Testing

Just wanted to post a quick note to all of the local homeschooling moms who may read my blog. As I am sure you are aware, our state requires that a student (homeschooled or public) take an annual test that meets state requirements. This test cannot be given just by anyone. The administrator needs to meet strict guidelines governed by our state. I, in my pregnant delirium, just about forgot to get this in order. However, I was able to locate a facility that is currently taking registrations for testing scheduled at the end of May. I don't feel comfortable handing out the personal contact info. of this coordinator over the blog, so if you are interested please contact me via email, or phone (prior to May 12th) and I will give you the phone number. Keep in mind, it is a state requirement that your child undergoes testing (I think by the age of eight is when they need to begin testing every year, but may be wrong). I would strongly encourage you to follow through and adhere to the law.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Okay... okay... there are a total of FIVE more days until our possible induction. (typed in a breathless realization of the hard honest truth)
I have a doctor's appt. Monday. I am sure we will discuss all the details. We had originally talked about an induction taking place on either Thursday or Friday. We will see...
Hmmm... what do you think he will weigh? How long will he be? When will he actually be born? Will we stick to our name we picked out? Red hair ... or not?
Come on, play along...