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This is Eight {Happy Birthday, Apollo}

Apollo: this is eight.

Post contains affiliate links.This is eight.

I know you longtime readers won’t believe it (because I barely do) but Apollo is eight! Eight years old. How did that happen? No, his childhood isn’t flying by, it’s just that he is so grown up and healthy, it’s hard to believe we are here.

Apollo is eight!

Apollo has grown a lot over the past year. The beginning of the school year was rough. He hated attending his new school (which only has classes two days a week) and hated staying home alone with me. So, he was pretty miserable Monday through Friday. He begged to go back to his old school for weeks.

Dissecting a lamb heart for our Halloween Science party.

I was desperate…so I called on two friends with kids attending the same school who happened to be Apollo’s classmates at his own school. We began a habit of meeting up once a week. This soon became the highlight of my week and the kids were able to grow and learn together.

App;;p on top of our giant tunnel.

This tunnel that Chuck brought home from work has brought countless hours of fun for our kids over the years. Apollo is growing in physical strength and exploring new limits.

A giant tunnel provides hours of fun for our kids.

A giant tunnel provides hours of fun for our kids.

Would you believe at times my kids sit in this and roll it down the giant hill on the back of our property? Yes, they are crazy.

Apollo's birthday: this is eight.

Apollo continues practicing for his future career as a model. He posed himself this way, with no direction from me, and patiently waited for me to take the picture.

Apollo: this is eight.

Apollo: this is eight.

Apollo has developed into a strong reader over this last year. Together we have read all of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, The Hobbit, and we have just started the Gregor the Overlander series. I read the first couple of books out loud to my older children back in 2011 and they took off and read the rest themselves. It is so much fun to introduce these old favorites to Apollo.

Apollo: this is eight.

Apollo: this is eight.

Apollo: this is eight.

I will always be a fan of moody black and white portraits. I posted this on Facebook and my brother said, “That photo makes me want to donate”. I offered to send him my PayPal, but unfortunately, he didn’t take me up on that.

Apollo: this is eight.

Maybe he would have preferred this smiling version…

Apollo: this is eight.

We have just let Apollo start venturing up in trees again after his concussion. He is much more cautious now and we are making sure he doesn’t go too high for a while.

For those of you who are newer here, you may not know that Apollo was born under extremely dangerous and traumatic circumstances. He was mysteriously sick for 18 months. He had RSV and pneumonia, he struggled to eat and breathed like Darth Vader.  Diagnosed with failure to thrive and allergies. Chuck and I knew something much more serious was going on. An MRI at 18 months finally revealed the source of his health issues. Apollo was born with a double aortic arch, a congenital heart defect. At age eight he has had seven surgeries, countless doctor and hospital visits, was tube fed for four and a half years, and now is a healthy, thriving, eight-year-old boy.

To us, this is nothing short of a miracle.

If you are interested in reading more about Apollo, check out Apollo’s Story: Double Aortic Arch. 



  1. Nicole

    Hard to believe he is eight. I started reading your original blog when I was 19 or 20 in college getting ready to work for a summer at a Tanzanian orphanage and you were bringing your oldest three children home. I’ve always loved large, homeschooling, bio and adoption mixed families. I’m now pregnant with my fifth child (3 are adopted) and we are starting our third year of homeschooling. So, you’ve been blogging a while.

  2. Kate

    I am so happy to read this update. I started reading your blog in 2008-2009. I didn’t have any kids yet, but we later were pregnant at the same time. My first child was born in 2010, a few months after Apollo. Your birth story scared me so much, but also gave me information I hadn’t otherwise come across, and I was grateful for the knowledge. I remember leaving a comment years ago when you weren’t sure how or when you would ever wean him. Thanks to God, much hardship is in the past. But I know you are still struggling with the PTSD (I’m not sure if that’s the term you gave it) that came from it. And I know you are having huge difficulty with another child. So I will continue to pray for you, as I have for years, and may God give you strength and blessings to face each hour.

  3. Alex

    Happy birthday Apollo! Have you guys read the Swallows and Amazons books? They’re British, so might have slightly different language than you’re used to, but excellent books about old fashioned adventures. There’s also an excellent film.

    • Renee

      I don’t think we have. Thanks for the suggestion! We are now on to book three in the Harry Potter series 🙁

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