All that aside, these birthdays were probably the best ever. Looking back, I didn't realize how absolutely awful those other birthdays have been. That's due to my remarkable ability to ignore the stuff I don't want to see. There are some pros and cons to this...
We went to Texas for the first time in a year. I've never been an entire year without going to Texas. I've barely gone a few months. It was so interesting to reflect back on our last flight out there. Eve was not even walking and was still nursing, while now she has potty trained herself (I take no credit) and speaks in full and (mostly) intelligible sentences. James, last time, slept, had 2 potty accidents, barely ate, and cried in hysterics in the bathroom for 20 min. This time he played games the whole way, ate like a champ, did normal bathroom type stuff, and laughed and goofed. Within a day of our last trip, we knew we were headed back to the hospital. There are no words except awful. As in, full of awe over how bad it was. This time, he swam, played with his cousins, blew out his birthday candles, AND ate birthday cake all by himself. This was the first time I think he even realized what the occasion was and cared. And that's not just because of his age, but because he's just not miserable. It was fun. It was still stressful and it still required management and food prep (I think the TSA just knows when I'm coming now), but...it was fun!
We came home and everything was...fine! Normal (for us). It's actually weird. Normal is weird.
James continues to veeeeery slowly gain weight, but more importantly, he looks great. His dark circles are still present, but fading. His stamina is out of this world. He actually has a tan, which he never had because he couldn't be outside long enough to get one. He's sliding into the kiddie pool and laughing when a eve squirts him with the hose. He's learning more and more to eat by himself. And he's gaining more interest in new foods, which is weird. :)
We are, as always it seems, a long way from ok in the traditional sense, but we aren't traditional, so we're great. He still has diarrhea every day (that's not normal), he doesn't chew foods quite right, and he does get tired. But....while that may sound pretty bad if you were to put a "typical" child in that category, he's progressing. And, dare I say, healing? One can hope. Our plan for a while is to just keep doing exactly what we are doing, and see how it goes. Lord knows we're pretty good at that!