*taps mic*

Is this thing still on?



Hey everyone!

We have been super busy, but things are going well.  Soon, very soon, more posts will be coming!

We also have a vlog now… because sometimes video is better.

Check out our channel on YouTube at:



Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

Take a tour, win some cash! It’s a giveaway!

Welcome to the soft opening of our new blog!  We are celebrating with a Giveaway!


If you dig a little you will see that we are still working diligently on categorizing five years worth of posts. We are also tinkering with some new ideas.  In light of that, we invite you to look around and tell us what you think. In addition to our heart-felt gratitude, your opinions will earn you a chance to win a $25 Visa Gift Card!

If there is one thing that we have learned in the last five years, it is that we need to seek feedback from you, our readers. That is exactly what this soft opening is all about. You! For the next few days we invite you to look, ask questions, and make suggestions.  Tell us what you love, what desperately needs help, and what should be tweaked a bit.  We want to do our best to ensure that we are giving you the content you enjoy, in a format that is most appealing.

How do you win?

Starting the morning of 12/01/2016 and ending at midnight (EST) on 12/04/2016 you can comment on the entry below.  You can comment once a day, and each comment earns you an entry!  You can also follow either of us on Twitter for an additional entry.  Finally, you can ask others to review our page as well. Each person who enters that you have invited will earn you another entry!

On 12/05/2016 a winner will be drawn at random and notified.  We will reach out to the winner via email or social media to get their address and then will send them a $25 pre-paid Visa Gift Card!

Most importantly, between 12/05/2016 and New Year’s Eve we will take all of your ideas into consideration to see what we can make happen.  Our plan is to go live with a united, Brand New Blog on New Year’s Day with ANOTHER contest! So, please subscribe and keep up to date with all we have going on. You won’t want to miss it!

Thank you so much for your time and your input.  We are very excited about what we have in store for you, and we hope that you are too.

Cranio Family Blog Sneak Peak


Happy National Kids Don’t Match Day!


For all those amazing dads and family members who took over the typical mom duties of preparing the kids this morning to give her a break, thank you! I am smiling at the neon socks and messy ponytails, knowing there is a great amount of love behind them. Bonus points for those of you who stepped into the role today and totally rocked it!
Flashback: When I was about 6, our church had a women’s retreat over the weekend of Mother’s Day, ending Sunday evening. I remember a few families arriving for the traditional service that Sunday in various stages of readiness. One dad had even recruited a friend to braid his girls’ hair in the foyer ahead of time. I know that there are dads who regularly handle these tasks, and I don’t mean to demean or negate their parenting talents. If anything I would say rock on for being so invested in your parenting. I do, however, find it very endearing and encouraging to notice parents who step into roles that they might not otherwise be comfortable or familiar with for the benefit of their children.


So excited about my beautiful early Mother’s Day flowers! I will probably post again when they open. Thank you craniodad!!! I think he kind of likes me.

Yeah… I just kinda like you minorinspirations. In fact I am just madly in like with you. Happy Mother’s Day my love. Even when they do open, they will pale in comparison to your beauty.

Really, Do You Know?


People say to me, when I’m telling my life struggles and amazements, “Oh yes, I know.” And what I want to say is “Really? Do you really know?”

Do you know expectations, like those that come home from the hospital with that beautiful babe of what his future holds? Do you know what it is to have those expectations crossed off one by one or all at once, only to have them replaced by new ones? Oh yes, you know expectations, but do you know hope?

Do you know achievements, with all their hard work and determination, big or small or somewhere in between? Do you know what it is to spend hours on each and every baby step? Oh yes, you know achievement, but do you know triumph?

Do you know teachers and aides who give their all every day for the time they are with your child as well as hours after in planning and preparation? Do you know what it is to put 6 hours of effort into 40 minutes of success? Oh yes, you know teachers, but do you know heroes?

Do you know patience, and the endurance of cleaning up spilled milk every day for years and not crying over it, or wonder if he’s doing it on purpose. Do you know what it is after years of getting milk all over your hands to go nine whole days without a single drop of milk getting spilled. Oh yes, you know patience but do you know joy.

Do you know judgement, good or bad, in the looks of others as you help your child navigate his day? Do you know what it is to rise above the scorn and scowls and do what needs to be done when your child is having a “moment”? Oh yes, you know judgement, but do you know strength?

Do you know Christmas, and all its miracles and everything it stands for, or perhaps another holiday held sacred to you? Do you know what it is to almost lose everything, even Christmas, in the blink of an eye, but to have it returned to you? Oh yes, you know Christmas, but do you know gratitude?

Do you know love, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with snuggling with your child when he’s getting ready for bed? Do you know what it is to read all the reports, and watch your child “blow it” at another chance at a relationship and significantly impact your relationships as well, and to love him anyway? Oh yes, you know love, but do you know unconditional love?

Do you know serenity, and security in watching your child sleep, knowing they are home in your safe and loving care? Do you know what it is just hours before to have the entire Police Department and all of your friends driving around looking for your child while you pray he’s not broken in the middle of the road? Oh yes, you know serenity, but do you know peace?

Do you know words, and the power of communication and emotion they create, especially those four amazing ones that tug at your heart. “I love you Mommy.” Do you know what it is to wait for years to hear any words and even longer to hear those magic words. Oh yes, you know words, but do you know miracles?

October 18, 2010 by Lily Belland

Going to Holland


I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability–To try and help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It is like this …

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous trip–to Italy. You…

Love this. I have used this analogy before when describing what it is like to be a Cranio Dad.  It is simple, it is complex, it is beautiful… it is awesome

Going to Holland

ENT Procedure


We haven’t had any major hospital time since last summer. Our family has thoroughly enjoyed celebrating successive holidays from Labor Day through Easter without any worry of incubation periods in preparing for surgeries and recovery time. We had other financial stresses that have kept us close to home, but these days have been so sweet.
Today we are preparing for Monday’s procedure. I haven’t written about it yet, but it’s time to face the music as another script on the pediatric surgical floor has started for Zoey. This is a relatively minor procedure, especially in light of the experience Zoey has on her resume. Her ear tubes were removed a few months ago as they had already been used for a year. A short hearing test and exam revealed that Zoey still has fluid built up, and she provided questionable hearing results. This procedure has three parts, all of which are estimated to be completed in an hour. We check in at 6am. Zoey is first on the list, so her procedure should begin around 7:30am. Once under anesthesia, Zoey will have a second set of ear tubes inserted, she will have a more reliable hearing test, and she will have her adenoids removed. Recovery is minimal and she should be back to herself by the next day. The plan is to go home once she wakes up, and hopefully there won’t be any surprises that delay her discharge. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

My beautiful wife beat me to an update!

Special People


There is one phrase I am absolutely sick of, so please don’t ever say this to me: special parents are given special children. 

I am impatient, selfish, stubborn, forgetful, lazy at times, and socially awkward. Blogs are great for hiding social awkwardness. I am a good mom, but I would never think I have enough within me to precipitate the boldness of asking for a child who needs someone “special.” Children with special needs are unique gifts. They will destroy any preconceived ideas of what you thought parenting would be like, and force you to reshape your world into one that includes them as a prominent role, if not the main role. Many parents are not able to support their needs, which may be why there are so many in foster care. But when you decide that you can accept and commit to these gifts, in turn you become more sensitive; to every other child, to every other unique story, and to every time that these children are asked to fight more than their fair share. I felt incredibly clumsy and inept with my gift for about a year, but I have gleaned strength in God, in my family, in my friends, and in my children. By grace, Zoey is thriving as she faces her third birthday, and I pray she continues to laugh in the face of her battles. But I am not a special parent who earned a special child. It doesn’t work that way!!! Rather, it is because Zoey is an amazing little girl that I have anything special in my parenting. Please don’t credit me for receiving a gift that has been far beyond my control.      

The Birth of David, a story with a happy beginning.


It was a dark and
stormy night…just kidding. It was a calm and cool early morning in
November around 3am. I hadn’t been able to sleep after my prenatal
appointment that day had revealed a dilation of 4cm. It is always
hard to know what a birth experience will be like ahead of time, but
I was told to compare with my own mom, as well as my previous
delivery. For Zoey’s birth I had two and a half hours of active
labor, and we had arrived at the hospital early because I was worried
that I hadn’t felt any movement all day.  My mom’s four deliveries
ranged from two to four hours long of active labor, so I was on pins
and needles to make sure I made it to the hospital in time. At 3am, I
started feeling faint contractions about fifteen minutes apart. By
3:15am they had increased to every 4-5 minutes. I woke up Michael,
left sleeping Zoey with her grandma, and we were on the road by
3:30am. Although I new I had steady contractions, they weren’t
painful or heavy. I was more excited and nervous than anything. We
checked into the newly remodeled L&D wing of VCU Medical Center
at 4am and the first person I saw in our birthing suite was the
midwife who had helped me through Zoey’s delivery. I was immediately
relieved to see a familiar face, and so grateful to have the exact
personality I needed to face my fears head on. And for the next few
hours, I repeatedly came to grips with the fear that I might
experience the same agonizing pain as I did with Zoey. My efforts to
stay calm and relaxed were so much less from pressure or pain, and
more because of that fear. But you know, active labor has a way of
making us think of nothing else beyond that second and that moment. I
had been using a birthing tub, and it had relaxed me too much so that
the contractions had backed off. I decided I didn’t really need water
this time, and contractions began building again around 6am. Sometime
around 7:55am, I unloaded a ridiculous amount of amniotic fluid. You
know it’s more than usual when the nurses are muffling expressions of
surprise, and it sounds like a gallon bucket of water just hit the
floor. I made an important discover in the next five seconds:
contractions are so much more painful once the fluid is gone! In
short, a few pushes and a few minutes later, I heard a wail echo my
own. All 20 inches of sweet, deafening David Michael emerged on November 14, 2013, at 8:02am. He was completely healthy with long finger and toe nails and
a little mohawk of coppery blond hair. The hair color has remained
true sixteen months later, and I love it. David was tossed into my arms immediately
for about an hour before he was weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz. At that
point I started broadening my thoughts a bit and realized that the
rush was over. I don’t remember the APGAR score, but he was fine, I
was fine, and we were discharged the next day. No pain medication, no
IVs, no emergency training, no tubes or even formula feeding. It all
seemed too easy, and yet I didn’t want to ask too many questions. We
were all happy to be going home so quickly. In hindsight, I might
have complained so much more had David been my first, but the
comparison was so drastic that I was thrilled with the whole process.
The only medical suggestion was that David’s ears be taped down for a
few weeks so that they would grow more flattened. They were bunched
up in little balls when he was born. The tape was mostly successful,
and we have never been very concerned with the appearance of his
ears. In the shadow of someone as unique as Zoey, he needs something
to call his own too. He was born an enthusiastic eater, and he gained
back his full birth weight within five days. It would probably be
fair to say that I have had one of the more traumatic birth stories,
and also one of the simplest. Both have resulted in beautiful little
lives and I am so blessed. “Every good and perfect gift is from
above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not
change life shifting shadows.” James 1:17