Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm a Winner!!!

Note the gash above the right brow.  That one is the inspiration for this post.
The one on her forehead occurred later in the day (the result of a topple into a coffee table!)
I guess the girl takes after her Mama...Call her "Grace"!

I never want to give the impression that I am some kind of super mom.  Sometimes it is easy (and most rewarding) to post only my shining moments.  The kind of moments that were created out of happy children and winning parenting skills.  The reality is, those moments are closely followed by the not so winning parenting moments.  I try to find a healthy balance of discipline and fun, and to teach my children a lesson through their (and my) mistakes whenever possible.   All that to say....

This morning I had great intentions.

I started my day with prayers for each of the kids.  I've been trying to do that more and more (thank you Angie :).  Most days, before my feet even hit the ground, I pray for patience, faith, self-control, understanding, good times, and growth.....for all of us.  I want us all (including me and Chris) to practice those things throughout our days.  Today, however, started out especially difficult considering I could already hear the older two kids fighting in the den before I even opened my eyes good.  It was not going to be pretty.

I have a morning policy that most of my loved ones understand pretty well.  I don't like to make any decisions or have any important conversations until I have had at least 1 cup of coffee.  I know, I know....  It's just the way it is around this house!  Sadly, Lucy has picked up on this morning ritual, and she usually joins me for that very first cup (don't worry, hers is more milk than coffee).  Well, today, they didn't even let me get to the kitchen before I had to break up the first fight, and that never starts me out on the right foot.  I was determined to turn this thing around.  

Mid-morning, I decided to throw all the kids in the bathtub.  We have a party tonight, and it would be less hassle (plus, a warm bath is always good for turning their moods around)!  I quickly bathed Greer and got the big kids started.  After I dressed her, the other two were ready to get out and get dressed.  In the process, they proceeded to dump about half to the contents of the tub onto my bathroom floor, but I rushed them off to find some clothes while I cleaned it up.  

Two minutes later, I can hear them fighting upstairs (monitors are good for more than just listening to your sleeping newborn).  I ran to the bottom of the stairs and I screamed at the top of my lungs calmly asked them to come down.....NOW!  At that precise moment, I hear Greer screaming in my bathroom.  I run and grab her (she actually quits crying immediately) and return to the stairs where my naked children are patiently waiting on the third step.  Chris has heard the ruckus from his downstairs office and came up to help with the beating disciplining.  Just as we were doling out the punishments (no DS for Reeves and no "Max and Ruby" for Lucy), I noticed the blood.

Yes, I said Blood!

Greer had a gash just above her eye, right on top of her Port Wine Stain.  It seemed to be gaping a bit, and was oozing bright red blood.  LOVELY!!!  What a great mom am I!!!!

There I stood....screaming at the big kids while my baby was bleeding in my arms.  How's that for a winning mommy moment?  I know many of you can relate, or at least will feel better about yourselves by hearing such a story.  I live to serve, my friends, live to serve!!!



  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To grandmother's house we went!

We just spent the past three days in the little bitty town in west Alabama where both my parents grew up.  In fact, all four of my grandparents still live there, and it is wonderful to be able to visit with everyone all in one trip (aunts, uncles, and all my grandparents).  To say that my kids love going there is truly an understatement.  They have a blast every time, and we should really do it more often.  

During the past 3 days, we ate some really great food (beans, greens, and cornbread were at the top of the list), slept in very comfy beds (thanks to my grandmother, Bubba, who makes the best bed in the Northern Hemisphere), and slowed down a bit (well, at least when Greer was sleeping).  It was nice to unplug for a few days (no internet access or cell service really makes for a relaxing time)!  In this New Year, I am going to try to go for a visit at least every couple of months....who knows how much longer I will have my grandparents (all four still married and living in their own homes) living like they are now.  It is such a gift to spend time with them and to have the opportunity for my children get to know them.  I am feeling immensely blessed.  Thank you God for Bubba and Poppa and Nana and Granddaddy!

And, well,  as for the rest of our free time...

Reeves has been doing a whole lotta this!


All three of the kids have been doing not enough of this!
(although I did manage to get them in the bath this morning for the
first time in who knows how long!!!)


And after they got all clean...we all enjoyed a gloriously beautiful day together!

It was sunny and warm and gorgeous!!  The big kids had a blast exploring all around Bubba and Poppa's house.  They hiked, climbed, and played in the mud (I actually had to change Reeves' clothes 3 times before we finally left to head home).  They climbed trees, ran, and slid down hills on cardboard boxes.  But most of all....we laughed. Reeves, Lucy, and Greer laughed and loved and spent time with their Great-Grandparents!  What a BLESSING that is!!!  

I just wish I had more pictures to share.  Turns out, great-grandparents houses are not exactly kid friendly.  I spent the better part of the past 3 days keeping Greer alive (i.e. away from stairs and gas space heaters) and attempted to keep their treasures intact!  Didn't leave a lot of time for snapping shots!  Maybe next time! 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Days at Home

We're home for the holidays this year, and it has been really nice.  We usually travel up to see my parents (who are only an hour away), but this year we have totally been vegging out at home.  It has been really fun and relaxing.  Chris has been home a good bit, too, and we have really been catching up on our "family" time.  Because of our work schedules, we don't get a lot of time together (I work every other weekend).  It has been nice to have several days together at home.


The kids have played with all their new toys, stayed up late, stayed in their pjs till 2 in the afternoon, eaten breakfast at 10 am and dinner at 3 pm, slept in the den, bathed whenever they felt like it, and watched every Christmas movie known to man.  What could be better?

I know this sounds a bit indulgent.  I know that it sounds like I am a really permissive parent, but the truth is, I am so happy to see my children enjoying this freedom.  They need this kind of freedom every once in a while, and it is so good for them.  Don't get me wrong....they thrive on routine.  I know that there will be a point where enough will be enough.  In fact, tonight they fell asleep on the couch at 7 o'clock.  But, they are gonna love the memories of Christmas break.  They will remember the chance they had to eat Hershey's kisses at 9:30 in the morning, and take a bath after lunch.  THIS is what life is ALL about!

These are the days that I will remember forever and ever.  I love this time with my kiddos!  All that said, I know we'll all be happy to get back to our regular routine in a week or so.  Till then......


Monday, December 22, 2008

Not me!, Monday


It's that time again!  "Not Me! Monday" is a blog carnival hosted by my friend MckMama over at www.mycharmingkids.net.  It's a chance for all us perfect moms to have a little time to be brutally honest about our perfect lives, children, houses, families....

So in the spirit of Christmas....here is my holiday version of "Not Me! Monday"!  Please head on over to MckMama's blog to check out more Not Me moments!!!  They are sure to NOT lift your spirits, too!

Today is NOT our first day off of school for over 2 weeks, and I did NOT have to have a "Come to Jesus" with my kiddos about behavior and expectations (they do NOT thrive on routine and the lack of structure does NOT make them a little wild and crazy).  After we all talked about our expectations (both mine and theirs), things did NOT get sooo much better! 


But, I must mention that Greer did NOT give me a look like this (along with her siblings) when I told them to sit down so we could talk.  They did NOT know that I was serious about getting a handle on our day before it spiraled out of control!!!  

I am not DYING to tell the kids that Santa has agreed to come one night early since I DO NOT have to work on Christmas Day.  I DO NOT think that they will be so excited that they will not drive me absolutely bonkers about it (with more questions than I really want to have to answer as to how I was NOT able to convince Santa to do such a thing).  

I have NOT got about a million things to do to get ready for my family to come in to town today (or tomorrow...they haven't decided when they are coming for sure), and I am NOT looking forward to reading some more "Not Me" posts as soon as I post mine.  

I did NOT cry the other night when I came home to find this special gift on my front door.  It did NOT make my heart swell with joy, knowing that my kids do not know what the true meaning of Christmas is all about!!!

I did NOT have a surprisingly wonderful day off yesterday (I was NOT supposed to have to work, and I did NOT get put "on call" and get to have an entire day at home with my family).  We did NOT have a great time visiting with Chris' family, and we did NOT eat lots of yummy food (NOT including yummy smores made by Chris and Reeves in the backyard firepit).

Now that the temperature has NOT hit below freezing, it does NOT finally feel like Christmas around here.  We did not have 2 weeks of dreary, muggy weather that felt more like the beginning of Spring instead of the week before Christmas.  


And if this is NOT the sweetest thing you have seen today, well then I am NOT surprised.  It was NOT such a sweet moment that I am NOT posting it again so you can see it here on "Not Me, Monday"!

Merry Christmas!!!  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Christmas Card

Friday, December 19, 2008

And to all a "go" night!!!

It's way too late for me to be up doing this, but I just can't help myself.  I know that the next two days are going to hold nothing but work craziness (24 hours of work in 2 days is about all I can muster....blogging after I get off is just not gonna happen).  But tonight, my heart is swelling with such joy that I can't let the moment slip away without sharing it....

I had a girls night out with my sweet friend Angela.  We waited till the babies were all tucked in, and then we went for a nice leisurely stroll through Target followed by a movie....it was so much fun.  Right before I left, Reeves had decided that he wanted to draw a picture of the nativity.  I got really excited, too, and helped him put several pieces of paper together so he would have enough room to get it all in.  In his words, "I wanna draw it ALL".  So, he had me set up the little plastic manger scene he and his sisters play with and to tell him about everybody....just one more time.  He said he was going to do it "just exactly like it looks" and that he couldn't wait for me to see it when I got home.  

I know I shouldn't admit this, but I had totally forgotten about the whole thing (it was quite fun to have a completely kid/husband-free evening...sorry guys!), until we drove into the driveway and I saw this taped to the front door....



If that weren't enough to make me cry....look what he wrote!



I love my sweet precious baby boy.....and I thank the father above for sending His sweet baby boy.  He is the reason for the season.  

Night Y'all!  I'm going to go kiss my babies and head to bed. 

"Hi Santa!"


Well, If you want to know where the real Santa Claus is.....come to Birmingham!!!  The big kids were charmed as usual (and made sure to get in their wish list items) and Greer was absolutely mesmerized.  I mean, she never took her eyes off the dude!  So precious!!!  


I love this picture!  Look at the joy in Lucy's eyes as she watches Greer seeing Santa for the first time!  P.r.e.c.i.o.u.s.!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yours




A letter for a mother (and a great cause....click the picture above to find out more)....

Dear Mother,

By nature, I am a worrier.....and a bit of a control freak. These traits have never been my finest ones and they still can rear their ugly heads from time to time. As a child, I would make myself sick with worry (over a bad grade, a glass of spilled grape juice, an uncomfortable conversation, an unfortunate wardrobe decision...you get my drift)!  I would replay scenarios and situations over and over in my head with "what ifs" and "if only I hads" and I had a hard time getting over stuff. I would try to rationalize, and justify, and solve every scary situation with my own genius solutions. In the end, I never seemed to feel any better after trying to figure it out myself.  Thank goodness I finally figured out how God fit in.

I had some good years doing it God's way, and by trusting His plan....they were years of growth and happiness and peace. During that time, I found friends who would be there for a lifetime, a church home that would open new and amazing dimensions in my spiritual growth, and I found the strength to pursue the love of my life....my soul mate. I have nothing but wonderful memories of those years. There was peace, trust, understanding, and hopefulness.

And the years went by, and I had my first baby.  A BOY baby (I had no idea what I was supposed to do with a boy, but I figured God knew what He was doing). It was a love so intense, and unimaginable, and those old feelings of control and worry made their way back into my fragile life.  I can look back now and see that it was probably postpartum depression/anxiety,and during that time, I couldn't even begin to understand how I could trust God to take care of this baby boy of mine.  He was totally and completely my responsibility (well, Chris' too) and I was overwhelmed with fear and worry.  It was as if the God whom I had trusted for all those years before was nowhere to be found....and I was too lost in myself to even know where or how to find Him.

I had trouble keeping the scary thoughts at bay.  What if he got hurt, what if he died in his sleep, what if he got scared while he was with the babysitter, what if his tummy hurt....what if, what if, what if!  I was eaten UP with guilt.  I mean, I'm talkin', "can't even take a shower for fear of leaving him alone for one tiny second" kinda guilt.  It was AWFUL!!!

And well, as you can imagine, that didn't work out for very long.  Slowly, but surely (through God's grace), He helped me out of the pit.  It was as if I woke up from a nightmare and God revealed something life changing to me.  It isn't very often that I really feel like I truly hear Him, but after that time of darkness....it really did happen.

Do you know what He told me?  

"They're Mine!"  

In that moment, I gave my child (and my subsequent children) back to Him.  I began to understand that before they were mine, they were HIS.  They will always be His.  It was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders....I can't even describe the freedom and joy and peace that that revelation brought to my life as a mother.  Instead of guilt, there was joy.  Instead of worry, there was peace.  Instead of doubt, there was hope.  I let go and let God.....and I prayed.

I prayed for them to become who HE would want them to be, and I quit worrying about who I thought they should be.  I praise him for giving me a baby who would only live in my womb for a few short weeks and for the chance to meet that baby (whom we named Tate) one day in heaven.  I thank him for the opportunity to show these precious souls what it means to live on this Earth and to love our Father in heaven.  For they belonged to Him before they belonged to me.  

Thank you God for giving me the chance to love these little souls....for before they were mine, they were YOURS!!!

May you find this same kind of Peace in your Motherhood journey!

Love from another Mother,
Megan 

What would YOU write about YOUR journey into motherhood???   

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Christmas Tour of Homes

BooMamaChristmasTour


Welcome Y'all!  This Christmas (my first Christmas in the blogging world), I am excited to be a part of BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes 2008!  Sit back, relax, and enjoy this fun little holiday excursion from the comfort of YOUR own home.  There are hundreds of homes on the tour this year, and I am looking forward to sitting down to take the virtual tour later tonight when the children are nestled all snug in their beds!  

Here's a glimpse at how we deck the halls!  Merry Christmas to all....and to all a Good Night!



I love to decorate with fresh cuts of holly and cedar.  And since it's the South....you gotta add in just a *touch* of Magnolia!


This year, we add a new stocking to our mantle!  Sweet baby Greer will be ONE in January! It seems like she has been with us forever....have I mentioned how delicious she is?!


This is the tree that I decorated for only $35 dollars (including shipping and handling!).  I kid you NOT!!  It was my greatest EBay purchase EVER, and it has been sooooo worth the risk.  Wasn't sure what I might get when I won this huge lot of Christmas ornaments from a wholesale liquidator, but for bargain price of $11.....I would take my chances.  Every. single. item. you see on this tree came from that $11 win (well, except the bow)!  Hard to believe, but true!!!

We also have a BIG family tree that is in our basement (where we spend a lot of family time and Christmas morning).  I can't get down there to take a picture of it right now because Chris is busy working.  I'll be sure to show it off next year (or you may see it later on this month)!


The wreath my Mom made for me....it reminds me so much of her (she loves rafia)!  It was among our first decorations as a married couple and I still love it!



This Christmas memory book is invaluable to me.  It holds all of the memories of our Christmases together as a family (9 years of memories so far!!!).  I love reading through it every year...it is such a treasure.  The kids love it, too!  I stuff it full of our family Christmas cards and pictures.  I document every teeny, tiny detail (and if you enlarge this picture, you'll see that this was the year when I received my sweet little apple!)....all those things that are so easy to forget from year to year.  I'm usually crying by the time I'm done!


Here is Reeves' "all sports" tree....he loves him some Alabama football (if you couldn't tell by all that Crimson and White)!  The tree skirt out of shakers was totally his idea....pretty clever!


And Lucy's very "pink" tree!  She loves the tutu skirt and the white lights.  I have my eye on a pretty purple one for Greer....after-Christmas sales are my friend this year!  I'm working on my list as. we. speak!


My favorite Christmas dishes (that I haven't managed to pull out yet)....it's kinda hectic around here!  My sweet mother-in-law has gotten them all for me over the past few years, and I just LOVE them!  I plan to enjoy at least a few meals on these before the season is through!


And of course....the REAL reason for the season!  I love this nativity (we have 3 or 4 and they are all very special to us!)  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Imagine! A Challenge to ALL of us!!!

**Make Sure You Go to the Bottom and Pause My Music!**

I've really tried to spend a lot of this season talking to the kids about the impact that the economy is having on our Christmas this year.  We've really cut down on the things we buy, and we are trying to find ways to give back of our time and our money in ways that will remind us of the true meaning for the season.....

After I watched this video clip today....I was hopeful and challenged and changed.  Be in prayer about this and consider making a change.  Wow....wouldn't it be amazing if we could all just GET IT!!!!

Today, in the season of Advent, we light the candle of JOY!  Soon the baby Jesus will come!  JOY to the WORLD!

"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Makin' Memories!

Just so you know....I DON'T live for my son's "come aparts" and I DO NOT EVER plan to hurt his feelings.  However, I have succeeded in that not once, but TWICE this week!  Basically, I am having some sad mommy moments when it comes to my first born.  It doesn't help that he is just exactly like me and that when things don't go quite as planned....well, the tears may roll.  

Thankfully, he is easily distracted and off to the next thing in no time.  Whew!  I was feeling pretty awful about this latest blunder...and he was NOT impressed by me.  Not One. Little. Bit!

You see, I had really good intentions.  When I saw this lovely gingerbread kit last night at Target, I decided that it would be a fun "Saturday afternoon" activity for us.  I mean, who doesn't like a good craft that involves some sweet treats!?

When they saw it on the counter this morning, they were beyond excited.  They drove me crazy till I finally decided to dive in and get to it.  Isn't it a cute little picture!?  How hard could it be?


It even came with some snowmen and a tree for them to decorate and eat!  Yummmmy!

So, it started out just fine.  Chris helped me construct it with icing and our four hands.  We set the timer for 30 minutes (the time they suggested before starting the decorations so that it would have time to set and harden).

As soon as that timer went off....they came running.  So far so good!  

Until....

Well, it just wasn't as easy as it looked like it would be.  And when all was said and done....THIS is what our Gingerbread House looked like!

NOT quite as pretty as the version on the box.  Reeves had "first child, perfectionist expectations" for this sweet little gingerbread house, and well, this is what he got.  And it was ALL MY FAULT!!!  I WAS the one who put on the icing, and I was the one who couldn't get the red balls to stay on top of the door, and I was the one that couldn't for the LIFE of me figure out how to make icicles hang from the rooftop!  And I thought it was HILARIOUS!!!  I couldn't stop laughing...even while he was crying.  Lucy couldn't quit laughing either!  Reeves, however, never got the humor at all!

And, well, he cried a bit, and pitched a little fit, and went to time out, and then he forgot about it.  All I can say is.....I will NEVER forget the day that we made the really ugly gingerbread house, and I can't wait till the day when he will laugh about it too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

WOW....it's late!

....and I really need to go to bed!  


I worked a full day in babyland (aka Labor and Delivery in my very busy and interesting hospital).  I don't share much of  *that* life with you here, and I may try to start sharing it a bit more.  It is a big, important part of who I am, and I love it (as crazy and twisted and joyful and wonderful and weird and surprising as it can sometimes be)!

I DID have to use my poker face today (on multiple occasions) when I heard things that would blow your mind, and I DID have fun working with 2 of my favorite girls, and I DID enjoy feeling a baby move in a patient's tummy and sharing with her how much I loved feeling those stirrings in my own womb.  Being a mommy sure makes me a better L&D nurse...that much is true!

It was a really. good. day!

P.S.  I happened to try a new treat at Starbucks today (the Carmel Apple Cider).  I HIGHLY recommend it!  Deeeelish-E-OHsOOO!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time Out for Caden!

So, as you probably know, the elves get into mischief every now and then.  Actually, Caden is a fairly well behaved little elf, but every once in a while....well, you know.  It seems that usually the mischief is fairly innocent and it's usually pretty funny to find out what trouble he has gotten himself into.  


Night before last, however, little Caden made a terrible decision, and one little boy in this house was NOT amused.....not even one little bit!!!

Have you heard of reindeer food?  Well, it is a fun little craft that my kids have been making for the past few years at various Christmas parties and such.  It is usually a concoction of oats, glitter, sprinkles, etc.  That version is not really edible, and therefore there was never a temptation to sample the treat meant for Santa's eight little reindeer and Rudolph......

Until this year!  Reeves' sweet teacher, Mrs. A, has another version....an OH SO Yummy version!  It's made of delicious granola, m&m's, white chocolate chips and is so very divine.  You see, it was one of those things that you can't get enough of.....not even if you are an elf!  Before we knew it,  Caden had eaten almost the ENTIRE bag!  He left the evidence on the kitchen counter, and when I discovered the mess the next morning with Caden covered in granola....well, I thought the kids would think it was hilarious, too.  

Think AGAIN!  Yeah, Reeves basically took one look at the disastrous scene and burst into the biggest crocodile tears you have ever seen.  It was pitiful!!!  Caden felt terrible about the huge violation and he's still trying to redeem himself!!!  Thankfully, Reeves was a bit appeased when he found Caden this morning.....in the time out chair.  

I think Caden better stay out of trouble for at least a few days.... 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Introducing.....Caden!!!

***Update***  My sister, Erin (aka Aunt Becca) reminded me that I need to tell you about this cool little mantel scene that Caden is sitting on!  Chris' Aunt Cathy gave it to us last Christmas, and the picture just doesn't do it justice.  It glows beautifully, and is such a treasure.  I wish you could see it in the dark!!!  Thanks Aunt Cathy for such an awesome gift....you always give us such treasured keepsakes!  Merry Christmas!

Many of my other blogging friends have introduced their elves, so I had to join in the fun!!!  Caden has returned for his second Christmas season in our home, and he is doing a great job keeping the kids in line.  I'm sure that his big sister, Katie, is very proud of him.  You see, Katie was our first elf, but alas, Katie was forced into retirement after only one Christmas with our kiddos....they simply loved her TOO much!

Yes, they loved her so much that her arm fell off and her face disappeared!!!  Katie decided that she should spend her elf retirement back at Santa's estate at the North Pole.  But never fear.....she sent a great replacement!


Meet CADEN!!!
(Katie's little brother)

Caden had some big (or should I say little) shoes to fill, and he has not disappointed!!!  Each day, he greets them with some surprise or another (mostly with some sort of mischief!), and he has even made a few trips to their special places!!!  Last week, he joined us for storytime, and just yesterday he went to school with Lucy.  While the class was in the library, Caden snuck out of Lucy's backpack and ransacked the room.....all of her friends were delighted!

I'll try to keep you posted of Caden's mis-adventures, if not by blog post, then by twitter!  

Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

For unto US a CHILD is Born!!!

Before you click PLAY....please go to the bottom and pause my music playlist!!!

Merry Christmas!

(Lucy is the first little kid to talk...aren't they all adorable!?)


Not me!, Monday


I have NOT missed out on the past 3 or so "Not me!" Mondays, and I have NOT been sad about it!  The past few weeks have NOT been VERY busy, but never fear!  I HAVE (I really have been) reading all the other "Not me!" moments, and they always brighten my day.  Make your way over to MckMama's blog for some brutally honest "Not me!" moments....they are sure to (NOT) disappoint!

Greer did NOT have her 5th laser surgery for her Port Wine Stain this past Tuesday, and we did NOT decide that a few errands were in order by about Thursday (there is only so long you can stay in the house with three little kiddos).  While we were at the Dollar General, a little old lady did NOT say to me, "WHAT did YOU DO to her?!" in a very judgemental, accusing tone.  I did NOT almost blurt out (for equal shock value), "Well, I burned her with cigarette butts, if it's any of your business!"  No, I chose NOT to go there, and instead I smiled and told her what really happened.  It NEVER ceases to amaze me what people will actually say out loud!!!  

I did NOT walk by my front doors (which are half glass) PRACTICALLY naked at the precise MOMENT my mailwoman (thank heavens) was knocking on my door!

I did NOT eat leftover chicken casserole and chips and salsa for breakfast a couple of mornings this week.  

I have NOT only gotten about half the Christmas decorations up.  Nope, I got ALL of the decorations up on the DAY after Thanksgiving, and my house is immaculately clean and glistening with Christmas cheer!!!

I did NOT catch Reeves having a battle of the nativity sets on the dining room table.  He did NOT let the plastic baby Jesus from his kid friendly nativity go head to head with a lamb from my treasured ceramic nativity!  Nope, that would be SO very UN-holy, and I would NEVER tolerate it ONE BIT!  

I did NOT cry last night at the end of the children's Christmas play at our church when Lucy proclaimed (in the sweetest little 4 year old voice)...."For unto US a child is born!"  I was NOT so proud of both my little actors (Reeves had a really big part, and he just SHINED!!!).  It did NOT warm my heart and truly get me in the Christmas spirit.

And, I do NOT have an entire house to clean today, and I will probably NOT spend Greer's naptime reading "Not me!" moments and  book 2 in the Twilight series!  Nope, NOT ME!!!

What about you?!



 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lucy....with "AT-TI-TUUUUDE"


Seriously....it is upon us!!!  This is just a little conversation I overheard this morning....


"Lucy, what do you want for breakfast?," Chris asked.

"Whatever..."  she replied.

"Do you want cereal, or grits, or waffles....what?"....he asked.

"I SAID.....WHAT-ever" she replied (with attitude, I might add)!

Cereal is presented.  With milk, spoon, and apple juice.

"NOOOOOTTTTTT THAAAAAT!!!"  She YELLED!!!

"You said "whatever," Lucy" Chris answered (with a bit of frustration in his voice)!

"I meant anything BUUUUTTTTT That!!!!"  She replied!

Seriously....we are THERE!!!  And, for the record.....we  did NOT tolerate the attitude!!!  

But, it DID make me laugh a little!  Chris was NOT amused!!!  I love a sassy girl....sometimes ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prayer for a Birthmark Buddy in the UK

One of the blessings that has come from Greer's birthmark journey are the friends we have made along the way.  It is unbelievable how many friends we have come to know through support groups, google searches, blogs, conferences, and word of mouth.  I am so thankful for these friends and for the support, encouragement, understanding, information, and prayers they bestow upon us.  It is truly one of the main ways I have been able to get through this all so confidently.


I think I met Sharon through my blog (is that right Sharon?).  She was doing a search on the Internet concerning Port Wine Stains, and she found us.  She was interested enough in our story to contact me, and from there we became friends on Facebook.  Her little Remy has just turned 2, and she has a PWS on her beautifully precious face.  She is purely delicious (as is her baby sister Maddie).  We have swapped stories, pictures, concerns, and joys.  We've talked about faith and trusting God.  We've talked about doctors visits and treatment options.  I have been praying for sweet Remy and her mom, and thank God for bringing us together.

Remy has not yet been able to start laser treatments for her PWS.  There have been unforeseen obstacles, and Sharon has had to cancel treatments for Remy for now.  Remy has been very sick...and she can't seem to get better.  She had a terrible case of chicken pox several months ago, and has not been the same since.  She is weak and sickly, and her mom is very concerned about her.  The doctors can't figure out what is going on.  

Please take some time today to pray for Remy, and to pray for Sharon.  Pray for the doctors to discover what is ailing her and how to make her better.  Please pray for her to be healed so that she may begin her treatments soon.  Please pray for Sharon to have peace and to know that she is a wonderful Mommy.  Please pray in whatever way you feel led.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordful Wednesday


As you can see from the picture, Greer is "happily healing" from her laser treatment yesterday. I know that Thankgiving is over, but yesterday reminded me of what I am truly thankful for this year. When Greer came into our life almost 11 months ago, I had no idea how much her little life would rock our world. When she was born with the Port Wine Stain, there were so many questions about her health and her future, and it was my first real experience with that emotional roller coaster that comes when you have a child with health issues.


But we prayed for her, we loved her, we covered her with kisses. We adjusted to life with three kids (which was WAY harder than we had anticipated.....), we visited multiple doctors, we asked lots of questions, and found lots of answers (some that were the polar opposite of the answer we got the fifteenth first time we asked them). I started a blog, I found a support network, we met people we never expected to ever meet in a million years (people who will be friends for a lifetime!). Those friends have prayed for us, and cried with us, and answered our questions. Many of them we will never meet. I started to receive emails and phone calls and friend requests on Facebook from other moms. Moms with babies born just after Greer, and they were right there where I was in January. And I was able to help them, and pray for them, and tell them what I had learned. It has definitely come full circle.

Greer began laser treatments, and they were NOT fun (as Lucy would say)! She cried, and was bruised, and was swollen, but with each treatment it got a little easier. Her birthmark is almost gone. It's fading away more and more with each treatment, and for that we thank our loving, faithful God. We thank the doctors and the nurses and our family. So far she has no signs of Sturge-Weber Syndrome, and we will pray for that to continue. The next year will hold a few more tests to be sure, but so far so good.

So this holiday season, I am thankful. Thankful for our health, our family, our friends, our church family, our blog followers, our prayer warriors.....all of it. And I am thankful for the precious angel that Greer is. She is just about the most delicious baby on the planet. I am so in love with her (and all my babies), and I just praise God for giving them to me.

Praise Be To God....for HE is faithful!

For more "Wordful Wednesday" posts, check out this great blog.....I think I'm hooked on this one. Several of them made me cry already!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nope, It wasn't a bar brawl....


Even though Greer does look pretty drunk and beat up!!!  She did GREAT today (well, except coming out of anesthesia)!  Thanks so much for all the prayers, and for the words of encouragement.  They were definitely felt!


She got some good bruising (which usually leads to more fading).  Her ear is unusually swollen this time, and it sort of looks like an old man ear :)  I will try to get some good pics of it later.  We'll be gooey and bruised for close to 2 weeks, but should be good as new in time for Christmas morning pictures!


Dr. Theos put a few dots on her face to outline the birthmark.  It has lightened so well, sometimes it can be hard to see when she is put to sleep.  I was relieved by the conversation I had with Dr. Theos concerning Greer's eyes.  She believes it would be a very good idea to coordinate a check of her interocular pressure by an Opthamologist during her next treatment at the end of January (it is best if done while they are under anesthesia).  That is a huge answer to prayer.  I mean HUGE!!  More verification that I'm not CRAZY!!!  I have been wanting to have a baseline pressure check so that we can better detect glaucoma if it develops in the future (praying for it to NEVER develop).  


And here....well, we were just trying to stay entertained!!!

An Unbelievable Contest for Some VERY Worthy Causes.....


Check THIS out!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Treatment #5....Here we come!!


My sweet precious baby girl is headed for laser treatment #5 in the morning.  If you don't know her birthmark story, I encourage you to read about it here.  It is amazing how far she has come, and all the things we have learned as we travel this journey with her.  Greer is an absolute blessing from God, and she has taught us so much in her short little 10 months here on Earth.  


5 o'clock is going to come early, and I know I need to be sleeping.  I am pretty hyped up and anxious, even though I know she is in God's hands.  She will be put to sleep again for this treatment, and with that comes a bit of anxiety.  I know that God will be with her in the operating room, and I will be praying for her and her doctors and nurses as they take care of her.  If you feel led, I would love some extra prayers in the morning.  We have to be there at 6 and Chris will be staying with the other kids and getting them to school.  I know I can handle it, but knowing that you are praying for us will surely give me peace as I sit and wait for her to come back from recovery.  I plan to keep my twitter up to date, too.

Chris has just gone back to bed, after sitting with me and praying over our sweet one.  I have so much to be thankful for, and I praise God for the amazing healing we have seen so far.  I think I'll go join him and pray for some peaceful sleep....for all of us! 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Iron Bowl Saturday

Intensity....even before the game begins!!!
Good thing we DESTROYED THEM!!!  
Rollllll Tide, Roll!!

Hope we didn't scare Landon off...I really like him!
(Aren't they cute?)


Our own personal Cheerleaders!!!
They entertained us throughout the game with the most hilarious cheers


An attempt at a Group Photo.....yeah, right!

And some random goodness.  Who can resist a good pickle!?
Thanks for helping him fish it out Landon....You are his hero!!!

****Update**** Photos are Up!!

No pictures for this post....yet!  I forgot to bring the cable for my camera, so you'll have to wait a few days to have some visual proof of our fun times in Gadsden.  I plan to take a lot of pictures today of our cheerleaders and football player.  Some Iron Bowl festivities are sure to bring out a little "Roll Tide Roll" in all of us.  

We're all here taking over my parents usually quiet home.  All in all, there are 10 adults and 5 kids (plus at least 4 animals) still here.  Thanksgiving day was a bit more crowded, but we all loved it.  It is so wonderful to gather together for fun and fellowship, and you can't beat the food.  Today the weather is drizzly and cold, so we are having to be a bit creative in order to keep the natives from getting too restless.  My mom is currently helping the girls make some homemade pom poms to have in time for kickoff....

Erin brought "the boy" home and everyone loves him.  Landon fits right in like he's known us all forever.  The kids have broken him in pretty well, and he is so great with them.  Especially Reeves!  He is very impressed by anyone who will play legos and football with him, and was so proud when Landon started calling him "Go-go".  He has definitely won his heart!  Let's just hope that "the boy" still likes us after he gets to experience the intensity of watching Alabama football with Chris and my Dad!

Greer has developed a passion for dancing that is absolutely hilarious.  I'm gonna try to catch it on video at some point today.  She simply can't help herself....once the music starts she's movin'.  Last night when I was rocking her to sleep, I started singing the lullabies I always sing to her.  The room was completely dark, and I could barely make out her face.  As soon as I started to sing, I felt a little wiggle.  She was dancing herself to sleep.  I LOVE this girl!!!

We're stuffing ourself again today, and watching a little football.  Tomorrow will come too soon, and we will all carry ourselves home.  Sadly we will not all be together for Christmas this year, but we have enjoyed this special weekend together.  I wish we all lived closer, but it makes times like these even more special I think.  I am so thankful for my wonderful family, and I pray that God brings us all back together safe and sound very soon.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


(Hide and Seek)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What took us to New York in the first place?

....besides a plane full of annoyed passengers who I am certain shared the following sentiment.... "It would have been a great flight had it not been for the screaming baby!" Yep, I was that mom...you know, the one with the screaming baby!


We were there for the Vascular Birthmarks Conference hosted by the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. This amazing organization hosts a conference each year for medical experts, patients, and their families. The morning was full of presentations by medical professionals who are experts in the field of "all things birthmark". There were hemangioma experts, vascular surgeons, dermatologists, oncologists, interventional radiologists, a neurosurgeon who specializes in Sturge Weber Syndrome.....the list goes on and on. I just took it all in, realizing that this conference was beneficial to me for both personal and professional reasons. I feel that God has a plan for me to be an advocate for patients and their families who may be born with a vascular birthmark. I look forward to the day when I can refer a patient to the proper medical experts.....so many patients fall through the cracks. This opportunity to serve others is one of the "blessings" that has come from Greer's birthmark journey.

It can be very frustrating to have a child with a rare condition. Friends and pediatricians and local specialists may give you a multitude of false (usually outdated) information, simply due to ignorance. I don't really fault them. It's like any specialty....new advances and findings all the time. I believe that it is the responsibility of a primary care giver to know when to refer, and to not be afraid to refer when they don't know what they are dealing with. The common sentiment is that "I wish they had done something sooner." Greer was blessed to have referals and treatments very early on, but that doesn't mean there haven't been questions along the way. There have been times when I have had to bite my tongue when someone says something that is outdated or no longer the standard of care for these patients (and I am not just talking about Greer's situation). You want the best care for your child. You get accused of being an "internet junky" who is trying to diagnose/treat their own kid. You may get labeled as crazy and over reactive, but in the midst of all that, you realize that you DO know what you are talking about. You get your hands on the latest research, the latest findings from the experts (of which there are only a handful), and they are telling you things that GREATLY conflict with what your local practitioners are telling you. I have met many families with these frustrating circumstances.


So what do you think happens when a bunch of "crazy" parents and adults living with vascular birthmarks and associated syndromes gather with the experts at a conference in NYC?  Those experts THANK US for pushing their research. Yep...that is what they did at this conference. They thanked us for being strong advocates, for asking questions, for searching the proper websites, for joining the support groups, and for sending them emails and pictures. They thanked us for BLOGGING! They thanked us for posting our stories on YOUTUBE! It was such awesome affirmation. Best of all....it made me not feel so crazy after all!!!


If you have a chance, visit this website.  I met so many wonderful people that day, and even got to speak with some who I have gotten to know over the past few months via the internet.  One of those families has gone to unbelieveable lengths to get the best possible treatment for their little girl.  You simply won't believe it!!!   Through it they found the amazing Dr. Waner. What he did for Kaylynn can only be described as a miracle, and you must see (and read) her story to believe it!  What makes it even more unbelievable is the battle her mother had to fight right in the middle of it all.....she was diagnosed with breast cancer after little Kaylynn was born.  I will be praying for their continued healing, and ask you to join me.     

Thanks to all those who made this conference possible.  Thank you to those "expert" caregivers who care enough to make a difference in the lives of soooo many people, and thanks be to God for miracles!  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gee, Thanks!!!


So today, I got my first blog award!  I'm not sure that my ramblings are award-worthy, but I was honored just the same.  Thanks sooo much Aspiemom!  I can always count on you for a kind word or prayer.  Sometimes I wonder if I am merely blogging for my own benefit, and there you are encouraging me.  I am blessed by so many wonderful friends (both ones I can see and ones I can't)!  

This award carries with it a bit of an activity....so here goes!  I am grateful that it requires one word answers (but some of them made that impossible).  After my insane weekend at work (where I was in charge of LOTS of sick patients and the nurses taking care of them), I don't think I could muster much more than a few words! 

1.  Where is your cell phone?  coat pocket
2.  Where is your significant other?  bed
3.  Your hair color?  blondish-brown
4.  Your mother?  home
5.  Your father?  home (or maybe at the hospital working)
6.  Your favorite thing?  food
7.  Your dream last night?  forgot
8.  Your dream/goal?  for my kids to grow up happy and loving their Savior
9.  The room you are in?  den
10.  Your hobby?  blogging
11.  Your fear?  something bad happening to my kids
12.  What do you want to be in six years?  fulfilled
13.  Where were you last night?  sleeping in Lucy's bed
14.  What you are not?  fake
15.  One of your wish list items?  a better camera (and lessons on how to use it) 
16.  Where you grew up?  Gadsden (Alabama)
17.  The last thing you did?  let Nana in
18.  Your TV?  on some random channel
19.  What are you wearing?  Alabama Crimson Tide PJ pants and a black t-shirt
20.  Your pet?  Lily  is eating, Nana is sleeping
21.  Your computer?  In my lap
22.  Your mood?  exhausted....busy weekend
23.  Missing someone?  Yes....my sisters!
24.  Your car?  in the garage
25.  Something you're NOT wearing?  socks
26.  Favorite store?  Costco (my friends think I should be on the payroll!)
27.  Your summer?  Busy and so much fun (lots of time at my parent's condo in Destin)
28.  Love someone?  Of COURSE!
29.  Your favorite color?  Red
30.  When is the last time you laughed?  a few minutes ago (watching a video of Greer)
31.  Last time you cried?  Last night (listening to SCC Christmas song "All I Really Want for Christmas")

Thanks so much for the award....I can't wait to pass it on to some blogs I love!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a COOL Gift!!!

So, as you have probably figured out, I love to read blogs.  I have traded in "blogging" for "TV viewing," and through it, I am finding that I am MUCH more fulfilled.  I have a few friends who don't "get it" and who can't figure out how I have the time to indulge in such things.  As I see it, it is a way to fill some of my "me" time with something meaningful.  I have read about and gotten to know some amazing people, and I feel like the things that I read and write about make a difference in the lives of others.  I am getting WAY more out of my "me" time by delving into the blogosphere than I EVER did watching mindless TV after the kids went to bed....


Virtual rant over....

Today, as I was reading one of my "regular" blogs, I happened upon this AMAZING PROJECT!  I am in the process of writing my own letter, but just to catch you up, here is the concept.  

There is this guy (a guy who will not yet reveal his true identity) who is doing something UNBELIEVABLE for his wife this Christmas season.  Instead of giving material gifts, they have challenged each other to come up with something creative....something that doesn't cost any money.  Instead of buying gifts for each other, they will be giving their money to some worthy causes....a passion that has grown in their hearts as they participated in mission projects this past year.  

This "unsuspecting wife" is a mother of young kiddos, and as mother of young kiddos myself, I know just how challenging it can be!  Her sweet husband is on a quest to create something that has developed into the "Mother Letter Project."  Basically, the "Mother Letter Project" will be a collection of letters of advice/insight/perspective/prayers/devotions from other mothers.  This sweet husband is even going to let all of US in on the fun by sending us a copy of the finished project!  

SO......

If you would like to participate in this VERY COOL activity, PLEASE visit his blog.  I am very excited to see how this thing turns out.  I see a bestseller in the making!!!

Happy Writing, and Merry Christmas!!!

May we all find a way to be this creative, frugal, philanthropic, romantic, holy, and giving this holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request for Alan Henley!

**Update** I just spoke with Jennifer, and Alan has been admitted, and is settling  in at the hospital.  Jenn has been saying all week that something just "wasn't quite right", and those suspicions were confirmed this morning.  He became unresponsive, and she called 911.  By the time they were getting him into the ambulance, he was coming around.  She called me while they were loading him up, and she was really scared.  Pray for peace for her, and for him to get this infection under control.  There are still a lot of questions right now.  I'll keep you posted, and please visit their caring bridge site for more frequent updates.  

Jenn just called me in tears, and to tell you the truth I don't know what is going on.  They are headed back to the hospital and the ambulance is there.  She wanted me to take care of Skylar, and she is devastated that she won't be able to have lunch with the girls.  My heart is just breaking for her right now, and we need to cover them with prayers.  

I'll update as soon as I know something more.  Click here to read about their journey....they need our prayers now more than ever!!!

Some Thank You's are in Order


Charcey, Bubba, Reeves, and Lucy's beautiful paper leaves!


With Cousin Kay out on the town!  We visited her office
at the ABC studios, and she even gave us a tour of the 
Regis and Kelly set....


The Brooklyn Bridge
We spent Sunday site-seeing around downtown with our
own personal tour guide, Kay!

Our trip to NYC would not have ever happened had it not been for some wonderful women in our life!  We are blessed to have grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and cousins who love us all enough to be there when we need them.  I just wanted to thank them each for their help and love.

Charcey (my mom), came down on Thursday in time to pick Lucy up from school.  She and Bubba (my grandmother, her mom) joined her to help with the kids and to spend some time with them.  They got to enjoy their favorite fall activity by playing the leaves.  As for Bubba (aka Bubbs)....no, that is not really her name.  That is the endearing nickname I gave her over 30 years ago as the first grandchild.  How can you turn down that first grand baby....they get the privilege of naming the grandparents (I bet she regrets giving me such an honor!)?   All in all, they had a wonderful time playing hard and eating yummy goodies.  They even left me those beautiful paper leaves to come home to!

There was a changing of the guards on Saturday, and Honey (Chris' mom) took over.  Honey did not disappoint (as usual)!  She is responsible for our vast movie library, and every time a new flick comes out on DVD, she is sweet enough to buy it for the kiddos.  They had a blast watching "Kung Fu Panda" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth".....we sure do love our Honey!  Unfortunately, Honey ended up in the hospital on Monday morning!  Sure assures me that it had nothing to do with the kids, but I told her that sometimes they make me feel like I need to be admitted for testing!!!  She is back home now, and everything looks good with her heart.  She has had issues with it for a while, and it is good to know that things look pretty good for now.  Please pray for her as she recovers, and that she feels good as new very soon!  

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Kay!  Kay is Chris' 2nd cousin, and she has lived in NYC for 20 years.  She was so kind to welcome us in with open arms (in the midst of a major remodel she has going on in her apartment....it is looking fabulous)!  She was our personal tour guide, and she even spent an evening babysitting Greer so we could enjoy a Broadway Show and a romantic dinner!  We couldn't have asked for more.  We love you Kay, and we can't wait to come back and see your apartment when it is all finished....it is going to be gorgeous!!!  I hope you have gotten caught up on your sleep....Greer gave us all some very early wake up calls while we were there!

We love you all, and we thank God for you everyday!