Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sips N Strokes

I have to share with you one of my new obsessions.....a little thing called Sips N Strokes.  If you haven't tried it, it is an absolute must.  I've been 2 times now, and just signed up for my 3rd.  This picture was taken on my birthday in February when all my girls took me out to celebrate (Greer was only 3 weeks old, so I still look a little "puffy" in the picture, lol!).  It was an absolute BLAST!   So this is what you go in with friends (or by yourself, I guess, but with friends is much more fun) and as a group you all paint the same picture.  Of course they all come out uniquely different, but that is the fun part.  They let you bring in wine and food and it is just so much fun I can't even explain it.  So, if you ever want to try it, I beg me!  I'm always up for it.  I've added the link to their website over on the right side of this page....check it out and pick out a night for us to go!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter! A time to Rejoice!!!

This has been one of the greatest Easter seasons we have ever had!  During this season of Lent, our church family has been walking through some dark times.  We have experienced some loss and turmoil, but we are also experiencing an awakening like I have never experienced before.  I feel like Christ is working in the hearts of the people of Discovery, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it.  This week, I have counted my blessings....

Greer is healing amazingly!  Her treatment was just shy of 2 weeks ago, and amazingly, we are already seeing some fading.  I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting to see much yet.  We are so encouraged by the results of the first treatment.  I must share an experience that has touched me and Chris over the past few days.  Our dear friend Angela Roberts was not in town the week of Greer's surgery.  She didn't get to see her for the first time until Good Friday.  By that day, all of the bruising was gone, and we thought things looked pretty good, but we thought maybe we were just imagining things.  Angela took one look at Greer, and she began to cry.  She couldn't believe how much the PWS had faded in a few places.  I know that may seem silly to some, but it was unbelievable to me.  God has blessed us with wonderful friends who care very deeply about the things that are important to us....that is incredible to me!
Lucy is absolutely....hysterical!  As you can see, the cast has not slowed her down a bit.  I have to say, though...Lucy needs a break.  Trouble has followed her everywhere this week.  She has had several bad falls since the cast was put on (one at the Zoo on Friday left her with 2 bloody knees and a busted toe), and today at an Easter egg hunt, her first egg had been invaded by ants that decided to sting her!  Let's pray that this is a better week for this girl....she needs it!
Reeves is just turning in to a big kid right before our eyes!  He has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and it makes me want to cry!  I just look at him and I am amazed.  He is such a tender spirit and he absolutely adores his sisters.  I mean, I have seen him steal more kisses this week than you could ever imagine.  And he has no idea that anyone is watching him.  He is absolutely in love with these girls..... 
So that is my sappy monologue for the week.  Here are some pics of our Easter Week adventures.  We went to Fayette for a great visit, had some fun at the Birmingham Zoo on Good Friday, traveled to Gadsden for an awesome Easter Egg Hunt at the Martin Farm on Saturday with Gadsden FUMC, and Celebrated Easter at home in Hoover.  We woke up to great goodies from the Easter bunny (the most favorite treats were the Whoopie Cushions!), ate fresh farm eggs with bacon for breakfast, celebrated with our wonderful church family, and spent the afternoon with great, great friends eating and hunting eggs!  I couldn't imagine a better day, NOT to mention the most wonderful part of the day.....Christ Has Risen!!!  God bless you all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Deja Vu all over again!

Yep, Lucy broke another bone!  Can you believe it!  It was almost exactly 2 years ago when she broke her other leg!  (literally!  it was 3/15/06 for break #1 and 3/16/08 for break #2).  And, again, we let her walk around on a broken bone for several days before we got a beautiful cast to show for it.    She was attempting a back flip off a swingset apparatus on Sunday and fell on it just in the right (or wrong) way.  We finally made it to the pediatrician today after a couple of days of limping and it is indeed broken.  Man, am I a loser Mommy or what!!!?  She is very proud of her pretty purple cast (picked to match our Easter ensemble!).  Mommy, however, is dreading the next couple of weeks.....the excitement is bound to wear off soon!  Keep us in your prayers!

And on another note....Greer is healing VERY well from her first treatment!  Thanks to all for the prayers!  We have really felt them!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Operation Egg Drop

Reeves had a big homework assignment a couple of weeks ago. He had the challenge of packaging an egg in a way that when it was dropped from about 100 feet, it wouldn't break. Thanks to Mrs. Amy (Amy Ensey), he had a winner! She helped him and her little boy Jake box them up safely surrounded by bubble wrap and newspaper in a box that they decorated with stickers and drawings (Reeves chose a Hot Wheels theme). The Hoover Fire Department dropped each box from the top of their firetruck ladder onto the Deer Valley parking lot. Reeves' teacher (Mrs. Keeney) said he yelled louder than any other kid....and you can see by the look on his face that he was beside himself. The best news of all....his egg SURVIVED the drop! It was one of the few that made it, and he was soooo proud!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One Down ???????? to go.....

So, the first laser treatment is in the books (is that the saying?).  It has been an emotional day, but I must say, I have really had a peace about this, and it proved to be a true peace.  Today could not have gone better.  First of all, thanks to all of you for the many many prayers.  We have felt completely surrounded by God's love because of your many prayers.....thank you, thank you, thank you!  This baby has received more prayers and grace than almost any other baby I know.  She was consecrated with ashes on Ash Wednesday, anointed with oil this past Sunday, has received the prayers from hundreds, and as we were leaving the hospital today, a Priest blessed her and made the sign of the cross on her forehead.  Praise be to God for this tiny little soul!

As you can see from the pictures, she is bruised.  That is a GOOD thing.  The more bruising the better, that is what we want!  She did cry during the procedure, but as soon as it was over, and I held her in my arms she quickly calmed down.  Within 10 minutes she was even smiling.  I don't even think it is bothering her a bit.  We are so grateful!  We will continue to document her progress, and we would love your continued prayers.  It looks like treatments will be more frequent than I first thought....our next one is scheduled for April 15.  
Now we ask that you pray for happy healing and great fading....that is our goal in all this.  Thanks to all of you....we love you!

Prayer for Greer

Dear Heavenly Father....
Today we pray for Baby Greer.  May your loving hands hold on to her during her first treatment, and give her peace.  Please be with the Doctor and the nurses as they take care of her.  God, be with us.  Give us peace and calm.  Wrap your loving arms around us all.  We love you and we are so grateful that you have given us such a beautiful family.  We also thank you for giving us such great friends and family who are praying for us today as well.  We know that you are in control, and that you will keep her safe.  

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another snowy morning in Alabama....

So, I must admit that these pictures are from the last snow we had (back in January), but do you really think I would get up and out to take a picture of it at 6 in the morning?  I'm not that crazy!  For what it's worth, we got about the same amount today.

I know that some of you hate it, but  I love snow.  I love to watch it fall, but because night time is usually the only time it gets cold enough here for it to snow here in the south, we usually don't get to see it fall.  I am blessed (I don't always think of it as a blessing) that I was up almost every 2 hours in the night with Greer and I got to see it fall.  I couldn't wait for Reeves and Lucy to wake up and see it.  It took a great deal of restraint not to wake them to let them see it fall.....but, again, I'm not that crazy!  I can't wait to see their faces in a little while......hopefully they will sleep in!  Have fun today! 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Greer's "Beauty Mark"

So, one of the reasons that I wanted to start this blog is to chronicle the progress of treatments for Greer's Port-wine Stain (PWS as I will call it for the sake of time).   A PWS (or naevus flammeus) is a vascular birthmark consisting of superficial and deep dilated capillaries in the skin which produce a reddish to purplish discoloration of the skin.  It is part of the family of disorders known as vascular malformations.  They are present at birth and persist throughout life.  The don't just go away (as many people assume and like to tell me all the time).  The area of skin affected grows in proportion to general growth.  They occur most often on the face, but can be anywhere on the body.  As the child matures, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color.  In adulthood, thickening of the lesion or the development of small lumps may occur.  This is why treatment is so important...especially early treatment.  We are blessed to live in Birmingham and have a great doctor who specializes in PWS treatment.  Greer will receive laser surgery treatments every 8 weeks or so for quite a while (early estimates are 10 + treatments) before she reaches a maintenance stage.  Her first treatment will be next Tuesday, and as you can imagine, we are very anxious.  The treatments are painful (like bee stings or rubber bands popping), and she can't receive anesthesia till 6 months of age.  We will most likely have 2 treatments without general anesthesia.  The treatments will take 5-10 minutes, so they are really quick, but we want her to be as comfortable as possible.  The treatments cause lots of bruising over the stain, and it can look pretty gruesome.  We expect the bruising to last a couple of weeks after each treatment.  The funny thing is....the more bruising, the better the results.  Don't worry though, once the treatment is over, she won't be in pain.  I hear that it can be a bit itchy for a few days, but lotion will help that.  Please continue to pray for her and us.  I know that God made her special for a reason, but I also feel blessed to have the medical resources that we have.  We pray for some great fading, but love her no matter what.  She is absolutely gorgeous with or without her "beauty mark".  Actually, it will be hard to see it go is such a part of who she is.  Also (and almost most importantly), please pray for her continued health and that the signs and symptoms of Sturge-Weber Syndrome don't present.  This is a syndrome associated with facial PWS and it can take some time to completely rule it out.  So far so good, and most likely we will be in the clear if no symptoms occur in this first year(such as seizures, glaucoma, and developmental delays ).  We will keep you updated on that as well.  We feel blessed to have such a special child, and we look forward to educating people.  We have already had many opportunities to explain her "big red mark" (that's what almost every kid calls it).  This is the best picture I have of it, and fortunately, it doesn't show up too much in pictures.  It is actually a bit darker in person, but it also depends on the weather and her mood (cold weather and fits of rage cause it to be dark purple!).  All the best to you, and again....keep the prayers coming!!!

You know you're a new mom when....

you decide that since your children all fell asleep in the car after a trip to the park, you must seize the moment to steal some solitude and rest.  As I drove home, about to fall asleep at the wheel, I reasoned that my only chance to catch a few zzzz's was to do something drastic.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?  Soooo, I pulled into my garage, rolled down the windows, and turned off the engine.  And then, I took a nap right there with them!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bike Ridin and Shoe Tyin

All 3 of the kids are growing by the minute, but I wanted to let you in on some of Reeves' biggest accomplishments so far.  In the past few weeks, he has  learned to ride his bike and tie his shoes!  I can't believe all that he has learned to do this year.  Kindergarten has really brought out the big kid in him, and he is doing amazing new things every time I turn around.  If only he could lose his first tooth (something he is dying to see happen, but I'm ok with waiting on that one)!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What an amazing 8 years it has been....

Today, Chris and I celebrate our 8th anniversary.  That is so amazing to me!  Earlier this evening, after a yummy dinner together, we all sat down to watch the wedding video.  Surprisingly, we had never watched it with the kids.  They watched it in amazement.  Lucy just wanted to see us dance, and Reeves kept asking if we actually "kissed".  He said, "I'm gonna go to school and tell my friends that you guys KISSED.  Please don't tell me you actually KISSED?!" hilarious.  Man did we look is crazy how 3 kiddos will age you!  We are more in love today than we were then, and we feel profoundly blessed to be sharing such an unbelieveable life together.  We can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the years to come! For all of our friends who are married, and those who will be married.....we pray that your life together is as wonderful as ours has been! 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reflections on the past 36 hours

If you are a part of our church family, you know that the past couple of days have been extremely emotional, challenging, and unbelievable. Chris and I both have been in prayer about the things that are happening, and a good friend encouraged us to read this verse. So today, I pray that you consider these words in prayer...

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28
May God Bless this Body of Christ, and help us all to heal.....

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Announcing Greer!