Monday, June 30, 2008

The Birthmark Lottery

If there were a lottery for birthmarks, Greer would win the jackpot. I just realized that I have never mentioned her other birthmarks here on the blog. Greer, as you probably know, has a large Port Wine Stain birthmark on her face/head/neck. With the miracle of modern medicine, it is fading fast! We are amazed.

I've never mentioned, though, that she has a couple other notable birthmarks. When she was about 2 or 3 weeks old, I noticed some tiny little magenta dots in a cluster on her back. Since then, they have grown rapidly into a rather impressive Strawberry Hemangioma. This is another type of vascular birthmark that is characterized by a cluster of bright red cells that grow rapidly in the first 6-18 months of life. I am grateful that this birthmark is in a much less prominent place, and most people don't even know it is there. I think it has reached it's maximum size (it hasn't really grown any in the past month or so), and eventually it should "involute" and disappear. This birthmark does not require medical intervention at this point, and probably never will.

She also has a new "thing" that I think is a birthmark, too. It is a light brown "line" near her left ear. I plan on talking to her Pediatrician about it at her 6 month check up. I'll be sure to let you know what she says.

Oh, and if that all weren't enough, she has lots of little "stork bites" that you can see in the pictures. I feel certain that those will fade with time as well.

I have decided that God just wanted to make sure He could find this gal in a crowd!

Lessons in Baby Food Making

Things "making my own baby food" has taught me:

1. Be careful grating might cut your fingernail off.
2. Never use a food processor with a 6 month old in the room. Not a pretty picture...she may never forgive me!
3. Spaghetti Squash is NOT a good choice when it comes to making baby food.  Butternut and Acorn Squash work much better.  
4. Publix has a great rice/veggie steamer for $9.99.
5. Homeade bananas are a million times better than jarred bananas.
6. Avocado is yummy if you mix it with a fruit like pears or apples.
7. Lima Beans cause a LOT of gas! Expect to be up several times the night you serve them! (Thanks Angela!)

8.  The Magic Bullet is well worth the investment!  I am in love with it!!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am attempting to make most of Greer's baby food. This is a new adventure for me (and I know that many of you are reading this post and thinking how boring I really am...sorry!). If I must say so, it is rather fulfilling. There is great satisfaction in seeing a whole "something" go to a pureed "something" that your baby will eat. I haven't made every bit of what she is consuming, but here is what I have managed so far:

1. Avocado
2. Sweet Potatoes
3. Carrots
4. Canteloupe (by far her favorite)
5. Bananas
6. Pears
7. Butternut Squash
8. Green Beans
9. Peas
10. Mango

Greer is still eating commercial stuff too, but it's a start. My goal is to be making everything myself within a month. I'll keep you updated on how it is going (aren't you just so excited!)!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mayhem and Mischief at Mrs. Shelly's

Sadly, I didn't have a camera available to take pictures of the events as they transpired. I know they would have made this post a bit more vivid, but you will just have to take my word for it. I hope I can do it justice.

Our friends Shelly, Caden, and Caris invited us over for lunch and playtime. We were a little late, but we joined them just in time for some yummy burgers and ice cream. After lunch, the babies were ready for naps, and the big kids were off to play. The boys (Reeves and Caden) went to play in Caden's room. The girls (Lucy and Maddie) went to play in baby Caris' room (Caris is 9 months old). They were all doing great, and then they decided to go potty. First the boys went, and then it was the girls' turn. Us big girls were enjoying the quiet time (with all 3 babies sleeping soundly.....that in itself is a sign that we were pressing our luck), when it dawned on me that the girls were still in there, and that I faintly heard the sound of running water. I knocked and entered to find 2 BUCK NAKED little girls busy washing their clothes in the sink. ALL of their clothes (down to the socks) and to top it all off, they were "taking a stand up bath" with Kandoo wipes! Angela tried to be the scolding voice, but all I could do was laugh. I mean I couldn't quit laughing. I know your'e not supposed to laugh in situations like this, but you know you've all been was pretty funny.

After some cleaning up, a little clothes drama (Lucy wasn't wild about having to wear boy clothes. Luckily, Angela found an extra dress and panties), and a stern talking to, the girls settled in to play in Caris' room. We thought we had had our drama for the day....boy, were we wrong.

It was almost 3 o'clock, and time to head home. We said some goodbyes, and decided we would go help the girls "pick up" Caris' room. That is when the real drama began. We opened the door to find the most massive clothes explosion in HISTORY! The girls had hoped to play dress up, but couldn't seem to find anything that would fit (go figure....the baby is 9 months old). They had managed to empty HALF of Caris' closet onto the floor of the room. Nothing on hangers, everything EVERYWHERE. Needless to say, we didn't find this mess quite as funny, but they say we may laugh about it in a few years. We'll see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Please Pray for Rollins!

The 2 year old daughter of my friend Brooke (Loveman) Wilkerson was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) today!  PLEASE be in prayer for them as they prepare to fight this terrible disease!  PLEASE, pray for Rollins Wilkerson, and for her mom Brooke, dad Lee, and big brother Garner!

Visit her Caring Bridge Page for updates.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just to clear things up

Greer is healing really well from her last laser treatment for her Port Wine Stain.  This picture was taken just last week...about 3 weeks post treatment (#3).  We have been amazed by the results we are seeing, and it often brings up this question from our friends (and even our family): 

"I can barely even see it anymore.  Why are you still going to do treatments?".  Well, there are several reasons.  First of all, we know that the clearing is substantial, but the stain is still fairly visible (especially when she is awake and cold, when she's mad or excited).  Secondly (and most importantly), PWS's are progressive in nature.  That means that if we don't treat and then keep up maintenance treatments, this PWS will regenerate and worsen with time.  It could (and would without treatment) become darker and thicker with time.  That is what we are trying to prevent.  What that means for Greer is that she will continue to have "serial" treatments until the fading is at a maximum (hopefully complete fading).  We originally thought that would take about 10 treatments, but we think that may be shortened due to her great results.  We'll just take it a treatment at a time.  After that, she will have to have "maintenance" treatments 1-2 times per year to keep it from darkening/progressing.  
What that means is that this is going to be a lifelong issue for Greer.  We pray that they come up with a permanent solution, but for now, this is what we have to do.  We made the choice to do the majority of her treatments very early in her life (after much prayer and consideration).  We feel like it is the best choice for our baby.  So, please know that we aren't doing more than is necessary, and we ARE doing what is in her best interest.  We love our baby girl, and we want to do whatever we can to make her life the best it can be.  

Friday, June 20, 2008

Who Are You?

So, ever since I added the map to the bottom of the blog, I've been facinated with every little red dot that appears. I know it's easy to click on a blog once and see what's there, but if you don't mind posting a comment, I'd love to see who's checking us out. I'll admit that I'm a bit of a blog stalker myself (there are several I visit almost daily), so it would be interesting to know who might be interested in our life. Thanks....I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baby Parts and Baby Food

Greer turned 5 months last week, and we are starting to see her little personality more and more.   I must say, she is adorable (but I suppose I am biased!).  I can't believe how big she is now, and she is doing new things every day.  Her lips and her length are striking, and she has this wicked blond hair (which is kind of weird).  I thought for sure that I would have at least one kid with black curly hair like Chris, but it hasn't happened.  Maybe it means I need another one (not thinking that's going to happen....but, you never know)!  

Food is a new adventure for us.  I am "attempting" to make some of my own baby food this time, and it is proving to be quite fun (how boring has my life become....just kidding).  Today, we tried cantaloupe, and it was a HIT!  She loved it so much, she even let Lucy feed it to her!  I am even preparing other things....sweet potato, avacado, peaches...and I plan to do more.  It is something I never really did with the others, but I am enjoying doing it for Greer.  So, here she food eating, big lipped, chubby legged baby.  I am in love....again! 

P.S. (to things going through my head)

I love my husband with all my heart.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Things going through my head....

In the "medical" world, they call it flight of ideas.  I just wanted to let all of you in on the things I am thinking about right now....

1.  I am SOOOO happy to be home!
2.  I can't believe how many dear friends and family I have who are in need of prayer right now (both concerns and celebrations)!  As I start my prayer time each day, I feel like the list just grows longer and longer.  Lynne, Sam, James, Lee and Meredith, Erin, Rachel, Mom, Dad, Greer, Chris, McKaylee and Jess, Bubba (my grandmother), Matthew, Donna & KK, Julie, Paula, Suzanne, Julia and Maria....many more I am sure I am not able to conjure up at the moment.  Then again, I think we are all in need of prayer all the time!  Thank you, God, for listening!
3.  I am thankful that my parents have a place at the beach where we can go and be together.  My kids are loving it as much as I always have.  Thank you, mom and dad.
4.  I love what Chris did to the yard while I was gone!  
5.  Lily is not well.  I just wish I knew what was best to do for her.  I know I need to have her put to sleep, but it is such a hard decision to make.  
6.  Summer ROCKS!  
7.  I love my kids so much, it almost hurts!  I know that sounds weird, but it's true.  I am IN LOVE with them.  
8.  I am looking forward to working on Friday and Saturday.  I love being home with my kids, but my job is wonderful.  I think nursing is a fabulous profession (no matter what my colleagues say).  I love what I do!
9.  I am excited about VBS.  At no time during the year do I feel closer to my church family.  It is going to be a great time of fun and fellowship.  
10.  I am relieved that I finally read and responded to all the emails that have been coming in over the past month or so.  
11.  I am starting a MAJOR diet cousin Lee is getting married on July 19th and I need to fit into some to the cute dresses I already have!
12.  I need to go to bed!  Greer is still getting up several times at night (she is 5 months now, and I am soooo ready for her to sleep through the night).  I think most of it has to do with vacation, but who knows....please sleep Baby Greer!
13.  Can the "un-packing fairy" please come and visit me tonight?  I would really love to go to the pool tomorrow!

Ok, I'm done!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vacation: Not what it used to be....

So, you'd think that I would have figured this out long ago, but vacation isn't quite what it used to be. It has been 6 years since I entered this new phase of life, but I am slow to accept my new reality. You sort of figure out that it's just like being at home, but with much better scenery and some company. Today, I did about 4 loads of laundry, fed the masses, kissed boo boos, picked up wet bathing suits off the floor, helped Rachel prepare dinner, cleaned up after several messy meals, broke up multiple knock down-drag out fights, stepped on Barbies and Crayons, and I got in some cuddle time before bed.

I said to my sister, Rachel, today, "So, when are we going on vacation?" Sadly, she said..."Why don't we go on a Cruise when Mom turns 60." That is 3 YEARS from now. I might need a "real" vacation a little bit sooner than that! I'm gonna see what I can do about that!
Even though I am longing for a total relaxing holiday. I know it will happen, someday. As much as I look forward to that day.... I do love my life now. I love the wet heads, the sticky fingers, the screams of "Mommy, Watch ME!" as they jump in the water for the 5 millionth time.....I love all of it. I love that Lucy gets brown as a coffee bean (even though I coat her with 30+) and Reeves burns after 30 minutes in the sun. I love that the bugs eat Lucy up "because she is so sweet" and that Reeves gets a red face as soon as he walks out in the Summer heat. I love how tired they are after a day of playing in the sun, and that it doesn't matter how late they sleep in the morning cause we have no real plans.
We vacation a little bit differently than most people I know. I don't really even know why I ever pack "real" clothes for our beach trips. We literally live in PJs and bathing suits. Going out to dinner is NOT our idea of a good time. We much prefer to cook in and hang out on the porch and at the pool. I don't wear makeup or jewelry when I vacation here, and I go home with lots of clean clothes...clothes I "thought" I might wear. It is absolutely heavenly. I have only been in the car once since Saturday, and I don't plan on going out anytime soon. Especially after our attempt at a night out to dinner last night....NOT such a fun time! Oh well, lesson learned!
So, even though it isn't quite like it used to be, it is still wonderful. I love being here, and I love that my kids feel like it is their home away from home.
My only issue is my wild boy (in the midst of all these girls). That is a whole other post. Stay tuned.....

Greer's Closet Bed!

Could this be considered child abuse?  Actually, I am considering it for home because she sleeps even better in the Closet!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summers at Seascape

I am so blessed! Besides the obvious things (Reeves, Lucy, Greer, everyday life in general), I am blessed to have an awesome "original" family (maybe not the best description, but I can't think of a better way to say it). My mom, my dad, my sisters Rachel and Erin....we have always been a tight bunch. Ever since my parents moved to Gadsden (when I was about 3), we have been vacationing in Destin, FL in our condo at Seascape. Although, the location has been constant, the condo has been updated some over the years (thanks to a major fire and a major flood). All in all, it is basically our second home. We are amazingly lucky that we get to spend several weeks here each Summer and my kids feel like it is now their special place, too.

This Summer, we will get to be here even more than we usually are (Yay!). We arrived yesterday (in 2 VERY packed out minivans) for 2 weeks of fun. Right now, it is all of us....minus dads/husbands (Dad and Chris are coming this weekend...Matt can't make it for this trip). Reeves, Lucy, Greer, Rachel, Caroline, Olivia, Erin, Charcey (my mom), and me...all in a 3 bedroom condo. I can't believe it doesn't feel more crowded. I guess it's all the little people! Greer doesn't take up much fact, she's sleeping in a closet (I'll post a pic of that later!). We tried to pack "lightly" this time....whatever that means. I'll probably be amazed at how much our stuff "grows" as the week moves on.
So, here is a picture of me with my sisters from last Summer. I'll be posting pics from this year soon...probably in the next couple of days. Stay posted.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Swimmin at "Charcey's Pool"

Reeves and his buddy Cole (Edgeworth) are spending a week at Camp Sumatanga as Day Campers. They are having a blast, and we have many sweet and fun stories from the week. They have LOVED their first camp experience, and I am so amazed that I have a child old enough for Camp. Granted, it's not the overnight "real deal", but Day Camp has been a great introduction for them. Chris and I met at Camp, and we want our kids to experience it, too. It is one of our loves, and whether our not they decide it is a place they want to spend every Summer is up to them, but so far Reeves is hooked. He and Cole told me today that they want to be Counselors one day! I'm so proud :) Cole even told me that on the way up for the first day, Chris told him some Camp stories. He said, "Mr. Chris said he saw you for the first time here, and he thought you were pretty." How sweet is that....

After I picked them up yesterday, we went to spend the night with Charcey and Papa (they live pretty close). The kids ate their weight in Chick Fil A, and then we went for a swim at "Charcey's Pool" (aka, the Gadsden Country Club pool). They had a blast! Endless jumping off the diving board, and cool dude time!
They are the cutest!
The boys slept so well last night, and Cole thought the big bed (Charcey is the Queen of the Comfy Bed) was just for his birthday (Cole turned 7 today). It was too cute!
I love Summer, by the way!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Prayers for the Sponberg Family

Maybe you've never taken a look at any of the blogs I have posted on the right side of the page (under "Blogs I'm Reading"), but I beg you to read one of them and to be in prayer for this family today and in the coming days ("Bring the Rain" is the blog).  This family has suffered the loss of 2 babies in just 2 months, and they need your prayers.  Please pray for the Sponbergs as they bury their 2 1/2 month old baby boy Luke tomorrow.  He died of SIDS on May 27th.  He is now in Heaven with his cousin Audrey Caroline (the daughter of the websites author Angie and her husband Todd, a member of the great band Selah).  Audrey had some very rare and fatal birth defects, and she died shortly after her birth in April.  This family has been broken by loss, the loss of 2 precious babies no less, and they're faith in our Jesus is simply incredible.  Please pray for them when you get a chance.  I am simply amazed by their faith and strength.  After the loss of a child, it is the only thing that would keep me hanging on.....