Well, as if I have nothing else going on this year, Stewart and I were in charge of our Christmas Program at church this year! It was a LOT of work, but I think it turned out great. We had 3 goals - try to do it in an hour or less, every child have a part that wanted one, and be ALL ABOUT JESUS! The play was called "Through the Eyes of the Friendly Beasts" and was a sweet retelling of the traditional nativity with an animal spin on it! ALL of the kids did awesome!! Church peeps - I have TONS of great pics of your kids since I had a birds eye view - email me and I'll copy them for you!! EK didn't get to go - this was 3 days post hospital. Too many people and germs for that! She stayed home with Mimi and Papaw and probably enjoyed it just as much!
Ready to go! Abby and her fellow cows
"I said the cow all white and red. I gave him my manger for His bed!"
So I guess I feel guilty because we missed the whole party element of EK's birthday this year! I mean we sang and had cupcakes in the hospital ON her birthday, opened presents at home a few days later and then got dressed in our outfit and took pictures with the cake like a WEEK after that!! OH WELL......thankfully she just know she had cupcakes and presents :) So here's a few shots of the presents :)
She LOVES to "cwean up!!"
ELMO that blows kisses :)
Yes, we did - we bought an inflatable for INSIDE our house! I guess when they tell you that your child basically needs to live in a bubble for the next 4 months to avoid another hospital stay you go to extremes to keep her entertained!!
She also got her first American Girl "Bitty Baby" and Mimi bought us all new big-girl toddler bedding! More pics of that soon - Santa is having to create some space management planning for the upcoming onslaught of toys so everything is a little upside down right now!!
Catching up :) We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with both sides of our family. Here are pictures from round one at Rob and Sandra's. Round two was at Pam's but we must have been too busy planning our shopping strategies for pics :)
Helping Daddy cook the dressing........not sure why the gloves and mask but you can't say we didn't use good food preparation techniques!!
Morgan and Brock
Fruit Salad.....yummy yummy!
McKenzie keeping the troops entertained!
Aunt Nana and Holden
Who knew repackaging Juicy Juice in a can would be so fun!!
So...we missed the party :( We ate the cupcakes in the hospital, but we HAD to get some cute shots with the birthday outfit and the top of the tower! Here they are (and in EK's little mind - we DID have a party!!)
Oh me what a day........Miss EK's birthday is being spent as a patient at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. She has been diagnosed with respiratory distress brought about by asthma. ASTHMA??? I have NO frame of reference on this one.......I'm sure I'll be googling my heart out very soon, but right now we've just got to get her to keep her blood oxygen level up without supplemental O2. Right now it's 2:44 AM and we're watching Elmo for the 300th time while we play with stickers and try to forget about all the yucky things that are stuck in her. Sleep does not look promising yet........cabin fever for this wild 2 year old is imminent!
Two years ago today was the day of the rainbow for our family! The previous year had been racked with grief, nearly uncontrollable anxiety about the unplanned pregnancy that was about to be over, the death of my precious Grandaddy, and the impending home going of Stewart's dad. Let's just say the end of 2007 and 2008 were nothing to write home about!!
We were scheduled for a csection at 38 weeks. CSection because emotionally I didn't think I could go through labor again; 38 weeks because we lost Olivia at 38 weeks and 4 days. For the previous 2 weeks, I came every other day for non-stress tests. Everything about this pregnancy looked perfect - no cause for alarm. But you have to understand, so did Olivia's right up until the delivery itself.
So here we were. Back at the hospital where we had just been. I had requested my favorite nurse Kris. She was there when Abby was born, she actually delivered Olivia and was the person to break the tragic news to me, and I wanted her with us again to hopefully come full circle. She was on top of her game this day. She had my monitor turned up loud enough to hear it in Scottsboro just to ease my jitters. She kept me informed on every step of the process, and tried her best to keep a positive vibe going all the while knowing I was just about to lose it - completely.
It was time - we had to go to the operating room which meant they had to take the monitor off. It's only like 2 minutes down the hall to the operating room, but I was convinced that this was the beginning of the end. We got to the OR, and the team was SO sweet. They all knew the situation and they didn't hide it. I got constant updates and perky, cheerleader-like encouragement while everything was being prepped. At one point, my blood pressure dropped and I started passing out. As I came back to I was just overwhelmed with anxiety. Stewart knew I was going off the deep end. He leaned his head down next to mine and started praying in my ear for the Lord to comfort me. And then I did what probably no one else did - I started singing. That's what I do - sing. There was a song that I had sung day and night to help keep me centered on the good things the Lord was doing and not on the chaos the devil was trying to create. After about 2 rounds of the song I heard it - a baby cried. She cried...........something taken for granted in every L&D department everywhere, but a sound I never thought I'd hear again. And Kris cheered :)
Fast forward 2 years.......
Even as I sit here in this same hospital today, some demons are still here. I couldn't help it today as we got her all checked in - the flashbacks began to roll. Stewart was on his way, but I had to fight this one myself. EK was not critical, but it's still SO hard to see your baby sick and all the MANY things they do to them in the name of getting better. As I tried to process everything that was going on and deal with the past demons, Stewart texted me that I needed to remember that even though this was the place of our tragedy, this was also the same place that gave us EK!
EK is our rainbow and our thunderstorm all at the same time. She's feisty, stubborn, and can throw the loudest and strongest fit of any 2 year old I know. At the same time, she can melt your heart with her little looks and can crack up every passing person with her VERY verbal account of everything that is going on and repeating everyone's name in a strange little - almost Asian lady at the Chinese buffet - accent.
So we have come full circle in two years. Are all the demons gone - no. Will they ever be - I don't know. I do know that I have more to be thankful for now than then. I would like to think I've crossed some bridges and mountains that might pave the road for someone else who will surely walk this lonely road behind me.
There was a Minnie Mouse party that was cancelled Friday night and Princess on Ice tickets today that Mimi and Abby will be enjoying alone. But here in room 461, we have a feisty little rainbow to thank the Lord for everyday, and plenty of yummy cupcakes to go around.
Happy birthday my rainbow - we'll have a real party soon - promise :)
They are admitting EK to the hospital today for respiratory distress complicated by asthma. I know God will see us through and we'll be fine, but my nerves being in this place are trying to get the best of me.
1. I am thankful for a loving Savior whose mercy is bigger than I can imagine. His love reaches farther and hurts deeper than we ever could - amazing.
2. I am thankful for my wonderful husband. He is maddening some days, but he's the only one who has seen me at the lowest point and chose to stick around even when I wasn't as skinny and life wasn't as simple as it was 10 years ago. If you want to test a marriage, endure a tragedy together. Check the statistics - marriages don't usually endure the hard stuff. Ours has and will continue to. 3. I am thankful for my first born little singer, Abby. Oh me what this little girl has meant to us. She was a wonderful baby - perfect in every way in our eyes. Since then, this little soul has experienced more than most her age and handles it beautifully. She has spoken words of comfort to us that I'm sure God was trying to tell us, but she was the only one listening. She is a bright light with a sweet heart. AND she FINALLY lost her first tooth - she declared she would be the last one in the first grade to lose one :)
4. I am thankful for my second born angel, Olivia. I would have never chosen to be the mommy of an angel, but I am. Her life and death have changed me like nothing else ever has. I hope I can fulfill whatever purpose He has for me in this situation.
5. I am thankful - oh so thankful - for our rainbow/thunderstorm Ellie Kate. (Those who know her understand the addition of the thunderstorm analogy - ) She wasn't planned or thought of, but certainly dreamed of. After losing Olivia, there was no way I thought I was strong enough to endure another pregnancy again. God knew better. Just when I thought I couldn't bear it, He chose to prove to me that I could. Those months being pregnant with her while still grieving shook me to the core. I had to beg God just to get me through the next day - there was NO WAY I could dream of a life with two healthy, happy girls. But, that's what He blessed me with! Every day with her is a promise - an outward sign of God's faithfulness to our family - our rainbow :) She's a mess, and on those nights when she won't sleep or those days when she spends most of it face down screaming over her latest obsession, it's hard to put it all in perspective, but oh how I'd much rather be up all night with a sassy little girl than crying over what could have been! 6. I am thankful for my family. They are my rock and foundation and the reason I am who I am. I could go on and on with this one, but without Mom and Dad I simply wouldn't be who I am, with the values I have, or with the deep trust that HE will deliver in all situations.
7. All the daily stuff - jobs, homes, friends.........so thankful for it all!
God is a masterful conductor. I am thankful to be just a little part of the band!
Today was a special day! Let me set the scene.......
This past September, I was having a yard sale, and Abby decided that she wanted to have a lemonade and snack stand set up too. OK - nothing major here. Then, she came and told me that she was so excited because she was going to give all the money that she raised to charity. I was blown away! I really didn't think she "got it", so I asked her which charity. She quickly said, "Oh, my favorite - the Swim for Melissa!" Well, we all know the official name is not Swim for Melissa, but in a 6 year old mind, it is!
I was touched, but honestly still didn't think she would come through. In fact, the night before the yard sale, she came running up to ask if I had baked everything for the snack sale because she had her signs ready. And she did.........I did not! She had the sweetest sign that she made all by herself. The only part I added was because she couldn't write small enough for it to fit! I quickly promised I would hold up my end of the bargain, and she was happy.
She had a soccer game that morning, but as soon as it was over, here she came - ready to sell! And she did :) She sold water, Kool Aid and Publix cookies. And that kid made $100.00 in about 45 minutes!
Today, I finally managed to get her down to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation offices to give them the money she raised. Much to our surprise, Amy George met us there with her sweet girls Ann Catherine and Lily Baker. Abby was SO excited - I was SO touched. Every person in the Foundation office treated Abby like she had raised $100,000 dollars, not just $100.00! There was an official certificate, pictures, and of course lots of hugs.
Amy and I were talking......our girls "get it". These babies have been through more than most their age, and they understand why we need to raise money for sick babies and that some babies have to leave us and go to Heaven. This used to break my heart for Abby - I wanted her to just be the innocent, naive little girl who had no reason to know such things. But you know what - she does and God has given her the wisdom to know how to deal with it in her own 6 year-old way.
God has a reason for everything. There's a reason our babies had to leave, and another reason our other babies have had to experience the grief AND the faithfulness of God. While part of me hates that she knows sorrow, another part of me rejoices in her wisdom and marvels at what God may lead her sweet heart to do next.
They may be little, but oh how sweet are these big hearts!!!
I am married to a wonderful man, Stewart. I work for Alfa Insurance, and he is a local high school principal. We have two daughters living. Abby is 6 1/2 and Ellie Kate is 2. We also have another daughter, Olivia, waiting for us in Heaven.