Friday, January 31, 2014

Oh for the Love

I have rekindled my love of books in the last 9 months or so.  I have always, always loved to read.  As a kid, I constantly had my nose in a book and would often fall asleep reading.  I would read while walking in the mall, so my parents had to guide me by holding my arms so I wouldn't run into people.  (That sounds pretty nerdy, now that I type it...)  But then, life got in the way.  First, I was a college student with too many mandatory reading assignments to have any pleasure reading.  Then, I was a new teacher up to my ears in lesson plans, grading, and paper work.  Shortly after, I was a new mom learning how to juggle a career and a child.  And then...I had Abby!  :)

But now, I feel like I have some time to read again.  And that feels SO good!  I usually read in the mornings as I get ready (while drying my hair!), and then I might read a bit after the kids go to bed.  But considering that I haven't felt like I had time to do even that for so long, it's pretty exciting!

I joined a book club last year that has really helped me branch out to different genres.  Before you scoff at the book club idea and picture a bunch of old women stuffing themselves with cheese dip and having deep conversations about the main character's motive and the author's craft, we are not like that.  We're all roughly around the same age, or at least in the same walk of life.  We all have young kids and look forward to our time each month to go out to dinner, chat, and discuss a book.  And yes, we do talk about the book at least some, contrary to our husbands' beliefs!  It is really fun, and I've enjoyed getting to know some of the other ladies better.

I'm currently reading Seal Team Six and it is excellent!  I'm learning so much about the military, and have a new appreciation for the training these crazy people have to go through!  I'm a little over half-way through it, and I find myself saying, just a few more pages before I put it down!

What about you?  What are you reading?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Funny

For whatever reason, my dad thought it would be cute to buy poor Heidi antlers for Christmas.  (He also bought her treats, but those were little consolation at the time!)  She just looks like she is enjoying it, doesn't she?!

Perhaps Bert felt badly that he got a nice coat for Christmas and Heidi got stuck with the antlers, so he started attacking the ears.  He could have also thought they were a chew toy.  One can never be sure.

I'm pretty sure some doggy ice cream would have been more appreciated.  Next year, doggies!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Birthday Celebration

For Caleb's birthday, we decided to forgo the typical party and enjoy a different kind of fun at Dave and Busters with two friends.  He chose to ask Owen and Sara, so Amy kept Abby for us (Dave and Busters really isn't a place for a three year old!).  We had a lot of fun!

The kids each got a certain number of points, and they could spend them on whatever games they wanted.  It worked out well, and everyone got to play just about everything they wanted!

The favorite game was Fruit Ninja, which we played on a big touch screen.  Another fun one was a game where you shot at passing ships from your submarine.  

The kids turned in their tickets and got prizes.  Caleb and Sara picked a cup with a crazy straw and some candy, while Owen got a Redskins football.  

After we were played out, we went to Johnny Rockets for dinner and got some yummy milkshakes!

The kids spent the night after taking turns jumping on our therapeutic trampoline for a few hours.  :)  Good times, good times.  Happy birthday, Caleb Boy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday

 I'm so thankful for this hysterical little girl!
Miss Anna is the spunkiest, craziest three year old I know...and she's Abby's best friend!  While she might be described as mischievous, she's always good for a laugh and is a constant sort of entertainment.  It's never a dull moment when Anna is around...and if it's quiet, you should be worried. (To be fair, Abby gets into her own share of trouble!)

Anna and Abby are inseparable, and Anna often declares that they are "Best Friends Forever!"  The shrieks and hearty embraces they give each other whenever they are together probably makes people think they haven't seen each other in a very long time...instead of just a day before!

Thank you, Anna Banana, for bringing so much laughter, and friendship, and sometimes mess, into our home.  Abby loves her BFF!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Surgery Recap

Abby's surgery went very well.  The tubes were placed and her ears were cleaned out.  It only took about 15 minutes and they were able to give her anesthesia through a mask instead of intubating her.  If it were a longer surgery, intubation would be required.

Our amazing ENT stayed close by in recovery until he was certain that Abby was okay.  Everyone was on heightened alert, but there were no issues.  We were headed home by 9:15 a.m.!!  She took a long nap this afternoon to sleep off the last of the anesthesia and woke up feeling fine.

Just a boring, quick surgery to place some tubes.

We love boring!!!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Surgery Tomorrow

Abby has surgery tomorrow to get her third set of tubes put in her ears.  Here's hoping this set stays a little longer and helps with the fluid so that her hearing will improve.  Third time's the charm, right?!

Side note:  the hearing loss is definitely becoming more noticeable, and it is affecting her speech more now too.  She's starting to lose some sounds, we think.  :(  So hopefully having clear ears will help her to be able to hear everyone better and mimic the correct speech sounds.  

While ear tubes are very simple to put in and make for a very easy surgery, any time under anesthesia is a big risk for Abby.  This will be the first time that she will be put under without having a trach.  What's the big deal?  Well, trach = stable airway.  No trach = unstable airway.  Abby can't be intubated the regular way that most people can.  It takes a specially-trained anesthesilogist to do a fiberoptic nasal intubation.  And it's never been done on her to know for certain that it can be done.  Can you feel the anxiety level rising?! I was typing this, ENT called to confirm the surgery time tomorrow.  I shared my anxiety level and the nurse practicianer reminded me that Dr. T is so protective of her airway and that he is the #1 guy to do fiberoptic nasal intubations.  I'm SO thankful for our ENT!  And just when I was starting to feel very anxious, God sent me a little reminder that we are in very capable hands.

We would love your prayers tomorrow.  Her surgery is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. (in case you are unfamiliar to hospital time, that really means 10:00 a.m.!) and should be a very quick one.  If all goes well, we should be able to head home by the early afternoon!

Monday, January 13, 2014


The connection these girls have is beautiful!

Before Abby even met Emily, she loved her.  We talk about Emily a fair amount at home (and a lot more now that she's visited!) and Abby was anxious for her to come on the day of her arrival.  After her nap, "Is she here yet?"  When I explained that we have to pick her up from the airport, "Are we going to get Emily yet?"  When the door opened, "Is that Emily?"

While Abby played the normal I'm-too-shy-to-give-you-hugs card when we first saw Emily at baggage claim, she very quickly warmed up when we got home!

She even told Emily (without any provoking or even discussion) that they are Best Friends Forever!  (She said Anna is still her best friend too, though!)

There was an instant connection between them--like Abby just knew that Emily was a kindred spirit.  She certainly doesn't understand the magnitude of having Emily visit, but she definitely understands that they have a special bond.

Love <3 p="">

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Birthday Boy

Happy 7th birthday to my first born... 

My Bubba...

The boy who made me a Momma!

It's hard to believe that Caleb is 7 today!  I took a little trip down memory lane and found some pictures of a younger Caleb Boy.

Caleb Boy, you are so compassionate and loving.  You stand up for what is right and strive to serve Jesus.  I'm so proud of your good character.

Things you love:
Legos, Wii, Chloe, playing with Abby, singing at the top of your lungs, long showers, dancing, Family Force Five

Things you don't love:
cooked vegetables, having to take quick showers, when your sister messes up your creations, shots

I love you, Caleb Boy.  Thank you for being such a great son and big brother!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Emily's Visit

We are all relishing in the wonderful weekend we just had with our beautiful friend, Emily.  In case you're new here or have forgotten, Emily is one of just ten people living with CCMS, and at age 19, she is the oldest girl we know of.  She contacted us pretty early on in our journey and we have kept in close contact with her over the last three years, but this is the first time we have met in person.

To say that Emily is a blessing is an understatement.  She found us during a time when the only two children we'd found through the internet with CCMS had major physical and cognitive delays.  Seeing that Emily was living a typical life with plans to go to college (she is now in her sophomore year) gave us so much hope when the doctors weren't.  

So we were thrilled when she asked back in October if she could come visit us during her winter break.  We picked her up from the airport Thursday evening, after her parents managed to get her an earlier flight to avoid the worst of the snowstorm hitting the east coast.  (Her hometown got over 9 inches of snow!)  Good thing they did, because her original flight was severely delayed.

On the way home from the airport, the kids fought over who got Emily's attention, and we introduced her to the amazing musical stylings of Family Force Five.  She learned what a "Cray Button" is and Caleb taught her how to crank it like a chain saw. (This will mean absolutely nothing to you if you don't know any of Family Force Five's music!)  Abby decided that her gtube scar is her "Cray Button" and pushes it to make herself crazy.  She thought it was great that Emily had her own gtube scar "Cray Button!"

Although our area didn't see nearly as much snow, it was enough to give Caleb and Abby a day off of school on Friday!  This worked out really well, because then we had a lot more time for the kids to play with Emily and just hang out.  We collected enough snow clothes for Emily to wear so that they could play outside, but the idea of playing in the snow proved to be much more appealing than actually doing it.  Poor Abby was freezing, so we didn't stay out long.

Chloe loved playing the most out of everybody, I think!

We warmed up with a little hot chocolate, then got ourselves ready to visit THE place to go for Maryland crab cakes.  If you're local, you know where we went!  Emily had never had a "real" crab cake, so I think she enjoyed it!

Friday evening, my family came over for pizza and to get to know Emily a bit.  Everyone agreed that she is wonderful!

Anna tried to get Emily to come home with her.  :)

Saturday morning, we headed out to DC to visit the Museum of U.S. History and a monument or two.   It was FREEZING!!!!  Thankfully, we got a good parking spot that allowed us fairly close entry to the museum.

Caleb had never been to this museum too, and we knew our little history lover would find it very interesting.  We were right!  His favorite exhibit was (shocker) America at War.  He even recognized a few of the famous WWII photographs from a WWII book he got from the library.  

I think he might need a footstool if he wants to be POTUS...

Or will Abby be the first woman POTUS?!

Matt and I were both laughing about the original iPod being part of a history made us feel pretty old!  (We still have ours!) 

Dorothy's ruby slippers

After that, we drove around for much longer than planned a few minutes until we found the Lincoln Memorial.  We were going to visit a few memorials, but the temperature was just too cold for a lot of walking.  Abby fell asleep during our drive over, so Matt stayed in the car with her while Emily, Caleb, and I went to the memorial.

We also got some good views of the Washington Monument, even though it's currently closed for repairs.

Emily and Caleb

Please ignore my disheveled look.  It was COLD!!

After thawing out on the trip home, we had dinner and played some games together--including a very modified game of Pictionary to include Caleb and Abby.  After such a busy day, this was a nice way to spend some time together.

Sunday morning, Emily and I left bright and early to get her to the airport.  Caleb and Abby went with Matt to church, but they said their goodbyes the night before.  After a blissfully uneventful time through check-in, Emily and I said our goodbyes.

So that's the run-down of Emily's visit!  I have lots to tell you (and more pictures to share!) about the connection Abby and Emily had, but I am going to save that for its own post.  This is plenty long enough as it is!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


"I'm going up to change into Obama."  (He meant pajamas, which was a good thing because I'm pretty sure his Paw Paw would disown him if that happened!)

After reading a book silently in the car for over 10 minutes:  "Make sure your light saber doesn't turn on in your backpack."

While praying before bedtime:  "Thank you, God, for all of the wonderful things in the world we have to eat, like mustard."

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas in North Carolina

The day after Christmas, we left early in the morning to make the drive down to North Carolina to spend a few days with Matt's family.  The kids were great on the trip, which gave us hope for our even longer drive to Florida this summer!

The kids had lots of fun playing with their cousins!  While a house full of seven kids under the age of nine can get a bit loud (especially when five of the seven are boys!) everybody behaved generally well and Grammy and Pop's house remained unscathed...I think!

Abby followed E around like a puppy.  It was really cute!  I think E wished Abby was a little older so that she could play with her more, but they had a good time.  Emma even read Abby a few books, which Abby loved.

Grammy gave E and Abby matching outfits for Christmas!  Abby loved being twins with her cousin!

Caleb read E's new Ninjago book to him during a rare quiet moment.

Cousin love (minus G, who was asleep in his stroller!)

Abby loves her Aunt Susanne!  She got some great snuggle time in, and Aunt Susanne even gave her cute little French braids in her hair!

We went to the Bank of America building to watch a performance of an orchestra of mechanical bears play and sing Christmas songs.  Abby was freaked out (the bears were as tall or taller than her), it went a little long (45 minutes!), and they sang Santa Baby because it was the male lead's favorite song...a little weird!  After this, we all went to a super cool fitness playground that we all enjoyed!

I really enjoyed spending time with this funny guy, E.  We played cars and monster cars together a lot, and he was not above grabbing my hand and pulling me back to our play if I stopped to talk to somebody or play with someone else!  Some of his phrases and mannerisms are hysterical, and I can tell he's going to be a real charmer with the ladies when he gets older!  (He may also be a budding photographer!)

Lots of family time!