Monday, January 14, 2013

Doctor's Visit (s)

A few weeks ago, I noticed a bulging spot from Emma's stomach when we were getting ready for bed. We are pretty sure that she had a small hernia when she was younger but every time we addressed it at the doctor, it was playing peek-a-boo so it never seemed like a big deal. I took her to the pediatrician the next day and once again, there wasn't really anything visible to see, but he did feel some separation in the abdominal muscles so he wanted us to see a pediatric surgeon.

I was quite nervous about the possibility of Emma having to have surgery. She hasn't had one in almost four years (praise the Lord!) and I didn't want her to have to go through anything that would cause her pain. My prayer was for the doctor to say no surgery. On Monday, off we went...

The doctor we were seeing came highly recommended from our pediatrician as well as one of the doctors I work for, so that made me feel good.

Emma is the BEST patient. She is always all smiles at the doctor but even more so if she knows "no shots." She was all smiles in the waiting room. I think her shirt says it all. ;)

Still all smiles for the blood pressure check! I told you, she's ah-mazing.

The great news is that the doctor doesn't think we need to do anything right now. He felt the muscle separation and said it is similar to what pregnant women get sometimes when their abdomens stretch out. We already know that low muscle tone is a biggie with Down syndrome, so it made sense to me. He felt what may be an epigastric hernia but he wasn't 100% convinced. He said, in time, if it is truly a hernia it will show itself more and start pinching the surrounding fat and cause her pain. He didn't know why, but often he sees kids around age 14 that have these. So we wait, and we pray!

They told Emma she was such a good patient she could have a sticker....or 6. Haha! I will spare you the excited drama when she saw they had Justin Bieber stickers. Of course I'm sitting there trying to convince all the nurses that she barely knows who he is, meanwhile Emma is saying "Justin Bieber is my boyfriend!!!!" Oh well. Whatever. She was happy. I was happy. All was right with the world.

Mommy decided it was cause for a celebration (and it was dinner time)! So we headed over to McDonalds (do NOT judge me). I ordered her food and we parked in the parking lot.

I let Emma eat her food and her favorite songs came on the radio which turned into a complete "car dance party!" She had so much fun and I did too.

I spent those 20 minutes thanking God for our doctors visit and for my precious little girl who is so full of life and love!

 Who wouldn't want to celebrate with this face???

On Wednesday she had a scheduled appointment with her cardiologist just for a check up since it had been two years. My expectation was that all would be fine...


"Mom, I'm BORED and tired of waiting!"

 "Okay, I'll smile anyway..."

 I snapped this one because I loved how she was sitting there with her legs crossed like a little lady.

Turns out, heart wise she looked good (she ended up having to have an ultrasound of her heart done while we were there), however her blood pressure was elevated. Since most all of Emma's doctors are through Duke, the doctor was able to pull up all of her vitals in the past year or so and said her top # has been consistently higher than he would like it to be. So he wanted to do the ultrasound and since everything looked good, he wants to refer her to a pediatric nephrologist  (kidney doctor) to evaluate her for hypertension and to make sure her kidneys are ok.

So our "seeing every type of specialist that exists"  journey is not over...but I am thankful for smart physicians!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Well hello 2013. I hope you promise to be a good one! My "resolution" is to be more diligent about blogging this year. So, without further ado...

January started off with a BANG! Drew got his permit. Go Drew!

 He took the class portion in August and completed the driving portion at the end of December.

 His drivers ed teacher was so nice and spoke highly of Drew! Drew was terrified to ride with his riding partner, but they survived. :)

 He had to get this eligibility certificate from his school before we could get his permit so the Christmas break put us a little behind since school was closed but he got it his first day back.

So off to the DMV we went. Drew and I had a few laughs while we were there. He took the sign test, then the written test and he passed both! Smile for the camera :)

 Here he is with his permit! I can't believe I have a child old enough to drive now. It is bittersweet. It feels like he should still be tearing through the living room, jumping on the couches. Oh wait, some days he does do that! ;)

 Driving the night he got his permit. I know (and pray) he is going to be a great driver! So proud of you Drew!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Random thoughts to end the week...

1. I love the new Mumford and Sons cd! It is AWESOME!

2. I didn't know the song "Home" on the radio was Phillip Phillips singing...who I also love.

3. Emma has had 3 good days in a row at school (this is equivalent to one.solid.year in our world), so to celebrate she asked to go to Sonic and get a "flushy" (slushy)

4. I am so ready for fall weather and it just makes me happier.

5. My feet hurt. Seriously, they do! What the heck!

6. I have renewed my love for crafts through pinterest. However, I don't think my hubby is too thrilled when date nights are consisting of trips to AC Moore and Dollar Tree.

7. Pinterest is my new love. Why did I wait so long to join the cult?!?

8. I have given myself 3 paper cuts, while cooking, at 3 separate times. Don't worry, no blood got into the food...I don't think...

9. Emma wanted to know if my hair came from the hair store. When I told her no, our hair grows on our heads she said she didn't like that and it was scary. Now I have "scary hair."

10. I have been practicing all the different accents I used to be able to do as a child/ my head for now. I'm almost ready to practice out loud!

11. I started watching Downton Abbey and LOVE it! (Hence the English accent...)

12. I also started watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and yes, it is senseless trash but what can I say? My Knightdale roots sucked me in...

13. If you haven't laughed this week, you really should.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

High School, Here Comes Drew!

From kindergarten to high school...

Yesterday was emotional for me! My "baby" started high school. Seems like yesterday that we were walking the halls of his elementary school to find his kindergarten class. For some reason it was harder for me to drop him off at high school than it was for kindergarten. Those kids were like men and women, not boys and girls! I wanted so badly to park the car and walk him in (or just turn around and drive back home), but I don't think he would have gone for that. :) I was thankful he did let me snap our yearly "first day of school" picture though.

Drew, you have become such a wonderful young man. Your dad and I are so very proud of you. You have some amazing qualities and characteristics that a lot of people your age won't have until years later...if ever. You are an awesome person inside and out. God  has blessed you in so many ways and we are blessed to be your parents. I look forward to what the next four years will bring for our family as we move into this next chapter of our lives. I love you Drew!

PS- Yes, he stood like this on his own without my prompting. I love seeing the similarities in the two pics!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reflections and Truths

I was just telling Jon last night how so far, my 30's have been such a reflective time for me. I also told him I'd like to think most people have this time in their 40's or 50's so maybe I was ahead of the game. :)

As I embark on my 34th birthday tomorrow, I consider myself pretty grounded. I also consider myself a constant work in progress but I hope you enjoy a peek into my reflections.

Marriage. I am so thankful for a husband who truly does love me. Seriously. I feel so unworthy of his love most of the time. He has seen me at my absolute worst and still wants to me married to me. That is grace and unconditional love right there friends. Most know our story, but the highlights are met at 9, became boyfriend/girlfriend at 13, married at 18, Jon gives up baseball scholarships to be a husband and father, first child at barely 19, 4 hard years of college/working full time for Jon, second child at 24 who was born with Down syndrome (and we did not know ahead of time). Our life hasn't been the easiest, but reflection #1 is that I would not change a thing! I love you so much Jon. I love how much we laugh and how much fun we have together. It is good for the soul. God orchestrated our life together long ago. I am so thankful we listened to Him and obeyed His plan for our lives. Most importantly, I am thankful for YOU. I hope I always honor you in all that I do. You are such a treasure. Ladies, love your man and be glad that in this crazy world, he has chosen YOU to have a life with.

Motherhood. Being a mother. I'm going to be honest. It took me a while to embrace the gift of motherhood. I know now that this was largely due to my young age when I became a mother for the first time but still, it was definitely a learned skill for me. This does not mean I neglected Drew or was a bad mom, but I didn't always enjoy the moment like I do now. That is something I can never get back. I am so humbled that God chose me to be a mom to Drew and Emma. I am so undeserving, yet he saw me fit for the job. He knew way before I did! I consider my biggest accomplishment on this earth being a mom to those two. They are my everything. It is not easy watching them grow and realizing how short our time is with Drew in our home. My goal is to squeeze every ounce of life possible into these next 4 years that Drew is in high school. Reflection #2 is to savor and appreciate every moment while my kids are in my care...the good and the bad! My job is to teach them, nurture them and raise them up into the adults they are called to be, no matter how exhausting, emotional, trying or rewarding it may be.

Family. I am blessed to have two parents who are still married. That is rare these days. I'm sure they do have their days where they want to kill each other, that's part of marriage, right? :) I could not ask for a better mom and dad. These two people are some of the most devoted, hardest working people I have ever met. Yet, they still manage to make time for their family and are ALWAYS there for us when my brother and I need it. I am amazed at how they do it all. I am thankful they love their grandchildren as much as they do. They savor every moment possible with them. I love our family time together. Reflection #3 part one is how precious family time truly is. Sometimes I feel I can't get enough of it. Part two is not taking for granted what amazing parents I have. I am one blessed girl. I love you mom and dad.

Siblings. I have one brother. He is younger than me and therefore I had the right to torture him most of his life. I can not recall the countless times we have laughed over the years. Seriously, you could not bottle it up and put a price on it. It is priceless. I know we drove my parents nuts when we were younger (and I am getting some payback for that now with my two) but those memories are part of who we are today. My brother will be there for me anytime I need him and I know that. Reflection #4 is the precious gift of a sibling. I am bursting with excitement and joy as I have watched him become a father recently. Now "he gets it." And he will continue to "get it" year after year. These are the moments that matter. I love you my brother.

Faith. My faith. My how it has grown over the last three years. For a long while, it had been like a wilted flower that needed watering with the exact, perfect watering can. A couple of years ago, I found that needed watering can and I have been blessed with tons of fresh water and even some unexpected rain, which has allowed me to blossom into almost full beauty, year round. I embrace my spiritual awareness. I love my church and my church family. I love the Bible studies I have had the privilege of participating in and the vast growth it has provided me. I love the levels my faith has been taken to and I also appreciate my vulnerability for the natural unanswered questions and doubts that still remain in my realistic head. I still have so much to learn. Reflection #5 is how much I appreciate my freedom to be a Christian and my deep love for my church. God is doing BIG things there and even allowing me to fulfill some of my more recent dreams (a special needs ministry).

Friends. This word and I have had a rocky relationship over the years. Though I have spent many years feeling as if I didn't have many friends, my realization is that I do have friends. Some have been right under my nose the whole time and I just didn't realize it. It is not about the quantity but the quality. Cliche but true. Though I can probably count the number of true friends I have on one hand, I am so thankful for each of them and the value they have added to my life. Reflection #6 is how it is important to spend time cultivating the friendships we do have, verses always seeking more. It takes development, work, time and strength to be a true friend to someone. Friendships aren't always easy but they are precious gifts and we should not take them for granted. To my true friends, I love you.

 Money. Though money is the cause of a lot of fights in marriages, I can say it has not really been in ours. I say this from a perspective of scraping the bottom of the barrel years ago and surviving. It CAN be done with lots of prayer, will and supportive parents. :) Money is just money. Yes it is good to have and bad when  you don't but reflection #7 is remembering we can't take any of it with us when we are gone and that there is a season for everything! Life is about the ups and downs of having money, then not. No matter what, I believe we are always to be good stewards of our money. Jon and I have worked for every single thing we have and there is a sense of pride in that. Don't let money become your idol. When you have it, be thankful and share with those who don't.

Jobs. As a person who doesn't do well with change, I am thankful I have been blessed with long standing jobs thus far. I worked at Rex for 11 years, TGP for 9 years and I'm on my 4th year at my current job. What I have realized in my time of reflection is how every job I have had fit my families' need for that time in our lives. How neat is that! Reflection #8 is though we may not like getting up and going to work, we should always be thankful for the jobs we have which provide for our families. Not to contradict the above post about money, but it does cost to live. :)

Love. Love is not free. It does not come without a price dating all the way back to when Jesus died for our sins. He showed His love by hanging on a cross...for US. Sometimes love hurts. Sometimes it makes no sense at all. Sometimes it gives us a tingly feeling and a sense of wholeness. Sometimes it drives us to the edge of insanity. Sometimes it teaches us. Sometimes it humbles us and brings us to our knees. No matter what phase of love you are in with family, friends etc, always remember love is a constant teacher. It forces us to change our thinking, builds our character and helps us become better people. My sharpest example of this would be Emma. My journey of love for her, her life and her protection in this world has caused me pain, grief, anger, angst, strife, exhaustion, joy, honor, humility, growth, reflection, newness, appreciation and wholeness. A journey I graciously embrace. Love is beautiful. Reflection #9 is that love does not come without a cost. Are you willing to pay the price?

Strife. If life were always easy, we would have nothing to live or work towards. Though I have not had a life filled with tons of horrific things (thank the Lord), I have still had my share of twists and turns. One thing I have learned is that EVERYONE has their own struggles they are going through. No one is perfect and there is not a single person who doesn't have needs of some sort. We will all go through the good times and the bad but everything happens for a reason. It really does. Of course we don't always understand those reasons and they may never become apparent but nonetheless they happen. I don't know why children have to die. I don't know why cancer exists. I don't know why there are tornadoes, hurricanes, murderers, rapists etc. I have many unanswered questions like most of you. Reflection #10 is suffering can lead to sanctification. Here are some Bible verses that explain suffering and leaning on God in our time of need:

 Matthew 11:28-29
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

 John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

1 Peter  4:12-13
 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 

Thank you for being a part of my reflections. Until next time...xoxo

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Adam and Sarah

I am so, so excited that it is almost time to meet my nephew! My brother and sister-in-law are very close to welcoming their first child, Max, into the world. While we were at the beach together recently, I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with them. I wanted to share some of my favorites. Adam and Sarah, I am so happy for you both. You all are going to be amazing parents and I look forward to so many fun times and new memories together! I love you both!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I love my family. We always have so much fun together. God has blessed me with two wonderful parents and an awesome brother. We are a family who likes to laugh a lot (sometimes at each others expense!) and have a good time. This past weekend, my brother and I were able to get away to the beach with our parents and spouses- no kids for Jon and I and the last trip for my brother and his wife before their first baby comes. We enjoyed sleeping in, eating out, beach time and LOTS of laughing! I am so thankful for our time together. 

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

 When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.  ~Joyce Brothers