Monday, April 30, 2012

Easter Weekend

I am trying to catch the blog up to real time, so don't judge me as I am still posting pictures from Easter weekend.  My folks came and stayed with us for the weekend.

Mimi and PawPaw with the boys...

Chad's parents came over on Sunday and boy do they know how to do an egg hunt up right.  Each egg is filled with could be candy, change or even dollars! There are also eggs with each child's initial on them and eggs that make noise so you have to listen closely to find those.

We gave Jacob a head start since he was still in "recovery mode" from surgery and can't run. 

We also do an egg hunt with our friends/neighbors the Moores.  It's kind of become a regular thing every year that the boys look forward to.

Oh, these two crack me up!  They hunted for their eggs together, trying to pool their resources to find more eggs than their older brothers I bet.

 Looks like they spotted some more eggs and they're off...

Checking out their loot, they get excited when they find money inside.

He's so my child.  I know the red hair gives it away, but we also share the love of a Sunday afternoon nap.

Sophie Kate got a new pair of sunglasses and a couple of swimsuits or "swim trunks" as Grey called them in her Easter basket.
 Sister is ready for summer and so are we!  Thanks for checking in on us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Tears

Sophie Kate and I have an online community of friends, I know I have spoken about them before...a group of parents with kids just like our Sophie.  I come and go reading here and there, contributing from time to time and asking a question or two along the way.  Sometimes it gets to difficult to log on and I have to give myself a break but I also know that we need one another to encourage, to share, to vent and to gain parent tested information.  

We get to know each other as best we can "online" and we get to love and care about each other's children and then sometimes we lose these children.  When that happens all other talk ceases, therapy doesn't seem as important, questions about gtube feedings or which wheelchair to choose loses its urgency and reality sets in and it hurts.

We've lost some of SK friends recently and remembered a sweet one who passed a few years ago as well.  In those moments I am moved...moved to tears, moved to my knees beside my girl.  I held her hand and kissed her all over just taking in the warmth of her as my tears spilled over her skin.  Broken for mamas and daddys who have buried their babies and in the same moment grateful that I still have mine with me.  

Our tears are not in vain, as they fall they are captured by the Almighty.  He is aware of every tear and every grieving heart.  We are not abandoned in those moments, we are held.  I have been changed by these tears.  There is healing through my tears.  There is growth and learning, compassion and appreciation in my tears.  God does not allow my tears to be wasted.  My heart is softer, everyday moments are brighter and full of life.  

Can something good possibly come from something so many people see as a "tragedy?"  Can something real and alive and beautiful come from a situation that the world sees as devastating and horrible?  Yes, we keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, minute by minute, hour by hour even when we don't feel like it.  Keeping our eyes on Him always only on Him.  He will bring healing and hope to our dried up thirsty bones and we will smile again with a new understanding. 

Hebrew 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."

Yes He is friends, He is faithful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Railroad Park

We spent one of our "no baseball" weekend days at the Birmingham Railroad Park a few weeks ago.  The park is located in downtown Birmingham and has wide walking/bike riding paths, a playground and then these very scary cement bowls in the ground that my two oldest boys rode their bikes in that scared their mama to death.

 See how deep they were...very scary...and yes that's Jacob.

Grey's not very skilled on a bike yet so there was no way he was going near those cement bowls.  

Y'all know if there is water around my boys will always find it...

 Yes, Sassy was with us and she so enjoyed the beautiful day.  I love this one of the wind in her hair.  
The beauty and peacefulness of a gorgeous day is never lost on this girl, she loves the outdoors and always has.
I think I was a bit inspired by trying out some new things in Memphis while we were there for Spring Break, so I decided we need to do the same here at home.  A Yogurt Mountain stop on the way home rounded out a pretty perfect day.

Thanks for checking in on us.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our Photography Session

I haven't had pictures made of the kids since fall of 2010, so we were way overdue for these...
Our photographer friend Kim Maye took these fantastic shots of our family at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
These pictures of our girl brought tears to my eyes. She is so beautiful.  
This one captures these boys perfectly...
Sophie Kate and her daddy, the only guy that tops Grey in her world and believe me he has to work really hard to do that, ha ha.
These pictures mean so much to me.  They will only be like this for a short time.  They mean so much to me because I know the people in them so well.  They are not just pictures to me, there's so much meaning behind each one.  Like the one of the boys being silly, it captures their spirit so well and I love how Grey is holding on to Cooper.  The way Chad is looking at SK in their picture together makes me think of the way he takes care of her and doesn't shy away from doing anything that needs to be done for her.  Also, the one of the boys looking at their sister is so precious to me.  There's something I love in all of them. 

A huge thanks to Kim Maye Photography for these pictures that I will treasure.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Journey

Yep, some meds and some TLC and our little Sassy is back. SK is feeling lots better and is getting back to her smiley self.  Thanks to the care she received from this guy...
She doesn't look at anyone else likes she looks at Grey. She thinks he hung the moon and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.  On one of the nights she was sick, he sat on the sofa next to me and wanted her head in his lap.  He sat there stroking her hair and telling her how sad it makes him when "his Sophie" doesn't feel good.  No wonder she looks at him like that, their love is something special.  It is active and alive and you can literally feel it between them whether they are together or apart.  It's theirs and theirs alone and it is something to behold.  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

I pray that in some small way we are able to comfort others with the comfort we have received each day from our Lord. I'm not real sure that comfort is the right word, maybe it's just to listen to them or to cry with them or to even find a way to smile again.  Whatever that "comfort" is I feel we have to "go forth" with it.  It's not to just stay here with us in our home.

I have found myself praying over families and children where I am using some of the same words and Bible verses that I pray over my own baby girl.  I am so broken for them and I think it's because I know.  I've been in that room with those doctors where diagnoses are made or words are said about your child that are unimaginable.  I've been told that my child may not live through the next hour or through the night. I've been told to just reach out and touch her hand because that may be the only contact I ever have with her. I've been told of extensive brain damage, an inability to swallow and seizures that leave her crying for relief.  No parent should ever have to hear such things.

For so long I had nothing to give, for so long I felt like I was the "only one."  For so long caring for her and her brothers consumed every second and every bit of energy I had.  We were trying to get our feet back underneath us, we were just trying to get our heads above water and I literally felt like I had nothing to give at the end of each exhausting day.  During that time we were ministered to by so many who care deeply for us and for our family.

I know I am called to do more than just survive this.  I am called to comfort others with the comfort that I have received.  I am called to encourage others with the encouragement I receive.  I have never felt emotions so deeply and so raw as I have in the last 4+ years, but I have also never felt so connected and so tightly woven together with this man of mine and these 4 kids.  

I felt so entitled to the life I was living before our sweet girl was born, it's shameful but it's very entitled it makes me sick now.  Today things are so very different, but every thing around me is alive and vibrant and I am so grateful for each moment literally each day with them...all of them.  Things settle on me differently than they used to, my priorities are drastically different (and that's a good thing) and I choose to live in hope instead of despair and love instead of bitterness.

Ephesians 3:17-19 "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Love that surpasses knowledge...Amen!!  Thank you for continuing on this journey with us.            

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brotherly Love

Our sunshine girl...

isn't feeling very good.  After being diagnosed with a sinus infection and having meds on board hopefully we will see this smile soon.  She's been so sweet to get out and go watch all the brothers run in their "fun run" at school.  

I still have so much to share with y'all from Easter and how we've been spending our no baseball weekends, it's just that things kind of shut down here when the sister is sick. We're looking forward to our weekend.  I think this is what SK needs to make her feel better...

Grey will make it all go away.  Feel better baby girl.  Thanks for checking in on us.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

My Easter babies...

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Easter with family and friends.  We spent every minute possible outside, the weather was just beautiful.  

There's more to come later including egg hunts and SK stylin' in her new shades.  Thanks for checking in on us.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Botanical Gardens

Next up on our Spring Break tour of Memphis was the Botanical Gardens.  

It was a beautiful day in an equally beautiful setting.

Love that gorgeous blue sky. 

There was an area called "My Big Backyard" that was extremely kid friendly.  They had a ball there.

Lots of places to run and jump... 

Our cousins joined us there.

We spent quite a bit of time at this man made stream.  The kids were just begging to put their hands and feet in. 

It was all a sneaky compromise on our part...sure y'all can get in the stream if you give us a good group picture...
 ...and they did.

It was a fun day and once again something I had never done living there all those years.  

Thanks for checking in on us.  Hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend.