Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Week

It's been quite a week around here.  In addition to the regular-ness of school, we have added in flag football practices for all three boys.  I guess we didn't feel that challenged us enough so we also added in a hearing aid for Jacob and an over 4 hour OT/PT appointment for SK.

Jacob has done so well with his hearing aid.  He is putting it in and taking it out himself.  He is storing it properly each night, he knows how to change the batteries and is taking proper care of it at school as well.  It has been an extremely smooth transition so far.  He had the biggest smile on his face all morning long after he first got it.  He said he is hearing better in his right ear now than in his left ear.  I guess his left ear is his "bad ear" now.  No more whispering around Jacob anymore.  He is still working up to wearing it all day, because it does make his ear sore after 2-3 hours of having it in right now, but he is doing great with it!

Sophie Kate's OT/PT appointment went well too.  I really like these two new therapists we are starting to work with. We received her AFOs (ankle/foot orthotics) on Tuesday and then they made splints for her wrists and elbows that she will wear at night while she is sleeping.  Whenever Sassy gets new AFOs she also has to get new shoes to fit them.  Well, there is no doubt that SK has her daddy wrapped around her little finger.  She ended up with not just one new pair of shoes but three, including a pair of gray boots that are going to be just darling for fall. Daddy cannot say no to his girl, ha ha.

Lastly, I wanted to share more pictures from Sophie Kate's class at school this week.  Her teacher sent me these with the caption of "Look who came to eat lunch with us!"
Yes, Grey got to eat lunch with SK on Monday.  He has a wonderful first grade teacher who is extremely supportive of him getting some "sister time" at school.  Grey's teacher and SK's teacher have worked out a plan to let him have lunch with Sophie Kate every Monday.  I know I talk about our school system all the time, but they truly are so good to our kids.  This means more to me than they will ever know.  
Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grey and Sophie Kate

I feel like I am always sharing a Grey and Sophie Kate story on here, but it seems that he is always thinking of her and looking out for her, it's the sweetest thing.  At church one Sunday he was asked to draw a picture of something that makes him happy.  He drew a picture of me pushing SK in her wheelchair.  His teachers thought it was him pushing her but he quickly informed them that he wouldn't draw himself in pink (ha ha).  He always draws SK in her wheelchair, it's all he has ever known.
This isn't the actual picture he drew that day at church but I have lots of these around the house.  There is one in SK's room by her bed and one in my room as well.  This is how he always draws me and SK, in pink and purple (girl colors according to Grey).  Clearly there is not a lot of detail but as you can see, SK is sitting in her chair and there are two wheels at the bottom...i.e. a wheelchair.

Grey is totally into swords, ninjas, etc.  If sword fighting was an Olympic event, Grey would be all over it...I guess fencing would be his next best option.  He loves his Nerf swords.  He told/showed me one day what he would do if a robber ever came into our house and let me just say that robber would be real sorry if he ever came through our door.  Grey went a step further though and said they better come in to his room because if they go in Sophie's room they will be in big trouble and proceeded to show me how he would mess them up but good for going anywhere near his sister.  

Grey is totally pumped about school this week, because his teacher has told him that he can go to his sister's preschool room and read a book to the entire class.  I love it!  He's thrilled and SK will be so happy to see her brother at school.  
No words needed!

Friday, August 24, 2012

One week down

We are one week into school and every one is still happy...happy with their teachers and happy with their friends.  Sophie Kate goes to her preschool class three days a week.  She has enjoyed seeing her teachers and friends again.  She is exhausted and has been going to bed around 8:00pm each night, but she is having so much fun at school.  

Take a look at these pictures her teacher sent me from SK's first day of school and you'll see what I mean...

To see her enjoying school makes me so happy.  It makes dropping her off and leaving her so much easier when I know she is cared for and engaged like this.  

Cooper is doing percussion in the middle school beginning band and he brought all his stuff home the other day.  I am learning that there are lots of different things in the world of's not just drums anymore.  
He has this xylophone looking thing with three different sets of mallets for it and then he has a drum pad with two different sets of drumsticks along with all the stuff he uses that stays at school.  It's a lot to keep up with for a guy that's not to much in the details, guess he will have to step up to the plate.
Cooper had to know when he brought his instrument home that the brothers would want to get their hands on it too. He was really good about it.
Our house was filled with lots of music and rhythm, SK loved it.
Next week is going to be a big week for us, Jacob gets his hearing aid and SK meets with her new PT and OT and gets her new AFO's and gets fitted for elbow splints.  It seems the fun and excitement never ends around here.

Thanks for checking in on us. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Successful First Day

All the kids were sent off yesterday morning with new backpacks, tennis shoes, freshly sharpened pencils and prayers for a great first day of school.  Sophie Kate is back with her preschool class for one more year, Grey is in 1st grade, Jacob is in 4th grade and Cooper starts middle school (6th grade).
Cooper's at a new school with multiple lockers (one for books, PE and band), lots of different teachers and changing classes.  He seems fine with all the changes.  I feel like I'm anxious enough for both of us.
Everyone reported a good first day.  They all liked seeing their friends again and we have great teachers across the board.  Jacob came home beaming telling us there is another kid in his class with a hearing aid!  Jacob gets his hearing aid next week and seems to be feeling better and better about it.  Sophie Kate was all smiles in the pictures her teacher sent out from their first day.  Cooper seems to have the "golden touch" for opening those temper-mental middle school lockers and Grey has declared that the first day was fun but he doesn't really need to go back, oh dear.  

No one had homework on the first day so that right there was enough to make a good day even better.  Day one has been deemed a success!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Waiting Room at Children's

Sitting in a waiting room at Children's Hospital doesn't usually get to me much these days.  Between Sophie Kate and Jacob, I have logged way more hours than my fair share or their fair share.  In fact, the clinic we found ourselves in this week usually has quite a few kids like SK in the waiting room...but not that day.  

We walk in to a full waiting room and as I quickly scan the area, I find no other children in wheelchairs, no children with walkers and no children showing any outward and obvious signs of CP.  It is an orthopedic doctor after all and it looks like we have been scheduled with the broken bones brigade, lots of children with casts on ankles, arms and such.  I feel the stares of both children and their parents, but keep my head straight forward and focused on my task. I hear the conversations around me.  People asking each other how old their children are and the purpose of their visits.  I hear someone say "She's four," and hope the folks around me don't see my eyes dart over to the little girl that's the same age as my SK.  I quickly look away like I don't care and it's really no big deal, even though it is.  All the while I am wondering...where are all our "friends" today? 

Children's is the only place where I feel like we don't stick out so much.  We know people there and they know us...but not on that day. 
Then I see that smile that is as bright as sunshine and I know that's where my focus should be.  Together we have logged a lot of time in waiting rooms and she has always handled it so much better than me...always smiling.

Thanks for checking in us.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baby Steps

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the Baby Steps 5K Memorial Run.  I don't want to get bogged down in the details so I will start by saying...yes, I ran it...don't let outward appearances fool you.  I even surprised myself.  The best part about it was running it with my oldest son, Cooper.  It was our first, but hopefully not our last 5K together!!  

This run benefits the Amelia Center in Birmingham, AL. The Amelia center provides grief counseling and support for families who have lost children.  I saw family, friends and community coming together to show their love and support.  The final stretch of the race just before the finish line was lined on either side with the names of the children who are now heaven.  The families formed teams in memory of their beloved children and I could see all the friends and family that turned out based on the different t-shirts they were wearing.  I didn't know each individual story but I was moved nonetheless.  

There was a balloon release at the end of the race and each family released one balloon in memory of their child.  The balloons were all released at the same time and we all watched as the balloons floated many balloons.  I felt my throat wanting to close up as I choked back tears, all of us standing there looking heavenward.  It was very symbolic because where else can we look but heavenward when our world is torn apart by the unimaginable...our worst fears coming true. 

I know some of these families, I don't know them well, but I am getting to know them.  They continue to love the Lord and live for him and they have such a kind sweet spirit about them.  I know they would give anything to take care of their babies the way I am able to take care of Sophie Kate.  That is not lost on me.  

Their "mission statement" for lack of a better word is "Taking Baby Steps to mend broken hearts." Very appropriate I think, it was my privilege to be a part of such an event, to be able to support such a worthy cause and an honor to call these folks friends.

Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do, I will not forsake them."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A New Direction

It seems since our Smith Lake trip we have been running here, there and everywhere to doctor and therapy appointments for both Jacob and Sophie Kate.  We have sought a second opinion on Jacob's ear.  If you remember, his hearing hasn't got any better since his 4th surgery this past March.  He has now been put in the "severe" category for hearing loss in his right ear.

We are going to change directions a bit and change our approach and proceed with a hearing aid for Jacob's right ear.  Given the anatomy and condition of Jacob's ear, we have been told that there is only a 50/50 chance that another surgery would be successful for him.  Four surgeries are enough for now, as his doctor said, "It's time for him to get on with his life, get on with his sports and get on with his schooling."  Chad and I both agree, Jacob has had both school, sports and everything else interrupted with 4 surgeries over the past 2-3 years, not to mention the CAT scans and numerous ENT appointments.

Jacob is handling all these new developments well.  He has had his moments of anxiety and fear over what others might think or say about his hearing aid and I don't think we are completely done with those thoughts seeing as how he hasn't received the hearing aid yet and school hasn't started.  I have seen his tears from the pain of multiple surgeries and I have seen his tears over the fear of being made fun of and they are two different types of tears.  I know he can handle to pain of surgery, I've seen him do it.  I don't want to see him have to handle to pain of hurt feelings and a crushed self image because of mean kids, that breaks my heart.  This mama won't allow mean people beware!!  

Please pray for Jacob in the upcoming weeks as he gets his new hearing aid, learns how to use it and gets used to wearing it regularly.  I know Jacob will handle this with the same great attitude he has had in facing his past surgeries and subsequent recoveries.  If any of my children can handle this it's Jacob. not much gets this kid down.

Thanks for checking in on us.       

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tubing on Smith Lake

Warning, long post ahead with lots of pictures, the grandparents will probably be the only ones to make it to the end of this one.

The boys had a great time tubing...

Grey's famous sprinkler move.

Jacob was our "daredevil" this year.  Every time we looked back at him he was doing something off!

 Cooper giving us his "bored" face when we weren't doing enough crazy driving.

On the pontoon...

Love this of Sassy, she was so happy on the boat even with all the "crazy driving."

Grey's favorite spot...

 My niece Olivia...
 A hot mess...
 Ah, that's better sweet thang!

Uncle Scott throwing Grey overboard...

Cooper and his cousin Emma Claire

 Jacob and his cousin Bowen

Grey would only ride the "Hot Rod" with daddy and I'm pretty sure his elbows were locked like that the entire time.
Grey's idea of a good time is being pulled leisurely in the inner tube like so...

 My sister Beth and Olivia(tubing for the first time)

 Love those faces...

This is what happens when Cooper and Jacob tube together...

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end...why is that??  We are now on the wrong end of summer and too close to the start of school.  The next two weeks will be filled with buying school supplies and new backpacks as well as "meet the teacher" dates for all four.  Not much time left but, we're gonna make the most of our last two weeks of summer vacation!!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Smith Lake

Well, there's been so much going on since our Smith Lake trip that I haven't had a chance to give our vacation it's proper due.  This was our fourth year to spend a week at Smith Lake with my parents and my sister's family.  During those four years we have been on the the search for the perfect rental home for all 13 of us and I'm pretty sure we have found it.  In fact, my parents have already booked it for next summer!!

The dock has both shade, sun and a slide, which the boys love. 

Sassy keeping cool in the shade...
We brought a baby pool for her since she is unable to get in lake water.

It's great, they spend hours swimming in the lake only breaking for food and drink and then they are back at it.

It has quickly become a tradition to celebrate the July birthdays of Jacob and Emma Claire since they always fall so close to our trip.

Love this one! 

 I so enjoy a fun surprise...
 and this guy did not disappoint
 I love all his faces as he is opening his new iPod.
As you can see I couldn't pick just one, I had to include them all.  He was truly surprised, so thrilled and genuinely thankful.  Loved being able to do that for our newest 10 year old.
(Jacob and Emma Claire)

Here's some pictures from the night my sister and I tortured all the kids by making them shower, dress up and even smile.  I know, we're mean mamas, ha ha!

Another wonderful week at Smith Lake, great summer memories.  Next up...a fan favorite...tubing, stay tuned.