Friday, March 28, 2014

On a Tuesday Afternoon

On a random Tuesday afternoon, a friend of ours met us for a photo shoot at a nearby lake.  Here's what happened...
Our friend Ashley Warren has crazy good camera skills and gifted us with this photo session.  Words cannot express how much these pictures mean to me.
 My goodness how he loves this little girl...

The kindest kid you will ever meet.

His heart is even more beautiful than he is...
My precious girl...
All pictures are courtesy of Ashley Warren Studios.
She even got in a few shots with Mama and Daddy.  Even though we were not dressed for the occasion, I love these pictures just the same.

 A beautiful expression of what this girl means to us...
Local folks check out  This girl is super talented and creates beautiful family portraits.  We are so grateful to her for sharing her talent with us.

This last picture brings to mind the scripture I have shared here many times, once again it just seems to fit. Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Same ER, Different Child

There is truly never a dull moment around here.  Doing life with us is most definitely not for the faint of heart.  Friday I found myself in the familiar surroundings of the Children's Hospital ER, except this time I was with a different kid...I wasn't with Sophie Kate, I was with Grey.  I won't go into too much detail for his sake, but we found out that he has 2 kidney stones.  He was in a good deal of pain and was extremely dehydrated.  He got fluids, meds and then we were sent home (thankfully) with more meds and his 2 kidney stones.  He is doing pretty good.  Kidney stone pain is an on again off again kind of pain and I have to say that he has been handling it all really well.

It was weird being there with him, answering all the familiar questions differently.  It was strange being there without Sophie Kate.  It was a completely different experience being there with someone who could talk.  He could tell them exactly how he felt and for the first time ever I was able to see how the nurses and doctors interact with a child that can answer their questions.  I didn't have to speak for him.  He could tell them exactly what was going on and he did.  Here I was in this very familiar setting yet everything felt strangely different.  

I hate that he knows how it feels to get an IV.  He did great but I hate that he had to go through that.  I asked him how it felt and how he was doing with it, because I wanted to hear him put words to it.  It may be the closest I ever get to knowing how it feels to her.  I wanted to hear everything in his words because they are so close in age and so close in their relationship and I know that he is more than capable and qualified to speak on her behalf.  He could tell me what he needed and what I could do to help him and in doing that and in having that experience with him, as difficult as it was, it will help me with her.  It will help me in knowing how she is feeling and what I can do for her to make her more comfortable when she is there.  He has no idea how he continues to help her by just being who he is.

Our girl was back in the saddle on Saturday...

Sophie Kate rode for about 20-25 minutes and then did some therapy on the "jellybean."  Grey wasn't about to miss a day with his best girl just because of some kidney stones.
No one said anything to this child about going over and helping his sister, this is just what he does.  This kind of stuff can't be taught, it's just a part of who he is.
So the day after he spent 6 hours in the ER receiving fluids and meds he spent some time doing this... 
 I want to be like Grey when I grow up.

Monday, March 10, 2014

For the love of horses

"She did better than I thought she was going to do."  I have heard this statement or one very much like it so many times in the past six years that I have lost count.  I have heard this from doctors, therapists, nurses, etc...folks that quite frankly don't know our girl.  They don't know how strong she really is but they find out soon after meeting her.

I applied for Sophie Kate to be in a horse therapy program called Special Equestrians...2 years ago.  Yes, you heard right there is a 2 year waiting list to get into the program. Well, it's finally our turn and we went for Sophie Kate's evaluation on Saturday.  As so many of you know, a lot has happened in the past two years as we have been waiting for our turn with the horses.  There are so many concerns for someone like SK in a program like this because she requires so much assistance while riding.  Would they have enough volunteers?  Would it be safe for our girl while riding?  Would they physically be able to support her on the horse?  These were all questions the staff was very concerned about regarding our girl.  They are certainly valid.  They were not sure if this would work out for us and consequently neither was I.  I think deep down inside I just didn't want to get my hopes up once again and then be so sad when things didn't work out.  

I have loved horses my whole life.  I have wanted to be a "horse person" my whole life.  I am not one, but there is something about these animals that I have always been drawn to.  Just ask my daddy, he knows how long I have loved these animals.  I have had small snippets in my life where I have been able to spend time around these beautiful animals and it has always made me so so happy. I even volunteered at a program exactly like this in Tennessee when I was in college.  Yes, I volunteered to assist special needs children in riding horses years ago and now here I was with my daughter on the verge of participating in pretty much the exact same program.  

I volunteered in the program back home around the age of 20 and I have to admit that I was drawn to the program because of the horses.  I learned to bring them in to the stables, brush them, saddle them, help with the riders and tend to the horses afterwards, even down to scraping out the packed in mud and dirt from their hooves.  I love these animals.  There is something about them, something in their eyes, something about their movement...I am just drawn to them.  I could spend time just touching them and talking to them and be happy for days.  I know I probably sound very strange to some folks right about now and I can assure you that if you really knew me it would only confirm that for you, but that's okay, I am quite comfortable in my weirdness.  

Sophie Kate started out on what they call the "jellybean" to see how she might do sitting on a horse and to get all of her safety equipment fitting properly...

Then it was go time...
 First time on a horse ever in her life such a neat moment.
Her helmet was a bit ill-fitting, but I think that may be a small smile I see there.
You can see what a job this is for the staff and volunteers, these kids are not riding little ponies.
 Needing a bit of adjusting...

This is amazing, look at her sitting so nice and tall on that horse.
Looks like she is taking in everything we are all saying to her.  
Y'all all know this girl travels with an entourage and this day was no different.  There was no less than 2 camera phones and one regular camera on her at all times.  She has gone to almost every baseball, basketball and football game her 3 brothers have ever played in and now it was her turn.  
It was her turn...and they were all there watching her.  So back to my opening statement, we were told once again that "she did much better than I thought she would do." That's our girl, all you have to do is tell her she can't do something and then just sit back and watch her do it.  She did fantastic and she is going to start her class next week.  
There is so much emotion for me in this one picture.  We have a "horse person" in the family after's my daughter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Disney

We have been watching classic Disney movies all weekend long, makes me want to go back to the happiest place on earth.  Has any trip ever lasted longer online than this one? More from our November trip to Disney...
 Sophie Kate and Rapunzel

 Love this one of SK and Snow White.

It was a family reunion, Cinderella with her wicked stepmother and wicked step sisters.  They were too funny when our Cinderella rolled up to greet them.
I have no clue why Daisy was dressed like this but she was so darling.  Her and SK played the tambourine together.
Our trip would not have been complete without a visit with Minnie.
Chad and I in the exact spot where he asked me to marry him...17 years ago.
We could have never imagined what God had in store for us and for our family then.  We actually like to torture them by taking them back to that spot and kiss in front of them while they beg us to stop and ask where we are going next because "this is boring."
 All 13 of us...

Can you see now why we would do anything to see this face every single day?  Yeah sure, she has no clue she's at that face!