Thursday, December 31, 2009

Updates

I have a ton of updating to do; so beginning next week, be on the look out for several posts. Everything here is great, we have just been super busy. I am looking forward to showing you what we have been up to and catching up on others blogs as well.

We would like to wish each of you a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halloween 2009

This Halloween, we traveled to be with Grace's cousins. Thank you for having us, as well as Ace. We had such a great time and jump at any chance we can get to get the girls together.

Grace with 2 of her cousins


Is SB not the cutest Kitty Cat you have ever seen :) Grace was too busy looking at her goodies to take time for a picture :)


I couldn't help but laugh while looking through the pictures from that night. Grace had her head in her bucket in almost every single one. Oh and check out that Pixie Stick, it was almost as tall as she was (for the record, we slipped it away when Grace wasn't looking and she never even missed it.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Boo at the Zoo 2009

In October, Sibley Heart Center sponsored "Boo at the Zoo" for all of their heart patients. They encouraged the children to dress up, provided free passes to the Zoo, lunch, arts and crafts, and time to meet other families. It was a wonderful event and time to spend as a family. For documenting purposes, I do have to share that Grace, you are still afraid of dressed up characters. You love the cartoon Curious George and we thought for sure you would be excited to see him at the Zoo. You had no desire to be near him, or even give him a high five. Below are a few pictures from that day. We had such a great time and would like to thank Sibley Heart Center for going out of their way to provide so much fun for the kids.




Grace's reaction to Curious George


Dancing and Hula Hooping to "Little Beat" music (notice the determination look on her face :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Preschool Fall Festival

Grace's preschool had a fall festival in October. The parents came and helped man the centers for the 4 year olds, then we went around with our 3 year olds while the 4 year old parents manned the centers. They had it organized into 10 centers and at each one you got a small prize or sticker after playing. They had bean bag tosses, thankful tree table, basketball toss, hula hoops around pumpkins, fishing, face painting, pin the apple on the tree, relay races, and mini golf. Her school did such a great job organizing the festival and we both had so much fun. Below are just a few pictures from the day.




Georgia National Fair

We went to the Georgia National Fair a few weeks back and had a blast. This year was so much different than last year. Not only because she was taller and could ride more rides, but also because Grace was oxygen free. Sometimes, the days of carrying around oxygen tanks, extra nasal canules, hosing and tape seem like a lifetime ago. Daddy was brave enough to take Grace down the fun slide, not once, but 2 or 3 times. She LOVED every minute of it. There was also a mini roller coaster that was by far her favorite. I think we rode it like 4 or 5 times. I truly just thanked God over and over that evening for the gift that she is and for the "normalcy" that we are now getting to experience with her.

On the way to the Fair




Riding the "FUN SLIDE" with Daddy


Riding the Ferris Wheel


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SLEEPY Grace

video

This was a test to see if I could figure out how to upload videos. SOOO excited it worked, I will try and get better about doing so from time to time :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

AWANA

On Sunday nights, Grace participates in a program called AWANA through our church. She is in the age group known as the Cubbies. They learn bible stories/scripture through games, puppets, crafts, lessons at home and their workbook. They are encouraged to memorize a specific scripture each week. For her age group, they are abbreviated versions and she doesn't have to know where it is found, but will begin adding that next year. They then recite the verse on Sunday night to their teacher and they receive a patch to be sewn on their cubbie vest. We are SOOO proud of Grace as she has recited all of her verses and received two patches. We have been out of town/sick 2 times, so she has missed out on a few. I LOVE LOVE how when we are in the car we use that time to work on her verses and talk about things. Grandma, I am going to have to bring her vest home for Thanksgiving so you can sew on her patches. I am embarrassed to say, even after taking homemaking in high school and having to sew an outfit, I still can't make something look decent. Below are a few pictures of Grace in her cubbie vest.

Grace with her first patch,vest and cubbie bag


Heading to church in her cubbie vest

New Home

On September 23rd, we spent our first night in our "new" home. It is not new in the sense of the year it was built, but new to us. Almost a month later and Grace is still calling it our new house. Her little world/routine was shaken up quite a bit at first, but I think she really loves the house and the yard space it has to offer. We have a big open field area behind our house that she and the dog can run around and play in. There are also, several playgrounds within walking distance. We are still not completely unpacked, but with this move, I have learned I will get to it when I get to it. Grace won't be this age forever, and the time with Ryan, her and Ace, outweighs any guilt/stress I feel about having to get it all done immediately.

Stay tuned, I have many more updates to follow. I am a bit behind :(

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Family Member

Meet Ace-he is our 1 year old Boxer we adopted October 3rd. Grace loves him (sometimes a little to much) and is learning how to be gentle and how to take care of him. So far he seems to be fully trained in the potty department and lets us know when he needs to go outside. We are so looking forward to all the memories to come.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moving

We will be moving this week, therefore my time on the internet will be pretty non-existent for a week or so. We are living in an older section of base housing which will be demolished soon,therefore they are moving us to a newer section of base housing. As soon as we get settled in and internet connected, we will be back to blogging :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HOW?

That is Grace's favorite word of the day. Yesterday, was the first day that Grace has ever asked me directly how something works, or is? I was dusting our bedroom and she said mommy dusting, how, like she wanted to know how the dust comes off. Then, I was putting her down for her nap and I told her to not get out of her bed or she would get into trouble. She said how? All I could do was laugh! I wasn't sure if she had officially entered this phase, so I waited until today to see and sure enough first thing this morning she was asking how again. How the garbage truck works, etc. Another thing she is doing is "reading" books to her babies. I wish I could catch her on video, but of course when I get the video camera out she stops. It is SOOOO exciting to see her entering new stages and wanting to learn. We have seen so much improvement in her development the past few months and it excites me so much to see how far she has come and how excited she is about learning and "cool".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekend in Savannah

A few weekends ago, the 3 of us snuck away to Savannah, Georgia. We all were in need of a getaway, but only had the weekend to do so. Savannah is only about 2 hours away with a beach, so it was the ideal place to go :) When we arrived, we were upgraded to a suite at no additional charge and the hotel had an indoor pool. What a blessing having this room was. This room was HUGE! Grace had room to just run around and play. The first day we went to go walk around downtown and see the shops and boats. We weren't able to see all of it, but we did get icecream before it started raining. We then decided to head back to the hotel and let Grace swim inside. The water was warm and she had a blast with her daddy. The second day we swam a little more and then headed to check out the lighthouse and the boardwalk area. We weren't really planning on going all the way down on the beach, just walking the boardwalk. However, as soon as Grace saw the beach, she got SOOOO excited and kept asking for her "pool suite". How could we resist not letting the girl play in the ocean :) It was quite an adventure of its own, trying to get Grace and Mommy changed in the car with no one seeing us. Ryan braved the portable bathrooms. Craziest thing, the public restrooms had signs all over saying you couldn't change in the bathrooms. Your at the beach, so not sure where you are suppose to change, but we made do. I must say it was SO worth all the hassle of getting ready and trying to get all the sand off in the end, to see how much fun Grace had in the ocean. She had no fear and just pure joy.

Getting ready to go "wim" with Daddy


In the pool with Daddy


I had to show both of these pictures in order to get the full effect, notice who has the shades in the second picture :)





Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparents Day

Grace wants to wish Grandma, Pa, Grams and Pops a Happy Grandparents Day! She is one lucky and blessed little girl to have such loving and devoted grandparents. We love you guys and thank you for being the best grandparents a little girl could ask for!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grams/Pops Visit

Grams and Pops came to see us a few weeks ago. We had a great time visiting and grilling out. Thank you Pops for the grill, we used it again for Ryan's birthday :) I think the pictures, more so than my words, will give you a better idea of our weekend fun. I wish I had taken more pictures. I was too busy enjoying the time to think of stepping away to get the camera.

Craft time with Grams


Snack time/movie time in Grams & Pops camper


SOOOO tired (after a long day of school,shots and visiting)


We had a great visit and look forward to seeing you guys again soon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Look How Much I Have Grown

This picture was taken on August 28th,2006


This one gives you a better realization of the size of Grace compared to the ottoman.


Now look how much Grace has grown in 3 years-this picture was taken today, August 28th, 2009.

New Posts/Changes

I am working on several new posts right now so scroll down and come back soon to catch up. I am also going to begin writing some or all of the posts as I am writing to Grace, as this will one day be her "scrapbook" of her life. The posts will still be intended for everyone else as well though and please leave comments as I want Grace to know who all is praying and checking in on her and her mommy/daddy. I think I will do a post soon on how to leave comments. I have had several people say they didn't know how to leave a comment.

NO MORE G-TUBE :)

Grace, you have had your feeding tube since March 2007. The picture below was taken the day you got your Mic-Key button (feeding tube). If you only knew how much Mommy and Daddy hated to put you through another surgery. Your body was just working so hard to heal and you would get so tired that you didn't have any energy left to eat. Of course from the picture, you definitely don't look like you were lacking in the nutrition department but that was because we were using a NG tube to feed you to bulk you up so your body/heart could heal. Mommy would have to change that out every time you pulled it out or it got yucky which ended up being sometimes weekly. I would have to stick it down your nose and down your throat and then listen with a stethoscope to make sure it was in the right place. After several months we realized that you were going to need to get most of your nutrition this way. We were advised, researched and realized that the best option for you long term, would be a G-tube (feeding tube in the stomach) which only had to be changed out every 3 months or so and did not affect your eating and swallowing. Looking back, we are so glad we made that choice. Yes, there were many nights and days of you and mommy or daddy, getting soaked when we forgot to clamp off the tube, or you decided to go poopy when we were feeding you and spew all of the milk out of your tummy. There were feeding pumps and alarms and one ER visit that was so traumatic for you and Mommy that I promised you I would never put you through that again. Your g-tube came out in the middle of the night and I didn't find it until the next morning. The hole in your tummy had started to close and Mommy could not get it back in. We still had another heart surgery to go and you still weren't eating enough on your own without the tube. Daddy was in Korea so I had no other option but to take you to the ER. If I had it to do again baby I would have demanded that they take you to the OR and sedate you to put it back in instead of doing it in the room. However, the pros of having it were that we didn't have to hold you down every time we changed your NG tube anymore and eating became fun for you. You got out of taking many "yucky" medicines because you had it and we never once had to worry about you getting dehydrated. We were also able to keep you out of the "failure to thrive" category as you were able to gain weight from Pediasure. As with anything, there were pros and cons, but I truly think looking back over it all, it was the best option for you.


So now on to what this post is really about :) On August 13th, 2009 we took your G-tube out for good. We have not been using it since December of 2008. There are no more looming surgeries ahead and you proved that you can sufficiently gain weight on your own. We had an appointment to have the doctor take it out on August 20th but the balloon popped in your button,it was leaking and needed to be changed. We called the doctor to see if we could just take it out and he said yes, he would take a look at the hole the following week to make sure it was closing properly. You were really upset at first as you thought mommy was going to have to change the tube out. I asked you if you wanted to take it out and you said yes. You amazed mommy and daddy, as you stuck the syringe in the end of it and with a little help, pulled out the water in the balloon and then you just pulled the tube right out. I am so glad mommy never let you try that before, as we may have never been able to keep that thing in. At our visit last week, he said the hole looked great and that the inside of the hole was closed. The outside will take some time to fully close. Mommy and Daddy still find ourselves saying be careful to you Grace when you slide down off of something, or go to climb up. After having it for 2 years, it has become habit to make sure we are careful with it. We are so glad you have more freedom now and you constantly tell us look no more tube :)

More About Pre-K /Special Visitors

Grace's 2nd Day of Pre-K



Grace you have loved preschool so far (4 school days thus far) and you only get a little clingy if you see other boys/girls doing so. If I walk you over to the toys and help you pick out something to play with, you have been fine (the babydolls are your favorite). Grams and Pops came for a visit last week and surprised you by coming to pick you up at school with mommy last Friday. You had no idea they were coming and you just stood there and looked back and forth between them and mommy. I think you were trying to figure out how they got there. I wish I had brought my camera and taken a picture. You warmed up right away and they were your whole world for the rest of the weekend. In celebration of your first year in "school", Pops bought you your first schoolhouse. Thank you so much Pops! This is so special and hopefully we can pass it down to Grace's little ones :)


You have been sick this week (ear infection and cold which I am pretty sure stemmed from getting shots on Friday which is a whole other post)and have had to miss two days of school. You ask everyday to go to "cool". Mommy and Daddy hope you feel much better over the weekend and can return to school on Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sickies

Bare with me as there has been and will be a lack of posts for a few more days. Grace and I have been sick and Ryan is busy working and taking care of us. Grace got started with antibiotics and a decongestant yesterday, so hoping she will be on the mend soon. There seems to be alot I need to update everyone on, so I will work on that just as soon as we are all feeling better and I am not going to bed at 8 every night. Hope everyone is staying well. The flu is going around crazy here, so wash wash wash those hands! Thankfully our family just has head colds and ear infections but we are anxiously waiting the flu shots this year. I just got off the phone with the pediatricians and they aren't scheduled to get any doses until the second week or so of September. Seems every fall/winter, we have to jump back into "GERM" mode. It sure was nice to be a little more relaxed about it during this summer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

For Their Joy

I would like to ask that you follow Aimee and Jami's blog; but also please be in prayer for these two ladies as they minister to orphans in Ukraine. Aimee was one of my house parents when I was a summer staffer at Shocco Springs. She has the biggest heart and just radiates the love of Christ. Aimee asked on her blog that you please be in prayer for the following things:


- Pray for the hearts of the children that we will meet..that they would be open to the Gospel.
-Pray for the orphanage directors..we would really like to see them come to know Christ.
- Pray that we would gather all the information for Lifeline
-Pray that we would make wise decisions
-Pray that we would not get sick while on the trip
-Pray for prospective parents that will adopt these children
-Pray that we would build good relationships with the Ukraine people we come in contact with.
-Pray for safe travel and no complications for our flights
-Pray for our husbands and children that will miss us
-Pray that Lily (Aimee's adopted daughter) would not have any attachment issues from me being away

Please pass their blog along to anyone you know that may be considering adoption.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pre-K- We're On Our Way

Today was Grace's first morning of preschool. Overall, she was such a big girl. She had a few moments of anxiety and unsureness when we got ready to walk into her classroom. She began to cling to my leg and say no,go home. In so many ways, I wanted to scoop her up and just go home. As her mommy, I didn't want her to be scared or overwhelmed, just wanted to take her back to our "safe" place. However, I knew that this was just one of the first "giving her wings" moments and that we both could do it and needed to do it. Once I led her in to the toys, she warmed right up and never even had a second thought. We went last week for "meet the teacher orientation". We showed her where her classroom and seat were going to be, as well as met her teacher and other classmates. She had fun playing with the new toys that evening and familiarizing herself with the room. I think that meeting made a huge difference in the transition this morning. Daddy was able to surprise Grace by coming to pick her up also. We asked her if she wanted to go back to school again and she got really excited and said yes. She told us she played ball,ate goldfish,"popped" her drink (not sure what she meant by that or if I even want to know), colored a picture and that the teacher helped her. We then dropped Daddy off at lunch with his co-workers and Grace and I went to the mall to eat with a few other moms/kids from the moms group and then walked around. They called the event a "stroll and roll". I thought she would be exhausted and crash after today. I guess with so much excitement she is having a hard time winding down. As I type, she is laying in her bed kicking it and jabbering away :)

The first two pictures are from the orientation night



Daddy and Grace before work/school telling each other bye



1st day of Pre-K, here we come!




At Preschool right before we went to her class



Grace's first coloring page at preschool and Daddy and Grace after school

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

I feel a bit behind on the blog. Therefore, I am just going to try to do one post and catch everyone up a bit on what has/is going on.

**Grace had her last speech therapy session with Susan on July 28th. Susan became like part of our family, as we saw her twice a week. We miss you so much Susan. Thank you for all you taught Grace, as well as her mommy.


**We also had to say goodbye to two of Grace's service coordinators. The EDIS program (early intervention) closed on base. If Grace needs any further therapies, she will be evaluated through the public school system. Thank you LeeAnn and Gaye for all you did to make this transition smooth. LeeAnn, you helped us out tremendously when we were transitioning from Virginia/Korea to here. Thank you for all of the emails and phone calls you put in to us, as well as everyone else involved. Thank you for always checking on Grace when she had her surgeries/procedures. We could not have asked for better, or more loving service coordinators.


**Grace and I joined a MOMS group that is local. We have only been to one meeting so far, but they have playdates and field trips scheduled for each month. There is no requirement, you just attend what you can.

**Grace's G-tube decided to come out this past Saturday evening. Unfortunately, re-inserting the tube is no easy task for us. It generally should be, however the past few times have been pretty traumatic for Grace and she hasn't forgotten. We were able to get it back in, but not without holding her down. We tried talking and reasoning with her first and bribery, but the trust factor just wasn't there. It definitely isn't there after holding her down. Thankfully she calms down immediately once it is back in and acts as if the whole ordeal never happened. We have an appointment on August 20th to get it removed for good. We are SOOOO looking forward to that. It will be one less thing to have to worry about for us as well as her. We have not been using it since December, but because of her heart cath and possible ear procedures, the doctors wanted it left in just in case. Now that all of those procedures are over and ruled out, we can safely have it removed.

**Grace will start a 3 morning a week preschool on August 17th. We have a parent teacher conference this Thursday evening. She will go from 9-12 on Monday,Wednesday, and Friday. We are all a bit nervous on how she will hold up health wise, but are excited for her. All of her doctors involved are in agreeance that she is fine to attend. We had started her in a one or 2 morning a week preschool here on base, but the program changed and she only went for a week or two. So this will be her first true time at preschool.

**On August 25th, we have an evaluation to determine if Grace still needs any additional therapies (speech, physical,etc). If she does, she will no longer be going to the church preschool rather a special needs preschool that will provide her with these therapies during that time. We are going to start her in the church preschool until we find out if she qualifies for any additional assistance. Alot of changes going on for her, but we are excited that she is getting the chance to be with other children (as her health has not allowed it before) and also get the services she needs.

**This past Sunday night was Grace's first time to attend AWANA. Ryan and I visited a small group and look forward to doing a study together and getting to know everyone.

**Grace received this dress (from Honduras) an infant from her Aunt Tammy. She wasn't able to get much wear out of it because of her hospitalizations, but she can now wear it as a shirt. She LOVES it and I have gotten so many compliments on it. Thank you Aunt Tammy! Oh and look who has enough hair to go in complete pigtails now. Mommy is having fun with finally being able to put bows in her hair (though she didn't have any in this picture).


P.S. If your still reading by this point, will you say pray that Grace remains well enough to start preschool. She has some drainage and a really raspy voice, so we are a little worried that she is coming down with a cold. She has been waking up 4 times a night lately and so I think the interrupted sleep is getting to her. We really aren't sure why she has been waking up so much, as she goes right back to bed when we lay her down. I am definitely not use to the waking up every couple hours. My body feels like I have a newborn again, walking zombie and is begging to go to bed by like 8, so I can only imagine how she is feeling. We are hoping the sleepless nights are due to her not feeling the best and not a new phase we are entering!