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.


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


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!

Monday, August 3, 2009

ENT Appt .

Just to fill you in on a little background. Grace got an ear infection several months back. The infection cleared up, but the fluid would not go away. After further testing it was determined that one of Grace's ear tubes that had been placed last year was no longer in the right place and the fluid was remaining trapped behind the tube. We saw a ENT specialist here, that suggested she have a new set of tubes placed in both ears and have her adenoids taken out. Personally, we felt he was a little to quick to want to do surgery. After speaking with her cardiologist, he only wanted her to have surgery in Atlanta. This being, if something were to happen with the anesthesia, etc., her heart surgeons would be in the same building. Grace had a second opinion referral with an ENT specialist in Atlanta last week. He feels at this time, that it would be best to not place a second set of ear tubes. Rather, just wait and see if the current one that is out of place, will just fall out on its own. All of the fluid is now gone and she passed her hearing screen with flying colors. We will have a followup appointment with him in 4 months to further evaluate what might need to be done if the tube has not fallen out. She has not had any other ear infections and had no pain or trouble for months now. I just have to say this is just one more example for us of how God works everything out in his time. Several months back she might have truly needed the tubes, but because of needing a referral for the ENT in Atlanta and the time it took to book an appointment, the fluid went away and no surgery was needed at this time after all. I have to admit, I was so frustrated at the length of time between appointments and how long everything was taking. I am so glad that I don't have the final say :) Thank you Lord for protecting our little girl and for having a perfect plan for her life.

Just because a post is boring without pictures, here are a few of Grace "dancing"!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

4th of July

How did it get to be August already? I am a bit behind on updating, but I don't want to skip over any events as this is also a scrapbook/journal for Grace. We had a fun packed 4th of July weekend that involved getting to visit with some, of both sides of our family. The first half we met up with Ryan's parents and then we traveled to the farm to meet up with Laura's family.

Long day after traveling-So cozy in Grams lap.

I laughed so hard-they were pumping and pumping and it was SLOWLY filling up the mattress~come to find out there were holes in the hose from our past cat.

Going through a bit of a dry spell but ordinarily water would be flowing off of the rocks.

Grace and Pops

Eating Homemade Icecream at Granny P's house

Grandma and Grace playing the piano

Grandma and Grace waiting on the fireworks to start

Dancing (truthfully just trying to stay awake)

Family dinner

We had such a great visit with all of you and look forward to seeing you again soon!