Monday, December 28, 2015

Padwan Eden’s 6th Birthday Party. Jedi Training, we did.

Remember that time at Eden’s Star Wars party where she used The Force to levitate? Yeah, that was awesome. As was the entire Jedi training obstacle course that was set up that day.  Our new young Jedi recruits flipped, jumped, crawled, climbed, hopped, balanced, and swung. Training was rigorous, but paid off in the end.

Lunch Menu Jedi Training
Han Burgers, Hutt Dogs, Princess Lays, Trooper Scoopers, Separatist Salsa, Tie Fighters, Edible Ewoks, Leia Buns, Carbonite Solos, Millennium falcons, Padwan Popcorn, Jedi Juice, Vadarade

Seriously, could Eden and Taylor be more precious together in this picture? And how about Grandma and Grandpa’s girl over there? My favorite pictures tho, are of “Mutt & Jeff” in the bottom right corner. Kylie Ann and Eden are the exact same age, both born on December 17, 2009. But look at the size difference! I love how Eden is looking up at Kylie Ann, so dadgum cute!

Again this year, Eden wanted homemade cupcakes. I was super excited about the Storm Trooper marshmallow cupcake toppers. Julie sent me a food pen, the ink is edible, and I just copied the troopers helmet onto the marshmallow from a picture! Sadly, no one wanted to actually eat the marshmallows. But they were awesome to look at!

Our young Jedi’s built their own light sabers, it is a rite of passage for a Jedi. Using only wrapping paper tubes, construction paper, and tape, they build deadly weapons to use against the Dark Side!

Light Saber training was intense. But nothing could have prepared them for what awaited them. In the middle of training, who but Darth Vader himself, should appear! Jedi Noah was supposed to take on Vader alone, be slain, and have Jedi Eden avenge his death. However, this did not go as scripted. The moment the young Jedi felt a disturbance in the force and saw Vader, they attacked! Vader couldn’t even make it out of the door to the training arena! The Jedi beat him back and beat him down! Let’s hear it for the Light Side!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Christmas Lights of Ridley Heights

So my kiddos were in our church’s Christmas play…all of them! I do didn’t see this coming. Faithfully, they went to all the practices and we listened to the music on the CD more times than I’d like to talk about and they knew their song and lines. And so without further ado…here are our 2 sheep and a shepherd:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bring it on!

“I’m going to try to hit you with this sword, and you try to block it.” With no fear this little girl faced off with her instructor. My heart rejoiced at her courage and how far she has come.Bring it on

Thursday, October 29, 2015

McWane Day…23 weeks ago

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What a delightful day with my girls. Upon arrival at McWane we were thrilled to be there on opening day fro Itty Bitty Magic City. It’s their new preschool section with water, make believe shops, and a play ground.Also, there was a small petting zoo and other attractions outside. The girls and I were worn out by the time we got home. Can’t wait to take Noah there!

Monday, October 12, 2015

You’re in!

After Sherry posted a picture of some of us Mama’s in an Essentials class, two friends who could not be in the picture asked if we could Photoshop them in. One friend was the Essentials tutor at the front of the classroom teaching as we all took the selfie. (We are very supportive of her tutoring and we were paying attention, I promise.) The other person, is a dear friend that we miss so very much living in Georgia. I couldn’t resist, their wish was my command! Stripes and floral…they clearly did not get the plain black shirt memo that morning. I LOVE ALL THESE WOMEN SO MUCH!


Sweep The Leg!

Ready for her first belt testing in Karate, October 10, 2015, she nailed it. Cub Yellow Belt! That’s right, Bam!

Cub Yellow Belt copy

Autumn Moon Festival

The Autumn Moon Festival was wonderful! We went all out this year and made traditional moon cakes and glowing paper lanterns! Surprisingly, the moon cakes were fabulous! We were afraid the moon would not make an appearance this night, as the forecast called for rain. However, it came out in style! A double moon bow!!! They are rare to see and beautiful. We drank our tea, talked of family and had a great evening!

Moon cakes are fun to make...but they are messy and time consuming. However, the pay off is certain worth it. In fact, the day after they are made, they are even tastier! The ones we made had apricot preserves, chopped dates, raisins, and coconut shavings inside. The outside of cake tastes much like shortbread, but sweeter. Warmed up with some coffee, they are A-mazing!

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The Cray Button

Vile and disgusting…I mean scientific and cool, that’s what science was today. While the Director has a personal hang up with crayfish, the majority of the community does not. In fact, several members eat them. (Insert retching noise.) Today we were only identifying the outer parts of the crayfish,no dissection. Whew.

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Eden’s Surgery, The Full Narrative

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To God be the glory, this entire experience was for the Father to bring glory to himself and blessing to our family. To say I was fearful going into this surgery would be a woefully inadequate description of the inner turmoil I was experiencing. Jumping out of the boat, I sank to my neck calling out, “Lord save me!” At least Peter took a few steps before his faith quailed. I don’t say this to beat myself up, it is just the ugly truth.

When I woke from my fitful night’s sleep, to face surgery day for Eden, my stomach was in knots. I felt sick. Loading up the car, I was prepared to stay the night if Eden needed me, but I was dreading her post-operative state. We reached the parking deck and God blessed us with “princess parking”. Aw, thanks God. Gary, our elder, whom we love, from our new church, met us in the waiting area to pray with us. Such a gift. As we sat waiting in the lobby at Children’s, a nurse called for us to come and get Eden’s “vitals,” blood pressure, temperature, et cetera. We were shocked to find out she had a fever of 100.1! What? Jumping onto Facebook, I sent out a prayer request that surgery would still continue safely.

Once we were back in our room at one day surgery the anesthesia nurse assured us that the low grade fever posed no problem at all. Since there were no cold symptoms, they chalk it up to the infection in her ear. Prayer Request 1: Surgery to proceed: check. While we met several other incredible healthcare professionals associated with Eden’s care, she enjoyed playing Minecraft on Daddy’s computer. Perhaps one of my greatest fears was what I like to call, “the separation.” Greatly I feared our parting at the famous bubble wall. When she left us I didn’t want her to be terrified and crying. Which actually translates to, “I didn’t want BOTH of us to be terrified and crying.” Rolling down the hallway on her bed, Eden simply snuggled down into her blankie with her lovies. Once at the bubble wall she stood up to touch it and marvel at it…we all did. Then she snuggled down again, hugged and kissed us goodbye, and they rolled her away. Perfectly calm. Prayer Request #2: No hysterical separation: check. I can’t lie, I was totally unprepared and blown away with how this unfolded. Then we waited. For two hours. On the couch. Around an hour later the nurse called from the operating room to let us know how things were progressing. She told me that Eden was such a sweet little girl and did great. With only a little nervousness she went to sleep fine, no tears or panicking. This nurse was totally taken with Eden. Prayer Request #3: Eden would not be frightened once in the ER: check.

Once the surgery was completed we met with Dr. Smith. The first words out of his mouth were this, “Well, it wasn’t a cholesteatoma.” Jaw dropping silence.

My response was, “Excuse me, what?!”

“Yeah, when I got in there I was surprised to find that there was only terrible infection. The infection had gotten into the mastoid bone and filled it. There was no way it would clear up without surgery and the procedure was the same. I had to drill out the mastoid bone. Her middle ear bones look great, we tapped on them and they worked fine. (I winced.) Her hearing should be restored after all this is done. I just cleaned everything out for her and if you feel like it I can release her today if you want to go home.”

At this point I have to pause and quote my mother, “Sometimes our prayers just aren’t big enough.” Agreed. Never had I thought the terrible ear disease might not actually be there. I didn’t even think to pray it gone. I just prayed for a total and easy recovery. Which is what happened. However, not having this disease makes things that much more wonderful. Now there is no fear of it “coming back.” Now there is no fear of having to repair her ear bones, or of her losing her hearing. How great is our God?! Prayer request #4: Successful surgery: check, check, check, and check!! Needless to say there was joy all up in that little conference room as we shook hands with Dr. Smith and told him we’d love to take her home as soon as possible. Prayer Request #5: Miraculously go home the same day: check.

We waited for quite a while for Eden to come out of recovery. When we got the call that she had woken up, the nurse gushed over the phone about how precious Eden was and that she was the delight of the recovery room this day. All the nurses apparently wanted to wait on Eden. We were told she would be arriving in 30 minutes or so and that she felt fine and had not thrown up. Prayer Request #6: Don’t let Eden be horribly sick from surgery: check. About an hour later, they rolled her into the room. The sweet nurse who talked to me previously apologized for the delay and informed us that as soon as she hung up the phone Eden threw up. But prayer request #6 holds because she only threw up that one time. They kept her longer to watch for more sickness, but it never came. She looked so small and pitiful with all the cords coming out of her and her head all bandaged up. However, she woke up saying, “I want water and a granola bar.” Since we were supposed to keep her on a soft bland diet, I went with the softer, yet still hard, chocolate teddy grahams. I’m up for mother of the year.

After another hour everyone decided it was safe to head home. So, we loaded up in the van, gave Eden the iPad and took off at 5:13 pm, in Birmingham traffic. We prayed as we entered the streets that we would somehow dodge all the crazy traffic and get home swiftly. Prayer Request #7: Dodge traffic: check. Once we arrived home, Eden wanted copious amounts of food…we gave it to her. Once sated, she requested a Minecraft server with her siblings. Request granted. They played Minecraft while my parents, Eric, and I marveled over the day’s events. A late bedtime finally came, along with pain meds (just in case), and we put Eden on a palate at the foot of our bed. At 9:45 pm she dropped off to sleep and didn’t wake up until 7:30 am the next morning! Prayer Request #8: Let Eden sleep through the night: check.

Eden’s recovery has been unbelievable. While she did NOT go to C.C. the next day, her Mama did. Eden was feeling so well that she wanted to play with Grandma and Grandpa and could have cared less that I went to C.C.

On October 1, 2015, we went in for our post-op check-up and she was given a clean bill of health and permission to go upside down and jump as much as she wanted. There is still packing in her middle ear behind the eardrum and that is expected to dissolve over the next 6 weeks. At that time we will go get another hearing test to see if her hearing has improved and where she stands with that. The scar behind her ear that runs from the top of her ear all the way around to the bottom of her ear, is healing nicely and will fade in time and hardly be noticeable. Of course, you can’t see it if you don’t move her hair and peek behind her ear, so it isn’t technically visible anyway.

I am speechless at the feet of the Master as to how He chose to handle this surgery. I confess my sin that I was a total wreck going into the surgery, fearing the worst and believing it would come to pass. Our God is so good and He is so patient with my unbelief. “Lord, I believe, just help me overcome my unbelief.” Thank you for all your prayers friends. They were heard and answered just like we desired. It’s cool when the outcome we desire is the outcome that God had in mind.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jasmine Gardens Field Trip

Jasmine Gardens field trip! Wetumpka, AL, is the last place on would expect to find gardens filled with replicas of famous Grecian art. But that was our destination today. Driving down south, several families wound their way to the gardens. Sherry and her crew were the first to arrive, yay Sherry! Next followed Dori’s posse, Sarah’s gang and finally Nikki and I tore in on two wheels, dead last. After and intense debate over pricing with the owners we were permitted in the gardens. To ease some tension before our introductory speech regarding the art around us, I had the kids sing their Greek/Roman gods history sentence to the owner, Mr. Jim. He was both surprised and pleased I think. At any rate, off we went with scavenger hunt papers in hand. The kids had a delightful time looking at all the sculptures, fish ponds, flora, and fauna, especially the giant butterflies and grasshoppers. The replicas of the ruins of Hera’s Temple, was the most impressive feature by far. Several children posed on the broken pillars while the rest looked for fish in the lily pad pond. Fun!

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I’m sure I saw Eden riding on this bug! It was huge! After Noah held it, Elle was next. Everyone else just took pictures and marveled at God’s creation.

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The gardens were beautiful. There were so many trails and passages it made me wonder if we missed seeing some secret treasure. The kids particularly enjoyed feeding the fish and completing the scavenger hunt. Also, I was impressed how quickly the kids, specifically the boys, composed themselves after being introduced to the first, full-scale, anatomically correct, naked statue. They barely giggled as Jim explained why all the statues were without clothing. Way to go guys! Proud of you! You rock!

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Check out these life-like, fully clothed, Grecian statues! Ironically, I took no pictures of any human statues, just the lions. One would think I’d have captured more art considering the purpose of our trip. Oh well.

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This is my favorite picture of the day. We totally look like the 3 goddesses statue behind us. Only there are 5 of us, we aren’t scantily clad, and we are totally hotter…I mean it was seriously hot by this time. Whew! Bwah ha ha! I’m so blessed by God’s provision it staggers my mind sometimes. Not only do I have an incredible family of my own, I have this outstanding family of believers to do life with. You all warm my soul.

Hope vs. Pavement: 0:1

Hope vs. Dehydration: 0:1

Iris vs. Tree: 0:1

Other than skinned up appendages, a near passing out, and an almost broken nose. Things were great! Thanks Dori!

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And here are a few more of my favorite pics from the day. All the girls together. Mamas taking selfies. Nikki, raaaarrrrhh! Sweet Eden. Superb Day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Eden’s Surgery

She did super transitioning to the OR for her ear surgery today. No tears or anxiety. Well, maybe a little, but she didn’t show it…and neither did Mama. Praise you Jesus! Doing a bit of Minecraft before surgery, she was in the zone. We attribute the smooth transition to Jesus (and a little bit of Minecraft…Creepers gonna creep.)