Sunday, July 29, 2012

Life our Way

No pictures this post but that is in no way a reflection of how busy it has been around here.  A blur pretty much.  So let's see...

Grace- well she has been a trooper going with the flow of life as we know it!

Olivia- hit the one month mark of her surgery and her recovery is going so well.  She has been such a trooper and has far exceeded our expectations in her recovery.  Her restrictions are gradually being lifted and she can now take a bath, swim and begin to be a little more active but not back to normal just yet.  Her wound is healing so well and we haven't had any real complications which has been such a blessing. God is so faithful.

Logan-this boy has been our traveler this month.  He went to Daufuskie Island, SC for 10 days with his cousin Mason and then was home a week and then off to Myrtle Beach, SC for 7 days with one of his good friends. It was a great way to end his baseball season and a blessing since with baseball and Olivia's restrictions we wont' make it to the beach this year.  We are bummed about that but such is life and we will hopefully make up for it next year.

Christian-he has also been our traveler. We let him do a travel team this year that involved more travel then we typically do.  He has had some local tournaments around the area this summer but he also has done East Cobb in Georgia, Asheville, NC, Wake Forest, NC and Charleston, SC.  They didn't do as well as they had hoped but he had a lot of fun.  Guy and Christian did most of these alone, but we did go as a family to Charleston and tied in a little fun. Incuding an afternoon at the beach. He is now done with ball for the season too. Oh and Christian got his driving permit this month too!

Jonathon-well me and Jonathon have been busy doing college visits this summer.  He thinks he wants to stay close to home and do a smaller college.  I think this is great too because it gives him a chance to live on his own and have some independence but not be too far away.  It also gives him some more attention and will actually be a person not a number which we think will help him be more sucessful.  Jonathon is not real extraverted well at least til he gets to know you so getting connected won't be so overwhelming either.  So right now his first choice is Wingate which is about an hour away and about 2500 students.  He is wanting to major in Criminal Justice and eventually work for the FBI.  We have also had senior pictures.  I didn't even think about those being done summer before senior year but that is how it works.  Can't wait to have those back over the next month or so and will post them.  I am so lucky to be his mom and will be a wreck when he graduates.  Just not sure where all the years went.  He is m y first born and has a special place in my heart for sure.

So life has been busy as you can see.  Work is at a very busy time too with our recent merger and so that has me hoping and the passion of my heart the ministry I am part of Oaks of Righteousness,  is 7 weeks away from our second women's retreat we are putting on and in full gear preparing for that.  If intereseted we would love to have you.  You can sign up directly at the website.  Check us out and bring a friend.  We are down to 11 spots remaining.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Whole Reason for the Trip - BASEBALL!

The whole reason for the trip to Charleston wasn't the beach or the aquarium or the walks down in Charleston - it was BASEBALL.  I am so glad I was able to make at least one of his "away" tournaments. That isn't easy when you are juggling 4 other kids at home and their commitments.  Unfortunately we didn't do to well and went 3:1.  I went to 1 of the 2 games each day and spent the rest of the day Saturday in Charleston with the kids and headed home early Sunday so we wouldn't get in too late with the girls and work on Monday.  We sat clear in the outfield Saturday which made photos tough, then Sunday it rained on and off - uggg so photos not the best but here are a few that weren't too bad.

the boys covering up home plate in the rain - delay - uggg

third base - his corner for sure - gotta love that red clay in the white pants

Great play Christian

This boy has one heck of an arm

and some time on the mound, if he isn't at third - he is pitching - his two favorite spots.  He did great!

Olivia in PawPaws hat - adorable - and some snacks in the teeth -hehe

Grace and Olivia do great on the field

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Trip to the SC Aquarium

Saturday afternoon we caught Christians first game (pictures soon) and then tried to balance the trip and take the other kids into Charleston for some fun.  Our first stop was the Aquarium.  Grace was very excited about seeing the Madagascar exhibit.  She loves this movie. 

When she saw the lemurs she was glued to the glass watching them and of all the prizes she could get at the souvenir shop on the way out she picked the lemur of course.

 The aquarium is right on the water so took a couple shots in front of the beautiful Cooper River Bridge.  Good shot of Jonathon.

 And Nana and the girls

Me and 3 of my kiddos

Olivia was excited to see the eagle because just like we refer to Grace as our Lion in the Kingdom of God, Olivia is our Eagle.  Olivia also lived at Eagles Wing in China and the children are referred to as Eaglets.. Coincidence I think not.  Olivia picked a stuffed animal eagle at the shop on the way out and a stuffed turtle.  She loved the turtles the most at the aquarium.  Of course her turtle was pink and

Our eaglet...amazing they say an eagles nest can be 5 feet wide and 2,000 pounds

The girls

Love this one, they begged for face painting.  Grace picked the lion/tiger - of course and Olivia a butterfly

 Then we headed down to eat at Bubba Gumps - yummy!  We had hoped to walk through the market but they had already packed up so we we walked out to the pier.

Olivia's 3 Week Follow-Up with Neurosurgeon

We had Olivia’s follow-up today. It went well. She is doing really well.

What she can now do

1. She can now take a bath and swim in the pool!
2. She can be a little more active now

We still have to wait
1. One more month before she can return to full activity, swing, bike, trampoline etc
2. 6 more weeks before she could go to the beach
3. 2 more months before I can put anything on her scar – like mederma

She has another MRI scheduled on October 10. This is to look at her spine and do a CSF flow study as well as look at the third ventricle of her brain for consideration of ETV. Basically this means they want to see how her back is healing from tethered cord release and they want to look at that ventricle in her brain to determine if they 1) do nothing 2) put in a shunt or 3) do an ETV. She is right on the border of doing nothing unless/until symptoms emerge from fluid on her brain to putting in a shunt. Doctors would be split 50/50 saying leave it alone until needs emerge with symptoms, another 50% so symptoms will come eventually so get ahead of it and put in a shunt. He is thinking that she may be a good candidate for an ETV. If so he would like to do that, but he has to make sure that would work for her. Some this is not an option for. Sometimes they can try and think it will work and end up having to shunt. If this surgery is needed it will be done over a long school break, most likely Thanksgiving.

So what is ETV, basically as I said it is an alternative to a shunt to treat her hydrocephalus. This technique opens a hole inside the brain to re-establish effective flow of the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). The MRI will show the key points relevant to ETV. Basically this is a bit technical but if interested. The fluid flows from the lateral ventricle in your brain to the third ventricle and then finally out the fourth ventricle. If there is an obstruction or this ventricle is too narrow then ETV is a good option. IT means they make a hole in the front part of the third ventricle which allows the fluid to leave the third ventricle, by bypassing the obstructed part.

The advantage to her having the ETV instead of a shunt is that there is not foreign object in her body , i.e. shunt tubing and valve which reduces risk of infection. It also means fewer incisions so slightly less discomfort and lower long term complications compared to a shunt. The disadvantages however, are the chances of improving may be lower with ETV compared to a shunt and although very unlikely the risk of serious complications with ETV compared to a shunt operation.

Honestly I hate all of it but have to trust in the Lord and do what is best for Olivia. The thought of going in her spine was tough, the thought of going in her brain freaks me out too. The ETV is actually performed with a single small dime sized hole in the skull using an endoscope and can take as little as 30 minutes. Actually this procedure ETV or Shunt are both easier procedures then the tethered cord release she had, crazy but usually they are only in hospital for one day with this one and surgery is 30 minutes to an hour vs. 5 days and 3 hour surgery. The recovery is easier too, usually just a few days and she would be back at school

Just pray that God shows clearly in this MRI what is best for Olivia and that her recovery continues to go well from her surgery last month.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Few Hours on Folly Beach, SC

We headed to Charleston early Friday so we could have some time at Folly Beach before Christian's tournament started in Charleston.  The kids had a great time on the beach.  We missed Logan who was at Myrtle Beach, SC with a friend of his but hey couldn't let him pass up a week at the beach for a day right?  Olivia had a great time even though she couldn't go swim yet.  She is still on restrictions from her tethered cord repair/surgery.

Christian skim boarding

Jonathon is always hard to capture - he hates having his picture taken

Olivia running to get her feet wet and running back - she would just cackle

 The girls had a blast

Grace could have stayed in ocean all day.  She loved it when her big brothers took her out to jump the waves.

Love this one - picture speaks to the fun they were having

Love my boys

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grace's 2nd Year Home!

Some Beautiful Girls

I know I am a little partial but I think I got some beautiful girls.  These are some photos from Grace's Gotcha Day.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Grace's Gotcha Day Looks A Little Something Like This....

At our house we created what will be an annual tradition for Grace's Gotcha Day.  We tried to do things to celebrate that we could carry on year after year and she would not age out of.  So here is trip through Grace's Gotcha Day - 2 Years Later - 6/28/12

Flowers - this year we had them at her bedside table when she woke up

And then we blew up a dozen balloons and went in her room early while she was still sleeping and released them over her bed.  This is her face when she woke and saw them!  So excited!

 All smiles - balloons and flowers!

Took her no time before she had the balloons in hand 

and her gift, we had started her a Pandora bracelet which she will get when she is older, but each year we get a bead to add to the bracelet that describes something she really liked that year...this year it was a dolphin.

Dinner at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Asian Cafe...the ladies there know us well and Lily wanted a shot with Grace on her special day.

 Then bedtime story includes Mommy reading "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes"

And Daddy reading "Happy Adoption Day"

 Our movie this Gotcha Day was "Spiderman".  Yes Grace loves Spiderman, remember she has 4 big brothers.  As you can see at our last trip to Build a Bear she didn't choice a pretty outfit for her cat but rather a Spiderman costume!  That's our girl.  Happy Gotcha Day Grace!  We love you so much!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July

This was a great 4th of July! It was Olivia's first time celebrating this holiday in America.  We actually went to see a movie in the afternoon. Spiderman...Grace loves her some Spiderman  - she has 4 brothers remember.  Olivia enjoyed as well actually, and popcorn and candy are always a hit.  Then we came home and grilled out before heading to the fireworks.  We had a great day!

The girls loved the light up toys their cousin Matt treated them too...Olivia got a sweet light up Butterfly wand.  Grace of course chose the long light saber. These next photos not as great but only ones to capture the moment - taken from my blackberry.

love this one, Olivia eating her ice cream taking in the fireworks show

Olivia getting Jonathon with her light up bubble gun ...another thing that was a big hit!

Grace loved hers as well, funny..we had tons of bubbles

 so much fun 

Christian and his girlfriend Sam