Thursday, February 26, 2009

Isn't harassment a crime?

I have had many inquiries with regards to when the March edition of Birmingham Parent will be available.

In turn, I spent this week harassing the poor, sweet lady at Birmingham Parent (to which I am very sorry!). She has assured me that she will call when the magazine comes in, but yet I still felt the need to interrupt her day!

I think there was a delay with the printing, so the magazine will not be available until next week.

I'm just anxious to see it before it hits the stands. I really want my own private moment to read the article before everyone else and I don't know which picture was chosen for the cover...

I want so much for this opportunity to be a benefit to Addie and her acceptance by our surrounding communities! God has a purpose and I know part of that is for us to share our story. I pray so hard that this is pleasing to our God!

Sleep study

We finally got Addie's sleep study all set up. We go Monday. I'm going to just put it out of my mind and enjoy the weekend. I know it will be a long and difficult time for us, but it is an unfortunate part of the surgery process.

I'm just glad that things seem to be moving along. Hopefully, we can schedule Addie's surgery for some time in March!

Round six

Man oh man, am I indebted to Dr. Davis' office! I am so incredibly grateful for them.

I called this morning willing to offer up my twelfth born child if necessary in exchange for antibiotics or an appointment.

Addie is now on round six of antibiotics. Hopefully, temporary relief is in sight!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two days

off antibiotics and Addie has managed to acquire 103.5 temperature and all the yucky congestion is back.

We are trying to get the sleep study scheduled for next week and hopefully surgery scheduled soon after.

Enough is enough. I can't stand to see her this miserable all the time!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Talk about being blessed!

Last night Chris and I had to attend a meeting with regards to legal preparations for Addie. Lucky for us, child care was available during the meeting. I told Julien that his job while we were in the meeting was to watch over Addie and help out if anyone needed any assistance.

After the meeting was over, the two women who were watching over the children met Chris and me in the hallway. One of them proceeded to tell me that she almost cried while watching Julien with Addie. She told me how wonderful he was and that she wishes that her son will one day be like that with his sister. That made me so proud!

There is an amazing bond between Julien and Addie and no words that I write can truly describe it. He would do anything for her. In those first few minutes after Addie was born, I thought about how her birth would impact Julien's life. I thought about how I never wanted him to be "burdened" by his sister. Julien will be the first to tell you how much he loves Addie and he will probably go on to say "if anyone ever tries to hurt her, I'll...".

I am one very blessed Mom!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweet little Monkey

Did I tell you that Monkey has a thing for mittens? She loves the feel of the mittens and loves rubbing her hands together when she has them on.

While in Gatlinburg, I ran across a Curious George hat and glove set and bought it for Monkey. The hat doesn't fit, but she loves the gloves! She wore them on our outing this afternoon and she is so proud of them! Monkey wanted to spend more time outside today (hence the solemn look) and crawled over to the window a few times, pointing and "asking" me to go out. We did for a bit, but the wind was just too much!

Once she gets it...

she gets it!

I have been on belay now for over seven-months and it is now paying off! The night we got back from our vacation, Julien was playing with Addie when I asked him to bring her upstairs for her bath. He did what we try to do as often as possible and that is help Addie crawl up the stairs.

That night was different! Julien started yelling for Chris and me to come and look at Addie. She was crawling - at full speed - up the stairs. Julien didn't have to help her one bit, he just stood right behind her to make sure she wasn't going to fall!

Last night and again today, I put Addie to the test. She is a little funny Monkey! She can get from stair to stair in no time at all, but still struggles with her balance. She will lose her balance about every other step and will fall on the step and I will reach down to help her back up and she will take off again!

Julien has asked that I get a video of it...I'll try soon.

Do you think any of the medical providers would believe me if I told them? :)
I'm not referring to the ones who have always been by our side...I mean the other ones - "them".

I hope this doesn't offend anyone...

and if it does, then you have to realize this is MY issue that I'm discussing, not putting you down.

Chris and I needed a date night - bad!

I'll skip through all the good stuff and get straight to the point:

(Everyone knows I have major germ issues.)

After our movie was over, you know what happened next - bee line straight to the restrooms! As I walk in, I shake my head as I immediately note my surroundings. No paper towels, the trash is overflowing with dirty paper towels and there are lots of people. I make my way down the row trying to find a stall that was somewhat "clean". I make it a few feet when something catches my eye. Of course there is the closed stall door, legs with jeans pulled down to where they needed to be and what the???...a huge bucket of popcorn right at her feet. Ugh...stomach churning. How? How can someone take their food inside the stall with them and place it on the floor right next to their feet? Doesn't everyone in the world realize that when the potty flushes that water sprays out? Not only that, but for all things good....that's just wrong.

Normally Chris makes fun of me for my germ issues, but he actually got a little grossed out too!

So, for all of you out there that do this. Um, wow. I am so glad that you don't have my psychological germ infestation issues. Really, I am. It makes life so much less complicated!

:)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wonder Works

The last night, we took the kids to Wonder Works. It was a great way to wrap things up! We all had a fantastic time and there was so much to do.

Maybe next time we go back, Addie will be able to walk across that piano.

Remember the chocolate cake eating kitty on a leash? Well, we were there because Julien insisted on finding a hat to match his shirt...










































Did I mention?

That Addie-Pa-Tattie slept ALL night EVERY night while we were gone? Why of why can she not do that at home????

Friday, February 20, 2009

Apple Barn

We spent the morning at the Apple Barn.

We had a great time and enjoyed the cool weather and beautiful blue skies! Addie was stuffed from breakfast and happy to snuggle up next to me for our trip through the gift shop and winery.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fore!



THE shirt

Remember when you were ten-years-old and nothing in the world seemed cooler than an airbrushed shirt with your name on it?

Uh-huh

Here it is.

A whole lot of fish!

We started day two at the Ripley's Aquarium. This was Monkey's least favorite place. Between the darkness and all of the people, she was more than happy to leave! Although we brought her little car, she spent 98% of the day in the sling next to me.

After the aquarium, we checked out a few shops (started the fudge binge) and went to Ripley's Believe It or Not. Julien thought this place was really cool, while Monkey just wanted a nap. Almost at the end, I managed to find a bench and sat down with Monkey. I told her to lay her head down (on my shoulder) and go "night-night" and so she did. For the next hour and a half, we walked around Gatlinburg with Monkey asleep in the sling. Man...those things are handy!

Dixie Stampede

We went to Dixie Stampede for dinner the first night.

On the way, Julien overheard me telling Chris that we didn't have to pay for Monkey as long as she sat on my lap and shared my food. Julien looked at me and asked, "so whose lap am I sitting on?" What a little comedian, he cracks me up!


Poor Monkey was just petrified of the pre-show. I think it was the hats the guys were wearing! She was so terrified that she started splotching! I kept checking her because at first I thought she was having an allergic reaction to something and then I realized she was just scared!

The main show was awesome though! I don't think Julien or Addie took their eyes off the show the entire time. Addie was sitting on my lap and I was literally holding her food in front of her and every once in a while, she would lean forward (eyes still on the show) and would take a bite of food and then sit back in my lap. Julien and Addie sang, clapped and stomped along with the show!

We had the BEST time!

Should I be offended? :)

Chris and I started the morning of our trip at 2:00 a.m. We knew that if we had any chance of surviving the car ride, we had to leave way before dawn.

I had Julien go to bed in sweats and Addie in her normal PJ's. I don't know about the rest of you, but when Chris and I travel, it is in comfort. We both dressed in comfy sweats for the drive.

The trip up to Gatlinburg was very pleasant. The kids slept most of the way. Julien woke about 30 minutes before we got there and I just cracked up at his comment. We are driving through this little town of nothingness and he's rubbing his eyes and looking around and says, "hey Mom, I was kind of expecting a little more than this". :)

We make it to the hotel very early. I knew our room wouldn't be ready, but I wanted to check with the clerk and let them know that we were in town and ready to check in as soon as the room was ready. Follow this conversation:



Me: Good morning. I know we are really early, but wanted to check with you to see when our room would be available.



Clerk: Your name please?



Me: Jennifer Henderson



Clerk: Mrs. Henderson, your room isn't ready yet.



Me: Do you have any idea how long it will be before it is ready?



Clerk: Let me see when it will be ready (she calls house keeping). It looks like it will be about an hour and a half.



Me: That's great! In the mean time, could you please tell me a good place to grab some lunch?



Clerk: Blank stare.



Me: OK, how about if you could tell me any places we should avoid.




Clerk: Um...what exactly were you wanting?



Me: Anything, we're just hungry!



Clerk: Well....there's _____ that serves sandwiches and then _____ just right next door. (An awkward clearing of the throat from her) Oh, there is Johnny Carino's BUT they really are more of an upscale restaurant. (As she proceeds to glance from Me to Chris to Julien to Addie)


Me: I try not to snort as I give a side glance at Chris and then give the clerk my best, "don't be a smarty pants because this woman holds the next three nights of comfort in her hands", "thank you" and we leave.

As soon as we hit the parking lot, I told Chris that I was very aware that we looked a tad rough...but I didn't realize we looked so bad that this woman suddenly thought we were not good enough for lunch at Johnny Carino's and by the way...since WHEN is Johnny Carino's considered "upscale"?

Smart decision

Although I try not to worry too much, I think it was embedded in my blood when Monkey was born. When I made the decision to take this vacation, I had to give serious thought as to where we would stay.

Chris and I have always stayed in a cabin on our trips to Gatlinburg, but I realized that wasn't the smartest thing with Monkey. What if we needed medical care? How long would we wait for an ambulance or how long would it take us to make it down the mountain to the hospital? "Too long" was my answer. So, I opted for a hotel instead.

The hotel was very nice and after Chris and I bleached and sanitized every solid inch of the room and bathroom (we really did), we settled in.
:)

Back track

Before I continue on with the rest of the vacation pictures, I have to post the pictures from this past Saturday.

We proudly attended Trenton's Birthday Party and had the best time! Trenton has the honor of being born on Valentine's Day - a day of love and celebration! His party was at his home and his parents were perfect hosts/hostesses. They had the best food and desserts - I don't know of anyone else who has had THREE birthday cakes at their party!
Trenton is walking and had a great time socializing with everyone and getting into everything! He was a perfect gentleman and graciously shared all of his toys with Bergen and Addie.
He had surgery on Tuesday to remove his tonsils and adenoids. We were all very worried about the surgery, but he made it through like a champ! He is at home and recovering well!
Happy 2nd Birthday Trenton! We love you!

Seriously? The little Monkey thinks...

I have to get up at what time? We're on vacation for Pete's Sake!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something you just don't see everyday!

Looks like I have an extra minute, so check this out!
Julien made us take him to this shop (story later) and while Monkey and I were in the car waiting, we see a guy walk by with a cat...on a leash.
I said an inquisitive, hmmm, as he walked in front of the car and it only got more strange once he got inside.
He sat kitty up on the display case and proceeded to feed him chocolate cake (I blurred his face to protect his privacy)...but isn't this just a bit different?
If any of you feel the need to take a good hot shower after viewing this, I understand...it kind of leaves you feeling a bit creepy.

An amazing trip

We're back. Sigh. We had a wonderfully, perfect time, but Chris and I are both stressing. He is sitting with his Blackberry, while I made the mistake of pulling up my work email and checking my voice mail. It's crazy. Our jobs don't stop when we're away, it just piles up and we're both walking into a mess when we go back. BUT, please let me reiterate how very thankful we are to have our jobs. We love them and are grateful, very grateful! I feel bad for even slightly complaining when there are so many people who don't even have a job. We're just tired and not ready to go back to work! :)

We left for our trip with antibiotic number FIVE for Monkey - we need relief.

We only took 160 pictures while we were gone. We took little mini vacations from our camera and allowed ourselves to enjoy some moments - privately.

I came to the conclusion that I no longer have blood coursing through my veins. The blood has been replaced with FUDGE. Rocky Road Fudge to be exact. For all things good...I feel like a puffer fish, I'm not sure that one more bite of food can actually pass my lips.

I've got little stories to tell and a few pictures to post...but today is our anniversary, our kids are asleep and I'm going to take advantage of it.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

959 days in the making!

It has been 959 days since we took our last family vacation.



We went to the beach for Independence Day 2006. It was a really tough trip for me, pregnancy doesn't fair too well with me.



Addie was there too, tucked away so safe from this cruel world and so content, not knowing the road she had ahead (or maybe she did, with the grace of our God preparing her). Here she is, my sweet beautiful baby girl.



With our world in a constant spiral - never for the worst - and having a little Monkey who doesn't travel well, a family vacation has been out of the question!



Chunky Monkey hasn't traveled outside of the radius encompassed between Tuscaloosa, Gardendale, Columbiana and the home of the almighty peach in Clanton.



Chris and I decided last November that we would take the day off for our anniversary, spend the day at Ross Bridge (where we stayed the first night of our honeymoon and are so in love with), play a round of golf, enjoy the services at the spa and "relax". Sometime in January, I changed the plans. Although we need the time alone, we need a family vacation even more.



After a particularly stressful quarter at work, lots of obstacles with regards to Monkey and the constant reminder that Disney World got nixed, I sent an email to Addie's Neurologist for some advice, found a hotel, BOOKED IT, sent an email for my days off of work and decided that it was time for a vacation!



So...the time has come. We are heading out for a real family vacation.



We have family kitty sitting and watching the house and not a care in the world!



Please keep us in your prayers so that we will have a safe trip.



We'll be back with lots of pictures to share!

Q & A

Ahhh...so I thought I would get off SCOTT-FREE from explaining our absence from The Mercedes Marathon this year. No such luck.

Chris, my family, friends and I put our hearts and soul into The Mercedes Marathon last year. It was something that we absolutely had to do.

This year, we chose not to. The main reason is that due to the hard economic times, there was no way that we could ask for donations from you. Chris and I have so much on us and new expenses at every turn and we know that some of our friends have been impacted by the difficult financial times. It is just not right for us to expect anything more than what we have generously been given.

So, with that being said, the marathon has an amazing financial impact on The Bell Center and is something that I will be a part of again in the future. This year, we opted out.

We have many dear friends who are running on Sunday and I am so sorry that I will not be standing at The Bell Center mile cheering you on. We will not be here on Sunday. You will be in my prayers and you will be in my thoughts. I am so grateful for what you are giving of yourselves, which in turn benefits my sweet baby girl and so many others! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Next year, if anyone is interested in volunteering to help with The Bell Center, there are a few options. The kids race and the actual marathon are always in need of volunteers.

This Sunday at the marathon, there will be The Bell Center mile. They ask that you come out and dress in a RED shirt and cheer the runners on. This mile of volunteers is like none other.

When Chris and I were approaching Samford yesterday, we could see from a distance the red balloons and volunteers standing at the main gate. I held back the tears because here are these people, taking time out of their day to stand on the side of the road just to direct us where we need to go. At each turn, there were red balloons and volunteers dressed in red. They were there for Addie and every other child that benefits from The Bell Center. Can you imagine the joy in my heart? There were also tons of people who came out just to sit and cheer the children on. I cannot fully express what this means to me and each parent there, just to know that we had the support of so many people!

If you want to volunteer in any way next year, please contact The Bell Center or let me know!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I haven't forgotten about you

I have been out of touch lately, I've just been so busy. I just wanted a few of you to know that I continue to pray for you.

Trenton with his upcoming surgery

V.D. and her son

J.R.

and

Polly with her upcoming surgery

I am also so very behind on catching up with other friends and checking in on them and their little ones.

Please know I am thinking of you all even when I don't have a chance to email or call you!

I am so very optimistic that life will settle down just a bit in March and I can catch up.

Belated pictures!

Sweet Patti sent me more pictures from Bergen's Birthday Party. Here is my favorite! More to come later...I'm too sleepy to add more tonight!

Our two seconds of fame!

Addie and I made the news yesterday...for a whopping two seconds!

You can view the video here at myfoxal.com.

We are at the very end of the video after the weather and you have to look really hard to see us.... :)

I hope you enjoy - there are some very special children, working very hard!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Invoking my bragging rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out this amazing group of boys!

Tonight was the final championship game and we won! The boys finished the season undefeated!

They worked for this win and Pelham provided good competition.
Congratulations, you guys are awesome!

The big race!

Today was The Bell Center kids race at Samford University. This kicked off the festivities for The Mercedes Marathon on Sunday.

This is tough to write, but it was much tougher to be there.

I struggled to hold back the tears throughout the race. To have been told that my baby would never walk and then to see her cross the finish line in a race, was more than my heart could take.

Not only Addie, but you should have seen the other children. It was such a beautiful sight!

Last year, Julien pushed Addie in a stroller for the race. This year, she walked.

All the praise goes to our glorious God! Thank you all for your continued prayers! Your prayers and support of our family is making the difference!


Isn't she beautiful? How I managed to make it through the race without the tears streaming down my face, I do not know...I can't stop them now.








Crossing the finish line!

Pictures of the day!




Hand In Paw

Hand In Paw came out for the big day! 
I was so happy to see them there!

A beautiful day for beautiful memories!






It means the world to me!

Just like last year, a sweet child made a sign to cheer Addie on. At the end of the race, he brought the sign over to us.

Granted, this is probably something that these kids do as part of their grade or community service - I honestly don't know. It doesn't matter if he was paid to do it, it's just that he did it. He was the sweetest little man, gave Addie an amazing complement and was more than willing to take a picture and accept a hug from me!

This will stay with me - always.

We are so proud of Addie!










Monkey is a climbing little Monkey!

Last night I took extra time to incorporate even more physical therapy into our nightly routine. On the way to take a bath, I carried Monkey up a few stairs and then put her down. For the last few months, I have been doing this. I will help her place one chunky little thigh on the next stair up and encourage her to crawl up the stairs.

Last night was different.

I helped Monkey up the first stair and then waited to see what she would do next. She did exactly what I was hoping for. She placed her little leg up on the next stair and pulled with all of her might! Stair after stair, Monkey climbed. She would stop and look at me and then look down to the bottom of the stairs and then climb one more stair.

It took us a bit, but Monkey made it all the way to the top!

Sometimes it is disheartening to know that we have a two year old and no need for safety gates. We bought them when we moved into the house back in June, but haven't put them up because there was no need.

The need just may arise...soon.

Correction...

My Mom will continue to be imprisoned in the hospital until Tuesday at the earliest. I saw her today and she looks better than she did on Tuesday. Slow progress...but progress nonetheless.

I am impressed with her attitude over the whole ordeal. I was sliced open and a child removed from my womb and demanded to go home within 48 hours...My Mom is hold up in the hospital for a minimum of 10 days and is in good spirits! I know I didn't inherit that from her!

Update

Thanks so much for all the prayers for my Mom. There is definite improvement since Sunday. Hopefully, she will be able to come home some time this weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monkey's Valentine's Party at school

All that is really needed for a good party are friends and lots of cheese puffs...oh, and baby!











Desperate times...

calls for desperate measures!

As a very last resort, we decided to buy Chunky Monkey a new car seat. This is the very last thing left that we haven't tried in order to make Munkus more comfortable in the car.
Today was the first day...let's just scratch today and we'll start the "real" test tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

18-17

We finished the regular season undefeated and made it through the first tournament game with a win!

The game tonight kept us all on the edge of our seats and screaming at the top of our lungs! It was a tough game, but the boys pulled through like always! GREAT JOB!!! We are so blessed to have an amazing group of boys!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shhh...

Don't tell Chris that Monkey was digging out all the mulch...If I'm cornered, it was the local Groundhog - Helena Halana malie. She must be ticked over six more weeks of winter.

A little extra prayer

My Mom was admitted to the hospital this a.m. due to complications from surgery she had nine days prior.

Please say a prayer for her complete healing!

Explains a lot!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Basketball Awards

We celebrated the end of the regular season of basketball tonight. Julien's team finished the season undefeated!

We still have tournament Tuesday night, but went ahead with awards anyway. We had a really fun time this year and once again played with an amazing group of boys!

Congratulations on a job well done!

(After all the drama at the park, we didn't even bother to go home and get cleaned up, so excuse the dirty shirt...the rush to go home and change just wasn't worth it to go and eat pizza with a group of ten-year-old boys!)

Heardmont Park

Heardmont Park is a fantastic park to visit on a breathtakingly beautiful day when the squirrels are friskily running about, dogs are out playing with their owners, kids running from place to place, ball games in full swing, children on slides, the cool water running lazily downstream, a soft breeze in the trees...a two-year old in full tantrum because she is too tired to use her walker, people stopping to stare, her Daddy being humiliated...wait just a minute...surely those can't all be intermingled, can they?

For us, yep, you bet.

What started out as a spontaneous trip to the park, ended up with us leaving with an inconsolable Monkey, two tired parents and a brother who was trying his best to bust his ear phones on his I-Pod to drown out the screaming.

I don't know what is wrong with Monkey. Today was just typical of this past week. Something has got to give. She is beyond miserable and for the next week and a half, we will be going non-stop.

Bless her heart, she just can't tell me what is wrong and I don't know what to do to make it all better.

We are just so sad for her.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hearing exam

I took Addie yesterday for her six-month hearing exam. She did fantastic as usual! She is so calm when she has her ears examined and as long as she is sitting in my lap, she doesn't mind be tortured too much!

At this point, there are still no concerns. Her tubes are open and she has not had any decrease in her hearing. We are good to go until July - unless a concern arises!

We had the same audiologist as last time. After the hearing test, she proceeded to tell me that she was unable to complete the full frequency range because Addie "was easily distracted" and her "attention span was too short".

That's really odd...don't you think?

What two-year-old wouldn't be able to sit perfectly still in a sound proof room with a dancing pig, loud Monkey and cymbal banging rabbit (which she still hates)? Not only that, an intern was in the room in front of us with toys. I am just appalled that my child would become distracted! Geez...I need to work on her manners!

(I will be demanding the original audiologist next time, the one we had Addie's first year. One that is more personable with children)

Pitiful little thing

Addie has had an incredibly rough week. I'm not entirely sure what is going on, but her anxiety level is just through the roof!
She isn't comfortable and content at school, in the car (not really unusual) and even at home. If I had to guess, I would say that the antibiotic is making her feel really terrible, sleepy and giving her a tummy ache.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this passes soon. Addie's teachers don't know what else to do to help her and I can't imagine going in to next week with the same sad little Monkey.
Please keep her in your thoughts and wish us a good day tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Doing our part

Julien has been bugging Chris and me to take him to Fox Valley for dinner. Since the economy is struggling, we felt we needed to do our part and keep our money in our community. Hence, dinner at Fox Valley. :)

We had dinner tonight for an "early Valentine's Day" dinner with Julien. The interesting part was that we were the ONLY people there until we were finishing dessert and getting ready to leave. It was nice (in a way) to have the whole restaurant to ourselves. We got the heat turned up to our liking, we were able to talk about whatever we chose with no regards to anyone else and eating from each others plates isn't rude when nobody else is there to witness it.

We had a great time... and now, I have agreed to go on a date with my husband (alone) for Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kim - once again is the best!

Kim as in Kim Sharit Photography - the best photographer ever - is holding a photo contest. She somehow managed to pick her ten favorite pictures of 2008 and Monkey made the list.

It would be incredibly selfish for me to ask you to vote for Monkey because there are some incredible pictures to choose from, so visit Kim's site and vote for what you think the best picture of 2008 is!

Oh...and while you're there, go ahead and email Kim and get that next photo session booked!

Happy 2nd Birthday Bergen!

I just can't believe that it was time already to rejoice in the 2nd anniversary of Bergen's birth. This sweet little girl is so very dear to my heart and I wouldn't have missed this day for anything!

I decided while at the party - which was held at Kindermusik at The Pink House - that when I grow up I want to be just like Patti. Patti is Bergen's Mom and is the most organized person in the world, she throws the best parties, gives out the best party favors, has a heart of gold and is just beautiful inside and out! Patti needs to open up "Patti's Charm and Planning School" so that I can be the first to enroll!

The party was absolutely fabulous and Monkey had THE BEST TIME! She danced and played and even helped clean up!

Thank you so much for letting us share in this day with you...it was an honor!