Thursday, December 30, 2010


I kept hearing crickets... didn't realize it was coming from my blog.

Well, you think I'd have a ton to write about after taking an apparent month-long hiatus from blogging.

And I have a ton to report... like a magical white Christmas, the best EVER for my 5-year old boy.

And a visit to our college alma mater (the first for my hubby in 10 years... my how things change).

And great family celebrations with both sides of our family this season.

And pajama parties with great friends.

BUT... that will all have to wait for another day.

For now, I'm letting the crickets resume their chirping, and I'll see you in the New Year!

Happy 2011!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010



He's been crying for 30 minutes straight.
Sobbing hysterically.
Calming down until he remembers his horrible fate.
And he falls apart all over again.

My moms says it's as if I have a 14 year old girl in the background.
But it's just a five year old boy.
And he's broken-hearted.
He feels "mean and angry" inside.

Between the moans, he reminds me that the punishment is "just too much".
"I just can't take it!" he wails.
But I hold my ground.
And he remains...


From television.
For a day.

He was warned.
More than once.
But self-control eluded him.
Apparently, his rear end was just too funny.
After all, he referred to it at least seven times today as the punch line for his jokes.

He tried to negotiate.
He sacrificed gum and the gameboy for a week or more
If I would just reconsider the whole TV ban.
Unfortunately for my little briar rabbit,
I held my ground.

"But Mommy!" he started.
I stopped him short.
"No more Buts.
Or Butts.
Or TV."

He cried himself to sleep on our long ride home.
And I tucked him into bed without TV.
For one measly day.


Hello to the grandparents in colder climates...

I've heard so many people lament the fact that it's hard to get into the holiday spirit when it's 80+ degrees outside in Florida. I can understand that... but it's all I've ever known, so I can do "Merry" while wearing flip flops and sunscreen.

I did, however, find it a bit humorous as I chased my toddler around the splash area at the local amusement park today. Maybe "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" being pumped through the speakers had something to do with the absurdity of it all.

How we do winter in Florida from mom2drew on Vimeo.

Untitled from mom2drew on Vimeo.

All the grandparents are in colder climates this Thanksgiving, and I'm guessing that it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Alabama and Minnesota. So, this post is for Baba, Diado, Grandma & Grandpa - we're sending our warmest wishes your way. And we're so thankful to God for who you all are in our lives. We love you and we'll miss you all this week!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Six Weeks Later...

It's been approximately 6 weeks since Drew had his brain surgery. Time flies when you're trying to keep an active boy inactive.

Which is why Drew and I were SO excited as we drove to school Friday morning. Since he returned to class, his only limitation has been that he had to sit out of P.E. and recess until he returned from Thanksgiving break. But in a moment of generosity, I decided that the day before Thanksgiving break was close enough. I jotted out my permission on a scrap piece of paper. He clutched the note tightly in his hand and jumped out of the car.

"See ya, Mom!"

And ever since I signed my name to that little piece of paper, my son has gone from this:

To this:

I'm remembering the words of warning our surgeon gave us several months ago. About how he may become even MORE active once the Chiari Malformation was corrected.

Those telling words rang in my head when my son took a flying leap off the swingset at the playground this morning. They echoed as I watched him run sprints back and forth across our backyard for no reason at all.

As I sit here and type this post, he's running back and forth between my room (where his shows are on T.V.) and the living room (where I'm watching the Amazing Race), all while donning a pair of underpants on his head.

I'm exhausted just watching him for the past few days, and I shutter to think of what the next week of "vacation" from school holds.

Ah... If I only had superpowers of my own...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Did You Know?

Did you know that we actually own spoons? My daughter apparently thinks that the only way to sneak oatmeal from her cousin's bowl is by the fistful.

I caught her before she polished off the meal. But not before she left a 3 foot high trail of lumpy whole grains from the kitchen to the bathroom.

Did you know that I work very hard to set a good example of tidyness for my kids. "Everything has a place, everything in it's place", as my mom always says...

Did you know that there is not one single teenager living in this house?

Did you know that a dog could be as messy as a five-year old boy?

Did you know that a boy's defintion of cleaning up his S'mores ingredients is a whole lot different that his mom's instructions to clean up his S'mores ingredients before going outside to play?
Did you know that a dog can polish off an entire bag of marshmallows if they're not cleaned up properly?

Did you know that it only takes 3 pairs of undies, a copy of "Are You My Mother?" and a rubberband to make a mighty fine makeshift banjo...

Did you know that Miss M has recently grown slightly taller than my most recent baby-proofing preparations?

Did you know that Drew had a hard time finding his reading book tonight?

Did you know that, instead of reading, my son decided to throw his bouncy ball up against the wall?

Did you know that I've been putting my kids to bed a little early this week?

Monday, November 8, 2010

All He Wants For Christmas...

With the next one set to fall out by the end of this week, do you think I can convince him that 2 front teeth would be WAY more fun than a Wii???

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Playing Dress Up

We knew it would be a weekend of playing dress-up. Obviously with Halloween on Sunday night, the majority of the population was in the mood for a little bit of costume fun. But our entire weekend was spent playing dress-up of some kind or another.

On Friday night, my family got together (brother's family, sister's family, parents, and all the grandkids) for a photo shoot at a nearby park. Although we haven't seen the pictures yet, we are really excited about capturing these "moments" on film. It was fun to dress up and coordinate the color scheme (I LOVE stuff like that), to see the baby girls all decked out in Christmas dresses and the boys with their hair combed - ha!

I'm so proud to call my family "mine". Each one of them sacrificed so much to attend a one-hour photo shoot. My dad, who can barely stand up any more for fear of passing out, made it through the whole thing... smiling (and sitting)! There were a few moments we were glad that we had to all squish in together tightly; it worked to help prop him up as well as make the picture look good! My brother's and sister's families made tremendous sacrifices to attend as well. I'm so grateful for the commitment everyone has to be there for eachother. They mean the world to me, and despite the short time I got to spend with them this weekend, it was precious time that I'll cherish.

On Saturday, as my husband was bringing the mail up from the mailbox, I noticed a white package in his hand. I was THRILLED to see the return address, knowing that THIS was inside the box (the outfit, not the baby...):

I was beyond excited to find this little number on etsy the other day!! My husband and I both attended Auburn University and are HUGE Tiger fans. It doesn't hurt that they're having such a great season, although based on Miss M's facial expressions as I took her picture, you'd think they had just lost their 7th game or something (Ahem... they are UNDEFEATED if you must know). Maybe she's just sad that we've never taken her to a game. Which is a crying shame, Miss M, I know!

On Sundays, we always play a little dress up for church, but this week, our sights were set on the dress-up that would follow a few hours later! Our church hosts a trunk or treat each year, and when I can, I like to volunteer to dress up our car and hand out treats. I'm a sucker for a "theme", so I was thrilled when the idea struck to dress my family as characters from the movie "UP".

With Drew's approval and enthusiasm, he and I spent the better part of last week creating our props. I was happy with how it turned out.

(The Car - with a colorful house and balloons tied to the roof rack, the car was transformed into the movie's main character)

(Drew as "Dug the talking dog" poses with a friend, whose mom is my great friend from Two Shades of Pink)

(I took on "Carl Fredricksen" and pose alongside "Dug" and "Kevin")

(And the best costume of our family was hands-down "Russell", played by Miss M)

(I still giggle every time I see these pictures!)

We had a ton of fun and got a ton of candy. And all that white hairspray came out of my hair in just 2 shampoo-ings!

It was a busy weekend, but I cherish the memories that were made during our dress-up days!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Time Last Year...

...I left my 6-day old newborn at home with Daddy and sped over to the hospital, where my sister-in-law and brother were having THEIR baby girl!

And today, I am a proud aunt to the prettiest little one-year old lady"bugg" ever!

Less than one week apart in age, Miss M and her cousin are already bosom buddies. We get to spend a few days a week with Miss A, and I LOVE watching the girls play "together".

They are different in size, stature, personality and poise. They are alike in their love of food, the big yellow dog and the rowdy entertaining Drew.

And they do have one other thing in common... both have this family totally wrapped around those darling little fingers!

Happy First Birthday, Miss A!! Your mom and I can't wait to throw you and your cousin some princess tea parties for birthdays to come!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Post-Op Ponderings

Two weeks ago today, my husband and I were sitting in a waiting room as surgeons operated on our son's brain and skull. We envisioned an immediate future of bandages, wounds, and lots of bedside TLC.

One week later, I left my son at his grandma's house with the following stern instructions:
"Be good.
Don't be rowdy.
Don't be loud.
Just sit and watch T.V. and play video games.
Don't run.
Don't pick things up.
Don't climb all over the couch.
Stay Calm.
Do you understand?"

In other words... all of the energy I stored up for being a bedside nurse has been used to calm down my very active, very-much-recovered five year old boy.

It's hard to believe that only 2 weeks after surgery, he can feel so good. He is off of virtually all his pain medicine. I don't know if he's even supposed to be off it, but he is. He's been working on school work and helping with chores around the house.

The past couple of weeks have been momentous for Drew in a lot of ways, but it's also been huge for this mama, too. When I have brief moments of quiet, I feel a bit overwhelmed by what we've been through. Not the surgery so much, but the response from all of you.

This year, we have already learned about just how gracious, caring and prayerful our friends are through my dad's illness. But bringing it even closer to home with Drew's ordeal, we have been absolutely humbled.

I feel the need for a new outlook on my response to others' sufferings. So, here's my list of "What To Do":


Prayer is powerful and effective. I could write a book about how I feel about prayer after this experience, but others have gone before me and penned more eloquent & theologically sound words than I ever could. I do know this... God hears our prayers and answers them. Whether or not it's the answer we're begging for, only He decides. For me, the power of the prayers was more about the relationship and conversation it gave me with God than the outcome that followed. I had no idea that kind of peace was possible as I said goodbye to my child in the halls of a surgical ward. But it was all-encompassing and undeniable.

So, from now on... I've resolved to earnestly pray when I tell someone I will. It's the greatest thing I can do for a friend.

When it's appropriate, I will make myself physically available to GO to others when they're going through a trial. We had several visitors at the hospital (including pastors from my church and my parents church). What a shot in the arm (the good kind, not the "owwee" kind!) for our boy to see our friends and his. It made the hospital more normal, less threatening. It did us all a world of good. We also had friends who came to our house after we got home. We were so grateful for everyone who set aside their schedules and errands and "to-do's" to just spend time visiting with us.

So, from now on... when it's appropriate to do so, I will go. (I realize that sometimes, visitors can be too stressful in certain situations. I pray for the sensitivity to ask before going and respond accordingly.)

And finally, I resolved to SEND something to those who are suffering. This is probably the easiest one to do. Because I'm not really talking about gifts (although we have generous friends who gave Drew some awesome treats!!). During Drew's hospitalization, we also received cards, letters, emails, Facebook comments, blog comments and texts. I realized how easy and meaningful a word of encouragement truly is. I was also astounded by how many people still send cards. With all the modern avenues of communication available, I was blown away to get Get-Well cards in the mail. WOW!

So, I'm going to stock up on cards and stamps. And make sure I keep my "unlimiting texting" plan!

I pray that God will continue to use this experience to teach our family about love, compassion and generosity. We have a lot to learn, and a great example has been set for us to follow.

Thank you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Miss M!

I cannot begin to wrap my brain around where this year has gone.

It's as if I've been duped by some great sleight-of-hand trickery. I've blinked, and "POOF", my baby is gone... and here stands (and walks and runs) a little girl.

Wearing the dresses I held up to my belly last year.
Playing with the dolls and teacups that I just unwrapped at her baby showers.
Outgrowing the shoes I never thought she'd get big enough to wear.
Eating her peas and carrots (and the dog's food when I'm not quick enough to stop her).

I'm walking down memory lane today, scratching my head in bewilderment as I go. Won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Can I Do?

I'm working on a update of our family... sometimes it takes a while when I have something heartfelt that I've been pondering. Such is the case with my latest "Drew" update.

In the meantime, though, I have something infinitely more important to share with you.

A few months ago, a friend of mine started a blog entitled "143 Million Less One" (click HERE). You may remember her story if you've been reading my blog for a little while. She and her husband adopted a little boy from China around the same time Miss M was born last year.

I felt a connection with them from the moment I heard their story. God had placed a passion in their hearts to adopt, and they began a journey of faith. It just so happened that their journey to bring Liam home from China coincided with the impending arrival of Miss M last year - we were preparing for new babies together - it was so exciting!

Now, Nancy writes an earnest, touching and powerful blog highlighting orphans around the world who cling to a hope that their "forever family" is waiting, praying, and preparing to welcome them home, too.

Each time I read her blog, it makes a profound impression and charges me to ask myself some tough questions.

I believe you're up for the challenge, too. Please click HERE and read about another "one" who just found his forever family. I know the Greene family personally and want to help them bring Elijah home however I can. Maybe you can help them too.

So take a peek... and please leave Nancy a comment letting her know you stopped by!

Friday, October 15, 2010

We're Outta There!

Guess I should update and let you know that we're home!


Yesterday morning, the doctors burst into the room (they always burst into a room... that must be one of the classes required for med students) around 7am. Lights were turned on, flashlights poking around Drew's head and neck. We listened as they spoke in quick fragmented sentences to eachother and tried to pick up a word we understood here and there.

A few seconds later, they were done with their analysis and turned to me smiling.

"He looks great. We'll send you home today. He'll recover much more quickly there!"

And just like that, they were gone.

A few minutes later, one of the "team" members who'd just been part of the flurry of excitement, returned to me with a prescription for pain meds.

"So, you think we'll be out of here by dinnertime?" I asked.
"Oh no... your discharge papers are done. You'll be out of here before lunch."

And sure enough, we loaded our boy into the car around 11am and were home by lunchtime.

It's been a whirlwind since then, and a lot more stressful for mama. It's very hard to keep a 5 yr old inactive. The doctor was right... his improvement moved into the fast lane once we got home.

So, we started setting the timer on the microwave and banishing him to the couch or his room for 10 minute increments, trying desperately to get him to slow down!

Which is why I have been so bad about posting an update. This kid is keeping me very busy. And I'm so very grateful!!!

We are home!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Our Way "Up!"

It's the wee hours of the morning, and I can't sleep. I think I'm about to witness an amazing sunrise as a reward for my insomnia - the view out our hospital window cannot be beat. From where I sit, I can see the water just beyond the city's downtown buildings. And at the edge of the bay, there's a little airport that's busy with small planes and helicopters. Drew's going to love that in a day or so.

The boy is doing really well. I am amazed at how comfortable he seems. Each time the nurse asks about his pain (they use the smiley face chart... I'm sure you're familiar), he points to the little guy right next to the smiling one. "Just a little bit" is the only amount of pain he's reporting. Now, they have him hooked up to the best medicine in the world, but hey - it's working!!

I'm pleased to report that Drew is finally wearing pants again. "Phineas & Ferb" pajama bottoms if you must know. He's very proud of them, and I'm glad he feels a bit less exposed these days.

It's very quiet in his room, and he slept soundly from 9pm last night until about 2 o'clock this morning. With a good five hour nap, though, he woke us both up so we could "watch some movies!"

I curled up in his bed with him and we watched "UP". I had never seen it before, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. After the movie was over, I convinced him to go back to sleep... but for some inexplicable reason, I'm still "UP".

But that's ok. The still, dark quiet of this room has been a great place for some reflection this morning. And most of my thoughts are steeped in gratitude. Gratitude to God for being so good to us. Gratitude that He loves Andrew even more than I do. Gratitude for my amazing family and friends. Gratitude that we are floating somewhere in the middle of the covering of God's protection and the safety net of your prayers and love.

So, thanks for keeping us "UP!"

I'm off to either catch a sunrise or a little shut eye.

(I put these on my Facebook page yesterday, but in case you didn't see them, I wanted to include them here as well):

When we arrived, Drew was very upset and anxious...

Then, the nurse gave him something called "Happy Juice". Ahh... much better!

During the procedure, his daddy and I killed time by checking emails and responding to the sweetest messages of love and prayers.

Post-op and in his room

Less than 2 hours after surgery, he manages to play a quick video game on the t.v. mounted on his wall. Very cool!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surgery Day

Update #2 - Around 1:00 p.m., we were finally able to see Drew. He looked so sweet - his color was good and he wasn't very swollen - both warmed this mama's heart. I think he'll have some more swelling in the days to come, but we're grateful for this moment. Great news came when we were informed we wouldn't have to spend the first 24 hours in ICU like the original schedule had ordered. We were admitted straight to "our room" for the remainder of our stay. Now, as of 7:15 p.m., we are comfortably settled and he has been sleeping on and off the majority of the afternoon. He even played a video game for about 5 minutes. The blessings keep coming!! (7:15 p.m.)

Update #1 - The surgery is over and he's doing well. Still waiting to see our boy. Surgeon had to do more work than expected, but we are praising God for the surgeon's steady hands and wise decisions. He believes Drew will have a full recovery. Will update again soon! (12:33 p.m.)

We are sitting in the hospital waiting area while the neurosurgeon is performing Drew's surgery.

I hope to update this post throughout the day with stories I don't want to forget.

You know, memorable things, like the fact that my 5 year old told 3 consecutive pastors (who came to visit and pray before we went into surgery) that, underneath the blankets and gown, he had no pants or underwear on.

Apparently, this was the most pressing issue on his mind. Gotta love that little boy!

Our first update was good. As of 10:45 a.m., he's still in surgery.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prayer Requests

We are gearing up this week for Drew's impending brain surgery. We originally thought he'd be in surgery on Monday, Oct. 11th, but we just received a call that it'll take place on Tuesday the 12th. We thank you in advance for your prayers over our family. We are at peace, and the boy is o.k. with it, too. (Not to say I won't be asking for the largest possible dosage of Valium for this kid on the day of his procedure...).

In the meantime, I would also like to ask you to pray for my dad and mom. As you may know, my dad's been fighting a disease called Amyloidosis this year. He was diagnosed in December of 2009, received a bone marrow transplant in February of this year, and has been going through a pretty tough chemo regimen for a few months.

At this point in the battle, his body is fatigued and weak. The visits to the hospital are growing more frequent.

Through it all, we have relied as a family on the all-sufficient knowledge that God is good and that He is in control. And your prayers really help us to rest in God's perfect plan for our family.

I plan to write a bit more about Drew's surgical plan as we get a little closer to next week.

Until then, thank you for praying for us! How can I pray for you???

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The "after"

We had a great time at the hair salon last night! I brought plenty of food, which kept Miss M quite content during her styling.

After a relatively uneventful 15 minutes in the chair, my sweet thing came out with an adorable little "bob":

I love my style, too. What I don't love is posting a picture of myself, but I feel obligated now, so... just don't look too closely at all those WRINKLES!!! Yikes!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Do's

This evening, my daughter and I have a double-date at the hair salon. How fun!!

It will not be her first haircut. Since birth, my girl has had a full head of hair, and her Grandma has been her stylist until now. She gets her bangs cut every couple of weeks, but it's finally growing past the "manageable" stage. It is so long that I pulled it back into a pony tail last night. A rather long ponytail. Before long, I'm going to be piling it on top of her head in one of those "chip clips" like I do with mine every morning.

In other words, it's time to do something!

So, I went online today (like I normally do when I'm trying to find inspiration for my own hair) and searched crazy websites that I normally do not find myself purusing. I actually typed in a search for "Suri Cruise". After looking over the images for a few minutes, I realized I was so saddened by the constant glass house that poor little girl lives in that I wasn't even looking at her haircut. So, I navigated away to the Duggars website on TLC (I figured that was the easiest way to find about 10 different toddler looks in one visit).

I narrowed down my selections for her, then moved on to choose my new "do". I printed up a few looks to show my stylist tonight. After reviewing the images I chose, I might be putting undo pressure on her. Celebrities, Brazilian supermodels... poor lady is my hairstylist, not my fairy godmother.

But a girl can dream. And having a little girl to share these experiences with is a dream come true!

Me... Before (Pigtails?!?! In your mid-30's, this isn't a good look)

Miss M... Before (Pigtails when you're a baby, now that's adorable!)

Stay tuned for our "after" pictures...coming soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kindergarten Lesson, Part 2

More things we're learning in Kindergarten:

1. You can tell a lot about what your kid did in school if you just send them there in a pristine white uniform shirt. (i.e. what color markers he used on his project, what he ate for snack and lunch, how rough he was on the playground, etc.)

2. White uniform shirts are the least popular among parents.

3. If you casually mention you don't like the Star Wars book your child checked out of the library last week, you can be assured he'll bring home a completely different choice the next week. A BIGGER Star Wars book with scarier pictures... just because he thinks you need to give it a second chance.

4. You should only keep a five-year old home from school if they are really sick. Tired and "sorta sick" only lasts about an hour. After that, you have an active sidekick all day long who's used to doing 15 activities per day, rotating to the next one every 45 minutes.

5. When moms get tired and "sorta sick", it takes a lot longer than an hour to turn things around.

Happy Monday! Hope you all learn something new this week, too!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Lemonade Stand

I had run out of excuses not to do it.

For 2 months, my son had been begging to set up a lemonade stand in our driveway, and I was less than enthusiastic about the idea.

I am not a sales person at heart. I don't like asking for money (even a quarter toward a glass of that sweet summertime staple).

So, when Drew said he wanted the lemonade to be "FREE!", I finally gave in.

He made the sign.

I made the beverages.

We lugged a table and chair outside, along with a cooler for ice. We set up the pitcher, cups, and an umbrella for shade.

Then we waited for our first customer.

A big shiny silver Mercedes drove past our house first. I could tell the driver was slowing down to read our sign. A few moments later (he'd apparently circled the block), he pulled up again and rolled down his window.

The shy smile on my son's face was priceless, and I wondered for a moment if he was about to chicken out on the whole deal.

"How much, son?" the man asked.
"It's FREE!" Andrew replied.

"You can't give away lemonade! I'll take 2 glasses. And this is just a donation. One for you and one for your little sister."

Drew poured a couple of sloppy cups and handed them through the car window to the man and his passenger. He took the two dollars and (with urgent prompting from his momma) thanked his first customers profusely.

We sat back down in the shade of our umbrella and discussed his first "sale" of the day. We practiced two new words: "Customers" and "generous" - because he'd certainly just experienced both.

For the next hour and a half, we sat on the driveway and talked, poured lemonade, took a couple more donations here and there from some "generous customers", but mostly just gave away our drinks for "FREE!". We met new neighbors and reconnected with some we hadn't seen in months. We watched the chocolate Drew brought outside melt in the hot sun.

And after 13 customers were served, we packed up our lemonade stand and called it a day.

I don't know what my beef used to be about Lemonade Stands.
After our experience this past weekend, I have a new outlook:

"If Life Hands You a Sam's Club-sized Canister of Countrytime mix... Make Lemonade!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kindergarten Lessons

(otherwise known as Drew's answers to "What Did You Learn In School Today?")

1. You must keep all 4 feet of your chair on the ground. No one wants to bump their head on the first day of school!

2. Some girls just want to be left alone.

3. Some girls just want to be your friend.

4. Some girls will inform you that you're their boyfriend. If you don't even know what a boyfriend is, that's ok. The girl probably knows.

5. Library books must be kept away from water, dirt, food, pets and little sisters.

6. "Hola" is the Spanish word for "hello".

7. "Underarms" is the Spanish word for "armpits"

8. The clinic will give you an ice pack if you scrape your knee.

9. The clinic will also give you an ice pack if you bump your head on the playground.

10. The clinic isn't really the best place to go if you have back pain (perhaps you should just sit against the wall).

11. If one of your classmates is having a hard day, the whole day will be about that kid for everyone.

12. Every mommy in the whole world sends money for Friday slushies.

*disclaimer - these truly are his answers to what he's learned in school. Fortunately, not all the events have happened to Drew personally. Unfortunately a lot of them have...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Well, He IS learning something...

"What's a city council, Mom?"

This is the question I got from my five-year old as we were driving down the road the other day.

"What did you ask?"

"A city council. What is it? What does it do?"

"Umm...." I begin with a brief explanation of local politics then pause.

"I just have to know, buddy... where in the WORLD did you learn that? Is this something you're talking about in school?" (I'm hopeful... after all, he's in an excellent school this year and really is learning a lot after only 3 weeks).

"Oh, I saw it on Phinease & Ferb the other day."

And they say television is a waste of time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Those Florida Bugs

It's been said that the bugs here in Florida can grow to be outrageous in size.

For instance, look what I found flitting around my driveway the other day:


I mean, that is just ridiculous, right?


Good thing I have a brave bug-catcher around!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Things were going so well...

Things were going so well yesterday morning.

After waking him from a sound sleep, I reminded Drew that he was not going to school, but we were to spend the day at All Children's Hospital for his follow-up MRI and second appointment with the neursurgeon (about his recently diagnosed Chiari Malformation... a malformation of the base of his brain).

He got dressed calmly and seemed at peace with what lay ahead. Knowing full well that our little boy did not like needles (Drew made a lasting impression at the radiology center we went to in July when it took four adults to hold our panicked, screaming child to the gurney while they inserted an IV for sedation), I was pleased that he seemed so emotionally stable.

We made small talk in the car as our family of four traveled south on the interstate toward the hospital. And while we checked in and completed paperwork, Drew enjoyed an episode of Phineas and Ferb on the waiting room's television.

Things were going so well...

And then our son's name was called. I stood up to take him back while Daddy offered to stay in the lobby with Miss M. As we passed through the enormous double doors that led down a stark hallway, I heard the distinct whine of panic setting in. By the time we got to a room, Drew was in shambles. Sobbing hysterically, he began clawing, clinging and begging. The sweet nurse tried to reassure him. I tried to redirect him. Nothing worked. So, between his hysterical pleas to go home and his 587 questions about what the nurse was doing every time she moved a muscle, we managed to get an IV needle placed and taped to his arm.

Because of a backup in the MRI lab, we were sent (Drew in his little scrubs) back out to the lobby until a machine became available. This was a good time to regroup with Daddy and Megan and calm down a bit. The baby was toddling around the waiting area, as doctors, nurses, and hospital staff oohed and ahhed over her pig tails and chunky thighs.

Things were going so well...

And then a familiar odor caught our attention. I tried to pawn diaper-changing duty off on my poor husband (after all, Drew and I could be called back for his MRI at any moment), and it almost worked until I realized that I had neglected to pack a single solitary diaper in my bag. I had formula, bottles, wipes, a change of clothes, various toys, several snack selections, and a few good books, but NO diapers.

So, I sent Daddy to the gift shop where he said he'd seen several baby-related necessities early. He was sure that they'd have diapers, too. "Size 4!" I called out after him, and then turned back to tend to my 2 kids.

They were busily playing together near the big wall recognizing all the important benefactors of the hospital.

Things were going so well...

Until I noticed a little something on the floor next to my squatting toddler. "Oh NO!" I thought. "It can't be!" But it was. The contents of her diaper had exceeded it's capacity and were now contaminating the pristine, sterile floors of the hospital's busy thoroughfare.

I quickly grabbed wipes and began to clean up the floor and my child, fervently praying that the deliverer of diapers would be back soon. At that exact moment, I looked up with relief to see my husband walking back toward me. The relief quickly disappeared when I noticed that he was empty-handed.

"They didn't have size 4. They had size 5 diapers with overnight protection. Do you think that will work?"

A few hours later, I realized how close my husband came in that moment to losing a limb. Surely he could surmise from my position on all fours, wiping the floor with baby wipes and holding my 23 lb toddler awkwardly upside-down over one shoulder that pretty much ANYTHING would be better than the current situation. I think I actually responded with, "Size 5 will be fine!"

Once the baby was cleaned up and changed, we went back toward our waiting room where we listened to some beautiful piano music and watched a little more t.v. Drew had settled down nicely with all the distractions of the lobby.

Things were going so well...

And then our pager went off, summoning us back to the MRI station. Within milliseconds, Drew was a basketcase again. Hysterical, sobbing, clinging and clawing his way up my body, he challenged my deepest resolve to maintain some semblance of authority and order while speaking with the kind, sympathetic anesthesiologist. Seeing what a mess my child was, she asked me to carry him to the doors of the imaging room and hold him while they administered the sedative that would put him, mercifully, into a deep sleep. He clung to me, all the while asking the doctors the same questions over and over again... shouting them directly into my ear as I did my best to hold him still. I couldn't see if they were anywhere NEAR getting the medication pushed through the IV, but I finally felt his little body go limp. I breathed a sigh of relief as I handed him over to the wonderful staff so they could take pictures of his spinal cord and brain.

And I headed out to join the rest of my family in the main lobby. We had several hours to kill and enjoyed a nice quiet lunch at the cafeteria, followed by a walk through the gift shop (I can pretty much find a reason to shop anywhere at any time apparently). Then we let Miss M have the run of the corridors. She took full advantage of the wide open spaces, stumbling around while carrying my cell phone up to her head. She was adorable and an amazing distraction as we waited.

Drew came out of his anesthesia like a champ. A loopy champ who'd maybe been hit around the head a little too much, but a champ nonetheless. He got Gatorade in the color of his choice and a Coca Cola flavored ICEE when we left the radiology department. We made perfect time in order to get to his appointment with the neurosurgeon.

Once we arrived and checked in with neurosurgery, we were immediately ushered back to a room where Drew was offered a root beer flavored lollipop (his favorite!) by an incredibly nice physician's assistant. It wasn't long until the doctor came in to speak with us. We caught him up on Drew's symptoms since we'd seen him last and let him know that, despite some headaches, frequent urination and tingling in his extremities,

things were going so well.

Unfortunately, Drew's MRI images (taken only an hour before) were already up on the doctor's computer screen. And his findings were, in his words, "Worrisome" and "Concerning". The bottom line was that our boy needs surgery to correct his Chiari Malformation. And he needs it relatively soon.

We received a lot of details about what his malformation was affecting, how it could best be resolved, and when they would like to get it done.

We are looking to schedule the surgery sometime between late September and early November. And after about a six week total recovery period, we are really looking forward to things going well again sometime soon!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

She's A Little Bit Me...

Her favorite shoes are sparkly silver ballet slippers.
And if you didn't think a ten-month old could have a favorite pair of shoes, you were not at my house this morning when I considered taking the aforementioned slippers off of my child in favor of more practical tennis shoes.

Her favorite hobby is carrying around a bag and putting "stuff" in it.
She slings it as high as she can manage, almost over her shoulder. Yes, like a purse.

She oohs and ahhs over necklaces and earrings, and she will point out a nice watch from twenty paces.

And every morning, we stand in front of her closet so she can run her hand across the clothes hanging in front of her.

This couldn't have happened soon enough. With awards season underway, I need a 2nd vote for T.V. rights. There's no reason I should know the baseball score but not have any idea what Heidi Klum is wearing tonight...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Excuse Me?

Excuse me, young man?

Yes, you!

I hate to bother you...

I can tell you have a lot of work to do, and this is quite a big day for you...

BUT, I was wondering if you've seen my little boy?
You see, he was just here, and then I turned away for a minute and now I can't seem to find him!

Maybe you've seen him?
It's kinda funny.
He looks an awful lot like you.

Well, anyway!
You just let me know if you run into my little boy, OK?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happily "Edited" After

We took a trip this past weekend. It was sort of our "Last Hurrah" of the summer. We scooted on over to Orlando for a fun-filled stay at one of our favorite resorts.

One of the perks of living in a tourist mecca is that you quickly learn how to do the tourist thing yourself, but cheaply!

So, last weekend, we planned a trip that only had one thing on the agenda:

Stay & Play At Hotel

There are so many activities to do at this particular resort that there is really no need to leave the grounds. And we resolved to stay put and enjoy ourselves for 2 nights and 3 activity-filled days.

We were so thrilled when we arrived. Except that our room wasn't quite ready. But we checked our bags and headed toward the pool. An hour later, we checked with the front desk. No luck.
After 3 hours of keeping the kids busy without the luxury of luggage or a room close at hand, we finally settled into an upgraded (for all our trouble, thank you very much) room with a view of all the theme park fireworks shows. Good enough. (Except that Drew refused to even look out the window either night, fearing the loud noise and bright lights of the spectacle.)

We ventured out of our hotel the first night to dinner and to visit one particularly well known theme park's downtown shopping district and legendary Lego store. At dinner, Miss M spilled my husband's soda all over both of them and the waitress. After finishing their food in their wet, stained clothing, we headed out. After parking miles away from our final destination, Drew spent a grand total 3 minutes playing before he decided that the venue was too dark and too crowded and way too hot.

So, we found a great little show at the ampitheater, hoping our boy would enjoy a rousing, audience-participating dance fest. He sat in the baby's stroller instead. Luckily, Miss M found the entertainment absolutely delight, and she moved and grooved to the Chicken Dance and the YMCA on her daddy's shoulders.

With an exhausted and unenthusiastic little guy on our hands, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. On our mile-long walk back to the car, my back went out. I couldn't walk in any position except completely doubled over. So, my accommodating hubby dropped me off at the entrance to the grand lobby, where I shuffled like Grandma Mable to the glass elevators and managed to crawl to a steaming hot shower for some relief.

That night, as I finally found a comfortable sleeping position, Miss M awoke the entire floor, announcing that the teething medicine and Ibuprofen had WORN OFF! It took 15 anxious minutes to calm her down. I could almost hear the businessmen and women down our corridor cursing. We finally calmed her down and got her back to sleep, but it took a while for mama & daddy's nerves to calm down as well.

We woke early with a new resolve to make up for our rough start. We dressed and headed down to the breakfast buffet. Considering that we hoped to make it a "Cheap" weekend, we couldn't justify spending $20 pp on breakfast. So, we once again ventured off the property of the hotel to find a suitably priced meal.

Upon returning, we were able to get some swimming, kayaking, putt putt-ing, and arcade-game playing in before lunch. Wanting to give our kids the "Mouse-House" experience without going to the parks, we headed back to the theme park's shopping/dining/entertainment boardwalk for some lunch. We chose a wild, child-friendly themed restaurant. Drew laid his head on my lap and closed his eyes the entire time.

We were eagerly anticipating the afternoon, though, as my brother and his wife were coming to hang out poolside with us and enjoy the amenities. As they arrived, a colossal Florida thunderstorm rolled in, too. It stayed as long as they did. So, instead of bike-riding, volleyball-playing and rock-wall-climbing, we sat in the lobby of the hotel's downstairs conference room facilities and let the babies crawl on the plush carpet.

After a nice dinner out (where we had to battle traffic and monsoon rains), my brother's family left. The clouds rolled away and the sun came back out for the remaining 30 minutes of daylight.
So, Drew and I headed down to the pool. We stuck our feet in the hot tubs and the cold water and talked a little about the start of Kindergarten. About 15 minutes into our "swimming", Drew announced that he'd like to go upstairs and watch some baseball with his daddy.

We settled in for the second and final evening of our stay. At approximately 11 p.m., after the fireworks show that no one would watch was over, Miss M woke up screaming again. She was absolutely inconsolable for 10 minutes.

That was when I made the call.

"I'm done," I stated. "Take her downstairs. I'm packing the bags. We're outta here."
My husband, at his wits' end too, gladly obliged. With screaming infant in hand, he headed out the door, through the hallway, down the elegant glass elevators, and through the luxurious lobby, apologizing as he went.

I scooped up everything I could and began throwing it into bags. Dirty clothes, wet bathing suits, sodas and souvenirs were heaped into whatever open luggage would house them. I woke a sleeping Drew from his slumber and put him into the stroller. He began to cry as he realized that his little vacation was coming to an abrupt, late-night end. He, too, cried all the way out of the room, through the hallway, down those same elevators, and past the same courteous staff (who were, I am pretty sure, waving goodbye rather enthusiastically).

And almost exactly at the stroke of midnight, our beautiful carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and pulled out of the resort's gates.

I tried to make small talk with my husband on the way home about the ordeal of the last two days. But he wasn't up for much small talk. I understood. So, with bitter, steaming coffee in hand, we just drove west in silence until we were home sweet home.

With a few days of perspective, the trip doesn't seem quite so bad anymore. The mind is a great editor. The bad memories and mishaps often fade with time. The good stuff mostly remains.

And with a few great pictures and some creative editing, I can ensure that this vacation goes down in the memory book as a fairy tale!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One (Almost) Down.. 19 More to Go.

I wiped her eye to remove some crusted sweet potatoes last night. She screamed so loud that I gave her a full-body scan to see what could possibly be broken or bleeding.

After crying herself to sleep, she woke up, remembered how mad she got earlier at me, and threw another fit. I rescued her from her crib just as the hysteria caused her to puke all over both of us.

I cleaned us up, fixed her a bottle, and rocked her back to sleep.

Six more times she awoke throughout the night, screaming as if her hair was on fire.

I called my mom this morning, and we went through a laundry list of possible causes. Yogurt or chlorine water from the pool (both of which she consumed yesterday) could be causing tummy troubles. And her brother did have a runny nose this week. She could be coming down with a misery-making bug.

Whatever the cause, she was a pitiful picture all day today as well. She cried when I walked into a room and cried when I left. She screamed every time her brother got within a foot of her, and sobbed when a chair fell over (nowhere near her, I might add). She wailed as I tried to bathe away her sorrows and fussed over her afternoon bottle.

During one sobbing gasp, I finally got to see what was causing all her angst. The telltale white "bump" under her lower gum shone from a foot away.

My little girl's very first tooth is about to make it's debut. And apparently, she thinks it's worthy of quite the show.

Part of me is relieved to know what's wrong with my wee one. The other part of me just googled "How Many Teeth Does a Baby Get?"

Apparently, we have a long road ahead of us so I'm stocking up on teething tablets and Tylenol.

And booking this girl her own agent.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nine Months

For the first six months of her life, I captured Miss M's growth by taking her picture next to the same little brown bear on the same polka dot blanket. You may recall that by six months, she was outgrowing the bear and the blanket!

I haven't posed her with her props recently because we rarely remember to pause for a picture. Everyone is just busy going... going... going.

I guess with all that moving around on our parts, Miss M took the hint. And since that last picture was taken, she's been working on MOVING.

At six months old, she finally found her balance and began to sit.
By seven months (and way behind the curve) she decided that she might as well roll over.
At eight months, she slowly (and UNgracefully) picked up the crawling thing from her two cousins (who have been moving for months now!)

Yes, she was a little girl on the move.. and into trouble!

(who me?)

But all that moving around did not prepare me for what she had up her sleeve last week. Late one night (and way past her bedtime) when she thought no one was watching, my little baby walked to me.

Walked. To. Me.

I made such a big deal about it that she shut down and went back to crawling for about a week and a half before she got up the nerve to try it again.

But today at the mall playground, she threw caution to the wind. For the rest of the day, it was all we could do to keep up. She has conquered the playground, the bowling alley, the living room and the kitchen tile. She can go barefoot or with shoes, as long as there's a snack and a smile waiting somewhere down the line.

And the girl we thought would be our laid-back baby forever has surpassed her big brother's walking milestone by almost a month.

I stayed up way too late playing with a new website a friend recommended called Animoto. I just wanted you to be able to share in our excitement. So, I hope you enjoy my feeble first attempt at creating a video!

There's something so cute about that stumbling and lurching that is typical of a new walker. Kinda like Godzilla terrorizing the village.

Only in our case, Godzilla's village consists of a 5-yr old boy who must save his video games and action figures from impending destruction.


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