Friday, May 26, 2017

5 for Friday

1. Duncan had an MRI on Wednesday. The purpose of the test was to see if the white brain matter that was too bright on his last MRI back in March was still there. Fortunately, it was not and it appears he is back to {his version} of normal. The good news here is that means he can keep taking the medicine (Sabril) that has stopped the seizures and spasms. We were fairly certain that the white brain mater issue was a side effect of his body adjusting to the Sabril medication, but it was reassuring to know for sure that the issue is resolved.


Our church's prayer team holds a service for healing every Tuesday night. Our friend, Rob, had encouraged me a couple of months ago to bring Duncan sometime. The service did so much to calm my fears and anxiety over the MRI. I truly believe what we are seeing Duncan do developmentally is due to all the prayer warriors lifting him up on a daily basis. What his last MRI showed back in March and what he is doing physically and mentally do not "add up" when looking at his MRIs from a solely medical perspective. He's hitting most of the 10 to 12 month milestones, even with hypotonia,which is what is making gross motor skills like crawling so hard.

2. Therapy dogs are amazing. I'd requested that Vivi (short for Vivitar) visit us before the MRI. There's a lot of time in three different waiting rooms and she's a good distraction for all of us! Her handler is so nice, and Duncan was so interested in trying to see what Vivi was doing he barely fussed when the nurse put in his IV line. Another "God wink" in this whole situation is that if Duncan had been a girl, we were going to name him Vivie.

Before Vivi got there, I entertained a very hungry Duncan (he hadn't eaten since the night before and brother does not like to miss a meal!) with a video Thomas sent me of the model train he's been refurbishing (is that the right word)? For our childhood, the train sat in pieces on our grandparent's book shelf and belonged to our dad as a child. He's gotten a family friend to re-do the engine so that it runs and even blows smoke! And his built a table for it.

3. Speaking of dogs we took Scout on our downtown adventure this week. After FOUR straight days of rain, we were all in need of some Vitamin D. He started whining we he saw me get out the stroller, and I just couldn't leave him behind. He had a hard time watching us walk into Methodical Coffee and he whined the whole time we were in the library without him.Greenville is such a dog-crazy town that in both places when I peeked out to check on him, complete strangers were petting him. More than one person stopped me to make sure I had water for him and at least four people stopped with dog treats in their pockets (but no dogs of their own???).


We met up with my friend, Claire, and her three girls at the plaza. Claire and I met through our church's adoption/foster mission outreach and she shared with me their adoption story and encouraged me to look at the adoption agency we used with Caroline. She now has three girls under three!

On our way back we stopped at the library for me to pick up my new read "The Summer Before the War." I started it last night and can tell from page one it's going to be so good! It's by Helen Simonson and supposedly great for those of us still missing Downton Abbey.

4. During said rainy days we spent one afternoon at the library. We ran into our friend HB and her mama, Heather, who used to tutor these girls as part of an after school program. The girls could not get enough of the babies and wanted to read to them. It was so nice. I sat down and flipped through a magazine!

5. I'm going to have to come up with a nickname for my friend, Caroline, because it gets confusing all the Caroline's in our lives. My Caroline has two friends named Caroline and then my friend Caroline. Apparently everyone in the Carolinas loves to name their daughter Caroline. There are at least five in the church nursery every Sunday. But I digress, my Caroline (neighbor and friend) talked me into going to a hot yoga sculpt class on Thursday morning. The instructor gave the following instructions: If you leave this room without giving me a thumbs up, I will follow you and assume you are having a medical emergency. What???? It was a TRX/Crossfit class with a few down dogs in a 100+ degree room. 

Happy Friday friends!

P.S. I love a good #TBT and this may be the best yet...Anderson Family Reunion 1989. Every year since 1987 we've met at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas for a family reunion with my grandfather's side of the family. He and his two sisters and all their children. And now grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's something we all look forward to every other June, and I think I've only missed two in my entire life.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Life Lately: Mother's Day, Friends, Back in the Saddle and Baby Goats

It's been said so many times to me, the days are long but the years are short, and I've already found this to be so true. We are truly "in the weeds" as Duncan's sweet PT Becky reminds me almost weekly. Her children are 15 months apart and so she gets my struggles on multiple levels. Duncan gets physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/feeding therapy through BabyNet which is basically South Carolina's public school for children under age three who need these types of services. The amazing thing is that they come to your home. But that also means I have therapists coming into my home multiple times a week. Meaning we have to be up from a nap (but well rested enough to get something out of the therapy), we have to be fed (including Caroline because sister can get hangry with the best of them), and the house has to look somewhat decent. As in, there needs to be a clear floor space for therapy to happen. I need to be dressed and at least appear to have it somewhat together. For all this to happen we have to stick to a pretty consistent schedule because all these things are scheduled well in advance.

But we are seeing amazing results from all this therapy so it's hard to complain! So what have we been up to??? Mother's Day was over a week ago now but it kicked off a week of night work for Ryan which basically means I'm solo-parenting. I took C & D to church and then spent the rest of the day running errands and shopping by myself. I was very generous and bought myself this print at Artisphere. And thoroughly enjoyed the wine tasting tent!

By Tampa artist John Lewis. His work was my favorite that I saw at Artisphere and I choose this bunting print since I've seen one of these in my backyard here. I mentioned this to the artist and he was surprised since they usually don't go this far from the coast. 

It was really my first year to celebrate Mother's Day since I was a little busy last year on the day giving birth and all. Mother's Day and adoption bring up a lot of feelings for me. While we were struggling with infertility I was so hard and I avoided church and social media for that whole weekend. Caroline's birth healed so much of that hurt for me, but it's still hard to think of what might have been and then add in the overwhelming gift (for me and loss for another) that is adoption. Joy Launders said it best with, "A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."

Our official Mother's Day 2017 picture which so illustrates their little personalities. Caroline can't be still and the smirk on Duncan's face is like "aha..I finally caught you sister and I'm not letting go!"

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and outdoor

My journey to motherhood was not what I'd always pictured, but it's been a perfect picture of God's grace and goodness. I love each day with these two amazing, precious children. Words cannot express my gratitude and admiration for the young woman who made me a mother by the hardest sacrifice I can imagine! And no Mother's Day will ever top the one when Duncan made his appearance in this world! I'm so thankful for my own wonderful mother and hope to be half the mama she is to me!

Caroline's birth story is here. My sweet mama meeting Caroline and Duncan for the first time.

And Duncan's is here.

Ryan worked nights for a straight six days and it was brutal. There's this illusion of possible help, but then it never materializes. By a Thursday I was toast in the giving department. Fortunately our favorite babysitter had the day available and came to my rescue in the morning and afternoon! I finally got to go ride after 20+ months of not. My longest dry spell since I started riding at age 6!


And that night the self-care theme continued with outdoor yoga with my friend Caroline (and 140 other yogis) at Soul Yoga.


This girl is always up for a selfie! Friday was adventure day with friends and Shoe, Heather and I along with our littles headed up the mountains to the Carl Sandburg National Park in Flat Rock, North Carolina. 

My little rangers. We hit up the gift shop and got a National Parks Passport to collect stamps from national parks. Caroline was not into keeping her "Junior Ranger" hat on!

The big attraction this time of year there is the park's goat herd has baby goats that you can just walk in the pasture to pet. I thought Caroline would be the one to love it the most, but she was actually kind of timid of the goats and just wanted to roam the pasture. But Duncan LOVED him so baby goats. I mean couldn't get enough of them. Squeezed them, pulled on their ears and legs, and overall bugged the stew out of them until I was afraid Mama Goat was going to come intervene. But for the child who a few months ago couldn't reach for a toy, this was HUGE to see! 




Video of the love...


A storm came through as we were about to leave town so we took shelter and had a late lunch in the Village Bakery. Then played in The Wrinkled Egg where the kiddos were entertained by birds and a rabbit. Friday night I put C & D down before 7 and didn't hear from them until after 8 a.m. the next morning.

On the Saturdays when Ryan's working, I attempt to make it still feel like a weekend. Usually this means, frying bacon and going to the farmer's market. Which is what we did and then added on the Opa! Greek Fest and then our friend Polk's first birthday party. It was an exhausting, but fun, day!

Story time at M. Judson's bookstore. They love the stories, I love the free mini-cupcakes from the Chocolate Moose. To make up for the mess we leave behind, I always order an iced coffee.

Afterwards, we walked over to the 31st annual Opa! Greek Festival. This was Duncan's first festival and really first outing last year!

The nice thing about the festival is even though it's outside when you get too hot, there's some indoor options. We did the sanctuary tour and learned about the history and architecture of the Greek Orthodox church. We lit a candle and said a special prayer for Duncan's MRI that is this morning!

The music and dancing are my favorite parts of Greek Fest. Followed closely by the food! 


Our last activity of the day was Polk's birthday party! I knew Amanda would have good food and she did.


By the time we got home, Julia & Eric were there and we all watched the Preakness. We all made bets on who would win. My pick, Lookin at Lee, did the best.



We grilled out steaks and had too much wine - just how I like to end a Saturday!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back Blogging: Christmas 2016 Edition

It's Christmas in May! Since I've been getting pictures printed this week and writing in our Christmas Memories Book, I thought I might as well go ahead and update the ole blog too. And I apologize in advance for the amount of photos you are about to witness. There's something about babies in Christmas pajamas and a sparkling tree that makes me photo-happy! Also, I did a terrible job of taking pictures of anyone besides my own two kiddos - will try to do better next year!

We kicked off the Christmas season on Thanksgiving Day by getting our tree. I'm one of those can't-decorate-for-Christmas-until-the-turkey-is-gone type people. But Thanksgiving was Ryan's only day off between Thanksgiving Day and the day we were leaving for Christmas in Mississippi. So to Wal-Mart we went (because they were the only people open), and a tree we did find! As always, we watched Christmas Vacation while we decorated. However, I think next year we'll have to switch to a more child-appropriate Christmas movie!

This child has more expressions than any other baby I've ever seen. He'll be giving me this look as a teenager before I know it. He's thinking, "really mama, this is ridiculous, I'm not your photo prop." Sorry, bud, until you learn to run away from me, you are indeed my photo prop!

All the ornaments slowing migrated to the top one-third of the tree. Caroline learned to stand on her tip toes to extend her reach. It was just too tempting!

One day I called my mom having a bit of a melt-down that I hadn't done anything crafty with Caroline and Duncan yet. Honestly, I was struggling to find the Christmas spirit as we were still in the midst of seizures with Duncan happening multiple times a day. And I was mad at myself because for the years we dealt with infertility, Christmas was really hard and I would keep thinking "one day when we do have kids I'll do x, y and z." And now that day came with TWO precious little ones and I didn't feel like doing anything! But my mother is so calm and reminded me that a) Caroline and Duncan don't even know what a craft is and it would be doing it all for me b) there's lots of time to create Christmas traditions c) this is a hard season of life (and would be without the added stress of medical issues).

We got off the phone and I did feel much better. And decided we should make sugar cookies, because I was hungry and had everything on hand. Plus I knew I'd be mad at myself if I looked back on Christmas and didn't do anything. But I've saved my ideas for all things crafty for next year and beyond!

Caroline looks like she is smiling here but that was actually captured mid-cry. There's a reason you don't do things like this in the late afternoon with toddlers!


Duncan had a total blast though. He just started eating "real" food at Thanksgiving and he definitely has my love of good food. Ryan was on an in-patient rotation between Thanksgiving and Christmas meaning we didn't see a whole lot of him. But we had a lot of fun with friends, bundled up and went to the park, and went to the zoo several times.


We love Ollie! Ollie was not to sure about his mama holding somebody besides him!


One Saturday in December I took C & D to the zoo and then we went to the hospital for lunch with Ryan. He mentioned that Santa and Mrs. Claus were taking photos for staff children and so we did that. Please note that Duncan did have on a really cute Christmas themed outfit but then proceeded to have a blowout on it just moments before it was our turn for a picture. He's such a boy already!



Soon it was time for first airplane ride!!! Greenville to Atlanta to Memphis. Caroline & Duncan did great on the flights and it was much more relaxing than driving eight hours!


Ryan's brother picked us up from the airport and was sweet enough to let us use their car for the week - complete with carseats! We had a quick visit with his family in Hernando and then headed to Tobie town. Levi, Lindsey and their sweet kiddos Wyatt, Tate & Sarah Grace. We were so excited to meet Sarah Grace.


I'm so glad we've been able to keep up our friendship with this sweet couple even though they live in India. We really hope we can visit them at some point in the future! It's been neat to walk (or really internet walk) our adoption journeys together. Lindsey and me with our girls! 


Duncan and Granddaddy share a special bond I think! Duncan is the only grand-boy (so far)!

We celebrated Christmas with Ryan's side a few days before.


Cute cousins!

Shortly after this picture was taken, Mom was walking through the den with Duncan and he saw me and reached out his arms for the first time. I was talking to DeeDee on the phone and, in typical fashion, we both starting boo-hooing. 

All dressed up for a Christmas Party at Laura & Thomas' new house! Laura & T know how to throw a good party and their house looked wonderful. It's one of my favorite houses in Senatobia and I spent a lot of time there babysitting for its former residents in high school and college.  


Laura & her daddy

The Troutt girls with Camille.


More Troutts!

Me, Net, West & Lainie (Warren's finance). Please note that my eyes are closed. Even with the technology called an iPhone with instant replay, somehow 99% of my pictures look like this. 

Warren and Tom

I loved getting to visit with Noah - these two have been buddies since before I can remember.

On Christmas Eve Caroline helped Siggi make a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake. 

And we made King of Norway Cinnamon Rolls. One of my favorite traditions!


After the Christmas Eve service at FUMC, we headed back for supper - Laura's dad brought gumbo from Baton Rouge and it was delicious!


We unintentionally had coordinating Christmas pajamas with Camille!


Reading The Night Before Christmas. This is my favorite edition - and was my first very Christmas present in 1983. If my brother was writing this blog he'd take a moment to tell you that on the inside cover in my second grade handwriting there is his name "Thomas" and it's been crossed out in blue magic marker. One time, Sis and I got in a (very rare) argument and it must have been around Christmas time so to get back at her for whatever it was I wrote Thomas' name in my book. We made up and I promptly crossed his name out and said never mind on playing with you little brother. He would tell you this perfectly illustrates his childhood. We all have our issues!

The next morning...drumroll...Santa came!!!





The wrapping paper was the best part for Caroline!




As usual after Santa and breakfast we all got dressed and met Buford and his family at Net's for Bloody Mary's and cheese wafers. Family friends Corinne and Ann joined us too and it was so good to see them again!


The next day Sis and her girls came. Caroline couldn't get enough of Mary Thorne.


Five cousins in swings: Poppy, Elizabeth Magee, Mary Thorne, Caroline & Duncan. Just missing Camille - I think she was napping!

I love how MT appears to be floating mid-air in the above picture. Which if it were physically possible, she'd so figure out how to do that!


Our last night in Senatobia. Caroline was over the whole picture thing before it started!

We left Memphis around 6 a.m. and were home before 10 a.m. Caroline and I were back to our neighborhood Bi-Lo before noon. Air travel really is amazing when it's hassle-free!