Friday, October 25, 2013


GRACE - I always feel a deep sense of gratefulness when I think of who God has placed in my life to love and support me.  Yet, I have a hard time comprehending grace - I know what it means, but I need to internalize it - really trust its' meaning.

In the first month of Emma's life, we found out that she had a heart murmur.  Actually, Brent found out at one of her appointments, and kept it from me for several months.  No, I was not mad...because honestly, I worry A LOT.  They weren't concerned and were sure it would go away by her first birthday.  

Well, her first birthday rolled around and it was still there.  I really did not worry much about it, and I have no idea why.  Maybe it was God silencing my fears, maybe it was a little bit of me growing up and not being so paranoid.  Who knows.  Emma has NEVER had any other issues - no breathing difficulty, no signs of not developing, I really had no reasons to worry.  

At her 16 month appointment, they really urged us to get it checked by a cardiologist, so I did start panicking a bit.  I made the appointment, after they called to remind me several times (I was reluctant to even deal with it!  I thought if I didn't make an appt., it would go away - right???)  I was in the middle of the busiest work season ever - advising.  I had 125 students to see in less than 3 weeks - that was around 8 a day.  To make a long story short, I had a great appt at a great time with the chief of cardiology, but he got called into emergency surgery so we had to reschedule....and wait another week.  Thankfully, Brent was able to take off as well and come with us - I certainly did not want to do this alone.  

Emma was such a trooper - when Dr. Robinson heard her heart, he assured us he thought it was an innocent murmur, but wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure.  She was fantastic during the ultrasound - watched a movie and didn't mind the sweet technician rubbing gobs of gooey-ness on her chest and probing with the ultrasound wand. 

already stealing mom's wallet...

Dr. Robinson did find a very minor defect with Emma's heart - and it is called mild pulmonary valve stenosis.  Basically, the valve to her lungs is slightly closed and creates turbulence when the blood flows through there, which causes the murmur.  In only 1% of the cases, do patients need surgery if the condition worsens, and that would only be later in life and gradual - like in her teenage years.  She can run around, play sports, be an Olympic athlete - whatever she chooses!  He said she has no chance of having a heart attack or stopping breathing, so I can rest assured.  It was a relief, but I certainly cried when we left the office.  I was overwhelmed with relief, but also sad that it could have been worse, and there are families out there who do get bad news.  I kept feeling guilty wondering why God had spared us, while others have to endure so much pain?

And then I'm reminded that it doesn't matter what I have done, or do, or will do - God's grace and love are not influenced.  And our struggles or accomplishments have nothing to do with His love for us.  They are not connected - we aren't rewarded for good things and punished by Him for bad.  His love is a constant - always.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. - Ephesians 4:7

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. - Romans 11:6

Friday, October 18, 2013

Much Needed Vacation

Brent and I tried to get away at the beginning of September, but sickness had taken over me and we were unable to go.  So, when I had 2 days off this past week for Fall Break, we couldn't get away fast enough.  We had the BEST time.  Seriously, Emma is the best child ever.  She travels so well, is so easy going, and sleeps awesome.  Of course, I am missing her like crazy today as I sit at work, and am really wanting to take another "day off"  but we are in advising season, which means I have NO free time until November.  Ugh.

Thank God I had this precious time with my family.

We ventured to the beach the first day there, and it was gorgeous.  

Emma had the best time running around and chasing us.

She is also part Labrador - always has her tongue hanging out when she runs!

I know pretty soon Emma will be running away from me, so I will enjoy her chasing after me and rubbing her sandy hands all over me.

I just LOVE this girl.  She is so full of enthusiasm and hardly ever cranky.  We are really blessed that she has such a sweet disposition....for now:)

We went to the aquarium one afternoon, and Emma loved it.  I wasn't sure how she'd react.  We took her tricycle because we thought she'd do better sitting in that, rather than the stroller.  We were right, and of course, we got some ice cream on the way out.

She loved looking at all the animals.  We will definitely be going back!

The turtle doc station was so cute.  She really wasn't interested in helping fix the turtles at all..but sure loved to drag the turtle around the room.

The child spotted the smorgasbord of stuffed animals and proceeded to pick up every single one and run around the store.  She even tried running OUT of the store with them several times.  We had to pry the second blowfish from her hands, just so we could only buy one...I would have bought her two...but Brent is the practical one.  She's so spoiled:)

Everyone NEEDS a blizzard after the aquarium visit.

Emma learns sign language at her school (Thank God, because I don't have the patience to teach that kind of thing!).  This is her monkey - she puts her hands like that under her arms and saws "ooh ooh!"  It's the cutest thing me.

Monday we went to this awesome playground In Morehead.  I had seen it several times before and thought to myself "splinter central!"  It's actually not wood on the places where the kids run, which is nice.  I'm sure it has a name and everyone else already knows about it, but I was super excited.  I imagine it gets pretty busy over the summer, but we had the place to ourselves with only one other it was awesome!

We spent out last night eating my favorite place - Front Street Grill in Beaufort.  Awesome drinks, good food, and the outdoor seating and sunset watching is phenomenal.  We will definitely be going back on this trip soon.  There is something really relaxing about the beach in the off-season.  I've already been thinking about the next trip:)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

16 months!

After being sick off and on (mostly on) for 2 months, I am finally feeling like myself again.  

I won't mention that Emma also had a feverish cold, and that Brent is art home as I type with a fever...I will, however, talk about how I have the sweetest little girl in the world.

And when I say little, I mean LITTLE.  She is only in the 25% percentile for weight - coming in at a mean 21.6 pounds:)  Last week, we had our 16 month check-up (complete with 4 shots!) and Miss Emma is growing and developing perfectly.  She does still have a heart murmur, and we will be seeing a cardiologist next week, so prayers please that all is fine.  I know it will be, and the doctor is not concerned, but you just never know anymore.  Life is so uncertain and unfairly cruel, and when your little baby is involved, you can never worry enough about her health and happiness.

We've been spending a lot of time at my parents lately, which I love.  Brent has worked the past 2 Saturdays in a row, and I've also been home sick or taking care of sick Emma during the week some.  It has been nice to have some help and a change of scenery.  This is the home I grew up in, and to be back there with my parents and now my daughter means a lot.

Grandpas are good for a wagon ride every now and then....

Chik-fil-a visits are becoming a weekly norm in our house...

So are Glee Kids visits...we have gone there so much (mainly walking down to University Mall), that the sweet lady that works there is like family...

Menchies for froyo to calm us down after the doctor visit...

New skill....opening up the cabinet and pulling ALL the newly organized diapers out and throwing them all over the floor.

My flower child...

How sweet is this girl?  Geesh...I am so biased!

I just love when Aunt Paula and Uncle Dick come to visit from Maine.  They are sooo much fun and I miss them already!  We started our weekend right with pancakes from the Weathervane!

And of course, another visit from the diaper bandit...I immediately went out to buy child-proofing supplies.

We are headed east this weekend for a long overdue and rescheduled vacation to the coast...prayers that we are all healthy and can enjoy some precious family time together!!