Friday, September 30, 2011

It's surgery time...

walking into the hospital with Coco & teddy

playing in the waiting room

driving a car down the pre-op hallway

the hospital gown was a little big!

before surgery in daddy's arms

holding momma's hand before surgery

being tossed around between momma & daddy before surgery

safe in our arms after surgery

It's surgery time for Stryker. He had adenoids removed & tubes in both ears. We scheduled the surgery with the best ENT, Dr. Waitrack, at Children's Hospital. The instructions were no food after midnight the night before, clear liquids until 4 am, arrive at Children's one day surgery waiting room at 6:15 am, & the surgery would only last about 15 min. We decided to keep Stryker awake as late as possible, hoping to put him in the car asleep. This definitely did not happen. He woke up after being picked up from his crib in the best mood. He was smiling & talking the whole way to the hospital. Coco rode with us & grandmomma met us at the hospital. Stryker received several gifts for his surgery/recovery time: crane from Logan & me, singing/instrument playing/dancing Elmo from Coco, Hokie Pokie Elmo & Elmo balloon from grandmomma. Stryker enjoyed playing in the waiting room. I bet he was thinking, "now, this is the perfect way to wake up!" The best way to keep him still in oder for the nurses to take his vitals & assess him in pre-op was letting him watch Elmo on the portable DVD player. All of the nurses were females who fought over Stryker. The procedure only lasted 10 minutes & then about 30-40 minutes in recovery before heading back to be in our arms. He was wide awake after the surgery but became more groggy after being back in the room. He sat in my lap watching Elmo with his little eyes rolling back in his head from the anesthesia sedative effect. Each time he swallowed, he would squint his eyes & grimace. We finally were able to get Stryker to eat a popcicle allowing us to be discharged. Dr. Waitrack informed us that his adenoids were enlarged & eardrums were retracted so this surgery should help him tremendously. Stryker slept about 3 hours at home, but was his hyper self after waking up. You did great with the surgery buddy! We love you & hope for fewer sicknesses.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Hubs!!!!

Has it actually been 5 years already?! God has truly blessed me with an amazing man as a husband. Logan, you've been a loving husband, devoted father, & Christian leader in our household. I appreciate you working so hard for our family. I have so much to be thankful for since you've come into my life. I remember being 14 years old when you stayed with our family for 2 summers in order to play baseball. Back then, I regret to say that you were just another guy. That feeling changed quickly when I became 16 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. Smith asked to teach me how to water ski. I thought you just felt sorry for me not knowing how to ski. You had different intentions b/c it was a date! Dating for 1 year & 6 years of not speaking before dating again for 3 wks, engagement, & marriage 6 months later. This relationship has definitely been God driven. I loved you back then & love you more with each passing day. Thank you for being my rock. Love you forever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gatlinburg weekend

We were able to sneak in our first family vacation this past weekend. Since the last few weeks have brought some stress & our 5th year anniversary is coming up, we felt a vacation was in need. Gatlinburg was the place of choice since it had an indoor water park (the largest in the southeast), an aquarium, & an about 4 1/2 hour drive. Logan took Friday (Sept. 23rd) off so he could pack the car. We left as soon as I got home from work which was about 4:30pm. Stryker surprised us on the ride up by only sleeping for 30 min. I kept him entertained in the back with movies, books, drawing/coloring, throwing the ball, tickling, music, snacks, & anything else that came to mind. Trying to keep a very hyper child still in a car seat that long is challenging. We only stopped once to stretch our legs & grab a bite to eat at Wendy's. We checked into our hotel (Fairfield Inn & Suites in Gatlinburg) that night only to find out that Stryker did not want to be in a different place. He cried, pointing to the door, & saying "door door" in a pitiful voice. It took awhile for him to calm down & fall asleep between us. He slept all night & woke up talking as usual. We dressed for the day & headed down to eat breakfast in the hotel lobby.

The picture above is Saturday morning's breakfast which included waffles, doughnuts, muffins, fruit, & juice. We left the hotel headed to Pigeon Forge for a day at The Wilderness at the Smokies. It's about 66,000 sq ft of indoor water fun! Unfortunately, we didn't realize that this was a resort that only allowed guests to enjoy the park. They graciously told us that if we sat through a sales pitch, then we could enjoy the park for free. Guess we can thank Stryker for getting us this special pass. I mean, who could say no to our handsome boy?!

The water park had a roped off area specifically for little kids. There were slides, swings, etc that Stryker could not get enough of. He kept wanting to slide down on his feet...such a dare devil!

sliding down fast

pointing to something that he wants to do

my 2 favorite guys

this boy LOVES the water

swinging in the water

go higher mom

After the water park, we headed to The Tanger Outlets. I'm not a big shopper so we only hit a few stores Saturday afternoon & then a few more on Sunday before heading home. Of course, we bought mostly for the little guy. Stryker decided he was happier riding on Logan's shoulders while walking around the mall. Every time we passed by someone, Stryker would say "hey" while waving his little hand. He loved all the attention.

We ate dinner at Captain Jim's seafood buffet before driving to Gatlinburg's main strip. The waitresses stayed at our table most of the meal flirting with Stryker. Little boy, you're an attention hog! They gave him a yellow balloon & a toy. The above picture is how wide-eyed Stryker stayed the entire ride around Gatlinburg. He loved all the lights & people passing by. Can't believe he actually stayed in the stroller the whole time.

It's Herbie!

Saturday night, Stryker was trying to figure out how to fall asleep while holding his blanket, teddy bear, & balloon. Such a determined little boy.

Sunday morning

The Ripley's Aquarium was top priority Sunday morning. Stryker had an amazing time! It was worth every penny.

In 2006, a shark attacked the glass & they still don't know why.

Spider Crab

Stryker thought this penguin was a duck & shook his hand while saying "quack quack." Priceless.

We ate a late lunch at The Apple Barn. It was delicious. Stryker was restless at this point & wanted to stay watching the display of birds. The birds were enclosed in a big fish tank looking thing that allowed them to fly around. Stryker was amazed, so Logan & I took turns taking him up front. Hey, whatever works right?! Stryker again only slept about 30 min on the way home. We really enjoyed our mini-vacation. It was the perfect remedy for our loss, Stryker's upcoming surgery, & upcoming 5th year wedding anniversary. Maybe next vacation can be for a little longer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Devotion #11 - Strong Enough

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9

Did you cry out for God to save your child & believe He would? Did you ask Him to come near, but He kept you waiting & wondering? Do you feel as if God gave you the silent treatment& didn't respond in the way or in the timing you thought He should have? I would have to admit that all the answers would be yes for me.

God, where are You? I would ask. But all I woudl hear is silence. Silence made me feel uncomfortable. I almost thought God had abandoned me. I felt alone. But has He really? Just because He hasn't responded in the way & timing that I expected, does that mean He has hung up on me? No...maybe He is waiting to respond in His timing & in His way. I may get frustrated at that truth, but God has bigger plans. God may want me to learn to trust Him through this silence. God says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" - Hebrews 13:5. God is a God of truth. He never lies. He has not abandoned you or rejected you but is there, even if you don't sense Him. He is your Healer & wants to help you grow to know/trust Him more. He is there listening, caring, & feeling your pain even if you don't hear from Him in the way that you desire.

Strong Enough by Matthew West
You must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through. Well, forgive me. Forgive me if I'm wrong. But this looks like more than I can do on my own. I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be. I give up. I'm not strong enough. Hands of mercy won't you cover me. Lord right now I'm asking you to be strong enough, strong enough for the both of us. Well, maybe that's the point - to reach the point of giving up. Cause when I'm finally at rock bottom. Well, that's when I start looking up and reaching out.
Cause I'm broken down to nothing. But I'm still holding on to the one thing...You are God and you are strong when I am weak. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I don't have to be strong enough.

Lord, where are You? You didn't respond in the way or timing I had expected. I feel abandoned & hurt. I feel disconnected & distant from You. Are You listening? Silence makes me feel uncomfortable & rejected. Even though I can't see You, I know You are there. You say You will never leave me or forsake me. Please be my Healer. Help me grow & trust You more. I want to know You through this silence. Show me how. Amen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Devotion #10 - Blessings & Praise You in This Storm

My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. - Psalm 38:4

Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

This can't be happening! There must be some mistake! I'll do anything you ask to save my baby! I should have tried harder to save my baby (taken different prenatal vitamins, exercised differently, etc)! There must have been something I could have done? - These are all questions/statements that fill my mind on a daily basis. Self-blame is something that I'm struggling with.

The book states that it's common to wonder if there was something that you did to cause this or if you could have prevented your baby's death. But it doesn't seem to help. It also says that you may spend many hours going over your actions during your pregnancy: Did you do everything the doctor said; did you eat right; was your stress level too high (thinking about the future of this pregnancy compared to with Stryker); were meds or tests responsible for the loss; would more bed rest have helped (especially since I was on bed rest with Stryker).

No suffering can touch you without having first received the permission of God. God is sovereign. No one can fully explain God's actions or plans but God. Guilt is not intended to drive you from God, but toward Him.

There have been 2 songs that really spoke to my heart. They have been played repeatedly on the radio over the past couple of days. I will put a few lyrics that stand out in each song.

Blessings by Laura Story
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace. Comfort for family, protection while we sleep. We pray for healing, for prosperity. We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering. All the while, You hear each spoken need. Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things. 'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops. What if Your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near. What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns
I was sure by now God, You would have reached down and wiped our tears away. Stepped in and saved the day. But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining. As the thunder rolls, I barely hear Your whisper through the rain "I'm with you". And as Your mercy falls, I raise my hands and praise the God who give and takes away. And I'll praise You in this storm. And I will lift my hands for You are who You are. No matter where I am and every tear I've cried. You hold in Your hand. You never left my side. And through my heart is torn. I will praise You in this storm. I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth

God, I feel as if there was something I could have done to save my baby. It's hard for me to accept that it's not my fault. I keep replaying the tape of my pregnancy in my mind. Please help me to hit "stop" & look to You. You are the answer. You are sovereign. Nothing can touch my life without Your permission. Free me from my blame. When I feel guilty, remind me to run to You. Help me press "play" today with a new tape & move forward. Amen

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Devotion #9

God rid of all bitterness, rage and anger. - Ephesians 4:31

This verse speaks to me, especially since Friday at work. Over the past couple of days, I felt as though I may be getting a little better with my bottled-up emotions. But I was wrong on Friday. I began my early day seeing patients in the ICU. One of the nurses who I have become good acquaintances with told me that she was about 9 wks pregnant. She was shocked because they were not even trying. She also was saying how she had to stop drinking & eating better. The nurse said she found out by gaining 5 pounds while drinking Slim Fast to lose weight. What?! I can't believe God would allow someone who drinks, eats horrible, & wasn't even trying to get pregnant. My body was raging inside while the outside was politely telling her congratulations. I quickly knew that my true feelings about God's intentions were wrong. But how do I tame this thoughts. I was angry even though I knew it wasn't anybody's fault. As I treated the patient, I kept blaming myself for losing our baby. A couple hours later, a friend texted me just to ask how I was doing. I laughed because she's a friend who always knows the truth. I told her that I was okay which made her respond with a "how are you really doing." I told her what had happened that morning. She encouraged me to talk with a counselor like Logan & Dr. Adcock had suggested. My friend also informed me that this blaming game that I'm doing with myself & trying to handle it all by myself was a sign of weakness. She knows me all too well. I knew then that having the people I trust so much (Logan, my mom, Dr. Adcock, & this friend) tell me to see a counselor was what I needed to do. God puts people in your path sometimes to keep you accountable & these people are mine.

I think back to this in the book:
Maybe you've shouted at your body, "Why did you let me down?" You may find yourself getting angry at little things that never use to bother you. And if you are honest with yourself, you might even be angry at God. Have you ever wanted to scream, "God, You have the power of life & death. You could have performed a miracle & protected my baby, yet You didn't! Why?"

I definitely feel this way. I cry out to God in anger, but also turn around crying out to Him in desperation & hope. Remember: when restoration & peace occur in our walk with God, it is often after a floodgate release of anger.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stryker's 19 months old

acting shy for the camera

loves to play at Chick-fil-A

excited about Ole Miss football

drawing while watching Ole Miss game at Coco's

one tired little boy

can't wake up

Another month older, little man! You have been doing so many new things in just a few weeks. I know I say that every month but it's true! Below are this month's interesting facts about you.

  • words (mostly you say them a few times & then you act like you don't know how to say them): thank you, please, bean, bed, yes, no, mum, dadda, ball, football, baseball, throw the ball, hit the ball, Elmo, cookie, cookie monster, I don't know, car, dog, Coco

  • making animal sounds correctly when asked what a particular animal says: "cack, cack" (along with hand motion) for a duck; "woo woo" for a dog; "grrrrr" for a lion

  • hitting the baseball off the tee (switch hitting)

  • throwing & catching a baseball/football - well, you'll throw anything

  • loves eating blueberry waffles, cinnamon french toast sticks, or chocolate covered Graham cracker cookies for breakfast

  • climbs up anything

  • still no fear of heights

  • goes to sleep by yourself (you want in your crib awake & roll around with blankets until you get snuggled in, smile, give a kiss, & fall asleep)

  • wake up talking in your crib until we come get you

  • still loves water & taking showers with daddy

  • makes "vroom vroom" sounds when pushing or playing with cars/trucks

  • not afraid of balloons anymore

  • still loves to play rough (100% boy)

  • runs more than walks

  • dances & sings as soon as you hear music

  • still loves any sports (you've enjoyed watching football games on the big screen lately)

  • loves your new big boy room (we've painted it a slate grey color & working on painting a baseball scoreboard on wall - will blog about it when finished)

  • wearing size 6 shoes (you're doomed to have big feet since mom & daddy have big feet)

  • wearing size 5 diapers

  • wearing size 18 month pants/shorts (no waist or butt)

  • wearing size 24-3T shirts (long torso)

  • getting prepared to go on your first vacation at the end of this month

  • still loves school, working on potty training, & loves the church nursery

  • everyone still fights over you no matter where you are saying that you're their favorite or that you are the cutest little boy ever (we definitely agree)

  • still sleeps all night but hates to nap during the day probably thinking that you'll miss something

  • talks on the phone (you'll hold our cell phone up to your ear & babble)

  • starting to be a bully - at the playground, you grabbed the neck of a boy's tshirt (who was older) because he tried to get a toy from you