Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drop it!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Matthew 11:28-30

I have a very graceful friend. You know the kind. She always knows what to do in any situation. She's keen and perceptive. She handles everything with the wisdom of someone much older than she is. And, when she opens her mouth, you want to listen.....because you know she will say something witty or insightful. When I'm around her, I just want to listen. I guess I hope to glean something from her sensibility.

My friend just got some very bad news. True to form, she is handling it with the calm grace I'm accustomed to. She isn't quite ready to lay it all out for everyone. That is not to say that she is bottling it up. She will look to lean on her close friends and family when the time comes. When she is ready. But, I know she is already feeling the burden of this and I know that she would appreciate being lifted up in prayer right now.

The title of the sermon preached at our church a week ago was The Source of My Comfort. Our priest, Steve, was talking about worry and how it won't change things....and more importantly, what to do with your burdens and what the Bible says about it. When the Apostle Paul was in prison and writing to the church at Philippi he said, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7

My hope, my prayer, is that my sweet friend will feel this "peace of God, which transcends all understanding." I want her to know this peace as she works out her feelings about this situation. I want her to know this peace as she accepts what is to come. As she prays for what she desires.
Do you have burdens? Everybody does. This friend is not the only one I'm thinking of today. My mother is still recovering from her broken back. My father is battling allergies and fatigue. My sister has a kidney stone. My son broke his arm. I spent the morning at the doctor's office with Isabel....she's sick again. Two of my nieces are struggling with .....well, life....from a teenage point of view....need I say more. And there are others. Some struggling with adoption worries, job worries, money worries. Think He doesn't care about your problems? You would be wrong. He cares.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7

Here is something interesting that Steve said: The Greek word for casting literally means "let it drop". Just drop it. Drop your worries at the feet of God. He wants you to. Let Him carry them for you.

Most of this was composed last night. This morning, before I shuffled off to the pediatrician with Isabel, I took the time to run over to Significant Source to see what SS had to say. As usual, she hit the nail on the head. If you have burdens you need help dropping, feel free to join us at the Wednesday Prayer Meetin'. Click the button. You can leave your own requests and pray for others too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Guess where I was yesterday.

Go ahead. Guess! Hint? Okay. It begins with an E and ends with an R! We have twin boys, y'all. We knew this day would come. Our first trip to the ER with one of them....Noah, of course.
Apparently, when you try to ride a Rip Stick up a drive way, it might come out from under you......and you might land on your hand.....and you could break your arm..... just above the wrist....near the growth plate. Who knew?

Being very brave in the Triage office. He has a high threshold for pain or I wouldn't be taking pictures. He didn't even cry when he fell. He just told his brother to go get me. He was upset, when I got to him, but I spoke calmly and he relaxed. I took him in and sat him down and we inspected his arm. He could move all his fingers and his wrist, but it hurt. And it was swelling. I really didn't think it was broken though, because he didn't act like it hurt that much. When the Triage nurse asked him, "on a scale of 1 to 10 where is your pain?", he said at a 3. The nurse said, "no it isn't." He showed him a chart that had facial expressions on it to associate with the pain and he said, "okay, a 6". Like he was picking the one he liked best. He looked at me and gave me the, "Did I do it right?" expression!

Watching a movie while waiting for x-ray.

It's broken! So, for all you mom's out there-broken bones might not cause a lot of pain and don't stop boys from moving. Which leaves you with swelling as an indicator. I'm just sayin'. We got orthopedist was on duty in the ER today.

Noah got his cast and we went on our merry.....ummmm, not-so-merry, way. 4-6 weeks in a cast. At least he'll still have plenty of summer left when it comes off!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

There's Slip N Slide and then....

There's slippin' and slidin'

Spring doesn't last long around here....we seemed to have moved on to Summer now! So, the kids busted out the Slippin' Slide and the neighborhood gang joined us for some wet fun!

We have extreme slippin' and we have

extremely cute sliding!

This is the child that played next to the kiddie pool last year, but was afraid to get in!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Yesterday was spent at the hospital. Claire had two appointments. First, she had another ultrasound. When you have bladder issues, an ultrasound is a very noninvasive way for the Docs to keep an eyeball on what's happenin' in there, I guess. Because she has had three of those things in the last 8 months. She doesn't care for them....only because she doesn't really like strangers to mess with her. But, the good news is that she has such a great grasp on English now that I was able to talk to her about the appointment, what was going to happen, how it was going to feel....and she got it! She was still nervous going in. But, she was much more calm than during the other two ultrasounds and I really feel that it was because she had the verbal skills to handle it. She knew what was coming, she trusted me, and she was able to talk to us during the procedure. Amazing the difference that can make! But, she is so cute. She kept looking at the screen where the picture was and saying, "I don't see me in that picture! Where am I?" Then I realized that she understood that we were looking at pictures of her, but I needed to explain that it was the inside of her, not the outside!

Next it was onto our appointment with the NEW urologist. We have been seeing Dr. A. He was the best, but he is about 100 years old and he's getting ready to retire. Since Claire's last visit with Dr. A went so well and he determined that she would not need surgery right now, we felt it was a good time to make the switch. Dr. P is the new guy on the block, but he is hardly new at this. And, he is with the spina bifida clinic at our hospital so our hope was that he'd be very knowledgeable about urology from that stand point. I think we got our wish! Dr. P met with me and Claire was so comfortable around him that she completely ignored the doctor and acted like she was at home. Not always a good thing, since she wandered around the room and interrupted us more than once...but, at least she wasn't terrified. She has been known to be a cling-on when some doctors are around. Dr. A was....ummmmm, (ahem)......shall we say, aloof, and made her nervous. No so with Dr. P! But alas, all doctors are different and come with their own......ummmmm, stuff. Dr. P's stuff involves a whole different set of tests. Dr. A did a VCUG on Claire last year. This involves putting a catheter up into the bladder, filling the bladder with contrast and then watching what happens on an x-ray. Of course, at the time we first did that procedure, she'd never been catheterized and went ballistic on the table. Dr. P does a similar procedure....but, it's different. Same concept, it just involves some equipment to measure pressure in her bladder and will help determine if the amount of pressure in her bladder is going to have a negative affect on her kidneys in the long run. The short of it is that Dr. P seems to be a conservative doctor, which we like, that is aggressive when it comes to protecting the kidneys, which we LOVE! The down side. It's another procedure that Claire isn't going to like. He's going to do one every year until she turns 7. This year it is on HER GOTCHA DAY! Happy Gotcha Day....have a bladder full of contrast, sweety!?!? The up side. Her kidneys may thank us one day!
Isabel went to the appointments with us and did her school work while waiting. She's such a trooper!

Regardless of the news that Claire will undergo more testing...that may lead to surgery, we still had a great appointment. Everything is fine as is for now. That's always good news! And, better news is that Dr. P is up on the new surgery being done right now to correct neurogenic bladder! No, that is not a typo. I know I told you that there was no cure for this and that Claire would always have to be cathed....or would learn to do it herself one day. BUT there was an "unless" in there. We are always on the verge of new medical break-through and it looks like one of those marvelous things may have happened! And, our Dr. P met the Doctor that started it. Haven't heard about this yet? Well, you may not be interested...but, I am and this is my blog!

Apparently a Chinese doctor (how fitting), by the name of Chuan-Guo Xiao, has been working since the 80's on a procedure to re-route nerves in the spinal cord, from the leg to the bladder. He had some success in China and naturally, brought it to this country for further study!

Here are a few links for those of you as excited as I am about this prospect!

This is not something that we would consider lightly. As with any major surgery, ON THE SPINAL CORD, it has risks. But, this is something that we are planning to keep our eyes and ears on for the next few years. Claire is too young to be a candidate right now anyway. But, if they continue to have good success with this and if she does become a candidate for it, we would be thrilled! And, it's good to know that our Doctor is keeping his eyes on this too.

So, with that said, how about joining us over at the Wednesday Prayer Meetin'. Significant Source is reminding us to give Glory where it is due, and so I thank God for the Doctors that are working to find ways to make life easier for kids and adults like Claire! And, I thank God for our good follow-up visit yesterday and for keeping our sweet girl healthy! Most of all, I thank God that He provided us the means to bring Claire home almost a year ago, and He continues to provide the ways for us to give her a better life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sea Joy

Sea Joy
When I go down by the sandy shore
I can think of nothing I want more
Than to live by the booming blue sea
As the seagulls flutter round about me
I can run about-when the tide is out
With the wind and the sand and the sea all about
And the seagulls are swirling and diving for fish
Oh-to live by the sea is my only wish.
~Jacqueline Bouvier

When the weather begins to warm up and we have even a half-way sunny Sunday, we pack a picnic and drive to the beach after church. Our church is a 15 minute drive from the lovely beaches of The Isle of Palms. We don't bring swimsuits. It's still too chilly for that....okay, the water is freezing. That doesn't seem to stop some people and I really think my kids would get in.....I know my kids would get in, if I let them! But, we go to fly kites, and build sandcastles, and collect shells and play bocce ball. And, although she's been to the beach a few times, this was the first time Claire got to experience the beach. All other times, she was in casts from her toes to her thighs and couldn't touch the water or play in the sand. She was so excited about going! She WANTED her shoes and socks off. For those of you that know Claire, you know that that is a big deal. She NEVER wants her shoes and socks off! As I walked down the beach with her to find our spot, she squealed and shook her head and fists she was so happy. She loved walking in the water and wanted to stay with her feet in the water the whole time! She loved the sand too. She wanted to bury her feet and then mine. She didn't care how wet or sandy she was. She just loved it too much! It was so much fun!

That face says it all!

Noah loves to juggle! Bocce Balls are not light!

Loves to bury feet!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who said....

you have to be able to walk alone before you can skate? This chick isn't letting that little detail stop her!

We walked home from Meme and Papa's the other day and I left her in the yard with the other kids for a minute. I came back out to find her trying to put Isabel's old skates on, which someone had left in the driveway. I asked her what she thought she was doing. "I want to roll like Isabel.", she said. "I don't think you can do that, sweetie." was my answer. Wrong answer! "Yes I can"! I put the skates on her. Pronto. Yes you can! This may not be the safest experiment, but I just can't stop her and I can't put her in a bubble. She skated up and down the driveway in her walker and she landed on her bum more than once, but just got back up! Her bum is blue anyway, from Mongolian spots, and she is very happy to tell you all about her "blue butt", thankyouverymuch, so you can't tell if she gets a bruise from falling on it!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Meme!

Today we are wishing our Meme Stroud a very happy....ummmmm, 29th again birthday.....again! Yesterday there was a party for the Lady. The Lady is my Mother-in-law and she lives all the way across the street from it was a long drive you know. But, we were willing to make it..... 'cause she's worth it! And, in case you didn't know, Lady is how I affectionately refer to that woman. She isn't just the Meme or The Lady either. She's also the baby sitter, the woman that presses Paul's shirts, the mini-mart (you know, for when I run out of something), the weather service emergency reporter ('cause I don't have time to know when there is a tornado watch out), the pet sitter, and the unpaid-home-makeover-handywoman! I'm sure I'm forgetting about 10 other things that Lady means to us!

The Lady, puttin' on her crowns.....'cause she was queen for the day you know!

Surrounded by grandchildren, her favorite thing to be!

Happy Birthday Lady, we hope it was a good one!! Love you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On The Home Front

Un-Extreme Home Makeover: Phase II, Part 4

The Kitchen Counters!

Well, six weeks after starting this project, (have I mentioned that we aren't speedy) we finally have new counter tops! What a difference it makes too! Only, too bad we didn't realize we wouldn't have a sink for 24 hours! Now my lovely new counters are covered in dirty dishes that haven't been rinsed. Oh well! We had to let the glue set or something. But, they were so beautiful!

Being installed....... NOT by us!

See how nice. Would be nicer if we had installed our faux copper backsplash on the wall there already....but we haven't. Nope. Haven't. Even. Ordered. It. Yet. Scarlett O'Hara will worry about that tomorrow.

And for those of you that really want to see what they look like up close and personal...

It's called Diana Pearl. I don't know why. It is a Capaccino color with flecks of white, black, brown, pinkish (but not much), and blue.

First thing this morning, Paul started working on installing the new faucets, the water filtration system and the new garbage disposal....and ummmm.....well, he's still working on it. Have I mentioned how much that man loves plumbing? Yeah well, that's 'cause he doesn't! He has been to the Home Depot three times today. He has spent at least five hours concentrating solely on this task. And when he finally finishes, I'm sure something will leak , it will work perfectly!! And we will all sigh a sigh of relief and live happily ever soon as the floor is laid, the trim is, ummmm, trimmed, the paint is touched up, the laundry closet doors are hung and so on!

Oh, and the people have to come back when they get the 4 inch back splash right. One piece was cut too small and has to be redone. I can see this kitchen being done around JUNE! Oh yeah, and we haven't put knobs or handles on the cabinets yet! This is the never ending kitchen makeover!

Why haven't we put knobs or handles on the cabinets yet? Well, would you do all handles or all knobs or mix them? If you mix them, would you put the handles on the cabinets and the knobs on the drawers or the other way around? This is why the cabinets don't have any yet!! We can't figure out which way we want to do it. I really can't have this many choices in front of me, people! I think I'll put a pole over on the top right side. VOTE and maybe that will help us! I'll leave it there for the week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Egg-citing Easter

Okay, that was more than a little corny....but it pretty much describes this Easter. The girls went to 4 egg hunts! FOUR. It started Friday afternoon with a homeschool egg hunt, then we took them to the Charleston Egg Drop, which was a little insane, and they had two hunts with family on Sunday!

Isabel with homeschool pal, Abigail, at the Easter party and hunt on Friday. What a couple of hams!

I'm so cute!

We took the kids to the Charleston Egg Drop on Saturday morning. I really just wanted to see it for myself. It was pretty neat. A helicopter flew in over a field and dropped 20,000 eggs stuffed with candy and prizes.

The boys helped their sister collect eggs. Sweet guys!

Dying Easter eggs on Saturday night! Claire's first time!

Hey, this is fun! So proud!

The boys got in on the action too. I guess you are never too old to dye eggs?

Sunday morning! No, I do not dress my twins the same anymore.....they do it themselves. A little weird, I know.

Off to visit with cousins in Columbia for dinner and egg hunting fun!

These are from the first hunt of the afternoon. Claire is starting to get the hang of it!

Cousin Jacob is a great hunter!

Emma Hope is too busy to pose for a picture....there are eggs to find!

I told the boys this would be their last year to hunt, next year they have to hide. They said they would hide all the good eggs where the little children won't find them so they can come through later to get them! Great. Then we found out that Paul's grown cousins had a full body contact adult egg hunt on Saturday night. Hey, that sounds like something for the boys!

The newest cousin, JJ, just sort of......ummmm, slept through the festivities. He'll be in the mix next year!

Hangin' out in the coolest back yard ever!

Then it was onto our second egg hunt with another cousin

Yes! It's Hannah! Sweet Hannah!

Hannah loves being around her big cousin, Isabel.

Claire and Uncle Preston really got into this egg hunt!

Siblings. Who needs chairs when you have laps!