Friday, May 30, 2008

Home

Well Cyndi wanted to know how it feels to be home. I have so many mixed emotions about that. In Iowa things were a slower pace, which I know realize I loved. We had three rooms to take care of. Only three rooms for anyone to wonder off too. Wonderful because I loved being right there with all of them. Except of course when Mike, Michala and Marlee Anne got cabin fever which was quite often. Even though they went out for a little while they were back before long. Mike didn't leave for work and that was nice even though he worked while in the room with us. There was always people around. Other families and the volunteers. I miss having other people coming around. I have to say having meals brought into the house every now and then was really nice too. We were spoiled with some of Miss Emmy's Chicken & Dumplins' though when we got home and some of Uncle Papa's good cooking. Having doctors appts to go too has hit me a little harder than I expected. In Iowa it was just the club feet to deal with and not all the other stuff with Abe. Now all the other stuff is hitting me kinda hard.

That's one of the reason I have not been emailing or updating the blog. I get overwhelmed by life and it's easier or seems easier to keep it all in. Even though I know that I should be sharing all this. Also life tends to be a little more time consuming lately.

I do have to say that when we first came home from Egleston I was very overwhelmed with Abe's meds. I didn't know how I would fit all that into our day. The other morning I was drawing up meds and thought wow I just did that without thinking. That was nice. I say that to say I am sure all this will become second nature like the rest of our lives. It may take some rearranging to get these extra puzzle pieces to fit but eventually we will see the big puzzle God is creating.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Word Cloud




I saw this on Amber's blog and loved it so I had to make my own. I think it would be great printed out as scrapbook paper. Too cool! Thanks Amber! If you want to make your own go here http://snapshirts.com/custom.php?sid=1pgbaj7n0863046i5jlsb7t5u1




Monday, May 19, 2008

The King Has Another Move!

This is a story sent to me from some dear Disney friends. Thankful The King has another move for my life!

The King Has Another Move!

This story has been told by Christian speakers as far back as 1955when Billy Graham told a variation of it early in his ministry.

Two men are standing in front of a painting called Checkmate in an artgallery. In the painting, a man is playing chess with the devil. Thedevil is grinning ear-to-ear because he has the man cornered. The titleof the painting, Checkmate, indicates that the game is over. The devilhas won. His opponent has no more moves.

The first man looking at the painting wants to move on to otherpaintings in the gallery. But the second man, an international chesschampion, wants to look at the painting longer, so he waves his friendon and tells him he will catch up later. The chess champion stares andstares at the chess board, then suddenly he steps back, flabbergasted."It's wrong!" he exclaims. "The re's one more move." He runs to hisfriend and together they look at the painting. "We have to contact thepainter," the chess champion says. "It's not checkmate. The king has onemore move."

When you look at Scripture, you will see that all through history, thedevil has had God's people in what seemed like "checkmate." But God hadanother move.

In Exodus 14, with the Egyptians relentlessly chasing them, theIsraelites, finally released to journey to the Promised Land, came tothe shores of the Red Sea. They could see the dust from approachingEgyptian chariots on the horizon and hear the war cries of theirpursuers. They had nowhere to turn. Their families would be killed;their possessions would be taken. Checkmate, right?

The King had another move. God says to Moses, "Why are you crying outto me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise yourhand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk throughthe middle of the sea on dry ground" (Exodus 14:15-16). We know the restof the story. The Israelites get to the other side; the Egyptians drownwhen God closes the water alley.

In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites and their leader, Saul, were terrified.The nine-foot-tall Philistine giant, Goliath, was taunting them andmaking fun of their God. The Israelites were in checkmate.

But the King had one more move. An insignificant little boy too smallto fit into Saul's armor knocked off Goliath and delivered theIsraelites. David, who knew a thing or two about being in checkmate,shows his deep faith when he says, "The Lord who rescued me from theclaws of the lion and the bear with will rescue me from thisPhilistine!" (1 Samuel 17:37).

In Daniel 6:1-28, King Darius threw Daniel into a lions' den becauseDaniel ignored t he new law to pray to King Darius and instead prayed toGod. In imagery reminiscent of the tomb of Jesus, a stone was rolledover the mouth of the lions' den and Daniel was left to be torn apart.You can't get much more "checkmate" than that situation!

But the King had another move. He sends an angel to close the lions'mouths. When King Darius finds Daniel safe, he says: "I decree thateveryone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the Godof Daniel. For he is the living God and he will endure forever. Hiskingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end" (Daniel7:26).

Perhaps you feel like you are in checkmate in your life. You are indebt. You've lost your job. Your marriage is in trouble. Someone youlove is dying. You have an addiction that is eating you with shame.

Whatever your situation, you have to remember that God always hasanother move in your life. He can get you out of whatever you're in. Heraised his own Son from death! Pray to Him. His love for you isunconditional, and he never turns his back on you. You have another move.

Even if your pain keeps you from finding the words to pray, the HolySpirit will pray for you. Paul says in Romans 8:26: "And the Holy Spirithelps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants usto pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings thatcannot be expressed in words."

When it seems as if you can't move to the next square on the calendar,remember, the King always has another move!

Invisible Mothers......

From another sweet relay friend. Not thankful for Michala's cancer but thankful for the people it has brought into my life. This is one of my new favorite quotes, The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.


Invisible Mothers......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would d iscover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God w hispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see r right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes cakes, homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms (and dads) you know... I just did.

Keep playing

I am thankful that my precious relay friend knew I needed to read this again. I will keep playing.

When the house lights dimmed and the concertWas about to begin, the mother returned toHer seat and discovered that her child was missingSuddenly, the curtains parted and spotlightsFocused on the impressive Steinway on stage. To her horror, the mother saw her little boySitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.' At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly movedto the piano, and Whispered in the boy's ear,'Don't quit . . . Keep playing.'Then, leaning over , Paderewski reachedDown with his left hand and began fillingin a bass part. Soon his right arm reachedAround to the other side of the child,And he added a running obbligato.Together, the old master and the young noviceTransformed what could have been a frightening situation into awonderfully creative experience The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the> great master played.Only the classic,' Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.'Perhaps that's the way it is with God.What we can accomplish onOur own is hardly noteworthy.We try our best, but the results aren't alwaysGraceful flowing music. However, with theHand of the Master, our life'sWork can truly be beautiful. The next time you set out to accomplish great feats,Listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your Ear,'Don't quit . . Keep playing.'May you feel His arms around you andKnow that His hands are there, helping youTurn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.Remember, God doesn't seem toCall the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.' Life is more accurately measu red by the lives you touch than by thethings you acquire. So touch someone by passing this little message along.May God bless you and be with You always! And Remember,Don't quit . . . Keep playing.

Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

This is from my lifelong, always there, never ending friend. Thankful that she has never given up on me.

Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, caution lights called Family. You will have flats called Jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success.

Some Mothers Get Something More

This was sent by the mom of one of Michala's Aicardi sisters.


Some Mothers Get Something More
By Lori Borgman
Columnist and Speaker

My friend is expecting her first child. People keep asking what she wants. She smiles demurely, shakes her head and gives the answer mothers have given throughout the pages of time. She says it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl. She just wants it to have ten fingers and ten toes.Of course, that's what she says. That's what mothers have always said.Mothers lie.Truth be told, every mother wants a whole lot more.

Every mother wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin. Every mother wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly.Every mother wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule (according to the baby development chart on page 57, column two). Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions. She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire ballet class.Call it greed if you want, but we mothers want what we want.Some mothers get babies with something more.

Some mothers get babies with conditions they can't pronounce, a spine that didn't fuse, a missing chromosome or a palette that didn't close. Most of those mothers can remember the time, the place, the shoes they were wearing and the color of the walls in the small, suffocating room where the doctor uttered the words that took their breath away. It felt like recess in the fourth grade when you didn't see the kick ball coming and it knocked the wind clean out of you..

Some mothers leave the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, take him in for a routine visit, or schedule her for a well check, and crash head first into a brick wall as they bear the brunt of devastating news. It can't be possible! That doesn't run in our family. Can this really be happening in our lifetime?I am a woman who watches the Olympics for the sheer thrill of seeing finely sculpted bodies. It's not a lust thing; it's a wondrous thing. The athletes appear as specimens without flaw - rippling muscles with nary an ounce of flab or fat, virtual powerhouses of strength with lungs and limbs working in perfect harmony. Then the athlete walks over to a tote bag, rustles through the contents and pulls out an inhaler.As I've told my own kids, be it on the way to physical therapy after a third knee surgery, or on a trip home from an echo cardiogram, there's no such thing as a perfect body. Everybody will bear something at some time or another. Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, medication or surgery. The health problems our children have experienced have been minimal and manageable, so I watch with keen interest and great admiration the mothers of children with serious disabilities, and wonder how they do it.

Frankly, sometimes you mothers scare me. How you lift that child in and out of a wheelchair 20 times a day. How you monitor tests, track medications, regulate diet and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists yammering in your ear. I wonder how you endure the clich├ęs and the platitudes, well-intentioned souls explaining how God is at work when you've occasionally questioned if God is on strike. I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy pieces like this one -- saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know you're ordinary. You snap, you bark, you bite. You didn't volunteer for this. You didn't jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling, "Choose me, God! Choose me! I've got what it takes." You're a woman who doesn't have time to step back and put things in perspective, so, please, let me do it for you.

From where I sit, you're way ahead of the pack. You've developed the strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil. You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, carefully counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule. You can be warm and tender one minute, and when circumstances require intense and aggressive the next. You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability. You're a neighbor, a friend, a stranger I pass at the mall. You're the woman I sit next to at church, my cousin and my sister-in-law. You're a woman who wanted ten fingers and ten toes, and got something more.

You're a wonder.

Thankful for grace

I was reminded today that we have made it 6 weeks. Not that we have been here that long but we have made. Those 6 weeks have been filled with precious memories that no one can ever take from us. I struggle and worry about what the future holds and was reminded today to stop and enjoy each moment we have together. Thankful once again for this precious family God has blessed us with.

Still struggling because my patience are wearing, I am tired and I long for home. I want a nice long bath in my bath tub. I am a relaxing bath person and for 6 LONG weeks I have been taking showers, bathing the girls in the shower (not an easy feat). So I am ready for home. Soon very soon!

I have a sweet Disney friend that often takes the time to call and ask for specific prayer request. When she called today I asked her to pray for patience. Once again she told me no. She will not pray for patience. She did say she would pray for grace for me. Boy am I ever so thankful for that grace!

Probably finishing last minute packing in hopes of coming home soon so I may not send out an email. In case I don't, please pray that Abe's precious feet are ready for his tenotomy on Wednesday and we have a safe trip home. Thanks so much!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

6 weeks

I knew what the title of this email was going to be. As I started to type I thought I could begin I can't believe we have been here...., if anyone had told me we were going to be here...... or we made it. I always think my attitude plays a huge part on me and on our day as a family. So here I am trying to think positive and say wow we have made it 6 weeks. Today we saw Trace Atkins video You're gonna miss this. As I listened I thought I really am going to miss this. Once we are home Mike will be back to work full time. Even though he has been working while he was out here with us we still had him with us. When we get home there will be other things to be added to our daily routine instead of family time. I am thankful for the 6 weeks we have had together. I am thankful for what we have seen and learned. Only a few more days.

We were blessed by some friends and a local church home with some gifts cards. We were trying to save some so that we could have some celebration meals once we got back home. Today we thought we would celebrate how far we have come in this journey and how wonderful Abe's feet are doing. We went to Red Lobster and really enjoyed it. Mary Elizabeth hasn't been out in a few days and she let the world know that she was out. I was trying to take care of her and looked at Mike and busted out laughing. With one hand he was feeding Michala and with the other hand he was rocking Abe's seat. It was all a comical sight.

Next we decided to walk around the mall just to pass some time. It wasn't too crowded and we had a nice time getting out and walking.

Back at the house the Interact club fixed pizza. Mike and Marlee Anne went out for their daily walk while I got the other's baths and settled down. HA!!! That so didn't work. Michala is still going wild. When Marlee Anne & I walked downstairs this evening we met Lucas and his mom. Lucas is a 8 month old little boy with club feet. He had his shoes and brace on. He will be going to see Dr. Ponseti tomorrow for his check up. He had treatment at home in Florida. After being told that Lucas would never walk mom brought him here. He is doing great now. Another blessing in our day. The mom took lots of time to share their experience with me. I thanked her for sharing with me. She said no thank you for allowing me to share this.

Today was a little better with Abe's fussiness. Friday and Saturday were rough because he was in so much pain. Mike & Marlee Anne went out to the grocery store on Friday because we had bought just enough to get us through that day. When we found out we had to stay longer we needed more oatmeal, milk, potatoes, green beans and of course yogurt. All the necessities for us. Saturday Michala had enough and had to get out. Mike & Marlee Anne took her out for awhile.

I am always amazed at how God gives us a mixture of people in our lives. I think sometimes it's easy to miss those he sends our way to help us through the day, like Lucas and his mom. When I sent that email on Friday I received a few emails back. One very uplifting, one very umderstanding, one including a daily devotion and even a kick in the hiney one. God knew I needed all of those along with a few others. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to email me. Thanks especially to all of you that took the time to pray. I think I will make it until Wednesday. Just please pray that they will be able to do his tenotomy on Wednesday and that he will not be in too much pain until then.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mary Elizabeth graduated!

This deserved an email by itself. Yesterday Miss Daphne, Mary Elizabeth's teacher told me that she had graduated. Mary Elizabeth will be going to High School next year. She will thankfully still have her same teacher to come to the house to teach her. We are so blessed to have such a precious teacher and precious big girl. Thanks for letting me share this excitement with ya'll.

Abe's 10th cast

Well it's with a sad heart that I have to tell ya'll that we are not coming home tomorrow. Abe's right foot is still very stiff. His left foot is ready for the tenodomy but not his left. Dr. Ponseti was very apologetic. He's an amazing man. So we all have hopes that the tenodomy will be done on Wednesday and we will be heading home soon. I have already loaded the van having confidence that today was the day. I know better than to do that when it comes to doctors and hospitals.

Now I have to refocus and get my mind set on getting this done. It has hit me hard and I can't seem to stop crying. My bubble has been burst. Please pray for all of us as we regroup and realize we have to stay here. They told us this morning that if they did the tenodomy too soon it would be very painful for Abe. It would also possibly mean more casting. Dr. Ponseti told the doctors you don't see a foot like this very often because it's so severe and we very rarely have to do this many cast. We have come this far and want it done right. I keep hearing God say, "patience my child". Thankfully I am His child and once again He will carry us through. I am so glad there are no limits on God. He will carry us as long, as far, forever.

With this email I am trying to convince myself of all of this. It would be so very easy to throw my hands up and say enough is enough. Rambling once again.

Thanks so much for all your prayers!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Abe's 9th casting

Well things went good at Abe's 9th casting. He was very uncomfortable but I kept telling him and myself that it was best for him. I cannot imagine having this done by anyone but Dr. Ponseti and his gentle hands and caring spirit. Dr. Ponseti he is almost sure but not certain that they will do the tenodomy on Friday. That means we will be driving to Georgia on Saturday!!! Did you catch that excitement in my voice? Mike told Abe he had spent more of his life in Iowa than Georgia. We have to ask Grammy if that makes him an Iowaian.


We are so very thankful for this state, the Ronald McDonald House and especially Dr. Ponseti, Maria & Joyce. However, we are so very ready to come home. We just found out that it is possibly the water that we are allergic to. Possibly something in the water. Michala has been drinking bottled water, juice or tea until recently when Mike gave her some tap water. She broke out and we weren't sure what it was. Then when I gave it to her again she did the same thing. Not sure if that's what is happening with me or not. Hopefully we will be home soon and it won't matter. When we first drove around and saw the beautiful rich soil here Mike said that's how they grow such good corn. Well I will gladly swap this rich soil for my wonderful red Georgia clay.

We drove to the Quad Cities after Abe's casting. It was a beautiful day to be out. It was amazing to see how big the Mississippi River is. We stopped a couple places along the ride. One of those places was as you have probably already guessed from the previous picture I emailed, the John Deere Pavillon. We did it mainly in honor of Danisa. Marlee Anne LOVED it!!! She is just too funny! They had to sport their new caps for a picture. We stopped the beautiful waterfront to take pictures. We had to be careful not to get run over by all the bikers. They really go fast around those curves. The ducks were out in full force and tried to attack us after we ran out of food to share with them. One really neat touch was metal leaves on the curb. I took lots of pictures and will post some on our blog.


When we got back Mary Elizabeth was having some respiratory issues and Michala was coughing. Today they seem better. Please pray that we get back home before anyone gets too sick.

Tonight a really sweet group of ladies brought supper for us. They made pork chops, green bean casserole and real mashed potatoes. It was huge for me because they were real mashed potatoes. So real that when I saw them I cried. Partly because I am so tired and so ready for this part of our journey to be over, partly because I was so excited to have real comfort food.

While I was downstairs I got to meet 3 new families. One has a 4 year old little boy that had a club foot. They are from California and he still comes here for his follow ups. John was all over the place playing. It was such a blessing to see how well he has done. Another mom from Quad Cities was here with her 4 month old little boy. Chance will be going in tomorrow for stomach surgery. The third mom was a precious lady who has 5 children. They are from Wyoming and just moved to Iowa. She was here with two of her sons. Her 14 month old was born with glaucoma. Noah is having his 4th eye surgery tomorrow. Once again God in His perfect timing brings others for us to minister to along with using them as a reminder that we are truly blessed. It's so easy when I am tired to get down and see our daily challenges. It takes God to lift me up and allow me to see the blessings. Please lift these families up in your prayers.

Marlee Anne and I made some thank you treats for the staff and volunteers here. We needed to borrow the stapler to attach the tags we made. When we walked into the office we were surprised with a package. I have always said there are certain people that should have a never ending thank you note. Well the women's group of Stewart Baptist Church are some of those people. They sent another package to us filled with all kinds of treats. What we don't eat before we leave will be great snacks for the car. However, the girls have already started on it so there may not be much left.

OK I think that's it for now. Thanks so much for staying with us through this journey. Hopefully it's coming to an end.

Can you guess where we went?


Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother's Day































It all started on Saturday. Mike, Marlee Anne and Michala went to Walmart to get some groceries we needed. When they got back I asked Marlee Anne where all they went. She said Walmart. She said we went some where before but I can't remember where. I had no clue she was keeping a secret. She usually give everything away. She asked Mike something and he said I am going to the van to get the water. She went with him. When they got back Marlee Anne brought me a Mother's Day card. Then Mike brings in something covered with Mary Elizabeth's blanket. It was a Cricut. I was so surprised and cried and cried. For those that don't know what it is it's a wonderful scrapbook machine. I LOVE it!!!

That night I started thinking about not being at home for Mother's Day. Usually my pitty parties do not last very long. It's not long before I am reminded of someone that has it much worse than I do. Well my thoughts quickly went to Shannon. Spending her first Mother's Day in the hospital was just not right. Then my thoughts went to Cindi. Yes once again I am blessed. I wasn't at home in Georgia, but I was in our home away from home with my wonderful husband and precious children. I am blessed!

Today the RMH gave us all handmade cards and candy. It was a nice surprise to get. A sweet group of ladies made us a really nice lunch. They even brought cake which Michala really enjoyed. We usually fix our plates and go back upstairs to eat. Today we all went down together as a family and ate. Josephine and Thomas were down there too with their moms.

Mike, Michala & Marlee Anne went out again while Mary Elizabeth, Abe & I took a nap. The wind was blowing 35 mph so we decided it would be best to keep them in.

The other night I was having a really tough time with my hives. It was really driving me crazy. Marlee Anne came in the bathroom and said mommie let me pray for you. She has such a very sweet spirit. There is not a day that goes by that she doesn't stop and pray for Abe and Sam.

Tomorrow is Abe's 9th casting. We hope to get some wonderful news that his tenodomy will be Friday. If so we can come home on Saturday. We don't want to rush it because we definitely want it done right. It would be nice to have the comforts of home. I have dreamed of getting home on Saturday and having Henderson's for lunch on Sunday.

I hope that all you mothers had a wonderful day!!! Even though I didn't get to spend it with my mom, which I never do any way. I have to explain myself here. Mother's Day I think should be spent however you as a mother would like to spend it. Well strange enough my mom likes to spend it having a nice quiet day by herself. My brother and sister didn't honor that this year but I did. I did talk to her twice today like I do every day. Not just since we have been here but because I always have. I did take lots of time to be thankful for all she has taught me. She raised me more by do as I do. I saw her pray, heard her pray, saw her read her bible each day, saw her cook, clean and care for our family. It wasn't until I was 10 years old and my dear sweet uncle passed away. That's the day I remember us all starting to tell each other that we love each other. Never a time goes by when I am talking to one of my family members that I do not tell them that I love them. My mom put us first and still does. Our wants and needs always went before hers. I will be forever grateful for what she has taught me.

I pray that I am teaching my children the right things. I pray they see things in me that will help make them the people God wants them to be. I am thankful that God has chosen me to be a mother. If someone told me 12 years ago that I would be a stay at home mom with 4 children I would have laughed in their face. When Mary Elizabeth was 3 years old after much prayer I quit my job at Snapping Shoals EMC. This was a job that I loved dearly. I loved getting up every morning getting dressed, using my brain and working with other adults. Never did I see me staying at home raising children. Now I could not dream of anything better. I would not change my job title. I am thankful for each one of my children and what they teach me each day. Through all the medications given, all the diapers that are changed and even Abe's shot that is given each night I am reminded the charge I have been given. Each time I receive a smile, a laugh, a loving pat, a hug or a kiss my heart is filled with a love that can never be replaced. Without the loving daddy that they have this journey would not be near as fun, fullfillng or complete.

OK I am done rambling for tonight. More later!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

The many faces of Abe










This morning Marlee Anne & I were talking to Abe. We started laughing seeing how he can change so much in such a little amount of time. So I took some pictures to share.




I can't believe she is 6

Well I have started this email three times. Marlee Anne's birthday was good. She got to plan it and did a really good job. We went to the mall food court to eat. She said that way everyone would get to eat whatever they wanted. Then we went to the Children's Museum. She was so excited about going and it was everything that she thought it was going to be I guess because she is ready to go back. She loved all the phone calls she got, along with the emails. Thanks so much for helping make her day special.





































Yesterday Abe had his 8th set of cast put on. It was hard on him. He cried a good bit which he very rarely does. Dr. Ponseti really stretched his foot a lot. Especially the right one. You can see in the pictures how turned it is. Dr. Ponseti said about 3 more cast. So we are planning on his tenodomy to be on the 16th. Hopefully heading home on the 17th. The same on his weight, no loss but no gain either. I tried to supplement with some formula but he spit it all up. I am concerned with him losing his meds by doing that. I will call Dr. Parks when he gets back in town on Monday. Please keep us in your prayers concerning this. It is really bothering me and I am not sure what to do for him. He is so happy and content with me nursing him. Wetting his diapers and pooping - tmi. I am just praying that he is not gaining because of the cast and all that will get better once we are done with this.



















7th cast
















































8th cast - that's the bottom of his foot facing up on his right foot.


























After his casting we went to the Amana Colonies. Several people had suggested this to us. We were really glad we went. It's a nice little place to visit with all kinds of shops. We had lunch there and then walked down the street to some of the shops. We stop at the Kid's Toy Shop, The Chocolate Haus, The Bakery and The Woolin Shop. It was really a neat experience for us.

Today Mike and Marlee Anne have gone to the indoor water park in Amana. Marlee Anne was so excited she couldn't hardly sleep last night. I am sure she will have stories to tell when they get back.

Well my little man is calling me. I better run!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A trip to Kalona

That last email about Sam's fundraiser were sent out to a couple of list that should not have gotten them. I sent it out using my Iowa update emails so that's why it went out to those list. I am sorry if you didn't receive the pictures in that email. I think they didn't go through to some people.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here. Someone from the hospital had told us to visit the town of Kalona. I am so very glad we had the chance to do that. Marlee Anne & I went in the General Store. It reminded me of Harpers. The only thing it was missing from that store was penny candy.



















We had a late lunch at The Fireside Grill. We had meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It was so good! I was so ready for some real food and that hit the spot. They had homemade potato chips too that we had to try. For dessert we had creme brulee that was delicious. Our waitress was so very nice. One of those God things. You know when God sends you that little reminder that you need. Well she was asking the girls ages and was telling us about her 4 children. They had just bought the restaurant in February. Her husband is the chef. She also runs a pregnancy crisis center in Iowa City. I said WOW how do you do it. She said well when it's annointed by God you do it. She said well you know. As the tears started to flow I thought yes I do know. I needed the reminder right then though. The waitress that brought our creme brulee out asked where we were from. Mike said New York. She started laughing and said I am from New York and that's not a New York accent you have. When we told her we we re from Georgia she said oh do you eat boiled peanuts. She said she loves them but cannot find anyone to send her green peanuts. We told her we would be glad to send her some so she gave us her address.

We saw a couple of Amish with their horse and buggy. We went down a little further to their little store. It was so neat to see all the stuff they have there. The lights and fans were so neat too since they do not use electricity. There were lots of horse and buggys in front of the store for people to take rides.




































Next we stopped by the Cheese House. We got to see them making cheese curds. You could sample the cheese curds, along with all kinds of cheeses. It was a really neat experience. Marlee Anne loved the cheese curds so Mike bought her some. There were people in there buying tons and tons of cheese curds. Grammy, Sandy or anyone from this area, can you please tell me what they are going to do with all those cheese curds? I am assuming something more than just eating them as is. Also we bought some ladyfinger popcorn. Besides the size is there anything different about it? We saw it several different places.

















We rode around some before coming back to the house. There are bike racks all over the place. So many people ride bikes around here. The side walks are wide and perfect for the bikes. Even McDonald's has a bike rack.



















Last night when we got back we said our see you laters to Rylann and her mom Amy in case we were up when they left. We did get to see them this morning before they left. We have plans to stop by Birmingham to see them next time we take Michala to Huntsville. We are really going to miss them but so thankful it's time for them to go home.

I got to talk to the mom from Connecticut some more last night. I got to meet her big boy Thomas last night too. I cannot wait to get a picture of he and Abe together. The difference is amazing. Thomas is 9 weeks old but looks like a 5 month old. It's really sad though because he had casting and a tenodomy done at home. It was messed up very bad so they are here for Dr. Ponseti to fix it. Once again I am reminded how blessed we are.

Marlee Anne got a wonderful birthday package last night. It was filled with Happy Birthday ribbon, party horns (which I know everyone in the house is so thankful for), birthday cake, candles, sprinkles, & cookies. Leave it to Aunt Kim to send a party in a box. It really is the neatest thing.

We also got a really special package from our dear friends. I am scared to try to list everything cause I am sure to leave something out. Mary Elizabeth got the most wonderful blanket, Abe a toy, Michala a light toy, Marlee Anne a sticker book, which she keeps reminding me has over 350 stickers in it, I got a digital photo key chain. I have always wanted one of those.

Today is Marlee Anne's 6th birthday. She, Michala and Mike have gone out for their walk. I am supposed to be getting Mary Elizabeth, Abe & I ready for our day out. I wanted to email ya'll real quick so I wouldn't get behind. I have pictures to add to the blog but I will have to do that later. I gotta run now.

Thanks for your prayers!!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

4 weeks

Well we have been in Iowa for 4 weeks. I can safely say I have had enough and I am ready to go home. I miss home. I miss my mommy. I miss the comforts of our nice home town, our family and our friends. These hives are really getting on my nerves. They don't seem to be getting any better so if anyone has any advice on what I can try I would greatly appreciate it. We only have a shower so I cannot do the oatmeal bath that several have suggested. Any other ideas?

Yesterday the Ronald McDonald run went good. Marlee Anne pushed Michala in the Ronald Run. It was really windy so we decided to stay in for most of it. Mike and Marlee Anne attempted the 5K but it was too cold for Marlee Anne and she wanted to come back. We did have a chance to get pictures made with Ronald McDonald. He was really great with the girls. During the awards ceremony I had the opportunity to share what the Ronald McDonald House means to us






















































































After the run Mike, Michala & Marlee Anne went downtown. When they got back Marlee Anne told me they went to see some dead animals. They went to the museum. Mike said Marlee Anne really enjoyed seeing all the animals.

Today we all went to Cedar Rapids. It was a nice day with the sun shining. We saw a lot of the flooding they have been talking about on the news. We ate supper at Red Robin and enjoyed that. Everyone enjoyed getting out of the house for a little while.

























When we got back to the house Rylann, her mom Amy, and Noah's mom Teresa baked Marlee Anne a birthday cake. They let Marlee Anne decide on the icing. They all had a great time making it, decorating it and eating it.





































































There are 3 new club foot families that came to the house today. I met one tonight from Connecticut.

Marlee Anne got a wonderful birthday present today from Mackenzie. She was so excited about it. The girls and Abe all got wonderful gifts from her too.

Thanks so much for ya'll's continued prayers!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Abe's 7th casting

As I drove to the hospital today my thoughts went back to the house with Mike taking care of our precious girls. I often stop to thank God for such a loving, patient and supportive husband not to mention the amazing daddy that he is. I truly know that I am not the easiest person to live with. Wednesday when I came back from Abe's casting Mike had straightened up the entire room. Everything has to have a place for him. Not me of course. My thoughts are on getting through the day and as long as I know where things are I am good. We are so incredibly night and day it's unreal. It seems to work for us though. Still he puts up with a lot and as I drove to the hospital I once again thanked God for knowing that this is the man I needed in my life. This was the man that would not walk out when the going got tough. Most days there are tough spots in our day, whether it's Mary Elizabeth stopping breathing, Michala having a seizure, Marlee Anne needed a little extra attention and us not having enough time for that, or me crying when I have to give Abe a shot. Still through all that, inspite of all that, there is more love than I could ever have imagined. I am so very blessed. This part of our journey could not have happened without Mike's support and him believing that I could do this.

I had to look back at the calendar just now when I was typing Abe's 7th casting. I cannot believe it has been that many. Dr. Ponseti got more of a stretch but he said his feet are so very stiff. It was a good thing we changed the cast because he had gotten sores on his little feet. We will recast on Wednesday May 7th. We are hoping for his tenotomy to be done on May 12th or 16th. That could all change with each casting. It's just a wait and see game right now to see how his feet do. Thanks so much for your prayers! He gained an ounce today. I was so very excited about that. Hopefully he is adjusting to this casting thing and will continue to gain.

We had some time in between his castings so I got to talk with Dr. Ponseti's secretary. I always enjoy talking with her. She had told me the other day how she got her job with Dr. Ponseti. The doctor she worked for retired and they asked if she would like to work for Dr. Ponseti. She was close to retirement and they told her Dr. Ponseti wouldn't be working too much longer. When she started working for him he would not use a dicta-phone so she had to take shorthand. Today she still follows him to each patient and takes shorthand.

Today we started talking about places for us to visit. She was talking about their farm. I asked what they grew. They grow corn and soybeans. I asked her how big the farm was. She said well it's our retirement farm and it's only 62 acres. There previous farm was 200 acres. They also had a dairy with 92 cows. She and one of the volunteers told us about a couple of really neat towns we hope to explore soon.

Guiseppe and his family left today. Sometimes I truly hate having the heart I have. The one that gets so attached to people. They were such a sweet and loving family and it's hard to see them go. They gave us a stuffed Minnie Mouse and a CD with pictures they had taken while they were here. Georgia is doing fine now. They did a scan. I am assuming a CT scan and they found no damage. The bump on her head was very large and was causing lots of pain. They think that's why she was throwing up. Thanks so much for your prayers.

After the casting Mike and Marlee Anne went to town for a little while. They found strawberry carnation instant breakfast. We had been looking for it while we have been here but couldn't find it. It's what Mary Elizabeth drinks in her milk. We were thinking we were going to have to get it shipped.

An incredibly giving lady made quilts for all the children at the Ronald McDonald House. Marlee Anne picked out a Disney one for Abe, but then we realized it was backed with flower print. Instead she chose a bright and colorful one that's perfect for him. I am very touched by all caring people here.

Marlee Anne, Abe & I went to the library to watch a movie with Amy & Rylan tonight. Mike, Mary Elizabeth & Michala chilled out. Mike said Mary Elizabeth was stretching getting ready to beat Ronald McDonald in the run. Today Carson asked if we would speak after the race about what the Ronald McDonald House means to us. Thanks to everyone who has sponsored us for the race and made donations. Here is the website in case anyone else wants to sponsor us
http://www.firstgiving.com/abesangels .

OK after Abe gets his last meds tonight I am heading to bed I hope to get ready for the run tomorrow. Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I didn't mean it!

or did I? Cindi said it was in me just waiting to come out. LOL!!! Yesterday when I posted about the Coraville Lake and dam, I misspelled dam. So sorry! I really wasn't trying to cuss. It was late, I was tired and I am surprised the email even made any sense.

Today was a very lazy day. There was a wind storm (just very windy) here so we stayed in and rested all day. Mike went out to the store for diapers and oatmeal. Marlee Anne wasn't feeling good when she woke up so resting seemed to be a good idea for her.

Tonight they had pet therapy downstairs. There was a dog here to visit with the children. It was fun to see Mary Elizabeth & Michala responding to the dog. We all enjoyed watching her do tricks.




































Marlee Anne got a birthday card and money from Aunt Gail. She thought it was the neatest thing that she gave her $6 and she is going to be 6 years old. Aunt Gail does this every year for them but Marlee Anne is just now old enough to realize she gives them the amount of money for their age. She immediately gave the money to Abe to help with his treatment and stay here at the McRonald Donald House (no that's not a misprint, that's how she says it). Yes I cried. I told her that her Aunt Gail gave her that money to spend on anything she wanted. She said well maybe Abe can buy a toy. I am just blown away by her heart some times.

Marlee Anne's best friend Mackenzie mailed her the newspaper article with Mike's picture in it. She was so excited to get that. We had looked at it online but the picture was too small to see. She was excited to see John in the picture too.

My favorite piece of mail today was from my "soul sister's" husband Marc. He is a pastor and it seems God always gives him the right words at the right time. The card had a picture of them too. That made my day to see them.

Well there are tornado watches out so please pray that we get through the night without having to go to the basement.

Abe goes for another casting tomorrow at 11:00. Please pray that it goes great.

Thank you so much for your prayers for Sam! His surgery went great!