Sunday, April 27, 2014

Exhausted, but Grateful

I had a work meeting in Las Vegas for 3 days this week where I was reminded of a few things...

1)  I'm so very grateful to love my job and the company that I work for :-)

2)  I'm way too old to stay up past 1:00 am, especially when my body is still on Texas time (waking up at 4:30 am every morning is no bueno)

3)  While everyone survives at home in my absence, in a weird way it's nice to know that I'm missed...  not just emotionally, but you know in making sure kids practice spelling words, do homework, take showers, etc.  There is no question that David is a world class father and husband, but the Bible remains true.... a cord of three strands (Husband, Wife and God) is better than one (or two).

When I returned home on Friday night from my meeting, I was greeted by these two sweeties with cards, homemade crafts, hugs, kisses, and stories (all my favorite things :-).  

The thing that blessed me most though, was after the kids filled me in on how school went, etc, Andrew said "so Mommy, how did your meeting go?"  He was dead serious and waited with interest for my response.  After I thanked him for asking and told him a little about my trip, he went on to finish a craft that he was still working on and as he was pulling out additional supplies, he said "... and how was your flight, Mommy?"  That may sound insignificant, but despite Andrew being one of the most thoughtful little guys I know, I was still so blessed by his interest in how I was doing.

Love this boy and his sweetness...

HIGHLIGHTS from the weekend...

-Grace ate pizza and a hot dog for the first time.  I know these are not the healthiest of options, but they are new tastes and textures for her which is super-duper exciting for me.

-Grace has started making this gesture when she's trying to ask where someone or something is.  She does it all day, everyday and we love it.

-Grace's new favorite thing to do is to call "Sister," with great joy and excitement, and say "hi."    It sounds sort of like this "Titer...  Titer...  Titer...  HIIIII (with a big wave and smile)!"  She calls Andrew less often, most likely because he's always up in her face hugging, kissing, and playing with her.
 Sweet Sisters... 

-Abby had a soccer game on Saturday and her team did AMAZING (they have come such a long way)!  They beat (3-0) the team that had smoked them the last two times they played them.  Abby scored one of those awesome goals and I could cry that I didn't get it on video.  I'm so grateful for Abby's passion and determination!

Abby and McKenzie after the big win :-)

-Our sweet friends, The Sennott's, are moving back to California, so we had one last play date until we see them again (hopefully, this Fall when we, Lord willing, visit California).  Their son, Damian, is one of both Abby and Andrew's best buds, so they will be greatly missed!


-We had our first swim of the year at my parent's house.

Grace LOVED the pool and her floaty thing...

-We got to watch Grace's buddy Noah...

Andrew dressed up as Buzz for Noah...

Exhausted doesn't even begin to explain how I feel right now after such a busy week and weekend, but grateful certainly trumps the exhaustion!  God is so good!  That's all :-).  

Love and appreciate you, sweet village!  Thanks for continuing to hang with us on this journey!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen!!!

So very grateful that we serve a God that is NOT dead, but He is surely ALIVE!!!  If Jesus didn't rise three days after being crucified on the cross, paying the penalty for ALL of our sins (past, present and future), it would have changed everything!  


1st grade Field Trip and Easter Party...

BFF's...

Abby loved this ladybug she found at the park on her field trip...

Andrew was the only one in his class to make floppy bunny ears.  Love his creativity :-)


One morning this week I asked Andrew to watch Grace while I got ready for work.  Here is what I walked around the corner to find...

Grace and Andrew sword fighting...


Easter egg hunt with the cousins!

Cousin time is always a special time...

Abby with "Uncle Allen" her birthday buddy (they share the same birthday).  It wasn't that long ago that she was mortified to get too close to Uncle Allen for the birthday buddy picture :-)

Andrew, the king Easter egg hunter and rolie polie finder (Andrew is always coming home from school and church with a rolie polie habitat, so Easter with the cousins was no different except he had a lot of extra help from some other rolie polie experts)!

Grace LOVED her first real egg hunt!  She was so proud of herself!

Andrew was most exited about the BBQ Pringles in his Easter basket :-)


Lu Lu came to visit this weekend and took us all to see Disney on Ice!


The kids loved it...

Especially this one...


Not only did Grace think that all the characters were waving at her, but she was doing the sign for dog, while saying "dog" to pluto trying to call him over to her.  Just precious...

In typical Lu Lu fashion she spoiled us all...  she bought Abby a keyboard, since she's taking piano lessons, and Andrew this little drum set, since he's taking drums.  

Introducing the ROSS FAMILY TRIO!!!

As always, we love and appreciate you, sweet Village!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Busy, yet blessed week...

Busy, yet blessed week!

Grace- had her audiology appointment on Monday and praise the Lord that while she screamed her head off, she didn't gag herself and quickly forgave us and the Dr for torturing her.  At first they didn't think that one of her eardrums was responding like it should, but once they cleaned that little ear out, it looked fine.  Our (us and you (our Village)) prayers were answered and we got a good report!  

I don't have a picture from Grace's audiology appointment, but this was a picture David took this week at Andrew's drum lessons.  I just love this picture because Grace's profile is something that I find so beautiful 

Andrew-  we got to attend chapel with Andrew at his school and it was a special treat for all!


Abigail- had her 1st grade performance that they've been working on all year and it was truly precious!  

Here are the little Ladybugs from Abby's class.  So proud of them and the rest of the 1st grade class!


The kids- had a super fun-packed weekend with Aunt Becca, Uncle Brian, cousin Joe, and Crack and Toot (their Grandma and Grandpa)...


David and I- had a much needed and blessed 11 year anniversary get away!  

We went to a bed and breakfast that was serene, beautiful, private, and tranquil, but the best part was that I had a hot date that happens to be my best friend to spend the much needed alone time with.  As most of you know, for the past two years we have been on a Divinely designed roller coaster, as I like to call it, which has left us busy, distracted, and with our stomach in our throat much of the time.  This roller coaster has made it easy to focus on trying to create as much consistency and stability as possible for the big kids, while trying to keep Grace alive and well, leaving little time to feed our marriage (something that we have always taken very seriously).  One thing that has been especially hard for me during this time is that I realized (the hard way :-) that I had become very accustomed to having the world's most thoughtful and romantic husband.  It wasn't until we embarked on this roller coaster ride and David's attention was naturally diverted (he now had a much bigger calling... to lead his family through one of the scariest times that we could have imagined) that I realized how much I appreciated, missed, and had taken for granted all of the romantic and thoughtful gestures that I have known for the past 16 years that we have been together.  While our Divinely designed roller coaster hasn't docked, the climbs and drops (leukemia scare, eye and ear Dr.'s, the Lord making His will clear about Grace's school, etc) have been a welcome change from the constant looptie loops that sometimes felt like we had stalled upside down with the blood rushing to our head as we wait for deliverance.  All that to say, we are finally at a place where we can breath for a second and get away for the weekend to feed our marriage, while reflecting on ALL that God has done in and through our lives.  Our little getaway started with David packing my bag for me with new clothes for the weekend that he purchased from Old Navy (anything more expensive than Old Navy would have turned a blessing into a frustration because I get nervous about spending money :-), to include work out clothes (so we could go running together), a date night dress, shorts and a shirt, pj's, and flip flops.  He also had our wedding video transferred from VHS to DVD, so we could watch it for the second time since we got married :-).  In God's strength, I pray that I will never take for granted one of the many incredible gifts God has given David, the gift of knowing how to love and serve me in a way that makes me feel like the most special girl in the world!  A huge thank you to our family who took care of our kiddos (both our two legged and four legged kiddos) and for your constant prayer and encouragement, Village (you provide us with great hope and joy)!  

It was so fitting that the restaurant we went to for our anniversary dinner was on Ross St. :-)

You see, we know that bluebonnets are special because they are the state flower and all (I probably don't fully appreciate them because I'm not a native Texan, I'm a transplant from California... although we never took pictures in the poppy's in California either :-), but we just found all of the many families (with their animals and all), and even individuals, taking selfies all along the road in the bluebonnets to be HILARIOUS, so here we are joining in the fun, frolicking among the bluebonnets (we were fortunate that they were literally outside the front door of our cabin).  


This church was built in the 1800's and just precious set among the downtown square in Round Top.

This is the private staircase that led up to a deck, high up in the trees, at our bed and breakfast cabin...

These pictures don't do justice the beauty that we witnessed, but here is what we saw on our run...


One of my favorite sites are these little lawn ornaments (miniature donkey's)...



Hope each of you has a blessed week and is getting excited to celebrate the truth of Easter, that JESUS HAS RISEN!

GRACIE STRONG (In God's strength)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

From Tummy to Tushy!

This post is going to be short and sweet because I don't want my typical rambling to take away from the  praiseworthy, happy dance (to include some serious booty shaking and fist pumping) news of the week…

1) Grace's polka dots (also known as petechiae) were NOT LEUKEMIA!!!  Thank you for your urgent and faithful prayers, Village!

2) Not only has Grace lifted her boycott on signing, but she's become a signing machine all of a sudden AND she has learned how to go from her tummy to a sitting position!!!  This may not sound that exciting to most, but it is quite possibly one of the most exciting milestones that she has hit yet because she has been working on it for so long.  Grace's new PT has been amazing to watch and learn from because he really seeks to try and get into Grace's head to figure out why she does or doesn't do certain things and then helps her to figure out (on her own) that she can do things by putting her in situations with "limited options."  This strategy causes her to try new things in an exploratory fashion, without him/us telling her how we want her to do it because her brain isn't wired like ours (hence why she learned to go from her tummy to sitting by going back though the center splits, not the way that "typical" kids make the transition).  Here is a video of her newest and most exciting trick yet…
video

Prayer requests…
1)  Grace has an appointment with the audiologist on Monday.  Will you please pray that she endures the exam and test without having a major freakout session?  Remember what a traumatic experience her eye exam was?  Well, she despises her ears being touched let alone checked even at a routine Dr visit, so this will be interesting (Good luck with that David, I paid my dues at the eye Dr :-).  More importantly, will you please also pray that her hearing results come back with nothing but good news?

2)  David and I are going on our first weekend getaway to celebrate our 11 year anniversary.  This will be our first time getting away for a whole weekend since the weekend that we received Grace's diagnosis of Up's almost two years ago.  Will you please pray that Grace does fantastic being away from us for 2 nights and that the big kids, Aunt Becca (and her family), G'ma Crack, G'pa Toot and David and I have a safe and blessed weekend?

Thank you!!!  Blessings and (((hugs))) to you, sweet Village!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

HUGE PRAISE!!!

Thank you SO VERY much for your prayers, sweet Village!  We expected to get Grace's lab results by 11:00 am today…  11:00 am turned into 2:00 pm, but the good news was worth the wait…  
NO LEUKEMIA!!! Praising the Lord with every ounce of our being!  

Her white count was low, so they are assuming it was some sort of a viral process.  Never thought I'd be so excited for a viral infection!  On another note, Grace sort of had me worried last night because she woke up super fussy and did not seem to be acting herself.  The trouble is that I couldn't tell if my increased worry was caused by the fact that I had the fear of cancer looming in the back of my head or if she was really acting out of sorts.  David was having coffee with a friend, so he wasn't home for me to get a second opinion.  I was trying to get Grace calmed down and assess her and that's when I learned a valuable lesson…  DON'T mention the name "DaDa" if he isn't home because the second I did, Grace immediately started looking around for him, did the frowny face and lost it all over again!  This girl LOVES her Daddy (who could blame her)!

We can't thank you enough for your prayers, texts, messages, etc!  

Psalm 91

English Standard Version (ESV)

My Refuge and My Fortress

91 
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]
10 
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.
11 
For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 
On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Time sensitive prayer request...

Village!  In case you thought our lives were getting a little dull, I have a huge prayer request for you!

When I got home from work today, the big kids were playing outside and Grace was manning her post as the mayor of the neighborhood.  She welcomes all of the cars, walkers, joggers, birds, dogs and anything else that catches her attention.  She looks sort of like this…

but, sitting in this car…

I got out of the car, went to give her a kiss and immediately noticed that she had polka dots all over her arms, legs and trunk.  By polka dots, I mean PETECHIAE!  Agh!!! The second I saw the petechiae my immediate concern was new onset leukemia!  Now, that is certainly worst case scenario, however children with Up's have an increased risk of leukemia and one of the potential signs is petechiae. I immediately called our amazing, thoughtful, God honoring pediatrician and she stayed late so that we could bring Grace in.  The dr said that Grace looks good health wise, so we are hoping it is a reaction to some sort of virus (remember on Sunday afternoon she had a low grade fever, fussiness and boogers?) or a reaction to the MMR vaccine that she had three and a half weeks ago.  We are having her blood drawn first thing tomorrow morning and we should have results back by 11:00ish.  Will you please, please, please pray that Grace doesn't have leukemia or anything else scary?  Thank you Village, I don't know what we would do without you!

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27