Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Double Day at Duke!!

Today is the day we have prayed for and about for so long. Chayse will be going in for double eye surgery today! We pray that everything will go smoothly and that she will have no problems with her eyes as we move forward in life. We are so blessed to be so close to such wonderful doctors and amazing facilites. God is good.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A sad day

It's June 14th again. A day that is so bittersweet to our family. Four years ago, we welcomed an amazing little girl into this work, only to lose her too soon. Today, on Hope's 4th birthday, she got an amazing present... a puppy. And not just any puppy, but our puppy. Our beloved Red Blood hound, Sandy May, died unexpectedly this morning at just 6 years old. While our hearts break from the losses we have suffered on this day, our hearts smile knowing that Hope got the best birthday present ever. Happy birthday sweet girl. I hope you will love Sandy as much as we have! Sandy May, you are already missed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Day at Duke

This morning, I packed for a long day at Duke and I am glad I did! We were there for over 5 hours! What a day it has been! We had to go today for Chayse, as she had two doctor's appointments scheduled.

First we had to go to the Duke Eye Center to meet with Dr. W. and let him check on Chayse and her progress. Chayse's eyes have gotten no worse, but they have not gotten any better either. We did learn today that her glasses were made with the wrong prescription in them, which didn't hurt her at all, but they were not strong enough to help her either. So, we are now without glasses for a week while the lenses get replaced with the correct prescription. Hopefully once they glasses are replaced, she will be able to focus and see correctly.
Her eye is still turning in so we are continuing with the occlusion therapy in hopes of strengthening that eye muscle. We are praying that we will not have to do surgery on her eyes and that this will all correct itself over the course of therapy over the next few months.

Time will tell.

Once we left the Eye Center, we walked over to the Children's Hospital to meet with Dr. B. to have her murmur checked out. It is something that Chayse was born with but it has to be checked as she grows. Dr. B. worked with us when we had Hope and would have been her surgeon had she ever gone into surgery. I always felt very at ease with him as he spoke in simplicity and never let things go over my head. Today was no different as he went over Chayse's heart with me. Chayse had an EKG and Dr. B. listened to her heart valves and the flow everything in there and all in all, she is just fine! It will be something to watch as she grows but overall, it does not appear to be something that will be a life changer for Chayse.
Praise God for the blessings in life we receive when we least expect them!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Occlusion Therapy

Chayse seems to be adjusting well to wearing her patch during her therapy hours. It is something we are able to do here in the home so that has made this part pretty easy so far. The first few minuets she has it on are a little challenging but once she gets ajusted to it, she does ok. She has run into the furniture a few times but I think that will get better as she gets used to using her eye again! I also think that this gives her a little headache though as it is pushing her brain and eye to work together in ways that they have not worked in a while, but is what we are wanting to happen!

This is the face of occlusion therapy!

And this, is her little brother!

The gift of sight

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day I would wonder if my child would be able to see things or not, but over the past few weeks, I have began to wonder just that.
You see, as we were having a family meal one night two weeks ago, I saw something that startled me. Chayse's eye rolled all the way in where you could not see the iris or the pupil. It turned it back almost as soon as turned in but it caught me off guard. Over the past week, I watched as it did it again, and again, and again. Nathan was in NYC when it started happening regularly but as soon as he came home, he was seeing the same thing I was. We also had several members of the family notice it as well. So, two things were determined:
1. Chayse is cross eyed.
2. We needed to see a doctor to see what was going on.
We spent several hours yesterday at Duke with a doctor who specializes in pediatric ophthalmology and strambismus. Dr. W. confirmed what we already knew, Chayse's eyes were indeed crossing. After running several test to rule out different things, we have learned that Chayse's brain is not receiving the images from one of her eyes. Her eyes are not working together as a team so one eye looks at one thing while the other eye looks at something else. This would normally cause double vision. But in small children, the brain uses suppression to switch off the second image. Children rarely have double vision because of this suppression... they instead just use one eye as their primary source for sight. That said, we now are doing occlusion therapy every day for 2 hours a day, and Chayse will have to wear glasses. The hope is that this regiment will indeed make her brain recognize and accept the images that it is currently rejecting, thus keeping her from having permanent vision loss.
We are so thankful that this was not as bad as it could have been. We now pray that this will work and Chayse will be able to gain full binocular vision with her eyes!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Tonight, I find myself thinking about sweet baby Hope. I am sitting here, in my home, with two wonderful and loved children. I see them play and interact and in the midst of it, I think about Hope and the moments we never had with her. The hour she was here was so short and yet it went by so fast. I know had her time been longer it would have been a time filled with pain and suffering due to her organ defects but I still find myself sometimes wondering about her smile or her laugh... things we will never know. I look at these two miracle children playing at my feet and my heart overflows with love. While we have a void in our lives that will never be filled, our lives are so full from these children. And I wonder, how is that possible. How did we get so blessed. God... He is so good.

My cup runneth over.
My cup runneth over.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy FIRST Valentine's Day my sweet baby boy!!! We love love love love you! You have brought so much into our lives in your short 5 months in this world and we are forever grateful for it! Sweet sweet babies of mine today and everyday, I hope you know how much you are loved!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And it SNOWS... AGAIN!!!!

This snow, this snow was awesome. It was the snow you wanted when you were a little kid so you could have snowball fights and built a monster snowman with! It was the PERFECT SNOW FOR PACKING!!!! There were so many snowmen up that when we went out today, we were looking at them all and comparing them! It reminded me of looking at all of the lights at Christmas! Nathan and Chayse made a huge snowman this morning... Chayse in her normal snow loving fashion tried to eat it! She cracks me up! Garris hung out in the house while we were outside... he was busy watching a Baby Einstein video! He never even missed us! This snow melted as fast as it came though and that was kind of sad... Chayse would have loved to been able to play in it for longer but it just wasn't ment to be.

The veiw from here...

is white, white, white!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Now I Now....

Yep, those are the new words to the ABC song according to Chayse. She is singing lots of little songs with all of her new words and this one, the good ole ABC's is one of my favorites! It goes a little something like this...

A-B-C-D-Now I now my A-B-C.

She cracks me up. I am trying to get it on video but that is wishful thinking at times! She never does anything when we ask her to! If I can catch it, I will post it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finally, we get to play in the snow!

The snow came and it is still here and we are loving it!! Just loving it!!! FINALLY! We finally got above freezing here today and it was in the low 40's with the sun shining!! It was awesome weather outside and a perfect day for a snow play date! We had our fantastic baby sitter Allison and her boyfriend Ryan over today and then we played with some of our neighbors that live down the street! Being that we don't get snow too often here, and usually not enough to play in (we get ice most of the time) we were not really to play in it as far as a sled goes... so we used a garbage can lid and it worked wonders! Chayse had a blast and a half playing and loved that she could be outside for more than 10 mins! It was so much fun watching her actually enjoy the snow! She would come down on the lid and as soon as she was done, you would hear her say "again again" over and over. She is in the midst of a vocabulary EXPLOSION and it has been amazing watching her vocalize everything she is wanting. It is so amazing watching this little girl grow up right before our eyes! We are so blessed!! It was warm enough that I felt comfortable taking Garris out in the snow for a bit today. He had no clue that anything was any different than it is any other day but he has now seen snow!! I took his bouncy seat out and let him hang in it while we continued to play.

We were able to make a VERY small snowman as this snow was not packing well. It was fun to play in but it was not good snow for snow balls or snowmen. We tried though! Chayse's favorite part about the snow? Well, that is easy... she wanted to eat it! YUM!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow!!!

SNOW! What a treat to wake up to!!! We got so much snow last night, right around 4 inches and it has been so fun watching Chayse explore this white stuff!!! She was so amazed with it when she woke up to it that she pulled the curtains down from the front door! The snow has brought the cold with it, and by cold, I mean bone chilling cold!! The wind has been ripping and it is cold to the core!!! I think that the wind chill has been around 10 or so the last two days!! BURR!!! We have taken Chayse out just for 10-15 mins. at a time as it is too cold to stay out in. She could care less about the cold, she just wants to be outside! Amazing how much fun she can have with her nose running and her cheeks so red!!! And as for Mr. Garris, while I know that this was his first snow fall, I don't think that he even knows that a single flake fell, let alone four inches! It was way to cold for that little boy to be outside!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Big things from Jan...

Garris is pushing up!
Chayse is peeing in the potty!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Thinking back over the last 10 years, life has changed so much for me. I was in college and living the college life to the fullest when the year 2000 rang in. I remember the party that I was at for New Years, when the clock struck midnight, they turned off the power to scare everyone. If you remember, there was "rumors" that technology wouldn't be able to deal with the changing of the century numbers. Funny huh.
Over the last 10 years, my life seen so much. I have had some of the most emotional highs and have also been at my very lowest. The events were big for me... I had two breast tumors removed that were not cancerous, only to have my mother diagnosed with breast cancer 3 months later... I graduated college and then went on to grad school... I started my career in a 9-1-1 center... I got engaged and eventually married... My father was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and passed away 11 months after his diagnosis... I had miscarriage... my first born child, Hope, was diagnosed with fatal health issues and passed away an hour after her birth... I fell into a deep depression that looking back on, I am surprised I survived as well as I did... I had another miscarriage... I got pregnant and gave birth to my second born, Chayse, which was one of the scariest and most joyous journeys I have ever been on... I quit my job to stay home with my baby girl... I got pregnant again and gave birth to our son, Garris... I reconnected with some of my friends from high school and rebuilt friendships from childhood... I lost many family members to cancer... I help to restart the ladies auxiliary at our fire house... I taught Sunday School at church... I stumbled in my faith... I have loved and I have lost.
Simply put, this was a very emotional decade for me and for my family as a whole. I failed miserably at some things but am proud to have overcome others. I will always have some things that I wonder what if about and I think that this decade will be one that I try to face head on and always stay positive... not live worried about the what if's. I miss my Daddy terribly and I wonder every day about Hope but no matter what I do, I cannot bring them back and I cannot change the fact that they are gone. I reflect on them with love and appreciate all that I learned from them. Everything that I have been through has been a lesson... some that I did not want to learn and other lessons that lead me in my footsteps everyday. The coming decade should be so much fun as this journey of parenthood continues. I look forward to every day with my greatest treasures in life... my husband, my children, my family, and my friends. God bless you all!
Happy New Year!