Monday, September 21, 2015

Eight Years Old

Eight. EIGHT! EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!! I can hardly believe my little sweetums turned eight.  Time is just flying by.  Sometimes I start to feel sad that she's growing so fast, but then I am quickly reminded of what a blessing and miracle it is that she IS eight years old! God is always happy times and hard times and I pray that Julianne will cling to that all her life!  This post is definitely a happy one!!!

I love planning parties! So when Julianne requested a Wheel of Fortune party I couldn't have been more excited to make it happen!! We watch "the Wheel" every night and it was the perfect year to do this for her! Fortunately, Julianne's family was willing to help make it great! Kent lovingly (and that a word) built her wheel and puzzle board AND played the part of Pat Sajak, Grammy was a fabulous Vanna, Grandpa created the sound effects, Papa was in charge of party favor production, Mimi was a party hostess AND decorator and Aunt Laura generously volunteered to be the photographer! We couldn't have done it without y'all!!!!

I just love her face in this picture!! We have the same photo from the reverse angle on Instagram! (AdventuresInCapertonning)

Big money!!
I'd like to solve the puzzle!

Happy Birthday to our beautiful, smart, funny, tiny, Julianne!
We Love you so very, very much!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Oozing into 2nd Grade

Julianne finished her third year of Classical Conversations last week! Where is the time going?! *sigh* She's growing up so quickly. Much to Julianne's dismay, even though we're done with Classical Conversations for this year, we're still having school until the end of May. She is just a few lessons away from finishing 1st grade math and a few weeks away from finishing 1st grade Language lessons. We are hoping to get a jump start on 2nd grade!

Julianne's Cardiology visit went great! Her echo looked good, as did everything else and she's removing the stickers from her Holter monitor as I type. :)

Her G.I. doctor did some further testing and we are waiting on those results this week.  However, since last Tuesday she has not had ONE upset belly episode!! I am hopeful that this is the end of the tummy troubles.  We are continuing to pray that she's fully healed.

This weekend Julianne, along with her beautiful cousin, will be a flower girl again! She's super excited and has begun planning her own wedding again. Ha ha!

Thank you for your prayers for our sweet girl.  God has given us so much to be grateful for and one of those things is that SHE'S FEELING SO MUCH BETTER!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Belly Troubles and Other Stuff

In December, just before Christmas, Julianne had some SVT episodes again. It was disappointing, but not totally surprising.  We know that as she outgrows her dosages of Diltiazem and Digoxin she will begin having breakthroughs and the dosage will need to go up.  She was so upset and crying as I called her Cardiologist's office that day and they told me to bring her to the ER if it didn't stop. I know God heard her cries and saw her tears because for the first time EVER she didn't end up having to go to the ER during her SVT episode. She was actually able to break it on her own and stay home as opposed to the usual result, which is an admission to the hospital.  We were encouraged by that for sure and incredibly thankful!! 
Julianne got a MAJOR hair cut! We cut off 10 inches!
In January, she started having heart palpitations along with LOTS of stomach problems.  We did an event monitor for a month, which revealed a different, but not dangerous, rhythm.  For now, she will just continue on her current meds and she sees her Cardiologist again this month.  The palpitations seem to have subsided and she's feeling much better heart-wise. :)

Unfortunately, the belly problems have continued.  It's aggravating and uncomfortable for her and she's beginning to lose weight.  All of the results on her "samples" came back relatively normal except one that was just slightly elevated.  For now she's on a dairy-free, low sugar diet (of which she is NOT a fan). The dairy-free has helped, but did not fix it. She will see her GI doctor again next month. 

She got her first hole-in-one, which was quickly followed by her second hole-in-one!
I can't believe she's finishing up first grade!! Crazy. She's doing so well and we're so very, very, very thankful. I will have more to post as Spring progresses and Summer begins...recitals, end of the year programs, will be a busy, but fun, few months. :) Please join us in praying that she will be healed of these belly troubles and that she will continue to grow and be the healthy, little wild woman she is. :)

And she still loves to hula!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Growing...Sort of

She's seven! I can hardly believe it!

Fall 2014
Our tiny princess is 42 inches and 40 pounds. She's growing on her own growth curve according to her pediatrician and he's not worried about her size.

She plays piano with both hands in her weekly music class, dances ballet with a sweet and wonderful ballet teacher, goes to swim lessons every other week, goes to physical and occupational therapy once a week each and Classical Conversations (home school group) once a week. She keeps us busy!

Spring 2014

When Julianne is not doing school work or one of her weekly activities, she loves to pretend! Seriously, I have to remind her to tell people that she's pretending when she starts talking about her "children". Otherwise we get some pretty strange looks. Her imagination is HUGE! We love it!

She still loves to sing and is especially fond of For King and Country, Mandisa, Taylor Swift and anything her daddy is singing. Just recently she started enjoying Elvis music! We owe that to Lilo and Stitch. Being an Elvis fan myself, I'm not complaining!

Julianne LOVES dresses, especially Hawaiian dresses, and basically refuses to wear shorts, shirts or pants (unless they're UNDER a dress).

She also started watching the Star Wars movies with Kent and has enjoyed them so much that she just might be getting a light saber for Christmas (Don't worry...she doesn't read this!)!

She is enjoying reading more and more and her favorite books to read right now are the Frog and Toad books.  They're so funny! Really! You should read them!

Halloween 2014
G-tube closure surgery, May 2014
Our last real Julianne update was when she got her g-tube out (woo hoo!!). The hole was supposed to close on its own, but it did not. So, she had a quick surgery in May to close it.  Aside from returning to the ER for pain issues, she recovered easily and has completely ended the tube feeding chapter of her life!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, God!! She's eating well and is totally obsessed with bacon. But, who isn't really?

Julianne sees her Ophthalmologist this Friday and Cardiology again in February.  Medical-wise she's doing great! We are so very, very  thankful! This month marks two years with no over-night hospital stays!

God has filled Julianne's precious heart with love for Him and others and we pray that that will only continue to grow! We hope that her 8th year brings as much joy as the 7th did!

 Julianne, we are SO happy that you are our big seven-year-old and we love you more than you could know! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

"It turns out we're not getting the baby."

I wasn't sure if I wanted to post anything about this or not. It was a hard situation and we really wanted to put it behind us. I didn't want to talk about it.  After wrestling with it for a few months, I've realized I need to post it. As I read back through this blog, I am often brought to tears remembering how God carried us through such gut wrenching situations.  I know that we will look back on this in that way too.  Plus, it's part of our story...part of Julianne's story. It's part of an amazing story that God has given us.
So, let's go back to October...well actually let's go back even further. Kent and I had hoped that we would be able to have a sibling for Julianne. After 2 years and doctors saying nothing is wrong, we decided to look into adoption. We didn't look very deeply into it. We went to one meeting then kind of pushed it to the back burner to let it simmer.  

Fast forward to October when a friend texted me and asked if we were still interested in adoption. I told her yes, but it's kind of on the back burner. However, if something fell into our laps we would definitely go for it! She told me about her cousin looking to place a newborn that was due in March. We were excited, but cautious. We began to pray that if this was our baby that God would open doors for us and would clearly show us she was ours.  

We started doing some research, met with an attorney, met with the mom and things seemed to be moving forward. We became more excited, but remained cautious. We continued to pray for direction. After an encouraging meeting with the attorney regarding cost and several other things, we really felt God leading us in this direction.
In December we were asked if the girl could give us her final decision at the beginning of February. We said yes, of course. We knew, however, that it would take longer than a month to do a home study so we decided to get that process started. Fortunately, we only had to pay a small amount to begin the process and wouldn't have to give the social worker the large check until her first visit...which was conveniently after we would be given the decision. We continued to pray. We told Julianne NOTHING about any of this.  

At the beginning of February we got the call!!! She picked us! She picked us!! We were so excited! So happy! So amazed! We were no longer cautious...we were too excited for that. The mom's family member who was with her said she always knew it would be us but they just wanted to be sure she knew all her options. Things were going great! We prayed that God would continue to lead us in the direction he'd have us go.  

We decided to tell Julianne. We made a video. She. Was. So. Excited. I get emotional thinking about it. She has prayed for a brother or sister for at least a year...probably longer.  

Things continued to move forward we completed the home study, bought a stroller, pacifiers, formula. We were ready. It was just a matter of weeks before we would have her! The mom asked if I would be in the delivery room for the c-section which was just 2 weeks away at this point. I said yes!! We got down all the baby clothes. I washed and folded all the clothes and blankets, sheets and burp cloths. Friends gave us baby stuff. Julianne's excitement grew as she saw the guest room filling with baby stuff!  
We made plans to travel to her state and be there for the birth. We secured fill-ins for our various responsibilities and reserved a place to stay.  

We named her.  

Julianne told everyone she met that she was getting a baby sister! It was a happy time.
About a week before the scheduled birthdate we got a phone call. It was not what we expected. There was a problem with the father.  He suddenly decided to keep the baby.  There were several steps he had to take to be able to keep the baby and we would have to just wait and see what happened. If the dad tried to keep the baby, then the mom would just keep the baby herself. It was not looking good for us to adopt the baby. We were sad. However, there was still a chance the dad might not take action! We prayed that if this was our baby that God would get her to us! 

Just a few days before the scheduled birthdate the mom went into labor. We decided to go ahead to her city even though it was unlikely that we would be adopting this baby. At this point the dad hadn't taken any action, but he still had 10 days to do so.  

Julianne and I rode with my parents 10 hours to her birthplace and Kent followed the next day. I met her. I held her. The family was very happy and offered to us to feed her and change her. It was confusing...I didn't bring Julianne.  

We were told the mom didn't know what she wanted to do.  

Kent and I visited together the next day and they asked why we didn't bring Julianne. Kent held her. She was precious.  They were getting discharged the next day. Still, we were told she didn't know what she wanted to do.  

The mom took the baby home. At this point we had to just assume we would not be adopting her. We stayed in contact with the adoption agency and they continued to tell us she wasn't sure. We made the best of our trip and then went home. It was hard to not be angry that we never got a direct answer. 

We packed all the baby clothes away and returned anything we bought.  

Julianne asked over and over why this happened. She cried over not having a sister after all. She told everyone she met, "it turns out we're not getting the baby."  It was like a punch in the stomach every time I heard her say those words.  

I was so mad at myself for being excited and especially for telling Julianne! I hated that we broke her heart.  Even as I type this I have tears in my eyes thinking of how she felt. I would gladly go back in time and experience five times the heartache myself I could just erase that moment that we told Julianne she would be a big sister. 

Unfortunately, I can't do that.  

I know this wasn't the baby God had for us. What I struggled with is why everything seemed to fall into place and be leading us toward this baby. It wasn't until maybe a few weeks ago that I thought way back to the beginning and remembered that I prayed over and over that if this was not what God had for us that He would make that clear and would stop it.  He did.  

Now, as I review the scenes from our life, I think about the other times God has stopped our plans at the last minute. Jobs. Housing. A surgery. They were all things that were relatively easy to see how it could be a "good" thing. This was not easy to see! This was a child! This made our little girl weep for what she may never have! This was hard. But, easy or hard, tears or smiles, we are choosing to trust that God's plan for our lives is exactly what is perfect for us. We can't go back in time and undo the sadness, but we can move forward and thank God for his guidance and protection.
We may never know why this baby girl wasn't ours. What we do know is that as Julianne, with sadness in her eyes, declared to passing strangers, "it turns out we're not getting the baby" and they'd look at me, speechless, I was able to share a bit of our story and that we are trusting God's plan for our life. I don't know how many strangers heard this story...twenty? Thirty? It was definitely more than I would have liked! It went on for restaurants, doctors offices, playgrounds...everywhere.  The funny thing is, that I must've been so blinded by my own sadness that I didn't even realize what was happening until just a few weeks ago. It has been a beautiful realization that through a grieving 6-year-old's innocent honesty, God can be glorified even when we are trying so hard to hold the story inside. I surely would have never entered into conversation with all these people had God not put those words in Julianne's heart.  

Where does our story go from here? We don't know. We are so thankful for the amazing daughter we have and are focusing on not missing out on the life with which God has blessed us! We are trusting that God's plan is perfect and we are doing our best to follow His leading. :) Thank you for loving and checking in on our family!

On a different note...I have some great Julianne updates coming soon! It's been way too long. :) 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Heart Walk 2014

It's that time of year again! Time for the Capital Area Heart Walk! We are excited to participate again this year and we hope you will join us in supporting the American Heart Association! It's a great day to spend time with your family and friends doing something fun and good for you! Join Team Julianne here!! Heart walk activities begin at 8AM and the walk begins at 9AM on Saturday, April 26th at the LSU Old Front Nine.

We are also selling t-shirts again this year!  They're $10 for youth sizes XS - L and adult sizes S-XL.  Sizes 2XL and 3XL are $11.50.  Proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association. Please contact me if you'd like to order a shirt! I will need all orders by April 1st.

Front Left Chest
Back of Shirt

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The G-Tube Has Left the Body!!

Yup! You read that correctly! After nearly 6 years of having a g-tube poking out of that precious belly, getting hung on shirts, cramping her belly-sliding style, it is gone!! Gosh, I really just can't even believe we're at this point.  It seems like just yesterday I was crying over not being able to feed my baby like "normal", cleaning up a bed full of formula after a pump feeding disconnected in the middle of the night, and stopping gravity feeds because she just couldn't stop gagging and retching! Ok, who am I kidding? It does NOT seem like yesterday! This took a LOOOOOONNNNNNNGG time! It took a lot of work.  It took a lot of therapy. It took a lot of tears. It took a lot of prayer! But on Wednesday, February 5th 2014 we walked into Dr. A's office and told him Julianne hasn't used her g-tube since January 22nd, 2013.  It was a day I thought I'd never see! I used to joke that I didn't want to have to puree her wedding cake and it looks like I won't have to after all! Julianne now eats all solid foods.  No more purees.  The no purees thing started I guess around May-ish.  We started doing solid lunches. Then in August/September it was boom, bang all solid food.  It really surprised me how fast she went from a little solid food to all solids considering how long it took everything else feeding related. God has carried Julianne such a long way from where she started.  We are so very, very, thankful for this huge milestone!!!! Seriously....this is huge.

Julianne was not scared about her appointment at all.  She could hardly wait for February 5th to get here!
Excitement building in the elevator!




 still waiting.

It's gone!!!!!!

 She was so ready for that g-tube to be gone.  But you know what she wasn't ready for?  The gas that gets expelled through that hole now! I'm sorry, but I have no other way to describe it besides "tooting". Yes, her belly is tooting.  I was cracking up laughing. CRACKING UP! Julianne was disturbed to say the least.  "WHY IS IT DOING THAT!!!!"  This continued all day on Wednesday, a little yesterday and only once today. Poor was pretty funny though. I tried to make her feel better by telling her she's the only person I've ever know who can toot through her belly!! She was pretty excited when the toots returned to their usual location this morning ha ha! She also hates getting the gauze changed, but there's nothing we can do about that.  It's either keep it covered or have gross shirts all day long.  Dr. A said if it is still leaking in two weeks that she will need to see a surgeon to have it closed.  We are praying that will not be the case! Please join us in praying that it will close easily on its own. 

G-tube removal was such a big deal for us we spent the whole day celebrating.

 We went to the mall and she picked out a new dress!

 We met daddy for lunch!

 We rode the carousel!

 We picked up daddy from work and headed to...


Happy G-tube removal day Julianne! 
We love you so much and we're so very proud of you!!

February has, thus far, been an amazing month!!! We have something else pretty unbelievable to share, but you'll have to wait until the time is right!!!! It's good. I promise. :-)