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. :-)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New year, new app!

I downloaded a blogger app for my phone finally! This will help me update the blog more often! 

2013 was a great, great year for our household. Know why? This is THE FIRST year since Julianne's birth in 2007 that she did not spend one night in the hospital!!!! That's right! Not even one! She made one ER trip, but nothing overnight. This is totally awesome in my book. :)

In other totally awesome news, it has been nearly a year since we last used Julianne's g-tube. She has an appointment with her GI doctor in February and, God-willing, the g-tube will be gone, gone, gone! Woo hoo!!! We've told her we will celebrate however she wants...bowling, putt putt, chuck e. cheese....the choice is hers. She's pretty sure that she wants to do chuck e. cheese. :)

Our Christmas was beautiful and wonderful. It's joy to share the story of Jesus' birth with our girl. Here are a few pictures of our celebration:

We kicked off our Christmas with a Christmas concert! 

Then saw "Frozen" when it was super cold!

We also got our Christmas tree when it was super cold!

Look how grown up she's looking! I can hardly stand it!

Christmas caroling with our church!

Christmas shopping with mommy :)

Enjoying one of her new toys...trying to anyway. Coca wanted to play too. Speaking of Coca, Julianne had an accident that resulted in the end of her glowing glasses! She and Coca were chasing each other around the kitchen when she tripped and went face first into the door frame! Her glasses arm broke off and cut her face and the glasses bruise her around the eye. It could have been much worse! So I'm thankful that the major injury was to the glasses. She has some super cute new red ones. I will get a pic soon!! 

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and that your new year is full of hope and joy! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Guess who's SIX???

That's right! I can hardly believe it! Julianne turned six a few weeks ago! Every year is such a celebration for our family.  We so enjoy celebrating her life and remembering how thankful we are that God made us her parents! 

I've got party pics, but first here's a few six-year-old Julianne stats:

  • She's about to lose her 3rd and 4th teeth. One of them is almost totally sideways, but that booger just won't come out! I am hoping this will not mean an extra dentist trip.
  • She's very much into Disney princesses and sleeps with sleeping beauty every night!
  • Not only the princesses, but Julianne also loves the step-sisters and all the "bad queens"
  • She's totally obsessed with her own future wedding.  So far, she says she will get married at Zachary Community Church, on a Sunday, Grammy will be her flower girl, her groom will sing as he walks down the aisle, and she and Kent will sing a duet as they walk in.  I TOTALLY hope the singing thing happens!! That would be an awesome wedding! Just this week she added that her husband will be a mermaid and it will be my job to make him human, so I guess I will need some training.
  • She love, love, loves to look at her baby book, scrapbooks and photo books and hear the story of her "ages"..."Tell me the story of when I was 4!!"
  • Our smart little girl, is not only beautiful but also has become the guardian of playgrounds, play areas and pretty much anywhere you could find a crying or sad child.  She always goes to them to find out what's wrong and tries to make them happy.  It's so sweet. She told me that's her job. :-)
  • She's just as bold and courageous as she's ever been! I pray that God will continue that in her and that she will use that boldness to share the love of Jesus with people for years to come! 
  • Oh! And how could I forget, SHE'S EATING ALL SOLID FOOD!! NO MORE PUREES!!
  • AND she's still a tiny princess at 37 pounds and just 39.75 inches...tiny body, huge personality. :-) 
Now for the party!! She's been asking why we never have a Royal Ball for like a year, so we thought the perfect party for her would be a Royal Ball party! We worked hard to transform our house into a ballroom as best we could.  We are still pulling staples out of the wall! It was so worth it though. This was her first party with other kids and I think she really enjoyed it! It was supposed to rain all day so we ended up doing the whole party inside.  It wasn't exactly what I planned and became a little cramped in the kitchen, but all was well and the birthday girl loved her day! I hope she will remember it forever. I know I will! :-)

Royal Photo Area

The Royal Ballroom

Royal Dress-up Area

More Royal Dress-up Area

Our Cinderella

This little Prince's mommy (whom I've known for the last 16 of my own birthdays)
 gave me permission to post his pic! And aren't you glad she did?

I love this picture! Julianne just looks so happy!!
Royal Family Photo thanks to David Hebert

Cinderella and her Prince Charming

What a princess!

She loved every minute :-)

In Julianne's words, "When everybody leaves the spell will be broken" so she had to change out of her gown.

Monday, April 22, 2013

And the winner is...

The Baton Rouge area Heart Walk was last weekend and we had a wonderful time as usual! Our family and friends joined us for a beautiful day walking in honor of Julianne.  Team Julianne raised $1,123.00!!! Thank you so much for your donations and t-shirt purchases! It really does go to a wonderful organization.

This year, for the first time, we entered the t-shirt contest.  Julianne went on stage with Kent and did a fancy twirl to model her shirt. She loved every minute of stage time.  The girl was born to perform ha ha! After each team modeled their shirts all of the teams stood in front of the stage for the judges to make their decision.  It only took a few minutes before they began to announce the winners. It went a little something like this:

Announcer: "In third place GMFS!"
Announcer: "In second place Blue Cross Blue Sheild"
Announcer: "The winner is....TEAM JULIANNE!"
Julianne: "I won!?? We won!!!"

She was so excited! I honestly didn't even know she knew what a trophy was, much less that she had this secret desire to win one! She went on stage, they handed her the trophy and she immediately held it up high. Ha ha!! It was like she's been winning all her life because she knew exactly what to do.  Although, I think the cheers of the crowd kind of startled her. Julianne was so proud! When we got to the car she told us, "I was proud! My chin was up and I was smiling!" Oh made me so happy to see her so happy...I almost cried! Just like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day. :-) We were able to get a short video where you can very quickly see her hold it up high and then get scared by the cheers:

You can view another angle of video here!
"I won!"

 Here are a few more pictures from a great day!