Friday, March 27, 2009

My "Grand" Vacation

I saw a post on the Riggs' blog a couple of weeks ago. It was titled "You know you're old when...." and encouraged the readers to finish the statement in their comments. I couldn't think of anything to put at the time, but I have one now. You know you're old when... Spring Break is spent visiting with the grandkids! LOL
As a kindergarten teacher, I get a "Spring Break." However, mine was not spent at the beach, but with my "babies." I headed to Sarah's and Leon's on Monday the 16th. I got my "baby fix" on till Thursday. Then Sarah and Leon came to my house the next day for the weekend. Two of our girls (and two grandgirls) came in from Arkansas, so we had a mini family reunion!

Is it just me or does Leon look a little surprised to see Mimi on his 4 week birthday? I got a rare "awake" picture.

Don't you just LOVE sleeping baby pictures?! Especially when the baby's this pretty? Who's prejudiced? Not me!

Here's a new picture of Rebecca and Lauren. Look how beautiful they are! Lauren was in the BEST mood this weekend! (Remember, she's the unpredictable one. :) All of the kids were SO sweet and happy all weekend! The following pics were all taken last Sunday.


I love this new portrait of Becca! I think I'm going to enlarge this one. I haven't gotten a good one of her in a while. Don't my azaleas make a pretty backdrop? They don't now! It's been storming for days and the downpour a couple of hours ago pretty much destroyed them.

We had fun just hanging out in the backyard, too. Harlee had a ball swinging, while her brothers spun so fast on the tire swing I couldn't even get a picture of them that wasn't a blur.

Here is the first picture of all six together! L to R: Lauren, Becca and Leon, Noah, Harlee, & Mason.
One more sleeping baby picture to tide you over. I was rocking him right before he had to leave. It will probably be another couple of weeks before I see him again. :(
He's almost 6 weeks old already! He was almost 5 weeks in this picture. Precious boy!
I remember watching my Nan holding Sarah right after she was born. Nan had 6 kids, 15 grandkids, and Sarah was her fifth great-grandchild. I asked her, "Nannie, don't you ever get tired of babies?" She answered, without hesitation, "Never." After three babies of my own and 6 grandchildren, I feel EXACTLY the same way. Nothing has ever compared with the feeling of holding a new baby. PRICELESS!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MASON IS FIVE TODAY!

I cannot believe it's been FIVE years since the birth of our third grandchild! Time does fly! We celebrated Mason's birthday yesterday at his house. All six of our grandchildren were there and five out of six of our daughters. He had a blast! His mom rented a Spiderman jumper and they all loved it! He got quite a load of gifts including, a wagon, truck, clothes, books, pirate and policeman dress up costumes, books, other various toys, and a HUGE Diego Mountain playset (from Aunt Mallory and Uncle Daniel who couldn't be there-- we missed y'all!).

Here's the birthday boy cheesing it up! Is it any wonder I love him so?!

His "treasures." (And his nosy, meddling, little sister, Harlee ;)

Grandma and Grandpa also gave him a bunch of bug collecting equipment. Do they know our boy, or what?! Noah and Becca found a hole first and started poking around and then the whole gang got in on the search.


This is what Noah pulled out of the hole. You should have seen the little girls screaming and scattering! Shelbi snapped this picture of the uninvited guest. Mimi is NOT a fan of toads (especially up close and personal)!!!!

Anyway, we had a great time with the kids and grandkids! More to come on my Spring Break and my grandkid fix , but I wanted to give Mason his birthday blog first!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET BOY!
WHO LOVES YOU THE BEST?
MIMI, POPPA, AND SHELBI

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sarah is 21!

I can't believe Sarah is 21 today! I collected all of these pictures from her childhood and scanned them in today. (No digital cameras in 1988-- no personal computers, either.) Time really does fly. I was almost 23 when Sarah was born-- now she's 21 and a mom! Amazing! I am so proud of the young woman/mother she's becoming. I will be heading to her house tomorrow afternoon or Monday morning. I'm on Spring Break and want to spend it with her and Leon. I doubt his little bottom will hit the crib, except at night! I can't wait to see them!
This is Sarah at 30 days old. I plan on taking a picture of Leon
at 30 days and post that next week.
Sarah at 2 or 3. Always the clown and ready to party! :)

Sarah at 6. Isn't she the cutest little
cheerleader you've ever seen?!
I think this is her 7th birthday. (I didn't do
a very good job writing on the backs of my pics.)
Those are her cousins, Amber and Briana, that are
the same age as Sarah.
This is her "dressing up" at around 11 years old.
I think she and her sister, or friends, were
playing "makeovers."
Eighth grade picture.
All dressed up for her Senior Prom. Isn't she lovely?!

And 3 weeks ago today with her 5 day old
son, Leon!

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY, SARAH!
WE LOVE YOU,
MOMMA, DADDY, AND SHELBI

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Hi for the Week

Go to www.riggsfamilyblog.com to read everyone else's "Hi/Lo" posts and get your link on their site.

My Hi for this week was my daughter, Shelbi, sharing her testimony during our youth revival. It was a miracle because she has struggled with selective mutism for almost 17 years! Read the two previous posts on my blog to get the whole picture! :)

After this, I REALLY don't have any Lo to report.

God is great!!!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Can I Get an Amen?

This same daughter I talked about in the previous post gave her testimony last night! There were very few dry eyes in the building. Several children/young adults made professions of faith after they heard her speak. She was shaking and crying (as were her parents and many other church members), but she stayed strong and made it through. I think I was even more excited last night than the day she was born! It was like watching her being reborn and, in a way it was. Are you amening yet?

Last night, hearing our daughter speak about her struggles trying to communicate, brought back a flood of memories. In spite of all the hardships, God was with her (and us ) ALL the way. His protection over Shelbi does not just apply to delivering her from Selective Mutism. His hand has been on her since conception.

At two months pregnant, I spotted enough to concern me and my doctor. No major cramps, but he did ask me to come to the office. He checked everything and found nothing wrong. My pregnancy progressed normally, but at eight months I had contractions. At the hospital, I was monitored and observed overnight. The contractions were real and steady, showed up on the monitor, but within hours completely stopped. Then a couple of weeks later, my water leaked. When the nurses checked me, they said my bag had not broken at all. Hat in hand-- I headed home. A few days before my due date (on our second wedding anniversary), more contractions even harder than the first time. Once more, my labor stopped. I was SO upset and disappointed! This was also getting very embarrassing! After all, on the third kid how can you make all of these mistakes?! The day before my original due date here come pains again. I cried to Larry, "I AM NOT GOING BACK TO THAT HOSPITAL! THEY'LL JUST SEND ME HOME!" I sat at home and waited until I was beyond miserable. Larry made the final call and I went back, terrified of being sent home. Four hours later, there she was, all 8 lb. 15 oz. of her! I was never so glad to see a baby in all my life!! Right after, one of the nurses said, "I've been delivering babies for 12 years and that's the first time I've ever seen one with TWO sacks of water!" Maybe, God had extra protection around her for a reason-- so she'd come at just the right time? like an extra layer of bubble wrap around a valuable package?! Hmmm... I wonder. :)

Forward to fifteen months old. Odd looking bruises started appearing on Shelbi in very unusual places. A dark, dime-sized bruise appeared on her hip under her diaper area. Another appeared on the top of her ear. She got her 15 months shots and the nurse said it could cause a "measles looking rash in ten days." Ten days later when she broke out in little purple dots, I assumed that it was the reaction to the shot. (I found out later they were little blood blisters.) When I changed her diaper that night, it was dry except for what looked like a pink lemonade colored stain. Thinking she had a kidney or bladder infection, the next day we went to our pediatrician's office. He took one look at her and said, "I'm pretty sure she has a rare and serious blood disorder called ITP." Essentially, it meant her platelet count was extremely low. Normal for her age was around 250,000 and Shelbi's was 1,000! Hoping he was mistaken, I whispered, "And what else could it be?" I'll NEVER forget his next words-- they're still echoing in my head after all these years. "It could be leukemia." She had to go straight to the hospital! I called my husband to meet me there and could barely say the words. Then I called my mom to go watch the other five kids so Larry could meet me. When she heard my panicky voice, she said, "Does he think it's leukemia?" I lost it and between sobs managed to say, "I don't know." Terror set it as I watched nurses bring a metal crib into the hospital room and wrap the rails with blankets and tape. That night, Shelbi slept on my chest and I wept until her golden curls were drenched. Her platelet count came up with IV medications, but bottomed again two weeks later. Our doctor sent us to the Children's Cancer Center for a bone marrow biopsy to determine if it was ITP or if it was leukemia. Thank God, it was the blood disorder! ITP is treatable, but there is no cure. Her doctor said sometimes it goes away as quickly as it comes and is rare to have more than one or two episodes. Shelbi would be hospitalized and on IV meds MANY times over the next two years. Then steroids controlled it, which made her miserable. Until she was about six, we were in the doctor's office getting her finger pricked about 3 times a week. Finally, I just asked her doctor if we needed to continue coming. He told us to just keep an eye out for bruises and bring her in if I noticed anything. Praise God, I can't even remember when she had blood work done again. God has healed her!

After all of this, at 13 she was diagnosed with scoliosis. The specialist said the curve in her spine was just a couple of inches away from needing surgery. The kind of surgery that involves cutting you open from the back of your neck to the top of your tailbone and attaching a steel rod to your spine. He said a brace could be made for her to wear 12 hours each night. It wouldn't straighten her spine, but MIGHT keep the curve from worsening. After wearing the brace for almost two years, x-rays showed the curve was LESS than it was when we started. That wasn't supposed to happen!

Just last Labor Day, my husband had job-related classes he had to take in Memphis. His boss said he could take his family him, but with a grandchild due in February, I was trying to hang on to every vacation/sick day I could and I NEVER let Shelbi miss school for no reason. Shelbi begged to go "Mom, it's Memphis. I've never been to Memphis." Well, neither had I and a free vacation was just too tempting to pass up. Shelbi and I looked on the Internet and got ideas of things to do while Larry was in class all day. The Saturday night before Labor Day, Shelbi had terrible stomach pains and Larry debated on whether we should go or not. I said, "If something really is wrong, I'd rather be in Memphis with you." She seemed fine so we went ahead with our plans. Monday afternoon we arrived in Memphis. It was too late to do much, but we rode around looking and ate dinner. I remember finding the hotel and as we pulled up I saw a hospital across the street. I joked, "Well, there's hospital if we need it." Two o'clock in the morning, Shelbi is doubled over. Her stomach was hurting so badly, she couldn't stand up. The ER was empty, in spite of a large city full of Hurricane Gustav evacuees! Shelbi began throwing up as soon as we got there. Three tests later, it is confirmed. This 16 year old's gallbladder is inflamed and FULL of STONES! They asked us if we wanted to have the surgery there or come home and have it. Well, just so happens our little home town was hit by Gustav--- there's a county-wide blackout. Hospitals are running on generators! There's no air conditioning, stores and gas stations are out of service. Total chaos! What do you think we did?! That's right! We spent our "once in a lifetime" (teenage drama) vacation in the hospital and do you know what? I was grateful! Once again, God had protected Shelbi and I believe we were on that "vacation" just for her surgery. AMAZING!!

Last night as she gave her testimony about God's divine deliverance, all of these things and more flashed through my mind. It was heartbreaking, heartwarming, heart stopping, and heart wrenching! It was the bravest thing I've EVER seen and I am so proud of her! It has been an awesome experience to watch her grow! She is my inspiration!

SHELBI, YOU ARE AN AWESOME YOUNG WOMAN OF GOD! I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND I AM HONORED TO BE YOUR MOM!!!


Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! AMEN

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Believe in Miracles

The following video is just a very short clip from a skit performed tonight during our youth revival at church. Pay close attention to the blond-haired girl in the gray shirt in the third scene. Then read the rest of this post. It will have you believing in miracles, too.

video

This girl is speaking in front of a crowd for the first time in her life. She is my (almost) 17 year old daughter, Shelbi. What, you're probably wondering, is so special about a 17 year old speaking in public? And what, if anything, would it have to do with believing in miracles? Well, what if I told you this child spent the first 14 years of her life struggling with Selective Mutism? What if I told you she had NEVER spoken ONE word to a stranger during those 14 years? What if I told you she overcame this anxiety disorder, not with medication, not with hypnotherapy, but with the help of our Lord and Savior?!

Everyone said Shelbi was just shy when people would talk to her and get no response. As her mom, I felt like it was a little deeper than mere shyness. When she turned three we enrolled her in pre-school hoping she would come out of her shell. At this time, Shelbi would mostly talk to her daddy, me, her sisters, grandmothers, one of her aunts, and a few cousins. The only people she talked to outside of our immediate family were my friend, Cristi, and her little boys, Mark and Joshua. Cristi would babysit for me occasionally and Shelbi and Josh are the same age. She attended two years of pre-school-- a small, private, church-run school and never talked to the other children. She started public school in kindergarten and spoke not a word to anyone, including the teacher. During kindergarten, the school psychologist told me that she suspected Shelbi had Selective Mutism. SM is an anxiety disorder characterized by the person's inability to speak in certain situations or to certain people. This is not a physical condition, the person is ABLE to talk, but is a type of stress disorder. There are varying degrees of SM. Some sufferers ONLY talk to family, while others, like Shelbi, slowly make friends. Some are also so severely affected that they can not socialize at all. Shelbi played t-ball, participated at recess, PE, church, just not verbally. She was never ostracized by others. Treatment varies, but usually is some mix of behavioral therapy, counseling, and medication. When Shelbi started second grade, her pediatrician asked us if we wanted to try giving her Prozac. I am NOT against necessary medication, but Larry and I prayed about it and did not feel comfortable putting our seven year old daughter on an anti-depressant. Our doctor, a Christian himself, respected our decision. A few weeks later, Shelbi started talking to FOUR classmates and another cousin. I felt God was letting us know we'd made the right decision for her. The next year she made a few more friends. She was comfortable and confident with herself, an honor roll student, and now playing softball and basketball competitively. I believed without a doubt that God would deliver her from the fear of speaking, but wondered how long we would have to wait. Waiting upon the Lord is harder than it sounds. :) Between third grade and eighth, Shelbi made only one new friend and still wasn't talking to teachers, most of our adult family members, or our church family. High school was approaching and MY anxiety was rising. I wanted desperately for Shelbi to be freed once and for all from this disorder. She was SO bright and funny at home-- such a lovable and likable kid--it killed me that other people couldn't get to know her as we did.

Shelbi received Christ as her Savior several years ago and she was praying about this. Our entire church, especially Shelbi's youth group, had been praying for her. One Sunday morning, ten days before Shelbi would start ninth grade, our pastor announced that God was leading him to have a special prayer service instead of a sermon. Larry, Shelbi, and I went to the altar to pray with Bro. Todd for our other daughter who was in the hospital. Larry then asked Todd to pray with us for Shelbi to be delivered from SM. THAT VERY NIGHT, SHELBI SPOKE TO A STRANGER FOR THE FIRST TIME! It was only telling the lady behind the counter at the bowling alley what size shoes she needed, but what a response to prayer!! Don't you love it when God answers in a way that can NOT be explained as anything but HIM?! I can't begin to tell you, and you can't begin to imagine, how much that one word meant! Shelbi said God had given her the boldness to talk to the lady and that it was easier to talk to strangers than people that had been "begging" her to for years. I think I must be the ONLY mom in the history of the world to excitedly tell her child, "Please, baby, talk to strangers!" while thinking, "Talk to anyone!" LOL

Well, if you want to watch the video again and see the miracle with a different perspective, feel free! I know I will!

THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, SHE'S FREE AT LAST!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Visit with Leon

We went to visit our new baby yesterday. He's already 13 days old! His jaundice is going away, his complexion looks good. Here are a few pictures so you can see for yourself.



I caught a sleepy, little smile!


I love how blue his eyes look, but that may change soon. Mom's eyes are green.

Aunt Mallory finally got to see and hold him, too!

Mommy and Leon