Blueberries for Us!

One of the best things about summer time are the blueberries.  We don’t have apple trees or pumpkin patches or even public peach picking places (they’re all commercial).  But we do have strawberries and blueberries.  And we love to pick blueberries every summer.  With eight kids, our blueberry picking takes approximately 30 minutes.  That is for about 10 lbs of blueberries.  We do two trips to ensure we have enough blueberries to last us through the year.  I bet my kids wouldn’t mind being hired out as blueberry pickers…for a large fee.  It’s hot out there ya’ll.

Anyway, the cost to pick at this local farm is phenomenal and well below what we would pay in a grocery store.  That makes this mama’s heart even happier.

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Emmie’s first year to actively participate.  Translation:  She probably ate more than she picked but she was so cute doing it no one would stop her.

img_20160706_092432196 Ceili Rain made sure Emmie grabbed the ripe ones.img_20160706_092447073 Bryant decided he needed some shade and donned Emmie’s pink hat.img_20160706_092507030 This girl can pick some berries ya’ll!img_20160706_092540591 img_20160706_092608785 img_20160706_095715928

Absolutely one of the cutest pictures of the whole day.  I love my girls.

June Randoms

All the miscellaneous pictures from June…Ready…Set…Go

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Ceili Rain was the master zucchini grower this year.img_20160601_170733831 img_20160602_063741629 Winter the Cat in her jacuzzi.img_20160603_090733057 Doughnuts.  Does it get any better than this?img_20160604_193955421 Peek-a-Boo
img_20160601_134639063Emmie learned to crawl in June.  I thought that developmental milestone had passed.  But once the braces came off and her neck wasn’t perpetually in a forward motion, she started crawling.  Now she gets on all fours and declares, “I a dog.  Arrrf.” and takes off.img_20160608_104832009 It’s hard to see, but Ceili Rain colored my hair purple with an exploding purple paint pen.img_20160609_134639578 My brave, cute and amazing girl!img_20160613_170349771 And a silly dress up one.img_20160614_181820330 Smudge declared this day was a computer free day.  And enforced it.img_20160614_184003541_hdr Beforeimg_20160614_190504367 Afterimg_20160617_190702455 Cuteness?  Of course.
img_20160618_164547703 It’s a triple see saw.img_20160619_083157193 My doll.
img_20160619_185753864 Selfies with mom.img_20160626_092459965_hdr Showing Mama the pictures while we drive.

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Goodness.  These two are peas in a pod.

Happy 4th!

Usually, we watch the local fireworks on Mark’s birthday, July 3rd.  But this year, they were done on June 30th.  Not a big deal to us.  We packed up, braved the threatening storm clouds and headed out.img_20160630_205445563 This was the year I finally remembered to hit up the dollar store and grab up all sorts of fun glow in the dark things.  The glowing orbs are actually glow balls and were an instant hit!img_20160630_210230104 Just because she is adorable…and doesn’t have a neck brace.img_20160630_210310506

Happy 9th Birthday, Josiah!

The end of June brought another birthday.  Josiah is our quiet yet goofy, contemplative, introvert extreme.  In other words, he is his daddy’s mini-me.  I think the only thing he got from me was thick hair.  We enjoyed having a day where we could celebrate all things Josiah.

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Josiah asked for a Minecraft birthday theme.  He also asked for doughnuts.  What better way to go Minecraft with doughnuts than to have square doughnuts…and then make faces out of them.  And these doughnuts are ah-maz-ing.  The kids compare all sour cream doughnuts to mine and pretty much say there is nothing as good as this recipe I use.  My highest compliment.

He also asked for a diamond ore minecraft cake.

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I delivered to the best of my ability.  It wasn’t my most favorite design but I think it came out okay.

dsc_5647 Oh look!  A minecraft gift…surprise, surprise, surprise.dsc_5630

Josiah’s buddy enjoyed helping.
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Josiah.  It just seems like yesterday he was toddling around.  And now he’s growing in to a tall and fun young man.  I can’t wait to see what the double digits will bring us.

Capital Visit

I took Saturday afternoon off from the NF Forum and went a few blocks down to the state capital!  I was told this was one of the must sees in Austin.  It did not disappoint. It is definitely Texas-sizedimg_20160618_152416825 img_20160618_144700775 In their congressional area.dsc_5612 ON the front lawn of the capital.dsc_5606 There were statues all over the grounds. dsc_5604 dsc_5603 A rotunda that was added when they needed more space (instead of building out, they built down and added over 600,000 square feet underground.dsc_5602
dsc_5598 The chandeliers spell out Texas and there are Texas stars everywhere.
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This was the governor’s house.  He was not there but I got to hear him speak later that evening at the forum!

 

My Tribe

When we got the “official” diagnosis for Emmie, I joined a group of some pretty amazing moms.  Moms who have walked through fire themselves.  Moms who have carried their children through fires and up mountains and through valleys.  I didn’t know when I asked to join what a life line of support these women (mostly moms, some grandmoms and some even dads) would mean to me and to our family.  I introduced myself living in the fog of the diagnosis and many, many hearts and virtual hands reached out, lifted up and loved on me.  Little ol’ me.  A complete stranger until that one paragraph and that one sentence:  My daughter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1.

These moms have lifted us up, prayed for, sent messages, and suggestions as we have walked these two years with NF.

In June, we pooled our skymiles together and I headed to Texas to actually meet several of these warrior moms.

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This is our Georgia crew with the amazing Dr. Wolf in the middle of us.  Every other year, the NF Forum (for families who are dealing with NF) meets up with the NF Convention (the professionals who are dealing with NF).  This was the year.  Dr. Wolf ate supper with us and then spent the next several hours listening, agreeing, discussing all of the ins and outs of our kiddos NF issues.img_20160618_194416966_hdr Renie was the very first NF mom to message me and has continually poured her heart in to our family and lifted up countless prayers for Super Ems.  It was such a blessing to finally see her face to face!nfmomsrock2016

This is part of my tribe.  Part of my people.  There are a lot of horrible things about Facebook, but this group of moms right here is above and beyond what is good!

Children’s Tumor Foundation is working hard to fund research to give us a world without so much fighting.  Please consider signing up to walk or join our team!

Travels with Abbie

I took an adventure on my own in June.   I texted Mark throughout my travels.  This is how it went down:

Me:  Mark, I’m waiting to board the plane.  There is a guy sitting near me with shifty eyes and he keeps landing on me.  Please pray he isn’t sitting next to me.

Me:  Oh my goodness, there is a lady carrying an urn…AN URN!!!!  There’s a dead body flying with us.

Mark:  Not a body.  Just ashes.

Me:  She has it casually tucked under her arm like it is a book.

Mark:  Maybe it’s her security urn, like a blanket for some people.

Me:  “Oh this?  This is Bob.  He travels everywhere with me.  Dontcha Bob?”

Mark:  Such a nice traveling companion, so quiet, a good listener.

Me:  The flight attendant at the gate says, “I hope you all are flying some place cooler than Georgia.”  Texas Ma’am.  I’m flying to Texas.  It’s the second level of hell in Dante’s inferno.  What in the world made the forum planners choose Texas in summer?  “I know guys!  What wouldn’t be more fun than hanging out in Texas in the middle of summer?”

Mark:  Can you see me at the gate?

Me:  Nope.  I see a wall of plane.

When I made it to my layover this went down:

Me:  Grabbed breakfast and made a cat friend.  Guy on tram grabbed the two poles between him and proceeded to lean forward as far as possible.  Got to his stop, stood straight slowly with eyes closed and got bags and walked off.  Guy beside him kept looking at him and shaking his head.  I had to bite my lip not to laugh.

Mark:  A cat friend?

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After finding a frappucino to ease my weight…

Me:  Did you know that while you wait for your flight you can practice your CPR skills?

Mark:  CPR?

Me:  Yes.  Cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

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And I scored an upgrade on my car!

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I don’t think Mark will ever let me travel alone again.  He missed out!

 

MRI Number Six

img_20160623_081729085 Since Emmie is now in the general anesthesia camp for MRI time, we have to go to day surgery instead of to radiology.  That means a different way to do things (they have to intubate for long MRIs and such).img_20160623_085640722

But there’s still the waiting time.

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Bonus is she gets “happy juice” before being wheeled back and that means less panicking on her part.img_20160623_091807278_hdr img_20160623_094056729

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Super Ems says, “I’m awake! Let’s eat some popcorn!”

This was a long MRI because they checked out her eyes, brain and full spine but she came through like the super hero she is.

We praise God that, for now, UGGHH is stable.  Her next MRI of UGGHH is scheduled for December.  She won’t have to see Dr. Wolf, her neurologist, this next time.  But she will get to visit with Dr. Chern.

Could there be a world where we don’t have to worry about MRIs?  Yes, there could be!  Supporting us and joining our NF Walk team is one of the ways to make that dream a real-life possibility.

 

Brace Off, Please

In June, Emmie had a message for Dr. Chern, her neurosurgeon.

That would be “Bace, ah, peas.” Toddler-ease Translation: Brace off, please

She saw Dr. Chern on June 10th and was ready.

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After x-rays and a quick lunch and walk around the hospital fountain, we headed in to see what the x-rays were showing.  The time had come.  The brace was ready to be no more.

After wearing a brace of some sort for most of her life, she had a hard time letting go.

And she chose not to ask to have it off either.  Toddlers never perform on command.

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But off it came!

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And we praise God for giving us such a good neurosurgeon in Dr. Chern and an awesome nurse practitioner (who is so patient with us) in Jennifer!

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Being a super hero is such hard work.