Friday, July 22, 2011

starfish birthday party



Here are the pictures, finally, from Anniston's starfish birthday party last month. She LOVES stars, so that was the inspiration for the party. Crazy that she is TWO! Most things are homemade/I already had.

(*Oh, and do note that when I put the little "m" on some of my pictures, it's just because of the up-close nature of the certain subject of the pic...not because I think the quality of my images is anything special...because I know it's not. BUT, the sweet subject sure is! :)


Invitations. With personal stuff blurred out.


The entrance.





Desserts!


These cupcakes were AMAZING. I did decide to order cupcakes this year, and I am so glad I did...for time and taste's sake :).


With Aunt Meg.




With GG. My dad really was here, but I don't have a picture of him :(... Since my mom was taking pictures during the party, I will blame her, ha.


Sweet tea in mason jars...well, sweet tea eventually was in them :). I thought "star" fruit sliced on the rim would be cute but soon found out that they were not in season (couldn't find at store), so we went for oranges instead. I'm thinking a whole orange slice maybe could be cut to look like a star if a little of the rind is left on? Not sure.




Grilled cheese cut into stars.

The little shovels in the food were fun.


Friends playing with our new kitchen from grandparents :).


Coloring with friends.

Pictures of Anniston at the beach the last three summers.


Pops grilled hot dogs.


Grammy...Stan's beautiful grandmother.


With Janjan and Pops.


Fruit salad.



Party favors: playdough with fish shaped cookie cutter and sand toy for molding dough.



Opening gifts in her birthday chair from grandparents.


This is how she was the whole time opening gifts from her sweet friends...tired, laying back, not really interested :).


She received some really fantastic books! A great gift!


Sweet love.



The guys played bag-o and stayed longer than anyone else...impressive.




Friends at sand and water table.



Birthday girl.


She is a joy :).


Love you, sweet girl!




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

strong, noble woman




My grandmother. I have wanted to write about her for a long while now. I have wanted to share my love for her and to document the blissful moments spent outside in the Texas heat, swimming and riding horses all day long with cousins (amazing cousins), but to compose something that truly conveys my feelings for her and the rest of my family while encapsulating every sweet memory in my mind would be, well, next to impossible. That is why I haven't mentioned much about her until now...too hard to find the words.

I loved my grandmother, just as I love my grandmother who is still with us.

This woman was unlike any other...I smile and almost want to laugh past the lump in my throat at the thought of her. She was strong. As you can see, she was beautiful. My grandmother was tough and gentle, hard working and kind. She gave like no other. You could often find her working in her garden, sitting in her kitchen peeling peaches from the trees out back, sewing a lap quilt for people in hospice, cracking pecans while watching Alan Jackson on GAC with those wretched holes in his jeans. "Why would anyone have holes in their jeans?"

She walked every morning up and down the hills of none other than the Hill Country, walked laps in the pool every evening, and did exercises in her bed every night. If a scorpion was found anywhere near her and my grandfather's abode, the forceps were removed from her purse, and the insect was taken care of...by her...with my cousins and I screaming in the background. Will spare you the details but will just say: she was tough. She would stop on the side of the road for us to pick up empty beer cans because it was cleaning her clean state and because she could get five cents a pop in return.

She was great.

I can almost taste her tuna fish sandwiches with tiny chopped up pecans and apples inside. Mmm...dressing and chocolate chip cookies and taco salad and beef stew...snickers in the refrigerator and butterscotch candies in the same tupperware as the cookies. I miss her.

She worked until her fingers and her back were bent, she loved with her deeds and her heart, and I am more than honored to name our next little girl after such an incredible, strong, beautiful woman. My grandmother. Charlotte.

Some of her friends called her "Lottie" for short (which we also love), so that is an option, too :). But for now, we are wanting to stay with Charlotte.

Adeline was her sweet, sweet sister's name. My great Aunt Adeline.

Charlotte means "strong woman", and Adeline means "noble". Very fitting if you knew these two.


So there you have it!


Charlotte, I pray you have a determination and love for others that your Great Grandmother, Charlotte, possessed. Most of all, I pray that you have her devoted love for Jesus Christ.



*****



Just as a bonus: here is a picture of my grandparents and their children :), my aunt and uncles that I miss so much. My dad is the little one on the bottom row, right :). Such a cool kid.





Sunday, July 10, 2011

celebrations


The last couple of weeks have included a few celebrations: our fifth anniversary, Stan's birthday, and healthy babies :).

I cannot believe that it has already been five years! I won't say too much or be too sappy, but I just want to say that I am so proud to be Stan's wife, and I would not take back the highs and lows of the last five years for anything. We have grown in the Lord and in our relationship like I did not know was possible, and I am so very thankful. So to him: a very happy anniversary and birthday :)...love you.


And to fifty more :).


PS: How young do we look? Oh my.






Wednesday, July 6, 2011

another heart healthy confirmation!




Our sweet girl had her cardiology appointment this morning, and it was WONDERFUL! The last time Anniston had a visit with her heart doctor was exactly a year ago, so we were thrilled and relieved to hear that we can wait another whole year before going back!

These days, doctor visits can be a difficult feat. Not only is Anniston two, but she has had several check-ups lately that seem to have fallen around the same time (it has been a crazy two months of visits), and she has definitely "wised-up" to the process. Her bottom lip usually begins quivering as soon as she sees the scale for her weight...not a good way to start off. Well, today we had so many prayers around us, and the visit could NOT have gone better! She was a little nervous/hesitant at first but did great. The nurses were amazing and even let me put the blood pressure cuffs and the pulse oximeter (tells the oxygen saturation in her blood) on her. Stan even hooked up all of the EKG leads that you see in the picture above.


This is the Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), and I should have known that she would do well during this part because she loves a "TV".

(I know I'm talking like this was our first cardiology visit, but in so many ways it felt like it now that she is older. And, the fact that she doesn't have a paci this year to insert is another big factor...)

SUCH a blessing to have a happy, calm little girl for this appointment so that they could get everything they needed. And, what an even GREATER blessing that her aorta was SUPER wide (which we knew it had to be because she is growing like a WEED) and that we did not really have much to discuss other than "see you next year"!

We were not very anxious before this visit. I know that God places an extra measure of peace in our souls that carries us through, and we were very assured, as I just mentioned, that she is fine because she is growing so well. (Just had the growth spurt of the century, actually.) A blessing.

I will say that I was a little emotional-feeling at the hospital before her visit (remember, I don't cry in front of people :)). It was not because of worry...just remembering things from the past that took place there...and seeing other parents and just having a heavy heart for them...because we have a bond...even though they don't know us.




SO thankful. Thank you, Jesus, for more wonderful news.


*****

Just another side note for my memory: When we went to the cardiologist last week to look at the new baby, Stan said it was like we were walking into a dream, and it SO was. We had to park at the other end of the hospital, so we had to walk alot farther. We travelled through places we had been before: near where Anniston was born and the NICU, where she was when she had her heart cath, and by the PICU which is where she was cared for after her stroke.

There were very few people around, but it seemed like the only people we were walking past were those who have been with us at some point. We walked past the head of the NICU, her blood doctor, the cardiologist's nurse...

One nurse actually stopped to talk to us because she remembered us from when Anniston was in the PICU. It took me a second to realize that she, Jennifer, was our amazing nurse during those tough days; she was such a kind, assuring, gracious person. I am so thankful we had her then, and I am also thankful to have run into her now. The first thing she said when she saw Anniston was how good her eyes looked. It kind of took us back because we don't ever even think about her eyes. Even her neurologist mentioned her eyes looking good at her appointment last month, and I guess I kind of shrugged it off because they have never mentioned them before (well, not since her stroke when they said there was no way of knowing if she would be able to track or not...which I guess I had forgotten). Well, apparently the fact that Anniston tracks so well with her eyes is a big deal considering her specific injury.

I can actually remember getting home with our four month old little girl who would not even look to her right, and we would lean down toward her right ear (so that hopefully she would look in that direction) and tell her that she was healed in the name of Jesus. Then, we would lean back and look into her eyes, praying that she could scan the room for us. It took a couple of days, but she did begin looking to the right. Some of that hinderance was because of the swelling in her brain that was still going down, but I now know that God was taking care of something else. I know He placed Jennifer in our path last week to remind us that there are so many blessings that we take for granted every day...He has spared us from so much and has healed our little girl.