Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Fifteen Years

Today, Brian and I celebrate fifteen years of marriage.  (And when I say celebrate, I mean we simply kiss and say "Happy Anniversary", both hoping for a trip marking our milestone within the next year).   I really can't believe that we're old enough to have been married that long, but as I get to say now, "I'm pushing forty", which means the other numbers in my life are bound to get larger as well!
We. were. kids!  Looking back at these photos, we really had no idea what was in store for us.  All we knew was that we were in love and we couldn't bear to be apart not one minute longer!  So the two became one, and we've journeyed long and hard together over these years of marriage.  Who knew that within those first six years we would endure the death of a parent and then the death of a child?  And following those years, we have endured the illnesses and disabilities of another child . . . the grief, anger, sadness, and loss nearly overtook our relationship, but I'm glad to say we've come out on the other side.  Stronger. Unified. Dedicated.      
I love him.  "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine . . ."

Monday, July 23, 2012

To the Zoo

On our many trips to Memphis over the last couple of years, we've heard so many people rave about the zoo there.  And since we had some extra time on this latest trip, we decided to check it out for ourselves.  As usual, the boys made it an interesting activity.  Clayton spent the entire time watching the trams/trains that traveled throughout the zoo.  He couldn't drive his chair for watching, and once they went by, he wanted to follow them, regardless of where we were actually headed.  (You can see that he was watching yet another one go by in the picture above).  I think Jackson enjoyed his trip--he mainly wanted to climb the gates and fences to get up close and personal with the animals.  He was also very distracted by the many fountains in the zoo.  We didn't realize you could bring your bathing suit and enjoy the water.  So many kids played in the fountains while Jackson looked on with a sad face because his mean old momma wouldn't let him jump in with his clothes on!  

I did find something out though.  While I'm not some maniac animal rights activist, I really don't enjoy the zoo.  It just seems so wrong to see a grizzly bear or polar bear while standing in 100 degree weather.  :/  Not to mention the fact that ever since Brian and I practically ran into a grizzly out in the wild (maybe I'll blog that story soon!), it just seemed a little anti-climatic to see one restricted to a certain amount of space.  
Despite my misgivings about the contrived habitats, we had an awesome afternoon as a family.  The boys were worn out from the fun and activity and Brian and I enjoyed every minute of our uninterrupted time with them.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Imagination Station

We've got a new addition to our homestead:
I knew something was up when Brian showed up earlier than normal one afternoon with a trailer load of cardboard and lumber.  And he wasn't home an hour before this fort was completely constructed!  Of course the boys immediately fell in love with it and with that, Jackson immediately locked Clayton into "jail."  
Then they all decided to take a turn locked in jail!  (I think Brian was having just as much, if not more fun than the boys are!
 Jackson was having a hay-day exploring and climbing.
And at one point, this "seating area" turned into his stage for an impromptu concert.  You just have to love the unlimited possibilities of a creative imagination.  :)
Clayton even got to do his favorite thing:  "watch traffic," although there isn't much traffic happening in our backyard.  
It's basically been a work in progress from that day on--Brian has already waterproofed the cardboard roof and sides and has cleared out a "parking area" in the back.  My boys are pretty lucky their daddy hasn't lost his sense of imagination himself.  :)
So far, it's been a house, a jail, and a fort.  I'm thinking they definitely look like a couple of outlaws daring the outside to take them on.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Reports

Clayton had two checkups in Memphis last week.  First doc we saw was his orthopedist.  Clayton's left hip is still slightly out of socket, but in general his x-ray looks the same as a year ago, which is definitely good news!  Also, while his spine does bend while he is seated, it is still flexible enough to go back to the straight position when he is lying down.  We are coming up on the next big growth spurt for him, and this is when it can get hairy for a non-ambulatory child.  All those spastic muscles will be pulling on his bones as they grow, so we will have to take good care to keep him in different positions and stretched well.  I pray his body handles the next few years of growing well.

We also saw his neurosurgeon.  His MRI was unchanged, which is another round of good news.  We discussed Clayton random afternoon episodes of crashing.  I had decided that he was having hypoglycemic spells, and she agreed that this could be possible.  She also suggested that it could be a low pressure headache from too much drainage from the shunt and/or from a bit of dehydration.  She said that almost all of her patients who deal with low pressure headaches find they come in the afternoon.  We'll see the next time it happens . . . if water helps it go away, then we'll know it was just a dehydration issue that led to a low pressure headache (low pressure due to not enough spinal fluid in his brain).  If that doesn't work and some juice or sugar water does, then we'll know it's low blood sugar.  I actually had his PCP order a blood test for the sugar, we just haven't made it to the lab after fasting for eight hours yet.  I hope to get that done this week and it might shed some light on the issue.  

All in all, two painless doctors appointments with happy doctors is what I'd call a win-win!

Friday, July 13, 2012

[God is] In The Details

Clayton had his yearly checkups with his orthopedic and neurosurgeon doctors in Memphis this week.  And since the appointments were on back to back days, we went all in and decided to make a family getaway of it.  Part of that trip would include a visit with Brian's cousin, who moved with her family to the Memphis area recently.  We knew Rosalind was near-term pregnant, but we still wanted to get together with her and her husband and kids.  But when her daughter came down with a high fever virus, we reluctantly cancelled our plans to visit, since we can't risk Clayton getting sick.  

We had a painless experience at our first appointment on Wednesday and spent the afternoon at the Memphis Zoo.  Meanwhile, Rosalind was busy going into labor across town!  When we realized she was in the hospital, we knew we should visit.  We figured the hospital was downtown, so we decided we might have to wait until late Thursday afternoon after Clayton's appointment.  On a whim Thursday morning, I decided to check the GPS to see where the hospital was located.  And guess what?  It was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Clayton's clinic way out in Germantown.  Brian and I knew that was our sign that we should move up our visit.   
Rosalind said she immediately started crying when Brian walked in.  When you're having a baby far away from home, and you can't  have your mom with you, I'm certain any familiar [as in family] face is a welcome sight.  We had a great (but short) visit with Chris and Rosalind.  (Baby was too sick for us to see and had to be moved to the NICU).    I'm sad that our kids didn't get to play together, but I am so happy we were there for this moment in Rosalind's life.  We are definitely not her mom and dad, and definitely not her sister and brother, but I hope that Brian being there was enough of a pinch hit to give Ros and Chris a feel for home on their fourth (!) baby's birthday.  

I'm doing my best to recognize God's hand in the details of my life.  I admit that in some things, I'm a little blind to His work, and struggle to gain His perspective.  But when I do recognize His orchestration of the details, I want to be quick to thank Him--this visit is one such circumstance where it was obvious He was working behind the scenes to make sure Rosalind had a hug from home on this special day.  

Monday, July 02, 2012

No Limits

I've taken many of photo of Clayton in his eight years, and this one has to be in the top five of my favorites.  You can't beat the sunsets on Mt. Nebo, and you can't beat seeing Clayton conquer more terrain, both literally and figuratively.  
He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
Psalm 18:19