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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun with a new lens!

I have been lusting after the 24-70L f/2.8 for almost a year now. I love my 24-105L f/4 ... but having the 2.8 ALL the time is so attractive! Although I know a lot of photographers swear by primes, I really like having zoom capabilities for sessions. At home, I usually use the 50mm f/1.8 because it's small and good in low light, but it's a bit unpredictable with focusing. There's just nothing like L glass!

Unfortunately it was a crazy day and I didn't have much time to play with the new lens, but I was able to shoot a few of Lovebug with the natural light from the backdoor in the kitchen. These were 1/60th, f/2.8, ISO800. So far, I pretty much am in love. I'll try for a few more tomorrow with my newly STENT FREE baby girl! Can't wait to share her new smile without those nose stents, oh she is such a beauty!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {A daddy and his girl}

I took these back in May on the same day the Raudenbushs had visited us ... and then I kind of forgot about them. Oops! At least now I can revisit them and smile :-) Something about DH with the kids always warms my heart. Nothing like a Daddy with his babies, ya know? I love DH as a Dad .. he is SO good at it and the kids adore him. They think he's the "fun" one. Hmmmph! LOL. I guess after looking at these images, I can maybe see what they're talking about :-) But I am always the one they want when they get hurt, so at least I have THAT going for me - I get all the fun, don't I? LOL. Stay tuned in the next few days for some shots with Lovebug too - you know his big sis couldn't have all the fun!

And in other news, Praise God, Sunshine SLEPT last night! We were gearing up for a 5th night of sleep deprivation, but by God's Grace, she slept the whole night. This was major for us ... when I say she wasn't sleeping well, I mean waking up every 20-30 minutes throughout the early night (after being rocked) until she eventually konked out for a *few* hours from utter exhaustion. Think of the baby that has its days and nights confused ... that's kind of what we were dealing with. And amazingly, although yeah it wasn't that fun, I really didn't mind it ... all that much :-)

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Houston, we have a cold ...

Yes, that's right ... one week post lip surgery complete with nose stents and no-no's, Sunshine caught Lovebug's cold. Seriously?!?!?! This baby girl just can't get a break! If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing nose stents, I can tell you that they are extra gross when your child has a cold and an extremely runny nose. Not only can I NOT suction out her nose, I also keep wiping the lip that was just sewn up. Oh precious baby girl! Fortunately, she is a fighter. During the day, things haven't been too bad - actually they've been pretty amazing.
She's spending time doing most of her usual activities, especially now since we have liberated her from the no-no's for part of the day. She really doesn't like those and I certainly don't blame her. Along with tissue and cup in hand, favorite blankie has been in close proximity to *every* activity and that's cool with me too :-) It's been a bit difficult to get it washed lately, but oh well. She adores it and it's one of the only healthy self-soothers she has, so I'm all about it.
We've even been doing a bit of physical therapy ... girlfriend can stand up and sit down like a champ now. She loves the magnets and really enjoyed having the garage door as her blank canvas to work with. After this though, she proceeded to pull every single one of them down and scatter them all over the ground. She was occupied and happy, and it was great.

She even had some fun with the bubble wrap from my most recent frame order! Who doesn't love bubble wrap, honestly?! You may remember my last bubble wrap post, which was Sunshine's first experience with it. Although not quite as animated this time, I can assure you she enjoyed herself!
So 10 days post-surgery, things are still going ridiculously well. I can't get over how well she's handled this more difficult surgery versus the first, easier one. I think we've all grown to love and trust each other more, and I'm sure that makes a BIG difference.

I'm not gonna lie, we aren't sleeping much right now, but that has everything to do with this nasty cold and nothing to do with Sunshine. She has a heck of a time getting comfortable when she can't breathe and is wearing no-no's. I know that will pass once the cold is gone. The daytime goes along perfectly well - she is pretty much back to her normal busy, happy self. I'm not keeping an eye on her quite as much as I was before, although I am still always pretty darn close by. That helps with being able to do important things like make dinner :-) We have about 10 more days to go before the nose stent removal, Praise God. We're taking one day at a time and that's working pretty well for us. I can't thank everyone enough for all of the prayers and support. Seriously, you all ROCK ... we have SO been able to feel your love and it just means everything to us. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Suture removal & Patience

This child continues to amaze and impress me along this road. She handled the suture removal yesterday like it was a walk in the park. Her sutures came out and her nose stents got cleaned out too (yay!). She also got some skin glue over top the incision, which is the crusty stuff you see in the picture. And she seriously didn't even cry coming out of the anesthesia. We were there when she woke up - she turned, look at me and then signed for "all done." LOL. She is a trip. I quickly took off her oxygen mask and gave her some juice. Then very shortly after that, she was unhooked, dressed and we were out of recovery! She did have a bit of an issue when I took off her hospital gown - for some crazy reason, she wanted to keep it on. Go figure. LOL.

We took her downstairs to the cafeteria to fill her up - she ate a whole adult-sized yogurt and a Nutri-grain bar. That's our hungry girl! Fortunately this was an easy peasy "surgery" ... just a bit of gas, no intubation and no IV, Praise God! So she was literally ready to go once she woke up. I was happy to let her sleep after the 5:30am wakeup call (4:30am for us!), but she just wanted to get out of there. I don't blame her one bit.

Once we were home, I got her down for a nap - she slept for almost 3 hours! And of course, as soon as my head hit the pillow to take a nap too, the school called because Lovebug wasn't feeling well. LOL. The life of a mom, right? Anywho, here's a really low-quality, grainy iPhone shot of Sunshine in recovery - a little sleeping beauty.

She is still doing really well - tomorrow is one week post surgery. She is definitely more needy than usual and wants to be with me all the time. (That works out well because I need to watch her anyway. LOL.) And I am completely ok with that - happy even, that she trusts me and wants me to comfort her. There are also times when nothing comforts her and she just gets in a funk ... like at lunch today :-) And that's ok too. I prayed and prayed and PRAYED for more patience this time around. And by God's grace, He gave it to me. Things that would typically frustrate me A LOT are no big deal at all. I feel like, in some ways, my heart has been completely transformed for her. I have this super-human bottomless pit of compassion for Sunshine right now, and it feels pretty wonderful. I can't say that I always felt that way, so I am extremely thankful for this answered prayer.

Going through surgery with your child is so very difficult ... even though the physical healing is not happening to YOU, the surgery takes it's toll on you and forces you to stretch in ways you didn't know possible. I have rocked for hours on end, and sung "You Are My Sunshine" so many times that I think I can do it while sleeping too. LOL. And when you throw in a strong-willed child ... well, you can guess it can be even harder. But somehow, we are almost happily getting through this recovery, nose stents and all! Sure, it's stressful and lots of things just aren't getting done (like the dishes and the laundry). But God has softened my heart to work through this - what an amazing thing. He has also given Sunshine the comfort, patience and peace that I so desperately prayed for ... oh He is SO GOOD!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths."
Proverbs 3:6-7

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just what the doctor ordered

On Saturday, as we were driving around just to get OUT of the house, I made an off-the-cuff comment to DH that I wished we could just spend the whole day in the car because Sunshine was doing so well in it. That's when he suggested a day trip to the beach after church on Sunday. I was ALL about it - it's about 3 hours each way and we knew we'd be able to get a couple hours of hanging out there too. The funny thing is that we were spelling out this whole conversation in the car so the kids didn't know what we were talking about. LOL.

We thought it would be fun to surprise them, especially since we haven't been to the beach in about a year and a half. So we packed everything up without them knowing and started driving after church. They knew we were going "somewhere" but we wouldn't tell them where. When we finally reached our destination and they figured it out, Angel and Lovebug were SO thrilled. Angel said, "I can't believe we're at the beach!" It was awesome to see them so happy like that. They totally deserve it ... things have been all about Sunshine recently and they have been so graceful about it.

We had SUCH AN AWESOME DAY! Seriously it was just what we needed. It was a little windy but the Boardwalk was empty so the kids could run around and do whatever they wanted. I think Sunshine's first visit to the beach was definitely a success, although she didn't very much like the sand. Maybe next year? LOL. Angel and Lovebug had a ton of fun, as you'll see. I think the playing on the beach was their favorite part, but the arcade was also a highlight :-) And oohhhh - Sunshine ADORED the beach fries.

We will most definitely do this again - just what we needed :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

With such grace

I think it's safe to sum up Sunshine's surgery with the word "grace." Everything went so incredibly well and Sunshine dealt with everything that came her way unbelievably well. She was calm, happy, relaxed and at complete peace the whole time we waited to take her to the OR. We even got some happy drugs right before surgery, so taking her to the OR, getting hooked up to all the machines, and getting put to sleep was calm and relaxed also - no trauma whatsoever for me or her.

The surgery took a little over 2 hours and went just as it was supposed to - everything was fantastic! It included her complete lip repair as well as nose work. Lots and lots of sutures ... my poor baby girl. Coming out of anesthesia in recovery was a little ... ok A LOT rough ... more difficult than last time. She was so very irate and angry and I was having a difficult time judging whether she was just mad or if she was in pain. So the nurse gave her all the pain meds she could and she still didn't calm down.
Through the fits of crying, kicking, hitting, arching though, Sunshine was able to drink about 5 oz. of juice from her bottle. That's my girl! Because of that, the doctors agreed to let us go home instead of staying overnight. And once Sunshine was unhooked from all of the machines (seriously - wires EVERYWHERE), she calmed down completely and let me rock her and sing to her. I knew then that she wasn't in pain, thank God. I'm not sure why, but she is so over-sensitive to any form of restraint - the wires, blood pressure cuff, no-nos, etc. were all just too much for her. Once they were off of her, she was completely at peace.

Shortly after that, we got her dressed, packed up and went home! She is clearly still in discomfort but is handling it with such grace. I am in awe ... I just have so much respect for this little person that God has given me the privilege of raising. And I sure have learned a thing or 2 from her over the past two days. She is such a strong, courageous, brave soul ... I think more so than I will ever be. Amazing. Truly amazing.

Precious baby girl is definitely swollen but looks so, so, so beautiful. The surgeon is truly an artist! She is really, really, really not a fan of those nose stents - hopefully you can get a good idea of what they look like with the last picture. She is completely stuffed up, uncomfortable, can't breathe through her nose and there's nothing I can do to help her - the stents are just too small for even an aspirator to help. Oh I feel terrible for her!

On the other hand, she seems to be doing ok with the no-no's. Unfortunately though, when she's awake, she's super-active and is scootching, pulling up, and rolling around everywhere. I am so afraid she is going to hurt herself because of her lack of mobility, so I have become her shadow. Good thing she likes me so much :-) And this too, shall pass ... and this too, shall pass ... and this too, shall pass. LOL.

So we go back on Tuesday morning to have the blue plastic surgery sutures removed under general anesthesia (I guess they don't look that blue in the pictures, but I promise they are). The nose stents, sadly, stay in for 3 weeks. Sunshine is going to need a LOT of patience. Please keep her in your prayers - comfort, peace and patience.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today was a good day

And it ended with a long, splash & laughter-filled pre-op bath :-) Sunshine was in complete toddler bliss this evening and probably a bit confused as to why I was letting her soak the entire bathroom. To say that she loves bath time is a bit of an understatement. Maybe she'll remember tonight when she is mad at me tomorrow? Nah, I didn't think so either. LOL. That's ok ... I'll love on her, sing to her and hug her through all of it tomorrow no matter how much she doesn't want me to :-) Oh God Bless this baby girl!

A little sunshine for your day

Less than 24 hours out from surgery now. So glad I shot this quick video with my iPhone ... I'll have to play it for Sunshine afterward. LOL.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers, we sure can feel them! Surgery is at 8:45am tomorrow morning - we have to be at the hospital at 6:45am. I'm actually GLAD and relieved about that - less time that we have to starve our precious baby girl ... and less time for her to be scared beforehand. I'm not sure how long the surgery will last - the last one was about an hour but it was a "quick" repair. And although this definitely isn't a tough surgery like the palate repair, it's certainly more involved than the last one. I'll have more information tomorrow from the surgeon and will be updating my FB page more regularly than the blog.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The after-party

The after-party is always one of my favorites things. I love having my family hang out to spend some time, catch up, and of course play with the new toys :-) This is also a perfect time for me to snap a few shots of everyone - the party is always so crazy I rarely have time to do it then!

I think the older "boys" liked Lovebug's new Geo Trax as much as he did! Actually scratch that - I think Angel may have liked it a wee bit more than everyone else. LOL. We had to keep reminding her that it was Lovebug's new toy, not hers :-) Either way, it was a super-big hit :-)

He's 4

I know this post is way overdue, I'm sorry! It's been a crazy few weeks! So in case you were worried ... yes, my little man got more than candles in some birthday yogurt. LOL. In fact, he had his very own cake, complete with an oreo cookie dirt race track with McQueen, Francesco and Mater racing. Thank you Nana for another amazing birthday cake - he totally loved it! And of course, he also had lots of friends over to celebrate one more year.

I think the highlight for all of the kids though was the balloon art. Seriously, he totally rocked and the kids couldn't have been happier running around with their balloon swords and anything else they could dream up. I was unfortunately just too into the party and forgot to snap some shots of all the balloon chaos, errrr I mean, *fun* ... LOL. But I can promise, an extremely good time was had by all!

PS - I apologize for the yellowy-green-red colors from the florescent lights - we have them all over our house and they make everything look funny. Part of the ambience, right? :-)