Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catch Up Time From Way Out In The Country

Lots of new news from this neck of the woods!  Served along side a very sincere, well intentioned, written here commitment to blog more in these upcoming days!  It's hot, dry, and back to business here where we live.  Thankfully the evenings are beginning to cool down, bringing a hope for some cool, fall relief on it's way!

In the meantime, we are back in the rythym of school weeks, to newly include Gracie's first year of dance!  The kids are growing, becoming bigger, smarter, and busier than ever before!  Next week I start back to counseling at the Pregnancy Resource Center I volunteer at!  Tomorrow starts the next few months to be full of little ones birthdays and lots of family inbetween!

Tommy's been busy with more work days than usual and we look forward to being back into our usual schedule with him.  And thank the Lord, we now have a perfect, precious, healthy nephew!  I'm proud to introduce....

Tucker Wade Richmond
Born August 30th, 2011
6lbs. 10oz.

For those of you who may not know or remember, this baby's safety is quite the answered prayer!  Little Tuck tried to make his appearance almost 15 weeks ago!  Through these scary weeks, and only by the grace of God, Gena and Jonathon welcomed their first baby into our lives last night at just a day short of 37 weeks!  He is sure to be one very happy, very special little boy! 

Welcome to our family little Tucker Wade!  We already love you so very much and we can't wait to watch you grow up!

As for our oldest little boy, he is now going strong in first grade!  Just the second day of school, he amazed his teacher, the 2nd grade teacher, and the principal with his reading ability!  They've started him in the Accelerated Reading program to assess what grade level he's actually reading at and to reward him for his extra work!  We are very proud of him and so happy that he's been blessed with a wonderful teacher this year who recognizes, encourages, and acknowledges his strengths!

Our boys, intently studying the workings of the ferry on their way to Aunt Gena's house for Uncle Keiths going to college get together!

And the baby boy....sound asleep after lots of hard play in his toy boxes!

 Our littlest girl Gracie on her way to her first dance class!  She's so excited to be there, and we're proud of our little princess too!

 Now for those of you who know Gracie, this will come as probably no surprise!  This here picture was taken during a night at the emergency room!  And that there little brace/contraption in not exactly a set of fairy wings.'s what she has to wear the next several weeks after recieving a broken collar bone!  She's doing great, but still seems to forget that she's not really a monkey princess and can't be wrestling or beating up her brothers!  I guess that's what happens when you have to hold your ground in a house with two very rambunctios little boys!

And that would be a very quick recap of our last few weeks.  It's funny how life seems to take us by the heart, mind, and good intentions of every day and before you know it, the next season begins.  That would be about where I am right now as I sit here and write this.  There's times I have more questions than I do answers.  This is one of those times for me.  So until God provides the way, if it is to be shown, then I will just keep on doing what I do best.  Tending to the first and foremost calling and responsibility in my heart.  Being Mom.  To the greatest 4 kids in the world.  And being the wife that Tommy needs and deserves.  And letting the Lord use me, to shine His light into the hearts of the women that come through the Pregnancy Center.  And maybe to not ask too many questions.  I'm not sure on that one.....I'll have to get back to you on it!  And above all love and trust the Lord with all of my heart and all of who I am.  Even on the days I have to do so with unanswered questions, unmet expectations, and not as much courage as I should have.  He will carry me if only I seek Him first. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Prayer Request For Our Gracie

Gracie Elizabeth Sheree....our youngest daughter.....sweet and spicy all wrapped up in one perfect, beautiful little girl!  She'll be four in just three months and she has a heart bigger than you could ever imagine!  My heart is caught between faith and a pretty good scare right now.  The best thing I can do  is ask for your prayers.  Gracie and Cass both have strep.  Because of that, we've stumbled across something else.  The grace comes in at knowing how blessed we are to have found out something is going on sooner than later.
Sugar.  Too much of it in her blood.  Talk about coming from nowhere, I'm not quite sure we've really wrapped our heads and hearts around the complexity of it.  So I'll just share the details thus far.  She had a 3 hour glucose test this morning and I can't make it sound good because it just wasn't.  She's tiny, it hurt, and it was hard for her.  But she made it through, after having her blood and urine taken 5 times in those 3 hours. 

The good news is that she is producing insulin.  So no Type 1 Diabetes right now (or hopefully ever, I'm not really sure about how all of that works yet).  The 'gist' of the test results is this....her sugar is spiking after she eats and it shouldn't be.  Our wonderful family practitioner feels like it's probably something along the lines of Postprandial Hyperglycemia which basically means her sugar levels rise after she eats.  In and of itself it doesn't sound too awfully scary, unless you're a diabetic.  But what does is that it could signal a pre-diabetic condition.  I sure hope I'm getting all of that right.

 What we do know is that her diet needs watched.  And that as soon as we get some other labs back, including the test showing her sugar average over the past three months, we'll be going to see a Pediatric Endocrinologist in Lafayette.  As for food choices....I'm between boggled and encouraged after a long shopping trip just trying to substitute some of our basics and staples.  It's one thing for an adult....another for a three year old who can be very particular about her eating habits.
Please pray for Gracie....for all of her health, fears of the testing, and her sweet little girl heart that seems to internalize, absorb, and ponder all of what life throws her way.  She's so sweet.  She's so perfect.  I don't want her to have to face any life changing conditions.  And I guess I don't know what else to say other than thank you.  Our God is good, He is powerful, and like I said in just my last post....

God's will is what we would choose if we knew all of the facts.

I know that.

I trust Him.

He loves my little girl even more than Tommy and I could ever imagine loving her (and that's HUGE).

And as Gracie herself loves to say.....
"God is faithful.....I can dig it!"

 In the meantime, I'm just a Mama.  And I'm scared.  Please continue to pray for our little girl! 
And most of all, to my precious little princess......

We love you so very, very much and you're one tough little pumpkin!

Always know that God says it best himself when He's said......

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Update On Our Boys

So we went to hospital appointments for both boys the other day.  When the appointments ended up overlapping, we had Tommy and Cass on one side of Shreveport and Aiden and I on the other.  But it worked out well with my Dad being in town to get Aiden for a week of Papaw fun.  He was able to shuttle us across town in time for most of Cass' testing and appointment!

Cass and Aiden

Some of you may remember and most of you may not actually know this because it's been so unnoticeable from a distance for so long.  Aiden was born with a club foot.  Our little trooper had 8 different casts on the first 11 weeks of his life.  Before they put the last one on, they 'nicked' the tendon that goes up the back of his heel so that it would allow his foot to continue growing in the new position.  Then he wore shoes with a brace for quite some time.  I called him my 'little houdini' because he was ALWAYS able to get out of them!  Then another single brace for a short time a few years ago.  And then we were good to go unless he started having problems.  Over the last few months, we've noticed him falling down alot if he's barefooted and his foot seemingly turning inward again.  That leaves for one worried Mama and another trip to the wonderful Shriner's Children's Hospital in Shreveport.  Talk about people knowing how to do what they do so well and even more, loving the child and family along the way!

After checking him out, we've come to learn that yes, his foot is turning more than it should and we will have to intercede with a little help.  The good news is that it's not in his bones, which means no bone rotation that would require hardware in his leg.  He's been fitted with another brace to wear inside of his shoe that will hold the position of his foot correctly, hopefully to help with the falling down and to prevent it from getting worse.  The not so settling news to our little boy is that he has to do this until surgery.  They will have to go in and lengthen tendons at some point down the road.  The object is to buy time right now with the brace.  The younger he is when he has the surgery, the more likely they'll have to go back in and do it again at some point.  So we go with the brace and in six months they'll check him out again and measure his growth.

Aiden needs alot of prayer with this.  When he hears surgery, he thinks about what I've gone through the last few months.  That's very, very scary for him.  As much as I try to comfort him with the fact that his surgery will be nothing like Mama's major surgery and recovery, my words don't compare much with the memories of our early summer.  And, we're talking about the kid who has MAJOR issues with needles and shots.  So please keep him in your prayers and ask that God prepare his heart and comfort his worries! 

And for our little Possum, Cass man, Casserole, Mr. Munchkin, red headed baby boy.....
By the way, he all of a sudden thinks he's a monkey.  Don't feel sorry for his expression of great worry here.  I promise it's not because he's's only because he's been caught and knows Mama's coming to get him down!

Cass got great news from his Pediatric Urologist!  Tommy was able to be there for this visit and he did such an awesome job with Cass.  He has this calming effect with him that touches my heart to the very core.  Cass knew he was safe with his Daddy.  He didn't even cry when they put in his IV!  And he was an ideal patient, even when strapped down to the imaging bed.  Twice that day we were told that he was the best little one they've ever had to work with!  One tough little guy!  To catch you up with little man....he was born with a UPJ obstruction on each kidney.  This means that there's either a kink, a narrowing, or an obstruction on both sides where the kidney drains into the Ureters.  This leaves his kidneys holding fluid, which can cause damage if it leads to infection.  Praise the Lord, he's never had any problems and so far, we've just watched, worried, and prayed for him.  He had another nuclear imaging test (the Willy Wonka test) on his kidneys to show their flow and function.  Our kidney's ideally function equally, at 50 percent for each kidney.  His showed functioning at 49 and 51 percent.  Pretty great if you ask us!  His urologist said that we don't have to do this test again unless there's ever a problem or concern.  So, we'll just continue to watch the fluid level on his kidneys through Ultrasound every 6 months and thank God in advance for completely healing our little boy!

At one time, this amazing kid was my smallest baby boy! And he's forever my oldest boy!

And now that 'smallest boy' title forever belongs to this sweet, full of life little one!

I love my boys!  We've been very blessed with them both.  All of this will work out for the best and we love having them both in our lives!  I heard the other day that 'God's will is what we would choose if we knew all of the facts'.  Stop and think on that one for awhile.  I love you Aiden James and Cass Lee and I thank God every day that He allowed me to be your Mom!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The End Of Summer Is Drawing Near

As the end of summer draws near we've begun switching gears around here.  The long, hot, summer days leave time for reflection and a need for fall planning.  We've been able to spend a lot of great family time together this summer and I know that Tommy, myself, and these kids will treasure the memories for years to come.  There's also been challenges and heartache but I know that God is faithful to keep His promises.  Hard decisions, weak times in our lives, and tears seem to often pave the road towards new seasons and times in life.  And perhaps most importantly, they lead us to lean more on the One who has it all under control in the first place.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  Galatians 6:9

And what about those times in which we fall short or even completely miss the mark?  I've learned that sometimes the better my intentions, the bigger my shortcomings.  Thank the Lord I have the love and grace of Jesus Christ for that one.  For I know....

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1John 1:9

When the waves of exhaustion and discouragement roll in, I'm reminded of this....

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6

Our God is faithful.  He is just.  He keeps His promises.  Always.  I'm not saved because I'm better than the next person, or because I always do the right things.  I'm saved by the grace of a God that loves me enough to offer that gift.  I need Him because I'm NOT good enough on my own and I never will be.  And that's why Jesus died for me, and for you WHILE we were still sinners.  I know who I belong to.  Do you?  It's a free gift, but we have to make the decision to receive it.  And that is the only way any of us will ever be good enough.  And thank God for that, because on my own I'd only make a bigger mess of things! 

Gracie has been quick to remind me daily that "God is Faithful, He keeps His promises."  She'll ask me, "for two months?"  Then say, "Noooo....for eh-er".  His words have been planted in her heart and she's not shy about sharing them.  That was their VBS motto this year.  (Or FBI motto, as Aiden called VBS by FBI instead all summer!)  "GOD IS FAITHFUL, I CAN DIG IT".  And here's some pictures of VBS 2011!

Gracie, Cass, and the girls!  It's so fun to see how great all of these kids are together!

Aiden and some friends.  Is it just me or does he look all grown up?

At the program the kids put on for us!

My boys!  Cass thinks he's grown, just like the rest of them!

We were able to enjoy a day at the water park in Shreveport last week!  It wasn't busy during the week which made for very short lines and a relaxing day!  Except for the water slides that is!  Alaina and Tommy went down the fastest, scariest one more times than I can count!  And after an entire day of her begging, they took Gracie up to the tallest, curliest, most fun slide of all!  She ended up upside down and on her back by the end, swam out of the water by herself, and loved every minute of it!  She laughingly told us in the hotel that night, "I thought I was died."  No fear in that little one for sure!
Taken at the request of Ms. Alaina Jade herself!  After a fun day in the sun at Splash Kingdom.
 So, summer winds to an end around here and we're gearing up for the fall.  Aiden starts first grade in a week and a half and I think we're ready to go!  He's enjoying this week with his Papaw Coleman and our family in Texas!  It seems to serve as a final summer getaway for a little boy that works so hard in school!  I'm so grateful that he's able to receive a good Christian education.  In my heart, I know that's the most important of his subjects all together.  We're raising kids in a world today that pulls in every way possible to stand for things other than Christ and the truth of God's word.  Not in this home.  Our children will be taught and prepared with the truth and how to defend it.  And as summer comes to a close, I hope all four of these kids carry memories of our garden, our vacations, each other, and the many things that the Lord has blessed our family with! 

Aiden and Gracie enjoying our one tiny cantaloupe harvest for the year!  They loved it though!  It was so hot and dry this summer, we were glad to get even just one to enjoy!

A typically hilarious moment in our home!  Lazy summer nights have been another memory to hang onto!
The beginning of school and the close of this very eventful summer also brings me back around to a place I love to be!  I'll be spending tomorrow with some ladies that I love dearly at the Pregnancy Resource Center that's become such a part of my life and heart.  And when school starts, I'll be headed back there weekly as a counselor.  I never intended to have time off, but now I see that God had other lessons for me to learn this summer!   

From our 100 plus degree home to yours.....may you all have a wonderful day, cherish these last weeks of summer, and ask God to show you who you were created to be!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And The Countdown Is On!

Gena.  My sister in law.  My friend.  A wonderful Aunt to my kiddos.  A very hard working nurse (well, until bed rest anyway).  Christian woman.  Married to Smiley.  One of those gals you just can't help but like.  Honest (even when we don't agree on every detail of everything).  Strong and beautiful.  Successful.  Yep, that's her.  And within the next 6 weeks....holding her own new baby, her first child, and glorifying God for the answered prayers that brought this little one to be.....through 12 more weeks of pregnancy since the first scare at 22 weeks.  That's BIG.  That's AWESOME.  That's a MIRACLE.  So mixed in with the excitement, the anticipation, and the joy to come is... gratefulness and praise.  Thank you God that little one has had more time to grow and develop.  And I thank God too, for a sister in law like her and a new niece or nephew to love.

Okay now, enough with the sentiments.  It's time to share some party pictures!
Aunt Gena and her two Jr. Hostesses....Alaina and Gracie.  They helped plan, decorate, and make sure her shower went just right!

Hmmm...I wonder what they're talking about!

Wait, hold on.....we need to throw a pose in the mix first!

When Gena began opening gifts, Gracie came and whispered in my ear.  She wanted to be sure that the 'gift delivery' was her job!  And she took it very, very seriously.  Such a great helper, she loved being involved in it all!

The shower was fun and now it won't be long! And we can't wait!  Baby will have great parents and the best of life to grow up in!  Now for the biggest question of all.....

BOY or GIRL?????