Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas, 2013.

Merry Christmas friends!!  We are currently in Utah with family for the holidays. It's been great to see everyone.  We have had snow all day long!!!  It's been a while since we have seen snow like this.  I love it!

Love, us.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When your husband has Meningitis… part 1.

This is either week 3 or week 4 of the viral meningitis attack on my husband, I really can't keep it all straight anymore.  I think we are entering week 4.  Chad is doing much better this week.  His pain has diminished and he is able to sleep, eat and be up for most of the day.  He's currently trying to finish his school semester projects and take his final exams.  I'm so proud of Chad and the way he has fought through this illness.  My husband is no baby.  He gets work done.  I think that has been one of the more challenging parts about this experience.  I know Chad would rather be helping me around the house or doing his school work than lying in bed resting.  Laziness is just not part of his nature.  He is doing better, but this is an extremely slow process.

Many friends and family members have been asking for updates, sending sweet messages, bringing meals and offering to help.  I confess, I have become very overwhelmed by this process of caring for Chad, tending to the children and finishing up my fall semester of school.  I know I have been horrible about responding to emails, texts, calls etc.  To those of you who have reached out to us:  WE THANK YOU, WE APPRECIATE YOU, WE LOVE YOU.  I thought our blog would be the best way for us to thank and update everyone inquiring about Chad.  While we would love to rehash the story over and over again (insert sarcasm), I'm sure that would not be helpful in getting Chad the rest he so desperately needs.  I wanted to put a little bit of this experience down on paper so that I don't forget the degree of difficulty we have been faced with while living here in Charleston.  Also, I never want to forget the friends we have made and how grateful and truly, truly blessed we are.  Thank you to everyone who has helped deliver a meal to us.  We haven't had to worry about dinner for two weeks y'all!  What wonderful people Chad has been blessed to work with in his OT program at MUSC.  This experience has rocked my world in so many ways.

4 weeks ago, my husband woke up in the middle of the night with the worst headache of his life, vomiting and many other flu like symptoms.  We were up the whole night considering an ER visit but decided to ride it out at least until the morning.  The headache never left and no amount of OTC meds seemed to dull his pain.  I knew in my gut (I've got a very intuitive gut) that something was just not right.  The next evening, Chad got tingling throughout the left side of his body.  It first traveled up through his fingers, up his arm, through his face and back down his side, down his entire leg and left through his toes.  Concerned about a stroke, given the tingling, weakness and terrible headache, I took him to the ER where he was diagnosed with nothing more than a migraine headache and given a prescription for pain.  (side note- I hope everyone knows the warning signs for a stroke.  It is imperative that stroke victims receive immediate attention for the best possible care.  If you don't know them, look it up!)  Back to Chad…They sent us home, the meds didn't help, the pain and vomiting didn't stop and he spent the next 2 days in bed like a vegetable.  By the 3rd day, his primary care doc sent Chad to Neurology to get to the source of the so-called migraine.

(a big big thank you here to Danielle and Rebecca for watching my children endlessly during hospital and doctor visits.  I cry just thinking about the two of you and your selflessness during what was probably the busiest and most stressful week of your own lives.)

Once Chad was referred to Neurology, things started happening.  We needed to rule out anything serious or potentially fatal, and quickly.  We were sent immediately from the appointment for a STAT MRI/MRA brain scan (this was deemed unnecessary during the initial ER visit).  I sat in that imaging waiting room with my sweet husband and thought of what I would do if I lost him.  I tried to be positive, I tried thinking of pleasant things- but my mind was preparing for the worst.  How would I go on without my husband?  How could I get out of bed and take care of our two little boys all by myself?  How could I provide for our family on the measly salary I would make without an advanced degree?  I thought all of these things and kept them inside my head, so as not to worry Chad even more.  Until that evening, I had no idea how worried and stressed I had become.

On the drive home from the MRI, the doctor called.  She had good news!  The brain scan was clear, there were no abnormalities, no tumors, no bleeding, no stroke.  So then…what in the world was going on with my husband?!  We still didn't know.  He was to be at the hospital the very next morning for more testing.  That night while laying in bed, I couldn't sleep.  I was so relieved that this thing wasn't cancer.  I was so relieved, but so worried about the days ahead and how we would all deal.

To Be Continued…

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday's victories & this baby bear.

It's finally that time of year when we can wear our warm cozy clothes again.  yes, i do love this season.  this day was a particularly good day in which, i not only washed my hair (major accomplishment) but I also took a little cat nap on the couch when the boys went down.  and so, we all had to go out to dinner and fro yo to celebrate these victories.  G calls it "froze mmmmm".

But tell me, is this bear hat not the sweetest thing?  This is our second emma made hat and i have to say we love them!  Each is handmade with love and comes in several different colors.  i'm a sucker for the simple, chunky crochet look.

in other news, i survived my chemistry exam this week.  not great, but not bad either.  it's a funny thing being a mommy and a student all at the same time.  I find less time for studying now but somehow i have more confidence in myself and my abilities.  it's like…hey i have two little boys, show me something i can't do!  in fact, i really wasn't much of a student at all until i had a baby.  chad and i joke about our tiny miracles everywhere- because these days, it always seems that we pass our tests and courses by nothing short of a miracle.  hallelujah.  keep it comin.

* ps Avett's bear hat ℅ emmamade.  you can find one here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

my second baby turned 10 months.

my baby boy turned 10 months.  It feels like time has slipped away again and here I am now, wondering where it all went.  this is my baby, and I'm never ready for them to grow up.  while watching them develop is the greatest and so much fun, a part of me is saddened by the reality that this baby is (soon to be) no longer a baby.  I'm not ready, not yet.  these past 10 months have been rough on us, all of us.  thank goodness most of what these babies require is attention and love.  love, i have plenty to give.

avett, i am in love with you and your little personality.  sweet and stubborn, stubborn as can be.  you and i, we wrestle most of the day when changing a diaper or when trying to dress you.  you HATE clothes and would be happy to crawl around in a diaper all day.  you are strong.   If a situation doesn't tickle your fancy, you know how to wiggle and muscle your way out of it.  you are a baby that knows exactly what he wants and will find a way to get it.  After a month of the army scoot which we've all come to love, you now crawl on hands and knees as the preferred method of mobility.  you love to pull yourself up to standing and cruise.  just yesterday you were standing on your own, mid air for a few seconds and had forgotten that you let go of dad.  we don't see much caution or hesitation from you, ever.  except- when I turn on the vacuum.  The vacuum, is not your friend.

you eat a ton!  I've never seen a baby consume so much food so quickly.  We are working more and more on finger foods, although you still love your baby purees- i think anything green is your favorite.  sweet peas, green beans, sweet potato, squash, avocado or bananas.  Cheerios are a huge staple, along with any of the crunchy, overpriced baby snack foods.  you won't take a bottle or sippy cup and still prefer to nurse morning, noon and night.  i look forward to those moments, no matter how tired or worn out the day has made us.  I dare say, you are a mama's boy and i love it.

those teeth of yours are monsters and have been keeping us awake at night.  at 10 months you have your two bottom front teeth and one top tooth just made an appearance today.  Sleep has been much better this month than the last few.  in general- you go down willingly for two naps during the day and sleep from 8pm until 7am.  you are very keen on your sleep schedule and do not like breaking routine.

you love padi-cake and will clap and sing on your own.  you will laugh hysterically if thrown up into the air.  you love to read and i often catch you turning pages all by yourself.  it really is the greatest when that happens.  you love being outside and taking walks, and like your brother, you seem to be at ease in nature.  you adore your big brother griffin.  anything he is doing, you want to do or be a part of.  when daddy comes home in the evening, the three of you wrestle on the floor and laugh and play.

i love how you have been such a blessing to our family.  the first few months were anything but easy and it has not been without a lot of extra work- but we would not be the same without YOU and your little spirit bouncing around.  I am so grateful that you came to us, that you changed us.  i see so much strength and love in your little eyes.  I am so so glad to be a part of your journey, that I have been entrusted to care for you and that I get to watch you grow.  I'm so thankful to have such a hard working husband who understands and makes it possible for me to be with you every day.  He loves you too, more than you'll ever know.  You are capable of amazing things, baby boy.  always use your strength to do good and to take care of others.  we will always be here for you, loving you and cheering you on.

love, mama.

avett @ 9 months.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

more angel oak.

a few weeks ago we visited the angel oak tree again.  it's one of our favorite places to go when we have friends come to town.  the weeping oaks here in the south are so magnificent.  this one is particularly large and quite famous.  there really is something special about witnessing this beautiful tree in person.  if you ever have the chance, go see it.

love, us.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

goodbye summer.

It's October, i've purchased my pumpkins and have actually worn pants twice.  we still have 80 degree weather here in Charleston and even though you wouldn't know it, i guess summer is over.  I'm not wanting to let it all go.  This one was particularly amazing, spending most of our weekends at the beach, nobody was pregnant, and we had some of our best friends come to visit.  pj and lyds- time to move here.  or at least buy a beach condo, no?  goodbye summer.  When next we meet, Chad will be graduating and i guess that is something to celebrate!

The end.

love, us.

Monday, October 7, 2013

on going crazy & things i'm learning with 2 kids.

you can find this cute print here via

some things just don't get done.  like showers, makeup, hair, adequate rest and so forth.  most days if we are leaving the house, i hide under my great big dark sunglasses, throw on an easy to wear maxi dress and call it good.  my husband says he likes this "earthy" look and that i'm beautiful.  what a sweetheart.

one has to make time for herself or the whole thing falls apart.  its been an important discovery that there will never be enough time for everything.  there just isn't enough.  sometimes, its ok to be a little selfish and go to yoga.  my husband has always said, if you don't take care of you, you're no good to anyone else.  he's so full of wisdom, that chad.

you will most likely find me changing a diaper or feeding a baby.  i do it all day long.  and in the midst of tantrums from my 2 year old and the baby screaming for more attention, i find myself going just a little bit crazy.  don't you?  that point where you need to hit the reset button and start the day over.  or, when you wish the day would just end so you can start new tomorrow?  it happens!  and i just need reminders like this cute print i found one day when i really needed it.

um but hello, blessing.  Griff decided to potty train himself.  have i told you yet?  my bearly 2 year old boy wanted elmo undies.  so we bought the undies, the potty book, elmo dvd, etc.  and i'm thinking, great this is going to be horrid for the next 6 months to a year- because boys never potty train until like 3 or 4.  GRIFF IS POTTY TRAINED.  except for naps and nighttime, but does that really count?  with little hesitation, he just taught himself.  granted the first day or two chad or myself took turns on the bathroom floor, waiting and waiting and praising and clapping.  but he did it.  my smart little dude knows exactly where to go potty and he knows he needs to let us know when he has to go potty.  he looks at me with this big huge grin and every time, "look mama, i go potty!  i go potty!"  and then afterwards has to find everyone else in the house to tell them he successfully went potty.

sometimes, you have to just smile and laugh.  because, last week i had one of those crazy days.  the 8th day in a row that we had been couped up sick in our apartment.  first griffin with a feverish croupy cough, then mom, then avett.  there was no lack of snot in this house.  gross.  i decided to avoid the crazy that morning and we found ourselves at the local target, wandering the isles- as one does to kill time before naps.  i've had my eyes on a cute pair of fakey suede booties for fall (which are now sold out because i waited too long) that i thought i might purchase, you know to ease the crazy.  we left the store early because avett learned how to wiggle his way out of the seat-belted cart and his older brother pulled every pair of shoes out of the box to try them on.  under normal circumstances this would have maybe been adorable, but not on a day like that day.  tantrums arose as soon as we hit the home decor isle and so i decided it was time to leave.  one boy being carried out on my hip screaming and the other being bribed with my iphone.  they have a free pbs kids app, did you know?  great parenting.

and then at home in the late afternoon, just when i'm quite sure i can't hold a crying babe any longer- daddy comes home early to watch the boys so i can study for my chemistry exam tomorrow (the fun never ends). And, nobody cries when daddy is home, wouldn't you know it.

love, us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

while on vacay.

1.  shooting hoops at grandma and grandpa's- in the same yard where his daddy grew up.  Griffin is 27 months.
2.  the vegas & brother's wedding.  the desert is hot in the summer.
3.  the happy couple.
4.  hot couple, obviously.
5.  sleeping baby on a plane.  miracle.  Avett is 9 months.
6.  fresh picked berries from grandpa's garden.  luscious.
7.  cousins.

we had such a great time out West!  I can't wait to go back again.  I never thought I would miss the dry, desert heat.  But you know what?  I did.  I just needed a tall glass of ice water every ten minutes!  And it was so so great to be around family.  and those mountains- they welcomed us home again with open arms.

love, us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

that one day my brother got married.

a couple of weeks ago, my little brother got married to the cutest girl ever.  the four of us flew to vegas and I can't tell you how much fun it was to be there for the event and to see my siblings!  we are so far away from family right now, (approximately 2500 miles or something) that when we do get together it's such a treat.  it was a long way to travel but the babes did so well.  thanks to my new sis-in-law for allowing us to use these gorgeous photos.

At their fabulous reception, we had frozen yogurt and dancing.  two of griff's favorite things.  not to mention, they played his favorite song on the dance floor, which i'm sure was the highlight of this little boys life!  we love you uncle buddy and aunt courtney!  Congratulations to the happy couple:)

love, us.

*wedding photography by annie randall
*BYU football jersey c/o grandma & grandpa

Friday, September 6, 2013

brother, earning his stripes.

in other news, I may not have mentioned it here on our blog before but my little brother is playing college football for the Cougars.  This is his first year as a walk on.  Not only is he getting playing time, he's doing quite well.  the life of a walk on, or so i am told-(i know nothing of these things, so take this for what its worth) is no easy one.  He has to earn his place everyday.  nobody is handing out scholarships or giving him extra favors.  he earns it.

bud was always the littlest guy on the team, yet the most fierce.  which, really those are the funnest athletes to watch- in my opinion.  here he is now signing autographs and all and we could not be more proud.  i mean, we purchased cable and everything for the occasion.  cable.  and let me tell you, cable tv is a complete rip off.

love, us

* if you watch... his current number is 6, last name Thornton.  Sat 9/7, game time this week is 7pm EST on ESPN2.  you know we'll be glued to the tube.

Monday, August 26, 2013

a few of my favorites from Sullivan's.

here are some more shots of us out at Sullivan's Island last week.  i'm so happy we were able to capture some sweet moments during this crazy time in our lives.  Clearly, my two year old thinks he owns the beach.  its quite difficult keeping him out of the water.  both boys are little fishies in the water and fearless i tell you.  but how gorgeous is this water??!  I'm not sure we'll be able to leave the beach when chad finishes school next summer.  we have absolutely fallen in love with it.
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