Breathing Easier...

Mark and I traveled with Emmie to Emory to meet her neurosurgeon Dr. C on October 17th.  Her appointment was in the afternoon, so instead of loading up and staying overnight at Ge & Granddaddy's house, we were able to arrange childcare (through an awesome babysitter, M, and friend, Kristina) and drive there and back.  Emmie did awesome for being in the car that long!  She has learned to be a great car rider with all our trips.

Driving down we laughed and chatted and enjoyed spending time together while Emmie slept.  But when we got there we both clammed up and tensed up. We honestly had no idea what Dr. C would want to do at this point.  We now had a better view of her plexiform than the first MRI.  We knew he had seen it in their joint conference and in his office.

Dr. C was very kind and basically told us that this was an opportunity for us to meet should we ever need his services.  Because the plexiform is not causing her pain or hindering her development at this time, he did not want to remove it.  He showed us where the plexiform is with the MRI images and showed us what part he would remove which would prevent a lot of nerve damage.  We discussed the different types of plexiforms.  He willingly, and patiently, answered our questions.  The gist is, she won't have to have surgery unless it is causing her problems.  The plexiform is attached to the nerve that goes to her right arm.  As long as she continues to not have problems with that arm, then surgery is not needed.  He also told us that her case was brought up in joint conference (with all the "neuro" people) because the plexiform is rather large and a more "difficult" case.  He perfectly agreed with Dr. W's protocol of following up in six months.

Dr. C said that of all the NF patients that are seen there, he operates on a plexiform about once ever two years or so.  He said it's very seldom that his services are required for NF kids.

I think Mark and I both grew two inches when we left that office.  It really felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me as we left.  My baby was going to be okay and no need to worry about surgery right now.  We enjoyed the rest of the day with a trip to the farmers' market and a nice quick meal out before rescuing Kristina!

Thank you to everyone for the prayers!  We have felt them so much.  We are so blessed to have family and friends who willingly and lovingly are walking this journey with us.

I know I have a way to go before I can fully rest in the Lord.  I know He is in control of our precious Emmie but it's tough letting go and trusting Him it always is.

August Randomness

Picture overload to commence in 3...2...1...

 At Ge's house, there are dogs.  Real ones and fake ones.  The fake ones are perfect to sit on for some tv watching.

 Daddy helped make a light hut to grow plants.  Our real plants in our real garden grew.  Alas, these did not.
 Emmie thinks her brother is pretty cool and I would say the feeling is mutual.

 We had a grumpy Emmie one day and Zoe offered to wear her.  I got a bit of work done and Zoe got a few extra cuddles.  This cuteness is a bit overwhelming.

 One day all was quiet and I went upstairs to find six kids playing and laughing.  Over legos.  Ah, if every day could be like this.

 More cuteness...Emmie sleeps with her hands behind her head.  Sometimes I catch her holding her ear to sleep.
 An unfortunate accident.  Liam met the counter with his face and as a result got a big ol' fat lip.

 Emmie's new trick.  No rolling but she can go to her side like a pro.

 This is why she can only go to her side...Her people surround her and watch her like a hawk.

 Being 4 is so hard.  Especially on pizza night.
 Mark woke him up so he took a bite of pizza and was chewing it in his sleep.

 A cold snap (aka in the 80s) meant schooling in the yard.

 That's Josiah's foot.  He was sitting in the chair next to this one and somehow slipped his foot in and couldn't get it out.  I tried.  He tried.  I took a picture and sent it to Mark (okay, I posted it on Facebook too).  Just as I was talking to Mark, he wiggled it out.  And then we all laughed.

 Our church has a summer program and the kids all did so well, our pastor had a fun end of summer miniature golf trip for our families.

 My girls!  Actually, these are daddy's girls.  No doubt about it.  I like to pretend that Emmie prefers me but who am I kidding?!  Daddy rocks.

 I wonder what she is pondering in her sleep.

Ceili Rain took her baby to church one day.  Complete with diaper bag filled with things to occupy her.  She patiently held her and changed her and loved on her.  It was too adorable for words.

One With Nature

Since we are studying botany this year, nature walks are a must.  Our first one happened in the heat of August...right after we had a couple of cold days.  It was hot as "blue blazes" whatever that means.

We survived.  And the kids managed to snap a few pictures with my phone.  They may or may not all be of plants.  You be the judge.

 Alien thumb!  Run!

 A stump...this one speaks to me.

 That's Liam's shadow selfie.

Fire hydrantus.  Common in most neighborhoods and zones and can be found along many roadsides.

Wasp Attack

We were able to attend our local minor league baseball game again this year.  The ball club was generous enough to give the kids who completed the reading program tickets.  We thought it would be fun.  Only, when we got there did the kids inform us that they didn't enjoy the game last year.  Oops.  We invited some friends along but apparently, those friends didn't enjoy it either.  Strike two.

And then, Ace went to the top of the stadium and put his hand right in a wasp nest.

Yeah, strike three.  Thankfully, he was not allergic to them and only had a sore head (three stings on the head and two on his hand) for a day or so.

This was the only picture I managed to get.

The game was a double header and we got there halfway through the first game.  After the first game, the kids were able to walk around the field.  So, our kids walked and then were ready to leave.  This will go down as the least fun ball game my kids have seen.  At least we got to visit with our friends.

The amazing hubby

My oven is fairly new.  We purchased it a couple of years ago before Malachi was born.  It's nothing short of awesome.  I honestly use it or the stovetop one or twice a day.  Every day.  But, in August one morning as I was putting our muffins in to bake, I noticed the top broil heating unit on.  I thought it was funny but continued on my merry little way.  I still thought nothing of it as I opened the oven door and was blasted with the heat.

Only when I started smelling burnt muffins five minutes later did I realize that our oven was broken.
The poor muffins...Mark and the kids said that only the top was burned and that they were quite yummy..

Mark came home that night to a heartbroken woman.  My oven is my constant friend as I feed these growing people.  He pulled the oven out, turned on his super smart brain and ordered the broken part that night.  Three days later, I had an oven that worked again.  He was and is my hero!

Fall in Love

with Lilla Rose and a sale!

That's right!  Three days only get 15% off select brass, brown or black items.  What a great time to get Christmas gifts for your loved ones!

Check out this adorable pairing with the Festive Fallen Leaf Flexi!

School is in Session

Technically, we started school in July of this year.  However, I didn't get "first day of school" photos until August so here is my school post for this year.  Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation for mentioning the following products.

Everyone is working on:

Mystery of History Volume 1-We have already done this volume but took a break last year for American History.  This year, we're back at it.

Exploring Creation with Botany-I'm not going to name names but there were a few groans about studying plants.  Needless to say, when we started breaking out our Nature's Workshop Plus Botany Lab Kit, the groans ceased.

Math Mammoth-While I still love Life of Fred, I've noticed that the kids seem to not have enough drill and thereby are falling behind on several math skills.  I was able to purchase Math Mammoth through the Homeschool Co-op at a great price.  So far, I like it and it seems to be helping the kids catch up to speed on all things mathematical.

I have very good intentions to add some dication in there as well...Good intentions.

She has a lot of good books to read this year and some she has already read.  We're focusing this whole semester on getting through The Lord of the Rings and subsequently watching the movies as a treat.  This book has provided a lot of great opportunities to discuss various themes throughout literature as well as looking at how our beliefs influence our actions and in Tolkien's case, his writing.

IEW Rockets, Radars and Robotics-Yes, there's some technical in this, but there is also a lot of fun creative writing.  Okay, I say it's fun creative writing but the kids just make faces.  And for even more added fun, I'm snagging essay contests as they come across my email.  They are jumping for joy.  Zoe and Ace are both doing this.

Spelling Power-We continue to trudge through this curriculum and we usually do it once or twice a week.

Winston Grammar-First Language Lessons did an amazing job setting a good foundation in grammar that following up after that has been hard.  Winston Grammar has worked out well in that it takes a different approach (labeling versus diagramming) to identifying parts of speech and after completing it and the Advanced, she will be completely done with grammar.

His reading list is different than Zoe's but other than that, we are using the same curriculum as she but on a different level.

He is learning cursive this year!  I know that it's not common to teach it but since so many fonts are in cursive nowadays, I find that teaching how to write it also helps to learn to read it.

Building Spelling Skills-Every super hero has a weakness and spelling is Liam's.  As a decent speller, it is  hard for me to accept but he is working hard at it and appears to be doing well on grade level.  This curriculum is a little slower paced and repetitive enough that I think it is helping in the spelling area.

First Language Lessons of the Well-Trained Mind-Liam is doing a great job with this curriculum this year.

Again, different reading list.


He has his own reading list as well and is continuing on the same curriculum as Liam but only at a grade level below him.

Ceili Rain:

My newest student is working in Abeka Phonics and Saxon Math K.  She has two sidekicks (Bryant and Malachi) who enjoy the lessons as well.

And now for the obligatory first day of school pics: