Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

I've sat down to type out a "Christmas Recap", so to speak, a bazillion times now. Although the primary purpose of this blog is to be Ethan's baby book, I still struggle to find the words to tell how our Christmas went without sounding like a museum curator. "Now, here we have a lovely species opening up present number 867."

However, in an effort to not forget important details, I decided to just highlight a few things and let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

-Jeramie, Ethan, and I celebrated with just the three of us on Christmas Eve Eve. We woke up at my parents' house on Christmas morning, and spent Christmas night with Jeramie's family.

Excited about his puzzle from Mama & Daddy

"Hey! What happened to the cookies?"

Looking dapper at Grandma & PawPaw's house.

-I found some seriously cute Christmas PJs for Ethan this year!

That spin top to Ethan's right was mine when I was a baby! I got it for my first Christmas (December 1982).

-Two major family traditions continued: an oyster roast with my family and a poker tournament with Jeramie's. It looks like the poker trophy will be coming back to our house this year ... way to go, babe!

Me and Mama prepping the shrimp and oysters.

The boys chowing down.

Jeramie won the trophy back from his brother, Nick.

-We learned that Ethan is a huge fan of ham.

A picture speaks a thousand words.

-It was a white Christmas!

Mebane, NC ended up with about 6 inches by Sunday afternoon. Raleigh had even more than that!

-Jeramie and I made it a point to spend very little money on Christmas presents this year and we succeeded in giving special, homemade gifts.

Daddy with pictures of his baby girls.

A garden stone for Grandma.

A sign for Rick's new building. (Jeramie hand-painted that!)

-This was the first Christmas not spent with my sister but, thankfully, the last!

-Ethan definitely received more than his fair share of presents! Jeramie and I are currently in the process of donating some things and rearranging our house to make room for the rest.

His first train set.

Playing with all of his loot, thanks to some help from Poppy.

Ride 'em, cowboy!

Ready to ride, personalized plate and all.

We are so blessed to have all of our family close by, and to feel such love from them! I'd say that 2010 is ending quite pleasantly.

Here's to wishes for a healthy, happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here and there

No worries; we're still here!

Ethan is going on five weeks of continued sickness and I feel like we've lived in our pediatrician's office since last week. The good news is that we took him back in last night and he already seems to be much better today. Yesterday's diagnosis was croup, which came with a lovely round of steroids.

Christmas Eve breathing treatment

So, in case you've lost count, we've gone from a common cold (no treatment), to Reactive Airway Disease (albuterol), to a sinus infection (antibiotic), to croup (steroid). Ethan is all jacked up on medications, which makes for some pretty entertaining moments, but man ... Mama's tired.


I know many of you follow Jonah's story but, just in case you don't, his Mama posted today about a great fundraiser for EB. Scroll down her post (after you've read the first part, of course) and check out the Thirty One bags! I, personally, plan to buy one of the thermal totes. It's super simple to place your order and you can feel good knowing part of the proceeds will go straight towards dEBra.


Speaking of fundraisers, fellow heart mama, Shannon, has started an organization called Hope for BraveHEARTS. She is partnering with Ethin's Heart Still Beats to create a cookbook entitled "Recipes from the Heart" and they need your recipes!

I know many of you out there love to cook and can make some pretty fabulous dishes; you do not have to be a "heart family" to submit your favorites (do it in honor of Ethan, or to honor another family fighting CHD)! You can read more details about submitting recipes here.


I'll be back later with a Christmas re-cap, but it was definitely one to remember. We stayed in Mebane with my in-laws Christmas night and were fortunate enough to get a white Christmas! There was nothing like looking out the window, through the glow of the Christmas tree lights, after presents had been opened, and watching the snow fall. The mental snapshot I took of that moment could have found its way into a Norman Rockwell painting, no doubt.

Quaint and snowy - The day after the snowfall


And, because I don't want to hoard the cuteness of Ethan's southern drawl, I leave you with this...

Bye for now!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

-Luke 2: 10-11

With love,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Going, going, GONE!

It is with all the excitement I can express through a blog post that I announce:

Ethan is officially tube-free for the first time in 21 months and 13 days!!!!!

We did it!! ...well, actually, Ethan did all the dirty work.

He had a hard time falling asleep yesterday afternoon, went down later than usual, then woke up around 6:15 crying like crazy. Nothing I did would calm him down, then we realized he had a pretty bad diaper rash. As Jeramie ran water to put him in the tub, I began to undress him and realized the G-tube was GONE.

I yelled something along the lines of, "Oh my God ... his tube is gone!" and Jeramie came running into Ethan's room. He eventually found it laying on the floor by his crib. I guess Ethan decided it was high time it made its exit. We scrambled to re-insert it, but his stomach wasn't having any of that. Jeramie and I just stood there for a second, looking at each other ... "What in the heck do we do?", I asked ... more staring.

To explain our frame of mind at that point, I'll say that Ethan's team of doctors agreed that the tube would be removed after cold and flu season. Knowing that we haven't used it in four months, but also knowing the doctors really wanted it to stay put through the winter, put us in quite the predicament. Do we rush him to the ER where he could catch who knows what, and where we would stay half the night waiting for some resident to try to get the tube back in? Or, do we say "it's been real" and throw the blasted thing as far as our arm will let us?

The cardiology fellow assured us that it wasn't an emergent situation; the tube could be re-inserted this morning if the team felt that was necessary. Our beloved Dr. I is out of town, so the fellow ran all questions by Dr. M, another trusted cardiologist who knows Ethan's history well. The fellow told me to call him through the night if anything were to change but, otherwise, he would call me this morning with Dr. M's decision.

Jeramie and I both agreed that we wanted the tube to stay out. I am thankful we were on the same page with that, and I was elated when the fellow called this morning to say that Dr. M felt the same way! The G-tube is a goner!!

Other than the panic surrounding not being able to get the tube back in place, the whole situation has been pretty anti-climatic. One day there's a little bulge under his shirt, the next day it's gone. No band-aids, no leaking, no gauze. In fact, the opening has already started to scab over! It all feels so strange.

I felt a little bit of fear try to burrow its way into my soul this morning when the final decision was made, but I fought it away. I reminded myself of how faithful God has been throughout this whole journey. God gently brought Philippians 4:6-7 to the forefront of my mind, and He comforted me with the fact that Ethan barely ate while I was in Portland, yet hadn't lost any weight as of yesterday. Again, it was as if I could hear Him say, "I've got this."

So, I'm choosing to listen. And, you know what? Ethan has eaten more today than I've seen him eat in a really, really long time.

Here's to clothes fitting better, and lots and lots of kisses on that sweet bare belly!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

Hello, sunshine and Eastern Standard Time; it is so nice to be in your presence again! My plane landed in Raleigh around 7:30 last night and, although I had a fantastic time in Portland, I was very happy to be home.

My view as I walked through security.

I'm not even sure how to begin to tell you about my adventure. The flight from Raleigh to Portland was fairly uneventful. Other than some strong headwinds (read: turbulence = one freaked out Joye) flying into Portland, it was smooth and comfortable.

Sunrise between Raleigh and Dallas

Snow-capped Colorado Rockies

I met the coolest couple on my connecting flight, and our conversation ranged from talking about their deaf son, to Ethan, to faith, to what to do in Portland, to overhearing them discussing their goals for 2011. At one point, I remember thinking to myself, "I want to be like them when I grow up." I never did find out their names.

I'd like to be able to tell you that Jessi and I hit the ground running once I landed in the City of Roses, but that would be a lie. Truth is, we found ourselves in the midst of a major hiccup with the rental car company.

The short story is that funds I had deposited before the trip weren't available and, therefore, I didn't have enough money in my account to cover the hold for the rental. The manager was sticking his neck out every which way to help me, but to no avail. Thankfully, I was able to get him connected with a representative from Orbitz, via my cell phone, who both worked together to cancel my rental and process a full refund. Woot woot!

The moral of that story is: even though you've paid for the rental, make sure you have even more money to cover the fact that the car company doesn't trust you to bring it back. However, if said funds aren't available, be sure you've rented from Avis at Portland International Airport, and ask for Matt.

I swear, if we both hadn't been wearing wedding rings, I would have kissed him.

Anyway. You may now be wondering how we got home from the airport without a car. Enter: public transportation.

Waiting for my first Max (light rail) ride!

We took the train through the city, which took us to a bus stop, which took us to an intersection seven blocks from Jessi's house. Our feet carried us the rest of the way. For those of you who don't know my sister personally, and I say this with all the love in my heart, she can be a little ditsy. However, that girl made me so proud navigating us around that city! Had that been me reading those maps and looking for bus stops, we would have been in Washington State. That naive little country girl sure has come a long, long way!

Jess rolling my luggage seven blocks. In the rain. What a good sister!

I won't bore you with our step-by-step itinerary, but let's just suffice it to say that we did everything on our list! We bought a day pass for the bus on Saturday and got our money's worth! From Sunday, until I left on Tuesday, we were able to borrow her roommate's car, so my bus/train experience was short-lived. Honestly, I don't know if I would have made it four days walking between bus stops and throughout the city. Don't I just sound like a spoiled-rotten American? I give major props to those who rely on public transportation, my sister included!

On the train, headed to our bus stop.

Once we made it to Jessi's house, dried our clothes, and freshened up, we were on the go for three days straight, stopping only to eat and sleep! I think it's safe to say we made the most of my time out there. See for yourself:


Downtown Portland

HUGE Christmas tree downtown


VooDoo Doughnuts ... YUM!

Portland Winterhawks

Teddy Bear Toss!!

12,178 bears!


The place to get biscuits and sweet tea in Portland. The owners are from Raleigh and are NC State graduates!

Chapel of Mary at The Grotto

Our Lady's Grotto

Festival of Lights at The Grotto

ZooLights at the Oregon State Zoo

Train ride through the zoo


Driving to the Oregon coast - lots of tunnels!

Seaside, Oregon

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Oregon beaches are NOTHING like ours - freezing cold and extra windy!

Bundled up and showing off the Pacific

Our small glimmer of sunshine

My first trip to Ikea!

No visit with my sister is complete without a fabulous new hairstyle.

So, there you have it; Portland in 30 pictures, or less. I probably could have stayed another week, but I was missing my boys like crazy, and I'm sure Jessi was ready to get her bed back!

Flying back home. Chris Tomlin's "How Great is our God" came to mind as I stared out my window.

Jess, thanks for being such an amazing host, tour guide, hair stylist, and sister. I'm already itching to see you again ... I love you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...