Thursday, August 30, 2007

Life with Lana today (1 year, 1 month)

She is soaking everything up like a sponge, and learning new tricks everyday.  Here are a few of her new tricks:
  • If you sing, "If you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet," she'll stomp her feet with you!
  • She can point to the things she's not supposed to touch (door hinges, trash can, remote control) and say "no, no."
  • If you try to give her something she doesn't want or touch her when she wants to be left alone, she'll tell YOU, "No, no!" and shake her little finger at you.  We must get this on video.
  • She will play patty cake with her feet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What do I value more?

Do I value God's blessings more than I value God? Today I went to chapel with Dan, and Dr. Bruce Ashford asked us to wrestle with that question.

I believe I learned a song as a child "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done." So...let me think about God's blessings in my life...material or otherwise. Let me think about what brings me enjoyment: the DVR, a husband who is hot beyond belief, Mocha Frappucino light with no whip cream, a daughter who is the light of my life and the life of every party we go to, smocked outfits to dress said partier in, a fabulous digital camera, neighbors who I could spend all afternoon and night chatting with, wireless internet at home, phone calls from my little brother, ripe peaches on the counter, oil-free eye make-up remover, a big comfy nap-inducing couch, adirondack chairs on the back porch, lots of sharpies on the desk, cast iron on the front porch, a Radio Flyer wagon for the kid, a local library just minutes away from my home, my eyelash curler, visits from our family, a feather pillowtop on my bed, a video monitor, a clean bathtub to soak in each night, $0.79 64 ounce fountain Mountain Dew at Sheetz, Blue Bell Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream, naps in a room where sunshine streams in the window, clean linen air freshener, Oxiclean, a nurse advice line available 24 hours a day, unlimited long distance on my home phone, portable DVD player for the wee one, hot water on tap, BBC, my jogging stroller, diamonds that Dan has given me, my mom making a pan of Thanksgiving dressing for us, my flip-flip crocs...and I've just touched the beginning of my list.

Wow. If, as James says, "every good and perfect gift comes from above..." then God has poured out so many good gifts on me that it's shocking. What a generous, doting Father I have.

Do I value His gifts more than I value Him? Do I love what He gives me....or do I love HIM?

And when my heart resounds with the reply that I love HIM most, where does that leave me? What action does it inspire, require? Perhaps none. But probably some. I'm allowing my heart to open to the truth that He may ask me to leave behind all the gifts except my husband and my child and go where He sends me.

That scares the crap out of me. But, as my heart has sung to my God countless times, "Today, I choose to follow You. Today I choose to give my yes to You." And I covenant with my Father today that I will leave that yes at His feet, and will go where He sends and do what He asks, and I will do it joyfuly. And if that requires living without a daily soak in a hot tub with a great new book from my local library....I still say yes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I took Allana to the hospital this morning for the ultrasound of her kidneys and bladder, due to the UTI she had on July 4.  

As expected, the ultrasound showed no abnormalities.  The hospital staff tried to insist on a VCUG, as ultrasound doesn't show reflux until a great amount of damage has been done.  

My mother's intuition tells me, though, that her UTI was an isolated instance, and I didn't want her to undergo being cathed unless absolutely necesarry.  

The doctor and I compromised - once I told her we had an appointment with a pediatric urologist, she told me we could wait until we met with him to decide if she needs a VCUG.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Every night right before I go to bed, I get butterflies in my stomach, a lot like the ones you get on Christmas Eve.  Those little flurries of anticipation and excitement...the eagerness for the night to hurry by so you can be the giver and receiver of gifts...the delicious sense of being on the cusp of something wonderful.

Today I spoke with God painfully about my daughter...I begged Him to protect her, to hold her in His hand every day, no matter where we go or what we do.  And perhaps because I've spent so much time in prayer over her today, I identified this nighttime feeling clearly tonight.  It became so apparent to me that I had to come back downstairs and write about it.

This Christmas-Eve feeling is because I can't wait for the next day with my Allana.  Most days she's an angel, but I feel this way every single night, even at the end of really bad days.  No matter how stressful the day was...or how whiny she was...or how many temper tantrums she threw...or how poorly she napped...I still can't wait for the next day with her.  I still can't wait to see her morning smile and smell her sleepy breath and pick her up and cuddle her in my arms. 

Being Allana's mother has given me just the slightest bit of insight into the way God must love us.  Most days I love Him and behave well, but there are some days that He must get so exasperated with me.  Days that He has to discipline me for my poor behavior.  More often than I would like to admit, I have whiny, grumpy, stressful, angry days that must simply wear my Father out, even to the point where He can't wait for me to go to sleep and give Him a little peace and quiet.  But each morning, He greets me anew, ready to start the day with me again.  His mercies are new every morning for me, in the same way mine are for my little girl.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My father.

A few weeks ago, my father died. 

His death was expected and prepared for, and, for me, brought an end to almost two decades of pain caused by abuse and abandonment. 

Unlike others in my family, I can remember almost no good that he did. 

As I look back, I see that every action in his life was manipulative and evil. 

The only positive contribution he made to my life was helping bring my brother Allan into the world. And because of that, I would never change the role he played in my life - Allan is far too precious for me to regret my father's presence in my history.

His death caused me to stop and ponder the meaning of forgiveness. When he died, I had no anger or bitterness or sadness left in me. I truly had forgiven him. I had even made several attempts to contact him and tell him that I forgave him. But it wasn't ever about him, was it? Forgiving him had a lot more to do with me.

Next to Hebrews 11:6 in my Bible, I have this written: God does not mind you facing disappointment, hurt, pain, fear, or even death if it will bring Him glory. I read that this morning and know that my prayer should always be that everything in my life brings Him glory.

As I listen to my husband play with my daugther in the next room, I smile. He is cuddling her close and telling her, "You are the most precious baby girl. You are all mine!" I never felt that I was my daddy's baby girl; the lack of that kind of love created a void in me that only God has been able to fill. 

My heart swells with the knowledge that my Allana will never have a void created my her father. I searched until I found a man who will be my daughter's hero...perhaps her life will be the one that brings the Father glory, rooted in the hurt and pain of my past.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's back to school we go

The first morning I was to drop her off, I prayed all the way to school.  My stomach was in knots; it is so hard when she cries when I leave. 

God went before us, of course, and drop off was wonderful.  Her precious teachers are Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. Mary Mac.  They have us hand the children over the door to them, which eliminates the experience of putting your child down on the floor screaming; you're instead putting them into someone's arms.  They had the bubble machine on, and Allana immediately said, "Bubbles!" and went right to Mrs. Ashley. 
Thank you, Lord....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More loveys!

Are you all aware that I am married to my hero?  Just when I thought I had exhausted every option when it came to finding duplicate loveys for Allana, I turn the project over to him, and he finds 2 loveys in a matter of 3 phone calls and 15 minutes.  

And not only did he find those loveys, but he found a shop that will monogram them for free and send them to our door!

Laurel Cottage Designs is the shop in South Carolina that came through for us, and our loveys will be on their way within a week!!

Thanks to everyone who searched for that darn puppy dog lovey.  Now we have three, and she should be able to put it in her backpack for her first day at kindergarten.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tubes at Blue Ridge surgery center

Our dear friends Dustin & April had their baby this morning at 3:00 a.m., so we were at the hospital with them until nearly midnight.  We got up at 5:30 this morning, to arrive at Blue Ridge Surgery Center at 7:00 a.m.  We had about an hour and a half wait before her procedure began.

We all did really well; Lana didn't cry one bit when they took her back, and neither did her mommy!   I did have a lump in my throat the whole time she was in the operatoring room, but I had a strong peace about the entire situation. 

Dr. Brown completed the whole surgery in 12 minutes, and that includes putting her under anesthesia.  He said it went very well, and that he thinks this will solve our ear infection problem!  She had a hard time coming out of anesthesia, crying and screaming uncontrollably for nearly 30 minutes.  When she burps, she gets very upset; you can tell that it hurts her little ears. 

She is eating oatmeal, cheerios, and blueberries for breakfast right now, and seems to be in much better spirits. 

We have to put in ear drops for 3 days, and then we go for a post-op visit in two weeks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First visit to the dentist

Allana's appointment with her pediatric dentist went really well today.  I had never heard of a pediatric dentist in Alabama, so this visit was exciting!  The office is gorgeous, completely child-friendly, and full of color.  They have a "patient bay" where they see patients.  There are lots of child-sized chairs in a big open room, so the kids can see other kids who are not scared.

Dr. Buddy checked Allana's teeth, gums, etc.  He treated her 6 little teeth with a flouride varnish.  Her two front teeth are slightly crooked, but he said that they are spaced well, which is a good sign.  He said that the little flap of skin that attaches your top lip and your top gum is a little long, which sometimes leads to a gap in the two front teeth, but it's nothing to be concerned with now.

He did tell us that we need to start flossing....hmmm....we'll see how that goes tonight. 

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lana's 12 month check up

Allana had her 12 month check-up today, and it went wonderfully!  Dr. Dirk was very pleased with her vocabulary, and he thinks she'll be walking on her own very soon.  He says that everything is happening just as it should with her - the only thing he fussed at us about was that she still has her pacifier.  He said to have a ceremony as soon as tubes are done and get rid of it; that she'll understand the concept of throwing it in the lake or what have you.

He is also sending us to a pediatric dentist.  Her front two teeth are slightly crooked, and although he thinks that they will straighten out on their own, he wants us to check with a professional.  She's supposed to see a dentist at one year, anyway.

She weighs 23 lbs, 3 ounces, which puts her in the 80th percentile.  She is 32.75" tall, which puts her in the 97th percentile for height.  Her head circumference is 48 cm, which is also in the 97th percentile.  She is very tall for her age, but Dr. Dirk says she's very proportional!  He did say that "well-nourished" babies like Lana usually take a little longer to walk!  : )

She had her finger pricked for the lead test, and she got 3 immunizations.  She didn't cry a bit during the finger prick; just watched the nurse very closely.  She screamed her little head off when they gave her the shots, but as soon as I picked her up and told her it was "all done" she quit crying and waved at the nurse. 
It was a great visit; we are so grateful to have a healthy, happy little girl.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lana's ultrasound/VCUG....or not.

We arrived 30 minutes early at WakeMed North today.  Her registration was at 10:00, and we were there shortly after 9:30. 

We went to the ultrasound wing, and the very kind lady working there said we did not have an appointment.  As a matter of fact, Allana did not have an appointment at any WakeMed hospital in the state at any time. 

I immediately called our pediatrician, who said that WakeMed had just called the night before to request some info before our appointment today!  He had his nurse call WakeMed to find out what was going on, and told us to just stay where we were for the time being.  (Easier said than done...Lana is due for a 10:00 a.m. nap, so she was beside her self with fatigue.)

We sit down to wait, and around 10:15, the receptionist in the ultrasound wings has the idea to call the hospital scheduler.  The scheduler tells us that we do, in fact, have an appointment.  That appointment, however, is not at WakeMed North where we are sitting, but at WakeMed Main.  They tell us we have missed our registration time, so we may have to wait until 5:00 p.m. to get worked back in.  Yeah, right.  If any of you have been around Lana when she needs a nap, you know it's a joke to think she can go from 8-5 without being in her crib. 

So...back home we went.  We have rescheduled the ultrasound for August 23rd, and her follow-up appt. with the pediatric urologist for August 27th. 

What a day....