Saturday, February 27, 2016

Round here

Lana's class is studying the digestive system,
and last week they calculated the length of their small intestines,
and measured them out with yarn.
These 4 have the longest guts in 4th grade!

The dinner plate didn't quite make it on the counter.
These travertine floors shatter everything - even Corelle!

Does anyone else have weird conversations like this with your husband?
I think it's funnier than Dan does.

I got to have a girls night with my dear friends Laura & Emme,
and we SO enjoyed sushi at Nom in downtown Pensacola.
We're going back with our husbands next week.
It's the freshest sushi we've found here,
and maybe anywhere!
They also make their own ramen noodles in house.

Tucker has adjusted beautifully to his new class,
and we're so proud of his great behavior.
Green is good conduct, purple is the next step up,
then blue, then pink is the highest.
He was super proud of his blue last week,
and asked me to take a picture.

His teacher posted this precious comment on my Facebook wall:
I LOVE that this teacher is affirming and celebrating this.

Katie and Colter are two of the young adults we mentor,
and we LOVE how they just fit themselves in to our family life.

Katie says Pepper isn't cute.
It's a good thing I still let her come over.

Lana has asked her to wake her up 15 minutes early each morning
so she can read her Bible.
She comes in to our room where we are getting ready for the day,
and curls up in our corner chair.
She often has company:

And then when the brother wakes,
the chair gets really full:
I love mornings. 

Dan & I were driving down Scenic Highway a couple of weeks ago,
and Dan spotted someone running as fast as they could down the sidewalk.
He actually said, "Man, that guy looks like he just robbed a bank."
Turned out, he had just robbed a CVS.  
Dan stopped to talk to the police and give a description.

Last weekend we had date afternoon with the kids.
Tucker & I went to the movies to see Kung Fu Panda 3:

 and Lana and Dan went to a Daddy/Daughter movie at church

 Check out this awesome tent that Lana built!
She & Tucker did it by themselves,
and spent so much time in it all week long.

Lana played the part of Balaam during chapel this week:

Dan sent me on a 24 hour retreat at the  Lee House in downtown Pensacola,
including an hour long massage at MOOD.
What a wonderful gift!
I absolutely love my life, but am an introvert at heart,
and so sometimes I just end up very empty.

24 hours of complete solitude and near silence
was just what my soul needed!

I just sat and thought for long periods of time.
I dozed.
I drank hot tea.
I read good books, and my Bible.
I looked at the water.
I picked up my favorite sushi from Nom
and ate it alone in my room.
I didn't turn on the TV one time.
I soaked up the sunshine,
curled in my favorite blanket on the porch
And then I couldn't wait to get home 
to my noisy, extroverted, wonderfully needy people!

(Side note: this is one of the best parenting books I've read in a long, long time.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Update on Pepper's eyes

Update on the littlest member of Team Davis:

When you aren't just a dog, 
but rather a beloved family member,
and your eyes go bad,
your mom gives you (rather expensive) Ningxia Red to drink
because it contains more antioxidants than any whole food.
She also rubs frankincense around your eye sockets
because pure, therapeutic grade frankincense oil does really amazing things
(just google it),
and those wise man brought it to baby Jesus
so we know it's good stuff.

 And when you have the best friends ever,
they send you SO MUCH LOVE on Facebook and Instagram.  
Literally hundreds of posts  and comments and texts
with words of encouragement and support and prayers.

and care packages show up on your doorstep
for your beloved, blind puppy
from seminary friends

and a friend from college
send dinner to your doorstep 
because she knows you are tired and have your hands full,
as well as a shipment of adaptive devices for the pup,

and a friend from your home church in Fairhope
takes the time to put you in touch with someone in Washington State
who has a blind beagle,
and this stranger offers you such words of comfort 
about how well beagles adapt to blindness,
that you feel like you can breathe just a bit

and a friend from high school talks to her veterinarian friends
and asks them all of your questions for hours and hours
and refers you to a veterinary ophthalmologist 
(which you didn't even know existed in this world).

And then you call and make an appointment with this speciality doctor
in Ocean Springs, MS
and you and your husband rearrange every plan you had
because they had a cancellation and can see you the very next day
instead of 6 weeks from now

and you stop at Starbucks for some caffeine to help you stay awake,
paid for by a friend from high school
who sent you a gift card at just the right moment

and the barista gives your precious baby
a Puppicino
and it's just the cutest thing you've ever seen

and that blind beagle baby
is the best little roadtripper you ever did see,
so happy to ride in the car she's never allowed in
on the blanket that smells like Lana
(who is her absolute favorite person)

and then you arrive at the office
and meet the most wonderful people:
when all that happens in the matter of a few days,
you know that Jesus loves you and loves your dog, too. 

Here's the truth:
I would have loved these people even if the report had been bad.
They were absolutely fantastic,
from the kindest receptionist
to this team of 2 who had the best bedside manner of any doctor I've known.
Listen to me:
If your animal ever has any eye trouble, this is where you want to go. 
This is who you want to see:
Dr. Galle and his assistant Daphne 
They are absolutely fantastic.
Dr. Galle has taught at the university level, 
and yet is the most down to earth, compassionate man you will meet. 

Daphne is my new BFF. 
I hugged her today, even though we had just met.  I couldn't help it.
She had the sweetest, most calming presence,
and never stopped smiling.
You know how sometimes you'll meet a person 
who is doing what they were literally created to do?  And they love it?
That's her. 
Even if they hadn't given us hope, we would have loved them.

They did have good news for us, though. 
He diagnosed Pepper with Uveitis. 
In about 50% of cases, the cause is never determined. 
In about 75% of the cases with no underlying issues 
(tumors, fungal infections, nothing that Pepper has), 
vision returns, slowly but surely. 

Pepper's eyes are still remarkably inflamed; 
she will continue on meds for 2-4 more weeks.
We will go back and see him next week to determine progress. 
Whether or not our dog ever gets her vision back, 
our experience with them was absolutely wonderful today. 

Additionally: they couldn't say enough about what a fantastic, thorough job 
Dr. Corrigan at Chemstrand Oaks did. 
He said it was exactly what he would have done, 
and rare for a vet to have been so thorough and careful.   
They both sang her praises!
So if you're looking for a vet, we highly recommend her!

We have happy, thankful hearts as we travel back to Pensacola today.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pepper's eyes.

This is Dan getting some Pepper love on Valentine's night.  :)
You can see here that her eyes are barely open.
She's a bit of a lazy dog,
so when she had difficulty keeping her eyes open 
that night when we got home from our date,
we didn't think it was that unusual.
We commented to our friends who kept the kids for us
that they must have played really hard to make her so sleepy.

The next day, she still seemed to have a hard time keeping her eyes open,
and I found her like this as I was getting ready,
but if you know Pepper at all,
you know that her being lazy isn't so strange.  She's a cuddle bug.
And she still had a normal amount of activity, too, so she was ok.

But by mid week, she was pretty pitiful.
She could barely hold her eyes open,
and when I peeled them open, they were red and puffy.
It seemed a lot like allergies to me.
She only wanted to cuddle up to her mama,
and just acted super sad.  

So Dan took her to the vet Thursday afternoon.
They did a tear duct production test.  Fine.
They used dye to check for corneal tears/abrasions.  All clear.
They used numbing drops, then dilated her eyes,
and took her to the back to do a pressure test for glaucoma.
That test was fine, too.
The vet really had no idea what was wrong,
and prescribed us some non-steroidal ointment for her eyes,
and was getting ready to send us home 
when she noticed Pepper's right eye was not constricting back from the dilation.

She sent us home with the eye drops, and an anti-inflammatory,
and told us to check back in with her tomorrow.

When Pepper woke up the next day, she was completely blind.
The inflammation was much better, she could open her eyes,
but both her pupils were blown, and she could not see.
She bumped in to everything, 
wandered around the house very confused and disoriented,
and ultimately just laid down because she couldn't make sense of it.

We immediately took her back to the vet,
we determined that her vision is gone,
and we have absolutely no idea why.
She ran a bunch of other tests, 
and determined she is completely healthy other than her eyes.
They've sent off a blood titer for tick-borne illnesses,
and she did have a tick on her a few weeks ago.
That should come back on Monday.

However, her vision is gone,
and there's little hope for recovery of it.
No one has any clue why she lost it.
She has some symptoms of SARDS, but not all.
She has some symptoms of Uveodermatologic Syndrome,
but that is characterized by consistent constriction of the pupils, rather than dilation.

It's so sad.  She doesn't bark when someone comes to the door;
she sits at her favorite window, but acknowledges nothing outside it;
we have to walk her out to use the bathroom because she can't yet find her way back to the door;
she doesn't race around the circle in our house anymore;
she doesn't go to wake the children in the morning.

It's so, so sad.  We've all cried quite a lot over it.
I overhead Lana whispering to her two nights ago:
Don't worry, Pepper.  It's going to be okay.
You're a Davis, and Davises take care of each other, no matter what.

Those big brown eyes have always been the very definition of puppy dog eyes.
Breaks my heart to see those huge pupils, and blank stare.
Fortunately, other than being sleepy from all the meds we are giving her,
and quite disoriented,
she is in good spirits.  
If we spoiled her before....well, that's nothing.
We are going to care for her and love her and make her absolutely rottenly happy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chapel at Aletheia

We were so glad to get to join our children today at school for chapel!

I had the honor of speaking to the 4 year olds through 6th graders.
That's a huge age span to cover,
but they were fantastic, and stayed with me the whole time!
We talked about finding all of the "clues" in Scripture that point to Jesus,
and in that way, letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly. (Colossians 3)

Dan spoke to the 7th - 12th graders,
and his sermon on faith without works being dead involved a BB gun:

I love sitting under his teaching as he divides the Word.
So, so good, and always gospel-centered.
I'm thankful.

We love our new school and are so glad to join with them in the work they are doing!

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

Maybe this holiday is commercialized,
but I love it anyway!
My mom always made it really special for us as kids,
so it makes me smile to do the same for my people.

Starting on February 1, I put a heart on everyone's door at night,
telling them something that I love about them:

The Friday before Valentine's Day, we spent all day at the kids' school,
celebrating with them!

 Lana was feeling the love Friday afternoon:

Sunday morning,
Lana & I celebrated God's love with some of the best kindergarteners around!

Our Pastor declared the day a Red-Out, 
and encouraged everyone to wear red.

We sure do love Katie & Colter!

We got to have a dinner date for 2 at Dharma Blue,
thanks to these 2 lovebirds!
They are getting married in October,
and insisted on spending their Valentine's night doing this:

 so we could do this:

Dan surprised me with a gift certificate for a night at a hotel in downtown Pensacola, along with a massage!  OH.  MY.  HEART.  He knows the way to his introvert's heart.

I gave he & the kids tickets to Monster Jam,
along with about half a dozen other dads and kids from our church.

I am so thankful for Team Davis!