Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Recap

We had such a busy and fun Thanksgiving holiday. Here is a brief recap:

I ran the Asheville Turkey Trot with my cousin Jessica. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner in Mars Hill with Trip's family. On Friday afternoon, we went to see Nemo on Ice (thanks so much for the tickets, Leslie) and then went to my parents' house to hang with my family. Trip drove down to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech vs. Georgia football game yesterday. I watched it on t.v. with my parents and Chris and Grant (unfortunately the wrong team won). Then, tonight we had family and a couple friends over for Harding's birthday party (he turns 3 tomorrow). Anyway, it has definitely been a whirlwind. And we have so much to be thankful for! I hope everyone else had a happy Thanksgiving.

Jess and I (pre-race):

Here we are waiting for Nemo to start:

Shelby bouncing--her new favorite activity!

Harding getting ready to eat cake:

Harding and his best-bud Derek playing with birthday toys:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OT, etc...

An occupational therapist from the Early Intervention Program came out today at my request to do an informal evaluation on Shelby at the same time that she had PT with Beth. Beth and I have been slightly concerned that Shelby often fists her left hand and isn't able to use it as adeptly as her right hand. Since OT deals with fine motor skills, we wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything important. The OT visit today went really well. Garnett (the OT) confirmed the fact that there is some asymmetry between Shelby's two sides, but only slight. She told us to basically keep doing what we have been doing, which is to massage her left hand and thumb and to try and figure out ways to encourage her to engage that hand and arm. She also suggested that we do a formal OT assessment towards the end of January and look at picking up OT on a regular basis then.

Today's evaluation marks the beginning of a very busy month for Shelby. We go back to Duke on December 7th to follow-up with Shelby's neurosurgeon and orthopedist. Then we have her 6-month pediatrician check-up and Shelby's neurologist the following week. Finally, we have an appointment with Shelby's ophthalmologist on December 23rd. I look toward all these appointments with a mixture of anticipation and dread. I love finding out more about Shelby and her brain because it helps us to understand her and care for her better. At the same time, I am absolutely terrified of getting bad news. Anyway, please keep us in your prayers with all these upcoming appointments.

In the meantime, Shelby continues to progress developmentally and is interacting with us more and more. She constantly reaches out to touch our faces and smiles and "talks" to us in baby gibberish. All of these are very good signs. We have also noticed in the past week that her vision is improving, which is so great! She continues to amaze us and we are certainly blessed to have her in our family!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The Prayer Shawl Committee knit hats for every child at our church and gave them out today. What a wonderful gift....and don't Harding and Shelby look adorable in them?

Friday, November 20, 2009

1st tooth!

Yesterday I noticed that Shelby has gotten her first tooth!! She had been fussy for the last few days and now we know why. Anyway, in honor of her being 5.5 months old and getting a tooth, we're going to start rice cereal this weekend. Also, my friend Julie took these beautiful pictures of her this morning. Thanks so much Julie!! Babies sure do grow fast....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GCPC Women's Retreat

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Montreat, NC with 15 amazing women from Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Since Shelby is still nursing, she came along and got to hang out with baby Avery (the only boy on the trip). Avery has such a happy disposition and the sweetest chubby cheeks I have ever seen on a baby (next to Harding's, of course). This women's retreat gave me some much-needed time for fellowship and spiritual reflection, which I am very thankful for. Plus, I think Shelby had fun too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trip and Harding's fort

I went to the grocery store today to pick up a few necessities. I came home to a construction project. You see, Trip was using his mad civil engineering skills to help Harding build a fort with the sofa cushions. Harding was so excited about this that it was really hard getting him to go to sleep this evening.

Do you think this structure would go over well with the professional engineering board?

Welcome to Holland

I've come across this little story before, but saw it again today in one of my books and it really struck a chord with me.


by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Monday, November 9, 2009


We have set up a youtube page so that people can view our uploaded family videos.  We just put up a few of Shelby laughing (our latest obsession) at a toy box that her "Momo" made for her.  The link is below and also on the right side of the page.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Car trips and Shelby don't go well together!

This is an adorable picture of Harding holding a content Shelby's hand on the way home from the beach last month. That car trip went surprisingly smoothly. Apparently she was just teasing us.

If I had taken a picture of them (particulary Shelby) on the way home from Atlanta at 9, 10, or 11, or even 12 p.m. last night, it would have not looked like the sweet picture of sibling bonding above. You see, our normally good-natured smiley baby turns into a whole different infant when we try to drive somewhere for more than an hour. Trip and I agreed when we were on our 3rd nursing stop (for a normally 3 and 1/2 hour car-ride) that this was Shelby's last long car trip till she gets a bit older. Then we remembered that we have to go back to Duke next month. Oh well. We realize that Shelby is very laid back, sleeps through the night, and almost never fusses, so she should be allowed to "express herself" in the car.

On the upside, we had a really nice stay at Trip's grandparents' house in Decatur on Friday and Saturday. Harding absolutely loved being spoiled by his "Granny" and "Papa Gene". Also, Trip took Harding to the Georgia Tech game yesterday afternoon and they beat Wake Forest in overtime! It was an ugly win, but a win all the same. While the boys watched football, Shelby and I got to visit with my friend Melanie and her very cute baby Henry, and then eat at a really good Mexican restaurant with the Hannah family. It was great to hang out with old friends and I am kicking myself  now for not bringing my camera (five-month-old babies are really cute together).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mommy's Funny

Laughter two days in a row!  This time it was mommy's turn to make her laugh.  Tiff started tickling her and Shelby was just cracking up.  Even better--she would start laughing in anticipation when Tiff told her she was about to get tickled.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More laughter

I am so glad I caught this father-daughter moment on film today. There are a couple significant things about this video. First, Shelby is cackling like crazy. She smiles all the time when she hears our voices and sometimes gives us a little bit of a giggle, but she doesn't laugh out loud on a daily basis. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that she can't see very much. She only laughs when someone is kissing her or tickling her, and not every time (she's a tough crowd). Second, notice how Shelby keeps reaching out and touching Trip's face. She is starting to do this with us more and more and it makes me really happy. The eye contact is not there, and I'm realizing that it doesn't matter--we are still connecting! She is initiating physical contact with us! Such a sweet girl. We love her so much!

Halloween Fun

, Even though it was rainy yesterday and Trunk or Treat was cancelled at church, we still managed to have a wonderful Halloween. Harding dressed up as a monkey. He actually wore the same costume last year, but since it still fit him and he didn't remember wearing it previously, we went with it again. Trip and I were prepared for Harding to be afraid of people in masks or scary costumes, but he wasn't at all. He got really into trick-or-treating and didn't want to hold our hands as we walked up to people's doors. The whole West Asheville Halloween scene was totally surreal--all the houses were decked out with scary decor and the streets were packed with costumed children and adults. I felt like we were in the movie ET. On the way home, Harding kept saying, "I think I like candy!". In fact, he wanted to start in on eating his "loot" at 7 this morning.

Harding and Trip carving the pumpkin grown by Barbara and John:
Shelby and her monkey brother:

Harding with our sweet next-door neighbor, Haven:

Do you see what I mean about West Asheville?
Happy Halloween!