Friday, March 7, 2014

Embrace the Awkward

There is not enough Internet to fully explain how awkward I was as a child (and still am today). 
 Rest assured, it started early.  Sure I was adorable.  But clearly, my mother had NO IDEA of what to do with that hair. 
 I was in fifth grade.  My ears were not pierced, so I wore some homemade clip on earrings.  And a bow.  And curled my bangs.  I think this is when I began to slip into serious awkward territory.
 And in sixth grade I had my mom take me to get a spiral perm.  What?  I think I wanted to look like Julia Roberts.  Instead, I look more like a Labradoodle.
 Another one in sixth grade.  I'm on the middle row on the left.  I was pretty much always a smaller child.  And a really late bloomer.  I think that most certainly added to the awkward. 
 So in seventh grade the perm was growing out but I brought back the bow.  And an oversize tunic shirt with shoulder pads.  I was also wearing floral leggings and Sam and Libby bow flats.  Maybe I would have looked less weird if any of my clothes fit. 
 Eighth grade was a less awkward year for me.  You may wonder what in the world is going on in my mouth.  I was born without a whole mess of adult teeth.  Two top lateral incisors (which wasn't awkward at all, let me tell you), two bicuspids and all of my wisdom teeth.  A lot of dental work had to happen on this grill to get it to where it is today.  So from seventh through tenth grade I had all of thes springs and braces and headgear and mouth drama. 
 Ninth grade may have very well been the PEAK of my awkwardness.  I had braces and acne and puberty was still eluding me.  So I jazzed up my school pic with one of my MOM'S necklaces.  Fancy. 
 Also, about this time I broke my leg.  Let's amp up that awkwardness in the front yard at my dad's house.  Why not?
 
I was probably sixteen here.  Maybe seventeen.  I look twelve.  And judging from the way most girls dress today, I look eight. 
 
Let's just be thrilled that with the help of dermatology, cosmetic dentistry and over twenty years of taming this mop on my head I look marginally less awkward today. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cast #5

Last Sunday we flew to Chicago to get Allyn's next cast.  Cast Number Five.  Seriously y'all.  We are on number five.  Before this whole casting thing started I just knew we would be doing three or four casts and she would be straight.  Turns out that is not our journey.  We had a few days of intense physical therapy to work on crawling and standing and trunk ROTATION, ROTATION, ROTATION.  The lack of the ability to rotate her trunk along with the added weight of the cast has made hitting gross motor milestones pretty much impossible.  But without the added weight she was doing a great job of standing and even some assisted walking.  It is after all about 15% more weight added to her body. 
 So Sunday we headed up to the western suburbs to look at houses.  Wait.  What?  I probably forgot to mention to you all that we are moving back to the Chicago area.  Ben has a new position and it makes getting her medical care so much easier.  We looked at twenty houses in December and found nothing.  We looked at six more and nothing.  But it makes it hard when you have a pretty good idea where you want to be.  If worse comes to worse, we can always rent something.  I just plan on us being in this house for longer than we have been anywhere so I don't want to end up with a floor plan I don't love or a location I'm not wild about.  After we looked at homes we had to go and watch some cartoons at the hotel. 
 We had our last bath for the next SEVERAL weeks.
 And got all dried off.  She really enjoys bath time now.  But the first bath out of cast is always a little foreign to her. 
 We headed into Shriner's early on Monday morning.  They were forecasted for snow, fortunately nothing was coming down before six that morning.  Yeah, it's six in the morning.  She is all smiles. And she was until we went back to the pre-op holding area.
 We got checked in and had x-rays.  The quality is not the best (I blame Ben's photography skills), but we are still somewhere in the 50-degree range.  We have kind of decided that we are not seeing much any improvement because she really isn't growing.  So if you want to say a little prayer (or a big one) that she grows in this cast and starts to straighten out that would be amazing. 
 While she was in surgery I got a call from Nolan's school that he threw up in class and that I needed to pick him up.  So that marks the FOURTH time he has had the stomach bug this year.  I called Mimi to let her know and she headed in to pick him up.  (He had the stomach virus for FOUR days.  It was AWFUL). After the casting we headed back to our hotel and the snow was coming down.  They ended up getting about seven inches of snow.  Also that night the stomach bug got Ben.  Ugh!
 The next morning we went and got some of the margins trimmed to make the cast more comfortable and headed home.  Bye Chicago.  See you in a couple of months.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On the lives we've imagined

Back before Allyn was born, Ben and I talked about how we would probably need a newer and bigger car.  We purchased a Camry in 2007 for me to drive.  And while I was totally fine with driving it into the ground, it would probably be a little on the smaller side for two above average size adults and two super protective bulky carseats carrying our precious babes.  We decided we would probably wait until the summer after Allyn was born to buy a minivan.  (Although Ben really, really, really wanted a Tahoe or Suburban or some other oversize and expensive vehicle....until he realized just how expensive they were).  By that point she would be nearing the point of walking or wanting to walk and a bigger vehicle would make more sense.  Plus, I was totally cool with not forking over a fortune on a new car for as long as possible.

Well, we finally bought a minivan this past January.  Nolan loves it.  And I have always driven cars close to the ground (Mercury Topaz, Honda Civic and the Camry), so the sitting higher up is a nice change for me.  We ended up waiting beyond summer because Allyn doesn't walk.  She doesn't crawl.  She doesn't say anything.  And she may have to be rear-facing in her car seat until she is three years old based on the suggested weight for turning her around. 

You can plan and plan, but sometimes things change.  I wouldn't trade this little dolly for anything or anyone IN. THE. WORLD!  But looking back two years ago while I was pregnant and doing everything to give her the best chances of being healthy, I would have never imagined we would be here today. 
 Seriously y'all.  I ate right; I exercised up until the day before she was born; I removed caffeine from my diet; I took my vitamins and nothing else.  And because we were trying so hard to get pregnant, I didn't consume any alcohol if I thought there was the slightest possibility that if I peed on a stick it would show up positive.  (Which was every month.)  And when she was born, she was perfect.  And we never even knew anything was wrong with her until she was about 5 months old. 
 So now I am trying to navigate the world with a child that ultimately has special needs.  Someone mentioned joining up with an Early Intervention group.  And up until that point I never thought of her as an EI kid.  She's just Allyn.  And I guess that's the thing about this new place we are, and now how I know other parents living a life with a child that does have special needs see it:  they're just kids.  Orthotics and aids and therapy makes them different to everyone on the outside looking in, but not to us.  I really don't even notice Allyn's cast anymore.  It strikes a nerve with me more when she is out.

And she is out of Cast #4.  We'll know how well this one worked when we go back to get Cast #5.  She is still so curvy, but her right rib hump is looking smaller.  I think back to last year when we went to the beach right before we started casting and how bulging it was.  It looks so much better now.
 From the front you can also still see some of the asymmetry in her left ribs. 
 And while it looks like she has grown quite a bit from the last cast, she is still super tiny.  I offer her the highest calorie things I can think of.  Plus she still nurses 8 times a day and from our volume study she is getting about 5 oz each time.  That in addition to meals and snacks, it's enough to make you worry if you really think about it.  So I don't.  I just keep feeding her. 
 She is really enjoying her time out of the cast this go-round.  She can rotate to make transitions and bearing weight on her legs is much better without the added 2+ lbs.  We are in therapy every day while she is out to see if we can pick up some new skills and keep those skills when we get our next cast on.
 And she sleeps like a dream out of cast.  Like.  A.  Dream.
 Oh, and the N-ster would like you to know that he is totally ready for some warmer weather.  We have had snow on the ground her for over a week.  And for the longest time it was overcast and cold.  Reminded me of when we lived in Chicago.  It's enough to make you depressed. 
This weekend in supposed to be beautiful.  Sun shining, snow melting, playing outside beautiful!  And we are going to take full advantage of it!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ice Cream Thief

I love mint chocolate chip ice cream.  It's by far my favorite.  And even better, it's not Ben's favorite and Nolan hates things that are mint flavored...AKA: spicy.  There are not many things that I buy and I single-handedly consume.  Dinners at home, dinners out, desserts, bottles of water, even cups of ice water that I fill up at the house usually are sipped on by one of the kids.  (Did I mention I have a cold right now.  Wonder how that happened?)

Well, guess who has developed a taste for the mint chocolate chip ice cream?  My dolly. 
 I have started buying her Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream.  It seems to have more fat and calories than other brands out there.  Plus, it's kind of amazing.  After school we usually come in and Allyn and I have ice cream and Nolan has a popsicle. 
Oh, but what does this little doll prefer?  The Talenti Meditteranean Mint gelato that I was overindulging snacking on.  But who can blame her?  It's totally amazing.  So now I am once again on the hunt for something that I love to eat and is not the preference for anyone else in the family.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sick Days

Last Friday morning, the stomach bug hit our house.  Nolan woke up around 6 yelling at me from my bathroom.  So I woke Ben up to help out.  He spent all day either vomiting, on the toilet or sleeping.  But he's a strange one.  Right after he gets sick he is ready to get back to it.  It's like it never happened.  It was hard to restrict his food and liquids intake.  But when you are home with one sick kid and one well baby, you try to limit the number of episodes and subsequent cleanups. 

So this is how Nolan spent Friday.  Eating rice.  Eating applesauce.  Drinking tiny sips of water.  Playing ipad.
 And sleeping.
 And how Allyn spent Friday.  Working on the computer (taking everything out of the desk drawer).
 Having a tea party.  And generally staying away from her brother. 
 
And just because you have a stomach virus and get over it doesn't mean you can't get it again 5 days later.  Nolan is home from school again today.  He woke me up just before 4 this morning vomiting in my bed.  Ben is out of town and both kids sleep in our bed while he is gone.  So while changing the sheets, I had to wake up Allyn.  She was crying because I woke her up, Nolan was crying because he was sick.  And I wanted to cry because I was having to deal with this while Ben is out of town.  Fortunately my wonderful (and I stress WON-DER-FUL) mother-in-law came over just after 5 a.m and took Allyn back to her house.  Nolan and I both went back to sleep around 7 a.m. and he woke back up at 9:30...still feeling gross (I couldn't sleep a second past 8 a.m.). So it's another day of recovery at the Scarbrough house.  Is it awful to say that I am completely and totally ready for summer to arrive and all of this sickness to be gone. 
 
 
Hopefully today will involve a lot more of this.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Testimony Tuesday

Several months ago Kelly asked me to participate in her Testimony Tuesday.  I was completely caught off guard when she sent out the email, but I hesitantly responded yes.  She has since put TT on hiatus.  But I have a testimony, and today I am going to share it with you.  (It's light on pictures and the quality is questionable, but who wants a pictureless post?)

I was raised in the Mississippi Delta.  I attended a Catholic school and an Episcopal church.  My parents are divorced.  Every other weekend I attended church with my dad.  My weekends with my mom, sometimes we went to church and sometimes we didn't.  When I was old enough to serve as an acolyte in church, I did.  Often times my grandmother would pick me up and bring me with her.  When I had my license (and a car in working order), I would go by myself.  I loved church, church groups and at 15 years old I made the decision to be confirmed at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville, Mississippi. 

 I was baptized when I was an itty-bitty (and quite adorable) baby.
I am the oldest of three girls.  (Yeah, terrible haircut.)
 
I left for college and tried to never look back. I never attended church in college unless it was with my sorority or my friend Will Hunt made me go with him. I would sometimes go if I went home. And when Ben and I started dating I would go with him and his family to church in West Point when he was in town. I was far more focused on being spiritual. I believed in God and the Bible and Jesus. I wanted to be good. But boy did I make a lot of mistakes during that time. 

I had so much fun in college.  If you knew me then, you may think I had too much fun.  

And despite having friends who had their salvation nailed down, I didn't.
 

Ben and I got married and we moved around and never really attended church with any regularity.  After Nolan was born I kind of thought that maybe we should start attending a church.  Ben's parents live here and are members of First Baptist Church.  He suggested going there.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  When I was seven or eight years old I attended church with my friend Jamie.  During the service at her very Southern Baptist Church, the guest preacher said that if you are baptized as a baby you are going to hell.  And as a very literal interpreting child, I came home and cried and cried.  I was baptized in my church as a very tiny little baby.  My mother assured me I wasn't going to hell.  So instead we started attending the Methodist church here.  But I just felt so out of place there.  No one was my age.  No one stayed home with her kids.  Nolan was in misery in the childcare.  And the list goes on and on.  And it didn't feel like a church home, so we quit going with any regularity. 
 Why is this the cheesiest engagement photo?  And how young do we look?
 After our wedding ceremony and on the way to the reception.  It's such a shame I didn't even know how Godly my husband was when we first married.
Early in our church going days when we were not happy in church, but we went.
 

So we weren't attending church and I was pregnant with our second baby.  Nolan was going to a mom's day out program for eight hours a week.  The second baby was due at the end of July.  I needed him to be in preschool more the next year.  For my sanity.  So I signed him up at his current preschool.  About the same time (that February) we began going to church there weekly.  I went nearly every week up until the Sunday before Allyn was born - an entire week past my due date.  Allyn was born and when she was about a month old we started attending church again.  Nolan was also in preschool three days a week and I would run into the same people over and over again.  And while Bentonville has a small town feel, it's really not Mayberry small.  So to run into the same people at swim lessons, and the gym and church and school and WalMart, well it's a little ironic.

 My little ray of sunshine.
With the little dude at the beach this past summer.

One school day after DNOW, Laurie invited me to the Sunday School class that her husband teaches.  I was most certainly not down for a class after church.  But I mentioned it to Ben and we decided we would go and Nolan would start attending Sunday school too.  After all, our friend Kacy was teaching so it wouldn't be too bad.  We went and it was painless.  And we kept going.  And I was listening and learning and through all of this I really began to question my spirituality.  What was my relationship with God?  I prayed...selfishly.  I read the Bible....children's stories to Nolan.  I believed.

And then in March of 2013 our daughter was diagnosed with a pretty serious orthopedic condition.  When we got the diagnosis from the orthopedic surgeon in Little Rock I was hopeless.  And lost and I needed somewhere to lean.  And I knew I needed prayer.  So I sent out an email to our Sunday School class.  I cried the whole time I was typing it.  And they prayed.  I could feel it.  Every day.  It was peace.  And slowly (or maybe suddenly), God was back in my life. 

And then she was casted three times and never once have I been uneasy about her journey.  And it is a really scary place.  But was I saved?  Was I living in Jesus?  Short answer: no.  I wanted so badly to be there, but I wasn't.  I kind of felt like I needed something great or maybe I was beyond hope.  I really don't know why.  But there it was.  And then one Sunday we are discussing the story of the loaves and fishes.  And really, isn't that miracle a great story.  But the real miracle comes after the loaves and fishes.  At least for me.  And this is the story that most connects to my testimony. 

So after this very tangible miracle of feeding 5,000 Jesus decided to send his disciples across the Sea of Galilee ahead of him while he goes to pray.  So these disciples are out in the water in a storm and they are losing it.  They are afraid they might go down in this ship.  And then they see Jesus walking on water.  And Peter tells Jesus that if it is Him to have him come to Him.  Peter steps out of the boat and then sinks and cries out to the Lord to save him.  Jesus does and gets on the boat and the storm calms.  Peter and all of the disciples had seen Jesus's miracles and felt His presence and even they doubted.  And He did what He had promised....gotten them to the other side.  The storms were rough and it was scary and they doubted, but they made it. 

I was no different that these guys.  And I was in the storm.  And feeling Jesus's calm.  And I couldn't deny Him any more. 

Do I still feel guilty that I turned away from God for so long?  Yes.  Do I feel guilt that it took my child being diagnosed with a terrible condition to bring me to Him?  More than you can imagine.  But I made it to exactly where I needed to be.  And in my time.  Just in time.  But my story doesn't end there.  I pray it's really just beginning. 

Here is a "mom moment".  Watching N play the iPad.  

Some time around Christmas I became so convicted that I needed to go before our church and make my salvation public and follow in Believer's Baptism.  And I was totally freaked out by it, but I couldn't shake it.  I was so embarrassed to go before this church in my mid-30s and declare my salvation.  But one night I talked it over with Ben.  And he reminded me it's not about me.  It's about Him. 

Brother Phillp had spoken two Sundays about listening to that still small voice so this past Sunday I went before our church and did just that.   I told Ben as he was walking with me that I thought I was going to vomit.  And then afterward in Sunday School someone joked with me because she had been through the same thing and I just kind of sat back in the wings and didn't say I was struggling with the same thing.  What can I say?, I was scared and embarrassed.

So there it is.  My testimony.  I have lived a life that by all accounts has been good.  I have been giving countless blessings and endured some pretty rough heartache.  And those things are real and they are mine.  But none of them matter if they don't give glory to His Kingdom.  But I am so blessed that they got me to this place.

I would add that I know a lot of people may read this and have some pretty harsh criticism.  And you don't have to keep it to yourself.  Feel free to hide behind "Anonymous" tags on your Internet comments.  And I probably won't be able to answer your questions or debate your theology.  I'm not a Bible scholar. 

I know this to be true:  YOU are a child of God.  Jesus died to forgive all of your sins, no matter how far you think you are from forgiveness.  And your life might still look hard from the outside even after you have found peace in Jesus.  But even though you can't explain it, you will know when you're there.

And, thanks for letting me tell you my testimony.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Boy

There is a lot of talk around these parts about our girl.  She is with her momma a lot of the time and she loves me and doesn't mind a little quality time in front of a camera.  The boy is a different story.  He is in school three days a week.  And he is busy.  And can't be bothered to take a picture most days. 

But he is such a special little thing.  I love that he loves his sister.  Don't get me wrong, there is definitely some terrorizing.  But when they play together, it will melt your momma heart. 
 This was the two of us on the Christmas train in Springdale.  Mimi went with us, but he wanted to sit by his momma.  (And for anyone thinking I am trying to compete with other mommas, look at that "fresh" face and unwashed ponytail hair.  Like I said, I'm quite possibly in dead last most days.)
 And when you need to send daddy a picture showing that a product is in stock, why not add an adorable face?  He was such a trooper this night.  Ben had gone out of town to go duck hunting and I took him and Allyn to the store around 7 p.m.  And who was in the best mood?  This guy.
 And he is in a wonderful preschool program.  His teacher, Mrs. Beth, really is a huge blessing.  She is firm and compassionate.  He has learned so much in preschool this year.  It's hard to believe that in just a few short months he will be five and starting kindergarten in the fall.
 This was Friday after school.  He and Allyn were both so pleasant all day Thursday and Friday.  When he got home he asked for a popsicle and then to play the iPad for a little bit.  How could you say no to that face?  (Now, yesterday was not a pleasant day.  There were a lot of fits and even more tears.  Kids like to keep you on your toes like that).
 And my most favorite thing about my little buddy is that he's still a little guy.  He loves to be picked up (yeah, all 50+ lbs) and carried around.  And every night he asks me to come and sleep in his bed after the baby is asleep.  And sometimes he will just fall asleep in my lap.  How could you not just love all of those sweet things?
 
He is totally my little big guy.  I'm so so so lucky to be his momma!  And as much I would love to bottle him up at this stage and keep him like this forever, experience with the boy has shown me it only gets better.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

She's So Busted

Santa brought us an INSANE amount of Christmas candy.  I would say it would take us months to get through the stuff but I love chocolate, so the reality is we'll be done with it in a few weeks. 
 
 
Miss Thing found a bag in my purse.  Unwrapped all of the stuff she could and took one single bite from each piece.  Guess she is a fan too.
 



Also, I don't have a "real" job.  And I really don't plan on even attempting to go back to work until Nolan and Allyn are both in full time school.  Plus with all of the therapy and doctor's appointments and then throw in a sick kid, and I would never be in the office.  Point?  Well, I feel so guilty when I buy stuff.  For me.  Last night I ordered three pairs of jeans.  Because I have 3 pair that fit.  And 4 that are too big.  I mentioned to Ben that I was ordering them.  This morning he asked me 3 pair of jeans cost "x" dollars.  It's like guilt on top of guilt.  I don't want to return them and I do need new jeans, but I don't want him or anyone thinking I am being careless with our money.  Does anyone else feel this way or I am the only crazy one?  And would my guilt be remedied if I was earning money doing something?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dolly's Loves

If you know me personally, and spend any time around me and the nuggets, you know that I often call Allyn, Dolly.  Why?  She is like a sweet little baby doll.  I have always said my favorite phase of having a baby is when they interact and sit and don't do much else.  Well, here we are at 16 months and I still have that.  She sits and scoots and babbles, and that's pretty much it.  So, basically I still have a 5 or 6-month old.  And on the one hand, I love having a baby, it is bittersweet.  I so badly want her to hit milestones.  And I tell myself, we will get there eventually.  But I love Dolly to pieces. 

But what does Dolly love?
 She loves baby dolls.  And babies.  Sometimes when we see a 3 to 4 month old baby, she so badly wants to get her hands on him.  But usually, he is bigger than she is.  ;-)
She loves her sunglasses.
 And mine.  She laughs every time she puts them on.
  She loves her brother's rocking chair.  And his books.  And his room.  And pretty much anything else that belongs to him.  She loves him too.
 Purses, shoes, lip gloss, hairbrushes.  Just so you are certain she is 100 % girl.
 And Mickey Mouse.  She will point and the tv and grunt.  And usually only Mickey will do.  Sometimes I can get away with Henry Hugglemonster or Peg Plus Cat.  Nolan never cared for anything at this age.  I now know what all of my parent friends were talking about when they said their babes were obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
And the only thing that we have eaten consistently in the past two weeks.  YoBaby banana yogurt.  And wouldn't you know they seem to be having some supply issues so I have only been able to find it at one store in town.