Again I am amazed at how time has flown and how long it has been since I've been able to sit and create a blog post. I will say that it has been in part, due to computer issues, and in part due to the fact that life NEVER SLOWS DOWN here!
The school year is nearly half over, and there have been many battles to fight this year as far as school has gone. Unfortunately, we have a new principal at Nathan's school who is more concerned about her image of authority than her student's welfare, so we've had to get an advocate for Nathan in order to have him removed from a verbally and mentally abusive teacher's room. This has taken much time, and much energy, and many, many tears, and is still not over. His grades have suffered this semester as has his attitude and morale, and as a parent, that has been excruciating. We are continuing to do everything we can to help him, and are praying for a resolution to that situation soon. Andy and Alex have had stellar years this year, and that is due to the fact that they have some pretty excellent teachers. They will be moving into the Elementary school system next year, where Nathan is now, and already I am concerned about how that will affect them. Hopefully this will just be one blip on the radar, and next year will usher in great teachers, and great grades, and attitudes about school and learning! Prayers for Nathan and for the situation he is in are soooo appreciated!
Annabella has also had much going on these past few months. We had our first set of tubes put in her ears, and found that she had a VERY adverse reaction to the anesthesia or to simply waking up without anyone she knew. She screamed and was completely inconsolable until we finally left the surgery center, and she immediately quit, and perked right up. We soon found out the tubes were clogged and wound up having to get a second set within 6 weeks time after several methods and medications were used to clear them unsuccessfully. We had the second set of tubes placed at the Children's hospital in Birmingham, where she had her first Palate revision surgery just a little over a week ago. She has done fantastically since that surgery, and we are looking forward to our post op visit on December 6th with her amazing surgeon, Dr. Grant. We ask here for prayers for her continued improvement and healing after this major surgery!
We also had Annabella tested with speech, physical, and occupational therapists here, and were all set to begin feeding, speech, and physical therapy back in August, but unfortunately the rehab place has yet to find a way to fit her into the schedule. So We have gone another route and have applied for and been accepted into the Children's Medical program here in the state of Mississippi. They are working to find the therapists we need so that we can begin therapy ASAP. I do believe that she no longer needs the feeding or the physical therapy though, so we will get a re-evaluation before beginning those.
One of the biggest issues we've had since we came home with Annabella was her eating habit. She would only eat rice and cous cous for the first several months, and just within the past three weeks has begun to eat other things. She began with eating french fries one day at Steak and Shake. The next new food was some chicken and dumplings my Mom made. She moved on to bacon, and oatmeal soon after, and the day before her palate revision surgery ate Thai chicken pizza, shrimp, and white corn guacamole! Since her surgery, she's been strictly on soft foods, and she has eaten chicken casserole, English peas, black eyed peas, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, grilled salmon, carrots, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, butterbeans, ham, scrambled eggs, and pinto beans. We are praying that this eating habit will continue and that she will continue to eat a variety of foods when she has her arm splints taken off and is able to feed herself again.
Annabella had another first....her first VACATION! With the help of my parents, we were able to get a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN and spent 4 days there. It was so fantastic to just get away from everything for a few days. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and we all had a really nice time. We even got to see a bear pretty close up at Cade's Cove. And the kids all enjoyed walking around there and seeing the old buildings. We had a pool table in our cabin and the boys and my Dad spent countless hours challenging each other to games! We also visited the aquarium in Gatlinburg and the kids had a blast seeing all of the creatures there. It is a very nice aquarium, and is really geared towards the kids, with many hands on exhibits.
Of course it's that time of year again, and Christmas preparations are in full swing! We have completed most of our shopping, and I even have almost everything wrapped and under the tree! This is the first year in many that I haven't been able to go shopping on Black Friday, and I can honestly say that as much as I love it, I didn't really miss it this year. Since we already had most of our shopping done, I didn't feel the pressure of trying to find deals and stuff just to have it. I've really had some revelations this year as well. One is that I don't need 9/10ths of the "stuff" I thought I needed. I am constantly overwhelmed by the clutter in our lives. Toys, kitchen, laundry, junk mail, junk period! I am just sick of it!!! We gave in and hired some weekly help and that has been remarkable. I've been paring things down, a little at a time, including kitchen items, toys, clothes, and household decor items. I still have a long way to go, but at least we are making progress! Unfortunately, our help has gotten a full time job and is no longer going to be cleaning house after this month, so the search is on for another inexpensive, trustworthy, reliable person to help out with the deep cleaning, laundry, dishes, and decluttering! Although it may sound shallow, prayers are appreciated as this is no easy feat and this is something that has been such a relief and help to us!
Well, I guess that's all I have for this post. Since it's been soooooo long, I wanted to share loads of pictures with you of what we've been doing the past few months, but when I tried to upload them I got a message that my Picassa album was full and that I would need to pay a monthly hosting fee to upload more. Until I can figure this out I will be unable to share pictures with you. If anyone knows a way to solve this, I'd love to hear from you! Until then I have created a new blog and will use it to post pictures. I will still be writing the posts here, or at the very least posting a link to the other blog each time I post new photos. Thanks for your continued interest in our lives! You can click here to go to the photo blog!