Sunday, June 29, 2008

saida vs. the hanger

first off, i just want to say that this is the first time i've been alone in my house since jan. 10 (the day we got back from Africa). second, they've all been gone about 15 mintues and it's too quiet and want them back right now. they've gone to get hilina's birthday cake since tomorrow she is one! i just can't believe it.

this video is from this morning. saida, brilliant child that she is, got a coat hanger stuck on her shirt. and then she couldn't get it off - you can imagine the drama that ensued.

i've had my first real burst of nesting take over when i woke up this morning and i am happy to report that my house is much cleaner than it was when i woke up. i have a second box of baby clothes ready to mail my sister that i promptly stacked on top of the first box that i've had ready to mail for about, oh 4 months. some day i will get to the post office, some day... we had the best day yesterday meeting with our doula for the first time and just a great day with the girls, will write about it later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008


we had such a great week here and i just don't have the photos that show it, sadly. on monday bearden and laura came over for the afternoon, tuesday we hung out with christel and geneva, wednesday beth & little snoozannah aplin came over (man is she one cute little girl - here are some pictures of her when she was just 8 days old, ben totally freaked and had to hand her back because she seemed so breakable compared to our beasts, er, babies...i have to say, i cannot believe we're going to have something so small and fragile in just a little over a month).

yesterday i had an ob appt. everything is looking good. he's measuring 3 weeks ahead now, so here's keeping our fingers crossed he stays inside as long as possible. as i get bigger and more uncomfortable, i can see how pregnant women are "done" and want to hurry up and deliver. but the way we figure, as long as he's inside, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, we still get to sleep through the night!
today was another fun day, and one i actually remembered to take some photos of so once i get them uploaded i'll tell you all about it.
here are the few pictures i did get of them this week.

i know, that's it? i told you i was a lame-o.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a couple videos

my family keeps asking for a video of saida crawling... this is a few weeks ago, sorry. she is SO fast but it's easier than i thought because i only have to carry hilina now and call saida. and if i have food in my hand she comes pretty quickly. i think she gets it from hound. she "cruises" all over the furniture and ben told me this morning that he walks her with one hand from the couch to the changing table every morning. to which i said "STOP! I'M NOT READY! SHE CAN'T WALK YET, SHE'S JUST A BABY! NOOOOOOOOO!" she'll be walking in no time, i'm afraid. at least then she can go to the corner store and get mommy some more ice cream.

hilina had a really big milestone last week that we are so excited about. she can now sit up on her own! she's been sitting for months now but has never been able to get herself into that position until last week. she is unbelievably excited and will now scoot in the sitting position to get things that have rolled out of her reach. it's like learning this one thing opened up a whole new world for her because now she just goes after what she wants. before she would sort of give up, but now she will lay down, roll over to it and then sit back up. she is also, as you can see in the video, starting to make motions to army crawl. we have a new pt who started monday and i think he's really going to help her make some serious improvements.

Monday, June 23, 2008

things that make you go hmmmmmm.

so it turns out, when you hit 'publish post' people can read what you write on your blog. who knew? evil landlords have been reading our blog, and decided to tell current landlords about it. and now i feel like a jerk because my little pity party caused even more problems. see, we don't like it that current landlords smoke, but we LOVE them. LOVE them. as both landlords, and as friends, lifesavers, etc but i didn't say any of that in the post. i just was bitching and in doing so made it sound like we hate living here. which just isn't the case. especially considering all our light fixtures work and we don't have mice, and we have a lot of privacy, and no one yells at us, etc. it's like heaven, just a smokey heaven - :). in fact, aside from evil landlords, we love our neighborhood and all our neighbors to pieces. i don't talk much about it because i've never wanted the internet to know too much about our neighborhood lest they know where we live, etc. i didn't even know anyone around here knew we had this little website. go figure. which brings me to the next thing that happened. we went to a great party on saturday afternoon and met two lovely couples who are in the process of adopting from ethiopia. and they both remarked how they love the blog, and they knew who was who without me having to tell them. it was crazy. i guess what i am trying to say is that i just wanted our family and friends to be able to see our girls and hear funny stories about them and it's gotten a little bigger than that and i just have to think about what that means. and be more careful with what i say, because people are actually reading this and i would never want anyone to have their feelings hurt (except evil landlords, who are truly evil and let's face it, can't possibly have feelings otherwise why would they still be trying to cause problems in our life when we don't even live there anymore?). and a warning to other bloggers who probably don't need warning because they get the whole internet is public thing - "pissy hormone surge" and "publish post" should never be mixed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

photos from father's day

we celebrated at coney island with the kirbies, stampers and ms. farron
the girls saw the ocean and sand for the first time.

we rode the wonder wheel

we had some red food coloring (i mean how freaking cute is this kid, and he's like 10 feet tall now, it's crazy).

we heard something scandalous it seems

we walked up to the board walk to take one last look at the ocean

and then the fog rolled in

by the end of the day we were all pretty sleepy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

the many faces of saida

the "i'm going to pretend i don't know she's sitting there"

the "i wonder if i will get in trouble for this"

the "i love my snack"

the "heeeeeeeeeeeey"

the "whatchoo talkin' 'bout willis"

the "new taste"

the "i'm cracking myself up"

this isn't a face, i just think it's cute.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day

sometime this week with all the extra time i have on my hands i was stumbling around the internets and found a website, the name of which escapes me now, that was giving out free advice- some of it more useful than others. but one of the things hit me really hard as this is the first father's day for me in 8 years where i will spend my day really celebrating instead of celebrating memories. i digress.

the advice said 'marry someone whom, if you have a son that grows up to be just like him, you can be extremely proud and happy'. this being ben's first father's day, having two kiddos when last year he had none, and getting closer every second to having his third, a son, i kept thinking about this. and truly and honestly i cannot think of one thing where if all our children grew up to be just like ben i would be disappointed. except maybe all his alien food allergies. i have never met a more patient, disciplined, hard-working, and loving father and my sweetest moments now are not when i have a great morning with the girls or when benny gets the hiccups - but when i see him with the kids. personally i think the easiest part of being a parent is playing with them - acting silly or bouncing them around. the hard part is all the stuff that goes unseen - the extra trip back to the grocery to get bananas, taking the time to explain to saida WHY she can't play in the dog dish rather than just saying no, the time spent pointing out extra things on the pages of the story he's reading them rather than just reading the words, the ways he tries to figure out how to make hilina's therapy fun so she doesn't cry through it... and all of these things are time as an ingredient. the hardest part for me about becoming a mom was realizing that MY needs don't really matter too much anymore when it comes to the day to day, that the girls come first. and sometimes i handle it more gracefully than others. but ben, ben never ceases to amaze me - the sheer effort he puts forth on a daily basis to make sure that we are all cared for and loved and that he does it all without complaint. sometimes i even feel like i want to be like ben when i grow up.

Friday, June 13, 2008

just recently left the neurologist's office. what follows is what we now know.

hilina had a pretty massive stroke, most likely at birth. it occurred
on the left side of her brain and is formally known as a "left middle
cerebral artery stroke." this stroke on the left side of her brain is
what has caused the semi-paresis (delay) on the right side of her
body, most prominently evident in her right arm/hand. when a stroke
occurs in a section of the brain, that part of the brain essentially
dies and disappears leaving a hole that is eventually filled with
fluid. from the MRI film that we saw, the hole is very large. in fact,
the residents and drs at mt sinai who met and worked with hilina could
not believe that this particular MRI actually belonged to her. in
other words, she's miraculously "normal" considering the damage done.
the official name for this damage and her condition is "spastic
hemiplegia cerebral palsy" which just means injury to the left side of
the brain that will cause a right sided deficit. the good news about
this is it's a non-progressive condition. so the damage that's been
done is over and will not degenerate. the bad news is that the hole is
large and occupying the part of her brain which should control her motor
skills AND her language development.

other news is that her epilepsy is also a result of the stroke
and therefore not another issue all its own. essentially, the nerves
along the outer ring of the hole in her brain are damaged and as a
result misfiring causing seizures and the hundreds of partial seizures
that she has everyday. apparently, these damaged nerves sometimes join
forces and form their own network resulting in a major seizure like
the one she had not too long ago that first alerted us to her
condition. her neurologist stressed that we now need to really keep
her partial seizures down as much as possible with her medication. so
we'll be working on getting the perfect dose over the next several
months and years as she continues to grow.

next steps include: going to a pediatric hematologist for blood work
to see what her genetics are and if there are any signs of potential
blood clotting apparent in them. this is necessary because we don't
have any history of her bloodline. he then referred us to a dr who
runs the rusk institute in manhattan, an institute devoted to world
class physical therapy to developmentally challenged children. and he
said that even though hilina is on the very mild spectrum of its
patients, she may decide to take her on for therapy once a week.

all in all, hilina's potential to recover from her right sided delay
through lots and lots of hard work is endless and something that can
in fact be reached with consistent therapy 7 days a week, 365 days a year,
for the rest of her life. and she's a determined little bugger, so we're
hopeful. but it's very important for us to continue to work with her
arm - stretching it, opening her hand, pulling her fingers, pulling
her arm over her head, anything that pushes, opens, and deepens her
range of motion so that her arm grows properly. because once it's
stuck in the L shape she likes to hold it in, there is nothing that
can be done about it. ultimately, her condition will continue to
reveal itself as she continues to grow and either hits or misses her
developmental milestones. for instance, if her right leg is as
affected (which it doesn't seem to be) as her right arm is, then she
will no doubt have a lot of trouble walking, etc.

i think this about covers it so far. i'm sorry it was so lengthy. and
thanks again everyone for being so supportive. in the scope of
possibilities, we think this is one of the best ones we could have

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

hilina update - or lack of update, yet again, sorta

after busting some chops over at mt. sinai yesterday, hilina's MRI film arrived at our neurologist's office this morning. however, they will only tell us the results in an in-person visit. i'm assuming this is standard operating procedures, right? at any rate, our appointment with them is this friday at 11:30am. so at least we now have a date where we'll finally know something, even if it's kind of scary and very final sounding. we'll keep everyone posted.

we've really appreciated your support this past couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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we got to go to chattanooga to see these two lovebirds get married. and it was fantastic. except saida pooped on me. but that doesn't have anything to do with john and kristine. unless they told her to poop on me which sounds like something john might do. it was a beautiful wedding, truly beautiful. this is a picture of them rehearsing their vows.

we had this taken at the brunch for out of towners up on lookout mountain, across the street from where ben and i first met 7 years ago. THAT blows my mind.
the girls played in the grass

i got to see this little guy be born back in november, he's the one responsible for saida learning how to crawl. here they are tearing it up.

we got a babysitter one night so the grownups could go out SANS KIDDOS. needless to say the next morning we had to go out for breakfast too, no one could deal. we got all 5 kids (under 3) dressed and out the door by 8AM and somehow it all went off without a hitch. the girls had their first croissant!
they got to go down a slide for the first time, too.

i think by the end we'd all gone a little loopy. brommy couldn't stop hugging, hilina couldn't stop yawning...

the watchdog got a little delirious with laughing...

and saida flat out lost her mind.

Monday, June 9, 2008


heat and pregnancy can cause rash behavior. internet, i cut 14 inches off my hair this weekend.
it's not as angled as it looks in the picture, i like it. i thought it would look SO much different with all that hair gone. but you know, not ONE person even noticed yesterday. not one. eh.

all this waiting is driving me batty. hopefully we will hear something about hilina today.

here are some older photos from our time in raleigh a few weeks ago:
it's already hard for me to remember when saida couldn't crawl, but here she is trying to drag herself across ash's deck.

hilina with her cousins. peyton was mediating; we're not sure why.

sean and i had all the kids on the way to graduation and you better believe knoxville was not ready to see a family such as ours. here sean and i are, with the blondies and my girls and lucas and i'm all pregnant, waddling and pushing the stroller. we got some priceless looks.

we have ourselves a water baby. we couldn't get her out of the pool. she LOVES it. in fact, i kinda wish she had a little more fear but she was even putting her head under and laughing!

bonding time between the oldest and youngest members of the BHC or "big head club" for those of you not familiar.

if god truly loves me, benny is NOT going to be a member of this club.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


thanks so much to everyone who has commented and emailed and texted and called to check on hilina or let us know they were thinking of us today. i just wanted to let you all know the procedure itself went fine but we don't know what they found. i was talking to my sister earlier and realized we both thought it would be a little more grey's anatomy - that when it was over the doctors would make out for a bit in some supply closet and then come tell us what is wrong with her. but as it turns out, we won't hear for a few days or even a week what the MRI showed. but! she's ok, she did great as expected and aside from being groggy and extra snuggly (darn!) she's totally fine.

it was hotter here today - need to go ahead and put in the AC units that's why the girls never seem to have on clothes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

grandma emmy

this is my mom the weekend of cayce's graduation - the first weekend she had all her grandkids together. she says she has the best of everything with their ages ranging from college freshman to waiting to be born.