Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So, what happens when your elves are missing? I was looking all over the house for them to help them return to the North Pole tomorrow and we can't find them...anywhere. I told Hill that maybe "Huxley and Bailey returned a day early to the North Pole." hmmmmmmm...WHERE are those elves??(I really hope they didn't decide to hide in one of our trash boxes??!!?!?)
Monday, December 22, 2008
I couldn't believe it when I came in the room and Hill was helping Scott decorate the tree. WHEN did he get big enough to do that!?!? When I looked back at pictures, it was amazing to see how fast and how much he's grown in just 4 Christmas'.
I got the new Nikon D90, so if anybody has any tips or recommended manuals, PLEASE let me know. Now, if I have blurry pictures it is totally user error.
With that said, I will get back to Disney after Christmas photos-but, in the meantime, TIS THE SEASON! We had the most fun last night on The Polar Express. Granny, Lori, Dane, James, Will and The Bennett family were all on the same train car with us which made it SO much fun.
Monday, November 24, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, on the forever long drive up the parkway to my house- I was having one of many daily conversations with God...just handing some things over to Him that were weighing on my heart and mind. Then, this song came on. And as many times as I've heard it in the past, it was the first time that I heard God speaking to me through it.
I heard it as if He was reminding me to have faith that He will handle all things that I give Him. When I played it for Scott and told him to view it in the same way, he was acutally impressed (he NEVER listens to lyrics) and said, "are you sure John Hiatt didn't mean for it to be written to sound like it is God speaking to us?" I don't think so, but you never know.
I especially love the last verse:
Well, Ive been loving you for such a long time girl
Expecting nothing in return
Just for you to have a little faith in me
You see time, time is our friend
cause for us there is no end
And all you gotta do is have a little faith in me
I said I will hold you up, I will hold you up
Your love gives me strength enough
So have a little faith in me
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Pick the 4th picture folder on your computer
Pick the 4th picture in that folder
Explain what the picture is about
Tag 4 blogging friends to do the same
This picture is of Hill with, as he calls her, "Rina"...Karina...my awesome little cousin. Her parents, along with our entire family and their friends, prayed for Karina way before we ever met her or knew her. Her Mom and Dad went to the Ukraine to follow God's plan in their hearts for adoption and He led them to this incredible girl. She has now been with our family for about 4 years, but it feels like we have known her a lifetime. She will do amazing things in her life because she knows and loves the Lord with all of her heart...and we love her with all of ours!!
Okay- I now tag Lauren B, Jessica, Amy D., and Corey (this will help you get used to the blogging world Corey)!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
It seems like daily I have friends and family say to me, "can you believe Rett is one, now??" and I know how they feel, it seems like all of their children are growing up entirely too fast in front of my eyes. But, this last year, the first year of Rett's life was also the hardest year of my life...and therefor, one of the longest.
To some degree it is easy for me to open up about things and for those that know me, I'm pretty much an open book- but my deepest emotions are usually buried deep within and I couldn't dig them out if I tried. I did not tell many people, but I suffered with postpartum depression after Rett was born. I can't even describe the fog that I was living in- but if you have been there, you understand. I remember my sweet little cousin (sister) Cindy telling me a long time ago after seeing Brooke Shields on Oprah, "IF you EVER have postpartum, you TELL me." and I though, if I did I would...but I didn't, until after I was better. You don't want to talk to anybody...you don't want to do anything...you just want to sit, or sleep. The one person that I was able to reach out to, probably more on a personal level than I ever had in my life...was my Dad. He never got "wishy washy" with me (or anybody for that matter) but he knew that postpartum was real and that if I was going to get better, I needed to be on medicine. He reasoned with me. He called me twenty times a day to check on me (which he would not normally do). He helped me out of my fog...we were closer than we had been in a long time through that period.
It was a wake up call when my best friend (she also didn't know about my depression prior- I feel like the Lord knew I needed to hear what she told me) called one day to tell me a tragic story of a precious girl in Birmingham whose husband was a resident at a hospital here...she, too, was suffering with postpartum and had a son almost the same age as Rett. While her husband was at work, she left a note, shot her son and then herself in her back yard. As absolutely horrifying as it was to even hear that story or think about, I know that it was not premeditated- she wanted that baby as much as I wanted Rett...post partum depression is a terrible and REAL illness that makes you do things you could never imagine...I knew that I had to get mine under control.
In the midst of all of this, Rett was in Children's Hospital for a week when he was just a couple of weeks old- I hated leaving Hill for the first time for that long, his world had been turned upside down. Rett had to have a spinal tap and so many procedures done to his little tiny body...I felt like my heart wouldn't make it through all of it. I know that I didn't truly know what a "heartache" felt like until you see your child suffer...it hurts more than any other physical pain ever could.
So, when Rett got better...Dad got worse...he only saw Rett one time in September, about a week after he was born. Right after that Thanksgiving, Dad started his three months in the hospital.
Every time I talk about the last holidays, people catch me and say, "no val, that was the year before last". It so weird, but it's like I almost have amnesia from last year. It breaks my heart that I probably won't remember a lot from my sweet baby boy's first year, that when I think about that year, I think about a lot of "heartache"...but every day that I see his face, and HOW MUCH he looks like my dad, it makes my heart glad. Rett has had more illnesses in his short life than any one year old should have, but I thank God daily for my sweet, healthy, baby boy.
Here are some things about him right now that I love:
- He is a mess, and knows it, he has quickly learned to use his dimples and grin to his advantage.
- He is into everything!! I hate to say that we never used child locks with Hill, we didn't have to- with Rett, I don't think they make enough locks for our house.
- He loves to snuggle and he will lay that little head down on your shoulder and melt anybodies heart.
-He absolutely worships his big brother...Hill makes him laugh like nobody else can.
-He is hysterical- he can make us laugh like nobody else can...I have a feeling he is going to be our family clown.
I know that this last year has made me a better mom, daughter, friend, and wife (I hope). Although it was the hardest year of my life, I do, really believe, in the saying "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger"...and it has. It greatly strengthened my personal relationship with my Father, I prayed harder and longer than I ever had in tears and in joy...in this, I thank Him for loving me, for welcoming my Dad into His heavenly home,and for bringing me out of "the fog".
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Hill is also VERY excited about his big boy hair cut- he said it looks like Diego's...yes, kind of. It was pretty sad today that I was more emotional over Hill's haircut (eventhough it was probably his 10th one) than I was Rett's 1st haircut. Hill has NEVER had his hair this short. Scott asked me in his very sweet "husband that has let me dress them and have their hair how I wanted it for three years" way...if I would just cut it short to see how it looks. I have to admit, his pretty blue eyes stand out...but all of that beautiful hair was on the floor.
Stay with the video-there are a couple of walking segments!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Good news- teeth are okay!
Other good news, GREAT news-it has been one week at 10:00 tonight that Rett has been symptom free.
We braved the Alabama State Fair this weekend, ONLY because it has now moved from the old fairgrounds, thank goodness, to Pelham. The Bennetts met us there, which just added to the humor of it all...Wilson gets on a ride to convince Hill to ride it too, Hill gets on with Wilson, right as ride is set to begin, on cue! Wilson decides he wants off...this happened a couple of times. Can't say I blame Wilson.
We also noticed Scott and Jeremy checking their cash right about the same time wondering if they gave us some, or if they dropped it somewhere...yes, it was dropped- in the fair cash account. It is still very easy to spend a lot of money very quickly...on what!?!? Big smiles and memories that last a lifetime.
Enjoy the pictures-
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I have been absolutely amazed by the changes that Hill has made in the last 6 months, granted that does not include being potty trained, BUT he has turned from my little toddling buddy into a 100% all-boy kiddo. Scott reminds me hourly how much he is like me, and all I can usually respond with is a grin because I can't muster up an argument...he's right. I suppose being an only child is in a lot of ways like being the first born. Here are some of Hill's strong qualities, some of my friends may notice a pattern in the gene pool:
- He LOVES his "wubbies"! It started with "Raff" (giraffe) and sucking his right thumb, but now he has many multiple blankets and pillows he snuggles with. The child loves his bed and sleep time...he does not want anybody else in the bed with him when he's ready to sleep...including the cats. But, he does have (just a guess) approximately 15-20 stuffed animals in the bed with him.
- He is the most strong willed child- he does NOT give up when he wants something and insists that he does everything himself.
- He never forgets anything, he digs up memories we are shocked he remembers- he will also start looking for "something" (toy, etc)that we haven't seen in months, and months. That's were the OCD kicks in- he has to know where everything is at all times and things can not be out of place.
- He has a wonderful imagination, but sometimes it takes him too far and he is afraid of the funniest things. He is terrified of Japanese restaurants- if we even drive near one he says, "We're not going to see boy with the egg, are we???" (aluding to the show they put on). He was nervous with anticipation one night when Scott told him they were getting pizza delivered- he kept asking "He not come to our house?!?!" So, Scott gave the delivery man a name..."John". When Hill knew he had a name and he was bringing pizza, all was great with the world. He know thinks "John" brings us everything.
- I love that anytime he touches anything he thinks is soft, that thumb goes directly in his mouth and he makes the sweetest pacified sounds.
- He LOVES his little brother...he truly does. He is very protective of him and makes sure that everyone always speaks to, as he refers to him, "my son, Rett Hoowen".
- Our favorite words/phrases that he says- "sure", "that be alright", "perfect", "pippo-thomas" (hippopotums), "banfire" (vanpire), "Chicken Nuts" (chipmunks).
- The child still worships The Wiggles and is still quiet the performer.
- He has a truly, sweet heart and spirit and makes us laugh constantly- he is a true joy in our lives.
Here are some pictures from his Pirate Party at Wald Park. Theme totally chosen by him- he did ask quiet often, "Pirate not come to my party!?!?". We did have the ice cream truck come by which was a big hit!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Everett Scott Hughen, I thank God this morning for you, for His everlasting love, and for all of the wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon our family. You belong to God, and through today's baptism, he places the sign of the new covenenant upon you. I pray first and foremost that you find a personal relationship with the Lord early and that you never remember a time when He is not Lord of your life. I pray that our family will use His word to create a nourishing and spiritual environment where we all can grow in our faith. And Rett, I also pray for God to energize me as spiritual head of our household, to set a Godly example in all that I do, to keep our family praying together, worshiping together, and ministering the word of God. I Peter 3:21 says "Baptism now saves you- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience- through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Rett, I pray that you will always turn to God in all that you do, that you recognize and repent for your sins and that through your faith and the grace of God, you receive the gift of eternal life for the glory of God."
This was such a special moment for our family, as it was the day we baptized Hill...little did I know, though, how those words spoken by my sweet husband would ring in my ears on Tuesday night as we drove our motionless baby to the hospital.
For those of you that haven't heard, after a long night at Children's Hospital and a LONG two days, Rett was diagnosed with intussusception (when we were driving him to the hospital we called an ambulance to meet us b/c he became almost lifeless). I can distinctly remember having a conversation in my mind with God saying "I know he is yours, we acknowledged that in front of the church, Lord- but PLEASE let us have more time with him." I knew in my heart that he has a Father that loves him more than I do and can do WAY more than I can for him at a moment like that, or any moment in his life. Having said that, I was still scared to death b/c I physically couldn't do anything to help him. That's where I now thank God for my wonderful husband who found the patience and understanding at the moment we were waiting on the ambulance to quote scripture to me about fear...this is his child, too- he also felt helpless and scared...but he was comforting me!?!?
(Rett with Pastor Harry Reeder)
Thank you Lord for time with your child, Rett, for his health, and for my wonderful, Godly husband.
**Hill 3rd Birthday Post coming next- lots of cute pictures of my big boy**
Monday, September 8, 2008
It is a small book that Dad said he carried with him always when serving in Vietnam and on the ships for months at a time. It's the "Song and Service Book for Ship and Field- Army & Navy". It was published in 1942. My Dad's birthday, of all days, is this Thursday- September 11th (just two days shy of Hill's). His absence will be heavy on my heart, but so will the tragedy of what happened on that day just a few years ago.
Last night, I picked up that Song & Service book reading some of the scriptures imagining my Dad thumbing through it grasping onto words of hope and courage from His saviour during the war and out in the middle of the ocean. This prayer was in the front of the book and I haven't stopped thinking about it since I read it.
It says Written at Newburg, June 8, 1783 by George Washington and was sent to the governors of all of the states.
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for the fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can NEVER HOPE TO BE A HAPPY NATION.
Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, throu Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sadly, this prayer reminded me of how drastically our country's values have changed since 1783. I pray that God lay his hand on the forth coming elections and that we keep our focus on the "Divine Author" that had his hand on our country, our world, from day one.
Thank you Dad for serving our country- I will always be so proud of you.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This one, I love for obvious reasons. I see my two boys personalities mirrored almost exactly in these two and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their accents. I try to get Hill to watch "Charlie and Lola" on Disney, just hoping he would pick up on it...hasn't worked. If you are a fan of youtube, you've probably seen this, if not- enjoy!
And this video...well, just watch - but the man's son (the man in the middle) put this on youtube and said this is how he really laughs...all of the time (and, wouldn't you know, there is a man from Alabama on there...of course):
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
A couple of translations:
Tellie's Pogo Stick = "Kangaroo"
Our cat Fur walks by = Hill throws "Fur" into the mix of Sesame characters
Kermit the Frog somehow entered his mind in the mix of Sesame friends, as well
Prarie Dawn= "Cherry Dawn"
And then I TOTALLY ruined the ending by trying to change the scenery...sorry, I know you were all biting your nails in suspense. To be continued!
She set up a Caringbridge site for updates:
I've asked her to find out if there is something he may like getting in the mail (she had mentioned he liked Pokemon cards)- she is going to find out this week and I hope to start sending him some mail because what kid doesn't like getting fun stuff in the mailbox! If anybody wants to send him a silly card, or Pokemon cards, or whatever- let me know and I will get his address to you!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
"Now Mommy, is it Jesus or Santa Claus that is bowling??"
Right about that time, before I could answer, it thundered and he said:
"Good job Jesus...he's winning!!"
Monday, July 28, 2008
"It is with deepest sorrow that I share with you this update on Luke. Dr. Carson evaluated Luke today. Luke has a very aggressive tumor that is inoperable. With chemo and radiation, he might live for another two years. That is the longest recorded time that anyone with this type of tumor has survived. Ross and Lisa are taking him home tomorrow for a few days, and then will take him somewhere closer to home to begin 5 weeks of radiation, then chemo. This will shrink the tumor, but according to Dr. Carson it will come back. Because the tumor is on the brain stem and controls an individual's motor control, Luke will eventually lose his. Obviously, we are beyond devasted and left asking more questions than God is providing answers for now. I don't know how you tell an active 7 year old boy that soon you will be sick from "medicine", you can't play sports anymore because you will lose your ability to walk, or that you won't survive to graduate elementary school. Please, please pray that Ross, Lisa, Luke, Sydney and Natalie can face this with courage and hope, and not fear and anger. Pray that mom, dad, Kristi, myself, and all of their friends can rally around them to give them the support, encouragement, and mental relief that they need. And pray that God will give peace to Luke and the family, and not long-term suffering before God carries Luke to heaven. Thank you for your love and kind words during this time. Katie"
Sunday, July 27, 2008
"Throughout the course of the day, a team of neurologist ran tests. The prognosis is that Luke's tumor is malignant and inoperable. The best case scenario is that chemo and radiation will get it, but he will most likely never regain full motor function. However, the team of doctors believe that this is unlikely and that he will not survive the tumor. My family is devastated, but we remain hopeful. Dr. Carson was NOT with this team of doctors today. He will evaluate Luke in the morning. God can and has performed miracles through this gifted doctor and we pray that he will find a way to work one on Luke. (We have a family friend whose son had a brain tumor much like Luke's as a child. His prognosis was the same and the family was told there was no hope. Dr. Carson operated, and now he walks, talks, and is married with children.) I don't believe this is false hope or silly to have the faith that God can do the same through him for Luke."
This all makes me so sick to my stomach- of course because I hate to see what this wonderful family is going through, but it seems like I hear about things like this happening daily...and not to strangers but to families I know. This doesn't, by any means, make it more important because I know them- it just makes it all seem way too common and real for me to hear stories about these children being so healthy and fine one day and not the next. We spent an unexpected night in Children's ER on Friday night (with Hill) and he is fine, we have been counting our blessings for that all weekend...but the pain for this family, and all the others going through similar battles is heavy on my heart. I felt that most dreaded fear for just a few hours that something was wrong with Hill, but he is okay. These families fears, unfortunately, were confirmed. I pray for God to give them strength, understanding beyond what they thought they could endure, and to hold these children in the palm of His hand.
I find it really cool that the meaning of Luke is "the beloved physician".
I love you Katie!!
** Just had a thought- if you read this and are praying for sweet Luke (no matter who or where you are), please leave a comment so that Katie can see how many people are lifting him up in the days ahead!!
"Diapers...check! Bottles...check! Tickets...check! Juice...check!" Notice what is missing on this list...yesssss, the camera! So, I comforted myself, the failed mother, by saying, "well, I got such really good pictures of all The Wiggles gang last year at the concert, WHO would know the difference if I had pictures of them this time-they all look exactly the same!?!?" WHO would have thought that we were in the perfect seats for each Wiggle to stop right next to Hill...there they were, with little Hill reaching out to touch them and give them a high five...and I...do...not...have...the...camera. If it had only stopped there.
If you listen to The Wiggles, at all, you know the old favorite "Fruit Salad." Well, there they were right next to us in the aisle and they had a big blow up banana they were throwing from one Wiggle to another and to Murray and Captain Feathersword on the floor by us (again, you will know who I'm talking about if you watch them...if you don't watch it, you might as well stop reading, you won't be impressed). Murray preceded to toss it back to the stage via Captain, and WHO does it hit in the head...HILL! They both apologize to him, quickly, but at least they did! And THEN Hill's favorite "star" in the whole world, Captain Feathersword (we have featherswords all over the house because of this man) rubs his head!!!!!!!! In our world this would equal Bono hitting us in the head with his sunglasses and then rubbing our hair...Captain (i.e. The Wiggles) is known around the world, but more importantly, he rocks Hill's world!
Well, at least Scott and I felt cool.
Monday, July 14, 2008
This post is a couple of weeks late, but for WHATEVER reason, the stomach bug that plagued our house for two weeks has gotten me a little behind...oh ya'll, it was horrible.
My best friend Lauren's (my college "roommate" for those of you that haven't heard me talk about her-which if you know me, I can't imagine you haven't) precious twins, Walker and Kathryn turned two and we went to Memphis to help them celebrate. Scott's mom,
Gin-Gin" was sweet enough to brave the trip with us! Hill thought the party was the best attraction in Memphis with the train ride and all of the farm animals. I, of course, loved seeing Lauren and her family (my second family) and also being there to see the twins bee bop around enjoying their party.
I am counting down the days until they are in Birmingham for a year starting next May.
Enjoy the pictures to the right!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
SO, please let me know who you are in a comment- I may not know you at all...but it would be cool just to know who is keeping up with us!
We had tons of fun celebrating a lot of birthdays...
Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday to you....
Happy Birthday dear Monk, Karen, Granny, Wilson, Elizabeth, Louise, Carrie, Stan...and me.
Happy Birthday toooooooo you!
My sweet, sweet husband got big brownie points by not only surprising me the morning of my birthday with beautiful flowers and a gift I've wanted a very long time...he REALLY surprised me that night with a surprise party at our house after a wonderful dinner. I had NO idea...at all. Trust me, if I had known 15 people would be there that night, I may have actually cleaned!! We had a great time and it really meant so much to me.
We also had a blast spending the week in Palm Beach in preperation of Cindy and Jose's wedding...and then, WOW, what a wedding! I was so busy (as Matron of Honor, of course :-), I didn't do a good job, at all, of taking many pictures- but our very talented cousin, Cris Mahy (Grapevine Design Studio) did:
So, with all of that said, here is a snipit of our May:
Hill's new "favorite, FAVORITE" (as he says) thing to do..this is the stream that runs under Ross Bridge (http://www.rossbridge.com/community.php?rid=14&pid=2) He loves getting in and throwing rocks.
Okay, my friends and family that know me well- should we be worried that Hill may have inherited a little of my OCD tendencies. This is how he lines up "his people" everytime he takes a bath- and it is not fun for him to "knock them down", we've tried that...not a good move.
Afternoon at the beach at The Breakers
Rett wasn't too sure about the sprinkler.
My sweet little sister (I do have a dress on, you just can't see it!)
Enjoying a great lunch by the pool at our house for the week.
Rett enjoying his lunch with a view