Friday, February 26, 2010

A birthday week...in pictures


He loved it when people would sing "Happy Birthday" to him. The little fella truly had a great week, but he is pooped by all the festivities. Oh, but how much fun he had all week!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2 years


My dear Nathan,

Your sisters were laughing in another room, and your curiosity and zeal to be in the middle of everything got the best of you. You left the book we were reading together, gave me a quick "Bye-Bye Mama" and blew me the sweetest kiss as you were leaving. A few steps away, you made an abrupt turn back, and with your puppy dog eyes peering directly into me and your arms stretched out on each side of your body, you said "Hug, Mama" as you ran to me and buried your cheek into my shoulder and wrapped your arms around my chest. My heart melted in that instant...just like it has so many times in the past 2 years.

My son, my darling son...once again I am sitting here completely unsure of how to get all the thoughts and emotions swirling around my head into writing. You have changed me. The ideas and circumstances that were so intense in my mind before you entered into our lives seem so trivial and minute now. I am slowly learning to savor and enjoy each day we have been given, as we truly don't understand what circumstances lie ahead of us that may forever change the lives we currently know. I am constantly amazed at how someone so little can teach volumes about life, love, and God's incredible blessings and mercy in our lives.

You are a brave soldier in this life, my son. Your courage to face daily challenges and circumstances is something that I constantly strive to master in my own life. You face the many unpleasant situations you routinely encounter with the courage of a lion. No matter what you endure, you always end with a smile on your face that showcases the cutest little dimpled cheek...winning the hearts of all that witness it.

Oh Nate, you have just the best personality. You are such an easy-going kiddo who takes just about everything in stride. By far, you are truly the easiest toddler we have had behavior-wise (knock on wood), as you are extremely obedient and seem to have an intense desire to please everyone. And sweet...my darling son, you are so dang sweet. Your heart is precious, and it shows in your interactions with others. Along with your sweet spirit, you seem to be following your sisters in the goofball area...oh, you make us laugh so much. You even make yourself laugh with some of the tricks you try while figuring out the ins and outs of social humor. I have said so many times lately that right now, you are just so much fun to be around.

Your relationship with your sisters runs so deep. Abby is your best friend, and it is so fun to watch you shriek with excitement each day we pick her up from school. The two of you are really inseparable when she is home...you look up to her so much. Emma is your pal each day, and amidst some serious pestering you two have mastered, you get along well. She plays trains and cars with you, and you will repay the favor by playing with the dollhouse or letting her put barrettes in your hair. I am so thankful for the closeness you all have together.

My darling Nafey, this year has been tough on many standpoints. We have received good news at times, and we have received hard news at other times. I have to admit that I get nervous and frightened each time I think about the upcoming years, but then I am reminded that I have today...we have today. God has given us today to enjoy...and today is a wonderful day. You have changed me, my sweet boy, and I am so thankful for that. I love you, Nathan. Happy 2nd Birthday!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lillipops


We are enjoying these lovely springish days playing in Lillipops new spring line dresses. Head on over to their new website and see what fun spring brings!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The arctic south


After having the toughest winter here since we have lived this far south (remember, our houses are made to stay cool, not warm), I think we are finally breaking out of the frigidness called winter. The trees are blooming and the pollen count is ridiculously high already...spring is coming!

I did have a good laugh at my poor southern boy the other day when he brought over some crushed Styrofoam, threw it in the air and proclaimed "It's snow!" I do like that kind of snow, although its a pain to clean up when 3 kids make it "snow" with box peanuts all over the garage. Not a stellar moment there.

Goodbye winter...welcome sunny 70 degree days!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guardian Angels


I had the wonderful privilege to meet 3 of Nathan's guardian angels a few days ago.

Let me rewind a bit...

Abby was out of school on Monday, so we spent the day with a really good friend who is currently on bed rest. Let's call this friend "Tara", for name's sake. So, Tara is currently baking a wee little Bama fan who will have a brisk Gator brainwashing session this side of the womb, but that is for another story. In the mean time, due to seriously intense blood pressure/preeclampsia issues, this friend is on strict bed rest until Bama Baby is born.
The "friend" and I have been known to get ourselves into some precarious situations when we are together, and this day was no different. As we were laughing and cutting up (very calmly so not to rise the blood pressure), the kiddos were all playing mere feet from us in the fenced-in back yard. It's a small backyard, so we could clearly see the kids enjoying themselves on the cool winter day...setting the scene here, just setting the scene.
All was well in the land of friends...everyone was playing nicely and contently. The girls were running through the house in Cinderella dresses and heels, and Nathan was happily trying to figure out the right amount of pestering he could do to the dog without her snapping at him. Everyone was in and out of the sliding glass door over and over. I thought the calmness of the situations would be the perfect time to spend a little magazine time in the restroom...you know, when nature calls...

Retreating from the People magazine, I noticed that Tara was not in her recliner. Obviously, I started raising a ruckus at the fact that the gal on strict bed rest was not even on recliner rest...until I noticed that the front door was opened, showcasing 3 very, very large african american men...with gold teeth. One of whom was holding a ragamuffin looking kid dressed in only a sweater and diaper with some sort of nasal cannula flapping in the wind. Oh yeah, that would be MY KID.Okay, shoot me for being stereotypical, but 3 large gold-teeth bearing men at the front door is rather skeery. They handed Nathan over, who was completely unphased by the odd situation, and proceeded to give us a tongue thrashing on why it is important to watch your kids at all times because dangerous things happen in the world. We bowed our heads in shame, thanked them, and locked the doors behind us...come on, we're women who get skeered easily.

Turns out that there was a little crack at the gate, and the dog got out. In typical 2 year old fashion, the kid followed the dog, and at some point his oxygen cannula came unhooked from the other tubing. Tara said that it was rather quiet out the door, but she hadn't seen Nate's tubing move, so she figured he was just playing like usual. Nate was found chasing the dog down the street, like 4 houses down...in a sweater and a diaper and a cannula. Who is this kid's mother? I refuse to think about what could have happened if those guys wouldn't have seen the pantless kid prancing through the neighborhood.
So, that is how I met 3 of Nathan's guardian angels. They may not have had wings, but they fo' sho had plenty of bling.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Five Points of Life


I love our little city. Its big enough to house a Target, numerous Starbucks, those really cool Japanese restaurants that cook in front of you, and a pretty darn good mall...yet it is still small enough that you see someone you know each time you venture out past your driveway. I have realized the "small town feel" to our city even more since Abby has started school, and thus expanding our knowledge of more people and all the cool things that are offered here.
Abby (and a whole slew of her school friends) participated in the Five Points of Life Kids Marathon this past Saturday. And in the typical "ice age" theme that seems to emcompass much of year 2010 so far, it was a balmy 30 degrees the morning of the run.
Emma insisted on coming to the race just as long as she could sit in the strolled under all the toasty blankets and be granted permission to still complain about the face that her nose was an icicle.
The only time the kiddo perked up was when we ran by the water station, to which she quickly threw her hand up for a cup...because riding in warmth is hard work, ya know. In an attempt to pawn her off to passers-by, the only one who took the invitation was green and furry and wore a dress. I'm thinking it was a cross-dresser from downtown.
Abby got to the finish line and proudly received her medal. As soon as I caught up with her, she started talking about wanting to run more races and how much fun it was.
After a trip with some friends to Starbucks for a quick warm-up, we called it a morning and headed home. Abby is now constantly scanning the news and commercials for more marathons she can run, and I really enjoy her getting so excited about this kind of stuff.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Think before you say


In my weekly "I've gotta get back in shape" jaunt, the girls and I took advantage of the no-school-day and spent a bit of the morning sweating it up to a workout video. Midway through the video, my sweatshirt/pajama pant ensemble was getting a bit heavy for the muscles that obviously hadn't been used in many moons, so I shed the sweatshirt for a raunchy sports bra/pajama pants duo. With blinds firmly closed in an attempt to save any of the neighborly type from viewing Jigglefest 2010, we continued the intense cardio workout.

During the cool down phase, Abby came up behind me and placed both of her hands around my waist...

Abby: Why does your booty come out of your pants like this? If you squeezed all this fatness back down, it would make just one booty again.
Me (amused too much to be ticked off at her accurate portrayal of my back half): Hun, those are just love handles. Most everyone gets them when they get older.
Abby: Oh. Why are they called 'love handles'?
Me: Ummmmmmmmm, well........because they love to be there and won't leave. Don't you need to brush your teeth or make your bed or something?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I wish I could bottle that adorable little voice


When my memory card was full in the camera I use to take videos, I realized that I had some cute videos on it that I had forgotten to download. Here are a few recent ones of the Nafey boy as he shows off his budding personality and talking skills.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Proof that God loves Gator country


Orange and Blue!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More of the little ole' gangsta


For all ye camera enthusiasts, I ordered the 50mm 1.4f a few days ago and can not wait to get it in and try the sucka out. I have been loving my 50mm 1.8f for indoors, but it being a cheap lens and over 3 years old (meaning it has taken thousands of pictures, I kid you not), it is starting to create quite a bit of digital noise even at the lower iso levels. Since I have had my eye on the 50 1.4 for a while, I took the plunge and can not wait to get it in. I'll let you know how it works out. I took these shots with the 100mm 2.8f macro lens that is great for outdoors. I don't especially like taking posed shots of Nate with it because it is such a long lens that in the time it takes me to get far enough away from him, he has purposefully moved or run away (he's a stinker like that). But, I had it on the camera and didn't want to change lenses for this impromptu quick shoot before it started raining the other day. The 100mm is really great for taking outside pics when the kids are playing because you can stay at a distance and just shoot them more naturally. Love this lens!Here is a shot showcasing that I was in the wrong position for the right light. It was a really really cloudy day and I had a group of trees behind me, so it blocked a lot of the light on Nate's face...thus giving him the racoon eyes effect. It would have been better if I would have been on the other side of Nathan, since that side had open sky...the light would have been perfect on his face. See...even after taking pictures for a while, we still make mistakes. After I took 3 shots, I moved to the other side of him, but he was DONE with pictures in the street. That's when we moved to the backyard...that showcased all of our brown winter yardage (yuck). This outfit in the street seemed to go better than the yard, but Nate had other plans.
And after an impromptu photo shoot, I also make sure I have nice goodies on hand. Suckers are a great treat for putting up with my "practicing". :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: If only it was Wednesday...


And if only it was wordless...

Found some miniature wife beater shirts (are they still called that in today's teenager lingo? Because its still hilarious to me.) and just had to take some shots with the little guy in them. More will come later...promise.
Love this one...he had fallen back in the grass and couldn't get back up because he had a sucker in one hand and couldn't brace himself. He just laid there laughing and calling for help because the grass was tickling him. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this age?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wintertime blues


You know, there comes a time when you are a bit embarrassed saying that everyone is sick once again. When taking Emma to our pediatrician on Monday for an ear infection, I asked her in desperation "why are my kids always sick now???" I mean, we wash our hands and try really hard not to lick doorknobs, keyboards, phones, grocery carts or any other germ magnets. I also forbid my little hooligans from making out with any snotty nosed thang...period. So why has this winter been so rough? Her answer: "You have three kids, and Abby is in school."

Abby woke yesterday morning with a huge swollen thumb with a puss pocket the size of Montana on it. I woke with a 101 degree fever. The two combined don't make for a great morning. In my fever induced stupor, I soaked an earring in alcohol and used it to lance Abby's thumb and drain the puss. It was an invention of necessity in the absence of any other pokey thing around. After I cleaned the wound well, I sent her off to school...only to get a call within 10 minutes from the school nurse saying that she needed to be seen by a doc. Nice. 2 visits to the ped in a week. I told the pediatrician that at this point, it is either embarrassing or comical at how often we see her. Abs got an antibiotic out of the trip and instruction not to pick her hangnails anymore and was sent on her merry way back to the germy cesspool they call "a learning institution".
Harboring a fever of 102 at this point, I was afraid that if I went home, my children would live on barbecue chips and Elmo alone while I was curled up in the fetal position moaning my way to insanity...so we decided to get Nate's scheduled blood work out of the way instead (at a new lab really close to the house with FREE parking, which makes me oh so happy). Then a trip to my doc revealed that I did in fact have some sort of infection (throat, sinus, ingrown eyebrow hair...who knows) which earned me some antibiotics, making 3 of the 5 Ferrells on the good stuff this week. Score. Let me just say that it is truly amazing what antibiotics do to a body. After going to bed in my moany febrile state, I woke up refreshed and fever free. And since not having a fever like that since high school, it gave me a new found sympathy for my chillens when they have the same. That stuff is tough.Nathan, well Nafey boy seems to always throw curve balls our way. The little guy has been anemic since his hospital stay a few weeks ago, and along with our pediatrician and our mito doc, we have been trying to figure out the cause and treatment for it. After yesterday's bloodwork, it seems that there are a few things going on...he seems to have a bit of "anemia of chronic disease" that was made worse with that rough illness he had a few weeks ago, coupled with a low ferritin level (which is a protein that stores iron). His iron studies are fine, but his ferritin is low, so we are going to add some Ferinsol drops for a few weeks to see if we can help restore some of his ferritin. The other issue is that his retic count is normal. It should be high in a time that he is anemic, meaning that the bone marrow would responding correctly to the body's need for more red blood cells. Since his retic count is normal, his bone marrow isn't doing all it should be during this time. The problem is that it takes a lot of energy for the bone marrow to respond correctly and many mito kids have a hard time with this, with some going into bone marrow failure with disease progression. Thankfully, Nate's anemia is not too bad right now (and it came up a little from 2 weeks ago), so we aren't too worried about this yet, but we will need to keep an eye on it. And hopefully the ferinsol drops will do the trick, and we won't have to worry about this at all.So, crazy week indeed in the Ferrell household. Nate is still sleeping great in his big boy bed and hasn't come out even once (where's that wood I can knock?). Apart from some swollen lymph nodes and really dark circles around his eyes, he is doing really well. It's clear his body is trying to fight something right now and I am really hoping he can. We need a break from illnesses around here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

An end to an era


I sat in the dark right next to you and placed my hand against your chest so I could feel its rise and fall with each breath you took. I felt your heart thumping against my fingers and counted for a few seconds...habit, even when you are well. Before leaving, I brushed your hair to the side just a bit and tucked Tebow under your chin...a series of events that have been repeated countless times over the past 2 years...but this time was different. This time, it all took place on the bottom bunk of your brand new bunk bed. Your big boy bed.There are a few milestones that are a little hard to swallow for a mother as she realizes that her children are truly growing up before her eyes. We push through these milestones right alongside our children with trepidation at first before they become the new normal in their lives. I have always been a little sad to see the kids move from one baby item to a big kid one...car seats, clothes, shoes, bottles, bicycles. And beds. Watching their teeny tiny bodies encompassed in the vast land of a big kid bed for the first time is truly a little sombering to a degree, as it seems to embark a new era in their lives...as a kid. Not a baby.
And this time...well, this time is even more sombering and different. This time, we took the crib down for the first time in over 6 years. It sat strong and bold in the same place in the same room since Abby was a baby, enduring many hours of crying, loads of puke, poop explosions, bouncing, feet climbing in and out, kids falling out (Abby...multiple times), piles of crap shoved under its rails that hid piles of crap so well, teeth gnawing and feet kicking its many rails. And prayers...multiple prayers as we looked over its rails and asked for guidance and instruction on raising such complex and incredible little beings. The crib, taken apart bolt by bolt, was carried up to the attic and stored until we can find a new home for it so it can continue its duty of housing the littlest of little ones.
The end of an era...no crib, no bottles and burp cloths. We are still holding tight to the diapers and pacis for now, but our baby is losing a little bit of "baby" each and every day. He loves his new bed and has made the transition with such incredible ease that makes us truly realize that our baby is quickly turning into a big boy...which means that this chapter in our lives is quickly closing. As I ponder sentimentally about the past 6 years of babyhood in our house, I still can't help but get excited at this next chapter with our three fun-loving big kids.

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