Monday, May 8, 2017

April 2017

April 2017 has changed our lives forever. Flipped us inside out; turned our lives around; and made us stop cold and re-evaluate everything we knew. April 2017 is the month my daddy died. My daddy, who was not just my daddy but my law partner, Charlotte's Pop, and many more thinngs to many more people. It's weird to think we were just going on with the mundane things of life that day, only to be slapped in the face by his unexpected arrhythmia. One day I will recount the events of that day and the following two weeks but I am not ready quite yet even though they are burned into my brain. Just suffice it for now to know that that day, and the following two weeks that preceded his death were the worst. We are grateful that we had those two weeks with him to prepare ourselves and say our goodbyes, even though he was asleep, but nothing could prepare us for life without him. We will never be the same but life must go on and he would want us to go out and live it to the fullest, just like he did.
That being said, here is a look at some of the very few things we did during april in efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy, especially for Charlotte. Even though this time was painful, I want to document it because it happened and it was significant and therefore deserves to be remembered as it is part of our history now, even though we hate the fact that it is.

This is the last picture I took before it all happened. I stayed home from work that morning because we were starting potty training boot camp that weekend.

Charlotte had her school Easter egg hunt and party. My sister escaped from the hospital to go with us and that made it extra special for Charlotte. She loved hunting eggs and I have to say was quite the egg finding rock star. She also loved seeing the Easter bunny and loading up on sugar with her friends.


The only photo I have of Charlotte at the hospital. She never saw Pop but I brought her to the waiting room many times to see my mom and cheer her up. She succeeded in making many people smile!

Although she is much too young to understand, Charlotte knew something was wrong. Mommy wasn't home, he schedule was off, and she picked up on the anxiety that was running high. This is a rare night where I was home with her rather than at the hospital. It felt nice to spend some silly time just playing with her and it went a long way in helping her cope with the situation she found herself in.


Not the greatest picture but she had a blast going to Henry's birthday party at the Factory, and trampoline jumping place. She still asks to go back.


Easter Sunday was quite different for us. No church, no family lunch, just hospital. We did give Charlotte her presents from the Easter bunny. I actually thought we would wait but we needed a little joy that day. You can't help but smile when you see this precious face.

The night before the funeral, Charlotte and I went to Singing Sprouts, her music class. It was nice to get out in the real world and do something that she loved. It felt nice to feel happy for a few minute. 


After the funeral, we were all kind of lost. How do you continue on with regular life? Well, you just kind of have to. The world doesn't stop for you, no matter what happens (and neither does a toddler for that matter) so you just put on your big girl panties and face the next day, one step at the time.  Here we are riding the train at the Falls, one of Charlotte's favorite things to do. She loves to see the animals and play on the playground. We actually were there the weekend before all of the drama and afterwards had lunch with Dad. 


Forrest and I also attended the Regency Ball at the end of the month. I went back and forth about whether I wanted to go and I figured that since I had to see people and put a smile on my face for work, I could and should do it for fun things too. It was actually great--so many friends told me they were glad to see us out and about and that they knew that is what Dad would have wanted us to be doing. They are right of course. 


We have been helping out a lot at Mom's house, and here is Charlotte "helping" to water the plants, and herself. Someone is ready for summer! 


After daddy died I was afraid to take Charlotte to his house for hear she would ask about him. I told her quickly he had gone to heaven to be with Jesus but death of course is too much for a little one so I wasn't sure what she would do. One night we were at my moms eating and Charlotte went into the cabinet and pulled out this bag of Bugles. My dad loved those things and would share them with Charlotte when she came over. She opened the bag and just sat down and started eating them. She loved at me and said "Pop bugles". I was so happy that she remembered this little detail and even though it also hurt, it was nice to know that she would only have happy memories of him and not remember any of the terrible times we endured. 

Charlotte also had doughnuts with daddy at school. Forrest had been looking forward to it all year and she was so excited for daddy to get to go with her to school that day. I hoped to get a picture of the two of them but instead I got this hilarious one of her and her buddy Wes. 


Well, that is April--unexpected, gut checking, worst month of my life. However, we learned a lot about ourselves, about life and love and family, and just exactly what the good things in life truly are. 




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Thursday, March 30, 2017

thyroglossal duct cyst

What in the world is that?? Well we have become intimately acquainted with the term over the past few months. On New Year's Day my mom told me that she found a bump under Charlotte's neck when she was bathing her. Forrest and I had been in Atlanta and Charlotte was at my parents house. 
Here we are, unaware anything is wrong with our child...

The next day we took her to the doctor who gave us some scenarios but hoped it could be taken care of by antibiotics. It wasn't. 
After the doctor we took her to her first movie, moana. 

That bought us an ultrasound, which we squeezed in the morning of her two year photos. 
Waiting for an ultrasound in an heirloom bubble. She kept hollering to people in the waiting room "hey old yady, nemo!"  It was a good time...

Then we saw a friend who is an ent and he confirmed that it was a thyroglossal duct cyst. Apparently when your tongue, thirst, thyroid forms it can mess up and leave a pocket and that pocket can get filled with gross stuff when you get sick (she had three colds, the stomach bug, and hand foot and mouth in the fall so that didn't help). It wasn't life threatening but it would continue to grow and could end up affecting her speech, swallowing, and breathing. Basically it had to come out. I was so relieved that it wasn't anything deadly that I didn't really worry too much about surgery. He did say that she would have to stay overnight after the procedure so I decided to take her to children's hospital in Birmingham for the procedure, so she would be as comfortable as possible. That meant a visit to a new ent. 

Enjoying the fun moving chair. 

Getting yet another ultrasound. 

The doctor confirmed what we already knew and had us schedule surgery. We chose the Friday before her spring break so she would have a whole week at home to recover. In the mean time we kept busy to keep from thinking about the surgery (Disney, Colorado, Chicago, birthday party--that did the trick). 

We had to be at the hospital at 630 the morning of the surgery. C couldn't eat or drink after midnight and wasn't happy about that so thankfully we were taken to a pre op room fairly quickly. We spoke to several doctors and nurses about what to expect while we waited. 
Finally, the time came to hand her over. This was the part I was dreading the most. She had had no medicine and was wide awake for this and I didn't want her to be scared or cry. We got to carry her to the "bubble wall", which is a whallnfull of water and bubbles. She watched that for a while and then the doctor said "ok sweetie let's go get some bubbles and stickers" and she just let him take her. I was so so relieved--no tears on her end meant none on mine. The worst was over, in my opinion, and we just had to wait. It seemed like ages before they called us to say she was out and doing great. The doctor told us the cyst was actually larger than he thought and it was wrapped around the hyoid bone. The surgery took longer than we were told, I assume for this reason, and that made me a little crazy (it lasted over an hour). Then we had to wait until she was released from recovery too see her--more agony! When they finally said we could go get her we were about to jump out of our skin. She was asleep on her recovery nurse and I got to carry her to her room. She stayed asleep on me for a while before fully waking up. 

She was not happy, and it was so hard to see her that way. She cried and cried and just wanted to be held. She refused all food and drink, even the doughnuts Stevie brought for her. I spent a lot of time laying with her in the hospital crib because she wouldn't let me leave her side for a second. She had no idea where she was or what was going on and I'm sure she was in pain. Luckily she fell asleep again. 

When she woke up she was a hanged baby. She drank her whole juice cup, which meant she could get the iv taken out. She got to eat popsicles and watch Disney movies. 
She ate French fries and spaghetti for dinner as well as a cookie and some cake.  My parents came to visit and she went on a walk with my mom in the hallway. It was so great to see her back to her old self so quickly. 

We spent the night in the hospital but thankfully the doctor gave her the all clear fairly early (after pulling her drain out) and we were discharged. C was so happy to go home! 
We can't thank the doctors, nurses, and friends who helped us navigate this process. We are blessed beyond measure! Thank you to all of you who have check in on her and us--she is great and bounced back like a champ! She will point to her incision (in the crease between her neck and chin) and say "big girl". I think she is quite proud of herself. Please pray for all those children who did not get to go home the next day; who didn't just have a weird cyst that needed to be taken out. So many precious babies are struggling with diseases and injuries that far and above surpass this little hiccup Charlotte had and they and their parents need our prayers!! 

 
 

 
 
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Colorado

Forrest has been wanting to take Charlotte skiing since she could walk--for real. He absolutely loves the sport, me not so much, but I knew Charlotte would at least love the snow so we booked the trip. While it didn't involve me getting to spa at every ski resort like last time we went (pre baby obviously), we did have a marvelous time, and learned a few tips along the way.


 
Tip One, use those credit card points to your advantage when traveling with a toddler!
You know we are major proponents of credit card points--in fact, we haven't paid for a flight in probably 5 years (and have taken several trips during that time). Now with a toddler that has to have her own seat, we are working those points to the max. When we flew with Charlotte to Disney on Southwest as a lap child, we learned a lot. First of all, it's not fun to hold an almost 2 year old for an hour and a half on a plane--they are too wiggly. They want to get up and down. They want to kick the seat in front of them. They want to play with the tray table. They want to wave at the people behind them. This is stressful to me because I do not want her bothering others around her. When booking this trip to Colorado, we opted for first class. It wasn't that many more points since it was only a three hour flight, but the extra points were totally worth it. She had a large seat to herself and we got the front row. No one to kick, lots of room to get up and down and play, and best of all, room to nap!




We arrived in Colorado with a rested child and made the trek to Aunt Karen and Uncle Tommy's house. They are always so kind to host us. They cook for us, ski with Forrest, and over all provide tons of entertainment. Charlotte was especially taken with their cat Bella.
Fishing for Bella 

 
Uncle Tommy made Charlotte her first snowman "Olaf" and took her sledding. The last time she saw any snow that counted was the day she came home from the hospital, so she was very excited. We had been reading The Snow Day (Jack Ezra Keats) so she had a general idea about snow angels and things like that, so she was excited to get to play in it when she realized it actually existed.





 
Charlotte and I stayed in the house while the group skied each day. On the second day she did wander around Keystone in her snow suit and kept saying "Adit ski too" so we figured we would give it a shot. She is usually very brave and adventurous so I didn't think there would be any harm in giving it a try. The only issue was she ended up running a little fever for a while (it was kind of scary--she was a little bit floppy for a while) and her tummy was messed up. Once the fever went away she was fine so we chalked it up to a fever virus, slapped some skis on her, and let her try on the last day. She fell and got a little scared, so she opted for skiing with Forrest, but we were really proud of her effort. Next year she can go to ski school so that will help a lot.

TIP TWO-rent child skis before you get to the mountain--they go fast and you have to stand in line forever. This takes up valuable ski time and by the time you get to ski it is in fact your baby's nap time and they are less inclined to act as their typical brave selves. (This may also be due to the fact they have a stomach virus you as a parent are sort of ignoring...but are unable to ignore when you end up with said virus when you arrive home).



 
On our last night, we took our group for a sleigh ride to Keystone Ranch for dinner. Even though Charlotte had hardly eaten for days (despite acting in all other respects totally fine) she LOVED drinking the hot chocolate "choc-it milt" and hearing the guitarist play (turns out C is a Stevie Nicks fan).  It was a cozy way to end a marvelous time with family.



We were so sad to leave uncle Tommy and aunt Karen and their winter wonderland! We will be back soon! 

 

Cookies in the delta sky lounge are always a good time. 

Someone was ready to go home!!

 


 

 
 
 
 



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Smith and Bailey Retreat 2017

This year's Smith and Bailey Dental partnership retreat did not disappoint! We started this trip last year as a way for our families to spend some time together, talk about the business, and have a little fun! I didn't think we could top last years spa retreat at Old Edwards Inn, but Chicago may have taken the lead. We chose Chicago for a couple of reasons--first, it's a quick flight from Birmingham. Secondly, we had all been there so there was no need for major sightseeing. Third, the American Dental Association is headquartered there. Boom. Chicago.
We started the trip by seeing Jessie Jackson in the Birmingham airport (you know I have to find a celebrity when I travel if possible). Our flight was nice and uneventful and we got to the Park Hyatt just in time for room service and a night cap. We began the day Friday with a tour of the ADA which was right down the street. It was a very cool, nicely updated building with a legal office, science lab, and recording studio--how neat! 

After an insightful tour, Julie and I separated from the guys and went to the Park Hyatt Nomi Spa for our "spa day". We had a lovely champagne lunch, followed by massages, body scrubs and facials.


 
 As working moms, we don't get to relax and treat ourselves that often--there just isn't time. These few spa hours really helped recharge my batteries and fill up my "me time" stores that are usually pretty dry. That's ok, that's how it's supposed to be, and I love it. It's my choice to spend time with my family rather than get my nails done or something like that, and I pretty much always choose them over me--it's just what you do as a mom. That doesn't mean it isn't nice to have that time when you get the opportunity. so when I do I take full advantage!
After a nap (ahhh, another mom luxury) we went to Alinea for dinner. Julie and Lance bring out the foodie in us and always find the best restaurants. This meal, I have to say, was the most unique of my life. It was 12 courses, each course totally different than the first. The flatware and serving pieces were exquisite. The flavors and textures and presentation were all very unexpected but delicious. You can't be a picky eater and enjoy this restaurant. They bring out what they are serving that night--no questions. At one point, we ate a balloon. It was like being at a show--you didn't know what to expect next and you were on the edge of your seat with anticipation! Wow--is all I really can say!


 
The next day we had brunch at Little Goat, of Girl and the Goat fame. Another of my favorite things is brunch, so I was again in heaven! It will also go down in the history of awesome food I have eaten--thanks Julie and Lance! 


Next major think on the agenda that day--see a matinee of Hamilton--yes, Hamilton!!! I didn't even know that Wayne Brady was in it until the day before and that made me even more excited. Trust me, the hype doesn't do it justice. Even if you aren't really into musicals, or history, the show is a must see. I still can't get over how creative it was, and I'm still singing the songs (usually do my detriment at 2am, but at least they are good). 


Again, another amazing experience! We capped off that night by "not throwing away our shot" (Hamilton reference, haha) and eating at Guiliana and Bill Rancic's restaurant, RPM. Italian food--you can't go wrong (well you can but it's hard). Drinks, appetizers to share, shared pasta, entrees, desserts--this is the way Italian food was meant to be eaten and this is the way we ate it. Yummy in my tummy!! 

The next morning it was wheels up to see our Smith and Bailey babies!! It's a wonder what a weekend of eating and relaxing (with maybe just a little business talk thrown in over meals) can do for one's soul!
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Charlotte's Birthday Party

Ooo La La! Charlotte is TWO!
My sister actually came up with the idea of doing a Madeline birthday party for Charlotte back in October. I wanted something sweet and simple and not overly themey and of course something that C was excited about. She loved playing with my Madeline doll at my parents' house, so we took that idea and ran. Since she still takes a nice afternoon nap, we had the party in the morning, so we had brunch food. As we did last year, we pretty much only invited family, with a few close family friends with children around her age. The day turned out to be so much fun, and Charlotte really enjoyed it herself! Here is a look! (Major thanks to Farrah for being my party photographer!)


The table was in Madeline themed colors--a mix of primary red, yellow and blue. My Aunt Fran had the perfect table cloths (which I since ruined in the wash) and I had actually purchased the fans for Forrest's 30th birthday but never used them. Like last year, my mom did the flowers. She used the daffodils booking in her own yard and that made the arrangements extra special. 



Because Charlotte takes a nap around 1 or 1:30, we had to do a morning party. I was still not ready to do a party with a bunch of babies so we stuck to family and a few friends this year--I can only have so many in my house before it starts to burst st the seems! Since it was more of a grown up party, we did a French brunch theme, which basically means breakfast foods and mimosas. 

Chicken and waffles 


French toast sticks and syrup 

Coffee bar 


Actual bar, with different juices for mimosas as well as bloody Mary's (I had my first one at this party). 

Dessert table! We had madelines, which Mrs Beryl made despite the fact Rachel was in labor (she also made sausage balls), doughnut holes, mini muffins, and cookies. 

We had to have personalized napkins of course! (Which we will probably still be using when she is 12)


The entry table had my old Madeline doll and books and also had a new Madeline book for guests to leave a message in for Charlotte. 

The kiddos each got a "Genevieve" puppy to take home with them, just like Madeline. Although, I kind of felt like Melissa McCarthy in bridesmaids when handing out puppy party favors. 

The cake made to match Madeline's hat was absolutely perfect!! 


I had a couple of kids tables dressed with simple fabric toppers (that I later ruined when I put in the washing machine--oh well). 

We had a cute Madeline photo booth with a cut out we borrowed from a friend at school and props we borrowed from
John Robert. 


I had Charlotte's Madeline costume custom made from Etsy--I thought it turned out perfectly!! 

We could not have had a more fun day with our little birthday girl!! Hope you enjoyed this little peek!

 
 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 

 
 

 


 

 

 
 
 


 
 
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