Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Aaron and Karina's wedding weekend

I have to admit that this past weekend in Asheville, NC was really the first time I felt "normal" in a long time. We packed up, went on a trip, had fun--just like normal. It was a great time spent with family celebrating the new life of a wonderful couple! Here is a look!

We left home Thursday at lunch. Charlotte took a 2 hour nap in the car (unheard of with her--typically she won't sleep more than 45 min in the car) so she was refreshed and in a good mood when we arrived at the Biltmore Village Hotel. I was SO excited to be staying on the Biltmore property! Aside from being gorgeous, there were tons of activities right at our doorstep! That evening we met up with family and friends at the Red Stag for dinner and drinks and to kick off the wedding weekend. I took zero pictures, which is super sad because C looked darling and I really loved her outfit.

The next day we headed to the Biltmore house. Charlotte was so excited to ride the shuttle bus (an excellent perk of staying on the estate), and as we came around the corner and the house came into view, she screamed "Beauty and the Beast!!!". She thought the home was Beast's castle and spent the entire tour saying "Belle, where are you??". It really was the cutest. 

We met up with Aunt Paula, Charlotte's godmother, and Uncle Tom for lunch on the estate before heading to the petting zoo. While we napped, Forrest went to the rehearsal and we met him at the dinner at 12 Bones afterwards. This was a funky BBQ place and C loved that she could color on the walls!

The next morning, Forrest attended Range Rover driving school. He did a timed test and so far is the fastest time and if he wins, he gets a trip to drive in Peru. I don't think I will join him on that--I have had plenty of the Peruvian wilderness to last a life time!! Charlotte and I had breakfast and then headed to the stables for a carriage. Forrest was able to meet us in time and we really had a great experience on this tour. Charlotte loved the horses, Bob and Jay, or "Hadley's daddy" as C called him. The guides were very informative, views spectacular, and the ride was so pleasant. I highly recommend!!

Afterwards we went to the Lioncrest for a delicious lunch with Davis and Megumi. 
We also took a quick swim in the hotel pool before sending Forrest off to hang with the groomsmen. Of course we girls took a nap before getting dressed and ready for the wedding. The Crest Pavilion was a lovely setting for a wedding and even though it was super hot everything was gorgeous. Charlotte loved seeing the bride and bridesmaids (princesses to her) all dressed up but she did NOT like that Forrest was standing in the front. At one point she said "I want my daddy" quite loudly and I had to clap my hand over her mouth. When the groomsmen processed out after the wedding, she couldn't take it and ran to him and walked out with him. Luckily I was sitting in the back on the end so she didn't have far to go. What can I say, my sweet girl loves her daddy. We had a fun night celebrating and dancing with our family before she got too tired (and maybe hit Uncle Davis) and we had to go home.
The next day was Father's Day and we celebrated Forrest by letting him safely drive us home. He is so good to us and works so hard for us and we love him so so much! The weekend was a great success and a wonderful way to spend time with family while celebrating Aaron and Karina, Father's Day, and our anniversary as well!



So May was an equally rough month for our family. This season of loss has been very very hard and trying but we are making in through. Since some nice things did happen, I thought I should document:

We always love the Highlander's dance! 

We celebrated baby Becca's baptism. Forrest is her godfather so we say that she and Charlotte are "God sisters". It was a special day and Charlotte loved seeing the baby and her nae nae. 

Mother's Day with my precious one! 

Last day of toddlers!! The year has flown by and she has grown and learned so much! 

Last day of singing sprouts! What a fun year. Charlotte loves all of the songs and can't wait to go back this fall! 

The warm weather means we get to play outside, and playing with our neighbors is the best! 

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Birmingham with family. It was a weekend jam packed with fun! 

Pirate train at the zoo! 

Dinner at brio with momsie, mini, aunt fran, mommy and daddy! Looking like such a big girl. 

Learning to swim with her puddle jumper in Mimi's pool. 

On Memorial Day we had dinner with the baileys at aunt Debbie's. Charlotte loved playing with Brooks! 

Even bought it was a hard month it was full of fun and love. We are truly blessed. 






Tuesday, June 20, 2017


June was super busy and fun! Charlotte's vocabulary really has exploded. Her sentence structure is getting more mature and she is really using her pronouns well. She no longer calls herself "adit" (which breaks my heart a little) and she is saying most letters correctly. She really went though a transformation when it comes to speech this month. As her speech develops I do miss her baby words but I love that she is able to express herself and communicate more clearly. She also says the funniest things! I love when she says "hmm I don't know!" Here are some of my favorites from this month: 

C: Mommy, don't shut me out! 
Me: what does that mean?!
C: Anna say that (from frozen) 

Me: Charlotte be careful!
C: mommy you not say that to me!
Me: I'm the mommy, I get to tell you what to do to be safe. You don't tell mommy what to do. 
C: I is a mommy. I have my own babies. 

Clearly we have an independent lady on our hands!! 

We did have a wonderful family beach trip this month. It was nice to get away from it all for a while and relax. It was especially nice to spend time with our family in a fun, stress free environment. 

The next weekend we went to Asheville North Carolina for Aaron and karinas wedding! See my separate post on that! 

The next weekend was loaded with fun too! We started early on Thursday with Isaac and Rachel bringing baby Becca over for dinner. We got to let her have her first taste of watermelon and Charlotte loved giving her a bottle.

On Friday we went to Charlotte's second movie, cars 3. We still didn't make it to the end but she enjoyed it. 

On saturday Charlotte and I had a big girls day. We went to Erin's baby shower. Charlotte loved helping open the presents and I loved catching up with sweet sorority sisters. 
Afterwards we met Deborah, Randi and carla to celebrate Deborah's birthday. 

That evening, forrest and I went to the Gadsden times readers choice awards banquet. I was so honored to receive the prize best law firm and forrest picked up smith and baileys favorite dentist award! 

Charlotte's sleep went a little wonky this month. She started waking up screaming two times a night and wanted us to lay with her. Finally that stopped but she likes for us to lay with before she falls asleep. I know this is kind of a bad habit but she has had an unsettling few months and so I don't mind reassuring her we are here for her. 
 Another major step we took this month was to put Charlotte in swim lessons. She has zero fear of the pool so I knew this was a must. She cried every lesson but she was rave and learned to swim under water to the wall and reach up for help. Since her week of lessons she has wanted to swim under water on her own! We are so proud of her! 

After swim lessons she got to go get a snow cone! 
And as a prize for finishing all of the lessons, she got this awesome dinosaur pool! It was hit!!
On to July!! 





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!! 









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