Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo shoot

The Boover bunch
My dear friend, Suzanne, is a very talented (and patient) photographer. We had a photo shoot with her this last weekend. When she left I was so upset. I was sure that we wouldn't get one good picture with everyone looking happy. We had not been the most cooperative models. Maddie and Sophie loved it. Ella did not want to take pictures. She wanted down. She cried most of the time. Jack kept asking when will we be done....Hilton pinched him...Jack cried and then we were all begging him to smile for the next picture. Aren't family portraits great?

Suzanne posted a few on her website for us to preview. I almost cried. She is a miracle worker...she shot at just the right times. I am sooooo happy! I love this picture.

Suzanne asked if we had a favorite family spot....a place where we hang out. I told her our bed. She said she had been wanting to do a bed shot. Sometimes I long for more privacy, but my heart puffs up when I look at this picture. This is the place we all climb up and hang out. We watch movies This picture will be a priceless memory!

Growing up, my dad used to take pictures of us all the time. We complained. Frowned. Squirmed. Pinched each other. Argued. Flat out refused. We gave him a hard time. One day he stopped taking our pictures. He vowed never to take pictures of us again. I see how he was driven to that. I was so frustrated Friday during our "photo shoot", but Suzanne never lost her cool or patience. She didn't seem bugged at all. She did her thing...and obviously she did it well. I am thrilled to have some professional pictures of my sweet (seeing their cute pics made me forget how crazy irritated I was with them) family! Thanks, Suzanne.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back to School "Daze"

She was ready....backpack from Aunt Beth, back-to-school outfit from Aunt Jen, napmat, lunchbox..Sophie was ready, but I wasn't. It doesn't matter if it's your first or your fourth. Sending a baby off for that first day of school is tough! We had a great summer together. It was hard to see them all go, but especially crazy sending Sophie to kindergarten. Maddie was decked out in one of her many ensembles from her shopping frenzy with Aunt Beth. Jack wasn't so sure about going back, and Sam was too big to get in the first day of school photo.Sam started 7th grade, Maddie- 5th, Jack- 4th, and Sophie- kindergarten. Hilton drives them to school many days, but it's so nice to be able to catch the bus right in front of our house.

Big sister, Maddie, is there to lend a hand.

Daddy and Sophie checked out her desk before we left her for her big day.

Like I said, Sophie was ready. As we left her in the classroom and walked down the hall, my eyes welled up with tears. In a way, she is theirs for the next 12 years. She won't rely soly on me anymore. She will learn to do many things for herself and become more and more independent. She has been my shadow for the last 6 years, happily going wherever I went. Most everyone at the school knows her since she has been up there with me helping....and she has 3 big sets of shoes to fill following Sam, Maddie and Jack. Her kindergarten teacher is the same teacher Jack had, so we are grateful for that. Today is the first day of October. I think we're all coming out of the back-to-school daze and settling into a routine. Sophie read her first book yesterday. She is also playing soccer this year-learning lots and loving it. Jack is enjoying his excel classes and reading all the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books. He is small, but quick. He had the fastest time for the timed mile run. He is also playing soccer. He wanted to play football, but I wasn't ready to let him try. Next month, he'll start flag football. Maddie is stretching herself in math and doing it! 7th grade and Sam are a great fit. I think his favorite thing this year is football. Ella and I are finding a routine with just the two of us. She's my new little shadow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Family Road Trip

At the end of May, we loaded up the van and headed to our Forsyth family reunion in the great, wild West....via LA, TX, NM, and CO. We enjoyed this great and beautiful country we are so blessed to live in. We spent a little over two weeks away from home and drove over 4000 miles.

"Life is Good"! After 2 long days in the car...and half a day hanging out in Decatur, TX waiting for our van to be fixed....yup! The Pack legend lives on....we broke down our very first day on the road...we were thrilled to reach our destination in Pagosa Springs, CO. Aunt "Kiki" and Uncle Nick treated us to a wonderful week in Colorado. It was beautiful. The eggy smell of the hot springs was a bit stinky at first, but we got used to it quickly and the beauty and coolness of everything trumped the aroma. There were over twenty natural spring pools with temperatures ranging from 89 to 118 degrees. 112 about burned us up. I could only dip in my toe. Our ideal temp was in the mid 90s.

We had soooo much fun with Aunt Kiki and Uncle Nick in Colorado. We did so many fun things....Mesa Verde, Pagosa Springs, sightseeing and shopping in Durango, yummy food everywhere we went, camping and fishing at Lake Vallecito (Jack caught a ginormous Northern Pike- I need to ge the pic from Nick) and camping in the SWEET yurt in Mancos. What wonderful memories! We were sad to say goodbye and wish we could've stayed to be with them when they got"hitched." Congratualtions, we are so glad that Uncle Nick is "officially" family..he was from day 1! We love you Kiki and Nick!!

We had called the park in Mancos and found out they had a yurt available. We were planning on tent camping but the weather was a bit chilly. Nick was excited to check out the yurt. Before we arrived, we called him to see how it looked. The first sentence out of his mouth was, "the yurt is SA-WEEEET!" And it was. We picked up pizza from a nearby grocery store-traditional camping food-and made s' the microwave. We did have a fire...but everything melted nicer in the microwave. Here's Nick outside of our "Sweet" yurt.

We look like experienced rock climbers at Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez, CO. We had a great time there...and worked off our big breakfast hiking and pushing the stroller up, up, UP the path.

Dinosaur Park Ogden, Utah.

Hilton just posted a few pics from our trip....more to come. We have them on 3 different cameras. It was a special trip....spending the week with Christy and Nick then seeing so many of our dear Forsyth and Pack families.We had the best accomadations on our trip. While in UT, Steve and Kathy graciously opened up the entire basement level to us. Thanks, Ryan, for giving up your comfy bed. Spending the week in the greater Salt Lake area (North Ogden, Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful, downtown SLC). Visiting Temple Square, being in the Tabernacle for "Music and the Spoken Word"...not to mention seeing "Sam" from "ICarly" in the North visitors Center. We got a photo and autograph...ok. I did. The kids turned all shy on me. I had to practically stalk the poor girl. Forsyth reunion at Cherry Hill. Tip: Don't go to a water park until the weather is atleast 80...we did it for the kids! Pack reunion. McFarland reunion. Catching up with dear friends.... the list goes on and on. We had a fantastic time. The night before we left, we headed to Provo. We got to hang with Gabe, Erin and lil' Gabe, Lauren, Hannah and Delaney. Our sleepover in Hannah's basement was a blast! The drive out and home was long and gorgeous, and oh, so worth it. We stopped in Dallas and stayed with my cousin Becky and her family for the weekend before heading home. What a ride! I am blessed and thankful we were able to take the kids on such an adventure. I had the best traveling companions in the world! I wouldn't want to try that trek with just anybody. Hilton, Sam, Maddie, Jack, Sophie and Ella- thank you for being troopers. When things don't always go as planned for us, we like to use a favorite phrase from the penguins of "Madagascar"- "Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave." I remember that first day, when we were on the side of the road with the van overheating, I heard the words, "Mom, smile and wave. Smile and wave." It felt like 2000 degrees outside, but we all smiled and laughed a bit. We used those words several more times on this trip. It seemed to work. We got through some tough spots, but we were smiling and waving through it all. I love my sweet, little Booverbunch and my big extended fam! I am THE absolute luckiest and so seriously blessed girl in the entire universe! Is our family perfect? Heck no! Do we have some "interesting" family...uh, for sure! but they're mine, all mine....and they're perfect for me!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hair club for babies?

Sam was born bald. Maddie, Jack and Sophie were born with a ton a hair. Ella was born with what looked like a dark black Halloween wig...and just kept growing all over the place. This picture from January shows her crazy "do", but....something that has never happened to one of my children is well in progress- she's losing all her hair. Sure. We had the little bald spot in the back of the head where they rubbed it off in their bed or carrier, but not allover hair loss. Ella is almost bald. I think she is absolutly adorable, but I've never dealt with this mystery. Where does the hair go? It's not in her bed or signs of it in the sink after washing. No strands in my dust pan or on my swiffer after cleaning (except Hershey's hair). I'm wondering how long this goes on. So, if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears. I'm sure my mother- in- law would have some kind of cream or herb infused concoction we could slather on her head. Actually, in the Latin cultures, many shave their babies hair, so it will grow in thicker and fuller. I'm sure it stops disappearing and starts growing again....soon....right? Just, I'm calling on all of you out there...any advice or hair tales will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We've come a long way, baby!

Saturday, Miss Ella celebrated her half's crazy to think it has been 6 months. The first 3 months of her life went by quite sludgey slow with so many ups and scary downs, but the last 3 have just flown by. We love having her home. She fills our home with so much joy and lots of full body smiles and belly laughs! She is THE love of all our lives. To honor her, our family walked in the New Orleans March of Dimes march for babies. We remembered our cousin, Noah, and brother Charlie. We also walked to honor our other sweet preemie (born 6 weeks early), Jack. It was a very special (and quite emotional for Mommy) day for us.

Ella seemed to know the importance of the day. She smiled and laughed through it all. Hilton, Jack and Sophie took a short break, but Sam and Maddie were walking maniacs! They absolutly would not stop! They wanted to finish without taking a break. I was so proud of each of them for dedicating their time, heart, energy and sweat to this wonderful cause.
After the walk, a visit with Grandpa and Grammy, and a fun trip to the zoo, we stopped by the RMcH and the hospital to catch up with friends and our NICU family. It was a bit difficult and emotional for me to be at the hospital again. But as soon as I saw the sweet faces of our dear nurses, I was so happy to be there. Ella was worn out from a very long day, but I think she was a trooper, smiling at her "nother mother" nurses. It was as if she knew exactly where we were and exactly who they were. It was precious. To our NICU family-Thank you is not at all enough to express the gratitude I have for each one of you who cared for my Ella. She truly is the girl she is today because of your above and beyond care, compassion, kindness, friendship and love. We will always hold you dear and near to our hearts. We love you all!

That chubby foot is precious to me. I remember when it was the size of the top portion of my middle finger. We have come so far and feel so blessed to have been a part of this miracle. At her last appointment (about 1 month ago), Ella weighed 8lb 9 oz. She has another next week, and I am positive she's pushing 10. She is a chunk. The kids have given her the nickname "Chuboily"- chubby and spoiled. She has monthly visits with her pediatrician and eye dr. She has a hemmorage in her left eye...probably left over from her ROP eye surgery...that is being followed. It may need to be lasered if it remains active. She also sees the cardiologist to check the open valve and hole in her heart. Her gastrointerologist will see her in May to determine the next course of action for her belly. He has wanted her to get bigger and stronger before proceding forward. Ella has been unable to tolerate my breast milk (probably due to a malabsorption disorder), so she has continued on the Elecare. Not being able to nurse her or atleast give her ALL the milk I pumped for her has been a sad thing for me, but I have tried to focus on what is best for my girl. Her Elecare smells so bad (it's a predigested amino acid modified medical formula)...and when she spits it up (and she does that A LOT), it really stinks- like double puke! She struggles with reflux and takes meds for it. She receives in- home therapy bi-weekly. In fact, her therapist just left, and says Ella is doing great. She is meeting all the markers for her "adjusted" age. She loves her therapy time because she gets so much attention. The girl loves attention! We stay busy with life- feedings, family time, diaper changes, church, ball games, school plays, doctor visits, etc... but we are sooooooo happy to be doing all of it together as a family. This last 6 months has been full of many emotions and trials, but I am thankful for what we have gained through it all. We are truly blessed! Heartfelt thanks to each of you for your continued prayers, friendship, love and support. We could not have survived this miraculous, scary, blessed journey without each of you. Here's to the next 6 months! BRING IT!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome Home Ella.

I couldn't resist telling the here is a pic in her car seat on the way home to our house in Sumrall,MS. Emily will update this later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Due Date

Today,January 28 is my due date...the day I believed Ella was due to be born. Monday, February 2, was the due date the doctor's office gave me. October 25, 2008 is the date that Ella was born. So, today is a bit odd for me. Whether my date or the dr.s date was right, Ella is here...i guess she had the last word. I think we will see that throughout her life. Already, that little firecracker seems to do things in her own way . We are still at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans. Ella is ready to come home in that she has hit all the markers she needed to, as far as being premature....she is eating well (45 cc breastmilk every 3 hours). Her nurses all know what a champ she is at eating...she guzzles that bottle down in about 5 minutes. She is breathing just like she should be without anymore "bradies"-drops in her heart rate. Every now and then when she gets too excited while eating, she'll get choked and will "brady", but no biggie. She is gaining weight...4lb.7oz and maintaining her temperature on her own in an open crib. For whatever reason, she is having some liver troubles. The dr. is not too sure why. They are following her closely and taking urines every other day. She will have a full liver panel tomorrow. Her dr. said yesterday if her liver enzymes and bilirubin look about the same or less, they will do another full panel Monday. If they are again about the same or less, we will be able to go home to follow up on an outpatient basis. If they are elevated, we will be staying and probably have to look at doing a liver biopsy. This little amazing, precious angel has been through so much...and come through it all. I am so in love with her. She has touched my life in so many ways in her little 3 month life. I know bringing her home will be exciting and scary. She will face many more challenges, I'm sure, in the year to come. She still has a open heart valve (PDA) that will be followed by a cardiologist. Her eyes will be routinely checked, but her eye surgeon gave her a passing grade today, saying they looked great! We will keep her as safeguarded from germs as we can, knowing she is at a higher risk for RSV and other respiratory issues. She will have in home occupational therapy for the first year of her life. Her occupational therapists should feel proud because they helped her become the sucking champ she is today! For several feeds, they helped me with cheek compressions and jaw support to help Ella better with "nippling" the bottle. What wonderful nurses, therapists, and docs we have had during the last 14 weeks- 6 at Forrest General and 8 at Ochsner. As I reflect on all we have gone through, I can not believe it. And what overwhelms me so much is the love of dear friends, family, nurses, drs.,strangers, and especially my Father in Heaven. We have been carried every minute of this crazy life we've been living. I would not recommend this to anyone, but I do hope that everyone will look to Him for comfort, peace and love. He is there. He lives. He loves me. He loves you. Thank you for your constant thoughts, prayers, fasting, meals, donations, firewood, manual labor, babysitting, rides, dinners,texts, hugs, gifts, visits, etc...the list goes on...etc.....We are so blessed to have the ginormous support system we have. But if you don't mind...don't stop now...keep praying. We are close. Let's bring that wildcat home! Love to you all....emily

My little family

My little family
This is my beautiful, little family- Hilton, Emily, Jack ( 7), Sophie (4), Maddie (9) & Sam (11). Aren't the azaleas gorgeous? This was taken Easter sunday at my mom's house. The dogwoods and azaleas were in spectacular bloom.