Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where's Waldo??

Notice who's peeking out her sweet little face in Derek's prom pics!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Livin' the good life!!

We most certainly are!! Although we have lots going through our minds concerning Gracie, life at the Opps is rather fun. We are getting ready for Derek's graduation...oh, man, I'm going to miss this kid! He is/has always been a delight to parent. He has such a sweet, kind-hearted spirit that is full of adventure and silliness...at home, he's often the life of the party. One night he was out with friends at dinnertime and we realized how quiet our family was without him. He adores his sisters--all three of them! Sweet Gracie has him wrapped around her tiny little finger and she knows it. Mom and Dad might say "no" once in awhile, but Derek--NEVER! We are threatening him big time...you know, that day where he brings his kids over to our house so we can babysit--oh my...we will DELIGHT in giving them everything. No? What's that? Derek is having a blast with his track season, enjoying his friends, making many memories these last weeks of his high school time.

Connor has started golf and he loves it! He has been golfing rain or shine, cold or warm, sometimes it's pretty dark out and he's still missing. He had his first high school meet on Monday and is looking to improve his score next time. It wasn't his best day, but he's had some pretty amazing days leading up to it. He, too, is just so much fun! I love parenting high school boys--there is no drama...or not much drama, anyways. Connor and his friends spend lots of time over here, empty our snack box often, laugh LOUDLY, and just have so much fun.

Breuklyn has been back at the barn...which means I've been spending many of my days at the barn as well. One of my friends was out with her kids the other day and stated that she would've pictured me last of anyone to be out with these furry beasts. She's so right. I don't like animals up close and personal. I'm pretty much freaked out by anything alive and non-human. God is smiling, maybe belly-laughing when He watches what goes on in that barn. I'm pretty sure every hose is a snack, everything fuzzy is a mouse, disgusted by poop on my sandals...He must laugh. I love nothing more than watching Breuklyn's hair in the wind as her horse is running through the field with her on his bare back...she is gorgeous out there--exactly what she was made to do. I'm still sort of freaked out, but am stomping around there pushing heavy horse butts out of the way, throwing bales of hay, and yeah...stepping in poo!

Selah is doing beautifully! This is only God. We have been so clueless as to how to parent her unique needs...He has completely intervened. Her heart has changed so much in the past couple of months--it blows my mind. Not only is she falling in love with her family...we have fallen head over heels in love with her. She fits perfectly. Oh, how I enjoy listening to her read. She has so much expression, especially when she doesn't think anyone can hear her. We turn the monitor on when her and Gracie play together...at first for safety reasons, now just to hear their giggles, to hear them role-play...they are so incredibly tight. True sisters in every sense of the word. Thank you for praying for our daughter--God indeed is filling her up!

And Gracie...despite the bad news of a couple of weeks ago, she is doing super well. She talks and talks and talks and talks... Just a few months ago, she could say very, very little. Today, I sent my friend Sara, her speech therapist, a text that said She won't shut up! THanks :) It's true...she talks from the time she gets up until she goes to bed...her little mouth is always moving. She giggles with everything inside of her. What a little honey she is.

Life is good...it's amazing actually. Sometimes we get so caught up in what is hard that we forget just how beautiful our life actually is. The past couple of weeks have been difficult--we can't help but think of what is to come. But today--sheer bliss!

Oh yeah--and Connor is 15--am I really typing that? 15 years of awesomeness!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

feet and knees

Just a little update on Gracie. We have spent a large portion of our week at the Mayo Clinic once again to try to figure out Gracie's foot pain. In my not-doctor mind, I was thinking the surgery might take care of the foot pain as well, yet the doctors are convinced the foot pain is it's own issue. Foot and leg pain can often be an indicator of something bigger...no matter--we just need to find out how to alleviate the pain.

So on Wednesday, we headed north. Gracie and I met with a pedicatric rheumatologist. Her symptoms do, somewhat, align themselves with rheumatoid arthritis. Before making a diagnosis and starting a treatment plan other possibilities need to be weeded out. This past week she had intensive xrays and a complete bone scan. Yesterday we went for the bone scan--they had to place an IV, which is so scary for Gracie. She screamed and screamed...miserable, scared, just sick of the pokes. They called in pediatric specialists...by then, Gracie and I were both a mess. This is the most difficult things about parenting Gracie--watching her suffer. She's up at nights lots with horrible foot pain...and now knee pain. Then the many pokes. She walks into any medical office and declares, "no pokes, no owies, dus dawk, k?" (just talk) She so, so anxious about needles...and I don't blame her. They poke, and poke, and poke. She has no idea, nor can she conceive the idea that the pokes are for her benefit. I want to be her rescuer when this is happening, but instead I'm the one holding her down. It just stinks.

Yesterday, however, when the pokes were done, when the bone scan was complete, the technician allowed Gracie to perform an MRI on her Woody doll, who is actually her Nino doll, which actually is Derek...clear as mud? Anyways she strapped him to the table, pushed the buttons to slide him through the tunnel, closing the top really close to his little round nose. Then she told him...sweetly, yet firmly..."no wiggle woes, Nino." She held onto his head and his hand and put her face really close to his. Then she pushed the button to slide him on out. When the machine stopped, she gently picked him up, sat on the stool, and rocked him, kissing his little brown hat, and telling him that she loved him. That's what mommies do!

We are very uncertain about Gracie's future...what it's going to look like, how long it's going to be...yet we are convinced and KNOW THAT WE KNOW THAT WE KNOW Who is holding onto her future. When we are dealing with the tears...hers and ours...we know that in a moment there will be joy, there will be smiles, there will be laughter, for we know, without a doubt He is holding onto us.

Besides the foot and knee pain, Gracie is doing really well. She feels terrific, she has a lot of energy, she's talking up a storm.

Better run...off to dye some eggs!