The kids

The kids

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Undaunted Radiance

The Lord used Oswald Chambers (and my sweet new Kindle my in-laws got me) to rock my world today. After the struggles of the past year and half (and Garrett making the move to the Myrtle today), the following passage from March 7th in My Utmost for His Highest spoke to my heart.... a lot. Someone please remind me of this in the near future.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."
Romans 8:37

Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that "in all these things we are more than conquerors." We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let's apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against-- tribulation, suffering, and persecution--are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. "We are more than conquerors through Him" "in all these things", not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn't know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 7:4).

Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two Days

Two days, that is the total number of days our family has been well during the month of December (that may include November as brain is too fried to think back that far). Keep in mind that two days is the number of days we have individually been well, we have not had two days of us all being well. Mostly because Evan has been sick since birth. Therefore, any vision I had of a dream holiday season was completely thwarted. When will I learn to stop having expectations of things???

Anyway, our little family had the stomach virus the whole week before Christmas, and Evan came down with an awful cold. Luckily the stomach virus was cleared up by Christmas Eve but Evan's cold was only getting worse and then after he broke out in hives after a bath, we ended up at the doctor with him in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. And since the doctor's office is closed on Christmas Eve, we had to take him to the Children's Hospital. Garrett was at work when all this happened so my sister drove me to the hospital. Garrett met us there, so my sister took his car and drove home. Well, when we went to leave the hospital we realized we had failed to get my car keys from her (the hospital is almost 40 minutes from my parents house), so we had to wait for more keys to show up. We get home around 6:30 (after we had already missed church), only to discover that I had left one of our bags (containing my i-phone) sitting at the entrance of the emergency room. I cried (imagine that). We called. Praise the Lord they had it. So we scarfed down a quick but delicious Christmas Eve dinner and then made the trek back to the hospital. Then we came home and crashed.

We woke up Christmas morning, opened presents, and then packed up all of the junk it takes to go anywhere with 2 small kids. Then we headed to Spartanburg to spend Christmas with Garrett's family. We were there for two days (where we were all well except for Evan). During those two days we got to experience great time with Garrett's family and the most beautiful White Christmas. However, when we woke up on Monday morning, I looked at Garrett and said, "my throat hurts." He said, "mine too." We thought it was just allergies or something. By the time we got home that afternoon I had a fever of 101. Tuesday morning, I go to the doctor, Strep Throat. Seriously??? So, I've been quarantined (again). Garrett is going to the doctor this afternoon. Here's to 2011 being a healthy year. And here's some pics from the few seconds we were well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When I Get to Heaven

You know how you always here people say things like, "When I get to heaven, the first thing I'm gonna ask God is why does __________ have to happen (you can fill in the blank, I couldn't come up with a good example). Anyway, when I get to heaven, the first thing I am asking is, "Why the heck does everyone always come down with the stupid stomach virus in the middle of the night?" Apparently, my kids don't know how to throw up during the day and neither do we.

As you'll remember, Emerson had the awful stomach virus about a month ago and threw up, all NIGHT. Well, this past Saturday NIGHT she threw up at 4am. Then on Monday NIGHT, Garrett starting throwing up at 4am and then last NIGHT I started throwing up at 1am. Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone throwing up any time but I really think I would prefer let's say, 11am.

Here's to a throw up free Christmas....and according to the weather man maybe a little snow.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thank Goodness

Apparently Emerson is really into watching ice skating. Twice in the past few weeks the Today Show has had people ice skating on the show. Both times Emerson has stopped dead in her tracks and climbed up into my lap to watch the skaters. As soon as they are done she hops down and goes about her business. I love her sitting in my lap so much that I YouTubed ice skating performances and let her watch a few...from my lap of course. Thank goodness she's not into synchronized swimming or I may have to watch this....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Move and A Cookie Swap

Well, it's that time again, time for a member of our family to move. Yes folks, after 8 long weeks of having our family of 4 living under one roof, it's time to change it up. Last week Garrett got the phone call I've been dreading...they're moving him to Myrtle Beach at the end of the month. Ha Ha, laugh it up. After enjoying making fun of the Brantley's all this time for living in the Myrtle, my husband will now be living there too. I can't lie, I'm sad. Sad that I will once again not be living with my super hot husband. Sad that my kids won't have their dad around all the time. Sad.

A few positives however are: Garrett is employed, that's positive. Also positive, my best friend lives in the Myrtle so at least I will get to see her when we go visit....and Em will get to see her betrothed, Harrison, and we will get to see baby Fisher who is due to be born in early January. All positives. We have no clue how long Garrett will be there for.....only time will tell.

Another positive thing that is not related to the upcoming move, I'm helping host a cookie swap this Saturday. I can't wait. I love holiday parties, especially ones that revolve around eating cookies and taking cookies home. I have been thinking about what kind of cookies to make for a few weeks now. I turned to my friend Martha for a little help. First I tried making these little guys, Lucinda's Molasses Drops.
My sister-in-law, Amber, aka one of my best friends, came down on Saturday to help me test out the cookie recipe. We had a great time hanging out, but the cookies didn't turn out quite right. They were interesting but not what I wanted to bring to the 1st Annual Cookie Swap. So, on Sunday, I tried making something similar to these...
Cocoa Nib Rounds (shortbread with cocoa nibs). In case you are wondering...what the heck is a Cocoa Nib??? (i thought they were just little bits of chocolate)... Cocoa Nibs "are perfectly roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. They are the essence of chocolate. Nibs add crunchiness and subtle chocolate flavor to baked goods and savory dishes. They make a great substitute for roasted nuts or chocolate chips, without added sweetness (definition courtesy of"

Anyway, the cookies turned out great. If you want to try them, COME TO THE COOKIE SWAP! If you are interested, message me, and I will give you the details (location, time, etc). Just show up with 2 dozen of your favorite cookies. And leave with cookies to take home to your family and friends.
Yummmm....the cookies are helping to ease the pain of the impending move already. I swear I'm going on a diet after Christmas...if not Garrett may never want to come back from the Myrtle.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's A Miracle

As noted on the sidebar of this blog, in the past it has been 100% impossible to get a picture of our family with everyone at least facing the camera. Enter Kim DeLoach. I got to know Kim while I was on staff at Grace. I have loved getting to know her over the years. Not only do I consider her a friend but I also think she is one of the more talented photographers I know. To check out her work go here. To check out the wonders she worked on our family...don't move a muscle. Here is a sampling of the recent pics she took of our little family. Please note that is only a very small sampling b/c to post more than a few would take a fortnight. And well, I have a little time, but not a fortnight (which I think is technically like 14 days).

Our precious, precious, precious Evan. You have never met a sweeter more pleasant baby. I promise.
Our precious, precious, precious Emerson. The cutest yet feistiest little lady I have ever known.
The miracle photo. Everyone is almost looking at the camera.
Thank you Kim DeLoach. We are so thankful for you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love Love Love

It's Christmas, the time of year when we celebrate the Lord's love for us, love so great that "he sent His son to dwell among us and to give His life as a ransom for many." I am in awe of His love for me and am celebrating the many blessings He has so graciously given me. So, here are a few of the blessings that I am delighting in these days. I genuinely LOVE the following:

To begin with, I love love love that as I am sitting here writing this post, Emerson is dipping a Sharpie in the foam from the cappuccino my dad made me, and bringing it to me to lick off. Occasionally she takes a lick too and says, "yum, yum, yum." I love her.
Speaking of loving Emmy. I love that on Thanksgiving morning, she decided to climb up into this chair and enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It made my heart happy to watch her.
I love my husband....even though he dressed my daughter in Clemson gear on Carolina/Clemson game day. Regardless, I love the relationship he and little Em have.
I also love that Evan snuggled with G during our Thanksgiving meal. I am so thankful to have this little guy home and healthy.
I love that anytime Emerson sees a camera she makes this face and says, "cheeeeeese."
I love that Uncle Cullen and Aunt Courtney know how to "cheeeeese" like Emerson.
I love that Emmy's "Gama" likes to "cheeeeeese" too. It's funny how similar they all look.
I also super love that Courtney taught Em how to decorate the tree.
And I love that Em wanted to put all of the ornaments in the exact same spot.
And I most definitely LOVE this ornament. Uncle Cullen as a little tot. I also LOVE that Garrett's mom still has every ornament her kids ever made...and she uses them. That is a wonderful mother.
I love that my kids have Uncles and Aunts that love them like crazy.

And grandparents that can't get enough of them.
And sing them lullaby's when they are tired and sad.
And finally, I LOVE that the Gamecocks are playing for the SEC Championship. We may not win but darn it WE'RE PLAYING!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Disney Princesses are Drama Queens

Garrett Reed quote of the day:
"I don't like Disney. All they do is create drama queens. Every Disney princess was just trying to runaway from their father."

Me: "That's not true. Only Jasmine was trying to escape her father."
Garrett: "Not true. What about Ariel."
Me: "Well, that's it. What about Cinderella."
Garrett: "Cinderella didn't have a father. And she was trying to run away from her step mom because she tried to make her do chores. Drama queen."

I guess Emerson will never have a Disney Princess party. And the poor girl will probably never be watching the Disney Channel. If Garrett thinks the princesses are drama queens, I wonder what he would think about Hannah Montana.

Second Garrett quote of the day:
"Allie I wanna be married to you for 75 years. Not 76. By then I think I'll be ready for another wife. How old will I be then?" You'll be 97 Garrett....good luck with your next wife.

Just a normal morning around the breakfast table.

Speaking of Emerson, I've had a few questions about this little outfit:
These little PJ's came from Emerson's world traveling uncle and aunt, Cullen and Amber. They brought these back for her from China and she loves them! This is her rocking them for the first time back in June. Of course she sported some shorts on her head with them. She wants to wear them all the time. In fact, she was rocking them when she barfed on me this past weekend. No worries, the cleaned right up.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Well, it's official, we are parents. One would think this would have felt official 18 months ago when Emerson was born. Or if that wasn't enough to make it feel real, you would think that Evan being born 4 weeks ago would have sealed the deal. But the truth is, even as recently as Saturday morning, I don't think either of us really felt like there was any way we could be parents. I mean we are young and more than that we are cool....there is no way we could be parents right??? Honestly, on Saturday afternoon when some of our great friends (Nicky and Scott...who happen to be dating now...woohooo!), stopped by to bring us dinner and to meet to little Evan, I remember thinking to myself, "there is no way I am the mother of two." Fast forward and few hours to approximately 10:37pm (only a few minutes away from an unbelievable Gamecock victory), and all of that changes.

In the wee hours of Friday night/early Saturday morning when I was up with EVAN because he was super congested and had a bad cough, I decided I should take him to the doctor in the morning. So I did, I took EVAN to the doctor Saturday morning. They told me what I thought they would tell me, "he has a little cold. Keep an eye on it. If he has a fever of 110.4 or higher take him to the ER." Got it. So we stayed home all day Saturday and had a rest day.

Back to 10:37pm Saturday night. I was watching my Gamecocks win and I was loving it and I was pumped to watch them wrap up the victory. Then all of the sudden I hear EMERSON screaming over the baby monitor. Which I should note is not abnormal these days. Ever since we brought Evan home, she often has a hard time going to bed or wakes up crying. It's like she thinks we are up partying with out her. Which of course we are because are cool and not parent like at all. Anyway, Garrett went to go check on her (since he's a Clemson fan and not as invested as I am in watching the Gamecocks bring home the W). A few seconds later I hear him bringing her down stairs and I think to myself in an annoyed way, "Why is he bringing her down here?? He just needs to make her go back to bed." I'm a good wife like that.

Anyway, as he walks into the room with her he says "We need to take her temperature, she's on fire." As he says this he plops her down in my lap. He was right, she was blazing hot. Garrett had brought the thermometer down with him so we immediately take her temp, 102 degrees. Please note she is still sitting in my lap facing me. Within 3 seconds of confirming her fever, she looks at me and starts sobbing, and then projectile vomits in my lap. While everyone starts scrambling to get supplies to clean up (we are sitting on my parents nice sofa), she projectile vomits in my lap, again.

We get everyone cleaned up and then I decide to put out an air mattress in her room so she and I can sleep on it together so I can keep a close eye on her. Mistake. However, in the short time we were on the air mattress together I tried to snuggle her and she kept pushing my hands away from her. Finally as I was laying there, I started to feel like a parent. I found myself thinking things like, "I wish I was sick, not her." "I wish she would let me snuggle and comfort her...I'm sure there will be lots of other times in her life that I want to comfort her when she won't want me to." And as I began to go down the trail of very parental thoughts, she looked at me and projectile vomited in my face again. Yes, I have been initiated into parenthood.

Luckily, the vomiting only lasted a few hours and the fever only lasted about 24 hours. And luckily again, Garrett got his initiation in to parenthood yesterday when he was sitting on the couch holding Em and somehow her diaper sprung a leak and she peed all in his lap. Yes, I took a picture.
Can you say A.W.E.S.O.M.E. I still can't stop laughing about it. Anyway, the point of this whole story is this: #1. Having sick kids really made me feel like a parent #2. Beware: If you take your 4 week old to the doctor for a cold, your 18 month may start puking shortly thereafter....the irony. Maybe the real lesson is that I'm not that great of parent b/c I took the wrong kid to the doctor.

Here is a pic of Em with a serious stomach virus and fever of 102 degrees and she still knows how to cheese it. I wish I was this cute.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Like a Ninja

Good news....Emerson loves her brother. We were a little nervous there for a minute but that minute has passed. Emerson has been so sweet and loving towards her brother and for that we are extremely thankful. Evan seems to not mind her so much either. Here are a few pics from the past few days.

Emerson helping feed her brother.....and loving it.
Em showing off the giant bruise right between her eyes. Still not 100% sure how that happened.
Emmy carrying on a conversation with her brother.
Not sure what she is doing here but it made me laugh. Still rocking the bruise though.
In other good news, Garrett took the day off today. So, we and the McCall's took our kiddos to the Greenville Zoo. So much fun! The weather was perfect. I loved every minute of it. Apparently, Emerson and Bryson loved it too because they decided to share a spontaneous smooch.

I still can't believe my husband allowed this to happen. I guess you can't stop young love.
After smooching, they decided to ride some lions. (yes Emerson wore her head band like a ninja all day)
Emerson also tried to smooch the pig. I guess she's not too picky about who she smooches. We clearly need to work on this.
Fun times. That's it. A little snap shot of our life. Not pictured in this post, how little sleep we are getting these days. It's ok Evan, we love you despite your desire to eat every 3 hours around the clock.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An Overdue Update

Ok so I stink at updating my blog. This should not come as a shock to anyone. But who cares because EVAN IS HOME! And to make things even better our entire little family is living in the same town and in the same house (which is so exciting that I am willing to overlook that we are living with my parents).

Let me go back a week and a few days in order to provide a complete update. The Wednesday before Halloween (also known as the day Garrett was originally scheduled to go back to Northern, VA), we walked into the NICU and little Evan was wearing real clothes. Not a standard issued hospital t-shirt and blanket, but a little orange onsie. I may not have jumped to any conclusions had the nurse at the front desk not said to us when walked in "how would y'all feel about maybe taking Evan home today?", but she had said it. So, when we saw him in real clothes, we both assumed he was coming home. Our excitement was immediately squashed when one of the other nurses said, "he's still breathing fast and not maintaining his saturation levels when he sleeps. The doctor wants to keep him for a few more days." A FEW MORE DAYS???...Garrett had just booked his flight back to Northern, VA for Friday morning hoping Evan would be home before then. A few more days would mean some time over the weekend while Garrett was gone.

So, when the doctor came in to talk to us I really tried to hold it together, I did. But, I was unsuccessful. I didn't sob uncontrollably or anything but I couldn't keep the tears from coming. The poor neonatologist is such a wiry and awkward man and I could tell I was making him extremely uncomfortable (which I personally find odd, you would think he deals with crying moms on a regular basis). Anyway, while I cried, he explained to us what we had already heard from the nurse and said Evan probably wouldn't come until sometime over Halloween weekend, after Garrett had left.

I was so excited to know Evan was going to be coming home at some point but I wanted more than anything for Garrett to be there when it happened. Well, the Lord heard my prayers and had compassion on me because the next morning the doctor called me and said he felt good about Evan coming home and that we could pick him up at lunch time. Garrett still had to leave the next day but at least we would have 24 hours together as a family. And to add to my joy, we found out that Garrett's company worked it out for him to take an assignment closer to home for a little while. So, Garrett was able to fly back on Halloween and we have all been living together again for a week now......wooohooo!!!!

I'll say, I don't know what I would do without Garrett here. I'm pretty sure I have 2 of the easier kids on the planet but juggling them both is time consuming. So, having their dad around is a blessing on lots of levels. Evan is doing great and is officially a healthy little boy. Emerson is still adjusting to having someone else to share the attention with, but she genuinely seems to love her little brother.

Since Evan made it home in time for Halloween, we all went trick-or-treating (which means we went to 3 houses). Much to Garrett's disappointment, I dressed Em up in a USC cheerleading outfit. In fact, he almost refused to to take her trick-or-treating if she was wearing it. I'm sure he will be going costume shopping for her next year. Regardless, we had fun.

We are still figuring out the whole having 2 kids thing but it has been fun to be able to do it together. We still feel like we are getting to know Evan but here's what we know so far....the little guy loves to eat. He loves to eat more than anything. He loves to eat so much that he gained a little over a pound in less than a week. Other than being passionate about eating he is super laid back...which is a good thing since he sister is not. Unfortunately his passion for eating trumps his desire to sleep. Oh well, we will sleep again some day.

Evan we love you and we are so glad you are home. Emerson, we are thankful you love your brother and we love you so much! Thanks to everyone for all of the support and prayers. We are so thankful for our friends and our amazing family! Enjoy some pics from our week together as a family!

Nana (Mary Jane Ramseur, from whom Ev got his name) holding Evan for the first time.
Garrett always finds the most interesting ways to use the boppy. And he really likes to zip his kids up into his jacket. He tried to zip Em up the other didn't work.
Evan on his first Halloween.
Em trick-or-treating for the first time. She tried to give the candy back a few times. Clearly she didn't get it.
Emerson's new favorite thing to do is to where her bloomers on her head. She walks around showing everyone her "hat." Garrett let her wear them to school one day.
Em celebrating her brother being home. Ok, I actually have no idea what she was doing in this picture.
Emerson and Evan with Nana. Nana moved to an assisted living facility this weekend (at the age of 94!).....we miss her already.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Update

This "weekend update" may not be as funny as SNL's version but it will update you on our life. Exciting.

Well, we left the hospital late Friday afternoon but not before I had a good old fashioned emotional meltdown. Yes, that's right, I totally lost it around 10am and I cried until 11:30am. And when I say cry, I mean I sobbed. I feel like I remember this happening after I had Emerson too...maybe it's just a post having a baby thing or maybe I'm just weird. Either way, it happened. I sobbed to Garrett and I sobbed to our lactation consultant. I was in pain and I wanted to get to know my baby.

It all started when the day before they had finally let us hold Evan and the night nurse told us that she thought I would get a chance to try and nurse him on Friday night. So, while I had been bummed to leave him at the hospital I was excited to get to come back that night and get some good snuggle time with him (trust me, this is a baby you want to snuggle). So, you can imagine how disappointed I was when Garrett came back from running some breast milk to the nursery on Friday morning and told me, "Evan had a rough night. They think we pushed him too hard yesterday. You aren't going to be able to try and nurse him tonight or handle him much today." I finished drying my hair and then I layed down on the bed and cried.

All I wanted was to get to know the little person I had carried around for 9 months, and then had cut out of my body a few days earlier, and I couldn't even hold him. Enter the lactation consultant. I was already sobbing when she walked in so I just let it flow (keep in mind we kind of know her from Clemson and really love her...she wasn't a total stranger). Well maybe it was a divine appointment because after my sob session, our lactation consultant marched herself down to the NCU and convinced them to let us hold him again before we left that afternoon.
And hold him we did. And his numbers stayed great the whole time (heart rate, oxygen saturation levels, respiratory rate, etc). It was definitely the encouragement and time we needed with our little guy before we left him at the hospital.

On Saturday, Garrett's sister Courtney flew in from Colorado. We spent most of the day at the hospital with Garrett's family. When we walked into the NCU that morning, I walked over to Evan's bed and when I looked at him I noticed he looked really took me a minute to realize NO OXYGEN! They had taken him off the oxygen! And he was breathing. And his saturation levels were at the target and his respiratory rate were where they should be! They let us know that they had just taken him off and that we would wait and see how he did. As we were leaving they asked if we wanted to come back at 3 and try to nurse yes. Clearly we came back, and it went great! He latched on immediately....I'm not gonna lie, having something go smoothly was such a huge blessing. And holding that baby skin to skin might have been the greatest gift I could have ever been given.

To top it all, little Emerson might have done the sweetest thing I've ever seen her do (and she does a lot of sweet things). Em isn't allowed in the NCU but there is a window she can look through. So, before we left I held Evan up for her to see him. Well, she definitely did not enjoy seeing me hold a baby. But, as we were leaving Garrett was holding her up to the window and he said, "tell your baby brother bye bye." And Emerson said, "Bye bye baby," and then she leaned over and kissed the window. As soon as I think I couldn't love that little girl anymore she goes and does something like that. Luckily, we got it on video so I can relive it over and over again.

Whew. All that to say, it was a long but good weekend. Evan stayed off of his oxygen all weekend and we were able to spend most of the day with him today. We held him lots and got to nurse again twice. I am so thankful that he is doing well. I am so thankful for our amazing family and friends. And I am so thankful that Courtney got to spend time with both of our kiddos and us this weekend.

I still feel pretty awful physically but as my sweet mother-in-law reminded me, "today may not be a good day, but tomorrow will be better." I'm clinging to that. Family and friends, we love you so much. Thank you for everything. Sorry we have been so out of touch but please know how much we appreciate all of the sweet phone calls and messages. I promise to be better at keeping in touch very the near future.

Hopefully we will be reporting on Evan coming home soon! In the meantime, enjoy this little pic of my sweet husband that I found in the photo archives. Hopefully, Evan will be as cool as his daddy.

Garrett Reed, circa Summer of 2005 (pre-marriage), and yes, he took this picture of himself.