Saturday, October 31, 2015


Grace's toe continues to heal and as Dr. Herald told us "it is a process" which I documented with pictures. I was initially discouraged that he only allowed us to apply betadyne to it to keep the scab dry. He wanted it to be as dry as possible to act as a natural dressing. I did however slather her foot and the base of her toe with coconut oil, a natural antibiotic, along with thieves oil to keep down infection. I also put it on her other foot and her lymph nodes. We are so thankful infection never did set in.

Changing her dressing each day took a bit of time being that the gauze almost always stuck and I'd have to lightly wet it and carefully peel it off. And Grace wasn't the most cooperative. She didn't want us touching her toe. Initially the doctor attached her old nail with one stitch to protect it and so it didn't look all that bad to me. I had painted a little heart on her big toenails the night before the accident and you can still see it here.

Week 2

You can see here where her toe was cut in a "c-flap" and hung on by that back portion of skin.

Grace is very particular about which shoes touch her feet and makes sure they are large enough for her toe. I found some Crocs on eBay that work great since her slippers didn't work well outside. Once in awhile she doesn't even want those on.

She has learned to adapt to her injury by walking and running on the side of her foot.

Week 3

Recently when we were in the basement at my parents house Grace saw the cardio glide where she had her accident. Suddenly she gasped, pointed and exclaimed, "owie!" And so she does remember. She has also reverted to her terrible sleep habits and wakes screaming in the middle of the night. I bring her in bed with us and she calms down instantly. In the past week she has slept through the night twice so maybe we are gradually getting back to normal. I do enjoy my girl but I don't know how people do the family bed thing. It is hard to sleep with a wiggly little one between us flinging her arms everywhere, pulling hair, and practically pushing us off the bed. Although, waking up to such a sweet face adoringly watching you does make up for it.

After about a month her nail did fall off in her bandage and then she kept asking to put another bandage on right away. It is all dry and crusty. The black is the scab and the doctor had said it acted as a natural dressing and the new skin of her toe was forming underneath.

Week 4

A week later the black scab started to lift up when we were changing the dressing. She screamed so John was careful to press it back down. It fell off completely a few days later without a problem. You can't see it well here but her toenail is growing back and it will be about 6 months for it to fully return and at that time it will be rough.

Week 5

Dr. Herald wanted to see her when the scab came off and he was very happy with how the skin looked. It was very pink and healthy and he doesn't think there will be much evidence that it ever happened. And this time she even smiled at him.

Week 6

And here we are 6 weeks later. It looks pretty good, although still quite swollen. The rest of the brown crud "protein build-up" will fall off . Grace hasn't been able to take a bath this whole time so her toenails are a bit dirty. But now that it no longer has to be dry she is able to take a bath again.

I am simply amazed that I can't even see where her toe was cut! How awesome is it that God created the body in such a way to heal so perfectly -- and especially in children.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grace's Big "Owie"

In our 16 years of parenting we have never had a major injury requiring a trip to the ER. Oh, we've had breathing problems that have landed children there numerous times but never anything involving blood. Considering we have 6 boys that always surprised us. That all changed this past weekend. (See bottom of post for what actually happened) We were at my parents house on a normal Sunday afternoon for dinner and hanging out. Grace had not taken a nap and it was getting late into the afternoon when I heard Thomas from the basement yelling "Oh No!" followed by the same sentiment from John. John bounded up the stairs with Grace in his arms dripping blood from her foot calling for paper towels. Everything was happening fast, there was a lot of yelling, people were crying, and it was a bit crazy. John worriedly expressed that it looked like her toe was dangling and we needed to get to the hospital. I could not look. My dad drove our big van barreling down the road as John cuddled Grace tight and tried to comfort her. Thankfully the hospital is only a couple of minutes from their house.

We got into the ER relatively quickly but then it was a waiting game. Nurses came in and looked at Grace's toe. John and I knelt on the floor crouched over her as she lay on the gurney  She cried each time a new person entered the room and moaned "owie" but gradually and very thankfully she fell asleep from exhaustion.

The ER doctor came in with a loud voice and I of course asked that he whisper to try and keep her sleeping. He looked at her toe and confirmed what John had suspected, that the tip of her big toe was hanging on by very little and the nail was hanging as well. I glanced to the side and saw a bloody mess.


While Grace slept, the x-ray technician came in and decided rather than move a sleeping baby to bring the equipment in. John helped hold the foot in the correct direction while I softly sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "Jesus Loves Me" in my girl's ear. Such a comfort to me as well and Grace slept through it as she clung to me. And, praise the Lord her toe was not broken!

Dr. Herald the surgeon came in and calmly but matter-of-factually said that he would need to do surgery and she would need to go under general anesthesia. He explained that a short sedative would not be enough time for him to fix it as needed. John looked at me with a fear in his eyes but there were no other options and of course we consented. Then more wait. We so wanted to get the show on the road and be at the end of the ordeal for her. Grace slept on and off until surgery when John carried her up to the 2nd floor surgical unit. We met with the anesthesiologist who explained that they first would sedate her to give her an IV then take her to surgery and put her under general anesthesia. He gave her a shot of Ketamine and that was very hard to watch as it put Grace into a state of not being aware of anything. She would look at us but not really see us. She moved her head from side to side as if looking but yet not. Kind of a freaky. And then she began to shake, which is normal. John and I continued to stay at her side singing and stroking her maybe more to calm our nerves as the doctor observed. The IV went in and they were ready to take Grace. The hardest part of that which I'm sure many parents who have sent their children for surgery was that she was still awake when they wheeled her away. I had so hoped that the sedative would make her fall asleep first. John and I went to the waiting room where my Dad was waiting with teary-eyed hugs for us and Noah was waiting there too.

The surgery took about 20 minutes and Dr. Herald came out and explained everything to us. We won't know for a few weeks if the tip of the toe will heal completely and it depends on how much blood is able to get to it. When he fixed it a portion wasn't as pink as he would have liked but he said that children's bodies heal so well. He said he is able to reattach amputated fingers on a child where with an adult he wouldn't. He also repaired the nail bed and temporarily attached her old nail to make it less painful. That will fall off and her new nail will grow in.

I was so nervous as I waited to see Grace again. My stomach was in knots knowing that she was waking up in an unfamiliar place with people she did not know. Maybe 30 minutes later the nurse wheeled her "prison" crib out to us and kept telling Grace, "there is your Mommy". We walked with her up to a room as insurance doesn't allow them to discharge patients directly from recovery. They have to go to an actual hospital room first. And so we got settled in a room for a short time. Grace was happy to be in our arms again but to be expected she was not herself. True with probably any child, she did not like the oxygen monitor hooked to her toe or the blood pressure cuff on her arm or the iv in her hand and those were the things that were bothering her.

She did not talk or smile -- both of which are total opposites for her personality. She didn't want to drink anything and seemed that she might be a bit nauseous judging by her gagging a few times. She received two toys from the nurse to distract her as they began to remove the contraptions she was connected to and then we were  free to go. As soon as we neared the door to exit, Grace growled her first words, -- "Noah!" She was trying to be silly and attempted a smile too.

Once home Grace slept through the night without a problem. I am sure she was exhausted and the doctor said he gave her a long-lasting numbing in her toe to help. John and I both checked on her in the night and John left for the airport in the early morning. He was so disappointed not to see his precious happy girl awake before he headed to Mexico for the week. But I texted him pictures of her the next morning with her silly grin.

The day started off with Grace not wanting to walk anywhere. She didn't want to move her foot and her siblings were happy to oblige by carrying her anywhere she wanted to go simply by pointing her finger in the direction she wanted to go. Her big brother Thomas was very concerned about her and was never too far from her that day. 

But by evening she was raring to go and had enough with her lack of independence and attempted walking using the side of her foot. That worked for her and by the second day she was back to running and climbing.

Grace visited the surgeon on day 3 and she was not a happy girl at all. Lots of crying ensued as they removed the bandages while I held her close and her Grandma attempted to read to her. She kept looking back at her foot.

So, what actually happened? Grace was sitting on the cardio glide with Thomas when she told him she wanted to get down. However, she didn't give him time to stop and proceeded to step down. Her foot was in the wrong spot and in looking at the area later John said it worked in a scissors motion and of course she always has her shoes off. Thomas said he won't ever forget the sound and initially he did struggle with what happened but we loved on him well and once he saw his little sister that really helped him.

We are just so thankful that God was watching over every detail. It was only the tip and not the complete toe and the toe did not break. Grace was amazing through it all. Of course she screamed at times and it wasn't easy but of all of our children she is one of the more resilient. We imagined if it happened to certain other children it would have been so much more traumatic.

And so we wait for what the doctor said is "a process".

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

18 months! Can it be?

As always time continues to march on and Friday Grace turned 18 months old. I was in the dressing room at Kohls recently and heard a mama whispering soothing sounds to her crying baby. What a sweet sound to my ears and how I miss that infant cry in some ways. Thankfully, Grace is very much still a baby to me. First of all, she looks like one with the small amount of hair on her head. Second, she still wakes at least once a night with her cries. And she is still eagerly nursing. I am enjoying every chance I get to cuddle my precious girl.

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Mommy and Gracie at the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis

She is petite but not as much as her sister was as evidenced by the fact that she is currently wearing the clothes Missy Blue wore at the age of 2 and much of it is too small. She has been in size 18 months for the past few months. She is at the height of hitting her head on tables and weighs just 21 pounds, which she has been at for awhile now. Gracie has hair mainly on the back of her head and I love how it curls up, especially in the humid air down in Alabama. George had curls when he was little. Maybe my little girl will too?

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This girl and her goofy grin. I keep trying but she will not sit still long enough to pose for me anymore. This is about all I could get.

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Grace likes to eat "chee" (cheese) and "nana" (bananas). I haven't found anything else to be a real favorite except desserts. I am afraid she is going to have a sweet tooth like a few of us do. If she doesn't want something she will shake her head no, scrunch up her nose, and say "uh uh". She is drinking water from a sippy cup and can drink from a big cup as well otherwise she is still nursing.

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Rolling out dough with Grandma

New words are forming more with each week. Grace attempts to say her siblings names and can say "Noah" and "Kay-ee". And she does know the difference between Pete and Re-Pete. She says a breathy "woof" for dog and "ki-ee" for cat. Her latest is hiding then coming out to say with a song"Pete-A-Bee" (Peek-a-boo). That is my favorite! When putting on her socks I'll say "one" and she follows with "two". She can also say "she-oo" (shoe). She likes to say things are "pretty" and when she is hurt she expresses that with "ouwie" and of course she says the basic -- Hi and Bye. Grace is getting to the point where the kids will ask her to say a word and she will try to repeat. At this age Zippy could repeat any word clearly, although he was our unique child in this regard.

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Gracie with her dolly and Missy with hers :)

Grace is into absolutely EVERYTHING! We thought she was different than her siblings but then I looked back at some posts I did about her brothers and I realize that maybe each child was like this and those are the memories we tend to forget. She loves to climb and especially onto tables which we will not allow. However, once in awhile she climbs on the coffee table and dances and is so charming that we can't help but let her. Haha!

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Exploring the Fort in Alabama

Grace loves to play in the toilet any chance she finds it open. And this past month she realized she can lift the lid herself so we now have to keep the door closed. Otherwise we will find her splashing in the water of the toilet bowl. I am often heard calling out "Where is Grace?" and when no one knows, we run to the bathroom. She has been found brushing her teeth with a toothbrush she had swished in the toilet water. Of course it was right after her sister had thrown up (and flushed) -- oh my! At least everyone remembers to flush.

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Grace is a happy girl and loves to smile at everyone she meets. She'll often look at a person until she is noticed and then grin. Of course she has her moments of grumpiness, especially in the evenings, but for the most part she is happiness.

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Grace is a Daddy's girl. John has said that she is the one who has cuddled with him the most. I don't know but she certainly is giddy with excitement when she hears the garage door open around 5:30 p.m. "DA-ee?" and runs to the door waiting for him. She squeals and gives such a big hug patting him on the back. What Daddy doesn't melt at that?

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Now that it is beginning to get warm Grace wants to be outside any chance she can get. She stands at the window or door calling "going, going". She seems to be a little explorer noticing her surroundings. She has taken to various animals and this morning I observed her delight in watching ants only to squash them with her foot. Grace seems to love turtles. At a nature center in Gulf Shores she followed one around trying to pat it's shell. In St. Louis she did the same and then picked it up. We took it away when she decided to throw it to the ground.

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She enjoyed carrying around a worm her cousin Conner gave to her.

Grace is a joy and a delight. It is difficult for me at times to see each milestone pass and even more this time knowing that she is our last baby. And so, even tho Grace still wakes in the middle of the night, I am content in that because I know that the day she stops crying out for me will mean I never again will wake in the night to comfort my baby. I could say much more on that. Maybe another day. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure and we are truly grateful!

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Having fun on stage with her brother's hat from the play he was in.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year

Hello Friends! Its been a long time since I updated. That seems to be a common phrase for me in the past months. Obviously blogging has taken a backseat to life and sometimes that is the way it needs to be. In this new year I hope to post more often to capture the tidbits of our days that I never want to forget. My blog was taken over by Baby Grace this past year but we do have other children that I don't want to leave out. Maybe I make blogging more than it has to be. I always want to have that perfect picture to match what I am writing. Maybe I'll go back to the days of writing what is on my mind instead of waiting. If you want to read more of our days go to the archives and start at the beginning. I did and I can't believe how much has changed since those days when we had five little children. I am so glad I wrote those stories down!

As you can see I finally created a new header to include our entire family. The previous one still had Zippy at the age Grace currently is. I am gradually working on my sidebar pictures as well seeing as the ages are all wrong and some of my boys have matured so much they don't look like the little boys I have pictured. I also need to add Miss Grace.

I am not going to include a picture with this post seeing as I worked hard on that header today. It took more of my time than it probably should.

In my Christmas newsletter I talked about traditions that seem to go by the wayside at times and how it feels like our little ones are "missing out" in some way. I had been reminded of an old song by the Christian singer, Larnelle Harris called, All Year Long talking about what this season should remind us of.

All year long
We must worship day by day
All year long
Tis the season to obey
May the Christmas tree lights
And the sleigh rides at night
Remind us all to stay in God's presence
All year long
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