Friday, February 27, 2009

Just some thoughts

After a recent article in our church's monthly newsletter I have been contemplating my desire to blog and to follow all the blogs that I do. My pastor (from our old church in GA) said that he didn't understand why people blog. He even said that he doesn't have time to live vicariously through others via their blogs. I was more than upset about his comments and even debated writing him and letting him know that blogging is so much more than that. I know that I am grateful for all the families that helped me get through this whole cleft experience. I also know that I love being able to keep my family and friends updated on what is going on in our lives via the posts and the photographs on this blog. I know that I am contacted at least once every few months by a new cleft family that happened upon our blog while googling "cleft lip ultrasound". I feel blessed that Adalynn's story has helped others and hope that they find comfort in her beauty....the same comfort I found when I first began this whole experience. Seeing pictures of children before and after their surgeries was so helpful for me and I had to do the same in hopes that I will help others.

I know many of my "followers" are fellow bloggers and cleft families, but they are also friends and family members who check on us on a regular basis. I also know that I have many more people who regularly check the blog and don't comment...called 'lurkers' in the blogging world...complete strangers to me, but with some sort of connection to our lives and Adalynn's story. I know that I will continue to blog and share our life and Adalynn's journey with the world in hopes that it helps at least one other family.

So this is my blog and my life...I do not think it means that I want others to live vicariously through me and I am not trying to do that with the blogs I follow (though I would love to go Disney as often as you do, Darcy). I just want to share our life with the friends and family that are no longer close to us as well as the families searching for information about cleft lips and palates and of course, all my fellow on-line cleft buddies. In my new header it states "Where ever you journey in life, be sure to take along a friend"...and that is just what we are doing! Thanks for coming along with us!

And now, for photos this week...

I can't imagine my life without her...or her cleft.


Camden is telling Adalynn to look at his bandage....and yes, he is flipping her off!
We couldn't resist asking him to show us his bandage...


And here is Adalynn demonstrating her love to write or "color" as she says on anything besides paper. Maybe I need to start painting her toenails so she doesn't have to resort to Crayola marker.

And not to leave out Broderick----who read over 700 minutes for the Read-a-thon at school. If you donated money, you will receive a phone call from us in the next week letting you know what your final total was. And for all my Bethlehem friends (teachers and students). Broderick's reading DRA level is between and M and an N! That is 3rd grade level reading-in first grade! His teacher thinks he can read higher than that, but can't test him any higher because of school rules. What a smart kid!!!!Be sure to check in later this weekend...Broderick has his Pinewood Derby tomorrow for Scouts and I will be sharing the photos from that including the photos of him actually making his car. He did a great job on it and is growing up so fast! By the way, he wore MY SHOES when we went out last weekend. They were just Crocs, but keep in mind, he is only 7 years old and my shoes fit him! The way he is growing, he will probably be taller than me by the time he is in 3rd grade.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


thisibelieve.org was just introduced to me by my husband, John....who was convinced that I could write a This I believe statement. I thought he was nuts until I started writing. I just posted the following statement to this website. I won't hear anything for a few weeks as to whether or not they will use it-but it was fun to write and to think about nonetheless.

Hope you enjoy!!!

This I believe....

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God is in charge of it all. He knew that I would be blessed with a child who would be born with a birth defect. Two years ago, I found out that my daughter was going to be born with a cleft lip. I knew something was wrong before the doctor even told us. God knew that I would think it was something "wrong" until the minute she was born.

My daughter’s birth taught me that beauty is all around us. We are so consumed with what others tell us is beautiful, that we often forget to see it for ourselves. I never saw true beauty until the minute I first laid eyes on my daughter, Adalynn. Her birth made me realize that having a cleft really wasn't anything that was "wrong", but something that just was.

God knows what we will teach others while we are on the earth. He knew Adalynn would be born with a cleft lip and he knew that she had a lot to teach. Much of her teaching would be done before she uttered a single word. She began teaching before she was born. She not only taught me so much, but my family, and even my classroom full of students. She taught me, and so many others, that beauty is not perfect. Perfect is not beauty. We see things that are beautiful when we really look around us and notice the small things. We do not see beauty when we dwell on what society tells us in beautiful.

Two years ago, I never would have thought I would miss that first wide smile, the way her lip spread apart when she grinned. I really thought that I would look forward to that first surgery, when she would be "fixed". That was until the minute she was born and I realized that she was not broken. I didn't realize how everything I once believed would change in just a few seconds.

I quickly learned that a mother's love knows no boundaries. I didn't really understand that until Adalynn was born. I knew how much I loved my two older children. I knew I loved them even when they were misbehaving and that I would love them forever. But when my daughter was born, I learned that a mother loves regardless of what society says is beautiful. I loved her exactly how she was and nothing would change that-not how she looked and definitely not what others said about her. I knew that God gave her to me to teach me how much He loves us. He loves us the way we love our children; regardless of what we do, regardless of how we look, and regardless of what others say about us.

Having a child born with a cleft lip and palate may be considered by doctors as just a fluke. It may be considered genetic. It may even be considered part of bigger syndrome. Honestly, I don't think so. I believe that it happens for a reason. I now understand that reason and that it is all part of God's plan.

That being said....it was two years ago this month that we found out about Adalynn's cleft lip and palate. So much has happened during the past two years and there were many ups and even more downs, but I wouldn't change them for the world! It has been a beautiful journey and I know God has been in charge of it all. Thank you for being apart of this journey with us!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bringing the fun indoors....

I just wanted to quickly share some photos of Adalynn and Camden having fun with snow....INSIDE!!! Adalynn wanted to play outside so badly, but because of the bitter cold we improvised. Now, the snow is gone and we were even in the 60's this week!

I also couldn't resist sharing these great shots...isn't she just plain beautiful???

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Well, the ophthalmologist confirmed it today. I have Uveitis again. For those who don't know (or don't want to look it up)....

  • Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, which is the vascular layer of the eye sandwiched between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera).
  • Uveitis is estimated to be responsible for approximately 10% of the blindness in the United States.
  • Myriad conditions can lead to the development of uveitis, including systemic diseases as well as syndromes confined to the eye.
  • In anterior uveitis, no specific diagnosis is made in approximately one-half of cases.
More or less, my body is attacking my eye. It pulls little pieces off and tries to destroy them (thinking they are foreign matter). I have a lot of 'floaters' because of this and it is not the most comfortable experience.

The good news is that I caught it early, so I only have to be on the steroid eye drop and not the dilating one (which I hate) so that is a good thing. The bad news is that after lots of blood tests, CT scans, and X-Rays over the past few months they can not find any underlying cause. This first showed up when I was 20 years old and I have had it at least once a year since then (sometimes two to three times-each episode lasting 6-12 weeks). It is painful and my eyes become very light sensitive as well as extremely red. My pupils won't dilate like they should and often are two different sizes. The Uveitis can cause your pupil to adhere to the eye thus the need for the dilating drop. This is the first time that I have not had to use the dilating drop, so I guess I am getting better at self diagnosing! Yea....I think. I did find out today that my eye has permanent damage from this, but luckily that damage doesn't affect my vision.

In the quest to find some cause of the Uveitis, a CT showed several spots on my lungs (I mentioned these in a previous post---click here). So, I guess the testing paid off. I wouldn't have found out about these spots if it weren't for the Uveitis. I did recently meet with a pulmonologist, but of course he had no more information about these spots than anyone else did. The spots are tiny. One is 4mm and the other, 5mm. Both are in the same lobe, but because of their size would be impossible to biopsy. He gave me two options...crack my chest open, remove part of my lung, and attempt to find the masses OR wait 6 months and have another CT to see if there was any change. I, of course, chose the latter. I just hate waiting.

On a lighter note...I leave you with these photos. I was laying with Adalynn on the couch (our normal afternoon napping/Oprah watching location) and told her to close her eyes and go to sleep. This is what I got! Priceless!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

But, Mom...everyone else is doing it!!!

Everyone else is doing it....so I figured hey, why not!

So here is my entry! Remember this perfect beauty? This was taken a few weeks before her first surgery---she was 2 months old.

Check out these eyes!!!! (which is this week's theme at I Heart Faces). Be sure to click on the link to find more pictures of beautiful faces!