Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Peek-a-boo!

So, not only is Rhae raising up on her chest, she has a new game as well. It's SO funny!


video

Monday, November 17, 2008

We're home!

For those of you who didn't know, we've been in the hospital since Thursday. Rhae has had diarrhea and got dehydrated. Thank goodness though, she has been as happy as usual. I, on the other hand after spending 4 nights in the hospital, am exhausted and honery! We're not sure if it's a stomach virus or something else. The cultures should be back in a day or two, and hopefully we'll know more then. She did enjoy a visit from Halle while there. Thanks for stopping by, Hal!


Rhae did something exciting while we were in the hospital, though! She has begun to push up on her arms, raising her head and her chest! She really seems to like being able to look around. I'll post a video later.

I really don't have muh else to talk about now. Just so tired. I'll post again soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bazaar Day!

Wow~I'm SOOOO exhausted! Today was the Bazaar at church and I was in charge of the silent auction this year. For those of you not familiar with the Bazaar, it is a yearly event held at our church put on by the United Methodist Women. It is our big fundraiser for the year. All members pitch in throughout the year and on this day, and we have a home accents room, an attic treasures room, a bake room, the silent auction, and our famous pimento cheese and chicken salad lunch. It is always a very fun, successful day, and people come from all over to enjoy the fun, fellowship, and shopping. When I left tonight, after 9.5 hours, we had already made over $18,000!! All of that is donated to various missions and ministries. Vickie Wilson and Jane Wallace co-chaired this year and did a wonderful job! I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my sister, Mandy, who helped me the last week calling people and getting donations. Thanks to anyone who reads this who gave us a donation! The silent auction made $2569.75 this year; not as much as usual, but not bad for the economic situation. Rhae stayed there with me ALL day today and was SO good! Of course, everyone admired her and she smiled at everybody, talked to several, and just watched everything going on. Mrs. Jane even helped me yesterday with a new way to deal with this whole "da-da" thing (see a few posts back). She's convinced that Rhae hears me saying daddy when I'm talking to my daddy so she must be copying me and when calling "da-da," rather than calling Jay, is in actuality calling her Bo. He was there when this was mentioned and says he concurs. I think I'm ok with that. :)

On another note, I don't know if I'm just exhausted after 6 hours of sleep in 48 hours, or if this is really as funny as I think it is, but somehow, I stumbled across this website and I think it is hilarious! If you don't like silly humor, don't waste your time, but if you're like me, you're guaranteed to laugh! Especially check out "Nijalympics" and "Ninja Bookclub." Hilarious!

http://www.askaninja.com/

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hunter Bowen Howell

I don't really have anything to talk about today, but as promised, wanted to post pictures of my beautiful new cousin (?). I don't really know what to call him...I guess cousin will do...he is the son of my 1st cousin, Michael. Honestly, he feels more like a nephew, as me, Michael, Mandy, and Whit have always been so close. Anyway, here he is...and don't think I'm prejudiced to just us--the only picture I have of him and his Momma is with her head turned. I will get a picture of her beautiful self up eventually! (love you Susan!)

As you can see, he is being rasied right! Roll Tide, Hunter!


The Howell men--daddy Michael, brother Duke, Hunter, granddaddy Randy (don't know what he'll call him), and the best uncle in the world, Whit

Hunter and Daddy--can you see the resemblence?

Hunter and K.K. (at least that's what Aidan calls her)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just want to share this...

As most of you know, Jay and I decided it would be best for me to stay at home with Rhae after she was born. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful friend who helped me figure out a way to do this by giving me a job I can do from home. It helps a little, but is by no means anywhere close to what I was bringing home before. Things have been very stressful and financially tight here, and I often find myself worrying how we will continue, positive that our last dime has just gone for something. Yet, somehow, 7 months later, God is still providing for us and we are making it. I don't know how, but we are. I remember when I was making the decision whether or not to quit my job, a friend in a similar situation told me of her experience. God led her back to work, and though she could not figure out where the money came from to pay someone to care for her child in her home, it was always there. It sounded so weird, but I can honestly say I now understand. I don't often know how the bills get paid or where the grocery money mysteriously appears from, but it always does.

Well, today, one of the most amazing things ever happened to me. I don't intend to go into detail, but just want to relay, as I have so many times, just how good God is and how He continues to take care of His flock. Out of God strategically placing people in the right place at the right time (something that would only seem strangely coincidental to some), we have had a huge burden lifted today. Praise God! Simply another answered prayer. I'm telling y'all, I have been so immensely blessed, I really do wonder when I will reach my cut-off! :)

I have always been a believer and a follower. For reasons unknown to me, I went astray for a while. Not that I ever stopped believing or following, I just stopped partaking and abiding for a while...while everyone else went back to the barn, I just sort of moseyed in the pasture a little longer. I always knew where I should be and just didn't do anything about it. I haven't told many people this, mostly out of shame, but I am finding more and more I want to share it with others so that I can tell them not only is my daughter a miracle in the fact that she defied all odds and lived, but that she has served her Savior already in so many ways and doesn't even realize it! She alone, a baby not even born yet, brought me back into my flock where I should have always been. She alone, both before birth and since, has changed many dynamics in my family, breaking down walls that were slowly built up. She alone has shown the love and beauty of God to so many people just by being Rhae...beautiful, happy, loving Rhae with an unbreakable spirit. I feel so blessed that God has allowed me to be her mother and that He has welcomed me back with open arms, providing for me as all good Fathers do.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween pictures

Bo, Nana, Aidan, and Rhae

Aidan and Rhae

Wolverine


Have you ever seen a cuter ladybug?



Little Miss Ladybug





Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where has the time gone?

Wow! I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted anything! I did so well there for a while! For those of you who have been reading my thoughts, once again, I'm trying somewhere new. For those of you that haven't, I have posted my older rants here as well.
Ok, to start, many of you already know, but for those of you who keep up with us through blog only, our little friend, Mary Clayton Fancher, went to live with God on Sunday, October 26, 2008. She fought a long, hard fight, and didn't give up easily. That is essentially the spirit of OI! She touched so many lives (including mine) in her short time on this earth, and many people are forever changed by her presence, especially her mother and father. This child left behind an amazing family who I feel privileged to know. Her mother, Stephanie, and I seemed to bond immediately. I don't know if it was because of the OI diagnosis in both our children, or just because, but I feel we will always have a connection. I am so appreciative that the Fancher's included me in such a personal situation. Rhae and I went to the funeral, which was beautiful, and I was very nervous about going because I was taking Rhae (only after stephanie and Robert assured me they were ok with it). Normally, I don't care what other people think about me, but on this day I was very concerned that people would see me and think I was heartless for bringing a baby to a baby's funeral. When I finally got the courage up to get out of the car, Stephanie's mother, Beverly, soon approached me and I began to feel a little less nervous about the situation. She walked us into the church and began to introduce us to other family members and friends. It seemed everyone knew who we were, and no one seemed to think anything of us being there. I have to say, I have never felt so comfortable and accepted with people I was meeting for the first time. I know many of you keep up with us here, and I just want to tell each of you thank you so much for welcoming Rhae and I into your lives. I loved meeting each of you, though the circumstances were not ideal. For those of you who prayed for Mary Clayton's healing and for her family, thank you. Mary Clayton has had the ultimate healing, and is now able to run and play and breathe all on her own! What a wonderful thing to be with our Healer!

So now, to update everyone on Rhae. Much to the disdain of her mother, she has began calling her Da-Da. I know that all baby's do this because the "da" syllable is easier to get out than "ma," but it really is sad when it starts! And much like her cousin Halle, Rhae also laughs at me when I stand in front of her like a fool saying, "Ma-Ma-ma-ma." She has the most precious voice and sweet smile.

Halloween was quite an experience! Aidan decided he wanted to be Wolverine from X-Men. I think it was mostly for the claws! However, when he got all dressed up, we tried to explain to him he needed to make mean faces for his pictures, but all he could do was smile! Wolverine looks real unnatural with a smile on his face! I originally ordered the most precious kimono costume for Rhae but when it came in, it swallowed her whole, even though it was a newborn. I couldn't find anything for her that would fit and decided to put her in her orange pumpkin onesie for the night. Well, about 2:00 Friday afternoon, it was killing me to think I couldn't dress her up on her first Halloween, so I went to Wal-mart to scour over left over costumes, deciding I would throw together SOMETHING, even if it was last minute! Well, to my surprise, I found the cutest ladybug costume. Now, granted, it was made for a dog, but I swear, you couldn't tell! It was adorable on her and actually fit!! I will post pictures later. We had a great time, getting out and trick or treating our family and a few close friends. Rhae had no clue what was going on, only that she really didn't like that thing on her head!

Rhae still has not rolled over and stopped trying about a week and a half ago. I think it had a lot to do with bone pain. She was due for a treatment, which we had yesterday. It was her 4th treatment, and a little different than usual. We have gotten the other 3 treatments in the hospital, and just continued to be uncomfortable because it seemed we were always there at least 10 hours (for a 4 hour procedure), we were never on the same floor, so each time we had to start all over, explaining to staff they couldn't pick her up, pull on her, take blood pressures, or use tourniquets for IV starts and blood draws. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but honestly, Jay and I felt we couldn't relax at all because anytime anyone walked into the room, we automatically had to jump up to make sure no one took a blood pressure, moved her the wrong way, whatever. Also, each time we have been admitted, we have been charged a $250 co-pay, which begins to add up with office co-pays, meds, etc, when you are down to one income! So this time, we opted to have her treatment done in the outpatient infusion clinic--same nurses everytime, $30 co-pay, and hopefully quicker. Well, after we got used to being in the closet-sized room, we settled in nicely. Unfortunately, we had a problem with IVs blowing and one coming out, so we ended up getting stuck 4 times! I remember at one point tearing up (like I am now) listening to her cry again and again and thinking about how my emotional pain seemed to be as bad as the physical pain she was enduring and that she often endures. It is just so unfair that a 7 month old has to take so much. But, I know that it is what's best for her and is improving her quality of life, and that is the only reason I am able to continue. After the final IV was started, though, things went very smoothly, and we were only there 6 1/2 hours. The two nurses there were so sweet and caring. It is nice to know that in 8 more weeks, when we go back, they will have seen us before and though they might not remember us just yet, they will understand our limitations with Rhae's disease and we will not have to be so on edge during the whole treatment. It was nice to be able to feel relaxed this time! I even left the room once or twice, which I have NEVER done before! Well, after that, we went for our 2nd bone scan, and the first since starting treatments. After that, we saw our endocrinologist who we really adore. She called today with the results of the bone scan and I was a little disheartened. She said there was no real difference in Rhae's bone density since we began, and I was really hoping to see some change. I have to remind myself, though, that even though it may not show on the scan, I know it is doing her some good and that she would not be where she is today without it! She is just so amazing, I can't even put it into words! She's truly my hero! So anyway, I'm hoping over the next few days once the PAM begins to get back into her system, she will finally roll over. I think I'm ready for it...still scared, but letting her do her thing!

Last, but certainly not least, we have a new family member! My cousin, Michael, and his wife, Susan, had there first child, and Randy and Kaye's first "real" grandbaby Tuesday night. Hunter Bowen Howell was born 11/4/08 somewhere around 7:15p.m. (never found out the official time). Poor Susan worked very hard ALL day to get him here, and "little" Hunter could official start at linebacker, weighing in at 9# 9 ounces! (only 15 ounces shy of Rhae's current weight of 10# 8 ounces) Didn't get the official length either, but he looks at least 22" (surpassing Rhae's puny 20 3/4") and has hands that could easily palm a basketball! He's beautiful and I can't wait to spend some time with him and his Momma and Daddy! Congrats you two! We love all THREE of you!!

Well, I think that about gets everything caught up. It's sure enough to read for now, anyway. If there's anything else to add, I 'll do it later! Thanks to everyone who has continued to keep up with us and pray for us...keep up the good work, because prayer is what has gotten us this far!