Monday, December 20, 2010

4 Months I'm a little late posting. As rarely as I post you should be happy this made it on here at all.

Here are the 4 months stats for the kiddos.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coming to the end...

As 2010 is wrapping up we can start to look back over the year and see that it's been a year of big changes around here.

We found out we were pregnant with Jonathan just before the year began. And were a little shocked by the timing, but have been so blessed by our sweet baby boy.

We started off the year on a cruise with some of our dearest friends. After a large amount of scripture memory we went to 3 ports and spent a week, including New Years, with 13 couples.

Ella had a year of development and seizures...we've clocked 12 this year and have spent a lot of time at Medical City Dallas Hospital. She can walk with assistance...if she feels like it. We've learned that she can be very obstinate. She deals with everything life hands her with an amount of joy that keeps all of us focused on God as He teaches us through her.

Both of my grandparents (my dad's parents) passed away this year. My grandfather passed in the Spring and my grandmother this Fall. We had a great memorial service for them that all of the Roughton's got to attend. (Picture of my grandparents with Ella and then all of us at the service)

Will has probably changed the most. He is amazing. It's like being a first-time parent, even though he's our middle kid, and it's a blast. He talks non-stop, remembers everything and weird details, he keeps us laughing and loves his brother and sister to no end. He can say all of his letter, numbers (he thinks he can count to 100, but he's only good to about 20), he can spell his name and has found a true love of reading books. He loves to dance, loves to watch movies and can tell you all about the bible and is excited to celebrate the birthday of Baby Jesus. He has become my buddy and it's fun to take him places. He does tend to "love" everything and say that things are his "favorites" even if he doesn't know what they are..again, we laugh a lot. He has passed Ella in size...he's 37 lbs, 42" and wears a size 12 shoe...E is 34 lbs, 39" and wears a size 8 shoe. He could usually pass for a 4-year-old till they hear him talking. We notice that everyone expects more of him because of his size, and he seems fine with that expectation. (The kids in 2009 and then Christmas 2010)

Joe and I have grown closer and more in love for another year. We celebrated 6 years of marriage in October (7 years together in November) and have realized more and more that we were created to compliment each other. We are VERY different, but it works so great. Joe is the greatest husband and father. He spends all of his free time with us and gives me plenty of time away from the house and watches all THREE kids without a single complaint...amazing. God has blessed us so much and our challenges have strengthened us more than we thought possible.

Some of my closest friends, as well as my mom and sister, all moved from Dallas this year.

It's been a big year of changes...I'm hoping for a really boring 2011!!

The Kiddos

I've been putting together a comparison each month of the kids. It's fun to try and decide who looks more like whom...but I think it's obvious that they are related!

2 Months

3 Months
4 Months

Monday, November 08, 2010

Saturday Seizure

Yep, again.

Saturday night, November 6th, Ella went to bed as she normally does...happy and in a good mood at around 8:30pm. Joe and I started shutting down the house and then he went to feed Jonathan and I went to bed (we alternate feedings so I had the overnight shift). As I got in bed a little before 11pm I heard a noise, I totally thought it was a dog far away because it just sounded like a faint sound over and over again (barking dogs at night drive us NUTS). I decided to sit up and see if it was coming from one of the monitors in our room (one for Ella and one for Jonathan...Will we can hear screaming from anywhere in the house). As I got oriented I realized it was coming from Ella's and then suddenly realized that, although it could be her kicking her bed in a rhythm (totally normal), I needed to check it out. I found her seizing in her bed, left the room to say "Joe, seizure" and went back to get her. Ella's seizures are not pretty. They are violent and scary and messy. She had vomited and her body seemed to be convulsing more than normal...and normal is pretty bad. We have our system down so we administered her Diastat (rectal seizure meds) and checked the clock. If the meds take longer than 5 mins to stop the seizure then we call 911...the seizure lasted 10, that we watched. Yes, we sit there and watch her, pray over her, sing her songs and tell her how much we love her, how strong she is, and that it will soon be's a long 5 minutes. We can't hold her or try to make the convulsions stop, we just watch and wait. By the time the paramedics arrived they had slowed down considerably, but she was not "back" yet. I later learned that this period after the seizure is the Postictal they said the word about 50 times that night. So, the paramedics didn't even get vitals at the house, they just loaded her up on a stretcher and we got in the ambulance and headed for Medical City...Joe was following shortly as soon as his mom arrived to take care of the boys.

Let me take a minute here to say a few blessings that have already occured up to this point in the night:
  1. I had Ella's monitor on and heard her...usually if I go to bed before Joe I turn the monitors off so that I can fall asleep and he turns them on when he comes to bed. All of Ella's seizures (up to this point) have happened early in the morning so I've never considered one to happen while we're still awake.
  2. Through all of the firemen and paramedics being in the house (probably 6 or 7) neither of the boys woke up or made a sound. God knew that we needed to be able to focus all of our attention on Ella and the boys slept soundly at this time.
  3. Joe's mom lives 20 mins away and has come to our house for almost every seizure so that we can both be up at the hospital...we work much better as a team and a unit.

So...we head to the hospital. I'm with Ella and feeling pretty..."seizure as usual" until I realize that she's breathing really off and isn't acting her normal "post-seizure" self. Within minutes she's vomiting...has NEVER happened with a seizure before this time. It was so strong and forceful...and then the room erupted. They weren't sure she was protecting her airways so they called in a team of doctors and support personnel to possibly intubate her...I was overwhelmed at the number of people who were on my small child. One guy looking down her throat, people on either arm starting lines, people getting supplies ready, and a chest x-ray machine was wheeled in...and Joe wasn't there yet, I literally thought I was going to pass out or break down crying. They decided not to tube her because they found just enough gag reflex to believe that she wouldn't aspirate. In walks Joe, and boy did I need him. They put oxygen on her, and waited for her breathing to regulate and for all of the labs to come back. We did a urine sample (poor child has been cathed so many times!) and we waited...and waited.

More of God's love for us:

4. A very dear and wonderful friend of ours, Catherine Couch, went to our house to stay with Jonathan. This was so special because he's still at the stage where he needs to each at least once during the night and then again early morning so it was amazing that we had someone take care of that so that my Mother-in-law didn't have to.

We waited and watched as the one o'clock hour came and went...twice (ah, daylight savings). By about 2am (5 hours after the seizure started) we got word that we would be moving to a Pediatric room and by 3am we were settled in and ready for a couple hours of sleep. Sleep. Our room had two beds, which was actually perfect. Joe slept on one bed and I slept with Ella. Ella in a hospital bed is dangerous. She can move around and get around, but has NO concept of falling, getting tangled in cords, or hurting someone had to be with her at all times, no exceptions. Sleeping in a hospital bed is never comfy, add in a 4-year-old, wires and IV lines, beeping monitors and pumps, and someone coming in every 4 hours to check vitals...I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. Sunday was long. We woke up and realized we didn't know any more than we did a few hours before. I headed home for a couple of hours to hug the boys and check on my mother-in-law. I got a chance to watch our 9:15am service at church with Josh Hamilton as the guest and loved that I got to catch it.

God loves me, Part 3:

5. As I was at home to take care of some things I got online and realized my best friend, Stephanie, who lives in Oxford, England as of 2 months ago, was online. WE GOT TO SKYPE! I got to tell her about Ella's night "in person" and we got to talk. She and her girls prayed with me (and Will) and we got to catch up. I saw today that it was almost 45 minutes long but it seemed to go by so quickly. There were tears shed as we hung up, but God knew I needed her that day and I was so blessed by Him.

So, I went back up to the hospital. Joe left to come home and thankfully Kristie (who used to be here full-time) came over for the whole afternoon and took care of the boys so that Joe could catch a nap and just catch up. I had some wonderful visitors of Caroline Moore and Marian's nice when people can come up and laugh and pray and love on your child. Caroline even laid in bed with Ella for a while so that I could just get up and stretch...more blessings. My cousin, Katy, came over to our house after Kristie left so that Joe could do bedtime routine and then come up and hang out with Ella and me for a little while. All of this time we are just waiting for her to just be a little more "with it" and start to eat and drink...she didn't drink anything until after 6pm last night...too late to try and get discharged.

Last night Ella and snuggled up again in our hospital bed and caught a few more hours of 5 or 6! Today our beloved pediatrician came in and broke us out of jail (we *heart* Dr. Nale). All of our labs came back clear. No UTI, no ear infection...nothing they could find to explain anything.

We're home and recovering. I'm going to bed and getting to sleep the entire night without disruption (thank you sweet Katy for coming back over and taking care of Jonathan tonight) and hopefully our whole family is on the road to recovery.

This was so much harder for so many reasons. I really hate being away from Will and Jonathan for that long. JT is only 3 months old and I know he doesn't understand, but I feel like I'm abandoning him. Will knows I'm gone and misses me and that makes it hard. Ella only wanted me so I needed to take care of my sick baby...and if I'm honest, this was one of her hardest seizures on me. I very rarely let my brain go to the place that says that we could lose her. That all of her medical complications are just scary individually, but combined she is so fragile and it could go from our "normal" to bad very quickly. Joe used to be so afraid that the seizures would cause a heart attack or at least heart damage...I've never felt so afraid as I did during this attack.

I know God is teaching me...I just want to remember to rely totally on Him and trust Him to take care of my child...for we are all HIS children and He loves Ella more than I ever could.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rough Sunday Morning

This was Ella right before we left the house this morning...good start to the day.

Then the bottom fell out of my day. As we got to church, unloaded the kids and started making our trek into church Ella started crying. I know, most of you who have been around her have NEVER seen (or even heard of) her crying. It's heartbreaking. She has the biggest crocodile tears ever and the sound she makes when she's upset crushes everything that can hold you together. I took her out of her wheelchair and started comforting her, it got better for the elevator ride (good thing because there were a lot of people on there) and then it started again and wouldn't let up. As my dear friend Deborah came to help us...well, I started crying too. It's hard. 53...the number of months without any real communication from my daughter. No words. Oh, people say that she says this or that or understands...but to live with her daily, there is no communication. There are silent answers to things or a "yeah" or "okay"...but because doesn't have a "no"'s hard to know if she's really answering or just agreeable. By the time I got it together and handed her off to Mrs. Lynn (her teacher for the last 3 years) she was fine, and she did great in Sunday School...even enjoyed the puppet show they had for all the Preschoolers. I have to say, the workers in our church childcare are amazing. They love all of my children and know them, and their quirks, it's really huge blessing. This is going to sound weird, but right now there is a radio commercial that I'm talking on here in Dallas. I'm directly talking about the childcare at church and how much they have meant to was a shining example of why this ministry is so important to me.

I cried through Sunday School. I knew Ella was going to be fine, but it broke my heart. I can't communicate with her. I can't have witty banter, and arguments and discuss what she wants to wear...and today I need to ask what was wrong.
In God's perfect timing we had a study on HOPE and FAITH and TRUST today. The lesson was spoken by a wonderful man who lost a daughter at the age of he knows a lot about not asking "why" and allowing God to work through our situations. So my goal is to HOPE that Ella will be healed, to have FAITH that He can heal her if it's in His plan and TRUST that He will guide me through the situation regardless of what the outcome is for Ella or me.
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word i praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Romans 8: 28-30

Monday, September 27, 2010


So, after writing the last post I remembered that I've always wanted to post about this song (if you don't know the background, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote/sings this song after the loss of one of his young daughters):

Heaven is the face of a little girl
With dark brown eyes
That disappear when she smiles.
Heaven is the place
Where she calls my name
Says, “Daddy please come play with me for awhile.”


God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m aching for.
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.
So right now...

Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep,
Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing.
And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms,
Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

And God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m longing for
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.

But in my mind’s eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there’s no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there’s no more enemy.

Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss
And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone.
Heaven is the place where she takes my hand
And leads me to You,
And we both run into Your arms.

Oh God, I know, it’s so much more than I can dream.
It’s far beyond anything I can conceive.
So God, You know, I’m trusting You until I see
Heaven in the face of my little girl,
Heaven in the face of my little girl.

I've wanted to re-write the lyrics to reflect how I think heaven will be for Ella. Heaven will be where Ella is able to talk, and run, and dance, and tell jokes, and sing praises to her Savior, and tell us all the thoughts she can't communicate here in this imperfect world.

We arrived to the evening service at church last night and the other mission churches of ours were there. As the music started I could see the "Silent Friends" ministry singing their praises...of course they were using sign language. I started to cry. I love singing in church. I always have. I can remember being a youth in church and dancing and singing right next to my friends. We would make up our own motions to the fast songs and to this day I miss standing next to Lesa because she was the person I always loved to hear sing in my ear. Worship through song was always my favorite part of the service, even though I can NOT sing according to the ears of this world. I wondered if Ella would ever just close her eyes and sing praises and know that she's singing to the One who saved her. Life with a special needs child is interesting. It's not "normal", and I know this because I have two typical children. It's also not the same kind of loss that is experienced when a child dies. I would say it's somewhere in between. I am so grateful that Ella survived her horrible infection and brain injury, but so sad some days when I realize how much she will miss. Granted, she'll probably miss out on a lot of pain, but I want her to get to experience true joy and love. I won't speculate to what will happen to Ella in the future, I mean...she's only 4-years-old; but I can say that there are days when it grips me how different this is than I had planned. Funny, something as simple as shopping is different for us. Ella has to wear one-piece outfits (rompers, longalls, etc) but that snap in the crotch for easy opening...not normal for most kids her age/size. I see all these cute clothes for little girls, but I know that I can't buy them and that stinks (umm, shopping is one of my favorite things in life!!).

Anyway, a lot of rambling and since I'm sleep deprived please excuse me if it doesn't make any sense.

Friends words

I wanted to link to this blog of a dear friend. I love Alyssa dearly. Her Sydney and my Will are the same age, or would be...God called Sydney home on His time and not ours. Alyssa's words and transparency have been emotional and I feel like I have lived these last, almost 3 years, right along side my friend...even though she lives 700 miles away. I sent Lyss an email this morning to tell her that I realize our stories are very different, but I could relate to the "humor" of God that she writes about in this post.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I hate GBS

So, if you've been reading our blog (or if you know anything about Ella's infection at birth) then the acronym GBS probably has crossed your path. GBS=Group B Streptococcus. I hate this's what caused Ella to be so sick at birth and then caused me 3 days in the hospital a short week after we came home with Jonathan. JT (Jonathan Thomas) was born on 8/9/10, and we came home on 8/11/ Thursday 8/19/10 I was admitted to the hospital with a horrible infection...I'll explain.

First, I went out for the first time on Wednesday night (yes 9 days after baby was born...I had cabin fever). We had a leadership meeting at church with some of our close friends and I wanted to go and thought it would be a good challenge to try and get all 3 kids to church...boy was it. I didn't realize till we were all loaded in the car that I might have over-extended myself already. We headed up to the church for our meeting. I guess I'd forgotten that you really are supposed to take it really easy the first week after childbirth, but honestly with kids, who takes it easy? The meeting was great, I felt horrible, but being with friends at church always seems to make life a little better. Shortly after we got home I told Joe (and my mom) that they were correct, I shouldn't have gone...a warm bath and a vicodin and I headed to bed, hoping for some sleep (1 hour at a time). In the morning our sweet Julie watched Ella and Will while Jonathan and I slept in from the lack of sleep during the night. By 10am I was up and at least moving. My wonderful in-laws had come to pick up Will (God is so good to us in ways we aren't even sure of yet) and I took it easy. A great friend, Dori, came over to bring me lunch...and I'm so glad someone was here. Julie had left to take Ella to therapy so it was just JT and myself. Dori and her adorable daughter Hallie came over with Chipotle and we chatted, played with the kids and as we were hanging out I started to really feel horrible. At first I thought it was just being tired, then I started to think it was just that lunch hadn't agreed with me...before Dori left I felt horrible. My back hurt so badly, I felt like I had a belt of cramps all the way around my middle, front and back. I ended up taking my temp (101.6) and started having the shakes really bad. Called my doctor, left a message...called Joe, told him to come home...called doctor back and said I needed to talk to someone and my wonderful OB/GYN got on the phone, talked to me for a minute and told me to come straight to his office...he was afraid I had an infection in my uterus.

So, my MIL came over to watch JT, Julie walked in with Ella and Joe came to get me all within a few minutes. Joe took me straight to Dr. Oliver's office where it was confirmed, I had a major infection. As I lay on the table getting blood drawn the doctor told me that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. I was devastated (backup...5 weeks after Will was born I had an appendicitis and had to have my appendix removed, and it was horrible being away from my kids and not able to breastfeed for days) and I started to cry...he informed me that if I wasn't admitted on IV antibiotics I would most likely be back in the hospital within days in need of an emergency hysterectomy. I'm not sure if Joe and I are planning on having any more kids, but I wanted to make that decision, not have it be made for me. (I know I have friends out there who have HAD to have emergency surgery or have been told that they, for medical reasons, are done having children...I have watched that pain and realized that I needed to do whatever the doctor told me to do.) I was sick, I was delirious and I was freaked out...and I just wanted to feel better.

So, I was admitted (poked in my arm about 20 times, FELT like it) and given two antibiotics, TONS of saline (well, 3 gallons every 24 hours) and a morphine drip. Finally, I was diagnosed with GBS in my uterus and kidneys. After my infection was under control the doctor told me that he considered it life threatening, especially knowing what Ella had gone through only 4 years ago with the same infection. Rarely does GBS effect adults this way, but I'm now part of the small percentage of women effected by this infection.

I'm doing much better now. Jonathan is 3 weeks old and I've been out of the hospital for about 9 days since the infection. I'm still on medications at home and I do get really worn out, but that that could TOTALLY be from the lack of sleep from life with a newborn. I will say, when the doctor asked me to put my chin to my chest, to check for signs of meningitis I freaked, but luckily we escaped without any long term side effects! I went 28 years without ever hearing about GBS, and I could go the rest of my life without anyone I know ever being effected by it again.

Home...first few days

Meeting Ella and Will

If you are wondering about his head...he had to have an IV in his head to get antibiotics for 48 hours...looks worse than it seemed to be to him.

Jonathan Thomas Mitchell

Jonathan Thomas Mitchell born at 7:45pm on 8/9/10 (yep, cool birthday)
6 lbs, 13 oz and 20 inches long

Monday, August 09, 2010

Waiting on a baby

We are checked into the hospital...antibiotics have been running for about 15 hours now, epidural is in, 2cm dialated and 50% effaced as of 7am. Water should be broken in about an hour and we'll see what kind of progress we can get. For now, just hanging out. Lots of updates to come...stay tuned for more details and pictures to follow!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sweet Baby Girl

My darling daughter had another seizure last night, well this morning. I know that some of you who read this have watched your children seize more than you'd like, once is more than any of us need. I watched Ella seize for about 2 days straight within a day of being born. I remember the helpless feeling that there was nothing that I could do, and it seemed there was nothing that the doctors could do either...absolute frustration and helplessness. After 3 days of seizing she had tremors, I think they lasted another few days...and they were just as bad because it just felt like she was still so sick, she was. As soon as they got the seizures and tremors under control in the NICU she didn't have another episode...until almost 3 years later. I thought we were lucky. I read so many peoples stories about their kids and was so grateful not to have seizures. I felt like we had so many obstacles and was glad not to have that. And then they happened. No matter what we have done over the last 15 months, they keep coming. At first directly related to fevers and infections, but now, no trigger. We can't associate it with anything. The last 3 have been within 6 weeks, exactly 2 weeks apart each. I feel as though we are holding our breath now, just waiting for another one. If you have never seen your own child seize, I pray you never do. It's horrible. The last 6 seizures we have called 911 and gone to the hospital, for this one we stayed home. Joe heard her at 2:45am and jumped, knowing exactly what it was...we can hear them through the baby monitor. We administered the medication and waited. The full 2 minutes we watched her seize felt like 2 hours. Sitting there, doing nothing was horrible. As soon as the seizure was over she was back...back to being Ella. She made her normal noises and eye contact and even a popping noise that she does with her mouth. She smiled and was our little girl. We stared at her for about 15 minutes, waiting to see what would happen and then exhaled as the seizure didn't return. We picked her up, put her in our bed between the two of us and then slept off and on looking at her all night. She didn't move, that's what Valium will do to you, and she slept with her hand on her daddy, her hero. She's still a little sluggish today, but mostly back to herself. I don't know how much more of this I can's emotionally and physically exhausting, but for now, our family is home and healthy.

...oh, and Will busted his lip at church today...crazy few hours of life.

Here is a picture of the kids from this evening:

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Human Brain

I have realized that God is pretty amazing because no one has really figured out the human brain. It's like God's little secret He's keeping all to himself, but boy do I have questions for Him when I meet Him face to face...hopefully it won't really matter by that point.

Ella has a seizure disorder. Many will call it "epilepsy" but all that means is "seizure disorder" so we can really call it either way. I'll try to explain a little bit about what we found out from the neurologist today. I have to admit, I don't really understand all of what he said and as Joe and I drove away we started talking and realized that we have a ton more questions, but for now, these are the answers we received.

  • Ella's seizures are a cause of the brain damage done at birth and could have surfaced more recently because of new brain growth (the good kind) and an interaction with the present scar tissue and open pathways.
  • They have always occurred when Ella is sleeping and I learned (Joe already knew) that your brain is more active when it's asleep than when it's awake, so the constant movement on her raw pathways in her brain could trigger a seizure.
  • Why doesn't the medicine stop the seizures? It might just be lowering the number that she has. They can't prove that Ella would have more, or less, seizures off the meds, but we aren't willing to risk it either. The thought is that off the medication the seizures could be more frequent and more intense, so for now we just monitor the levels of medication and how her body processes that medication.
  • Exhaustion may play a role in Ella's seizure activity. We can't prove how long the exhaustion has to occur to lower her threshold for seizures, but we are going to try and be more proactive to prevent exhaustion, but not to completely decrease her involvement level in life...that's a rough balance for us because there are no clear cut lines on what level wears her out and causes her brain to react. This will have to be a prayer request that Joe and I will agree and feel a peace about the activities we elect for Ella to be involved in...both for her benefit and for her therapy.

That's all I can remember, but I'll have to see if I missed anything from Joe.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Morgan's Wonderland

We took a family trip to San Antonio and visited Morgan's amusement park for special needs children. It was are our memories from the park...we didn't take pictures of the rest of the weekend, but it was just as fabulous.


Yep, he is being influenced by his father:

Silly Pictures

Seizures...Part 1 and Part 2

Ella has been back to her seizure activity. She had a seizure on June 6th and again this morning on June 28th. We are currently looking to doctors and specialists to tell us why all these keep happening and will keep you posted as we get a diagnosis and a course of treatment.

She's the biggest trooper I've ever seen. She gets poked and prodded and tested and poked more and the child seems to come away unscathed...amazing.

Longest Break Ever

Since I last posted (the month of May):
  • The Kramers came in town and played with us. I know they came in for a wedding, but it was nice to have some good friends visit (since they had just moved 6 weeks before to Atlanta).
  • We've had a lot of doctors appointments for Baby #3, his name will be Jonathan Thomas Mitchell and is due August 27th. We'll find out next Tuesday, July 6th (which is also my 32nd birthday) what day we are going to plan to induce. In case you are wondering, we induce to make sure and get the antibiotics to prevent the same infection that Ella contracted at birth.
  • We found out that our dear friends, The Poages, have gotten accepted to Oxford School of Business just north of London and will be headed "across the pond" sometime in September...bittersweet because it's wonderful for them, but so sad for those of us here.
  • Our church, First Baptist Dallas, announced that they raised enough funds ($115 million) to erect an updated Education Building and new Sanctuary...this was something that our family prayed about for a long time so it was a huge blessing to be part of the celebration. We can't wait for the official groundbreaking in two weeks!!
  • Ella "graduated" her first year of PPCD at school and loved her field day (note the Popsicle, which she enjoyed very much!)
  • Joe and I got to celebrate the 30th birthday of our friend, Allison Aars, and loved getting dressed up and commemorate a wonderful woman.

  • We discovered that Ella has a severe allergy to peanuts and a skin allergy to strawberries, both of which caused us to change her diet...and we find it changing out own diets. We now have added an EpiPen to our list of meds we carry around with us.
  • Thanks to some wonderful family friends we got a lift installed in the back of our minivan so that I can easily get Ella's wheelchair in and out of the's been a huge blessing and I'll post pictures at some point.
  • Oh, and I fainted while shopping at Sam's. It all goes back to the Strawberry PopTart I had for breakfast that morning and my doctor has since laughed at me. Nothing to worry about, just an increase in protein each day.
  • For Memorial Day we went to the Arboretum (sorry, only one picture of Ella in a hat before the battery died) and then swam at the house: