Friday, August 29, 2008


Way too much to blog about, and way too little time! Here are a multitude of posts all rolled into one...

We've spent a lot of late afternoons at the park by the river (Towns calls it "my birthday party park" since she's had her last two birthday parties there...what can I say, we might have overdone it but it's the absolute perfect party spot and the kids love it's special because it's been our favorite place to play since Towns and Bethany were a lot younger). It's nice right at 6:30 or so when the sun is almost down and it's not so hot. This particular day was a treat because we got to see two pretty neat sailboats on the river. Click on Cate and Towns below to see the rest of the pictures....

A few weekends ago my dad rented a house on the lake in Guntersville and invited us to tag along. We had a fabulous and relaxing weekend complete with lots of grilling, jet skis, a failed attempt to take a stab at intertubing with a broken tube (for the record 12 year old Bethany is much better at pulling an intertube than her father...HA), and spent some quality time with my dad's side of the family who we don't get to see as much as we'd like to. This picture of Bethany and Towns makes me on them and you'll get more pictures!

Towns started ballet class a couple of weeks ago. Yours truly is her teacher! This week on the way to class I snapped a few pictures because she was ever so excited about the way I cut the feet of her tights so she could pull them up on her legs and wear them like "the big girl ballerinas" do. Cate looks a little pitiful in these pics...this is 24 hours after surgery. Don't let her fool you though. She hasn't missed a beat!

Bethany was here last weekend and was in one of those moods where she wanted to get a new look. Every few months she'll ask me to cut her hair, and I'm just as nervous about doing it now as I was the first time (years ago) she ever asked me to cut it. It was one of those rainy, blah weekends where we didn't have much to do so she said she wanted to chop her hair off. I asked her how she wanted it and she said "like that" as she pointed to my hair. Minus the layers, of course, so that made it pretty simple. We cut it little by little until she was sure we'd gone short enough. The only criteria was still having a ponytail. Mission accomplished!

Two weekends ago my sweet friend Anna Kate (more affectionately known as "Roommate") celebrated the upcoming birth of baby Katherine and I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Her shower was in Birmingham and it was so much fun seeing all of girls we spent long hours studying (translation: playing) with at Auburn. Ahhh, memories! Katherine got loads of fabulous clothes and other goodies and I've already begged AK to display it and take pictures so I could see it all again because it was so much to take in at one time! After the shower our crew went to AK's beautiful new casa, and let's just say that baby Katherine is one lucky chick to get to come home to such a gorgeous nursery and wardrobe! She's blessed in every way, that's for sure!

Wish I would have gotten better pictures of AK opening her gifts, but here she is super excited about the owl finger puppet!

Baby William was glad all of his OOC aunts officially interrupted his nap schedule. This car seat business lasted all of .4 seconds before his Aunt TT busted him out of there! Is he not the cutest?! William, if you like older women Cate's totally available in 30 years...that's when she's allowed to start dating.

Blazer, Jess, Jenn, Tara (61) & Baby Blair, Tara (TT), Anna Kate & Baby Katherine, Ginny

Tara, Claire & Blazer

So after several months of Cate's desperate attempt to walk, I finally decided it was time to try to give her a little help. Towns never had a walker (if that's what they're even called these days) so we didn't have one to pass down to Cate. Towns took off at 9 months and never slowed down so we never needed one! Cate's taking her dear sweet time which is perfectly fine with me. I want to keep her little as long as I can. However, when I spotted this cute little thing at Target the other day I couldn't resist. She LOVES it and thinks she's big time pushing it around.

The bad news is that the red-head temper comes out when she pushes it into something and can't get going again. I don't know where she gets that from!

Towns is very into using her imagination. She's always been this way, but even more so now that she's learning the "I want to be ____ when I grow up" concept. All week she's been fascinated with being a nurse. And today she's into teaching (something she's always really enjoyed because Bethany plays school with her all the time). She lined up her dolls, Lulu the lamb, her special Care Bear Grandmommy gave her, and her pink bouncing donkey who was too big to sit with the rest of the class and read her little heart out to them. Welcome to "The Handy Manny School"....she picked the name, naturally.

The other thing she loves is pretending she's a mom. Here she is with her stroller and my Baby Huggums dolls (circa 1982). Out of all the dolls she has, this is her favorite to play with!

Something funny she said the grocery store she spotted the aisle full of Halloween candy and begged to take a look at it so she could pick out what she wanted. Being the frazzled mom that I am in the grocery store with two children who doesn't always think things through before I say them, I told her that Wal-Mart's rule was that we couldn't buy Halloween candy until closer to Halloween. She didn't say anything but I could tell her brain was hard at work. Ten minutes later in the check out line I'd forgotten about the candy, but she hadn't. She looked at me with the most innocent look and said "there's no Wal-Mart rule about Halloween, you just didn't want me to have any chocolate, did you?" what do you say to that?!

Happy Labor Day weekend! We're headed to the Loveliest Village on the Plains! And I can't get there fast enough!! WAR EAGLE!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Praise God!!!!!

My baby is home and well!! She's a tough cookie, that's for sure. Everything went as planned and thank the Lord there were no surprises. She had the urachal remnant (bladder to naval connection) removed which required an incision under her belly button and also had her toe taken care of at the same time. The removal of the mass on her toe left such an opening that it took stitches from one side of her toe all the way to the other to close it. The only thing left to worry about is possible plastic surgery for the scar that it will leave. But we're going to wait a good, long while before we even think about that! Now, Lord willing, we've got this precious little thing taken care of and she'll be good to go from here on out! She had morphine along with her anesthesia so she's fine right now, but we might be in for it once she starts feeling the pain.
I'm incredibly thankful for such a phenomenal doctor. I'll forever sing the praises of Dr. Gilbert and the wonderful people at Huntsville Hospital. They were nothing short of amazing. I never worried about Cate (other than the obvious) once she left my arms and went back to surgery. There wasn't anything left undone...right down to a popsicle and doctoring gear for the big sister to keep her entertained (Towns left there this morning declaring that she's got her life figured out at age 3 - she wants to be a nurse, naturally). I'm extremely relieved that all this is over for her, but she couldn't have possibly been in any better care. I thank God we found a doctor who was so very capable of taking care of my sweet baby Cate!!
Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and phone calls today. We're so blessed to have a healthy baby...she just had a few little kinks to work out. She came into the world with a bang and I can already see she's going to be force to be reckoned with! :) The funny part is that not even morphine can keep her down. With the way she's playing right now you'd never even know what she's been through this morning!! She never ceases to amaze me....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here We Go Again

Yesterday was a long day for us....we spent four hours in Huntsville Hospital with yet another pediatric surgeon. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a pediatric surgeon (never had a need to know I suppose), but Cate has had us visiting them so much lately I feel like they're family! I'll go ahead and give you the warning that this might be a little graphic if you have a weak stomach. I'm not much for the sight of blood and get that feeling like my knees will buckle when I see it, but I've seen it several times over the past month - coming from Cate's naval. Not something a mother wants to see. The first time it happened I brushed it off thinking that if it happened again I'd call her doctor. The next week it happened again, so we made a trip to the pediatrician. He couldn't find anything on the outside that could be causing it, but explained that it could be coming from a connection to one of her organs (from her belly button) that should have closed before birth, but in rare cases it doesn't. The doc told me to watch her closely and if it happened one more time we needed to call him immediately. Well it did. Saturday morning before I left to go to Anna Kate's baby shower Cate was in the bath and it started bleeding freely. Naturally, I panicked. I called her doctor's office and the only doctor on call was a complete quack (who diagnosed Towns with a common cold back in February when in actuality she had the flu, bronchitis, and a double ear infection). I politely told the on call doctor (who is in no way affiliated with our pediatrician's office) I'd wait until Monday morning when our doctor would be in the office. I made the phone call the minute the office opened, told the nurse what had happened, and she told me she'd tell Dr. K and call me right back. Five minutes later she called and had already scheduled Cate an appointment with a pediatric surgeon in Huntsville. I freaked. Could it really be something serious?! Our appointment was yesterday morning, and I went in with a knot in my stomach to say the least. I absolutely loved the doc though, and realized I could trust him completely within minutes of meeting him. (Side note: I did not feel that way about the pediatric surgeon at Children's in Birmingham so we're canceling her surgery there and are going to have either a plastic surgeon or an pediatric orthopaedic surgeon remove the fibroma from her toe in Huntsville - that appointment will come possibly next week) His first theory was exactly the same thing our pediatrician told us - the connection from her bladder to her naval never closed before birth. But just to be on the safe side he ordered an umbilical ultrasound. I found out today that the ultrasound didn't show anything abnormal so he's still almost certain it's the bladder connection that's the culprit of the bleeding. The only scary thing is that there's a possibility that since she's got the fibroma on her toe, it could also mean that there are some inside her body that attach themselves to organs. The surgeon said it's highly unlikely that she's got them on the inside, but he couldn't rule it out completely. SO, long story even longer, Tuesday morning she'll be admitted to Huntsville Hospital to have surgery to fix whatever is causing the bleeding. We're praying that it's just the bladder connection that needs to be closed because that's an easy fix. It will require a small incision below her naval and she'll be able to go home the same day of the surgery. What we're currently working on is getting her toe fixed at the same time so that she only has to be put to sleep once and we can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Her surgery was originally scheduled for Monday morning, but I already had a procedure scheduled with my dermatologist to remove some pre-cancerous spots - and I'd already rescheduled it a couple of times so they wouldn't let me out of it this time!! Please say a prayer for us next week! I know I'll be just fine with what I'm having done, but it's Cate I'm worried about. I just really hope and pray they don't have any surprises when they look inside of her and that whatever is wrong is fixable.

Towns was the sweetest thing at the hospital yesterday. Four hours (that felt like four hundred) is a long time for a 3 year old to be content in that situation. As a treat before we left the hospital I took her to ride the tram that connects all the buildings in the hospital. She thought that was the most wonderful thing ever! She's picked up more than I realize from being in on all these appointments with us...on the way home yesterday I heard "and please help get that 'fibrona' off of Bug's toe. Amen" and when I asked her who she was talking to she said "the Lord". If that's not the most precious thing I don't know what is!!

Riding the tram...

Towns officially named herself "button pusher" while we were at the hospital. And such a fine job she did. You have to make light of a situation like this, so of course we had to take some silly pictures!

Sweet baby...she was so tired after a long day of everyone poking and prodding her!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gotta Start Early

It's never too early to start rushing them, right?! Towns asked me the other day why I was "so crazy into owls". That was day 1 of pre-rush at the McClendon household. And it will last approximately 15 more years. Look closely and see if you can see why I think these are the coolest pj's ever....I'm seriously thinking Target must have employed a buyer who is a Chi O because we've been seeing tons of great owls all over that store lately! And I'm loving it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours!

This sweet little baby....

And her sweet little foot...

...are landing her in the operating room for the second time in her short little life. First it was her ears, and now it's the infantile myofibroma on her toe. When it showed up when she was two months old we thought it was a blister, but it never went away. Her pediatrician referred us to a dermatologist who diagnosed it and told us that as long as it didn't get any larger it wouldn't need to be removed until age 4. However, over the last few months it's grown to more than 4x its original size which meant a visit with the pediatric surgeon. Until our trip to Children's Hospital today for our appointment with the surgeon, I was in the "can it get any worse?" frame of mind. And then I got there and saw more sick children than I ever cared to see and realized that it can be worse. Much worse. Even though Cate's surgery (Sept. 18th) to remove the fibroma is less than a desirable situation, I was reminded today that I'm ever so thankful for children who for the most part are perfectly healthy. But we're not out of the woods yet. The surgeon told us that she's a "rare {I prefer the word "special"} case" because these things aren't very common. Once it's removed we'll wait for the pathology report. We're praying that the pathology report will be clear (her doc is all but sure it's benign), that she'll have enough skin left to stitch together without having to take skin from somewhere else to cover it, and that the fibroma isn't so deep into her toe that it prevents them from removing it all with one surgery (translation: if they're able to get it all the first time it reduces the chance of it coming back later). Please keep my sweet Cate Bug in your prayers!

Cate was a champ during our super long wait. She's a fun little chick and keeps us laughing all the time! She enjoyed a wagon that a cute little girl so graciously let us have when she was done with it (no sitting for her, it was standing up all the way with one leg lifted high in the air)...

And when we got home she and her daddy shared McDonald's fries (her favorite...must have inherited her deep love of them from Bethany) and a chocolate milkshake...

Hopefully after this surgery we'll be free and clear from hospitals for the rest of our lives!!! We've had our fair share of them lately and we're not a fan! :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

She's Big Time, Folks...

BB ready to hit supply list in hand!

As of today, BBM is officially a 7th grader!! A first year Junior High Schooler, no less. She was a little nervous going in as the youngest grade in the school, but she's as cool as they come so I have no doubt she'll learn the ropes in no time! We spent the weekend at the lake (more about that later), but came back home to teach our Sunday School class, so after church we made Bethany's school supply shopping a family affair...per her request. I'd thought it best to stay home with the younger two while she and her daddy hit the stores alone. Mass chaos ensues when Cate and Towns are taken into a retail environment, and the fact that Towns thinks she can throw anything and everything in our cart makes it just a tad bit crazier. Her tossing things in other people's carts is the cherry on top. But BB thought it would be fun if we all went along, so after lunch at Panera we went right over to Target. I still say school supply shopping is one of the most fun things on earth. I don't care how old you are. We flew up and down every aisle and it looked like a tornado or two had blown through! Thanks, Betny, for letting us share in the fun with you! Hope your first day back was nothing short of fabulous!