Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The BIG BIG Day!!

The front of the house - the pictures don't do the balloon arch justice!
"Pure Elle"party favors for all our guests! It was time consuming scraping off the labels of all the hand sanitizers but I think they turned out so cute!
Just a handful of the guests that came!
Elle and her smash cake that Aunt Nicole made - she liked the icing - but more ended up in her hair than in her mouth!
Guest cake made by my wonderful mother in law - looks EXACTLY like the plates and napkins! I should have gotten more pictures of the massive spread of food we had!
Opening up gifts the next morning. We asked all our guests that in lieu of gifts for Elle, they bring a donation for the Ronald McDonald House instead. All of those gift bags are filled with goodies off the RoHo wish list that we included in her invitation. It is absolutely amazing to see the amount of donations all our friends and family brought! I cried when I saw the staggering amount of donations for the first time. Thank you thank you thank you to all of our friends and family that helped make Elle's birthday party so incredibly special!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gearing up for the Big Bash

I am going to have to break down birthday week into two posts...one pre birthday bash and one just about the bash!
Pre Birthday Bash
Elle had quite an eventful week leading up to her big birthday party.

Monday we had an appointment with the cardiologist that didn't go exactly how we had hoped (more about that in yet another post).

Tuesday, Elle's big birthday - she wakes up with a fever and is miserable all day long.
Wednesday, Elle is feeling much better and decides to pull the button in her stomach out not once but twice! Ugh! The sight of seeing something that was previously INSIDE someones stomach laying on the floor is pretty shocking...trust me on this one. So, instead of getting the 900 things crossed off my to do list, I spent all day long either putting buttons into Elle's stomach, or taking them out and replacing them. A good portion of my day was spent at the TCH outpatient center - I was hoping they had an extra button we could use because the balloon that keeps it in her stomach had busted in the one that fell out - that's the reason it fell out the second time - there was nothing holding it in place. No luck. Instead, I used one of our old buttons and by 5pm - she was rockin' and rollin' again. Of course, none of this phased Elle. She had no idea her button fell out (twice). I think her lack of reaction to it coming out of her stomach is why it doesn't phase me anymore when it falls out (although - I do not want to change anymore buttons if I can help it). Late Wednesday night by best friend from high school and her boy friend came in to town. The last time we saw each other was 4 years ago at my wedding. It might have been 4 years, but things fell right back into place as soon as we saw each other. I'm pretty sure Nicole and I scared her poor boyfriend Chad - who really had no idea what he was getting himself into! I don't know that there is a way to adequately describe my friendship with Nicole. She is my rock. I'm uber scatterbrained and Nicole seems to piece all my thoughts together for me. I rarely finish a sentence around her because she knows what I'm thinking. It's odd - because most of the time I do have myself together - but when Nicole comes around - I let my guard down and she just picks everything right up! We were talking about that this past weekend - how she is scatterbrained too and whenever we get together she takes the lead and takes charge. I wouldn't want it any other way!
Thursday - Nicole and I woke up early and played with Elle until Chad woke up and then it was so long ladies. Elle only had eyes for Chad. He quickly went from being known as "Mr. Chad" to "Uncle Chad!" Nicole got Elle dressed for the day - I told her she looked like a rock stars kid in her outfit...complete with the blinged out shoes Nicole made! We met up with a friend of ours from high school for lunch and her two kids and then did some errands for the b-day party. I introduced Chad to the wonders of Sonic and we sure did stop in there 4x for drinks and snacks in the 3 days they were here!

Nicole and Elle looking at pictures

Elle and Chad taking a mid morning snooze

Elle in her rock star outfit

Animal Print Friday - we took Elle to therapy and then did some errands on the way back to our house because Elle had auditory therapy that afternoon. Friday night our WONDERFUL neighbors came over and helped with some art projects that I decided just HAD to be done before the birthday party. I really don't know what I would have done without everyones help. Thank you all sooo much for your help! I stink at time management so it was awesome to have 5 extra helping hands! Lee just shakes his head at me most of the time and says "oh babe" when I get into "wouldn't it be cool if we did this" mode. That's why I'm glad Nicole was here! She said "oh yeah - that would be awesome! but lets do it like this..."...hence the balloon arch that was first wrapped in hot pink ribbon then wrapped in zebra print ribbon for a little nod to animal print Friday (funny part was that you couldn't even see the pvc pipe we used under all the balloons)!

Nicole and Elle snuggling before Chad woke up

Animal Print Friday (yes that is Chad she is holding on to)!!
Crafting time at the Lupher house
Aviana and Elle playing while Nicole worked on the balloon arch
Nicole working on adding more bling to Elle's shoes
By Friday night, we all were exhausted and the party hadn't even started yet!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Little Lady Lupher is ONE!

What an amazing year this has been for our family! It was one emotional roller coaster but we ALL made it through with flying colors! Our precious little lady has blessed us each of the last 365 days and I am so honored to be her momma! If you follow our blog, you know the painful struggles we went through these last 12 months...the seizure she had at birth, the 3x she stopped breathing in the NICU, the 5 surgeries she has had - one of them being open heart surgery, the massive amount of time we spent in the hospital and all the doctors and therapist that now consume our daily lives. I truly believe that our strength in the past year has only come from one thing. I'm not shy about stating that I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and that Lee and I pray to raise Elle in a way that will glorify HIM. In her life and in our struggles - it has been through the power of prayer and our belief that the Lord is guiding us every step of the way that has made this past year truly inspiring and incredible.

Our sweet little one year old woke up with a fever on her birthday. She was just miserable! It wasn't the best day to wake up with a fever because it sent Lee and I into freak out mode (but more about that in another post). The poor little birthday girl spent the day with my mom while I did some training at work and then fell asleep at 4pm and didn't wake up until 7am the next day! Poor princess! She looks just miserable in her birthday pictures! What's going on in Elle's life? - Weighing in at 18lbs 6oz (3%) - 28 1/2 inches long (10%) - wearing 9month - 12 month clothing and some random 6 month outfits that are shirts now instead of dresses - can sit up all by herself from lying down but usually only pushes up from her right side...we're working on that left side - is pulling herself up more and more and even though she is super unsteady on her feet, when she is standing up, she tries to dance and wave and clap - pushed herself up onto her hands and knees (unassisted) for the first time on March 18 - doing great at army crawling - we're working on getting her onto hands and knees but she is at least attempting to do it on her own now! - has 6 teeth - 2 on top and 4 on bottom...now if we can just get those teeth to chew chew chew! - takes about an ounce from the bottle and is doing much better with swallowing puffs and yogurt melts. Baby food is in a league of it's own and while we are still working on it everyday, she's just not that interested and/or her tongue isn't coordinated enough to get the whole swallowing thing down - most of it ends up spit out of her mouth and on her clothes (she takes bibs off almost as soon as they are put on). - she is quite the little talker and pretty much babbles and talks non stop all day long - she says hi, momma, dada, and gwitt (for Witt) along with all sorts of baby babble - she is doing great at mimicking sounds - if you say "hi hi hi" she will imitate you and if you say "ba ba ba" she will imitate that as well - she tries really hard to make the same sounds that you make - she is wearing her hearing aids for longer and longer although the right one has been giving us problems lately - she may have fluid on her ear that is making it uncomfortable for her to keep her aid in - but her left one will generally stay in for hours at a time now! - she is REALLY excelling at her signs - she can sign momma, daddy, tree, girl, smart, beautiful, eat, more, drink, sleepy, dog, bunny, monkey, cow, fish, milk, bear, Witt, boy, fan - she recognizes all the signs as she does them - you show her a picture of a cow and she will sign cow...show her a tree and she signs tree...point to Lee and she says and signs dada... - she loves playing patty cake and peek a boo - my favorite thing is to ask her to "roll it up" and she rolls her chubby little arms over and over...I just love it! - she thinks every picture in our house is "Gwitt." She points to her pictures all over the house and will say and sign "Gwitt" for Witt - loves to watch her Baby Sign DVD - it will instantly calm her down and she will sit mesmerized and watch it for pretty much her entire feed (1hr and 15 minutes) - she is such a happy little girl and loves to be around people. She's unsure about strangers but will almost instantly warm up to just about anyone..especially men (uh oh!) - loves to wave at people and has the most intense stare I have ever seen! It is quite hilarious to watch her stare at a stranger and then break out into a smile and wave her chubby little hand! - loves to be outside - especially watching the trees blow in the wind - can really scoot around the house in her walker - she loves to roll around the kitchen and is learning how to maneuver it - she just recently figured out how to back up and turn the wheels to get around objects instead of continuously running into them. Her next feat will be how to make it over the tile and onto the carpet! - shes in therapy 5x a week and is slowly but surely making progress in all aspects that she needs help in We are so blessed by this little life! I am so exited to see where her story will lead us! It's hard to believe that a year has passed. I get so sad thinking about how quickly time has literally flown by! I never believed people when they would say "they grow up so quickly" but it is absolutely 100% true! I don't remember the first few months of Elle's life! I don't remember her being tiny - I don't remember the sleepless nights and pumping every 2 hours around the clock. I told one of my friends that God doesn't let mothers remember the pain of child birth because if you really remembered what it felt like, you probably wouldn't want to go through it again. I think the first few months of Elle's life are like that for me. Yeah - she went through a lot - our family went through a lot - but I don't really remember much of it. I vaguely remember sitting next to her bedside for 18 hours a day and then walking to the RoHo and falling into bed only to wake up and do it all the next day and I vaguely remember not leaving the hospital for days/weeks at a time . Maybe I just choose to forget the bad and only concentrate on the here and now and the fact that she is the light of our world. Often times Lee and I lay in bed just staring at her and smiling because that's what she does- she just makes you smile! I pray that the next year is filled with more smiles than tears and more laughs than sobs. I know this year was tough, but it is behind us and I am so happy and proud to say Happy 1st Birthday Elle Belle!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Old and new and some news on the homefront

There are certain people that come into your life and you never know the impact they will have until much later on in life. I have been meaning to write about this for some time now, but everything happens for a reason and now is the perfect time to play catch-up. At the beginning of February, I was invited to a Valentine making party. I was so excited about this girls night and mostly because of one very special person that was going to be there.

Her name is Erin and I can honestly say, she has influenced my life in more ways than she will ever know. Erin and I met my freshman year in high school. She was the way cool sophomore in charge of teaching us fishies how to march in the marching band. Spending so much time together really does help to form great friendships. Over the next 3 years, Erin and I became good friends. I looked up to her, admired her and tried to emulate her in so many ways (Erin - I actually think I still have a shirt of yours from high school!). Erin is the reason I started going to youth group on Wednesday nights and the reason my family and I joined Bear Creek Baptist Church. I loved youth group so much that I talked my mom and dad into visiting and we eventually became members. I recently found notes Erin had written me in college giving me advice on how to make it through the rush process and wishing me well as I was about to pledge a sorority. So - after all this time (and thanks to facebook, blogging, and a wonderful mutual friend) -we re-connected. It was so much fun to get to visit with her and catch up on what was going on in her life (even though I read her blog!). We got to talking about the way the Lord puts people in your life and it is just incredible that at the moment when you need an old friend, He has a way of making that person show back up into your life. It happened at the perfect time for me. Erin and her husband have a son that is just a few months younger than Elle. When their son was born, Erin became a stay at home mom. She went through college and graduate school and spent a lot of time investing in her career. I truly admired her decision to stay at home (I admire any moms decision to stay at home!). It was one of the things i wanted to talk to her about just because I know how much time and energy her schooling and then work had taken...and I have been struggling with the decision to either continue to work or stay at home and take care of Elle. After seeing the peace in which Erin spoke of making the decision to stay at home, it helped to calm my nerves. I suppose in the back of my mind I have always felt that I have worked way too hard to get to where I am to just stop - to just walk away. I continued my education after college and have 3 little letters next to my name that mean a whole heck of a lot to me and truthfully, I just don't want to lose that distinction. But, I have made my decision and in the next week or so, I will be a full time stay at home mom. My daughter comes first and her therapy schedule and doctor schedule come first. I can't continue to balance both work and her....not in her case....not in our situation. I'm terrified of being a stay at home mom. I'm terrified of failing at being a domestic goddess! I'm not a great housekeeper and I have no idea at how to manage our home. But, as one of my co-workers said "manage your house the same way you managed the office and the employees." Oh man - this is going to be one roller coaster of an adventure. I dare say that being the Human Resource Manger to a company that is 90% male was actually an easier job than being a stay at home mom!

Friday, March 19, 2010

At This Time 4 Years Ago...

Lee and I were enjoying our honeymoon in Antigua. On March 18 we celebrated 4 wonderful years of wedded bliss. I hate it that 4 years have gone by in the blink of an eye - it seems like just yesterday we were saying our vows and then celebrating with the best party EVER! So much has changed in the last 4 years - with the addition of Elle being the biggest and best! I think the best way to describe our relationship is to tell a story about Lee and my grandmother. My Grandmother was the sharpest, wittiest, smartest, most thoughtful and loving person. Even up until the day she passed away, she was telling stories and jokes and talking politics. She had a knack for reading people and could automatically tell a person's intentions. She loved Lee from the moment she met him (and I know Lee loved her too). After we got engaged and starting planning our wedding, we spent a lot of time with my grandmother. We were planning our wedding in the little town where she lived - about an hour outside of Houston. On one particular day, I was pulling a bridezilla moment and poor Lee was just sitting there listening to me go on and on and on. My grandmother looked over at Lee and said, "Lee, how do you put up with her?" Lee's automatic response, "Grandma Greene, I have the patience of an oyster!" My grandmother immediately started laughing - I will always remember the way she would clasp her hands together and laugh - kind of a school girl laugh if something really tickled her. She would throw her head back and that sound will never leave me. It took me a while to figure out what Lee had told my grandmother to make her laugh the way she did - but that moment has never left. Lee's patience with me is incredible. Just like an oyster will sit and sit and sit with a tiny grain of sand and slowly over time that sand becomes a pearl, Lee has the patience with me to just sit and let me go a little crazy and then be there to steady me and bring me back down to earth. I am the luckiest girl alive to have a husband who loves me unconditionally. I am the luckiest girl alive to have such a strong Christian husband to lead me and now Elle as we grow together in our faith. I am the luckiest girl alive to have such a wonderful husband who seems to know what I am thinking and is there to fix whatever problems I have. I could go on and on but the point is - I love my husband so much and these past 4 years have been nothing short of spectacular!
Halloween 2005
Cabo 2006
1st Anniversary Golf Trip to Savannah and Hilton Head
One of the perks of being married around St. Patty's Day is that we were in Savannah for one of the greatest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the country - like Mardi Gras - but in green!
2nd Anniversary Golf/Ski trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico
Perfect trip - skied in the morning and played golf in the afternoon!
** our third anniversary we celebrated by getting Star Pizza (yum!) and having a picnic in Little Lady Lupher's room - little did we know how just 5 days later our lives would be forever changed!
This year we celebrated by taking Elle to the little pizza place next to our house and enjoying a nice family dinner! My how things have changed!
I hate it that I don't have any wedding pictures to share. It's my own fault because I STILL haven't picked out wedding photos. The thought of going through 700 beautiful and all so amazing proofs is daunting! It's really just been about procrastination...and then before you know it...you've been married for 4 years and don't have a single picture of your wedding day displayed in your home....maybe it's about time I sat down and got that taken care of!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Girl's Weekend

Before I write about my fabulous weekend with my wonderful friends, I wanted to catch up on what is going on in our house since the last post. First and foremost, the built ins are finished! Lee did such a wonderful job! Elle is now in therapy 5x a week with a 6th time pending. The new therapy that she started 3 weeks ago is auditory therapy through the school district (and ECI). I LOVE her therapist and wish we saw her more than once a week! Elle is doing great with her signs. Her first session with Katy, her therapist, Katy was showing her stuffed animals and doing the signs and the sound each animal makes. Elle was mimicking her! Each week Elle has done more and more signs and today in occupational therapy, Elle was signing "drink," "eat," and "more." That was a first for all three when food and a bottle were involved! She is wearing her hearing aids for longer and even wore them for the whole 2 hours today of physical therapy and occupational therapy.

The AWESOME built ins Lee did (all by himself...I'm not much of a helper)

Our little bed head baby in her Animal Print Friday on March 5, 2010Our little happy girl

Elle wore Ole Miss gear all week long in preparation for the girls weekend!

Animal Print Friday, March 12, 2010 This past weekend all my girls from college came in to visit for Elle's first birthday. We celebrated a few weeks early since it was the only weekend we could all get together. I've already written about these girls in the past. They are my hearts, my sisters, my best friends and I love them with all my heart. We had a fabulous weekend together and I definitely didn't want it to end yesterday. They all came in on Friday and Elle and I picked up Aunt Eldy (Laura D) and Uncle Matt, and Aunt Laura S. early Friday evening. We all went back to my parent' house where the girls were camping out for the weekend and met up with Lee and my parents. I believe this was the only time the whole weekend that Elle actually sat on the ground and showed everyone her awesome army crawling skills. Later on that evening, Lee and Matt headed back to our house where the boys were staying and Eldy, Laura and I met up with Aunt Lala, Auntie Shay and Aunt K-Lo for dinner. If we weren't in a restaurant, I'm pretty sure I would have shrieked when I saw them walk in the door. Our dinner conversations might have gotten a little inappropriate and in our usual fashion, we were talking over each other instead of taking turns talking. Even though we hadn't all been together in over a year, the minute we all saw each other, it was like we had never left each other sides. Later on that evening, Lala and Shay went to pick up Auntie Megs from the airport and once she was back at my parent's house, our group was complete!! We stayed up until 2am talking and reminiscing and laughing until we cried and our stomachs hurt. Saturday morning, we woke up and sat around talking and laughing some more. We decided to take Elle on a walk at the park so all 7 of us plus my mom headed up to the park and took Elle on a walk and then we played in the park for a while. Aunt Lala took Elle down her first slide and she loved it! It was such a beautiful day that as soon as we got home, we opened up the doors and put Elle in her walker and let her cruise around the house while my wonderful friends out did themselves decorating and cooking and getting ready for the birthday party that was that evening. I wasn't expecting all they did - it was amazing and just thinking about it makes me tear up. Aunt Steph came over in the afternoon and that's when the partying really started! Lee, Matt, my parent's, Lee's parents and Shay's parents all completed our little party and it was absolutely perfect! Aunt Steph fed Elle Cheetos which she loved and we eventually were able to sing Happy Birthday and let her play in her very own birthday cake after I stripped her down to just her diaper. She wasn't really all too interested in her cake and was way more interested in all the people that were staring at her and smiling and laughing. She hammed it up big time for her party and was a prefect little birthday girl. Even though I said no presents, the coffee table was covered in them! Thank you all for making Elle's first first birthday party so much fun and an absolutely perfect evening! After presents came my favorite time in the evening. When these same girls threw me my baby shower on January 31, 2009, they all gave me one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received. Shannon masterminded the gift - she sent note cards to all of the women in my life that I love and had them write Elle a note (at this point she was still known as Little Lady Lupher). Elle now has a note to read on each of her birthdays for the next 21 years and a letter from Lee to read on her wedding day. So, I read Aunt Laura's letter to Elle on Saturday night. I can't believe it's been a year and I am so thankful Laura and all my friends were able to be there to share in that special moment as I read the first letter.

Sunday we all woke up and got ready for a girls brunch. Elle stayed with my mom while we surprised Eldy with a baby shower. Despite us thinking she knew about it, she was totally shocked when she walked in to the restaurant to see a mountain of presents! We had a great brunch and I'm sure Eldy loved opening up all the gifts! She is due in June and we are so excited to meet her little man (She and Matt are keeping the name a secret but I call him Leon...I'm not so secretly hoping they do end up naming him Leon just because I started calling him that from the beginning). After brunch we changed, grabbed Elle and then went to meet Lee and Matt who had just finished playing golf. We dropped Elle off with them and then hit up the outlet mall by my house. After a long day of shopping we sat down for some much needed Tex-Mex and margaritas. The evening ended with a game of loaded questions and more laughing until I cried.
Monday morning, Lee dropped Elle and Matt off on his way into work and then we sat around and laughed more until it was time to head to the airport. After dropping off Megs at the airport, I had an hour in the car to re-live the events of the weekend. Last time I dropped everyone off at the airport, I cried the whole way home, already missing them terribly. This time, I held the tears in but there will be moments from this weekend that will forever be permanently etched in my brain. I wish I would have had a camera to capture the moments of Elle and Megs cuddling in bed together on Saturday morning before anyone else woke up, of Lala and Elle sliding down the slides in the park and seeing the amazement on Elle's face when Lala showed her the mirror on the side of the slide, of Elle falling asleep on Matt's shoulder on Monday morning, of Laura meeting Elle for the first time and watching in amazement as Elle signed to her and her laugh at the sight of Elle in her hearing aids (she's an audiologist and was so thrilled when we decided to aid Elle at such a young age), of Eldy holding Elle's hand while we were on our walk, of Elle reaching out for Kathryn for her to hold and then putting her little head on her shoulder, of Steph loving on Elle and then feeding her Cheetos, of Shay holding Elle in her lap in her little tutu and Shay showing Elle how to blow on the pin wheel to make it spin and the way Elle's eyes lit up when she saw the pin wheel turn for the first time. I wish I could have captured all these moments to share with the world because they were so special for me.
Elle is so lucky to have such wonderful women in her life and I am so blessed with these amazing girls as friends. Thank you ladies for the most amazingly fun and much needed weekend! I love you all so much!!!!
More girls weekend pictures to come!