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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is he looking at me??? I think he is looking at me.... dreamy :)


Tomorrow night is the big night. My "maternity" leave is officially over. I am so sad that I will no longer be a stay at home mom, I have really enjoyed it. The time that I got to spend with Norah and Elias was so precious to me.
Norah will be staying at Gail's house. Gail is Val's sister and I have known her since she was a little girl. She is a stay at home mom with 3 kids. Peyton, Dechlan and little Harper. Peyton will be going to half day K-4 this year and riding the big boy bus :) Dechlan and Harper will be at home hanging with Norah. I took Norah over there today to visit and she had a great time! I know that she will love spending time with them, and I know that I will be able to sleep well knowing that she is there and doing okay. I am so excited for her that she will have little ones to play with!
I really don't hate going to work. I love love love my job, and I love the people that I work with. I have really missed everyone since I have been gone and I know that they will make it easy to be back. I am so blessed with such great work friends.
So, I will write more probably Wednesday. I work Monday night and Tuesday night. Until then....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just a few pictures of me and the kids. I like being behind the camera much much better!

The Not So Photo Shoot

I tried to dress Norah up today and take some pictures of her. I can tell you right now that she doesn't really care for the camera. She was really having no part of it, but I did manage to get a few cute pictures. I have to hide the camera and just pull it out and snap when she least expects it! Either she sticks her hand in front of the camera or she has her eyes closed. Never fails! But here are the ones that turned out pretty good. Maybe another day :)

Tubby Time!

Here are a few picture of the kids in the tub. Normally Elias wants to take a shower by himself, but for time and energy sake I decided to put them in the "tubby" together. And this is what I got. Man, these kids are really cute :)

New Bathroom

I decided before we left for China that the main bathroom needed and overhaul. The "theme" in the bathroom was sports. It was really cool, but 1.) It is the bathroom that people use when they come over and 2.) Norah is a girl. Not that she wouldn't appreciate the jersey hanging on the wall or the baseball mask and hockey puck on the shelf, but it was time for something new. So here it is :) And all for $25.00... even better!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Norah had her first ultrasound this morning and as far as the ultrasonographer could tell it look good and there was no tumor. She will go back again in 3 months to have another one done. Norah was NOT, I repeat NOT happy with all of the shenanigans going down this morning. She screamed. They bribed her with cookies and juice and she still let everyone (in the hospital) know how she felt about being there! But, when all was said and done we got the job done. She wasn't able to eat or drink anything this morning so I am sure that had alot to do with her unhappiness. She is a 2-scrambled-egg-and-half-a-banana kinda gal in the mornings.
Please continue to pray that she remains tumor free!!

Peace and Love!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


When we learned of Norah a few months back, her special need, they said, was left hip dysplasia. We were sent an xray of her legs by the orphanage and I was just thrilled at that. I took it to work a few nights later and had one of the ortho guys look at it. He told me that if it was indeed hip dysplasia, it was the mildest that he had ever seen.
When Norah joined our family in China, I did what every mother does. I counted all 10 fingers and toes. I also noticed that her left leg was smaller than the right. It was shorter as well as smaller in circumference. She was walking in China, but it wasn't without falling alot and needing to hold my finger.
When we got home, Norah started walking really well. She wasn't needing assistance. She was and is all over the place. She seems to have compensated for her limb difference (2 cm when we went to get her medical check-up in China) and for the most part she doesn't let anything slow her down.
Before we left for China, I made an appointment for her at MUSC Children's Hospital with a Pediatric Orthopedic doctor. He basically said that she does not have hip dysplasia, she has what is called hemihypertrophy (hemihyperplasia).
Hemi, as it is generally called, it a rare condition that is characterized by the unequal growth of one side of the body. Hence, why one leg is bigger than the other. It can affect the outside of the body and/or the inside as well. There is an increased risk for childhood cancers in people with hemihypertrophy (about 6%), particularly cancers of the kidney (Wilms tumor, 3% of individuals), adrenals, and liver. So Ms. Norah will have a full schedule I think. Her treatment plan will be:

-Once a year (maybe more) visit with her Ortho Dr at MUSC
-Blood work every 6 weeks to check her AFP until age 4( alpha-fetoprotein) levels - for cancer
-Ultrasound to check for tumors (Wilm's Tumor) every 3 months until the age of 7
-A friendly visit with the local podiatry clinic to fit her for lifts for her shoes
-She will also see a Geneticist to get a conclusive diagnosis.

Lifts are used in her shoes to help compensate for her limb difference. She doesn't HAVE to have them, but it will help deter scoliosis and hip problems due to the unnatural way that her body moves when she walks.

She will be able to play sports, take dancing, run, anything that normal kids can do. Hemi will not shorten her lifespan and she will not be discouraged due to her special need. She will be encouraged to live her life to the fullest.

There are a few websites that you can visit if you want to learn more. I am still learning everyday and I am sure that I still have alot to learn!


So that is where we are right now. We will be seeing someone in the next few weeks to have her fitted for a lift and we will also schedule her ultrasound and blood work. Please pray that our insurance will be cooperative and cover some of this! We have not always had the best of luck with them! Also please pray that her body will remain cancer free and that all of these routine tests will not take a toll on her body and spirit.

I love being her mother. I love the fact that God chose ME to be her mom, out of all the other women in this world. I just cannot imagine what we ever did before her. She is just an amazing little girl, already touching lives by her smile. I will never be the same.

She's Having a BABY!!!

So this was my big news! My best friend of 20 years is having a baby! Val will officially be in her 2nd trimester on Saturday! Her two boys are Tanner and Cole and they are Elias's best friends. You will see them in many many pictures with Elias.
Tanner is 8 and Cole is 6.
I was packing for China and Val came over one day just to pop in to say hi. I was pretty flustered from packing and looking a hot mess on top of it. She came in and we made the small talk, you know... How is your day going, blah blah blah. She says, "Let me show you these really cute cards that I got for the boys." She hands me this card that says, "Guess who is going to be a big brother!!" I thought it was cute but to be honest, it really didn't dawn on me! I said, "oh VAl that is cute!" And then it sank in... YOU ARE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!! We were laughing, and I was crying just beside myself! I am soooo very happy for her and her family! She had a rough beginning with the pregnancy and was on bed rest for a while, but she looks amazing! I am so happy to be sharing this with her. We are hoping and praying it is a girl so her and Norah can grow up together like we did. If not, Norah will be the only girl and will probably never have a boyfriend if it is up to the boys! Tanner and Cole are amazing with Norah and I am so glad that they will have a new baby in their life too! I love you AC and I cannot wait to kiss that peanut!! XOXO So here is a pic of Val a few days ago... look at that precious belly! And then my favorite picture of us... Enjoy! Please keep Val and our peanut in your prayers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So I am walking through WalMart tonight to pick up some eggs and brownie mix with KT. We make it through the doors and about 20 steps on the inside. We see this little girl who was maybe 5 - and that is pushing it - carrying a 6 pack of Modelo beer. She very proudly taps her father (I guess it was her father) on the shirt and offers it to him. He takes it and puts it in the buggy. Now for those of you that are familiar with Wal-Mart, it is a BIG store. So the beer/eggs/dairy are in the very back. This poor little girl walked to the back of the store and got her dad beer. And she was a tiny little thing! Bread, maybe I can understand that because that is about 4 isles in, a can of green beans which is about 6 isles in is pushing it as far as I am concerned! So KT and I walked to the back of the store to the beer aisle and sure enough... on the second shelf there was one case of Modelo missing. Unbelievable. I am still trying to wrap my head around this one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Such a beautiful Monday morning! I love love love Monday's! Why am I so happy? Because school started today! That's right! Elias is in the 1st grade this year! He started getting ready for school last night. For those of you that know us, know that we have a family bed. That's right, all 4 of us in a king sized bed. And that would be Shannon, me, Elias and our dog Lucy. Norah wants no part of this snuggle time and does her spread eagles in her lovely crib. Yes we have a monitor. :) Anyway, last night was like the night before Christmas. Elias was so nervous/excited that he hardly slept! Which means that we hardly slept. But I digress... He woke up this morning before the alarm... WEIRD! That kid loved to sleep! So he gets up, bee-bops around the house, brushes his teeth and gets dressed with time to spare! He had a great day at school and was as happy as a lark! Then we went home, rested a bit, and off to football practice. The kids really didn't do a whole lot since it was raining, but they stretched and did a few drills so that tired him out too! I love it! I hope that he has a really good year this year. His teacher seems really cool, so we shall see!
Norah is doing well also. She has picked up a few more signs. She already did "more". She now does "eat", "all done", and "thank you". She will do "juice" when she is feeling froggy :) She is still sleeping 12 hours with a nap during the day, and of course still taking 3 bottles a day. I just can't take that away yet :) She says mama, da, bubba (Elias), this, and bir (bird). We are just amazed at how much she has picked up! She is walking around the house like nobody's business and has the funniest personality! She loves music and dances when she hears it. She is really enjoying her bath now and doesn't like to get out. She loves Elias and thinks he is the funniest thing around. Which in turn makes him so happy and he is constantly doing things to make her laugh.
I am really enjoying this stay at home gig and I am really going to be sad when it is time to return to the work force. Good thing for me... I work with some great people and I love my job so I know that I will get right back into the swing of things! Hope that you all are doing well! I will leave you with a few pics from todays events, and some recent pics of the kids. Peace and Love! The Sharp 4

Friday, August 08, 2008

Gammy and Poppy

My dad and Carrie came over to visit Elias and Norah today. My dad had already seen her but Carrie wasn't able to come at that time. She is undergoing chemo every other week and is extremely tired the whole next week after. We are so thankful for the time that we are able to spend with them and we are thankful that Carrie is doing better every day! Elias loves his Gammy and Poppy so much and he really enjoys their visits! Today DJ came also and Elias had a blast playing with him! DJ is my nephew and he is such a cool guy! I cannot believe that he is 15 this year! I have known him since he was born and he has grown up to be a nice young man! So needless to say Elias and Norah enjoyed every minute that they spend with Gammy, Poppy and DJ and Norah took right to them! So here are the pics from our visit today.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Thankful

My life is more amazing that I ever dreamed. When I was a little girl, I would sit on the floor and play with my Barbie's and just dream of how my life would be right down to my perfect 2.5 kids. Boy was that WAY off the mark! Nothing happened in the order that it was planned. And it is perfect. Sometimes the way WE want things to happen and the way GOD wants things to happen are totally different. I have learned to rest in His perfect peace and His will for my life. He has given me over and above what I deserve and more than I ever wanted. I am so thankful for everything in my life even when things do not go perfectly or when I really want to pull my hair out... which tends to happen more frequently now. Everyday when I see Norah open up a bit more I can't help but capture that playful spirit as well. When she was first placed in my arms her eyes had no shine. I now see a small sparkle and I see a beautiful flower blossoming into a happy child. I know that it will take time and nurturing for that flower to fully bloom. We are all doing the best that we can to make sure her needs are met and that she is a happy girl. And a majority of the time she is! But it's those sweet tender moments that I am holding her and she is taking her last bottle of the day. She rubs my hands so gently and looks me square in the eyes. When I look back at her I see a little more trust and a little girl that is healing day by day. I see another sparkle in her eye. She will come full circle and she will be comfortable in her skin one day. And when she does, the world better watch out... She will be the most beautiful flower the world has ever seen.

Monday, August 04, 2008


That is what color her toes are now.... hehe :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008


So sorry to have kept you all waiting :) Every time I try to post something comes up :) We are all loving being home and Norah seems to be fitting in perfectly, although I never doubted that for a moment! We have had an incredible first week home and are loving every moment that we have with that sweet thing! Elias loves her so much and cannot get enough of her! Thanks to all that stopped by this week to visit! We all enjoyed you coming over and seeing everyone!
So I thought I would begin by telling you some things that we know about Norah this far:
* She LOVES her yellow blanket. When she gets tired she shoves (and I do mean shoves) it into her mouth and sucks on it. That is her pappy. It is precious but it needs to be washed every other day...
* She knows the sign for "more"
* She says mama and dada already and uses it appropriately. We are still working on
Elias! That one could be a bit harder!
* She LOVES to eat! She is not a big meat or cheese eater but she did surprise
herself the other night and she ate barbecue chicken from the grill. She has an
appetite like a grown man... seriously.
* She will do the fake cough if you pat her on the back and ask her if she is okay
* She will fake a sneeze
* She is a great sleeper! Like a 12 hour sleeper! Don't be jealous :)
* She gives the sweetest kisses EVER!
* When she eats something that she really likes she does the "mmmmm"

She is such a joy to us and everyone that she meets! I am going to post some pics from the last week. Today we went to Wild Dunes with my in laws and SIL and nieces and nephew. Some of the pics are with the cool kids :) Hope you enjoy!!!