Tag Archives: Family Friday

Family Friday: A Special Trip

I’ve struggled with what and how much of the following to share with you, but to not share would be to not include part of our journey with Esther.  Esther was considered a special needs adoption but often times Michael Luke and I don’t consider her special needs at all.  We have even joked that God must have considered us special needs parents because she had such an easy transition into our family and because her actual special need seems so minor in our eyes.


In reality though she does have a special need.  Her caregivers in Hong Kong used to tell her that she had a “special eye”.  When I first heard Esther refer to it as that I immediately loved it and decided that is what we would also call it.  Little did I know how special this eye was.  After bringing her home back in February we took Esther to the International Adoption Clinic here in town where they accessed her and recommended different doctors for her.  One of them was a ocular plastic craniofacial plastic surgeon here in town, Dr. Ray at Children’s Hospital of Alabama.  We scheduled our appointment for early this fall and went on with our life because in reality we felt that the doctors would probably wait until she got older to do anything.  One day Dr. Ray’s office called to let us know there had been a cancellation of one of their appointments and they could see us that week if we wanted.  So we took the appointment and looked forward to meeting Dr. Ray.

I’ll spare you all the details of the appointment but during this time we fell in love with her doctor and his team.  Dr. Ray agreed that Esther’s eye was special.  It was so special that this may be the only case like her’s that he sees in his career!  I just looked at Esther and smiled.  It was at this visit that we were given a medical name to go with her special need, facial cleft of the eye.  The name didn’t change anything for us but it was nice to know what it actually was.

You want to know how amazing God is and how his plans are bigger than we could ever imagine? He brought a little girl from Hong Kong all the way to Birmingham, Alabama to a doctor that specializes in ASIAN EYE RECONSTRUCTION!!!  Who even knew there was such a thing but it completely makes sense when you think of the reconstruction of the eye as an art.  It’s like sculpting or molding.  And after staring at Esther’s beautiful face for hours there is a huge difference between asian eyes and caucasian eyes.  Dr. Ray trained under one of the other doctors in his practice who also specializes in asian eye reconstruction and he trained in Seattle where the asian population is larger.  I’m just blown away how God has provided such amazing doctors for Esther.  The doctor’s are pretty excited too because this is a pretty big opportunity for them since it may be the only one like it that they ever see.

At the appointment that day Dr. Ray began to lay out his plans for Esther’s eye and the steps he would like to take.  These steps involve a series of surgeries over the next two years or so.  The first of which was last week.


Last Thursday she had two tissue expanders placed under the skin on her face.  I think I struggled with this more than she did… I mean what mother wants their child to have to go through surgery.   I’m not going to go into details about the expanders but the goal is to use them to grow new skin so they can replace some scarred skin on her face.

Esther and I talked about everything that was going to happen in the weeks leading up to the surgery.  I showed her pictures of other children with tissue expanders and we gave them the nickname “bubbles”  I played it up by telling her that Dr. Ray wanted to “give” her bubbles and that she could “keep” them until around Christmas time.  We then talked about how sometimes when we don’t know what something is that we ask questions.  So some people may not know what her bubbles are but that’s ok because we can help them to learn.  She did want to make sure that her “bubbles” wouldn’t wash off in the bathtub!

Next, we began talking about going to the hospital.  We talked about how Dr. Ray wanted her to “camp out’ at the hospital.  She would get a big bed and Mommy and Daddy would sleep in a chair/sofa. There would be juice there and a nurse would bring it to her whenever she needed.  She would also get a television with Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins that she could watch the whole time she was there.  That pretty much did it. She was sold on the idea of going to the hospital and spent the next few weeks looking forward to it.

As we got closer to the day we talked about how she would take a big nap and then when she woke up Mommy and Daddy would be there.  She may not feel very good but that’s ok because sometimes people don’t feel good after surgery.  Esther was prepped.  She may be only three but she’s a smart little three year old would much rather know what is going to happen than be surprised.  Her main concern was that Michael Luke and I would both be there after surgery.  I made sure that she knew we weren’t going to leave her.


(This was the beautiful view at the end of the day from her hotel hospital room.)

The day came and she couldn’t have been more excited.  There was a little nervousness but we talked about how that was ok.  Since this was such a special day for her I let her pick out any outfit that she wanted to wear.10606293_10101305124726646_5038380980225016524_n

Our little star chose this… because everyone gets dressed in their finest to go to the hospital for surgery.  (The above picture was actually taken the day after surgery.)  That day I applied a few extra applications of Tranquil to ease for her nervesoness.  We arrived at the hospital and she was calm. She vegged out watching television during the triage part.  Finally, they took her back and we had to kiss her good-bye.  I’ll admit I got a little teary-eyed but she did great.  The nurse said she never once cried… except for post surgery when some little boy started screaming his guts out next to her… but who wouldn’t cry then. Three hours after she went back we got to see her again.  Once we were settled in her room for the night one of the first things she said to me was, “Can I have some Tranquil?” I smiled and hugged her and then immediately went and got her essential oil blend, Tranquil.  The pain medicine made her sick that night so around midnight we switched from codeine to morphine and after that we only used Lavender applied to her face to ease discomfort, swelling, and maintain normal body temperature.  I was thankful to have something as simple and familiar as Lavender to use on her.


The next day she was still pretty void of energy and she pretty much milked the whole “everyone is waiting you” thing for what it was worth.  We let her for the most part because we were enjoying getting a little one on one time with her since Noah was at my parent’s house getting spoiled. We discharged around lunch last Friday and then went home and all napped that afternoon. That night we decided to make the most of our time alone with her took and her out to Mugshots at Uptown in Birmingham.  She loved it!


The tissue expanders will start expanding in a couple of weeks and will continue all the way up until they are removed in December.  I’ll let you know how it goes but in the meantime I more than likely won’t bring attention to them.

P.S. If you are interested in the adoption process from Hong Kong never hesitate to e-mail me or to send me a message on Facebook.

Also, if you would like more information on Young Living Essential Oils (why and how we use them) then click the Essential Oils tab at the top of the page.

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Family Friday’s: Noah

There have been lots of posts this year focused on Esther.  It’s understandable since she’s the new kid on the block and all but today I thought I would share a little bit about Noah. Our first born. Our youngest.


Noah is one of a kind… but aren’t they all.  She truly is though. She lives life to the beat of her  own drum and we’re not quite sure what type of drum that is yet.  The name Noah is commonly used as a boy’s name and means “calm”.  Go figure.  But when Noah is used as a girl’s name it means “movement”.  Noah has certainly lived up to the meaning of her name (and so has Esther who’s name means “star”).  Even when she was still in the womb she was a mover and a kicker and so far not much has changed.


She can’t sit still. I know most toddler’s have trouble with this but Noah really can’t keep still.  I’ve sort of come to not even expect that of her.  It’s not possible… at all.  Not even in her sleep.  It’s cool though because we just attribute that to part of her personality.


She’s also our resident goof ball.  Our class clown.  Our bottle of laughter.  We honestly never really know what to expect out of her.  It might just be God’s lighthearted way of making sure I get a little laughter in my day everyday.


She tickles herself with crazy outfit selections, crazy hat accessories, her favorite owl shoes (thanks Aunt La). She cracks herself up by throwing all the sofa pillows on the floor (everyday), tossing all her clothes out of her dresser drawers, and refusing to obey Mommy and Daddy. Yep, she finds that pretty amusing even though we find it pretty frustrating. Sometimes it’s hard to be stern with her when her smirk is just so cute.

As cute as she is she’s not afraid to show her mean side.  Noah is definitely in touch with her inner anger.  She has no problem raring her head back and throwing a fit. Lately its escalated to excessively loud screaming, kicking, and crying.  Mainly when her brain just can’t make up it’s mine.  Like yesterday morning when I asked for a hug.  At first she said, “no”.  And then lost it because she wanted to hug me.  This indecisiveness went on for several minutes.  It’s not unusual for melt downs like this to happen several times a day.  It is frustrating but it also amazes me that we all at one time went through this stage when our brain truly couldn’t decide what we wanted and just decided to throw an all out tantrum instead.  Now that I’m older is just seems exhausting and like such a waste of energy.  Can you imagined if we threw an all out fit every time a decision seemed like too much or when we were told we couldn’t have something.  We would have very unproductive days and possibly very few friends.  Oh, wait that sounds sort of like a toddler’s life.Noah

Noah is a book lover. It’s not unusual to come in her room and find half of her books on the floor. She likes being read to but most of all flipping through all the pages and trying to retell the story on her own.  It makes me smile knowing that we both share a love of books.  She also enjoys “doing school on the ‘puter” everyday. This summer I subscribed to ABCmouse.com for the girls. They both enjoy it but Noah loves it most.  It’s the first thing she asks for in the mornings and has really gotten the hang of using the mouse and working puzzles on there.  I love it because it keeps her occupied while I shower and because no matter how many puzzles she works there is never a single piece left on the floor afterwards. Score!

She’s also our little smoothie girl. This chick loves some smoothies. She can out drink me in smoothies in the mornings. She’s so crazy about them that she actually requests spinach in them.  No complaining here about that part.


Don’t let her girl dress confuse you. This girl is all about getting down and dirty.  Give her some dirt or rocks and she’s good.  She may play dress up with the rest of them but don’t expect her to pick pink as her favorite color. She’s a blue and green girl who loves her black stuffed Ape.  She’s definitely our little tomboy in disguise.  She’s also quite the free spirited hippie. Forget the shoes, forget the clothes. She would much rather be in just her underwear… or naked.  She could also care less about bows or headbands. She just wants her hair to flow freely in the wind. And who could blame her with soft waves like that.

Another one of our favorite things about Noah right now is her adorable stutter. It sort of comes and goes. We aren’t too concerned with it right now so we just sit back and enjoy. She’s so cute as she repeats some words multiple, multiple times.  We just remind her to take things slowly and eventually she gets out what she wants to say.

NoahSo that’s just a few things about our Noah.  So far she’s been over two and half years of joy and blessings and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  All her smiles and laughter totally cancels out her not so nice moments.

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Family Friday: Christmas Recap

December has officially blown by.  So fast that I hardly posted anything at all about our Christmas decorations and crafts.  It happens.  For the record, the house was decorated…

Christmas Mantel 2013

and we did make crafts.

Christmas Ornament 2013

Sometimes I have the tendency to take on more than I can possibly manage at the time and with my primary job being to take care of Noah every day other things, like blogging, just have to take a back seat sometimes.  Besides blogging, one of my favorite hobbies is crocheting.  Big shocker right? That’s why I created Color Created Family.  Color Created Family has been such a blessing and enjoyment… especially this past month when my scarves for elves became a popular item.

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(There are still nine scarves looking for an elf.  in effort to clear inventory the price has been reduced to $4 per scarf.)

But as much as I love crocheting for my Etsy shop this year I wanted to spend a little time crocheting for others in my family.  I don’t know why but I get giddy thinking about making presents for others.  Handmade gifts have their own personalized touch and while they may not cost as much as a store bought gift they still say “I love you.”

On ML’s sided of the family Noah has five cousins.. all three and under.  So a couple of months back I started working on their presents.

Color Created Family

Zebra hats for everyone!  Every hat is crocheted in a different accent color.  Instagram followers you may remember Noah’s from this fall at Churchill Downs.


I hope to make Esther one as well. The mane for her hat will be bright yellow.

Once I got all the hats finished I started on a present for my mom.


I found the pattern for this shawl in a magazine and knew then that that was the perfect gift for her.  My only concern was would I have time to crochet 32 granny squares plus the trim work in time for Christmas.  With less than a month to make it I finished it with around four hours to spare before opening gifts!  That may be a close call for some but all that matters is that I finished it and that she loved it.  Now that Christmas is over I hope to do a little crocheting for myself. Hopefully. We will see.

What good are presents without a little celebration?  This year we were fortunate to visit both families in one four day trip to Memphis and North Mississippi and still make it back home in time for the Christmas eve service at church.

First up was my parents house in all it’s elf glory.

Elf Christmas Mantel

I’m not sure what your Christmas traditions were growing up but my sister and I always received matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve so that we would be matching Christmas morning.  This year my mom decided after 29 years we might have enough Christmas pajamas by now.  She was right.  So she decided to buy my sister and I matching Christmas outfits instead.


My sister and I were a little nervous thinking that she might have bought us Christmas sweaters but were more than excited when we unwrapped our gift to find a piko top and Christmas legging instead.  Score!  I could get used to this new Christmas tradition.

Sunday afternoon we headed up to ML’s parents house for their family get together.  Four siblings with spouses and six grandchildren makes for an interesting and fun time.  Monday ML’s sister wanted to take her baby to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop.  ML and I have chosen not to make a really big deal out of Santa to Noah.  She knows who Santa is and waves at him… from a distance but I just didn’t see the need to take her to the mall and attempt the obligatory “Santa Picture” when most likely it would result in crying.  Until Monday.  We figured why not join his sister in line… and wait an hour to see Santa.  Noah liked waving at him from a distance and said she wanted to see him but I knew the truth.  She would freak out when it became our turn in line.  I was right.  But you know what?  After waiting that long I sort of felt like I needed a picture to show for it… so here’s proof that we saw Santa.

Noah with Santa

She is as scared as she looks in that picture but immediately afterwards was so excited that she got a candy cane and tattoo from Santa.  Every time we passed him in the store she would wave vigorously at him.  So I guess the incident didn’t scare her too badly.  But I certainly don’t think she will be up for the Character Breakfast at Hong Kong Disney!

We spent Christmas day at home relaxing and opening presents from each other.  It’s a whole lot easier to focus on celebrating the birth of Christ when you are not hurriedly rushing from Christmas dinner to the next and end up spending half the day on the road.  This year we opted for the “Four Present” idea for each other.

  • something to wear
  • something you need
  • something you want
  • something you read

I thought it would be hard to figure out what Noah really wanted for Christmas.  I mean we are talking about a two year old who doesn’t grasp the concept of giving and receiving yet but after one trip to Toys ‘R Us I knew what she wanted… a doll and stroller.

Noah Christmas 2013

I was right.  She spent the better part of Christmas day and yesterday pushing that stroller around the house and outside at one point.  She loves it and knew what it was before even finishing unwrapping the stroller.  It makes me so happy to know that she loves her “something you want” gift.  Hopefully every year will be this easy but somehow I doubt that… we still have her tweenage and teenage years to  go!

So tell me about your Christmas celebrations?  Favorite present?  Favorite Christmas memory?  Did you attend a Christmas Eve service?  We went to one at our church on Christmas eve and one at ML’s parents’ church the day before.  I loved the focus of both of them and was moved to tears several times just thinking about the love Christ has for me.  So much love that he would leave a perfect and holy heaven to come to earth and lead the perfect life to die for me.  What child is this? Christ the King!

Christmas Card 2013

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