Thursday, November 27, 2008

So much to be thankful for

Even though it's been a tough year, I have a lot to be thankful for.

We started the year out in eager anticipation for a healthy new baby, and though we we were so overwhelmed with the news that Madeline would be born paralysed and many other complications, she has been such a blessing to us already. She's had relatively good health and few scares, and I'm grateful for that.

Daddy leaving us was the absolute hardest thing that I've faced this year, but even that provides us much to be thankful, especially that we know where he is and that he no longer has to deal with the stress and problems of everyday life.

We are so grateful for all of our friends and family and church family that have stood beside us through the thick and thin of this year. Glen and I are ready to move on from being the needy ones to helping others, but thank you so much for your patience with all of our drama. Hopefully this next year will only include one surgery (on Maddy's feet), and that everything else will be smooth sailing!

Thank you, Glen, for allowing this year to draw us closer together rather than apart, and for being a man close to God's heart and his family.

And could a mother ask for any sweeter little girls?? They're the love of my life.

What part of Thanksgiving are you?

Thanks, Lori, for the fun little quiz....

I'm not sure if this is good or bad.

You Are Pumpkin Pie

Even when people are full - they make room for you.

Good or bad, your smell is most likely to arouse a man.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The little patient.

Now how cute is this? I love her little hospital gown.....

One picture shows the incision site, the other the IV in her scalp (ouch!).


I know some of you may not like pictures like this one, and I am usually one that doesn't, but I love this picture of the oldest grandchildren at the funeral home. They started out all holding hands in a somber line right in front of the casket. Jordan overheard Carli telling the littler ones that Granddad had a new body now and this was just the old body.

Here is a snippet of another conversation I heard during our stay and Mom's:

Carli: I wish Granddad was here. It will be forever, but we'll see him sometime. First he got sick, and then he died, and then he went straight to heaven.

Brianna: First he had a heart attack.

Carli: Ok. First he had a heart attack, then he died, and then he went straight to heaven. We just have to be really strong for Granddad.

Almost every time she prays, Carli says, "Help Granddad to be safe in Heaven, and help Granny not to be sad that he's in Heaven with Jesus."

All settled in

We are settled in our room now for the night, and Dr. Young thinks we should be out of here by tomorrow morning, hopefully bright and early! The surgery revealed a clogged catheter causing the problem. They were able to go into the same incision as the first shunt placement surgery, and as a mommy who wants as few scars as possible on her baby, that made me really happy. Of course, it looks just like it did in the beginning...bummer, since the scar was virtually invisible already.

So we're heading for some FOOD, since Maddy is sleeping soundly. What is it about sitting in a hospital that makes me ravenous???

We may go to Kentucky afterall tomorrow or Friday. But first, Mom is being such a hero to us by fixing us a Thanksgiving meal so that we don't miss out on the food aspect of the holiday. :) But we have much to be thankful for: the surgery went well, no unexpected problems, Mom being here, and just as importantly, we have definite signs of what to look for if this ever happens again (the most obvious ones being very firm fontanelle, very prominant scalp veins, and "sunset" eyes). She looks so much more normal and I'm so excited.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Surgery tomorrow

Hi to all of you faithful Madeline fans!

Well, here we go! Obviously Maddy didn't realize that it's Thanksgiving Week or she may have chosen better timing to cop a shunt malfunction, but oh well. Maybe the hospital cafeteria will serve turkey! :D

Over the last few weeks, Maddy began to exhibit some signs of shunt malfunction, but over the last week, she began changing very quickly, especially with the very full fontanelle, fever, gap in the suture line, very prominant scalp veins and the onset of "Sunset eyes" (downward deviation), indicating a shunt malfunction. I took her to Dr. Tuchscherer today, and he took me very seriously (Thanks!) and sent her right away for a CT scan. Yup, hydrocephalus again (and aqueductal stenosis, possibly). So they have her scheduled for emergency surgery tomorrow to relieve the pressure, etc. We're praying for the typical one night stay for this type of surgery.

So I have the "joy" of sending my baby off to anesthesia again, much before I was ready to (I was hoping for the next time to be for her orthopedic surgery to correct her *adorable* clubbed feet).

I'm so thankful that Mom is here to help with Olivia and Carli, and I know that she's glad that she wasn't stuck in PA when this all went down. She's not going to have much of a Thanksgiving though.

Please keep us in your prayers. Obviously, the most important thing is that she get help immediately, but it sure is a downer to have to change our plans to get away to Kirk and Heather's for Thanksgiving weekend.

Ok, when I typed that I felt bad instantly, because I'm thinking of all the other little babies that have been in the hospital for months. Giana Grace was born the week after Maddy and is still in the hospital, with three little brothers waiting at home. We've been blessed to have no problems up to this point. So I'm thankful.....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Check out Kayla's blog

My sister-in-law Kayla has updated her blog with a wonderful post about Daddy and lots of pics too. She said it better than I ever could. Hopefully someday I'll be able to start sharing my memories.

Anyway, please go visit Kayla at

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Even in the valley, God is GOOD!

Another favorite song of mine. We sing the choral version at church, but here are the Whisnant's singing this beautiful and very meaningful song:

Even In The Valley - The Whisnants

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another song about Heaven

I know you're probably sick of me posting songs, but it's amazing to me how songs just seem to minister to me in a way that nothing else can. Here's another Brooklyn Tab song that we have sung. Again, it has taken on a whole new meaning to me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Close to tears with this song

We're singing this song in choir on Sunday morning. It has been very meaningful to me ever since I first heard it a few years ago, and now I just about can't hold back the tears when we sing it. Now more than ever I need HIM to be the "lifter of my head." If you've never heard "Thou, Oh Lord" by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, please watch this the whole way through. You don't get the full blessing of the song with just 10 seconds! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

At some point...

....I will write about Daddy's funeral, etc, but for more detail about the events of the last 10 days or so, please visit Glen's website (

Until I write more, here's a song to tide you over. I love "haunting" songs. I first heard this one sung by my Sunday School teacher. I actually put it in my will as a song for my funeral. :D

(Oh, and if anyone could tell me how to post the actual clip to my blog instead of just the link, I'd appreciate it. It has other options, such as myspace or facebook, but nothing for Blogger.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Finally Home

I don't have time to write about every little detail of the last few days, but here are some pictures that we found for the slide show at Daddy's viewing. No particular order.

June 20, 1975: Granddad and Grandma Cessna, Mommy and Daddy

Daddy with cousins Madeline and Daniel (two weeks apart)

In Wolf Summit, WV, with first grandbaby Carli

Granddad with Brianna (my brother's girl), Olivia and Carli.

Granddad's girl

Daddy and his childhood sweetheart

I think he looks a bit like Madeline here.

Proud Granddad holding Brianna Lynne (right beside proud daddy Jordan)

On of my parent's favorite places to go for a romantic getaway. Photographing the sunrises and sunsets became a passion of Daddy's. I hope to find share some of those pics soon.
Welcoming Olivia Grace to this world
Daddy was famous for his homemade pizza (he taught me well!). Carli loved "helping" him get it just right.
I'm not sure if this is California, Virginia or New Jersey. (Mom, do you know?)
Making big bubbles for Carli (Indiana, PA)
Granddad's angels, Brianna and Olivia (six weeks apart)

This is one of my favorite pictures. Memorial Day picnic, 2006.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Daddy's in Heaven.

I'm too drained to string too many sentences together, so I'll post more at a later date.

Go to for an amazing perception of Daddy in Heaven.

Thanks, Melanie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Posting pictures is more exciting now than watching the election.

These pictures are random from the last month, and they mostly speak for themselves.

So we went to the zoo on an absolutely beautiful day, hoping for some really beautiful pics. Since Carli is so into taking pictures these days, I let her have the camera. This is the last one she took before she dropped it over the edge of the seal display, down in the ditch in an inch of water. The zookeeper rescued it for us. We got no more pictures, but we only had to replace the battery. Ah, well. I love taking the girls to the zoo because every time, things are different, and they never tire of it. This time we laughed ourselves silly watching the baboons fight over their little ones. And one of the kangaroos had a joey in her pouch, a first for the kids (maybe me too).

We took the kids trick-or-treating to a few neighbors before heading over to the Fall Festival. My royal princess wouldn't look at me for a picture.

I ended up taking off Carli's headband later in the evening. I actually thought the headband made her look more like a hippie rather than an Indian.
Yep, I dressed up! I was a mommy. :) I wasn't planning on a costume for Maddy, but Lisa B. brought me a pumpkin blanket for her, so I wrapped her in that for a while. Better than nothing! I wish I would have taken pics of friends of mine. They were spaghetti and meatballs. Brent was a box of spaghetti, their little girl Callie was a meatball, and Lyndsi was Preggo, very adorable since she's pregnant.
Look at those eyes!!! Looking a little strange.
Adorable, candy in the teeth and all.
After hearing the plan of action for Maddy's foot surgery (at one year), I realized that I've grown to love her little feet, weird angles and all. They're so tiny and adorable! So I snapped several pics. The second one, is with Carli's hands and is my favorite.

I got my wrap! Carli wanted to try it.

Sacked out in the Bumbo seat. Guess she decided to use her head wrap as a eye mask.


Just a quick update to let you all know that Madeline is up to 8 lb 10 oz today! I didn't write about the one appointment on the 21rst when she weighed the exact same thing she did 8 weeks previously. We were so frustrated, but Dr. Escobar upped her calorie intake (he was thinking that it was nutritional, not GI related, possibly because of her chronic lung disease--she was burning more calories while working to breathe), by adding a very expensive ($130 per small can) formula to her milk. (He said it's pre-digested! What in the world???) And it worked! It was such a struggle. She refused the bottle for a few days, taking only about a half ounce, maybe an ounce very three hours. But she's doing much better with it, and I'm so happy. I'm also happy that Dr. Escobar has given me samples of the pricey formula, as well as a prescription for it, to see if insurance will pay for it.

So all in all, a good day for us. Now if we can only get the election results we want.....