Sunday, August 23, 2015

North Carolina 2015

We took our first real vacation as a family recently. Hopefully I haven't waited too long to blog about it and I am able to remember the details.

Friday (8/7) we drove to just outside of Atlanta and stayed with my Aunt Pam, Ginger and Emma. We got there later than we planned but that didn't stop the girls from playing well into the night. They woke up early and did some serious playing!

Trampoline in costumes

results of their fun

Saturday (8/8) after the girls got done having fun, we loaded back up and headed to North Carolina. We were told get there before dark because you don't want to drive up the mountain in the dark. Good thing we know how to follow directions! We definitely didn't want to drive those crazy roads in the dark. this is what we drove up to

We got settled and joined the Kissel's at the fire. Such an amazing view!

Sunday (8/9) we went canoeing. It was Madelyn's first time canoeing. She ditched Wes and I and rode in the boat with Jo Ann and Katie. No one tipped, so that is a plus.

Monday (8/10) we went for a hike and I can't remember what else. I consulted Jo Ann and she thinks it is the day it rained and we had a jungle party in the basement hosted by MK and Katie. After consulting facebook, we also went gem mining that day.

There was an intense game of Wits and Wagers where Jo Ann and I were on the same team. We lost, but I think the girls team had less points than us.

Tuesday (8/11) we hiked near the cabin over to a Christmas tree farm. We stopped along the way at a porch area. Jo Ann said that the people that own the land have a daughter that recently got married. They didn't have time to build a house, so they just built the porch. It was an amazing view! Later in the day we went horseback riding. We requested that they have someone lead MK and Katie. We all get on our horses and Katie and her lead head out. My horse falls in line with no instructions and we get ahead of the group. I later found out that Wes' horse kept stopping to eat. The person leading MK's horse had to help Wes. She asked Wes if it was okay to let MK try it on her own. He said yes and she rode alone most of the trail. We rode about an hour through a different Christmas tree farm. We went through a creek and back through the trees.


Photo bomb. This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip.

the kids playing Marco Polo in the trees

MK riding alone

Wednesday (8/12) we went white water rafting. It was several hours away. To break the trip up, we stopped at Linville Caverns. It was a fun side trip. We saw caverns that were over a hundred years old. According to the guide, they are on a fault line and you could see the plates overlapping. White water rafting was a blast. We had to split into two boats because we had 7 people and only 6 were allowed per boat. We rafted the French Broad River. It was level 3 and 4 rapids. We bought the CD of pictures at the end, but they didn't put our pictures on it. supposedly they are mailing us our pictures. I was able to steal screen shots from their website but they are very poor quality.

Wes and MK on row 2 and I am on row 3 behind Wes

Linville Cavern. Wes took a lot of pictures of the caverns
Thursday (8/13) we went to Stone Mountain. You can actually see it from the Kissel's cabin. We played golf first. It was Madelyn's first time playing. She did okay for her first time golfing. I really liked golfing in the mountains. it was so different from the flat golfing in Florida. I'm not very good at golf and until Stone Mountain had only played 2 courses. We played the back 9. After the girls teed of on 17, I went to get ready and had to wait for a momma dear and her two fawns to pass through. After golf, we headed to Stone Mountain State Park for a short hike to the stone. To cool off after our hike we went to another waterfall. This one was different than the 1st one we saw because you could slide down the waterfall. The kids had a blast. Ryan and Katie have learned over the years that you go faster when you wear a trash bag. Another part of the fall has a small cave behind it. The kids walked over to it and climbed in. About the time we got there, a giant cloud came and covered the sky. they water was already cold, so it became freezing. I decided my feet were enough to get wet. Wes did explore and slide down the waterfall.

MK's first time teeing off

The girls having fun on Stone Mountain

Other random pictures that I don't know what day they came from

We had fires most nights. Ryan roasted a banana one night. We had s'mores too

Friday (8/14) we headed home. While we were gone, my Brother and SIL welcomed this sweet girl into the world. My Mom and aunt drove down to meet her and hang out. Saturday and Sunday we hung out with family.

Summer has come to an end. School starts Tuesday!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kooky is 7 (well almost)

Madelyn will be 7 on Wednesday. I'm not sure where the time has gone, but it has flown by! For the last several years around her birthday I ask her the same set of questions. You can see the previous years in my previous post. Here are this year's questions:

What is your favorite color? Black and white
what is your favorite toy? Crookfangs (it is a stuffed cat she got for Christmas that is on it's 3rd name. It was Crookshanks after Hermione's cat)
What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries and bananas
what is your favorite TV show? Girl Meets World (she's also really into Boy Meets World)
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Chicken nuggets
What is your favorite games? Mine craft
What is your favorite thing to wear? Shirt and skirt and black boots
what is your favorite snack? oreos
what is your favorite animal? cats
what is your favorite song? One Small Voice (no clue where this came from. it is a song she sang in VPK as a solo. She likes anything Taylor Swift)
favorite book? AtoZ mystery series
 best friend? Paityn H; Sarah and Ella
eat for breakfast? Reese’s Puffs (she eats Grits most mornings)
thing to do outside?  Play with friends
favorite drink? Dark chocolate milk
favorite holiday? Easter- because it’s near my birthday
take to bed with with you? Crookfangs and Madyson bear
what do you want to be when you grow up?  A Vet, a soccer coach and a painter
where is your favorite place to go? Alabama where I was born
What is something Mommy always says? Start following directions
What is something Daddy always says? Say yes ma’am and yes sir
What's your favorite thing about 1st grade? That I get to learn things I haven’t known and that my teacher is a really good one
Anything else you want people to know? That I’m not really good at painting but I am good at drawing and coloring so if I’m good at that I can be good at painting too; When I become a vet, I’m going to be in the same vet shop as Sarah and Ella; I play soccer and that’s why I want to be a soccer coach. I will have a very busy life as a grown up. 

There you have it, MK in Mk's words. Other things about Madelyn this year--
-- she lost her 3rd tooth yesterday (4/12)
-- she loves to dance and takes ballet, jazz/tap, acrobatics and hip hop
-- she was tested for the gifted program at school. she passed the pretest and we are waiting for the next step
-- she has read the first 3 Harry Potter books in the last few months. She is about half way through book 4
-- she reads ALL the time and gets in trouble for reading when she is suppose to be doing other things. 
-- she likes playing with her AG dolls
-- she has perfect attendance (3 tardies in K due to weather) for her entire school career
-- she likes Legos and will build by herself in her room for quiet some time
-- she has made principal's honor roll every grading period
-- she prefers to play defense in soccer and has become a good little defender
-- she is a night owl who needs her sleep
-- she wants a cat but would settle for a dog
-- she is very opinionated about her appearance and has her own style

1st birthday!

Very expressive from an early age.

2 year old beach trip

Showing Uncle Jay how to blow out candles

3 year old portraits

showing off 3rd birthday pjs

4th birthday party

4th birthday Disney trip

Alice with 4 year old Alice

more 4th birthday fun

5th birthday sass

celebrating 5th birthday in Opp

6 year olds get breakfast in bed

and sung to in class. (the power went out during her celebration)

a princess visited her 6th birthday party!

Here's to year 7 and all the adventures that come with it! We start the adventures with a Pajamas and Pancake party on Saturday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


For those that didn't know, Madyson and Madelyn have the same initials. Madyson Klaire and Madelyn Kate. With both their names typically being shortened to Mady and Madyson already going by that nickname, early on we called Madelyn MK to avoid confusion. I have always referred to Madelyn by MK online because it is just easier. It just stuck. When she started daycare there was another Madelyn in her class (she didn't stick around long though) so I told them they could call her MK. All her friends from daycare called her MK. I'm not sure they knew her name. When she got ready to start kindergarten she told me she wanted to be called Madelyn Kate, so that's what we told her teacher. It didn't stick around when her new teacher started in October. There were a few kids from preschool in her class and they called her MK, part of the class called her Madelyn Kate and others called her Madelyn. Luckily she's a go with the flow girl and answers to it all! As she has gotten involved in more things, people have occasionally called her Mady. She answers to that too. She has mentioned in the last few months that she wants to go by Mady. I don't think she has told anyone to call her that, but she does answer to it.

MK is 2 years and 6 days younger than Mady. They never met but you wouldn't know that by talking to MK. We have always talked about Mady and answered any questions MK has about her. Almost every time we go to Alabama we go by the cemetery. MK has a bear she calls "Madyson Bear" that Aunt Stacy sent to Mady's funeral. For the last year-ish, she has slept with it almost every night. When she is sleeping away from home, Madyson Bear goes with her. Last week I had gotten Madyson's scrapbook out to look at it. MK has seen it several times but was very interested in looking at it again. We spent Thursday evening after soccer looking at it. She asked lots of questions and wanted to know more. I love being able to talk to her about her sister and how special she was.

Every year since MK was 4 (I thought I started sooner, but only found them starting at 4) I've asked her the same questions. I've asked her this year and will post them in the next blog. Here are the years past
I didn't ask questions but did a 2 year old post.
3 year old was a combined post about both girls birthdays.
 I must have started the questions at  Age 4
I missed 5 some how, so here is 5.5
I later found 5 on my phone (I need to get them onto a blog, so they are below)
and last but not least 6 years old.

Come back tomorrow for 7 year old answers. It will have lots of pictures too!


Questions asked when MK was 5. interesting to see how much they changed from 5-5.5
Here are the questions I asked her:

What is your favorite color?
Pink & purple

What is your favorite toy?
My phone and kindle

What is your favorite fruit?

What is your favorite tv show?
My little pony littlest pet shop

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Dinosaur and butterfly cut out sandwiches

What is your favorite game?
Cinderella royal ball

What is your favorite thing to wear?

Favorite snack?

Favorite animal?
Dogs and cats

Favorite song?
We are never ever ever getting back together by Taylor Swift

Favorite book?
Lucky Stars

Who is your best friend?
Gabriella and Rachel and Brenner and Nicholas and Ian

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Coco pebbles

What is your favorite think to do outside?
Play in swings and slide

Favorite drink?
Milk and water

Favorite Holiday?

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
Lulu, ruffy and scratty

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A prima ballerina, a pet take career and a princess

Where is your favorite place to go?
Opp, Alabama and Troy

What is something Mommy always says?
Go to sleep

What is something Daddy always says?
Love you and go to sleep

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Princess Angel Butterfly,

[This is the 3rd of blog to Madyson for her 9th Birthday. Read part 1 and part 2. We blogged to keep everyone updated while Maddy was in the hospital. Thanks to our friend Matt; he set up the blog all those years ago and then was able to retrieve it last year for me. You can read that here. Warning, it is long and raw.]

I mentioned earlier that you had a EEG the end of January to determine if you were having seizures. You were started on new medication that had to be given at specific times. The night of Feb 1st you and Daddy went to bed about 9. Your crib was in our room but Daddy sometime put you in the bed with him until I came to bed. You needed your next dose of medicine about 11 pm, so I was staying up to give it to you. I was working on pages for your scrapbook. I went in to give you your meds and move you to your crib. When I went to pick you up I noticed you had a diaper blow out so I was getting ready to clean you. I noticed your lips were blue and you were cold. I woke Daddy up to help me and we realized you weren't breathing. I called 911 and Daddy started CPR. It took what seemed like FOREVER for them to get there. They quickly got you in the ambulance and transported you to the Elba Hospital. The staff there was great. They worked with you for almost an hour but couldn't help you start breathing again.

Chandler was your biggest fan

Again, you had so many people that loved you. There was a minimum of 20 people at the ER with us in the middle of the night. Once the doctor told us you had passed, Daddy and I decided we didn't want to be at our house. We went to Grandma's house to sleep. The next few days were a blur.  We planned a funeral, a Super Bowl party and celebrated our 2nd anniversary.  We stayed in Opp because it was easier and we didn't really want to be home. Beth and Lulu cleaned our house and packed up all your stuff. The put it all in your room and closed the door so we could go in there when we were ready. It was a while before we were ready. I knew I wanted to bury you in the Beulah Cemetery next to my sister Holly (she died the same day she was born in 1987). We have lots of other family members buried there too, including Grandpa.

Family Picture

We had so many people supporting us and helping us through the worst times of our lives. I'm not sure we would have gotten anything done if it wasn't for our family and friends. We really do have some of the best friends ever. I was looking through your scrapbook earlier and saw the pages we had as the guest book at the funeral. WOW is all I can say. There are 2 pages front and back of messages and signatures from people that cared about you and wanted to say good-bye.

one of my favorite pictures

After the funeral we needed to de-stress a bit and wanted to hang with some of our friends that had traveled to be there with us. We invite people back to our house for a Super Bowl party. I have no idea who played or if we even watched the game. We hung out and enjoyed company of awesome people who loved you as much as we loved you. The day after your funeral was mine and Daddy's 2nd anniversary. I have no idea how we celebrated or if we did.

The page I was working on Feb 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to our Princess Angel Butterfly!

Sweet Maddy

What to say about the next 8.5 months of your life...
It was full of lots of love! You had so many people that loved you cared about you. You helped your Daddy and I become parents even at the hardest times. You taught us what unconditional love was and were adored by so many.

All these people came to see you in the hospital

You attended your first wedding about a week after you got home. Daddy was in the wedding. You made your presences known! I was holding you and passed you over to Kristy. As I passed you, one of the leads came off you and your machine went off. The thing about the machine was that it could not be turned off. The problem had to be fixed. Luckily we got it fixed pretty quickly and no one seemed to notice. Nickie did tell us later that she could hear it in her wedding video.

At the Bateman reception

You had a lot of complications due to the brain damage. I said earlier that you didn't cry or swallow. You also didn't process what you saw and heard. We were pretty sure you could hear and see, but your brain just didn't know what to do with the information. There were a few times you would turn your head to the area of the room Daddy was in when you heard him talking. Body temperature control was another thing you couldn't do. We took your temperature regularly and helped your regulate it. A couple times it dropped down to the low 90s (98.6 is normal) and it got as high as 107. The super highs were scary. The lows we were able to get back up by putting lots of clothes on you, wrapping you in blankets and hats and sometimes a heating pad. You reacted pretty well to Tylenol/Motrin and cool baths. I have two stories where it went really high. In July we couldn't get it to come down and we ended up taking your to the ER. We ended up staying several days but the doctor couldn't figure out why the spike in temperature. Looking back, I feel like it was just the lack of your body being able to regulate. The 2nd story was a much scarier time. We were on the way to Birmingham for a check up. Your hands and feet were extremely cold but you began projectile vomiting (you generally didn't spit up because you were fed through your g-tube). We pulled over and you were burning up! We turned around and went to the closet hospital we knew where was. It happen to be Baptist South where you spent the first days of your life in the NICU. They got your temp down and arranged for you to be transported to Children's Hospital in Birmingham. Again, the doctors couldn't really find a reason for the temperature spike. You stayed a few days for them to try to figure things out. This time you were in the PICU. It was scarier because we didn't really know what was going on. I am almost certain the fever caused some additional brain damage because you regressed.
Burrito Maddy

Prior to the spike, you were pushing yourself up on your arms and supporting your head. After, you didn't. Your seizure activity also increased. You were on anti-seizure medication from birth. I don't really remember seizures being that prominent until after the September fever spike. We got you in with a pediatric neurologist and had a video EEG. They put all kinds of leads on your head and we hung out in a room forever with a camera on us. When I saw what I thought was seizure activity I hit a trigger. This was sometime in January. One of the last pictures I took of you was with crazy hair after we washed all the glue out of your hair.

You only cried 2 times in your life. When you got your 6 month shots you gave a little cry and when we got your ears pierced when you were about 8 months old you let us know you didn't like it. Don't worry, your sister cries enough for you ;) She was really a good baby too. More on her later, she'll be 7 in 7 days!

This picture was now long after you came home from the hospital. We were just hanging out at home and had a photo shoot. While you were in the hospital everyone called you Xerox because they said you looked just like me. You have a cousin that will be a year old in the next few weeks. Luke looks SO much like you!

One more post to go to finish your story. Next is the last few days of your life.