“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart I'll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh


bum knee

so in true carson fashion, he decides to throw us yet another curve ball in the month of march.  if you don't already know, march is not really my favorite month.  i went into preterm labor march 17 and didn't leave the hospital till i had the boys at 26 weeks.  then three years ago in march, carson decided to start having seizures (thank God we got that under control.  seizure free for almost three years now!)  needless to say, i don't like march.  you would never guess that this skinny, quiet, sweet kid could cause so much stress and anxiety!  about a month ago we noticed that his knee was about three times the normal size.  did we notice because he was complaining?  nope.  he was just at his regular PT session when she noticed it.  we thought it was weird and asked if he maybe fell that day.  sure enough, he took a little tumble in PE.  no big deal, he does that all the time.  he said he got back up and kept running.  just like he always does.  he didn't even go see his friends in the clinic for ice.  so, just thinking it was swollen from the fall we went on with our week.  playing, ninja class, school, etc.  till friday morning when the poor thing couldn't walk.  literally, fell straight to the floor every time he took a step.  so off to the orthopedic doctor we went.  with a quick text to our cousin here in atlanta who is an ortho with children's we were off to see one of his colleagues (if i've said it once i've said it a thousand times.  we are beyond lucky to have dave and kelley here at the best children's hospital.  they have been a godsend to use and our medically "needy" kids!  more on that to come!).

so, best we could tell from x-rays and timing of when his knee was swollen the doctor thought he may of popped his knee cap out of place when he fell.  ouch.  he put carson in a knee immobilizer and told us to ice it and keep him on motrin.  good thing for us, we had the whole next week off of school so he could rest it.  bad news for him, we were going to the great wolf lodge for two days and it wasn't going to be easy to get around.  but as usual he makes do with a smile on his face the whole time!

getting our brace

at the water park...with headphones and his iPad.  this would equal heaven to carson.  he is in his happy place and not being made to ride any water slides.

after a week of immobilizing his knee we moved to a smaller more manageable brace that would let him walk around much easier.  the thing was, his knee wasn't getting much better.  it still was warm to the touch, still really swollen and at times carson really seemed like he was in pain.  going off of some mother's instinct i called the doctor and asked to take another look at it.  he agreed with me that it should be getting much better by now and definitely shouldn't still be warm to the touch.  so, with that, it was off to the hospital to get some labs and schedule an MRI for as soon as possible which turned out to be 6:30 am two days later.  in the meantime, we were just supposed to keep icing and taking motrin.  

carson hasn't been able to do ninja class in 3 weeks but his awesome coach made sure he still got to stand on the podium and get his medal!

ninja brooks.  side note...we love this little program at the gymnastics center by our house.  the boys love bouncing around the gym using all the equipment.

and here we are, post 6:30 am MRI.  we were the first ones there bright and early.  carson did great, i was worried they would have to sedate him but he was able to get it done with just watching a movie.  i was able to sit next to him and he could see me in mirror.  he got a little scared as the machine really got going but pulled through like a champ.  i was so proud of him.  this kid is 44 pounds of pure awesome.  he has had to deal with so much and it kills me to see him in such pain and unable to do all the things he love like chasing his sister around and dancing in between bowls on wii bowling night, and playing on the playground at school.  the other day he was scooting himself down the stairs and i said to him, "hey buddy.  you look so sad.  what's up?"  and he said, "it's just my knee.  it really hurts."  annnnnd heat broken.  to see your kid's spirit broken is by far one of the worst feeling as a parent.  if i could replace his knee with mine i would do it.  just to see him running around again like we worked so hard to get him to be able to do.  no surprise that in this picture he is smiling!

here is a shot of what his knee looks like.  i promise you we feed this child.  he has the skinniest legs i have ever seen.  but you can tell just how swollen his knee is compared to his other boney little knee.

so what did all these tests show?  as i was sitting in the MRI room with carson all i could do is pray that it is something manageable, treatable, something that will get better.  of course my mind had wandered to the worst.  what if...was all i played in my head.  it's not a fun game when it's your kid laying there.  i can say for sure that he is ok.  there is nothing life threatening going on.  praise God.  you have no idea the relief i felt.  however, we don't get to walk away without adding a diagnosis to our ever growing list.  the MRI showed lots of inflammation in his joints which points us to juvenile arthritis.  we don't really know much of anything just yet.  thanks to our cousin kelley who is a radiologist with children's, she was able to get us an appointment at the end of the month with an amazing rheumatologist (the waitlist is up to 6 months...yes, months).  this is a whole new arena for us.  i'm not really sure what she will tell us or what the next steps will be.  i just want his knee to be fixed and to see him back to normal and out of pain.  but even with this bum knee look at this sweet face.  we will go to the moon and back to make sure he is happy and healthy!

"a true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart"
if this is true then this kid is invincible.  


getting so big

how did my tiny little blonde baby boy get to be so big...and smart...and active...and he's only seven.  he's leaving the stages of playing with toys and cartoons and now wanting to learn chess and watch shows with us like the big bang, or the middle.  he actually gets some of the humor.  it's so fun to see him turn into a tiny adult.  and then he'll cry because it's bedtime and i'm reminded he still is my baby boy, too.

he is actually turning into a very good chess player.  way better than i will ever be.  he sees moves ahead of time and anticipates what will come next.  i'm more of a checkers person, but for him i'll do anything...so chess it is!  let's just say he usually wins.

i absolutely love this little face with will his freckles.  




favorite time of the day

shelby's favorite time of the day is to sit outside and wait for the boys' bus to pull around the corner.  she loves to listen for the kids getting off the bus and running to her brothers.  one of them reaches for her hand and one runs away from her.  i'll let you guess who is who.  still, she loves both of them so much and asks where "the brothers" are multiple times a day.

standing on her rock waiting

"i think i hear the bus"

can you say excited?

yelling to "the brothers" she is so happy they are home!


she caught one of them

seriously.  i can't handle the sweetness these two have for one another.  notice who is no where near them...he still loves his sister but doesn't tolerate her as much as carson does.  everyone should have a big brother like carson, though.  


cutest little gymnast

after 3 years of watching her brothers do all kids of fun stuff shelby decided it was her turn.  i figured it would be good for her to have a little class of her own and also get her used to following direction from someone other than me.  so of course we had to get her the most precious little leotard out there, and throw her in her little gym.  she was so excited to go the her "ninja" class (the boys go to ninja class at the gym and she comes to watch) she wore her leotard for two days.  it's not east to explain to a 3 year old that she still has two days till her turn.  friday morning came and we got dressed and then refused to go in.  after a few minutes of me standing in the corner though, she forgot all about her fear of being more that three feet away from me and actually had fun.  it is the most precious thing to see her running around trying to do all the things everyone else is doing.  we've been three times now and every time she does not want me to leave the room but then forgets all about me once the fun begins!

little bit dressed and ready...two days early.

first class sitting on her little spot.  she refused to move or do any of the warm up exercises.  stubborn little thing.

how could we resist this little leotard?  it's just like elsa!


merry christmas and happy new year!

i'm super late in getting this post out...story of my life these days.  three kids and christmas time is no joke.  not to mention we were having our floors redone which meant cleaning up christmas and everything else one day later.  it was kinda sad to see everything come down so quickly but also nice to have it done.  so, even though it's a week late we would like to wish everyone a merry christmas and a very happy new year!  2016 feels like it just flew by.  going back and looking at all the pictures on my phone we had some really fun times this year.

january we got our first "snow" at the new house.  i use the word snow very loosely.  

february brooks had his annual heart check up which he passed with flying colors.  

march brought carson's favorite day at school, dr. seuss's birthday

and also lots of spring baseball for brooks

and easter

in april i took the kids to orlando for spring break and "shared" megan's hotel room she had for a work conference.  we got to see all our favorites.




megan and i also took brooks to our favorite place, universal studios!  we're hoping the next time we go he'll be tall enough to do some of the big rides.  poor kid was just a few inches short.

may concluded the special olympics for carson and his class.  they competed in track and field and had a great time!

it also concluded spring baseball for brooks.  you can see the excitement in these two.

and then as quickly as school started it was over and the boys were done with their first year in their new school.  

june brought on our favorite time of the year...lake season!

we also traveled to illinois and went to the great wolf lodge with our cousins. 

and then we celebrated grandma white and her incredible life.  family gatherings just aren't the same anymore but we know she is holding her cup of coffee and a few special ones with her watching all of us.  this is almost all of her great grandchildren.  it was like herding cats for this picture.

and then all of the grandchildren.

and all 6 kids and some of their cousins

in june, carson got to take part in a robotic rehab program at children's healthcare.  we are so fortunate to live near by one of the top children's hospitals.  people were traveling from all over just to come to this program.  we are already signed up for another round this summer.


and another anniversary down.  13 years and going strong.

july looked a lot like this...

it was a hot summer and with a neighborhood with no pool we spent lots of time inside places like the aquarium with friends.

and then in august we caved and decided to do this.  eek!


the almost finished product in september!  we got to get in a few times up till mid-October  but we can not wait for summer this year!

at the end of september this little bit turned 3.  3!  where is my baby at?


we took the kids to our favorite spot in october on the way to the beach.

and then headed to seaside with my parents for a long weekend.

in november someone wanted to go see a real football game so we of course took him to the loveliest village on the plains...



perfect day.  tigers with a win and the trees get rolled at toomer's corner.  it was awesome!

and that brings us back to december.  closing out another year with my favorite people.  life with these 3 is more than i ever could of imagined.  andrew and i are so lucky we were chosen to be their parents.  don't get me wrong, it isn't always easy.  in fact, it's hardly ever easy.  but it's worth every second of the 365 days in every year.  here's to an excellent 2016 and an even better 2017!  may this year be filled with happiness, love and joy (and you can really feel all of that in some of these pictures i tried to get for our card this year...)











2016 card