Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My aunt and uncle put this sign in my parent's yard to welcome him home!!

Ella hanging out in Gramma and Papa's back yard.

Anson opening his Elmo guitar and Ella watching...

Papa... doesn't he look great?

Anson with his train from Gramma and Papa... he loves it!

Anson on his new red bike! He is quite a natural!

So excited to get his bike!

Fun with Pop!

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas this year! We had a great time in FL with all of our family, except my sister Aly who lives in Maine :o( ... Anson and Ella thoroughly enjoyed getting and giving presents! Anson had three wishes for Santa Clause this year... Jelly beans, a red bicycle and Elmo playing the guitar. He must have been a very good boy because he got all three and many more fun toys and clothes! And little Ella was so cute... she hugged her dolls and soft toys when she opened them! So cute and girly!

Other highlights of our trip included:

  • Anson going to the Barber Shop for the first time and getting his hair cut right beside his Papa!

  • Ella and Anson having a cold with a cough...a few hairy nights included :o)

  • Having a photo session with the whole Rollins family... turned out to be a lot of fun! We'll share more pictures soon. Visit the photographer, Pam Saxon's blog to see a sneek preview!

  • Got to be Amy's first over-night guests in her new home! It is beautiful! We had Christmas dinner there!We are glad to be home but it was a really nice Christmas! Have a safe and Happy New year!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heading to FL

We are taking my parents back to Florida today! My Dad has been cleared by his heart surgeon to make the trip home! He is anxious to get back home and into some routine, but not back to work for another 6 weeks. He will not be able to do heavy lifting for a while but has some nice friends in DeLand who are helping out at the shop. Please keep him in your prayers, as slowing down is very hard for him!! Have a Very Merry Christmas and we will post some Christmas pictures soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Tis the Season

We let Anson stay up to watch Frosty the Snowman. He was so excited! He HAD to have hot chocolate too!
Ella in one of her Christmas dresses... Gramma bought the material and I made the dress.

A cute quick story...

The other night I was reading to Anson before bed and one of the books he chose was the Velveteen Rabbit. When we got to the part about the little rabbit being put in a bag to be thrown out, Anson turned to me with tears in his eyes and said "I'm sad, Mommy". I assured him that the story would have a happy ending but he still cried. He almost made me cry! I did read him the rest of the story but he still thought it was sad. I think he is really starting to relate to other's feelings!

On Friday Papa had his first big outing to the mall with us! He did really well! He pushed Ella in the stroller for stability. He was tired at the end of the day but his stamina is definitely coming back! Then on Saturday he went with us to Target. Today it is freezing cold so we are staying inside.

While we were at the mall, we stopped to see Santa! Anson was so excited to see him! Ella was a little less excited but she didn't cry. She looked at the camera girls (trying desperately to get her to smile) with a look like "I'll sit here but I won't smile!" The picture turned out really cute. But it was so cute to hear Anson... as soon as he sat on Santa's knee he said, "Santa, I've been a good boy! I'd like a red bicycle please!" He cut right to the chase. He knew Santa would ask if he'd been good! We'll see if he makes it to Christmas!! :o) He's been a little "out of sorts" with Gramma and Papa here and has needed some extra disciplining. But he is a good boy.

More excitement!! Ella said her first real word today! She said "hot" and pointed to the heater! She jabbers a lot but this was her first meaningful word! And she now has 2 top teeth and one bottom tooth, all right in front! I was beginning to think she didn't have any teeth! She goes in for her 15 month check-up on Tuesday.

That's all I can think of for now. Have a great week!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ella on Thanksgiving
Oh, Christmas Tree (Anson likes that song!)

The Apple Pie I made for Thanksgiving... We have a lot to be Thankful for!

Despite Papa recovering from major heart surgery, we're having a nice Christmas season! It is nice having Gramma and Papa here! Papa is getting stronger every day and can now get up without the aid of his walker. He even came outside today and watched the kids play for a little bit!

Here's what we've done so far this Holiday season... On Thanksgiving morning we decided to decorate our tree. We were planning on buying a real tree the day after Thanksgiving but Anson was so excited about decorating that we took the fake one out of the attic... little did we know that we wouldn't have a chance for shopping the next day! So we were able to enjoy the tree all week when we came home from hospital visits. Anson LOVED decorating it and looked at every ornament and asked where it came from, who bought it... And Ella loves it too. Every time she comes into the room she points at it and smiles. Gramma brought Anson a little "make it yourself" nativity scene and he painted it and put it all together! It turned out really cute! The night of Papa's surgery, the hospital had a big tree lighting ceremony outside and Anson and Ella got their picture taken with Santa, had hot chocolate and other tasty treats, and got some jingle bell bracelets. It was really nice. Then yesterday we put some greenery up outside and hung our wreath on the door. Hopefully this week we'll get the outside lights up. We hope you're having a great season!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's Home!

We brought Papa home from the hospital this morning! Mom and I went to see him at 9:30 and we were home by 11:30 am! The doctor came just as we were getting there and wrote up his release. He has a follow-up on Dec. 17th and then will be allowed to go back to Florida. It's pretty amazing that he is back home with us just 5 days after open heart surgery! But the good Lord has been watching over him and he is on the mend. He is getting around very well but taking it slow. Luckily I don't have any stairs for him to climb except for the few to come up onto the back porch. So he is at my house resting for the next couple weeks. Once again, thank you to everyone who has called, written, and e-mailed! We appreciate your prayers!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Taking Baby Steps

"Papa" feeding Ella her breakfast... 20 minutes before we took him to the emergency room!

We just got back from seeing Dad and he looks very good! (Anson and Ella went too and enjoyed seeing Papa... we only stayed a few minutes as to not overwhelm him with their extra "energy". :o) Amy and Andy are still here until tomorrow and my Mom stays with him most of the day. He is still having pain, as expected, in his chest incision but it looks a lot better than I had imagined! He took his first stroll after his lunch today and he was not really looking forward to it. But he said that it felt good to get up and move his legs! The hardest part was standing up from the sitting/laying position. But they tell us you have to start out with baby steps to get the recovery on the way. We also heard from one of the nurses that the diabetes could be a temporary thing... maybe it takes a while for his blood sugar to regulate after heart surgery?? The doctor will explain it to us when we talk to him next, but for now he is not on a diabetic diet. Please keep him in your prayers as he continues to make progress toward a full recovery and a new lease on life! On behalf of my Mom and the rest of my family, we really appreciate all the phone calls and letters and e-mails! I take everything to the hospital and show it to Dad so he knows he's being remembered. But he is anxious to get home! :o)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

He's Doing Great!

My Dad came out of surgery last night around 7:00 PM and the surgeon said it went just as planned with no complications! They took two arteries from his leg and one from his chest for the triple bypass. (They only had to do a triple and not a quadruple bypass). We were able to see him last night while he was still under and then this morning we were able to talk to him and get him moved to his own room and out of ICU. So he is up and walking, very slowly, but walking! Amazing! He said he feels like he has been "hit by a freight train" and that he is "not as tough as he thought" he was! What a trooper. We just praise the Lord that He brought him through fine and pray that recovery will go as smooth. The nurse told us this morning that there is a good possibility that he is diabetic. He had never been diagnosed but just recently has been having some of the symptoms but blamed them on other things, like being 70. So it is all starting to line up and hopefully we can get it all figured out and he can start feeling like a new man!

All in all things are going great. His spirits are high and all the nurses think he is so sweet! :o) Tomorrow I'll take Anson and Ella in for a minute to see him. Today Anson asked me on the phone if Papa was going to come home and play with him today :o). I told him it would be a few days before playing but that he was going to be visiting us for quite a while! His surgeon told him probably 10-14 days at my house after the hospital stay. Maybe we will bring him back to Florida just before Christmas. We'll just have to wait and see what the rehab is like.

I'll try to post once in the morning and again at night so you can keep up with his progress. His mind is working just fine and he asks about a lot of people so know you're on his mind too! Thanks again for all the prayers! God is good! I will make sure to pass all comments on to him so feel free to leave a comment. If you comment under anonymous just make sure to sign your name. Thanks!

"And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith" Acts 15: 8-9

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dad Update

Yesterday my Dad had a heart catherization and it showed that he has severe blockages in the three major arteries of his heart... one at an 80% blockage, one at 90% and the main artery was 99% blocked! It is a gift from God that he did not have a major heart attack but only a little tightness in his chest! So last night they transported him 2 miles down the road to Emory University Hospital (one of the best hospitals in the South) and right now at 1:30 PM he is awaiting triple bypass, open heart surgery. We met his surgeon this morning, and he and all his staff have been great at explaining things to us and letting us know what to expect. My Dad and Mom are both in great spirits and know that he is in God's hands! Please keep praying as the surgery could take 4-5 hours. I will post an update when I know his condition, but they expect a very successful outcome and a full recovery! He will be in the hospital an additional 5 days for recovery and then at my house for a couple weeks before heading back to Florida... maybe just in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, friends and fellow cabinet makers back home in their town (DeLand) have banded together and are making sure all his work that he has on his books gets done without him lifting a finger! What a blessing! They are going to make sure he has a full recovery and doesn't worry about work or try to work too soon. And for those who know my father, it's hard to keep him down! :o)

Thanks for your prayers and I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Surprises

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! We had a great day... My Mom and Dad came up from Florida and got here just at lunch time. My Mom helped me get the last things ready and we had a big feast! I cooked a turkey, sweet potato cascerole, green bean cascerole, stuffing, cranberry sauce and an apple pie. My aunt sent some home made rolls and my Mom brought a salad, cranberry bread, pecan pie, cookies and fudge! We are in sugar overload!! But here is the surprise part...

My Dad woke up early Friday morning with indigestion (I was sure it was my cooking! :o) but as the morning went on it turned into tightness in his chest and we ended up rushing to the hospital! Poor guy has been in ICU ever since and is waiting for a heart catherization on Monday. If you know my Dad, he is very restless and would rather be up working! But this four days of rest is the best thing for him, and on Monday he will have the test to see where the blockage(s) is/are and we will go from there. He is feeling well and in good spirits, and we are thankful that he was here so we could take care of him! My Mom is also doing great and is being very strong. We just heard that they are moving him to a room and out of ICU which means the kids can go see him now! Yea! I think that will make him happy. We would appreciate your prayers and will keep you posted!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Guilty (But Honest!) Culprit

Recently we've had a little plumbing trouble... The toilet in Anson and Ella's bathroom was stopped up and I could not tell why. After a couple days of trying to plunge it (luckily there was nothing in the bowl!) to no avail, I asked Anson the dreaded question. "Did you put something in the toilet?" He said "Yes I did!" After asking "what" he said it was Ella's sippie cup cap. And he went and got one to show me. I vaguely remember him playing with one in the sink... Well, he was right! The plumber had to remove the toilet to get it out! So now we've had the talk about when something falls in the toilet,we call Mom or Dad, we don't flush!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Favorite Tree * UPDATE*

Yesterday we visited our favorite tree in Piedmont Park. When the fan-shaped leaves on this tree change, they turn a bright yellow and blanket the ground like soft flower petals. We come take pictures here every year and have so much fun playing in the soft leaves. Anson and Ella really had a ball this year! Anson would throw the leaves to make them fall and Ella loved rolling around in them. It is fun to compare pictures from previous years and watch as the kids grow. I just wanted to share one of our Fall traditions with you. See the pictures at the top of the blog... I just figured out how to make a collage!

PS: Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? Please leave a comment if you do!!!!

**My friend Sharon just told me that this is a Ginkgo tree! Thank you for your arbor expertise too, Brittany! :o) And evidently there are a male and female version of this tree... the female tree produces a stinky fruit. Interesting! We actually saw some at the park and Anson HAD to pick it up and inspect it. Here is the pic...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back From America's Oldest City...

At the Columbia Restaurant... our favorite!
The Old Spanish Fort, Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine

St. George Street ... many cute shops!

Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

View from our porch

The Casablanca Inn

The Casa Monica Hotel

An old Florida road somewhere between Flagler Beach and DeLand

St. Augustine lighthouse in the rain and sun! I love those Florida rain showers!

Ella, Charlotte and Anson on the adorable kid-sized couch their Toto and Auntie Mel just found!

Anson and Ella with Gramma and Auntie Amy

Hi All!

We had such a great trip! Thanks to Toto and Pop and Gramma and Papa for taking such loving care of Anson and Ella (and Bella!) for us so we could have such a relaxing vacation! We could actually sleep until we woke up instead of waking to "Good Morning! I'm awake!!" at 6:30! Dusty and I went to St. Augustine and spent 4 days just roaming around and relaxing. The weather was beautiful. We stayed one night at the Casa Monica and 3 nights at the Casablanca Inn. We really enjoyed the Casablanca... we had a riverside suite with two big private porches and a double hammock! One night we took a horse and carriage tour and ate at the Columbia Restaurant (there are a few in Florida and if you have never been there, GO!) We also took a boat ride on the river and did a trolley and walking tour. St. Augustine reminds us so much of some little European towns that we've visited.

Sunday - Wednesday the kids were at Toto and Pop's house and on Wednesday morning Gramma and Papa picked them up and took them to their house in DeLand. The kids had so much fun with their grandparents! So Dusty and I went from St. Augustine to Deland on Thursday and stayed there Friday and spent the day with my family. Amy and Andy came to see us on Friday too! Then Saturday morning we headed back to Melrose to see Dusty's family. Jared and Brittanty and Charlotte came down from Jacksonville to spend the day so the kids got to play with each other, which is always so much fun to watch!

So now we are back home and getting into our little schedule again. Anson woke up early with his grandfathers every morning so he was exhausted and will be catching up on rest for a few days! But this morning when he woke up he said, "Thank you , Mommy, for taking me to Florida! I had a very good time!"

Birthday Wishes...
Happy Birthday Mel !! Hope you had a great day!

And last but not least, Happy First Birthday Charlotte!!! We hope you have a fun day, sweet girl!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Clean Heart

My growing girl playing outside!
Walking at the park

At our neighborhood park

Great view of downtown
I am choosing not to dwell on the election but rather to post some pretty Fall pictures! Seasons change...Life goes on ... and God is still on His throne in Heaven!

Some quick Ansonisms... yesterday he was having a hard time going to sleep for his nap. After going to his door a few times to tell him to lay down, he said "But Mommy, I already closed my eyes 5 times! I'm awake now!" To Anson, 5 is a very high number, and he was convincing me that he had slept enough!

Recently he has had a very hard time listening and obeying. Dusty and I believe in first-time obedience, not waiting for the threats, bribes or counting to three. (Very hard to do but I believe that is how God wants us to obey!) I have taken this opportunity to teach him more about what sin is, how God forgives, and what that means to him. (While trying to keep my patience!!!) When it was time to leave his friend's house the other day, he did not come when I called and ran across the lawn instead. He knew he had done wrong and by the time I got over to him he was saying "I'm sorry". So we talked on our walk home about how he was going to get a spanking and why. I explained to him that when we sin, (ie. don't obey our parents :o) our hearts get dirty. But when we ask God to forgive us, He wipes it clean and it is beautiful again! So when we got home I started to get dinner ready. Anson pulled his stool up to the counter to watch and said "Mommy, you did not spank me yet". So I said, "you are right! I almost forgot". So we went to his room and did our spanking routine. After praying, he looked at me with a huge smile and said "see? God wiped my heart clean!" He is starting to understand! Discipline is hard and exhausting but it is so worth it! It is definitely better than the alternative! "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope. Do not be a willing party to his death." Proverbs 19:18

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Pics...

Here is cowboy Anson riding his horse! I made Ella a fall dress instead of a costume.
She was more interested by the cars driving by than having her picture taken!

Like any good cowboy, he loves his horse!

I think he was trying to look like the horse here!

Happy Halloween! We just got back from trick-or-treating and Anson had so much fun! He kept saying, "Can we get MORE candy if we knock on THIS door?" as if he was astonished to know that all you had to do was knock on doors to get candy... and to think that all this time we've just walked through the neighborhood and never knocked on doors! :o) At one house, they answered the door in a spooky costume and he high-tailed it back down the sidewalk to me! After that, he was quick to come up with a plan... he told his little girlfriend Sagan , "You go knock on the door and I'll wait right here, OK?" Is he his father's son or what??? Always has a plan. :o) But he was very polite and said "Happy Halloween" when they answered the door and "Thank you" when they gave him candy. I just had to remind him to only take one piece and not a fist-full! We stayed out a little over an hour and Ella already had her little head down on my sholder. We were home and kids in bed by 8:00 so it was perfect. Poor Dusty missed out on the fun but had he been home he would not have felt up to it anyway. He is the last family member with the lingering flu. Poor guy. Hope you all had a great day!

(As you can see, Anson fell in love with the cowboy costume. He kept neighing like a horse and saying "ya hoo!" like a cowboy. He really got into the role! I was just glad to find a costume at the last minute!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Fall!

Silly "Mr. Pumpkin"

Anson playing soccer in the park

Ella hanging out in the swing

Ella inspecting our big pumpkin

Anson was quite proud of the big pumpkin

We are really enjoying Fall this year! Now that we are feeling better we are able to go out and enjoy the weather. The foliage is beautiful everywhere we go. It is so neat to hear Anson say "Mommy, look at those beautiful leaves!" I'm glad he likes it as much as we do. We went to the park this afternoon and Anson played soccer with a little boy and his dad. He was pretty good at running and kicking the ball at the same time (I don't know the correct soccer terms... who knows, maybe I'll be a "soccer mom" someday and have to learn them all! :o)

We also carved a big pumpkin this afternoon, who we lovingly call "Mr. Pumpkin"! We gave him a silly face and not a scary face per Anson's request. We try not to make a big deal of Halloween, but we are planning to go trick-or-treating with his little friend Sagan. They live on the street behind us so we will just walk down their road and home again. I made Ella a little fall dress to wear instead of a costume. I don't have a costume for Anson yet so I hope I can find one tomorrow! (Nothing like waiting until the last minute!) I was going to try to make him one but my creative juices were not flowing! I'll post the Halloween pics tomorrow...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A new verse...

Well, Anson has learned a new verse and we are very proud of him! It only took him 5 minutes to learn this one. Hopefully we can add one new one every week. So here he is reciting Genesis 1:1...

While Ella is not quoting Scripture yet, she is walking quite well now! I would say that walking is now her preferred way of getting from one point to another! Ella is still very stuffy but Anson is almost over his cold. Dusty and I are still in and out of feeling well but hopefully will be better soon! We are having some chilly fall weather here with highs in the low 50's so we have been inside most of the day (trying to get these colds to go away). But the leaves are really turning now and it is very pretty! I'll go out and take some pictures soon and post them.

Have a great week!

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Sniffles...

Well, now we all have it! The night before last night was Ella's and my turn and today Dusty is home feeling achy. Anson is finally on the mend so at least it is not a long sickness. One thing that really helped us all was the mentholatum rub for babies... (Like Vicks Vapor rub- I have the target brand for babies called "chest rub - baby") I did what my Mom said to do and rubbed it on their feet, chest, and under their nose before bed. The baby version has aloe, lavendar, eucalyptus and rosemary in it and it worked miracles! They both slept all night last night! So if anyone has a cold, go get some! It is rainy and cold here today so we don't plan on leaving the house. I was supposed to get a massage today while Dusty kept the kiddos but I don't even feel up to it! Oh, well... next week. Dusty is still using my cell phone with his sim card (he had a slight mishap with his Blackberry :o) , so call the home phone if you need me. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Little Dipper and the Sniffles...

My little sick guy showing Ella how to use the dipper... I think he actually enjoys being sick because we're letting him have popsicles!
Ella feeding herself. Yes, she's wearing one of Anson's old sleepers. I guess I need to buy a pink one but she doesn't care at all! :o)

Ella learned how to feed herself today! Big brother showed her how to use a "little dipper" from Gerber, and away she went eating her applesauce! She was really quite good at it!

Anson woke up at 11:30 PM last night very congested with a cough and a stuffy nose. I guess it's our turn for a cold because it's been almost a year! After some medicine and a little TLC, he went back to bed and slept until 6:45. He seemed to be feeling better (and behaving better!) this morning but is laying low today because he has a low-grade temp and still very stuffy. We were supposed to go to our friend's house for dinner tonight but had to cancel.

We hope you're having a great week and staying well!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Gators!

I just had to post this picture for Uncle Jared and Auntie Brittany, both Gator Alumni! Ella really is a big Gator fan and loves watching the games. OK, so she doesn't really watch the games but I'm sure she will soon! She and Charlotte won't have a choice!
Exciting news... (for us anyway ;o)
Dusty and I just booked a 5 day, 4 night vacation in St. Augustine, FL without the kiddos! Toto and Pop and Gramma and Papa have very nicely agreed to keep them for us! So we are staying one night at a hotel we have not been to before (The Casa Monica) and the other three nights at The Casablanca Inn (Bed and Breakfast) where Dusty and I spent our Honeymoon! 11 years later and we're still on our honeymoon :o). We are so excited! We are going Nov. 9 - 13.
I guess that is all for now... I know there are some funny stories from this week but I just can't think of them right now...

Friday, October 10, 2008

I just lost my attitude...

This is a quote from our dearly loved 3 year old... after a dinner time incident. We are going through a stage where Anson doesn't want to eat when or what we want him to, so dinner time conversations sound like "OK, Anson, eat your food... take a bite now...please stop playing and eat... no more milk until you take a bite..." etc. So tonight when we asked why he wasn't eating he told us "I just lost my attitude!" when he meant to say he lost his appetite... how cute is that?

Anson found an old knee high stocking in the closet and had the best time cramming toys into it and carrying it around the house for a few days. Today he realized that he could cram his head into it also! Always on his toes thinking of new possibilities!

And little miss Ella is getting around pretty well now! Here is a quick video of her strutting her stuff!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Odds and Ends

The Georgia Aquarium

Fall is coming to Atlanta!!

Who are those kids in the tank?

The great whale shark

Anson, in front of a jelly fish exhibit

Ella, getting a closer look

Firstly, Congratulations to Calvin and Keidi who are expecting a new little bundle of joy! I know Adessa is excited and will be such a great big sister!

On Saturday we went to the aquarium downtown. We had not been since Anson was a year old and he LOVED it! He got to touch a stingray, an anemone, and a starfish. Everything we saw was his favorite but he really liked the huge tank with the whale sharks.