And here she is, before and after surgery...
We feel SO blessed to have our vibrant, creative, bubbly little Emri back in full force. Before surgery, Emri's main source of transportation came in the mode of crawling. Now, after surgery, crawling has become very awkward for her. Well, knowing Emri and her ability to adapt herself to the situation she has been given...we were not surprised to see her quickly master the art of knee walking. Walking in her walker has been a little more frustrating for her, as she is still adjusting to her new center of balance and 3+ inches of insta-height! We still see Emri's physical therapist once a week and are getting back to seeing her occupational therapist once a week now as well. Along with Emri's knee walking development has also come quite an impressive and often times hilarious new ability to speak. She has Brett and I laughing uncontrollably at times and becomes quite proud to know she is the sole source of our laughter. She makes up stories and songs, has serious and profound conversations with her dolls, and enjoys pretend-reading my Bible. This girl has quite the spirit and we know we are in for an exciting ride as she grows and gains more knowledge, vocabulary, and ability to speak her mind.
We are absolutely falling head over heals in love with our endearingly knick-named "baby Abee", or "Chunkins" according to my Dad:). He loves his food--something I am VERY thankful for, as eating has been a huge struggle for Emri. You just might be able to tell by his pictures that food is a passion of his...he is now a 16 or 17lb 3 month old. It won't be long before he passes up his 23lb (that includes 10 oz. of rods and screws) 2.5-year-old "big" sister. Abe has also become quite the smiler-flashing his wide-mouthed grin often. We are so thrilled to get to know our handsome dude better as he gets older and personality becomes more evident. We are truly BLESSED.
In other news...we're selling our Burlington house and moving to Lynden...yep...it's true. To speak pure truth...I wasn't thrilled about this decision as first, and I still have my hold-ups...but I am beginning to realize that there are many benefits and blessings involved in being close to Brett's work. Mornings are tough for me. Not only am I the complete opposite of a morning person, but I have two kids that require a ton of me from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep at night...and often-times I don't even get nights completely off! On therapy mornings, Brett has been able to run home for his lunch hour to help me get Emri's feedings and medication ready, change a few diapers (kids ALWAYS poop RIGHT before you are ready to get in the car) and even give me a break to eat something. Yes-not an ideal lunch hour for Brett...but a GREAT help for me and the kids..and he claims to enjoy it:) Where are we living in Lynden, you ask?? Well, presently we are residing in the Van Andels' beautiful basement...only the third basement we have lived in so far. BUT we are SO excited and BLESSED to announce that we, (along with some family members' help) are designing and building a house here, in Lynden. As you can imagine, Brett is in his HEAVEN, getting the opportunity to design a living space that he actually will get the privilege of enjoying. We feel completely spoiled and a little too young to receive such an opportunity. Since we really have no idea what Emri's future holds in regards to her mobility, we have designed the house to be mostly wheelchair accessible...which will make my current life easier as her mother, having to carry her around a lot! We already have a nice lot in a beautiful, family-friendly neighborhood and look forward to getting to know the people we will be living close to in this next stage in our lives.
Next-I would like to plead for prayer from those prayer warriors who have taken/still take the time to pray for our sweet Emri. In addition to praying for Emri, please keep in mind two very special little friends of Emri's.
Danny...our sweet, handsome little marf-friend overseas is going through some rough stuff right now. One of his retina's dettatched last week and the doctors treating him say that there is nothing they can do to save his vision in that eye. Now Danny did not have very much vision to start out with, but LOVES looking at lights. Now, he only has one eye that can take in light. Danny is also waiting to have a spinal rod put in soon. This is all due to his severe marfan diagnosis, and, as you can imagine, it is all tearing his momma's heart in two. I can't even begin to fathom the emotions Danny's mom is going through right now...seeing her frightened little boy cling to her because his world has changed so drastically. Pray with me that his other eye stays somewhat healthy..., and that he can achieve better vision in that eye in order to function practiaclly in every day life. Also that spine surgery is successful and safe.
Cassie, one of Emri's sweet marf-friends that she had the opportunity of meeting this summer, is undergoing two big surgeries on her heart and back (same surgery as Emri) in the coming months. These are, of course, major surgeries and we are praying that she comes through them with no complications and has a quick and successful recovery. These kids are just so brave and I pray that God BLESSES them and their families greatly.
Regarding appointments for Emri...Smri had an eye appointment this last month. Her vision has gotten slightly worse (-22 in R and L eye)...not unexpected...but still dissapointing. We have an appointment at Children's this week to get a second opinion on what perscription she needs. Apparently marfan's kids' eyes don't always dialate well-so it is hard to get an appropriate refraction reading. This is why we are getting a second opinion. We had a post-op appointment with our orthopedic doc in Seattle and he was happy with how Emri looked. Our next big appointment day (besides eyes) is April 26...when we have Emri's next echo and lung appointments.
I just got home today from attending a Ray VanderLaan Seminar held last night and all day today. It was SUCH an amazing experience...I learned so many new things that I would LOVE to be able to share with everyone I know...I have accepted that the Bible is ABSOLUTE TRUTH now for a long time...but listening to the things Ray shared this weekend just deepened my understanding of the TRUTH and gave me the kick in the pants I needed to wake up and remember what is really important in life...sharing the LIGHT of God's word to those who remain in the darkness. PRAISE GOD for his GRACE in saving those who call on HIS name....and HIS name only.
Until next time,
Erin and the rest.