Introducing Emily Grace Mei Venn

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Then and Now

Compare Emily Grace's pics from 2008(33 months) and 2007(21 months)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Emily Grace's visit with Santa Claus

Last year, Emily Grace called Santa Claus "Ho Ho." She seemed interested in having her picture made with him so we stood in line and watched all of the other children have their pictures made and when it was our turn, she clutched onto me for life and screamed "NO NO HO HO" so we left and I just had to laugh. This year in preparation of the event, I showed her pictures of myself and of David and her age with Santa Claus and we began watching classic movies and such. I began talkin' up the fellow like I was on his publicity crew. This year, she was so excited that she nearly pushed the little fellow in front of her off of Santa's lap just so she could get on. She was so excited that she smiled right away and they snapped the picture before I could "pose her or straighten our her dress." It was so cute, she began telling him all that she had planned to tell him about what she wanted for Christmas and even told him what a "good little girl" she had been ... yeah, let me tell you that it sure hasn't been every day :-) My favorite, though, was when she asked him to say "Ho Ho Ho". He did and then he hugged her. David held me close and I cried during the whole thing thinking about how we had dreamed of this very moment. We couldn't believe that our dream was truly a reality!!!! I love Christmas!! I definitely KNOW the reason for the season!! Thank you Jesus for our amazing daughter!!! She is everything and more that we dreamed of and prayed for!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A more recent update is soon to come

On December 5th, my family lost a very cherished member. My uncle Thomas Shrewsbury, affectionately known as "Budgie", lost his battle to cancer. He was one heck of a good man with a true character and stern faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a fantastic sense of humor. On one of his last days here on earth, it is noted that he called many of those that he was closest to and asked if they were definite that they knew the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior because he wanted to be sure that he would meet them later in Heaven. It was just like him to worry about everyone else when he himself was taking his last breath. He will surely be missed!! I went north for his funeral among the ice and snow for four days. When I returned home, David told me that he had a new found respect for all that I do with Emily Grace and he said that I HAD to TEACH him how to use those elastic ties to put her hair in pig tails. Too funny to me!! I came home on Tuesday night and by Friday evening, my students and I put on a show for close to 300 guests complete with Gladiatorial combat, War drums, Dancers, Roman Cuisine even a Roman wedding took place. We had spent weeks on this production and it went very well!! I was very proud. However, it was soooo much work that I have decided that it will be my last one. I have been running nonstop. From both of those events, I am so far behind in every aspect of my life. I hope that you all will receive our Christmas cards before Christmas. I wont bore you with the details of the rest of my life but I can hardly stay awake during my days and there is so much to do at night trying to get caught up that I never get any sleep. Eventually, I will put the pics of Emily Grace meeting Santa Claus on the blog. What a wonderful happy moment it was for all of us. She was in utter heaven!! She is a BIG FAN of the jolly ole fat guy in the red suit.
Stay tuned... :-)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emily Grace Plays Soccer

Emily Grace played Soccer on a "Sporties for Shorties" Soccer team for a few weeks. It was just for 2 1/2 - 3 year olds. It was so cute and so much fun to watch. Those kids had absolutely no idea what was going on and at least one parent of every child was out on the field to help "coach." That was funny in and of itself. David was so excited to share this with Emily Grace. She just loved being out there running with Daddy, regardless of what they were doing. Of course, snack time was her favorite part.

Between the Hedges at an UGA GAME!!!

In September, David and I went to a home UGA game and David scored some V.I.P passes from work so that we could go onto the field 45 minutes before the game began. This gave us an opportunity to get up close and personal with what goes on there. We met UGA, Hairy Dawg, some Cheerleaders and Sonny Seiler (famous for caring for many generations of UGA dawgs) We were able to watch The Players drill before the game. It was surreal to be between the hedges and look out into the stands of cheering people and the game had not even begun. I can't imagine what it must be like for those guys during a game. It was too much fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Pics from the Halloween Party

Emily Grace's 1st Costume Party

We attended the GaWait Halloween Costume Party. Emily Grace had such a great time with the other little ones. It was just too cute. Enjoy the pics. I know that she is "in cognito" but she is the wee lil' Minnie Mouse:-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our "Pumpkin" among Pumpkins

Here is our lil' Pumpkin searching for Halloween pumpkins. She is just the light of our life!! She is in a new stage right now, that I just think is too cute. She asks WHY about everything. She will ask "Why" about something I tell her and then ask why to my answer and then why to that response and so on and finally after about 25 "whys" she will say "oh" like she really understood and absorbed all of it. We are just having too much fun with her. We are also posting last year's pumpkin pics at the end of the slide show to show just how much Emily Grace has grown

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our Little Ballerina

Emily Grace took an intro to Ballet/Tap class this past summer for tots. She LOVED it and she followed directions well enough that she was invited to enroll in the 3-5 year old class this school year. Emily Grace turned 2 1/2 in September. I thought that she was a little young, but we enrolled her since she loved it so much. She is by far the smallest girl in the class, but she is still loving it. Here are a few pics of our little ballerina.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Test Results have arrived!!!!!

The doctor FINALLY called this afternoon with the results from my Voidance Systogram, which took place on September 18th!! The results indicate that the radiologists were originally wrong about what they saw in the earlier tests....or maybe not....Prayers do work!!!!! God is good!!!! My doctor seems to think that maybe what they originally saw was evidence of earlier trauma. My one and only kidney functions as if I had two. It has developed the ability to function well enough to do "double duty." Thank God!!!!
I am so relieved!! I am so appreciative of the love, support, prayers, thoughts and concern from all of you, my family and friends!!! It is a happy day. If you didn't get the chance to read about how this bizarre test was done, read the earlier post. It is a bit humorous!! Hopefully, this week, I can go back to updating about my precious Emily Grace. Until then.....:-)
God Is Good!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Test has taken place

Ok, Sometimes you just have to find humor in the challenges that life has given you. Ok, I endured the most bizarre test that I have ever taken when I went in to determine what is going on with me. I am going to tell the details of this test so beware...if you are squeamish then don't proceed :-) I knew that I was having some sort of test called a "Voidance Systogram" or something. I knew that it was at the lab, but they failed to tell me exactly what that meant. The last time that I went in, they placed dye intravenously so that they could follow in detail what my kidney was doing. Although, it hurt, it wasn't too weird. I assumed "this test" would be similar...I was so wrong. When I arrived, they informed that I would be catheterized (tube placed into urethra) then, they proceeded to send dye colored fluid up into my bladder in order to fill it up to see of any of it would shoot up into my kidney. If that wasn't weird enough, the radiologist and myself could watch my bladder fill up like a balloon. They told me that they wanted to put so much fluid in that I would be dying to let it go, but to endure it. What?!! Well, it took almost two bottles to do that (she said that normally most people only need 1/2-1 bottle. So why do I always have to go if I have a super bladder? :-) Anyway, there it was, my bladder filled to the brim on the big screen. Now you know, you, too, would like the privilege to watch your own bladder grow. Who knew how big it really could get? Then the BEST PART came when they informed me that now it was time to let it out. They removed the catheter and showed me a boat shaped bowl with a bag attached and said that they need me to urinate into in front of ALL of THEM and on the monitor. What?!?! They electronically moved the bed from a lying position to a standing position, handed me the bowl/bag thing and said go ahead. SO I place this awkward thing you know where and then with the fullest bladder you can imagine, I tried to go. This is the type of full bladder that most people are crossing their legs to prevent the flow, mind was hurting, but try as I might, I couldn't do it. I had stage fright or something. For goodness sakes, they were staring at me.
Finally, they moved behind my vision and turned on water for me (lol) to get me do something. Talk about losing all modesty. I thought that I lost all of it during the first hospital stay I had. Apparently, I was wrong. I lost it on that day. When it finally began, they rushed back in to tell my not to stop the flow but to physically turn my body to left for x-ray pics, then to the right. I had never tried walking, holding something firmly between my legs and peeing at the same time...all I could do was laugh and pray that the little bag attached to the bowl could hold almost two bottles worth. I couldn't believe what I was doing, but it was the first time that I had any humor about my circumstance. With my bizarre mission complete, I was told it would be 3-7 days before, I would receive the results, I finally called yesterday and was told, that would next week before, they knew anything. I am trying to stay very hopeful. Thank you so much for your thoughts prayers!! I will post as soon as I know!! Finding some humor in this thing gives me a new meaning to the saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Test has been scheduled

I will be having the scary test on Thursday morning roughly at 9:15 am. When finished and reported, we should know if I need the surgery on my kidney. This surgery would be to have an implant surgically placed into my kidney to prevent "kidney reflux". From what I understand, this could be a very invasive surgery since I have so much scar tissue on the inside of my body from the various initial surgeries. I keep praying that the test will determine that all is fine and that there is no need for surgery!!! Please Please help me with this prayer!! I have already endured my share and about 10 other people's share of surgeries in past years!! Hopefully my next report will be a great one!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Medical Update

First, let me begin with words of gratitude to ALL of you for your comments, prayers, emails, phone calls, letters and cards!!!!!!!
I appreciate all of it so very much!! It is so nice to know that I have such wonderful family, friends and support. I have finally found a minute to update my blog (not really, I have an amazing baby girl in my lap anxiously waiting to have me play with her in her "kitchen") Nonetheless, I wanted to give an update. I had not posted as of yet, because I didn't have an update to post. Since I last wrote, I learned that my doctor didn't want to proceed with the tests until I actually had my menses. Apparently, the test procedure is very dangerous to a fetus and they don't allow a woman to continue with tests until they are definite that she isn't pregnant. Since we are ALWAYS trying (to no avail) they asked me to wait until we knew for sure. I am assuming that I will have the test this week. I don't know yet when the test will be or how long it will take to receive the results, but I am praying that it will not only report that I do not need surgery, but that their first tests must have been mistaken and that my remaining kidney is very healthy!!!!!
Thank you so much for your continued thoughts, prayers and support!!!! It means the world to me!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Amy's Medical Concern

If you were not aware already, I suffered a near death accident when I was a teenager. I worked at a day camp in the summer and we had a "gator" (ATV) to move equipment. A long long story later, a couple of the counselors lured me into riding in the back of it. I really didn't want to ride in it. (teenage peer pressure at its worst) They wrecked it trying to scare me. It flipped over and landed on top of me (no one else was hurt) I was in serious shape. I ended up losing a kidney, my spleen, broke all of my ribs, collapsed both lungs, seriously damaged my pancreas, seriously bruised my liver and jolted my heart. My family was told to expect the worst. Later, I was told that I had been given about a 3% chance to survive. If I did survive, there was no guarantee that I would ever walk again since a 1,500 pound machine fell on my spine. I was in intensive care for 3 months and in and out of the hospital for another year and I had to relearn to walk again....but I did survive :-) However, I have been left with hypertension (due to the one kidney which was only functioning at 40%) I was plagued by pericarditis (terribly painful inflammation of the lining of the heart) for years and years and years. Since then, I have recovered from the pericarditis, but never the hypertension. My kidney did increase its function to nearly a 100%. I know this because I have very routine checks annually. So about 3 weeks ago, I had another, only this time, there was very frightening news. I was told that I may have a blockage. OMG!!!!! That means that we have to act quickly to determine the situation. A blockage can VERY QUICKLY kill an organ....very serious when you only have one. I was sent to various specialists to have a myriad of tests done and with each one, my concern grew worse. I kept thinking how will handle the long and arduous wait for a new kidney, undergo a transplant surgery and recovery time all while trying to give a 100% to my baby girl. I waited so long for her that I couldn't imagine being robbed of quality time with her. I will cry, now, thinking about it. All of this was occurring simultaneously with the advent of School. I couldn't even go to work for all of the tests, let alone think of preparing lesson plans. With all of the uncertainty, school began anyway and the most recent test came back that I do not have a blockage YEAH!!! but that I may have kidney reflux....what the heck is that? Apparently, it is when some of the toxins actually get backed up into the kidney although it continues to function. I have yet another test to determine if I do, and if so, I will need surgery to place some implant into the kidney to prevent it. Well heck, that is terrifying too!!! So, I haven't updated my blog lately, nor have I had the emotional clarity to return emails or phone calls. Eventually, I will do all three. Please be thinking/praying for me and/or send positive vibes my way. I am afraid. The ironic thing about all of it is that the anniversary of my accident was August 8th. I usually celebrate that I am still alive on that day, this year, I was overwhelmed with concern. I just want to be healthy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Emily Grace is using the potty!!!

As of July 11th, I am proud to say that Emily Grace is using the potty!!!! O.k. she is only going number 1, but she is still doing it, nonetheless!!!! She did it all for a couple of MMs and a piece of trident gum each time of course, but whatever works we will do. She is very aware that she isn't to go in her panties, so she has asked me if she could wear diapers for nap time and during the night. Of course, I obliged. I just want to keep her doing it. So during the day when she is ready to go number 2, she will ask if she can wear her diaper for a little while. So that it what we do. I laugh each time. She isn't the least bit interested in using the potty for number 2, but I am encouraged that we will get there some time soon. I am so proud of her!!!! I found this great fold up and go potty seat for public use from "One step ahead." As of yesterday, we got over the "public potty hump." I can't say that I blame her for only wanting to go at home :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Play Date at Dac Kids July 7th

I am always behind in the blogging world. We came right home from Nashville and had a play date planned with some of the GaWait members: Lisa and Briana, Kathy and Chani, and Deb and Li Li. It was great fun for Emily Grace, but the trip had tired her so much that we had to go home for a nap before the group even went to lunch.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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Leaving Nashville from the Reunion

On our way home from the reunion, we stopped at the Land Opry Hotel. It is beautiful with tons of flowers, waterfalls and pathways. We also went to Opry Mills and Emily Grace rode on her very first Carrousel. She absolutely loved it. She had to ride it several times before leaving. After a while, we just stayed on it over and over and over again. :-) I just kept thinking how all of Emily Grace's Gotcha Day Sisters would have loved it as well. What a fantastic photo opportunity!! We also took a nice leisurely boat ride in the river that runs through the hotel. We really enjoyed ourselves before we started on our 4 1/2 journey home.

Monday, July 7, 2008

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4th of July gathering at the Fisher's

The Reunion officially started at Betsy Fisher's home. It was wonderful. We had great food, activities and fellowship.

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Earlier that day

Earlier on the last full day of our reunion, we all met at Cheekwood Gardens just outside Nashville for a pictures. Enjoy!

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Gotcha Day Sister Reunion 2008

We spent the 4th of July with all 7 of Emily Grace's "Gotcha Day Sisters and their respective families." It was a wonderful fun filled weekend. Best of all, this weekend allowed us to see how wonderfully each baby has blossomed in their forever families. Every lil' girl was so beautiful, happy and very well adjusted!! Praise God!!! Emily Grace played with each and every "sister." She loved it. Each morning she would say "I wanna see my friends" and at the end of the day she would say "I want 'more' friends." It was easy to get her to go to bed, we would just tell her that as soon as she woke up she could play with her friends. She readily went to bed. :-) We end with the last day of our reunion at an authentic TN restaurant with a Blue Grass Band. We were joined by the wonderful Morgan family who adopted AnnaLyn a week after we received Emily Grace. ( She is the baby on the far left in the "red bench" pic) It was nice to finally meet them. Historically, these "red bench" pics are the only ones with all of Emily Grace's Gotcha Day Sisters in one picture. A whole year later Neat Huh? What a nice way to say good-bye to everyone! We extend our farewells until next year!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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Our Gotcha Day Anniversary

April 2nd marks our 1st full year with our amazing little angel!! At this very moment, an entire year ago, our hearts were all a flutter anticipating the meeting of our new daughter. I was eager and fearful all at the same time. Was I really prepared? Had I read enough parenting information? Would I know what to do? The moment they placed this little miracle in my arms, I was calm and I felt absolutely sure that I knew everything that I needed to know to love and care for her!! It was a very blessed moment. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I absolutely believe in my heart she was destined to be our daughter from the first moment she was created! Thank you God for our precious gift. We praise you for the opportunity to be her parents!!