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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a day late and a dollar short

The story of my life...I'm always a day late and a dollar short. Cora turned 13 months old yesterday! I intended to post something about how cute and adorable she is yesterday and didn't give it another thought. Anyway, I can't believe how cute and smart she is! The other morning she woke up, sat straight up in bed, smiled her precious toothy grin, and said "mo" while she did the sign for it! I melted. She can say eat, but she equates "more" with "eat" for now. She's not the most patient little thing when it comes to getting what she wants when she wants it. She has mastered the scream and fuss. We call her a pterodactyl when she lets loose. She is running around the house getting into everything. Poor little doll doesn't realize she can't shut the drawers on her fingers without pain following. She did it twice today. I hate it when she's so pitiful. She has discovered the toilet paper, the towel drawer, the toy basket, and books. She LOVES shoes...a girl after my own heart! She brings them to me or tries putting them on herself. She also knows how to put her feet in her pants while holding on to me. I think she's going to be our little fashionista! She knows what bye-bye is and and starts walking to the door when I say "let's go bye-bye." She waves "hi" and "bye," saying both as well. Cora is such a friendly little thing. It's so sweet to see her smiling and waving at complete strangers and them smiling and waving in return. Gotta love that! She likes loves to eat! Whatever she sees someone eating she wants too. She's started sleeping through the night more nights than not which is such a blessing. She loves going to Wee School and seems to recognize her teacher's names when I say them and gets excited. She has learned how to shake her head "yes" and communicates extremely well. Cora gives some of the best hugs and kisses ever! I am thoroughly enjoying watching her learn new things. It's such a blessing.

Hey blue eyes!

Playing with her new water wheel table with Luke

Trying some free photo editing software

Always climbing!

Monday, April 26, 2010


I much prefer the pretty crowns with diamonds and jewels to the ones you get at the dentist. I don't know that Luke would prefer to wear a crown, unless of course it was his idea, and it was more of a macho king crown, but he definitely does NOT prefer a crown you get at the dentist! I'm just saying...

About a month back I took the big kids in for their bi-annual check-up at the dentist. Needless to say, the past year has been a little lax when it comes to anything, especially checking to see that my kidddos have been brushing and flossing properly. I did NOT win the mother-of-the-year award in this category. So, both kids had a couple of cavities, give or take. Today Luke had some of his repair work done. I was dreading it just a little, because the last time he had to have work done, he kicked and screamed and fought us like a little bull just to drink the loopy know, the one they put drugs in that makes the kids feel loopy. Well today was a different day. He gulped it down in one big gulp, and we were off to Loopyville! After about an hour, they called him back, and the work began. After about another hour, they called me back. He came out of the work room and did not have a very pleasant look on his face. I tried to muster the cheeriest voice I could find and asked him how he was. He said, "what is that silver thing in my mouth!" When I explained it to him, the crying and fussing commenced. He fussed and cried and would not get into the car. He kept repeating, "take it out! I want it out!" So, I didn't know what else to do but to ask the dentist to take it out. I explained to the lady behind the glass that I needed to see the assistant or dentist because Luke wanted his crown removed, and she looked at me as if I had 2 heads! Anyway, the dentist consulted with us, and I guess all Luke heard was blah, blah, blah, because it didn't get any better. I had to carry him to the car. Thankfully, I was alone. So I went through the golden arches drive through and got him a yogurt parfait, and he talked me into a happy meal for the toy. I told him he wouldn't be able to eat it until later when the numbness wore off. He agreed. After we got home, I was on the phone with a friend, and a few minutes later, Luke found me and showed me that he was bleeding from his mouth. I thought he had bitten a whole in his lip because he kept biting down on it earlier. When I looked closer I realized the blood was coming from the crowned tooth! I asked him what happened and he told me he was trying to get it off and it started bleeding! WHAT!! @#$%!! In case you've never had any dental work done, please allow me to explain how you have to take out a second mortgage on your home to PAY FOR IT! So I called the dentist office, and the lady who answered told me to bring him back. So we did. The new, young, lady dentist was in this afternoon and checked on Luke's new crown. She went on and on about what a great job the other dentist had done (smart one, she is), then she asked him to sit up and give her a big smile. Once he smiled pretty big she encouraged an even bigger smile, and then proceeded to let him know no one could even see that silver thing in his mouth. She explained they only use the silver caps on the back teeth where people can't see them. (I was impressed, very impressed.) So, we left with him a happy little man again. I was completely worn out and ready for a very stiff drink, but he wasn't trying to pull the #$%@ cap off anymore, so life was good once again. He did mention still wanting it removed when he showed his grammy and papa this evening, but that was short-lived, thank goodness! Praying now the next visit will be a bit cheerier!

Hope you had a great Monday!

A good reminder

How to Really Love a Child...

Be there**Say Yes as often as possible**If they are crabby, put them in water**If they're unloveable, LOVE them.**Laugh alot**Have family movie nights**Let them pick out their own clothes**Stop yelling**Let them bang on pots and pans**Play games**Play dress up**Read books out loud with joy**Bake a cake and lick the bowl!**Surprise them**Handle with care**Be Kind!

This little ditty reminds me of the important things. It's easy for me to get bogged down with the trivial and get frustrated. I have this on a little magnet on my fridge. It's helpful to read it several times a day!

We had a great weekend! We went to the hill country and Kelvin did a LOT of work at the deer lease. We had our friends there who are on a deer lease down the road and enjoyed visiting and watching the kids play. The girls went shopping Saturday while the boys worked, then we had some of the best hamburgers you ever did eat! Can't do much better than good food and good conversation with some good friends! Of course I forgot the camera, so we don't have any pictures of the beautiful flowers and fun we all had. Just imagine!

Will you please pray for our friend, Bruce? He just found out this weekend he has a brain tumor. They are doing surgery tomorrow. Thank you.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hi Emma

(author warning...k)

I wish I could write Emma a note, you know, something simple like...

Dear Emma,

Hi baby girl! How was your day today? Did you have fun? Are you getting to run and laugh and sing?

(ten minute pause for crying)

Anyhow, I just wanted write and tell you how much I love you and miss you. I hope Jesus is giving you all the messages and hugs we tell him every night in our family prayers. If He is not hugging you like we are asking him to do, just let me know and I'll talk to him about it. We have been pouring over all of your pictures. You are so pretty.

(five minute pause for crying)

So, I still get sick at my stomach every time we get in the car and I count out loud "Everyone buckled in...1...2...3..."...STOP, just three. Four sounded so much better. I miss you. Well better go for now, the rest of the fam is about to be home. I love you Emma. I hope you have sweet dreams about catching butterflies on the beach.

Love always and forever,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Biker Babe

Cora is getting ready for Emma's Bayou Bash next year! She's a biker in training!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Moment More

Okay, so I'm a complete dork. I don't have a memory at. all. anymore. Just ask around...everyone will agree. I totally forgot about the cool weekend I had when I wrote my post yesterday. Anyway, a week ago Saturday, Carleigh participated in one of the high school drill team's dance clinics. The girls got to perform in the drill team's spring show, which was this past Friday and Saturday night. Carleigh's age group danced on Friday night. I would show you the video, but my camera was set on snap shots instead of video, and all I got were a couple of photos. UGH! Also, one of the girls who has been baby sitting for us since she was a freshman was dancing her senior solo routine as colonel of the drill team, which she dedicated to Emma. She asked us to be there. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. So, Friday night I went, and my parents and Kelvin's mom and grandmother went too. It was a good show. Of course, Carleigh was adorable, but after intermission I noticed our sitter wasn't performing. I received a text from her sister saying she began having crippling leg cramps and was hoping to dance her solo for Emma at the end but didn't know. Well, she couldn't walk very well, so dancing wasn't too much of an option. I was disappointed but completely understood. I had plans the next evening but encouraged her to please let me know if she was going to dance and I would be there. So, I got word Saturday evening on my way to my wonderful MOPS progressive dinner that our sweet Jamie would be dancing. I made the first two courses of dinner, then skipped dessert (I'm sure my rear end appreciates the sacrifice) and headed for the second half of the show. I'm so glad I did...

(Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause the music. This video isn't a professional copy, but I love it!)

Thank You, Jamie! WE love you! I know Emma loved you too. You are precious!

"One Moment More"

Hold me
Even though I know you're leaving
And show me
All the reasons you would stay
It's just enough to feel your breath on mine
To warm my soul and ease my mind
You've got to hold me and show me now

Give me
Just one part of you to cling to
And keep me
Everywhere you are
It's just enough to steal my heart and run
And fade out with the falling sun

Oh, please don't go
Let me have you just one moment more
Oh, all I need
All I want is just one moment more
You've got to hold me and keep me

Tell me that someday you'll be returning
And maybe
Maybe I'll believe
It's just enough to see a shooting star
To know you're never really far
It's just enough to see a shooting star
To know you're never really gone

Oh, please don't go
Let me have you just one moment more
Oh, all I need
All I want is just one moment more

Oh, please don't go
Let me have you just one moment more
Oh, all I need
All I want is just one moment more
You've got to hold me and maybe I'll believe

So hold me
Even though I know you're leaving

Monday, April 19, 2010

Not much to say

It's Monday. We had a pretty good weekend. We enjoyed a rainy day lunch after church at a yummy restaurant in Clear Lake Shores called Jo Lees. I had gumbo and a fish sandwich...tasty! Then the rain cleared and the sun came out, so we took our time just driving around enjoying a change of pace and scenery.

Kelvin went fishing over an extended weekend trip but came home empty-handed. Good thing he was in good company though. Hopefully the next trip will be better.

I don't have much to say, but I wanted to let you know we were still here. I'm in a cleaning mode around the house. We have entirely too much stuff. I am ready to reduce and make some space around this place. I'm facing a dilema though. What do you do with pictures? I like to display them, but it seems like I have too many...almost cluttery looking. Any suggestions? I plan on getting my closet cleaned out today, then tackling the kids's drawers and closets. It's always something. My bookcase cabinets are next. We don't have much storage space in this house, and I need to utilize those cabinets for something more useful than storing old VHS movies. I think I'm going to take our cherished VHS home videos to a place here in town that will transfer them to DVD. Less space. :) The attic spaces are on my radar too. Sounds like I'll be a busy little bee if I can get all that done. I probably won't, but it's good to have a goal, huh?

Well, off to declutter my closet and bag up what I haven't worn in a year or two! I guess this is what they call spring cleaning.

Just remembering what a cutie pie Emma was

One of my very favorite pictures. Kelvin and the kids were at the beach house when it was taken. They stayed Friday night without me. I had a ladies thing to do at church on Saturday morning. Kelvin captured this image with his cell phone and sent it to me. I believe it was taken almost exactly a year before Emma was diagnosed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Girl Drama

I'm ready for summer break. My sweet little dramatic, almost 8 year old, has had about all I she can stand of school for the year. She has come home in tears the past couple of days because of something that happened at school. Of course, I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see just how much of it is the way she replays it to me and just how much is blown up a teeny, tiny little bit! Nevertheless, I always hate it when one of my little ones hurt. Whether I think she is dramatizing everything or not doesn't matter. She is obviously upset, and I want to make it better. Unfortunately, mamas can't always make everything better. Sometimes our babies just have to figure it out on their own. I'm praying some major "Help Me!" prayers right now.

I had a little comin' to Jesus meeting with my two eldest this afternoon. I have to continually remind Carleigh she is not the mama! We would have a lot more sunshine in this household if she could get that concept under her belt. I had to let Luke know he has to figure out some way to turn of the irritating button he has found and continues to press...over and over again! Of course, I got a couple of "yes m'ams" out of them and their new leaf found it's old side much too quickly! UGH!!

Cora is taking all of this big brother and sister stuff in too! She tends to mimic their behavior, which is not good, not good at all! She is adorable though. She loves to "EAT" just like her little big sister did. When she finishes and wants more, I hear, "mo! mo!" She wanted to wear her little silvery gray shoes all day today. She brought them to me to put on her, and any time one would fall off, she immediately wanted it back on...soooo cute!

I love walking outside and looking at our beautiful butterfly girl statue. It brings such peace and comfort, such a longing for something far better than this life. I have been introduced to and made aware of so much sadness lately. So many people lost, broken relationships, extremely bad health, babies suffering, mamas with small children who have been given very grim prognoses, teenagers lives taken, homes lost, and so and and so forth. Sometimes it's all more than I can take in. I just keep remembering the lyrics to the song, "There Will Be A Day," by Jeremy Camp...
But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain,
and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more,
we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to You always

Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Presenting----Little Girl with Butterflies

The absolutely stunning bronze statue titled Little Girl With Butterflies was delivered today. This beautiful memorial to Emma captures her now eternal happiness and reminds us of the fragility of life, in addition to the beautiful things that come from struggles.

As a recap, this was a heartfelt gift from the employees of Lubrizol Corporation, my employer. Along with the stone highlighted a few posts ago, this completes their gift to us and together they anchor a new butterfly garden in our back yard. So, have we ever told you our butterfly story? Well...

Each Fall the Monarch butterflies east of the Rockies migrate 2,500 miles south to the Sierra Madre Mountains, east of Mexico City. They go south until they reach the Gulf Coast and veer towards Mexico. During the Fall of 2007 (pre-Batten signs) we were enjoying a gorgeous, brisk day at the beach house. We loaded into the Jeep, wrapped Emma in a blanket and headed out on the beach to play. Once there, we realized there were thousands- make that millions- of Monarch butterflies cruising West down the beach. I wish I could adequately paint this picture for you...a deep blue sky- the kind you look so deep into that you think you see blackness- serving as a back drop for a column of Monarch's 30 yards wide and as high as you could focus your eyes! We spent the next few hours racing and chasing butterflies. Luke can officially outrun a butterfly, sort of. We ran and jumped through the air and rolled on the ground trying to catch them. And as a matter of fact, we actually caught three butterflies by hand that day. Exactly three. The kids all got to touch and hold each one before we let them go. It was a beautiful and inspiring day.

I have often wondered about the three Monarch butterflies that we held and released in 2007. I wonder what they went on to do after that day...

I think I know...


Monday, April 12, 2010

Love and Hate

I hate the census! "Record anyone living in your house on April 1, 2010." Is this a cruel April Fool's joke? I hate Batten Disease. I hate the question, "how are you?" I hate that I'm so impatient, judgemental, angry and tired. I hate that I am identified by my grief right now.

I love spring...and summer and fall and winter. I love the beach. I love the sweet sound of my newest offspring saying, "mommy," "mo," (more) "eat," "dada," "bubba," and "uh-oh." I love the sly little grin my rough and tumble boy gives me, and the sweet things my big girl tells me. I love my husband and the way he loves me. I love knowing that one day I will see my Savior face to face and watch my sweet Emma run and jump and play. But for now, I love knowing He is carrying me. Just like the Footprints in the Sand poem. There is just one set of prints in the sand in this season of my journey, because He is carrying me each step of the way. I love that. Otherwise, I think there would be no footprints, because I would just be curled up in a ball on the beach, the sand covering me and the water splashing over me.

...weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Found this on a blog, and I forgot where I was. She had taken pictures of eggs with the names of all the little ones she knew who had gone to be with Jesus. I saw Emma's name and didn't think I had ever met the lady who had done such a sweet thing,
but it was good to see her name nonetheless.
I love it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Things That Last...Like Butterflies...

(author warning: kelvin)

Christy is a fairly practical person. She doesn't buy things in excess and looks for practicality in all she does. With that, she has never encouraged me to buy her flowers because they don't last (although she doesn't complain when she gets them, either!). She prefers things that last.

When Emma passed in February a collection was taken amongst my coworkers at Lubrizol Corporation. They soon realized they had gathered a considerable sum and the thought of using it to buy dozens of sprays did not seem right. So they set out to do something that would last. Below is a picture of a beautiful memorial they commissioned for Emma. It is carved into a solid piece of Hill Country flatrock and was made by an artist in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is 39" long, 29" tall, 12" thick and weighs a few hundred pounds (just ask my buddies!). We have placed it in a butterfly garden in our backyard.

It reads:

In Memory of

Emma Elizabeth Dunnam

Thank you for touching our lives

Lubrizol Family

Notice the butterflies? Beautiful, huh? There are two other butterflies on the other sides as well. Everything is carved 1/4" deep into the stone. Now for the amazing part...this awesome stone is an accessory to the main part of the memorial that has yet to arrive! On Tuesday we are scheduled to receive a 52" Bronze Statue of a Little Girl with a Butterfly in her outstretched hand!!! Be sure to check the blog this week to see the bronze.

Things that Last...Like Butterflies...and Friends...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You can get it here...

****I forgot to tell you about the cool koozies!*****
Scroll down to find out more!

Did you miss Emma's Bayou Bash this year? Couldn't get to your car to get to the Bash because of the pounding rain and blustering wind? Wanted a cool Emma's Bayou Bash shirt from last year and this year but missed out? Well, you're in luck! We have a box of shirts just waiting for someone to sport.

We have the shirts from this year...

and even have some from last year...



Oh, how I miss that sweet face!

So, shoot me an email to if you would like to purchase a shirt. The 2010 Bash shirts came in black with long and short sleeves. The 2009 Bash shirts are white with short sleeves. Let me know what size you would like, and I'll check on it and get back to ya! For all you bloggers out there, this is a great chance to start your Emma's Bayou Bash t-shirt collection. The shirts sold for $15 each, but you can get both shirts for $20, plus shipping! **The koozies are 3 for $5 or $2 each. They are perfect for your beverage of choice. A must have for summer! Get them while they last! :)

After we finalize what you want to purchase, I'll give you a total, and instructions on how you can pay. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cora's 1st Birthday

She is so adorable! It's hard to believe a year has come and gone already. She is growing so quickly! She speaks, eats chunks of food, drinks from a straw cup, and tries to run around to keep up with her big brother and sister. Cora is a delight, a gift from God, and a blessing. She is a ray of sunshine through the dark clouds that hang overhead. Here are some of her finest moments...

Finally got Cora's birthday videos loaded on YouTube. How sweet is this?

And this?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Falling to pieces

A lot of times lately, I seem to float through life, getting along just fine. Then, out of the blue, a huge wave of sadness, darkness, deep despair and heaviness presses in on me like a heavy quilt. Sometimes I don't think I can breath. I told my precious husband yesterday I didn't know how his mom hasn't completely fallen apart. She has buried her daughter, husband (and best friend), and now her granddaughter. She is so strong. I didn't realize just how strong until now. Just to get out of bed and function every day is amazing. I know it is for me, I can't imagine how much more so for her. Kelvin agreed she is very strong and then asked me if I felt like I was falling apart. Yes, yes I do. He said that was okay. There was a lot of love lost when we lost Emma. It all seems so unreal, like a bad dream. I look at Cora and remember seeing Emma develop the same sweet way. I wish she was here today, healthy and happy. There will always be a tremendous hole in my heart, in our family. One of our stair steps is missing and can never be repaired.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

You have to break it to use it...

(author warning: kelvin)

...An Egg...

Yep, the incredible, edible egg. Until it is broken it is only a spot in the refrigerator, a potential mess, an odd shape and stored energy. But!, once it is broken it can become fried or scrambled, an egg-in-a-nest, French toast, a vegetable rich omelet or even a dye-stained meal for a kid in the front yard on Easter morning.

So, what about a heart? (note- don't look here for an answer)

Looking back at the answer God provided to compensate for our sins, it involved loss, a broken body and death. Was Christ an egg, only gaining value in death? Well, he certainly had value in life, but that would have only made him a prophet. It took a crucifixion to make him a savior.

Are certain people (souls) chosen as eggs, to bestow their greatest value in the hearts of others only through being broken? It sometimes seems that way, but makes absolutely z-e-r-o sense to me. However, we serve a mighty and awesome God. His grace and strength and love are beyond understanding. His plan is perfect. We praise Him, even if with broken hearts.

Happy Easter, Emma! I hope you find the most eggs this morning. ..don't forget to hold your basket straight so your eggs don't fall out the back. I love you and miss you terribly...Daddy

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Feather

(author warning...kelvin)

Do you remember the white feather that floated through the air in the opening scene of Forrest Gump? As the feather floated along through the people and fixtures in the busy city park, we were reminded of the randomness and happenstance of life; how we touch someone's life without knowing it, and how others affect our lives and they are unaware. The fictitious Forrest was the culmination of the highest highs and lowest lows of a generation. He also served as a mirror for all, a reflection of our often aimless encounters and that while we may forget our own words, they are always remembered by those who hear them.

I haven't decided if Emma is one big feather who easily catches wind and rides high on the thermals, or if she is a million tiny feathers softly scattering to the ends of the earth. Maybe she is a million big feathers. Me? Right now I just feel like the feather; floating aimlessly. I love Emma.

This weekend we will pause to remember a two thousand year old Feather, one whose impact is resting against every heart on earth. He doesn't float aimlessly, but with a millinium of thought-backed intent as he touches our lives. How God willingly allowed his son to die for me, I will never understand. Thank you God for sacrificing your Son for my sins and for allowing your Holy Spirit to remain among us.
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