Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Surprise! update

SURPRISE! Since Emma's 4th birthday is Monday, I thought I would celebrate by giving the blog a little makeover. This is the surprise I told you about the other day. When I talked to the blog design queen, she said since I wanted to make so many changes we should just go full-blown with the makeover, so I agreed. We are still tweaking (did I spell that right?) just a tad, but I'm lovin' it so far. What do you think?

Hope you're having a great weekend! Today was just gorgeous out. Kelvin and I spent nearly the whole day together enjoying the water around us and the warm sunshine. We started out running/walking (much more of the latter for me) about 6 miles this morning to get some training in for the half marathon in a few weeks. I'm thinking Kelvin is going to have to trade me in for a new model soon. My hips hurt, my arms hurts, and my leg started hurting today! Good grief! I'm not that old. Afterward we grabbed some really yummy fish tacos at a very yummy cafe in Seabrook. We decided to take our time and drive around checking out the new construction going on since Hurricane Ike. There are some beautiful homes being built to replace the old ones. We also had our first crawfish of the season, some good conversation and good wine at a local wine tasting room, and checked out a boat for fun. I mean why not, huh? I love looking at model homes...why not model boats? Fun to dream. All I could think about was how well I could sleep with such a peaceful rocking motion.

I think tomorrow after church we're taking the kids to one of the parks we walked through today to play and have a picnic. The trails we were walking lead us to a butterfly garden. It was so neat that God provided a such a sweet reminder of Emma. I think we'll show the kids the garden too. I'm hoping the weather is just as nice again.

***Update***
We finished the tweaking last night. I love the outcome! Did you notice the cool new headers? Yes, I said more than one. We have 4 rotating headers now. Three of them are some of my favorite pictures of Emma, and one is all four of our little darlings. Enjoy!

TODAY is Emma's 4th Birthday. We will celebrate by spending the day at Texas Medical Center passing out parking passes. Emma's Hugs has also pre-purchased 550 days of parking that we will present to the Social Services Department at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to distribute. When the kiddos get home from school we are going to the cemetary to eat butterfly cupcakes (hope it stops raining).

Happy Birthday Em!

Beautiful Blogger Award


My precious friend, Lesley gave us this award. She is adorable. Check out her blog and photgraphy blog.

Kelvin and I were talking about friends and good intentions among other things when Emma became so sick, and he made the comment that there are those friends who ask what they can do, and then there are friends who just do. Lesley is one of our friends that just did for us. We haven't been friends that long, but Lesley is one who is a long lost friend after just a visit or two. She is so creative and has the most gorgeous ideas. I love her house and all her froo-froo girly girl stuff.

Thank you for the sweet award, Lesley!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Did you wear your jeans today?

Thanks to all of you who remembered to wear your jeans today. I'm going to wear them all weekend. Unfortunately, I'm not in a high profile career where it is noticeable that I'm wearing jeans as opposed to my suit. It would probably make more of an impact if I did wear a suit. It would be funny anyway.

I've been pretty down the past couple of days. Monday is Emma's 4th birthday. Man, I miss that sweet baby girl! I wish so badly she were here for us to make a big butterfly cake and sing happy birthday and watch her blow out her candles. I wish we were doing a lot things we aren't. We are instead trying to find our "new normal." I still stutter when we are leaving the house without putting Emma's bean bag in the car and carefully picking her up and lying her in it. How I wish she could have sprung up and run to the car, figuring out how she could beat Luke in buckling her seatbelt before him. My ears yearn to hear her sweet little voice. I would have loved to hear her say, "Mama." Today I cried in gym class as we cooled down to the song, "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman...


So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the
clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone


I feel anxious lately, like I'm loosing all of my kids. It seems the clock is ticking faster and faster and I'm racing trying to get things done, prepare them for the future, savor every moment.

Today Carleigh's class did a special project for a history lesson. It was so creative and fun. I'll post the video tomorrow. I wish I could freeze her for just a little while. I don't want to miss anything with her. She's growing up so fast. Today we ran a couple of errands together, and she was asking what we were going to do for Emma's birthday. I told her some my ideas. She then proceeded to ask about a headstone or footstone for Emma's gravesite. I said we hadn't chosen one yet. She said she thought it would be a good idea to get a butterfly engraved on one and then proceeded to tell me the sweetest words we should have written on it.

I think I'll have a little suprise for everyone on Monday for Emma's birthday. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wear Your Jeans...

I've always been interested in finding a cure for diseases. I've run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5Ks, we raised a bunch of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training when we ran/walked the Rock n Roll marathon, have walked tons of laps for the Relay for Life here in our town, and click on the breast cancer site every day to help give away free mammograms, among other things. But there is one cure that is very near and dear to my heart now. I would love to see a cure for Batten Disease soon. There is a lot of new research going on, and I believe they are close. I pray they are. So here is something I thought everyone could do, and it won't cost you a red cent...


Wear Your Jeans....
to support World Rare Disease Day, February 28, 2010

World Rare Disease Day is a time when the community of affected children and families come together to garner support for their efforts. Please join the Global Genes Project in its support for World Rare Disease Day by wearing jeans. It's that easy!

Imagine lawyers in courtrooms, business executives in boardrooms, state legislators and others from all walks of life wearing jeans the week before or Friday (that's this Friday) before World Rare Disease Day – all to show their support for those affected by rare disease worldwide. www.rarediseaseday.us.

It can happen. And this simple act could help change the lives of children affected by rare diseases. Please also join us on Facebook to share your efforts with the rest of the world – post photos, share stories and get people excited!

So help today! Wear your jeans!

Check out these websites for more information on Rare Disease Day:

http://rarediseaseday.us/
http://www.rarediseases.org/
http://www.geneticalliance.org/

BDSRA is an official sponsor of the Global Genes Project.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rock on sista!

Seems we have a new little musician in the house!





Wish her big sister was here to rock with her. She had some rhythm!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Guess Who's Walking!?!

She's 10 months old, has a striking resemblance to Carleigh, Luke and Emma, is pretty darn spunky and maybe a little stubborn, and is cute as a button...

You guessed it! CORA is walking now. She's not walking and that's it yet, but Wednesday night she crawled to the middle of the floor, stood up unassisted, and took several steps! EEK! Life around the Dunnam household is about to make a drastic change! She's been practicing a lot too. Of course, I'm not upset she still likes to crawl.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Did I forget to mention?

Kelvin and I awoke around 3:30 a.m. on Monday to the sound of splattering on our bedroom floor. It was Carleigh. Evidently the bug got her too. Thankfully, she was fine after emptying her stomach on my floor the one time and sitting on the potty one time later in the morning. Can you say "thank you, Jesus for hard wood/laminate flooring?" I was doing the happy dance (well, as happy as you can get while cleaning up puke) that I wasn't trying to clean up such a huge mess imbedded in carpet. I'm sure my room would still stink. Thought to self...teach Carleigh to go straight to the bathroom if she thinks she even might throw up.

As we were rolling into town Sunday afternoon, we called my friend who Luke stayed with. She said he was napping and had been running fever. He ran a low grade fever the rest of the night but after sleeping on the couch the almost the entire day Monday, he seemed fine.

Cora has had runny diapers for almost a week now. I called the doctor today. The nurse is going to get back with me. Hope she's okay. Seems this stomach bug is pretty wide spread!

Stay well!

Here are some Christmas pictures I don't think I've posted before...

Merry Christmas bright eyes

A doll for a doll




Grammy and Papa with the kiddos

Aren't their matching pjs adorable!?!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Post Valentine Report

We arranged for the kids to stay over Friday night with various friends, and Kelvin and I headed to East Texas to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. (She has Altzheimer's, so we thought the kids might overwhelm her just a bit. We were smart to leave them behind.) So, we dropped them all off Friday afternoon and headed east. The drive ended up being just lovely! After about 2 hours, we started driving through snow. It was like a postcard...white-tipped pines, snow-covered pastures and ponds, and barns with white roofs. We loved it. (Keep in mind, we live in Texas and don't see snow much.) We drove straight to a gorgeous restaurant and ate a delicious dinner with my aunt and her precious boyfriend, then headed to our hotel. About an hour later, our beautiful evening turned very ugly! We were both struck with the stomach virus from hell! Neither of us had ever been this sick before. The good thing about it was that we didn't have to worry about taking care of the kids. The bad thing about being in a hotel was that we only had one bathroom. YIKES!! Well, after calling the ER and checking to see if anyone else from the restaurant had reported being ill, we learned there was a horrific stomach virus across the entire region. I can't imagine how both of us came down with it at the same time, but I'm glad we got it over with together. We ended up staying an extra night because we couldn't possibly drive home in our condition. We have some really great friends who took on our kiddos for two nights in a row!

Sunday we woke feeling much better. Whew! We got to spend some very cherished time with my grandmother. My aunt met us there and was able to help us navigate the conversation with such grace. What a picture of honor for a parent. Several times my grandmother would bust out in song and we would all join her. It was a treasured moment in time I hope to have eternally. We shared favorite hymns and she would remember most of the words. I could tell she really wasn't sure of who Kelvin and I were during most of our visit, but near the end, she said something about Evelyn, and I mentioned she was my mom. Grandmama stopped and looked at me, smiled, tilted her head, and said, "Christy, is that you?!" It was precious. Every sweet moment was very fleeting, but all were just as precious. Kelvin said on the way home how beautiful it was that the things embedded in her inner most being were her love for the Lord and faith in Him. What a fabulous legacy she has left her family. I will miss her.

Wishing you all health, happiness and love this day after Valentine's Day.

club member

I loved the dinner club we used to have. I'm very fond of the coffee club and the charm bracelet club, and I love going to weddings at the country club. I am amazed when I get to go to the ginormous Cosco or Sam's Clubs, but I never wanted to be a member of this club. I remember reading other blogs of people who had lost children, or hearing a sad, terrible story of how a child was taken from a family, and I always said I couldn't fathom that. I would just die. I still can't, and I feel like I might sometimes. Somehow this all seems like some sort of awful nightmare. I still can't believe our precious Emma is gone. I still can't believe her diagnosis. I remember the neurologist telling me what he suspected, and upon looking it up, reading and learning that my child would regress to a vegetative state and die at an early age. How in the world could this have happened? I wish I could wake up and everything would be back to the way it was intended. I wish I was getting my almost 4 year old ready for preschool this morning. I wish I was planning what she would wear to rodeo day at school soon and buying all the ingredients for my recipe for the chili cook-off for her class. I wish I was planning her birthday party or choosing what outfit I was going to buy for her out of the Kelly's Kids catalog to match her brother and sisters. I do not want this new club membership! I would like my baby back, please.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emma's Memorial Video

I wish we could have used every single picture of our little doll in the video we played at her memorial service, but it might have been a little too long. Our precious friend, Jordan did a beautiful job of putting together this collection of memories of Emma. We love it. Here it is...
(don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the blog.)

Emma Dunnam from Jordan Hall on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I miss her

Monday night...

A cold front is blowing in with a thunderstorm. I can hear the thunder rumbling closer and closer. The rain has come in quickly and heavily, and now it seems like it's getting lighter. The sound of it all is a nice distraction from the pain in my heart and mind. It has been a week since Emma left this world, and I miss her so much already. I don't miss her being sick, and I'm so happy she is well now, but I miss her. I guess now that she's gone, I remember how she used to be before Batten Disease took her place, and I miss that little doll. There is a definite emptiness in our family now. I'm missing one of the stairsteps in the line of our children. I feel clumsy, like I'm going to trip and fall. When Luke blew out his candles yesterday, it made me sad that all of our family wasn't here to see him. When we went to the boardwalk and rode the fun rides, my heart ached that Emma couldn't enjoy it with us too. When I got in the car and her seat wasn't there, my heart sank. When I look around at all the beautiful flowers I am reminded of her beauty. She was so beautiful. She had lips that would make Angelina Jolie jealous. Her eyelashes were long and curled perfectly. Her eyebrows were shaped like she'd just had them waxed. Her skin was so smooth and creamy. Her hair was golden, almost white, and so soft. Her nose was the cutest little button. I felt I could see to her soul through her big, round, brown eyes. Her teeth were so strong and straight. Her little voice, which I cherished so much, was the perfect blend of raspy and strong and melodic. I loved feeling her fingers and rubbing her little toes. Her fingernails grew so quickly, I had to trim them every couple of weeks. I miss holding her little body, especially last year around this time when she would lay her head on my swollen belly. Maybe Cora will remember the touch of her sister someday from that special time. I miss my precious girl...

I am forever changed.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Emma's Dash

Below, you will find what I shared with the crowd at Emma's funeral. It reflected on her impact on the world: Emma's Dash.

Friends, on behalf of Christy and I, let me begin by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for joining us and supporting us on this unexpected journey.

It is our belief that we are stewards of God’s children until he calls them home. We are humbled and thankful that God entrusted us with such an influential and soul-moving being as Emma. Emma Elizabeth Dunnam was a beautiful and inspiring little girl. Her toothy smile was contagious. She was very social and loved to be in the middle of the action.

In funerals we usually discuss “THE DASH”…that dash that is placed between the year of birth and year of death. We list accomplishments, organizational affiliations, education and special things a person has done for others. Through worldly eyes, Emma had a very limited skill set. Early on she could clap, say A, UH OH and DADDY, and climb and fall down stairs. Then she regressed and lost those quickly. At first glance, Emma’s DASH seems rather shallow.

As parents we all look at our newborn children and say “you can change the world”. We envision school dances and graduation, vacations and careers, weddings and grandchildren--- all within the first few seconds of seeing their face. Our thoughts were no different when we first saw Emma as we imagined how she would impact the world------WOW!...how we underestimated her!!!

Who could have imagined the skill set of clapping, saying A, UH OH and DADDY and climbing and falling down stairs could have touched our community the way she did? Certainly not I. I can’t think of a life she has changed more than my own, but there are many of you here today that have told us of the great impact in your own lives and families because of Emma.

Friends, if you would please oblige me for a moment, I have a special request for you: if Emma has made a significant impact in your life or prompted you to get out of your comfort zone and take action, will you please raise your hand?

• The anonymous 8 who sent us to Disney World
• Those who left envelopes of cash in my work mailbox
• Those who mowed our yard and cleaned our home
• Those who have written us letters and told stories of restored marriages
• You fathers that have described how you spend more time with your children
• Everyone who volunteered for Emma’s Bayou Bash
• Those who have committed to reading their Bible daily because of Emma
• You who have re-established a daily prayer life

Keep your hands up for a minute and look around you…NOW you are looking at EMMA’s DASH. You are the FACE of Emma's Dash and we thank you for that.

A legacy is one of the greatest pursuits of mankind. Lives built upon an individual's own actions STOP at the end of their dash. Lives lived in a fashion to INSPIRE others to action, however, leave a legacy. Emma has left a tremendous legacy and her mother and I are very proud of her. Emma introduced us to the wisdom that we do not HAVE souls. Instead, we ARE souls and have bodies. Emma IS a wise and seasoned soul.

In a group this size we are likely missing no political or religious perspective. And regardless, I believe we could all agree that we wish for a world without wars. However, the worst of wars have a silver lining that we all celebrate--- and that is that wars give us heroes. Emma’s battle against Batten Disease is no different than any other war; the casualties were great, but we learned of many heroes in our midst. These heroes are another part of Emma’s Dash.

There are two particular heroes in Emma’s Battle that I considered mentioning today. I asked Christy for her opinion of whether I should mention Bill and Susan Baker and how they energized dozens---to rally hundreds---to feed thousands---to raise tens of thousands in donations---all for one little girl…and how the Emma’s Bayou Bash TEAM redefined what it means in this area to help a family in need. Well, Christy said it might embarrass them…so, I’m not going to mention it…

I will however single out one particular hero today. Please listen carefully as I read a series of scriptures, beginning with verse 25 of Proverbs 31:

25- She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at days to come.
26- She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27- She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28- Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29- Saying “many women do noble things, but you surpass them all”.
30- Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Christy, thank you for being a Proverbs 31 woman. Thank you for looking past your husband's faults and staying focused on God. Your love, care and attention for all of your children are above reproach. You have been through valleys deeper than the sun's rays could reach and you let Christ light your way. Yours and Emma’s DASHes are eternally intertwined. I love you.

Today, I have posed the question, “who could have seen that the skill set of clapping, saying A, UH OH and DADDY and climbing and falling down stairs could leave such a legacy?" I do not pretend for a second to know the reasoning that takes place on the other side, but I will safely say that God easily saw how such simple feats could make an impact to transcend generations.

We have received letters from around the world—literally—telling us how Emma has impacted lives. We praise a HOLY, GRACIOUS and PERFECT GOD for how he has so mightily used Emma. We are also challenged and extend an invitation to you to find the things in your life that are your equivalents of A, UH OH, DADDY and clapping and use them to inspire others. Speaking from my own experiences, I know we often times do not climb the stairs in our lives out of fear that we may fall down. Let’s remember today that it may be our falling down the stairs of life that inspires 100 other people to climb them.

Emma,

Thank you for forever embedding in us the spirit of a small child; one who loves unconditionally, smiles at all she sees, when in doubt gives hugs and always climbs every set of stairs she can find. Thank you for profoundly changing my life and for allowing me to be a part of yours. I love you always. Daddy

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Sun Still Shines

In case you have ever wondered, life does go on after your child dies; babies cry, dogs bark, it rains and bills show up in the mailbox. But also, friends call to check on you and bring you food, it still feels good to lay beside your spouse, you enjoy the fires in the fire pit each night and it warms your heart when your other kids jump in your bed in the morning. New babies have been born into our family and today we will celebrate Luke's birthday. We enjoyed a gorgeous day yesterday while watching the kids on carnival rides. The blessings don't slow down, we just have to remember and realize they are there. It is the world inside your head that tends to slow down or stop.

Our family seems small now; three kids feels like part-time work. Luke wanted to bring Emma home after visitation. We hadn't admitted it until he verbalized it, but so did we.

The funeral was videoed, and we will be posting segments here so that all of you who supported us from your keyboards and mouse pads can have the same closure we were blessed with. A dear friend of ours played a bluesy guitar solo of Mary Had A Little Lamb which transitioned into Amazing Grace. A recording was played of Christy singing A Mother's Prayer. I spoke and reflected on Emma's impact and our pastor delivered a beautiful and inspiring message.

Additionally, we will soon be compiling all e-mails, blog comments and the blog itself into a keep sake. If you would like to leave a message about Emma's impact please leave a comment or e-mail us at kcdunnam@yahoo.com. Thanks

k

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Arrangements

Visitation:
Thursday 5-8 pm

Funeral:
Friday 1000 am

Both at Second Baptist Church Baytown, TX
6227 North Main
Baytown, TX
77521

281-839-0700
Directed by Crespo & Jirrels

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Race Well Run

EMMA ELIZABETH DUNNAM
March 1, 2006 - February 1, 2010
Thighs aching. Lungs burning.
Chest pressed against the Finish Line tape.
Ears ringing as fans packed 1,000 deep on each side of the course chant:
"Em-ma! Em-ma! Em-ma!
Em-ma! Em-ma! Em-ma!"

A single tear falls down her face as the finish line tape snaps against the push of her chest.
The noise of the crowd dies out.
Her legs no longer hurt. She breaths normally.
She walks slowly forward.
And opens her eyes!
She gazes around at a serene white landscape. All is quiet.

A loving gentleman in a flowing white gown runs gently to her.
They embrace. His hands leave small specs of blood on her back.
He says, "You were missed, welcome home".
She says, "I wasn't gone that long, and besides, we spoke every day".

They walk towards the Throne hand in hand,
He walking, she skipping.
Under the seriphems they go, listening to their eternal songs.
And on her face she falls as her entire soul sings out praises to God.

With a thunderous boom the voice of the Creator calls her by name: "Emma".
She is saturated by the sound. She cannot answer.
She wants to sing praises. She wants to dance. She cannot move.
She feels His warm breath on the nap of her neck and hopes to spend eternity there.

He again speaks and His voice drowns out the praises of the seraphim's: "Emma".
She can't speak, but He knows her soul is listening.
And He says, "You really knocked their socks off, kiddo".
Emma giggles, "Yes LORD, we did".

"Good job".
A simple vision from the forever grateful and until we meet again,

Daddy and Mommy

Who's Got Your Back?

We don't understand.
We can't comprehend.
How can one with so little give so much?

Last night as we laid in bed, looking at each other over Emma's beautiful face, Christy said she didn't feel strong. I told her I have never felt strong since Emma was diagnosed. If we felt strong then something would be wrong with us. Fortunately, we don't have to be strong. I hope God's not getting tired ;)

Emma's day has not gotten any better, or maybe it has.

My Kid is Tougher than your Kid

Have you ever seen those old men who hang out around the donut shop or the bank? I like watching them discuss their heart surgeries. One guy will talk about the size of his scar and immediately someone else will be unzipping their Dickie's coveralls to show off their scar. Boys are always boys.

That will be me from now on when some proud dad is telling how his kid broke a leg or got 7 stitches on their chin...Oh yea? Well, my daughter Emma...

Emma battled her pneumonia throughout the night. Each heavy and labored breath seemed worthy of a finish line gasp, but wasn't. She is working hard this morning. Don't read my report as any type of forecast, because I have been 100% wrong thus far. Here is a cute picture of Emma from a month ago-


k
01 09 10 11 12
Blogging tips