Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, New Niece, Ella Before & After, and What's Next

So much to catch up on in this post! This will be my highlights of April post as you can tell from my title there is lots to talk about. We'll start first with Easter since that was today!
So, Happy Easter Everyone! I trust it's been a wonderful day celebrating our risen Lord and the hope we have in Him! What an incredible reason we have to celebrate! Every day I am blown away by the love our God has for each of us that He would send His only son to earth, Jesus, who by his choice took our sins and died for us so that we would have eternal life with him! He is alive and he lives in us and gives us everlasting life!! What a gift, thank you Lord! We had a great Easter weekend spending time with family and friends. On Saturday we went to the annual Como Easter Egg Hunt and BBQ down in Como which is an inner city community here in Fort Worth. Some of our very dear friends have partnered with the community center there to put on the Egg Hunt and BBQ for the past couple of years and more importantly just to be there to love on people and let them know Jesus loves them. It is always a blessing to be a part of it, we look forward to going every year! Much to my disappointment though we did not get pictures with the Easter Bunny this year. :( I decided to resist the urge to traumatize my children by making them get their picture made with him since Ella was hiding behind me if he was anywhere around and Eva settled for giving him a friendly high-five and that folks, was our EB experience for 2011. It was a fun day!

Lined up ready for the big Egg Hunt!

Eva hunting eggs with her friend Ellie

Ella wanted to spend most of her time in the bounce house...wasn't so into hunting eggs.
On Sunday we had another little egg hunt for the girls at my parents house. So fun!
Are these two little girls not the sweetest things you've ever seen?? My mom made them these precious Easter dresses. I just love them!! Thank you Mimi, we love you!

Kisses from my girls!

Mimi and Pawpaw

I just love this picture. They are so sweet together!

Up next, my little sister and her husband Ryan had their baby girl Carisyn Esther on April 6. I am excited to be an aunt again and the girls are SUPER excited about their new baby cousin.

I mean is she not the most beautiful little baby?? We can't get over her cuteness and we just love her to pieces!

The girls looooved seeing Carisyn, playing with her tiny hands and admiring her FULL head of gorgeous hair! Ella wanted to hold her constantly, so sweet!

We can't wait for more cousin time with our little Carisyn, we're so glad she's here!

Alright, we need an update on little Ella don't we? Thank you again for all of your prayers for her surgery and recovery. She did not miss a beat with this one! It really was amazing and we are just so thankful for a smooth surgery and an unbelievably quick recovery. We had a follow up appointment last week and all looks good. Her incision looks great and all is well! Such an answer to prayer! She's so funny because everyday after her surgery when I would get her dressed I would ask her how her tummy was feeling. Well, after about two or three days of me asking her that every morning she finally starting beating me to the punch and as soon as I would go to take her shirt off she would pipe up "My tummy feels ok." Hilarious. She knew what I was going to say before I said it! Sweet little girl!

Here's a little before and after pics for you. You know how I love before and afters.

Before. This is what the g-button site looked like after they removed it. It kind of looks like a belly button...just in the wrong spot. :) Sort of funny because Ella doesn't have a belly button (all babies with omphaloceles are born without belly buttons)but the g-button site made it look like she did but it was just way over to the side in a weird place. Awesome...just what we needed, something else a little different to add to our list. So, having to have the closure surgery was a good thing for more than one reason. Now we know for sure everything is all healed up and closed up like it should be AND instead of weird-looking misplaced belly button she has a little incision instead. I mean out of the two I would rather her have a small little scar wouldn't you?

After. Not too bad!

Here is a good picture of her "pretty belly" as I call it. I tell her everyday what a beautiful tummy she has and how thankful we are that God has healed her and helped her grow big and strong. Sweet baby has come so far and we are so thankful for all the Lord has done in her short little life. There is more to come but hopefully the next surgery is still another year away. You can see in this picture how her tummy bulges out. I've mentioned it before but this is because at her initial omphalocele repair surgery when she was two days old they had a hard time fitting all the organs back in and pulling her abdominal muscles back together over them so they only did a skin closure. Our next surgery will more than likely be to get full muscle closure over the organs which would flatten her tummy, clean up her scar and hopefully create a cute little belly button. Right now she is still too small and the hernia is too big so we just wait and let her grow which is great with us! She is doing so well, eating great, she is active and doing everything other kids her age are doing. We are so blessed and I thank God many times a day for the miracle of Ella Hope!

So, what is next for the Carders you ask? Weeeelll, we have some exciting plans in May! I'll give you a hint...we are going on a trip, it starts with a T, it's really, really, really far away. We are going to THAILAND!! I know, I'll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor. The Carder fam is headed to Thailand in a just a few weeks to go visit Ann, Derran and the girls! We are SOOOO excited as if you couldn't tell from all of my exclamation points. :) Yes, we are all going, Eva and Ella too. Eva packed her bag in January so she's good to go! We cannot wait to get to see and be a part of the Reeses work in Phayao as well as have some great cousin time. The girls love their cousins Brynn and Meg and talk about them everyday so getting to go to Thailand will be such an adventure. I know some people may think we are crazy for going with two small children, one being Ella, but we just feel incredibly blessed that we are at a place now where this is even possible. We thought it would be yeeaaarrs before we would ever be able to go visit and I was pretty sure when we did get to go we would be buying a plane ticket for all of Ella's medical supplies to go with us. Every time I think about getting on the plane in a matter of weeks I can't help but thank God over and over for what He has done and for what He is doing in our family. My heart just wants to burst with thanksgiving!

We're so excited and will have lots of fun stories and pictures to share soon! You can follow the Reeses blog and learn more about their life and ministry in Phayao, Thailand by clicking on my link Reeses in Thailand at the top of my blog. That pretty much sums it up for now, looking forward to what's to come! I'm sure I'll have some great Thailand stories for ya so stay tuned!