Eden Ruth was born May 25, 2012 @ 1:34pm. She weighed 8lb & was 20inches long. We are home & doing well. She looks quite a bit like her big sister!! I will try to add pictures soon, but our home computer is giving us trouble. :( we continue to appreciate your prayers & sweet comments.
I did a VERY poor job of blogging in 2011. I hope to do better in 2012, but wanted to do a quick recap of the year. As involved as it was, and as much as God has taught me, I can't say that I'm going to be sad so see it go!! :)
David, my Dad and I had the great opportunity of going on a 10-day tour of Israel!! Highlight of the year...can't wait to go back.
Norah Kate had PE tubes and adenoids removed. She bounced back quick and has really improved in her speech (and lack of infections!!)
Norah Kate's 2nd Birthday!! Farm theme!
David was able to take a group of Union students to France. I was sad that I wasn't able to go, but happy that he got the chance! (and a little relieved that I didn't have to leave Norah Kate again after the long trip in January)
Interesting month. Began with my 10-year high school reunion (almost a year late...but who's counting). David was not able to attend with me because he had a conference in Virginia, but I really enjoyed seeing all of my best friends!!
On Good Friday my Dad was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). We had not planned to travel to Pocahontas for Easter, but changed our mind's and had a great family get-together.
Heavy storms at the end of April brought destruction to our back yard. 4 trees and several parts of the fence down. Fortunately our insurance paid and it wasn't an addition issue.
End of April/Early May - took Dad to Vanderbilt to begin treatment for Leukemia.
He spent over 3 weeks in the hospital for the first admission, so May was spent traveling back and forth to Nashville.
Norah Kate has spent MANY days & nights with "Cousin Aiden" and his family. We have so appreciated their hospitality toward Norah Kate as well as all they've done for my parents. They really went above and beyond anything we could have expected.
We FINALLY turned in our dossier for our Ethiopian adoption.
In June, I also traveled to Las Vegas for the AANP (Nurse Practitioner) Conference. I can't say that I ever had a desire to go to Las Vegas, but it really was a lot of fun. There is something for everyone there. Plus, it helped having 2 good friends there too!
Although really the remainder of our year was involved in traveling to and from Nashville to be with Dad, we did try to plan a few "normal" things for Norah Kate. Here we are at the Memphis Zoo. She had a blast!
We were able to all attend our annual family vacation to the beach. So happy that even Dad got to go and really felt good during this time.
Unfortunately during our vacation we received news from our adoption agency that it would probably be about 1.5 years before we were able to bring our little boy home. We were devastated, as we had so many setbacks already...definitely did NOT want to hear this.
We had about 3 weeks of down time in August before receiving the call that a donor match had been found for Dad's stem cell transplant. You would think this was a nice time of relaxation for us, but I think we crammed way too much "regular" stuff into this time. One being that I spoke at a Cancer Survivorship Conference in town.
At the end of August, Dad and Mom moved to a 1 bedroom apartment in Nashville to prepare for Dad's transplant.
September 1st - Dad's stem cell transplant
Norah Kate also started at First Presbyterian Church Playschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She loves it and is learning so much!
Then, in mid-September, David and I found out that we are EXPECTING! A little bit of a surprise in timing, but thrilled none the less!
October & November was filled with traveling back and forth to see "Pops!" Norah Kate was also able to meet several family members for the first time, such as Uncle Douglas.
October - David turned 30!
November - Nekayeh turned 30!
A great Thanksgiving/Christmas with David's side of the family. Here are the 6 grandkids with David's parents. David's parents were able to be on furlough for 5 months and we were able to spend some good time with them. Unfortunately I did not get hardly any pictures. I guess I took it for granted that they had their camera's out much of the time. Ron (David's Dad) was a huge blessing to my Dad throughout his treatment/stem cell transplant. My Dad really enjoyed the time they had together.
Dad was finally released from his 100-day stay in Nashville and was able to move back to Pocahontas!
Norah Kate participated in her first Christmas Program with the Playschool.
And...we found out Norah Kate will have a little SISTER!!! Due at the end of May.
Another blessing was that we were all able to travel to my grandmother's house in Kentucky for Christmas. It was a very busy time, but I would not have traded it for anything!
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR
Looking forward to 2012:
- More of Norah Kate's playschool & other new activities
- The birth of Norah Kate's sister in May
- Continued healing for my Dad
- More information regarding the adoption of our son
(and of course...lots of rearranging the house and purchases that go with adding 1 (or possibly 2) children!!)
I just happened to look at the date of my last post...and it was over 2 months ago!!! Wow! I knew we had been busy, but I just can't believe its been that long. So, unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but this will be informative.
Adoption - I would describe this as S L O W. Ethiopia has slowed the wait time again and so they have told us it will be 10-17 months from the time our dossier was sent (June). So, we wait.
Dad - Dad has had a great couple of months of "down time." He has stayed in remission (HUGE praise) and felt great. He and Mom headed back to Nashville Sunday afternoon to move in to "The Village at Vanderbilt." He will be undergoing a stem cell transplant. He had a central line placed today and will start his 8 days of chemotherapy tomorrow morning. On September 1 he will receive his stem cell transplant. Our prayer requests are for minimal side effects, no infections, and a "smooth" recovery period. He will be required to stay in Nashville for 100 days. You can follow his blog here: www.carepages.com and type in "reidpennington"
Everything else - We have been trying to keep the remainder of our summer as "normal" as possible. We have been able to visit with both sides of our family so that was nice. My job has really been busy for the past few weeks, so I am really trying to balance home-work-play life. I was asked to speak at a cancer conference in town a few weeks ago. I think it went well and I was excited to see several people I know there.
Norah Kate is at a great stage. I know I'm going to kick myself later for not keeping up with this blog as well for her more than anything. She will be 2 1/2 in September and is already wearing size 3T clothes. She is talking so much, singing songs, and just a TON of fun to be around. She recently started Parents Day Out on Tuesdays/Thursdays and has done so well. I still go in her room almost every night and spend a minute or two just watching her sleep and thanking God for such a wonderful gift.
Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns over the last few months. I really hope to catch up with this blog soon!
Adoption Update! ...we F I N A L L Y mailed in our Dossier. I'm almost speechless to tell you just how relieved we were to send this in. I mean, we applied for this adoption almost A YEAR AGO!!!!! Yes, we have been through many many many many (you get the idea) frustrations with this process, but hopefully we can relax just a little since there is nothing else that is technically our responsibility. Each time we move a little closer to bringing our boy home, I get so excited. I know that we still have quite a wait (probably 7-10 months), and I know that we still have a lot to do but I just can't help but get excited. Please continue to pray for our son and wisdom in the decisions that we make.
Mailing our dossier
In other news...Dad is doing well. We found out on Wednesday that he is still in remission!!! He has started his first cycle of consolidation chemo. I think they are wanting him to have a bone marrow transplant for too long. We would really appreciate your continued prayers...he is not out of the woods yet! But as you can see below, he is feeling well and we are enjoying quality time with him :)
I haven't blogged much (on here) lately, and I know that you all understand. My dad has finished his intense, week-long chemo and just had a repeat bone marrow biopsy this past Friday. We will get the results on Tuesday. If this shows that the chemo worked & that he is in remission, then he will get a break to recover and then begin maintenance chemo to keep him in remission. Please pray with me that he will get good results!
In other news, we had a yard sale yesterday to raise money for our adoption. Thank you so much to everyone who donated items and sacrificed your time to help! We are so blessed with great friends. We raised enough money for 1 plane ticket to Ethiopia! Wa-hoo!!!
I think that is all for this afternoon. Hey, a short post is better than none, right? Maybe I'll join my husband and daughter in a nap now.
I definitely have been out of the blogging world lately. I guess I'm just not sure exactly how to go about saying this, so I'll just say it: My dad was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on April 22. I don't know that the shock of that statement has lessened any at all. He is now undergoing an intensive chemo regimen at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. I am so thankful for this facility and the doctors/nurses/staff that he has encountered. If you would like to stay updated on his progress you can visit his website at www.carepages.com/carepages/reidpennington This will prompt you to register with the carepages website and then when you "visit" a site you just put in "reidpennington." This has been a rollercoaster of emotions already, and we know that there is a long road ahead of us. Please join me in praying for his complete healing, for no infections while his counts are down, and for my mom/sister/me as we help to care for him throughout this time. I am so thankful that God has allowed us His peace at just the right time throughout this process. His protection over my thoughts/emotions has been amazing. I just want to say that if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ...you are missing out! I am so thankful that I already had this relationship established prior to my Dad's diagnosis. There is no relationship that compares and none other like my Jesus. My hope is that, through this hardship, Christ will be known by all who we encounter. We will give him ALL of the glory.
Well, It is Friday again...& you know what that means! 1. We are in Pocahontas tonight for my 10th High School Reunion. I think that's all I'm going to say about that. Ha ha! 2. I got my hair CHOPPED OFF today. And I got the long bangs. Yes, this is a first...as with all "fashionable" things, my sister said it would look good and so I did it. I do like it...its, honestly, just about 6 or 7 inches shorter so that will just take some "getting use to." 3. Norah Kate FINALLY went for her 2 year old check up yesterday. She weighed 27lb (between 25-50%), height 36.5inches (90%), head 47cm (50%). She did a great job and no shots this round. 4. I'm not sure if I have mentioned on here, but I've given up sweet tea for Lent. I don't think this was a good idea for several reasons. 5. Adoption update: Our agency verified on Tuesday that Ethiopia does continue to process only 5 adoptions per day. That means that we will have at least an extra year added onto our wait time. ...sigh... David and I have not really had a chance to discuss exactly what this means on our end, so I would continue to ask for prayers of wisdom.
We are living in Jackson, TN with our daughter, Norah Kate, and our chocolate lab, Chula. David is the Assistant Director for Student Mobilization at Union University, and I work as a nurse practitioner at The Jackson Clinic.