Thursday, March 19, 2009


Stephen, the boys and I returned today from a really fun trip to Gatlinburg. This past Monday was our 13th wedding anniversary. Where does the time go? It seems like we were newlyweds not all that long ago and now here we are three kids and a lot of years later. If getting away for a few days wasn't enough of an anniversary present, you will not believe what surprise I came home to today. Check out the pictures below. Our master bedroom and study were transformed from a very plain room with some pretty furniture to this.....

custom bedding, notice the monogramming and the beautiful fabric

custom drapes that are absolutely beautiful!!

a view into the study

more drapes

monogrammed drapes in the study

There are so many small, personal details that make the room special. A few of my favorites...

a corkboard with personalized pictures

our wedding photos and check out the magazine rack mounted on the wall by the bed

There are a couple of faux finishes (Connie's specialty!) in the room. This is one of my favorites and in the center is one of my favorite pictures of the boys.

I love this grouping of pictures of the boys and of the barn at my parent's house.

This is probably one of my favorite things of all. This is in the study. These are a few of my favorite pictures of the boys in black and white .

There is so much more that I could post. I love every inch of it! Thank you so much Connie for all of your hard work. I love everything!!! I could not ask for a more wonderful space or a more wonderful friend. Thank you mother for all of your hard work this week and Melinda too! Your pictures helped to make the room so special (not to mention your painting). Did I mention my mother cleaned out every single closet in the house? That was no small task seeing as how I am lacking in organization. And Stephen - what can I say? I always knew you were incredibly sweet but this just tops everything. And you kept it a secret! I love you more than you know. You are an amazing husband and daddy. Happy 13th Anniversary! Thank you for making all of this happen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthdays and Snow

It has been a busy few days around here. Friday was Harrison's 10th birthday. I can't believe that my first baby is now 10. Something about moving into the double digit numbers kind of makes me sad. It just makes me realize how fast the time goes by. I would love to just stop time for a little bit and keep all of the kids right where they are. Maybe that is me being selfish. They certainly can't wait to get bigger and bigger.

And today...snow in Alabama on March 1st. It was really fun while it lasted. That's how snow is here. It lasts for only a couple of hours and then it is gone. It made a morning of fun for the boys though. I have to say, I don't think I would like to live somewhere where it snows a lot. I spent the entire morning cleaning up all of the snow, melted snow and wet clothes from the ten thousand trips outside. They couldn't seem to stay outside or keep on one pair of clothes or keep from tracking snow all over the house. But it was lots of fun. If only it could have happened tomorrow so that we could all have a snow day!

Harrison's Snowman

Sunny checking out the snow




Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nathan & His Best Friend!

Some of you may remember Sunny from this post. Check out how big he his now. The boys and I just love Sunny, not so sure about Stephen. I think Stephen is coming around though.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, I just might win the worst mom award tonight. I had been out to get my hair cut and went to dinner with a friend and didn't get home until about 8:45. It seems that Nathan went to bed without taking his evening medicine. You might think, well that's okay, take it in the morning. But, no, it does not work that way around here with Nathan. We never miss his meds because they are so important for the health of his transplanted liver. His most important medicine is his Rapamune (anti-rejection) which he takes in the morning. He has never missed a dose of it. Two times a day he also takes an anti-viral drug to fight this little virus (EBV) that he has. Tonight he went to sleep without the anti-viral. It probably would not be the end of the world if he didn't take it till morning, but it was only 8:45, and he had only been asleep for 30 minutes. So let's just say I was determined that he was going to take the medicine. Nathan had other plans though. He is a very heavy sleeper, and he absolutely refused to wake up. He moaned and he groaned and cried MOMMY....many, many times. Then he got really upset and just cried and cried and cried. I would stand him up, he would lay down on the floor and cry. He would get back in bed and cry some more. All the while I keep after him to just PLEASE swallow this one syringe of medicine. At this point it might have been more productive to just let him sleep. We literally fought over it for about 30 minutes. Nathan is the most strong willed person I have ever met (those of you who know him I'm sure will agree)! All the while, I don't think he was ever truly awake. Then it really hit me. I just had this wave of sadness come over me. All I could think was, how sad that he has to take medicine each day that is so important for his very survival. How sad that I can't just let him sleep when all he wants to do is sleep. Trust me, I am not feeling sorry for myself or him. Quite the contrary. I am abuntantly thankful that he has medication that he can take every day that helps his body to accept his liver and fight infections. It's just that as much as I like to think that everything is back to normal around here, it never really is. Every now and then I am reminded anew that this is a life long journey for Nathan. I sometimes just wish that he could have one day of his life without medicine. But that just is not in the plan. And that's okay. I am long past the point of questioning all of this. I feel better just getting it off my chest though. By the way, he finally took the medicine and drifted right back to sleep. I feel certain he won't even remember it in the morning. Now if I could just forget....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nathan's One Year Anniversary

Today is a milestone day for our family, particularly Nathan. It was one year ago today that Nathan received his liver transplant. We received the call on Christmas day that a liver was available for him. We had been celebrating the day at Aunt Melinda's house when we received the call. It came as a total surprise even though Nathan had been waiting for a little over a month. We had no idea when the call might come but it was none too soon. Nathan was becoming sicker and sicker. Here he is on Christmas night at UAB waiting to go to surgery.

The picture below is on December 26, 2007, just a few hours after his surgery was completed. Today we are celebrating the gift of life he was given one year ago. Nathan has had a wonderful year of good health with only a few bumps in the road. He is enjoying second grade. He loves his dog, Sunny. He is a huge fan of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Chronicles of Narnia and of course Scooby Doo. Today and throughout the past year it has been hard not to compare each occasion to the one a year before. Nathan's birthday, the start of summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas have all given us reason to celebrate. We celebrate Nathan's life. We contemplate how much different this year is than last. We are now concernced with normal stuff, not life and death. We think about the gift of life given by an organ donor and we wonder about what the donor was like and we think of his family. We thank God for loving us and for all of our blessings. Today especially I can't help but remember all of the many people who have loved us and supported us throughout the year. All of those who spent the night at the hospital with us while Nathan was in the surgery and those who took care of every little need we had over those first days, I will never ever forget their kindness and their presence. Nathan actually remembers the night he went to surgery and he remembers so many people who were there and he remembers playing jingle bells on the guitar and singing for everyone. It was a tremendously special night for us and I will never forget the prayers that were lifted up for him. Happy first liver birthday Nathan.

All of the pictures below are from our Make-A- Wish trip to Give Kids the World and Orlando. There were so many pictures I could have included, these are just a few.

It was cold and dreary when we left Birmingham and we packed way to much stuff!

All of the boys were able to go to the cockpit and meet the pilots.

Nathan even got to wear the captain's hat.

Florida was sunny, 80's and beautiful.

Our first day at Disney.

Nathan was thrilled to meet Scooby and Shaggy.

Curious George is another favorite.

Stephen and Harrison with the guys from The Mummy.

At Give Kids the World, Nathan was given a star by the star fairy. He was able to write his name on it and then it was placed on the ceiling in the Castle of Miracles. He was then able to go and find it on the ceiling. His is the last one here on the third row. The room is absolutely beautiful with a star present on the ceiling for each child who has stayed there.

The village had a great heated pool and the boys enjoyed swimming in December.

Each day different characters came to Give Kids the World so we avoided the long lines at the parks to meet them. Here is Goofy, Mary Poppins and Pluto. Pluto is Nathan's favorite.

All of us with Mickey and Minnie

Santa came to visit on Thursday night and gifts were passed out to all of the children. We even had snow in Florida on this special night.

This is the street we stayed on. Our villa is the one on the left. It really is a little village filled with families who have children who have all been through, or are going through amazing challenges. It is such an wonderful place. They go out of their way to make the kids feel special and give them a week of no worries and only happy memories. The very first thing they did was sit us down to go over a few things, and the volunteer told Nathan that he was the boss for the week and that we had to do whatever he wanted to do. Kind of scary, huh? I was a little worried, but he didn't let it go to his head. I know that they do this on purpose to let these children feel like they have a little control in a life full of medical challenges. For Nathan, a life that revolves around us telling him when to take medicine, when to have labs done, go to the doctor, etc.. The village also has a free ice cream shop open all day long. How great is that? The village is staffed by some regular employees but mostly the place is run by a staff of volunteers. The volunteers range from older adults living in the area to college students performing community service, to youth groups spending a week serving others. Truly amazing. I wish that I could tell you all about the place and the many special things that made this trip so wonderful. I just don't have enough space.

This picture was taken yesterday on Christmas day. I love these boys dearly. Wow. What a difference a year makes. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the entire Shelton family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We made it home from Disney and had an absolutely wonderful time. I thought I might post some during the week, but we did not have wireless access in our room. I would have had to walk to the front check in / guest area which was a nice little walk down the road (and after walking all day at the parks, I just couldn't walk anymore!). I can't wait to tell you all about it and post some pictures (hopefully tomorrow). We stayed at Give Kids The World which is an amazing place. They work closely with wish organizations like Make-A Wish who sponsored Nathan's trip to Disney. I am off to unpack and get some sleep. Tomorrow I might actually start my Christmas shopping then I will post again with some pictures. Good Night!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Disney World Here We Come!

Well - tomorrow is the BIG day! We are leaving for Nathan's Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World. We can't wait to tell you all about it. We will try to update some during the week.

Stephen and Lora