Intermittent Strabismus :: Emory's Eyes

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."
- Psalm 62:5-8

I realized I had not mentioned anything about Emory's eyes on the blog - I kind of kept up with it on Instagram but never with much detail.  Most people upon seeing Emory's glasses just assumed she had bad vision, so I wanted to explain what we ventured through with her eyes over the past several months... to keep record but also to help anyone else out there whose child might be experiencing the same symptoms.

In mid November we started noticing that Emory would look at us, or look and point at objects, with one eye - kind of turn her head to the side and give us what I like to call a "chicken eye"...see post HERE for a visual ;).  She is such a sassy little lady that at first we just assumed she was doing this to be funny or throw an attitude...that it was behavioral.  My mom even noticed it and asked me about it.  Then one day Emory and I were talking at close quarters and she crossed one of her eyes and then kind of laughed.  I laughed too because I can purposely cross one eye and not the other so I thought she had just "inherited" that creepy gene.  She did it one more time and I told her that wasn't something she needs to do on purpose because it's not good for your eyes.  End of discussion.

However, over the next two weeks I saw that same right eye drift inwards a few times when she was sitting at the bar eating and talking to me or focusing on something up close or just when our faces were in close proximity while talking.  I immediately made an appointment with an eye doctor friend.  He did some preliminary testing and then referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist...actually the same eye doctor my sister saw when she was little.  After her appointment and some eye chart tests as well as dilating and testing, her doctor said she had intermittent strabismus.

Most would like to say that this is "lazy eye" but in actuality her eye wasn't lazy.  Her eye never just drifted around when she was going about normal activities...it would just tend to cross a little {and eventually a lot} when focusing.  This was all so foreign to us, since even as adults Stephen and I both do not wear glasses, and as far back as we know it does not run in our families.  Emory's case was also strange because it presented itself all of a sudden at a little more advanced age {3 vs. infancy}.  Basically all children are farsighted to some degree at her age.  Their world is usually at their fingertips, arms length away, and thats about all they need to focus on.  As they mature their eyes mature as well and they are able to see better up close and far away.  Emory was tested as slightly farsighted but it was in the normal range of children her age and the doctor said if that was the only information he had she would not need glasses.  She could see the smallest pictures with both eyes.

However, Emory was for some reason trying to correct her farsightedness by using one eye to focus, therefore allowing the other to not try as hard resulting in it turning inward.  We were hoping the glasses would fix the problem - let the glasses do all the focusing for her so she could use both eyes and not cross one.  We tried it for a couple weeks and honestly I just noticed the crossing getting way worse once the glasses were taken off {eye would immediately cross whether she was focusing on something or not}, and then once we went back for a check up her eyes would still cross a little WITH the glasses on = not a good sign.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
- Isaiah 41:10

We knew the next option would be surgery but we {the doctor and Stephen and I included} wanted to give her some time to see if the glasses would start to work.  We tried patching over the next couple weeks in order to strengthen the weakest eye prior to surgery.  We prayed and I believed without a shadow of a doubt that if it was God's will he would heal her without the surgery.  I prayed that daily, hourly at times.  My small group leader with BSF prayed with me and told me the most helpful and insightful thing during this waiting time - she said God chooses the route of healing that a) brings Him the most glory and b) teaches us the most.  And with that I just knew in my heart that He would choose surgery.  Some people have a hard time believing in the supernatural or divine aspect of healing.  I do not.  I pray it and feel it and believe that His hand works throughout all our lives in ways that we can never explain.  It was much harder for me to give up the control of this situation and hand my daughter over to the great unknown of scalpels and stitches and anesthesia.

"And we know that in all things God works 
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose." 
- Romans 8:28

This ultimately ended up being the way God chose to heal Emory....and she is still healing.  After praying and realizing this was how she would be healed, I didn't really want to wait the next week or so the doctor wanted to schedule surgery.  I was ready and wanted it now!  But we waited as instructed and then scheduled her surgery for February 8th.  We didn't tell her {or her siblings} a word about it.  There really was no reason to give her three year old mind the freedom to distort concepts like "surgery" and "hospital" and "needles/anesthesia".

The morning of her surgery she was overjoyed as she always was when visiting "the docta house" - I think she really just felt special that it was something she and I got to do together and she was the center of attention ;).  She put on her "boooootiful blue and white dress" {hospital gown}, and walked HERSELF back with the nurses to go "help them blow up a big balloon" {mask for happy gas preceding anesthesia}.  It made me want to cry {and I did} and sort of broke my heart but it was the best way for it to be.  No clinging to momma and daddy, screaming to not make her go.  

The surgery itself lasted an hour and fifteen minutes.  During the surgery the doctor cut the muscles on the inner part of her eyes and moved them back to loosen them.  This was not done by a machine or a scope or anything like that - just a steady hand, a scalpel and some stitches. The worst part was waking up from anesthesia - 45 minutes of screaming.  She was not really "all there" and her eyes were blurry and there was an iv in her foot and she wasn't where she last remembered.  It was tough on everyone.  After she calmed down and rested for awhile, we went home that day.  She napped the afternoon and then went to bed early.  Besides the whites of her eyes being red on the inside corners, there were no other signs that she had surgery.

Today, as far as we can tell, her eyes are straight.  The doctor says she still has a slight tendency to cross a little when focusing, but its not every time and its not to the point that we can even notice it {he just noticed a couple times during his testing post op}.  Recovery really takes about six to eight weeks, and during that time she wears her glasses around the house, about half of the day.  The good news is when she takes them off her eyes don't cross and on a daily basis we watch her focus on things and we don't see them cross.  And she says joyfully all the time "my eyes not crossin anymore!"

Children are amazing in their resiliency and yes, God chose the path to healing that taught me the most and brought me closer to Him.  As an independent do-it-myself-er, I actually find the most comfort and freedom in knowing I don't have to be {and SHOULDN'T BE} in charge all the time.  Through this ordeal I was blessed with the most amazing gift of experiencing a "peace that passes all understanding" in the days and hours leading up to and during her surgery.

He promises abundant blessings for those who seek His face in every circumstance.  I know I've read it a million times but it is such a different thing when pride is swallowed, walls are let down, and we "walk the talk."  I praise him for my beautiful daughter and her tight little eye muscles that brought us {me} to this greater place of dependance on Him.

"Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. 
And the God of peace will be with you." 
- Philippians 4:6-9


For the Family

I enjoy writing about many things, but a family member or two mention they really read for kid pics...so since I am not on Facebook and am hit or miss on Instagram, here is an embarrassingly small sample of kids pics from 2014 to maybe satisfy some cravings :).  I really need to get on my camera more often ;/

waiting at Jacob's two year checkup

at the camp, on their "sitting stump"
Bennett's "other brother" ;) We love our Wells!

Grandparent's Day at school {we went too}
Emory's first real valentine - from Daddy.  I told him if he brings her something every Valentine's Day I need NOTHING - her face {and the surprise that I did not know he was doing this} was better than any gift I could have ever received.

Oblivious Emory playing before her eye surgery in February...I probably should post on that...

Bennett goes to store with Daddy and they come home with illegal cereal {exceeds my maximum allowed sugar per serving requirements...}.  He was very excited and obviously would not sit still!

smiley selfies with this one and a book that has barely made it through three kids...

more smiley selfies with this bundle of JOY

rodeo...Stephen is a serious cowboy

"Shhhh mommy I seeping on da rug wif my cuhvahs"

blurry but precious boy after MDO {and a haircut - his hair is STRAIGHT!!}

I asked her to open her eyes some when she smiled :) Her eyes are STRAIGHT! {and her hair is CURLY}


Milieu Magazine

I honestly do not remember the last time I used the scan function on my printer! Years ago, before the days of Pinterest and such, it was the only way for me to catalog inspiration photos from magazines and the like.  I sometimes miss those days...

But I digress.

Have you heard of Milieu magazine?  It's either new, or just new to me, but I've only seen a couple issues and a home featured in the Spring 2014 issue really caught my eye.

Caught it enough that I am actually scanning images in and making a post about it!

What immediately grabbed my attention was the symbiotic relationship between the house and the landscape around it - the house looks as if it could have easily just grown out of the earth beneath it, alongside the surrounding trees.  It looks effortless and established {which means it probably wasn't (effortless) and was (established)!}.

I wish I could have gotten the whole shot so you could really feel how the green space interacts with the hardscape...here are the outer edges of the photo:

The house is located in Dallas, TX {the magazine is based in Houston} and is home to an Interior Designer and her family.  They basically stripped the house on the inside, exchanging dark paint schemes with neutral and airy, opening up rooms to each other using arches, and accidentally exposing a beautiful unexpected framework of beams in the Living Room.

I love what Bowers, the owner/designer, said about her craft:

"A well-decorated home looks thoughtfully designed and may be filled with beautiful things, but a truly well-designed home welcomes you, surrounds you with warmth, and makes you feel comfortable."

and about our homes:

"Home should be a happy, fun place where you are surrounded by objects that evoke memories."

This statement above is one big reason why I love my job.  I love guiding clients into discovering their own personal style and am very careful about pressing my personal preferences upon them.  That might seem strange, since I am hired for my opinions/guidance, but if everything in a client's house is something that I would have exactly done in mine, then it ceases to be their house.

The much more important aspect of design, to me, is creating a place where my client ultimately feels comfortable, happy, and at home - which means not only surrounding themselves with items/colors/styles that mean something to them personally, but also encouraging them to take risks and step a bit outside their comfort zone to a place where "boredom with the norm" is less likely to exist.  The most successful spaces in my opinion are those where both familiarity and fun exist - and this house seems to perfectly achieve this "draw you in" feel that I believe is so difficult to truly attain.

The white/gray neutral interiors with punches of pastels is serene and gorgeous, and I love the ticking stripe sofa.  While normally this whole look is a little feminine for my own personal style, and yellow is one of my least favorite colors in interiors, I found myself wanting to stop and stay awhile...

...and I can't tell you how happy I would be to have a piano like this with a window like that and some drapes like those on a rod like that, somewhere in my dream house...

...But it was the next few pictures that really sealed the deal for me.  I'm a sucker for white + wood and this butcher block island about did me in...

I am always on the fence with Eames chairs but they add a nice modern touch to this simple breakfast room and I think they are brilliant in a home with young children:

I also love when I see something that I wouldn't normally gravitate to {the floral print on the shades and chair for example} actually win me over and change my mind.  So refreshing! And let me just tell you about the sleeping that would take place in that bed...

Might be my favorite...Bennett needs this as his big boy room:

Fun and unexpected punch of color in the daughters room:

The other houses featured were a little more miss in my opinion {but then again I don't gravitate towards entire rooms done in lavender linen or pink stripe or fuchsia + canary yellow... but I fully respect those who do!}.  Overall this next one leaned a bit Gustavian for me, {which is understandable seeing as it is actually located in Belgium!}, but the facade, bedroom, and kitchen were amazing:

Dying over these shutters, perfectly warm gray walls, simple bedding, and the complete lack of trim work:

I don't really have time to even begin about the kitchen.  Those wall tiles are reclaimed from an eighteenth century Dutch house and are called "witjes"...they are perfectly slightly iridescent yet not too pearly = I want to touch them.  And hello the sink is marble.  And the island is wood and the faucet is brass and the plates are white and the range is LaCanche...

I look forward to continuing my subscription - it is one of those magazines with nice thick glossy pages your fingers were just born to turn ;).



Such a creative title, right?

My mind feels like an overstuffed carry-on suitcase so humor me while I unpack it for a few...

First up, because I've got my mind on my tummy and my tummy on my mind: if you have a Roly Poly near you, do yourself a favor and try this:

"Roll your own" with: wheat tortilla, smoked turkey, brie, swiss, spinach, sundried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, ranch.  Heated.

Roly Poly is one of the very few not-fast-food-but-still-fast restaurants on the way to pick the babies up from MDO so it's a relatively common stop for me. And so good.


Secondly, I'm sure this will change in just a few very short weeks BUT I am having to remind myself that I live in the SOUTH this winter/spring....just last night the temps dropped in the 30's and the azaleas haven't bloomed yet.  {insert panic} {not really} but it IS very anti-norm for our area.  For instance, the past three or so years the azaleas have bloomed in early to mid February, which has driven me CRAZY - I'm just not ready for spring in early February...because that means by mid March I'm sweating and "spring" temps are over before "spring" even began.  Ugh.  But after a record breaking winter, and an amazingly cool and refreshing spring {one of my two favorite seasons}, the azaleas are right on track and I am happily anticipating their timely conquer of Mobile.
{basically any given street looks like this in Mobile during the height of the azalea's blooming.  It's gorgeous}
{my sister and I in our Easter finest - sponge roller hair and all - backed by seasonly-accurate-blooming-azaleas a few decades ago}
Thankfully as of last night my seedlings were all still happily {warmly} growing by a window and not in the ground, which I plan to do this week.


Thirdly, because I wish someone had told us{!}, "The Son of God" movie is just part of "The Bible" miniseries all over again - no new material and actually a lot is taken out {Pentacost, Paul, Satan - someone tell me how Jesus is ever portrayed accurately without this ultimate conquer over evil...}.  It of course is still powerful and always good to see, just wanted to give you the heads up.


I guess this comes with being a third child/second boy in the family, but this one discovered guns and is obsessed... {insert monkey covering his eyes emoticon}

{don't worry - it's a cap gun - as in doesn't shoot anything just makes a "pop" noise}


Emory wrote her name yesterday, completely on her own

Not sure I’m ready for that….


**Sappy proud mom alert**
This one continues to be his generous, sweet {sometimes moody} self.  He is naturally a little timid when it comes to trying new things {but not at all in the "shy" sense of the word} so the fact that he is loving T-ball and Ju Jitsu makes me so happy.  He continues to teach me about selflessness and pureness of heart every day.  I'm wondering if his spiritual gift is generosity...I wouldn't be surprised.  And I'm sure I've said it before but I want a heart like his when I grow up.
{picnic at the camp}


Wanted to share a quick and easy recipe for Pimento and Cheese {or “puhmen-na-na cheese” as I remember calling it as a child}.  I posted it many many years ago but it’s a good treat to share again.  I have so much fun revisiting/rediscovering childhood favorites with my own children, and this is one of them.  I don’t ever CRAVE it as an adult, but always enjoy a taste when I make it for the kids. :)


Pimento and Cheese

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

4 ounce jar diced pimentos, undrained
2 tsp mustard


Mix ingredients together with enough mayo to coat and spread.  Serve with crackers or as a sandwich.


We killed our second fiddle leaf fig tree.

That is all.

all materials published on this blog
© by Natalie at create.live.design, 2007-2012