I hereby present.. your Christmas card:

Imagine it a postcard:



So we took the kids trick-or-treating at the zoo this weekend. I need to go through the pictures, but wanted to post this gem first. We spotted Belle (of Beauty and the Beast) and pointed her out to Penelope. Penelope was quite excited from a distance, but as we approached, she grew suspicious. By the time we were ready for a picture, she seemed convinced that this was a stranger wearing Belle’s dress. Penelope is unashamedly friendly, social, and warm with most anyone. She regularly asks people to hold hands, hug, or at very least, high five. Apparently, though, if you are impersonating her favorite princess, you will not even get a smile. Notice the tense position of her hands.. she will NOT touch this fraud, and can’t wait to be rescued.

A polar bear, on the other hand, shall not be denied.

And, um, wouldn’t you say I gave that free giraffe costume a good run for its money? I had grandiose plans for homemade costumes this year, but that just isn’t going to happen. Threepeat giraffe it is!

Year One:

Year Two:

Year 3:

A romp in Cherokee Park

A few things to note:

1) The Bradens will probably send out identical Christmas cards. That’s what happens when you photo-swap. We did the same thing 3 years ago. And there were no kids involved. Busy three years, no?

2) None of the preceding pictures will be used for our card, in case you were wondering.

3) Casey overdid it because he wanted to feel like a normal person. And because he is stubborn. While I was nervous, I could hardly blame him. He was pretty much a mess when we got home and will need a few days to recover. I asked him if it was worth it, and he assured me that it was. That’s kind of a big part of life now– always figuring the cost vs. benefit of spending his {very}limited energy.. and understanding that symptoms will be exacerbated when you spend more than you’ve got in reserve.

4) Since we know this is going to be an ongoing health issue (more on that later), we’re trying to adjust to the new normal. It’s hard, and we’ don’t have it figured out yet. We’re learning to cope and take things one day at a time.

5) Can you tell how psyched Penelope was to have Daddy up and playing outside?!

6) If you click on the picture of Arthur, you can see his two little chompers.

7) In the picture of Penelope bringing me a flower, she isn’t wearing any shoes. I’m constantly searching for where she ditched her shoes. Such a hippy, that one.

I’m sorry, Casey and Alicia are not available. Please call back Monday.

It’s awesome having Casey home.. but we’re feeling pangs of discouragement. His infectious disease doc and neurologist are extraordinarilly caring and comprehensive, but the cardiologist wasn’t much help. Kind of a dead end.

 We’ve decided to take the weekend off. No trying to come up with a game plan, no searching out more options, no making decisions. I think we just need to lay low, enjoy the kids, and have a bit of a recharge. Monday we’ll be back on the offensive. This office is closed for the weekend.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie to watch.


I promise I won’t make any jokes about a short bus, or anything like that. That’s just mean.

I’ll also refrain from pointing out any resemblance between Casey and Luke Skywalker when he destroys the Death Star.. although that comparison might not offend Casey. I won’t talk about how he likes Star Wars, either, because some things you just don’t publish on the internet, you know?

Well. Let’s be honest. This whole post probably fits under that not-for-public-consumption category, but I can’t help myself. The man has 37 electrodes attached to his scalp and has to wear a helmet when he stands up. That’s just not something you see everyday. And the wires are just so colorful. Besdies, he cut class today, and might need some proof.

Did I ever tell you the story about how one of Casey’s professors found my blog? And subsequently took us out to dinner? I had to go back into the archive and delete the post that mentioned Casey not enjoying his class. And I stopped posting my dear husband’s opinions of professors, courses, et cetera.

But I didn’t stop posting all sorts of other personal details. Like these pictures:

All kidding aside, he’s in a pretty incredible facility. They’re set up to catch a seizure in as controlled an environment as possible. Poor guy is sleep deprived (purposefully), but enduring quite well. We feel strange hoping and praying for a full-blown episode, but it would just give the doctors so much information, we can’t help ourselves.

A visit

A kind friend stopped by to visit and pray with us yesterday. He is a particularly gentlemanly friend, and therefore, brought a lovely bouquet of flowers. We’re thankful for the cheery reminder of faithfully praying friends. And Penelope? She smiles every time she looks at them. Flowers have always been a hit with her.