We received our first snowfall on Saturday, and you wouldn't believe the excitement in our house (including myself)!! I just love the snow! It snowed all day, and it was pretty wet and slushy, so we waiting until Sunday to go out and play. We had a very small window of opportunity, because the temperature was going up, but we definitely took advantage of it! The girls all love to go sledding, and they have chosen our front yard to do it in. No, we don't really have a hill in our front yard, per se, but it is enough of a decline that the sleds move (when given a big push by me). No matter what, we had a fantastic time playing, and we stayed out until our yard was more mud than snow. As in all things we do now, Erin can't wait until our next snow and we have SOLOMON with us.
Yes, this is our very small snowman. He doesn't look very happy about his size either, but he is trying to show off his muscles!! Ha! All three girls made contributions to this little guy, and they were extremely happy to see that he was still there this morning as we left for school. I'm not so sure that will be the case when they get home....
Erin was trying to push herself back up the hill in her sled when her sisters came down and pushed her all the way back. The smile on her face is evidence that she wasn't too upset about it! However, she had been working really hard to get back up by herself, getting mad at me if I tried to give her any help.
I haven't even gotten photos of the girls playing in the leaves yet (because they're still on the tree). Those are usually some of my favorite pics every year! As you can see, some of the leaves are actually still GREEN. Most of these leaves fell during the snowfall.
Born as a conjoined twin and separated on June 19, 2004. Erin suffered spinal cord ischemia (stroke to her cord) sometime during the surgery, leaving her paralyzed from mid-chest down. It is a blessing that she survived the surgery and the stroke, and she is truly a gift from God.
Jade is Erin's identical twin sister. While she outwardly seemed to have the most complications during the separation surgery, she deals with very few long term affects of being conjoined. You will likely find Jade running to get somewhere, and she keeps us laughing with the things she says. Jade is another gift from God!
Taylor is our sweet girl who truly is a Joy. When she was 3 years old, we found out that she had a tumor at the base of her spinal cord. It was exactly one year after her sisters' separation surgery. This spinal cord lipoma, while benign, was wrapped around her spinal cord, completely enmeshed with her nerve roots. The tumor was tethering her spinal cord, and Taylor was losing function in her bladder, bowel and right leg. During the first surgery, they were able to remove approximately 60% of the tumor. Her cord became retethered almost immediately because of scar tissue, and Taylor had her second surgery in September of 2007. We are fairly certain her cord is retethered again, but because the risk with each surgery on her spinal cord increases exponentially, Taylor's neurosurgeon wants to postpone another one as long as possible. We now weigh the risk of losing more function from her tethered cord with the risk of losing function from the surgery. There is a fine line. Despite all of this, Taylor maintains her positive attitude and has a very sunny disposition. We could not be more blessed!
Jade Hope and Erin Faith Buckles were born on Thursday, February 26, 2004. They are true miracles who have beaten the odds. Conjoined from mid-chest to naval, the girls shared a pericardium (sac around the heart), diaphragm and liver. Their hearts shared a small electrical connection and beat in synch. Erin's heart was 60% in Jade's chest. These beautiful babies were born to Marine Gunnery Sergeant (now Master Sergeant) Kevin Buckles and his wife Melissa. They were also welcomed into this world by their brother, Kevin Jr., and sister, Taylor Joy.
Erin and Jade were successfully separated on Saturday, June 19, 2004. They returned home on Friday, July 2, 2004, just 13 days after surgery. We later learned that Erin suffered a stroke to her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from mid-chest down. The damage occurred at the T3-T7 levels of her spinal cord. The injury is considered incomplete, so we have great hope for at least some recovery.
Taylor Joy was diagnosed with a tumor on her spinal cord in June of 2005, and she has undergone 2 surgeries since then to try to preserve her ability to walk.