Welcome to the Blog Plantation Y'all

Our family welcomes you and thanks you for stopping by to visit. We are delighted you have taken a few minutes out of your day to spend with us. We are Joe and Jessica. We have two children and one very regal beagle! We post often and it usually includes details of our Christian faith; life here in the South; entertaining our family and friends; tales of our travels; as well as the daily adventures of having two children. Oh, and our passion for Alabama Crimson Tide Football!
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What time I am afraid I will trust in thee
Psalm 56:3

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The BIGGEST day in Helena starts at the crack of dawn in the morning! We will be participating in the Golden Gnome Hunt. All friends and family say a prayer that we will be alert, quick, and wise to solve the clues and bring this little guy home!

This is what we seek:

Olivia has her heart set on him, so pray that Mommy can deliver!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This worried me a bit!

OK, so Olivia and I saw this on FOX news earlier today and we looked all day for the picture. We finally found one. I have no idea what this is although I have heard the explanation of a giant sea turtle without it's shell..... to a minion of Satan. Theories also include Aliens and a publicity stunt (for which no one has stepped forward to claim BTW) I am most interested in your thoughts and ideas. We are certainly stunned!

Elect Hal Woodman!


We would love it if any citizen of Helena dropped by to meet with him and hear his vision for our beautiful city. We will have desserts and coffee. Lots of fun and hopefully new friendships. If you need more information let me know, I will get it to you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Orren is home.

We are at home and resting. Orren has not felt much like eating today and has pretty much just had milk and juice all day. Guess he is a little aprehensive about it.

What they found today:

His specific esophogitous cells are indicative of allergy cells. Just like if you had a bee sting, the cells that would be found around the area.

What this means:
He has a food allergy that is causing this problem. They did some blood work to find the allergen. Milk; egg whites; egg yokes; wheat; soy; and seafood. I already know what the allergen is without the tests. Since he won't eat eggs and has only had them once, he is gluten free so there goes the wheat, he has never had soy to my knowledge, Seafood would only have been one or two times due to cross contamination....... That leaves MILK. Oh, I forgot corn..... it could be corn.He started a medicine ZEGRID to help with the cell situation. We were told that his eczema is also a BIG sign of this. If this condition is left untreated it usually develops into some type of asthmatic situation. (Guess who I am taking for testing immediately, she has or has had every symptom and I truly think, based on what I learned about them today, it is an allergy that has been left undiagnosed. It would also be odd for a sibling not to have one)

What will happen:

Orren has at least one, possibly two more surgeries in his future. The first is on August 12, 2008. After we have removed the allergen and been on the medicine to see if it is working. They will biopsy the area. The second surgery will be if it isn't better and the infection has to be surgically removed and the area treated with steroids. (this would have him on a feeding tube for a while)

What we need:

Prayers. Lots of prayers. This gets harder and harder every time. I thought it would get easier, it doesn't. I worry more and more every time he is put under and all the risks that are involved. The more drawn out the weaker I get I suppose. I thought I was going to need to be sedated during his blood work!

We also REALLY miss our church family and wish we could be back in those loving arms, we have not been cleared to have him in nursery/ day care type settings just yet or any large indoor crowds, so for now we will still be at home. Just know we miss and love you and are eager to return.

We are all now trying to rest. Olivia is with our precious friends from across the street at Pump It Up. She will return this afternoon, so I think we are going to try and take advantage of the quiet time.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, calls, attempted visits to the hospital(our poor minister, Dave next time we will meet you out front!), and your emails. I know we all have such busy lives, but for you to take time out of that for us in such a way is so special. We love each and every one of you and today we felt surrounded by your love.
Praise God for a good day!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Orren's surgery tomorrow

We are preparing for Orren's surgery in the morning. I had been fine until about an hour ago. Now, I think I have worked myself up pretty well. Not sure much sleep will be coming my way tonight. I hope all of you are well and we will post as soon as possible any news we have.

Derek and Shana's new house!

We have some good news to report: Shana and Derek have a house. I am not sure of their closing date, but their offer was accepted and it is the house they wanted. So CONGRATS we are so happy for you! Welcome home!

We will call and post tomorrow if possible, if not just as soon as we can. Love to all!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hannah Montana Concert


I wanted to get this post in before tonight got started. We are having a family night viewing of the Hannah Montana "Best of Both Worlds" concert world premiere in 3D. With special guests the JONAS BROTHERS!
We have all kinds of snacks our special Hannah Montana 3D glasses. We have all had dinner and our bath. Olivia is in her Jonas brothers night gown. We are settling in for a fun night of singing and dancing, Joe is beyond excited! Seriously though it will be fun.

Yesterday was a crazy day, for reasons that I won't go into on here. BUT the fun side, Olivia got a ZEN mp3 player in pink. She loves it and is dancing all over the house with it. While she is wearing her Jonas Brothers t-shirt. I am slowly seeing a teenager replace my little princess.

Orren has learned to give ^5 and loves to do it. He is now panting when you ask him what a puppy dog says(modeled after Huckleberry) If you ask him what and elephant says......he says...........Roll TIDE! His Daddy is so proud. His other big "trick" is the Jaws theme song. He gets so tickled sneaking up on you as he sings it that he usually falls over laughing. Olivia has taught him to pretend and every afternoon they have been having "never food" as they "camp out" in the kitchen.(don't ask me why they choose to do it there.)
AND NO WE ARE STILL NOT WALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I actually caught him walking when he thought he was alone, so NOW it is a battle of wills.
He is presently winning!
Remember that Monday is Orren's next surgery. We are praying for a great prognosis!
It is so much fun in our house everyday and we are so blessed to be a family and have a home and so many blessings. We are thankful to our heavenly Father tonight as we are every night for HIS blessings.

Gotta Go!
Myley Cyrus/ Hannah Montana is taking the stage!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa, Florence, AL

We stayed at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa. It was our second trip there and how we love it! I felt bad for not having pictures yesterday, so I snatched some from their website so you could see where we were.
Aerial shot of the hotel, such a beautiful place!
The room, The beds were so fluffy and you would just sink into them! Oh, how I could have spent the entire time in the bed!
The spa of course my favorite location of the hotel, amazing pedicures! Still not as good as Ross Bridge. My favorite place on earth!
The 360 restaurant. It has the best view there is and the price to go with it!

We hope to have some more pics up soon.
Olivia took some with her camera. I just have to figure out how you download them. It is a Disney digital. If anyone knows, I am all "ears" LOL!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No pictures, but here is an update!

Well, we are home and ready to settle back in!
The trip was fabulous and full of lots of firsts! I DEALT POKER! You read that correctly I was a dealer in the poker tournament. It was just like in the movies. Players all wore hats, drank a lot of alcohol in a smokey room. I was so afraid I was going to mess up. I DIDN'T! It was so fun, I loved it.
The rest of the events were fun as well, we raised $78,000.00 for the scholarship foundation. YEAAAAA! We grooved to the 70's as the theme for the convention. We ate "virgin" psychedelic brownies (made with parsley instead of a certain type of grass); tang cupcakes(Tang was a 70's thing) along with Hamburger Helper (it wasn't actual HH, but it was supposed to be) paninis covered in powdered sugar. I didn't get that one so I asked.... cocaine. You know I missed a lot of the 70's I think!LOL
There was a lot of nice food to, but that was some of the theme food. We were all in costume and we had John Travolta. Not just in costume, but a 29 yr old kid who must have studied the routine for hours b/c he was on the floor by himself and would have given Travolta a run for his money! Olivia enjoyed the dance floor with some little friends she made, including the 13 AND 14 yr old little boys who kept asking her to dance.
The children were at the pool almost every waking moment and really enjoyed the water slide. The Marriot Shoals is an amazing facility! Absolutely beautiful!
I am ready for a little down time before Orren's surgery next week! Monday the 28th!
We are thankful tonight that Grayson Walker (my cousin) is at home and did well with his surgery this morning. Praise GOD!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Olivia is HOME!

We are so glad Olivia is home. Things are settling back into normal. She had a great time and we are so thankful that my parents had this time with her. She was spoiled rotten and it may take a little time to settle back into her routine, but what a great experience for her. She is already talking about when she can go back. We hope it is very soon. We love them so very much and we could not be more pleased with the relationship they have.

Her Daddy was somewhat concerned about this photo as Hunter is 12! Surely we are not starting summer romances already! Oh my goodness! LOL, it was cute though and a sign of things to come!

Olivia and her little friend Grace Lee enjoying their crab legs. They are so precious together and seem to really have a fondness for each other. We hope their friendship continues as it has for a year or so now. It is great to go on vacation and have friends waiting on you!

We will post more later, we have a lot going on in the next few days so we will post when we can!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Olivia's BIG day!

Olivia had a BIG day! She got to go to the "Little Zoo that could" featured on Animal Planet. While she was there she watched a show with the tigers and she got to hold a 14 week old baby Monkey. It was a $35,000.00 Monkey! Leave it to Chief and GrandMaMa to arrange a meeting with the director and a "special encounter" that very few would EVER get to have.
She has been to eat at LuLu's and Guy Harvey's, she has had art lessons and photography lessons and a visit from Uncle JW and Aunt JoAnn. We are only about 1/2 way through her time there! Still on tap is an encounter at the zoo with a baby tiger, and much, much more! We will keep you posted!
Orren is much better today and we are relieved. The three of us are fine and quiet. We are eager for her to return! We miss her BUT we are thrilled she is having so much fun!

We have an announcement we promised! Shana and Derek and their son Grayson are moving home! Welcome back to the south! We have missed you down here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New update

Olivia is having a wonderful time in Gulf Shores with her Chief and GrandMaMa! They went to Dolphin Island today, Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, rode the ferry and have had a blast. Hope you enjoyed today's pictures! Check back for more tomorrow!
Joe, Orren and I went to dinner at a great new place in Helena. We can't wait to take you all there! See you soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I forgot to add this to the earlier post

Bertha is now a category 3 and is now expected to hit Bermuda...... Will it hit the US? To all of our family on the Gulf Coast, which is all of it, except Jarrod and Katy, we are praying for you and we are here for you to seek refuge if needed. We love you!
I also learned to do this so look for a lot more of these!

Dog days of summer


We are recuperating today. Little Orren is sick with a sinus infection. I guess we will be headed to the doctor tomorrow.

*Chief teaching Olivia

Olivia had a great first day at Chief and GrandMaMa's with no parents. I missed her so. It will be a long 2 weeks without her. They gave her a digital camera and she is learning how to frame things and photograph well. Chief is putting all of his talent and photography classes to good use. She is sending pictures through the week so I will post them as I get them.

*the El-Fallah's new house

We are so excited to announce that Salah & Michelle got a house!!!!!! We are so excited for them and they will be in Greystone which is so much closer YEAAAAAAAAA! It will be a busy few days as they are scheduled to close on the 21st! We will be packing and packing some more!

We have one more possible BIG announcement we should know about within days, we are eager to hear the turnout of some events taking place in the morning. We have our fingers crossed and will let all of you know as soon as we do!

Much love to everyone!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We are home!

Where to start? Oh my goodness what a weekend. We had a wonderful trip to the beach. It took us almost twice as long to return home as it did to get there due to the traffic, but it was worth it. Here is a brief rundown of the events from the weekend....................................

We attended a fabulous 4th of July party. Everything was decorated in red, white, and blue. We drank Pimms cups galore in honor of our friends from England. Dr. and Mrs. Greene were wonderful hosts and we had an amazing time.

While there Olivia got to call London and talk with her friend Josephine. She thought that was very fun! We ate real Memphis BBQ cooked by a national BBQ winner. Then we took in the gorgeous fireworks on the beach by the City of Gulf Shores.

On our way home we drove past an enormous wildfire and traffic was somewhat delayed so we watched for a long time and Olivia took every moment in. It was quite exciting and a little scary. Over 15 acres burned before it was under control and we heard illegal fireworks were the culprit.

Not to bring an end to the excitement of the weekend this morning Chief and Joe killed a rather large snake that had found it's way into the backyard of my parents home.

Thanks for a great weekend Chief and GrandMaMa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We missed the fireworks here at home in Helena, but a fellow blogger had a picture of them posted. They were beautiful and perhaps we will take them in next year.

We ask that you keep some very dear friends in your prayers as they to have suffered a still born birth in their family over the holiday.

The fourth was birthday for two of the little ones (not twins) in our crew.


Grayson(2) and Riley Claire(1)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So begins the month of July

What an adventurous couple of days we have had. We had lunch at a fantastic little place called The Tip Top Grill. The view alone was worth the money we paid, however their prices were as good as the view. The food was about what you would expect from a little diner. It was flavorful and the entire experience was perfect! It reminded me of overlooking certain places in Scotland with Ross Bridge in the distance and all the surrounding greenery. Kind of like the picture.

They offer a lot and Mondays I understand are $.99 hot dogs. The cheeseburger I had was excellent and the chicken fingers were huge. Joe had the double cheeseburger and I am guessing it tasted like mine.

The children had the desire to go to Pottery Barn Kids... like how I insinuate that they don't go much? I think it makes me feel better. So OK we went AGAIN to PBK. We love it and it is our first stop for toys. OK .....SO.... THERE. For the ones it bothers, and you know who you are Michelle El-Fallah, I did. So what? Anyway, the kids got the cutest little wrist bubble blowers. They are battery operated and user friendly Orren can even do it by himself. We also got a gorgeous book PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON. I know all of you remember Puff! We discovered that Honalee is a real place the author was visiting at the time. He came across an old volcanic cave that to him, looked just like a dragon would live there. Now, Olivia wants to go to Hawaii to find Puff's cave. It came with the CD and the children have enjoyed it so. Olivia knows all the words by heart and Orren gets very still and doesn't make a sound. Great for them, but I am wondering how many times an adult can hear that song before they suffer some type of adverse effect. HMMMM?

Orren spent his birthday money at Toys R US. He got a Pirate Ship and some more Knights and horses. ( I think Spiderman may be replaced. He still likes the ones he has and plays with them, but he had NO INTEREST in the ones at the store.) He cried for the Knights. That has happened a few times now.

Joe is cooking on the grill here tonight. He is insisting that I rest. So he is doing everything tonight. He is so precious! I am dying for that steak though, oh my goodness!
I had an unexpected phone call last night. My college room mate, which I have not spoken with in over 9 years, called. I could have fallen in the floor. It was great to hear from her and she seems so very happy. I hope that life continues to bring her bounty! As I do for all of you.
Take care of yourselves out there!
Oh, one last thing...................................................
I did not post yesterday, and it was my sister-in-law's birthday. So I did not get to say:
Happy Birthday Katy!!!
we love you