Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Normal

We are settling in to "new normal" around here as we adjust to life without Pawpaw and the kids settling into school. So far, both boys are doing well in school and I am so darn thankful.

Yesterday afternoon we had my parents, my grandmother, and my Pawpaw's sister, Aunt Louise down to our house for lunch after church. I believe they all enjoyed coming here for a visit. The last few months for them have included doctors appointments and the hospital with my Pawpaw. It was a beautiful day so we all sat outside in the yard while the kids played.

Here is my precious, great aunt Louise who is 90 years old playing on the new playground with my boys. When my boys heard that the family was coming they begged to invite Louise because they love her. She is my Pawpaw's older sister and they were very close. This amazing lady has lost her husband (in 1993) and both of her children in the same WEEK in 2003. Despite all the tragedy in her life, she is FUNNY and amazing and we all adore her.

David loves all the attention from the family and I love this picture of him kicking back with his popsicle.

Hope, my Mom, and Louise swinging in my favorite swing. My parents got this swing for me back when I had Hope and we have all enjoyed it:)

I love this sweet boy.

Kyle loves to carry Hope around?!

Mike put David up in the tree and he just looked so darn cute up there!

Hope's turn in the tree! She is sitting so ladylike and dainty because she had just woken up!

Hope loving all the attention:)

Who is this preteen and how did he get in my tree? Just kidding sort of. I am blown away by the growth spurt that Kyle has had just recently and I am so sad that he looks so NOT like a little boy anymore:(

I just love the stage that Hope is in now. I love that she is walking some, but still needs a little hand holding and reassurance along the way. I caught this precious picture of Hope walking across the yard holding my Mom's hand and I just melted. I love baby legs and she was still wearing her sweet church dress. I know one of these days I will treasure sweet pictures like this:)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I am slowly catching up on my rest after the craziness of this last week. Last weekend I spent many hours at the hospital with Pawpaw and then after he went home to be with our Lord, the funeral craziness kicked in.

He would have LOVED his service! It was full of people that he loved and it was upbeat and funny. The night he went into the ICU, he instructed my brother to "talk about the good times" and sure enough my brother did him proud. My legs and back told me that there were a ton of people at the service because I was in the receiving line and I was exhausted:) Pawpaw touched many people in his 82 years and I think I hugged every one of their necks over that two hour time span of the vistation. The graveside was especially touching because the VFW did the gun salute and played Taps which always makes me emotional.

We decided to bring all the kiddos to the visitation and service because that is what Pawpaw would have wanted. To ease any anxiety that the kiddos may have had, we were really upbeat getting ready for the services and told the children that we were going to a party for Pawpaw because he was in heaven with Jesus.

Just like any other party, we all got in our finest and took pictures:) Here are some shots from the day

GG and Pops with all their five grandbabies. It is rare that all the boys are in a tie together, so we had to capture this moment.

I love this picture of my little twins. Pictures like this take my breath away when I look at how my eldest and youngest favor each other. Check out the light colored hair and the blue eyes.

This was our best attempt at getting all the kids to smile at me at the same time:) Hunter had to corral David so we could get this one! HA!

After the long day of the visitation, funeral, grave side, and then a meal at the church, we were riding home down the interstate. The sun was going down and it was the most brillant and gorgeous sunset that I have ever seen. It was almost blinding it was so bright. I thought to myself that I hope that just as this sun was shining bright, I pray that through Pawpaw's life and death that the Son of God was glorified just as brillantly as this sunset we saw going down Interstae 81 that night.

I have thought so much about all the people that Pawpaw is being reunited with in heaven right now. I am so thankful that his body is whole and that he is happy and at peace. I have a big hole in my heart but I am so thankful for Pawpaw's legacy and love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory: Obituaries

Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory: Obituaries

PawPaw's obituary


My PawPaw

went home to be with our Lord.
We will miss him so much, but we are so thankful that in heaven he will no longer have to lug his oxygen around and labor to breathe.
We all are so blessed that this man was in our life and even though we have a hole in our hearts now, we know that because of Jesus we can be reunited with him and that he is finally HOME.
Robert H. Wright, age 82

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Update

This weekend has really been low key, but flown by. Friday night Mike took the boys to a local high school football scrimmage since Hope and I were STILL at the hospital. We stayed late at the hospital Friday night to meet with PawPaw's doctor with Mom. Let me just stop and say that the doctor may have tons of medical knowledge, but ahem, he is lacking seriously in the personality department.

He decided to move him out of the ICU which he felt would be a good morale booster for him. Totally wrong. PawPaw is totally miserable out of the ICU because frankly he loves attention and the nurses on this floor do not have time to fawn over him and fluff him. He is seriously angry that he is out of the ICU. If the situation was not so pitiful with him it would be hilarious:)

Saturday we just enjoyed hanging out at the house. Mr. Bradley finished putting up our new (old) playground. If you remember, the other playground tumbled through the neighborhood during last year's freak wind storm. So we now have the same one again:) The kids have been so thrilled!

Saturday evening we all went back to the hospital because one of the benefits of being in a regular room now is that the kids can visit with him. We thought that would be such a great morale booster for Pawpaw. Wrong again. I think he enjoyed seeing the kids and they loved being there, but while we were there, Pawpaw started feeling bad and started crying and begging for the Lord to take him home. Mike escorted our little ones out of the room, but my Kyle sat there and took it all in. My Mom and I hugged on PawPaw and told him that it was fine to go if the Lord was calling him-we would take care of my grandmother and that he deserved an eternal rest.

At first I was appalled when I realized that Kyle had heard all of this, but now I realize that this experience with my grandfather has taught Kyle two huge and valuable lessons. #1 Do not smoke. Ever. #2 The importance of being a Christian secure in the knowledge that death is not sad, but a victory after a life of work and service.

I remember that night (Aug 6) when my Mom called and told me that he had taken a bad turn and that he was headed into the ICU. I jumped into the car and drove like a mad woman to get there in time. I was so sad and I was not ready to give up this important person in my life. But now, after two plus weeks in the hospital watching him gasp and work hard for every breath, I totally get it now.

Yes, when the Lord finally calls my sweet Pawpaw, I will be so sad and I will miss him so much. But, because of God's perfect plan for heaven, death in this case is not a terrible blow, but a victory after a long, full, and service-filled life. I will let him go, because he is going to a place where he will be new again and whole. He is so ready for his eternal rest with the King of Kings, and we love him enough to say farewell.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of School

Here are my happy boys ready for the first day of school! It boggles my mind that I have a first and third grader, but I am so happy that they were excited this morning. Kyle moved schools this year to our intermediate school (grades 3-5) and he was a little anxious about that, but after meeting his teacher he was okay. David does not have an anxious bone in his body and was thrilled to go back to school today!

My heart is so full for these boys.

To make the transition a little easier, Kyle met a few friends, Mason and Caroline in a nearby parking lot so Mike could walk them into the school together. Kyle and Caroline are in class together, and Mason is in a nearby classroom.

David and Tommy are off to first grade!

Walking into the building we ran into David's friend, Ally and they got to get a quick picture together. Ally's classroom is right next to David's so hopefully they can still walk together to class again this year.

David did NOT want me walking him down the hall to his class, but I did sneak in and get a few pictures of him in the classroom:)

Here is Mrs. Hubble explaining their first activity for the morning and I was thrilled to see that David would be sitting in the front right next to her. My little day dreamer needs that!

So, it is just us girls now. I know Hope will miss her big brothers, but I am excited to get some quality time with my little girl. I know that oh so soon she too will put on the school backpack and head out on the first day. Seeing how fast the boys are growing up makes me appreciate the time I have with Hope at home:)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teachers and Silliness

Life has just been pretty serious lately as we have spent many hours in the ICU waiting room hanging out with my PawPaw. He is still holding his own, but we can tell that his body is so tired and that just breathing is wearing him out. I cannot imagine this life without him, but he is in such pitiful shape that we are all ready for him to get a new set of lungs in heaven.

Grief is such a tricky thing-often I will be fine and at peace with this but then the next moment it hits me like a ton of bricks. My PawPaw has always been a very active and involved person in my life. We will all miss him so.

We have been trying to work in a little silliness and sweetness to balance out the sadness of PawPaw. So, here are some pictures capturing some sweet times in our family and some silliness!

Hope is becoming quite a little Momma to her babies and Elmo. (She refers to Elmo as "mo mo" and it melts our hearts).

Hope loving on "mo mo"

Kissing on her sweet baby:) It is so fun to play with little girls. I spent so many years building train tracks and crashing trucks, that it is fun to get to play with pretend lipstick and baby dolls now!

The boys start school TOMORROW (gasp!) and here is Kyle with his sweet and pregnant teacher, Mrs. Rector. She is so cute and sweet and I just know he will have a great year with her. Here they are at orientation on Monday.

We are so excited that David will have Mrs. Hubble. Kyle had her two years ago and had a great first grade year with her! We love Mrs. Hubble and we are so excited that David will get to have her as well!

This picture makes me laugh so hard. The other day we decided to get all our little boy costumes out to see what David wanted to wear for Halloween. Yes, I know it is only August, but we must plan in advance!! David found this cookie monster, size 3 costume and had a ball wearing it around the house!

This picture is the funniest of all, because the lion costume matches his hair and it is so cute on him AND because

it is about two sizes too small for him, but he could care less and he says that he is going to wear this for Halloween!! HA!

This little brave girl is spending more and more time up on her walking feet than on the floor crawling:) She is starting to look like such a big girl to me these days.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of PawPaw that was just taken last July after Hope's baptism. Just a few weeks after this picture was taken, he was diagnosed with COPD. This is the healthy and vibrant PawPaw that I want my children to remember.
Tomorrow is the first day of school and I will post more pictures tomorrow to document the first day. How can it be that I have a first and third grader???

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This blog post is full of random stuff, mostly things that I have wanted to mention:) Below are just some really cute pictures of the kiddos enjoying our water slide at home. I took these before PawPaw went into the ICU and I am just now downloading them.

I love Hope's cute baby legs in this adorable bathing suit my Mom found at Old Navy.

I love this expression on David's face:)

I love that my Hope (with Kyle's help) was fearless and went down the slide by herself!!! I have a cute video that I will upload another day:)

I also have been wanting to mention that we have a local business woman that is working hard marketing and selling her headbands and hair clippies. Her business is called Wendy's Personal Creations and she does GORGEOUS headbands and other hair accessories. Hope is wearing one of her clippies that I bought at the Christmas in July open house in Chilhowie. Wendy is on Facebook and look her up-she was such a pleasure to meet and I LOVE her products! I have a Hokie bird hair clippie that I will post about soon when I pull out Hope's Hokie wardrobe! Adorable and I love that a local woman is working hard and doing great things!

I also have to mention that my sweet PawPaw is still in ICU. The family is starting to think about some alternatives to the ICU. He is still holding his own, but his body is getting so tired and worn down from fighting for every breath. I tell him everytime I visit how much I love him and how proud I am of him. His strength amazes me and I am so thankful that God has blessed us with this time with him. I love visiting with him because he is so funny still but will also be honest and open with you.

As I have been driving back and forth from the Pulaski hospital, this song by Mercy Me has really spoken to me. I fell in love with this song at their concert back in the winter and recently we sang it at church. I love the idea of Emmanuel-God with us. We often hear the word Emmanuel around Christmas, but during this sad and heart breaking time with my Paw Paw I have found comfort in the reminder that God has been and will continue to be with us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life Update

It has been a long week full of last minute summer fun, precious moments at my PawPaw's bedside, and lots of McDonalds sweet tea. PawPaw is proving to still be a tireless workhorse! His lungs are in pitiful shape, but his vitals are staying strong.

Monday and Tuesday all day he felt super great and he had lots of visitors and was even starting to get some popsicles and such. Wednesday morning he woke up feeling great as well but then by the afternoon his heart rate went kind of wild and his other vital signs started going wild. He said he did not feel that great and his breathing became very labored.

The doctor then realized that lots and lots of fluid had backed up in his body which was putting lots of pressure on already stressed out lungs. Yesterday afternoon the doctor did some more meds and even some morphine and overall he had a restful night.

We are sad that he had this setback yesterday afternoon but we continue to trust in God's will for his life. There are so many funny stories about him in this shape that I need to write down:) His mind is still completely alert and he is still his funny, drill-seargent self:) I will treasure all this time that we have had together.

He knows his time is short and it touches and tenders my heart so that he is not afraid to tell you how much he loves you and his desire to have someone holding his hand at all times. He met with his beloved pastor, Brian the other night and he did re-dedicate his life to God. That too touches my heart so much and will hopefully leave such a legacy to this family:)

Last night I went after dinner to the hospital because I knew that his breathing has begun to get more labored. Mom and I sat by his side for several hours and just talked when he felt like it. Precious, precious time that I will never ever forget. He knows how loved he is and that he is ultimately going home to Jesus and will receive a fresh set of lungs. I love that he is not afraid to be honest and emotional with us-he has a big heart and he is not afraid for you to see that.

I am trying to also work in a few fun outings with my kiddos before school starts next Wednesday. So far this week we have hit the movies, the pool, and a waterpark near the hospital. This morning I am catching up on housework and working my way down my "to do" list.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Foggy Brain

Today I am definitely fighting the "foggy brain" syndrome. After the emotional roller coaster of the weekend and the lack of sleep I feel out of it today. Today Ashley and I took the kiddos to eat pizza and to see Despicable Me. I decided to stay away from the hospital to allow Pawpaw some time to rest and to have some fun time with my babes.

Here is the latest scoop on PawPaw. Sunday morning the ventilator came out-Praise the Lord! That was a tricky situation because Pawpaw had a DNR order signed with his doctor on Friday which basically said that he did not want to be on a ventilator. But, to safely do the endoscopy Saturday at lunchtime he had to go on it and be weaned off. I broke our hearts into a million pieces that he was on it for the 23 hours that he was because we know that he did not want that. But once he was on it for the Endoscopy he had to be weaned off of it safely and slowly.

So, Sunday morning we all held our breaths that he would do okay without it and Praise the Lord his vitals stayed strong. He was heavily sedated and rested a bunch Sunday. Saturday was so traumatic for him and for us all watching, that Sunday was more peaceful and less emotional because we knew that his wishes were finally being honored.

All day Sunday his vitals stayed strong and as of now he continues to hold his own. We do not know where he will go from here, except he needs lots of rest and downtime. Most of us have stayed away today to allow that for him.

This weekend was sad, but it was also wonderful as we spent LOTS of quality time together as a family. Often in the waiting room it was Matt and his family, Mitch and Breanne, Mimi, my parents, Chad and Annette and my whole family. Lots of church friends and old friends stopped by and it was so amazing to see the outpouring of love for Pawpaw. The only sad thing about all this visiting we go to do was that he would have LOVED to have been in the center of it all!

Sunday night before I headed home, I went into see him and I was so thrilled to hear his voice again. Granted it was raspy and weak, but he told me that he loved me and that thrilled my soul! During that awful 23 hours on that awful ventilator he could not talk to us and that was torture for him and us.

So, the report today is that he is holding his own and we just continue to pray for God's will to be done and that in all things God will be glorified. Thanks for the love and prayers:)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


It has been a long, sad, and emotional 24 hours. Friday night my Mom called me and said that my dear Pawpaw had taken a turn for the worst in the hospital and that he was moving to the ICU. I left Mike with all three kiddos and took off for the hospital. My brother and I got there about the same time.

We were blessed because we got to go back right away and see him for a few minutes. We got to spend over 30 minutes with him and he was so emotional, honest, and it was an amazing time together. He made us promise him certain things-some serious and some funny!

It was gut-wrenching to hear his labored breaths, but since he had our attention he was not going to quit talking. The doctor repeatedly told us to not let him talk, but he refused to obey. He had a list in his head to discuss with us and he was going to get it out! It was precious, precious time that I will never forget:)

He kept telling us that he was not ready to go yet, but that he was not scared at all. He adamantly said that he was not scared to go home, but that he wanted to stick around and watch our kiddos grow up. We reminded him about all the people ready to reunite with him in heaven and he smiled.

Today back at the hospital after about three hours of sleep, we faced a brutal day full of invasive procedures and lots of poking and prodding. As of now he is on a ventilator but that will be coming out tomorrow due to his DNR that he signed yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be interesting to see how he does being weaned off of the ventilator. Tonight he refused a procedure that his doctor wanted to do, so we feel that he is ready to go home with our Lord. After the brutal day he went through I do not blame him one bit. Streets of gold, a new set of lungs, and choruses of angels praising the Lord sound pretty darn good to me right now.

So tomorrow is the big day and we just pray that the Lord's will be done and that he does not suffer. Today I grabbed the nurses arm and begged her to turn up his sedation because he was so aggitated and scared.

We are resting on the promises of God's eternal plan for us tonight and we know that he has Pawpaw in his hands. We know he is wiping our tears of sorrow away and that He is always with us even during our grief.

I cannot even express how amazing his doctor is and all the love that we have received from hospital staff, old friends, and family. He has lived an amazing life and tonight we are trusting that God's Will willbe done and that he will suffer no more. Thanks for all the prayers and please keep them coming for tomorrow (sunday).

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have been obsessed lately with looking through pictures. Partly because I have been trying to clean up some of my picture files and also because I am currently obsessed with scrapbooking again. I do not know why on Earth I quit doing it for long periods of time because it truly brings me joy, but I guess life gets in the way!

Anyway, here are some recent pictures that I have taken lately that I love. They are not posed but I love the personality that they captured.

I love this picture of my "twins" It amazes me how much Hope is looking like Kyle these days and I love their sweet relationship!
I love the expression on Hope's face in this one! She loves the moon bounce and here she was playing in it:)

Here is my attempt at capturing one of the bazillion butterflies that have been hanging around our huge butterfly bush in our yard. We have really enjoyed watching these beautiful creatures this summer and I just had to take a picture of one!

We are off to the doctor for school physicals this afternoon. I cannot believe it is time to do this again, but we must! My grandfather is holding his own in the hospital as of today and he MAY get to come home to my parents house this weekend sometime. They are getting a hospital bed brought into their house today as well as lining up the oxygen tank to be delivered. I cannot believe we are at this stage already, but I am so thankful for everyday he is still with us. We will go there tomorrow to see him again:)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I just wanted to journal a little bit about what we have been up to lately. The last few days my beloved Grandfather has taken a down turn in his fight against COPD. He is now hospitalized after a very scary episode at his house on the lake (in the country).

I took the kiddos (I still type boys often in reference to my children and just did it again) up to the hospital to see him this morning. I was nervous about taking my less than obediant David to the hospital, but I am SO glad that I took them all.

We ended up at the hospital the same time that my mom, grandmother, and my brother were there. We actually got in big trouble with the nurses for having too big of a group, but frankly I could care less what that nurse thought. Often my grandfather did not have the air to talk with us, but he just laid there listening the best he could with his inadequate hearing aids and just smiled and jumped in the conversation when he could. If he tried to speak, we all clammed up and allowed him the floor.

I know that our days with him are numbered but this morning was such a gift to us all. My kids waltzed into that hospital room without any hesitation. They kissed his cheek around his oxygen tubing and they were never phased during one of his coughing jags.

I want my kids to not be shielded from the harder parts of life. Unfortunately fighting COPD is a crappy part of life. (Sorry for the harsh word, but that is all I can think of that describes this dreadful and scary disease).

They have asked to go back to the hospital tomorrow, and if that nurse nazi is not on duty then I will drive them back to the hospital to spend time with PawPaw.

On a fun note, yesterday I had to take Kyle to the pediatric dentist and we would probably be gone about three hours roundtrip. I hired our beloved babysitter to play with David. Hope was so enamored with her that I let Hope stay and she made it three hours with a cute, teenage babysitter while I took Kyle to the dentist! My little girl is finally getting over her "mommyitis!!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Slipin' and a Slidin'

Unfortunately, we are on the back end of summer, and I am getting super sad about it. We have been trying to work all the "fun" stuff in and this week we got out the new slip&slide that Dave got for his birthday!

All three kiddos loved it, and we were so lazy that we did not even put on bathing suits to enjoy it-that is how summer rolls around this house:)

We even took it a step farther with our "redneckness" by bringing outside a bottle of shampoo with us. I unhooked the hose, stripped the wet clothes off of their grassy bodies and we took a hose bath outside right in the driveway!! You are welcome to nominate me for "mother of the year" for that one! HA! I had just mopped the floors and the thought of three grassy-legged children running through my house brought out my OCD tendencies!
It was fun to see Hope get her slide on!

David had difficulty staying on the actual slide, and bless his heart, his belly is all scratched up today!

Look at that little grin on that baby girl!

Hope may be our biggest water baby yet and she loved sitting beside the slide and getting wet by the spray:)

David broke the "no carrying Hope rule" to carry her back up the hill to slide again.

This picture makes me laugh so hard! David has been a wee bit of a challenge lately-perhaps the lack of structure is catching up to us, but anyway, I told David that he had some grass on his nose and he insisted to try and lick it off!!!

Today we worked in a big, long trip to Hungry Mother with some friends in our effort to suck the life right out of the remaining days of summer. Despite David's strong will these days, it has been a fun and active summer. Hope will miss her little playmates when they go back to school.
Hope is talking like crazy these days and we are all enjoying teaching her new things everyday. Kyle has been asking daily for ANOTHER baby, preferably a boy. That shocks me so much, and we have tried to explain to him that we feel that our family is complete right now. Today he shot back at me and said "Uh Mom, you and I both know that only God knows big stuff like that!" Yes, baby God does know everything, but this tired, sunburned momma definately feels that her plate runneth over at this time!