Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week in Pictures

I love on Sunday afternoons to download pictures off of my phone to recapture moments from the week.  Fall is such a fun yet busy time and I cannot believe it is October already!!

Tuesday was my birthday and the ladies I work with brought in a cake to share with the class for my special day.  We make a big deal about birthdays at preschool so I felt the love from my sweet students this week.  One of my precious students even brought me in 11 cents to my big day so I could buy myself something nice:)  I love my job.

I even got some sweet flowers on my special day!

I captured this sweet moment of David reading to Mike and Hope for homework one night.  We are so proud of David's reading this year!  His math does not come quite as easy for him as the reading, but we are working on it. 
Yesterday was a big day in our household!  Mike's beloved Louisiana Tech  Bulldogs were playing here in Virginia against UVA. The boys headed to Charlottesville for a fun reason to go cheer on the Dawgs!  They had a great day and got home very late.  As a special treat for me,  my parents kept Hope for me for a while so I could go kid-free shopping with a friend.  True heaven!!!
I also captured this sweet moment of Kyle starting a chapter book with David and Hope.  He is such a great big brother when he chooses to be. 
We received an appointment letter Friday afternoon that David's appointment with the kidney doctor is this Thursday morning.  We will see the oncologist afterwards so we do not have to have two October trips to UVA.  We are nervous about this kidney doctor appointment, but we are anxious to see if the changes we have done in his diet/drinking have helped his BUN and Creatinine.  We covet your prayers for this appointment. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Pictures

I declared that today was going to be fall pictures for the kiddos.  David's hair is growing out so fast that his looks have drastically changed, so we needed updated kid pictures. 

Last year..

Ashley and I took these pictures
two days before David was diagnosed with stage four cancer and our lives were forever altered.  I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that in this above picture my sweet baby had a 10 centimenter tumor that had taken over his kidney and adrenal gland.

This year we decided to do fall pictures again but to do it earlier in the fall season and to change locations to stop the bad feelings/flashbacks from hitting me.  I actually had a funny dream the other night which is the first non-gloomy dream I have had in a long while. 

I started getting this one ready, and she insisted adamantly that she wanted to wear the same dress from last year.  My Mom recently bought her a precious new peaches and cream dress that is red and blue but girlfriend insisted that this was her fall dress picture.  So much for doing it so differently! 
What a difference a year makes!! My favorite girl in her "turkey fress!"  This time last year she called dresses "fresses" and she loved this dress! 
My oldest who looks more like a pre-teen in this picture. 
This picture totally captures David's growing blondish hair and his precious personality!! 
This was the best one of the three I got!  It is challenging to get three strong-willed children to cooperate but I did bribe them with pizza for dinner!  I told them if they did not cooperate we would have leftovers and no pizza.  HA! 
This picture makes me smile because it captures their little bond.  She had just said "hey Dave lets act sweet" and this is what I got.  They adore each other and I love this picture. 
They wanted some football pictures while we were there so after they did the real ones I captures their football playing.  Ashley and I both had a lump in our throat today because she reminded me that last year when they were being boys playing football David told Kyle to "be easy" and now we know why.  His belly must have been so tender with that darn huge tumor in there.  Today he too told him to be easy but now he says "be easy one kidney!"  We have drilled in his head to be careful with his one kidney and he was reminding Kyle:)
This picture makes me belly laugh because Hope is the official holder of the football for David to kick.  I just pray that she does not lose any teeth in the process!!  Ha!

Precious family memories that mean even more to me now because of the nightmare.  Little did we know that last year when we were doing those fall pictures in our backyard that those would be the last pictures of the kids before cancer came crashing into our world. Those picture will always be bittersweet to me because they signal the end of our innocence and maybe the last pictures with his red hair not in a hospital.  :( 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Yesterday was my 37th birthday.  I am getting closer to 40 than 30 that is for sure, but cancer has changed my perspective on birthdays.  I am just so thankful for each day I am blessed to be here on this Earth.  I could care less that I have some "fine lines" around my eyes, things are not exactly where they used to be after nursing three babies, and I have to go see my favorite hair expert/hair colorer Victoria more than my wallet would like for  me to to keep my "natural color."

Birthdays and life are to be cherished and celebrated and yesterday was not exactly a stree free day in our household.  I was blessed to have lunch with some dear ladies and our children and all the facebook messages made me smile.  I am a blessed woman with friends and family in my life.  But like life, my birthday was not stress-free.   I got a nail stuck in my croc that caused some drama, preschool was a challenge yesterday, and  I forgot David had a field trip yesterday that required a packed lunch as we were walking out the door. Sigh. 

Last night instead of eating out as a family we ordered food in and had a quiet night at home.  Then this morning when I got up I checked my email I saw some devastating news about one of our UVA cancer warriors-a ten year old girl named Alyssa.  Her new doctors in Houston have sent her home due to cancer lesions on her lungs that grew from her bone cancer in her leg.  This little girl has already lost her leg and chemo has not been successful in her very aggressive cancer.  Her family is a wonderful christian family and please join me in praying for them to have meaningful and magical memories in their time left together. 

Sadly it hit me this morning that all the stress in our lives right now due to Mike's crazy job seems so pointless.  We are one bad scan away from a bad prognosis for our sweet David and that gives me perspective to all this crazy drama and stress.  Children are dying from cancer every day and sadly our child could be included in that group.  Our son like so many cancer warriors may not make it to their middle or high school years so we must focus on enjoying every minute we can with him and our other children.  Childhood cancer is ripping apart families everyday and that makes my heart hurt. 

So today I hate childhood cancer but I am thankful for the perspective it has given us on how life, truly drama-free life, is a precious gift to be treasured.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Parenting is definitely not for sissies.  I am by no means a perfect parent and I often lose my cool with my children....

Especially with this little princess.  She is hilarious, precious, smart, and very strong-willed.  Tonight she was over the moon excited about her swim lessons.  She had on her new suit, her new goggles and she even got dressed hours before the big event. 
She happily played in the water before the class until the teacher and other students arrived.  She then retreated into her own little shy shell and would not participate AT ALL.  I got so frustrated with her until I remembered that this is how God made her.  She is shy and painfully slow to warm up to new situations and people.  Her teacher was a kind, younger guy and she even had a sweet preschool girlfriend in the class with her.  Sigh.  She did rock her new "swim team" bathing suit and goggles:)
Sweet Kyle even tried to coax her when he finished up swim team practice but he didn't make much progress either.  I might let her Daddy take her Wednesday and see if she does better for him.  She loves the water and loves swimming, but her shyness held her back.
All three of my children are very different and require different things out of me.  I have come to realize in my decade of parenting that first and foremost my children need my time and love, but more importantly my prayers.  I have felt so burdened to pray specifically for my children lately.  This world is complex and very different from the world that I grew up in.  I desperately want children that use their strong will to stand up for righteousness and that they will do the right thing always. 
Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
I pray that my children will seek the right thing always.  We have started having  peer pressure conversations with Kyle so he understands what we expect from him.  Our children do not have a long "leash" and I expect that will never change.  Mike and I were talking yesterday about how hard it is to find a balance between freedom and protection.  We do not want to protect too much that they do not learn how to handle freedom appropriately and then later down the road they go wild! 
Parenting is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but I have been enjoying some scripture on child-rearing and if I shower my children with love, time, and prayer, I cannot go wrong. 


After a crazy and stressful week in our household last week, this weekend has simply been amazing. 

When downloading pictures off of my phone I found this sweet picture from last week.  One of my dear friends spontaneously invited several mommies over for lunch on a rainy day last week.  The kids ate lunch and then played and the Moms ate pie and sipped coffee on her comfy couches.  It was spontaneous and heavenly.  Thank you Kelly for your hospitality!  I joked that my bottom was not leaving her couch all day!!  I treasure these precious years before my last baby heads off to big school in two short years.  Spontaneous lunches and playdates are precious treasures now. 
Here is David, and the two Meghan's at clinic.  David took Ms. Meghan's blood pressure since he was such a great patient.  He is also rocking his Stand Up to Cancer Spiderman shirt from Kilby!!  We do not like going back to UVA, but the staff there is simply amazing. 
Saturday was the Ordinary Women's Conference here in Marion.  Before I talk about that amazing experience here are my two youngest Hokie fans!  Because of the Archer family they were blessed and were able to go to the game with GG and Pops!!  What a wonderful day of beautiful weather, a Hokie win (woot woot) and a special day with grandparents.  Thank you for such a special treat for our hokies!
You can see from the empty seats around them that they got to the game super early!  My parents said that David watched every play, cheered every cheer and refused to leave until everyone was off the field!  He fell asleep in the parking lot:)  He came home saying "hokies won" and he had a great day.

Mike and Kyle were at a swim meet.  Kyle swam well this weekend. 
It is hard to get a good picture in a dark pool, but here is our sweet swimmer boy!
Today we took the whole family to cheer on the kiddos and David had fun with Bridget and Bre. 
Kyle swam well except for his 50 backstroke and he got disqualified for getting tangled up in the lane line and flipping too early.  It was a great character builder for him because he wanted to go home and not swim his last event.  After a talk with his Dad he came out and rocked his last event and held onto first place by tying with another swimmer. 
Sweet boy and his trophy!
Yesterday I was at the Ordinary Women's Conference.  I was really nervous and really wanted to throw up before the event.  All the speakers were in a backroom before the event started and I got really emotional and could NOT turn off my tears.  Then several ladies prayed and that awesome peace from God washed over me. 
 The amazing organizer, Sheila Miller did an awesome job emceeing the event and she reminded us of all the "ordinary" women in the bible that God called to do extraordinary things.  Women such as Esther and Mary who were orphaned or a peasant girl and that God used them to do amazing things.  I pray that God can use our nightmare and this very ordinary and often unglued woman to bring glory to Him. 
The conference was awesome!  Local ladies you must attend this event next year.  The fellowship was wonderful, the speakers were inspiring, the music was glorious, the food was wonderful, and the presence of God was palpable in that church.  I felt honored to be a part of this and I pray that my speech touched a heart.  I had typed out pages and pages to go by but after 5-10 minutes in I bagged my hand written notes and just talked.  I told story after story how God held our hand and wiped our tears the last year.  I ended by encouraging the women to invest time in their relationship with God.  That investment will always be compounded and you never know when you might need to call on his mercy and grace. 
This weekend has simply been awesome.  After a very emotional, stressful, and frustrating week about David's kidney and Mike's work,  this weekend was refreshing and wonderful.  Friday night my little ones were at GG and Pops' gearing up for the big VT game, Kyle and Mike were at high school football games, so I snuck over to my dear friend Misty's house. I had dinner with her and her family and then we got our craft on.  I cannot post our final results because what we made are Christmas gifts, but we had a great time being girly and crafty.  It was such fun and now the craft bug has bitten us both:) 
I am so thankful that when life feels at its breaking point God refreshes us with exactly what we need.  Have a great week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Doctor Called

So today during preschool my phone rang with a UVA number.  My stomach dropped when I heard the doctor on the other end.  Usually if it is quick call to say labs look great one of the nurse practicioners call with the good news.  In this world if the doctor calls it means a conversation needs to take place.

David's labs look great except for his Creatinine and BUN.  Both of those are kidney indicators and it is a slight bit concerning that his is creeping up when the school and us have been diiligent about getting his 50 ounces in each day.  Sigh.

She quizzed me about his fluid intake and then contacted the kidney doctor.  Dr. D. then called me back and said as a precaution, the kidney doctor wants to see us within the next two to three weeks.  I asked her if she was worried and she said no but this is why we watch solo kidney kids well.  Sigh.

So we should be getting an appointment letter in the mail early next week with an appointment to talk with the kidney doctor.  This also may affect his November scans because the contrast dye is hard on the kidneys and they may switch to an MRI.  

I am trying not to worry but we have been DILLIGENT about his fluid intake and David does not drink caffeinated beverages at all.  So please add David's kidney to your prayer list:(  sigh.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

UVA News

The great news is that David and I made it to UVA safe and sound.  We had a crazy morning getting off and then the car started acting funny on the way down.  Thank goodness for  Rick Woodson Honda dealership in Roanoke who took a few minutes to check my car out! 

All was well and then we stopped and got David some McDonalds and the poor sales girl was so consumed with chatting with her coworker behind her about her cell phone that she dropped my $20 and it flew away.  She said "honey you better go get that if you want this food."  Oh the restrain that I showed when I gracefully hopped out of my SUV and chased floating money through a busy parking lot.  God's grace kept my mouth shut!!

Finally we made it to UVA three minutes early.  We had to wait for a bit before a room opened up (sadly they are so full there).  Finally we hit the triage room and sadly his weight was only 52 today.  Last month it was 56 so we are thinking that last months weight was not right.  It kind of hurt my heart, but his blood pressure was excellent!

The doctor came and met with us and she thought he looked great!  David was worn out by this point and dreading the upcoming lab draw so he was not exactly the best patient.  He was quite a stinker, but I will take a strong-willed turkey over a little boy too sick to make a sound!  Cancer does give you perspective. 

They did draw labs which was high drama.  The finger prick did not work at all so they had to draw it out of his arm which was a very dramatic scene and it hurt my heart.  We will know the labs results tomorrow.  The big one they are watching is his Creatinine to test kidney function.  His doctor thinks it is a good idea to start being followed by a kidney doctor to keep check on his solo kidney now.  There is possibly a medicine that we can start him on to help preserve his kidney that we will think about at the next visit. 

Sadly I love visiting the staff at clinic, but I always leave there feeling so sad.  There are SO MANY children there receiving treatment and sadly there were new faces today.  I am so thankful that we are in the post-chemo phase, but I seem to be able to cling to God's peace about relapse away from there.  Going back to clinic makes it all seem so real and scary again. 

So we are worn out and ready for bed.  THANK you so much for all the amazingly kind fb messages, emails, and texts today.  I was not able to respond to all because I was driving, but every one of them boosted me today when I was emotional and tired.  David did rock his new Spiderman Stand Up to Cancer shirt from Kilby today and it was a hit with all the staff. 

Thank you for all your love and prayers and I will update tomorrow hopefully with great news from his labs.  Good night from sleepy Momma and Rock star!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Heading down the Road

Tomorrow sweet Rock Star and I will head down the road for a checkup.  I know I should not be nervous, but the thought of pulling into that blasted parking garage at UVA makes my heart flutter.  I am excited to see all the wonderful staff, but that place has such sad memories for me. 

We think he will get labs drawn which will be no fun without a central line:(  He will get his monthly Bactrum orally or Pentamidine via IV.  He hates oral meds, but we may force it down to avoid an IV.  The longer we are home in "normal life" the harder it is to go back. 

I am super excited about the Ordinary Women Conference this Saturday.  I wrote my speech about a month ago and this weekend I reread it and trashed it.  It was really bad.  So Monday night I locked myself in the basement and wrote and wrote and wrote.  Writing about his diagnosis hurt my heart so much that I sobbed.  It is so emotional to go back to that place, but that story is woven with God's unfailing love and promises.  It hurts so much to go back to last November, but for God to be glorified His power, peace, love and might must be shared.

Please pray this his checkup tomorrow is uneventful and boring.  Mike sadly cannot go with us now so David and I will be flying solo.  I will update tomorrow after we meet with his oncolgoist.  Please pray for boring and uneventful and that David blows them away on the scales!!!  We are excited to see what he officially weighs now because he certainly has had a growth spurt!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  Laura has been reading me statistics about childhood cancer the last few days.  I hope that you will indulge us and let me share several statistics and important facts that have been brought to our attention.
  • This year 12,500 parents will hear the words "Your child has cancer".
  • Despite much progress in the treatment of childhood cancer, 1 in 5 children with cancer will die.  Every 6.5 hours a child dies from this terrible disease.
  • Right now, over 40,000 children in our country are being treated for cancer.
  • Cancer is the #1 leading cause of childhood death from disease.
  • 1 in every 300 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 20.
Wow.  It is staggering to me that so many children and families are suffering right now as I write this.  Tomorrow the numbers will grow.  Please join me in pausing for a moment in our busy lives and praying for these children and their families.  My prayer is that the families find peace in Christ and that in this difficult and at times overwhelming experience that they sense that God is standing with them no matter how tough times are.  I also pray for comfort for the children whom are enduring many different procedures and doing so when they potentially feel horrible.  I also pray for answers to the question of how and why so many children are impacted with this disease and that new and better treatments are being developed.  God please guide the hand of the researchers, doctors, nurses, and other health providers who work so hard to help and love our children with cancer.

I also ran across a couple of interesting statistics about childhood cancer research.
  • It cost an average of $802 million in research and development to bring one new cancer drug to market.
  • 3.8% of federal cancer research funding goes to childhood cancer
There are many private groups working hard to raise awareness and funding for this cause. 

Gold is the color used to signify childhood cancer.  Laura and I were so touched to learn about this last year when a group of loving friends created a Team David t-shirt and the colors used were maroon and gold.  The maroon was because David loves the VT Hokies and the gold is symbolic of childhood cancer awareness.  Laura and I both cherish our shirts and usually wear them when we go for his appointments.  His doctors and nurses must wonder if we own anything else :-)

Please know that those who have dealt with or are dealing with this terrible disease appreciate your prayers, kind words and support.  God bless.

Family Fun

Yesterday was just glorious!  The weather was perfect-sunny but not too hot and it was not crowded at all at Dollywood.  We left early to get a full day of fun in!

When I was downloading pictures I stumbled across this cute picture of Hope reading her own bible.  She opens it up and "reads" that Jesus died on the cross and after "fwee" days he rose again.  It was very cute:)
These two had a ball at Dollywood.  Hope has not been since she was a little over a year old, so she had fun doing big girl things! She and David loved that playground!
To help move around quicker and to help with fatigue we rented  a double stroller. 
Amazingly a local girl scout troop was also visiting Dollywood and David was so excited to see all his girl scout friends!  He posed them all for a picture.  Later in the day we caught up with them again and rode several rides with them.  It was super cool to see friends there!
This sweet lady that works at Dollywood helped David win a ball!  Kyle used some of his money to shoot this ball into the hoop and he had already won a ball.  David desperately wanted to try to win one too, but he is just not strong enough.  The sweet lady had David hop over the counter and she let him shoot from there!! HE WON!!
Posing with their balls they won!  Kyle was very disappointed in David for getting a UT ball, but we have lots of UT friends.  Yesterday was not a great football day for UT or our beloved Hokies, but we will just not talk about that.
Amazingly David is finally tall enough (including his peach fuzz) to drive the bumper cars by himself!  We were a little nervous but the boy rocked it.  He loved it and later in the day we all rode with our girl scout friends. 
Here is our friend, Mike Acuff who works with the eagles at Dollywood.  He does the Eagle show there and my kids love it!  We have always loved the eagles at Dollywood, but now after David's very special Challenger visit back in the winter, the kids are even more into eagles.

This little princess loved every minute of Dollywood.  She drove the cars, she loved the ducks, piggies, and bees, and just had a great time with her best friend, Dave.  They were all worn out from all the sun and fun we had. 

Yesterday driving home I just had to smile.  Back in June when David was soooo sick, I could not even let myself think about fun family days like this because it hurt too much.  It would break my heart that we would all be stuck in a hospital room to be together instead of having carefree fun like yesterday.  Cancer certainly stinks, but it has given me an appreciation for days like this that we used to take for granted.  Happy Weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Tonight I am in a very contemplative mood.  September is childhood cancer awareness month and I cannot believe that last September I had no idea how childhood cancer would impact our family.  I remember seeing some gold ribbons floating around on facebook and I remember thinking how tragic cancer must be.  Last September we were packing for Disney completely clueless how life was getting ready to change.  Drastically. 

Amazingly we have total peace about David's upcoming checkup.  We are excited to see how much weight he has gained in a month and to show off all of his new peach fuzz!! David's teacher texted me today that not only did he make a 103 on his spelling test, but he bets by Christmas David will have a ponytail:) We are so thankful that all those prayers we prayed about school starting were answered.  David is surpassing our expectations across the board.  To God be be the glory for it all!

This weekend we are scooting out of town for a little quick family getaway.  Family time is priceless and after being separated so much last year, we relish every weekend where we are together.  Next weekend I will be at The Ordinary Women's conference which is coming up so fast!!  I am so nervous (especially because the attendance is around 200 as of this week) but I am compelled to brag on our God because of the way he sustained us through the scary dark times.

I wish I could say my nightmares are getting better but they really are not.  My dreams are sadly laced with dreams of cancer and other tragic things.  I pray time will heal this but it seems to get worse now that the cooler weather is here and we are in the season of the first anniversary of his diagnosis.   I am reading through the book of Proverbs at night trying to soak up God's wisdoms and truths, but those darn nightmares are still showing up. 

Last night I was blessed to have a marathon dinner with a dear friend from life and church.  It was such a wonderful time of sweet christian friendship and I am so thankful that God has blessed me with some encouraging women in my life.  Satan tries to prey on women and our friendships using gossip and insecurity and frankly I am over it. I want my christian friends to know how important they are to me and I want in turn to bless them with encouragement and friendship. 

I must stop my deep thinking and pack our things for our little getaway!!!  Dollywood here we come!!! David is so excited to see the train and the Eagle Challenger and Kyle is ready for roller coasters. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Having a little girl around the house is tons of fun.  Right now she is obsessed with babies and putting makeup on.  Today she carrried around three different tubes of chapstick and/or lipstick begging me to put it on.  Finally I relented and puckered up for a quick swipe.  The chapstick touched my lips and the smell hit my nose and I froze.  It took me back in time to a scary, scary place just eight months ago. 

During January David had two dozen radiation sesssions.  He had to be sedated for them so he could be perfectly still.  Blessedly they were usually early in the morning in the basement of the Emily Couric Cancer center which is across the street from UVA hospital.  Those cold blustery mornings we were loaded up on an ambulance to literally go across the street for his daily radiation.  He could not eat or drink before being sedated and so his lips would be so parched:(  It broke my heart and they often would give us chapstick to use until he could get some liquids. 

Today Hope was using that same brand of chapstick and it took me back in time.  Instead of being snuggled on the couch with my sweet girl I was scared and cold in a cancer center.  The weirdest things like this cause my heart to palpitate and I know without a shadow of a doubt I have a mild form of Post-traumatic stress disorder.  I still have occassional nightmares and this cool weather has brought back lots of memories from last fall. 

To combat the nightmares and flashbacks I have had a hunger for God's word like no other.  I am currently reading through Proverbs right now just soaking up God's wisdom.   There have been times that I have read the bible and it just has not soaked in.  This season of my life; however, it is alive and active to me.  I am so thankful for his Word and his peace as we come up on a checkup scheduled for September 20th.

September is also childhood cancer awareness month.  Each day 36 children will receive the news that they have cancer and sadly seven children die each day from cancer.  Please pray for the children and families that are fighting this beast each and everyday.  I am thankful we are done with planned and active treatment, but we will always be nervous about relapse and late-term side effects from all the chemo and radiation he received.  We are far from being out of the woods, but God has provided us with a peace that passes all understanding.

His peace is what allows us to forge ahead each day in our jobs and within our family life.  We will not live in fear of the "what ifs" because no matter what is before us we know our God will be with us. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Fun

This weekend has been wonderful!!  It started Friday night at a local football game where David got to see lots of friends.  He is feeling great and we are so thankful for his energy level and his new hair coming in.  We have our next appointment with UVA on September 20th, which is only for a checkup and not a scan. 

Yesterday we were blessed to get to go to the Hokie game!!!  My Dad has two tickets this year and can only take one grandchild at a time, but yesterday thanks to Uncle Gary David and I were able to go too!!!  There was not one fan in that stadium more excited than David.  The kid goes crazy and cheers every cheer and watches every play. 
We got there early so the boys went to the fence and watched warmups. 
Uncle Gary, his son Adam, and Pops were able to go on the field before the game during warmups.  My boys were soooo excited to see them walk out of the tunnel.  It was super exciting and they were worried that Pops was going to get hit by one of the players.  Pops and his brother Gary look so much alike that I really had to look closely to see who was who. 
David was so stubborn enthralled with his surroundings that he WOULD NOT pose for a picture, but Kyle did:) It was white day at the stadium so we dug out our white Hokie clothes. 
Kyle tried so hard to entice David to turn around but the boy was too excited for boring pictures when there are football players to spot!
David was still not thrilled with a photo op, but here is Pops with Kyle and David.  Kyle and I sat in different seats than Pops and DAvid but we still had fun. The weather cooperated until halftime when nasty storms and rain blew in.  We did not stay the whole time because the boys (and their Momma) do not like storms.  Thanks Uncle Gary for a fun Saturday!

Today is grandparents day.  I am so thankful for the grandparents in my children's lives but today I am thankful for my grandparents.  Both of my grandfathers have passed away, but growing up I was so blessed with all four grandparents active and involved in my life.  My Dad's parents lived around the block from us and their freezer was always stocked with Klondike bars and their candy drawer was always full of treasures.  They doted on us and bought us the extras that my parents would say no to.  I remember one night shopping at Hill's in Christiansburg and my Mom was willing to buy me a barbie.  I just COULD NOT decide which one to get and my Memaw grabbed the one I reluctantly put back and said "oh she is a sweet girl she needs them both." They were always right around the block and I loved that.  I am thankful my Memaw is  still livin in her home, but I wish she felt better today.

My Mom's parents, (Mimi and PawPaw) were the adventerous ones that lived at the lake during the summer and Florida during the winter after they retired.  My Pawpaw passed away two years ago from COPD and my heart still drops everytime I go up to the lake and he is not there.  They were young and playful grandparents and we saw them every Sunday at church and several times during the week. 

Grandparents are a special blessing and I cannot wait to see both of my Pawpaws in heaven one day.  I am blessed that both of my grandmothers are still here and they have a relationship with my children.  Hope and Mimi have a special little bond because she helped out this winter when we were at UVA.   I am thankful that both of my grandparents were close and active in our lives.  Happy Grandparents Day!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Adventures and New Friends

I love the start of a new school year because there are new friends to meet and new adventures to begin.  Because David is now missing a kidney, sports will not be much of an option for him.  Contact sports are out of the question now as well as anything too crazy dangerous.  We are usually so focused on cancer that we forget that he had a major operation back in November and now his life will be different.  He must drink 50 ounces of fluid daily to keep his kidney nice and flushed. It is okay to live with only one kidney, but we must work hard to protect it to last a lifetime.  

So to help David make new friends and have fun, we have decided to sign him up for boy scouts!!!!!  I cannot wait to see him in that cute little uniform!!  We do not know much about scouting, but we are eager to learn and help David grow.  I love the focus on community service that is part of scouts and David went to his first scout event yesterday.  They did a critter crawl with a local naturalist and he had tons of fun!!  Mike went with him and this will be their Daddy/son bonding time:)

David with two of the pack leaders finding some critters to identify!! Sweet Stephanie Warren took these pictures and sent them to me via email today.  I was so excited to see them because Mike forgot the camera!
Our sweet sweet boy!  This picture does not do his peach fuzz justice, but he is really getting lots of blonde hair in!!!  It is so fun to rub his head that we joke that we will pay him $1 if we can rub it.  Sometimes he likes for us to rub it and others times NOT!!
Stephanie got this sweet, tender picture of Daddy and Son.  It looks like Daddy is providing a little reassurance that it is okay to get in the creek!!  Mike is really a great hands-on Daddy with our kids.  Scouting is a new adventure for all of us and we are excited to learn with David. 
This silly girl is really lovin her new preschool friends and she is having fun in her own shy way.  She is so shy when she first meets new friends, but she will warm up.  Here she is eating her fruit loops off of her friendship bracelet!!

Oh this picture makes me belly laugh because this is Sydney.  Her Mommy works with me and Sydney is a tag-a-long student like Hope was last year.  Today I gave the preschoolers a little cardboard person to color to hang in our room.  I told the students to color their eyes and mouth and Sydney obeyed perfectly!!!  Instead of coloring her cardboard creation; however,  she colored her own eyes and mouth!! I love how literal children are:)  We all got a good laugh and thankfully we use washable markers at school. 

This past Sunday David and I visited my parents church, Calvary Baptist in Radford.  Their pastor did a wonderful sermon on friendship and I have been pondering this topic all week.  No matter our age we all need christian friends that encourage us in life and in our walk with the Lord.  I pray that I can be a christian friend to those in my life because I have certainly been blessed with some Godly women who have encouraged me. 

Life is so busy and crazy that we so often get self-absorbed in our own corner of the world.  I was encouraged this past Sunday to reach out to those that need an encouraging hug or prayer and to keep steady in the good fight of faith. 

I am thankful for all the new friends that God has put into our life and all the friends that have been so faithful to us over the past year. I pray that my children will also learn the importance of Godly friends and the need to choose friends wisely.  This week we are thankful for David's new scouting adventure, all our new preschool families, and all the children that my own kiddos are in class with this year. 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The past few days have been high excitement around here.  I try to be careful about posting family whereabouts here on the blog, but last Wednesday Mike took Hope and Kyle to  Shreveport with him to visit his family and help move his Dad from an apartment to an assisted living center.  It was certainly time and God worked it out that he was willing finally to make that move.

I was proud of Mike for taking a newly potty-trained little girl with him on such a big trip, but they all did great!!!  It killed me when they pulled out, but Daddys and little girls need time together to build their own memories and form their special little Daddy/daughter bond.  Hope and I are blessed with so much time together and I am thankful that Mike is the kind of Daddy that is willing to do whatever to spend time with his kids-even stopping every 10 minutes to potty for his favorite girl. 

The other exciting news around here was that TODAY was Hope's first day of preschool.  I know she has been there with me for over a year now, but it is a big deal when your baby is old enough to finally be on the roster.  She was soooo excited!!
She shockingly was a little shy with her new friends, but oh so soon she will warm up.  She insisted on "lil piggy tails" for her hair today and her new red dress. 
Can you see her in the middle of the pack lined up for the playground??  Oh these sweet angels-we really had an awesome first day!!  Below is a picture of her this time last year.  Look how short her hair was!!!!!  Time just needs to slow down.  I also got emotional thinking that the last time life was normal (before cancer) was preschool.  I got the call from David's school nurse one day at preschool that ended us up at the ER which then ended us up at UVA with a cancer diagnosis. 
Big preschool girl was sooo excited this morning and willingly posed for a picture.
Then she insisted that David be in the picture too!  Since Hope was in a "church dress" David wanted to wear a shirt and tie today to look like  Jeff and Daddy. 

On the big trip to Shreveport Hope and Kyle both had fun catching up with their cousins and seeing Mike's Dad, Opa.  Pam was sweet enough to text me pictures throughout the trip and she texted me this funny face one!

Here is Mike's Dad, Opa, with 5/6 of his grandchildren.  Andrew is a sophomore in high school, Christopher is in 7th grade, Kevin is in second grade, and this picture needs DAvid to be complete. 
These pictures are totally out of order, but the other exciting development is that ASHLEY AND MATT got enaged this weekend!!!!!!  We are so excited for Ashley who is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.  We are thrilled for them to start their life together and may the Lord bless them today and always. 
These pictures are totally out of order, but here is a picture of Mike's brother, Daniel with his three boys and our two.  Mike enjoyed time with his family and visitng with them is truly precious time.  They have three active boys and are busy just like we are.  We try to carve out time each year when our schedules allow to spend time together, but this is the first trip that Hope has made.  I am so proud of her for traveling so well!!!
That is all the excitement that I can share for today!!!