Monday, July 29, 2013

Ashley's Wedding and VBS

I am a little bit behind on my blogging with the "busyness" of summer.  I am just now catching up on pictures.  Our dear Ashley is getting married on Labor Day Weekend!!!  We are so excited for her and all my kiddos have their outfits ready for the big day.  Labor Day weekend will be here before you know it and we are really getting excited for her big weekend.  I even bought a new dress to wear for the occassion:)

Last Saturday her bridal party hosted a shower for her at church here we are ready to go.  Kyle took this picture of me, Hope and my Mom:)
Me with my favorite girl.  She is really into BIG hairbows lately and her rule is "when I wear a dress I must wear a big bow."  Okie Dokie.
This week is bible school at church and we are really having a blast!  Bible School is a big week but Hope is loving it.  Here she is with her sweet church/preschool friend Olivia.  These girls are adorable to watch sing the awesome VBS songs and follow along with their bible stories.  I pray Hope always has sweet "Jesus girls" to stand strong with. 
I love the finale each night in the sanctuary where the kids sing the fun and awesome songs.  Here is our sweet girl praying. 
Here is big David praising!  He and Hope are really loving the music that goes along with this curriculum of "Kingdom Rock" where kids stand strong for God. I have been at a station and so throughout the night all of my kiddos rotate with their classes to me. 
Kyle is with the big kid group.  This is his last year of bible school and for the next two nights they will be out in the community doing service projects.
I love this picture of Kyle laughing.  His group came up tonight to perform one of the songs and I was helping him move his hips to dance!  Ha!  Then Mrs. Kelly got him to dance in front of everyone!  I loved it!

We are really having a good week at VBS and we are getting really excited about the upcoming weddings.  Next weekend Hope is a flower girl in my sweet cousin's wedding in Radford and then Labor Day Weekend is Ashley's big weekend!  so much fun is on the horizon and of course we are counting down the last wonderful days of summer.  We have about two and a half weeks until the kids go back to school. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Phone Picture Dump

I love every week or two downloading the pictures off of my phone.  It is always a fun reminder about what we have been up to. 

Yesterday we went with Misty and Sydney to a FUN birthday party for sweet Brooklyn.  It was amazing and the rain blessedly stopped so the kids could have fun.  We love sweet Brooklyn and her family! Here are Hope and Sydney swinging. 
Here are David and Ashley going down the big water slide.  The water was pretty chilly but David did brave the slide a few times. 
This picture cracks me up of Ashley belly laughing.  One of the many reasons we love her is that she is so funny and just laughs a lot.  She is really a lot of fun to be around. 

The highlight of the party for David was the train.  He loved riding that thing and sweet and funny Sydney was often his riding buddy.  Don't you love Sydney's balloon hat? 
I found these sweet pictures of my kids dancing last week at Hungry Mother Festival.  There was some Irish music playing while we were eating our really "healthy" festival food and these two decided to dance. 
While David was sitting and taking a break to rest I got this cute picture of Kyle and Hope. 
One cool and cloudy day this past week we decided it was a perfect day to go paddle boating.  Our little boat held me, Amber, and the three kids.  We all took turn pedaling and David was kept us going in the right direction.  We had so much fun and we laughed so loudly that I am sure we annoyed the fish. 
Hope liked to put her feet in the water.  I know I say this so often on here, but Hungry Mother State Park is a local gem and we are so blessed to have it here. 
Thursday we met some friends at the wave pool.  David LOVED that place and really got brave diving through the waves, and going out far with Kyle and Spencer.  We had a great day at the wave pool!
Kyle and Spencer!  They were so patient and sweet with David helping him in the waves and including them. 

This upcoming week is super busy with BIBLE SCHOOL!  We did not participte in bible school last year due to David's chemo, so we are excited for it to start tonight.  I am running the theatre in the movie room.  It is cool in there with the A/C but I am stressed about working the projector:)  This is Kyle's last year as a bible school student-next year he will be in youth and will be a helper???   Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 26, 2013


We are home after a long but great day at UVA.  Kyle traveled with me and David today to keep us entertained.

The first thing we noticed is that the new front entrance is now open!!!  Wow-it looks so beautiful.  This major construction project has been going on since David was first diagnosed and it is amazing to see it complete.
Our boys in the new walkway from the parking garaage to the hospital.  David was not smiling because he was dreading the blood draw he knew was coming :(
The new lobby in the hospital. 
One of the first people David asks for when we get to clinic is always Ms. Meghan.  Here she is being silly with a mask.  She talked to David about his upcoming school year and of course he got to visit the toy box:)
Here is David giving Dr. Belyea a checkup.  Dr. Belyea is another one of David's favorite people at clinic.  Dr. B said that David looks great and his labs showed that his Creatinine is holding steady at .8.  We are thrilled with that news over the hot and humid summer.  Overall David got a clean bill of health and his scan will be scheduled for August.  I quizzed Dr. B about signs of relapse and basically the only way we will know if the cancer has come back will be through the CT scan.  We will continue to walk in faith taking each day as it comes.  He does feel that David has bounced back nicely from the treatment in terms of his growth curve.  As typical with cancer kids, his growth curve looks like a letter U. 
Happy boys finishing clinic and heading to Cici's Pizza for David's favorite lunch choice.  He really did great with the lab draw today!!  We were so proud of him. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Dave is Really Feeling

I love that we live in such a wonderful, caring community.  Everywhere I go folks stop and ask me how our David is.  I always smile and say "today he is doing great."  That is kind of my standard answer because on the outside he is doing great.  He looks so healthy with his mop of red hair and he is enormous thanks to a recent growth spurt.  If you had just met David today you would have no idea what he has gone through unless you look at the scars on his belly and chest. He is our miracle. 

The Momma in me; however, watches everything he does, eats, or drinks.  Lately he has been complaining a lot about being tired.  This past Saturday at the festival he had to be carried back to the car because he was so tired.  My heart stops everytime he complains about a headache or being tired.  I convince myself that the cancer is back already and that he is not going to make it.  Crazy I know, but after all the curveballs we have been thrown I can't help but go there.

We go to UVA this Friday for a clinic appointment where labs will be drawn and urine analyzed to check his kidney function.  We do wonder if the heat and humidity from the summer is what is dragging him down.  He basically has one half of one kidney now so I know that when the temperature is high and he is active then it is hard on his body.  I have struggled with being paralyzed with fear over the "what ifs" but I will try to continue to walk in faith knowing that our God is with us. 

My emotions have been all over the place this summer.  We have truly had a great summer full of family, friends, sun, and fun.  David has loved summertime and I am so thankful that he has felt good to enjoy it.  I also stress about his fluid intake and his exertion, trying to balance it all out.  I am worried desperately about the upcoming scan in August because if this one is clean then that means that he has made it a whole year post-chemo which is a huge milestone. 

My life as a christian has taught me to not worry about tomorrow but to trust God.  I know from experience that He will never take you somewhere where he will not meet you, but to see my healthy looking boy not want to walk 1/4 of a mile back to the car grips me with fear.  We ask for your prayers for his lab work this Friday to tell us if his kidney is still  happy and healthy and of course that the August scan is clean.  I am so thankful for this space here on this little blog to share this journey.  It gives me a safe place to express myself so I do not end up blubbering on the street to some sweet neighbor who asks "how is David?"

We are so grateful for our faithful blog readers who continue to pray for David and our family.  This journey is truly going to be a lifetime marathon, but with God on our side we will continue to take baby steps in faith.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big Dave's Party!

Last night we finally got to celebrate David's birthday with friends.  The weather was questionable and the first thirty minutes of the party the thunder rumbled:(  It all worked out in the end and the kids finally got to swim and party. 

David with Tommy, Will, Alex, and Owen.  Check out David's shirt that says "Keep calm, it's only an extra chromosome."  I found it on etsy and I had to get it for him. 
Caroline and David!
David and some of his lady friends-Grace, Elena, Addyson, and Kennedy. 
Tonya and Baby Sage!
Kelsey and David
Hope and Macy
David and Mason after the thunder delay was finally over!  Such happy kids to hear that whistle blow!  While we waited we enjoyed pizza, chips, brownies, watermelon, and M&MS!
Hope and Sydney
Hope giving GG a wet hug!
Caleb, Devin, and David
The vanilla heat cake by Kelly Marchant!
The chocolate basketball cake also by Kelly. 
I will never tire of watching this guy blow out his birthday candles.  There were so many times at UVA that we wondered if he would make it through chemo and to see him blow out a big number nine birthday candle is awesome. 
Kyle and Hope.  She even insisted to have a bow in her hair while swimming. 
David truly had a ball at his party.  Here he is with Jonathan playing chicken which was probably his favorite part of the party.  I am not sure how Jonathan preached this morning at church because he had to be sore and tired from a lot of kids on his shoulders for chicken games. 
Present time!
While waiting for church time, this was the scene I found in our driveway.  David got a new ball and whistle from the Pughs and here he was playing referee with Kyle. 

Last night I was stressed about the weather but after the thunder went away I was so thankful.  Thankful that David is still with us after what he has endured, thankful for amazing friends who came to help us celebrate, and thankful to God for choosing us to parent this Lebron-loving, Jesus-singing, brownie-eating, guitar-playing, stubborn angel boy.  We wish you many many more years of love and good health:) We love you D-Rob!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation Hangover

We are home and unpacked from our trip to Charleston.  Traveling with three children is always an adventure but we had such a great time making memories. 

The last night of our trip we enjoyed dinner out on this deck overlooking the ocean.  The seafood was great (eventhough Kyle stressed about eating there since he is allergic to shellfish) and we walked the pier after dinner. It was a perfect way to end our trip. 

Before dinner I tried to capture some pictures of our kiddos on the beach.  Between the water, shells, and waves it was hard to keep their attention focused on smiling for Mom's camera.  This picture totally sums up David's personality.  He literally keeps us on our toes:)
This picture was totally unposed and it is one of my favorites.  May they always have this sweet bond.
Our three blessings.
Our little girl who loves to smile for the camera these days.
Also on the last day of the trip we played putt-putt.  David and Hope did not keep score but Mike, Kyle and I played for keeps.  We are very competitive in this family and it was on!  I hit a few bad shots and called it a game on the 14th hole!  Mike was the overall winner of course. 
This girl also loves some good competition but her ball kept going in the water:)

This trip was such a blessing to us.  While we were unpacking at the hotel we found hospital paperwork showing me how to administer the GCFS shots to David.  Seeing those papers and remembering how scared I was to give shots to my baby brought back some yucky memories but I was also reminded of God's faithfulness.  He alone was the reason that I was able to steady my scared and shaky hands to give my baby a daily shot after his chemo. 

We are coming up on the anniversary date of David's last chemo-July 27th.  This is a big milestone to make it one year past last date of chemo, but as happy as this milestone is, we also know we have another scan in August and we will face many more in the future.  God has blessed us with mercy and peace and I know He will continue to bless us as we face the future. 

Tomorrow we will hopefully get to celebrate David's ninth birthday finally with friends at a Miami Heat pool party.  We have had to move it several times due to baseball and rain, so we are praying for a warm night perfect for swimming.   We love celebrating birthdays in this family!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

More Charleston

Last night we hit the ballpark for the Charleston Riverdogs baseball game.  I joked on facebook that I could not get away from baseball even on vacation!  It was fun!  The Riverdogs are an minor league affiliate of the Yankees so being Red Sox fans we rooted for the Augusta Greenjackets. 

Look at Hope our little ball player!! Ha! 
Hope and David loved the music, the games, and the fun!  We hit it on kids night so the kids got free hot dogs, chips and drinks to eat while they watched the game.  Here is Hope waving her arms like a mad woman for a free tshirt. I did not have the heart to tell her that we were way too far away to get a shirt, but she was cute trying!
In the ninth inning the game was tied. Kyle made Mike put on his rally cap to cheer for Augusta.  They are affiliated with the Giants.  In the tenth inning the Riverdogs broke the tie with a homerun which made for a fun game. 
 Another cute picture of our ball player!
Yesterday morning we went to Battery Park right on the river.  It is beautiful!!!
I love this picture of my boys!  Dave is sitting on a branch from a live oak tree in the park. 
My hearts. 
Hope and Kyle walking towards the river.  Vacation time is simply the best.  
This might be my favorite picture of our trip!  In the July edition of Southern Living this restaurant was featured as a must eat in Charleston. Sunday afternoon we happened to drive right by which jogged my memory from the article in Southern Living.  Our kids have never had soul food and it was heavenly.  This is Martha Lou who at 86 years old has been serving delicious chicken and sides for thirty years from this same place.  I loved talking to her while my food was cooking and she is such a celebrity now due to her good food and recognition in Southern Living that I had to get a picture of her and Kyle. 
 This little lady loved the city market and purchased herself two new hairbows.  She has waited patiently to get back to the market to add to her hairbow collection. 

This picture is truly unbelievable.  This is David with Jack Grider.  His parents Andy and Deanna were friends of ours way back when we were dating and newlyweds.  We spent many evenings grilling, talking shop (they too are educators) and enjoying some laughs.  When I talked about our upcoming vacation to Charleston on facebook she messaged me that they too would be here!  I have been texting with her trying to meet up and amazingly we ran into them this morning in the market!! The last time we were all together we had no children and now between us we have five!  Time certainly flies!  

After our spontaneous chat session with the Grider family we went into a local candy shop.  Do you see the joy in Kyle's face??  No, we did not let them buy these enormous boxes of candy but we all let with a little sweet something:)

After our  morning we hit the beach this afternoon.  We stopped at the store and bought some sand toys on our way to the beach.  Mike and David had fun playing paddle ball. 

Happy Beach girl!  She got very brave today and really went out far with me. 

We are so thankful for this family time together.  On a beautiful afternoon on the beach it is hard to believe that this time last year we were preparing for David's last chemo treatment.  While watching my kids play and swim today I was really overcome with thanksgiving to God for this precious time together.