Friday, August 30, 2013

UVA Updates on Both Boys

We are finally home after a long day at the hospital and a long afternoon traveling in holiday traffic.  We arrived in Charlottesville late last night and we had to be at the hospital (with all five of us dressed and ready) by 7 a.m. 

The amazing news is that David's  Creatinine was .7!!!!!  That is really good news for his remaining damaged kidney.  That number tells us that despite not functioning 100% it is basically happy and is hovering around the high end of the "normal" range.  After the beating that kidney has taken that is music to our ears!  The amazing news of the day is that the scan was clean-no evidence of any disease/cancer!!  Glory be to God! 

My pictures are out of order, but one of the things that we wanted to get checked out was this nasty bruise on Kyle's leg from last weekend when he was hit in the thigh with a stray pitch.  While David was sedated Kyle had an appointment with a wonderful pediatric cardiologist.  She said that it is simply a nasty bruise and that time should heal it.  After an EKG and echocardiogram, he does still have a murmur but it is benign and he is cleared for all sports and activities!  That made him smile:)

Kyle's vitals were great except that his blood pressure was elevated???  Of course Momma got nervous because they made him lay down and recheck it, then they checked it manually, then they rechecked it again before we left and it stayed elevated???  I freaked, I will be honest, but the wise doctor advised us to check it weekly for a month and call her back with his pressures.  We wonder if it is because perceptive Kyle was well aware that it was scan day, nervous about his own appointment,  or he just had white coat syndrome???  If it is still high after a month, then he will be referred to David's kidney doctor for additional testing. 

David really gave the anesthesia nurse a run for his money this morning:)  The drill is that when we arrive he is given Versed orally so he will not remember the mask.  That works beautifully except he dislikes that Versed so much and this morning he spit it back up all over the nurse.  Thankfully it rinsed right out and he gets it because he is a Dad himself.  After that medicine gets into David he is a little loopy and hilarious!!!
I took Kyle upstairs for his appointment and it is the same place where David goes for clinic.  It was so weird to see Kyle in the vital chair instead of David:)
Thankfully Kyle did not mind the EKG or the echocardiogram. 
We were so blessed with so many texts, emails, and messages today from dear friends encouraging us.  One of the many that made me smile was a picture of Rocky Duke (David's monkey in my chair) who took his spelling test for him today.  Rocky Duke has been with David's classes since chemo and it was so sweet of his teacher to remember Rocky Duke and to send us a picture.  It really made David smile. 
Hope went along with too and was entertained with all the spinning chairs in the doctors offices:)  She was suppose to stay with my parents but last minute decided to "go with my family."  She is in a mommy phase right now. 
David was sleepy after his scan and really only wanted Mike or Kyle to hold him.  He is very unstable on his feet for the first few hours after the scan and Kyle stuck to him like glue.  I love when we can go to clinic as a family. 
Overall the day was long and tiring but we are so thankful to God for such amazing news.  David has now reached a milestone of remaining cancer-free one year past  treatment.  We know we still have a long ways to go with many more hurdles, but we will stop and celebrate and give God the glory for each victory we win along the way.  The boys are celebrating tonight by going to a local football game and Hope and I have had a tea party and we now have plans to watch a movie and call it an early night.  Thank you dear friends for the love today-we felt covered in prayer and surrounded by love.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Journey

Last night we had the three-year old open house at preschool. Finally after all the organizing, cleaning, praying, and lesson planning, children showed up with their parents!! 

Last night I met all of my new three year old students and what an adorable and awesome class it will be!  There are blessed with not only church support but with great families.  It is going to be a great year. 
Last night Miss Emily walked into my classroom.  As you can see, she looks just like my David and is rocking a little extra chromosome.  I know her parents from our Down Syndrome family group and they are awesome people.  Emily just jumped right in with her new friends and toys.  Her parents were watching her with big smiles, but I recognized that look on their face.  This will be her first entry into the world outside of their loving extended family.  I get the sheer terror and excitement they must feel, because I too have had those same thoughts and feelings with David when he started preschool. 
I went to bed with them on my hearts last night because there was so much I wanted to share with them in those brief moments of open house last night.  I could not find the words to share with them then except for the promise that we will love her and that we will hold her to a high expectation. 
I also wanted to tell them that we will NOT patronize her by only talking about how "cute" she is and we will use the time out chair if we have to because we know she can learn right and wrong.  We will treat her like everyone else but we will also cherish that God did indeed make her unqiue and awesome and that He will use her to teach us about Him. 
I wanted to tell them that as she enters not only our sweet little christian preschool but "big school" she is going to blow their minds how smart she will be.  David re-taught me the oceans and continents this past week when we were studying and got them right without hesitation.   It may take children with DS a little longer to get it, but by golly they will.  You will be astounded how much she will learn and grow.  Never,ever let that little arbitrary IQ number stop you from expsosing her to knowledge and expecting her to get it.  You are in for some amazing surprises!
I know you are worried if she will be accepted by her peers, but from our experience with David you are in for another surprise.  Except for a handful of children (that simply were not taught properly) David has been greeted with acceptance and love from his peers.  Our children with DS are so blessed now because of inclusion that they start out in school included and with "typically developing" children .  In the past our children would have been segregated and therefore, different, now they are part of the class literally.  I see that David brings out the best in most people and I know sweet Emily will do the same. 
Sadly there maybe a teacher or other professional along the way that will not get her.  There have been whole meetings where all we have talked about are all the ways that David is "lacking or not measuring up."  Our children with DS often do not measure up on standardized timed tests but I promise you that there will be meetings with amazing professionals where she will collectively blow the minds of all involved.  Your heart will not be able to contain your pride and love for her. 
With our typically developing children you take for granted that God has ordained certain people in their lives because we do not dig too far to see it.  With our angels with DS, God's handiwork will be so evident in their lives that you can only praise Him for the amazing people that He will put in her path.  When she overcomes milestones that you thought were not possible you will simply have to give praise and glory to the Creator who made her. 
I know you are scared to send her out into the big world. I have often pondered keeping David under a rock too to "protect" him.  Just know that this teacher is honored that God put her in my life and that we will love and cherish her.  We will also prepare for her "big school" so she can continue to amaze those around her.  My heart is so excited for you and Emily because you are about to buckle up for an amazing ride.  I am just so thankful and humbled that I am her first stop in this awesome journey. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Mike!

Happy birthday Mike! I know you hate when people make a fuss over you, but today I just want to take a minute to say that we love you!

You are an amazing Daddy who always puts our kids first. Despite your huge and demanding job you are always one of the Daddy's that is always out there and involved in any sport that we are doing. I know you are squeamish about being a dance Daddy this year with Hope, but you will learn to love recitals too:)
I often get annoyed how much you give your job, but I do respect your work ethic. You take your job as superintendent seriously because you love all kids and want a great school system for them. I often threaten to throw your phone out of the window, but I pray that our kids get your unbelievable work ethic.
I love that you are more open with your faith these days. You are a strong and devoted man and I am so thankful that our kids see you going to church faithfully so they can follow your example.
I know we have been through some valleys with our kids in the last decade or so, but our faith and committment to this family have gotten stronger. I know David's surgery and treatment were so hard on you because not only were you as terrified as I was but you also had to juggle work and hospital during that time. I will never understand how you did all that.

This year I cannot give you the one gift that I know we both want. We want reassurance that we will never have to go down the chemo/radiation road with David again. Sadly I cannot guarantee that or that his scan this week will be clean. I can promise you that you are loved and appreciated, that we are in this for the long haul, and that God will continue to be the center of our home. Happy Birthday and hopefully this weekend we can celebrate your birthday and a clean scan-in the meantime my lasagna and a cookie cake will have to do for tonight. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I think this is the longest I have gone without updating our blog in a long time.  We are doing well just staying very busy.  I do not purposely do it, but the weeks of a big scan I tend to fill my to do list up with lots of de-cluttering, organizing, and cleaning.  The scan is coming up this Friday and of course we are nervous, but once again God's peace is flooding me. 

I love to craft and I have been in a crafting mode these days too.  Keeping my hands busy and having fun crafting with friends helps me during these nervous times.  We made some bloomers for baby Sage and a cute bag for Hope! 
Preschool open houses are this week so there is plenty to do there to keep me busy.  Our open house theme is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  I am so excited about this upcoming year of preschool!! 
I am not the only female in our house that is excited about preschool!  Here is Hope checking the mail for her preschool packet in it!  Each child got a copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in their packet:)
Her new glasses are helping so much that she is now obsessed with puzzles!  I guess before she was not too interested in them because she could not see well.  What a difference a cute pair of Hello Kitty glasses makes. 
This weekend has just been peaceful and nice.  Kyle had a travel ball tournament so we have been there both days.  The weather was gorgeous and we just sat under tents and cheered our kids on.  It was really relaxing (of course until Kyle came up to bat or pitched!!)! Our little ball team is full of great kids and parents and I am enjoying this time watching Kyle. We packed some watermelon and I could not resist a cute picture of a cute girl with a big slice in her mouth.
David loves being at the ballpark and all the guys on the team are awesome with him.  David makes friends wherever he goes and today when he was not in the dugout with our team, he had made friends with another team.  He had to tell them good luck as we were leaving the field.  David was the honorary "catcher" today in the dugout!  Ha!
He of course has to get in the huddle with the team too! 
When we got home from the ballpark Kyle missed youth group because he got hit in the leg today.  He has a huge bruise on his leg:(   Except for a few injuries on the team, it has been a calm and relaxing weekend.  One of the Dads on our team in an EMT and our boys kept him hopping this weekend. 
This morning at the ballfield all games were stopped at 11:00 a.m. for a devotional on the field.  All the kids and parents came and listened.  It was a wonderful way to remind kids that no matter what happens in the game, nothing matters but our relationship with God.  I loved being apart of this unique church at the field. 
We of course are nervous for this upcoming Friday, but once again God provides His peace when we face that dreaded CT machine.  I trust in God's plan for our family and I trust that no matter what the results are that God will be there with us.  He has been so faithful and true to us.  This will be a unique scan trip because Kyle will be going with us.  While David is going through the scan, Kyle has an appointment in clinic with a pediatric cardiologist.  He has had a murmur since birth but now that sports are getting more physically demanding we want this murmur checked out again just to be safe.  We trust UVa completely so when his doctor recommended he see a cardiologist we turned to UVA.  How ironic that both of my children will be seen in clinic at UVA on the same day?? 
We ask for your prayers for both of us this week.  Time seems to slow down as we face these Friday scans.  Thank you for continuing to pray for our family and David. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Make-A-Wish Trip!

Earlier this afternoon I posted on Facebook that our Mike-A-Wish coordinator called and we have been officially booked for David's trip to Disney in October!! Woot Woot! This is what I know as of now:

The kids are so excited!!!! We just told David tht he is getting to fly on a big airplane to Disney and his reaction was priceless. He has waited so long to make it through treatment and it is finally time to go. Of course I worry that his scan on August 30th is going to be bad and change our trip, but I am turning that over to God. Disney was the last family trip we took before he was diagnosed with cancer and we are so excited to go back after he has made it through his surgery, chemo, and radiation.

So many children ask for Disney for their wish that there is actually a separate resort there just for wish kids. It is called Give Kids the World Village and reading about it on the website makes me tear up with happy tears. Everything detail and finance is taken care of so that our family can go and have the time of our lives. Make-A-Wish literally takes care of the flights, rental car, tickets to the attractions, and the kids will even be given souvenir money. Our meals will be provided at the resort and at the parks. About a week before we leave our local volunteer coordinator will give us our itinerary-they only thing we have to do is pack!!

I have talked to our wish coordinator a lot lately trying to get all the necessary paperwork in to her. When she called tonight with a confirmation on a date, I teared up on her. It is so amazing that this organization exists and that after the nightmare our family is being blessed with this trip.

Disney is truly our happy place because we were there six weeks before David was diagnosed with cancer. The weekend before he was diagnosed I had spent time online making a scrapbook of our trip. I remember asking Ashley when she came down to please bring tht book with her of our trip. We would lay in that hospital bed talking about how much fun we had. I promised David that if he made it through treatment we would go back. Now thanks to Make-A-Wish our Disney dream is coming true!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baseball and My Favorite New Song

This weekend has been fun because we have been together as a family. Kyle had a fall baseball tournament and we went to cheer on this newly formed team. It is full of great kids and parents and it was actually fun! I am not a huge baseball fan, but it was fun to see our kids having fun. For their first tournament they did great.

I have come to the realization that this time is precious. Kyle starting middle school has been a reality check for me that time is fleeting. I complain about the sports and the traveling, but really I am now choosing to embrace it. I love being together as a family with some other fun families cheering each other's kids on. I know when I am old and rocking on my front porch I will fondly recall some of the memorable times that we have had at various fields and basketball courts.

I have found a new worship song that is blowing my mind and I have to share. It is from a group that I am not too familiar with, but you must listen to this "song." If you don't make it through the whole song, please listen to the one minute sermon around minute 3:20 by John Piper. Considering the fact that David has another scan in less than two weeks I am clinging to God's truths and His encouraging words. I promise this will be the best six minutes of your day today:) I made Mike listen to it on the way to the tournament because he loves acoustic music and the one minute sermon in the middle is profound.

Though you slay me yet I will praise you
Though you take from me I will bless your name
Though you ruin me still I will worship
Sing a song to the one
Who's all I need.

God is good despite the trials and uncertainties we face in this life. I am so thankful for His word that encourages me when I am feeling defeated, and gives me peace when we are facing that dreaded CT on August 30th.

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Glasses and Ducks!

We have survived the first two days of school!  The boys both seem very happy with school and have been in great spirits. Tonight the weather was gorgeous here in Virginia, so Mike and Kyle went to a parent/child night at the golf course to play golf.  These two wanted to head to Hungry Mother to play.

We took a picnic and their bikes to hungry Mother.  They loved feeding the ducks their pizza crusts,
but we quickly learned that if you feed one duck a million more coming quacking!  They got very agressive with each other, and this Momma shooed them away and move our picnic elsewhere. 
Hope is so thrilled with her new glasses.  She actually read several words to me tonight (cat, hat, mat, etc...) and she is so thrilled that she can see!! I told her that she looked like a smart princess. 
Bike riding is always a hit, but poor David's bike is too small now and it broke:(  No worries, Santa will be coming soon!  Those black camo pants that David is wearing were bought today.  He loved them so much that he put them on as soon as they came out of the bag. 

All three are sleepig now from the early morning routine.  I am so thankful that they are both happy and smiling going into school and coming out in the afternoon.  I am also thankful that Hope's vision issues were caught early and that she loves her cute new Hello Kitty glasses.  I am thankful that my preschool rooms are coming together and that very soon I will have new kiddos to welcome with open arms.  Life can sometimes be messy (David did bring home nasty dog poop on his shoes from Hungry Mother) but life is indeed good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Today was the first day of school for the boys!  Hope and I do not start preschool until after Labor Day so we still have a few days to get the preschool rooms ready for open houses. 

My sixth grader and my third grader ready for the first day!  David insisted to wear his Lebron getup with his new Lebron backpack.  This picture makes me smile. 
Kyle made the big transition to middle school this year which includes changing classes and lockers!  He was not the least bit concerned about switching schools and took it all in stride.  He has come a long way from those early tears in kindergarten and first grade:) Kyle seemed to have a great day and the only concern he had this morning was what time lunch would be. 
Hope dd not want to be left out of the picture taking!  Ha!
David was really excited this morning and was ready to strike a pose for me!  We dropped David off first and then took Kyle to the middle school.  It was a smooth and easy drop off. 
This picture makes my heart so happy and proves what amazing educators we have in this county.  This was David walking into his new building and his teacher, Ms. Umbarger waiting for him with open arms.  I was so thankful and happy as a mom to see my child greeted like this on  the first day. I saw this as I was pulling out of the parent drop-off line and I quickly threw my camera in Kyle's lap and told him to click away.  He got this precious, precious picture. 

I have three tired children tonight, but overall the day was great for all.  Hope and I snuck in a quick girls lunch with some friends and I cleaned this house with lots of clorox!  Ha!  It will be an early bedtime tonight for our family, but it was a wonderful day for all. Thank you Smyth County Schools for an awesome first day!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New School Year

I cannot believe it is time to pack up the pool bag and pull out the lunch boxes and backpacks.  It is so hard to say goodbye to the lazy and fun days of summer, but I am super excited about this upcoming school year which starts tomorrow!

Here is David with his third grade teacher, Ms. Umbarger.  She has a sweet and upbeat personality which will be a great match for David.  He will also have Mr. Nutter (his Special Ed inclusion teacher) from last year which is great!  We visited David's school one more time today to take his supplies and to take this sweet picture with his teacher.  As I am writing this the Lebron outfit is getting washed and dried to be ready to wear for the first day of school! 
After delivering all the supplies at the school, we celebrated the last day of summer the same way we celebrated the first day of summer-at the pool! We have had a cool and rainy summer, but today was sunny, cool in the 70s and NO RAIN!!!  It has been a gorgeous day. 
We happened to run into the Pugh family at the pool which thrilled my kids!  It has really been an awesome and fun summer with friends-I actually was kind of sad leaving the pool today knowing that today was probably our last day relaxing with friends. 
Here is Kyle with his new obsession-tennis!!  Last week he participated in a tennis camp here at our country club.  He fell in love with it and yesterday we even traveled to Bristol to meet a tennis pro to get an evaluation of his potential.  He LOVES hopping on his bike to meet Ms. Bennie (his local tennis coach) to practice tennis.  For now we are going to practice locally with Ms. Bennie and after the holidays consider letting him join up with a tennis academy in Bristol.  Kyle has tennis on the brain these days! 
Today's weather felt more like pumpkin picking than swimming with the temperature in the low 70's and no humidity.  I love this picture of Hope and Sydney all bundled up in their towels to warm up. 
David and Hope have both gotten so brave this summer swimming.  Thankfully we can keep up our swimming this winter at the wellness center. 
Tonight I had to go attend  a quick church meeting and Ashley played outside with the kiddos.  I love this picture I found on my camera of Hope going down the roller coaster outside! 
This picture makes me want to cry sad and happy tears.  Here is Kyle practicing his new locker at the middle school.  Last night we attended the orientation for 6th grade for Kyle.  I simply cannot believe he is going into middle school.  I am so proud of the young man that he is but I am sad the years are going so fast.  Unlike his Mom, he is unphased by the whole middle school experience and does not seem concerned at all.  He has a great team of teachers and lots of friends around him.  I think he is going to do awesome!
I pray that the school year will be as awesome as the summer of 2013 was!  I know that God will be with my children as they enter those buildings tomorrow.  I pray for peace for all my Momma friends, teacher friends, and students as another year of learning begins.  Happy School Year!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wedding Weekend

This weekend has been full of wedding, family, and fun. My cousin Mary Lee (whom I babysat) married her prince, Nick Gill in Radford. Hope was one of the two flower girls and frankly she rocked it. I was so proud of her!!

When Mary Lee asked me months ago if she could be in the wedding, I agreed thinking that Hope would probably not cooperate because she is so painfully shy. What a difference a few months make because she was so excited and she did beautifully!! Here she is at the rehearsal Friday night.

This picture will make Hope's Daddy happy, because one of the ring bearers was suppose to escort her out but she was not digging that at all. Check out the look on her face!!

This picture is so sweet to me because the wedding took place in the church that I grew up in. I have many fond memories of being in that church and it was so sweet to be back with my own kids.

We are all together and dressed up so rarely that we took this opportunity to get some family pictures. Here are GG and Pops with my kids.

Our family!

Hope with the other flower girl, Annie Freeman. I really think it helped Hope having a sweet friend to do this important job with:)

The flower girls slowly making their way down the aisle. I simply could not believe that Hope did it!! We are so proud!

Nick and Mary Lee with the flower girls and ring bearers.

The entire bridal party! I love their colors! The wedding was simply stunning.

The wedding reception took place on Mary Lee's uncle's property. It was HOT AND HUMID but it was gorgeous with tents and lights. It rained on the way to the reception but it did stop and except for humidity it was great. Here are David and Mike.

Hope and Clayton. Hope loved every minute of the reception!

GG and Hope.

This picture makes me belly laugh! There was a photo booth with props that you could dress up and get your picture taken in. Clayton and my boys LOVED that thing! We lost count how may times they dressed up and got in that booth. What was even funnier is that they were not really tall enough to be seen in the booth so all the pictures are pretty much the very tops of their heads! Ha! I love this picture of Clayton and David getting dressed up for their picture.

At one point during the reception these gorgeous lanterns were set off in memory of loved ones no longer with us. Mary Lee's Mom lost her battle with breast cancer several years ago so this was a sweet moment for all. I was in the bride's room with Hope prior to the ceremony and Mary Lee's showed me her bouquet which was wrapped up with the sleeve from her mother's own wedding gown. Mary Lee was literally holding onto her mother as she walked down the aisle.

David decided of all the lovely ladies at the reception that his date for the night was Aunt Annette. He danced with her several times and even escorted her on and off the dance floor. He is quite the ladies man!

GG loves to dance and thankfully her grandchildren were willing dancers. Hope LOVED the reception and spent most of the evening on the dance floor.

This picture is probably my favorite of the whole evening. Hope loves to dance and her Daddy willingly came out on the dance floor and danced with her. I got choked up last night thinking that it will seem like a blink of an eye and Mike will be escorting Hope down the aisle. I love how happy they both look.

I love a man that is not afraid to cut a rug with his girl.

We finally got Kyle out on the dance floor! He was so hot in his dress clothes that he could barely function:)

It was a wonderful weekend and what an honor to be apart of this special day for Nick and Mary Lee. Mike and I have been married 13 years and sitting at that wedding last night made me reminisce about our wedding over a decade ago. You never know what life has in store when you say "I Do" but I am thankkful that God put a man in my life that loves Jesus, loves his family, and no matter the storms that come we will face them together. Happy Wedding!