Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fashion for a Cause!

It has been such a fun few days around here.  Friday morning we started the fun with the Teddy Bear picnic for letter T at preschool.  This little girl was so excited for that fun event at preschool. 

This class of cuties will be heading to the big kindergarten next year!!

Friday after school we loaded up and headed to Radford to visit with family.  One of my grandmothers is in a new apartment and we went by to see her.  We then headed to the nursing home to visit my other grandmother.  She is really doing awesome and loves her Hospice nurses. 

Saturday morning we loaded up with GG and Pops to head to Charlottesville for a fun reason-a fashion show!  Belk is a new partner with UVA Children's Hospital and they put on a fashion show with lots of kids and five Miracle Kids! Pops was our driver and GG helped me get Rock Star David ready for the show.  Miracle Kids were allowed to wander around the store and pick out whatever outfit they wanted to model for the show.  David started with the Under Armour section but then he decided to go dressy and he really wanted to wear a sport coat! Here he is with Mr. Ryan checking out the awesome selection at Belk!
Under Armor has some new dressy shorts for boys that are awesome and we tried those on with a Under Armor golf shirt.  I really loved this outfit and thought he looked so cute and sporty.  He liked this one but the really wanted to go dressy. 

If you think this looks fun it really was except that it was HARD WORK!  We were sweating and working hard in the dressing room with David who only wanted to dance in the dressing room in front of all those mirrors.  The price tags stressed him out but we could not take them off until we knew that it fit properly.  I could not have done it without Pops (our driver for the day) and GG (who scoured the store for Dave's sizes).  It took a village to get this dude looking awesome!  Children with Down Syndrome have short arms and legs and it is difficult to get clothes to fit properly. 

Here are four of the Miracle Kids with Dr. Druzgall and Mr. Ryan.  I love that Tyler and David are watching her so intently.  She is one of the four awesome pediatric hematology/oncology doctors on our team.  All of us were commenting that it was so fun to come together for a fun reason instead of meeting up at clinic.  We have truly met some amazing families through this journey and we are so apprective of their support.  They speak our language and know first hand the fears that we all hide behind our smiles.  We are so proud of our kids. 
Here comes Rock Star for the show!  He did AWESOME!  He looked so handsome in his gray slacks, blue shirt, tie, navy sports coat and black belt.  It would have taken me hours to have put this together but GG used her shopping talents to whip it together!
Krissy Pitts is Mom to sweet Anna (on her hip) and Grace.  Tyler is standing behind David!  Anna recently finished her treatment for Leukemia and Tyler is in the middle of his treatment.  We had such fun with these families! 
Striking the sassy pose!  Amazingly the Miracle Kids got to keep the clothes they modeled up to $100!  Thank you Belk for not only blessing us with new clothes, but for a fun day to raise money and awareness for UVA Children's Hospital.  What an awesome day!

Today Kyle was suppose to head to Kingsport for a baseball tourney-clearly it was cancelled when we woke up to more snow.  This is the winter that will never end!!!!  After our busy and fun two days I am thankful for a day of rest at home!  Have a great week!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not My Will, But Yours

I am a self-proclaimed control freak.  I like when things feel "orderly" and controlled.  I am also a christian and believe fully that God's plan is always perfect.  Sometimes my trusting in God's plan and need for control and order collide and that always stings a little.  Today is one of those days.

Because I love Jesus I fully believe in his words from Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you, They are plans for good to give you a hope and a future.  I believe those words fully even when things on this side of heaven do not always make sense. 

So on days like today when I am thrown a huge curve ball that I never saw coming, instead of throwing myself on the floor and throwing a tantrum, my faith quietly whispers to me to  trust.  God has and will continue to work things for His good even if it hurts a little in the moment. 

Parenting David has certainly shown me that we can be thrown some pretty vicious and fast curve balls called Down Syndrome and Cancer and still thrive.  He has proven that His plan is always perfect and that He is trustworthy.  So on days like today I just have to remember that it is not my will, but Yours dear Jesus. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Wrapup

The good news on this Sunday night is that this guy is finally feeling better!  He made it all day at school on Friday and this weekend his appetite and energy level are returning.  Here is our Rockstar chilling out with his headphones and Ipad listening to some tunes.

This picture for some reason makes me belly laugh.  He is the funniest child!  Tonight at dinner he picked up his banana that he was eating and put it to his ear and said "hello, hey honey what's up?" He is such a  nut!
Yesterday we loaded up and headed to Bristol for the first travel ball game of the season.  If you look really hard you will see one little tiny hint of spring with some flowers trying to come up.  Spring has been a long time coming this year, but we did enjoy some sunshine yesterday at the game.
This team had a rough day of play with two losses but they came out to play today.  Thankfully our team is full of great guys and great coaches that make it a fun experience.  Baseball is NOT my favorite at all, but if one of my kids love it then I will be there with bells on!  Kyle loves it and loves the competition and social time. 

Our team hit the ball really well this weekend despite the losses.  Here is Kyle on first base.  Base running makes me nervous!!! 
Hope and David were in heaven with a playground close to the fields. 
Mike spent a good part of the day on the phone dealing with a stressful work situation.  At the end of the day God had worked it out for the good so he did get to have a little fun with us!  It frustrates me sometimes that he does not have a job that he can "turn off" but he is using his gifts and talents from God to bless lots and lots of children with a great education.  
My cute little ball player:)
It is obvious due to my stress level that a scan is coming up soon.  That dark cloud of doubt and panic tried to rear its ugly head this weekend.  I know our God is able to handle all my fears and all my nerves and I am so thankful that I can pour out my heart to Him.  I also think having David so sick last week also triggered a lot of chemo memories where he was that sick for  a long time and those hard memories were not fun to deal with.  Sadly cancer will always be part of our lives-I am just thankful that Jesus plays a bigger role in our lives:)  Have a great week!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sicky Buddy

This week has been a rough one for our Rock Star.  He been battling some nasty tummy bug since early Tuesday morning.  Tummy bugs are terrible but they especially make us nervous for David and his solo kidney.  He still has a dialy intake goal of 60-70 ounces of fluid daily to keep his kidney healthy and happy.  When he is sick this is especially important. 

He has been so sick and sleepy that he has had a hard time getting all of his fluids in each day.  I have enjoyed my snuggle time with him and I think I am maxed out on the Little Mermaid.  I love Ariel and all, but I am done now with that movie.   

I was out of preschool Wednesday when we typically have music time with Mr. Bryan.  The children are working on one of my favorite songs ever and they sent us this precious little video to say get well David!  Do I not have the BEST job ever?  I also love their sweet voices and southern accents.  Hope is on the second row in the sparkly Minnie Mouse Dress:)  I know I am blessed to work in a church setting, but this week I have felt especially blessed with my co-teachers and the church staff:) 

Here is the official video of the song that our preschoolers are working on. We sang this song at our "Lent Launch" services last week.  It is so beautiful!  I think Matt Redmen would approve of how well our preschoolers are singing his song-even with their sweet southern accents. 

Speaking of southern accents,  a group of my preschoolers were talking about "candles" the other day during snack time.  I thought it was cute and wondered if one of their moms was a Scentsy consultants or something that these girls were so into their "candles."  It hit me later when they were talking about the game Frozen on their "candles" that they were referring to their Kindles but their sweet,southwest  Virginia accents made it sound like candles.  It gave us a little chuckle at school:)

Monday, March 17, 2014

40Bags in 40Days

Life has blessed me with a few days to catch my breath and just to be home.  Friday evening my three boys headed to Richmond to cheer on one of our high school girls basketball teams in the state tournament.  They blew away the competition and my boys were there to cheer them on!  They had a great overnight trip watching basketball and shopping for some much needed baseball gear for Kyle. 

Sadly Hope got sick at preschool Friday which meant that we stayed home while they took their road trip.  While she rested and watched movies, I took time to participate in the 40bags in 40 days cleanout of my house.  While the boys were gone, I got rid of 22 trash bags of stuff!  I took many bags of clothes to Goodwill, took some baby stuff to church nursery, threw away many bags of trash, and set some stuff out for a friend's church rummage sale.  I still have several corners of our house to clean, but it was awesome to de-clutter and organize. 

I was stunned to find a bag of toys that were still packed from one of our hopital stays.  The kids were thrilled to find some toys, but I gasped because we found this necklace that David was wearing when he was diagnosed.  He refused to take it off and they had to wait until he was sedated for his big surgery to remove it.  We thought it had gotten lost!  I also had to throw away lots of medical supplies that were expired.  Seeing those old reminders of our days at UVA hospital, gave me a lump in my throat.  I still cannot believe all that our baby went through, but all those UVA hospital reminders remind me how faithful our God was/is.

Today we are once again home due to ice and sleet.  I really think winter is never going to go away!  Usually I am annoyed at snow days but today I am thankful for a relaxing day at home. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Heart...

This has been a wonderful but busy and emotional week.  At church we have had four straight nights of "Lent Launch" Services which have been awesome.  There is something awesome about four straight nights of Revival to get your heart centered on what truly matters. 

Theses "lil cowpokes" were dressed up for Cowgirl day at preschool!  We are making the most out of every "last" special moment at preschool knowing that a new chapter will be starting soon for our sweet and last girl:)
Not only will my baby in the class be heading to kindergarten but all these awesome kids as well.  Here they are in their homemade cowboy/cowgirl hats at the library.  I am blessed with one of the best jobs on the planet-teaching preschool rocks. 
This week in our afterschool program our lesson was on Jesus feeding 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.  Thanks to Pinterest for this cute and hands on activity to remind children about one of Jesus' awesome miracles.  Wednesday afternoons are one of my favorite times of the week. It is crazy and loud with all those children but being there each week has helped me build a relationship with these kids and I love it.  We all sleep well Wednesday nights aftewards, but it is totally worth it. 
My heart is overflowing in emotion and excitement that today on this snow day (yes, again it snowed here) I took my baby to register for Kindergarten.  David was so excited for Hope that he was Mrs. Richardson's assistant with her little assessment.  It is a huge milestone because you know once they enter school, time starts flying exponentially. 
Here is our precious girl in her Hello Kitty glasses performing for their little placement assessment.  She is SO excited and ready.  My heart overflows for our little curly-haired princess. 
After registering for Kindergarten we hit the road to help my parents move one of my grandmothers from her lake home to an apartment.  My heart can barely  handle thinking about another family making precious memories in the lake house that I have loved since I was a baby.  We have made some precious memories there over the years but people and life change and so must the times.  It is hard work moving an OCD pack rat!  The house will go on the market soon much to mine and Kyle's dismay. 
After moving  we went to the local nursing home to visit my other grandma.  She is holding her own despite her limited heart function.  We have had so many coughs and the stomach bug that we have not visited with her for several weeks, so today we were healthy enough to go visit.  David of course had to sing Jesus Loves Me to her. 
These Lent Launch services at church has been so uplifting to me this week.  This past week I stumbled upon an old verse to me but it spoke a fresh word to me. 
Be very careful, then how you live-not as unwise but as wise, make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is.
Ephesians 5:15-17
This verse pierced my heart this week.  I had highlighted it a while back but this week it jumped off of the page at me.  To me it means that we as christians need to be so wise how we spend our time, energy and resources.  I pray this Lenten season and always that I will make the most of every opportunity to love lavishly, glorify God boldly, and teach my children wisely. 
 In our society there are so many ways to veer off track and lose sight of what is truly important.  Mike and I are in a life stage where our calendars are FULL each day with kidsand sports activities, school functions, and work obligations.  All that stuff is very important, but nothing is as important as our walks with God and teaching our children to do the same.   

Sunday, March 9, 2014

God's Presence, Basketball, and Baseball

We have been home very little this weekend. Yesterday Kyle played in a one day basketball tournament with his 6th grade AAU team. We ended the season well by getting runners up in the last tournament of the season. I will miss basketball season and all our Hornet families, but there is a season for everything!

Today between church services, we put away the hoops gear and drug out our baseball chairs, and headed to the field to watch Kyle's first baseball scrimmage of the year. After the intense action of basketball, baseball is a little painful for me to watch. After a baseball scrimmage and then another baseball practice, David had an Upward basketball game. His season is coming to a close too and he will miss it very much. He has had such fun.

Tonight we headed back to church for the first of four "Lent Launch" services. The baptist in my wants to call them revival services:) Tonight's service was awesome and at first Kyle was annoyed that there was a guest preacher because he loves Jonathan so much. After he got over the initial shock of someone else in Jonathan's place, he did admit that he enjoyed it.

This is the first Lent season that Kyle has thought about Lent and what it means. I credit his youth director Jackie for teaching the concept so well and we went to the Ash Wednesday service last week. Kyle and I have decided instead of giving something up for Lent, we are going to do daily scripture readings. As a family we are also praying with our prayer cup each night. Kyle says one of his friends in youth group has given up his playstation during Lent:) That is so cute!

Our lives are crazy and busy but Mike and I are trying so hard to walk the walk and talk the talk with our kids that God comes first. We are trying to teach our children the importance of consistent church attendance despite our crazy schedules. I know that as parents we mess up a lot-I am grumpy, have a tendency to have a wee bit of road rage, and have a hard time walking away from small-town gossip, but I pray that when our kids are older they will appreciate growing up in church and feeling the love that comes from "the family of God."

Today in church this short video was shown and it touched my heart. God amazes me each and every day and this video is not only great, but I love the song. I hope that it blesses you as much as it blessed me today in church.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Prayer Cups and our Awesome Schools!

This week has been full.  Full of kids, volunteering, and more kids!  I was tired last night and blessedly today is another snow day here is the mountains of Virginia.  Usually I cringe when I hear Mike calling the TV stations cancelling school because that will be more day day in June we will have to go, but not this morning.  I am thankful to be snuggling in bed blogging while my youngest two are snuggled besides me watching the Lion King.  Life is good in my big bed this morning! 

Every Wednesday I am one of the helpers involved in our afterschool program at church.  I am kind of the craft gal, and each week I plan a craft to go along with our bible lesson.  This week we were learning about prayer, and so for the craft we made prayer cups.  I bought some brightly colored cups in the party section at the Dollar Tree and then I bought a bunch of craft sticks.  I was so excited they had these rainbow colored craft sticks.  They make me happy!  Anyway, here is our family prayer cup.  We as a family decided who we need to pray and wrote their name on a stick.  Each night before bed we pray as a family and the kids take turns reading aloud each name.  It has been precious family time each night before bed.  One of Hope's preschool pals has strep throat this week.  She would not rest until his name was written on a stick to be prayed for.  :) 
Yesterday after preschool Hope and I went to David's school to volunteer in the book fair for the afternoon.  I saw his class coming out of the cafeteria and did not see David.  His teacher informed me that he was still in the cafeteria having a special lunch  date with his principal!  At first I was worried that he did something bad to warrant time with the principal, but it was quite the opposite.  David loves his principal and just wanted to hang out with him while he finished his lunch.  Bless his principal for eating in the cafeteria with the kids and spending time with them. 
After spending several hours in the book fair helping kids purchase books with their sweet coins and wadded up dollars, we came home for a quick dinner and then headed back to the school for Dr. Seuss night!  Here is David with Clifford!!
Hope was so excited that some of her preschool friends were at the Dr. Seuss night!  Here are these big girls  at a station doing their work!:)  Hope is very excited to go to school next year!
Our entire county is blessed with some of the best teachers I have ever met.  They love kids, take their mission of educating children seriously, and give of themselves every. single. day.  Here is David with Ms. "Roz" at one of the stations-he was very concerned that there was not a "Thing 2" at her station:)
My heart was so touched at Dr. Seuss night watching David shepherd Hope around his school.  Next year it will be "their" school which is exciting and mind boggling all at the same time-didn't we just bring her home from the hospital??? 
At one of the stations, after reading Green Eggs and Ham, the children had to fill in their eggs with rhyming words.  This little girl rocked some rhyming words with help from her big brother. 

It was so precious to watch these two together. Kindergarten registration is in one week.  I thought it would be very hard to send my last baby off to big school, but she is SO excited and ready for this next big step.  We have had some precious years together at FUMC preschool and those memories will always be in my heart, but little love is ready to spread her wings. 

I left school last night after hours in the book fair volunteering and after a successful Dr. Seuss night thanking God for the awesome educators we have here in our neck of the woods.  My kids are blessed because of what they give each and every day. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action!

Wow!  Yesterday was quite a day in our household.  Around 11:00 the lovely Tucker and Brandy showed up at our house ready for a day of filming.  Twenty minutes later a group of video guys showed up and started turning our house into a production set.  I joked that I had never had so many guys in my kitchen before! 

When they got to our house, they walked around looking at lighting to find the best spot in the house.  The living room was not an option due to the fact that there is too much natural light because we do not have blinds up.  So the kitchen/sunroom was found to be the best spot in the house.  I was being interviewed for a video that will be shown this summer at the opening of the new Battle Building at UVA where clinic and basically anything pediatrics will be moved into.  They wanted a Mom's perspective about how this new building will impact David's care for the years to come because not only does he have special needs, but he will be cared for by multiple doctors for years to come. 
I was not too nervous because I am so passionate about sharing what amazing care we received at UVA.  We are so honored to be a Miracle Family and have the opportunity to give back in small ways such as this.  I also will not lie and say that when it was all set up and the cameras were rolling I did  sweat a little!  I was not allowed to look at the camera-only at sweet Ms. Brandy who was interviewing who was right beside the camera. 

We took a pizza break and we had ordered CJ's party tray for the crew.  David was in heaven having these two sweet and lovely ladies around.  They had a pizza picnic while the crew switched the set up. 

After my formal interview, they did some video footage of David.  He jammed out on his guitar to the song from the movie Frozen and of course he had to rock a David Crowder Band Song.   David was actually a little subdued yesterday?:) I had cleaned so hard for the video crew and then when they got here they started moving around my furntiure to set up the set.  I was so humbled when toys, candy wrappers, and "junk" rolled out!  Ha!  Thankfully they did not flinch!  They were professional but awesome to work with. 

We are committed to doing anything we can to give back to UVA.  We are beyond excited for the new Battle Building to open.  The care that we received in clinic has always been top notch, but the facility definitely needs to be upgraded.  While listening to Ms. Tucker talk about how child friendly and creative the new facility will be, I was stunned.  It is really going to be gorgeous and we are excited to go to the ribbon cutting in June.  That is where our video will be shown.  It is amazing to think that after three hours of set up and video it will be condensed to roughly two minutes long!! Thank you crew for driving all this way, hopefully making me look and sound great, and being so family-friendly to work with.  We had a blast with you all! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Busy, Busy!

I have been deliquent in my blogging this week because life has been busy.  Good busy, but nonetheless busy. 
 This sweet preschool girl and her class had a visit from "David's principal" for Read Across America day.  Not only did he bring them a book and a goody bag, but information for upcoming Kindergarten registration!  I would be so sad except for the fact that she is so excited!!!
 Sweet girl is growing up so fast! 
 Friday night our boys and some other Daddies and sons went to nearby Oak Hill to watch the gold team play hoops.  Hope and I headed to church to help with the all night children's ministry "camp in." Over fifty children showed up for the all night event at church.  Here is Hope helping Ms. Saunders set out the cupcake decorating station for the kids. 
 Here is Hope painting her prayer rock at one of the stations. 
 Hope and I did not stay all night but we stayed for the Friday night activities and the movie.  Here are Hope and Olivia getting snuggled in for the movie. 
 After the movie the amazing El Saunders did a goodnight devotion/story for all the children.  When I grow up I want to be like El Saunders!  She is a godly woman full of energy and love for children.  She is simply amazing! 
 Saturday afternoon we headed to a AAU tournament for Kyle and his basketball team.  David has to dress out in his own Hornet uniform and "help" the team on the bench.  The entire team is SO amazing to David and treat him like a teammate. 
 We love our basketball team and families.  We have spent many hours together in different gyms all over Virginia and East Tennessee.  We sometimes complain about the late nights or early mornings, but we have made some precious family memories together. 
 This picture cracks me up!  David typically sits on the bench with the team and helps "coach" with Mike and Coach Syd.  I love the hands on the hips from "Coach Dave"

Hope and Macy had such fun together yesterday and between games I brought them outside to run and play in the sunshine.  The boys won which meant that they played a fourth game last night which made for a long day for these girls, but between coloring, running, reading, and playing Ipads, they had fun. 

Today is church day and Upward basketball for David.  This upcoming week UVA is sending a video crew to our house to interview us for a video to be shown at the opening of the new Battle Building this June.  We love being a Miracle Family through the Children's Miracle Network which allows us to give back after all that UVA has done for us.  We are honored to be in this upcoming video and of course David loves any opportunity to have visitors here and to be in front of a camera!  Ha!