Tuesday, April 29, 2008

One Hundred Fifty-seven, ten, nine....

There's nothing quite like a Mama's boy...said from a mom to three who had to wait until her 3rd to get such a boy. Just for the record, I completely adore all my boys. They are my world, but this particular boy not only knows how to wrap his mama completely around his little finger and melt her heart into a puddle, he chooses to do so on a regular basis (where my other boys think all the mushy stuff is for girls ;)).

Ever since he was small, Carson has always told us (Hoyte and I both) that he loved us. Then it changed to he loved us "1000 times." So to tease him, I joke around and ask, "Carson, how much do you love me? 1000 times?" and he'd just grin. Lately he'll answer "No! I love you 157, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 times." Then after a brief pause look at me and ask, "That's a lot, Mama, right?"

How could you not melt at that? sigh.

These are the moments I never want to forget.

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Balloon Glow & the NFL Draft

Whoooo hooo! It's Derby Festival Time in Kentucky and that means there are all kinds of wonderful activities going on around town for three weeks prior to Derby this year!

Last night was the gorgeous Balloon Glow - an annual event where the balloons that are going to race in the Great Balloon Race set up the night before to do a light show (by glowing their balloons) they have synchronized to music. The boys were so excited to go as we had never made it there before and the weather was absolutely glorious for an April night.

Unfortunately, even though it was a beautiful night, the winds ended up being a bit to high to get many of the balloons inflated. Out of 47 balloons that tried to participate, we only got to see around 7-10. Can you see in the above photo where the fire is literally going sideways as they tried to keep the balloon upright? The poor pilot was having a heck of a time and that particular rainbow balloon ended up collapsing not long after that photo was taken.

Next up? A trip to the Chow Wagon and possibly the Steam Boat Race before the big Derby Party at Ange's (and thanks Ange, for letting me borrow your tripod last night - it helped tremdenously though I think I might have had better luck staying at your house and having that glass of wine!) Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE DERBY TIME?! It's the best part of being a Kentuckian! :)

And I just have to shout a little! Today was NFL Draft Day. We've been anxiously watching and waiting for a little news on our hometown star, Brian Brohm. It was just announced that Brian was selected as the 56th pick overall and will be heading to (drumroll, please!!) GREEN BAY!!!! My son and stepdad are over the moon! I think this might partially make up for Brett retiring on them. Congratulations, Brian, and we can't wait to see wonderful things from you as a Packer!

P.S. to Tina - Give your handsome Michael a huge hug for me as he heads off to Prom tonight! I can't believe we are old enough to have prom-aged children! ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Break '08

WHEW! We’re back! After 2 days and something like 16 hours on the road, we’ve finally made it back home from Spring Break. Thank goodness!
We’re busy trying to settle back into things here with laundry (definitely my *least* favorite part), mail catch-up (both snail and email) and unpacking, so to keep the memories of the good stuff alive, here’s a quick recap of the past week instead!

Last Friday after school, we loaded up the kiddos and hit the road singing for the Outer Banks of North Carolina where Hoyte’s cousin, Ken, and his family invited us to spend a week at their beach house. We got there late Saturday afternoon after stopping for the night in West Virginia. Ken and his crew were waiting to greet us and we walked almost immediately to the ocean, just 100 yards or so away. It was the boys’ first time seeing the ocean and they were beyond excited – that is until waves wiped out both Turner and Carson in one fell swoop and they ended up with mouthfuls of water and sand. They weren’t nearly so thrilled after that, poor kids, but they would warm up to the idea later in the week…if only the weather had done the same.

Sunday was a lovely, if windy, day and we all took a morning trip to Cape Hatteras (about 40 minutes away) to see the beautiful lighthouse there and grab some lunch. Along the way we made a couple of stops along Pamlico Sound (literally, Hatteras Island is only ½ mile wide, so you’re at the beach on either side in just minutes) where we watched some crazy people brave the cool temps and try their hand at kite boarding and wind surfing. The kids loved watching them leap into the air as the kites gave them loft and then laughed hysterically as they crashed and burned! We made it back home for the littles to take a quick nap while Ken, Hoyte, Max and Ethan

bundled up against the wind for some fishing off RodanthePier in the Atlantic. They ended up catching fish after fish – mostly dogfish (in the shark family) and skates (kin to Stingrays). Ethan was SO wide-eyed at it all and would have stayed out there all day if we had let him! Thank goodness the older boys realized just how cold it was and brought them in before they turned to human popscicles!

Monday, Ken and his crew had to return to their house, but before they left, we made a trip about 30 minutes up north to visit Roanoke Island and the NC Aquarium there. The kids loved the exhibits, especially getting to pet the rays and starfish in the kids’ zone. Carson & Hallie were fascinated with the big tanks & that shark that kept circling around putting on a show for them.

Since we were having some weather issues, we took Tuesday and went to Bodie Island Lighthouse only a few minutes away and then traveled on up the coast to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills were we went to the Wright Brothers’ Memorial and got to see the site of the first flight. The Bodie Light was absolutely beautiful as it just had a fresh paint job. I even convinced Hoyte to make another stop on our way home to get more pictures of it on a prettier day. (Obviously this photo was from that day ;))

The Wright Memorial was fascinating. There was a full-scale replica of their glider and you could see the actual hill where they took off in their glider. There is a monument on top of that hill now and a stone marker at each point where they landed during their four flights that day. You could see how short of a distance they really went but how much it impacted our lives today. In the museum section, they had a timeline of flight and the caption that got me most was “from first flight to the moon in just 66 years.” It’s unbelieveable when you think about it that way, huh?

If you couldn’t tell, the NC coast is known for it’s lighthouses (and I have a particular fascination with them). There are actually 5 that stretch probably a 120 miles or so along it’s coast line. Four of them are easily accessible (the fifth is so far down on the Island chain and is only reachable by boat) and we got to 3 of them. So on Wednesday, we visited the Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke Island, just south of the Cape Hatteras Light. The fun thing was that to get there, you had to travel 40 minutes by ferry. The boys were all over that thinking it was so very cool to put our van on a boat for a trip on the water. I would have loved to spend more time there as it’s the prettiest little fisherman’s village, but with the ferry schedule, we only had time for a quick lunch and checking out the lighthouse (the smallest one of the 5 by far and one we almost missed it was so hidden!)

By Thursday we finally had some nice weather and managed to see the sun again so the boys got to build their sandcastles on the beach. We stayed on the sound side to avoid a bit of the wind, but it was a beautiful day. When they were done, we went back to the pier so Turner and Carson could see the fish that Dad and Ethan had caught a couple days before. They weren’t nearly as impressed as Ethan was, however! Later in the afternoon, we went back to the beach after the tide was going out so I could get some obligatory “beach pictures” (even though they were less than cooperative - Ha!), to pick up a few shells and so they could chase the waves a bit more.

Friday of course was by far the prettiest day of the bunch (it’s always the day you leave, isn’t it??!) so before we packed and cleaned up to head home, we spent the morning on the beach watching the surfers, collecting shells, drawing in the sand..and then pouting all the way home because we had to leave.

It was so good to have a vacation…but why is it that you seem to need a vacation to recover from your vacation??!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An Update on Jake & Some Work

I know some of you have been waiting on an update about little Jake and it's with a hopeful heart that I share these wonderful words from Jake's mom, Amy, about his condition...

"March 31, 2008 at 07:38 PM EDT
We have such wonderful news to report... The doctor told us the tumors have shrunk in the brain AND spine!!!! She literally just poked her head in and told us she would go over the results in detail with us tomorrow when they finish reading the MRI. She was extremely pleased with the results...and of course, that is an understatement for us. Rick and I were overwhelmed with such a feeling that is difficult to express in words. Needless to say, it was a very special moment for the family. The doctors were preparing us for no change..and they felt that would be good news to report. This is because a MRI is usually not done until the second round of chemo is completed. They only did the MRI so early because of how aggressive this tumor looked and they may have changed treatment decisions depending on results. Now we will go forward with stem cell collection as mentioned earlier once his numbers rise to 5000 ANC.

We can't believe we have other good news to report...we can go home tomorrow if the numbers continue to rise!!!!! Jake's ANC was 275 and even though only 20 cells counted, the doctors felt it was enough information that it is trending upward. They are comfortable with us going home as long as tomorrows numbers look better than today. It is moving in that direction so it is most likely we are returning home tomorrow. They predict we may be home for approximately 2 weeks before his numbers go back up. It is all dependent on his numbers.

Jake hasn't had the best day...very very grouchy...having terrible temper tandrums...the worst we have ever seen. All he wants is Rick to carry him around. It is probably because he hasn't slept much in the last 24 hours other than when under anestesa for 3 hours....if you can count that as sleeping. We really can't wait to leave the hospital as we are all going a bit stir crazy. We can't expect everything though especially since all other news today was just incredible.

We want to thank everyone for their blessings, thoughts, love, support, well wishes. They obviously made a tremendous difference. We cannot thank everyone enough for all the kindness that has been shown to us." - Amy

The news prior to this hasn't been the best and Jake has been in and out of the hospital while hey are trying to keep his immune system protected and his blood count numbers on the rise. Praise God for such wonderful news and please pray that the doctors continue to find the way to keep the tumor at bay and bring Jake to remission.

I also realized it's been a while since I've shared any work here, so I thought I'd post a little of what I've been up to. Recently I had the pleasure of working up some projects using a Pheobe kit that is being promoted on Scrapbook.com. It's an amazing value and if you're interested, you can download the instructions on how to make these layouts and a few more as well as some cards with the products when you buy it.
This Layout is of my youngest this past fall and I think really shows the range of these papers - they aren't all girlie or pink like you might first think. But then again, they can be...and you can go all Easter-y and pastel-ly if you'd like to as well. (I love it when papers can be used for just about anything.) This layout was done when I was in the Easter Spirit and is of last year's egg hunt. I think I'll cry when my kids decide they're too big to do this, but hopefully I have a few years yet ;) To get this egg shape, I downloaded a template off the internet, resized it in Photoshop and printed it out so that I could trace it onto my cardstock.

I hope you all are having a wonderful April Fool's Day!