Cedar Hill Farm

Ella and Lucy went on a field trip to a neat place called Cedar Hill Farm.  My Mom, Jack and I tagged along and had the best time!  Hold on to your hat.  We are about to go into picture overload:

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Fun Friday--Connect to Bloggers in Your Area

Last week's post was a ton of fun.  I'm still checking out different sites.  Right now I have 8 sites pulled up to paruse after I finish typing.  I love handmade items and you people are a talented, craft group!

This week should be a lot of fun.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know some of the bloggers in my area.  This is quite simple.  In the text part of the comment, you need to write your city, town, county, area.  Whatever you think will best help other bloggers find you.  For example you might want to write "Tipton County" or the" Dallas/Fort Worth area."  Maybe you want to venture out and say something like "Center Arkansas."  That part is up to you.  Then, all you have to do is add your blog address.  It's really that simple.

I wanted to share with you a local blogger that I have gotten to know a little over the past few months.  We first met at LeBonheur where her son was receiving out pateint PT/OT while Lucy was there.  She has a really neat website and I thought you might want to enjoy checking it out. You can find Lisa at All That and a Box of Rocks.

I'd love to know if any of you strike up a friendship or two after this.  Keep me posted!

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A Better Day and Another Field Trip

Sorry for the pity party yesterday.  After I cried myself to sleep with a near migraine, I woke up feeling a little refreshed this morning.  All day long I have appreciated reading the encouraging comments that you guys left.  Thank you for your compassion.  God has laid it on my heart to change my prayer for this situation.  I'm going to stop praying for Lucy to be "normal" again.  What's normal anyway?  I just want her to be happy.  My prayer now is that God would send her 1, just 1, girl friend who will be true and dear that she will have a meaningful friendship with.  If God blesses her with 2 or 3 or 50 then great!  But 1 would do. We all need a friend to count on, right?

I want to add here that several little girls in Lucy's class have been very sweet to her.  I pray that some friendships will really take off in her class.  She has been treated with kindness and grace by everyone in her class.  I am so proud of the 13 children who take care of her at school.

She does have this one friend who will never, ever forsake her.  I know I am biased because he's my best friend's son but there is something very special about this little boy.  I cried on the phone today with Amanda (his mother) as I told her how grateful I was that he was in our lives.  Hyatt, Lucy's very best friend, is an amazing little boy with the heart of  ten giants.  He loves Lucy and protects her.  He worries about her, but also pushes her to be independent.  There is something about their relationship that I will never be able to explain, maybe because I will never understand it.  I don't guess I really have to, though. Seriously...I LOVE this kid!

This is Hyatt holding the door open for her as she went into lunch.  This was right after he helped her get out of the van and then proceeded to place his hand in the small of her back to make sure she felt stable while she was walking.  A perfect gentleman!

Today I was able to take Lucy on her first official Kindergarten field trip.  We visited the Fire Museum of Memphis and we had a great time.  Being at the museum brought back many bad memories.  I took the girls to a birthday party at the Fire Museum the Saturday before Lucy was diagnosed with cancer.  That day was the day that I first became truly concerned about her vomiting.  Ugh.  I get sick to my stomach even thinking about it.

But today was different.  Today was good.  After the tour was finished I took Lucy and Hyatt to grab some honey chicken from Pei Wei, our favorite lunch spot.  After it was over we decided to grab a couple of yummy Gigi's cupcakes.  Hyatt really wanted to get one to take to his mommy and surprise her at school.  After that I stopped at LeBonheur and donated the remaining boxes of Lucy's extra feeding tube supplies and formulas (praise God we don't need them) and medical supplies from her central line (yes!!!)  Hyatt opted out of a cupcake saying "I'm just not really into cupcakes" so I took him by the frozen yogurt place on the way home.  I'm a pushover I know, but I'd do anything for that little boy.

I'm not sure how kids even eat these concoctions that they make.  This is seriously the most disgusting thing I've ever seen:

Both girls had art lessons this afternoon and now we are starting to wind down for bed.  Sheesh!  I wanted to share this video tonight.  It probably doesn't mean a lot to you, but after the day I had yesterday it brought such joy to my soul to watch Lucy simply enjoying herself today.  She was giggling and truly having fun.

I guess God never lets me wallow in my own despair for too long.  Today was a better day for sure.  All of my children did things that made me very proud today.  Lucy walked all over the museum with her walker without me having to hold her, Jack went to the potty several times today and Ella created this super cute painting.  SPOILER ALERT----this is for her teacher, Ms. Emily.  I am SOOO jealous because I really, really want it for my house!  Isn't it so stinking cute?

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It's Still Hard

Sometimes I choose to forget.  Sometimes I simple ignore it and pretend like it's going to go away.  But it's there.  Life.  And it's still hard.  Everyday I smile and put on the best face that I can in public, but sometimes, things aren't always as they appear.  Life is hard post cancer.  It may never the same, actually.

The past few weeks I've allowed myself to get swept away in a false reality that things are hunky-dory around here.  I've thrown myself into several projects and have been spending a lot of time at the girls' school.  I've let things slip around the house and unfortunately for us, once you get behind its almost impossible to get caught back up.  I don't think it's that I've been skirting my responsibility, but rather that I've been fooling myself thinking that I can do it ALL.  Maybe at one point in my life I could.  Throw in a child with special needs and a 2 year old and the whole ballgame changes.

Lucy had a major meltdown at school today.  I think it was actually more of an anxiety attack.  I don't know what triggered it, nor would she tell me what got her so worked up.  All I know is that after talking with her teacher and the assistant, we still have a long ways to go at school.  Academically she is doing great, but there are so many social challenges that she struggling with.  PE is a major frustration and her lack of independence/mobility really hinders her ability to play with and make friends.

Erik and I had a long talk today and we have decided to regroup.  We are refocusing our priorities at home. We both want so desperately to grab hold of a normal life but we just aren't there right now.  There is still work to be done to try to rebuild our life after cancer.  Lucy needs more of our attention to help her get physically stronger and Ella needs more structure in her night time routines.  The last thing I need is for her to get behind at school.  She needs to be pushed in math and that just adds one more priority to the list.

I've decided to simplify our lives for a while.  No Pinterest experiments, no taking on extra volunteer projects and nothing extra at night unless its absolutely mandatory.  Life for us may be very regimented for a while, but its what we need.  It's what my children have to have.  I know Lucy is at a school where she can thrive and she is protected, and for that I am so very grateful.  We've just got to figure out how to help her be the best Lucy she can be, despite her limitations.  We are hunkering down and getting serious at our house.  We've got some major work to do and we are determined to succeed.

On a completely unrelated note, I have never been so proud of Ella than I was this morning.  I drove up to help Lucy maneuver school pictures and this is what I saw:

The little girl in the back ground is Ella praying at our school's See You At The Pole.  My precious girl is totally unashamed of her love for God.  And praying...wow!  She can say a prayer that will humble you and melt your heart.  She is an awesome child.  All three of my children are.  They deserve more than I am giving them now.  I just have to figure out how to give more.    
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I Am....

Very tired.  As any mom can attest to, when you have a sick baby you get no rest.  Jack....asthma....another sinus infection....lots of vomit.  Fun times!

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Eat at Chili's for Lucy

This child is a miracle.

My heart overflowed with joy as I watched Lucy receive her Bible at church today.  It wasn't but a few months ago that I was planning her funeral.  Today, she stood with 14 other children and accepted the Bible from which she will learn to read, understand and memorize scripture.  What a beautiful day.

Thank you God for your healing grace.  And thank you all for your prayers.  Thank you also to everyone who donates money to St. Jude.  Without you Lucy would not have had a chance at life.

Tomorrow, September 24th, is a big day for St. Jude.  Tomorrow is the day when Chili's restaurant will donate 100% of its net profits to the hospital where my daughter got a second chance at life.  In 2006, Chili's  pledged to raise $50 million dollars in 10 years.  With the money that Chili's has donated to St. Jude thus far (over $41 million), St. Jude was able to build and equip the building where Lucy received her radiation treatments and her stem cell transplant.  We spent 4 long, hard months housed in the Chili's Care Center.  It's an amazing facility and became a comfortable home away from home for our family.

If you live close to a Chili's, please eat there tomorrow.  Lunch, dinner...both!  Dine in or carry out.  Either one.  Just please do your part to help support St. Jude.  I borrowed this image from the Chili's site.  This is just a tiny sample of every day expenses for a child at St. Jude.  A child like Lucy.

Every Donation Counts

Every Donation Counts

Every dollar donated to St. Jude makes a difference. See how your contribution can help a child in need.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Chili's is doing its part.  Are you?
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What Do You Make/Sale

Alright!  This is going to be fun.  I can't wait to see what you guys make or sale.  Here's your chance to showcase your eBay/ETSY/Website.  I am so excited about this linky party and I hope you all have a great time shopping!  Once upon a time I used to sew the most adorable clothes for my girls.  I even sold a ton on Ebay (back in the day), but when Lucy got sick that all went by the way side.  Now, I just enjoy doing a little shopping on Etsy when I have a chance.  So...show us what you've got.  Our debit cards are ready!

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Ella's Field Trip

Today I went on a field trip with Ella.  What a wonderful place to be in life where I can feel safe leaving Lucy at school, and then with my mom, and being able to enjoy my time with my oldest daughter.  I am so thankful to be here.  Don't get me wrong, I checked in at school at least three times and Erik actually went up to lay his eyes on Lucy after she complained about a tummy ache.  That's just how we roll at our house.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes at our school went to the Memphis Botanic Gardens.  We had a really nice time and the weather was beautiful.  I don't think we could have asked for a more perfect day.

There were a lot of hands on activities--all about bugs and nature--right up Ella's alley!

These girls could have played by the Koi pond all day.  The fish are so accustomed to being fed that Ella could literally drop food in their mouths.  She was even able to touch some of them.  It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful I had the chance to spend the day with Ella. 

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Pinterest Recipes--Passed!

So far this week, despite the sinus infection and mind-numbing headache that doesn't seem to want to leave me, I tried three new Pinterest recipes.  I wanted to share them with you because, if you are like me, I am always looking for a way to get out of the cooking rut.

(just click the picture or the underlined website and it will take you right to the recipe!)

Tonight I made this wonderful ham.  This recipe stood out to me for 2 reasons.  1.  It cooks in the crock pot.  2.  It called for 3 cups of brown sugar.  Seriously?!  Who doesn't love brown sugar?  My hidden secret is that when I'm craving something sweet, and since I can't eat most sweet things because they contain gluten, I go to the pantry and sneak a spoon full of brown sugar.  It always satisfies my sweet tooth!

Photo courtesy of www.crockingirls.com

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My coffee morning with the girls has been moved to Monday and this week I was the host.  I felt horrible Sunday night but I was determined to have something sweet for us to have with my coffee.   Before my maternal grandmother passed away she would say "Now Nancy (my mom), what are we having with our coffee?"  So, I'm a firm believer in always having something sweet to offer with coffee.  I made this pumpkin cheesecake and it was wonderful!  I have to tell you that I have a super fancy recipe for real pumpkin cheesecake that I stole from my sister and it is absolutely out of this world.  It's the real deal cheesecake made in a spring form pan and everything.  I just wasn't up to it Sunday so I tried this recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I will admit that it wasn't as good as the real thing, but it was still really yummy.

photo courtesy of www.Kraftbrands.com

To further prove that I'm a glutton for punishment, my friend Cissy stopped by this morning to let Tip and Jack play.  Of course I knew that coffee would be involved and I knew we had eaten all of the pumpkin cheesecake last night for Jack's birthday.  So, what else was I to do?  Jack and I quickly made a batch of these No Bake Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies.  They were wonderful and gluten free!

photo courtesy of www.thekitchn.com
Disclaimer..I almost never take pictures of my cooking.  I'll be the first to admit that neither my cookies nor my ham looked like what you see in the picture.  However, they sure tasted great.  And isn't that all that matters in the end?