A Special Fun Friday-Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween!  We are doing things a little different today.  I wanted to give you all a chance to show off your fun Halloween creations.  Although Halloween can be a bit controversial for some Christians, we have always chosen to participate by dressing up and trick or treating.  We keep our costumes cute (nothing scary) and never talk about the other connotations that Halloween may have.  My children don't need to know about all those yucky thoughts and images.  To us, its just a fun time to dress up with friends.

Our church has a wonderful festival every year and the kiddos look so forward to it.  It is always held the Wednesday before Halloween, so most years we just spend the evening with our friends.  In years past I have made a big pot of chili and then we have met our friends for a little trick or treating in our neighborhood.  There is usually a trip to the grand and great parents' homes and sometimes a few other stops along the way.  But mainly we just hang around our 'hood and let the kids play.

This year our church festival is tonight, so our Halloween activities will primarily be focused around Fall Festival.  If you don't have something special to do, I invite you to come check it out.  You can visit our website for more information. (First Baptist Church, Covington)

I don't have a lot of pictures to post yet, as we are stuck in the hospital room.  I will post pictures of Cat Woman and my baby chicken later this evening.  For now, here is a picture of the world's cutest octopus!

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A Lesson Learned Today

Procrastinate: : to put off intentionally and habitually

Proverbs 15:19

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.

One might think I would have learned by now not to do it.  Procrastinate, that is.  With our life in a constant state of unknown, it makes sense that I would never put off for tomorrow what could be done today.  For example, Lucy's Halloween costume.  She wanted to be an octopus last year and I convinced her to be the Cat in the Hat.  I reasoned with her that since she couldn't walk on the 2 feet God gave her she probably didn't need to try to walk with 8!  But that memory I have worried about this year didn't fail her this time.  She promptly reminded me that I told her she could be an octopus this year as soon as the topic was discussed. 

(I'll be posting lots of pics of Lucy in her costume tomorrow)

After an exhausting search for octopus costumes, the cheapest I could come up with was $89.  Since that was clearly ridiculous, I set out to make one of my own.  It was so much fun being back in front of the sewing machine.  Admittedly, I was very unconvinced about the outcome while I was working.  With the project finished--thanks to the help of my mom--I am very pleased with the final project.  The point I'm trying to make though is that I waited and waited to start on it until the Saturday before Halloween.  My plan was to finish it Sunday after church, but...well, we all know what happened next.  A huge thank you to Nanny for jumping in to put the finishing touches on the 8 legs.  

Erik sent me these pictures tonight.

It broke my heart that because of my mad procrastination skills Lucy didn't get to carve a pumpkin this year.  We had talked about it all last week and even planned on doing it Friday night and then Saturday afternoon.  Seriously!  What's wrong with me?  Ugh!  Now I'll spend the next week trying to recreated all the fun Halloween events that Lucy missed out on.  

Tomorrow she will spend another Halloween in the hospital.  Last year we spent the day at St. Jude (outpatient at least) but this year she will be stuck in her room in isolation.  The nurses will come around and deliver candy and treats, but it's just not the same.  I'm going to let her dress up and hopefully we can try to make the most of a bad situation.  Lucy's blood and stool cultures came back today and they weren't wonderful.  Not bad, just not great.  She has c-diff (again!) and it has somehow crossed over into her blood stream.  In the words of the resident this morning "this is very uncommon."  I had to hold back a full belly laugh as I explained to her that "uncommon" was what Lucy did best.  

Lucy is being treated with the big gun, Vancomycin, and will stay here for a few days until her tummy heals.  She has to be able to eat and drink again before they will send us home.  Unfortunately, children with weakened immune systems can be greatly harmed by c-diff (think last December before Lucy had to get a feeding tube) and it is very contagious.  So....isolation it is for us.  Like I've said before, this isn't cancer.  We can handle this.  Even still, I can't help but to ask. 

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Another Day Here

Well, we are wrapping up another night on the 7th floor. Thankfully everything major has been ruled out. Head CT looked good, CSF was clear, and nothing has come back from blood cultures to be of concern. Lucy probably was just the recipient of a yucky stomach bug and she's just had a little harder time fighting it than most. She is receiving lots of fluids and an antibiotic through her IV.

My sweat husband brought my computer down tonight and I planned on spending some time on it after Lucy went to bed. I was going to go through pictures of our summer trips that I haven't even blogged about and then I wanted to spend some time writing on the blog in general. So here I am, computer ready, brain in gear and the computer network is down at the hospital. Oh well. Maybe this is Gods way of making me take advantage of this chance to sleep.

I am praying we go home tomorrow but I worry that is a bit optimistic. Until Lucy can keep anything on her stomach, she will have to be here with fluids. To be honest, as sick as her tummy is right now I don't even want to take her home. I just know that she will be so upset if she misses Trick or Treating and our church's Fall Fest. I can't recreate the church event, but neighbors listen up! Lori, Mrs. Sharon, Mrs. Smith, everyone in the hood....we may be trick or treating later this week. Don't get rid of your candy and decorations too soon!
Lucy with Aunt Tracy and our new friend from the 7th floor

In all seriousness, I know Lucy is where she needs to be. We will stay as long as they deem necessary. Today I was glad I was here. I met and visited with an amazing family whose 4 year old, blond hair beauty just had surgery to remove a large brain tumor. I'm not sure what their future holds as far as a treatment plan, but I do know that their angel was given a great start for fighting this past week. I feel honored to have met them and I'm grateful our paths crossed.

The mom told me today that she had read my blog right after Lu was diagnosed. She said she remembered thinking "I can't imagine ever walking in her shoes." She never, in a million years, thought she would be here today. That's how life works though.  I believe that God uses our whole lives to ready us for big events so that when we are confronted with the task, we are prepared to handle it.  Maybe not for everyone in every situation, but I feel that's what He did for me.  I told the dad tonight that 1 week or 1 month or 1 year down the road he would look back on things and realize that God had been working in their lives to prepare them for this journey.  Even now, I can look back on the past 15 years and see that my life has played out like an unbelievable story.  So many circumstances and situations have played a part in readying us for this stage in our life.  Even today, I feel as if this family and my paths crossed for a very specific reason.  I just hope I was able to offer even a tiny bit of encouragement or support.

I'll never understand cancer and I'll really never understand why it happens to children.  People often say that when you get to heaven all those questions you had for God would be forgotten.  After the hell on earth that I have lived, I'm not sure I believe that.  I'm pretty sure I'll at least have to ask "Why children?"  I'm thankful there is a heaven and I'm thankful my spot is secured.  Questions or no questions, I know that this world is temporary and there IS something better.


Snuggle Time

Sometimes one of the blessings that comes from being in the hospital is the one on one time that Erik and I get with Lucy. Today and tonight was all about snuggle time. Her hospital bed is just big enough for the both of us. Purple fingernail polish and lots of Disney Channel is just what the doctor ordered!

Sunday Morning Blues

Another Sunday morning in the ER. Don't know what it is about the day of rest for us. Initial CT results are good. Still trying to get to the source of the problem. We would appreciate your prayers.

The saddle

Back in the saddle again!


Fun Friday--Make Up Session (craft)

Ok, so we are going to do this Fun Friday a little different this week.  Since I missed last week (and I really want to find out about your mad craft skills) I am going to play catch up with that topic today.  And then next Wednesday we will discuss Halloween.  I figured that was fitting since it is, well, Halloween.

So..do you craft?  I do.  Well, I mean, I used to.  I am a crafter at heart and I love the feeling of completing a project.  My real "talent" is sewing.  Before Ella was born my mom taught me a few things on her sewing machine and I just took it from there.  Before long I was reading intricate patterns and creating pretty neat things, if I must say so myself.  Who knew??  For about 4 years I sewed for my children, I sewed for the public, I sewed for friends.  I made outfits, draperies, pillows.  I love sewing.  Unfortunately, its not something I get to do now.  I have a very nice sewing machine that has an embroidery arm, so I used to monogram everything my girls wore.  Hopefully, maybe one day soon, I'll be able to start sewing again.

I also smock.  I even taught a small class once on the basics of smoking.  This isn't the best picture, but its the only one I could find.
Lucy, age 3--looks just like Jack!
I also love to do projects with my children.  We did these pots for the grandparents a few years ago.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you will see that I pin a lot of craft projects.  I know I don't have time for it right now, but that's the beauty of Pinterest.  If I find something I like and pin it, it will be there when I am ready.  You can follow me here if you want to!  I think that, whether you are a Martha Stewart or a Kate Krull, you can find delight in finishing a project that you created with your own hands.  Another thing I have found is that my girls think that it is so cool when I do things for them or their class instead of buying it.  Whether it's cupcakes or ornaments, they are so proud of their mom.  That, my friend, is the best feeling in the world!

What do you do?  I'd love to know (and see.)  Happy Friday!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

The front door has been decorated so we are officially ready for Halloween!  Something wicked this way comes, for sure.  Glittery spiders can be wicked, right?

The last two mornings I have spent with my baby boy.  Just me and him.  Lots of kisses have been shared and giggles could probably be heard at the neighbor's house.  I love this little gift from Heaven.  Snuggling in Mommy's bed and breakfast in big boy pants!

I have just one question though.  Is it too early for this...

It drives Erik crazy, but Christmas could never come soon enough for me!  That's right.  Decorating for Halloween while listening to Bing.  It's only a matter of weeks before the trees start to do up.

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Dentist and a Little Fear

It's wasn't so much fear of the dentist that almost ruined my day, but rather the vomiting and headache that Lucy had yesterday morning. It's the worse phone call in the world. She bounced back after about an hour or two and we are blaming some yucky sinuses for it. At least that's what we are praying.Today Lucy is great and has had a very busy day.

A little fear to remind you what's important in life! All this on the morning that two Child Life Specialists and Lucy's psychologist came to our school. They gave a wonderful, age appropriate presentation to the kindergarten and first grade classes about brain tumors. I was so glad to have them here and I am so very thankful that St. Jude provides this resource. One more reason St. Jude rocks!!

We did keep our appointment with the dentist yesterday. No cavities for either, which considering all that Lucy has been through, is a miracle in itself. Once again, our God (through Lucy) defying the odds!


A Streak of Stubborn

These three have it figured out.

I have written a lot about prioritizing my life over the last few months.  Over the past (almost) two years I have spoken about the perspective I have gained throughout Lucy's illness.  Over the past two weeks I have had to really look at my life and what I am doing with my time.  I guess what I am struggling with is trying to differentiate between what God wants me to do and what I want to do.  And let me tell you, they are two totally different things.

I am so convicted tonight that God is pulling me in a different direction than where I am right now.  My heart is so heavy with the feeling that I am busying myself with so many things that aren't bringing Him glory.  For example, this blog.  I have gotten so wrapped up in making sure that I blog just for the sake of blogging, instead of making sure that my posts are meaningful and with purpose.  Don't get me wrong, some days its nice to just blow off steam and post super cute pictures of my super adorable kids.  But after Lucy was diagnosed last year, God gave me a wonderful platform to share about His love and mercies.  I never imagined in a million years that I would ever have the opportunity to share the gospel with so many people at once.  And what I loved about it was that I didn't even have to think about it.  Just by sharing Lucy's/our story many lives were touched.  Have I totally lost that focus?  Oh, I pray I haven't.

Is this topic one that many of you can relate to?  Am I the only one who struggles with this?  There ends up being a huge chasm between what I want my life to be and what it ends of being.  I need to be about God.  I need to be about serving Him and bringing glory to His name.  I'm pretty darn sure that I am falling very short of this mark right now.  I'll be real honest and admit right now that the past two weeks have not been my best.  There are a handful of situations in which I'm pretty sure I was not a shining star for how a Christian should act.  Sometimes my passion manifests itself in not so pretty ways.

I'm making a decision tonight to make my time matter.  When my feet and hands are moving I want them to be used in a purposeful manner.  Sometimes its hard.  Like when I was taking Jack to 3 different doctors last week and must have yelled at him--oh, say 1500 times between the parking lot and doctor's office---only to be approached later by two different ladies (whom I know saw me in action) in the waiting room who have read this blog and have prayed for Lucy.  I was mortified!  Had they seen my lose my temper?  Had they seen me throw the diaper bag in the van in sheer defeat?  I felt this uncontrollable urge to apologize profusely.

I could get myself into a lot of trouble playing the Monday morning quarterback with my life so I'm going to stop right now.  Tonight, Lucy read this to me:

This might not mean a lot to many of you, but to me this was nothing short of miraculous.  Just 5 short months ago Lucy was so sick and so malnourished that her brain refused to perform even the simplest of tasks.  Many days she couldn't even remember how to spell her name.  But tonight...she read this!  Praise God, Praise God!  

In case anyone has forgotten, this is what Lucy looked like in May of this year:

This is Lucy now:

That's all the reminder I need that nothing else matters.  I'm a slow learner and can be quite stubborn, but one look that these pictures and it's hard to get it wrong.
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What Happened?

Wow!  Can I say that I didn't even realize I had forgotten Fun Friday until my favorite neighbor, Mrs. Smith, mentioned it to me yesterday.  What!?!?!  Seriously, folks.  It was that kind of week.

Things are beginning to look up at our house.  Jack seems to be feeling much better and we are all sleeping a little more.  I still have a Prednisone monster on my hands and that's been hard to contend with.  Jack needs the meds., but man!  He is CRAZY!  One more day......

Last night Erik and I snuck away for a fun "night-on-the-town" with our other favorite neighbors.  It was just us four and we had a wonderful time.  If you know much about Memphis, you know that The Rendezvous is world famous for their ribs.  I think I enjoy the atmosphere and the saucy (no pun intended) wait staff more than the food!

Speaking of food...

I sure wish I would have enjoyed my dinner.

Oh, yes.  I was a piggy last night and I enjoyed every single minute of it.  Here's to getting back on the right track and back into the swing of things!

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This is us after 3 doctor appointments and a very close call with another ER visit. I must have seemed like a lunatic when I was crying and literally begging the doctor not to send us back!

I love Jack's "team" that we met with today. We met a new NP at the ENT and she was great. Thanks Ann!!

Jack will be having his adenoids removed ASAP, but nothing can happen until his asthma is under control. Albuterol every 3 hours, another round of Prednisone and a major antibiotic for a month. We can do this!!!!

On a totally unrelated note...can anyone tell me if I can easily switch one laptop screen for an identical laptop screen? Is this something we can do on our own? My hubby is pretty handy and can follow directions. Any words of advice? My computer is on the brink again and if i can switch screens then ill have a "new" computer.

Thanks again friends for the encouraging words today!


Clearing the Air

Thanks to everyone who has left encouraging comments, sent sweet texts or sent a kind email. I have several emails that I need to respond to. You guys have offered amazing help and want to do such kind things for my family. Thank you. I honestly am so humbled I can't even find the right words with which to reply.

Please hang with me (if you want.). I love writing this blog and plan to continue to do so for a very long time. I appreciate you following along and it means so much to know that people are praying for us on a daily basis.

I'm tying up some loose ends on projects that I started and plan on taking a break from those things for a while. Family, church, school and the Foundation are all that seem to fit for us right now. Like I said, I will continue to blog because its my daily therapy session. I need this for my sanity. But some days the blog doesn't even fit into my day.

I have begun to feel that the words I wrote may seem like a constant complaint. As if all I ever do anymore is whine. I don't mean for that to be the case. What I want my blog to be is a journal of my (our) life. If I am not honest here then I will not have an accurate account of what life for us during this season was really like.

For example, when I say I haven't slept through the night in 3 years I'm not whining. I'm just helping myself understand and remember why I am so stinking tired all the time.

As much as I want to forget a lot of my life lately, I really do want to remember. It is reflecting back on the really hard days that helps me put the present in perspective. I hope that the future hard days fail in comparisons to the present. Without this journal I may not be able to appreciate what I really have at the moment.

Tonight the family bunkered down for a rather scary tornado warning. Driving home from choir practice..alone...with the weather sirens blaring was really not fun. All seems to be well now and we are finally heading to bed. Tomorrow jack has 3 doctors appointments. Please say a prayer for him as we try to come up with a game plan for getting his asthma under control. As many of your know, asthma is just so scary.

Lucy is working towards staying at school 2 full days a week. She had a pretty bad week last week but seems to have rallied pretty well. Ella...well she's just a lot like Mary Poppins. Practically perfect in every way.

I wanted to end tonight with a Bible verse that i've been thinking a lot about lately. I want to adopt a verse for our family and I think this might be it. Everyday before school I pray with the girls as we drive. These are the words I pray, although not in this exact verbiage.

Micah 6:8
...And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

If this is what The Lord requires of us, then I want my life to reflect this. I want my children to see me live this life. I learned this week that if over extending myself puts me in compromising positions in which I can't live the way God wants, then i just have to say "no." No amount of volunteering can erase one example of a bad witness. People always want to remember the bad. Not the good (intentions).

Whew! It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday. This post has been all over the board and I apologize. I just needed to clear the air.


Flu, Medicine or Exhaustion?

I'd like to think it was side effects from the Tamiflu that I am taking, but apparently after reading the official website I have only sheer exhaustion to blame for what ails me.  In reality, I have nothing to complain about. However, this is my blog so I can.

I am tired.  Very, very tired.  My body is sore and I have had a headache for a week straight.  My laundry is sky high, my house is a wreck and I haven't even thought about Halloween costumes for my children.  I went to the grocery today, after my husband and I have eaten oatmeal for what seems to the be the past 4 meals.  Yesterday I sorted through more than 500 t-shirts and I am OVER it!  School shirts, Pumpkin Run shirts.  Geez! This is just a glimpse of what my house looked like yesterday:

I can at least happily report that Jack is home from the hospital and is recovering nicely.  He has a nasty pneumonia cough that will apparently stick around for a while and we are still doing breathing treatments around the clock, but other than he is improving.  It was hard being back in the ER; lots of terrible memories flooded my brain while we were there.  I even found myself thinking irrational thoughts like "what if Jack has a tumor in his lungs making it hard for him to breath."  Look, when you have walked down the road we have been on you can't help but the think those things.

When the ER doc came in and told us that Jack may have something like RSV or Pneumonia, I just laughed under my breath and thought "bring it on."  I ran into one of our favorite Oncologists at the race Saturday morning and he said I needed a shirt that said "It's Just Pneumonia."  Seriously, we got this!

Here are some pictures of my sweet boy's first hospital stay.  I am praying it's his last.

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Jack Update and the Race

Thanks to everyone for your prayers. Jack has pneumonia and the flu. We will be staying in the hospital for a couple of days until his asthma is under control.

Erik or I will be at the race in the morning to distribute team Lucy T-shirts. We will not be able to participate but look forward to seeing you all bright and early in the morning.

Another Ambulance Ride

This time it was Jacks turn. It was a short ride from the doctor's office to Lebonheur, but that's what asthma can do to a baby.

We are here now, in the ER, and would appreciate your prayers. Little dude is going to be fine but he sure feels bad right now.

Just found out we are being admitted. I will send everyone an email later if you are signed up for Team Lucy for tomorrow's race. I've got a ton of details to work out now.


Fun Friday--Tour of Homes

I am looking so forward to this week's Fun Friday!  I love decorating for the seasons and decorating for Fall is always so exciting.  I will admit that this year I haven't gone as crazy as I have in the past.  I honestly just don't have the time for it right now, but I still love walking around my house seeing the autumn colors.  My kiddos love seeing all the "extras" around the house right now and that makes it all worth while!

My entry way chest.  

A new addition this year.  This pumpkin painting was done by my sweet Ella.

 A table in our play room

A fun mixture of Halloween and Fall on top of my computer desk. 

This guy has been around for several years.  How fun is he??

Ok, now it's your turn!  Show us how you decorate for Fall!

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