7.31.2013

Does Time Really Fly?

It is so hard to believe that our summer is almost gone;  the kids start back to school on Monday...all three of them.  Jack was enrolled in a 3 day a week (half day) program at the girl's school and we found out this week that his teacher had to unexpectedly resign.  Thankfully we were able to move him to another class, with an amazing teacher, who actually taught me as a child and also Lucy, but he will now be going 5 days a week.  I was not mentally prepared to make that decision, but I feel God's peace that we did the right thing.

So as I prepare to send all my babies back to school next week I have spent a lot of time thinking about how far we have all come in the past 2 years.  All of our lives changed so much in what seems like the blink of an eye.  And just like that, Ella is at her first sleep away camp, Lucy is swimming the pool all by herself and Jack is going to preschool!  Our lives have been a roller coaster indeed.

Oh, but these precious children of mine.  They make every day so sweet.  I am going to miss them like crazy when school starts back, but I am grateful for the opportunity they have to learn and grow in their knowledge of life and Christ.

These pictures are from our trip last weekend to our local water park.  Erik's sister was in town visiting and we had a wonderful week with our cousins.





Lucy crashed after playing hard for two hours.  

I wanted to mention that if you are local and are looking for a good Christian school for your children, I encourage you to check out Tipton Christian Academy.  We have an incredible thing going on at TCA and we would love for you to be a part of it!  I would love to go on for days about the accomplishments of our students, but I'll just leave you with this: our SAT-10 scores this year placed all but 2 out of 80 children in our school at least two whole grade levels above their actual grade level.  Tell me that isn't amazing!
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7.26.2013

Blessings Found

As I said I would, I am spending a lot more time looking for blessing in my life.  Blessings that maybe before I was overlooking.  So tonight, I thought I would jot a few down.

Blessing 1  A Great Report on Lucy
Lucy is doing fabulous.  She has worked so hard this summer at OT and PT and Swim Therapy and is growing stronger every day.  She has had some form of therapy Monday-Friday of every week unless we have been out of town.  She has also had tutoring 3 days a week as well.  We have an amazing support group around us right now and everyone seems to be working with renewed fervor to get her back on her feet.  Lucy still walks with a very pronounced gait and struggles with her balance.  We are confident that the walking can improve and we continue to pray that God would heal her balance issues.  One huge prayer request that we continue to have for Lucy is her lack of confidence.  We see it in her willingness to try new things, play freely with her friends and even with her reading.  Her tutor, Ms. Cissy, has been hired by our school as the first grade teacher and we are ecstatic.  I think this could be a great year for working on this whole confidence issue.

Photo credit Phil Ramsey


Blessing #2  The Package Has Been Sent
It's been almost a year to the day, but our application for 501(c)3 status is finally being sent to the IRS.  I am so excited and I pray that this year of hard work will pay off quickly.  I would love to have our official non- profit status before our October 22, 2013 event.


Blessing #3 Bikes
Jack learned to ride a toddler bike tonight and Lucy has become interested in her bike again.  Actually Jack didn't have to "learn" per se.  He just hopped right on and rode.  Thanks to our next door neighbor Bo, Jack has a great little bike to ride now.  He and Lucy made at least 10 trips back and forth today.  It was so great being so normal tonight as a family.



Blessing #4 Recipes
Alright, so this might not seem like a big deal to you, but for those of us who have to adhere very strictly to a gluten free diet, finding these two recipes has been so exciting.  A friend of mine brought over this breakfast casserole after my grandfather passed away and we all loved it.  Erik's family is in town right now, so I will be making a double batch of this in the morning.  YUM!  And the cobbler...oh!  There are no words.

Gluten Free Bisquick Impossibly Easy Breakfast Bake via Betty Crocker 
1
package (16 oz) bulk pork sausage
1
medium red bell pepper, chopped
1
medium onion, chopped
3
cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2
cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
3/4
cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
2
cups milk
1/4
teaspoon pepper
6
eggs

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, bell pepper and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Mix sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.
  2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour over sausage mixture in baking dish.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake about 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler
            2 tbsp butter
           1 c. gluten free Bisquick
          1/2 c. sugar
          1/2 c. milk
           3 cups fresh peaches
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  
  2. Melt butter in an 8x8 baking dish.  Mix Bisquick, sugar and milk.  Pour over the melted butter.  Spoon the peaches over the batter.  
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.

This cobbler honestly tastes like peaches baked in a pillow of Angel Food cake.  Oh my goodness is was amazing.  Everyone in my house devoured it.  

So, so celebrate all these blessings this week, Jack and I decided to repaint the half bath downstairs!  What in the world was I thinking?




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7.23.2013

My Happy Place



I've said it probably a million times, but when I am on the water...any water...I find my happy place.  I never feel closer to God than when I am off of dry land.  Something about the peacefulness of the water, the breeze that always seems to come just perfectly.  I catch myself saying breath prayers over and over thanking God for His beautiful creation and the blessing of being in His presence.

Sometimes I wish I had water in my back yard like my parents.  They have a beautiful lake that reflects the sunflower field when it is in bloom and the gorgeous sunset every night.  Oh, to wake up to that site would be more than I could handle.

One of my best friends sang the Laura Story song Blessings this Sunday at church and it was simply amazing.  I had to leave when she was done because I was crying so hard.  It was the perfect reminder, and God knew I needed one more than ever, that blessings really do come in so many shapes, forms and other mysterious fashions.  When I am on the water I feel blessed beyond measure.  Every day, however, I am making it a point to see the blessings in every aspect of my life.  I hope you are, too.






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7.21.2013

A Little Vacation


If you've wondered where I've been, Erik and I took a little vacation.  Just the two of us.  

Ok, I'll be honest.  We actually stayed home.  We had our first (of what's surely to become many) Staycation.  It was absolutely the best three days we have had in a long time.  Erik worked Thursday and Friday while I stayed home and "remodeled" our house.  On Saturday, we worked from 8am-10pm again on the house.  

I know many people would never choose to work so hard on vacation, but it was the most perfect three days I could have imagined.  I spackled, sanded and painted until my body literally hurt.  I even learned how to change our electrical outlets!  I was amazed at what my body was able to do and how hard it let me push it.  I know this sounds weird, but I was pulled very close to God this weekend as I thanked Him so often for allowing me to have some time to reconnect with my husband and myself.  


I've needed a long weekend like this for a very long time.  I am so grateful to my parents for hosting Camp Nanny and Pops.  My children had a blast and I know they can't wait until the next session....I've got the playroom and upstairs hallway still to do!  

I almost hate to show these pictures, as I still have a lot of decorating to do.  That includes window treatments that I am going to make once I make a decision on fabric.  There are so many beautiful fabrics out there right now, but I am gravitating to orange, yellow and blue.  Since I chose such a neutral pallet for my walls I want to add pops of color with fabrics and fun picture frames.  I'll post pictures as the decorating comes along.  Right now, there are lots of empty walls and naked windows.  

Here is the entry and stairwell redo:

before

after


Here are pictures of the living room:

before

after
I haven't gotten my dining room put back together yet, so I will post pictures of it later as well as the half bath that I am working on tonight.  And just for proof...yes.  I am now an apprentice electrician!


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7.15.2013

Closing Ceremonies

Tonight is a catch up post.  Lucy and Ella had a nice time this year playing softball, but I think we are all glad its over.  Ella really wanted to give it another shot, but she's decided softball just isn't her "thing."  I think Lucy will have too many limitations next year to try to play, but this year was a great confidence booster for her.  She was so proud of her ability and she was really quite impressive.  She hit every single time the ball was thrown--only once off the tee.  She is an amazing little girl.


Ella also had a good year.  She enjoyed spending time with her friends and her Daddy is happy that they can now play catch in the yard.  I think that's a great skill for any little girl to have.  Even though softball isn't her thing, I am proud of her determination to try hard this season.  




This is Lucy's coach, Mrs. Jennifer.  She agreed to take Lucy on her team this year and we couldn't have asked for a better coach.  She was so loving and caring, but also encouraged Lucy when she wanted to give up.  It was the perfect situation for Lucy and we are so very thankful for Mrs. Jennifer.


 
Here she is.  So very proud of her 1st place team trophy and the Sportsmanship Trophy.  No one deserved it more than Lucy.  She worked so hard for it and my heart still swells when I think about how wonderful she is.


There are many challenges that our family faces each day.  Ella, Lucy, all of us.  One thing that Erik and I want to instill in our children is that no matter what life hands you you have to push through and work hard.  It would be so easy for all of us to sit around and complain.  We could all just feel sorry for ourselves and give up on life.  But what kind of life is that?

God never promised that this life would be easy, but He did promise it would be worth it.  And boy, is it.  I'll take the hard days, the challenges, the trials and the tribulation for one day with my family.  I am blessed beyond any measure of human reasoning.  I don't deserve any of it, but God has given me so very much.

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7.14.2013

Very Big Day

It was a big day for Ella.  She attended her first Regional meet, along with several hundred other children. She did an amazing job and we are so proud of her.  Ella walked away with 2 ribbons and swam her personal best in every single event today.  She even swam her Individual Medley 14 seconds faster today than her qualifying time.  Amazing!




We left the house this morning at 5:30 and made the 1.5 hour trek to the big city of Tunica, Mississippi. They have a lovely aquatic center and they put on a great meet today.  There were teams from all over the region represented and Ella made a fine showing.  


Look at her beautiful strokes:




It was a building year for our team, but I am so happy to be a part of our town's swim club.  We have wonderful friends there and we have two great coaches.  Thank you Molly and April for all your hard work.  I know it wasn't easy, but we had a blast this summer. 

Ella and her coach Miss Molly

**There is still time to enter the $1000 Spa Finder gift certificate sweepstakes.  Check out my story about Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer  HERE.

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7.11.2013

An Unveiling and HUGE Announcement



Today was the grand opening of the Neuro ICU at LeBonheur and we were invited to attend the event.  First, it was a true honor to be included with such wonderful attendees, but also such a momentous occasion as this time last year Lucy was clinging to life.  We have been blessed beyond belief by both St. Jude and LeBonheur and truly feel as if both hospitals are family.

Today was very special as we got to reunite with our friends at the Foundation, the 7th floor and Dr. B.  Lucy was in wonderful spirits and Ella had a great surprise waiting on her when we arrived.  We took Jack and that was a hot mess.  I did not realize the event was so formal, so volunteers and my father took turns keeping Jack quite in the hallway during the doctor presentations.  I felt like a big idiot for bringing a baby to such an important event.  Sorry Michelle and Kavanaugh!


This is Ella's painting that is hanging as the center piece of the ICU.  She was so surprised and could hardly speak.  I think she was in shock actually.  For a little girl who can steal the show in a play, she sure didn't know what to do with the attention on her today.




Once again, we are so thankful to be on this side of the fence.  In fact, the Go Lucy Go Foundation will be holding its' first annual Fall fundraiser.  It promises to be a huge event--dinner, silent auction, live entertainment, photographers--and a guest speaker by the name of Coach Josh Pastner.  Please be on the lookout for more information.  If you are interested in a formal invite, please leave me your email address in the comment section below.

Save the Date:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
6:00pm
(location to be announced)





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7.10.2013

Listening

It's hard to believe its been almost a week since I've sat down to blog.  I have a planner that tells me what exactly I have been doing, but I can sum it up with one word, "living."  And let me tell you, I'm enjoying every. single. minute.

Potty training, art camp, tutoring, swim team, OT/PT, swim therapy, Go Lucy Go Foundation event planning, school board meetings, painting furniture, crafting teacher presents and decluttering/simplifying my house.

These are the things that "normal" families take for granted.  To me, each and every event is a gift.  A wonderful, God-breathed gift.

I started reading my Bible this week.  It's been a very long time since I've made an effort to do daily readings.  As I ended the first day, I pulled out my Jesus Calling book.  I was reminded  that "my mind shuffles back and forth, hither and yon, weaving webs of anxious confusion."  The past few days of Jesus Calling have focused on the importance of speaking...and listening....to God.  I think that it's just so perfect that as I begin to pick my Bible back up, Sarah Young reminds me that it really is so wonderfully important to make time for God.

I wonder what He will have to say tomorrow?







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7.04.2013

Happy Independence Day

We are celebrating the holiday with family and friends...and no Internet.

Happy 4th of July to you all. Thank you to the millions of brave men and women who have given their lives for my freedom. I am so incredibly blessed.

But...is it July of December?  We are on the lake in layers of blankets watching the beautiful fireworks. It's really cold but sure beats the last two 4ths spent in a hospital. 


**Don't forget to check out the sweepstakes on THIS page.  You can win an LG Oven Range!  Just share your favorite messy recipe and you might just win!