Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Very Thoughtful Gift

Wednesday evening, after choir rehearsal, I unlocked my car and opened the door to get in. When I opened the door, I saw the steering wheel. My thoughts were, "This is not my car. How did I unlock another person's car?" I can say this because we have several people at our church who own cars the same color and make of our car. Then I looked on the passenger seat, saw the paperwork and clutter that was mine, and thought, "Yes, this is your car, Karen."

You see, Wednesday night was store night at AWANA's at church. It's the night that the kids get to spend the money (it's fake money) they earned for saying their verses every week. My sweet Alli had already given me one gift before I went to choir. It's a cross necklace and the cross is made out of two nails. She told me it was my mother's day gift. Well, before Kevin took the kids home, he helped Alli leave my second gift. Funny thing is, I saw this item laying on the table close to where Alli was sitting during AWANA. I just didn't know it was for me. So, here's the reason I was convinced I was getting in the wrong car.

All I could do was laugh! When I walked in the door at home, Kevin was laughing. He said he told them I would probably have to take it off because it might make me have a wreck. He's right. I would probably wreck from laughing hysterically. I think I laughed all the way to school Thursday morning.

Thank you, sweet Alli, for thinking of me! You are precious! After talking with a dear friend who is also one of Alli's AWANA leaders, I found out that Alli was so excited about getting this for me. It cost her 8 or 10 AWANA dollars to get it.

If you can't tell what it says, yes, it says "Princess." I think I will save it for when Alli gets her first car. Can't wait to see what she thinks of it then!

One of My Favorite Smells

When I arrived home from visiting family, I had a pleasant surprise awaiting me. I knew it was coming, but wasn't sure when it would happen. It was nice that it arrived on Mother's Day. It actually may have happened before Mother's Day, but this is the day I got home.

When I got out of my car, I was greeted by the wonderful smell of roses. I have five knockout rose bushes that are right outside our garage. This year Kevin cut them back early, before the birds had a chance to nest in them. Before we left last week, they had already started blooming, but I knew they would soon be covered in blossoms. This year they are gorgeous and I had to take pictures of them. I love this flower and this particular kind of rose is very low maintenance, which is good for me. I would love to have more of these around the house and one day I will. Right now I am enjoying the sight and the smell that greets me every time I go to my car or get home from all of my running around.

A Quick Trip Home

Mother's Day weekend we made a quick trip home to see our families. The big purpose for the trip was to see my grandfather. We got to my mom's on Thursday evening around 11:00. We let the kids sleep in on Friday morning while Kevin and his dad cut my mom's grass and finished the yard work at my grandparents' home. My mom worked till lunch and we headed to the hospital that afternoon. We had a three hour visit with my grandfather. The minute we went through the hospital room door, my grandmother asked Kevin to shave my grandfather's face. Papaw had a nasogastric tube in his nose, so it was hard to work around that tube. Papaw has pretty much wanted to be left alone, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go. However, he let Kevin shave him without fussing at Kevin.

My Papaw is 86 years old. He will be 87 in October. He has been healthy for the most part all his life. He has always been a hard worker. Even after he retired, he continued to preach. Until just a few years ago, he has always been strong. I guess I have continued with that picture in my mind all this time. So, seeing my Papaw on Friday was a little difficult. I think the dementia is the hardest thing to comprehend. It's just not him. I had to read between the lines to understand what he was trying to say. It's like he can't put his thoughts into words anymore. He watched the kids a lot while we were there. He held my hand and kissed me on the cheek even though the tube was between us. We are still waiting to hear the official word on the report from the mass and lymph nodes they sent off for testing. Grannie says that they told her there was a trace in his lymph nodes. However, I think this is one of those things where it's there or it's not. Thursday evening, this week, they moved him to the hospital in the town where my grandparents and mother live. He is receiving physical therapy to help get him ready to come back home in about 2 weeks. He won't start chemo for another 4-6 weeks. Hopefully, if they give him chemo, it will be something he can take by mouth. I have heard that there's a type of chemo for colon cancer taken by mouth that doesn't make the patient nauseated and lose their hair.

We stayed at my mom's till Saturday. After lunch, we went to Kevin's grandmother's where we visited his family for the rest of the evening. Kevin's mom cooked dinner and brought it to Mamaw's. It was a great visit. The kids even sat in the same room with Mamaw's dog Charlie, a Boston Terrier. Mamaw had no idea we were coming, so when we stepped thru the door, she was shocked. I think it made her Mother's Day weekend a great one! We spent the night at Kevin's parents. We took Kevin's mom to lunch at the local catfish house on Sunday for her Mother's Day lunch. All of their kids and their families were there to celebrate the day with her.

We had a great weekend with our family. The kids are ready to go back to spend more time with everyone. It won't be long till July!

The Boy Loves His Pups

From previous posts you have learned that Aaron got his first puppy for his birthday this year. He loves Fudge. Fudge is a little hyperactive. That is actually an understatement. Before the kids come outside, I have to put Fudge in his kennel. I have a few scratch marks that can attest to how wild Fudge can be. Aaron enjoys feeding Fudge treats, but it's always while Fudge is in the kennel. We love Fudge.

What's most interesting is Aaron's love for two little dogs that get to live in the house with us. Please meet Brownie and Fudge!

You guessed it! Brownie is the brown one and Fudge looks just like his real Fudge. These dogs sleep in the bed with him at night and they ride in the car in the pocket on the back of my seat when we head to town or church. These pups are part of Aaron's webkinz collection. I think he has a black lab and a dalmation as well. At least he doesn't have a zoo like his two sisters!

He loves these dogs but will quickly tell you: They are not real! But as you can see, the puppies attended Alli's awards day!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happy 36th Birthday!

As I told you before we have four birthdays in about four weeks time. If Alli would have waited about six more hours, she and her daddy would have shared the same birthday. I guess Alli's celebration was a celebration for Kevin as well. Aaron has continually told me that I needed to make his daddy a chocolate cake. However, I think that is Aaron wanting the chocolate cake, not his daddy. Kevin spent the morning with us and then he went to work for the evening shift. Thank you, Kevin, for all you do for your family: for loving us and providing for us. Happy Birthday!

Sweet Seven

And, now on a happier note, our youngest daughter, celebrated her seventh birthday last Friday. As I was sitting on my back porch this evening, I watched Alli play, as she walked back and forth, counting to ten. I am not sure what that was all about, but she was constantly moving and enjoying every minute of it. It's been that way since she arrived seven years ago. She was my easiest delivery and was the smallest of the three, weighing 7lbs, 4.2 oz. Hannah weighed 9.3 and Aaron weighed 9.2. I can picture in my mind right now how she looked as an infant, sweet and precious. She is my butterfly and she's daddy's girl all the way! They say she looks a lot like I did at that age and I was a daddy's girl, too.

I made cupcakes and took them to school during recess time, so she could celebrate with her classmates. We sat at a picnic table outside. The wind blew so hard, we couldn't keep the candles lit long enough for her to blow them out. Instead of throwing a big party, we had a family night. She wanted to see the movie, "Nim's Island," so we went to the movies after school. The girls loved the movie. Aaron did well, but kept asking "when is him going to come out?" I kept asking who that was and finally understood after the movie was over, that he was talking about the elephant from "Whorton Hears A Who." I told him we would have to come back later for that one. We let Alli choose a place to eat and had dinner in town. Then we went home for cake and presents. Alli loves strawberries, so I made her a strawberry cake that actually had pureed strawberries in the cake and the icing. They were the strawberries I saved from the night before. Alli couldn't understand why I wouldn't let her have those strawberries the night before, but I didn't want her to know my plans for those strawberries till she got home and saw the cake. The cake was a hit! They loved it and Hannah has requested the same cake for her birthday. I think Alli enjoyed her evening. What a blessing you are to us, Alli! We love you! Happy Birthday!

Thoughts for Today

Before I continue to post to catch up on all our family happenings, I must confess where my thoughts have been lately, especially today. I say all this not to complain, but to share that I get overwhelmed sometimes with all that's going on around me.

Basically, the "C" word has invaded our family again. Kevin's father was diagnosed several years ago with prostate cancer, and thankfully he is cancer free at this point. While Kevin and I were on our trip, I found out that my grandfather had been sick and was admitted to the hospital on that Wednesday. He had surgery yesterday. They removed a mass from his colon. They are not sure if it is stage 2 or stage 3. We will hopefully know next week sometime. If it is stage 3, he will need chemo. My grandfather also has issues with dementia which have worsened since he has been in the hospital. They have tied his hands to the bed several times because he keeps trying to get up. He's so weak, and he has lots of tubing connected to him . I finally got to hear him tell my grandmother to leave him alone while I was on the phone with her today. I don't think I have ever heard him sound like that in all my life. Of course I joke with my mom and tell her that he's just been saving it up all these years and is now letting her have it. My grandfather is in his 80's. The Lord has given him a long life. He is a retired preacher and he and my grandmother enjoyed the years they were in the ministry. Although I know that this cancer could possibly kill my grandfather, what a comfort it is to know that he knows Jesus Christ as his Savior. I don't want my grandfather to have to suffer a long drawn out process with this, and I know that it's a possibility as well. I hate all of this, too, for my grandmother, my mom and her brothers. We live 5-6 hours away from our family, so I can't just drive over to the hospital whenever I want. I knew we would eventually have to deal with this when our parents got older, if we were still living two states away. I guess I have gotten a little taste of it this week not being able to be there for my grandparents. Then I start thinking about all the people in our church who have been affected by cancer in some way or who actually have some type of cancer that they are currently dealing with. I then think about our friend, M, who has a disease with no cure and she's only 3 years old. One of Kevin's nurses just died from injuries in a motorcycle accident. It's very overwhelming! My heart feels so heavy today. It's been one of those days where I feel like I could just cry at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, we will be able to leave tomorrow evening and spend the weekend with our family.

It has also been one of those days where I feel like I will not be winning the "Mommy of the Year Award". I have to be honest. Today I asked the Lord why he decided to give my kids the mommy He gave them. I know that sounds crazy, but I was in one of those moments where I was questioning myself. I have forgotten so many things lately. The one thing I can see that needs to definitely change is my daily walk with Christ. I haven't been in God's Word lately. My heart is yearning for time with Him and sometimes I just don't see that. Basically, my priorities have not been in the right order.

Tonight we did not go to church. I spent some time on the back porch after dinner with a cup of my Bifferdoodle coffee, watching the kids play. The wind was blowing. It was very relaxing. Tonight I will end the day with my Bible. It truly is a balm to my soul. We have to rest in Him, knowing that He has a purpose for it all. As one of my favorite songs (Total Praise) from Brooklyn Tabernacle says,

Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills.
Knowing my help is coming from you.
Your peace you give me,
In time of the storm.

You are the source of my strength.
You are the strength of my life
I lift my hands in total praise to You.

A Little R & R

Kevin and I were able to get away for a couple days last week, just the two of us. Some friends of ours kept the kids Tuesday and Wednesday night, so we could head to Asheville, North Carolina for a stay at the Grove Park Inn. We love this place. Our first trip to Grove Park was three years ago and we knew we would have to go back again. It was once again cool weather while we were there, but this time we did not get to see snow. It started warming up again on Wednesday and we got to enjoy the outdoors at Biltmore Estate. I love to ride bikes, so I got Kevin to agree to renting a couple bikes and seeing Biltmore from a different perspective. The Lord gave us a gorgeous day for it. We had appointments back at the Spa at Grove Park Inn, so we didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked. We decided that a family vacation at the Biltmore Inn would be something we might like to try sometime. We enjoyed our afternoon at the Spa and then went out for Japanese that evening. Soon it was Thursday and it was back to reality for us. We finished up the adventure by stopping by the local strawberry patch to surprise the kids with 5 lbs of strawberries. Except for the cup and a half of strawberries I saved for a special someone's birthday cake, all the strawberries were eaten on Thursday night.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Birthday Tulips

Within a month's time, our family celebrates four birthdays. Mine happens to be one of those. On April 24th, I turned 35. I feel no different, but 50 seems a lot closer than before. I enjoyed my day by myself, exercised, got some things done at the house, and was off again to get the kids from school. After we went to a second grade open house at school, we met Kevin and some friends for dinner.

I received one of my gifts earlier in the day, which I was expecting, because I saw the confirmation email Kevin received after ordering them. So much for a surprise birthday gift! But when I opened them, I was pleased with how beautiful they were. Kevin knows I love flowers. These were the prettiest tulips he has ever given me.

And for the second gift, he gave me a book called, "The Shack." I have not read it, yet. It's on his side of the bed.

Sapphire's Afternoon Napping Spot

Have you seen the infomercial for the topsy turvy tomato growers? Well, we own two now. Kevin decided he wanted to try these out and plant some pepper plants as well. He took down my bird feeders and hung his topsy turvy containers in their place. Basically, you place the tomato plant upside down in the container and then pour the dirt on top. We do have lots of blooms, so we will see. He also planted pepper plants in pots and put them on the back porch where the tomato plants are located. I love peppers, so I am looking forward to having fresh peppers. I looked out our back door one afternoon and began to wonder if I will ever get to see these peppers. Our beautiful cat loves to squeeze herself in very small places to take a nap, so here is what I found.

Our Boy Turns 4!

It is so hard to believe our baby is four now. Shhh! Don't tell him I said, "baby," because he has made it known to me several times that he is not a baby. He's still my baby though. I will never forget how Kevin kept saying he didn't want the baby to be born on April Fool's Day. I went to the doctor on April Fool's Day and was already dilated 4 cm. The doctor started getting the paperwork ready for me to go to the hospital as soon as I could that day. I mentioned Kevin's concern about the day and the doctor said, "It's my favorite holiday!" And Aaron didn't wait long to get here. I don't think I got to the hospital till almost one. He was born at 4:59p.m. that evening. And what a joy he has been since he arrived!

This year his birthday was on a Tuesday, so we planned a party for that Friday after school. However, I did make mini cupcakes for Aaron to share with his friends at school. The cupcakes had Diego faces on the top. This year Aaron has really been into the Diego toys and the show. I went to school to spend some time with Aaron in the classroom while they had snack time and got to be there for cupcake time. He has really enjoyed school this year. It was a rocky road at first. His class is very small and I think he has enjoyed becoming friends with the kids in his class. He talks about them a lot.

After cupcake time, I took Aaron home for the day. I just realized that there's more to this story and I don't have the pictures on the computer to share, so I will probably save that story for another post sometime. It has to do with Aaron's birthday gift. After taking Aaron to Chik-fi-la for lunch on his birthday, on our way home we picked up his gift--a 3 1/2 month old yellow lab, who he has named, Fudge. I will post on that later because it was quite an experience for us both.

We celebrated Aaron's birthday that Friday at a local place that has inflatables. Despite the bad weather, we had a great turn out and the kids really enjoyed themselves. Happy Birthday to our boy! We love you!

Walking for a Friend

Seems like we have been going nonstop the last month or so and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. So the next few posts will be for events that happened in March and April.

At the end of March, the kids and I participated in a walk to help raise money in honor of our friend, M, who has mitochondrial disease. It turned out to be a beautiful morning for the walk. The rain held off till the afternoon. After the walk there were games and other fun activities for the kids to enjoy. "Thank you" to those of you who supported us in the walk. Your support means so much to us, M, and her family.