Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One year

Blogging for one full year. Crazy. Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it this long! It's been such a fun way to keep in touch with so many of you. Thank you, readers, for your sweet comments along the way.


John's and my newest obsession is with this group:


We want to be just like them.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Talkin' to God

We were about to say our prayers as I was putting to Johnathan to bed last night. Now, we've been having an interesting issue recently with Johnathan not wanting to "talk to God." He'd say, "I don't want to talk," or "Not tonight, Mommy." What am I supposed to do with that? This is not another chore like putting toys away. It's an honor to be able to talk to God! Johnathan doesn't seem to understand that right now.

Anyway, he says, "You say the prayer, Mommy." I said, "Okay, how 'bout I say one and then you say one." Okay, he agreed to that. So I said a little prayer and something about "thank you for the blessings you give us like our family, our friends," etc. And I finish up, "... Amen. Okay, your turn." So he starts, and the rest of the dialogue goes something like this:

J: "Dear God ........ and Mommy and Daddy an-"

K: "Don't forget the 'thank you' part."

J: "Fanku for Mommy and Daddy ... and the blessings"


J: "I don't want to say 'the blessings.'"

K: "That's okay; you can say your own words."

J: "Fanku for Gallant?"

K: "Yeah! You can thank God for Gallant!" (our horse)

J: "And what else?"

K: "Oh, I know! You can ask God to help Papaw Curtis feel better!"

J, looking up for the first time: "Hey, God? Can you make Papaw Curtis feel better?"

Long pause as Johnathan looks around the room with his eyes, while I force my shoulders to stop their laugh-induced shaking!

Then he looks at me and shrugs his shoulders, confused. And then we had the talk about how God answers prayers.

Whew! Another mommy/son conversation where I feel like I should know all the answers and leave feeling like I know absolutely nothing!

I love my little boy!

PS Papaw did not end up being able to go home last Friday, due to complications with his surgery incision. However, the doctor intends to do another chemo treatment today and shoot for going home tomorrow or the next day. We're very hopeful! Day 32 ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

You're gonna love this

First, I talked to Mamaw this morning who said that the doctors want to send Papaw home tomorrow! She said this is day 28 in the hospital for them! I couldn't believe it had been that long. And 2 BM's this morning! (I think we're all pretty open about it now!) I've never been so excited about poop in my life! It looks like the chemo did in fact shrink the cancer enough to relieve some of the pressure on his intestines. Praise God!!

Second. I just had to post some of the pictures that Keleigh (Kreg's girlfriend) took of the kids and me while we were in AR. She not only took them, but then edited them all and put them on a cd for me for my birthday! Thanks, again, Keleigh! You're amazing!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A good day

According to Mom, Papaw had a pretty good day yesterday. He doesn't seem to be having too many side effects from the chemo, other than a headache the next day. We are so thankful for that! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouraging words I continue to hear every day!

We're having an incredibly laid back week, which is SO nice! This week consists of play dates, singing rehearsal, swimming with friends, a scrapbooking crop, a birthday facial and sipping coffee slowly. Now, I have to admit that I have yet to unpack from our trip, but really, who does that surprise? Not me.

Now, I have to go get my pictures ready for my crop!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chemo begins

Papaw received his first chemo treatment last night. Several of us went to the hospital to be with him. I was amazed at how "chipper" he was! He had told me that he was really dreading the chemo, but I think there is a part of him that is eager to see if this is going to work. So while we were there he was cracking jokes right and left and just really seemed to be in good spirits! He had been so down the past few days, so it was so good to see him so "up."

I stayed with him a couple of nights ago, and thankfully he had a very uneventful, very restful evening and felt rested the next morning. Yea! We keep looking for anything to celebrate!

Kreg and Keleigh are taking the kids and I home this afternoon. They'll get to spend the night in Tyler, go to church with us in the morning, and then they'll head back to Searcy.

It's been such a good week, and I'm so glad to have been able to be here! Thanks to everyone who helped make that possible for me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Papaw Update

I'm still in AR, and so glad to be here. The kids and I are really missing John, though!

The latest is that Papaw isn't able to keep anything down anymore. They took him off the tubal feeding (TPN) completely yesterday, but after having thrown up twice since then, the dietitian has recommended that he go back on the TPN as soon as possible. He's just not getting the nutrients that he needs when he can't metabolize his food. Of course, he feels better after he throws up, so again, we look for the positive. The doctors were really hoping to send him home without the TPN, since it's such a hassle, but it looks like he'll need to hang on to it awhile longer.

Speaking of sending home, they're still saying possibly Friday, but we're not holding our breath. Another good thing is that they are talking now about "upping" his first chemo date. No dates have been thrown around yet, but I really thing moving it up is a very good idea. The tumors are what are causing the pressure in the intestines which causes his food to back up. If the chemo can reduce the size of the tumors in that area, perhaps he will be able to finally get off the TPN and eat normally.

I am planning on spending the night at the hospital maybe tomorrow night. Like Elizabeth said on her blog, I think just being there with Papaw will be good for me! There are probably more benefits for me than there are for Papaw!

Johnathan and Kalleigh have had up and down days on this trip, but have been mostly good. Yesterday afternoon while we were with Papaw, Johnathan said to Papaw, "I'm sad that you're not feeling good. I'm sorry, Papaw, that you're not feeling good. I wish you could get better, and then we can play!" We were there this morning, too, and we were discussing lunch plans. Johnathan said, "You want to go eat lunch, too, Papaw?" Papaw said, "I'm probably going to need to stay here for awhile. You'll have to eat my catfish for me!"

And I love to watch Papaw and Kalleigh interact. Her face lights up when she sees him and she waves with enthusiasm!

Johnathan hangs on Mamaw's words as she describes a bird from a National Geographic magazine!

We're looking forward to seeing Pat and Deborah tomorrow! I'll keep you posted ...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Amazing people

Some people are just amazing.

I said in my last post that I was looking forward to going to Bible class that night. In class I mentioned Papaw and the struggles we're all going through and just said that I wished I could be there in AR to be with him and the rest of the family. So Thursday, one of my friends from class called and said that I had just really been on her heart. She knew I wanted to be in AR, and she wondered if she could do anything to help make that happen. Then she just asks, "Can I take you there?"

I was floored. I said, "You would drive me to AR?" "Well, yeah!" So I made a few phone calls and we agreed to leave the next morning and meet Kreg in Texarkana.

Not only did Lori drive to Texarkana and back with nothing but a lunch stop, but she also had her three boys, 6 and under, in the car with her! I should also give due credit to Kreg for agreeing to make the drive as well. Thanks to Lori and Kreg for making it possible for the kids and me to come back up for this next week!

We arrived in Searcy and went straight to the hospital where Papaw was eating supper. He's on a strict liquid diet, but what he's eating does seem to be passing through--a definite improvement over the last couple of weeks. Aunt Donna was there when we got there and a little while later, Deborah and her boys came in as well as Chad and Elizabeth and their kids. It was a full room and probably a little overwhelming with six kids, 6 and under, but it was so good to see everyone!

Caleb, Kalleigh, Johnathan, Carter, Ashlyn, Joshua

The latest update is that we have a plan now for the chemo. Tomorrow, Papaw is going to have a CT scan to check his lungs for any cancer spots. Then two weeks from tomorrow will be his first chemo treatment. It seems that the oncologist and the surgeon are not quite in full agreement on how soon they should start, so the two week mark seemed to be a compromise. At least we have a plan.

This morning we had church in Papaw's room, led by Uncle Randy. We focused on the different characteristics of God and had a chain prayer with each of us thanking God for specific characteristics that meant a lot to us right now. It was very moving, and I did okay until it got to Papaw. There's just something about hearing Papaw pray ... he is such a soldier and is and always has been faithful to God. What an example! What a hero! I let the tears of love and appreciation run down my cheeks.

Here are a few pictures from this morning. I'm sure I'll have more through the rest of the week!

I had flashbacks of Papaw teaching me shaped notes!

I think Mamaw got in some good snuggle time!

We miss John SO MUCH, but it's also so good to be here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So how do I handle personal stress?

My mind has been consumed with Papaw. This morning he had a setback. He tried to sit up, and when he did, the bottom of his surgery incision broke and fecal matter came out. We don't know what caused it--whether the surgeon nicked it while he was in there, or if the cancer is eating through already. Needless to say, Papaw is miserable and now has this new infection. He'll be having a CT scan this afternoon, and I'm anxious to hear the results.

So I have cooked and cleaned like a maniac this week. We had a pork roast with rolls and all the "fixin's," including brownies with Reece's baking pieces in them Monday night. Tuesday night we had company to eat the shish-ka-bobs I suddenly needed to make. Then we stayed up with them until 11pm playing Settlers! Today I have rearranged our living room including dusting and redoing the entire bookshelf. It's like I can't sit still.

To add to it, Kalleigh has a fever today. A little over 101. No rash, and really no other symptoms other than a very slight runny nose--all clear. Mom thinks it's her ears. She said it sounded exactly like what I would get when I had ear issues. I'm wondering if the pacifier at night adds extra pressure on her ears making her more susceptible to ear infections. Anyone know?

I'm really looking forward to church tonight. I'm in a class specifically for mothers of toddlers, and it's WONDERFUL. It's a classic example of the older women mentoring the younger women. But my emotions are on edge, so I'm going to have to be careful tonight, or I'll lose it! I had missed the past two classes since I was in AR and then on the 4th we had our church party. Everyone will probably be eager to get back in class.

The cookbook is open to a lemon meringue pie that I'd like to try, so that should keep me busy the rest of the afternoon while my children sleep. :)

Thanks to those of you who drop by. It's nice to feel connected to so many of you even when we can't spend as much time together as we'd like!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A visit with Papaw C.

I talked to Papaw this morning. It was hard for me because I had no idea what to say. Here's the latest.

Papaw had a CT scan on Thursday, June 28, while I was still there because his food had been backing up again and he was in pain. The doctors found that there was some blockage in his intestines, but didn't know what it was. I asked Papaw then if he had been chewing on any Fisher Price toys lately, since that was Bison's issue a while back. :) They even ran a Barium series on Papaw just like they did on Bison to find out exactly where the blockage was! Papaw grinned and said, "Well, I guess we all work about the same way!"

They did surgery on July 5th to see what was going on. We were hoping it was scar tissue from the last surgery, which had given him problems at that time. But no. Papaw's cancer has come back. The doctors removed what they could, but they could not get it all. Apparently, it's a thin film that is in and around his intestines that would be impossible to remove. I talked to Mom a little this morning, too, who was telling me about when Papaw woke up from the surgery. The doctor said that they didn't have to tell Papaw if they didn't want to, and that they could just "play dumb" until the surgeon got there. Yeah, right. Like Mom and Mamaw were just going to lie when Papaw asked what they found. Which, of course, was his first question when he woke up. So Mamaw told him, and in typical Papaw fashion, he said, "Well, John Brown."

When I talked to him this morning, he said he was in a lot of pain from the surgery. They made the incision at the same place as the last one was. Plus, Mom said that whenever they do surgery on the intestines, there is a lot of gas that has to make its way through afterwards, so that's painful, too. Then a quick, "I love you," and we hung up.

The next step is to get Papaw strong enough so that he can have some kind of chemo. We don't yet know what kind he will have. The worst thing is that the doctors are using words like "incurable" and "inoperable," so this is what will take him; we just don't know when. The doctors haven't given us any idea of how long. The chemo is supposed to reduce the tumors so that his bowels won't be obstructed and he can live "normally."

Thanks to Tara who took my call this morning! Mamaw had stepped outside to stretch her legs and get some coffee. Tara said that Uncle Randy had stayed the night at the hospital last night. Papaw is getting so many visitors from church friends and other family, which is so nice and also so good for Mamaw! I get to go back in a couple of weeks for one of my best friend's (Adrienne's) wedding, so I hope to spend a lot of time with Mamaw and Papaw, too.

Thanks so much for your prayers. We're all trying to be strong and dwell on the good things.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

50 I Have's

I have an incredible husband who is my best friend.
I have two wonderful, sweet children.
I have been to 41 of the 50 United States.
I have traveled to 10 countries other than the United States.
I have made concrete and dug latrine holes in Honduras.
I have always loved animals.
I have raised a litter of rabbits for the humane society.
I have taught a bunny cuddling class.
I have a passion for working with teenage girls.
I have a back porch swing that I sit on nearly every day.
I have been really scrapbooking for three years.
I have worked as a museum tour guide.
I have coached high school basketball and cheerleading ... at the same time.
I have been told I look up to 5 years older or 10 years younger than I am.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for a little over a year.
I have been a mother for three years.
I have given birth twice.
I have had one epidural.
I have delivered a child with out any medication or doctor.
I have a love for baking.
I have a deep appreciation for setting a pretty table.
I have rafted the Arkansas river in Colorado.
I have been horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains.
I have been bucked off a horse twice.
I have eaten squirrel and I love it.
I have lived in Tyler, TX for 16 months.
I have been stopped three times by a policeman.
I have never gotten a ticket.
I have had only one written warning.
I have performed in front of 15,000 people in one weekend.
I have begged for feminine products in a public bathroom at Universal Studios.
I have been a Christian for 18 years.
I have a sister who lives in Pennsylvania and a brother still in college.
I have cousin on Broadway.
I have a quick temper.
I have never cursed, but wanted to from time to time.
I have never tried or wanted to try a cigarette.
I have tasted wine in the communion cup of a Ukrainian church, and I hated it.
I have a great-nephew.
I have never liked snakes.
I have never liked Prince.
I have always tested right in the middle of extroverted and introverted.
I have had meningitis.
I have a phone phobia.
I have a mole on the top of my right ear that makes me look like an elf.
I have sung at an Italian restaurant by the bar with a band.
I have two high school track records that have stood for 10 years.
I have always been about "15 degrees off cool."
I have smelled cigarette smoke one lane over and two cars away.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bath pics

Here are some bath pics of the kids I've been meaning to get up for awhile.

"This is the way we wash our necks!"

Anything Johnathan does is so funny!

Suckin' on a frog ...

All clean!

The living room project

For the past week and a half, the kids and I have been at Mom's helping her redo her living room. It was a big project that included stripping wall paper, ripping up carpet and trying our hand at covering panelling with Venetian plaster, but I think it turned out great! I didn't get very good before pics, but most of you know what her living room looked like if you had been in her house any time in the last 17 years. :) Here are a few before and afters:

This starts on the left wall as you walk in the living room, and I'll work around clockwise.

Johnathan LOVED painting.

We had a lot to do ... and we were a little overwhelmed!

We filled that collage with recent black and white family photos!

We painted all the trim and doors white, and it really brighted things up!

We cleaned and rearranged all the shelves.

Look! New curtains! New carpet! Recovered chairs!

One more view.

We had a really fun time putting it all together!