Saturday, November 22, 2008

What did I tell you?

Is Chelsea good or what?

I'm a sucker for black and white pictures, so that's what I made for this slide show. If you want to see these in color, I'd be happy to show you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blatant Advertisment

If you live in East Texas and you want your family pictures made for Christmas at a great price, you need Chelsea Rambin to be your photographer. Click on her link for more information. Here are some examples of her work:

I can't wait to get our family's pictures done!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Trip to AR and Papaw update

I ran up to Searcy early Tuesday morning because Papaw was having surgery. He had gotten sick again and couldn't keep anything down. The doctors ran a test and sure enough there was blockage, but they couldn't really tell how much until. They scheduled the exploratory surgery for Tuesday morning. It was one of those times when I just felt like I had to be there!

I wanted to get going early, so I had to wake Jonas. Of course, he's still only nursing, so he had to come with me. Here's what I found when I went in to get him:

We have a problem! Pacifier shunned and thumb in place. Fantastic.

Johnathan and Kalleigh stayed home with John while I was gone. Chelsea kept the kids part of the time and the Deans kept them the rest of the time while John was at work. We could not make it without our church family!

On the way there, I thought I'd take a little video with my camera. This way none of you will feel like you missed out on the trip there:

Now, wasn't that exciting?

I got to Searcy and picked up lunch for Mamaw, Mom and me. They were still waiting for Papaw to get out of the surgery. Having Jonas there was a good distraction, I think. It kept our minds off of worrying so much about the surgery.

They finally called us to a room nearly three hours after the surgery was supposed to have started. We waited forEVER for the surgeon to come in, but at last he did. And told us the yucky, yucky news. Papaw's cancer has indeed come back, but nobody expected the mass to be as big as it is. It has taken over the lower abdomen as if someone had poured cement and filled his abdomen up to his bellybutton. They were thinking they might need to do a colonoscopy, but the surgeon couldn't even get to the colon. It would've done so much damage to try to remove the tumor that they decided not to do that.

Papaw has about three feet of good intestine before it turns down into that tumor. So, the surgeon did a jejunostomy, and brought the jejunum, or upper small intestine, over to the abdomen wall and created the stoma (hole in the side of the abdomen connected to a bag) there to relieve the pressure from above and below. The problem is that now there isn't enough intestine left to process the nutrients from food that Papaw needs to live.

He made it through the surgery just fine and felt better, except for the surgery incision, so that was good. I spent most of my couple of days there at the hospital right by Papaw because I didn't want to be anywhere else! Thank you for your continued prayers. Specifically pray for wisdom, courage, peace and comfort!

Here was the crew yesterday morning right before I left:

Papaw's room is always hopping! The nurses comment on what a wonderful family we have. They're absolutely right!

And now for the drive home. I tried to keep my mind from worrying, so I took pictures to document the drive home. Again, you'll feel like you were right with me!

The daunting AR sky.

The impressive Little Rock skyline. :)

Why I hate I-30.

Seriously? Look at them all!

C'mon. That's ridiculous. I think I could count 21 trucks that I could see right then.

We made it to Texas!

Jonas enjoys the view.

The nasty Dairy Queen in Linden. Don't forget to pick something up in Atlanta to eat, because between there and Gilmer, this is it. Seriously, try not to stop here.

You think I should wash my windshield?

Bison sighting in East Texas. No, they're not cows.

The projects in Avinger ... and my TxTag ... and the Little People's School signs with my kids' names on them and what color room they're in. Who thought of that, anyway? What a great idea! I digress ...

Lake-O-The-Pines. Really, that's what the sign says!

Texas tree weeds.

Look at this logging place. Each one of those is telephone pole-size!

Charming little town of Winona. Where you have to slow down all the way to 30. For like 30 feet.

I told you we have a problem.

So we're home sweet home. But now the laundry is taking over our bathroom. It fills the garden tub. I refuse to put a picture of that on here. So I'd better get to it ...

Thanks again for your prayers. We do feel them!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We survived

Another Halloween has come and gone. The more children we have the more it seems like we're just surviving the whole week!

Kalleigh's class party was Wednesday, then Trunk-or-Treat was that night. Johnathan was a pirate because he had gotten toothpaste all over his Batman costume. Yeah. Then when we got to the church building, he realized that he had left his pirate hat at home. Kalleigh was a cheerleader, complements of Uncle Kreg and Aunt Keleigh, and Jonas was a dalmatian puppy.

Here's the slide show from the party and Trunk-or-Treat:

Thursday night, Clearly Vocal did a free concert for our church friends. It was supposed to just be us basically singing through our repertoire for the 12 people who might want to help us out and be and audience for us. But it turned into a bigger production than that. We thought, "Hey, why don't we serve dessert and coffee, too?" And more people wanted to come. Then, "Well, if more people are coming we should set up the light trees along with all of our sound equipment!" And more people wanted to come. So, of course, we needed to dress up in our fancy singing attire with the guys in jackets and everything. I made two pies (Mamaw's Fall Pumpkin Pie and Mom's Green Apple Pie), my good friend Chelsea made a turtle pie and a yummy strawberry dessert, Stef, our soprano, made brownies, and Danny's wife Jeanne brought pumpkin cheesecake! We cut little pieces, and served over 50 people! We sang well, and I think the our friends enjoyed it. Thanks to all of you who were there to support us. That means so much! And especially thanks to Jeanne and Chelsea who cleaned up. I am SO grateful for your help.

On Friday, Johnathan had his class party. He went as Indiana Jones. Of course, at school they can only wear crazy hats instead of a full costume, but Johnathan and I figured that the rest of Indiana Jonas's costume counted as regular school clothes. He wore his Indiana Jones hat, complements of Nana, with pride. As I aimed to take my first picture, the camera batteries died. Of course they did.

That evening we went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with our kids ... and dogs. John helped Johnathan get his Batman costume, complements of Aunt Laurie, back into shape which he wore over his Mr. Incredible costume from last year so that the muscles would look big! Kalleigh and Jonas kept their same costumes. John actually dressed up as Indiana Jones and borrowed Johnathan's whip to carry around. When I saw John dressed up, I decided to dress up as Willie (from The Temple of Doom), complete with blond wig, and be his sidekick. Oh rats; we didn't any pictures of that. ;) The dogs wore their sweaters since they have outgrown the Men In Black tuxes they wore about five years ago!

After that we drove over to Danny's house because he had decorated his house all up and wanted us, uh, I mean our kids to see it. :) We walked up to the house and there was Frankenstein waiting to greet us at the door. When Johnathan rang the doorbell, Danny pushed the button that made the Frankie statue dance to "Thriller!" Pretty cute. We went inside and Jeanne had a spread of finger foods on the table and tomato juice to drink. I was pretty thirsty after an evening of trick-or-treating, and the kids were, too. I spooned some tomato juice into a little cup and gave some to Johnathan, knowing he wouldn't like it. "Eww!" he said as he pulled back after taking a sip. I chuckled to myself. Kalleigh said, "May-yI peas haf dink?" "Yes you may," I said, and knew her reaction would be the same as Johnathan's. She took a sip and I said, "Do you like it?" She shook her head and in a rather high-pitched voice said, "No!" Again, I chuckled. Glad that the children wouldn't be asking me to share my drink anymore, I took a sip. Whew, it sure was strong tomato juice. Another sip. Man, I didn't remember tomato juice being that strong I mean, it had been a while since I had had any. But not to be rude, another sip. Wait a minute ... Sniff. Of course. It's Halloween. Bloody Mary. Oh my goodness, I'm SO naive. And I had give my CHILDREN some. Good grief! Jonas started fussing about then, so we packed up and headed home!

And here we are. Happy November. We all wore shorts and short sleeves today! Johnathan played his last soccer game, but just barely. He slipped on the curb and scraped his knee and the world nearly came to and end. But he survived and went on to play just fine. After the game, Johnathan's coach gave him the blue star that Johnathan believes means "Best Ever!" I can't bring myself to tell him that it's "Best Effort!"

Tonight I cooked a fabulous meal, if I do say so myself. We had Italian Breaded Pork Chops, Baked Acorn Squash (you need to read this and all of the Pioneer Woman's recipes--they're hilarious!), steamed peas, and Mamaw's Amish Friendship Bread. Oh yum.

I'm headed to bed. My clock says 11:09 pm, but of course I know it's "really" 10:09 pm, so it doesn't feel as late. Don't forget to set your clocks back!