Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve is always spent with my dad's side of the family.  We alternate between my aunt and uncles house and my parents house.  This year my parents reserved the gym at church and we had it there.  Between my cousins, sister, and myself, we have lots of littles and the gym gave them room to run around.  I think it was a little more work for my parents, but it turned out great.  I was still sporting 2 drain tubes and can't lift a lot, so we weren't a lot of help.  I did make a dip to bring as a contribution, so that is something:)
  The kids always enjoy seeing their cousins and we don't get together often enough.  We draw names for the kids to exchange gifts and play dirty Santa with the adults.  So fun!  I think my sister had 4 gifts stolen before she finally was able to keep one:)  We had party food to eat and enjoyed catching up and just being together.  My dad read the Christmas story to the kids before they opened their gifts.  The kids always change into their jammies before we head home so they can go straight to bed before Santa comes.
  It was a good night.  So thankful for my family and the traditions that we have.  I hope my children look back on these times as fondly as I do. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Meet Rowdy!

  My birthday was the 23rd.  We had 2 kiddos that were still sick, and I still had 2 drain tubes and wasn't feeling great.  Harper had pink eye and was on an antibiotic and Dr. Scott put Maddie on one as well.  She just was keeping a fever and didn't feel good.  So we spent my birthday at home...except Kev and I ran one little errand.  We met a lady at Cracker Barrel to pick up our new furry friend....Rowdy!
  The kids have wanted a dog for years.  We had to find Karsey a new home when Maddie was 2 because she was allergic.  As she has gotten older, we think she has outgrown some of it, and we began looking at hypoallergenic dogs.  Since the last 6 months has been spent dealing with cancer, we thought a puppy would make a great Christmas gift.  I spent months researching and trying to find the perfect dog for our family.  Pure bred dogs are very expensive, and we did not want to spend the money unless we felt confident it would work out.
  We found a sweet Christian lady that lives in Jackson and breeds Cairn Terriers.  I grew up with one and my mom has a dog allergy as well.  Molly never bothered her and was a great, healthy dog.  Mrs. Cathy had puppies and there was a male one that she would let go at 9 weeks...which just happened to be on my birthday!  She also just happened to have a brunch in Memphis in that morning, so she brought him to us!  It couldn't have worked out better.  Mrs. Cathy has been so great at answering my many questions and I am so glad I found her. 
  I fell in love with the puppy as soon as I saw him.  I think Kev did too.  The kids were at the house with my parents and had no idea we were bringing him home.  We walked in the house and told them Merry Christmas.  I will never forget their reactions.  They were stunned, thrilled, stunned, and couldn't believe their eyes.  We were worried about Harper's reaction, because she is scared of dogs.  We hoped this would end her fear of them, but knew it would take some time.  She was so excited and came right up to him to pet him.  We spent the afternoon discussing names, and decided on Rowdy.  It seems to fit him, as he is a 9 week old puppy:)
  Life with Rowdy is going about how I expected.  Maddie absolutely loves him and spends a lot of time playing with him.  Rowdy has lots of sharp baby teeth and likes to nip at your fingers, or whatever he can put in his mouth.  Harper and Turner don't like that very much, and are pretty cautious with him.  I think once we get past that stage though, they will both love him.  He does great about pottying outside and is sleeping in his kennel all night.  I heard him cry a few times last nigtht, but it wasn't enough to make me get out of bed and his kennel was dry this morning.
  So my birthday was pretty great.  I spent it with those I loved, we gave the kids a huge surprise, and I am so very thankful to see 36 and know that I am starting it off cancer free!!  It was a good day!

Christmas in Savannah!

We spent the weekend before Christmas in Savannah.  Big Da was home and Nonna spent a lot of time at home as well.  I was only 1 week past surgery and we stayed at the house most of the weekend.  It was great!  We saw a lot of family, and the weather was great for the kids to play outside.  Big Da even set up a ropes course in the woods....I think Maddie thought she was an American Ninja.
  We had a shrimp boil one day and Jon and his crew came for us to have Christmas with them.  We also spent time with Marcy, Landis, Francis, and Ed.  The kids received lots of new clothes, toys, and money....they are some blessed little kiddos!  We are as well. 
  Harper began getting sick the day before we left.  She was croupy, and threw up a few times as well.  She was running fever and pretty puny.  The morning that we left Mo woke up a bit croupy too.  It seems the past few years we have had someone sick at Christmas.  Between myself not feeling 100%, and the kids getting sick, I hardly took any pictures.....but we so enjoyed our weekend in Savannah!
  Nonna and Big Da gave Turner an art set that came with an easel.  One of the first things he did when we got home was ask to paint.  Love our little artist.

Harper's First Program!

Harper had her first program a week after my surgery.  It was the MDO program and we worked on it for weeks.  In practice she always cracked us up....she performed big!!  She knew all the words to the song and made me laugh!  I wasn't sure how she would actually do the night of the program in front of a big audience.  She didn't disappoint!!  Maddie and Turner loved watching her, along with us, Mimi, Boo Boo, Megs, and her crew.
  It was the first year I sat in the audience instead of directing it.  I was so glad to be able to be there and see all my kiddos.  Everyone did a great job and the story of Jesus's birth was shared to some that might not celebrate it as we do.  Once the program was over, we loaded up and headed to Savannah.  That post next.


Well surgery has come and gone and the final pathology report revealed absolutely NO cancer!  Praise the Lord.  The chemo did exactly what it was supposed to do.  To say we are thankful would be an understatement.  God heard our pleas and has granted us our deepest desires.  He is pretty awesome!!
  Two weeks later and I am still carrying around 2 drain tubes, but I am hoping to have them removed tomorrow.  It has been a bit hard recovering than I had imagined, but I think that is mostly because I don't like to sit still.  It has been even harder being over the Christmas holiday.  We have had lots of visitors, meals, texts, and phone calls getting us through:)
  Over the next few weeks I will spend some time with Dr. Quigley, the plastic surgeon, and should start radiation in about a month.  That will last 6 weeks and then a final surgery 6 months after that.   I can almost see the finish line....2016 is going to be great!  2015 has taught us a lot, brought a lot of tears and even joy....but I won't be too sad to see it go.  Here is a pic post surgery with no makeup, not a lot of hair, and 4 drain tubes....real life at its finest:)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alpine Villages!

Last Thursday night we went to Alpine Villages at Trinity Baptist church.  It was our 2nd year to go and a great activity to do the night before my surgery.  We ate at Subway and got to the church at 6.  It is a  completely free event and you have to reserve your spot.  It was completely full within 2 hours of registration opening!
  The kids get a necklace to wear and a bag to put all their goodies.  They decorated a cookie, made an ornament, made a toy, picked out a book to take home, made reindeer food, and played in pretend snow.  There was popcorn, a puppet show, and a visit with Santa Claus.  Maddie and Turner are both so good about helping with Harper.  They are protective of her and it is so sweet.  It was a fun night and I am so happy that we were able to squeeze it in.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas with the Gaines!

Last Tuesday Mary and the boys came over for our annual gingerbread house night.  I actually bought everyone a house to paint this year and they seemed to enjoy it.  They also decorated snowman and Christmas tree sugar cookies.  They were more concerned with eating them than really making them look good.  We had fish sticks, cheese dip and chips, and fruit for supper and then had the gingerbread village to put together.  Mary and I always gets frustrated putting them together...always!  This year, it reached an all time high.  We should have put them together at the beginning of the night while they were doing other activities.  But we they didn't end up decorating them this year.  But they had fun just being together and that is what counts!  With surgery being the 11th, we havent had as much time to squeeze everything in.  Thankful for this friendship and the traditions we have with our kids!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Programs and Ear Infections!

Tuesday M and T had their school programs so I took the day off to go.  Mimi and Boo Boo joined Harper and I.  Turners was at 8:30 and Maddie's at 1:30.  In between the 2 I took Harper back to the doctor.  Her ear is once again infected.  Either that or it never cleared up in the first place.  She is on an antibiotic again and refuses to take it.  What little we put in her mouth, she spits back out.  We might never get rid of this infection!
  Both kids programs were really cute.  Their music teachers always do a great job.  We just love being at Oak!