Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Punks' Yearly Pics

Nicholas John.5 years
Bailey.11 years

The Mae.7 years

Nathan Cole.9 years
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A few of my favorite people and a peek into us

I don't know if we'll ever have another "normal" picture of the kids. I keep trying...but bless their everloving heart...I don't think they have it in them. That's okay though, because I gave up on the "perfect" picture a long time ago. I think it happened in 2001, right after Isabelle the Mae was born. Up until that point we had done fairly well at getting both kids to look in the same direction at the same time and even occasionally captured both smiling as well. After The Mae was born, that all changed. Every -- EVERY picture of the three of them (or the Mae, for that matter) for the next 18 months had at least one child screaming. It was usally the same child. :)

Anyway, I have grown used to the oddball pictures. They've become my favorite. Speaking of favorite...here are a few recent ones on the day we tried to get a new picture for daddy to take to his new job. Click for a better look!

The many faces of funny

Just try to look natural...
Hmmm, not quite what I was looking for...
This is definitely more natural, but...

Seriously - just one shot of your eyes looking this way? Okay. We'll take this one.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

New Duds

Riley got new duds! Whipped this up yesterday from fabric I forgot I had. She loves it!

Something about orange, pink, and red...it's very "her!"
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is Hard...by Tyler's Dad

This is Hard!

I was looking at the course for the upcoming marathon. I thought to my self, "This is going to be hard." Last week we had a kick-off party, and one of the coaches asked me if I had any areas that were hurting or soar. I said only one area...the area between my neck to my toes. Every inch of that has been in excruciating pain for four months. I asked if he had a pill for that. He didn't. I wonder if we have any of Tyler's morphine left over.

When I came home tonight, the boys were fighting and complaining about raking the leaves in the yard. They said it was too hard. Then the complaints about homework being too hard. I am in the real estate business, and every day I listen to Realtors and lenders talk about how hard the times are.

Tonight, listening to the boys complain, I finally realized the truth. Work, chores, races, school. None of these things are hard. They are not necessarily fun, but they are not hard. In fact, I have never experienced hard. Running a marathon does not qualify. I know this because I have seen hard.

A few months ago, I watched Tyler stare at a plate of food. He had hundreds of open sores in his mouth and down his throat. He had nausea so bad he could not keep down a small cup of water. But the TPN (intravenous feeding) had to be stopped. The TPN was shutting down his kidneys, and the lack of food was causing his diaphragm muscles to atrophy. So the food had to be forced down, through the sores and nausea. Without complaint, he forced the food down. That is hard. And that is courage.

I watched as the chemo caused neuropathy, creating enormous pain in Tyler's legs and feet. Then layers of skin began to peel away, until his feet were raw. The pain was so great that we could not even allow the bed sheet to touch his feet. But Tyler needed to keep the circulation moving in his legs, so that the poisonous chemo could saturate deeper into his system. So each day he got up and walked the halls of J-5, walking on raw open sores...IV poll in tow. That is hard. That is courage.

Stef has been fighting for his life for over a year. One step forward, three steps back. Yet every day he gets up. He goes to work. He goes to his kids soccer games. He searches out Tyler wherever we are at Children's. He is forever supportive, always encouraging. He refuses to bend. He refuses to stop. He refuses to lose. Stef knows hard. And Stef knows courage.

Sinjin has fought three relapses, and has been written off by the doctors more than once. And he keeps fighting back. He is unstoppable. He now has shingles, and some worrisome signs on his recent tests. It will be two weeks before the tests are confirmed. And he continues to be filled with compassion, faith, and courage. He knows hard. He knows courage.

I watched Brett being wheeled to the ambulance to be sent home to die. He was too weak to lift his head, but whispered to the nurse, "Please thank everyone for all they tried to do". At home his mother sat with him as he begged to be allowed to fight some more, to be given more chemo...while the doctors turned their backs. That is hard, and that is courage.

Bob sat with his 14 year old son, knowing that all options to save A.J. had been exhausted and the end was coming soon. There was nothing else remaining to try. A.J. looked into his father's eyes and asked, "Dad, what do they mean by hospice care?" A.J. then proceeded to comfort his father. That is hard. And that is courage.

It is my hope through this blog to convey the truth of childhood cancer. It is my hope to share the courage of those suffering. It is my hope to celebrate the victories. It is my hope to communicate the need for all of us to fight for a cure.

Dying is not what scares me; it's dying having had no impact. I know a lot of eyes are watching me suffer; and -- win or lose -- this is my time for impact.
--Miles Levin, 18 year old

In the last presidential debate, the senators were asked their first priorities as president. My first act would be to make it illegal to say, "This is hard". The penalty would be to spend a week on J-5, or one of the other childhood cancer floors around the county.

Team in Training: 475 training miles run. Easy little 3 mile maintenance run tomorrow, and i am all done. Oh yeah, that is accept for the 26.2 miles on Sunday. Piece of cake.

No, really. It really is. Remember - I have been on J-5. This is a piece of cake. It is my honor to run for Tyler. It is my privilege to, in a very small way, stand in the shadows of the courage and bravery of Tyler, Brett, Stef, A.J., Sinjin, Kylee, Jana, Ryan, Mason, Tristan, Brendan, and far too many other names.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Look what God did this morning.

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Sneak Peek!

How sweet is he? The baby...
Look at that crew!!Practically perfect I tell you!
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Day One

I went for a hard run yesterday. It was early. It was dark. It was hard. I must have passed four mailboxes before I had to slow to a labored walk. Just kidding. Not really - that did happen. But I did run more after that. It was still dark when I got home, which is just wrong. Today I hurt. Everything hurts. That I'm not kidding about.

My friend is a mother of two and just finished her first marathon. She ran for over four hours - STRAIGHT! Another person I "know" is training for his first marathon to raise money for cancer research. His teenage son was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma. I have two other friends who are moms of lots of kids and they run in the morning before dawn as well. I find inspiration in there and it's enough to get me out there. I can do this. Plus - I want to buy this really cute pair of pants.

So, this will be my diary of sorts. My accountability. I know not many people actually read this blog - so I'm not really accountable to anyone but myself, but somehow writing down makes it real.

Check back for Day 2 soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Guess she changed her mind.

I knew she'd come back.
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That's it. I'm outta here.

Some days are harder than others around our place.

Apparently today was particularly difficult for Isabelle.

She headed down the country road looking for a better life.

Her daddy said she just needed a guitar over her shoulder to complete the look.

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Sunset Pics

Look at this cute punk. Can you see it in her eyes?? It's there...look closely!

My firstborn.

Here's Nathan hangin' in the alley. Looking for the urban feel here. :)

Isabelle has such an independent style. She's so cool.

My sweet, sweet boy. He has his Papaw's blue eyes.

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