Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Time in My Life

Today I went to my OB appointment. I am currently 32 weeks and 4 days. So far I have gained 22 pounds. When I was pregnant for Nathan I gained (or claim that I gained probably a few pounds were added before I was actually pregnant) 60 pounds. With Audrey, 40. Needless to say, I am rather proud of the fact that I haven't put on a lot of weight.

I met with the midwife today. (They try to cycle their patients through everyone before the baby is born.) I have met with her on a few other occasions and I think she is great. Anyway, when she was measuring my stomach she asked if I have been eating enough and getting enough rest. I responded that I probably eat too much and I actually have been able to get enough sleep - I often take naps with Audrey.

I was then informed that the baby is measuring a little on the small side, closer to 30 weeks rather than the 32 1/2 that I am currently at. She then something I have never heard directed toward me, ever. "You should really start eating more."

I have been battling with my weight since I was probably 9 years old so I really had a good time with that comment! I had to call Ryan and my mom when I left the office to tell them what I had just been told.

So, all of you that haven't seen me recently are probably wondering what I look like so I will actually allow a picture of myself to be taken while I am pregnant and post it a day or two.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grandma Karen's Visit

I tried to do some posting while my mom was here and I did an okay job at it. But now I have pictures to substantiate some of our projects/adventures. Grandma Karen was here from mid-March to Mid April, an entire month and boy were we busy!

The first project that I had major anxiety about and I am so grateful that I had assistance with was cleaning out the flower boxes. The people we bought the house from were really into gardening – seriously into flower gardening. There are multiple flowerboxes around the house. The lady must have spent a lot of money and certainly a lot of time putting in and maintaining it all. Due to my own lack of interest and certainly not because I hadn’t been taught in my youth, I didn’t have a clue of what to do. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to clean them out. I have even had a few people from church over to give me hints and ideas, the problem, no one ended up getting dirty with me and showing me how to do it. Mom came and…problem solved. She taught me, we were definitely dirty, sometimes bleeding and sore afterward. We had a mulching company come over and give an estimate on blowing in mulch. It was extremely expensive (but I didn’t know any better – definitely good thing mom was here, she saved us $500). She encouraged us to put in our own mulch and helped all along the way. Ryan and I agree it feels good to be homeowners and capable of making our yard look nice.

My mom is also very good at sewing, another trait that I was taught but never had an interest in on my own. While she was here she made Nathan two pair of pants (previously posted about) and Audrey a matching pair of pants. She also made curtains for Elysse’s room and began a coordinating quilt. On top of that she also cut off three pair of Nathan’s jeans, that all had holes in the knees, and converted them to perfect shorts for this summer – another money saver! There were other various mending projects that she happily conquered without ever laughing at my lack of ability.

The kids also kept her very busy. One night at dinner Grandma Karen was telling Nathan that during the day Audrey had a bath and they made believe that they were traveling all over the world. Nathan couldn’t wait to be finished eating so he could go have a bathtub adventure too. His idea was a bit different than the one described but Grandma went a long with it anyway. After about two hours of play I went into Nathan’s bathroom to see the three of them, fully clothed, sitting in the bathtub traveling around the world, taking pictures of their adventures! On a couple of occasions she took Audrey on picnics. They would walk to the entrance of our neighborhood and fully unload a picnic. Audrey’s favorite part was feeding the ants. The kids also had their first experience at flying a kite.

(I can't believe I don't have the picture with Grandma Karen in the bathtub too!)

Memories that Last

For the past few years I have been making photo books for both Audrey and Nathan. I tried my hand at scrapbooking and let’s just say that I am not an artist nor very creative. However, when I have a computer and a format, watch out. Not to mention in my estimation it is much less expensive and time consuming than traditional scrapbooking, photo scrapbooking is perfect for me. The books are reasonably priced and the finished project is a professional product. There are several different websites to assist with photo books but the one I love and use is Shutterfly. (I also use Shutterfly to create annual calendars for the Grandmas, it is one Christmas gift they love, expect and something I don't have to think too hard about, it is always a winner).

Go to the Shutterfly home page.

This year I am going to be doing the photo books a bit differently. See, a few years back my friend Emily Buckley (Venice, FL) told me that her mom would keep an individual journal for each of her children. She started the journals when she found out she was pregnant for each of them. She would document and talk to them individually - her feelings when she found out she was pregnant, the first time she could feel them move, etc. When Emily first told me about these journals I was impressed. I thought about how wonderful it is for each of her children that she kept these memories for them, individually. I also thought of myself and the fact that I can barely keep a journal of my own (in fact, my blog has become my journal) I couldn’t imagine keeping more than one and doing a good job at it. So, I have modified the idea to better fit me and my family.

At the conclusion of each of the photo books I am going to add a special section just for that child – a letter from me representing that specific year. I want them to know what they were like, their hopes, dreams, quirks, the friends that they had, etc. But I also want them to know my personal hopes and dreams for them and why I find them to be special in their own way. I have been thinking about these letters for over a month now. I will begin drafting them and probably by their birthdays I will be ready to add it to their photo books. This year is setting itself up to be very emotional… I wish I would have started this when Nathan was a baby!

Audrey's Purse

Audrey is an incredible girl for so many different reasons. We are so proud of her for all of the growing up she has had to do in the last year. She has always been very independent and it seems that she has become more so - probably having to do with age and all of the challenges and growing she has done.

She and I decided it would be good for her to start carrying a purse for all of our out of the house excursions. She is a girly girl and has many needs throughout the day. We found the purse I use to have when I was much younger - probably not quite as young as her, but definitely a purse of my youth, given to me by my Aunt Carla. We loaded it with all of the necessities and we keep it by the door (where I hang my purse and keys).

All of the necessities: lotion, chap stick, hand wipes, kleenex, two Hello Kitty band-aids and four wintergreens (we started with five but she has already had a need)!

Audrey: Ready for the Day.

I am not sure the rest of this post really goes along with the above but I need to get it down somewhere. Although Audrey is very independent and comes up with much of her own material. She does get an awful lot of quirks from me - the good and the bad, especially a lot of expressions. I am often using the words/phrases: obnoxious, irritating, frustrating, crap, etc. About a week ago Audrey was obviously upset about something (probably something I told her she could or couldn't do) and out came this word FANOXIOUS! I have heard her use the word obnoxious before so I know she knows how to use it. I ignored it and went on about my business. Well, this word continued to come up over the next week when I realized that she was combining frustrating and obnoxious. Not only did she make up her own word, she definitely uses it correctly! Now when I am annoyed with things I smile and use Audrey's word it often makes whatever is bothering me not seem so bad.

Earning Coins

About a year ago Ryan and I met with the teachers that would become Nathan's school teachers. While in the conference with them we discussed classroom discipline - a major concern of ours due to the way Nathan was received during preschool. Miss Riannon told us about the discipline tactics used for the class room and quickly added that they didn't focus on the discipline but rather the reward system. The children have opportunities to earn coins in class (helps with the math lessons) and then they are able to use their coins to purchase art supplies for classroom activities.

It was during this meeting that we decided that we wanted Nathan going to Nativity Kindergarten but it was also during that meeting that we decided we wanted to get started on the same type of reward system at home for Nathan rather than focusing on discipline, why not give him an opportunity to earn quarters and then give him an opportunity to save them and purchase something he really wants.

We put this into practice about a year ago and we are definitely getting results. Nathan loves animals more than anything else on the planet. He is very knowledgeable and interested. If you have spent any time with him you have been inundated with facts and asked countless questions! He has been saving and his quarters and purchasing books with "real" pictures of animals. So far he has four and he is working hard on earning his fifth book. There are 10 in the series.
Whales & Dolphins by Kids Books: Book CoverSharks (Photo-Fact Collection Series) by Jane P. Resnick: Book CoverReptiles (Photo-Fact Collection Series) by Robert Matero: Book CoverWild Cats (Photo-Fact Collection Series) by Jane P. Resnick: Book Cover

Easter 2010

Okay this post is coming a little late. Ryan and I had a deal that he was going to post about Easter but it hasn't happened to this point so I am taking over. In all fairness I have kept him fairly busy lately!!

We weren't sure when Audrey was going in for her hospitalization so we kept putting off decorating the eggs. Sunday morning arrived and we decided to do everything that morning. We decorated eggs, had breakfast, went for an egg hunt, looked at the Easter basket and then played with bubbles and sidewalk chalk outside.

This picture shows off Nathan's "pretend hunting pants" that Grandma Karen made for him. They are pretend because they aren't camouflage but they have aquatic animals all over them. He puts them on every chance he gets. I am amazed that he hasn't asked or expected to wear them to school.

Fun with bubbles.

I saw the idea of taking an empty milk carton and adding Easter grass on the local news program. They actually decorated the milk carton to make it look like a bunny (maybe next year). The idea worked great, it was the right size and the handle made it very easy for Audrey to carry it all around the yard.

Most memorable experience, Audrey looking in her basket and being so excited she had a Dove egg. (She is nuts about chocolate but especially loves Dove chocolates). Then the exhilaration when she realized there were two more Dove eggs - she squealed with delight.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

100th Blog Post

I am so excited to have a good story for our 100th blog post. Grandparents for a day.
The other day Nathan decided that he wanted to play with Audrey and he was lost in his imagination (he is very good at imagining and playing things out - so much so that his reality is skewed for very long periods of time).

Nathan decided that he was Audrey's dad. So he went on an on doing things that a good dad does. The picture above is Nathan reading to Audrey. Audrey asked, "why are you my dad?" Nathan responded, "Because I married your mom." Immediately he turned to me and asked, "Do you love your husband?" I smiled and played along.

When Ryan arrived home Nathan greeted him saying hello to his dad and instructing Audrey to say hello to Grandpa Beadle. Ryan was confused for a moment and then I was able to catch him up on the game we were playing. At dinner Nathan asked Ryan how old Grandpa Beadle is and we responded that he would be 68 this year. Nathan then stated, "okay dad, you are 67 and I am 30." He referred to me as Tonya and I quickly responded that he should call me mom to which he reminded me that we were married. I was getting a little weirded out by the game so I asked if I could be Grandma Beadle instead. Grandma Karen suggested that his friend Helen, from school, could be his wife. A big smile appeared on Nathan's face as he asked, "Can I go to my wife's house tonight?" Eventually the game did fizzle out but it took hours.

I put off posing about being Grandparents for a Day and I am glad I did because there is more to add. Two nights ago Nathan arrived in our doorway at 1:18 a.m. He said that he had a very bad dream. When questioning him about it he then told us that in his dream I was a grandma. It was hard not to laugh - even at that hour. I assured him that I couldn't be a grandma until he is at least 23. That seemed to make him happy and he eventually fell asleep on the floor of our bedroom.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Homecoming - Last Difficult Chemo is FINISHED

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are pleased to announce we are home from our four day hospital stay! As I have said before these drugs are very difficult on Audrey and she did suffer some very negative side-effects for a good portion of the time we were in the hospital. She is doing very well now. She lacks appetite but she has been very good about getting the fluids she needs. She is also a trooper with taking the anti-nausea medicine (a pill that dissolves in her mouth) and she is dealing with the nightly shot that she has to endure for the next two weeks fairly well.

We now have two more scheduled chemo sessions. We wait for her numbers to get to their magical spots before we can move on. It looks like it will be about another 12 weeks based on how long it has been taking. However, we are so grateful to be finished with this difficult hospitalization as the other chemo drugs do not have nearly the same negative side-effects as this one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten Year Class Reunion

My parents received my invitation to my ten year class reunion that I have been looking forward to for some time. The following is the email sent to my Class of 2000 President.

Upon graduating from high school I was accepted to and attended James Madison College at Michigan State University. In 2002 I was married to Ryan Beadle (Class of ’98 Lansing Eastern). We both graduated from James Madison in May 2004. In August 2004 we had our first child, Nathan Joseph. Ryan was accepted to and attended Stetson Law School in St. Petersburg, Florida. We lived in Venice, FL for nearly three years. While in Venice I owned and operated a Child Day Care. After Ryan finished law school he was accepted to and attended the University of Miami to obtain an LLM in tax. There we had our second child, Audrey Julia. Upon completing the LLM program we began the search for employment – we were nervous with the down economy and the saturated legal field. We had hoped to stay in Florida but the jobs were simply not available. We were then given an opportunity to accept a position in Asheville, North Carolina. Ryan began working for The Van Winkle Law Firm in June 2008 as an associate in the trust and estates department. I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom.

(Feel free to pass on the following information, if you wish)

Shortly after our daughter’s second birthday I discovered a mass on her back which was later removed and determined to be a malignant Rhabdoid tumor. The same day I discovered Audrey’s mass we also found that we are expecting our third child. We have spent the past seven months battling the lingering cancer cells with chemotherapy and proton therapy radiation. Audrey’s current status is remission because the mass was able to be completely removed. She has completed the radiation portion of treatment where we spent six weeks in Jacksonville, Florida. Currently she has two more sessions of chemo before her treatment is complete – which is expected to be mid-June. Audrey is doing very well; she is extremely brave and resilient. She has been very positive about the prognosis and definitely understands what is happening. In fact, she has further developed her social skills and seems to be obtaining quite an education in the process.

Monday, April 12, 2010

OB Appointment

After dropping Nathan off to school and bringing Audrey to the clinic to check on her numbers (which were high enough) I ran across the street to my OB appointment. My appointment was at 10:30 and I was called back at 10:36 - I think all of the stars must have aligned because I have never waited less than a half hour before!

I was measured, listened for the heartbeat and asked a list of questions. I questioned the Dr about induction and how it is handled, how they feel about it, what the qualifications are, etc. The doctor's response was, "oh, with your third, sure." I explained that I was wondering and interested due to Audrey's chemo schedule. Having a scheduled delivery would take away a lot of anxiety and relieve so much stress. The one qualification that the doctor gave is that it has to be within one week of the due date. Nathan and Audrey were both born on Friday and for the past month Ryan has been encouraging me to ask the doctor to induce on a Friday because it is a "family tradition." So we are going to ask about June 11th - it is only 8 days before the due date, maybe they will let it slide!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I had a hard time falling asleep last night but was finally able to around 11:00 p.m. I woke up with very intense pain in my back around 1 a.m. when I realized I was having very intense contractions. I tried to sleep through it but it was too painful. I noticed Ryan was awake around 2 a.m. so I told him what was going on. He seems to think this happens/ed often during all of the pregnancies. The pain would start in my lower abdominal/pelvic area and climb all the way up my stomach, past my belly button. When the contraction would let up (after 15 to 20 seconds) it would dull out with pain in my lower back. This happened every 5 minutes, consistently for nearly three hours before I finally called the OBs office.

We anticipated that I would be told to go to the hospital labor and delivery unit so I could be hooked up to machines to monitor the strength of the contractions and check to see if I was dilated. Sure enough when the Dr. called back that is exactly what he wanted me to do. I told him I was sure that I was not in actual labor and assured him I could feel the baby moving between contractions. He said that I should "chug" some water and take a warm bath. I did this and ended up getting dressed. I then laid on the bed and the contractions were still happening but they lost their consistency. I was able to fall asleep around 5 a.m. Though I didn't sleep long it was very helpful. So far today I have taken Audrey to an appointment and I am waiting to get a call back from the OBs office. Cross your fingers this little one doesn't come early - there really is only so much I can handle.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Tribute to Moms

Generally we recognize and acknowledge our moms and all they have taught us and continue to do for us during the month of May because of Mother's Day. However, I cannot wait until then to send out a special tribute to both of our moms. Over the past few months we have been very blessed to have our moms with us as we are dealing with Audrey's health issues, doctor's appointments (Audrey's, OB, back issues), school schedules, etc.

Mom Beadle spent five weeks with Audrey and me in Jacksonville. If you remember from the Jacksonville posts, we had a very difficult time there - simply being apart as a family, dealing with Audrey's daily sedation, radiation and then of course, all of my health issues. We would truly not have been able to make it through out entire time in Jacksonville without her. In Jacksonville she took us to all of our appointments, spent time in the hospital, took care of Audrey when I couldn't be out of bed more than a few hours per day. She made sure we were properly fed as well. She also did a lot of driving, including all of the driving from Venice to Asheville. Once we returned to Asheville she spent three additional weeks with us as we went through another chemo, recovery and additional doctors appointments.

A few weeks after Mom Beadle left my mom arrived. I feel a bit guilty forcing both of them to be apart from their homes, regular schedules and our dads, knowing how difficult it was for our family to be apart for six weeks. However, mom arrived ready to help. Nathan had projects lined up for Grandma Karen before she ever left Michigan! Part of the reason I haven't been blogging is because we have been so busy with projects. First of all, I learned how to clean out autumn/winter flower boxes as we spent several hours trying to beautify the outside of my house. Thanks so much for the lessons and all of the hard work you put into working around the house. I say that "we" worked on the flower boxes but really I put in one day of work and mom did the rest, including spraying round up and looking into mulching options. Ryan and I were also able to paint the baby's room while she watched the kids. She also has done many sewing projects - the first project is the one Nathan called her in Michigan to explain, he wanted hunting pants one for real and one for fake. She made camouflage pants for "real" hunting and others with various sea animals for "fake" hunting pants. There was enough of the real material to make Audrey matching hunting pants. The other sewing projects have so far included curtains for the baby's room (had better be a girl because Lincoln will not appreciate the purple polka dot curtains). And she is also working on a matching quilt!

Thank you both for the time, care, love and time away from your lives and homes to support us. You are both amazing women who love the Lord and your families so much that you are able to continually bless our lives. We have been taught that being a mother is the richest blessing any women can have, here in this mortal life, and you are wonderful examples of the loving kindness and compassion a mother holds sacred as her roles and responsibilities.

Back to Blogging

Well, I hope that I am back to blogging. There hasn't been too much to report on as far as Audrey's health is concerned. The longer one is on chemo, the longer the body takes to recover between rounds. So, we are just hanging out, waiting to go in for the last hard/difficult chemo. I have actually been having a very difficult time with this. I want so badly for it to be over and the timetable just keeps lengthening - it is disappointing and frustrating. She just wants to be a normal little girl and just as she begins to feel better we have to stick her in the hospital to do it all over again. In the beginning it did not feel so hard, it was business, we could plan every three weeks to be in the hospital and prepare her for it. Now she gets upset and frustrated when we go into check her numbers because it feels like everything should be over. I was up for hours last night having a breakdown about this terrible situation and what Audrey is being forced to do. I thought I was handling it so well and now I am not, I can't see the end anymore and the schedule has disappeared.