Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Days - Bus

When we first moved to North Carolina we decided that our children would never have to ride the bus. After all, that is one of the benefits of a mom that stays at home, right? Well, when we discovered that I had to change Audrey's nap schedule and have both girls sitting in the car for around 45 minutes each day to make it home after the bus had been through our neighborhood, we decided to give the bus a try.

School dismisses at 2:30, the buses roll out around 2:40 and Nathan is home by 2:45. He gets off at the second stop (first one is also in our neighborhood). I just love this picture, it captures just how excited he is when he sees me standing at the bus stop each day!


Audrey has begun her first gymnastics class. Due to chemo and her weak immune system we weren't sure if Audrey would be able to be in gymnastics. After discussing it with her oncologist we signed her up. It is their feeling that Audrey should wait a year on preschool; but, gymnastics was highly recommended. She needs to have exercise and a social life in order to thrive from this point forward.
Mr. Ken is her instructor. He is a former marine and has such patience with these little ones. Funny they have the same hair cut. Notice how quickly it is growing back?

Making progress. She couldn't even do this last week.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Audrey is developing quite the vocabulary. She uses rather large complex words in sentences and often uses them correctly. On occasion however she tries to use a word or phrase that doesn't make sense in her sentences. Other times she mixes the words up completely but those are the ones I love the most.

Correctly Used:

Used incorrectly:
"That's the whole point"

For those of you that aren't too familiar with the movie Bolt. Bolt is a dog that gets separated from his person by being shipped to New York. Bolt then makes it from New York back to Hollywood.

Audrey calls New York - You Nork (I wouldn't let Nathan correct her because it is so cute)!

Stories I probably shouldn't tell:
When Audrey was in the hospital last time I had to call my physical therapist to cancel my appointment. When I got off the phone Audrey asked if my physical therapist pisses people off. I kept a very straight face and informed her that my PT is very nice and she helps people. "But mom, you said theraPISSED."

Audrey was trying to use the word moron in a sentence (this is one that she uses incorrectly). Nathan then asked what a moron is - I responded that a moron is someone that can't drive. (Guess I need to settle down when I am driving, especially with the kids)

The Debate selfISH vs selFISH

Last night Nathan was rambling about animals as he so often does. We talk about animals so much that I often stop paying attention while he states fact after fact (I know bad mommy). I happened to catch him talking about selFISH. I told him that there isn't an animal called a selFISH but that the word he was referring to is actually selfISH - meaning caring about one's self more than another. Nathan then informed me that a selFISH looks like a sword fish, it eats great whites, and that I should just trust him.

Wonder how many of you are going to google the word selfish...

Food for Thought

(Look at Audrey's Head) Audrey has not yet mastered the art of getting all of the food in her mouth... Ryan asked Audrey if the pizza was from New Delhi, India. Audrey responded, "No, Ingles." (our local grocery store).

Most Saturdays Ryan makes pancakes for the kids in the mornings. They come to expect it. I have never been good at making pancakes and since it is something that Ryan enjoys so much, I will never need to be good at making them. I can just see it now when our children are older and they have their own kids, they will be visiting for a weekend and everyone will demand that grandpa make the pancakes. Okay it won't happen for many years but I have a feeling it will be here before we know it...

Then one morning I was joking that we should use some of our dessert (triple chunk brownies) from the night before in the pancakes. I wasn't in the kitchen when he made the pancake. When I poured syrup on my pancake I turned it over and this is what I discovered. By the way, it was really good but I don't think we will make a habit of it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elysse's Blessing

Elysse received a name and a blessing on the records of our church August 1st. Unfortunately that is the same day we took Audrey to the hospital and she was admitted for three days due to a fever. So, it has taken until now to put Elysse back into her beautiful blessing dress that Grandma Karen made for her.

Elysse is now three months old. She is beginning to smile more. She definitely recognizes mommy and daddy and often gets very excited when she thinks she is going to get picked up - and sometimes pouty if it doesn't happen. Nathan often talks to her and asks, "can you give big brother a smile?" Audrey and Nathan are still too hands on for my liking but I try to let them be involved - Audrey loves to cuddle her and often wants to lay by Elysse on the bed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Days

We were still wavering even a week before school started as to whether we were going to put Nathan into first grade or kindergarten. His reading really exploded during the summer and he is truly a great reader. For this reason we actually called the school and talked to the principal. It was her professional recommendation to give Nathan another year in kindergarten and let him have the opportunity to grow socially and emotionally while refining his other skills. (Those are all my words, she wasn't nearly as eloquent in her statement).
Nathan and Miss Cody
The first day of school went off without a hitch. He had a great time. He was called up to the front of the class to read something off the board - he reported that he knew every word. When we asked him how his day was he began his report of who was good, who was bad, who took a nap, etc. To my surprise he actually came home knowing the names of three other kids - though he refers to one of the little boys as "the whiner." In kindergarten they do a staggered entrance meaning half of the class go in on Tuesday and the other half of the class go in on Wednesday. Today the entire class is together.

We have it worked out that Ryan brings Nathan to school in the morning and then heads off to work. I pick him up in the afternoon. Though next week we are going to try Nathan riding the bus and see how that goes. He is excited to try riding the bus. He also wants to buy lunch on chicken nugget and pizza day.

This morning as he was leaving for school he became very sad. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he wanted me to take him to school. Immediately I knew exactly what was going on and why he was sad. A few nights ago after putting Nathan to bed he came down very sad. When questioned why he came down and was so upset he said, "I felt like you were in Jacksonville again." Jacksonville - I often think of as the darkest time in our family. Yes, it was hard for all of us when Audrey was diagnosed with cancer but we were still together as a family. Jacksonville took that away from us. I try not to even think about that time or I become extremely emotional so I knew exactly what Nathan was referring to. This morning he had another glimpse of that fear and sadness. I know this is something that will follow him through his entire life and if he remembers nothing else about Audrey's cancer situation he will always remember how Jacksonville made him feel.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Family Vacation Part I

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Our family vacation began in South Carolina at a resort on Kiawah Island. Ryan had a three day conference for the Estate Planning section of the North Carolina Bar. This is the second year he has attended the conference there. Last year he thought it was wonderful so he wanted to bring us with him this year.

The resort is different than what we are accustomed to. Essentially the resort is made up of several golf courses, a couple of hotels and several privately owned condos. The condos are rented out through the resort. We rented a villa - a two bedroom condo with a full kitchen and laundry. Due to the fact that we were unsure for so long whether we would be able to go with him (due to Audrey's uncertain health) we were quite far from the beach.

The kids enjoyed the family pool at the resort - the water was cooled as it entered the pool. It was refreshing. While we were there Nathan began to get very brave in his efforts to learn to swim without water wings. His favorite activity was jumping from the side of the pool into the 3 1/2 foot water over and over. While in the villa Nathan and Audrey shared a room. When we heard them giggling wildly we were concerned. Ryan went into their room to see that they were playing dress up. They put Audrey in Nathan's clothing on top of her own. We did get a couple of pictures of that - but the most comical part was when we were helping her out of Nathan's clothes we saw that she had even remembered to put on a pair of Nathan's underwear over her own shorts!

Family Vacation Part II

Venice, Florida

My heart belongs to Venice. We moved to Venice, FL December of 2004 so Ryan could begin law school. Though he went to school more than an hour away - Venice was our home. I love Florida (yes, even in the summer) and if we could live there again I would do it in a heartbeat. I guess the reason I love Venice so much is because we grew up there as a family.
Audrey and Elysse enjoying sister time.
Elysse's first dip in the pool.
Audrey and Nathan at the south jetty. We were so lucky we were able to see not only dolphins playing we even saw manatees. It is so incredible to me to be able to see such beautiful, miraculous creatures in their natural habitat.
While on vacation Elysse really started smiling. This is as close as we have come to capturing it in a picture. (I can't figure out how to rotate it for my blog post).
Some friends of ours invited us out to their horse farm. This is Nathan's second time on a horse - first was at a zoo in Michigan.
Audrey's first ride on a horse.

We were only in Venice for four days - much too short for my liking but we had a great time. We also visited Siesta Beach in Sarasota. We had an incredible experience there as well as two manatees came into the swimming area!

We weren't able to see or visit all of our friends there as we were there for such a short time and many of our friends were also on vacation. We did get a chance to attend church while we were there and it was wonderful. There is something about being in the Venice Ward building that is so energizing to me. I immediately felt like I needed to be busy....

Family Vacation Part III

Sea World, Orlando

The conclusion of our 10 day family vacation was in Orlando. It shouldn't be a surprise that our favorite park to visit in Orlando is Sea World. We have taken Nathan there so many times I have simply lost count. This was Audrey's second trip and she loved it. We have annual passes so we decided to make Sea World a two day trip. The first day we arrived in the evening and were able to see the night shows - which was actually a first for us. We went back the following morning for all of our regular viewing.
Chillin with the penguins.
Audrey's pose.
Three sharks in one shot!
Nice picture of a Florida Manatee
(too bad there was a flash off the aquarium glass)

Brace Family Visit July 2010

My parents, brother Chad and sister-in-law Sarah drove here from Michigan with my parents' dog, Milo and a pop-up camper. They camped at the Bent Creek Campgrounds which is technically part of the Pisgah National Forest. It is only 10 minutes from our house and there is a small lake there, Lake Powhatan. The campground is different than any other campground I have seen before but it turned out okay though I am not sure they would choose to camp there again.

This summer has been a rather rainy summer here in North Carolina and so to provide an appropriate North Carolina summer experience mother nature was sure to keep up the tradition as it rained nearly every day there were here. Unfortunately I only have a few pictures as the pics I downloaded from Chad and Sarah's camera seem to be lost from Nathan's computer crash.
In anticipation of their arrival Nathan and Audrey took it upon themselves to go into the food storage room and decided we needed to make two desserts -
Triple Chunk muffins and Triple Chunk brownies.

Bubble fun with Grandma Karen

Art projects with Aunt Sarah

Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on the other pictures again soon. There were some nice ones of Chad and all three kids.

Activities while they were here: Swimming at Lake, Powhatan paddle boats on Lake Julian, art projects, a trip to Barnes and Noble (sponsored by Uncle Chad and Aunt Sarah), ice cream, just hanging out at the camp ground, over nights for Nathan and Audrey (separately of course).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Flowers....and My Husband

Okay I know I have at least two friends out there that feel the exact same way I do about flowers and I am willing to be there are even more of you out there... Basically I think that flowers should be spontaneous. Ryan has been warned that I do not want flowers for my birthday or anniversary - to me that lacks any kind of excitement, it is nearly expected. However, flowers just because he was thinking about me or wanted to do something nice, or knew I was having a difficult time lately, or a moment to say he was thankful for something or proud of me, ect (I am sure you are getting the point here) that is when they become more than "expected" they become a symbol of love.

Last night when he came home from work I was pulling dinner out of the oven (and the oven handle seriously pulled right off the front of the oven when he walked in) and he stood in the kitchen with a bouquet of flowers, just for me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Audrey Again

I know I haven't posted in so long. We have had basically three weeks of vacation (my family visiting and then we were away for 10 days). I have lots of posts all planned in my head it will take a week or two to get them all down.

Right now Ryan and Audrey are in the hospital. I noticed after church today that Audrey felt hot, I took her temperature and within an hour she was being admitted to the hospital. Her fever is now gone but she is staying over night to get antibiotics. We expect that she will be released tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE: Audrey's numbers have dropped and we will be in the hospital for awhile. I would love to say we are going home tomorrow but we will have to wait and see.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: We were told on Tuesday that we would have to stay another night. Audrey wasn't thrilled but she was going to be okay. I, on the other hand, felt miserable, another 24 hours apart as a family. I asked Dr. Beaty if he would be willing to take Audrey's blood counts again at 2 p.m. He smiled and said that he would do that for me. At 2 p.m. her numbers were up!!! They released us. Wednesday morning Audrey's fever was back. We went into the clinic had x-rays and she was given antibiotics in her IV. Within an hour her fever disappeared without any fever medication. We were lucky not to be readmitted to the hospital. Instead we were given oral antibiotics (as the x-ray showed it looked like she was beginning to form pnemonia). Today we just stayed home. We have been fever free all day.