Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 2010

Since Halloween falls on Sunday this year we will not be Trick or Treating in the normal door to door way we generally do in our neighborhood. Instead, we had a fun fall festival at church. In the past we have attended the church fall festival and also went trick or treating; however, we explained to the kids that we will not be doing that this year because Halloween falls on the Sabbath. To our surprise, they were completely fine with it. We had a great time. There was a chili contest, games for kids, trick or treating in classrooms and in the hall, a haunted house, prizes and awards for games and costumes, etc. They ate way too much candy and stayed up too late but that is sort of what it is all about, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

All is Well

Audrey's tests went very well. She is free and clear of any cancer cells as far as the MRI and CT Scans can show. The doctors feel it is time to schedule Audrey's port removal. I am sort of hoping for the 28th of October as that is when her tumor was removed last year - it would be nice wrapping everything up in a year...what a long year this has been...

SCHEDULED FOR 10/29 AT 9:00 A.M.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


One year ago today I was playing with my sweet daughter and our lives forever changed. While I was playing with her I felt something on her back that didn't seem right. After looking further I discovered the lump on her back. I immediately called Ryan to see what we should do. Within minutes I made an appointment with our pediatrician for the following morning. An hour later I discovered that I was pregnant.

After Ryan arrived home we discussed the possibilities of what we were facing with Audrey I was overcome with emotion. I could hear myself tell him that we were never going to have more children because of this uncertainty; yet, I knew I needed to tell Ryan about the baby we were expecting. It was too much information for one night. Too much to think about. I couldn't be excited about being pregnant though we had been hoping for another baby for over eighteen months. I convinced myself that if I had to loose a child it couldn't be a child that I already had and loved. For the longest time I could not let myself love this new baby as I never expected to hold it.

That night my mind raced. Sleep was not a possibility. I thought of the worst possibilities. I kept thinking of my faith the knowledge that I have that families are eternal. I know that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us and knows us individually and that he has an eternal plan so we can return to Him and live in His presence again - but at that point, I didn't care. I didn't want my sweet little girl to leave me. I kept saying over and over that I want her to grow and experience all of the wonderful things this life has to offer. My heart hurt and not knowing what we were dealing with was suffocating.

The following day we were told by the radiologist that the mass had characteristics that were not typically benign. At that moment I knew we were dealing with cancer. Cancer in a little innocent girl, my little innocent girl.

The next three weeks was a living nightmare. In that time we met with a pediatric surgeon, had the tumor removed, were introduced to Dr. Beaty a pediatric oncologist and had a port placed under Audrey's skin to make her more easily accessible for chemotherapy.

Now, a year later she has survived chemotherapy and proton radiation. She is a stronger, healthier girl because of the experiences she has had over the past year. We, as a family, have learned together, struggled together and grown together. Our family came together and helped in so many ways. Our friends whom we already thought were great were able to truly astound us with their love and willingness to help. We have made many new friends. We have met three of the most incredible doctors and entire staff of nurses that we have grown to love and care about. We have been included in a fantastic group of pediatric cancer patients. And that little baby we found out about the same day Audrey's mass was discovered has entered our family and has our love and affection.

Our lives will forever be changed. Though we will never be glad for our experiences regarding Audrey's health, we have taken what she was dealt and have grown from it. Our baby girl is a fighter. She has gained so much knowledge and compassion from what she has gone through it will shape her for the rest of her life. Many people have said that due to her young age she will probably forget most of it. I hope for her sake she doesn't. I hope she remembers her family holding her tight. I hope she remembers the care that she had in the clinic and hospital. I hope she remembers the friends we have made. I hope she remembers the nurses who love her. I hope she remembers her strength and courage. I know that due to these trials she will make a difference in someone else's' life the way she has mine.

Tomorrow, the anniversary of her first MRI, we go in for her second set of scans (MRI and CT scans) post chemotherapy. If all of the information is favorable and the tumor bed is still clear and there is no more growth of cancer cells we will schedule the removal of her port, another step closer to a healthy life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Fun Coincidence?

There is an opening for a position at The Van Winkle Law Firm where Ryan works. The position is for a litigation attorney as one of the associates will be leaving to work for the government in Nashville, TN. Maybe it is the Tennessee connection but I started thinking about some friends we made while in Miami, Jeremy and Rebecca Killpack. Jeremy was finishing law school the same time Ryan finished his LLM. Before Jeremy graduated he already lined up a job on the west coast of Florida - he is the main reason I started getting crazy about finding a job before Ryan finished his LLM. After awhile Jeremy left the firm where he stared and moved to Tennessee practicing in a different area of law.

Anyway, I started to think of them because of the position opening at the firm. So I sent Rebecca an email with info on the opening. Within a couple of hours the phone rang - it was Rebecca and believe it or not she and her girls were was in Asheville and Jeremy was going to be flying into the airport later that night. After talking for a few minutes we realized they were staying at a hotel right off our exit.

We had Rebecca and the girls over for dinner and the kids had a great time playing. I am still upset with myself for not getting any pictures. Jeremy is enjoying his own position at this point and will not be applying for the position with Ryan's law firm but it was still a fun coincidence I sent the email the same day they were three minutes down the street.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tomorrow ... 29.

Tomorrow I will be 29. Growing older has never been an issue for me and it still isn't. As I begin my final year of my 20s I decided to give myself my first birthday gift - a clean house and freshly shaved legs. I love the feeling of a clean house, the smell, the comfort, the ease...a wonderful feeling. And what the heck after cleaning house for 11 straight hours (and a bunch of mommy stuff in between) I had to take a shower before crawling into bed - so why not have freshly shaved legs to go along with a clean house!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We can't tell if she's conversing or just complaining. (You may want to pause Kenny Chesney at the bottom of this webpage before playing this video in order to get the full effect.)

Fall Weather

Fall always reminds me of my childhood. Fall was the most anticipated season - the welcome of the cool weather, the vibrant beautiful colors, and the football games I would attend but never actually watch. On colder fall days I would walk over to my grandma's house (right next door - yes, I was very lucky) sit on her couch and eventually wrap myself in a blanket. We would always have the television on but it didn't usually matter what was on, we were always talking. My grandma was interested in everything I had to say and the things that went on during the day. Sometimes we would enjoy snacks - (among our favorite snacks were popcorn and apples sometimes with fudge, chocolate ice cream and salty Lays potato chips and hot chocolate). Before long I would fall asleep wrapped in the warmth of the house and blanket while the evening fell and the weather became cooler.

Fall represents comfort, warmth from the cool outside, time with family, beautiful scenery and that is why I love this season.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Play-Doh Party

Today Audrey and Nick Hatch shared the coolest birthday party all inspired by Play-Doh. We began the party at 11:00 a.m. (partially because the older kids were at school and this allowed the party to be all about the little ones). We started with homemade pizza that we let the kids load. Next was a Play-Doh hunt where the kids carried ziplock baggies around the living room finding the little cans of Play-Doh. After the hunt the kids began playing on personalized playmats (found the idea online). Then we moved on to presents and cake.

This is the dining room before the kids entered. Each spot had a personalized playmat and balloon.
The Play-Doh hunt was so much fun. The kids were so excited and loved searching the living room for the little cans to call their own.
There were many fun things to do at the party and playing with the Play-Doh was one of the best. The kids were so content that there were times when we didn't even hear them!
Audrey received so many generous and perfectly girly gifts. Thanks!


Check out this cake! It was made by our friend from church, Sandy Cox. She is amazing and her creations are so beautiful. The best part is they not only look beautiful they taste great too!

This is the best kids party I have ever experienced. The children were all so well behaved there weren't any fights or crying spells. They shared well and played together well and we all enjoyed the day. I am so thankful that Audrey's health allowed this to happen today.

Clinic Visit

Yesterday morning Audrey woke up and within a few hours I discovered that she had a fever - not just any fever the lowest temperature was 101.7 the highest being 103.1. Needless to say I had to take Audrey into the clinic. We spent several hours there - she was given fluid and antibiotics by IV as well as having swabs taken of her nose and throat. We discovered that her blood counts are AWESOME and that he was battling some type of viral attack. Luckily she responded well to Tylenol and they sent us home after 5 hours. My main worry was - will we be able to have the Play=Doh party with her friends?

I mentioned Audrey's recent birthday and upcoming birthday party. The nurses all came into Audrey's bedroom singing "Happy Birthday" and loaded Audrey up with gifts. We love all of our nurses there and it was so nice that they were prepared to give Audrey such a sweet welcome when we were there for an unhappy reason.