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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

So everyone's awake at our house even though it's 12:30. :) Nothing big, just a bit of a fever from Ms. Izzy. Her big sis must have given her some tips on downing meds before she was born, b/c seriously... she has always taken medicine like a champ! She's downed some Motrin and is snuggled up next to her daddy now and I'm catching up on bad tv. :) My body is so in that "getting ready" mode!

We've been busy getting things ready here at the house. One of the things we tackled last week was going through all the dressup clothes and weeding them out a bit. Would you believe that we found a "gift" from Catie as we did? Granted, we used to stumble upon little gifts from her all the time, but the longer she's gone, the less frequently we find them. If you've followed us since Caringbridge days, you might remember that Catie was a bit of a money hoarder. After she died, we found over $50 in her "change purse" that she kept with her at the hospital. I couldn't believe it! As time without her passed I'd stumble on a purse here or a change holder there w/ a wad of money in it. I thought I'd found it all, but apparently I'd missed her Minnie Mouse purse! It was buried in the dressup stuff w/ a wad of 8 one dollar bills stuck inside it. I just had to laugh!! I do confess that discoveries like that truly do feel like they're from her and it's so very nice... the money doesn't matter -- though it does make me giggle -- it's the feeling of finding something of hers. I know she didn't consciously leave it for us to find, but it still feels like a gift from her.

We had a great Christmas and Iz was TOTALLY into it all! :) She loved the lights, she loved the baking (ok, let's be honest -- she loved the cookie dough and you wouldn't believe how fast she could shove it in her mouth!!), she thought she had to be involved in opening any package that was unwrapped in her presence! I promise to upload some pics soon and do a better Christmas update.

For now, I'm heading back to sleep! I figure we'll be seeing early morning hours a lot soon!

Oh yeah, one more thing... thank you to those who suggested a satin/silky pillow case to help w/ the serious bed head Iz has in the mornings! We've gotten a couple and it really does make a big difference -- especially on the nights she manages to keep her head on the pillow all night!!! :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Annette

When Catie was going through treatment, there seemed to be an abundance of baby girls within a year of her age waging their own battles on the 3rd floor of Scottish Rite. One little girl was Maddy and we got to know her family as we walked the halls together. Maddy battled undifferentiated sarcoma bravely, but won her battle as Catie later did, by running into the arms of Jesus. I remember watching her family walk the halls with her on their last stay and my heart breaking for them. They have since welcomed 2 more little ones to their family. Grant is 2 and Annette is just 10 weeks. This week Kirk and Natalie (mom and dad) learned the unimaginable news that Annette has a large tumor in her brain and a tumor in her spine. They are facing this beast a second time. Doctors are suspicious it's medulloblastoma or ATRT, but nothing will be known for sure until pathology reports are in. Her biopsy and debulking surgery is scheduled for early this morning. Please pray for this family... pray for a better outcome... pray for strength and wisdom... pray for Grant as his world has been turned upside down... You can visit them and leave encouragement for them on their blog... http://www.maxeyweb.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Holidays

Thus far the holidays this year aren't quite as intimidating as they were last year. Last year, they flat out scared the mess out of me... How on earth were we supposed to do Christmas without Catie. I'm not sure if I just know that we survived last year, so we'll be ok, if we're making progress, if I'm in denial, or maybe just a little of all of the above. Thanksgiving this year was, for me, the least challenging holiday I've had since we lost her. Again... not sure if it was denial or if after being stuck in the house, on the couch trying to get this baby to cook a bit longer that I was just so glad to get out of the house that it didn't even matter. Who knows...

We haven't decorated yet, but we will this week. I have broken out the Christmas music. It's funny how some songs make me smile and some just smack me between the eyes and can start the tears. This year, as Christmas approaches there is this incredible excitement to see it through Izzy's eyes... I know she's old enough to understand a bit more this year... no she won't get it all, but she's already talking lots about HoHo and she loves seeing Christmas stuff that's already out. I can't wait to see what she thinks about having a tree and lights up in her house! Then there is the stuff that will trigger so many Catie memories... That's good and hard. I guess we just keep doing what we've done since we lost her... really since she was diagnosed.... keep rolling with the punches, cry when you need to, and keep moving forward... just keep swimming...

Sometimes it still just makes me crazy to know that our family will never be totally complete this side of Heaven. Someone will always, always be missing. And I still hate that Izzy and Chip got jipped out of knowing Catie... though I'm glad they don't have to deal with the grief of missing. But I'm also grateful that I'm not completely frightened by Christmas this year... and I really can't wait to watch Izzy learn to enjoy the magic of the season...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pudding Anyone?

Man this pudding is good stuff....

You sure you don't want me to feed you some too?

Making pancakes with Daddy

This is how Izzy's hair looks every single morning when she wakes up. It looks like the hair fairy teased it while she was a sleep.... Thank goodness for Suave detangling spray. Any suggestions on how to keep it from doing this????

Walking with my Daddy...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm Making a Permanent Imprint...

on my couch! Yep... due to some contractions last week and more after trying to go back to work on Monday, I've been sent home. That could be a grand thing if I had the freedom to do all the things that need to be done around the house, but that's not quite how it works. Tre' has been nothing short of amazing and we may be calling him Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart before it's all over with. Tonight he even got roped into picking out a fancy holiday top for me to wear to a Make A Wish Event we committed to earlier in the year (I got a "free pass" from my doc to attend since we're committed to speak at the event). Iz is getting in some extra time with GaGa and PaPa.

So, though I REALLY hate sitting around all day long... I'm very thankful that I'm sitting here and contractions have backed off. I'm thankful that we have such supportive family and friends and that my school has been so great! I'm searching hard for projects around the house that can be done from the couch and the countdown has begun... for me at least. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Sleeping Girl

I love to watch children as they sleep. I have pictures of both girls sacked out in various positions. One night I'm going to wake up every hour and take a picture of Izzy b/c she changes positions so much as she sleeps. She definitely sleeps with abandon.

Last night, I was reading an update on a friend of ours who has been battling cancer for far too long... He's such a trooper and a comment he made to his dad just struck me. It made me laugh and broke my heart all at the same time and it made me think of Catie.. It made me think of Catie and all that kids with cancer have to endure and how their normal is so NOT normal... Most of the time, I can be ok with the fact that that was Catie's life. But last night it made me sad. So I walked into Izzy's room where she was sprawled out on her back sound asleep. I have been known in a moment like that to pick her up and carry her to the couch and snuggle her close. She's a pretty sound sleeper at night, so I can usually get by with that. But last night, I just laid down next to her and stroked that beautiful golden blonde hair and I prayed. "Dear God... Thank you for this beautiful child you have blessed us with... thank you for the innocence that she has. Thank you that a blood pressure cuff wigs her out a bit, even if it's on my arm. Thank you that she cries when her finger is pricked b/c it hurts and it's not routine for her. Thank you that her normal is normal (except maybe for her mom and dad :) )... And please God.... please, please let it always be this way. Protect her from the the things Catie had to know about.... Protect her and protect Chip...."





Saturday, November 8, 2008

Please Pray

Edited to add: Missy now has a caringbridge site. I know that she and her family would welcome your encouragement and prayers. Missy's Site


There are times in this life when there is nothing you can do but pray for someone. Our friend Ryan (also known as Super Ryan) was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2004. He had some time off treatment and then relapsed. His mom, Missy was diagnosed with breast cancer not long after he relapsed. Missy battled and Ryan battled on. Ryan continues to battle his relapse and Missy has just learned that her cancer has returned. She has gone home on hospice... Please pray for this family... pray for their three children... for Les, dad and husband... Please just pray for them. SuperRyan

Friday, November 7, 2008

Whew, What a Week!

This has felt like one crazy week!!! I think it's mainly because the schedule seems to have been full and we've been doing the babysitter shuffle. :) The stomach bug has been going around at the sitter's house this week and we just didn't want to bring that home!!! Thankfully, Tre's folks live fairly close, so Iz has gotten in lots of time w/ GaGa and Poppy this week. She's run a low grade fever off and on since Wed. We're thinking she's cutting her eye teeth, but it's made for a whiny girl at times. Throw in dinner w/ our supper club election night, an OB appt., a Make A Wish board meeting, work, and all the normal stuff and it's worn me out!!!

We did learn that, barring any surprises, Mr. Chip will make his arrival into our arms early on Wed., January 14th!! Can you believe that is less than 10 weeks away???? If you could see my belly right now, you might be surprised it's not sooner!!! :) There is so much to get done before he arrives --- I don't even have anywhere to put his clothes yet! Thanks to some friends who've had little boys recently, he's got clothes to wear, so if I can just find a place to keep them we'll be good to go. There are lots of little projects around the house I'd like to tackle too... It's hard to believe there is about to be a new little one around here, and a BOY at that. We can't wait to meet him!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elves!!!!!


It's getting to be that time of year again!!! Time to start thinking about the birth of Christ, Christmas shopping, my favorite music of the year, Santa (or HoHo as he's referred to at our house right now), and visits from elves. Last year a great little project got started. Elves from Catie... If you missed it last year, check this out: That Silly Old Elf . We are on the move again with Elves from Catie and there are several ways you can get involved. It's easy to get involved and it's SUCH a great tradition!!! (You really do need to click the link above and read about it if you don't know about the tradition.) Ok... so ways you can be a part....

1. Donate an Elf from Catie kit to a child in the hospital -- Kits are $35 and include an elf, an Elf from Catie book (about an elf that visits the hospital -- very cute story), and elf food (jelly beans) (go to the website and just click on the Elves from Catie logo)
2. Purchase an elf for a child you know. Elves come with all the things listed above and the price for these is $35 as well. (go to the website and click on Host an Elf)
3. Have your civic organization, ladies' circle, youth group, etc. get involved and work to donate elves to kids in the hospital.
4. Copy and paste this into an e-mail and send it out to all your contacts. Ask them to continue to forward it on. This was HUGELY successful last year.

The website is Host an Elf. All Elves from Catie purchases (elves donated to a child in the hospital) will have $5 of the purchase donated to CURE Childhood Cancer. Your elf purchase for a child you know can also benefit CURE. Just BE SURE to indicate that you want CURE to benefit. To do this, on the page that says non-profit donations at the bottom, choose fundraiser under category and CURE Childhood Cancer under name. If you don't do this, CURE won't receive the $5.

Last year was hugely successful... I hope this year can be even more so. Help us out and spread the word!! Elves from Catie is great because it shares a wonderful, memory-making tradition with families AND raises money for a CURE. And a CURE is so desperately needed... Spread the joy (and the elfish mischief)!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008








We had a big time Friday night. We only hit 10 houses or so, but that was just enough for an almost 2 year old who had already had a long day. She was cute as a button!! I wish I had taken my camera out before I let her look in the mirror to see her rosy cheeks and freckles. She was so funny checking herself out. It's so hard to get a pic of her smiling these days. She smiles and laughs all the time, but usually becomes Ms. Stone face when the camera comes out. We got a couple of smiles in these though.

She's been so loving lately and will just come up to me and want a long, good hug. Makes my day for sure!! She also seems to have figured out that my belly is growing because of a baby in the tummy. That's just happened in the last week or so. Every once in a while, she'll point to my tummy and say, "baby," or "kick." :) She loves being outside and would stay out all day if we let her. We've had some gorgeous weather lately, so she's been loving that.

Oh, I've Missed You this Week Sweet Girl





Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall and Stuff

Can you guess who I'm being for Halloween?










Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcome Home Sweet Joey

Joey hurt his back last weekend. We're not sure how he did it, but w were told it was not an uncommon injury for dogs like him with short legs and longer backs. Our vet worked for a week trying to help him... his back legs were paralyzed and he had lost control of his urine and bowels. We were hoping that he would improve, but he did not. So on Friday afternoon our Joey was welcomed home by the person who loved him more than anybody... I can just picture Catie as she stood at the gates of Heaven and Joey bounded into her arms. I have no doubt they spent the weekend running through the fields of Heaven. I'm even betting there was a little wrestling involved as Catie couldn't really do that with him here on Earth b/c of her balance.

The day we brought Joey home, Catie was about a week out of her 3rd major craniotomy. She was still feeling not so great and moving slow. She was very nervous about hurting her head. I knew Joey was the dog for us when he gently crawled up on top of her where she was lying and they both fell sound asleep.
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He was always such a comfort for Catie. Just as he knew what Catie needed... he always knew what Izzy could handle as well. He was gentle and easy with her when she was small and in recent months they have enjoyed some hearty play in our great room. Iz dubbed him JoJo and that's often the first word from her mouth when we pull up at the house...


Oh, we'll miss him.... but I also know that he's just fine and that he and our girl Catie are basking in joys we have yet to know or understand.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Break... Aaaaahhhhh...

You've just gotta love fall break!!!!! Being home for the last several years, I had forgotten how good Friday afternoons and the beginning of a few days off can feel. I'm here to tell you, it feels good!

Things are going well here... Izzy is growing, my belly is growing (not sure which one is growing faster!). Iz is cold and sniffle free at the moment (though she's shared her last cold with her daddy). The dishwasher and washing machine are running and I'm trying to catch up on a few things. Iz even seemed to catch on to the idea of vacation this morning. After waking at her normal time, she and I decided to curl up on the couch. She actually fell back asleep!!! :) There were some serious snuggles going on. I eventually got up and got a few things done, and she continued to snooze (see pics in entry below).

She's just woken up from her nap and I think we're going to fold a load of clothes! Hope things are good in your neck of the woods!

More Izzy Pics




Friday, October 10, 2008

Bubbles and Puppy Love







Saturday, October 4, 2008

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Yep, you read right! We're having a BOY!!!!! We weren't going to find out -- we never have until this time. And we tired not to this time, but this little man wanted to be seen!!! I guess he was worried he wouldn't have anything but pink to where when he got here if he didn't make it known that blue was the color of the day. We looked away at all the right times during the ultrasound -- didn't even peek (though I was tempted too). Tre' and I were looking at the pictures that printed out before we left the ultrasound room when Tre' noticed something on one of the pics in his hand. He showed it to me and there was no mistaking boy parts peeking from behind a leg. We asked to double check and we just laughed. A boy!!!! What in the world are we going to do with a boy???? I'm betting we figure it out... I remember a day when we didn't know what to do with girls!! :) We'll name him after his daddy, Charles James IV and we'll call him Chip. Chip was on Catie's list of approved boy names (directly behind Flounder and Lucifer (you know the cat from Cinderella -- told her NO way, NO how on that one!!))... She liked Chip b/c of the little teacup on Beauty and the Beast. I just like the name and I like the way it sounds when we say Chip and Izzy. A BOY!! Who'd of thunk it???

Dancing Queen

Oh sweet Izzy -- what joy you bring to our hearts! Tonight we had the chance to be with friends and hear a little live music. Izzy loved it, she moved to the music and stomped her feet to the beat. She was absolutely cracking me up and did NOT want to get off the dance floor if there was any music going. We've got to work on that dancing etiquette a bit as dancing to your own beat can get in the way of other folks during the Electric Slide or the ChaChaCha. Every time she came off the floor, she would say, "Dance!" Too funny and so sweet. I hope she's always as comfortable and confidant as she was tonight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Growing Girl