Thursday, July 19, 2012

Help Us FIGHT Ovarian Cancer!

If you have been following this blog, you will know that my mom is going through an incredible journey right now. You can read about the start her (our) journey by going here. She has been going through chemo and is half way through her 18 week treatments. As soon as she was diagnosed, we started looking for races to run in as a way to fight along with our mom. We found the Power is Teal 5K Run/Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness in Cincinnati. We decided that this would be the perfect race for us to be apart of!

We are inviting you to join us as we run/walk in this race for our mom! You can support us by joining TEAM LINDA and signing up for the race. There is a competitive run, a competitive walk and a casual walk. We will have lots of people (including me and my kids) walking in the casual walk category. The race is at Lunken Field in Cincinnati and is on September 15th. This is a great way to show support for our mom and other woman (Debbie Warning, Linda Warnick) who are going through this courageous fight. You can also support us financially as a way to join Team Linda. All of our finances raised will go towards their medical bills  We would like to raise $500 to give to Ken and Linda before the race begins in September!

It is so important to us to show our mom that we are fighting along with her and my dad. Let's smother her with support by getting lots of friends and family together for this race. It costs $25 to register and you can click here to join our team/register. If you donate extra money on their website, that will go towards the Ovarian Cancer Society. If you donate via our blog that will go directly to Ken and Linda. It is a secure website that sends funds directly to a paypal account that we have set up.

I should note that a few years ago, a friend's wife (Libby) in our Young Life community was diagnosed with cancer. Her friends and family rallied around her to support her fight. During her journey, they all helped raise money for their medical bills and ran in a 1/2 marathon for Team Libby! I have been given a lot help and inspiration from her blog and her own fight. She is now cancer free! PTL! Go here and read her story. 

We would love to have 25-30 racers on our team! Braylen says it will be fun. I'd also like to give props to my awesome husband who has been kicking butt training for this race! He is down to 9 minute miles and is running a 5K three nights a week! Seriously. He started a month ago. He's amazing. If you see him running on Hopeful, just give a honk and a "Go Team Linda!" 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Squirmy Braylen

Life with a 4 1/2 year old is pretty awesome. Braylen is becoming quite the young man. He is sweet and hilarious and energetic, all at the same time. He definitely went through a growth spurt this spring/summer. I started to notice this little growth spurt when he requested the chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-a and he would devour the whole thing plus fries. And then he would eat some of mine. He is a little over 42 inches tall and weighs about 50 pounds. Giant. He is not easy to carry up to bed after falling asleep in the car.

As much as we have talked about my mom's situation around him, he has not asked about cancer or what it means. He knows that maw-maw is sick and he loves to ask about her or to make sure she is doing ok. He just painted a wooden train for her that he said "would help her feel better." So sweet. He's very sensitive and caring of others. And despite having a few tantrums here and there, he's surprisingly polite and well-mannered. The other night, he randomly invited our waitress from O'Charley's to go to school with him and meet his teachers. He said she would like school.

I hate to admit this but he LOVES watching TV shows and movies. It is so easy to turn the TV on and go about caring for Austin or relaxing or finish chores. But he also loves to play in his room with all of his toys and could stay up there for hours! He has finally started to enjoy painting and coloring, but he would rather play in the dirt with his shovel. It's been so hot outside so we've been staying indoors more than usual.

This summer Braylen has learned how to swim by himself-with no swimmies! He can swim underwater with goggles, swim on his back, and jump off the side and swim to the ladder. He can also do a flip into the water. He's crazy. Once he did a running flip into the water and I about had a heart attack. He's done a few "accidental" dives too. He has pretty good form actually. He can ride his bike without training wheels now but is still a little shaky on it.

A few funny/sweet things he has said lately:

"Mom, you smell like a squid."
"Excuse you, squirmy."
During his prayer with my mom- "God I love maw-maw and hope she feels better. And God I hope I can go on an airplane and go to a festival."
"Austin, you are the cutest little boy in the world."
"That is so cool."
"That is embarrassing."
"Nice mom. Real nice."
"Austin is freaking out again!"

For some reason Braylen has this awesome "yee-haw" voice. Here is a video of it. It's hilarious.

He is still very cuddly and says that Guy and I are his best friends. Mommy is his best friend and daddy is his buddy. He loves Austin so much too. He tends to smother him hugs and kisses. He adores Guy. I just love seeing their relationship grow. I have a special relationship with my dad but I'm excited to watch Father/Son. Braylen is always talking about daddy and how one day he will be just like him. As much as I wanted to have a baby girl, I am SO very excited to raise a house full of boys (Guy included). :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1/2 Way There! & Birthdays

I just finished reading this awesome book called "Love Does" by Bob Goff. Bob became a Christian through Young Life in high school and was a YL leader for a few years in college. He has these crazy life experiences and stories that literally don't seem real. I've been telling people that each chapter you read is like a club talk. He tells a short story and then relates it to scripture or to the character of Jesus. I love it. 

I've been so inspired by this book. "Love Does" is an outward expression of LOVE! It's not just people "saying" I love you but actually LOVING them, "with actions and in truth." Bob seems to be an "all in" type of person. With everything and everyone. He's a participant instead of a spectator. I've been thinking about my mom a lot during this book. This trial with my mom has been the hardest experience of my life. She is the only one who can physically experience what it's like to have cancer, but we are still "all in" with her. WE are FIGHTING with her. WE only have 9 more weeks of chemo. WE only have 3 more cycles to go. WE are 1/2 way finished! 

Guy always laughs at me when I use the word "we." I use it a lot. For example:
I will say to Guy:

"We need to cut the grass."
"We need to paint the kitchen."
"We need to put away the outdoor toys."
"We need to clean the bathroom."

You get the picture. And he always says "you mean I need to do these things." :) I'm sure this is a common phrase in most marriages. But that is truly how I see myself. As a "WE." As a partnership and family. And that's how I feel about mom. If someone asks me how she is doing, I'll tell them that she is doing great and moving along and that WE are almost through the treatments. I don't know if that is offensive to some people who have gone through something like cancer. But I don't care. Obviously, I will never know the extent of my mom's pain or even her fearful thoughts. But she will know that she is not alone and that Jesus is constant, real and always present. 

Mom just had her birthday a few days ago. She told me that birthdays have a whole new meaning to her now. They sure do! To celebrate her life is so special and amazing. And if you can believe this, mom spent her birthday shopping for someone else! I love that. The boys and I joined her to find a few bday items for Kaleb's 1 year bday party for next weekend. Afterwards we had dinner at her fav place  (TGIFridays -of all the places!) and ice cream at Orange Leaf. We gave her some presents and took a few pictures. We had just returned from a spontaneous trip from Charlotte to surprise the Meiman's but we did miss my sister and her family. Looking forward to seeing them next week again. 

Happy birthday to our sweet and strong mom. You are almost finished! Keep fighting! Keep the faith! 


Annual Trip to New "Er-lens"

Last month we took a trip down to New Orleans to visit Guy's family. We were so excited to go!! 1) Because my in-laws were joining us, 2) Guy's cousin Brooke had a baby boy 3 days after Austin was born (besties!), and 3) Braylen could ride a street car! We always have the best time visiting family in New Orleans. There are so many fun things to do! The city is just full of excitement and of course food! Also my friend Kelly and her family lives there- so it's like I have friends to visit too. :) 

Guy's parents, Jon and Peggy, allowed our crew to join them on the 12 hour road trip. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but when you are nursing a baby every 3 hours, a 12 hour trip can easily turn into 16. Which it did. The trip down and back wasn't terrible but it was long! Thank goodness for portable DVD players, iphone's, Kindle's. Kindle's are awesome. Seriously. 

Our time included a small family reunion, a craw fish boil, a stroll through the Quarter, shopping on Magazine Street, exploring the Aquarium, dinner at Kelly's house in the North Shore, riding the Street Car, eating beignets, and dining at lots of our favorite restaurants (and some new ones!). 2 new favorite restaurants are Joey K's on Magazine Street and K Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in the Quarter, where I had the BEST honey chicken po-boy with fried onion strings. So. Good. 

We had a great time! Looking forward to our next visit!