Thursday, July 30, 2009

Attachment: I Hope You Dance

I have a bijillion things to do right now and the kids are both napping (so you know how precious this time is), but I'm dropping it all right now to tell this story!
Just a few minutes ago I got a call from my long-time friend (one of the best!!!), Jennifer. She had called the other day to tell me that something was in the mail for me. Now mind you, her birthday was this past Monday. So I'm kind of like, wow, you buy me things for your birthday? I've got a good gig going here. haha.
Well, anyways, back to today's phone call.

Me: Hello
Jenn: Are you near a computer? (she rarely ever says hello back.... and I love that about her. She gets right to it)
Me: I can be
Jenn: I'm sending you an email with an attachment.
ME: Ok.... I'm here, I'll just open my email.... (here's where we had a short, funny little conversation about how impatient we are b/c the email wasn't absolutely instant, and when I say absolutely, I mean it only took about 45 seconds to reach me from Louisiana. But I was still impatient enough to comment about "Ugh, it's not here yet"
Me: Oh, here it is. (I read the title "I Hope You Dance")
Me: Oh, I love that song
Jenn: I know!
Then I proceed to open the attachment and see this:


Me: Oh, I love this artist! What a pretty..... OH!!!!!!!
Tears instantly come rushing out of my eyes like they never have before
Me: I..... Oh my gosh...... ah..... *sniff* ..... I..... don't..... Oh my gosh! *sob sob sob sob*
Jenn: (laughing) It's for you.

Jennifer had read my previous post about my new favorite artist, Peggy Thibodeau, and had contacted her and told her my story about my parents and me. After a few conversations and Peggy Thibodeau checking out my blog (OMG!!!), and flipping through different pieces of artwork, they came up with this piece for me. SHE PAINTED IT JUST FOR ME!!!
I am still crying! It is the most special thing!!!!!
I'm still speechless, Jennifer. You are too precious of a friend, and you'll never know how much you mean to me!!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, this is definitely going in the book!!!!
Thank you,

Imagine the Potential: Life

I had written this big huge post about the healthcare plan and all of the points that I thought were important.... but for me, it all comes down to this.
So I'll keep it simple and say that I do not support anything that supports abortion. There.... that's it!
Oh, no it's not. Two more things.
1) Ronald Reagan briliantly said:
"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
2) Watch this


Please do your research and be seen and heard by your congressmen (and woman) about how you feel about this bill.




PS. Here's another one that I think proves a point that some of you might get a little ruffled over (it was rejected by many major networks) ... but oh well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Pillowcase Dress

I think pillowcase dresses are soooo adorable. I can't wait to see Emma running around in bare feet in her pillowcase dresses. Carefree summer days will be spent just that way. I'm just picturing it: Drew, Emma, Me, Fruit Car (haha) picnic-ing, laughing, and enjoying time together.
I think for this dress we will embroider it with LSU (of course, I'm sure you could figure that out with the color choice) on the dress and Emma's name on the ribbon. I think I'll even hide a little monogram on the lining maybe with a little tiger paw print. How sweet that will be.

Sewing on the ruffle. I got this pattern from Melissa at A Little Loveliness


Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Food


Summer food is so fun. I saw this cute idea in my Taste of Home Fun Food magazine and thought it would be a fun project for Drew and me knowing how much he is into cars right now.
So this morning we gathered all of our stuff and made a fruit car. I did all of the cutting (of course) and Drew did the assembly (outside of the toothpick parts). He kept making "vroom vroom" noises as he worked. It was too cute. Then he started to disassemble the front of the car to put those parts inside with the fruit. I guess he's not ready to go work for F1 just yet.
We had a great time and a great product.
I let him sit down and eat out of it as soon as we were done. I figure we're all family here, so that's ok. We'll just keep restocking the car for as long as it stays "good."

After washing our hands, Drew stood on a chair and helped assemble his fruit car
Notice that it did not take long for the marshmallow eyes to disappear
and now we have leftover fruit salad to keep restocking the car with.

We'll enjoy it again for dessert tonight and snacks tomorrow. I know Drew will get excited every time we get it out of the fridge. I can't wait to hear his "vroom vrooms"



Friday, July 24, 2009

An Update On My Lists

So you know how I said that I'm having to make lists for everything? Well, I've got lists EVERYWHERE because there is so much going on. Packing lists, fundraising lists, general to-do lists, lists of thank-you notes that need to be written, so on and so on. Well, they are working great!
BUT....
We taught Drew how to trace his hand on his little "magna-doodle" thingy. Well, you know where this is going...
Drew has traced his hand on my lists! It's the cutest thing!

Okay, so I'm totally telling on myself here.... yes, that is Thank You notes from Drew's birthday on that list! Don't judge... (I'm doing a fine job beating myself up for that one)

As I was taking these pictures, the culprit butted into the pictures to continue his "signature work"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Double Doctor's Appointments

Because of the way that Drew and Emma's birthdays fall, I was able to schedule their check-ups together. Emma had her 6 month visit and Drew had his 2 tear visit. I had to strip both of them down to their diapers to go be weighed... so there we were walking down the hallway to the scales, a mama and her two "nakie" babies. Emma weighed in at 14 lbs and 1oz and Drew weighed in at a whopping 30 lbs 2 oz!!!! Emma is "petite" as the doctor said, but she wasn't worried because she's quite long (26.5 inches) so she's just growing long not plump. Both Drew and Emma got a clean bill of health and the doctor was very happy with what she saw.
She was great with the kids (as usual) and let Drew check her ears and mouth with the "flashlight" before she checked his. They both had to get shots today though. I have been dreading this for weeks! But it actually did not go that badly. Emma was up first. She got stuck twice, poor baby. She cried a good bit, but she was ok. She got two Circus band aids to make her feel better. Drew got a finger prick and one shot. He was a trooper through the finger prick. He just quietly watched what was going on and didn't make a peep. Just flinched a little when it happened. And by the time he realized he was getting a shot, it was all over (we did a great job distracting him apparently). He was more interested in his Bugs Bunny band aids than the procedure.
I am happy to report that we have two happy, healthy children. Now, if we can just stay healthy this upcoming fall when Mama goes back to work we'll be sittin' pretty!


These pictures were taken today (I know it's hard to believe that they would be smiling after shots)

I'm Awarding Myself With...


The Dory Award!!! I don't know what is happening to me, but I just can't get it together!!!! Albeit, I have A LOT on my plate, but still! If I didn't have my iPhone I'd really be in big trouble. For right now, I'm going to have to make lists for EVERYTHING! I can't leave anything up to my memory because it is really failing me lately. Double "mommy brain" plus all of the other stuff I have going on is really chipping away at it. I need to do some puzzles to keep my mind sharp. Maybe one day I'll get it back. But for now I'll...... "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swim"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So Much More Than I Expected!

I was so excited when Karen (my sister) called me and told me about what she was doing with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and when she asked me to join her. I had heard, and knew, that it would be a life changing experience, but I thought that it wouldn't be until the day of the marathon that I would experience "the big life changing experience."
That's not true at all! I already feel it. The training is good for my soul and I enjoy it so much. I've never run without music before, but I have only had music twice during all of my training. I find that I want to think during that time. I plan my fundraising, I think about my mom and how strong she was... that motivates me tremendously to become stronger. I think about all of the people out there that I want to help, and I think about all of the people that are supporting me.... not only financially, but with their kind words.
That brings me to the next life-changing part of this.... the big part! I know I have great people in my life. I've got some of the best people in this world as my friends and I will NEVER take that for granted. Colin and I comment all of the time to each other that we have some stellar people in our lives.
This experience has only strengthened my belief in that. And it has shown me that not only my close friends, but tons of people that I grew up around and have known in my past are great. Facebook has been it's own blessing in all of this. The people that have left me supportive comments and have donated have overwhelmed me. It's always amazing when you feel that the people in this world are so good, down to their very core. Thank you to everyone for reminding me of that.
When my best friend told me that my cause was picked as her family's focus for the year, well, it just brought tears to my eyes! I know she wouldn't have it any other way, but that doesn't make it mean any less to me.
And when people contribute to show support and thank me for what I am doing.... I am humbled.
When people contibute a large amount of money just to help others, it means so much. Especially when they are teachers.... in the summer (money is not exactly flowing at this time of the year for teachers and in this economic climate).
I have had some VERY large donations and I am thankful for those and humbled by them..... all of them, whether I know who you are or not. Thank you.
And lastly, this experience makes me want to continue to dedicate my time to helping others. I want to finish this fundraising strongly, and then continue helping others after that. I want to teach my children this feeling. This experience will change my family. I want to teach my children from a very young age how to help others, what it feels like to dedicate their time and energy into making other lives better. It's also going to change my teaching. I have already planned a unit for the beginning of the year about heroes. Part of the unit includes planning a philanthropic effort. I am so excited. I want to make a difference.
Thank you to all of you that have inspired me to do so much more than I had ever expected to get out of this experience.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My New Favorite Artist

While in Myrtle Beach, we stopped at a little boutique called "The Big Tuna." I fell in love the moment I walked into the door. There was all of this artwork around that I absolutely loved!!!! It was very "me" and when you see it, if you know me, you'll agree. Anyways, so I asked the shop owner about the artist. It's such an interesting little story. Her name is Peggy Thibideau and she was a teacher I believe. Well, she was obviously looking for a different creative outlet and prayed about it. God told her to paint. She took His advice and now is a very successful, self-taught artist.
I just love the colors, the messages, and the "green" approach. I love mixed media art and I so enjoy reading about how she comes up with the different items she uses and what they mean to her. Her blog is so interesting too. I loose track of time when reading about the different pieces. Good thing it's summer time and this teacher doesn't have to be at work in the morning.... hehe.


These images are from Peggy's Blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It Was A Day That Started Just Like Any Other Day....

Just like Elli Wolpe said at the TNT Pasta Party, I have always heard that when people tell the story of an event that changed their lives, they often begin with the words: "It was a day that started just like any other day..."

The same is true for us too.

It was a day that started just like any other day, my mother went to the doctor's office for an annual physical. She actually told him that she felt better than she's ever felt before (she and I had just started walking together at the YMCA). On that day, they told her that they wanted to see her again to run some more tests. Some of her "numbers" were abnormal.

When we received the news that she was diagnosed with cancer, we were devastated.

Luckily, the chemo worked, and after months and months of treatment my mother went into remission. But remission is not the same thing as being cured. We played the waiting game because incurable means it's coming back. Only we didn't know when. All we knew was that it would be on a day just like any other day...

And it was. I can't even write this part without breaking down, but I have to share the rest of my story. Please know that I am pouring my heart into this message to share it with you.

It was a day that started just like any other day, and we walked into the doctor's office together to recieve the news that the cancer was back and that there was nothing more that the doctors could do.

A day that started just like any other day, knocked the feet right out from under my entire family and all of our friends. That was in November. My amazing mother fought, treated only for pain, until March when we lost her.

I hope and pray that one day....
It will be a day that starts just like any other day, when they announce they have found a cure.

God bless those that are fighting, and may we find a cure so you and your families can rejoice on that day!

Please click here to make donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Your support for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society matters - to our family, families like ours, and families that are fighting for their loved one's lives... You are changing the world for people like us.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Of My Favorite Pictures Ever

I know I've already posted this one... but picture this:
decades from now, a friendship that is a lifetime old has passed. Sadie's grandchildren find a picture of her as a small child with Drew (whom they will also know, because I am sure he will always be in her life.)
They will think it is one of the best treasures (as we feel when we come across old, meaningful pictures of our family).

I love the thought! History in the making!

But by then the picture will look more like this:


To My Sweeties

If The Stars Were Mine
by: Melody Gardot

If the stars were mine
I'd give them all to you
I'd pluck them down right from the sky
and leave it only blue
I would never let the sun forget to shine upon your face
so when others would have rain clouds you'd have only sunny days
If the stars were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd put the stars right in a jar and give them all to you

If the birds were mine
I'd tell them when to sing
I'd make them sing a sonnet when your telephone would ring
I would put them there inside the square, whenever you went out
so there'd always be sweet music whenever you would walk about
If the birds were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you

If the world was mine
I'd paint it gold and green
I'd make the oceans orange for a brilliant color scheme
I would color all the mountains, make the sky forever blue
So the world would be a painting and I'd live inside with you
If the world was mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd wrap the world in ribbons and then give it all to you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd put those stars right in a jar...and..........
give them all...to you.......


Monday, July 13, 2009

Some Numbers to Inspire You

HERE ARE SOME MEANINGFUL NUMBERS:

$5 - The cost of sending a newly diagnosed family an informational packet about cancer

$20 - Because Leukemia is the leading cause of cancer-related death among children under the age of 20

$25- Covers a single prescription co-payment.

$35 - Will purchase (12) Charlie Brown DVD's to explain cancer to pediatric patients.

$40- Will educate (4) school employees on how to ease the transition back to school for a child with cancer.

$52 - Just $1 a week for a year

$88 - Because there is now an 88% chance of survival for children under five years old who are diagnosed

$100 - Because with your help, we have a 100% chance of a cure in the future!

$150- Will train (6) survivors to make First Connections with a newly diagnosed patient.

$288 - The equivalent to $1 for each person who will be diagnosed with a blood cancer in the next 24 hours

$365 - Just $1 a day for a year

$500 - Enough to provide one patient/family with financial assistance for a year

$1000 - The cost on average for a one night stay at the hospital. Many patients visit the hospital numerous times and for extended periods while undergoing treatments

PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE TO HELP SUPPORT ME IN MY FIGHT AGAINST BLOOD CANCERS!!! http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/nikesf09/mwestgarth
ANY AMOUNT HELPS! EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR HELPS MOVE US ONE STEP CLOSER TO PUTTING CANCER OUT OF BUSINESS!! NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL - IT ALL ADDS UP!!



The Gray Snapper

Have I ever told y'all how good my mom was at cards. Gin Rummy to be exact. She won almost every time against anybody. Usually it went something like this:
you would be looking at the 10 cards in your hand, she would draw a card, you would hear "snap, snap, snap" from her snapping her books of cards on the table (she would always put her thumb down on them and snap the tops down with her first two fingers with assertion), she would look up at you and smile as you noticed that she had no cards left (and usually cursed out of frustration because this wasn't the first time this happened.

So that's how she got the "Snapper" part of her nickname. The "Gray" came from her hair.
My mom always wanted to have short gray hair, but she didn't have the guts to cut it all off and let all of the color go. Well, during her first stay in the hospital (she ended up staying there for the better part of 3 months) she started to loose her hair from the intense treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. Finally, she asked me to shave her head. I didn't know what to say. She was tired of looking so "sickly" with her hair partially fallen out. I agreed because I would do anything for her. I told her that we were going to turn that hospital room into a salon and she would have the best haircut ever (even I can handle shaving...haha)
We began and she was so nervous, but after about the second pass, I could feel her get a little "lift" to her. It was like Demi Moore in that GI Jane scene. She felt a little bit like a bad ass I'm sure. It gave her the feeling of control and like she would take charge of this part instead of letting the treatment do it. Anyone who knew my mom, knew she wasn't going to go the wig route, she went the hat route instead. She was adorable!!!
Then, when her hair grew back, it grew back gray and she never had it for long enough between treatments for it to get very long, so there she had it.... her short gray hair. She loved it. I think she looked so good!

Well, she no longer has that gray hair, but my dad put the Queen of Hearts from her favorite deck of cards with her. Then when he passed away, my sister and I put the King of Hearts with him. And now they are side by side, the royal pair!

So, here's to the Gray Snapper!



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Splish Splash Fun

Drew's birthday party was at the Splash Pad. He had a great time! How wonderful to have a July birthday so that you can always have fun "water parties!" We had such fun running through the fountains and riding the train. Sadie and Drew both let loose and were able to just run wild in the sun and water.
Fun splashing around at the Splash Pad
Drew loved opening his gifts too... of course. Thanks to everyone!!!!

Birthday Brunch

Daddy made Drewbers his favorite brunch.... crepes. We had a great time together. We turned the music up, danced, Daddy cooked, we laughed at his moves, and ate like kings. Drew really enjoyed his meal and had it all over himself by the end. I love to see him happy on such a wonderful day!


Drew is saying, "he's seriously cooking?" with those eyes. Yes, Drew, he is..... and he's quite good at it.... I know, I know, buddy.... who would have thunk it?
Yummy Yummy Good Good!
Colin exercising his blind flipping skills
and next his Robot skills (the blind flipping ones are much more refined!)


Hello Two

Two years ago today, I woke up at around 6 am with a funny feeling. It wasn't long before I realized that it was time! Here it was, my due date. I went into labor on my own on my due date. What can I say? Daddy took me to the hospital at around 11 am. He was a lot more nervous than I was. The nurses checked us and said that "we were having a baby today." I don't think I've ever smiled so big in my life... my heart went aflutter. We settled into our room and turned on The Tour de France. We watched and cheered Lance on between contractions. His cadence kept me strong. Our nurse, Joy, was awesome (she still sends us cards). After 13 hours, at 7:07pm, we had our little baby boy. (unlike the guys in tour... I didn't have to do it over again for the next 20 days or so).
Now, here we are. You're an amazing little man. You're talking up a storm and you've got so much personality we don't even know what to do.
I hope you have an incredible year my sweet baby boy! There's so much to discover and learn. I can't wait to watch the world unveil itself to you.
We love you so much!
Mama and Daddy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Goodbye One

Well my precious baby boy (by the way, you will be "my precious baby boy" long after you qualify for Social Security), this is the last day of being one. It was a great year.
Some of the things you did were:
Partied with the best of 'em at Aunt Mary's wedding
Lived without a kitchen for a couple of weeks.... you ate in your highchair in the living room (I think you secretly loved it)
Learned to express yourself through language
Spent lots of time with family
Finally outgrew Lily and turned the tables with her
Enjoyed your second Christmas
Baked more seasonal cookies than we could even eat
Got your first haircut (and three more since then)
Moved into a new bedroom
The stork brought you a new little sister
Fell in love with Emma with the rest of us
Already became very protective of Emma (by the way, I hope this one stays around)
Played in the snow and sledded down the street
Watched the first black president be elected
Got your first Hot Wheels set
Spent lots of time at he park sliding down slides and swinging
Danced in the rain for the first time ever (but I hope not the last)
Fell in love with Lightening McQueen in Cars
Spent lots of time with your buddies, Zander and Tanner at Mrs. Tonia's
Visited the beach for the second time
Was loved more than you'll ever know by all that know you (this will last forever)

I hope you have enjoyed as much as Daddy and me have.
We love you!
Mama

Friday, July 10, 2009

The "Papa Incident"

This was one of those things that was not funny at the time (at all... Daddy was so mad at Drew. Nana, however, thought it was funny and grabbed her camera), but when we looked back at the pictures, we laughed our tails off.
Drew was playing with Papa and they were just having a big ole' time until Drew hit Papa in the eye with his Bob The Builder juice. He left quite the mark under Papa's eye. Thank goodness Bob landed where he did and we didn't have any major eye injuries. I can't handle those at all!!!!
Drew blamed it on Bob! We all have decided to too.




Friday, July 3, 2009

Fireworks

When we got back from Duffy's Seafood Shack on Thursday night, we heard fireworks from the parking lot.  We couldn't see past the building, but our hopes were building up that they would be over the water.  When we got back to our little home away from home, we were delighted to realize that they were.  We sat out on the balcony and watched the celebrations on the beach.  We listened to Drew say "whoa, pow!" every time a firework went off.  He was so animated about it too.  It was just too cute for words.  Then after the fireworks were over, God put on his own show of lightening over the water.  I've never seen anything as truly awesome as that.  We continued to sit and watch as the lightening flickered across the sky.  It was a nice treat to "come home to." video
That is Drewbie talking about fireworks and asking for "more.... more"
I didn't have pictures of this, but I've got better.... a video... awww!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay...

Ok, it wasn't The Bay (we're on the opposite end of the country) and it's not exactly a dock either... it was more like sittin' on the pier of the Atlantic Ocean wastin' time, but it was good for the soul none-the-less. Not quite what dear ol' Ottis was writing about, we sure weren't lonely out there. There were tons of people with their families and friends fishin' the day away. We ran into one guy that had caught 2 baby sharks that morning, then on our way back up the pier when we passed, he said he had caught another. Colin said he was exaggerating, but you can't help but trust a guy that sounds so incredibly southern.... I believe he did.
As horrible as it sounds, there is something very comforting to me about the sights, sounds, and smells of leathery-tan men fishing and smoking cigarettes.... the kind of men that you can tell have spent their entire lives out in the sun both working and relaxing.
We had a great time out on the pier watching them fish for king mackerel. It was just as entertaining watching them fish for the bait. They would throw out these big nets when a school of fish would pass by and pull up what seemed like hundreds of little fish.
I didn't take my camera that day, so I don't have any pictures of that event, but I thought I would include a picture that I have from my grandmother's scrapbooks of my great uncle out on the beach with a pier in the background. I have no idea where this was taken, but who knows, I like to think it's the same pier.... wouldn't that be something!


Lighthouses and Carousels

I love funnel cake stands, flying swings, paddle boats, and of course pendulum  pirate ships!
We spent one day of our beach trip at Broadway at the Beach.  So these pictures are not of beautiful historic lighthouses and abandoned pirate ships, it is what it is.... Margaritaville's bar..... haha.
I love cheesy beach attractions!

Playing Around In The Surf

Drew's new phrase is now "Cowabunga Dude!" Playing at the water's edge was his favorite thing in the world to do.... almost too much. We learned really quickly that he didn't have much fear at all, which of course heightened my fear. But, overall he was a good boy and listened to his mama and daddy and so we could all relax and play in the surf.

Drew loved digging around in the sand.  He also loved making all of the "sand characters" with his moulds.  And unfortunately for Daddy, he also loves to knock down sand castles...haha
My guys enjoyed hanging out by the water together
Drew loves a job.  He loved taking buckets of water up to his wagon.  Then he would dump it all out like a dump truck to start over again.  He is ALL boy! (please excuse my whiteness, I'm trying to preserve my youth...haha... yeah right!)
Nana enjoyed building sand castles with her grandson.

There was some great surf while we were there, but all the more reason to keep Drew within arm's reach.