Sunday, November 30, 2008

***Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow***

This much so far at 1pm, more coming and not expected to stop until 6am tomorrow morning.

~Kindergarten Feast 2008

Avery's Kindergarten class held a Thanksgiving Feast on Wednesday, November 26th in honor of the original Pilgrim/Indian Feast. Each child chose to be an Indian or a Pilgrim and wore the appropriate hat to correspond with their choice. Avery - well, just check her out below. Her Indian Name - "Fair Haired Love", lol!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

{ Thankful and Grateful

Eight Things I am Thankful and Grateful for:

* My health. I have been very blessed to not see any chance of recurrance in the last three years. I want to live to see my girls turn into women.

* My Hannah. The old soul. The compassionate child. The one who worries because she loves so much. The one who I watch grow every day and see her turning into such a beautiful young woman. I love to read your stories, hang your drawings, and hold your hand. You are a precious, creative being. I am thankful I was chosen to be your mom.

* My Gracie. My little whirlwind of cuteness. My little free spirit. The world waits for Gracie. Never ready on time, always pushing the envelope, always got more to do that what needs to be done. (Kinda like her mama, lol!) Sweet and snuggly. Loving and tenderhearted. Feisty and protective when she needs to be. I was meant to be your mama, and you were meant to teach me that my quirks (so much like yours) are annoying but they are just us. :o)

* My Avery. Avie baby. The midget. No one fits the baby slot so perfectly. Spunky. Full of life and attitude. I love to read to you and am enjoying you learning to read to me. What a precious transformation that is. Grumpy in the morning, but then happy as a lark the rest of the day. Busy. Busy. Busy. Keeps me on my toes. Total girl. You make me laugh every day. I am so happy that you and I were chosen to be together.

* My Lance. You stand by me when things are tough and when things are easy. You are a wonderful father to our daughters. You are more than "Mr. Mom" - you are my friend and my partner. Thank you for choosing me, again and again.

* Employment. We are both gainfully employed in jobs that we enjoy. Or we enjoy the paychecks :o). In any way, we are grateful to be employed.

* Faith. I am thankful that we all have faith in God and his ability to lead us to a place of belief. I struggle at times with my faith, we all do really, but I am a follower of Christ and I am grateful for his love. I am grateful he has been there when I didn't even realize I needed Him.

* Family and Friends. I have the most amazing family. My parents, my sister and her family and my brother are my solid rock. They have been there for me in good times and bad. They are more than I deserve and I am honored to have them. To my friends. My true friends....the ones who would drop anything at the drop of a hat if I asked them....thank you. You have been the most amazing, touching people in my life. How lucky am I to have known you all. I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Blessings for a new year full of faith, family and friends and health, happiness and hope.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

{ Festival of Trees 2008 Edition

This is definately going to be one of my favorite photos for a long time. My parents, my sister and her children and myself and the girls all went to the Quad City Arts Festival of Trees last night. While in the Children's Play area, Jennifer and I wanted the kids' pictures taken. My girls by themselves. Her Kylie & Patrick by themselves. And one of all the grandchildren together. So, I asked Mom and Dad if they would get in the photo with them. "No Way", they said.

As soon as the kids all piled next to Santa for the grandchildren's shot, here comes Grandma and Papa ready to have their photo taken too. Good sports, what a fun memory. The kids loved it. I love it too. Thanks Mom & Dad.

Monday, November 24, 2008

{ The "C" Word

It is the reality of the times that most of us, at some point in time or another, will be touched by cancer. We always hope and pray that it will not be us or someone we know, but the reality of this generation is that it is going to happen.

Flashback to late 2004 when I began to not feel just quite right. Couldn't pinpoint it exactly, but wasn't sure if it was my bladder getting old or the pressure on it from birthing three children. After seeking treatment three times from my general practitioner who misdiagnosed with me with recurring urinary tract infections (when there was no actual infection present), I finally did my own little detective work and made an appt with my gynecologist. My gyno immediately sent me in for an ultrasound (same day) and the next morning they called to tell me I had a tumor. They weren't sure if it was in my uterus or bladder but there was a large mass there and I was to come in immediately. Not days before this, after making the appt with my gyno, I stood looking at myself in the mirror and I said the words out loud "I have cancer don't I?". I said these words to myself and I fell apart. Somehow, some way I already knew it. Talk about an epiphany. I went back in to the doctor and the rest becomes a blur of dates and times and appointments.

I went another couple of weeks before they could remove the tumor. I got called on the phone during dinner to be told my tumor was malignant. Now, I know that seems awful, and it was. However, I told the doctor that as soon as he knew I wanted him to call. I didn't want to be sitting in a doctors office to be told what I already thought. I wanted to be with my family and friends and deal with it before I had to move on.

Two surgeries, one attempted surgical procedure, rounds of week-long chemotherapy treatments, depression, anger, grief and one hospital trip for dehydration later, it was over. My cancer antigen levels (bloodwork) have always went down every trip back, every six months. My 3 year checkup is December 9th. I'm getting to that nervous nelly part where I start to wonder, I look at myself in the mirror and try to "see" if I can tell it's back. It's completely a mental issue, one I've been told all cancer patients go through. It's hard. It's scary and amps up the anxiety level by about a million.

My cancer is a rare type. It normally does come back. It is very agressive and recurrances tend to be terminal. I've read it all. You can google it if you'd like "mucinous adenocarcinoma of the bladder" or "mucinous adenocarcinoma of the uracheous" if you want to get even more technical. uracheus = belly button.

Why am I telling you all this? Because yet again, another live has been touched by cancer. Another friend of a friend is currently battling this demonic disease. It broke my heart to watch my family's fear through their eyes. All because I had to get sick. All because something triggered in my body for those cancer genes to mutate. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful every day that it was me and not those around me because I don't think I could have been that strong for them. As strong as they were for me. And I'm talking my immediate family. In the entire time of my diagnosis, they were really the only ones there for me. My coworkers, church family and close friends were also, but none of my extended family (except Aunt Rhonda and my dad's siblings and a few cousins on my dads side) called, visited, sent a card and/or expressed any concern. You don't forget that. I also don't forget walking through the schools with people looking at you just staring like you're some sort of freak or turning their head when you look at them, afraid you're going to cough on them and give it to them or something.

Cancer touches us all. We all know someone who is struggling with this disease. I challenge you all to send a card. Not just one, but one a week. Call and just listen. Take a dinner and serve it to the family. Play games with the kids. Hold your friends hand and tell them how much they mean to you. Fold their laundry. Sweep their floors. Offer to take the kids for a day. All things that cost little to nothing but are worth millions to those who receive. Slip a $20 in their purse, they'll never admit, but money is tight. When one parent isn't working and your fighting a diseases that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight....$20 might be just a little, but it might mean so much to them. Organize a benefit to help pay their expenses and medical bills. Just because they have insurance doesn't mean expenses aren't piling up. Who pays the other 20% of the insurance bill? Who pays for the gas to the doctor? Who pays for the sitter because you're too sick to take care of your own kids? Who helps grocery shop because you don't even have the energy to push a cart? It's reality. I know, I have been there. $55,000 of my medical bills was MY responsibility after the insurance came through. For a family that lives paycheck to paycheck most of the time (and don't we almost all) think of what that means.

I only tell you this because if I could grant any wish in the world it would be that those suffering from devastating illnesses and/or terminal illnesses could get some help. Why do they have to lose everything or file bankruptcy? Where are all the people who are supposed to matter? Be one of those people. Make a difference, large or small. Give and give freely from your heart. Things that you can give that cost nothing or little to nothing for you but save them so much. Because no one, no one, should have to deal with economic crises when you are fighting for your life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

~~Scrapbooking Finds!!!

Made my way through some scrapbooking shops this week~ Scrapaganza on Saturday and Scrapadoodle in Peoria on Monday. Should be enough to give my creative mojo a jump start....going to really get cooking now since I am off Monday and Tuesday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

{ First Christmas Find

Found these felt embroidered Christmas bags at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $5.99. Not sure the exact dimensions, but I'm guessing 36 x 50 inches? They're big, enough for several gifts. Santa does not wrap his presents in Illinois, so this is perfect for him to just drop off the gifts in bags. Santa usually has time to embroider kids' names on the back :o)

Got them now, because I know when I go back, they'll be gone. They had red, evergreen and blue felt with all kinds of sayings on them, not just "Santa Was Here". Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

{Scrapbooking mojo ~ The beginning

My mojo isn't cooking as well as others lately, but hoping to get some time in tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday to get those creative juices flowing. Got lots of ideas for Christmas coming and all. In between driving here and there and everywhere trying to find that elusive Nintendo Wii Guitar Hero World Tour flippin' band kit!!! Saw one at ToysRUs this week but had the girls with so , hello, who buys Santa gifts in front of kids that still believe? So, no, I passed, went back later without them and, bam, gone. That's a whole different story.

Here's a layout of Lance and Avery on Father's Day fishing at the Andover park. I just love her tiny, little legs and her messy bun!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank a Veteran Today!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grandpa, Let me tell you about the Good Old Days

Today is my Grandpa Sherwood's birthday. Otherwise known as Papa Hook. This is what the great-grandkids always called him and once they were here, Grandpa Sherwood was always known as Papa Hook in our house. Here are two of my favorite photos of Papa Hook. The first is the last photo I have of Papa Hook and Avery. It saddens me to know that she will never really know the kind, warm and loving heart that was Papa Hook. He loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren more than anything in this world. Just look at his smile. That is Papa Hook, that is true love. The second is at our wedding in 1996....we danced to "Grandpa" by the Judds. I remember Grandpa always telling us kids stories about him growing up. Today, I want to take the time to share stories I have of growing up with Grandpa. They are random memories, so they are in no particular order.

Grandpa and Grandma Sherwood took Jennifer and I on vacation to Washington DC when I was about 7 or 8....not sure exactly how old I was since my memory from those years is fading. What I remember most about that trip was walking through the Smithsonian, going for fried chicken at Roy Rogers and going to Gettysburg. I remember standing on the back of a home (might have been at Gettysburg, might have been Mount Vernon) and as we looked out into the field towards the river he said to me something like "i'm so glad that we brought you here to see the nation's capital and all of the history. i hope you enjoyed yourself and i hope you learned a lot about your country's history to go home and tell your friends". I remember walking in front of the White House and looking back to see tears in his eyes, one thing about Papa Hook - he loved his country. I thank him in my prayers frequently for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I hope to take my girls someday soon.

I also remember a trip to Great America in Chicago. We rode in his tan Chevy pickup. The back had a topper on it and us kids layed on blankets in the back - no seat belts, just laying and playing on the floor. I know, total horror at the thought of what could have happened to us, but that was the Good Old Days. And it was fun!

I remember him always telling us he was going to give us "ten lashes with a wet noodle". LOL! That still makes me smile. Good times.

I remember Grandpa telling me I was going to get that truck for my 16th birthday and I remember being so embarrassed at the thought and even being a bitchy teenager about it. I swore if that truck was in the high school parking lot on my birthday I would never forgive them. Now, I know how much he loved me because he would have given that truck to any of us grandkids if we needed it, he would have given us the world. He gave us so much more.

Thank you Grandpa for being the most compassionate, loving, warm, sensitive, family oriented man I have ever known. Your family was your rock and you were ours. You were the glue that kept us all together in good times and bad. I miss you every single day, I wish I had one more opportunity to hug you and give you a kiss and tell you that I love you with every being of my heart.

I know that someday we will meet at heaven's gate....and I know that we will rejoice when we meet there. Until then, I will love you forever.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gracie J. Noble for President - 2038

If I Were President.....
"I would make more playgrounds for the children because they need more exercise. My second idea is to make a big library and this is why. You need to read a lot so you can be smarter. My last thing I would like to make is that children can be a baby sitter so thay can have fun with babies"

**typed exactly as written :o)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!!

And we did, Congratulations President Elect Barack Obama!!

And equal congratulations to Senator John McCain for such a compassionate speech about America and those of us that reside here. How embarrassing though, for the Republican Party to have such a terrible show of sportsmanship by those in the crowd. Kudos, John, for asking them to please stop.

I vowed to respect either candidate, no matter who was chosen. I would have hoped we all could show the same respect.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote '08!!!!!!!!!!!

Election and Political MySpace Comments and Graphics

Please remember to exercise your right to vote today. I just got up from my slumber and as soon as the girls get home, I will take them up to the polling place with me. Should be interesting at work tonight to watch the election unfold.

UPDATE: at 5:00pm CST, our votes have been cast.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We love our Chargers - great season boys!!

Our Orion Chargers lost their bid in the playoffs in Saturday's 1st Round game. They played an outstanding Immaculate Conception team and lost 42-6. Heartbreaking for a very talented group of young men. Undeserving as they played a team that definately belonged in a division of higher rank than 2A. Private schools should play private schools in the Division playoffs. When you are allowed to recruit, you should be in a class all on your own. I could go on and on but I won't. Our Chargers played a great season - hats off to you!! Here are photos of Charger Field, Gracie, Avery w/pom pons and Aunt Jen leaving the field for the team lineups, and one of this amazing group of boys.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat Smell My Feet - Um, I'll Pass.

Hope you all had a wonderful, scary Halloween. Hope you collected lots of goodies and treats and didn't eat them all yet :o). Here's some photos from our night of fright. We started at home, went though the neighborhood, then drove in to my parents' house and walked through their neighborhood and hit some family members' also. Taco dinner at my mom and dad's afterwards and an hour of "Do You Know the Lyrics" and we were all pooped out.