Friday, February 27, 2009

Training Up The Boy

My girls love horses. They spend a lot of time at home pretending to be horses, creating "jumps" indoor and out that they either jump over themselves, or try to get the dog to jump. Poor, sweet Toby is a good sport. Emma has made several sets of "tack" for him from yarn, even including a martingale. It's quite impressive, actually.

Lately, we've had some cold, wet weather, so they took my Swiffer and made a small jump with couch pillows in the living room downstairs. You can run all the way around the first floor of our house, from the front door, through the dining room, kitchen, on to the living room, so they would run around the loop and do the jump.

Here is Abbie:

Here is Emma:

And, never one to be left out, Isaac had to play, too.

I kept hearing Emma say, "Abbie, don't help him!" I finally had to tell her that while is trying very hard to learn to jump, he really can only get one foot off the ground at a time just now, so unless they wanted him to keep knocking down the jump, they'd have to help him.

It takes a lot of effort for Abbie to lift her brother, who is more than half her weight, but by golly if she can't do it!

It's a little easier for Emma.

Then, they both decided to help him because I was taking pictures. :-) Here they come around the corner!

First one way:

Now the other:

I have to say that Isaac enjoys this a lot more than Toby does. You'd never know we were in the hospital with Isaac 5 days ago, would you?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Home From The Hospital Again

Poor Isaac had to go to the pediatric ER again yesterday afternoon. I noticed on Saturday that he was coughing more and had green snot. By Sunday morning he was wheezing, so we started albuterol treatments again, but by the afternoon not even back-to-back albuterol helped so we were told to take him in.

It was a little scary, actually. He had retractions that were quite extreme, and it took a lot to get them under control. Several breathing treatments and about 4 hours of constant albuterol later, he was finally nearly done wheezing. We ended up in the PICU for a few hours, but we were moved pretty quickly to the regular pediatric floor, because by the time we were sent to the PICU he was much, much better and didn't really need to be there. They think he might have a touch of pneumonia, which probably exacerbated the problem. We now have oral steroids, antibiotics, inhaled steroids and albuterol in an inhaler with an aero mask, because it is much faster and more effective than a nebulizer.

He was doing very well at the hospital, but by the time I was taking him out of the car at home, he was wheezing again. The inhalers did help, and we have a follow-up appointment with our pediatrician tomorrow, so we'll see what they have to say.

I am very, very tired. The ER does not allow for much sleep for a mama, especially one who's in charge of keeping the albuterol properly aimed at a moving target.

Abbie told me tonight that her chest hurts. I didn't particularly want to hear that. I gave her some medicine and we'll see how she is tomorrow. I'm wondering if some allergy medicine might not help her.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One more thing.

I miss Gail so much. I really do. I have still not quite wrapped my brain around not seeing her again in this life.

However, I did want to share one thing from the funeral. One of Gail's sisters got up to speak, and she shared that her 6 year old son had been very concerned for Gail's salvation. She finally told him to call Aunt Gail, so he did. He asked her if she knew Jesus, and he led her through the prayer for salvation.

What a beautiful, sweet child. He did what I was never quite brave enough to do. I don't know if she did it with him just because he called her and was so sweet; she talked a lot about God and I know she went to church sometimes. What I do know is that I will be seeing her in heaven and I am so thankful for that.

All this to say, every day, every moment is important. Don't waste a single one. And don't be afraid to ask someone if they know Jesus. God could use you to be the reason they make it to heaven.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The Day After

Gail's funeral was last night. It was a beautiful service. The pastor read several Psalms and other Scriptures, ending the readings with Proverbs 31 - The Excellent Wife. I'm sure that was for Bob.

She was cremated. I was glad. I did not want to see her in a coffin. I have a hard time remembering people as they were in life after I've seen them in death. I am so thankful that I will be able to remember her as she was when I knew her.

The girls and Todd came to the funeral with me. She was dear to all of us. It's the first funeral the girls attended, and it was hard for them. They both wanted to come, though, and both say they are glad they went. I think it was important for them to share in the end of her life. They loved her.

There were a lot of people at the service, but I wouldn't call it packed. The thing is, though, that Gail treasured every person who was there. We all knew how much she loved us. I would like to be the kind of friend she was - someone who spends her life loving other people and doing it well.

Today, I'm still trying to accept that she's really gone. When I last saw her, she was doing pretty well. It's hard to believe she went downhill so quickly. Once the doctors told her there was nothing more they could do, she was gone within two weeks. I can't express how much I regret not trying harder to at least talk to her. Isaac was sick and I was sick and there are lots of reasons, but now... she's gone. I suppose I was in denial too - I thought there would be more time.

I can't believe I will never hear her voice or see her smile again. She won't be at stitching anymore. I have to help her husband go through all of her cross stitch stuff. I'm sure it sounds silly, but it breaks my heart just to think about it.

If you're inclined to pray, please keep Gail's husband, Bob, in your prayers. He loved Gail with complete devotion, and feels like he has no purpose now that she is gone. Please pray that he will feel the love and the peace of God and that he will find a reason to keep going on. I'm very worried about him.

I'm sure I could ramble on for a while about Gail and how much I miss her, but I won't. I will go back to figuring out the next thing to do and keep on living. I will try to remember to live each precious moment the best way I can.

I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman on my iPod the other day, and I heard this song, from his "Speechless" album. I will end with these lyrics. They've stayed with me and I find them more significant today than ever.

Five Minutes

I can reminisce about the already
I can worry and fret about the not yet
But when it all comes down, and
It really, really comes down to the right now,
So right now

I'm living the next five minutes
Like these are my last five minutes
Cause I know the next five minutes
May be all I have
And after the next five minutes
Turn into the last five minutes
I'm taking the next five minutes
And start it all over again

Every morning God is given is precious
Every heartbeat, every breath I take
I'll never have them back once they've left us
There will never be another right now,
So right now

This is the day
This is the hour
This is the moment God has made

I'm living the next five minutes
Like these are my last five minutes
Cause I know the next five minutes
May be all I have
And after the next five minutes
Turn into the last five minutes
I'm taking the next five minutes
And start it all over again
I'm starting all over again
Gonna start it all over again

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Year Ago Today. . .

. . . Gail was babysitting for us, so Todd and I could go out to dinner.

This morning, around 2:00 am, she passed away.

Go in peace, my friend. I'm glad your suffering has ended. I'll be seeing you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

She'll Be Leaving Us Soon

My very dear friend, Gail, was sent home from the hospital with Hospice last week. She's been fighting breast cancer for the past few years. I spoke with our friend Connie this evening, and she told me that Gail is in and out of consciousness, and that the end will be very, very soon.

I met Gail when I moved to North Carolina, 11 years ago this July, when I found my cross-stitch group. She's been a wonderful friend to me. When I was pregnant with Isaac, and couldn't go to stitching because it hurt too much to sit in the chairs, she came and spent Thursday evenings with me. She said she thought I needed her more than they did. Sometimes she brought dinner, and sometimes I cooked. She helped with the baby when she could. She adored my girls. We had such a good time.

When she told us she had breast cancer, all of us were very worried, of course. Gail did everything her doctors recommended, had every treatment, every follow-up, dotted ever "i" and crossed every "t." There wasn't much cancer when they found it, so we thought she was good to go.

The next year, though, her cancer returned, and it was already stage 4 when they found it. If you know cancer lingo, you know this was not good news. She still fought it, though, and has endured every treatment her doctors could come up with. She was able to get in with an excellent doctor at Duke, who specializes in pre-menopausal women with breast cancer. They would continue each treatment as long as it made a difference. When it stopped working, they changed tactics.

I knew she wasn't getting better, exactly, but I thought she was holding her own. Then, when we had our stitching group's Christmas party, she told us that she'd intended to give us all what she thought we wanted most for Christmas - babysitting for me - but she couldn't do it. She'd been blacking out, she said, and couldn't watch the kids, not knowing what would happen. Then we learned that the cancer had spread to her liver, and then to her spleen.

My friend Connie and our other friend Sandy went to see her a few of weeks ago, and she'd told me that Gail looked really good then. When I spoke with her last night, though, she said that Gail's abdomen had been very swollen from the cancer in her organs.

Last week, I had to call and say I couldn't come to stitching because Isaac was still sick. Connie told me then that Gail had been in the hospital, and had been sent home with Hospice. She told me that meant she'd probably be gone within 6 months.

Last night, I had to call and say I couldn't come to stitching because I am sick, and Connie told me that Gail has been in and out of consciousness, thrashing around some when she started to wake up or her pain meds started to wear off, so the end was getting closer.

I just called Gail's sweet husband, Bob, and he told me that she's likely to pass away tonight or tomorrow. He said it's all right for me to come see her, even though I have a cold. When I asked him if there is anything he needs, he broke down. Crying, he told me he just needs his wife back. He loves her so much. I don't know what he will do when she is gone.

I'm going to miss her so much. I guess I thought there would always be more time. I didn't think this day would really come.

Go in peace, my friend. Heaven will be a more beautiful place with your sweet soul in it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Playing Outside in February - Crazy!

We've been having the most amazing weather - high 70's in February. Who would have thought? Actually, we often do have warm spells in February in North Carolina. It's just a teaser, though, and we will have some more normal, cooler spring weather soon.

In the meantime, we're taking advantage of this fabulous weather and trying to spend lots of time outside every day. The kids have a blast on the playset that the grandparents helped us buy a few years ago. I didn't think we needed one, initially, because we have a great park in our neighborhood. Once we started homeschooling, though, having our own playset in the backyard has been a tremendous blessing.

Emma and Abbie are such awesome sisters! They are always ready to help Isaac - maybe a little more than he needs. Emma was very cautious with him as he climbed up to slide down the slide:

He LOVED sliding! Don't you just love the tongue action?

Abbie loves to help him swing on the "big boy" swings, too. She never pushes him high at all, but he thinks he is big stuff.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Farewell, Dear Friend

My dear friend, Faith Vlcek, was killed in a car accident this morning on her way to work. I received an email this morning from another friend in Michigan. We both used to work with Faith.

The article I found online said the roads were slippery, she lost control, and ran into a fence. A piece of the fence struck her in the head.

I haven't seen Faith in several years, though we've kept in touch with Christmas cards and such. We used to work together at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. She was a sweet, kind, caring person. She was always willing to lend a hand and step in where she could.

I know her daughter, Beth, and her 2 granddaughters will miss her terribly. I feel like this must be happening in an alternate reality. Surely my friend isn't really gone, you know?

Rest in peace, Faith. I will miss you. The world was a better place with you in it, dear one.

Monday, February 02, 2009

My Budding Sous Chef

One tried and true toddler entertainment method is to give them a pot and a wooden spoon and let them bang on it. Isaac used to love to do that. Now, for noise making purpses, he prefers to crash two pot lids together. When I give him a pot, he gets vey excited.

Emma likes to put an apron on him. He's very serious about his cooking.

He's sure to taste his creations before offering them to the rest of the family.