one week.

It's been exactly one week today.  One week since I sat there and listened as the hospitalist told us there was nothing else they can do.  One week since I had to then move from the chair across from my Pawpaw and sit ever so gently beside him on his bed, take his hand in mine, and ask him if he heard what the Doctor just said.  "No, Baby 'Chelle, I not hear him."  One week since my heart shattered into tiny pieces.  

You see, my parents, Brodie, and I have been dealing with my Nanny & Pawpaw both being sick off and on, since March 8th.  One trip to the ER for what turned out to be a dead gut surgery also seems to have awoken the sleeping monster inside him known as Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Since that date, they have both been in and out of hospitals ( I think six or seven trips between the two of them), skilled nursing facilities (him two, her one), a wonderful assisted living center, back home, and repeat.  It has been exhausting.  We begged them to stay at the assisted living center where they were so, so well cared for and loved on, but he was insisted, he wanted to be home.  Within seventeen days, they were both back in hospitals.

So, back to a week ago.  My parents had left two days prior for an anniversary trip and really, a week away for my Momma to gain back some peace of mind.  Y'all, I don't know how she did it.  This has been seven days.  She did it for six months without stopping.  She's my hero. She had been going, literally non-stop through it all.  I told her not to worry, this had become routine and I'd make sure he was taken care of at the hospital and that he'd get back to Nanny at their skilled nursing center once he was strong enough.  I had no idea that 48 hours after she left I would have to call her and break her heart too.

That morning I called his oncologist, cardiologist, nurse, hospitalist, and primary care doctor.  It was like we couldn't get the same answer twice on what was going on.  Finally, his nurse told me the hospitalist Dr would be in that afternoon, and she'd have him call me.  The kids and I decided to just go camp out with him.  I wanted answers.

Pawpaw had been dosing in and out most of the afternoon.  He hadn't been himself in a while.  I think that's one the things that hurt the most.  Anytime he would see my kids walk in the room, he'd always light up and get a big ol' smile while asking "Well, how are you Miss Madeline?" or the same to Wyatt.  But, just a few days earlier when we went to visit in skilled nursing, he didn't even say hello.  Rather, he backed the wheelchair he was sitting in into a corner with his back to us.  It just wasn't him.  I remember sitting there at the hospital, watching him sleep and my kids engrossed in their iPads at the foot of his bed.  Then, out of nowhere, for about two minutes, he woke up and kinda sat up and looked down at them.  Madeline noticed first, then Wyatt, and the three of them sat there just giggling and smiling at each other...almost like a game of peek-a-boo.   It makes me cry still because for that all too brief time, my Pawpaw was back.  The joy his great grandkids brought him was oh, so evident and it filled my heart so full.  But, then, as soon as it came, it was gone and he was back asleep.  I truly believe that was a gift from God.  He knew I needed that brief joy to fall back on just a few minutes later.

I will say, when Dr. Aslam came in, he was wonderful.  Super polite and kind from the start.  I remember him asking if it was okay to speak in front of my kiddos (who were both still engrossed in iPads...thank you Lord for technology!) I said of course...I truly had no idea what he was getting ready to say.  I remember his precious nurse, Courtney stayed in with us too.  Pawpaw appeared to be listening, but he also had Mountain Men on, so I wasn't really too sure where his attention was. ;)
Dr. Aslam said he had just spent about a half hour on the phone with Pawpaw's oncologist and they had decided after reviewing all the tests and labs, the cancer was now terminal and there was no other treatment options left.  His white blood count continued to drop and was not responding to anything they tried. It had spread and was everywhere. My whole body went sorta numb as he continued.  I remember looking over to make sure my kids weren't listening, looking at Pawpaw to see if he WAS listening, and telling myself "poker face, poker face, you can't cry, you have to be strong" over and over.  Then, the doctor's phone rang, so he apologized and said he had to take the call.  Once he walked out in the hall, I could feel the tears starting.  I knew I would have to call my mom and go tell my grandmother. I text Brodie telling him I didn't think I could do it.  That I needed him right now.  He called as the doctor came back in, so I sent Madeline out in the hall to answer.  I knew if I did, I'd lose it all.  Wyatt, was still in Minecraft world, but the nurse noticed I was beginning to fall apart. I just shook my head that I was ok though, I thought if she came and hugged me or anything, again, I'd lose it all.   Dr. Aslam explained we had one of three options - they could release him back to skilled nursing and he'd end up back at the hospital within two or three days.  They would just repeat the cycle until he passed at one or the other.  We could take him to the hospice house, which Brodie's aunt had just been taken to that morning, or we could take him home on hospice.

So, there I was, sitting next to him, holding his hand, and repeating the news.  I asked what he wanted to do.  His first answer was "whatever's best for the family."  No, Pawpaw, this is your choice.  What do YOU want to do?  "Well, if Momma can come too, I'd like to just go home with her."  Okay. I will make that happen.  If I have to kidnap her, I will and I promised I'd have them both home the next day.

I then kissed him goodbye and told him I was going to go get everything ready and I'd be back with Nanny at 9:30 to meet the Hospice Doctor.  I was able to get ahold of my sister-in-law and drop my kids off to her.  Once I was in my car alone, I just lost it.  Then I called my momma and told her, and then drove to my grandma to tell her. I was so nervous about how I was going to tell her her love of fifty some years was going home to die.  I tell you, God is so good.  As I was walking down to her room, I heard someone say my name.  I looked up and two of my moms cousin's from Tulsa were walking to me.  They had brought my grandma's two sisters up as a surprise.  I just lost it.  I filled them in and they walked back with me.  I had already talked to the staff and told them Nanny was leaving at 8:30 in the morning.  We sat and cried and laughed together, then I left to go home and start lining up hospice for him, home health for her, and a 24 hour aide for them both, since neither could take full care of themselves.

That night I let it all out.  Cried myself to sleep with a big ol' box of kleenex.  But, I promised Pawpaw I would make his want a reality so I was determined.  I made me a color coded binder and spent the next day in meetings at the hospital getting it all ready.  One of my mom's childhood friend's husband happens to be on staff at the hospital Pawpaw was at, so he met us at the valet with a wheel chair for Nanny and stayed by my side most of the morning and afternoon.  Again, God is so good.  There were a couple times I'd start to lose it or not no what answer I needed and Tommy was right there.  There truly are no words for how appreciative I am of he and his wife Brenda both.  Also equally as thankful for my friends the Belchers and my brother and his wife for taking care of my kids.  I never once worried about them and that was such a huge relief for me.

So, fast forward to today.  They've both been home together, just like he wanted, since 8:00 Tuesday night.  They can't give us  a time frame for him.  He has good moments where he's talking and seems well, but he's mostly sleeping.  He's not eating much (and it's usually sweets now!) and only drinking a little water.  I spent three hours one day and about two the next sorting all their meds out.  He's chosen to stop some that were for his blood clots and things like that. It's mainly just pain management.  Yesterday was the first day I didn't go see him.  It was hard, but I knew Mom was there (after a nightmare of a time trying to get home!!) and some other family had come down so I felt okay taking a day off.  I was able to stay home and clean and get caught up on some work.  Today we are going to Tulsa to celebrate the life of Brodie's Aunt Linda, then tomorrow I'll be back at Pawpaw & Nanny's making sure everything's being taken care of.  I even made a color coded binder and calendar for us. Ha! Whatever it takes to keep me on track.

My mom kept apologizing for the load I had to take on.  I told her, and I sincerely mean it, that it truly was an honor.  When I was born, I've been told my grandpa would just sit and rock me.  Rarely would he let anyone else hold me.  We've been so, so close my entire life.  I remember spending the night every week with them and decorating his brown paper lunch sack.  (bologna & american cheese on white bread, an apple, and a can of grapefruit juice every single day.) I bought him a button at my second grade book fair that said "i love you" and he hung it in his truck.  I just took it out this week.  It's now in my car.  My son is named after him - Wyatt Holt - (because, let's be honest, Wyatt Milford just isn't working...) and boy are they two of a kind.  Not sure which one talks the most. :)  I've always been my Pawpaw's girl (and his favorite...just ask anyone) ;)  So, when the time came for someone to make his final decision come true for him, I was truly HONORED to get to do it.

I can't imagine what life will be like without him.  Coloring Easter Eggs will never be the same.  Not hearing the countless stories of refrigeration or maintenance or how something works over and over, I will truly miss it.  Not hearing his voice that sounds like a three year old (from skipping speech therapy after a stroke years ago) when we walk in the door. It hurts already.  I miss him already.  But, I am so SO thankful to know I WILL see him again whole and healed.  I can't wait to walk through heavens gates and hear "Well, uh, how are you Baby 'Chelle?!" Then we will sit down together over some Fudge Ripple ice cream and talk about life. :)


Party Recap - Tea Time

Those of you who know me know I LOVE planning parties!! I thought I'd start sharing them here.  (Seeing as to how "blogging" was a goal for the year and we see how well that's going....)  :)

The most recent one was my sweet baby girl's fifth birthday!! I have NO idea how she's 5 already, but it happened.  And we celebrated.  She wanted a tea party for her and her school friends.  We had the party outside at our "farm" and it was lovely.  Well, except for the crazy wind and tornado warnings (which kept a few friends home), but I suppose that's a chance you take with an outdoor party in Oklahoma in the middle of Spring! The only downside, is I didn't get near as many pictures as I wanted, but enjoy the ones I have!!  

 We had SO much food!  I wanted it to have the feel of a true tea party, so I made all sorts of yummies! Nutella & Green Apples sandwiches, Blackberry Scones with Cream, Mini Fruit Tarts, Veggies & Dip, Peanut Butter Cups, Sugar Cookies, Fruit Salad, an amazing Chocolate Bundt Cake, and the Birthday Cake.  We made all of it ourselves, except for the sugar cookies.  There were from 1 Smart Cookie in Bethany and were fantastic!  

 I love the chandelier Big Lovie hung in the trees for the party!! 
 We had a highchair for each of the guests dolly's as well as a tea set for each.  The girls place settings included a vintage cup & saucer, gold tea spoon, pink gloves, and a hanky for napkin.  

 It was an all girl party, with the exception of Little Man. He didn't mind, he showed the girls how to play croquet and happily joined them for tea with Thunder Dog since we had a few last minute cancelations. :)

 One of the crafts we had planned on was making our fancy tea time hats.  Thanks to the wind though, it was impossible to let the flowers and feathers dry before they would blow off!  It was a good thought at least...

 Madeline wanted to wear her birthday crown from our trip to the American Girl store in Dallas earlier that week.  Love my girl SO much!!
 Sweet giggles between best friends!
 The sugar cubes were the hit of the party.  They all loved mixing them in their tea!
 This cake was made by my mom.  It not only looked incredible, it tasted amazing too!  I couldn't have gotten it all done without her!  SOOO thankful for Gaga!  

I think it's safe to say the giggles and smiles were aplenty.  :)  Happy 5th Birthday my sweet princess!!



A new year, a new start at blogging. Again.  I spend so much time reading other blogs, that I thought why don't I start writing on my own again?  So, here we go.  :)

New Year Goals: (in no particular order)

1.  Blog :)
2. Spend more time reading the Word to the kids.  We LOVE our Jesus Story Bible that we read at bedtime, but I want to incorporate Scripture all day long, not just at bedtime.
3. Lose this weight.  Ugh.  I am however, SO pumped to start the Barre3 Core Challenge tomorrow morning!  Hoping it helps me get back on track.
4. Less facebook, pintrest, blog, phone time and more craft, singing, playing, pretending time.
5. Pay off all debt.
6. Pay for our trip to Disney with Stella & Dot
7. Learn to sew
8. Read a book a month.  (Kid books do not count.)
9. Grow closer to God.  This past month has been beyond incredible in seeing His hand on our family.  I pray I don't forget and let my own self get in His way.
10. Have a regular date night with my man.  It's easy to take each other for granted, especially with a 3 & 4 year old.  :)

I think ten is good for now.  I know the list will grow and change, but that's a good start.  I can't wait to see what amazing things 2012 has in store for us!


Half My Life Ago

Today we remember the horrible tragedy that happened in downtown Oklahoma City.   I was 15 at the time,  I'm 30 now.  It literally was half my life ago.  Wow.  Isn't weird how sometimes, no matter how long ago it's been, you can remember every detail of that day?

I was in 9th grade at Christian Heritage Academy in Del City.  I remember I was wearing a black pleated skirt with a black turtleneck and a red and grey argyle sweater over it.  I was so excited because my mom was checking me out of school early so I could go get my braces off.  I was in Mrs. Wigley's typing class (ha! typing class, like as in, typewriters, not computers.)  I remember hearing the bomb go off and one of my classmates, Paul Owens, making some comment about not knowing it was going to rain (we thought it was loud thunder.)  We were having a special week of chapel that week (missionaries or something) and I remember on the way they had us all go to our homeroom class instead.  A few kids were called to the office, I remember Jon Echols was one of them.  His mom worked downtown.  Then, a little bit later they came over the intercom and told us what had happened.   We still didn't know the magnitude of the bombing, but we knew it was something awful.  I remember being in chapel and our office secretary, Mrs. Young, coming and pulling me out.  I saw my mom standing behind the chapel doors and thought she had just decided to come get me earlier than planned.  Once we were out in the hall I realized she was crying.  Her cousin's wife, Ellen, worked in the Murrah building.  Miraculously, she survived.  The woman training right beside her did not.  I remember going to see Ellen in the hospital.  Her black hair was gray from all the debris.  There were tubes in her throat helping her breathe and everytime she'd breathe, debris would come out.  It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen. 

As we mark the 15th anniversary of the bombing I hope everyone takes time to stop and remember those who's lives were lost and celebrate those who survived. 

Pink, Candy, & a 3 Year Old (part 2)

The birthday girl posed in her new pretty pink dress Gaga bought her while we were on our "Gaga's Great Adventure" earlier that week.  (That's a whole other post waiting to happen!)  I love that 3 year old!!

Little Man was the greeter.  He loved standing at the door watching people come in!
Then he decided he needed to be in a few more pictures. :)
Madeline and her one of her great-grandma's Nana
After her friends arrived, we had two craft tables going - one was decorating "lollipops'.  I cut out pink circles and glued them to lollipop sticks.  Then there was all kinds of markers, glitter, stickers, etc. for the kids to decorate their lollipops with.  They loved it!

The next craft table was making "candy necklaces."  I had fruit loops, chocolate Cheerios, and strawberry yogurt Cheerios for them to string on elastic.  

After they finished their crafts, we attempted to play musical chairs.  It ended up being quite comical when we started though because most of them had never played before.  A couple got upset when someone took their chair!!  Plus, the song ("I want candy") was almost impossible to hear.  We got a good laugh if nothing else!  The winner took home the game Candyland!

After the game, we went back into the front room, sang Happy Birthday, and filled our plates with PINK CANDY!! Madeline opened all her gifts while everyone enjoyed the sugar.

One of her gifts was a gift card to Peach Wave Frozen Yogurt.  She LOVES going there so Uncle Jason and Aunt Heather hooked her up!!

The sweet Gassid boys gave her her first Webkin!  Jantzen was so cute while he explained it all to us!  They are such a sweet family!  (Jett is the other cutie in the family...how adorable are they!?!  Totally makes me want a baby.)

Madeline and her other great-grandma Nanny

Mimi & Madeline

Pretty Princesses in Pink! 

Inside each favor bag was a singing Veggie Tales toothbrush.  I figured it was the least I could do since I was sending them all home with a bag full of candy. :)

We had a great time!  Thank you everyone who came and made my baby girl's day so sweet!!