Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful

Nearly every night this month, we took a moment during dinner to answer the simple question, "what are you thankful for today?". We wrote them on a paper leaf and hung them up. By today, the last day of the month, we were able to see and reflect upon our many, many blessings, big and small. What a simple exercise with such a big impact!



Here is a random sampling of the daily blessings we shared as a family....


Justin is thankful for:
  • Rain during the week and a beautiful sunny Saturday
  • Mommy cooking dinner
  • Quality time with the boys and long naps!
  • Interesting projects at work
Meredith is thankful for:
  • Quality time with my family
  • A romantic birthday lunch date
  • Being cancer free
  • HOME! 



Jackson is thankful for:

  • Getting to see all of our family
  • Eating pizza and trips to the grocery store
  • My best friend Jilly
  • Getting to go outside and mommy
  • Telling a story to you all about a boy name Pooldoo who had a pinata. Do you want to dive in? (???? hey, I just write down what he says...)


Andrew is thankful for (as dictated by Jackson):

  • His big brother
  • Teachers at school who take really good care of me
  • Playing with Grammy and Pop
  • 2 new teeth
  • Snuggling with Mommy

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Band Nerds Night Out

I got to take Jackson to his first orchestra concert tonight! He was feeling a little under the weather today with a fever (no other symptoms), so I worried we were going to have to skip it. But with a dose of Tylenol, he seemed to be up for it so we went ahead and went. He has been to a play, so he understood about needing to be quiet and stay in his seat. But he did AWESOME!

He sat so still and quiet the whole time, enthralled with the music and seeing how it was made. When I was taking this picture of him, he leaned over and whispered in a slightly scolding tone "Mommy, just pay attention and listen".  Yes, sir.


Afterwards, he told me the names of all of the instruments he saw (he remembered most of them!) and informed me that he wanted to be a cello player when he grew up. He is such a fun companion, and we had a great time on our mommy/Jackson date. I am so glad to now have someone who is excited to go to concerts with me!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jacksonisms

A few Jackson stories for you...

Jackson just about knows all of his letters and their sounds. I say "just about knows" but he may actually know them all, and I think he has known them for some time, but this is something that he does not like to "perform" for us. No idea why, he's just decided to be stubborn about this. Tonight, I was getting ready to read his stories before bed and thought we would practice a little. 
Me (pointing to the first letter of the title): "Jackson, what's this letter?" 
Jackson: "I don't know"
Me: Oh, I think you do.
Jackson (annoyed): I don't know!
Me: Ok, just take a guess and then I will read the story.
Jackson: D! Now read!

It was a D. =)

-----------------------------------

A miracle happened in our house this week. I had cooked broccoli for dinner and put just a few of the "little trees" on Jackson's plate. I don't think that he's ever actually eaten broccoli, though it has been offered to him many times. We sit down and he almost immediately popped one in his mouth. And another. And another. And another. Then said, "Mommy, can I have some more broccoli please?" 

See, a miracle!

----------------------------------

Name calling has become a big deal around here. Jackson often tells us that his friends at school are calling names (horrible things like "Silly Pants"). Not that the kids need to be calling each other names, but Jackson is a tad dramatic about it and really lets it get to him. We've been working with him to just ignore them, walk away, etc. But tattling seems to be his preferred approach, and I think he's learned that he can get attention from his teacher this way. He tried it at home tonight just after we put the boys in the bath, but I don't believe it achieved his intended results. I was  in the kitchen when I hear this exchange:

Jackson: DAD! Andrew called me a name!
Justin: Andrew can't talk.
Jackson: *silence*

---------------------------------------

Oh, how we love this little ham!





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recovery Week

The last week has mostly been spent recovering from my procedure. I took Thursday and Friday off from work and took it easy over the weekend. I've had some headaches along with the expected soreness, but each day does seem to get a little better. 

Our boys were virtually unphased by mommy's boo boos. One day last week was Crazy Hair Day at their school. Jackson thought he was pretty cool to rock a faux hawk like daddy, and Andrew was auditioning to play a Who down in Whoville.

Both boys were delighted to see their Grammy and Pop last week, who came into town to be with me during my surgery. They helped so much and did a great job of distracting our boys while I rested. Though, I think it is safe to say that the boys may have worn out Pop first.

Andrew is so busy. Sometimes, we just wish for a way to keep him occupied, happy and contained for just a few minutes. We found a few minutes of peace this weekend with the ball pit! (Big bag of play balls in the pack n' play). Jackson was pretty happy to join Andrew in "baby jail" for a little while (afterall, he can come and go as he pleases, since he can climb in and out on his own). 

When I returned to work on Monday morning, my girls were waiting for me with their solidarity headbands. How precious are they? I just love these ladies!

And today I got my stitches out!

We are looking forward to a restful weekend which appear to be the last low-key days before the craziness and excitement of the holiday season is upon us!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving: the celebration of Thanksgiving dinner with your friends...or just a good opportunity to eat delicious food while celebrating your favorite people you are not lucky enough to actually be related to.

Our Friendsgiving was lovely with store-bought rotisserie chicken (roasting a turkey? aint nobody got time for that!) and a ton of delicious homemade side dishes. Our Friendsgiving was loud, chaotic, and of course involved multiple trips to the potty. We laughed and ate too much. We are exceedingly thankful for friends who can share this crazy season of life with us!

This little turkey thought it was fun to throw his Friendsgiving dinner on the floor. 
We have the cutest little turkeys, even if they weren't feeling particularly cooperative!




Yes, we are richly blessed with wonderful friends--the family we get to choose. We love you!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

500 Posts!

My last post was my 500th!

What started as a way to share pictures and updates with family and close friends is now a bit of an addiction for me. There's not a chance that I would have made 500 entries into a baby book, but early on, it was because of all of you that I kept it up. Your comments, "likes" and the ability to keep in touch from afar kept me motivated to keep going. And now, I have this virtual treasure trove of family memories. Now I can't imagine not blogging, even if no one read it except me.

500 posts spanning three years has seen us go from this...


to this...


...and everything in between.

Jackson was the inspiration for creating this blog. His birthday was the very first post. Here's Mr. Jackson in his blog debut...

You've watched him grow from a newborn to a spunky, silly little boy. We're lucky that he is not lacking in personality or this blog may have died several hundred posts ago!

You've rejoiced with us through the biggest, happiest moments of the last three years...

And watched sweet Andrew grow from a flickering blob on the screen...

...welcomed him as he entered the world...

and shared in each of his milestones.

Yes, the big days have been well-documented, but what I find most precious are all those in-between, every day moments. These are the posts that I will find myself going back to when my babies are big and I'm probably getting more sleep but missing these days when they were little....

To reminisce...

To smile...


To remember...




Here's to 500 more!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cancer Free!

This post could have alternatively been called "My Day with the Old Folks". If you are interested in all of the details, please keep reading. If not, the subject of the post tells you all that you really need to know! I'm cancer free! Woohoo!

So yesterday morning was my surgery. The surgeon is a cancer removal and reconstruction specialist who comes to College Station twice a week from Houston. I walk into the doctor's office to a full waiting room--with no one under the age of 75.

After a short wait, we were brought back into the procedure room where the nurse does her thing. A few minutes later, the doctor comes in and the first thing he says is "You are too young to be here". Thanks doc, yep, I had kind of noticed that based on the demographics of my fellow patients. He did his initial exam, and then I was given a series of numbing injections. A little while later they come back to remove the cancer spot. I was having the Mohs Procedure, which means that the plan was to take a layer of tissue, then examine it immediately to determine if all of the cancer had been removed. If not, they would go back and take another layer, and so on. This way, they could be sure that all of the cancer had been removed while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. So the doctor did the first round which took maybe 10 minutes, covered the spot in a loose bandage, and then I was sent out to the waiting room to await the results.

Here I was in good company. In addition to my entourage of my mom, dad, and Justin, there were all of the other patients...all of us with gauze taped to our faces in some unfortunate spot. Good times. The surgeon's initial assessment was that there didn't appear to be any "surprises" (tumor roots, etc.) under the surface and he felt confident he had gotten it all. After about an hour, the pathologist came and told us that we did indeed have "clean margins" which meant that all of the cancer had been removed in the first pass. What a huge blessing and relief!

They then took me back to the procedure room to begin the reconstruction process. The reconstruction was a little tricky because of the location on my forehead and because I am young, my skin is fairly tight and not very pliable. While the spot they removed was only about the size of a nickel, he couldn't just sew it up because it would pucker and/or lift my eyebrow (on one side only), resulting in a persistent quizzical look. So, for the best long-term appearance, the surgeon decided it was best to create two flaps. So, I have a long, L shaped incision below and beside the actual spot. It wasn't until we were on the way home that it occurred to me that I should have asked for a lightning bolt shaped incision, so if it scarred, at least I would have a really cool Harry Potter like scar. Alas. Anyways, the reconstruction took about 45 minutes. I think there are about 30 stitches, some below the skin in the muscle layer and then some at the skin layer.


After the procedure and while the anesthetic was still in effect, we went to lunch. I wanted comfort food so I picked Cracker Barrel, which meant that my time with the old folks continued there as well! =) After the anesthetic wore off I was in more pain than I anticipated, but today is much better. It still hurts when I move my face in any way (raise my eyebrows, sneeze, frown, etc), but it's getting better. I get to take the big pressure bandage off tomorrow, and then I will have the stitches removed on Thursday. The doctor said it would take 6-8 months for the scar to reach it's final (hopefully unnoticeable) appearance.

Thank you all so much for all of your support and prayers! I felt peaceful and confident approaching the procedure, and the surgery itself really had the best possible outcome. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thirty is Sweet!

First of all....Wow, y'all! I was completely overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support following my last post. To the 50+ of you who commented, responded on Facebook, texted or called--THANK YOU. I truly feel the positive vibes and the covering of prayers.
 
To get back on track with the normally positive nature of this blog, what's better than a party? Particularly when it's MY birthday party!!
 
My 30th birthday was last week, and on Saturday, my husband threw me an awesome party with family and close friends to celebrate. The theme was "Thirty is Sweet!" and it was wonderfully girly and fun.
 
My cake!
 
We had a chocolate fountain with all sorts of sweets to dip, cake, wine and cheese. Perfect. 

Did I mention that there was a lot of pink? It was such a contrast to the boy parties that we are used to seeing around here. Perhaps the decorations are still hanging in our kitchen. Don't judge. I am still celebrating. =)
 
Funny story about all of those decorations...on Saturday morning, my mom, sister and I went shopping and then to get pedicures. That left Justin, my dad, nephew, brother and brother-in-law to decorate. See those tissue paper pom-poms in the upper left-hand corner? There were about 20 of them. I hear that they found a YouTube instructional video and then thank goodness my sister-in-law, MaryAnn, and Abby showed up to assist. But oh, to be a fly on the wall when all of those men were first trying to figure those things out!
 
My hubby is a rock star. He balanced his single dad duties while I was gone to my conference along with the party planning like a pro. Yes, be jealous!

 
All of my boys were eager to help me celebrate!
 
 
 
And they were equally happy to eat cake!
 

 
 These boys had the right idea....hanging out with the wine. Parenting win.


I love this picture of Cole and Andrew! It looks like Cole is telling a fascinating story.


I was so happy to get to celebrate with my whole family!

Mommy and Daddy!

 
My siblings, some of my favorite people in the world!
 
And my sisters!
 
And of course, friends who are like family...
 
 
I even got to open a few cards and presents. Andrew was happy to be my assistant.

 
 
Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special! Thirty truly is SWEET!