Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Apple Orchard pictures

Apple Orchard with Julia Grace

I won't show you a picture of the house (because that's boring work stuff) but just know it was a huge, unfinished house that the builder ran out of money to build. It is very large and has hardwood floors throughout and would be beautiful completed. We had to meet a sherriff's deputy to post papers (officer) and change the locks on the house (Tracy). And that was work for the day! :) Easy enough!

It's in Fletcher, N.C. That's where we saw the snow flurries too. We actually saw some cars with a thick covering of snow on their hoods and tops driving along the way. Alas, no snow on the ground. It was really neat to see snow flurries this early! I loooooooooooooooooove snow. I've been told come to Canada and I won't like it so much after all. I'm not sold. I'm a late fall/wintertime girl. I love the crunchy leaves and crisp autumn and winter air. I like that I can breathe without taking a bunch of medicine and I like the way a big gulp of cold air feels.

Applebee's in Hendersonville. Well, it's Applebee's. We had a good family late lunch/early dinner and got on down the road. For those that care, Julia Grace ate broccoli/cheese soup with daddy, spinach/artichoke dip, salsa, chips, fries with ketchup, and did NOT like the fiesta lime chicken or it's accompanying rice that I tried to share. Oh well. She does still eat very well for a toddler. :)

APPLES. And a silly girl. We stopped by the Sky Top Apple Orchard in Flat Rock on the way back down I-26. I had, no kidding, heard or read where 6 different people I knew had gone to this place recently. So... since it was only 4 miles out of our way, we decided to check it out on the way home.

Julia Grace loved it! My pictures are sorta fuzzy - didn't know Tracy had switched it to economy setting for the house photos and it was late afternoon. They had a play area that you could just let the kids go - they had several little playhouses (one shaped like an apple) with 2 playsets with slides & swings. There was more to the place than we stayed to check out yesterday - they make all kinds of things there and have hayrides every half hour during busier times. I think we're going to try to make it back out there soon. It was cold and windy and they were slow - a few older couples and another family was there picking out pumpkins and apples.
Julia Grace played on the play area, and ran through the rows of apple trees. She stopped at a wagon with apples in them - it looked like someone had been loading it up from picking - she picked up some specimens from the ground and added them to the cart. It was funny because she's never seen anything like that done and she was so careful to add the apples to the wagon. At the storefront, they had samples of all the kinds of apples they had in stock and apple cider. Julia Grace loved the sliced apples - peel and all! We had never given her apples like that before, but she loved it. We bought some apples and a gallon of cider and shared a fudge apple on the way home. It was great and I look forward to going back!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

today we saw...

Today we saw:

a large, vacant, lockboxed house (that was work)
SNOW flurries!!! (that was work too)
applebee's (gotta feed the workers - even the small one)
apples (that wasn't work)
a silly little girl in an apple orchard (that wasn't work either)

I will post pics soon. Just thought I'd sorta tell you about our day. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

10 things to do...

I'm wondering how I will do if I post my to-do list for the week and then update the blog on it when it's done. I'm going to try it anyways. In no order of importance :

1. buy things to finish making Julia Grace's chipboard letters (J-U-L-I-A) for her side of the bedroom.
2. finish knitting my scarf.
3. convert the entertainment center in our bedroom to an entertainment area/craft storage WITHOUT it looking junky!
4. finish sorting Julia Grace's clothes for donation - already done with Mallory's clothes and donated too! :)
5. start weeding out clothes from mine & Tracy's closet to store or donate.
6. make the cupcakes I promised the kids and husband! (new recipe I'm trying - have all ingredients!)
7. finish updating Bob's website with current listings and
8. finish updating file folders in the office (I don't get paid any extra to do these and I'm dragging on getting those done sometimes -part of the money we make when the property sells is for maintaining the website listing and file folder as we go along).
9. pick out a color for the bathroom paint and buy it.
10. buy flowers to plant this weekend!

Do you think I can do it? We'll see!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the Anchor Bonfire

Yes, that is a man on top of a tractor. That would be one Richard Smith - our pastor! He stood on top of the tractor pulling us on the hayride and then stood on top of this to take photos of our hayride entourage. Don't try this at home!

Mallory is roasting a hotdog or two on our bonfire as it's getting started.

They had a cookie-making station at our bonfire - Tracy wasn't feeling well so he stayed home with Julia Grace. Since he couldn't come, Mallory made him a cookie surprise to take home to him.

Mallory loses her hat during the Anchor version of the Crazy Crab walk - the Crazy Spider - complete with extra spider legs provided by Ms. Merissa. Look close at Mallory's waist!

Mallory and Buddy getting read to spit their pumpkin seeds in the pumpkin-seed-spitting contest. All the kids thought this was great - there was a dad competition after the kids got through spitting! A girl won the boys vs. girls spitting though - hahaha to all the boys!

Everyone ended the hayride/bonfire time by roasting some marshmallows before heading back to the store area.

Mallory and I had a great time - this is the first time we've gotten to go to the Anchor bonfire when it was held at Nivens' Apple Farm. We have been when it was at the Wolfe's house in previous years. We had to miss a couple of years because of our Asheville cousins getting married in late October (not once but twice!). We are blessed with a wonderful church that provides many great children's activities and a wonderful planner of our children's time, Merissa. Merissa is so creative and I would never think of some of the wonderful activities and mission projects she engages our children with each week. Thank you Hope Point and Merissa! :)


My mom had her first chemotherapy treatment on this past Monday and goes for week 2 tomorrow. She will be going every Monday for the next 18 weeks. So far this past week she just felt tired, but not really any different than normal. She is still having pain in her neck and some days are better than others. Her throat is still sore from the radiation treatments but she assures me she's still eating all kinds of healthy fattening things. :) I'm just concerned she'll lose weight and she doesn't really have any extra to spare. She assured me today that she's eating lots of peanut butter, drinking milk, eating ice cream and drinking chocolate Boost. She even ate a double cheeseburger from McDonald's last night. Julia Grace and Grandma really like fast food - burgers and fries. :)

My mom and dad came to town this weekend to spend time with family and especially to see my Aunt Kay and my sister's Granny. Neither of them are able to travel and my mom really wanted to see them before she doesn't feel up to traveling herself. My Aunt Kay also has cancer (this is my mom's sister) and hers is inoperable. She has multiple tumors across her body At one point the doctors told my aunt there was nothing they could do and she probably wouldn't be alive past her birthday. Well.... that was mid-2007 and she's about to see her 2nd birthday come since they said that. Aunt Kay is taking some medicine designed to slow the tumor growth but it actually shrunk some of hers! This is a good thing!
My sister's Granny is in a nursing home and while she isn't sick, she isn't well enough to travel 3 1/2 hours to see my parents. This is my sister's dad's mother but I've always known her as Granny too.

I wish we'd had more time to visit but I understand it's hard for them to squeeze in visiting everyone. Mallory came over for about an hour or so before church with her mom to see my mom and dad. I wish we could have visited longer.

I think Tracy and I are going to try to make a trip down to Hilton Head again in a few weeks. I know the plan right now is to possibly do an early Thanksgiving dinner at my mom and dad's house the weekend before Thanksgiving. We've just got to take things day by day and see how the week is going. I'll keep you posted and we appreciate all of your prayers and happy thoughts! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday's Wordless Wednesday

Mallory's surprise was...

I had purchased tickets for us to go see Ballet Spartanburg's presentation of Snow White! I was so excited because I had never been to a ballet before either aside from Miss Marion's dance recitals in May. That does not count compared to this by any stretch of the imagination!

I was good - I had the tickets in hand for 2 weeks prior to the performance and managed NOT to spill the beans to Mallory! :) I was hoping to have our tickets for the Nutcracker performance in hand to give her on Friday as well, but that didn't work out - they were so busy with the Snow White performance, they didn't send over their paid list to Twichell's box office (at Converse College) for those performances. But it's okay - Mallory knows if I tell her we're doing it that it will happen or there will be a very good reason I am not able to follow through on my promises to her. AND - as of today, I have tickets for that too - picking them up in the morning! And I must say we have awesome seats and I just can't wait to go. So super excited to see this - I've never been to the Nutcracker before either - just seen a videotaped version in the 4th and 5th grade at Christmas with my music class. I can't wait - did I mention that yet?

Mallory and I ran into her good friend Elizabeth and her mom, Melissa. It was good to see them - I've been out of the dance class and soccer loop a good bit this season. Elizabeth and Mallory aren't on the same soccer team this year but Tracy's still seen them in passing. I saw Elizabeth on the field as we were leaving Saturday morning and then we saw them Sunday at the show. Mallory ran around with her program getting autographs of all the cast members in the lobby. She humored me and allowed 2 pics and that was it! She even smiled for one - haha! Mallory thinks she's beyond photographing all that she does - I try to tell her years from now she'll appreciate it. She asks me constantly is this going on your blog - but it's not just for that. I love to scrapbook and keep up pictures through the years. I've really appreciated in recent times how many pictures my mom has of things and that she's kept them in good condition through the years - I know Mallory's enjoyed pouring through my mom's box of photos and albums on more than one occasion.

So here they are... Mallory's whopping two photos from Snow White to humor me! :) I have more to write about our weekend - it was action packed I tell ya! I even went to bed at 9.45 p.m. last night (Monday) to recuperate from it and you guys know I'm not in bed before 1 a.m. most nights! Julia Grace and I slept right on through to 9.05 a.m. this morning. Thank goodness Bob lets us work from home! It was Tracy's day to go to the office anyways! Hahaha! It turned out to be a good day for him too! More on that later...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quick update...

Mom finished 15 treatments of radiation yesterday. She had been going every day Monday through Friday for a few weeks. She will start chemotherapy next week. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

She's still doing well. She has a sore throat which is making it difficult to eat and swallow. They told her this should get better now that she's done with radiation.

The radiology group gave her a certificate of completion yesterday. :) I look at it as one milestone down on the way to beating this.

Gotta go - getting a few things done before we leave to come back to Sparkle City.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A surprise for Mallory...

I have a surprise for Mallory. I'm not telling you what it is until it happens. I'm super excited because it's something we've never done. But I can't tell you what it is. Mallory CAN read and who knows who reads this that would tell her.

I can't wait for this weekend. It's going to be busy that's for sure! It's starting to look like we may only be home for sleep!

Okay... enough about that. I'll ruin surprises if I go on and on about it.

Have a good day you guys!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Island Playground...

Grandma and Grandpa had a special treat in store this afternoon for Julia Grace - Hilton Head Island's very own Island Playground!

This place was an indoor playground with everything from Little Tikes cars, a play kitchen area, big floral couches, and, of course, inflatable slides and play areas. Let me say again if I didn't mention it before now...Julia Grace is FEARLESS!

There was a neat little area called "Dino Dig"! There were toy dinosaurs and toy dinosaur skeletons that you "dug" up with little shovels in mounds of recycled tires that looked like dirt. I loved it! I think Julia Grace did too. It was soo much cleaner than sand - it had a coating on it and I've never seen anything like it. My mom said she'd seen it used as mulch at some rest stops. Anyhow - it was a really neat idea!

Julia Grace also scaled the big bouncy slide fearlessly - only looked back to see if we were watching her and grinned! She slid down all by herself too! She is very proud of herself when she's done and squeals and giggles! She first did this at Monkey Joe's on her 2nd birthday - we went for a family day and I climbed it with her 2 times and by the 3rd, she didn't need me anymore! Mallory followed her up it once that day, but Julia Grace was a pro by then!

We had fun today! Grandma and Grandpa took us to the outlets to help find some new tennis shoes (and chase Julia Grace around Stride Rite) and then we had dinner at Jalapeno's. It was yummy! And when we got home - Grandma and Grandpa had one more surprise - Julia Grace got a t-shirt from Island Playground. Even Tracy and I didn't know about that 'til we got home! Hope you enjoy the pics!

P.S. My bestest friend from high school is 30 today - if you read this, I'm really glad you called today and enjoyed hearing from you! :)

Island Playground pics...

Mallory's Blanket

Last Sunday, after church, Mallory and I made her one of these blankets. I think I mentioned that in a previous post. I did manage to get her to pose with it this past Wednesday evening before we had "crafty time". We had been to Hobby Lobby for a previous venture for the Brady Blankets challenge and Mallory pointed out the fleece patterns she would like to make her one. You know, if we ever decided to make her one. So... I surprised her and had bought the fleece on Thursday so we could make it when she was over for the weekend. I think she's really happy how it turned out and they're so easy to do! Mallory is really on a dog kick lately -especially CHIHUAHUAS! And yes, we went to see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" that weekend too. It was pretty dog-gone cute- HARHAR! :)

Actually we got done on Sunday with the blanket and headed out to shop at Sam's (groceries) and Party City (Sharpay wig and glasses for Halloween). By the time we got home, it was time to get things wound down for the evening and take her back to her mom's house. Mallory and I have really enjoyed all the "crafty time" lately. I think it's helped me and her both to make it through some tough times lately. Mallory needed some cheering up last weekend, and honestly, so did I. We've certainly had fun with these little projects!!

We didn't get to complete Wednesday evening's crafty time - it wasn't dry. I'll post pics after Mallory gets to come back over and put her "eyeballs" on hers. :)


We ran away. No really, we did. :) We're in Hilton Head for a few days with Grandma and Grandpa. Tracy has some work to do all day Monday in the Bluffton/Hilton Head Island area and Julia Grace and I are hanging out at my mom and dad's house.

We have several things we're going to go do today - I think Julia Grace will have lots of fun. I wish Mallory could have made the trip with us, but it's not her weekend to be here. I really hate that she can't be here with us - I'm hoping maybe she can make it down with us in November or that maybe her mom will let her come over in 2 weeks when my parents are in town. Yeah I know. We'll wait and see.

Update on mom: she's feeling some better (I'll try to post a few pics of her this evening if I can get her in any with Julia Grace today). She finishes radiation on Tuesday - 15 treatments flew by! They will do some more scans in 6 weeks to see how well it worked. I never knew it, but radiation keeps on working for 6 weeks following your last days of going to receive treatment. She says her neck is still sore and hurts but maybe not as much. She said her hips feel a WHOLE lot better and that's where the bone lesions are. So we'll see. She is hoping that they will start chemotherapy on October 20 - not sure of the start date for that yet, but it will be 18 weeks long. She did get accepted to the clinical trial so this is a plus.

I'll keep you posted but for now we're getting ready to go have a fun afternoon! See ya!

Friday, October 10, 2008

So there's this book....

There's this book I just finished reading. I'm sure you've heard of it... if you haven't, you must live under the same rock I stay under when it's time for talking about t.v. shows and pop music. I digress...

Twilight by Stephenie Meyers was the book of choice for book club - you know, the book club I've meant to attend since February of this year. I even bought a few of the other books on our list and read them but couldn't go on Friday night when it rolled around for various reasons.

Well... I finished the book. in TWO days. I bought it at Target on Tuesday evening but didn't start until Wednesday morning. Mind you, this book is 500 pages long. and has sequels. I bought the second book in the series on Tuesday too. I had been forewarned that I wouldn't be able to put this book down - no lie, I had to set 10 minute limits on reading to get other stuff done around the house. Do a load of laundry, 10 minutes of Twilight, give Julia Grace a bath, more Twilight - you get my drift.

I have vowed not to pick up the second book in the series until I get my Bible study done. Yeah, it's 1.00 a.m. Bible study is next while waiting on clothes in the dryer. Yes, I do sleep but not much. And no, I'm not a vampire either... HA!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Brady Blankets update...

With less than one week left to go, we have made several blankets. My goal is 10 and I'll keep you posted on that goal!

I have to go pick up more fleece - we did pause to make Mallory a puppy dog one this past Sunday. She loves it. She had mentioned originally when we picked out our first fleece that she liked these two patterns of fleece and she'd like to make one for herself sometime. So I surprised her this past weekend by having the fleece already bought and ready to make. We made it together after church Sunday. It was too too cute! The patterns she picked had rows of different breeds of puppies on one and a black fabric with white paw patterns for her back.

I'll post pics of them later. I had forgotten how much fun it was to make Julia Grace's blanket until I started this - we've made one for a birthday gift too. I'll upload pics soon and you can see what we've been up to lately!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The story I got in my email today...

Last night. Just before I went into my Bible study, I talked to my parents and received the bad news of my mom's prognosis. is that the right big word? you tell me. I don't feel like looking it up. it sounds right. carrying on...

I added my mom to the prayer requests when I went in the building- you simply write your requests on an index card and drop it in a basket, then it's emailed to all the ladies in our group. Well this morning I had an email in my inbox. It made me call my mom and before I could tell her the hope that it gave me for her, I started bawling. Well, my mom was at work and so sweetly said please don't cry. you'll make me cry and i'm at work so I can't. It struck me how much I missed my mom and how I wanted to hug her and she was so far away from me. I can't wait to be well next week and just go hug my mommy!

Back to my email. I'm just going to copy and paste it. It gives me such hope for her. Please pray for my mom. I know God works miracles every day and I hope that he has one out there with Janice's name on it. Thank you for everything and I love you guys!


My email:

I feel that God wants you to hear my story. And if you ever need someone to talk with, please feel free to call me.

This is not to frighten you. My mother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in September of 2005. We lost her in December of 2005. Her case was extremely progressed and she was only given three months at best.

In March of 2006, God answered my prayers and I met a wonderful Godly man. We dated for two years. This past March, he was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer stage IVB. They gave him only a few weeks to a few months to live. He suffered complications and had major surgery (not for the cancer but as a result of the cancer). They told me on April 5, that he might have ten days. I prayed for God to heal Mike. I knew that I might not get the answer I wanted, but a chaplain had told me to let the Lord know what I wanted. I did. We had people praying for Mike all over the world. He has a website (I, Tracey, removed it for their privacy). On Sunday, April 6, he was not any better. He had a chest tube and a heart tube. He was in pain. On Monday the 7th, he began to feel a little better. They took the heart tube out (drainage had stopped), but the chest tube was still flowing. On Tuesday, the chest tube quit flowing. On Wednesday, he came home from the hospital.

In May, we married in between chemo sessions. He had a hard time with chemo, but each time he went I prayed fervently for the chemo to do the job it was intended. At the end of May, he had lost weight and had a blood transfusion. He was miserable. The doctor ordered another CT scan, which showed the tumor was gone. Mike continued on with chemo through mid June. He was doing well. Two weeks ago, he had a seizure. At the hospital, we found out that he had some minor spots in his brain. He had brain cancer. Chemo does not cross the barrier into the brain. They started radiation and felt strongly that it will take care of the cancer. Last week, he had a PET scan. There is no tumor and no cancer from the neck down. He has five more treatments of radiation and will be tested again. He is doing wonderfully.

As Priscilla said tonight, prayer is your greatest weapon in everything. I will pray for your mother Janice and your family, but especially for you. Mike and I would like to let you know if there is anything we can do to help, we would be glad to help. We know you have a lot of questions, which since we've been through it, we may have some answers. Please feel free to call. We're here for you.

Well, here it is...

It's like this plan and simple. My mom has stage IV lung cancer. This is the last stage of the cancer. Without treatment doctor says 6 months. With treatment we could have 1, 2, maaaaaybe 3 years left with her. With God and your prayers- maybe a miracle? Yesterday will go down as one of the worst days of my life news-wise.

I am trying to stay strong. My sister asks how can I sound so "together"? Well... honestly, I'm crying just as much as the rest of you when no one sees. I have faith that God will do things as He sees fit and if it's to take my mom from this earth, then that's how it will be. I won't be angry. I can't be angry - not enough time or space in my heart for anger right now. All I have space for is love and care. You see, something stuck out in my Bible study Tuesday night also (on the same eve of such a bad news day): a little story about the patient asking the doctor in the middle of flu season, after one of their many visits during the season - Dr. why are you so healthy in the middle of all this? The doctor replied, " my wife and I really believe that God keeps us healthy so that we can help those who are not. It's the only explanation I can figure."

WOW. Did you get that? That just sort of blew me away. I had already been down this week because since last Wednesday one of us has been sick. It started with Julia Grace- a cold, stomach upset, wouldn't eat, cold chills & goosebumps one minute, then fever the next. Well, by Saturday - JG felt terrific bouncing on our bed while I had the goosebumps and cold chills in the same bed she was jumping upon (I was powerless to stop her you see, this was the most horrid I had felt since Tracy and I had the flu a week after getting married). Daddy Tracy was at Mallory's soccer game, then buying his grandpa black shoes to go referee a game an hour after that. I'm feeling better, lingering cough - Tracy felt horrible Monday through well, today still a little. But it kept us from visiting my mom. I am hoping though that I get through this initial cold spell, get my flu shot and stay well so I can be there for my mom. That I can be the one who is healthy while she is not.

Back to my mom - she's still working. Today was day 6 of radiation. She's feeling tired. She's a little sore and stiff. She's itching to see us and we are beside ourselves wanting to see her. she's going to work, leaving for her tests/radiation, then going back to work. She's so tough! They do know now that the spots on her liver are cancer as well. Her cancer is non-small cell lung cancer. She has one mass at her C2 vertebrae, one at her left lung and lesions on her hip bones and some spots on her liver. Radiation is targeting the C2 and the hip bones. She has 9 more radiation treatments to go. Blood work weekly. Then they discuss chemotherapy and my mom is applying to do a clinical trial. Whoa there. Yep. TRIAL. The good news is this drug has worked on colorectal cancer and brain & neck cancers with a good success rate. It is an injection that goes along with chemo. It has all kinds of side effects, but it is being touted as a "wonderdrug". It is Erbitux.
You're probably hearing about it in the news because it belongs to ImClone (yes, the company Martha Stewart got in trouble for dropping their stock) and Bristol Meyers Squibb, but it's got an offer on the table for it now that it's hot stuff. ANYHOO... trial. the drug (at a staggering $30,000 per 6 week treatment) will be FREE to my mom for doing the trial. the side effects she will incur will be treated for FREE (dr. visits and prescriptions to treat them). any at-home care she needs during this trial will be FREE. Please pray that she's accepted to the trial. She's in EXTREMELY good health for her age and she's younger than most lung cancer patients. The next thing to pray for is that she isn't allergic to it. She's not ever been allergic to any other drugs - let's hope she doesn't start now.
Keep praying for her and all of us. Pray that I can continue to remain strong for those who are not. Thank you and I love you all!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pink for October

I saw this earlier this morning on someone else's blog - It's called Pink For October. The Pink is for breast cancer awareness.

Apparently to raise awareness they ask that your website go "pink" for the month of October. In 2007 they had 3000 websites and are aiming bigger this year.

Those that know me know I am not a girlie girl pink person. My girlie girl choice of color is ALWAYS purple or most shades of it anyways. :) But I'm a humongous navy blue fan and always have been.

Here's the link if you want to know more:

And if you want to register your site and see just how many are out there "pinking it" like you :

I am #253. This is apparently a worldwide thing as there are other sites registered there from other countries - USA is far and away the leader on the little graph chart though!

I will have an update on my mom and other things later on today. Please please pray for my mom. The prognosis isn't good but I have faith that God is working.

If God brings you to it, HE will bring you through it.
I don't know who to credit with that quote but it has always stuck with me since I heard it a good while back.

Have a good day and I'm going to get productive!

Love you all!