Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Palindromic Rheumatism

Last week, Keeghan finally had his appointment with his new Rheumatologist. We've been waiting for this appointment forever since we had to cancel his last one the beginning of December due to the stomach bug. I was worried we'd have to cancel this time as well when he got Influenza and then we got a freak snow storm, but everyone was feeling mostly ok and a neighbor cleared my driveway for me (thank you, neighbor!) so we were able to make it! I was so glad because if we would have canceled, we wouldn't have been able to make it again until June.

The doctor looked over Keeghan's records, drew some blood, looked him over and diagnosed him with Palindromic Rheumatism. Yeah, I've never heard of that either. The good news is, his pediatrician was afraid that it was Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis... and this actual diagnosis is better because it hardly causes permanent joint damage which is awesome. It describes a lot of Keeghan's symptoms perfectly... it involves large joints and tissues like his hips and ankles. It can be accompanied by fever and swelling, which his are, and it comes and goes, hence the name Palindromic like a palindrome word. It can even go away for a year or so and then come back, from what I've read.

The Rheumatologist gave me a prescription for a stronger pain medication for Keeghan to use when he has an attack and we have to go back and see him in 6 months. It's good to have answers and good to know that this isn't doing any permanent damage to his joints. I have read that sometimes this CAN develop into arthritis later, but we'll deal with that when/if it happens.

Thanks for all your prayers for Keeghan!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Where to Eat in Philadelphia - Sabrina's Cafe

One of our most favorite places to go when we visit Philadelphia is Sabrina's Cafe. My mouth starts watering just typing the name out. We first heard about Sabrina's Cafe from our pastor in Tennessee. He was going up to Philly a lot for some college courses and somehow he and his wife stumbled across this gem. They told us, "It's the best meal you'll ever eat." That's a lot to live up to! So, on one of our trips to Philly we searched out Sabrina's Cafe in the Italian Market of Philadelphia.

And we sat down to the best meal we will ever eat.

Sabrina's is small, and off the beaten path, and I have to admit that of the two locations I've been to, the one in the Italian Market is my favorite. Their breakfasts are amazing and fattening and oh so delicious. You can get a pancake that's bigger than your head, covered in whatever toppings you can dream up.

They make a perfect poached egg with Hollandaise sauce that just melts in your mouth... 

The carmelized challah French toast is stuffed with cream cheese and topped with bananas and vanilla bean syrup... It's like having dessert for breakfast. 

You can create your own humongous omelet and stuff it with any number of delicious fillings and toppings. The portions are HUGE and you WILL leave stuffed, so come hungry!! 

For lunch they have a wide range of sandwiches and other dishes... and we've been there for lunch once and I was a little disappointed. Once you've tasted their dinners, the lunch menu doesn't quite cut it. ;)

So let's talk dinner... OH the dinner. 

I have to recommend starting out with the hummus. Sometimes they have red pepper hummus, sometimes they have white bean hummus. Both are delicious, but the red pepper is better. The entrees at Sabrina's are home cooking just like your grandma used to make... only better. They have a stuffed meatloaf that is one of Frank's favorites, while I usually go for the salmon or pork chops, both of which melt in your mouth and are bursting with flavor. Again, the portions are a great size, so expect to leave FULL! Whatever your taste... chicken, pork, seafood or pasta, I promise you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

If you go to Sabrina's in the Italian Market, be sure to walk across the street to Anthony's Italian Coffee and Chocolate House where you can pick up your favorite blend of Italian coffee to bring home or enjoy a mocha while you're there. There's lots of other yummy treats to explore too... but after Sabrina's, you'll probably be too full to think about it. :) 

Sabrina's Cafe is located in the Italian Market at 910 Christian Street or by the Art Museum at 1804 Callowhill Street and they have a new location at 34th and Powelton. If you're ever in Philly, don't pass up Sabrina's. Make reservations so you don't have to wait. It really will be the best meal you'll ever eat. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Foam Sword

Yesterday was a good, but busy day here in the Garcia household. It was the first day in over a week that everyone truly felt good again. I woke up and made my coffee, laid everyone's clothes out, and surveyed the wreckage in my living room and kitchen. It looked like five children had been living here with no parental guidance whatsoever. And that may have been partially true for at least a couple days while I laid here on the couch miserable. I was able to change Kellsey's diapers and get her fed, but the other kids ate a lot of PB&J and mac and cheese, waffles and a cereal while I thanked the Lord for a snow day in the middle of the flu.

And now, it was time to pay the piper and clean up this mess. I got the big three off to school and then Keeghan, Kellsey and I took off to Sam's Club to restock our kitchen. We picked up a few essentials, a few non-essentials, and headed home to tackle the house. Cleaning the living room and kitchen turned into cleaning OUT the pantry and utility room, but by the end, I felt so much better. I picked up and sorted through a week's worth of mail and silently apologized to my mail man. I know he dislikes me - a lot.

When the kids got home, I put a roast in the oven and made a salad while they played and then we caught up on American Idol while we ate. Our Schwan's guy stopped by which led to a 2 hour conversation about GPS systems and child safety in kids with Down syndrome and Autism (which is the same conversation you have with YOUR Schwan's guy, right?! LOL) and I'll likely be posting more about that soon. Then the kids settled down to bed... Kassidy in Kennedy's room and Keeghan in Kameron's room... Kellsey in her own room. I had a little quiet time and headed to bed, looking forward to a solid night's sleep - not interrupted by sick kids or fevers, or coughing.

Or not.

At 2am Keeghan ran into my room, crying, carrying a foam sword and saying, "Mommy, my ear hurts!" I felt his forehead... no fever. He has this horrible habit of grinding his teeth in his sleep. Loudly. He sounds like he's chewing on ice. He wakes me up a few times a week. The night that he was the sickest and he was in my bed, I tried massaging his jaw to get him to stop but he wouldn't stop. I noticed then that as he was grinding his teeth he was holding his ear, so I'm thinking it finally got to him.

So, I pulled him into bed, gave him a dose of Tylenol, which is a staple at my bedside these days, and massaged his jaw until he fell asleep. He spent the rest of the night crying about his ear, chewing on ice grinding his teeth, and kicking me. I spent the rest of the night wondering, "Did he REALLY come upstairs carrying a foam sword?!" Another sleepless night...

Ah the life of a mom!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Q&A #234

OK first of all, I have a couple posts I need to close out...

Kellsey's hair... 
Thanks for your thoughts about whether to keep her bangs or not! Between the blog and facebook comments, here were the results:
Keep the bangs: 21
Grow out the bangs: 18
Either way looks good: 17
I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. She does keep clips in well, so we'll see. I tried growing my bangs out once and I got so irritated about half way through that I chopped them off again! HA!

And Kameron's mystery chocolate...
I had guesses from fruit to frogs to lizards, gummy worms to grasshoppers, to jalapenos! But the majority of you said it was chocolate covered bacon...
And you would be right! :) Kameron said it was delicious. I'll just trust him on that because chocolate covered bacon is just not something that's on my list to try. ;)

OK onto the rest of the questions and stuff:
I'm not sure what's on the stick. I'm just glad to see that someone else's child leaves their shoes piled up in the middle of the floor, and it's not just mine! lol 
HA! And jackets and backpacks and jammies... it's never ending!! 


Methotrexate is the "go to" medication for people with rheumatoid diseases, too. Bethany has been on it for a year & her rheumatologist is stressed about the shortage since it is going to affect most of his patients.
It's also used by many people who have Lupus or maybe Fibromyalgia... or maybe both. I can't remember. LOL 


 I was interested to hear that you easily got a Tamiflu prescription. here in Canada that would be pretty hard to get. They wouldnt likely even do a swab. It this routine where you are or is it becase of Kennedy's health history? Just curious.
Yes, they just handed it over... it's pretty standard here. I was wondering if the pharmacy would have it since flu is running rampant here right now, but they had Kennedy's and now enough for the rest of our family. I think a few years back, when swine flu was going crazy, there was a shortage. Thankfully we never had to worry about that. 


Wow, your kids get sick a lot!! 
Actually, I don't think they do. I think they DID in TN, but they've only been sick twice since we moved here in July. When you have a bunch of kids in different schools and sports being exposed to different things, it's bound to happen. 


Ok, I'm going to give you a tiny mom lecture! Your kid needs to be fever free WITHOUT the use of tylenol or motrin for 24 hours before dragging them out in public. They're not "well" just because their fever is gone because they've had a fever reducer. Especially in flu season! You just exposed everyone at dance to the flu.There..done with my lecture.
I know the rules :). But her temp at that point was only 99.9... barely a fever. I could have sent her to school that day but since I thought she was fighting a cold, I decided not to. I took her to dance because I thought it was JUST a cold and it was her last practice before competition. I would never expose anyone to the flu on purpose. I felt awful. 


Just wondering how Frank is doing and is he somewhere that you are in contact with him.
He is doing well. We talk a lot via text (sort of... it's from his email to my phone, it works!) and sometimes on the phone, but unfortunately, the reception isn't as great as we hoped it would be. We try to make it work! Thanks for asking! I will do a longer deployment update soon! :) 


Did your kids have the flu shot or mist this year? Just curious if they did get it and it wasn't working. Don't forget to take care of yourself! 
*sigh* They did not. Kass and Kam begged me not to make them get it, and truth be told, I hate it. We got it in 2007 and 2008 when Kennedy was going through chemo and building her immune system back up and both times it made me feel horrible. Since then, we've all chickened out and been lucky. Next year... I'll remind them... and myself... of this! 


I thought Tamiflu was only given if someone was exposed to the flue, not if they already had it? I'm surprised it was so easy to get. They usually don't give it out unless someone is really vulnerable, like elderly or some immune issue. The use has been restricted for perfectly healthy people because it is just the flu and using too many antivirals can make viruses stronger and harder to get rid of. 
Actually, Tamiflu is best when given within 48 hours of getting the flu and shortens the duration of the flu. They give it out liberally in my experience and this is the only anti-viral we've ever used. Kennedy and Keeghan are currently getting 2 doses a day for 5 days because they actually have the flu whereas the rest of us are getting it once a day for 10 days because we've been exposed. You sure seem to know a lot for a 15 year old. ;o)


Dont you just love Target pharmacy and their color coded meds! Did the kids pick out their fave colors?
I also like that they have a list of like 20 really cool flavors that can be added for free to liquid meds! Just ask for list at the counter!

We are actually new to Target Pharmacy. :) We used Walgreens before but they no longer take Tri-care insurance (their loss!). SO this is the first time I've seen the color coding on the medications. It really is handy! :) I did not know about the free flavoring! Walgreens charged something like $3.00 a bottle. That's handy too! I will have to remember that! Thanks! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal (Giveaway!)

One of the many families we met at Vanderbilt while Kennedy was going through chemotherapy was the family of Joshua Kelley. Joshua was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) not long after Kennedy began treatment. Though Joshua and Kennedy were not inpatient together often, I enjoyed getting to know the Kelley family through Joshua's and Kennedy's carepages as we prayed for each others children. I have looked forward to their encouraging messages over the years or even an understanding ear as we walked the cancer journey together.

Now, Joshua's father Michael has written a book titled Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal. Ironically, that's exactly what he was working on when Joshua was diagnosed with cancer. However, this book is drastically different from the original book he anticipated writing. Cancer changes you. It changes how you see life, your loved ones, and God.

When Michael asked me if I would be willing to read his book and write a review, I said I would be honored. He sent me the PDF and I asked him to give me a week to read it. Two days later, I was done. As a cancer mom, it brought back a lot of raw emotions and memories for me. As a Christian who has been through life's struggles, it made me nod my head in agreement... "Yes! I have felt that way! I have felt alone and scared and wondering what's next. And I have seen God's hand at work... through the good and the bad... sometimes through things I'll never understand. I get it."

Michael also agreed to do an interview about his book with me... you can read that below.

RG: I really loved your book. As you know, we walked very similar journeys at the same time, in the same hospital. I too was pregnant when Kennedy was diagnosed. There were so many spots that I found myself smiling and nodding, and other times I found myself crying as I read. The grief process you went through after diagnosis, we also endured. Sadness, anger, fear, questioning why… we were sent TONS of books from friends about cancer, about God’s plan for our lives, etc. I’m sure you did to. Besides the Bible, what one book helped you the most to calm your heart, and maybe make you feel like you weren't alone?
MK: This is a great question - one which I wish I had a better answer for. But for me (and I think for Jana, too, because I just asked her), we didn't read much in order to help us deal with the difficulty. We read more for escape, so both of us read a lot of fiction during that time. But it's funny how that even in fiction, which is not about cancer at all, that you're drawn back to that sense of reality. So I remember reading again The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and being struck again with the childlike wonder the kids had for Aslan the Lion. And wanting that renewed in me, especially during this very difficult time.

RG: You quoted a lot of great Bible verses and talked about stories of people who can relate to the pain we endured through our child’s cancer treatment. Which one meant the most to you?
MK: The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35: Jesus wept. That became so meaningful to me because it's a promise that Jesus isn't isolated or separate from the pain of humanity. He's intensely and intimately involved. He weeps with us. Laughs with us. Maybe even more than us. Hard to imagine, but true - We are loved by a very emotional God.

RG: You said that before Joshua was diagnosed, you were a stay at home dad, working on a book. I assume that book would have been drastically different from this one. What was it about, and will you still be writing it?
MK: Still working on it. It was just a sketch of a short story that might become something sometime. It's funny, though, how an experience like childhood cancer has a way of coloring most everything that you do. I suspect that if I do write more that I might always have to write from the perspective of someone walking through that difficulty.

RG: What do you think is the most important lesson God taught you through Joshua’s cancer diagnosis?
MK: This is hard, too, because I don't really think we've fully learned any of these things. We're still learning them - still having to be reminded of them day after day. Maybe, though, we're a little further along than we are now. I think we are learning that pain is kind of the common denominator of humanity. Everyone has experienced some form of disappointment or suffering. The question, then, isn't so much whether we will hurt; it's more about what we will do when we are hurt.

RG: It was very bittersweet for me to read the section about Charlie. We were/are also very close to his family. His was the second Vandy funeral I went to and there were many, many after that. Like you, there were times, on my dark days, when I wondered what we would have in Kennedy’s service, should the time come. Do you see those thoughts as a lack of faith, or just keeping in touch with reality? After all, none of our kids up there had secure futures…
MK: True. Very true. I think it's pretty natural to have those thoughts. And I don't think it reveals a lack of faith. The question (sort of like the question of pain above) isn't so much whether you will have doubts and fears; it's more about what you do with them. Do you repress them? Do you hide them? Do you deny them? Or do you actually talk to Jesus about them? If you choose the latter, then even though you're doubting, you are in a sense believing. You are trusting Jesus enough - so much in fact - to tell Him about your doubts and fears. Ironic, right?

RG: Like you, were told by well-meaning friends, and I know other 6th floor families were also told, that if we just prayed hard enough, if our children would eat the right foods, if we would give them certain vitamins, then they would be cured. However, what about the kids who didn’t get their cure until Heaven? I know they had just as many people praying for them, all over the world, I know these parents did everything possible to keep their children here. What DO you say to these well meaning people who encourage you to just pray more or to have more faith?
MK: I usually tried to be polite. More times than not, those words came from someone who didn't know what it was like to have a really sick kid, and they were just fumbling around trying to find the right thing to say. They didn't realize the implications or the burden of what they were really saying. I think a better option for encouragement, though, might be to say nothing at all. And to instead, practice the ministry of presence. Be there. Weep. Laugh. Embrace. Don't offer trite explanations. Emotionally invest.

RG: You said towards the end, that Joshua going OFF chemo was very scary for you. You said that it’s never over. We feel the same way… no matter how much faith you have, no matter how many people tell us how relieved we must feel, there’s always that nagging in my mind when Kennedy sleeps too long or gets a strange bruise on the playground, I can’t help but wonder what her platelets are right then. The word relapse is always in the back of our minds, and I know that other cancer families feel the same way. Do you think this is a sign of NOT having enough faith? I feel like I KNOW that God will take care of our family, all of us, but what if His plan is different than mine?
MK: I think that's a completely natural fear. It's certainly one I have. And I've been told by others it gets better with time, as most things do. But it's also helpful to remember that Jesus told us not to worry with tomorrow. The reason we don't have to worry about tomorrow isn't because something bad won't happen tomorrow. It really might. We don't have to worry because when tomorrow gets here, there will be enough grace for us to deal with what it holds. On the day Joshua was diagnosed, I had no idea we would be sitting at the children's hospital at noon. But I also had no idea that the Lord had given me enough grace to make it through that day. It encourages me to think that tomorrow - regardless of what it holds, and though I can't see how I would get through doing it all again - that God will still be faithful to provide what grace I need then, too.

RG: Now that Joshua is seven, how much does he understand about what he went through so many years ago? You mentioned that him being so young was a blessing. He didn’t really understand what was happening to his little body and it didn’t disrupt his life too much (compared to, say, a teenager). Does he understand now, and does it worry him when clinic time rolls around?
MK: He understands it more and more. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that he realized that everyone didn't have a port implanted in their chest! But knowing that he doesn't remember all of it really increases the responsibility that Jana and I feel, because we are truly the caretakers of this story. He will only remember what we want him to remember. So God has seen fit for us to decide how much or how little of this he knows about. That's pretty weighty. But we feel like it's part of stewarding this story well to help him understand just how good and faithful God has been, and to see that, he also has to see that he was really, really sick.

RG: If you could tell a parent, whose child was just diagnosed with cancer, ONE thing, what would it be?
MK: I'm not sure I would tell them anything. I think I would want to pray for them, and then bring them dinner. That's it. Maybe after a few months, I might tell them some other stuff.

RG: If you could tell those people who are supporting a family whose child was just diagnosed with cancer one thing NOT to say to that family, what would it be?
MK: I'm sure you have read some fascinating things on the internet about cancer. Please don't share those things. Or at least don't share those things unless your friend brings them up. They've got enough on their minds.

RG: Thank you so much for writing this very real, honest book. You put into words a lot of the emotions we were feeling through Kennedy’s treatment as well. I know a lot of my readers will want to know, when is the release date for your book, and will it be available for Kindle?
MK: The release date is March 1. Yep - should be available for Kindle.




Now, doesn't that make you want to read this book? It should. This book is not just about cancer. It's not just about being a Christian. It's about life and the trials that we will ALL face at one time or another, and how to get through those hard times. 

Michael has generously offered THREE copies of his book to three of you. For this post, I am opening up my comments so you don't have to have an ID to enter. For your first entry, leave me a comment telling me you'd like a copy of this book. You can have a second entry by linking to this post on Facebook and you can get yet a third entry by linking to this post on twitter with the hash tag #prettynormal . Please leave a separate blog comment for each way you enter the contest! Thanks!! I will use random.org to choose 3 winners one week from today on February 29th. 

Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal will be available on Amazon and on Kindle on March 1st and available for purchase here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Or NOT

Well, I thought we were recovering and getting back to life, but sadly I was mistaken. On the way to take Keeghan to school this morning, he fell asleep. He never does that. I thought maybe he just didn't sleep well last night, though usually he comes in to my room if that's the case. He seemed fine at breakfast. I woke him up when it was time to go into school and put my hand on his forehead... he was cool. He wasn't his usual perky self, but I thought maybe he was just waking up. Still, I told his teacher to call me if he didn't come around.

I headed home to get ready for Kassidy's dentist appointment later this morning. Sure enough, about an hour later, I got a call from Keeghan's teacher. She told me that he laid his head down during play time and now he was saying he couldn't get back up. He wasn't feverish, but he definitely wasn't feeling well. No rush, but I might want to come get him. I grabbed Kass and headed to Keeghan's school. By the time I got there he was sound asleep in his classroom and a little warm.

After a quick x-ray at Kass' dentist office, we headed off to urgent care since there were no openings at the pediatrician's office, and by that time he was pretty miserable and he had a 102 temp. They swabbed Keeghan's nose for Influenza and they told me it would take 10 minutes to come back. Two minutes later, they came back in and told me that it already popped up positive. Awesome.

So, I headed out to take my sick little guy home and then to Target to fill his prescription for Tamiflu. When I got to the parking lot, the doctor from the urgent care called me and asked if I would like to treat everyone else in the house with Tamiflu as well as a preventative. Absolutely! She got everyone's names and birth dates and weights (I didn't know Kameron's weight so I called his school and they weighed him for me... that had to be their strangest request of the week!) and then asked me to call the kids' ped and be sure it was ok to treat Kellsey with her medical history. He said, "Yes, PLEASE!" and she called all the prescriptions into Target for me. I am so, so, so thankful! The people at Target were very nice and got our meds ready quickly... a huge bag of meds... with like 20 droppers. It made me laugh. Almost.

And tonight I decided I need to get organized.

Yep. We're ready to fight the flu. I think I'll start my own pharmacy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Recovering

It's been a rough few days in the Garcia household. On Wednesday, I got a note home from Kennedy's teacher saying that she had a runny nose all day and she hoped that Kennedy wasn't getting sick. I didn't think too much of it because the weather here is so crazy that it should make everyone's nose run! However, on Thursday morning when I went to wake her up for school, she had a fever. It wasn't really high, but it was enough to keep her home from school.

She hung out with me for the day, but she was in good spirits besides a little cough, and seemed to be feeling well. Motrin brought her temp down to normal and kept it there, so we went ahead to dance that evening. She had a competition on Saturday and this was her last practice. It was also "Bring a friend to dance" night and her friend Emily from school was meeting her at dance class. Kenn was so excited! The kids had a great time at dance and we went home and got ready for school on Friday.

Friday morning Kennedy woke up with a fever again and her cough was a little worse, so I kept her home again. She was still in good spirits and it didn't slow her down at all. I figured she was just fighting off a cold. We met a friend for lunch, worked on some homework and took it easy. Then, Friday afternoon, her fever hit hard. It soared to 102, I gave her more Motrin and 45 minutes later it was over 103 and she was miserable. I decided to take her into urgent care while it was still open and get her checked out. They took one look at her and guessed flu. They said they had seen TONS of cases of it in the last few days. Sure enough, a nose swab confirmed Influenza A. *sigh* They gave us a prescription for Tamiflu and told us to rotate Tylenol and Motrin and let us go.

So, I called Kennedy's dance teacher and let her know we would not be at competition, which made Kennedy SO sad. She was really looking forward to it. By Saturday, Kassidy had a bad headache and I thought she was heading for flu status too. Kennedy's fever was hovering at 105 and we just laid low all day. The boys stayed FAR away from us and set up a fort in Kameron's room with a big "Germ Free" sign on it. Ha! The good news is that Kennedy stayed hydrated even though she didn't eat much and her blood sugar stayed up! I was so proud of her because I know she didn't feel like drinking, but we avoided a trip to the hospital.

Yesterday, Kass was still complaining of a headache, but she never did get a fever so I just treated her here at home. Kennedy's temp dropped to around 101 and she perked up quite a bit. We still laid low and the boys decided they didn't want to hang out with us. Kellsey played with her toys oblivious to the fact that we weren't on the go like usual. She was probably happy! ;) Last night Kenn was feeling yucky again... the nights seem to be the worst.

And today, things are looking up. Kass is 100% better and Kenn's temp is down to 100.4. Her cough is still pretty bad but she insists, "I'm BETTER!" We all spent the morning getting the house back in order... somehow laying around for days at a time makes the house look like a tornado hit. Ha! The laundry is now caught up and put away, the dishes are done, the floors are cleaned, we are all bathed and not stinky anymore and everything is Lysol'd... if it hadn't snowed last night I would open the windows but no one needs a chill right now.

So far, Kellsey and the boys seem to have completely avoided any illness! YES! At this point I am thinking Kennedy is going to need one more day home from school tomorrow to make sure she is completely better. Thankfully she has no idea what day it is and doesn't realize she's missing dance class again this afternoon. She'll be going into withdrawals by Thursday! Hopefully the sickies are gone and will stay gone for a long, long time. Off to make a late lunch and watch movies with the kids... since we haven't done THAT all weekend! ;) Here's to a germ-free household!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Where to Eat in Colorado - Taste of Philly

As you know, our family loves to eat (maybe with the exception of our boys... picky little things!) ;) We love to find little treasures amidst the McDonald's and Olive Gardens, Applebees and worn out steakhouses. We love to find new and different, and though some places are well known, we get excited when we finally stumble upon them.

And so, I decided that I would share some of these places with you all. Places from here in Colorado Springs and Denver, to Clarksville and the middle TN area, to California and even Philadelphia... and anywhere else we might travel. If you don't live in any of these areas, there may be one close to you, so pay attention!

I found this first place about two months ago when I was lost in Denver. Yes, I was lost in Denver. And my GPS who we've named Gypsy was not helping me. So, I was driving down the street and passed this small restaurant that said Philly on it and it had a picture of a Philly Cheesesteak. I was driving about 40 miles an hour so I just saw it in passing, but I immediately told Frank about it. The only problem is, I had NO idea where I was when I saw it. Helpful, heh?!

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, the kids and I were having a lazy Saturday here at home. We were hungry, but didn't want anything in the house. Pizza is... boring and the kids don't like Chinese food. We were all in our jammies and didn't want to go out, so I googled delivery places in Colorado Springs, and as I was scrolling through, discussing options with the kids, I saw it.


As most of you know, since 2008 we have spent a lot of time in Philly. While there, we discovered our love of Philly Cheesesteaks and made it a point to try as many places there as possible. I'll talk more about our favorite place there, later. 

So back to Taste of Philly... the menu looked promising, free delivery looked even better, but I admit, I was a little skeptical. I ordered a cheesesteak for me, Kass and Kam chose to split a meatball sub and the little three split a chicken tender basket. Our food was delivered in under an hour, the sandwiches were hot and cheesy and gooey and somewhat messy, but very worth it! I wouldn't say it's the best Philly cheesesteak I've ever had, but it's the best one I've ever had outside of Philly, and it was pretty darn great. I may have tested the kids food too. ;o) The meatball sub was delicious and the chicken was... well.... chicken. LOL Their french fries were pretty good though. :) And for dessert? Tastykakes, of course! It satisfied my craving for authentic Philadelphia flavor and we'll definitely be back there again. :)

Taste of Philly's menu has a wide range of selections from grinders to wraps to salads, specialty sandwiches, yummy sides and of course cheesesteaks, any way you'd like them. There are seventeen locations throughout Colorado to serve you, so order today

More of Where to Eat next week. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Way to Help

If you've been reading here very long, you know I talk a lot about Childhood Cancer. I can hardly believe that it's been almost five years since Kennedy's journey with Leukemia... it's even harder to believe we may be facing it again in the future with a second daughter.

Recently, childhood cancer has been making headlines. My hope would be that one day, childhood cancer will make the news because someone has found a cure. In the meantime, the reasons for the news reports are disheartening, and quite scary for parents whose children are battling cancer. There is currently a nationwide shortage of Methotrexate, one of the key chemotherapies for treating children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). A shortage of this drug can be devastating to a patient's "road map" of their treatment. Scary.

As I'm sure most of you know, St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, TN is one of the leading researchers in new cancer drugs for children. I am sure they are doing their very best to battle this shortage and make sure that children with ALL and other cancers are getting the drugs they need to fight this awful disease.

St. Jude's relies heavily on contributions from people like you and me. They also get a lot of fundraising through amazing people who run marathons and half marathons on behalf of the hospital. Running a half marathon seems... overwhelming and pretty much impossible to me. But I have several friends who do it every year. And my hat's off to them! :)

On April 28th, my friend Laura is running the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon. She is running as a St. Jude Hero. I think that now, more than ever, we need to band together and help St. Jude help all the kids fighting cancer. You can help by donating to Laura's fundraising page. It's easy to do and every dollar counts. Let's help Laura meet her goal! Thanks Laura, for running for cancer warriors everywhere!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocolate Covered...

Today I met my friend Laura for lunch. I had 4 kids with me which was weird. I very rarely have FOUR kids. Sometimes I will have one or two or even three, and usually all five, but I can't remember the last time I only had four kids, especially at a restaurant. However, Kassidy had a half day of school today, Kennedy has been fighting a cold and stayed home from school today and Keeghan and Kellsey never have school on Fridays. So four it was.

After lunch, Laura suggested we walk down to the chocolate store, and of course we never turn down chocolate! ;) Kassidy picked out some chocolate covered peanut cluster thing, Kennedy picked out a chocolate covered cookie with M&Ms, Keeghan picked out a chocolate covered graham cracker, and Kellsey had pudding at home since she's not a big fan of chocolate. I felt bad leaving Kameron out so I got him something chocolate covered too...


Kam's eyes lit up when I told him what was inside... 

But he said I couldn't tell you what it was... you all have to guess

Yum!!!

A million cool points to the first person to get it right. ;) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Q&A #233

I'm just curious, do children with Down Syndrome have a higher change of having leukemia? Just wondering and praying you don't go through that again with another precious child!
Yes. One in every 95 children with Down syndrome get Leukemia, for children without Ds, it's one in every 2,000. We too are praying that none of us have to go through this again... especially Kellsey!


Im so sorry that the results were not what you wanted. I cannot remember if she has reflux or not but Sandifer Syndrome looks a lot like seizures but is a response to reflux. My son has it and we really thought he was having seizures at first. Praying that cancer stays away! 
Nope, no reflux. She actually just had an upper GI to check for that and was cleared. 


Just in case Kellsey ever has to go on Thyroid med make sure it's not generic.. I have fought with getting my numbers right and whenever I get generic the numbers go up.. This was confirmed by my endo.. She said thyroid med's is the one that shouldn't have generic.. and I would really check it out. Thyroid problems mask alot of other problems.. It is the cause of alot of problems.. I'm hypo and the numbers shouldn't be any higher than 2-4 depending.. Hope all gets fixed and will be praying for her blood to be good to her.. 
That's good to know. I actually checked her prescription (her endo gave me one and told me not to fill it until she said so... this way I didn't have to drive back to Denver) and it is for Synthroid, but on the bottom it says "Interchange is mandatory unless the practitioner indicates no substitution in accordance with the law." And she didn't say no substitution on there. :(


Have you send the videos to the Neuro. for evaluation? Have you talked with other people in her life that she is with to see if they notice anything? 
Yes, Frank has seen it of course and they've seen it at school and couple friends have seen it as well. It's definitely not something that can be missed. 


What does it mean to be "pre-leukemic"? 
That she is at higher risk of developing leukemia because of the way her blood is looking. That's why they are going to test every 3 months or I'm supposed to bring her in immediately if she shows any signs... the only problem with that is she NEVER seems to present normally. 


Zoey was born with TMD, I think you know that, and we checked her blood every 3 months up until the flip to AML. in all that time, I never heard the term "pre-leukemia", just the fact that since she was born with a transient form of leukemia, that her chance was higher of developing it. Make sure, and I know you know this, that you love and trust this new oncologist. 
I DO trust her oncologist, however, I sent an email to Kennedy's oncologist from Vandy a few days ago. ;) Never hurts to have a second opinion, right? I HAVE heard the term "pre-leukemia" before, but it was when Kennedy was diagnosed. After her bone marrow biopsy they said she had "myelodysplasia" which is a type of "pre-leukemia", but she was so close to the border they ended up just putting AML on her records. I guess 20% cancer cells is the qualifying "leukemia" status and hers was 19%. They ended up just treating her for AML because they said a week or so later and she definitely would have been over the 20%. 


 I would love to know more about pre leukemic and the sleeping medicine. We give Tommy melatonin but its not helping.
They started Kellsey on Clonidine. It's actually a blood pressure medication, but for some reason it also is supposed to help you sleep... which is good if you WANT to sleep, but I think if I were taking it for blood pressure issues, I might not be so happy about that! haha Anyway, so far it hasn't really helped Kellsey. I was hoping it would. She's on a REALLY low dose though, so I need to call and see if we can try a little more. 


Have Frank send that to you so you can go around shooting all the smoke alarms! lol 
HA! Now THERE'S a thought! ;) 


This is such a cool idea. Doesn't it make you sad to see how much the older kids have grown? I don't even know them and it makes me sad. lol 
It does!! And Kassidy pointed out that this was about the age where she stopped letting me dress her cute and she moved on to jeans and t-shirts! haha And she's right. Poor Kennedy will not like "shopping" in Kassidy's old clothes bins much longer! 


Love Keeghan's shirt!!! Where did you get it? 
I got it at Target the other day, I love it too! :) 


Is kass growing her hair out? 
I'm not sure... I really hope so because I like it better long, but she changes her mind every 5 minutes! haha I told her she needs to be REALLY sure before she cuts it again. 


Do you curl Kennedy's bangs? They look so much cuter straight 
I do. She loves them curled. ;)


HAHA, I have boys. No opinion. It's a girl thing, isn't it? To play with it. You'll go back and forth until she states her opinion and goes back and forth! 
For sure!! LOL I hope that Kennedy always likes her bangs because she inherited my big forehead (sorry, Kenn! LOL). I loved Kass with bangs too, but she decided to start growing them out around age 7. We'll see what Kellsey ends up deciding. Of course my boys are very particular about their hair too... Kameron likes his short and buzzed and Keeghan hates getting his cut. He wants it long and "shaggy". HA! 


On a totally separate note...tell us about the pillows (?) behind Kellsey in the picture with the kids' pictures on them. Where did you get them, etc. From what I can see they look so cute!
Those are from cafepress. I made them on my store quite awhile ago... I think those pics were done in 2007. I love them!! They are great quality and the pics on them turned out great. :)

If she loses the bangs, won't Kennedy want to grow hers out too? She'll be the only girl with then.
LOL No. Kennedy has a mind of her own. She knows what she wants when she wants it... She's not easily influenced by anyone - including me! ;)

Does she like to wear clips? My 4 year-old granddaughter doesn't have bangs and is always taking out her bows so her hair is often in her face....and Gramma wants to see that sweet face. :)
She doesn't mind the clips. She keeps them in pretty well actually. Her hair is very fine so I just have to find the right kind that won't slip out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

We hope you all are having a great day with your loved ones. The kids here are all full on sugar and ready to crash! Lasagna is in the oven and then after dinner we'll be off to bed! Here's a few pictures from this morning.

Five little monkeys for our little monkeys



More later! :o)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Haven't I Seen That Someplace Before? (Part 6)

I haven't done one of these in awhile! A couple weeks ago, I pulled out all of Kassidy's size 5 clothing for Kennedy. This is probably the closest size to her age that she's ever worn. Most of them are still a little big on her, but her size 4 pants are slowly getting too short, so it was time. I love seeing old clothes of Kass' again and seeing them on Kennedy now. :)





You can see more of these here, here, here, here and here

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Murphy

We are 2 1/2 weeks into this deployment. Army spouses have a joke about Murphy coming to visit whenever our husbands leave. Murphy comes into the house and makes things break or gets kids sick or even causes car accidents. In our case, Murphy seems to like to cause crazy medical diagnoses. When Frank left on his second deployment in 2005, Kennedy got a UTI, which the hospital didn't catch and turned into hydronephrosis and a 6 day hospital stay. During his deployment in 2008 (number 3), we found out Kennedy had AOI and needed spine fusion surgery.

And this time Murphy is rearing his ugly head again. Why, just this week alone I have had two different smoke alarms start beeping at me, one of which I couldn't reach, even from my step stool, and a whole bunch of unknowns for Kellsey. Today, I am fighting a migraine and I'm ready to sleep for 24 hours. Two and a half weeks down...



And to Murphy, all I have to say is... "Watch Out!" I've got God on my side and this guy ready to come after you...


Here's to a Murphy-Free deployment!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Q&A #232

 What do you think of the term intellectually challenged? I don't know why but I hate it. I have met many people who have IQ's under 70 which by definition is considered intellectually challenged. It just doesn't seem right either. I feel like many of them are intelligent and that definition is really limiting. What do you think? Is there a better definition in your opinion?
Hmm, I've actually never heard that label before. After MR was considered... not right (??) the next term I heard was Intellectual Delay. That doesn't bother me too much, I don't know about the Intellectually Challenged though... that's... kinda harsh, I guess. 


Also completely different question when is Keegan's rheumatology appointment? Do you still think he may have Juvenile Arthritis? 
It's the end of this month. His pains have been better since we moved to Colorado but not completely gone. I'm definitely anxious to get this appointment done and see what the doctor has to say. 


I so don't miss the snow! Not one little bit! I've never been a snow player, and people say I should ski, and I say no thanks! I'm glad the kids enjoy it! My kids did too! 
They do love it, though I think Kassidy is about done. People keep telling me to go ski, too, but I have NO desire at all! Kameron would like to snowboard so Frank said he would take him sometime. 


 Do you have a copy of her bloodwork if so what was her TSH, T3 and T4 levels for her thyroid? You can tell by those numbers whether its hypo or hyper. Praying for you! 
I know that her TSH from before was 8.9, it is now down to 8.1. I have NO idea what her T3 and T4 were/are, and she did NOT have thyroid antibodies, but I have NO idea what that means! LOL 


I voted in the photo contest you posted on FB. Who are they? What a cute couple! 
I don't know them personally, but Hannah, the girl, friended me on facebook. I love hearing about her life! Thanks for voting for them


You got Kellsey an empty cone, lol? 
Yeah, between her allergies and aspiration, ice cream is a no-go, so she gets a "cookie". She likes crunchy stuff better anyway. ;)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ice Cream

It's been a long, crappy day. So after the kids got home from school I decided we had no choice but to hit up Baskin Robbins.







Five happy children = one happy mommy. Tomorrow will be better. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Q&A #231

Here's the other part of the last Q&A... 


Do you think he likes Monkeys? I can only imagine him reading this in 10 years. He is going to realize just how cute he is! Is Kellsey verbal enough to do an interview like this? If not, can you modify it for her?
No, she definitely cannot verbally answer these questions yet. I think I'm going to do a different one for her with less "questions" just so she can look back someday and see what she liked at the time. Some of the questions would just be pointless lol. 


What a great idea, Renee. What software program did you do this in? Also what will you use now that Picnik is going away? I get all my software editing ideas from you. 
I used a combination of Picnik and Paint Shop Pro... I'm not sure what I'm going to use after Picnik closes... it makes me so sad! :( They SAY they are just moving to Google +, but I'm not sure if that means it can ONLY be used for Google + pictures or what?? I'm hoping it will be the same program with the same features just under Google's name... I can dream, right?! HA If Google ruins it and it's not worth using anymore I'll be on the search for something else. 


Soo, I have to say how COOL I think it is that he Keeghan wants to be a firefighter!!! My hubby is a volunteer firefighter/EMT in 2 states actually (active duty Navy - kids & I live in Texas and he is currently stationed in Oklahoma). My Oldest son is a firefighter, middle son is a Fire Explorer .. Hayley (my '99 kid) is counting the days to when she can be an Explorer and I am the Fire Department photographer (and EMT in training).
I think so too. He's wanted to be a firefighter ever since he learned how to talk and so far he hasn't changed his mind. I would be shocked if he did! LOL He's my only kid who has decided this early on what he wants to be... even Kass and Kam still aren't SURE. They change their minds almost weekly. LOL 


 I can totally see her being a preschool teacher...actually, I can see her being a preschool teacher specializing in Special Needs. (Not saying that she would have a preschool for just SN, but having a class that is inclusive. 
I can too, totally. About a year ago she said she might want to be a speech or occupational therapist, so who knows?! Whatever she decides she will be great at it! :o)


Well, I suppose if Colorado Kassidy is allowed to read the Hunger Games, then Iowa Kassidy should be allowed to. She keeps asking me, and I'm just worried they're a little too intense. I'm in the middle of the second book now.
:o) I haven't read it yet either, but it's on my list. One of my friends read it though and said Kass would love it, and she was right! Even Frank wants to read it... he threatened to take Kass' Kindle to Afghanistan with him. That didn't go over too well! haha


So sweet that her one wish is for dad to work at home. How many kids would have said an iphone or something? 
Or a lifetime supply of pizza? ;)


Cantaloupe with ketchup??! Good thing you are so handsome Kameron! 
LOL He doesn't eat it that way anymore thank goodness... but he does LOVE ketchup! ;)


Next time he wants to come visit DC let me know and I'll be his personal guide. We'll even go on the Metro underground and outside.
He would love that! ;o) We were there about 2 years ago? (Maybe?) And he loved all the history and monuments and politics... he may end up being a politician... Oy! HA!


Kameron, how can you not like chicken enchiladas?? 
I know, right!! Makes me so sad! LOL 


haha...I love the "when I was little I used to be a baby". 
I know! LOL She kind of looked at me like, "Duh mom!" when I asked her that. 


I love that she thinks that her dad is the coolest person on Earth! She is such a daddy's girl, huh?
She is... except when he calls her a "shorty" then she rolls her eyes and says, "I NOT a shorty!" LOL Then I think she's a mommy's girl! haha


I see Monchichis! (spelling?) Were those yours? What a blast from the past! 
One of them was mine! The other 2 we found in a little gift shop somewhere and I couldn't help but buy them. I loved mine when I was little! 


What are you going to do if he outgrows monkeys? You'll want to keep all of them for the memories. lol 
Aww that will be a sad day! Knowing me, I'll probably save them for his kids! 


ok...I am officially admitting I am addicted to Facebook. I read Yvette's comment about it working for the 100 day of school and I was looking for the like button. opps!
haha I do the same thing with some of the emails I get, then I think "OH! I actually have to answer this!" HA! 


And what was the point of them posting on that site? Were they looking for justification? Forgiveness? Confirmation that they'd done the right thing? To asuage their guilt? Ugh.
That's EXACTLY what they were looking for. 


Just wondering, is there any significant medical benefit to knowing that a baby has DS before they are born? If not, I think the test should be illegal. It's no different than parents aborting babies in India when they learn they are having a girl. 
I agree, it is no different! However, there is some medical benefit to knowing whether or not your baby has Ds ahead of time... For example, Kennedy was born at our local military hospital. They do not have a great NICU or the resources to take care of medically fragile children. Thankfully, Kennedy did not have a heart defect and required only treatment for jaundice at birth. Otherwise they would have had to fly her to Vanderbilt where they DO have a good NICU. That's very scary to me. When we got pregnant with Keeghan, we felt prepared for anything, and it didn't matter to us whether he had a disability or not. However, I was set to deliver at the same military hospital where Kennedy was born. For that reason, we opted for a level 2 ultrasound (non-invasive) just to check his heart more closely to make sure my care shouldn't be transferred to Vanderbilt. He ended up being born there anyway, but the level 2 ultrasound put my mind at ease that he was going to be ok. I agree with knowing ahead of time. I wish we had known with Kennedy just so we could have prepared ourselves. The day of her birth was devastating because we knew NOTHING about Down syndrome and were only given outdated, depressing information. Every year on her birthday I remember how sad I was when she was born and I feel guilty. But if we had known ahead of time, she would still be here, guaranteed! Other parents who DID know ahead of time say they wish they didn't know because it made for a very stressful pregnancy, which I can understand. I guess the grass is always greener! ;) I just wish that doctors were providing these parents with TRUE statistics and resources instead of always giving worst case scenario... These parents are NOT making a 100% informed decision when they kill their babies, and that's what breaks my heart. 


Oh Renee that's a lot of shoveling! You need to get your big girl and big boy to do that shoveling chore for you! Stay warm!! 
Well, Kassidy started out helping me for about 5 minutes, but when she saw the other kids sledding she was sorry she volunteered to help me! haha I let her go sled because everyone has said this kind of snow rarely happens this time of year... and my kids have definitely never seen this much!! Next time though, they're going to work! ;o)


You do know driveways aren't supposed to be that slippery...right? got any salt to put on it?!
LOL yes I know... I have to go get some salt today. We used all ours with the last snowfall. Getting out of our driveway was easy... getting back in was kind of scary! LOL 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

SNOW!

We had our first major snowfall of the winter here! It started Thursday night and kept falling and falling and by Friday morning we were up over a foot of snow! Around 4:30am we got the call that school was cancelled. Hallelujah! The snow fell all day yesterday too and it was COLD and windy, so the kids and I hibernated inside. We watched lots of movies, ate way too much, and the kids played a lot of Wii! It was a great, much needed, lazy day.

Our backyard this morning:


And our front yard...
There's a street out there, somewhere!

This morning the snow stopped falling and the sun is shining so the kids were excited to get their snow gear on and head out the door... first though I decided I would make some snow cream!

Yum yum!!

Then we all headed outside (except for Kellsey who was oh so happy to stay warm inside!) and I started shoveling the piles of snow off our driveway while the kids found a friend and started sledding down our cul-de-sac...


During this time I was shoveling away and a neighbor from across the street had mercy on me and came over to help me finish up. Lord bless him!!

After we got the driveway mostly clear, Kameron figured out that the sleds work a lot better on the slicker surfaces, so they moved over there and had a blast sliding. Kennedy decided she had had enough and went in to get warm! Her poor little hands were like ice!




Now we are all inside, defrosting and are about to drink some hot chocolate.

Snow days are awesome!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Q&A #230

*I had a TON of Q&A's this time because I haven't done one in awhile, so here is part and I'll do another one in a couple days. :o) 


Such a small world we live in, huh?? It was through Em's blog that I found your blog that I found Reece's Rainbow that the Lord opened my eyes to orphans and now I do missions in El Salvador with orphans and special needs! So cool to see how God works, huh? 
That is so cool! I love keeping up with your adventures and praying for the little ones you meet. They are all so beautiful!


Long-time reader here :)
1. Monkey
2. Green
3. Fireman
4. Sophia!!!!
5. I'm stumped on this one, but I'm going to just guess banana because of his love for monkeys haha 

WOW you're good! :o) Those are all correct, even the bananas! I didn't know if anyone would remember the Sophia story! LOL 


 I get the feeilng that this little monkey would talk all day!! What a blessing :)
Believe me, he DOES! LOL 


Her handwriting is better than many of my first grade students! So funny to see how her homework differs from the homework I give my kiddos each week! Don't tell Kennedy or she may want to move to Boston, I only give 3 math sheets and 2 writing sheets a week - and they get a week to finish it! Next year, the first grade team is axing homework all together! 
Oh man! Axing homework sounds like the BEST thing ever! I hate homework... it makes my kids sad lol. Kennedy walks in the house EVERY afternoon and says, "I got NO homework!" haha I think she hopes that one day I'll believe her. ;o)


Way to go Kennedy. Such an independent girl! Jonathan can't even do that. I have to sit there and keep him focused or he will stare at nothing and get nothing done. Perhaps the difference between boys and girls? 
Possibly... but your time may be coming soon... Kennedy just decided overnight that she would do it on her own... and participate more in class... and come in from recess. I'm still wondering who this kid is! haha Jonathan may do the same thing one day... and hopefully Keeghan will too! ;o)


How AWESOME!!! Love her independence, love the little circle over her "i". :-) 
Me too. :o) I'm not sure if a friend at school does those little circles or if that's just Kennedy's idea. I know when I was in elementary school I used hearts to dot my i's. I think it drove my teachers crazy! haha


Kind of off topic but I came across this neat fb pictorial today of siblings, one with Ds.
I have seen that! It's very cool! It kind of reminds me of Regan's video. :o)


Did you hear about the boy that was denied communion because he had DS?
I did read that. I know another young man with Ds who did his communion. He went through the classes and everything went just fine. It just goes to show that there are closed minded people everywhere... even in the church. 


Out of curiosity do you often leave Kassidy with the little ones? Or one of the little ones anyways? I don't mean that to sound as judgmental as it's sounding. The reason I'm asking is because I've left Natalie and Kaitlyn home together for maybe an hour, but I haven't left CJ with her and obviously not Alyssa. I am sure she would do fine. She does a lot for CJ, but she would totally hate me if CJ had an accident while I was gone and she had to clean him up, lol. 
Not too often. Kassidy just turned 12 in November which is legal babysitting age and she's been itching to start babysitting (aka earn money! haha). Frank and I did our first trial run a couple months ago and went to a late lunch one Saturday by ourselves. We called or texted Kass like every 10 minutes until she finally said, "We are FINE! Stop calling!" haha Kennedy and Keeghan are completely potty trained, so she doesn't have to worry about anything there. Kellsey is still in pull ups, but if we put her on the potty right before we leave and then aren't gone too long, she stays dry. Kass has never changed a diaper in her whole life, so I'm thinking she's not going to start now! haha We make sure we're not gone over meal times either so she doesn't have to worry about feeding the kids... she's never done Kellsey's g-tube either though she's watched us do it enough that she probably could. We just try to keep her job really easy... play with the little kids, don't let anyone play with scissors or fire, and we'll be back in an hour! ;) She loves it and does a good job! 


Emily is certified by the Red Cross to sit and has been sitting for over a year for several families (that was how she got lots of $ for Australia), and she was 12 in October. We are so thankful to be able to have date nights AND to not have to schlep kids to run errands anymore, lol! 
I would love for Kass to take a CPR class! I have heard that the hospitals around here do them for free. Maybe one day this summer she can go do that... she really wants to babysit for other families as well. Now that she has a taste of earning her own money to buy what she wants, she likes it! :)


Why'd he let the ball hit him?! If he hadn't, there wouldn't have been any overtime! Such is the nature of the game, I guess!
I know! Ugh!! Then they played it over and over to rub it in our faces! *sigh* Maybe next year. 



Is he going to blog while he's gone this time?
I'm not sure... he's mentioned maybe putting up some pictures that he takes or something, but I guess it will depend on how busy he is and stuff. If he does put a post up, I'll link to it over here. :)


 If you ever want to explore Butte, MT let me know. Jack and I would love to meet you and all the kiddos. We are like 12 hours away. Your kids would love this area. We can go gold digging, sapphire searching. Explore ghost towns, etc. 
They would love that!!! Especially Kameron... that sounds right up his alley. My grandmother keeps reminding me that I have relatives in Cheyenne, WY and tells me we should go visit, but they'd probably wonder who the heck I am and why I'm asking to stay with them with FIVE kids! haha 


 How often does Frank have to deploy? Is it like an every other year thing or more random? Is he thinking of anytime retiring soon? (im not sure how many yrs he has in already or if he is close to retiring!)
Well, it's been just about every other year or a little longer. This time he wasn't even home a year because we moved and he just happened to join a unit who was heading out... luck of the draw I guess. He has 9 years in right now, so 11 more to go. I can't believe we're almost at the 1/2 way mark!