Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cancer Free and Feeling Great!

We are back and back with a healthy and cancer free Ellie! It was a busy and emotionally draining week but the end result was a clear scan with no cancer. I am still detoxing and I am so grateful it is the weekend so I can move slowly. I will have a very busy week playing catch up but that is fine by me! Here are some of my favorite photos from Memphis.
Thanks for your Prayers!! :)

St Jude Childrens Research Hospital
No better place for us to have been for cancer treatment. We thank God each day for St. Jude.

Ready for the MRI
Sweet Ellie ready to get sedated for her MRI

Hope with the girls
An evening with the Dooners. We just love our Memphis family

Target House
Enjoying the elephant fountain outside of the Target House. We have such fond memories here.

BELIEVE! We sure do!

Our worst day because of so many needle sticks and IVs. I think 3 veins blew this day. Ellie was undergoing growth hormone testing to see how much her body is making. She broke my heart that day. :(

Our favorite St. Jude doctor - Dr. Bihkazi. Comforting Ellie before she goes to sleep for her MRI

Just another day at St. Jude.

Me and Ellie outside the hospital. See you in 3 months St Jude! Thanks for everything!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Where Angels Hang Around

The girls and I fly out to St Jude today. Ellie has her 3 month check-up. Please pray with us that we return home with a cancer free little girl. We accept God's Will and I am praying with all I have that He believes we still need her more than He does.

We will be gone all week for some additional testing regarding hormones which means Ellie gets a few more needle pricks than normal but she is OK with that and we have some fun activities planned along the way. It'll be good to be back in Memphis. Emma hasn't been in about 15 months or so and she is very excited. We will visit good friends, places we love and again be humbled by it all.

This is a song by James Otto that is a beautiful testimony to St. Jude. It's such a visual and moving song. This particular video is not about St. Jude but I liked this version of the song live. It is however about a brother and sister that both passed from brain tumors 20 years apart on the very same day. Isn't that incredible? I included the lyrics below.
Thanks for your prayers!!!

A hundred miles out of Little Rock
Windshield full of rain
I-40 eastbound drivin’ while I pray
She’s asleep in the backseat
Holdin’ tight to her teddy bear
She’s got her daddy’s smile and her momma’s hair
But one word knocked our lives off track
Just one word keeps us comin’ back

Across the Mississippi
A mile or two from Beale Street
Not too far from Graceland
Where the king of rock and roll sleeps
To a place for children
Where God sends his mercy rainin’ down
In the heart of Memphis
Where angels hang around

All the deals I’ve made with God
The conversations that we’ve had
Tryin’ to accept things I could not understand
I wanna walk her down the aisle
While those church bells ring
See her get the chance
To live all her dreams
But one word knocked our lives off track
Just one word keeps us comin’ back


So sleep tight baby while these four wheels roll
’Cause just beyond the clouds there’s a ray of hope

There’s a place for children
Where God sends his mercy rainin’ down
In the heart of Memphis
Where angels hang around

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

about us

Thought I would post some randomness tonight and recap what we have been doing lately. I have been super busy with Tickle Bellies orders. Yeah! It's back to school time so that means dozens and dozens of vinyl labels and bag tags going out the door. I am also designing two logos. One for a new diaper vending machine company (interesting, I know) and the other for a non-profit company that will be selling T-shirts in support of kids that have allergies. People have the most intriguing ideas for business and I am so grateful logo design is in their start up costs because sadly most of them just don't make it past the first year or so. (However, they have a super cute logo by yours truly that will last forever) I have also been busy designing new products for Tickle Bellies and this fall I will be introducing T-shirts and iron-on labels to our line. Another exciting thing happening is that I am aligning with a new company in the Netherlands that is very eager to represent our stationery. There is a growing market for personalized goods currently there and we have worked out a great arrangement so I am thrilled to see what unfolds this Fall with all of this. As if that wasn't enough on the work front, I am also redesigning the look of the Tickle Bellies website. I am really excited as I love the layout I have recently designed. I have hired someone to do all the coding so I am just responsible for the graphics. My brain is beyond happy about that. Website construction is just not my favorite thing to do.

The other half (should I have said better half?) is great too. He is coming home from Nashville tonight from a few days in the field. He has been exercising a lot all summer, mostly running. Walking with me and then running a few miles each night on his own. I told him the other day he was 'Manorexic' and to stop slimming down. I think he may have a road race in his future. There is a particular race up north that he has always wanted to run in. I think this is the year. The only other thing that I can think of that is going on with him lately is his hate-hate relationship with the fast growing crabgrass that is in our front lawn. It's really not playing nice this summer. I hate it too.

Emma has been babysitting a lot and is permanently attached to her phone and laptop. I try to paint a picture for her of life growing up in the 80s and how we had no computers or texting and that our phones were attached to cords that were attached to the wall and she just gives me that blank Yellow Labrador look with a tilted head and confused eyes. She is also spending time with friends having sleep overs and movie outings. She is not getting outside enough but in her defense it has been so very hot this summer. Let's see what else... Oh, she has been telling me on a very regular basis how much she loves and I mean loves, Justin Bieber and that he is following her on Twitter... no really... it's officially him. I don't know what to make of that. We are seeing him in concert this November maybe she should make a sign to alert him that she is in the audience. As much as she regularly tells me about her undying love for Justin, she has asked me about 821 times if she can get hair extensions., and she pierced her ears on her own with ice and a needle. These are her second holes and I told her that I did that when I was her age. I guess some things are better left unshared because she thought if I did than she could too. I'll let you know if her ear turns green.

Ellie continues to be wonderful, happy, funny and loving. She has had several playdates and gone to a birthday party over the last week. She continues to get up at 6:30 each morning and take a nap with her cat Phoebe by mid-morning. Phoebe is always by her side and acts more like a dog than a cat. I love their relationship. Ellie has been reading and working on her 2nd grade workbook a lot too. She has greatly improved this summer. She spends time each day playing in our playroom up in the attic, singing with the cats and playing doctor, or restaurant or family. She has a great imagination and her laughter is contagious. She helps me with work by packing things, assembling envelopes and filling the mail bins and just about every day I find a love note left in my office with many "x's and o's" or a beautiful picture.

So that is an update on the four of us. I cannot believe the summer is winding down. I wish we did more fun things but being together and being healthy is really what's important. There never seems to be enough time or money to do all the things I would love to do over the summer months but there is always next summer to plan for. I have already decided that if next summer is as hot as this summer then we are heading to someplace much cooler for July and August. I really felt like I lived in the Sahara with the heat and a South American rain forest with the humidity. I am looking forward to fall weather and I cannot believe there are no photos in this post....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Go Shawty...It's Your Birthday


My birthday was on Saturday. Woo Hoo! Another year older. Each year gets better and better for me so I have no sadness about adding another digit to my age. It's really just a number after all.

I had a lot of great birthday wishes and cards, my favorite one being from sweet Ellie. She drew a picture of the two of us together holding hands and had everyone sign their name. Emma will be generously treating me to a pedicure later this week with some of her hard earned babysitting money and my sweet husband surprised the $%*# out of me and bought a brand new Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and lens. I totally didn't expect it. I had mentioned one day that I wish I had a Canon instead of a Nikon because they have really sharp lenses and good vibrancy. I bought a used Nikon D200 off of Ebay about 3 years ago and I really do love it. It is a bit beat up now but I am still in the learning stages of photography and so much has to do with the photographer and not the camera. It is definitely a learning experience each time I reach for the camera. He also knew this D200 was used and wanted me to have a brand new one and not a used one. Isn't that sweet? However, because I have 3 Nikon lenses, a speedlight, batteries and other stuff that I cannot use on the Canon, I decided to return the Canon and continue learning on the D200 until I am ready to upgrade. It was super expensive for a birthday gift too and I couldn't see spending that much on me... well... OK... I could totally see it and it is really the fact that he did get it that makes it so amazing. So instead of the Canon camera, I have decided to buy two more good Nikon lenses that I have wanted for awhile as my birthday gift. I so love Steven for buying something that he knew I would love and for splurging on me. He is the best! I am ready year 41... bring on all the best you have to offer!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

Steve, Ellie and I took a Sunday stroll down to the lake. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the high 80s. Quite enjoyable compared to the 100 degrees days we have experienced all summer. Here are some photos.

Sunday Park

Cement mushroom

Sunday Park

hungry much?




Thursday, August 5, 2010

Early Birthday Present

My birthday is this month! Another year older...blah blah blah.... Really, I could care less about my age, I am all about the gifts. Normally I sashay around with Brighton handbags which I have been so in love with for years. I have not been one to partake in the big Vera Bradley craze that has been going on for years even though I sincerly like their handbags. But because they were so very popular all over the country, I opted for something different. It's my pull to go against the norm I guess.

However, I decided this summer that I really wanted a large sized Vera Bradley duffel bag for traveling. My mom was all over it as a birthday present as soon as I mentioned it. I emailed her the patterns I liked and let her pick which one. So when she received it in the mail early, she couldn't wait to give it to me. I told her no that we should wait until it is officially my birthday that I couldn't accept any early presents - OK - who are we kidding, I tore that box open in a New York minute. Inside was the sought after duffel bag... and...and... a large tote bag as well. That was such a surprise added bonus gift. Thank you Mom! I love the pattern she chose too. It is beautiful. Now I cannot wait to go away and use my new duffel bag and tote. Woo Hoo! I love birthday month!

This is the tote bag. It has so many pockets inside and now I will be able to keep all my 'junk' organized while looking pretty.

love, love, love this duffel bag. Cannot wait to use it. I do have a trip coming up too..

This is one of my favorite patterns. It is so me.

Photo courtesy of Ellie Bellie -
Showing off my new tote bag. Thanks Mom!
(ignore the no make-up and ripped up shorts)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our new little friend

Last Sunday (7-25) my neighbor called at 11 pm to ask if our cat Dodge was missing. He wasn't. But... she had a little kitten that she was trying to rescue from under another neighbor's enclosed deck and wasn't sure if it was Dodge. She was taking care of our other neighbors dogs when she saw them go after a small cat. They had it pinned until it escaped through the trellis and under the deck. I came over to help. All I could see way in the back on the dirt, in the unreachable corner, were these little ears and a little face that would occasionally pop up to look at us. He was obviously scared to death. There was no physical way to reach this kitten at all. So, to make a long story short, we got out the garden hose and squirted it out. When he finally ran toward us and up against the trellis, I was able to bend back a section of trellis to get to him. I was so afraid to put my ungloved hand in to pick him up though. I have rescued wild kittens before and they are little spitfires with sharp claws and teeth. I wasn't sure if he was wild or not but I had to scoop him up before he ran back the other way. Thankfully, this beautiful boy exhibited none of that bad behavior and just let me pick him right up. He was so grateful to be rescued. Of course I had to take him home. He was about 7 weeks old and very thin with two small puncture wounds on his back legs. When I got him home, Emma woke up Ellie and we gave him a bath and moistened up some cat food for him. He was starving.

We all would have loved to invite him to join our family but with one dog and five cats already, it didn't seem like the best idea. We put out adoption feelers.... and we had a taker! This past Saturday the kitty went to a new home in our neighborhood. He is very lucky and will be well loved and we can visit whenever we want. The girls are sad but they realize we cannot keep every animal that crosses our path. Helping out to save his life was the important part of the story and then finding a good home for him to live in was just as crucial. It was a good lesson for them. Here are some photos of our time with 'Drew' as the girls called him.

Ready to go
So Hollywood - Ellie and her fashionable purse pet get ready to hit the clubs.

What are you looking at...
He is so giving me the hairy eyeball here. He was loving all of us and I like to think he was sad to leave.

Not another one...
A picture speaks a thousand words for sure.
Kanye watches as the new kitty goes under his chair and Phoebe is so over any other cats coming into the mix. He was favoring his back foot here, the one that the dogs punctured. By the time he left for his new home it was all healed.

Ellie and the kitty
Ellie loved this little guy. Emma loved him even more though and was so sad to see him go. Even though 2 twin boys that are in her grade and that she is friends with adopted him so she can visit whenever she wants.

Sweet Boy
Don't you just want to squeeze him... such a sweet boy with lots of happy purrs. Have a happy life (you have 8 more left) and stay away from those dogs.