Sunday, March 28, 2010

Family Fun and final days of Spring Break!

Thursday night, JD and I decided on the spur of the moment to take a trip on Friday with the kids. We debated between Tulsa and Branson and finally settled on Branson. We have been to Branson several times but decided to go again and do things that we haven't done before. We headed out late Friday afternoon and got to Branson and checked into our condo and then headed to the Landing for a very late dinner.
Grace and JD coloring at Texas Steakhouse at the Landing!

Saturday morning we slept in a little while and then headed out for all of the day's events. Our first stop was Dunkin' Donuts for a quick breakfast and then off to Predator World. The kids loved this place, it was a little on the pricey side and some of the exhibits weren't there anymore, but overall it was pretty good. JD and Taylor fed the stingrays, sharks, and a huge turtle. I did NOT enjoy the snakes at all!!!!

Taylor beside the shark tank.

JD feeding a sting ray!

Taylor feeding a sting ray with a little help from dad!

Feeding the shark!

Feeding the huge turtle!

Grace holding an alligator!

After Predator World we headed up the road to the Talking Rock Cavern. I have not been in a cave since I was a little girl so I really don't remember it! This was a lot of fun. The only thing I wish I had known before going in was that it almost seems like it is raining in a cave. There was so much ground water coming through that it seemed in spots like it was raining. Grace and Taylor both did really good and they had a lot of fun!

Inside the Talking Rock Cavern

The Guardian Angel

After our trip in the cave

Our next stop was the fish hatchery below the dam at Table Rock Lake! For $10, the kids probably had the most fun here! They kept wanting to go back and buy more fish food! After feeding the fish we headed down to the water to watch a few men fish and then hiked over to the area just below the dam. JD tried to teach the kids how to skip rocks just like his Grandpa TJ showed him how to do. The kids never did quite get the hang of it, but I must say there are a lot more rocks at the bottom of that lake now!! TJ would be very proud of JD though, he sailed many rocks across the water, making the skip several times. TJ, I know you watched us yesterday from heaven! I hope you enjoyed it!

Feeding the fish at the hatchery!

Grace feeding the fish

After our hike to the dam

Me and my baby boy!

My princess!

JD showing the kids how to skip rocks

After our outdoor adventure, we headed back into Branson for some lunch and then we headed to Stone Hill Winery for a tour and some sampling! Good thing we found an indoor activity, because just as we got to the Winery, the sky let loose and it came a downpour for a while. After the Winery, the kids were ready to go back down to the Landing to play on the play area and do a little shopping. We took the kids to two stores, Ridez Maker and Build a Bear. Both places are great and the kids really enjoyed them.

At the car building store on the Landing

Taylor with his finished car!

Build a Unicorn

Finished with Heart!

The kids were starting to wind down and so were we! We decided it was time to get supper and then call it a day! The kids wanted to play at the play area which was right next to Joe's Crab Shack, and that worked out great. We put our name on the list, JD watched the kids play and I did a little shopping.  I found a cute shirt that I am going to wear for Easter Sunday and a wrap to wear with my dress for prom. Yes, I said prom. Being junior class sponsor, I have to go and chaperone prom. The Crab Shack was amazing, the kids had a blast and we were stuffed and ready to call it a night! But first....

JD and Taylor in the hurricane simulator!

JD couldn't resist! Actually we put Taylor in there the night before and he wasn't too sure of it, but wanted to go again Saturday night only if JD went with him. So they both climbed in and had a ball. To cap off the night and fun filled day, we headed down to Cold Stone Creamry and finished the night off with ice cream! My favorite is All Lovin' No Oven! It is heaven in a bowl! Thank goodness a Cold Stone is not close to our house...I would weigh 500 pounds!!! I absolutely loved every minute of our weekend and so glad we decided to do it!

Gearing up tonight for a crazy week. I should not have been on here for the past hour. Instead I should have been repacking for my trip tomorrow. I will be leaving at 5:15 in the morning to take 25 high school students to Little Rock to the State FBLA Convention - OVERNIGHT! Ugh! I am taking a fun, good group of kids - just not looking forward to being exhausted!

My Baby Boy's 8th Birthday!

The last few days have been a blast. After going to the park on Tuesday, the kids and I stayed home all day and did nothing! It was absolutely amazing! Thursday was Taylor's 8th birthday! I do not even know where the past 8 years have gone. I have pulled all his pictures out of the past birthdays and planned on putting up a special post about him, but I don't have a scanner at home. But, I really what to do it so I hope to get around to that sometime this week.

For Taylor's birthday, we met up with JD and had lunch at Shogun. Taylor absolutely loves that place. It was a cold rainy day, much like the day he was born. In addition to his birthday lunch, he wanted to go see the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." It was such a funny and cute movie. Here are a few pictures from our lunch date.


After lunch, we did a little shopping and then headed home so Taylor could get ready for karate. I always have a small party on the actual date of the my kids' birthday also. It is just us and the grandparents. I asked Taylor what he wanted to eat for supper that night, what was his favorite meal that I could cook for him, but he said he would rather go eat at Chopstix instead. So after karate, we headed over to Chopstix and then home for cake and ice cream.
Taylor and MeMa

Taylor and Granny

Light saber cake

Blowing out the candles!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break 2010

No big plans for Spring Break this year, but we never really do have big plans. Taylor's birthday always falls on Spring Break and I really just like the time at home to relax and do nothing. Today, I decided it would be fun to take the kids to Bell Park to play and take lunch up there also. The weather was AMAZING! We ended up meeting up with Misty and Ashlynn, and Jessica, Jace, and Taylor. We had a wonderful afternoon. The kids ran and played for almost two hours! After everyone else left, the kids and I walked around on the walking trail for a little bit, and then headed home to meet up with JD to go fishing. We tried to go down to Lake Jack Nolan but it was so windy that we could not keep our lines in the water. I did managed to catch a pretty decent size bass though before leaving. We decided to head home and just fish in our own pond. With the trees all around it, there was no wind at all. We enjoyed the time outside with the kids and really a great day!
This was so cute! Each girl had an iCarly play phone and they thought they were so big!

On the walking trail.

Over looking the town.

There was still a little snow left on the northside of the pavilion. Grace made a tiny snowman!

Taylor really was having fun! 

My fish! 

 Her Great Grandpa Binz would be so proud!

 Grace's perch!

 Enjoying the fishing and family time!

All is Good!

On Monday, me, my mom and Grace headed out for Little Rock for a follow up visit to her GI doctor. I decided that since Easter is only two weeks away, I better get in gear and find an Easter dress. So we left a little early to hit TJ Maxx n more in Conway and a few other places. Overall the trip was successful!

Grace's doctors visit went very well. As long as she does not have a set back, then we will not have to go back Little Rock! We are still ruling it a fluke virus or bacteria, that we will never know, and hope it never returns! If it does return, then we will look into more tests, but as of now, Grace will stay on Prevacid once a day for another month and then after that, see what happens!

I also found Grace an Easter dress. We went to several stores but I finally went back and bought the dress that I saw at Target several weeks ago. I kept looking for that dress or something similar so my mom convinced me that is the one I needed to go back and get. We ended up finiding a cute purse to match also. I tried to go to Target's web site and get a picture but it wouldn't let me save it. So I will post pictures from Easter later with Grace in the dress.  I picked Taylor up a shirt, I am not crazy about it though, so I will probably try to go this week and see if I can get him something else.

I also bought Taylor's birthday present! It's about time! I have a family party on their actual birth date each year also. That is when we always give him our present. He wanted a Spark scooter from Christmas but we convinced him that would make a better birthday present since the weather would be better and he would actually be able to ride it when he got it. Lucky me, Toys R Us ran it on sale this week. Hopefully he will be excited when he gets it! I still can't believe my baby boy is turning 8 on Thursday. I don't know where the time has gone! I want to do a look back on his birthday. Hopefully I will fit that in!

Star Wars Sleepover

This past Friday, we celebrated Taylor's 8th birthday with a few of his friends. I LOVE birthday parties but as the kids get older it just gets so crazy. I told Taylor we were scaling back this year. I agreed at first to having two or three friends sleepover and do pizza and cake. Well, two or three turned into five boys sleeping over and two girls coming also for the pizza and cake. All in all, it turned out really well. I didn't really plan anything in particular. We rented movies, Wii games, and got some silly string and party poppers. All the kids seemed  to have a lot of fun. We had beautiful weather on Friday night. The kids were able to stay outside until almost dark and then came in to eat and play games and watch movies.

Here are a few pictures from the party!

Saturday's weather was not so great. We met up with my parents' at the Diner to eat and on the way home it started sleeting really hard. By 8:30 that night, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. It is so hard to imagine, 70's on Friday, and snow on Saturday but that is crazy Arkansas weather for you. This is what we woke up to on Sunday morning!

Crazy, crazy weather! We were so lazy on Sunday. We went to the grocery store for some things to make soup. I took a good long nap, and then just laid around and watched tv. But sometimes those are the best days!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Only Two More Days

Only two more days and Spring Break will finaly be here. I am looking forward to doing nothing! But, first I have to survive tomorrow...CAP conferences...a day that will begin at 7:30 with a faculty meeting and won't end until 8:30 tomorrow night. Shoot me now please! Add to that I have a crummy cold and have not felt great this past week. I think everything is catching up to me finally. This time change is killing me, this cold has really got me down (did I mention, this is the first cold I have had all season), and I just really need a break.

As if I won't be punishing myself enough, I will be hosting a sleep over birthday party for Taylor on Friday night. I agreed to it a long time ago, so how can I say no now. Taylor and five of his friends will be here on Friday night for a Star Wars themed party. My plans do not include too much...we are planning on renting some Star Wars movies/WII games, eating pizza and cake, and letting the boys play. Those of you that know me know that I LOVE to plan birthday parties. I am trying to scale them back from here on out though. But I will still manage to go overboard I am sure. Hopefully everyone will have a good time.

On Monday, Grace will return to Little Rock for a follow up from her hospital stay. I really don't know what that will involve. Her appointment is not until 3:30 that afternoon so I am not looking forward to the drive down and back.

Taylor's actual birthday is on Thursday, March 25th and I always do something on their actual birthday too. It usually just involves family and gifts from us. But I always like to make their actual day special. Taylor is really wanting to go see the movie "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid." So I plan to take him to that during the day and probably to eat sushi (his favorite) and then have the grandparents over that night for cake and ice cream. Taylor is wanting a spark scooter for his birthday this year. He wanted it for Christmas but we told him it would be better to wait until his birthday to get would be warmer then. Hopefully that will happen but the weather forecast is not looking too great for next week. It looks like it is going to be cold. But it was very cold eight years ago when Taylor was born. Oh can he be that old already. It just doesn't seem possible!

Other than those two activities, we do not have any thing planned and I am okay with that! I am looking forward to sleeping in, taking naps, and just doing nothing. Wow that makes me sound lazy doesn't it! But, next to eating, sleeping is probably my favorite activity!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Better late than Never!

Well, as you can tell, I haven't been able to get around to recording Grace's stay in the hospital. I really wanted to sit down and document what happened while we were there. But, since being home, it has been a whirlwind of activities and I just haven't found the time. So it looks like I will do a picture post and see how I can best do that. So here we go... these were all taken with my phone, so the quality is not that good!

This was back at the end of January when all of this started. So was running a 104 fever this day!

These pictures make me so sad! Grace was so sick! This was us in the ER at Children's the night we arrived. We got to Little Rock and the hospital around 8:30 p.m. They got her checked in and an IV started and then started running some tests. She was so sick and so exhausted from what she had been through on that day! She started on Wednesday, Februay 17th having to go to the bathroom every 20 to 30 minutes and that had continued all of Thursday and was still continuing once we got to the ER. They decided pretty quickly that she would be admitted that night. I was prepared for that, I was not prepared for the 11 day stay that we ended up having!

This picture was taken on Friday morning, February 19th. At this point they told us she was very sick, but they thought we would go home on Monday. Little did we know, that was not the case. I am not sure if this was taken before or after they put the PICC line in. That was pretty bad. She was still going to the bathroom quite often (even without taking anything in by mouth for over 24 hours), and she was so scared. They let me stay with her until they were ready to put her to sleep. It was a very light sedation, she was only out for about 40 minutes. But leading up to that was very hard!

We are doing a little better here. As you can tell from the picture! She would NOT let anyone touch her right arm though! That is where the PICC line was at. She would scream so much when they would come in to draw her blood or change the line. But, thank goodness they decided to put it in. Otherwise, they would have had to stick her every day. They would draw her blood first thing every morning to test her albumin levels. That was the level that was showing them how malnourished she was and how dehydrated. Obviously at this point, she was not dehydrated anymore. After putting in the PICC line, they started Grace on TPN and lipids. This would be her food and liquid intake for 5 days! No food or drink by mouth for 5 whole days!! I would have been cranky, but she was a trooper!

Hooray!!!! We came off of isolation! On day 5, Grace came off of isolation! All of her tests had come back negative. Good on one hand, not good on the other. They could not tell us what had caused all of this, but thank goodness they did not find anything that was really bad either! For 5 days, we could not leave the room. It was miserable, so on the first day out, I didn't think I was going to get her back in the room! Grace LOVED going to the playroom and getting to do arts and crafts and play in the play area. Have I said how AMAZING AR Children's Hospital is? Oh my gosh! They are unbelievable!!!

First day of gifts. My suburban was completely full by the time we got to come home! So many people were amazing and I will never be able to thank them enough! This was just a started to many balloons and stuffed animals she received!

More playroom activities and the therapy dog Callie!

Waiting for ACH Idol to start. This was really cute, but a four year old can only sit still for so long!!!

This was the day before we were released. Day 10. Two of Grace's favorite people came and spent the afternoon with her. She was over the moon, but also very sad when they left. We were so ready to come home and this point. This was also the first day Grace had been outside since being admitted. She had a blast!!! I will never be able to fully explain the days and nights we spent in the hospital. I feel so guilty even saying anything about the mere 11 days we were there. So many families spend weeks and months there. I was very humbled after our time at ACH. I knew each day that Grace was getting better and that sooner or later we would get to come home. Granted, we had some very scary and disappointing moments, but nothing compared to so many others that are there. Many children never get to come home. Many parents go home without their most precious gift on earth. My heart aches for those families and for the many families that we encountered during our stay. I look at things a little differently now, and cherish my children a little more from our experience. I will never forget the care and compassion Grace and I received during our stay. I was never once made to feel like my questions weren't important or that her sickness wasn't real. The doctors, nurses, and care technicians were absolutely amazing. While I never want to go back and stay again, I am so grateful we have such a wonderful hospital so close to home!
Now that we are home...Grace went to her last basketball game. Though she didn't play, she sat on the sidelines and cheered on her team.

This weekend, we headed down to Hot Springs on Saturday to watch the Lady Bulldogs WIN the 5A State Basketball game. It was a great game, and I am very proud of the girls for their accomplishment. Before heading over the game, we took the kids to the horse races. I was a little leary of taking them, thinking I would be the only one there with kids, but that was not the case. They LOVED it! Especially Grace! We didn't come away millionaires - imagine that! But we definitely had fun!!!

One more week until spring break and I can't wait! I am sure this week will crawl by, just like last week. Friday, Taylor will be having his friend birthday party - a sleepover with a few friends. It is a Star Wars theme. Then off to Little Rock on Monday the 22nd for Grace a checkup. Spring Break will fly by and before we know it, summer will be here! I can't wait!!!