Saturday, August 2, 2014

Going back home.

I know I should talk more about what's going on with Livi, but I'm not just ready yet.  I've been trying to do updates on facebook to keep you all posted on how she's doing, but the blog has always seemed more personal for me for whatever reason, and I just can't quite yet find the words for these past few weeks.

So, lets talk about the other craziness in our lives....

We're moving in 10 days and doing a semi-renovation to our new "old-to-us" house!!!

Let me back up a bit. 

Yes, we just moved into the farmhouse back in January.  That move came with a lot of big dreams and seemed almost too good to be true.  The farmhouse is very special and means a lot to dear friends of ours and because I'm a sucker for history and traditions, I love the farmhouse for what it is and what it represents to our friends.

We tried hard to make it work for us, but after two months of living there, we had realized it wasn't working for us no matter how hard we tried.  Originally, we had planned to be there long term, but we were starting to think only a year or two would work.  We knew where we wanted to go next, so we approached David's parents at the end of March, and asked if a certain rental house of theirs became available, we wanted the chance to move in.  We were prepared to sit and wait another year or two. 

Well, a few weeks later, our neighbors told us they were selling their house and moving across the country.  At first we thought we could still make things work with the farmhouse and try our hand at all our original plans, even if it was just for a year or two, but things quickly became apparent that we couldn't keep up with farmhouse duties on our own.  Not long after that, David's parents approached us and told us they were willing to not renew the current tenets lease when it came up in September, if we wanted to go ahead and move in.  With the Popes moving to Arizona, we felt it would be best for us to go ahead and move on too.

So, to explain things, we're moving back into the house that we lived in when we first got married eight years ago.  While we were engaged, David's parents bought it to use as a rental and we ended helping rehab it and then moved in for three years.  BUT.....we were young and stupid and thought we wanted bigger and better, so we moved out.  We've said for years now that moving out of the red house (what Livi has named it) was one of our stupidest decisions and that we should have stayed put, but that's apart of growing up. You live and learn.

Exactly six years later, we're moving back in to our first home.  It has just the space we need, it's exactly twelve minutes from David's parents, it's closer to David's stores, and it has a lot of potential for future projects (which you know we can't resist).

The number of houses I've lived in all my thirty one years would probably rival most adults in their sixties, but oddly there are very few of them that I'm sentimental about.  I'm not one to get sentimental over a house, but the red house has always been one of those I do. It's not the house we brought our babies home to or anything like that, but it's the one where "we" began.

The part that sucks is that we're now re-rehabbing a house that we rehabbed nine years ago.  The renters over the years were not kind to it.  Also, we have to do this within two weeks.  Originally, we planned on just cleaning the carpets and painting things over time, but with Livi's diagnosis, we've decided to go ahead and get it as in good as shape as we can before she lives in it.  Mostly we're just painting everything, but we've decided to go ahead and completely re-do the girls bathroom.  We're also having a heating and air company come out and clean the entire vent system and installing an ultraviolet something to help keep any air coming in clean.  The healthier we keep her, the less time we spend in the hospital, and the less setbacks we have.

 (purple, of course)

As crazy as everything is right now, we're excited to be rehabbing and moving in a few weeks.  After all the disappointment July brought us, its nice to have something to take our minds off things for a bit.  Livi is excited to be moving into the red house and to have her own space (with a door that closes she says) again.  We're excited to have a school room and play room again, plus a guest room for grandparents!   Which is obviously going to be very much needed these next few months.

So, hope that explains things, we're going back home and it's happening just when we need it most. 

 (new windows)

Also, don't fret, the farmhouse is already been claimed for a couple of months now and the new family is excited to get in and make the farmhouse home!!! It's going to be in good hands!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Like changes in an instant.

Most of you have heard by now, but we got some life changing news on Friday.  

It's natural to say our world has been turned upside down, but I've decided I don't like that term and I'm instead looking at it as our lives have just been turned side ways for a bit. 

Life will be back to a new normal soon. 
 I'm determined and stubborn enough to make it happen. 

The story is a short one and something typical of a lifetime the wee hours of Thursday morning, Olivia woke me up complaining of not feeling well. She was running a high fever, so her and I were up most the night trying to get it under control. Around 7am that morning, she started throwing up non stop, by lunch she started throwing up blood. That would be when I decided to throw her and Millie in the car and rush to the Children's Hospital. We got there just before 2:30pm and she looked so bad, they immediately took her back to start iv fluids and run blood test. By 4:30pm, they had came in and dropped the bomb on us.  

They told us there was a possibility that this could still be just a virus that has taken her out. Though I usually try to remain positive, something in me just knew. Call it a mother's instinct or just a gut feeling. I knew that Friday was not going to be good news and life would never be the same. Every fiber in me knew we were about to start a battle with something big. Friday afternoon I walked down to get lunch with my mom and John, when I got the call from David that the doctors were here to talk to us. I jumped up and sprinted back to the ICU. When I walked in to see six doctors waiting for me, I shattered to pieces right there and probably cried harder than I've cried in awhile. I've dealt with enough medical stuff in life to know, it doesn't take six doctors to come tell you your kid had mono and you're going home tomorrow. 

If you've known me for longer than 2.5 seconds, you know I'm not one to sugar coat things or beat around the bush. 

So, here is is....Olivia has cancer. 

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) to be exact. 

Here's the good news, if there is any type of cancer you want to get, Olivia has hit the cancer lottery. ALL has a 85-95% cure rate. 

Hear that....CURE rate!!! That means there is a very good possibility that cancer will eventually be a distant memory in our lives. It means my girl will grow up and live a full healthy life and not always carry the label cancer with her. She will go to prom, she will get married and have babies of her own one day, she will be a Rockette one day like she always says she will be. 

We have better odds at beating this cancer than we do at winning the Mega Millions next week. As David told the doctors, we'd take 90% odds on anything you're throwing our way. 

So, sucks ass. No parent ever wants to hear their child has cancer. This is the stuff that happens to other peoples kids. But, it's the cards we've been dealt and last time we went to Vegas, we went home with more than we came with. 

As I told David, we've been dealt something that has great potential to be completely gone from our lives. There are not a lot of families who can say that medically for their children and with that, I feel blessed. 

The next few months/years will be rough. Everyday will not be pretty. There will be days filled with tears, setbacks, and fears. But there will also be just as many days filled with giggles, smiles, and dreams. 

One of our mottos in the Mabrey house is "we can do hard things." David actually started saying this to Livi when she was two and we often hear her spitting these words back to us. You can believe these words have already been thrown around our icu room over the weekend.

We can do hard things and we will. 

Last night livi and I were alone in our room and I told her, things aren't going to be easy. I'm going to be mean when I have to be (I.e. When she refuses to take her meds) and I'm going to love her and hold her hand through every step of this journey.  More than anything, I'm going to fight for her. There are going to be days she feels like giving up, but I'm not even giving her that option. She will fight this and she will beat this.  

This hard but beautiful journey starts today. Today we moved from ICU to the Aflac cancer wing and around noon tomorrow, Livi will go in to the OR to receive a pick line and her first round of chemo. She will also get a bone marrow test and a spinal tap. This is standard procedure with all ALL patients. 

We're learning a lot right now and have so much more to learn, so bear with me if I go back and forth on information about what is going on. They heard I loved reading and literally threw a bible sized book about Leukemia at me.  There is a lot to learn about our new normal. 

And that's just what it is....a new kind of life for us. 

One that's going to have hills and valleys, along with sunshine and rainbows. 

If there is one thing I've learned in my thirty one years, it's that none of us are promised an easy life. We are all given our own trials.  At some point in all of our lives, we're all going to fight some type of battle. 
Cancer is now one of our battles. 

I'm not angry. 
I'm not sad.
I don't feel sorry for us. 

Instead, I sit here thankful 

Thankful that she did get sick and we found the cancer.

Thankful that I seriously just got in the car, turned on GPS, and drove straight to the #11 Pediatric Cancer hospital in the country, without having a clue what the heck our future was about to bring. 

Thankful that the Oncologist who happened to be there that day has been doing this for thirty years and happens to be a part of the biggest research group for Leukemia in the country.

Thankful that they believe the cancer has only been living inside her for only two weeks to two months. 

Thankful for doctors and nurses who already feel like family and whom have literally held our hands and wiped our tears these past few days. 

Thankful that for the prayer and love that has surrounded us these past few days. The family that has stepped up and the friends who have come out of the woodwork to help us. 

Thankful that this is a journey that already has and will continue to bring us closer as a family. 

As I told Livi last night, it's time to fight and we're going to fight with everything we have in us. 

We can do hard things and we will. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A scary situation and a warning.

Last week was one of those weeks, it just seemed like anything and everything was going wrong.

Within a seven day period, we dealt with the big one having a "severe" ear infection and spent half of fathers day at urgent care, me cutting my finger pretty badly, multiple work situations for David that had him not walking through the door till after 8pm every night this week, oh, and when the local news shows up at one of your stores about one of those situations and it makes the evening's never a good thing.

It was one of those weeks we felt like we couldn't win no matter how hard we tried.

To round out the not-so-great week, Amelia came down with a stomach virus.  The crazy part was she acted completely normal all week and besides some awful diapers (a nice way of putting it), I had no clue there was anything wrong with her.  After two days of 8-10 nasty diaper changes each day, I drug her in for our second doctors visit of the week.  The doctor quickly diagnosed her with a virus that is evidently going around.  He said the good news was that she seemed to be over the worst of it and to give her a 1/2 teaspoon of Imodium AD when needed and to come back in a few days if it seemed her issues were not clearing up.

We left the doctors office and I ran into the nearest grocery store wanting to quickly get her some relief.  I couldn't find actual Imodium AD, so I just grabbed a bottle of Pepto Bismal and headed out the door with both girls.  It was lunch, they were both over it since we had been sitting at the doctors, and it was nearing nap time. Needless to say, I was in a hurry and didn't bother to ask someone.  I assumed that Pepto Bismal was the same as Imodium AD.

I immediately gave her a dose and for a short time, things seemed to be getting better. The girls were staying that night at the in-laws since I had to help throw a baby shower the next day, and even though Amelia had been sick, she seemed well enough to stay the night still.  Fast forward to the next day and I get that dreaded call.  She seemed to take a turn in the night and wasn't doing so well.  That morning, my brother in law (who just graduated from nursing school last month) asked why the heck I was giving her Pepto Bismal because ummm, "it can kill babies."

Cue freak out.

So yeah, Pepto Bismal and Imodium AD are not the same even though they both treat diarrhea.  Pepto Bismal actually has aspirin in it.  Babies can't have aspirin, especially when they are running fevers, which of course Amelia was running a low grade one.  It can cause seizures, spike a high fever, and yes, death.  The crazy part is that no where on the Pepto Bismal label does it mention aspirin till the very end of the ingredients list.  

We talked to a pharmacist and after he calmed our fears, he said that this actually happens all the time.  Not just with kids, but even adults.  There are so many other medicines that counter act with aspirin and people don't realize that Pepto Bismal has it in it.  Pepto Bismal is just as much of those everyday medicines as Tylenol and no one thinks twice.  He said it's enough of an issue that he himself has actually been apart of a movement to have it put behind the counter.  He said that's it's such a problem it needs that kind of restriction.

Of course, I felt horrible. I had no clue I was giving her something that could hurt her.  Even my mother-in-law who's a nurse said she had no clue it contained aspirin. 

So, please take this as a warning. 

Thankfully, we had given Amelia such small doses and stopped them soon enough that she seems to be fine.  About twelve hours after her last dose, she finally seemed to perk up.  It's now been over twenty four hours and it should all be out of her system by now.  Thankfully, she's had no signs of what they told us to watch for.  She's still not completely over the virus, but things are getting better.  Hopefully she'll be back to feeling 100 percent soon.

Hopefully this next week will be a little less eventful.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Wedding Day

I think I mentioned that on memorial day weekend, my cousin Kyndall and her long time boyfriend Andy got married.  Our family actually has a good number of high school sweethearts that have gone on to be married, and now Kyndall and Andy can be added to that list. 

Olivia was asked to be flower girl for a second time.  I've decided that if you want to be apart of a wedding, that's the way to go. You get to be invited to all the fun inside stuff, but it doesn't cost as much as a bridesmaid or groomsmen! : )

As you can see, Olivia was pretty over it quickly.  In her defense, it was hot....very hot.  Ironically, the weekend before we had a cold front come through and it was seriously forty degrees in May.  However, so far our family has had three May/June weddings and it's been ninety degrees for every single one.  So, our family knows no other way when it comes to weddings.


This one cracks me up...

That would be the four of us trying to nonchalantly tell Olivia to stop acting a fool

This one I look at and it just sums up our family to me...


I love that she stood there holding both my cousin Aubry (who's seven months pregnant with Amelia's best friend) and Abby's hand throughout the ceremony.  I'd have to say it's my favorite of those that I snapped that day.

And this one just screams Olivia...

I can't tell y'all how often I get this look on a daily basis.

They had a barn wedding and it was all super cute.  I wish now I had taken more pictures of the decor.  They did an awesome job! 

And of course our official wedding babysitters were there! 

I'm pretty sure David's parents are starting to think they only get invited so they can help with the kid! : )

Amelia was trying to turn it into that kinda party...

It was just that hot and she was miserable (as you can tell in the picture above). Thankfully, she's the only one who attempted to strip.

My date for the evening.

And in case you're wondering, our family can throw down on the dance floor....

Besides being 100 degrees, it was pretty much the perfect evening for a wedding.

Congratulations you two!
We wish you many years of happiness!!!
It was a beautiful day and thanks for allowing us to be apart of it!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sweet Summertime.

We're still here. 

We've been busy soaking up the summer sun. 

Our days have been jam packed since the summer began.  Days have been filled with the splash pad, library visits, pools days, VBS, and afternoon rain showers.   Maybe it's Olivia's age or the fact I'm finally getting some sleep and feeling like a functioning human again, but I feel like we're really getting our monies worth this summer.

Besides David having a rough time at work, the summer has seemed about perfect.

 However, it has still been a weird one.

I think because we know some hard goodbyes will have to be said at the end of it and once again, there are changes in story for our family.  Good changes....changes we're excited about.  In several different ways, life will look very different come this fall.  We're excited, but it seems to constantly be lingering in the back of my mind.


The scary part is, it seems to be heading towards us at lightening speed.  The other day, David and I were talking about upcoming events for the rest of summer and it was like "whoa!" 

For now, we'll keep soaking up the sweet summer time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Some Friday Favorites

I wanted to post about the wedding, but the pool is calling our names.

For now, I'll leave you with a few things I'm loving at the moment....

This is this months bookclub pic and y'all....I just can't even.  It's rare when a book leaves an impression on me like this one did.  I finished it days ago and I'm still thinking about it. If you're a daughter, if you have a daughter, if you're a mother, if you have a mother...this book is a must.  I literally bawled at the end of this book.  So much so that David had to ask if I was okay and then I bawled as I read the last few paragraphs to him.  Then I yelled at Nic at 10pm for not warning me it was a tear jerker. I promise though it's a good cry.  This book is a must this summer!

I've been rocking these sandals from Old Navy for a week now and I'm in love!!! They are plastic but still look like you're a little classy.  The best part is they are super comfy! I will be sporting these all summer.  Oh and even better, they are only $10 ($12.99 online)!!!

I discovered these two last summer and though I use them during the winter too, it's officially time for them to do their thing since it's SUMMER HAIR time!!! Also known as....I'm to lazy to do anything with my hair time  The beach babe texture spray smells just like the beach and I may over use it just for the smell.  Best part, you can find them both at Target and some Walmarts for under $5. 

So, what are you loving these days?   I'm a sucker for trying something new.  

Off to pack the pool bag.  Happy weekend! : )

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dance Recital Day or the day I fell even more in love with my family

I mentioned that our busy May was leading up to one big weekend.

Technically, this past weekend was a big one for this girl....

She had her second dance recital of her dance career, and she was flower girl for my cousins wedding.

We started the crazy weekend with a two and a half hour dress rehearsal on Friday.  I along with probably all the other parents rolled my eyes at the length of time, but surprisingly, it did end up taking that long.

Last year she kept us laughing by waving the whole way through the performance, but this year she actually danced.

I'm not going to be one of those moms....believe me, I don't expect Julliard to be knocking on our door anytime soon, but you could tell a big difference between this year and last.  As much as a four year old could...she looked like she somewhat had an idea of what she was doing.

However, Olivia's dancing wasn't what left me teary eyed that day.

This weekend was a crazy busy weekend, not just for us, but our whole family in the fact that my cousin Kyndall was getting married.  On top of dance recitals, the weekend was filled to the brim with the usual wedding activities...bridal luncheons, dinner rehearsals, bachelor know the drill.

Last year, we took up almost an entire center row with all who came to watch Olivia dance.  I had already been warning Olivia that because of the wedding, there were only going to be a few of us that could come watch her, so don't be disappointed that not everyone could come watch.

Once again, my family blew me away with their love for my kids.

As parents, you know the love you have for your children....but it's something else to see the love others have for them.

Family was showing up literally moments before the show started.  In between all the wedding festivities, they made sure to take the time out to watch a four year old dance a total of six minutes.  For those who couldn't make it due to the tight wedding schedule, Uncle Jeremy was videoing her performances and immediately sending them to the rest.   

I repeatedly told them all thank you and how much it meant to me they came, only to get "we wouldn't miss it!"

I mean, seriously???

Saturday afternoon, I sat in the row, looking to my left and right at a once again almost packed center row full of family.  I teared up just thinking about how grateful I am for family.

Can we say love tank overfill???


Family who made sure a four year old's yearly dance recital didn't get completely overshadowed by a once in a lifetime wedding.

Thank you all again.  

It's something this mama will forever be grateful for.

***A big thank you goes to  my mom who came down from Nashville to not only see Olivia dance, but also was a huge help with Amelia during all the wedding festivities.  Oh, and she got up for Amelia's nightly feedings so I could get some was seriously the only way I survived the weekend!!! Thanks again, Mom!!!***