Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's New With Brady?

Remember the days when each and every update was about Brady? Thank God that isn't the case anymore. However, I thought it might be time to give you an update on our little hero.

Brady's 6 month scan appointment is two weeks from tomorrow. He will once again go under general anesthesia and have basically from his shoulders down to his middle back scanned. This is done to check for signs of new tumor growth and to assess that tiny spot in his spine that is still there. (oooo, how that spot is teaching me to be patient and faithful!) Brady will also have his urine samples to check for levels of HVA and VMA which are markers for Neuroblastoma. They will also draw his blood while he is alseep and check his blood counts.

Yesterday Brady had his pre-scan physical at the pediatrician. His weight is up three pounds since April and he is in the 48th percentile. His height is up 1 inch and is in the 36th percentile. The doctor is very pleased with his growth and development and we have been blessed that his treatment never really impacted him in area. After that appointment we went to physical therapy. Brady is showing a lot of improvement with jumping--I think he gets plenty of practice just being a crazy boy! We need to continue to work on areas like standing and jumping on one foot and climbing stairs while alternating feet.

Last week when I went to pick Brady up from preschool I got to peek in on his class as they finished up their morning with a song. The kids were acting out the song "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." Of course this was a big hit with the three year old crowd, and each of them were jumping up and down like crazy. The other parents and I got such a kick out of watching the kids bouncing up and down and having a great time.

I bet I was the only mom in the group who was thanking God as I watched.
He was jumping. Just like the other kids.
He was jumping. Maybe not as high as everyone else, but no one else noticed that.
He was jumping. And so was my heart.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Normal Moms Do

I did something I have never done today.
I did something that normal moms do all the time.
Can you guess what I did?

I took three of my children grocery shopping with me.


My name is Megan. And I admit that I almost always run errands alone. I kind of fell into this routine early in motherhood when it just seemed ridiculous to bundle up three infants in three infant car seats and go to the grocery store only to realize that I would need two carts to fit them in. So I never did.

As the kids grew older, and I realized that taking care of them day in and day out was mentally and physically exhausting, grocery shopping and running errands became sacred. Almost as sacred as church on not really.

My routine has always been to run errands on Friday afternoons. Matt is home early on Fridays, so when I would see his face at the door, I would run as quickly as I could for my mini van and head to Target and the other stores that I don't like as much as Target. I would spend my three hours, hot beverage in hand, meandering stores for what we needed and sometimes what we didn't. I loved shopping alone.

But now things are different. I now have these few hours when the kids are at preschool and I realize that it may be a tad unpractical to spend these hours getting weekly pedicures or taking naps in the parking lot. So I have adjusted my routine and am running errands while the kids are at school. It is working well and I actually like being home on Friday afternoons when my husband gets home. Perhaps we can plan a weekly conversation on Friday now:)

Today, however, I had to be somewhere during preschool, so I couldn't do the grocery shopping. I instead came up with a crazy idea to pick the kids up and have them come with me. And honestly, I was really excited about it! My kids can be challenging, demanding, and sometimes even unbearable...but the truth is, they are SO much fun too!

I met them at preschool and told them that I had a surprise. When they got to the van I opened the door and showed them that I had gone to Wendy's and bought us lunch. We were going to have a picnic in the van and then go grocery shopping. Picnic in the van can be translated as I bought lunch ahead of time so that I didn't have to take you out of the van, into a restaurant, into the bathrooms, eat, clean up, and back into the van. One of our 2nd row seats is removed from our van, so the 4 of us had just enough room to sit in a circle and enjoy our lunch. How fun!

Afterward we headed to the grocery store in search of one of those carts with the red cars attached. By the grace of God one was right in the cart corral next to where I parked. Eli and Cara jumped in the car, while Brady chose to ride in the cart right in front of his momma:)

20 aisles and 1 bathroom break later, the shopping was done! The kids were awesome, they made me laugh, and I really enjoyed myself. The highlight for everyone was passing by the 5 foot tall animated Witch on display for Halloween. They wanted to see her over and over again, but really they were scared. Cara even asked a woman who was standing next to us, "Hey lady, did you see that witch down there?"

I think I have decided to take the kids grocery shopping with me two times a month. That is a nice balance. My husband will be glad to know that shopping with the children is good for our budget. Those carts with the cars attached have much smaller spaces for food and I can't by too much because as it was today the grocery bags left only a small space for the kids to squeeze through to get to their seats!

Two Tuesdays of the month I will take them with me, and two Tuesdays I will shop alone. Being normal wasn't so bad after all.

ps. Isn't the new blog banner awesome! I think the new picture really brightens it up and also is destined to be a family classic!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Gang

We have made it through all of our new activities and transitions…well at least for one week! The bad news is all of the backpacks, papers, and “stuff” that goes along with these activities are driving me crazy! The great news is the kids are loving all of their new adventures and have adjusted really well!

I suddenly find myself having to check my calendar for what the kids have coming up! It’s so strange! Balancing their busy schedule with my own is a new challenge for me. I’m remembering to thank God for the opportunity to be home with them as I can’t imagine trying to do all of this and working outside the home full time.

Here is my gang before we left for preschool Thursday. Notice the littlest preschool wannabe, complete with backpack! Brady was having a moment here, thus the frown.


And here they are this morning about to go to Sunday school for the first time.


Eeek! I can hardly stand it when I look at this picture. Seeing them all together in a picture like this can really just blow my mind sometimes. Did I really have 4 kids in 18 1/2 months? Yep, sure did!

This week’s agenda brings dance class, preschool, MOPS meeting, Brady’s PT appointment, Brady’s pre-scan physical (yes, scans are coming up again), more preschool, and two Tastefully Simple parties.

PS…isn’t this fall weather just awesome! Love it!


Friday, September 24, 2010

I Bring You Out of the Mouth of Cara, Part II

While strolling around the house this morning dressed in her Cinderella costume, Cara abruptly stops, reaches up under her big dress somewhere and proclaims to her brothers, "Hold on guys, THIS princess has an itch!"


The end of a busy week is upon me. I had my first Tastefully Simple party of the
Fall season last night and tonight am hosting an Open House here tonight for anyone to come and taste test the new products.

But on the agenda this morning, spending some time with my favorite princesses and pirates.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Cara

Sometimes we think our kids don't listen to a thing we say. Then they say something, and we realize that although they may not get things exactly right, or details may merge in their minds, they are hearing every single word.

While playing dollies this morning, I overheard Cara singing the following:

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

You look like a monkey...

And God bless you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warm September Night


Mr. Cool


Can’t help but love those Eli cheeks!


As long as you don’t fall on the top of your head, you’ll be fine.


Happy Allie when it was her turn.


Sad Allie when it wasn’t.


Proof that my kids watch too much Dora. They call this the jungle.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Week Two of Everything

This week brings week two of dance class and preschool. We are finding our groove I hope and the kids seem very excited about their new schedule.

Brady boy seems to be doing very well in school and there is no obvious difference between him and the other kids. The only thing Matt and I pick up on is a slight lack of flexibility and stability with his legs, particularly his left. It only really affects him when we are doing things like putting on his shoes or socks. Other than that he is keeping up and blending in with his class of 3 year olds. How about that?

Allie is growing and changing with each passing day. As we get closer and closer to her 2nd birthday (November) it seems as though she should have turned two months ago. She talks up a storm. We can't help but laugh when things like, "No daddy. Stop putting lotion on me" come out of her mouth! Allie is the lovable little glue that holds our family together. She demands that everyone said goodnight to her each and every night, and it isn't unusual for her to go up to Brady and Eli and say, "Brothers, I need a kiss!" One thing that doesn't make her too happy is the fact that the big kids get to leave the house without her for dance class and preschool. Almost always she sees us off at the door with her shoes on and big tears in her eyes. Poor Allie:(

I promise to get my camera out this week as it has been a while since I've shared pictures.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Well Hello There!

Yikes! I haven't blogged since Tuesday. I think that is the longest period of time I have gone without blogging (other than our Disney trip) since the beginning!

I would have loved to have done so before today, but the truth is, I have just been to insanely busy!

My week in a nutshell:
1. Kids' haircuts (perhaps a small thing for some people, accomplishing this in my world is huge!)
2. First week of Preschool
3. First night of MOPS
4. Prepare items for Fall Consignment Sale
5. Le Tourneau Christian Camp (more on that later)
6. Volunteer & Shop at Consignment Sale
7. Selah concert
8. Wash, sort, & put away Fall/Winter clothes for kids

Don't get me wrong, I love my busy life! Especially this week! It has been hectic, but a week of huge blessings!

The kids did great with their 1st week of preschool. They love going and say goodbye to me when I drop them off without any hesitation. One thing I wasn't quite prepared for was the "stuff" that will come home with them. When we arrive home there is a dumping ground of sorts by the back door where backpacks fall, shoes are kicked off, and papers galore are scattered. Ughh...we SO need a mudroom!

Tuesday night our MOPS group had our first meeting! What a night! We had over 40 moms join us--several new moms too! Three years ago when I started going, there were around 10 moms attending regularly, so I'm just so amazed at how God is using this ministry to reach out to the moms in our area. If you ever want to learn more about MOPS, or our group in particular, feel free to email me!

As I have the past 3 years, I signed up for the Weepeats Consignment sale in Rochester. It is a giant sale that is organized for you---all you have to do is tag items to be sold. You earn a large cut of the selling price and if you volunteer to help at the sale, you can shop before the public. There is a huge benefit for me to participate in this sale, despite the fact that it involves some time and energy (often in short supply around here!) By reselling the kids' clothes and toys, I'm able to recycle that part of our income back into purchasing things that they will need for the next season. But volunteering and shopping early, I'm able to ensure that I will be able to get the things I need for them, like boots, snowpants, and other seasonal items. My favorite items that I picked up this year were the kids' Halloween costumes. I grabbed all 4 really nice quality costumes for under $30 total. Of course I'm not sharing what they are---you'll just have to stop by at the end of October to find out.

Several months ago I was contacted by an extended family member and invited to share my testimony and Brady's story at Le Tourneau Christian Camp as part of Blessed Hope Ministry's Ladies' Luncheon Series. So on Thursday, off I went to spend the middle part of the day speaking to this wonderful group of women and their guests. This is the 2nd time I have been able to publicly share how the Lord has worked in my life and to tell of His faithfulness through Brady's cancer journey. As I said to the women before I started my story, there is no way that you can experience what we have and not tell anyone who will listen! After I shared my testimony, I sang a song and then shared a slide show of pictures that Matt and I worked on. I think it was so effective to be able to visually show what our family has been through. I was so blessed by the many wonderful conversations I had with the women afterward. It is so awe inspiring to see how God can use my life to connect with others who have gone through similar circumstances. Matt and I have been hopeful all along that God would use Brady's story to reach others for His glory. Soon there will be a contact button on the blog so that if you would like to have me come and share our story with your group, you can find out more.

What better way to end such an amazing week than with a Selah concert with my hubby! He had surprised me with tickets months ago, and at the time we didn't' realize all the craziness that would be going on the week of the concert. Selah performed Thursday night about 25 minutes from us, but we couldn't go to that show because I was volunteering at the sale. So instead, we drove 1 1/2 hours to Bath, NY for their show last night! It was actually a great ride down as we got to just talk and be alone! I can't leave out the part about our wonderfully romantic dinner for two at Subway inside the Konona exit gas station. That is all we had time for, but we made it fun anyway!

If you ever get a chance to go to a Selah concert... do it! We just went to see them about 2 years ago, and we didn't hesitate about going again. Their shows are so much more than a concert, they really are a worship experience. Some friends of ours were also there and had saved us some great seats! Even more amazingly, they had a connection with the venue, Family Life Network, so we were able to take a behind the scenes tour of the Family Life Network Radio Station. About 90% of it was way over my head, but the technology involved in running that station was so cool! We got to meet the director, several of the on-air personalities, and oh yes, we walked right past Selah as they sat backstage after the concert. I also waiting in line to get my picture with them, and I will share that soon! We made it home just after midnight and are looking forward to a weekend of relaxing. You know, lawn work, laundry, and cleaning:)

Life is good. Busy.Wonderful.Good!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Day of Preschool…Mission Accomplished!

Okay, so sending them off on their first day of preschool wasn’t as bad as I thought!

Mostly that’s because a certain little girl wasn’t acting quite as I hoped she would, so instead of feeling sad about saying goodbye I was stewing about her antics:(

Here is that cute, but a little bit precocious girl before we left for school.


Don’t let that adorable bow and sweet smile fool you, my little Cara decided to play the “I’ll do the opposite of what the teacher says game” while the parents stayed in the room for the first 20 minutes.

The teacher assured me that the rest of the morning went fine. I’m still wondering about that…

Eli’s eyes are closed in this picture, but still, the cuteness factor is there!


While I was in the room, Eli blurted out some pretty funny comments. There is nothing like a, “I’m going to be an astronaut and ZOOM to the moon!” comment to make this momma proud. Of course at the time the teacher was talking about the calendar, but Eli was obviously thinking about more advanced things.

Brady was the quiet, thoughtful student today. He followed directions, didn’t have much to say, but did have a lot of smiles for his teacher.


I was very proud of all three of my monkeys today. When it was time for the parents to leave, they each just kind of waved at me, blew me a kiss, and that was it. When I returned to pick them up, I had the great experience of having them all run to me for hugs. So precious…


When we arrive at preschool I have to help the kids get their school shoes on, hang up their backpacks, and help them use the bathroom. We were one of the first ones there, but somehow were the last to make our way into the classroom. Ha!



So there you have it! We all survived the first day!


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Bags are Packed



My little preschoolers are all set for their first day.

Can you believe it?

When I got their backpacks down from the closet I thought they might explode from excitement! I bought them when we went to Disney and haven’t let them use them again since. They understood that they were for preschool. So tonight they took the responsibility of packing their bags very seriously. They carefully shoved (ha!) their extra outfits into the bottom of the bags, then the antibacterial wipes requested by their teacher, and then their school sneakers.

After that, they took on the very important task of picking out the first-day-of-school undies. I also made them try on their jeans to make sure that they could pull them down and back up again all by themselves. I guess that is a requirement for using the bathroom at preschool.

I just can’t wait to see what they have to say about their first day!

We had another first today.




Miss Cara Kathleen became an official tap dancer. Lucky for us, the local dance teacher lives a few hundred yards from our house. She was the same teacher that taught me to tap to “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” about 27 years ago!


The best part is that cousin Aubrey is in Cara’s class!!! I’m so excited for them to share this special experience together. This picture is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!


They are so precious!

In other news…today is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day. If you aren’t already doing so, please, please visit THIS SITE every day between now and Sept 30th to vote for the Arms Wide Open Cancer Foundation. If they win, Pepsi will give $250,000 to directly fund an important trial in the world of pediatric cancer. Yes you have to login and create a username and password. Yes you have to give your email address. I’m sure we are all willing to do something so simple to help. Please help.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Big Kids

Wasn’t it just yesterday that my kids looked like this?

May 2009 072

May 2009 058

Matt commented the other night that the kids seem so BIG when we pick them up. It is just happening so fast.

If these pictures from May 2009 weren’t enough to convince you of just how big they have grown and how fast time is flying, then consider this…

In 4 days Eli, Cara, and Brady will go to preschool.

It has been coming for months. I went and visited, filled out the paperwork, even bought their school sneakers.

But now it is here. I can’t believe it is here. I’m really, truly excited for them to go. They are excited too!

There is one thing though. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I’m going to pull up to the church, walk them inside, kiss them goodbye, and then have to leave.

They will have 2 1/2 hours to be with their teacher and their classmates. I will have 2 1/2 hours without knowing what they are doing and how they are feeling. My heart aches as I type this, but I know it is all part of the deal. It is just a strange feeling.

Cara also starts dance class next week and in a couple of weeks the kids will start Sunday School. My MOPS group starts up again this week, along with the fall consignment sale, and a speaking engagement at a ladies’ luncheon. The busy life is back in full swing, but suddenly the kids have a schedule of activities too!

And so it begins…



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thank You!











There are SO many people to thank!!! Thank you to our generous sponsors Vanessa Zeches and Culligan Water (thanks Grandpa). Thank you to my baking team mom, Lynn, Chris, Kristie, Kelly, Pattie, and Ann Marie! Thank you to our online donors Tighe’s Grandma, Kevin & Diane Skelton, Matt and Michelle Gibson, Becky Martin, Michelle Lawson (my Australian buddy!), czfire (anonymous donor), Jill McBride, and Grandma Kathy. Thank you to our mail-in donors Robert and Patty Latour, Heather Landers, Grandpa and Grandma, Grandma Vera, and Uncle Bob and Aunt Karen. Thank you to our stand volunteers Chris, Danna, Lynn, Wes, and Paige! Thank you to my brother and Kristen for helping us set up and for use of your tent (again!)! And thank you to our friends at the Oakfield United Methodist Church for allowing us to bake in your Health Department Approved Kitchen:)

And a great BIG thank you to our wonderful community for once again standing by us to support this cause. So many people stopped by to buy lemonade and goodies, and so many stopped me to ask about Brady. Many purchased a glass of lemonade with a $5 or $10 dollar bill and kindly donated their change. Some shared their stories of battling cancer with tears in their eyes. My home town never ceases to amaze me…this year was no exception!

One goal of having our lemonade stand was to raise awareness about pediatric cancer by telling Brady’s story and displaying facts about childhood cancers. On a board I had pictures of Brady during treatment and a brief story about his journey. When he came to the stand he looked at the pictures of his then bald head and said, “Look daddy! I had tubies! And a diaper!!!”


As I mentioned the other day, proceeds from the stand went above and beyond my $1,000 goal. Yesterday I mailed in a check to the foundation in the amount of $1,197. Combined with online donations, our grand total is….


If you combine that total with last year’s total, we have raised $4,180 for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation!









All because of this boy.

In honor of Brady Andrew Williams.

Our victorious warrior…


who also loves lemonade.

photos courtesy of Kristen Hamm Photography


Monday, September 6, 2010

We Did It!

10 hours. 121 packages of baked goods. 390 cups of lemonade.

$1, 197.57 raised for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Brady and Mommy

Thank you friends, family, and community.

I’m going to bed tonight with such a happy heart.