The short take...

We're enjoying a crazy summer (already), before Kate starts Kindergarten (ALREADY!!?) this fall. Our kids are so much fun, and we are SO blessed!

If you want to browse our pictures, you can do so at our new Google Picasa album).

December 19, 2008

Hey everyone! Well, Christmas is coming, and are we ever excited! There's (lots of) snow on the ground, Daniel is getting into town tomorrow, and our Wii has been fixed and will be delivered back to us tonight! (one-week turnaround on an in-warranty fix...not bad at all!)

Kate is starting to try and figure out what all she can get away with lately; she's had her first time-out and is starting to develop some pretty interesting pouty/scheming/figuring-out-if-there's-a-way-out expressions. But we're taking it in stride and working through all that with her (something tells me THAT's a long process!), and loving every minute we get with her- she's so fun to play with!

Well, we're off now to our weekend and short week before Christmas, so we just wanted to say 'Hi' and Merry Christmas to everyone, in case we're not back on before then! Love you all! If you're looking for more on us, check out Kyla's new facebook page!

December 09, 2008

Just a quick update for everyone; elk season is over, and we didn't manage to fill Dad's tag :-( But we got lots of meat off of mine (276 lbs is what we took to the butcher), and had a GREAT time hunting (didn't even lose anything, no matter how hard we tried a few times), so it was quite the successful trip.

We've got our house all Christmas-y now...our tree is up and lighted, our decorations are hanging around the's Christmas and we're loving it! We'll throw some pictures up when we can, though if we don't have many I'll just include them in the December pictures of Kate. She's so cute!! ;-)) The Christmas production at church is this weekend, so it's been a crazy week already, but we're being able to keep going!

Anyway, I fixed a few things around here (why didn't anyone tell me the links didn't wonder our guestbook is lonely!?), as well as decking out the site in all its' Christmas finery and updating our picture at the top (May was quite a while ago, I guess), so hopefully everything is back up to snuff. We'll keep you updated like we've been doing, so check back when you can! Love you all!

December 02, 2008

Have we been busy!! We had a great Thanksgiving, and LOVED getting to see Daniel again, who flew in for a few days between his assignments. But poor Kate got so confused; since Michael and Dave left from the Thanksgiving dinner and went straight out to their elk hunt, Kate saw Daddy disappear the same day that Daniel came- so she got really clingy and didn't give poor Daniel a chance! At least he'll be back for Christmas and we can all get together- he'll get the "full Kate experience" then!

Well, the elk hunt isn't over yet, but Michael already filled his tag! It's a great experience- it's really fun being out in the woods for an extended time again, though with a whole family at home now, it's quite a split emotional experience! I missed my girls so much! So now I'm going back out to help dad fill his tag as well...only a few days left in the season! But if you're interested, there's a few pictures that I posted of the elk blood, promise.

And speaking of pictures, we've got Kate's November pictures posted as well...aren't you proud of us!!?

Love you all...we'll give a longer update when we can! Merry Christmas season, and don't stop giving thanks! ;-)

November 22, 2008

It's hard to believe another month has come and gone since we posted last, but here we are! First of all, be sure to check out Kate's latest pictures, including some of her in her Halloween costume! She's doing so well- she's really fully turned into a little girl in the last few weeks! Her hair is even long enough that she's wearing pigtails a few times a week now...melting hearts wherever she goes. :)

Papa is back home now, and the proud owner of a Wii, (his birthday/Christmas present from his kids). He really seemed to enjoy it last week when we were all up there for his birthday dinner. He had a great trip though- it seemed to be really what the doctor ordered.

Daniel has had a great few weeks- mom and dad were able to get back for his Track Select ceremony last week, and though the instructors had a lot of fun roasting and embaressing he and his classmates, it sounds like a great experience. And best of all: he got the slot he requested! That's right, he's going to be a helicopter pilot! There was only one slot for three candidates, and he was the one who got it! We're so proud of him, and can't wait to see him next week for Thanksgiving!

Then the day after Thanksgiving (well, technically it'll be Thanksgiving afternoon), Michael and Dave are heading out to the woods for their week-long elk hunt! It's bound to be cold, but they can't wait to get out there. And of course, then it'll be the Christmas season! Hard to believe, but we can't wait to see HOW much fun Kate has this year Christmas morning!

Well, what else have we been doing these few weeks? We've seen Ethan and Tiffany and family a few times up here, stayed really busy at home and work, played with Kate to no end, enjoyed the first snow of the season (it left again quite quickly), done lots at church, watched the elections (you bet we voted)...too much to list. Anyway, it's been a great few weeks. We're praying that your weeks have been equally so.

See you here again soon!

October 25, 2008

Kate's September pictures are posted in her section now...enjoy! Hope everyone's having a nice weekend! We'll get October pictures posted as soon as Halloween is over; we wouldn't want to miss her costume now, would we? ;)

October 24, 2008

Well, Kyla's business trip was good, though she had a pile of work waiting when she got back! Though she was able to make that work up impressively quickly, since then they've had so much work come in so rapidly that she hasn't been able to slow down enough to even really be able to address "normal" day-in, day-out office stuff! But we've been making a strong effort to really slow down in the evenings and just enjoy time as a family.

Kate has really entered the full "playful" age now- she loves chasing us and teasing us to chase her, or just rolling around on the ground...she's so much fun! She's doing just awesome at preschool, except for the first day Kyla was back from her trip; she was so clingy that she didn't want to let go of mommy! They're going to get to do some fun Halloween activities next week though, so that should be fun!

Well, we heard from Daniel after his FINAL CHECKRIDE of this part of his training- he passed with flying (pun intended) colors, with a score of Excellent! So he's got a (very) few flights left, but they're mostly fun-type flights; not really for a score or anything. Then he gets to go through Track Select and see what type of craft he'll be flying for the next however many years! We're so happy for him, and excited to hear about all the stuff he's been doing, but just hearing everything will wear you out, believe me! Anyway, we can't wait to see him again this Thanksgiving!

Papa's still at my aunt's house; we've had very little contact with him, so it sounds like he's having a great, relaxing time! He'll have some more color on the trees to come home to than there was when he left though! Funny thing though, we went up on the mountain last weekend to try and find some colorful fall trees, and there were hardly any to be found! Most of the leaves were still on the trees (surprising, given the wind we'd been having), but they were almost all brown! So, other than here in town, no colors this year! (how often does THAT happen!?)

Well, I hope all your fall plans are going great and that everyone's healthy! We'll see you next time!

(P.S. I'd uploaded some photos in Kate's section, but it came to my attention this weekend that I hadn't linked them into the feed or anything. So head on over there and enjoy the pictures you probably haven't seen yet...those of July and August).

October 10, 2008

Another week has come and gone! They really are flying by! We've had a good week; Kyla's mom was up here from Sunday through Wednesday, and we had a great visit. This weekend, Michael's grandparents are coming into town for a delayed birthday celebration for Val, so it'll be great to be able to spend some time with them, too!

Papa is up visiting my aunt and uncle for a few weeks, hopefully getting some time to relax and get some fishing done! Ruby (for those of you who know her) is back home from the hospital and doing really awesome recovering from her surgery- better than anyone would have guessed was possible after a surgery like that!

Kate is doing amazingly well at preschool- she really loves going now! When you ask her in the morning if she wants to go to preschool, she runs over to the door all excited. Since it's now jacket weather, she's mastered getting that on and off (with help, of course), but still loves playing outside as much as ever. Her ability to communicate grows by the day, with new words and signs...and she's being able to mimic sounds we ask her to repeat amazingly well.

Kyla's getting ready to leave on a business trip this weekend- she'll be gone leaving Daddy and Kate together alone for a record amount of time; part or all of 5 days! We'll all miss each other, but it should be a good relaxing time for her, and a great fun time for Michael and Kate!

Hope you all have a great weekend...think snow! ;-)
(...after Kyla's left on her trip, that is)!

October 04, 2008

Well, summer has ended here, though it did so with such speed, we're really not sure what happened! But October is here, and as all the trees are beginning to show us, it's fall. It sure makes getting up in the morning tough though, as the sun keeps rising later and later!

Well, we're all keeping quite busy, between work, preschool, church and other extra-curricular activities, but we're doing just great. Kate has, even just in the past week or so, really started enjoying preschool to the point where she almost doesn't complain when we drop her off in the mornings! We always knew that she was doing great during the day, but she sure knew how to break our hearts when we put her down in the morning. Now when we put her down, she looks for some of her friends, and starts playing with toys. Her teachers have been great- and it's fun when, more than once a week, she gets to bring home some crafts that they've done that day- usually having something to do with handprints or fingerprints, which make them all the more special!

She's learned other things from preschool, too...things that make life interesting like grabbing something away or not letting us take something she wants...we're getting the first of the selfish side of childhood for the first time, but she knows that we win and usually gets over any fit she tries to throw pretty quickly. It's been an interesting process, though. She can really communicate anything she wants to, now. She's known "no" (shaking her head) for a while now, but she recently picked up "yes" (a little nodding, but usually it's spoken ya-ya). She points to and says "ma-ma" or "da-da" correctly now, though she thinks it's great fun to say the other name than you're trying to get her to say at the time. (say ma-ma, kate...DA DA!) But she'll also repeat almost any sound you ask her to imitate, and she's picking up on some key sounds (bath, thank you, etc). She's got both "food" and "sleep" down, and asks for them correctly when it's mealtime or bedtime.

Well, since we last posted on here, Kyla and Kate have been to Florida and back, visiting Kyla's dad at his house down there. Michael couldn't get the time off to come, but Kate loved the trip, and especially the beach! Daniel has continued to excel in his current program, despite obstacles and stubborn instructors. In fact, right now he's on his first of several cross-country flights! We got to talk to him tonight, it sounds like he's doing great, but he sure is working hard! He said that this flight is more what he expects flying is "supposed" to was long enough he could actually relax and enjoy it! All they've had them doing 'till this point were things like emergency maneuvers, bad weather flying, formation flying (though that one has to be cool in its own right, too)...not exactly what you'd expect to be doing on every flight! So it sounded like it was good to get some "real-life" experience.

Before too many weekends pass here, we'll have to get out and look at all the leaves before they blow off the trees, but for this weekend Michele is coming up for a few days for the beginning of her fall break, so I'm sure we'll all be keeping busy doing fall-ish things! And's still a weekend after all ;-) So it'll be a good weekend, but a busy one- Michael's even on at church this weekend. Anyway, I hope all your summers have been great and we wish you a wonderful fall!

(By the way, lots has changed around the website here under the hood, but it'll ultimately serve to make it easier to keep it updated...hopefully we'll be able to get back to the Friday afternoon updates every week. We're also using some of the new features that are coming out in the new Internet Explorer, so keep your eye out for all that when it gets released...the Short Takes at the top of this page, for instance, are now web clips so you can tell without even visiting our site generally how we're doing! There's a few side effects though, too; if you get our updates via RSS, note we've got a new address for our feed: . Also, the older posts are now organized by month, rather than all being dumped on one big page, so it should make it nicer. But let us know if something doesn't's a lot of work bringing all my antequated codes up to snuff, and I'm sure I missed something!)

August 21, 2008

Well, Kate's over a year old! Her party was great- thanks to everyone who came! It's been such an amazing, but super-fast year!

Within a week of her 1 year birthday, we got a call from the church, saying that there was an unexpected opening in the preschool's 1-year old class for Kate! That was a real blessing, because we hadn't expected her to get in until October, at the earliest! So she started attending on Monday, and as you can see from the picture on the right, screaming all day long is hard work! :) OK, that's mostly a joke, but she hasn't been too thrilled about it so far, not that that's really unusual. Her teachers say she's getting better each day. Meanwhile, the few times we took her out to the preschool's playground ourselves to try and get her used to the fact that this can be a fun place, she's discovered how to climb up a slide (both sides!), sit down, and slide down all on her own! I don't think she's done it by herself at preschool yet- my guess is she insists on the teachers holding her as much as possible- but she loves playgrounds when we're around!

She's taken to letting us know exactly what she wants now- pulling us off the couch and leading us where she wants, bringing us our shoes when she wants to go for a walk (she LOVES the outdoors!), shaking her head 'no' when we ask her if she wants the wrong's amazing to watch her little head work! Oh, and her favorite thing to do (besides eat) is to bring us books to read to her. Lots and lots of books :). Which is great, especially when after a few she sits down with them and tries to read them to herself!

Well, our friends are back from their trip to adopt their daughter, Zamara. We got a chance to meet her a few nights ago- what a cutie! She seems really mild-mannered, though they assure us she can scream when she wants to! From their e-mail, it sounds like they're in the final stages of trying to adjust her body's clock to local time, which has been an eye-opener for them! Fortunately, she's feeling better than she did when they picked her up, and God really blessed them with some timely paperwork that didn't look like was going to come through in time while they were over there. It's been fun getting to follow their progress on their blog.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well- check in again soon for more updates...and even some pictures when we can! Hopefully by labor day we can publish some more pictures for you, including pictures at Kate's birthday party!

July 28, 2008

We took some time this weekend and got caught up on publishing our pictures so everyone can see them! So, in Kate's section, we added April, May and June pictures.

In the Our Pictures section, we added pictures of Caleb's homecoming/shower (including pictures of the little guy) and Zamara's shower. Enjoy!

July 25, 2008

We got some very exciting news yesterday- Craig and Laura (our other friends who were waiting on their overseas adoption) officially have a daughter! Zamara went to court and was approved for adoption, so she was declared to be all they have to do is go get her! So hopefully that'll be in just over a week, and we'll finally get to meet her!

Daniel flew solo (how low?) yesterday, and he said it went just great. It had been delayed for a few days due to weather, but he managed to slide in between weather systems, it sounds like. He sent us some pictures- looks very cool!

Michele and Hannah (Kyla's mom and grandma) are back from their whirlwind tour of the UK (primarily Ireland and Scotland), and just had a great time. We got some of the stories, but we can't wait to see all their pictures when they're up for Kate's birthday party!

That's right...a week from tomorrow, Kate will be 1 year old! It's just doesn't seem possible! I know all you who are parents know exactly what we mean. She is officially a toddler though; she went from tentative steps when she didn't realize what she was doing, to walking about 50% of the time (basically, until she fell, then she'd crawl), to walking nearly all the time...probably about 95% of the time now! She'll only crawl a few steps now, for instance if she's reaching for something close and she's already on the ground. She's so cute when she stands up on her own- she looks like a surfer. Or did, at least...she's getting good at it SO quickly! We're still not sure what the preschool situation will be- it looks like it may be another month or least we're hoping something opens up that soon!

Well, to all the family out there, check out our family forum (you should have received a link in e-mail, otherwise write me and ask for it)'s starting to get a bit of activity! That should be fun if it really picks up.

Well, that's it for now! TTFN!

June 26, 2008

Well, we've been back from vacation for more than a week now, and so much has happened! First (most important), Kate is walking! She took her first steps in our hotel room on vacation; she took kind of a tentative first step, then immediately took 4 or 5 more toward Kyla! She's getting so much better with her sign language; she's mastered "please" along with "more", and "milk", and she's got the idea behind "mommy" and "food". I might have missed one or two more in there =)

It's hard to believe that Kate will be one year old in just over a month! She's got such a great attitude and's a joy watching her. She's recently really made the connection that round things tend to go together (round block in a round hole, ball in a chute, etc), so now anything she finds that's round will get mashed together with the first other thing that's round she finds! Her favorite is a ball and one of her hollow round blocks. She's also been dropping the round blocks through one of the "round hole" toys that's designed for balls, but she figured out how to reach in and retrieve it so it doesn't block it when she drops a ball in!

Well, I haven't gotten my DVD burner to cooperate, so still no videos of Honey's funeral; I decided that until I can get the DVDs to burn, I'll compress and post the full video here for those who want to see it sooner. Stay tuned for the link...we'll post the latest batch of pictures on Kate's section at the same time in the next few days.

We've gotten great news in the last few weeks regarding our friends' adoptions! Mark and Brenda brought Caleb home from Vietnam and we've gotten the chance to meet him- what a cutie! Also, our other friends (no names at this point) have gotten their court date for their daughter- they could be traveling to pick her up in as little as a few weeks!

Daniel continues to excel at his latest "station"- it's great to talk to him and hear how well he's doing...especially considering he's "supposed" to feel buried at this point! Actual flight time begins next week for him! Hang in there, buddy!

Hope this finds you all well- write us and let us know how you're doing! Love you all!

June 05, 2008

Summer is off to a wonderful start this year! We've got a little almost monsoon-ish rain so that the forest isn't too dry yet, and even a few SNOW storms! But we're off on vacation for the next week or so- to our favorite resort to relax and introduce Kate to long afternoons by the pool...with lots of sunscreen, of course! ...and an umbrella, and no skin showing, and a hat and...hey, she's our baby! ;-)

Kate is doing her best to learn the idea behind walking- she's always crawling over and holding her hand up so she can walk with you while you hold her hand, and she's started releasing whatever she's holding onto for support for longer periods of time while she reaches for something or switches hands or supports. Won't be long now, and we won't be able to keep track of her!

Daniel has started his latest "classes"- it sounds like he's quite busy, but he sounds like he's doing really well. It's gotta beat essentially doing NOTHING, and it's just the kind of environment that he thrives in- tough guy!

We'll deliver on some pictures of our vacation when we get back! Until then, hope everything is well with all of you!

May 19, 2008

Wow...more than a month since an update. Sorry about that. I've been trying to get a little distance from some of the events so I could look back and reflect on everything. I just didn't mean to wait THIS long.

So, what's been happening? Well, unfortunately for us, the biggest thing that's occurred was Honey's passing on April 24. She is, and will be, sorely missed, but the last few days of her life were really as great a testament to her life as any she might wish.

In the last few weeks of her life, Honey had begun seeing things that the rest of us could not see, and speaking to people that could not have been in the room in the flesh, so to speak. We really think that she was probably at the gates of Heaven several times, but decided to turn around each time- if you knew Honey and how she cared for her family, it's really not a surprise.

Daniel came out again to see Honey near the end of his Casual Duty stint in mid-April. Near the end of his visit (April 19 ([Saturday]) everyone in the family who was in town got together at my parent's house for a dinner together - they even managed to 'steal' Honey from the hospice house for the afternoon (with permission, of course). It was truly a wonderful afternoon, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. We got a great picture of the whole gang that we'll share next time we post updated pictures. That night, in the middle of the night, Honey fell out of bed and probably broke several ribs. She was in a lot of pain, needless to say, and there was great concern of the likelihood of her catching pneumonia now.

She was started on a much stronger regimen of medicine for the pain, but nothing was helping very much. Finally that next Tuesday, the decision was made to start her on yet stronger medicine- strong enough that she would never be able to be taken off it. At this point, it was quite likely that the end was near. We were going up and seeing her as much as possible, especially with Kate, but she'd been in so much pain that she wasn't aware of very much. She loved watching Kate, but wasn't able to interact with her or even keep her eyes open much.

Once she was begun on the quite strong medicine, she went to sleep, as was expected, and chances were slim that, even if she woke up, she'd be very aware of anything. As it turned out, she didn't wake up again. On Thursday, her breathing was quite shallow and the family was told she would probably pass away within the next two days. Papa and her three children passed that morning in long prayers and singing, as much encouraging Honey that it was OK to finally enter into her reward. Near the end of their prayers, Honey breathed her last, quite peacefully.

There were many tears, as you can imagine, but when I arrived 30 minutes later, I walked into a room that was filled with more joy than I'd ever had the pleasure of being in the presence of. What a difference real faith is! We have no doubt of where she is, and that she's so happy. So we were free to laugh together and thank God for the wonderful gift of her life that He had blessed us with. When someone lives their entire life as Honey did, in the service of the King, you can see it in her family, and it was a true testament- to everyone within and even outside the family. It was truly a wonderful experience- and one that, while I knew was the 'ideal' response in faith, I didn't know if I'd ever really see firsthand. Human emotions are such that they can override even things you know for a certainty. In this case, our family's faith is so real and governs our worldview so completely that there was almost no conflict of joy for her and selfish sorrow...our honest emotional response was one of joy, and that has continued through the present.

Her funeral was held that next Monday at church, and though she will be missed by everyone left, the joy for her eternal reward has not diminished. It's been amazing being a part of it. Since around Christmas when we learned that she might leave us soon, my biggest regret, nearly the only thing that would bring me to tears, was that she wouldn't get to watch Kate grow up, and that Kate would never remember this amazing woman. But when I walked into that room after Honey had gone, it was pressed on my heart that, "Now Honey has the best view of Kate- better even than us, her parents". I'm sure she's loving that opportunity, too!

To everyone waiting on DVDs of the service: I've got the video completed, but I'm having issues transferring it onto DVD- it seems all the DVD drives in our house decided together to stop working correctly around the time I finished the movie. So it's still forthcoming. In the meantime, let me know if you want the video as a download and I'll see what I can do.

Now, to news of those of us still stuck here :) :
How big is Kate? SOOOOOO BIG! Anything that rolls, she crawls over to, climbs up on, and pushes ahead of her so she can walk around our house! She can balance up on her feet for several seconds now, and there's just no doubt that as soon as she gets that whole balance thing down, she'll be walking just as fast as you please! She asks for "more" and "milk" in sign language, points to things she wants, calls for "ma-ma" and "da-da" and plays peek-a-boo with us whenever she gets the took us a while to figure out why she'd taken to crawling around with her head down, only to pop it up and beam at us though! When she's playing peek-a-boo by pulling something over her head though, she doesn't quite understand the point is to cover her eyes...she tends to lift the toy (or whatever) over her head and watch us from under it until she lowers it for the peek-a-boo!

Anyway, we're all doing awesome, and we've got some great pictures that we'll share as soon as we can, but life is incredibly busy right now, so we'll do what we can. 'Till next time then...TTFN!

April 12, 2008

We've finally posted the rest of the pictures we promised you- Kate in March and some really cute pictures of Kate's first trip to the creek from last weekend! She's doing just great- crawling SO fast and pulling up on everything she gets to- she probably spends almost as much time standing as crawling! She can even balance herself up on her knees without holding onto anything- it's so cute. She loved the water when we went to the creek- though you usually can't keep me out of the water when we go, it was too cold for me to really play in. Because of that, we were just going to dip her in and see her reaction, but she loved it so much we let her just keep playing- she ended up being in the water probably almost 4 minutes! We got some great pictures of our water baby, and really enjoyed our afternoon.

We decided that we have to make the call on her first word- it's YAY! It sounds a little different than her babble, and she always claps her hands when she does it, so there you have it; her first word! Though she knows who 'ma-ma' and 'da-da' are, she can't really say them yet, though she loves her 'b' and 'd' sounds so much, she's pretty close to 'da-da'.

Honey's still at the Hospice house, and each day is a little different. She has happy days and sad days, days when she can eat and those when she can't get anything down. Though it's hard not to take every bit of latest news and try to project what's going to happen, it's really not possible- each week seems to have at least one hopeful time and one downcast time. So we're getting up to see her as much as possible, someone from the family is staying overnight with her each night, and we're taking it one day at a time, thanking God for each blessing.

April 01, 2008

Sorry we didn't update you last week- everything got quite busy. Honey had a great week after our last update, and was being able to be fairly mobile, considering everything; even going for 'walks' in her wheelchair around a number of blocks! Around Easter however, she started having a pretty rough week, with far more spasm episodes really wearing her out.

Since she had started doing better, they had been looking into moving her into the hospice house (24/7 care by actual nurses), since the current situation (one of her children with her at all times, two of which live out-of-state) really can't be kept up indefinitely. Once she started having a hard week, another reason for the move was added to the considerations; better and more prompt care than was possible while she was at home. Yesterday (Monday), they found out a bed had become available, so they elected to go ahead and move her in. It's still quite possible that she has several years ahead of her, rather than weeks or months, so it makes sense to be in a situation that can support her that permanently. It is still a far hope that she could recover to the point that she might come home again at some point in the future, but all these possibilities look more and less possible depending on each individual day's events. We're thankful that she's being cared after so well now, and we'll keep you updated on her general average condition as it changes.

Kyla and Kate are back in town, after taking an extended weekend down to Texas to see Granny and Papaw (Kate's great-grandparents). They had a great time, and apparently Kate's just an all-around great traveler! She got pretty tired at times, but she bounced back pretty quick. Michael's just glad to have his girls back home :-) Those pictures will be in the March set, coming soon.

Well there's no denying it; Kate's mobile. She can absolutely get anywhere she wants to now, and so quickly has begun pulling herself up on anything that she can. Every time we go in to get her out of her crib, she's standing up, looking through the slats. It doesn't look like she'll be long in the crawling world. She's also picking up sounds quite rapidly, and was even imitating the sign for "ball" from her sign language DVD the other day; it's simply amazing watching her as she gets to the point where she's analyzing things and you can see her evaluating and making decisions. She's really getting a personality all her own, and we're getting little glimpses of her future in some of her mannerisms and looks. Let me tell you, it's a joy.

Well, enjoy the "new" pictures of Kate we posted (they're from February...March should be available in the next week or so). Note that in both of our pictures feature sections, you can now click on the 'big' picture to download it- hope that helps those of you who wanted to save Kate's pictures yourselves!

March 19, 2008

Honey continues to do so much better than anyone could dare to hope- the doctor came in last week and went around talking to everyone in the immediate family one-on-one, and when it came Honey's turn, they explained that this was the time she could ask any questions she wanted, if she had any. She thought a moment and said, "No, I don't think so...except how I can get better". The doctor told everyone when he was leaving that he couldn't believe where she was, and that it was time to start re-considering their options for long-term care! If it is indeed cancer, she could go suddenly and at any time, but she just may hold on for quite a while yet, which, needless to say, is wonderful news! Her attitude is just great (and largely to credit for how well she's doing, besides all the prayers and God's grace for us), and the fact that she's not in nearly as much pain as she was for a while (when the spasms were occurring more than once a day) makes every day an unmitigated blessing.

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get up there as much this last week as we'd like to have; besides being quite busy (Michael spent some longer hours at work, but finally managed to get a few projects out the door, including our church expansion!), Kate got sick at the end of last week, mainly just with a fever, but there were a few times she was so miserable she just did nothing but scream. But she's all over that now, and when we do manage to get up and see Honey again, we've got a new development to show off...Kate actually, really crawled a few steps for the first time on Sunday, and since then has kept getting better at it and going farther and farther! So yes...our life is really about to change; it's great though! She's so happy with being able to get to other toys on the floor now!

Kate's started at a new babysitter's this week- another one of our close friends who stays home most days with their son has started watching her so our last babysitter's family is free to go and pick up their new adopted son from Vietnam when they get the call. It's nice too, because they live very close to our house, so we can just drop her off on the way to work. As far as we know, she'll be here until she starts preschool at the school when she's about a year old (only 4-1/2 short months away)!

So, that's all for now- we'll keep you updated on her condition, as well as Kate and absolutely anything she does, being the proud parents we are! Thanks for stopping by!

March 11, 2008

By way of keeping you up-to-date with Honey's condition, here's an e-mail dad sent out almost a week ago (5 March):
Again thank you for all your prayers. We have settled into a comfortable situation at home. When we first got home, we lost a little ground the first week with us really expecting a passing last Saturday morning. That afternoon however, she began a little rally and has maintained that through tonight. She sleeps well all night and then is awake and quite responsive during the day. On several days (today being one of them) she is able to walk (with a great amount of help in balance) across the living room and sit up in her chair for several hours. She is drinking a fair amount of water and a small amount of protein drink.

We have to remember that we are home under hospice care and can only expect that end (maybe in a few weeks rather than a few days). However with the rally there is a glimmer of hope in healing and continued work towards that end. We are reminded that each good day is another blessing and we are very thankful for each and every one of them. Mom sends her love to each and every one of you that have asked to be reminded to her.

Since that e-mail, she has done nothing but get stronger - they've been taking her for 'walks' clear around the block in her wheelchair, and though she gets tired, she's spending much of her day awake, reading or watching TV - often even sitting up in her chair. She's eating foods closer to solids now and has had very few spasm 'episodes' recently, but everyone's worried that she's still not getting enough protein to maintain this rally indefinitely. Still, the extra time with her has been a real blessing, and she loves watching Kate play on the ground up there when we visit.

And on the subject of Kate (you knew it had to come around, right?), she's started doing a little 'inchworm' move to get to who or what she wants to - so close to crawling, but she always keeps at least one hand as an anchor, so she hasn't done a real 'crawl' yet. But when she wants, she'll get up on her knees, lean forward and lunge forward onto her chest again, moving a few inches at a time. Up at Papa and Honey's the other day, she made it halfway across their living room in the course of 30 minutes or so!

Well, we'll keep you posted on new developments, and we'll get those pictures we promised uploaded soon! Hope to hear from you all soon!

March 05, 2008

Spring has arrived! It's warm, but hard to feel under the wind. All three of us are healthy again, and Kate is causing no small commotion every time she gets up on her knees and rocks a bit before moving her legs forward a crawl-step or two! OK, I guess sometimes she falls down too, instead of moving forward, but she's so pleased with herself at being able to move a bit! She can't often seem to remember how to get everything to work together at the same time though, so she'll end up trying to swim across the floor on her belly again. It's fun watching her, but she refuses to sit still ever anymore! Of course, once she's really crawling, we'll be wishing for the days of a squirmy (but mostly stationary) baby, as we run after her and try to keep all the dog toys away from her.

Honey is doing marvelously, considering everything. She's weak, but she's getting her determination back, bit by bit. This weekend, dad slept on the couch in the living room with her in case she needed anything, and awoke in the morning to find she'd gotten herself out of bed and over to the couch, and was now sitting next to him with a twinkle in her eye. We take Kate up to visit her as much as we can, and she just loves watching her play on the floor and the brief moments Kate allows herself to be held up on the bed. Daniel's been out here for the past week and a half, and has really been able to bless her with his nearly continuous presence as well.

Thank you all for your prayers- we'll continue to request them on behalf of Honey and her health, as well as our family as decisions have to be made and emotions dealt with.

Happy March, and we'll be getting pictures up as we can. TTFN!

February 25, 2008

This update has been longer in coming than it should have, because it's a tough one. The evening of the 19th we got Honey's PET scan results - her espohagous wasn't responding to any treatments because it's malignant cancer. So within a few days she was released to go home under hospice and medicine to keep her as comfortable as possible. Theoretically, as long as she can keep eating, she'll stay in about the state she's at right now, but eating is painful with that cancer in her throat. But, true to her personality, she's keeping a smile on her face, and a joke on her tongue despite being pretty tired a lot of the time. She is even actually being able to eat more recently than she had been able to - last night's dinner included mashed potatos!

Lots of the family have come in independantly over the last week or so, and she loves seeing everyone. We're all sad, but recognizing many blessings that have been given even through this process. Somehow it's easier having an answer at last - and wonderful that we didn't lose her suddenly, allowing everyone to talk to her again and come see her if they are able. There are a lot of people that have gone before her that she's looking forward to being reunited with - especially her father, whom she never met, and though the process is painful and scary, she seems to be very much at peace with the situation, with no fear.

Thank you all for your prayers, and we ask again that they continue for her comfort, and above all, the glory of God. She has blessed her whole family her entire life, and her reward is coming. May our lives be as full and faithful as hers.

February 19, 2008

We heard from Daniel this afternoon that he graduated his IFS (Initial Flight Screening) program!! His last solo checkflight was this afternoon, and apparently his instructors were smart enough to realize that he's AWESOME! Congratulations, Daniel! So now it's back off to the base he's stationed at, waiting to get moved to the base he'll get his formal pilot training at (that'll happen in May). He's hoping to finish up the hours he needs to get his Pilot's license in the meantime, as well.

Kate has come through her first sickness - she got a cold over the weekend. It just breaks your heart - you can tell her nose is raw from wiping, we hear her wake herself up coughing, and her eyes are so tired from not getting full sleeps, but she's got a lot of attitude - she keeps trying to play and flashes little grins in spite of it all.

Speaking of health stuff, Honey was re-admitted to the hospital last week, and is alternating between very tough days, spirit-wise and reasonably OK days. She's got a tough spirit, and she's doing great, going for walks and all, but it's hard - the doctors just can't figure out what's wrong that her esophagus didn't heal with her ulcer. Lori and Cielo flew in for the weekend, along with Karen and Daun, and I think that buoyed her spirits. She went in for a PET scan today, so now we're just waiting for the results. We'd really appreciate your continued prayers.

February 13, 2008

Please continue to keep Honey (my grandma) in your prayers - she was admitted to the hospital for the third time last night - they just felt the rehab center wasn't able to really give her the care she needs. But there's a lot of disappointment and frustration with this development for everyone, understandably.

As for us, we're doing well, keeping VERY busy. Our biggest challenge is making sure that the urgent stuff isn't forcing the important stuff aside. The weather is to the point we can start taking walks in the woods again however, which we did on Monday, and it was wonderful!

Kate is just doing great - she's up on all fours frequently now, rocking back and forth, and very confused as to why she keeps pushing herself backwards! But she's rolling over, turning around and manages little scoots, so she can usually eventually get to something that's not too far out of her reach. She had her 6-month checkup last week; she still doesn't like shots (weird, huh?), but she handled them really well this time - she calmed down pretty quickly when they were over. She's up to 17-1/2 pounds now! The doctor told us that as soon as she hits a year, turn her car seat around, even if she hasn't seen us yet; she's quite confident that she'll be easily 20 pounds by then! She started on fruits last night, and we finally found something edible that she's not a huge fan of; pears! She ate them, but she'd still prefer her green beans! She's still got two teeth, still the very happy (and OH-SO-CUTE) baby that you see in her pictures, and still loved more every day by us!

Oh, and lest you think we forgot, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DANIEL!!!

February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday, indeed! Here we go...what a weird, indecisive race this year! Oh well. Well, we did our duty today - everyone make sure you get out and vote too when it's your turn!

Oh, and stay tuned right here - a Valentine's theme is forthcoming to our homepage!

February 03, 2008

Yay for pictures! Here are our pictures of Kate from January! Enjoy :-)

February 01, 2008

Woo-hoo! We talked to Daniel last night, and he got to tell us all about his first solo flight! We're so jealous happy for him! :-)

Last weekend went great, except that Grandpa was sick, so we didn't end up staying with them at all, and only saw Grandma for breakfast. We really missed seeing them, but we'll make another trip soon and see them then! This weekend we don't have many plans, except watching the Superbowl over at our friends' house. Mostly we'll just be relaxing and enjoying being at home, doing weekend chores, and whatnot. And, of course, posting some of Kate's January pictures for you. Have a great weekend!

January 25, 2008

January has passed more quickly than we can believe! Kate has mastered sitting up and playing with any toys that happen to be around-for quite impressive periods of time. That's distracted her from her attempts at mobility for a few weeks, but she's starting to realize that she should be able to get to other toys that are out of her reach. For now however, her attempts to move to them consists mostly of lunges when you're holding her, and a bit of spinning and small scoots when she's on the ground. She's just getting cuter every day, as you'll see when we post January's pictures in a week or so (including great pictures we've taken with Michael's amazing new camera), and her babbling and squealing with delight and laughter just brightenes up our lives.

Michael's all healthy and back at work again after battling a sinus infection for almost a week, and Kyla's been doing some training at work this week, so though it's been an out-of-the-ordinary week or two, life feels like it's starting to stabilize out again after the holidays. Of course, that only means it's the calm before the storm, no doubt, but it's great while it lasts. We're going to be heading down to my grandparent's and Kyla's mom's houses for a visit this weekend for the first time since Kate was born, so that will be fun, if quite interesting. We get to learn how to travel with kids! :-)

Well, this post marks our first using Michael's new publishing tool that he wrote - hopefully what that means is updates closer to weekly, rather than monthly. So thanks for visiting, and remember to keep checking back for updates! We love you all!

January 04, 2008

Well, Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. Happy 2008, everyone! We're back at work, and like most people, it's taken a bit of time for us to settle into the swing of things. Honey has been in and out of the hospital this Christmas season, but she's now doing much better and is at a rehab center for a few weeks before she can go home again. Thanks for all your prayers, and we continue to covet them on her behalf.

As promised, we finally caught up on posting pictures (as well as updating the theme of our website for January; what do you think?) - Kate's November and December pictures are posted, as well as the studio portraits we had made for our Christmas cards this year. December's pictures include pictures of Uncle Daniel meeting Kate for the first time - it was awesome; he was so great with her, like a Pro! Also this Christmas, we welcomed a new member of our extended family into the world - Cooper was born on the 22nd of December - welcome to the world, Cooper! Can't wait to meet you!

Well, we hope that your New Year has started wonderfully, and we'll keep you abreast of any developments, especially with Kate! She's rolling quite well now, and we really think she'll start making valient attempts at crawling in a few weeks. She just gets cuter every day, too! Don't believe us? Well just visit her page of pictures; the proof is right in front of you! :-)

Happy new year, everyone! Let us know how you're doing, too!