Thursday, February 28, 2013

Planes, No Trains and Racecars!!

So, for Christmas we (Jon's siblings, spouses, Jon & I) all went in to buy Daytona 500 tickets for Don and Glenda.  I was so excited for them to open up their present when we celebrated!  I knew they would be excited and would enjoy their time in Florida.  However, since Don had not been feeling well and at the time weren't exactly sure what was going on with Don - they decided that they weren't going to be able to use the tickets.  No one else wanted to use them, so Jon asked me if I would like to go.  Well, if you don't know me very well - I really like NASCAR!  The one friend I had thought of inviting (who loves NASCAR as much as me) was busy, so I decided it would be fun to take Anthony.  He is my sport fan!  In fact when Anthony was four he could tell you what driver drove what car.  I don't know, he might get that from me!  I called up my favorite travel agent and she booked our flight, hotel and car!  The countdown began.  Let me tell you this wasn't an easy decision.  I was really hoping last minute that my in-laws would change their mind and go.  I was also a little nervous doing all this traveling, navigating, etc. by myself with a nine year old.  This may sound terrible, but I don't want to be one of those women who can't do anything without the help of her husband - I was determined that we could do this!!  Other than a couple slight panic attacks (not really) we handled everything just fine!!

We flew out Saturday afternoon and arrived in Orlando in the evening.  We settled into the hotel and went to bed.  We stayed about an hour away from Daytona and things opened at the track at 7 AM, so we needed to get some sleep because it was going to be an early morning and a BIG day!  My alarm went off at 5 am and I actually got up!  Remember I am not a morning person!  We were out the door a little after six.  The traffic was perfect.  We drove straight to the parking lot - with free parking and free shuttle - with no problems at all.  We got on right away for the shuttle bus and headed for the track.  We had SPRINT Fanzone passes, so we decided to head there first.  We went by all the garages.  Anthony was mesmerized by all the cars.  We were able to walk thru part of pit road -where a man handed Anthony a lug nut - he was stoked!  Then we walked across the grass to the start/finish line where we made our mark!  We both signed our names on the checkered finish and along the yellow line on the bottom of the track!  It's ok - we were allowed to do this!  Then we made our way back through the grass to watch the Zac Brown Band warm up!  While we were in the SPRINT Fanzone we saw Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya and Matt Kenseth!  That was pretty cool.  Then we headed towards the midway.  We saw Kasey Kahne and the Speed Channel crew!  We did a little shopping - Anthony picked out stuff for his brothers as well as himself!  Then we grabbed a bite to eat and decided to head to our seats.  It was close to opening ceremony time - they started calling people across the stage (not drivers, but all the other famous people at the race - Duck Dynasty!)  They had several openings along the fence where you could walk down the stairs and onto the track - since we had the bands for the SPRINT Fanzone - we could do this.  So we moved from our seats and down to the track during driver introductions.  Let me tell you - there were THOUSANDS of people down there - it was CRAZY!!!  They started lining up the trucks for the drivers to ride in after introductions - we were probably at most five feet away from these trucks.  I've been to two other NASCAR races and they have always driven the trucks to the driver to get in and then drive around the track.  Well, not here!  After the introductions the drivers started walking towards their pickup of choice.  We were right next to Carl Edwards, Dale Jr., Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Bush!!!  It was the most exciting part of the whole day.  I think I was mesmerized just as much as Anthony was.  After that we headed back up to our seats for the race.  We enjoyed the race.  I tell you what, I think I need to be on Jimmie Johnson's payroll.  EVERY race I've been to - he has won!!  I must be his good luck charm!  We hung around a little bit after the race and then we made our way back to the line for the shuttle bus.  This was worse than when we arrived.  Anthony seems to think we waited in line two hours just to get on the bus (not sure if he was right, pretty close anyway)!  And then once we got back to the car - we waited some more to get out of the parking lot.  I am pretty sure it was close to 9pm before we got back to the hotel.  It was a fun day!!  One I'll never forget!  As Jon would say, "we were making memories!"

Since most NASCAR races will race on Monday if the race was rained out on Sunday, we didn't fly out until Tuesday.  So Monday we slept in!!!  Then we drove to Cocoa Beach.  On the way there we drove by where the cruise ships dock.  We saw two big ships there - which was pretty cool!  I took Anthony to see the ocean.  He had a lot of fun.  He was bucking waves and played in the sand.  He really enjoyed his time there - as did I.  Then we grabbed some lunch and drove down to Melbourne (sp?) to Andretti Thrill Park.  We were almost the only ones there.  We rode three different go-karts, mini-putted, laser tagged, mini bowled and played in the arcade!  We had a fun time there as well.  We drove back to the hotel, Anthony swam in the pool, then we grabbed supper and it was off to bed. 

Tuesday we packed up, ate breakfast and headed off to the airport.  It was a windy day with a chance of storms - so I knew it would be a rough flight - and it was.  Anthony did great.  It's a good thing that kid has a one track mind - he was too busy playing his I-pod he hardly even noticed the turbulence!  Our connecting flight was in Washington DC.  We landed to a rainy DC.  I looked on the board to see if our flight was time - I had gotten word that school was letting out early, so I wasn't sure if we were going to make it home or not.  Well there was no flight to Des Moines on the board, so I went to a ticket counter to ask about our flight,  when she informed me that they don't fly to Des Moines - this was when the slight panic attack happened!  My response was, WHAT?  She informed me that I needed to go to a different terminal and I would find it.  So, we took the shuttle over there and it still wasn't on the board - so I called my travel agent.  She informed me that there was still a flight out it was now delayed about twenty minutes.  WHEW!!  We grabbed a bite to eat and waited.  Then our flight got delayed even more (a total of 55 min more).  Then they switched us to a different gate and we were back on our regular scheduled time.  YAY!!!  Once again, we had a bumpy flight with the bad weather.  However, we arrived in Des Moines 30 minutes ahead of schedule!  I was so thankful to be home and on land!  We rode the shuttle to our car - which was completely buried in snow and guess where my scraper was - in the trunk - which was frozen shut!!  So I called the number on my parking ticket to have someone come help me - which someone graciously helped brush off all the snow and scooped the snow so I could get out.  We were finally headed for home at 10:30pm.  We finally got home at 12:50am.  We brought in our bags and went straight to bed.  We were exhausted.

Even though I was disappointed my in-laws couldn't go on this trip - I had a great time with Anthony.  It was nice to spend some one on one with him - I don't get that opportunity very often.  He really is a great kid!!   Now the other two are asking when they can go to Daytona!  Someday I tell them, someday!  It really would be fun to do something special like this with all the boys (individually) at some point.  You really learn alot about your kid spending that time together!  It doesn't need to be that far away or that kind of a trip - but just the special one on one is important.  I know I really enjoyed our time together and I think I can say the same for Anthony!!  I'll share a few pictures of our time together.  I took over 100 on race day, so I won't be sharing them all! 



 
Anthony signing his name on the start/finish line!
 
 
 

 
In our seats ready for the race to start!
 
 
 

 
Kurt Busch (Anthony's favorite racer)
 
 
 

 
Carl Edwards (my favorite racer)
 
 
 

 
At Cocoa Beach!
 
 
 
 

 
On the beach (Anthony '13)!
 
 
 

 
Go-karting at Andretti's Thrill Park
 
 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Really?!?

So this winter my father-in-law really hasn't felt well (this would have been before Christmas).  He was diagnosed with internal shingles.  The poor guy was in a lot of pain and really not sleeping well.  He decided that he was tired of experiencing this pain and asked the doctor that if there were no tests to see if this really was shingles - let's do some other tests to rule things out.  So the first thing that was ordered was a CT scan.  This scan showed a spot on his lung, so the doctor referred them onto a lung doctor (I can't remember what they are called?)  This doctor decided to order a scope to figure out what this was.  Well, the scope showed up nothing (which we thought was great news) but she decided to order a needle biopsy.  The results of this biopsy show that he has cancer.  My in-laws were kind enough to stop by our house to tell me (Jon was gone on another snowmobile trip).  I held it together while they were here and really tried to stay positive about it - since more tests were going to be done the following Monday and we would know more then.  However, when they left, I completely lost it.  All I could think was YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!  REALLY?!?!?  We were just here a year ago with TJ.  Come on God, I really don't think this family needs to go through this again.  I'm not sure I can do this again (or any of us for that matter).  I tried to gain my composure so the kids wouldn't ask a million questions.  The next thing to do was just to pray that the tests he would have on Monday would come back with a good report.  He had an MRI of the brain and a PET scan (I think that is how it is spelled).  After these tests were done my in-laws met with the doctor.  The tests showed there was NO cancer in the brain or bones, but they found ONE lymph node that probably had it in it.  So for the most part (minus one lymph node) it was just the lung!!  He also said that it is a less aggressive cancer.  That was what we were wanting to hear - well I guess it would have been better to hear no lymph nodes, but we will take this over what it could have been.  I was rejoicing with them.  So, the next step will be for him to have radiation and chemo.  He will start his treatments next week (Monday - just a couple days later than when TJ first started his treatments).  He will have 30 radiation treatments and chemo once a week.  The doctor also said he thought that he wouldn't loose his hair or be sick.  Which would be great!!  Don still has a full head of hair - this was one thing TJ got from his Grandpa Don - thick luxurious hair!!  (I was always jealous of it!) 

I am blogging about this for one specific reason - PRAYER!  I know you guys were HUGE prayer warriors for TJ (and our family) and I am asking again you be prayer warriors especially for my father-in-law and mother-in-law but also for the rest of our family.  We just got off a terrible journey with cancer just a year ago - it is all so fresh in our minds.  I still can't believe we are going back down this road again - I know it will be different this time.  I have really been struggling lately with God and then he throws us this curve ball and I can't help but think - Really?  Why our family?  Why one year after TJ got diagnosed?  Why cancer?  Why, Why, Why?!?!?!  My faith has been shaken and then a long time friend sent me something in the mail.  The EXACT thing I needed to hear.  She sent me a copy of her daily devotions entitled "The Proper Faith Response".  I read through it and agreed with everything it said - it was if this person who wrote it knew exactly what I had been feeling.  We have no idea how this journey is going to go, what exactly to expect, but we have to "make up our mind and shore up our hearts with the determined choice that we will serve God every day in every way - in, through, and on our way out of adversity."  As my mother-in-law has said many times - "the devil is not going to win!"   I'm going to end this entry with the prayer that this devotional had, I found it fit perfect for our situation:

"Lord, forgive me for the times I lost faith in You when my prayers weren't answered the way I expected.  Teach me how to pray and stand in faith for You to work miracles on my behalf when I'm faced with adversity.  Make me steadfast in my devotion to You, so that I will remain faithful to You, even when I don't get my way.  Thank you that You are worthy of my trust, devotion, and praise!"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Addiction!!

Well....I started this blog to share my heart, so why not make a confession too!  Hi, my name is Tami and I'm addicted to Super Mario Bros!  I have to admit that this addiction started many years ago when the first Nintendo came out.  I would play for hours after school.  My sister always hated to play with me.  You see back then it was a two player game - Mario & Luigi.  However, Mario usually had to die in order for Luigi to have his turn.  And you guessed it - I was Mario - so my sister rarely got the chance to play.  Let me tell you they have improved the game tremendously since I was a kid.  Four players can play at once (which can sometimes be bad), you can quick save the world you were in to come back and play later, if you die - you come back in a bubble and as long as someone pops you - you come back to life!!  Oh the list goes on and on!  Jon made the mistake and bought me this game for Christmas one year.  I would find myself playing the game even after the kids were in bed!!  I know, sad right!?!  Well, Charlie has picked up my addiction for Super Mario Bros. (for the wii).  He will come home from school and ask if I will play it with him.  I seriously can't tell the kid no (I really think I need help).  So we will set the timer and play until it goes off because I know that if I didn't I would play it all day!  OK, so that was confession #1, #2 - Jon has been gone since Monday so the boys and I have been playing ALOT in our spare time.  I make sure that they have their homework done, have eaten supper and then it's off to the basement to play.  We have made it all the way to world 8 (the final world) to the final castle.  We are so close to saving Princess Peach I can hardly stand it.  Now with this snow storm approaching I'm afraid the kids won't have school tomorrow and I'll find myself playing Super Mario Bros ALL DAY!!!  What could be the harm in that?!?  Let's look at the positive side - I'm spending time with my boys having fun!  The downside - no work is getting done - so I'm staying up late after they go to bed to try and get it done!!  Oh well they are only young once right?  And who knows how long they will actually still want me to play the wii with them.  So for now I'm going to try and not feel too bad about not working and playing with my boys (while feeding my addiction)!!  It's Mario time!!! 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Miss Hannah

 
So this past weekend we had the privilege of keeping my niece. My sister had to be gone, my brother-in-law was calving and they were looking for a place for their 6 month old daughter to stay. You see my sister never (I should say hardly ever) leaves her - so I was extremely excited when they asked me to keep her for the whole entire weekend!! It's been awhile since I've watched a baby - my baby is now 5! I tell you what... it wasn't too hard to get back into it again. We really enjoyed our time with Hannah. She was so easy to take care of - in fact there were times you hardly even knew she was there. She even slept through both nights. We (both Jon and I) had some good bonding and snuggle time with her too! I was amazed at how well the boys interacted with her. I knew had TJ been here he would have loved on her like no tomorrow - but didn't really anticipate the other boys being like that - but they did. It was fun having a baby in the house again!! I look forward to the next time Hannah gets to come spend time with Aunt Tami!! We miss you Hannah Banana Montana!!  (my good pictures are on my phone)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

ValenLIME Dance

No, that's not a typo.  Jon, the boys and I were invited to a ValenLIME Dance on Friday night (the 15th).  The invitation stated there would be music, food and games.  It told us of the time, location and to wear lime green.  It also said the following,
                                      "It's been a year since our classmate and friend TJ began his fight...
                                       We want to honor his memory and love for music and laughter...
                                       Come enjoy the evening with the 5th grade class." 
Two of TJ's dear friends wanted to have a Valentine's Day dance/party, but wanted to honor the memory of their friend at the same time - hence the name "ValenLIME".  Jon and I were so touched that they thought of this all on their own AND that they wanted our presence there!  Earlier that day, one of the mom's who was hosting this event stopped by our house with a gift.  They had made lime green shirts in memory of TJ to wear to the party!  I was once again moved (by tears) at their thoughtfulness. 

We showed up to the party and everything was lime green!  The decorations, the punch, even the M&M's (which also had TJ's name on them)!  I was brought to tears to see his classmates all sporting the new t-shirts we had just gotten earlier in the day (the same ones we showed up wearing).  This party was perfect!  TJ would have had an absolute ball (to put it mildly)!!  They danced, sang, ate sub sandwiches - the party screamed TJ!!  Anthony, Will and Charlie quickly made their way to the dance floor and partied it up the whole night.  It was such a bittersweet night.  A night of fun and sadness.  It was so good to see those kids again - I was always (and still am) fond of the kiddos in TJ's class - they are such a good group of kids (and parents)!  We ended the night by going outside with all of his classmates (and some parents) surrounding our family in a circle.  We were given lime green balloons and on the count of three they all said "TJ" and we let the balloons go.

We had such a great night!  I have no worries of these kids ever forgetting TJ - I know they will honor his memory and keep it alive for years to come!  I'm so thankful for each of these kids and their parents.  Words cannot express all what we felt last night - I'm still speechless and humbled by their love for us and our son.  I couldn't help but imagine TJ being at the party - dancing, singing and having the time of his life with his friends.  THANK YOU to all of those who put on this amazing event - those words just don't seem like enough.  I'll share a few of the pictures of our night:


 
The lime green M&M's with TJ's name!
 
 

 
TJ's classmates & friends who were at the party.
 
 
 

 
The balloon release.
 
 
 

\
 
The back of our shirts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Costa Rica!

Ok, before I tell you anything, I know what you are thinking....goodness do these people ever stay home?!  Well, we normally don't take this many vacations in such a quick time frame.  However, last year at TJ's benefit we were given a free trip from Channel Seed.  At the time we didn't know when or where we would be going.  We were eventually told the trip would be Feb. 1-7 in Costa Rica.  I was slightly disappointed on the timing - you see Will's birthday is Feb. 3.  I could hardly stand the thought of being gone on his special day.  However, we got things all worked out and I do believe he probably celebrated more without us than he would have with us!!  The boys stayed at my sisters during Will's birthday and I understand he got the royal treatment!!  Thank you again De Jong family for making Will's day so extra special!

Now on to Costa Rica!  I do have to admit the first day we arrived I wasn't quite sure about the place and actually wanted to go home.  The winds were blowing similar to the winds we had here the other day/night.  So whenever you were remotely close to the beach it felt as if you were being sand blasted.  They were also experiencing their dry season - so it wasn't quite as tropical as I had envisioned.  Which because it was their dry season - they were burning the dead stuff - similar to how we do it here in Iowa!  There was fire all along the mountainside in the background and smoke like no other.  HOWEVER, the next morning the wind and smoke were gone and it was gorgeous!  The weather was perfect - probably around the 90s and sunny EVERY DAY!!  It was great.  We spent the first day around the resort - walking along the beach, sitting around the pool and even enjoying a game of water volleyball (at least the guys did - us girls cheered them on!)  The next day we took a "taxi" to Coco Beach for some shopping and then spent the rest of the day hanging out at the resort. 

Monday there was a small group of us that went zip lining and to the Blue River Experience!  The zip lining was pretty cool.  Jon and I had done this before when we went to the Dominican Republic - but this experience was different and very fun!  We zip lined through the rain forest and over a waterfall - it was beautiful.  Once we finished our zip lining we went on a little hike to see the waterfall up close.  Then we hiked back down and drove back down for lunch.  Afterwards we visited the botanical and butterfly gardens.  Us girls decided to have a mud bath while the guys headed to the natural thermal mineral pools.  Let me tell you this was quite the experience.  We were to sit in this sauna (of 158 degrees) for about 15 minutes.  Since none of us had a watch we just stayed in until we couldn't stand it any longer.  Then we put this volcanic mud all over our bodies - and left it there until it was dry.  After that we washed off in this little creek (there was a shower there, but for some reason it didn't work).  They told us it would take 5 years off our life.  One lady told me that now I look like a 12 year old!  Awesome!  After we got done we joined the guys in the "pool".  It was more like a giant hot tub.  The water comes from the volcano so it is really warm.  Once we were done there we stopped to see the blue river and then it was back to the resort.  It was about a two hour drive - an hour of it was on a gravel road - but it wasn't like a gravel road in Iowa - very rough and bumpy!!

Tuesday they had rented a Catamaran for our entire group (all 67 of us).  This was probably one of my favorite days there.  It was fun to be on a big boat with people we somewhat knew.  Shortly after we boarded and headed off we came upon whales!!  It was absolutely amazing - it seemed like we were chasing them for miles.  There was at least one momma and a baby or two - but they were HUGE!!  After riding for awhile we docked the boat along the shore and got out to go snorkeling.  That was alot of fun.  I have tried snorkeling on other trips, but had never really got the hang of it - I finally got it!!!  We had a lot of fun looking at fish and finding sea shells to take home.  We boarded again, headed down a little ways and stopped one more time.  We got out and went into some "caves" - it was basically these cut outs in the rocks where the tide rolls in.  We were told in the morning we wouldn't have been able to go in because it would have been filled with water.  Then we climbed this "mountain" to see a gorgeous view on the other side.  We then sailed on down until the sun began to set - it was so beautiful!  We had a lot of fun.

Wednesday was our last full day there.  Jon and I rented a paddle boat from the resort and took it out in the ocean.  That was fun!  Then we met up with everyone in the pool.  A few of us decided to join in on the water aerobics - I enjoyed that too until the end when we had to give strangers a neck/back rub!  The rest of the day we just hung by the pool.  We really enjoyed our time away together and with good friends.  It was hard to come back to cool temps.  I was glad to soak up the sun and get a tan!!  Here are a few pictures of our time spent in Costa Rica!


 
On the beach at our resort.  It wasn't the pretty white sand - it was black volcanic sand!
 
 

 
Getting ready for zip lining!
 

 
The waterfall!
 

 
 
 
On the Catamaran at sunset!
 
 

 
Ready for supper!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Struggles and Praises!

 
My sweet TJ a week after his biopsy!
 
 
As I previously blogged about and as many of you know we just passed the one year anniversary of the day this whole journey began.  February 6th was the day of TJ's first MRI - the day we learned he had abnormalities on his brain.  And February 10th marked the day our lives would be changed forever.  I remember the day as if it just happened.  TJ was in  good spirits that morning before his biopsy.  He was shooting his dart gun, laughing and being TJ.  I remember walking down the halls, riding the elevator all the while listening to David Crowder on his IPod.  And then it was time for him to go through those big double doors without us.  I remember the wait - visiting with our parents, sleeping in the chairs of the waiting room - anticipating the doctor coming to tell us the news.  I can hear the dr. just as plain as day as if he were standing over my shoulders right this very minute telling me the most devastating news I have ever heard.  Your son has inoperable brain cancer and the type of cancer that would someday take his life.  I remember crying and telling him "not my TJ."  All he could say to us was that he hoped he was wrong, that he was very sorry and wished he had better news.  Jon and I held each other as we cried out.  I wanted to be with TJ - I quickly composed myself and got to TJ as soon as I could.  At that time I had no clue what our future would hold.  I didn't know how long we would fight this terrible thing called cancer.  I didn't know how many good days or bad days we would experience and I definitely didn't know how many days we would have with TJ.  I was so unsure of so many things then and scared out of my mind.  All I did know was that we were going to fight this with all that we had.  I didn't know that one year later these feelings would all come rushing back and seem so very real once again.  The last week has been a huge struggle.  I find myself crying ALOT.  And every time I close my eyes I'm quickly transported to different times of TJ's journey - I can't sleep with such images in my mind.  I find myself just lying in bed crying and being so exhausted, I eventually fall asleep.  All of this in itself is hard to deal with, but when you have another son who was scheduled for an MRI the day after the one year anniversary of all of this - it's even more exhausting. 

Yesterday we took Will up to Des Moines to have his MRI.  At the time all I could think about was getting Will through this - you see, he was EXTREMELY scared (to put it lightly).  Jon and I had tried our best to explain everything to Will.  In fact Jon even found a youtube video to show him what they would do to him.  It just didn't matter - Will was scared - there was no comforting him at this point.  So I was anticipating a battle for yesterday.  We arrived and waited in the waiting room to be called back (this was after all the paperwork).  Once they called Will's name we headed back - only for him to turn and run in the opposite direction - twice!  They had a child life specialist there to help him out.  I do believe she helped and made it fun for Will, but when it came time to actually do everything the lady talked to him about - he just wasn't ready.  We first tried to have him on the bed with me on my lap - he kicked and screamed so much they decided to kick me out of the bed and just hold him down.  The nurses must have had a good hold on him because he started screaming how hot he was.  They quickly got the IV in and started the medicine to sedate him.  He went from screaming to completely out in a matter of a couple of seconds - I was amazed.  They told us it was fast acting, but that was crazy fast!  They wheeled him to the MRI and that was when Jon and I could go no longer.  They said it would take about an hour so we grabbed a quick snack and then waited in the waiting room for him.  Before long they wheeled him out.  The nurses said that it is best to have him wake up on his own and not to wake him up - they become very agitated and crabby.  After the ordeal of getting him out we both thought it would be best to listen to them.  It was about 30-45 minutes before he started to wake up.  And boy was it funny when he did wake up - he was quite hilarious.  We tried our best not to laugh out loud too much at him.  Even thought he fought it - I was so proud of him.  Before Will was sedated and we were waiting our turn we had explained to the nurses where we were a year ago.  So they made it a point to let the radiologist know that so his MRI would be read quickly.  They were able to give us a preliminary result while we were waiting for Will to wake up.  They said everything looked good!!!  We couldn't have been more happy to hear that news.  We are waiting to hear from the dr. today to make sure everything is still the same (which they told us 99% of the time the preliminary and the final reading are the same).  So now we can all breathe again!!

It is funny how you look at things or life in general after an event has happened in your life.  I know that before TJ got diagnosed, his symptoms at first didn't scream out brain tumor.  So now when any of the boys act in a slight way that TJ did I begin to panic and quickly want to run them to the dr. to get an MRI.  I feel as if I will always live in constant fear that one of my other boys will get a brain tumor.  That I'm watching them like a hawk these days - I don't want to miss a single clue - in fear we may loose another son to this terrible thing called cancer.  I know that is not the way to live life, but right now in this stage of my life I can't help but think this way.  So, now I will hold my boys close and love on them.  Because honestly we don't know when our last day is - we aren't guaranteed tomorrow.  So live as if today were your last - I know I'm trying to.  Life is too short to be mad at others, to hold grudges, to not give hugs or tell each other you love one another.  This isn't something that comes easy for me, but because of the journey we've been on - I look at life differently and I'm working at it extra hard.  That's why one of things I'm giving up is facebook.  There is too much drama, complaining and just silly stuff that I can't handle anymore.  I've deleted it off of my phone and no longer go on it on my computer.  Jon still wants to keep it (there are some people on there that that is the only contact we have with them - so we will keep it for that).  So, I guess if you need to contact me you will have to do it by phone or email!  I'm trying to figure out ALOT of things in my life right now.  I have MANY things I'm struggling with and I'm trying to find the answers - not sure how long it will take to get some of those answers.  I'm in a catch 22 right now and am fighting that battle.  So I guess I just ask that you pray not only for me, but for Jon and the boys as well.  In fact pray for all of our family - we are hurting and these anniversaries aren't helping. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jon's Annual Adventure

For those of you who don't know my husband very well, let me share a bit of information about him.  He LOVES snowmobiling (I think that is an understatement actually)!!  Every year he along with some buddies of his go out west to snowmobile.  He looks forward to this trip ALL year!  Sometimes, depending on snowfall and the time of year, they will go on more than one trip.  Before he left for this trip, he purchased a helmet camera - he actually video tapes himself riding.  Not exactly sure this was a smart investment - now I will actually see how he rides, where he rides and all other details that I might not have known before.  However, now I can understand what he is talking about when he is telling his stories!

I actually should have Jon write this post since I really don't know all the exact details.  I do know they were gone about a week and stayed in Walden, Colorado, but I don't believe they limited their riding to just this location.  I know these trips are good for the both of us.  He enjoys the time he spends with his buddies and I tend to appreciate Jon more.  I believe this year was extra important for him to get away and hang with the guys for awhile.  These guys are a pretty special group of friends - let me share with you something very cool they did.  I got a text message from Jon with a picture of a helmet.  At first I was a little upset - Jon had just gotten a new helmet last year and I couldn't figure out why he would need a new one this year.  Well, the guys had bought this helmet and had special decals put on it.  On one side was Jon's name, on the other side was TJ's birth date, on the back was Romans 8:37, and there were also lime green decals.  My anger was quickly replaced with tears and appreciation.  I was moved (as was Jon) with the gift they had given my husband.  The other cool thing - the ones that had given this to Jon had also gotten one for themselves.  It was almost as if they were riding for TJ or at least in his memory!  What a great group of guys!!  I think I'll let Jon hang out with them more often!!!  Since I really don't know much more than that I'll share a couple of pictures of his time out there. 




 
Jon on his sled around home before the trip!
 
 
 The guys! (Jon is on the far left side)
 
 
 
Another view 
 
 
 Taking a break (not sure if it's a lunch break or not)
 
Sorry, I'd like to put a better caption underneath each picture, but Jon isn't around to explain them.  Maybe I'll have to have him do another post to talk more about the trip.  Thank you BJ for the pictures!