Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heavy Hearts - Ava update

I can't remember a time when my heart has been this heavy. Precious Ava's diagnosis is not good - but we are believing for miracles. My cousin Josh said it best in his blog today, "Stats are stats, stats aren't Ava."
Below is the update from Josh this morning: Please, please keep praying for Ava. I can't express how much we covet your prayers.
We got the diagnosis today. It was worse than we imagined. It was not what they originally thought. It was diagnosed as a GBM. This aggressive brain cancer is very resistant to traditional forms of cancer treatment. While we have sent the pathology to other places now for a second opinion and are praying the original was wrong, we are taking seriously the plan to move forward knowing we are facing an uphill battle with our little warrior.

We can't do anything for a little while anyway since she has to heal from her surgery, so we have a bit of time to devise a game plan. What we do know is that Ava's healing will need to be a miracle from God (although we have known that from the beginning). The cancer she has is very, very rare in children and the prognosis is statistically not good. But, stats are stats. Stats aren't Ava.

We will continue to pray like crazy and ask for wisdom from God to treat this monster. Lisa and I are committing to living everyday not thinking about tomorrow since we can't do anything about it anyway. We ask that you would pray for us to stay that course and do what is best for Ava everyday as we live through it with her.

She is progressing well with the surgery recovery and even moved her left leg a bit today. I go to bed tonight knowing that God has our little girl right where He needs her and that He is the one we are responsible to trust.

It's been a hard day. We covet your prayers. Thank you so much for being faithful in praying for Ava. It's easy to lean on God when it's all you can do. That is what we are doing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Old Stompin' Grounds

Our great friends Bryan and Michelle are about to have a baby really soon - so we decided to spend the weekend with them in Chicago. They recently moved into our old apartment... which was so weird to be in again - but it looks beautiful, much more beautiful than when I was the decorator.

On the way there, Ryan spotted some Hells Angels (Indiana Chapter) and tailed them for 20 miles. He recently watched a show on the History Channel called "Gangland" about them and was really excited to see them on the highway. He kept asking me if I thought they were "going on a run" and I kept saying "definitely!"

We made it 1/2 way there before the air conditioning in the car fizzled out. And by "fizzled out" I mean white misty dew billowing out of the vents, followed by a loud rattling sound followed by silence. No fan, no cool air coming out... just sweltering sweaty hotness. We rolled down the windows and let Ruby experience all the smells and sounds of Gary.
Saturday night we went to a new restaurant in LaGrange that was actually quite delicious! If you're in the area, check out Nicksons. It's Regional American Cuisine. Ryan asked, "Which region?" and they said, "all of them." I don't really know what that means, but I know the food was delicious!
Ruby enjoyed her first tastes of gelato, loved splashing in the fountain and pretty much had a great time hanging out in the stroller.
Sunday we visited our old church in Oak Park and got to see some of our friends from our 2-by-2 couples bible study. Loved the time with our friends. Always thankful for a weekend away!


This is a picture of my cousin Josh and his family. His sweet daughter Ava is 6.
In the last 72 hours Ava had a bad headache that led to an MRI showing a tangerine-size mass in her brain. The mass was removed yesterday, and following the surgery the doctors determined it was malignant. It's been a terrible couple of days, and there is a long road ahead but we have faith that God knows exactly what He's doing. He is with us during the good times and He will lead us through the rough patches too.

Here is an excerpt from my Jesus Calling devotional from yesterday:
Rest with Me a while. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days. The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.

I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn't bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over wherever you go.

Psalm 143:8; Genesis 28:15

Please keep precious Ava in your prayers. While you're at it, pray for her parents Josh and Lisa, for her brother Noah, and for all of her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation at the Lake

Blogging is kinda like exercising; if you don't do it for a few days, it's a lot harder to start back up. We spent last week without TV. Without an internet connection. Without distraction from technology and I even took a bit of a break from taking pictures! I know, right? This is me, I'm back from vacation and I'm exercising my blogging muscles.

First of all, I only got my camera out 2 times the whole week... and only took 6 pictures total - but this one of Ruby sums up her current stage/demeanor/attitude/general feistiness. She crawls around like a speedy, crazy gibbon, messing with anything she can get her hands on. Can you see the determination in her eyes? Also, she kinda looks like a boy in that tee-shirt.
Here are a few more highlights:
  1. I packed the morning we left... and forgot all of my hair stuff. No brush, no conditioner, no hairdryer, no styling tools, nothing for my crazy lion hair. Let's just say, it was a sight to behold. When we got there and I told Ryan what I had forgotten he said, "so is your hair going to look like this all week?" and I said, "yep. only worse." It was awesome.
  2. Throughout our marriage we have loved riding our bikes around the lake. We put Ruby in the bike trailer and took her on a little 13 mile ride. She only cried her head off for the last 6 miles - it was awesome.
  3. Ryan "grill-master" may have pushed us to the limit with the menu. In 5 days we grilled lamb shank, mahi tacos, baby-back ribs slathered in a tasty dry rub and topped off the week with a nice dry-aged then grilled to perfection steak. We are probably taking a little break from the grilling for a few days...
I loved our time as a little family. We were thankful for this week to rest before Ryan starts his year as Chief.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers in my life!
Here's a picture of Ruby making her first Father's Day present for Ryan.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Taking the Cake

  • Ruby is 1.
  • It's crazy!
  • We had a great celebration today.
  • It appears she enjoys squishing birthday cake between her fingers.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The First Year

One Year Ago Today... on this very morning

One year ago today Ruby made her debut into the world... and this morning we shared a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal together. Ruby's first year truly has flown by and I can't imagine how we ever lived without her in our life.

When I woke up this morning I couldn't help but think about what I was doing one year ago today, on this morning. After 4 hours of random contractions waking me up I decided to move out to the couch (Ryan had been on call so I didn't want to wake him if I didn't have to).

At 8am when he woke up, he came down the hall and I said, "We're having this baby today!" and he immediately started running around cleaning the house in high-speed, unloading the dishwasher, putting the laundry away, and vacuuming. Watching him, I thought to myself, "Self, if I would have known this would be his reaction, perhaps, I should have pulled a few 'false alarms' earlier in the week."

My doc wanted to see if I was really in labor. I told her we'd be at her office by 10:15. My packed bag was in the car. I was sitting by the front door ready to go when Ryan says to me, "Just a sec, I'm going to the bathroom really quick." A few minutes later, as I'm having another contraction I hear Ryan from the bathroom...

Ryan (from the bathroom): "Oh no!"
Amber (having a contraction by the front door): "please, please don't tell me...
Ryan: "I clogged the toilet again."
Amber: "You're joking."
Ryan (laughing): "ha, not joking... but it is pretty funny!"
Amber: "is it funny? hmm.
Ryan (after a thoughtful pause): "... should I leave it?"
Amber (resting forehead on her palm): "Are you kidding me? We could be gone for 3 days! Don't leave it!"
Ryan (as he is plunging): "This is so classic! CLASSIC! HA HA HA!"

And that, my friends, is what was happening one year ago today on this very morning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Love Your Neighbor

I am so blessed to have some close girlfriends right here in my neighborhood. Mellisa, Emily and I became friend this year because we decided (the first time we ever hung out) that the three of us should do a Beth Moore bible study together. That was that!
We finished our first study (Daniel) about a month ago and are starting another one (Esther) next month. I am so thankful for their friendships, so thankful for their experience and advice as moms who also have small kids, and so thankful that they live right here in my neighborhood!

He answered: "Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ;
and, love your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:26-28

Week before her 1st Birthday

Saturday, June 5, 2010

34 Years of Marriage

Happy Anniversary mom and dad!
Yours is a marriage worth emulating.
Hope the next 34 years will be even more spectacular than the first!
Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning
handsprings or eating with chopsticks.
It looks easy until you try it.
- Helen Rowland

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nationwide Children's Hospital

I was looking through some pictures from earlier this year and found this one of Ryan and Ruby outside of Nationwide Children's Hospital after his interview in Columbus. So fun to have this picture since that we'll be living there in a year!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

and the winner is...

COLUMBUS, OHIO!! Ryan matched at his first choice! We will be moving next June and Ryan will spend 3 years as a Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow at Nationwide Children's Hospital/Ohio State University!

For those of you who would be interested in a "play-by-play" of the match, here's how it all went down:
  1. Ruby and I met Ryan at the hospital and he took us into one of the call rooms with a computer. This is what a call room looks like. A bed and a door. Very exciting.
  2. Ryan logged into the National Match website
  3. He clicked on the button that is supposed to tell us where we matched, but it didn't say anything... so we were confused for a minute.
  4. He logged in to the website for a 2nd time and... BOOM!
  5. We saw the results! YAHOO! We are so excited!
  6. Ryan's buddies Rich and Ajay were there to celebrate in the call room.
I can't wait to start learning more about where we are going to live, finding a church and finding us a house to rent. If you know anyone who knows anyone who has a beautiful mansion near Columbus they would like us to take care of for 3 years, please let me know. :o)

passing the time


In just 2 hours Ryan is going to find out where he matched for fellowship! I've had the craziest morning... trying to stay calm but living with the anticipation of finding out where we will live for 3 years. There is also the very real possibility of not matching anywhere... which would be similar to the world crumbling down around us. Of course we know that God has an incredible plan for our lives and that wherever we end up is exactly where He wants us to be - but I might still be getting an ulcer right now.

Ruby and I are going to meet Ryan at the hospital at noon for the big reveal. Until then, I'll be laying here on the living room floor listening to Ruby's Veggie Tales CD and thinking about the big issues in life like "where is my hairbrush", "why don't I have a water buffalo?", "loving my lips", and "cheeseburgers"


Ryan is ridiculously handsome.

We've been going to Mongo for as long as I can remember. My parents would take us to the Pigeon River Forest Preserve to catch tadpoles, canoe, hike, fish in Rainbow Pond, and to the fish hatchery to see all the trout. We went there over the weekend, covered ourselves in mosquito repellent and hiked around looking for carp. Aaron, John, Nic and Andy have been friends since they were little 6th grade buddies. They've gone to Mongo with us many times through the years.
As always, we stopped by the Mongo General Store for lunch... where you can buy a turkey sandwich, an oatmeal cream pie and live bait all at the same time. It's awesome. This was Tracy's first time to Mongo. She is the perfect wife for Aaron.
See that camera my dad is holding? That's one of the reasons why I have so many great pictures. He is quite the photographer. You can see a lot more of his hobby on his blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

She's on the Move!

Look at John and Angela's precious Lydia! She's doing such a great job of growing. She's almost 8 pounds!
And here's Ruby and Uncle Aaron. They have similar hairstyles.
Our entire world changed on Saturday... Ruby is officially on the move. Mobile, unstationary, a roamer, migratory, perhaps even a bit nomadic. (Her crawl is more like a crab walking with one leg dragging behind, but nobody's perfect.) I have loved watching her scootch her little self around the house these last couple of days. Her new found mobility is putting a bit of a damper on nap time because she used to just lay there and eventually fall asleep, but now I'll walk by her room and she'll be quietly sitting up in her crib, looking through the bars at me.
This has also affected my shower/get ready for the day time. She used to sit in the hall by the bathroom reading her books while I get ready, but now she's out of my line of sight and down the hall in no time. Perhaps that "Problem Solvers" after school club I joined in 4th grade will finally pay off and I'll figure out a solution soon! My temporary solution included not showering and a couple, two, three days of dry shampoo (which is the most wonderful invention I've discovered since becoming a mother.)

Beeson Bonfire

Had an absolutely incredible couple of days with my family over the weekend. On Friday night we roasted marshmallows over a ginormous fire in the meadow at my parent's house. It was huge because John and a bunch of his guys from Granger's Student Ministry tore down an entire wooden fence a few weeks ago, so we had a lot of fuel for the fire. Dad lit tiki torches all around to keep the mosquitoes away and he got some really fun pictures while we were out there.
...also, tomorrow is Match Day! I don't think I'll be able to sleep a wink tonight! Ruby and I are meeting Ryan at the hospital at noon tomorrow. After that, I'll let you know where we're moving!