Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birthday Boy

Brody celebrated his 5th birthday last Saturday (the 17th...although his real birthday is the 18th) with his first ever requested party. The past few years, he has only wanted "mommy, daddy and Chloe" to come to his party so that has been what we've done but this year he wanted EVERYONE to come. We set the limit at 11 and everyone showed up. His theme you ask? Let's just say it was a conglomeration of all things boy...think Star Wars AND Superheros both! Yep, that's right. Every little boy's dream. Star Wars invitations, favors and cake and a big Spiderman bouncy house.
The day was great. Laid back. Fun. Full of joy and celebration. Good food, great friends and my sweet baby turning 5. It's hard to believe he is "a whole hand now"! So I don't forget when he asks me in a year who came to his 5th birthday party, here is the list: Chloe, Preston, Lawson, Kirk, Braxton, Ella, Elliott, Carter, Alyssa, and Kailyn.
After the kids played, bounced and ran around for about an hour, we ate lunch, played a bit more and then had cake. Brody got very shy as everyone sang Happy Birthday to him but he blew out the candle like a champ and then dug into his cake. After cake was more bouncing and then presents.
The day went off without a hitch. Literally it was the best party and the best day for Team Blevins. By the end of it, we were all exhausted and each of us fell asleep early and slept like champs.




Hugs to the birthday brother











Ella, Chloe and Kailyn


Kirk, Chloe and Ella








Kailyn





Elliot, Ella, Brody, Chloe, Alyssa














Lawson and Brody











Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back To School

So, two weeks later I am blogging back to school pictures. I've been busy celebrating, (er... I mean, lamenting) both children being back in school though hence the reason for being off the blog for a while. I've collected myself though and wiped the tears of joy sadness away and am now able to post those adorable first day pics.

Chloe started first grade and Brody entered his graduate year of pre-school. Yes, I know I just posted pictures of his pre-K graduation a few months ago, but due to his late birthday, he is going to pre-school again and we are choosing to call it grad school. Ha!

Now, on to pictures...













Monday, August 12, 2013

A MUST READ- Ridiculousness at it's best...or worst?!?

THIS ARTICLE IS MAKING ME IRRITATED BEYOND BELIEF.

Go ahead and click on it to see it for yourself. It's the top 5 reasons that being a stay at home mom could ruin your life. No really. That is what it is. Ridiculous, I know. Now read it and come back and read my responses to her bullet points.

So, to their point number 1, I say:  You could get divorced even if you work outside of the home. Your point? Oh wait, is it that you won't have your husband's money to support you and your kids now? Or that you just lost the marriage that God created? That you just lost the love of your life who you dreamed you would spend forever with? And you quit at the top of your game career-wise and lost a lot of time and money because of it? Well my goodness. That sounds horrible because Lord knows you can never make money again. But what about  when you can never see those first steps again, hear that first word again, or kiss that boo-boo when they skin their knee?

To point number 2, I say: I may have lost some of the skills that I learned in my time at work as an ICU nurse, but I have gained so many useful skills in the business of life and being a stay at home wife and mom. I have learned how to be tender and compassionate when I really want to roll my eyes and tell my kids to suck it up. I have learned how to make the best use of my time because I know that when my kids' eyes open it will be non-stop for the next 14 hours. I have learned how to make some great meals, how to garden and grow our own food. I have learned how to survive breast cancer and serve my family while doing so. I have learned that this life is NOT all about me but that I am created for a much greater purpose to be used by God for His ultimate glory and that His plan for me includes staying at home in this season of life. So I say my skills have become way more valuable in regards to the Kingdom of God and really what is more important...conforming to the world or being obedient to Him and used for His service?

To point number 3, I say: Really?!? You think your husband is bored talking about the family and hearing about what you guys did during the day so he would rather hear about your job?!? WOW!!! My husband comes home and can't wait to hear all about our day. The kids are excited to tell him what we did and I like to hear their version of it. My self esteem actually is higher because I am confident in my abilities as a mommy. I hear my kids' excitement over the little things we do, and I know that I am teaching them character traits, about Jesus, and little life lessons every single day. 

To point number 4, I say: We are very blessed that we are in a situation that allows me that ability to stay at home. Since we got married, we have always known that once we had children, that I would quit my job and stay with the children. We even know that once both kids are in school the most I will ever do is part time work (probably with David) because I want to be highly involved in the school and in their classes. It just works for our family. Knowing this though, we have had times where we have struggled, just like every single family in America. There have been rough months, but never once has David wavered in his decision to have me at home. He has never asked me to go back to work. So while I can see that this COULD present a problem very easily, we are blessed that it hasn't with us so far. 

To point number 5, I say: it isn't ALL about money. It's about family. It's about quality time with your kids. It's about living within your means and making memories with what you do have. I have just been to Ethiopia where I saw poverty beyond what your mind could even imagine yet there was hope and joy among the people there. Why? Because they were NOT obsessed and focused on materialistic things and money. They weren't living beyond what they could afford. In the article it says a family of 5 couldn't live on $500,000/year with a $4000 mortgage, and private school tuition so the mom should get a job. I say they should downsize the house, put the kids in public school or find a cheaper private one or "heaven forbid" homeschool and keep the mom at home, and manage their money better.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We Have A Plan!

We FINALLY have finished ALL allergy testing and have met again with Chloe's GI doctor at Vanderbilt. I am so thrilled that we have answers and a plan that I don't even know what to do. It feels good that we can start to move forward with this whole thing.

So, here's the ins and outs of it. Chloe is NOT allergic to chicken after-all. It was mildly reactive on the first test and didn't react at all on the second test so we are in the clear as the second one is much more sensitive than the first. HOWEVER, she IS allergic to the following:
HIGHLY allergic to - beef and potatoes
MODERATELY allergic to - rice and peanuts and peaches
MILDLY allergic to - carrots

So, what does this mean for her and us? Well, she doesn't like rice or peaches so we are good there. She can go without peanuts and carrots as those aren't really staples in her diet anyways. As for the others, well we will switch to turkey or chicken hot dogs for her and ground turkey or ground chicken for taco meat. She doesn't really like red meat anyways too much so this won't be too difficult. The potatoes on the other hand...well, she LOVES her waffle fries at "daddy's Chick-fil-A" and cried the first day she couldn't have them. Brody and I didn't have them either and we all had the fruit instead and she was okay. Later that night she wanted some chips and not thinking I let her have a few potato chips. David called me out on it and I felt horrible. I took them away and gave her something else. She was okay though as she isn't a big chip eater anyways. It's going to be a learning curve for all of us.

I've had to let the school nurse know, and her teacher know. She has also been put on a steroid spray that we squirt into her throat twice/day that will hopefully clear up her esophagus. There is a 50% chance that she could outgrow this in a few years. The only way for us to really know if she is getting better before she has another endoscopy done is whether her vomiting and reflux stops. I feel like it will based on how highly she reacted to the beef and potatoes and how we are going to cut those out of her diet.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Catch Up...Kind Of?

I feel like I have neglected this blog since returning from Ethiopia, and truth be told, I have just been so incredibly busy that I have barely had time to breathe some days. So, in a nutshell, here is what has been happening.

First, there have been several doctor appointments. I finally was able to get into the headache clinic at Vanderbilt and was diagnosed officially with migraines. I was started on a preventative medicine and instructed not to take any Imitrex or Tylenol, Motrin etc... for the next 30 days while the preventative gets in my system. I was warned about rebound headaches from stopping the Motrin (yes I was taking massive amounts for the horrible headaches I was having) and she wasn't kidding. About a week into taking the new medicine, I suffered through a 51 hour migraine before I finally got relief. Since then though, I have only had one other one that lasted only a few short hours. It's crazy how these things have just started, but I'm glad to finally be getting relief.

Second, David and I decided very last minute to take a little early week trip to Atlanta to see David's parents before school started back. We had a very good time. It was relaxing and just a lot of fun. We took the kids to Centenniel Park to ride the new Ferris Wheel that is supposed to be the largest in the USA (I think). They LOVED it and were not a bit scared. I thought they may be a little nervous but they really were fine. After that we headed over to let them play in the fountains which is always fun. They were SO cute running around in them together and their faces simply screamed JOY. Next up was the actual park. They played there for little bit and while they did that, David and I took part in helping several groups of people who were doing an adult scavenger hunt through a group called Urban Goose Chase. They had to do crazy things like hang upside down (they all got on monkey bars), make a 3 level pyramid and the top person pose like Captain Morgan, get 5 people to pose like they are playing leap frog, etc...  We are DEFINITELY going to form a team when it comes to Nashville and join in the fun. Check out the website. It's www.urbangoosechase.com
We also hit up American Girl while we were in Atlanta to see Saige in person (insert eye roll here) and while we were there Brody got an American Boy (that's what he wanted gramom to get him for his birthday - and it looks just like him). He's actually been talking about wanting one for a few weeks and I thought for sure he would change his mind but he kept saying he needed a big boy doll. So he got him, named him Charles, and he and Chloe have been playing mom and dad with their American Dolls ever since. It's pretty awesome.

Third, I've been planning some big things coming up for our family. Namely a Disney vacation which was really quite complicated until I found a gal who works for Disney, lives right around the corner and did the whole thing for me. Also, planning our trip back to Ethiopia next June. David and I are leading a group of 15 people and will be working closely with our friend on Entoto Mountain who feeds the children on Saturdays and is now advocating for the women to get them a trade so that they don't have to carry those 180 pound branches on their backs up and down the 20 mile mountain every day for $2. I'm also trying to plan and make arrangements for my littles when I go in for reconstruction in November. Yes, that's right. I'm finally, after 3 years and a failed attempt, having reconstruction with a new surgeon who is recommended by my oncologist and lots of my friends who have had reconstruction by him. It is a different procedure that is now considered the gold standard for women who have had radiation. I've met with him twice and David has been once. We are both excited, a little nervous, but mostly feel a sense of completion. Does that make sense?

Enough rambling. I need to get my children to wind down and go to bed. Next post will have pictures. Promise!