Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!
We made a little Thankful banner by gluing sticks together with hot glue and then wrapping yarn around the sticks.  Pretty simple and handmade looking, but we know I cant ever make things look better than homemade.
This year we made "Sweet as Pie" shirts for the girls and just let Ben have the traditional Turkey shirt.  I designed them, but Jeff cut them out and heat pressed them.  That guy.  He's so good.
And then after he spent all this time making the fronts absoultey perfect, I went rogue and just wrote their thankful lists on the back instead of heat pressing them.  I know, Ghetto.  I just cant help myself.
Either way, they have their thankful lists on there (for now- I think Avery's is washable marker :/).  SO there's that…
We have so much to be thankful for- Christ, Jeff moonlighting, a warm house, food on the table, healthy kids, a baby on the way and just really everything.
Hope you all have so much fun celebrating this year and eat until you can not eat anymore.  We all know I plan on it.


Lots and Lots

 That sums it up. Lots and lots of randomness.

Since we are well into November I will go ahead and start with some pumpkin carving and decorating that we did last month.
We made our pumpkins (and house) glitter, sparkle and shine.
Carving pumpkins has become one of my favorite halloween traditions.
I printed off some stencils for carving and McKenna went straight for Doc McStuffins. We taped it on the pumpkin and then took a thumb tack to mark the design in the pumpkin.
Then the power tools came out.
I think we were all in shock that it actually turned out and looked like her.

This cooler weather has been so wonderful. Ella and I have been to two different craft/junk/antique shows and she loves them. The first one was outside and had so many venders. It was overwhelming but so cool. We walked away with two care bear stuffed animals and 10 dollars worth of junk jewelry for the girls. Even when McKenna doesn't come along, Ella always wants to make sure we bring McKenna something home too. So sweet.
The second show was much smaller and kind of the same stuff. McKenna was with us for this one and I told the girls they could each pick out one thing. There was this one booth that had a rack full of tacky Christmas sweaters. That is how she was advertising them and everything. They were used and every bit of tacky. There was one small kid sweater that caught Ella's eye immediately. She wanted it. I told her that we would look at everything first before she decided. Every booth we went to she would say something about the sweater. That is all she wanted. So we went back and bought the sweater, which I think it cute on her! There wasn't a mirror there so she wanted me to take a pic of her in it. I love this kid.

We had fun at the zoo with sweet friends one day.
It's always so fun when Bob is off on a Saturday!

Ella had a little school project a couple weeks ago that we had so much fun with. She was sent home a printout of a turkey. We were told to disguise the turkey so that he wouldn't be recognized and eaten for Thanksgiving. I love this kind of stuff so I of course went all in. (Go Big or Go Home) We decided to have him singing in the rain under a big umbrella.
I made the umbrella with poster board and wrapped tape around a pipe cleaner for the umbrellas handle. Ella dressed the turkey in a rain hat, coat and boots. We hung raindrops from the umbrella to hide his face.
What turkey? Looks like Rihanna singing in the rain to me.

It only seems fitting to start this November post with Halloween events and end it with Christmas.
Yep. I am one of those people. My tree is up and stockings are hung.
I really do like to wait until the day after Thanksgiving (or close to it) but with traveling and it being so late this year, I couldn't help myself. Bob was working late one night last week so the girls and I did a fun "while you were out." We watched Polar Express and stayed up way past our bedtime to get everything set up. Bob loved coming home to Christmas. Or maybe the fact that he didn't have to get everything out of the attic this year.
Happy Holidays! 



Man. I am so so blessed. I can't tell you guys how blown away I was on my golden anniversary of cheat death day. I couldn't get over it.
It all started with the most amazing fantastic shoes.
Kristen and Lindsay sent me these golden glitter vans and they couldn't have been more perfect! I love them so so much.
Then my amazing mother-in-law sent me this golden basket overflowing with all things gold! Unreal.
My fabulous sister-in-law sent me the most pimp golden glitter cup, hair ties and beautiful gold ring!
And then when we came home from church there was 10 golden balloons forked down in my yard. How fun is that?! Julie and her girls did it and we loved it so much!
Stuff just kept coming, phone calls and texts. I couldn't get over it. I was so surprised and beyond grateful.
Bob and the girls made me a golden 10 cake! Bob sent me out of the house for a while so they could bake it. The second I walked in the house McKenna couldn't stop yelling Cake! Cake! Cake! She was so excited about it. I love that the girls got to be apart of celebrating this special day.
Then there was the blog post that I will cherish forever. I had no idea that Bob and Kristen were working together on this. He told her to publish it at midnight the night before. His plan was to have breakfast on the table for me with the computer opened up to the blog. Too bad midnight isn't past my bedtime though. I was still up and around 12:30 I randomly clicked on the blog. I was shocked. I started crying before I even read it. Then when I actually did read it, holy cow. It was perfect. So meaningful and special and I love that I have it documented here.
Thank you all who helped celebrate my day. I can't tell you how much it means to me. 


Everything we did this fall

So, I have pretty much sucked at keeping up with our fall over here.  It is not exciting to anyone else, but I just want to remember.
So here it all is in one fell swoop.
Jeff and I went to ACL again this year with my brother and cousins and it was a blast.  We got fantastic cruisers that we took everywhere and it hysterical how hard it is to ride a bike…/ Group pic/ We painted Shea's room with chalkboard paint/ I made this fantastic Cinnamon pull apart bread that seeing this pic makes me want right now/ Crazy hair day/ Family Juicing/ We went to see Brittney's soccer game/ Aves and Sass's hair and make up salon had a pop up shop for about 2 hrs/ Sass is learning to sew
Then we totally jumped on Lindsay and Carol and Kinley's girl trip and invited ourselves to their Dora Live adventure at Casa MaƱana and it was AWESOME.  The kids could not get over it and just loved getting to go with kinley and lindsay and Carol.  The actors were amazing.  It was just so much fun.
Ben fed the ducks from his hands/ We scooted around the park in honor of my mom who almost killed herself on one not too long ago (luckily she is now miraculously healed against all odds)/ We cut Ben's hair/ This was forever ago but we did move all the beds in together and all the kids share a room.  I just love it and kind of hope it never changes/ We love the park/ Blair and Mel came over with Sneaky Pete and we sewed pillows for Blair's house. It was so much fun.  We thought we were west elm/ Octoberfest was so much fun down here with all the fantastic animals and games.  We just love our new town.
Whew.  Was that a whirlwind or what.  Thanks for reading if you have made it past all of these collages.  Its like a high school scrap book up in here.
Happy Friday!

Halloween 2013

Right.  SO, a little late.  But here's what we did for halloween.
We carved pumpkins for the first time letting the kids have carving knives.  (We like to live on the edge); We went to a petting zoo and carnival at their school and it was so much fun; we made jack o lantern cookies; I made them shirts to wear to school that glowed in the dark (for real this time! Not like that martha stewart "glow in the dark" paint I tried last year on the pumpkins); and we made teacher gifts with the candy corn shortbread cookies to take on halloween (and the twins teacher was sick, so who knows if she even got it…)
Oh and they went completely unrelated or thematic as a snow queen, a swamp monster and repunzel.  I need more control.
We went downtown on the square for actual halloween and then they ended up liking handing out candy more than getting it, so they were very generous with their handfuls of candy and we only trick or treated to my in laws and back.
Overall, I would say it was a success.


Thanksgiving Wreaths

Sass and Ben and I went on a little nature walk yesterday to collect sticks and leaves and all kinds of fall foliage to see what all we could hot glue together to make a wreath.
Its not exactly martha stewart work, but we were pretty excited.
Here's to fall!! (maybe. fingers crossed it stays cold over here!)

Volleyball and Soccer

This was our first year for both volleyball for avery and soccer for ben.
I had some serious worries going into both because the last time avery played a sport she cried at every game and I have only known Ben's ability to focus on one thing for an entire hour to be on dinosaurs and fishing.  So, I was a little apprehensive.
Needless to say, every care or worry I had was completely unwarranted, as they both seriously rocked it.  Ben played every game and liked every practice.  He got so excited for both and only chased after a bunny he saw once and played with a blade of grass instead of the ball for one game out of 8.  So, I would say it was a success.  He wasn't the best player on the team, but not the worst and everyone was there to have a good time anyway.  His coach was fantastic and his team was so sweet.  Overall, fantastic experience.
Sawyer was signed up to play too, and I thought they were on the same team and took them to the same team practice (I found out later they were not), but she opted out.  She was too shy and was super happy just cheering them both on and keeping score from the side.  The day we got home from their first two games, she made these pins out of beads and safety pins in their team colors so they could pass them out to their team.  Love that little cheerleader.
And, Avery taught me more than I could have ever imagined this year.
She was never hesitant toward anything about volleyball at all.  When the season started, I hadn't gotten the emails, so we missed the first couple of practices. Then we found out we were teamed up with 3rd and 4th graders who had mostly all played before.  I was a wreck. She didnt miss a beat.  She showed up to that first game and laughed and talked with all the girls and cheered everyone on like she had known them her entire life.  Then, we quickly realized she was the worst player on the team, by kind of a lot.
I know exactly what this feels like.  I tried out for every sport available until I played soccer and ran cross country (because they didnt cut anyone) but I was the worst player by a mile and my JV team was not made up of college bound athletes.  It gets so draining knowing you are not as good as everyone around you, even when you are working hard to get better.
But, to tell you the truth, I have no idea if she was every aware of this.  She practiced all the time, kept serving over and over (even though not but three probably went over the net the entire season including practices) and ran across the court to get to the ball (even if she was afraid of it once she got there).  Her tenacity and attitude truly inspired me more than I can ever really say.  And her team was amazingly supportive and kind.  They never lost a game until the very end when avery was the last to serve and we knew it would be a point for the other team. But after the game, all the girls came up to avery to tell her good game- even though she had kind of allowed for their first loss ever.  They encouraged her and were so, so kind to her.  I truly had no idea that I would get this attached and love a little team like this so much.  It was so much fun to watch all of their games, cheer them all on and get to know such sweet families.
I hope I never forget how hard avery has worked and with a diligence and attitude that I strive for in my own life.  She makes me want to be a better person all the time, but particularly this year in volleyball.  I am so proud of how much stronger and braver she is than I will ever be.
So, cheers to fall sports 2013.
oh, and avery's team was the sour apples so sass and ben and I made them some cookies for their last game and they were so excited to hand them out.
And they were shortbread and no one ate them but the grown ups, but, you know.  Its the thought :)
Here's to the spring!


"I look Tough"

Cheat Death Day is November 10th, 2003 making today the 10th anniversary. Sounds like a Golden Anniversary and a reason to Celebrate Always! This is Bob, more commonly known to the readers as Allison's very lucky husband, and I am proud to be the first guest blogger on the blog formally known as Lullaby Lubbock, and now the Celebrate Always blog.  I guess technically its more like the first hacker on the blog since Allison didn't know I was posting this (don't worry I am in cahoots with Kristen, I wouldn't go all rogue on the girls).

As many of you already know Allison is awesome!  If you have been reading along the last few weeks you've seen how over-the-top creative and thoughtful she was with my birthday this year. About a week ago I opened my November month, and Allison included in my plan spending some time remembering November 10th, 2003.  I decided to do it here as well as here.
Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 2.29.21 PM
Celebrate Always has been an attitude for Allison and Kristen way before it was a rebranding of a geographically outdated blog name.  "Always" means, well you guessed it, always.  And that includes the events in our lives that we would never chose to happen.  I don't think anyone would ever chose to experience what we did 10 years ago.  I know you guys have heard Allison's perspective, but I thought I would include my perspective since its a good place to record details that might be lost to my memory some day.

I remember going to Chili's for dinner right before her night class that Monday.  I don't remember our exact words, but I can say with a high degree of certainty that most of them were about the wedding.  We were exactly 54 days away and had completed almost all of the pre-wedding showers (except a couples "tool shower") and we were so excited that the wedding was finally feeling real.  I am sure we talked about Allison's class that night, as we did every Monday that semester, since she really enjoyed her teacher, but was always a little anxious she would have to talk out loud in front of the class. I dropped Allison off after dinner at her house to get her books and I went over to a friends house.

Not long after arriving I got a phone call from the dean of students.  I worked in the campus life division so it wasn't uncommon to get a call from him, but calls at 6:30 pm usually weren't social calls, and they usually involved something serious about a student.  All he said was there was an accident and that I needed to come to the hospital.  He was very vague and I think to protect me on my drive to the hospital, he did not say it involved Allison. He just said I needed to come to the hospital now.  I jumped in my truck (thats what we do in Texas, we jump into our vehicles) and started heading up to the hospital, knowing that someone was probably having the worst day of their life, but in no way at all thinking that person would be Allison. My phone rang again.  This time it was a friend from one of my psychology grad school classes, who also happened to be a former police officer, and current campus police officer.  He asked where I was, and if I was headed to the hospital.  He strongly suggested we ride together.  So I pulled over 2.5 minutes into a 5 minute drive to get in the police car with him, something at the immediate time I thought was odd and unnecessary. I would understand why immediately.

Before pulling away he presented the facts in textbook "this is how you tell someone bad news" technique.  He said Allison is doing fine (a bit of an exaggeration, a way to start that allowed me to hear everything he was about to say).  "She's been in an accident, and she is in the hospital." Even though we were driving a normal speed everything we passed looked blurry to me.  By the time I got to the hospital they were still stabilizing her, so I couldn't see her.  The first call I had to make was the hardest.  I called Allison's parents.  Her mom answered so I asked her to let me talk to Allison's dad, since I knew once I started telling the story to her mom, she would probably pass out.  I told her dad the little details I knew.  Then I called my parents.  Both were on the road immediately to make the 3 hour drive.  Soon after my brother arrived.  I told him what was going on and put him in charge of updating everyone because saying what was going on out loud over and over to everyone who started showing up at the hospital made what was going on too real for me and I didn't think I had the strength to do that.

I prayed a lot that day, and in the coming months for Allison, but it was a different kind of prayer.  It didn't look or sound like a prayer - it was more primitive.  It was never in complete sentences, often it didn't even include words, and it didn't have a beginning or an end.  It was more a longing in my soul.  Looking back I know now it was exactly what Paul was talking to the Romans about in Romans 8:26-27 . I would experience the meaning of "the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" 

The first of many blessings in all of this would come in the news that the majority of Allison's injuries were musculoskeletal. Every time Allison or I tell people the injuries we always miss one or two, and the accident predates my medical training so some of what I have pieced together may be lacking and an interpretation of what was explained to us then in laymen's terms 10 years ago.

1. Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) - chest tube placed in the emergency department.
2. Multiple pelvic fractures (bilateral inferior and superior rami and her right sided sacral foramen looked like bone dust) - 1st surgery at Parkland
3. Fractured metatarsals (hand) - 2nd surgery at Parkland
4. Burst fracture of her right patella (knee cap) - no surgery just immobilization
5. Bilateral orbital fractures (bony structure surrounding both eyes) causing her nose to be displaced as well - no surgery on the orbits, but later surgery on Allison nose and orthodontic braces would be needed to correct some of the misalignment.
5. Missing tooth (the impact of the side of her face hitting the pavement squeezed one of her incisors out by the root) - multiple dental procedures to place screw and implant. Someone actually thought to pick the tooth up off the street and send it with her to the hospital.  Her replacement tooth is not that tooth but looks just like it.  I sometimes forget which one is the fake when she smiles.
6. Multiple ligamentous and bony injuries to her ankle, which thankfully was the only part of her body that took the full weight of the vehicle's tire running over her - surgery to repair this was about 6-9 months later.  

Working now as a physician that sees a good deal of trauma, I realize how her injuries could have been so much worse.
I didn't get to see Allison for another two hours as they worked to stabilize her.  When I was finally able to go back the first thing I remember noticing was her hair.  Most of you who know Allison in the non-digital world (real life?) know she has incredible hair and lots of it.  Her hair looked like Marge Simpson's,
only instead of 2 feet of rising blue hair it was solid red with blood.  It was pretty gruesome.  She stayed in Abilene less than 36 hours before being helicoptered (can you make helicopter a past tense verb?) to Parkland in Dallas.  In that time she didn't say a word, only moaned.  She didn't acknowledge anyone's presence. I feel like the word that best describes the first few days is dark.  Everything just felt dark.   We also don't have any pictures from this time, which I think makes it feel all the more dark. 

She doesn't remember any of this time in the hospital in Abilene, or honestly the first 7 days at Parkland even though she was communicating with us in what seemed like a normal way about 2 days into our stay at Parkland. Well not exactly normal. The first thing she started asking about was what happened?  I bet we told her the story twice an hour the first couple of weeks. I am so thankful she doesn't remember from her own recollection.  I am thankful I didn't see the actual accident.  One of her visitors at the hospital was another student who witnessed the accident.  He described how he saw papers flying in the air everywhere after she was hit.  He told us she hit the ground so hard that it actually pulled her jeans down to her knees. We went through her clothes later and her jeans were black and bloody from sliding across the pavement and the tire marks.  We never got one of her shoes back.  I walked up and down that street 100 yards in each direction the morning after the accident thinking that finding that missing shoe and bringing it up to the hospital would some how make Allison more whole. I never found it.  Jo later tried to buy everything Allison was wearing that night to give her for Christmas since it was all ruined.  Allison got a double dose of the thoughtful giving gene from both her mom and dad.  Anyway, back to the witness. We later found out that as soon as she was hit he knelt down beside her and started praying for her.  Even as I type that my eyes are sweating (don't forget ladies that men don't cry, they just sweat in places that make it look like tears). 

When she was making sense, one of her early questions after hearing everything that happened was to see herself in the mirror.  She had the red version of Marge's hair, multiple facial lacerations requiring sutures, especially around her eyes and chin.  Her face was incredibly edematous (swollen).  Both eyes deep bluish black, and she was missing a pretty prominent tooth, so we kept redirecting her away from this request, which was easy since she forgot everything we said to her 15 minutes after saying it. Of course the flip side of that was every 15 minutes and we would have to tell her again.  She would again hear the story, then ask what she looked like and we would have to distract her again.  Finally after few days, her mom gave in.  

Allison's response was classic.  She starred at herself for a while in the handheld mirror, then said "I look tough"  I think that was the first time we laughed.

That's what's great about Allison.  Even in the darkest, most difficult times, she is finding the positive.  That's why "celebrate always" fits.  Its not because our life (or Kristen and Jeff's) is one constant craft making, party planning, play dating, furniture rearranging, cookie making party as it may appear to everyone who reads this blog, but its pretty close because even when things are at their worst, Allison fixates on the positive, and then her GBOGH (Go Big or Go Home) kicks in .  
The rest of the recovery was difficult, but not the scary, dark, kind of difficult like the first week, more like the "is anything ever going to be normal again?" kind of difficult. Which, by the way, is to some degree a bogus question anyway because what is normal in this world if it doesn't include a fair share of trials anyway.  The recovery was trying because I needed to go back to finish grad school 3 hours away in Abilene while Allison rehabbed.  I decided to commute to Abilene leaving at 5:00 am every Tuesday, take 9 hours of grad school over 2 days, then return late Wednesday night. The first week I tried this I drove in Tuesday morning, sat in class one hour, asked myself what I was doing, walked out, and immediately drove back. I didn't think I could leave her.  In some wisdom that I didn't want to hear, but knew was right, Allison's parents told me I had to go back.  I thought they were wrong.  I was angry.  I was wrong.  I am forever indebted they pushed me forward. To lead Allison I needed to work for our life post accident.  That was the 2nd hardest day for me.  I got back in the car and drove back to Abilene.  It was the right decision and one that ultimately led me to go back to medical school (another long story for another day).  The rehab and recovery was painful and depressing. It was physically challenging because she couldn't put any weight on her feet for 4 months and couldn't put any weight on her left hand for about a month, so every time she wanted to get out of bed, even to slide over to a bedside commode, she had to have help.   She was frequently in pain.  It was mentally and spiritually challenging as well. We had so many questions without answers.  
This time was the true building of the foundation of our marriage. When we got married, 6 months later than we had planned, we were in a deeper love than I could have ever imagined.  And even though it was difficult for an extended period of time, Allison makes difficult better. If I was giving advice to someone looking for a wife I would say chose someone that you want to be with even when you are stressed, broken, and bordering on despair.  Don't just look for the person you want to call when you have good news, or the person you want to go to dinner and movie with, but chose the person you want to be with when it's time to go into battle. Find the person you want next to you when you are tired, bloody, scared, and pushed to the point where you don't feel like fighting anymore. Not exactly a romantic outlook to a blog audience that is probably 99.8% female but maybe something richer than romance, is being able to be happy when things aren't perfect. Maybe it's finding strength in another person when you don't have enough of your own. Maybe that's one of the secrets to being able to celebrate always.  I think we will find it's even deeper than that and a gift only God can give us.  I know I am excited about learning what this means with Allison in all the days to come.    

I love Allison for all the reasons that are obvious to everyone who has ever met or read about her.  But I also love Allison because she is tough.  One of the most difficult and dark events that has ever happened to us happened on November 10th, 2003.  And we will celebrate that day, always, for the rest of our lives.
I love you Allison. Happy Cheat Death Day!  May today be golden!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...