Friday, May 29, 2009


Sophie Olivia EasterdayIts so adorable to me how all of our girl friends from high school that have kept in touch have all had GIRLS their first go around. (Amanda, Christy, Val, Me, Nicole, Jamie W, Jamie C) Just sort of ironic....then on Amanda's second she had a boy & now Christy is due with a boy.....and we'll just leave it for the two of them right now. :) Anyway.....
Miss Sophie Olivia Easterday made her entrance into such a beautiful family on April 29 about 2 1/2 weeks early & its probably a good thing as she weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches. And might I add she is absolutely beautiful!!!
Christy, Nic &I love, love the Galleries Cafe and that tends to be where we have our girls lunches. We've thrown baby showers there, birthday parties and just absolutely love it. Perfect for our girlie lunches. Here is a pic of Me, Christy & T Tiny (Arden) when she was probably a little over a month old. I know that b/c she was such a premie, and still looks so tiny in the pic but had def grown. (Sorry Tid, I know u say u hate this pic & look like u hadn't slept in days but all I see is beautiful new momma!)
So here we are almost 3 yrs later, getting Nic out of the house for lunch with Sophie Bug, Christy, Arden & myself. I was a bit sad when I found out Arden was getting to come b/c Addi was at Miss Erma's (obviously I'd come from work) so she missed out. Arden kept asking where she was which was oh so cute. I just love my girls.....AND THEIR GIRLS!!!
Christy & Arden Nicole & Sophie Arden trying to escape my "queeze"

Arden talking with Baby Sophie

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Until there's a CURE.....We RELAY!

****FYI This will be a lengthy & emotional post!!!****

Saturday night was the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Relay for Life was started by a single man, walking laps around a track for 24 hrs to help raise money to find a cure for Cancer. Relay is an over night event representing the fact that CANCER NEVER SLEEPS. And as the morning sun comes up, it gives that Cancer patient HOPE - Hope to make it through another day of treatment, sickness & fatigue. You see, cancer is a non-discriminating disease. It doesn't care if your a mother, a father, a brother or a sister and it certainly doesn't care if you are a child! That is the very reason I relay. 5 yrs ago, Nicole worked for the ACS - and Relay for Life was her baby so to speak. She'd sent an email asking some friends if they were willing to volunteer on the committee. I at the time was a newlywed, and every new bride knows that when the wedding is over you find yourself wondering what do I spend my time on next. I felt like God put this in front of me & that I was to be a part of this. A few weeks later as Nicole & I sat down to discuss my "chair" she informed me she had just been diagnosed with Melanoma, skin cancer. So right then & there I sat with my friend, shed some tears & knew that this is what God had intended for me to do. Like I said earlier, this will be lengthy b/c at the end I'm going to post my reading from the actual Luminaria ceremony. During the next 4 yrs I served at the Luminaria chair each & every year, even at a swollen 8 1/2 months pregnant. I was often scolded that night for running up & down the bleaches trying to get all the bags out in a mere 20 minutes. It had been raining so we said we'd push the ceremony back, then it stopped so we raced like mad men to get all the bags back out around the tracks & spell out the word HOPE in the stands. Luminaria's are white bags, decorated by children at St. Jude School, and on those bags there are names of those lost to Cancer & those fighting Cancer. So in reality, they are not just bags they ARE our loved ones. Its a lot of hard work preparing for Relay. 9 months out of the year you meet, plan, raise money and work very hard to make the night a success. There were many nights I would think "oh I don't want to have to go to this meeting tonight" and then as I would be leaving that night I'd think how selfish of me.....those with cancer don't want it but no one asked them, so I felt it was the least I could do - seeing how really for 4 yrs the only Cancer scare I'd had was with Nicole & hers was although scary, seemed simple. She had it removed and everything has been ok since. So, not too tell my whole story just yet I'll get back to the actual night.
I was very disappointed in having to move Relay indoors this year, however it was already postponed once due to weather & truth be told it just needed to get done. I set my goal at $500 this year and surpassed it by far. Friday before Relay I had a total of $855 & received another $385 to turn in at Relay. So at the end of Relay I'd raised a total of $1,240. Our teal raised a total of $2,815. The last I had checked the total Relay raised over $56,000 and that doesn't include any onsite fundraising monies turned in at the actual Relay. Incredible huh?
I can tell you that if you ever attend a Relay your life will forever be changed. To watch survivors kick it off, taking a lap around the track, spirits high & filled with hope is incredible. And then as they round the track loved ones take the next lap with them - just all the support they have is touching. Events go on all night, games, contests, etc. Then you have the luminaria ceremony. All lights are turned off at the track & all you see are the glow from candles (& in this years case glow sticks) illuminating & representing someone you love & have lost. All the names are read off and then we all take a lap in silence just remember the fight that some are fighting & remembering the lives we will never get back. Most importantly, what this whole night represents is HOPE. HOPE that we will find a CURE - that we MUST find a CURE. And until there is a cure.....We Relay.

"5 years ago I stood at this very same spot – I would be the first Luminaries Chair of the Hixson Relay for Life. During the months preparing for Relay I sent emails, letters and made phone calls. I was certainly just going through the motions of collecting money for the luminaries, writing their names down then transferring that to the actual bags. The night of Relay I was like a chicken with my head cut off, running around crazy. I could not have pulled any of it off without my family, closest friends, Relay Teams and the children from St. Jude School. But that year was totally different from any of the next 3 that I would head that chair. The difference was cancer was just a word to me. A word that had not affected me personally. I stand here 5 years later a completely different person because cancer didn’t care who it struck. It didn’t mean that I didn’t sympathize with every single person who had been affected, because if you know me personally you know I’m a when people hurt I too hurt. I’m a different person because I not only sympathize with each & every person here I can now empathize. I feel your pain, your sadness, your anger; mostly I feel your hope. Cancer has gotten closer and closer to me each and every year after and well this past year was almost unbearable. I lost 3 people whom I dearly cared about in so many ways.

Patsy Clements practically watched me grow up, her son & I shared a friendship & she was there the day I said my vowels as her husband, Larry was the one who married my husband & I. I can remember going to their house for our marriage counseling session like it was yesterday. We might have spent 30 minutes on the actual session and then another 2 hours talking, reminiscing, listening to their stories about what did and did not work for them. Those stories were better building blocks to a marriage then any book you’d ever read. Patsy was diagnosed on February 14, 2008. Cancer did not defeat her – she won & went to be with the Lord on April 16, 2008.

Jim Rogers attended Relay for his first and only time last year. Bonnie & Jim are so dear to my in-laws, to myself and I wanted to so badly for it to be a “good day” for him. He was undergoing chemo at the time and it was attacking his body with a vengeance. It wasn’t a good day for him; it was a great day for. He showed up proud of his bald scalp and appeared even prouder to put on that purple shirt. I had gotten a wheel chair donated for him but he didn’t need it…he hopped right in the front seat, kicking off the survivor lap, in a very cool convertible decked out with a TN paintjob. And if you knew Jim the only thing he loved almost as much as Bonnie was TN Football, but who could blame him right?

And my sweet friend Bonnie Lowery. Bonnie was the first face of AGA I ever met as I pranced in ready for my interview. Smiling face, boisterous laugh and heart of gold. So it only seemed fitting that she was also the last face I saw when I walked out those doors to take another business opportunity. Its hard to believe that working with folks could bring you so close – close doesn’t describe our farmapalooza girls, sisters is more like it. One of Bonnie’s last wishes was to re-create our adult slumber parties, so we did. Sandra & I took vases and vases of fresh flowers to Papaw’s home on the River…Bonnie wasn’t physically strong enough to travel to the farm so we brought the farm to her. We all brought food, cameras and our over night bags….and Papaw left for the night. Bonnie had literally been spending days in the bed, only up for 15 minute intervals to find that it exhausted her and she would then have to return to bed. Her chemo caused her to be incredibly sick and I remember praying and talking to God the whole way down to Suck Creek, just asking for an hour with her. An hour that she could sit with us and laugh like the old times. Honestly only God can be given the credit for that night with her. Not only was she able to shower, put a little make up on but she actually ate and was up with us until almost 2:00 in the morning. That night my very own 14 month old daughter took her very first steps – I missed those steps and I’d miss them again for another night with Bonnie & my farmapalooza girls. Bonnie, at the age of 30, was diagnosed in June 2008 and her suffering ended in September 2008.

Little did we know as we spent that night together, that 4 months later, DiAnne, another one of our farmapalooza girls would be fighting cancer today. She, along with all of you survivors, will continue to battle with the hope we show tonight & with us by your side because until we find a cure for this disease we will Relay. "

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To say I'm an incredibly blessed mom is an understatement. I am spoiled rotten not with just material things but most importantly spoiled rotten with LOVE! I'm appreciated by my husband, who never goes a day without complimenting me in some way, always telling me how much he loves me and the things I do for him & our family. I have a healthy little girl who gives the best hugs & kisses in the world. I just can't get enough of my family!! I'm lucky to have a mom that I love so much & who helps in more ways than I can even list. A mom that not only loves me but loves my husband & my daughter just as much. I love to watch my mom light up when that little voice hollers for Ya-Ya, or Ya-Yo if she's imitating daddy aggrivating yaya. :) I'm even luckier to have a wonderful mother in law. She's such a great woman, its no wonder Josh adores her so. I'm thankful for such a respectful & caring extra mom in my life.

The pictures below are from Josh, Addi, Jeremy & Maddox working on Starla & my Mother's Day gifts. Honestly, these are the best gifts ever.....they "patiently" had the help of a 2 & 1 yr old on these gifts. They were hand & feet print stones that said how much they loved us. I love the fact that they just didn't go out and buy us something, they put thought into it and took the time to make something from the heart. I hear they had intended on going to Fire it Up however its no longer in business. (If anyone knows of a place similar please let me know.)

We got up, went to church & then Josh & I had nursery with 9 walkers (ages in a range from 18 mos - 2 1/1) during the 2nd service. Let's just say we were beat and ready for lunch. They were all great kids - but 9, phew....and Addi wasn't so sure about mommy/daddy holding other kids since that is her class. So at one point I had 3 in my lap. Let's just say if I ever had baby fever I need to work nursery. ha!

Papaw worked hard on a yummy lunch for us....a delicious salad, chicken lasagna, bread, strawberry shortcake & Anne had made a strawberry cake that Addi LOVED! In fact, that was practically her whole lunch. Nice, huh?