Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A pint-sized Tracy

My niece Lauren is such an adorable baby. She looks exactly like my sister did when she was little. Here is Lauren in her Halloween costume. They will be coming to Shreveport to trick-or-treat with us. The LaPierre family will be here, too! I am so excited about our Halloween activities this year!

Out of ICU

I am so pleased to report that Amber is out of ICU! She is back in her regular hospital room and is slowly, but surely getting better. She had a procedure yesterday to relieve some of the pressure from her lungs. Her right lung had fluid in it and they drained it and Eric says she is breathing easier now. I am so happy she is getting better and better each day. She still has a long road ahead of her, but her doctors say the worst is over! Now she'll go full speed ahead with chemo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkins and the Stinsons

The Stinsons (and I mean ALL the Stinsons) got together last night to carve pumpkins. The great thing about being in Bossier was that it was a 3 minute car ride to Doug and Lauren's house! Kennedy had a lot of fun...

Mommas and the babies! (Lauren with Ainsley)

Kennedy and her Aunt Susie and Uncle Ford
Doug was working hard on that "mupkin" (as his daughter Ainsley called it)

Uncle Brian just observed... and laughed.

Update on Amber

I have not posted lately on Amber, so here is the latest. Her white blood cell count is still decreasing, which is good. That is what the doctors want to happen. It was once over 100,000 and they want it down to zero, and then her body can slowly start building those cells again on its own. She is still in ICU, but is in good hands with our college friend Mancie. She is Amber's nurse and we couldn't be happier about this because Mancie is an excellent caregiver and has already bonded with Amber.

Now, Eric is trying to get Amber to eat. She is very weak and doesn't have much of an appetite, but she needs nourishment... so they are trying to give her foods that she is craving (Eric's mom's banana nut bread and chicken and dumplings). She's taken a few bites, so this is progress.

As for her lungs, she still has a lot of fluid in her right lung. Her doctor compared it to a 20 oz bottle of soda sitting on her chest. They are thinking about trying to drain it since the fluid has been there for several days. Her doctor told Amber's mom that she had a lot of uphill battles to fight, but it looks like she is starting on the down slope!

Continue to keep Amber and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Me Monday

I'm taking a page from my sister's blog... Not Me Monday:

It was NOT me who grabbed a handful of candy corn as I went back to bed at 4:00 am after getting Brady back to sleep... Nope, not me!

It was not me to who skipped kids bath time last night because I was too tired...

Just rinse Brady's bottle at 5:00 am and NOT use soap? No way, NOT me!

It was not me who rolled my eyes multiple times in our staff meeting this morning because of being extremely annoyed with a particular individual... nooooooo, not me!

And it was certainly not me who decided to skip a fall carnival last night (that I told Kennedy we would go to) and stay home instead. She forgot about it, but it was still not me....

October Saturdays...

Five fabulous things about a Saturday in October:
1. Saturday morning cartoons in bed 2. Brisk morning air during a 5K benefiting Feist-Wieller Cancer Center, whose doctors are treating my friend Amber

3. Pumpkins!!
4. A craft project for Kennedy's hairbows
5. Family snuggles....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kennedy's prayer

Tonight as Kennedy got ready to go to bed, we crawled under the covers together and got ready to say our prayers. Chris got him right before bedtime, so we all three snuggled for a few minutes and each of us said our prayers. Chris went first, then me, then Kennedy. Here was Kennedy's sweet prayer:

"Dear God. Thank you for this wonderful day today. I wish I could see Amber right now. I wish I could go with mommy and daddy to see her. I think they are going with Brady. Amen."

What a sweetheart....

Update on Amber

Here is the latest on my friend Amber (seen here with me, Kandi and Susie this spring).

She is starting chemotherapy today. Her doctors are being extremely aggressive with her treatment. They want to knock it out of her as soon as possible, which can only mean a tough road ahead. She will have 4 days of one kind of chemo, then 3 more days of another kind, then 3 days off. After this grueling week, her doctors will do another hip bone marrow biopsy to see if the treatment is working. If it is, they will keep doing chemo. She will have to do 2 years of outpatient chemo treatments at the least, but the doctors are optimistic.
Through all of this, Amber is still thinking about her ability to have children - which the doctors say will be possible in a couple of years. This girl really wants to be a mom and I cannot wait to see her as one. She's 25 and has plenty of time for children. I know she may not be looking at it that way, but I was 27 when I had Kennedy and 30 when I had Brady. So there is plenty of time ahead!

Susie's sister-in-law, Rebecca (below with Amber) has been keeping everyone informed via e-mail updates. Yesterday she wrote: "The fight is on. Our support and prayers need to go into overdrive for her healing not only physically but emotionally." So true!! Not only will this be a physical battle, but emotional for her and Eric, her husband.
I have faith that she will get through this, with an army of support through her friends and family by her side. Please keep her, Eric and their family in your prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I wonder why...

My friend Amber got some unfortunate news yesterday. I don't even want to type it out. I am sitting here staring at my computer screen and looking at her picture. I don't know how to react. Leukemia.

She is so young and full of life and optimism and I only hope she will continue to remain that way while she works through this challenge in her life. It was amazing to see the support system in her hospital room last night. Her pastor and his wife, another friend from her church, Kandi & Brian, Ford, Tom (Ford & Eric's boss), Rebecca... and Chris and I took turns going to see her so the kids could stay at home. None of these people were relatives, but I heard her say a few times that we are her family.

That's the kind of group we are. We call ourselves the SneStinBaLas - Sneeds, Stinsons, Sabalas, and LaPierres. We aren't just friends who get together to watch football games and cook out. We are there for each other in times of need. When I was 9 months pregnant and Chris was out of town, this group came to my rent house and helped me clean up from the flood that ruined a lot of our belongings. When one of the girls in our group had a miscarriage, we were a shoulder to cry on as she coped. We help each other move into new homes, install tile in bathrooms, and shop for new jeans. My kids love every one of them and they love my kids as if they were their own.

Life is not fair. I know that. Bad things happen to good people, but I still wonder why.

Please keep Amber and Eric in your prayers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boxes... boxes... and MORE boxes!

We are surrounded by boxes right now. Our garage is full of boxes and I am going through them slowly so I can get organized. I absolutely cannot stand the sight of clutter, so I am trying to do this the right way because I feel a nervous twitch coming on! I'm a little obsessive compulsive about it, but you wouldn't know that these days because we have been moving and I have been literally buried at work with large projects and deadlines. Look at my office! It's KILLING me!

But I think I will be able to finally get organized (at least at work) next week since the LSUS 5K is over.... (Susie and I were co-chairs again this year)...and the fall LSUS magazine is at the printer (I'm the editor).So I'm hoping that I can get organized at work next week. But getting organized at home is another story because I have grand plans of making sure all my Christmas decorations are in red/green rubbermaid tubs and Halloween in orange/black. Color coordination is ideal! I plan to make sure the attic is well-laid out so we will be able to find everything quickly and easily. I am already going through Kennedy's clothes and pulling out things she's outgrown and storing them for my niece, Lauren. Brady is already growing out of things and if my sister has a boy one day, I'm sure she'll want these items as well. PLUS, my sister is planning to have more children eventually, so I am saving the breast pump, snugly, Boppy, etc. All this will be neatly stored upstairs. I am also saving some of Kennedy's best art projects in a (clearly labeled) rubbermaid container. I also have Kennedy's swings and baby toys, which Brady is now enjoying, and will also need to be saved for future nieces and nephews.I do have some of our living room organized. I have neatly separated the DVDs in the cabinet by family member. Kennedy's movies, daddy's movies, my movies and workout DVDs (which are collecting dust!). I need to come up with some sort of system for organizing my shoes. I think I have about 50 pair. Any ideas?

When I said I was a little obsessive about this kind of stuff, I was serious. I thrive in an organized life... a life that I haven't been able to function in lately. This is my mission this weekend. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 13, 2008


No... not me! Whew! I cannot imagine having twins. I'm just not that calm, but my friends Nancy Blake Clark and Mercedes Ramirez Johnson are! God has blessed them both with twins. My friend Mercedes lives in Dallas and she is actually expecting her SECOND set of twins!
Yup... God was so impressed and amazed with how well she handled the first set, that he decided to bless her with another set. Four boys! I am in awe of her. She simply amazes me and I miss her so much. Please keep her in your thoughts. She's on bed rest until the babies arrive.

My friend Nancy and her husband Ben live in New Mexico and they just welcomed baby girls into their lives. "Izzy" and "Abby" are absolutely precious and I just know their mom and dad are loving every sleepless night with them.

Twins are just a miracle to me. To have another person in this world who could finish your sentences, who knows what you're thinking before you say it, who is physically part of you - it's just amazing! God bless the Clark and the Johnson families!

Home Sweet Home

We had a lot of "firsts" this weekend. We officially own our first house in Louisiana! We still own a house in Texas, but we haven't lived there since December 2006. I cannot believe we have lived here that long and have been renting! The building process wasn't easy, but it was worth it to do it the right way: pay off debt, save for down payment, and build a house the exact way we wanted it. We couldn't be happier right now and I can't wait to share our home with all our friends and family. The DAY we moved in, we had our first LSU game watching party. I'm afraid our friends might be superstitious about coming back to our house since LSU lost to Florida. Ouch.
I had my first glass of wine with friends during the game. We had our first pizza delivery to feed everyone.We had a great time, even though the Tigers disappointed the entire state! I absolutely love my new house. I love every aspect of it... the floor plan, the amount of space, the bonus room (that we will finish in the next year, hopefully), the back porch, our neighbors, EVERYTHING! Kennedy knows two girls on our street from her preschool. One of our next door neighbors has a four month old boy named Brooks. He and Brady are the exact same age. I expect them to be playmates very soon. And we have a retired couple on the other side who knocked on my door yesterday afternoon to let me know that my sprinkler was still running and she was concerned about my water bill. How thoughtful!
The kitchen is huge. The bathtub is massive and I already took my first bath in it Sunday night.
And Chris loves his new HD TV, which is now hanging on the wall. It feels like we're in a movie theater!
Life is great right now. Chris may be traveling a lot the rest of this year, but the kids and I have a REAL house to come home to. And we're just a few houses down from the Susie and Ford, affectionately known at our house as Aunt Susie and Uncle Ford.
I am blessed beyond measure and it may have been a long time coming, but it's finally here.... home sweet home.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My baby girl is not a baby anymore

I think having Brady, now 4 months old, in the house has made me realize just how much of a big girl Kennedy is. Just the other day, she was trying to calm ME down after Brady had peed everywhere. She looked at me, smiled, cocked her head to one side and lovingly said, "Momma... it's okay. We can just let it dry a little bit."

She has such a sweet heart... is always telling me and Chris how much she loves us... and talks to Brady as if he is able to talk back. I cannot believe how fast the past four years have flown by. With two kids in the house, I can only imagine how fast the next four years will go by.

Kennedy at 6 months old:

Kennedy at 4 years old:

Monday, October 6, 2008


I'm not a fan of Mondays. Why? A typical work day for me:

2:00 a.m. - I hear Brady fussing. He's going through a growth spurt and is hungry all the time. I feed him and get back in bed.

3:45 a.m. - I am still staring at the clock. I am thinking about the crazy week ahead.

5:45 a.m. - Alarm goes off... race to shower before B wants to eat again.

6:00 a.m. - I get out of shower and hear Chris talking to Kennedy and Brady. The house is officially jumping. TV on, Chris giving B a bottle, and I'm racing to get ready. I'm lucky that Chris is home this week and is taking the kids to school today.

6:30 a.m. - Get Kennedy breakfast (in between me doing make up and drying hair). Chris is tending to Brady, who just took a big poop, which leaked on his PJ's. I start putting on make up while eating a bowl of Cheerios and reading e-mail on my BlackBerry.

6:45 a.m. - Chris gets in the shower; I keep one ear open for Brady, who is swinging.

7:15 a.m. - Wave goodbye to Chris, Kennedy, and Brady as they walk out the door and head to Cypress Run.

7:45 a.m. - I grab my excessively-large purse, BlackBerry, LSUS magazine edits, newspaper, and Diet Dr. Pepper. Drive to work.

8:00 a.m. - Start catching up on the 50+ e-mails I didn't want to answer this weekend; Learn that my budget is being spent on advertising that I did not approve of (frustrating!??!); Have to change contracts with two vendors because it's $0.01 over the amount allowed before it needs approval from the LSU System office (more frustration!).

8:45 a.m. - Race out the door to meet our mortgage broker to sign some preliminary papers.

10:00 a.m. - Back on campus; Answer more e-mail; answer voicemail; finish up LSUS magazine edits

11:30 a.m. - Race out the door to meet Chris at Sam's to shop for an HD television to hang over our fireplace in the new house.

11:50 a.m. - Chris heads to Best Buy while I go to Office Max to pick up tradeshow-type materials to set up a booth for LSUS at the Cyber Summit and the Shreveport Convention Center tomorrow morning.

1:00 p.m. - Grab salad at Chick-fil-A and head back to campus to eat at my desk.

1:15 p.m. - Enjoy a few moments with my BFF and scarf down lunch.

2:00 p.m. - Meeting with enrollment team

3:00 p.m. - Meeting with Chancellor and two Vice Chancellors to plead my case for some much needed assistance in the area of marketing!! I am doing media relations, public relations and marketing for the entire campus.

4:15 p.m. - Wrap meeting, head back to my office (where I can't see an inch of my desk because of the paper! I hate disorganization, but don't have time to clean this week. Maybe next week?)
4:30 p.m. - Everyone else on campus is leaving for the day. I continue to plug away, but realize that I do not have the materials from Academic Affairs that I need for setting up our booth at the Cyber Summit tomorrow. I pray the door is unlocked. It's not. Everyone has gone home. I try my key - SUCCESS! But wait, the boxes are too heavy. Head back to my office and grab the rolling cart. Head back to Academic Affairs, unlock it again and load my cart.

4:45 p.m. - Take loaded cart to my office where I have another dolly full of materials to get into my car. Office co-workers (including BFF Susie!) offer to help me load the car. I head downstairs to pull my car to the front of campus.

5:00 p.m. - Car finally gets loaded (not sure how with the small back seat); Head back upstairs to get my purse and magazine because my day isn't over yet!

5:10 p.m. - Head to Gremillion & Pou to meet with my account manager to go over magazine edits. Talk to Chris quickly on the way there to discuss dinner plans and the status of the kiddos.

5:20 p.m. - Arrive at G & P - get cracking on the magazine edits.

6:00 p.m. - Leave G & P; Head home to my family.... finally!!

6:15 p.m. - Uh oh... Brady couldn't wait to eat so Chris just finished feeding him when I walk in. I head straight to the kitchen to start dinner. Chris got the water boiling and the turkey sausage cut up. A great start!!

6:30 p.m. - Dinner is going and I run to our bedroom to change clothes. Kennedy is following my the whole time. She wants some mommy time.

7:00 p.m. - Dinner is served! The dinner table is full of boxes and packing materials since we are preparing to move into our new house in a few days. So we sit on the floor in the living room. Not ideal, but temporary.

7:20 p.m. - Dinner over; time to do the dishes. Brady is napping and Chris is researching consumer reviews on HD TVs. I finish the dishes and start making a lasagna for tomorrow night.

7:30 p.m. - Brown turkey in pan with garlic assemble pan of lasagna, cover with foil and throw it in the fridge.

7:45 - Start Kennedy's bath water. Tonight, she gets a big bubble bath with lots of pink bubbles! Chris comes in and takes over bath time. I head to the computer to research dog houses. Our new house needs a dog house for Roscoe.

7:50 p.m. - I grab the tape measure and head outside to measure our big doggie. His allergies are giving him fits and his ears need cleaning. I clean them out and give him a treat.

8:00 p.m. - Sit down at the computer to look up doghouses and decide to write a blog instead. Chris is putting Kennedy to bed tonight, so I get a few minutes of quiet (oh wait... Kennedy's cartoons are still on the TV. Reach for the remote... MUTE!)

Wow... I'm exhausted from writing it! And there are still a few hours left in the night... Brady will get a bath, another bottle, and we'll enjoy a little snuggle time. But that's worth every minute of my time!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So close...

We are so close to being in our new house that I am GIDDY! The nerves in my stomach are out of control right now with excitement (and a little uneasiness) about moving! It could also be the stomach virus that is making its way through my family.

But I really believe it's the apprehension with taking on another mortgage with higher bills/insurance, etc. As I have mentioned on this blog before, we have lived as renters since we moved back to Shreveport. It hasn't been a bad thing - just extremely cramped. We have been able to save a lot of money and with the economy as shaky as it is right now, I'm terrified about having two mortgages (even though our house in Texas is rented) with two children in daycare. I keep hearing about these families who are losing everything and I try to calm my nerves by telling myself that Chris and I do not have poor money management. My dad just might disown me if I hadn't learned anything he taught me!

We have spent the last two years working to get ourselves financially sound before building this DREAM house we have been wanting for the past four or five years. So....
#1 - No credit card debt. CHECK!
#2 - Insurance for everyone/everything we own. CHECK!
#3 - Down payment for house. CHECK!
#4 - Saving for retirement. CHECK!

So what do I have to worry about? I just want to make sure that we can provide for our children and don't fail them in any way. My family is the most important thing in the world to me.