Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Miracle Doctor

Most know the heartache we went through with Owen's health for over 2 years. He's had so many diagnosis and specialists that have seen him as they poked and prodded, and made their "assumptions". Sweet Owen has had so many procedures and been on so many medications that seniors in their lifetime have never even endured. Through it all though, Jon and I learned not to put our faith in what doctor's say/think/do, they are human and truly are "practicing medicine," meaning well, we know. They are human and there is only One that truly can make a person heal, Jesus!

Out of all the specialists we've seen, two made a huge impact on our lives...we like to refer to them as miracle doctors, Dr. Jeffrey McKenna (Owen's ENT in Phoenix) and Dr. Stephen Hill (Owen's chiropractor in Tempe). Both took countless hours of just "listen time" taking ALL the pieces of Owen's puzzle and piecing them together.

Today we visited Dr. McKenna for Owen's "one year" follow up and he's reported tremendous healing in Owen's ears. The tubes are still in place but on the way out of the canal, he says, probably by the end of the summer. He told Owen that we need to find them so the "Tube Fairy" can come to the home, something that's never been done before in our home!

We thank God for leading us to Dr. McKenna and want to shout out to the world that there is a fabulous ENT in Phoenix for anyone that needs one!

We praise Jesus for healing Owen. He's a very fit and active, three year old boy with a healthy life ahead of him!

(On a side note...Owen thinks Dr. McKenna is cool because he has a flashlight on his head! That's now on his "wish list" and thinks it could be useful for our Sardine and Flashlight Tag nights!)

Has anyone else had the "Tube Fairy" in their home? Help...I need ideas!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Another fun Family Fun Night in our home, you should join us sometime. Tonight's exciting activity was, Sardines. Have you ever played? You need a somewhat dark home and adventurous kids and parents that like to play something similar to hide and seek.

Here's how you play...Turn out all the lights in the house. The person that is "it" goes and hides - similar to hide-n-seek, while the others are outdoors (like us on the front porch). Everyone outside counts slowly to 100 (we did the ABC's instead). When one round of the abc's is done one person is released to go inside the home to find the "it". But when he/she does find "it" they hide with him/her. Person two, three, four, etc. comes into the home one by one, with the goal of finding (then hiding with) "It" until the whole family is hiding together. Sometimes there are many people in the home “looking” at the same time (just not “together”). Just remember, it does need to be pretty dark in order to work since the hiding areas need to be pretty "open"/large enough to hold a whole group of hiding, sneaky people!

As always in our "hiding games", Owen amazes us. He can stay hidden and still for a very long period of time. Tonight he lasted in one spot without a peep for over 20 minutes! I wonder what that says about his personality as he grows up. I don't think I'll read into it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ladies Day Out!

The local ladies on our side of the family went out for lunch together to celebrate my mom, Sally's birthday at the yummy Wildflower Company. You'd think living so close to everyone, that we'd do this more often...maybe we're on the right track though to start new traditions. I sure hope so!

We had good food, lot's of laughs...which was well needed for my mom, and a neat time of prayer in honor of my mom and her upcoming surgery. We ended our date at my cousin Laura's new, beautiful home looking in awe of all their hard work to turn their house into a home (that's only 5.7 miles away from mine, whoa hoo!). It's gorgeous.

Each gal in our family brings so much joy to my life.
Mom- well..you’re “everything”. I love you.
Aunt Linda...you’ve always been my second mom. You are generous and very silly, especially when it comes to choosing food!
Laura- over the years you have been my “little” cousin, but since adulthood for us both, you’ve become one of my best friends. I love our heart to heart talks. You are one of the most helpful people I know and we have a lot of great laughs together...even at our own “expense”.
Baylee- It's so fun having you as my daughter. You are such a young lady with a soft, gentle spirit!

(We missed you Jen, Cheri, and Aunt Evey)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We Made Great Strides!

(This huge group is "Team Asher")

Before early November, the disease Cystic Fibrosis could have been said to me and I wouldn’t have been able to grasp it, nor understand what effects it had on people. Now, I do to some extent and that ‘disease’ has a face and name…sweet baby Asher Olimb!

Our lovely friend's, Rachel and Jeremy Olimb have a beautiful baby named Asher who graced our world in October. Quickly after the typical blood tests were complete on Asher (like any baby born in Arizona); he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (a progressive disease that effects the production of mucus in the body). We were all in shock and had a lot of learning and praying to do. The three Arizona Olimb’s are amazing, making huge lifestyle changes/sacrifices, and trusting in God all the way for little Asher’s life. God’s using this to grow them closer to Him and others who are watching!

Today, the city of Tempe hosted a 5k…Great Strides walk to collect money for research. Our Party of Five was eager to join in on a good "cause," joining Rachel and Jeremy’s group, “Team Asher.” Unfortunately, today Nathan has a fever…so it was up to Baylee and me to represent our whole family at Kiwanis Park. We were up for the challenge! We walked side by side with our dearest friends, the Kellers which really helped the time pass.

Team Asher was a huge team full of friends that love the Olimb’s so much and Jeremy designed cool shirts for the team and photo buttons to wear. The row of Team Asher went on forever! Today’s walk consisted of 1,000 walkers, raising lot of money (no total in yet). And Team Asher raised more money than the team's “goal”…well over $7,700 I believe (total not in yet either)! Even the kids on our team got involved having garage sales, bake sales, lemonade stands, and golf ball sales across the valley the week’s prior!

Asher, it was a privilege and blessing to walk in your honor/name. You are going to be a strong, active little boy that will be a total joy to watch grow up. We pray for you and your family often!

We can't wait for next year's walk again!

(Coming through the "finish line," Baylee and Mommy)

(After the event...Baylee and her "friend" Daniel)
(Some of the kids on Team Asher)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my beautiful mom's 63rd birthday and although she isn't an online gal, let alone a blogger, I wanted to send out a message of love to her.

Sally is a magnificent person. I have learned so much from her, even more in my adult years than my kid years, I think. She's a very sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, gentle, independent family lady. She's taught me how to press on and survive when the storms of life hit. She's shown me what hard work is and how to live by simple means. She's a remarkable woman that we all adore. I can’t imagine not having our “daily brief calls,” just to check in. I love knowing she’s in my corner, rotting for me every step of the way. I love you mom!

“My Grandma Sally is sweet, kind, caring, and loving!” Love Baylee Rose

(This photo was taken at her birthday party 2 years ago in the Pecan Groves of Phoenix…a great picnic, lunch spot.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Owen!

How has my baby turned 3 already? Yes, today is Owen's birthday. The poor kid has a very sick mommy though, so the "norm" won't be happening. I'll make it up to him at a later date though.

Owen, you are my fun-spirited little superhero! Your smile is contagious, your laughter a sheer joy, and your vocabulary...out of this world. Often times I forget that you are still so "young" because of the way you can start a conversation and keep it going FOREVER! On the other hand, I feel like you are still a baby because the years have gone so fast! You'll forever be my baby! I love how you enjoy people (and animals of all kinds), yet playing alone isn't an issue either. You have quite the imagination already and are rarely seen without some form of cape on. You "go with the flow" very well and don't want to be "babied" yet like to snuggle. And boy are you a jokester! Thank you for being Baylee and Nathan's best friends. It's an honor to be your mommy. My prayer for you is that you grow to be a man of God that leads his friends and family into the truth too, who never compromises your faith, and that you'll always value your family and the importance of each person God puts in your life! I love you buddy. We'll go ride trains soon and go to the puppy park, I promise!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pizza For Breakfast

I've been waiting for the day! Inside each of their Easter baskets this year, Baylee and Nathan had some "silly coupons" waiting for them. Neither has redeemed them...until now. This morning Nathan walked down, ready to "cash in". He wanted his ‘pizza for breakfast’. As I mentioned, I'd been waiting for the moment by keeping a frozen one handy. So, at 7:30AM in popped a pizza ready for the making...and boy did ALL the kids think it was great, having pizza right off the bat!

Nathan's planning his next redeeming period for voucher number 2, "Play your music in your room as loud as you want!" Lord help us!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Date Has Been Set!

My mom’s surgery date is set at Good Samaritan in Phoenix. It’ll be May 5th…Cinco de Mayo.

Thank you for continuing to pray for her (all of us). She is very fearful, especially with the pain the doctor’s have told her she’ll experience. She’s expected to be in ICU for at least 5 days though.

Out of the Mouth's of Babes!

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart which then flowed into my morning. At various times I was in tears before 9AM, asking God to help me out of the "fog". Shortly after, my friend Suzi called and just prayed for me over the phone, not even calling for that specific reason. I regained composure from her sweet spirit then something else happened that caused me to fall back into the’ heavy heart syndrome’. Then, out of the mouth's of babes, Baylee came to me with a verse she had been working on in church (that I didn't know about) and read it to me. It stopped me dead in my tracks and it's a verse I keep repeating and finding comfort in all day! If you're having one of those days, as we all do from time to time, focus on these words that my seven year old sweetie ministered to me with...

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is not seen."
2 Corinthians 4:17

…enough said!

Thank you Baylee. I'm so in awe of how the Holy Spirit gave you that perfect verse for that exact moment. Keep listening and obeying Him!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Hoedown at the Brandt Ranch

"Buffalo Brawlin' Baylee" and "Noose Knottin' Nathan" have been so very patient. Both had birthdays in November but due to our financial circumstances with Jon's job loss, were not able to have their party until now. Well, we made up for it with a great cowboy/cowgirl shindig! We headed up a mighty posse to help us capture our gruesome twosome for the crime of getting too old! And our dear friends, Frank and Sandy Brandt, opened up their beautifully large backyard to host us all.
(this is cowhand Sandy below)

The families entered to "brand" themselves with cowboy style tattoos, then moseyed on over to the "Wanted" sign for a photo.(friends Aimee and Shanna below)

Then they worked their way around the stations; where they saddled up for a bona fide horseback ride, (Our Cowboy Nathan below)

lasso practice, (friend Avery and Rick below)

and a shootin' range (with Q Tips and straws). Yee-haw!
Fresh and hot off the fire, we served up some of the best Sloppy Joe grub on the prairie,
followed by dessert...rootbeer floats

and S'mores by the campfire.
We all had a rootin', tootin', hollerin, hootin' good time!

(We only wish we were able to invite ALL of our kids' friends, but between two classes, church, and extra curricular activities, we had to limit it. We sure hope nobody's feelings get hurt!)We have just been blessed by God with so many amazing people in our lives, truly!

(Our outlaws!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Day on the Farm

Today's field trip with Nathan's Kid's Discovery Club Preschool to the Superstition Dairy Farm , a family run dairy farm, was so much fun. In the barn, they spent the first portion teaching the kids about the dairy, showing all of us the 50 pounds of feed given out to each cow daily, the shots, ear tag application, magnets for each belly, and much more. Then, we headed onto the tractor pull hayride to see the dairy cows up close and personal. Next, we were able to pet and feed some of the other livestock and even were able to hold a very tame rooster for those that wanted to. Owen could have stayed at that station all day, he loved being Nathan's guest on this trip. Owen loved all the animals, but especially the goats!

The preschool kids enjoyed choosing from the 12 flavors of milk to drink (raspberry, lime, cherry-vanilla, chocolate, orange cream, etc.) that went along with their graham cracker snack. Go figure...Nathan wasn't in the adventurous mood and only chose "plain milk".
Our time was finished at the haymaze, something Nathan could have run around with Gavin for hours. Nathan was sad that his friend's Jack, Harrison, and Benji couldn't make it though but very grateful that Gavin did! We really enjoyed finishing up the month-long theme of "the Farm" at a real one just a few miles from our home.

For those who are looking for an Earth Day Celebration, on April 26th the farm is having a day packed with activities for only $10 for the whole family! They'll be using solar cooking, showing seed planting/organic growing, "Pollution Solutions" with reusable bags, having garden tours, hayrides, crafts, as well as seeing performances from Charlotte's Web and Worm Drive the Musical. It sounds like a great all-day event (10-5).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our 'Sweet Time' Tonight

Over dinner tonight, Nathan's fortune cookies couldn't have been better said, especially since it was a Monday…our Family Fun Night. It read, “Your home is a pleasant place from which you draw happiness.”

Tonight’s fun and new activity was Nathan’s plan…riding bikes/scooters to Joe’s Farm Grill for dessert. Yummy! Our destination ride only took about 20 minutes with Baylee on her scooter and the rest of us on bike (Owen on the kiddy seat behind me) anticipating what we were going to order. Baylee and Nathan each ordered root beer floats, Jon and I shared the Cream Puff Sundae (photo), Jon also ordered onion rings, and Owen asked for a small sundae. The kids were mostly excited over the three different flavored/colored cherries they generously gave them! Talk about pigging out! Hopefully since we rode to and from the grill, some (I know not all) of those calories shed away.

Our ‘sweet time’ came to an end as our friend’s Joe and Cindy (owners) arrived and we chatted for awhile longer on the lawn just before our ride home. It was a beautiful Family Fun Night under the stars and in the wonderful weather (have I said, “Boy I love living in Arizona…at least this time of year!”)

Prayer Request

Our family would covet your prayers for my mom, Sally. She has not been feeling well for months and has been diagnosed/ treated for Valley Fever. After taking the strongest medication on the market, nothing has changed. After a second opinion today, she’s been told that she must have surgery on her lungs quickly. She has a hole, the size of a tangerine, on one lung and it needs to be fixed or cut out. The doctors are pretty sure this is not cancer. Surgery is not scheduled yet however it’ll be in May.

My mom is single and is the only source of income. As you can imagine, she is scared for her diagnosis but also full of worry about her job (if it will be there for her once she recovers) and finances. The doctors told her that this is a very painful surgery and recovery. They also said she’ll more than likely be out of work for 2 months.

Please pray!

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Difference a Year Makes

I'm awake and just feeling, "here", kind of "Eyoreish" today (that's for you Tina;)). One year ago today marks the day my brother moved in with us for the last time. I remember it vividly and think of all the plans/dreams we made together and the super time we had with him in our home, watching him play with the kids and make us all laugh. I'm not even sure why I am writing any of this today. I don't want people to feel sorry for me or even call/write. I guess I'm just finding a way to "vent" my overwhelming emotions and putting it out there so others can understand maybe what my state of mind/emotions are right now. Hopefully I will not hurt/offend anyone during this time of sadness. I’ll be back to “normal” shortly, I’m sure.
So...today seems to be the start of the countdown towards his ever-to-early death in July 2007.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Springtime Breakfast

As Jon and I were lying in bed, awake but enjoying the birds chirping and cool wind blowing against the palm trees, the kids went out to the balcony, just off our bedroom. We heard some discussion but couldn't make out much of it. Minutes later; Baylee, Nathan, and Owen were pleading with us to stay in bed as they ran downstairs to the kitchen. A few more minutes passed, each kid was bringing up something to complete a simple breakfast outdoors. Placemats, bowls, spoons, cereal, milk, sunglasses, and a camera were now waiting for Jon and me. It was so sweet. The kids were very excited! We couldn’t eat there without our precious chefs, so we invited the kids to join us and they eagerly agreed. All five of us enjoyed breakfast on the balcony, overlooking the golfers, watching the woodpeckers and other birds, and enjoying the beautiful day God has given us. What a neat way to start the day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Something to Think About

I came across this quote from an unknown author that's made me think (enjoy)

"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Cleaning

With this warm weather, Spring Cleaning is in process. I still have lots to do. So far I've:
-dusted the ceiling fans
-cleaned the baseboards (although they can use a good painting)
-deep clean toilets
-deep clean showers and bathtubs
-cleaned the tile floors by hand (ugh...my poor knees)
-bathroom vents/fans
-light fixtures
-and now, today's event...our pool!!!!!!!!!!!!! Out with the old water, in with the new and a little scrub here and there! (the kids loved this task and can't wait to swim in the new water!)

Shout to the Lord!

I don’t have much to say, except how cool it was to watch American Idol (our family’s favorite show) last night (America Gives Back) and then tonight’s result show to hear the top 8 sing a beautiful praise song, Shout to the Lord! Not expected…wow…and twice! Way cool!

My Jesus, My Savior,
Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days
I want to praise
the wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
let every breath, all that I am
never cease to worship You.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
let us sing
power and majesty, praise to the King;
mountains bow down and the seas will roar
at the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Opening Day 2008

At 5:55 tonight, as we had the barbeque firing up for grilling our dinner, I was talking on the phone to my cousin Laura telling her of the much anticipated quiet night we had planned, including our Family Meeting and Family Fun Night. Much to my surprise, she offered us a new plan for the night, offering us tickets to go to the Arizona Diamondback’s opening game against the LA Dodgers that started at 6:40. By 6PM our Party of Five was in the van on a mission… heading to her house to pick up the tickets and parking pass, (not even changing into red to cheer for our team…oops). God was so good to us, we didn’t hit the normal rush-hour, sport’s traffic, nor have complications in finding parking and were in our seats by 7…just after the first inning. This was the kids’ first time at a professional baseball game and they were amazed at the substantial crowd of spectators over 49,057! Our night was fantastic, as we cheered on our home team to victory, 9 to 3 with the roof open at the stadium, enjoying the wonderful weather as well! Baylee, Nathan, and Owen loved watching the fireworks with each homerun and asked, “Can we put that in our Family Fun box as a choice another time soon?”

Thank you Kasey and Laura! You made our Monday Family night even more special than we thought it would be. You guys are so generous. We love you.

Go Diamondbacks…let’s have a super season.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And the Winner Is...(drum roll please)

After 49 votes cast (thank you) for our family spirit contest from St. Patrick's Day, we have a winner. Congratulations to:
So now, Baylee gets to hold onto our 'Family Spirit' trophy until the next family challenge.

The contest wasn't a wipe out. We had a close "Second Place" person...

Thank you all for helping cheer on our silliness!

(Sorry it took so long to divulge the winner. We wanted the anticipation to build up until you couldn’t take it any longer.)