Friday, October 31, 2014

Back 2 Life, Back 2 Reality, Back 2 the Shoals

Back to Life

   Though it was so much fun at the beach, Kaitlyn and I are glad to be home and back into the routine of life. Kaitlyn went to visit her doctor last week and the results were great. Her lung function has leveled off since the previous month, something that hasn't occurred without additional medication help this whole past year. She has gained a pound and grown an inch! (Always great to hear for someone with a medical condition that makes it very hard to gain weight and flourish.) Her lungs sound clear and her lab work came back normal (for her). Was it the beach air? We don't know. She was also using essential oils, sleeping 10-12 hrs a day, swimming daily for exercise, and eating regularly. We are trying to change our lifestyle to include these extra health benefits to see if she continues to improve. Only time will tell. 

  On a positive note, she isn't scheduled to see her doctor until after Christmas. If all goes well, this will be our first year to spend Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as a family since she was diagnosed in 2007. She is so excited to enjoy Halloween this year. It has been so long, she didn't even know what a Trunk or Treat was and that our church hosts one for Halloween. My creative kids decided to make their costumes this year out of cardboard boxes.....becoming the 'Boxtrolls'. I am so proud of them for working together, helping each other make the costumes. 

We had so much fun this past weekend visiting my family Murry & Tara Smith for their annual Halloween Carnival....definitely a better experience for us than last year. Last year, after traveling the 3 hrs, we arrived at their house with a sick Kaitlyn. She had seemed fine when we left home, but by the time the party started, she was running a low grade fever and couldn't keep her eyes open. She ended up sleeping through the whole party. 36hrs later, she was admitted to Children's Hospital in Huntsville, AL with a collapsed lung, the other lung completely dense with mucus, and put on oxygen for almost two weeks. Since then, this year has been very tough for her. But she is such a fighter, and our personal hero. 

Scrapping for a Cure Update

   Though Scrapping for a Cure is many months away, our committee members are always diligently working to get it ready. Our favorite part??!! Research (by cropping)!! Jill Worley spent over a week traveling to different scrapbook stores and crops, having fun and getting ideas for our event. Tara Smith & I will be heading to Arkansas next week for a huge crop. We love being pampered as croppers!!! We are having early bird registration right now. This runs through December 31st, 2014. All early birds will be entered into our big drawing: Hilton night stay, Breakfast for 2, and $100 Scrapping Bucks to spend at the vendor booths during our 2015 retreat! Don't miss out! You can find more information and a registration form at our website,


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stories of the Beach Life: Ch. 3 Lord of the Sand & Homeward Bound

  Lord of the Sand & Homeward Bound

     Each week, we look forward to the weekend, when our whole family can enjoy the beach together. This past weekend was the best. We finally had perfect weather for the full weekend.It was also the Annual National Shrimp Festival, bringing in a lot of vacationers. We went to check out the festivities. The kids loved the spider climb!

 James had the opportunity to brush up on his sandcastle building skills. He even learned how to make trees! The kids enjoyed helping him. I enjoyed basking in the sun, soaking up the rays! I have found that though I think I have patience (when it comes to my kids), I do not have enough patience when it comes to building anything out of sand. 

  Once our boys left to head back home, Kaitlyn developed her second ear ache. Swimmers ear? Ear infection? Don't know, but at least it didn't get as bad has her first ear ache. She did run a slight fever again, but once we administered rubbing alcohol for a few days, it finally cleared up. So, with that in mind, we went out and bought her a swim cap and ear plugs. Hopefully we can prevent another ear ache. 

  As our time here draws to a close,  we share mixed feelings. We will miss the bliss of a paradise existence, but we are very anxious to get back to our family and normal life. Has the beach helped her? I really don't know. She still has CF....she still coughs. She will see her specialist in four days to review the difference. Thanks for following our personal experiment at the beach. We will keep you posted.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stories Of The Beach Life: Ch. 2 Taming of The Do

Kaitlyn's Hair Cut

Two weeks with this strong ocean breeze, Kaitlyn decides her hair is just too long. If I wasn't so frustrated with the daily dreadlocks and the daily tears when it comes to brushing her hair, I may have encouraged to keep the long locks. But when she suggested cutting it all off, I figured, Sure! Grab the scissors and the camera and let's get to cutting!

And what kid doesn't dream of giving their own hair cut? Luckily none of my kids have done severe damage to their hair with scissors in the past. With my supervision, I let Kaitlyn help with cutting her hair....she got to make the first cut.

Say cheese! She was so excited to be the one cutting off all that beautiful hair.


And the last cut.

After a little evening by her mother (luckily she has curly hair and no one will notice if it isn't even), she sported a new hair cut. Kaitlyn loved it right away!

Today, out on the town, Kaitlyn was so excited to show off her new do. She loved her short, curly pigtails!

Love DQ's new ice cream cupcakes!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stories Of The Beach Life: Ch.1 Beauty & the Beach

At the Beach

  As some of you may know, Kaitlyn and I are trialing a month at the beach, in hopes to help her lung condition. We have heard about other CF children experiencing great benefits with breathing in the salty air. With this past year being so hard on her, we decided to try it ourselves. Sept-Nov are always her worst months, making it the best time to try a change in scenery.

  For most people, a month at the beach would sound like paradise. Not for Kaitlyn. When it comes to sand, it was hate at first sight. And what is more abundant down here? SAND! After a few hours of school work, and her mandatory hour (by me) at the beach, Kaitlyn is itching to jump into the pool. Her favorite part of this experiment? the pool with her scuba gear. Her least favorite part of this experiment? missing her brothers and dad. What fun is the beach and pool without her brothers here to enjoy it with her? And most of the vacationers down here do not have kids with them.

After being stuck inside for a few days due to a severe ear infection and stormy weather, Kaitlyn was excited to get back to the beach Tuesday evening. She also found out that she didn't mind the sand so much, especially while she is playing sand monster or hunting for sea shells & sand dollars. 

    I had hoped that with a month at the beach, I could really catch up on some scrapbooking. With this in mind, I printed off hundreds of pictures and packed up tons of crafting supplies. But is reality ever what we expect it to be? After 2-3 hrs of school work, 2-3 hrs of meds and breathing treatments,  2-3 hrs of running with Kaitlyn down to the beach and pools, and our trips into town to visit the library and Publix, who has time for anything else? Well, at least we make time each day for a little craft time, giving me an hour or so to make a dent in my pile of pictures! 

  I am just so proud of Kaitlyn for staying on top of her school work and keeping her spirits up. It's got to be hard stuck with her mother for a whole month and only having extra playmates on the weekends, when family comes to visit us. Once we have returned home, Kaitlyn will see her doctor to see if the ocean breeze has helped her lung function. I can't quite tell if she is doing better or not. She says her chest feels better. Though her cough isn't as bad as it was when we got down here, she is still coughing. But we still have 16 days to go to make a difference. And on the up side, her appetite has been great, which is crucial for CF kids!