Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fun With Samuel and Samantha

I'll push, you drive!
Uh oh, now what?

Perfect playmates

Storytime with Gigi

Wanna play?

Monday, June 27, 2011


EZ and I just love being grandparents. Little ones often give us a reason to get up, get dressed and get going in the morning. Their laughter, their smiles, their expressions, their energy, their love...we just enjoy every minute of being with them! In four short years we have been blessed with five grandchildren and each one has captured our hearts. I stumbled across this verse today and just love it: 

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6

I love this picture of little Samuel holding Grandpa's hand in his VBS t-shirt as they walked around the house...precious!

And here is cutie pie Samantha in her VBS t-shirt:

 Grandpa loves to get down on the floor to wrestle with the Nats and Sams, but he also loves to read to them. Here is a picture of a recent storytime with Natalie and Nathan:

 Natalie and Nathan love to be silly:

And of course who could forget our youngest granddaughter, Emery. This picture always makes us smile:

Our grandchildren certainly enrich our lives, bring us great joy, and often take us back to the time when we were raising our own children. We want to spend as much time with them as possible, making them a priority in our lives, and supporting their parents in the tremendous task of raising these little ones. Times have certainly changed since we were in their shoes, but one thing is certain...their parents love them like crazy and so do we!! May God continue to watch over them, protect them, and bring them into a relationship with Himself.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Patriotic Salad Anyone?

Blueberries recently went on sale so I decided to add them to one of my favorite salads. Combined with the craisins and fresh pears, I realized it became red, white and blue, just perfect for the Fourth of July (which is right around the corner!). Toasted Pecans, with their hint of cinnamon, add a delicious touch and you will find yourself digging for every last one. Feel free to sprinkle on whatever else suits your fancy...goat cheese, feta cheese, bleu cheese, steak, or chunks of chicken...and viola`!

What makes this salad even better to me is the homemade dressing. Just gotta have it!

2 T maple syrup
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 t dijon mustard

And of course to add a little crunch on the side,  go right out to Harris Teeter and buy some of their Pepperjack Pimento Cheese to spread on crackers or toasted rounds. Melt that cheese just a bit and  you will be hooked...delicious!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Great Report from Duke at Ten Months Post Transplant

Yesterday it was time once again for another three month check up at Duke, this one being almost ten months post transplant. It is always good to see so many familiar faces as we walk the hallways, and we will forever be grateful for the amazing level of care EZ received throughout the transplant process. Walking into the building, washing our hands, and donning our masks, brings back many more good memories than bad. The transplant most certainly gave us hope for a future free from multiple myeloma. Take a look back on our post about the ABMT Clinic here.

We love the fact that Duke's Transplant Clinic is a freestanding building, a unit unto itself. It somehow seems smaller and more personal than a big hospital. Over time, we began to feel like we were part of a family that consisted of other patients, caregivers, nurses and doctors. We spent weeks, and some spend months there, together with others going through the transplant process. We cheered one another on as we walked laps inside the clinic or reached other types of milestones. We exchanged email and blog addresses and still keep in touch. We are forever bound together by the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.

Well, once again we are so thrilled to report that all is well with EZ! Blood counts look great and we don't need to be seen again until September, which will be thirteen months post transplant. At that time they will test Ernie's blood and urine for all the myeloma markers, check to see what immunity he has left in order to repeat certain critical vaccines, have long bone x-rays done, and in other words do a very extensive evaluation of how the transplant did. Right now he is in Complete Response and we sure hope he will stay that way for a very long time to come!

We left with a new prescription for Metanx,which we hope will help with the neuropathy in EZ's feet. They are constantly either numb, tingling, asleep, or really hurting from stabbing pains in his toes. Hopefully this will help! Just one of the side effects of taking such powerful chemo drugs to kill the cancer.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers on our journey. We feel so blessed to be where we are!

Walking with Big EZ in Boone - July 2010

Walking with Big EZ in Boone - June 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father's Day Festivities 2011

Ernie's day began at church for Donuts with Dad, which he thoroughly enjoyed with his firstborn, Tara!

Following afternoon naps, the Dews came over for a delicious steak dinner...a special request by the dads!

Next came the opening of gifts...look at that good handwriting and those proud grandchildren!

Time for dessert,  homemade French Silk Pie a favorite with EZ and Jamie!

And to complete EZ's wonderful day...a foot massage by Samuel!

Let me leave you with a video of Samantha giving her Grandpa lots of love after he shares bites of his French Silk Pie with her...priceless!

We missed Leah, Kyle, Emery and Nick, but thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Dews and Gigi celebrating the joys of being a dad with our resident fathers, Ernie and Jamie. You two (and Kyle) represent everything a dad should be!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering My Dad on Father's Day

Remembering My Dad

It is hard to put in to words all the emotions and memories that are flooding my mind. I simply want to say that I sure do love my Dad and miss him more than words can say. I am so grateful to have had him for so many years, and for being there by his side as he went to be with the Lord.

He will forever be a man of great courage, not only by the way he fought his battle with cancer, but in the way he served his country in Vietnam. He taught us to honor the American flag, love our country, and pray for the troops, wherever they might be. My two brothers even spent time in the Army, following in his footsteps. I know that made him so proud.

He was a man dedicated to his family, showing us the world during his military career. We spent so much time together exploring far away places, and experiencing things like water skiing on the Panama Canal and walking up Mt. Vesuvius in Italy. He took us boating and camping that our family might steal away and be together, creating memories that have lasted a lifetime.

He was a man of integrity and honesty and never in my life do I remember him telling a lie. He showed us the value of hard work and never seemed to run out of energy before he had cancer. He was organized and cared for his household in a meticulous way, and we often joked that his garage was neater than our house. He loved his Park Avenue and would refuse to drive it if the forecast called for rain, lest it should get dirty.

He was a dedicated Alumnus and his love for FSU and the Seminoles was apparent in his home, his cars, and certainly in his dress. Even to his last weeks in the hospital and hospice house, he held up his finger and told everyone the Seminoles were number 1. Bobby Bowden would have been proud to hear the song Dad made up and sang in his honor. Our children grew up wearing garnet and gold and we would often find hidden FSU decals secretly placed on our cars.

He had a sense of humor too, as many of you well know. We were in stitches thinking back to his antics and I am grateful for his funny side and the memories we have of him laughing.

He considered my Mom the love of his life, married 60 years, and together they showed us children what it meant to be committed for life, till death did they part. Often far away from extended family, they stuck together and made it through many a difficult day. My mother’s care for him during his battle with cancer certainly extended his days, and we are grateful for how she unselfishly served him, stepping up and taking care of many things he had always taken care of.

My Dad also loved his church, his Sunday school classes, his fraternal brothers the Masons, the Eastern Star, his Scottish and Southern heritage, and of course his cat Sheba.

Thank you Dad for leaving a legacy of courage, patriotism, family, integrity, honesty, loyalty, laughter, love and faith. We will never forget all you taught us, we will take care of Mom and Sheba, and we look forward to seeing you again, in heaven.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fabulous Food Friday!

With EZ's inability to sit comfortably for very long, comes MUCH less dining out and much more dining in, which has actually been a blessing. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to any of you by now that I love to cook, so in addition to saving money by not going out to eat, I have enjoyed preparing many of our favorite meals and trying new recipes in the comfort of our own home (or cabin in this case!). Here is a snapshot of some of our yummy meals while in Boone. *All you nutritionists and Weight Watchers, close your eyes. Though I must say we try to cut calories when we can and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables!

Flank steak and corn on the grill

Crock pot BBQ pork tenderloin sandwiches with my mom's homemade potato salad

Take out Bandana's ribs with fried okra, homemade squash casserole and potato salad

Steak and eggs with homemade hashbrowns

Reduced fat Jimmy Dean sausage

Fresh blueberry pancakes

Fresh fruit salad
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and don't forget to enjoy some delicious summer food and then take a nice long walk to count your blessings!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Beautiful surroundings and nice long walks with those we love!

Our week in Boone has once again flown by way too quickly, but we feel like we took advantage of the cooler weather, gorgeous mountains and extra time to get outdoors and just walk. Multiple Myeloma has caused so many aches and pains for EZ, but walking, along with swimming, definitely seems to help. So walk we do...every day if possible. And what better place to walk than in parks or greenways surrounded by mountains, creeks and lakes! Our two Springers love to come along, especially when water is involved! Here are a few pictures of our 2nd walk on the State Farm Greenway property, just before the sky opened up and it poured down rain on us...

On Tuesday, we packed a picnic and headed over to Blowing Rock to walk around beautiful Bass Lake in the Moses Cone Park. It consists of 3,516 acres full of apple orchards, mountain laurel, rhododendron and other varieties of gorgeous woodland. The lake was full of lily pads and Canadian geese this year, and it isn't unusual to spot people riding horses on the 25 miles of carriage trails. Just beautiful...

Mast General had a big shoe sale, so I was able to buy my first pair of Chacos. I've watched Nick wear his non-stop for years now. Well, I'm a believer. They are so comfortable and I love them for walking the dogs in water, especially in creek beds and on rocks because they don't slip and slide like my Crocs. And it sure beats taking my tennis shoes off and walking barefoot! (please excuse my ugly feet)

Until next time...happy walking!