Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Birthday EZ!

Photo by our good friend, John Carter

I can't believe my college sweetheart is 60 years old today! He was born Ernest Baker, on New Year's Eve, at home, in Buffalo, New York in 1951. He is everything I ever dreamed of in a husband, best friend, father, and grandfather. He is generous, kind, thoughtful, loving, funny, strong and smart. He loves the Lord and models what it means to walk by faith. He has worked hard and provided a wonderful life for our family. He has shown us all how to overcome adversity and make the most of what we have. He has made us so proud in his battle with cancer.

On this day I wanted to share some of my favorite photos of Ernie back in his 20's when he first caught my eye. Though he majored in Electrical Engineering, he loved to be outside playing racquetball, fishing, four wheeling (and getting stuck) in his Chevy Blazer, and exploring the great outdoors. Handsome then in his long shag, and handsome now with a buzz cut. Love you Ern and Happy Birthday!

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad!

 On this day, the 31st of December 2011, we celebrate a very special man and his 60th birthday!!!

We are so glad that he was born!

And though he is called "Big EZ" by many...

... he will always be DAD to us!

We love you so much, Dad, and wish you the best 60th birthday ever!!!!
~ Jamie, Tara, Kyle, Leah, and Nick ~

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Christmas Wedding

Christmas weddings are indeed special to our family. On a beautiful Saturday morning, the 18th of December, a good friend to both of our daughters, Robin DeLoach, married her longtime love, Tommy Koonce, in Chapel Hill. Robin was a gorgeous bride and Tommy a handsome groom. It was a picture perfect day, complete with a horse drawn carriage ride from the Chapel of the Cross, to the reception at the Carolina Inn, and then a grande exit in a very sporty getaway car. Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Koonce! Here are a few pictures from their glorious day:

Who is That Bearded Man in the Red Suit?

Kids react in all kinds of ways when they meet Santa. Some are too young to be scared of that jolly old soul with all the white hair wearing a soft red suit. Some don't mind a bit because they know who he represents and they have a few Christmas wishes to share with him. Others are in the "stranger anxiety" stage and they let mommy and daddy know they don't like sitting on Santa's lap. Hope you enjoy these pictures I found of my siblings and I, Nick, and the Nats through the years, and then most recently Emery's first introduction to Santa.

Linda's older brother David, not too thrilled with Santa

Linda at 9 months. So bundled I can't move, but at least I'm not crying!

Linda and her brother Johnny...happy kids!

Nick doesn't look scared at all

Nathan and Natalie at about 8 months...poor Nathan!

Natalie doesn't seem to mind Santa in 2011, though he doesn't look very jolly!

Leah, Kyle and a happy Emery at 9 months

Uh oh...who is this guy?


Kids just love Santa!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shingles Still Not Much Fun for EZ

Just a little update on EZ's health and some information from PubMed Health on shingles:

Expectations (prognosis) - Herpes zoster usually clears in 2 to 3 weeks and rarely recurs. If the virus affects the nerves that control movement (the motor nerves), you may have temporary or permanent weakness or paralysis. Sometimes, the pain in the area where the shingles occurred may last from months to years. See: Postherpetic neuralgia

Complications - Sometimes, the pain in the area where the shingles occurred may last for months or years. This pain is called postherpetic neuralgia. It occurs when the nerves have been damaged after an outbreak of shingles. Pain ranges from mild to very severe pain. It is more likely to occur in people over 60 years.

Well, in spite of taking prednisone to hopefully ward off any long term side effects, EZ seems to be experiencing postherpetic neuralgia in the area on his torso where the shingles were. Though he was cleared back on December 17th to be social again, he continues to experience itching, deep pain, and burning making it difficult to sleep and get comfortable. He says it feels like someone is dripping hot wax onto his side....ouch! We are trying different remedies such as Benadryl Gel and tablets for the itching, and additional oxycontin for the pain, but he is always reminded of the fact that he had shingles. As always, he continues to carry on though he is hurting, and few can detect his pain. Please pray for complete healing from this postherpetic neuralgia.

On the plus side, taking the extra oxycontin every day has enabled him to drive (reclined like a gangsta!) and sit for a bit longer than previously. Here is a picture of him driving for a total of 6 hours (really miraculous) to bring his parents to our house for Christmas:

On another note, our monthly visit to the Cancer Center for labwork and Aredia went well, with all his numbers holding steady in spite of the hit to his immune system from shingles. He is receiving the bone strengthener every other month now. He will remain off of daily Revlimid for six weeks, assuming his M spike doesn't creep up, so that his immune system can receive a boost and hopefully better fend of infections or illnesses of any kind in the future. So is life with Multiple Myeloma...

Go Tar Heels...Oh, I Mean Go App State!

On Saturday, December 18th Nick took us out to the ballgame...I mean basketball game! It was a ladies night out for my mom, Leah and I to watch UNC vs. ASU. What's a mom to do in order not to show favoritism when one of her children graduated from UNC and the other from ASU? Here is what you do:

With Nick spending 5 years at UNC, and Mom and I never having been to a basketball game in the Dean Dome, we were very excited!

Leah was on the dance team at ASU and they performed at the men's basketball games, so we got to cheer the Mountaineers on during many home games. Very proud of how they hung in there with the top ranked Tarheels!

The Tarheels were victorious and a great time was had by all! Thanks Nick (and the Hagan family who provided the tickets) for our ladies night out!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Our Little Santa Baby!

Emery's first Christmas

With Grandma

With Gigi

With Grammy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas Everyone!

Blessed is truly how we feel as we near the close of 2011. We have a wonderful family, amazing friends, a loving church body, a warm home, and a faith that has sustained us. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the humble birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. May you cherish every moment, never taking life for granted.

The Baker/Stout household with Nick, EZ, Linda and her mom Ginny

The Dews - Samantha, Jamie, Tara, Natalie, Nathan and Samuel

The Guenthers - Emery, Kyle and Leah

Mary, Joseph and Jesus

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11