This year has been a year of hardship in many ways but as always has had us pulling closer together and leaning on the Lord.
We found out in May that my Dad's prostate cancer has metastasized to his bones. This summer he spent a week in the hospital dealing with a blood clotting issue. Colette was able to come to KY and work from here so she could help with his care. We are thrilled to report that 8 months later he is still enjoying life and we are enjoying him! His pain does continue to increase and he has started radiation treatments to help with it. Dad's positive attitude and love for those around him keeps him living his life to the fullest. He could use your continued prayers!
Me ~ As many of our friends and family have faced economic challenges this year, we were no different. When Emery started 1st grade full time in the fall, we decided it was time for me to return to work. I started working full time at the Jessamine Early Learning Village, where all of the girls went to Kindergarten & Tarenne attended 2 years of preschool. It was a great opportunity for me to keep the girls' hours and make enough money to help us make ends meet. I am a Special Education Instructional Assistant. It's been enlightening to be on the other end of the system. I have learned a lot! It was a big plus that I knew many of the staff members and have counted several of them close friends for years. I have enjoyed it for the most part but trying to fit everything into one day remains a challenge!
Joe is still working for Synthes Spine. He is a sales senator and is in their management training program. He works so hard for all of us and still finds time to be the best Dad and husband around! For our 14th Anniversary he took me to stay overnight in the famous "Castle". http://www.thecastlepost.com/ We had a great time going to Keeneland that day and being kid free. Joe also had his 25th high school reunion this year as well, and we had a blast! But mainly his days are spent working for his girls and his evenings are spent helping with homework, giving baths, and even catching snakes with them.
(The girls pictures below are slideshows so be sure and hit play!)
Darrah has grown up so much this year. She is now in 7th grade and enjoys the social aspect of middle school immensely. She continues to do well academically and has decided after researching that she wants to be a radiologist. "Why?", you might ask. It seems they are on the high end of the pay scale and don't have to work late hours. That's our girl! She turned 12 in May and finally (in her mind) got a cell phone. She spent the previous year trying to convince her Daddy that she needed one, even preparing a power point with her reasons. Her confidence is amazing for a kid her age. She will call tech support on her own and fix electronics around the house. She even made an appointment for me at the Apple Genius bar after the telephone support center couldn't fix my webcam. :-) She still plays soccer and would take acting, singing, and guitar lessons if we didn't have the 1 activity per child rule for our family. She was actually contacted this year by a producer from the Rachel Ray show to be featured on a segment about children's web shows. They found her on You Tube. They nixed the segment, much to our disappointment, but that shows you how talented she truly is. She loves taking pictures of her tiny model Emery, who will let her do makeovers and dress her up for the occasion. But I am the most proud of Darrah's big heart. She asks constantly to go over and see my Dad, knowing that her time with him is precious. We have rarely been in Lexington without stopping by over the last 10 years but now it is definitely our #1 priority and Darrah appreciates that time as much as I do.
Tarenne turned TEN this year! She started the year out with outpatient surgery to remove her tonsils & adenoids. Her tonsils were HUGE and so it was a necessary procedure. She of course did great, no complaining and her body healed quickly. We redid her room for her birthday and now has a "big girl" room! If you ask her if she is allowed to do something she replies with assurance, "YES, I'M TEN!". She is in 4th grade now and continues to do well in a typical classroom with supports. She still takes dance lessons and moved from 1 to 2 classes a week this semester. She is enjoying hip hop as well as classical dance. She makes friends where ever we go but is really drawn to teenagers. I think because her speech is sometimes still hard to understand and they are more patient at listening to her stories, because our girl IS hilarious! Her cadence is quite typical, but with that speed and inflection comes some mispronunciations. We are blessed that she is very patient with us! She keeps us all laughing and is a true entertainer when she is comfortable. In fact at my niece's wedding a few weeks ago she organized a dance off with some fraternity brother's of the groom and was the star of the dance floor! They conceded to her superior dance moves, of course.
Marley is still our joyful girl. She started the year off by FINALLY losing her first tooth. She is now 8 years old. Her September birthday was to be a family affair. We joined cousins, Pepere, and Aunts to go the big dog show at the Horse Park. THAT is Marley's idea of heaven! Her love for dogs continues and she either wants to talk about dogs, play with her stuffed dogs or pretend that she is one. She shared her day with Pepere and Ashtyn, as they have summer birthdays too, and in her usual fashion was unfazed and didn't mind sharing at all! She is a natural athlete and spent her extra curricular time this year taking hip hop dance and then switching to gymnastics at the end of the year. She is a loyal kid with a heart of gold. The highlight of her year (in her eyes) is that fact that she is finally back in the same classroom with her friend Presley. They have been "BFFs" since Kindy, and Marley would truly move in with her family if we let her. Marley's laid back personality has carried over into the classroom until this year. She has been blessed with a wonderful teacher who knows how to motivate her and build her confidence and she is now trying her best in the class room with great enthusiasm. She told me she falls asleep practicing her math facts! She wants to be a veterinarian or a principal. She made me laugh when she told me she wasn't sure because she didn't want to spend that much time in school to be a doctor, and she didn't want to be a teacher first to become a principal. ha ha ha. That's our Marley!
And Emery, oh our Emery! She is a bundle of beautiful energy on our good days and a loud, bossy mess when we're grumpy. But every day, she makes us laugh! It's hard to discipline her because as soon as she knows she's in trouble, she regales you with how "beautiful, funny, nice and sweet" you are! Yep, she knows how to work it and unfortunately for us and fortunately for her, it works! She started 1st grade this year and is doing really well. She's had to get over her shy feelings regarding her diabetes a bit because she is dealing with it all day without my care. Fortunately we have an incredible nurse at school who Emery has fallen in love with! All is good now. She is Darrah's little model, as you can tell from her pictures, MOST of which were taken by Darrah. She loves to be dressed up and enjoys fashion as much as Darrah does. She is a bit old for her age, the result of having all of her big sisters. Emery LOVES babies still and will not walk by one in public without stopping to gaze at them. She asked me this year, "Mom, why can't you just adopt one, and I'll take care of it?!". She received a "reborn" baby from Santa last year. They look lifelike and she has LOVED when people out and about think it's real. In fact we had a lady approach us mad at Sam's Club because she thought we had a preemie laying in the wire basket without padding. LOL With Em's love for humor and desire to have a baby that kind of thing just makes her day! She truly makes ours EVERY day!
We are praying that your New Year brings you the joy, peace and confidence that only our Lord Jesus Christ provides!
From Our Family to Yours ~ Merry Christmas!