For all you Weight Watchers

Today was weigh in day for week #2 of the iodine free diet.
I'm happy to report that our starvation is paying off.
At least there is something to help keep us motivated for the final 2 weeks.
Evan has managed to lose over 12 lbs. in 2 weeks!
I am super proud. Not only because he lost weight, but because he has been a super trooper during this whole crappy diet. I'm sure he is hungry and frustrated, but he still gets up every morning before the chickens to go work out. I love him. He is so much more tan I will ever be when it comes to being physically fit.
And I am down 7.4 lbs. for the 2 weeks. Not too shabby. I have 11 more pounds to go before I think I will see a big difference in my health. But I think I'm off to a good start. If only I would add some exercise into that.
So we're on to week #3 now. We might very well just eat chicken and veggies for every meal since my experimenting went horribly wrong. But only 2 more weeks! We are half way- we can do this!
And don't forget the prayers for August 13th- the day when Evan has his scan. Please pray the cancer is gone- oh how awesome that would be.


I effing hate oranges

I've had a crappy day. Not a jump-off-a-bridge kinda day.
Just one of those days when things are irritating.
Like my boss. Who managed to get a virus on his computer that deleted his operating system.
So he bothered me all day about how this was really setting him behind.
Blah, blah, blah....
And then I came home and made dinner for some friends of our going through a tough time.
Luckily God was on my side for that one and the meal turned out perfect.
But my family's meal was a different story.
See I decided to experiment since the iodine free diet is limiting.
So I took 2 ingredients that I knew Evan could have and tried to make something "inventive".
Whoever on the internet publishes recipes for orange marmalade pork should be shot.
Because it is gross.
Did I mention I hate oranges??
But it was gross any way. So bad that Britton asked to go spit his out in the trash.
Poor kid. Poor husband. Slop for dinner.
And making cabbage as a side dish wasn't too smart either- just sayin'.

So to make up for my failure as a cook, I decided I would mow the lawn. I'm good at that.
Until the bleeping $400 bagger we own decided it wanted to get clogged repeatedly by the grass. I spent way too much time sticking my hand up the bagger shoot removing nasty grass before I decided to say screw it with the bagger and left the yard covered in clipping. I'm sure Evan is thrilled.
And I will be irritated for the rest of the week every time I look at the lawn.

So now, I'm drinking a margarita. And in case you are wondering, margaritas are iodine free.
And now I'm going to bed.
And thank God tomorrow is Friday.
Cause someone is getting hurt if I don't get some down time.


Happiness and Joy

Haley taught me a lesson tonight. Something that she learned at the camp she is going to this week.

She asked me if I knew the difference in happiness and joy. I thought I probably did, but I wanted her to tell me the answer. And her answer was beautiful.

She said that happiness was something that you could experience at any event. But joy, that was something that we could only experience through Jesus. It took Him dying for us to be able to experience joy.

And this I believe. And I am so glad that she does too. My baby knows real joy. The joy that only God can provide for her.

Later on I read the parent guide that was sent home from camp with her today. It said for the parents to sit with the kids and tell about moments of joy we had experienced through our children. Here's the problem- I couldn't talk through the answers to that without crying my eyes out. So I didn't tell my children about the joys they have brought me. I didn't want them to see me cry.

But every day is a joy with my children. Every day is like having sweet Jesus here telling me to be child-like.

It is a joy to watch them grow. It is a joy to watch them learn. Joy is watching them love each other.

Thank you Jesus for the joy of Haley and Britt.

Rough Weekend

If you still are following us on the journey that is the Iodine Free diet, bless you.
Because this diet is enough to put anyone into a coma.
I mean really.
Not only does it rid you of all of the good foods to enjoy in life (ummm cheese), but it also causes a lack of enjoy that is unheard of.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to get enough fuel on this diet to keep yourself excited about life.
But we are trying really hard.
Evan said it the best when he said the diet is not so bad during the week, but the weekends absolutely suck!
I felt so bad for Evan this weekend. We basically ate salad and fruit for a span of 24 hours and his energy got to rock bottom.
I kept saying, "Let's get you something to eat", as we were walking around the grocery store. And his response would be something like, "I hate flipping Publix!".
And I felt so bad I went home and made him some guacamole and chicken.
But I know that was not what he really wanted- it would just have to do.

We did "cheat" and go to a restaurant on Sunday. But he ordered steak with no seasoning and a baked sweet potato. I think it was a nice change and conformed to the diet. Getting out was just nice, especially with friends.

So we enter week 2 of 4. Wow- overwhelming to say the least. But again, all in the name of curing cancer. So we can do this. We can do this. We can do this.


Slimmin' down

One positive about this low iodine diet- weight loss!
Eating only fresh fruits and veggies and some meat has caused some pounds to start falling off.
Thank goodness- as we now have a positive angle to use in getting through the next 3 weeks.

As of today, Evan had lost 7.5 pounds in 5 days! I am very proud of him because the whole not having a thyroid thing really makes weight loss difficult. Not to mention he is getting up every morning and going to the gym or running. He really is my hero.

And I was down 5 pounds this morning. I can't be as excited about mine since I gained 4 pounds on vacation. So really I just rid myself of the vacation blot from last week plus one pound. But hey- I'll take it!


The Low Iodine Diet

In preparation for Evan's next radiation scan, he was put on a low iodine diet.
If you aren't up on your thyroid health knowledge, the thyroid is the only organ in your body that takes up iodine. So for the next 4 weeks, Evan is supposed to starve his body of iodine in hopes of making any remaining thyroid cells in his body very hungry. He will then be given a tracer dose of radioactive iodine. The starving cells should then take up all of the radioactive iodine very quickly (because they are starving) and when Evan is scanned for radiation, the cells should glow.
Our hope and prayers are that nothing glows. Because no glowing means no thyroid cells means no cancer. And we have had it with cancer.

And in case you are wondering, iodine is in everything. The basic rule is, if you can pick it or slaughter it, you can eat it. With the exception of turkey, potato skins, and shell beans which naturally contain iodine..
Dairy is completely off limits, as is anything processed, frozen, canned or boxed.
Restaurants are completely off limits. Anything with red coloring is also not allowed.
And even meat is limited to 5 ounces or less each day. So in other words, it's a strict diet.
But I'd like to think that the first four days for us have been ok. So far everyone in the family has cooperated and eaten everything I've made. And we've really tried to explain to our kids that what we are eating now is really what we should be eating all of the time.

It has also forced me to really think and plan what we eat. After all, most of the seasonings and ingredients I would use are off limits. The most obvious of which is salt.
And in case you are new to this blog, I don't actually cook. I am anticipating a call from the gas company asking us why we have started using our oven.
I have cooked 4 days straight. I am positive that is a new record.

What have I been cooking you ask?

Here's what we've had so far-

Breakfast for Evan has been shelled (non-salted)almonds and bananas. He also has oatmeal and raisins he can eat. And I purchased egg whites for a possible weekend breakfast.
Lunch is usually leftover dinner or natural peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread and fruit.
And now where I come in- dinner:

Day 1- Chicken marinated in Italian Dressing (pan seared), whole green beans (steamed) and squash (steamed with onions)

Day 2- Flank steak marinated in salsa, grilled and cut against the grain. Sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms. Fresh guacamole. All served on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes for a Fajita Salad.

Day 3- Spaghetti with homemade natural tomato sauce.
Forgot to take a picture! But our kids loved it

Day 4- Pan seared pork medallions (seasoned with pepper), asparagus (steamed) and mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with cinnamon and syrup (yes, he can have syrup)

So that's it so far. Basically, we'd love some pizza. But every ingredient is forbidden. So we will continue to eat like rabbits, all in the name of getting Evan cancer free. And if that's what it takes to get him healthy, I'd eat grass if we were told to.
And if you don't mind saying a little prayer for Evan's scan that will be August 13th, that would be great. Thanks in advance!

Lazy Bones

I have so much to blog about that I think I am overwhelmed. So I have been lazy and not blogged at all. I really need to and I hope to get at least 1 post done tonight, barring our 50 loads of laundry get done!
So here is what you have to look forward to: (Hopefully by making this list I'll sit and make posts)
- Evan and Haley are training for a 5K and hopefully then a 10K
-I downloaded a bunch of porn to my work computer! Thank you awesome virus creators.
-The Iodine Free Diet days #1-4
-The Wasp that stole my ankle
-An update on Bill from work and his now "girlfriend"
- Beach pictures
-Planning for the Disney Half Marathon

And maybe a few more i have forgotten about

So hold me accountable!


How could you do it?

I had a thought today when I was cutting the grass. I was riding around on our super cool John Deere lawn tractor and something popped into my head.
I thought I would share my thought with my blog audience.

How could you possibly live life without Jesus?
And there is nothing deep about this question.
Because I don't have a deep bone in my body.
I just want to know how a person could get through every day life without the love and grace that Jesus provides.
And how could you live without knowing that every thing will be ok because God will take care of you?

Mainly I ask these questions because I don't understand why things are happening like they are to people around me and why somehow everyone involved has amazing peace about it all.

Myself included. i have amazing peace. I KNOW that I will be taken care of. I KNOW that Evan will be ok. I KNOW that our 8 year old friend Audrey will be healthy. Because God is with us.

It's that easy people. God is with us. And although we do not understand some of the crappy things that happen in the lives we live here on Earth, I am thankful we can all rejoice in knowing that ultimately we will be taken care of.

And I am so very inspired by our friend Randy, who in the wake of finding out his sweet daughter has cancer, was able to send a text that read "God is Good". Yes, he is Randy. And I pray to Him that Audrey will live a long life where she too can proclaim that Jesus is all we need.

Back from the Beach- Some things I learned on Vacation

Here is a short list of things I learned on our recent vacation to Panama City.

1. It is NEVER a good idea to eat at Sonny's Bar-B-Q. That place is just gross.

2. Panama City Beach has become the Softball Mecca of the World. And in the unfortunate case you visit during one of the World Series Tournament Championships of the Universe, prepare to be surrounded by pre-teen and teenage girls who act like are in fact the center of the universe. And they didn't get this way on their own, their parents are completely responsible for making these little monsters into the ridiculous beings that they are. Don't plan on visiting a pool, shopping area or restaurant without whole swarms of these girls taking over the area in which you are in. And they are loud, and obnoxious. Consider yourselves warned.

3. The media hype about the oil spill has caused many people to cancel their Gulf Coast vacations. And other than the softball teams, there is no one there. Which is ridiculous because the beaches are clean and beautiful. We saw hundreds of people paid by BP to clean the beaches each day, and they never had anything to pick up. And the oil smell I had heard about, never smelled it.
It's sad really- it makes me want to slap anyone that cancels their vacation because of what they heard on the news.

4. July is Seaweed Month in the Ocean. No oil, just lots and lots of seaweed. Like so much seaweed you felt like you were swimming in an ocean of snot. So while the beaches were beautiful and the water was oil free, swimming was pretty gross. But I just kept telling myself that people pay big money for seaweed wraps and fancy shampoos and lotions that contain seaweed and kelp. So I'm sure my skin is as radiant as ever thanks to the ocean boogers.

5. Our kids are at a great age for vacation. We took a babysitter along with us this year, but I'm thinking we would have been ok without her. Don't get me wrong, it was nice having extra eyes, but our kids were very good and alot of fun to be with and play with the whole week. Very few arguments and alot of fun laughter. That being said, let's move to #6..

6. Britton hates the beach. He does not like the sand. He does not like the sun. He could spend countless hours in the pool, but he could care less about the beach. Interesting since that is what we paid to see, the beach. We were usually able to squeeze about an hour out of him on the beach before we were back at the pool.

7. Hooters has good food. Yep, nothing says family vacation like a trip to Hooters. It was one of the best meals we had all week. And a few little boobs don't intimidate me. So don't be a hater, just go get the boneless wings or the Buffalo Sandwich.

8. I am the Putt-Putt Queen of the Universe. Sorry honey, I beat you fair and square. Oh, and I don't recommend playing putt-putt at 2:00 in the afternoon at the beach. It's a little warm.

9. The first floor is the best place for a condo in a building with 21 floors and 2 elevators. Not to mention, it's a great place to be for someone who is terrified of heights (me).

10. The bed in 104E at Splash is very uncomfortable and loud. And by loud I mean if you move at all while you sleep, you will wake up and so will the people who might be near you.

11. And finally, we found the vacation spot for all inappropriately dressed, large folks. Don't get me wrong, I admit I am a big girl. But I also know that I need a one piece bathing suit with plenty of coverage. Most others did not get that memo.
We got to see plenty of stretch marks, belly rolls and tramp stamps on vacation.

So there you have it. A quick post about some of our vacation. I'll have plenty more I'm sure. And maybe some pictures to share.


PCB Bound!

I'd like to say I will miss you while I am gone, but probably not.
Ok- just kidding!
We are off to the land of wet t-shirt contests and Spring Break motels.
We of course will be at the very family friendly Splash Resort, hanging with our kids and being a family.
Maybe if we get crazy we'll have a margarita.


I'm glad I'm here

Last night, we were laying in bed watching the show "Cougar Town".

If you have not seen this show, you are missing out. It very well could be the funniest show on television in my opinion. The characters are just plain witty. And I spend the entire show laughing.

And I was particularly intrigued by last night's episode. All of the characters spent the entire show making mistakes in relationships and then trying to hide their mistakes from everyone else. They all seemed to be lost and just needed another person to make them feel special. And they all were made to feel special, but all of them regretted the choice they made except for one couple.

The only couple on the show that is married. The wife looked over at the husband as they lay in bed and said, "I'm glad I'm here". She was happy to have the safety and security that her marriage brought her. And she is married to a far from perfect man, but she knew that she was right where she needed to be.

And so am I. I am glad I am here. Living the life that God has given me. I have the chance to be a good wife and mom. And I just love that every night I go to bed next to my security.


Cancer Update Time

We have been enjoying a summer of not worrying about cancer.
It has been nice just relaxing and not worrying about when appointments are.
But appointment time is upon us again.
We will be going to the beach for vacation next week, and then everything kicks into full swing.
It all starts with the Low Iodine Diet- July 19th.
This is when I think we will need your prayers the most.
Because for 3 weeks, Evan will be on a very strict diet of lean, non-seasoned meat, pasta and fresh fruits and vegetables. That doesn't sound bad except that he also can't have any restaurant food, no pre-packaged or canned food, absolutely no dairy and no red food coloring. Along with about a million other things he can't have.
And did I mention I don't cook on a regular basis? So he might very well starve!
But it is my plan to make this as easy on him as possible by making a wide variety of yummy veggies and such. They just might be a little on the bland side with no salt or butter!
But hey, we will make it through, and hopefully we'll both shed a few pounds in the process which would be a good thing.

And then post diet hell, Evan has an ultrasound on August 9th. He then has a shot of Thyrogen on the 10th, another on the 11th and then a radiation dose and scan on Friday the 13th.

And with all of that, I ask that you pray with us for a clean ultrasound and scan. Pray specifically that this is it. NO MORE CANCER PERIOD!

Thank you to everyone that keeps praying for Evan's health even when we don't have much news to share. You all are the reason that I know soon we will be able to hear he is "CANCER FREE".


The Perfect 3 Days

I just love holidays.
But I especially love the 4th of July. And it was nice that it fell on a Sunday this year, thus creating a 3 day weekend.
And we packed those 3 days as full as we could.
It was perfect. Plenty of rest, but plenty of fun.
Here's how we spent it:
Friday the 2nd was Haley's Official 10th birthday. We celebrated by going to PF Changs and then going back to our house to enjoy Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes. Did I mention Haley made the cupcakes from scratch by herself? That's right- she made her own birthday cupcakes! And they were delicious. Everyone loved them and she loved making them.

We woke up Saturday morning and didn't do too much as we had a busy day ahead.
At 12:30, we left to go to the American Girl Store at Northpoint Mall for lunch and shopping.
If you have never been to AG, it is quite an experience. Dolls everywhere! And clothes and miniature shoes and more dolls. And they have a hair salon for the dolls. Haley and her two friends had their doll's hair styled while we were there. That was interesting- comical to say the least.
We then had a very fancy lunch at the American Girl Bistro. I have to say I was impressed. I wasn't expecting much, but the food was good, the service was great and they made Haley feel really special with an awesome cake and all kinds of goodies. It was pricey, but worth it in my book. I must say, I enjoy spoiling her.
After lunch, we shopped a little more and headed home with the girls. They went home late that evening, right in time for our friends "Super Six" to come over.
The 6 of us had an all too familiar dinner at Waffle House and then set up camp in our living room.
There is nothing like a bunch of 30 somethings (and Bethany in her 20s) sprawled out on a living room floor in sleeping bags. It's just like a bunch of teenagers- except for the snoring of course!
We had gitty conversation and by midnight, we were all asleep.
The next morning was early. 6:00 AM. But we were on a mission. So getting up wasn't as painful as it might have been otherwise.
We had to get Evan to the start of the Peachtree Road Race. And our plan was executed flawlessly. We were able to get him very close to the start, encountered no traffic, and made it to Piedmont Park in plenty of time to set up camp to watch the race.
I was amusing to see the 5 of us crammed in our truck to drop Evan off. I reminded him he should feel special since not many guys have an escort of 5 adults!
We had a blast watching the race. The favorite activity was "Count the American Flag shorts". We reached 100 pairs of unfortunate shorts before Evan had even started the race! Dear Peachtree Road Race participants- Maybe try and find something else for next year?

And of course, the highlight of the day was seeing Evan come over the top of the hill headed toward the finish line. I got a tear in my eye. I was so happy for him. So proud of him. And I couldn't help but see a whole year flash before me in that moment. He made it look easy as he ran by us. I know it wasn't easy, but I know that he was so determined that nothing was going to stop him from finishing.
And at the end of the race, I took a picture of Evan with Super Six right after he had finished. And in that moment, I captured all that is perfect in the amazing friendships we have formed. It would not have been the same if those 4 had not been there to share Evan's victory. I am so thankful for our friends, our true friends who are always there.
And the rest of the weekend was fireworks and food and friends.
By far the coolest 4th of July weekend I could have asked for.
And I'm counting the days until next years 4th. Rumor has it more of Super Six is running the Peachtree next year. I'm fairly certain they can guarantee that Connie and I will be at the Finish to cheer them on.


Happy Birthday Haley!

Ten years ago today I added the title "Mama" to my resume.
And Haley Bryant has made my job as a mom so very easy.
She is a complete joy.
Smart, beautiful and talented.
Kind, gentle and sweet.
I could not imagine life without her.
And I look forward to many years of watching her change the world.
I love you my sweet Haley.