"How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Psalm 84:1-2

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 2: Arrival to Florida......

After driving about 9 or so hours on Saturday, we only had 3 hours to go on Sunday.
The kids were so excited to see the beach!!
It was so beautiful!!
The water was crystal clear too and so blue!!
 We knew it was the beginning of a good week!
Since we got to Panama City earlier in the day, we had time to kill before checking into our condo. So we went to the Visitor's Bureau, where they mentioned that the local zoo was only a dollar that day! What a neat surprise to be able to go for such a good price!
It was busy but we still got to see lots of new animals!
We got to see this albino white tiger which was really cool! At one point it even roared and jumped up on the fence! It was cool and a little scary!
We also got coupons for free ice cream from this guy!! Another nice treat!
We saw so many cool primates
This mama had her baby on her back! They were so tiny and cute!!
We got our picture taken with this crocodile!
Grace didn't want to touch it but at least she got in the picture! :)
The picture above was very reminiscent of Gene and I's March 2003 spring break trip to Miami, where we also got to hold a crocodile!! I was pregnant with Grace in this picture!
After the zoo and a grocery store stop, we finally were able to check into our condo at the Splash resort in Panama City.
The first thing the kids wanted to do was go swimming!!
We had two pools to choose from which was fun. One was heated and one was not!
They had all these round tube floats to use for the lazy river which was a nice amenity!!
We got in the warm pool that night!
Gene holding onto all the kiddos!!
They had this cool playground and different water features which was neat. Surprisingly, we didn't use this playground that much! It was cold and the bucket dumped water every 5 mins which sounded like a storm so our little ones were scared of it!
It was a great first day of many to come!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 1: First soccer games.....

The kids first soccer games was on our first day of vacation. So instead of missing them, we stayed in town and just left after their games!!
Dax getting ready to throw the ball in to his teammates!
Grace playing peek a boo with Asher
Asher wasn't old enough to play this year but maybe next!
Hayden played at the same time as Dax, so I was running back and forth watching them!!
Hayden throwing the ball in to his teammates
Grace got to play right after the boys and did a great job for her first game!
Right after Grace's game was done, we were itching to leave to get started on our vacation!! We left town around lunchtime and made it to Montgomery, Alabama that night. We stayed in Alabama that night and only had a few more hours to go the next day for Panama City, Florida!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Urologist appointment....

My Dad went Friday to the Urologist, whom officially diagnosed him as having Kidney cancer. He scheduled him to have a biopsy the following Monday. He said it was most likely Stage 4 Renal Cell Cancer. It's the most common form of Kidney cancer. He said surgery at this point would not be an option and he referred him to a Oncologist. He was not at all optimistic and was very real with my Dad. It was very discouraging and hard to hear this news. My Dad called me that afternoon to tell me the news and it was very hard to hear him talk about it. I am sure it was hard for him to tell me too.

I cried alot that day. I remember Grace coming up into my room and saw that I was crying. I was laying in bed and so she laid next to me rubbing my back and asked me what was wrong. I told her that Papaw was really sick. She knew that I meant it was serious. She asked if he could die from it, and I said yes. Right after that, she said, "Well, if he dies he will go to heaven which is good.......but I know you will miss him." Her words ministered to me in many ways. She was not being insensitive at all, but hopeful for what lies ahead in heaven.

We had planned a vacation for the last part of September in Florida. We were actually supposed to leave the very next day after their soccer games. We had planned this way before we knew my Dad was sick and we were so looking forward to getting away and resting that week. After we found out about my Dad, I didn't want to be away from him that long, especially at this time, but my Dad insisted that we still go and enjoy ourselves. He's the one who put the love of traveling and family in my heart and he wanted us to go. He knew Gene had worked so hard all year and really needed this vacation. He knew we had a really hard summer and needed this week to rejuvenate and get away.  He was so selfless and insistent that we go, so we decided to go ahead with our plans. I so wanted my Dad to go with us, I wanted to pack my whole family up and just disappear with them. (partially hoping that it would all go away....)

Normally, I am so excited to pack for vacation but I could barely bring myself to do it that night. I was pretty sad. I called a few friends and they started praying for my Dad and our trip! I asked them to pray that God could still bring some joy to this week despite what was going on in our lives. In the end, God did just that, He knew what was going to lie ahead over the next couple months and He allowed us to have a wonderful vacation! (Pics to come)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dad's colonospy and CAT scan....

On Wednesday of that week, my Dad had a colonoscopy. At this point, they were looking for possible reasons for his blood loss and also for any other abnormal things. Everything came back completely normal, so that was great news!

On Thursday of that same week, my Dad had a CAT Scan. During this CAT Scan they found out that he had a 15 centimeter tumor on his right Kidney, a tumor on his adrenal gland and some cancerous lymph nodes. At this time they believed it was kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs. All in all, it was very disappointing news. I think at first my Dad was relieved it wasn't lung cancer and we hoped kidney cancer would be easier to treat, but at the same time it was not good that it had spread to his lungs. The doctor initially said that my Dad would have surgery to take the cancerous kidney and she then scheduled him to see a urologist the very next day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We had signed up for a field trip to Appleworks with a local homeschool group and it also gave us a chance to see my Dad that same day in Brown County!
The Appleworks lady telling all about the different apples that they harvest there!
(Dax and Grace are with their friends Zion and Ally)
Now she's telling us all about how an apple is made!
Next we got a tour of the cooler where they keep all the apples that they pick!
Next we got to see the kitchen where they make all their yummy things they sell in their shop!!
A worker showing us a sliced and cored apple which was super easy with their little gadget!! I need one of those!!
After our tour, we got on a wagon which took us on a tour of the orchard!
Dax and his friend Josiah!
All the lovely apples!!
All the kiddos got to pick an apple off the tree!!
They loved that part!
Finally, we all got some apple cider and a Carmel apple bar treat!!
After that we got to explore everything else on our own so we took a walk!
We saw this big guy in the water!
Our family and Josiah's family!
Asher and a turkey!
Hayden swinging on a rope!
My kiddos on the hay bales!
Our kiddos with two of our favorite families
One last photo before we go......
I guess this will have to do.....I couldn't get these crazy kids to look at the same time!!