Boy, life has been so busy lately and has thrown us some major curve balls lately. After many weeks of Matt having back/leg pain due to a bulging disc and doing physical therapy to try and get relief he ended up needing emergency surgery when the disc ruptured. I am very thankful that God was watching over Matt...the surgeon said had the rupture been a few discs higher that the rupture would have severed his spinal cord and he would have been paralyzed for life. He did have quite a bit of nerve damage that is causing some lingering effects (no feeling in his left leg) but we are hoping those nerves will grow back over time and that these side effects aren't permanent. In the meantime he is sitting at home for the next 6 weeks on limited activity! During Matt's ordeal Caleb had been coughing and had a low grade fever. I was finally able to get him to the dr on Monday and he had pneumonia. He is responding well to antibotics though thank goodness. And if all that wasn't enough I was supposed to have a small procedure Nov. 2 to remove a couple of spots that had been found on a mammogram a few weeks ago. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to remove them my dr decided I had been through enough and they would just leave them and do another mammogram in 3 months. If there is growth at that point we will attempt a different procedure to remove them. Needless to say we have had a interesting few weeks and I am looking forward to things being relatively calm around here.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:24 AM
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Madison's Girl Scout had the opportunity to attend a safety day at Safety City. She was so excited. Not all of the girls from her troop came but quite a few did. Madison had a blast showing off her ability to ride a bike without training wheels! She was the only girl from her troop that could ride without training wheels. The girls had a great time taking a safety course, getting their "license" made and having their helmets fitted. A few girls, including Madison, didn't have properly fitting helmets so they were given new helmets. They were really nice helmets too! Listening in the safety class
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:32 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2012
A couple of weekends ago Taylor's Girl Scout troop went to our local Archery Club and from the first arrow Taylor shot she was hooked! And to top it off she was really good. She was able to practice with both a longbow and a compound. She preferred the longbow. In fact she asked for one for Christmas :) My dad used to compete in Archery Competitions and still has his longbows...we are going to see if they are still in good condition and if so just restring them. Taylor also wants to join the Archery Club and shoot weekly so she can get better. And we found out...there are Archery Scholarships :)
Posted by Holly Aytes at 8:44 AM
Friday, September 7, 2012
I admit it...I am a pinterest-aholic! I refused to get on there for a long time. I didn't want to see all these cute ideas and yummy recipes that I didn't have time to do. Finally, I broke down and got on. At first I would get on and browse once a week. Then I browsed a couple times a week and before I knew it I was hooked and was on every day, "pinning" away. Now I have numerous boards and not only am following other people but have followers myself :) I have done a few crafts, made a few recipes and gotten many decorating ideas :) I'm pretty proud of myself. Now I just need to limit myself on how long I browse on a daily basis...it is so easy to get sucked in once the kids are in bed and spend hours looking at things. I made these for a birthday lunch at work the first week of school...they were a hit!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 4:15 PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Matt and I returned from a wonderful 10 day vacation with no kids. This was our first big trip without them...we have gone away for a weekend before but never this long. We decided to farm out the kids so nobody would have all 3 (this way the caregivers would offer to keep the kids next time we do this). Caleb went to stay with Matt's parents, Madison stayed with my parents and Taylor went to my sister's house. This was the most relaxing vacation. We left at midnight Thursday night and drove to Orlando (driving at night is the best as there was no traffic) where we stayed at Bonnet Creek for 2 nights. Matt's mom had reserved the presidential suite for us. We checked in and slept for a few hours. We ended up walking around Universal Studio's Citywalk that evening and grabbing a bite to eat in a food court. Saturday we slept in and laid by the pool a little. We also enjoyed walking around the resort b/c lots had changed since we had been there last a few years ago. We can't wait to take the kids in March during Spring Break. Sunday morning we got up and drove over to Tampa. Once in Tampa we quickly found the parking garage we had reserved a spot at. They loaded our stuff onto the shuttle and we headed over to the Port Authority. A porter took our luggage and within 10 minutes we were through all the security and had our "sail & sign" cards in our hands and were on The Legend! I couldn't believe how quickly it happened. We enjoyed just sitting and people watching while waiting on our room (we got on the boat at 11:00 but couldn't get into our room until 1:30). We had a wonderful time and made some great memories and are already planning the next one! Because we did so much over the 10 day period I am going to break down the trip into many posts over the next few days.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 8:46 AM
Monday, July 23, 2012
Our suitcases are slowly getting packed! We have been making runs to the store to pick up things for the cruise! We have booked our excursions! We have spent hours reading reviews and forums! We think we have everything finally figured out! We think we know what we want to do and when we want to do it! We can't wait to sit by the pool and relax. We can't wait to see white beaches and the blue ocean of the caribbean :) We can't wait to see new things! We can't wait to celebrate 15 yrs of marriage in Belize cave-tubing! We are only slightly excited to be leaving in 3.5 days! We are excited about spending 2 nights in Orlando in the Presidental Suite at Bonnet Creek thanks to Matt's parents! We are excited about having dinner at Margaritaville in Downtown Disney Saturday night! Again, we are only slightly excited!!!!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 5:17 PM
Monday, July 16, 2012
I have neglected my blog so much over the past few months. We have been enjoying our summer though I haven't remembered to take many pictures. Matt came home on June 28th (2 days earlier than we expected) and we enjoyed spending 72 hours with him before he had to report to base in Memphis for 2 weeks. We enjoyed surprising our friends with his early arrival. And of course picking him up at the airport was priceless! And now he is home for good or until the next set of orders come. Taylor really enjoyed a week in Savannah, GA with her girl scout troop. She did all kinds of new things....zip-lining, archery, rifle shooting, scuba diving and rock climbing just to name a few. They were also able to drive over to Tybee Island and spend the day playing in the ocean. She was exhausted when she got back and spent the next week sleeping until noon! We enjoyed spending a few days in the mountains with Matt's mom just swimming and enjoying Dollywood. Madison celebrated her 7th birthday. Hard to believe she is that old. I'm looking forward to her 7 yr check-up to see how much she has grown...not much according to our scales. She has grown a few inches b/c she has moved up in band colors at Dollywood and can ride a few new things! She was so excited about this! We spent a few days at the river over the 4th. Taylor enjoyed tubing while Caleb and Madison enjoyed jumping off the dock and swimming in the river (I did not enjoy this part...I like my water crystal clear so I can see what it swimming with me). Matt and I are leaving for a caribbean cruise in less than 2 weeks to celebrate our 15th anniversary (thought it doesn't seem possible we have been married that long) and we couldn't be more excited! We are going to spend 2 days in Orlando before driving over to Tampa and catching the ship.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 6:26 PM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
It is hard to believe how quickly Matt's time in Calafornia has gone (though I don't think he will agree)....only 20 days and he will be home (only for 24 hrs but I will take what I can get). There was the occassional day where I thought the 17 weeks would never be over but for the most part it has really gone by quickly. I give the credit to our very busy schedules. I think we just stayed so busy that the days went quickly and though I really missed Matt I didn't have much time to sit around and mope over him being gone. I thought about him most mornings when I was dragging myself out of bed at 5 AM to get my day started. I know the kids are very excited. They are counting the days until he comes home. They are very excited about meeting him at the airport. We are just waiting to see when he will arrive...we won't know that until a few days before he comes home. I am expecting a late arrival though since he is coming in from CA which puts him 3 hours behind us. It doesn't matter if it is midnight me and the kids will be there. Lots has happened since I posted 3 months ago. We have celebrated Taylor's 12th birthday and Caleb's 9th birthday. Madison will be turning 7 in a few short weeks. Mother's Day came and went. We celebrated our sweet niece Quinn's 1st birthday. School finished with a bang...I now have a 7th grader (that doesn't seem possible) who is anticipating numerous honors classes in the fall based on her TCAP scores (which makes me nervous b/c I had trouble helping her with her honors classes this year), a 4th grader and a 1st grader. My, where has the time gone. We spent Memorial week at Edisto Island with my parents and Matt's parents. It was fabulous. Matt's brother, his wife and their 3 girls also came down. The kids had fun playing with their cousins who we don't get to see much since they live in China. I will have another blog post later though I didn't take as many pictures this time since I was doing everything with all 3 kids. Makes it hard to take pictures if you are the one in the water, sand, etc. We are gearing up for 2 busy weeks of VBS. This week we have a VBS in the morning as well as one in the evenings. Next week we have another morning VBS. Taylor then heads to Savannah for a week to celebrate 100 yrs of girl scouting with her troop. She is supposed to get home the same day as Matt...here's hoping their arrival times aren't the same.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 9:49 PM
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Well we have survived the 1st week with only a few bumps! For the 1st time since school started in August I had to get all 3 kids to school and myself to work. I was very nervous but it went smoothly though it did require me getting up at 5:00 AM and let me tell you I thought 5:30 was bad, it is nothing compared to 5:00! The kids have coped well. Caleb has been a little more arguemenative then normal but is fine at school so I can deal with the at home stuff. Luckily we are so busy during the week we barely have time to miss Matt. We have tennis on Monday's and Tuesday's, church on Wednesday's and scouts every other Thursday and Friday! This will definitely help the weeks go by quickly! I talked to Matt on Tuesday and he was settling in on base. The kids won't get to talk with him much during the week as they are already in bed when he can finally call (thanks to the 3 hour time difference). The kids did get to talk with him on Saturday. That made their day :) 3 of their cousins are here from Nashville (as well as one from Cookeville) for a few days so they have enjoyed playing with them this weekend.
Taylor and I went to see Big Miracle on Friday night. It was a movie we wanted to see and she had the opportunity to earn some extra credit for her Honors Language Arts class. It was really good. I don't remember the event actually taking place (it was in 1988).
We are busy trying to plan something fun for Spring Break. Trying to decide between the aquarium in Chattanooga or the zoo in Atlanta...anyone been to either place and lend me some feedback? We got Dollywood passes so maybe we will make it up there sometime. I also plan to paint the entryway and hallway as well as work on Taylor's new bedroom furniture. The week will go by too quickly I am sure!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 3:04 PM
Monday, February 20, 2012
We have been so busy! It seems like things never slow down for us. Girl Scouts for Taylor and Madison has picked up b/c we are in the middle of cookie sales! Madison has started tennis up. She is loving it! And I have to admit she looks so cute out on the court :)
We enjoyed spending last weekend at The Glade with all of Matt's family. It is the only time we will be together while Matt's brother and sister-in-law are home from China since Matt will be leaving. We enjoyed just sitting around talking, playing cards and swimming! I didn't get a lot of pictures b/c I was busy enjoying myself! Here is our attempt at a group picture...pretty good considering there was 10 adults and 12 kids ranging from 17 to 21 months!
We have been gearing up for Matt to leave again! He will be gone for 17 weeks this time. Skype will be our best friend! We have been trying to spend as much time as a family as possible but it is really hard with everyone's busy schedules.
Taylor attended her 1st Winterfest in Gatlinburg this weekend...13,000 teens from many Church of Christ all gathered together for a weekend of worship. Taylor said it was wonderful. She came back very tired though. Now she is gearing up for a girls weekend with the youth group in 2 weeks. I love that Taylor is involved in a wonderful youth group. We are really excited that our new youth minister will be here next month.
The kids were out of school today and neither Matt and I had to work. We took the kids to see The Secret World of Arriety. It was really good...the kids loved it. It was their first anime. Then Caleb went over to Will's house to play for awhile. All in all it was a very fun day :)
Posted by Holly Aytes at 8:18 PM
Sunday, February 5, 2012
While cleaning out a few boxes last week I found a list of Madison's sayings that I had written down. She was 2/3 when she said most of these but there are a couple she still says. I wrote them down so I wouldn't forget but thought I should write them here on my blog in case I lose the sheet of paper (which is very probable) LOL
sweet dreams...happy dreams
happy birthday...happy cake
polka dots...pokey nots
yesterday...last year (this one was one of my favorites)
Posted by Holly Aytes at 3:25 PM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The stockings are the best part of Christmas I think. Everyone buys everyone else something for their stocking (less than $10) so you have lots of little things to open. The kids really get into this because they get to pick out something for everyone. Since Madison loves penguins we were on the lookout for penguin things, Chris was needing pocket squares for his suits, Nana collects snowmen so she normally gets snowmen ornaments or decorations. It is always lots of fun!
Madison loves Holly Shiftwell (Cars 2) and had been wanting a little one...we finally found one so she was a little excited!
This year we played a joke on Caleb. We had told him since he was having surgery right after Christmas that all he would get in his stocking was gatorade, jello and pudding. He didn't believe us so what did we do...wrapped up 9 things of gatorade, jello and pudding! He thought it was the funniest thing! When he got done opening those we pulled out his real gifts!
He also got some shampoo and bodywash that looked like car oil...he loved it!
Taylor got a new Bible...she had 1 but it is kinda big and she wanted a slim one that would be easier to carry to church.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 5:53 AM
Sunday, January 22, 2012
After church we came home and the kids quickly changed back into their pj's. Everyone wanted to be very comfortable for the "opening of presents and eating" that was about to commence :) Madison put on her new penguin robe.
We had a quick brunch of homemade biscuits and ham before Hope, Chris and Quinn arrived. She is such a cutie!
The massive amount of presents, it was ridiculous and we had even cut back from last year! They wouldn't all fit around the tree!
Madison behind her pile of presents!
Pops got a new laptop since his had finally died and Matt had not been able to revive it.
Taylor got a pretty new clock for her room makeover scheduled for this spring!
Hope and I bought Nana and Pops a large canvas of the grandkids...it must have been a hit because Nana cried!
Madison got squinkies!
And Matt surprised me with a gift....the knife set from Pampered Chef!
Posted by Holly Aytes at 7:12 AM
Friday, January 13, 2012
Lately Madison has been both driving me crazy and cracking me up! She is still my little side-kick! I very rarely get out of the house without her. Most times I don't mind but sometimes I wish I could get out and run errands without her. If I do get out without her it is after numerous hugs, kisses and "I love you's". Also she has to wave to me from the deck when I leave. She says some of the funniest things and today was no exception. I knew I needed to write them down before I forget.
On the way home from school she said "mom, we talked about this little brown boy today. did you know brown people had to drink out of a different water fountain than white people a long time ago. that wasn't fair was it mom?" I told her I didn't think it was fair either, that God made all colors of people and that we shouldn't treat people different b/c of the way they look.
We had a few stops to make after I picked her up from school. While at the Dollar Tree she asked if we could go to Menchie's. I told her not today because I wasn't feeling to great (I have a cold). Once we got in the car she informed me that one of her nose's was runny but the other one was stuffy! Last time I checked she only has 1 nose so I think she probably meant nostril :) LOL I thought it was so cute though and want to remember the cute things she says.
Posted by Holly Aytes at 5:10 PM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Christmas fell on a Sunday this year which made things a little more interesting. We normally have Christmas with my sister and her family before Christmas since they are normally with her husband's family. This year they were doing Christmas with his family before Christmas so would be back home for Christmas here. We ended up having Christmas with my whole family on Christmas night. We got up and the kids were able to see what Santa brought and open their stockings before we got ready for church. The kids were happy with that (though Caleb really wanted to open all his presents) and agreed to wait until after church when Hope, Chris and Quinn would then come over and we open all the gifts as well as have dinner.
The tree and gifts before the kids came in
Caleb checking out his new Spiderman blanket and lego set that Santa left
Checking out their stocking loot
This kids after church
Madison got a new robe from Santa...it had penguins on it!
Somehow we got not one picture of Taylor looking at her presents from Santa...new paints and brushes as well as 10 new canvas's! She was so happy :)
Posted by Holly Aytes at 10:03 AM