Monday, February 26, 2007

Ice Storm

We enjoyed a short trip to STL this weekend! We got to spend some time with McLaren's and Jason helped Chuck with their drop ceiling. It looks great so far and can't wait to see pictures when the carpet goes in.

While we were gone enjoying electricity, Iowa was hit with a huge storm. Here are some picts my mom took from their house. From what we have learned our lights were out for a little less than 24 hours. My parents have been out since Saturday afternoon and aren't expecting to get it back until at LEAST this weekend. We are also expecting another storm with possibilities of rain, snow, ice or ALL THREE! Jason is suppose to be heading to WI Thursday so let's pray it is just rain!

We had school on Monday - which most didn't. We have about 15 percent without power. My mom says that it will be awhile - she works for an electric company. Rachel and Mom are here tonight trying to stay warm. Dad is trying to hook up a generator to get some heat back in the house. It is between 40 and 50 in there right now with outside temps hoovering around 32 degrees. Time to head to bed!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shaelynn Sue Kelly

Friends - Many of you know my great friend Sarah (Kelly) Berberich from EIBC. Her younger brother Drew's family needs a lot of prayer. They have a precious 15 month old baby girl - Shaelynn. After taking a spill last Wednesday, they discovered a tumor in her brain about 8 cm. They air lifted her to the U of I hospitals. They orginally thought from the cat scans and MRI that it was not going to be cancerous, but in surgery found out otherwise. I have included their carepage blogs from the hospital. If you are interested in reading their carepage - create an account at Shaelynn's page is "shaelynnsue."

1 February 17, 2007 at 10:43 AM CST
Family and Friends,
An update about Shaelynn Sue. So on Wednesday, February 14th Shaelynn took a fall about 10 inches off of a chair that sits on the floor and hit the back of her head. I did not think too much of it but watched her and she wanted to go "nigh, nigh" so she took a long nap about 2-1/2 hours and woke up, had lunch, played with Drew and I and then went down for her afternoon nap. After that she was really cranky, didn't really want to eat and tired. Then on Thursday she basically slept all day and had only 1-1/2 yogurts to eat. I became concerned and called our doctor, well my mom did, and he said to take her to the ER. Drew came home from work as he works nights now and we took her in to HCHC around 7:30. She had a CT of her brain where it showed a large about 8 cm, size of a baseball, brain tumor in the right back side of her brain. Shaelynn was airlifted to UIHC at around 9:00 then and I got to fly in the front seat with her. The pediatric neurosurgeons are taking care of her case and she has had 2 CT scans and an MRI done so far. Lots of pokes and blood draws and hooked up to monitors. She is tolerating all of this fairly well and as much as can be expected for a 15 month old. She will be having surgery on Monday to get a biopsy of the tumor and see if it is cancerous or noncancerous and try to remove the whole thing right now if it is noncancerous. There is risk with this surgery and so prayers now and especially on Monday would be well appreciated. We are just so thankful that she took that fall and that Drew and I became concerned or we would have never found this mass. She has had it for a long time and the fall had nothing to do with it.
Thanks so much. We will try to keep you updated as things progress.
Keep saying those prayers as God is with our precious baby girl!!!
Drew, Sam, and Shaelynn Sue

2 February 18, 2007 at 02:13 PM CST
Good Afternoon All,
Shaelynn had a pretty good night better than she has had since being here. She has an IV in her foot and now in her hand instead of her elbow as last night she was leaking out of the elbow one and so they put a new one in her hand today. She is playing with Grandpa Jeff and Uncle O'Brien, and Daddy now and my mom and I are going downstairs to get some coffee and food.
Tomorrow is her surgery and they are asking that we keep her visitors at a minimum in her room after the surgery. You can all be here but may not necessary get to see Shaelynn but you can see Drew and I at different points. They want to keep her at minimal stimulation after such a big surgery.
Thanks. Talk to you soon. Keep praying!!!
The Kelly's

3 February 18, 2007 at 04:38 PM CST
They have finalized that Shaelynn will have surgery tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. The anesthetists will come up and get her at 7:15 a.m. and Drew and I will go with her.
Shaelynn has to have another MRI this evening at some point and go under anesthesia possibly to have it again. If you can pray for that tonight also and for a good nights rest.
The Kelly's

4 February 19, 2007 at 08:29 AM CST
Shaelynn went in at 8:15 a.m. this morning. Drew gowned up and went in with her until she fell asleep. We will keep you posted!!! Praise to Him!!!

5 February 19, 2007 at 11:07 AM CST
This is Candy. We just wanted everyone to know that they just got started around 11 a.m. There was alot of prep time and so we are looking to around 5 or 6 p.m. before surgery will be done. We'll update you as we hear. Just keep praying. Sam and Drew are doing good, and family is here. Thank you for all your love and prayers.

6 February 19, 2007 at 03:27 PM CST
Dear family and friends, Our news isn't the news we'd hoped for. The surgery was stopped 2+ hours into it with swelling of her brain. They did get a biopsy and it appears to be cancerous. They will put in a central line hopefully tomorrow and begin the 1st of 2 rounds of chemotherapy. She will probably be in the hospital a while after the 1st round. We are hoping that after the 2nd round of chemo that the tumor will shrink enough to do surgery to remove as much as possible of it. Please pray with us and for Shaelynn. They are keeping her sedated the night and Sam and Drew are with her and will continue to be with her at all times. God loves her and we will hold onto His promises. Candy and family

7 February 20, 2007 at 02:44 PM CST
Hello All,
Shaelynn is having a very quiet day today and has just been resting a lot. She has been able to eat oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast, juice and milk. I tried to feed her lunch and she just didn't seem to want to do that but we won't be pushing it. We will be going to a regular Peds room today at some point and will let you know where that is and when. She will then have surgery tomorrow sometime to get a port put in for her chemotherapy which will begin Wednesday night and take 5 days. So hopefully we will be looking at going home on Monday. She will also have an MRI on her spine right after the surgery while still sedated to make sure nothing has spread to the spine.
Please pray that the MRI for the spine would be clear and that the surgery would go well and that she would tolerate the chemo really well. Those are our immediate requests.
Thanks so much for all the support and prayers!!
Sam Kelly

Snowman Family

The snow was finally wet enough after a good day of almost 40 degrees to make a snowman. Ally requested a mommy, daddy, brother, and sister. She was a little upset that Jason didn't meet her other requests of an aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa and cousin snowmen. She wanted the WHOLE family.

We didn't have rocks for eyes or big carrots for noses so we improvised with baby carrots that barely stick out far enough and some ROCK hard donuts for eyes. As you can tell, Drew decided to take a snack break and eat off the frosting - GROSS!!

Tonight when we got home only 2 snowmen survived the day and barely with half their backs missing. Ally is so bummed that the snow is going away.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Jason hates to walk as most of you know, but this exercise can be done in our playroom and we automatically have 30 or 60 pound weights to add quickly. I did my exercises this morning with 30 pounds in Drew's room this morning. Jason got lucky and both kids decided to help him. Basically they sit on our legs and we flip them over top. It is a lot of fun, but when mommy and daddy think that exercising is over with - Drew and Ally don't agree. Also notice the great red face that Jason has - I think he needs to workout some more.

The mount and begining to flip - pulling the abs (and groin says Jason)...

The dismount - works the arms.


Did you know that my baby girl is almost 4???? Goodness! On Friday after her short nap, she went outside. It had started to snow and she needed some fresh cold air. She headed to the backyard to make 11 snow angels. I was smart and took the pictures from the warmth of the living room.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Sweetheart

I had the great pleasure to supervise the 7th grade boys basketball game on Wednesday night - V Day. Drew and Ally were with me for awhile until Jason got off work. My students had made posters for the game - geeks. They were letting Drew hold up their poster that said - Oh Wow! As you can see, Drew was trying to get his mommy's attention!

Bottle Feeding Lambs

Drew and Ally enjoyed helping Chad with his chores the other night. They like feeding the lambs - mountain dew.

JR Update

For those faithful blog readers, you remember the first week of October a tragic accident for one of my kids. We didn't think he would make it, but after 3 wks in a coma and several more weeks at the U of I hospital, he was release to another rehabilitation center in Ankeny. JR is not the same kid from before Oct 2nd, but has the same zeal for life as before. This little guy is Philipino and his mom has no family in the states.

JR makes daily progress and makes it through a whole day of school with no naps now. He doesn't want to leave the room now because he is afraid he will miss something - not typical for a normal 7th grader (if you didn't know).

Pray for his family as this has obviously made a lot of changes in his family and for his friends.

In this picture JR is with his friends. He is second from the left next to the kid in the red.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day!

All last night I was SURE that we would have a snow day. We ended up staying up watching t.v. late with the assumption that we wouldn't have school. I had a lot of faith in the weatherman considering that it wasn't snowing at 11:30 yet and we needed enough by 5:30 to call off school for the day - but supposedly something good was coming and the radar showed it!

At 5:30 Jason got up and looked outside and said - about 2 inches - arghhhh. He went down to look at the computer and came back up 5 minutes later and said you are off!!!! YIPPEEEEE. I got the offical call about 6:00 and called Joe - my student teacher. I think it is amazing that back 11 years ago, my dad would CAREFULLY listen to the radio to see if we had school. They weren't organized back then - no ABC order. You had to keep listening until you for SURE heard your school because you never knew if you missed it. Now days we are sophisticated with the internet and all.

I think that it snowed until the middle of the afternoon. I don't think we actually got more than 4 inches, but it drifted pretty good. We got out and scooped the drive-way. Once again we are taking donations to the snow blower fund. I was trying to be a good wife and help, but I am PAYING for it now!

Here are some fun picts from the night.
Ally decided that we needed to scoop the backyard - she was on her own and gave up after a half hour.
Drew was a wimp tonight. He gets cold easily and went inside early. He must have been lonely because he kept opening the door and talking to us. He did have fun with his bike but was slowed down by the drifts.
Jason showed Ally how to make a snow angel. Then we had a snow clump fight - it wasn't good packing snow.

In the end we had a good cup of hot cocoa with marshmellows! Now back to school for an insane day after a snow day combined with Valentine's Day - oh boy!

Crazy - Insane - or Stupid???

Snow Day!!!! A much needed break which would be more appreciated if we didn't have Friday off already. The kids at school are starting to get the flu so maybe this day off will help slow down the outbreak. Thirty one eighth graders gone on Monday. I think that I had over 10 gone.

We will probably head out side later, but Ally wanted to paint. She just wanted her watercolors. I probably should have done that but I was in a crazy - let's be a fun mom moods. I think that my conjested head might have hampered my reasoning skills. We got out the finger paints - pulled up our sleeves and put a big on to slow down the paint from getting on our shirts. They had a blast and no paint is on any clothing. Ally completed 6 masterpieces. This last one is the begining of a bracelet with Ariel in the middle in an ocean of colors. She only has the bracelet done so far. The afternoon fun has just begun!

Labs for Sale

Grandpa Charlie convinced Ally that she needed to go to the Pet Store to get a puppy. If you know me well, you will know that NO DOG will EVER enter my house to live. We visited the Latcham Garage - AKA pet store. Chad's parent's dog had 12 puppies - 5 yellow and 7 chocolate labs! Yikes and I thought Drew was a tough labor!

Rachel had got a yellow one picked out for herself. Ally can't figure out why she would call it "Bear." They had fun. Chad also took them out to bottle feed the lambs. It was fun and the weather was much warmer 30s for an enjoyable trip!

Another 4 inches

It snowed I think on 2/6. We got out of school early which was really nice, but we probably should have stayed. I would have preferred a late start since the roads were only half visable. This week we had two bus accidents - noone was hurt though.

We got home a little before 2 and the kids went down for a nap - or at least Drew did. I had great intentions of being a great wife and scooping the drive-way, but ahhh I just didn't want to do it. I balanced the checkbook instead - I think I still got brownie points. When Jason got home we went out and scooped it all off. Yes I helped, but I am going to be the first in line at the end of the winter when the snow blowers go on sale! Sorry the pict is so dark, but it was close to 6 by the time we finished.

Drew wimped out pretty quickly in the balmy 6 above zero weather, but Ally stuck it out only losing her shovel 3 or so times.

Super Bowl Party

Our Super Bowl Party was not exciting. I made Jason (and Drew some nachos). Drew thinks he is cool stuff!

Ally insisted that she get EVERY pillow and blanket in the house and make a "family" bed on the floor. She got the whole "family" (all the dolls) out and put everyone to bed and then tucked in and sang to Jason and I. Let's just say that she made a HUGE mess that everyone enjoyed cleaning up.

Getting Along?!?

For the one minute this month they are getting along and ready and NOT in time out!

My Little Engineer

Meet the newest engineer in the Willis family. Notice how Drew is so meticulously working on the puzzle - by himself. Also notice that he is working on the puzzle from left to right and bottom to top.

Everything has an order and can't break the pattern - sound familiar?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

First Visitors!

Amy swears she will never visit Iowa again in the winter. We had a blast with the Scoggins. Drew talks about Trip and Ally asks when they are coming back.

They played and played and played. We got to go to the farm and hopefully Amy will post some picts of that day. We were outside a lot on the tractor, 4-wheeler, seeing the DIRTY cows and sledding. I hadn't been real sledding for a couple of years. I wasn't dressed properly - short socks, one pair of pants and boots that were way too big. The sleds were FAST! Amy claims that was here first time sledding. So sad - I think she should move here!

Grandma Rhonda let the kids lick the beaters from the cupcake batter.

Break Out Day

Break Out Day is probably one of my favorite days of the year! Everyone is doing something fun and can be a learning experience. The 6th graders went bowling and to a movie and the 8th grade went skiing - yes we have fake skiing in Iowa! They headed down the big hills in Montezuma, IA!

The 7th grade stayed at school - probably because none of us were brave enough to take them out of the building - nah they are good kids. We had several classes that the kids could choose from. Below are some fun picts of the kids thoughout the day.

I taught a web design class, but one my break I went and decorated a cake. I couldn't let my husband get better than me!

This was probably the highlight of my day - this is the hip hop video. I didn't post the one with music because it is not nearly as hilarious as this one. Watch Nash on the far left side in the blue!

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Poor Kurtis and his cake aren't doing so well!

A group made our lunch of pizza and snicker salad and root beer floats. Not bad and I didn't even get sick!

Air-powered rockets was another fun hit. They made rockets that blasted over 75 feet down the school halls. You can tell by Jackie's face (teacher on the floor) that she had a crazy bunch of kids - aka Corey M.

Andrew is one of our resident crazy chemistry students. He is eating his ice cream in a bag! Not sure what happened to his hair???

This is my friend, Kate, the crazy chemist. She is teaching how to make a bouncy ball - most of which turned out to be a pile of slime.

Kyaking was also a lot of fun if you could stay in your boat - notice Jarret on the right halfway out of his boat again!

This group is making shadow puppets with the librarian, Ruth. They had a play with the light board on the left.

Dillon is hard at work at fly tying? It has something to do with fishing, but I am clueless on what they did!?!?!?

Amana has a lot of traditions in this small German community. Here the kids were making the bunny cookies that are made at Easter - a special recipe.
This video is how they decorate the Easter eggs. The stuff in the bowls is furniture glue and water boiled for 45 minutes with a couple drops of food coloring. Another great Amana tradition.

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These girls are doing a day at the spa. They learned to make bath soak stuff and other stuff to relax the body.

Beading looked like a lot of fun. The girls sported their birthstone bracelets.

One of our couselors was crazy enough to give eight 7th graders paint brushes to paint a mural on the hall. It turned out nice!

I didn't get pictures of all the classes, but there were over 25 classes offered - quilling, make-up, up-dos (one word), snorkling, hunting, scrapebooking. They kids had a blast but were exhausted after a hard days of work and fun!