Monday, August 29, 2011

Standing Tall

Came out of my bedroom to find this yesterday. How can you not just smile...

Sweatin For Sarah

My dear friend Sarah Hays Shurtz was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last year at this time. She has been fighting a strong physical and emotion battle everyday since. More than she even realizes she has been an inspiration to everyone who knows her with her continued faith, smiles and optimism. This past Saturday me, Chris, Luke, Julie and Steve ran the 2nd annual Sweatin for Sarah 5k. It is so touching to see hundreds of people out there running for Sarah, showing their love and support. God has a plan for each of us, and it is part of His plan for Sarah to be here with us still. Our prayers remain with Sarah everyday!

Here are a few pics and a letter that Sarah wrote to everyone for the benefit run:

One year ago I was diagnosed with “stage 4, terminal cancer.” The doctors predicted I wouldn’t live more than two months, it was difficult to determine. But here I write, one year later. I won’t say it’s been a blissful year, without any pain or difficulties, I just know I wouldn’t change much about last year.
Aside from being diagnosed with cancer, there were a lot of good things that occurred during the same time. I had a race prepared and ran in my name, married my boyfriend of three years, moved into a new house, and my health began to improve. The new chemotherapy started working shortly after I was married so I wasn’t bed ridden the first year of my marriage. I was living life to the fullest! Unfortunately all good things do come to an end and I ended up in the hospital for three days one month ago. My chemotherapy had stopped working and my painful tumors (sacral), grew back, causing severe nerve pain. I remained hopeful and faithful and the physicians were able to treat me with a pain pump and an additional ten days of radiation.
I thought I was through the worst when my oncologist informed me we were almost out of chemotherapy options. I hadn’t realized I had been on four different chemotherapies in the course of a year. Next Tuesday will be the second dose of my new chemotherapy treatment, (a chemo used to treat breast cancer). I’m currently receiving treatments to drain excess fluid that has built up around my lungs and abdomen. Apparently it’s a common treatment with advanced cancer patients. The tumors produce excess fluid and the liver can’t process or filter the extra fluid. Today I had approximately seven pounds of fluid removed to make me more comfortable. I laughed when I realized seven pounds was the size of a newborn baby!
With symptoms of pain and labored breathing decreased, I remain faithful that the Lord has a plan for me and remains mindful of my needs. I find it very difficult to give in to the fight against cancer while I still have friends and family refusing to give up on me. I remain forever grateful for the love and support given to me by so many.

All my love, Sarah Hays Shurtz

We love you Sarah. Keep on fighting, Sista!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quadruple Date

Really fun date night this past Friday. Jake and Beck (and Doug), wish you guys were here for it! Me, Chris, Alli, Derek, Julie, Dan, Britt and Steve (and Luke and Quinn) went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Then we all came back to our house and played Cranium til 2am. Felt like we were kids again :). Haven't laughed that hard in a really long time!
This was Luke at the end of the night after dinner when we took him out of his carseat. Didn't even wake up when we changed him into his PJs. Poor kid. But as you can tell from the first picture, he thoroughly enjoyed himself!

Oh, then this was the next day. Jake, I forgot to thank you for showing this new game to the boys...

Great weekend. So fun to have family living so close.

8 Months

Luke turned 8 months old yesterday. And he is crawling. And starting to pull himself up on things. Let the fun begin!

Friday, August 19, 2011


We had a family night last week and went to this place called Boondocks. Was really fun. Chris and I played mini golf - which I haven't done in about 10 years - and Luke stayed in his stroller the entire 18 holes. His reward was to play a few video games with dad afterwards!

ha. love this picture. boys....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Firsts

Firsts. While we were in NY for our annual Rathgeber Reunion Luke had a bunch of firsts. Sad that Chris wasn't there to witness them - but we sent him lots of pics. Wanted to jot some of these things down so we could remember. He's 7 1/2 months old now. Getting to be such a big boy.

While in NY (for 2 weeks) Luke -
*Got his first 3 teeth (bottom middle, top right incisor - or fang, as we call it, and the start of the top left fang). He was such a good boy I didn't even know his teeth came in. Hardly even fussed. But would wake up 1-2 times a night. I should have known something was up.
*Started eating real food and sitting in the highchair. (Cheerios, puffs, yogurt melt things, NY bagels-of course, pretzels, and caught Aunt Patti feeding him a Fiber One bar at some point too.) He won't eat baby food anymore, only real people food.
*Started scooting/army crawling. And pretty fast, too. He was doing it a little at home, but in NY he started going forward, and not only in a circle and backwards. Now he is up on all fours and has started crawling but hasn't really taken off yet.
*Ate his first handfuls of sand. And thoroughly enjoyed it I believe. Cousin Tucker is teaching him everything he knows :)

Other things Luke is up to -
*Going to the Kids Club at 24 Hour Fitness now with mom & dad. And cried the last 3 nights so we have to pick him up and our workouts get cut short. He's turning into a mama's boy!
*Got another tooth coming in. Bottom middle.
*Can sit up from the crawling position. So cute, went to get him from his crib the other day and he was just sitting there talking to the wall. haha, love it.
*Starting waving hello lately. So adorable.
*Chris and I both think we heard Luke say "mama" the other night. Not certain though.
*Sounds like he's on his way to saying "dada" & "duck" as well.
*Starting turning pages when we read instead of just eating them.
*Loves when he does something good and you clap for him. He's starting to attempt to clap himself.

So fun to watch him learn new things all the time. Thankful everyday for a happy, healthy baby!!