Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas craziness

We were blessed to spend Christmas at home this year, and we definitely tried to make the most of it.  The Lord laid heavy on our hearts to take advantage of every moment and make some memories together as a family.  I had no intention of sharing all these pictures, but there are some of such joy that I couldn't limit them!  We spent Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day at home together, and the day after with Gray's family.  In between, we saw a lot of Christmas light shows, went ice skating in downtown Frisco, and saw Disney Live! with Aunt Alex.  It's been crazy busy.  Good crazy, and I like it.

Christmas Eve

Foosball time

Bitty Baby love 

My favorite moment of the night.
Audrey jumping up and down, yelling "thank you", and jumping into my arms!

Silly happy hat dance
I can't get enough of this toothless smile!!

If I only had a heart!

Spreading out her reindeer food rather apprehensively

Keegan participated with the reindeer food this year,
a happy turn of events.

Setting cookies out for Santa.
She was so excited to see that he had eaten some of them in the morning!

Tracking the Big Guy

The loot!

A good big brother, holding Bitty's hand as they got up on Christmas morning.

Say cheese!

The Scare Floor from Monsters Inc was the one thing he asked 
by name for Santa to bring.

 I can't believe I'm including this picture of us, 
but the kids are so true to form in this one.

Audrey beat Daddy in the first two games of Candyland.

Trying out our new roller skates.

New Infinity characters from Oma and Pops.
They have not stopped playing with them!

A very merry Christmas to you!
May your new year be filled with all the Lord's blessings!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

K's for Keegan in 2014

The Lord knows I have plenty of Christmas photos and happenings to catch up on here, but first, something very important...our first K's for Keegan update for 2014!

2013 was full of ups and downs for me personally, as far as running goes, and unfortunately, we didn't end up having any big fundraising K's for Keegan races.  I did complete all 13 of my races that I pledged to run in 2013.  The Dallas Marathon was supposed to have been my last race, so instead I had to quickly sign up for a virtual race to fit in my last one.  The same group is hosting a 14 in 2014 challenge, but I'm not in a big rush to push for that at this point.

In order to help our K's for Keegan team move along though, I'm going to try something new for this year.  I am hoping to have some more actual K's for Keegan registered teams this year for a few races.  However, I will also post about any additional races I plan on participating in where others may want to join in.  Most of these races won't have an option to register as a team, but anyone who wants to come out, wear their team shirt, and walk or run will be welcome.  The more the merrier!  Contact me before any of these races if you plan on coming out, and if nothing else, we can snap a "team picture" before the race!  As you know, I'll be at the Houston Marathon on January 19 and the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth on February 23.  I'll also be running the Hot Chocolate 15k on February 8; there's a 5k there, too.

Without further ado, announcing our first official K's for Keegan team race of 2014:

the Firefly Run 5K on March 29th!

A few of us did this race last year, and it was really fun.  It's a night-time, illuminated race with as much glow-in-the-dark stuff you can manage.  How fun is that?!  It's just down the street from our house, and the proceeds benefit Children's Medical Center Dallas, where Keegan receives most of his care.  We would love to have a big team this year, so come on out to run or walk with us!

Here's the link to our team page: https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/K_sforKeegan

To register, click the green button on the left hand side of the page of the link above.  Choose "team registration", timed or untimed, your choice.  Until January 1, you can get early registration prices, and use the code LASTCHANCE30 to get an additional $5 off.  Even better, if we rustle up 25 people to register before January 1, we will be entered to win a VIP package with our own tent, parking, and other perks!

So don't wait!  Register today!  We can't wait for you to join us in celebrating Keegan, raising money for Children's, and spreading awareness for organ donation.  Let me know if you still need a K's for Keegan tshirt too!  And if you can't join us, any donation to our team would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, friends!  Here's to 2014!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our hearts to yours,
may your Christmas be filled with joy, health, 
and all the wonder of the season.

Gray, Maddie, Keegan, and Audrey

But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid!  For I bring you good news that will cause
great joy for all people.  Today in the town of David, 
a Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord."
-Luke 2:10-11

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We've been busy getting ready for Christmas this year and doing our absolute best to make some great family memories.  Keegan is home, and for that, we are extremely grateful.  By the end of this week, he will have been outpatient (except for the brief line replacement in October) for six months.  That tends to be the maximum amount of time Keegan is willing to spend without a hospitalization, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that this time, things are different.  The last several months haven't been without challenges.  We have had some setbacks and had to support Keegan with IV supplementation more and more.  Overall though, he is doing pretty well, a true holiday blessing.  In the meantime, we know these moments of "stability" can be fleeting, so we are striving to make the most of our family time together.  Making lasting memories for all of us is of utmost importance these days.  So here's a little taste of what we've been up to lately.

Audrey's first Nutcracker

Audrey and Mamie decorating the gingerbread house.
I think more candy was consumed than used for decoration.

The finished masterpiece!
This was our third year of Breakfast with Santa.
Audrey was just a teensy bit excited.

Keegan...not so much.

As usual, Keegan had no interest in Santa.
BD at least kept him from escaping!

Audrey didn't have to be told twice.  
She was more than ready to talk to the Big Guy.

Luckily, Keegan was content to briefly stand next to him for a successful picture!

Keegan's Miracle League Buddy has a pretty impressive 
Christmas train and village collection that we were excited to see.
Keegan could have watched that train for hours.

A carriage ride through the lights in Allen.
Audrey, our horse lover, was so excited.  
She thought it was "just like Cinderella."

Despite this picture, Keegan wasn't too keen on the carriage ride.
That's alright; the rest of us were.

Keegan wanted to go back to the "singing Christmas tree" instead.

Yesterday was Audrey's Christmas pageant at school.
She and her classmates were "stars in the night sky."
I've been trying to upload one of the videos from the pageant unsuccessfully.
The sang a few songs, acted out the Nativity, 
and were generally just too cute for words.

Keegan wasn't thrilled with the pageantry.  
Do you sense a theme here?
Also notice the remainder of the stitches on his forehead.
His first "normal" ER visit in his 6 years.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Two years, no Dallas Marathon

This year, I prepared for 20 weeks.  I did not miss a single training run.  Not even the ones that required 4am wake-up calls that were followed immediately by coaching soccer.  I foam rolled, iced, did epsom baths, and wore compression everything. I mentally focused on my two little reasons to keep running.  I was ready.

Then, the ice came, and the marathon was cancelled.

Two years, no Dallas Marathon for me.

I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but canceling, given the circumstances, was the right thing to do.  There is no way the race could have proceeded safely.  Welcome to Texas.

I was already registered for the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth at the end of February, so I figured I would just restart my training plan to be ready for it.  The only other marathons in Texas between December and end of February were all closed to registration.  That is except for Houston on January 19 if you paid for a charitable registration, which was a wonderful option and yet way out of our price range.

Then a few angels came way and gave me a simply amazing, early Christmas gift.

I am incapable of expressing my gratitude to these friends who came through to make the most of this disappointing situation.  On January 19, the family and I will head to Houston, and I am excited to "run for a reason" for the National Kidney Foundation, a cause near to our hearts as Keegan is in stage 3 kidney failure.

I hope that 2014 will be the year of redemption for the Dallas Marathon.  Third time's a charm, right?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thanksgiving & Keegan's first race

We braved the cold on Thanksgiving morning and made it to the Turkey Trot for Keegan's first race, the Miracle Mile with his teammates from the Miracle League of Frisco.

All 4 of us carried Beads of Courage during the race.

Bundled up before the race

Keegan and his Buddy

Our little K's for Keegan team

He walked a few paces at the beginning but quickly went back in the stroller with Audrey.
The crowds and noise of the announcer at the start were a bit much for him.

Keegan's amazing Buddy pushed BOTH kids in the stroller for most of the mile,
but he managed to cross the finish line on his own two feet!
Way to go, Keegan!  We're so proud.

Due to BD's recovery, we had Thanksgiving at our house, just the 4 of us & Aunt Alex.

My two turkeys

Aunt Alex started a fun tradition of lighting floating lanterns,
lifting our gratitude up to the heavens.

They were quite amazing to watch.

We are all extremely grateful for another holiday at home
and for every moment we are together as a family.
Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dallas Morning News article

Something happened today that has never happened to me before or will ever happen again.

We made the sports page of the newspaper! 

You can find the article about K's for Keegan and preparing for the Dallas Marathon (in 4 days, eek!) by clicking HERE.

Here's a snapshot of the actual paper, since our photo didn't make the electronic version.

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing Keegan's story and helping us spread the word about organ donation.  Here's hoping that the predicted epic cold front arriving tonight will bring less precipitation than estimated!  I can handle cold, but I'm not sure about sleet or ice.  If you have a few minutes on Sunday morning, say a little prayer for me, would you?  I don't often ask for them for myself, but I sure would appreciate it!  Thanks, y'all!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Albuquerque trip

I would have really loved to have gotten to this recap of our amazing trip to Albuquerque in October to see Keegan's donor family.  I have no excuses, but I'm finally going to overwhelm you with some pictures.  It was a great trip, even better than we could have imagined, and we can't wait for the next opportunity to go back.  Thank you so much for including us in your special weekend, Walker family!

Enjoying time in Old Towne our first night in Albuquerque.

Only little kids understand why it's so painful when your parents ask you to smile.

We were exploring the little courtyards around Old Towne, and 
this lovely musician asked about Keegan's mask. 
Gray shared some of Keegan's story, and he played some songs just for the kids.

Saturday morning, we attended LaMonica's pre-graduation brunch.
This was our first time since December 2010 to be together.

Kolton, Keegan, and Kingsley playing at the brunch.

Kolton, Kingsley, Audrey, and Keegan at LaMonica's graduation.
What an amazing woman Keegan's donor mom is!
Two boys, working full-time, getting her MBA, and volunteering.
Oh, and expecting a little GIRL soon!  Congratulations!!

Audrey and Kingsley were inseparable all weekend.
They were hysterical together!

Family photo op

Our best attempt at all 8 of us.
That's Audrey's bow at the bottom of the pic.  
Oh well, we tried!

Sunday morning began bright and early at the Balloon Fiesta.

A photo from the air when Gray was in the balloon.

The crew of the Whirlaway with Gray, LaMonica, and her mom, Cly.

Jim Lynch was our gracious host.
Thank you for granting our family such a special memory, Jim.

Watching over 300 balloons at Mass Ascension at sunrise was surreal.

Jim reciting the Balloonist's prayer and toasting Keegan with champagne 
to celebrate his first flight, even though Keegan bailed at the last minute.

On Sunday afternoon, we celebrated Kolton's 2nd birthday at the park.
We brought the boys special versions of our K's for Keegan shirts.
"My brother is a hero.  He was an organ donor."

Happy birthday, Kolton!

I love just looking at some of these pictures because of the memories we made together that weekend.  I couldn't have asked for more.  We are beyond blessed by the Walker family in so many ways and are extremely grateful for their friendship and love.  Here's to many more memories together!