Friday, February 27, 2009

Is it Spring Break yet?

I just got back from a fortieth birthday party of a friend of mine. Katelyn was a sweetheart and watched the Yikes so I could go. It was really nice just to visit with people (old friends and some people I'd never met before) and not have to keep up with the kids too. Tomorrow is one of the busiest Saturdays we've ever had. Bryn has her last basketball game, then we go to Bryn's end of the year party, Jadyn's first soccer game, and then a birthday party that the whole family will go to. All of it is fun stuff, but I think I will come home and crash. I appreciate all the prayers being offered for me and my family-- they help us get through each day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whirlwind Week

This week is tuning into a whirlwind. Basketball and soccer seasons are overlapping as basketball is finishing up and soccer is starting up. Then at school, not only is it the end of the grading period, but my students are going to take the TAKS reading test on Tuesday. 8th graders in Texas have to pass the reading test to move on to high school, so making sure my students are prepared is something I take very seriously. All that to say I'm sorry I haven't posted and I'm sorry this one is going to be a short one. We are however doing very well as a family and I'll leave you with this note from Betty's husband: Ken McNuttBetty came home from rehab Friday. She had been gone for five weeks. Three weeks in the hospital and two weeks in rehab. About every ten minutes she tells me “it is good to be home” and I chime in and say “amen“.

She had been going to a heart specialist for over a year and just was not improving. In fact she was growing progressively worse. Just walking across the room was a trying experience for her.

Our children wanted her to get a second opinion and we made an appointment with a group of heart doctors in Fort Worth recommended by a good friend, Chris Xydas, that I have breakfast with every Saturday.
Chris is a life saver. They ran a serious of tests and we kept an appointment on a Friday afternoon to hear the results of the tests.

SUSPRISE - she was sent direct to Harris Hospital to prepare to have her main heart valve replaced the following week. The opening for the valve was like a pin head when it should have been as large as a dime.

She went into surgery where she had the valve replaced with a mechanical valve the following Wednesday. The surgery went well and for all intents and purposes her recovery went well except for her gallbladder acting up. They were able to bring the problem under control with the expectation, she will need microscopic surgery for that in a few weeks from now.

She has no memory of her stay in intensive care (as the doctor says - that probably is a good thing). Her memory is back to normal now.

We would like to thank all of our friends for your prayers, love, good thoughts, help and support over this period in our lives. Words cannot express how much we appreciate each of you. We will always remember.

As we go forward, our belief is that THE BEST IS YET TO COME IN OUR LIFE.

After Betty recovers, we plan to take a trip to Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Putman Valley, New York to see our family there and come back through Tennessee see our granddaughter and her family.

We would like to close, again expressing our sincere thanks to all of you. Remember to love each other every single day as you never know what the day will bring.

Your friends forever.

Betty and Ken McNutt

P. S. We would like to share a story that makes Betty and I smile, about a little old lady that was sick and her preacher came to see her. During the visit she told the preacher that when it was time to go to heaven that she would like to be buried with a fork in her hand.

When the preacher asks why? She told him that when she attended a church function, where a meal was served, when they cleared the table that would whisper to keep your fork. This always had the meaning that: THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nice Things about the Yikes

I haven't forgotten about you dear reader; I have just been incredibly busy. We have been making a habit of visiting The Neighborhood Grill on Saturdays at lunch. Bryn's basketball games have been at noon and Jadyn's have been at 2 or 3 so it's a nice stop in between. It's just a hole-in-the-wall, but they have the best snow cones. It's a nice memory for me because there were times that the only thing that tasted good to Jess during chemo was a White Coconut from there. Yesterday, Jadyn was at a party so it was just Bryn and I. The woman who always takes our order innocently asked if my other daughter was with my wife. When I told her about Jess, I found out that she had lost her mom to breast cancer.

Bryn and Jadyn were adamant that I write something nice about them on the blog. Bryn is playing basketball for her first season. Yesterday she stole the ball from another little girl, dribbled it up the court, and shot the basketball. Normally, it doesn't come close but this one hit the rim. Jadyn is super sweet with babies. We went and saw baby Cade for the first time today and Jadyn did a wonderful job of holding him.

Finally, Betty came home and we got to see her today. She brought up that it was Jess that first noticed her shortness of breath back when MeMaw was helping Jess go to water therapy. Betty is looking great and getting up and around.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finishing Gilda's

Tonight was our last night of grief support at Gilda's because it was just a 6 week class. It was a really neat ending tonight. All of us are very different in the group, but we all have been dealing with the loss of a loved one and that has transcended boundaries and we've grown close. A lot of them are going to continue with another grief support group at Gilda's, but I feel like the Warm Place is the right place for our family.

I had a really neat conversation with Jessica's boss at Texas A&M this morning. She has left several messages at home about observing student teachers in the future, but up until today I didn't feel up to calling her. I was glad I called. She lost her husband in an automobile accident about a year ago and so was able to reach out to me even though we had never talked before. I thought it was really neat when she said she would have her prayer group pray over our family.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

I need to do what my Aunt Jacque recommends and just breathe. There's been nothing unusual lately, but I feel like my time is being sucked up by a giant vacuum cleaner. For example tonight I went to Katelyn's cross-country meet after school, picked up Jadyn from after school care (Bryn went with a friend), made dinner, paid bills, helped Jadyn and Bryn with homework, gave them a bath, and then bam it's almost nine o'clock.

Jadyn had her first soccer practice of the season yesterday. I'm still coaching her team and looking forward to another great season. I really like coaching her team because I feel like the families of the girls on the team are part of my family too. I also like acting like a nut with the kids by playing lots of games that keep them interested in getting better at soccer.

Bryn has been writing "Brynnie" on her papers at school lately which I think is very cute.

Tomorrow is the last day of grief support at Gilda's for the Yikes and me. I'm so glad that Gilda's was able to bridge the gap until the whole family starts The Warm Place in early March.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sleepy Sunday

Friday felt more like Valentine's Day then yesterday. Bryn and Jadyn both had basketball games yesterday. Bryn's games resemble a civilized game of Kill the Man with the Ball. There is a little bit of shooting and attempts at dribbling, but most of the time is spent trying to get the ball. Her team is unique in that the coach's older daughter and her friends have been helping out Bryn's team and doing a fantastic job. Jadyn scored a basket during her game which is pretty exciting. Katelyn went out with her female friends and their boyfriends to dinner and a movie. Trevor got her a really nice bracelet from James Avery. Today we just went to church and then the girls got to hang out with their grandma afterwards while I took a nap. I'm excited about having a day off tomorrow with the girls.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

I know Valentine's Day is officially tomorrow, but it sure felt like it was celebrated today. I got to go to most of Bryn's Valentine's party this morning before going into work and my mother-in-love went to Jadyn's this afternoon. Katelyn went to the Boles dance tonight and I took Jadyn and Bryn to the the one at Young. The greatest thing was seeing my kids at school Oooh and Ahhh over the Yikes. Bryn and Jadyn were super shy, but they both warmed up enough to dance a little bit. Both of them had fun doing the Chicken Dance. I'm going to have to get a new camera-- I cracked the screen around Christmas and the pictures just aren't coming out clear now. However, I think it's still worth it to see this one of Jadyn and Cody.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I can't believe I haven't wrote about the latest addition to the McNutt family yet. Cade Matthew Kirwan was born to proud parents Jeremy and Mandy on Tuesday.

Cade and big brother Jace

There are more pictures on her blog at

The flu and other illnesses have hit Young pretty hard-- I have a lot of kids out right now. So far no one has gotten sick in our family, but I don't think we're out of the woods yet. The Yikes are super excited about their Valentine Day parties tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Approach of Valentine's Day

I'm hoping I can take the Yikes to the Valentine's dance at my school on Friday. They need to sell a lot more tickets in order for there to be a dance. If not, I may take them to see a movie this weekend. The Mall Cop movie with Kevin James looks hilarious and like something the three of us would enjoy. Katelyn has plans with Trevor of course. She cracked me up earlier when she was thinking about a present for him. She asked herself, "A Valentine's Day present for Trevor or a new outfit for me?" She actually wasn't joking, but she did decide on getting him something. Tonight Jadyn read a story about wishes. Afterwards she said that if she had a wish she would wish for Mommy to be alive, to not have to share a room with Bryn, and for a house with stairs.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jessica's Influence

Tonight I cooked a chicken and rice casserole. The rice tasted good inside the casserole. so I think that should count as the first time I have made rice right. Last night I even made a side. You are probably thinking what's the big deal about a side-- well, it is a big deal for someone who has just started making main dishes again.

I think Jessica's influence in people's lives was simple yet impactful. So far I know of two teams that are walking in the three day in her honor. One has on it a teacher named Carol who has had breast cancer and teaches at my school. Another is going to be called team CouraJess and has its leaders two of Jessa's close friends, Alyson and Shelly. Perhaps even more amazing is the story of two people who were student-leaders in the college group that Jess and I led. Their names are Jeremy and Rachel and they dated and then got married. Her doctors told Rachel that she would not be able to get pregnant except by In-Vitro. What a miraculous surprise then when she found out that she was going to have twin girls! Late last month, they honored our family by naming them Jessica and Kaitlyn (they liked that spelling of it better).
Here they are:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Daddy Daughter Dance

Katelyn and her best friend Chandler went with the Yikes to get them ready at my friends' (Kyle and Tiffany) house. They have daughters almost the same ages as the Yikes and they went yo the dance too. Tiffany, Chandler, and Katelyn did a great job doing the girls' hair, nails, and even a little bit of make-up. The best part though is when Kyle and I snuck out of the house and rang the doorbell. We were there to surprise our girls with roses. At the dance, the theme this year was Candyland which they liked because there was plenty of candy to eat. Their favorite thing while dancing was getting dunked. You and I would call it dipping, but that's what they called it. I texted Katelyn later to see how she was doing and she wrote back that the three of them were watching a movie on "paper view." You might have to say it out loud to get it. More pictures to follow from Katelyn's camera.

Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Things

I and the Yikes saw Betty tonight for the first time since her surgery tonight. She is looking forward to being transferred to a rehab hospital soon. Anything else I could write tonight is going to pale in comparison to tomorrow-- it's going to be a be a great day. On Facebook, there has been a chain reaction of people writing 25 things about themselves, so I thought I would do that here tonight.

1. I grew up playing baseball; it wasn't until my junior year of high school that I started playing soccer.
2. My three hobbies are Bryn, Jadyn, and Katelyn
3. I was born in Massachusetts when my dad was stationed there while training for the Green Berets. I lived in Germany until I was three, but since then have lived in Michigan, Washington state. Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Texas.
4. I generally don't read books by female authors. Mainly because I don't want to hear descriptions of what exact color the house was or the entire descriptions of what the people are wearing. The book I'm currently reading though is by a female: it's the last book of the Twilight series.
5. I love listening to music. Just recently I've started liking country although I'm partial to Christian punk or rock.
6. I hate glitter. It's like girly sand and gets everywhere
7. I'm allergic to a ton of stuff including cats and dogs. I get allergy shots and take medicine.
8. I'm the oldest of five children
9. I hate horror movies. I prefer action or comedies.
10. The best bible study I ever did was Experiencing God
11. I would much rather be cold than hot, so Texas summers are miserable for me. I have so many good friends here and family that I love it here though
12. My first teaching job was teaching soccer at a preschool
13. The only class I've ever failed is Chemistry. I had to take it over in college.
14. My siblings and I (Hannah) excluded graduated from a small high school. I graduated 6th unlike my siblings who al graduated Valedictorian
15. I got all A's while getting my Master's degree in Education except for one "B." The "B" was in a survey of Shakespearian tragedies where we read and wrote a paper on all of his plays that were tragedies.
16. My favorite place to relax is in a hammock outside but we don't have one
17. Some day I am going to go on a mission trip to China
18. I love cheering for the Underdog
19. I am rarely serious but I seriously care about people
20. I want to contribute in some way as a family to Weekend Backpacks on Jessica's birthday in September
21. I have a short attention span and I get distracted easily
22. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast
23. I'd rather visit and stay with family and sleep on an air mattress then sleep in luxurious bed in a five star hotel
24. I like the age I am now and have always been content with whatever age I am
25. I dislike it when people look down on others because of what state they live in, what college they went to, what job they have or any other nonsense like that

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Warm Place

Alright, it's official Bryn has gone four nights without nightmares. She still could have a nightmare tonight-- I don't think that the pattern has been broken forever, yet I'm very hopeful and excited that she won't be having them so often.

We got a tour of the Warm Place today. It's set up a lot like Gilda's Club with comfy rooms for groups to meet in. The big difference is that Gilda's centers on adults with programs for the children that come with them while The Warm Place centers on kids with programs for the adults that bring them. I was excited to find out that I get to go on the same nights as my friend Jay, who also lost his wife to cancer last year. The best thing though is that they definitely have a teen group. All of us are a little nervous about going, but left feeling OK. The sessions are every other week and we'll start in March.

Two more days to the Daddy-Daughter dance, Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fish Night

Katelyn got a preview of what next year will be like at Martin High School. We decided she'll try out for volleyball and soccer. Last summer she played on a coed soccer team and she wants to do that again-- which I think will help since she hasn't played soccer year round for two years straight now. I'm also planing on sending her to a volleyball camp this summer. It's hard to believe my little girl is going to be a freshman in high school next year.

Brynnie hasn't had a nightmare now for three nights in a row! If she doesn't have one tonight, it it will be a record. I'm excited about getting into the Warm Place tomorrow-- our appointment's in the afternoon so I just have to take half a day and the kids won't miss that much school.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feeling Warmer

I got a phone call this afternoon letting me know that there was a cancelation at the Warm Place. Instead of having to wait until March 17th, we're going to be able to go this Thursday. I'm still planning on going to Gilda's that Thursday night, but then we should be able to attend The Warm Place after that. OK-- I'm tired and going to bed, but I'm feeling warmer already.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Busy as a Bee

It was a busy day yesterday. I ran into my friend Tom Shieves at the grocery store and found out he was writing a book about his involvement in the Panama Canal expansion. I offered to edit it as its something I really like doing for friends. I finished up the edits early Sunday morning. It was a really cool paper and I was glad to get the opportunity to read and edit it. Then in the afternoon, we went over to friends' house and ate lunch. They have older girls so they invited us over for the Yikes to try on dresses for the upcoming Daddy-Daughter class. They both found cute ones. Then we were off to a birthday party. From the birthday party we went to my soccer game. It was a close one-- we lost 4-6. From there, we went home again for me to shower. We grabbed dinner at Subway and then went to be with family to watch the Super Bowl. What a game it was!

Today was much more relaxed. The hardest part of today was going to the viewing for Sharon Whitt. I was so glad I went but it breaks my heart for what her family is going to have to go through. Sharon was an amazing woman with a hear for others-- a kindred spirit of Jessica's.