Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homecoming

Last weekend gave us a picture perfect day for a community Homecoming celebration!


But this turned out to be a particularly special weekend for the Hightower family!

First of all, there was music!

If you have not heard of Steve Weeks, then you are living a life less full!

Steve Weeks came into our lives around 2010 when we began listening to XM satellite radio and we fell in love with the Kids Place Live channel! The music is always kid-friendly, but adult-enjoyable as well. And he has always been one of our favorite artists...
Sam and Steve!
You see, in a wonderfully felicitous case of old friends and big hearts Steve Weeks was able to come play in Meeker because of Charlie! Steve and Charlie were high school friends in South Carolina - while Charlie and Jason were college room mates at Furman University.
Charlie, Jason and Steve
And while having a famous musician play fun music in the sunshine while your kids play and dance is pretty darn close to perfection... having a dear friend (whom you haven't seen in years!) arrange it all and then show up to enjoy it with you was nothing short of excellent!

But then it got better...

Once Charlie made arrangements to come visit from South Carolina - a few other Furman roomies decided it was a good weekend to venture out west, too!

Marty & Melissa live in Colorado and are more prone to a road trip for a visit - but Rick made the big trip from North Carolina to see Jason... and it was a sweet reunion full of fun Furman stories, tales from the college dorms (and apartments!), updates on old friends and peace at knowing that 20 years doesn't change the bonds created by Furman University Marching Band.
Rick, Melissa, Jason, Marty and Charlie

Oh yeah, and while I was reveling in Jason's reunion - Hamp & Sam were having a blast watching the Homecoming Parade, cavorting with friends, and loving the chance to be outside and have fun.

Monday, October 13, 2014

fall festivities! (part II)

Our autumn adventures continued this week with a visit from 
Mojo & Dado!

With all the fall colors and cool weather, we were able to enjoy some good trail walks, Hamp's flag football game, playing at the park, and plenty of frisbee and football tossing in the back yard!


And when the weather turned too cool or wet to play outside, we watched football, played games, napped and read books!















The highlight of the weekend, however was watching a 6-man crew replace the roof of the house in just 2 days:
Friday morning - the roof is coming off!
Friday afternoon - no roof!!!
Saturday morning - new roof going up...
and by Saturday afternoon - new roof is dried in and ready to move on!
Again, the in-between moments were the best... full of silly faces and sweet gestures; Dado always plays "show n' tell" with cool science tricks and videos. Mojo feigns interest in Minecraft and gets the boys to tell her all about their 'worlds'. Both of them are so wonderful to have here...


... and while it's always hard to say 'good bye' ~ we know we'll see them again real soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

fall festivities! (part I)

Autumn snuck up on Meeker and surprised us!
After lots of rain, we woke up one morning to cool weather and turning leaves.


Then one morning, the boys woke up to find visitors had arrived in the night - Yaya and Papa had caught a late flight out west and stayed for a week-long family visit and plenty of fun fall adventures!

Not only did we squeeze in dinner with friends, a little bit of local shopping, a wonderful church service and community luncheon with good friends, a jaunt up the valley to look for wildlife and golden aspens, and a chemotherapy appointment in Grand Junction (whew!)...

... but the highlight was the annual Fall Festival, which included a morning 5K run!
the 2nd grade runners! (go #14!!!)
the 5th grade runners (Hamp is in the back in the orange cap)

Go Sammy!!!
This gang of 5th graders found the foot race to be too much work - so they socialized!


My favorite adventure of the week, however was watching all of the in-between moments that were full of laughter and coloring and making Jell-O with Yaya.

And a special 'thanks' goes to Papa for fulfilling his job of hanging a tire swing at the house... 
and consequently making his grandsons happy for a long time!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

soccer

I have said it before... 
... and will say it again!
I LOVE watching the boys play soccer!

They enjoy it, too... and their skills improve year after year.
We had 5 weeks of great September weather - perfect for sunset games.


it wouldn't be right if Sammy's wasn't cartwheeling across the field!


But we wouldn't want to sit still... so now we move on to flag football and more gymnastics!

Friday, September 26, 2014

waiting

The last several weeks have been busy - school, boys' play dates, soccer games, gymnastics, doctor appointments, various errands, and best of all: friends.

The questions people have politely and thoughtfully asked me lately are 
#1 How is Jason?
and
#2 How is the house? 

Unfortunately, the answer is the same for both: 
Nothing new. The structure is still there and strong, but we are waiting to find out how/when it will be built back up. 

Waiting. That is the essence of what we have been doing on both fronts - waiting on test results, waiting on a new roof, waiting to see if the chemo works, waiting for a building permit. We are waiting to get our life back. 

But here is the latest insight: Life has been happening all along, while we were waiting

We have shared moments of bliss and agony, watched soccer games be won and lost. We have enjoyed friends, enjoyed each other, enjoyed solitude. We have shared meals, read books, taken hikes, celebrated birthdays, drank wine, cleaned house, built forts, done homework, taken naps, talked to family and mowed the lawn. All the mundane and the glorious minutiae of life have been magnified to become special, treasured moments because they are all we have while we are waiting for life to recommence.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Meeker Classic


What a beautiful weekend for our (ok, my!) favorite annual event:
the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials!

We go every year, and the boys are old enough now that they understand the meaning behind the event: carnival-style food!!!
Seriously, I am a little embarrassed to say that the boys were anxious to go this weekend, not to watch the dogs perform or take in a little rural, pastoral culture...
they were excited to have funnel cake.

And it didn't end there. They also wanted corndogs, kettle corn, snow cones, and cotton candy!
So I obliged and they got to run around with their friends while I sneaked a peek at some of the trial.

Now, just to be fair - Sam's whole 2nd grade class did get to spend one day at the Classic learning about sheepdogs and herding, wool spinning, leather crafting, canine therapy, and of course some native Scottish Highland clothing and music!

So when the boys and I went together on Saturday it was warm, sunny, full of good friends to hang out with and many fun things to see and experience. We even made it home with a few non-edible souvenirs and an appreciation for the whole event.

On the wagon ride home - with kettle corn, cotton candy and snow cones in tow!
Can't wait until next year!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

a long weekend

Last Thursday kicked off a very long weekend indeed for us.
Jason was scheduled for another follow-up MRI and appointment with the oncologist and neurosurgeon. Having reached a tipping point of sorts from chemotherapy treatment, post-radiation exhaustion and several months of wondering "is all this even working?" we were anxious to have some results. Any results - as long as they were definitive.
rockin' out to a little Van Morrison while we wait...

The results were fairly definitive... and not necessarily uplifting.
The tumor appears to still be growing.
We understood upon original diagnosis that a GBM type tumor would most certainly reoccur after treatment - but I don't think either of us expected it to show up again so soon.
a comparison of MR Images of Jason's brain:
The RIGHT image is from late June.
The LEFT image is from last Thursday.

So we came back to Meeker that afternoon with a clearer picture of Jason's brain...
but a cloudier idea of what the road ahead would look like.

  • We knew that we would spend the next several days sharing thoughts, conversations, emotions and concerns with one another and our dear friends and families.
  • We knew that we would reach out to certain people that could help us make good decisions and understand what kind of road we were on.
  • We knew that despite not knowing where we were headed - we would continue to love every second of the journey and appreciate the time and freedom that long, holiday weekends offer.

And in doing so, we somehow came to a place where we knew we were headed in the right direction, at least!
In between a high school football game, dinner parties, a trip to the Glenwood Hot Springs and of course running Hamp & Sam to and fro whichever play date or sleepover was arranged, AND with the help of friends and family who are behind us every step of the way, we called the oncologist's office this morning and requested addition drug treatment.

So the road trip continues...