Tuesday, December 22, 2015

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Marathon Weekend.

Two weeks ago we drove out to Springfield, Missouri to meet up with Chris’ Parents and hang out at Silver Dollar City for the Christmas festival. That place is so awesome in the winter and the kids always enjoy their time there. They decorate every single building with lights and we drink hot chocolate as we walk around and take in the beauty.  It’s definitely a place to hit up if you can.

Chris and I also got the chance to zip line off the Shepard of the Hills Tower with his mom. She has this thing where she tries to go zip lining every year and of course we didn’t want her to miss out on that so when she offered, we couldn’t say no. Of course not! I mean, who are we to disappoint the kids Gigi?

And then all hell broke loose.

You know that saying of the calm before the storm? Ya, we do too!! That next morning, we were to head to Memphis, TN for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Marathon Weekend. It’s been a race we’ve always wanted to complete. However, as we began our drive in that direction, Makenna began saying she didn’t feel well. Her head hurt and then Montana started in with his tummy hurting. Chris and I looked at each other like, what are we supposed to do? So we kept driving a bit and then Makenna started coughing. If you know ‘THE” cough, then you know you should be looking for a bag of some kind, any kind. Yup, she threw up all over the car. So now, she’s in tears, Montana is in tears (his stomach hurts rather bad) and we pulled off the highway to clean up the mess and re access the situation. We decided Chris should go back to Springfield with all three kids just in case it really is something worse than we hoped for. I then hopped in his parents car and we continue on our merry way. It’s a good thing Chris went back because the kiddos were pretty sick for three days. More than anything, it was a blessing they got sick at his parents house and not in the camper. Oh man, I can’t even imagine running to a porta potty- yuck! Our only prayer was that they were better by that Monday because we had to make the long drive back to Colorado so that Chris could work. We ended up having to make a few extra stops on that drive but it all worked out. The rest of us made it to Memphis, enjoyed the St. Jude dinner, walked around the expo and prepared for the run that next morning. Chris’ parents were running the 5K while Joy (Chris’ sister) and I completed the ½.

The St. Jude run has been on our list to complete for many reasons. 8 Years ago, our son, Montana was diagnosed with leukemia. He was 2.5 years old, had shaggy blond hair and was as cute as a button, just like he is now.  His diagnosis came right before the holidays, which meant we ended up sitting in the hospital for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. Oh man, what a rough time that was - The not knowing of absolutely anything. Not knowing if he would live, not knowing of what kind of leukemia he had, and not really knowing how we were going to make it and so on.  At one point, I remember looking out the window of the third floor and seeing all these people running by. We had only been in the hospital for about three weeks, which also felt like an eternity. When the option of not being able to go outside and do the things that you take for granted on a daily basis is taken away, it’s killer.  I saw these runners going by and asked the nurse what that was all about.  She was like, “Oh, that’s the St. Jude Marathon!” And from that point on, it has been a bucket list item to complete the ½ Marathon in honor of Montana. Sorry guys, but 26 miles is a much for me. I am in no way a runner, but will always be a swimmer. So 13 it was. 

Two weeks ago, I did just that. With Chris’ parents, family, friends and the kindness of many strangers, we managed to raise $6200 for the kids of St. Jude. On that Saturday, Joy and I ran 13 miles. It was an emotion filled run. We ran by so many supporters and people cheering us on. We ran by several landmarks and gorgeous places but the most memorable is running through the actual campus. To see the kids fighting, sitting in wheel chairs, parents holding them and having hope in their eyes, it was definitely a sight to not forget.  I was definitely in pain by the end considering I trained not a lick, but I did it. I finished a race that meant more to me than just the medal at the end. In all honesty, it felt like the finishing touches to all those years we spent with Montana in the hospital fighting for his life. 

That run was for the kids fighting. It was for the kids we know who passed away. It was for the kids who never got to grow old and most of all, it was for our own little hero. 

It was for Montana.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Colorado Winter.

For the past 2.5 months we’ve been living the Buena Vista life. We’ve had temps drop down to 1 degree and weather as warm as 60. On average, it’s been between 25 and 40 though. For the most part, everyone has what they need in order to stay warm and head into the outdoors. I know there were/are many people who were worried about how we would handle such a drastic change. However, we adapt well and pretty much take what gets thrown at us. Sure, the weather is not what it was in Cocoa Beach and there are no oceans for hundreds of miles around but we’re doing quite well and actually enjoying the winter here. There are those few days where an 80 degree day with perfect waves forming out in the ocean sound absolutely amazing but believe it or not, the snow is just as awesome. We just have to remember to look at it in a completely different light. The two can not be compared. The kids have enjoyed building many “Olafs”, sledding in kayaks, and taking hikes. As long as we remember to get outdoors, embrace the cold and enjoy what this state has to offer, we’ll be just fine.

We have our camper parked under the boat house awning which helps to keep it out of the elements so that has been super nice. We have a heater in the upstairs business room as well as one in Filmore. The main adjustment has been having to buy our own water. Because it’s so cold, the owner has winterized the buildings and normally people don’t stay here over winter. Hence, no running water. During the day we can hang out upstairs where the kids have a tad more room to play and we also have the extra space to store all the winter items. Everyone knows just how much space those winter coats and boots take up. Especially a family living in a camper. If it weren't for the extra space we are able to use, Colorado winters wouldn't really work out for us. I mean a 13 foot camper, a family of 5 and snow several inches deep would have been enough to throw us over the edge. But, we do have the space and the owner is amazing. We watch the property in exchange for the location.

As for a job, Chris just scored a position working at the ski resort - Monarch. We’re all super excited and will hopefully be able to teach the three munchkins a new sport come the new year. We never know what’s in store for this family but we welcome change, adventure and excitement with open arms.

So there you have it, our life over the past couple of months. Mixed in there was our trip to Missouri and the 1/2 Marathon in Memphis, TN which was a total blast but lots of work. I’ll post on that later, including the sickness the kids all acquired while away. And now we are preparing for Christmas next week. It’s hard to believe it’s about here but if your kids are like ours, they haven’t stopped counting down the days. We hope you all have a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas from the Oatman Clan.

When adventure knocks, open the door!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Illustration. Coloring Pages. Personalized Art.

Lately I've been getting back into illustration. I've always loved it and after having kids, I kind of got away from it even though it's always been my true passion. From the age of 9/10 while living in Germany, I can remember sitting outside and drawing the day away. Eventually, I went on to major in illustration/graphic design but then never did anything with it. I guess I just didn't quite know what to do with it actually. Well, now I'm back at it and after much support and encouragement from family and friends, I've decided to open an Etsy shop to share my work.  So far, I mostly have coloring pages  listed but I eventually hope to make personalized art, prints, cards and other things with my drawings on them.  Feel free to hop on over and have a look around @ JESSICA OATMAN ART