Wednesday June 27th, Last Day Of Vacation

Today was our last full day of real vacation since driving home in the car with 3 kids doesn’t count as any vacation at all!  We woke up to a beautiful day and the hardest part was deciding what to do first.  We had so much fun the day before at the beach digging and riding the waves that we decided to go there first thing.  
Our mountain that Craig dug Tuesday was gone so Ingram decided he wanted to dig a hole instead of a mountain so we dug and dug and dug.  By we, this time I mean me and Ingram; occasionally the girls would dig for a minute or two.  It was great though and our style definitely showed through; at first we were trying for a lazy river sort of thing where the water would come up, go around a curve, and go back down.  I decided it was too much work so we just made a big hole with a wide mouth entry and Ingram was happy.  As a matter of fact, he told me that it was perfect!  
We played football on the beach and Craig successfully taught the girls how to kick the football barefoot; he was secretely working on soccer techniques for when they pick back up with practice in August but don’t tell them!  A little bit later I noticed Ingram was walking toward the boardwalk so of course Lindsey heads after him and then I head after her.  Ingram decided he was ready to play in the water at the pool since he’s not much of a salt water kind of guy.  After lunch we all played at the pool some more and Craig and the kids were trying to make a human tower and I think everyone at the pool enjoyed it.  They would get almost all standing with Craig on the bottom, Madison on his shoulders, then Lindsey on hers, then Ingram on Lindsey’s shoulders and come tumbling down over and over again.  
Craig and the girls headed to Big Kahuna’s Water Park to meet my sister’s family and their whole crew.  Ingram needed a nap so we met the others at the outlets once he woke up, did a little shopping, and then met them at closing time at the water park.  When we pulled up at Big Kahuna’s I thought, they were done and we’d head out for dinner.  WRONG!!! They were in line at this tower as tall of the Eifel Tower it seemed waiting to be pulled up by strings and then go plunging 150 feet only to swing back and forth like a pendulum of sorts.  I couldn’t believe my girls were about to do this and I was a nervous wreck.  They got strapped in, started being pulled up and back (at this point Madison said Lindsey started to cry a little...I would have been begging to be put back on the ground!!), and away they go to the top.  Madison was the one to pull the cord and down they come...screaming their little heads off in shear panic for the first couple passes then it turned into laughter until they were on the ground.  The craziest part though was that Ingram was asking for HIS ticket so he could have a turn and everyone around started laughing but that little stinker was serious and wanted to go for a ride; no way little man!!!  

The Soon-To-Be Leaning Tower Of People!

From Left To Right...Excitement, Fear, All Out Panic;
These Three Are Definitely Braver Than Us Chickens!!

Tuesday June 26th, Making Memories!!

Our day started out great!  The sun was shining through the windows and it was super bright.  What did this mean?  Debby's gone and we were going to have a great day on the beach or at the pool!  I headed out with the kids in the golf cart to the pool and Craig headed out on his bike for a quick ride.  His ride turned into a long one because his tire burst on the highway and he had to walk back; it took forever!  Finally after he'd been gone a while, we were sending him a message of which pool to come to and he said he'd been walking for over 20 minutes.  We decided to hop in the cart and go rescue him so he didn't have to walk much more.

Once we had Daddy with us, we played at the pool forever and he also fixed our lunches today.  We made the girls eat all their leftovers since they suddenly aren't hungry after we pay "vacation prices" for their food at restaurants.  Ingram didn't want any chicken and instead ate the rest of his chocolate chip muffins from breakfast for his lunch.  That little stinker has the craziest appetite now; we never know what he's going to want much less when he's actually going to be hungry.  He's never really hungry nowadays during regular meal times and I think it's because his body is so confused still from not being able to eat breakfast during his 34 rounds of radiation.  He's gaining weight, or at least maintaining I think, but I guess we'll find out soon enough when we go in next week.

After a quick trip to the house for Ingram's naptime, we met them at the beach and played in the surf and sand for a couple of hours.  Craig built a huge hill in the sand for the girls and Ingram was "helping" dig a trench for the water to come up when the waves hit (Ingram is more of a superintendent than a laborer, although he does try to help!).  We rode the waves for a long time too and all took turns wiping Ingram's boogers all day long.  We're affectionally calling him "boogerhead" this week and he's not only using his booger bands to keep his nose clean but his shirt, our shirts, our towels and everything else he can grab.

After dinner at the house, we decided to go for a drive to get ice cream in a super cool car...a yellow 1985 Mercedes Convertible!  It's so cute and the kids have been begging to go out in it ever since we got here.  The radio started playing and it was songs from when we were much younger.  We were both singing to the songs and the girls were making fun of us for being "sooooo old;" Madison said that our songs were dumb and just said "blah, blah, blah."  Sound familiar?  Lindsey loved them and immediately tried to stand up and start dancing; boy are we going to be in trouble with her when she gets older!!!
"Daddy, Can We Get A Car Like This?"

I'm Positive His Face Got More Ice Cream Than His Belly Did!

Monday June 25th, Searching For The Sun!

So Tropical Storm Debby is trying to move in on our vacation and she made it a little unpleasant this morning!  We woke up first to the kids upstairs watching tv at 7am then to the sound of the winds and waves again.  We check the radar and realize that Debby is still basically sitting right next to us and spinning her winds and rain but not moving anywhere!  This girl is starting to get on my nerves!!!
Craig went running with Madison on her bike and I took Ingram and Lindsey in search of the sun so they could swim.  We have three pools within our sights but the most fun one was closed due to the weather; next we go to the one right behind our house and it's freezing cold water so we leave.  Finally we hit the jackpot with a pool that looks crowded; the only problem is that no one is in it because it's sooooooo cold.  Ingram starts throwing toys in the water so of course I make Lindsey get in and get them out.  Eventually she gives up and just swims with shivering lips chasing the toys Ingram keeps throwing in; you've got to understand I'm a Mom and have tons of toys in the pool bag!

Then the wind starts to pick up again and the rain starts to pick up more and we hightail it for cover.  The only problem is by now we've already ordered our lunch and have another 10 minutes till its ready  I know, what a problem to have...waiting on someone else to cook our lunch.  We managed to find a warm "living room " type room in a building off the pool and ate inside where we all stayed warm and dry.

Since it was so cold and wet where we were, we decided to head out in search of the sun.  Lucky for us, my sister and her family were about an hour west of us and they had sunshine plus wind and crazy waves.  The kids were all so excited to see each other again and happy at the thought of having a pool that wouldn't be cold to swim in and the gulf to play in also.  Well, they had the gulf with very close adult supervision because of the huge waves, but they didn't have a warm pool to swim in.  Their pool was freezing too and poor Ingram was more captivated by the waterhose and the outside showers than the pools or beach. 

After a long day playing at the beach/pool/waterhose/shower, we had dinner at this great place by the water that had outdoor seating, a playground, and about 5 sand volleyball couts with people playing various games on the courts.  Although the day started out dreary, we finished it out on a great note...just don't tell anyone that our kids didn't get to bed till almost 11pm AGAIN!!!!

Check Out These Cute Cousins!
They'll Get Away With Lots If They Keep Acting This Sweet!!

Sunday June 24th, Another Monster...Tropical Storm Debby!

We woke up to waves that were at least 4-5 feet high and it was nuts!  The wind was carrying the mist all over the place and it had rained for hours already so everything was soaked.  I've never been around a water storm of this kind and was kind of excited.  The kids were excited too until we said "Let's go to the beach!" then their excitement changed to sort of anxiousness.  Ingram especially didn't want to go to the beach because we'd been talking about how big the waves were.  He did not want to go anywhere near the beach, much less touch the water.

We finally talked them into letting us drive down to the beach and take a picture and see the waves first hand.  Luckily, there was another family with 5 kids and 2 dogs that was heading down there too and they sidetracked out kids into being excited rather than scared.  Next thing I know, I'm holding Ingram and watching Craig and the girls play at the waters edge.  Well, at least it was the waters edge one minute because the next minute, waves were crashing on them and they were running towards us.

It was kinda crazy though.  First you have a huge force of nature that is out of our control and you can see the strength of the storm and then I see the protection of a Daddy within arms distance to hold his girls if needed.  They were so small compared to the waves and the strength of the storm could definitely overtake them, but their daddy was right there watching them and guarding them.  I feel the same way about Ingram's's ugly and out of our control, but we know our heavenly father is right there with us, watching us, guiding us, and protecting us as our Heavenly Father.

Tropical Storm Debby Making Waves At Our Back Door!

Saturday June 19th, Monster!!

The kids decided that they were going to get creative with their pool games and they were tired of just swimming around.  Ingram has been loving playing hide and go seek around the house and yard, so he decided he wanted to play chase in the pool.  He also loves Scooby Doo and decided that they needed a monster so......

Did you know that there are monsters in pools?  They look just like Craig and sound just like him too!  I  think the kids had Craig chasing them around the pool acting like a swamp monster or something for half the afternoon.  Ingram took turns having the girls protect him from the pool monster but in the end, the monster won.  They all got eaten by the monster and the girls got tossed around several times.  Ingram decided he too wanted to be tossed around but thankfully the monster wasn't as crazy with him as he was with the girls.

After pool time was over, we headed in to Destin instead and went to a couple of our favorite stores, one for the kids and one for us.  After we went shopping, we headed to a Dismuke favorite for dinner...Waffle House!!  Craig and I used to go to Waffle House every Sunday night when we first got married; of course it didn't help that it was right across the street from our first apartment.  We've managed to pass along the love for Waffle House to the kids and it's great!

No meltdowns for today, just fun times as a family!!

We Love Waffle House!!
For Some Reason, My Side Of The Table Was A Little Crowded!!

Friday June 22nd, Surprise!!

After our couple days home from our extended lake vacation, we surprised the kids with a trip to the beach.  We have gone to the beach for the past 3 years in October and have had to rearrange our Fall Break trip to right now because we will be in the middle of treatment during our school Fall Break.

We got in at 3am Friday morning and the kids were so fired up and excited that I think we didn't get to bed till 4am!!  But do they sleep in?  Of course not...these rascals were up at 7 like clockwork.  I think I fell asleep sitting on the couch on the balcony while they were eating breakfast about 5 times.  We finally made it down to the beach and took our load of chairs, boogie boards, shovels, and pails and set up Camp Dismuke behind the dunes of Water Sound in Florida.  

We didn't have any food for lunch so I headed out in the car to find food that everyone would eat (I've got 3 picky eaters and one is not a kid but don't tell him I said that!) and then realized that there was a grill at the pool right by our house.  Unbelievable huh!  Anyway, so we played football in and out of the sand, rode the waves on our super cool new boogie boards, and managed to squeeze in a sand fight that ended up being Craig verses the kids.  Madison, Lindsey, and Ingram all ganged up on Daddy; the final score when it was all said and done was Kids 1- Daddy ZERO!!!  

You would also think that with the shortened sleep the night before that we would maybe take a nap in the afternoon.  Well that didn't happen either!  We stopped at the pool on the way back in and met another family from Louisville.  They had four kids, two older girls that are 10 and 12 and two younger kids that are 3 and 5, and our kids enjoyed swimming around with them.  Next thing we knew, it's 5pm so nap time doesn't exactly sound like a good idea.  We ended up showering and heading into Seaside for dinner and ran into the worst traffic ever!!  That's one reason we love coming down in October because we can actually get from place to place within minutes.  

We were so close to making it through our first day without a meltdown, but Ingram finally broke down over Gummi Worms!  He has decided that he wants gummi worms when he eats ice cream but then when he's actually eating the ice cream, he picks off all the gummies.  The line was so long that I just got a quick scoop for each of us so that we could get in and out quickly and apparently that wasn't the best idea.  He was so loud that I of course couldn't help but laugh, but the girls were so embarrassed and didn't quite know what to do.  Madison said that everyone was staring at us and she didn't know what to do; I just told her that it was okay because everyone can have a bad moment and they had no idea what all he was going through.  It was a great day...meltdown included because it was at least at the ice cream store right??

Loving The Sun, The Sand, and The Surf!!

Wednesday and Thursday June 20th and 21st, Recovering From Vacation!!

Man!  We had so much fun at the lake and went straight into St. Jude and then to a friends house for dinner that we only had time to unload the car into the laundry room and head back out.  It made for a super late night Tuesday night getting things put away before the start of Wednesday...which was super exciting!

The girls were needed back out at Dean Studio in Memphis to film some more for their video about St. Jude.  Craig's mom took them to the studio and I stayed home with Ingram to do some really important things...we painted, played baseball, made Play-doh shapes, and even chased Beau around the house again.  While we were taking care of our most important jobs around the house, Madison and Lindsey were having a great time at the studio taking turns filming and talking about Ingram and St. Jude!  I have heard bits and pieces about what all they're doing while they're at the studio and I can't wait to see the finished product soon. 

The girls also had another fundraising meeting and raised almost $4000 in one meeting!  They're having so much telling everyone about Ingram and St. Jude that it doesn't even seem hard to do anymore.  Hearing them talk to each other and to perfect strangers about everything Ingram is going through is amazing.  It's so complicated on so many different levels, but coming out of 10 year old and 8 year old mouths it sounds so easy if you know what I mean.  They talk to everyone they come into contact with about Ingram and people just stop and listen. 

Speaking of Ingram, he's doing pretty good I think.  He's getting some of his appetite back, but his taste buds are still changing and we're still figuring out each day what he likes to eat at any given moment.  He is a little more tempermental I guess you could say and the girls don't like it when he calls attention to himself throwing a fit in public.  None of our kids have ever really done that as two year olds, so I guess Ingram is making up for a lot of that! 

He's really enjoying sleeping in our room still and I was talking to Craig about that earlier.  He doesn't just enjoy it, he LOVES it!  When it's bed time and he's in a good mood, he runs to his little bed and waits for one of us and Beau to plop down and start reading his book.  He has tons of books, but we read the same one over and over every night.  His teachers from preschool brought it over and he now finishes the second part of each page.  Ironically enough, the title of the book is God Helps You and it talks about how God helped different people throughout their lives like Moses, Gideon, Daniel, Ruth, Jonah, David, and Martha.  That's what we pray for every night, for God to help us and all of our other friends.

Madison Getting Pointers From Andy Dean!

Lindsey's Giving Pointers On How To Eat Popcorn...With Braces!!!

Friday June 15th through Tuesday June 19th, 4 Nights and 5 Days Of Paradise!!

We had soooo much fun celebrating radiation being finished!  We ended up leaving town and heading to the lake for the weekend with just our family.  It was so nice to get away and spend some time with our little family (the five of us) and also with the rest of our family on the lake.  Everyone we know who grew up on the water has always told us about weekends at the lake and how special they were.  I totally get it now and am so grateful that we had this time away with each other.      

We had been going non-stop since Tuesday April 3rd when all this started at Lebonheur then over at St. Jude just about every day.  Outside of the hospital, we have been always rushing around here and there to get the girls to and from everywhere, getting the house taken care of, getting all the errands run, and everything else that goes into running a home.  I'll admit that I was totally and completely exhausted and being at the lake this weekend was the first time that I just sat and relaxed and didn't have a thing that I absolutely had to do or somewhere I absolutely had to go.  Not having to make the 45 minute drive to the hospital in rush hour traffic both ways was great in itself.  Not having to distract Ingram from the push of the sleepy medicine was priceless!  

We just had a regular weekend like we used to...but I just couldn't pack it up and leave Sunday so we ended up staying till we had to go to St. Jude Tuesday afternoon for a labs and our clinic check-up.  During Ingram's last few weeks of Radiation, his counts had been dropping a significant amount each week and we had been placed on a few precautions, including no swimming in pool or lake water!  Thankfully, his ANC has come up higher but is still in the low range; we're not on precautions anymore so that means that Ingram can get in the water now and he can't wait.  He spent four days on the boat and didn't even get upset that he couldn't go swimming; he just told everyone that he doctors said he couldn't swim right now and went on about his business.  He did a great job driving the boat and cheered for all of us while we were in the water.  Of course, you know he had his watergun out and was shooting everyone!!!

We also celebrated Father's Day on the lake with our big family Saturday and then just us Sunday.  The kids had so much fun pouncing Craig in the bed as they all piled in to give his his Father's Day hugs, kisses, and presents.  We're so lucky to have Craig and I wouldn't trade him for anything!!

What's next for Ingram?  As long as everything goes the way it should, he will have off the next 12 days then come back in for labs again and his appointment for his monthly visit to the medicine room for the Pneumonia antibiotic infusion.  After that, another 8 days off then back to the hospital for clinic clearance appointment then his first set of scans since radiation began.  After these scans, he will go inpatient for his first round of chemotherapy.  

What about the girls?  They are busy with their fundraising for St. Jude and Team Ingram.  They are going to take a break and go to camp, then they'll be back out raising money for SJ! They have truly impressed me with how much compassion they have and how much they understand.  I would have never asked to be in this situation, but God has truly put his arms around all five of us and is letting each of us have a real feeling of purpose during Ingram's journey.  I just can't say how proud of my girls I am.  They are truly a gift from God!

Happy Father's Day!!

Aren't My Guys Sooo Cute?
Madison Catching Some Air;
She's Showing Daddy How It's Done!

Apparently Craig's A Quick Learner;
Like Daughter, Like Father!!

Lindsey Kneeboarding Side To Side;
She Even Tried Out The Wake Board!!!
Armed And Dangerous!!
Our Happy Little Dry Guy!

I Actually Got Up On One Ski!!!
Those Who Know Me, Know How Unbelievable This Is For Me!!

Friday June 15th, It's Over!!!

Ingram had his last radiation treatment today and it was great!  We celebrated at the hospital with G-Mommy, Aunt Amye, and our cousins Brett and Carley and now we are about to celebrate no time for writing right now!

Stay tuned to see what all kind of fun we're going to have!!

Ingram With His Guys...Mr. Jody, Dr. Bakazi, and Chance!

The Day Isn't Complete Without A Picture Leaving After The Last Radiation Treatment!

Thursday June 13th, Daddy Day

From dad...
So I went to St. Jude with Ingram and Ashley today.  While I've been several times, I wanted to watch them do the radiation and just hang out with Ingram and Ashley for a day.   There were a few things that really got my attention.

The first thing was what a stud Ingram is.  Ashley keeps telling me about how funny he is when he goes back for radiation and how he likes to help the doctors.  You really have to see it to fully appreciate it.  When they called his name, he skipped down the hall poking his head in all of the rooms looking for his anesthesiologist - Dr. Bikazi.  When he finally found him, Ingram got a huge grin on his face.  Next, we went to Ingram's room and he hopped up on the bed.  He immediately started getting his IVs out so he could clean them with antiseptic wipes before they flushed the lines.  Then he helped put on his pulse/ox monitor (the little thing that they tape to your finger with the red light).  Then he wanted to put it on me.  Some of the doctors didn't know he had switched it to my finger and were alerted when it was showing some funny results.  When the nurse wanted to measure how big his muscles were (blood pressure), he told her to wait while he finished his Play-Doh.  Ingram is definitely a little helper and he's about as headstrong as Madison, his oldest sister.  He is much different than his sister, though, in that he is now tough as nails when it comes to doctors' offices.  I've always been amazed at how tough the little kids are who are forced to deal with things like this.  No three year-old should have to know what an IV is, much less how to clean his own.  The first time I came to radiation, he was tough.  But not this tough.

The second thing that struck me today was how amazing the people at St. Jude really are.  Every time I walk in the hospital, I come away so appreciative for the skill and attitude of the people there.  This time was no different.  They understand children and are so patient with them.  There was a nice volunteer there playing Play-Doh with Ingram (if you're looking for something to do with some spare time, go talk to them about volunteering - it is such a blessing to the parents and kids there).  The nurses all knew Ingram.  They all talked to him.  He really likes all of them.  It is reassuring to me to watch this process unfold.  The head of anesthesiology, Dr. Bikazi, is both a great doctor and a little kid at heart.  He has to be to be able to connect with a three year-old like he does.  One of the radiation guys (there is probably a more formal title that I am unaware of), Chance, took me through the radiation area explaining every little detail.  The whole place is full of patient and talented professionals who seem to genuinely care about my son.

Watching the radiation process was a bit overwhelming.  I don't think I can sufficiently describe all of the feelings I had, but there were certainly a lot of them.  It was seemingly a study in contrasts.  Ingram was strapped down to a board and his head was held in place by a molded face mask.  All the while, he was sedated, had an oxygen mask, and of course his IV was in his chest.  There were cameras from many angles showing everything that happened.  When they set him up for radiation, they have a margin of error of 1mm.  They use lasers to match up Ingram's position with where it is supposed to be.   The radiation oncologist, Dr. Merchant, has a target margin of error of 3mm with the radiation beams.  So you can imagine that if Ingram's body is slightly out of position, the radiation would kill good brain cells which we want to keep.  I described it as a study in contrasts for two reasons.  First, there was a sense of precision, perfection, sterility, and the pinnacle of technological organization.  And the point of the process is to destroy... to destroy the pinnacle of God's creation - albeit flawed - part of the human body.  And yet it is for the good of Ingram's body.  Second, I was struck by the significant human intelligence represented in the radiation process, in contrast to Ingram's innocence.  It was a surreal experience that I am still trying to comprehend.

And finally, I was really overwhelmed with how lucky the world is to have Ashley.  I've said before how lucky our family is to have her.  But it's not just us.  It's everyone who comes into her path.  She is so strong, and she constantly serves others.  She has turned all of the scary parts of being in the hospital into games.  You have, no doubt, seen what I mean in her blog posts.  Her attitude is always positive, and infectious.  She knows so many of the kids and parents up there because she takes an interest in them.  She talks to everyone and plays with all of the kids.  From the outside, you'd never know that she was also bearing the burden of having a sick child.  It is really fun to watch God shine His light through her.

Wednesday June 13th, Paint-A-Thon

Today at St. Jude was Wild Wild West day with the Volunteens and the kids had so much fun!  Madison spent the night with a friend and didn't make it to the hospital so it was just Lindsey and Ingram hanging out with me and G-Mommy.  Right when we walked in the doors, the kids took off running to the tables to start making cowboy crafts and playing games.  I literally had to drag Ingram from the tables to get him down to the Clinic for his weekly check-up.

When he got done with his check-up, he was so excited that his friendly volunteer Lisa was manning the playroom;  you see our Child Life Specialist has been on vacation this week and she's the "keeper of all things fun" as Ingram calls her.  Amy (our specialist) normally unlocks the cabinets one at a time and gets out the paints, the playdoh, the scissors, and the glue!  When she's not there, we hope there's a volunteer that day, but we never know till we get there.  Needless to say, he and Lindsey did a lot of painting today in the waiting room before he headed back for sedation/radiation.

Once Lindsey was finished with her painting downstairs in the radiation waiting room, she heard an announcement about a cookie.  Her ears perked up and she said "Cookie?  Did I hear Cookie?" and I explained that once she cleaned up her mess that G-Mommy could take her to see all the crafts she could do and the cookie she could decorate (and eat).

With Lindsey there, Ingram's regular wake-up routine was a little different and so he acted a little less "nice" I guess you could say.  Normally after I go back with his food for that day, we roll upstairs in the wagon and he watches a whole tv episode while he eats for about 30 minutes then we move on to the next thing.  Not Today!!  We ended up leaving the hospital with him throwing a fit and didn't stop crying till he was watching Power Rangers in his lap on my phone driving down the highway.

Once we were home, we painted some more and G-mommy was totally in control of the situation.  I came in the kitchen and the chaos on the counter was just funny!  Ingram and Lindsey had their whole paintbrushes full of paint, not just the brush part; they painted and painted and painted till I think the paint was out.  Then all three of the kids piled in the big chair and were watching tv together just like normal.
Ingram Has A New Favorite Drink And Has Had 8 of the
12 Yogurt Smoothies in the past 48 Hours. 

I Love My Crazy Crew!!

Tuesday June 12th, The Girls Are Back!!!

Today was a super exciting day!  The girls came home and headed straight to the hospital from the airport.  G-mommy couldn't drive fast enough for them and once they were at the gates and called, we went into hiding mode.  I think we hid behind the desk for about 5 minutes before we saw Madison run through the lobby; she saw our Thomas blanket in the wagon and then started looking around for us.  She found us and then hid with us till Lindsey came in.  The funny thing was that Ingram couldn't keep quiet any longer and ran out to see Lindsey and then it was non-stop laughter and running through the halls of the hospital.

After being at St. Jude for about 2 months, we finally were able to see the therapy dogs that come to the hospital every Tuesday morning from 9:30-10:30.  We hear the announcement every week, but are normally heading down for radiation or waking up from sedation every week.  The dogs were great and Ingram pet them for a couple minutes before we rolled down to Radiation for treatment.

They helped to in speech therapy a little too much so I had to pull them back but it was great to see them playing with him.  I just felt bad for the Therapist because one of my kids alone could be a daunting task, but all three of them together in a very small room after being separated for a week is a nightmare!  She earned her whole 6 weeks worth of interning in that 30 minute session.  After speech, we headed to the cafeteria for a late lunch and Ingram didn't want anything to eat.  The rest of us ate while he watched a TV show then we headed home to play with Beau and play some more baseball in the yard.  G-mommy was the new designated pitcher since she was here; she hasn't been here in a little over a month and was very excited to be back in the swing of things.

Needless to say, we have a lot of craziness to catch up on since the girls are back and the volume level has definitely increased in these past few hours.  But then again with 3 DAYS OF RADIATION LEFT, I think our volume levels have changed too.

Ingram and Max

Ingram And Spooky

Eating Daddy's Favorite Chips After Waking Up From Radiation!

Ingram Is Still Strong Enough To Pull His Girls In The Wagon!

Monday June 11th, Lindsey Has Landed!

Well, Lindsey the daughter hasn't landed yet, but Lindsey the butterfly landed this morning in dramatic nature just like the real Lindsey.  Ingram has been telling everyone how much he misses his girls ever since they left but wouldn't tell anyone what his butterfly was going to be named until today.  As you know last week, he named his butterfly Madison after his "big big sister" so it should come as no shock that this week's butterfly is named after his "big sister" Lindsey.  It's kinda funny though because when he was born, we got the girls shirts that said "big big sister" for Madison and "big sister" for Lindsey and I don't think I've referred to them as that until now since he was born.

He did a great job this morning and we even stopped by the donut store on the way to the hospital so that he would have his favorite donuts when he woke up.  Oddly enough, when he woke up, he told his nurses that he was ready to go to McDonald's for some hash browns so they both laughed when I came bouncing in the room holding the bag of donuts and milk with a big smile on my face.  Luckily Ingram said that he wanted donuts first so everything was peaceful in the recovery room!

After we did our standard recovery procedure (rolling upstairs in the wagon while eating and laying down while he watches a TV show on my phone), we left and headed towards Collierville to run a couple quick errands.  We ran into a friend and before I knew it, we were at Barnes and Noble playing with all the trains toys on the shelves and the train table.  It was a unexpected fun afternoon!

We've talked to the girls a lot today and they're so excited about coming home tomorrow; I actually don't know who's more excited this time between the girls or Ingram.  We were eating dinner at the counter on the bar stools with Ingram tonight and were talking about how our crazy meter was about to go up a gazillion notches once they're home.  Don't get me wrong, we miss them so much and can't wait to see them; I'm just hope we can keep a little calm going even though the house will be full and loud just like normal again.

Eating 1 Huge Donut And 8 Donut Holes Make Up For Missing Breakfast Today!

Saturday and Sunday June 9th and 10th, Balls, Balls, and More Balls

If you haven't figured this out yet, Ingram LOVES balls!  He loves to play with baseballs, basketballs, golf balls, footballs, soccer balls, and tennis balls.  He is 100% boy and runs around like crazy looking for any kind of ball.  He loves all the accessories that go with balls like bats, gloves, golf clubs, hats, tee's, stands, goals and more.  Sometimes I think too that Beau is an accessory that goes with every kind of ball because he's always struck by the bat or club and also often has a ball stuck in his mouth.

We were playing baseball in the front yard when someone drove by and recognized Ingram from his blog.  It's kinda funny now and I'm getting used to his newfound fame; it's actually quite comical all the places we've been recognized.  Ingram is missing his girls and was very happy to play with their daughter for a couple hours while we all visited.  They had so much paint out and were having tons of fun; it reminded me of how Lindsey loves to paint and made me miss her even more!  Then I started thinking about Madison too and how she loves to just call and talk to Ingram on the phone;  she's called him every day I think just to say hi and see what he's doing.  They're just the sweetest sisters!!

We ended up hanging around the house playing and eventually went for a run Saturday night with Ingram in the jogger.  Let me say this on record...I think this is the first time in my life my husband outran me!  I haven't run since the St. Jude Half last December (except for twice) because of an injury and I could barely make it and now I'm sooooo sore.  Ingram loved it though and ate his dinner and watched Spiderman on my phone while we ran.  We saw several deer on the trails and Ingram loved watching them until they hopped away.  Once we were done, we were starving so we headed to the Mexican restaurant for his second dinner!

Sunday we headed over to the golf tournament since it was a pretty day.  Ingram really wanted to take his golf club again so that he could play; we had a hard time convincing him he couldn't take his golf club, but finally he realized he wouldn't be able to play golf.  So he grabbed his bat instead thinking he could play baseball at the golf course.  That silly boy could have probably gotten away with it, but we decided not to press our luck!  We met up with some friends and enjoyed the day gawking at Rory McElroy and of course Dustin Johnson; in the end Dustin Johnson won and we have his autograph from the concert Tuesday night.  Needless to say, Craig was a happy guy!  So were we because we were inside the St. Jude Tent in the air conditioning once it got hot.  Ingram ate chips and vanilla ice cream for his lunch!  Afterwards we headed to our friends house and hung out for a bit and Ingram has convinced them to join Team Ingram too.  He told them if they ran it would take away his cancer with a smile; I guess you can't really say no to that huh?  He also said he wanted corn while we were outside and I couldn't figure out what he was talking about for the longest time.  Finally I saw the boards and realized he was talking about bags or cornhole as others call it.  He had loads of fun playing it until we finally made him leave.

He had such a fun long weekend that he had no problem falling asleep!  Tomorrow is our last butterfly access day until we come back from our almost 4 week break.  We are so excited about it and he's already named his butterfly too.  He told me I can't tell yet, so you'll just have to wait till tomorrow night to find out.  Also big news, FIVE MORE SEDATION/RADIATION DAYS LEFT!!!!!!

Less Than One Minute After I Put Ingram In Bed!
Notice Duke The Lion Right At His Face;
It's Almost Like He Fell Asleep Giving Him A Goodnight Kiss!

Friday June 8th, Another Fabulous Friday!!!

We had the privilege of having Mimi and Pops with us during treatment today.  We traded times with a friend who wanted an early start home; instead of leaving the house at 6:30am we left at 9am.  It was great knowing that I didn't have to wake him up before 7 AND that we didn't even have to set an alarm clock either.  We all left the house and headed to the hospital in great moods and even started watching Buzz Lightyear and Woody on the way.

Once we were there, Ingram was running and kept looking back to make sure Mim and Pops were still right behind us.  We checked in at Mrs. Gloria's desk as usual and I think Ingram even wanted to get blue bands for Mimi and Pops.  Next he took off for the elevators and ran right through a group of motorcycle guys getting a tour and he was still yelling for Mimi and Pops to follow him.  

Before he went to the back for his sedation, all the kids that were around in the Radiation Oncology had a project to do for the Child Life Specialist.  She was in need of decorating a room and had a few things that needed to be painted.  It was so much fun!!! They painted a picture of a huge tree, huge cut-out people, and regular paper with rainbows for the sky.  It was sooo messy too and the thing's okay to get a little paint here and a little paint there because that's what it's for!

By the time Ingram got back to the recovery room, no one else was there so Mimi and Pops were allowed to come back into the recovery room.  I think they were quite excited when they walked in and saw Ingram sitting up in his bed asking what he was going to eat.  Luckily, I had stocked up on the two things we talked about on the way to the hospital, orange gatorade and cheetoh puffs.  But they also had corn and rolls in the cafeteria so I grabbed those too and it was a good thing that I did...check out the pictures below to see why!

We also made a stop at the zoo on the way home to check out the dinosaurs again.  Ingram has decided that since he's already great at being a nurse AND a doctor and a professional golfer he needed to find a new profession.  He has already graduated from the School of Paleontology and is already in the process of finishing his first actual dig!

Ingram finished out his day playing baseball in the yard and taking Beau and Izzy (Mimi and Pops' puppy) on a walk.  It was tricky but somehow we managed to home without too many problems.  Then we had a late night bike ride to the Mexican restaurant for dinner and the ice cream store for dessert with Daddy!  What a great day we had; I wonder what we'll do tomorrow!!!

"Thanks Mommy!  I Love Corn!"
"No I Don't Need A Spoon; I Got This!"
This Just In...Dr. Ingram Dismuke Has Found Dinosaur Remains.
Then He Rode Off On A Horse;
It Kept Going In Circles, So He Got Off.

After His Expeditions Of The Day And A Misbehaving Horse,
He Was Roaring Mad With A Mouthful Of Cheetohs
And Left On The Next Trolley That Came His Way.

Thursday June 7th, Having A Ball With The Balls!

When I think that we couldn't have any more fun, Silly Field Day took place at St. Jude today.  They started with a silly string war between the staff that was a hoot to watch.  Cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, face painting, spin art, basketball, golf, bean bags and more!  Ingram had so much fun and ate popcorn, more popcorn, and more popcorn.  He played every game about 5 times and was running around like a wild horse "giddy upping" all over the place.

Radiation went great and he's very excited that his butterfly comes out tomorrow but we realized that we never told what he named his butterfly this week.  So instead of super heroes like Batman, Spiderman, Mater, and McQueen, he decided to name his butterfly after a real hero...his big sister Madison.  He's so excited that Madison is heading up the charge to raise money for St. Jude and started Team Ingram.  He can't wait for his girls to get back in town and asks me all day long every day when they're coming back.  And when they call home they always ask to talk to him too.  They're the sweetest sisters in the world!

Today the girls had their second fundraising meeting and we're still in shock at the generosity of the men and women they met with.  G-Daddy set up a meeting for the girls today with the executives at his company, Flotek (FTK), so they could tell them about St. Jude.  Apparently it went quite well; $20,000 well!  But there’s a catch, the CEO made a deal with the girls that they would match 50 cents for every dollar they raise up to $40,000.  So now the girls are really excited about trying to get the $40,000 as soon as they can because with the match it will be $60,000!  And that’s a lot closer to their goal of $100,000 than they were at the beginning of the week.  There were also several individuals in the company who gave gifts.  Another company that G-Daddy works with, ARC Products (a Specialty Chemical Company), gave St. Jude $5,000 today.  The girls are doing such a great job and there are so many great people and companies out there.  We wish we knew how we could sufficiently thank them for supporting this great cause, and encouraging our family so much.

Some Shots Went Towards The Goal,
But A Few I Think He Was Aiming At Heads!!

Ingram Is Practicing For His Next Round With Scott Verplank!

Wednesday June 6th, Teeing Off From The 11th Hole... Mr. Ingram Dismuke

from dad...
Part of being a patient at St. Jude is that you get to do some really fun things.  Today, Ingram got to meet a PGA Tour player and help him play the 11th hole at Southwind.  The FedEx St. Jude Classic is taking place here in Memphis over the next four days to benefit the work at St. Jude.  The group of golfers is fair this year including two young stars, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson (I don't really have a crush on Johnson like Ashley portrayed in yesterday's blog - although I do have a small picture of him taped on the dashboard of my car).  We want the best field we can get so more people attend and St. Jude can raise more money.  When we saw the sheet of players coming through, I picked Scott Verplank for Ingram to meet since I have watched him often, he has won 8 times on Tour, he seems to have a positive demeanor, and most importantly he wears a sweatband on his arm like Ingram (it's actually not a sweatband but it looks like one on TV).  

I'm not sure Scott knew what to expect when Ingram the Conqueror showed up on the tee-box.  But he was there to conquer something for sure, perhaps the audience.  Ingram brought along his trusty red plastic golf club and was ready to play.  He told Scott immediately that he needed a golfball.  Scott obliged.  Ingram also needed a needle (otherwise known as a tee).  Scott again obliged.  So now Ingram was ready to fire away, and he crushed it!  Right at the cameraman.  Everyone cheered for Ingram and he got excited.  Then he got to hit again; and wanted to again.  It was hard for Ingram to understand why he had to quit teeing off so the other players could participate.

Next was the journey to the green.  Naturally, the first thing you do when you play golf is show your playing partner your underwear when you walk off the first tee.  And sure enough, Ingram starting showing Scott his "big boy underwear" as they walked off.  I couldn't really figure out what was going on until I heard everyone laughing and saw a look of bewilderment on Ashley's face (the same face she has when Ingram decides to use the restroom standing on the back of the boat when friends are on the boat with us).  That's when I decided I needed to go under the spectator ropes and help (we weren't really supposed to).  But Scott had it under control and was so patient herding Ingram to the green. 

Once on the green, Ingram got to help Scott putt and they actually made it in two putts (that's a personal best by about 12 strokes for Ingram on a green).  Everyone cheered again for him and then he basked in the glory on the edge of the green talking to Scott.   I talked to him also and he was genuinely interested in Ingram's battle.  He was also interested in Ingram's sweatband, so we obviously gave him one.  When we did, Scott ripped the plastic off and I think he put it on.  Before we left the green, Scott had given Ingram several golf balls and autographed his hat.  It such a fun deal for both of us.

As we left the course, Ingram wanted to go back and play golf with those guys.  I'm not sure Scott would want to play 18 with Ingram, but Ingram would have been game!  Needless to say, Scott Verplank has now supplanted Mickelson and Johnson as our (or more accurately, my) favorite golfer.  I guess I'll need a new picture for my dashboard.  We will be rooting for him this weekend and for years to come.  And we'll probably be looking to see if he's still sporting Ingram's black and neon green wristband this weekend.  It will be hard to lose wearing the Conqueror's gear.  It was such a little thing, but the genuine concern Scott showed was very encouraging to Ashley and me, and his patience helped Ingram to have a great day.   I'm sure he didn't wake up today thinking he would be chasing a three-year old around a golf course.  And I suspect people don't always realize when God is using them to accomplish His purposes.  

Hi, I'm Ingram.  I'm here to conquer something!

Mr. Verplank, If you want to win this tournament, you have to put some leg in it... like this!

Our new favorite golfer ... Scott Verplank!

What a fun day!

Tuesday June 5th, Yeehaw!!!!

First off, we have 8 Radiation days left!!!!!  And we are sooooo counting down the days!!!!  

This morning was a quick one in and out of St. Jude in record time of less than 2 hours.  We cancelled our other appointments for the day since the girls had a plane to catch in Little Rock.  After Radiation though before we could make it home, we had to make an emergency stop at Gibson's Donuts and pick up 3 dozen donut holes.  Our little man is now in a donut spurt and has to have his holes when he wakes up from sedation.  He must get his love of donuts from his sister Madison who loves to eat them and his Daddy who loves to drive in donuts on the lake to make the tube fly high.  Who cares though, for all he's going through, I'll get him whatever he wants!

The girls made it to their flight to Texas BARELY and were able to get checked in and get their tags as Unaccomanied Minors.  If you ask them what the best part of a trip is, it's more than likely will be flying solo and getting more attention than they would like.  Craig made me take Ingram home and rest and he drove the girls over to the Little Rock and back; they left around noon and he didn't get back in town till about 6pm.  I sure did enjoy being able to be home and let Ingram have a nap, paint a snake and fish, and chase Beau around with a bat again.  

Tonight St. Jude had a benefit concern featuring John Rich and Friends and it was so much fun!  We happened to be in the building when the gal came over the speaker announcing free tickets to the concert.  We watched The Celebrity Apprentice some the year John Rich was on and he talked about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital all the time.  He's even done a concert at the hospital before.  

There was something funny that happened tonight at the concert and it didn't really involve Ingram either.  Craig's probably going to try and delete this but here goes...This week is also the Fed Ex St. Jude Golf Classic and Craig has been playing golf since he could walk.  He saw one of his favorite players Dustin Johnson standing around and he got all giddy.  He had the cutest, biggest grin on his face but didn't say anything.   I could tell he was thinking then he asked if I had a pen; I had a pen for sure, but what Mom doesn't have a Sharpie marker in her purse?  He ended up getting his autograph and came back to us with once again the biggest grin.  He showed me his autograph and gave it to Ingram kinda like he was trying to cover up his happiness in getting the autograph for himself.  I asked him what he said to him and he sheepishly grinned and said "I don't know" not just one time, but two times!  You guys that are reading this have my permission to laugh at him but only for a few seconds when you see him (cause you know you would have done the same thing!!).  I tell you what, give him a piece of paper and a sharpie, say something silly, and just smile!  He'll love it!!

Mommy's Little Cowboy!

Monday June 4th, The Girls' Project

From Dad...
Today was a big day for our daughters.  Madison has wanted to raise money for St. Jude since Ashley and I did last year as part of the St. Jude Half-Marathon.  She has always been very charitable, and having a good family friend who has been a patient at St. Jude gave her a lot of motivation to do it.  When Ingram became a patient there, it obviously gave her even more determination!

Today was the kick-off for her project, Team Ingram.  Lindsey is a big part of it also and the two of them went on their first visit this afternoon to make their presentation to some business people.  We have practiced and practiced for weeks now in preparation for this.  We’ve practiced how to walk, how to communicate in a business meeting, body language, voice intonation and loudness, making eye contact, etc…  At one point, Madison reminded me that all she hears when I talk is “blah, blah, blah.”  In other words, we went overboard with instruction.  But it all paid off today and hopefully this is the start of a great experience for our daughters. 

One of our family friends, John Abington, invited Madison and Lindsey to come up to Raymond James to make their presentation to some old friends of mine from my days at Morgan Keegan.  Because of the nature of our business, I couldn’t go with them so I anxiously waited to hear how it went.  They went up to the trading floor by themselves and presented to a conference room full of brokers and traders – which can frankly be an intimidating crowd.  The reports are that they did great.  And our friends at Raymond James donated $6,550 to St. Jude and Team Ingram.  Their generosity was very encouraging to our family and got the girls off to a great start.

However, they still have a long way to go!  If you care to see Team Ingram’s webpage, you can see it at:

Look Out World...Here Come The Dismuke Girls!

Saturday and Sunday June 2nd and 3rd, Crazy Lake Day!

Radiation was short and sweet Saturday morning and after leaving home at 6:30am; we were back home by 10:30 to start our day.  Where might you ask did we start our day???  At the Lake of course!!!  We had been planning a day at the lake with friends for a few months now and we sure weren't going to let a little radiation treatment change that!  There's too much fun and stress relief to be had on the water, listening to the kids laugh and watching their smiling faces, to cancel a trip to the lake. The kids had so much fun playing together in and out of the water and Ingram even got a short nap on the boat.  It was chilly for sure when the clouds came out but when the sun peeked out, it was fabulous!!

Sunday was great too!  We made it to church, but never made it down to the service or to our class.  We were on the way, but kept running into friends and enjoyed talking with them about Ingram.  Pretty soon an hour and a half had passed by and we had only made it down one hallway about 100 feet.  There is something to be said about hugs in the hallway and talking about Ingram and his treatments with friends that soothes the soul in hard times.

After lunch, Craig's Uncle came into town and got to spend some time with the kids and of course Beau.  At one point all 7 of us were out front playing baseball with Ingram running the bases and chasing Beau with the bat again.  The best "batter up" time though was when Beau was less than 2 feet away from Ingram when the ball was being pitched.  Yep, you're guessing right!  Ingram swung and hit Beau upside the head and it didn't seem to phase him a bit.  And no, he's not an old dog; he's just 7 months old and he's the calmest puppy we could have.  He runs around like crazy when we want him to, then just lays around when he gets tired.

Tomorrow is "Pokey Monday" and Ingram's new butterfly will be put in hopefully without too much drama.  The girls are once again tagging along to the hospital and are very excited about it too.  After our treatment, we'll eat lunch and then head to the girls' first fundraising meeting where they're actually doing their presentation to raise money for St. Jude.  We're so proud of them and will keep you posted as to how they, and Team Ingram, are doing.  If you want to participate on Team Ingram either running or donating, let us know and we'll get you more information.

Having Some Fun In The Sun!

Friday June 1st, Friday equals Funday!!

We had such a fun day today!  Lindsey and Madison went with us to St. Jude since all we had on the schedule was radiation.  For the second day in a row, Ingram didn't cry and he helped get everything set up.  He's such a great helper!  I think the girls were super excited to see some of Ingram's friends again and also to see part of what he does while he's at the hospital.

While he was asleep getting his treatment, we went down to the cafeteria to get some breakfast and bring Ingram some bacon and red gatorade.  The girls also played in the playroom and made pictures for him while I was in the back.  On our way out, we stopped in the lobby and played board games with a group that just came to entertain the patients and their families.  Ingram successfully arranged the Connect 4 thingies in all different patterns and flung angry birds all around the lobby.  Lindsey also was quite the bird thrower and won all of her Connect 4 games.  Madison played Uno against a couple gals and ended up winning several games while the gals had half the deck in their hands.  It was fantastic!

So from all the pictures we've posted, you can tell Ingram has long hair.  During surgery he had a strip shaved in the back and that was it.  It's growing back already but now he's losing hair on the top and back of his head from the radiation.  It's been pretty comical though because the rest of his hair covers it up since it's so long and it looks pretty shaggy at the same time.  With him already having a couple bald spots in the back and several balding areas on top, it was time to have someone who knows how to cut hair, give Ingram a little trim and shape up his hair so it looks a little better as it's coming out.  He did great and kept telling the guy where to cut and what to do.  I guess he's so used to his St. Jude nurses and doctors that he's telling everyone else what to do too.  Afterwards, Chic Fil A was calling our names for lunch and you know we can't resist that kind of temptation!  We also grabbed some lunch to take to Daddy after we were done eating and showed off Ingram's new haircut.

We're excited about the weekend, but have to do radiation first thing in the morning to make up for being off on Memorial Day.  This way, we still finish on Friday June 15th and then get a month off!!

Yahooey for 11 treatments left!!

The Three Musketeers...Watch Out St. Jude; Get Ready For Some Noise!!

Ingram Playing Angry Birds...Well, At Least His Version Of  It!

Lindsey Playing Connect 4 But I Think I Saw Her Put In Two At A Time!

Madison Playing UNO And She's Definitely Smart Enough To Stack The Deck!!

Ingram Wanted His Girls To Have Blue Hospital Bands Too.
Ingram Getting His Hair All Shaped Up;
Just Like Home Too Watching TV In His Pajamas!!