WELCOME

I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...

WELCOME TO THE FEITNER ADVENTURE!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving

Most Thanksgivings find us at the home of Aaron's Aunt Sandra (who lives in Washington, DC), and this year was no different. There's so much we have to be grateful for this year that we took for granted in years past. Here are some pics from the special (and perfect) day:





Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Fantasy Home - The Biltmore

I have always had a love of huge, beautiful houses. I've always had a love of huge, beautiful architecture in general! This past weekend, while my mother watched the boys, Aaron and I celebrated my 29th birthday by taking a trip to the closest thing to heaven here in the US (outside of Yosemite National Park, of course) - The Biltmore. (www.biltmore.com) Located in Asheville, North Carolina, it was the home of George Vanderbilt, took just over 5 years to complete, and was officially opened to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. This was my second visit to the Biltmore (I went with a cousin and friend of hers two years ago), but was Aaron's first. In addition to driving and walking around the magnificent grounds, we took an evening candlelight Christmas tour of the house. There were carolers, a guitarist, and ballerinas performing in various parts of the house as we meandered through. What a fabulous way to kick off this year's holiday season!

Although close, the trip wasn't quite perfect, at least in my estimation. I failed to research the elevation of Asheville, that is until we arrived and I thought I was going to pass out when I got out of the car. It didn't take long for me to pull out the laptop to check. It's approx. 2000 ft. higher than where we live in Pennsylvania. Oops! For the average Joe, that's not a problem. However, I stopped being normal a LONG time ago! It must have been God who put the idea into our minds to bring the portable oxygen with us "just in case." I was groggy and slow-moving the whole time we were there, and when I did any amount of walking (especially uphill or up stairs), I needed to wear the not-so-attractive oxygen nasal canula. Aaron put the oxygen tank in a backpack (that he generously carried instead of me). It's a good thing that I stopped being self-conscious about wearing it several months ago, or I might have been disheartened by all the stares we received. People don't expect to see someone my age needing oxygen.

After a day or so my body began to adjust to the higher elevation, and I needed the oxygen less frequently! That made the rest of the trip so much more enjoyable. ... But that also meant that when we returned home it took a day or so for my body to readjust back to the lower elevation. As it did so I dealt with migraines, nausea, and my skin being really red. Even though the adjustment (both times) was quite unpleasant, I viewed it as a good thing. When I was there two years ago, my body didn't adjust to the higher elevation. The last time I went skiing in Utah (three years ago), I dealt with really bad altitude sickness the whole week because my body couldn't adjust then, either. This time it was finally able to begin to. I'm not sure if the "improvement" this time was due to Flolan (the continual iv medicine going into my heart), or because of me beginning to get better. But no matter the cause, we were thrilled anyway.

This was the first vacation we've had in over fourteen months. It was the first the two of us have taken alone in even longer. After the stress of this past year, it was a welcome change - a chance to get away and focus on each other (and forget about some of the craziness of our life)! We're already talking about where we'll go next!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

I'm part of a local mother's group called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), which is tons of fun, and I've gotten to be good friends with a lot of really great women. Tonight a fantastic group of those lady friends came over to our townhouse to wrap shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We were planning on doing one shoe box, but had so many toys that we ended up doing two instead! The original plan included appetizers and watching a Christmas movie, but we had so much fun just hanging out and chatting, that we never watched the film. I've decided (yet again) that I'm so glad there are now ladies in my life!

If you haven't done a box yet this year, I highly recommend you take the time. It doesn't cost much and doesn't take much time, but is a HUGE blessing to a child somewhere who might not get anything for Christmas, or doesn't have many (or any) toys. National collection week is going on right now - November 17-24, so you'll need to hurry!

For more information, check it out:
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/



Monday, November 17, 2008

one fish - two fish - red fish - blue fish

Last night we returned home from spending the weekend at my mother's house in Wheeling, WV. I can't believe that it's been a whole year since we've been there - I used to go every 6-8 weeks! This past year has been so crazy for us - from the hospital stays to just gaining strength again. My mother's the Missions Chair at her church, and this weekend was their third (or was it the fourth?) annual Missions Focus, so we thought it was a good time to make the effort to take the 4 hour drive (each way). It was an amazing weekend reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones. I'll probably write more about that later.

The boys did pretty good with the long drive, so on the way back we decided to stop at Cabela's (about 10 miles away from her house). No, my 3 year old isn't into hunting equipment. We stopped so they could look at the huge FREE aquarium! Both Alex and Harrison (who temporarily forgot that he desperately needed a nap) had a blast watching the fish. Alex was convinced that there was a shark hiding somewhere in the tank. Harrison was fascinated by the fish that kept moving, but he couldn't touch (and was quite perplexed by how the glass could keep them apart). I absolutely love free fun!




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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Living Life in 3D

As we begin the trek into yet another holiday season, we've been thinking about our family traditions - evaluating the ones we already have (what to tweak, what to keep, what to pitch), and deciding what ones we'd like to initiate this year. It's only the beginning of November, so this week isn't when we should be trimming the tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa (we're keeping that tradition). Nor is it the week that we send out this year's 150+ holiday cards (though we have already started them).

Those of you who know me well, know that I'm horrible at waiting for special things like opening a birthday gift (only two more weeks to wait!) or pulling out my collection of Christmas music (this year I waited all the way till October to listen to my first cd!). Since I find my greatest joys in making and reliving good memories, it follows that I couldn't wait to put into practice some of the new traditions we've decided to add to our family.

Being that I love Christmas so much, I've already bought a new Christmas movie this year. There's no way that I can wait till after Thanksgiving to watch it, so I decided it was time to start one of our newly decided traditions.
So, last night was the first monthly "Feitner Family Movie Night." We watched The Polar Express - in 3D no less! It was amazing! The movie itself was pretty good - last night was my first time watching it. But that wasn't what was so great.

Yesterday was also declared "Jammies Day." In the morning we told Alex that IF he took a nap that afternoon (time flies by so quickly - he's only 3 1/2 and it's already IF he takes a nap, not WHEN he takes one!), then after dinner we'd watch a movie and have popcorn. Yesterday was the first time in quite a while that getting him to take a nap didn't involve any whining. As soon as he woke up from it he rushed downstairs and asked if it was "popcorn movie time." We had homemade pizza for dinner, and the whole time he kept asking if it was popcorn time yet. Time was finally on his side, and we grabbed the movie. We turned off the lights and put on the funny glasses, and memories were made.



In the darkness we shared so much more than just the popcorn that kept being passed back and forth. We each brought our own perspective of life to that couch. I felt truly blessed to share simultaneously all of my loves - Christmas, movies, and my three men. Aaron's since remarked on Alex's expressions of awe and wonder as he watched a train (his favorite thing in the whole world) taking a boy just like him to see Santa.

We don't know which other traditions will be added in the near future. What they are doesn't matter as much as the fact that they are. You can lose so much in life - a job, a loved one - but no one can destroy your memories. I'm so glad that we're making lots of them as individuals and as a family.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The love of my life

I'm feeling nostalgic today, so I've spent part of the morning looking through photos (that is between bottles, diapers, trips to the potty and playing with a toy train set). I thought I'd take the opportunity to introduce you to the love of my life - Aaron.

We met on the campus of Messiah College (I was a student there, but he wasn't), during my first senior year (it took me 7 years to graduate - long story). Our first date was on 02-02-2002. We dated for a year, were engaged for a year, and on 02-02-2005 welcomed our first son, Alex. (We got pregnant 4 months after the wedding - - while on birth control!)

Life hasn't been perfect for us, we've had our rough times. My illness is definitely one - we can trace back symptoms to our honeymoon. We both wonder what life would be like if I was able to breathe and do some "normal" things like going for a hike just for the fun of it. Another rough time was when I was finishing my college degree in English Lit while we were both working full-time jobs and had a newborn. We both worked varying schedules, and it seemed like we were two ships passing in the night. But whatever trials we've faced, the two of us have always been there for each other.

A lot of friends don't understand how after being together for over six years we still haven't had a fight. It's not that hard - we just BOTH try to put the other person ahead of ourselves 100% of the time - their wants, needs, preferences, etc. Then we take turns compromising. If something is really important to one person, then it's the other person's turn to go along with it. Everything's just always fallen into place - school, jobs, housing, social schedule, what's for dinner, who's turn it is for "baby duty," etc. It's amazing how if your goal is to meet the needs of your partner, your needs end up being met as well. Thank you, Aaron, for being the love of my life!

September 2006 - at the Wimer-Runkle wedding in Enola, PA


June 2007 - at the Kamachi-Cosbey wedding in Toronto, ON
We found out I was pregnant that weekend,
the horrible morning sickness was the first indicator!

January 2008 - headed to a holiday party
I was about seven months pregnant with Harrison,
and was hospitalized a month later.

June 2008 - in Pittsburgh, PA
We had just been told that my enlarged heart
had begun to shrink! Praise God for medicine!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Princess


When presented with something new, our Alex is a bit ... timid. So, when we were at his grandparents' farm this past weekend, and Alex was asked if he wanted to ride their newly broken horse, he was less than excited. When we went outside to see the horse and he saw how big she was, the first look on his face was best described as sheer terror! But as soon as he saw his daddy get up in the saddle, he was all too eager to join him! It only took a few minutes riding for him to be hooked! He even spent some time riding alone in the saddle. We practically had to pull him away from her when it was time to go home an hour or so later. We're obviously planning another trip to visit Princess soon!


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Behind the Times

It seems like everyone I know and their mother have a blog - I'm definitely behind on the times. So, here I go trying to figure out this new form of self-expression. I guess it'll take me a bit to decide how I want this to look, so bear with me. More will be coming soon. But for now - - - welcome to my first blog!