Thursday, June 30, 2011

The France Post

I'm back.

Been really sleepy!

And waking up at 5 a.m. every morning cause my internal alarm clock is so off.

Oh and I have been doing oodles and oodles of laundry.

So, let's get on with the France recap shall we?

Our plane took off from Houston at 4:00 p.m. and we set off for the 10 hour flight to Paris. Jackson was an angel and had a ball watching his new movie that I got him just for the airplane. What was this movie that had him all giddy and angel like? You guessed it. The Justin Bieber movie. And you know what??? I watched it too and I actually really liked it. Justin is a cute little booger. I even cried. I am such a weirdo.

The only bad thing about the flight was that neither Renzi nor I slept at all! So by the time we landed in France it was 2 a.m. our time and 9 a.m. Paris time. We then grabbed our baggage and headed to the train station to take our 2 hour train ride into Avignon where we would meet up with A.J., Allison and Bowman.

We arrived in Avignon and hugged our sweet friends, rented our car and drove to our little chateau in Bonnieux where we would be staying for the next two nights. The drive was so pretty and there were so many rolling hills and literally vineyards for as far as you could see. Seriously, they were everywhere!!!

We arrived to our chateau and checked into our room and met up to sit outside and drink some wine and have some snacks and to let the kiddos play. As we were sitting there I realized that this was EXACTLY what I thought the South of France would be. Beautiful countryside, grapes, sun on your back and great wine and cheeses to snack on. Bliss! We all fell into bed that night and Renzi, Jax and I all slept 12 hours straight. (Ren and I had been up for 31 hours straight before we went to bed!)

After two days in Bonnieux we hopped in our cars and drove an hour and a half North to a little town called Beaune. Here we were greeted with another fabulous chateau and checked into our room after talking with the owners of the place. The night we arrived was the Summer Solstice and this town sure knows how to throw a Solstice Party!

For the next three days we explored the little cities in and around Beaune, had 2 of the greatest dinners of my life, went to a few wineries and enjoyed our time together.

The next stop on our agenda was to drive to Dijon where we would drop the cars off and load up for the train to Paris. The actual comedy of getting on the train is a whole other post in itself, but let's just say we literally got on the train as the door was closing and ended up drinking wine out of sippy cups.

Paris was amazing. Tiring. Amazing. Beautiful. Stinky. Aweinspring. And Breathtaking.

We saw so many things in Paris that I have wanted to see forever and some things I didn't even know existed. Arc de Triomphe, Champs De Elysses, The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Seine, Notre Dame and The Latin Quarter. We had Chocolate Croissants, Foie Gras (gross), Pizza, Steak and Fries, Nos Toasts (haha Alli!), and became experts at riding the Metro.

The kiddos did beautifully on this trip. They adjusted to the time difference better than we adults did! We had such a great time hanging with AJ and Allison and we loved loved loved getting to love on Baby Bowman! It is hard traveling in general, even harder to travel abroad with kiddos, but we are so blessed to be able to have traveled abroad with some of our best friends. It's hard to find people who you like traveling with and we love traveling with the Jacks!

AJ literally planned each part of the trip and I don't know if we could ever really express our gratitude to him for taking so much time to plan so many details so that we all had the best time possible. So...Thank you AJ!!! We love you guys so much!

I think Jackson had the best time and I feel so blessed to be able to give him experiences like this. I believe a key part of life is all about the experiences we have! He actually picked up a few French words that he continues to use around our house daily. We (the adults), on the other hand, did pretty good with our French. Ok, so maybe I didn't. I actually just pointed out things that I wanted and it did the trick. The funniest part of the trip was that we all ended up sounding like Borat when we tried to speak French. Hilarious.

I am happy to be my own a shower that is not a bathtub....and a toilet that doesn't resemble an RV toilet...

The pictures you see on this post are from different parts of the trip. I couldn't include all of the pics but these are just a taste. I will try to post another post later with more pics but it is so hard to choose just a few. Oh. And Yes. Jackson did sport his Thunder jersey all over France.

If I had to pick two of my favorite parts of the trip it would be these...

We went to Notre Dame in Paris where Sunday morning Mass was being held. It was so beautiful to be in this place of worship that it literally took my breath away. We lit candles for Isaiah and I just got so emotional. We have now lit candles for Isaiah in Jordan, Mt. Nebo, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona and now Paris. Wow.

My second favorite part was in Beaune on our last day. As we were preparing to leave, Jackson and I were hanging out in the downstairs living room in the room we had been hanging out in for the last three days. I looked up at the wall and couldn't believe what I saw. The wallpaper was decorated with butterflies (pic above). Isaiah is with us all of the time, no matter where we are.

Greatest trip to date! Cant' wait to start planning our next adventure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We are home!

We are home from our French Adventure Extravaganza Bananza. At least that is what I like to call it.

I regret to inform you that I will not be posting any pics or stories from our trip tonight because, frankly, I'm too flipping exhausted. Bed at 2 a.m. last night, up at 6 a.m. for an 11 hour flight from Paris to Houston, then literally RUNNING through customs to get to our gate for our flight to OKC, all the while carrying my almost four year old because he decided in France that he needed to be carried everywhere. That's fun. Especially up and down and in and out of the Metro. Yippee.

Now we are home and it is almost 2 a.m. France time. And I can't see straight.

So...until tomorrow...

Oh. And can someone please bring me some Mexican food? K. Thanks. Bye.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Big Reveal

Tomorrow is a special day. It would have been Isaiah's 2nd Birthday. Instead of being sad that our sweet babe is not here with us anymore I thought it appropriate to share with you all the hard work that we have been doing to honor our precious Isaiah.

Today, Renzi spoke to the Downtown Rotary and I thought I would copy and paste parts of his speech today to give you a background on what we have been working on.

"From June 15, 2009 until May 17, 2010, Isaiah spent 24 nights in five different hospitals. He saw eight doctors and a small army of nurses and physicians assistants to treat everything from wheezing in the lungs to inflamed adenoids to infected ears to the battling seizures. He rode in ambulances twice...and visited four emergency two states...a total of nine times. He was in a medically induced coma once and doctors gave him four times the normal amount of Adavan, an anti-seizure drug, to stop one of his seizures. Isaiah was under anesthesia three times and on a ventilator once. He received no less than 20 IV's on somewhere between 40-50 attempts.


Isaiah failed three epilepsy maintenance drugs that made him everything from cranky and sleepy to hungry and just plain upset, all at the wrong times. He took somewhere around 750 tablets of .125 Clonazapam from November until his death at the rate of between one and five per day.

Isaiah rode on airplanes three times, twice to Houston, TX to be admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) at Texas Children's Hospital and once in Florida on a family vacation. In total Isaiah probably had 25 documented grand mal seizures and likely more than 100 myoclonic, partial consciousness seizures. Isaiah had four brain EEG's, including two that were videotaped in Houston to try to understand the origin of his seizures.

The toll on us was nothing compared to the struggle little Isaiah had, but it was not insignificant either. We met health care deductibles twice, including hitting the 2010's total deductible by January 7 of that year, and called the insurance company at least weekly. We spent a small fortune out of pocket that I estimate to be between $35,000-$50,000. We got up between 5 and 15 times a night to try to help Isaiah go back to sleep due to the myoclonic seizures-miniature ones that would wake him every night. For more than half his life we slept between three and five hours total a night with never more than two hours in a row.

We also learned very quickly that there was not adequate care in Oklahoma. It was difficult getting an appointment. It was difficult finding someone who was a specialist. It was frustrating to understand what the next steps were. Overall the experience was horrible. We ended up eventually finding a pediatric neurologist named Jennifer Norman at Integris. She was one of five statewide and was a God send. Her schedule was packed solid.

When it became evident that our case was unique, she was instrumental in getting us into Texas Children's Hospital Epilepsy Program, also packed and difficult to get into. Even though our outcome was not good, we received excellent care from her.

Here are some facts about neurological disorders and epilepsy in Oklahoma.

-approximately 9000 children have epilepsy in Oklahoma.
-there are currently 5 pediatric neurologists in Oklahoma-only one is an epileptologist
-Oklahoma lacks virtually all tools to treat all but the most common types of seizures
-there are currently no pediatric epileptologist surgeons in Oklahoma or facilities to handle surgery

Initially we were upset at OU Children's for not having care that would help us. But as time has passed, we found our OU family was among the most supportive. They have been wonderful."

After a year of meetings,speeches, and relentless bugging from us :) about the subject, Renzi and I are excited to share with you that this is about to change.

Today, OU is stepping up.

Soon, OU Childrens will announce a commitment to fixing Oklahoma's lack of access to pediatric neurological care.

The Oklahoma pediatric epilepsy and neurology program (OPEN) will add pediatric neurologists, epileptologists, and epilepsy monitoring unit and imaging equipment over the course of the next 5 years with a total investment of $7.5 MM. Isaiah's namesake will be used somewhere in this new facility.

We are so proud to be able to bring this issue to the forefront and to be able to help other families find the help they need. It is heart wrenching when your baby is sick, and even worse when you can't get the care you need for them. We feel certain that this will help ease the worries from parents and help them get the answers they need much quicker.

Renzi, is the true heavy lifter in this story and he has worked so hard outside of his "day job" and duties at home. I am so incredibly proud of him for really pushing for this to happen. He truly is an amazing man.

So, there it is...the big reveal....I couldn't be more proud. I think Isaiah would be too.

-Lee Anne

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Youth Leadership Oklahoma

T-Minus 20 hours until Youth Leadership Oklahoma begins!!!!

This week is why I do what I do and work where I work. Time spent with the most amazing high school juniors is inspiring, exhausting, amazing and hilarious all at the same time. I am so blessed to be able to work for this organization. When I started working here in 2007 when I was preggers with Jackson, I just knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be. And I am even more blessed that they let me do most of my work from home so I can be home playing with my little buddy, Jackson.

From start to finish I have planned this week long trip....I have handled the entire application process and have done every detail (which is so hard for me considering I am sooo NOT a detail person) for this week. I am pumped up and ready to meet these kiddos and show them just what our great state has to offer.

This week we will travel (BY BUS!) to Oklahoma City, Norman, Lawton, Pauls Valley, Tulsa, Stillwater, Enid and then back to Oklahoma City. We will meet most of our state's leaders, big businesses, colleges, and learn how our state really works. These kids will do all sorts of leadership teambuilding and self building. I can't wait to get started!!!

Probably the thing I am looking forward to the most is getting to present the Isaiah Lee Stone Scholarship to one of the students on the trip. Last year's recipient, Thomas Owens from Edmond Memorial High School, was most deserving. He is a National Merit Scholar and is attending OU in the fall. He is EXACTLY what you hope your child will turn out like. So kind, well spoken, outgoing, smart, funny and just an all around great kid.
This scholarship is peer driven so the students pick the recipient at the end of the week after Renzi and I present the story behind the scholarship and criteria. I am so beyond blessed by each one of you who contributed to this fund so that we could start this scholarship and be able to do this every year. What a way to honor our sweet Isaiah!

To follow along on our journeys, go to
Our intern, Angel, will be updating every evening with photos and commentary on the day's activities. You can also "like" us on Facebook (Youth Leadership Oklahoma) or follow us on Twitter (YLOKYLOK).

Oh and I will update the blog on Tuesday with the big surprise!
Wish me luck (and lots and lots of patience!) :)
Lee Anne

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Did I tell you we were going to France? Oh, I didn't? Well...let me be the first to tell you that...WE ARE GOING TO FRANCE!!!

In 9 days.

I leave for my work trip this Sunday and am gone until Friday...and then we are leaving the next day for France!

Oh and we are going with these cute people in this blog.
You should probably click on the link right now and see this precious wee one doing the France Dance. Because of this blog post, we have now adopted the France Dance at our house too.

To be honest, this trip sort of snuck up on me, what with work being so busy and summer being here, and now it is upon us! I can't wait! Jackson is very excited to go to France and ride a train and see his friend Baby Bowman. (And AJ and Alli too!). He also says he can't wait to meet the King. I told him that on most trips you do not get to meet Royalty. He stared blankly at me like I was an idiot.

Viva France!
P.S. I realize this is not French....:)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This weekend's shenanigans....

Happy Sunday to you and yours! This afternoon as we were running errands and in two separate cars, (Renzi was washing my car AND his car, THANK YOU HONEY!) he sent me this picture from the car wash line...and I felt like it pretty much summed up this weekend. :) A little bit crazed and a whole lot of fun.

We actually had a wonderful weekend with family! Both of Vicki's (my mother-in-law's) brothers and their wives were in town to visit and we just had the best time catching up and visiting. Uncle Grainger and Aunt Sandy are from Pennsylvania and Uncle Teb and Aunt Linn are from Georgia and everyone came to spend time with all of us. Friday night, Vicki cooked dinner at her house and we had a great time together, and Saturday we had everyone over to our house for an all day swim and cook out party. Lots of fun and lots of great conversations. It seems like most of the time when we all get together it is for a wedding, funeral, or some other event, which is always a nice time to get together and catch up... but this time all that was on the agenda was hanging out together. It was awesome.

And of course, I took ZERO pictures. Way to go Lee Anne! I guess you could say I was too busy hostessing, (or too busy swimming and having a good time! ha!).

All in all, it was so great to be together and relax. We needed to have a relaxing weekend because it is about to be a really busy time here at the Stone house!

This next weekend is the beginning of the Youth Leadership Oklahoma (YLOK) program, which is my job. On Sunday, June 12th I will embark on my annual week long trip with 50 of the most amazing high school seniors to be across the state of Oklahoma. To learn more about this trip and my job, please visit I am so blessed to work for this organization (going on more than 4 years now!) and to get to spend time with these amazingly talented high school students. I am so excited to meet all of these kiddos that I have been reading about for months and months and show them the beauty of our great state. I have the greatest gig in ever.

So, it's going to be a very busy week preparing for the trip, loving on my Jackson and my honey before I leave them for a week...but also....there is something in the works for Tuesday, June 14th that I can't wait to share with you all. (And no, I am NOT pregnant so don't go getting any ideas. :)

Until I blog again (which in all reality may be tomorrow...not next week. :)

-Lee Anne

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Girls Weekend!

This past Memorial weekend I packed my bags and headed down south to Austin, TX (where I used to live!) to visit some of my best girlfriends from college for our annual Girls Weekend. We had the most fantabulous time. We stayed with Emily Sue in her amazing house and as most of you all who know her know she was the best hostesses. (Her husband, Dustin, is out of town for three months riding his bike across country. You must follow his blog and catch up on his adventures thus far...its fascinating!)

We ate, laughed, talked, ate, drank wine, laughed some more, ate some more, laid out at the pool, ate again...etc. etc.
Here are a few pics from my IPhone...

View of Lake Travis from our lunch spot on Sunday, "Uncle Billy's." Look how blue the water is! I would just like to point out that Grand Lake water does NOT look like this.

Blurry pic with a finger in the top of my girls and me.

Jackie and I even worked out to our girl Jillian Michaels on Saturday. Sunday, Emily Sue took us on a great hike on a hike trail in her neighborhood. Gotta work out to eat! :) And yes, I am sporting my Kappa shirt. What's up now. Oh and wow Jackie. You look really short next to me.

Sara and I at another lunch of our favs...Maudie's!

Cuties Emily Sue and Jackie!

I then came home to this sad face. My Jackson is sick...and today, Wednesday, he is still sick! I thought he had turned a corner, but this afternoon he started running a fever and has this horrible cough. Took him to the doc and it's just a virus, but man...I hate seeing him not feeling well. I do, however, like that he likes to snuggle when he's not feeling well.

Until next time.....

-Lee Anne