Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, soap, lotion, deodorant, sore muscle cream, Kleenex – and lots of all of these things.  I am so glad you knew we would need all of this, because it was a few days before I was able to go home.  We were able to keep some at home, some at the Ronald McDonald House, and some at the hospital without having to pack and unpack each time we moved from one to the other.

And like the snacks and drinks, we had a large storage tub about half full of these toiletry items.

Your generosity has been extreme.

We had so much we were able to donate a lot of this to the CIS program at Bri’s school as well.

Thank you!


Brian, Shelley and Brianna

River of Life

First things first – the baby’s name is River.


River Ivy  Christensen — Isn’t she so pretty?!?

I have to say I don’t handle chaos well.  And while I’m not sure it has been chaotic the past four weeks, it has been a little over my head.  Or maybe I should say “full” – it has been full.  Some ups and some downs — all the things that make a life full.

So what all has been going on the past four weeks?

  1. Board Meeting at work.
  2. Work
  3. Several doctor visits – about two a week.
  4. Team dinner at our house.
  5. A weekend get-away to Fredericksburg.
  6. School
  7. A few emotional breakdowns/breakthroughs.
  8. Therapy
  9. Thanksgiving at our house with family.
  10. Grub Run (walk)
  11. Bri was sick most of last week with the flu.
  12. Babysitting

And other than the cookies about a month ago – I still haven’t baked anything pumpkin!!  I’m letting go of that dream.  Until next fall anyway.

A few pictures to document the last four weeks . . .


Lady Texan Team Dinner



Morning coffee view in Fredericksburg.



Grub Run (Bri walked half of the 5K)



Bri helping with River.


Great Weekend and a Big Week Ahead

We just finished up a great weekend and are heading into a very big week.

Saturday, the basketball team had another scrimmage.  As I was about to get out of the car and walk Brianna in, her friends Tara and Hailey pulled up.  So she asked if I would stay in the car and let her walk in with her friends.  It seems like such a small thing, but there was a lump in my throat as I watched her walk away from my car and into the gym with her friends.  And since it was an away game, she rode the bus with the team for the first time.  Another big moment.

On a side note, last weekend, Brianna put her small mum on ShyAnn’s memorial (Rykker and Rylee made her a small one for her “able”).  I was sure with all the wind we had last week that it would be gone by now, but we were both so excited to see that it was still there when we drove by this Saturday.



Brian, Bri and I went to the TCU game on Saturday. It was Bri’s first since the accident.  This girl grew up going to TCU games.  In fact, if I’m not mistaken, she spent her first Halloween at a TCU game.  She grew up wearing a little TCU cheerleading uniform; she’s had her face painted purple and silver in Frog Alley; she learned dance moves from the TCU showgirls; she ran onto the football field before games with hundreds of other kids.  TCU football has just been something she’s done her whole life.  And the first game back was awesome – beautiful weather, great friends, a rowdy crowd, and an excellent win — GO FROGS!



After church Sunday morning, we spent the afternoon getting ready for a big week ahead. We made some spaghetti, a pot of soup for our neighbors, a big pot of chili for our busy week and did our nails with Jamberry wraps.  And then Bri went to Fireworks, our church’s youth group.  I have already decided that next Sunday WILL be a day of rest for us.  Yeesh, I was exhausted.  And I didn’t even bake anything pumpkin!

This week is going to be extra special for us. Tuesday afternoon, Brianna will be an aunt and I will be a . . . . I can’t say it!  I’ll have a granddaughter!!  Caleb and Chelsie told Bri that after they hold Evy, they want her to be the first to hold her.  She is THRILLED.  She is hoping for a red-head so they can be ginger buddies.  I’ll post pictures as soon as I can either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I hope your weekend was awesome and your week ahead is blessed!

Snacks and Beverages

The first thing I remember receiving after the accident was a gift bag full of snacks and individual drink mix packets. Within a week’s time, we had a LARGE plastic storage container full of snacks of all kinds (granola bars, candy bars, snack crackers, breakfast bars, fresh fruit, fruit cups, cookies and so much more) and another one full of assorted bottled drinks.  Not only did we have enough to share with visitors, we were able to share with families of other patients and other Ronald McDonald House residents.  In fact, by mid-May, we still had so much that we were able to donate the plastic tub, which was still half full, to the CIS program at Northwest High School that provides bags of food for students who would otherwise not have food on weekends.


This is just a sample of what we received.  A small sample.  A VERY small sample.

So to everyone who brought snacks and beverages to us while Bri was in the hospital — and there are so many of you — THANK YOU! While we had no idea what all we would be needing, you made sure we had more than enough to eat while we spent so much time at both hospitals.  And you fed not only us, but many others who needed it as well.

Thank you!


Brian, Shelley and Brianna

Weekend Update

I absolutely love this weather today. Cloudy, rainy days just cause me to slow down and breathe.  And I really need to simply slow down and breathe.  And enjoy the view and the fragrance and the feel of days like today.

A quick update on this past weekend:

Friday night, Bri’s sweet friends Rylee and Rykker (pictured below) made sure she had a beautiful mum and a great time at the game. Brianna told me that all of her friends were so patient and helpful and protective of her during the game, especially since she decided to go without her “Able.”  By the end of the third quarter she was exhausted.   She texted me that she was ready to go.  Then she wasn’t.  Then she was.  Then she wasn’t.  We figured it was time.


I love the orange and purple in the mums for ShyAnn and Bri.

On Saturday, the Lady Texans had their first scrimmage of the year and they played extremely well.

Saturday evening, Brianna helped me make some Chicken Tortilla Soup from a recipe that she got from CNS, where she goes for therapy. It was so simple and so good!  She and I are going to make some for our neighbors who have had a rougher year than we have.  I will share the recipe later this week.


Thank you Father for this amazing fall weather!

Homecoming Parade


In case you can’t tell by the enormous smile on her face, Bri had a great time last night at the parade and pep rally.  If I haven’t explained, and I guess I should, why she is in all these basketball pictures.  It is because she is on the team!  #33 is on the roster even though she won’t be playing.  Sometimes it is torture for her to know that she can’t just jump up and run out there on the court, but she is always thrilled to be a part of this group.   The coaches and all the girls have been and continue to be so supportive and encouraging to her.  I love ‘em all!


Bri is the one sitting on the back of the truck waving.



I don’t know if you can see it or not, but the girls made sure to have a #24 basketball for ShyAnn on the truck.


If you’re wondering how she got on top of the fire truck . . . she climbed up there. It reminds me of little 12-month-old red-head Bri who climbed the ladder to the playground slide all by herself because she refused to be left behind.

And if you’re wondering how she got down (because of course getting up there was far easier than getting down) . . . 3 firemen, 1 coach, 1 super dad, and Brianna.




Thanks guys!!



Baking Therapy

I love to bake.  The process of baking is very therapeutic for me.    Always has been.  It is truly enjoyable for me to follow a recipe that culminates in a delicious treat to share with family and friends.

I haven’t baked in 8 ½ months. Unless you count the Nestle tollhouse cookie dough from the refrigerator section of Walmart, half of which never made it in the oven.  And I may have baked a Texas sheet cake for July 4th, but, truth be told, I can’t remember for sure.

Well, last night I saved three black bananas from the garbage can and made some banana bread. It wasn’t my best, but it wasn’t bad.  I think I’m just out of practice.

So, in keeping with the season and because I SERIOUSLY need some therapy (and some practice), I’m going to try to bake one pumpkin recipe each weekend between now and Thanksgiving. I’ve seen hundreds of pumpkin recipes lately — lots of new-fangled pumpkiny things.  But I’m going to go retro and bake some pumpkin classics that my mom and grandmother used to bake when I was a girl.  My favorites, in no particular order, are:

  • Pumpkin Cookies w/orange glaze
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Bars
  • Pumpkin Pie

I’m pretty sure that my family won’t be especially thrilled because they don’t like pumpkin. Except for the cake that calls for just a cake mix and a can of pumpkin – Brian likes that.  Maybe I should throw that in the line-up.  We’ll see.

Happy Baking!

Media Day 2014

Okay, so, Wednesday was basketball picture day – better known around these parts as Media Day, which includes pizza, flat irons, makeup, hairspray, new uniforms . . . oh and pictures!  These are obviously not the official pictures (which I will share when they’re out), these are just a few smart phone shots.


Coach Johnson, Bri and Mar



Brea, Bri and Tara



2014 Lady Texans



Mar, Maddie, Bri, Haley, Tara

And because ShyAnn’s presence is sorely missed, a throwback to last year’s Media Day.

2013 Media Day

Haley, Bri (photobombing), Mar, Maddie and Shy

Thank you to all the girls who let me use and post their pictures.  I love you ladies!