Sunday, February 20, 2011


I know several of you have started reading my blog to find out how my mom is doing, so here's what has been happening this week:

We went to the oncologist this Monday in preparation of the second round of chemo, the three drug cocktail she will be receiving every three weeks.  We met with the pharmacist who was able to describe some of the side effects she will be facing with this set of drugs.  We were relieved to hear that the neuropathy and the rash she's been having are not associated with this new drug, so those symptoms should begin to improve.   This is a huge relief because her hands and feet have been incredibly swollen, itchy, and painful to the touch to the point that it's difficult for her even to wear socks and shoes or wash her hands.  These drugs bring new side effects though:  mouth sores and nausea.  The pharmacist gave her some prescriptions to help with those symptoms and then we saw the oncologist.  My mom's regular doctor was not in that day so we saw someone else.  She was able to help us understand at what point we need to call for some help with the symptoms.  The rash was so bad that the chemo nurses weren't going to give her the treatment, but the doctor just brushed her off, so we were feeling a little frustrated.  We talked about my mom going to Seattle for the baby shower for my sister and the oncologist said it would be okay.  She just recommended my mom get a shot to boost white cell development since her numbers are already really low, right above the line of acceptable.  My mom got the shot the day after chemo and wasn't having too much trouble with it.

But then she got sick.  This is the first time since beginning chemo that she got sick with fever and cough and everything.  She got her breathing machine for her apnea just a week ago or so and now she can't really use it because she coughs so much during the night.  I had to work on Thursday and I had a friend stay with the boys and she ended up caring for my mom too.   She called the doctor and got a prescription for antibiotics but it's not really knocking it out the way we had hoped.  She won't eat because nothing tastes good.  She made nasty faces when I offered her some eggs that I made for the boys.  Sweet taste is the worst.  Sour is a little better.  Her fever is still fluctuating and we have gone back and forth about taking her into the ER or trying to hold out until Monday.  Now that's it's later on Sunday, she has eaten a little bit more, but she still has a long way to go to get her strength and energy back.

Please add her to your prayers.  We don't even know how much of this is from the chemo and how much is the cold.  She has a couple more weeks to recover, but she desperately needs for her immune system to improve.  Thank you for everything!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Goodies

My kids made out like bandits this Valentine's Day!  They received cards (both store-bought and handmade), toys, coloring books, stickers (thank you Mary - they're a big hit!), money, and enough candy to send them to the moon.  Ironically enough, none of it came from us!  Valentine's Day was never a big holiday for our family.  We wished each other a "Happy Valentine's Day" and shared a few hugs and kisses, but nothing much more.  That has how it has been for the kids too, but this year, everything came together and they scored big time.

My favorite Valentine's story from this year is not about receiving, but about giving.  We made some valentines and sent them to some of our church's homebound members and some people who are sick and need some encouragement. I had to put in a short note with them, since all the boys can do is color, add a few stickers and then Travis signs his name.  I had decided a few people to whom we would send the cards, but Travis had one very special request: he wanted one of the cards to go to Miss Rita's family.  Miss Rita is our friend who died last month and Travis really grew to love her.  He knew that her daughter would be really missing her mama on the first holiday without her.  He wanted me to write a note on the card that read "I know you will miss your mama so I wanted to send this card to make you happy."  I added my own little note and sent it on its way.  Well, it arrived perfectly on Valentine's Day.  After a busy day of texting her friends about how she was sad and missing her mother, she arrived home and got Travis' card to lift her spirits.  And it did.  She called us and said how thankful she was for that note.  She mentioned that her mother shared with her stories about Travis and the nice things he said and did for her, and now she was getting some of that sweetness shared with her.  It was the exact right thing at the exact right time.  I love how God works to provide the comfort a person needs by prompting one of his children days and even weeks or months in advance.  It made a huge impact on Travis too.  He was grinning from ear to ear!  He heard how his card made her feel better.  I almost think that is more powerful than sending the card, seeing how service impacts the people we serve.  That's what I want my children to remember.  It's hard in a world that is so self-indulgent and self serving, but it's what we are called to as Christians.

It was a good Valentine's Day.  I did make dinner and save it for when Randy and my mom got home from her first chemo in the second round.  We rarely eat together because they get home so late.  The kids were bathed and in their PJs for dinner.  It was a fun occasion to break tradition.  We ate super late, but the Valentine's trifle was worth the wait!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Perfect Winter Weather

We have been having crazy winter weather!  After a couple of days of freezing temperatures, it warmed up and the sun called us to the park.  We were thrilled to get out and do some basking.

Justin did his best to keep up with Travis.

He went that a way!

Justin checked out all the slides, but he wasn't in a sliding mood.

Swinging, however, always a winner!

Look at my little boy being all independent!  He had so much fun going from area to area playing on everything.  It was great!

Travis and Justin both did some climbing.  No help for either one!  Miss Penny would be so proud of Justin!


One of Justin's fave's was crawling through the tunnel.  He went back and forth and back and forth. 

And then he would fall out of the end, on purpose, and do his "bug flipped on its back" imitation. He rolled back and forth and screamed.  Then he would turn over and smile.  It was cute.


There was another girl there playing with us whose boots kept falling off.  Justin found them and made sure she didn't lose them.

Even though Justin wasn't into sliding, Travis was!

It was a wonderful playtime after being stuck in the house for a few days.  The warm sun really hit the spot and we were ready for a good nap afterwards. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just Some Pics

While the thoughts continue to ruminate, I'll share some pics from the past month.

Justin: King, Fireman, and Cowboy rolled into one!

This was the first time we let Justin play with playdough.  He did a great job staying on the chair and he didn't eat any playdough!

This is what happens when you go down the slide the wrong way...

Travis got new bedding for his birthday.  His favorite part is the pillow with the pocket.  It fits a bear perfectly.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Travis is Five!!

Travis had another birthday!  It keeps happening, the thing I alternatively look forward to and dread.  After the wrapping paper is thrown away, the candles blown out and the goodie bags dispersed I sit down in awe of my little boy growing big.  He is trying new things and having big success.  He is not a toddler and not even much a preschooler anymore.  He has definite likes and dislikes. (But they still change often.  Just ask him which color of bean he likes best.  It's usually whichever one I didn't make for dinner...Grrrr.)  He is turning into a great big brother and I love watching them chase and wrestle each other.  I am enchanted with my sweet, tough, loving, wiggly, thoughtful, spacy Travis.  I wouldn't take it any other way!

After much debate and a sea of indecision, I encouraged a cowboy theme for Travis' party and it stuck.  It turned out great!  We had several of Travis' friends, some family, and two of Justin's therapists.  The weather forced us all inside, which worked out just fine.  Both of Justin's therapists (Miss Penny and Miss Caroline) commented on what a great group of friends we have.  I would have to agree!  The kids played wonderfully given the small space.  We started out with some games. 

Pin the badge on the sheriff

Travis "practiced" so he got it just right.  I was very impressed!

I didn't think Justin would like wearing the mask, but he asked to play and he did really well!

Then we did some toilet paper mummies.  Three teams, one "mummy" and one wrapper.

Travis and Pop ended up winning.  Pop was decked out in his cowboy gear, complete with boots, vest and ten gallon hat!

Travis got some great presents.  He got some trucks and lots of Legos and Kinex kits.  We have been assembling all week long! 

One fav was a doctor's outfit complete with chart and prescription pad.  We have all had operations this week.  He has been using a knife from his kitchen set.  Multi-purpose!

Justin found an admirer...

And of course...chocolate cake!

It was another great time with friends and family.  Justin was a trooper and handled all the excitement without getting run over.  Both boys crashed afterwards and took nice long naps.  We ALL did!  That's the mark of a successful shindig!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We have been putting Justin on the potty before bath every night for several months.  He fought it quite a bit in the beginning, but now he is getting very good at knowing the routine and as soon as his clothes are off, he goes right to the potty and does his thing.  As soon as he is done, he reaches his hand up and I help him stand up and walk to the bathtub.  So far, he has only done pee-pee in the potty.  But tonight, after he had done his business and I reached for his hand to help him up he told me that he wasn't ready to get up.  So I kept getting things ready for bath and Justin kept sitting there.  After a couple of minutes I realized that he wasn't ready to get up because he had more to do (you know what I mean...)!   He finished up and I didn't have to clean up the bathtub!  I am so proud of Justin because he KNEW he had more to do and then he did it.  Big night for our little guy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes I Just Feel Silly...

I am from Wisconsin.  The land of the Frozen Tundra (I have to get my football metephors in this week...)  I spent my entire childhood playing outside in sub-zero temperatures.  I came in with my nose frozen and mittens soaked through and teeth chattering and a huge smile on my face.  Now I live where it rarely snows and it only gets below freezing a few hours once in a while during the middle of the night.  Thus we rarely have the need for true "cold weather" gear.  Sometimes though, it gets cold, Texas cold.  Nothing like Wisconsin cold, but it is cold enough to need thicker jackets and even hats and mittens.  But when I recall playing outside for hours in the snow, I just feel silly wrapping Justin up to go for a walk.