Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surgery Day

Today my mom had surgery. The doctors skillfully opened her up and found a much more advanced and complicated set of tumors than they had anticipated. They had planned to bypass the tumors that were obstructing her small intestine in an effort to restore her digestive functions so that she could begin chemotherapy again. But the tumors had already compromised her too much to be able to accomplish that goal. So they stitched her back up.

What does that mean? It means that now the cancer will get to grow, unhindered, until it wins the battle.

Yes, I have cried. a. lot.

Cried on the phone with my dad. Cried to Trent. Cried with my sisters, and my brothers, and my aunts. Cried while telling Julianne and Catherine. Cried and cried.

And then I remembered this song (from a video my friends husband had made while she was gone) and it was just the song I can imagine my mom would sing to me to cheer me up.

So Trent came home from work early with Subway sandwiches in hand. It was a beautiful day. We headed to a nearby park to spend the evening together as a family. And it was so peaceful. I only wished my mom could see us doing what she would do. She is the perfect blend of planning ahead and spontaneity. She would never let bad news ruin the opportunity to spend an unplanned evening outside when the weather was stunning.

Someday, and I don't know when, she'll get to watch these days from Heaven. But since she is still here fighting the cancercous beast I will have to show her in a video what we did. And I set it to the song that I imagine she would sing to me if she knew it!

(and you can watch in HD)

Here are the lyrics.

This is my song
To carry on
When you have found yourself alone
And I am gone

So I will wait
Every last minute that we have
To celebrate

This is my song to remember me by
When the moon grows long in the sky
And you wonder why goodbyes are bound to be
Life goes on, love, you will see

Think of this tune
When Forget-me-nots bloom
Pick one for me and make a wish
That I will be back soon

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Playing Nines

We love to play games. Finding a game that everyone will like and all can play can be a bit challenging. One of those games is nines. We play it often. It requires basic math (or just remembering the good cards to get). JHH_5264


Here are the directions for how to play.

We use 3 decks of regular playing cards for all 6 of us to play. Deal out 9 cards to each person. DO NOT look at your cards. Arrange them into a 3 X 3 grid, face down in front of you.

The object of the game is to have the least amount of points in your 9 cards. Each card is worth the following
Jokers -- minus 2 points
Aces -- 1 point
2's -- 2 points
3's -- 3 points
4's -- 4 points
5's -- 5 points
6's -- 6 points
7's -- 7 points
8's -- 8 points
9's -- 9 points
10's -- 10 points
Jacks -- 11 points
Queens -- 12 points
Kings -- O points

So, Kings, Aces, and Jokers are the "good" cards.

All of the cards that have not been dealt are now the "draw" pile.

The first player must draw a card from the draw pile and then decide
1. Do I want to keep this card? If so (like if it is a joker) you substitute it for an unknown card (placing it face up for all to see) and discard that unknown card into the discard pile face up (for all to see).
2. If they do not want the card, then they discard it face up in the discard pile and then may turn over any one of their nine cards to reveal what that card is.

The second player (and every player thereafter) may select either the card from the discard pile or draw a new card. Then they must either keep that card and swap it for any card in their nines (either face up or face down) or discard it to reveal a hidden card.

If any row or column of cards all match then the player gets to discard the entire row.

Play continues until one player has revealed all of their cards. Once that happens each remaining player gets one more turn and then all the points are totalled.

IF, the player who went out first does not have the lowest point total then they are penalized with 10 extra points.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Perfect Saturday

The weather today was perfect. It felt just like the start of summer. I started out the day going on a little run. I have a triathalon next Saturday and knew that I needed to get a run in (since I haven't run once since the sprint for life 5K 3 weeks ago). I have been biking though, so it is not like I have been doing nothing.

I set out and when I hit 3.1 miles (the 5K), I was ready to be done. And then I thought about my mom. She did the sprint for life 5K with a fully collapsed left lung. I took a couple deep breaths and kept going. I got to another fork in the road (one way meant I was almost home and the other meant I still had 2 miles to go -- and it had 4 big series of steep downhills and uphills) and I again thought about my mom -- who thought that after 6 rounds of chemo she would be done and now has faced a much longer road with a lot of ups and downs and I chose the harder, longer way. When I felt thirsty, I thought of my mom who has not been able to eat or drink for 7 days-- and has at least 10-14 days more before she will be able to try to eat again. When I felt tired, I thought of my mom and how tired she is of being in the hospital (20 of the last 24 days and at least 10-14 days more).

I ended up running 6.13 miles. I must have looked ridiculous crying and running. But it was such a cathartic experience. Every song that came on my ipod seemed to be written about my mom and every time I wanted to stop I heard cheering. Yes, real cheering from friends on facebook who made comments (because my new running app posted that I was running). And the cheers made me think of my mom and all the people out there cheering her on.

It made me realize that we can do more than we think we are capable of doing. We can do hard things. I can do hard things. I can run longer than I thought. I can be a better person. I can work harder and be kinder. I can take better care of myself and my family. I can give thanks for the simple things (like drinking water and eating and being at home) instead of impatiently waiting for better things.

After the run, I just enjoyed being home with my husband and kids. We are so blessed. I went grocery shopping and was so thankful for all the food choices out there.

We had an evening all focused on dips. We had steamed shrimp and cocktail sauce, steamed artichokes with a dip, and for dessert?

Ice cream sandwiches dipped into sprinkles. It was yummy.

And then we jumped on the trampoline.

Friday, May 27, 2011

These are my 2 boys

and I love them so much. Every day -- Sometimes 2-3 times a day we sing our little made up song. "These are my 2 boys, my 2 boys, my 2 boys. These are my 2 boys, my 2 boys. This one is Adam, Adam, Adam. This one is Adam, Adam. And this one is Owen, Owen, Owen. This one is Owen, Owen."


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A new "Kid" wall in the house

I have been so in love with the downstairs hallway (where I hung 1 large 16X20 of each kid) that I wanted to make another "kid" wall upstairs.

Here is the result. I love it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Brother's Family -- a Slideshow tribute

Make sure to scroll over the 360p and select 720p and then make it full screen!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just for my MOM!!

I have been working on a slideshow with photos of my mom, but had been unable to find the right song for it. Some were too sad, some were too silly, some were too dramatic, some were too funny. But last night, as soon as Lauren Alaina started singing on American Idol, I knew that I had at last found the right song. (don't forget to click on the 360p and select 720p and then make it full screen!)

and here are the lyrics

People always say I have a laugh
Like my mother does
Guess that makes sense
She taught me how to smile when things get rough

I've got her spirit
And she's always got my back
When I look at her,
I think I wanna be just like that!

When I love, I give it all I got!
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray!
Like my mother does
When I feel weak, and un-pretty!
I know I'm beautiful and strong!
Because, I see my self
Like my mother does

I never met a stranger,
I can talk to anyone
Like my mother does
I let my temper fly
But she can walk away, when she's had enough

She sees everybody, for who they really are
I'm so thankful for her guidance,
She's helped me get this far

When I love, I give it all I got!
Like my mother does
And when I'm scared, I bow my head and pray!
Like my mother does
When I feel weak, and un-pretty!
I know I'm beautiful and strong!
Because, I see myself,
Like my mother does!

She's a rock!
She is grace!
She's an angel!
My heart and soul!
She does it all!

When I love! I give it all I got!
Like my mother does
And when I'm scared! I bow my head and pray!
Like my mother does
When I feel weak, and un-pretty!
I know I'm beautiful and strong!
Because, I see myself,
Like my mother does!

I hear people saying... I'm starting to look
Like my mother does...

Monday, May 23, 2011

I was just kidding about "the new normal"

but my Mom didn't get the message.  For the 3rd Sunday in a row she got to go to the ER. 

Let me Recap -- Mother's day- May 8 -- Lung Collapse (in on Sunday out on Wednesday)
May 15 -- Bowel obstruction (in on Sunday out on Friday)
May 22 -- Bowel obstruction again (in on Sunday and still there . . .  and will be there until her surgery May 31st and for a while after for recovery)

It really is the new normal.  Which is why it is good that card games travel well!

This was taken Sunday night.  My mom has 2 sisters there now taking good care of everything! (Penny and Tami).

It has been a long 3 weeks.  It seems like we have had nothing but bad news.  She was disqualified from a drug study because she was given the wrong kind of IV antibiotics, she is nauseated and bloated all the time, she has a bowel obstruction and can't eat, her cancer numbers are rising, she can't start any chemo until the bowels are working, the reason the bowels aren't working is because the cancer tumors are growing, and so on. 

She has been in a perfect catch 22.  The tumors are obstructing her bowels so she can't have chemo.  The chemo is the only thing to shrink the tumors.  It is enough to drive you crazy. 

But tonight her doctor came in with a new surgical alternative.  They will remove and reattach the obstructed section of her small intestine.  She can then recover from the surgery and then find a new clinical trial to start on for chemo.  For most patients in her situation, another surgery is not an option because they are so sick, or so old, or so worn down by other health issues, but since my mom is in great health (except for the cancer) then they can do this to help her. 

And so we wait.   It will be a long week leading up to the surgery.  She can't eat anything.  She is on IV nutrition.  She has lots of people who love and support her to help her get through this. 

So many of you ask how I am doing.  I am so grateful for the love and support of my friends and family.  Thanks for the cards and the flowers and the meals and the love!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stake Conference

Yes, I took a picture during church. We had stake conference and sat divided into 2 rows of 3 chairs right by the window and it gave us a little play area. The boys were so sweet and cute. I just couldn't resist. That is why I love the iphone -- i took a quick picture in between rounds of angry birds (ha ha!)
Stake Conference

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Busy Saturday. . . aren't they all?

The busy nature of our Saturday's sure takes its toll on the little kids. Luckily they sacked out in the car and got a much needed quick little nap.
Sleepy Saturday afternoon in the van

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2 baby girls and short hair

This is from June of 2002 -- Shad and Amy's wedding

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My mom and dad and tyler -- the new normal

My mom gets to hang out in hospitals right now. It certainly isn't the place she wants to be, but what can you do other than embrace the new "normal". Here is a picture sent today from my brother Shad, showing my mom and dad and my little brother Tyler having a nice evening together at the hospital. I am sure my mom wishes she were feeling better, but at least we are all able to talk and visit both in person and through skype. I love technology!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

some more pictures from scanning project

Here is my Mom's whole immediate family. This was the last time I saw my Granny. This is at their 50th wedding anniversary in Dec of 2000. She passed away the next July.
mom and siblings

Monday, May 16, 2011

Scan Cafe albums

My scancafe.com albums are online now (meaning that all the negatives I sent away for scanning are available for proofing online -- they are being sent to me at a higher resolution on disk). They are really fun to see these pictures from 10 years ago. Here is one of my favorites of me and Trent and Julianne. This is in August of 2000. Julianne is 2 months old.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday deja vu

Here are some photos from a week ago today. I was in Houston. I had done the 5K on Saturday, gone to church in the morning with my Mom, and then brought her home early from church because she wasn't feeling so well. Within a little while we determined to call her doctor because of her shortness of breath. He said to bring her into the ER and that was when we discovered that her left lung was 100% collapsed. She had walked a 5K on a collapsed lung!

Have I ever mentioned how amazing my mom is??? She was worried the whole time about how everyone else was holding up on the 5K all while she had a collapsed lung.

She was finally released from the hospital on Wednesday this week and she felt really good for a day and a half. By Friday, she started feeling nauseated, Saturday was much the same, and then here we are today, where just like last Sunday, she called the doctor and he told her to go to the ER.

Last Sunday it was Methodist hospital.

This Sunday it is M.D. Anderson.

Last Sunday it was a collapsed lung.

This Sunday it is a partial small bowel obstruction.

Last Sunday, she had a tube in her nose giving her oxygen. (she really hated the tube because it tugged on her ears)

This Sunday she is getting an NG tube (which means nasal gastric) -- I just hope it doesn't have to go behind her ears (as if going in your nose down to your stomach isn't bad enough!)

Last Sunday, my dad was right at her side.

This Sunday, (and every day for that matter) my dad is right at her side.

Last Sunday I was with her.
Mom settled in room

This Sunday, I am not. I am thinking of her though and hoping she'll be feeling better soon. Love you mommy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

Today lived up to its reputation. I tried to see if I could (in hindsight) list 13 things that went wrong today.

1. While combing Madelyn's hair, I discovered LICE.
2. Freaking out, I checked Catherine's hair -- yep, LICE.
3. Treating Lice
4. Combing out nits.
5. Combing some more.
6. Combing even more.
7. Another round of combing.
8. Did I mention all the laundry?
9. Combing and laundry from 8:10 am until 1:00 pm -- at which point we took a 15 minute break for lunch and then got right back at combing again.
10. Finally, got an all clear -- found no more nits. (but my back hurt)
11. Fixed their hair and headed to soccer practice -- Catherine's at 4:45 (where I am the coach) and Julianne's at 5:30. I brought pizza for dinner and we ate in the car.
12. During soccer the kids had all the lights on in the car while they ate and when it came time to hurry up and head over to the talent show where Catherine was set to perform -- the CAR DID NOT START.
13. Found someone to jump the van, made it to the talent show. Got home, did laundry until 2 am.

Here are some pictures of the day.

Catherine and Anna in costume!


Just Catherine


And here is the video of their talent -- dancing to "U can't touch this"

Sometime between the strings recital from last night and the talent show tonight, Owen learned to clap. Here he is displaying his new skill.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Catherine's strings recital

Catherine has been taking violin for the school year. She seems to really like it. So this video may mark the start of her life long passion for strings -- or it could be like a one hit wonder???? The jury is still out.

She sure is cute though.


here is the video

and here is the rest of the gang hanging out watching the concert. Notice the light shining on Adam's face??? Yes, iphones are the greatest invention ever for getting a 4 year old to sit still through a 1 hour long strings concert.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back to reality

It was so nice to take a quick trip and see my mother and family, but it ended all too soon. And before I knew it, I was back home, back on the routine, back to normal. Lunches needed packing, laundry needed folding, homework needed helping. It all seemed the same, but something was different. My perspective was just slightly altered. I just wanted each moment with my kids to be a little more meaningful. I wanted each instant to last a little longer. I suppose when one is faced with issues of life and death a very natural response is to recognize just how fleeting this life is. I had several very sweet moments upon returning home.

First while flying into White Plains airport, we flew right over my little town. We were flying fairly low and it was a stunning day. The sky was the most perfect blue and spring was at its finest. What had been the ugliest collection of sticks for 5 months had seemingly overnight turned into the most beautiful canopy of light spring green. Sprinkled amidst the spring green were so many shades of white, pink, and purple that the view was utterly breathtaking. I couldn't help reflecting on what a beautiful world we have. I feel like my mother right now is in the winter of life, and just as middle January feels so entirely hopeless -- before you know it spring is in full bloom. We got word today that my mom is eligible and enrolled in a phase I drug trial. It is the hope we are clinging to-- that this drug will work and that her body will experience a renewal like spring.

Second, I missed mother's day with my kids and so upon their arrival home from school I was showered with all their sweet mother's day cards and homemade treasures. I don't always appreciate all the sweet things my children make for me.

Lastly, tonight when I went in to check on Owen in his crib he was in the cutest "baby" position. I remember each of my baby's sleeping like this, but until today I don't think I ever took the time to snap a photo. So here are my photos of the day. Isn't he just the cutest?



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The beautiful spring tree

in the parking lot at the church and some amazing sun flare!