Saturday, December 27, 2008

update on my nephew

Nick's finished his round of chemo.... It was a clinical trial drug combination that lasted 5 days (or nights!) He finished Tuesday night without much incidence. He's been dealing with heart rate issues and low blood pressure and some nausea and vomiting. Christmas day he looked and felt great. This morning, my sister called and said Nick was running a temp of 103. About an hour ago, he was sleeping...taking 2 new antibiotics and morphine. The next 30 days are critical. His "counts" (neutrophils, a portion of the white blood count that is important for fighting infections) were down to 450--from a healthy normal of 7500 or a pediatric cancer normal of 1500) --and down to zero today. It's to be expected, but it means that ANY infection could be deadly. Please pray for Nick's health, and for his family.

And join us on our Facebook group Pray for Nicholas if you want more information! Email me for an invitation. :)

Thanks for the prayers.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Jim was the photographer yesterday, and Brent didn't make it home. :*(

The snow continues...

Yep, it's STILL snowing at our house. 10" and growing...unheard of for this area. Hopefully one of these days it will stop. We live at the top of a small hill, but it's enough to keep us mostly housebound right now because of the ice. If only we could find our sleds!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a bit melancholy

PIGPILE ON HAILEY!! This is my favorite picture from Christmas 2007. Top to bottom: Ryan, Nicholas, Teddy, Victoria, Emily, and Hailey.

Surprisingly, it's been a hard day. Watching the snow fall outside also meant watching our plans for Christmas with Jim's family fall apart--it's just not possible to get from here to there and back with the weather the way it is. I had to call my sister in law and cancel. It's beautiful around here, and we'll be treated to a very unusual occurrence--a white Christmas--but for a variety of reasons my heart isn't truly in it.

Not being able to spend Christmas with Jim's family is one reason. I love my brothers in law and their wives, and with Jim's parents gone, this is one of the "big" things we do together every year. I am sad for Jim too, since I know that he truly loves the time with his family. Even with an alternate date on the calendar, we are going to miss being with all of them.

It's hard to watch my nephew and his family continue to deal with the hand they have. Leukemia is a nasty disease, and Nick is fighting valiantly. I know that he's gone from being nauseous to doing some vomiting, and that's not fun. He's having some heartrate issues from the drugs as well. That's hard. Watching that family adjust to their new normal--a 5 week hospitalization 500 miles from home, a very sick little boy, a strange apartment, none of the comforts of home, some less-than-supportive family--hurts. I can't just fix it, no matter how much I'd like to. Seeing my parents struggle with the same issue as they watch their daughter hurt and their grandson so ill is hard. Not knowing what to say, what to's hard. I'm sure there are lots of things that I could do that would make things easier for my sister, but I don't know exactly what they are and she's not been one to ask. She's pretty independent! :) But in light of the road they're traveling, thinking about a "joyous" Christmas is hard.

And I miss my son. I know that he's going to be fine even though he's not coming home. But my mama-heart longs to have him here. I HATE the thought of him being alone for Christmas, and I am struggling with the fact that his Christmas presents are still under my tree because the weather's been so terrible I haven't been able to get someplace to ship them! So my firstborn will be without his family and without any gifts at Christmas this year. This year, missing Brent has taken on new meaning, since my other sister and her family will be here from Chicago. It's been years since we've all been together for Christmas, and Brent's not able to make it. I know that Nicholas and his family won't be with us tomorrow, but we'll all be together on Saturday for a celebration at the hospital. Missing Brent that day will be hard. At this point, it may be the last Christmas my family will ever be together, since we don't know if Nick will make it. The odds are against him. Many are praying for him, and I know that God still performs miracles. Even still, we are working hard to make every opportunity count.

There are bright spots this year: my children are delightful and helpful; we are all healthy and our bills are paid; we have the honor of having my sister and her family out here for Christmas (and we appreciate their sacrifice to be here!); and we can see Jim's family soon and will have a wonderful time when we do. As always, the best part of Christmas is the REASON we celebrate. Life without Christ would be meaningless. Knowing that He came as a baby in such humble circumstances is overwhelming. Understanding that He loves me just boggles my mind. I am grateful for that most precious gift at Christmas, and I will never lose sight of that.

Even when my heart hurts and my tears fall....

Logan's craniofacial visit

What a great visit! When we saw the ENT in August, it was SO disappointing! We were told that Logan had no hearing issue, that the audiology report was flawed, that his balance issues had no relation to the fluid in his ears, and that if, by some strange chance he really did have a hearing issue our only remedy was to "have him sit in the front of the class." OY! Anyway, I talked to our nursing care coordinator and requested that we be able to see the other ENT from that point forward. Good choice!

Logan started the morning with another hearing test. He failed again with nearly matching results. That was a relief--we weren't imagining the issues. Then we saw the new ENT. AMAZING!! After looking Logan over and reviewing his audiology report, it was recommended that we consider doing ear tubes. The hope is that it will help his hearing issues since the audiology report shows a mixed loss. If it doesn't work, then we'll take him back for a CAT scan of his ears and proceed with hearing amplification for him. Praise God! We are so grateful--a doctor who listened to us and believes that we do, in fact, have an issue that can be easily addressed. Our greatest hope is that one of these options will unlock more language learning for him!!

We also saw the craniofacial pediatrican, the speech language pathologist, and the plastic surgeon. All the visits were successful and it is so nice to see Logan with new eyes. Seeing their delight in his progress makes the painfully slow steps he seems to be taking so much easier to take. All the tests and evaluations point to excellent progress and no need to be seen for at least 6 more months. They agreed that his speech therapy seemed to be very effective, and that we should just continue doing what we're doing. Everyone agreed that the ear tubes or hearing amplification should accelerate his progress significantly and are looking forward to seeing him post-surgery. And so we're done with the Craniofacial Clinic for a bit, but we do have a minor outpatient surgery coming up.

Two days ago, I got a call from the ENT's scheduler, and they will fit Logan on the surgery schedule for January 6! Only two more weeks then our baby may be able to hear better. We can't wait! What a great Christmas present...

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yep, Seattle's been blanketed. I've lived here most of my life and don't remember seeing this much snow. We had snow on Saturday Dec 13 and Sunday Dec 14, then snow showers again on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday afternoon it started snowing and didn't quit until 4:00 this morning!! We got up to about 10" of the white stuff.... So incredibly strange. But it fits with the rest of my week, so I'm going with it.

I don't have any pictures of my guys playing outside in the snow--Jim drove my car to work this morning and my camera was in it--but I do have a couple pictures of the house that someone else took. Drifting snow is unheard of out here! Snow is usually so wet that it just packs down, but this was light and dry and we had some serious wind Saturday night and Sunday. One of the girls said when looking outside: "It looks like we live inside a snow globe." Pretty accurate description!!

I have lots more to post--Logan's craniofacial clinic visit update and news about my nephew are both on the list. But I have a girl with the stomach flu who is pretty miserable and has been needing mama, so I'm outta here for now. Sorry the pics are so dark. Apparently someone was up early this morning!

Friday, December 19, 2008

um...what was I thinking?

...when I said yes to today?? First off, we have snow. Enough snow that school's been canceled. For the third consecutive day. Now, understand: I LOVE the snow. But we have almost none at our house. snowed all around us, but there's like 1/2" here. Ugh. And it's cold! VERY cold. Today's high is like 26 degrees. With wind, of course, so it's not like kids are going to go outside and play that much.

And so, with that background, exactly what is it I said yes to? Well, last night we had "the cousins" come over. Their daddy, Jim's brother, is have a major procedure done today at a local hospital and they needed someone to take care of them. No problem! After all, two of the three go to school, and I can drop them off. Uh yeah. So in addition to my 5, I have a 10 year old, an 8 year old, and another 4 year old. They'll be here all day if everything goes smoothly; longer if it doesn't. And as a bonus, I had volunteered to watch some absolutely darling little girls for some friends while they go out and celebrate their 10th anniversary. Again, no problem. These two sweet girls adore my crew, and we were headed to watch Hailey and Tori play basketball this afternoon. Entertainment, big girls, and a huge place to play. Sounds perfect, right? Well, add one 3 year old and one 13 month old to the mix at the house. No school means no basketball and no entertainment.

Yep. You counted right: 10 children here, ages 17, 16, 14, 10, 8, 4, 4, 3, 3, and 1. All day. It's a darn good thing I love them all and I know that they'll do fine together. Otherwise, it might just send me over the edge. And once again, I am blessed by and grateful for my teenagers. They're on board with this, so everything ought to be peachy.

Now, if only it would either warm up or give us some snow to play in, things would be perfect! Pictures later, even if it's only one of the whole group.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a Logan funny and an incredible blessing

Friday, Logan had his screening at the school district to see if he is eligible for speech/physical therapy/occupational therapy from them. Overall, there were no surprises and he will be evaluated in depth after the new year for speech and occupational therapy. We'll make decisions at that time as to what we will do.

When we were there, the speech therapist asked Logan his name. He answered "Logan" without hesitation. Then, she asked him for his "other name." He looked at her for a minute, puzzled. Then he looked at me and a grin crept over his face. He knew the answer to this question! I wasn't sure what to expect, since I didn't think he could say Kassebaum. He looked at the speech therapist and said, "I know. RYAN!" I nearly died laughing. The speech therapist looked confused until I explained that he was right, while the "other name" she was looking for was Kassebaum, the "other name" he knew certainly was Ryan, since Mom frequently called him by the wrong name! Smart boy...

And the blessing? Well, Saturday we went to find our Christmas tree. Typical family excursion to the tree farm, saw in hand, ready to cut down the perfect tree. Quietly, I was sweating the cost--trees are expensive, even here in the great, green Pacific Northwest. We wandered through the farm, not seeing anything that we liked. Finally Hailey spotted a tree standing all alone in a field of seedlings. She walked over to get a better look and to confirm that the tag we saw wasn't a "reserved" tag. It wasn't, and the tree was perfect. Along came one of the workers from the tree farm, and I was sure we were going to have to start hunting all over. But NO! He walked over to let us know that because the tree was in the way of the new field, the tag on it that said $25 was the price they wanted for the lonely tree. AMAZING!! Happily, we cut it down, tied it to the top of the car, and headed home. God is good, ALL the time!

I know I need to post pictures and I have some other things to post, including news about Logan's visit to the craniofacial clinic today, but first I'm going to enjoy the beautiful sunny cold (VERY cold) weather with my children! It's such a treat...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

every mama's dream

All my children home, under one roof!! Even if it's only for a single night, I'm happy. It is SO GOOD to see Brent!! I'll post pictures later.

And please keep Nicholas in your prayers. His bone marrow aspiration results were NOT good. The leukemia counts are even higher than before. He'll still come out here and they'll still try to do the bone marrow transplant, but overall it's not good. On this day of Thanksgiving, my heart is rejoicing and breaking at the same time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

two hurdles

Today's a big day: my nephew Nicholas has a clinic visit. They're going to check his blood counts to make sure they're high enough to do a bone marrow aspiration. The bone marrow is for checking leukemia counts to determine if he's ready for his bone marrow transplant.

Please pray that his white counts are high enough to do the bone marrow aspiration, and that the bone marrow tests come back clean so they can head back this direction for his transplant.

Edited at 2:30 to add: Nick's counts were GREAT!! They did the bone marrow aspiration. Now the request changes to quick processing of the bone marrow. The tentative plan is that they'll be here in Seattle on Dec 3, which is only ONE WEEK away. Add in the holiday, and the lab may not get the results back in time to make a decision before they have to leave. Pray for extra speedy lab results this week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

sucked into the vortex

It's that time of year again. Basketball starts today... I LOVE watching my big guys play sports, and we've had a ball this fall adding a few others to watch, but this is the time of year things can start to feel overwhelming. Trying to juggle multiple school schedules and multiple mealtimes. Parent meetings and committee meetings. Small group bible study times 3 girls, all on different nights. Speech therapy, preschool, and gymnastics. Coordinating the visit for international travel basketball teams playing at school in a few weeks. Chili for basketball concessions. A new work schedule for Jim. None of it is hard or even that challenging, and yet together they make calendar management and scheduling a full time job. But I think it's the new phase with the girls that may do me in. :) I'm SO not ready for them to grow up and have young men in their lives. Not even young men who are wonderful people. And when the daughter who is typically level-headed and balanced is playing and singing "love" songs and acting dreamy, well, then...... I know they have to grow up some day and that I HAVE to let them, but man! It's HARD!

And so, since it would be far too easy to get fully sucked in to the vortex that is my life right now, instead I've decided to focus on some of the things I have to be thankful for. After all, Thanksgiving's in a week!

* my Savior Jesus Christ. Everything else is a bonus.
* a wonderful husband
* 6 delightful, healthy children
* family and friends
* health and financial stability
* opportunities to make a difference
* life in America, something I don't take for granted!
* freedom

What did I miss? Let's make this a great week of giving thanks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SO much better!

It's amazing what some time outside in the fresh air can do--for everyone! Yesterday wasn't much better than Monday; as a matter of fact it started out MUCH worse. But the blustery, rainy weather that is Seattle in mid-November rescued us. We headed out after lunch to watch a high school friend play soccer, and the excursion provided every excitement little boys dream about: blustery winds, puddles, heavy equipment, football, and teen-aged friends. Ryan and Logan were in heaven! When the game was over and they finished saying "hi" to Cam, we stomped in some puddles on the way back to the car. Two wet, muddy, yet contented boys sang from their car seats all the way home, and one cold wet mama was very relieved. The rest of the day was uneventful and today's been simply marvelous. Perhaps a dose of Seattle's nasty winter weather should be on the agenda every day!

The only sad thing? The boys team lost the game yesterday afternoon. Nothing like earning the state tournament berth the REALLY hard way! Play well tonight Cam. Ryan and Logan will miss watching you.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I know from experience there will be days like today. But apparently I had forgotten. Selective amnesia, I guess. After a less than wonderful morning and a poor start to the afternoon, I'm ready to hang it up for the day. arrrggghhh.... And it's not even raining!

Oh well. Tomorrow's a new day, right??

Friday, November 7, 2008

totally remiss!

I just realized I have totally remiss in posting Halloween pictures! Logan the Lion and Ryan the Alligator...for your viewing pleasure. :)

And of course, the beloved Sunday School Elephant masks, which they wear nearly every day. True to form, Logan's is crooked.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

has anybody seen...?

You know, we generally don't lose things around here. Even the socks are typically matched after the laundry is done. (Boy, I hope this doesn't jinx it!!) But recently some interesting things have gone missing:

my good kitchen shears
the brown plastic Pampered Chef scraper for the dishes
3 Philip Yancey books, including Where Is God When It Hurts? (which I REALLY want!)
my new books The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun (I want these too!)
2 nail files
1 pair of tweezers
a water bottle top
2 combs

I CANNOT find these things anywhere! We have looked and looked, in every corner of the house. All of them have been here in the last 3 months--someone has seen or used everything on the list. It's not like they are items of great value that would be stolen, and if we had misplaced only one or two things I would understand. This list is kinda weird, to say the least.

The girls and I have decided that the Borrowers or the Twiddlebugs (from Sesame Street, who only take things that have long ago been lost and forgotten) have been hanging out in our house. Unfortunately, the things that were "borrowed" are not lost and forgotten--they're used often and desperately missed!!

If you see anything off that list wandering around somewhere, would you please send it home??

Monday, October 27, 2008

a heavy heart

My darling 6 year old nephew came to town last weekend. He's here with his mom, my sister, while he prepares for a bone marrow transplant. Nick was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2006, and relapsed in July 2008. When they came out last week, the plan was for testing/meetings with the transplant team this week, then admission to Children's Hospital on Nov 3 for conditioning, and a transplant on Nov 11. Today, those plans changed.

Nick and Pam are headed back home on Wednesday because Nick still has leukemia cells present in his blood/bone marrow. They can't prep for transplant with leukemia active. He'll be admitted to the hospital at home for a new round of chemo--4 to 6 weeks--then hopefully they'll head back. Unfortunately, this time Pam was clearly told by the doctors that Nick's chances are 50/50 at best.

Sometimes life really sucks. My eyes are red from crying, and my heart hurts. Please keep Pam and Nick (and big brother Teddy and dad/husband Tony) in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chicago pictures

Meeting new friends. Annie (in the pink) and Logan were on the same waiting child list at our agency. Coincidentally, after we started our paperwork to adopt Logan, my sister moved to within 5 minutes of Annie's family. It was fun to meet them--they brought Annie home just after we got home with Logan, and they also have Matthew (in the green pants) and 3 teenagers!

Logan and Annie exploring the toy cabinet...

Hiding from the rain with cousins Sam and Alec.

Traveling by water taxi with Sam, Alec, and Uncle Frank. We had an AWESOME day!!

Waiting for the Metra train. Train, bus, boat and car were all modes of transportation this day. Add the plane going out and coming back, and bikes and scooters while playing with the cousins, and we did it all over the week. with the big cousins. Is there anything better???

The little boys were in heaven all week. Alec (age 12) and Sam (age 10) were incredibly generous with their time and seemed to have quite some fun playing with Ryan and Logan. The little guys sure miss them!

There's one more set of pics that I need to get from my sister, since she had a camera handy and I didn't. Frank, Sam, Ryan, and Logan raked leaves in the yard on Sunday afternoon. Frank raked a HUGE pile of leaves, then the boys jumped in. They had such fun! Chris took a bunch of great pictures of the crew playing in the leaves, and when she sends them to me I'll post them here.

All in all, it was a perfect trip. A huge thanks to Aunt Chris, Uncle Frank, Alec, and Sam for having us out for a visit. We loved it! Next time we'll bring everyone!

some things don't change...much

Found myself laughing hard this morning. This first picture was in our referral packet for Logan, and was probably taken in the spring of 2007. The second picture? Taken on Saturday in downtown Chicago. Apparently this is a favorite pose for him! It's amazing to see how much he's changed in about 18 months.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And they're off...again??

Yes, the little guys and I are off again. This time we're in Chicago visiting my sister Chris and her family. We haven't seen them since Ryan's 1st birthday!! So the 3 of us are enjoying a few days here, and as a bonus Chris and Frank get to go away overnight to celebrate their 15th anniversary while Auntie Jen holds down the fort for the little boys and the big cousins, Alec (12) and Sam (10). What fun we've had so far!! Alec and Sam are SO wonderful to Ryan and Logan, and the little two adore their big cousins.

Yesterday was quite the adventure. Not being able to do a web check-in for our flight should have raised a red flag for me. Our reservations were finally retrieved, boarding passes issued, and luggage checked. Security check? No sweat. We walked a loooonnnnggg ways to the end of terminal C to our gate to wait for our boarding call. The boys were enchanted with watching planes take off, so it wasn't a big deal. Then the flight was delayed--for 45 minutes. Ummm...okay. Off to Starbucks for a Strawberries and Creme to share. One cup, three straws. That killed about 15 minutes. Then we played some games and used the bathroom one last time. Then the dreaded announcement: "Your plane has been grounded for mechanical difficulties." OY! But, they had a new plane for the far end of a different terminal. So we packed up our gear and trudged all the way back down terminal C and across the airport, then down to the end of terminal D. When we arrived, they were moving people around on the already full flight, since the new plane (which needed to be cleaned and loaded with luggage) was smaller than the one we were supposed to be on. Having seats in row 30, I waited for our names to be called. At that point, I had decided that if they called us to bump, I was simply going home. It had been a long morning and I was done.

We boarded our flight nearly 2 hours after we were supposed to depart, and over 3 hours after our arrival at the airport. By now the boys were nearly stir crazy. Fortunately, lunch and the excitement of take-off held them over. They were awesome passengers, albeit a bit tired. Both of them fell asleep on approach to Chicago, as the pilot lowered the landing gear! Oh well. The ride here was good and we're enjoying ourselves. We even got to be Sam's "show and tell" in class today!! Sharing our trip to China with 25 fifth graders was a blast.

Pics soon--probably when I get home since I don't have the cable for my camera. Maybe sooner if I can find one here. I hope so! I got some great ones today of the Ryan and Logan playing a mean game of whiffle ball with Alec and Sam. However, I missed the Razor riding... Big cousins are awesome!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

jealous?? :) *updated*

You know, I have the greatest husband in the world! Why? Well, because HE'S at home with all 5 of the kids still living there, and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Portland. Enjoying the peace and quiet. Reading books to my heart's content. And getting ready for some power shopping. Yep, the primary goal of the trip is so that I can do ALL our Christmas shopping this weekend. For all 8 family members plus the 8 Kassebaums in Jim's extended family getting gifts from us this year (we draw names) and all 10 Tracy family members. Plus Logan's birthday presents, Ryan's birthday presents, and perhaps mine as well. So power shopping it will be. Sounds wonderful, I know, but anyone who knows me well knows that I dislike shopping. So it truly is a sacrifice...of sorts.

One of the huge bonuses this year was dinner last night with my college roommate Carol. (Hi Carol!!) I haven't seen her in probably 4 years, and we had a wonderful time catching up. I've missed her. Tonight I get to have dinner with a dear friend from high school. Jeanne married her high school sweetheart, and her girls are about the same ages as some of my big guys. It will be fun to catch up with her.

So pretty soon I'm outta here to start the shopping. Old habits die hard, and I was awake at 5:30 this morning. Right now I'm just cooling my heels waiting for it to be time to leave. Then I'll hit the stores. Maybe tonight I'll report back on how many places I went to accomplish this HUGE task...

In the meantime, I'm going to savor every moment of peace and quiet!!

**Well, I did it. Twenty two stores and 9 hours of shopping later, I finished. I conquered Christmas! I have a few things I have to order online, but everything else is done. Bring on winter!! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

when big sisters get involved with "doing hair" end up with spiked hair on 3 year olds...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

They grow too fast

Hailey's a senior this year, and she had her senior pics taken last weekend. Here are just a few...

This last picture is Hailey and one of her dear friends Carla. I'm so impressed by all the pictures (over 200!) that we got--Hailey's friend Lisa took them as part of her culminating project for high school graduation. Lisa does incredible work (especially at age 18!) and Hailey had fun being part of her project.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Pretty much says it all, don't you think??

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ryan had a piece of toast this morning for breakfast; Logan had cereal. That's pretty normal. The conversation with Ryan that followed, however, is not:

Ryan: Mooommm, I'm still hunnngggrrryy.... (said with whiny voice)
Mom: Well, you can have another piece of toast or a bowl of cereal. Which would you like?
Ryan: Not cereal. Not toast. Mom, I'm HUNGRY! (more whining)
Mom: Well, Ryan, you can't have a cookie.
Ryan: Okay. Can I be 'scused? I'm fuuulllll. (no whines, just a big smile)

I about died laughing! And yes, he REALLY wanted a cookie. I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. He helped me put some in big sisters' lunches this morning, then watched as one of the girls took one to eat on the way to school. Stinker! He thought he should have one too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wii anyone??

About 6 weeks ago, we bought a Wii. It's been a BLAST, but Logan hasn't been able to put all the pieces together to be able to play with us. As a matter of fact, it's been an exercise in sheer frustration for all of us. In the last week or so, though, he's made a HUGE leap. Now he loves bowling and golfing and baseball with anyone who will play. In this pic, the boys are bowling while I fix dinner. (I snuck in to take a picture.)

The boys don't get much time to play--about half an hour a few times a week. One of the things they love most is to bowl with Mom AND Dad before bed. It's hysterical and fun, and we try and play at least once a week. Watch out though--Ryan will beat your socks off. Not many places a 3 year old who weighs 29 pounds can really bowl, but on the Wii he consistently bowls a 180 or so. Kicks my butt. Logan? Not so good. His average is about 65, but he loves trying.

While I'm not a huge fan of electronic games for the preschool set, this has been fun. Where else can you truly PLAY baseball or golf with your 3 year old? Bowl with them? And there are some added benefits: keeps them moving, keeps them playing with us (or their sisters!) , and has definitely helped the eye-hand coordination. Just don't play baseball or tennis with Ryan--he'll cream you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

back to the hospital

My nephew Nicholas, age 6, heads back to the hospital tomorrow for another round of chemo. It will be a 4 or 5 day stay this time. He'll have a lumbar puncture (lp) tomorrow and some chemo meds injected into his spinal fluid during the lp. Then he'll be on intense IV chemo for 4 days. Sounds nasty beyond measure. If I understood my sister correctly, he'll end this round of chemo with a bone marrow test to determine how much residual leukemia lives in his marrow. Those numbers will determine whether he has more chemo or heads here for his bone marrow transplant.

Please keep Nicholas and his family in your prayers! (And see the post from September 11 titled "Bone Marrow Anyone?" for a picture of Nicholas and more information about his leukemia.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

what a week!

Crazy week last much so it's one better left behind! Monday was gymnastics, and the boys did SO much better!! They're looking forward to tomorrow's class and so am I. It will be fun to see them take each new step. And Logan's a hoot to watch! Seeing him try his hardest to jump his way down the "runway trampoline" is worth huge praise, and some serious laughs. He works so hard, and the improvement in 2 weeks is measurable, but there's still a long ways to go. The first week he fell every 3rd jump. Last week it was every 5th or 6th. I can't wait to see what it will be tomorrow--10th maybe? Won't be long before he doesn't fall at all!!

Tuesday was our first day of preschool. I teach one of the children's classes for our mid-week children's program that's part of our womens' ministries at church. This year I am with the crawler/walker class. On Tuesday we had 15 little ones between 10 and 17 months! It was so great!! Ryan and Logan are in one of the 3 year old classes with a great teacher and they had a ball. Asked me the rest of the week when they could go back...

Wednesday was a long road trip to watch Emily play volleyball. After a 2 hour car trip we settled into the gym and watched a great match. Em played awesome and her team won 25-12; 25-17; 15-4. After a fun ride home that included Emily and one of her friends, we tucked two tired boys into bed. Ryan seemed a bit warm, but I didn't give it much thought. Maybe I should have!

Thursday morning when Ryan got up, he crawled in my lap and said "I feel yucky." I knew why, but got out the thermometer to check. Yep, 103. The day went downhill from there, since 3 year olds aren't known for their ability to hit a bowl/bucket/bag when they vomit. My carpet cleaner got quite a workout.

Friday Ryan was DEFINITELY feeling better but Logan started hacking and sneezing. Drippy nose, watery eyes--the whole thing. Not pretty, but he's good about using tissues and throwing them away. Now, if only I could get him to cover his mouth and nose when he sneezes....

Saturday we spent the day watching Victoria play in a volleyball jamboree. The boys were awesome--it was a long day! Her team did well and ended up 3-3 for the day. We dashed home in the rain so that Jim could do a bit of homework, then he and I were off to the fair! In the rain. Oh well....

We enjoyed a bit of time together just wandering around, then we grabbed a bite to eat. While we were eating, the rain quit. That was wonderful, since we had tickets for the (uncovered) infield of the Michael W. Smith/Steven Curtis Chapman concert. What fun!! I loved almost every minute of it!! Two very different styles, but each was special. I am partial to SCC, but most of that is because he's very open about his family and what they've been through in the last few months. His youngest daughter Maria Sue was killed in a freak accident in May. Maria was a darling 5 year old girl who lived in the same orphanage Logan did when she was a baby in China (or so I've heard). His openness and love for his family were amazing to see, and I could sit for hours listening to his music.

And we ended our weekend on a fun note. This morning at church, Logan was dedicated. Well, actually, Jim and I were dedicated--publicly committing to teach Logan about Jesus who loved him enough to die on the cross for his sins. It was a special time, even having done it 5 times before. And as an added bonus, the girls chose to stay off the stage this time so somewhere we actually have pictures of this dedication! There's a first time for everything. :) I'll post them as soon as I know who took them/what camera they're on.

Back to crazy around here with Jim's niece and nephews here while their mommy is in the emergency room with a nasty cut on her finger. Hopefully she'll be stitched up soon so they can go home to bed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

dinner was awesome!

I admit it--I have an evil streak. I LOVE seeing people proved wrong. Especially when they make judgments on my family based on the size of the group or the age of the children.

Sunday night we took all 5 kids who are home out to dinner. We went across the valley to a very nice restaurant on the water. They serve delicious seafood. We're talking dress up type place, with reservations and the whole thing. Anyway, we walked in and the hostess seated us, no problem. But when it became apparent to the foursome at the next table that we were going to sit down next to them, I got "the look." You know, the one that says "I can't believe I have to sit at MY dinner out next to your children." The displeasure was obvious. I just smiled nicely and helped Logan into his chair. And you know what? It's a good thing my back was to the foursome, because it wouldn't have been nice of me to gloat over my preschoolers' behavior! Logan and Ryan sat quietly and colored while waiting for their dinner. They ate with the appropriate utensils and drank out of water goblets and soda glasses without spilling. They ate their dinner (fish and chips) neatly without fussing. They put their napkins on their laps and used them when necessary. They tried bites of other people's food and were appropriately polite about it (yes please, no thank you, may I have another bite please). They sat patiently while the rest of the family finished dinner. They didn't fuss when they had to share dessert with those who ordered some. They participated in conversations around the table using inside voices. They charmed the socks off our waitress. In short, they were pretty close to perfect.

When we left, both boys smiled nicely at the foursome behind us. They pushed in their chairs and walked quietly out of the dining room, holding a big person's hand so they didn't get hurt by someone not expecting short people. It was a wonderful evening, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's such fun to have children you WANT to spend time with! And a great way to celebrate.

Next weekend, I get to celebrate with Jim--just the two of us. We're headed to the fair! After many years of spending our anniversary at the fair because it was "Fair Day" at school, we're going there by choice. MY choice! We'll do the fair, then see Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman in concert. I can't wait!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

22 years!

Yep, our 22nd anniversary! Hard to believe it's been that long--neither of us wants to admit we're THAT old. :\

So how did we spend the day? Well, the cable on the garage door broke earlier in the week, so we had a date for breakfast and to go to the hardware store to pick up a new set of cables. Then we changed the cables--together. After that, the brakes on the Suburban needed changing, so we did that--together. Then the brakes on the Avalon needed to be changed too, so we did that--together. Jim mowed the front yard and then I mowed the back (while he was putting gas in my car and getting new brake pads for his) After dinner, we'll take a few minutes together to take Emily to a friend's house and put gas in his car, then we'll probably crash! Not exactly the most "romantic" day, but I'm sure happy! A garage door that works and good brakes on my car are the best presents I could get.

And yes, we're going out for dinner tomorrow. :) We have the privilege of celebrating with our children, and we're all looking forward to a nice evening.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bone marrow anyone?

This is my nephew Nicholas. He's sitting in his hospital bed with his dad and his big brother. Nicholas has leukemia...and he needs a bone marrow transplant. My sister and her husband are fortunate--there were multiple potential donors on the National Bone Marrow Registry for Nick's transplant. Others are not so fortunate. But you can help! From now until Sept 22, you can go online and register to be a potential bone marrow donor AT NO CHARGE! This is huge, because typically it costs $52 to register. Right now, the NASCAR Foundation is picking up the tab. It's super easy: go online and fill out the registration form. NBMR sends you a cheek swab kit and a postage paid return envelope. That's it. You're done, unless someone needs a marrow donation. Who knows? Your marrow may save the life of someone's spouse. Or their child. Or their nephew. Here's the link: National Bone Marrow Registry

You can keep Nick and his family in your prayers. Nick's finishing chemo, then he and his mom will head out here for a bone marrow transplant. Right now, the target date is mid-November. But that can change. Pray for God's timing, for wisdom for Pam, Tony, and the medical staff, and for Ted as he and his daddy stay at home while Nick and Pam are gone for several months.

And one more big thing: pray for that family as they try to sell a gorgeous vacation place in McCall Idaho. It's incredible, with lake rights and a private beach community on Lake Payette. An incredible steal!! PLEASE contact me if you want more information--we're nearly desperate to help them sell this place. I have pics galore, and I've been there a couple of times. I'm happy to answer questions and direct you to the agent handling the sale. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! Pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Now THAT was an experience...

Or, the very discouraging day...

The boys had their first day of gymnastics today. was interesting. Neither of them could follow even the most basic instructions, and Logan simply could NOT pay attention. Too many distractions. And, he had trouble not touching the equipment or wandering off from the teacher and the class. I certainly hope that next week is better! Fortunately, the instructor was not surprised, and indicated that it's a pretty common "first time' experience. She was confident that they'd do great in the next 2 or 3 weeks. We'll see.

From there it just went down hill. First Ryan wet his pants, so we had to stop at home to get dry clothes before we ran our errands. Then Logan wet his pants. TWICE! I hadn't packed anything for them--I can't remember the last time one of them had an accident when we were out. Quite frankly, I don't think it's ever happened. I couldn't find a couple of things I needed at Costco, and then we ran one more place to pick up something I've been trying to find for more than a month. Foiled yet again. At this precise moment I'm ready to just chuck it all and call it a day. I hope today is not indicative of the rest of my week! Fortunately, I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's mercies are new every morning, and I will continue to trust that He is in control. Even on a discouraging day.

But even when they have trouble following directions, the dynamic duo is cute:

Now, does anyone have about a CASE of chocolate???

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Logan is a child of almost insatiable curiousity. I can't even BEGIN to count the things he's tried that our others never thought of. Things like being helpful and trying to start Momma's car with her car key when it's time to leave. Like "stirring" the flour mixture in the bowl--all over the counter and the floor--when Momma goes in the pantry to get another ingredient for the cake. Like washing his hair in the bathroom sink, with bar soap. Or today, like trying to figure out exactly how the 3 hole punch works...on Hailey's placemat at the table. In light of all this, I've decided that my new motto for Logan is "Cultivate GREATNESS!"

And so we spent a long time learning exactly how a 3 hole punch works. On paper, not placemats. Satisfies the curiosity, and helps cultivate greatness. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back at it

Well, school started Tuesday. Hard to believe that Hailey's a senior this year. I told Jim on Tuesday that I wanted to sit in the corner and cry, that it wasn't fair for them to grow up so fast. Having already done this once, I know for certain that this school year will be over before I can catch my breath. Already we're looking ahead to things coming up in October and November, and I've been trying to figure out if I can pull off my (used to be) annual Christmas shopping in Portland. Problem is, I'm having trouble coming up with a weekend between now and Thanksgiving that isn't already committed! I'm working on it...

Jim, the little guys, and I traveled to Portland this past weekend so that Logan could meet some more of his family and so that Jim could help his youngest brother with the addition on their house. Logan had a ball, Ryan loved playing with the cousins, and Jim was sore and tired but very content on Monday. I rather suspect he'll be headed down again to help with the sheetrocking.

The boys and I are adjusting to the new routine: tumbling on Mondays, preschool on Tuesdays, baby Emily to play on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and speech on Fridays. It was fun to see Emily today. She's grown so much we'll have to come up with a new name for her, since she's most definitely NOT a baby any more! She and the boys had a ball this afternoon and both of them asked me at bedtime when she was coming back. It will be fun to watch the 3 of them play together this year.

Not much else is new here. On other fronts, my nephew Nicholas is back in the hospital. He's doing well--it's for this round of chemo--but it's been a tough road. Nick has some blood clots in his head that are a bit of a concern. This round of chemo is tough, and he'll be in the hospital for about 6 days. Brent will even have the opportunity to help out this time: Nick's big brother Ted has his first football game on Saturday. Pam wants to go, so Brent's going to hang out at the hospital with Nick so she can attend. He's a great kid, and I'm proud of him for being so willing to do whatever they need. At this point, it looks like Nick's bone marrow transplant will happen about Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

they're BAAACKKK

And they had a wonderful time! The weather at the ocean was perfect--sunny and about 85 with a bit of a breeze. They played beach volleyball, built sandcastles, waded in the water (this is the PACIFIC ocean in Washington state, so we're not talking swimming temps here!) and watched some jet skiers playing in the surf. It's only fitting that I wasn't there, since it was Logan's first time at the ocean. I missed Ryan's first ocean visit too. They enjoyed a campfire each night, and generally had a blast. Best of all, the rain held off until they were supposed to come home.

I enjoyed myself as well. I painted the living room, mowed the lawn, sewed a weighted therapy blanket for Logan (for proprioceptive input, helping him establish better body awareness), and cleaned my kitchen. It's SO CLEAN right now (okay, was so clean) that my nephew Nicholas could have eaten directly off the counters. Nick's fighting leukemia and going through some pretty intense chemo, so that's saying something. I also did a bit of shopping for myself and had fun with some friends shopping for our little guys and enjoying a leisurely dinner.

But now it's back to it: Ryan has a funky bite on his leg that needs to be checked, and Logan seens the ENT at the Craniofacial Clinic this afternoon. We're hoping and praying to be able to schedule ear tube surgery quickly, in part to help with his vestibular sense! Although his hearing test showed a significant loss, we're finding that he seems to hear well. He can hear me asking him if he wants a cookie--when he's upstairs in his room and I'm in the kitchen! And I don't yell...

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's so QUIET

Every summer, Jim takes the kids camping for a few days. It's their time to hang with Dad, and some time for Mom to be alone in the house. I LOVE it and look forward to it every year. So today I sent them on their way to the Washington coast for a few days. They're having a ball in the sun and surf (they just called to check in) and I'm enjoying a totally quiet house. Give me a few days and I'll be glad to have them back, but in the meantime...

And what do they eat? Well, that's the best part. I put together a few meals for them, then the girls do the cooking. This weekend they have grilled chicken with twice baked potatoes and tacos on the menu. They'll do great! Everyone says Logan's having a ball. I'm sorry to miss his first time at the ocean, but it is SO nice to have some time to myself.

So excuse me. My book and my ice cream are calling...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

those faces

Having fun on a summer day in Seattle.