Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Honesty of a Child

I was reading a new book to Andrew and after a few pages of the Wheels on the Truck I realized that it rhymed and went to the tune of the Wheels on the Bus. So I started to sing the words instead of just reading them. Then after I finished the 34 page [long] story [34 verses] Andrew, with a seriously disappointed face, said, "Grandma sings better than you." Oh, the sadness of disappointing your children....

These are the "papa's" as lovingly called by Peter. Yes, he even calls grandma, papa. Maybe we're the confused ones. But the other day I heard him call grandpa, "Daddy papa." Their church mission was interrupted by Peter's diagnosis. Grandma received an early release to come and rescue us. Poor grandpa had to finish up the mission without his companion. They were the Southern California Public Affairs Missionaries. Very busy mission.

I tease them that they are on their second mission. It's definitely a service mission. They are happy to help all they can. What a relief because we need a lot of help. They take turns with my duties of carpooling. They take turns with working my hours in preschool if I can't or watch Peter so I can be with Andrew. They go to an early Sunday Sacrament meeting-not their own, so I can go to church with the children while they stay with Peter. Then Grandma treats us with a wonderful Sunday dinner. It's always a treat! And if John & I need to be somewhere together then they watch Peter. And what a lucky boy. It's all play with the papa's. Andrew begs to go to the papa's home every day. Another lucky boy because he gets undivided attention, Happy Meals for lunch, and Slurpee's. See what I mean? I beg to go to the papa's home too.

Many people look towards their retirement years for a long awaited break, relaxation, more time to do the things you've always wanted to do. Doug and Kathy are asking, "retirement?"... They've never been busier. Sorry about that. I guess those are the blessings you get when you have children and grandchildren that adore you and live close by. We couldn't handle this trial without them. They are our mortal angels.

These are parents that don't disappoint.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Needs Pottery Barn?



My weekend project {our family's magnet board}.
I found this old ugly huge brown picture frame at a garage sale a couple weeks ago for $20. I spray painted with red paint and that was it. John bought a sheet of metal for $13 and screwed it into the wall and then screwed on the frame. Viola! I love it. So does Peter. Thanks Pottery Barn for the idea.
"Eat [use] it up. Wear it out. Make do, or do without."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sweet Surprises

I took Peter to a doctor's appointment today. A routine, once a week visit for blood work and outpatient chemo. He's getting use to these visits. He doesn't fight or cry to get his weight, height, or blood pressure checked anymore. That's a big improvement. Next, he sees the doctor. Our favorite one {they're all wonderful} Dr. Horvath, is a very kind, tender hearted, grandmother. She was out today. She has a clock in her office on a shelf behind her desk. There's a drawer under the face of the clock and it plays music when the drawer is opened. The Doctor has made a little game up with Peter. She's taught Peter about the drawer and leaves a little wrapped chocolate in it for him to find. When ever he goes to an appointment he always walks into her office and pulls out the clock drawer for his little surprise. He loves chocolate. It makes him happy and the rest of the visit goes well and he never complains to "go to see the doctor." So when he went to the clock today I knew he was going to be disappointed. He wasn't. There inside the drawer was his piece of chocolate. What a sweet woman! I'm a grateful mother.

Thanks Addie for the blanket fort!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Bushel and a Peck

{Andrew stuffing his mouth with fresh mini apple cider donuts}

What a fun field trip Andrew's Preschool class went on today. It's apple harvest time up in Oak Glen. We toured a new apple farm. Snow Line Orchard. It's been there for over a hundred years. I loved it. What a beautiful day. Doug, grandpa, offered to take Andrew on the field trip but I was actually was looking forward to going with him and leaving Peter with Him and grandma. I needed a break. Peter has been very cranky all week. What a perfect place to go and get refreshed. The smell of apples, cool air, and darling preschoolers saying and doing the funniest things.

Andrew and {i} learned a few new things:

First new Thing:

The difference between apple cider & apple juice....Apple cider is pressed and has to be refrigerated and apple juice is cooked.

The second thing:

Have you ever sang the cute little song...I love you a bushel and a peck???

" I love you a bushel and a peck,a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck and a barrel and peep, a barrel and peep and I'm talk'in in my sleep about you......"

This is a song I've sung to my babies. I've always wondered what a peck was. I found out today. In the old days the farmers used certain sizes of baskets for means of measurements. It starts with a bushel, then half bushel, then quarter bushel or Peck....cute.

Now what is a peep???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top of the Third - Update on Peter

Peter just started the third course of chemo over the weekend. The dreaded 4 day hospital stay. He was in the hospital on his birthday. Not the happiest place on earth. But it's a birthday we'll never forgot and one I'm sure he'll never remember. The nurses made his day when they all came in singing Happy Birthday and give him presents. Even the nutritional service sent up his meals on special happy b-day place mats with extra treats and a small b-day cake. What wonderful caring people doing more than their job requires. Through these small and simple acts of kindness for Peter I feel Heavenly Father's love for him. I'll always be able to tell him how much he is loved and thought of. Then the rest of the family came with more presents. He loved it! It made the day go a lot faster.

Some really good news: There's a blood test that has been a routine test since the diagnosing process with Peter's cancer. It's called the AFP[alpha-fetoprotein] It's a tumor marker test for this kind of cancer. A normal healthy person's level is 10 or under. Peter's AFP was 9,000. We've read about other cases where the levels have been much higher, in the 100,000's or even over 1,000,000's. After Peter's 1st course was completed his afp was down to 350. We just found out about his afp after the second course was finished. It is down to 28. That means the tumor is not growing. It's smaller. Very good news.
The plan is to go through 4 courses of chemo. Maybe by the end of November he'll be finished. Then the ct scan to get a look at his liver and tumor. Then we'll go from there to either more chemo, or surgery, or we're hopeful that maybe there won't be a need for surgery.
I feel a little greedy hoping for such a miracle. We've already been blessed with a huge miracle with the tumor responding to the chemo so well, which we are very grateful for. Where ever this trial leads us to, we know that good will come out of this. Life is full of challenges and obstacles. We all are subject to this. It's to help us grow and learn and gain experience. It's hard sometimes. But I know it could be a lot harder. I hear of other families cancer stories, and health problems and actually feel grateful for what we have been given. I feel like we can handle this.
Every time we have to go back to the hospital for the impatient chemotherapy I just dread it. I get nervous and worry about how I'm going to entertain this little 2 yr old boy. He has to stay in his tiny hospital room for the 4 days because the hospital is not the cleanest place to be. A lot of sickness going on there. His risk of getting sick is really high because his white count is low and his body isn't able to fight even just a normal cold. One of the hardest things is when he asks to go on walks. One night when there's nobody around on the unit the nurses let me walk him back and forth in the hall. It's not much of a walk but he enjoyed it. I had to push his iv poll and try to keep up with him. Not easy. You wouldn't believe the toys, movies, games,....I pack for the 4 days. I even borrow toys from family and friends that will be new to Peter. [How nice that I don't have to worry about the other three children. Doug, Kathy, & John all work together and cover it all. It's amazing.] But each time we go back Peter does better than I anticipated him to do. This time was amazing. He didn't have one tantrum until an hour before he were discharged. He only threw up a couple of times. He didn't yell "no" to the nurses or doctors. He was happy. It's getting easier. What a blessing!
The day Peter gets home from the hospital is a good day. Happiness. Then the next 3 or 4 days are rough from all the side effects of all the chemo. It sets in and he feels awful. He wants and needs to be held constantly. But by the fourth day he feels better and back to himself. And life gets back to normal a little. That's good for all of us.
Enjoy life. Enjoy the moment. Don't anticipate the hard times to come. Learning to be happy in the moment is sometimes a little hard to do. But I'm getting there. Thanks to Peter.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Birthday Buddies

We call these two the birthday buddies. The oldest and youngest born on the same day with 11 years that separate them. This headache happened because on Meagan's birthday two years ago I jumped out of bed to make breakfast for her. I didn't hear the alarm and was already 15 minutes late for the day. I literally jumped out of bed. That's not easy to do when you're 38 weeks pregnant. Then I felt a pop and a gush of water. Denial set in quickly. I told myself that I must have just wet my pants from the impossible leap out of bed. I admit it. When you're pregnant it's hard to be rational at times. The contractions started immediately. John was anxious to get me to the hospital but I had to do the girls' hair first. And the rest is history.

I teased Meagan when she asked about the plans for the birthday party(ies). Just one birthday dinner and party for the two. The theme this year will be Barney. Peter loves watching Barney, the purple dinosaur, [annoying, singing, purple dinosaur] When Meagan was 2 she loved Barney too so I didn't think she would mind. I was wrong.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Full Moon & Brilliant Sunsets

For two weeks now Addie
has been on an evening quest. The National PTA Reflection Program is on... Addie enjoys participating in this every year. Last year she wrote a poem. The theme this year is "WOW". She's decided that she wants to capture a WOW photo. Something that makes her or somebody who looks at the photo say, "WOW". Every night she's been taking pictures of the sunsets. Then we realized that there was a full moon. So the last two nights we have gone out all over the hills and side streets to capture the full moon. Here are some of her attempts. I don't think we have the right camera lens or camera. But we've had fun. Last night we got into position too early and could hardly wait for the moon to come up. When it finally did, the kids were so excited they cheered.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stopping to Smell the Roses

The other day I lost track of Peter. I announced, "Anybody have a visual on Peter?" Then someone noticed the back slider opened. Peter was outside smelling the flowers. He picked a few and ran them back to us. We were busy inside with dinner and setting the table. I thought about this later on that night and realized there was a lesson he was trying to teach us. Don't be too busy with life. Stop and smell the flowers. Here's this little cutie battling cancer. He had just received a dose of chemo the day before this picture was taken. I guess he walked by the window and noticed the flowers highlighted by the sunset and went out on his own to check them out. When we found him we all stopped and watched. He had everybody take a whiff. We were all delighted. The flowers were our center piece for dinner that night. Take time to enjoy the moment. Thanks for that lesson Peter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Home on a Friday Night

We got into the Halloween spooky spirit tonight. We borrowed the movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the Bowman's. Popped popcorn. Changed into pajamas. Turned down the lights. What a treat! I love scaring my children. It was Andrew's first viewing of this great movie. When was the last time you were scared like that? [I'm not talking about the current stock market woes.]For me, it was in July camping with Duane's family at Mesa Verde, Colorado. Duane told us the scariest story I've ever heard. I hope they all sleep well tonight. Cover your heads.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin Face

This is one of my favorite times of year. Autumn. Andrew's preschool class went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch, Green Spot. Cute name.

This picture cracks me up. I asked Andrew to hold his pumpkin up so I could take a picture. He put it right in front of his face. His favorite thing about the field trip: The John Deer Tractor.

He searched and searched the patch for this one.
It was so heavy.

The John Deer. Andrew's choice of transportation.

Notice the llama's ears. As I was taking this photo I heard the farmer tell that when a llama's ears are flat that means he's not very happy. Andrew looks happy though. Have you read the children books about the llama? The latest one we read is called: Llama, llama, mad at mama. I'm calling this picture: Llama, Llama, Andrew Drama.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Peter the Great

This is the reason for starting the blogging world.

Peter's story in brief. He was a normal, happy, healthy, active little boy. No reason to think otherwise. Early in August I took him to a routine well baby check. The doctor found his liver to be enlarged and order all kinds of tests. The next day they determined it to be a large tumor in his liver and scheduled more testing. We were in shock and feared all kinds of scary things. I can't even explain the sadness that entered our lives, family, our home. We quickly asked for priesthood blessing, prayers, and a special family & ward fast. The next week brought more pain and questions, but also brought some tough answers. He was diagnosed with hepatoblastma. A very rare liver cancer that only attacks children three years and younger. He's really one-in-a-million. We are reassured by his expert doctors and a peace that comes from our knowledge and faith in or Savior, Jesus Christ, and his gospel .

Now it's been over a month and ending our second course of chemo. The miracle has already happened. The tumor responded well. The liver is back to normal size and after the 4Th course of chemo we should find out by ct scan what the next step will be. Peter is amazing. We are very hopeful of a good outcome. This is a hard battle to fight but every one's prayers has given us strength and Peter is a fighter.
We are so grateful for all the prayers offered on Peter's behalf. We are also very grateful for family support, and especially for Kathy & Doug who help out at every turn. What a team they are! Together with our family, friends, and ward members our burden has been lighted and it makes this trial easier to bear.

One man's garbage is another young girl's treasure...

I've been on the look all year at garage sales for a desk for Addie. Three weeks ago I found it. I'm not usually good at bargaining down the price but I did on this one. We got this little treasure for only$20. There's a second piece, a book shelf, that fits on top of the desk. What a project. She's learned all about refurbishing an old piece of furniture. After a few hours of sanding and washing down the old wood and about four coats of white paint we moved in her new desk. With Grandma's help the bookshelf is ready to move in too. Addie is one happy girl. Let the new search begin. Dining room table and chairs. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Make a Wish

Why do I think that making a wish when blowing out my birthday candles is like finding a genie in a bottle and being able to make three incredible wishes? I don't hold back when making wishes. It's my birthday. The sky's the limit. Top three wishes: Peter's cancer to disappear and no more chemo, the hair on my head to all grow back, finding the perfect dining room set at a garage sale. See what I mean?

Addie asked me in a serious tone what I wanted for my birthday. I couldn't think of anything that I wanted that was under $1000. She made me a darling card and had everybody write sweet birthday wishes. It's a treasure.

I loved my birthday. I was given the gift of good food. John took me out to dinner the night before. Then for breakfast he and the children woke up early and made me my favorite homemade buttermilk waffles with all the extras. The table was set with a tablecloth and cloth napkins. That touched me. Then for lunch Cheryl, Amy & Jenny took me out to lunch to Mimi's. It was great. I laughed a lot and didn't have to worry about Peter because Kathy & Doug were taking care of him.