Friday, December 30, 2011

Curve Ball

Today while working at preschool, I got a call that my Dad, aka Pops, had to be admitted to the hospital for an infection in his arm. The infection started in his finger and has spread to his hand and arm. We are waiting for surgery today to relieve the infection. He will be here for three days or so on a high powered antibiotic to get rid of this infection. The last place we all want to be this weekend is another hospital awaiting surgery, but this has gotten to be taken care of so the infection will not further spread.

Thank you friends for your continued prayers for our family. We are ready to say goodbye to 2011!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Highlights

I love the ending of the year. I love the cleaning that we have been doing today to start the new year with some order in this house. I also love taking a few moments to celebrate the highs and lows of the last year. Obviously 2011 has been a hard year for us, but despite the Nightmare, we have truly had some wonderful moments with family and friends. Here is a quick (well not really) recap:)

New Years Eve last year was such fun as we had a progressive dinner with three other families. We are so thankful to be surrounded by such love here in our county. Here are Hope and David practicing air hockey before the guests arrived here for appetizers.

Rec basketball teammates! This picture is precious to me now, because the boys will not have anymore chances to be on the same team. Kyle was the tallest boy on our team, and David was the tiniest, but it was so fun to see both of my boys on the bench with Daddy coaching:) Because of David's one kidney, rough basketball is not allowable for him now so this picture is precious to me.

2011 was super snowy and here are my three cuties out in the snow:) We had a record number of snow days last year which is always stressful when your hubbie is the superintendent and has to make the snow call.

Pops and David got to enjoy some great VT hoops games last year and this one was a late one and David drifted off to sleep snuggled next to Pops. These two are truly BFF's.

Our three Valentine cuties!

Another teammate picture because they are so cute together:)

Not clear why this one is crooked, but here are Mike and David dressed for the day in their ties. David loves to dress up in his shirt and tie to look like his Daddy and Jeff:)

Easter! AFter having boys for so many years, I relish each year buying Hope a smocked Easter dress:)

Spring also means Little League and in 2011 my boy fell in love with pitching. He made All Stars and got to pitch in a big all star game to help his team. Momma gets nervous watching him pitch, but he amazes us that he remains cool and calm.

Little David had some Little League fun and played Tball! We are hoping he will be able to play some this spring if he has the energy.

At the diner for Hope Madeline's second birthday!!!

Rock Star's seventh birthday! That boy ate about five pieces of his own birthday cake at his party:) We had a joint party here at home for Hope and David with water slides and fun.

Golfing was super popular with Mike and Kyle this past summer, and one night I caught this cute picture of our two youngest waiting for Kyle and Mike to play the hole in our backyard. These two play so well together:)

While Mike was traveling Ashley and I took the kids to Wilderness at the Smokies for some sun and fun. We all had such fun and the weather was great.

We made a big girl room for Hope! We took the crib down and converted it to a big girl bed:)

Our friends from Orange County came and camped at Hungry Mother and Kyle and Brett got to spend some time together. One night I took them to play putt putt:)

In 2011 we learned that we have a water baby! Hope Madeline loved the pool and became quite a little fish. She would jump in by herself and swim underwater.

We had lots of fun times at the lake boating and tubing. Here are Kyle, Clayton and Hunter tubing. David even got brave enough to tube with Uncle Chad and we are so thankful for such a fun summer place to gather with family.

Right after preschool and big school started, we took a wonderful and magical trip to Disney. It is a trip none of us will forget and we are already planning a return trip when David's treatments are all over. It was truly a wonderful trip and it was hard to return to reality:)

Right after Disney, Ashley and Jason and I took David to see Jason Aldean! It was a wonderful concert and David had a BALL!

Here is a sweet picture from Special Games back in October. I love this picture because it shows the love betwen Daddy and son. We are so proud of our special games athlete and this picture melts my heart.

Pumpkin carving with AShley! She is a wonderful pumpkin carver and one afternoon before Halloween we carve lots of pumpkins. This year we went with church to a local pumpkin patch from a family at church and it was so much fun to get local pumpkins.

Down Syndrome Buddy Walk! This is always one of our favorite days to get together and celebrate the wonderful people in our lives with designer chromosomes.

At a fun family halloween party I realized that my man is one heck of an apple bobber! I am one lucky gal to be married to his apple bobbing stud!

The Williams hosted a family day at their farm for church and I took Hope and David. Kyle and Mike had basketball, so we stayed and had a wonderful day. David played so hard with his church friends and it was a beautiful fall day. Such wonderful memories! When we asked David where he wanted his remission party to be, he said "da farm" so hopefully we can party hard there next year when the nightmare is over.

Teaching preschool again has been a highlight of the year. Hope loves her preschool friends and I love teaching. I love the lesson planning, the kids, the families, and it is a perfect job to teach little hearts about Jesus.

This picture is precious to me because it was taken the weekend before the nightmare started. I got this bright idea to go to the lake and take Christmas pictures and Mike was sweet enough to go and help me. We realized when we got there that I matched the kids in red and black so he took my picture with my three babes. Little did we know how drastically our lives were getting ready to change.

That week before the nightmare started Ashley got some cute fall pictures of my kids outside playing in the leaves. This is another fall tradition that we have in our house.

The day before the nightmare here I am baking with my favorite girl. In 2011 I have found how much fun it is to bake with an eager little side kick. My boys like to bake, but my girl loves it! She perches right on the counter beside the mixer and we have made some special treats and memories here in this kitchen.

The night before the nightmare happened we celebrated AShley's birthday! Right after we ate this pizza and cookie cake, Ashley took David to basketball practice. When he came home was the first time we heard him say that his belly hurts.

Despite the drama and trauma this child endured in the hospital for all those days including major surgery, test after test, post-op PT (ouch), chemo and daily radiation, he continued to make us smiles with this amazing smile. We are so proud of our Rock Star for all that he has endured. He makes us all want to be better people. We love you angel boy:)

One of the best highlights of the year was our coming home party when we finally brought our Rock Star home on December 9th-Kyle's 10th birhtday. Our house was rocking with family and a few friends that came by to hug our necks and see the Rock Star.

The Thomas Musser Walk in early December was a wonderful encouragement to us as we saw first hand Team David in action. To get hugs from the Musser family that day was so awesome because they have been down this scary road we are traveling. They are such an inspiration to us.

I really should end with a Christmas picture of my three, but frankly this moment was one of the highlights of the year. I sobbed when I walked this angel back into the school and the arms of his teacher, Mrs. Hubble. I heard the roar of those students as they chanted "David David" and saw all the tears and smiles from the building, and it was a moment we will never ever forget. All those scary moments on 7 central and all those scary doctor consults faded away as I saw first hand the love for our boy. I still bawl thinking of the love flowing in that building that day.

2011 has been a hard year, but also a wonderful year of seeing first hand God's unfailing love and grace when we needed it the most. I believe I have prayed more in 2011 than ever before and I am thankful for a better prayer life. Happy New Years Eve! My man and I are going out on a quick date to celebrate another year together:)

Cool Shirts and Rock Star Updates

It is so fun to have new toys around the house. Hope got a new princess castle/tunnel and the kids have used it for nerf gun battles and all kinds of fun!

David has felt very good since the chemo on Tuesday. We are so thankful but we are battling the eating war. He has very little appetite, unfortunately, but we are trying. Even though last week he ate very well he was also very active because the weather was so warm and maybe that is why he lost weight this week at clinic? This week has been colder so maybe all this Xbox playing will help him not burn as many calories:)

Here is our little techno girl playing Ipad while watching a princess movie:) The Ipad has been a hit with us all!

Here is the Rock Star rocking on with her new paper jamz guitar from his cousins in Shreveport. He has really felt good this week and we even went to the movies to see Chipwrecked-the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.

One of the things I love so much about Christmas break is the down time to let kids just be kids without schedules. Here is the princess castle/tunnel and if you peek inside.....

You will see two cute little people having a lasagna picnic and watching a movie on the portable DVD player. These two are so cute together and I love sweet moments like this. The nightmare has made us all appreciate sweet moments like this.

Rock Star playing Ipad. Don't you love his new David shirt? Santa brought him this new one to replace the David shirt he was wearing in the hospital. This new one is VT colors-too cute huh?! It came from

I have ordered many times from Christie the one-woman operation behind Flyduds. Her products are awesome and I have been very pleased with every purchase from her. I let her know David's size and the colors we wanted (VT of course) and this is what we got! Too cute! (I am not being paid to say this-I just love her stuff and I love to support American Mommys working from home).

I am trying really hard to not be anxious for the scan on the 6th:) Any bible verses that you cling to during trying times would help so much. Please leave them in the comment section. Besides clinging to the promises from God's word I am also remembering what the oncologist said this week. He reminded us that we will get there, we just do not know how hard we are going to have to work to get there. I thought that was a reassuring way to look at the next nine months of treatment.

We are off to have some pizza with one of David's friends. A pizza buffet is just what the Rock Star needs today to help his calories load for the day:)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Clinic Clarifications

Good morning from Camp Robinson! I had a few emails and messages asking about the clinic visit so I will clarify. I am also adding some cute pictures from Christmas Day with Belle and the Beast:)

The scan on January 6th is scheduled for 10 a.m. They would like to not sedate him because when you are sedated machines help you breathe which means that your lungs are not opening and closing normally. If he is sedated and David has "help" breathing while sedated there is a good chance that they could not see 100% of his lung surface and we would always be worried that something was missed. I understand completely the medical reasoning behind not sedating him, but CT scans are super stressful for him. We are hoping he can hold the Ipad above his head and play Angry Birds and not be so stressed:) The last CT scan was a complete and total nightmare, so we will see.
Our oncologist, Dr. Alisanski (whom we love and trust) feels that we will get the results that day. We will still visit clinic at 1 to receive chemo and she thinks that maybe the results will not come back quite that fast, but later in the afternoon. Thankfully it HAS to be read that day because if we have to switch to the harder regimene which includes radiation, then that will start the following Monday and she will have to scramble Friday afternoon to get the radiation oncologist (Dr. Schneider the previous one we worked with at the Emily Couric Cancer Center) on board and ready for Monday.
Oh how I love these two Disney characters! Hope Madeline adores her Belle costume and I do not even mind all the darn glitter that comes off of it everytime she wears it:) David of course is in heaven in his Beast costume!
David wore his costume for a while Christmas Day and made everyone act out the parts! I always get to be Mrs. Potts which makes me happy! Here is the Beast "dead" before he comes to life as a prince! David has watched the movie so much that he can accurately play this scene! It is hilarious to watch! Ha!
Poor Pops always has to be Gaston, and he is a good enough sport to play dead when the Beast finally kills him at the end of the movie!

Yesterday while Mike and David checked in at clinic, I went to 7 Central to check on Haley. I was so praying that she would be in the PICU recovering from her surgery because a heart had come available during the holidays, but sadly she is still on the floor waiting for her heart. The exciting news is that the local news station did a story on her Christmas Day and Christy, her Mom, is hoping that God can use that news story to help bring Haley a heart. We picked out a cute outfit for her at Crazy 8 and I also bought Hope Madeline the same one so I will think of Haley when Hope wears it:) It was nice to catch up with Miss Haley and Christy and I assured her that we, as well as our friends were praying for her. This was week 11 that they have been in the hospital waiting on a heart. God love them. Nineteen days of inpatient just about did me in, so I cannot imagine 77 days and counting with no end in sight.

Today is catch up day around messy Camp Robinson. Christmas has exploded in every room in this house, so I am trying to catch up here in case we do have to return as inpatients on January 9th. I am also excited to head to preschool to get plans rolling for the new year. I have missed my little preschoolers so much:)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clinic Appointment

Today we had a good clinic visit. Treatment number five is done! Sadly he has lost another 1.5 pounds which personally offended me because we have been so proud of his food intake, but the oncologist was not too worried. He only received Vinchristine today so we pray he has another feel good week this week.

Next Friday will be a big day for us. We will go up Thursday evening for the CT scan Friday morning. This scan will be important to determine his chemo regimen. If the lesions are gone, then we will continue on this protocol which includes the chemo drugs he has already received for the next 31 treatments. Clearly this is what we pray for daily:)

If the lesions are not gone or there is a loss of heterozygocity (which we are still waiting on results from original surgery), then we will switch to another chemo protocol with different drugs and lung radiation. If the lesions are still there then we will have to return to Charlottesville the following Monday for daily chemo treamtent and radiation for at least five straight days in the new protocol.

Overall despite the weight loss, David had a good evaluation today. His blood pressure, Creatinine level, and blood work all came back good. He is cleared to be out and about since his neutrafill (sp?) level was good.

Okay, get your tissue ready. Today we received a very generous gift of a new Xbox with an additional controller and three new games courtesy of a special family in Albemarle County. Their son, Jeffrey, died from leukemia several years ago. When Jeffrey would come in for his treatments he would bring his Xbox and share it with other patients on the floor. When he realized that he was going to lose his battle, he started giving away all his electronics to friends on the floor. In his memory, this wonderful family now gives away a new game system to every newly diagnosed child with cancer at UVA. Unbelieveable huh?!

This nightmare has been so hard and today was hard when his port had to be accessed again. The numbing creme helps some, but it does not take away the anxiety David feels. But through this nightmare we have been reminded how good can come out of hard times. We have been so blessed with all the outpouring of love from you all and the Grace and Mercy from our Lord. Then to realize that complete strangers would give us such a generous gift just reminds us that we have so many folks praying and rooting for us in this battle again Goliath and that makes us feel so much braver.

There have been days lately that we have not felt very brave. Please never forget that we are so weak and scared and the strong one here is our Lord Jesus. We have turned this battle over to Him, and we know that God is holding our brave Rock Star in his capable hands.

So prayer warriors, we covet your prayers for the scan next Friday, January 6th. Please pray that they get a good scan of his lungs and that the lesions are all gone:) Thanks for the love and goodbye from the SUV thankfully heading down I-81!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the road

We are heading down the road now for our clinic visit tomorrow. After the magic and normalcy of the last few days, it is hard to head back down the road. We know however, to knock another treatment out we must go. Tomorrow will be treatment 5/36 and honestly that is a wee bit overwhelming. Then i remember how far we have come already and I smile. We have all grown in our faith and Rock Star has taught us so many life lessons already. Between Rock Star's strong will and precious personality coupled with the Lord's unfailing love and mercy we will make it through tomorrow's clinic visit and all the rest. Good nght from the SUV!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

We have certainly enjoyed our magical, yet scaled-back Christmas. The weather has been so warm and nice:) Christmas Eve day we headed to Radford for Christmas at GG and Pops with my extended family.

My kiddos were agreeable to pictures under the tree before we headed out and amazingly Rock Star has felt well this week. We are so thankful that David has felt well enough this week to enjoy some low-key festivities.

My three Christmas babies!!

Hope insisted to have her hair "bwaided" for Christmas and with her hair back I cannot believe how much she and Kyle look alike! Wow!

My and my two youngest. David put a full day in Christmas Eve with family activities and church. He is truly a Rock Star!

We had lunch with my extended family and here is my grandmother and Hope. They have become big buddies since she has been there so much while we were in the hospital. Mimi is such a sweet playmate for Hope.

My big girl playing Ipod!

We had a new addition to our family this year! My brother's family just got a new Yorkiepoo puppy named Bella. We all loved on her and snuggled her.

The ladies of the family: GG, Hope, and Mimi. Hope was getting ready to open her Belle dress!!

The shoes that match her Belle gown-they actually light up!

Our pretty girl enjoying the sunshine in Radford. We stayed in Radford a few hours until it was time to head home for church.

After church Ashley and Jason met us at our house to exchange presents. We are so appreciative of all that they do for us:)

Christmas morning got started a little later than usual in our house as Rock Star was worn out from church Christmas eve. We have never left our home on Christmas Day and we are so thankful. We just chill out at home and let the kids play with their new toys. My parents and grandmother usually come visit us which is so nice.

Kyle wanted a Titleist hat and he got it!! Our family also received an Ipad from Santa!! We are so excited and we have fought over it all day. It will be so nice for chemo and trips to Cville this year.

Kyle schooling his younger siblings on the Ipad. He is such a great, parient big brother:)

My parents and grandmother arrived mid-morning and we made a big breakfast. It was so yummy and we have just had a wonderful family day together. No where we have to be today, just time to be together and enjoy the day.

This year we were just so thankful that David has felt well enough to have most of our usual festivities. Christmas Eve was low key with church and focusing on the reason for the Season. Christmas Eve worshiping our Lord with all five of us together was such a blessing. I really did not get as emotional as I thought because amazingly the fear of what we still have to face was put aside as thankfulness filled my heart. As we were singing "Glory in the Highest" last night I was just so thankful for:

We are just so thankful that Jesus came in that manger so long ago to give us all Peace, Hope, and Salvation.

We are so thankful that we have friends and family to celebrate the season with.

We are so thankful that David's hard surgery is behind us and all the tumors are gone. (Please continue to pray that the lung lesions will be gone on January 6th).

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love from our friends and family.

We are so thankful for that sweet baby that came to be the SAvior of the World. That baby that we celebrate today is the same one that has held our hands and wiped our tears through this nightmare. He will continue to be with us as we journey on through chemo. He knows how scared we are and whispers reassurances in our ears each day and fills our hearts with Peace.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours. May we never forget that the same baby we sing Happy Birthday to today is the same SAvior that desperately wants a close relationship with us all.