Sunday, October 30, 2005
I wanted to get something sleek and stylish. I decided on the spur of the moment Friday, while we were at the mall with friends, that it was a good time. Abi slept in the sling on my chest and Andrew played with E and C's kiddos in the play area.
I LOVE it. Don walked out to help me get the children out of the car when we got home and said, "hey! Look at my wife!" He adores it! I'm so glad.
their church had a rummage sale and chili cook off. Dad cooked on Friday, making his delectable entry to the competition. So they headed over around 10am for the cook off. Mom said she stayed about 3 hours and did pretty well. Dad won 3rd place!
Today they are going to church again for Sunday school and services. Mom really sounded wonderful on the phone today. She went on Thursday to have her fluid drained again. She was frustrated that it was coming back, but encouraged that it took a bit longer this time. Hopefully Wednesday's chemo coming up will eliminate that from happening again.
She got yet another HUGE blessing this week. A friend of a friend had outgrown some clothing and was planning to get rid of it. Since mom has lost about 5 sizes, nothing she had fit her anymore. So she received heaps of clothing through her friend. She said there must be a hundred belts alone! And just container after container of clothing. God just keeps showing us how he takes good care of her!
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Last night, Andrew and I went to our church's annual fall hayride and hot dog roast. We had a fun evening. Andrew got to run around in the barn lot with the other young boys. He really enjoyed tagging along, being the youngest. He handled his responsibility of holding the dog's leash very well when it was his turn. They got to see baby goats and chickens as well.
The hot dogs, marshmallows and brownies were delish! The hayride was so much fun. Andrew really enjoyed it. He didn't take his eyes off the tractor pulling us the whole time as we sat toward the front of the wagon at his request. It was quite cold but we were bundled up. He cheered when we began moving and pointed out every little thing he noticed along the way.
Girl time and boy time...
Mary Grace called me this morning to get my brother's (her uncle's) phone number. She wanted to call and talk to her cousin, Lindsay. A little while later she called to ask for his cell phone number. It appears the girls have been scheming! LOL My brother and wife are coming over to MG's area to shop and they are going to drop Lindsay by while they do their thing. MG is 9 and Lindsay is 10. Should be a loud afternoon. Mom said she called her today as well. That girl is getting way to close to being a teenager for my comfort level.
I'll be having some girl time this evening myself. My friend E and I are headed back for another round at Target, then probably either dinner out or dinner back here while we enjoy some chat time. The boys, Don and Andrew, are going to his friend C's house for guy time, which means football. Somebody is playing somebody that makes it worth getting together.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Andrew joined in the craft and made (with my help) this little pumpkin. A mommy friend had already put the foam pieces together, gluing each of them to a golf tee. The children were able to choose from lots of colors and shapes of eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hands, expressing their own personalities. It was so much fun! Click on the picture to enlarge it and see others like it!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The kids demolished every room in the house while my lovely friends E and C sat with me, scarfing left over baked potatoes from the birthday shindig, tending to babies and heaping upon each other precious friendship. The children played very well today and the babies enjoyed all the aparatus that today's spoiled babies could stand.
It was a sunny day here inside, despite the rain.
Mom has started getting out of the house a little. Last week when they went for a doctor's appointment in Birmingham, they stopped for lunch out on the way home. She felt up to it and had some energy left at the end of what is a fairly long outing. On Sunday she decide to go to church. The original plan was just for the main service, but that morning she decided she would take a stab at Sunday School AND the main service. Hooray! She said she needed a nap once they got settled back at home, but it went pretty well. I'm so glad!
Today she has to swing by the local doctor's office for some labwork. They they are headed over to the wig shop. The wig she ordered came in and the owner will cut it today in the style of mom's hair. And show her how to care for it. Still no sign of hair loss, but the doctor said it usually happens after the second chemo, which is next Wednesday.
Mom has had a couple weeks of easier breathing. But just yesterday, she said she's starting to get winded a bit more. Likely the fluid is beginning to build back up. Its definitely been slower since her chemo, but still a nuisance. She sees the pulmonologist this week and, if need be, will have the fluid drawn off before her chemo treatment next week. We are praying diligently that the next chemo will take care of this recurrent problem.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Abi. I'm trying to get a jump on things. I've gotten Abi's gifts sewn up. I was perplexed for a while about what to get for her, since we have more baby toys now than we could ever possibly need. Then a friend shared a link with me for a fabulous sale of Angelina Ballerina items. So I decided to go that route... buy now and give it to Abi for Christmas this year... for later. Its not like she'll care right? She's going to be fascinated with lights and bows for a while. Meanwhile she can be playing with the things we already have, and new goodies will be waiting in the wings when she is ready for them.
Andrew. He's pretty easy to shop for. And I'm actually going to a Discovery Toy party tomorrow night. So I'm hoping to get some things for him take care of. Boys are generally easy... things with wheels, things that bounce, a few outfits and its done. I figure we'll focus on Thomas Train stuff this year too. I was talking about that with Grandma last night. He does love Thomas.
Mary Grace. She's a bit harder to shop for. Clothes seem like the obvious choice for an almost 10 year old, but she's going through the awkward time of her pre-adolescence where her body is an awkward shape. So it doesn't pay to buy things ahead... she simply must try them on. She's beyond dolls and barbies. But not ready for teenage things. She loves art goodies, so perhaps we'll focus on that.
Don. He's put in his request already, so I just need to get that goodie before Santa makes his appearance. So. Maybe this Christmas-Shopping-2005 thing is not as daunting a task as it seemed 10 minutes ago when I started tying this post.
Lets get shopping!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Andrew's birthday party was a so much fun! He chose 10 friends to come for a Wiggles birthday bash. Despite our original hopes of having a backyard party, we were driven inside by a 2 day rain fest. But it was cozy (read crampt) and fun (read chaotic). Hehee!
We enjoyed "Anthony's Workshop" where the kids had total run of the dining room as they hammered, cut, squeezed and rolled 12 cans of playdoh until all of it now resembles a psychadelic rainbow. Then they moved on to "Music with Murray" where they had run of the living room coffee table to decorate paper plate shakers filled with beans and rice with a world of colored markers and stickers.
The menu was based on the Wiggles song, "Hot-Potato." We had a Hot-Potato Hot-Potato bar, Cold Spaghetti-Cold-Spaghetti pasta salad and Squased-Banana Squashed-Banana pudding. And cake of course!
Before everyone left, the kids played "Captain Feathersword's Treasure Hunt" where they dug in an old trunk of mine, through packing peanuts, to find treasures such as whistles, markers, happy face tom-toms, candy and semi-precious (plastic) gems. They filled goodie bags to take home. The kids really enjoyed it!
Don was amazing. For a man who barely noticed little people before he had his own, he was enraptured by the children at this party. It was partly his Mr. Checks and Balances personality that made him keep things moving, but mostly his desire for Andrew to have a wonderful day with is friends. I am so proud of my husband, for the daddy that he has become. (swoon)
Of course Andrew enjoyed being the star of the show. So much that when he woke up this morning the first thing out of his mouth was, "I'm going to have another birthday soon." Haha! They are fun days indeed. I'm so glad it was so great for him. It was worth all of the time planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and setting up to see his face, and the faces of his friends full of smiles and wonder.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I can't believe it. My precious baby boy turned 3 years old at 5am this morning. It seems like just yesterday that we brought him into our little world. Praise God for the blessing that he is to this family!
When he got up this morning he yelled from his bed, "Mama! Come wake me up!" Hehee... I asked him whose birthday is today? And he said, "I'm free today!"
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Today she went to see her oncologist for a follow up to her 1st chemo. He gave her a great report and she doesn't have to see him again. YAY! She'll have her 2nd chemo in two weeks. By then, hopefully she'll have some strength back so she won't be down for so long.
Doing the happy dance today!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Mom had four pretty good days after her chemo. But on Monday she has some tummy troubles. She was a bit frustrated to have made it through the days that are usually the hardest, only to be hit by surprise with the queasies. Tuesday was better. And she got out to the lab to have some bloodwork drawn to check her blood chemistries post-chemo. She has an appointment with the oncologist tomorrow (Thursday) to follow up after her first treatment.
Some close friends who mom and dad go to church with stopped by on Monday night for a visit. They have been a constant support for my parents during mom's bought with ovarian cancer. They surprised them with a card from the members of the church, which contained a cash gift of $400! It is especially helpful since Dad has not been able to work much in the last two months. Dad is an auctioneer and antique handler. He pretty much drums up his own paycheck depending on what he get refinished in the shop and he's been able to spend very little time out there recently. Again, God just comes through with just what they need. I'm so encouraged!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Whew, I'm beat. We've had a busy couple days around here. Saturday especially. I joined in with about 15 other moms from our playgroup for a combined yard sale on Saturday. We were there setting up before daylight and finished up by 2pm. As usual, despite advertising a start time of 8am, folks showed up before the boxes were unpacked and tables set up to see what we had to offer. It was quite successful, netting over $1000 in sales. Each mom contributed part of their monies to the group to fund an upcoming Christmas event. We are all very much looking forward to that!
The best part?... the exchange of clothing between moms. Several of the gals have toddler girls and a few of us have baby girls. We were jumping on the opportunity to get some deals. I had a good time ribbing one of the new moms in the group who I just love, K., about wanting what each other had. We did actually exchange one outfit. Haha! She found something I'd missed after going through boxes several times and I just adored it. So she said, "let me go through what you picked out and take something, then you can have this one." It was like black Friday! We were laughing and having a great time. Love my mommy friends!
Grown up time...
Don and I had a date last night! My good friend H. watched both Abi and Andrew while we celebrated our 4th anniversary. We dropped them off at 6pm then headed for our dinner reservation at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Oh it was divine spending time with my husband without distraction. We had a very slooooooow dinner, enjoying an appetizer, salad and bread... even drinks and dessert! It was so nice to be served and waited on by someone instead of going to a fast-tracked buffet with kids. We lingered over each course as long as we could. The waitress came back twice before I'd even looked at the entrees. Every bit was delicious, especially the time we shared with each other.
We really need to do that more often. It was hard leaving the kids, especially with Abi not even being 3 months yet, but so good for us. And H.'s 2 girls really enjoyed our kiddos. We hope to pay them back in November, as they celebrate their anniversary, by keeping their girls.
Mary Grace called this morning, excited to tell me about what she has coming up tomorrow. She joined 4-H last school year and has really enjoyed the projects. She recently moved up from the Discovery level to Homesteader. The Homesteaders are going tomorrow to milk a goat. She was SO excited. And they plan to make goat's milk soap from their collection. I can't wait to hear how it goes. I'm sure she'll get a case of the giggles, knowing her. How fun!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
We wed at
Fellowship Baptist Church
in Mount Joy, PA.
Don's $1 estate
I snagged. Still
the best wedding
story we have.
flower daughter, MG.
She was 5 then.
I love this picture
of my mom.
no idea what
she was doing!
Nana (my mom) and
Grandma (Don's mom)
She said the whole atmosphere was very relaxing for the treatment. She sat in a comfy recliner the whole time, there were drinks and snacks available and they staff was as sweet as could be. Her nurse told her she was doing wonderfully. She said the others taking treatment were helpful with information and discussing things. Mom admitted that she wasn't so much worried about the proceedure itself, but more the unknowns of what it would be like to get the chemo, then how it would effect her. So far the only side effect other than fatigue is achy muscles, which is also a common side effect.
But all in all, things are going fabulously, 24 hrs later!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
My mom went for her first chemotherapy treatment today. They started at 9am and it lasted 3 hours. My dad called when they arrived back at home and said that so far things are going well. She had eaten some butter crackers and had a soda on the way home and though she's feeling drowsy from the meds they gave her to relax, she's not been nauseated as of yet. That's positive news.
As the chemo was administered she was in a room with four other women receiving treatments. A sort of support group. The women could talk while they got the meds. I think that's very cool. I'll be interested to hear from mom what she thought about it when we talk tonight.
Mom went to pick out a wig yesterday. She felt pretty strong after having the fluid drawn off on Monday so it was a good day. When they got to the shop, the woman at the counter asked if she was Gayle. Puzzled, she answered yes. They were expecting her... someone had called and said they wanted to anonymously cover the cost of the wig. She was instructed to pick out anything she liked and was not shown to be shown any prices. Isn't that an amazing blessing? Mom said she wanted to cry. God really provides and comforts in the most incredible ways.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
Mom was at the hospital today for an outpatient procedure. They drew the fluid off from around her lungs for the 3rd time. We are praying that the very first chemo treatment, scheduled in just 2 days, will eliminate this nuisance symptom of her cancer. It really labors her breathing and talking. She's feeling much better this evening, thankfully!
Sometimes you feel other people’s pain worse than your own. We’re armored against our own troubles. We can’t afford to give in to despair. Then you see someone else struggling, and it breaks your… heart. - Sean Steward
While there, Grandma wanted to see Abi in her bonnet that Aunt Linda, Don's sister, had crocheted before she was born. Unfortunately its been quite warm and Abi has not had a chance to wear it yet. We brought it along so Grandma could take some pictures. Its beautiful on her little round, pink head. What a treasure!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
There's not much on TV tonight so Don was flipping around the channels for something with animals to watch with Andrew. He came across the Outdoor Life Network and a rodeo was on. Both boys' eyes locked on to the action. I asked Andrew if he would ride a bull. At first he said yes. Then when Don pointed out the danger, Andrew said, "I would ride a cow. They don't spin around, and they don't hop like that." Wise boy.
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. - Charles Mackay
Don assembled Abi's crib yesterday with help from his assistant, Andrew. He was quite helpful and very patient when it came to "using" the tools. Don let him try each one as the process moved along. The best part is that they had such a great time together. I could hear them discussing each tool and what it did. It was so precious.
When they were done, Don brought the tools downstairs and said, "Now the last thing we do when the job is done is put away the tools." Andrew was not ready for them to be put away and voiced his opinion on the matter so Don decided just to sit with him in the living room and explore them more. Andrew really enjoyed checking each one out... until he dropped the hammer on his toe! Oh no! He cried a bit, but was tough. After that, they put the tools away in the basement together.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
I spoke with my dad tonight and he shared with me a blessing they received today. A couple that they know from auctioning showed up a the door today with bags brimming with food for them. They knew mom, in her battle with cancer, has had a very poor appetite. So they wanted to load up the freezer in case mom had a craving for a certain food, it would be on hand. Dad said there were steaks, honey baked ham, pork loin, ground beef, chicken and much more. As well as ice cream! The outpouring for my mom has been overwhelming. Meals, cards and now groceries are showing up. God is SO GOOD!
My dear friend E. and I went out to Target this afternoon. It was the grand opening. We had a girls evening out with our infants... her little man is 11 days older than Abi. We strolled around Target for almost 2 hours checking out the new store. It was so lovely. I just adore Target. I was good though, I spent less than $5 and that was on some training underwear for Andrew with Thomas the Tank Engine on them. I was hoping for Bob the Builder, but they didn't have his size. We are trying to convince Andrew that its time to potty train, but so far he's not been enthused. Don had a nice long chat with Andrew before bed tonight about the undies and he's very excited to give it a go in the morning. Ooooh, I hope he can do it!
After Target, E. and I went to Applebees for dinner. We laughed at ourselves juggling two babies at dinner out. And we both admitted we'd never have even attempted that with our first or second children. Something about the third one puts you at ease. Like I've said to her on several occasions, they can either fuss or sleep at home or fuss or sleep on the go. Dinner was so-so. They were way to busy for any of the kitchen staff to have been paying much attention. Dessert was delish though... Maple Butter Blondie YUM!
Friday, October 07, 2005
I called my parents to check on mom and dad answered out of breath. He says to me (this is shocking)... "I was just downstairs ironing and ran up the steps to get the phone so your mom wouldn't get up."
I'm not shocked that he ran up the stairs. But its shocking to hear him say he is ironing! Then he tells me that he spent yesterday cleaning the house. I joked and said, "when you're done, you can come clean mine." He replied, "oh its never done, I just had worked in the yard mowing the day before so I had to catch up." Hello. My dad just realized that housework is never done. How cool is that?
I'm so proud of him! He's really taking great care of my mom and keeping things up around the place.
Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone.
- Gertrude Stein
Eeesh, its raining cats and dogs here. (What does that really mean anyway?) We were out this morning for toddler gym then went to the mall with our friends. While there the rain really picked up. I managed to get both kiddos in the car to head home before the buckets full started falling but when we arrived and the deluge had hit, I decided just to sit in the car with my slumbering children instead of waking them up just to drench them during the dash inside. ICK. Radar image from AccuWeather
It was nice to sit and think for a bit. I made some mental notes about things I need to get for Andrew's 3rd birthday coming up in a few weeks. I closed my eyes for a while and listened to both kiddos snore. I thought about Don at work... and said a little thankful prayer that its Friday and he'll be home the next two days. I thought about my highschool girlfriend Celeste who is due with her 4th child this month. I need to call her and see if the baby has arrived. I thought about my mom and prayed for her a long while.
It was a nice little unexpected blessing to be trapped in the car. It made me stop in my own tracks, though I was frustrated at first, and realize I needed a few quiet moments. Slow down, Wen.
Speaking of liquid...
Mom's appointment with her pulmonologist yesterday went well. Unfortunately she learned that the fluid is building up around her lungs again. Boo hiss. They are checking with the oncologist to see if he wants them to remove it. The good news is that she's not struggling to breath, so its not so much as before. Her blood gases looked pretty good.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I've been awake since Abi had her early bottle at 4:30am. Why can't I sleep? You'd think it was because I have so much to do today, but actually its because I have the Bob the Builder theme song stuck in my head. And I'm certain I'd not have noticed my belly growling if it were not for Bob keeping me up.
Andrew has fallen in love with Bob and the crew. We saw an episode on PBS last weekend and he was glued to it. I suggested Don use a free rental coupon from Blockbuster for a BtB DVD. It was a hit of course, and its been in the player quite a lot. Unfortunately it was due back yesterday. We still have it here... I wonder how long Blockbuster's "No Late Fees" really can be stretched before we get a nasty phone call. Or just a bill for 10 times what one would cost to purchase. Oh well, I'll start explaining the "rental return" idea to Andrew today.
Since we rented it and he's gotten more familiar with the characters, (we just had 2 books before) Andrew has started role playing. I have been Muck or Dizzy on several occasions. He has no idea just how right he is assigning me those names. Maybe he's more insightful that I give him credit for! Its so funny to hear him do the dialogue. He likes Lofty's tentativeness and when I ask, "Can we fix it?" sometimes he replies, "yeah, I fink so" instead of a resounding, "yes we can!"
Farm Show Week...
This week is the Manheim Farm Show here in our little town. On Monday night we went to the baby parade to see the daughters of a dear friend march down the street as Dora and Boots. They won second place in their category. Yay! After the parade was done we walked over to the farm show for fair food and to check out the tractors, animals and exhibits. Andrew is so VERY into all of it this year. We had a blast.
Last night was the farm show parade. It was a nice evening, not too hot, not too cold. We sat out on our street and watched about 2 hours of parading. Loads of fire trucks, baton twirlers, marching bands and tractors coming by. Two families from our playgroup joined us and the kiddos had a spectacular time dancing and clapping and collecting candy. Andrew has discovered tootsie rolls and candy corn! Two of mommy's favorites!
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
My mom is just going to have a fit when she sees this. But I... the one who always said I never understood the whole Attached Parenting movement,... have a child who LOVES to be attached. During awake times, Abi is very independent. But when she's sleeping during the day, she needs motion. What a challenge. After several weeks of frustration I asked a friend, who is as crunchy a friend as I've ever had and very AP minded, to make me one of her pouch slings to try with Abi. Well. This child loves it. And, I have to admit... I love it too.
She sleeps great in the bassinet at night... up to 8 hours even a couple times. But during the day she needs that motion to keep her slumbering. I thought I'd be able to get her to sleep while we're out and have her snooze in the stroller. Nada. If I put her in her carrier, she wakes up within 5 minutes. Its SO frustrating. But I'm thankful for this solution. Although my mom is surely going to say, "put that baby down!" Hahahaha!
After that was done, dad took her by Hardee's for a milkshake. Yum! She said she was a bit tired, when I spoke with her around lunchtime, but it was so nice to be out of the house. Its incredible what getting out of the same four walls can do for your attitude. She sounded super!
On Thursday, she has a visit with the Pulmonary doc to check on the fluid around her lungs. And her first chemo is schedule for the 12th of October. Apparently she'll take it in a room with 3 other women... a sort of support group kind of thing so they can chat while the sit for the 2 hour treatment. I think that is such a great idea! I would appreciate if you could make her chemo a matter of prayer!
Monday, October 03, 2005
In the evening, we went for our weekly visit to Don's parents. The afternoon was just as lovely as the morning, so we sat outside on their front patio. While Andrew was playing in the yard, Don's dad said he needed to pick up some twigs. I suggested he ask Andrew to help. Andrew just loved helping his Dziadzi (Polish for grandfather) clean up the front yard. He was so cute pulling the bucket around and tossing sticks in.
It was a great day all around for the guys!
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Today our playgroup had a picnic at the local park with special teddy bear/stuffed animal friends. Andrew of course took White Doggie. The children had lunch on blankets as parents looked on and chatted. It was a great time and the weather could not have been more perfect. Clear, blue sunny skies with temperatures in the low 70s. Ahhhhhh, fall is coming indeed. They played a game of Hot Potato and passed a little brown teddy bear. It was fun watching 2, 3 and 4 year olds trying to figure out you had to pass the bear NOT hold on to it. Ha! What a hoot. As the children were weeded out by who had the bear when the music stopped, they each got a teddy bear sticker. It was adorable. Don has some video. I'll have him capture some still images and update later with pics.
Randy (my brother) arrived safely to spend the night with mom and dad last night. I'm so happy they had some time together just to visit without the distraction of grandkids. I'm sure its been a LONG time since those 3 had some alone time. Randy said that mom looks good, but she could really use a hair dresser. I think she was ready to swat him for that one! She said she got it washed and dried yesterday... which was like climbing a mountain for her. Dad was making spaghetti for dinner. Oh how I wish I could take my old seat at the table with my family. I wonder if mom would still make me sit until I finished my plate.
Sweet messages about HOT stuff...
I got a dear email today from MG's grandmom. She, with MG's help typing, asked for my hot wing sauce recipe. I obliged of course. It was a first... email from my sweet Gracie bug. What a wonderful surprise! I learned that her dad's whole family is together at her aunt's for the weekend. That doesn't happen too often as her uncle lives in Spain. What a sweet treat for them. I can just hear the happiness in the email and it makes me so glad. Mary Grace's dad, aunt and uncle are more like old friends than siblings when they get together and it makes for a special time at ever gathering.