Monday, August 30, 2010


Isabelle had her first soccer game on Saturday. She in on the same team as one of her best friends, Ben. Ben and Belle have the same birthday and have been friends since they were 18 months old. They are just so cute together! We had a big group cheering on our little soccer player. Grandpa Ok, Grandma Suzi, Gramma Cindy, Chelsey, Andrew, Carley, Brittany, Ross and Miles were all there cheering her on, and Ben too! They did such a great job. Belle almost made a goal and was not afraid to get in the middle of things!

She kept leaving the game to Powerade it up.

She couldn't be the only girl on the team and not have matching ribbons in her hair!
We {heart} Miles!
We enjoyed In-N-Out and family company after the game!

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School

Using the elevator with his very own elevator key. He is the first student to have his own copy!
Spencer and Miss Beck. Don't you love how he picked an Hawaiian shirt for his "first day of school" outfit.

Oh so happy to be posing with his sister, but she is elated!
Braden and Spence and their cute bald heads!

I thought dropping Spencer off for his first full day of school since diagnosis was going to be hard, and it was, however, just dropping him off in front of the school today was harder. {Deep breath in, and now out}. Yesterday I had Peeta, Katniss, and Gale (Mockingjay for those not familiar) to keep my mind off him being away from me, and today all I have is my home that so desperately needs a good cleaning! It was a busy, productive day yesterday, nonetheless, full of smiles and happiness. We went to the "meet and mingle" so that Nate could meet Miss Beck and I took all of the "first day of school pictures". The final bell rang and I hesitantly let my baby go back to his first day feeling like a normal kid. Isabelle had her kindergarten testing around lunch time so I felt relieved knowing that I would be back at the school for a bit. She did an awesome job! Her teacher recommended she apply for ALPS (Accelerated Learning Program for Students) in January. While I was talking I saw Spence and his sweet friend Braden walking around in the hall. Braden shaved his head the night before and they looked so cute together (I am sure that is the last thing the boys want to hear)! Braden spent his recess and lunch indoors with Spencer so that he wasn't alone. What a great kid (must have gotten from his mom!). He told me that he absolutely loves Miss Beck and that she is soooo nice and happy. We had a meeting with the district nurse and Miss Beck after school to write out a plan and let them know all they need to take care of him while he is there or in case of an accident, etc. It was a totally great day. This morning while we are out the door to drop him off he looks at me still in my workout clothes and says, "So you are just going to wear that?" I reminded him that I was only dropping him off in front of the school and that I was not going to get out of the car! Funny kid! When did he start caring what I am dressed in! It made me giggle! I dropped him off and watched him go! Luckily for me it is early day so I can see him sooner! I don't know what I am going to do next week when both my babies are at school! It made me realize how much I love having them home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things to Come

Tomorrow Spence starts school. We are so excited for some routine even if it is only for a few days. We are so lucky to be getting such a wonderful teacher who has already met with us and accommodated Spencer and his physical limitations. It is our goal to be on top of academics this year. For those of you who know Spencer, know that he is a super smart kid. I just worry about him missing so much second and third grade and being lost, especially in math for fourth grade. Jeez, it seems like the years are flying by. Mrs. Beck our new teacher, assured us that we will have him ready! It was just so overwhelming being hit with this diagnosis last year that school was the last thing on our minds. He was so sick and we were so sad that it took a while to even get there. This year will be different. We are going to be disciplined and on top of homework. We have even thought of a science project that he would like to be a part of. He will be able to go this week and the first two days next week and then he will begin the first of eight inpatient stays, which is over a 4 month period. So, needless to say, he will only be at school on and off for the next four months depending on health and counts. When the four months are up then it is only clinic chemoes from here on out! So I am hoping that from February to the end of the school year that he will be able to go everyday. It makes the rest of treatment seem so close to the end. The end of course is if his tumor continues to shrink and is gone before the end of treatment. If it is still there, then we continue on with more chemo. That does not worry me now, we will deal with that when it comes.
Next week will be Isabelle's first day of kindergarten! I am sad to lose my helper and my girl but so excited for her. She is a super smart cookie and an excellent reader and I am just so thrilled that she finally gets to be a part of all of this. Because her birthday is in October, she is on the older end and has been in preschool far too many years! She has watched her brother over the past three years and learned along side him and she is now ready for her turn.
Big things are happening for us over the next two weeks. I am excited for school to start and I am thankful for the "low maintenance" summer we were able to enjoy with no in patient stays! I am thankful for a summer of no fevers and no infections. We had minimal throwing up and a relatively happy boy, who looks like he is getting healthier. Our new goal is eating, and drinking. He does neither of these. He is completely sustained by his feeding tube and it is such a pain. There is formula all over our house. In the carpets, the sofas, his bed, everywhere! It drives me crazy, I am always cleaning it up. The replacement of the feeding tube is so traumatic and the bag of formula is totally inconvenient, but to no avail. He will not give it up. He will not eat. I ask for your prayers that he will have a desire to eat and that food will taste good. It is a sad life to live where food tastes bad. Even if we could get one meal a day in him we could have less time on the feeds (since it is 24 hours a day now). I would love for him to be able to go to school with out them.
I am looking forward to my one on one time with my Gavs and for the kids to meet new friends and try to be as normal as possible!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

It was harder than I expected it to be, leaving this place, as my plane flew out over the ocean. As I looked out the window and the ocean became farther and farther, I realized that I had tears in my eyes. I cannot quite explain why going home was more emotional this time but there are lots of speculations. As Sara and I enjoyed the weekend together just hanging out and talking we came to the conclusion that it had been a year since we had had any quality time together. We had seen her and her family for an afternoon in January but it had been last August that they moved from Utah. Sara is one of those people that I need in my life and leaving her was so hard this time. I wish anyone could be so lucky to have a "Sara" in their life. Someone who has known you for a long time, who has been through the good the bad and the ugly with you. Someone who shops like you do, and goes to the beach like you do. Someone who you can just sit and do nothing with and have the best time. And someone who enjoys food like you do! Besides leaving my Sara and the beach behind me, I think the tears were induced by the cancer I was coming home to. For a few days it was nice to put aside all of the emotions and stress inside of me, and breathe. I don't know why or how but the beach, the ocean, the southern California air lets me breathe deeper. I knew that there was "real life" for me at home in Utah, a life that has a lot of breath holding and hyperventilating. I was SOOO excited to be home with my babies, and with Nate but you know just sad that one of my babies still has a hard fight to fight.

This was Gavin's first flight and he was FABULOUS! He slept most of both flights (thanks to the help of some Benedryl) and LOVED the concept of flying and the airplane. He learned to make and airplane noise.
In June Sara had her third little boy, Grant. This was one of the many reasons I wanted to get out there. Oh this little guy is so delicious!

I am sorry to all of our friends and family who I wasn't able to get back to, or didn't have a chance to see. This was a quick trip and I didn't have anytime. Hopefully soon we can get out there soon and see all of you. We were lucky, however, to be able to spend the evening with my brother and his family (sorry Theresa, I didn't get a picture of your whole self!). I always enjoy seeing them, it helps to refresh and renew!
Sara and I had fun at the good old Orange County Swap Meet, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.
One of the big highlights of the trip was to meet the AWESOME Noel family. Ally and I have become "online" friends since Spencer was diagnosed. She read our blog and emailed me because her little girl Lizzie has a lot of health problems as well. We have been chatting and emailing for the last 5 months and have become really good friends. We went to the aquarium, and then hung out at her place, then out to dinner with her sister and an old good mutual friend, Mary.

The Girls made me this awesome sign! I love it!

My one splurge was Claim Jumper. I got the Irish Nachos and the cheesy potato soup in a bread bowl! It was delicious and I did not finish the whole thing.
It was so fun to spend time with this family. It was like we have known eachother forever. The girls, and Jax were so great with Gavin and he loved them. Ally took me home (and didn't get lost, yeah that's it) and Liz, Kate and Gavs all fell asleep as we tried to get back to Sara's house (an hour and a half later)! It was sad to say goodbye but we look forward to many years of friendship and future visits!
It was so great to renew my mind and my heart. Nate says he can tell I brought a little bit of sadness with me, leaving behind my ocean and Sara, but I am thankful to him for making this trip happen. I am thankful to be back to my family and look forward to going to California with them all soon! If home is where the heart is then I have two homes!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tender Mercies

Down in the pit.
Gotta love the Jack!
Jack shaking hands.
Paula Fuga

There have been countless tender mercies given to our family. I truly believe that God really knows us and sometimes these mercies, these blessings are not just spiritual. He knows that we are human and still need some "righteous" pick me ups. The three most recent of our tender mercies have been just what this California girl needs, and Nate too! First off, as a lot of you Utahns know, In-N-Out has been coming up all around Utah. We happened to get one on our corner. Like a mile from our house. Nate and I discussed how we totally would not eat there everyday or even every week but just the comfort of knowing it is there for us whenever we "need" it or want it, is merciful! This next mercy is totally random and so awesome. Nate happened to be searching for some kind of deal on something or another online and came across an ad for volunteers needed for the Jack Johnson concert. We would help promote his Village Green, and initiative he and his wife have developed to reduce, reuse, recycle. In exchange for our time we would get shirts, bags, water bottles and pit section tickets to watch the concert. Awesome in its own. Well as we were getting ready to begin our work there, the director let us know that Jack wanted to meet us all and take a picture with us! Um SWEET! So Nate and I positioned ourselves in the middle hoping to be close to Jack. He came out stood right next to us and put his arm around me for the picture! I was so excited! I totally do not get all celebrity crazy (um except for maybe David Archuleta, Sara and Mel can attest to that!) but I was super giddy. Jack later put on a little mini concert with Paula Fuga (she is awesome), and G Love. Because we were "staff" we got to be in the background right there behind Jack, and G. When they left off stage I thanked Jack and he patted my on the shoulder! SAAWEET! After we were done with our volunteering we were able to enjoy the concert in the pit so close to Jack. It was such a fun night, and have no doubt that it was a complete tender mercy for the both of us! My third tender mercy happens tomorrow. My Bff Sara had a baby in June and I have been so sad that I was not going to be able to see her this summer. With all that is going on we just didn't feel comfortable taking our annual trip to California. Nate had been flying Southwest for his business traveling and had earned a free flight that expires Aug. 29th of this year. He called to see if he could transfer it and booked me a flight to go home! So early tomorrow morning Gavs and I will head out for the weekend. Nate is excited about spending the weekend with the "big kids." Throughout all of the heartache and anxiety we are so blessed to have these tender mercies touched upon us. Because I am heading out for the weekend, I may be a little on and off with my blogging but I will bring my computer and try to stay updated!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Looking at the Past

This picture was taken almost exactly one year ago from today. This is not even my same little boy. A friend of mine is putting together a fundraiser for the hospital by making blankets and she is doing it in Spencer's name. She asked for a slide show and so tonight I have been going through all of our pictures from beginning of diagnosis to present. Wow. Way more overwhelming than I thought. I got to revisit a lot of past, powerful emotions that I am not sure I really would like to revisit again. I cannot believe all that we have been through. Even the pictures of Nate looked different. He looked so much younger seven months ago. It is amazing how this has aged us all. I was cleaning my room today and found my journal. The last entry was from January (since my blogging is my journal as of February). I had just quit my job and just finished my last pre-requisite for the nursing program and I was expressing how excited I was to be at home with my kids. I was supposed to start a daycare job for two little boys two days after Spencer was diagnosed. Our life has just taken this major detour and it is so hard sometimes. It is hard to balance it all, but some how we are. I would definitely take this all away from him if I could but I don't know if we would give up all of the blessings and new friendships we have made because of it all. This has been a whirlwind of a year, and I cannot wait to go back to normal. I cannot wait to not have to watch my baby throw up, and hurt and eat from a tube. I cannot wait to be at his wedding and to be so thankful for every single moment I have had with him. I miss this cute little boy in the above picture, but I love the young man who has grown in faith and strength and confidence.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Odds and Ends

Nate and I had not had a chance to celebrate his birthday, which was at the beginning of July. We had a free weekend with no chemo and a babysitter thanks to my dad and Suzi. We decided to head downtown for a little Benihana fun. It was nice to get out and have "us" time.
Belle has been trying really hard to earn her end of week reward. The first one was a couple of weeks ago. Her choice was a date to Mcdonald's with dad. I am not a huge lover of taking my kids to Mcdonald's but they had Littlest Pet Shops for the Happy Meal toy and she collects them. She enjoyed her time with daddy.
Betsy and Spencer have been best friends since they were in kindergarten. Ryan, Betsy's little brother, is Belle's best friend and they are now both going to kindergarten. It is amazing how fast time flies. Our Bets is a special girl too. She has diabetes and is so sensitive and caring and takes care of my kids, especially Spence to the best of her abilities. Melanie, their mom is my BFF and we took the kids to Liberty Park for a day of fun and no worries. There is a little park with rides and they have those swinging chairs. I STRONGLY DISLIKE the swinging chairs. I so did not want Spencer to ride on them. It's hard enough to watch my non cancer kids ride on them. He begged. So I said yes, and didn't watch, and he was fine and had so much fun {deep breath out}. We had a fun time! I love this family!

My sister and I took the kids to the park one afternoon and it was great to see Spence acting like a normal kid with lots of energy! It was Gavs first time on the swing and of course he loved it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010