Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day(s)

You may have noticed that I took a small vacation from the blogosphere to spend time with family and friends. The primary reason behind this was.....drumroll please.....we had a good weekend! I prayed and prayed that we would be able to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, just as any family should, and we pretty much got to do that. I have some pictures to post and everything. So let's get started on our journey showing how far we have come.

Friday night we didn't get home from the hospital until late, 6:30. Wow that was a long of day of chemo. I wasn't sure how it would affect her, but she has tolerated it well so far. These were all new drugs for her, so you just never know. Our friends were over, as is usually the case on Friday nights, pre-leukemia, and the older kids were hanging out with Ally up in our bedroom. We caught them looking so precious together viewing fireworks out the window. Sometimes life brings you moments to remember when you least expect them. Had to show you...
Ally did sleep until almost 11 on Saturday. I guess the new chemo is causing a little more fatigue. The weatherman started threatening rain for our Fourth of July which sent me into a panic because we had all planned the big pool party up at my Dad's new pool! It was opening day...the first day I was ever going to get to use it and I was not very happy about the rain forecast. So we headed up early, about 1, and I was fully expecting to come home in a couple of hours. But we didn't! We persevered and stayed and played in the pool until 10pm that night. I guess it doesn't matter if it rains if you are wet anyway. Because it rained all darn day. We had good friends, good food, a great place....and for Ally you ask.....well she had the enormous job of setting up the concession stand. Here is a video from the stand.....

I know, concession stand at a private pool??? Well that is just my Dad. A lot of you know him and a lot of you know that the man cannot do anything small. He takes everything over the top. So his new pool has a fully stocked concession stand, complete with a cash register and sliding window, and Ally is in charge of it. Which was also really great because her port is currently accessed and it was going to be a fairly big deal to saran wrap and tape her all up. Plus, she gets cold very easily. It kept her busy for hours, and we didn't even have to worry about her swimming. Her only water experience was dunking her legs in the hot tub. She also spent part of the day watching a movie with our friend Caroline, and another part of the day playing slider gin with the adults in the house. (and she beat them) This provided a small break for Jerad and I (only 2 kids to watch, neither of which were sick) and allowed some fun for us too.

Ally and Miss Lisa with their feet in the hot tub
Just a shot of the pool, because so many people ask me about it.
Evan trying out the big slide
Concession stand, open for business
Even my Grandma wore the hat
Its not that we didn't have pants on, we had our swimsuits on underneath.REALLY!..Coach B got us all these new WSU shirts. He is the men's basketball coach
So the guys had to show us up by picking up Coach B's wife, Paula. Whatever.
I LOVE this picture, even though it is slightly blurry. The little friends all watching the fireworks from the snuggly couch. (even Bobo) The Boohers have the best view out of their family room window.
This is just proof that Daddy is weird, per Ally's blog entry on Friday. Jerad, who vaguely looks like a skinhead with his new hair and pale complexion, with a sparkler in his mouth? Weird? Yep.

Sunday turned out equally as well. Ally's chemo nurse came to the house and gave her even more chemo. This only takes about a half an hour. (this also happened on Saturday). In the meantime, she decided that she wanted chocolate chip muffins. Anytime she wants food, which is rare, I pretty much bend over backwards to get it for her. So I found a recipe for them online and started rummaging around to see if I had the ingredients. Milk, nope, butter, no again. That is what you get when it has been 14 days since I stepped foot in a grocery store. With some borrowed help, we got them made. The kicker was: She wanted to make them. Another thing that hasn't happened in a very long time. She asked to do something that required her to exert a little effort. I like that. Progress.

I left and went to church with my Dad. Pastor Gil's "talks" as he calls them, have pretty much been giving me the strength that I need to get by all week. He inspires me so much and reminds me that God has a plan for all of us. This is just my plan. I don't know why I am travelling down this path of being a "cancer Mom" and I have stopped questioning why. God knows. I have left the plan for all of us in his hands, as it should be. It brings me some peace to turn this whole situation over to God every night when I try to go to sleep. Gil mentioned to me once that I have some influence over a lot of people now too. He couldn't believe how many people were following the blog and listening to our story. He even said something to me about having the gift of being inspirational. (like him!) So maybe that is part of why this is I can serve others and have some impact on how others view the world...but through the eyes of a seven year old fighting for her life.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent. After church, I checked my phone and Jerad had left me a text that Ally wanted Red Robin for lunch. So I called him to get her order, so I could swing by and grab carry-out. NO. OH No! She wanted to go to Red Robin. And eat in the restaurant like a normal person. We haven't been in a restaurant or a store in a month and a half. So we did. Her ANC count was very high on Friday, so we felt safe enough trying it...although they are probably dropping as we speak. So there we were. Party of 5. Eating in a restaurant. Her favorite: macaroni and cheese. It's the simple things that will get us by....

Here is hoping that our life continues to improve. That we have more good days than bad days. That we stop to enjoy the small happy things in life. Together. That we inspire. That we appreciate. That we serve. That we win each small battle that comes before us, and eventually the war. That we can declare our independence, against this disease!


  1. So glad that it was a good weekend--now I'm really bummed I missed it:(--but I'm glad it was "up" because I know how "down" it was for you just the other day. When another down day comes along just remember what you said above about this being your plan. Ally's plan was to work that concession stand and she worked it good!

  2. Terri Barnett ShumakerJuly 6, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Glad that you all had a good time over the weekend. I agree with Pastor Gil that you and Jared, and of course Ally, are inspirational to people. I am sure everyone in the Army would agree. I look forward to reading your post everyday and am glad that you took the time off to enjoy your family and friends. Sounded like a fun time for everyone. Here's to more good days ahead.

  3. You ARE an inspiration and Ally is amazing!The love your family has for one another is very evident in all that you do. SO pleased to hear you had a great (and well deserved) weekend.

    You are always in my thoughts,
    Queen Bee Designs by Amanda

  4. Janel,
    This is such great news. How wonderful that you had such a great weekend. You are all an inspiration to all of us, everyday. I am so glad that Ally got to work the concession stand. It seemed like she loved that job! The kids were so cute sitting there watching the fireworks! Your dad's pool is awesome! A good way to finish the weekend was at Red Robin. That is our favorite restaurant!

  5. Nice pictures of Coach B and Paula. Scott would like you to know that he designed those new t-shirts. :)

    So glad you all had fun and a great weekend!!

  6. Oh, I am so happy that your family had such a wonderful weekend...much needed and deserved! See, all of the added prayers after Ally's most recent test results are already helping. You father's pool, slide, concession stnad...AWESOME!!!! I thought my husband and his family were the only ones who did things over the top. But, I have to say, your dad goes even bigger! I love that he has created such a great playland, escape, paradise for your family and friends to be able to enjoy!

  7. YES!!! I already can't count the number of battles that you guys have won. I'm so happy that you made it out this weekend. Tell your dad that I'm uber impressed with his concession stand. It is much nicer than the one that I worked at for $3.10/hour as my first job (and that was before my $4.15 lifegaurding promotion!). It makes me smile. I love pools. I hope that the new drugs continue to go easy on Ally. Eating is sosososo important.
    p.s.i think your calling is to write. i really am enjoying your posts, on good days and bad. thanks, janel.

  8. Terri Barnett ShumakerJuly 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    BTW, I wanted to add that all children should be so lucky to have a Weird dad like Jared.
    Just please be careful with those sparklers ya didn't learn a thing from your dad being on the fire department all those years did ya??

  9. Amen to that-- independence from this disease. I second that. So happy that you all had a wonderful holiday and to hear that Ally is beginning to show some energy and strength. We pray that good days continue.

  10. WOW!! What a wonderful weekend, you all deserved a boost. Love the pool. Janel, you and your family have inspired many and will continue to do so just by being you---Ally is a fighter and we shall beat this dosease. So glad she wanted to go out to eat and to cook, I never want to cook!!!! Always in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. What a wonderful treat to read your blog today! Jammer you continue to do it all right, I love that you and Jerad are just going with it and giving Ally all of the experiences she wants when she wants them! You are all not only inspirations now, but have always been, especially in the FUN department. More prayers and water fountain penny wishes that good days continue.

  12. That is just awesome. So glad everyone was able to have a great holiday. Here is hoping Ally continues to feel just as good as she did over the weekend. You guys are in my thoughts. I did send you an email to your yahoo account awhile ago. Not sure if you are checking that.

  13. such a fun I will remember for a very long time. The happiest moments were the ones of Ally enjoying herself and being a kid again :-)

  14. Just got back from a trip out of town and had to come here first thing to read how our sweet Ally is doing. So sorry to hear that the news wasn't good last week and that we'll be taking the "long road". The army will march right along with you guys though. Know that.