Monday, August 3, 2009


I cannot tell you how many times today I was just stopped in my tracks in amazement of my daughter Ally. Just this small break from chemo and I feel like I have my daughter back. Here are some examples that I can think of offhand.

1. She didn't complain when I told her we had to get in the car at 9am to take her brother to camp.
2. She ate! Not a lot, but she had a few meals and sat at the table for lunch and dinner. Without complaint.
3. We drove to Panera to get her a strawberry smoothie (I buy the girl whatever she wants to eat...I am desperate) We passed by Daddy's work at the Pentagon Tower. I said "Do you want to stop in and see Daddy?" I was fully expecting her to say no...she said YES. And we went.
4. She didn't want to leave the pool (although not swimming today but crafting on the side of the pool). I coerced her by saying she could have her friends over.
5. We had our friends stay for dinner (no dinnertime nap today!) and we all ate at the table together. Thanks to Keli Dukeman for bringing enough food to feed the five of us, plus two more. Ally exclaimed: Yum, I love this beef. I almost dropped my fork.
6. She was sassy, spunky, and even a little bossy to us.
7. She asked if she could walk (WALK!) down to Madison's house to see if she wanted to come out to play this evening. And she did. All by herself.
8. She read a book before bed.

Oh yea, and about that dinner. We had the Winger boys over and we normally pray before we eat our meals. Our tradition is that we go around the table and everyone says something they either want to pray for or something they are thankful for. Ally said she was thankful to have Joshua and Sam for dinner. Sam said about the same thing. Evan said he wanted to say a prayer for his Ma (his Grandma) in heaven. (He always does that.) And then, in a serious voice, Joshua says...."I am thankful for Wendy's and their junior bacon cheeseburgers. They are the best." I think I am going to crack up about that one for a long time.
Carly was still napping and Jerad was taking the picture
We took all the kids to Ritter's for dessert. It was dog's night out and our dog Reilly will be 13 years old on Wednesday. So we took him to get his ice cream dessert and ran into our neighbors there with their dogs! Here are the kiddlings right after they sang Happy Birthday to Reilly:
I know our days our numbered because Ally is due back to the hospital at 10 am on Friday. We are hoping to have one last "fun day" on Thursday before she is hit with the chemo again.

Once again, I am soo soo grateful to be enjoying this bit of normalcy. When you go through what our family goes through, I am telling you life is viewed in a whole new way. We are thankful for even the simplest of thankful. It seems that all the petty little things that used to irritate us or anger us, they are gone. Life is too short to let small things get in the way of our big lives. My wish is that everyone I know could see the big picture, live in the moment, enjoy your friends and family, and realize that things you planned for today can always get done tomorrow.


  1. I agree. I have so come to know that we should not let petty things like getting served cold food, having something break, not having a spotless house, or--if you're like me--having to keep going back to pick up your new eyeglasses because the first 2 times the lady cracked the lenses while adjusting them--get to you. I try to remember that everyday.

    Ally has seemed sooo good to me lately. She was smiling and laughing all the while here today. I like this sense of normalcy too!

    And by the way, that comment of Joshua's had me laughing too. That is hilarious!

  2. Oh, Joshua...he does love those Jr. bacon cheeseburgers! haha I am glad he also said he was thankful for Carly being born ;-). The whole coming home with you today, having dinner at your house, huge! They loved that.

    Your last paragraph tonight pretty much sums up how I am trying to live my life...if there is one thing I have learned from the last 18 months with you, it is to live for the moment, take each day as it comes and be thankful for it! :-)

  3. I literally laughed out loud at my computer when I read the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger comment. Can't blame him, those sure are good!

    It's funny how perspective always changes in times like these. You're right, we all let too many small things bother us as we deal with life. I know I'm guilty. While I don't live it everyday with you guys, I have felt like my perspective has changed as a much better way.

    I LOVE how the picture of Ally at the dinner table looks like the old Ally...huge smile, bright eyes, happy. The blog over the past week or so has been really uplifting to me personally. It sounds weird, but I feel happier when Ally is happier. While I wish Friday never had to come so that she can stay this way, it's another step you guys!

  4. Oh, joy! Ally looks like just a regular happy kid in those pictures, and she is! Never forget that sometimes the treatments may mask that, but she's always there.

    Each day is a gift, each hour is a small package to open up and admire. You all have that figured out, and you are living your best life and setting am amazing example for Ally, Evan and Carly ... and a whole army of people!

  5. Beautiful post, Jannelly. So true for all of us. You are truly an inspirational writer!!! Wow - awesome. Love you MUCHLY!

  6. Terri Barnett ShumakerAugust 4, 2009 at 8:41 AM

    Wonderful pics. So glad this week has been good for you all. It is very true that we just need to live in the moment because life does pass you by very quickly. Here's to more good days ahead.

  7. So glad to hear you are getting good days and what everyone has already posted is exactly what I am feeling too! I also feel happy and smile reading your post when I know Ally is feeling well so I am glad you are enjoying every ounce of it! Will talk to you soon!

  8. I noticed how Ally's eyes sparkled yesterday (much like her hat!) I love to see that. She is a brave, strong girl and we love her.

    Praying for an easy road ahead and many more good days.

  9. What a great day. It makes me so happy to see a bit of normal, happy life!!

    Catching up with you all through the blog is a great way to get my daily dose of perspective and start the day on the right foot.

  10. Thank goodness for a week off. Now you KNOW that Ally is still Ally, regardless of what the chemo does to her.

    And now, my belly is craving some Wendy's....:-)

    Thanks for the great perspective and uplifting post. Enjoy this week.

  11. Again, so thankful you are experiencing the wonderful "normalcy" of life. Your words hit home this morning-- I am in desperate need of seeing the "Big Picture." Now-- off the computer I go!


  12. I read the post everyday, but this one especially hit home and brought tears to my eyes. No matter what that chemo does, Ally is still in there. This week was a blessing in disguise to give your family the boost it needed. I remember those days, your whole outlook changes on things and usually that is a good thing. I am so happy that you were blessed with good days, it helps when the road gets tough. Hang in there and have a great rest of the week.

  13. So happy you are all having happy days this week!!! What an inspiring last paragraph.

    Now I am hungry for Ritter's and Wendy's. My turkey sandwich isn't going to cut it.

    Take care!

  14. Wouldn't it be great if all of us had prayers as light hearted as Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers on our prayer list? So glad you all had such a great day - love that Ally smile!!

  15. I haven't been able to read your blog for a few days, so I had some catching up to do... I started w/ the news of Ally's low count and was so disappointed for you all. However, I had the benefit of reading into the 'future' to see what a wonderful couple of days you've been able to have. They say out of something bad comes something good... proof positive here. Maybe this was a little 'breather' that you all needed to keep you going stronger and harder than ever. Come this friday, you're back on track to kick some butt. Your video was awesome and Ally's (and the family's!)smiles are priceless. Thanks for the inspiring words every day - you guys Rock!! See you Oct 1.

    Ruthann & Scott

  16. Wow! Thanks for that reminder Janel. I was feeling so frustrated today thinking that I only have 3 weeks left until school starts again and I have so many things that have not been completed on my to do list. I do individual days with each of our 5 kids over the Summer to spend some Mommy and Me time with them, and I was thinking, I've got so much to do, do I really have time for a Mommy and Me day on Saturday with Mady? Maybe we should put it off.. and then I checked your blog. Mady and Me day is on for Saturday! Let the garage stay unorganized for a while longer, let the yard sale move to another weekend, I'm going to enjoy my kids TODAY! Thanks for those wise words that got me back on track! :o)

  17. How wonderful for you to have a "family week" and what an inspirational writer you are for everyone. God knows best even when we doubt Him. All of you deserved this break. It's wonderful to hear Allie enjoying herself and getting to act like a little girl. I read every day and pray for all of you. From another Mills "girl" - your dad's cousin - Jane